lucky penny by essanelI think we can all agree that financial planning/budgeting isn’t on the top of our lists of fun topics to discuss. I would prefer to talk about shoes, but I do think it’s important and if you are like me it can seem so overwhelming if not broken down to bite size chunks.  I did not grow up in a household where money was ever discussed, no one talked about saving and no one talked about spending, it was kind of a taboo subject. As a young adult it was no wonder that I had no idea about budgeting, even though I worked at a few prestigious stock broker firms I basically lived pay check to pay check. It really wasn’t until recently that I have gotten more adept at figuring my budget out (especially with an income that fluctuates from month-to-month) by implementing a few new strategies.

I have mentioned I used Outright.com for my business, which I think is a great tool and was so helpful when I did my taxes. I recently put my account on hold because I found Mint.com, which is similar (and free!), it is not as in depth or targeted to my business as Outright but it is a good software for keeping track of what you are spending and where. It has some great built-in tools for savings goals (college tuition, houses, vacations, etc.), which allow you to see how much you will need to save each month to get to your end goal and access to depositing in separate savings accounts for each goal. I think being able to look at a savings goal broken down so clearly makes it feel so much more accessible than just dreaming about it for one day.  I am not a frivolous spender (I was) but I can easily see at a glance where my money is going, if it was the me of my early twenties I would have been able to see that I was spending my hard earned paycheck on pretty stupid things and if I had the savings goals in place maybe I could have not bought more than one pair of designer jeans and put the money towards that house on the hill.  Now, that I am older I cringe at the thought but it is never too late to start. One of the things I noticed in my budget graph on Mint.com was how much my husband and I spent on food, just groceries not even going out, it was an outrageous amount!  I started to meal plan based around what is on special at our local grocery store, we don’t eat processed foods so I needed to be on the lookout for what fresh produce would be on sale. This may seem silly if you are already doing this, but I was clueless. Case in point, big beautiful cherries are in season, I would have formerly bought them at the $3.99/lb. without thinking twice, instead I waited and the store offered them for $2.99 for a bag (about 3 pounds worth!) It’s these little victories that have cut our grocery bill in half.  I also love knowing what we will be having for the week, it takes a lot of pressure and undue stress off our shoulders and I get to see the savings goals grow! Let me know if you have any tips for dealing with this “exciting” subject, I would love to hear them.

I have collected some references/resources below that might be useful for you (dare I say even interesting?):




The Daily Worth

The Fiscal Flamingo (good for those dealing with debt)

Andrew Mellen, I’m a big believer in less is more, Andrew comes highly recommended as a grade A de-cluttering expert.

Regale Magazine Issue 4, it’s targeted for millennial’s but has a no-nonsense 7 step budget that might be helpful for those (like me) who had no idea where to start.

Money 101 lessons

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to sunny Seattle with her handsome husband and two pups. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to motivate you to fall-truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

lucky penny letterpress print by essanel


  1. Well, I think you know that I love thinking about money (and talking about it, at least online). I used Outright when I was running the shop and found it super helpful. Couldn’t have survived without it. (Although I didn’t love their tax function)

    I’ve heard so many good things about Mint but I still haven’t tried it. We’re currently doing a paper budgeting system that has worked really well for us. I think we’re finally saving money instead of just putting money in savings and then pulling it out for other stuff. Whoops. I check in sometimes with line graphs, just to make sure we’re trending in the right direction. So dorky.

    1. Outright is a really great program but Mint has a lot of the same features. For sales tax last year I used a beta site called Taxjar.com and it was awesome when it came time to pay sales tax as I had to figure out for two states since I lived in California and NC, it made it so simple. I think you would like Mint since you can put money in individual savings accounts and it’s all done on line (a little more work to withdrawl) also, simple graphs (which I love too!) It’s a little harder when you don’t have a fixed income like I do, but I just figured an average over 6 months which has helped me to see a more clear picture (and also made me aware that I need to sell more, lol). I’m glad people are talking more about money, it makes it a lot less stressful!

  2. Tristan, you are always such a wealth of resources! I love this post (but of course I love all your posts), and now that I’m finally looking into opening my own shop I’ll definitely check out Mint. Glad to hear you’re feeling a little bit better!

    1. Thank you Sanae:) Also look into Outright, it’s free without the tax function and you may not need that in the beginning, just so you can have options. I think it is so important when you have a shop to be able to have trackable income and expenses especially come tax time! It will help you to be able to set goals for your business and you can see what is selling (and who is buying). Congrats!

  3. Yay! What a pleasant surprise to see my site here. Thank you, thank you for including me! Congratulations on your cherry triumph! Planning meals around what’s in season (and on sale) is essential when it comes to getting skinny on the grocery bill, although I admit, a little difficult when what you are craving won’t be in season for several months. I have this problem with watermelon.

    1. You are so welcome Tanya, really enjoying your story and success, it’s very inspiring. Now I have a craving for watermelon though, lol!

  4. I recommend Dave Ramsey. I have just started on his financial peace plan and I already feel much more in control. I got started because of a friend who has been using his plan for two years and it has changed her life.

  5. These are awesome! I always thought I was a somewhat organized person but after flipping through Andrew Mellen’s site for a bit I feel like a total slob. Lol. But I love feeling like I’m all perfect and organized so I’ll gladly take the advice.
    And I’m definitely going to look into those money management sites too. I run my own business and I’m pretty sure the shoebox method is probably not optimal. :P

    1. Katie, I felt the same way, lol. I know I need to desperately work on time management so I need to find some easy resources for that. A lot of the systems I looked into seemed very complicated and not something I would follow through on. As far as the shoebox method, eek, I highly recommend taking advantage of one of the free programs. I used Outright to do my taxes this year and I had everything clearly documented for the IRS, it was magnificent!

    1. Julia doing taxes usually is frightening, lol. A lot of these are easy behind the scenes, with Mint.com they send me email updates on where my money is going so I feel in the loop. For a more advanced program connected with a bank I have heard good things about virtualwallet.com. I hope these help to get you back on track as money stress is the worse!

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