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.

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!