Paycheck-to-Monday

For those who ended up with “too much month-at the end of our pay”, you’ll be happy to know that tomorrow is Payday. Many of us, myself included, are anxious for the clock to strike midnight, and for direct deposit to make a smooth landing into our bank accounts. I write this post to remind all budding Finanshionistas to “approach with caution” when divvying up how you are going to allocate your money until August 15th – I mean 14th (the 15th is a Saturday).

I personally have (7) savings accounts…

Savings

Emergency Fund – Amtrust
H10 Savings – Amtrust
House Account – TD Bank
Brokerage – TD Ameritrade
Money Market – TD Bank
ROTH IRA – First Investors (Value)
ROTH IRA – First Investors (Growth)

and (11) people who on a given month will find their way into my pockets. Like vultures, they (the dreaded expenses) hover over my head and mailbox, daily.

Expenses

Student Loans
H10
CitiCard
Victorias Secret
Sovereign Bank
Chase
Utility: Rent
Utility: Cell Phone
Utility: Electric
Utility: Gas
Utility: Internet

“B” word withstanding (budget), I organize my payees according to priority. Me, Myself and I are first! With seven savings accounts, I am hoarding for a rainy day (or Burberry rain-boots). The point is I’m covered and will continue to make sure that I am.

Active expense accounts tally at (7) too. I’m C3 debt free, remember? Unfortunately, all of my expense are recurring and quite necessary. Since I like having a roof over my head, good credit, heat, electric and gas, I’ll continue paying for those items.

Once the appetites on all accounts are satiated, I’m left with a new kind of mutual fund; a “WTF Fundwhere I can do “whatever-the-F” I like with it. In the past, it was usually splurging on the nearest H&M. Recently, I’ve been gifting or reinvesting into the Queens Estate (my empire).

Treating my savings the same as I do my expenses, forces me pay the most important debt collector first: myself. Why should they have first dibs before me?

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Luxury Layaway

Oh the pleasures of living within a microwave society. You know, one where everything is accessible within seconds.  Especially temptation; that which comes prepackaged and on sale. Skimming through the daily messages from my tweeties, I came across this headline:

Luxury Layaway?

Luxury Layaway?

bagbanco: Want real designer handbags but can spend all that $$$$ at once? Try the Luxury Layaway plan at http://www.bagbanco.com

Retailers seem to understand our fashion/finance alter egos. We like the fashionable things in life but need financially smart ways to pay for them that are just as cute, and won’t leaving us feeling B.R.O.K.E (what she say?) .

Luxuries layaway plan includes three equal monthly payments “and your dream accessory will be delivered to you upon your final payment.”

Is this making fashion affordable? Or finding an easier way for you to buy things you are told you need? Clever sales tactics versus fashionable responsibility? Ya know, the duty of every designer to work with wholesalers to make fashion affordable (that’s not right is it?).

There is the potential to make some extra dollars with this site (so money!). They promise up to “80% or more of the original price when you sell your handbag” to them.

I haven’t tried this site. I appreciate the fact that it was started by a woman whose had a pretty successful designer handbag site previously. The idea of capitalizing off of the “hidden equity” in handbags is simply genius.

–Finanshionistas, I think we may have discovered a new kind of asset.

Update your balance sheets!

Share with other Finanshionistas: Tell a Friend

Podcasts, and newletters, oh my!

 Photograph by Colleen AF Venable [via Flickr Creative Commons] GradMoneyMatters, a down to earth blog about the realization that “in the real world, money matters”, posted a great article titled, “20 Free Personal Finance Podcasts and News Sites“. Podcasts are great convenient ways to hear some of your desired materials. Think book on tape but cooler.

I decided to listen to one podcast every morning as I write my daily posts. Money Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life, hosted by personal finance author, entrepreneur, real estate investor, business consultant, and former corporate trainer, Laura Adams (who by the way is everything I want to be when I grow up) offers insightful info on topics like improving your credit score and Good Vs Bad Debt:

one quick and dirty rule of thumb for identifying whether a particular debt is good or bad is to ask yourself whether the debt is financing something that’s appreciating or depreciating in a value.

There’s even a free podcast from financial powerhouse Vanguard, entitled “Plain Talk Investing“. Feed the Pig speaks from a Piggy Bank reminiscing about when “we used to be friend”. I like the humor.

These are So Money sites so check them out and I’ll continue to post my recommendations as I listen and read.

Miss New Money OUT

It Has Begun

It is time.

This morning I opened my inbox and saw this (WARNING: The images you are about to see are disturbing)

Hate Mail

AES BILL REMINDER
WHY WE ARE CONTACTING YOU

To remind you that your account is due for a payment on 08/15/2009

For years they warned me this day would come. It was inevitable. The five years of student loan debt has accumulated and it’s time to pay what I owe.

Honestly, never have I been faced with what seems to be such a daunting task. Paying for an education for thirty years sounds like the most suffocating  and shackling task since putting on my first pair of skinny jeans (not pretty). Looking at the bill + the total interest and repayment schedule, has me questioning my career path (Maybe teaching really is for me ).  It also leaves me with feelings of remorse. Maybe I should have looked even harder into scholarshps pr other creative ways to pay for college.

Student loans were in my case a necessary evil. Taking on such good debt afforded my the chance to study and grow without the looming pressures of payment solutions that left many of my friends choice-less and having to withdraw from school.

But wouldn’t that be the ultimate tragedy? Going from studying a passion of yours to taking a mediocre job just to qualify for loan forgiveness. I would never do that. Plus, I don’t think I have the chutzpah of Michelle Pfeifer’s character in Dangerous Minds.

Student Debt? Not me!

Student Debt? Not me!

Loan consolidation, combining all outstanding loans at an average interest rate, is probably going to be the way to go for me. The Income Contingent plan adjusts has my income does. Under this plan I am saving anywhere from $50K to $70K in total payments and instead of having to make 360 payments, I only make 300. Boy, does the math add up.

I am still researching my options. Obviously, it’s getting down to the wire. Tough choices need to be made before mid-August. In hindsight, choosing between:

a) Brand New Lexus (any model)

b) A three bedroom home (or duplex) in Philly to be rented or lived in

or,

c) An MBA

is a hard pill to swallow. A Lexus would have been a silly choice. At least there is the potential to make New Money with option ‘b’ and ‘c’. If I had purchased real estate, I’d be looking at some appreciation and equity buildup as well as five years of mailbox money.

I’m still happy with choice ‘c’, but ask me the same question on payment 200; you might get a different answer.

To help ease the pain, check out these helpful articles:

Lifelines in the Student Loan Sea

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Do I Qualify for Income Based Repayment?

The College Cost Reduction & Access Act

Federal Direct Consolidation Loans


“Your my latest, greatest…doodad”

Nibbles

I felt that if I made the picture really big, you’d understand. Look at those eyes and the little white toes. Everyone, meet Nibbles. He’s eleven weeks old now and by the far my latest and greatest doodad. A doodad, taken from Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is any unjust expense; something that doesn’t make you any New Money. Since I’ve yet to devise a plan for the pup that’s gonna make me some money, I’ve simply become smitten (You had me at hello).

He’s been a great addition. His plum sized bladder, barks and yelps(!) get me up and outta bed at 5:30 each morning (ahhh, nothing like beating the sun up!). His entertaining tricks and excitement at such a small apartment, keeps me at home (why spend money when you can watch a pup dream he’s running?) and not spending.

That’s So Money. But wait, is it wrong to use another living being as a financial tool? (He’s just so cute I don’t mind staying in) Don’t tell me it’s some kind of dog exploitation!

But the benefits have been noticeably significant. He has increased my future cost of living though. Currently, his only cost to me has been a vet visit, food and supplies. Come September, I will have to pay an extra $25/mo to house him in my new apartment. The periodic expenses are easily woven into to my budgets. But I didn’t account for the all the clothes !!

The Art of Networking

Ladies, can we talk?

Ladies, can we talk?

Everyone knows the immediate benefits associated with making new connections. Whether it be in your field or your friends, the art of meeting new people and forming foundational relationships is one of those “you never know” quirks of human society.

Networking

Just the mere mention of the skill can send mangers and college grads sweating to make a swift move towards the nearest exit. In any other setting, most people are good networkers. They ask questions and appear interested in what others have to say. I personally believe that some of the fear stems from the formality of it all.

But that’s just it. Networking doesn’t always have to be a formal affair. No bow ties required! When first meeting with a person, your objective should be, “how can I make myself valuable to this person?” This includes a multitude of different avenues one can explore.This also removes some of the pressure from you personally. You should be listening more than you are talking. Asking pertinent questions about what the person does and enjoys will reveal the places where you can get involved.

Setting mini event goals may help you break the ice as well. “I want to talk to at least three new people tonight”; “I will find five new customers this afternoon”. The threat of self-defeat may light a fire under that toosh!

I remember I went to a networking event and was so impressed by the turnout and the organization. Hosted at a luxurious women owned golf club with fancy linens and plush, green acres, I realized the value in even being associated with this organization. The company is Signature RED and I am still involved as a volunteer ’til this day. Signature RED is a creative services agency specializing in innovative and strategic marketing, advertising, and event planning services for enterprising women.

Its summer season is all about making connections. Legally Ambitious gathers a diverse group of women from various industries throughout the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area to ‘learn skills and make deals while stylin’ in heels’ . The perfect venue for any Finanshionista. It takes place at venues throughout Philadelphia and is a “five-month series of movie-themed networking events. Each event is designed to engage the attendees in different settings while equipping them with skills to help them progress in their professions”.

Check out this video from Networking 19102:

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