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I haven’t always welcomed the arrival of Black History Month.

I grew up in Moore, Oklahoma a small city on the edge of Oklahoma City which has become known for its devastating tornadoes.

Oklahoma isn’t exactly an incubator for diversity and Moore wasn’t any different. Although student enrollment changed year to year due to our proximity to a military base I was often one of ten black children in the entire school and typically found myself to be the lone black child in my entire class.

I will never forget the day my fourth-grade teacher looked at me during the Black History Month lesson as she spoke about the slave trade. I can still hear her condescending voice as she described the inhumane conditions in which slaves were captured and forcibly brought to this country. It was as if she received pleasure watching me sit uncomfortably and fight back the tears as she recounted details from our textbook. I was the student she detested. I was smart, well loved, fully supported by my parents, and well adjusted. And I was black.

She sought to highlight my flaws every chance she got, and our black history month lessons were her ammunition.

In a class full of students I felt alone at my desk as my white and Hispanic classmates followed the teacher’s eye line and stared at me, a young representation of the resilience of the slaves who made it through the passage, the Jim Crow Era, Vietnam, and the Reagan years.

I should have been proud.

Now I know that my very existence is proof of my ancestors’ strength, but ten-year-old Tonya was just plain ol’ embarrassed. My teachers actions made me feel worthless and even more out of place in that Moore classroom.

My saving grace was the home that my parents created for me and my sister, where they constantly reminded us of our worth, our beauty, and our brilliance.

The Evolution Begins

We left Oklahoma after my first year of Junior High School and relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. For the first time in my life I sat in a class that was racially mixed. A wide array of students of all ethnicities filled the seats in my classroom.

As Black History Month rolled around I didn’t know what to expect in my new school.

The first day of February I was greeted in the school lobby with bulletin boards and exhibits highlighting the accomplishments of Black Americans. It wasn’t our pain on display, but our accomplishments, our brilliance, our contributions to America and the world.

It was that day that Black History Month changed for me.

It became more than the Negro National Anthem and counting all of the ways that George Washington Carver utilized the peanuts. The lessons instilled by my parents began to take root as I buried myself in stories of black revolutionaries and inventors.

I became obsessed with learning about my history and the more I learned the more empowered I became.

As a woman of African descent who identifies as African American every single day of my life is Black Appreciation Day. But today, Black History Month is a month where we take center stage in classrooms, buildings, and programming throughout the country and are recognized for all that we as a people have contributed to this country despite the historical and ongoing atrocities committed against people of African descent.

To celebrate Black History Month this year at My Fab Finance we’re highlighting Black Wealth Creators who are creating noteworthy financial legacies and inspiring future generations to be financially successful and responsible.

Negative statistics and narratives are only a fraction of the story yet they often overshadow our experience and the work so many of us put in day in and day out to rewrite our stories and to break the chains of poverty and oppression.

This Black History Month may we remember that it is up to us to own our narrative and continue to chart our course toward financial freedom so that we can create lives that we are proud of and that we love.

This #BlackHistoryMonth may we remember to own our narrative and continue to pursue financial…
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Happy Black History Month.

This article was sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001. www.massmutual.com All opinions are those of the author.

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We all have body goals, but emptying your pockets at the gym is not to only way to achieve your goals. You can get fit, stay fit, and obtain those body goals without breaking the bank. It’s time to make your workout routine and path to a healthier lifestyle both enjoyable and affordable without sacrificing your health or your finances.

Plan Ahead.  Preparation is the name of the game when it comes to maintaining your waistline and sticking your budget. At the beginning of each week, plan out all of your meals before heading to the grocery store. Write down all of the ingredients and items you will need to avoid forgetting something. This will help you to have laser focus when walking down the store aisles. Also, use this prep time to look for coupons and sales that can help you save even more.

Call On A Friend. When trying to reach your goals, the right support and motivation is crucial. Finding an accountability partner or buddy can help to keep you on track. For your fitness goals, you can partner up with a friend, family member, or co-worker who also has similar goals.

The two of you can agree to work out together and check in at specified days and times to assess your progress. This can also eliminate the expense of a trainer. Can you say double savings?!  

Eat Out Less, Dine-In More.  All of the birthday parties, date nights, and dinners can lead to a whole lot of socializing and the temptation to indulge in one too many treats and alcoholic drinks. Making the decision to be a “homebody” or simply dining in more can help you to stay the course.

Become more selective with how often you eat out. This way you can keep more money in your pocket. Going out to eat with friends, or for drinks, every day can add up quickly. Prioritize which events you want to go to and which ones you can pass on. Stick to a set number of festivities each week or month and document your spending in a tracking sheet or in a notebook.  

Allow these options to motivate you to reach your fitness and financial goals. It is possible to get into the spirit of the season without later experiencing the guilt of not staying disciplined. Decide that you want it bad enough and formulate a plan that you can work with. When the holidays are over, you will feel empowered by the fact that you feel good, look good, and have money in the bank.  

Contributor: Candice Davie

Blog: My Fab Finance

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Now that the holiday season is over, it doesn’t mean the spending stops. Many of us are shopping, traveling, eating out, catching all the new movies, celebrating birthdays, and enjoying quality time with family and friends. But how can you be generous and buy gifts for others, and even yourself, without breaking the bank?

While gift giving can oftentimes be “difficult” for those who may have just experienced a layoff, loss of a loved one, experienced a break-up or financial hardship, those of us more fortunate can help to spread kindness and generosity without going in debt.

Small, inexpensive gestures can make a huge impact. Here are 10 ways to be generous during without breaking the bank:

1) Cook or purchase a meal for an individual or a family

If you are unable to cook, use UberEats, DoorDash or a restaurant’s delivery service to send a surprise dinner to a loved one as a gift.

2) Pay someone’s past due electricity bill

The seasons can be harsh depending on geographic location. Whether it’s heat or air conditioning, those bills can get pretty heavy. Why not ensure someone has continuous comfort in their home? If you don’t know anyone personally, ask your local utility company to apply a payment to a random person’s past due account. Kindness brings good karma… what goes around always comes back around.

3) Offer someone a ride to work or school

If you know someone who rides the bus/train or walks every day, offer to pick them up or drop them off. Or offer to pay for an Uber or Lyft ride.

4) Spend time with a child who has no siblings

Take them to see a movie, bowling, games, etc. Bring along some other kids, if you can, so that child can have fun bonding with you and the other kids.

5) Write an uplifting note to someone

Most people don’t send or receive handwritten notes anymore. Show someone some love by sending them one. Mail it or deliver in person if possible.

6) Purchase a Full Body Massage Gift Card

If you know someone who’s always working during the holidays and doesn’t get much time off, relaxation is definitely a necessity for them.  

7) Offer to babysit the kids

Offer to babysit for a single parent or couple who doesn’t get a break often, so that they can have a date night or enjoy some much-needed ME time.

8) Purchase a gas card

Gas can be expensive, especially if you have responsibilities all over town or drive long distances to work. Gift a gas card to someone who frequently drives long distances to work.

9) Visit with someone in person 

Go to someone’s home and just talk or watch a movie. Money doesn’t always have to be spent to have a good time. Sometimes just sitting and talking can be a great way to stimulate your mind.

10) Host a Vision Board Party

We are all works in progress. We all have goals and dreams to accomplish. Why not connect with others and provide a safe and judgment-free zone to encourage, motivate and inspire? Any day can be your personal New Year, and what better way to help someone else (or even yourself) hit reset on your life and get clear on your visions by creating an action plan for success!

Contributor: Cleo Davis

Blog: My Fab Finance

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I’m often asked what’s the biggest financial mistake millennials make when it comes to their finances. In the past, responses have been not getting started or paying for services they can do themselves, for less. After five years of teaching financial education, I’ve realized that one of the biggest mistakes millennials make when it comes to their finances is focusing on only one aspect of their financial journey.

When I say focus, I don’t mean assessing their overall picture and choosing a starting point with the intention of moving to the next once they’ve successfully achieved the task at hand. I mean assuming that just because one component of their financial picture is complete, their work is done and they can live financially happily ever after.

A few focus area’s millennials commonly get fixated on are student loan elimination, accumulating savings, growing their investment portfolio, and improving the credit score, but it’s important to not lose sight of your DTI.

#RealMoneyTalk: On Debt-to-Income Ratio - YouTube
Since my last post about how I dealt with financial shame, I heard a variety of responses from you all about what caused you financial shame such as:

  • You feel financial shame whenever you spend money.
  • Establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship with money remains a challenge.
  • You feel like money controls you instead of you controlling it.
  • Creating financial boundaries that allow you to focus on your financial goals is a challenge

There are a lot of things to focus on and sometimes it’s hard to know when and where to start.

While credit scores are important, they are only one piece of your broader financial puzzle. To make sure you’re looking at your finances holistically, try out Turbo – it will show you your debt to income ratio (DTI), which is a number important to lenders because it helps them measure your ability to manage monthly payments and repay debts.

Turbo will help you check your DTI and provide you with an overview of how you stand, financially. You can also get tips and advice in certain areas that you want to focus on to improve your finances.

The most important thing to think about when starting your financial journey is remembering that you’re not alone, and realizing that there are tons of people going through what you’re feeling right now – stay positive and arm yourself with the right tools that will help you in your journey.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Turbo. The opinions and text are all mine.

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The first time I reviewed my credit report it felt like I was walking into a well-appointed room decorated with mistakes from my past. Some were bigger than others, but they were all there, and every line of my report reminded me of a bad financial decision that I would have loved to forget about — but due to my neglect, these mistakes were anchored to the walls and rubbed into the fabric of the carpet that paved my financial journey.

This process was filled with several emotions and I transitioned from optimism, to regret, to embarrassment, to shame. I began to question whether or not I had the tools and resources that would be necessary to untangle my financial mess.

The most painful and embarrassing part of the process came from confronting a financially abusive relationship that left me with physical scars, a drained savings account, maxed out credit cards, and collection items on my credit report. I was ashamed that I, the girl who grew up in a loving household, was a victim of abuse. I will never forget the feeling I had when my human resources manager called me into her office to inform me that Bank of America had won a court judgment to garnish my wages to pay off the balance for a credit card I maxed out during that relationship. As someone who prided herself on looking like she had it all together, I was devastated. Not about the fact that $180 was being deducted from my already meager non-profit paycheck bi-weekly, but that my job knew the truth about me and my financial situation.

I was a financial wreck.

To deal with the shame, I dug myself deeper into a hole. I clung to retail therapy because for me, looking good took precedence over being and feeling good.

Beginning The Road To Financial Freedom

Eventually I became tired of avoiding calls and feeling restrained by my financial history. I called the one person who I knew wouldn’t judge me, my younger sister, and came clean. After tearful confessions to her and my parents, I vocalized my intentions to become proactive about my financial situation and create a new story. I decided to start a blog to document my journey to financial freedom and My Fab Finance was born.

As my peers learned about my site they started sharing their stories and fears with me. We all began to feel a weight lift as we began to drop the financial baggage we had been carrying. Confessing what brought us financial shame allowed us to empower others, and ourselves, with life-changing solutions.

Talking about our experiences and financial secrets helped us realize that we weren’t alone. And if you’re reading this post, I want you to know that you’re not alone.

I’ve partnered with Intuit, the makers of TurboTax and Mint, to drive the conversation about money through their #RealMoneyTalk campaign for Turbo. Turbo, is a free tool that gives you a complete look at your financial health – your credit, debt-to-income ratio and verified IRS income. I like it because it shows me where I stand financially, and if I am on track in comparison to my peers — it benchmarks users across categories so you can make your next financial decisions with more confidence.

Recently, Turbo gathered strangers from completely different walks life and encouraged them to confess their feelings about money. Have a look at what happened:

#RealMoneyTalk - YouTube

Now that I’ve shared my money story and you’ve watched complete strangers share theirs, I invite you to take a step towards releasing the shame and taboos surrounding financial discussions and share your story with us. The more we share, the more we normalize financial conversations that can help us heal and inspire others to begin their journey. If you’ve confronted your shame and fear, and want to empower someone else who may be feeling hopeless, please invite them to join the conversation. All I ask is that you loop us in on social media or comment below. If you share your story (tagging @IntuitTurbo, #RealMoneyTalk and #sweepstakes), you’ll also have the chance to win $5,000 cash!

Remember, you are not alone and you are supported on this journey.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Turbo. The opinions and text are all mine.

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As a couple, it can be difficult to get on the same page financially and agree upon sensitive financial topics. We may have different backgrounds, experiences, personalities, and preferences when it comes to money.

Fortunately, there are ways to stay on track, keep focused and have fun. My wife and I have monthly check-ins we call Finance Dates. We’ll describe what they are and why they’re important.

What Is a Finance Date?

My wife and I have a monthly Finance Date on the calendar to check in on our financial progress from the previous month, assess our current status, and review our progress toward our annual goals. There’s an element of the past (what we did last month), the present (where are we now) and future (where are we trying to go). This keeps us laser-focused on our financial goals so that we can make adjustments along the way, as opposed to setting the same goals and resolutions year after year.

One of the advantages of being in a relationship is having a built-in accountability partner. It is an opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths to keep making progress. For example, for Finance Dates, if one partner is more of a planner and detail-oriented, they could take the lead in organizing the finances. I’m a personal finance nerd, so reviewing our spending, updating our budget, tracking our net worth and forecasting ahead is actually fun for me. If the other partner is more free-spirited and spontaneous, they can take the lead in organizing the date. Whatever your strengths are, BOTH partners need to be involved in understanding and agreeing upon your financial goals. It is essential that each person understands all the financial accounts, where they are, how to access them and their purpose. Just because one partner takes the lead in organizing doesn’t absolve the other partner of their responsibilities. Talking about money doesn’t have to be stressful, judgmental and depressing. It can actually be fun!

How Do You Make Finance Dates Fun?

Use your Finance Dates as an opportunity to celebrate! Any time you set long-term goals, it’s really important to celebrate the small wins. The small wins are what keep you motivated along the path to achieving the big goals! Paid off a credit card? Celebrate! Saved $200 by making breakfast and bringing lunch to work? Celebrate! Paid off a student loan? Celebrate! Increased your credit score? Celebrate! As the liquor commercials say, Please Celebrate Responsibly! This is where the strengths of the more spontaneous, free-spirited partner can come in! Ice cream and a mid-afternoon dance party at home? Yes, please! Your favorite evening go-to romantic activity? Oh yeah! Be creative and find ways to enjoy the process of moving toward your goals. Even if there isn’t all that much to celebrate on paper, the very fact that you two are coming together to review your finances and discuss how to improve is, in fact, a WIN!! Consider all the couples that are not doing it!

We know that finances are one of the top reasons for divorce and the biggest source of stress for most individuals and couples. We created a Finance Date checklist to help you in these discussions and recommend a monthly cadence to both improve the relationship and make progress on your financial goals. Use your advantages as a couple to turn that potential source of stress into an opportunity to get closer and celebrate each other!

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We’ve finally reached that time of year, the holidays. If you’re anything like me, right about now you’re waist-deep in travel plans, holiday meal planning, and of course, the dreaded gift shopping. It seems like every year we go into this frenzy trying to find the “perfect” gifts for our loved ones, scouring the internet for deals, fighting with random strangers over the last hot item on sale on Black Friday, and maxing out our budgets, all in the name of Christmas.

Well if you’re still paying off those credits cards from last year’s holiday spending spree, skip the lines this season and instead consider giving the gift that truly does keep on giving. I’m talking about the gift of financial health and wealth. Here are just a few ways to wealth building gift ideas that won’t break the bank. 

Sign them up for a financial planning seminar.

All you have to do is check out Instagram and Facebook and you’ll find tons of resources, tips, and online communities solely dedicated to helping people get their money right. There is no shortage of seminars, both online and in-person, happening throughout the country to get information on everything financial from getting out of debt and boosting your credit scores, to planning for retirement. So for that friend or family member who has shared with you that their goals for 2018 involve working on their finances, give them the gift of financial education by offering to pay for their seat in a financial planning workshop. (Hint: You can find some great resources at My Fab Finance.)

Open a savings account for your child and talk to him/her about the importance of saving.

Have your child break open that piggy bank and store their change in an interest-bearing account. Talk with them about the importance of not only saving, but saving their money in spaces where it has the ability to grow over time. Get them comfortable with building a nest egg to use later in life for what really matters. Teach them how to monitor their accounts each month to see how their money is growing as they continue to make small deposits over time. If you want to shop around for banks with the best interest rates, check out Nerd Wallet to compare.

Purchase stock.

Have you ever spent so much money in a store you jokingly said to yourself, “as much money as I’ve spent in this place, I should own stock in it.” Well that doesn’t have to be a joke. And for that special someone in your life, gifting them shares of a company that they love and may already patronize frequently, can be a great way to sow seeds into their financial future. You can purchase stocks in a number of ways. If you are currently an investor, you can transfer stocks that you own to someone else with a simple transfer form. Contact your broker to get details on the specific process. If you don’t currently own stock and want to make a one-time purchase, you can go through sites like Give A Share or Unique Stock Gift to purchase shares, and some companies even still give out an official certificate of stock to make the gift complete. You can also purchase stock directly from some companies. For a list of companies that allow direct share purchases, check out First Share.

Holiday gift giving doesn’t have to be stressful. And with these simple and thoughtful investments, you no longer have to feel bad shelling out hundreds of dollars every year wondering if the receiver will use it once and toss it on the shelf. Financial wealth is something that can be used over and over again and then some and there’s nothing more valuable and useful than that.

Happy shopping!

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If you don’t work, you don’t eat. Truer words have never been spoken. But here’s something that also rings true. Even if you do work, if you don’t create a food budget that fits your lifestyle and paycheck, you could end up eating cup o’ noodles by the end your pay cycle as you wait for the next paycheck.

Last year, Forbes reported that millennials spent at least 44% of their food dollars (an average of $2291) on dining out and placed such a high value on quality eating that they delayed making long term investments like purchasing homes because of it. If you’re reading that and thinking, “That’s insane!”, you’re probably not alone.

Let’s discuss ways to save money so that you can stretch those dollars, eat like royalty, yet make smart financial decisions. Here are some budget friendly food options that won’t break the bank!

IT’S NOT DELIVERY, IT’S BLUE APRON!

Most people dine out because of convenience and they want something different from the meals they are comfortable preparing.

Meal services like Blue Apron and Home Chef are on the rise, particularly among busy millennials and young families with limited time to grocery shop and meal plan during the week. These services combine the convenience of delivery with the cost effectiveness of home cooking. You choose from a list of delicious gourmet recipes for the week, select the frequency of your meals and voila! Healthy, simple, fresh ingredients delivered to your doorstep to keep your tastebuds happy for the week and your wallet full. Prices typically range from $9 to $10 per serving so plan to spend between $50 and $60 per week for dinner (based on ordering at least 5 meals per week) if you’re just ordering for yourself and around $100 per week for you and another person. Family plans are also available for discounted rates if you’re feeding a family of 4 or more. This is a pretty great deal considering that most American families spend an average of $150 per week on groceries and even more a month dining out.

Plus chances are these options are healthier than fast-food options and could reduce healthcare costs over time.

COUPON LIKE YOUR MAMA TAUGHT YA.

Think couponing is only for old ladies with fanny packs? Think again.

Couponing is coming back with a vengeance, especially with the invention of apps like FLIPP that bring coupons and circulars from your favorite local grocery stores straight to your smart phone. You can also download and virtually clip coupons from websites such as Coupons.com, SmartSource.com and Redplum.com.

The trick to couponing is being organized and planning ahead. Before you go to the store, take inventory of what you already have in your fridge and pantry, then check out what coupons are available for the items you need, and make your grocery list. Also check out the weekly circulars for in-store sales on items and see if you can double your coupon value by applying them to items already on sale.

Lastly, if you tend to shop at the same stores, signing up for your favorite store’s loyalty rewards cards could also unlock some extra savings. It’s also not uncommon for many stores to have hot meals that are already prepared that might be discounted.

PLAN YOUR MEALS.

This can go hand in hand with couponing.

As you are reviewing sale items and items you already have at home, put together a meal plan for the week using those items. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind eating leftovers, plan on buying enough ingredients that will make enough servings for you to have the next day for either lunch or dinner. As we’re moving into the fall season, crockpots can be your best friend and the key to making warm delicious one-pot meals that can either be eaten the same day or frozen for future use. They also don’t require you to be a master chef. Need some culinary inspiration for your meals? Check out websites like Allrecipes.com or MyFridgeFood.com that allow you to input the ingredients you have available in your fridge and provide you with  a list of meals and recipes that will have your kitchen smelling fabulous. Not to mention your plates will be Instagram-worthy.

Eating well doesn’t have to mean blowing your budget. You can be a savvy shopper if you’re intentional about your food purchases and utilize the resources available to you. It’s all about doing what’s going to work best for you, your stomach, and your financial situation.

Bon appetit!

Contributor: Christina Merriweather

Blog: My Fab Finance

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I don’t have health insurance, now what?

According to the Henry Kaiser Foundation, by the end of 2016 the number of uninsured nonelderly Americans was 28 million. Under the current administration the number of uninsured has risen to a three year high. While the Obama Administration made strides under ACA with a public health insurance plan, many of the uninsured population in the United States lacked health insurance due to the high cost of health coverage. Many Americans are lucky enough to have health coverage, but many Americans lack health insurance for a variety of reasons. Some people may not have health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, while others may be uninsured due to an accident or recent job loss. Luckily you do not have to sacrifice your health due to being uninsured. Here are ten options to consider if you don’t have insurance:

  1. Have an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses The first source is always YOU. Having money saved will go a long way if you are uninsured. Depending on the services or products you need, sometimes you may be required to pay the costs in full or at least a percentage. You will have some peace of mind if you have your own money set aside.

  2. Ask for uninsured discounts When you are receiving medical services or products, most times they will give you a discount if you pay in cash or by check.

  3. Ask for a payment plan Some medical offices, especially if you are a regular customer, will allow you to start a payment plan. They will provide you with the services you need now and allow you to spread the cost over the next few weeks or months. You may be required to pay at least five to ten percent of the total balance when services are rendered.

  4. Use Groupon Most times you will find that a dental office, medical office, massage therapist, or chiropractor will offer affordable deals that you may not receive elsewhere.

  5. Ask for new customer prices Most times you can get services and products for free or receive a large discount as a new customer. Sometimes those deals may not be offered or advertised.

  6. Contact local Dental Schools If the work you need is not very serious or complicated, you will find that utilizing the services provided at dental schools are much cheaper. If they are unable to do the work you need, they may have a connection with a company who can provide you with the service at an affordable price.

  7. Ask friends and Family You would be surprised who the people in your life are connected to. Someone always knows someone, who knows someone else. Someone may know of a company who could provide services at a low cost. Everyone loves referrals.

  8. Contact local churches, community centers, and nonprofit organizations They may have connections with local companies or programs that can provide products and services for those who are uninsured and unable to cover the cost themselves.

  9. Try an Urgent Care before the Hospital Emergency Room Unless you have a serious life threatening issue, I would suggest getting services from a local Urgent Care. The emergency room can sometimes have longer wait times and are more expensive.

If you or someone you know is uninsured, these tips will provide a head start with navigating through the experience. Although the results may vary depending on your location and situation, I can guarantee that at least one if not all of these tips will be helpful for someone who is uninsured. The big take away is start with having money saved and be proactive with asking anyone and everyone questions about discounts and other affordable options in your area.

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Fall is finally here, and you know what that means? The weather is changing and so is your wardrobe! Whether you’re working from home or the office, dressing appropriately for your career is imperative. Seasonal changes can make getting dressed somewhat challenging and a little costly. Pour a cup of coffee and continue reading to learn How to Transition your Work Wardrobe from Summer to Fall (on a Budget) for both business professional and casual work environments.

Fall is such a transitional season. It may feel like fall in the morning, summer by lunch and like an autumn night as the sun begins to set. So how in the world do you dress for two different temperatures in one day? Layering! It’s time to pull out those cozy cardigans and opaque tights for that chilly morning commute.

Dresses are one of my favorites. They’re versatile, super easy and perfect for any type of weather. By simply adding the right pieces, this simple look can keep you feeling comfortable throughout any climate change.

Business casual:

  • Layer a basic, fitted tee underneath your sleeveless, midi dress
  • Pointed or round toe flats are comfy for running around the office
  • Add a fun, statement necklace to bring the look together

Business professional:

  • Layer a simple white button-down shirt underneath your sleeveless summer, midi dress
  • Throw on your favorite block heels which are chic but work appropriate
  • Add a gold or silver watch to always keep track of time in between meetings

The power suit is the best way to look well dressed effortlessly. Whether it’s a pantsuit or a skirt suit, you’ll always be work ready in a matter of seconds.

Business casual:

  • Pair your blazer with dark washed denim jeans
  • Layer a clean tee shirt or printed blouse underneath
  • An appropriately sized hoop earring will add just the right touch

Business professional:

  • Wear your entire suit with a solid or printed shell underneath
  • A simple necklace is perfect for this look
  • A pointed toe pump will bring this look together

Skirts can be tricky. It all depends on your height and body shape when deciding which style of skirt to wear to work. Some skirts may deemed inappropriate while others are considered just right. We use the fingertip test to determine if our skirt is appropriate for work. If you’re still having trouble deciding, just think, “knee length”.

Business casual:

  • Rock your favorite pencil skirt with a simple sleeveless tee
  • Pull out your favorite leather jacket to layer over top
  • Throw on a bootie for some added height and flare

Business professional:

  • A pencil skirt is also the ultimate work wear piece
  • A simple shell or blouse can be worn tucked in
  • A tailored blazer and a waist belt will bring this look together

Now that wasn’t that bad, was it? Transitioning your wardrobe into the next season should be fairly easy if you have all the right pieces. For those of you whose work attire is business casual, remember that “business” comes first. If you have to question your outfit, it’s probably not appropriate. For those business professionals, don’t be afraid to add some textures and colors. It’s okay to take a little bit of summer with you into the fall.

Look out for our next post where we’ll discuss fall 2017 trends and where you can find them on a budget!

Written + styled by:

Christen Johnson

Founder of SophisticatedChic Brand, LLC.

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