( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Leslie Veliz Talks Living Well on Budget, Gratitude, and Making Time for Personal Joy
ENSPIRE Contributor: Adam Cetorelli
In a world where social media influencers make a living in advertising their luxury resort stays and high-end brand deals, the average person can only dream of a similar life. Blogger Leslie Veliz said that being on a budget shouldn’t prevent people from doing things they love—it just takes a little more searching to find affordable options. Her blog, “The Leslie Life,” is dedicated to empowering others to live well no matter their income.
Veliz’s mission for “The Leslie Life” is strengthened by her kind, personal writing. Posts like “Enjoy the Little Things in Life” and “What I’m Doing at Home to Keep Busy” offer Veliz’s own experiences staying positive and busy during the COVID-19 pandemic as examples that others could emulate. Veliz encourages readers to listen to their needs and manage their expectations, rather than overexert themselves, to enjoy their lives more. Check out this interview with Leslie Veliz on her philosophy on life, work, and budget-friendly fun.
Who is Leslie Veliz, and what is “The Leslie Life?“
I’m a 24-year-old recent college graduate living in Los Angeles that has a love for writing and exploring. “The Leslie Life” is a blog I started last year dedicated to these two passions. On my blog, I try to be budget conscious and include things anyone can do. I also write about beauty, travel, review products, and in general, share about my life.
What inspired you to start blogging?
We live in a social-media obsessed world that is all about showing off what you have, where you’ve traveled to, and so on. I grew tired of seeing influencers promote and post things that weren’t accessible to the average person. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the content, but I did grow very disillusioned by what I was seeing. Most people, especially younger adults, don’t have the means to travel to exotic places and have shopping sprees. That being said, I started my blog because I wanted to present a realistic lifestyle. At the time I launched “The Leslie Life,” I was an unemployed, full-time college student, and I thought, that in itself is a reality most people can relate to.
It must take a lot of self-assurance to let readers into your daily life. How do you stay confident?
I go with the flow. I realize some posts may be more popular than others, and that’s okay. I never started my blog with the intention of making money or even gaining too much of a following. The mere act of writing something and publishing it makes me feel good and like I have accomplished something.
Has your experience creating content changed recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Before the pandemic, several of my blog posts had to do with specific places and activities you can do in Los Angeles. In the early months of COVID, I wrote about things anyone can do at home and what I was doing to keep myself busy. Now that the city has begun to reopen, my content has slowly started to shift back to places I have (safely) visited in and around LA, such as botanical gardens and beaches.
How do you stay positive during times of uncertainty, like that which we are currently experiencing?
In times like these, I try to have as much gratitude as I can. I think about all the positives in my life and thank the universe for them. I also keep in mind all I have yet to do or see to keep me going. Perhaps I am unable to do those things right now, but there will come a time when I will, and I’ll be able to reflect on that.
As a lifestyle blogger, what message are you trying to send to your audience with your content? What is your philosophy on life?
First and foremost, I want to say that if I can do it, anyone else can. Any activity, place, thing I have written about it can be easily accessed by your average person. I also mean this in terms of having and writing a blog as well. My intention isn’t to flaunt what I have or what I do. I want people to log on to “The Leslie Life” and say, “Hey, I can afford that” or “Hey, I can go there”. This ties into how I feel about life; I think you should work to live and not the other way around. Of course, this can be a tricky philosophy, especially in the US where the concept of working until you die is the norm. However, I think experiencing new things can help you grow as a person and have a different outlook on life. This is why I place so much importance on them, especially as a person who grew up without the means to.
What are your best tips for having fun on a budget?
Do your research beforehand. I always check prices. Sometimes places and activities have student discounts, and I will still use my old college I.D. if they do. Some days also might have a cheaper admission entry than others. Groupon is also a great resource, log on, and see what’s out there. If you want to travel somewhere, book your tickets and Airbnb months in advance—6 to 7 months before if you can. Speaking of, always go with Airbnbs if you can; hotels are way too expensive. Finally, having understanding and supportive friends is a must. If there is an activity or somewhere you want to go to, ask a friend if they are willing to go 50/50. Maybe you can drive, and they can get the parking, things of that sort.
What does self-care mean to you, and how do you practice it?
Self-care is everything to me. We live in a society that’s oriented on going and going, and that’s never been right to me. How do you expect to have efficiency when people can’t even have a moment to themselves? That’s why, after I get off work, I work out, read, or go on YouTube to watch videos. I also incorporate doing my nails or a facemask–simple things like that. I know not everyone can do this, but I encourage everyone, if they can, to take a small amount of time to do something they want to do and not what they have to do. Of course, sometimes, I don’t even have the time, but I try my best to do something for myself to keep me sane.
How is community important to you, in terms of both your life and your content?
I have a very small community of close friends that support everything I do regarding my life, blog, and career. I have come to them with ideas—some weird, some probably bad, but they never have once told me not to pursue what I had in mind. “The Leslie Life” would not exist without them. Some actually helped me build the site and take photos, while others join me weekly on activities I otherwise would not do by myself. I am incredibly thankful for these people, and although I’m not particularly religious, I feel incredibly blessed to have them in my life.
For more on affordable travel, self-care, and entertainment from Leslie Veliz, check out her blog theleslielife.com.