{Financial Cents} How Meeting Your “Spending Self” Saves You Money

She Makes CentsJournals are great for the soul, and even better to read on down the line. They are crucial in understanding the person that you are, and the person that you are becoming. The same applies for finances. If you like buying expensive perfume when you are fighting with your boyfriend, then you must write about it vehemently, and display it in a way that will show you just how much it affects you. This way, you can align your emotional extremities up with your financial extremities, and come up with a combative plan to avoid unnecessary losses. Today I bought my first money journal, and I can’t wait to write in it daily recording…everything!
I want to show you how you can use a money journal to introduce YOU to what I like to call your “spending self.” If used properly, your journal will educate you on what motivates you to spend. It affords you the opportunity to identify your spending triggers and in turn show you ways to cut back on spending and save more money. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Purchase your Money Journal: This step is completely up to you. I went to Target and purchased a small MEAD spiral for a buck 50. You may be an “app” girl, or you may choose to get one of the mini composition notebooks. Either way, this is entirely your choice. However, I wouldn’t recommend spending a boatload on something that will be conserving you money!

Document your daily spending: This is the one of the most imperative parts of possessing a money journal. You absolutely must write down every single dime that you spend, and more importantly, why you spend it. This is because many women are prone to impulsive and emotional spending. This kind of spending can get very ugly, very fast. Document your spending with the intent to really understand your precise reasons for spending.

After a month, assess your records: Why do you spend?  The path to financial freedom begins once you identify the crux of your spending and how you can cut these costs. Your goal is to gain control of yourself, your impulses, and ultimately your finances. You can do this by adequately documenting and assessing the money you spend and why you spend it. After assessing your pattern, decide on your plan of action, and how you will ensure that casual expenditures do not continue to occur.

Establish and make changes accordingly: You have documented your spending for at least a month, and you realize that when you feel down, you often buy expensive jewelry. However, you have noticed that in a month you have a ton of jewelry that you do not even wear! You also notice that you are in a financial crunch and you savings are dwindling! This is an apparent problem that you must combat as the owner of a money journal.

Wash, Rinse, and Repeat: Every month, you should gain new information in your inventory that is going to show you weak areas in your spending habits. You must take action, and actively participate in implementing the tactics that will enforce financial competency. Take control of your finances; you can do it! The moment you see how much you can save, you will be so proud.

Have You Met Your Spending Self?


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

Fashion Cents} Brand Loyalty or Brand Validation?


Danielle and I have discussed how the psychological obsession with expensive products and luxury labels can lead to financial trouble. While setting up shop for the most relaxed SMC meeting ever, we discussed our favorite brands. Danielle likes O.P.I. nail polish and has a shoe game that would blow you away. I, however, have recently recovered from a serious infatuation with True Religion brand jeans and the both of these are pricey for the types of products they are. Sometimes within one’s own living circumstances, it makes no sense to step out of one’s’ budget for the sake of feeling validated by a brand. So why do so many people do it? Which has more value, brand loyalty or brand validation?

Let’s begin the conversation by defining these terms. Brand Loyalty is your devotion to a particular brand because of its proven usefulness. This is a tried and true product or brand that has won you, the customer, over for its merit or quality. (THINK: I’m loyal to Charmin tissue because of its thickness.) Brand validation, as its name suggests, is when a product’s mere reputation trumps the importance of its merit; thus fueling one’s desire for the label more so than the product. Yep, we let a brand validate us without proving itself worthy of its cost.

Brand names and their reputations are impossible to evade. Because of this, it is almost too easy to get lost in a particular brand so much so, that we allow it to eat out our pockets. The place where both brand obsession and financial logic intersect is where I am in my journey to financial freedom….SMC too, since she has repeatedly admitted that Chanel makes her feel pretty. In no way am I discouraging splurging for yourself or investing in expensive products that will hold you down in the long run. I, for one, own expensive jeans that have lasted years. When operating on a budget, though, it is imperative to think critically about the items you choose to spend your money on, and why. Are you loyal to your brands because they actually fulfill their purpose, or are your brands validating you while nipping away at your money? Granted, there is no cookie cutter way to address the issue of our obsessions with luxury brands. However, acknowledgment of this issue is a surefire way to begin searching for smarter ways to shop for the things you love…while staying within a budget, of course:)

Have you ever allowed a brand names to validate your purchase?  


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Honesty is Free} What Does the “Fab Life” Mean to You?

So I took a little hiatus…okay, well a longer one than expected, but I am back with a vengeance. I needed some time to have new experiences so that I can have something exciting yet honest to write about. To be honest, the original idea behind this site was to inform and inspire ways to use your “cents” to live a fab life. Along the way, I believe I got off target.  So as we prepare for our upcoming one year mark (March 1stJ), I want to take things back to basics.  To do so, I’ll start with a simple question; what is the fab lifeMy answer could be ever-changing, but at the moment, great people, great food, great fashions, great adventures, great love, great leaps of faith, and a greatly styled place to come home to.

Fab People

Fab Fashions

Fab Adventures

Fab Love

Fab Faith

Fab Home

 So that is what I’m going to write about…how to get the fab life without breaking the bank, my budget, or my financial integrity. I hope you join me along the way and learn from both my successes and my failures. That’s life and sometimes, you don’t learn the lesson until you fall on your face and have to get back up.

Talk to me! What is the “fab life” to you?


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Health & Beauty} How to Save Broken Makeup

This is an awesome and FREE beauty tip from the lovely girls over at The Beauty Department( TBD ) Lauren Conrad, Kristin Ess and Amy Nadine; who if you are not currently following, you should be .  I love The Beauty Department  because they have tons of great tips and tricks. Just the other day, I broke one of my favorite eyeshadow and was looking for a way to save it before having to replace it. Since it was brand new, I didn’t see myself going into my money envelope for yet another shade of purple eyeshadow, so I went on a hunt to find an easy fix… and voila, this is what I found.  This reminds me of when Denia taught us how to save broken lipstick.

Check it out!


Do you have beauty tricks you’d love to share?

Let’s Conncet!


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Holiday Express} Love is Free. How Much Can You Afford to Give?

A Little Note from Danielle:

Hey guys, We are closely approaching Father’s Day Weekend.  Starting today, I am asking you to send in a picture of you and your Dad or a story about why your Dad is great!  If you like to participate, please send all submissions to shemakescents@gmail.com,  subject line: Father’s Day.

Let’s Connect!


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Eat on the Cheap} Can You Feed a Family of Four for Under $10? She Can…

Love Bytes!!!

I wanted to take a quick moment and tell you about a blog I came across while blog surfing one Sunday called Budget Bytes. First of all, ALL of the food looks yummy, but what I LOVE the most is how Beth breaks down the recipe step by step, with pictures I might add, and how much it costs to make…especially compared to dining out. She reminds me of Sandra Lee from the show Semi Homemade on the Food Network.

Here is one recipe that I have been dying to try:

It has been in “my favorites” on my iPad for the longest. Maybe this could be a fun alternative to the traditional Memorial Day hot dogs and hamburgers?

Total Recipe cost: $7.98
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Cost per serving: $2.00
Prep time: 15 min. Marinate time: 4-24 hrs. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 30 min. (after marinating)

2 lg. (1.25 lbs) chicken breasts $2.48
1/2 cup plain yogurt $0.25
1 Tbsp minced garlic $0.36
1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.32
1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.03
1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.03
1/2 tsp salt $0.02
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg $0.03
1/4 tsp ground cloves $0.03
YOGURT SAUCE (for sandwich) COST
7 oz. cup plain greek yogurt $1.59
1/4 tsp minced garlic $0.03
1/4 tsp dried dill $0.03
1/4 tsp salt $0.02
4 homemade naan, pita, or flatbread $0.64
1/2 head romaine lettuce $0.80
1 medium cucumber $0.69
2 medium roma tomatoes $0.63
TOTAL $7.98

STEP 1: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and clove). Add chicken to the marinade, coat well, cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. If desired, slice the chicken into strips before marinating to maximize the flavor.

STEP 2: Prepare the yogurt sauce for the sandwiches. Open a 7 oz. container of plain greek yogurt and stir in the garlic, dill, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

STEP 3: After marinating the chicken, grill until cooked through (I use a George Foreman, cooked for about 7 minutes).

STEP 4: Prepare the vegetables for the sandwich. Chop, rinse, and drain the lettuce in a colander. Wash and slice the cucumber and tomato.

STEP 5: Build the chicken shawarma sandwiches. Spread the yogurt sauce on your flat bread, top with the chicken and vegetables. Roll the sandwich closed. You can wrap the sandwich in foil to help it stay closed as you eat.

Check out Beth and all her wonderfully yummy recipes on her website Budget Bytes!

Let’s Connect!

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

Three Things I Learned from Oprah This Past Weekend!

I spent this past weekend watching Denia, our SMC intern, become a Spelman woman while at the same time getting admirable advice from Oprah Winfrey. Like most people, I grew up watching Oprah on television as she sang along with musicians, witnessing the oh so CRAZY Tom Cruise jump on her sofa like he didn’t have any type of home training, and when she changed lives through pure acts of kindness and generosity. While through the years, I’ve had to opportunity to learn from her experiences, it’s nothing like listening to someone so poised yet relatable right in front of you giving you that little push that could change one’s life and maybe the world forever.


3 Things I Learned from Oprah:

1. Know who you are. You should be able to answer the question, who am I and what do I what? What would your answer be? Oprah answered effortlessly, “I am God’s child and I want to fulfill my highest power”.
2. Find a Way to Serve. We as a society believe that being known brings value and we place value in people and things because they are “known”. Use your status as a platform for good. When one does good things, good things will come back to you. Simple as that! Service and significance breeds.

3. Always do the right thing. It might not always be the most popular choice, but it is the right one. People notice excellence. Be excellent! Let excellence be your brand. When you are excellent, you become unforgettable. This made me think about the quote, “if your presence is not making an impact then your absence won’t make a difference”.

Let’s Connect!

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Wise Words} Love What You Do…

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This quote, from the late Steve Jobs, rings true on many levels.  It is also a little something to think about before our newest series, Women at Work.  You can’t be a she who makes cents if you don’t work for it.  Just my two cents.  Stay tuned….

Let’s Connect!

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com