It’s About More Than Money: It’s About YOU

You are the most important person in your life! This is what I want to scream to every woman in my path that gives me that you-know-I-can’t-take-a-day-for-myself look. Women, we have to take care of our money, our minds and our bodies. Like they say on the airplane, ‘make sure your mask is securely placed before helping others.’

I take this advice all the way to the bank, literally. My accounts are in my own name; my house is in my own name; my cars are in my own name. I need to be financially secure, with or without hubby or the kids. As you can imagine, managing my income and all these accounts can be challenging. Keeping funds separately from my husband can be emotionally draining. The good book says two equals one but my math doesn’t equate that way. This has caused me to do a lot of soul searching. Sometimes, all that soul-searching doesn’t leave enough time for wardrobe-searching. In times like these, I realize that I need more than just money to complete me. Hence, I realized that Keeping It Rich, involves a few more elements.

That’s why I call on the help of Dr. Janet Taylor for mental sanity, Fashionista Nichelle Pace for fashion sense and relationship expert Zara Green for emotional guidance. Keeping It Rich for me defines “rich” as a lifestyle set by me that encompasses wealth, health and appearance.

As Janet Taylor said recently in a Today Show episode about Mom Hair, “Moms are busy but we also are women and we want to look good.” Ain’t that the truth! I held an extra 30 pounds after the pregnancy of each child and I wore a baseball cap and a sweat suit for one year AFTER my kids’ births.

I made sure I saved enough money for a down payment on a home big enough for them and I made sure I started to fund their college education (minimally, but it was a start). But I didn’t do a thing about my looks so I felt badly and I looked badly. “How dreadful!” as Dwight from Real Housewives of Atlanta would say.

Four years ago, when my daughter turned two, I decided to truly live a ‘rich’ life. I got some therapy to help me with my stresses, got a fashionista to do my wardrobe shopping and I shed the 30 pounds of baby fat.

I don’t share this story for me, but I hope I share it for someone who is struggling to find themselves. Do you know YOU? Do you spend enough time on YOU?

I invite YOU to join me at All About You Day, Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at the Schomburg Center in New York.  Please use this password for complimentary registration: AAYOU

Hope to see YOU soon!

Keeping it rich,

Sakina

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25 Days til Your Good Life Begins

Hallelujah! I just can’t seem to begin this blog with any other words. And no, I’m not the holy roller (had to just ask my mom how to spell both ‘hallelujah’ and ‘holy,’ LOL). However, I am so grateful that God inspired me to create All About You Day! The pieces have just been falling into place so amazingly. Friends have agreed to join me to speak at no charge and now sponsors are coming out of the woodwork to make sure the day is rewarding and impactful for the women who attend.

I’m praising God and shouting ‘yea, yea (*chest bump voice*)’ on the phone to friends because I love sharing the knowledge. Someone asked me last night, “If you are not charging people to attend, why are you having All About You Day?”  I was confused initially, but then I remembered that ‘oh that’s right, people’s expectation is that you are always getting a monetary gain if you are ‘keeping it rich.’ NOT!

To have a truly ‘rich’ life you must give back to your community. I have multiple communities: black people, women of all races, children growing up the way I did in inner cities, the families where I raise my kids now, etc, etc. Every time I give back to any one of those, I feel rich. To women, both black and white, this is your turn to get the gettings!

All About You Day during Mother’s Day weekend is going to be a great time to take some time out for ourselves. I’m looking to have some fun as well as be inspired and uplifted by all of the speakers. This event was born out of an idea I had to share with like-minded women, my knowledge of personal finance and the knowledge I receive from others that make so many of us well-rounded, mentally healthy and fashionable women. And because of the enthusiastic support from the host, Jocelyn Taylor; moderator, Caroline Clarke, and the speakers, Dr. Janet Taylor, Nichelle Pace, Zara Green, and yours truly, Sakina Spruell :), that idea is becoming a reality.

I told the speakers that “my only goal is to get a group of women in a room and give them a wealth of information to empower them to live a ‘rich’ life including mentally, financially and fashionably rich.  I’m envisioning an intimate gathering where we can all share and be inspired by one another to live a ‘rich’ life.” Thankfully, they agreed. Thanks to them, UPTOWN magazine, the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)— a division of Working Mother Media, and Black Enterprise, we are able to offer this event at no-charge to a limited number of women. This event is not-for-profit. All proceeds (if any realized from additional sponsors) will be re-invested in the event.

Women of Color (can I say that? didn’t mean to pull a census move), this is a great opportunity for us to figure out how to increase our median net worth from $100 as I recently discussed in Growing The Net Worth of Black Women. White women, this is a great time for us to all get rich together :).  This conference is where it will all begin. 25 Days til Your Good Life Begins! All About You Day, May 8, 2010. See you there!

In the meantime, keep it rich,

Sakina

Middle Class Prepaid Experiment- Month 2

I reloaded my prepaid debit card for the second time today, yes on Easter Sunday. It’s the 4th of the month and I already saw myself pulling out my bank’s debit card way too much already. So, I thought it was about time to put a limit on it.

For the month of March, I put $300 on it and we spent $100 by the first week. We tried to pump the breaks but since we were so used to endless discretionary spending in previous months on fast food, gifts and lunches out, it was a little hard to work in a limit of $300. So, by the 3rd week of March, I was starting to pull out my personal bank’s debit card to cover our lifestyle.

For the month of April, I have increased the limit to $400. I think this is fair. After all, the card is for ‘discretionary’ or ‘miscellaneous’ un-budgeted items like eating out and buying birthday gifts for my kid’s friends. In addition, it’s the shared account between me and the hubs. This is where you would think the big issue comes in, but no. I must say hubs was pretty good with the card for the first month. He uses it more for gas and lunch. This is because he deposits such a large share of his paycheck into our household account that he doesn’t have much left and often finds himself asking me for $20 during the week. NOT! I hate that. I hate being nickeled and dimed. So, the prepaid debit alleviates that. Also, he is now empowered to manage some of the discretionary funds without me worrying about him going overboard and bouncing a check in the regular bank account, or worse, running up major balances on the credit card.

So, let’s see how far this $400 gets us. BTW, I now have one other friend working this shared prepaid debit card experiment with me. It’s always good to have support. I will continue to let you know our lessons learned.

Please read “The Prepaid Debit Experiment” before you try this at home. It is not for everyone. There are fees associated with it and there are predators in this space.  

Keeping It Rich,

Sakina