{Money & Relationships} Who Should Pay for the First Date?

You just met this guy. He appears to be as nice, intelligent, and handsome as your friend said he would be… and did I mention he is a gentleman too. After sort of getting to know each other as best you can over casual first date, the bill comes….Who Should Pay for the 1st Date

Who Picks Up the Check?

I have always adopted that paradigm that planning and paying for the first date is apart of the courting package. However, my parents didn’t raise a fool. Regardless of my expectation of the bill being taken care of, at least for the first few dates, I would never leave the house without cash tucked sweetly away in my clutch.  Offer to pay the tip at least by the third date and surprise him by planning and paying for a date on your own.  So for those of you who believe that the man should take care of the first date, does that include everything…valet tip to parking or does it end at the table? 


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

Check out some of the comments already brewing on the official SMC Facebook Page.


{Dirty Dozen Clean 15} 15 Foods That Aren’t Worth the Higher Price for Organic

A while back, I got a couple of questions from my some readers who are trying to eat healthier on a budget, especially in regards to organic food.  Yes, organic food is pricey but when you factor in the benefits such as more nutrients, no pesticides, and better taste, it’s worth the extra cost, in my opinion.  However, not all fruits and veggies are created equal and not all are worth of the higher price tag.  Let me introduce to you, the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen, an annual list created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that lists the fruits and veggies with the most and least pesticides.  This list will let you know which are the most important to eat organic and which are OK to eat even when conventionally grown.

According to EWG, they analyze pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to come up with rankings for these popular fresh produce items. All 48 foods are listed below from worst to best (lower numbers = more pesticides).


Which Fruit or Veggie Surprises You The Most?


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Eat on the Cheap} Healthy Eating on a Budget

I got this question in from a reader who connected with me through my about.me!

Hello there! I am curious, I am wanting to start using the envelope method but I’m wondering how to go about spending the amount given for me in the grocery amount when on a diet. Diets are super hard to stick to especially when you are on low budget. Any advice?

MyKudos to you for making two great decisions eating clean and trying not to go into debt doing so. The envelope system, by Dave Ramsey, is such a wonder tool that has helped me reshape how I think about money. Truthfully, it may take a few visits to the grocery store for you to figure out exactly how much goes into your grocery envelope. My latest goal that I have implemented into my own life is to set realistic goals. Once you figure out how much is realistic to spend for your budget, lifestyle, and family size, then you are really to maintain a consistent amount every check.

My second recommendation would be to plan your meals on a weekly basis and make a grocery list based on the meals you plan to cook. There are a number of sources that provide recipes to help you eat cleaner by planning your meals in advanced.  Pinterest is a great free source that is filled with thousands of recipes from people across the web who share similar tastes and goals as you. Once you have an idea of what you want to prepare for the week, then it is time to make the all important grocery list.  I recommend never stepping into a grocery store without a completed list.

Other tips to consider:

  • Never shop on an empty stomach…it often causes people to over shop and over spend.
  • Wear your most fabulous heels to the grocery store: Look good, feel good, right? Well, yes… but wearing your most fabulous heels (which often ends up being the ones that hurt the most) will force you to stay on track so you can get exactly what you need and get out of there so you can get home to more comfy shoes or…no shoes at all. It may sound crazy, but I keep my heels on after work ONLY on days when I have to run errands where I may be tempted to spend!
  • Get a shopping/accountability buddy: My good friend and I used to make our grocery lists and go shopping together. It made the experience fun, we used that time to catch up, and we helped each other stay on target and budget.

What is your favorite budget shopping tip?


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Eat on the Cheap} Can You Feed a Family of Four for Under $10? She Can…

Love Bytes!!!

I wanted to take a quick moment and tell you about a blog I came across while blog surfing one Sunday called Budget Bytes. First of all, ALL of the food looks yummy, but what I LOVE the most is how Beth breaks down the recipe step by step, with pictures I might add, and how much it costs to make…especially compared to dining out. She reminds me of Sandra Lee from the show Semi Homemade on the Food Network.

Here is one recipe that I have been dying to try:

It has been in “my favorites” on my iPad for the longest. Maybe this could be a fun alternative to the traditional Memorial Day hot dogs and hamburgers?

Total Recipe cost: $7.98
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Cost per serving: $2.00
Prep time: 15 min. Marinate time: 4-24 hrs. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 30 min. (after marinating)

2 lg. (1.25 lbs) chicken breasts $2.48
1/2 cup plain yogurt $0.25
1 Tbsp minced garlic $0.36
1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.32
1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.03
1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.03
1/2 tsp salt $0.02
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg $0.03
1/4 tsp ground cloves $0.03
YOGURT SAUCE (for sandwich) COST
7 oz. cup plain greek yogurt $1.59
1/4 tsp minced garlic $0.03
1/4 tsp dried dill $0.03
1/4 tsp salt $0.02
4 homemade naan, pita, or flatbread $0.64
1/2 head romaine lettuce $0.80
1 medium cucumber $0.69
2 medium roma tomatoes $0.63
TOTAL $7.98

STEP 1: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and clove). Add chicken to the marinade, coat well, cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. If desired, slice the chicken into strips before marinating to maximize the flavor.

STEP 2: Prepare the yogurt sauce for the sandwiches. Open a 7 oz. container of plain greek yogurt and stir in the garlic, dill, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

STEP 3: After marinating the chicken, grill until cooked through (I use a George Foreman, cooked for about 7 minutes).

STEP 4: Prepare the vegetables for the sandwich. Chop, rinse, and drain the lettuce in a colander. Wash and slice the cucumber and tomato.

STEP 5: Build the chicken shawarma sandwiches. Spread the yogurt sauce on your flat bread, top with the chicken and vegetables. Roll the sandwich closed. You can wrap the sandwich in foil to help it stay closed as you eat.

Check out Beth and all her wonderfully yummy recipes on her website Budget Bytes!

Let’s Connect!

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

High-Low: Starbucks Hack!

I think this will be me and Denia’s next project… pictures to follow.

This looks so awesome! Kerry from Squawk Fox provides a step by step that looks so delicious. Think is will taste as good as the original? For $.32, it is worth investigating from the She Makes Cents team. We will let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, check out the post here!!!

What do you think? Fab, right?


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

inform and inspire ways to use your “cents” to live a fab life

Cinco de Mayo!!!

May 5


It’s Cinco de Mayo; my third favorite holiday behind 4th of July and my birthday! When I think of Cinco de Mayo I think of great food, great drinks, great people, and a sense of community….oh yeah, and the Mexican’s army victory of the French. So how do you have a great Cinco de Mayo experience without killing your cash? Well it depends on where in the world you live. I live in the south of the US, so every Mexican restaurant will be offering food and drink specials. I’m too excited for words because I eat Mexican food (authentic and Americanized) at least once a week. Just remember, if you are restaurant bound, to get there early because this celebration starts early and lasts ALL night. If you live in a city where Mexican restaurants are hard to come by, NYC for example, I would suggest hosting a Tacos and Tequila Party with you and a couple of friends. It’s fun, it’s cheap, and it helps answer the daily question of “what’s for dinner (cena)?”