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Hey girl, hey!

According to a finance article on CNBC, the average American family is spending around $3,000 a year just on eating out alone. This same article also goes on to mention a story about how in 2016, one couple reviewed their credit card statements only to discover that they had spent $30,000 on eating out in one sole year (that’s nuts!).

However... with the conveniences of fast food and restaurant chains popping up all over the place, it’s way easy for one to both overeat and overspend.      

But for the sake of your budget girlfriend… EAT IN!

The fact of the matter is… eating out is expensive (let’s just be real), and in order to get to where you want to be financially, you can’t go eating and drinking your funds away! To be successful with your budget, it’s actually mandatory that most of your meals (like 90% of them) are made at home. ​

And before you start making excuses, just know that I’ve heard them all before:

“I’m single and have no one to cook for.”

“I’m so busy and I really don’t have the time to cook.”

“I don’t know how to cook, because no one ever taught me.”

Listen girlfriend, where there’s a will… there’s always a way, right?! So let’s trash the excuses and discuss some ways that’ll help you save money and have fun while eating in!

Let’s chat!  

​1. Find Recipes That Interest You. 
You know what you (and your family) enjoy, right? So stick with recipes you know will delight your taste buds.

Here’s my suggestion:

When you’re sitting on the couch or laying around scrolling through social media, make the most of that time and search for recipes that may interest you. Look for meals with ingredients you know you’ll love... that way you’re more likely to make it, versus something you’re kinda iffy about.

In my down time, I sometimes hop on pinterest, scroll through the recipes I see there, and pin my favorites. You can follow the GFB Food Board on Pinterest if you need some inspiration for when you don’t know what you make.

I pin all kinds of things on that board and I legit make almost all of them. And if you follow me on snapchat (mselle21), you’ll catch me whipping up all kinds of meals there too!    
2. Use What You Got! 
So before you go grocery shopping, you have to make a list, right?

But here’s a tip:

Take a look in your fridge or pantry before you start your grocery list. Usually we all have food items left over from other recipes we’ve made, which can be used in future meals too.

So let’s say you have half a package of pasta left, maybe a couple of chicken breasts, some spinach and a little bit of parmesan cheese (because this totally just happened to me). With those ingredients, think about what kind of meal you can make and only add to your grocery list the items you actually need.

I decided to make this Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken that I served over the leftover pasta we had, and O.M.G… it was freakin’ delicious!

The best part was that I saved some money on my grocery shopping because I made good use of what we already had, instead of letting it go bad and having to throw the old food (and the money we spent on it) in the trash.

And let’s be honest, none of us can afford to throw money in the trash...  

3. Shop For What You Need... Only! 
If you’re anything like I me, when I go to the grocery store (and if I’m not in a rush), I love to take my time and peruse through every aisle of the store… just to check out all the goods. But then I’ll find myself adding all kinds of things into the basket that were nowhere near being on my list. Then when I make it to the check line, and the cashier tells me the total… I’m up there lookin’ like bambi eyes because I’ve gone way over budget, but I’m too embarrassed to put anything back.

Sound familiar?  

That’s why I really love online grocery shopping, because it keeps me from getting more than I need. I just write down my list of grocery items, search for them on the website, watch the amount as it starts to get close to my spending limit, then check out when I’m done.

Keep in mind, though, that there’s usually a pick-up or delivery fee, so always be sure to budget that amount in as well. So if your grocery spending limit is $80 for the week and the fee is $5, only purchase $75 worth of food so that you can still cover the service fee without going over budget.

​4. Factor in Quick Meals & Snacks.
Often times, people will get stuck with a fridge full of food that eventually gets old and expires because they went into the whole “cooking at home” thing with good intentions, but then never mustered up the energy to actually cook the food they purchased!

To remedy this, I will typically recommend purchasing items that can be quick to make and throw together, and this tip is especially helpful for those that are, shall we say… culinarily challenged.
.
Just make fast, simple meals like these Garlic Bread Pizzas, tossed with a side salad… and finito!

Creating a meal doesn’t have to be complicated, just stick to the things you like and make it easy for yourself.

But what about the snackers?

So here’s a suggestion:

Grab some of your favorites when grocery shopping to make your own little snack pack. Put together a handful of grapes, a few cheese cubes, and maybe throw in some trail mix, pretzels, or whatever else you’d like.

The point is to just stay prepared. Set yourself up for financial success by planning ahead, so you’re not tempted to slide back into old, budget-busting habits.  


​5. Meal Prep YOUR Way!
When it comes to meal prepping, there’s really no right or wrong way to do it. Some people choose to make all their weekly meals on one day and others choose to make meals as they go throughout the week.

The key here is finding what works for you.

Personally, I tried cooking all my meals for the week on Sundays and discovered that method did not work for me. So now I just buy enough food to cook at least 3 meals during the week and as I make those meals, I’ll “prep” a meal or two and set it aside in tupperware for an easy heat ‘n’ eat meal later in the week!

So do what fits your lifestyle and make it work for you.

Plus, the more you practice your culinary skills girlfriend, the better you’ll be… and the more you’ll want to do it… and the more you’ll save.

See how that all works?!
So hop in the kitchen and whip up something good! If you need some help, sign up for the weekly newsletter the GFB fam sends out every Friday that contains all sorts of quick and easy meals you can begin incorporating into your regular routine right now. And once you begin making these behaviors habits, you’ll inevitably have more money because you’re not eating it all up!

Have any money saving tips for eating in you’d like to share? Drop a comment below and let’s chat!
Until Next Time,
​Elle
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Hey girl, hey!

Love is in the air as Cupid’s little pampered butt shoots his arrows into the hearts of couples all over the country. But here’s the thing… did you know that according to a study done by The Knot, the average couple is spending over $33,000 on their wedding!

Thirty-three. Thousand. Dollars, girlfriend!

That’s equivalent to what some people earn for an entire year! I mean, you could also pay off a whole baby Benz with that amount of money.

It’s a lot. It’s cray.

But people are actually spending this kind of money, all the time, on an event that only last a couple of hours... when really the focus should be on what comes after the wedding, because isn’t that what’s most important?

When you think about getting married to the person you love... do you think of a lavish wedding, in an opulent venue, filled with hundreds of guests who have come to witness your union? Or are you the kind of person that wants to save as much money as you can, but still feel like you didn’t jip yourself on one of the most important days of your life?

In all honesty, weddings are beautiful experiences, and we all want to make the most of our big day, but regardless of what side of the fence you fall on... I’ve got 5 secrets to share with you today that will hopefully keep you from spending a small fortune on your special day, so you don’t have to worry about the stresses of on-going wedding debt.

Let’s chat!

​1. Plan Out Your Wedding Budget!
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that with me… everything begins and ends with a budget. So here’s my advice:

Grab a piece of paper, sit down with your partner, and write down everything you think you’d want for your dream wedding. I’m talking everything... from the location, to the music, to the food and dranks!

Everythang!

Then determine how much “everythang” is going to cost you, item by item, and write it down. This may take some research on your part, but it’s better to do all this up front than to start spending money willy-nilly and end up broke as a joke before you even step foot down the aisle.

So for example, let’s say your hypothetical dream wedding that you’ve written out is looking like it’s going to cost you about a cool twenty-five grand! And now that you’ve gotten the final number, from here you can do one of two things:

1). You can determine how much per month you need to set aside from your income to reach this amount. And depending on how long you extend your engagement period, time could be a major factor. So, hypothetically speaking, let’s say you’re planning a 12-month engagement with a $25,000 budget:

$25,000 / 12 months = $2,083 set aside per month for your wedding alone. That’s some people’s home mortgage!

However, if you have the means in your budget to achieve that goal, then by all means… do so. But if you’re not in a position like that… then girlfriend, see option #2.

2). You can identify that this amount of money is probably way more than you should be spending, review the list again, and cut out things that are not a priority.
Like do you really need that $3,000 dress? Does the venue absolutely have to be $12,000? Is it really necessary to have $8,000 worth of food and an open bar?

I think not.

​So when it comes to putting together a wedding, you must know your budget and how much things are going to cost you.

Perhaps it may help you realize that every, single thing you thought you wanted may not be in the budget, but that’s okay, because in the long run… spending the extra money will most likely not even be worth it. So prioritize what you really want, focus on that and stick to the budget!

And for the love of God… whatever you do, please do not (I repeat) DO NOT take out a loan to pay for your wedding. There’s nothing worse than still paying off wedding debt, two, three, or five years into the marriage.

It’s not worth it, sis.

It’s just not worth it.

2. Research, Research, Research. 
When planning a wedding, it’s a must to compare prices. If you’re not dead set on your wedding being during a certain month, or on a certain day… it’s possible you can find packages from venues that are significantly lower than it would normally be during peak seasons and/or peak days. Plus, some venues may offer more amenities than others, which could really give you more bang for your buck.  

Or if standard venues are appearing to be a bit too pricey, you could get real creative when it comes to the details of your big day.

​Maybe borrowing the beautifully landscaped backyard of a friend or family member may suit your venue budget much better. Recently, as I was getting in some morning exercise, when I came across a wedding that was being held on the bridge of a local lake. It was beautiful, it was creative, and I would be willing to bet you… it was super cheap.

But if a local wedding isn’t your thing, perhaps a destination wedding could be a better option. It’s not uncommon for a Caribbean wedding to cost less than $10,000 for 40 - 50 people with everything included (ceremony, the clergy person, food, drinks, decor, etc). Personally, my Wife and I decided on a destination wedding in Puerto Rico for a few major reasons:

1. We love the beach and we wanted our wedding pictures to be by the water.
2. We wanted to incorporate our wedding and honeymoon all in one to cut down on the cost.
3. It limited the amount of guests that could come to the wedding, which in our opinion made things much easier and much more drama free.

Which brings me to my next point….
3. Be Selective With Your Guest List.
This is where shit gets real.

When it comes to your guest list girlfriend, really take some time to think about who you want to be in attendance on your special day, because everybody and their mama will not make the cut.

The reason why you want to be selective with your guests is because when it comes down to dollars and cents… you’re paying for all this people to come to your wedding, eat your food, drink your drank, and possibly talk bad about your shit when they leave.

Listen Linda… as much as you may want to think everybody is happy for you, your love, and your union… they ain’t. So it’s up to you to weed out the bad apples and determine who will genuinely bring good energy and good vibes to the celebration of your union.

Trust me,  the whole world does not need to be invited to your wedding. It will drastically reduce the amount of stress and heartache you experience leading up to your big day by keeping your guest list small.

It’s possible that some feelings may be hurt if they notice they didn’t get an invite from you… but they’ll be okay, and you will be too when you remind yourself of tip #4.
4. Remember This Is YOUR Day!
When it comes to your wedding, the key word here is YOUR. So do things the way you choose, and not what someone else wants you to do.

If your family wants you to spend boat loads of money on your wedding because they didn’t get the chance to experience their own and are living vicariously through you… the answer is simply ‘no’.

If your friends are encouraging you to spend more than what you can afford, because they’re pumping your head up with the idea that you’re wedding has to be lavish and expensive… again, the answer is simply ‘no’.

The real question is… are they paying for it?

Most likely not…

So people who aren’t chipping in on the cost of your wedding, cannot afford to give their unsolicited two cents (and that’s all pun intended).

Remember that this special day is about you, your partner, what ya’ll like, and what ya’ll can afford.

Dassit!
5. The Wedding Is Just The Beginning.
While weddings are exciting to plan and look forward to, the fact of the matter is…  it’s just one day in the whole grand scheme of life. Taking years to pay back a small fortune that you’ve spent on one day is ludacris when you really think about it!

Because I mean... let’s be real.

No one wants to imagine their blossoming love potentially going south, but with the fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce (most due to financial issues), it would be foolish to still be paying off debt, years later, for something that didn’t even work out… but it happens all the time, and that’s what I’m trying to save you from, sis.  

​At the end of the day, the wedding is just the beginning of the lifetime you and your partner are vowing to spend together. So start your marriage off on the right financial foot, and know that in doing so… you’re already ahead of the game!
So What Did You Do For Your Wedding, Elle?!...
Ahh well… thank you for asking, girlfriend.

Actually, my Wife and I were engaged for 16 months before our wedding day. We chose to have a lengthy engagement because we wanted to give ourselves enough time to plan… both creatively and financially.

Off top, we knew we wanted a destination wedding… and we also knew we wanted the ceremony to be in Puerto Rico (we visited 2 years prior and fell in love). We ended up finding this beautiful resort called, The Gran Melia nestled right in the heart of the Rio Grande. What we loved about this resort was that they really understood the meaning of a budget, and they were happy to work within our means.

Their wedding packages were extremely reasonable, and their on-site amenities were an added bonus. But above all that, their customer service was beyond superb and upon arriving we were unexpectedly surprised with upgrades for both us and all of our guests!

We were upgraded to a Villa, with our own private pool and outdoor shower. Plus, we were assigned a Butler, who was absolutely amazing and took care of all of our requests. Lastly we were accommodated with our very own Chambermaid, who made sure we were as comfortable as possible during our week long stay.

Sounds real luxurious, right?

But guess what?... We did it all for under $10K and didn’t have a dime of debt when we returned home. The things I slightly splurged on were my dress, makeup, and pictures… because I wanted to capture all the beauty that surrounded our special day.

But a lot of the luxuries we were afforded just happened to be gifts from the resort. I truly believe that most of it happened because we remained patient, kind, and positive throughout the co-planning process, and they felt generous enough to gift us upgrades to make our stay special.

All in all, it was absolutely amazing. There’s nothing that I would have changed about my wedding day, and I hope that when you look back on yours, you’ll be able to say the same!

Happy Planning!

Drop a comment below and let me know what you think of this post?
Until Next Time,
Elle
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Hey girl, hey!

Any Erykah Badu fans in the house? I ask only because I was totally feelin’ her vibe during this photoshoot. Like seriously, I put on a whole Badu concert in my head… and it was fabulous (lol)! But I digress…

Let’s talk fashion, girlfriends!

​When it comes to my personal style, I really like to mix it up… a lot. And it honestly just comes down to what I’m feeling like in the morning when I wake up.  There’s days I just want to be comfy, yet cute. Other days I’m feelin’ a street vibe - like real edgy or rock and roll-ish, but most days…  I just love to be fashionably chic!

Ya see, in my head... I’m totally a celebrity (lol). So when I step out (like out - out), I want to look and feel my best. Plus, with both a Wife and Bestie that are stylish Out. Of. This. World…. I really have no choice.   

But regardless of the style of the day, I always feel good knowing that I can look like a million bucks without having to blow my budget!

So let’s highlight some of the deets of this outfit..shall we?!
The Top.
Since the weather is ever-changing in bi-polar ass... I mean, beautiful Dallas, Texas,  you’re never really sure what you’re going to get when you step outside. That’s why I love versatile blouses like this Zara brand white self-tie peplum top that I found for a steal of $16 at Uptown Cheapskate University Park - a local resale shop here in Dallas.      
It’s light, comfy, and flowy, plus the shape of the garment allows me to eat all I want without my food baby showing afterwards. But most of all… it’s simple, yet stylish which makes it really easy to pair with almost anything. I found a similar (and just as affordable) top at one of my favorite online stores Shein.com.
The Jeans.
Who doesn’t love boyfriend jeans?

​For those of you who don’t know what boyfriend jeans are... the style icons describe this type of jean as a closet essential. Mainly because the fit is much more relaxed and looser than a skinny jean, but still just as chic nonetheless. It kinda gives off that vibe of effortless style with a touch of boyish flare… without looking like you’re trying too hard.
Check out these super cute boyfriend jeans I found for a steal here
The Shoes.
I genuinely cannot get enough of these floral pumps from Payless ShoeSource. Like honestly... they pretty much go with everything.

Solids.
Patterns.
You name it.

And rest assured that with these babies on your feet, you’re bound to get tons of comments and compliments...because I mean c’mon, who wouldn’t love these shoes?
I, personally, love these shoes because they give me just the right amount of height (I’m super short by nature) with just the right amount of comfort, which can really be difficult to find in a closed-toed pump. But the designer, Christian Siriano, does a great job of combining quality, comfort, and style… all for an affordable price. And in my eyes… that’s super dope!

You can snag these very same Floral Pumps right now for just $25, plus take an extra 20% off when you purchase online! #totallywinning
The Accessories. 
Accessories are really what make the outfit pop! 

All my accessories (hat, glasses, and backpack) were purchased from Uptown Cheapskate University Park (I told ya’ll it’s my fav). They seriously have some of the cutest accessories for the low-low and they’re always having sales and discount days! 

Recently when I stopped by the shop, my eye immediately caught this camel-colored suede backpack. I wasn’t going to buy it initially, but every time I’d looked in its direction… it just kept calling my name. Mainly because I had nothing like it in my closet already, and I’ve been really ready to venture outside of my norm lately, sooooo…. I got it.  ​
Backpacks are a totally in accessory right now. It really adds to the “I’m cute without trying to be” vibe. Plus, you can just throw your belongings over your shoulder - allowing you to have both hands free, which I definitely need because I’ve been know to be a bit clumsy at times.
Lastly, my stylist paired these glasses and hat to complete the look and I immediately went into Badu mode (lol). If I honestly had to rate this outfit, I would definitely say it’s one of my top 5 favorite looks... ever.

In this ensemble, I felt confident, chic, and like the girl boss that I believe I am. And when all of those components are working in your favor… you know you’ve found yourself a badass outfit! 
Feeling your best is really all that matters when it comes to fashion. When you feel your best, you look your best, because it’s radiating from the inside.  

So just don’t overthink it.

Fall in love with what makes you feel good and everything else will just fall into place.

​I guarantee it!

Want more post like this? Drop a comment below and let me know how you liked it!

Until Next Time,
Elle

P.S. Somebody, that knows somebody, that knows Erykah…send her this post please? We definitely need to collab. ;)

*This post may contain affiliate links to products we use and love.
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Hey girl, hey! 

As we grow older, we sometimes learn the hard way that life doesn't always run so smoothly. It has peaks and valley's, and it doesn’t always move forward in the way that we hope. But the crazy thing is, most of us don’t even think about the financial curve balls life can throw our way. And it’s also why most of us don’t think about opening and maintaining an emergency savings account.
It's a well know fact that life can be completely and utterly unexpected. I mean... you could be happy in your job one day,  and the next (poof!) not have a job at all. Would you be able to financially survive that scenario?

​Not unless you have an emergency fund to see you through, girlfriend.

Or imagine this... you could be happily driving to work, minding your own business, then bang – an accident happens outta nowhere, and you’re laid up and injured. It’s not the way anyone wants to think, but when you’re sitting around with your legs in a cast trying to get hold of your accident lawyer, you’ll be wishing you had an emergency fund to keep you afloat.

To be quite frank, the last thing you want is to end up drowning in debt, or relying on others to support you while you recover from an accident, job loss or any other unexpected event that could cost you big bucks.

​So today girlfriend, let's discuss four reasons why you should really look into starting an emergency savings account... like asap.

Let's chat!

​Income.
​When you’re relying on your own income and no one else to pay your rent and bills, it’s absolutely essential to have an emergency fund to back you up. You should try to gather at least six months of expenses as fast as possible to support you when things go south.
Self Employment.
Being self-employed means that you have to rely on yourself to work. If you’re sick, you don’t earn anything. If you’re injured, there’s a chance you won’t be able to work. So you have to be able to support yourself when times are hard. Start a budget to keep track of your spending and expenses, then save as much as you can... whenever you can.

​Homeowner.
When you’re a homeowner, you’re accountable for repairs and insurance. Having an emergency pot of cash will be a blessing when your AC or heater decides to clock out at the least convenient time.

RELATED: 6 Secrets Every Single Woman Homebuyer Should Know!
Travel.
If you live far away from your family, it's pretty much necessary to have a bank of cash ready to go just in case of family emergencies for travel and accommodation. If, god-forbid, anything happens to any of your loved ones, you'll want to make sure you're able to get back home in times of an unfortunate event. 

​While these aren’t exhaustive reasons to have an emergency fund, they’re all the best reasons to ensure that you’re covered. Plus, keep in mind that an emergency savings should be separate from regular savings, too, so you don’t get tempted!

Plus, keep in mind that more than half of Americans (57% to be exact) have less than $1000 saved in a savings account and what's worse... 39% of no savings at all (like zero, zip, zilch)! So don't find yourself falling into a statistic girlfriend - discover ways to begin saving now... and I guarantee your future self will thank you for it! 

What are you thoughts on this post? Drop a line below and let's chat! 
Until Next Time, 
​Elle 
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Hey girl, hey!

From time to time, I’ll have other women approach me to either compliment or inquire about an outfit I’m wearing. And more times than not... these ladies are shocked when I tell them where I’ve purchased certain pieces, and how much it actually cost me!

So recently, I rocked this cute little off-the-shoulder number to a holiday backyard barbecue. The sheer shock in people’s reactions when I told them the details of my outfit were enough to get me inspired to write this very 1st fashion blog post for Girlfriend’s, Budget!

If you really want to know the truth... fashion is all about what you make of it, and a well-fitting, well put-together outfit can make any girl feel like a million bucks - without having to break the bank.

Can you guess how much this whole outfit cost me?
Less than $50 bucks! That’s right, girlfriend… $50. Bucks.

Let’s discuss the deets… shall we?!

​So whenever I begin thinking of how to piece an outfit together, I try to keep 3 major components in mind: The outfit itself, the shoes; and the accessories.

As long as your mindful of those three things, you’re already on the road to fashion success, sis.

RELATED: How To Still Be Productive at a Job You Hate!

​The Dress.
First and foremost, I absolutely adore this off-the-shoulder dress. It’s fun, flirty, and I copped it for a steal at a consignment store near my area called Uptown Cheapskate Lewisville for only $16 bucks!

Although I loooove consignment stores, because you can sell old items that you no longer wear and get cash or store credit to spend on something new. Plus you can find some pretty high-end name brand items for cheap. The only unfortunate things are that most don’t have online shopping, and unlike a department store or a store at the mall, consignments usually only have one (or very few) of the same item.


​But not to worry, girlfriends. There’s a whole internet playground that allows you to shop for comparable items (within your budget) with just a few clicks of a button.

Shein.com is one of my very favorite online shops. I love this site because they have a plethora of super cute, trendy clothes at very, very affordable prices. I found these 2 off-the-shoulder dresses similar to the one I have for the low-low here and here.

Note: when shopping online, always read the reviews and the sizing chart. 

​The Shoes.
That’s why I love these American Eagle Classic Sneakers from Payless Shoesource! They’re stylish, versatile, super comfortable, and the quality is outstanding! Plus right now, they’re on sale for only $12.99 (ummm… can we say winning?!).

Okay, but let’s have an honesty moment here...

​I have to admit that I used to be super bougie about purchasing footwear from Payless (don’t judge me). Not because they had budget-friendly shoes… but because back in the day, with kids being kids, Payless was just not the cool place to shop. But after perusing the payless.com site, I realized I had really been trippin’ this whole time!

Payless ain’t the same Payless it used to be, ya’ll! They have really stepped their shoe game up and I am seriously hooked!

Don’t believe me? Click here and have a look-see for yourself!

​The Accessories. 
What’s funny is I never used to be a huge accessories girl, and I still can’t really say that I am now...  but what I do know is that an outfit just wouldn’t be complete without a few accessories to pull the entire look together.  I’m telling you… even the simplest outfits can be leveled up with some pops of jewelry or even just the right pair of shades.

Speaking of shades... I’m rocking these Brown Tinted Aviator Shades from Forever 21 to give the look a little more sass!

Forever 21, believe it or not, is one of my favorite go-to stores for accessories. They have a large variety of items that will compliment any style, and at very reasonable prices.    

And lastly, but certainly not least… I added a Black Skinny Waist Belt to tie the whole outfit together. I found a similar one here, on Shein.com for just $4 bucks (sign... gotta love that place).

Listen girlfriend.. never be afraid to add a belt to your outfit. It can really help to change the shape of the garment, while accentuating all your beautiful, womanly curves… which is something to be proud of (love your body, girl).

So like I mentioned before, fashion is about expressing yourself… and not about breaking the bank! To be quite frank, even if you were wearing a brown paper bag, girlfriend - as long as you rock that shit with confidence… you’re bound to be turning heads. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, because you’re a Queen no matter what you’re wearing or how much it costs!

Want more posts like this? Drop a comment below and let me know, and don’t forget to share this post with all your girlfriends!

Until Next Time,
Elle

P.S. For more fashion inspiration, check out our GFB look books on YouTube!
Girlfriend's, Budget! Mini WorkWear Look Book - YouTube
Girlfriend's, Budget! All Black Look Book - YouTube

​*This post may contain affiliate links to products we use and love.
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Hey girl, hey!

When you hear or think about the words Student Loans, how does that make you feel?

Excited? Encouraged? Uplifted?… Doubt it!

If you ever went to college, whether a Community College or a 4-year University, chances are you’re like the 44 million other Americans who have student loan debt. And as of right now, Americans collectively owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt (yes, girl... trillion) with the average debt being a little under $40,000!

So when one begins thinking about the dark cloud of student loan debt hovering over their head, the thought can really put you in a negative emotional state... I mean, how does a girl journey her way to financial freedom with the weight of student loans holding her back?

Well don’t fret girlfriend, I gotchu... because today I’m sharing with you five steps you can begin taking right now to get that student loan debt off your back.  

Let’s talk money!
1. Master Your Cash Flow.
First things first, girlfriend… you absolutely, absolutely have to be aware of your household cash flow. If you’re not familiar with this term, cash flow is the total amount of money that flows into and out of your bank account… and the only way to truly be aware of this flow is to have and maintain a well planned out budget (there goes that “B” word again).

RELATED: So What’s This Thing Called Budgeting Anyway?

Listen girlfriend, a budget is nothing to be afraid of… if anything, it’s actually your best friend! A budget just simply allows you to see where your money is going, instead of wondering where the hell it went!

Trust me, we’ve all been there... and we all know it’s not a good feeling when money seems to be leaving our bank account even faster than it’s entering.

But if you haven’t started a budget yet, how can you really take control of your student loan debt (or any debt for that matter)?

Do you know how much, in total, you currently owe?

Do you know the interest rate for each loan?

Do you know how much of your payment is going towards interest and how much is going towards the principle?

You see… when you utilize a budget and make the choice to stay committed to it, you will - without a doubt - know all the answers to these questions and be able to make informed decisions on what your next steps should be.

And speaking of next steps… see step #2

2. Minimize Your Expenses. 
This is a big one.

Listen Linda…  If eliminating your student loan debt is a goal you’d like to achieve, you’ve got to start cutting back on your expenses. If you’re stressed about your budget being tight… it’s because your money is being spread way too thin - buying everything you want, taking on more unnecessary bills, and giving into bad habits - all while the debt just keeps piling up higher and higher.

Girlfriend… that’s no way to live!

So after you create your budget, find ways you can decrease or eliminate some expenses, then put that freed-up money towards your debt.     

RELATED: Your Spending’s Way Too High… You Need To Cut It!

Is your home or apartment costing more than 35% of your net income? Consider downsizing or getting a roommate.

Are you eating out way more than you should be? Try meal planning and cooking more at home.

Are you taking on more bills than you should be (i.e. cable, netflix, hulu, music subscriptions, gym memberships, other people’s bills, etc.)? Then take a minute to think about the things you really need, and get rid of the other stuff asap, because whether you know it or not... little bills add up in major ways.

RELATED: Dividing Your Paycheck...

I just recently finished reading Oprah’s book, "What I Know For Sure", and girlfriend… if you haven’t read it, you need to - it’s life changing! But there is a quote from that book that I absolutely must share with you:

She says, “What I know for sure: When you define yourself by the things you can acquire rather than see what you really need to be happy and fulfilled, you’re not just living beyond your means or overextending yourself. You’re living a lie. That’s why being burdened with bills feels so awful. You are being untrue to yourself. When you free yourself from debt, you create a space to purchase with purpose - to add to your life things that are meaningful.”

Whew… powerful stuff! And that’s exactly why I rock with my girl ‘O’!

RELATEDWants versus Needs: Knowing the Difference.

3. Increase Your Income.
Remember we talked about cash flow at the beginning of this post?

We all know it’s easy for money to flow out, but what about the money flowing in?

Look girlfriend, I’m not naive in any way, and I know student loan payments (even the minimum) can be a b*tch on your budget, and the higher the payment is… the b*tchier it gets!  
But if your current income situation does not allow you to make the minimum payment on your student loans, plus a little extra to knock down the principle… then girlfriend - it’s time to get your hustle on.

Believe it or not, there is so much money out there to be made - you just have to make the choice to go after it!

​RELATED: How I’m Manifesting Abundance Into My Life!

Do you have a hobby you can turn into a side hustle (i.e. makeup, hair, tutoring, sewing, etc)?

Do you have a car that you can use to make some money with Uber or Lyft?

Do you have items in your home or in storage that you can sell to make some extra cash?

Lemme tell you something... when I was in graduate school at Texas Woman's University, not only was I taking a full course load... I worked a whole full-time job, and was a bartender on the weekends at a local night club. 

So girlfriend… where there’s a will, there’s a way. Stop making excuses, get creative, believe in yourself, and make it happen!

4. Research Student Loan Forgiveness.
So did you know that there are actually Student Loan Forgiveness Programs out there?

There’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs, Income Driven Forgiveness Programs, and even Forgiveness Programs for Teachers, Lawyers, Nurses, and other Healthcare Professionals.

Of course you’ll have to do some research to see if you qualify for any of these programs, and if you do… they have repayment plans that can span from anywhere between 10 to 25 years.

It’s a much slower process than just getting your hustle on and paying the sh*t off… but on the flip side, whatever isn’t paid at the end of your loan term, can ultimately qualify for 100% forgiveness.

Sound too good to be true?! Well… not to be the bearer of bad news, buuuuut - it kinda is.

The downside to loan forgiveness (that most people don’t want to talk about) is that any loans forgiven under these programs will be considered taxable income - according to the Internal Revenue Service, otherwise known as the IRS.

So in other words, if you have - let’s say - $30,000 worth of loans forgiven at the end of your term, when tax time rolls around - your loan lender will send both you and the IRS a 1099-C form, basically stating that you’ve received an extra $30,000 of income on top of what you already made for the year.

Then the IRS (being the IRS) taxes you on that extra $30,000 income - which could leave you with an $8,000+ tax bill that you now owe back to the IRS. So yeah… you didn’t have to pay the full student loan amount, but now you’re stuck with a pretty hefty tax bill!

But on the brighter side of things (because there’s always a brighter side of things), if you’ve been budgeting and saving like GFB has taught you…. $8,000 dollars might be quite easy for you to pay off in 10 - 25 years from now.

Right?!

​RELATED: Grow Your Stash… Stack That Cash! Saving Money The GFB Way!

5. Consider Loan Consolidation or Refinancing.
Last, but certainly not least, loan consolidation or refinancing can really save you thousands of dollars in the long run - if you do it right.

By consolidating, you’re combining all of your federal loans into one lump sum - giving you one fixed interest rate and one monthly payment.

But here’s a tip, if you do decide to consolidate your loans do not (I repeat) do not extend the term of the loan. Doing this will inevitably make your monthly payments lower, but it’s going to cost you way more in interest by extending the time out longer.

So only consolidate and/or refinance your student loans to reduce the interest rate and possibly lower the payments. Couple this strategy with your hustle mentality, and you can pay that thang off even faster than you ever thought possible!

Make sense?!
So yes, student loans can be daunting… but they don’t have to control your life. Take your power back today girlfriend, and begin taking the necessary steps to get rid of those loans once and for all.

Oh.. and as you’re learning through this process, be sure to pass the knowledge on to the young people you know in your life - like soon to be graduates or students that are fresh outta high school.

Inform them that it’s okay to go to a community college to take their basics, rather than go straight to a 4 year university - and if it’s possible for them to work while in school… do it! There’s no greater feeling than receiving that degree without having to stress about student loans later in life.

Let’s help the generation to come after us - be even better than us, because we’re all in this thang together. We got this!

Drop a comment below and let me know how you liked this post!

Until Next Time,
Elle   
P.S. Have you snagged your #GFBTEE yet? Officially join the #GFBSQUAD and snag yours today! 
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Hey girl, hey!

Let me ask you a serious question...

How many times have you longed for more in your life?... More money, more time, more luxury items, more beneficial relationships, more happiness… and really just more abundance in your life overall?

If this sounds all too familiar to you, trust me girlfriend, you’re not alone...

We’ve all been there. We’re human. And often times the desires of our hearts are much bigger than the current realities we’re experiencing… but I’ll let you in on a little secret (shhhh!). What if I told you there was a way to live the life that you always imagined for yourself? And that YOU could one day have all the money, all the time, and all the happiness you ever wanted.

Would that interest you?
Well girlfriend, since I love you so much...  I’d like to share with you some principles I have been incorporating into my life on a daily basis and how I’ve been seeing abundance manifest right before my eyes. 

Let’s talk about... The Law of Attraction!

If you’ve never heard of the belief system called The Law of Attraction… maybe you’re more familiar with the term: Karma. Simply put, The Law of Attraction is the ability for us all as spiritual beings, living a human experience, to attract into our lives whatever we most focus our attention on.

It’s where we use the power of our thoughts and materialize those thoughts into reality, while believing that The Universe (or God) is encouraging, guiding, and supporting us toward fulfilling our wildest dreams.

Now this might sound like some far out, spacey-type shit… but let me tell you, this stuff is real! And I believe it, because I see my thoughts manifesting right before me everyday... and I guarantee so do you…

Okay… I’ll give you a personal example:

There are days when I wake up in a horrible mood. I’ll roll outta bed with a stanky-ass attitude, because I’m really not looking forward to going to work that day. But I’ll get up anyway, get myself together and begin looking in my closet for something to wear.  

RELATED: How to Still be Productive at a Job You Hate!

So as I’m sliding through the hangers of my wardrobe, I’m thinking to myself...

“Ugh, I have nothing to wear! I feel fat. These pants don’t fit right. I  really wish I could just wear my onesie!”

But finally... I find something I halfway like, grab my stuff, and head out the door. And as I’m getting in my car, I’m already feelin’ some type of way, but I proceed to drive to work still in a bad-ass mood.

Now I‘m noticing that the traffic is hella bad, my stomach is growling and I’m hungry because I didn’t eat breakfast, and the clock keeps reminding me that I’m late to work... 

So noooow I’m thinking about all the shit I gotta do when I finally arrive at work, and how that one co-worker (that I don’t like) bet not say nothin’ to me, because today is definitely Not. The. Day!

Then the whole rest of my day is just straight-up boo boo… all because my negative thoughts turned into negative words, which turned into negative actions... which then turned into the manifestation of a whole negative-ass day!

Has that ever happened to you?!

Where it just seems like one bad thing after another just keeps happening?! It’s kinda like that saying… “When it rains, it pours!”

But guess what, girlfriend?.... Guess. What? 

You’re creating that!

Lucky for you (and me), all this can be changed around by using two things you already born with…Your mind. And your emotions.

So let’s explore the 5 ways that you can begin creating a life full of happiness and abundance, right now!

​1. ​Be Grateful!
Being grateful is the quickest way to manifesting abundance in your life!

Instead of focusing your attention and energy on the things you don’t have or wish you had, try being grateful for the things you already have.

For example:

Be grateful for the clean air you breathe.
Be grateful for the food you have in your fridge.
Be grateful for the clothes you have in your closet.
Be grateful for whatever mode of transportation you have, that gets you to and from the places you need to go.

Be grateful for the money you already have in your bank account (even if it’s only a little bit).
Be grateful for your arms, legs, fingers and toes. 
Be grateful for your place of employment.
And most importantly, just be all-around grateful for your life! 

Try to refrain from worrying or complaining about the things that you're lacking and watch how the Universe will begin to pour blessings into your life!  

​2. Think Positively! 
“See the power of the mind is not a JOKE…!” (in my Drake voice)

In all seriousness though, your thoughts are a very powerful tool when it comes to creating your reality.  So when you think things like “I’ll always be broke”, “I’ll never be good enough”, “I’m just not that pretty” or “I feel fat”... you’re creating your reality to be just that!

Those thoughts that you’re thinking are planting seeds within your subconscious mind and it’s playing over and over like a broken record until you begin to believe them.

So whenever you feel yourself starting to go down the mudslide of negative thoughts… stop yourself in your tracks and make a conscience effort to change your negative thoughts into positive ones.

Think things like “Money is readily available to me whenever I need it.”, “I’m more than enough… just the way I am”, “I am wonderfully and beautifully created”, or “I’m sexy and I know it”!  

Re-create these thoughts over and over again in your mind...

Think them. Write them. Or record them to listen to later…. and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when your thoughts are full of constant positivity.

RELATED: How to Maintain Your Sexy!

​3. Speak It and Believe It!
Did you know that the thoughts you think become the words you speak? So when you think positive things, you speak positive things and vice versa.

That’s why it’s so important to be careful with the things you think annnd the things you say. Because once the words come out of your mouth, you’re verbally giving life to whatever thoughts you had in your mind... which will inevitably turn into your reality.

Saying things like “I’ll never have enough money to do the things I want.”, or “All the good men/women are taken these days and I’ll never be in a happy relationship.”

Girlfriend, you and I both know that these are things that you actually do want, but you’re blocking your blessings with all that negativity spewing out of your mouth! And if your circle of friends are thinking and speaking the same negativity that you are… ya’ll are just recycling that shit back and forth to each other!

No.

If you’re ready to change your life for the better, find a circle of friends that will be on this journey of positivity with you and practice speaking words of love, life, encouragement, and success to yourself and to others... then watch how the Universe will supply you with your every wish and desire.

​4. Act As If!
So you got the “thinking” part down. And you got the “saying” part down. Now the next step is to act as if what you want is already here... 

So you want to be a millionaire?

Act as if you are one!

Now wait though… (because somebody might get me confused).  

Don’t go blowin’ all your money saying that I told you to do so, because that’s not where I’m going with this. But what I really mean is… if you were a millionaire right now, how would you act? What would you wear? What would you do? Where would you go?

​And as you think of these things… act in a way that makes you feel like a millionaire!

Start researching what trips you would take. Write down the things you would buy. Think about all the people you would help… and as you’re going through these motions, the Universe will be preparing you for what you’re positively expecting to come.

Don’t worry about where or when it will come… just know that it will come and when it does, you’ll have done all the work to prepare for yourself for your gifts’ arrival.

​5. Feel It Real!
Recently, I read a book that changed my whole perspective on how I create my own reality. The book entitled, “Feel It Real!” by Denise Coats is basically a guide to manifesting your heart's truest desires.

In this book, she discusses how the emotions you feel significantly affect the manifestations you realize. For example, you may say you’re grateful for the home you live in, or your car or your job… but if you don’t actually feel grateful, then trust me, girlfriend... you’re not tricking the Universe, you're just telling it to keep on giving you that which makes you feel bad.

So as I was reading this book, the author made a statement that really resonated with me (as Oprah would call it... an "Aha moment"). She said “the Universe speaks vibration-ese”... meaning that although what you think and what you say are important, what really manifests your thoughts into things... is feeling those emotions of gratitude, positivity, and love. These emotions send vibrations to the Universe, letting it know that you want more of those good feelings, which then signals it to bring you more of what you desire.

So how have these practices been helping me?

Girl, let me tell you.

I feel better emotionally, physically annnd spiritually.
Money now comes to me easily and effortlessly.
My business is expanding and successfully thriving.
I have more clarity of the mind.
I worry waaaay less (because I used to be a ball of burning anxiety).
My relationship with my partner is growing stronger.
And overall, I'm just so happy with where I am, and I'm eager to see what more is to come. 

Now I'm not saying that every single day is peachy, because that's definitely not the case, but I can say that I have much more good days than bad ones and with practice, every day gets better and better... and I'm grateful for that! 

But ya know... I really could go on and on about how much The Law of Attraction has changed my life, but I’ll save the rest for another day and another blog post. However, I encourage you to try implementing some of these principles into your life right now, and watch what begins to unfold as soon as this day!

I’d love to hear what you think of this post! Drop a line and let’s chat!

Until Next Time,
Elle     
P.S. ​Have you Joined the #GFBTEE Movement Yet? Check out our apparel here
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Hey girl, hey!

If you follow me on snapchat (if not, follow me: mselle21), I’m sure you’ve heard this story before. But for those of you who are new here, you’re in luck… because here it goes again.

I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, single grad student with a very naive outlook on life (I’ll admit it). I had my whole life plan already mapped out, which included buying my very first home at the prime age of 23. Knowing I wanted to build a home from the ground up, I searched for the house I thought would fit the idea that was in my head. The thought of being a bo$$ and owning a home at such a young age was the image I thought would make look, be and feel successful, only problem was... I didn’t quite do all my research and there were some things that I had to find out the hard way.

But since I love you all so much, I’m sharing my lessons with you... so you can be well informed when you decide to take that home ownership leap!

Let’s chat!  

​To purchase or not to purchase... that's the ultimate question! 
Being a Financial Coach,  I often have a plethora of people coming to me asking for financial guidance and many of them have the same request: “Help me get my money right, Elle, so I can buy a house!”

Now I’m not here to tell you to buy (or not to buy), because the final decision is ultimately yours to make... but I am simply here to state the facts, share my own experience, and let you know that sometimes buying a house isn’t really all that you imagined it would be. So here’s what I learned when purchasing my first home:
1. The Paperwork is Unreal!

BOOM…

That was the sound of the monstrous pile of papers the selling agent dropped on the desk in front of me... then casually handed me a pen. Looking at her over the stack of documents that stopped just underneath my eyeballs (well maybe I’m exaggerating just bit, but you get the picture… it was huge) made me feel like I was literally about to sign my life away.

The most important thing to do before signing any paperwork is to make sure you read and understand everything…and I do mean everything, even down to the little fine print. You never want to find yourself surprised in the future by something you signed because you got caught up the in whirlwind of excitement.

2. Your Credit Report will Show Massive Debt.

As soon as all that paperwork you just signed is processed… BAM, the total amount of the home you just purchased lands on your credit report.  Now this can be both a good and bad thing.

For one, at least you’ll have diversity on your credit report (if you don’t already) by adding an installment loan to the mix. But, if you have any additional loans already on your credit report such as a car loan, student loans, or anything of the like... that new loan is just added on top of all of that, girlfriend.

It can be pretty gut wrenching to later pull your credit report and see the mountain of debt you’ve accumulated and the thought of becoming debt free may seem like a long ways away.  

3. Maintenance can be a B*tch!

In an apartment, you pay for the luxuries of maintenance. There’s usually staff on-site that work to keep the grounds nice with freshly planted flowers, regularly scheduled lawn mows, and even valet trash at some places (it’s so easy to get spoiled). But with a house, you’re responsible for all of that and I must say… it’s a lot of effin’ work.

Now unless you have a boo thang to help you out with the maintenance of your property, you will personally have to go buy your own flowers to plant. You, yourself, will have to take out your own trash. And unless you plan on hiring a lawn service company, you girlfriend… will be mowing your own lawn.

And in my opinion, it’s no fun!

All it took was one time for me to have grass flying up my nose and in my eyes during hay fever season to know that this mowing thang was completely for the birds.

I gave it my best effort... it's ain't for me. 

Not only that, let’s not forget the cleaning. If you’re used to living in a one or two bedroom apartment, cleaning up your place up may not seem so bad (then again, who really enjoys cleaning), but then double or maybe even triple that square footage and you’ve got a whole part-time job just keeping your place tidy.

4. Things WILL Break… No Matter What!

Whether you purchase an older home or build one from the ground up, one thing is guaranteed… things will break! It never fails, something is going to end up leaking, something is going to end up going out, and something is going to end up falling apart.

I’ve been down this road girlfriend, I tell you no lies!

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your incidental savings is stacked for these inevitable events that will take place.

5. There’s More Expenses Besides the Monthly Mortgage.

In addition to the maintenance I mentioned earlier, there’s a huge possibility you could have even more expenses you’d be responsible for. Items like Home Owners Association Fees (HOA), property insurance, and property taxes will all have to be factored into your budget.

And let's not forget about furnishing and decorating your place. I mean... what's the point in having this whole house if you ain't got nothin' in it? So you definitely want to make sure you have enough money stashed away so your guests (because you will have guests) are not all sitting on the floor.
 
6. It’s More Permanent than Not.

If you’re anything like me… you won’t find me in one spot for too long. I tend to get bored quickly and I like to move around a lot to get a change of scenery, but home ownership is definitely a more permanent move. Not to say that you caaan't move... it's just a much more complex process than not renewing your lease at an apartment. So if you plan to purchase a house, you also want to plan to be there for a while to at least get your down payment's worth and build some equity. 

So what happened to my house you ask? 

I sold it... 

It was really far out in the suburbs (like really far), and no one came to visit me because it was literally like taking a road trip to get there. But I enjoyed the experience, because it taught me a lot of life lessons and it was also an investment that I paid into for 5 years. When I finally sold it, I was able to make about $13,000 off the deal since my home had increased in value. I used some of that money to furnish my new apartment in the city, but the majority.... went straight to savings (you already know). 

So with that being said girlfriend, take your time before making the home-ownership commitment, do your research, and stack that cash... because you're definitely going to need it!

Drop a line and let me know what you think of this post? Do you share a similar experience? Let's chat!

Until Next Time, 
Elle 

Are you ready to start your budget to get yourself financially aligned with your goals? Check out our Budgeting for Beginners Guide to help you get started. 
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Hey girl, hey!

I am so happy that you’ve taken the time to peruse through my blog and I'm really hoping you’re finding my little corner of the internet to be both fun and educational. However, today I wanted to take some time and get a little personal with my readers and share the story of how Girlfriend's, Budget! was born.

​Have you ever been at a place in your life where you weren’t quite sure what your purpose on this earth was? Maybe you’ve been a bit confused as to what your passion in life actually is and how to go about pursuing that passion. I know this all too well. I’ve been there…let me tell you my story:

Personally, I’ve always been good with my finances. It was something that was instilled in me as a child. I can still remember my mom laying all the bills out on the floor with reminders for herself on sticky notes (Thank God for online bill pay now, right?). She had a whole system worked out and I always took notice. When I moved out on my own at 19, I was in school and I had a job, but I was still receiving financial assistance from my parents. They made it very clear that the money they gave me on a monthly basis was to go toward bills and bills only (they definitely were not paying for my college lifestyle… “party, party, party… let’s all get wasted!”) With the expectation being clear upfront, I knew I had to manage my money properly, otherwise I’d be out on my ass. Since then, it’s been an everyday practiced lifestyle for me to live within my means and make my money work for me.

It wasn’t until 2012 that I actually thought my money management strategies were practical enough to begin teaching others. I thought I was going to be the next young, black version of Suzie Orman… that I’d be so popular even Oprah would make it a point to get me on her show for an interview (Oprah… hey girl, hey!) I just knew that once I started to get myself out there as a Financial Coach that people would begin flocking to me, wanting all the help they could get to better manage their money.

Girlfriend, I was dead wrong! I realized that for most people, finances is a very difficult topic to discuss and many are embarrassed to be vulnerable about their true financial situation. Although my ultimate goal was to always help and to never judge, I understood that I couldn’t force people to come to me for guidance. With this realization at the forefront of my mind, I began to get discouraged. I thought this finance thing was never going to work and that I should just give up on my dream.  

Fast Forward to 2016. I’m in my beautiful apartment, in the middle of a beautiful city, with my beautiful fiancé (at the time) but yet I was still sulking… because I feel as if I have no purpose and no passion in this life of mine. I had stopped coaching and was working in Corporate America (Yuck!). My circle of friends around me seemed to have it all figured out! They knew exactly what they wanted and how to get there.

I voiced my concerns to them, explaining how I felt stuck and discouraged with no vision of purpose for my life. I still remember that night like it was yesterday. Luckily for me, I have a wonderful support system of friends and family who encouraged me to get back in the Financial Coaching game (there’s nothing like a good support system, get you one girl!), but this time around, I was going to do things differently. Instead of being the regular, serious, dried up ol’ Finance Coach, I decided to just be… Myself!

I’m fun, outgoing, and always willing to try new things, but I am also very honest, dedicated and disciplined (my clients know I will hold them accountable, and they thank me for it.) With this new found motivation, I thought what better way to get my financial tips and strategies out to the world than through blogging. Hence, Girlfriend’s, Budget! was born and it has so far been an adventurous ride! I get so excited to write fun financial information for you all and I graciously look forward to your comments and suggestions.  
So as I stand under this tree, it’s a metaphor for my realization on how fruitful my life has become and that I just needed a strong foundation filled with love, peace, faith and joy. Once my foundation was solid, my tree bloomed with belief, awareness, wisdom, and trust in myself and God. All these things and much more guided me to my life’s purpose.

So if you’re feeling down on yourself because you’re not sure of your purpose in life, I encourage you to do some soul searching and explore new things to lead you to where you’re supposed to be. Yes, initially you may fail… (if at first you don’t succeed… in my Aaliyah voice) but never stop trying! You have a God-given gift inside of you that is ready to be unleashed, girlfriend! Find your strength, listen to that inner voice inside you, and go conquer the world! It's your time to shine!

Tell me how you liked this post! Comment below and let’s chat!
​Until Next Time,
Elle
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Hey girl, hey!

January has definitely been the month for new connections and awesome collabs, because today... I have another wonderful guest post for you from the lovely and multi-talented Marliceia Chavers. She is the author and creator of the lifestyle blog, Love Marliceia, where she shares personal stories that describe how she's grown in her journey of self-love and re-discovery. She encourages women to live their best life, love with their whole heart, and laugh until they cry... all of which are right up my alley! 

So without further ado, please give a warm 'hey girl, hey' to Ms. Marliceia as she dives deep into how our love for ourselves (or lack thereof) can manifest into our money. 

​Let's chat! 
I know you are probably thinking, how does money and my love for myself relate in any way? Well, that’s what I am here to explain...

Are you an impulsive buyer? When you feel down, does buying something you want release endorphins that make you happy? Do you have a savings account that you contribute to regularly? Is instant gratification more appealing than long-term gain?

These are all questions I had to stop and ask myself because living paycheck to paycheck was becoming a painful existence.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul is no way to live for anyone, but unfortunately this is very true for many, especially in the African American community. Outside of this instant gratification lifestyle becoming an epidemic among Americans; I felt like my personal struggle linked to something deeper.

I pondered this seemingly daunting plague of my finances and then I had an “Ah ha” moment. I said aloud, “I don’t love myself or at least not like I should”. You see... when you love yourself (or someone else), you create a space of safety and comfort... an environment where everything is alright and all your needs (and even some desires) are met.

​Well, it hit me that I had not done that for myself and if I loved myself the way I should, then I would prepare for a stable future and not just the “feel good” moments that bring me joy.

This is the exact moment that I began to chart my course for loving myself better by creating a safe place through financial freedom. I watched YouTube videos about successful budgeting, paying off debt, saving, and even investing. I then invested in a deluxe planner from Erin Condren once I decided upon my plan of action in budgeting.

Now, I’ve always been one to budget, but my issues has always been actually sticking to the budget I created. One of the things that I believe helped me get off track was keeping my budget in an excel spreadsheet where I could easily delete or change something... so I decided to switch to a notebook.

There is something about having to scratch out or white out things in a notebook that makes you come to a screeching halt knowing that the physical appearance of your well thought out plan brought to life is about to be wrecked with permanent ink. Let me tell you... that will definitely make you think twice about making potential changes.

​Seeing scribble on my perfect pages would give me hives and this is how I knew that this plan will work for me. It made me uncomfortable... and in order to grow, you have to get a little uncomfortable.

So, let’s discuss the different ways your self-love and money correlate a little deeper. When we are in a state of “not enough”, it causes a ripple effect of so many negative things to happen to us. For example: 

  1. Stress levels and anxiety increase.
  2. Your lack of planning ahead limits you in the activities you can enjoy.
  3. You didn’t budget your grocery money, resulting in unhealthy eating.
  4. Due to the increase in stress and anxiety, you are now losing sleep.
  5. Losing sleep causes you to be lethargic and now you are missing out on the benefits of waking up early and getting things done before work (i.e. workouts, planning, meditation, etc.)
  6. Your overall well-being suffers and your productivity decreases because the burden of not having enough is working against you.

Remember... our love for ourselves is shown through creating a stable environment of existence with our money.

Now, let’s think about how we feel when we have taken the time to budget, save, and spend our money wisely.

  1. We are living life like it is golden because we understand that short term inconveniences equate to long term financial gains.
  2. Stress and anxiety are minimal.
  3. All of our bills are paid on time; therefore, helping us to avoid late charges and interest fees that would rob us of even more money.
  4. Sticking to our budgets allows us to have money for every need including groceries, and now we are eating healthier.
  5. Waking up refreshed and alert because stress about money is not causing us to lose sleep.
  6. An increase in productivity because our minds can focus on the tasks at hand and not our money problems.

Now I know what you are thinking... just because I am mindful of my money doesn’t mean that my life will be peaches and cream, but just try looking at it from another perspective!

I just captured how the lack of financial prowess affects every area of your life... and I really mean every area; spiritually, emotionally, mentally, socially, and physically. It can be hard to find a balance in life, but trust me, when money is the least of your worries... the sun shines a whole lot brighter.

Money literally makes the world go 'round, whether you are blue collar worker trying to feed your family or a world leader calling all the shots.... money is in everything we do and is a part of every pivotal decision made in the world. So how can we not be mindful of how this valuable resource relates to how we value ourselves?

Simply put... it’s impossible not to.

It is time now that we renew our minds and our love for ourselves by revisiting our spending habits. It is only when we take the time to be truthful with ourselves and make the necessary changes, that we catapult into living our best lives.

​In my personal self-love journey, I am inspecting every nook and cranny to ensure that I am loving myself in the best way and my finances was definitely one place I did not want to deal with; however, now I am so glad I did. I am well on my way to living a life for the love of Marliceia instead of for the love of money.

When you love YOU in every way, your money will align in just the right way!​​
ABout Marliceia

Marliceia Chavers also known as “The Beauty-Preneur” is an Internal Auditor, Entrepreneur, and “Lovestyle” Blogger. Marliceia envisions a world where women love themselves so undeniably that everyone around recognizes them as a force to be reckoned with. Her goal is help everyday women develop into extraordinary women by way of inspiring and empowering them to create their best life through self-love and pursuing their passions with purpose.

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