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It’s hard enough to find motivation to stay organized at work, especially when the accessories you have are drab! I don’t have to tell you how important organization is at work, or anywhere in life. When things are neat and in their proper places on your desk, you can get more done. You don’t feel the stress of a messy workspace when all is organized. Why not have chic office accessories to stay organized?

You can make your workspace much more enjoyable (and workable) when you have office organizers that are appealing to the eye. In shopping around for planners at the end of 2017, I found a variety of places that offer chic office accessories. I’m sharing a few of them that are available today! Get organized and do it in style with these options!

Strike Gold File Organizer

Kate Spade is on to something with her Strike Gold File Organizer. Keep your paper work in pristine condition with this “sort it out” engraved file organizer.

Tortoise File Folders

What would go better in your file organizer than chic file folders? I personally love the print of the Tortoise File Folders from Kate Spade. They are an investment, but certainly one that’s worth it.

Pineapple Pen Cup

I love this Pineapple Pen Cup from Emily Ley! I’ve gone with classic pen holders, and nothing stands out more to me than this faux gold-plated, pineapple-shaped pen cup!

Pastel Highlighters

Save your eyes and spice up your note-taking with this 4-piece Pastel Highlighter Set from Kate Spade. Each highlighter is inscribed with an inspiring note, for a workday pick-me-up!

Clever Pencils

Clever Pencils by Sloane Stationary are chicly packaged in a red lizard embossed box. Each pencil has a unique saying designed to inspire a smile. The pencils are a deep red color with gold lettering and a white eraser. Too cute to pass up!

Wire Tape Dispenser

Ditch the plastic scotch tape and opt for Ban.do’s Wire Tape Dispenser. The gold-colored wiring is sure to catch a few eyes. Keep your dispenser front and center for extra compliments!

Dapperdesk Legal Pad Set

Forget scribbling notes on random sheets of paper on your desk and upgrade to the Dapperdesk Legal Pad Set. With gold and navy binding, you will want to take as much notes as you can!

Inspirational Quote Calendar

Sure, you can refer to your Outlook calendar, but why not get some inspiration while you’re at it? I love the Inspirational Quote Calendar from Rifle Paper Co., and I’m sure you will too!

I’m currently transitioning home offices, and in the interim, I am looking for as many chic office accessories to stay organized as I can find. If you know of any place to find trendy office supplies, drop a comment below to share! How do you decorate and organize your workspace? I would love to hear your recommendations!

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post 8 Chic Office Accessories to Stay Organized appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Oh, student loans. Most of us couldn’t have graduated school without them. Student loans are wonderful and terrible at the same time. They help carry us through our higher education, from a financial perspective, yet they are a cause of stress and anxiety once our higher education ends. If you have student loans, whether you are paying on them or not, you likely have experienced some form of anxiety. If you have student loan anxiety, you are not alone.

According to a survey done by Student Loan Hero, “More than 61 percent of respondents said they fear their student loan debt worries are spiraling out of control — and more than 70 percent reported suffering from headaches due to the stress of it.” While you can’t get out of paying your student loans, at some point or another, you can control your student loan anxiety and focus on budgeting your money properly. I’m going to share how you can do just that.

Understand what you owe

It doesn’t matter what kind of debt you have, the most important thing you can do is understand what you owe. Make a list of all your student loan payments, who the lender is, what the interest rate is, what the monthly payment is, and when the loan is expected to be paid off.

I suggest putting this information in a spreadsheet. It will be easier to keep track of and can keep you organized. You will instantly feel less anxiety when you know exactly what you are working with. As you pay on your student loans, you can create new spreadsheets to track the balance. It will also make you feel better to know that you are making progress with your payments.

Be organized with all of your documents

Having a spreadsheet that includes all of your loans is one way to stay organized, but it is not the only way. You also want to make sure your student loan documents are in one place. If you already have a financial filing system, you may already have your student loan documents organized. If not, I suggest purchasing a few file folders and compiling every single document. Create a folder for each loan (or lender) and put all correspondence from that loan/lender into its own folder. You never know when you will need to refer back to any information they may have sent you.

Start paying, even if the loans are deferred

If your student loan payments are currently deferred, because you are in school or because you don’t make enough money, that doesn’t mean you can’t make payments. In fact, it will help you significantly by making whatever payment you can. Even if it’s as little as $10 each month, making payments towards your deferred student loans will start reducing the amount of principal and interest you owe. Don’t worry, making small payments while your loans are deferred won’t pull them out of deferment. If you can muster up money for a weekly Starbucks, you can muster up a small student loan payment.

Talk to your (serious) significant other about your situation

If you are married or in a serious relationship, it can be helpful to get your negative feelings about student loans off your chest. Share with your spouse or significant other how these loans are making you feel.

Acknowledging and admitting your feelings will make your anxiety lessen. It will also help your significant other understand what you are going through. You never know what guidance or assistance they may be able to provide. Plus, you are no longer dealing with your anxiety alone. If you don’t have a significant other, consider seeing a therapist, or sharing with a close family member. It’s not good to keep your negative feelings bottled up inside.

Be smart with your money by using a budget

I can guarantee you this – if you have student loan anxiety, but have not rhyme or reason for how you spend your money, your anxiety is probably a lot worse than it should be. If you aren’t being smart with your money, it’s going to resonate with your feelings about your student loan debt. Make yourself feel better, and make your situation better by being smart with your money. It all starts with a budget. Your budget will show you how to properly spend your money. You may even be able to find ways of putting more towards your student loan payments.

Look for ways to reduce your payments

Is consolidating or refinancing your student loans an option? If you have been good about paying your debts and have a good credit score, you may be able to reduce the length of your student loans or reduce the payment amount. Either scenario will help you save in interest, in the long run. Don’t simply accept your student loans for what they are, diligently look for ways you can reduce your payments, or the amount you pay over the term of the loan. Are there any forgiveness programs you may qualify for? Do your research and see what options are available to help you.

Related: Handling Student Loan Debt

Again, student loan anxiety is extremely common. However, your student loans don’t define you. You CAN get out of student loan debt. While it may not be quick or easy, it is possible. You have to help yourself though. Do what you can to get a handle on your loans. You are in control. What negative feelings do you have about student loans? How do you keep your documents and payments organized? Share what you are going through by leaving a comment below.

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post How to Control Student Loan Anxiety appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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We don’t think you understand the power of a good night’s sleep. Getting enough rest will increase your happiness, productivity, and improve your ability to make smart decisions in tough situations. When you don’t let your body and mind rest like it should, there are studies that show it does affect the way you work and perform while awake. Not having a good night’s sleep can make you cranky and eventually lead to severe health risks. If you haven’t been getting good sleep, it could be your habits. I’m sharing 7 bad habits ruining sleep, so you can make some adjustments.

Eating Late

Sometimes staying late in the office can result in us having to eat dinner closer to our bed time than we’d like. Although it’s not ideal to eat a meal of any size right before you go to sleep, try substituting something small and filling instead of a large meal. You should also consider consuming a protein shake. When you eat a huge meal before going to sleep, your digestive system is working on breaking down the food which can keep you up at night. Eating earlier in the day can help mitigate any acid reflux you might encounter, which usually keeps people up at night.

Not Working Out

In many cases, our body still has a lot of energy that needs to be released and if we don’t get that energy out, it can cause us to toss and turn all night. Morning or afternoon workouts are great for increasing a person’s quality amount of sleep. Of course, staying active won’t be your only solution to getting a better night’s rest, but it is a step in the right direction. Working out is good for a multiple of reasons. It helps you stay healthy, in shape, and most of all, it gets rid of any excessive energy you might have that prevents you from knocking out at bed time.

Drinking too much coffee in the evening

Caffeine in the morning is certainly fine for a daily pick-me-up. However, consuming it all day, especially in the evenings, is a recipe for sleep disaster. Drinking coffee gives you some energy for a short period of time, but it eventually wears off and you’re left feeling empty and burned out. If you consume coffee late in the evening, it can take anywhere from 4-6 hours to wear off depending your daily consumption. The next time you’re contemplating picking up an afternoon cup of joe take into consideration what time you will be going to bed.

Scanning your mobile device before bed

We all do it – scroll through our social feeds before hitting the hay. It’s one of the main reasons we don’t get enough sleep at night, and causes us to wake up feeling restless and annoyed. Every smartphone has an LED light that is also called a blue light. The LED light in most phones have been shown to cause damage to your vision and suppress the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that is useful in regulating the sleep cycle. It’s tough enough to put your phone down during the day, so try your best to not let it consume you prior to you going to sleep.

Working in bed

Having the luxury of working in bed isn’t so much of a luxury when your sleep gets cut in half. Similar to your phone, the light from your laptop can interfere with you getting a good night’s sleep because your brain isn’t able to release the melatonin to let you unwind before bed. Working in your bed may seem like a good idea, but it actually isn’t. Be sure when you get in bed that it’s time to settle down and not jump right back into work. Even though you may appear comfortable, your brain is still in work mode and you’re not going to get the full amount of sleep your body needs.

Sleeping in on weekends

Of course, your weekend sleeping schedule is going to be a lot different than your sleep schedule during the week. Many times, we take advantage of sleeping in, which causes us to sleep in too late and wake up feeling more tired than normal. Try not to sleep in too late for a number of reasons; the most important is because you don’t want to throw your body off. Our bodies tend to be on a clock cycle that keeps us on track. Drastically changing your sleep schedule on the weekends can cause a mild jet lag sensation. It’s important to keep a consistent sleep schedule, even during the weekends to avoid those negative effects.

Consuming alcohol before bed

Whether it’s a birthday party during the week or the office having happy hour, consuming alcohol before you go to sleep can decrease the amount of sleep you actually get. In many cases, one drink won’t really affect your sleep but if numerous drinks are consumed, you will definitely feel it the next day. We often get the impression that a night cap will help us get a good night’s rest. It certainly does act like a sedative at the beginning, but eventually leads to less sleep during the night. It’s great to have a couple of drinks and enjoy yourself, but be sure to drink responsibly because your health is just as important. Drinking alcoholic beverages before going to bed interferes with our REM sleep, which is a deep sleep that lets our brain rest for the night.

Getting your rest is extremely important, and sometimes we don’t realize it until it’s too late. Be sure to get enough rest during the week, as well as the weekends. Our bodies need to charge and if we deprive it from sleep, then we aren’t able to work to our full capacity. What things keep you from getting sleep? Have you found solutions to making sure your body gets enough rest? Check us out on Facebook, and don’t forget to like and comment. We also, love staying connected with members through IG and Twitter @citygirlsavings.

-Taelor
The CGS Team

Taelor CageContent Contributor
 

The post 7 Bad Habits Ruining Sleep appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Starting an online business is not something that people initially think of, but it can be extremely lucrative. With any business, there are pros and cons, however with an online business, the income potential is unlimited. Anyone can access an online business, because it’s virtual-based. If someone has internet, they can find your online business. But how does one start an online business?

Before I dive into the steps required to start an online business, you will need to decide if this is something you will want to do. Starting a business (online or not), is not easy. It takes time, consistency, hard work, sacrifice and determination to see your business through. In fact, in a study by Statistic Brain, “Startup Business Failure Rate by Industry”, the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years was over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years.

Can you fight through those odds? Online or not, the chips are against you. But, let’s say you fight through and become successful – you can have the life of your dreams. And, since your business is online based, you can run it from anywhere. Check out these articles to help you determine if you are truly ready to start an online business or not: 6 Signs You’re Ready to Start Your Own Business and 8 Excuses for Not Starting Your Own Business.

Now that we’ve determined you are ready to start an online business, let’s get into exactly how you do just that!

How to start an online business #1 Find a Gap in the Market

Do you have a great business idea? Great! Now, have you done research to see who your potential competitors are? It’s very likely that there is something else out there that you are wanting to offer, and that’s perfectly fine. Think about how you can make yourself different? How can your new online business fill a need or bridge a gap in the market? While this doesn’t sound difficult in theory, it can take some time and extensive research. Don’t rush through this phase of starting an online business. The more you can fill a need and/or bridge a gap in the market, the more likely your business will succeed.

#2 Clearly Identify Your Ideal Customer

Now that you know what gap your business will bridge and what need your business will fulfill, start thinking about who would benefit. Companies spend thousands and thousands of dollars on pin-pointing their ideal customer. As a start-up business owner, you likely don’t have that kind of cash. You don’t need it, but you do need to put in the work. Think about your ideal customer, and answer these questions:

  • What do they look like?
  • Where do they work?
  • What time of income do they earn?
  • What need is your business fulfilling for them?

When you can answer the questions above, you can create (future) content and messaging to speak directly to the potential customers that you can help. It’s best to get as specific as possible with your ideal customer. There is a lot of saturation on the internet, and you will want to reach people who your business can truly help. This will guarantee sales.

#3 Register Your Domain Name

Now that you’ve gotten some of the hard parts out of the way, you can get some of the logistical tasks done! Starting with…registering your domain name! What is the name of your business? Whatever it is, you will want your domain name to coincide with it. If you are starting a business as a coach or sole contributor in some way, will the business be your name? If so, it’s appropriate for the domain to be your name as well. If you are creating a new business name, first do a search to make sure it’s available. I love Bluehost’s Domain Name Checker. Once you’ve determined your domain name is available, scoop it up! Don’t wait and run the risk of it being taken.

#4 Find a Web Host

In addition to a domain name, your online business will need a website. In order to have a website, you need a hosting company. Bluehost is by far the best, and most affordable. In fact, if you sign up through my affiliate link, you get an extra special discount! I have also created a step-by-step video for signing up with Bluehost, registering your domain name, and installing your hosting. Check out the video below:

Hosting, Domain, and Wordpress Set Up for Your Blog or Website - YouTube
#5 Create and Design Your Website

Creating and designing a website is a lot more difficult than it sounds, but if you are not tech savvy whatsoever, you can hire out. Fiverr has a lot of great freelance website designers. Simply tell them what you want, and let them create it for you. You can also go with platforms that make it easy to create stunning websites. WordPress is the most popular, and it’s what I use for City Girl Savings. There are hundreds of themes to choose from, and a lot of them have drag and drop features. No crazy coding expertise needed!

#6 Accept Online Payments

If you want to have an online business, it is critical that you have a means of collecting payments from your website. How else are you going to make sales?! If you are just getting started, I would recommend Stripe or PayPal. You simply create products on either site and upload the buttons/check out links to your website. Customers click to check out with Stripe or PayPal and voila, you’ve made a sale. The only downside to these options is they charge a fee, right from the beginning. It’s not much, but it’s still a fee.

You can also invest in sharper quality check out options, like Samcart and Infusionsoft, and IShoppingCart. They offer check out pages directly on your website and are completely customizable. They are significantly pricier than Stripe or PayPal, but the ability to customize your check out page makes your business appear much more credible.

Lastly, you have the option of doing merchant services from your local bank. Merchant Services allows you to accept credit card payments. Since you will be only needing it for online, it will likely link to a processing company like Authorize.net. This is the route I take. I pay a flat rate fee or a percentage of sales, up to a certain amount. It allows me to create my own checkout forms (similar to the options above) with instant credit card processing capabilities.

#7 Create an Email List

Oh, how I wish someone would have told me this when I first started City Girl Savings. Since you can’t track when a customer walks through your doors (it’s online, duh), the best you can do to retain the person who visits your website is to get their email address. Right when your website launches, you will want to ensure you sign up with Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign or ConstantContact. All of these companies will allow you to collect email addresses directly from your website.

Start creating a list of website visitors and email them regularly. Don’t simply email them to ask for a sale. Email them and provide valuable content that will help them in their life. Be consistent in contacting your email list. You don’t want to disappear for months, or they will forget you and your website.

#8 Ensure Your Website is SEO-ready

Before your website launches, I recommend you get the Yoast SEO plugin. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it basically means how easy your website is to find on Google or any other search engine. If your business is gardening for stay at home moms, you will want to make sure that anyone who searches information on gardening for stay at home moms finds your website first.

This is where getting specific with your ideal customer will pay off. There are plenty of strategies to ensure your website is found by the right people, so do the research. I’m still working on this piece! It’s a never-ending battle, because the internet is always changing.

#9 Create Corresponding Social Media Accounts

You have your business, you have your domain name, you have your website, now you need your social media accounts. Since your business is online, social media (also online) can be a great resource for helping people learn about your business. Some business coaches recommend you focus in on one or two social media platforms, but I disagree.

City Girl Savings is on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and I get traffic from each platform. I will say it’s not easy to be on every platform, but with social media post schedulers (I love ViralTag), it’s not as difficult as it needs to be.

Just a note: You will want to make sure your social media accounts are the same as your business name. Don’t give anyone a reason not to find you, especially if they are looking. This should be a part of your domain name search – searching on social media to make sure your business name isn’t already being used.

#10 Start Building Your Reputation

Now that you have everything set up, how do you make sales? Well, you are going to have to start establishing and building your reputable reputation. As I mentioned earlier, the online world is incredibly saturated, and you are going to have to stand out. I would suggest you dive right in with doing Facebook Live or YouTube videos, blogging on a consistent basis, posting on your social media accounts regularly and getting any type of referral or review you can.

You may have to offer your product or service for free (or at a discount) in the beginning, just to test the market. Once you get some feedback, you will be able to leverage it to improve and get future sales. That’s exactly what I did for City Girl Savings. I offered my very first Personalized Budget Plan for free, in exchange for a review. The client obliged and exceeded my request. Immediately after completing the Start Your Budget Form, she took to Twitter to say how excited she was. That tweet resulted in an immediate 8 additional budgets being sold. Don’t underestimate the power of a review or testimonial.

#11 Get Traffic to Your Website

Since your business is online-based, when people visit your website, it’s like they are visiting your store. If no one comes to your website, you don’t have a chance to sell. If you don’t have a chance to sell, you won’t make a profit. If you don’t make a profit, your business won’t survive.

Moral of the story? You need to get people to your website. There are plenty of ways to do that, including the few I’ve already mentioned: social media and SEO. You can also get traffic by investing in digital marketing. Social media ads, Google clicks, Video marketing, and more. Every platform has an advertising option. It can be very effective, but very costly. I would suggest you make sure all of the steps above are completed before you put money into digital marketing. It can, literally, become a financial black hole.

#12 Create a Follow Up System

I’ve touched on this by suggesting you create an email list, but I challenge you to really think through your follow up system. How will you get the person to give you your email address? An opt-in incentive is a must. Check out Classy Career Girl’s Website Traffic Blueprint to learn more about opt-in incentives.

How consistently will you follow up? How will you follow up? What if the website reader gives you their phone number or if they reach out to you directly? It’s best to think through the scenarios and plan for them BEFORE they happen.

#13 Track your Website Growth

Set your website up with Google Analytics. This will allow you to track how your website is growing. You will be able to see how many people visit your website, where those people are located, how they came to your website (was it social media or a Google search?), and so much more.

I am addicted to Google Analytics because the information it shares is so useful! You can see what pages people are looking at the most. That means you can make those pages SCREAM “give me your email address”. The options are endless when you have as much knowledge as possible.

#14 Sell, sell, sell

The last point I want to make in sharing how to start an online business is that you need to sell. If you aren’t selling anything, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. There’s nothing wrong with that, until your hobby is costing you more than it’s worth. Obviously, it’s not all about the money – you actually need to help people (remember, you are filling a need and bridging a gap?). However, you do need to make money so that you can grow and eventually help more people.

I recommend you find your bottom line number. How much are you willing to put into your business until you see a profit? What happens if you reach that number? The good thing about online businesses is that the overhead is relatively low. Don’t let that stop your hustle, though. To live the life you want with your online business, you absolutely need to sell.

Related: How to Start a Money Making Blog.

Well there you have it! That wasn’t so hard, was it? I know, I know. Easier said than done, but if I can do it, so can you! I ever created a Start-up Action Plan to help you go through these steps. The workbook helps you identify everything you need to make your online business a success. Download it now:

Have you started an online business before? Do you have any tips or experiences you can share with myself and other CGS Readers? Leave a comment in the section below to share! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post How to Start an Online Business appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Beauty videos have taken YouTube by storm! Even the most novice make-up user can learn the skills they need to be a beauty guru! There are plenty of beauty tutorials to find, so how do you know which is the best? Well, it depends on your learning style! If you want to get better with applying your make-up, or beauty skills in general, take the time to find the right vloggers for you. Starting with the 5 beauty tutorials to try below!

Jaclyn Hill’s Highlighted & Bronzed
Highlighted & Bronzed - Minimal Makeup Tutorial - YouTube

Did you know vlogger Jaclyn Hill's Champagne Pop highlighter collaboration with Becca sold out in a matter of minutes? That’s mostly due to her amazing highlight, contour and bronzing skills. If you are looking for a natural highlight and bronze look, this video is for you. In under 20 minutes, Jaclyn shares how to rock a natural looking highlight any time of the day or night.

Sazan’s Easy Smokey Eye for Beginners
Easy Smokey Eye for Beginners | ANY OCCASION - YouTube

There’s no denying that the ladies of the CGS Team are fans of fashion and beauty blogger Sazan. Every week she posts a new video on her YouTube channel. With plenty of make-up inspo to be had, our favorite is her Smokey Eye tutorial. The tutorial is perfect for those who want to nail the smokey eye look with little experience.

Ashley Bloomfield’s Blow Dry Routine
Updated Blow Dry Routine | How to Blowdry Curly Hair Straight | Ashley Bloomfield - YouTube

Vlogger Ashley Bloomfield has extremely curly hair, but she manages to blow dry her hair to silky perfection. Whether you have naturally curly hair or not, anyone can benefit from her blow dry routine. She walks viewers through her entire blow dry process, start to finish. If you can’t seem to blow dry your hair without the frizz, this routine is for you.

From Head to Toe’s How to Color Correct
TUTORIAL | How To Color Correct - YouTube

We’ve all seen those color correctors, but if you aren’t savvy on beauty products, you may not know how they work. We love From Head to Toe’s tutorial on how to properly color correct your face. She walks you through taking your face from dull and dark to radiant and glowing. She also explains what each of the colors are used for, when it comes to your face.

ModaMob’s How to Apply Bottom Lashes
How to Apply Bottom False Eyelashes - Tutorial - YouTube

Ani and Nora of ModaMob share how to do just about anything beauty related, including making your own products. They have a variety of awesome tutorials, but the bottom lash application is one of our favorites. Most women apply lashes on the top and leave the bottom bare, for lack of knowledge. ModaMob shows how to apply false bottom lashes that look natural and make your eyes pop.

The great thing about each of the vloggers above is that there are a variety of videos provided by each of them! As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of videos out there, but starting with those who never fail puts you ahead of the game! Are there any beauty vloggers you follow religiously? Can you share any tutorials with us? Post a comment with links below!

-The CGS Team

 

The post 5 Beauty Tutorials to Try ASAP appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Whether you like your job or not, you have to have a certain state of mind to be successful. To be honest, that’s the case with anything in life. Certain mindset shifts can allow you to kill it at work, kill it at the gym, and kill it in life. You can do anything you put your mind to. I highly recommend you read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, if you don’t believe me.

I can certainly go on and on about the power of the mind, but for the sake of your time, I’m going to talk about it in terms of your career. If you dread going to work, or can’t seem to get the confidence you need, a mindset shift may be needed. Start shifting the way you think about problems. In fact, they are no longer problems to dwell on, they are solutions that need to be found. Here are a few impactful mindset shifts to make if you want to kill it at work.

Think this: “I can allocate my time to get everything important done.” Not this: “I don’t have enough time to get everything done.”

We all have the same amount of time in the day. However, the difference between those who are productive and those who aren’t, is how that time is utilized. Instead of focusing on the lack of hours you have, focus on the most important things that need to get done in your day. Start by creating a to-do list. Prioritize your responsibilities by importance and deadline. Get the most important things, due soon, done first. Not everything may be able to be completed in one day, but you can certainly fill better with the important items taken care of first.

Think this: “Moving forward, I will make it a habit to ask my manager for more work, or if there is anything additional I can assist with.” Not this: “My manager gives [insert name here] more work, appreciation, responsibility than me.”

More than likely, your manager is giving [insert name here] more work, appreciation, and responsibility than you is because [insert name here] is delivering. To take on additional responsibility, and show you can handle it, you have to start by asking. The first few times you ask, your manager may not give you anything, but over time they will. You don’t get what you don’t ask for, so start making it a habit to ask for more responsibility on a consistent basis.

Think this: “I am capable of everything on my plate, and more.” Not this: “I can’t handle the pressure of work.”

Whether you work in a high-production environment or not, sometimes the pressures of the job can get to you. Think of the alternative – not having a steady stream of income. While you may be dealing with a lot at work, your mindset shift will play a role. If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right. Take pride in all the responsibility you have, and focus on taking care of your responsibilities, one by one. Instead of focusing on the entire picture (which is surely overwhelming), take it day by day.

Think this: “Let’s see how we can figure this out.” Not this: “That’s not my problem.”

To kill it at work, grow in your career, and show yourself as a leader, you have to be a team player. If someone asks you for help, assist them. Having the mindset that you have too much on your plate, or you can’t deal with other people’s problems, is not the way to go. Not only will helping your co-workers make you appear like a thought-leader on the job, it will also not be forgotten. You never know how who you help now could help you in the future.

This this: “Is there a way we can do this process, job, responsibility better?” Not this: “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

One of the most important traits you can have at the workplace is the ability to adapt to change and innovate. Things are changing every day, so if you can’t keep up, you will be left behind. Instead of playing by the rules and failing to be innovative, think about how processes, procedures and job functions can be changed for the better. If you have a great idea, bring it to the table. Great ideas are sure to get you noticed.

Think this: “I’m going to take this feedback and use it to improve.” Not this: “I can’t believe how bad I did.”

Performance reviews are common at many jobs. If you get feedback that is not exactly what you wanted to hear, don’t harp on the negative. In fact, take the feedback and use it to get better. Feedback is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, we don’t realize our faults. Getting feedback from peers and managers allows us to get better. Use the feedback to make positive changes that will help you long-term in your career. Handling criticism at work is a must.

Listen to the audio version of this blog post:

Shifting your mind to a positive, productive state won’t happen overnight. It will take a conscious effort on your part, especially in the beginning. But, just like any habit, the more you do it, the easier it will come to you. Before you know it, your mind will naturally be in a positive, productive state, and that will resonate in every area in your life, not just the work place.

Do you have any thoughts on shifting to a positive mindset at work? How do you kill it at work? Share your tips for staying positive at work and in life! Post a comment below to share.

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post Mindset Shifts to Kill It at Work appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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We all have that favorite blouse or dress that we would do anything to keep it lasting – including not actually wearing it as much as we’d like! Most of the time, we don’t pay attention to the little details that can go a long way in keeping our favorite items looking brand new. I’m sharing 6 hacks to make your clothes last longer.

The CGS team has just the solution to help you keep your favorite garments intact and lasting longer. Modest habits such as laundry and sorting your clothes can stretch out the life of your clothes to help them last longer, but these 6 hacks can make your clothes last longer.  Bye bye overspending on clothes, hello long lasting items!

Remove Garment Bag

Typically, when we pick our clothes up from the dry cleaners, we assume it’s a good idea to keep them in the garment bag. WRONG!!! (Do you like my emphasis?!) Keeping your clothes contained in a bag is only shortening its wearable life expectancy. Fabric needs to breathe in order for it to maintain that new look and feel. A plastic closure to fabric builds moisture which eventually leads to an order that can’t be taken out. The longest you should consider keeping your clothes in the garment bag is no more than 72 hours, otherwise mildew and color changes to the fabric can begin to wreak havoc.

Spray Perfume before/ Not After

Of course, we all want to smell our best, so we spray perfume on our clothes so the scent can last. One of the fastest ways to ruin our clothes is to spray a fragrance directly onto the fabric. Try your best to resist the urge to spritz your clothes! Instead, spray your fragrance onto your skin, preferably before you put your clothes on. When fragrance is applied to the skin directly, the chances of it lasting longer is greater than having the fragrance sprayed onto the fabric anyways. Read How to Properly Wear Perfume for a few more tricks to applying fragrance.

Sort your Clothes

Our parents have always shared the importance of sorting your clothes when doing laundry, but there’s more to sorting than we think. We are all aware of separating whites from colors, but in order to preserve your clothes longer, you should divide your clothes from light and dark colors. Also, don’t forget to wash your towels separate from your clothes. It’s always easier to just toss everything into one load and call it a day, but keep in mind that taking that extra step will definitely help your clothes last longer. Sorting your clothes can be annoying, but at all times, it’s better to be safe than sorry. This little life hack will do wonders for your clothes’ lifespan, just wait and see!

Combat Oil Stains

Sometimes, stains such as oil seem to never come out of your clothes. It can be a major headache and sometimes results to us throwing out clothes because we think they’re damaged. Instead of tossing that cool, vintage blouse away, try applying baby powder to the stain. The baby powder helps lift the oil from the fabric material, making it easier for the stain to come out when washing Apply baby powder to the stain and let sit overnight. Then wash your blouse and out comes the stain!

Stop Wrestling with Wine Stains

Cocktail hour is the best hour…until you spill some red wine on your cute white top! The horror of not being able to get the stain out and eventually having to chuck it to the dumpster is horrible. Instead of spending tons of money to take it to the cleaners, you can merely apply some white wine to the red stain for cleaning. Strange we know, but white wine is the perfect cure for cleaning up a red wine stain on a white top. The next time you encounter the end of the world red wine stain, definitely give this hack a try.

Wash Jeans Inside Out

Denim, some of the best fashion pieces ever created. They make your butt look amazing, and have you feeling sexy! Every lady has their favorite pair of jeans, so in order to preserve them, wash them inside out. Turning your jeans inside out before placing them in the washing machine will help reduce the wear on the visible surface. Washing them inside out helps keep them from deteriorated as quickly, and helps them last longer! Remember, you shouldn’t be washing your denim too often. Read How to Properly Treat Your Denim for more tidbits.

Related: 4 Bad Habits that Ruin Clothes

These simple and sometimes nontraditional habits can make your fabrics last longer than normal. Have you ever tried preserving your clothes and realized how much you appreciated it in the long haul? What tips would you like to share with the community on how you were able to make your clothes last longer? Leave a comment below to share some of your hacks!

-Taelor
The CGS Team

Taelor CageContent Contributor
 

The post 6 Hacks to Make Your Clothes Last Longer appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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You’ve signed up for your company’s 401k…great! You’ve allocated how much you will contribute each paycheck…wonderful! You’ve picked your investment options…what?! Most people get steps 1 and 2 done, which are very important, but fail to go the extra mile and pick their investments, which is also very important. When you don’t know how to research your 401k investment options, you’re more likely to throw in the towel.

Since the point of saving for retirement is long-term, the investment options you pick today can benefit you greatly over time. There’s much more to saving for retirement than contributing to your 401k each pay check. You need to be invested in the right options for you. You’re probably thinking, “how do I do that?” Well, I’m going to show you! I am going to walk you through how to research your 401k investment options, so you can pick the best investments for you!

One thing to note is that every 401k or IRA plan is different, but the information is the same. The items I will show you to read up on will be available for every investment option.

First things first

Before you can start researching your investment options, you need to know what options are available to you. Depending on your company, you may have a wide variety of investments to choose from, or a small group. Either way, you will want to ensure you know how to find this information. If you have no idea where your company’s 401k plans are managed, start by contacting HR. They will give you the name of the company who manages your 401k plan. They should also give you next steps to find your 401k plan information.

Once you have the company who manages your 401k plan, set up an online account with them. Again, depending on which company, this may be easy or difficult. If you can’t seem to create an account, start with HR. If they can’t help you, reach out to the company that manages your 401k plan. You may need to create a special type of account to find your 401k information.

After you’ve created your account and found how to see your 401k information, you will want to look for any link pertaining to your portfolio investments. It may say something like “Current Elections”, “Manage my Investments”, “Investment Choices” or “Change my Investment Options”. Once you’ve located this information, the research can begin!

Researching your 401k investment options

Your available options will be broken up into the following categories:

  • Equity/Stock
  • Bond/Fixed Income
  • Money Market/Stable Value
  • Target Date/Allocation Funds

Here is a quick overview of what each means:

Equity/Stock – Equity interests (or “stock”) in publicly traded companies. Stock is considered the riskiest form of investment.

Bond/Fixed Income – Fixed income is a form of investment that pays out on a fixed schedule, though the payment amounts can vary. Bonds are the most popular form of fixed income. Bonds are considered less risky, in terms of investment.

Money Market/Stable Value – Stable value funds and money market funds are forms of fixed income. These funds are made up of multiple types of fixed income. They are considered low-risk, stable and yield minimal returns.

Target Date/Allocation Funds – Target Date (or Allocation) Funds are portfolios comprised of different forms of investments (stocks, bonds, stable value funds, etc.) that work to ensure you have enough in your fund to retire by a certain date. These funds change investment overtime, to coincide with when you want to retire.

Under each of these categories, you should see a variety of different options to choose from. If you are young, and looking for the most growth, you will want your portfolio to be majorly (80%) comprised of stocks. If you want no risk, but also minimal growth, you will want your portfolio to be mainly bonds and fixed income. If you want to put in no work picking any type of investment, go with a Target Date or Allocation Fund. Invest in it 100%, and the fund will break that 100% down into different types of investments. Keep in mind, the fund will change over time, regardless of how your portfolio is performing.

Reading Fund Charts

If you decide you don’t want to go with a Target Date Fund, you will need to research how each of the investments perform. You can do this by reading the charts and prospectus associated with each fund. If you are reading the chart directly from the investment company’s website, it may look something like this:

This chart is for the Blackrock US Fundamental Large Cap Growth Fund. The chart may include the very basics of how this particular investment performs. The performance results are shown for the past month (Table 1) and the past quarter (Table 2). Here is what each heading means:

Gross Expense Ratio - represents the percentage of a fund's assets that are used to pay operating expenses, management fees including 12b-1 fees, and administrative fees. The lower this number is, the less this fund costs you to keep.

Total Return – represents how this fund has delivered (in terms of percentage) over the month/quarter and year to date. For example, in the table above, this fund returned .63% for the month of December 2017, returned 7.81% for the last quarter of 2017, and returned 34.64% for the 2017 year. Note: it is possible for any of these numbers to be negative (stocks/funds can lose value). Another thing to note, the, average rate of return, historically, is 8%.

Average Annual Total Return – represents how this fund has delivered (in terms of percentage) over the past year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, and since the fund was created (inception). From reading the Total Return heading, we already knew it returned 34.64% in 2017. Now, you can see how it averaged over 3 years (13.17%), 5 years (16.24%) and 10 years (N/A). If you N/A, it means the fund was not around 10 years ago.

If you want to learn even more about each of your investment options, do a Google search. Since your company’s website will only provide the basics, you are better off doing some more research to really understand your fund.

Here is another example. This is the Vanguard S&P 500 Index Trust

We can see here that the Gross Expense Ratio is very low (awesome), but that it shows N/A for any time frame over a month, except Inception (6.24%). That means it is a relatively new fund, and therefore requires research. Doing a Google search for this fund takes you to the Vanguard website (Vanguard is who owns this fund). Visit the fund’s page to follow along.

While visiting the funds page, we are able to confirm that this fund was created in 2016 (relatively new). We are also to see what the fund is comprised of stock from the following companies:

You will also see how well the companies/industries in the fund are expected to perform. Remember, anything over the historical 8% is good. Of course, no one knows the future, these are simply predictions based on a variety of things.

You may not understand everything you’re reading, and that’s fine, but don’t deny the numbers. The goal is to build wealth over time, so you want to look at the growth over the years. If your fund hits a peak at a certain year, then starts to decline, consider selling after the peak year, and purchasing another fund.

The great thing about your investments is that they are yours. You can pick and choose when to sell and when to buy. You can pick and choose to invest in multiple options, or a few. You have the options, so take advantage. Be sure to check in on your portfolio every quarter, at minimum. Remember that wealth builds over time, so if you see something is lower than you’d like, consider waiting it out. There is plenty of time to ride the waves of the market.

Related: 8 Things to Know About Your 401k Plan

Check out my 401k investments. I explain how my portfolio investments are broken down, and how the change resulted in major growth for my 401k plan! Have you taken the time to review your 401k investments? Do you know how to find information about your retirement options? Share your concerns, questions and comments with me and other CGS readers in the comments section below, Also, share what funds you’ve been watching!

-Raya
The CGS Team

Raya ReavesFounder; Financial Consultant
 

The post How to Research Your 401k Investment Options appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Princess-to-be Meghan Markle has become a household name! Thanks to her engagement to Prince Harry of England, she is what everyone is talking about. The half-African American, half-Caucasian actress rose to the spotlight with her relationship to Prince Harry, but the actress has been around for a while. Meghan played the leading role in seven seasons of the USA series Suits, and she’s also been cast in movies like Remember Me and Horrible Bosses.

After her engagement, Meghan announced that she would be retiring from acting and focusing on Humanitarian work. Her new title will certainly make that possible! While we aren’t here to get into Meghan’s life, we’re here to celebrate her incredible fashion choices. As a princess-to-be, we expect no less! We are sharing our favorite red carpet and street style looks of Meghan Markle in the latest Celebrity Style Watch.

 Red Carpet

 

Meghan attended the NBC Universal Summer Press Day in sunny NYC in 2015 sporting cream wide-leg pants and a matching cream mesh top. The actress looked light and airy while on the red carpet.

While attending the New York Film Festival’s Tribute to Cate Blanchet in NYC, Meghan wore a dark green bodycon dress with black sleeves and side cuts. Meghan paired the dress with strappy black sandals and a gold clutch.

Meghan opted for a metallic mini-dress and matching clutch at the 2015 CDFA Vogue Fashion Fund Awards in 2015. The actress sported a low-cut, tuxedo style dress with black and PVC pumps.

 Street Style

Looking like she stepped right out of a magazine, we love how Meghan paired a bright pleated pink skirt with a toned-down striped shirt. Meghan also went fun with a lilac bag and strappy sandals.

Chic as she can be in stripes and patterned pants, Meghan rocked it while attending the Prada Iconoclasts in New York in 20145. The brown, velvet flats top off the look perfectly.

Everyone knows the CGS Team loves denim on denim! Meghan does it stylishly by adding cute flats and a camel trench. This is certainly a look to steal for your next casual outing.

There’s no doubt that future Mrs. Prince Harry will be walking around looking fabulous, just like Princess Kate. We know there is plenty of great fashion instore for Meghan Markle. What do you think of Meghan’s style? Are you a fan of her acting chops? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment in the section below!

-The CGS Team

 

The post Celebrity Style Watch: Meghan Markle appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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Have you ever made your cheeks pop, jawline look impeccable, or eyes glimmer? With contour kits you can make all that happen! Nowadays. when you see a makeup tutorial it’s always incorporating the person contouring their face with their favorite makeup brands. In some cases, contour sets can be pretty pricey; while others appear affordable but the contents are cheap and cakey. Check out these 7 amazing contour sets that won’t break the bank, and have you feeling like a talented makeup artist.

It Cosmetics!

This contour set is ideal for any beginner trying to jump into the contouring world. It Cosmetics You Sculpted Universal Contouring Palette comes with visible directions to show you how you can apply the different shades of make to your face. By following the contour booklet inside your palette for reference, you certainly will gain the confidence of contouring in no time. Blend well to complete your final and beautiful look! At under $40 dollars at Macy’s you can pick yours up and start your journey of contouring.

Smashbox

Stop by your nearest Sephora store and pick up one of these step by step contour kits to get the look you love. It comes in varies shades depending on the melanin you have which is eminent for diversity. Their newest shade includes a deeper contour hue, a richer terracotta bronzer, and a soft highlighter ideal for contouring medium to darker skin tones. This palette lets you effortlessly apply the different colors to your skin, giving you a finished beat look. Smashbox also gives its artists tips on applying the make up to define your cheek bones, or perfect your nose.

Ulta Contour Kit

If you aren’t a fan of Sephora, don’t sweat! Ulta is like the second Mecca for finding the best cosmetics at a great price. The Ulta contour kit is only $18 bucks and ideal for those just trying to test the waters with contouring. This palette simplifies contouring for beginners, which is great for those of you who are always interested in trying new things. Follow the simple step-by-step guide to highlight your cheekbones, slim your face and get an allover natural and healthy glow.

Urban Decay

The Urban Decay Naked Flushed Palette Streak is available online and in stores for a low price of $34 dollars. This contour palette is perfect for achieving that radiant glow you’ve been looking for. A bronzer, highlighter and blush are all included in this urban decay contour palette. Urban Decay's micronized, jet-milled formula has a luxe, feather light texture that feels amazing on your skin. Urban Decay palette comes in a sleek case with an easy-open magnetic closure and a big mirror which is perfect for when you’re on the go.

Tartiest PRO Glow to Go

Looking for a natural glow, that isn’t too heavy, but just right?! Tartiest PRO Glow to Go is the contour palette for you. This palette is the best at keeping your natural looks natural and not going overboard with the contour. Designed to work on every skin tone, the three exclusive shades have rich, cool undertones to mimic real shadow and light reflection for the most natural look. A portable highlight and contour that’s easy to apply while still leaving your skin free to breathe and not feel cakey.

Anastasia Beverly Hills

This glory contour palette will definitely leave your final look beat for the gods. Anastasia Beverly hills Glow Kit Sun Dipped can be located at any of your favorite make up stores for only $40 bucks. There are four velvety finishing powders that instantly bring your skin from dull to glow in seconds. The palette is available in three different shades such as Gleam, That Glow, and Sun Dipped. Complementing shades can be layered together or worn separately on cheeks for definition.

Flawless Contour Kit

Flawless contour kit by Bonita Cosmetics is a steal for your dollar! This contour kit can be found at your nearest Walmart for just under $10 bucks. The kit includes contour and highlighting to enhance your natural beauty effortlessly. When you open your kit, it should consist of a six-color face powder to help you achieve the different shades of beauty around your face, and highlighting. A pro tip: contouring is blending the different shades of powder and highlight to give your face the glam look you’ve been wanting.

Related: 2-Minute Contouring

Why spend tons of dollars on having a professional contour your face when you can do it for a low price. Try these affordable contour palettes out and let us know what you think! Are you already a fan of contouring? If so, what tips would you like to share with the community that you find helpful? Like our Facebook page and keep up with the City Girl Savings community through our IG and Twitter accounts @citygirlsavings.

-Taelor
The CGS Team

Taelor CageContent Contributor
 

The post 7 Contour Sets under $50 appeared first on City Girl Savings.

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