Discover your Spending Style

If you find yourself at the end of the month wondering where your money went, it’s time to start tracking your spending.

Most of us are selling our time in exchange for a salary and time is something we can never get back.

Style and Savings, Interview. Conducted by Fempire Finance, March 2020

If you have never made a budget before, the first step I recommend is to track your spending for one month using the Style and Savings Spending Tracker. At the end of each day, record where you spent money, what you spent it for, and the amount. This will help you discover your spending style.

The way you spend money reflects what you value

Purchase

Pillows, candles

Makeup, trendy clothes

Girls Night Out

Technology

Value

Comfort

Fashion

Friendship

Connectivity

After 30 days, you should be able to identify your spending habits.

How would you describe your spending style?

After tracking your spending, you may discover that your spending doesn’t align with what you care about. Empowered by this information, you can re-group and re-direct your money by creating a budget.

Check in soon for a new budgeting tutorial!

For questions about budgeting or the Style and Savings Spending Tracker, use the Contact Me page – I’m here to help! Let me know in the comments how you feel about your spending style or follow along on Instagram to share some of your #moneygoals

The Great Indoors, vol. 3

Hi there and Happy Easter! Here’s what I have been doing during the 3rd week at home. Read about previous weeks here.

Reading

While catching up on some of my favorite blogs, I found this article from The Werk Life.


Quarantine Life: 50 Things to do at Home

If you’re feeling bored, this list is really helpful! Some of the ideas were related to cleaning and organizing. Others were more focused on fun and self care. With so many options and seemingly so much time, you can pick and choose from the list what fits your mood for the day.

Watching

As mentioned last week, I’m still watching Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. What do you think of the movie and the book?

I was so excited to find Second Act for free on Xfinity HBO. I had seen Second Act when it was in the movie theater. I have loved Jennifer Lopez movies since I saw The Wedding Planner as pre-teen. This movie starring Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens more than measured up to all of the J.Lo movies I love. It’s a career-driven Cinderella story with glamour, friendship, a surprise twist and a message about believing in yourself.

Second Act.png
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Doing

For the first time in about three years, I did my own hair relaxer. It turned out well since I have plenty of experience using Dark and Lovely, but I miss the convenience and quality of a salon hairstyle. I’m also torn between feeling good about saving money and bad for the beauty shop stylists who are unable to work right now.

In continuing my routine of morning Pilates before work, I found this video from Blogilates.


If you haven’t heard of Houseparty yet, it’s an app used for video chats and games for up to 8 people. I got to try it out this week with my best friend and play Trivia, Heads Up, and Quick Draw. I would prefer that the camera didn’t come on as soon as you open the app, but that is my only complaint. The games are a lot of fun!

While you’re enjoying the great indoors, take time to connect through call, text, or FaceTime and make someone’s day brighter!

The Great Indoors, vol. 2

Greetings! Here’s what I’ve been doing during my second full week of working from home/staying at home. Click here to see last week’s activities.

Reading

I finally finished reading Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley. The further I got into the book, the more I felt that I was not part of the target audience (busy perfectionist moms?). I still enjoyed reading about Emily’s journey to creating a life that makes her happy and allows her to spend time with her loved ones. Her book also offered interesting insight to what its like to be an entrepreneur, to build a business from an idea, and to make decisions about financing, brand image, and growth. Also, the book has beautiful pictures and I’m a big fan of her cheery, colorful stripes and prints.

Photo Credit: Amazon

Watching

Uncorked on Netflix is about a young man who wants to become a master sommelier despite his father’s wish for him to take over the family owned barbecue restaurant. There are funny parts and sad parts and the story is very much centered around family. The main conflict was whether Elijah should stay on the path that was paved for him and fulfill the responsibility to his family, or take a risk to do something new. I knew that there are many different types of wine and certain regions where wine is produced, but I didn’t know how rigorous the study and testing process is to become a sommelier. I admired Elijah’s passion and persistence.

A couple years ago, I read Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The book was so multi-dimensional and I could easily understand why it got so much praise on the book blogs. I have started watching the series on Hulu and at least in the first couple of episodes it seems to follow the book closely while also adding another interesting layer of conflict. The two main characters have very opposite lifestyles and philosophies. While Mia and Elena operate at extremes, and most women probably fall somewhere in between – I’m curious, do you relate to one character more than the other?

Photo Credit: Amazon

I have also been watching the latest season of The Bold Type. Freeform’s scripted series about three best friends who work together at the fictional Scarlet magazine. Watching Jane, Sutton, and Kat work, play, and date in the city feels carefree and fun!

Doing

I’m happy to say that I kept up my new morning Pilates routine this week. Here’s a quick video – don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s only three minutes, it still has an impact in building strength!

While you’re enjoying the great indoors, don’t forget to connect with others. Call, text, or FaceTime and make someone’s day brighter!

The Great Indoors, vol. 1

As of today, I have been working from home for a week and a half as an effort to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The virus is scary, but Style and Savings is a positive space so I’ll focus on work from home lifestyle and how I stay entertained indoors.

Reading

Since the library is closed, I have been reading the books and magazines I already have. Currently I’m in the middle of Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley and catching up on the March issue of O Magazine. I’m also
reading several blogs, which inspired me to do my part by creating “quarantine content” and sharing my pastimes.

Watching

We recently watched the entire season of Gentefied on Netflix. This series is about a family in California working together to keep their family restaurant, Mama Fina’s Tacos open as their neighborhood demographics and income levels change. Aside from the restaurant, there is family conflict and generational differences, romantic relationships, and cultural awareness.

I also really enjoyed the Netflix limited series Self Made inspired by the life of Madam C.J. Walker, which I wrote about in the earlier post Self Made – Seven Steps for Success

Listening

Listening to music breaks the silence of working in my own office. Lizzo Radio on Pandora brings me good energy.

There are several podcasts I like to listen to, some of them were highlighted here: Five Fave Money Podcasts
My sister recommended Imagined Life and our family really likes this one. Each episode tells the story of a famous person from before he or she became famous. As the story progresses, more details of his or her journey unfold and it’s fun to guess who the story is about before the person is revealed at the end.

Doing

I have kept up with my goal of completing a Peloton cycling class at least once a week and I have also started doing Pilates in the morning. In the time that I would have spent driving to work, I can complete a couple of short videos. Here is my favorite from this week:


The policies that have closed public spaces and workplaces and locked down large cities have been referred to as “social distancing”. I later heard the phrase “physical distancing” and appreciate the sentiment more. Thankfully we have the technology and social media to stay connected family, friends, and others that we don’t see in person. This week I participated in a virtual meetup and a virtual Wine Wednesday and it was fun to catch up with friends that live close and far away.

While you’re enjoying the great indoors, take time to connect through call, text, or FaceTime and make someone’s day brighter!

Self Made – Seven Steps for Success

Photo Credit: Netflix

Self Made is the new Netflix limited-series inspired by the life of America’s first female self-made millionaire – Madame C.J. Walker. Indianapolis, Indiana is proud to be the city where her beauty business was built. Today the former Walker Manufacturing Plant is now Madam Walker Theatre and Madam Walker Legacy Center is the non-profit dedicated to preserving Madam Walker’s legacy of entrepreneurship and social – justice.
I enjoyed watching Self Made and I hope it increases interest in learning about past and present Black entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators because there are many more stories to be told.

Self Made is filled with lessons for any aspiring business woman.

Believe in Your Product
When you believe in your product, your passion will show and your enthusiasm will draw others in.

Tell a Story

A testimonial of how a product or service has improved your life speaks volumes! The STAR method, often used for interviewing is a great framework for organizing your main story’s main points.

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

When Madam Walker was selling her product at the outdoor market, she drew a crowd by recounting how she went from losing her hair to using her homemade hair growth product resulting in her hair growing healthier and feeling more confident.

Photo Credit: Netflix

Product Design is Trial and Error – Keep Trying
The first draft or version of your product will not be perfect, but don’t give up! Madam Walker is shown mixing her product, testing it, and starting over several times. Even if the original is good, keep making new and better iterations and improvements. Stay aware of market trends and adapt accordingly.

Market with Feeling
A good ad campaign doesn’t just tell what the product does it also tells how the product should make customers feel. Madam Walker told her customers: “Wonderful hair leads to wonderful opportunities”

Don’t Call it a Dream, Call it a Plan

When speaking to potential investors for her factory, Madam Walker told them “This ain’t just a dream, I have a plan.” A good idea is just the beginning. In order to get the support you need, having a detailed business plan is a must.

Always be Ready

Before going to a convention, conference or networking event, practice your “elevator pitch”. Be ready to tell someone in a concise statement who you are, what you do or make and the value you create. When Madam Walker met Booker T. Washington she was ready to tell him why he should endorse her business.

Invest in Women
Booker T. Washington’s wife Margaret hesitated to get involved until she heard Madam Walker speak at the convention about opening a factory, creating jobs, and uplifting the community.
She along with several members of the National Association of Colored Women decided to invest in Madam Walker’s factory, agreeing: “female enterprise is good for us all”.

Photo Credit: Netflix

Five Fave Money Podcasts

In 2019, I made a vision board using colorful, carefully selected pictures that would help me focus on my Top 5 Goals. One of those goals was to be more mindful of what was happening with my money by making a monthly budget, tracking expenses, and thinking of ways to save money on the things and experiences I need and want. To get myself in a ‘money mindset’, I started listening to several personal finance podcasts. Here’s a brief list of my favorites:

Money Ha Ha is brought you by Even.com and hosted by Dara M. Wilson and Yasmine Khan – two smart, funny friends who talk about money by sharing research, their own ups and downs, and of course a few jokes.
Favorite Episodes:
Episode 004 – Credit Cards: Shame Magnets (w/ Kelly Anneken),
Episode 006 – Advice to Our Younger Selves: A Very Special Episode (w/ Sharon Wilson)

She Makes Money Moves is a product of Glamour Magazine where women share their stories of money challenges with editor in chief, Samantha Barry and receive advice from a guest financial expert. With the objective of providing content that is vital to it’s readers, Glamour Magazine is tackling the taboo topic of money because women managing their finances is the first step to gaining financial freedom and equal pay.
Favorite Episodes:
Episode 2 – Friends with Money and Friends Without
Episode 10- Why Aren’t More Women Investing?

Frugal Friends Podcast is hosted by Jen and Jill who bonded over their shared love of frugality and became the frugal friends . Through this podcast, they maintain their long-distance friendship and share tips on how to save money and live frugal – not cheap
Favorite Episodes:
Episode 9 – Spend Less at Restaurants
Episode 20 – Minimalism and Frugality
Episode 42 – Personal Finance Basics

Clever Girls Know! is the podcast of Clever Girl Finance and is hosted by its founder, Certified Financial Education Instructor, Bola Sokunbi. Bola’s soothing voice will keep you calm while tackling tough topics like student debt and 401(k)s. I love that she is willing to share personal successes (saving over $100k in 3.5 years) and money mistakes (getting a credit card in college) while providing motivation to make wise financial decisions and build wealth.
Favorite Episodes:
Episode 012 – Why I Started Clever Girl Finance & Why Women Need to Prioritize their Finances
Episode 014 – Why Luxury Handbags Are Not Good Financial Investments

This is Uncomfortable by Marketplace lives up to its name as guests share intimate details of how money affects their lives with host Rheema Khrais. The more we talk about money, the less uncomfortable the topic will be!
Favorite Episodes:
Season 1, Episode 19 – Instrument of Sabotage
Season 2, Episode 6 – WeWork Too Much

How do you learn about Personal Finance?
Who are your favorite financial influencers?

Four #FinanceGoals Reads

One of my Top 5 Goals on my 2019 Vision board was to focus on Career & Money. To put this into action, I have been reading personal finance books and sharing mini book reviews on Instagram @styleandsavings .

Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton suggests that we can increase our happiness, not by having more money, but by changing what we spend it on. Using psychology and behavioral research, they have come up with 5 principles some of which are counter-intuitive and may surprise you!

One of my fave bloggers recommended Bubbly on Your Budget by Marjorie Hillis earlier this year with a gorgeous Instagram photo. This book was written in the 1930’s and features beautiful vintage illustrations. The Style and Savings lifestyle of Living Luxuriously With What You Have is timeless!

Get Money by Kristen Wong is an interactive personal finance book geared towards millennials and written in a fun and relatable tone. As you read, level up by completing worksheets and viewing video tutorials on www.thegetmoneybook.com 
Then put what you’ve read into action and “Live the Life You Want, Not Just the Life You Can Afford”!

Happy Go Money: Spend Smart, Save Right and Enjoy Life by Melissa Leong combines happiness psychology with personal finance. To Do lists and “Money Talks” conversation topics at the end of each chapter will drive you to action –  including envisioning your future as a “Silver Fox” and building your retirement fund.
I was excited to read this book because it was published in 2019, written by a female author, and has a colorful cover – but it ended up being my least favorite of the four books I read. For a more comprehensive knowledge on how money impacts happiness, I recommend reading Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, which is one of the sources referenced in the book.

What are your 2019 Goals ? How do you stay motivated throughout the year?