Easy Updates for Any Home

Today's shop has been sponsored by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! 
#LoveAmericanHome #CollectiveBias

I'm a fan of changing my space to change my energy. It's something my mom & tias (aunts for my non-Spanish speakers) have been doing since I was a wee kid. Seeing their love for color transform an apartment into a home was impressive mainly because they worked with small budgets with their favorite store. Yet, each time they "flipped" a room it would come alive with personality, love, and leave memories behind.

Well, now that I'm out of the nest and not loving my lackluster room it was time to call in the heavy artillery - my mom & tia (the budget professionals).


Their first call of action was decluttering my room. The ladies went in and sorted through worn out clothing, ratty blankets, and damaged necklaces to clear out valuable floor space (and sanity).

Next, they came up with a color palette that the bae and I both agreed on: black, gray and white. Trust me when I say that the ladies wanted something a little more colorful to spice up the room, but compromise is key in a relationship. This also meant that all bedding that fell outside this color palette were donated to the local animal shelters.


Once the color palette was decided they rearranged furniture with those that were in other parts of the home so the bedroom had one singular aesthetic instead of being a mish-mash of bookcases.

After those first three things we made a list of want was needed from our local Walmart and shopped strategically: my tia grabbed me all new black bedding and a few accent pillows, my mom made way for a new rug and a few containers to help keep my jewelry organized, and I bee-lined for the American Home™ by Yankee Candle®.I'm sort of a candle freak and love how a scent can bring you back to a certain memory, help you unwind, and all around add a great atmosphere to your home.
I may have gone a little overboard but I ended up getting American Home™ by Yankee Candle® in Warm & Happy Home ($14.93), Pumpkin Apple Harvest ($10.93), and Delicious Cranberry ($14.93) which you can find online here or in the Home & Candle section of your local Walmart. They have a huge selection and the price is amazing for the bigger sized candles. And remember to only burn them when in sight.

I've been loving the last fragrances for the holiday season as well. As a bonus, whenever I smell the Pumpkin Apple Harvest I'll always remember how my tia made fun of my inability to cook.


It's crazy how a new home fragrance, color coordinated sheets and [massive] decluttering can go a long way. They've turned my least favorite room into the most delicious spot to hang out. Not to mention being able to have a few laughs with my favorite people.

Last but not least, my tia & mom got me a little surprise to go with my mini room makeover. A collection of calaveras to add a little flavor to my room and the best home cooked meal I had in while. Well, they tried teaching me how to cook arroz blanco but they didn't want to risk burning the rice again (whoops).

How do you update your home? Is it a family affair like mine?

How to Save More Money

Remember this post on why I decided to become a more conscious shopper. Well, it’s been six months since and I’m starting to reap the rewards. It feels amazing. If someone told me ten years ago I’d be able to overcome my debt AND have a savings account (with more than a cent in it) I’d call bullshit. You guys, it’s so ridiculously easy to spend, spend, spend so just imagine 18 year old me with six credit cards - SIX!

For the first time ever: I have funds for a rainy day, am making huge strides on paying off my debt, have a credit score that isn’t shameful, and can foresee vacations instead of staycations. Like holy cow – did I really make this happen?

I’m definitely not rich (yet) but rethinking how to make my dollar stretch has helped me tremendously. Lifestyle changes and smart decisions contributed to a healthy bank account and I’d love to share them with you all.

Say No to Taxis
Every cab ride home can cost me around $40 easy meanwhile a subway ride is only $2.75. Also, both are roughly the same time when commuting so this is a no-brainer. For those of you in NYC riding at least twice a day, five times a week - get the unlimited monthly metrocard. You'll save so much in the long run.

If you must cab it home, be smart about it and use Uber’s carpool or Lyft’s Line. These two options are cheaper (when not in surge mode) when getting to where you need to go.

Say No to ATM & Bank Fees
Every now and then I encounter a shop or restaurant that’s cash only and find myself walking to the nearest ATM. The no-fee standalone ATM are few and far between - which is why I started planning ahead for those few “cash only” moments by withdrawing cash in advance from my bank periodically.

While you’re there why not inquire about certain bank fees & charges. For instance I was getting charged $25 a month because I haven’t set up my direct deposit. $25 a month adds up so I immediately took care of that situation.

When it Comes to Food
In December I analyzed where the majority of my money went. Let’s just say more money went towards food than to my student loans, rent, and shopping combined. Pretty embarrassing but I love discovering new restaurants. My solution was to create a budget for food (something I never had before) and plan my meals out. Weekly trips to the supermarket and prepping meals the night before have become the norm. I saved hundreds by eating breakfast at home and bringing lunch to work.

In addition to dining in, I cut the cord to my Starbucks ritual and replaced it with a stroll around the neighborhood.

When it Comes to Beauty
Believe in the power of samples - readily available everywhere for free. The other month I ran out of daily moisturizer but instead of running to my nearest Sephora to reload I pulled out my samples. You guys, the amount of samples I own could last me all through summer... Of next year. When it came time to settle down on a moisturizer I already knew which brands worked best for my skin – always a good thing.

Manicures. We all love them but it can add up. I've cut back on this pastime big time, but cutting back doesn’t mean eliminating “me time." Instead of sitting in a salon I’ve changed the scenario to an evening with Netflix – and a fresh mani done by moi.

No Cable Television
Although I do miss watching the news and the Kardashians - paying a monthly Netflix bill compared to a Time Warner bill is the tits. Not only that, I feel more productive on the weekends and am more apt to escape the apartment. Some people can't imagine life without cable and to those people I say cut those chains and be free. 

Along those lines - go digging in your last monthly statement. Are there any monthly subscriptions you can quit? Any you completely forgot about that you should cancel immediately?
When it Comes to Shopping
There are a few rules I always refer to in this department to help stick to my/your budget:
Quality will always beat out quantity - always. But, when it comes to simple household goods - generic brands are your friends.
Before you buy, ask if there's a sale or discount you can use. Shopping online? Use google to your advantage and search for the latest deals/coupons before confirming purchase. 
Sleep on it. If you still want the item a day or week later go back and get it. In this age of mass production and easily replicated goods buyer's remorse is more of a myth than a feeling.
One in, one out. This rule will help when it comes to rethinking what you're bringing into the home (i.e. clutter) and could save you a few bucks in the long run. 

Save on Energy
When you have two tech geeks living in one space, figuring out how to not have the most insane ConEd bill is priority. This rings even more true during the dog days of summer. Things that help us keep our bill low and affordable: unplug appliances when not is use (we even unplug our media console station), turn off the lights, use the economic setting when possible, keep laptops unplugged when not in use. Generally, keeping things unplugged has saved us close to $50 and more - we tested out our theory last year to make sure it wasn't us.

Images via Shutterstock

The Investment

Lately I've been cruising the city streets with blinders on. Avoiding sales and cute spring wear after a long winter is BRUTAL.

The battle is twice as hard once I go online. The internet is such a timesuck and these Piperlime sales are not helping.

Every now and then, I'll add something to my cart and immediately x-out of that page. I admit it, I love to shop but I love traveling more. My Poshmark corner (where clothes wait to get listed) is a constant reminder of my love and how it hasn't previously helped in the travel department. In fact the only thing this pile gets is an exasperated "UGH" from the boyfriend... Like every day.

Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, I feel you.

You're probably wondering why not stop shopping completely. Speaking from experience; cutting myself off would only lead to an insane and unplanned shopping spree. 

So, in an effort to save up for my trips and hopefully build up my closet (wishful thinking) I decided to go the route of investment shopping. Hopefully these tips will help you too.

Investment shopping would:

1 - give me a purpose and a goal to work towards

2 - prevent mindless shopping (very important)

3 - free up space by getting rid of similar (lower quality) items

4 - help establish my lewk by only investing in pieces that I've carefully thought about

I've put this plan into action last month and so far it's been going good. The first two pieces I decided to roll this plan out with were an Equipment shirt and this Acne leather jacket

Here's the break down:

1 - goal: an Equipment signature shirt + Acne leather jacket

2 - mindless shopping has stopped. Instead of spending $400+ on things I didn't need, I started saving $160 a month for my investment pieces. Plus, I've been able to save an additional $350 per month for my future trips. All in all - lots of saving!! By December I will have enough for a jacket (got the shirt last month on eBay) and will have enough by summer for my winter trips.

3 - every month, there's a mini purge and lots of things have been Poshmarked or donated. It can be a little hard at times to list everything, but small changes will lead to big progress.

4 - establishing my look is a work in progress, but I'm getting there!

So what do you think, are these helpful or not so much? Are there any investment pieces in your closet and how did your big purchase?

photo credit: one, two, three, four, five