Month: November 2015

How I Furnished My Entire House For Less Than $500 Part II The Kitchen

How I furnished my entire house for less than $500 part II the kitchen


Welcome back! We are continuing with How I furnished my ENTIRE house under $500, and today we will be in my kitchen. Just a little background on me. I like nice things, but I don’t like to break the bank to get them. I don’t have to have anything fancy, but I do want nice simple things to surround myself with and make a cozy nest for my family.

I love when my friend’s upgrade, because I always come away with some pretty nice things. My kitchen is the hub of my home. Everyone in my family loves to eat and they love my cooking. I told a friend of mine that I wanted to create a family atmosphere and eat all of my meals in the kitchen. The problem was I didn’t have a kitchen table at the time. My old one was destroyed in a fire and I hadn’t gotten around to replacing it.

Fast forward, she remembered what I had expressed to her when she got ready to upgrade her kitchen. She called me and asked me did I want her kitchen table and her dishwasher. I immediately said yes. I had been to her home many times and I knew the items were of excellent quality and well cared for. They are in there original forms with no refurbishing.

how i furnished my entire house for under $500 part II the kitchen
Kitchen Table

She told me stories of how her children, who are now adults, had done school projects and homework on this kitchen table, and how many good times and great conversations her family had at this table. I assured her that my family would keep the same traditions. I asked her how much she wanted for the table as I was prepared to pay. The price was $10.00! I was expecting to pay more but she wouldn’t budge from that price.

We then began talking about other furnishings in her kitchen that were getting an upgrade and the dishwasher was one of them. I know a dishwasher is an appliance and not furniture, but I just couldn’t write about one and not the other. Maybe next week I will show you all how I got all of my appliances for under $1500. Moving on, she only wanted $15 for the dishwasher. My only wish is that my husband would go ahead and install it in our new home.

how i furnished my entire home for less than $500 part II the kitchen

My friend transitioned from this life to the next just a few months ago, so having these item’s is really sentimental to me. I miss her so much but I will always have the wonderful memories and these item’s.

So, there you have it, my kitchen for $25, but the memories are priceless.  Free living room and $25 kitchen, not too shabby. Come back tomorrow when we take a look at my office. Have any of you all scored any great deals on home furnishings? If so comment below and tell me about them.


How I Furnished My Entire House For Under $500: Part 1

How I furnished my entire house for under $500


Welcome back to week two of my spending freeze and of #bloglikecrazy. I want to take you on a tour of my home and show you how I furnished my entire home for under $500. Some of my friends think I am over the top when it comes to my finances, but I am not. I am often mislabeled as cheap, but I am actually frugal. Let me give you a few examples of frugal versus cheap:

Frugal people care about the value of something while cheap people care about the cost of something. A cheap person would see the price tag of a high-end product and scoff, while a frugal person would see something like a luxury rug from somewhere like Bazaar Velvet and recognize it’s value for money. Cheap people try to get the lowest price on everything while frugal people try and get the lowest price on most things, but spend a lot on items they really care about. Cheap people think short term while frugal people think long term. There are more comparisons but I will save them for another day, plus this is just my personal opinion.

This week, I want to show you how I furnished my entire home for less than $500. Let’s start with my living room.

My sofa, chair with ottoman, love seat, entertainment center, coffee table, end tables and rug were all FREE! That’s right, absolutely FREE. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. My friend was just going to set the sofa, love seat, tables and chair out for anyone to come by and pick up, simply because she did not want them any more. She said that they were 15 years old and she wanted something new. My antennas went up and I jumped on that and asked could I just drop by and pick them up. The reason being, I have grandkids and I don’t want to have to keep telling them to get off of this stay off of that, so I opt for something old. Once they are older then I will get something new.

How I furnished my entire house for less than $500
Couch, Coffee Table, Ottoman and Rug

The entertainment center was my sons. He was deploying to Afghanistan and had to let his apartment go. My daughter got the furniture and I got the entertainment center that I use for showcasing pictures, awards, diplomas and my degree. It is lighted and looks so pretty when lit.

How I furnished my entire house under $500
Entertainment center and Chair

The rug was given to my sister by her grandmother-in-law and she really had no use for it. It was just sitting in her living room all rolled up waiting for someone to give it life and love. That someone was me!

How I furnished my entire house under $500

So you see, I have a full living room suit with matching end tables and a rug all for the freesky! How cool is that? Join me tomorrow and I will show you how I scored my kitchen for $25.



Rule #1 for a happy lifw
Dr. Hakim: Rule #1

I read a post from my blogging coach Javacia Harris Bowser and she  stated that writers should consider using the social media platform, Instagram. She told her reader’s that any type of blogger could benefit from Instagram, not just fashion bloggers. She gave some examples of writers that use it and when I went to their profile’s I was amazed.

I decided that I would give Instagram a try. If you are not following The Money Make-Up Artist, you should be. I have made several post’s in the past, but I really didn’t feel Instagram and I still don’t, but I do feel it is worth a try.

My post today dealt with a doctor at Greystone Neurology named Dr. Hisham Hakim. He has 15 1/2 rules for a happy life. For the next 15 day’s. I will post one rule. I have a copy of the rules in my home office and in my cubicle at work. I look at these rules daily, and they always give me the boost that I need to go on in spite of how I feel. I’ll share rule 1 with you now, but for the other 14 you will have to follow me on Instagram.

Dr Hakims Rules For A Happy Life

  1. God. Understand that God has total control and you will find peace. Do your best and leave the rest to God. Know that everything is going and will go just as it should.

Have a great week and see you on Instagram


Spending Freeze: Week One In The Bag #BlogLikeCrazy

Spending freeze week one in the bag
Week One In The Bag!


Welcome back! In case you are wondering, I have only spent $1.63 during this spending freeze. Week one is in the bag! That $1.63 was totally frivolous, I mean I didn’t have to have a bag of chips with my sandwich. I would have been just as full without one, so I should have done without. It was my own fault that I walked out and left my bag of chips, and I should have just left well enough alone.

This reminds me of the time in my life when all I did was spend, spend, spend. Aside from normal bills, most every purchase I made was frivolous. When I look back over my financial journey, I can certainly see the error of my way’s.

During this time of year, we often look back and give thanks for not only where we have come from but where we are on our life’s journey right now. Today, my husband and I took a trip back down memory lane. We are able to laugh at the mistakes we made in the past concerning our finances, but it was a time that our financial situation was not funny, it was dire. We were struggling and it wasn’t fun or funny.

Is our life perfect now? No, but we are more conscious and intentional with our finances, which brings us both to a place in our journey that we never thought we would see; financial freedom.

I am not upset about the chips, because I will not allow $1.63 to stop me from achieving my goal of saving $1500 this month to send my glamchildren on 3 vacations next year.

Week one is done and only $1.63 spent! I am pleased.

Join me next week when I show you how I furnished my home for less than $500, you won’t want to miss this!


Budget Bootcamp #BlogLikeCrazy

Budget Bootcamp
Budget Bootcamp


As many of you know, I take my finances very seriously. Some of my friends think I am over the top when it comes to my finances. I promise that is not the case. I am just conscious of how I spend, save and invest. These are the reason’s I hold an annual budgeting bootcamp. Every year I revisit my budget to see what worked and what didn’t. This year I want to do something a little different; I want to include my tribe, my readers, and my fans.

Right now my husband and I are on a month long spending freeze. During our freeze, we sit down and review what I call our “money year”. We also finalize our budget for the upcoming year. Our money and our financial goals are serious business and we treat it as such. We don’t leave one red cent unaccounted for in our household.

I want to show you how to do the same. Beginning January 1, 2016 I am holding a FREE 31 day budgeting bootcamp. In this bootcamp, you will learn my secrets to maintaining a sensible budget that you can actually stick to. We will explore your money mindset, set your financial goals, break bad spending habits and begin paying down debt and a whole lot more.

Who’s with me? Who wants to get their money right once and for all? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then this bootcamp is for you.

In the meantime, you can download my FREE e-book Budgeting 101:How To Create A Realistic Budget

book offer
Click image for your copy


10 Ways To Save On Thanksgiving Dinner

10 ways to save on Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving Spread

Hello and welcome back! It’s one of my favorite times of the year — the holiday season. As the junior matriarch of my family, I am always the one who plans the family gatherings. Aside from my own pod, whom I cook for daily, I have to account for my entire family this time of year. It’s a task to behold as we are large and growing rapidly, but a task that I enjoy and hold dear to my heart. As a matter of fact, my feelings would be hurt if someone else was called upon to plan the holiday galas.

With just my pod, it can be quite expensive to feed them daily so you know expenses can get out of hand quickly with the inclusion of the entire family. Normally we do a potluck, but occasionally my husband and I decide to serve our families on our dime. Just a little background on his side of the family: he is the youngest of fifteen children so you already know our food bill for just one dinner including both families is a little over $1000, but it is so worth every penny, because I love them all. I would like to share with you some tips I have learned over the years to make sure that we don’t exceed our spending limit.

  1. Get a headcount. By tallying your guests early, you can get a head start on shopping and menu planning. This will save you tons of cash as it will help curb over-spending. A good rule of thumb that I use is to prepare food for an additional five people, as you will have stragglers or those that won’t R.S.V.P. and show up for dinner. If you don’t have extra unaccounted for people to attend, you will just have some tasty leftovers.
  2. Start shopping immediately. If you are not a couponista like me, then you will want to start shopping as early as possible. Throughout the month of November, grocery stores run weekly sales on Thanksgiving items. During your regular shopping trip, be on the lookout for items you know you will need for that Thanksgiving feast. If you are a savvy shopper you can catch some of the canned goods at rock bottom prices during the year so throw an extra two or three cans in your cart and put them back for Thanksgiving. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you will have everything you need and you won’t have to do any last minute shopping.
  3. Check the bottom of your receipts. Have you ever looked at the bottom of your receipt or received Catalina coupons from the cash register? If so, check them out. One year, while shopping at Winn Dixie, I received a Catalina coupon for a free turkey, if I spent $200 during a designated time in the month of November. I know you are thinking why would I want to spend $200 just to get a free turkey? Well in my case it was a no brainier, because $200 is a light grocery trip for me and there was no stipulation as to before or after coupons, so my coupons whittled that $200 down to less than $50. That year we had turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. SCOOOORE!
  4. Shop ethnic supermarkets. I know we all have our favorite supermarket chain, but think outside the box. Many ethnic supermarkets are fantastic places for cheaper produce, grains, nuts, herbs and spices. For an extra added bonus, if you can move past turkey for your meat, ethnic grocers carry many meats and poultry that are fresher by far than your local big name supermarket. I heard from a friend that they also make sure they have the best deals on their business energy often. Perhaps they use websites such as Usave to compare quotes?
  5. Shop your own pantry. Before you go to the grocery store, look at what you already have. Often times we have a can of cream of mushroom soup, breadcrumbs and other Thanksgiving friendly ingredients on hand collecting dust.
  6. Buy seasonally. In the summer months, everyone loves peach cobbler and that’s fine, because peaches are in season. But in November, you will pay triple for fresh peaches. In November apples, squash, pears, broccoli and potatoes are in season, plentiful and cheap. Plan your meal with that in mind. For a list of other options in your geographical area visit’s Seasonal Ingredient Map
  7. Skip unpopular “traditional” dishes. For year’s I used to make green bean casserole just because my grandmother made it. I wanted to preserve some of that traditional Thanksgiving dinner I used to eat when growing up. The kicker is that none of my children ate it nor did my husband. That dish alone was a colossal waste of money. Unless you have a brood to feed and you know they will eat it, skip those pricier dishes that end up in the garbage.
  8. Get tricky. Okay, please don’t tell my family, but I use smaller plates. This tricks them into thinking they are eating more just because the plate is full.
  9. Who says Thanksgiving has to be on Thursday? Honestly at my age every day is a day of thanksgiving. Seriously, do you have family coming from out of town? If so hold off on that feast until Saturday. That way you can catch the day-after Thanksgiving bins at the supermarket. The left over Thanksgiving themed items will be deeply discounted.
  10. Eat out. If you’re a small party — think two or three people– it could be cheaper for you to dine out. Plenty of restaurants and diners offer holiday specials that can cost you less per plate than it would if you cooked a feast yourself. And who doesn’t like letting someone else prepare the meal?

Now that I have shared these tips, who is going to invite me and my family to dinner?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Money Make-Up Artist




Spending Freeze Day 4: #BlogLikeCrazy

Spending Freeze
The Big Green Book of Beginner Books

I’m 4 days into my month long spending freeze and so far I am on track. I did spend $1.62 today, because I forgot to pack my chips to go with my sandwich for lunch. That’s ok though, all I have to do is get back on track.

In my post last week, I told you all it was about appreciating what you have. My family is everything to me and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Today I spent time with one of the most precious gifts I have been given, my glamson Octavius, OJ for short.

I spend time with my glambabies all the time, but OJ is special. Each moment that we are granted with him is precious and priceless. OJ was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation. The doctor’s gave him a 50/50 chance of survival. Today OJ is 7 years old, but those 7 years have not come without a fight. As a family, we fight with him. There are good days and bad days, but he fights and we fight with him.

OJ doesn’t live far from me, as a matter of fact, I can walk to his house. Today was such a beautiful day; he came out to see me and we spent some quality time reading. He loves our special reading time. Nanny read to him from his favorite Dr. Seuss book The Big Green Book of Beginner Books. We read the story Great Day For Up. As you can see, he got a big kick out of our time together.

Day 4 $1.62 spent. Not bad!

Spending Freeze
OJ & Nanny
Spending Freeze

Spending Freeze Day 3: #BlogLikeCrazy


Spending Freeze
Oh So Close To My Goal Of 5000 Steps A Day

I’m back again with an update and behind the scenes look at my 30 day spending freeze. With the #bloglikecrazy challenge going on, a lot of the other bloggers in the See Jane Write group are hosting challenges of their own. While doing the spending freeze and #bloglikecrazy challenges, I decided to partake in a couple of more challenges hosted by my sister bloggers.

Jennifer Dome King of Stellar Fashion and Fitness blog is challenging herself to walk/run 20 miles this month. I am challenging myself to do the same. I set a goal of 5000 steps a day on days that I don’t log miles in my fitness regimen. As you can see from the picture I missed it yesterday, but that’s ok. Jennifer gave me a few tips to help me stay on track. For more health tips be sure to stop by and visit her blog. One question though Jennifer, do the steps I walk day to day count as miles?

Stellar Fit Fam
Stellar Fashion and Fitness

LaCosta Denise Gaston of The Journey of Being A Wife blog is challenging everyone to 30 days of gratitude. You may remember LaCosta from being a guest blogger here on my blog. She blogged about documents that you need to have and why you need them. She even gave us some insight as to what these documents are for. If you missed it, then go back and take a look at it. Back to her challenge, she is challenging her readers to write down one thing they are thankful for everyday. She doesn’t just want them to write what they are thankful for but, also write why they are thankful.

Being A Wife Network
The Journey Of Being A Wife

Today I am thankful for the See Jane Write blogging community. I am thankful because, this group of women is so inspirational. They cheer you on and encourage you every step of the way. Our fearless leader and founder, Javacia Harris Bowser, makes you feel like you can do anything. She is a soft spoken yet mighty presence and I am so honored to know her and to be under her guidance. My sister bloggers are all fantastic and so willing to help if any of us run into an issue whether it is technical or writers block. I am thankful for a community of women where there is no shade only love and support.

See Jane Write Bham
Javacia Harris Bowser founder of See Jane Write B’ham and some of my beautiful blogging sisters

See I have plenty of challenges to keep me busy so I won’t spend. Thanks ladies! I will be fit and thankful at the end of this challenge, not to mention $1500 richer!

DAY 3 NO MONEY SPENT!!! Come back tomorrow and see what I find to keep me occupied.


Spending Freeze Day 2: #BlogLikeCrazy

Spending Freeze


Welcome back to the behind the scenes look at my 30 day spending freeze. For a recap of day 1 be sure to go back and see what I did to curb my spending. Many of you know, I am a Glamma. A Glamma is someone who is way too young and fly to be a grandma, and that I am, way too young and too fly to be a grandma. If you are part of my Facebook Group, Pretty Money Crew, then you saw my video of where I shared that my Glamkids caused me to spend frivolously. I usually keep them after they get out of school and it is not out of the ordinary to stop at the store and buy them a treat, or feed them a drive thru dinner. Glamma is tired when she gets off from work, and besides they are so sweet I can’t resist when they ask for Burger King.

Today, my glamson, Tevin, started his usual, “Please nanny can we stop at Burger Ching?” Yes ching, it’s not a typo. I really hated to be the bad Glamma and say no, but I had to do it. Of course, my no was met with tears, screams and kicking. My heart was hurt, but I will survive.

I finally talked him off of his ledge when I told him we had one of his favorites, corn on the cob, for dinner. He is happy and so is my wallet!

Take a look at him eating his corn, he is a happy camper and so is his sister A’Lona. Jerk chicken, corn on the cob and collard greens is what’s for dinner

Day Two NO MONEY SPENT! 28 more days to go

Your Money Make-Up Artist,


Spending Freeze
Spending freeze
Glamma (me) Tevin & A’Lona

Spending Freeze Day 1 #BlogLikeCrazy

Spending Freeze Challenge Week IV


Hello there and welcome to the behind the scenes view of my month long spending freeze. I am a member of the blogging community See Jane Write founded by my blogging coach Javacia Harris Bowser. In the month of November she challenges all the members to #bloglikecrazy. This is where we blog everyday for 30 days. This fell right in line with my spending freeze, so I decided I would #bloglikecrazy about it. I will give you a behind the scenes look at the things I do to keep myself occupied while unable to spend.

Many of you may know, I just moved into a new townhouse. With my busy schedule, I really haven’t had time to work on my office. I used it as a catch all room. Today I decided it was time to turn my office into a real office. I cleaned all of the excess junk out of there and started the process of organizing.

I pulled out my camera equipment and lighting kit and began the process of setting them up, so that, I can stop using the camera on my computer to make videos.

It really isn’t hard for me to freeze my spending, because I do it the first and last week of every month and at least two times a year for the entire month. Even though it isn’t hard, I still have to keep myself occupied so, I will be doing a couple of other challenges this month to keep me occupied, so that, I won’t spend. I will blog about the things I do to keep me on track.

Take a look below at the before and after pics. It’s not finished, but it looks so much better.

Day 1 went well, NO MONEY SPENT!

Your Money Make-Up Artist,









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