Charlie Sheen has coined the phrase “winning” even though my bff claims she has said it for years. The bottom line is that having a great credit score is #WINNING, …duh! I promise, no more… More
When I was a little girl, my mom explained to me that my job as a child was to be great in school. The operative word in that sentence is JOB! I got up every day and went to school the same way my parents got up every day and went to work. So when review time came, or in my case report card time, my parents would allow me to post my latest report card on the refrigerator. I was a straight A student who was proud of my hard work and my parents created a physical and mental space for me to express pride in accomplishments. The refrigerator was a space in the home where everyone who visited could see what I have been up to. My parents were proud of me and I was proud of myself. That’s a nice memory, but why does that matter now? It was important to my development because it gave me the ok to toot my own horn and the space to do so. In that space that my parents created, I learned how to share my success without realizing that that very practice could someday have negative repercussions.
Why Women Mute Their Accomplishments In The Workplace
I’m sure many of you can relate to that childhood memory….but how many of you can relate to the transition that many women experience. Somewhere along the way, women are taught that sharing our own accomplishments often comes with declines in popularity and other professional ramifications. In her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg recalls, “Jocelyn Goldfein, one of the engineering directors at Facebook held a meeting at Facebook where female engineers were encouraged to share the progress they had made on the products they were building. SILENCE. No one wanted to toot her own horn. Who would want to speak up when self-promoting women are disliked? Jocelyn changed her approach. Instead of asking women to talk about themselves, she asked them to tell one another’s stories. The exercise was communal, which put everyone at ease”. Why can’t we be at ease talking about our own success? Are we more at ease in our silence? These are the questions that we rarely think about but we must address.
How to Toot Your Horn at Work with confidence
It’s funny, we get fed conflicting messages all the time with regard to the topic. On one hand, we are told to “work in silence and let success make the noise”. Again, why is there such an emphasis of to silence talk of one’s own accomplishments? On the another hand, we are told that “closed mouths don’t get fed”. I’m not promoting cockiness in the workplace, but I am inviting women to be more confident in their achievements and ok sharing them. I have experienced something very similar to the example of the quiet female engineers. Women in the predominately female office were always shy to tell stories of success when asked for. Again silence. Below are a few examples of how to take the eek out of self-promotion.
Change Your Mind Set. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The same question can go for you and your career. You can do beautiful work in your perspective industry. You can make strides in your field, but if no one knows about your successes that can leave the door open for others to take credit for your work, it keeps your reputation pigeon-holed, and often leaves money on the table. If you can’t clearly, comfortably, and confidently share your career achievements in a professional setting you are also diminishing the worth of your work. I once advised the owner of a design firm in Atlanta on the disadvantages of this very concept. “You do beautiful work”, I said, “but it means nothing for you and the development of your brand if not one knows about it”.
Shoot A Brief Email. In theory, your boss wants the best for you because you succeeding makes them look good. Try sending them an email to shine a light on a recent accomplishment. For example, if you hit your sales goal for the month a little early, let them know. If you found a more efficient way to do something in your industry, shoot your boss a brief email sharing your discovery. Insider Tip: If you work on a team, make sure that you include EVERYONE who impacted the outcome. You can break out what each person’s contribution was or you can group the win. Whatever you do, do not take sole credit for a group effort.
Buy Your Name. Purchase your name as a domain and create a website or even a static page that works as a digital portfolio of your work. For example, at one point, my name was Danielle Boler, so my corresponding website should have been DanielleBoler.com. In this space, which I recommend you update quarterly, you can allow your clients to post testimonials, you can share press that you have received, and post pictures of WOW projects that you developed. Obviously, the specifics of what you feature will depend on your industry and skill set.
Lean In. Do you remember that example of the Facebook meeting when the female engineers were asked questions about their progress on the products they were building? Well instead of echoing their silence, you should “lean in” and answer the call. In fact, try to be the first person to answer this type of question. In many instances, it is rare when bosses give you their undivided attention for you to share your achievements, so don’t waste their time and your opportunity with silence. Going first presents you as a leader and I’m sure that once you begin sharing your success story, others will follow suit.
So many people fall victim to their own negative thoughts…particularly when it comes to money. When we form negative associations with money we give ourselves permission to fear it. Raise your hand if you have ever thought the following: I don’t have enough money. If only I had more money I would be happier. I will never get our of debt. These type of thoughts are not only negative but are also damaging to progressing in your money goals. When we are negative and fearful, insecure or anxious we will tend to attract the very experiences, situations, or people that we are seeking to avoid. Below are some techniques that will help you release your negative mindset with money so you can approach your finances from a mental state of confidence, pride, and positivity.
What Are Affirmations & What Do They Have To Do With Money?
An affirmation is a practice in positive thinking that manifests good things into our lives. If you can picture yourself succeeding, you are already accepting the image of success for yourself. According to the book, Creative Visualization, “If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting, and envisioning pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations”. For the next hour, try to be more aware of the thoughts you have and the things your say with regard to your money, career, and even lifestyle. If you are not positively lifting yourself up in these areas of your life, how can you expect positive energy to flow in these areas of your life? As negative thoughts creep into your mind, replace it with something positive. Once you have started to neutralize your feelings towards money, next you can start saying your money affirmations to attract wealth and abundance into your life. Check out some of my favorite money affirmations. Feel free to PIN them, share them, or print them for your use.
Add An Extra Zero to Your Money
I was reading a book by Marianna Olszewski call Live It Love It Earn It who shared a powerful visualization and affirmation technique that gave me chills. Her method is to imagine an extra zero added to the amount of money you have in your checking and savings accounts. For example, if you have $500.00 in your checking, you visualize it at $5,000.00. If you have $8,000.00 in your savings, that number automatically jumps to $80,000. Just thinking about the energy of money moving so abundantly and effortlessly gets me excited. and ready to start adding extra zeros to my checking and savings accounts, as well as the money from the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge. According to Olszewski, The idea is to get used to seeing a lot of money in your bank account, so that when you start manifesting money you are ready for it”. I plan to even take this visualization and affirmation technique a bit further by dropping a figure from my student loan debt and mortgage as I prepare myself to be one step closer to financial freedom!
So people think the practice of affirmations is just hocus pocus while other people swear by them. I can’t speak for you but I find affirmations to calm my anxiety and fill me with an energizing feeling of opportunity and a focus toward my goals. Either way, I invite you to give these affirmations a try. What’s the worst that could happen, a money manifestation??
Welcome to the weekend #SMCmoneytribe. Congratulations on finishing month 3 of the She Makes Cents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge! How does it feel to see your money grow and know that you are closer to your goals than you were before you started the challenge? Keep that feeling close in the coming months. This is around the time, where people need the most motivation to keep going. As I revealed in the February recap, 80% of people fail their resolutions by February. If you are still going hard on this challenge, you are already more focused and goal-driven than most people. While the challenge isn’t hard, it does take discipline and consistency. I must admit I even found myself getting a little behind and then having to catch up before the end of the month. I am happy to report I am all caught up with a new sense of motivation.
How I Stay Motivation Doing The Money Challenge
Every once in a while, I calculate how long it would take me to pay off the remaining $17,940.40 in student loan debt I owe if I only made the monthly payment. The answer- 11 years and 3 months. Then I calculate how long it would take me and how much interest I would save if I added extra money toward the principal. For example, if I paid an extra $300.00 per month starting in April 2017 toward this goal, I would only have 3 years and 6 months left to pay on this loan. That’s right, making an additional $300.00 payment per month toward my student loans would shave off 7 years and 9 months off the term of the loan and would save me a little more than $5,550.00 in extra interest. Let that soak in for a minute, shall we. If I were to up the ante even more and started paying an additional $500.00 per month starting August 2017 instead of the $300.00 in the example above, I would be able to pay the loan off in 2 years and 8 months, shave off 8 years and 7 months of the repayment term, and save $5,862.60 in interest. Now folks, if that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will. When I feel myself drifting off my path to financial freedom, I take a moment and do this exercise. It immediately fills me with a sense of inspiration, purpose, and energy especially considering that my student loans are the only thing now keeping me from moving from Baby Step 2 to Baby Step 3.
The March Recap
For the month of March, I saved $72.00 which puts me at a YTD of $221.00 through the end of March. I save more money than the previous month and I am really looking forward to what April brings. The end of April represents the end of the first quarter of the challenge which is when I will take the 2017 savings from this challenge and make a principal payment toward my student loan debt! If my financial projects for next month are correct, April will be the most successful month of the challenge thus far. Want to join the challenge? Click here for your FREE money card download.
Your time is not FREE, so spend it wisely. Take some time to do, read, and try things that feed your soul. For the month of April, here are some goodies we are looking forward to.
We swapped out the April SMC book selection at the very last-minute (trust me, you will LOVE what we selected). For the past seven weeks, I have tried to figure out the big ending of the on-screen adaptation of Big Little Lies and after watching the finale on the HBO show, I have to read the book. They say, that books are always better than the movie and if that proves to be true, it will be nothing short of amazing.
It’s time for you to pull up your sleeves and get to work. This month I challenge you to get rid of everything that does not make you happy so that you can give your attention to things that do. For me, that always starts with physical clutter. I cannot think clearly in a cluttered space and I am willing to bet that some of you can say the same thing. I do a little at a time and I start with the quickest project that will give the quickest gratification. My purge started with my nightstand where I keep a mix of books I’m reading, books on display, journals (I am always writing something), jewelry, phone accessories, receipts, water etc. See what I mean? It’s funny, do we even need or love half of the material things that are taking up space in our space? Take that stuff and sell it to put towards a savings goal…like that dream vacation so many of you wrote to me about. I don’t care what you do with it, just get it out of your space. Nightstand done….next up, my makeup vanity.
I love entertaining, which makes sense considering I worked in the luxury event design industry for the past five years. Since that has taken a less dominant role in my day-to-day responsibilities, I now have time to host my own events for friends and family. This month we will give you the tools you need to plan a party like an event pro. You will learn how to prep your home/apartment for guests without blowing your budget and see inspiration on how to pre-game for a night out like a VIP. I will even let you in on my insider’s hack that combines a great purging and entertaining tip to create a simple and chic DIY your guests will love!
We shared the Girl’s Guide to Travel: 5 Trips Every Woman Should Take This Year so now it is time to start planning one of those trips. I can’t tell you which trip to plan first, but I will show you the best places to invest your hard-earned money in with regards to your travel plans. When is the best day to buy an international plane ticket (you can find that answer here)? How to make the best road trip playlist? How to tip appropriately at all-inclusive resorts? How to stay safe on a solo vacation?
Travel the only thing you can spend money on that will make you richer. So how do you travel when money is tight? Before getting married, I had a money envelope where I would set aside $50.00-$100.00 per check specifically for travel goals. I started the habit when the Mr. decided he wanted to celebrate his 30th birthday in Germany. Saving for that trip got me into the habit of making travel a priority. Germany was actually our first time traveling together….EVER. We stayed there a few days and then road tripped our way to Prague, in the Czech Republic with his best friends where we rang in his 30th birthday! Wow, that seems like so long ago. After that, I kept saving so that when it was time for another trip, I already had money saved. When we got married, I stopped saving for travel and put that money toward saving for a wedding. I guess I never picked back up the habit of saving for travel. That ends now!
The goal is to travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. According to a survey from by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, 55% of Americans did not take all of their vacation days leaving approximately 658 million unused vacation days on the table. Taking time for yourself is a very important form of self-care which is why I have created this list of vacation ideas that every millennial woman should strive to take this year. As you sit in cubicle nation or look out of your office window and picture yourself on a sandy beach with a frose’ in hand, just think that this can all be a reality. Even you don’t get a lot of vacation time (raise your hand if you have been there) you can monopolize on 3 day holiday weekends to make your days stretch.
The Girl’s Trip
The Solo Trip
I was contacted by Bustle a few weeks ago asking my advice on how I spend and save money. Since I LOVE to talk about money, I happily obliged. The thing is, the good folks over at Bustle conducted a survey that revealed millennial women are NOT discussing personal finances with their inner circle of friends. Seriously chicas, we have got to do better! We will ask suggestions about hair colorist from our girlfriends but we don’t ask about recommendations for certified financial planners. The fact that women don’t talk about personal finance is not surprising to me. Some believe it’s because women are not confident in making big financial decisions while others believe women avoid talking about finances for fear of saying something wrong or sounding dumb. I’m inclined to disagree. When armed with the proper tools to make sound financial choices, women prove to be just confident, powerful and commanding in their financial choices as our male counterparts. The results of the survey inspired Bustle to launch the new series Grown-Ass Finances that gets real about what millennial women are doing with their money. Check out 21 Millennial Women Making $30K To $150K Explain How They Spend And Save Their Money as a brave group of millennial women start the public conversation about money (you might see a tip or two from yours truly in there, as well). Listen up ladies, the future is female and if we don’t start these conversations now, what will that mean for our financial futures?
By definition, gratitude is the quality or feeling of being grateful. It is a characteristic that some people naturally possess and that others can cultivate to greatly influence one’s overall happiness and well-being. According to Psychology Today, “studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially the expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy”. In the spirit of deliberately cultivating gratitude, I plan to start the week with a gratitude list and I invite you to join me.
Make Your Gratitude List
That’s right, grab a piece of paper and pen and take the next minute to make a list of the all the things in the past 24 hours that you are grateful for. Seriously, don’t spend more than one minute doing this and don’t over think or judge yourself for something that you think is silly. This exercise is simply to retrain your brain to recognize the daily blessings and the positive things and moments in your life.
Writer and motivational speaker, William Arthur Ward, once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Let’s kick off this week with intention and gratitude and see how our overall happiness and well-being is positively affected.
Buying a car can be a stressful process with so much to think about. Are you getting the best deal? How much car can I afford? Does it come with a rear view camera? For the first time ever, I am looking to buy a car from a dealership and I am not in a position to buy the car outright. I have never had a car note before and the idea of an additional monthly expense gives me anxiety. So how does one make such a large purchase with confidence? The answer is going into it well informed so that you don’t get hustled by the vision of you riding off into the sunset with sexy new wheels or hustled by a salesperson trying to make their quota. Over the next few weeks, I will break down everything need to consider before buying a car. Today, we will focus on two of my favorite starting points- New vs. Used and Down Payments. So buckle up and join me on this car-buying excursion.
The New New
There is this character in the 2006 movie ATL whose nickname was “New New”. New New got her name because she was known to have the latest and greatest of everything. If she were looking for a car in the year 2017, she would be considering a 2018 because the 17 model just wasn’t new enough for her. Even though New New is a character in a movie, many people out there share the same mindset. The thing is she places her money in items that depreciate in value at an accelerated rate. In fact, just by driving your new car for the first time as a new owner decreases its value by 11%. The $30,000 car you just drove off the lot is now worth $26,700 by the time you get to the highway. Instead, consider a used car that is between two and three years old. They are often still under warranty, they offer many of the same features, and comes with a lower price point.
Cash Is Queen
I understand that most people cannot afford to pay cash for a car. I did it by dealing directly with private sellers on Craigslist, buying older models, and going into the process with a set amount to spend. It worked for me and I did it at a time when the cars on Craigslist were good deals for both buyers and private sellers. I am a regular person who found a way to make the money work for me. Financial guru, Dave Ramsey, reflects on people who give him push back that regular people cannot afford to pay cash for a car in his book Complete Guide to Money (a must read, click the here for a FREE download with the app). According to Ramsey, “people don’t buy with cash because they are rich; they’re rich because they buy cars with cash”. I must agree with his statement. I am in a better financial position today because I decided I couldn’t afford to have a monthly car note.
Assuming you can’t buy the entire car with cash, consider how much you can pay for up front to keep the overall price of the car as low as possible. Whenever you finance a car, you are paying interest on that auto loan. Instead of financing the entire amount, you should aim to have 20% or more as a down payment to avoid wasting thousands of your hard-earned money on interest. Additionally, taxes and extra fees should not be considered when calculating your 20% down payment because you should NEVER finance taxes and fees. Before you even set foot in a car dealership you need to ask yourself, can you actually afford the car you have been researching? Rich people ask “how much?” Broke people ask “how much down and how much per month?” A salesperson will tell you the lowest down payment to get you to sign on the dotted line but going into negotiations well equipped with the knowledge of best down payment to make, you know you can do better…and if you can’t, that means you cannot afford that car. Ramsey explains, “When a rich person says she can afford it, she means she can actually afford the car. When a broke person says she can afford it, she means she can probably make the monthly payments as long as there are no emergencies and she doesn’t lose her job”. Think about it, could you afford your monthly car payment if you were out of work for a month? How about 3 months? These are all things to think about before you buy a car. Stay tuned next week for Part II as we discuss Every Thing You Need to Know About Leasing and Financing a Car!
Rapper Notorious B.I.G. wasn’t lying when he said “mo money, mo problems”. That because of something called Lifestyle Inflation where your “lifestyle” needs increase as your income increases; thus, keeping you in the same financial situation. This reality creeps up when people have debt, don’t save, don’t invest. They don’t keep up with the Joneses, they are the Joneses. By no means do I believe that one doesn’t deserve nice things. In fact, I believe no one should have to sacrifice a quality lifestyle because of lack of resources. A quality lifestyle comes at a price but let’s try to not dig ourselves into a money pit to experience the finer things in life.
CONFESSION OF A LIFESTYLE INFLATING MILLENNIAL
I remember being at my job out of college and making around an entry level salary. I owned my car outright, had my student loans paid a year in advance, and was on my way to buying my first house. Back then, you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t living a rich life. I wasn’t rich from a financial standpoint but it was the first time where I was “adulting” and was able to fund my lifestyle by myself. This was a big deal considering a year and a half before that, I was a senior at Spelman College eating pizza at 1:00 am while pulling all-nighters. As time passed, income changed, and lifestyle needs matured, I found myself “needing” more. I had to get another car after mine was totaled in an accident but I couldn’t bear the idea of not driving a luxury German car (thanks Dad for that addiction). I spent money on home decor so I could have a “magazine ready” home. I upgraded my wardrobe. I was making a little money and working with people whose hourly rate was a luxury car note. I wanted to show my family and friends that I had it all together….that I belonged in my new life. That all changed when I left a promising career in one field to follow other dreams for another field. It was in the transition that I started to place a serious effort in saving money and making smarter financial moves. I had to. It was my new reality, we were in a recession, and I was no longer constantly surrounded by the Joneses. I took the time to invest in my own financial literacy so I could better understand how to stretch my money. This was also around the time she makes cents was born.
BALLIN’ & BROKE
As you vibrate higher so will your expectations of people, experiences, and things around you. The good thing is there are ways around lifestyle inflation where you can enhance your life without feeling broke. Lifestyle inflation keeps you in a constant state of financial paralysis because your need for “things” is keeping pace with your increasing lifestyle. That’s how a millennial couple with no kids can feel financially stretched in a $100,000+ income household. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the topics of lifestyle inflating from a millennial perspective and explore opportunities to elevate your life without the elevated price tag.