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May 2015 archive


Alexa Von Tobel, the founder of Learnvest is one of the inspirations behind Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress.

At the Cosmo Fun Fearless Life event in NYC, she was a guest speaker. During her talk, she asked the audience (of mostly women) how many people learned about finances in school. Maybe 10% of 2,000 hands went up. It was an eye-opening moment.

We wanted to share with you Alexa’s TEDx talk. She shares some insightful stats and info (“Money is the #1 thing people worry about” and “73% of people feel out of control when it comes to money”) which will remind you that you’re not alone if you’re feeling that money is challenging to understand.

Watch the video here:

Knowledge is power!

We hope this helps you make mo’ money and mo’ progress!


It’s Tuesday and you know what that means! The latest episode for our MO’ MONEY, MO’ PROGRESS PODCAST is out!!!

This week we interviewed the amazing Sandra Hanna, CEO of

The Smart Cookies are one of the big inspirations behind Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress. They are the go-to source for sharp, go-getters who crave daily tips, products and inspiration to live a sweet life, Debt Free.

The Smart Cookies started a money group between friends when they first started. They would meet regularly and hold each other accountable for their money goals.

You’ll hear in the podcast how Sandra (co-founder and CEO) and the Smart Cookies went from having an idea to creating a huge impact with their business, and having been featured on, Anderson Cooper, The Today Show and CNN along the way!

We absolutely love the Smart Cookies and we know you will too. They’ve been supportive of us from the beginning!

To learn more about Smart Cookies follow them on Instagram @smartcookiesmoney and sign up for their super helpful email newsletter at

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Have a listen! ^

Download our podcast here:




Commuting is a fact of life. I work from home half the time, but I’m increasingly finding that I’m spending more and more hours on the road getting to one of my jobs. Despite living in the same city as my job, it can take more than an hour (and three buses) to get there.

Spending your commute time wisely is one of the smartest, most efficient ways to work on your side hustle and make the most of your day.

Car and/or carpool

There’s a lot of potential here. If you’re the driver, use your cell phone on the hands-free setting and you can make calls or leave yourself voicemail memos or reminders. If you’re a passenger (or have one in the car), you can use this time as a meeting to brainstorm about your side hustle or strategize for the day or week.

Public transit

Here is where I spend most of my time. I use this time to write content, transcribe interviews, send emails to clients or editors, schedule my week and make priority lists (a super handy tool to stay focused). If you’re like me and get motion sickness when you read or write in a vehicle, make the most of the wait time if you have to transfer buses or subway lines on the way to work. I find I’m much more productive in those few minutes compared to many other times of day because I’m laser focused and it’s almost a game to see how much I can get done in such a short period.

Making calls can be bit trickier because it’s usually much louder on the bus or in a station while waiting for a transfer, and oftentimes you can’t get a signal in the subway. This commute time is much better spent on quick and easy tasks on your to-do list.

Cab and/or Uber X

Cabs and Uber are expensive commuting options, so I only tend to use them when the public transit system is running super late. With cabs, unless you have a regular cabbie pal who knows what route is best for you, you need to direct them. Uber can be a better option because there’s less of a discussion due to the convenience of the app. You can commute in comfort and make any calls, set up your day for success, or just take some “me” time to relax and listen to music or podcasts.


So you’re lucky enough to live close enough to your job to walk – that’s awesome! Writing or reading while walking takes a special gift (seriously, I have no idea how some people do that!), so this is also a good time to make calls and set up appointments or leave yourself voicemail reminders.

Walking (or any way of commuting, really) is also an awesome opportunity to just zen out and enjoy a few quiet minutes to yourself. Don’t check your phone for new texts or emails, and don’t answer it if it rings. Listen to some chill music on your headphones and relax or get pumped up for the day with something awesome like this motivational speech:


Just pay attention to what you’re doing. Follow the rules of the road and please don’t end up as street pizza.

High fives and good vibes,
– Monique



The other day, I went grocery shopping armed with nothing but my debit card and a rumbling belly. First off, let me say that it is never a good idea to shop hungry, because your eyes are always bigger than your stomach and you’ll leave with things you don’t even need.


5 minutes into my shopping, an announcement comes on the P.A. stating that their debit and credit machines were down and that they were only accepting cash. DUN DUN DAH. That was a problem. I had zero food at home, and no cash on me. I made the quick decision to withdraw some cash at the nearest bank (service charges ensued) and shop with what I could take out. Usually, I buy a lot at once because I hardly ever go shopping, so I can sometimes spend over $100…YOWZERS. But when I went to withdraw cash, it would only let me take out $100. Sure, I could have put my card in again to withdraw more money on the second round, but I’m not about paying $10 in service charges. No. Way.


So I trekked back to the store, freaking out that I would go over budget. I’ve never really shopped on a budget before…I’ve always been smart about what I bought, but I’ve never walked in and paid attention to how much I should actually be limiting myself.


$100. That was it. The entire time I was shopping, I was constantly questioning the difference between need and necessity. Sure enough, I rolled up to the cash, and it turns out I SPENT HALF of what I originally thought I would spend. It was an amazing feeling. Limiting myself to a budget helped me save money that I definitely would have spent– I was really proud to know that I could do it if I had to.


I encourage everyone to shop on a budget. Don’t get sucked in with your credit or debit card. Just because you have the money, doesn’t always mean you have to spend it!


Keep it real!



Are you in a serious relationship? If so, you’re going to have to discuss money. Couples who disagree about money once a week are 30% more likely to get divorced. So discover the tools to start talking about it now, so you can avoid being blind-sided by money challenges down the road.

We absolutely love CFP, Brittney Castro’s tips as they’re simple and easy to implement right away.

Take a look at the video or check out the tips below!




Tip 1:

Talk about money in weekly money dates

The biggest fights happen, when you bring up money issues and they catch your partner off-guard. If you schedule weekly money dates you can get into the mental mindset to talk about any big challenges you’re facing.



Tip 2:

Learn about each other’s money history

By understanding where the other person is coming from, it allows for you to have more compassion for their current financial situation. You may have learned about investing with your family, but your partner may not have a clue how it works. Have compassion and patience for both yourself and your partner when discussing money.



Tip 3:

Practice, practice, practice!

Don’t quit after the first money date. It takes practice to get into the mindset of wanting to talk about money. So definitely don’t give up on the first try! You’ll get better over time.




Welcome to Episode #4 of the Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress podcast. Today we’re thrilled to have interviewed Susan Su.

Susan Su is a startup marketer, essayist and Ashtanga yogi with a lot of stamps on her passport. She first caught our eye in a salary negotiating video with finance expert Ramit Sethi of She is currently part of the superhero Distribution team at 500 Startups. Before 500, she was at AppSumo, promoting products to help people do better work — and home of the best email marketing coming out of Austin, Texas.

Prior to AppSumo, she ran marketing and sales for Inside Network, where she set up scalable processes for a startup that grew from a founding team of three, to a staff of 10, to acquired in a year and a half.

Previous gigs include marketing online courses for Ramit Sethi’s, content development at social gaming company hi5, and localization for international product launches at Google.

Follow Susan at: 


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So I was just surfin’ the web (as one does) and stumbled upon a couple of super useful financial sites that must be shared!

NerdWallet gives it to you straight without any fluff. This site is right to the point and written in a way that you can understand. If you are looking for more information on the heavier side of banking and investments definitely give this site a gander!

UnDebt wants to give you the tools to pay off your debt using the “snowball” method. This site gives you step by step guidance on how to manage and eventually tackle your debt. Try the free demo today.

I’m not a big math fan and when faced with number crunching I try to avoid it at all costs. Luckily for those out there like me is here to help. Not only does it help you do the math, but it also gives you visuals so you can really see what is happening to your money.

For those of you who just hate your current bank and are looking to simplify everything, check out They want you to be successful at managing your moolah. They have implemented simple (there’s that word again) strategies and features that help you make sense of banking and your money.

NY Times best seller, Ramit Sethi wants to teach  you how to be rich. For those of us who haven’t read his amazing book just yet, his website is here to get the ball rolling. His site offers free insider kits, and tools to help you find a way to monetize on your profitable skills and to save the money that you make.

Finances leave us with so many unanswered questions, so for those who need some real talk, BankRate is here to lend a hand. Though it’s more US focused, it can still give great financial insights.

Get to know what you’ve got at Find out what your credit score is for free and use their helpful tools to either maintain or to improve your score. You can even get advice form their financial experts who will give you guidance so that your money can grow.

Where do you go for financial advice? Let us know in the comments!

– Karyn


Did you negotiate your first salary? Or were you thinking, THANK GOD they want to hire me, I’ll take whatever they offer. If so, you’re not alone.

We want to encourage you to negotiate, so you can get paid what you deserve.

A recent article by Forbes shares that 7% of women, and 57% of men negotiate for their first salary. And of those that negotiated, they were able to increase their salary by 7%.

What stops people from negotiating? There are quite a few factors. Payscale recently released their Salary Negotiation Guide and here are a couple of interesting findings on why

  • “I didn’t want to be perceived as pushy.” (18% of women, 20% of men.)
  • “I’m worried about losing my job.” (8% of women, 8% of men.)
  • “I’ve always been happy with my salary.” (7% of women, 9% of men.)

Think of negotiating as a huge opportunity. We want to share with you a few tips on how to negotiate a higher salary.

How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

  1. Do Your Research – Check out and to see what the range for your role can be. Data points speak way louder than how you ‘feel’ in negotiations.
  2. How can you add value this role and pay for your salary? – Be sure to have points on how you plan to bring value to the role that will help you pay for the salary you’re asking for.
  3. Look into bonuses. Perhaps if the company cannot offer monetary compensation, perhaps they could offer more vacation days, or targets for bonuses. Be willing to ask for these opportunities. Get creative to ensure you receive what you deserve.

We highly recommend you watch this conversation from Rami Sethi for some specific tactics on how to negotiate your salary.

Are you negotiating your salary right now? We’re sending you positive vibes and want to hear how it goes!





This week our podcast features Melanie Lockert! She is a freelance wordsmith and a passionate debt fighter who writes at She is sharing her journey is paying off $81,000 in student loan debt. Melanie invites others to break up with debt and encourages people to take control of their finances. She is a travel lover, music junkie, and ceviche connoisseur.

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Have a listen and let us know what you think!

Download the podcast here:


So my April Challenge was to learn how to do my taxes. It was going really well until I realized I had some missing pieces, like my 2014 Notice of Assessment. To get it I had to log on to the CRA website, but since I never registered, I needed to be mailed this letter that would contain a code so I could FINALLY access my information. I was supposed to get it in 10 days but it took way longer than I expected and I only recently got to sit down and try attempt #2 on my taxes.

I sat down. I logged in. I clicked Notice of Assessment. And it turns out they didn’t process it. UGH. This means I have to call the CRA, ask them what the heck is up and try to do attempt #3 this month.

Welcome to my May Challenge, everyone!
I’ll keep ya posted.

Sprinkles and cupcakes,

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