The One Mindset Trick This PR Girl Uses To Save $1.5K Each Month

"I can save so much more if I am not so frivolous with my spending."

Money Talks

Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they get it.

Founder and CEO of Milan360 Strategies, a public relations and event management agency, is more than just a sweet Georgia peach. In fact, 26-year-old Jasmine Murray is setting the bar for millennial women as a boss woman in the communications industry, all while having a complete handle on her finances. The young publicist-to-watch can also add "author" to her extensive resume thanks to her e-book, Finance Much?, that teaches readers how to conquer their bad relationship with money and create an electronic strategized money savings plan.

Courtesy of Jasmine Murray

However, like most of us, UberEats and DoorDash gets a little tempting, but she has to rely on her all-time favorite money mantra to keep her pockets in check - I have food at home. "It sounds so crazy, but I spend so much money eating out," Murray laughs with xoNecole, "Especially during summers."

In this installment of "Money Talks", xoNecole had the chance to speak to the Cupcakes and Convos creator about squeezing home decor into her budgeting plans, her previous occupation as a bartender, and her ideal retirement.

On the lowest she’s ever felt financially and how she overcame it:

"Oddly enough, the lowest my finances have ever been is actually when I had the most clients on my roster. I was managing my money completely wrong. So, even though I was clearing close to $10K each month, I was spending the money quicker than my invoices were being cleared, so I was never able to save the way I should have.

"I overcame this by just confronting the issue head-on and making some major life adjustments. I became so frugal with my spending, because I really enjoy seeing money in my account and living worry-free."

On her biggest splurge to-date:

"My biggest one-time splurge would have to be my Chanel bags, [but] my biggest ongoing splurge would have to be my car. I purchased these items because I felt like I deserved them. I work so hard and I sometimes forget to treat myself every now and then. When I do treat myself, it's sometimes over the top and I think I've finally got it all out my system."

Courtesy of Jasmine Murray

On if she considers herself a spender or saver:

"At this point I consider myself to be a saver. There's so many bigger plans that I have for my future self, so I've sacrificed a lot of casual luxuries so that I can better prepare for the life I want to live long-term. I trained myself to save money by having multiple accounts - some I never touch, some are for casual spending, some are only for paying bills. But when I separate my money, it's actually easier for me to see what I have and therefore, know how to spend it."

"I trained myself to save money by having multiple accounts - some I never touch, some are for casual spending, some are only for paying bills. But when I separate my money, it's actually easier for me to see what I have and therefore, know how to spend it."

On how much she saves per month:

"I try to save at least $1,500 a month that I place in an account that I never touch. I then separate the leftover profits into different accounts."

On savings goals and what her retirement will look like:

"I guess just like everyone else, I am trying to make my way to a million, but my biggest goal is to make sure that I am always comfortable, so whatever that means [in dollars] will always be OK for me as long as me and my family are provided for. For me, retirement looks like a four- to five-bedroom house paid off, no ongoing bills, and enough money in the bank to get me through life, as well as get my kids through college."

On business structures and multiple streams of revenue:

"The bulk of my money comes from servicing my clients, but I've also been able to create multiple streams by offering e-books and pop-up classes/events. It's a good feeling knowing that I can always offer something to bring in a couple extra dollars, if need be. Creating multiple streams of income has shown me that I can create something tangible that will provide a profit for me. Because my industry is service-based, it's difficult to offer something tangible, but I found something that works for me."

Courtesy of Jasmine Murray

On unhealthy money habits and changing her mindset:

"My unhealthy mindset with money was that 'it'll come back so it's not a big deal for me to spend it now'. While this is true - money does come back - I can save so much more if I am not so frivolous with my spending. I also had to get out of the habit of trying to help everyone. I was raised to have a big heart, but a lot of the people I've helped probably wouldn't do the same for me. Nowadays, I'm more inclined to politely say no. My bank account looks WAY healthier. It gives me a lot of comfort knowing that during slow periods, I can still sustain myself."

"My unhealthy mindset with money was that 'it'll come back so it's not a big deal for me to spend it now'. While this is true - money does come back - I can save so much more if I am not so frivolous with my spending."

On desperate times and desperate measures:

"I am able to make an income based on what I love to do, so that's a blessing within itself. Before my income was steady with my business, I [used to] bartend in nightclubs and that afforded me a lot of money and nice things, but it's so easy to get comfortable with easy money. Unfortunately easy money is not 'realistic' in a sense. In the real world, people can't always come by and sustain money that easily, so I didn't want to get so comfortable with my bartending money that I never learned how to make and sustain corporate money."

On the worst money/business-related decision she’s ever made:

"Investing in clients that were afraid to invest in themselves was the worst decision I made. I put so much money into people that I believed in and I always lost in the long-run because it's hard for that money to come back to you when someone is afraid to make money moves. I also suffered from not investing in myself enough. I, now, create a budget for rebranding regularly, personal photoshoots, and self-care."

On the importance of investment:

"I've recently just learned the importance of investing. It's always good to have money coming in that you don't really have to 'work for' [in a sense]. I've been interested in investing in cannabis companies, so lately I've done a lot of research in the market, connected myself with some canna-entrepreneurs, and prepared myself to invest a decent amount in cannabis that will easily pay off for me."

On budgeting must-haves:

"Somewhere in my budget has to include home decor. Now that I'm getting older, my treats/splurges go to kitchen appliances and pillows more than anything else. I've also put some money aside for a couple vacations throughout the year."

On her definition of wealth and success:

"I define wealth as enough money to compensate for my family's needs and wants and live comfortably. I define success as accomplishing the goals I have set on my own terms and defeating my own odds."

For more of Jasmine, follow her on Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Jasmine Murray

Originally published on July 3, 2020

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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