Budget and the Beach: A California girl’s dream of financial freedom
Sometimes it’s great to hear about other people’s journey on the path to saving money. We can learn from the hurdles they’ve come across and the wisdom they’ve gathered, all the while getting inspired to save for ourselves. That’s why we are happy to introduce you to Tonya from Budget and the Beach. Not only does she have some incredible tips and advice for living within your means, but she’s just plain cool! So cool, in fact, you just have to meet her …
Where I’m based: Los Angeles, in an area called the South Bay.
How long I’ve been blogging: I’ve been blogging for at least 10 years, but most blogs have come and gone. I’ve had my current site for almost a year, and so far it’s been my favorite!
Blog basics: My focus has been my journey to becoming more financially stable, while at the same time navigating a freelance career as a video editor. It’s really tough to be a freelancer living in expensive Los Angeles. Now my focus is shifting more towards living a happy, healthy lifestyle on a budget.
Other blogs I love: There are just way too many to name. Mostly, I follow personal finance blogs, and one of my favorites is my friend Mackenzie’s blog, The Random Path. She’s a cool chick. I just “get” her. And she lives in Cali, too! I also love The Shop My Closet Project, and can’t wait to meet Michelle at FinCon13.
Guilty pleasure: Chocolate, shows on the CW like The Vampire Diaries, wine, watching Friday Night Lights over and over on Netflix. It’s a great show — you should watch!
Last thing I bought: I just bought some groceries from the farmer’s market one block from my house. Super exciting, huh?
What are your favorite budgeting tools? I’m old school and use an Excel spreadsheet that I created for budgeting. Every time I’ve tried to use apps and websites like Mint, I just don’t seem to stick with it, but I love my Excel spreadsheet.
Tell us about your monthly goals and why you set them. I set monthly goals to challenge myself and make sure I never become too complacent and bored with life. For instance, this month I’m doing a 30-day no drinking challenge and no eating out challenge. I also try to push some mileage on my beach runs. And I made it a goal to cook one new meal a week this month. So far I haven’t killed anyone with my cooking. P.S., I’m looking forward to a glass of wine on May 1.
Would you recommend others set goals? I would, but don’t go too far out into the future. I don’t have a “five year plan” or anything. I usually use visualization for that. I know what I want my life to look like in the future, but I find setting goals too far in advance sets you up for disappointment and/or failure. Focusing on small goals in shorter amounts of time guarantees you more success, at least it has for me.
What’s the hardest lesson you have had to learn on your journey of budgeting so far? The hardest financial lesson I’ve ever learned is not having a budget at all, especially when you are a freelancer. I was living well above my means, did not track my spending, and it nearly wiped out my savings. I would say to keep at budgeting, even if you slip up a month or even go over budget. Seeing where your money is goes is crucial.
What are your favorite places to shop? I have a weakness for Target. I also love sporting goods stores because I’m an athlete, so I feel like a kid in a candy store.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Los Angeles? The weather and the beach. I also have very good friends here.
What’s your least favorite? The traffic and the cost of living. I can’t even imagine buying real estate here.
Do you ever splurge? I do. What you resist persists, so it’s better not to be so rigid with your spending that you’re miserable. I’d say my biggest splurge would be a massage.