Hannah’s Guide to Cheap Makeup

So you like makeup, but you’re broke.

I can relate.

So where do I buy my makeup on a budget???

  1. E.L.F.: All their makeup used to be $1, but they’ve since changed. Still, they have a ton of options around $3!
  2. Colourpop: This is definitely nicer than E.L.F. I actually like their eyeshadow’s pigment better than MAC! They also have great matte lip paints that are comparable to Kylie Cosmetic’s lip kits.
  3. MAC: It doesn’t sound cheap, but their eyeshadow pans are actually really cheap! If you already have a holder, you can order the pans online for $7 each – even cheaper during holidays/sales!
  4. Morphe: They have a ton of great huge palettes for really cheap that are comparable to expensive brands. They also have awesome brushes!
  5. B.H. Cosmetics: I really like their contouring palette, but their eyeshadow is supposed to be good, too!
  6. Makeup Revolution and Makeup Geek are supposed to be good for eyeshadow pans and palettes, though I haven’t tried them before!
  7. NYX: I love basically all of NYX’s stuff, but especially their brow and lip stuff!
  8. Drugstore brands: I am not a huge drugstore makeup person, but there are some cult favorites people swear by, like Maybelline Falsies Marscara, L’Oreal True Match foundation, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser, and L.A. girl concealers for highlighting and contouring.

Also, look out for holiday sales at places like Ulta and Sephora! But I promise you, it’s possible to be a makeup junkie like me on a budget.

Happy shopping!

Hannah’s Guide to Cooking on a Budget

One of the hardest parts about adulting is cooking. It’s like, seriously?? I have to make myself food AGAIN?

Three meals a day is a lot harder to do when you actually have to cook them all.

It’s tempting to just do takeout. But it’s also expensive. And if you never learned to cook, it can be incredibly daunting.

The best transition step is to just get Trader Joe’s frozen meals that you can stick on the stovetop or in the oven. But there are much cheaper options if you’re willing to try them.

You could also just live off ramen (life hack: add some meat, eggs, and veggies to make it a real meal). But you might get a little tired of it.

And so without further ado – if you’ve decided you’re ready – I present your new grocery shopping list for the cheapest, healthiest, most varied options:

  1. Bananas: the cheapest fruit
  2. Tomatoes (Roma are particularly cheap)
  3. Eggs
  4. Zucchini squash
  5. tomato sauce
  6. turkey bacon
  7. frozen corn/peas/broccoli/cauliflower
  8. riced cauliflower
  9. cubed pork
  10. canned chickpeas
  11. sweet potatoes
  12. canned cream of mushroom soup
  13. spaghetti squash
  14. bread
  15. peanut butter (if you don’t mind the texture, the kind that’s just peanuts and salt is so much betterfor you)
  16. ground turkey
  17. olive oil (possibly the most expensive thing on the list)
  18. salt
  19. pepper
  20. garlic
  21. party pack of chicken
  22. your preferred shredded cheese
  23. breadcrumbs
  24. frozen chopped onions
  25. instant rice/quinoa
  26. spinach
  27. avocado
  28. milk
  29. oatmeal
  30. ketchup
  31. granola
  32. greek yogurt
  33. sliced deli meat
  34. tortillas

You don’t need to get all of these – this is just a good list of cheaper things to buy.

With these you can make:

  1. bacon spinach salad (tomatoes, spinach, avocado, turkey bacon, chickpeas)
  2. meat loaf (breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, tomato sauce, ground turkey, cheese, ketchup-you really don’t need Worcestershire sauce or other seasoning unless you really want it!)
  3. healthy meatballs and gravy (spaghetti squash – which mades a zillion servings and goes with any sauce, ground meat cheese and breadcrumbs for meatballs, cream of mushroom soup mixed with cream/milk
  4. oatmeal with chopped banana, granola, and peanut butter
  5. greek yogurt with granola
  6. banana peanut butter greek yogurt smoothie
  7. chicken parm (chicken, cheese of choice, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce)
  8. burger patties (ground turkey/beef and breadcrumbs) with avocado, tomato, and sweet potato fries
  9. frittata/omelette/scrambled eggs (eggs, milk, cheese, veggies of your choice, turkey bacon)
  10. avocado toast/egg sandwich (self explanatory)
  11. any variety of sandwich
  12. zoodles (zucchini noodes – spiralized or peeled) with tomato sauce
  13. baked chicken with rice/quinoa and roasted broccoli
  14. cauliflower fried rice with pork, egg, and mixed veggies (just stir fry it all!)
  15. roasted chickpeas (roast in single layer on oven sheet at 425! until hard!)
  16. sweet potato or regular toast with peanut butter and bananas 
  17. tacos with ground beef, tomato, avocado

Honestly, these recipes are really just the ingredients I listed together above. If they’re a bit more complicated, I linked recipes.

Some tips:

  1. Every (bigger; not things like peas) veggie is better roasted. Get oil and seasoning and lay the veggie out (if it’s something as big as a sweet potato, cut it into cubes) 1 layer thick. Put the sheet pan near the top of the oven and cook at 425 for anywhere from 30-60 minutes. It’s important to keep checking them depending on your oven and desired level of crispiness. You can get a ton of veggies for really cheap in the frozen aisle. Just make sure they’re defrosted first (microwave is fine) they won’t roast/season well starting from frozen.
  2. You can roast chicken basically the same way, even together with the veggies. But the fastest way to cook chicken is to slice up raw cubes and put them in a large pan for about 10 minutes, moving them around throughout. PSA: there is no such thing as “rare” chicken. If it looks raw inside, keep cooking it or cut smaller pieces.
  3. Zoodles can be cooked in a pan either with just oil, or with about 2 cups of water in the pan. It really takes about the same amount of time; it just comes down to a personal preference of wanting pieces to be browned/fried or not. Also, zoodles tend to be more watery than spaghetti squash, so they don’t work well with creamy sauces.
  4. If you’re squeamish about raw meat, there are frozen meatballs and rotisserie chickens you can buy instead that are a little more expensive.
  5. For meat, you’ll honestly be able to smell if it’s bad. I wouldn’t chance it past the expiration date – unless you freeze them before the expiration date. Just make sure not to defrost then re-freeze them multiple times. With eggs, they stay good long after the expiration date. If you’re unsure, fill a large bowl with cold water and place the eggs inside. If they float, they’re bad. Toss them. 
  6. If you don’t have a toaster, the fastest way to brown toast is actually to put some butter/oil on a pan and give it a few minutes on each side. You can also broil it in the oven but it’ll take longer.
  7. Anything you can make in the oven, you can make in a toaster oven as long as it fits. Sometimes you might need to cut down on cooking time since it’s so small, but it should be pretty much the same!
  8. Crockpots are a great investments and can be as little as $20. If you’re horrible at cooking, this is a great option. You can find a bunch of recipes here.
  9. Ground turkey will not stick together without breadcrumbs and eggs. If you are keto/can’t have breadcrumbs, you’ll need to use something like crushed pork rinds to substitute.

That’s about it! Obviously you can substitute pasta for any of the zoodle/spaghetti squash recipes. I’ve found if you meal prep once or twice a week you can get a ton of meals out of these options for very low prices and very little time commitment.

Happy cooking!

Hannah’s Guide to Apartments: Furniture

Most apartments don’t come furnished.

You probably don’t want them to come furnished, because then if you damage the furniture you’ll be the one paying.

But you probably don’t want to live in an empty apartment.

Here’s what you’ll need:

-bedframe

-mattress

-at least 1 couch

-a TV (obviously not necessary, but nice)

-coffee table

-kitchen table

-chairs for kitchen table

-storage

But Hannah, where do I get these things??

One of the BEST PLACES in my experience is Free & For Sale pages on facebook, ESPECIALLY those for universities. Everyone’s looking to get rid of furniture fast and cheap after graduating/leaving for the summer, so that can be a really great way to get a couch, a few tables, a desk, and bed things with lots of storage. Also, a TV!

It’s also a good idea to wait for big sales (Memorial Day, Labor Day, Black Friday) to buy things like couches or beds or mattresses (or TVs). Keep in mind that if you might be moving around soon, investing in a nice couch isn’t a great idea. HOWEVER, futons are pretty cheap and a good option that guests can also sleep on. Plus, it can be sketchy to buy couches from a stranger. My suggestion here is find a friend of a friend or buy a futon.

Now, you may be tempted to go to IKEA – and IKEA is great for a lot of things. Like children’s bedrooms. But honestly, you can find cheaper and better stuff on amazon, and buy assembly. Amazon’s got a lot of great home goods, especially when it comes to things like curtains, sheets, bathroom storage, etc. Yes, IKEA has great entertainment centers, bookshelves, desks, etc. – but you should really be getting those secondhand if you’re on a budget. My advice? Go there for the cheap food and maybe a toilet brush and then head home.

If you’re looking for really cheap decor, tapestries are always a good way to go. Shein (previously mentioned in my cheap clothing post) and Amazon are also good places to get things like wall stickers, neon signs, and other basic decor. It’s probably best to adopt a minimalist style, unless you’re very crafty and want to fill the walls up with your own artwork. In my first apartment, my roommates and I had a Paint Night where we got drunk off Rose and painted stuff, then hung it all up – that’s a great way to fill up wall space. Also, buying just one large framed photo or painting for the biggest wall makes a huge difference. Society6 has a great selection of art, but it can be expensive (bonus: the money actually goes to the artist!!) Etsy has some cheaper options. Another good option if you have a lot of books or a lot of records is to display them in hanging shelves or displays on the wall! Buying cheap movie posters for your favorite films at allposters or amazon and framing them is a great option too, as is installing a couple shelves with plants. You can find ideas for DIY wall art crafts here, here, here, and here! Making these is also a great bonding activity for new roommates.

If you’re in a gross apartment or your used furniture is gross, there are a ton of ways to spruce it up:

upholster/cover cushions, seats of chairs, and couches: You can actually do this correctly and save a lot of money. Or you can just do what I did and buy a slipcover or a large sheet and cover your couch with it. If your couch is really hard, you can cut a hole and put more stuffing in, or cover the cushions in memory form and then the slipcover. Another good idea is getting a large decorative blanket and draping it over most of the couch. Lots of decorative pillows are also a great way to hide an ugly couch!

-put up wallpaper: there’s a how-to article here, but it’s as basic as peel and stick it on the wall. Target sells some good ones, but you can find them online for even cheaper. This is a great way to temporarily transform a room.

-stick-on backsplash and countertops: basically the same as above. Stick-on countertop also works well on old or cheap desks!

stick-on handles for cabinets, drawers: really the list here is endless

-large area rugs cover gross carpet or hardwood: Wayfair, Walmart, Amazon, and Overstock have good options, but sometimes the best option here is to go to a massive rug store and pick out the pattern you like. Up to you!

And that’s about it for the bigger basics!

Hopefully you don’t get in fights with your roommates over their ugly furniture!!

Hannah’s Guide to Cheap Clothes

You’re young. You’re broke.

But you still want to be fabulous.

Okay, fine, you’re just looking for clothes to wear to work that aren’t going-out tops from college or stained beyond repair.

Not to worry! I am here to help.

PLACES TO BUY CLOTHES ON A BUDGET

-Goodwill. Yes, I’m being serious. Most stores have a huge selection. If you still want to be trendy, a great idea is to buy a bunch of men’s shirts and cut them into something cooler, or a bunch of jeans/pants that you cut into shorts. I’m not sure if this is just Los Angeles, but here Goodwill has Dollar Thursdays where everything with a certain color tag is $1. There are so many cool things you can do with just scissors to your clothes, especially if you’re crafty and trying to be trendy.

-Secondhand stores. Sometimes these can still be expensive – the key is to look in the sale section. If something in the store isn’t selling, there’s really nowhere else it can go if it’s already secondhand. So thrift stores often have huge mark-downs, and you can always find a diamond in the rough.

-Online stores like shein or rosegal. Yes, you’re taking your chances here, and you know the quality will be bad. But if you trying to be really trendy (let’s say you need to be for work), then this is a great option. I’ve personally shopped at shein numerous times and found there’s about an 80% success rate of clothes that are wearable. One annoying thing here is waiting for them to actually ship.

-Facebook groups can actually be a great place to find people trying to get rid of a bunch of clothes. It’s especially good to join college groups at the end of the year – not only are people selling clothes cheap, but they’re also usually selling furniture and appliances.

-ebay, poshmark, mercari etc: There are really cute secondhand clothes on these sites for much lower than retail. The only problem is that many of these sites might have $5-10 shipping costs, which can be annoying. Buying from the same seller is a good way to save money here, as is negotiating.

Happy shopping!