Why You Should be Talking to Your Friends About Money

Do you think “money” is still a taboo topic to discuss with friends and family?  What about complete strangers?  Seriously, I had to really ask myself, “what is it about the subject that people find uncouth, especially for women”?   For years I was plagued by these questions all the while sharing my money goals, successes, failures, and lessons with the world-wide-web so freely that Emily Post is probably clutching her pearls from the grave.  For me, the benefits outweighed any conversational manners that many of us were taught as children.    Not only am I able to measure my progress on the path to financial freedom by going back to old blog posts, I am also able to see the progress of my financial literacy and maturity.   None of which would have been possible if I avoided subjects like money, debt, and that bi-atch, Sallie Mae.

Benefits of Talking About Money with Friends from @shemakescents.According to a  study from Fidelity Investments, eight out of ten women confess they have refrained from discussing finances with those they are close to even though 92% of women want to learn more about financial planning.  The study went on to find that  65% of women are most inclined to speak to their friends about shopping tips, 44%  of women will speak to friends about issues at work, while only 25% of women are open to discussing spending habits and even less about investment ideas at 17%.  The benefits of participating in money talks and investing in one’s financial literacy overweigh the social taboo of the subject.  If you are embarrassed by your current financial status or level of financial literacy, it is time to get over it.  Repeat after me: Today is the day that I will acknowledge where I am in my financial journey and take a step and then another toward my goals.  


TWEET THIS: Tweet: Repeat after me: Today is the day that I will acknowledge where I am in my financial journey and take a step and then another toward my goals. via @shemakescents Repeat after me: Today is the day that I will acknowledge where I am in my financial journey and take a step and then another toward my goals

TWEET THIS: Tweet: 8 out of 10 women confess they have refrained from discussing finances with those they are close to even though 92% of women want to learn more about financial planning. https://ctt.ec/vcyK5+ via @shemakescents 8 out of 10 women confess they have refrained from discussing finances with those they are close to even though 92% of women want to learn more about financial planning.


The Benefits of Talking About Money With Your Inner Circle

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I remember at one point in my life when I was not so much trying to keep up with the Joneses but more so trying to keep up with my former self who would frequently pick up the check for the table.  I was trying to keep up an old lifestyle that honestly I had outgrown and instead of sharing my newly established money goals with my friends, I just slapped down a credit card and bought another round for the table.  At that time in my life, I was embarrassed to announce my relationship with the dreaded “B” word…. budget… or even more vulgar…. broke-ish.   When you bare your soul to the world, it leaves little room for the inauthentic.  At one point, I reached a high credit card balance and I no longer was willing to try to keep up with my old life.  Instead of saying yes to every social occasion and international trip, I decided to say yes to my finances, instead.  Looking back about 10 years ago, I could have saved myself some serious CA$H if I had shared my financial goals with my inner circle.  In fact, it might have open the conversation for others to share where they were on their journey, their tips, tricks, failures, and successes.  Today, that same inner circle has become a source of strength.  We keep each other honest and moving on the path we have set for ourselves.  We talk investing strategies, dominating debt, and goals of providing wealth to future generations that aren’t even born yet… all while sharing our tips on the best place to get balayage for our hair and organic nail shops.  

Money & Friendship- Why You Should be Talking to Your Friends About Your Money Goals from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes CentsLadies, we have got to start speaking up, leaning in, and getting in front of barriers that keep us from living our best life.  I am not saying that you have to blast your business to the world like I do, but I am saying that you should talk about money with people you respect and those who will help hold you accountable.   Even though the number of women who shy away from money talks with their inner circle is frankly frightening, it is even more puzzling that women say more support would encourage them to be more engaged in their finances.   Imagine what we could do if we all took on the charge that empowered women empower women.  My accountability group members are better women for it because we have learned to accept ourselves and each other where we are in our journeys.  As we are maturing as women, so is our financial literacy and authenticity.

Join Our Financial Accountability Tribe

If you are looking for a community of goal-setting women, then the SMCmoneytribe may be the group for you.  Instead of one accountability partner, you will have access to a tribe of partners to share your story, bounce questions and ideas off of, and celebrate your milestones.   In addition to gaining personal finance tips and tricks that have worked for the people in the tribe, you will also gain confidence in speaking on the subject money with people supporting your journey to the fab life.  
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The Beginners Guide to Sinking Funds & Why YOU Need One

This year, I have vowed to be BETTER with my financial decisions.  In order to improve my behaviors and cultivate better money habits, I had to first take a look at areas where I need to focus on for improvement.  After the Mr. and I had to take $7000.00+ out of our savings to pay for a new roof and chimney repair on our rental property, I knew there had to be a better way for us to prepare for situations like this.  That 7K loss from our savings put a dent in that account and exposed a financial vulnerability that we didn’t realize existed. We were stable enough to not have to turn to credit to cover this expense, but pulling money from our savings was very scary considering that money is there to cover us in the event of job loss or a major life change.  I was an unsettling feeling and I knew that we needed to find a solution to our problem. Luckily, we came up with a plan to create a sinking fund so that we would be prepared for something like this.  It is something that will help us and I know it will help you too.

What is a Sinking Fund?

A sinking fund is an anticipatory fund that is used to save for a large future expense or the gradual repayment of a debt.  More than that, it is a proactive approach to your money. Sinking funds are very similar to the cash envelope system because it requires you to divide your income into categories and assign every dollar a job.  The main difference between the envelope system and a sinking fund is that your cash envelopes are for things you are spending on now like groceries, fuel for your car, and clothing. Your sinking fund, however, plans for future money goals.  We thought about some of the expenses that caught us off guard in the past, like emergency surgery for both of our dogs last year (that was a couple thousand dollars), or bills that are due all at once like insurance premiums. Then we came up with 10 sinking funds that we believed served our household money goals.  Check them out below.

Examples of Sinking Funds from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

Now it is time to create your sinking fund categories. Grab a pen and paper (yep, we are doing this old school), your significant other (if applicable) and a glass a Rose’ (because it makes the experience so much better) and let’s make a money plan. When you are creating your categories, remember that you don’t want to make too many funds because it will take longer to fully fund your categories.  Plus, anything over 10 is too many to keep up with, in my opinion.  

She Makes Cents Cares: I love hearing from readers, so once you have created your sinking fund categories, let me know via the She Makes Cents Facebook group, Instagram, or Twitter.

How Much Money Should Be In My Sinking Fund?

After you have created your sinking fund categories, now it is time to figure out how much money you need to have saved for each.  First, you need to figure out the goal date and total amount needed for each of your sinking funds to be fully funded.  For example, I have to pay around $450.00 every 6 months for my portion of the car insurance premium.  To determine how much money I need in this particular sinking fund, I take my next due date and I divide my premium by that number of months. It usually breaks down like this for me:

$450.00 \ 6 months = $75.00 per month 

I would much rather save $75.00 per month for six months than to have to come up with $450.00 once every six months.  Yes, it’s the same amount of money but creating a monthly car insurance fund makes the amount of the premium easier to digest. The example above is an easy breakdown because we know exactly how much money is needed and when exactly we will need the money for this fund.  Now let’s look at an example for a type of sinking fund where you don’t have a hard due date and you are not certain of the full price.   Hello, Car Repair…it sounds like we are talking about you.

We have all experienced this.  You are driving around minding your own business when a yellow warning light illuminates your dashboard.  You take your car to the mechanic and you are hit with a $1,200.00 bill. What do you do?  More than likely, you charge it to your credit card if you don’t already have some money set aside for this type of expense.  CREDIT CARD = BAD IDEA. This is a moment when your Car Repair sinking fund will work for you. Even if your Car Repair Fund only has $800.00, that means you only have to come up with the remaining $400.00, which is easier to digest than $1,200.00.  Yes, this may have been an unexpected expense but it is also one you were prepared to handle.

By creating sinking funds you take control of your money.  You know where YOUR money is so you never have to ask yourself where it went.  You give it a purpose.  If you create sinking funds to cover your future needs, you are less likely to be a threat to your future financial self and that is something that everyone can benefit from.

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Real Life Examples of Sinking Funds for the Smart Saver & Spender- from money and lifestyle blog, She Makes Cents

 

Money Saving Hacks- The Beginner's Guide to SINKING FUNDS from money blog, She Makes Cents

The Real Issue Millennial Women Face Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Fact. 3 in every 4 US workers live paycheck to paycheck, according to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder.  It is easy to chalk it up to poor spending habits, but is that the main thing that is keeping so many people counting coins until payday?  I would dare say, no.  While poor spending habits leave you feeling… well, poor, other factors such as debt, stagnant wages, and a constant increase of living come into play when looking at the stressful reality of living paycheck to paycheck.  Yes, this is a financial issue, but for millennial women, it can also be a  feminist issue.  The Real Issue Millennial Women Face Living Paycheck to Paycheck from Millennail Money Blog, She Makes Cents

The online women’s magazine, Bustle, recently contacted She Makes Cents Founder, Danielle YB Vason, to get her thoughts on the subject.  

“The fact that 54 percent of Millennial women live paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a 2016 Wells Fargo Millennial Survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 22 and 35, sheds light on a perfect storm of issues and realities that young women face.  In addition to paying more due to the ‘pink tax’ on everyday items, more Millennial women are graduating college than men, which means that, along with the degree, they get the $30,000+ debt that comes along with it. Then, when the first job comes, women are paid 20 percent less than their male counterparts. It is not just a financial issue, but a feminist one, as well.”

The fact that Bustle is promoting real conversations about money amongst millennial women is changing the way we as a culture think about talking openly about the subject.  In the article, millennials from all over the United States share their experiences about what living paycheck to paycheck is really like.  Maybe you can relate to their stories or maybe it opens your gaze to experiences of others, either way, it is a starting point to begin real conversations about money (how we spend it, save it, and invest it) and its direct impact on millennial women.  She Makes Cents | Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog for Goal Setting Millennial Women

Monday Motivation | Cultivate Better Habits

Not too long ago I read this quote from the top financial expert, Dave Ramsey, and I knew it was too good not to share.  “You can’t get out of debt while keeping the same lifestyle”.  Often times we want results for our lives that’s different from our current situation.  The thing is, you have got to change your habits if you desire a different outcome.  If your goal is to upgrade your financial situation, you have to upgrade the effort you put into your goals to see the results.  Increase your income + reduce your spending = the start to a great plan.  Last Friday, I had a three-week profit from our BINGO Money Challenge of $383.00 that could have easily paid for a pair of shoes.  Instead of living the lifestyle that is keeping me in a stagnant financial situation, I snowballed that $383.00 and threw it directly at my student loans.  The gratification I get from a new pair of shoes is nothing compared to the natural high I get from getting closer to my debt free goal.  

Money Quotes from Dave Ramsey on Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

Today, I encourage you to use this week as a week of self-reflection.  What habits do you want to cultivate?  What habits do you want to quit?  We know what each of our end goals are but we often are blind to the things we do to ourselves that sabotage those goals    Start thinking about the things you do every day and how they affect your money goals.  Yes, you can upgrade your financial situation, but you have to upgrade your actions first because your actions become habits… good or bad.

{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?

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{Causes We Support} One Day Without Shoes

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes by taking off yours!

One Day Without Shoes is TOMS’ annual day to bring global awareness to children’s health and education by going without shoes. It’s amazing the conversations that can ignite when we come together to create positive change.  I can’t wait to see all the ways people are going without shoes around the world to generate conversations about children’s health and education. Let’s get people talking.  If you are social media, use hashtag #withoutshoes

day-without-shoes

More info at www.onedaywithoutshoes.com

Leave Your Footprint!

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{Financial Cents} How To Make A Financial Plan

Sometimes I need to remind myself that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Every morning I would pray for financial blessings but somehow found myself going through the motions, which was slowing my progress to my goal of zero debt. For me, it is about finding that balance between enjoying my lifestyle and making financially sound decisions. I have been bitten by the travel bug and I can’t wait to explore the world, I live for bottomless mimosas at brunch, and I believe shoes and the right lipstick makes the outfit. However, I also believe in building hefty savings, going into marriage without bad debt (i.e. credit card and student loans), and building generational wealth. I must agree with Dave Ramsey, financial guru, who affirms, “Personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge”. I am working on the behavior part. I found that even though I enjoy shopping, I’m more likely to shop when I’m bored. Recently, I started filling that boredom with QT with the Mr. walking and exploring our city. I am focusing on better decisions, which will yield better behavior. Every cause has an effect and every decision has a financial consequence; that’s why coming up with a personalized financial plan has been my saving grace. Yes, I prayed for financial blessings…I still do, but I have also added the caveat that with financial blessings come financial responsibility.

Check Out My Financial Plan Outline!

1.  Write down your debt & don’t forget to include people you owe money.    I was talking with a childhood friend who says he had zero debt.  As we got to talking it was revealed that he did not include the almost $7,000 he owed to a family member and the card he maxed out in his college days.  Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.  Once we dove deeper into our conversation, he and I started listing our debt.  At the time of this conversation, my list was simple- one credit card, student loans, and mortgage.  His, well…let’s just say that I composed a very sobering list on his behalf that included all the debt that he could remember.  Seeing your debt listed and then learning out to find out just how much you are paying in interest makes it all VERY REAL. 

2.  Emergency Fund Minimum.  Baby Step One of the Total Money Makeover is to get your emergency fund to $1,000 if you have an annual income of $20,000 or more.  “Your car will need repairs and your kids will outgrow their clothes. These are not emergencies; they are items that belong in your budget. If you don’t budget for them, they will feel like emergencies”.  It was this statement from the book that caused me to stop dead in my tracks and redefine what I considered an emergency versus saving.

3.  52 Week Money Challenge- BINGO Style.  This was actually a part of my New Year’s Resolutions every year.  The challenge is to make a weekly deposit that reflects the number of weeks of the year. For example, on week one you deposit $1.00 and on week 27 you deposit $27.00 and so on.  I took the challenge one step further by remixing it into a BINGO style which makes it easier to be successful.  The most I have ever saved in a year is a little under $2,000.00 and I am hoping to beat that very soon.  I have used the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge to pay off my credit cards completely, save for my birthday plans, and even gifts for family and friend during the holidays.   Want to join this money saving challenge?   Click here for more information and to grab your FREE copy of the money guide.

4.  Tackle Your List.  I revealed in the post, Tackle Your Credit Card Debt Today, that as of January I started with $5300 in credit card debt.  I have reduced my debt down to $0.00  by paying a little over the minimum and applying the money challenge money to the balance EVERY Friday (I have yet to miss one), but that was interest is killing me.   While making additional payments to the credit card, I am making the minimum payment toward my student loans and mortgage.  Once the credit card was paid off, I will now apply that money to extra payments to my student loans and so on…this is called the Snowball Method.  Now, I will confess, if I had more debt, I would recommend switching between the Snowball Method and the Avalanche method, which we will discuss later in the Financial Cents series.

5.  Emergency & Savings.  Don’t forget to save that money you are no longer paying to others.  Use it to prepare for the future.  Emergencies will arise and more than likely something will come up that will cause you to tap into your savings….be prepared.

She Makes Cents Wants to Know If Personal FInance More Behavior or Knowledge?

{Financial Cents} Is Your Way of Thinking Making You Poor?

Just as slaves born into slavery can’t visualize freedom, we Americans don’t know what it would be like to wake up to NO debt.
Dave Ramsey, Total Money Makeover

Is Your Way of Thinking Making You Poor.pngYour alarm clock sounds, alerting you that a new day has come. You awake to find yourself owning a car without a car payment, a home without a mortgage, an education without student loans, and credit card(s) with a zero balance. How did you get to this financial freedom? Did you a) win the lottery, b) rob a bank Sugar & Spice style, or c) align your behaviors with your long-term financial goals? Well, the answer to the question depends on whom you ask.

I told a friend of mine that I was working to become debt free and she looked me right in my face and laughed. I mean laughed to the point of tears while telling me how unrealistic I was being. “Everyone has debt”, she alleged. If this were her outlook on financial freedom, I would guess that she could image a debt free life comes only as a result of a windfall. She will either rob the bank or win the lottery. I, however, understand how even the most minute  sacrifices will help me get closer to my financial goals. I have to think beyond the day-to-day and month-to-month if I want to build  generational wealth. Financial expert, Dave Ramsey adds, “We have been sold debt with such repetition […] that it’s hard for people to imagine what it would be like to have no payments”. Debt shouldn’t be the normal status quo and I am not comfortable adopting that mind-set. When the day comes when I wake up with no mortgage, no student loans, and no credit card balance, I know it will be a result of my financial plan and my commitment to it.

Is Debt Normal? Share Your Thoughts…

{Kiss & Makeup} 3 Gorgeous Makeup Trends for Spring

Look Good, Feel Good!

My makeup kit runs the gamut of price points- from Stila to Maybelline to Chanel to ELF.  Why?  Because somewhere between my growing love for all things makeup and my seasonal makeup purge that I recommend every woman do, I have come to realize that it’s more about the look of the final product than it is about the brand name.   Below are 3 gorgeous looks for Spring from my tweeps and beauty experts over at Nordstrom.  Your goal should be to find colors and products that make you look and feel as fabulous as you are in whatever your budget allows.  Each look can be recreated using your favorite brands!     

Makeup Trends for Spring

make up for women of color

make up tips 2013

Photo Credit: My Twitter Friend Nordstrom

Looking for suggestions on where to find some great beauty products?  Check out my list of some of my favorites:

How Your “Lean In” Might Make You More Money


Money Talk At Work. Yay or Nay?

For months, I have been researching and preparing myself to have series of what I can only call uncomfortable conversations. Surprisingly enough, I found it uncomfortable to bring up the topic of money and compensation in the workplace. Talking about money management for women of all ages and women’s right to be whatever they like… be it the boss, the fashionista, Suzie homemaker, or a combination of it all, is what I LOVE to do! While some view the conversation of money as uncomfortable and impolite, I have always been unapologetic about the topic because I recognize that the benefits of the conversation outweigh the discomfort. Over the maturation of this site and of my development into “real” adulthood, a sort of financial confidence on the subject of debt management has come over me. During that same time, I have realized that while the benefit of the conversation outweighs the stress it may cause, starting and engaging in conversations about my career path and the appropriate compensation has brought up a new feeling of uneasiness and forced me to become a human pendulum of leaning in and leaning back.

What does “Lean In” truly mean?

The phrase “lean in” comes from Sheryl Sandberg, author of the book Lean In, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and now contributing writer for Cosmo (which I LOVE). It is a phrase used to encourage women to achieve one’s goals and tighten the gap of inequalities in the workplace. The book, which I just started, challenges women to change the conservation from what we can’t do, to what we can.  I believe my lean in started when I polled a number of women on the She Makes Cents fan page and asked the question, Have You Ever Asked for a Raise? That one question commenced my research of women in business, gender/minority inequality in the workplace, and what has surprisingly become my platform of choice, the pay gap between men and women in the workplace. My research confirmed some things I already knew. On average, a woman makes less than a man for doing the same job. This is a fact and for many reasons, but one I had never considered was that women are statistically less likely than men to ask for a raise. Learning this forced me to sit up, dust my fear off, “lean in” and take responsibility in deciding that NOW was the time for my talent, career path, and financial compensation to fall in line. I invite you to stay tuned as I dive into topics such as understanding the best time to ask for a raise, networking tips, work/life balance, leadership skills and personal branding.

Tell Us About Your Last “Lean In”!

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