April 23, 2014

Do men really want an independent woman?

As a little girl I was raised to be strong, well educated and independent just like my strong, well educated and single mom.  While these are all traits we want to see in our daughters, I wasn’t taught or even told about how to be a wife.  One of my besties and I were having one of our heart to heart discussions which almost always leads to an “ah ha!” moment.

We were discussing her last few dates. She’s beautiful and doesn’t have a hard time finding men, but quality men who aren’t intimidated by her is scarce.  She is in management and has created a great living for herself, has her Master’s and owns property.  Like many young women she desires a man to share her life with.  Why then can’t she find him?  She doesn’t go clubbing and Lord knows I don’t want her to find him there…but what’s she to do and where is she to meet him.  She’s not my only beautiful on the inside and out, educated woman friend in this position.  I’m going to dissect her next dates in an attempt to determine why.  From her past ventures I’ve come up with a list of issues: he may think she’s unattainable (I’m assuming due to her confident air), he may want to control her (that won’t work with her independent trait), he may be too agreeable (responding with yes to everything with no mind of his own), he has no aspirations for more out of life, he may be a homebody or he may be insecure.

I asked her if he was a confident, good looking, kind hearted man who worked at a low paying job if she’d date him.  Her reply was yes, but has yet to experience that type of man “step to her.”  Right now I wish I lived in the same city as her…I’m sure I’d get into a lot of trouble but is it her or them?

I have to admit, I had to learn to tone myself down when I got married (my husband will chuckle).  I realized I didn’t have to be in charge of everything as I did when I was single.  It’s still hard sometimes for me and I wander if she’s being too tough due to past pains and being single so long. As a mom of daughters, I am raising them to be smart, strong, well educated, independent.  I know they see all those things in me…hopefully they see the compromise and sharing that comes with being married, too.

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley is a wife, mom, contract paralegal and freelance editor. She writes The Posh Blog, www.theposhblog.com and is a Social Influencer for an online retail forum. She resides in Suwanee, GA with her family.

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Extreme ways to save you big bucks.

How eager are you to save money?

Sell your car. Take the bus train, walk or ride a bike; this is easier if you live in the city. Doing so will eliminate loan or lease payments, gas, registration, insurance, maintenance and repair costs. Jeff Yeager, author of “The Cheapskate Next Door,” estimates that the savings is probably close to $10,000 a year. That’s a lot of loot.

Take in a boarder. I know, sharing your personal space is hard to stomach…but it will help cut down your monthly payment and towards monthly utility bills (even if you do it for a short while). *Be sure to draft rental terms.

Downsize. This is tough right now, especially if you are a homeowner. If you rent, however, downsize by a bedroom. This will slash your rent and spending (less room to stash purchases).

Cut up credit cards. Use cash only. This will force you to think twice. This is the first thing I do when I need to slow down on my spending. When I know it’s coming right out my account, I’m much pickier about my purchases.

Go generic. Store brand is cheaper.

Cut Coupons. So many ways to save with the help of savvy bloggers who scout out the best deals, coupons, bogo’s and share with the masses. Three of my favorites sites are: frugalgirls.com, smartshoppersunite.com and southernsaver.com. It’s almost a game to me now.

Told you these would be extreme. Just imagine if you adopt them for 6 months how much money you could save or a debt you could pay off. if you know of another extreme ways to save major bucks, please share. If you’d like me to research another topic related to saving, please ask. Happy saving!

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley is a wife, mom, contract paralegal and freelance editor. She writes The Posh Blog, www.theposhblog.com and is a Social Influencer for an online retail forum. She resides in Suwanee, GA with her family.

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Shop wisely and hang on to more cash.

I love scoring a great deal when shopping. Getting the best quality is important to me and getting it for a bargain/deal price is important to me as well. Here are some things that I do (and many other smart shoppers do) to save money.

One thing I do is save up for quality. If I can’t afford it, I will wait. Quality is defined as the degree of excellence which a thing possesses. I would rather own 1 quality handbag instead of 5 of a lesser quality. This is also true for home decorating, it took me 5 years to decorate our Charlotte home because not only did I want pieces that made me happy to walk by and use. How does this save you? You want durable pieces you don’t have to replace. Save up!

Take care of your items. This will prolong their life and your enjoyment of the item. How does this save you? You’re not replacing anything. We all work hard for our money, why not love what you have? I still have my first Gucci bag I got when I was 13…mint condition, and I clean my handbags, stuff them to maintain their shape and store them in their respective storage bags. Maintain!

Say no. I’m a work in progress on this one, but the more I tell myself “no” the easier it’s becoming. Don’t have it to spend? Don’t spend it. Say no!

Stay home. Ok, don’t laugh…I am known for not venturing out if I don’t want to spend money…you may think it shows I don’t have willpower…but staying home is exercising my willpower. lol. Don’t go!

Stick to your plan. Got a budget? Live within it. Budget!

Shop around. I use this great app on my cell phone (ShopSavvy) that I can scan any barcode (or enter) and it will display all the other places I can purchase it and their pricing.n The internet is awesome, too. I will literally google exactly what I am looking for. Search!

Coupons. I always start out trying to clip coupons, but it gets old quick and then months have passed by and I’m starting all over again. I do have some friends however that save a lot of money, Shelly @ momfiles.com has a “system” she ahhhmazes me with her coupon skills. Clip ‘em!

Follow other shoppers and/or the stores you love. Besides my blog, theposhblog.com, there are many others that will share deals with their followers via FB pages, Twitter, RSS feed, etc. Another favorite is smartshoppersunite.com. They share great info. Follow along!

Happy saving!

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley is a wife, mom, contract paralegal and freelance editor. She writes The Posh Blog, www.theposhblog.com and is a Social Influencer for an online retail forum. She resides in Suwanee, GA with her family.

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The B word…budget.

Keeping our finances in order allows us to save money and simply put – manage our finances.

Why budgets fail (ask me how I know):
(1) unrealistic goals
(2) misunderstanding what a budget is
(3) frustration sets in and we quit

Pick a time frame. Weekly, monthly and even yearly. Life happens and it’s easier to tweak a weekly or monthly budget opposed to a yearly budget (but it’s not impossible). Personal preference.

Paper or electronic budgeting? You can google budget samples to print, search for free downloadable templates, purchase budget software or simply create a spreadsheet in Excel. Me? I use paper and pencil.

Now…here are my tips on how to create a monthly budget:
(1) List all your sources of income.
(2) List your monthly expenses. All of them.
(3) Set realistic goals that include saving FIRST.

Note: If your income exceeds your expenses, (thumbs up) you are in good shape. However, try to reduce/control your expenses and save even more. If you are in the red – it’s time to reduce your expenses and/or increase your income. A site with a sample budget and budget guideline percentages is: www.personalbudgeting.com.

I tried to keep this as simple as possible. Too much info frazzles me and then I start over thinking things, trying to reinvent the wheel and I spiral out of control and it shouldn’t be a painful process…well, until you get to the part where you realize where you need to cut your expenses (i.e. handbag obsession, weekly mani/pedi – you know…the fun stuff).

Next post I will list ways to save money to increase our spending allowance savings account balance (I’m a work in progress).

Please feel free to ask questions or suggest more financial related topics.
Don’t give up and good luck! xo

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley is a wife, mom, contract paralegal and freelance editor. She writes The Posh Blog, www.theposhblog.com and is a Social Influencer for an online retail forum. She resides in Suwanee, GA with her family.

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Saving towards homeownership.

Buying a home is a great achievement. When my husband and I bought our first home I was so elated. I remember pulling up to the garage for months after we closed still in awe that we finally bought a house. We pay our own mortgage, not anyone else’s and there is something wonderful about that. It doesn’t matter what your financial or credit situation is – you CAN be a homeowner! Becoming a homeowner takes sacrifice, planning and patience! If you can remember and put into practice those 3 words: sacrifice, planning and patience…you can get there!

Sacrifice life’s luxuries (big and small) to pay off credit card or any current debt and to save for a down payment. For example: shop for necessities only, do your own mani/pedi’s, wash your own hair and go to the salon for routine professional maintenance, cut coupons, bag your lunch, trim down the home amenities (simplify the cable, telephone and cell bills, and eat out less – way less, ok…I’m lying – stop eating out. Remember: the bigger you deposit, the smaller your mortgage payment.

Plan what you spend, how much you spend and what you’ll save. Make a budget. Set up automatic savings; I know, I say all the time. I am not affiliated at all with ING, but their online Orange Savings is truly the business.

Patience. Know that if you have a plan of action – you will succeed. This process is not without it’s challenges, learn about the process and all that comes with it.

I also want to stress the importance of asking a lot of questions. If you don’t understand – ASK and certainly don’t sign anything you don’t understand or agree with. I’m not in the business, but I have purchased numerous homes and know from experience what you will be going through. Anyway, enough of my rantings, you know I love my lists, here you go:

- Decide on your long-term goal (e.g. save $10,000 toward the purchase of YOUR home).

- Look at your current financial situation; income, bills and credit report.

- Make a new and improved budget that reflects your commitment to owning your own home.

- Pay down current and old debt.

- Review your withholding allowances. Increasing your allowances allow you to keep more of your earnings. You can use this money to step up your debt reduction plan. Or, you may choose to keep your deductions as they are and use your income tax refund to repay your debts or save for your home. Talk with a financial advisor about the best course of action for your situation.

- Check with your state or local government for income dependent and/or first-time home buyer programs available. These programs often provide down payment assistance. Be sure that you clearly understand all of the conditions of any help you receive. There may be limitations or penalties.

Now go get you a house! My mom always says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” Best wishes on your journey.

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley is a wife, mom, contract paralegal and freelance editor. She writes The Posh Blog, www.theposhblog.com and is a Social Influencer for an online retail forum. She resides in Suwanee, GA with her family.

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Stretching your money.

Do you have a friend that can stretch money?

I have a girlfriend that can go into stores and streeeeeetch a dollar! I can save money but she leaves me scratching my head when she posts her savings/deals.

One thing I know she does that I don’t do is manage her money better than I. I have sat down many times to start a budget, only to realize I don’t want to keep track of what I spend…especially at my favorite store. I know, I know that’s horrible but I am a W.I.P (work in process).

How does one stretch money you ask? There are some steps, I am conflicted this article because I didn’t want to do another bulleted list but it’s really the best format to quickly get info to you. SO…here’s my list of some things you can do to stretch your money:

Shop around. This is my favorite thing to do. I don’t care how tired I always have energy to walk a store or mall.

Wait . At some point it will be on sale. Ask the sales person when their next sale is.

Buy consignment. I can’t get into this one, but I have seen some awesome purchases and savings through consignment stores.

Budget software. The one I use now is mint.com. I liked it until it spelled out where most of my money is going…it’s very detailed.

Automate savings. I have touched on this before, I know, but it works so I’m telling you again. ING works great with this effort.

Please use the comment area to let me know if you would like me to write about something in particular related to saving money. Happy saving!

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley is a wife, mom, contract paralegal and freelance editor. She writes The Posh Blog, www.theposhblog.com and is a Social Influencer for an online retail forum. She resides in Suwanee, GA with her family.

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