The Real Reason We Need Financial Literacy

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Well…November came and went, didn’t it? In case you weren’t in the know, November is Financial Literacy month. Isn’t that fantastic? A whole month dedicated to taking charge of your finances, coincidentally just in time for the spending sieve known as the holidays. Seriously, soak up all the financial literature you can in November, forget all of it in the rush of the holiday season, and then recall it when January rolls in..ok?

Jokes aside, financial literacy is important, and I’m not just saying that because I write about financial related topics for a living. There is a big misconception that knowing how to manage money is only for folks who make plenty of money. This is not true. Think about it: only a very select few are born wealthy. Most individuals have to work for their money, and this is something that grows and accumulates over time. Sure, you may win the lottery, but there are just as many horror stories about broke and bankrupt lottery winners as there are “get rich quick” schemes. Whether you make 20k or 200k, you have to learn how to manage money at some point, the earlier the better. (more…)

How I Bought a House in my 20’s.

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It never ceases to amaze me how surprised people can be when I tell them that I’m unmarried and I own my home. I was car shopping this past weekend, filling out the requisite paper work and the sales guy was helping me fill out the forms.

“You rent your home, right?”

“No, I own it.”

“Oh.” He said with a look of surprise and checked off the “Own” box on the credit application.

This isn’t the first time this has happened (and since I was shopping with my brother, he was OK to assume that I wasn’t married.)

I’d argue that nowadays (especially with the dearth of millennial related real-estate articles on the internet) many millennials are forgoing home ownership until marriage, because at that point, they probably have a better idea of where they want to live, stability in the workplace, etc. My feelings on that particular point are enough to fill up another post for another day, but since I get the question a lot, I thought I’d finally lay it all out how I managed to buy my own home at 26, while–get this—making less than $40k a year.

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Financially Preparing for the End of the Year

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I know, I know. It is after all, only November, but with the holidays fast approaching I’m getting the jump start on my financially planning for 2015. I know everyone approaches their planning differently (I track my financial progress on a quarterly and yearly basis), so today I wanted to share a few of the tasks I am doing to starting thinking about where I want to be (financially) next year.

Tweaking My Budget

Every month I go into my Learnvest Money Center and see how much I spent that month on each of my categories. Then I put those amounts in a spreadsheet so I can track how much I spent on a certain thing, such as travel or groceries, over the course of the entire year. (more…)

My $250 Sun Porch Make Over!

I know it feels like the sun porch transformation reveal has been a long time coming. Really, this room was 90% finished the first weekend in October, but I didn’t want to photograph the room without the pillow fabric I chose. Weeks passed, and I still only had one set of pillows, so I decided to go ahead. Sorry for the delay! But strap yourselves in because this post is a long doozy, but well worth the wait, (in my opinion.) Here we go!

The Before & After

The sun porch was one of the few rooms I’d left virtually untouched since I moved in September 2013. It was dark (Albeit authentic) Georgia brick, or as I liked to call it..the Spider Graveyard. The before:

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3 Books Every Working Woman Needs to Read

My reading tempo has significantly slowed down since the summer (read my summer book picks here!), but I’ve been fairly diligent about keeping up with my reading. TRUST ME, it has been difficult with Fall TV coming back on, but between travel and trying to be better about having less “screen time” I’ve managed to make my way through a few books. Here are my favorites from my list, and they all happen to have a career/money theme.

 

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#GIRLBOSS- Sophia Amaruso

I’ve probably been living under a rock for the last seven years, but I hadn’t heard of Nasty Gal Vintage until this book came out. Still, the Cinderella-esque story about a wayward girl who launched a multi-million dollar fashion brand out of her Garage Apartment is pretty inspiring. She’s quirky, and certainly hasn’t been perfect or done everything right in her life and career which I found to be the most inspiring part. In addition to detailing her sordid past, Amoruso offers great advice on how to get ahead in your career, and enumerates on the exact type of grit it takes to get to #GirlBoss status. A quick read that I definitely recommend.

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How to Start Your Side Hustle

I’m the worst. I had a request for a “how to start side hustling” series back when my article on how I increased my income 60% went viral back in June. Sorry guys. But here it is! First I should say this is a post for those looking to create a sustainable, side business that runs month to month. If you’re looking for additional ways to make side income for a one-time expense or project check out these resources:

After all, you never know which of these side hustles could turn into your own side business. 

As a disclaimer: I don’t know what works for everyone, and some may have very different side business’ than I do. I’m only going to write about what worked for me. Here goes!

How to Start Your Own Side Hustle: Start Small

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Why I Don’t Worry About Saving Money

I’ve never been a scrooge. Ask anyone, I’ve been a spendthrift my entire life. When I was little, I’d save up my allowance to buy whatever American Girl Doll Dress I wanted next, without a thought as to pooling my money for a bigger purchase such as a furniture set, accessory pack, or additional doll. (I had two..#mollyandsamanthaforLIFE)

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(P.S. If you are an American Girl fan, read this hilarious article about American Girls of today. )

Over the years if I’ve learned anything about myself it is that I love spending money. I’m no longer addicted to it like I once was, but who doesn’t like being able to buy themselves something really beautiful, or fun? In college my spendthrift tendencies made me both the life of the party, and landed me in over $10,000 in credit card debt. Not cool.

Prior to moving to New York, I spent four months surviving off of unemployment and living in my grandmother’s attic. It was 2010, the very middle of the recession, and the only place I could get hired was Bath and Body Works. I had to be very, very frugal. This worked, but only because I had a lot of time on my hands to do things myself, and scout for great deals.  (more…)

Why I Chose to Pay Off Family First

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Last week, I posted my net worth update for Q3 2014. I got a few comments asking about why my credit card balance went up along with my savings.

It’s a great question, but some of the attitudes about why my credit and savings went up simultaneously seemed a bit negative. Finances are ultimately, personal, and while I know that using credit after you’ve already run up a tab is the #1 no-no, there was a reason I was bulking up my savings as much as I possibly could- because I wanted to pay back the loan from my Mom and Dad before I tackled my nearly $6k in credit card debt.

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7 Things You Never Knew About Me

I was nominated by my good friend Jordann at My Alternate Life for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks Jordann! It feels so good to be included. The crux of the challenge is to reveal 7 things your readers and friends may not know about you.

I was supposed to put this up last week. I know, I know. Timeliness and all that. If only you knew how difficult it was to get stuff done last week prepping for the conference I’m at right now! Still, I racked, and racked, and racked my brain for fresh facts, which is darn hard when you write about your life and former bad habits for a living. So here’s my take! Hope you enjoy.

#1 – I got my start in theater in the 5th Grade as, get this… Lady MacBeth.

I was part of an “gifted” program at my elementary school, and we were reading well above our grade level, including Shakespeare. As part of our spring project we put on a (very) abbreviated version of Macbeth. Since then I’ve acted in over forty shows between high school, college and my (very) abbreviated career as a professional actor. I even won an award this summer for my portrayal of The Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods.”

 

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