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Blog Roundup (6-28-13)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!

~Heart,

Em

Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!

Brown bag lunches: Salads

salads postIn previous episodes of the “Brown bag lunches” series, I’ve explored my favorite soup recipes for the fall/winter season and my favorite wrap recipes.

I just realized I’ve been eating my summer lunch staple, salads, for like 2 months now and have yet to share my faves with you! So, here you are:

Great salads for summer (or anytime, really)

(In case you can’t tell, I get most of my recipes by doing random searches on allrecipes.com.  What can I say…I’m not big on my own creativity in the kitchen!)

  • Strawberry Pecan Salad – Nothing says summer like some yummy fresh strawberries! (I make with or without chicken depending on how I’m feeling).
  • Caesar Salad – I know people are normally “love it or hate it” about Caesar dressing, but I love it! (The croutons in this recipe are also a great way to use up stale bread.)
  • BLT Salad – Probably not the healthiest of the bunch, but when I found it on allrecipes, I had to try it. And, needless to say, The Hubby loves it. :)
  • Mexican Chicken Salad – Another one that’s more comfort food than healthy, but I like it because it’s something different. (It’s also super-filling if you’re in a “I’m too hungry for a salad” mood.)
  • Tofu Thai Salad – Lots of flavors, and tofu always makes me feel healthier.
  • Salmon Avocado Salad – I adore avocado on practically everything (the latest Subway “I heart avocado” commercials make my mouth water like crazy!), plus salmon is one of my favorite fish, so I knew I’d love this one.

What favorite salad recipes do you have? I’m looking to add to my recipe book!

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit (and all recipes from):  allrecipes.com

 

Occasional expense funds

PresentsMost of us know the importance of budgeting for regular monthly expenses. We also know the importance of having an emergency fund.

But what about paying for those once in a while expenses you don’t always plan for?

Weddings and birthdays and showers, oh my!

It’s wedding season for my and The Hubby’s friends and family…and birthday season, and shower season, and anniversary season. And while we do have advance notice for these things, they’re not the kind of things we normally factor into our monthly budget. Especially not when a big string of them all take place within a few months over the summer.

And, they’re not cheap! Birthdays aren’t so bad, but baby showers can be pricey. And weddings! Not only do you pay for the bridal shower and wedding gifts, you also usually pay for a new dress or pair of shoes so your family doesn’t see you wearing the same outfit to all four weddings this summer. (Or at least I do.) Then there’s the bachelor or bachelorette parties, the new birthday parties for all the babies whose showers you went to last summer…let’s just say that being in yours 20s (or very early 30s, a-hem!) means you’re going to have lots of extra gifts to buy as your circle of friends and family grows very quickly.

On a less fun note, there are also unexpected expenses like car repairs, home repairs, vet bills, and any number of other things you don’t have any notice for at all. How do you cover those things when they spring up?

The answer? An occasional expense fund

You can’t plan for the unexpected expenses that will come up, but you can count on the fact that they will come up. So we’ve started an extra savings fund just for these expenses. Every paycheck, we put aside a certain amount that we can draw from whenever we need it.

That way, when a shower or birthday comes up, it won’t wreck our budget for the month. And, if something big and bad happens, like a car repair, we’ll hopefully have a little built up by then so it doesn’t really wreck our budget.

Why isn’t this the same as our emergency fund? You could argue that things like car repairs could fall under the emergency category, but for us, we’re just considering them (big) inconveniences. A real emergency, in our minds, would be one of us losing our jobs, or having a serious health problem, or something similar life-changing. We don’t want to dip into our emergency fund for smaller things like if one of our dogs gets sick, because while that does cost a bunch, we want to reserve every dollar we can in our emergency fund in the event that something huge happens.

Hopefully, it never will, but it gives us peace of mind to know it’s there if we need it.

In the meantime, our occasional fund can cover all the other unplanned things that crop up now and then.

Do you have an occasional fund? How do you pay for “out of the budget” expenses?

 

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit:  Tax Credits

Blog Roundup (6-21-13)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!

~Heart,

Em

Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!