Money

Financial Companies Who Are Working With Employees Affected by the Shutdown

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:

If you yourself are a Federal employee - or know someone that is - who is getting hard hit financially as a result of this government shutdown, you - or they - may find this information helpful.

Many financial institutions are working with people to help them navigate this difficult situation. Check out the list and/or pass it on to someone else who may appreciate it: How Banks and Lenders Are Helping Workers Affected by the Government Shutdown.

Don't Forget Your Annual Financial Check-Ups

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:

2018 will be wrapping up in the blink of an eye. 

So, this is your reminder to complete one very important part of your annual financial check-up: check all 3 of your credit reports.

Go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action to get your FREE full credit report from each of the three bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

(This is the ONLY safe, federally authorized website to get your FREE credit reports.)

Every 12 months from when you last received your report, you’re entitled to a free copy of your most recent credit report from each of the bureaus

Even if you check your report (and score) regularly using Credit Karma or similar sites, you’ll want to get a full copy of your report directly from the reporting bureaus, so that you can look it over yourself.

Your credit report is a VITAL part of your financial health.

Make sure you do your annual check-ups!

You Don’t Have to Spend Lots to Live Abundantly

My Bottle Collection

Wealth Building Tip of the Day:

I have a several hobbies that I enjoy. I’m sure you do too, right?

Hobbies make life feel so much richer and more abundant.

And while some of my hobbies can be a bit costly (going to concerts, for example), others are pretty inexpensive and quite fun!

I enjoy collecting unusual food/drink bottles.

So many bottles today are made of plastic, so I LOVE collecting bottles that are different.

Like these miniatures, glass and collector edition drink bottles.

I picked most of these up while traveling.

What about you - what are some of your favorite hobbies?

Why Using Your Savings for Bitcoin (or other High-Risk Investments) Isn’t Smart

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:              

Recently, I stumbled upon this article: “After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors.”

Remember the Bitcoin/cryptocurrency explosion a few months ago? Back then, just about everyone began asking financial experts if they should invest in it. At the time, some well-known experts were saying what a great investment it was. And now...silence.

Let me be clear. I myself am not an investment expert. But I do know that it is absolutely necessary to invest to create long lasting wealth. I invest. Investing creates wealth in a way that regular savings accounts do not. But as with all your wealth building practices, you need to proceed in an INFORMED and wise manner.

The article talks about several people who used their savings to invest in Bitcoin. One woman (and mom) used her savings, an insurance policy and took out a loan to invest in cryptocurrencies. At the time the article was written, she saw her investments drop 90%. One man took $100,000 out of his savings to buy Bitcoin and saw its value drastically drop. They – and other individuals – lost tens of thousands of dollars. It is NOT a wise strategy to take money from your savings to invest in high risk funds.

When it comes to your savings, you should always have a few different types of savings accounts. You should have set purposes for each. Then you’ll be clear on what you are saving for and why. And what money you want to invest. Once you decide what you want to – and can actually – invest, you should invest using your disposable income/extra money left over. NOT your savings.

The way to succeed in investing is not to jump on what’s “hot” at the moment, but to become knowledgeable about how to invest. In most cases, you will need to invest FIRST in working with a financial expert to help you learn.

But THAT is an investment well worth making to create long lasting and true wealth, which won’t quickly lose its value.

No, You Can’t Spot the Wealthy Just by Looking at ‘Em

No, You Can't Spot the Wealthy Just by Looking at 'Em

Many people look wealthy and aren’t. They have, eat and wear only the “best.” Their clothing and belongings are always designer or brand names. They have the “coolest” and latest models of everything. And they tend to spend their money quite freely and extravagantly.

Then there are those who adorn themselves in the simplest clothing and invest in essential items. They practice modest behaviors overall and choose when and where to spend freely and extravagantly.  Yet, they actually DO have substantial wealth.

Often you wouldn’t know that many of the people you see are wealthy, because they don’t “show” it.

One of the clearest examples of this is former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. He’s a billionaire.

But while he was mayor, he was often seen eating hot dogs. As a billionaire, we “expect” him to eat only the “best” foods. But he loved hot dogs and didn’t care what anyone thought of him.

If we hadn’t known who he was, we would never have known a billionaire was buying hot dogs for lunch!

We’re used to a society that revels in “proving” we have money when we possess it. In fact, if wealthy people DON’T dress fancy or flashy, many of us label them “cheap” or other unflattering names. You KNOW I’m right!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to live like a pauper and buy, wear and use boring and plain things all the time.

What I AM saying is that trying to “look wealthy” isn’t the way to go. Look at MC Hammer and Johnny Depp.

The behaviors typically associated with trying to look wealthy actually DEPLETE wealth.

Don’t let the opinions of others tell you how to conduct your life.

Whatever way you choose to show up in the world IS YOUR CHOICE (obviously, it goes without saying that this should still include showing up clean and smelling pleasant - not being sloppy, unkempt and/or smelly).

“Dressing (and living) to impress” others is the surest way to run yourself into debt.

And it is the surest way to waste money by being “extra,” when you could be USING that extra money you’re spending to build up your net worth and your bank account.

Dress - and live - to impress YOU first and the rest will naturally follow.

Define what wealth is for you. And what it isn’t. Then do that. Live that.

Like the quote says, “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom teaches professional Black women how to confidently master their money, so they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is a financial educator, coach and CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting. She speaks and writes about personal finance and personal development. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

Ultimately (after a certain point), it really ISN’T about what’s In your wallet…

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Financial Tip of the Day:

Does it ever feel like no matter how much you make, you still don’t have ENOUGH money to do everything you want to do?

Now I’m not referring to those in jobs paying minimum wage, or for those just starting out in their career/jobs. Both situations used to be true for me. And in those cases, you usually DON'T have enough money - working your way up is going to be  absolutely necessary to get there. 

I’m talking about when you’ve been in your career or business for a bit…once you start making 30, 40, 50k and up...

Have you noticed that you just can’t seem to hit those big financial goals or dreams that you thought - and hoped - you would?

Do you every wonder WHY?

While you’re thinking about that, let me digress for a moment… you know those Capital One commercials with Samuel L. Jackson, where he asks, “what’s in your wallet?”

Well to use that example, ultimately, it’s not REALLY about what’s in your wallet.

It’s about what you’re DOING. And what you’re thinking.

When it comes to our money, we create and practice habits that we do automatically. Often, we do them so automatically, that we don’t even notice them anymore.

When they’re great habits, that’s when our money flourishes. But when they’re BAD habits, that’s when we get those sinking feelings of never being able to achieve our dreams.

In order to create the wealthy, abundant lives we want so much – and truly deserve – we have to become aware of our bad money habits and change them, pronto.

The very first step is to become aware of and NOTICE what we’re doing.

But sometimes after years of doing the same thing, and being too close up on our own situation, we become blind to what we’re doing. And to why it’s not working.

If you feel that might be the case with you, then reach out to a financially savvy friend or an experienced financial professional to help you get the perspective you need for your success.

Then you’ll begin to finally see how ultimately, it really ISN’T about what’s in your wallet after all.

Our Hair, Our Money, Our Value & Our Stylists: That Special Relationship

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So I got my locs retwisted the other day by my excellent stylist Oumou Sy. There's NOTHING like that feeling of freshly done hair, is there ladies? And when your hairdresser is punctual, pleasant, courteous AND great at doing hair, that's even better! Oumou and Harlem Natural Hair Salon are the best hairdresser/salon I’ve ever been to.

Actually, this isn't my first time locing my hair. I've had locs for over 15 years. They grew so long that they were down my back. But I started doing them myself to 1) save money and to 2) avoid visiting my very skilled but unpleasant hairdresser.

 Over the years, I had the money to get my hair done regularly but the idea of visiting my gossipy and sarcastic hairdresser kept me away unless I had a special event (like my wedding, college graduation, a singing event, etc.).

Long story short: refusing to visit the hairdresser cost me a lot. My hair grew weak and broke off from over washing and over twisting. So last year I decided to accept the inevitable, and cut off my locs to start over.

This time around, I decided I was going to find a skilled hairdresser with positive energy. My sense of value and belief that I deserved great customer service had increased over the years. I was determined to work ONLY with a truly good-hearted and friendly stylist. This time I intended to take much better care of my hair and I was NOT going to spend years dealing with a snippy or late stylist. I was going to spend my money with someone that valued me and my business.

It wasn’t easy. I spent over six months looking: I visited 3 different salons and dealt with four different hairdressers. From ones arriving over an hour late for our appointment (with no apology). To ones who refused to get on the phone with me to clear up questions they hadn’t answered clearly enough by text (even AFTER I had already become a paying customer). To ones who just didn’t seem to like me, for who knows why (shrug).

But I refused to pay to be treated poorly and so I persisted in my search. I called  a lot of salons and talked to many unprofessional stylists. I was amazed at the overall poor customer service and wondered why they operated this way.  

I came to the conclusion that hairdresser seem to have such poor attitudes and behavior towards potential clients because they KNOW how important, personal and special our hair is to us as Black women, and how deeply emotional we get about it. So they act like we need THEM rather than that it is an equally dependent relationship.

Then one day I was searching the web, and viola! I stumbled upon this new website for Harlem Natural Hair Salon. The website was very basic, but professional. So I sent them an email asking about their services. Not long after, I got a response from the owner, Paula. And that was the start of a wonderful relationship!

I’ve been going there for almost a year now and enjoying punctual (you can tell that’s a really big deal to me, can’t you?), friendly, well-organized and excellent service. Their website is top notch now, just like their place of business. My locs are growing strong and healthy and I am happy. I’m glad I didn’t give up looking!

What about you ladies? Have you had similar experiences? Have you found that hairdresser match made in heaven yet (that you so deserve)? Let me know.

Are You Getting Ready for the Next Recession?

Are You Getting Ready for the Next Recession?

Financial Tip of the Day:

When the economy is doing “good” that's when we feel least like saving. When the money is flowing in, we start to feel like it's never going to end. Maybe we’re raking in the overtime, or our businesses are doing extremely well. And that’s when it feels like the money spigot will continue forever. But, the truth is, when your money is “good” is the time when you MOST need to save.

Have you ever looked at celebrities or athletes who were making millions at one point in their lives, and then a few years later you read or hear about them and they’re broke? This is because they didn’t save for the rainy days.

No matter who we are, our income IS going to drop at some point in our lives. We may have to take a pay cut, lose our jobs, retire, or our businesses may not make as much profit.

THIS is when savings come to the rescue as a buffer. Savings can help you maintain a (relatively uninterrupted) pleasurable and secure quality of life at these times.

If you don't have any savings in place, NOW is the time to make it happen. Get your savings plan together and start saving REGULARLY.

History has shown that recessions occur naturally and consistently in our economy. Remember the last one? And as Black women, WE tend to get hit quickest and hardest when these happen.

Get ready for the next one.

Save & Protect – Not Lose – Your Money When Shopping Online

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Financial Tip of the Day:

I love shopping online.  I love it SO much that that I’d venture to say that I do it just about every week. And I’ve learned one important thing when doing it: ALWAYS use my credit card.

In fact, there are two situations especially, where I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use a credit card while shopping online (and urge my clients to do the same):

  1.   When buying from a company for the first time
  2.  When buying something that costs more than $100

Using my credit card when shopping online has saved me tons of money. Not in the “traditional” sense of saving money. But in the way of helping me GET BACK my money when there’s an order error, or when I’m dealing with a vendor or company lacking in integrity.

For example, this past week I purchased an item from a company that I’ve never bought from before.  As is my policy, I used my credit card. When I got my order, the wrong item was shipped to me.  This particular company has a very STRICT no refund and returns policy. Except when it comes to shipping errors on their part. Which this is.

So far, when I’ve reached out to the company, they have been slow to respond. And when they did, their response was terse.  The bottom line is, if the company refuses to send me the correct order or return my money, I will be out more than $100. Honestly, I’m not big on losing money – ANY amount – but definitely not $100+. And I’m sure you’re not either. Right?

Needless to say, I don’t plan on ever buying from them again (based on the level of customer service they’ve exhibited so far).

But most of all, I am SO glad that I used my credit card to make the purchase.

Why, you ask?  

Because I know that if the company refuses to resolve the issue fairly, I can rest easy with the assurance that other resolution options are available to me through my credit card company. Such as, disputing the charge.

With a debit card, the money would have been immediately taken out of my account. And the likelihood of getting my money back or undoing the transaction DRAMATICALLY decreases (even if I disputed it with the bank).

Long story short: Save money by not losing hundreds (or more) when an order or service delivery goes sideways. Use your credit card when shopping online to protect your money – and get it back – when you rightfully should.

What about you? How do you usually pay for your online purchases? Have you had online shopping experiences where you lost money?

Make R&R A Priority In Wealth Building

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Financial Tip of the Day

So, I’m back from my vacation this week. And I had a lovely time!

Although I must admit, there were times when I started thinking about my business and new ideas for my business and so on and so on. But then I’d stop myself to refocus on being in the moment, enjoying the company of my husband and loved ones and the excitement of being in a totally different environment.

I allowed myself to “waste time” on social media, read “stupid” online articles and watch TV, in between enjoying tasty meals, purposeless shopping, and sleeping in. It was fantastic!

I refused to do any work during my time off. And I strongly encourage you to do the same during your breaks.

The work habits of far too many of us lead to burnout and being drained. Contrary to popular opinion, being “on our grind” 24/7 does NOT lead to financial success (or happiness).

Recently, I read somewhere about some financially successful individuals who said that they more time they took off during the year, the MORE successful their businesses were. Let me tell you, that’s ALL I had to hear to decide to make time off a priority in my life. This concept flies in the face of overworked Americans, constantly working overtime to make money.

If you don’t believe this works, check out this article to see how important “unplugging” and rest and relaxation is for some of the most financially successful people we know:  7 Things Rich, Successful People Do Before Bed that You Can Do.

I’m all rested up and ready to return to doing the work I love. Full of new ideas and rejuvenated energy, I’m ready to dive into the projects I was working on before I left for vacation.

Until my next recharging break - which will be pretty soon :)

Focus on the TRUE Purpose of Saving Money…

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So, as someone who is a “natural saver,” just seeing the money in my savings accounts grow is enough to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling of satisfaction. It’s because deep down, savings signal to me that I have options. Ultimately, acquiring savings provides me with feelings of freedom and security concerning any “unexpecteds” that may arise.

However, as a financial educator/coach, I fully realize that many people are not motivated by this type of thing when it comes to saving. Quite a few of us are more motivated by the promise of what our money can give us NOW, rather than later. So, stashing it away and doing with less money now feels like a huge drag with no apparent rewards. The truth is, some of us are more “today centered” and some of are more “tomorrow centered.” And there is NOTHING WRONG with either approach - when they’re not used in the extreme.

The goal is to achieve a balance. Admittedly, this can be very tricky. In fact, overall, this balance is not being achieved. This recent piece shows that 65% of Americans have ZERO to very little money saved at all: 65% of Americans save little or nothing—and half could end up struggling in retirement

To me, this indicates that a big part of the problem is the perception of saving. Far too often, we focus on the “pain” of saving and “doing without” in the moment. The focus is on what we're NOT getting as opposed to what we ARE getting. In order to be motivated to CONSISTENTLY cut back in our everyday lives, we must have something to look forward to - both NOW and in the future - that makes it feel worthwhile. This is the only way we can tackle any goal that feels hard or unpleasant.

Even for me, the promise of saving for future reward alone is not enough. I too, want immediate pleasure out of my well saved money. For instance, after my trip last month to a business summit, I noticed that my luggage bag was fraying and some of the foam was coming out. My bag had accompanied me on many pleasant trips over the last few years. But it was time to go. So rather than trying to squeeze more trips out of it, I disposed of it when I got home.

Since I had another trip coming up, I needed to get a new one quickly. And let me tell you, when it comes to shopping, just call me the “Savings Queen.” Whenever I buy something, I always try to get the best deal (price-wise) possible. As a “frugal minded” spender, this is usually my top criteria (all my “frugal minded” people KNOW what I’m talkin’ bout).

But this time around, I decided that price would not be the top deciding factor. The longer I continue my life’s journey of living abundantly, the more I have come to focus on what makes me HAPPIEST as opposed to what costs me less.

Now I just want to make this totally clear: that DOES NOT mean I just throw price out the window. It simply means that figuring how much money I can keep in my wallet, when comparing buying one thing over another, is not my guiding principle anymore.   

Focus on thte TRUE Purpose of Saving Money....

I finally settled on this beautiful purple (my favorite color) two-piece luggage set (above). I LOVE it and I cannot wait to use on my next trip. I was comparing this set to a three-piece Black luggage set that cost almost $20 less. My last luggage bag was also Black. But every time I looked at the purple set, I felt so ‘“up” just looking at it. So that’s what I bought. Economically the Black set was a “better” value and would have put some savings into my pocket. But I have come to appreciate more and more that sometimes buying what you LOVE and paying a bit more for it - rather than paying less for something that you only LIKE - is the way to go.

The invaluable discipline of saving money is about learning how to cut back on the things right now that really don't matter that much, so that we can invest instead in the things that REALLY DO.

So, for me, buying “no-name” paper towels, foregoing brand name clothing (most of the time), and learning how to get by with a little less income right now in order to make mandatory contributions to my retirement account, are some of the things I am willing to cut back on in the present. This then frees up the money for me to buy the slightly more expensive luggage that makes me feel energized and stylish and brightens up my day – in the here and now.

The TRUE purpose of saving money in the present is to invest that money in what really matters. It's NOT to deny our current selves happiness and pleasure. The true purpose of saving money now is to make possible the present AND future things that give us the MOST happiness.  And isn’t that what saving money is REALLY all about?

What about you? Have you ever cut back on something that didn't mean very much to you so that you could save for/invest in something else that really did matter to you? I'd love to hear about it! 

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom teaches professional Black women how to confidently master their money, so they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is a financial educator, coach and CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting. She speaks and writes about personal finance and personal development. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

I Bet You'll Never Guess What MC Lyte Prayed for: What We Can Learn from Her...

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Last week, I attended the Black Enterprise 2018 Entrepreneurs Summit. And my absolute favorite session of all was the one I attended where MC Lyte spoke. 

I’ve always admired MC Lyte for her authenticity and for uncompromisingly representing herself with ultimate strength and class. So, I was eager to hear what she had to say.

To be honest, I was not prepared for what she shared with us during the session. What she shared was very surprising - and extremely hopeful at the same time.

Lyte explained that there was a point when she felt so lost and needed help so desperately in one area of her life that she prayed and asked God to send her someone.

And no. It was not a man.

She asked God to send her someone…to help her get her finances right.

She realized that she wasn’t able to figure out how to get to where she wanted to be financially. So she sought help.

This legendary, super successful, intelligent and self-evolving lady realized that she needed help with her money. She needed help reaching her big money goals.

And guess what? The help she sincerely asked for and desired showed up.

During that session we met Lyte and the financial expert who helped her transform her money and life in ways she had never imagined.

I was so excited to hear this because this is exactly what I help my clients do. I help them transform their lives and money journey.

Hearing MC Lyte’s story was so hopeful to me because it confirmed for me that there are more and more Black professional women just like Lyte who are willing to take action on their dreams.

She asked for help, and when it appeared, she participated by taking action towards her dreams of financial abundance and success. And Lyte listened to her financial coach.  

Lyte said that she could never give her coach enough credit for helping her turn her finances around and credited her coach’s guidance with creating her money and business transformations.

We can learn a lot from MC Lyte:

What about you? Are you doing everything you can to invest in your financial future?

The longer you wait to take action, the longer you will stay where you are and keep doing what you’re doing.

Or worse yet - you will fall even farther behind on your dreams.

Are you making excuses about money and time to avoid getting the coaching and support that you need?

The thing is, we always seem to find the money for that new pair of shoes, that new handbag, that new hairdo, etc., right? It really all boils down to a matter of priorities, doesn't it?

Each day that you make an excuse is another day that leaves you feeling increasingly more hopeless about ever achieving your big financial dreams.

Instead of making excuses, you could be taking actions towards – and living – your big dreams. Just like MC Lyte (and me).

It really is true: “Time waits for no one.”

My Summit Experience

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Last week I attended the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit and it was meaningful for me in so many ways. As a new business owner, I felt like it was important for me to attend the event. Several reasons were really clear to me, while others were not. They weren’t all spelled out to me, but I knew intuitively that this was an investment I should make in myself.

One reason that I was clear on was that it was an opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs that I would not meet under normal circumstances. And sure enough, I had the pleasure of meeting several amazing business owners, including this vibrant and enthusiastic sista named Demarra Gardner. She offers business and wellness retreats for Black women. Check her out at https://www.blackwomenaboutbiz.com/

I met many other business owners, gained life-changing inspiration, new business information and enjoyed some delicious meals during my trip. You can see my trip pics album on Facebook: My Black Enterprise Summit Experience.

(Make sure to follow me on Facebook while you’re there!)

Are you STILL risking identity theft?

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Financial Tip of the Day

Did you do a credit freeze to protect yourself yet? Last year I did a credit freeze with all 3 bureaus after I found out about the Equifax data breach.

This piece tells you what you need to know to freeze your credit, "Credit freezes will be free, thanks to banking deregulation law and Equifax changes."

If you haven’t done so yet, set aside 20-30 minutes over the long holiday weekend to do this.

ESPECIALLY if your information was definitely hacked. Check here to see if your information is “out there” vulnerable: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

The longer you wait, the more your personal and financial data is at risk.

There is NO excuse for putting it off, because almost all of us WILL have the time to do it over the long weekend.

No, it’s not fun. But the FEW minutes you spend protecting your money and identity doesn’t compare to the long-term devastation that identity theft causes.

And you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy yourself this weekend. Peace of mind is worth it to me. What about you?

Redesign Your Celebration: Save Time, Energy & Moolah on Mother’s Day

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Yesterday as I shopped for a Mother's Day card for my mom, I thought about how special this day is each year for my mom and family. Honoring my mom is something that I am always eager to do because she has been - and still is - such an amazing mother, influencer, shaper and loving supporter my entire life. And I know many of us feel the same way about our moms.

So as I was browsing for a card, I recalled a Mother’s Day celebration a few years ago. One Mother’s Day we all got dressed up to take my mom out to dinner at her top choice restaurant (as we had done every other year). We arrived at the restaurant looking forward to a delicious meal, only to be told that they were booked full. And that the waiting list was for several hours.

Disappointed, we decided to try her next favorite restaurant. Calling ahead, we were told the same thing by that one too, as well as some other restaurants. The crazy thing is that this happened in Manhattan - of all places!!!

This experience made us re-evaluate how and when we celebrated the holiday. My mom is not a friend of crowds - nor am I - however, we had chosen to celebrate her on the traditional days for years up until that point. Even despite the crowds and inflated prices. But now the inability to even get into a restaurant for dinner inspired us to finally try a new approach.

We agreed to try celebrating Mother’s Day on an “off” day, rather than on the actual day itself. And you know what? Celebrating it on a different day has turned out to be a wonderful tradition that we now really enjoy every year.

Actually, we enjoy it just as much - if not more - than before. What matters most to my mom and us is that we celebrate her, regardless of what day we do it on. We select a day when we can all be there. And now we don’t have to fight with crowds or pay jacked-up prices on the “official” day.

If you’ve found the crowds, wait and prices to be a happiness buster, this may be an excellent solution. If your mom is flexible and open to this idea, celebrating Mother's Day on a mutually agreed upon alternative day can be a wonderful way to have a more relaxed, cozier, quieter and cost-saving celebration.

By the way, you can do this on other holidays too! My family and I have experimented with celebrating other holidays on different days and have found them to be equally enjoyable. You can save a great deal of time, energy and money on travel, gifts, food and waiting in line when you celebrate on “off-peak” days.

And you still get to lovingly celebrate one another. Isn’t that what it’s ALL really about anyway?

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom is a financial educator, speaker, coach and workshop trainer who teaches people how to confidently master their money so that they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and speaks on topics of personal finance, personal development and Black issues. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

 

Put Those Fees Back into Your Pocket (Where They Belong)

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Financial Tip of the Day   

One area where we can end up spending a nice chunk of change each month is with banking. More specifically, bank fees. Most of us have accounts where fees can be (and are) assessed each month that we don't maintain certain minimums or other requirements.

For instance, I have more than one checking account. I use one of them for smaller bills, and another for larger ones (like rent). Each account has fees that are assessed each month if I don't meet certain criteria. However, the criteria are different for each account.

One account requires that I maintain a minimum balance, or a fee is charged. A way for me to avoid the fee is by setting up monthly direct deposits of a certain amount or higher. Another account charges a fee unless I perform a certain number of debit transactions, or transfer a certain amount of money into the account each month.

The trick is, you want to look at your bank statement to see how you can AVOID the fee. With a little pre-planning and by taking a couple of steps, you can avoid being charged the fee altogether.

Just think about it. Those fees may seem small, but they're taking a sizeable amount of money from you over time.  Multiply your bank fee by 12 months, and you have a nice sum of money that you could be spending, saving or investing elsewhere.

So, if you’ve been getting charged a bank fee each month, set aside a couple of minutes to review your statement (which is a money habit you want to practice anyway to make sure all activity looks right) and find out what steps you need to take immediately to keep from being charged the monthly fee.

It will be probably one of the quickest and simplest things you do all month to put some savings back into your pocket. The banks are doing fine. YOU need your money in your pocket. And isn’t that where you’d prefer it to be anyway? I know I do.

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The Heavy Burden of Financial Stress & Hope for Relief

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Financial Tip of the Day

Financial stress is a very real and big part of life for most of us. I’ve often commented to others that I think the top 2 things that compete for our focus and concentration each day are love and money. But I believe that it is even more safe to say that for the huge majority of us, money is the number # 1 thing on our minds most of the time. Would you agree?

It seems that the further away we are from where we want to be financially, the greater our stress level tends to be. As this article explains, 1 In 4 Americans Have PTSD-Like Symptoms From Financial Stress, some of us struggling so much with our finances that we are exhibiting symptoms similar to those with PTSD.

This is very heartbreaking to me. However, I agree with the author’s statement that it’s surprising that the number of those identified as suffering from this type of stress isn’t higher. I’ve seen firsthand the bone crushing stress that debt and ongoing financial problems has had upon clients.

What I find hopeful about the article is that it illuminates the problem, providing an opportunity to seek a solution. Shame over money is one of the biggest things that causes us to hide from others and ourselves. But it doesn’t work. And it’s not necessary.

There are MANY resources, tools and types of help available for dealing with financial stress. Therapy, counseling and coaching are valuable options. There is no formula that will work for each person, so figuring out your best combination of helpful resources will be a very personal, yet worthwhile, journey.

Even if you’re not feeling stress at the level described in this piece, financial stress of ANY type steals happiness and kills dreams. Be sure to take care of you.

Take the steps you need to get the emotional, spiritual and financial help you need and deserve. You and your dreams are so worth it. 💜

Minimize Grocery Trips to Save Hundreds

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Financial Tip of the Day

I finished my grocery shopping earlier today. Twice a month, my husband and I do a large grocery run to replenish everything we need until our next trip. Shopping twice per month saves us LOTS of money.

The more trips you make to the grocery store, the more you end up spending monthly. This is because you often end up buying smaller sizes of items with the idea of needing them to last a shorter period of time.

Take milk, for example. When you buy four quarts of milk instead of buying one gallon in a month, you end up spending quite a bit more. Multiply this by all the other items you do this with, and you can easily overspend by hundreds.

With clients, I’ve noticed that those who make larger shopping trips, less frequently, spend considerably less than those who shop every week. I even had one client who shopped EVERY day. Needless to say, they had a HUGE grocery bill.

By making fewer, but larger, grocery trips every month, you’ll save so much on your shopping bill. Plus, your savings automatically increase because you end up spending less on gas/transportation to get to the store. The net result: having more money to spend or save on the people and things that you love even more than groceries 😊.

Still Haven’t Saved a Dime This Year? Try “Tricking” Yourself into Saving

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As we move through the fourth month of the year, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate how we’re doing with our money goals so far. Saving up money is a goal that most of us have. (And if we don’t, we should). But putting aside money for savings is a real challenge for the majority of us. Either we have too little saved or not at all. Am I right?

Truth be told, we often treat saving as optional, negotiable or non-essential. Don’t we? But we know that is not the case. Having a savings cushion really IS a necessity. Living without savings is a sure recipe for falling into debt.

The great news is, saving is a habit that can be DEVELOPED through practice.

The way to ensure that you save money every pay period, is to add in your savings goal to your budget. When we do our budgets, we typically include expenses that we must pay to someone else. But we don’t include what we must pay to OURSELVES. Savings are what we pay to ourselves.

The bottom line is that there is no lasting financial success without the use of a budget. Visually seeing what you spend and earn shows you the reality of your actual situation. Budgets help to clarify our expenses. In other words, they detail the absolute necessities that MUST be paid to avoid losing things we consider vital to our happiness, health, and comfort (like shelter, water, heat, electricity, etc.)

A trick that I use to help me save is to include savings in my budget as an EXPENSE. I treat it like a necessity. Just like all my other major bills. I also set up my savings to be automatically deducted and transferred into my savings account, so I don’t have a chance to spend it on something else (like all the music, movies and other things on my huge Amazon Wish List).

When you add your savings amount goal into your budget, make sure you add it in as a SEPARATE additional item in your budget. That is what I do. This method has helped me save thousands for my retirement and emergency fund at the SAME time.

Initially, you’ll feel the drop in your available spending cash. So just adjust other areas of your budget to account for this. In no time at all, you will get used to working with this new cash flow and will create new spending habits.

Begin treating your savings like a NECESSITY. When you start doing thing, saving will become a habit, and you won’t even think about it anymore. It will become as automatic as the deductions you’ve set up to fund your savings account (make sure you don’t forget this step!).

Then you can watch your savings grow. And grow. And grow. There’s just no feeling like it. That feeling of increased security and accomplishment, as you see yourself steadily moving closer and closer to your dreams…

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom is a financial educator, speaker, coach and workshop trainer who teaches people how to confidently master their money so that they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and speaks on topics of personal finance, personal development and Black issues. You can book her to speak at your next event about this topic or her other speaking topics by visiting Yolanda Ransom Speaking