Money Essentials to Empower Women
In celebration of Black History Month, Kmart has teamed up with Glinda Bridgforth, Financial Coach and author of Girl, Get Your Money Straight!, Girl, Get Your Credit Straight! and co-author of Girl, Make Your Money Grow! to create simple, yet powerful money management tips for your financial success.
Congratulations! By checking out this website you have taken a positive step towards gaining power over your money instead of allowing your money to have power over you. And guess what? You are not alone - everyone has issues with money. As a woman it is especially important to empower yourself by taking control of your finances, and you can start by following the four simple steps in this program.
Celebrate with us and make this year's Black History Month your financial wellness month. Make sure to check this site each week to find a new piece of wisdom that will help you create financial peace of mind for you and your family. Are you serious, ready, and committed to becoming self-reliant and resourceful? Then let's do it!
The Share the Word™ platform was created to promote and honor the legacy of African Americans by providing valuable resources and information to enhance the life of our customers. Kmart embraces the opportunity to support the ambitions of our diverse community.
We believe in financial empowerment, support and knowledge, not criticism or judgment, in order to break through both the emotional and cultural barriers to financial health. To do this you need to come clean and create the right mindset for financial success. Be honest with yourself and understand the factors that trigger your emotional, impulse and/or binge spending. This does not mean that you can't go shopping. It does not mean you must live a life of lack and scarcity. But it does mean you should be smart about the "why, when and where" you spend by making healthy financial choices. Think discipline, not deprivation.
Step One: Budget Basics
The Spending Plan (or budget) is the key to mastering your money. The plan is your best guess estimate of how much money you need in the upcoming month. It helps you anticipate and be prepared for expenditures so you don't become overwhelmed in trying to meet monthly expenses. Next, track every cent you spend and analyze how close you stayed to the plan.
Step Two: Diminish Your Debt
Create a Debt Summary by listing all of your creditors. Include every cent you owe...whether you are paying on it or not. For example, mortgage, car payment, personal loans, student loans, and credit cards. Make your minimum monthly payments on time, but start eliminating creditors by applying extra money to pay off the lowest balance with the highest interest rate first.
Step Three: Save Something
You don't have to wait for a big chunk of money before you begin saving. There are easy ways to begin the process.... spare change in a jar, dollars in a coffee can or money under a mattress (although, we don't recommend the latter). The important thing is to start small and be consistent. Once you open a bank account, use payroll deduction or automatic transfers from checking to savings.
Step Four: Increase Your Income
Open your mind to the possibilities. Use your skills, gifts and unique talents to create multiple streams of income. For example, if you know how to bake, consider making cakes and sell them by the slice at your place of employment or your church.
CLICK HERE to download a template to help you get Started!
Wise money managers plan their spending and take advantage of free and easy rewards programs. For example, Kmart customers who sign up to become Shop Your Way members can receive personalized deals, earn rewards points to use toward purchases in-store, online and via mobile. Kmart layaway gives customers options to plan their purchases and make bi-weekly payments on a wide selection of items, year round. Kmart is the only mass retailer to offer layaway to its customers 365 days a year both in-store and online. Plus, Shop Your Way members can earn points on their layaway purchases.
Like it or not, you should treat your household finances like you would a business and become the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Regardless of your age, education or current financial situation, it's never too late to start focusing on your goals and aspirations. You can achieve financial peace of mind, build a life that you love and create a bright future for you and your family. The next level of financial security awaits you. Follow the "Four Money Essentials to Empower Women" program and embark on the road to a sound financial future. Embrace personal financial responsibility and take action now.
Check back each week during Black History Month for financial tips and stories from financial coach, Glinda Bridgforth
Blog Post Week 4 - Increase Your Income
Working smart means finding ways to capitalize on your passions and talents and shifting away from having just one stream of income. Creating multiple streams of income is crucial because at any given time, a financial resource may dry up or go away, and you will want to keep dollars coming in to pay off debts, save for emergencies and invest consistently.
In my books, Girl Make Your Money Grow! and especially, Girl, Get Your Credit Straight! Chapter 7: Increase Your Income: 101 Ideas to Raise Extra Revenue, there are many suggestions on how to create multiple streams of income. Here are a few for you to think about:
- Quarterly raid your house. Any items not worn or used in the last year you can sell on eBay, have a garage sale or put them on consignment. When I moved from California to Detroit, I had a garage sale and sold everything I did not want to ship across country. I made $1,000 in one day.
- Tutor students. Many busy professionals lack adequate time to help their kids with homework. You can earn $25 per hour starting pay with a national company like "Study Point." Check out StudyPoint.com or do a Google search for tutoring companies. Payscale.com indicates the national average hourly rate for tutoring is between $9 and $38.
- Bake. A church member of mine is called "the cake lady" because she has a trunk full of sliced cake that she sells for $3 to $3.50 each after Sunday service and bible study. After sitting through service folks are pretty hungry. I have been known to eat mine in the parking lot! Even if she only does two services per week, she can earn an extra $400 per month or $4,800 per year.
- Give your opinion. A focus group is made up of people who get together and discuss the pros and cons of new products or marketing ideas. Many companies, before going to the expense of researching, developing and launching a new product want to see if the idea will appeal to their target customers in a discussion setting. A "thumbs down" from the group may lead the company to spare itself the expense and trouble of developing the idea further. According to eHow.com, participants are paid as much as $75 up to $300 for a couple hours of your participation.
Blog Post Week 3 - Save Something
Over the years, African Americans may have received positive money messages like, "If you make a dollar, save a nickel." But we sometimes resist these suggestions for one reason or another. My client, Ramona, had an uncle who stressed: "If there are two incomes in the family, save the smaller check and live off the larger one." Although the concept registered with Ramona, she always felt she needed both checks to survive and decided to worry about saving and investing later.
Today, in this post-recession economy, our commitment to savings and wealth building has to become as strong as our commitment to pay our creditors and to pay our taxes. And contrary to what you may think, we don't have to wait for a big chunk of money to get started. Here are some simple ideas to easily implement:
- Open your savings account at a place that is inconvenient to get to so you won't be tempted to make withdrawals. And don't get an ATM card that allows access to the account.
- Consider yourself a creditor. You "owe" it to yourself to ensure you make a "payment" to yourself. Take a brightly colored envelope, write your name on it and the words "Pathway to Prosperity and Wealth" and keep it with your incoming bills. When you write a check to pay the creditors and utilities, write a check to pay yourself, too. Start with "bite-sized" amounts of $5 or $10. The amount can grow later... the important thing is to make a habit of contributing to your savings.
- Sign up for payroll deduction with your employer. Have money deducted from your paycheck and deposited in a savings account before you receive it. Don't start out with too large an amount; otherwise you may be compelled to resort to credit cards to meet your cash flow needs. Or you may make frequent withdrawals which defeats the purpose and makes you feel as though you fail at savings.
- Set up an automatic transfer at your financial institution. Establish a specific amount to be automatically withdrawn from your checking account once a month or each pay period and deposited to your savings account. There is virtually no chance of procrastinating in making the deposit or waiting to see if money is left over at the end of the month to save.
- Start a "serial savings" plan. Each time you break a large bill, check the serial numbers on the $1 bills you receive in change to see if any of the bills begin with your initials. One client got her family involved and made it interesting and beneficial. She stated, "Well, I took your advice about the serial savings plan and found at least two per day with my son's initial on it. That came to $60 for the month, so we increased our savings deposit. My 8 year-old is so excited about the game that he now wants to use $10 bills and $20 bills, too. I told him we'll have to work our way up to that, but we're still having fun in the meantime."
- Deposit at least half of all gift money into savings. If you receive cash as a birthday or holiday gift, put at least half of it into savings and use the other half to get yourself a treat.
- Save your spare change. Create a prosperity basket, bottle or jar to drop your spare change into at the end of the day. This is one of my favorite ideas because my husband and I use this money as our "fun fund." Sometimes I might also throw in some $1 bills or on occasion a $5 bill. In 2012, we saved enough to pay for renting a vacation home on a golf course in Kauai, Hawaii for 8 days! It was awesome and all paid for from spare change.
Blog Post Week 2 - Diminishing your Debt
When my new client, Morgan, shared her financial frustration, I had heard it many times before: "I just got paid. I have no money. I don't know where it went. And I don't know where to begin to deal with this." Then came nervous laughter, followed by the admission "Plus my mortgage is three months past due."
Where did Morgan's money go? It didn't take long to figure out that a few months ago Morgan had panicked and sought out a quick-fix situation to her debt that came with a long-term devastating consequence: She now owed $2,000 to a pay day advance company, which was sucking her dry. Overwhelmed and disorganized, she was totally confused about how to even begin to tackle the problem. I told her right away, "First things first. You need to get clarity, find out where all your money is going, where it should be going, and when it needs to get there." Morgan then pulled from her tote bag a slew of envelopes and bills, some open, some not, and we got to work. This is what you can do, too.
- Get clarity. Gather all of your mail and bill paperwork, open everything, and sort by category in separate piles: credit cards, utility bills, student loans, mortgage, etc. Categorize to the best of your ability, based on what seems to go together naturally in one pile and what should be isolated from the rest. For example, if you've got medical bills and vet bills, you may want to file all the human medical bills together and your veterinary bills separately. Assuming you've already retrieved your FREE credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com, you can use that to guide you as you hunt down all the paperwork to support the bills and their accounts listed on the report. Dump all excess paper...advertisements, subscription renewals, solicitations, and catalogs immediately. If you find multiple statements from one account, organize by date with the most current bill on top. Have a stapler handy so you can keep all the materials for each bill together and avoid getting pages mixed up. Remember, clarity will lead to power.
- List and assess the debts. Do a summary of your outstanding debts, including mortgage, credit cards, car loans, bank loans, and personal loans. List the creditor, balance, monthly payment, due date, interest rate, and credit limit for each. Indicate the status of the accounts: current, thirty days past due, collection, etc.
- Prioritize your debts to who gets paid first. Pay for absolute necessities first. Things necessary to maintain health and safety for your family go at the top of the list. That means taking care of bills that put a roof over your head (i.e., rent or mortgage), heat and provided energy to your house (i.e., utilities, water, etc.) feed you (i.e., basic groceries), transport you to work and back (i.e., car payment), and things that allow you to communicate to the outside world (i.e., phone). Other necessities that should go on the top part of the list include child support, which, if forgotten, can land you in jail, and any medical emergencies you might have. If you have health insurance, you must pay that premium, too.
- Back taxes and student loans. If you owe unpaid taxes, the IRS can garnish your paycheck, take money from your bank account, or put a lien on your house and other property. However, the IRS will work with you to come up with a schedule of payments. Whatever you do, don't avoid filing when taxes are due. If you are delinquent on paying back student loans, Uncle Sam can seize your tax refunds and garnish your wages and, in some cases, your Social Security benefits. Fortunately, if your monthly payments are too high on federal loans, options are available like the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program which allows you to have all your loans forgiven after 10 years if you work for a public or non-profit agency, or up to 25 years if you work at a for-profit company. Go to www.ibrinfo.com.
- All other debts. The next priority is credit cards, store cards, gasoline cards, payments for furniture or appliances and personal loans from family and friends. Request lower interest rates on credit cards, make your minimum payments on time, but start eliminating creditors by applying extra money to pay off the lowest balance with the highest interest rate first. Keep communication open, be honest, and confirm your commitment to repay the debt. Failure to do so with family and friends will likely create anger and resentment, and possibly destroy the relationship.
Blog Post Week 1 - Budgeting Basics
Deena, a 26 year-old college student and mother of two small children, was devastated after being turned down for a bank teller position because of her negative credit report. At the time, she had a credit card collection account for $1,034 and a cell phone collection for $424. According to her, the creditors were calling seven times a day.
Later Deena pulled herself together and found employment in the office of a neighborhood car wash where no background checks were needed. To earn extra income she was an independent consultant for Tupperware. When Deena came to me for financial coaching, she had a number of financial goals: to graduate college with no bills, have $1,500 in savings, improve her credit score, save for a car and save for her children's education. But she had a fetish for shopping and no concept of how to budget her money.
After she completed her first monthly Spending Plan, Deena was stunned that she would have $5,550 in income, but $6,097 in expenses...or a $547 shortfall. The shortfall wasn't the only surprise. Sounding perplexed, she explained, "It's hard to believe I'll bring in this much money and I'm still wanting to spend more!"" Her income that month had broken down as follows: $450 child support, $1,700 office assistant job, a windfall of $1,800 back child support, and an anticipated $1,500 from hosting Tupperware parties.
Deena's frivolous and unhealthy spending showed in that first draft of her Spending Plan. Her monthly expenses included: $200 in electronic equipment for her daughter; $200 on pets; $400 on kids clothes; $250 on toiletries; $150 payment on a credit card (the balance was $350); $200 toward savings; $1,200 on clothes, shoes, and accessories for herself; and $0 toward the collection accounts. Clearly, it was unreasonable for her to spend $1,600 on clothes for herself and the kids in one month when she had creditors hounding her for unpaid bills.
After, I initiated a heart-to-heart dialog with her about financial responsibility and what it takes to achieve financial peace of mind, Deena revised her Spending Plan. She came to her follow-up financial counseling session reporting payments of the following: $540 settlement to the credit card collection; $424 to pay off cell phone collection; $350 to pay off her current credit card; $168 accessories for herself, and most importantly, she put $2,000 in savings! Had I not intervened when I did on her financial outlook and her goals during our first session, she probably would have spent that money and created more debt. "It was an emotional roller coaster, but I'm happy I paid off the bills," Deena confessed before going on to say, "Now everything is falling into place."
Thank goodness she was willing to wisely change the allocations, pay off her nagging old debts, and save some money. This gave her immediate peace of mind. Deena felt in control of her life, so much so that when her car died and she lost her office job unexpectedly two months later, she survived. That saved money came to her rescue.Back to Top
Ask Glinda: In-Store Event
Join us in-store with financial coach and author, Glinda Bridgforth. Find answers to your money questions, get tips on financial fitness, enjoy complimentary refreshments, receive giveaways and register for a chance to win prizes!
Saturday, February 8th, 1 - 3 p.m.
2715 Madison Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Saturday, February 22nd, 1 - 3 p.m.
5590 Mableton Pkwy
Mableton, GA 30126