Budget Lexicon

Tips for living a fabulous life on a budget

Save Money, Lose Weight – Brown Bag It April 21, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 9:23 am
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Brown Bag it – Save $50/week and $200/month

One of the easiest ways to save about $50/week and $200/month is to bring your lunch from home. Brown bagging it can also help you lose weight because a packed lunch is typically more healthy than a lunch out. A homemade lunch can also prevent a post lunch “food coma” because you are less likely to overeat.

When grocery shopping, I try to plan out my lunch schedule for the week. It helps me ensure I am not wasting food and money. For example, if I know that I have lunch plans or a catered meeting, I can buy less at the store or just make sure to buy things that will last 2 weeks. I use the same planning method for my weeknight dinners.

Sometimes it is hard for me to bring my lunch because I often suffer from “food envy” when I see the lunches around me. In order to stay on plan, it is important for me to bring I lunch I like.

This week I am eating Rachael Ray’s Lemony Tuna Salad. I leave out the lettuce and substitute chickpeas for the white beans. I keep the cucumber and tomatoes separate until mealtime; otherwise the tuna gets really watery on day 2. It is high in protein and complex carbohydrates, which is important to me because my marathon is only 6 weeks away.

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“Dinner Wine” – Zinfandel April 18, 2008

Filed under: cooking — budgetlexicon @ 6:14 pm
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Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfindel 2005 – $7.99

This is my staple dinner wine. I always have it in the house – for unexpected company or hostess gifts. I love this wine so much that I actually break my rule of no red wine on dates for this Zin – blue teeth and lips are totally worth it.

This Ravenswood is reasonably priced at $7.99 and is available everywhere, I even saw it at Savon. It is also available in many restaurants (marked up, of course). If you see it on the wine list, I definitely suggest you order it.

It pairs well with both winter and summer dishes. I especially like it with strong cheeses, pastas with cream sauce and chicken dishes. It is fruity with undertones of plums and strawberries.

 

Spring Trends (Part 2) – Everything Neon April 17, 2008

Filed under: accessories — budgetlexicon @ 9:17 am
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Havaianas Sandals – $18.00

Forever21 Yellow Sunglasses – $5.80

OPI Orange Nail Polish – $7.50

The Spring 2008 neon color trend coupled with the warm California weather has left me re-energized and ready for summer. Here are my favorite budget accessories that helped me embrace this trend without making me look like Rainbow Bright or breaking my bank account.

Havaianas Sandals

I love these sandals because they are inexpensive, cute and comfortable. They are available in many different colors and patterns (I have them in bright green). They easily paired with jeans and tee for the perfect warm weather BBQ attire.

Colored Sunglasses

Colored sunglasses are the perfect way to add bright color to your outfit without looking like clown. You can find colored versions of all the latest shapes in sunglasses everywhere – over sized (my fav), aviator, shield, etc.

Bright Colored Nail Polish

Unlike dark polish, bright polish is flattering to most skin colors. It is the perfect accessory for any warm weather trips that involve a lake, beach, or pool.

 

Drugstore Hair Products April 16, 2008

Filed under: beauty — budgetlexicon @ 10:20 am

Liquid Silk Hair Serum – $5.99

Herbal Essences DeGunkify Deep Cleaning Shampoo – $3.87

Garnier Fructis Fortifying Shampoo/Conditioner- $3.19/ea

Another area of my life that I need to convert over to my budget lifestyle is my hair products. I have naturally very curly hair that has seen some very bad haircuts. I think my traumatic experiences specific to my Jr. High “triangle hair” years have made me really sensitive to the quality of products that I put on my hair. Again, I am still learning that expensive does not always mean quality.

I have spent this week contemplating my conversion to budget hair products while finishing my expensive shampoo and conditioner. Yesterday, to my delight, WWWDaily had a post on this topic. WWWDaily interviewed celebrity hairstylist Kristoff Ball regarding the best hair products and what we should splurge and save on. Of course, my favorite part of this post was on the best drugstore products.

It always seems like a run out of all my hair products at once. So this weekend, my drugstore shopping trip will include Liquid Silk Hair Serum (I am totally guilty of the $35 hair serum), Herbal Essences DeGunkify Tingly Deep Cleaning Shampoo and Garnier Fructis Fortifying Shampoo/Conditioner. Thanks WWWDaily!

 

High Quality, Low Budget Mani Pedi April 15, 2008

Filed under: beauty — budgetlexicon @ 1:01 am
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Ivy’s Nails Mani Pedi – $20.00 (plus tip)

Last week, I decided to get a mani pedi in preparation for my birthday celebrations and a weekend in Palm Springs. Thankfully I selected the right nail salon, because my choice of Cal Trans worker orange polish ensured that everyone within a 5 mile radius was blinded by my nails.

There are many budget nail salons in Los Angeles. Ivy’s Nails on Robertson is the best quality, low budget nail salon that I have found. The salon is clean and the staff is very friendly (they made fun of my choice in polish by telling me my nails would glow in the dark). They gave me the exact shape and length I wanted and did not rush me while I was waiting for my nails to dry. I was highly satisfied with this salon and would definitely recommend it.

On a quick side note, I would like to clarify that getting a weekly mani pedi is not in my budget, nor what I am advocating with this post. I simply want to give people a great budget resource if they ever want to get their nails done.

 

A Budget Fix for Bad Hair Days April 14, 2008

Filed under: accessories — budgetlexicon @ 9:11 am
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Forever 21 Knit Cadet Beret – $7.80

Forever 21 Inspector Fedora – $10.80


I am very fortunate to work for an internet company that embraces very casual dress. You would think that because I can wear jeans that it would be no problem getting my act together and looking cute for work. No matter where you work or what time your job starts, there are always those days when you do not have time to do your hair.

I have found that wearing a trendy hat with my hair in a bun is a great way to deal with those “bad hair”/”I do not have time to do my hair” days. I opt for hats that are very fashion forward because they are a great statement piece in a simple outfit. But because my favorite hats may not stand the test of time, I depend on stores like H&M and Forever21 to keep me supplied in trendy, inexpensive hats.

 

Nectar of the Gods April 11, 2008

Filed under: cooking,saving money tips — budgetlexicon @ 1:01 am
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I am a total and utter coffee snob. Having been born into a family of coffee addicts, I not only enjoy the taste of coffee but I associate it with feelings of nostalgia and comfort.

When I first graduated from college, I realized that I was spending about $20 a week on coffee ($80 a month!) I decided to make a few changes in my coffee routine that really helped.

I started making coffee at home and saved coffee houses for my weekend outings and the occasional afternoon pick-me-up. I currently use Starbucks French Roast as my “at home coffee” and have it ground in the store. While it is more expensive than most grocery store brands (half pound $9.99 and includes a free cup of coffee) it lasts me about 2-3 weeks. Also, because it is REALLY good, I am not tempted to cheat and run out for coffee.

For my weekend coffee outings, I have converted from Starbucks to Peet’s Coffee. Peet’s is better, stronger, and cheaper than Starbucks (Peet’s Large $1.90, Starbucks Venti $2.80). While the main reason for my conversion was the quality, the $0.90 difference in savings does start to add up for us coffee snobs.