Monday, September 30, 2013

October Goals


WHAT? There is NO way I'm about to start October goals. Maybe I'll say this every month, but September went by so quickly! Like so many others, I'm welcoming October with joy in my heart.. Fall is by far my favorite season, and October always seems to end up being a busy, wonderful month! 

Let's look at my goals from last month: 


September Goals: 
  • Paint the old nightstand that is sitting in our garage
  • Clean makeup brushes
  • Find something for above our fireplace mantle 
  • Healthy eating, we're working on making this our next disciplinary goal.. now that I feel like I've conquered our finances
  • Clean out our guest room 
  • Plan and book our European Adventure for next summer
  • Read a book for fun 
Wahoo! I am so thankful to have completed two leftover August goals: painting the nightstand and cleaning my makeup brushes. Cleaning the brushes squeezed in just in time.. I actually got up from writing this post to go do it. I think the trouble is having a good time to clean them that you know you won't be needing to apply makeup with enough time for them to dry. I'm not sure I did a super professional job, but they're cleaner than they were before... and I'm going to call it good. :) I kept searching for something above the fireplace.. with no luck. I have only two weeks before our home shoot so I better find something quick! I'm also planning on finishing the guest room pretty early this month, as we are having visitors soon! We started eating a lot healthier (more meals at home = good news for us!) and shared our Europe plans here. 

My last overlooked goal needs YOU! I literally didn't read a book. WHO AM I? Reading is truly one of my favorite things.. and I need a great one to start ASAP. What is your favorite book? Read anything good lately? Leave some suggestions in the comments, or email me! (Note: debbie downer books are not my thing.. I started reading the highly recommended The Paris Wife on an airplane and had to stop reading it because it made me sad. Keep that in mind. :) 

September Marriage Goals: 

  • Be a supportive coach's wife as football season is a huge adjustment
  • Pray over Ben and his role in the community in the mornings and at night
  • Ask each other these questions every Sunday 
  • Make Ben's school lunch every day

YAY! I am so encouraged after crossing off all of these marriage goals. Asking Sunday questions has been extremely beneficial for us. I made a LOT of lunches. I missed one or two, but I'm still calling this a victory! Really, it was just great for me to have several goals to focus on as I walked through this month of loving Mr. Benjamin Luke. 

October Goals: 
  • Find something for above our fireplace 
  • Clean out the guest room 
  • Read a book for fun
  • Attend the Magnolia Fall Home Show in Waco, Texas 
  • Visit College Station, Texas for a Kappa Alpha Theta event
  • Finish my "homemade Christmas" secret santa gift for Ben's Granny's side of the family

How is my new 101 in 1,001 list going to fit in with normal monthly goals? Sometimes I may include something from my 101 list in monthly goals if I really want to tackle it that month, but for the most part, they'll be new, additional goals. Am I a goal loony? Yes, probably. I promise in the future all of my blog posts won't be about goals. Goals, goals, goals. That word has been so overused in this post. Yikes! 

What do y'all have planned for October? Also, leave me a book suggestion, please! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Currently




First, thank you so much for all of your support with my 101 in 1,001 list! It has really encouraged me how many people have come out of the woodwork volunteering to help me learn a skill or participate in something with me. YAY! I really tried to pick things that were out of my comfort zone and mixing things up, all while being realistic. These things are becoming even more realistic with YOUR help. I love that so much. Has anyone else made a list yet? When you do, email me a link and I'll post a link to it on mine.. and if you don't blog it, still send it to me! Here's a little bit of what's going on right now, I'm excited to share and looking forward to some r&r this weekend with the husband! Weekends are sweet.. y'all get out there and enjoy yours! XO

...reading the book of John. I like reading about what Jesus did during his time on earth and imagining what my response would be if I was living in that time. It challenges my faith. 
...watching I'm halfway through the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy. I skipped watching it last night so that Ben and I could have a date night.... but this show is seriously so great. I'm obsessed. 

...trying 

...eating differently than usual! Three nights a week Ben has football, one night I have bible study, and the other night is our standing (Thursday) date night. So I feel like I've been on vacation from cooking! When Ben's gone, I try and eat something easy, cheap, and healthy. When I have bible study, I have been trying to leave a soup in the crockpot for Ben when he gets home after I've left. I kind of miss cooking regularly! After football season... :)

...pinning too many pumpkin recipes. Ben barely likes pumpkin, so I need some people to try these recipes out on! 

...tweeting let' call it like it is, I usually just retweet other people. :)

...going to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend tonight. Happy Birthday, Liz! This feels like the perfect night, to dress up like hipsters! Dontcha think? :) 
..loving a bunch of goodies that I recently purchased from Bath and Body Works. I love fall scents, and right now I'm enjoying the light scent of a "Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin" Wallflower. It's great. The scents really do make it feel like fall, and our house just feels a bit more homey, too! 

...discovering how much time at church fills me with joy and peace. Starting in a few weeks, I'll be spending three nights a week at church activities plus actual Sunday morning service. For some seasons of life I believe that might be exhausting.. but moving back to our hometown and honestly feeling like we have a clean slate as far as friendships because so many people are gone, it's just different. We've been longing for community and our church family has provided! What do we do? On Sunday mornings we attend regular service and lead lifegroups in the youth (teach Sunday School), and Sunday nights we attend a parenting class taught by Ben's parents. There are no babies on the way for a while, but we didn't want to miss the opportunity to see what Ben's parents would teach people in a classroom setting, as opposed to just advising us on situations as they come along. On Wednesday nights I colead a girls bible study, and on Monday nights I'll be doing a women's discipleship program. By no means is our faith based on these things, but they are SUCH a blessing to us! 

...enjoying all the sweet reader emails I've gotten this week. Man! It just humbles and blows me away every single time. I love nothing more than answering questions about faith, finances, life, or simply just getting encouragement from y'all and making new friends. YOU BLESS ME! 

...thinking about a few fun trips that I have coming up! Next week, I'll be returning to College Station to participate in my sorority's "Big/Little Reveal"... where my grand little will reveal herself to her little. It's such a fun night of community and picture taking and just plain joy! It will be so wonderful to see so many sweet friends! 

...feeling again, like routine is continuing to set in. I'm loving fall's rhythm. 

...hoping to get all of our Christmas shopping officially done soon! I know.. I'm crazy. But I love feeling on top of things, and I really believe this would simplify things for us. 

...listening to Matilda make all kinds of doggie noises. She is literally ridiculous, and we love her so much. 

...thanking the Lord for so many exciting opportunities that are on the horizon!  

...starting to really and truly enjoy my early morning workouts. Cue the angels singing a sound of surprised rejoicing!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

101 in 1001



I've seen lists like this all over blogs I admire for sometime, but had felt so intimidated to finish the list. What if people thought my "goals" were silly? What if I didn't complete them? I started making this list a few months ago, and this morning.. it was time to finish it. The idea of a "101 in 1001" list is to complete 101 things in 1001 days. I had actually started working on some of these things without knowing it, since I had started making the list. Several doors were opened and I'm so excited about that. I'm going to make the start date a while ago, so that I can include those few things. Hopefully that's not cheating. 

I got the final push to start this list from reading Design Darling, and was also inspired by several other bloggers' lists. If you see something you think might have been pulled from your list or someone you know's list... it probably was! I was inspired by so many, and am truly excited to get started. I really think this will motivate us to have some really fun experiences. So let's take a look at my list, shall we? 

101 in 1001
Start Date: August 30, 2013
End Date: May 27, 2016
I used this to figure out my dates.
  1. Come up with 101 things (completed September 25, 2013)
  2. Pay off our house
  3. Invest in blog business cards (completed March 2014)
  4. Inspire someone else to write their own list (Courtney in September 2013, Mathilde in October 2013, Chelsea in October 2013, Joyce in October 2013, Jenni)
  5. Hit 100 followers on my blog (people I don’t know in real life!) (November 2013 on GFC and Bloglovin!) 
  6. Host a dinner party in our home
  7. Host a shower in our home January 2014
  8. Run a 5K
  9. Purchase a clutch for fancy dinners and weddings October 2014 from Gigi New York
  10. Attend a blog conference Hope Spoken, March 2014
  11. Send fifty handwritten notes
  12. Start a collection of Christmas decorations November 2013, recorded here
  13. Send out Christmas cards December 2013, recap coming soon! 
  14. Creatively display scripture in our home
  15. Like all of my shoes
  16. Go enjoy 5 things that tourists do in Fort Worth, Texas (our city!)
  17. Learn to make Ben’s mom’s lasagna recipe (August 2013.. I learned to make this as a birthday gift for Ben!)
  18. Get a before/after from our home published on a blog I admire The Everygirl
  19. Do an in-home photo shoot
  20. Establish a family tradition Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas Morning (December 2013)
  21. Surprise a friend with flowers
  22. Lead a high school girls bible study ( September 2013-December 2013)
  23. Read the bible chronologically (Started April 2014....
  24. Make a watercolor painting (Completed November 2013, recorded here)
  25. Support a local artist
  26. Travel to London with Ben so he can meet all of my extended family June 2014
  27. Go to Downton Abbey
  28. Share a sugar with my hubs on the streets of Paris June 2014
  29. Pay for a stranger’s meal/drink
  30. Meet a need for someone
  31. Try 10 new restaurants in our area (5/10) Torchy's Tacos, Brewed Coffee Pub, LSA Burger, Frescos, The Egg and I,
  32. Gain a new certification (Real Estate License February 2014)
  33. Take a Central Market Sushi 101 cooking class (Completed March 2014, here)
  34. Invest in 5 beautiful coffee table books (5/5) Emily Post's Etiquette, Paris: An Inspiring tour of the city's creative heart, The Flower Recipe Book, Versailles, Vanity Fair 100 Years,
  35. Go to a Texas Rangers game
  36. Find a way to record all the places we’ve traveled in our home
  37. Make homemade clam chowder for my father-in-law
  38. Surprise Ben with tickets to a musical
  39. Complete 5 furniture makeovers
  40. Find a perfume that I love Prada Candy, June 2014
  41. Celebrate our one year anniversary December 2013
  42. And our two year!
  43. And our three year!
  44. Have a picnic
  45. Visit a friend in another state (completed August 20, 2013- September 1, 2013, visited Chandra, Meredith, and Collin in Nashville)
  46. Attend a horse race
  47. Learn to French braid
  48. Post three times a week on the blog for a full month Somewhere in September/October this became habit! 
  49. Go to the gym three times a week for a full month ( September 9, 2013- October 11, 2013)
  50. Meet an interior designer that I admire (October 2013, Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper)
  51. Take a road trip
  52. Visit New York City with Ben
  53. Help someone set up a budget (completed September 2, 2013- the Campbell clan!)
  54. Get a professional blowout at a DryBar
  55. Fill our home with fresh flowers March 2014 for a Photo Shoot
  56. Help Ben with a task on the farm
  57. Find a rockin shade of red lipstick November 2013
  58. Actually wear the red lipstick
  59. Learn basic camera skills to improve the quality of my blog photos
  60. Have Ben’s Meme write out her famous “Magic Cookie” recipe for me to frame (completed October 2013, shared here)
  61. Redo our guest bedroom
  62. Complete Social Media Free weekends every weekend for a month
  63. Go to a Drive-In movie
  64. Write out our “love story”
  65. Become a Morning Person
  66. Clean out our Pantry Completed October 2013
  67. Clean out my closet
  68. Clean out Ben’s closet
  69. Clean out our sunroom Completed by Ben, January 2013
  70. Make our own laundry detergent
  71. Acquire a new cookbook every year (3/3) 2013- The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, 2014- It's All Good- Gwenyth Paltrow, 2015- Skinnytaste
  72. Set up a sewing area
  73. Make a t-shirt quilt In Progress, Summer 2014
  74. Decorate our entryway
  75. Create an online address book Add your address here!
  76. Write a guest post for another blogger (completed before start on Bloom, but won't count this!) (Happy is a Choice, October 2013) (Anchored in Love Divine, February 2013)
  77. Post a guest post from someone on my blog
  78. Read 20 new books (18/20) A Modern Girls Guide to Bible Study by Jen Hatmaker, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Allegiant by Veronica Roth, Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks, The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith, The One and Only by Emily Giffin, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Make it Happen by Lara Casey, The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, Four by Veronica Roth, If I stay by Gayle Foreman, Where she Went by Gayle Foreman, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, The Heiresses by Sara Shepherd, 
  79. Fill a journal with prayers
  80. Host a major holiday in our home Thanksgiving 2013
  81. Listen to 10 podcasted sermons
  82. Subscribe to a magazine that I truly enjoy reading October 2013 HGTV Magazine
  83. Try and blog 10 new Pinterest recipes
  84. Return to College Station to tailgate or attend a game as an official former student
  85. Go to a professional musical performance again The Lion King in London, June 2014
  86. Support a friend in something they’re doing Michelle's Baptism- February 2013
  87. Bake someone a cake
  88. Invest in a nice piece of jewelry (or be gifted one by the hubby.. hint!!)
  89. Do “random acts of kindness” 
  90. Meet up with five (more) blogging friends in person (1/5) Bailey,
  91. Collaborate with a blog friend for a project I believe in
  92. Complete family scrapbooks every year (2/3) 
  93. Surprise someone
  94. Own a pair of Kate Spade shoes (gifted in October 2013)
  95. Have a blog giveaway recorded here
  96. Help out with a Kappa Alpha Theta chapter as an alum
  97. Help fund an adoption
  98. Walk Matilda every day for a week
  99. Develop a skin care routine
  100. Go technology free for a full day
  101. Try an unusual work-out class

There it is, friends! What do you think? Some goals are HUGE (pay off house) while others are small and silly (find a shade of red lipstick)... What goals do you want to complete alongside me? Do you have a list that I need to read? 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, friends! 

Ps. If I inspire you to write your own list and you DO, email me either your link or your list.. and I'll cross it off.. Thanks! XO 

Monday, September 23, 2013

London (and other places!) Calling

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this photo and announcement on Saturday..


We booked our trip to Europe for next summer! On Saturday, we confirmed our flights and made things official. We were giddy! I thought I would take this opportunity to explain why we're going, and a few of our plans.

My whole family is from England. Before Ben and I got married, my United States family members looked like this.. Mom, Dad, brother. Every relative of mine lives somewhere in the UK. Growing up, we traveled to England every summer to spend time with family. My parents both still have strong accents, although my brother and I don't at all. How did we get over here? My dad worked/works in the travel industry, and I guess my parents thought that a move to the US sounded fun. They moved to New Jersey for a year, before I was born. Then, they moved to Paris, France for two years, where I was born. Some of you may remember when my blog was called "Bonjour Victoria!".... that's where that came from. When I was about a year old, they moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and then to Texas before I started Kindergarten. We've been here ever since.

Especially in the past few years, I've really grown thankful for my roots. Yes, I am obsessed with the royal family, because of the unity they bring to England. Also, Kate Middleton is my hero! I know a lot of people say that, but I really do love her. It's hard to explain, and I don't think I even know the full of it, but there's something about the royals that is just so wonderful, they almost feel like an extension of family. One of my cousins also sang in the Royal Choir for awhile, so I really thought that was my in to meeting Kate. :) Now, I'm just as thankful for the roots that I've established on my own, and through our marriage. Those roots are the exact opposite. They are as Southern as can be. Ben's side of the family was a huge inspiration for how we planned our wedding. I mean, we had our wedding photos taken in front of a front porch, for crying out loud!



Speaking of our wedding, we were so thankful that several relatives made it across the pond to celebrate with us last December. The photo below is of the cousins on my Dad's side of the family. This was the first time that my grandmother has ever been with all four of us at one time. That sounds ridiculous, but it's true. We've all been together without her a few times, and as we got older, a lot of times just me or just my brother would come to England. This was a pretty sweet moment, and I'm so thankful for this photo by Sara Lilas Photography.


Other family members couldn't make it to our wedding, which I totally understand. However, it's important to us that Ben gets to meet and spend time with the other family members. We talked a lot about trying to go this summer that just ended (2013), but when we would have needed to plan the trip, things about our future careers were just too up in the air. We wanted to make sure we knew what the summer would look like before we made plans.

But now things are in place, we knew that it was a priority for Summer 2014 to travel to the UK. And it's happening! We will be gone for a little over two weeks. We're starting the trip with a flight to London Heathrow, and a little over a week of hopping between different family members in England. We're also planning on visiting Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed, during that week. (BAHHHH! SO EXCITED FOR THAT!) Then, we'll spend four nights in London, exploring the city together. I've been to London countless times, but exploring on my own with my husband who has never been will be totally different! After that, we're taking the train to Paris, France, for another four nights in the beautiful city where I was born. This trip still feels like a total dream to us, and we're so thankful for all the people who have made it possible.

I'm so excited to share so many childhood places with Ben. We're going to be in an intense countdown until next June! I'm dreaming of picnics by the Eiffel Tower, showing Ben my favorite shops in the towns where my family is from, trying out fun eateries, taking beautiful photos... the list goes on and on.

What would y'all put on our "to do" list? Does any one have any connections with photographers in London or Paris? I'd love to do a portrait shoot of us in either one of those cities. Let me know in the comments below, friends! Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fall, Y'all!



A big, three wick Bath and Body Works Leaves candle is burning behind me. I've got the Anthropologie Thanksgiving Spotify playlist on. Our home is clean again after hosting a friend's birthday party last night. We woke up to a glimpse of fall weather here in Texas, so our A/C is off, the windows are open. I can hear the sounds of Ben weed eating in the yard when I pass by certain windows.

I've said it before, but Autumn feels like the fresh start I fail to receive in January. There is something normal and fresh about us being home on a Saturday morning, slowly working through our list of chores. Maybe it's because Ben's football season hours are long, but it feels so good to just be home together, completing normal tasks together. I'm so excited for us to go to Home Depot later. I feel like we are falling into the rhythm of our life's new routine and it feels wonderful. I love this season, rooted in gratitude. I'm overflowing with ideas of ways to spend intentional time with friends and family.

The first day of Fall is tomorrow, but it feels like today. I'm excited.


Ps. I'm starting a list for mailing our Christmas cards. If you'd like one, shoot me your mailing address in an email!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Organizing our Bathroom

In the past few weeks, I've noticed a few "trouble spots" in our home. Areas that seem impossible to keep organized, where mess just stacks up.

I am no professional organizer, although that might be my dream job. Eeee! However, I wanted to share how I transformed our bathroom cabinets. I had the help of this little girl.


Let's check out our "Before":


I tried hard to organize when we moved in. I really did. Those baskets had good intentions. But when you don't have a place for everything, sometimes organizing just turns into "arranging your stuff in a clean way". Real organizing happens when you give things categories and places to go. When you know where to put things back, that's when you can maintain an organizational system. The two baskets above are filled with tons of bathroom things, some we don't even use. There is literally no rhyme or reason to what is in each basket.

Now, here's something you should know. Our little old house has TONS of storage space. Like, more than we could ever need with just two people. Which is awesome. So, there are a lot of cabinets that I never look in. When we moved in right in the craziness of Christmas and our wedding last year, relatives just kind of put stuff places. Which was such a blessing, but now I'm having to go back and discover things. Haha. The below "before" cabinet shot is one of those places I've never touched.


There is a stack of smoke detectors, some lightbulbs, a plunger, some electrical outlet thingys, and a Pottery Barn bag full of random items. Lovely.

So then, I got down to business. Matilda did too. She decided to stretch first.


I pulled everything out of the cabinets, onto the floor. I wanted to be able to look at everything, throw stuff away, and establish categories.


Cue horror movie music. I had to humble myself before posting this. Yikes. Ick, ick, ick. Notice that the Pottery Barn bag was housing some really really important EMPTY BAGS OF RAZORS. Neat. Clearly this project was long overdue.

I threw away a ton of stuff. Products that are empty or unused. I put all the samples together, I moved the construction supplies to a more logical location. I put all the lotions together, all the soaps together, etc.

Then, this happened.


Ahhhhhh. A sigh of relief. Already, this has worked so much better for us. It's incredible. I do need to get some more toilet paper to make my stacks more solid, though.



Let's look at some details. The extra towels are now on a higher shelf because we don't use them regularly. My lady things now have a basket so they are ready and out of the way. There is now a spot for my makeup bag to be stored during off time.

The basket on the left holds the few hair products that I use regularly, my blow dryer, and straightener. My old one is also stored in the bag, just in case. This basket is mostly empty but it works so much better with my few things inside. For example, when I get out of the shower now, I just reach for my leave in conditioner, grab a small amount, and put it back in the basket. It's okay that an everyday product isn't out in the open, because I know exactly where it is.

The basket on the right holds Ben's shaving kit, some makeup remover wipes, face wash for us both, and deodorant. Again, mostly empty.


The MVP award goes to these plastic tubs. They may not be the most attractive, but they are getting the job done. Now, all of the junk that just got thrown in the baskets has a place. I can find everything quickly, which simplifies our live. That's the goal here. I also want to label these with some label paper, but our printer ink is out and I need to wait till next month's miscellaneous budget category. #envelopesystemproblems

Left cabinet:
Contacts and Contact Solution
Dental Hygiene
Body sprays and lotions
Cleaning Products

Right Cabinet:
Product samples and travel sizes
Nail polish and other nail care things
Extra Soaps
Medicine

TA-DA! I'm feeling so so good about this.

Your organizing take aways:

  • Locate problem areas 
  • Fix the problem that is keeping you from staying organized there 
  • Give everything a place 
  • Declutter!
Okay.. what are some of y'alls problem areas? Please tell me I'm not alone here! Any organizing projects you're working on? Or need to? :)

Happy Weekend, friends!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How To: The Envelope System as a College Student


As you may have read here, in the past six months, I have become incredibly passionate about handling money with wisdom.

I poured my heart and soul into my most time consuming, and most popular blog post. How to: The Envelope System. We loved walking through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University with some friends, but the real change started when I realized that as a wife, I need to have a huge role in our budgeting, not just hand it off to Ben. The envelope system was awful and intimidating and tedious and I hated it. UNTIL I ACTUALLY TRIED IT. When I let go of some misconceptions and humbled myself, the Lord really used the envelope system to change the way I handle money completely.

It has already had incredible impact on our little family, and I am so looking forward to seeing the goals it helps us reach in years to come. We are certain that even if we reach a point of "great wealth" or whatever, we will live on a budget. It's important to have discipline and boundaries in our lives.

Today, I want to go into detail on how to use this system as a college student. I've gotten so many questions from people in different life stages, and today I want to focus on college students. :)

Can we be transparent for a second? My financial wisdom in college boiled down to this: if I spend less money on food, I can spend more money ordering things online from Anthropologie and J. Crew. During our last semester of college (right after getting engaged, and leading up to our wedding), Ben challenged me to save $1,000. I remember whining and thinking it was impossible. With the goal of honoring my future husband on my mind, I curbed my shopping a little bit, and at the end of the semester I had $1,200 in my bank account, ready to be passed along to Ben. My yucky heart joyfully spent that last $200 on honeymoon clothes. Looking back, I hate where my heart was in that, but I think it was okay to celebrate our honeymoon with a few new outfits. :) I digress...

The point is- I knew ZERO about handling money. I had parents who taught me to never go into debt, and I know my dad saved like crazy... but I didn't know where I fit into all of this. I guess I thought it wasn't my problem. Hello, selfish! I was in college for three and a half years, 7 semesters. I could have saved $7,000 during college. This isn't a guaranteed, and everyones college financial situations are different. I only share this information for one reason: to show you how dark my heart was in the depths of materialism, and to prove that I knew nothing about handling money before the envelope system. 

Let's look at some of the worries I had about the envelope system again: 


  • Carrying around cash makes me nervous, what if I loose it or it gets stolen?
  • I don't want to take the extra time at the cashier, digging through my cash and coins when I could just easily slide my debit or credit card.
  • I like seeing a list of where my money has gone in my online banking. 
  • Real honesty: It sounds like a pain and I don't want to do it. 

Before digging into this, please read my original Envelope System post. It gives background on how we do things in our family of two, and it will set you up with an understanding of the system before I get into how I would handle it as a college student now. The information below doesn't stand alone. You would need to read this post and then take the budget information below to figure out what would work for you. Let me tell you, it IS important to learn how to handle money in college, and the envelope system can totally work! 

Making your budget:

I have put some numbers out there as if I was a college student right now. I was surprised at how I had totally forgotten how much I used to spend on groceries. The amounts for groceries, eating out, and extra entertainment are pretty high. I started out high so that those amounts can be tested out if you want, and then adjusted to what works for you. As I chose numbers, I planned as if I was a college student with a very busy social schedule. Because let's be real, that's often the case. I also  Like I said, adjust. The only thing that makes budgeting work is designing it to fit your lifestyle and your schedule. For example: if you are on campus from 9 am until 10pm on Tuesdays, budget to always buy your dinner on campus. It's do able to pack a lunch, but packing two just wouldn't happen.. at least for me!

Determine your categories and amounts. In our budget, I use monthly and weekly categories. For a college student, I think monthly amounts would be more practical. I would recommend designating a day every month to look over your budget, redo your envelopes, and get ready for the next month. For your busy college schedule, I would suggest writing it in your planner every month on the same day, or even setting a notification on your phone. Make it happen, people! 


Groceries: $160
This covers $40 per week for food purchased at the grocery store. When I was in college, I usually went every other week and spent around $80. This category could be adjusted if you had a schedule that required a lot more eating out. 

Eating Out: $140
$35 a week for eating out is a little high in my mind right now, but I recall getting lunch/coffee/dinner with a friend almost every day. College is the one time in life where you have the freedom to connect with people this much on a daily basis, and I would encourage it! However, you can keep your eye on what you order. This category would also include Sonic and Starbucks runs... really any food or drink you buy anywhere other than a grocery store. 

Misc. Entertainment: $80
I planned for $20 a week, forgetting that movies in most college towns cost $4. Oops. I might suggest cutting this in half if that's the case. But if you had $20 a week, this would include trips to the movies, maybe drinks out with friends (ONLY IF YOU ARE 21! Underage drinking is breaking the law and is the opposite of cool. Also the opposite of wisdom!) , going bowling (did that one time in college. literally one time.), concerts, whatever. This is a category where you could skip a movie for a while and then have money for a concert.. it's one to be flexible with how you spend your money on entertainment. 

5th Sunday: $32 
Okay. Bear with me. Every three months, there is a month that seems longer, because there are five weeks instead of four.  To fix this problem with your weekly amounts, you add up your weekly categories (groceries, eating out, and entertainment) and divide by three months. That way, every three months you'll have enough cash to cover that extra week. For example, if it was $33, then you would put $11 in this envelope every month. Then, during the longer month, you have saved the $33 that you need for the week and you don't have to feel like you are spending more money that month. I hope I communicated that clearly, feel free to email me!

Toiletries: $40
This covers anything you would buy at the grocery store that isn't food. Paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. I didn't really take into account that you might share some of these costs with roommates. Let me encourage you to not be the roommate trying to get out of paying his or her share of  paper towels. That is frustrating, and a really unfair way to treat your roommates. :)

School Supplies: $10
This amount can build up so that whenever you need new pens or paper or printer ink or whatever, there is money there ready! 

Haircut: $15
Putting aside $15 into a haircut envelope each month means that every 4 months you'll have $60 for a haircut at a nice salon! Again, I went on the high side here, because I know I was always nervous about trying places in College Station that weren't nicer salons. 

Cosmetics: $10
I used to think this category was wayyyy under budgeted, but for the most part it works out. I like mostly nicer makeup, and this covers all that I need to buy. I occasionally add my mascara into the general toiletry budget because I buy that a lot, but I think this is great!

Auto Repair: $20
If you pay for your oil changes, not your parents, putting aside $20 a month will allow for an oil change regularly, and save a little bit in case your car needs anything else done in the future. 

Christmas: $30
I just put $30.. but you would determine this category by making a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for, budgeting amounts to spend on each person, and adding up to a total amount spent on Christmas presents. Then divide that by the number of months you have until December (usually 12, if you budget like this always.. but if you started it in October you'd only have three months, so you would divide by 3!) 

  • This doesn't include rent, utilities, a tithe or gas. Using envelopes for numbers that are the same every month doesn't really do anything. I just use envelopes for expenses throughout the month that are different (groceries, eating out, etc.) I also don't advise using envelopes for gas. Two reasons. 1. Because going into the gas station to pay with cash isn't always practical or safe. 2. You can't really limit your driving to work, school, church, wherever. 
  • Depending on the money you're working with, I would also want to include a Miscellaneous Giving category. This is my favorite category that we have. It allows for bringing treats to people, donating to various ministries, etc. 
  • I also didn't include any categories for clothes, or random splurges. You can add that in however you see fit. :) I get a one time monthly amount for these things. 
  • Add or take away categories as needed. Some people may not need the auto repair envelope, or school supplies, or whatever.  Or even groceries, if you live on campus and have a meal plan. MAKE THIS YOUR OWN!! That's the only way it will work! 


Living out your Budget: 

Now, you have to stick with it. You need to work on it. Budgeting is a discipline. For most (hi! me!) it doesn't come easily. It's really hard. But it is important to learn some sort of money management at some point, and there is no better time than college. Follow the procedures listed in my original envelope system post. Spend time praying for the Lord to give you wisdom in handling finances. As I mentioned before, spend time once a month switching out your envelopes and evaluating your finances. 

A few things: 
  • I mention in my original post that for some things, I leave the envelopes at home and use a debit card, with the amount in the envelope in mind. For example, today I went to Bath and Body Works to get a few candles. Because I am obsessed with fall scents. True confessions. Anyways, I spent $30. I paid with my debit card. I then set aside $30 of my fun money to deposit into the bank. I didn't have to bring around all my cash, yet I still spent with the boundary of the envelope in mind. This is great for college because I feel like a lot of times people just have their wallet attached to their keys on them. You could totally just use the envelopes at your house for some things. Why is this even worth it? Because you are setting the boundary. Mint.com doesn't do this well at all, trust me. Give this a shot. For some college students that really want to give it a shot, it will work great. Others, it won't seem so practical. You could just use it for your groceries if you wanted. Or just for eating out. I would encourage you to find an area to apply it to and see what you think works! 
  • I am fully aware that all college students (and really everyone) have different financial situations. Some are living paycheck to paycheck. Some never see any money and just swipe their parents' card. I don't mean to discourage anyone if this system can't fit in with their financial situation. 
  • I think it's easy to think "I'm a girl. I don't need to know about finances. I can just do whatever and my future husband will take care of it." Not true, ladies. Even when your prince charming comes along, even if he is extremely wise with money... he may have student loans or about to go to law school or WHATEVER. All I'm saying is, saving money is good at any time of life. :)


There you have it, friends! I truly hope and pray this is helpful! If you have any questions or comments.. please leave them below! 

Also, if this post helps you out, feel free to pin it to pinterest by clicking the image at the beginning of the post, or sharing the link on your facebook wall! I'm sure other college friends of yours would appreciate a looksie. :)




How To: The Envelope System as a College Student


As you may have read here, in the past six months, I have become incredibly passionate about handling money with wisdom.

I poured my heart and soul into my most time consuming, and most popular blog post. How to: The Envelope System. We loved walking through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University with some friends, but the real change started when I realized that as a wife, I need to have a huge role in our budgeting, not just hand it off to Ben. The envelope system was awful and intimidating and tedious and I hated it. UNTIL I ACTUALLY TRIED IT. When I let go of some misconceptions and humbled myself, the Lord really used the envelope system to change the way I handle money completely.

It has already had incredible impact on our little family, and I am so looking forward to seeing the goals it helps us reach in years to come. We are certain that even if we reach a point of "great wealth" or whatever, we will live on a budget. It's important to have discipline and boundaries in our lives.

Today, I want to go into detail on how to use this system as a college student. I've gotten so many questions from people in different life stages, and today I want to focus on college students. :)

Can we be transparent for a second? My financial wisdom in college boiled down to this: if I spend less money on food, I can spend more money ordering things online from Anthropologie and J. Crew. During our last semester of college (right after getting engaged, and leading up to our wedding), Ben challenged me to save $1,000. I remember whining and thinking it was impossible. With the goal of honoring my future husband on my mind, I curbed my shopping a little bit, and at the end of the semester I had $1,200 in my bank account, ready to be passed along to Ben. My yucky heart joyfully spent that last $200 on honeymoon clothes. Looking back, I hate where my heart was in that, but I think it was okay to celebrate our honeymoon with a few new outfits. :) I digress...

The point is- I knew ZERO about handling money. I had parents who taught me to never go into debt, and I know my dad saved like crazy... but I didn't know where I fit into all of this. I guess I thought it wasn't my problem. Hello, selfish! I was in college for three and a half years, 7 semesters. I could have saved $7,000 during college. This isn't a guaranteed, and everyones college financial situations are different. I only share this information for one reason: to show you how dark my heart was in the depths of materialism, and to prove that I knew nothing about handling money before the envelope system. 

Let's look at some of the worries I had about the envelope system again: 


  • Carrying around cash makes me nervous, what if I loose it or it gets stolen?
  • I don't want to take the extra time at the cashier, digging through my cash and coins when I could just easily slide my debit or credit card.
  • I like seeing a list of where my money has gone in my online banking. 
  • Real honesty: It sounds like a pain and I don't want to do it. 

Before digging into this, please read my original Envelope System post. It gives background on how we do things in our family of two, and it will set you up with an understanding of the system before I get into how I would handle it as a college student now. The information below doesn't stand alone. You would need to read this post and then take the budget information below to figure out what would work for you. Let me tell you, it IS important to learn how to handle money in college, and the envelope system can totally work! 

Making your budget:

I have put some numbers out there as if I was a college student right now. I was surprised at how I had totally forgotten how much I used to spend on groceries. The amounts for groceries, eating out, and extra entertainment are pretty high. I started out high so that those amounts can be tested out if you want, and then adjusted to what works for you. As I chose numbers, I planned as if I was a college student with a very busy social schedule. Because let's be real, that's often the case. I also  Like I said, adjust. The only thing that makes budgeting work is designing it to fit your lifestyle and your schedule. For example: if you are on campus from 9 am until 10pm on Tuesdays, budget to always buy your dinner on campus. It's do able to pack a lunch, but packing two just wouldn't happen.. at least for me!

Determine your categories and amounts. In our budget, I use monthly and weekly categories. For a college student, I think monthly amounts would be more practical. I would recommend designating a day every month to look over your budget, redo your envelopes, and get ready for the next month. For your busy college schedule, I would suggest writing it in your planner every month on the same day, or even setting a notification on your phone. Make it happen, people! 


Groceries: $160
This covers $40 per week for food purchased at the grocery store. When I was in college, I usually went every other week and spent around $80. This category could be adjusted if you had a schedule that required a lot more eating out. 

Eating Out: $140
$35 a week for eating out is a little high in my mind right now, but I recall getting lunch/coffee/dinner with a friend almost every day. College is the one time in life where you have the freedom to connect with people this much on a daily basis, and I would encourage it! However, you can keep your eye on what you order. This category would also include Sonic and Starbucks runs... really any food or drink you buy anywhere other than a grocery store. 

Misc. Entertainment: $80
I planned for $20 a week, forgetting that movies in most college towns cost $4. Oops. I might suggest cutting this in half if that's the case. But if you had $20 a week, this would include trips to the movies, maybe drinks out with friends (ONLY IF YOU ARE 21! Underage drinking is breaking the law and is the opposite of cool. Also the opposite of wisdom!) , going bowling (did that one time in college. literally one time.), concerts, whatever. This is a category where you could skip a movie for a while and then have money for a concert.. it's one to be flexible with how you spend your money on entertainment. 

5th Sunday: $32 
Okay. Bear with me. Every three months, there is a month that seems longer, because there are five weeks instead of four.  To fix this problem with your weekly amounts, you add up your weekly categories (groceries, eating out, and entertainment) and divide by three months. That way, every three months you'll have enough cash to cover that extra week. For example, if it was $33, then you would put $11 in this envelope every month. Then, during the longer month, you have saved the $33 that you need for the week and you don't have to feel like you are spending more money that month. I hope I communicated that clearly, feel free to email me!

Toiletries: $40
This covers anything you would buy at the grocery store that isn't food. Paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. I didn't really take into account that you might share some of these costs with roommates. Let me encourage you to not be the roommate trying to get out of paying his or her share of  paper towels. That is frustrating, and a really unfair way to treat your roommates. :)

School Supplies: $10
This amount can build up so that whenever you need new pens or paper or printer ink or whatever, there is money there ready! 

Haircut: $15
Putting aside $15 into a haircut envelope each month means that every 4 months you'll have $60 for a haircut at a nice salon! Again, I went on the high side here, because I know I was always nervous about trying places in College Station that weren't nicer salons. 

Cosmetics: $10
I used to think this category was wayyyy under budgeted, but for the most part it works out. I like mostly nicer makeup, and this covers all that I need to buy. I occasionally add my mascara into the general toiletry budget because I buy that a lot, but I think this is great!

Auto Repair: $20
If you pay for your oil changes, not your parents, putting aside $20 a month will allow for an oil change regularly, and save a little bit in case your car needs anything else done in the future. 

Christmas: $30
I just put $30.. but you would determine this category by making a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for, budgeting amounts to spend on each person, and adding up to a total amount spent on Christmas presents. Then divide that by the number of months you have until December (usually 12, if you budget like this always.. but if you started it in October you'd only have three months, so you would divide by 3!) 

  • This doesn't include rent, utilities, a tithe or gas. Using envelopes for numbers that are the same every month doesn't really do anything. I just use envelopes for expenses throughout the month that are different (groceries, eating out, etc.) I also don't advise using envelopes for gas. Two reasons. 1. Because going into the gas station to pay with cash isn't always practical or safe. 2. You can't really limit your driving to work, school, church, wherever. 
  • Depending on the money you're working with, I would also want to include a Miscellaneous Giving category. This is my favorite category that we have. It allows for bringing treats to people, donating to various ministries, etc. 
  • I also didn't include any categories for clothes, or random splurges. You can add that in however you see fit. :) I get a one time monthly amount for these things. 
  • Add or take away categories as needed. Some people may not need the auto repair envelope, or school supplies, or whatever.  Or even groceries, if you live on campus and have a meal plan. MAKE THIS YOUR OWN!! That's the only way it will work! 


Living out your Budget: 

Now, you have to stick with it. You need to work on it. Budgeting is a discipline. For most (hi! me!) it doesn't come easily. It's really hard. But it is important to learn some sort of money management at some point, and there is no better time than college. Follow the procedures listed in my original envelope system post. Spend time praying for the Lord to give you wisdom in handling finances. As I mentioned before, spend time once a month switching out your envelopes and evaluating your finances. 

A few things: 
  • I mention in my original post that for some things, I leave the envelopes at home and use a debit card, with the amount in the envelope in mind. For example, today I went to Bath and Body Works to get a few candles. Because I am obsessed with fall scents. True confessions. Anyways, I spent $30. I paid with my debit card. I then set aside $30 of my fun money to deposit into the bank. I didn't have to bring around all my cash, yet I still spent with the boundary of the envelope in mind. This is great for college because I feel like a lot of times people just have their wallet attached to their keys on them. You could totally just use the envelopes at your house for some things. Why is this even worth it? Because you are setting the boundary. Mint.com doesn't do this well at all, trust me. Give this a shot. For some college students that really want to give it a shot, it will work great. Others, it won't seem so practical. You could just use it for your groceries if you wanted. Or just for eating out. I would encourage you to find an area to apply it to and see what you think works! 
  • I am fully aware that all college students (and really everyone) have different financial situations. Some are living paycheck to paycheck. Some never see any money and just swipe their parents' card. I don't mean to discourage anyone if this system can't fit in with their financial situation. 
  • I think it's easy to think "I'm a girl. I don't need to know about finances. I can just do whatever and my future husband will take care of it." Not true, ladies. Even when your prince charming comes along, even if he is extremely wise with money... he may have student loans or about to go to law school or WHATEVER. All I'm saying is, saving money is good at any time of life. :)


There you have it, friends! I truly hope and pray this is helpful! If you have any questions or comments.. please leave them below! 

Also, if this post helps you out, feel free to pin it to pinterest by clicking the image at the beginning of the post, or sharing the link on your facebook wall! I'm sure other college friends of yours would appreciate a looksie. :)