Budget Lexicon

Tips for living a fabulous life on a budget

Budget Weekend Style – Let’s Get High-Waisted April 30, 2008

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H&M T-shirt – $7.99
American Appareal Skirt – $30.00
Necklaces – Flea Market $5.00, Gift from Grandma
Heels Carlos Santana – $79.99

I am not going to lie, until this weekend, the thought of high-waisted clothing on my body scared the crap out of me. I felt a high-waist would elongate the perceived length of my butt and therefore make my butt look enormous. But this weekend, I broke out of my comfort zone – deciding to trust my intense marathon work-out regimen and the fact that high waists look really cute on all my friends.

I bought this high waisted American Apparel skirt a week ago. I was really excited to wear it out for the first time to a friend’s b-day party Saturday night. The skirt and shirt in this outfit are both 100% cotton which made me feel comfortable on this hot, almost-summer night.

Sometimes an outfit can work a little too well. During the course of the evening, I was followed by a man in all black (don’t worry, I had two friends with me) and I was hit on by a girl. Needless to say – even with the best outfit, your evenings do not always turn out the way plan you plan


Dive Bar Review – The Red Garter April 29, 2008

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I love dive bars and I am always on the look out for a new hangout. The perfect dive bar has the right balance of a seedy atmosphere and cool crowd. On Saturday night, we ventured to the Red Garter in Venice Beach and it definitely fit both my requirements.

The crowd was a “cool” blend of the Silverlake hipsters and Westside bar rats. The bar was equipped with a small dance floor, which was a pleasant surprise because many dives don’t have dancing. The DJ played a classic “bar blend” mix of 80s rock and 90s hip hop. It got pretty hot inside, so we spent most of the evening outside on the patio.

The “seedy” nature of this bar surfaced when 3 girls in my group (myself included) were hit on by the same very aggressive girl. While I don’t think that this was indicative of the rest of the crowd, I would advise coming here with a larger group of friends. That’s the thing about dive bars, they always make for great story telling the week after.

With regards to price, this bar definitely fit my budget. There was street parking, no cover charge and the drinks were relatively inexpensive for LA standards.


Saving Money Tip – What Does Recession Mean To You? April 28, 2008

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Technically, we’re not in a recession yet, but we are definitely heading there. As young women in our twenties without families or mortgages, we wonder whether the recession really effects us?

Not to be a barer of bad news, but the answer is yes. Gas and food prices have been skyrocketing, job layoffs are on the rise, and more renters are being displaced because leasing companies have been losing their buildings (mortgages do not only effect home owners).

Okay, now that I have scared you, please take a step back from the ledge and remember the best defense is a good offense. The best offense for recession is to have 3-6 months of savings in a high yield savings account. This savings can protect you if you lose your job, are forced to move, etc.

If you do not have any savings yet, take a deep breath, and realize that now is the perfect time to start. The first step to develop saving plan is paying off any residual credit card debt. If you were to lose your job, this debt could get significantly out of control. Also, carrying a large balance on your credit card effects your credit rating.

A great way to figure out how to save or chip away at that credit card debt, is to analyze your bank statement. You can see where you are spending the most money and develop ways to reduce this spending. I will also be including a weekly Budget Lexicon “saving money tip” to help you get on your way.


My Biggest Weakness – Target Impulse Purchases April 25, 2008

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Target Rosette Ballet Flats (Rose) – $20.99

You would think as a person who writes a budget blog, I would be immune to impulse purchasing…WRONG!

A couple weeks ago, a friend and I journeyed to the Anza Borrego Desert. She had forgotten to pack closed toed shoes, so I told her that I would go pick some up for her at Target. I was only in the store for a total of 15 minutes, but I still managed to find something I could not live without – Rose colored ballet flats.

I guess this purchase wasn’t totally impulsive because I had been looking for a pair of ballet flats to pair with my black leggings. I was just not planning on purchasing them that day and I usually spend more than 5 minutes trying shoes on.

Thankfully, my quick decision making skills came through and I am totally happy with my new shoes. In addition to pairing well with leggings, these flats look cute with jeans and shirt dresses.


You can take the preppy girl out of the O.C. but… April 24, 2008

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H&M White Button Down – $29.99

I am a preppy girl to the core – I love wine, clean shaven men, traditional home design, and I have a special place in my heart for a crisp white button down.

Style to me is wearing what you like and feel beautiful in. Living in LaLa Land the past 4 years has helped me embrace the lastest trends, while staying true to my preppy style. I believe that pairing classic pieces with the latest trends takes a look from trendy to chic.

I picked up this white button down at H&M a couple weeks ago and I have to say I am totally in love. The scoop neck and cap sleeves make this shirt a casual summer take on the classic button down. I can wear it untucked with leggings and a cropped leather jacket or tucked in with high waisted shorts and skirts.

While I am willing to pay more for classic pieces because they can stand the test of time, stores like H&M remind me that there is really no need to.


Beauty Obsession – CoverGirl Mascara April 23, 2008

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CoverGirl Lash Exact Mascara – $7.99

Every girl has a beauty product that she cannot live without – my product is mascara. Someone once told me that you are supposed to play up your most unique feature with your makeup. My feature of choice is my eyes because they are really dark, which contrasts with my pale skin.

Unfortunately, my eyes are very squinty (my brother won the genetic lottery of big eyes and long eyelashes) and therefore mascara an essential part of my makeup routine. I have spent years searching for the perfect drugstore brand of mascara.

During the summer of 2006, I discovered CoverGirl Lash Exact Mascara and I have used it ever since. It is the first mascara that does not give me marks on my eyelids after a day of wear. It defines and lengthens my lashes, without looking clumpy and it is available most grocery stores and drugstores.

Beauty experts advise replacing mascara every month, so Lash Exact’s price of $7.99 is a perfect fit for a girl on a budget.


Save the Planet and Your Wallet April 22, 2008

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Plastic Shmastic Reuseable Grocery Bag – $14.99

Happy Earth Day! During the past year, I have taken a few steps to living a greener life. To my delight, many of these steps have helped me not only conserve our planet’s natural resources but my money as well.

1) I stopped buying plastic water bottles – which cost me about $20 per month (I drink a lot of water). I bought a reusable plastic bottle to carry to work and began using a Brita water filter at home.

2) I started using CFL lights in my apartment – which can save $20-$70 dollars in energy costs over a year.

3) I use cloth grocery bags. Trader Joes offers a reuseable grocery bag incentive program – if you bring in a cloth bag, they put your business card in a drawing for a gift certificate.

4) I started doing a lot of my shopping online – especially when purchasing things that do not need to see in person – replacement filters, window alarms, apartment furniture that is too heavy to carry, etc. Online shopping saves me time and let’s me compare prices to ensure that I get the best deal.