Putting Our Pocket Change To Work

When Khomari and I moved into our apartment last year we decided to put all of our spare change into a “piggybank” my piggybankgood friend Javana bought me for Christmas. Our original goal was to cash the coins in and treat ourselves to a spa day at one of our favorite spa’s. We actually ended up learning to give each others massages (well I bought a massage tool from Target because it always makes my hands hurt) but we realized we needed things for the apartment since we never had a housewarming.

We’ve made due with the basics, but we were running low on drinking and wine glasses and wanted replace a few items that weren’t quite making the year. Since we are both on tight budgets we decided to use our piggybank money to buy a few nice things for our house.

Here’s a tip for those of you moving into a new place. Give yourself time to buy things you need. Don’t feel the pressure to buy everything at once. Buy necessities and build on it slowly and surely. This keeps you from buying things you don’t need as well as helps you remain in your budget.

We headed to a local check cashing spot to convert our coins into cash. Converting coins and purchasing money orders are the only reasons I would ever use a check cashing place. If you are using check cashing facilities to get your money, shoot me a message via the contact form and we can discuss getting you properly banked. These institutions make millions exploiting individuals often offering them subpar yet expensive services.

Brooklyn Check cashing location

We almost had $100 but due to the hefty 9% fee, we walked away with a cool $90 to fund our haul !

receipt

Because I operate on a budget I only purchase my home goods from three stores and Marshalls is at the top of that list. Marshalls is my mothers favorite store, I practically grew up there… No really, my mom was such a regular at Marshalls that she knew their delivery schedule and store drama. Aside from it being a familiar place, Marshalls is a wonderful place to find high quality products for less.

With our shopping list in hand we set out to Marshall’s. I always use a shopping lists because 1) I am forgetful, and 2) with a shopping list in hand it keeps me focused on getting the items I need vs sauntering through the isles and picking up impulse purchases. If you are not using lists, you should.

We ended up finding just about everything we wanted. Our drinking glasses combined were $21. We purchased a heavy duty frying pan for $24.99 and shower curtain hangers that are wayyyy more attractive than the current $0.99 ones we’ve been “styling” with over the past year. We couldn’t find a shower curtain that we liked so we held off and added Target to the mix. Our cost for wine glasses, drinking glasses, a frying pan, and shower curtain rods came up to $57.66 after taxes.

We were able to find the other items we were seeking out at Target. We also snuck a toy in there for Zorie since his toys have been affected by our budget and his favorite toy is hanging on to dear life via duck tape.

Shower Curtain and Towels from TargetIn Target we ended up spending $27.18 for new shower curtain, two washcloths (we’ve been having a lot of guest lately) and Zories toy (not pictured because it is currently serving its purpose). I know I could have gotten the shower curtain from a cheap store, but I love Target’s hotel quality curtains. My bathroom is very small and I appreciate budget friendly luxuries when I can get them.

Our total for the day was $84.84. We wanted a shower mat but I want to stick true to my budget and am going to head to a local liquidator store where I can score one with the remaining $6.

It was nice spending our piggy bank money on things we could use for the house and I am so happy with #myfabfinds . While those massages would have been nice, I will enjoy looking sipping wine out of those glasses, after cooking a tasty meal in those pans followed by a show in my “budgurious” bathroom. Having cash in hand and watching it disappear so quickly reminded me of how expensive furnishing a home can get.

We have decided to make it our piggybank busting a yearly ritual. I wonder what we will buy next year?

Do you have a Piggybank? What are your plans for the money or how did you use the money? Leave your experience in the comments below.

The Most Valuable Thing We Take For Granted

A few weeks ago on Facebook I posted a startling realization about myself. I am time poor.

I am fully employed, finishing my masters degree, partaking in an internship to finish said masters degree, growing a blog which has spawned 2 businesses, studying to become certified in financial education, maintaining a household, and attempting to have a decent social life in NYC . Yeah just reading that is tiring huh?

So yes, I am time poor.

In the pursuit of changing the world and ensuring my financial freedom while doing it I have compromised my most valuable asset.

time-pocket-watchTime.

There are moments when I stand still and disconnect, but it takes a lot of talking to myself to switch my train of thought from what I should and could be doing to just being still.

I find that being busy or time poor is more so of an issue for Gen Y’ers like me. I don’t want to blame it all on the internet, but… a lot of it has to do with the internet!  We are competitive and several of us are over achievers. We have been privy to the lives of more millionaires than our parents generation. We have seen everyday folk like Mark Zuckerberg strike big with inventions and businesses and the truth is a lot of us are so committed to the pursuit of wealth, regardless of how it impacts our schedules because “hard work pays off” right?

How did I, a women who believes in working smart and not hard become time poor? Did New York do it to me?

After reading an article by Tyler Ward called Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymorewhich is an exceptional read, he made me realize that people, well me at least, take busy as a sign of being important. When it really isn’t. Being busy is a sign or poor management of time, your greatest asset. 

I am attempting to take action. My first step in clearing up my time is saying “no” to project, ideas, or things that were not important to me or key to my growth.  

I’m still trying to figure out what the second step is though.

You can earn your money back. You can climb out of debt and reclaim your financial freedom. But you will never, ever be able to get time back. Once it’s gone it is gone forever.

Are you addicted to being busy or are you “rehabilitated”? What are ways that you have effectively managed your time?

 

5 Lessons New York City Taught Me About Money
Life Lessons from NYC

Photo credit Phillip Klinger

Back in 2008 I took a leap of faith and moved to New York City with $500 in my pocket from Charlotte, NC. At the time I ran an online music magazine that highlighted independent artists. I loved it and moved to NYC so that I could be closer to the opportunities. Fast forward to today, 6 years later. I’m amidst another transition with My Fab Finance, and preparing to step out on faith again. All of this “reflecting” shifted my thoughts to how far I’ve come personally and professionally as well as the money lessons I’ve learned along the way. I put them into a post appropriately titled, 5 Lessons New York City has taught me about money.

Here are a few lessons I have learned:

1.    Sharing is not only caring, it’s cost effective
Living in a city that is one of the most  expensive in the US teaches a thing or two about budgeting. Prior to living in NY, the last time I had roommates was while living in Miami during undergrad. When I moved to NY I learned the true value of sharing. Sharing rent and utilities, organizing group trips to cut down on costs, sharing taxis, potlucks… you name it. I learned the art and value of using collective power to cut down costs.

Me and my former roomates.

Me and my former roomates.

 2. Nothing remains the same, prices almost always go up
After living in NY for a few months I figured, it was safe to get rid of my car because I’d pretty much be able to use public transportation exclusively. Since moving here in 2008 the MTA has made drastic changes to the program. The eliminated the beloved unlimited day pass and 14-day pass while increasing fares. Within 5 years I’ve watched the monthly metro card increase from $89 per month to $112. One think we can count on is for prices to increase goods, services, or products.

On the subway in 2008

On the subway in 2008 with my best friend, Ashton. This was her first time visiting me in NYC

3.What I don’t want to become
My first real job in NYC was working at an affordable housing facility. I came in contact with 60 year old women who we’re struggling to get by on their social Security, for some this was $675 a month and their rent was $575. Living in such a crowded city that’s dependent upon public transportation forces you to interact with people you wouldn’t ordinarily interact with. On any given day you encounter a stressful teen mother on the train or the elderly man who is standing in the cold handing out Barbershop flyers and hating every minute of it. NYC serves as a constant reminder of what I don’t want to become. That I want more for my life and more stability and enjoyment in my current and future years.

4. Everything that glitters ain’t gold
New York City is not the only city with a fake it till you make it population, but it is the finance and fashion capital of North America. Celebrities love this city and this city loves celebrities. This coupled with a dense population leaves people craving to feel different or that they belong to the upper crust of the New York social scene. When I first moved here I was involved in artist management and ran an online magazine. I recall knowing and aspiring rapper who wore nothing but high end labels yet was squatting on his sisters couch and promoters who rocked furs and  yet couldn’t afford dinner. In turn I’ve met people whose wardrobes consisted of free T-shirts and they still wore clothes from 15 years ago yet they owned a home on the upper east side and had 70k in their savings account. I’ve learned not to be impressed with how people appear because that is not always the complete story.

Tweeting from my 25th birthday party which consisted of a show line up of my favorite independent artists.

 

5. The power of an influential network
In a city such as New York you need connections. So many people are talented and so many come here to live out their dream. Very seldomly do you break into positions and opportunities without knowing someone. The great thing about this city is its diversity. If you are like me you crave friends from all backgrounds, disciplines,and talents. I know fashion designers, lawyers, writers, activist, event planners, videographers, etc. By genuinely navigating these relationships I’m able to barter services or receive products/ services at a discount. I’ve often heard it’s not what you know but who you know but I’ve seen that repeatedly in NY. I’ve attended popular concerts and sporting events free and landed jobs because of who I knew.

 

Since turning 21 I’ve lived in Cincinnati, Miami, San Antonio, Charlotte, and New York. I’ve traveled to Toronto, Canada; Paris, France; London; Kingston, Jamaica and San Juan, Puerto Rico. I haven’t met a city yet that teaches you as much about yourself and life as New York.

On the Brooklyn Bridge in 2012

[Guest Post] 3 Easy Steps to Calculate How Much You Need To Retire

Today’s Guest post comes from Kara Stevens of The Frugal Feminista, 1/5 of the The Frugal Fab 5.

I have a friend that lives for relaxation and vacation. Every time I hear about her, it never seems to include employment. Seriously. She stay chillin’ on beaches, on somebody’s couch, just living the life… I guess.

I say, “I guess,” because if there is no trust fund or Suga Daddy or Momma hanging around, my friend will be in some serious financial problems the older she gets, brought on by her inability to work, save, or plan for the future.  There is a saying, “Old fools were once young fools.”

I have to admit, though. I get a itty bitty pang of jealousy—the temporary jealousy that the ant from the Ant and the Grasshopper might have felt when she saw the grasshopper, legs crossed, laid up in a leaf as she labored to prepare for the winter—as I hear about the life of leisure that she presents to the world, especially when this damn New York snow has my commute doubled and frustration level tripled. But I know, deep down, that my efforts to make a future of myself by being financially responsible are smart, enduring, and the way to go.

Until recently, though, I had no idea what the price tag on my “future” was. I have been a money hoarder, side-hustle hustler, an investor, but for what goal? I never really thought about the actual number that I would need to retire.

Currently, I am reading this book on investing, called Investing Made Simple by Mike Piper. He says that there is NO real way to get the exact number that you would need to retirement with, but there is a process of approximating roughly how much you would need.

retirement_jar_custom-e47537ac27aa5cf9b11f4e4732c87e1def232852-s6-c30Here it is:

Step 1: Take your current annual income and subtract the amount that you’re currently saving each year toward retirement. So, for example, if you make $50,000 and save $10,000, then the number is $40,000. Then adjust that amount either upward or downward based on the lifestyle that you expect to live when you retire. Do you expect to travel more, have kids in college, still have a mortgage, or be in decent health? It is important to think about those lifestyle factors because they all impact how much you will be spending in the long run.

Step 2: Adjust for inflation. Even though we don’t know what inflation will be like twenty years from now, we know that inflation has been about 3% in the U.S. historically. Piper talks about using the following formula to inflation-adjust your spending needs.

R= Retirement Spending Needs

C= Retirement spending needs in today’s dollar

I= Projected annual rate of inflation

T= the number of years until you retire.

For example, if you expect to need 40,000 per year during your retirement and you are 15 years away from retiring, and you expect inflation to average 3% over those 10 years, then you would calculate your future annual spending needs to be:

   R= C x(1 +I)T  (T is a coefficient). or R=$40,000 x(1.03) raised to the 15th power or $62,319

Click here for a calculator.

Step 3Once you calculate your inflation-adjusted retirement spending needs, multiply that number by 25. Piper says that multiplying by 25 is a rule of thumb because multiple studies have shown that, “based on historical US market returns, a starting withdrawal rate of more than 4% per year has led to an undesirably high likelihood of running out of money over the course of a 30-year retirement. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your portfolio is 25-times (that is 1/ 4%)the amount that you expect to have to withdraw each year.”

In this case, this person’s magic number for retirement is at least $1,557,967 0r $62,319 x 25. 

Promise me that once you figure out your magic number, you will memorize it, put it on post-its and place them in your car, in your wallet, at your desk at work, and on your computer. It will help you stay focused.

The lesson here: Start early. Imitate the Ant. Use Your Youth To Your Advantage.

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Frugal Feministas– What’s your rough estimate for retirement? Share your number in the comments section. Are you getting yourself for the future?

This post originally appeared on The Frugal Feminista

 

Travel on a Budget- Puerto Rico

It’s been almost a week since I blogged. I apologize for that, I was vacationing in Puerto Rico on a budget. One of the promises I made in 2014 was to dedicate time to work/life balance. I want to focus on growing the blog and ensure that I’m devoting an appropriate amount of time to the people and things that matter to me.

Our vacation was splendid. Disappointed by the chilly temperatures in the Bahamas back in November, we decided to take advantage of Presidents’ Day weekend and booked a mini vacation. Our options ranged from Turks & Caicos to Costa Rica. We knew we wanted to go somewhere warm and quick. After gushing over pics posted by my friend Belkis, and chatting with her about her December vacation to Puerto Rico we decided to travel to Puerto Rico. And we were not sorry.

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I admit, I always wrote Puerto Rico off as nothing special since it is an US Territory and you don’t need a passport to travel there. I was under the impression that an exotic vacation included different currencies and passport stamps. After spending a few hours in Puerto Rico, I learned that it remains very influenced by its Spanish roots and it’s a Spanish country with US amenities.

I have to admit that I fell in love with Puerto Rico. I can’t wait to return and I want to own a vacation property there. You don’t receive the benefits of a cheaper currency, but you have beautiful weather, warm people, and the amenities of more developed localities.

Flights and Accommodations
At this time of the year northern natives are in a frenzy to retreat from chilly temperatures. Our tickets weren’t the cheapest, priced at $377 each. You can find cheaper flights if your travel plans are more flexible, ours were not. We flew coach on JetBlue and the absence of checked bag fees is always a treat. As mentioned in a previous article we booked a studio apartment via AirBnB that cost us $370 total which was $185 per person for 4 nights and 5 days. Our grand total including lodging and flights was $562 each.

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Our Air BnB Apartment

We decided to rent a car because we wanted to explore what the island had to offer rather than being confined to Condado and Old San Juan.  This is not absolutely necessary but worked to our benefit. We ended up saving money in the long run. I booked the rental on Hotwire.com and after taxes the rental was $90. However we added the GPS package, full tank of gas, purchased additional insurance (after finding out what insurance my credit card excluded) and tolls we walked away spending $114 each, taking our trip total to $674.

We took advantage of the stove and pots that accompanied a private apartment, a benefit of renting a place on AirBnB. We ended up cooking breakfast every morning and ate sandwiches for dinner in Friday and lunch on Sunday. This drastically reduced our expenses.

Day One
We arrived fresh out of NYC. Our flight departed at 6:00am, amidst fleeing the blizzard. The landing in San Juan was that much sweeter. We met with the owner of our AirBnb place, took a nap and headed to the beach as soon as we woke up.  One of the things I noticed was that the beaches in San Juan were gritty. Beautiful, but I was digging the juxtaposition of the grafitti covered walls and the rolling seas.

San Juan Beach

After taking our mandatory dip in the water (yes it was mandatory after fleeing a blizzard). We ate at a spot in Condado-around the corner from our place-which had a free Flamenco show. I was captivated by the dancers passionate moves and the bands sultry tunes. What a special treat welcoming us to Puerto Rico. We hit Walgreens and snagged a few necessities, and returned for some much needed rest.

El Yunque National forest

Day Two
Renting our own car enabled us to see Puerto Rico our way. Rather than paying a tour guide $90 each to take us to El Yunque-the only rainforest in the National Park system-we drove there and toured absolutely free. El Yunque is about 1 hour and 20 minutes from San Juan. We stopped into the visitor center and paid $4 to use the restroom and obtain helpful information from the help desk. We checked La Cocoa Falls which is visible by the only road in and out of El Yunque and the lighthouse.

My favorite part of the trip was hiking to La Mina Falls. I had never seen a real waterfall in my life and I was taken back by its splendor. My boyfriend and I played around in the water which was extremely refreshing after the 30 minute hike to the fall. I do recommend wearing water shoes and a bathing suit so you can get in the water fall. The terrain is natural and untainted so it’s really rocky. We paid a total of $8 for this magnificent experience.

Waterfall

After leaving El Yunque we journeyed to the Luqillo Kiosks for dinner. It was a delicious and offers scenic views of the city. Hands down the best food and service I had while in Puerto Rico. We splurged a bit on lunch but it was worth every penny.

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Our lunch at the Luqillo Kisosk in Puerto Rico

Day Three
On Saturday we explored Old San Juan. Parking was cheap, $5.95 for the entire day. We were there from 10:30 am- 8pm. We were on a mission and took the Ferry to the Bacardi factory for the free tour. The ferry was $2 per person round trip and it was $6 per person once you got off for the taxi. From my understanding we could have driven there, but I wanted to take the ferry since I knew I’d be drinking once we got to the Bacardi distillery. The tour is free and you receive complimentary drink tickets. I noticed some people paid for the tour because they went through their hotel. Please save yourself the $20-30 and do it yourself. I promise you can. We enjoyed the tour throughly and especially enjoyed the opportunity to try two new types of Bacardi Rum absolutely free. Thanks to their master bartender I also learned to make my own daiquiris at home and I am looking forward to that 🙂

Bacardi tasting at the Free Bacardi Tour in Puerto Rico

Mari and I after the Bacardi Mixology lesson.

After returning from the Bacardi factory we explored the streets of old San Juan and visited Castillo San Cristobal.  It was Presidents Day weekend so admission was free.

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It also included a FREE 15 minute info session with one of the park rangers. We learned a lot about the history of the structure and the history of Puerto Rico. It offers you beautiful view of the city.

Old San Juan is vibrant and offers a little something for everyone. I purchased a few pieces of street art, as one of my favorite things is purchasing street art in every country that I visit. We enjoyed a lovely cost-effective dinner at a quaint restaurant tucked in Old San Juan, called Monditos. I ordered the Chillo fish with Criolla sauce which was to die for. Our dinner totaled $30 for two, which isn’t bad at all compared to other options. We headed home and rested for our trip the next day.

Beach

Day Four
The next day we woke up at 5am to drive to Ponce which is in the south of the country. There was something so relaxing and uniting about driving through the mountains of Puerto Rico with Mari.  Our reason for heading to Ponce was to go to the private island, Isla Caja de Muertos. It’s a locals spot, we were 2 of 10 Americans on the 125 passenger boat chartered by Island Ventures.  I purchased the tickets ahead of time which cost us $25 per person. We also rented beach chairs and an umbrella once on the island bringing our total to an additional $13 per person. The island was breathtaking. The water was still, the sand felt like butter. We slept, swam, and ate sandwiches that we packed.  We ended up purchasing two beers and 2 pinches (amazing Puerto Rican style chicken shish kabobs). We spent the entire day on the island, arriving at 10am and departing to Ponce at 3:30pm. Our only paid excursion cost us $38 dollars each.

We enjoyed every moment including a drive through the mountains and an opportunity to view a rainbow stretching over the hills of the Puerto rican countryside.

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Our last night we kept it simple and visited a restaurant that was close to our hotel for traditional Puerto Rican cuisine.

Our trip in total including souvenirs,  car rental, food, flights, and accommodations cost us about $850 total, $377 to get there, $185 on accommodations and $288 spent on the rental, food, and activities once there. Some may say thats not budget, but a trip to Puerto Rico could easily run you $1,300 after excursions and fine dining. Remember, it’s a vacation destintation that uses American currency. I’d say that the bulk of our spending went into food. We spent about an additional $150 per person on food, because we remained close to tourist areas to eat since English is very limited in the country. We also consumed alcohol with every meal, which can be expensive. Next time we will venture even further off the beaten path and try local spots to save cost. I will also aim to cut this number down to $500 on my next trip which is easily accomplished for the informed traveler. I’m also going to look into the necessity of car rental insurance when traveling abroad.

I didn’t do well on budgeting for this vacation, but I’m creating a trip budget template that will help me arrange and organize my spending. A co-worker of mine did Mexico for $10 a day including lodging. That’s a little ambitious for me but I’m going to aim for a relatively low daily expenditure on our next few trips.

If you are going to Puerto Rico feel free to reach out to me for advice on how you can have a memorable budget vacation on the “Five Star Island”.

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I’d also love to hear or read about your budget vacation ideas. We love traveling and are anxious to begin planning our next tour.

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Resume Writing 101

photo-e1392335359749You are talented, intelligent, experienced and fabulous. You have identified your dream job, or you are ready for a promotion and want to advance in your organization or corporation. You know you are ready, and we know it too but   there is one person who you need to prove it to, the hiring manager.

Your resume is a critical document for your career advancement. It will proceed most interviews, and even telephone conversations. This is your first impression professionally. A fab finance resume is one that has been reviewed, updated, edited and customized. Follow these tips to ensure your resume is reflecting the copious amounts of awesome that you are.

Update: Your resume should always, always be updated and ready to go. When you are networking and somebody say “send me your resume” what they are really saying is “send me your resume right now before I forget you even exist” Harsh as it may seem, you really do have a short amount of time. I suggest with in the business day or before noon the next day. You cant do this if your resume is not updated with your most current education or experience.

Customized: If you are starting your job search, you need to make the effort to read the ENTIRE job posting. You should be using the language and verbiage of the posting as much as possible. If your resume says worked with teens on community service, but the job posting says “seeking energetic  youth worker for inner city teens” then guess what your resume needs to say?

High energy, compassionate youth worker with over 5 years of experience leading services projects for New York City Teens.  Your resume needs to be customized for two reasons, the HR robots who will be shifting through the millions of emails will be looking for specific key words. Those key words are not a mystery, they are in the posting! When your resume is read by the person who wrote the posting, they will have an “ah-ha” moment and feel like you are exactly what they are looking for, because you are using their language.

Review: Have your resume reviewed my different people. Utilize resources like the library, career centers, workforce development centers and family and friends. I got into my career path because I was strategic with who I asked to review my resume. I asked a colleague to review my resume, (knowing she would be hiring soon) and with that gesture, I was unofficially submitting my resume to her. The rest is history.

Edit: Don’t be afraid to make changes to your resume, whether it is format or content. Do your research to see what resumes in your particular field look like and be willing to adjust accordingly. Here is a portion of a resume I recently edited for a client. I adjusted both the format and content while keeping true to the individuals experience and skills.

Resume Edited Resume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope these pointers were helpful. Recently I gave a promo on Instagram victoriafab_ where I edited 5 resumes for free. The response was overwhelming! Stay tuned, there will be similar promotions in the future.

 

Say Hello To My Fab Finance

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Laozi

Some of you may have noticed that we have slowly begun making changes to the site. We are now My Fab Finance.

mfflogo2014
The amount of growth we have seen is remarkable and humbling.

When Tonya started the site in January 2013, it was essentially her accountability partner. You all were and remain our accountability partners. When Tiffany joined, it was with a desire to pay it forward and share the knowledge she has gained. The original concept of the site was about documenting our credit improvement journey. Since then we have educated ourselves and others on credit, budgets, rewards programs, career development, and getting down and thrifty.

Today we are officially announcing our new name. We are incredibly excited about the opportunities it brings. We are honing our collective energies into making My Fab Finance a resource for our peers and a company that assists women with the complex aspects of our lives; professional development, financial management, and wellness. If you are interested in working with us you can find out more information here.

Within the next month the domain MyFabFico will no longer be used by us or redirect to the new url (www.myfabfinance.com). The same goes for the e-mail addresses associated with that domain. Individuals who were subscribed to our previous e-mail list have been migrated over to our new platform. If you are not signed up but would like to, you can do so on the form below.

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We look forward to  our continued growth as well as to the opportunity to meet you wherever you may be on your journey.

Love,

Tonya & Tiffany

i AirBnb, do you?

Back in 2012 my roommate was planning to take and extended holiday trip. Since she was going to be out of NYC for more than 2 months, she AirBnb’d her room. That was the first time I had heard of the service. They came a took pictures of our apartment and a few months later we were graced with very pleasant visitors from Denmark and Japan.

Airbnb started back in August 2008 in San Francisco\ as a service that connected travelers with folks who wanted to rent out their properties. Airbnb has a secure payment platform and a fair system of guarantees and insurance so that both landlord and renter are protected in the case of damages, no-shows, misrepresentations and other things that tend to go wrong in these situations. Listed properties actually get up to $1 million in insurance for each booking.

I thought it was a really cool concept, so the following year when my boyfriend and I decided to take a “get the hell out of NYC for a bit” trip we looked to AirBnb for an affordable place to stay in Los Angeles. We ended up booking a cute Bungalow in the Echo Park Neighborhood that cost us $70/ night and totaled $190 after taxes and the cleaning fee. This was a huge break considering staying anywhere conveniently located in LA can cost you more than $190 a night!

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Last year during my trip to Paris and London I wanted to use AirBnb to cut costs but unfortunately my mother just couldn’t comprehend the concept of paying to sleep in someone else’s house and in their bed.

In a few weeks however, my boyfriend and I will be headed to Puerto Rico and after scouring the travel sites we decided on beachfront studio apartment that was listed on AirBnb. The place cost us $80 per night so our total came to $370 after taxes and cleaning fees. Most of the locations we were looking at ran $150+ per night!

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I always check the reviews of a place before I book. I not only check the reviews about the place but I look into it’s convenience, ease of parking, and comments about the neighborhood. Most of the time you can find rates cheaper than the ones I mentioned, I just prefer to rent entire apartment rather than rooms.

For me, another plus about using AirBnb is that it qualifies as a hotel/ travel expenses on my new Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. As you might recall, one of my 2014 goals was to maximize my rewards points. So I’m raking in 2 points per $1 for my AirBnb stay.

AirBnb is also a good side hustle option. If you have an empty extra bedroom or sleep over at a significant others place fairly often, you could consider renting your place out, provided your landlord isn’t vigilant about those things. AirBNb is so successful that it has met opposition here in NYC. Landlords are upset because tenants are basically running a hotel out of their apartment and officials are upset because they feel like it’s eating into taxes.

Air BNB is great but before you run over to book here are a few precautions.

  • AirBnb will deduct the money from your account at the time of booking.
  • Depending on the renter, you could be charged an additional security deposit.
  • This is not a hotel and there are no check in counters, most of the time you have to arrange a way to get the keys from the owner.
  • Your room will not be cleaned daily.
  • Recent concerns of discrimination have been raised as homeowners reserve the option to accept or reject your reservation.

So tell me. Do you AirBnb? What has been you experience with this relatively new concept?

[DIY] Guest Post- Cute Maxi Dress for your Winter Getaway

If you live in NYC or a place with a real winter like me, you can’t wait to get a break from this cold. I’m taking a trip to Puerto Rico next month for Valentines day weekend and it cannot come soon enough. I came across Jasmine aka Freckurls’ DIY project scrolling through her instagram. I loved it and wanted it for my trip. Although it’s winter I thought I’d share this with you for your winter getaway or to give you ample time to perfect your technique before we are basking in the warm rays of summer again.

Enjoy Jaz aka Freckurls Post!

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To complete this project you’ll need:

A Maxi Dress
2 Spray Bottles
Bleach
Rubberbands
Scissors
(peroxide) optional

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1.Bundle your maxi dress into multiple sections. (This is to create the tie dye affect) For this project I used rubberbands. If you don’t use rubberbands, make sure to use something that wont bleed on the fabric or be broken down by the bleach.

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2. Have 2 spray bottles handy. Bottle #1 should be plain water. Bottle#2 should have either half & half of bleach and water or 3/4 ratio of bleach to water. (There’s no harm in a 3rd bottle with a different bleach:water ratio)

3. Begin spraying and allow the bleach time to penetrate. You should begin to see a difference at 10min. How long you choose to spray and let it settle is subjective. Don’t leave it too long and weaken the fabric.(be careful, the bleach is strong)

4. When finished, soak the dress in the sink (feel free to pour a bit of peroxide into the water, for oxidation)

5. Remove the strings or whatever you used to bundle the dress.You should now have a tie-dye maxi.

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6. For Fringe: Just cut fringe slices from the bottom up and get creative however you see fit.

And Ta-Daa

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Jasmine considers herself as an everyday girl who is sharing things that inspire her, via social media, in hopes of inspiring peers. She’s a west coast native, born in Los Angeles, raised in Vegas, and back and forth between the two. Jaz recently relocated to New York, in hopes to finally be in a city that feeds her creative side. She is enthusiastic about natural hair and is a licensed cosmetologist in 3 states. In essence, she is a life stylist whose purpose is to inspire others! 

To see more of the lovely Jasmine check out her Youtube or her Instagram

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