In case you haven't noticed, we are in the midst of a collective awakening. And even as consumers, we are demanding the truth when it comes to brands and how we spend our dollars. With truth comes personal accountability and increased awareness. Now in order to build generational wealth and make sure your legacy has a seat at the table (or the resources to construct their own), we have to stop putting band-aids over our "money wounds" and start thinking long-term about our less stressed and financially-free FUTURE selves.
My mission is to normalize money conversations and to create a safe space for dialogue to increase financial and emotional wellness.
Just like with your healing journey, it is your personal responsibility to seek out resources to elevate your money mindset on your path to financial wellness. I mean, that's why you're here, right? And the good news is that many of you are already out here doing THE WORK (yes, the grueling, unattractive personal work that doesn't typically make it onto the social media highlight reel). So while you are ELEVATING sis, here are some tangible tips to help you eliminate debt and stop the bleeding:
1. Break Your Pay Down Into A TIME VS. MONEY Comparison
Time is the only nonrenewable resource. Break your pay down into how much it costs you per hour. For example, if you make $25 and want to purchase something that cost $200, that's 8 hours of pay (and of your day). Now ask yourself, is this time vs. money exchange really worth it or do you prefer to allocate my pay in another way (BARS)? If you decide against the purchase, decide whether or not it would be worth it to throw the money you thought about spending on a splurge towards your purpose. Ask yourself if you should allocate those funds to a major stressor in your life and knock out some debt sooner so that you'll eventually acquire more disposable income for the things you really want to do later in life. Instant gratification in a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of creating the life that you want.
2. Sleep On It
Give yourself a certain number of days to think before you make a purchase that is not a NECESSITY or an investment in bettering yourself. For example, anytime you make a purchase that is entertainment, clothing, or NOT need-based, sleep on it for three nights and then decide if you really need it. You may find most of your purchases are emotional.
Sitting with your feelings (taking note of what you are feeling or what happened when the urge to splurge comes up) and increasing your emotional intelligence will allow you to dodge making impulsive decisions to fill a void perhaps linked to a source of pain that may be outside of your awareness. For example, you don't have to be SEEN through what you wear to feel SEEN in a society that has marginalized you if it sets your bank account back and sends you down a slippery slope of guilt, shame, and avoidance. If no one has ever told you, you are enough just as you are. The rest is a luxury, and luxury my dear is meant to be comfortable.
3. Do A Subscription Review
Monthly subscription services are all the rage. The problem? They add up quickly and many times we have them on autopilot, completely forgetting that it comes out of our account every month. Is this a coincidence or a brilliant sales strategy? Take a quarterly inventory of these and release yourself of the ones that you don't or rarely use or find more economical options and start allocating those autopayments to the debts you are looking to eliminate!
Common subscription service culprits include: gym memberships, Amazon, hair vitamins, themed box subscriptions that you really don't use, streaming services, lead generation if you're a business owner but aren't using the leads etc.
4. Try The SNOWBALL Effect
Or let's use the bowling ball analogy. Whichever you prefer, target a certain debt or "pin" that you want to knock down. A good way to select your "pin" is tackle the smallest debt or the one that is the biggest thorn in your side and greatest point of pain. Use the money you are saving in the tips above and begin to aggressively attack those debts. Once you've paid that one off, the monthly payment you had now becomes leverage to snowball into the next debt. Keep letting the (snow)ball roll until you have a domino effect and eventually you will be debt-free.
5. Consider A Balance TransferDealing with bills
Balance transfers are a great way to hit the reset button and help get out from under compounding interest where you're paying interest on yesterday's interest. A balance transfer allows you to reset your debt at 0% interest for 12 or 24 months (find the right introductory offer) with a fee. Make sure you have the funds available to attack the debt and pay off the WHOLE thing before the introductory period ends and set it up on autopay. Your future self will thank you for it. Your birthright is not to survive, but to THRIVE.
6. Make Autopay Your Friend
I talk to many people and clients who wait to pay their rent or credit cards until the last day because they don't want the creditor to have the money. Then what happens? They owe the creditor more money in fees because they forgot to pay it...sometimes requiring all the interest over the introductory period of no interest being called due. Hold yourself accountable and make autopay your friend. Don't let your ego get in the way and cost you more money that could go towards a debt.
7. Use Your Home As A Bank
Now, if you are a Dave Ramsey fan, this might make you question your life. But the truth is, fixing your finances is not one size fits all. I have a lot of respect for Dave and agree with many of his principles. However, there are some that I disagree with... like requiring 20% down payment to purchase a house (not to mention missing out on free money through the form of DPA, down payment assistance). If you are buying in a good market, by the time you saved 20% for your down payment (or waited for a gift from your parents who don't have generational wealth to pass it to you), your home value could have increased significantly and you could be getting cash out for another investment. EQUITY is paper, and if you don't use it you lose it during downtimes.
If you are a responsible person who has a tendency to pay more than the minimum payment on your credit cards and debts, then this may be a great way for you to feel relief from massive monthly payments of credit cards and student loans.
8. Figure Out Who You Really Are, What You Really Want And What's Your Definition Of Success
This will allow you to be proactive and identify what debts if any are critical to your goals and dreams. If formal education is important to you, student loan debt may not be a bad idea. Just make sure the ROI (Return On Investment makes sense) based upon the field you are going into or going back to school for. Many of us can relate, I started out pre-med to achieve the highest level of formal education and took another direction. Never be afraid to reinvent yourself. Stay true to you. Life is about balance and is meant to be enjoyed. Hustling for our worth is hustling backwards. Trust me, I've been there and didn't even know the source until I got to the root of the need for my own validation and started to peel back the layers of my own money story.
To see true, lasting change, it's time to have some real, open, and brutally honest conversations with a trusted advisor, therapist, or money and mindset coach. Be real with yourself about the reasons you make purchases regardless of whether you do or don't have the money. Is it to be seen, or to feel worthy or validated? Is it an inability to say no or a byproduct of people-pleasing? Don't get me wrong, life is meant to be enjoyed and living your best life or stunting from time to time while acting your wage is perfectly fine.
Issues arise when our life becomes a full-time stunt like a Big Tymers music video and our budget doesn't match the image or persona we are putting out.
It's time for us to evaluate what we really want and need out of life and who we really do things for that continue to set us back from our authentic selves. Inner peace is the real bag and eliminating debt is key. Are you ready to secure it, QUEEN?
Featured image by Getty Images
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Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
Featured image by Justin Lambert/Getty Images