How To Save An Extra $400 This Month

Yes, you heard that right. You can save extra money whether you want to believe it or not.

But it’s going to take a little bit of sacrifice and a little extra work at home! But it IS possible and it is definitely worth it, especially if you’re looking to save up for a trip, new home, etc.

When I moved to Pennsylvania, I knew I wanted to be conscious with my money. Now that I was working my first real job, and paying real bills—keeping my spending habits on track was important for me. So you’re interested in saving an extra $400 a month? Keep on reading to give your wallet and savings account a little extra bliss.

1| Skip Starbucks (or that morning bagel):

Ah-ha. So, you thought I was only going to call out the coffee drinkers of the world? Well, think again. Because whether you’re having a $4 coffee or a bagel with cream cheese, you’re still spending around $100 a month or more. Make coffee at home (because you have a Keurig so you may as well use it) and budget a little extra time to have breakfast at home.

2| Pack your Lunch:

“But I only buy lunch three times a week.” Even if you’re spending a bare minimum of $10 on lunch three times a week, that’s still $120 a month. Meal prep on Sunday, and you will thank yourself later. You’re also going to save yourself a lot of extra calories by making your own food. So, if you’re looking to save money, time and calories—you’ll hit all three goals by packing your lunch.

3| Stick to the list:

How many times have you been to Target or the grocery store with a list of 10 things, yet by the end of it you have 30 or more items not on the list? When you make a list, make it a priority to stick to the list. Spend extra time making sure you’re only buying what you need. You could save around $100 or more every month by only buying what you need at the store.

4| Chill out at Happy Hour:

THE HORRER…but not really. Listen, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to happy hour ever again. Instead, take a month off from the extra drinks. You know you have a bottle of wine at home, so why not drink it? Say you only have 7 drinks a week at an average cost of $5. After tip, that’s $150. Cut back on your alcohol consumption if you’re looking to save money for a few months.

Ready to save some money? Start with the four tips above, and you’ll work your way to an extra $400 by the end of the month. Do you have any extra tips on saving money? What are you saving for (trips, new home, or wedding)? Make sure to share in the comments below!

 

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7 Tips For A Productive Day Off

 

I know what you’re thinking…

You don’t want to have a productive day off because you want to binge watch Netflix and take an unnecessary trip to Target.

Girl, same (preach hands emoji). Unfortunately, we can’t always let a day off go to waste. Now, I’m not saying you should be working hard on your day off because after working 40+ hours during the week, you deserve a day to relax. I’m not disputing that. But, if you have felt overwhelmed by life recently, a productive day off could help you tremendously! How, you ask?

1| A productive means you can work ahead of your schedule, so that there’s less stress for the upcoming weeks.

2| It means more time to enjoy time with your loved ones.

3| You’ll feel good about getting work done that you would have otherwise put off for a later date.


So, here I am. On my day off from work thinking that, yes, there are times where I let my days off completely go to waste. But sometimes I feel guilty at the end of the day because I think, “Wow, I could have done X, Y and Z and not have to worry about it next week/this weekend.”

Instead, I decided to watch YouTube videos and go to Target.

Now, I’ve learned to use my days off to my advantage so that I can enjoy part of the day, but I can also get things done. For me, it’s all about balance. Yes, you should enjoy your day off, but being productive will help you, too!

So here are my tips on how to be productive on your day off:

1| Plan Ahead

The night before your day off, write down a to-do list like you would for your work day. Keep your priorities in check. What are the three largest tasks you need to accomplish for the day? Outline what you want the day to look like, so that you get the most work done in the shortest amount of time.

2| Treat Your Morning Like A Half Day

The biggest mistake we make on our days off is that we don’t get moving until three hours later than we would on a normal day. Keep your alarm set for a reasonable time so that you can get up, get ready to take on the morning. I find that once I’m in my routine, I can get things done before 11 or noon.

3| Organize Your Day In Increments

Plan out your day based on what makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle. On this particular day off, I knew I wanted to work on my blog. I blocked off three hours for this. Then I would take an hour to watch YouTube videos, tidy, read, etc. Then I would block off another two hours for more work if needed followed by another hour of relaxing time. I set timers for this so that I stay true to what I want to accomplish during the day.

4| Treat Yourself To Self Care

Don’t forget about self care. I break up my day so that there are equal components of productive work, and time to relax as well. I think that this helps you focus on each part of the day so you don’t feel overwhelmed with all the tasks you need to accomplish.

5| Run Errands/Appointments After Lunch

If you know you need to go to Target, the bank, grocery shopping, and the doctors all in one day, block off a sufficient amount of time after lunch to accomplish this. Doing this after lunch will force you to have a more productive morning and get through your work because now you have motivation to get done before lunch. When you know you have errands in the afternoon, you’ll be more likely to work effectively early on.

6| Think Rationally

If you’re the type of person who simply has too much to do on their day off, take a step back and think rationally. Ask yourself, “Is there one or two tasks I can do another time?” Being honest and logical will help you determine what is most important for that day, so that you can also enjoy your time off as well. Remember that the goal is to balance productivity and relaxation. 

7| Relax

If you had a productive day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. working on blogging, cleaning, errands and more—good for you! Now, it’s time to take the rest of the day to focus on you. Have a pamper session, read a book, watch reality TV, and enjoy the rest of your day off for yourself. You work so hard every day, and you definitely deserve a little TLC. It’s okay to have a lazy afternoon and evening, especially when you accomplished so much on your day off!

How do you spend your day off? What other tips would you add to this list? Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

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2016 Review & 2017 Goals

 

 

I am very much in denial that 2016 is over and a new year is here. 2016 was an incredible year for me, and I am happy to say it was one of my best years so far. I want to share some highlights from this year before sharing what my 2017 goals are.

Highlights from 2016:

1| Graduating with my Master’s Degree at 21: I am extremely proud of myself for this because there were a lot of people who doubted this could be done when I first began school. Four years later, I graduated with my M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications, my B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in Spanish. This was a huge accomplishment for me, and was definitely my best moment of 2016.

2| Being more spontaneous: This was a huge goal of mine throughout 2016 because as you can imagine, I thrive off of planning every little detail. I wanted to remind myself that it’s okay to not always have a plan. Sometimes, the best memories are created when you don’t plan much at all. So, I took some trips: one to Albany in March to visit one of my best friends from college, and another trip in May to visit my other best friend from college in Texas. Both trips were amazing and got my travel bug in full swing, which caused me to book a trip to Boston for April 2017!

3| Getting my first job: Can we just say that 2016 was the year that I became a full-blown adult? I got my first full-time job in the marketing field, and I am in love with my job. There’s nothing more wonderful than knowing I get to wake up every day and go to a job I truly love. I know many people are stuck in a job they hate, and I am blessed to be in a position I love.

4| Moving out of state and buying my first place with Josh: I didn’t move too far away from home; but I did move from NY to PA back in April when I got my job. After over two years of being long distance, Josh and I got our first place together, and we couldn’t be happier! We love our home, and we love that we were able to make our relationship a priority and bring our lives together.

5| Putting my health first: 2016 was the year that I got back on track as far as my overall health. From all the stress of finishing my Master’s brought on poor eating, lack of exercise, and other unhealthy habits. Once I moved to PA, Josh and I got in the habit of running three miles two or three times a week, eating healthy, and taking more time for self care. I feel great, and hope to keep this up for 2017, too!


Goals for 2017:

Personal Goals:

1| Read (8-10 books throughout 2017)

I did not do well in the reading category for 2016, so I’m hoping to turn this around for 2017. I created a huge wish list of books for Christmas, so I’m hoping I’ll be gifted some content to achieve this goal!

2| Plan 2-3 trips for 2017

We do have our trip to Boston scheduled, so I’m definitely looking forward to that. I’m hoping to plan another trip to Pittsburgh and potentially a third trip in 2017 as well. You could say I definitely have the travel bug.

3| Achieve my career goals for 2017

In my mind, I have so many different career-oriented goals for 2017 that I want to accomplish. Although I know work-related goals should be its own category, I’m listed it under personal because there are too many topics to cover for this section!

4| Focus on my vision board

I’ve been working on my vision board A TON recently. If you’d like to see a blog post on my vision board and how I created mine, make sure to leave a comment below!

Blogging Goals:

1| Focus on my blog direction

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction I want Blissfully Brunette to go in. And while you can expect an entire post on it, I want to at least let you know there might be some changes coming to the blog for 2017.

2| Increase blog social media engagement by 20 percent

I know so many people who focus on specific stats and numbers. For me, it’s not just about numbers. I care a lot about engagement, interaction and genuine connections via social media.

3| Take more risks

Sometimes, anxiety can hold me back, but I don’t want it to hold my blog back from its full potential. 2017 will be the year that I take more risks and try new things here on the blog.

Financial Goals:

1| Put an extra $8-10,000 into savings

This is a huge goal of mine. I’ve created an in-depth plan on how I plan to achieve it. Let’s just say it’s going to take a ton of spending freezes (I’m starting one for the first quarter) I’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date on this goal, too!

2| Track my spending regularly

I mentioned that Josh keeps a very specific excel sheet on what he spends every. single. day. I admire his commitment because I see that he’s able to achieve his savings goals, so I’m hoping to adopt this and do the same!

Health Goals:

1| Increase my weekly running distance

We aren’t currently in running season, but we are still training all winter long for when running season does pick up again. My goal is to increase my weekly running distance to 10 miles.

2| Don’t focus on numbers

I don’t want my weight or size in general to affect my overall happiness and perception of my heath and fitness endeavors. I feel like numbers takes a negative toll on your mental health, so I don’t want this to take priority for me.

3| Focus on workouts I enjoy

I spent a lot of time when I was younger doing workouts that I didn’t enjoy. Let me tell you that you shouldn’t spend time doing A N Y T H I N G  you don’t enjoy. Find something you love and enjoy, and practice it daily!

I hope you enjoyed reading my goals for 2017. How did you do on your goals for 2016? What are some of your goals for 2017? Make sure to leave a comment below!

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5 Ways to Succeed at Work in Your 20s

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As a Marketing Director, I’ve learned a lot about my position in the field over the last few months. Recently, I’ve been given positive feedback from corporate management on how I’ve handled this job. I want to share how you can be a 20-something, get noticed and succeed at your job even if you’re first starting out. If you have any additional tips to share on this topic, make sure to leave a comment below on how you’ve been succeeding at your job!

1| Do the tasks no one else want to do.

I know what you’re probably thinking. “Why would I want to the tedious, busy work no one wants to do?” It’s simple: it shows you’re willing to put in the work. You should even do this if you’re in a position of power. Even though I’m a Marketing Director with an assistant and interns, I would never ask them to do a task unless I’ve done it myself. I believe it’s important as a leader to show you’ve done the time-consuming tasks that no one wants to do. When an intern accepts these tasks willingly, I think very highly of them.

2| Come in early.

Don’t be the 20-something employee who strolls in at 8:33 a.m. If there’s one quality I admire in a leader or worker, it’s someone who is willing to come into work 15 minutes early to make sure they’re all set and working by the time work begins. It shows you’re committed to your job and you’re ready to begin the day. When you walk in late, take extra time to get settled into work and don’t start until 8:50 or later, that’s something I noticed as a negative trait. Go to work prepared for the day.

3| Ask for more work.

If you finish a project at 3 p.m., don’t wait around and catch up on social media and pretend to be busy for the last two hours of work. Instead, go out of your way to ask for more work, or to begin a new project a little earlier than you anticipated. You’re showing that you’re capable of more responsibilities and you’re able to complete projects in a timely matter. This will make a positive impression at work.

4| Learn when to speak up and shut up.

I say this with the kindest intentions. It is so important to share your thoughts and ideas at a company; but it is equally important to know when to keep quiet and listen to others as well. Know when you should or shouldn’t talk in meetings. However, if  you’re directly asked to share your ideas for a project—speak up! You will be recognized by your coworkers even if your idea isn’t necessarily used.

5| Dress/Work for the job you want.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” It’s equally important to work for the job you want as well. If you’re starting out as an assistant, but you want to work as a director—make sure you’re working toward that goal. Dress professionally and work professionally so that your coworkers or boss can see you’re a qualified candidate to move up within the company. Don’t do the bare minimum at work. Work hard and you will see the results of that hard work.

What tips would you add to this list? How have you worked to get yourself noticed at your job? Make sure to leave a comment below!

 

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10 Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance

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It’s important to give 100 percent in your career, especially if you’re in love with your job. But, it can do you more harm than good if you’re constantly focused on work, and not giving yourself time to rest and rejuvenate once you leave the office. Here are 10 tips to help you achieve the proper work-life balance.

1| Create Your Perfect Morning Routine

Don’t give yourself 10 minutes to get ready and race out the door. Not only are you beginning the day off on a negative note, but yourself not giving yourself time to prepare for the work day ahead. Instead, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you normally would, and give yourself time to get ready without rushing. You’ll feel prepared to take on your day positively.

2| Make Your Work Day Productive

When you have a productive day at work, you feel better about giving yourself time to relax after work. So don’t procrastinate on any big projects, manage your time effectively, and get stuff done during your eight hours of work. When 5 p.m. rolls around, you’re going to feel good about shutting down your computer, and leaving work for the day without wondering if you did enough that day.

3| Take Small Breaks

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, take small, five-10 minute breaks a few times throughout the day to take your eyes off the computer and take a breather. Don’t feel guilty if you’re stressed out and need to take small breaks. Not taking breaks makes you less productive because the stress of work will make you not want to do anything for the rest of the day. If you struggle with taking breaks, schedule one like a meeting and set a timer on your phone for five minutes.

4| Make Your Lunch Break Worth It

I know many people who prefer to take “working lunches.” The problem with this is that you’re not really setting aside time for your mind to not think about work. If you struggle with this—physically leave your office for part of your lunch and take a walk outside for 10 minutes. That way, you won’t be tempted to answer emails, phone calls, etc. You’ll return from lunch ready to finish out the day.

5| No Emails After 5

This is so difficult to abide by especially when emails are at our fingertips. I desperately try to not look at emails or respond to emails once I leave the office. If there’s an emergency, someone will call or text you about it if it can’t wait until the next day. You need to enjoy the short time you have after work to unwind and do things you truly enjoy. Whatever email you receive can wait until tomorrow, I promise.

6| Say No

Is your workload too much? Have you been taking on too much at work recently? Speak up, be honest, and learn to say no in the future. I cannot stress the importance of this tip because if you’re always saying yes, you’re taking away from your free time and work more before or after work. Ask for help when necessary, and make sure to say no if you know it will be too much for you to handle alone.

7| Plan Time Off Accordingly

I learned that many people in marketing let their vacation days go to waste, which is not good at all for achieving work-life balance. You need to make sure you’re setting aside time for personal days, a long-weekend vacation, etc. If you don’t take time off to recharge, you’re going to burn yourself out and you’re going to decrease productivity in your life and in your career altogether. Schedule your time off and budget for some emergency days/sick day as well.

8| Put Mental/Physical/Emotional Health First

The most important tip on here is to make sure you put your physical/mental/emotional health before ANYTHING work related. If you’re overwhelmed or not feeling 100 percent, talk to someone, go for a run, eat healthy, and go to all doctor appointments. It’s so important to take care of yourself in all areas of your life. When you’re all-around healthy, you’re happier and go to work with your best foot forward.

9| Work On Your Social Life

There was a period of time where I felt like I had no social life whatsoever with graduate school, working, interning and blogging all at once. While it’s great to work/intern and accomplish all your #GirlBoss goals, it’s all important to make time for friends, family and alone time as well. Text your friend and get a drink after work. Make time for Sunday breakfast with your family. Time with your loved ones is so important.

10| Take Advantage of Weekends

Make a list of everything you want to do over the weekend. Yes, I’m asking you to make a to-do list for the weekend—even if it’s “read a book,” “go for a hike,” “do laundry,” etc. The goal is to make the most of your weekends and do everything you can’t do and treat yourself to during the week. Instead of spending an entire day binge-watching Netflix, you can do several things you love and also enjoy some Netflix as well!

How do you achieve work-life balance? What tips would you add to this list? Make sure to leave a comment below!

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