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Starting a business is no small feat. There are plenty of things that go into starting a business and making sure it’s successful. If you are new to the business world as a first-time business owner, or thinking about starting your first side business, there are a few steps to take to set your business up for success. I’m sharing 5 steps to take before starting a business.

The benefits of starting your own business

Before we dive into the necessary steps anyone should take before starting a business, let’s talk about why starting a business could be very beneficial. According to the 2018 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, 60% of people under the age of 35 have a desire to start a business. There’s good reason for it too! Here are some of the benefits of starting your own business:

#1 – You can be your own boss

Probably the biggest benefit to starting your own business is the fact that you get to be your own boss. You no longer need to answer to anyone but yourself. You are not helping someone else create their dream, you are creating your own dream. When you are your own boss, you can dictate when you work, where you work and how you work.

#2 – You can dictate how much you earn

Another big benefit to owning your own business is you get to dictate how much you earn. You have no cap when it comes to how much money you or your business can make. It’s all based on how much and how hard you work. This means you can reach financial freedom faster than at a normal nine-to-five. This also means you will likely need to work harder than you would at a normal nine-to-five.

#3 – You can create your own success

When you start your own business, you get the opportunity to create your dream life. You can create your own level of success, regardless of what it looks like to you. Obviously, it’s not going to be easy. It’s also not going to be overnight. There will be a lot of work involved, but that means success will be even greater. Check out my startup story in my post Why I Started City Girl Savings. I’m creating my own success and nothing could be better.

The types of businesses you can start

In case you were thinking that a owning or starting your own business means you need a brick-and-mortar location, I need to check you! We are living in a world where technology rules! You can literally start a business right now, as long as you have an internet connection. There are different types of businesses that don’t require a physical location:

  • A blog (which can turn into a business)
  • An online business (products are sold from your website)
  • An Etsy shop
  • Selling stuff online
  • Virtual coaching and consulting via phone or skype
Download the Start-Up Action Plan! I created this workbook to help future business owners get started on the right foot when pursuing owning a business.
5 steps to take before starting a business

Now, are you ready to start your own business? Check out 6 Signs You’re Ready to Start Your Own Business, then come back to this article and ready the 5 steps you need to take before diving into the business owner world!

Step #1 – Think through the type of business you want to start and what problem it will solve

When it comes to starting your own business, you absolutely need to determine the type of business you will be starting and what problem it will solve. In order for a business to be successful, there must be a need for it. People must be interested in what you’re offering. Think about what problem your business will solve and how people will realize they need that problem solved. There’s your marketing campaign!

As I mentioned above, there are plenty of businesses you can start. Think about how you are going to reach your potential customers. Do you plan to only have in-person customers? Are your customers able to find you online? When you know what type of business you want to start, it will make the next steps easier to identify.

Step #2 – Check out your competition and do some market research

If you think your product or service is the first of its kind, chances are you’re wrong. This is especially true if your business is service based. That means you need to do some research. What are your competitors offering? What makes certain competitors more successful over others? What sets you apart from your competition? When you know these answers before you start, you can move forward in a way that sets you apart.

You will also want to research how the market is working or reacting to what you plan to offer. How much are people paying for similar types of products or services? Is your product or service high-end or can any income level have a piece? What is the best way to reach your potential customers? Again, having these answers handy before you start will make your job a lot easier.

Step #3 – Determine how much money you will need to start your business

Guess what? It’s not free to start a business, otherwise everyone would be doing it! The type of business you plan to start will help give you an idea of what it will take financially to get it up and running. A brick-and-mortar location is going to require a lot more money upfront than an online business would.

Regardless of the type of business you plan to start, you need to understand what it will really cost you to get it started and off the group. Then, your plan should be to have that amount handy before you start. You’ll want to avoid taking on debt to start your business. Taking on debt to get started means you will be in the negative from the beginning. Any money you make isn’t profit until the debt is gone.

Step #4 – Set your intentions from a time management perspective

If you plan to start a side business and maintain working your regular job, you will need to set your intentions for working on your business. Think about how much time you can reasonably allocate to starting your business while working at another job. Fortunately (or unfortunately), you will get out what you put in.

If you don’t allocate time for starting and growing your business, it will never happen. If possible, try to think through all the tasks you’ll need to do to get your business going, then write them in your calendar. Unless something crazy happens, stick to the calendar!

Step #5 – Don’t let a fear of not being perfect keep you from getting started

Lastly, when you make the decision to start a business, stick to it and actually start! Sometimes, we (I say we because I’m included in this), can get into our own heads. We can let the fear of not being perfect, or the fear of failing, stop us from actually getting started. That fear can hold you back, and we don’t want that. Be confident in your decision to start a business and move forward. You will never reach the level of success you are capable of if you never get started.

Related: Turn Your Idea into a Business

There’s no denying that starting your own business can have huge perks. There’s also no denying that it will require work and effort, but that shouldn’t hold you back! Have you been considering starting a business? What steps have you taken thus far to get your business up and running? Share your tips, experiences, and thoughts about starting a business in the comments section below!

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post 5 Steps to Take Before Starting a Business appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Boosting your brainpower is actually easier than you might imagine. A lot of people believe that sharpening your mind consists of outlandish techniques. The truth is, sharpening your mind consists of things you can do every day. You might have even incorporated these things into your normal routine without even knowing it. Sharpening your mind can lead to a healthier you, improved memory and mental sharpness.  Check out these 5 easy ways to sharpen your mind and improve your brain’s stamina!

Indulge in Antioxidants

Maintaining a balanced diet is vital to your body and brain. What we consume eventually affects the way we function throughout our day-to-day tasks. Keeping a low sugar diet is a great way to sharpen your mind. You must consume less sugar and incorporate more antioxidants into your daily diet.

Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, thereby leading to chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms. Read the article How Antioxidants Affect Your Body to learn more. There are plenty of foods that include antioxidants such as berries, dark chocolate, carrots, spinach, and red grapes. Drinks like red wine and green tea also have antioxidants.

Play with Puzzles

Puzzles can be such a great way to sharpen the mind. The connections made while working on jigsaw puzzles are not limited to our brain cells. Exercising both sides of the brain simultaneously also allows the brain to move from a “Beta” state, the wakeful mind, into an “Alpha” state, the same mental state experienced while dreaming.

It is fun and really gets the brain working. There have been multiple studies that show those that work on puzzles are less likely to develop certain types of mental illness, including memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s Disease.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the most important practices we as human beings should include in our daily activities. Exercise enhances the effects of helpful brain chemicals and reduces stress hormones. Perhaps most importantly, exercise plays an important role in neuroplasticity by boosting growth factors and stimulating new neuronal connections.

Physical activities that require hand-eye coordination or complex motor skills are particularly beneficial for brain building. Sometimes after a long day at work, our brain can just be very foggy. Mental fatigue is a sign that we need to reboot our brain. Aerobic exercise is particularly good for the brain, so choose activities that keep your blood pumping. A good rule of thumb when exercising is anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.

Avoid Sugar

Countless times, we feel that our bodies need a pick me up, like a rush of energy and we reach for the most surgery item we can find. This only leads to giving us a small rush of energy that shortly leaves us feeling sluggish and back at square one. A person who consumes high amounts of sugar daily can result in inflammation, stress and poor insulin regulation.

Try substituting sugary foods with fish, some meat, a lot of vegetables, some nuts and seeds, some fruit and very little grains. Sugar only makes us more sluggish and let us not forget the number of calories that come with it.

Get rest

Getting rest is one of the key elements in sharpening one’s mind. During the body’s sleep cycles, it helps in flushing the toxic metabolites that also repair our DNA. Sleep also helps to sharpen the memory, and improves problem solving and decision-making skills. The body should at least have 6-8 hours of rest each night in order for the body to function. Read 7 Bad Habits Ruining Your Sleep to make sure you are getting the most of your sleep time.

Related: 6 Ways to Spark Inspiration

Sharpening the mind is something we should be cognitive of and implanting in our daily lives. Simple things such as picking up a puzzle every now and then or changing our diet can make all the difference. Have you tried sharpening your mind? What tips would you like to share with us to help us sharpen our minds? Definitely check out our Instagram and Twitter social media accounts @citygirlsavings. Also, join and like our City Girl Savings Facebook to stay connect with the CGS community.

-Taelor
The CGS Team

Taelor CageContent Contributor
 

The post 5 Easy Ways to Sharpen Your Mind appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Budgeting is a necessity. However, it doesn’t need to be a negative chore. You can make budgeting a fun experience and use it as motivation to keep on track. When you have a budget…more importantly, when you stick to a budget, you put yourself in a position to succeed. All budgets should have categories for your money. I’m sharing a few surprising categories that should be in your budget.

Before we dive into creating categories for your budget, it’s important to understand that your budget should be written down. You can have it set up in an app, a spreadsheet, or physically written. It doesn’t matter what form your budget is in, as long as it’s out of your head! Free up mental space for other things by having your budget somewhere handy.

Why your budget needs categories

When you are creating your budget, you will want to allocate your income to certain things. This is where the concept of “categories” comes in. There are different ways to categorize your income so you can follow your budget. At minimum, you should have general categories in your budget. You can create general categories like food, recreation, housing, and debts.

You can then take it a step further and create sub-categories for the general category names. For example: you have your general category as “Food”. Your sub-categories under “Food” would be groceries, meals out, and work lunches. The more specific you get with your categories and sub-categories, the better able you will be to identify how much money should go where.

This is probably the most critical reason why every budget needs categories. If you simply allocate your income by bills and spending due each pay period, you aren’t getting specific enough. The more specific you are with where your money goes, the less likely you will be to overspend. Obviously, you can set the categories and not follow it, but I know you’re better than that!

5 surprising categories that should be in your budget

As you are creating your budget categories, you can download my budget category checklist to give you a nice head start. If you already have an idea of your budget categories, then great! There are certain areas people leave out of their budget when they shouldn’t. Failing to allocate money to necessities or important items can lead to an ineffective budget.

Category #1: Health-Related Items

Most people leave health-related expenses out of their budget because they think insurance will cover it. For the most part, that isn’t the wrong way to think. However, if there are certain expenses insurance won’t cover, or if you have to pay your co-pays out of pocket, it can do you good to budget for health-related expenses. Expenses like over-the-counter and general medicine, contact lenses, glasses, appointment co-pays and physical therapy should be factored into your budget.

Category #2: Personal Care

Another area people tend to leave out of their budget is personal care. Maybe they don’t leave it out of their budget, but combine it with discretionary spending. Personal care isn’t necessarily discretionary. In fact, taking care of yourself is a necessity. Personal care expenses can include things like massages, fitness classes, nutritionist fees, and therapy.

Category #3: Miscellaneous

Ah, miscellaneous. It’s so vague, especially in terms of your budget…but that’s the point! I always recommend clients factor in a miscellaneous category into their monthly budget. Meaning, they should have funds allocated each month towards miscellaneous spending and expenses. What does “miscellaneous” spending and expenses mean?

Well, I would categorize miscellaneous spending as one-off or non-recurring expenses that aren’t necessarily emergencies, but also don’t need to be factored into a regular budget cadence. If you don’t factor in gifts and events into your budget, then miscellaneous funds can cover those things. Miscellaneous funds can also cover one-off purchases that don’t fit into another budget category, one-time subscription fees, and necessary expenses that weren’t already accounted for.

Category #4: Pets

We can’t forget about our little fur babies! If you have any type of pet, then you likely have expenses associated with that pet. Your pet expenses may not be monthly, but they are definitely recurring on a semimonthly, semi-annual, or annual basis. That means you should factor in a monthly savings for those pet expenses. Nothing is worse than having your money budgeted to the “T” and then you forgot to think about your pet’s annual vet visit!

Category #5: Development and Growth

Another very important area that should not be neglected in your budget is personal development and growth. This could look different to everyone, but things like new books, a library subscription, workshops, career-growth events and mixers, a finance coach, and online courses fall under this category. Anything you would spend money on to increase your knowledge and grow in any particular area can be categorized as development and growth.

Finding the balance between priorities and fun

A lot of people struggle with finding a balance between life’s priorities and fun when allocating their income. I would recommend the Budgeting to Billions course, which outlines the best way to prioritize your income. There are quite a few budgeting methods that work. Everyone’s money style is different, so it’s all about finding what works for you.

At minimum, you will want to make sure that your income is first allocated to your living expenses and necessary bills. Then, you’ll want to allocate money towards saving and additional debt repayment. Lastly, your income should be allocated to the things you like, but aren’t a necessity for living. As long as your priorities are covered, you have money being saved consistently, and you’re paying down debts, the rest can be spent on things you want!

If you’re struggling to allocate your income properly, schedule a free consultation with me now and let’s work through it together!

Related: 10 Budget Categories You Can do Without

A budget is the number one tool for financial success. You can’t get to the next level with your money until you’ve created a budget and mastered how to follow it! Making sure your income is allocated to the right things is crucial! What budget categories do you keep in your budget? Have you thought about the categories listed above? Post a comment below to share!

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post 5 Surprising Categories that Should Be in Your Budget appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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I want you to stop for just a second and imagine how good it would feel to have one month of reserves sitting in a savings account. You just paid your rent and utilities for the month, and you have an additional month’s worth of rent and utilities in your savings account. You have to admit that it would feel great to have that, and would take some of the pressure off of living paycheck to paycheck, or at least month to month.

The thing is, it’s not as hard as it may sound to save up one month’s worth of bills. There is a certain strategy behind saving that amount, especially if you seem to live paycheck to paycheck. I’m going to walk you through the 5 steps to build up one month of reserves in your savings account, so you can focus on other financial goals.

The Paycheck to Paycheck Lifestyle

Before I dive into the best way to build up one month of reserves, I want to touch on the dreaded paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. In case you aren’t aware, the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle is just that. It means you are spending everything in one paycheck and counting down the hours until the next paycheck. You are never able to get ahead because you have just enough in your paycheck to get you by.

Living paycheck to paycheck can certainly be a vicious cycle. It can also feel like there isn’t a way out. Take it a step further and think of what would happen if things did not go according to plan. You have just enough money to cover your bills, but not enough for some unexpected expense to pop up. This can take you from “getting by” to being behind. Being behind likely means you’ll need to use credit cards or tap into whatever savings you may have.

5 Steps to Build Up One Month of Reserves

Instead of staying in a place of financial uncertainty by living paycheck to paycheck, it’s time to break free. Having one month of reserves on hand can give you room to breathe and take care of other financial priorities. Let’s dive into how to build up one month of reserves.

Step 1 – Define your reserves

Before you can start building a savings equivalent to one month’s worth of reserves, you’ll need to define what a reserve is. Things like rent, utilities, personal bills, minimum debt payments and a car payment should all be factored into your reserve list. Essentially, any bill you would need to pay for each month, like clockwork, should be considered a reserve.

Unless you want to, you don’t need to factor in things like gas, groceries, and other discretionary or variable spending into your reserve list. These are things that you do need, but can work around in terms of price and frequency. You want your reserve list to be bills expenses that must be paid every month and likely with a certain amount.

Step 2 – Determine what one month of reserves adds up to

Once you have defined your reserves, it’s time to add them up. Go through each item on your reserve list and put the monthly cost of that item. Once all items have an appropriate price for the month, add up all of the prices. Whatever this number adds up to is the number you need to have in your savings account to have one month’s worth of bills and expenses that make up your reserves.

Step 3 – Identify how much you can cut back to save towards your reserves

Now, we’re getting somewhere! You know what bill or expense constitutes a reserve, and what all of your reserves add up to for a monthly total. Now, it’s time to strategize how you can get there. The first and best place to start is by reviewing your budget.

Is there any area or category that can be cut back or cut out to help you build your savings? Spending $25 less a month on groceries, $15 less a month on gas, and $10 less a month on going out to eat adds up to $50 that can be saved. $50 may not seem like a game changer in regards to your reserves, but it will add up.

Step 4 – Make up your reserve amount faster by bringing in extra money

Sometimes, there isn’t much room in your budget to cut back. All that means is that you need to bring in more money to get to your reserve amount. Can you work overtime or extra hours at your job? Can you take a part-time job at night? Maybe you can sell things on Poshmark? There are plenty of ways you can give your income a boost.

Make sure that whatever you do to bring in more money or cut back to save more, you actually put those extras in a savings account dedicated to your one month’s worth of bills. You can always find a purpose for the money, but you’ve already decided its purpose is for building up your reserve account! Stay strong and don’t use the money until you’ve reached your goal.

Step 5 – Don’t wait until you have your full reserve amount to save it

You may have gathered this from my comment above, but once you start saving for your reserves, put that money into a separate account instantly. You don’t have to wait until you have the full amount of reserves before putting it into its own account. You should start separating that money the moment you have something saved.

This will make it easier for you to avoid spending it on other things. Separating it along the way will also give you motivation to keep going. As you see your reserve savings account growing each month, you will want to keep building it up. Larger account balances serve as great motivation to stay focused!

What Happens After You Have One Month of Reserves?

Slow and steady wins the race! You may not get your one month of reserves saved up right away, but keep at it. Consistency is so powerful in reaching any type of goal, even financial ones. If you keep at it, you will have one month of reserves in your savings account.

Once you get there, you’ll probably wonder “what’s next?” Fair question! Once you have your reserves built up, you can focus on the next financial goal. Things like paying down debt (especially high interest debt), saving for emergencies, or saving for your next big purchase are priorities for everyone. Shift your money saving (and money growing) efforts to your next goal! Don’t be tempted to go back to your old spending ways. You’re on a new level now!

Map out your financial priorities, create a budget to reach them, and get on financial track today! Schedule a free consultation with me to learn more!

Related: How to Get One Month Ahead on Bills

Follow the 5 steps above and you will build up one month of reserves in no time! Remember, you must stay consistent, and you must get creative with how you save and make more money. You can do this. Anyone can do this! Do you already have one month of reserves saved? What steps did you take to get there? Share your questions and experiences by posting a comment below!

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post 5 Steps to Build Up One Month of Reserves appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Nothing makes your workspace beautiful like the chic office supplies and décor items you throw up! My office is my creative space, my safe haven, and the place where I feel most inspired. I took the time to invest in the décor of my office to make it great! While some of my pieces aren’t up for grabs, there are a few trendy office supplies and décor items I have my eye on! I want to share them with you!

Before I dive into the super trendy, super chic office supplies and décor items for your workspace, I want to share a few of the pieces I have in my home office! I invested in some wall art, a book case, cute supplies and more!

Now, let’s get into 7 trendy office supplies and décor items that will make your workspace great!

Related: Beautify Your Workspace

How adorable are those office supplies? Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved office supplies, but now the trendiness of office supplies is at an all-time high! What trendy or chic items do you have in your office or workspace? What tips do you recommend for making an office feel like a place that people want to be? Share all your tips and advice in the comments section below!

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post 7 Trendy Office Supplies and Décor Items appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Of course, you might already have a nine to five but if you are looking to earn some extra cash there are plenty of things you can do. Whether you are currently working part time, full time, or do not have a job at all, the world is filled with financial possibilities you just have to be mindful of. There are plenty of creative ways to make more money.

When you think of making more money, the typical things usually come to mind: a receptionist, sales rep, or even cashier. Nevertheless, why not think outside the box and be creative while making more money! McDonald’s isn’t the only place that is hiring folks, so check out these five ways you can make more money.

Sell Stuff Online

So many online sites allow you to sell things you no longer have a purpose for, which is great for clearing out old items and making more cash. Sites such as Craigslist and Offer Up allow you to be your own boss while making cash. If you are not familiar with the site Craigslist, it is an American classified and advertisement website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, resumes, and discussion forums.

Offer Up is similar to Craigslist; however, it instantly connects with local buyers and sellers. You are able to buy and sell everything from cars and trucks, electronics, furniture, and more. There are other online resources as well. eBay, Amazon, Let Go and Poshmark are all great options.

Rent a Room

If you have a large living space and want to make some extra cash, you can sign up for Airbnb and rent out your living space. Members can use the service to arrange or offer lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences. The cool thing with Airbnb is that is free to sign up! Although it would require you to be social and comfortable sharing your space, it is a great way to earn money and meet new people.

There are so many people who use Airbnb services that you are destined to stay booked and abundant. Airbnb is also a great alternative if you want to make money renting out your space for short periods of time. Unlike leases, renting a room for a weekend allows you to decide when you want to rent.

Drive People Around

If you are down to drive your younger siblings around town free of charge, then you are better off signing up to drive people around and make cash. Ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber have hit the ground running with their services of having drivers drive people around. Sometimes routes can be brief, or long and interesting. Nonetheless your time behind the wheel is being paid for and not in vain. Sign up now and earn some extra cash in your free time.

Listen to Music

Why would you sit around and listen to music free when you can get paid for it?! Slicethepie.com is company that consents its community to review unsigned artists and bands to earn more money. Your payment per review and is solely based on the quality of the reviews you turn out on the site.

The site also offers a referral program where if any of your friends sign up using your referral code and write reviews, then you will receive bonus payments for every review they submit. You are getting paid for your opinion and jamming out to some good tunes.

Deliver Meals

Maybe the thought of driving around town sounds nice, but you don’t want to deal with people. Delivering meals is a cool concept, and a great way to earn some quick money. One delivery food company called DoorDash is an on-demand courier service that uses logistics services to offer food delivery from restaurants on-demand. The driver picks up food from the selected food place and drops it off to the customer. Aside from getting money for driving, you can also receive a tip from the customer.

Related: 8 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money

Although these are just few ideas to earn some extra cash, there are plenty of options out there. Have you tried any of the methods listed above? If so, which one was your favorite and why? Check out our Facebook page and do not forget to join the Facebook group to keep up with all of our newest City Girl fun. Also, follow us on our other social media accounts Instagram and Twitter at @citgirlsavings, we will be sure to give a follow right back!

-Taelor
The CGS Team

Taelor CageContent Contributor
 

The post 5 Creative Ways to Make More Money appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Girlfriend, you’ve got some skills! Each of us are unique in our own way and we all bring something to the table. Some women are great at staying accountable until the task is finished. Other women are great at communicating effectively. Some women can negotiate their tail off, while other women bring out the strengths of others. These are personal skills that help you grow in your career and in life.

The ability to play up your strengths will allow you to get things done better, faster, and more effectively. This can help you grow in your career, your business, and your personal life. You should hone in on your unique skills and tap into them at work. I’m sharing 6 common personal skills that help you grow in your career.

Identifying your strengths

While I will be identifying common personal skills that most women have, I want you to think about your own unique strengths. The skills I’m going to identify are just examples of some of the skills that a person could have. Regardless of these skills being relevant to you or not, it’s up to you to identify what you bring to the table and tap into it on a daily basis.

I highly recommend the Strengths Finder Test to see what strengths your personality has and how you can use those strengths to your advantage. Some strengths are given to us at birth, while others can be learned throughout life. Make sure you know what your strong suits are so you can do things that compliment them!

6 personal skills that help you grow in your career Personal skill #1: Listening

Listening can take you far in career and life. The ability to really hear what a person is saying, understand it and then act if there is a request is critical. This can show your boss that you take direction well and do exactly what is asked. This can show your team that you hear what they have to say and advocate for them at any chance you get. Listening can help you immensely in your career.

Personal skill #2: Staying focused

Another great skill that can help you advance your career is staying focused. You are able to keep working, without distractions, until the task is finished. You can log in the hours to get the job done and hold yourself accountable to the task. You don’t believe in multitasking. This skill allows you to give your full attention to task at hand. When you can give it your 100% focus, you can do your best work.

Personal skill #3: Communicating properly

When you can effectively communicate your message, you will go far. One common trait of successful people, managers and leaders is the ability to communicate properly. You deliver your message in a way that allows all learning types to understand. Your words captivate your audience. People want to hear what you have to say. Communicating properly builds your impact and influence, which leads to substantial growth.

Personal skill #4: Avoiding conflict

Staying away from trouble, drama, or negativity means you are bringing the proper attitude and work ethic to the workplace. When you are in the middle of conflict, your reputation is at stake. People don’t forget things, especially at work. Avoiding conflict can help keep your name and brand at work squeaky clean. This means you just have to show up and deliver, instead of working from behind!

Personal skill #5: Storytelling

A creative imagination can take you far in the workplace. You can come up with new ideas to make things better, more efficient and more profitable. You can tell the story of how and what the vision will look like. You can bring a new perspective to the table. This is something many employers value in their workers. Let that imagination soar! Don’t be afraid to share your story, ideas, and vision!

Personal skill #6: Extrovert personality

There is nothing wrong with being introverted, but in the workplace, it means you’ll need to work a little hard and be slightly uncomfortable. However, if you have an extroverted personality, talking to new people is a breeze. Use that personal skill to build up your network. Connections are everything in work, life and business, so use that skill to your advantage! Be social, open and willing to meet new people. You never know how your next connection can help you.

Finding ways to learn, develop and grow

As I mentioned earlier, the skills above don’t have to be God-given. You can learn and perfect each of them! You just have to take the chance to do so. Attend a Toastmasters class. Make it a point to show up at networking events and mixers. Start journaling regularly. Do things that are going to help you improve in the skills above, or improve the strengths you already have!

Related: 5 Signs You’re Ready for a Promotion

Remember, leverage your strengths and personal skills to grow in your life and career! You are unique and have a set of skills, traits and strengths that can be tapped into to unleash your greatness! Put yourself in a position to succeed by leveraging your skills and strengths, starting with any of the ones above you may have! What are some of your personal skills and strengths? How do you tap into your strengths to succeed at work? Share your experiences and tips by leaving a comment below!

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post 6 Personal Skills that Help You Grow in Your Career appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Beauty self-care is one of the most vital cares women should do for themselves. Whether you have the funds to take care of it professionally or not, it’s important to treat yourself to little (or big) beauty rituals on a regular basis. Things like taking care of your nails, working to maintain your cuticles at home and pampering yourself truly makes a difference.

You don’t always have to spend an arm and a leg by going to the nail shop to take care of the essentials. If you cannot find the time or don’t have the money to hit up your nail salon for a manicure, don’t worry. There are so many alternatives you can try that are fun and affordable. Check out a few simple steps to help you achieve healthy looking cuticles at home.

Don’t forget the cuticles

A lot of times, people do not realize the role cuticles have in protecting their nails. Cuticles act as a protective barrier that prevents bacteria from sneaking into the nail bed. It is vital to keep your cuticles healthy to avoid infections from entering your body.

Prior to starting your at-home, natural cuticle care treatment. make certain you have all the tools and products you need to properly treat your cuticles. You will need nail polish remover, hair conditioner, a bowl of warm water, paper towels, soft cloth, and hand moisturizer.

Start with bare nails

If you have any nail polish on your nails, be sure to remove the polish with a non-acetone nail polish remover. Nail polish remover that has acetone in it is harsh and dries the nail and surrounding skin. You want to start treating your cuticles with a clean smooth base, and no traces of old polish.

Next, you will need to moisturize your nails by applying hair conditioner to your cuticles. You can apply however much you want but I recommend enough to cover around your cuticles. Once you have applied the moisturizer to your cuticles you then should soak your hands into the warm bowl of water.

Let your hands soak in the bowl for a couple a minutes; here you can listen to your favorite music and zen out. Soaking your fingertips in the soapy water helps loosen the skin around the cuticles. When your cuticles appear supple remove, your hands from the water and pat dry with a paper towel.

Treat your cuticles

After you have patted your nails and cuticles dry, you can massage some olive oil or whatever oil you prefer, into your nail beds to restore moisturizer. If you do not have a brand in mind, try applying cuticle cream. Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream works amazing. The cream helps create a protective barrier around your nail to ensure it grows healthy and strong. Once oil has been applied, you can push your cuticles back by using certain tools made specifically for maintaining cuticles.

Due to all the soaking you did, this part should not be as bad as you imagined. Gently using the tool, push the cuticles back, and move the tool in circles to get rid of the dead skin. As much as you may want to cut your cuticles, don’t do it. If you cut your cuticles incorrectly you can be prone to infection, and that is a major no- no! After your cuticles have been pushed back, you can take you favorite hand moisturizer and moisturize your hands. Viola! You have just given yourself a homemade cuticle care treatment!

Related: How to Remove Acrylic Nails at Home

Treating yourself does not mean you always have to spend a ton of money. There are many ways you can pamper yourself right in the comfort of your own home. Have you ever done an at-home self-care treatment? If so, what was it? Do you have any tricks you use to maintain perfect cuticles? Share in the comments section below if you have tried cuticle maintenance at home or if you have your own self-care tips!

-Taelor
The CGS Team

Taelor CageContent Contributor
 

The post How to Maintain Your Cuticles at Home appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Having date nights can be fun, but expensive. The good news? You don’t have to spend tons of dollars to have a good time with your significant other. Has anyone else heard the saying, “Good food, good company, great listening music and a wonderful atmosphere? You can't ask for anything better.” I’m a firm believer, thanks to at-home date ideas!

Date nights at home can be just as fun and memorable, compared to going out on the town. You can also have just as much fun without spending much at all! Check out 6 at-home date ideas to save money and ensure you still have a good time!

Make a Craft Together

What better way to enjoy a date night than creating something that can last forever? Perhaps you and your beau love drinking your favorite coffee or tea in the morning before you start your day. Making each other mugs to drink out of can be hilarious and fun all in one.

It’s super fun and very affordable! All you would need are few supplies to make this at-home date happen.  Two mugs, one for each of you to decorate for each other. A few art supplies depending on your creative juices. As you may or may not know there are different types of paint you can use to paint mugs, but the paint you choose and the steps you take to protect the design depend on the mug's surface.

If you were paining on a ceramic surface, acrylic paint and glass paint markers would be your best bet. You can also use acrylic paint on glass mugs, though you will need to add a sealant as a final step to ensure the paint does not chip. A little tip to ensure your mug comes out just how you like it; make sure you prime the glass before painting it by wiping it clean with a tack cloth.

Have a Tasting Party

Depending on what your favorite beverage is, you and your significant other should have a date night that consists of tasting all of your favorite alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. You can make a game of it, pour some into a glass, and take a moment to guess which drink it is.

Each one you get right, add a point and the winner can hold the title until the next time. This fun, chill date night can be done with just you and your love or make it a date night with other couples. This is the perfect date night at home, because you do not have to go far other than your local store to get the goodies. If alcohol is in the mix, make sure the other couples use Uber!

Couples Game Night

You can never go wrong with game night, especially when your boo is involved. A game night is the absolute best when staying home and looking to have a great time. Pick your favorite games like Connect Four and Twister, and let the best man win. Keep it fun and exciting by having wages of how many games each person won and at the end, the loser has to take a shot! This at-home game night is all in good fun and there will be a lot of laughter throughout the night.

Netflix & Chill

The infamous “Netflix and chill” is the modern-day movies and dinner. What better way to enjoy yourself without having to pay too much money?! “Netflix and chill” is great because there are always new Netflix films coming out. Um, hello…Birdbox?! To make matters better, you will not have to feel pressured to get all dressed up and feel rushed because you do not want to miss any previews or dinner reservations. Order your favorite take-out and log into your Netflix account. It is simple and relaxing.

Romantic Home Cooked Dinner

Making a romantic home cooked dinner can be intimate and delicious. Something like the moves of chopping up vegetables, tasting new flavors, and sipping wine can be sweet and romantic with each other. While cooking, you can play your favorite jams in the background and sip on your favorite drinks to get the mood just right.

If you don’t have any idea of what to cook, websites like Pinterest and YouTube can help you along the way. If you want to have a one-shop stop, then using services like Freshly and HelloFresh are great! Cooking dinner together can be fun and yummy, because the two of you worked hard to create something so special.

Enjoy Quality Time

The entire purpose of having a date night is spend quality time with one another. To spend time with each other does not always include having to spend your entire paycheck on a night out. Quality time can definitely mean sitting next to the fireplace, having some tunes in the background, playing and asking each other how your days went, discussing future goals, and just being yourself.

Related: 7 Date Ideas Under $25

It’s not every day that dates can or should get accomplished at home. For some odd reason, there are misconceptions that if you are not getting in the car and driving somewhere that it has not considered a date. For the record, dates can be anything you want them to be. You can save money while enjoying quality time with your significant other.

Enjoying time with the person you care most about is what truly matters, not how much that person spends on you. What creative date nights have you experienced? Would you try one of the at-home date ideas on this list? Like and join our Facebook page to stay connected with all our latest posts. In addition, if you haven’t already, check out our other social media accounts Instagram and Twitter @citgirlsavings for all the fun tips!

-Taelor
The CGS Team

Taelor CageContent Contributor
 

The post 6 At-Home Date Ideas to Save Money appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Who doesn’t love Mandy Moore? She has been in the game for decades…literally! She blessed us with her presence with the music hit “Candy”, where she rocked full-on blonde hair. Now, she’s blessing us with her presence on the hit show “This Is Us”, with a much more appropriate brunette style! We also love when Mandy takes us back in her Instagram feed! She has no shame calling out past fashion fails! How real is that?! Today, we’re focusing on her fashion hits! Check out our favorite red carpet and street style looks of Mandy Moore.

Red Carpet

Mandy attended the 2017 Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California wearing a navy Naeem Khan gown. The plunging neckline and cape-style back make this look 100% on point! Photo: Lionel Hahn/Abaca USA/INSTARimages

Mandy attended a screening of “This Is Us” via the Paley Center in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theater. She looked fantastic in a Lela Rose top and matching slacks. The emerald color looks great on her and she finishes the look off with a pair of Jimmy Choo heels. Photo: Sara De Boer/Startraks Photo

There is no shortage of colors that look great on Mandy! She rocked an orange Solace London gown with a box clutch. Mandy went with a sleek straight hair style that was pulled back to give us full shoulder view! Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

Street Style

Mandy looked super-chic while out and about. She wore velvet, burgundy heels with a matching scrunchy! She also rocked a patterned flow skirt and black turtle-neck top. Super cute!

Casual chic at its finest! Mandy rocked a flowy black dress with animal print flats. She finished the look with a denim jacket and black sunglasses. Perfect street style outfit inspiration!

Denim, sneakers, and sunglasses! This is probably the best look that combines comfort and style! Mandy can pull off any look and she looks great in sneakers! She also looks great in any color!

Trendy celebs give us life! Are you a fan of Mandy Moore? What do you think about her style now and her fashion evolution throughout the years? Share your favorite Mandy Moore looks by leaving a comment below!

-The CGS Team

 

The post Celebrity Style Watch: Mandy Moore appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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