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7 Smart Spending Tips That Will Help You Save This Summer

Finance

With summer "twentyMINEteen" in full effect, Vitamin D and vacations can subconsciously be a source of both peace and pressure. Wedding season, brunches, last minute roadtrips, and other summer activities can lead us to spend more than anticipated.


While the extra sunlight often gives our moods a boost of energy, this can also contribute to more frivolous spending with increased cycles of shame, guilt, and avoidance when it comes to your finances. So whether you're a Hot Girl, a City Girl, or on your Lizzo flow this summer (cues your summertime theme song), here are a few tips on how to maintain your cool as things continue to heat up:

​Gas yourself up while keeping your cool.

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If you're hitting the road, try filling up midweek on a Wednesday or Thursday (notice any airline pricing parallel?). Simple economics (supply and demand) means gas stations have a tendency to bump up their prices on Friday when most people travel and fill up last minute. A little planning can go a long way. Want another hack when it comes to your utilities? Keeping your A/C at 68 degrees is a 60% increase in utility spending on average in comparison to 78 degrees when you leave your home. Remember to make this adjustment manually or check with your utility company about a technology upgrade allowing you to control your A/C remotely, helping you to keep your cool in more ways than one this summer.

Pay cash or use debit.

Using money you've already earned will save you a ton of money. Cash is queen (or "king" as they say) because we feel the "pain" of spending cash over a simple swipe of a card. But we also don't have a way to track what we have spent. Debit on the other hand gives us a breakdown of where we spent our money and helps us to avoid "credit card hangover" (where we tend to beat ourselves up when we make money mistakes, say we won't do it again, and then find ourselves spending more to cure the "hangover", further perpetuating the cycle). Spend with purpose and fulfill your emotional needs with awareness.

Go on a staycation.

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Accommodations tend to be two-thirds of our already-growing expenses when it comes to vacationing. Add in gas, food, and fun money, you know how quickly this all adds up. On the other hand, a staycation can be lighter on our wallet but heavy in fun! Vacation rental sites like Airbnb, Noirbnb, VRBO, and Homeaway can give you more bang for your buck as well as the local feel we often crave when we travel. Pair this strategy with finding free fun, like creating a bucket list, attending free informational classes, parks, recreation, and other events, and you are well on your way to smart summertime spending with all the vibes!

Set a social calendar.

With increased events during the summer (can you say wedding/bachelorette season?) and a natural tendency to want to visit others/be visited more, setting a social calendar will help to keep your spending in check. To live with purpose and intention, boundaries are important in all aspects of our lives and it's no different when it comes to your finances. Exercise your right to say NO to avoid unnecessary stress and drama!

Make spontaneity a part of your spending plan.

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Considering we are more likely to engage in random activities during the summer months, we should make sure this is a part of our spending plan (I prefer this phrase over "budget" because anything too restrictive can often lead to failure like a fad diet because guess what? We are HUMAN!). Ditch the traditional rigid "budget" and include the inevitable. It's okay to plan for a splurge. Your future self and self-worth will thank you!

Be less social (media).

Sis, comparison is the thief of joy so be more intentional with the accounts you are following. Keep in mind that social media is only one side of a story and everyone who appears to be happy, rich, and joyful isn't always. Sometimes the images we are being fed are simply others managing their perceptions and "doin' it for the gram." It's no surprise that depression and anxiety rates are up and directly correlated. Don't let what others are doing deter you on YOUR journey. Remember this is just a season, and delayed gratification is worth it!

Be more nostalgic.

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It's time to tap back in to your inner child. You know, the younger version of you, the little girl who was full of joy from the little things where cost and impressing others wasn't a factor? Do you remember catching/admiring fireflies, being on the porch with family and friends, or playing "punch bug"? What made your summertime self sing in your childhood days? Do more of that! Be intentional. Focus on being more present which costs nothing but simply putting your phone away.

By implementing these 7 summertime strategies and putting them to good use, you will find yourself increasing your holistic health and wealth. You are deserving and beyond worthy of this, Queen. Life is meant to be enjoyed and just in case you forgot, it's not a dress rehearsal. So whether you find yourself in sundresses, shorts, swimsuits, or even sweats this summer, continue to soak in the sun, create a summer to remember, and elevate your money mindset.

Are you down?

Featured image by Getty Images

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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