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January 2016 archive

Financially Fab Female of the Month: Lucie Fink

Hey #MoMoneyPosse! It’s our Financially Fab Female of the Month! In this series, we show off the stellar women (and men!) who live by example to show us all how to make mo’ money and manage what we’ve got.

This month, we’re featuring Lucie Fink, an associate producer and on-camera talent at Refinery29 who, after moving to New York, leveraged her side hustle to pay her bills. Now this is a fab female who understands the power of Instagram and social media! Lucie is a stop-motion artist who embraces (and monetizes!) her creative side with contracts to create and produce videos for companies like The Today Show, GoButler, Wrap.Me, and Printed.com, just to name a few.

We asked Lucie to share with us some of her biggest money life lessons!

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1. Hi! Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lucie Fink, I’m 23 years old, and I’m a video producer, stop motion artist and on-camera lifestyle host at Refinery29.

2. Do you have a money habit that you practise that has made a big impact on how you made mo’ money or manage what you’ve got?

YES! Shortly after graduating from Johns Hopkins and moving to the “real world” of NYC, I realized that I needed a side hustle — a creative outlet that would allow me to make art, build a personal brand and bring in some side cash. Via my Instagram account (@luciebfink), I launched a side business where I create stop motion videos for brands to share on social media – and now my Instagram feed pays my rent!

3. Who taught you to manage your money? What was their best advice?

My parents taught me about the importance of saving, and they set a great example. They saved up for 16 years after getting married, and didn’t have children until they had saved enough to put all three of us through college with no debt. They have also taught me the value in “treating myself” and constantly encourage me to buy myself something nice when I’ve worked hard for it.

4. What does being “financially stable” mean to you?

To me, being “financially stable” means having the ability to grab a drink with my girlfriends on a Thursday night without worrying that I’m overspending. After I receive a paycheck, I put a certain amount in my checking account and the rest goes to savings — it’s important for me to remember that the money in my checking account is the money I’ve set aside to spend. I’m allowed to spend money as long as I stay on track and don’t overdo it.

5. What is the main lesson that you think Millennials need to learn, or hear about, when it comes to making mo’ money and mo’ progress?

As I mentioned in my “5 Days on a $50 Spending Budget” video, life is expensive. Sometimes, it’s the little things that get you (last-minute drugstore necessities, a coconut milk latte from Starbucks, etc.). If you plan on budgeting, don’t do so to restrict the amount of money you’re spending, but do it rather to become more aware of how you’re spending your money, and to find subtle ways that you can save across all areas of your life. And don’t forget to treat yourself every once in a while! If you’re working hard, you deserve it – and most often, you’re the only one who TRULY knows what you want!  

Check out some of Lucie’s awesome stop-motion videos! Here are some of her faves:

National Pasta Day

 

Coffee

 

Cocktail recipe

 

Donut decoration

Want to learn more about this Fab Female? Check her out here:

Website: luciefink.com
Instagram: @luciebfink
Twitter: @LucieBFink

 

The Best Things In Life Are Free


Who doesn’t like to get free stuff? Of course we do! It’s free!!! Usually when we get something for free we are excited for a moment and then don’t really give it much thought after that. I feel like we take for granted some of the wonderful things that we get without paying and usually attribute it to a, “Well, I deserved it anyways,” attitude.

Today I wrote a list of things that you can get for free, but maybe didn’t even give that much thought to when you were getting it. After reading this list I hope you look at these things a little differently and hold them with the weight that they deserve.

  1. Meals made by friends, family or your significant other as a surprise or date.
    Everyone loves eating free food, but what makes it even better is that it was made by someone you love out of the kindness of their heart. Plus when they make it for you themselves it has that extra bit of amazing in it!
  2. Free concerts/movies/theatre in the park
    Dang son, this is some sweet, free culture. Lap it up, let it sink in, and enjoy something that you would usually have to pay $15+ for.
  3. Using someone else’s wifi
    This may seem a tad random, but when you go over to a friend’s house and ask them for their wifi password they are paying for your Internet usage. Dude, how awesome is that person? They’re letting you scroll through instagram, tweet on Twitter and get #financiallyfab by watching WTFunds vids on Youtube! The next time someone gives you their wifi password throw in an extra big thank you.
  4. Petting/snuggling with a pet (cat, dog, horse, dragon, whatever you have).
    These goofballs are full of unconditional love and even if the pet isn’t your own (a friend’s, family member’s or a random on the street) they are always willing to share that love with you. Feeling down? Go cuddle Whiskers over there for a hot sec and feel the warmth re-enter your life.
  5. Books
    Books are seriously everywhere. In the library, at a store, on the internet and even in your head just waiting to be written. If you are ever bored just remember that it costs nothing to go to the library and read a novel. There are TONS of free books to read online as well! Plus, if you ever get bored of what’s out there you can write your own novel.

I seriously could go on and on with this list, but I’m going to stop at five for now. Being#financiallyfierce means being smart with your money and enjoying the amazing things that come your way. Free stuff is great, but if it doesn’t bring you any enjoyment then why do you want it? Look at the stuff in your life that is free and ask yourself why aren’t you enjoying it more?

Share your fave freebies with #TheSisterpack. and tell us why you love them in the comments below!

-Karyn

 

Enjoy the little things

Right now I’m in the middle of my January Challenge which is all about budgeting $50 per week on super healthy food. I’ve also tasked myself with preparing all of my food in advance and making sure I’m eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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It seems like a simple task, but I’m notorious for forgetting to eat meals and then substituting healthy food with absolute junk. So far I’ve been doing pretty well, but on top of creating this new healthy habit I’ve also tasked myself with going to the gym twice a day, at least four days a week. Now that can really cut into my meal prep time. Usually I’d just go buy dinner (something healthy-ish) and call it a day, but when I came home from working out the other night I found the most magical thing left for me. My boyfriend made me dinner.

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It totally made my day and I scarfed that plate of spaghetti and broccoli down, but it also made me realize something. When I am completing a challenge I sometimes get caught up in the action of it and forget that I should be having fun. Of course I’m learning new skills, but if it feels like a chore to me I won’t keep it up after the month is over.

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Coming home and seeing this wonderfully prepared dinner made me realize that I wasn’t having any fun with my meals. It had already become routine and boring. So I’ve decided that I need to put some pizzazz in what I make and create new and exciting things and not just stick to the ol’ faithfuls.

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I need to start enjoying the little things along the way and not just the end result of finishing my challenge.

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So for those of you in our #MoMoneyPosse who have decided to make new healthy money habits, just remember to enjoy the journey. Focusing on the end result can motivate you, but make sure you are having fun while you get there!

-Karyn

Gwen’s NYC $50 USD/day Challenge!

Last month I shared that I was going to NYC for my birthday and to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I had stumbled across a fun video on Refinery29 where one of their hosts, Lucie Fink, shared a challenge to live in NYC for five days with $50 USD.

I wanted to challenge myself to something similar while I was there. My challenge was spending $50 USD/day. You can read my original challenge here.

Here are my results:

I spent $441.09 CAD on the trip. Right now with the US to CAD exchange rate, $50 USD is approx. $70 CAD. Therefore, I was aiming to spend $350 CAD. I realize I should’ve done this math before going, as I made the decision to not carry cash on me, but to use my credit card instead. So overall, I missed my target by $91.09 CAD.

Here are three lessons I learned:

1. Budget for Celebration: As it was my birthday and New Year’s I think I was being a bit too rigid with the budget. I realize I probably could’ve made it if I hadn’t been celebrating. I spent a big chunk of money at the Comedy Cellar as well as at a yoga studio (Laughing Lotus) to ring in the new year. Without those two expenses, I definitely would’ve made it!

2. Small Expenses Make a Big Difference: A huge chunk of the money I spent was at Starbucks and on juice (okay… and one McDonald’s purchase and NYC pizza!) A big bummer was that the coffee maker at our Airbnb did not work, so my plan to drink coffee at home was a bust. I limited my green juice obsession to going to one place (and had a wacky sea moss drink). I also found I was spending a few dollars here and there at CVS and Rite Aid on travel products I forgot to bring and buying water.

3. Fun Doesn’t Need to Be Expensive: I probably had one of the best meals of my life at iHop in Harlem with my amazing friend Chivon. We were in business planning mode, and we had the best server, an incredible conversation and the pancakes were truly out of this world. It was a great reminder that you don’t necessarily need to go somewhere fancy to have an incredible time.

Overall it was an absolutely incredible trip. I was so excited to have checked off a dream to go to SoulCycle! I’m heading back to NYC in February and I would absolutely LOVE to go again.

If you have any trips to save a bit of cash in the big apple, I’m all ears! Comment below or message me @gwenelliot!

-Gwen

 

WTFunds: 5 Reasons to Invest in a Bed

This year, we’re going to throw a lil’ something different into the mix of podcasts and blogs. Check out our new monthly vlog WTFunds for a quick hit of funny money!

On this month’s episode, Gabby talks about why you should do yourself a favour and invest in a quality bed. It’s time to ditch the futon and time to start adulting hard!

3 Tips to Have a Money Conversation with a Good Friend

Greetings from New York!

I’m here this week for the launch of my business coach and friend, Natalie MacNeil’s new book, The Conquer Kit: A Creative Business Plan for Women Entrepreneurs.

I’ve been here for a few days and am staying in an Airbnb with my good friend Chivon John, creator of Secrets of a Side Hustler.

Chivon is one of those friends where I know that when we meet up we’ll have an awesome time. We’re always brainstorming about our businesses, pushing each other to dream a bit bigger and to step outside of our comfort zone.

While we’ve been living together in NYC, we had the opportunity to have a real deal money conversation. I’ve been extra curious lately about how my friends are handling their money. Where does it go? Do you invest? Who taught you about money?

I am so grateful that we were able to have an open and honest dialogue about money. Of course with respect to Chivon I won’t reveal exactly what we were discussing, but as it was very inspiring to chat with her about something so real, I hope to inspire you to have a conversation like this with a friend.

Here are a few tips that I’d love to share if you’d like to discuss money with a friend.

  • Have good intentions. I did not approach this conversation with the intention of wanting to know if I was doing better or worse. I was simply curious with the intention of learning and seeing if there were a few tips I could pick up or share.
  • Be conscious of the timing. Chivon and I are in holiday mode. I’m working remotely, but we were able to have a few minutes to reconnect and talk about a real issue. We weren’t rushing and super stressed.
  • Bring your own issues/questions to the table. I approached this conversation with value to share. I was willing to share how I currently save/invest/spend my money, and not just there to ask all the questions. By sharing what I’m doing, I hope it could be of inspiration and help as well.

With the new year approaching, it’s time to start being more honest and vulnerable (with the people in your life who’ve earned the opportunity to hear your story), so that you can get the answers about money to help you grow.

Are you thinking of having a money conversation to make mo’ money, mo’ progress? Let us know in the comments or share with us on social!

-Gwen

Gabby’s December Challenge: Customer Service Over Loyalty

Until recently, I’d been with the same cellphone provider for five-and-a-half years. I thought since I had loyalty for them under my belt, I’d be able to get the perks and deals that most newcomers wouldn’t. Boy, was I wrong.

There comes a point in life when you just need to cut the bullsh*t. For me, that was saying ‘no more’ to one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the country.

My own experience with this company included getting frequently disconnected, being given misinformation, and being insanely overcharged.

The moment I knew I needed to change my provider was when my roommate and I compared plans. We discovered we were getting the exact same service, yet I was getting charged $30 more! What the heck is that all about?! That was the last straw. After calling them and talking to multiple people to inquire if I was getting the best possible rate, it was clear to me that I was just getting jerked around, and I had enough. I was done haggling with them.

Five years and six months is a long time, but to me, everything I went through just wasn’t worth the loyalty anymore.

I finally moved on to a different provider. Yes, it was a bit of a risk but I’ve heard good things about the new company I’m with; specifically that they’re all about customer service. And I’ve come to realize that if I’m going to deal with these companies (especially over the phone), they may as well know their job inside and out.

I walked right into their store, told them my situation, and they were more than happy to help. I got a new iPhone for $100 less than the original price and they even threw in a swag bag, an OtterBox, and a screen protector—all for free!

In time I’ll know if I made the right decision, but for now, I’m just glad I have a cellphone bill that isn’t $100, especially since paying back my student loan is one of my top priorities.

This year, really ask yourself if your phone provider is doing enough for you. If your gut reaction is that they aren’t, start doing your research now on which company will give you what you need, and more importantly, if they’ll do it with a smile 😉

Happy Holidays!
Gabby

 

Karyn’s December Challenge: Saving More, Spending Less

My December Challenge came at a frustrating time in my life. Once again my contract ended and I was out of a job just in time for the holidays. It was disheartening, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down. The only scary thing about this time was that I didn’t have Employment Insurance coming in… YIKES!

So for my challenge I decided that I was going to monitor each week what I spent my money on. Once I had the grand total I would find a way to cut out $10 for the following week (and so on). I wanted to find out if I could at least save myself $30 of unnecessary spending that could go towards something important (like rent or student debt). I also wanted to create a habit of keeping track of everything I spent my money on.

I’m usually pretty good at monitoring my spending, but with the holidays approaching and being jobless I needed to step my game up.

Here is what I found out in my weekly breakdowns.

I spend more at the beginning of the month because of rent and paying bills.

Week 1 + 2

December was the month of movies and Dollarama (tis the season).

Week 3 + 4

I seem to spend a lot of time (and money) in Shoppers Drug Mart.

Week 5

I spent the most in Week 1: $1109.14
I spent the least in Week 4: $101.52
My grand total spent in December was: $2592.12

As you can see there were some unknown variables that you can never account for (like paying 428.90 for my NYC flight, but if I spent more one week, I made up for it later on.

My original challenge was to try to cut down on my spending by $10.00 each week so by the end of the month I had saved $30.00. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to go the way I planned. Sure I saved $941.50 in Week 2, but I ended up spending an extra $416.66 in Week 3. This challenge was a lot more difficult than I expected, but it was enlightening.

Creating the habit of writing down my expenses in the spreadsheet was actually very eye-opening. I definitely can see myself continuing this in the new year, which brings me to my January Challenge.

January Challenge: Eating healthy on a
I am going to continue my spreadsheet habit but laser-focus it on just food by budgeting myself 50.00 a week for healthy noms.

I want to see if I can maintain that budget each week and create healthy meals for myself (no more Pizza Hut for this gal).

Wish me luck and have a magical 2016!

Karyn

Monique’s December Challenge: Money Talk is an Ongoing Conversation

My finance challenge for December was to have a money talk with my husband and come up with a game plan. We’ve had money chats before but with major life changes happening quickly, the end of the year seemed like a great time to re-evaluate what’s working, what’s not, and what else we could be doing.

What happened this month was not just one, big, money talk – it was actually a series of more than a dozen!

This was a fantastic development because the past month has been quite the adventure.

I arrived in the UK at the beginning of December and then headed to Kenya two weeks later to visit our Kenyan/Indian fam for Christmas and the New Year!

Timing is everything: sitting down for one long finance conversation this month probably would have ended in frustration or confusion.

The many conversations we had this month ranged from in-depth to mini chats (check-ins, you might say), and even included input from all in-laws. In some ways, it was intimidating, and in other ways it was incredibly reassuring and helpful. My understanding of our financial situation (yep, I’m officially dropping “we, us, and our” now ;)) has been evolving at a steady rate. There have been no unpleasant surprises but plenty of strategizing and there’s still lots more to do!

Here are some of the major lessons I’ve learned this month, thanks to this challenge:

  1. Talking finances with your partner is an ongoing conversation, not just a chat you can have once and then expect everything to fall into place.
  2. Get honest. Lay out the numbers clearly (earnings, savings, and expenses) so that you know where you stand individually and as a team.
  3. Timing and preparation are two factors that maximize how effective your finance chat is going to be. Set aside a specific time to chat and make sure you have the right paperwork, or log on to your online bank account to have the numbers right in front of you.
  4. Get advice from people who have been in your position. It’s definitely a good idea to hire a financial planner when you feel the time is right, but don’t discount the advice of family and friends who have the life experience and expertise that comes from living through financial triumphs and setbacks.
  5. Discuss your core values and goals. Money tends to affect the quality of many aspects of our lives, and figuring out what is most important helps establish financial priorities and decision-making becomes a lot easier.

There are still so many more lessons to learn and put in practise but I would say this month has been a success! I was inspired to do this challenge when Karyn had a chat with her boyfriend as her August/September challenge. Check out how her conversation went, too!

How do you approach financial conversations with your partner? Let us know in the comments below or on social!

-Monique

 

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