Budget Lexicon

Tips for living a fabulous life on a budget

Budget Activity – Start a Book Club May 29, 2009


Picture 004

Free – Until it is your turn to hostess

Book – Renew your library card

I started a book club about a year ago and  I look forward to it so much each month.  Staring a book club is a great way to spend time with your friends without spending a lot of money.  We usually meet every 6 weeks and pick the next month’s book during each meeting.  During book club, we usually have a meal of some kind but it is up to hostess.

I included some pics from our last meeting. We read A Year in Provence and Katie did an amazing spread with various cheeses, olives, wines, quiche, and roasted veggies.


Budget Design Inspiration: The Selby May 14, 2009


I came home from a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend to a huge puddle underneath my fridge, water in the kitchen wall and a very upset cat.  A few days later my apartment is a total wreck and the cat is still pissed.  There is a huge hole in my kitchen ceiling and the side wall of the kitchen is dirty and peeling because of the water leak.

I am very thankful that:

1)  I am a renter, so I am not paying for any of this.

2)  I have a great building manager who is getting the work done quickly.

3)  Nothing (except my cute bird decals) were ruined.

Now that I have mentioned all the things I am thankful for, I would like to complain that I JUST PUT UP THOSE DECALS 2 WEEKS AGO!!!!!!!  I loved the whimsical touch they added to my kitchen.  I have been searching The Selby for some inspiration and I found these amazing pics from rosa connell and bella howard.  I love their style.  I am considering covering my kitchen wall in pics.  Love it.

PC – The Selby


Saving Money Tip: How to Not Overdraw Your Checking Account July 7, 2008

Filed under: saving money tips — budgetlexicon @ 1:01 am
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Nothing is worse than overdraft fees.  When you are living on a tight budget, it’s easy to accidentally overdraw your account.  Here are a few tips to help you avoid overdraft fees.  

  1. Check your bank account and credit card accounts everyday.  This way you know exactly how much money you have.
  2. In the beginning of the month, plan out your expenses.  Do you have any upcoming birthday gifts, weddings gifts, vacations, medical expenses, or car repairs? Try and pay for them in the beginning of the month, so you are not short at the end.
  3. Transfer your monthly savings in the beginning of the month.  This way you budget according to your savings goal and do not accidentally spend your savings.
  4. Change your car insurance to a monthly payment.  It is easier to budget for it on a monthly basis instead of being hit with a large payment every couple months.
  5. Make a calendar of your bills amounts and when they are due.

Saving Money Tip: Avoid Chain Grocery Stores June 23, 2008

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Before I begin this post, I would like to disclose that I have a started a personal boycott against my neighborhood Ralphs. They are always out of stock and staff is completely unhelpful (including the managers). They basically don’t care if you find what you are looking for and are unwilling to help you (even if you ask). I will end my rant right there, because I think you understand.

In accordance with this boycott and my budget, I have been trying to find alternatives to main stream grocery stores. Basically, I do all my shopping at Trader Joe’s. Not only do they have amazing products and wine, they have an amazing staff who is very helpful. Because most of the items they carry are their own proprietary brand, they are less expensive than the brand-name products carried in main stream grocery stores. But sadly, they do not carry everything and I have to look elsewhere for most toiletries and cooking items.

This weekend I took my “grocery store needs” to Walgreens and was pleasantly surprised at how much money I saved. I bought: contact solution, a contact lense case, toilet paper, dental floss, baking soda, and knee brace. Total 36.21. I think I saved at least $1-2 on each item. I was also happy to have a Ralphs-free weekend.


Saving Money Tip – Reduce Your Number of Fill-Ups June 16, 2008

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I was utterly horrified this weekend when I filled up my tank and it was $46.01.  I know that this is relatively inexpensive compared to others, but seriously $50.00 on gas!?!?! Here are a couple tips for saving money on gas.

  1. Run errands during your commute.  I try to run errands on my commute to and from work – dry cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, framing, and tailoring.  When you are stuck in traffic, pay attention to your surroundings. It will surprise you how much you can get done without making an extra trip.
  2. Clean out your trunk.  Carrying around extra weight reduces your car’s gas mileage.  Clean out any unnecessary cargo and see your gas mileage go up.
  3. Get your get oil changed and tire pressure checked.  Regular oil changes and optimal tire pressure increase your car’s gas mileage. Make sure to get your oil changed and tire pressure checked every 3,000 miles.
  4. Accelerate slowly.  Acceleration uses the most gas, when you accelerate slowly you can make your fill up last longer.
  5. Open the windows. For short trips around town, open the windows instead of using your air conditioning.  

Saving Money Tip: Don’t Waste Money On Stupid Things June 9, 2008

Filed under: saving money tips — budgetlexicon @ 12:54 pm
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One of the easiest ways I found to save a significant amount of money is to start considering every purchase decision an investment. Once I did this, I realized how much money I was spending because of poor planning and convenience. Here are some ways that I have cut costs:

  1. Pay bills online. While some banks charge you a monthly fee – it is definitely cheaper than one late fee.
  2. Check your accounts everyday. This is similar to the old school method of balancing your check book. It can prevent you from over drafting your account and help you catch mistakes/identity theft.
  3. Make your lunch. Is it really worth $50/week to eat lunch in an hour with co-workers or at your desk?
  4. Make your own frozen dinners. When making a dinner that you can easily freeze (like chili), double the recipe and save half in single serving containers. This way, you can defrost on nights you don’t feel like cooking.
  5. Return things. If you end up buying something that you don’t use, return it! Even if it is just store credit, it better than having your money invested in something you don’t use.
  6. Save your warranties/receipts for large purchases. I have had two big things break that were under warranty in the last year – my ipod sound system and $200 hair straightner. The company usually makes you pay for shipping and some times charges more if you do not have a reciept. But it’s way cheaper than replacing your expensive items.
  7. Evaluate Your Monthly Services. Do you really need a phone line if you only use your cell phone? How many times do you go to the gym? How many movies do you watch?

Saving Money Tip: Rethink Where You Live June 4, 2008

Filed under: home decor,saving money tips — budgetlexicon @ 9:35 am
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One of the biggest challenges that I faced when I decided to start saving money was my rent. I lived in a sorority for two years in college, so when I graduated I decided to live by myself. I soon found that paying rent and bills by myself started to add up and there was not a lot left over for saving.

I had two choices – to get a roommate or move to less expensive apartment. I found an adorable studio apartment for a steal on Westside Rentals. My studio is located on one of the most expensive streets in LA; my rent includes a private garage with storage, all my utilities, and the largest kitchen that I have ever had in an apartment.

I have included a few pics to prove that if you really look, you can find a great apartment on a budget. These pics are kinda old because I have had repair men going through my apartment and did not have time to take new ones.