Money Matters: Mother’s Day Spending

Aaaahhh! I think I may have spent a little too much on my mother’s day gifts. And I think so because I didn’t plan accordingly. Now, I’m not broke or close to over drafting my account, but I definitely could’ve spent less than what I did had I been paying attention.

So here’s the breakdown:

  • Flowers – $53.20
  • Chocolates (See’s Candy) – $13.46
  • Two Tickets to the Dodger’s Game – $148.23
  • Stadium Parking – $25
  • Raffle Entry – $10
  • Food at Game – $30

And the total comes to…$279.89.

SH*T!

That’s way more than I planned to spend. Don’t get me wrong, totally love my mom and would do all in my power for her, but damn. I dropped nearly $300 on one holiday on one person. Not to justify this over spending, but had I spent all of this money in one day instead of over the course of a few weeks, I would’ve been more conservative with what was leaving my wallet.

I gotta continue to focus on saving, and hustling, and creating more exposure for my business and getting more business in general. It’s nice to know I can afford to spend nearly $300 on someone, but if I don’t have to, I shouldn’t. Pricey lesson learned.

How much did you spend on your mom yesterday?

Money Matters: Be Thankful for What’s in Your Wallet

I speak a lot about the importance of earning extra monies and saving and investing, if you can, but sometimes I forget to slow down and be thankful for the dollars and cents that I have. Elle reminded me this past Sunday to find the positive in everything. I was talking to her over the phone while I was at Ross and the Dollar Tree and I was mentally calculating what I spent that day. I said to her that I had spent over a $100 I was not planning to (this is why we have budgets, right?) and she said to me without missing a best, ‘be thankful you had the money to spend’.

Deep, trust me.

Oftentimes, I’ll beat myself up for spending too much money that I won’t spend anything for weeks afterwards, thinking it’ll balance me out. And althouh, like everyone else, I am constantly working on being better with my finances and managing my money, I forget to be thankful for the money I do have.

I’ve operated far too long from a place of lack and need and hustle and grind that I don’t stop and just be… thankful. Gracious. In a state of gratitude. Shame on me. Really.

Yes, I think it’s absolutely important to be focused and geared towards something that offers value to our lives. But it’s also important to be present in the moment. And in those moments, be thankful. For all that we have. No matter how muc it adds up to.

I am thankful for my dreams, my ambitions, my mom, Elle, my job, other loved ones in my life, Los Angeles for offering me a wealth of opportunities. And the dollars and cents in my pocketbook.

What are you thankful for?

Money Matters: What Are You Doing With Your Tax Return?

So, after tax season comes tax return season or… audits… or money you may owe to the IRS. This is can be a touchy topic here, but bare with me. And I know lots of people will say, “If youre getting a tax return that means you gave too much money to the government interest free”. I don’t disagree with that statement but I’m not here for that arguement… yet. I’m here for those of you ladies who’ll be getting a return.

So, let’s talk about how we’ll be using that money and where it’ll be going. I’ve already received my state return and I had that directly deposited into my “Dream Home Fund”. That’s a bit of good news. If I actually see all of my $1,164 federal return, I’ve already decide to divide that into thirds.

  1. One-third will be split among my savings. $194 will be going into my Emergency Fund. And I’ll drop the other $194 into my “Dream Home Fund”. Really trying to beef up that goal.
  2. Another third will go into my business and personal development. Any remainder monies will go into my Emergency Fund.
  3. And the final third, $388, will hang out in my account for 30 days. If in 30 days I cannot find a real need for something important I need to buy, then it will be split again among my savings accounts. Or maybe I’ll start my Travel Fund. I’ll see.

If you noticed, I have only two real goals for my tax returns. To save money and to invest in myself. That’s really it. That’s all I want to do. I don’t need to buy anything for myself or my apartment. Im not trying to go on some splurge and live it up. No shopping sprees for me.

I made a decision not to pay down student loan debt, because I just feel right now while I am making steady payments on time, it’s important I beef my savings, both long and short term. And when I get my saving accountd to where I want them to be in the near future, I’ll change gears.

Point is: my money has a plan because I’m on a mission. What’s the plan for your money?

Money Matters: Mixing Money and Friends

Yesterday I completed a notarization for two friends in the Larchmont Village area. One of the gentlemen found me online via Craigslist and very honestly explained that he was lending his friend $5,000 for a personal loan and wanted to have an agreement notarize should they have a falling out and not remain friends during the repayment period. It’s happened before. Probably a lot more than we realized.

But this was smart. Even among friends. Because sometimes our interactions with our friends will be transactions. In which case, a small part of the relationship will move from being personal to business. And if we’re not careful, we’ll blur the lines too much and make it hard either to be friends or ever do business with friends.

I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should ever lend friends money or ever taken a loan from a friend. You know them better than I. You know yourself better than I do. I will say be careful and be responsible. People can be funny about their money and I would hate to learn of another friendship that dissolved over money matters.

My golden rule for money and friends — even family — has always been: if I can’t afford to lose it, I can’t afford to lend it. I don’t do it often, but if I’ve lend someone money, I have to treat like a gift. Treat it like I gave them the money instead of loaned it to them. This way I’m not upset if they never pay me back. But I’m no fool either. If I lent someone money and they didn’t pay me back, I don’t lend them anymore money. I don’t want to turn myself into their ATM. I work hard for my money and I give it away to enough other people in the form of bills.

I also try not to borrow money from people. I will exhaust every option first before I ask for a loan from a friend or family member. If I gotta go pawn some sh*t first, so be it. I try to keep my friends and money separate from one another to maintain a healthy relationship with my friends and my money. I get it. Things come up all the time and we have to figure out how to deal. Yes, we know about having an emergency savings account,but not everyone has one. So they make do. I just ask you be careful if making do is mixing your friends and money together.

Money Matters: Girl, You Need to Save More Money

Happy April 1st…April’s Fool and Cesar Chavez Day. Today’s like a mouthful. But if you still got some space left… happy 2nd quarter of the year!

Yeah, like why do you care? Well, in about 14 days your taxes should be filed. And when I hear that said out loud, I hear money. More like money that needs to be saved. I don’t know if you’re getting a return back or if you’ll owe, but regardless if you’ll be writing a check or depositing a check, we need to start saving… more. No, I get it. You are saving. You’ve even got your savings on automatic transfer. Go for you. Now increase it. Seriously. 😐. If you can save whatever dollar amount you’re saving now then try to save a little more.

If you’re only saving $5 a month, go ahead and start saving $6. The increase to your savings doesn’t have to be magnanimous. But it should be greater than what you were saving. If you’re saving $20, aim to save $25. If you’re saving $25, aim to save $30. Or $50 if you can swing it. Save more money to accelerate your dream fund, your travel fund, your down payment on a home fund or whatever you’re planning for in the future. Let the same principle to your emergency fund too.

If you make one positive money move this second quarter of 2019, let it be that you increased your savings. Your future self will thank you.

Money Matters: More Money Should Mean More Problems

Earning more money (get it, girl) shouldn’t mean more problems. Yet, as our income grows, so does our expenses, which is weird as hell. I mean, think about it. When were making $35,000/year we’re buying a whole lot less stuff than when we’re making $50K or $60k a year. Shopping at dollar stores and discount box retailers. We were going to thrift shops and we’re catching matinees instead of going to opening night shows.

In other words, we were budgeting.

Yet, when we start making more money, we budget less believing we can now “afford” it. 🤔 Yeah, about that because I know firsthand how good it feels to having extra dough lining my pockets and not getting anymore below balance alerts from my bank. I get it, girl, I get it.

But before you starting adding items to your Amazon shopping cart, plan for your future first. Call me “mama bear” if you want, but I’m serious. Take some of that extra monies and double your savings. Create a travel fund. Pay down your student loan debt. Increase or start your emergency fund. Then when you’ve successfully established these funds and savings account, goEA get that spring dress that caught your eye in your inbox. Order those shoes that’s been on your wishlist since August. Just make sure to take care the you-now and the you-later as not to have any unnecessary money problems that can catch you by surprise.

Unless they’re rich people’s problems, in which case…

Money Matters: Budget, Even While Traveling

So this is the last time I’ll mention my new job and traveling to New York (hopefully) but I wanted to quickly share and remind you about the importance of budgeting even while traveling.

Simply put: have a dollar figure that you’re not willing to go over.

Now, I was fortunate because my new job was comping us for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the days we, the company, didn’t eat together. Which was great. That meant less money out of my pocket. But that’s not always the case. I may have very well had to supply my own meals in which I would have had to decide how much I would be willing to spend on each meal, budget accordingly and ensure I didn’t go over that dollar figure.

In my case, as silly and perhaps lowballed as it sounds, I didn’t want to spend over $100 while in New York. Crazy, right? Well, I had most of my facts up front. I knew the company was going to supply or comp our meals. I knew the company was going to pay for transportation to and from the airport. And the company had already supplied the hotel room. So logically, what more did I need to spend on other than getting around the city on my free time and a few souvenirs?

Budgeting, wherever you go, is easier when you have all the facts.

Think about it: how much would you know to stock away if you didn’t have an estimate, at the very least, of what something – an item, a meal, an event – was gonna cost? Even in a city like New York where the cost of living is 13% higher than Los Angeles, I still budgeted to the best of ability.

How do you budget when you travel?

Money Matters: Clean Out Your Purses

I feel like our purses and wallets are a sneak peak into our finances and our lives. I believe how well we keep the things that hold the representation of our finances reflect how we feel and deal with our finances.

I was watching my mother clean out one of purses so she could switch items into another purse to take with her to an on oscar party she attends every year. And in doing so, it was littered with receipts, old napkins and tissues and just stuff that should’ve been trashed awhile ago. I wanted to be like, “eww” but she’s my mother. Yet, I still felt eww about how managed her purse was. As a mature woman, why hadn’t she gotten a better system of cleaning out her purse? Why after so many years does she treat her purse like a trash can?

But — being frank, here — my mother isn’t the best at managing money. She isn’t the worst, but she won’t be holding any top 100 spots in the immediate future. Money has always been a tool for her to spend. And sadly, this applies to many women I know. They’re always scrambling around to make it to the next pay period. And it’s not a junky purse. It’s a junky lifestyle. Careless purchases. Impulsive spending. Emotional shopping. Just no regard for their financial future. Like, none. And so, they’re broke or short on money or have no savings. Or — usually– a combination of it all.

I don’t know if I mentioned the “broke girl” from my former job, but in case I didn’t, let me give you the run down:

She lives paycheck because it’s very important to her she has a social life. She’s $15,000 in credit card debt. She never pays off a purchase once she used her credit card so she always carries a balance and pays the minimum. Her total minimum payment is about $300 for all 3 credit cards. She paid $700 for her cat and only feeds her cat expensive food even when she doesn’t have food for herself. When she’s unable to prepare lunch from home for a workday, she puts it on her credit card. She has no savings. Doesn’t believe in 401k so she doesn’t have a retirement account or savings or a plan of anything sort.

I’m not making any of this up. She’s told me all this herself. And she’s not alone. Many women treat their lives like a junky purse. Like, one day it’s all gonna get magically cleaned out sorted and whoosh — everything will be better.

Sorry, ladies. You gotta start cleaning out purses and now. There is no fairy Godmother out there waving and magically fixing all your financial problems. You, my dears, have got to do that yourself.

Turn them purses upside down!

Money Matters: Cutting Back on Your Spending

As a hustler, one of our biggest obstacles is money. I mean, isn’t that the reason we got into side hustlin’ to begin with? But not just making more money, but managing it, saving it and as we all do at some point, spending it. But sometimes we forget to shift our mindset about our money from spender to saver.

One of the best ways to get in the habit of saving more of our hard earn extra greenbacks is to start cutting back on the things we’re already spending on that we don’t need.

Side hustlin’ is not about wants, it’s about needs. Supporting the needs, fulfilling the needs, saving for future needs and of course, needing to earn more. Wants go out the window (at least for a little bit).

To help you better manage your side hustlin’ money, cut back on your Starbucks or Coffeebean drinks. Skip Kindle for your books and go to the library. They got digital copies too, now. Pack snacks for on the go and lunches for work. Bring water with you wherever you go to avoid the temptation of spending on convenience store drinks. Limit your Uber or Lyft rides to a reasonable number and on a need basis per month. Shop at the Dollar Tree for office and work supplies. Need a better outfit to impress a prestigious client? Good Will. Or ThredUp. Or Poshmark. Second hand is your friend.

As you can see, whatever you need to get your side hustle off the ground and start bringing in real dollars begins with you first changing where your money goes. If you wanna see more money coming in, start by letting less money go out. Then your side hustle money will really look good. Hello!

Money Matters: Get You a Side Hustle

If don’t have a side I hope you’re already living your dream. And if so, 👏👏👏👏👏👏. Do you, boo!

But if not, why not? It’s been reported and polled and studied that, in U.S. at least, between 70-80% of people hate their job. I’m one of them!!! But unlike the bulk of the country who would rather call out sick than drag their crushed souls into the office Monday through Friday, I have a side hustle. I have a few, in fact. And I roll my eyes to those who do not have a side hustle at all.

Sorry, not sorry.

In all seriousness, how can anyone complain about a job they feel pays them too little and works them too hard not do anything about it? I never understood that.

Now, you may think that person can just start looking for another job but let me ask this: do you really think they’re going to find everything from that one new job?

I’m gonna go with no. And that’s ok. Its almost weird if a job is completely satisfactory that we don’t need to look anywhere else to fill our voids. Even a decent or good job may lack some soul-purpose elements.

But to work at job and not have a side hustle in the city is almost dangerous. We have rising rents, fees coming at us left and right, and for 61% of us (allegedly), no savings. I mean, why don’t you just get the lighter fluid and matches now?

Okay. Sorry, sorry. Too far. But, was it really?

2017 and 2018 were some pretty expensive years as Los Angeles made it’s way to being the 3rd most expensive city in the county. Being beat out by only New York and San Francisco. And I don’t see 2019 being a generous one. So I tell everyone who has the mindset to hear it, get you a side hustle.

If for no other reasons, for these two:

  1. Build your non existing savings or to beef it up
  2. To add more skills under your belt and become more you desirable to lucrative prospective employers (bosses who will pay you better)

In other words, a side hustle is the easiest and quickest way to increase your net worth, help you build wealth and develop and build skills.

Your job now may be about your career or a bridge to your career. But a side hustle is all about staying in the black.