What Happened When I Stopped Eating Out for 30 Days….

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When I was a kid, I would finish lunch and ask what was for dinner. Not because I was hungry, but because I was already looking forward to what I was going to eat next. My Dad often remarks on how my appetite outpaces my brother’s. It’s truly a testament to my metabolism (because it sure AF isn’t my workout habits) that I haven’t managed to gain a lot of weight since college.

In a culture where women are still supposed to want salads and chardonnay, I want meat and three with a cocktail. I love food. All kinds: from fast food (Captain D’s is my biggest, dirtiest, dirtiest guilty pleasure) to the more high brow restaurants that get written about in magazines. And In a city like Atlanta, trying the newest, hippest restaurant can go from a casual night out to weekend hobby very, very quickly.

Which is why I wanted to take a minute and zero in on my largest discretionary expense: Eating Out.

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About L. Bee (August 2015)

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Good morning, folks! :)

I sit here at my local Starbucks bleary eyed and tired, but happy. August has been an oddly frenetic month, but a good one. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

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How to Deal With Sneaky Money Stress

ways to deal with money stress

Here’s a confession: I am an incredibly anxious person.

On top of that, I can also be a bit of a pessimist. It’s something I’ve been working on, but give me a crisis, and I’m coming up with worst-case scenarios and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Depending on how long you’ve been a reader this probably doesn’t come as a shock. And while I’m definitely better at managing my anxiety than I used to be, depending on what is happening in my life I still go through “seasons” where it feels like my fears are running away with me.

But today I want to talk about money stress, which is a kissing cousin to your garden-variety, run-of-the-mill anxiety. When I graduated college and started my first year as a “working” (read- BROKE AS A JOKE) actor,  (more…)

Budget Hacking: How I Hacked a Health Insurance Payment

how to cut spending

Everyone knows that one of the most groan-inducing parts of working for yourself is having to come up with your own health insurance. Even though Obamacare and the healthcare.gov marketplace have made it much easier these last few years, it can still be a pain to accommodate a hefty premium payment in your budget when you’re used to an employer taking care of that for you. (Like me, *cough cough* I’ve always had an employer pick up my health insurance tab= #spoiled.)

Last Fall, when I knew I was going to have to purchase a new car, I decided to try and “find” the money within my existing (albeit, super loose) budget. You can read how that turned out here. 

Was I able to find the money last time? For the most part yes. The largest line item in the budget that I “hacked” was my monthly spending on graphics, videos etc. for this blog, but now that the blog acts as a large part of my current business model, I budget for that out of my business expenses.

I ended up selecting a plan on the healthcare.gov marketplace (I think I bought way too much, but more on that later). It costs me $262.00 each month. Tack on my dental coverage that I’m COBRAing ($35 per month) from my old employer (gotta keep those cavities away) and my total health insurance bill comes to $297.00 per month.

This time hacking my budget was slightly different, mainly since I’m now a freelancer there’s less discretionary money and categories to pull from when you need something.

Was I able to hack my budget this time? Yes. Technically. A little.

Here’s how it turned out: (more…)

How Much Does a Puppy Cost : A Rescue vs. Pet Store Pup Case Study

how much does a puppy cost? The adopt vs. shop case study

This post originally appeared on September 17th, 2012 and was updated August 3rd 2015.

Since tomorrow (August 4th 2015) makes one year to the day I brought my dog, Roo, home from the rescue farm, I thought it would be fun to update one of my most popular posts to-date. In 2012 (back when LBMT was barely four months old) I ran a post that broke down all the costs associated with my first dog, Murray, who died unexpectedly last summer (you can read my goodbye post here, but only if you have a box of tissues nearby!)

 

Man, I loved that dog. He was my favorite thing on the whole planet and I was super sad for awhile after he was gone. Then Roo came into my life and made me smile again. They’re both very different dogs, purchased (adopted?) under different circumstances. I know when I first thought about getting a dog people warned me how expensive owning a pet could be. For everyone wondering, “How much does a puppy cost, really?” -here’s a breakdown of the costs associated with buying vs. rescuing a pup, as well as an idea of the startup costs involved when you purchase a pet for the first time.
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7 Money Mistakes You’ll Make In Your 20’s

money mistakes you'll make in your 20's

Your 20’s are going to be rife with exploration, fun times, and lessons well-learned. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, I haven’t decided which!) most of our lessons come from when we mistakes. Your 20’s are the decade where you go from your parents house and bankroll to managing your own financial household, to planning for families and retirement and tackling your college debt; with all that change going on it can get pretty dicey.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here are 7 money mistakes (almost) everyone makes in their 20’s.

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From Side Hustle to Full Time- My Biggest Business Challenge + A Plan of Attack)

Side Hustle to Full Time Business

As part of an ongoing collaboration with Office Depot, I’m sharing my biggest business challenge that I’ve faced in the last 3 months since I began working for myself full time. This is part of a sponsored post series I’m doing with Socialstars.

Want to join in the fun? Use the hashtag #GearLove. 

It has been an eye opening three months since I started working for myself full time. I’ve had more fun, more free time, tried to spend more time relaxing than hustling, and have admittedly enjoyed the freedom that comes with owning a digital business.

But that’s not to say there hasn’t been stumbling blocks: I’ve struggled with productivity, acquiring new clients, and with a new-yet-familiar money stress that comes with uneven cashflow.

But my biggest business challenge…. (more…)

Update: 21 Days to Better Finances (+ Two Savings Rules to Live By!)

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Man, time flies. It seems like just yesterday I was a newbie blogger trying to find my groove. A few months into blogging, I got offered the opportunity to be a part of an e-book with some of my other favorite bloggers (including Paula from Afford Anything, Greg and Holly from Club Thrifty, and Tonya from Budget and the Beach.) Featuring fantastic financial advice about everything from budgeting basics, to paying down debt, to simple shifts in your money mindset, my day (#18) focused on opening a savings account.

The content for the e-book was derived from this post, Two Savings Rules to Live By, which, after a much needed purge and content re-vamp, is one of my oldest existing posts and still one of my most popular.

But that was three years ago. Even though the principles in the post certainly aren’t outdated, I’m both older and (money) wiser. So, when CreditForums.com asked me if I’d like to feature my advice and add to it for a three years celebration of my first (and so far only) e-book, I said SURE.

Let’s take a moment, and jump in L. Bee’s time machine…. (more…)

Summer Reading for Your Finances & Your Soul (2015)

Summer reading

The Fourth of July usually marks the midpoint of the traditional summer season (Memorial Day to Labor Day), even though it feels as if summer is just starting to ramp up! For whatever reason, I also ramp up my ‘fun” reading during the summer months–which I think reminds me of my “summer reading” and “DAR program” days.

There is nothing like curling up with a good book! Here’s what I’m loving so far this summer. (To see what I read for Summer 2014, click here.)

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