5 Affordable Beauty Tips for Summer

By: Tori Lutz

Everyone wants to look their best, particularly during summer months when you get to show some skin.

Fancy beauty treatments that help you get to that goal look can get quite expensive, though, if you don’t budget wisely and find some ways to save money with it all.

To help make sure you feel as confident as possible this summer without breaking the bank, here are a few affordable beauty tips to get you ready.

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At-Home Spa Treatments

One of the easiest ways to save money on beauty treatments is to do all of the pampering yourself at home!

This can help you save an enormous chunk of money when it comes to simpler spa treatments like doing your own nails, putting together a skincare routine that involves masks, scrubs and other necessities, setting up your own aromatherapy and more.

A good rule of thumb is really just asking yourself what all you can accomplish on your own. Some treatments and services may require an outside party (laser treatments, massages, elaborate hairstyling, etc.), but many don’t.

The best part about an at-home spa day is that it can be tailored to your exact specifications without dipping too deep into your wallet. Choice of treatment, brands and application methods are all up to you!

Research Affordable Beauty Providers and Products

Big price tags don’t always mean the best service or quality, and there are often plenty of affordable salons, med spas and other beauty providers that will provide excellent service and results.

This tip is something that will require basic amounts of research in your specific area, but making sure that you do this will help to guarantee that you aren’t overspending.

One general piece of advice is that if there is a beauty school in your area, they will often provide great service for a fraction of the price. Not only are the students almost always receiving advice and instruction from experienced professionals, they are also often meticulous with their work since they still have a lot to prove.

If choosing a beginner stresses you out a little, there are often tiered options to select more experienced students as well.

As far as products go, just remember that a brand name doesn’t inherently imply quality. If you have products that you love but feel are a little expensive, try to look into the specific ingredients or type of product it is and see if you can find a lesser known brand that accomplishes the same result for less.

Sunscreen Will Save You Headaches

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A big part of summer fun often involves much more sun exposure through days at the beach, strolls through the park or even just being out and about in the hotter weather.

A little goes a long way with sun protection, and this is definitely one of the least expensive parts of any skin routine!

By making sure you take care of your skin and keep it protected from UV rays, you will save yourself a lot of stress over things like sunburns, peeling skin, uneven pigmentation, advanced signs of aging, skin cancer and much more.

Treatments do exist for a number of the issues that sun damage can cause, but they can sometimes get expensive and it’s possible that not all of the damage can be undone.

The best thing you can do for your skin at any age is to make sure you invest in some good sunscreen this summer and skip the tanning oil!

Invest in Long-Term Solutions

If you do already have existing insecurities and want to invest in solutions that can leave you feeling more confident, the best way to go is looking into quality, long-term solutions that will leave you happier and healthier.

When it comes to beauty, medical spas, dermatologists and naturopathic physicians are often great resources. Many of them will also offer free consultations so you can get an expert opinion on what to look into.

Dr. Sarah Bennett, a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, knows how pricey visits to a med spa can get if you don’t do the right research beforehand:

“I always want to make sure my clients get the best care for them, so I like to give free consultations to not only make sure that we are the right fit but also to make sure that they get all of the needed information firsthand. I know that I’m far from the only naturopathic physician who does this, so I definitely encourage anyone considering treatments like botox, laser hair removal or others to look around online and see who is available for a brief, informative conversation.”

If you have insecurities like body hair or skin problems, looking into a long-term solution can be affordable - you just have to make sure to do the proper research in your area and pick treatments that best serve you and your needs to make sure you don’t accidentally rack up a bill on things that you could otherwise handle in more affordable ways.

Clean Eating Goes a Long Way

Food can impact a great deal more than just your weight. It can also impact your skin, hair, mood, tone and more.

Clean eating can help to make sure that you avoid a lot of the toxins that can cause problems like acne and weight gain while also boosting your morale and helping with energy, motivation and overall mood.

The most important thing to remember when you try to make a switch in your lifestyle like this is that it is just that: a lifestyle choice. Looking at it as a diet has a tone of impermanence while also carrying negative connotations that will make you think of suffering or “going without”.

Clean eating is just the opposite of that. It’s adding to your life by giving your body more of the nutrients it genuinely needs and less of the unnecessary chemicals, fats, sugars and other contents commonly found in more processed foods.

If grocery stores are a place of temptation for you that will make clean eating hard to stick with, try to only shop the perimeters of the store where you’ll find more natural and healthy essentials like produce, fresh meat, dairy needs and bread.

In Summary

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it is more than possible to achieve the best version of yourself by making a conscious effort.

This effort doesn’t even need to break the bank. By pampering yourself at home, switching to more affordable providers and products, remembering sunscreen, investing in yourself and eating cleaner, you will already make all the difference.

For more money saving tips to avoid overspending in other areas of your life, be sure to check out our other great blog posts on this topic!


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Katherine (Tori) Lutz has made a career out of freelance work and published through a variety of outlets in many industries. Her work has been published on platforms like USAToday, the Tallahassee Democrat, Altitude Group Inc., and others. She has contributed a breaking news story that ranked as the top viewed article on USAToday for 3 days, served as the sole resource for the Tallahassee Democrat and USAToday network at the 2017 Richard Spencer event at the University of Florida, and stayed on top of on-going coverage of Hurricane Irma. In addition to over 175 published articles, she has also completed a collection of poetry, managed social media for numerous companies, worked at an independent newspaper as a writer, section editor, and Editor-in-Chief, and taken on a number of corporate copywriting and copyediting jobs.

Instead of Spending, Teenagers Can Turn to Saving

by Samantha Cueto

When Should Teens Start a Savings Account?

As soon as a teenager begins to spend the money that they earn, they should start considering opening a savings account. According to an ING Direct study, a surprisingly large percentage of teenagers amounting to approximately 83% admit they are clueless when it comes to how they should be spending their money.

How Teenagers can Earn Money for Their Savings Account

Around 35% of teenagers attain jobs, according to a graph from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a moderate percentage considering how most teenagers focus on educational classes or internships for their resumes during the summer. Teenagers can attain their money inside homes through some of these popular options:

  • Some teens can receive small allowances each week, in return for completing chores throughout the house. Yet there are fewer parents who have been giving their teenagers money, and may even consider the prospect of chores as something that is more of a responsibility rather than an optional task nowadays. Therefore, this option may not be the easiest opportunity to earn money, and can only depend on what a parent’s perspective of allowance is.

  • Teens can babysit or tutor their neighborhood’s children, if there are any parents actively searching for either a babysitter or tutor. Teens who enjoy being in the presence of young children may find this option the most appealing, but it does require knowledge on the academic subjects the child may be having trouble with, and how to take care of children in general.

Teens who desire to work outside of a home can consider other viable jobs to earn money, such as:

  • Some retail stores or fast-food restaurants are willing to hire any teenagers vying for the occupation. Teens can learn some basic skills such as how to operate a cash register or how supplies can be properly stored. Retail stores and fast-food restaurants offer small salaries and a daily schedule that can help any teen become slightly more organized.

  • Any small tasks teens can complete around their local neighborhood can help them earn some extra cash. Some conventional examples do include, but are not limited to: washing neighbors’ cars, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, and offering cool refreshments to anyone passing by that may look dehydrated. This option does not earn as much money for a teenager than the other aforementioned ones, and are more of temporary solutions.

Teenagers who earn the money from these jobs end up spending it rather than saving. Teenagers who are interested in their future should open a savings account to pay for their dream college and the expenses that eventually come when they reach adulthood, such as purchasing an apartment or paying their bills.

Why Teenagers Should Open Savings Accounts with Their Banks

Once a teenager signs up for a saving account with their chosen bank, they can begin depositing the money they earn into their account. A savings account can even limit the number of withdrawals to six per month, which can keep teenagers on a reasonable budget instead of splurging most of their money on shopping sprees. Savings accounts also come with interest rates.
An interest rate can be beneficial to a teen if they earn it correctly. Savings accounts add a certain amount of money to the current balance if it has been deposited there for a certain period of time. The amount of interest a teenager can earn in their account depends on how much money they have deposited into their account, the bank they created a savings account with, and the general interest rate of that aforementioned bank. A teenager must also keep in mind that they would have to pay a fee if they do not maintain a minimum balance on their account that some banks can require, but not all.
A teenager who has just commenced the process of searching for the right bank may be encountering some trouble. There are hundreds of different banks offering several different options that can be overwhelmingly confusing to a teenager. Not all of these banks offer the best deals or have a teenager’s interests in mind, but there are three options that have been narrowed down so a teenager can begin their search:

  • Capital One 360 Savings Account is a superb option for a teenager because there is no minimum balance or deposit that can come with most banks. Teenagers can also find their Automatic Savings Plan extremely helpful, which transfers money automatically to the account and can be adjusted or stopped at any time. The interest rate is only 0.75% per year, which may sound small but will have money growing in no time.

  • The Barclay Dream Account is an online banking account option that will earn the most interest. If deposits are made continuously for six consecutive months, there will be a 2.5% bonus on the interest earned. If no money has gone through withdrawal for six consecutive months, another 2.5% bonus will also be added on the interest earned. It also promises no monthly service fees have to be paid and there is no minimum deposit number to open the account.

  • All of Ally Bank’s accounts can be opened as a custodial account, meaning that a parent will have control over the account until the child they’re saving for becomes 18. In-trust accounts can also be opened, meaning the income can be split between a parent and their child once the child reaches legal age as well. Ally Bank doesn’t require a minimum balance when opening an account and no fees have to be paid monthly. The interest rates vary depending on which account a teenager and their parents decide to choose. CDs, or certificates of deposit, are also a viable choice in Ally Bank.


Samantha Cueto is a teenager herself. She is a rising sophomore at Dominican Academy in Manhattan.

The Best Time to Shop for Bargains

While the holiday season may be over, there’s no need to feel depressed. Now is the best time to shop for bargains! Here are a few tips on how you can take advantage of the year’s best sales. When to Shop. Sales begin promptly when stores open on December 26th. You’ll typically save 50% the day after Christmas, progressing to 75% the week after, then up to 90% in January. However, the longer you wait, the more picked over things will be.

Where to Shop. You’ll often find the best deals in the most out-of-the-way places. The key is to use your creativity when shopping. Where do you think most shoppers in your area will be? Try to go elsewhere.

Buy for next Christmas. Seasonal items like holiday kitchenware and decorations will have the deepest discounts. If you ran out of gift wrap or cards this year, stock up for next year when these items go on sale for 75% off. Buy discounted solid colored wrap to use on other gifts throughout the year. Holiday fabric for tablecloths and next year’s craft projects is also a good deal.

Buy gifts for all year round. Toys on clearance are great for birthday parties throughout the year. Shop after-Christmas sales for gifts to give to your loved ones on their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Store them under the bed or in the closet labeled with your friend or relative’s name. Make a note on the new year’s calendar that you already have a gift for their birthday.

Watch expiration dates. Pre-packaged gift sets like ice cream sundae toppings or barbecue sauce packs are great gifts to give during the year as long as they are free from holiday markings and expiration dates.

Don’t buy what you don’t need. Even if it's on sale, if you just don't need another set of lights, don't buy them. Also skip items that, although on sale, are still over-priced or not useful. If you won't use it within the next six months, pass. Buying what you don’t need is never frugal.

Examine sale items carefully. After being handled by many Christmas shoppers, some items may show their wear. Be sure they are not damaged. This is especially important if seconds or irregulars are mixed in with the clearance sales.

Get the 411. Find out the store's policy on returns and exchanges. Most sales on after-Christmas clearance merchandise are final, but the store should still settle complaints on broken or defective products.

Come early or stay late. Consider shopping at the beginning or end of a clearance sale. You will generally find the best selection when the sale begins but the lowest prices as the sale ends.

For more savvy tips on shopping, check out:

Great Ways to Shop More and Spend Less The Savvy Guide to Coupons 5 Common Saving Strategies… That Can Lead to Overspending Shopping Triggers

'Tis the Season for Savvy Spending

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stretching your holiday budget doesn’t mean you’ll be giving lumps of coal as gifts this holiday season. Smart shoppers have always known that the holiday season doesn’t have to cost a lot to be fun.

Here are a few tips to make your holidays brighter but not budget busters.

  • Determine the total amount you can spend and don’t go over budget. Track what you have spent by keeping a tally of your purchases in your purse.

  • Simplify gift giving. Ask people what they want and need. You'll be able to choose more wisely from their lists than your perceptions of what they want. Encourage family to create a wish list on popular Internet websites such as Amazon.

  • Go shopping with your shopping list in hand. Don't succumb to impulse buying. Many holiday shoppers end up with busted budgets by purchasing expensive gifts for themselves and spending more than planned on friends and family.

  • Give your family a gift everyone can enjoy, such as a museum or aquarium yearly pass.

  • Subscribe to a high-quality magazine everyone will read.

  • If someone gives you a gift you don’t like or need, save it to give as a gift later on or donate it to a charity for a tax deduction.

  • Ask family members to set a price limit on gifts. Insist everyone stick to the agreement.

If you're really stuck for ideas or cash, consider giving your time as a gift, including free babysitting, housecleaning or lunch out every few months. Seniors would be especially appreciative of help around the home. The gift of time is the most precious gift of all.

Happy holidays!

Comment

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Spring Cleaning Your Financial Closet

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Spring is a time of renewal, which means there’s no better time than now to dust off your personal budget, dig the change out from under your sofa, and clean the cobwebs off your savings plan.

So how do you get started?

Begin by reviewing your income and expenses for the past several months. It is best if you use a software such as Mint.com. Mint pulls all your financial accounts into one place. You can set a budget and track your goals.

Make sure to review all cash, checks and credit card transactions. This will also help you identify a majority of your spending. Keep in mind that credit card expenditures do count. They are expenses that you will have to pay – ideally, in full, when the bill arrives.

The hardest part is tracking your cash outlays for your daily coffee and lunch at work. Mint.com will only show your ATM withdrawals. You will need to track how you spend that cash.

Once you have your income and expenses down, you’ll actually be able to see where you are spending your money. You may be surprised to find out you are spending more than you realized. Once your budget is in Mint.com, you can’t hide the fact that you spend $20 a week on Starbucks' coffees.

Armed with knowledge about what you’re spending your income on, you can begin to make lifestyle choices that help reduce your spending on a regular basis.

The difference between your income and your expenses (assuming the first number is bigger) should be looked at as your “opportunity money.” This money can be used for additional investments and savings and help speed your way down the path to financial prosperity.

Once you're done cleaning your financial closet, you may be ready for a spring makeover of your finances.

Comment

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

3 Reasons We Overspend

by Manisha Thakor

Have you ever set a financial goal only to find that your actual spending significantly surpassed your budget? When you have the best of intentions to create financial health, why is it so darn easy to sabotage your progress? As a female financial advisor and confirmed personal finance junkie here are three factors that I think contribute to this (all too common) phenomenon.

Reason #1: We are bombarded 24/7/365 by media images of “average lifestyles” that are anything but. I love watching police and medical dramas on TV. But have you ever noticed how it appears that each policewoman and nurse has had a fresh mani/pedi and professional blow out right before arriving at her 7am shift? I didn’t have hair that frizz-free and skin that flawless on my wedding day, let alone before heading out for a day at work. It would be interesting to add up the costs of what it would take to replicate look of these “average” lives. My hunch is that the costs would equate to a total price tag that was 20% more than those positions pay. With unrealistic comparison like that, is it any wonder we overspend?

Reason #2: Most of us were never taught what “healthy spending” looks like – so we don’t realize how much we are over spending relative to our incomes. I’ve yet to meet a single person who sat down and said, “Hmmm, how can I blow my budget”. The much more common response is a shocked, “But I was doing the same thing as everyone else!” Frequent readers of this blog know my favorite budgeting rule of thumb comes from Elizabeth and Amelia Warren’s book, All Your Worth. It’s 50/30/20. That’s the percentages of your take home pay that would go towards needs, wants, and savings in a “balanced spending” plan.

Reason #3: Social media has created an alternative universe where we can “stage” our lives and then share those images the same way a magazine might stage a layout. So yes, a photo of an amazing brioche French toast with crème fraiche and Vermont maple syrup is no longer just a meal. It’s a statement on Who. You. Are. In short, the internet has super-sized and turbocharged the long standing human desire to keep up with the Joneses. In many cases, it has led us to view our lives as if we, too, are watching them through a lens. The things we do – the money we spend, the experiences we have – become the way we “focus” that lens to create the image of ourselves we’d like others to see.

And if those aren’t reason enough, in today’s modern life we are So. Very. Busy. Having people over to our homes requires that we shop, clean, prepare – so often it’s much easier to just go out, which can lead to…you guessed it: overspending.

Ultimately, our vulnerability to overspending strikes at the heart of our sense of worth and identity. In order to protect our net worth, we have to learn how to unconditionally value ourselves, instead of buying into the mass media driven notion that, to improve our lives, we must accumulate more “stuff”. Because usually it is… just stuff.

For more MoneyZen in your life, follow Manisha on Twitter at @ManishaThakor or on Facebook at /MThakor.

Comment /Source

Manisha Thakor

From Manisha's linkedin profile page:

Manisha Thakor is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance. 

Manisha and her colleagues provide both evidence-based wealth advisory services for high-net-worth households and core asset management solutions for women and families nationwide with $80,000 or more in investible assets. 

An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha is the co-author of two critically acclaimed personal finance books: ON MY OWN TWO FEET: a modern girl’s guide to personal finance and GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey. She is on Faculty at The Omega Institute and serves as a Financial Fellow at Wellesley College. Manisha is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Experts Panel, a member of the 2015 CNBC Financial Advisor’s Council, and wearing her financial educator’s hat serves as a part of TIAA-CREF’s Women’s Initiative. 

Manisha's financial advice has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including CNN, PBS, NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Women’s Day, Glamour, Essence, and MORE magazine.

Prior to joining the Buckingham team, Manisha spent over twenty years working in financial services. On the institutional side she worked as an analyst, portfolio manager and client relations executive at SG Warburg, Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital, Fayez Sarofim & Co., and Sands Capital Management. After this she moved to the retail side and ran her own independent registered investment advisory firm, MoneyZen Wealth Management. 

Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997, her BA from Wellesley College in 1992 and is a CFA charterholder. She lives in Portland, OR where she delights in the amazing Third Wave coffee scene and stunning natural beauty of the Pacific NorthWest. Manisha’s website is MoneyZen.com.

The Beauty of a Budget

by Manisha Thakor

Many people think budgets are about deprivation. As a financial adviser, I feel they are about liberation. Here’s a simple three-step plan to create a budget that you will feel excited to follow.

Step #1: Understand the real purpose of a budget.

It’s not necessarily what you might think. The benefit of a budget is that it establishes boundaries. Importantly, these boundaries can set you free to focus on what is most essential. Let me explain. Because we live in a world with so many choices, people often think of budgeting as a constraining, joy-restricting activity. But when done correctly, budgeting actually creates a protective financial haven around you (by simplifying your set of choices) to help you make spending decisions that will enhance your joy.

Step #2: Learn what healthy spending looks like.

If you ask the average person, “What is a healthy mix between spending on needs and wants versus savings?” you will likely get a blank stare. That’s because very few of us were ever given straightforward guidelines to follow in this area.

Back in the early 1990's when she was a Harvard Law School professor specializing in bankruptcy, Senator Elizabeth Warren and her daughter Amelia wrote a delightful book called ALL YOUR WORTH. In it, they identified an optimal “balanced spending formula” of 50/30/20.  It is simple, powerful, and after all these years it’s still the most effective healthy spending rule of thumb I've come across.

The “Balanced Spending Formula” Looks Like This…

•  50 percent – the ideal amount of your take-home pay that goes toward needs

•  30 percent – the ideal amount of your take-home pay that goes to wants

•  20 percent – the ideal amount you set aside for savings

Step #3: Adjust to fit your specific situation.

While I agree that 20 percent is the ideal amount to strive to save, in this era of sky-high student loans and above average unemployment it may not be obtainable for many people right now.

For this reason, I have temporarily adjusted my thinking. Any amount you are paying for reducing student loan debt or credit card debt counts toward that 20 percent savings, if you will commit to channeling those dollars into savings after the debt is paid off.

Setting up a healthy budget with this ideal spending formula empowers you to take the first step in creating a life lived from a place of financial strength. It enables you to find that vital intersection between what is important and what you can control. Focus on that sweet spot and find your joy.


[Want more financial love? You can follow Women's Financial Literacy Initiative founder, Manisha Thakor, on Twitter at @ManishaThakor or on Facebook at /ManishaThakor.

Comment /Source

Manisha Thakor

From Manisha's linkedin profile page:

Manisha Thakor is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance. 

Manisha and her colleagues provide both evidence-based wealth advisory services for high-net-worth households and core asset management solutions for women and families nationwide with $80,000 or more in investible assets. 

An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha is the co-author of two critically acclaimed personal finance books: ON MY OWN TWO FEET: a modern girl’s guide to personal finance and GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey. She is on Faculty at The Omega Institute and serves as a Financial Fellow at Wellesley College. Manisha is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Experts Panel, a member of the 2015 CNBC Financial Advisor’s Council, and wearing her financial educator’s hat serves as a part of TIAA-CREF’s Women’s Initiative. 

Manisha's financial advice has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including CNN, PBS, NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Women’s Day, Glamour, Essence, and MORE magazine.

Prior to joining the Buckingham team, Manisha spent over twenty years working in financial services. On the institutional side she worked as an analyst, portfolio manager and client relations executive at SG Warburg, Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital, Fayez Sarofim & Co., and Sands Capital Management. After this she moved to the retail side and ran her own independent registered investment advisory firm, MoneyZen Wealth Management. 

Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997, her BA from Wellesley College in 1992 and is a CFA charterholder. She lives in Portland, OR where she delights in the amazing Third Wave coffee scene and stunning natural beauty of the Pacific NorthWest. Manisha’s website is MoneyZen.com.

NYC on the cheap and healthy

by Loni Markman, MA, CHHC

I don't know about you but I LOVE going out to eat. I am a total foodie, however, at times it is to my detriment. The restaurants we choose are not always the healthiest no matter what the price is. Recently, a friend turned me on to this great book turned website turned mobile app called Clean Plates which consists of a continuously updated collection of the healthiest restaurants in town – nutritionist-approved - ranging from all price points. I found some great affordable options that I wanted to share with you! Check out some of my favorite healthy and inexpensive restaurants in NYC.

  • Souen - SoHo, Union Square, East Village: Macrobiotic / asian / sushi restaurant with gluten-free, flexitarian, naturally-sweetened, vegetarian, & vegan options.

  • Dig Inn Seasonal Market - Locations throughout NYC: American restaurant + juice bar with organic meat who's philosophy is based on real food and real quality. Delivery available.

  • Bareburger- Locations throughout NYC, Brooklyn and Queens: Organic meat and options for vegetarians as well. Gluten-free bread is available and still delicious. Offers delivery as well!

  • Candle Cafe - Upper East Side + Upper West Side: New American/Asian Fusion plus a delicious juice bar with a variety of options for those in need of gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, etc.

  • Peacefood Cafe - Upper East Side, Upper West Side: Cafe/restaurant with gourmet vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, and raw options. Delivery is also available upon request.

Going somewhere special? The following choices are a bit pricier but worth it - healthy picks that don't sacrifice taste:

  • Lupa Osteria Romano - Greenwich Village: Mario Batali's Old Italian restaurant creates traditional Roman dishes while supplementing with local, fresh ingredients and organic meat. Their extensive wine menu is an added bonus and never pretentious. Amazing for a great date night.

  • Blue Hill- West Village: Treat yourself to Dan Barber's farm fresh New American gourmet restaurant with organic meat and local fresh food. Here it is all about knowing thy farmer. Great for a fine dining experience.

We may all love to eat out, however, the cost can definitely add up. Most people don't really realize how much they spend dining out each month and would be shocked to find that they could probably hire a housekeeper or a gardener for that same amount! Here are three great rules to follow to keep costs down when you eat out:

Tip #1: Write it down. Take one week and write down how much you spend eating out. That includes all those coffees, soft drinks, things from the vending machines and snacks you buy throughout the day. Be sure to write down the amount of anything that goes into you and your family’s mouths for an average week. I’m afraid you may be unpleasantly surprised.

Tip #2: Cook or Assemble. I'm sure you're staying " but I don't have time to cook" well think about this... for the amount of time it takes you to get that cafe/restaurant, wait for the server to come over and take your order and then wait for them to prepare your order, you could have probably cooked one of these simple healthy meals. Don't like to cook? How about assemble? You don't need a pot or pan to eat at home.. chop up some red peppers and hummus for a healthy snack, or place it onto a bed of arugula with beans, tomatoes, and onions. No cooking involved, just assembling.

Tip #3: Eat Half and Save. It is no secret that portions in America are super-sized. Take advantage of this by only eating half of your meal - save the rest for the next day. You can always mix it up by using the ingredients from your meal to re-create something new. For example, I'm a big Thai food lover and I always save half to make stir-fry in the wok with quinoa for dinner the following night!

Join me over on my blog and let me know your favorite places to dine out on the cheap and be sure to take advantage of my complimentary Awaken Your Positive Body Strategy Session.

5 Ways To Eat Out For Less

by Manisha Thakor

Tough economic times present an interesting financial conundrum for our tum-tums.

During rocky periods it’s natural and healthy to want to seek out friends and companionship.  Breaking bread and having a good chat is a wonderful way to release work/life stress. But given our busy lives many of us end up spending time with others while eating out… which can really add up.  So here are 5 simple things you can do to eat out for less.

1.    Share an entree or make a meal out of appetizers: In modern America food portions have become so super-sized that the average meal can feed at least 2… and sometimes even 3 people.  To avoid any surprises when the check comes, be sure to see if the restaurant charges a split entree fee. On a related note, some appetizers are so large they could easily fill you up as an entree and they generally cost half as much as a main dish.

2.    Be sure to ask how much the specials cost before ordering: This a major hot button of mine.  How many times have you found yourself in a restaurant when the wait staff describes a succulent sounding dish?  You go for it, only to find yourself fighting the urge to hurl when you see the bill and find out the price.  Personally, I think it’s a sign of financial self-confidence to politely ask “and what do those specials run?” so you can make an informed decision. It can be awkward to do it at first – but trust me, the whole table will appreciate it, and you’ll be a trendsetter.

3.    Soup, it does a body good: A nice bowl of hearty soup (think gumbo, beef stew, tortilla soup, or chili) often costs a lot less, contains healthier ingredients, and fills you up as much as a regular entree.

4.    Think before you drink: Beverages – alcoholic and even non – are very high margin products for restaurants.  At a minimum, think twice before doubling down.  If you can, savor one drink throughout the meal.  And if you’re really trying to cut back, go to nature’s best… a glass of tap water.  Doing this can easily shave 20% or 30% off your bill (not to mention pounds off your waist line!).

5.    Do lunch: If you have a really strong urge to meet friends at a fancy new restaurant, try doing it at lunchtime instead.  Prices are much lower, portions are more realistic, and you’re less likely to run up a costly alcohol bill.

What about you – any other suggestions you’d add to this list?

 


Want more financial love? You can follow Manisha on Twitter at @ManishaThakor or on Facebook at /MThakor. Manisha Thakor, personal finance expert for women, can be reached via her website, MoneyZen.com.

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Manisha Thakor

From Manisha's linkedin profile page:

Manisha Thakor is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance. 

Manisha and her colleagues provide both evidence-based wealth advisory services for high-net-worth households and core asset management solutions for women and families nationwide with $80,000 or more in investible assets. 

An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha is the co-author of two critically acclaimed personal finance books: ON MY OWN TWO FEET: a modern girl’s guide to personal finance and GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey. She is on Faculty at The Omega Institute and serves as a Financial Fellow at Wellesley College. Manisha is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Experts Panel, a member of the 2015 CNBC Financial Advisor’s Council, and wearing her financial educator’s hat serves as a part of TIAA-CREF’s Women’s Initiative. 

Manisha's financial advice has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including CNN, PBS, NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Women’s Day, Glamour, Essence, and MORE magazine.

Prior to joining the Buckingham team, Manisha spent over twenty years working in financial services. On the institutional side she worked as an analyst, portfolio manager and client relations executive at SG Warburg, Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital, Fayez Sarofim & Co., and Sands Capital Management. After this she moved to the retail side and ran her own independent registered investment advisory firm, MoneyZen Wealth Management. 

Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997, her BA from Wellesley College in 1992 and is a CFA charterholder. She lives in Portland, OR where she delights in the amazing Third Wave coffee scene and stunning natural beauty of the Pacific NorthWest. Manisha’s website is MoneyZen.com.

Big Money VS Little Money

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

There is always that friend that makes a little bit more than you or maybe you’re the one who makes more. Regardless, once in a while that feeling of awkwardness arises when it comes time to paying the check or deciding where to go for the night. Wealth differences can drive a wedge between even the closest friendships, where even a sociable lunch can feel weird. However, there are many ways to sustain your friendship without the feeling of guilt or resentment. If You Make Less

  • Be Honest- If you cannot afford it then just say so. Remember, you did not become friends with the opening line: “how much are you making?” Simply say: “Sorry, not tonight.”
  • Give A Little- If you cannot afford to split the check, say so beforehand and offer to pay for something else—the tip or the wine. If you get invited somewhere and he’s paying, contribute in other ways by making reservations.

If You Make More

  • Sometimes, Suggest Burgers- You don’t always have to choose the expensive places to eat-- try out a cheap place but make sure you don’t make your friend feel sorry for his or herself. Make it known that quality time is the principal.

Treat With a Purpose or Just For Fun-Treating too much can make your friends feel inferior, so give an excuse—a late birthday gift or a thank-you favor. One of the perks of being wealthy is the ability to be generous, so make sure you treat it lightly, like it’s no big deal.

Savvy Ladies

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

3 Reasons To Take Your Online Banking Relationship To The Next Level

by ManishaThakor

Are you banking online?  A recent survey says 80 percent of U.S. online households are. However, if you’re limiting your online account management to checking your balance or reviewing past transactions you are missing out on the biggest benefits of the service. Many people don't realize that online banking services at most banks and credit unions enable you receive and pay your bills from one simple dashboard. That's the gift that keeps on giving. Here are my top three reasons why you should take your online banking relationship to the next level by consolidating all your bill paying through your bank or credit union:

1.    It makes your financial life easier: When you use your primary financial institution as command central for your bills, you only have to remember one password and log on one time. You can see exactly how much money you have in your account as you pay each bill from that one control panel. When you utilize online banking, you can pay ALL of your household bills online - not just to large companies, but to small firms, and even individual people. (Seriously. Thanks to a new offering called ZashPay that many financial institutions offer, you can literally send person-to-person payments online using only the recipients’ email address or phone number.)

2.    It gives you control. According to a recent survey from financial technology provider Fiserv (a company I'm doing some very interesting work with), a whopping 64% of consumers have lost a paper bill in their home and another 57% have experienced a paper bill being lost in the mail. If you utilize online bill pay through your bank or credit union, you can eliminate this concern by having bills sent electronically right to your online banking account. Hundreds of national billers offer these paperless bills, known as e-bills. They contain the exact same information as paper bills, but are delivered directly to your online bank account. On top of this, when you utilize online banking through your financial institution you determine exactly when each bill will get paid - which is not the case, for instance, when you have bills auto-debited.

3.    It gives you safety. Last but not least, whenever I talk about online anything - one of the first concerns that rightfully pops up is... safety. This may be the best part of all when it comes to online banking. When you use online banking it's like banking with Kevlar on. You are reaping the benefits of all the money those financial institutions have spent on encryption and fraud detection tools. Also, you don't have to share your bank account number the way you might have to do if you pay a bill at a company's website. Additionally most financial institutions have robust alert options that will notify you via text or email of activity in your account so you can keep a close eye on your hard earned dollars.

To learn more about receiving and paying bills online, visit www.ebillplace.com.


[Want more financial love? You can follow Women's Financial Literacy Initiative founder, Manisha Thakor, on Twitter at @ManishaThakor, on Facebook at /ManishaThakor, or by visiting MoneyZen.com.]

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Manisha Thakor

From Manisha's linkedin profile page:

Manisha Thakor is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance. 

Manisha and her colleagues provide both evidence-based wealth advisory services for high-net-worth households and core asset management solutions for women and families nationwide with $80,000 or more in investible assets. 

An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha is the co-author of two critically acclaimed personal finance books: ON MY OWN TWO FEET: a modern girl’s guide to personal finance and GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey. She is on Faculty at The Omega Institute and serves as a Financial Fellow at Wellesley College. Manisha is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Experts Panel, a member of the 2015 CNBC Financial Advisor’s Council, and wearing her financial educator’s hat serves as a part of TIAA-CREF’s Women’s Initiative. 

Manisha's financial advice has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including CNN, PBS, NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Women’s Day, Glamour, Essence, and MORE magazine.

Prior to joining the Buckingham team, Manisha spent over twenty years working in financial services. On the institutional side she worked as an analyst, portfolio manager and client relations executive at SG Warburg, Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital, Fayez Sarofim & Co., and Sands Capital Management. After this she moved to the retail side and ran her own independent registered investment advisory firm, MoneyZen Wealth Management. 

Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997, her BA from Wellesley College in 1992 and is a CFA charterholder. She lives in Portland, OR where she delights in the amazing Third Wave coffee scene and stunning natural beauty of the Pacific NorthWest. Manisha’s website is MoneyZen.com.

Your Financial Fitness Checkup

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Leaving the organic produce store yesterday, a flier on the revolving glass door caught my eye. It was entitled “HEALTH CHECKUP: Do You Have the Supplement Basics Covered?” and listed five types of supplements - multivitamins, enzymes, probiotics, fatty acids, and green vegetables - as the foundations for good health. Not only is it nice to know that I take all the necessary measures to ensure my physical well-being, this also translates very well to financial health.

Do you have the personal finance basics covered?

  • Do you make more than you spend? Are you able to pay all your bills in full, on time, or do you need to make more and/or spend less?

  • Do you have an emergency fund? Do you have enough money to cover six months worth of expenses, and is this money easily accessible?

  • Are you in the black? Do you pay off your credit cards in full every month? If not, draft a plan to get rid of those balances!

  • Have you thought about retirement? Do you have a 401(k), Roth IRA or similar, and do you contribute to it regularly?

  • Have you protected yourself against disaster? Do you have the insurance coverage you need, including medical, disability and homeowner’s insurance?

Yes on all? Congratulations! Chances are you’re in great financial health.

Comment

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Ditch These Three Major Money Wasters and Save Hundreds

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

This weekend, my family and I spent some time browsing plasma TVs at Best Buy. Strolling past walls of pulsating light and sharp-as-a-knife imagery, I was amazed at how much prices have dropped lately. In line, I was even more amazed at the number of people who purchased extended warranties for their electronics. From a statistical standpoint, it makes little sense. The vast majority of such products malfunction either early on - while still under the manufacturer’s warranty - or way down the road, long after the extended warranty has expired. In this economy, few of us can afford to waste money. So do yourself a favor and decline these offers.

While we’re on the topic of money wasters, I would like to point out another one: gym memberships. I’m not saying you shouldn’t work out! Few things – if any – are more important than good health. But not only do many people pay more than they need to for their memberships (you can use sites such as globalfit.com to compare prices), but many of us don’t need the gym to stay in shape, at least not all the time. This time of the year, why not go for a run or bike ride in the park? The fresh air and change of scenery are free bonuses! I work out at 5:30 am four times a week and love being outside. It is relaxing and also super effective at helping me drop my post pregnancy baby weight.

The third major money waster on my list is overdraft fees. If you are unable to keep a cushion of a couple of hundred dollars in your account or if your balance bounces all over the place, consider signing up for overdraft protection. It typically costs $5-$10 per year, and with overdraft fees starting at $30 per transaction, you may end up saving hundreds.

Comment

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

The Savvy Guide to Coupons

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Think coupons spell cheap and cheesy? So did I, until a couple of weeks ago the woman in front of me in line at the grocery store used a whopping sixteen of them, saving over thirty dollars. This, with hardly any effort! I just had to ask for her best coupon shopping advice.

If you have yet to try this way of saving, or if you’d like to get more out of your clippings, read on!

  1. The Internet is not just for shopping and email – it’s for saving as well. Check out sites such as hotcoupons.com, valupage.com, and coolsavings.com.
  2. Your Sunday paper, too, can be a wonderful resource. Allocate a compartment in your purse or wallet to this purpose, clip, and save!
  3. Many stores have fliers with coupons at the entrance. If this is true for yours, don’t miss out on this golden opportunity. You can combine these savings with the ones already in your purse. I now check the flyer at Whole Foods every time we shop. We save a minimum of $10 on every grocery visit.
  4. If you can’t find coupons for the brand you like, try giving the company a call. Many companies are happy to send valued customer coupons – you just have to ask.

I am taking the first, staggering steps toward becoming a coupon customer, using them mainly for restaurants and travel. What about you?

1 Comment

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.