Happy Friday!

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Congratulations! You have made it through another week, meaning you are a little bit stronger, wiser, and older than ever before. Have a great weekend, y’all!

xoxo,

Megan

 

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A Millennials’ Guide to Budgeting

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I’m a millennial. I was born in the early 1990s, and I am still learning about life as an adult. For the past several years, I have been budgeting my money and keeping track of my savings and earnings. However, when you are starting out in life, it can be hard. Budgeting is something I’m still learning, just like everyone else. Below are some budgeting tips for millennials, but they can be useful no matter how old you are.

Make your own food: Yes, it can be time-saving to quickly grab your lunch or favorite drink out, but it isn’t money-saving. Instead, prepare your meals at home either the night before or in the morning. Also, consider preparing your meals for the week during the weekend. Buy unperishable items in bulk and don’t let perishable items expire. Always plan out your meals before hitting the grocery store and stick to your list. Unnecessary items will soon add up, destroying your budget. In addition, preparing your food at home will be healthier than stopping at a fast-food restaurant.

Don’t compare yourself to others: With the world of social media, it can be hard to not compare our lifestyle with others. You might see your friend going on a two-week vacation to the Bahamas and think, “How did they afford that?” Rule of thumb: don’t compare your life to the lives of others. Doing so will lead to unneeded spending. Instead, live within your means and stick to your savings plan. In the long run, you’ll be happy you did.

Start an emergency fund and savings for retirement: It can be tough to set aside money for the future when you are currently struggling financially. However, having an emergency fund helps prevent wiping out an entire month’s paycheck when something unexpected happens. There are a few different ways to create an emergency fund. Start small by collecting your loose cash and change into a jar. Once you have a sizable amount, transfer it into a savings account. Then, continue with allotting an amount of your earnings to go towards the fund. Before you know it, you’ll have money for when emergencies strike. As for retirement, it’s never too early to start thinking about it. There are two avenues to help you begin investing: a 401(k) and an IRA account. A 401(K) is done through an employer. It allows a portion of your paycheck to be taken out before taxes. Taxes are then paid when the money is withdrawn. Talk with your employer about what they offer in regards to retirement savings. As for an IRA account, it is an individual retirement account with many tax advantages. You can choose from either a traditional or Roth IRA.

Use technology to help budget: Speaking of social media, there are also advantages to using these sites, and technology in general. Make budgeting more organized and convenient with using free apps and websites. A few trustworthy apps are Personal Capital, Mint, LearnVest, and Level Money. Personal Capital allows you to link all of your financial accounts into one place. It has tools to help you understand your cash flows, optimize investments, etc. As for Mint, this app tracks all the activity from your bank, credit cards, loan, and investment accounts. In addition, you can create a budget with certain categories and receive notifications for bills when they are due. LearnVest gives you the option to link your accounts and file purchases into category folders, as well as access to informational articles on managing your money. Lastly, Level Money provides a general overview of how much cash you have available for the day, week, and month.

Invest in a low-interest credit card: The term “credit card” can be scary for some. It can bring financial distress, but when used correctly it can build personal credit. You’ll need credit when renting an apartment, buying a car, and more. When looking into a credit card, do your research. Get one that has plenty of rewards and a low-interest rate, that way you can stay on track and pay it off sooner rather than later.

There is no perfect solution to budgeting, and there is no “one size fits all” method. Setting your financial path can be challenging, but when planned correctly and using the tips above, it will become easier.

xoxo,

Megan

Article published in Forsyth Woman Magazine 

Lessons from My Furry Friend

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Pets are more than animals living in our homes; they are family members. We provide for them, spend time with them and love them like the rest of our family.

My family got our dog when I was in the second grade. Seventeen years later, our little miniature poodle with apricot colored fur named Gidget is still an important, lovable part of our lives. Looking back at the past years, Gidget has taught my family and me lifelong lessons, such as the ones below.

  1. Forgive easily — Sometimes forgiving others is easier said than done. However, when you can forgive easily, life will be better. Dogs are quick to forgive their owners for their imperfections and will always provide doggie kisses and an “it’s ok, I still love you” look.
  2. Enjoy the day — There is nothing better than spending the day eating, playing and sleeping. Well, that’s at least how Gidget spends it. So, why shouldn’t we model our days after our pets? Pets live in the moment and make the most of their time. As human beings, our goal should be the same. Make every day worth it, and have fun along the way.
  3. Be loyal and dependable — Since the very beginning, Gidget has always been by my side. She is a loyal and dependable furry friend to everyone. We can always count on her to give love, jump for her food and provide us with goofy moments. Being loyal and dependable is an important trait to have. Everyone needs someone they can count on and know they will be there for them, through thick and thin.
  4. Believe in yourself — Animals don’t care what others think and will do as they please. They are confident in what they do, whether it’s eating or playing with a toy. We should follow our pets’ actions by believing in ourselves and having confidence in our abilities.
  5. Always drink plenty of water — Okay, Gidget might not have many choices when it comes to beverages. However, water is always her to-go choice and should be ours, as well. We all know the proven health benefits of drinking plenty of H2O, so why aren’t we following them? To determine how much you should drink, go with the common 8×8 rule – eight, eight-ounce glasses daily.
  6. Follow your instincts — Every pet owner has probably seen their animals on an intense hunt for food. Trust me, when Gidget smells food, nothing stands in her way to find it. She also follows her instincts when it comes to sniffing out a new stranger in the house, looking for her family members or just finding that perfect napping spot on the sofa. Follow your gut instinct, whether it is about a person or situation. What thought pops into your head first is usually right — don’t second guess yourself.
  7. Always be happy to see your loved ones — From the beginning, Gidget has greeted us with a wagging tail and jumps of joy as we come through the front door. The excitement she has for seeing loved ones, whether they have been gone five minutes or five weeks, should be the excitement humans have; maybe not with the tail wagging but with lots of smiles and hugs.
  8. Love unconditionally — This life advice is my favorite. One of our family nicknames for Gidget is “our little bundle of love” because of all the love and kisses she gives us. Whether it is sitting next to us on the sofa, lying in her bed while we are in the kitchen or cheering us up when things go wrong, Gidget is always there. Loving others unconditionally is easy to do. It doesn’t require large gestures but simply small acts of kindness. Just being there for someone and supporting him or her can mean a difference. Love each other unconditionally, just like Gidget does.

xoxo,

Megan

Article originally written from Forsyth Woman Magazine. 

 

My Mental Health Story

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Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day; a day where we bring awareness to mental health illnesses and issues throughout the world. 365 days of the year, our goal should be to raise awareness and support for mental health, because after all, mental health effects everyone.

If you have been following my blog, you know I have depression and anxiety. It is an everyday battle and I wanted to let you know my full story. My mental health story started when I was very young. Growing up, I was always anxious and could cry at the littlest thing. During college, I started experiencing panic attacks and small episodes of depression. Then, after graduation, it hit hard – full speed ahead hard.

I have only been out of school for a little more than two years. The first year was fine; I was still anxious, but not yet depressed. Then, as life got harder and more struggles happened, I started experiencing feelings I had never felt before. I was sad, I wanted to cry, I didn’t want to get out of bed, and I wasn’t happy. My family and friends began noticing a difference as I became more somber, quiet, and a homebody. My feelings kept getting worse and worse until July 2017.

It was a Monday morning. I had just woken up and didn’t want to get ready for work. Sleep didn’t come easy the night before and I was exhausted. I knew I wasn’t mentally able to go to my job and instead I cried my eyes out…the whole day. Why? I don’t know. Just thinking about getting up and going somewhere, out into public, and being a functioning human being at the time, broke me into a million different pieces. Tuesday came and I was still the same. My mom, my biggest supporter, encouraged me to go see my doctor and I’m glad she did. Asking for help was the best decision I could have made. Five minutes into my doctor’s appointment, I was sobbing my eyes out and I received the help I desperately needed. I was given treatment and medicine.

Today, about four months later, I am more at peace, can easily smile and laugh, and don’t want to cry all the time. Yes, I still have my bad days and have to make the daily decision to get up. I know depression and anxiety will always be with me and something I will carry into my future. However, I am now stronger and better able to manage my mental health.

To those battling a mental illness, I hope my story will give you courage to ask for help. To those who aren’t, I hope my story will give you courage to provide help and raise awareness about mental health. Together, we can change the stigma, start the conversation, and make mental health a part of everyday life.

xoxo,

Megan

 

DIY Halloween Costumes

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Every year on October 31st, people celebrate a day and night of trick-or-treating, eating candy, and wearing fun or scary costumes. This day, commonly known as Halloween, dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts, who lived in current-day Ireland 2,000 years ago, celebrated their new year on November 1st. On the night of October 31st, they celebrated Samhain, a night when they believed the ghosts returned to earth and marked the end of summer. During these festivals, sacred bonfires were held by priests, and people would burn crops and sacrifice animals to the Celtic deities. Typically, the Celts wore costumes of animal heads and skins and tried to tell each other’s fortunes. The wearing of the costume during these festivals began the now common Halloween tradition.

Weeks before the big day, people will spend time and money finding the perfect Halloween costume. However, sometimes the price of your outfit can get expensive, when all the pieces and parts start adding up. Never fear, there are ways to create your wanted look without breaking the bank.

DIY Halloween costumes can be inexpensively made using common household and craft items. Think about materials that you already have, such as boxes, fabrics, buttons, pipe cleaners, cardstock, and clothing. Only buy the missing items at discount or craft stores. Need some ideas for DIY Halloween costumes? Take a look below for some creative and fun outfits.

Rosie the Riveter: Only a few items are needed to form this iconic look. All this costume requires are jeans, a denim shirt, and a red and white polka dot bandana.

Bumble Bee: This costume is great for adults and kids. Wear a black T-shirt and black leggings. Use elastic and yellow and black tulle for a skirt over the leggings. Tie the tulle, alternating the colors, to the elastic. Lastly, purchase a bee headband from Amazon or create one yourself. Take a plain headband, black or yellow, and four pipe cleaners, two black and two yellow. Twist a black and yellow pipe cleaner together and then twist to the headband on one side. Do the same with the remaining materials. Glue a yellow pom-pom to each set of pipe cleaners at the top.

Lion: You’ll be the king or queen of the jungle with this animal look. Begin with a yellow shirt, yarn, and brown eyeliner. Using the yarn, make the lion’s mane. First, wrap yarn around three of your fingers, circling as you go. Then, tie a piece of yarn through the hole around the rounds of yarn to secure. On the opposite side from where you just tied, cut across and fluff. This should make smaller threads, and a pom-pom look. Repeat until you have plenty of yarn pom-poms. This will serve as the main part of the mane. Braid six strings of yarn together to create a headband. Be sure it is long enough to tie around your head and tie off at each end. Start from the middle of the cord and attach the pom-poms by tying them to the braided headband. Add a nose and whiskers with the eyeliner, and you’re done.

1980s Outfit: The 1980s were a decade known for their fashion—good and bad. Grab some leg warmers, bright-colored accessories, blocky shapes on clothing, velvet, lace, and some teased big hair, and you’ll be able to create a Halloween costume straight from the ‘80s.

Bubble Bath: This outfit is so simple, you can make it on October 31st. Wear a white shirt and pants or leggings underneath balloons. Blow up clear, white, and pink balloons and safety pin the end of the balloon that’s been tied all over your clothing. Then, safety pin balloons to a white headband for your headpiece. Lastly, glue a rubber duck to one of the balloons for an added effect. You can also include sponges, loofahs, and other bubble bath accessories to your outfit.

Halloween costumes don’t need to be expensive. Start with your outfit and make a list of the materials you’ll need. Think about what you have and what you need to buy. Need some more ideas? A quick Google or Pinterest search will open up a door of Halloween costume possibilities.

xoxo,

Megan

Article written for Forsyth Family Magazine. 

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies

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I love this time of the year, because it means… everything pumpkin! There’s pumpkin pies, pumpkin lattes, and pumpkins cookies. I hope you enjoy this simple, easy two ingredient recipe for these delicious pumpkin cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 box spice cake mix

Directions:

Mix the ingredients together. Once the dough is mixed, roll into small balls and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Megan

 

My Fall Bucket List

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Fall- my favorite season of them all! Every year, there are several things I MUST do before it ends, so here is my fall bucket list:

  • Tailgate at a football game.
  • Go apple picking.
  • Buy school supplies.
  • Watch Halloween movies.
  • Decorate with tons of pumpkins and DIY fall crafts.
  • Travel through the mountains to see the leaves.
  • Visit the county fair.
  • Carve a pumpkin.
  • Make an apple pie, apple butter, apple pie, and homemade apple sauce. (Can you tell I like apples…alot?)
  • Stuff myself during the holidays.
  • Go on a hayride.
  • Eat s’mores at a bonfire.
  • Wear a hoodie, while snuggling up with a cup of hot chocolate.

It’s fall, y’all!

xoxo,

Megan