S. Tia Brown
S. Tia Brown
But parents are not off the hook yet. If the early sunsets and chilly nights haven't been enough of a hint, I'll be the bearer of bad news: It's fall. Cool weather means more shopping for the kiddies as the temperature continues to go down, but have no fear. The lower temperatures coming don't mean you have to burn a hole in your bank account to compensate. Here are 10 tips on how you can spend less on back to school fall shopping for your lovable Mini-Mes.
1. Layaway – The recession has caused a resurgence in this oldie but goodie. Layaway allows a consumer to place selected items on hold -- for a small fee -- with a retailer while they make payments in installments. Instead of balling out at the mall with a credit card, place your must-haves on layaway and purchase everything you need in cash (usually within 30-60 days).
Think padding your savings account is impossible? Not true. IDAs are one option for modest earners that may make your dream of having a financial cushion a reality.
If you're like most Americans, the phrase "IDAs" doesn't resonate much, but if you live in a low-income household and are looking to change your financial future these three letters will sound sweeter than Santa Claus' sleigh bells. IDAs, or Individual Development Accounts, are matched savings accounts – and they offer free money to any individual who's ready to be a serious saver.
Back in March many people were shocked when a study revealed the median net worth of single black women was... a whopping $5! That means that if half the black women polled bought a happy meal at McDonald's, they'd blow their life savings.
There are scores of reasons why black women are in this financial situation. Predatory lending. Unequal pay. Social Injustice. Sexism. Racism. It's not fair. It's not right. It's our plight. So the question remains, what do we do in the mean time? We can continue to gripe our about problems and wait for the slow process of progress, or we can make some changes ourselves. I firmly suggest the latter. Here are seven things single black women can do to increase their net wealth today:
I bought my first home when I was 27 years old. For many that's not an amazing feat, but for me it was a pretty big deal -- particularly because I was living in New York City and I wasn't making anywhere near six figures. We all know that big city real estate prices are off the chart. And in case you're wondering, I'm not a trust fund kid. So how did I do it? The answer isn't particularly sexy but it's very true: I made sacrifices. I brought my lunch to work ($200 savings per month). I lived at home ($400 savings per month). I even cut out all of my relaxer and went natural ($300 extra savings per month). It wasn't fun or easy, but it was effective.
Unless you're expecting a financial boon you will also have to make some level of sacrifice become a home owner. The poor economy has resulted in an increased scrutiny over credit scores and higher percentage requirements for down payments. Gone are the days when you can get a loan for zero down or with a credit score of 600. Despite the tougher standards, owning your own space is still an attainable goal. Here are three tips on how to manifest the home of your dreams into reality:
Fame is fleeting, especially when it's built on a shaky foundation, like a reality show. With that in mind, I readily hand over much kudos to Omarosa Manigault Stallworth for doing what many dream of: extending her 15 minutes in the spotlight. She's parlayed her stint on the reality show 'The Apprentice' in 2004 into six years of work. Most recently, she launched a new venture with Donald Trump on TV One, 'The Ultimate Merger,' which is a dating show of sorts. Though some readily dismiss Omarosa as a "bitchy and evil," I give props to the woman.
Unlike many of today's pseudo-celebs – those simply famous for being able to get on TV without quantifiable talent – Omarosa has not used sex tapes (think Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian), substance abuse (think Nicole Richie or Britney Spears) or overly lascivious behaviors (think Kendra Wilkinson or Holly Madison) to stay in the limelight. Instead, she's opted for a less lucrative but more respectable avenue: her brashness. Despite keeping her clothes on, flaunting her education -- and not ignorance -- and using her guile instead of her backside, she is vilified by the masses -- particularly African Americans.
According to a recent study many Americans who should file for bankruptcy don't for one simple reason: It's too hard. Before 2005, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy was the only reprieve most Americans who were in excessive personal debt could utilize. Under Chapter 7 one could effectively erase all of their consumer debts by liquidating their assets and proving they did not have the means to pay off what they accrued. Major debts, such as car notes, remained; the rest were wiped clean. Of course there were penalties. For example, the filing remained on your credit history for 10 years -- but filers were no longer faced with a mountain of debt that they couldn't afford.
Sounds relatively sweet, huh? The credit card companies felt the same way. In 2005 the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was passed which introduced new standards, such as means testing, credit counseling and higher filing fees, to the bankruptcy process. The result was that fewer people were able or willing to file for bankruptcy. Instead of facing the arduous process of trying to file for Chapter 7, more individuals have opted to live a debt-laden life. But this new trend has created a different set of problems for both those in financial crisis and creditors.
These savvy businesswomen went from wiping bottoms to handling to bottom lines in their kids' careers. Which mommy managers are the best in the entertainment biz? Read on for Black Voices' list of the Top 10 Momagers Making Moves.
If this disheartening news feels like sucker punch to the gut, then here's the round house kick to the jaw: Blacks are still earning less money but paying more -- for loans -- than whites. What does that mean? Studies show the average black household makes almost $20,000 less than the median white household . Additionally, blacks still get stuck with higher interests than white borrowers – which really hurts when it comes to big ticket items, such as home purchases. The net result of these two trends is that blacks tend to have less money for large purchases and emergencies, but then it costs us more to get the capital we need to buy homes and takes care care of problems.
Okay, here's my dirty little secret: I love watching BET's reality series 'Tiny & Toya.' When I first saw the show's promos, I was about as excited as a truant expecting her report card -- I wasn't expecting much. In fact, I was disappointed with the network for putting out more of the same. The teasers screamed cliche. Gucci bag on elbow? Check. Lips gloss by MAC? Yep. Country grammar. Oh yeah.
Finally, one day when my couch held me hostage and I ended up watching several episodes of the series, I was hooked. I won't lie, the show is replete with stereotypical depictions of black women that make the HBCU grad in me quiver, and still there are some redeeming qualities. The ladies are fiercely loyal friends. These women are devoted mothers, sisters and daughters. Lastly, both are determined to pursue their passion despite having a well-to-do partner and former spouse.