California Vacation Costs

Hey guys,

It’s taken me a while to put up this post not just because of a deadly disease I have called procrastination, but also just because I’ve really been trying to think of the right ways to be able to explain and breakdown everything that I did in a way that makes sense and is helpful; which, I think I’ve finally got.

Recently I got a request from someone I know asking me to detail more or less the cost of our California trip because they were interested in setting a trip up there as well, BUT they were on somewhat of a tight budget.

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Before I get into the technicalities of it all, I just want to mention that throughout our time booking this trip (which was pretty much only 3-4 months), we were on a tight budget as well, AND it was somewhat of a last minute decision to book.

We had been going back and forth about it for a WHILE until we were all finally just like screw it…we’ve never traveled altogether before, and it could be a great and fun experience for us all; plus (at the time) my brother had been going through a break-up and his birthday was approaching, AND the time we were going was a little bit after MY birthday, so we figure it was the perfect time to do it.

Being that it was all a little last minute, we tried to be as smart as possible about our finances, like putting money to the side from each of our checks and as much as we could  put to the side at the moment, going for Airbnbs instead of hotels, buying groceries in bulk instead of eating out every night, and finding discounts on park tickets.

I also just wanted to mention that since we were all traveling and doing these things together, we split relatively all of the costs down the middle so that it was all even and wouldn’t be nearly as much as it would have been had we all paid for this stuff individually.

That being said, I’m going to go into all of the nitty-gritty details about all of the things I just mentioned.

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Necessary Expenses: Places to Stay, Food and Transportation

  1. First thing’s first, FLIGHTS. We used this app called Hopper which really came in handy when it came to booking our flights because it allowed us to track them for a while to see when/if prices for them were going up or down. It would also give us predictions for the best/worst times to book because they would either be the cheapest in the moment or they may get slightly cheaper (same with the alternative of it possibly getting more expensive). Does that make sense? Per person, our flights going to San Francisco was $119 which was the absolute cheapest price we probably could’ve gotten it for (and we flew Alaska Airlines and was a straight flight). Coming home from Los Angeles, we actually weren’t as lucky with a straight flight or a cheap one for that matter. We ended up accidentally waiting a little too long and the price per person went up to $181 (we flew American Airlines coming back home).

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2. Second were the Airbnbs. Doing this ended up helping us a LOT too believe it or not because we easily would’ve ended up spending twice as much had we stood in a hotel. In total for the airbnbs we spent about $1,386.20. We were only in the San Francisco airbnb for 2 nights, which came out to a total of $830.16 (which per person was $207.54).We were in Los Angeles a lot longer (4 nights, 5 days), which came out to a total of $1,112.07 (which per person was $278). The thing that I liked about booking the airbnbs the most was the fact that they did the payments in installments. That was super helpful, they asked you to pay half of the cost the day you booked it, and then the other half later on down the line (which for us was about a month and a half after we first booked). So we didn’t have to worry about putting all that money down all at once.

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3. Next was Ubers. Unfortunately while we were in San Francisco, our only real form of transportation was taking Ubers everywhere. We spent a LOT of money on it, which kind of sucked, but honestly, we had no other option. We didn’t know the buses or trains like that so if not for Ubers, we would’ve lost a lot more time simply trying to figure out how to get around. So, I would not recommend doing this unless you completely plan ahead for the public transportation use OR do a car rental, which we didn’t think necessary to do since we were only in San Francisco a day and a half. We spent almost $200 on Ubers all over San Francisco.

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4. Next was booking our MegaBus tickets from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We played around with the idea of renting a car to drive ourselves to LA, but thought it would be an extra unnecessary expense plus paying for gas, snacks along the way, etc., so we stuck to taking a bus there. The tickets in total were $216.50, which per person came out to about $54. Not too bad. Plus it was an interesting experience to drive along the coast for ALL of us to enjoy instead of taking turns driving and what not (it was also a 6 hour trip btw).

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5. Next was our car rental in Los Angeles. This we found to be a little more necessary just because of the longer amount of time we spent here, plus all the places we ended up going. It was just better and easier. We rented our car from a website called Turo , which was super quick and easy to use. The guy we rented from was really nice and super responsive for any/all questions we had about the car. Plus his car was really nice (we had gotten a 2017 Nissan Altima). The total for the car, given the amount of days we needed it for, was $261.91, which came out to about $65 per person; it was also pretty good on gas and we only had to fill it up 2-3 times.

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6. And finally shopping for food in bulk. We thought this would be one of the best ways to attempt to save some money out there as opposed to spending on eating out every single day whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or all of the above. So, on our first official day in LA we went to a nearby Walmart and spent $140 on groceries with all of those things to sustain us for the rest of the week. Now, of course we did end up eating out a few times because there were certain places out there that we wanted to try, but generally, I think we did pretty good with saving SOME money by buying our food in bulk. Plus our Los Angeles airbnb we had the entire house to ourselves WITH a fully equipped/stocked kitchen, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of that?

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Leisure Expenses: Eating Out, Theme Parks & Souvenirs

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So this part is for the extracurricular things we obviously decided to do on the side that weren’t “necessary” but did cost a decent amount of money.

  1. Amusement parks. While we were in Los Angeles we couldn’t pass up the opportunity of going to the amusement parks….I mean, we could’ve, but I wasn’t going to let that happen!!! So, we ended up going to Disneyland and Universal Studios. Typically, the prices for tickets to these parks could be pretty freakin’ pricey, if we’re being honest, BUT we were able to get discounted prices on ours thanks to my mom’s job and this website that employees there tend to get discounts for on a variety of things. A typical 1-day ticket to Disneyland (per person) costs $174, for an adult. With my mom’s discount, we were able to get our tickets for $149. Similarly with Universal Studios, one ticket normally costs about $139, and we were able to get them for $94.50. Unfortunately I don’t have any tips and tricks for this one other then to try googling discount codes or seeing if your job or anyone you know’s job offers discounted prices on things like this.

2. Souvenirs & Food. This one is kind of hard to write and talk about just because I didn’t bother to calculate how much I/we spent on food or souvenirs, and even if I did, it wouldn’t really matter just because stuff like that depends on the particular person traveling. Personally, whenever I travel anywhere, I’m a huge souvenir person, that’s just how I am, but Diego for instance isn’t. I have to like force him to get little souvenirs because he’s fine with just experiencing the places, taking pictures/videos, and just being good that way. As for food, again it depends on the person or people you’re with, as well as yourself. We ate at a few different places in the Disney parks, we got In n Out, we tried this bakery called Susie Cakes, we tried this place called the Rose Cafe for breakfast one day and then we bought the food in bulk from Walmart for all the other days we were there.

So, all in all, when calculating everything, yes we still spent a decent amount, BUT it just basically comes down to being mindful of your spending habits and looking for deals whenever you can. At the end of the day, it’s vacation so you should be splurging a little, BUT there are also ways to be smart about it like finding affordable apps for flights, places to stay, etc.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post and that it gave you a better perspective as to the cost(s) of a trip like this, more specifically when you’re in a group and on somewhat of a tight budget.

Also, just an FYI that I did 2 travel vlogs on my YouTube channel completely showing how our trip went in both San Francisco and Los Angeles , which, if you haven’t already done so, you should DEFINITELY check it out. It also shows you a better idea/view of the airbnbs in case the pictures on the site aren’t that great.

Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the channel btw to stay up to date with all of my videos 😉 .

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you guys in my next post.

-Xoxo, LeoGirl ❤

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Tips For Making Your Last Minute Christmas Shopping (Slightly) Easier

Hello Everyone and happy Sunday!!

For my 5th Blogmas post, I thought it would be good, with there being only 9 days until Christmas left and knowing that many tend to leave their shopping for the last minute, to share some tips that I think will be helpful/beneficial in making your shopping (slightly) easier.

Now, some of these may not at all be ground-breaking to you guys, but these are things that I would suggest to anyone in general that I think would be best and easiest when you’re on a time crunch of any sort for holiday shopping.

Plus, some of these things were things that I obviously used in my own personal experience(s) when I was shopping for my family and friends, and they all for the most part ended up working out relatively well.

So let’s get started!!

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  1. Know your audience (A.K.A. the person/people you’re shopping for)!

Probably one of the most obvious things to keep in mind, because the more you know the person you’re shopping for, the easier it’ll be to pick something(s) for him or her, OR at the very least, it’ll give you an idea of where to start when you’re looking for something to get them.

2. Know how much you’re willing to spend on them.

Another fairly obvious one just because you’d be surprised at how many things/items are narrowed down when you pinpoint how much you’re willing to spend on the person. That alone can help you determine what kind of websites, stores, etc. you’ll end up shopping at, which in turn, may help you pinpoint the particular item(s) you want to get based off of what those places are most known for.

3. Invest in Amazon Prime (at least until your free trial or Christmas Shopping is all done!)

Guys Amazon Prime is literally a life-changer and life-saver. If you haven’t done or tried it before, I recommend you go on their website right this second and sign up for their 3-month free trial or whatever the deal is at the moment. You can buy whatever it is you want to buy for the person/people you’re shopping for, AND get FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING on the item(s). What’s great about that too is that, although not ALL of the items on their site will have the option for the 2-day shipping, 1. while you’re shopping, somewhere next to the items shown, it’ll say ‘amazon prime,’ as in it’s eligible for the 2- day shipping, and 2. they also tend to show you different buying options for the particular item(s) you want. Meaning, if one specific seller of the item you want doesn’t offer it for free 2-day shipping, another seller with the exact same item, might have it instead!

OR if you don’t want to go through the hassle of signing up their free trial, hit up a friend that does have it and ask if you can borrow their account. It’s not like you would be using their cards/money, because you could always input new credit/debit card information for the buying.

4. Order online and pick-up in store!

This is super easy AND convenient because almost ANY retail store usually has this option. It also just makes any sort of shopping twice as easy, because it avoids the hassle of you having to pay for shipping, as well as having to go into the physical store to find whatever it is that you’re wanting and then wait in line to have to pay for it. Sure you’ll probably have to wait on a separate line to pick the item up, but it’s still saving A TON of time compared to the alternative and more traditional shopping method.

5. Opting for gift cards!

This may be sort of cheating, and is more of a gift suggestion than anything, but I still consider it to be a great gift and tip. I say this because say you’re the type that not only tends to leave their Christmas shopping for the last minute, but ALSO have no type of idea what to get the person/people you’re shopping for….why not opt for a gift card? You can easily find out their favorite store(s), and just buy them a gift card either online or in-store and let THEM buy whatever it is they truly want/need themselves. Again, similar to buying online and picking up in-store, it allows you to avoid any of the craziness of ‘normal’ shopping, while still managing to get them a gift.

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Well guys, those are all of the tips and tricks that I have for you for any last minute Christmas shopping you guys may be doing throughout the next few days. As I said, I definitely did and followed a few of these things, so I hope you guys enjoyed them and found them helpful to you in some way, shape, or form.

Thank you guys so much for reading and following my posts! Please follow, like, share and comment and I’ll see you guys on Wednesday for my next Blogmas post!

-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

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Battle of the Sexes: Intros, Finances And Shopping

Hi Everyone! Today’s post is going to be the first of quite a few that’ll be coming that’s part of a new “segment”, so to speak, that I’m starting called Battle of the Sexes.

The way this is going to work is that every time one of these posts is done, there’s going to be a new topic discussed and a new guy discussing the topic with me. With each topic me and the guy are pretty much going to be answering a variety of questions that will be revolving around that topic.

Ultimately, there’s not actually going to be a “winning gender,” because the purpose of these posts isn’t going to be to fight among each other to make either one of the genders (or person) look bad; the purpose of these posts are really just to hear the differences of opinions between me and the person, and more of a discussion in general.

Please feel free to leave comments down below about anything and everything that you may have agreed and/or disagreed with that was said, as well as suggestions of topics you would want to see spoken about. But also please refrain from any bashful or malicious comments towards me and/or the person because EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinions whether you agree with them or not. Also, although it’s titled ‘Battle of the Sexes’, I am not opposed to doing these with women as well. So if you’re interested, whether male or female, leave me a comment down below or shoot me a message on any of my social media platforms and I’ll be happy to include you in one! 🙂

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Which Coin Bank Is Heavier?

So for this very first post I thought it would be great to choose someone that is very special to me and who I have discussions like this with ALL the time, and that’s my boyfriend, Diego. I showed him a variety of topics that I thought would be good to discuss, and let him choose the one he was most interested in; and that ended up being about money and shopping since they both, to many extents, go hand in hand with each other.

Diego thinks that something like this would be a lot better if it were in the form of a podcast of some sort or something, which I agree, but I don’t have a channel for something like that nor would I know how to even go about creating one lol, so for the meantime, this is what I have to work with and the way I’ll do it until I figure something better out.

So let’s get started! 🙂 We’re going to start off with easy, “simpler” questions first then get into the more deep questions.

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  1. How much do you usually spend each day?

D- Honestly, not much. I would say $20 total during the week. I’ll buy coffee every morning, and lunch maybe once a week. But I’ll say Mondays would be that one day during the week that i’ll spend the “most” on, I’ll buy coffee and lunch that day, so maybe $15-20, but thats about it.

E- I think $15-20 a day because I buy breakfast and since it gets weighed, it depends on my portion how much i spend. That can be anywhere from $6-8 and then every 2-3 days I put about $10-15 on my Starbucks card for coffee.

    2.  Are you saving to buy anything in particular?

D- I want to start saving for a Tesla as soon as I can, because thats my dream car.

E- I’m attempting to save for a few things but nothing that’s like super immediate. It’s not necessarily buying, but more like renting, an apartment. But i guess the biggest thing I would say I’m saving for at this moment is our (Diego and I’s) trip this summer. Nothing is finalized yet, but that is the goal to save for.

 3. Did you ever receive an allowance?

D- No, I never did.

E- I actually did get an allowance when I was growing up!

D- You did? How much?

E- I think it was like $10 every week or every other week. It was only for like a couple of months to a year at most. And I have absolutely no idea what I would use it on, but I can assume that since i was 8-9 years old that it was probably used on toys and games or something like that lol.

4. Have you ever been in debt?

D- Yes, recently actually. I don’t really wanna say how much or from what, but it kind of was a lot.

E- I am sort of in debt now from my credit card and student loan. I won’t say specifically how much, but I will say that its not terrible because i am paying it off. And paying it off isn’t so much the issue, whereas being smart about paying it off is.

5. Have you ever owed money to people?

D- No, NEVER. Even if I did, I ALWAYS make sure to pay them back ASAP because i hate having to owe anyone anything.

E- I have, but its mainly like my mom. And its definitely not on purpose, I’ll just forget sometimes because I’m busy worrying about other things I have to pay off like my credit card or groceries while I was away at school, and it wouldn’t even be a lot maybe like $50 or less.

6. Have you ever found money?

D- Like in my clothes?

E- No not really, more like in the street or anything like that.

D- I’ve never found money outside in the streets before.

E- I used to find money all the time when I was younger. I found $50 one time under a bench at a store!

D- What the hell happened now??

E- I have NO idea, up until I was like 8 or 9 I would find money in the strangest place. $1, $5, $10, it was great, but I guess after that was when I started to have bad luck lol.

7. How much do you spend on food each week?

D- Like $20 (during the week), and like $100-150 during the weekends with you, but if it wasn’t for going out on weekends it would just be like $20 probably.

E- The entire week?!

D- Well yeah, I mean not to sound fucked up or anything but I take you out to eat a lot and normally I don’t really have a purpose to go out and eat by myself. If you wanna go out and try a new place I’m the one who ends up paying for it.

E- Oooooookay, I offer to pay a lot!!

D- You do but I don’t like you to, so I won’t let you.

E- I think for me it would be like $30-40 a week more or less. It mainly depends on the week, but as I said with buying breakfast every morning and spending $10-15 on coffee every couple of days.

8. What do you spend most of your money on?

D- Clothes and shoes.

E- Lately for me its been clothes too. Up until a few weeks ago it used to be makeup, but now I’ve kinda stopped that and shifted to always buying clothes because I always feel like I don’t have anything to wear.

9. What is the most money you’ve spent on something to wear?

D- It would have to be between my Stone Island coat which was about $500 and my Balenciagas which was like $600-$700.

E- For me it would have to be that bathing suit from Barneys I bought recently which was like almost $200 and I literally NEVER do things like that, so yeah lol.

10. How do you think money helps make us happy?

D- Wow thats deep. I find money to be a sense of freedom.

E- How?

D- Money pretty much gives people the freedom to do whatever they want. Some people work just to work, just because they need money to survive, most people hate their job. But the paycheck at the end of the week almost makes it worth it. They can go out, take a trip, whatever it is at the end of the day to make themselves happy. The more money you have its pretty much the more freedom you have which makes people happy.

E- I feel like I do agree that money is a freedom, but it depends on the person and the type of person that they are. Money can make people feel powerful. It can make them feel powerful like they’ve got the whole world in their hands even if they really don’t and what they have really isn’t that much money to begin with. What they have in that moment is what makes them happy.

11. What qualities do you think a person has to have to make big money and/or be rich?

D- They have to be the type of person to take a leap of faith.

E- Like leadership?

D- Yeah like leadership, effort and being able to take a leap of faith because if you don’t take that leap of faith whatever it is you want won’t ever happen. And you can’t be afraid to fail.

E- I feel like you have to be strong. You have to really be able to not care about what people say or think about your thoughts and ideas.

D- Yeah and not easily brought down or affected by negativity.

E- Yeah if you fall you kind of have to be like well that just happened, now on to the next thing.

D- Exactly you have to be able to pick yourself up when something goes wrong or you fail.

E- You have to also like not be a bullshitter, you have to take action in order to actually get shit done, not just say it and hope that it happens.

12. What does ‘the best things in life are free’ mean to you?

D- The things people take for granted. Like people stressing about the smallest things which makes you lose sight of what’s actually important.

E- To me its that some of the truly best things in life like money can’t buy family time or real friends. I’m sure you could in the sense of bribery or whatever, but they most likely wouldn’t be true, genuine relationships with people or things.

13. How much money do you think you would have to win to be happy?

D- A billion.

E- Why?

D- Because I wouldn’t be able to fully spend that, which is great to think about.

E- Yes you could?

D- You think so?

E- I know so. Look how many people, celebrities, etc. have done it.

D- A billion? Naw I don’t think so, maybe a million.

E- Yeah millions of dollars that would most likely add up to a billion. The same way someone would be able to do it for a million, they would do it for a billion.

D- I mean its possible, if you’re purposely trying to do it then you’re going to spend a lot of money, but living your life regular and in a  smart way, I really don’t think so. So yeah, a billion.

E- I think…as much as it takes for me to feel like I’m stress-free. Whatever that might be, which could be a billion or a million or a couple hundred thousand dollars…as long as I would know that all my bills and/or expenses are covered along with my family and the people I care about being good, I’ll be happy.

D- Well yeah thats relatively the same with me saying a billion, its just an actual amount because I think/know that would be enough to be like “mom, don’t worry, I got you.” It wouldn’t just be for me, it would also be for the people I care about around me.

14. What are some reasons that you think people are poor? And do you think poverty can be avoided?

D- I think poverty can be avoided.

E- Really?

D- Yes I think so, but it could always be mislead like you didn’t have the proper guidance or something. Does that make sense?

E- I think it depends on the person and their situation. I think some people definitely do it to themselves, whereas other people don’t have a choice for it. There are people who are alcoholics and drug addicts who do it to themselves, especially when its hardcore. It could be from serious stuff like that to not so serious stuff like having a shopping addiction. And there are other people in the world who are just kind of born into that type of life with no choices for it. Its just kind of what it is and who knows what their parents or guardians reasoning for that was and the ones before that..

15. Why do you think a lot of poor people in many cases are more generous and understanding than rich people?

D- Because they have nothing or no one to rely on they see what they missed out on in life whether intentional or not.

E- It humbles them

D- Yeah. Rich people obviously have a lot, so they never really have to worry about much.

E- Right, and with poor people, the ones who actually don’t have much, are like so grateful for any little bit they can get like wow this is everything to me right now. Rich people can be unappreciative douchebags, not all of them, but some.

16. Do you tend to give tips to people at bars, restaurants, cabs, etc.?

D- We always tip. It depends on who pays for the meal or whatever it is then the other leaves the tip, but we always do.

E- Yeah but you don’t like to sometimes, and if you do, it won’t be a lot.

D- You think so?

E- When they’re good, yeah.

D- Fuck yeah, I’m not gonna throw my money around to whoever.

E- Well no of course, but I feel bad sometimes, when I think about it because one of my old roommates was a waitress and that was like the majority of her income (getting tips).

D- No I understand.

E- So they literally live off their tips. And I know sometimes these people give really shitty service, and sometimes they don’t deserve it, but at the same time, its like damn this is what their going to be going home with at the end of the night.

D- I get it, but thats not my problem. Not to sound fucked up but why am I going to give you this money that I worked for, when you’re giving me barely a half-ass job? I work hard for my money, so if you want it, I don’t see why you can’t do the same. I don’t mind giving anyone a great and big tip, but I expect great service in return.

E- I just always feel bad, I’m too much of a nice person, but it is true that if you don’t deserve it, you’re not going to freakin’ get it.

17. Are you good at saving?

D- Overall, yes!

E- I’m not at all.

D- Alright, I like the honesty.

E- Yeah i mean I really try to be good at saving and lately think I’m actually getting better at it, but I don’t know its just always kind of been difficult for me for some reason. I am slowly getting better at it though!!

18. If you were to win a shit ton of money, would you give up working and what would you spend your time doing?

D- NO! I would go insane if I ever stopped working.

E- ME TOO!!

D- What would I do though? I would get a part-time job and in my spare time I guess just accumulate more money and probably even part take in charity work so that I’m doing SOMETHING and not just home all the time being bored.

E- I don’t think I would ever be able to just stop working. I can’t just sit still, I get bored too fucking quickly so because of that, I always have to keep myself busy doing SOMETHING even if it may not technically be work, it’s gotta be something because I can only do the chilling in bed watching Netflix thing for so long.

19. Are brand names important to you? Why or why not?

D- Yeah. I tend to buy a lot of stuff thats expensive, I just feel like its worth the price. Ultimately, I believe and know that I’m paying for the quality of the product.

E- You could get great quality products for half the price that you would normally pay for designer stuff at stores that you would probably never even think to shop at. Some not all, but nonetheless.

D- I just think that because I’m paying that much money for something, that means the means to create it took a lot longer and was more thought out and detailed then other things that are similar and cost less (personal preference).

E- I guess I could see that to an extent with clothes. But another good example of why I think thats false is makeup. So many people have that mentality that “oh I’m paying all this money for this Givenchy, Dior or Saint Laurent makeup, so of course its gotta be amazing,” but SO many people are sadly mistaken. Most times brands like E.L.F., Wet-N-Wild, and L.A. Girl that sell their products for a couple of dollars are 10 times better than the brands I just mentioned that you spent $40 on a brush, $50 on a powder and $60-$70 on a freakin’ foundation (quality). Maybe its not always like that and really depends on the particular product (like clothes, sneakers, etc.), but I think this was a good example of that and why luxury brands aren’t all that important to me. Personally, if I can find and get something that looks and/or feels similar to a luxury brand product AND for less than half the price, then why not? It’s one thing to splurge once in a blue moon on luxury brand products, but to make it important? No.

20. What do you define as a luxury good?

E- Anything over $100 I consider to be a luxury good. Not as in several things adding up to $100, but if I’m paying over $100 for something then I consider that luxury.

D- To me it would be anything worth quality.

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Well guys that’s pretty much it, the first version of the Battle of the Sexes posts to come.

That was the majority of the conversation we had revolving around all things financial, although I had to cut A LOT out because we kept straying off topic and joking around, and being annoying with each other lol. But I hope you guys enjoyed it and let us know in the comments below your answers to these questions, what you thought about our answers/opinions, what kind of topics for this you would want to see in the future, etc.

-Xoxo, Leo Girl! ❤