Things I Spend My Money On [Week 4]

Amanda says it’s fine to think out loud, so here we go. 🙂

I always thought when I finally grew up and got a real job I would suddenly have a ton of money. To spend, to travel, to SAVE… That’s what pay days are for, right? Surely, in the past, I have felt like I didn’t have enough money because I was “just” in high school or “just” in college or “just” working a few part time jobs.

Spoiler alert: with a real job comes rent, utilities, and bills for all the other things you need every month like car insurance and a cell phone and oh, I don’t know, gas for said car and FOOD?!

I have been working in the “real” world for approximately five months now, so bear with me as I work through my naivety. 😉 I am very blessed to be able to afford all of the things I need, put some money in savings each month, and still have a little bit of fun money left over. But managing money is stressful. And because I am managing “real” money now (as opposed to the fake money I’ve made in the past???), I feel like I have to be very thoughtful about my spending. The first few months, I paid all of my bills, saved money, and didn’t track the rest of my spending. Responsible, right? There was a method to my madness. I wanted to see how I was spending my money with NO restrictions, because then I could figure out where to place restrictions on my spending.

This past month, I kind of put myself on a spending freeze. I paid all of my bills, saved money, and then didn’t really buy much. I thought about the following things:

Do I really need to make a Target run? (DUH!!!!!)
Do I really need to eat out when I’m alone when I have plenty of groceries at home? (But I don’t wannnnnna cook dinner tonight!)
Do I really need to buy a book instead of renting it from the library? (Ugh, Kindle is so instantaneous.)
Do I really need to take advantage of the FINAL DAY of sales at Loft/Old Navy/Gap, per this email’s advice? (No, no I do not. There are approximately 234893 sales at these stores every month.)

So, here’s what I’ve been spending my money on this past month. It’s a pretty accurate picture of what I spend my money on every month…except this past month, I didn’t buy any new clothes. And that is NOT normal. Ha!

-Coffee-

I enjoy going out for coffee with friends. I have a Keurig and I drink a cup of coffee every morning, but I will not pass up the opportunity to spend $4-6 on a fancy cup of coffee that I did NOT make. I only ever get coffee from a coffee shop when I am with other people, so that’s how I justify this expense. 6/7 days of the week, I typically make my own coffee, so I can afford to indulge this way. 🙂 This month, I visited Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse (owned by my church), Boccatto Espresso (a new-to-me place), and Starbucks (because it’s across the street from my apartment).

P.S. that latte on the left is a Caramel Vanilla Latte and it was delicious. I usually drink my coffee black with one pump of sugar free hazelnut, but that latte was worth every single calorie. Ha!

Brunch

If you are a twenty-something living in Washington, D.C., you know brunch is a big deal. People take their brunching seriously, it can be the upwards of $50 for a plate, reservations might be necessary, and you will never run out of places to go because every single place offers brunch. This is just what I have gathered in the past year since moving. Ha!

I don’t go out to brunch every weekend, but when my friends and I make plans to do so, I don’t hesitate because I know it’s not something I do all the time. Notice how I mentioned that you might spend #allthemoney on your meal. I’m not about that life, because I don’t grocery shop with the idea that I will ever be eating out, so I always have enough food at home to eat without going out. I tend to stick to $30 or less brunch spots because for the love, aren’t all waffles and omelettes and cups of coffee created equal?! Last week, I spent $21 and I did a little victory dance all the way out the door.

Fun fact:  I almost did an accidental victory dance all the way down the stairs at this restaurant, too. We were at a buffet-style brunch and all of the food was upstairs, while our seats were downstairs. Liberty Tavern has 234972 mirrors on their walls and there is a HUGE mirror across from the staircase. So as you descend, you can see yourself. The narcissist in me decided to check myself out while I was walking down the stairs with my plate and I almost ATE IT in front of every person in that restaurant. Not my finest moment. Ha!

D.C. brunch spots worth checking out that won’t break the bank:
Farmers Fishers BakersFounding FarmersCircaLiberty TavernA Town – MatchboxTed’s BulletinMolly Malone’sEastern Market

Lunch/Dinner

I have the same thing to say about lunch and dinner as I did about brunch and coffee. I usually only dine out when I am with other people. Sometimes we decide to eat out, and sometimes we decide to head home. On Tuesday, my friends and I were shopping on M Street and we were STARVING so we got on the Metro to go home and make dinner for ourselves. But then on Wednesday, after taking a Spinning class, my friend and I had a similar conversation: eat out or go home? And we decided to eat out. I’ve also dined with co-workers on teacher work days this month. So it’s just a delicate balance. I try to only eat out 1-2 times per week because honestly, that is more than enough. I enjoy it when I do and I try not to feel guilty about spending the money. The groceries I could’ve used at home will be eaten at another time, so all is well.

Workout Gear

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Is this considered shopping? I was at a November Project workout last Friday and our fearless leader had buffs for sale for $10. OF COURSE I WANT ONE!

DC buffs are yellow with those weird stick figures doing all kinds of exercises all over them. When it’s all stretched out, it looks like that picture on the left. It’s stretchy and perfect to use as a headband (as I’m modeling) or over your face when it’s freezing, like Lauren is modeling. 😉 She runs with November Project Baltimore (and lots of other groups/races) and I actually got to meet her this past summer at a brunch (ha! See! It’s a thing!) for DC bloggers.

So there you have it…things I spend my money on. Coffee, food of all varieties, and the occasional workout gear.

What about my Target runs? Well, I actually think I only went twice. I know, who am I? And I actually went, bought groceries, and window shopped the rest of the store. #selfcontrol

What about books? I got a library card and solved that problem!

And the one million and seven emails about sales at my favorite stores? I’m going to be honest, I highlight my “Promotions” tab of my Gmail account and hit delete every morning. AH! I don’t even know what I’ve been missing out on. 😉

I did have to buy three books for my last graduate class…but those were a need, not a want. Boo to the books, yay for the last class!

What do you spend your money on?

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Linking up with Sarah and Ashley!

 

Behind the Scenes [Week 2]

Sometime soon, I hope to buy a domain name for my blog. I’m currently having commitment issues with an official name, so that’s the first issue. I’m also a perfectionist, so I fear thinking of the *perfect* name only to dislike it a few weeks later, which I’m sure would never happen, but you never know…

…I digress. The “behind the scenes” of my blog isn’t all that exciting, because I don’t take myself too seriously. My blog is meant to be fun and light-hearted, and that’s what it’s like when I’m taking pictures and putting posts together, too! Although, I will admit that there is a touch of anxiety as I read and reread each sentence to make sure everything sounds perfect. It’s the former writing tutor in me. 😉

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I can usually be found with my laptop, big purple blanket, and a cup of coffee on my bed. Yep, all of this creative thought comes from the coziness of my room. Ha!

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Of course, if I’m at my mom’s house, the scenery changes just a bit as one or both dogs curl up at my feet. They love to blog, too. 🙂

I don’t have an official “white photo box” that are behind so many Instagram and blog pictures. Doesn’t that solid white background make everything look so pretty?! Well, I usually just go for a plain background and pay little to no attention to the lighting. This is something I’m working on. I occasionally also choose to photograph things that taste delicious, but look quite weird, such as the cheese-filled peppers above. I can guarantee that after taking those three photos plus a few more, that recipe never made it to the blog. Its presentation in the photos killed any chance it had of being written about. Oh well! This is where “not taking myself too seriously” comes in. If it doesn’t make it to the blog, that’s okay with me!

Something else you might find me doing behind the scenes is taking a million of the same photo, and again posting zero of them. 😉 I did end up posting a photo of this outfit, but it was from a completely different angle. And again, you can see how the lighting needs some help. A lot of work goes into the perfect outfit pic!

Though I am putting my life and my words out there for all to read, at the end of the day, this blog is like a virtual scrapbook for me. I love meeting fellow friends and bloggers along the way, but as soon as I start to feel any kind of pressure about “keeping up” in the blog world, I take a step back. I love to write and I love to share my life with my family and friends, so I’ll continue trying to keep this space as fun and light hearted as possible. 🙂

BCMG

Linking up with Sarah and Ashley!

Meet the Blogger [Week 1]

I’m very excited to join Sarah and Ashley for their 52 Week Blog Challenge this year! I can be a creative thinker, but to be honest, I like direction. I am most definitely a leader and someone who likes to be in charge, but I also like to know what is expected of me. Obviously, with a personal blog, you are measuring yourself against your own expectations. There really is no right or wrong thing to write about, because it is all up to you! Sometimes I love this freedom, and sometimes I want some direction. So thanks, ladies, for providing that! 🙂

BCMG

Click on over to get to know Sarah’s blog and Ashley’s blog!

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Today is all about the writer behind the blog. So, hi! Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. My name is Kylie and I’m a 24 year old teacher finding her way in the grand ol’ city of Washington, D.C. I’m a city dweller through and through, though I was born and raised in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. When I started looking at colleges, I was most interested in attending somewhere in our downtown area. I didn’t give much thought to leaving my hometown, and it wasn’t until I met so many different people in college that I realized there’s a whole big world outside of my favorite city. 🙂

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My decision to attend graduate school at the University of Maryland surprised most people I know, but it was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. It was exciting and terrifying to go to a place where I knew absolutely no one, but the best part was getting to know myself so much better, and I eventually made friends. 😉 Finding National Community Church and becoming an involved member has been such a blessing to me as I navigate this new chapter of my life. I love the pastors and I love the friends that I have made. God is really good!

My parents and my little brothers are my favorite people on the planet. I grew up one mile from everyone in my mom’s immediate family, so spending time with those people has always been really important to me. I also have a special place in my heart for my family’s two dogs, Colby and Amigo. Dogs just bring so much happiness to life!

There’s a 100% chance that you will find me doing or talking about some kind of exercise every day. Running is my soul mate workout and I love to teach Spinning and PiYo classes. I obtained my certification for both group exercise classes in college and it has been the best investment! When I’m not teaching, I’m trying a crazy workout of my own. I’ve run more than a handful of races in the past few years, and the half marathon distance is my favorite. I also received a bike for my birthday, so I’m learning to love outdoor cycling, too! Currently, I’m loving weight lifting and I’m working my way through Beachbody’s new Hammer and Chisel program. While I am a Beachbody coach, I believe that different things work for different people and I totally understand if that’s not your cup of tea. 🙂

If it was nutritiously sound to live on a diet of chips and queso, I would seriously be all in. Mexican food, black coffee, and dessert all have a special place in my heart. As does oatmeal. Which my students find hilarious. 😉 It just really is one of my favorite foods! I don’t especially love cooking, but I do really, really love grocery shopping, so I kind of have no choice in the matter. And baking dessert happens for the sole purpose of licking the bowl. #youknowyoudoittoo

So that’s about it! I hope I didn’t scare you off. 😉 Thanks for reading!