Author Archives: femmefrugality

Flash Education Opportunity: Credit Repair Masterclass

Text reads "Tia Chambers & Chonce Rhea Credit Repair Masterclass femmefrugality.com" image: backlit african american woman crossing her hands across her chest. Dark pink sunglasses are reflecting a series of white lines on the ground.

Mmmmkay. Let’s get real today.

Sometimes your credit score isn’t super hot. Maybe you had no idea what the hell you were doing with your money. Maybe you knew what to do, but couldn’t get the money flowing in fast enough to meet your financial responsibilities.

Whatever happened, having a poor credit score sucks. It means higher interest rates on loans–if you can even convince a financial institution to issue you a loan–higher rates on insurance in some cases, and a higher probability of losing your job or having trouble finding housing.

It’s not right.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.

Catch Tia & Chonce as They Break Down Credit

You guys probably remember Chonce. She’s written here on Femme Frugality in the past, and shared her epic story of overcoming in The Feminist Financial Handbook.

She and powerhouse Tia Chambers are hosting a Credit Repair Masterclass tomorrow and you don’t want to miss it! The class will take place live online on April 4th, 7 pm CT/8 pm ET.

Both women are Certified Financial Education Instructors and have increased their personal credit scores by more than 100 points.

In this 90-minute masterclass, they will go over:

  • What makes a good credit score?
  • Common credit score myths you might have fallen for
  • Step-by-step DIY process to improve your credit
  • How to properly dispute accounts without hiring someone
  • Debt payoff tips and strategies
  • Should you trust credit repair businesses?
  • How to protect your credit and identity for the long haul
  • And more!

The masterclass will also conclude with a Q&A session where Tia and Chonce will stick around to answer everyone’s questions about credit.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to improve your credit, now is the time to take action and learn from the experts!

Tips for Maintaining Your Home So You Don’t End Up with Huge, Costly Issues

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

Outside deck with pink hues and blue pillows under a Califonian sky lined with other houses, palm trees and expansive white clouds in a blue sky.

When you’re a homeowner, there are regular costs to fit into your budget, such as monthly mortgage payments, various types of insurances, and repairs. However, while you want to save money and avoid putting your hard-earned savings into thing after thing when it comes to your home, keep in mind that you must complete maintenance throughout the year, every year, to keep things in order.

By sorting out maintenance tasks on a regular basis, and not leaving things unchecked for years, you will save yourself money, time and energy in the long run. Many people avoid doing maintenance jobs as they want to be frugal, but then find this backfires when they have to replace whole roofs, walls, floors, pipes or other areas because of a lack of maintenance.

To help you avoid this situation, read on for some top tips for maintaining your home this year and in future ones so you don’t end up with huge, costly issues on your hands.

Maintain HVAC Systems

One of the key things to stay on top of is your heating and cooling system maintenance. HVAC devices can be incredibly expensive to repair if major issues are found (and sometimes it can even be cheaper to replace units altogether), so it’s wise to do an annual or twice-per-year inspection to pick up potential problems ASAP.

Start by cleaning and replacing the filters in your heating and cooling units. The best time of year for this job is usually spring or fall, so that the machines will work more efficiently in summer and winter when you’re likely to be using them many more hours per day.

While a lot of people are comfortable doing the filter job themselves, for anything more intensive it’s a good idea to bring in an expert, such as these Atlanta HVAC contractors. In particular, if you notice cold spots in areas of your house, or if you hear any strange noises coming from the heating/cooling vents, you may have a ventilation issue, which will need to be examined by a professional. In addition, have a contractor check the condensation hose on your air-con annually to be sure water flows adequately from the line.

Pick Up on Pest Infestations ASAP

Pest infestations can be a big issue if they’re not picked up on quickly. Termites, especially, pose a risk as they can cause significant damage to the structure of your property and internal walls and doors, amongst other things. It’s easy for nests to both form and grow in a short timeframe, so have a pest inspector come to check the inside and outside of your home (including under the house and in the roof) annually.

There are some signs you can spot which indicate termites or other pests could be encroaching on your property, such as cracks and bubbles in paint and thin mud tubes on walls, but by the time you see these signs you’re actually likely to have quite a bit of damage to contend with. If you keep up with inspections, though, you should be able to avoid this situation.

Clean Out Gutters

It’s not a job that’s fun or quick to do, but regardless every homeowner needs to ensure their house’s gutters are cleaned out throughout the year. This should be done annually at a minimum, but it’s usually better to get the job sorted quarterly or at a minimum twice per year. If you don’t want to do the task yourself, ask a plumber or gardener or other qualified contractor to take care of it for you.

Cleaning gutters out is imperative because it gets rid of ice dams and icicles which can form and then melt and pool up, leading to rust and holes. The job can be completed with simply a leaf blower and a rake and bucket. Professionals often have more intensive equipment on hand to help them get through the work sooner.

Check the Roof

One job for your maintenance to-do list is checking the roof of your home. It’s not something you probably think about often, but because the roof has to cope with all sorts of weather, it can wear down over time and be damaged from extreme climate or even plants (such as creepers and vines) and animals.

Tiles and shingles may break, and any exposed areas can open up. This creates leaks and holes which can get into the inside of your home and cause further damage. Unless you’re trained in roofing, it’s best to hire a professional who can come and check the roof for issues and make repairs as needed. An annual inspection is fine for most properties.

 

Fundamental and Technical Analysis Compared

Chart showing that life sucks less as time goes on. paper sitting on a wooden table with a silver ruler, gold pen and notecards in background

When you’re investing in the financial markets, it’s not possible to accurately predict what will happen in the future. Instead, investors rely on technical and fundamental analysis to make informed decisions.

Fundamental analysis involves looking at the economic and financial data, then using this information to estimate what will happen in the future. Technical analysis, on the other hand, relies on mathematical calculations to help the traders estimate how the price will move. This article will compare the two types of analysis.

Fundamental Analysis

A good way to explain fundamental analysis in forex is to give an example of two countries. Country A has a thriving economy with falling unemployment, increased productivity, and an improved manufacturing sector. Country B, however, is not doing well. Its unemployment rate is rising and the economy is slowing.  If you choose to invest in either of these two countries, you would probably prefer Country A. And if you invest there, the demand for its currency will go up, which will make its value rise.

In fundamental analysis, traders receive different types of economic information, and their role is to interpret how the it might affect the market. Examples of economic data that moves the market are employment numbers, manufacturing activities, inflation, and interest rates. Political news like an election or a change in key government ministers can also move markets.

Technical Analysis

This type of analysis relies on indicators that are derived from mathematical calculations. There are three main types of indicators. First, trend indicators are used to show the formation of a trend, or when a reversal is about to happen. Examples are moving averages, parabolic SAR, and Average Directional Index. Second, oscillators are used to identify the extremes of asset prices. Examples are the Relative Strength Index, Stochastics, and Relative Vigor Index. Third, volume indicators are used to measure the activity of the market. Examples are On Balance Volume, and Accumulation & Distribution. While these indicators are derived from complex mathematics, it is not necessary for a trader to understand the mathematics behind them.

Applying the Two

There are traders who believe in combining the two types of analysis and traders who prefer to use them separately. For example, Warren Buffet believes in using fundamental concepts when investing. His method is to buy good quality undervalued companies and hold them for a long time. He does not apply technical analysis. On the other hand, fund manager James Simmons, who manages more than $30 billion of assets, believes in technical analysis. The same is true with many other quantitative-focused traders.

Technical analysis is ideal for traders who are focused on the price and profiting for the short-term. Their goal is not to understand the fundamental details of the assets; instead, the technical analysis of the price. If the technical indicators show that an asset will move up, they buy and then exit once that goal is reached. However, even for them, it is important to have a brief understanding of what is going on in the wider market.

Fundamental analysis is also ideal for day traders, swing traders, and long-term traders. For example, a day trader can use the economic calendar to make a trading decision when the US Federal Reserve is releasing interest rates decision or when a company is releasing its earnings. Long-term traders on the other hand can use the economic data to determine whether a currency pair or asset will continue doing well.

Final Thoughts

It is important to understand these two types of analysis. Even if you just focused on price, understanding the fundamentals will help you avoid making simple trading mistakes. For example, it will help you avoid initiating a trade when a major data is about to be released. For long-term traders, having a good understanding of technical factors can be an asset, too.

#Win Tickets to Rosie Revere, Engineer in #Pittsburgh

Classroom with students and a teacher sitting for instruction on a stage. Below that is a green spaceship. Below the spaceship it reads "March 31-April 7 Pittsburgh Cultural Trust"

What’s this?

Another ticket giveaway from Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s family-friendly theater series?

Why, yes. Yes, it is. There’s so much good theater coming up right around the corner that we actually have not one, but TWO live giveaways for some amazing shows. The first is Leo–a mind-bending performance that plays with gravity and illusion. Read more about the show or enter to win tickets to Leo here.

The second is Rosie Revere, Engineer.

Swoon, my feminist heart.

Rosie Revere, Engineer.

Here’s what you need to know about the show, which is coming to various locations for a total of nine performances throughout the Pittsburgh region between March 31 and April 7, 2019:

Ms. Greer’s classroom includes three inquisitive out-of-the-box thinkers. Rosie Revere has big dreams, Iggy Peck has a relentless passion for architecture, and Ada Twist’s curiosity can drive her teacher crazy. A fun new musical based on the books Rosie Revere, Engineer, Iggy Peck, Architect and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty which spotlights the STEM curriculum (focusing on science, technology, engineering and math).

Content Information: This event is designated for younger audiences and is recommended for children and adults ages 4+. This show features acting, movement, music, singing, and comedy. The theater is darkened during the performance with light and movement occurring on stage.

Win tickets here!

If you know  you want to see the show and don’t want to leave your attendance to chance, you can purchase tickets here. They start at just $12.

However, Femme Frugality is hosting a ticket giveaway for this show in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust! You can use the widget below to enter for you chance to win a package of four (4) tickets to see Rosie Revere, Engineer when it comes to Allegheny county.

The giveaway will be open through March 25th, 2019. Best of luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stage performance of a classroom full of children paying apt attention to a teacher outside of the shot.

 

#InternationalWomensDay2019 PF Blog Tour

Hey, guys! March 8th is International Women’s Day. To celebrate, I got together with some fab personal finance bloggers to arrange a blog tour. Each one of us answered the question, “Why is financial independence important to you as a woman?”

Keep scrolling to read Robin’s piece. It’s deep, and will definitely leave you thinking about money on another level.

Want to check out other posts in this blog tour? You can do so here:

As an Asian immigrant woman, I have to survive on my own and have learned not to use my background to lower my ambition.”

Elise on brokeGIRLrich

“When we were fighting over where to live, he ended the fight one day by just going out and buying a condo.”

Mel on Mastering the Side Jam

 

“You’re forced into poverty. You learn to get by on what little you have. There is no pathway to financial independence. And that’s not okay.”

Femme Frugality on A Dime Saved

“Women have worked so hard for the rights that were begrudgingly given to us. Let us not relinquish them. Even in our minds.”

Robyn on Little Seeds of Wealth

And now, without further ado, I introduce you to Robin from Mastering the Side Jam:

Why Financial Independence is Important to Me as a Gen X Woman

In honor of International Women’s Day, a group of female writers were asked to share why financial independence is important to them as women. I decided to participate, knowing my story might be a bit different than others in my age range. I’m located squarely within the Generation X era, generally considered to be middle-aged.

Far enough from youth that one would assume I’d have a fair amount of knowledge and wisdom. And while I won’t exactly dispute that, I will say I’ve worn my share of blinders over the years.

But also, I love having opportunities like this, as it provides a venue to experience and share many unique perspectives. Because every story is different. Every scenario weighted and affected by millions of decision points. Not one person has a life, or background, or “why” precisely the same as someone else’s. We are a product of our genetics, upbringing, influences, experiences, actions, choices, and challenges.

So why is financial independence important to me specifically?

I think it essentially comes down to how complicated life can sometimes become. Because for all the planning, and education, and best-laid plans …. well, you’ve probably heard the end of that phrase. No matter how much time you’ve spent in painstaking preparation, things don’t always go the way you expect them to.

Family Structures

Case in point: I am in a long-term, committed relationship. However, I am not married. Our relationship has lasted a lot longer than the marriages of some friends and peers. But just the same, we have no legal document saying we are responsible for, or indebted to, one another.

In addition, I’ve been the parent of two children who are not my own. I chose to raise them, provide for them, support them emotionally and financially. That was my decision. Do they owe me anything? No, of course not. I am not their mother. I love them like the children I never actually had (and never will.) But they technically don’t owe me a thing.

As I grow old and gray, there’s no guarantee I will have anyone to care for me in my later years. There’s no reason to assume they will provide assistance, like one might expect children to care for their aging parents. While I do give them the benefit of the doubt, since they’re amazing young men — it’s not a position I prefer to even put them in.

In my early 20’s, I willingly entered into a relationship with a single father of two children. Their “real” mother had hightailed it out of there, for reasons no one will ever know. But I knew what I was getting into. I was fully aware of what I might be giving up. How they would always come first, since they were his flesh and blood. I was just the person who cooked, cleaned, paid bills, packed lunches, attended school conferences and baseball games.

Putting the needs of all others above my own, because that’s what a mother does. (Even though I’m not a mother.)

Three women wearing pink and white khimars standing looking out at a blurred vista underneath a flowering, pink/purple plum tree. Underneath, pink and black words on a white field read "International Women's Day Personal Finance Blog Tour"

They’re grown. What next?

Twenty years later, they have sprung into adulthood. They’re self-sufficient, and I am nothing but proud of all they’ve become. But as they get older, their lives will begin to evolve as well.

They’ll fall in love, get an apartment or a house, begin a family. Do I want to remain a part of their lives? Absolutely! But that’s not an ironclad promise. Because their “real” mother may enter back into the picture. They may begin to feel nostalgic, and forgive all of her transgressions.

And if their father and I part ways someday? There’s a chance I may be cut out of the fold. After all, he is true family, and I’m not. What loyalties do they have for me, over him? When push comes to shove, if they’re forced to take a side, I know it would be him. It would have to be, since he’s their father.

He and I have never married, which I suppose makes it both better and worse. Better, because we legally don’t owe each other a thing. Worse, because it would almost be too easy for one of us to make that decision, take that leap. No messy divorce red tape to cut through, because we are just “dating.” (For twenty years.)

Because of that, he also does not owe me anything. All I did was raise his children, keep house, act as disciplinarian, and give up a huge chunk of my youth and child-bearing years. But that was my choice. I know that, and have no regrets.

Raising those boys has been the absolute best part of my life, and I truly believe it was my purpose. But also, acknowledging there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. “Why bother changing now? We’ve made it this far — and marriage is just a piece of paper.”

And now that I’m a bit older, wondering where my life has gone — there’s a renewed frenzy to start getting my financial house in order. Because back then, I was needed. Whether appreciated or not, I was a staple in the household. They couldn’t get by without me. And now they can.

So the years of putting others’ needs ahead of my own are finally beginning to gnaw at me. A lack of savings, inadequate retirement plan, barely perceptible emergency fund. Those are things I’m in the process of building, because no one else is going to do it for me.

I have to learn how to be self sufficient, financially independent, if need be. To have a handle on where the next phase of my life is headed.

I know plenty of middle-aged single women, who have been operating on their own for many years. And I know just as many middle-aged married women, who have the inferred safety of leaning on another for financial worries. And I’m not sure where I might fit in with these groups.

Because although I’ve been part of a family unit for an extended amount of time, I’m still essentially on my own. When it all comes down to it, no one is going to take care of me, except me. And that is my goal in pursuing financial independence.

I’m the odd woman out. Or am I?

So why is it important for me to be financially independent? Because there’s that possibility I may have to fend for myself one day. No one else has an obligation to care for me — which is a scary realization.

And while my circumstances may be a bit unique, I’m pretty sure there are women out there who may be in a similar situation. Putting too many eggs into one basket. Betting on something that is far too risky to gamble.

After years and years of giving pieces of yourself, be careful you haven’t given away too much. Make sure you have something else to fall back on, just in case you need it. And if you don’t — well, then that’s the best possible insurance policy for you to hold on to.