PRIMEAZON – why you should Amazon

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Amazon Prime Membership $99 per year

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This hundred dollars per year breaks down to $8.25 a month, which is less than a subscription to Hulu, Netflix, iTunes or Spotify. *They do have a monthly option for $10.99 per month. Get the annual membership (or Free Trial!) because, unless you are positive that you are ONLY going to order items for one month and then never order online again, paying monthly will just end up costing you more in the end.

You can read all about all the benefits you get as a member: amazon_prime_logo

img_0311> I can’t even tell you the amount of money I save in shipping. It WAY more than pays for the $100 investment. If that is the only feature that you utilize, it will be worth the investment.

>Love the two day shipping. So many times I’ve been able to order something I needed, when I thought of it, and then had it delivered to my front door before I would have had a chance to take a trip to the store where they may not have even had it. Plus, if you’re a smart Amazon shopper you know all of the PRO TIPS to save you even more money and get the highest quality products for the best prices.



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FREE RETURNS :
Short of re-purchasing an item you already own, ALWAYS buy items that have “Free Returns.” Sometimes the shipping along on sending something back can cost half of the cost of the item itself.


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REVIEWS & ANSWERED QUESTIONS :
Always buy the version/brand of whatever product you want that has the most stars. If you haven’t seen the product in person, take a few minutes to read some reviews (good and bad) and look at the photos that customers post in their reviews to get a real life sense of what it’s going to look like. I find this is especially helpful with clothing.


STUDENTS :
You get an even better deal > 50% off ($49/year) so, no excuses.


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WAREHOUSE DEALS:
If an item offers a “Warehouse Deal” this LIKELY means that the product is unused, brand new and the box is a little banged up. Totally worth the savings you get for buying a ‘used’ product. If it is available, it’ll be just off to the right, by where you can add the item to your cart.



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= buying a $20 item with only a few reviews, getting it, not liking it, then finding out that returning it will cost you $7 to ship back. Don’t get stuck with something you don’t actually want, because isn’t worth the money to ship it back. ^ Follow all of the Pro Tips to avoid this!


img_0318 > We all buy stuff, but maybe more stuff than we would like to admit. Luckily there is a huge movement right now towards more intentional and minialistic living. I like to think of this not only in terms of what I buy, but also in terms of how I spend my time. Please watch the “Minimalism” documentary. Here is the trailer:
http://www.theminimalists.com/

Another really encouraging and inspiring resources is  “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

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Once you watch/read this material you may feel some internal conflict.

I came home from work to four Amazon boxes the night that I sat down to watch “Minimalism.” Talk about feeling conflicted…

‘I should send all of these packages back right away…shouln’t I?
But I actually am going to use these things and if I sent them back,
I would still need to re-order or go out to the store and purchase them.’

Following the tips and tricks I mentioned in this article help me to feel less guilty about purchasing things that I want. PLUS they save me enough money to buy, or sometimes do (minimalist travel tips coming soon) the things that I’m really excited about.

Couple the ideals of being a more efficient consumer with the desire to enjoy your life to the fullest. Being a minimalist can start with tiny changes. I’m not a minimalist yet, but I’m on my way.

I’d love to chat with you and share ideas!  

instagram: @lovelyminimalist

Lovely Minimalist

-LAUNCHING SOON-

Lovely Minimalist

I’m here to save you money doll!
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I love beautiful things and incredible experiences as much as the next girl, but I hate the idea of spending ALL of my time  working and accummulating money JUST to have one nice vacation a year or one outfit that makes me feel fab. Time is more than money; time is LIFE and I’m trying to  maximize the way I spend it while also minimizing the way I lose my dough. Each post is of a specific item, book, experience, website or travel tip that has saved me tons of money and brought joy to my every day life. I can’t wait to hear about your favorite money saving, glam-girl tips too!

Here’s to making the MOST of this life by spending as few of our precious dollars as possible.

~ xo #holladolladoll

> insta @LovelyMinimalist

 

Wild West Road Trip

so this is the WEST…

 

IMG_1077Our 6 day trip included throwing some money away at a casino in Vegas, seeing our favorite comedian in Los Angeles, sleeping under a canopy of stars in the desert and peering over the rim of the Grand Canyon.

2,000 plusIMG_0961 miles were driven (mostly by James) and at least 3 gallons of Red Bull consumed (also by James.)
We really wouldn’t have been able to do so much unless James had been willing to drive through the night on both the first day and the last.
Our 3 star resort in Vegas was $30 (my absolute favorite,) camping a few yards away from the beach in Malibu at Leo Carillo State Park was $45, the L.A. Hilton was $100, and camping in the desert was free. We didn’t want to put the miles on my car so we rented a car that was $120 for the full 6 days.

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ANDANTE coffee shop stop on our 16 mile bike cruise from Beverly Hills through Hollywood and back.
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Can I get a hallelujah for this fan-tastic tile-work at the coffee shop door?

We both love some classy craftsy coffee. Like a typical hipster, we looked up the coffee shops in L.A. that roast their own single source beans from Etheopia. I was not disappointed. ANDANTE roasts their beans right there in the shop. It reminded me of a combination between Two Rivers and Crema in Colorado. Just like my IMG_0837favorite joints at home in Denver, L.A. brought the same relaxed vibe, chilled out baristas and the best pour-over cup of Etheopian coffee with notes of lime, strawberry, orange, and chocolate.

 

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MERCADO

All that bike riding made us hungry.
I had to have some tacos, and not just any tacos… I wanted craftsy tacos with a hipster vibe, the kind they serve up on the rooftop of my favorite restaurante in Denver, Los Chingones.

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MERCADO to ourselves

5 seconds on Yelp brought us to Mercado, a sweet Mexi joint that was literally a block away from where we were standing.

Gosh, I love the internet…and these tacos.IMG_0855

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Find a spot in the sands of the Mojave desert, amongst the Joshua Trees and lizards to pitch your tent.

You WILL SEE the Milky Way Galaxy
…and it will CHANGE YOUR life.   IMG_0879

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Biking up the Beverly Hills and finding a Sunday afternoon BBQ at the house on the top of the hill, complete with Valet parking for your Bentley, was priceless.

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SUNSET in Malibu

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IMG_0988GRANDEST OF CANYONS || You will see hoards of deer and Elk, along with tourists from every corner of the world at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Before this weekend I didn’t even know there were two separate rims. James planned a special treat for us and drove through the entire night so we could experience sunrise at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on our way to Vegas. Because we were there so early we practically had the outlook to ourselves. IMG_0941There were just a
few older couples out, coffee in hand, strolling the walk. We climbed the rocks and felt like we were conquering the world, peering down into the canyon and listening for the winding Colorado River.

On the way home we stopped to watch the sun set over the South Rim. I saw a license plate from every single state in the Union at that parking lot. When I think about the effort that the Asian and European tourists had to make to get there, muliple plane rides, probably days of travel…it made me ashamed that I had never jumped in the car and driven down the road to see it before.

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Vegas…the fame, the fortune, the loss and mostly the hot desert sun.

It did not disappoint in any way.

IMG_0643The contrast of the opulent Bellagio, Trump tower, MGM Grand… with the deteriorating motels just a couple miles down the street is very strange. Not stranger than they way I felt when losing $40 in the first 15 minutes of gambling. Listening to the guy next to me say “I’ve already lost $2,000” and watching the guy on the other side of the table lose piles and piles of $10 chips to the dealer.

  I could not have been happier with this rooftop pool, the awesome poolside DJ, and piles of pool toys.

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Spending $40 on this bike rack is quite possibly the best investment I’ve ever made.
The little effort it took to bring them brought endless amounts of joy and enjoyment to this trip from the Vegas Strip to the beaches of Malibu.

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I’d love to hear about your trips and tips!

…Video of this venture coming soon!

YouTube-logo-play-icon|| subscribe to my YouTube channel ||

 

Mesa Verde – Budget Camping Trip

We took a weekend and drove to Mesa Verde National Park, one of thirteen National Parks in the state of Colorado. Mesa Verde is in the southeastern most corner of the state and from the mesas you can see into three other states — Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The drive from Denver is about 6-7 hours and you can cut through the mountains and zig-zag your way down or you can go down through interstate 25 and then all the way over. We went one way there and the other on the way back. Make sure that you leave early enough to get all your driving done in the daylight.  There is so much wildlife in that part of the state and driving in the dark with low visibility can be dangerous. The posted speed limits are actually slower at night because of the large number of (mostly) deer in the area that will cross the street.

Here is the cost breakdown of an average weekend (2 night) camping trip to Mesa Verde!

Go and then leave a comment for me letting me know how your trip was!

TOTAL COST (2 people)
$160

GAS — $80
I have a pretty fuel efficient car that gets 30 miles to the gallon on the highway so we filled up a total of 4 times for the entire trip and with the great price of gas right now, was only about $20 a fill up. Remember that Mesa Verde National Park is VERY Large. Once you get to the entrance of the park you still have about 20 miles to go to get back into the depths of the park where the cave dwellings, tours, museum and information centers are. The campsite is much closer to the front of the park and they have full bathroom and shower facilities as well as a convenience store that is open during the summer season. We went pre-season so things were still pretty quiet and not much was open yet.

LODGING — $40
Reserving a camping spot is $20 a night and we stayed for two nights. You get a plot, a fire pit, wifi and the use of a bathroom for the money. There are so many spots (over 300) so the rangers told us that they never run out and you don’t need to reserve your plot ahead of time. They’re first come first serve.

FOOD — $30
This greatly depends on what you like to eat of course. We got a 24 pack of hot dogs, marshmallows, some dried soup packets, cereal, instant coffee and candy.

PARK ENTRY — $20
The Park entry fees vary greatly depending on when you are going and what kind of vehicle you have. Here is the link to the National Park Service website will the full details: https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm

We actually didn’t pay to enter because we went during National Parks week when the entry fee was waived.

GUIDED TOUR — $8
As you can see in the video we did the Balcony House tour. The only way you can go into the Balcony House is by paying $4 a person to go on the guided tour with a Park Ranger. You must climb a 30 foot ladder to get into the dwelling and then once your through you have to crawl through a small 18 inch hole and then climb up two more ladders and a treacherous stone foot path to get out. It isn’t too difficult and tourists young and old seem to get through the tour just fine. https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/guided_activities.htm
The tours fill up so make sure you book in advance!

We also did the self-guided tour, which is free. Here is the link to more info about that: https://www.nps.gov/meve/planyourvisit/self_guided_activities.htm

 

Music:

Kacey Musgraves – Die Fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61Qiay4EctU
Alina Baraz & Galimatias – Fantasy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiqtgWWL6u8
Hippie Sabatoge – Able To See Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmfEyJpwVz8
Rain Man – Bring Back the Summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivLdLtOtOzU

Budget Travel Vlog

We all have that one thing on our list that we say we’re going to do, but never quite seems to happen. For me it is travel. I would always find an excuse to say I’d go later, once I finsih school, once a busy season at work is over, once I have more money, once I can get some friends to go… as you see the list can go on.

I have decided that I’m not giving myself exuses anymore. I’ve made the decision to do the things that I want to do, and not someday, but now. That doesn’t mean I’m walking off the job today and foolishly getting myself into a financial bind. Rather, today, I have come up with a very short term plan, with exactly defined financial dates and goals. Plan for no more than a year out (if you goal is super lofty.) Then come up with a fun mini goal that you can achieve sooner, which will also help get you closer to that bigger goal. Feeling accomplishment will help you to stay on track financially.

For example let’s say that you want to take a trip to Europe. It’s April now, make a plan to go by the end of this calendar year. You have 8 months to get things together. That is definitly enough time to start stashing money, getting time off from work and making sure that other plans don’t fill in your calendar.

Watch out, cause the minute you decide to go 100 little excuses and reasons why you can’t will fill your mind. Catch each one of those little demons each time they pop up and find the solution to the problem that they present. This isn’t difficult to do in practice, but it is very difficult to DECIDE to do. Your minds is programmed to say no, and find ways to put things off. You are going to have to be vigilant against your own mind (or resistance…see The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.)

I’m sharing my travel experiences and money saving tips [and other reasons to say YES!] on my vlog.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel!

I give a price breakdown in the description box below each video and I’ll give advice to you from my experienes. I look forward to sharing with you all that I learn, and I hope to hear back from you what you’re learning!