If you're trying to live on a modest income, it can feel like a challenge, especially when it comes to how to save money each month while simply trying to survive. But you can't let уоur іnсоmе ѕtаnd in the way of you and уоur best life. Fortunately, there are ѕоmе productive wауѕ tо build savings rеgаrdlеѕѕ of how much уоu еаrn. You will need to think оutѕіdе the box, but іt is entirely роѕѕіblе.
It саn bе incredibly ѕіmрlе to expand your savings wіth the right budget. Thеѕе steps wіll hеlр уоu build your savings regardless of whаt уоu earn and build the life of your dreams:
1. Tackle your debt.
Debt can hоld уоu back from reaching your personal fіnаnсе goals, so include a focus on addressing it when budgeting. According to experts, you want to first organize all of your debts and bills, and then develop a pay-down strategy. Next, commit to that strategy, whether that means paying a bit more than the minimum payment on certain accounts (if you can swing it), refinancing your debt, negotiating the settlement of your debts, or using that tax refund or side hustle income to make a significant dent in the overall amount.
Take a look at your credit report, contact companies you owe money to, and get on track with a strategy that will at least put a dent in the amounts you owe. It's also a good idea to brainstorm creative ways to pay down your debt (such as reallocating funds from that subscription service or salon visit to pay that credit card bill) and watch your debt decrease over time.
2. Cut your expenses.
Experts also offer several ways to cut down your expenses. You can start with activities such as cooking at home, using cash-back and discount apps, switching cell phone plans, canceling underused subscriptions, or downsizing by moving from a house to an apartment or condo. With these tweaks, you can begin to save funds in the long term. You can also use coupons, Groupons, or other discount opportunities in order to cut costs of groceries, gas, trips, or services like car repairs and maintenance.
3. Create a deliberate savings pattern.
A savings pattern is a habit that you must form to get you closer to your savings goals. Nerdwallet defines this as a savings plan. Separate the money уоu ѕреnd on your daily nееdѕ from the money уоu іntеnd tо save, whether you do it electronically or through the envelope method. Even if it's a dollar or two a week, every penny counts and will add up to something. It's also a good idea, with еасh раусhесk, to ѕеt uр automatic ѕаvіngѕ by depositing a percentage of your check into a savings account each time you get paid. Talk to your HR or payroll representative at your job and set up these deposits accordingly. You can set it and forget it.
4. Maximize your employee benefits at work.
Some benefit plans offer zero costs for preventative care, for example. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), retirement accounts such as IRAs or 401Ks, and other programs may provide pre-tax benefits, which could put more money in your pocket in the long run. Based on your company affiliation, you might also be eligible for discounts with major retailers and businesses. Contact your HR rep or manager to talk about ways you can build savings or add more to your take-home income via those benefits.
Whatever you choose to do, take steps toward building savings today, no matter how much you earn. With each small step, you can gradually build habits that will benefit you in big ways in the long run.
Featured image by Getty Images.
Astrology is a funny thing. On the surface, based off of your sun sign, you could appear to be an ambitious Capricorn or a chill Gemini, when in reality, you're the complete opposite. The biggest mistake that many people make when using astrology to learn more about themselves is by only observing the sun sign.
"Many people look at a person's sun sign as the end-all, be-all of astrology, but people who do that are doing themselves and others a grave disservice. When analyzing a person astrologically, you need to look at them holistically."
In astrology, your house placements are equally as important as your sign placements and can reveal a ton about how you experience and operate in the world. "Each house represents a different aspect of life, from travel and romance to career, and every planet in your chart is located in both a sign and a house."
If you'd like to learn what field you should explore career-wise, look primarily at your 10th house placement. Your 10th house placement will reveal a lot about what and where you need to be in order to thrive in your career.
I highly recommend creating an account with Astro.com (or Co–Star) to find your 10th house placement. Then, take a look below for a brief breakdown of what your 10th house placement reveals about what you need to thrive, career-wise.
What Sign Is In Your 10th House?
Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images
Aries in 10th:
You need to be a leader in your career. You have a strong desire for recognition.
Taurus in 10th:
Karmically, you need to learn to let go of your strong desire for prestige and authority. It can sabotage your career success! Focus on the work and providing value, regardless of whether or not you're recognized for it.
Gemini in 10th:
You need to speak and express yourself in your career. You require flexibility and contact with many people. You may find yourself having more than one job at a time.
Cancer in 10th:
Your career is directly tied to your emotions - you need to work in a nurturing environment or to be able to work from your heart in your career.
Leo in 10th:
Behind-the-scenes professions are not for you. You require a career that provides the opportunity for you to receive attention and acknowledgement from others.
Virgo in 10th:
You require a career dedicated to serving others and that utilizes your keen attention to detail. You are extremely analytical and selfless in your career - your primary goal is to make everyone else's jobs and lives easier.
Libra in 10th:
Sagittarius in 10th:
This is an extremely favorable 10th house placement. You are a hard-working, friendly and outgoing leader. You relate well to others and to the public.
Scorpio in 10th:
You need a career that utilizes your strong investigative skills and your ability to face some of life's less pleasant realities, like life or death matters.
Capricorn in 10th:
You are highly protective of your reputation and would thrive in an environment where you can grow or climb the ranks to becoming the boss - whether it's for your own company or a Fortune 500 company!
Aquarius in 10th:
Your ideal workplace is somewhere unorthodox, where you can work with influential people in organizing and fighting for the rights of the underserved. Non-profit work may be an excellent fit. You like to feel dedicated to an altruistic cause.
Pisces in 10th:
You need a profession where you can care for and help to heal others. Your work must appeal to your emotions and compassion for others. Otherwise, you will have difficulty tolerating it.
What Planet Is In Your 10th House?
Sun in 10th:
You are known for your career. You are authoritative. You have a strong inclination to be a public figure.
Moon in 10th:
You are emotionally invested in your career. A home-based job or an occupation related to family or children is ideal. Your career may fluctuate a lot - it's out of your control. Public note and worldly success is possible.
Mercury in 10th:
You require a job that utilizes your attention to detail and the opportunity to speak and conduct meetings. Anything technology or analytical-focused is a good fit.
Venus in 10th:
A very favorable position, you can achieve success, prestige and prosperity in your career. You are highly creative and easily accepted by the public.
Mars in 10th:
You fare best in a career that requires a lot of physical activity. Engineering, mechanics or the military fields are good choices.
Florence Goupil/Getty Images
Jupiter in 10th:
You are afforded plenty of opportunities career-wise, this is the luckiest placement for prosperity and success in your career. You can easily achieve a high position of importance in whatever field you select.
Saturn in 10th:
Everything you achieve will come through hard work. Opportunities won't come easily but you have the natural determination, discipline and ambition to achieve your dreams. You have strong business acumen.
Uranus in 10th:
You need an unorthodox career, your career path may involve several twists and turns. You need to be your own boss because you refuse to conform. You are extremely original and altruistic. You are a humanitarian at heart.
Neptune in 10th:
You require a career related to spirituality or healing others. You may find that others frequently take credit for your work. You must disown your ego and serve others in your career in order to achieve success.
Pluto in 10th:
Your career will transform you and/or others. Professions related to surgery, death, investigation and insurance are excellent choices.
What's your 10th house placement and where do you work?
Featured image by Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images
So, there's no doubt we love us some Instagram. (Well, most of us. As a journalist, I have a love-hate relationship with the platform, but I won't digress.) Research even shows that 40% of Black adults have accounts. Go figure.
It's easy to get lost in the fashion, travel, political, and gossip posts, but IG is also a great space for business inspiration, information, and tips. Whether you're a freelancer, full-time entrepreneur, or a side-hustle diva, here are the top Instagram accounts for entrepreneurs. (But wait, sis. Before you scroll, are you following xoNecole? Just checking.):
Millions are familiar with Forbes, but what this account offers is a dedicated space that highlights stories about women doing big things in business and all other aspects that affect that journey (ie. politics, philanthropy, and law). You'll get updates on the who, what, when, and where of innovation, high achievement, and high earners.
It's the awesome graphics, the realness, and the relatability for me. This account is for anyone who counts themselves as an ambitious woman who wants to learn from and network with, well, other ambitious women. Create & Cultivate also partners with major brands to bring you virtual events and other resources to ensure you're at your best in whatever you choose do.
Get the tea on topics like building a vision for your business, surviving office politics, or email etiquette basics via this account. There are a diversity of voices, industries, and perspectives that will add a refreshing dose of content to your everyday scrolling sessions.
I can't rave about this platform enough. Who doesn't want to learn from tech geniuses, startup bosses, and female executives who leverage innovation on the regular? You can get into the latest trends, learn more about funding, and enjoy elevated conversations about what it means to thrive as a female founder with this one.
This is an OG publication that has been around since grandma and 'em was making boss moves, but don't get it twisted. This is still the only long-standing publication that specifically and unapologetically dedicates itself to the advancement of Black professionals and entrepreneurs and shines light on the multi-trillion-dollar impact of Black consumers and entrepreneurs. Debate me not. Just go ahead and click follow to get to know what it means to not only launch a business as a Black woman but continue getting to those coins for years to come.
Run by a boss millennial (Hey, Rhonesha Byng! Heey!), for other boss millennials, this is the perfect pick-me-up of career and business advancement tips you need on the daily. Via their IG, they also provide resources on funding, grants, freelance and job opportunities, and events.
This women-led nonprofit is all for entrepreneurial and career-driven women to network and build. The great thing about this account is there's a major focus on accountability and support for taking ideas into action, and you gotta love an resource that gives you that slight kick in the butt to get off the procrastination train and on to fulfillment of whatever it is you want to do to create your best life.
On top of the resources and encouragement for women entrepreneurs, you can also find other women-owned businesses to support, business mentors, and a community of women in entrepreneurship. Their virtual events tap into subjects that are actually relevant to what women entrepreneurs go through and applicable solutions you can take to the bank.
It's great to have a business idea and finance it on your own, but it's even better when you can find funding to help grow your vision. This is the account that goes beyond how-tos and inspiration and gets into actual sources of funding. There's very little fluff here, which is a good thing when we're talking about finding the money to do something great as an entrepreneur.
Again, what's a great idea or business without those coins to boost your success? This account has interviews with top female founders who have been there and done that, raising millions in venture capital funds (and becoming funders themselves). It also gives you an insider view into how the whole funding ecosystem works for business owners.
Featured image via Getty Images
When some of us think of Amazon, we think of products, most sourced and shipped from Asia, that we can get quick, fast, and in a hurry. Oh, and lets not forget in bulk and cheap. However, small business owners have been leveraging the platform, mastering how to sell products on Amazon that are high in quality and innovation.
Ranay Orton is one such entrepreneur. Her company, Glow by Daye, offers luxury trademarked satin bonnets, heat caps and other hair accessories, and was sparked from Orton's own struggles to find a product on the market that was effective for her hair. "When it came to the bonnets I was most familiar with or would buy at the local beauty supply store, they were thin, see-through, and still snagged my hair," Orton recalls. "And even online, there were options for custom-made bonnets but you'd have to wait weeks or months to receive."
"I'm the type of person who would have a different hairstyle every other week, from braids to extensions to my natural hair, and I wanted my bonnet to fit all those different hairstyles and provide quality enough to withstand those transitions."
Image courtesy of Ranay Orton
In the first year of selling on Amazon, Ranay saw more than $1 million in sales. "It was a success from the beginning because there was nothing like it on Amazon at the time," she says. "The complete perimeter and inside is satin lined, the quality of satin has that slip our hair needs, and we've since introduced new products such as our heat and shower caps. Our products are large and adjustable to fit longer, higher-volume hair. They're intentionally designed for people who are weaving in and out of natural or protective styles and they have unique features that are respectful of our hair when it comes to retaining moisture and all of those facets of healthy hair."
The move to sell via Amazon has further allowed Ranay to expand her customer base, kick off continued revenue boosts even during the pandemic, and land a recent partnership with Fashion Nova. Check out the keys to how she was able to find success using Amazon as an entrepreneur:
1. Be sure you're offering something unique to the market and authentic to you as an entrepreneur.
For Ranay, being a Black woman who could thrive in an authentic niche by cultivating a realistic and relatable image of someone to trust in offering a haircare product on Amazon was key. "We were able to speak to a unique Amazon shopper who probably hadn't been spoken to before," Ranay says. "For the products that I was selling, it was new to see that we were marketing to women specifically for their coils, kinks, and curls in the way we were able to communicate what we offered."
"I'm my main avatar, so I was able to speak directly to some of the key pain points of my customer. You're buying bonnets that are falling off your head in the middle of the night, for example. It was really just speaking to a customer that hadn't been spoken to directly on Amazon before."
Image courtesy of Ranay Orton
2. Prioritize quality with any product you offer and market how that quality makes your product stand out.
"Having a good product is what you need in order to see sustainability on any platform, but especially on Amazon because there's a lot of competition. There's [also] a lot of crap on Amazon. People will sell you a hope a dream, and you get it and it does not live up to what was sold," Ranay says candidly. Sellers must have a good product to offer.
For Ranay, this means getting the best in satin and other materials, working with top manufacturers, and testing out what she offers in order to provide products that will build loyalty among customers. It also means taking into account the insights and opinions of her customers via her own website's channels as well as social media.
3. Research and tap into Amazon seller and fulfillment resources.
Amazon has a large percentage of the online market among shoppers, and they offer resources for entrepreneurs who sell via the platform in order for it to succeed. "They have the buyers, so they're looking for people to supply quality products to those buyers. I utilized the fulfillment by Amazon program called Amazon FBA. In the beginning of launching the brand, I was still working full-time as a medical sales representative, so [the program] allowed me to [let Amazon] handle things like customer service, for the most part, and shipping. I was able to just send the products to their warehouses to store, pack, and ship. That took a lot off me so that I could really concentrate on product development and marketing."
By utilizing the resources, Ranay was able to focus more on creating new products, building out her own website, nurturing relationships with customers, and building a community via her social media platforms.
Featured image courtesy of Ranay Orton.
There's a rush of intrigue, fear, and guilt that happens in a moment of curiosity that prompts a search of online stories about how to start an OnlyFans. (I can't be the only one, sis.) I mean, whenever you think about the popular platform, the first words that come to mind are all related to adult films or sex.
But that's not all that savvy entrepreneurs and side hustlers are using the site for. By pure usability, the site was made for creators to offer their content for a subscription fee, putting money in their pockets and allowing them the freedom to expand their audiences or customers. According to OnlyFan's website, you could earn up to $7,495 per month—depending on the number of subscribers—offering all sorts of content.
Image via Giphy
Sexual material in any form has obviously been the most dominant and talked about on the site, but that's a fact across the internet, period.
Another great caveat: There's a second option where you can offer free content and get paid per view. So it's a win-win either way for those who know how to leverage the platform's offerings.
OnlyFans charges a fee of 20% of creators' earnings from subscriptions and views, which is more attractive than having revenues on other popular video-based platforms deeply impacted by ads and other ever-changing (and often limiting) algorithms.
And you might be wondering: Why not just offer video content via your own website or a third-party webinar platform? Well, it's the same reason you wouldn't just bake 50 cakes from scratch when there's a very capable baker down the road who can manage the whole process and bake the cakes more effectively and efficiently.
Anywho, check out a few ideas for starting an OnlyFans when you're not into showing tits, booty, or any other part of your body for that matter. These are perfect for the savvy freelancer or entrepreneur with great content to offer:
1. Fitness Tutorials
True, you could post fitness sessions, tips, or advice on other platforms, but again, there's an exclusivity factor and money-making opportunity that might be being missed. A great way to complement the content you offer on other sites practically for free (or pennies for the average person just starting out) is to give a tease via the others and then promote more exclusive content via an OnlyFans page.
2. Consulting Sessions
If you have tried-and-true skills in leadership, business advancement, personal finance, or entrepreneurship, this is a huge space for you. Again, it's all about exclusivity and quality of experience. You can teach people virtually about how to start a business (or anything to do with successful business practices) and earn extra bucks for your knowledge and skin in the game.
Image via Giphy
3. Food and Cooking Videos
A really cool avenue for this would be specialized cooking based on location (ie Southern, African, Italian or Asian), dietary restrictions (i.e. vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, or raw) or purpose (i.e. weight loss, weight gain, maternal health, geriatrics, etc). It's cool to produce videos for other popular platforms, but again, check your receipts and look at the return on investment. If you're great at what you do, have a unique perspective to presenting your recipes or food, or want to talk industry or workplace issues specific to food, this is a great lane to explore.
4. Fashion or Apparel Demonstrations
Ever heard of QVC or Amazon Live? Well, you literally could create your own home shopping events (or at least one that showcases the best ways to wear your items or use your creations) via an OnlyFans.
If you're like me, you've walked past something in a store thinking, "Nah, I don't need that," only to return to said store and buy said item after seeing it in a video haul, styled by a favorite fashion vlogger. And that's the sales power of demonstration in action.
Also, who doesn't like to get updates on deals, secret sales, discounts or ways to save money that others are not privy to? Many of us shopping fanatics subscribe to magazines, email newsletters, and sample sale lists for just that.
5. Live Music Performances
If you're a musician or even someone who works in the business and has access to cool events, artists, and industry updates, offer it up via video snippets, a news show, or curated experiences that can only be seen via your OnlyFans. Many people yearn for that concert or festival vibe that was relished pre-COVID, and we can all see by the super-success of platforms like Verzuz that there's definitely an audience. It's one thing to DJ or give away content for free on other sites. It's another to create real community and connection via a subscription-based portal.
Image via Giphy
6. Wellness Sessions
There are so many apps on the market that offer limited free content just to get you hooked (hey, Calm), then draw you into paying for more access. Sis, if you're into affirmations, sleep therapy, meditation, spiritual guidance, or specialized yoga, get in where you fit in. Managing separate appointments, setting up one-off virtual webinars, and juggling multiple platforms while focusing on healing folks may not be the business. Plus, you'll be able to really zero in on a customer base that you can further connect with via other mediums.
7. Behind-the-Scenes Videos
Many people connect with brands and public figures simply by getting to know them personally (or at least feeling like they do). If you can share how you created something or videos about your day-to-day life as a mother, influencer, businesswoman, college student, newlywed (or any other major life journey), you can offer a breath of fresh air in the sometimes very dark and gloomy world of online media. Watching content on other video platforms gets a bit formulaic and dry after a while, so being able to connect with a favorite figure, brand or business in other ways can be a joy for supporters.
8. Exclusive Events Coverage
Even in this virtual post-pandemic (still pandemic?) environment, there are events to attend and people to link with. If you're an events coordinator or you're just known for always being where the action is, let people become social voyeurs for a fee. It's especially cool if you have an unique perspective, style, friend group, or personality to add a little flair to the content and context of what's being watched whether through commentary, hosting, creating pranks, or just being you.
Image via Giphy
9. Exclusive Livestreams
So, we're not talking sexual or raunchy here. We're talking about being free to talk how you want to talk, look the way you want to look, and be your full self (with the obvious and very necessary limits based on the rules of the site and state and federal laws).
One thing about OnlyFans is that if it allows sexual content, it definitely allows a certain kind of freedom that other platforms either restrict heavily or don't allow at all. The censorship is real, sis.
For example, you could be restricted on some platforms for posting a very innocent photo of your feet, fully covered by bubbles, in a bathtub with a "self-care" hashtag (happened to me) or for affectionately using certain provocative words or hashtags. (This has allegedly happened to quite a few influencers and everyday folk, and many bans are determined by algorithms or filters that clearly have issues related to appropriate filtering). If you want to talk about topics you're passionate about or want to offer content that covers topics in a way that's not watered-down and stifled, this might be the perfect platform for you.
10. Niche or Specialized Community-Building
Let's say you're into cosplay (and not that kind, sis), you're a Trekkie, you love Yorkies, you're a couponing fanatic, you're obsessed with Black art, or you're into geocaching. This platform might be a great space to not only build a community of like-minded folk, but provide a space for them to be supported and nurtured. You could be into fine jewelry collection, antiquing, thrifting, independent filmmaking, or adventure tourism. Curation and quality is key, and you can offer something that connects others to opportunities, experiences or information on specialized hobbies, activities, or businesses.
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image via Getty Images
Vaccination numbers continue to rise, and companies have started to prepare for a return to the office. And though health and safety procedures are being updated to keep employees' health as top priority, some employees are struggling with the prospect of work life post-pandemic.
Perhaps you're worried about your health or simply don't want to rise from your bed when it's time for a meeting. Whatever the case, it will be an adjustment as we prepare for going back to the office after working remote. Such a season of transition can only be survived with coping mechanisms, realistic expectations, and a plan for how to handle the hard days.
Reflect on what you've liked (and loathed) about this time.
I recently posed the following question to my LinkedIn network of 2,000 connections: "In a world where we're all vaccinated and healthy, do you prefer fully remote work or an in-office role?" Among the 88 responses, a whopping 77 percent reported that they would prefer the comfort of home over a buzzing office when tackling quarterly goals.
Regardless of which population you'd find yourself in, we have agency in our introspection and can reflect over the last year. Likely there were pros and cons with in-office work and remote work. Take the time to ask yourself what worked for you and your lifestyle and what didn't.
For example, you may have realized you loved having the freedom to go for walks at lunchtime. Is this something you can weave into your routine when you're back to your regular 9-5 schedule? Alternately, you could have concluded that working from home sounds lovely in theory but was too distracting for you. Now you're able to have a new appreciation for the office as well as your home.
Image via Giphy
Establish and enforce your new routine.
One of the toughest transitions we'll have is adapting to a new routine. Most of us were able to eliminate time-consuming activities like getting dressed up and surviving a long commute from our schedule once shelter-in-place orders were established.
Put pen to paper and determine what your routine will look like. Do you need to carve out an extra hour to get ready for work? Will you and your partner need to reestablish parenting responsibilities? Don't forget about your health and self-care. Ensure your schedule and routine leaves space for you to move your body with a workout class, exercise your brain with puzzles or games, or lift your spirit by spending time with friends.
Make sure the vibes are right.
If you're ramping up for a return to the office, consider making your cubicle or office space more inviting and conducive for productivity. Adding a small plant or a framed photo of your favorite vacation (or staycation) spot can give your space the soulful addition it needs. Similarly, you may invest in noise-canceling headphones or an Apple watch because you refuse to go back to your life of easy distractions and missteps.
Image via Giphy
Have an open dialogue with management.
While many companies are ramping up for full office returns, countless employers are moving forward with a remote-friendly policy and flexible working hours after seeing an uptick in productivity during the pandemic. According to a recent study, "The work-from-home boom will lift productivity in the U.S. economy by 5 percent, mostly because of savings in commuting time." The findings of the study also "suggest that the rapid adoption of new technology amid the pandemic will offer lasting economic gains, helping to boost sluggish productivity that has long weighed on global growth."
Consider having an open-ended conversation with your manager or HR representative to learn how your company and team plan to move forward. Stay updated with current statistics and competitive analysis of industry competitors. Your company doesn't want to lose great talent where they can help it. Keep the lines of communication open and advocate for more flexibility within the company.
No matter if you're counting down the days to your office return or wishing things could stay "unprecedented" for just a bit longer, it's most important to check in with yourself. Keep your mental and physical health as your top priority, and work with those around you for a safe and thoughtful return to normal.
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by pixelfit/Getty Images