All Articles Tagged "money"

Ways Love Makes You Bad With Money

April 28th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Are you good with money? Are you sure? Because there’s a new study that suggests that most of us are not as good with money as we think — especially when we’re in love.

When you’re single, counting coupons, signing up for deals, and cooking at home might be part of your savings strategy. But as it turns out, when most of us fall in love, our wallets get just as overwhelmed as our hearts. And the strangest part? Most of us don’t even realize it.

Check out these ways love makes you bad with money to see the ways we all get fiscally funny when it comes to matters of the heart. The real question? Will this make us change our spending habits? (Um…probably not.)

 

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Eating Out

Between the appetizers, drinks and main courses, men and women drop major coins in an attempt to wine and dine prospective partners. And don’t forget about dessert.

You’re Worth It: 10 Best Ways To Spend Your Income Tax Return

April 27th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Hopefully you’ve made the tax time deadline, and now those of us in a certain tax bracket, with a dependent (or two) and few favorable deductions, can expect a little infusion of cash. Even though it’s a nice little lump sum, the money can go just as fast as it comes. Here are 10 ways to spend the money from your income tax return, so you get the most bang for your buck.

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New Technology Device

It seems cell phones, tablets and computer upgrades happen at the speed of light. It’s impossible to keep up, but investing in the right technological device can add value to your life. Upgrading my cell phone to smart device was a good move. It’s like having a personal assistant in the palm of my hand. I find it easier to keep track of appointments, research and document all of the cute things my little one does. You don’t have to buy a snazzy new phone to keep up with the Joneses, but having one can help you at least keep up with your own life.

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Pay Bills in Advance

I love to look at a bill and see a zero balance, or better yet, a credit. This doesn’t always happen when there’s so much month left after the money, but this is the time of year to throw a little extra at your bills. It makes things more manageable in the months to come.

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Invest in Your Side Hustle

Nowadays, just about every mom needs a side hustle. Whether it’s babysitting, blogging, or consulting – we are no longer limited to using our skills just in the workplace. But in order to get your side hustle at the level it really needs to be, you have to invest in it. This could be something as simple as upgrading your website, printing new business cards, or leasing space in an office building. It’s always a good thing when we find ways to use our money to make more money. Invest in your side hustle and chances are it will come back to you ten fold.

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Wardrobe Upgrade

If you’re finding that you always have somewhere to go, but don’t ever seem to have the right outfit to do it in, it’s probably time to upgrade your wardrobe. Personally, I like to have a good assortment of jeans, tops and accessories on hand, because I refuse to show up in life as the “frumpy mom.” It’s also important to keep your work attire fresh and up-to-date. No better time than to splurge on a few quality pieces than tax time.

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Spa Treatment

Any mom on a budget, probably isn’t getting as much time at the spa as she wants and deserves. This little infusion of cash could totally be used to sponsor a guilt-free trip to the spa. A proper manicure, pedicure, facial and massage may be just what you need to get back on track.

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Go on a Mini Vacation

While the budget may not stretch to do a really expensive vacation, taking the kids to an indoor themed water park is a really economical way to have a lot of fun using your income tax returns. Most stays are all inclusive and you’re building memories to boot. A little mini vacation may be just what the family needs. Not a bad way to spend a tax return, at all.

Hustle Hard: 10 Best Side Hustles For A Busy Mama

April 20th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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We all have those moments where we wish we could make a little extra funds without an added headache. We are no longer in the days where having a side retail job is a great go-to choice and would much rather make the extra funds while still being able to attend to a growing toddler or (disappearing) teen.

Many lists include offering tour guide services, renting your vehicle out, dog walking or personal shopping – all of these possibilities are great, but not necessarily for a busy mama. We researched tons of opportunities and judged them based on ease, commitment, growth ability… and fun. A few take more hustle and dedication than others, but we believe you’ll be happy while doing them (time to decorate?) and others are a breeze (clean out that closet!).

In today’s unstable economy, it is always a good idea to have more than one income and why just do it for the cash? Many options on this list may lead you to find your passions and a new career choice altogether. Gte out a pen and paper to brainstorm and figure out which of these side hustles for a busy mama work for you. Let’s get to the hustle!


How Much Are People Spending On Wedding Gifts?

April 20th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Wedding season is upon us, which means you’ll need quite a bit of money for gifts. But how much should you be spending per wedding, exactly? Luckily for us, digital marketplace RetailMeNot did a little research to help us pinpoint how much is an appropriate amount to spend on wedding gifts depending on your relationship with the bride or groom.

According to a survey conducted by the online destination made famous by their treasure trove of coupons, wedding guests are planning to drop $195 on gifts for their siblings. The price tag for attending a best friend’s wedding falls somewhere around $159. For a coworker’s nuptials, guests are planning to spend approximately $63, and $45 for an acquaintance.

And in case you’re wondering whether or not these numbers are accurate, wedding etiquette expert Elaine Swann tells Good Housekeeping that they’re pretty on point.

What do you use to determine how much you’ll spend on gifts for loved ones who are tying the knot?

 

I Think It’s Sad That Moms Are Crowdfunding For Family Leave

April 13th, 2016 - By Clarissa Joan
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The Today Show recently reported that new parents in America are turning to crowdfunding platforms, i.e. gofundme.com, in order to finance their family leave for newborn care. Currently, there are over 1200 families with active fundraising campaigns. “GoFundMe campaigns that mention maternity leave or child care have raised over $8.8 million across 5,800 fundraisers” spokeswoman for the company, Kelsea Little, told The Today Show.

It is a testament to the intelligence and resourcefulness of this generation that young families are using 21st century technology, such as social media, to solve for decade old issues such as income inequality and the lack of adequate child care in America.  

But should these working families have to raise money to care for young children? Why is this necessary in the most educated, hardest working and wealthiest nation in the world? If hard-working men and women, cannot afford to care for the most innocent and vulnerable among us, whose life really matters in America?

The United States of America is the only developed country that does not mandate maternity or paternity leave for families. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees that new parents can take up to 12 weeks off without risk of losing their job, however, this is guaranteed unpaid leave. Only 12 percent of new parents in America have access to paid leave for the purpose of taking care of a newborn.

Over a million people have tuned into entrepreneur Jessica Shortall’s Ted Talk “The US Needs Paid Family Leave.” Shortall makes the case that leave is not just important for funding the love of young families, it is a vital component that ensures the economic well-being of American workers and their families, the people who actually fuel our economic progress as a whole.

After announcing to family and friends the great news of expectancy, most new parents are forced to put their celebrations on hold while they figure out how to finance parenthood.

Crowdfunding is normally associated with the need to source money for new companies, projects, and initiatives. These are ideas that individuals are developing to enhance society’s quality of living in addition to our basic needs. I.e. no one needs UBer, Facebook, Twitter, or an Iphone to live well, but they do make life easier.  People interested in creating organizations such as these use crowd-funding platforms for financing. The caveat, in addition to having a great idea, is that these ideas must be able to make money/profits down the line.

What does it mean when parents have to use these same platforms to raise money to validate the value of young children/babies? This is disgusting and shameful and not on behalf of the parents. Over and over again, be it wage inequality, failing public schools, wall street bailouts, student loan deficits, low quality high-priced healthcare, and the prison industrial complex, it is proven that GDP matters more than the wellbeing of human life in America.

According to US Social Security data, the average American worker makes $28,031 per year pre-tax. Now the reported average cost of living per person in America, including housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, and taxes, all the things a person needs to maintain life, equates to $28,474. This means that the average working person in America is operating at a deficit of -$433 per year. This does not include the cost of passions, education, vacation, relaxation, and other pleasures in addition to variances in lifestyle choices like location inflation costs and health status.

Please keep in mind that this number rises for married couples and families with children, who also operate at deficits just to afford the basic needs of life.

Life as an American is expensive. It not just requires us to work hard to maintain our living, but to work hard and still not be able to maintain living. Most working Americans are operating at a deficit and it has nothing to do with their education levels and/or their ambition to create a good life for themselves. Numbers show that even single working people in America are struggling. In light of this fact, what hope is there for the working adults caring for elders and/or children who cannot provide for their own wellbeing?

What kind of America do we live in where working parents are forced to raise money as a company or not-for-profit in order to care for their children? The American people are being robbed of their livelihoods and the most important aspect of life, love and family. If you work hard to contribute your human capital to the wellbeing of society, you should be able to afford a life worth living for. This is not the case in America, and it is sad.

Congratulations to these new families who are being resilient in the face of systematic oppression of the working American. These individuals deserve every dollar they raise time 100, because it the words of the great orator Eminem, “It’s a sick sad world we live in these days.”

Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience, a multi-media inspirational platform. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace.

How Far Are You Willing To Go To Provide For Your Family?

April 7th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Source: Corbis

Source: Corbis

I typically don’t cry when I watch an episode of the daytime talk show The Real because, well, it’s The Real. But this revelation really spoke to my heart. I recently came across a clip of co-host Jeannie Mai sharing a touching story about her upbringing and the fear she had of not being able to provide for her family.

Her parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in hopes of providing better opportunities for their children. With limited funds, her father took a meeting at Jeannie’s school in order to land a janitorial position. The only catch is he wanted to work at night so his children wouldn’t see him. Throughout the week he would treat his family to take-out and would watch them eat. Whenever Jeannie asked him why he wasn’t hungry, he simply answered because he already ate. One night, she found him digging in the trash eating their family’s scraps. Telling this story brought tears to her co-host’s eyes, and mine.

Talk about sacrifice.

There’s something about becoming a mother that has opened my eyes even more to my limits and how far I would go to provide for my family. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but he can take care of himself at the end of the day. I’m so thankful we’re financially stable, but I know–without a doubt–he would take any and every job he could to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. His parents did the same for he and his sisters in Panama, lighting the path for them to attend college and pursue their dreams. Heck, my own father worked overtime as a police officer to make sure he could help pay for my higher education. Because of his line of work, I didn’t see him all the time, but knew he was out risking his life to make sure I had a better one.

As much as I’d like to think folks would do what’s necessary to provide for their family, I honestly don’t see it as a reality many could handle. If it came down to you having to work a blue-collar job you thought was “beneath you” to pay your bills, would you do it? Could you set your pride aside to ensure your household wouldn’t have a care you couldn’t provide for? The recession really opened my eyes to the reality of people’s financial situations and who was willing to do what it takes to keep their family afloat. I knew some people who would work nights and part-time at CVS or Burger King while others would turn their noses to such a thought because it didn’t utilize their master’s degree. Rather than work an “in the meantime and between time” hustle until they landed a better job, they would kick back until their next interview and collect their unemployment check.

And what about the other end of the spectrum, that is, those who bend over backwards all the time for their family? Is there such a thing as doing too much? While I agree with Jeannie Mai about wanting to provide for my family, I also need to keep it “real” with myself when it comes to who and how. To keep it real, unfortunately, not everyone in my immediate clan is financially savvy. They would definitely misuse any funds I provide, or make excuses as to why they no longer need to work. One close family member in particular has borrowed money from me here and there since I was 18-years-old… and never paid back a cent. I had to learn to love without attaching my wallet because my “bailouts” seemed to create more financial trouble and never taught them to do things on their own.

It’s important to set some realistic guidelines when it comes to providing for your family and just how far you’d go. You have to ask yourself if the sacrifices you’re making to bring in money helps or hinders their general well-being. If someone is bad with money, should you look for financial alternatives, like an IRA that will provide for them down the road? Cut them off entirely?

What would you do to provide for your family?

Can Our Children Afford To Be “New Black”?

April 6th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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With all the debate on whether Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ new Harlem charter school is really good for the community it will serve, it made us at Mommynoire think about the celebrity “New Black” comments that were popular last year. The article below is all about post-racialism, our community and the term the “New Black.” Let us know what you think in the comments!

By Dara MAthis

The recent barrage of celebrity “New Black” comments reminds me of the premiere episode of hit ABC sitcom Black-ish. Viewers were introduced to the premise of the show: an affluent Black couple worries their children will miss the essentials of Blackness in America growing up in a white neighborhood.  The underlying theme of Black-ish presents a valid question for Black parents. Should parents take steps to educate children on the effects of racism to avoid a (“New Black”) culture shock?

If Black people thought they had finally proven that racism is alive and well, certain Black celebrities seem determined to make post-racialism the New Black. The term “New Black” comes from producer Pharrell’s comments last year to Mother Oprah:

The New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues.  The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not pigmentation: it’s a mentality and it’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re going to be on.

Since Pharrell came out as New Black in 2014, he’s been joined by rapper Common, actress Raven-Symoné, actor Isaiah Washington, and everyone’s favorite CNN broadcast journalist, Don Lemon. These public figures all have two elements in common:  They are Black and very affluent. As such, they are the minority in Black American culture, seeing Black life through rosy Prada shades.

The rest of us cannot afford those shades, just as we cannot afford to be “New Black.”

Teaching our children to be New Black may have adverse results. Lawrence Otis Graham, a Black Princeton University alumnus, decided to dress his children as respectably as possible, teaching the teens the onus for avoiding discrimination was on them. To his chagrin, his son was still met with racial epithets in 2014 while on a cozy New England college campus.

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Graham’s affluence could not shield his son from the reality of American racism.

Should we then shield our children from believing being “New Black” will save them? The answer is an uneasy yes.

Yet, I am hesitant to fill our children with the same cynicism we often possess when it comes to race relations. Common’s advice to “extend a hand of love” might be a little extreme.  However, a defeatist attitude is also the opposite of the spirit of hope that lifted the Civil Rights Movement from dream to reality.

We need our young people to see racism, white supremacy, and discrimination for what they truly are in order for #BlackLivesMatter to be sustainable. And we also need them to believe it is still possible to eradicate racism—by holding racists accountable.

Let me get to the heart of the matter. “New Black” is American exceptionalism (“I made it, so you can”) misapplied broadly to the Black American experience. What is hurtful and dangerous about “New Black” is not the divergence from conventional African-American views on racism. We are not threatened by differing opinions. Rather it’s the idea that even after Fannie Lou Hamer and Medgar Evers and Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, Black people still bear the burden to spearhead racial healing.

I would not have my children shoulder the weight of racial reconciliation when they are still just as likely to be killed for the color of their skin. It is adding insult to injury.

If our children can learn anything from the “New Black” celebrities, it’s this: affluence is an excellent tool for opening doors and windows, for showing that Blackness is not a limiting factor to success. They should not shrink from affluence for fear of losing touch culturally. Rather, it is white supremacy that seeks to make Black people at fault for their own oppression.

And in America, there is absolutely nothing “new” about that at all.

 

Creating A Financial Plan When You Have A Baby On The Way

March 23rd, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Are you expecting a little bundle of joy? Congrats! As a mom of two sons under two-years-old, I know that I never feel like there’s enough time to get everything I want in place. Then again, when can you ever plan to perfection? It’s just not realistic.

There’s one thing I learned on my journey to mommyhood and that’s the importance of having a financial plan. Now you probably heard of a birth plan, which honestly goes out the window when you’re in labor. Seriously, who has time to check all their demands off a sheet when you’re battling through contractions? A financial plan can be a budget or new money saving model for your household that incorporates your new child. It’s really easy for expecting moms to assume they have everything they need (e.g. diapers and onesies), but the truth is, your finances are going to change… drastically.

My husband and I had to include diapers into our monthly budget as babies (and toddlers) go through them like water. Luckily we were able to save on food for a while considering I breastfed, but once the child heads to solids, you need money for frequent trips to the store.

Do you see where this is going?

Having a financial plan really came in handy considering I don’t always have a set salary. Sometimes when you work for yourself, you have months of plenty and others where you get enough to cover your costs that allow a wee extra. It’s good to have a set idea of what you need to buy along with a “just in case” fund for those miscellaneous and unexpected items.

Are you ready to start thinking about your financial plan? Here are some questions and tips to consider.

  • Adjust your spending budget. Speak with other mommies for a general idea about baby-related expenses that include diapers, formula and baby food.
  • Research childcare. Who’s going to take care of your baby once your maternity leave is over? Childcare costs are very real and very expensive. Start researching providers now.
  • Will there be any additional medical premiums?
  • Take a look at your healthcare. Is it adequate for you and more importantly, your growing family?
  • Get his/her Social Security card as soon as possible. Once your child comes to this side, it’s important to file for their Social Security card sooner rather than later. You’re going to need this to claim them as a dependent on your taxes and other important forms.
  • Start thinking about college. Contrary to popular opinion, the sooner you start saving for your child’s education, the more you’ll have to give down the road. Start looking at 529 college savings plans and other resources that can help your money grow throughout the years. Even if you can only put away $40 or $50 each month, that money will surely add up over time.

Travel Trials: My Friends Want To Do A Girls’ Trip, But I Don’t Trust Them With My Money

March 21st, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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(As Relayed To Lauren R.D. Fox)

My friends from high school want to celebrate our 10-year friendship.

In order to do so, we decided to do something different by traveling together—something we’ve never done before.
We thought it would be a good idea to take a trip to Amsterdam since we’d heard such wild great things about it. And although our decision to go to was unanimous and a no-brainer, I am very hesitant to actually plan this trip with my friends.

You see, most of them manage their finances poorly. Very poorly. Now and then, one of them will ask me to borrow money. To be fair, I don’t mind helping my friends out; my career path has allowed me to have expendable income. However, I am not sure I can trust them with certain tasks, like booking the hotel, flights or particular excursions.

For example, when watching other people plan trips with their friends, they designate one person to (initially) pay for the hotel room. The selected person would put the entire amount on his or her bank card, and once it was booked, the other people in the party would pay that person back by transferring their portion of the fee into that person’s account. However, my fear is that my friends may wait to have all the money in their account, and we won’t be able to book our travel plans in a timely fashion. Or worse yet, if someone does step up to initially book a flight or hotel room, they may never be paid back. My friends have a tendency not to pay back loans on time.

To make matters worse, I fear my friends may not even bring enough spending money to Amsterdam, and therefore, I may have to contribute financially throughout the trip for it to be enjoyable. This trip is starting to sound anything but fun.

So what should I do? Should I still venture off to Amsterdam with my friends? Should I tell them about my concerns? Or should I back out?

You Worked Hard All Year: Why Moms Should Keep Some Of Their Tax Return To Themselves

March 11th, 2016 - By Tanvier Peart
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Being a mother sure does have the ability to impact what you deem important and how you take care of your business. During previous years before I had my son, I used any money I made or received to help build me and my husband’s financial future. I also used quite a bit to funnel back into my business. As any entrepreneur knows, you need coins to keep the wheels turning. However once my little guy came, my priorities shifted once again to also include funding his 529 college savings plan.

I take care of filing my taxes pretty early in the year (typically by the end of January). Like most of you I love getting a tax return, especially if it’s a really good one. This year it was extra sweet which made me start thinking about how I could save and invest it. I would put a certain amount into my individual 401k, my family’s emergency savings fund, my son’s savings account, pay a few bills and invest the rest. I even made a list of all the things I wanted to do to make sure I could take care of all of my responsibilities.

The only problem was one person was left off the list… me.

As women and moms, we’re all guilty at some point of neglecting our own wants. Call it an act of selflessness or just being silly; we make so many excuses as to why it’s wrong to want to do something for ourselves. While it’s good to focus on your family we have to make sure we don’t neglect ourselves in the process.

“I’m going to do something for myself,” I told my husband. He responded like most men do: “Okay.”

I made the decision to treat myself to a full day of pampering. No husband. No child. No responding to business-related calls or emails. Who knows, I might even spend the night at a resort or a hotel to get the full experience.

Janet Jackson once asked the question: “What Have You Done for Me Lately” to which I answer, what have you recently done for yourself?

There are plenty of entrepreneurs I know who don’t take a vacation let alone a lunch break. You don’t need to go anywhere fancy so long as you do something for yourself. One of the beauties about tax season is the high potential to get your hands on some extra cash. Yes it’s foolish to blow it all on a single item and not save anything, but us mamas need some love too. After all, we work hard to raise our children while trying to make our business and careers work.

If you haven’t considered treating yourself to some of your tax return you’re going to miss out.

Related read Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Return