Organize Your Finances with This Budget Template

April 12, 2018

Budget Template - organize your finances, track your investments, monitor your debt, and reach your financial goals!

Here we are, tax time again! I’m not sure if anyone else can relate, but each year as T and I organize our tax documents and review our spending from the previous year, it inspires me to re-evaluate our spending habits going forward and get us back on an organized budgeting system.

This time last year I introduced a slightly different (and perhaps slightly less advanced) Budget Document created via Google Spreadsheet that we had been using successfully for a number of months. In response, I received a number of customization how-to requests and questions about how to account for debt (an area where the old budget template fell a little short).

The good news is – I listened to those questions and requests and developed an updated 2018 version of that Budget Template! I recorded a brand new tutorial video that not only walks you through how to access the Google Spreadsheet template, but shows you how it works, how to customize, and an added option to account for investments/debt/net worth.

This spreadsheet will track your monthly income/expenses, compile those items into categories and subcategories, allow you to view your spending in comparison to the previous month, track your investments and any debt you might be paying off (mortgage, student loans, credit card, etc.), and view all of this information on a high-level summary tab.

If you’re interested in getting a copy for yourself, sign up with your email below. By doing so you will also start receiving my weekly newsletter (which you can of course unsubscribe from at ANY time if it isn’t something you’re into). Weekly newsletters include behind the scenes anecdotes, quick tips for living a cleaner/greener/more organized lifestyle, and links to my most recent blog posts.

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Small Bathroom Makeover

March 29, 2018

Small bathroom makeover - before and after sources

Last year, my husband and I moved to San Diego and purchased a new home. During our search, my top priorities were good light, privacy, and a backyard of some kind so we could garden (and of course have a safe place for future kiddos to play).

When I first saw our (now) home, I came close to removing it from our list of considerations because it felt really dark! There was terrible mismatched flooring and a muddy wall color that was not doing the space any favors. Let’s just say, things didn’t look very “clean.”

Luckily, I ended up changing my mind – our offer was accepted and we got a great deal on the home. Because we got a good deal, we were able to afford some simple renovations before moving in!

The first project was our small bathroom makeover.  Continue Reading…

Buy and Sell on Facebook – How I Am Using Facebook Marketplace to Prepare for Baby

March 22, 2018

Buy and Sell on Facebook - How I Am Using Facebook Marketplace to Prepare for Baby

I think it might be safe to say at this point that I am no longer loyal to Craigslist: I now love to buy and sell on Facebook Marketplace.

My love for second-hand is no secret at this point. I like that buying and selling second-hand is a far more affordable, environmentally friendly and sustainable option. I’ve posted tips for buying thrifted and second-hand clothes, and I even challenged myself to a full year in 2017 of “no new clothes” for these reasons and more.

Since publishing some of those posts, my husband and I moved, bought a house, and got pregnant (due in less than 3 months from now – insane!)… needless to say, while I have been trying my best to keep our shopping lists as “minimal” as possible, babies (and offices and guest bedrooms…) require “stuff.” Instead of buying everything brand new, I have turned to second-hand marketplaces as often as possible – most notably, Facebook Marketplace.

Let me tell you why. Continue Reading…

Natural DIY Home Cleaning Supplies Kit

March 14, 2018

Natural DIY cleaning supplies kit

If you have a hard time motivating yourself (or others in your home) to regularly clean spaces like your kitchen or bathrooms, then this DIY cleaning supplies kit (filled with effective cleaners made from all-natural ingredients!) is exactly what you need.

I store my cleaning supplies kit underneath our kitchen sink so it’s easily accessible for daily/weekly kitchen cleaning tasks (counters, sink, cabinet handles, fridge handles, appliance fronts, etc.). Then once a week or so, I grab the cleaning supplies kit and take it with me from bathroom to bathroom for a quick wipe-down (counters, toilets, sinks, mirrors, showers, etc.). Continue Reading…

Air Purifying Plants

March 8, 2018

Air Purifying PlantsDo you ever wonder about just how clean the air you’re breathing in your home truly is? Pollutants that negatively impact the indoor air quality of your home can stem from many sources: paint, flooring, furniture, home cleaning products, and more.

What is scary is that some of these toxins that commonly off-gas in the home have been classified as known human carcinogens (e.g. benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene).

Did you recently purchase new furniture? Did you recently paint in your home? Do you regularly dry clean your clothes? Do you ever use cleaning products made from harsh chemicals?

If so, then it’s likely that the air quality in your home has suffered as a consequence. Luckily, there is a simple, natural, aesthetically pleasing, and cost-effective way to reduce and even eliminate harmful airborne toxins – decorating with air purifying plants. Continue Reading…

Low VOC Paint – Do You Need it?

March 1, 2018

 

Low VOC paint - why you need it!

Prior to moving into our new home last year, we chose to do some basic renovations – new floors, new bathroom countertops, a new master bathroom vanity, new light fixtures, and of course new paint.

While I had the best intentions to keep eco-friendliness and health safety in mind when making renovation decisions, when it came to paint I simply chose a color and moved on. I didn’t even think twice about researching paint types/brands/etc.

…that is until I learned about VOCs. Continue Reading…

What I Learned from Buying Only Second Hand Clothes for One Year

February 23, 2018

I only bought second hand clothes for one year...

Last year I challenged myself to refrain from purchasing any new clothes.

Yep. 12 months – no new clothes… but that didn’t mean I wasn’t still shopping, I simply restricted myself to shopping for only thrifted or second hand clothes instead. Why, do you ask? Check out my post from last year about why I said no to new clothes in 2017 (hint: I was driven mainly by a desire to positively impact the environment and eliminate my over-consumption of hard-to-recycle items – especially from “fast fashion” retailers).

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Real vs Artificial Christmas Trees

December 10, 2017

Real vs Artificial Christmas Trees - which are more eco-friendly?

Real vs artificial Christmas trees – which are more environmentally friendly? As a kid, I grew up with the joy of real cut Christmas trees every December. I have vivid memories of helping Mom decorate, Dad lifting me and my brother (we alternated years) to put the angel on top, and even playing with my Barbies in the branches (#imagination).

Years later, I moved out of the house and learned just how much of mess a cut tree can create! I was constantly watering and vacuuming up after my little apartment tree, not to mention trying to figure out the best option for recycling in a big city… acquiring, maintaining, and recycling a Christmas tree can be a real chore!

Once I graduated college, I started to become more interested in the environment and how my purchasing decisions can have either a positive or negative impact (this was the year I went vegan – I’ll save that story for another post). It was around this time during the holidays that I started paying attention to the pros and cons of Christmas tree options.

I hadn’t passively heard any convincing research that made me develop a strong opinion one way or the other until recently when I consciously chose to dive deep into researching real vs artificial Christmas trees. Read on to find out what I learned and what we are choosing to decorate with this year (you might be surprised!). Continue Reading…

Sustainable Gift Ideas

December 1, 2017

Who doesn’t love a good gift idea? I don’t think I know a single person who doesn’t get joy out of finding the perfect gift for a friend or loved one. With that said, gift giving doesn’t have to be waste-generating! What I mean is there are plenty of thoughtful gifts that friends and family would be thrilled to receive that don’t require the purchase of “stuff.”

I encourage all of us to think twice before buying a “thing” for a friend or family member and maybe consider an alternative. Perhaps your mom loves having nice nails – get her a gift card to the fanciest nail salon in town so she can treat herself! Dad loves golf? Buy him a credit to play at the course he has been talking about so much!

Below you will find a quick gift guide of zero waste and sustainable gift ideas worth considering. Lastly, don’t forget to package present(s) with recycled gift wrap!

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Thanksgiving Checklist – Prepare Your Kitchen for the Holiday Season

November 9, 2017

Thanksgiving Checklist - Prepare Your Kitchen for the Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving just a few short weeks away, now is the perfect time to make sure your kitchen is in perfect shape before hosting a big dinner party! Below I put together a simple Thanksgiving checklist to use as your guide when prepping your kitchen for the holidays. From cleaning, to repairs, to organization – complete the items on this list and you’ll be ready to host!

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