by Karen Vazquez, Owner and Senior Editor of LoSoCal
I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. I am going to be brutally honest. I had grandparents that were from lower class backgrounds and they worked hard to build better lives for themselves and their children. It was not easy for either side of my family. I have heard the stories over the years. I know my thrifty nature comes from a family background that has had to face hard times, endured over the years and later even prospered due to hard, honest work, saving money and living within their means. I was always taught and told some of the following values: “You do not waste food. You only get up from the table after you have eaten everything on your plate. You do chores and earn your allowance. You don’t get to buy the brand name items at the store. You get what is affordable and the best quality for the money. You don’t get everything you want in life. You earn your way.”
Ha! That is the truth, and how interesting that at that time as a young person, I HATED hearing all of it. I say interesting because now I am so grateful I was taught these things as a youth. In other words, I wasn’t raised by snobs, so I didn’t become one. Amen. And thank God for that.
I have lived a pretty full life. I have had periods of time in my life when I had lots and lots of money and other times where I had hardly any at all. I am proud of that. By experiencing life on both ends of the financial spectrum, I have learned a great deal about living a good lifestyle on a budget and it built my character over the years. Now, I am what I like to call “thrifty and thoughtful.” I am not pretentious...and I never will be. Let me share a few of my secrets with you to help you on your own journey with frugality. The tips below are not anything new under the sun. I didn’t create these tips. I have just had them beaten into my head throughout my life and this is what has worked for me. My favorite thrifty tips are listed and explained as follows:
*Live on a budget. This means you must create one. Yes. Break out a notebook and pen and log in to your banking app. Start paying closer attention to where the hell you spend your money!!! Sorry. I get a little passionate about this. Lol. I am just trying to help. It is so easy once you start utilizing some simple planning steps and best practices for your own personal financial peace. Some banks even have an analysis aspect built into the site, so with a click of a button you can see your financial spending broken down by category. Analyze this. Start obsessing over it. Use CASH whenever possible. Seeing the cash in your hand and seeing yourself pass it over to someone in exchange for a purchase is actually a very powerful way to start disciplining yourself with spending. I do not even bother to set foot into a store or restaurant if I know I am in a season where my budget is a bit tight. I will go to free events and go on hikes and do everything I can to get out while protecting my budget. I don’t like to torture myself, so I won’t even bother to tempt myself when I know I have a bigger picture goal to live within my means. Short term self control for long term financial peace. That sounds good to me. I analyze the mess out of my finances and I have acquired enough possessions over the years, taken very good care of my things and myself and now I buy things with a very high level of mindfulness. I love going out. I know that most of my extra spending money is spent on entertainment. I know that. It is good that I am AWARE of that. Being aware and having a plan and a budget is what protects me from getting into any trouble. Ok? Good. Create a budget if you haven’t already. Do it today. Now. There is no time like the present. Next point. Here we go.
*Make Lists. I am a huge list person. I make lists like nobody’s business. I am a writer, so I know it probably comes easier to me than some because it is a regular habit for me. I write everyday in one way or another. Writer or not, start making lists. If the thought of writing in a notebook makes you want to dry heave, then use the “notes” option on your phone or computer. Make lists. Plan. Plan your trip to the grocery store. Don’t just cruise in on an empty stomach and go binge shopping when you know darn well it is a BAD idea. Lol. Bad idea. That is always a very, very, very BAD idea. Make lists. Even if you are going to the store and you think you only need one thing...make sure you only need one thing before you go. Be prepared. That is half the battle right there. This brings me to my next point.
*Avoid credit cards. In general, I try to avoid being financially impulsive. That being said, I refuse to have credit cards from stores. This is a huge point I want to make. Having lots of credit cards usually means lots of extra spending that will eventually bite you in the ass! I absolutely refuse to have credit cards from stores and if a sales associate tries to talk to me about getting one, I hear them out for a brief moment and then I tell them no. Remember this- “NO” is a complete sentence. Say it with me right now. “NO!!!!!!” I understand that having certain types of credit cards can be beneficial for building your credit. It is good to know one very important detail though...credit cards like a Visa or Mastercard can only build your credit if you can afford to make the payments! And, credit cards from department stores actually hurt your credit more than they help it. Unless, you are a highly disciplined person that has no difficulty consistently living within your means where you pay off your credit card bill IN FULL every month, then it is just a recipe for disaster waiting to happen. If you have any credit cards from any stores, I suggest this very fun exercise. Go to your kitchen or office and find a pair of scissors. Take the scissors and cut up these credit cards. Cut them up in to tiny, little, itsy-bitsy PIECES!!!!!! For extra dramatic affect, you could laugh out loud like a crazy person and attempt your best Jim Carrey impersonation. That’s entirely up to you, of course. Lol. I think you get my point. Once you cut up your department store credit cards there are a few more steps, obviously. They are- do not use the cards anymore, pay them off and finally, CLOSE THE ACCOUNTS! Let me recap. Do not be impulsive with credit cards and if you must have one, choose a standard credit card company with a very good interest rate. If there are perks for the card, even better, but read the fine print. Don’t choose a card based on the perks. Choose a card based on the best interest rate AND the perks AND all of the fine print. On to my next point…
*BE THRIFTY!!!!! YAY! I love being thrifty. There is no shame in my game. I am THRIFTY AF. I encourage all of my family and friends to be thrifty. I love going shopping alone and walking around with a calculator while I am shopping and strategically adding up my purchase BEFORE I even get to the register. I know I am sick in the head. It is fine. I accept that. Haha! I don’t care what I am shopping for and where I am shopping. I happily admit that I like to carefully select the things I am buying and I like to take my time. I also like to check out at the register with a clear head and without experiencing “buyer’s remorse” after the fact. I rarely return anything. Once I have committed to a purchase, I commit forever. I might exchange or return something if it breaks right after a purchase and there is a manufacturer’s defect in some way, but that is an entirely different issue. In a nutshell, I think being thrifty is a way of life. I believe in many ways, that it is grounded in shopping with a set of values. Planning. Organization. Humility. Discipline. Self Control. Thoughtfulness. Thrifty and thoughtful. That’s what I am always aiming for whenever I am shopping.
There are are so many other things I can't wait to share about being thrifty and thoughtful. For now, these are a few tips that I thought you might enjoy. Stay tuned for my next post which will highlight a few of my favorite places to shop when I am “on the thrift.” I love hitting up boutiques, spas, estate sales, thrift shops, antique stores and more. I have an insane collection of things that I have acquired over the years and I love, love, love my collection. I buy a ton of brand new things from boutiques and shops as well, but I’m always mindful when I do that it meets my budget. I embrace it all. I don’t care if people know my secrets and if they think I am bat shit crazy for being so frugal. Hey. I am proud of it! And, if you are the same way, you should feel proud of yourself too. Shop a day in my closet and you would see that I say what I mean, and I mean what I say.
Thanks for reading LoSoCal Babe on a Budget. Until next time, stay thrifty and thoughtful when you are out and about spending your money. When you have the money to spend, remember: Shop local. Eat local. Spend local. Live local.
I promise you that shopping local is a better lifestyle that is worth the effort and you’ll be supporting our local shops, restaurants and boutiques. Why? I can tell you. It’s better because you will be choosing mindful consumerism which supports our local communities and these local spots won’t offer you a line of credit that has you living beyond your means. You’ll also get better quality products, better service and more!
Below is a quote and a YouTube video by financial guru, Dave Ramsey, who also taught me a great deal about financial planning which leads to financial peace! His financial wisdom has changed my lifestyle forever. If you want to learn more just google him and you can get started on your budget TODAY.
My name is Karen Vazquez. I love “all things local” and I’m always writing about my favorite things in SoCal. If you want to learn more about me or you want to reach out to say hello, simply click on the “Contact” section of the blog! Thanks LoSoCal readers. Thank you so much for your support. Make it a great day!!!
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Owner, Lead Blogger
Hello, my name is Karen Vazquez. I have lived in Southern California for over thirty years. I realized about four years ago that it was time for me to give back to this wonderful community by supporting local SoCal businesses, performers, restaurants, spas, boutiques, fitness studios, farmers markets and more. My support shines through here by highlighting these fabulous local SoCal spots. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, PInterest and LinkedIn. I will be featuring many local destinations in the area that have been my personal favorites for years and am currently recruiting guest bloggers to expand the voice of LoSoCal. I have had guest bloggers in the past, but aim to incorporate local SoCal bloggers on a regular basis as a fun, creative and collaborative way to connect with the community here. Essentially, LoSoCal is a community blog, and it is meant to be resource to locals in this area and visitors from around the world. Please like or follow LoSoCal on the social media business pages and tell your contacts about the blog. Thanks for stopping by...
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