My 5 Secret Tricks to Saving Money

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Is your budget just not cutting it? Do you need to figure out how to save more money and cut costs? Here are 5 tricks to saving money starting with your purpose, diving into cooking and even the softwares I use to save money on autopilot.

LISTEN ON: iTunes // Google Play // Spotify // Stitcher

Looking for ways to save money so you can do those things you’ve been dreaming of? Maybe traveling, paying off your loans or vacationing on a cruise? 

In this episode/post I share 5 money saving hacks so you can cut back, save money on purpose and be free to do what you want to do in the future.

5 Tricks to Saving Money:

Before we dive into these tricks you really REALLY need to have a budget. If you don’t know where your money is going every month then you won’t be able to actually save money!

If that is something you need help with go check out this Budgeting 101 blog post where I share how I create my budget and stick with it!

<< Read Budgeting 101/or Listen HERE!>>

Now onto trick #1

1.Know where you spend TOO much & have a purpose

Now that you have a budget and can look through it let’s specifically look at the categories that are not the vital ones.

For example vital budgets are rent, electricity, food, gas, etc.

We are trying to look at where you spending the most money that is optional like eating out, shopping at Target and on.

After find where you are spending the most money, and before we see how we can cut back, I need to think about something.

Why do you want to save money?

I need you to get really specific. Do you wish to go on vacation? Not stress about living paycheck to paycheck? Have enough money to invest? Go debt free?

Think about it and come up with your own unique purpose and why. That is what will drive you to saying no in the moment when over spending can come easily.

Write it on post it notes. Don’t drive to Target. Avoid shopping when you are bored. Really lean into your bigger long term plan so you can say no in the moment.

2. Use all your FREE resources first

Are you living in college? Do you need furniture for your apartment? Ask mom. Go through the basement. Ask relatives and friends about anything they are getting rid of.

Do you constantly buy new books at the bookstore? Go to the library! Reserve that book online and go pick it up! It’s like Christmas to me and I am saving money for those books I HAVE to own. You can do it too.

3. Use Honey

Honey is a browser extension that will go through promo codes for you when you are checking out, surf the internet for better deals on specific products and even let you price watch a product.

If you like shopping online ANYWHERE you have to use Honey! It can save you so much money!

Here is a photo of it when I was shopping on Amazon. It even shows me whats on sale and what coupon codes are available.

See I’ve been watching to buy a Nutribullet on Amazon and this is what honey looks like! It even shows the history of price drops for the product showing me how much I could save if I wait!

<<Just go ahead and go sign up HERE!>>

4. Learn to cook and eat at home

I realize a lot of people will actually hate this one but it can save you SO MUCH MONEY! It costs 10 or MORE per person to go eat out. Every once in a while is totally fine but multiple times a week will eat up ALL your budget.

So first you gotta learn to cook at home and this scares a lot of people but it is WAY easier than you would think.

I learned to cook by being thrown in the deep end. I moved to Ukraine with NO IDEA how to cook whole foods. They don’t have grocery stores like ours but a lot of booths farmers market style. At these booths you have to tell what item, how much weight then pay. That was A LOT of Russian for someone who didn’t speak any 😂

One month in and I almost starved. I learned real quick after that inital hump.

I am going to share a few secrets.

Start with one dish. You are going to make this dish several times until you aren’t stressed about it and it tastes pretty good. A gerat example of this is chicken and veggies. Simply buy frozen veggies and use lemon pepper on the chicken on the stove and BAM you can cook one meal.

The goal is to have 7 meals you can rotate through at home without stressing about them. I heard this as a mom hack once and even though I only feed one mouth I’ve been working on my schedule to save me time and money.

Figure out how many times you eat out every week then cut it down. Don’t allow more than a few times and keep that purpose for your savings on the forefront of your mind.

Another little hack for this is to order your groceries ONLINE and pick them up at Walmart. I’ve been loving this lately!

<< Get $10 off of your first order at Walmart Groceries HERE! >>

5. Look up & cut your recurring payments

You are probably spending a lot of money on services and subscriptions you don’t even know about.

Go back look through this month’s transactions and figure out what are subscriptions.

After that find ways to cut them back.

Do you need audible when the library has overdrive?

Do you need Netflix when your family has an account?

Are you a student? You can save at Spotify and Itunes music!

CUT CUT CUT.

Save that recurring money!

If you cut out Audible thats $15 a month or $180 a YEAR! That’s a one way flight to visit a friend!

Now before you go I have a few extra hacks/softwares worth mentioning:

The first is Ibotta. With this app you can save money on groceries. You get cash back on items you are already buying!

It’s like if you bought milk and Ingles you can look at Ingles and get .50 cents back. If you look at the app and decide what brands you buy you can get so much back!

Also if you sign up with this link you get a bonus $10 for FREE!

<< Sign up for Ibotta HERE! >>

The other software is Rakuten.

This is similar to Honey in the fact that it works across the web but you get cashback instead.

When you sign up with Rakuten you get $10 as a bonus right away too! It’s like free money, why pass it up!

On the day I wrote this post these are the double cashback shops you could get if you bought the things you were already going to buy on their site!

They include popular stores that you probably shop at like Old Navy, Gap, & on.

It’s just a free way to get money back!

<< Join Rakuten HERE and get $10 for free! >>

How to Make a Big Decision in 6 Easy Steps

You may be asking “is this the right job for me? Is this the right man for me? Is this the right school for me?” We have to make many life changing decisions in our early 20’s and this is the guide for you! Whether you say yes or no too quickly or you are an over thinker like me, Here are the 6 steps I’ve discovered help make a wise and peaceful decision when the pressure is on.

LISTEN ON: iTunes // Google Play // Spotify // Stitcher

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Question or episode request? Email me at hello@createdmag.com or contact me here!

How I have My Life Together (& How you can Gain Confidence too!)

In this episode I share about how different forms of rejection and life challenges opened my eyes to who God created me to be and how confidence started to come naturally. Here I share a few secrets of how you can gain confidence in your self and in the season of life you are in.

LISTEN ON: iTunes // Google Play // Spotify // Stitcher

Links Mentioned:

Question or episode request? Email me at hello@createdmag.com or contact me here!

15 Scriptures to Discover Who God is

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10 Podcasts for Christian Women in their 20’s

10 Podcasts for Christian Women in their 20's.

Do you love listening to podcasts too? I have been devouring podcasts. ALL THE TIME. On the way to work, in the shower, while I am cooking, you get it.

I am always looking for amazing podcasts for Christian women in their 20’s since that is me (& probably you!) I love listening to other amazing people share their lives, advice & stories especially when I can walk away with something fresh.

Here I have gathered my top 10 podcasts that I love listening to all the time! They range from Christian podcasts about dreaming, dating, lifestyle, friendship and more!

Let’s dive in!

1. Made For This with Jennie Allen

Have you ever heard of Jennie Allen? She started If: Gathering which is a huge women’s conference that I have watched the last 3 years. She is so inspiring and I love her new podcast. Right now she is focusing on how we are made for relationships and how to build those healthily in our lives.

Episode I love: 02 – When making friends is difficult with Kate Allen

This is an interview with her daughter and I literally cried. Go listen.

2. The She Podcast

You’ve probably already heard about this top charts podcast. Jordan Lee Dooley has been killing it lately and I love listening to this lifestyle podcast. All Christian girls listen up!

Episode I love: Practical ways to support your passions

3. Living Created with Ashley Jo

I couldn’t not mention mine! Living created is a lifestyle podcast here to help you discover why God created you and how to live it out. We dive into different topics like purpose, passions, money, and more!

Episode I love: 03: Hey Future Hubby

4. The Heart of Dating

This is a recent discovery for me and I have been enjoying this dating podcast! Whether you are single or in a relationship you can step away with awesome truths and advice. I recently listened to the episode with Arielle Estoria and had to sit in all the truth dropped.

Episode I love: 051: How to balance the feminine and masculine with Arielle Estoria

5. Go and Tell Gals with Jess Connolly

Jess is my girl. One day I’ll meet her and totally fan girl. She is who I want to be when I grow up. She always brings down the truth in a fresh way and I love listening to her interview other amazing women on this podcast.

Episode I love: Episode 44: Hannah Brencher

6. The Radiant Podcast with Kelsey Chapman

I know I have some girls reading this who love business and creative works. Kelsey interviews a ton of awesome people who all dish out secrets to their successes. You’ll fall in love with her energy and spirit.

Episode I love: #95 Stephanie May Wilson

7. That Sounds Fun with Annie F Downs

This girl in the OG of Christian podcasts. She started this years ago and has so much amazing content! I absolutely love her style and spontanious spirit. She just brings a lot of fun into every conversation and dives deep in so many ways.

Episode I love: The summer enneagram series! (I am a 9, so that episode was my fav)

8. The Next Right Thing

This podcast always seems to calm me. It’s probably Emily’s voice and her messaging but I always seem to feel a little more at peace about where I am in life. This podcast dives into the answer to the commonly asked question “What do I do now?” We all need some decision making help.

Episode I love: 87: Create space

9. Dream Big Podcast

I didn’t even know Bob Goff had a podcast until recently. If you love his spontaneous love focused life, you’ll love his interviews. He just adds a lot of fun to your playlist and will leave you inspired.

Episode I love: 012 with Ben Higgins

10. Girls Night with Stephanie May Wilson

Stephanie May Wilson is the go-to girl for advice for 20 & 30 year olds. She always has amazing conversations and gives awesome advice for Christian girls. She also has a ton of guests that bring amazing perspectives to the table.

Episode I love: #64 How to find God in the wilderness

That is it! Those are all my top podcasts for Christian women in their 20’s! Did I miss your favorite? Let me know below!

My 6 Year Blogging Journey: How I Discovered my Passion

I’ve been blogging for 6 years and no most of those years I would not be considered a “successful” blogger. That didn’t stop God from using my blog to challenge me, teach me about myself, and grow with Him.

Listen to the podcast episode here!

LISTEN ON: iTunes // Google Play // Spotify // Stitcher

Here is my complete story of when I started my blog, how it’s changed over the years and how we ended up at Created Mag. I’ve even gotten several jobs because of my blog!

You never know what God will use to teach you about who He created you to be.

Main Points:

Trying new things can open doors to other things. No path is straight. Your first job won’t be your last.

Develop some discipline. Build the muscle. Do it even though you are tired then do it some more.

Stick to something. Practice is the only thing that will make someone great at something

If you are trying to discover the gifts and talents God has put in you, take it seriously and try something new. Push yourself. Do something you have no idea about. Get uncomfortable.

The only way you’ll be able to really discover who God created you to be is put yourself in situations that push you.

Links Mentioned:

If you want to stalk me, read terrible writing written years ago and see my growth go here Ashley Jo Bruce

THE BASIC BIBLE COURSE: Join Here!

6 Signs You aren’t Living the Life God Created You For

Listen to this post here:

Do you feel like you’re missing something in your life? You just don’t feel like you’re doing something that matters? I totally get that feeling. In this post, I’m going to dive into six signs you aren’t living the life God created you for and ways that you can fix them. Let’s get started.

We are talking about six signs you aren’t living the life guide created you for and ways to fix them. I just know that the world is asking a lot of questions about who we are, what we are created to do and how to live that out daily.

But I feel like not that many people are answering them from a Christian perspective. And so here we are trying to discover it together. So today’s post is diving into six signs that we aren’t living the life God created us for and ways that we can fix them.

I’m a very applicable person. I like it when there are some action steps and so each one of these signs includes an action step so that you can fix it and try to start living the way God created you to live in that area of your life.

Sign 1: You are dreading life consistently.

If you don’t ever want to go to work, if you don’t feel fulfilled by anything that you do, if you just want to stay home all the time and if you don’t look forward to many things, then you’re probably dreading life consistently. And when you’re dreading life, that means you’re missing something important.

You don’t enjoy work. That probably means you might be doing the wrong thing. You might be in an unhealthy environment that you need to get out of or you might be needing to rely on God more in the situation that he’s put you in and he’s trying to teach you something.

There are so many different aspects of this, so I am not blanketing these signs as, oh, this means that you’re doing something wrong. They’re just different signs that I’ve realized and I’ve asked other people about that show that there’s just something off in either your mental or physical place. If you are dreading life consistently, here are some easy fixes to try to change things up.

The Fix: Try something new

You have to do something different to see if that will make you feel better.

Maybe you would enjoy hanging out with new friends, or try telling your current friends how you feel. Sometimes when we are struggling a lot, we choose to get isolated and push other people away, but when we tell other people how we feel, then we’re inviting them into the process. It gives them a chance to love us well and us a chance to be filled by their love and to feel more just fulfilled in life.

Try a new workout.

If you are bored doing the same thing, try something fresh. If you enjoy working out, of course that is if you enjoy working out, which not everybody does, try a new restaurant or coffee shop. Maybe you enjoy going to the same Chinese restaurant on the corner, but maybe you should try going to that Mexican restaurant and just see if there’s something fresh.

A new little change in perspective can do you good. Try a coffee shop. If you’re like me, you like to go the same place or do the same thing and sit in the exact same chair for a couple of hours then try going to the other coffee shop in town and trying a new cup of something.

Another way that you can fix this is to ask God to give you an opportunity to do something for him. It goes back to what I’ve said before.

If you invite God into the process, he will show up and he can change the dread in the exact same situation to expectation to see what he will do in your life. It is a very, very cool thing.

Sign 2: You are happy, not joyful.

So a lot of people can get these two confused. But as Christians, we are called to be joyful, not happy. Happy is more of a roller coaster emotion. It changes based on your life circumstances. You could be happy one minute and excited about life, and then in the next you’re dreading life and you’re not happy whatsoever because life circumstances changed. Something bad happened or whatever. Happiness can go away so quickly.

Joyfulness is a more consistent feeling. It’s not based on external circumstances, but it’s an internal choice.

Joy is something that’s also contagious. When you feel joyful, even in the midst of suffering or in the midst of life’s struggles or when you can’t pay your bills or when you got fired, or when you’re in any situation where you need to rely on God and his faithfulness and his provision, when you choose that joy in those situations, other people notice.

It’s very much a big sign that says, Hey, I’m different.

The Fix: Get grateful

So if you’re happy and not joyful, the fix for that is to get grateful. So when we sit and look at what we have in life, all of the blessings that we’ve had, our home, our family, a good friend, the way that God’s provided money, the way that you got a new car, all those things, they are blessings in your life that God’s given you and they’re all reasons for you to be joyful.

God is a good, good, good God and he’s a good father and a good friend. And so remembering who he is can also help you choose joy in a situation because he’s the stable rock in your life.

He is your foundation. And when you stand on him and you remember who he is, joy comes easily because you know who’s got your life in the palm of his hands. So if you’re not happy, get grateful.

Sign 3: You don’t feel Special

Have you ever looked around and realizes you don’t seem any different than the world? Sometimes we can get into this place where we just keep going through the motions and have gotten formed by the world a little bit and we just do what other people do and like the photos other people like. We start to look like the photos that other people take on their Instagrams too.

If you don’t feel special, you need to look at a few different things.

Fix 1: Ask Others

The first is to ask others, ask others why they enjoy hanging out with you. Ask them what makes you different than others. Ask them what they’re grateful about your character and why they like hanging out with you.

Fix 2: Ask God

Another fix for this is to ask God to reveal to you why he loves you and what makes you different because he created you. He can show you and help you discover what makes you different than other people and help you lean into those special gifts and talents that you have that sets you apart from the world. Because when we get stuck in the way that we do things and the way that other people do things, then we’re missing out on so much joy and adventure in our lives.

But God wants us to be special and to be different and to be set apart. So if you don’t feel special right now, ask others and ask God to reveal to you why they love you and what makes you different.

signs you aren't living the life God created you for - if you are isolated, go to church

Sign 4: You’re Just Going through the Motions

Don’t get me wrong. Rhythms are really good. I love rhythms. I have rhythms I go through every morning when I get up and I have rhythms when I go to bed. They’re kind of my normal rituals, things I do every day. They’re my pillars that make me feel calm and peaceful while everything else changes. But if you don’t allow for change or life interruptions, then you’re too comfortable.

I know sometimes I can rely too much on my plan. That plan that God changes so often.

I am not talking about the big life plan, but I’m talking about the daily plan, like the, okay, tomorrow I’m going to go to work and then I’m going to go eat lunch with a friend. And then I’ve got Bible study tomorrow night. But if I don’t allow God to interrupt my day and show me what he wants me to do and who he wants me to love, then I’m missing out on so much too.

I’m too comfortable in the way that I see things that I’m not allowing him, who is much bigger and sees many more things than me, to come in and open doors and show me what he wants me to do. So that can block us from living the life God created us to live because we get too comfortable in the way that we’re doing things.

The Fix: Look for Interruptions and Allow them to Happen

So the fix for this sign is to look for interruptions and allow them to happen. When you’re intentionally looking for interruptions, it’s easy to see them. It can be simple. It could be like this girl cutting in front of you at the grocery store when you were in line and you were ready to get going. It could be that you’re supposed to talk to her and love her and pray for her. Sometimes it’s something specific or it could just be that she needed a break and she needed to go in front of you.

Or You could go to work and end up with five extra jobs you weren’t expecting because someone came called in sick and they couldn’t come in and so you got all the extra work. But interruptions in our lives open doors for other things and you never know what’s going to happen. So you have to look for them and you have to allow them to happen with open arms, not push them aside and say, oh that was not in a plan.

Sign 5: You are Isolated in Life

You are isolated in life. This one I definitely understand. When I was in Ukraine it was very, very isolating season. I had friends and people in the church that were close to me and I loved them and adore them, but there’s still that cultural barrier and there wasn’t anybody that was around my age that understood where I was coming from and spoke English fluently. I was in a very, very dark season of isolation and it taught me so much about God and he just opened a lot of things for me and said, hey, this is what I want you to get.

But if you’re not sure if you’re too isolated in life, try answering these questions.

When was the last time someone called, texted or came over because they had a problem and needed a friend to walk through it?

That sounds so odd, but I’ve realized when I’m isolated in life then people don’t come to me because they feel like they’re burdening me or because I pushed them away. But if they call me or text me or they just stop by my house it shows they trust me and desire to have a relationship with me.

So if you don’t have a friend that does that, that could be a sign you’re isolated in life.

Another question to ask is, when was the last time you felt like you were blessed with awesome people in your life?

You looked around and you were like, wow, I have great friends. If you haven’t felt that way or haven’t felt that way in a long time, you’re probably isolated in life.

God has some awesome people in his kingdom and some awesome people he created. So I promise you friends are out there, but sometimes we have to do some work to meet them, trust me, I’m in that season of trying to figure out like post-college, how to make friends and is hard. So I totally get that. But it’s a season that we need to choose to build community in.

And another question ask is, do you often feel a sense of loneliness?

Loneliness can come from different things and it can happen when we’re with people too. But often when we’re with people and we feel lonely, it’s either because we aren’t being open about who we are and what we need and like fully giving ourselves in a relationship, which if you’re looking for a deep relationship, it needs to be a 50/50 relationship or some people say 100/100, I don’t care which way you look at it.

You have to be giving and taking as well as the other person giving and taking or it’s on a double sided relationship. Then someone’s just giving too much and someone’s taking too much. So if you feel a sense of loneliness in a crowd, think about that. But if you feel yourself and you feel lonely and you’re not around that many people, then you’re probably isolated in life.

Check out Related: How to Cultivate Community

Fix 1: Go to Church

So my fix for this is to go to church. That is a great place to find some God loving kingdom, people that will love you well and choose to serve you. Another way is to reach out to people that you already have in your life. So friends of other seasons, friends who live in different states, call them and say, “Hey, I’m really struggling. I need you to pray for me” or “I need you to just hear what I’m struggling with” or “I need your opinion” or “I just need you to listen.”

There are people that are in your life that will do it. I promise you just need to reach out to them.

Fix 2: Let People In

And the last fix is to let people in. If you do not let people in then you cannot build community because you’re blocking them from yourself, you will always keep them at arm’s length and they’ll know. They’ll think “we aren’t that close”. People will recognize that even if they don’t immediately recognize it. They’ll see that you have walls put up and that you push people away.

Sign 6: You haven’t Spent time with God in a While

Sign 6 is you haven’t spent time with God in a while. For us to live the life God created us for, we have to spend time with him. If we aren’t rooted in him, ot hanging out with him, praying, speaking with him, then we’re missing out on the relationship with him.

We’re choosing not to hear him or to be guided by him or to be changed by him. The thing with God is he is always molding us in his image and he is always working us into who he needs us to be for the future.

So if you’re thinking this season of life is really lame, trust me, he’s probably teaching you something very, very important that you are going to need in the future. Even if it doesn’t seem very fun today. Remember that. So if you haven’t spent time with God in awhile, you’re missing out on a very important aspect of abundant life.

The Fix: Spend 15 Minutes with God Today

So the fix for that is to spend 15 minutes with God today, it’s very simple. You could do five minutes, you could do 30 minutes, you could do an hour or you could do 15 minutes. I recommend 15 because it’s a good amount of time and it’s not too much and you can totally work that into your schedule. I promise. If you try, you can do it.

Then I want you to do it again tomorrow, Okay? Then I want you to do it again the next day and stay consistent for as long as it takes to get to know God more.

Because as soon as you understand who God is and how awesome he is and how much he loves you, you’ll desire to spend time with God.

I know it sounds funny and I’m going to do a podcast episode on this in the future because a lot of people have been asking me this recently, how do we desire God? How do I build that in myself? Or how do I read the Bible and not feel like it’s something I have to check off my checklist?

I totally understand those feelings and I’ve been in seasons like that but you don’t have to stay there. It can be something that you work through and move into a passion for knowing more about God and following him with your life.

Once you get passionate, it’s like your blinders come off. And the whole world is an adventure and every day is going to be crazy and, and exciting and fun. And so if you haven’t spent time with God in a while, I suggest you spend 15 minutes with God today.

Not sure where to start?

It can be life changing in the long run even if it seems like you didn’t learn anything or you didn’t grow with him today. It’s something that you have to do consistently to build the passion and to get momentum, I promise. I promise. It is well, well worth it. So that is the fix for number six.