Want to Know What’s for Free?

Lending a helping hand.

On Sunday, JD & I helped thousands of runners in Chicago complete their 26.2 mile race. My gym asked for volunteers to help pass out water and cheer on the runners. It’s a far cry that I’ll ever complete a marathon, but I think it’s awesome that people spend so much time training and dedicating themselves to accomplish something only .5% of Americans have done (true fact!).

Just around the corner from my apartment the racers whizzed by. I even saw some of my closest friends! I’ll be honest, when I first signed us up to volunteer I thought it would just be a nice gesture–but seeing the runner’s faces light up and smile when I was cheering them on, or hearing the sincere ‘thank you’ as they took a water I felt like I truly helped them along and it was an amazing feeling (and the least I could do). We saw record-breaking runners, blind runners–it was so inspiring! It felt great to meet new people, spend some quality time with JD, and help out for a fun and memorable day. All that…and it cost $0.

Look for ways to volunteer in your community! There’s no better way to meet likeminded people in such a frugal and uplifting setting 🙂


Babe on the Left, Bestie Running Her Heart Out on the Top Right!

To continue our amazing week, we did a bit of splurging and for $20 each we went to a CMU Alumni event at Goose Island Brewing Co. We were given a tour of the brewery, and a beer and food tasting. It was delish (and so fun seeing old friends from college, and making new ones!)


CMU Alumni Event

Last night was my date night treat. For $40 I took JD to Paddy Long’s for a beer and bacon tasting (holy beer tastings!). I found a deal on AmazonLocal to get it on the cheap. AmazonLocal is a daily deals website that is part of the Amazon family. Every day, they send new deals to use in your city and online. (The rest of my boyfriend fund went to a $10 gift card to Starbucks I surprised JD with for a ‘Just Because’).


Bacon & Beer Tasting

So! What a week!! This is why I LOVE Chicago—a plain ol’ week in the middle of October and it was JAM PACKED with fun frugal festivities!


Frugal Feature!

Wooo Whooo! I have my first Frugal Feature!

What’s a Frugal Feature you ask? Well, it’s new! And it’s where I feature great people who have great ideas on how to save money!

Today Beautiful Light is featuring one of the best Sigma Kappas I know–Nikki Marrone! Nikki is a beautiful person inside and out whom I met in college. (I still never know when to use who/whom…former journalist fail. But I think ‘whom’ sounds lovely here :)) Since our good ole days at CMU, she’s moved to the City of Angels pursuing her dream of being a make-up artist. She specializes in film, TV, beauty, and special FX/prosthetics; so she knows a thing or two about lookin’ good…and by a thing or two I mean a LOT! Best of all–she also has a talent in creating great looks for less!

Nikki graciously put together a fabulous Fall Look for Less for BL and I’m obsessed with it! Take a look!

The Gorgeous, Nikki!

The Gorgeous, Nikki!

What I love about this look is how versatile it is! These are the products Nikki used, which you can grab at the drugstore!


(Prep skin with your favorite moisturizer)

  • Foundation- Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 shade 855 ($9.50)
  • Concealers- Maybelline Age Rewind Brightener & Maybelline Age Rewind Neutralizer ($7.50 each)
  • Powder- Covergirl Trublend #5 ($9.00)
  • Bronzer- The Balm Bahama Mama ($19.00)
  • Blush- Physicians Formula pH Matchmaker in Rose ($11.00)

nikki eyeEYES

  • Maybelline Color Tattoo (Cream) in Bad to the Bronze all over lid ($7.00)
  • Maybelline Color Tattoo Pigment in Downtown Brown over lid, blend into crease ($7.00)
  • L’Oreal Infallible Gel Liner in Blackest Black on upper lash line ($8.00)
  • Maybelline Master Drama Eyeliner in Sapphire on waterline ($8.00)
  • L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Blackest Black on upper and lower lashes ($7.00)



  • Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain in Passion ($9.00)
  • Maybelline Color Whisper in Pink Possibilities ($7.00)


The total cost of this look: $109.00

Not too shabby! Considering just the other month I spent $50 on false lashes, lip liner and a lipstick at MAC. These are all great products for a great deal!

Thank you, Nikki!

For more information on Nikki’s amazing talents, please visit her website and tumblr!

Month One Results

Happy October!

photo credit: myrevelment.com

photo credit: myrevelment.com

So the results are in—my first month I was able to save $205.16

And I paid $213.00 towards my credit cards.

Damn It.

Now, the final number I paid towards the cards is no where near what I was hoping to be at. I was hoping for some out of this world, much larger figure. But here’s the silver lining, folks: I have money my savings. This is very new to me. I always pull money out of that account to buy more, and now it’s accumulating!

All four of the cards are still there. But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?

Another major help has been using the old fashioned transaction register. It has REALLY helped me visualize how much money is actually going where. Nearly $200 went to eating out in September…hello wake up call. Let’s face it, I didn’t stick to my Spending Fast after I exceeded my allowance.

But here’s some positives–I did sell items to kinda give myself a free pass for my spending in Michigan (I’m getting addicted to ebaying!). Selling items I no longer use/have never used brought in an additional $140. Yes, that money should’ve gone to my credit cards…I know, trust me. I’m figuratively slapping myself on the wrists. Oh! An I’ve been knitting like a crazy woman to boost my Etsy shop inventory–I can’t wait to launch it! (If you see a 20 something on the CTA knitting…it’s likely me).

As disappointed as I am about my September numbers, I have made some great strides. I haven’t bought my lunches (as much) and I stopped getting the fancy coffee (at least I haven’t put any additional money on my Starbucks Gold Card…). And JD and I have made a much more conscious effort to eat in. Over the weekend we made Chicken Chili—for a low cost, we he made enough chili to last us both nearly a week! Here’s his masterpiece:

Of course I added cornbread muffins into the mix! nom nom nom

Of course I added cornbread muffins into the mix! nom nom nom

Chicken Chili

What You’ll Need:

  • Ground Chicken
  • Diced Sweet Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Black Beans
  • Onion
  • Jalapeno
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Chipotle Tabasco
  • Water

Instructions (well, this is what Pinterest tells me…JD did his own thang):

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a Dutch oven or large soup pot set over medium heat and cook the chicken until cooked through.
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pot over medium heat and cook the onion and pepper (season with salt and pepper) until tender about 5 minutes.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans and corn. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon, and chipotle Tabasco.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook about 35 minutes, stirring every so often and adding more seasoning as needed until sweet potatoes are tender.
  • Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and/or tortilla chips.

Enjoy! And here’s to Month 2!

Where Have You Been!?

After a little hiatus I’m back, folks!

JD and I went back to my hometown in Michigan for my sorority sister’s wedding. My Spending Diet didn’t go so well…however the money I spent there all came from items I sold on eBay. Sure, if it went to the cards that’d be better, but it allowed me to see friends and go out without getting myself more in the red. OK–enough of me trying to validate my spending.

Tomorrow marks the last day of Month One on my Spending Diet, I’m excited to really crunch the numbers and share my total savings with you all on the first!

Before I go, here’s some photos of us in Michigan 🙂