{50/20/30} Beginner’s Guide To Saving, Spending, & Living Life

I always say that every financial rules may not work for you and your financial situation.  No one can tell you exactly what amount to save, what amount to spend, and how exactly you should invest; however, when people find something that works…you should find a way to make it work for you.

Currency in envelope

Three percentages that may change the way you live, spend, and save are the 50-20-30 rule, as explained by the good folks over at Forbes.

Check it out!



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Beginner’s Guide to: Understanding Financial Terms

As a millennial woman, I know many of my peers shy away from conversations about money and becoming financially fit for fear of looking dumb for not knowing the basics. Financial terms are spoken and we hear Charlie Brown’s teacher and stop listening. I want to help break down self-imposed barriers that could be keeping us from confidently making smart money moves. In an interview for Mint, I was asked off the record if I thought that women view money management differently than men. While some people believe women are not confident in making big financial decisions, I’m inclined to disagree.

When armed with the proper tools to make sound financial choices, women prove to be confident, powerful, and commanding in their financial choices.

Every week, She Makes Cents will introduce a financial term with hopes to empower you to expand your financial literacy. For some this is a refresher and for others, it may be the first time that you understand, what these terms mean and how they affect YOUR money. Either way, you are arming yourself to take the lead in your own financial situation and achieve the goal of living the fabulous life while being financially savvy!

If there is a financial term you want explained, shoot us an email and we will answer it on the site. Stay tuned tomorrow when we talk investments and returns.

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{Show Me the Money} Tuition Bites Six-Month Review

UPDATE: TUITION BITES HAS GONE OUT OF BUSINESS

She Makes CentsSix months ago I signed up for a service that claims to help people pay off student loans by shaving years off of a student loan repayment term and saving thousands in interest over the life of the loan. I decided to try it using my own student loan debt information, record my progress, and give honest feedback.

Welcome to my review of Tuition Bites!

Signing up on the site was very easy and within minutes, I had my very own online storefront. According to Tuition Bites, they have a “new featured item available for all our members to promote through their storefront”, however, since signing up six months ago, I have only been able to feature discounted Starbucks gift cards because the “new featured item” is always Starbucks! While I LOVE Starbucks and love getting 10% off a $25.00 gift card, I found it difficult to get others excited about checking out and buying from my storefront if the product never changes.

Show Me the Money!Tuition Bites

Regardless of what item is being feature, the goal is to sell so that a portion of every order, 25-30% depending on the item, is direct deposited into your linked account. To be honest, I was a little worried about giving my account information to a website I wasn’t very familiar with, but I must say that they are quick to add your financial cut from the sale(s) to your financial aid account. My first month I had three sales- one from me, one from my dad, and one from a cool She Makes Cents reader which equaled to about $20.00 paid directly to Sallie Mae.

My Verdict

I must admit that because the product only changed once…from $20.00 cookies to a Starbucks eGift card, I quickly lost interest in promoting my storefront. That’s the only downside I see. Like I said before, if it features affordable products that people like or want to try, something that saves money of things you regularly buy, and helps pay down massive student loan debt, then it could be a worth the time it takes to promote your storefront. In a culture where time is money, it is only worth the time, in my opinion, if there were more product options for people supporting your storefront.

Final Grade: B-/C+

How are you paying down your student loans?

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Mint Interviews Danielle Y. Boler of She Makes Cents

interview.jpgIDanielle Boler- Creator of She Makes Cents copy

Back in March, I was contacted by an Editorial Assistant for Mint asking if I would be interested in doing an interview.  I interview people all the time, but rarely am I on the other side of questions.  Excited and a little nervous, I agreed.  Yesterday, they contacted me to let me know that the interview was published. 

Personal Finance Blogger, Danielle Boler Vason talks women and money in Mint Interview

Danielle Boler hopes to start a conversation about how women can make smarter financial decisions and live a fabulous life on her blog She Makes Cents. When it comes to how women view money compared to men, Danielle says she believes women are more cautious – which can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, saving more creates a good cushion for emergencies and other unforeseen events, but it can also prevent big financial gain. “Some believe it’s because women are not confident in making big financial decisions. I’m inclined to disagree,” she says. “When armed with the proper tools to make sound financial choices, women prove to be confident, powerful and commanding in their financial choices.” In the end, diversifying your financial portfolio (no matter what your gender) is important on every income level to make your money work for you, she says.

We recently checked out with the sassy blogger to learn more about her site and get her take on personal finance. Here’s what she had to say:

Click here to read the full interview and find out financial freedom is important!

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{Splurge or Save} Christian Louboutin Nail Polish


christian-louboutin-nail-polish

Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I have an affinity toward nail polish. The Mr. once described my behavior in a Sephora on the Las Vegas strip as a “lioness approaching her prey”. With that being said, I have tried it all and I must say, nail polish should not be a splurge. Take the Christian Louboutin nail lacquer that was released yesterday. For $50.00 a bottle, that is smaller than the average nail polish bottle I might add, what are you getting?- A nice rouge polish that can be replicated with OPI or even NYX polish (which is becoming my new favorite because of how long it lasts). You see, you are paying for a name, cool branding with the spiked top, and for people to see you wearing Christian Louboutin. But unlike his shoes, which can be readily identified by their distinctive red bottoms, no one is going to recognize your Rouge Louboutin polish. Think about it like this, 12 bottles of polish could buy you a pair of Louboutin heels…which I would consider a better investment, by far.  

Splurge or Save? : SAVE

Danielle

cropped-logo-twitter2014.jpgWould you spend $50.00 for nail polish?

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{Wedding Budget} Could My Wedding Expenses Be Tax Deductible?

Have you ever had an ah-ha moment in front of total strangers? You know, when the light bulb goes off and your mind starts racing. Well, I had that moment early this summer when meeting with a bride and her CPA father to discuss her décor for her wedding. We were talking trends in weddings, when someone asked, “what happens to the wedding flowers after the wedding?”. I told them of the article I read that inspired me for my own wedding (which then was just a daydream). The article suggested that couples donate extra floral left from the wedding to the residents of a senior care facility. While there, ask the residents for their wedding advice so that they get visitors and the newlyweds get advice from generations before. I thought it was a great idea and a sweet way to start a marriage- giving. The bride’s father interjected agreeing that it was a great idea! Especially since, you could write it off on your taxes. AH….HA…..MOMENT!Tax Deductible Wedding copy

Who knew that some wedding expenses are tax-deductible? I starting researching wedding related tax-deductions using an online tax calculator in planning my own wedding and I was surprised by what I found.

Click here to  find  the secrets behind tax-deductible wedding expenses and how they can work for you!

What are your thoughts on tax-deductible wedding expenses?

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This post was first featured on the FeeX blog.

{Personal Story} The Mr. Asked Me to be His Mrs.

He stole my heart, so I’m stealing his last name!

It’s been a minute, but I have a really great reason for getting slightly off the editorial schedule. One week ago, the Mr. asked me to be his Mrs. That’s right folks, I’m GETTING MARRIED!! Every since I was a little girl I have dreamed of this moment.  Yesterday, when visiting my dad, he reminded me of a school project I had when I was five or six years old.  Then when asked to write about what I wanted to be when I grew up, my proudly wrote a ballerina, a bride, and a firefighter.  Well, at least I got two out of three.  Ever since he proposed, life has been a complete whirlwind in the best kind of way.  In honor of this exciting time, I’d like to share some of my favorite Money and Relationship posts of the past.

{Money & Friendships} The Real Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

{Money & Relationships} 5 Great Reasons to Have the “Money Talk” with Your Boyfriend

{Money & Relationships} One Reason He Hasn’t Put A Ring On It!

{Money & Relationships} 5 Money Questions You Need to Ask Your Significant Other TODAY!

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{The Bouqs} The Most Epic Way to Buy Flowers – But Is It Worth It?

You know I’m all about using my “cents” to live a fabulous life. As I get older, however, I’m feel empowered to define and redefine what a fab life looks and feels to me. One thing that is classic and has always made me feel… well fabulous is fresh flowers at home. It’s something about them that makes me feel very adult and chic, which inspires me to get my house super neat and clean as if Elle Décor was coming through. Being in the event design industry, I am fortunate to see all sorts of beautiful floral from around the world. Being on a financial plan, though, means that it is imperative to find creative yet economical ways to make sure that a simple luxury like fresh flowers is in the budget. Check out what could be one of my new go-to stops for fresh flowers on a budget.

The Bouqs

The Bouqs is a company out of California who contacted me last month about reviewing their product. Prior to that, I had not heard of them (I guess I missed that episode of Shark Tank). After doing a little digging, I learned that they offer sustainable and eco-friendly flowers that are grown on an active volcano in South America. Have you ever had volcano flowers??? Yeah, neither had I, so I had to order a bouq (short for bouquet) and let you all know if this is worth adding to your “simple luxuries” money envelope. I went to their website and I was immediately impressed that they had Ranunculus at a time when my floral distributor could not even get them for my brides at work. Swoon-worthy right?

While I LOVE ranunculus, I wanted something with a little flirty touch, so I took a chance and ordered their Desperado bouquet. As seen below, the Desperado is comprised of a lovely composition of pink roses and soft purple Dianthus. I thought the colors were gorgeous so I pressed “order” and waited a week. The delivery came as scheduled, but to my surprise, my pink and purple bouquet was all pink. It was not a big problem, but it just wasn’t what I expected… until I looked online and saw the note that stated: “Pink Roses with Purple Dianthus or similar accent flowers“. This folks, is a prime example of why it is important to read to the end of the line and the bottom of the page J.

Being that I had these delivered to my office, I had a slew of vases in our floral department to choose from. They arrived in a box so I immediately cut them under water at a slight angle to help them last longer. I also was advised by one of our senior designers at my office to remove all extra leaves and cut them short so that water and flower food is not wasted on foliage. I mixed in the flower food that was provided and started playing with how I wanted to style the arrangement I was making. This was my first arrangement right after I took it out of the box on day one.

 

Day Three

A Week Later

Bouqs start at $40.00 an order, including shipping, and would be a great option for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, dinner parties or just because. It’s not in my financial plan to get these weekly, but I will definitely take advantage of their concierge service that allows you to schedule floral deliveries to your favorite people. I know I will also use them again because the quality, service, and ability to stay fresh longer than your grocery store flowers makes it worth the money. I will list this as: A GOOD BUY.

 

What’s Your Take on Fresh Flowers? Fab or a Waste of Money

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What Is a Zero Based Budget & Why You Need One

The Zero-Based Budget

A Zero-Based Budget or “zero balance budget” forces you to justify each expense by assigning a dollar amount to every move you make with your money. That is to say, your income minus your expenses, equals zero. Radio host and financial advisor Dave Ramsey explains, “If you cover all of your expenses during the month and you have $500 left over, you aren’t done with the budget yet”. Although Ramsey speaks of the zero based budget in terms of monthly spending, I prefer to budget twice a month since I have irregular income. You know exactly where your money is going, it leaves no room for overspending, and it is based on your current needs, which are clear advantages to this type of budget.

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I used to write down every expense to get an overview of how I spend money. It was good because I was able to see patterns in my spending that I was unaware of. Outside of being a very tedious task of tracking every expense (pre-smart phone apps), doing this sort of overview only happened AFTER I have already spent the money. Nowadays, I take a more proactive overview of my finances and I spend my income on paper BEFORE I spend a dime in reality by using a zero-based budget.

How to Make a Zero-Based Budget Work for YOU!

Sure there’s computer based software for budgeting, but I find a simple pleasure of the good ole’ pen to paper method. It’s my personal preference but in order for you to be diligent in your effort, you should choose whatever makes you most comfortable. Got your tools? Let’s go!

Read the Full Post Here: 6 Easy Ways to Make A Zero-Based Budget Work 

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Still I Rise…

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928- May 28, 2014)