Wedding Series:#thatbudgetlife

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Long-time-no-see my lovely readers! The past 6 months have gotten crazy that’s for sure! After some technical issues with my blog I’m so happy to be back! I have been keeping up with you on Instagram and let me just say- y’all are killin it out there! I’ve seen you step up your workouts, dial in your nutrition and really start treating your mind/body with kindness. YGG! That’s what the #tiulife is all about.

Today is the first post in my wedding and lifestyle series over the next 9 weeks-that’s right-only 9 weeks until I am a MRS! Woah. So hold on tight, I have A LOT to say 😉 These posts can be applied to most of you even if you’re not getting married.

Today’s topic: #thatbudgetlife

You’re probably wanting to hear more about my workouts and my nutrition-I promise I’ll get there! Something I’m extremely passionate about is personal finances. I truly believe that addressing your personal finances will set you up to be emotionally free and financially stable to be your best self in this opportunistic world we live in. To stand on your own two feet and feel independent will in turn set you up to feel confident in that relationship when it turns out to be ‘the one’. And believe me when I tell you it will come at you 100mph without warning, in the middle of the night, screaming ‘you can’t pass this one up!’ Next post….relationships 😉

1st things first. If I can give you any advice at all, stop using those credit cards.

#1 Get in control!

Like for serious. Right now. I realize there are lots of unique situations, so I suggest by starting to read or listen to Dave Ramsey’s ‘Total Money Makeover’ its got some great basic principles to help you move towards any of your financial goals.  Do whatever you need to do to pay off those cards. Need to take a second job? Take it. Need to cut back on your $200 a month Starbucks habit? Hello….right there, throw that at it each month. Work staff at your local gym or studio-heads up, they’ll probably give you some sort of discount or membership-remove that from your budget right there! I’ll share with you my personal roller coaster that’s really embarrassing. I racked up a ton of debt when I moved to Dallas to be on my own. Eek! I spent when I shouldn’t have, and took vacations that I just ended up throwing on the cc. It wasn’t until I got a second job until I realized I was totally out of control. I worked extra hours from my computer tirelessly for about a year, and it finally hit me that I was spending way more than I was earning. So finally I got serious and used this second income to pay down my debt. I sold a few big items, and after 2 years, I was finally rid of ANY credit card debt.

#2 Set up that Budget!

Two very well-known tools that you should take a look at: You Need A Budget and Mint. I personally, use Mint. Now, it doesn’t work if you don’t stick to the budget. Sure, at first I was really anxious about every dollar and paid attention to my account every single day. But once I started to only spend cash/debit card, I was able to see where my problem areas were and then I stopped being stressed about it. After I was in control I set out to cut back in those problem areas. After that I was able to start saving! In the past 4 years I have been able to pay off almost 30K in debt (yes you read that right, thank you student loans and a car), AND get this-save 10K. I’m not one to boast, but I want to encourage you to tackle a goal that may seem really ambitious. You can do it, and you should do it!

#Easy steps to pay off debt

  • Think outside the box. I swallowed my pride and moved in with my parents for 2 years post college. During this time, I doubled my student loan payments and threw every extra bit of cash and bonuses from my job, at my debt. Looking back I know I could have done much more but I’ve learned so much and that’s what’s important. Learn now, not later!
  • Don’t spend on the useless stuff- coffee runs, buying water bottles, the mall (just don’t go there!) saying YES to everything…work on that one. Eating out every day, living far away from work, going out every single night of the weekend, buying new outfits every week, every month. Those eyelash extensions-girl go to Sally’s! First area to trim down.
  • Budget budget budget….determine what you NEED to pay for each month…evaluate how much is left over, try to save a good portion of that.
  • Budget for the things that are really important to you- if the gym membership is a must, cut back on the clothes, etc.
  • Sell anything you can to make extra cash
  • BYOL- Bring your own lunch….need I say more? This one whittles the waistline as well as the wallet 😉
  • Get educated- don’t be the person that doesn’t even look at your bank account! You really should know exactly where every dollar is going. Start evaluating where you’re at. Read up on some books and articles.
  • FOLLOW-UP…Return those purchases, and call BACK those stupid companies that keep charging your cards for subscriptions you cancelled. This happens all the time. Consistency is key. Don’t give up. Get those credits back to your account and those refunds paid in full. I promise you this have saved me hundreds of dollars just by following up! It’s a pain in the butt that’s for sure. Definitely worth it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these little secrets. It feels amazing to pay off that first group of student loans-huge confidence booster. Paying off debt can be addictive-that’s a good thing. Don’t be afraid to say no! Get it girl. Get free.

Stop back soon to read about budgeting for weddings (as a guest) and as a bride! I am so excited to share all of my planning with you.

Ciao,

Ari

#OnceUponATravelstead: Engagement Session with M&K

Happy Magic Monday y’all! I am so glad you’ve stopped by! It’s wedding season isn’t it? Love is in the air

I am so excited to be writing this! It finally feels real. Only 300 and some-odd days until our wedding next June, and we have been extremely blessed by the help of so many people. Our family, our friends. Everyone is offering their help with our planning. Sure, sometimes there are difficult conversations. But so far, our wedding planning has been peaceful. Our long engagement has allowed us to grow further in our relationship and is preparing us for marriage, in a world that can be hasty and idealistic. Every small detail we have had the pleasure of working through, we’ve celebrated. Big or small, we are not letting any good thing go uncelebrated. Life is too short!

A few months ago, we entered a photographer’s free engagement photoshoot contest while we were at an open house at the Chapel at Anna Villa in The Colony, TX. To our surprise we WON a free engagement photo session with M & K Productions! Check out their Facebook page in the link above to see ALL of the sneak peak photos from our session. I’ve posted quite a few here for those without Facebook.

Welcome to our fairy tale. I have yet to release our proposal story because I am still trying to write a short version that you will actually read. There are so many fun moments in our story and I plan to release it soon, along with SO many photos!  Long story short…I moved to Texas to be closer to my sweetheart a year and a half ago. From NJ to Dallas, I have made Texas my home. Life has a sweet vibe here. A praise-worthy air about the country-side. So it only made sense for us to take our photos in our home! We chose to take them at our wedding venue, Vaquero. Seated in the hills of Westlake, just beyond Southlake, this sprawling Fazio golf course is where we are so extremely blessed to spend many weekends. We cannot wait to turn it into an Enchanted Garden with an outdoor ceremony and reception next year. With all of the rain Texas got this year, June held on to a late bloom of lush green grasses, and beautifully overgrown trees!

I have already said this…but i’m blessed by my friends. My bridesmaid, Kaytie Gaus, is very talented in so many ways. She spent the afternoon with me doing my hair and makeup. Her and her husband actually spent the entire shoot with us making us feel a little bit more comfortable. It’s not so easy to pose in the right way when you’re not sure what your face looks like! Practice practice practice. Without her, I would not have felt so stunning on this day! Thank you Kaytie and Ethan for making us laugh!

The overgrown arbor shown below is going to be a really special spot at our wedding. Wait until you see how we stage it!

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After an outfit change (who doesn’t love dressing up?!) we headed to Southlake Town Square, a few miles down the road. There are so many cute spots for photos here. Here are a few of my favorites. We also had to stop for ice cream…perfect for a 100 degree day and a white dress….not! It was worth it, I know when we get all the pictures back there will be some great memories to keep.

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Hunter and I LOVE fairy tales. We simply can’t get enough of them. It was obvious that our wedding hashtag should be #OnceUponATravelstead, and we chose some fun pastels for the last location back at Vaquero. After debating between a number of props, we decided to bring some huge balloons with us for the shoot.

And what’s a shoot without a little mishap? We inflated 6 oversized 36″ balloons. You can get them at Party City. Lucky for us we have a helium tank at the clubhouse, however transporting these things is almost impossible! Note to self. TIE them tighter! Lol, how many engineers does it take to tie balloons? (answer: one that will read directions). As we drove over to Fish Camp for the last of our sunset shots, 4 out of 6 balloons flew away in the sky. Bye bye balloons! That’s ok we still got some amazing dreamy shots and had so much fun!!! I imagine they went to a better place and made someone happy =)

Always Believe Something Wonderful is About to Happen

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I guess I’m stuck with you babe! Thanks for hooking me. What would our session be without a ‘dad joke’

Timing it perfectly, Mark and Kristin were extremely sweet to spend so much time with us. We were extremely grateful and I cannot wait to see the rest of our photos in a couple of months! We ended the night with some champagne and the most beautiful sunset. Enjoy our sweet moments. Thank you for sharing in our love story!

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