New Year, New You, New Budget

Happy 2017! I love the start of a new year; it’s a clean slate, you can tackle something that you have always wanted to but couldn’t find the time or you can challenge yourself to be financially responsible.

In November I challenged myself to “No Spend November”, it wasn’t the easiest of things but my bank account sure loved it. A few rules that I stuck by were, no eating out for lunch, no Starbucks, no Happy Hour dates, no manis or pedis, and I could only buy the essentials. Trust me, it was hard to get my lunch and breakfast together every morning but the results were worth it. I was spending almost $50/week on LUNCH! That’s not including the occasional reload of my Starbucks card to keep my caffeine addiction in check.

Now with the new year I wanted to share a few tips on how to increase your savings and cut your spending in little ways that put off a big reward.

Minimize Your Subscriptions 

Cut the Cable
Maybe you are like me and find yourself watching Netflix or Hulu more than you watch live TV. Cutting your cable can easily save you $70 if not more a month depending on your plan. If you want to keep your cable because you can’t live without your shows, call your cable provider to see if there are any deals for established customers, or if you reduce one of your cable boxes and replace it with AppleTV.

Cancel Your Magazine Subscriptions
Most of the magazines now are 85% ads. Use Pinterest or blogs for food or fashion inspiration.

Cancel Your Gym Membership
Right now most gyms are filled with the January Resolutioners so the gym is way too packed. Think about what you do while you are there, if it’s only cardio put your sneakers on and explore your neighborhood or city park. If you do a lot of free weights, head to your local Tuesday Morning or Marshalls to buy some free weights at a cheap price. Once you have a few pieces of equipment (free weights – light and heavy, and resistance band) check out Tone It Up on Youtube. There are a ton of FREE workouts that you can do in the comfort of you own home.

Cook More

I love to cook larger meals during the week so I can bring leftovers for lunch. My favorite resources are Pinterest and SkinnyTaste.com. Even though my kitchen is a mess afterwards, it’s nice to cook and hang out with my fiancee at the same time instead of siting on the couch watching TV. It gives us a chance to talk about our days and spend quality time.

If cooking every night isn’t your thing, Pinterest has a a lot of Freezer Meals. In an hour I was able to knock out almost 10 meals. (You can find some of my favorite in my Food board). When I was reading to make them, all I had to do was drop one in my crockpot and head to work.

Purge Your House

Every once in a while I purge my house and get rid of items that we haven’t used in forever or that we have upgraded. Anything that is still in good condition I try to sell on our neighborhood Facebook group, Craigslist or the Let Go app. If after a week, it doesn’t sell then I’ll just add it to our Goodwill donation and claim it on my taxes. If I do sell it, I’ll either treat myself to a manicure, a coffee, or I’ll put it into the piggy bank for a future vacation.

Smart Money Tips

If you have student loan debt, look into refinancing it for a lower rate which will significantly reduce your monthly budget. If you have student loan debt and are looking into refinancing, you can find more information here.

One thing that I’ve done recently is, a balance transfer on my credit card to get out of debt faster. This way I’m able to put more smart money towards it since it is interest free for 15 months! Before I completed a balance transfer, I was paying a hefty amount every month to get out of debt but the amount wasn’t reducing as much as it was increasing with each monthly statement. I felt like I was in a hole that I couldn’t get out of but now I’m seeing the light.

These are just some small steps to start your 2017! What are some items that you plan on cutting from your budget? Comment below, I would love to hear about them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xo, Heather

New Year Resolutions

With 2016 coming to a close, it’s time to prepare for 2017 and reflect on how amazing 2016 was.

2016 was such a fun year and I couldn’t have wished for anything more!

Brandon and I got ENGAGED! 
Countless trips
Lots of parties hosted at our house
Our house turned into a home 
Fell back in love with cooking
New friendships
Strengthened existing friendships

As scary as the term “resolutions” can be, I have a few goals for 2017 . . .

Get Married! (that’s easy)
Cook more
Follow a devotional for the year. I have one but I haven’t followed it faithfully everyday
KonMari (aka declutter) my house. You can find some how-to videos here
Finish a couple of projects in my house (paint the kitchen dining room area, paint the laundry room, and build some shelves in the hall closet)
Read more
Workout consistently (Hello, Wedding Dress!)
Run at least 4 5k 

What are some of your resolutions for 2017 and what are your best tips for sticking to them?

Thank you for stopping by!

Xo, Heather

21 Day Fix

Happy Monday y’all! A new week starts again as well as a lifestyle change for me.

Words to live by // 21 Day Fix // 21 Day Fix Extreme // fitness // fitspo // workout // motivation // exercise // Inspiration // quote // quotes // fitfam //fixfam // fit //:

I’ve tried 21 Day Fix before and I use “tried” very loosely. I did well with the workouts since they were 30 minutes and effective but I didn’t follow the meal plan at all really. I thought it was too hard so I just didn’t try and because of that I didn’t get ANYWHERE near my goal. So after weeks of flip flopping between other weight loss ideas I decided to just bite the bullet and really dive into this program. What do I honestly have to lose besides pizza, donuts and tacos?? Not much besides a couple of pounds.

Today is the first day and I’m pretty proud of myself for not only packing my lunch but also packing my two snacks and breakfast last night. All I had to do was grab my lunch bag this morning and be on my way. Here is what I brought today:

Meal 1 – Shakeology with unsweetened almond milk
Meal 2 (Snack) – Greek yogurt with dried blueberries and raw almonds (12)
Meal 3 – Spicy California Roll (crab meat, rice and seaweed)
Meal 4 (Snack) – Half of a green smoothie
Meal 5 – TBD I have a few things I can put together for dinner

Workout – Total Body Cardio Fix

I’m not going to post about my 21 Day Fix journey everyday but I will every Monday for motivation to keep me accountable for the next 21 Days.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xo, Heather

ClassPass – Month One

With my upcoming wedding and getting bored of my past workout routine I knew it was time to change it up. I love being active and going to the gym but the last few months ago the gym started to feel like a chore. Once it started to feel like that, I knew it was time to find something new. Last month I finally signed up for ClassPass after hearing rave reviews from my friend, Corinne. It was the best decision I made for my health and fitness routine.

ClassPass offers two different plans, 5 classes/month for $50 or unlimited for $90. Right now I’m on the 5 classes/month plan, when I get closer to the wedding I’ll upgrade to the unlimited plan.

Most fitness studios in Houston are on ClassPass so if you want to try spin, pilates, CrossFit or barre you are able to for a low price. For example, a class at most spin studios will cost around $20-25, so if you are able to go to 2 in that month, your ClassPass paid for itself.

During my first month I attended the following classes:

Hot Core Weights
Yoga One Bellaire
Thoughts on the class:
It was a butt kicker! It incorporated strength training, yoga and cardio so it kept my body guessing the entire time. I was SUPER sweaty when I left
Would I take this class again?:
YES!
 

Pilates Reformer
1st Class Training
Thoughts on the class:
I took a pilates reformer class a few years ago and I really liked it. I was excited to see that I could take a reformer class using ClassPass. I left feeling very long and lean.
Would I take this class again?
Yes! Next time I plan on increasing my resistance because I’m a lot stronger than I thought.

Spin
RYDE
Thoughts on the class:
It was sooooo hard, but the good kind of hard. I felt no stress and had total clarity once class was over. The instructor pushes you to limits you didn’t know you could reach. At the end of class, they hand out chilled towels infused with eucalyptus oil. #bonus
Would I take this class again?
YES! I already went back this month.

Cardio Barre! Booty Barre
The Good Space
Thoughts on the class:
Umm….this class was ok. I’ve taken barre classes before so I knew was to expect but I wasn’t overly impressed with their version.
Would I take this class again?
The Good Space does offer other classes which I want to try but I would go somewhere else for barre.

Spin
Define Revolution
Thoughts on the class:
At the time I thought the class was pretty easy but I think it was because I didn’t push myself as hard. I was having an off day, couldn’t find the beat as easily as I normally do and wasn’t in the right mindset. The next day I was pretty sore, so it was effective.
Would I take this class again?
It wouldn’t be my first choice in a spin studio but I would go back to it. Like I said, it could have been more me than them.

As you can see, I tried to take a variety of classes to switch up my workouts. I still workout at home using 21 Day Fix or Tone It Up but at least once a week I need structure. If you want to know more about ClassPass feel free to comment below or tweet me (@BalsamoHeather) I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO, Heather

 

 

 

The Bachelorette – Episode 8 Recap

Hello all of you wonderful people!

This week I was able to watch the Bachelorette with a few of my girlfriends which just makes the experience so much better. You get to chat about the guys right then and there, you get to eat a yummy dinner and not feel bad for having a glass or 2 of wine on a Monday night.

This week was all about the hometown dates which might be my favorite week.

Chase

Before this week Chase flew under the radar but after seeing him with his family and having a heart to heart with his dad, he changed my feelings towards him. Chase’s mom seems so awesome and the kind of mother-in-law we would all love to have. JoJo was able to get a better understanding of why Chase was more reserved with his feelings but at the end of date he told her he was falling in love with her.

Robby

Ugh I don’t know why I HATED Robby’s outfit as much as I did. Pale red button down with only the bottom button buttoned. After that I could have cared less about their date. Until JoJo called him out on ex-gf drama. To me, the timeline of events doesn’t add up. You have to register to be on the show at least a year in advance but they dated for 4 years and broke up a few months before he went on the show. Something is not adding up. I don’t know how JoJo can still be falling for him.

Other than that, Robby’s family loved JoJo.

Jordan

Jordan’s hometown date was pretty boring and it revolved around Aaron Rodgers. We get it, he wasn’t at the hometown date why did it take so long for EVERYONE to get over?? Yes it’s sad that he doesn’t have a relationship with his brother but did it need to be the whole storyline? I don’t think so.

To me, Jordan comes off a player. He seems like the guy who will tell a girl whatever she wants to hear but break her heart later. If JoJo picks Jordan at the end, she showed the world that she is all about lust and not ever lasting love.

Luke

I LOVED Luke’s hometown date. Maybe it’s the southern girl in me but I almost packed my bags to check out Burnet, TX because their town square looked adorable. JoJo seemed most comfortable with Luke and their chemistry is apparent. I loved that Luke had a few surprises set up for JoJo which hopefully made her feel really special. He put the most thought into their date. At the end of their date, I got the chills listening to him profess his love for JoJo.

PLEASE PICK LUKE!

Rose Ceremony

Just before JoJo was about to start handing out roses she was having a conflict of the heart and then she blurted out “I think I have to send Luke home”. I nearly died. My heart stopped.

JoJo walks in and almost immediately Luke asks to talk to her. He drops the bomb that he is in love with her but JoJo should have known because of his actions. Actions will always speak louder than words to me. After Luke tells JoJo, he walks back inside and she has a meltdown.

Then the worst 3 words come across the screen . . .To Be Continued.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xo, Heather