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Apr 16 14

Look Your Best Without Spending Any Money in 6 Steps!

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!

One of my favorite outfits!

One of my favorite outfits!

I had such an awesome idea the other day.  I don’t know why I didn’t think about this earlier.

In my quest to declutter and get rid of junk and things that I don’t love, I had an epiphany!

You CAN look your best without spending any money.

Here’s my plan on how to look your best without spending a dime:

1.  Go you your closet.

2.  Pick out your 5 favorite outfits.

3.  Repeat process until the only items left are ones that you don’t absolutely love.

4.  Get rid of said (boring, dull and unfabulous) items.  (Yes, unfabulous is a new word!)

5.  Sell or donate all of the items that are leftover.

6.  Buy more of the styles that make you look and feel good with your your proceeds (this step is optional of course).

I am looking forward to starting this process soon.  I will start with my workout clothes.  I have too many workout shirts and I find myself wearing the same few shirts over and over again.  Why even keep the shirts that I reach over while looking for my favorites?

This is also a good idea for those of you with families.  You can all show off your favorite outfits to each other.  And maybe all go out to dinner in your favorite outfits.  It makes a fun competition!

Are you in???  Will you try this experiment with me??


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Apr 14 14

I’m Cutting Cable TV

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!

I’m cutting the cord-the cable cord.

I currently spend waaaay too much time watching tv.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with TV at all.

I just can’t control myself when I plop down in front of one!

But in order to meet a few unrealistic goals that I have set for myself, I will try to accomplish those goals while not in front of a television.

Normally people cut cable in order to save money.

Not me!

The money not spent on cable (around $75 per month) will be spent on partying or shopping!

Do you think you can live without cable?  Will you try this challenge with me?  (I believe you can put a hold on your cable service for a few months.)

Apr 11 14

Friday Five: Free Money!

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!

English: ATM/Money icon.

English: ATM/Money icon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A crazy news story caught my attention last week.

Here’s my mashup version of what I think I heard:

“A homeless guy was withdrawing $150.00 from his account at an ATM.  All of a sudden the ATM started dispensing cash at a crazy speed.  He couldn’t get the machine to stop and he was trying to collect the money as it poured out like he had hit the jackpot at a casino.  Onlookers called the police and said homeless man was arrested.”

Isn’t that crazy!

This guy didn’t do anything wrong and the bank later said that there was some kind of programming error that caused the mistake.

Which brings me to today’s question:

What would YOU do if you received extra money from the bank?

Here’s my answer:

I actually don’t know why this has NEVER happened to me.  Psssst, Bank, can you please make an error in my favor??? Preferably today!

One day I found $20 next to my friend’s car when we were walking into a 7-11.  I quickly spent that money in said 7-11.  Later on that night, (when it was time to pay to get into a party) I realized that that was MY $20 that had fallen out of my pocket when getting out of the car. FAIL!

I digress, I think I would totally keep the extra money because I know that mistakes do happen and I believe that I am in line to receive some pretty good karma for a change.

But I honestly HATE hypothetical questions because I 100% believe that you really DON’T know what you will do until you are actually IN a particular situation.

Now all eyes on YOU!

What would YOU do if you received extra money from the bank?


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Apr 9 14

How To Use Your Credit For Good

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!

Credit Cards

Credit Cards (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

My credit card strategy is pretty simple:

Use Your Credit For Good!

I cringe when I hear people say, “I’m doing good with my money because I don’t have any credit cards.”

I also cringe when I’m out with friends and I see them pull out their bank or atm cards to pay for items and outings.

It’s OK to use credit cards!

Here are the reasons I whip out my credit card to pay for items 100% of the time:

1.  Rewards points!  Last year I racked up over $400 in rewards points just because I use my credit card for everything.  Please note:  You must pay off your credit card in full each month to receive the full benefit of this option.   Or make sure what you are paying in interest is less than the amount of said reward.

2.  Anti-Fraud!  If you accidentally leave your bank card at a bar or drop it somewhere by mistake, your money is tied up if someone picks that sucker up and starts using it.  Yes you will eventually get your money back.  But why leave that option open.   None of your cash is compromised when you lose a credit card.

3.  Budgeting tool!  I have a maximum amount of money that I am allowed to spend on my credit card per month.  It is easy for me to log in every day and see how much “money” that I have spent and adjust my spending accordingly.  I don’t feel guilty about spending my money when I know my spending limit!  I have lots of fun spending the money that I have budgeted to spend.

4.  Money tracking tool!  I know exactly where EVERY penny of my hard earned dough goes.  This also makes my life easy at tax time.  I’m able to track how much money I spend on gas, groceries and (my favorite) happy hour.

5.  Extra insurance and protection!  By swiping with certain credit cards you receive purchase protection.  I  bought tickets for an event that got cancelled (and was never informed it was cancelled).  I contacted my credit card and they immediately refunded the money.  I’m able to decline car rental insurance when I rent said car with my credit card.  There is also a sale price guarantee feature that is super complicated but I’m pretty sure there is someone out there who actually takes advantage.

**note**  I actually HATE using cash because I received said $400 reward in cash and I have NO idea where it all went.  I slowly and eventually spent it  (well to this day a $100 bill is still not accounted for, and yes that hurts!).  So I try to avoid cash whenever possible.

What is YOUR credit card strategy?


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Apr 7 14

March 2014 Stats and April 2014 Goals

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!

Time for some goals and updates!!!!

417 Twitter followers (up 2)

202 Facebook likes (up 6)

937 Blog Views (up 30)

$0 Blog income (same)

$644.33 Zumba income (up $77.49)

March/April Goals (update)

1: Newsletters: I am working on a fitness newsletter.  I’d like to finish it and also start a financial newsletter. FAIL!  I didn’t do any work on said newsletter.  I will roll this goal into next month .  **Note:  I said the EXACT same thing last month**

2:  Save $2,000:  PASS!  I barely made it this month.  However, I am NOT on track to meet this goal next month because I am sponsoring the softball team.  But that sacrifice is totally worth it!

3:  Book Club:  Finish reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  Also finish catching up on my magazine reading.  I have transferred some of them to my iPad and have been getting more reading done.  PASS!  I did a lot of magazine reading and I finished reading Divergent.  It was a pretty good book.  I will eventually go and see the movie…I think!

4:  Declutter:  I have a new system of getting rid of 10 items per day.  I also have a new rule:  If I haven’t used or worn something in 2 years, it has to go!  I obviously don’t need or want it and it’s taking up valuable real estate.  PASS!  I am knocking this one out of the park.  I don’t plan on having waay too much stuff when it’s time to move onto my new place!

5: Home:  I need to take pictures and get my place rented as soon as possible!  I will do that this week for sure!

6: Insanity:  I taught 1 paid class and 2 free Insanity classes this week.  I hope to keep up the trend in the upcoming weeks!

I am rolling all of said goals forward to April.  I am also adding an additional goal:

**Update***I am raising money for my nephew’s softball team.  They are the South Chicago Angels.  Here’s my plan.  I will donate all of my February and March Zumba checks to the softball team.  (Looking an February’s numbers they are off to an awesome start!)

I raised $1,211.17 for the softball team!  It was a little short of my goal but I am very happy to be able to write a huge check for a great cause (thanks to Zumba)!

What are your goals for April?  How did things go in March?

Mar 31 14

How To Spot (And Fix) A Budget Leak!

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!IMG_7604

Last week I attended a pretty cool networking event.

It was called Money & Manicures and was hosted by personal finance coach Dominique Broadway.

Beauty on a budget was the main focus and one trivia question really stumped me.  She asked:

What is a money or budget leak?

I was embarrassed that I had NO idea what that was.  And my educated guess was waaaay off.

A budget leak is an item that you pay for or money that you monthly spend and you “forget” to include it in your budget.

I started to brainstorm on possible budget leakage items:

-Barber shop/salon


-Happy Hour!


It’s ok to spend money on you!

When you look great, you feel more confident!

So my challenge to you is to figure out how much money you’d like to spend on these items (per month).

And find a way to make all of this fun stuff happen!

There are times when I feel like a do-it-yourself-er (money is low or I am in a creative mood) and that’s when I do my own research!  YouTube has been a HUGE help with teaching me a LOT of things about hair, makeup and (drink) recipes!

Have you ever heard of a budget leak?  What are some of your budget leaks?

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Mar 26 14

I Am Officially Insanity Certified!

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 8.50.49 AM


I am an official Insanity instructor!

The certification class was an all day class (9-5).

The class began with a master class that was about an hour long (it felt like an eternity).

Next was a lecture all about Insanity, health, fitness, safety and etc.

After lunch, we went over each and every move.  This was to ensure we were demonstrating safety and proper form for each exercise.

Next, we were broken into groups and practiced teaching different moves, correcting each other on proper form and brainstorming different types of modifications and general feedback.

Then it was time to “perform” in front of the rest of the class (I was nervous, of course).

Last, but not least, was a 40 question written exam (I HATE these)!

Fast forward a week and a half and I find out that….

I passed!

My plan is to teach at least 1 free class per week so that I can practice and get used to teaching.

I will pick up a few classes as additional practice until I am added to the schedule at my gym.  I hope to teach 2 insanity and 3 Zumba classes per week.  I am currently teaching 5-6 Zumba classes per week and I am looking forward to a change.

I welcome all of my peeps in the DC area to come to one of my free classes.

And get ready to hear all about Insanity and practice with me if I am in your neck of the woods!

Have you heard of Insanity?  Do you have any side hustles that you are working on?

Mar 24 14

Blog Makeover

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!!!!!

The blog is getting a (much needed) makeover!!!!!!

This is taking a little longer than planned (ok, I’ve totally been procrastinating).

But tomorrow’s post is coming soon (IE, tomorrow)!

Have a happy happy Monday!

Mar 19 14

Stocks Update March 2014

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!

Time for an update on my stock picks.

I have good, bad and ugly picks.

I’m glad I’m pretty diversified.

But wow some of the differences are pretty HUGE here.

I don’t have any plans on selling or buying any more stocks any time soon.

I also know a few people who trade on a much much larger scale than I do.

They are in and out of 1,000 share trades every day.

I used to do that when I was a full time day trader but I certainly don’t have the time (or desire) to do that any more.

Here are a couple of snapshots of how I’m doing:

Account #1

Account #1


Account #2

Account #2

Do you have any stocks?? If so, how are they doing?  If not, why don’t you have any???


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Mar 18 14

It’s Time For Me To Downsize!

by SophisticatedSpender
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Hello Sophisticated Spenders!

I have been thinking a lot about downsizing lately.

And I think I’ve come to an impulse decision:

I’m moving…I think!


I currently live in a 1500 square foot 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom townhouse.

I have grown into the place (bought crap to fill it).

I don’t need all of that space right now.

Sure, it’s great when people come to visit because there is plenty of room.

But day to day, it’s too much for little ol me.

I will be moving into a studio (yes I said studio).


This will force to me get rid of all of the crap that I really don’t need.

I have filled a big house with a bunch of stuff that I really don’t need and it’s time to change that.

I feel that living a minimalist lifestyle will make me happy.

I want to be closer to the city.

Good bye suburbs (for now).

I will keep my old place and rent it out.

I will also be renting the new studio (not buying yet).

Why am I going back to renting???

I’d like to save money for another piece of property.

I’d also like to show a year of strong renters in my old place so that I have a better chance of buying said new piece of property (looks good to bankers).

I’m also leaving open the option of moving back into my old place if I don’t like my new minimalist life.

I think I’ve covered everything.

What do YOU think???  Are you looking to upsize or downsize too???  Do you have any pros or cons for me???