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.

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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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How to get your credit report totally FREE on AnnualCreditReport.com

 

You’ve pressed the reset button on the year and by now you’ve hopefully determined what your financial goals will be for this year..

If improving your credit score is one of those goals, knowing and understanding your credit report details are crucial to improving your credit score. My reason for starting My Fab Finance and embarking on my financial journey was to improve my credit. Think of the credit report as your roadmap for making that happen.

While I won’t discuss the various sections of a credit report in  this post, I will provide a tutorial so that you can access yours for free. There are several companies, including FreeCreditReport.com, who swindle consumers into paying for their report when your report is available absolutely FREE.

If you would like help understanding your credit report refer to the Credit Report Post. It’s long, but hella informative.

The following instructions are for accessing your Equifax report.

Lets get started!

1.Make sure you go to annualcreditreport.com. If the page doesn’t look like this (with the exception of the slider image) you are probably in the wrong place.

Step 1

Click on the red box at the bottom that says “Request your free credit reports”

2. On this next page all you have to do is click “Request your free credit reports” again
Step 2
3. This page is officially step one. Here, you will enter your personal information. Be sure to double check for accuracy. If you have not lived at your current location for more than a year, be prepared to enter your previous addresses as well. Once you’ve entered your information, proceed to the next page.

Step 3

 

4. On this page you can decide which credit bureau you’d like to retrieve your report from. As you know, there are three credit bureaus: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. I recommend pulling one from each site every few months. For example pull Equifax in January, Experian in June, and Transunion in November. While information can differ from one report to the other, for the most part they are the same. Pulling every few months will allow you to monitor new items, disputes, possible mistakes, and items that might have fallen off.

Make sure you keep a record of the date in which you accessed each credit report bureau’s website.

5. The next page will prompt you to verify the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If all info is correct, you can proceed to the next page.

6. I call this the trick questions page. On this page you will be asked questions to verify your identity. Please be aware they do throw false information into the mix. Some or all answers could be “None Of The Above”. It is important to answer correctly. If you answer any of these questions incorrectly, you will not gain access to your online credit report. You will also have to go through the time consuming process of requesting it by mail.

Step 6

After you have provided your answers proceed to the next page.

7. This is the page with your credit file number. Be sure to notate your transaction code – which will be provided in the first sentence. From this page, you will click on the box that says view and print your report (the box next to the pink arrow).

 

Step 7

 

8. You will finally receive your credit report! Before you do anything, print and/or save your report as a PDF. (the box next to the pink arrow)

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Again as stated, if you need additional help navigating your report, please refer to our Understanding your Credit Report Post.

4 Strategies for Radically Successful FREE Fitness Results

Today’s guest post comes from motivational speaker and life coach, Stacey Flowers. After watching her transformation before my eyes via Instagram, I knew we had to get her here on My Fab Fico. If Stacey’s Gym-less transformation doesn’t motivate you I don’t know what will.

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Right now many people are signing up for gym memberships in hopes of sculpting their dream body. But instead of mastering health and fitness, they end up with a financial contract and limited results.

People experience disappointment with a gym membership because a membership won’t give you the pictured results– but working out will.

For me, the proof is in the pudding and the pudding was achieving the pictured results without a gym membership. Hopefully these steps and my results can inspire you to achieve your fitness goals and save you a little money this year!

Four strategies for radically successful FREE fitness results:

4. Document your progress (even the small changes)!

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I started the squat challenge because my friends commented on how flat my butt was. I didn’t really care to pay that much attention, but my best friend and I took a few bikini photos and to my horror my butt looked like a grandma spoof Instagram picture.

Seeing that snapshot told me I had to do something and fast! So I searched for a solution, and found Jen Selter , a woman with a similar body build as my own and a workout routine for my rump.

By day 7, I was astounded that my bottom was actually beginning to take shape. But it’s only because I mastered strategy 3.

3. Follow the instructions

When it comes to working out for free and getting great results, you must follow the instructions to a T. You are not a trained professional so when you deviate even a little from the outlined plan you sabotage your results.

Most at home routines are designed to get progressively harder. So if you add heels (when the instructions don’t tell you too), your body won’t retain the results.

Which brings me to strategy 2.

2. Be stronger than your strongest excuse AND get an accountability partner.

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The truth is fitness and happiness don’t cost us as much monetarily as we think, but we use money as our primary excuse for not creating healthier happier lives.

You can overcome this excuse by finding accountability partners. You’ll need someone to vent your pain, compare notes and push you to keep going.

Which brings us to the final strategy for radically successful fitness results.

1.    Respect your body – it’s the only one you get!

I’ve received mixed reviews about my progress because people believe that since I started with a leaner frame my bootylicious results weren’t real.

My response: You don’t have to wait until you’re drastically unhealthy and unfit to upgrade things in your life. Sculpting a better bottom was about respecting my body. I am working out at home out of respect for my body, my bank account and my mental health.

I shared my results because to me healthy is happy.

Below is the 30 day squat challenge I participated in.

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Stacey Flowers is an inspirational speaker known for teaching people the true meaning of happiness. Her mission is to infect the world with happiness by teaching others the tools for building a happy life despite the tough circumstances it can bring.

To find out more about Stacey and her work, be sure to checkout her website.

 

 

 

 

My New Years Eve Look for Under $20!

Happy New Years Loves!

This is the first post of the year and one of my resolutions was to blog more about ways Im remaining financially fabulous in my daily life. What better way to start that with my New Years look.

One common mistake that people make before major events and celebrations is the need to buy a new outfit for this event. When I’m tempted to do so, I always remind myself that most likely 75-95% of the people where I’m going don’t care if I’ve worn an outfit before. And if they do care, thats actually their problem, not mine.

It’s become important to invest in quality pieces as opposed to several pieces. Quality pieces may cost more, but they can stand up to repeated wears, saving me money in the long run.

So for last nights look. My good friend Belkis and I updated a dress I had in my wardrobe that was purchased as a gift for me by my boyfriend. The dress also slipped down on the shoulder more than I liked.

We attached gold chain to the back to take the dress from basic to fab.

I purchased the chain from a local trim store for $9. We measured the back of the dress and decided where I wanted the chains to hang. I then securely hand sewed them on. Below is the before and after.

Dress DIY Before and After

 

For my hair I took it to Youtube. Being that my hair is natural (free of chemicals) , situating it can be quite a feat at times. I was inspired by my instafriend @NappturallyChicJerie. All it took was a $2 pack of braiding hair  and bobbypins to create a glamorous look for the evening in FIVE MINUTES!

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Here is Jere’s Tutorial.

For my makeup I took a few pointers from my friend Naja Matthews , utilizing her recommended products which I already have included in my make-up collection. For a little more va va voom I purchased lashes from the local beauty Supply store for $2.50.

I hope you enjoyed bringing in the New Year as much as I did. Lets all agree to make this year the best it can be.

Can’t wait to speak to you on tonight’s Twitter Chat!!!!!!

NYE Celebration

Health on a Budget- Yoga At Home

About 3-4 months ago I became obsessed with Yoga.

While Yoga has numerous health benefits, I became interested because I am extremely inflexible and wanted to increase my flexibility. I also wanted to challenge myself. I admire the straight and agility of my instafriends who are able to loop and intertwine their bodies into intricate Yoga pose and I wanted to push myself.

One thing I know about myself is that I become fascinated with things and have a tendency to abandon them just as quickly. Rather then going out an dropping money on Yoga classes I wanted to make sure I liked it and that it was something I could stick with. As well as I wanted to get my weight up before I walked into a Yoga studio looking crazy and weak. I wanted to at least make sure my downward dog was on point.

I began doing at home Yoga by watching videos and fell in love. At the beginning of my practice with a difficult job. I found that Yoga reduced my anxiety and stress levels. I was consistently in a  better mood and my body felt amazing. And lets not even speak about Yoga before bed. Try it. Best Sleep of your life!

Over the past few month I’ve noticed increased strength and flexibility. Here’s my latest progress pic. This week I finally got into Crow pose:) (Excuse my tramp stamp. It was my first tattoo)

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YouTube is an excellent resource for Yoga instructors. If you don’t like one find another. And if you really like one, you can subscribe to their channel and watch their other videos. I recommend it to each and every person I have the opportunity to speak to about fitness. My YouTube fitness isn’t limited to Yoga, I’ve also done kickboxing, dance fitness, and basic routines at home. It’s great for someone who isn’t quite ready to hit the gym yet or simply doesn’t have time to go to the gym on a regular basis. All it cost me was a Yoga mat which I got from Marshall’s for $8.99

Below are two of my favorite YouTube Channels for Yoga.

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I’m huge on health and believe that health in itself is wealth. Have you turned to a gym alternative to keep your fitness regimen costs down? I’d love to hear about it as well as your progress.

Ready to Begin? First Steps to improving your Finances

 

You’re ready to get your finances in order, but where do you start?

I am asked this question on a weekly basis and I completely understand.

In a previous Twitter chat I stated, “Looking at your credit report for the first time is like walking into a room and all of your bad financial decisions are hanging out.” It can be absolutely overwhelming. It’s especially overwhelming if you are essentially starting from scratch.

There are many different plans of action one can take, which I think are relative to your situation. While retirement is extremely important; establishing good financial habits and a budget are even more important.

Step 1: The first step I recommend is securing employment or establishing a regular form of income. To accomplish your financial goals you will need…finances. Being underemployed is different from unemployed and can be an issue on its own but the important thing is to become employed so that you can take care of your necessities (rent, food, transportation, childcare, etc.).

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Step 2: Establish a budget. I highly recommend my friendtor’s (Friend + Mentor) Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche’ book, The One Week Budget which can be purchased on Kindle for less than $1 here . I highly recommend this book and often refer to it myself.

Familiarize yourself with your credit report. Identify any debts owed and the amounts. This will be key in determining a “get out of debt plan”. Be patient. Remind yourself that getting out of debt often takes longer than it did to get into debt. It is possible. Try a site like Quizzle or my credit report tutorial to gain access to your credit report.

Step 3: Designate an amount you can afford, to build your emergency fund.  When I say what  you can afford, that doesn’t mean only putting aside $25 a month because you have $100 on the side for your fun fund.

Establishing an emergency fund is essential. I recall after graduating from college I was laid off from 2 jobs. One went bankrupt and the other one reorganized after coming out of bankruptcy. Job security is not what it was for our parents and grandparents. It is important for you to prepare for whatever may happen. The amount you put aside each month should take into account how much of your current income you will need to pay off your debts. For example, currently I put aside roughly $300 per month and hope to boost that to $500 per month by next year.

While you should be concerned with investing – unless your job has a matching program, which would essentially mean free money – focus on getting your savings together and your debt down.  During this process, I learned emergency funds are used before retirement account funds.

Once you grasp the basics, begin exploring your investment and retirement options.

Also remember, there are more people experiencing financial difficulty than those that do not. I know a lot more financial messes than successes. Find a finance buddy and hold each other accountable. It’s so much easier when you are working with someone else to accomplish your financial goals.

 

The Time a Debt Collector Made Me Cry

Once upon a time a debt collector made me cry. She shattered my world with her lack of consideration for my situation and up until a few years ago I resented her and wished nothing more for her than a miserable life of being known as the source of others misery.

It was 2007 and I had just moved back into my patents house after leaving the abusive relationship. I used all the money I had to drive home to Charlotte, North Carolina from San Antonio, Texas. I was rock bottom. I was estranged from my friends.  I had left Miami before graduation to support my then mentally unstable, steroid addicted boyfriend as he pursued his dream as a mixed martial arts fighter. I was enrolled in an online finance course so I could finally finish my BA but that finance class was a completely different beast from my Public Administration courses and I had a C, which threatened my undergraduate career.  So I was poor, pregnant, emotionally scarred and broken, facing the possibility of failing the class my degree hinged on, and falling deeper and deeper into debt.

While Iw as living in Texas my mom would always fuss about debt collectors calling her house (up until three years ago my life was unstable so my parents address and phone number was my permanent house). About a week after being home a debt collector called and my mom was more than happy to hand me the phone. For the first 6 minutes I tried to reason with the woman but when that wasn’t working I got personal.

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For some reason I thought she’d understand and back off. I told her “I’m unemployed, in college, and pregnant”. She responded, “it’s not my fault you were dumb, this debt needs to be paid and you need to uphold your financial obligations.”

I cracked. Even the debt collector realized how dumb I was. My mom came running into the room to find me yelling and crying at the same damn time. She took the phone, cursed the girl out and furiously hung up. I stopped speaking to debt collectors that day and continued to sweep my debt under the rug.

Debt is frightening. It can be depressing and overwhelming. Since those days I’ve grown incredibly and learned how to deal with my debt do I don’t have to deal with debt collectors anymore, however for many it’s an ongoing reality. I began to arm myself against them by learning about my rights as a consumer and that debt collector harassment is prohibited. Becoming an informed consumer, has been one of the best decisions I made for myself and it is a core reason of why I started MyFabFico. Many people don’t know their rights when it comes to debt and collectors often manipulate people into making decisions that make things worse by praying on fear and shame.

Check in later this week. I will be providing valuable resources about what consumer rights  against debt collectors.

ABOUT
Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.
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