Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Credit.. 4 tips to help you get rid of it!

As the holiday season is in full swing, many of us have found ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping (for ourselves and loved ones). Although the process of shopping itself isn’t a bad thing, it does have the potential to be not so great if you are shopping excessively on credit. Credit card debt is one of the number one aspects of our finances that keep black women from becoming home and business owners. At times it can seem that our debt is a hopeless case and that there is nothing that can be done to correct it. This is simply not the case. Speaking from experience, I can assure you that there is always a way out of debt. Check out these tips below!
  1. Find out where you stand. This is often the hardest step, but you must calculate the present damage in order to make a plan to get you out of the financial hole you are currently in. Spend some time alone with that mountain of unopened bills that have piled up over the past few months and start sorting. How much do you owe on credit cards? When’s the last time you’ve paid above the minimum amount due on your bill? When’s the last time you’ve paid at all. Get out a blank notebook and begin to keep track of your financial habits and chart out a snapshot of what your total debt looks like.
  1. Create a realistic action plan. Now that you know where you stand, it is time to figure out how you will get yourself in a more stable position. Recognize that although it may have taken a few shopping sprees over the course of a month to get yourself buried under the cloud of debt, it will take much longer than that to get yourself out of it. Whether you can only afford to save $20 or $200 a month to put towards your debt, do what you can to get the ball rolling. There are a number of financial planners and consultants out there who can assist you and tailor a plan to fit your goals and resources. Additionally, there are a wide variety of books and information available on the internet dedicated to this very subject.
  1. Be honest- with yourself and with others. So, you know where you stand and you even know what you will do to make things better. What now? You must begin to get real with yourself and with those around you. First off, no more trying to live above your means and no more trying to keep up with the Joneses. No, you don’t have to go around telling everyone you meet that you are $20,000 in debt, but you shouldn’t be dishonest either. Get real with your bill collectors also. Let them know that you have fallen on hard times and own up to the fact that you have gotten behind in your bills. Discuss with them your new action plan and don’t get off the phone until you come to an agreement about how you will pay them back. You will find that the more honest you are with them, the more likely people (including your debt collectors) may be willing to help you.
  1. Keep your word. Now that you’ve gotten real with yourself and others, it’s time to stay real. Be sure to follow through on any commitments you’ve made for repayment. If you foresee issues in the future, be proactive and reach out to your creditors. Find out ways in which you can work out an extension if need be. The bottom line is that you must begin to show responsibility and accountability for your debt. It is only when this is done that you will assure that you do not make the same mistakes again.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that being in debt or out of debt does not define you as a person. There are wonderful people with a credit score of 480 and miserable individuals with a score of 720. Your debt situation is one aspect of your life, it is not your entire life and like every other negative situation you are presented with, it can be overcome.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Check out the latest article on my bi-weekly column on!

I have always been under the assertion that friends/family and money, “Don't MIX”. If you are fortunate enough to have never been on either end of a family loan situation, I'm sure you know at least one person who has. These sort of "informal" loans always seem to start out the same- Friend/Family Member A tells Friend/Family Member B that they've fell on some hard times and...

Read the Rest.

-Alecia D.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Art of Personal Branding

'Brand Me Minute': The Art of Personal Branding -

Check out this great video on on The Art of Personal Branding!

-Alecia D.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I GOT THE HOOK UP.. Get it for FREE while you can!

I'm sure this blog post's title grabbed your attention! Who wouldn't want to know more about a "free" product or service they can participate in or use, right? But is our eagerness to patronize a business only if we don't have to come up off a couple dollars one of the down falls of the black economy?

I stumbled across an article on that addresses this very issue, (then it came in my inbox from two other email newsletters I subscribe to)- apparently the issue of the black "hook-up" mentality is a huge deal among African American entrepreneurs. Although I have witnessed this phenomenon myself, I just assumed it was the way things were and that I needed to find ways to work around it in order for my own business to grow.

How many times have you had to coax black people to attend your event by making it free?
Or had a friend or loved one ask you to offer your products at a deeply discounted rate?
And here's the kicker, do you know someone who will go to an event to take advantage of the freebies, but when it's time to support the business and purchase an item, is no where to be found? Let me just say- this is not what's happening in white owned businesses. When they start businesses, every friend, acquaintance, and ex-boyfriend is lined up around the block in order to show their support by investing into said business. When will we black folk begin to do the same?

According to Alfred A. Edmond Jr., editor-in-chief of
"One of the biggest drags on black entrepreneurial growth and profitability is the "hook-up": black people expecting other black people to provide them with free goods and services just because they're black. We need to stop it. Today. NOW."

I tend to agree with Mr. Edmond, and I'm sure that you entrepreneurs who are reading would too. Check out the rest of this eye-opening article here.

-Alecia D.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Watch Your Back- The UGLY truth about Fraud.

Today is not a good day. I have officially become a victim of debit card fraud. Ugh. I never thought it could happen to me and I absolutely HATE the way this feels.

As I was surfing the web earlier today I got a little bored and decided to glance over at my bank account. I haven't been out on the town since Sunday evening so I was a bit surprised to see a purchase made today on my account. After my initial confusion, I researched more closely and found that there are a number of other charges all stemming from the Maryland area that I know nothing about beginning on November 30 through to today.

What is going on here??? After I race to call my bank, it's determined that someone has gained access to a duplicate debit card and was out there making holiday purchases with my hard earned money! While I am all about spreading holiday cheer, I don't think it's meant to be at my own expense.

Looking back at my own habits, I can already pick out a few things that I can start doing differently to make sure this does not happen again.

Here are some tips below:

1. Check your account balance daily. Be sure to check that you are not being overcharged on valid transactions and that there are no unauthorized debits taken from your account.
2. Pay with cash more often. The less you have to pull out your card and swipe those numbers in public, the better off you will be.
3. Sign up for a PayPal account. It's fast, secure, and accepted at more and more online vendors.
4. Be weary of stand alone ATM machines. It's always safer to use a franchise bank ATM, preferably your own (to avoid extra fees) than it is to use one in a corner convenience store or gas station.
5. Sign up for your bank's fraud alert program. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Although thieves can always find a way to violate a victim, it will be less likely for you to become a target if you practice a little safety. The process has only just begun in recuperating my stolen funds, but I'm confident that I will eventually get back all that was lost. In the mean time I'm going to start applying these tips to my own daily routine in the hopes that I will never have to experience this violation again! I hope you will too.

Have you ever been the victim of identity theft or fraud? Do you have additional helpful tips to prevent this from happening? Tell us about it in the comments section.

-Alecia D.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The TJ Maxx Savings Plan: 3 Tips to Pad Your Bank Account

Now that the recession is almost over, (yes- I said it! It truly believe that it is if you think it is) here are some tips to get your budget back on track. Even though money may be flowing a bit more freely (or maybe even not so much) than it was before, we don’t want to get carried away. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year it’s that no one can take care of my financial standing better than I can. Following these tips have helped me keep some extra change in my pocket, hopefully it can do the same for you!

1. Once you've paid your rent/mortgage and other big ticket bills, take out an alotted cash amount each pay period to use on your essentials. Be sure to give yourself a realistic amount to work with that includes not only your recurring expenses i.e. gas, food, etc- but also fun stuff like movie nights with the girls and your favorite restaurant's take out. Once you've used up your cash for the time period specified- you're done. Under no circumstances should you dip into your checking/savings account to replenish your funds until the next pay period. What works for me is to have three envelopes to work from- one for fun stuff, one for gas and groceries, and another for low- ticket miscellaneous expenses. This way I can always take a quick glance at how much funds I have left for each category. We all know that using our debit cards for everyday purchases can often add up to spending much more than expected. Having pre-determined cash amounts on hand eliminates the guess work and makes you less likely to overspend.

2. Don’t buy an item unless it is on sale or from a discount store. In this day and age, there is absolutely no good reason to pay full price for an item (of course there are some exceptions- like my future engagement ring! ). For every Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue, there is a TJMAXX and Marshalls. These stores have the same quality and brand name items that department stores have at a much lower price point. Yes, you will have to dig through the clutter and yes, you will have to deal with the crowds. However, the amount of money you will end up saving is definitely worth the slight inconvenience. If on-line shopping is more your speed, check out this link to hundreds and hundreds of promotional codes to all your favorite stores!

3. Start using the “30 day” rule for all of your big purchases. Want to buy a 52” flat screen TV or a new pair of designer boots? Implement a 30 day waiting period before you put up the cash. In many instances, by the time the 30 days are up, you won’t even want the item anymore. I often forget about the purchase midway through the waiting period (obviously it wasn’t that important to begin with, right?). By waiting before paying, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing an unnecessary item. This can definitely add up to hundreds of saved dollars left in your account.

What other ways have you been able to cut your monthly costs?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Yay for me!

YBR has a new bi-weekly column on! It's called MYOB: Minding Your Own Business and the main focus of the column will be to empower young, urban woman to become more interested in success building with regards to their finances, health, relationships, employment, and business ventures.

Check out my first article below!

So there are about 60 days left until 2010. Wow. That's a lot to digest if you still haven't completed your goals for 2009! Experts say that about 54% of people do not stick to the resolutions they make each year. That means that just about 1 out of every 2 people you know that made resolutions, have not followed through. If this fact sounds like you - don't fret. As I stated previously, there are still 60 days left to work with and although you may not have the time left to check off every single item on your list, there's still much opportunity to put a huge...

Read the rest.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

10 Healthy, but Realistic Holiday Eating Tips!

The holiday season is in full swing! Maybe you've been able to keep those killer cravings at bay since Fall began as there were no more tempting backyard BBQ's, late night drinking adventures around the city, and impromptu dessert-themed potlucks at your girl's house (can you guess how I spent my summer?) Although you've been relatively good (or trying hard to be) over the past few months- all that is about to change.. or is it?

Now I love a great big heap of sweet potato pie, turkey stuffing, and mac and cheese as much as the next woman, but it doesn't mean that these holiday favorites have to sabotage all of the hard earned work you've done or are trying to do thus far.

Check out these holiday tips that are sure to leave you feeling (and looking) less like a stuffed turkey and more like a lean cuisine!
1. Try to lean toward no- and low calorie drinks ie water, coffee, tea, and diet soda
2. Avoid that "full" or "stuffed" feeling- this means don't pack your plate full with food and no going back for seconds!
3. Assure that at least 50% of your plate is filled with fruits and/or veggies
4. Opt for lean meat and fish whenever possible
5. Cut that dessert serving in half (still tastes just as good!)
6. Don't show up to dinner starving: make sure to eat breakfast and a small snack prior to the event
7. Encourage physical activity after dinner: start a soul train line or get grandma in line to do the electric slide
8. Skip the egg nog and other creamy holiday drinks, instead go for liquor mixed with club soda or wine
9. Limit yourself to one holiday party/dinner per week if possible
10. Be sure to get plenty of rest and exercise before and after a big holiday dinner

And remember, the holidays should be about connecting with loved ones, sharing best wishes and good cheer, and yes even exchanging some nice and thoughtful gifts (remember it's the thought that counts during this recession). It should not only be about sugary treats and greasy goodies.

What other holiday tips are there that have worked for you?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

YBR Reader Asks Alecia D...

I am a 30 something year old woman who is at her wits end. I have one divorce under my belt, no children, not where I want to be at my job/financially, and to top it all off I have been dating a married man for the past 3 years. I know that my situation is not right, but not sure where I should begin to get the ball rolling. Any advice?

Reesa J.*
Jersey City, NJ
*Names have been changed.

Because I know you are already a grown woman who should definitely already see the error in her ways, I won’t waste time giving you the rundown of all the things wrong with this picture. With that said, I am very happy that you have decided to seek advice on how to get yourself out of this seemingly self-imposed rut.

First things first,as far as being dissatisfied with your job and finances, I can definitely understand your feelings. However, in today’s economy now is not the time to make any drastic changes. Instead, you should begin to outline your plan of action. What do you need to feel satisfied with your job and finances? Do you need to ask for a raise? Create a budget? Scale down your expenses? Consider a totally different field? Once you figure out what you want and how you can get there, begin to take the necessary baby steps to get there. Before long, you will find yourself at the finish line.

You should also definitely look into getting out of this dead end relationship with the married man. At 30+ you are probably looking to one day start a family and settle down, after 3 years of being a sidepiece, I’m sure you know this will not happen in your current situation. It’s time to cut ties with this man and look into healing the emotional wounds you have obviously been dealing with over the years. Confide with a good girlfriend, family member, and/or professional therapist. Whatever it takes, the first step is to realize your fabulousness and act accordingly! Schedule a mani/pedi and hair appointment and then make a date with yourself to meet one new guy a week (please check for a ring first!;)

-Alecia D.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Do You Have "Good Hair"?

Did you see Chris Rock's comedic-documentary on perceptions of what it means to have good hair within and outside of the black community? If you haven't, you're definitely in the minority. By the looks of the over load of blog posts and reviews on-line recently, a lot of women have seen it. The opinions range from "loved it" to "hated it". My hair has been relaxed since I was about 8 years old and whatever the initial reasons were behind my mother relaxing my hair, it has since become a way of life for me.. LOL. I am personally of the belief that whether a woman's hair is relaxed, texturized, in braids, weaves, or wigs- it should make no difference as long as she likes it. As Maya Angelou stated, a woman's hair is her glory and is something that is a personal expression. If you like it- I love it!
What do you think? What are your ideas of what it means to have "good" hair.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Motivation 101: How to get what you want!

I came across this little tidbit in my inbox yesterday morning.. by Anth Quinn. So true..

Motivation is a natural consequence of being clear on your goals and the gap between them and where you are now. Get excited about achieving your goals, make them real for yourself- take the car for a test drive, visit the home, apply for the jobs, visit the country. Guess what, the clearer your goal the more motivated you'll be. It is as simple as that!

There are so many things that I am trying my hardest to get motivated for- getting in shape, looking for a new job, growing the YBR brand etc. Maybe the issue isn't that I'm unmotivated, but just that I'm not totally clear on my objective.

What are some motivational points you are currently struggling with?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Final 10 Money Wasters! What to Avoid

Here's a list of the final 10 money wasters. Which one of these is your weakness?

11. Pay banking fees. Overdraw your checking account and you'll pay $20 to $30 a pop, so it pays to keep tabs on your balance. Plus, are you still paying for a checking account? Free deals abound -- but make sure they're really free. For instance, will the bank charge a fee if your balance drops below a certain level or if you download your info into a personal-finance software program? That's not free.

12. Buy things you don't use. This sounds like a no-brainer to avoid, but how many times have you seen something on sale and thought you couldn't pass it up? Even if something is 50% off, you're spending too much if you don't use it. href=Couponing, for instance, can be a great way to save on your grocery bills. But if you buy things you wouldn't have purchased in the first place simply for the sake of using the coupon, you're wasting your money. The same goes for buying in bulk. A bargain is no bargain if it sits unused on your shelf or gets thrown away.

13. Own an extra car. Okay, so a car is a necessity for most people. But face it -- cars are a huge drain, from their loan payments to insurance fees to gas and maintenance costs. Own more than one car and you'll double or triple those expenses. Ask yourself if that second or third car is really necessary. Are you holding on to an old car for sentimental reasons? Can you or your spouse carpool, take public transportation or bike to work?

14. Ignore your local dollar store. Shopping at the dollar store can be hit-and-miss, but it's not all kitsch or junk. If you know what to buy, you can find some real bargains. For instance, my local dollar store charges 50 cents for greeting cards versus the $3-plus at a drug store or gift shop. (I have a big extended family so I figure this saves me more than $100 per year.) You can also score a deal on cleaning supplies, small kitchen tools, shampoos and soaps, holiday decorations, gift wrap and balloon bouquets.

15. Keep unhealthy habits. Smoking is not only bad for your health, it burns up your cash. A pack-a-day habit at $6 a pack costs $180 a month and $2,190 a year. A junk-food or tanning-bed habit can be costly as well. Not to mention the money you'll waste on medical bills down the road.

16. Be complacent about insurance. Your bill arrives and you pay it without a second thought. When was the last time you shopped around to determine whether you're getting the best deal? Rates vary widely from insurer to insurer and year to year. Reshopping your auto, home or renters insurance might save you hundreds of dollars.

It also pays to evaluate your insurance needs. For instance, upping your out-of-pocket deductible from $250 to $1,000 can save you 15% or more on your car insurance. Consider using the same insurer for your home and auto insurance -- you could snag up to 15% off for a multiple-line policy. And make sure you're not paying for insurance you don't need. For instance, you need life insurance only if someone is financially dependent upon you (such as a child).

17. Give Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. If you get a tax refund each April, you let the government take too much money in taxes from your paycheck all year long. Get that money back in your pocket -- and put it to work for you -- by adjusting your tax withholding. With a little discipline, you can use that extra cash each month to get started saving or pay down debt (or make ends meet to avoid going into debt in the first place). You can file a new Form W-4 with your employer at any time.

18. Pay for something you can get for free. Dust off your library card and check out books, music and movies for free (or dirt-cheap). Don't pay to receive your credit report when you're allowed to get it at no charge by law. Take advantage of kids-eat-free promotions. And dial 1-800-FREE-411 for free directory assistance.

19. Don't use a flexible-spending account. Your employer may allow you to set aside pretax dollars to pay for medical costs not covered by insurance. You can use the money for expenses such as therapy, contact lenses, insurance co-payments and over-the-counter drugs. You may be able to do the same for child-care costs.

20. Pay for unnecessary services. How many cable channels can a person watch? Do you really need all those extra features for your cell phone? Are you getting your money's worth out of that gym membership? Are you taking full advantage of your subscriptions (such as Netflix, TiVo or magazines)? Take a look at what you're paying for and what your family is actually using. Trim accordingly.

12, 14, 18, and 20...those are ones I know I am definitely guilty of. What are you doing to nip your money wasters in the bud today? Tell us about it in the comments?

Source for all tips.

-Alecia D.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Money Wasters: 5 More Tips to Avoid

6. Let your money wallow. If you are stashing your savings in your checking account or a traditional bank account, you are wasting money. You could put it in a high-interest online savings account and get paid to save. You can even get an interest-bearing checking account through such reputable companies as Everbank, Charles Schwab, E*Trade and ING Direct.

7. Pay an upfront fee for a mutual fund. Selecting no-load funds can save you more than 5% in sales charges. Of course, no matter how well a fund has done in the past, you can't be sure how it will perform in the future. But if you pay a load, you'll begin the performance derby in the hole to the tune of the load. See the Kiplinger 25 for our favorite no-load funds.

8. Pay too much in taxes on investments. Are you investing in a tax-sheltered 401(k) or Roth IRA? If you're not maxing out those accounts before you invest in a taxable account, you're spending too much.

9. Buy brand-name instead of generic. From groceries to clothing to prescription drugs, you could save money by choosing the off-brand over the fancy label. And in many cases, you won't sacrifice much in quality. Clever advertising and fancy packaging don't make brand-name products better than lesser-known brands (see Similar Products, Different Prices).

10. Waste electricity. Of the total energy used to run home electronics, 40% is consumed when the appliances are turned off. Appliances with a clock or that operate by remote are typical culprits. The obvious way to pull the plug on your energy vampires is to do just that -- pull the plug. Or buy a device to do it for you, such as a Smart Power Strip ($31 to $44 at, which will stop drawing electricity when the gadgets are turned off and pay for itself within a few months.

-Alecia D.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Money Wasters: First Five Habits to QUIT if you want to save more money!

Hello and Greetings to all of my YBR readers!  It's been a minute since my last post, which is why I want to cut to the chase and jump start things with a series of post aimed at a topic that is very important in today's times.  

Over the next 5 days, I'll post some tips on ways to spot if you are wasting your hard-earned money.  If you are doing these things- STOP! And if you're not, make sure you don't start.  

Here are the first set of tips- Ways to spot if your wasting money!

1. Buy new instead of used. Talk about a spending leak -- or, rather, a gush. Cars lose most of their value in the first few years, meaning thousands of dollars down the drain. However, recent used models -- those that are less than five years old -- can be a real value because you get a car that's still in fine working order for a fraction of the new-car price. And you'll pay less in collision insurance and taxes, too.

Cars aren't the only things worth buying used. Consider the savings on pre-owned books, toys, exercise equipment and furniture. (Of course, there are some things you're better off buying new, including mattresses, laptops, linens, shoes and safety equipment, such as car seats and bike helmets.)

2. Carry a credit-card balance. If you have a $1,000 balance on a card charging 18%, you blow $180 every year on interest. That's money you could certainly put to better use elsewhere. Get in the habit of paying off your balance in full each month.

3. Buy on impulse. When you buy before you think, you don't give yourself time to shop around for the best price. Resist the urge to make an impulse purchase by giving yourself a cool-off period. Go home and sleep on the decision. If you still want to make the purchase a day or so later, do your comparison shopping, check your budget and go for it. Oftentimes, though, I bet you'll decide you don't need the item after all.

4. Pay to use an ATM. A buck or two here and there may not seem like a big deal. But if you're frequenting ATMs outside your bank's network, the surcharges can add up quickly. Put that money back in your pocket by using ATMs in a surcharge-free network such as Allpoint or Money Pass.

5. Dine out frequently. A habit of spending $10, $20, $30 per person for dinner can be a huge drain on your wallet. Throw in a $6 sandwich for lunch and a $4 latte in the morning, and you've got quite a leak. Learn to cook, pack your lunch and brew your coffee at home and you could save a couple hundred bucks each month.

Which one of the above are you guilty of? 1 or all? It's never too late too turn over a new leaf.  Let us know what you are doing to change your bad money habits?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Three Tips to Revamp Your Image

Unless you've been living under a rock lately, I'm sure you've seen Rihanna or Queen Beyonce’s new pictures or videos heating up the place.   If you're like me, then after you’re done drooling over their fabulousness, you are thinking- “How can I bring my swag-factor up to 100% like them”?  Check out these top three tips to do just that!

Tip 1: Get clear on your objective

Consider why you want to change your image in the first place.  Although I used the examples of Rihanna and Beyonce above you should only be using someone else’s persona as inspiration, the goal shouldn’t be to be a carbon copy of anyone.  What makes any woman sexy and fabulous is the fact that she is comfortable in her own skin and enjoys being herself.  Take the time to really think about why you feel your image needs a boost, if it’s for confidence and a fresh perspective then you are on the right path.  Begin to visualize what your new image looks like.  Think about how you would feel if you embodied this new image.

Tip 2: Take Baby steps

It wouldn’t be in your best interest to make any drastic changes.  First, it could be overwhelming to you and those around you if one day you’re plain Jane from next door and the next day you show up as Jenny from the Block (cue Jennifer Lopez after Diddy and before Marc Anthony).  Start rebuilding your wardrobe piece by piece, recycle old clothes, and begin to experiment slowly with different make up and hairstyles.  Before you know it you’ll be looking in the mirror thinking… “Wow, is this ME?!”

Tip 3: Attitude is Everything 

So now that you think the part and look the part, you have to learn how to be the part.  It’s not enough to change your clothes and appearance. If you really want to upgrade your image you have to feel confident and be comfortable with who you are.  Recognize that you have insecurities and strive to work through them.  Write them down if you have to.  Embrace the fact that no one is perfect.  Once you’ve decided to embrace who you are, the only thing left is to act the part until it becomes real.  Start everyday acting as confident as you can.  Think about the person you know that seems to have it all together.  How do they act?  What do they do?  Do the same and you soon will find that it’s no longer an act but who you truly are.

What are some of your image boosting stories?

-Alecia D.

Friday, April 10, 2009

YBR in the Spotlight!

Happy Good Friday! Happy Easter! Happy Passover!  Whatever religion you follow, I truly hope you are enjoying this joyous holiday weekend.

Check out this link, I was featured on an etiquette blog right here on blogspot!  Check it out.

-Alecia D.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Whose Goals are These Anyway?

I found this excerpt from a blog post by The UrbanMonk on . It really struck a cord with me as I read it because it made me re-think my own goals and passion. The current state of our economy has given many people the opportunity to think about where they currently are, what their Plan B would be in case something happens to their job, and what is really important in their lives. As people lose their homes or their jobs they are stuck reassessing their priorities. Many are finding that those things that were once important to them are no longer a big deal. What would you do if you gave upwards of 15, 20 years to a job that in turn showed you how much they appreciated your loyalty by laying you off?

One important way to make sure you are on the right path and doing what you should be is to constantly assess your goals to make sure what you are doing is staying true to yourself and your well being. Check out the excerpt below!

Are Your Goals Yours?

This statement is everywhere, and yet it is ignored so often that it bears repeating: Your purpose is your own. No one can cramp themselves into another person’s definition of happiness and success and, well, expect to be happy and successful.

The difficulties arise at this point, because of our natural reactions: “Of course I am pursuing my own passion!” But are we?

Where do our ideas of success come from? Our parents, or the media, perhaps. Maybe society in general. Be rich; be handsome; be beautiful; be famous. Are these really your goals? Where did they really come from? Can you be absolutely sure that these things will make you happy? I’m not saying yes or no, I’m just asking. It is possible that these things truly do make you happy.

Want to make sure you are following your passion? Read more here.

To Your Success,

Alecia D.

Friday, March 6, 2009

YBR Radio: One on One Interview with Social Media Expert, Leesa Barnes

Named as one of the Top 10 Influential Women in Social Media, Leesa Barnes is an award winning blogger, social media expert and author of Podcasting for Profit. She is President of Caprica Interactive Marketing, a training and development company that teaches businesses how to get active with social media in 3 easy steps using the Marketing Fit system.

Join me this Sunday at 1:30 pm as we have an exclusive one on one interview with this Social Media Expert! Learn about Leesa's journey to the top and also find out tips on getting your business noticed using Social Media.

Check it out!

Monday, March 2, 2009

10 Savvy Saving Tips (From

1. Don't spend it all.
Save $1 every time you break a $5 bill, or save $5 when breaking larger bills.

2. Become a coin collector. Deposit all your loose change from your purchases, pockets or drawers into a savings account. Also, consider Bank of
America's Keep the Change program. Each of your check-card purchases is
rounded to the nearest dollar and the difference is transferred from your
checking to your savings account.

3. Make digital deposits. To establish a pool of money, have a fixed amount
deducted and transferred directly from your payroll monthly," says Patricia
M. Barksdale, vice-president and wealth management adviser for Merrill
Lynch. Save $25 a week and you'll gain $1,300 by the end of the year.

4. Click for coupon savings. Check to track when your favorite products go on sale and find out how to cut your groceries in half. Print
e-coupons and blog to find out secret savings tips.

5. Start charging. Make adult children pay rent, says credit and debt expert
Harrine Freeman. This will teach them financial independence and lessen your debt.

6. Brown-bag it. Eat breakfast at home and bring lunch and snacks to work. Then deposit the money you save in a savings account. That could easily add up to $60 a week (or $3,120 a year), depending on how much you typically spend.

7. Find freebies. The library, museums, community events, and even happy hours all offer fun on the cheap. Check your city or town's Web site for details.

8. Shop resale. Try garage sales, yard sales, thrift stores, and the Goodwill (this works great in high-end neighborhoods). You'd be amazed at how many $1-$5 finds that can save you hundreds each month on everything from clothes to TVs to furniture.

9. Split the tab. Slash your gas and shopping bill in half! Share trips to Costco's or BJ's, car rides to work, or cab rides in the city with friends or work buddies.

10. Barter with buddies. If you know how to cook and your BFF is a tax whiz, offer to make her a great meal while she computes your assets and liabilities. This can be done with friends and colleagues alike. If you don't know anyone who can take advantage of your skills, go to for leads.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Keeping Your Composure in Today's Economy

We're only a couple months into 2009 and I've probably already heard the word "recession" 2,457,393 times.  Is it just me or are you tired of hearing about all of the economic negativity? It's getting so bad that I am now deciding whether or not I should boycott television and radio altogether.

Yes, we're in a recession.  Yes, there were 500,000+ jobs lost last year.  And yes, we have no clue why the government wants to throw another 700 billion dollars at Wall Street.  However, as much as we cry, complain, and get angry about what's going on...the fact still remains that our economy is in crisis.

Instead of thinking of all of the things that have gone wrong and all of the things that could still possibly go wrong, why not use that energy to try and figure out how we can take control of our own situation and make things better for ourselves and our families.

1. If you are one of those individuals who have recently lost your job, think of new ways to create cash flow.  Since being an employee is not the most desirable or attainable method at the moment, why not think of ways to become an entrepreneur?  There are many resources out there today on how you can turn your passion into profit with little or no start up capital.  It is a documented phenomenon that during times of economic crisis, the rates of entrepreneurs soars as people begin to find ways to take control of their own finances.  Check out my latest podcast here on how to transition from employee to entrepreneur.

2. Limit the amount of time you spend watching the news.  Believe it or not, the media plays a huge role in fueling the feelings of negativity and despair that many people are facing today.  If we are constantly being bombarded with words and images about being broke, destitute, poor, and hopeless then we will begin to internalize these thoughts before long.  Make a deliberate effort to focus on the positive opportunities that are out there for you and your family instead of those negative ones that we are being force-fed daily.

3.  Realize that the good times are almost here.  The economy, like most life processes, is cyclical in nature.  We are no doubt experiencing the most unprecedented recession of our lives, however, it is only one part of the bigger picture and eventually the tide will be pushed back and we will see prosperous times once more.  What we can do during this time is learn from the mistakes we've made over the past years and put new processes in place to assure that we are adequately prepared for the next downturn.

Friday, January 30, 2009

How to Prepare for a Lay Off

We all know the unemployement rate is rising daily. Researchers are saying that our economy is in the worst shape it's ever been in since the Great Depression. The Great Depression? If I remember correctly from my 7th grade Social Studies class, that was the time in history when people had to wait on lines to get bread and other necessities. If that's where we're headed, then my thought is that it's definitely time to get prepared.

Check out this article I found on on how employee's can get themselves prepared just incase one is faced with an unavoidable lay off.

Read full article here.

To Your Success,
Alecia D.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Three Ways to Boost Your Confidence Instantly

At the center of most of the issues that young, black women face is lack of self-confidence. You know the issues- staying in a dead end relationship, settling for a job that's going nowhere, etc. Some times it may seem that it's easier to go with the flow than it is to make the necessary changes we need to start a better life. Here are a few ways to boost your self-confidence instantly. Once you begin to feel confident about yourself, others will start to see you that way also. Before long it will become easier for you to make those challenging decisions that will help you improve your situation!

Make eye contact.
A long overlooked tidbit for many is the importance of eye contact. This small step does wonders in boosting your confidence as it makes you seem self-assured. Many of the movers and shakers that we look up to have long mastered the art of this. Practice looking directly into the eyes of everyone you speak to for the next few days- from the CEO of the company you work for to the individual who restocks the napkins in the pantry. A confident woman knows her worth as well as the worth of others and is never intimidated during conversations. Make it a common practice to have engaging and genuine eye contact and watch others react to you differently.

Become a fast walker. Sounds ridiculous at first, right? But give this some thought. If you were the President of a multi-million dollar company and had a busy day packed with meetings, conference calls, and check-signing, your time would be very valuable to you, correct? You would definitely be in a hurry and would not want to waste time sluggishly walking from place to place. Deliberately walk 25% faster than you currently do and people will begin to subconciously think "she's going places".

Dress for Success. No, this does not mean that you need to charge up $800 worth of clothes at Bloomingdales. This simply means that you should strive to always present the most put together look you can at all times. Ever heard of the saying "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have"? Well this saying certainly does apply to confidence building. It's easier for others to see you as a strong, confident woman if you look the part. You can still be comfortable and true to your own personal style, but always remember that confident people almost always look put together from the inside out.

To Your Success,
Alecia D.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Get Your Publicity on in 2009

Want to spread the word about your business?? Check out this list! 50 Links to Press Release Submission Websites! (Most of them free) Get your publicity on in 2009!

To Your Success,
Alecia D.

Monday, January 19, 2009

3 Ways Video Can Ruin Your Personal Brand

Check out this blog post on the YBR Social Network here!

Alecia D.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Are you or someone you know a Young, Black, Rich Diva who deserves the spotlight?  Tell us all about her in 200 words or less!  If selected, her bio will be featured on the YBR Newsletter as well as the main page of the YBR social network!  Please be sure to include the following!

Full Name
Why she encompasses the Beauty, Brains, and Boldness of a YBR woman
Link to her website (if applicable)
Contact info

Please send all submissions to

To Your Success,
Alecia D.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Think and Grow Rich Diary: Think and Grow Rich confidence boosters

One of YBR blog readers, Jaky has a great blog on blogspot.. check out his post below!

Think and Grow Rich Diary: Think and Grow Rich confidence boosters

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Year's Resolutions Revealed: Get Your Money in Order

Ok, so we're 14 days into this new year and I hope that you still have your goals/resolutions for 2009 fresh in your mind. If you've already forgotten them (shame on you ;) don't worry- it's time for a refresher course.

If you're like me- then you consider yourself to be an independent woman with a good head on her shoulders. You're also ambitious and always up to challenge yourself, right? With that said, I'm sure that one of your goals for 2009 was to get your finances in order. If that's the case check out these fabulous tips that will help you do just that.

Figure out where you are.
The first step in getting your finances in order is to assess the damage. Carve out at least a two hour block of time and find somewhere to go where you can be fully focused. Gather your bills, bank statements, credit card statements, a phone, blank notebook, and a pen. Take the time to record exact amounts of how much money you owe and how much money you have on hand. Call up each and every creditor if you have to. Don't complete this process until you are confident that you have a clear understanding of exactly what your financial picture looks like. This is the first and most important step in getting your money situation on the right track.

Create a spending plan.
After you've assessed the damage, it's time for damage control! Take inventory of every item that you spend money on each month. Compare the total figure with the actual amount of money you bring in. Do the two numbers coincide? After you've paid your living expenses do you have enough money left over to save and also put toward paying down debt? If the answer is no then it's time to rework the numbers until you're able to figure out ways to minimize your expenses. Once you've come up with a plan that works... put it into action!

Pay yourself first.
Don't underestimate the importance of saving. So many times even after we've paid our bills and dug ourselves out of a financial hole, we realize that we are still only one paycheck away from finding ourselves back down at the bottom. In today's economy it is not safe to live paycheck to paycheck. The goal should be to put away at least 10% of your income into a savings account. If you can do more awesome! If you can't, do what you can comfortably afford. In the beginning stages it's more important that you build the habit of saving than the actual number. It helps to make the process automatic. I use ING Direct for my savings account and they have an outsanding service!

What are some of your success stories when it comes to getting out of financial crisis?

To Your Success,
Alecia D.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!


Yes, yes- it's true. My birthday is today and I had a bright idea! Because I'm so happy and grateful to be given another year of life by the Universe/God, I'm going to give away gifts instead of receiving them. Isn't that great? It's my birthday, but all of you get rewarded!

Here's the deal: The first 25 people to email me at will receive a FREE consultation for my coaching program! That's right, all you have to do is send me an email with "FREE Consultation" in the subject line and I'll get back to you with with my availability. Believe me, this is a great opportunity. What a wonderful way to set your goals for 2009 in motion with some FREE coaching!

For those of you who aren't familiar with my coaching program, check out the details below!

The (Silver) Coaching Package includes:
A 30 minute in-depth all-inclusive consultation session designed to asses your current state and your proposed goals
Three 60 minute one-on-one phone sessions tailored to fit your needs specifically

The (Gold) Coaching Package includes:
A 30 minute in-depth all-inclusive consultation session designed to asses your current state and your proposed goals
Four 60 minute one-on-one phone sessions tailored to fit your needs specifically
One, free e-book from Alecia D. every month
Weekly inspirational tips and quotes to keep you highly motivated and focused

The (Platinum) Coaching Package includes:
A 30 minute in-depth all-inclusive consultation session designed to asses your current state and your proposed goals
Five 60 minute one-on-one phone sessions tailored to fit your needs specifically
One, free e-book from Alecia D. every month
Weekly inspirational tips and quotes to keep you highly motivated and focused
Admittance into the YBR e-Club (highly interactive coaching/mentoring program where you gain access to all of my resources), including personal cell phone access to Alecia D.

For more info or to reserve your package today, please email or call 206.426.5361

To Your Success,
Alecia D.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Building Successful Relationships: Top Tips to Snag Your Next Love Connection

Greeting Ladies!

I was having a conversation with one of my male co-workers yesterday and we got on the subject of the characteristics of a successful woman. We began to list all the basics- well educated, great job, good credit and so on until we felt we had a pretty comprehensive list. I thought we did pretty good and I was confident that I encompassed at least 90% of the list.

It wasn't until a few hours later that he sent me a text saying the following:
"You know what's one of the most important characteristics? Ability to get and keep a fulfilling relationship with a man."


That hadn't even occurred to me. After I gave it some thought, I decided it was a valid characteristic. Of course, we YBR women do not need a man to validate who we are, however, for the most part- participating in a fulfilling, lasting relationship is a goal of many young women. Sadly though, alot of us are not equipped to do just that. Check out some tips below that are sure to turn your relations with men from not so great to huge success!

1) Like yourself. IF YOU DON'T THINK YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, INTERESTING, AND WORTHY OF BEING DATED- then guess what? No man will either. It may seem simple enough, but this one tip truly plays a huge part in why some women never seem to have issues with getting and keeping relationships and other women do. On a sub-conscious level, men are attracted to women who are attracted to themselves! Like yourself- as a matter of fact- LOVE yourself and the men will come running!

2) Like men. Seems obvious doesn't it? Well, it actually isn't. How many times this week have you said "All men are dogs" or "There aren't any good men out there" or my personal favorite, "All the good ones are taken..or gay." If this is how you truly feel, then why are you looking for a relationship in the first place? This is the logic the universe sees also and is the reason why so many smart, successful black women are still single. Change your thoughts about men no matter what happened in your past. There are always opportunities for new beginnings.

3) Treat every man you meet as a unique human being. This has to be one of the most challenging tips for me, I must admit. There are times when I hear a story from a friend about what a man has done to her or even think back on my own past experiences with men and the anger starts to build up. It's at these times that I may not be as nice as I should be to the next man I encounter. This definitely is NOT the way to go. If you enter a relationship with a man (whether it be platonic or intimate) and are harboring feelings of resentment or ill will, it will eventually begin to manifest itself into your situation. Remember to treat men the way you would want to be treated.

4) Go where the men go. This is probably one of the most important tips. Although it is likely, it is not very probable that you will meet your future husband at the nail salon or the supermarket. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and going to different places- try sports bars, adult ed classes in real estate, finance, or car repair, bookstores (especially cafe bookstores, and ski trips. Get involved with volunteer work. Go fishing. Not only will you begin to expand your own horizons and develop new hobbies and interests, you may run into a new love interest.

These tips may seem too easy to work, but I assure you they do. Whatever you do, remember that you are Young, Black, and Rich and you deserve to be loved for who you are!

To Your Success,
Alecia D.

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About Alecia D.

Brooklyn, NY, United States
I am a Successful Lifestyle Consultant studying such philosophies as The Law of Attraction, Zen habits, and the Principles of Meditation and have been featured on,, and Ezine Articles as an expert author. I am interested in success- being successful and helping others be successful!