Sign up for Mo' Money Monthly. The best of Mo' Money in yo' inbox.

        

March 2016 archive

Dressing Like An Adult Ain’t Cheap

Adulting ain’t easy. Taxes, full-time employment, bills, paying off student-debt… all that fun stuff. Since I will be turning 25 in a few months, I wanted to start making real adult choices, one of them being upgrading my wardrobe. Until recently I would describe my style as extremely nerdy, over-sized, and waaaaaaaay too much black. By being unemployed for six months and going on endless interviews, I knew I needed to start looking like an adult. What I discovered was that is sure isn’t cheap.

1

My original go-to stores were H&M and Forever 21 because my old faithfuls (black shirts, stuff with Batman on it, etc.) were usually pretty cheap. When I started venturing into stores like LOFT, RW & Co., and ZARA, my bank account curled into the fetal position. The prices were unreal: $50 for a plain shirt and $100 for pants?! My brain (and wallet) couldn’t handle it.

2

When you are unemployed and looking for a blazer for an interview, finding one that won’t cost you an arm and a leg is nearly impossible. I ended up going to interviews feeling like a schlub and the lack of confidence really showed.

3

Now that I’m employed with a full-time job, I’ve started looking to buy “grown-up” clothes and transitioning away from my “uber-geek” phase (though I don’t think I’ll ever fully grow out of it). I’ve been buying nicer clothes, but not splurging all at once.

4

My problem was that I thought I had to buy a whole new wardrobe in one go. This would cost me mad cash and I would end up with something that didn’t really suit me. Now I’ve decided to slow things down and get smart with my spending.

5

I look for deals, wait until the end of the season to shop during sales, and buy a few pieces that are a little more expensive but make sure that they are staple pieces that will go with LITERALLY everything I own.

I’ve also found that when I shop online I end up drifting back to my old ways of graphic t-shirts with sloths on them or things that are super trendy, but won’t be in-style for more than a season. Plus the risk factor is higher when shopping online because your purchase may not fit you and sending it back could cost you even more.

6

To make your “transition” into full adulthood smoother, don’t try to do it overnight. Give yourself a chance to adjust before jumping in.

You got this!
-Karyn

To Do List Blues

I am a To Do List addict. I love making a list and crossing off the tasks I’ve completed. I do this for work, when I’m planning trips, random daily tasks, Mo’ Money stuff, and for my finances. Call me a square if you must, but the feeling of accomplishment I get when I complete a list is epic. The downside is when you take on too much and your list just keeps growing.

1

I used to think that if I wrote down a bunch of stuff that it would motivate me to get it all done in a timely fashion. Unfortunately I didn’t take life happening into account. You never know what is lurking around the corner to suck up your time. For me, it’s usually work related. I end up focusing my energy elsewhere and my poor little list is ignored.

2

After failing to complete one of my money lists for a third time and seeing all of my tasks piling up, I decided to something that was out of character for me… I cut myself some slack.

If you want to be a well-oiled-To-Do-List-crossing-off machine, you can’t always have your pedal to the metal. Something’s gunna give and it’s usually your motivation.

3

To keep yourself on track don’t make your list super long. Keep it to five tasks tops and make sure it’s balanced. If all of your tasks are super easy then it gets boring and you lose interest. If it’s too challenging you get frustrated and give up.

4

Balance and simplicity are the keys to your success.

So let’s keep on the #financiallyfierce path and get on those To Do Lists!

5

Share your list with #TheSisterpack on Twitter @MoMoneyMoProg or take a pic and tag us on Instagram @momoneymoprogress!

-Karyn

 

What to do when you can’t afford financial advice

Yesterday I was speaking with my financial advisor, Shannon Lee Simmons of The New School of Finance. She was giving me advice with a current financial opportunity, and we took a moment to reminisce about how far I’ve come.

When I first started working with Shannon I was broke. I had just moved home with my parents (for the second time) and was incredibly sad and disappointed in myself for not being able to figure out finances.

During that down time, I was toiling around YouTube (looking for some inspiration) and stumbled across her videos. I started watching them, and I started to feel a little bit better. Soon I had the confidence to take a look at her site to see if I could afford to work with her for one-on-one help.

The truth is, I couldn’t really afford her fee. I mean, I had just moved home (well, at that point, had been home for around five or six weeks) and my financial situation didn’t seem to be improving.

So I took a leap of faith. I just went for it and booked a one-on-one session with her. I felt a bit of panic, but also a profound sense of peace that I felt like I was going in the right direction.

After taking that leap of faith… my life started to change. The first incredible thing that happened that week was I discovered a job on Twitter that was right up my alley. I applied for it and within a few days had an interview.

And, if you can believe this, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I ended up having my meeting with Shannon right around the time where I needed to figure out how much to negotiate for this startup job (as I had a feeling I would get it). Thank GOD I did. I would’ve undervalued myself SO much. This is something I still deal with today; undervaluing my services and contribution to the company or initiative. So ladies (and gents) if this is you, you must get outside help from someone you trust who can see you as bigger than you see yourself.

I ended up getting that job (at a salary that was higher than I could’ve negotiated on my own), I moved out of my ‘rents house, and I started to feel more like myself.

I share this story to remind you that your thinking about money can only take you so far; you need to invest in your education so you can truly see what’s possible for yourself. Investing in myself by working with Shannon has quite honestly been one of the best decisions of my entire life.

I share this with you to hopefully inspire you to find the ‘Shannon’ in your life (no matter where you are).

So here are a few suggestions I’d recommend for what to do if you can’t afford financial advice.

1.Find YouTube videos or podcasts of men or women who resonate with you (aka people you love watching) who can start teaching you about money. I love:

    1. Farnoosh.tv – Her podcast is short, sweet and truly helpful.
    2. Denise Duffield-Thomas. We’ve shared quite a bit about her work on Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress as she shares a lot about manifesting opportunities!
    3. Money Awesomeness – This was the original YouTube channel that I started watching!

2. Start the process of researching the financial advisor who you want to work with. Get into their world. Follow them on Twitter/Insta. Start sharing their work. Get on their radar and learn about their teachings. So when the time is right to start working with them, it will be a more effortless process.

3. Start saving a small portion of your paycheque for financial advice. If you can literally only afford to save a dollar right now, that’s okay. Put it in a savings account that you don’t touch that you know is dedicated to paying for financial advice.

4. Start hanging out with people who believe it’s possible to make mo’ money. If you have lunch or dinner with your pals, and they keep saying ‘it’s not possible to make more money’ or ‘we’ll never get out of student debt’ that negative talk will likely affect you. I’m not saying ditch your friends, though I am suggesting you try to hang out with the people who believe it’s possible. And if you are at brunch with friends and it’s all negative about money, try to steer the conversation to what is working vs. what is not.

You can do it, my friends. You can get to the place where you can make mo’ money and mo’ progress, and it all starts with a decision. You must decide that you are DONE with the mayjah struggle, and you want to start enjoying life and are willing to do the work to create the financial abundance that you truly want. YOU CAN DO IT!

 

-Gwen

An Out-of-the-Box Way To Clear Your Money Blocks

What I’m about to share with you is going to seem banana-nut weird.

The reason I want to share this with you is because it works (even if it is quite out-of-the-box).

One of the reasons we don’t receive or ask for the money we want is because we don’t believe that we are worthy of the money or that it’s even possible to earn that much.

My friend, if you have thought this way… you have money blocks.

You can read all the books in the world and listen to what friends, family, and financial advisors tell you to do but if your mindset has limiting beliefs about money, you’re not going to let the good advice (and money) in.

One technique that I have been using is called EFT: Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s also referred to as ‘tapping.’ The basic idea is that you ‘tap’ on different energy points on your body while saying different affirmations to help you move through stuck energy. People use tapping for weight loss, confidence, anxiety, and pretty much anything you can think of where you get stuck.

Yes, I know this may sound a bit wacky to some, though it’s a powerful tool. I’ve actually trained in EFT (Level 1) so I can get a better understanding of the technique and hopefully one day start teaching it as well.

Today I want to share a few videos that I hope can help you.

Brad Yates is an EFT teacher who has hundreds of incredible videos on various topics. His video are simple (no fancy production) and they’re so helpful. If you are even a little interested, here are a few links to check out his work and to start tapping.

(I have no freakin’ clue how he does that trick at the beginning of the video).

If you’d like to learn more about tapping before you get started, The Tapping Solution is a great book to get started!

If you try it, please let us know how it goes! Tweet us at @momoneymoprog or on Insta @momoneymoprogress!

Happy tapping! 😉
-Gwen

What Would You Splurge On?

Who doesn’t daydream about what they would buy if they won the lottery? Sure, we all think of that rad vaycay and quitting our jobs, buying mansions, and genetically engineering unicorns, but what about the smaller things?

1

If I had millions of dollars I’d do a little reckless spending (a puppy army anyone?), but I usually find myself daydreaming of more feasible purchases. For example, I use to think about running shoes. Why? Because my old pair were dying and I needed new ones.

1
My 5 year old pair of toe-crunchers.

The thing is, I have been wanting to replace them for the last year and a half, but I haven’t splurged on a new pair because I thought my money should be going to something more important.

Rent or shoes?
Internet or shoes?
Metropass or shoes?
Pizza Hut or shoes? (Sue me, I love pizza.)

2

I finally decided it was time to splurge on something that would really benefit me since I started to really commit myself to the gym. Anytime I started daydreaming about the perfect running shoe I would go online and do research. I ended up narrowing down my choices to two pairs.

When I went shopping I was a lady on a mission and it literally took me 10 minutes to find the shoes I wanted, try them on and buy them.

It was a successful splurge!

2
My super sweet kicks!

So why am I telling you about my (heroic) shoe story? I want you to realize that those “little” splurges, the ones you think about on the daily are important. When you buy them willy nilly, they don’t really have that much effect on you. They just become another thing that you wasted your money on. But when you do your research, save up and buy it, the purchase has more weight to it. When you use it/see it you get that sense of accomplishment. You earned it.

3

It becomes more than just a splurgey buy. Now when you put on those sweet kicks, or make a baller dinner with those high quality pots and pans, or you cruise down the road in your new wheels, you know that you made a smart decision.

4

Sure, it’s no unicorn that poops out rainbow ice cream, but it’s still just as sweet!
5

What’s something that you want to splurge on? Let #TheSisterpack know in the comments below or tweet us @MoMoneyMoProg!

-Karyn

Gabby’s February Challenge: Following the 50-20-30 Rule

Hey peeps!

After reevaluating my expenses, I decided my February challenge should be all about sticking to my 50-20-30 budget.

1f

All in all, it was really exciting to figure out where my money was going and seeing if the budget I set for myself was actually sustainable.

FullSizeRender
Making the perfect budget takes a lot of practice!!

Turns out, it mostly is, but there were a few expenses I overlooked.

2

For starters, I forgot to budget for FUN! It’s important to treat yourself, otherwise you’ll go crazy. More importantly, treat yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. I allotted $50 for this category.

3

Secondly, sometimes I take Ubers. Whether it’s to work, or because I don’t want to wait in the cold for a streetcar when it’s late at night, etc. I decided to give myself about $50 for trips like this. I didn’t put this under the Essentials (50%) category, because it really isn’t—it’s more in the Personal Choices (30%) because it’s not totally necessary.

One thing that shocked me was how over budget I was for groceries and eating out. This doesn’t necessarily mean I failed; it could mean that I set my budget too low and it wasn’t sustainable. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to raise my food allowance by a big margin and go crazy—it just means that I need to be reasonable with how much I’m spending in order to survive. (To be completely honest, I don’t think going out for Valentine’s Day helped much either 😉 )

4

Remember last month when I was saying how the extra $1,000 I have left over at the end of my budget disappears? Well, going over budget definitely pointed me in the right direction. I did the math and learned that after going over, I have only $600 to play with. Good to know!

5

I highly recommend everyone try out the 50-20-30 rule. It’s super minimalistic and user-friendly. It was actually fun to understand where my money was going and how much it takes to live comfortably. I also couldn’t believe how much I spent on food… DON’T JUDGE ME.

6

Take the 50-20-30 challenge and let us know how it goes in the comment section below! And don’t forget to subscribe to Mo’ Money Monthly 🙂

Peace out!

-Gabs

 

Karyn’s February Challenge: The Pink Tax

If you need a recap on what the Pink Tax is, check out my post here to getcha all caught up.

For my February Challenge I wanted to see if the Pink Tax was actually costing me money just because I was buying products targeted for women. I decided to only buy men’s products for the entire month to see if I could actually save money.

I didn’t have to buy much to realize that there actually was a difference. My first purchase was razors. As a lady who likes to feel smooth on the regular, I find that I drop a pretty penny when it comes to buying my razors. So making the switch to men’s was kind of scary for me… until I saw the price difference.

1

I bought a razor that came with two cartridges and four extra cartridges which totaled $24.99. That’s usually how much I spend JUST on four Venus razor cartridges. I also found out that men’s razors are nothing to mess around with. They are so sharp that just shaving my legs once kept them silky smooth for three days. With my usual razor I’m feeling prickly by the end of the day so this was a sweet snag for me.  

I also had to buy face wash, which is an overwhelming task in itself. There are so many to choose from in the women’s aisle and it can be a tad daunting. This time I made my way to the men’s section (which I passed by several times). It was so much smaller and didn’t have that much selection. I did snag a Dove exfoliating face wash. It cost me $7.99 (on sale) compared to the usual $8.99 (on sale, I never buy full price) I pay for my usual Olay choice.

What actually blew my mind was that this men’s face wash cleaned off my makeup better than some of the other products I have at home. Also, the only major difference from men’s and women’s products is the smell. I’m not the biggest fan of flowery stuff so using the men’s products was kind of nice.

IMG_2135

Since I didn’t buy too much this month I did look around at other products we usually buy, like deodorant.

IMG_2139

Sure the men’s may be more expensive in this case, but look at how much more you’re getting! The women’s Dove is 45g while the men’s is 85g. Definitely getting more bang for your buck.

Or what about shampoo? I live with two guys so we usually have 2in1 living in our shower. So what kind of difference is there with men and women’s?

IMG_2138

If you do pay more for men’s, you usually get more with it. Awesome right?

2

Not really.

3

It’s kinda ridiculous when you consider just how many products for women cost significantly more than their male counterparts. My challenge this month was to save money buying men’s products, and I completed my challenge… but why do I feel like I also failed?

It’s frustrating that if I wanted to save a couple bucks on stuff, I’d have to buy the (almost) exact same thing, but in the men’s aisle. What bothers me most is that women actually end up spending almost $1,300 more than men each year on these kinds of products. It’s annoying and it makes my wallet cry.

Hopefully more gender-neutral pricing, like Fuzz Hair Studio in Toronto, will become the norm in the future. Instead of offering men and women’s prices, they base it off of the length of the hair and the type of cut you want. Let’s get more of this kind of pricing instead of the wackiness we have now.

Let me know your thoughts on the Pink Tax in the comments below, or tweet us @MoMoneyMoProg.

-Karyn

 

Learn more about the Pink Tax here (http://www.thestar.com/business/2016/02/28/gender-pricing-means-women-paying-more-than-men.html)

Gwen’s February Challenge: No Alcohol, Mo’ Problems?

In February, I committed to a diet of zero alcohol for the month in an effort to lead a healthier lifestyle, detox, and save a couple bucks.

This was also my January challenge, and I wanted to do it again in support of my goal to go alcohol free in 2016.

Overall, this month was SO much easier than January. At this point, I’ve learned to find alternatives to drinking (though let’s be honest, having a beer or glass of wine with friends is always a good time). I started drinking more tea and kombucha, and quite honestly also changed my habits as I mostly avoided going out. I do not intend to spend the rest of the year indoors, I just found it to be a good way to strengthen my commitment and also after an intense past six months of work – I’m happy to take a few weeks to relax a bit.

One big challenge with not drinking is I found I quickly replaced it with another vice. It seemed that sugar started to become my new addiction. This is really not good. Sugar can be just as bad or worse for you (depending on quantity) than drinking. So I’m now looking into ways to let go of my cravings for sugar.

As you can see, this could become a vicious cycle, but overall my intention here is not to be too hard on myself, it’s to increase my awareness of my habits and how I use food, drinks, sleep etc. to avoid being with my own thoughts.

I encourage you to look at your habits and see if there are areas where you are truly relying on vices in order to get by.

March Challenge:

As I was working through my taxes this year, I had a realization that at the beginning of 2015 I started tracking everything to make life easier this year. For some reason I suddenly stopped in June, but it was a fantastic start. I haven’t been doing that this year, so I want to catch up! My goal this month is to track everything and put it into a Tax Party 2016 doc so that I can be prepared to get my taxes done even quicker in 2016!

Thank you so much for reading! If you want to join me for either challenge let me know by tweeting @momoneymoprog or @gwenelliot!

-Gwen

Let’s Hear It For The Boys

Roommates. We’ve all had them at one point or another. Either you’ve bunked with your siblings while growing up or crashed with a pal during your college/university years. For me, I’ve had MANY different roomies. Growing up it was #TheSisterpack that shared a space together, but once I got to uni I was able to live on my own… for about five minutes and then I had to get some roomies because living in downtown Toronto is NOT cheap.

1

For the past few years my roommates have consisted of me, my boyfriend and another guy. Currently it is my S/O’s college friend and before that it was our mutual friend from back home (THA BEAV!). As a person who has had roommates her whole life (minus two interesting years) I’ve found living with guys to be quite awesome. Sure there’s less drama than living with the ladies (my sisters excluded), but it also seems to have become a cheaper option for me.

2

Living with two guys has made me realize how much I am saving, not because I’m splitting rent three ways (though that is magical), but because they actually stop me from frivolously spending.

3
Not anymore…

The guys I live with are super chill, and by super chill I mean we don’t go out much. This suits me perfectly because I’m a homebody and leaving my house to do stuff is just not my jam. When we do go out to a movie or to grab dinner, it makes the outing all the more special and momentous.

4

They’ve also taught me to enjoy the things you have and not get super worked up about just having stuff. Sure, they’ll buy their games on Steam and get a new DLC when it comes out, but other than these purchases my roomies don’t buy much else.

5

My boyfriend isn’t one to splurge, but when it comes to his computer he takes pride in it. Recently he was able to upgrade his PC, but not after shopping for the best deals and waiting until everything fell into place. Watching these guys be meticulous when it came to their purchasing decisions really stuck with me.

6

At my last job I worked with people who would buy hoards of shoes just because they could. It’s hard not to get caught up in that kind of frenzy and I found myself buying clothes that I neither wanted nor needed.

7

After going shopping with the guys I found that they would drop some cash on clothes, but only on things that they needed and truly liked. Living with these guys has changed some aspect of how I’ve been spending my money, and I’m sure some of my #financiallyfab ways are rubbing off on them, too.

8
My emotions…

This just goes to show you that your roommates do have a very big impact on your life, finances included. Make sure you are aware of what they are affecting and if it’s positive or negative. Sure, your roomies may be “the best”, but if they keep making you pay for dinner, complaining when you don’t go out with them, or getting you to splurge on things you really don’t need, maybe it’s time to live solo for a bit… or get some new roommates.

… just food for thought

-Karyn

1 2