All Articles Tagged "Personal Finance"

5 Signs That Your Miserly Relationship With Money Has Improved

March 26th, 2015 - By Kara Stevens
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A lot of personal finance advice goes to overspenders, ballers, and people living way beyond their means. It’s important to know, though, that people that always save and never spend also have a toxic relationship with money. Super duper compulsive savers or misers tend to think that they are one biscuit away from being broke. As a result, they become stingy, chintzy, and often times predatory when it comes to keeping the bulk sum of any money that comes their way.

You may have these types of people in your life. Heck, you might be one. Even if it’s baby steps, misers can show promise of a healthier, less obsessive relationship with money. Here are five signs things are changing for your favorite cheapskate.

They reward themselves for an accomplishment or a major milestone. Misers tend to want to skimp on everything– including celebration. But if a miser is pulling out their wallet to reward themselves for a promotion, weight loss, a completed personal project, even in the most modest of ways (i.e. massage, dinner, a new dress), then that is sign that they see that money can be used to bring pleasure or buy experiences.

Leave better tips When it comes to misers and money, they can be very selfish and refuse to tip or woefully undertip great customer service as a principle. When misers see that giving a few extra shillings won’t kill their account and possibly improve the quality of life for a hard worker, they have started to change their thinking about money– instead of focusing on what money can do for them alone, they are beginning to realize that money can be used to help and reward others.

Buy for quality and not price. For an old-school miser, the cheaper the better no matter the item and no matter their personal preference. But when misers start thinking more rationally about money, they begin to see that the cost of the combined life cycles of several cheap items is actually more expensive than the purchase of one high-quality items. This goes for handbags, shoes, luggage, clothes, and in some cases, cars.

Don’t rationalize why they can do without a necessity. If it’s time to replenish the bathroom cabinet with essentials like toothpaste, deodorant, or hair products, they are not trying to find an excuse as to why they don’t need these items. “Well, smelling natural is what Mother Nature intended,” or “Rinsing with mouthwash is just as effective as brushing.” One of the biggest hurdles that I have noticed about misers is their underestimation and attention to self-care. When they start handling their self-care routines with a hitch, it’s a positive sign of growth and financial maturity.

Paying bills doesn’t cause anxiety and resentment. Most people get anxious around bill paying time because they actually don’t have the money to pay what’s due. But misers get upset about having to repay anything because they just don’t want to, despite having more than enough to repay. When misers feel less stressed about bills, they are losing some of their miser mindset.

 

Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at www.thefrugalfeminista.com Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days.

If Creating A Million Dollar 401k Is So Realistic, Wouldn’t More Of Us Be Rich?

March 25th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Does anyone else feel like there’s been a flood of “become a millionaire” articles from finance-related outlets? I can’t seem to scroll through my Facebook page without reading about how us millennials can become millionaires by investing in our 401k. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome concept, and a wonderful mindset to have. But exactly how realistic is it for today’s professional?

While I’m certainly am no financial expert or guru, I do my best to stay abreast of recommendations and save what I can. Working for myself, I have my own individual 401k that allows me to choose my own investment platforms, which can be a daunting but rewarding task. Given there’s no company match (it’s just me, myself and I), I invest at least 10 percent of my monthly income in my growing nest egg. My husband, who also works from home, has been with his company for a decade and invests a similar amount with his company, matching seven percent. He’s also enrolled in the pension they no longer offer to newer employees.

We don’t consider ourselves “rolling in the dough” but think we do okay with what we have. We pay down our debts as much as possible in efforts not to owe anyone, are saving for our children’s educational future through 529 college saving plans and continue to build up our savings, which includes purchasing a home in the next couple of years.

No matter how much we try to do, I’m not entirely sure we’ll hit the million dollar mark–at least not with our 401k alone.

I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer (I’m a pretty hopeful person), but can’t imagine growing a million dollar portfolio is that easy. There’s just too many variables: high student loans, unequal pay, company layoffs and non-existent raises that seem to make it really hard for the average person to put away a big chunk of their income for retirement, just to name a few.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some of us who would rather spend what little riches they have on frivolous things instead of thinking about their financial future. I know quite a few professionals who talk about what they don’t have, but drive fancy cars and wear designer clothing. News flash! You aren’t going to reach any goal by putting away two percent of your income each month–at least not one where you don’t have to work during your golden years. Sometimes we need to make a few sacrifices right now in order to enjoy a better life down the road.

One thing that’s pretty clear throughout many of these articles is the importance of starting early. In fact, most examples use young professionals in their 20s to help steer their point. While the laws of compounding interest are true, what happens to those millennials in their 30s who–for whatever reason–didn’t start saving in their early years? Obviously certain invest recommendations wouldn’t apply as they would need to play catch with their contributions.

While I’m not exactly sold on the numbers, I am hopeful my family and I are headed in the right direction. One can only hope it pays off!

What are you doing to save for your financial future? Here are some tips to help you on your journey.

I’m Ready to Be More Financially Savvy? How to Start Investing

401k Financial Moves to Make in Your 30’s

10 Important Financial Goals to Have on Your Bucket List

10 Wrong Ways to Pay Off Your Debt

Take Your Money to the Next Level: How to Build a Financial Portfolio

Creating a Financial Plan of Action for a Baby on the Way

March 20th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

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Are you expecting a little bundle of joy? Congrats! I’m due to pop myself in a couple months and 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.

As this is my second time with baby (I have a 14 month old), 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.

So Wait, I’m ‘Bougie’ If I Don’t Take Hand-Me-Downs?

March 18th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Isn’t it funny how people are desperate for you to do what they want, but if you resist, you’re the most horrible person in the world?

I love the concept of saving money which is why I try to do so as much as possible for my family to cut costs. I’ll clip coupons, buy off season and use flash sale deals just as fast as anyone else you know. That doesn’t mean I want to take your secondhand items all the time. Am I a horrible person for not doing so?

All of us buy used at some point in our lives. It’s only inevitable. Whether it’s a car, a house or college textbooks, there are certain things that just seem more economical when they’re aren’t spanking fresh.

Like many folks, I scan my home each season for items we no longer use. Rather than have them collect dust and take up space, I pack them up for a trip to a local drop-off center that accepts lightly-used goods. I get the importance of paying it forward and giving back. Not everyone is fortunate enough to buy things new–or wants to for that matter. In the same breath, that doesn’t automatically mean that I myself will take everything a friend or family member no longer wants because they’re trying to make room for newer items of their own.

Can you believe someone had the nerve to call me “bougie” because I said no thanks to their child’s old clothes? Okay.

I try my best not to let things upset me, but this one did. Yes I am pregnant and due in a couple months. Yes I do need to stock up on some infant items, but guess what: I had a child last year! There are tons of hand-me-down items our newest addition (another boy) will receive because they were barely used (or never even worn) by his older brother. When I say I’m good with most of my needs, I’m not lying, but don’t think it’s fair I’m labeled “bougie” because of my desire to purchase a few extra items. Is the money coming out of your pocket or somehow taking away from your table? I don’t think so.

Perhaps there’s a bigger issue at hand with this particular friend; I would’ve never expected such a reaction. She never offered anything to me when I was pregnant with my first child, so I don’t understand what’s the big deal now. Who knows, maybe she needs a hug. Or an Olivia Pope-sized glass of wine.

I think it’s important for all of us to pay attention to our good deeds and the intention behind them. If you’re giving to give, there should be no strings attached or hard feelings if a person doesn’t want to accept. It doesn’t mean they’re evil or hate what you have. Maybe they actually have things covered and don’t feel any additional items would get the proper use they deserve.

I personally never trying to force anything I have on someone else. Sure I’ll give a heads up if I plan to give something away, but who am I to say “Hey, you should have this and really need to take it?”

3 Money Moves That Will Let You Know If He’s Marriage Material

March 17th, 2015 - By Kara Stevens
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If you are dating with the purpose of marriage, then you are going to have to focus on the romance as well as the finance when you are dating. Paying attention to how a man relates to money is crucial for predicting how well he will handle money when you guys are fully committed. If you are thinking that these are gold digger moves, think again. Gold diggers want to sniff out how much a man can give so she can take it all for herself to fund a lavish lifestyle. There is no love or romance from the perspective of a gold digger, just money.

On the other hand, you want to be in love and on the same page with the man that you marry so both of you can enjoy a quality of life that reflects your values and prepares you both to live comfortably now and in the future. Translation: you have plans for sticking around for the long haul.

He has no financial plan. If you are dating a guy that talks about making millions but has no actual blueprint for achieving it, then he’s not marriage material. If he talks about using his education for social and economic mobility or working for himself (and has done the work of starting the business), or how he plans to invest or save consistently over the course of his work life, then you know that you are speaking to a man that won’t make you poor, because most importantly, he has no plans for being broke himself.

He doesn’t value self-sufficiency and self-reliance.  If a man that you are dating does not have problems with being underemployed or unemployed for a long time, then he’s not marriage material. I am no fortune teller, but if you and he both are happy to date without him contributing financially to a relationship, that same lopsided paradigm will follow into a marriage. That means that there will be no real incentive or pressure for him to look for work because you have implicitly agreed by marrying him when he wasn’t employed that this situation would be okay for long-term relationship.

He has problems setting personal limits on his spending.  When you are dating for kicks and giggles, the guy that spends the most lavishly can be great company to keep. You get a lot of attention, you have over-the-top experiences, you enjoy opulence, extravagance, and decadence… all free. Yes, when you are not swiping the credit card and you don’t bear the financial consequences of conspicuous consumption, everything is all good. But think about it, do you want this man to be your partner for life? Will he be able to reign in the spending or have enough saved for life’s emergencies or once in the lifetime opportunities that require money or the access to it?

 

Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at www.thefrugalfeminista.com Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days.

You Can Get Through It: 9 Ways A Financial Disaster Can Help Your Relationship

March 6th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Can you guess one of the top reasons why couples call it quits?

Money.

Many of us battle with high debt behind closed doors. Rather than have it affect your relationship to the point of destruction, it’s important to do what’s necessary to make it to the other side. Here are some ways a financial disaster can help your relationship.

The Iceman Cometh: The Do’s & Don’ts Of Surviving A Tax Audit

March 5th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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As you begin to keep your eyes peeled for your tax refund from Uncle Sam, you should cross your fingers you never get a letter from them indicating something is wrong. Sometimes we forget to carry the two or accidentally put the wrong number on the wrong line. Regardless of the reason, no one enjoys being a part of a tax audit investigation. Should they contact you, here are some do’s and don’ts on how to deal.

Think Beyond That Shopping Spree: Smart Ways To Use Your Tax Return

March 2nd, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Is anyone else excited to receive a little something something back from Uncle Sam? Heaven knows we pay enough in taxes and other crazy fees. As enticing as it will be to treat yourself to the finer things in life, don’t go spending all your money. In fact, you should take a look at these money savvy ways to use your tax refund.

Is There A Racial Double Standard With Couponing?

March 2nd, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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I never would’ve thought I would get into couponing until I started paying attention to how much my grocery trips cost each month. Trying to feed your family can take a small fortune.

Now I knew my husband — like many men — can eat the entire refrigerator by himself, but I had no clue our 13 month old would follow in his daddy’s footsteps. Our bi-weekly trips to the store are now weekly adventures where we pray the things we need are on sale. You hear about all of these couponing apps and folks who are saving hundreds on their grocery bills, which really puts things in perspective. When you think about it, why should any of us pay full price for items when there are tons of resources at our fingertips to help bring down the cost?

Since the start of the new year I  have been trying to get better and better about couponing. Sometimes I take an hour to 90 minutes going through emails of coupons, all the savings apps on my phone and comparing them to our grocery store’s weekly sales flyer. Yeah, it definitely is a part-time job, but if it means lowering your bill, why not try? Call me a coupon geek but I love printing out a stack of coupons to take to the register, which is just like carrying money. In efforts to spread the good message, I shot updates to my gal pals so they can begin their savings journey. What’s interesting is the opposition I received from some that got me thinking.

Is there a racial double standard when it comes to clipping coupons?

Now this is something I never thought about as a coupon is a coupon. Sure my mother didn’t clip the papers all the time, but there was no shame in her game when it came to trying to save a buck. Yet some folks associate the art of couponing as a “White thing,” which I don’t really understand. Is it because many of the popular coupon websites are managed by White women? Does society really think a White mother with a handful of coupons at checkout is being financially savvy while a Black mom is too broke to afford her groceries?

Just because my husband and I can afford paying a high amount for groceries does not mean we want to do so. And I’m not about to sit up here and pay full retail to prove otherwise.

Thankfully I have never experienced a side-eye by a cashier when I roll up to checkout with my coupons… and I live in Oklahoma. There are tons of Frugal Frannies in my town who are all about affordability to single out someone because of their race. I just hate the idea of some unspoken racial divide (if there is one) that turns a money-saving resource into a social class discussion. Coupons might not be in glossy magazines but typically are accessible to everyone. If you want to really talk about injustice, let’s discuss those websites that have the nerve to charge money (yes, American dollars) to print out a coupon! Ten cents to purchase a forty cent coupon? Now that’s crazy!

Have you noticed a couponing double standard when it comes to race?

Bravo’s Jewel Tankard Of “Thicker Than Water” Dishes On Faith & Finances

March 2nd, 2015 - By Kara Stevens
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I had the pleasure of speaking with Jewell Tankard of Bravo’s Thicker Than Water to spill the tea about money, motherhood, being a mogul, and the latest on her hit show.  In our conversation, she dropped some many gems about what it takes to “have to all.”

MadameNoire: How does your faith influence or inform your ideas about money and finances?
Jewel Tankard: My faith influences a big part of it. God made this beautiful world. God wants us to do big and beautiful things with our lives. If we are going to make an impact, we can’t do it broke. Political figures are put in place by money. Like in Ferguson, if we are going to push a political agenda, we are going to need money. If I want to start a homeless shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence, then I am going to need money.

Ecclesiastes says money answers all things. Timothy says the love of money is the root of all evil. So clearly, we have to have a balance. Money, in and of itself, is not evil. And if we are going to advance the kingdom or advance anything we believe that God puts on our hearts, then we are going to need money to do it.

MN: What do you say to those that say wealth make you anti-spiritual?
JT: A lot of times people have equated wealth with arrogance and the reality is that there are wealthy people that are arrogant and there are regular people that are arrogant.  So that is a character issue, not a financial issue. Money just amplifies who you are. If you were a broke playboy, you are going to be rich playboy when you have money.

MN: Where did your financial wisdom come from?
JT: I was born into a family of strong entrepreneurs. I knew what wealth looked like. I grew up with chefs, housekeepers, drivers, and beautiful homes; I went to the best schools. But then I lost it at 19.

I realized that it’s not just about learning how to make money. You can be a good producer, but not a good manager of your money. That’s why a lot of millionaires become broke because they are not managing it right or stewarding it. That’s how I became passionate about understanding economic cycles. Every business has a cycle. Period. So you have to understand when it starts, when it peaks, and when it comes to an end, so hopefully you are innovative and creating new cycles.

MN: Why did you create the Millionairess Club?
JT: My mission and purpose is for women to know that they can live their dreams, even if they are moms and wives. So many feel that if they are good moms or wives that they can’t be good businesswomen. Not only do I believe kids need time, they need quality.

You need to sit down and ask them, “Would you rather have Mommy home at 5pm every day with dinner cooked or would you rather have Mommy coming home at 10pm on some days so you can get your trip to Spain in the summer?”

When we talk to our families about what the endgame will be, they understand how they can become benefactors of Mommy’s hard work. And it does not mean that you can’t spend time with your family. I think a lot of women have trouble finding that balance, so I want to teach them how to find that balance that they can have it all.

I also want to teach them at a certain point in their business, it’s time to hire a housekeeper and a cook. It’s cost-prohibitive for me to be cooking and cleaning and running to the grocery store and dry cleaners when I could be signing a million dollar contract.

I want to teach them that if they want more out of life, they don’t have to wait for their husbands. They can be contributors.

MN: Are there any upcoming projects that we should know about?
JT: Ben’s [her husband Ben Tankard] CD recently dropped and it already is a bestseller on Amazon. We are celebrating 25 years of him in gospel jazz. We will have a family trip that is so hilarious that it will make you pee your pants. It’s relatable on some many levels.

I am getting ready to launch the Jewel Tankard Talk Show on Impact Network, the first African-American Christian Network, premiering at the end of March. The Millionairess Club trip will happen at the end of August. You can get information on Jewel Tankard.org.

The Millionairess Club starts again on March 9 from 7pm to 9pm. Six week sessions range from $250 to $1,000, where you can get brand development packages with a photo shoot and make-up artist.

We are also hosting a family conference on understanding family conflict resolution at our church on April 24 and 25. Ben and the children will each be teaching on a topic that is relevant to them, everything from understanding legacy, carrying on the legacy, managing emotions in the family, and learning to make your own decisions.

 

Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at www.thefrugalfeminista.com Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days. Join Kara’s closed $20 Cash Crash Diet Facebook Group to get some sistergirl support and accountability for reaching your savings goals.