A recent report showed that Americans are saving an average of $219.17 each month due to coronavirus quarantine. We're not picking up breakfast, ordering out for lunch at work, or spending as much on gas, happy hour drinks, etc. And while there are many Americans who on the contrary have spent more money on online shopping than ever before, I'm joining the ranks of those who want to save money.
This year has put many things into perspective for me. Solitude has allowed me to really take a look at my life and my spending. Realizing how much I carelessly spent on my daily commute to work, and overall how I set my monthly budget, made me beyond uncomfortable. And as someone who somewhat thought she was prioritizing budgeting, I realized that if I wanted to continue intentionally saving beyond this moment we're living in, I have to prioritize financial wellness.
In light of that, I've challenged myself to continue to learn new skills and ask myself what is necessary to my budget and my long-term goals that include financial freedom beyond quarantine season. So, when things are back to normal again, here are a few things that I've learned I spent entirely too much money on:
Paying for my daily caffeine fix.
I happily profess that I'm a coffee connoisseur. Before the pandemic, I purchased coffee outside of my home daily and spent hundreds of dollars a year on something that I could very much so make in the comfort of my own home (with the multiple machines that I purchased to do so). During quarantine, I challenged myself to make my lattes with espresso coffee, and buy iced coffee from the supermarket bi-weekly, which saved me over 80% of my average weekly spending that, in the past, I'd happily set aside for coffee visits. Time inside made it clear to me that what I went to coffee shops for was community, not the coffee, and that I would allow myself (when necessary) to experience that again, just not to the detriment of my bank account.
Finding the perfect braid lady to do my hair.
Years ago, I told myself that I'd learn how to braid when I got pregnant, and the doctor proclaimed, "It's a girl!" Outside of that, I wanted no parts and I was quite content with finding the perfect braid lady to hook me up with knotless box braids down to my thighs like Solange. With braid shops closed, I was so envious of girls online showing how they learned how to braid their hair in various styles. Additionally, seeing people in my life struggle and succeed in learning to braid, I set aside time (truthfully, I am not done yet). Still, I won't go to a braiding salon again until I learn how to do my hair and when I do, it will be because I don't have the time to do my hair, not because I can't.
Spending hundreds on monthly nail appointments.
My nails are the way that I express myself. Still, as I began to look deeper into the importance of healthy nails and nail extensions that benefit your natural nails, the price of getting my nails done went from approximately $50 a month to over $300, not including my pedicure. As this was happening, press-on nails had already become popular again, but I didn't see them as something I could use. Now many manicurists, including my own, are selling customized press-ons. It presented the opportunity for me to again, learn, and have the freedom to switch between my natural nails and almond press-ons seamlessly, at a fraction of the cost.
The money I spend on clothes and apps I rarely use.
Aside from a few essential items, I haven't purchased clothes in months, and I've had to ask myself moving forward - what do I really need? Weekly without leaving my home, laundry still piles up, and as I took time to sort through my things, I was left wondering why I felt like I needed more of anything. I also looked through the app purchases for sites I haven't used in months in tandem.
While these things might not sound like much, I've managed to save thousands monthly. And even though I'm often tempted to spend in excess since I haven't had to spend money daily on transportation, by keeping my long-term goals in mind, I'm confident that I will come out of this year with financial tips that will benefit me long after this pandemic.
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Dubbed one of the "21 Black Women Wellness Influencers You Should Follow" by Black + Well, Yasmine Jameelah continues to leave her digital footprint across platforms ranging from Forever 21 Plus, Vaseline, and R29 Unbothered discussing all things healing and body positivity. As a journalist, her writing can be found on sites such as Blavity, Blacklove.com, and xoNecole. Jameelah is also known for her work shattering unconventional stigmas surrounding wellness through her various mediums, including her company Transparent Black Girl. Find Yasmine @YasmineJameelah across all platforms.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
One thing about Megan Thee Stallion is that she’s going to motivate you to stay active. From afar, she seems like the perfect gym bestie, and up close, it looks like her workouts would have us gasping for air. But hey, she doesn’t call her routines “bootcamp” for nothing.
After an extended break from social media and the public eye, the Houston Hottie is back sharing the high-energy workouts that are keeping her lean and she’s happy to report that “the results have been resulting."
The 28-year-old rapper dropped an Instagram Reel, detailing the workout routine that’s putting her endurance to the test. With the help of her personal trainer, Megan has one word in mind when it comes to her progress and that’s: “Consistency.”
The “Savage” artist has been traveling, making “hot girl moves," and after returning from a trip to New York, she expressed that her trainer is pushing her to keep the same energy back in the gym.
“I had just gotten back from New York and I told my trainer, ‘Look, friend, I was having a time. Can you please take it easy?’” Megan said. “He said, ‘Hmm, I’ve seen you doing all that hot girl s—, so what you need to do is get in that gym and have that same energy.’”
Her trainer then instructed her to do jumping squats with an exercise ball and resistance band around her legs for an extra burn. “I put my thing down, flipped it, and reversed it and that’s what happened. This sh– burned like a motherf—,” she teased in the video’s voiceover while executing both forward and backward jumping squats.
It’s clear that when it comes to Megan’s fitness, her trainer doesn’t play around about pushing her to her limits. In the next set of her cardio moves, we see the Grammy-winning artist jumping rope and moving on to a combination of mountain climbers and lateral jumps over a speed hurdle.
“Right here, that’s when I realized: I’ve been saying my trainer’s crazy but I know he’s really, really crazy because he must think that I’m trying out for the Houston Texans or something,” she joked.
To finish her workout, Meg hit two more barbell exercises, one being a set of cleans with 10-pound weight plates on the barbell. She then closed out by doing lunges with the barbell racked on her shoulders.
Of course, the best way to close out a workout is to nourish yourself with a balanced meal. Meg showed off her delicious post-workout plate with salmon, a sweet potato, and assorted veggies.
With so much of her public life being shared on the internet, it’s nice to see her letting us in on her progress in a fun and motivating way. “I just want to be transparent with y'all. Working out hurts, but it’s really a mental thang, so go do it!”
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