We need a better relationship with our time (for life’s sake).

How you spend your time is how you spend your life. Period.

As we all know, time is always moving, and life isn’t promised to us at every moment. So how can we make sure we’re living a life that feels fulfilling to us each day? And I mean one that’s genuinely fulfilling. A life where most days we feel satisfied with what we do, who we spend time with, and how we show up in the world. We have to take an honest look at how we’re spending our time. Thankfully, we can prioritize reflecting and planning out how we want to use our time, like prioritizing taking care of our health and managing our money. Let’s explore how we can create a better relationship with our time together.

I like to work with themes and templates throughout my week to help me keep track of my progress and reflect on what I’m putting my energy and resources into. If you’ve been following me this year, you know that Money Monday is a perfect example of that.

So yes, when it comes to keeping track of how I spend my time, I have a themed day for that. It’s called Time Management Tuesdays (or TMT for short)! Every Tuesday, I reflect on where most of my energy went during the past week, and I ask myself whether or not I feel satisfied with how I spent my time. I created a PDF with questions that I answer honestly and as thoroughly as possible. Here’s a peek at some of the questions I ask myself:

This week…

What did I get the most out of (activities, relationships, routines, etc.)?

What did not serve me (activities, relationships, time wasters, etc.)?

What did I do for fun?

What did I do for my health?

What did I do for my purpose (life mission)?

I like these questions because they are focused on how I spent MY time in a way that serves ME. It’s easy for us to fill up our time with obligations or responsibilities that benefit others. Maybe you’re someone who is always putting in overtime at work, or you’re a busy parent trying to take care of your family. It’s fine and good that we serve and take care of others. However, when we don’t consciously look at how we’re spending our time, we miss out on so much. We can easily fall into the trap of ignoring our desires, being on autopilot, and living a very unbalanced life. The goal is to have a balanced life. Balanced, not perfect. But we can only get to that point when we ask ourselves real questions like this consistently.

At the end of my reflection, I make it a point to adjust next week’s plans according to what I need more of. For example, perhaps last week, I didn’t do anything fun for myself or anything related to taking care of my health. Acknowledging that, I can address why that may be and plan for next week to go to a paint nite with friends and schedule workouts for each weekday.

We must reflect, plan, and act on changing our lives by changing how we spend our time. With that, I want to offer you some action steps you can take to simplify your day-to-day and create more time for the things and people you love. Here are some tips I always keep in mind when thinking about my time:

Know what your time-wasters are and work on reducing them

For me, I have an issue with YouTube (as I mentioned in this previous post). It’s my vice of choice – I can be on there forever. So what do I do when I notice I’m spending more hours on there than I should? I block myself from accessing it using the Content Restrictions setting on my phone and laptop. I’ve also used other blockers that make this easy too. What’s a time-waster for you? Scrolling on Instagram for hours? How can you spend less time there?

Embrace the beauty of mono-tasking

If you’re like me, you probably think you’re great at multitasking. And if you are like me, I’m gonna laugh at you. LOL. But that’s because I know firsthand that doing multiple things at once splits up your attention and energy. When you do that, you sacrifice the quality of work you put into something, and you might feel more drained by the time you’re done. So embrace the beauty of focusing on ONE THING AT A TIME. Sit down, set a 25-minute Pomodoro timer, and focus solely on writing that blog post (@ me). See how much you can get done and how much better you feel while mono-tasking.

Build helpful, automatic routines and habits

You know I love good and helpful automation. Creating routines and habits that work for you allow you to accomplish what you need and want to do in a way that doesn’t take too much brainpower, energy, or maneuvering. You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but you need a routine! You need habits! They save you time, add to your life, and make day-to-day living easier for you. Build these routines and rituals to simplify getting what you need or checking off your daily tasks. There’s a whole set of books and videos I could recommend that would help you with this but the biggest tip overall is to keep it simple and ~ if possible ~ enjoyable.

Prioritize fun, health, purpose, and connection

These are four priorities I have for making sure my life feels meaningful and enjoyable. After all, what’s life without some fun? How can we function without health? Isn’t life more meaningful with a purpose? And can we all agree that we just want to feel connection and love at the end of the day? I encourage you to really make time for all of these in your life to the best of your ability. Set up time to socialize, have adventures, workout, and show up in the world. You deserve to live a good life; a fulfilling life. We all do.

My intention with this post is to encourage all of us to look at our lives from the driver’s seat and to spend it on our terms as much as possible.

Stress Less with an Emergency Savings Fund

If you don’t know, now you know. You need an emergency savings fund. What’s that, you might ask? According to Investopedia, an emergency savings fund is “a financial safety net for future mishaps and/or unexpected expenses.” It’s an account you can easily fund, access, and take money out of in case of emergencies. I want to drive home the fact that you need an emergency fund, not only because it’s good to “save for a rainy day,” but because it will give you so much ease and less stress financially. I’ve had an emergency fund for a while, and I feel better about my financial situation because of it. So let’s dive into the why, how, and some common questions you might have about it. Plus, as always, resources!

Why do I need an emergency savings fund?

Given the current state of affairs, I think everyone understands now that life can be unpredictable. Sometimes our lives are shaken up a bit by something like your car breaking down. Sometimes, though, more significant issues rattle us like – ahem – a national emergency that disrupts our economy. In both situations, we are affected by something outside of our control. That can feel scary, debilitating, inconvenient, and frustrating. However, when we set up a fund for these moments, we can cushion our fall.

When your car breaks down, getting it fixed feels a lot less stressful when you have a spare $1,000 to $2,000 lying around. Suddenly losing a job or a stream of income like many people did last year demands that you have a backup plan. Having an emergency fund with enough to sustain you for a few months helps you stay on top of your bills and holds you over until you have a stable income stream again. In short, having an emergency savings fund gives you peace of mind in knowing that if something goes south, you’ll have the money to help you rebuild. And funding your emergency savings doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated at all! See below for more info on this.

Can’t I just use a credit card if I ever get in a bind?

You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it for two important reasons. For one, borrowing large sums of money on your credit card that you’re not able to pay off within a reasonable time is dangerous for your credit. That stress is the last thing you need when you’re navigating an emergency. Suppose you do decide to use your credit card for emergencies. In that case, I suggest still having an emergency savings fund so you can use that to pay off the balance of how much the emergency costs. If your car needs to be repaired ASAP for $1,000 and you use your credit card, paying that off is much easier when you already have an emergency fund.

Secondly, suppose you already have a lot of credit card debt or other debts that you’re paying down. In that case, it’s probably wise to steer clear of adding to your outstanding balance. So, in short, if you have to or prefer to, use your credit card to cover your emergencies but have an emergency savings fund to actually pay for emergencies. Because, remember, credit is borrowing money. You still have to pay it back.

What are the benefits to having an emergency savings fund?

I’m glad you asked! Here’s a list of a few benefits I personally have experienced from having an emergency savings fund:

  • An emergency savings fund gives you security in knowing that no matter what happens (personally or nationally), you have a cushion of cash to lean on and support you. Emergencies are stressful already – we don’t need extra financial stress on top of that.
  • If an emergency does come up that you need money for, you don’t have to dip into your regular savings or checking account to fund it. Your usual flow of income and purchases can go relatively untouched while the situation is financially taken care of. A plumbing issue, for example, shouldn’t be the end of the world for your wallet.
  • Having this fund is one of the foundations of financial independence! With this, you can take care of yourself and your needs without owing anyone anything (including credit card companies).

How should I start and/or fund it?

For starters, start your fund in a separate account away from your checking or regular savings, so it doesn’t get mixed up with the money you’re regularly using. You can set up this account with your current bank or another bank of your choosing. You can even set up one with an online bank – just make sure the money is easily accessible to you. Second, set up automatic deposits! This is something I recommended in one of my previous Money Monday posts. Setting up an automatic deposit between $10 to $50 a month is a small but great start that makes saving easier. Thirdly, set up a goal for yourself. Most people don’t have at least $1,000 available to them for emergencies. You can use that as your starting point, or calculate how much you would need in the event of an emergency and start saving towards that number. Lastly, make sure to use this fund for emergencies only!

Funding your emergency savings account will go hand in hand with your budget – how much do you have to save each month? Can you cut back on anything to help fund this? For example, I realized I wasn’t using my Audible subscription as much these days. I spend $14.95 per month on that subscription. Now, of course, cutting out that subscription is not going to give me a considerable surplus of money for my emergency savings fund. However, it does give me at least $179.40 per year to put towards this fund without doing anything different. Now I can automate saving $14.95 each month (the same price as the subscription I don’t use anymore) to my emergency savings account. Yay!

You can try this with categories you spend a lot in, like eating out, buying clothes, etc. The good news is that you don’t have to cut these things out of your life forever or even for the whole year. Try going a month without your subscription or takeout and put that money towards your fund instead. See how you feel, and see if you even need or want to have that spending habit anymore.

More resources for you to learn about emergency savings funds:

A Quick Guide to Your Emergency Fund – Dave Ramsey

Emergency Fund Calculator: How Much Will Protect You? – Nerdwallet

How Long It Really Took Me To Save Up An Emergency Fund – The Financial Diet

I hope you give your current and future self more ease and financial freedom by setting up an emergency savings fund this week. Catch you soon with another Money Monday post!

Wellness Wednesday: Give Yourself Time to Think

This Wellness Wednesday, I bring you a reflective piece about slowing down, giving ourselves uninterrupted time to think, and observing what comes up for us. There is power in bringing your attention back to yourself. I hope reading this post inspires you to invite more mindfulness into your day and to prioritize yourself.

Making time to think without interruption is something I consciously have to do these days. I know that’s a weird statement, but stay with me on this. We are constantly stimulated with things to do, media to consume, people to talk to, and things to buy. All-day. When I look at how much screen time I spend on my phone or laptop, I’m disturbed. Of course, nowadays, I spend more time than usual plugged in since many of the things I do or enjoy have to be done online now. However, seeing how many hours I spent looking at a screen each week shifted something for me.

I watch a lot of YouTube, like a lot of people I know. And if I’m not careful, I can spend around 2-3 hours looking at YouTube videos in a single day. Sometimes I find myself watching videos that are like junk food after a while – they don’t really satisfy what I’m hungry for or give me any kind of nutritional value. Last year in November I decided to block YouTube from all of my devices for an entire week. The intention then was for me to redirect my energy and focus on what was most pressing at the time. By the second day of no YouTube, I realized two very important things.

The first was that I craved some form of entertainment to get me through the day. Whenever I saw someone watching a video, my eyes naturally floated to their screen. At one point, I resorted to playing Candy Crush… I haven’t played that game in what feels like decades now. I don’t even care about that game. If that game was somehow deleted entirely without a trace to bring it back, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it (no offense to Candy Crush fanatics). What was I actually looking for? Many things. I was looking for ways to entertain myself, relax, avoid my responsibilities, and soothe myself.

The second thing I realized was that I had so much more time to think. When I wasn’t feeding myself hours of YouTube videos or pacifying myself in other ways, I had more time in silence. I had more time to appreciate the present moment. I had more time to observe my thoughts and ask myself questions. The reality is that I still had the same 24 hours in a day that I always had, but with this space to think, it felt as though time went by slower. As a result, I started to feel better. I felt more grounded, connected to my own thoughts and opinions, and connected to the present moment.

This doesn’t have to be about YouTube (and it isn’t, frankly). Some people like to scroll down Instagram for hours on end, some are gamers all day, and some are just constantly working or taking classes. All of us have our own obligations and relationships to maintain, as well as our favorite mediums to entertain ourselves. What this is about is the fact that a lot of the time, we don’t slow down and consciously give ourselves time to be with ourselves – and nothing else. Even when many of us are encouraged to stay indoors for a while, we fill the gaps of our day with some kind of stimulant. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t work, connect with others, or consume our favorite media. I am saying that we could benefit from having some time each day reserved just for us. No videos, no games, no music, no conversations with others. Just you and only you. How does the idea of that make you feel?

To some people, that sounds like heaven. To others, it sounds a little scary and intimidating. Maybe to others, it just sounds kinda boring. I challenge you to try a few minutes in silence and notice your tendencies. Can you sit in silence for 10 minutes and not look at your phone? What do you think about while you’re sitting there? Does your mind immediately go to the tasks you have to do for the day, for example? Observe yourself. Without judging anything or going down the rabbit hole with one of your thoughts, notice what comes up for you.

When you give yourself time to think, you give yourself time to be. You give yourself time to come up with your own conclusions, work through challenging emotions, and appreciate the present. Perhaps what I’m recommending here is that we all commit to a few moments of mindfulness each day and see how that feels for us. After all, a big part of our wellness journeys involves checking in with ourselves. How can we work through limiting beliefs if we haven’t observed them yet? How can we notice how tired we are if we don’t take a second to acknowledge it?

Let’s give ourselves the gift of our own time and attention. Instead of question prompts this week, I would like to offer two challenges:

  • Spend 10 minutes of uninterrupted time today with yourself. Notice what comes up for you.
  • Take inventory of what takes up most of your attention and energy each day (e.g., working, watching the news, spending time with friends, social media, etc.)

I’ll check-in with you next week – have a well and beautiful rest of your Wednesday!

5 Women You Need to Follow in 2021 for Financial Advice

Last week I told you about how important it is to consume financial education often. One of the easiest ways to do this? Follow personal finance champs on social media and take workshops! This week I introduce you to five women I believe you should follow this year for finance tips, tricks, education, and realness. All these wonderful women make financial education accessible, understandable, and fun! Let’s dive in.

The Financial Diet (@thefinancialdiet)

Chelsea Fagan started The Financial Diet as a personal blog in 2014. Ever since it has grown into a cross-platform media company that provides quality money-related content to young women everywhere. The Financial Diet is a great place to get insight and advice about budgeting, money management, career and education, and your lifestyle. I enjoy being subscribed to their weekly newsletter and consuming the listicles on their site every Money Monday. Check out their Instagram, YouTube channel, and website as a great hub for all things finance.

Berna Anat (@heyberna)

Berna Anat is a hilarious Filipina “Financial Hype Woman.” Her website reads that she is “dedicated to making financial literacy more funny, more accessible, and more Brown for young people everywhere.” And she’s doing just that! I first found Berna on Instagram while looking for financial content creators that made things easy to understand. Her IG stories have helped me find helpful resources and consider important questions about my finances. Also, she does a lot of dancing, money memes, and workshops that give you all the insight, info, and laughs you could hope for. Check out her IG page as well as her website for more on Berna!

Amanda Holden (@dumpster.doggy)

Amanda Holden is your go-to person for investing. She worked in the investment industry for six years before coming into her own and seeing that she wanted to create space for women to talk about money and their lives. Although Amanda has more than just investing insight on her platforms, I have personally benefitted from how she breaks down investing in her workshops and her posts. Check her out on Instagram and check out her old blog, The Dumpster Dog Blog, for more.

Kara Perez (@webravelygo)

Kara Perez brings you feminist economics and inclusive personal finance. Her content tackles both systemic discrepancies and immediate, actionable steps for your personal finance journey. With lots of student loan debt, multiple jobs, and the realization that there’s a lack of representation for people like her in the financial world, Kara decided to create Bravely Go. I completed one of Kara’s workshops last year. It opened my mind to ideas like the importance of real estate, retirement, and the importance of accountability. Check out her IG page and website for more.

Yanely Espinal (@missbehelpful)

Yanely is a great person to go to for help with making informed money choices. Some of her specialties include credit, savings, and wealth building. She is real, Latina, and on the rise in so many ways. Her personal finance stories, e.g., her journey with tackling credit card debt after graduating, inform the content she creates for people in similar situations. I learned a lot about credit from Yanely, and I really enjoy her energy. You should also check out her podcast titled, “Mind Your Money with MissBeHelpful.” There she interviews great guests on their money journeys, dealing with topics like tackling debt, financial freedom, and changing their money beliefs. I am personally subscribed. Connect with her on IG and YouTube as well.

I hope you benefit from their content as much as I have! I’ll connect with you next week with another Money Monday post.

Wellness Wednesday: Staying Grounded with Habits + Routines

Recently I’ve been working on building a routine for myself from scratch. In this current reality of uncertainty and change, there’s a lot of anxiety. I’ve felt my fair share of it. In the moments where I’ve been shaken the most, continuing some of my habits and routines have helped me stay grounded. For example, there was a period in my life where I couldn’t sleep at night. I wasn’t doing anything, either (no Netflix, no talking to friends, nada). I was just in my bed, thinking a million thoughts.

Before I knew it, I saw the sunrise without a lick of sleep for days on end. There was a lot of change and anxiety going on at that time for me. However, something that helped me eventually regulate my sleep schedule was the practice of journaling. Now, I’ve written about the power of journaling several times before. But really, this practice helped me go from sleepless nights to falling asleep with my pen still in my hand. More than that, it has helped me express myself completely and feel grounded.

I’m not saying that every action we do has to be planned out, habitual, or routinized. Life wouldn’t be fun without a little spontaneity, mystery, and gaps. I am saying that we can make things easier and more enjoyable for ourselves when we stick to a few routines. It also helps us focus our energy on things we can control rather than things we can’t.

I’ve decided to add a few things to my routine that have helped me in the past, like using positive affirmations. I also check-in with myself now at the beginning and end of each day to see how I’m feeling and what I need. It feels good to give myself that care and attention. Having days where I focus on specific aspects of my life, like Money Mondays and Wellness Wednesdays, helps me feel more control of what I can control. I can manage my relationship with my money and my relationship with myself. Having these weekly sessions remind me of that, and that feels empowering. It feels good to have checkpoints in the day and week that are familiar and help me progress, one step at a time.

Today I’m encouraging you to look at your routine (or lack thereof) and think about what’s serving you and what’s not. What helps you feel grounded on the daily? Here are some important things to keep in mind though…

The habits and routines you build should be based on things you ACTUALLY want to do, have, and accomplish. They shouldn’t be based on things you think you SHOULD want to do, have, and accomplish. Your journey in life is uniquely yours. It doesn’t matter what others – or your ego – is telling you that you SHOULD do. It only matters that you do good things that are in alignment with you and your best interest. So for example, if you don’t have the most Instagrammable and perfect morning routine? Screw it. The real question is do you have the best morning routine for you? And if not, how can you create a morning routine that you’ll love?

Secondly, when incorporating new behaviors into your life, try to do so one at a time. That means if you want to start meditating, reading, and eating vegetarian every day, you should probably start by dedicating your energy to one thing for a certain amount of time. Maybe you decide that you’ll start with meditating every morning for 10 minutes each day, for three weeks. Great start! After those three weeks see how you feel, and then you can build on top of that habit by adding in 15 minutes of reading after your morning meditation. Basically, pace yourself.

As someone who is used to taking on a million projects at once, this is sometimes easier said than done for me. However, I find that when my attention and energy is focused on one thing at a time – and building one habit at a time – everything feels easier. So as you build your routines, give yourself some ease and, more than that, be compassionate with yourself.

Now, this post wouldn’t be complete without some resources and questions to make you think soooo here we go!

Resources for creating routines and habit building:

Videos: the one habit that is changing my life: set systems rather than goals (Rowena Tsai), How to Build Habits That Stick (Lavendaire), Why I quit trying to build the perfect morning routine (Matt D’Avelia).

Books: Atomic Habits by James Clear, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Here are some questions for you to ask yourself and grow from:

  1. What does my daily routine look like?
  2. What do I spend most of my time doing?
  3. What are the best parts of my day/week/month? Why? What do I get out of these moments?
  4. What parts of my day/week/month feel like a drag? Why? What do I get out of these moments?
  5. What activities feel grounding to me? (e.g., meditating, going for a walk, journaling, painting, etc.)
  6. What is one habit I want to add to my routine? What is my motivation for this?

I hope you take the time to truly consider these questions, and to consider yourself. Have a wonderful Wednesday full of wellness.

4 Simple, Starter Tips for Money Management

Over the past few years, I’ve started to take my financial health and future seriously. Along the way, I’ve come across a LOT of tips and methods about personal finance and money management. And honestly, at times, it was overwhelming. However, I kept an open mind and took note of what worked for me (and is still working for me to this day!). Here are just some of my favorite, simple starter tips for money management.

Make a date with your money.

Before a few years ago, I would check my bank account here and there. I wouldn’t really pay too much attention to what I was spending my money on or where it was going. I wasn’t a super-spender, and I did pretty well when it came to saving. Still, I was also a college student, which meant I spent a lot of money on things like food, transportation, events, etc. However, as my personal finance interest grew, I knew I needed a tangible and consistent way to manage my money.

When I was introduced to the topic of Money Parties by The Fiscal FemmeI started making “dates” with my money – I called these dates “Money Mondays.” Every Monday, I would sit down and look at my financial situation. Now yes, that can be daunting at first. So I tried to make it simple and as painless as possible. I told myself I would note how much I made, how much I spent, and what I spent my money on during the previous week. I used a spreadsheet to keep my numbers somewhere organized. You can find pre-made money tracker templates online if you’re going this route.

Then I decided to analyze my spending at the end of each session. I was able to see what categories I was spending the most amount of money on and how I could cut back realistically. The purpose of these money dates for me is to keep track of what’s been going on financially for me, see where I can save money, and make progress each week. I try to keep these sessions between one and one and a half hours max with breaks because addressing your financial situation can be tough sometimes. After about an hour and 15 minutes in, I’m ready to move on to something else.

If you want to have a healthier relationship with your finances, you have to set up some consistent money dates. It’s a keystone habit that will help you get better with your money. Like with any healthy relationship, you gotta have check-ins from time to time and see where you can grow. Plus, dates can be so fun! Pro tip: make a money playlist to hype you up before your weekly check-in. Some fan favorites include “Money” by Cardi B and “Billionaire” by Bruno Mars and Travie McCoy. Get a snack, dress up, or do whatever it is that will get you in the mood to manage your mulala.

Automate everything — payments and savings.

One of the easiest ways to take care of your financial obligations and goals is to automate. I have set up automatic payments for my credit cards and automatic deposits to my savings account. With making payments for things like credit cards, you can automate paying the full balance, the minimum payment, or a specific amount each month. Automatically paying at least the minimum payment amount each month is such a game-changer. It’s a great way to chip away at any debt you have, increase your credit score, and keep yourself accountable without having to do much work. Check out your credit provider’s website or call to see what your options are.

When it comes to saving, this is often the last thing we do when we get paid. You might’ve heard of the term “pay yourself first,” which relates to putting away some money in your savings before you go to pay bills or spend at your discretion. There are different opinions about how much you should be saving. Still, every personal finance educator I’ve come across agrees that you should be saving – period!

Even if you save just $10 per month, by the end of the year, you would have $120, which could help you if you’re in a bind. So make sure you’re making automatic, regular deposits to your savings account each month. Check-in with your bank to see what your options are. I use the high-yield savings accounts from Ally Bank, and setting up recurring deposits is super easy. Find what works for you!

**SUPER IMPORTANT SAVINGS REMINDER: You have goals that are short term and long term. You want to save for retirement, or for a new home, or for a trip to Scotland maybe. But the first thing you should save for, first and foremost, is for emergencies. I’m gonna put this in bold letters… HAVE AN EMERGENCY SAVINGS ACCOUNT AND FUND IT REGULARLY. And separate this account from your regular checking and savings accounts, so you don’t accidentally – or intentionally – spend it on anything other than emergencies. This will save you a lot of headaches if an emergency actually does come up.

When you’re about to make a big purchase or one you’re unsure about, consider a few things…

So you’re feeling the itch to impulse buy? Or maybe you just REALLY WANT to press “add to cart” on that thing you saw online because it looks so useful/beautiful/cool. Or perhaps you just need a new fridge. I hear you. Before you swipe and checkout, though, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I actually need or want this thing? What’s my honest motivation for buying it?
  • Is there an alternative to this that might serve me in a similar (or better) way? For example, instead of getting Beats headphones, would I be just fine – if not happier with – headphones from a different brand?
  • Is this the best price I can get this for? Consider doing a little research or looking at sites that offer coupons for a variety of stores online, like Honey.

Consume financial education often.

When I surrounded myself with certain people, books, and podcasts, I started to understand what concepts like “investing” and “retirement plans” actually were. I didn’t understand before how things like credit and debt really worked. I was also just starting out in college, so I didn’t know much of anything, to begin with. But that’s beside the point! You can’t know what you don’t know. So if you don’t know much about budgeting, saving, investing, or paying off debt, listen up.

First, I highly suggest you subscribe here because I don’t hold back when sharing resources with you all (if you couldn’t tell already). Second, start doing some research based on your financial goals and interests. For example, if you don’t know how to budget or where to begin, you could check out The Budgetnista. You’ve probably seen her all over Instagram. Pick up some amazing books like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter. Consider subscribing to podcasts like The College Investor or tuning into The Financial Diet on their YouTube page and blog.

The point is, the best way to move forward with your financial journey is to learn and take actions that will serve you and your goals. I wish we all had a personal finance class in high school. That would have made adulting a little easier, for sure. But no matter what age you are, it is truly never too late to add some financial education into your routine. And it doesn’t have to be boring either, but more on that later.

Keep a lookout for the next couple of Money Monday posts, where I share with you some more resources I’ve used to learn about money and money management.

Most of these tips just require some commitment, a little bit of research, and a little bit of introspection about what you need right now. Try out at least one of these tips this week and see how it feels. Taking any step towards having a healthier relationship with your money is something to celebrate. I’m proud of you, I’m rooting for you, and I’m excited for you! I’ll check in with you next week.

Wellness Wednesday: The Series

About a year ago, after feeling pretty overwhelmed by *all the things*, I decided that I would try using themes to focus on specific things for each day of the week. Mondays, for example, are called Money Mondays and on these days I focus on my finances, expand my financial education, and learn more about getting good with my money. If you’re interested in learning more about what my Money Mondays consist of, check out this post here.

Wednesdays are for wellness! Wellness Wednesdays consist of an hour or two of me taking notes and reflecting on how my health has been since last Wednesday. I do a physical “check-up” where I look at myself in the full-length mirror and see if I notice anything different (e.g., acne on my face, any scars or bumps, etc.). Then, I take note of how I’ve been feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically. Sometimes I notice things like my mind feeling heavy or scattered or that my body needs a goooood stretch. I then ask myself what I need more of and how I can take better care of myself this week. Maybe I need to sleep earlier, connect with my friends, or journal out complicated feelings.

Now, of course, I take care of myself to the best of my ability every other day of the week. But having a designated day where I make it my mission to fully and deeply check-in with myself has been tremendously helpful. Wellness Wednesdays remind me of how important it is for me to check-in with myself and have healthy practices. Sometimes we get into a slump, or we are so distracted by things like work, stress, family, relationships, etc., that we forget ourselves. We forget to eat. We forget to stretch. We don’t notice that our body is changing and has different needs now. We don’t acknowledge our anxiety or the fact that we’re feeling overwhelmed right now. Wellness Wednesdays are that reminder for me that my health and wellness are my top priority.

Having said that, every Wednesday I’d like to help remind YOU that YOUR health and wellness is your top priority by starting a series called, you guessed it, Wellness Wednesday! Each week you’ll receive a new post from me about things like taking care of your mental health, the importance of checking in with yourself, physical challenges, and questions to ask yourself. And speaking of questions…

I have a few for you! Let’s say you had a practice like Wellness Wednesday – dedicated time(s) and habit(s) of checking in with yourself. What would that look like for you? How would you check in with yourself and take better care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally?

TLDR; Wellness Wednesdays = a habit I’ve built of checking in with my physical, mental, and emotional health each week, AND the name of my latest series on here! Come back each week for wellness related articles every Wednesday. Ask yourself:

Questions for reflection:

  1. How can I make checking in with myself both a priority and a habit?
  2. How can I check in with myself physically? (e.g., examining yourself in a mirror, checking your health stats, etc.)
  3. How can I check in with myself mentally? (e.g., journaling, mindfulness, etc.)
  4. How can I check in with myself emotionally? (e.g., going to therapy, mood tracker, etc.)
  5. What do I need right now? (e.g., a nap, a hug, etc.)

I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday full of wellness.

Money Monday: The Series

Around two years ago, I started to learn about personal finance and money management. Someone I love introduced me to some of the core concepts of managing money. After that moment, I kept finding and attracting more opportunities to learn about (and practice!) having a healthy relationship with my money.

At one point in my journey, I found myself overwhelmed by… well… everything in life. It just felt like there was so much I wanted to focus on, keep track of, or prioritize in some way. So I broke it down and made a system. I decided to dedicate a theme, a focus, to each day of the week, Monday through Sunday. I basically made hashtags for myself (#moneymonday). With that theme in mind for the designated day, I prioritize and focus my energy on some of the good habits I wanted to cultivate. That’s where Money Mondays started.

So I thought, “Great! On Mondays, I’m gonna learn about money!” But I soon realized I needed to make my Money Mondays a little more strategic, a little more… tangible and actionable. Here’s what a typical Money Monday looks like for me:

  • I review all of my financial accounts (checking account, savings account, sinking funds, credit card accounts, investments, all that jazz). I get a clear picture of how much money I have and how much I spent this past week. And it might be the Virgo in me, but yes, I have a spreadsheet to keep track of all this.
  • I look at last week’s purchases and ask myself about how those purchases served me. I try not to judge myself if I had a few frivolous buys in the week. I just take note of what drove me to make that purchase, the “why” or feelings behind it, and think about how I can better serve that drive in the future. For example, if I order Uber Eats instead of cooking it might be out of convenience or because I wanted to try something different for dinner. And that’s okay sometimes. But to not make it a habit, I could look for ways to make dinner more convenient and easy for me regularly (like batch-cooking!).
  • Lastly, I consume some form of financial education. I follow personal finance experts, read books, and/or listen to podcasts related to my money goals and interests.

This system helps me prioritize good habits all throughout the week, but at the very least, it ensures that I spend at least one day each week enhancing my financial future. Money Mondays remind me that I can have an abundant life, be resourceful, and learn a lot from my relationship with money.

Having said that, every Monday, I would like to help YOU on your financial journey, one step at a time. In a series I’m calling, you guessed it, Money Mondays! On Money Mondays, I will share with you my tried and true personal finance tips, as well as more resources, to help you learn how to make the most out of your mula.

Each week you’ll receive a post from me talking about things like steps to building an emergency savings fund, changing your beliefs about money, how to automate your finances, etc. This is based on my own experience and research. Yes, you will hear terms like “budgeting,” “Roth IRA,” “investing,” and all that jazz. But at the core of this, I want to share tools and experiences that might help you even if it just prompts you to do something small like saving $5 a month. I might even throw some questions at you for self-reflection… like right now!

TLDR; Money Mondays = a habit I’ve built of checking in with my finances and consuming financial education each week, AND the name of my latest series on here! Come back each week for money related articles every Monday.

Questions for reflection:

  1. What’s my current relationship with money? (e.g., “The thought of money makes me tense up,” “I’m scared to look at my bank account,” “I can’t seem to keep the money that I make,” etc.) No judgment necessary here, just an honest assessment of where you are right now!
  2. What are some of the beliefs I currently have about money and money management? (e.g., “Money is the root of all evil,” “Budgeting is restricting,” etc.)
  3. What is your relationship with saving? (e.g., “All I do is save,” “I’ve never saved before,” etc.)
  4. What is your relationship with investing? (e.g., seasoned investor, don’t know about investing, etc.)
  5. What are some purchases you’ve made in your life that you felt really good about? Why?

Give yourself time with these questions and prompts. See you next week with another Money Monday post!

Life Update: Being Imperfect and Stepping Into the Unknown

It’s taken me a while to write this post. Or any post for that matter. But here I am, typing alongside my resistance. And why am I resisting? Well, because I want to make this post perfect. After all, I haven’t written for so long so it MUST be the BEST BLOG POST THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN, am I right?

Of course not. But my perfectionism is a master at getting me to believe that it has to be. I’m sharing this with you because recently I realized that directly addressing the difficult thing that’s coming up for me in the moment helps me get over the hump; putting my perfectionism on blast is the best way for me to get past it and start writing.

These days I’m inviting more progress, more self-compassion, more forgiveness, and more intentionality into my life. And I’m giving myself permission to make things that are imperfect.

These are some of the gifts the past year and a half has given me. Let me enlighten you on what went down on my side.

For starters, there was a point in 2019 where I was pretty burnt out. I was tackling a lot at once and not giving myself much rest time, while experiencing problems in a few of my relationships. Navigating the stress of keeping up with school, my internships, my extracurriculars, and trying to mend a few broken hearts was tough. But thankfully towards the end of 2019 I was starting to feel a little better. I got support from my professors and loved ones, and I did my best to keep up with my assignments – I have to thank some of my wonderful friends for keeping me accountable and keeping me laughing. Whether you did so consciously or not, you really helped make my last two semesters at school bearable.

So fast forward to 2020. A new year! A clean slate! The best year yet! Little did I know…

LOL I know right? 2020 was wild, but looking back — and I can only say this in retrospect — it was also one of the most enlightening years of my life to date. I developed a new appreciation for life, in part because of my fear of death. I woke up to the fact that in many areas of my life I was playing small and not fully expressing my truth. I started to really think about what I WANT and what actually works for ME, instead of going along with what I think I “should” want or do. These are things that I couldn’t see before.

Yes, I experienced some disappointments. Half of my last college semester was taken away by the pandemic that hit. I graduated, but… online. I know that graduation matters a big deal to some and not at all to others, but I was SO READY to enjoy graduation. My sophomore and junior year I actually volunteered to help out with the graduation ceremonies of those years, so I was more than familiar with how the ceremony would go down which made me even more excited for the time when I would get to walk across the stage. I also missed out on going to senior formal and celebrating one last time, dressed like a delicious MEAL, with all of my classmates. I was ready. So when I learned that none of that would be happening, and that the trips I planned for the summer couldn’t happen, and that the world was in a panic… yeah, I was pretty disappointed to say the least. Had a couple breakdowns here and there.

But in that void, in those uncertain and gray times, I was able to connect with myself and my family in ways I never have before. My spirituality amplified, my desire to be in control was tested time and time again, and I read a bunch of great books.

Speaking of which, I couldn’t write a blog post without giving you a resource to check out. This book I’m about to share with you is something EVERYONE and their ancestors should read. Yup, I’m bringing them into this. Do yourself a favor and check out The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. If you read it already, this is a nudge to re-read it. Seriously. This book has shown up in my dreams, people! It’s short but so impactful. So go get it.

And now, post-grad life is full of unknowns and things to figure out. What will I do next? What do I want out of my relationships? What do I want for my future? So many things.

This time in my life feels both exciting and scary. It feels like I have a lot of decisions to make. But I’m navigating this space the best I can.

So as I wrap up my thoughts here I recognize that when I click publish on this post that, no, it won’t be perfect. But it will be honest. It will be what’s in my heart right now and what I feel called to share with you. If you’ve made it this far with me, thank you. I hope you’ll stick around for future posts and that you’ll take any gems that resonate with you. Cheers to stepping into the unknown!

#20: Hiatus, Feelings, Recent Favs

*4 months later*

After the ridiculously long hiatus, I’m back. And it feels good.

Where was I, you might ask? Well, after I finished finals, my summer kicked off with a trip to Atlanta, a new internship, and a whirlwind of emotions to say the least. It’s been a very eventful season so far. So thank you for bearing with me. I’ve had at least 3 people in the past week ask me what happened to the website. Thanks for the push, y’all. Let’s chat.

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Beauty from Atlanta.

What I’ve learned recently…

For starters, I learned that vegan Chinese food places exist in places like Atlanta. If you’re in the area, I highly suggest a place called “Herban Fix” for fusion cuisine. And I for one want to say how AWESOME that is! Not sure if I’ve told you this before, but I’m a vegetarian. That just means I don’t eat meat (e.g., chicken, pork, beef, etc.) but as long as I’m not eating at a steakhouse, I can usually sort through sides and veggie platters and find something to eat. Walking into a vegan food spot was a whole different experience – I could eat absolutely everything that was on the menu. And that felt amazing! More vegan food places, please! If you know of any great vegan or vegetarian restaurants near you (no matter where you are), let me know. I’m always down to travel and eat great food.

Another pretty important thing that I’ve learned is how to truly love my natural hair. Almost two years ago, I decided I would stop using relaxers on my hair and instead grow out my tightly coiled, natural strands (shoutout to my beautiful friends and family who helped me with that transition).

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That moment when you successfully do a twist out but one loose strand wants to ruin your picture and you won’t allow it. That’s meeee.

I knew I wanted to try going natural at some point. I also knew by the warnings of many that it would be a lot of work to maintain. But I wanted a real relationship with my hair – so yes, sis, that took and is still taking work. As all relationships do! But the work is so worth it! Wash day for my hair is a self-care day for me. Twisting and seeing how versatile my hair is has been a beautiful experience.

Another gem that has come up for me recently is the idea that you attract and maintain relationships with others based on how you make them FEEL. I was speaking with my dad about this in the car one day, and it really stuck with me. It seems like so often when we’re looking to make real connections with other people, we place a disproportionate amount of that energy on things like our appearance more than how we feel and how we’re making the other person feel. Now DO NOT get me wrong. Keeping yourself healthy and taking care of your physical attractiveness is essential for both feeling good in general and initially catching someone’s eye. Continue being a snack, please. The issue comes in when we forget that for the people in our relationships to feel good when they are with us, we have to be authentic and feeling good ourselves.

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We all know that person that lights up a room when they step in. We all have a friend that we feel entirely safe with and can confide in. We all know someone who is basically doing a killer stand up comedy set whenever we see them. The point is, we remember how the people in our lives make us feel. That sticks out to us a lot more than other stuff like aesthetics, especially in the long term. So be yourself, and bring joy to others when you can. Doing so allows others to genuinely connect with you and want more of that sweet, happy feeling they get when they just think of you.

What I favorite recently…

DayDesigner planner – if there’s one thing you’ll learn about me, I like planners. LOL okay let’s be real here, I love them. And this one, in particular, is super useful to me because of the weekly and monthly spread. To build a great life, you gotta get strategic, people.

Summer Durant – “Same” – Spoken word poetry has always held a place in my heart. Here’s one of many that have stuck out to me recently.

Latino Men Try Therapy For The First Time – I’m a big advocate for taking care of your mental health. I also believe that specific communities (like those of people of color and men) need to be encouraged to do so more because of the stigma surrounding things like going to therapy, opening up about how you’re feeling, and being vulnerable. This video appealed to me for all of those reasons.

Tyler Perry’s BET Award Acceptance Speech – help somebody cross.

Four months was four months too long to be gone, I know. Let’s start again. For now, have an incredible week and enjoy the last of July! And tell me, what have you learned recently?