Dollars and Sense: How to Effectively Manage Your Money When You Have None


Going out into the real world with a college degree taught me one really big life lesson: your bank account does not magically change. It still looks just as pathetic as when you were juggling school with a minimum wage part-timer. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just not right away. Here are some quick tips to help you manage that sad bank account like the “adults” we all are…(there may be a time where I stop using the word “adult” like a funny joke. Maybe not. Stay tuned.)

#1. Write out a budget. Stick to it.

There are so many free tools available to make this easy. From apps like Minted to websites dedicated to what should be standard percentages of your income to specific categories like rent or groceries. I used these as a basis to start my own basic budget. I created an Excel sheet with incomes, expenditures, and savings goals that are standard for me each month. Based on that information I was able to see what was left over for the fun things in life. To prevent over-spending, I stayed away from using my debit card for these purchases and instead gave myself a cash allowance. Like I said, “adult” is clearly used loosely in my world. But seriously, try the cash thing. It works. You can physically see in front of you what you have as extra-spending money to buy that new lipstick you’ve been eyeing or grab the Iced Carmel Macchiato (boring, but addicting none the less). When the cash is gone then your fun spending is done for the week or month depending how you set it up, and your grown-up finances are still in tact. No late fees this month.

#2. Pack your lunch.

I am embarrassed to admit the percentage of my income went to eating out in 2014. There are people who spend their careers studying the psychology of our purchases. They can explain it better than me. But basically we don’t give second thought to anything under $20, especially for items like food. We rationalize it because food is a necessity and it makes us feel so good. There is no winning. $10 a day for lunch turns into $200+ a month on a normal work schedule. Do you want Panera today or do you want that super cute pair of pumps you’ve been eyeing in the shop window, Taalor?! Priorities, girl.

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Weekly Wishes #1

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

I love to make lists and set goals. It is what inspires me every single day to be the best that I can possibly be in that moment. But since I graduated college, it seems as if the list is so long that I don’t even know where to begin. I am excited to join The Nectar Collective and a larger community in a weekly link-up where we set goals for ourselves and find support from the community to push ourselves and others to complete them.

The Nectar Collective blog, run by Melyssa, has provided inspiration in my life for awhile, and motivated me to start this very blog. As a reader, there is nothing better than feeling warm and welcome in a blog community. Melyssa provides that, and I hope that I can portray the same feelings to my readers. This feeling of community is the number one reason why I decided to start blogging. To no longer be a passive participant, but an active one to improve my life. And maybe, just maybe, make a difference in others’ lives as well.

My Goals:

#1. Eliminate all soda. This is a big one for me. After my morning coffee, I want something fizzling and caffeinated. I want to make it through the week without succumbing to the liquid poison. To ease into this transition, I am replacing that craving with Mio Energy that you add to the water. Still has sugar and caffeine, but it is a step in the right direction. Baby steps.

#2. Complete my workspace renovation. Since starting the blog, I have camped out at our kitchen table. It is the perfect size, and I have been able to add my inspirational touches to the area. Buttttttt, it is not the space I want to be in. I want my own nook where I can write without being tempted by the refrigerator/pantry.

#3. Increase my social media presence. I tend to drop off the face of the planet from time to time, or at least that is what appears to happen according to my accounts. I get so focused on work and future plans that I completely forget to live in the present and share what I am up to with others. It’s also so nice to see what other people are doing. Never before has there been so much available inspiration. Social media gives us that.

What is your goal this week? Write it down. Look at it every day. And find someone to support that goal. I’d love to hear it. ♥

Weekly Wishes

If you are a blogger and want to join this inspiring link-up, shoot me an email and I will send you the details. [EMAIL]



When I was first beginning the application processes for graduate schools and full-time jobs, I was spending A LOT of time typing up the necessary documents, like CVs, resumes, and cover letters. At this point, I can find a job I am interested in and can have the application submitted in like 25-45 minutes depending on where the application is going. I used to spend a minimum of 2.5 hours on one. That is a lot of time. Especially if you have 4-5 places you want to complete in one day. Over the past few months, I have spent a lot of time developing several templates of cover letters and resumes that cover different aspects and job opportunities that fit MY needs.

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Kicking the Habit

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Welcome back to the series, “The Downtime Slump.” If you didn’t catch my introductory post about what this is all about, you can check it out here. Today’s post is a close one for me because I am guilty of all of these things, and have made it one of my New Year’s Resolutions to break free of their chains. They are the nasty habits we acquired in college and suddenly it is glaringly obvious that we need to nip-em’ in the butt ASAP.

#1. Snacking replacing any and all meals. 

Unless you ate in a cafeteria for 3 meals a day, you know exactly what I am talking about. Cooking healthy, well-balanced meals was largely non-existent. Nobody had time for weekly, organized grocery trips. Or to stand in a kitchen for an hour+ every day. The clean up was a hassle. I am jealous of the people who had roomies where they would all take turns making a different meal every night. My roomies and I were never on the same schedule. Trying to balance 5 different schedules, eating preferences, and what not. NOT HAPPENING. Instead you would get home from class, grab whatever randomness you could find before you had to leave again. Convenience and availability usually outweighed healthy. Even then I knew it was unhealthy, and I would try and be proactive about the situation. But healthy food would usually be wasted because it would spoil. Buying in smaller amounts is obviously the more logical answer, but at the time naps seemed more crucial than grocery shopping. Jimmy Johns and their “freaky, fast delivery” should have won humanitarian awards for keeping me and my fellow classmates alive during desperate times of need.

Now that I am on a 9-5 schedule, I have realized healthier eating habits have been much easier to attain. In college, every day of the week we have a different schedule and these various schedules tend to produce a less-than healthy lifestyle. But once you are done, a real schedule becomes much more manageable. Other ways to break the chain? Keep a planner. Write down what meals you would like to have that week and compile a grocery list based off of that. Make extra when you are cooking so that during the times you don’t feel like it, there are always leftovers available. Cook extra for your lunches to avoid eating out during your work day (healthier and cheaper!) Recently I have invested in glass tupperware (here) so that I can keep my leftovers and lunches organized in the refrigerator. They’re awesome in the dishwasher and eliminating the food-smell in the frig.

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Battling the Wintertime Blues

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Since launching Just Taalor, I have been truly motivated to provide a strong foundation for what I want to represent and be able share my passions. That has become my only priority and number one goal right now. I have never felt so motivated than I am now to be able to pursue my blogging dream. With that being said, I am definitely combatting some winter time blues. I am so sick of bundling up and slipping on the ice. I would like to get my necessary amounts of Vitamin D without risking my life day in and day out.

In other news, I feel so empty this week because I finished the Serial podcast and I don’t know what to do with my life anymore. How else am I supposed to distract myself from car rides in the tundra? For the past two weeks, I have been pouring over who truly killed Hae. Looking at the evidence and the documents the website offers (it’s hard to see, but this is exactly what is on my computer screen, judge me)…like I might see something that many professionals had missed? Yeah right. But still…the case has really weighed on my thoughts and I can not wait for the second season!

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Rejection Isn’t Personal…Or Is It?

I am definitely not the girl who deals with rejection well. But, honestly, does anybody? I have been on a full time job hunt for the past two months in a very small job market. There really isn’t much available unless I want to move 4 hours in any direction and that really isn’t an option for me right now. The past two promising gigs lead me to a great second interview, and then always bad news. One time, due to funding, they decided to just get rid of the position all together. The conversation went a little like this, “I really wish I was calling you with a job offer. We loved you, and we all agreed you were great for this position. Unfortunately we were not able to acquire continued funding…” Blah, blah, blah. That is what happens when you work in a social services/non-profit related field. I get that it happens. But on a personal level, I always get my hopes up. I start visualizing myself in that position and get so excited.

Today, I received another such phone call. Except this time, it was because I wanted to continue my education that hurt me against the other candidate (even though it was obvious that school was not going to interfere, etc..) They just felt that the other candidate was in it for the long haul with the company whereas in 3 years I would probably want to move on to further my career.

These things happen. I wasn’t going to lie and not tell them about continuing my education. What if I had committed to this job without knowing whether my scheduling would conflict down the road. But still, it is always a little disappointing. I was driving alone in the car when I received the call, and it definitely put a damper on my perfectly swell day. I pulled in the driveway feeling down, and then I remembered a very important aspect to the job hunt that I forgot:

Don’t take a rejection personally. 

It is not personal. It is just business. That is all.

I don’t tend to think I am a “fate” type of thinker, but maybe I am because all I can keep reminding myself is that “what was meant to be will happen”…I have to have faith that I just haven’t stumbled upon my correct path yet and remind myself of the things I have in my life every day that make me so happy: my boyfriend, my family, my blog, my passions. Happiness is all around me. Take the time today to see your own happiness

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