Wednesday Wishes (August 12, 2015)

It has been a loooooong time since I did a Wednesday Wishes Post, and I kinda miss them! I’m hoping to get back into a pattern, and writing out some wishes every Wednesday might help me stay focused on my goals.

Wednesday Wishes FLAB TO FAB FITNESS EDITION

The theme for this Wednesday? Workout gear!!! Woohoo!!! You can also check out my store for more of my favorite workout gear (Flab to Fab Fitness Store).

Food and Exercise Journal 2014: Never Give Up (Tiffany Blue My Diet Diary)

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This journal is option is awesome! It’s 104 pages of tracking information. Yes, it says 2014 on the front. Does that matter? NO! Put a cool sticker or cover the line with the date with some cute Washi tape. Why? Because it will save you money. This journal is only $6.99. The fitness journal I just bought was $14.99. It will likely NEVER go on sale because there is no date on it. So, if you can get over having the wrong date, BUY those once the date has passed. There are no dates inside this book, so the date really doesn’t matter. What does matter? THE QUOTE! NEVER GIVE UP! It is an awesome reminder to keep going!

Pink Motivational Infuser BottleTM

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Drinking water is so important, and it can be easier to drink all your water with an awesome water bottle like this. It not only helps you keep on track with drinking water throughout the day, but the infuser allows you to have FLAVORED water! YUM!!!

Moxie Fitness Apparel Muscles & Mascara Tank

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Everyone needs an awesome statement workout tank, and I love this one from Moxie Fitness Fashion. I have SUPER blonde lashes, so wearing a little mascara is crucial to framing my eyes, and this girl is working on building up her muscle density with 21 Day Fix.

Workoutclothing Women’s Workout Fitness Gym Clothes Motivational Tank Top

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I love this quote. It makes me laugh. So when I first saw it on a tank top, you better believe I bought it. I actually love this tank a little more, though. The color is a little more me, and I love that the back is different and fun instead of being your usual racerback.

Nike Men’s Air Max 90 SD Black/Cl Grey/Prsn Vlt/Pnk Frc Running Shoe 10.5 Men US

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I found these awesome sneakers during my search for a comfortable pair to do CIZE in. I want to do the CIZE workouts with my students one afternoon a week as part of our after school program. Of course, the sneakers I have been wearing don’t really work for  this program. I found these awesome ones because one of the CIZE backup dancers wears Nike Air Max shoes in the workouts. I love these ones, and can’t wait to get them!

Fitbit Flex Vibrant Accessory Pack, Violet/Pink/Teal, Large

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I love my fitbit Flex, but for some reason, the bands seem to wear out really fast for me. My first band broke after about four months of wear, so I was on the hunt for some new bands to keep an eye on, and I actually found this set, which I really like. I don’t want to get non-fitbit brand ones, because the last time I did, my fitbit actually didn’t fit into them, and I was out $12 because the return policy sucks on those products. These bands come out to about $10 each right now. I still have two bands left from my last kit, though, so I get to price watch for a while before purchasing! But I’m excited that there’s a more light hearted color scheme available!

*****This post contains affiliate links.*****

The Twenty-Something’s Guide to Building Your Budget

Hey friends! If you’re reading this, maybe you’re fresh out of college and planning to take over the world. Maybe you’re 26 and realizing that those student loans are NOT going to pay themselves. Maybe you’re deep in debt and want a way out. Either way, today’s post is FOR YOU!!! Even if you’re not any of those things!

I’m here today to talk to you about BUDGETING. First of all, having a budget is about a lot more than just paying your bills on time. It’s about knowing where your money is going to go.

The Twenty-Something's Guide to Building You Budget

The Minimalist Approach to Budgeting

The minimalist approach to creating a budget is the 50/20/30 rule. This works for some people, but not for all. At this point, this method doesn’t work for me. I have a slight variation on it. That being said, I think there’s some merit to using it as a framework, so let me go into it a little bit for you. This rule is really useful for people with little to no financial experience. Your money gets broken up into three categories.

Essentials

The first category is the essentials, and you need to dedicate 50% of your income to this category. If you’re anything like me, this might have you freaking out. Half of my income in one category? Yes, it sounds crazy, but when you think about what the essentials are, it makes a lot of sense. The essentials don’t really change from person to person; housing, food, transportation, and utilities are costs that everyone living on their own encounters. Keeping the 50% of your income as a boundary for this becomes really helpful. The real goal here is to keep the cost of your essentials to 50% or less of your income.

Financial Obligations

The next category is your financial obligations: savings contributions, such as retirement and emergency savings, and debt reduction. Now, the goal here should be 20% or more of your income. We’re young and in charge, and it’s so exciting to have that paycheck. It’s tempting to go out and spend it all on a new pair of shoes or happy hour with friends. But then future-you is going to have a much harder time. If you practice saving money now in your retirement funds and savings account, future-you will be able to retire and relax. Plus, if you focus on paying off loans and  debit, you will alleviate even more stress from your life.

Personal Choices

The next category is your personal choices. This is the category where you can make the biggest difference in your budget. This includes things like your cell phone bill, internet/cable services, gym memberships, and dining out. Pretty much anything that isn’t essential or planning for a rainy day falls into this category…including shopping! The goal here is 30% of your income OR LESS. This section might include a savings account to save for different things that you want.

With all of this information, keep in mind that these ratios are a suggestion, a framework for you to work within. In some areas, you’ll have to adjust to make it work for the cost of living in your city or state. You’ll want to start by reviewing your income and your expenses, and using the document below, you’ll determine the essentials and the non-essentials, and you can create a budget that makes the most of your money!

Building Your Budget

You’re going to use the provided worksheet to help you design your budget. Click the image and print a copy of the worksheet.

The next thing you’ll want to do is gather some documents to help you assess where your money is going.

You’ll need:

  • bank statements for the last two months
  • pay stubs from the last two months
  • lease/rental agreement or mortgage information
  • utility bills from the last two months (or your most expensive months)
  • loan documents
  • credit card statements
  • any other financial documents you might have

Once you’ve gathered these things, you’re ready to begin. Start by completing Section 1 with your income information (Note: if you’re like me, and your retirement fund comes out BEFORE taxes, make sure to add that number to your income…otherwise you’ll take it out twice on your budget sheet). Then, determine your total expected income and break it into 50/20/30 percent chunks. Put these numbers next to the Essential Expenses, Financial Obligations, and Personal Choices category titles to help you stay on track. I say total expected income because lots of us have side jobs, or sell things to make money. I don’t include that income here because I can’t always count on it being consistent. If you’ve been working your side job for long enough and you know you never make less than a certain amount per month, go ahead and add that in.

Now, start filling in your expenses, beginning with the Essentials. If you’re like me and you live in an expensive area, you might want to pray while you’re doing this. Fortunately, this is one of the easier categories to fill in. For utilities like gas, electric, and water, I recommend rounding up to just above the most you’ve paid. Why? Because it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want to build your budget using your April electric bill, when your August bill will be three times as much because you run your air conditioner non-stop to battle the humidity. Also, make sure you have some wiggle room in your grocery budget.

Next, fill in the Financial Obligations Chart. This is where having my pay stubs handy is helpful. I don’t put separate money into my Retirement Fund yet, so it’s recorded on my paystub. If you have this situation, make sure you added this number to your income total. Determine how much you need to put towards your student loans, and any credit card debt, or other debt, you might have. Emergency savings is really important. The goal for emergency savings should be having 6 months worth of money saved up. I have two emergency savings accounts. One for big deal emergencies, like if I were to lose my job or be unable to work due to injury, and one for little emergencies like getting sick and needing to see a doctor. My big deal emergency account goal is 6 months worth of my salary. My little emergency account goal is about one month’s salary. You’ll have to decide what works for you.

Once that is done, you can decide how to spread out the rest of your money in your Personal Choice category. Some people might choose to include their medical needs in here.

At the end of the month, sit down with all your documents from the past month (save those receipts!) and check how you did. Adjust your budget as needed, and fill out a new copy of the worksheet for the upcoming month.

Want another way to track your money? I have accounts through different banks, so I use Mint ( an app/website by Intuit) to track my spending. It’s completely free, and can sometimes offer advice and tips to help you save on top of everything else. You can also input your budget into Mint and set up goals to help you save, pay off debt, and more!

Money and 10 Financial Commandments for Your 20s

Hey friends! I don’t know about you, but I have been thinking about money a lot lately. Blame it on Nicole Walters over at Monetize Thyself, if you want, but there’s a reason I stumbled upon her in the first place. I like having money. I wish it weren’t such an important part of our lives, but it is, and it causes a lot of stress in our likes. I like having money because it means I can do what I need to do. I like having money so I don’t have to worry about other things when I’m standing in front of a room of students who also worry about having money for food and clothes. When I take care of my finances, I am better to care for them.

That being said, I often feel financially lost. The world of finance is big and confusing, and it’s something that is overwhelming me lately. So I’ve taken time to research and design budget materials to help me, and I want to share my findings with you. While I might be feeling financially lost, Stacy Rapacon assures us, “Thou shalt not be financially lost forever. It just may feel that way when you’re in young adulthood. Managing your finances for the first time can be overwhelming—what with the daily expenses, big-ticket costs such as housing and health care, heavy debts and long-term goals, including your ridiculously distant retirement.”

Let’s be honest. The sooner we take hold of our finances and start planning for our futures, the brighter those futures can be. John Deyeso, a financial planner in NYC, says, “Building habits, especially in your twenties, is so important for long-term success.”

Money And 10 Financial Commandments for Your 20s

So what are the then things you need to do to take control of your finances? For a deeper look, you can actually read Rapacon’s article, 10 Financial Commandments for Your 20s on Kiplinger.

If you’re like me, and need the shortcut for reflection before you read the article, here are the 10 commandments:

  1. Develop a marketable skill.
  2. Establish a budget.
  3. Get insured.
  4. Make a debt-repayment plan.
  5. Build an emergency fund.
  6. Start saving for retirement.
  7. Build up your credit history.
  8. Quit the bank of Mom and Dad.
  9. Clean up your online presence.
  10. Get your key financial documents in order.

Some of these are easier said than done, but I’ll be writing some posts over the next few weeks about different ones, so make sure you check back! Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about creating a BUDGET!!!

Farewell Gifts for Weight Loss Motivation

A few months ago, I wrote an article about rewards for weight loss. I talked about one of the biggest hurdles that people need to overcome: the concept of TREATS. Celebrating weight loss should NOT include a cupcake.

I stand by what I said. Don’t TREAT yourself. You are not a dog. If you give yourself a treat every time you hit a weight loss, you will be undermining your results and your hard work. I also wrote a post to share 30 ways to reward yourself for weight loss.

But I realized that these articles were missing a key detail: The HOW of motivating yourself to lose the weight. Some of us can motivate ourselves without putting rewards on our radar, but others need to have clear goals and rewards for those goals.

People do this in all different ways, but I wanted to share one of my tools for motivating myself. When I want something, my budget doesn’t allow me to just go out and buy it. I have to add it to my wish list, and then save up for it. So I use these things to motivate me to lose the weight. If I get to my goal, I can reward myself with one of these items.

Here’s the chart I created for myself:

Farewell Fat! Gifts

I’m being nice and offering my chart to you for a limited time for FREE. You can access it through THIS LINK. It will take you to Google Drive and you will only be able to VIEW the document (I can’t have you crazies changing my rewards on me 😉 ) However, you can download it and edit it yourself, or save it to your drive to edit. As you hit each goal, give yourself a pat on the back and reward yourself!

Meal Planning for 21DayFix!

Hey all! Today I broadcasted on Periscope while I planned my meals for the 21 Day Fix Challenge group that Autumn Calabrese is running starting on August 17.

I talk about my awesome meal planner from my little sister, and share how I use it to plan my meals!

http://katch.me/embed/v/ee2327bf-fa0d-3fd4-b313-599cf4b46097Watch it, and check out my Facebook page to enter the giveaway for a FREE meal planning book!!!