Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shop with AGCM: Basic Budget Sheet Available

I know budgeting and budget sheets aren't as glamorous as talking about hair, accessories and style but we need money to fund our needs and fun stuff. If we know what we have and where it's going, we can make sure that we actually have or adequately plan for shoes or vacation we want to take. As promised (I know it's late but I found more things to tweak!) in my post this afternoon, the basic budget sheet is now up in the Shop tab of the site, at the very top, for purchase. It's a small investment to help you yield even larger results. Get on track with it and use it to get you ahead. This is the first of many helpful, low cost resources I will be rolling out. Stay tuned and thank you for all your support!

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The One Week Budget by The Budgetnista

This month has been financial literacy month so what's left of it- which is today, I'm sharing a financial resource that I think will benefit others. With spring now here, it's time to spring into better money habits and increase and maximize our funds! Today I'm sharing Tiffany Aliche aka The Budgetnista's book, The One Week Budget. It's a great intro to budgeting if you're green and a wonderful addition to your personal finance library with many refreshers if you're not new to it. I've been using budgets since my twenties but it's been like peaks and valleys. I'm on top do great with them for a while and then I slack off and wind up in a valley. Why I slack off, I don't know because I do very well budgeting: I know where my money's going, can plan for needs and wants so that they money is there and save more aggressively too. I get lazy and I have to be more consistent. I lose money being in the dark with my finances so I've gotten back on track and I'm excited to be here. Back to the book though....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Think Small: Small Monthly Donations Create an Impact Larger Than YouThink

Many of us think if we can't write a check for thousands of dollars and present it on the giant cardboard check in front of an audience then why bother? While organizations love large donations, they appreciate ANY dollar amount donations. If half a million people donate just $10 a month to a charitable organization, that's $5 million dollars in one year!, just think of the impact they can have. Small amounts add up quickly if enough people are involved. You don't have to be Bill Gates to start donating. Give what you have. 

I recently set myself up for monthly donations with MoCADA, an African diaspora cultural museum in Brooklyn. I love art, anything creative and cultural and anything that is focused on uplifting and enhancing the Black community. They do a lot for the black communities, Brooklyn, families and children plus they host cool exhibits and tons of free cultural events all throughout the year. I've started off giving a meer $10 a month for now and once I'm able to give more, I will. 

Find a charity that resonates with your life, passions and interests. Maybe you donate to a diabetes cause because it runs in your family or because it runs rampant in our community. If you love science or technology maybe you donate to an initiative that encourages minority youths to get into science and technology programs and careers. If you love camping, maybe you donate to a fresh air initiative that helps sustain a kids summer camp. If you can only spare $10/month then give $10 a month. Not only will you feel good about helping fund something that positively impacts others lives but the government likes jovial givers as well and let's you write your donations off at tax time. God/the universe also loves jovial givers and blesses you with more money than you gave in the first place. 

I've had times I had less money than I do now and found that when I gave to a positive cause, monthly, I never was without. My bills were always funded. In fact, extra, unexpected money always found me all the time. Shortly after college, I was only making $10 or $11/hour temping and lived at home with my parents. I used to tithe (donating 10% of your income) with my church at that time each month. That was a bold move for me as I was a broke, recent grad in George  "Dubbya" Bush times. I never was without, I could comfortably pay my bills, save a little and do a little shopping here and there. When I was unemployed a few years ago, against many's advice, I continued to donate $25/month to Plan at the time. Living on unemployment in New York City was an adventure like no other but little makeup jobs, jewelry sales or even babysitting gigs would come through spontaneously all the time each month to cover the donation and additionally pad my bank account. 

You get what you give in this life. If you can't give $10/month, give $5! You blow $10 on lunch in one day here in NY, lol. You get far more back than you give anyhow and it helps more than you think it does. Small steps do make traction. So in this case, I encourage you to think small if you can't go big just yet. It all makes an impact. 

What organizations do you donate to? If you don't currently donate to one, which ones would you want to donate to? How much could you give right now and how much would you eventually want to give? 

Giving is always in style and looks so sexy on you! 

Positive Affirmations 101

I'm getting back to my first love, writing, and it feels amazing. I feel my glow returning. I've challenged myself that until I get my MacBook Pro, I'll be writing short pieces from my phone at least days out of each week. I have great plans for the blog and had let the computer issues stop everything until I could reveal it all but realized just because I can't do those things right now doesn't mean that I have to put a pause on writing. 

Today's short post is about using positive affirmations to attract positve outcomes to your life. The whole words don't mean anything ethos is a tale. Words are very powerful and when intentions are put behind them they become even more so. Words build up or tear down people and things. We never forget truly damaging words people have said to us in the past, sometimes we even believe them. Like when I was 11 and my father told me I danced like a white girl, lol. I didn't dance in front of him again until my sweet 16 birthday party! Compliments make us feel great especially when they come from people we love, people who's thoughts and opinions we value and even random passerby. An outfit we were unsure of leaving the house in doesn't feel so crazy looking anymore when we receive compliments from stylish people on the street. 

The key to making positive affirmations is that they must be believable to you, you have to feel good about them and your intention has to be positive in order for it to work. When I was looking for a new apartment last year, one of my affirmations was something like, "Milan, there is an apartment out there for you. It's what you want, where you want and what you can afford." I had my crazy and frustrating moments, anyone who lives in New York City understands all too well, but I made sure to try to say this everyday. And I did find a place that was what I wanted, where I wanted and was what I could afford. 

You can use affirmations for any aspect of your life, they can be general or very specific and directed towards a goal or desire. There's more power behind them when you use them in first person. If you wanted to lose weight and get healthier you could say something like, "I value my body and everyday I work to live a healthier and more active lifestyle." They can also be general reminders to stay positve about things like, "I am thankful for my job because it pays my bills and funds my accessories habit" or "I am blessed to be alive and have wonderful people in my life." Students could use affirmations for a presentation they have or a test they need to take. "I am a capable student and with hard work and effective studying, I will pass/ace this class or test." 

If you follow the Instagram page then you know that I set up positive affirmation reminders to go off on my phone everyday. When they pop up, I quickly pause what I'm doing and either read them out loud or mouth them as I read them. I have four that go off at different times of the day. You don't have to put your affirmations in your phone but you want them somewhere you can see them everyday. The phone for most is very common bc most of us our phones are an additional appendage of ours (so sad, isn't it?). In the past, I've printed or written them out and taped them to my bathroom mirror so I would see and read them first thing every morning. I have affirmations and quotes I like at my work desk as well. Some regarding money, I've written on little strips of paper and kept in my purse or wallet. 

The picture on this post is an example of one of the affirmations that pops up in my phone everyday. What positve affirmations do you have or what ones will you create for yourself? I'd love to write a more in depth post about creating positive affirmations bc there is some art to it to make them as powerful as possible but this is a good start for anyone new to this or that is interested in creating some for themselves. 

Live well!  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today's Wellness Assignment: Keep Your Head Down

Ever have that feeling that you're so much more than what you're currently doing? You lose some of your umph and feel restless because of it. Sometimes you let it drain or frustrate you trying to figure out when and how "a change gone come." That's me right now, I'm very blessed and thankful but I'm not living in my bliss in some sectors of my life. I've learned stressing about it doesn't work and, in my case last week, can even make you physically ill. Stressing is also counter productive because you don't do anything to change the situation because you are too busy being paralyzed with worry. What can be done about this? I'm learning to take things one day at a time. Don't look up so much. Yes, don't look up so much. Living in a results driven society, this can be very tough and often overwhelming but it's been a very big theme in my life this year. So today's wellness assignment is to NOT look up and make myself overwhelmed by the end results I want; turn off my peripheral vision which distracts me with doubt, impatience and frustration and put on my blinders: focus on doing at least one thing that makes me feel good about and gets me closer than yesterday to my goals/desires.

You can do today's assignment with me too. It could be creating an affirmation for yourself to recite every day before getting ready for work or every night before bed. It could be a small assignment, it could be gazing at a picture that represents your desire to fire you back up. It could be pretending to buy something you want. As you saw from my previous post, my computer is basically done and I have to get a new one. I want a MacBook Pro which is a big investment and last weekend I pretended to buy one. I customized it, put it in my shopping cart and pretended to buy it. See below, I went there. Even now, I want to get back to writing more like I used to, with my laptop out of commission, I'm writing this from my iPhone! 

I encourage you all to do at least one small thing/action that coincides with what you want. What will you do today? 

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Thank You

Hello everyone. I hope this finds you in good health and good spirits. I haven't been updating bc I need a new computer! After 8 years my laptop has had enough and I can't complain. I'm sometimes surprised that I coasted this long! I have so many amazing plans and material for the site and the computer issue had been slowing many, ok ALL, of those developments down. I've decided to invest in a MacBook Pro so let's see how soon I can get one! In the meantime you can find me on Twitter (@agrlcanmac) and both of my Instagram accounts (@agrlcanmac and @creatividual) if you want to keep up with my shenanigans and what I'm doing with my hair and such. I also can't say thank you enough for your readership. I appreciate each and any of you stopping by and leaving comments. Many of you have been with me for years so thank you for rockin with me, even when I had said I was done with this space. :)

Another update is that I have a cool project I'm working on. The computer issue has been delaying it but I'm determined to find a way to roll it out in the next couple weeks. More details to come in the near future. 

I'm so happy that spring is here and the weather is (slowly) warming up. I'm feeling social again and ready to dive into some exciting projects. How's spring treating you so far?

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