birthdays and makin’ bank: week #2

A late Monday post coming at you…

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (@missemmmysue) then you know I made a whirlwind trip home yesterday to celebrate my younger sister’s birthday. Even though I was only there for a mere 24-hours, it was exactly what I needed. The day was filled with family, delicious food (homemade mac & cheese & cupcakes from scratch anyone?) and tons of laughter. I can’t believe my little sissy is growing up so fast- it seems like just yesterday that we were little kids running around without a care in the world. Adults always warned us that childhood would fly by- boy, were they right.


I decided to take advantage of having the day off and go for a run yesterday. Big mistake. When I say that the air-quality in my hometown is horrible, I’m not kidding. It makes Los Angeles air seem clean (which we all know isn’t true!) and I could definitely tell a difference when I was running. I managed to get through 3 miles before I met up with my mom and decided to just walk with her for a while. I was literally gasping trying to catch my breath which never, ever happens. Longest 3 miles of my life.

And finally it’s time for a Week #2 update on my Makin’ Bank Challenge!

The Good:

1.) Overall Spending: $98.26

So, I definitely did better than last week on my spending but I still feel like I can do better. Thankfully by tracking my purchases I’ve been able to discover the root of my problem (see below!).

2.) No Shopping! 

I’ve stuck with my goal of not purchasing any clothes, makeup, or accessories and I’m still alive! I’ve definitely been tempted (Urban Outfitters, I’m looking at you!) but I stayed strong. Woo!

3.) Keeping Track

I’m still writing down every penny that I spend and, while tedious, it has been extremely eye-opening.

The Bad:

1.) Grocery Shopping

It has become really obvious that I’m not being practical when it comes to food shopping. Instead of making one weekly trip to the grocery store I’ve been picking up things as I need them. Last week I wound up making four  $15-$20 grocery-store purchases rather than one $50-$60 purchase. So, my goal this week is to get all of my groceries on Monday (heading to Trader Joe’s now!) and then make do with that stuff for the entire week. I’m hoping that will cut down my spending a lot. Wish me luck!



Do you guys have any tips for creating and sticking to a grocery budget?

Here’s to a fun-filled and productive week!


  1. Ellie said:

    Make a LIST! Stick to that list (no impulse buys). Don’t go to the store hungry as you’ll make more impulse buys. When your parents offer to give you things, TAKE THEM! Don’t buy organic on thick skinned fruits (the chemicals don’t get through the skins). Buy in bulk. Things like nuts/seeds/yogurt etc are cheaper in bulk. Also, you can weigh out the amount you need and pay alot less. For example, my local Wegmans has a grind your own almond butter machine. I like all types of spreads so I don’t go through almond butter too fast. Therefore, I only grind a little bit and pay about $2 every two weeks for that.

    If you’re bad at sticking with a list or impulse buying, go with a friend who will hold you accountable. Its also fun to shop with friends 🙂

    • Emily said:

      Ahh…I knew you would have good tips for me!
      Thank you, thank you, thank you!

      I made a list yesterday and stuck to it 100% which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I planned out some meals ahead of time too so that I’d know exactly what I needed. It made a huge difference! And I never, ever buy organic when it’s a thick-skinned fruit- such a waste of money!
      Hopefully I’ll stick to the budget for the rest of the week. (:

  2. Since I still live at home I’m very grateful for my parents to still pay for my groceries, but I still try to not go overboard. I think making a list and meal planning definitely help! That way you don’t buy things you won’t need. Good luck with week three!

    • Emily said:

      I wish my parents still bought my groceries! Definitely enjoy that while it lasts. (:
      Making a list and meal-planning (kind of) has helped a lot so far! We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. Thank you!

  3. adashofmeg said:

    Loved the pics of you and your sis! It seems like you’re doing great with the challenge babe! I’ve had a few dinners out (two nights in a row oops!), but I haven’t bought anything else! lol so you could say i’m not doing aweeeesome, but being more mindful for sure!

    • Emily said:

      Thank you!
      I’ve gone out to eat multiple times too. But, oh well! I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to go out and have fun. It’s much more about being aware than being perfect. (:

  4. y’all are adorable. 🙂 as for grocery budgets … plan out what your meals are going to be for the week. if you’re like me and don’t mind eating the same thing for a whole week, you can cook everything say, Sunday, so it saves you time throughout the week as well. I’ve seen it helps me with my budget AND time. so it’s worth it. plus if you think about it, those trips to the store cost money … so one trip a week or I know some that do one trip every two weeks would help save some money too.

    • Emily said:

      I actually don’t mind eating the same thing all week most of the time- I tend to do that anyways! I get on a kick with something and eat a ton of it until I find a new addiction (or get sick of it!) I made up a bunch of stuff yesterday to use throughout the week which should make a big difference. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Taylor said:

    I meal plan and try to utilize food more than one way (i.e. chicken for dinner one night, then have it for lunch). Also in the summer I try to buy produce from farmers markets because they are usually cheaper. It seems like you are doing well at this challenge! Also happy birthday to your sister 🙂

    • Emily said:

      I lovelovelove my Farmer’s Market! It’s amazing how much delicious (mostly organic) food you can get for cheap!

  6. Eeeek you just hit the bane of my spending existence. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to stick to a budget when it comes to food. What can I say… I love food and like to eat well 😕 Some tips I’ve come across (but don’t always stick to) are: buying bulk, stocking up on non-perishables when there’s a sale, avoiding all of the fancy “health food” supplements/powders/foods, buying generic rather than brand name, and meal planning.

    • Emily said:

      Haha! Exactly. I can’t help it. (:
      I’ve definitely been stocking up whenever one of my staple, non-perishable items goes on sale. I know it’ll help down the line! And I’m wish you on buying generic. 99% of the time the ingredients list is identical to the more expensive, name-brand counterpart!

  7. Sounds like you’re doing great with your challenge so far! I also think sticking to one grocery trip per week saves a lot. I know when I make multiple stops throughout the week, I end up spending a lot more because a few less-expensive trips don’t seem as much as one bigger trip. I still like to shop at both Sprouts and Whole Foods, but I make sure to only hit up each store once a week.

    • Emily said:

      Yeah- Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are definitely my biggest weaknesses. Thankfully TJ’s is fairly affordable!

  8. Lisa said:

    Oh goodness, I’m just SO bad with budgeting. It’s something I know I need to work on. One of my biggest fears is being in debt even just a dollar in debt would be my nightmare, so I’m doing everything to avoid that. Luckily, my parents are really helpful in providing me with insight into how to avoid it at all costs. I’m not on a heavy budget by any means, but I know I should really start tracking my spending, because I’d like to be able to buy more extravagant things once in a while. It’s tough!
    You’re doing amazing so far! Super impressed by that.
    I’m glad you and your Sis had a great time together, I always have a blast with my little Sister too!

    • Emily said:

      My parents have been really helpful over the past few years as well. I’m so grateful to have them!
      And I’m in the same boat! I would love to be able to buy more extravagant things down the line and I never, ever want to be in debt. So, I figured now is the perfect time to get on top of my budgeting. Better safe than sorry!

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