Hey y’all, welcome back to Finance Friday (Stacy here!)! I’m so excited to be sharing tips on how to get the best deals while shopping. With summer officially weeks away, it’s easy to find the need to pick up new clothes for the season or update home electronics for get-togethers with friends.  With that in mind, here’s my take on how to get the best bargain without breaking the bank!

Shop on Sale

Shopping on sale really does save a ton of money. The reduction from the original price to sale can be dramatic with cash to spare. Growing up, we never purchased full price pieces and always hit the sale rack. In addition to scooping up items on sale, we’d use coupons to save even more. (Be sure to read the fine print of all coupons. Exclusions may apply).
Keep track of sales by subscribing to your favorite stores or following on social media. With time, you’ll learn the sales cycles and know when to shop. For example, my favorite grocery store, Sprouts has the best sales on Wednesday’s. They feature double ads on Hump Day and this allows shoppers to save the most in the middle of the week. You can also maximize savings by using mobile coupons.

Ask for a Discount/Price Match

Shopping in store versus online does have a few advantages. Although online shopping is way more convenient it doesn’t allow you the chance to ask for a discount. If an item is damaged or has a little wear and tear this might be additional savings. I recently went shopping and found a super cute maxi romper on sale at Agaci but it was missing a button, bummer! Luckily, an extra button was attached making it a quick fix. When I got to the checkout I asked the sales associate if she could take anything off for the missing button and she half off the lowest ticket price. I snagged an originally priced $50 piece for $4.32 with tax, winning!
Price matching is another way to catch deals. I recommend calling your preferred store ahead of time and ask how their price matching policy works. Who knows it might possibly lead to major savings. It seems as if it’s archaic but the ability to have a face-to-face exchange with a sales associate gives an opportunity to negotiate and ultimately save money.

Shop Off-Season

One of my favorite hobbies is shopping offseason. I absolutely love picking up last year’s fall/winter pieces in the middle of summer. It’s the only way I buy $200 boots for under 50 bucks. Shopping offseason helps you transition seamlessly into cold or warm weather. Also, it allows you to keep up with trends without breaking the bank.
With these tips, you’re sure to get the best bargain with each new purchase. Feel free to leave your shopping tips below. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and happy shopping.
P.S. I’m now on Bloglovin! Receive weekly posts from my blog along with other influencers by selecting the below link.
Until Next Time!
-Stacy & B
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Happy Finance Friday (Stacy here)! Who’s ready to leap into April- Me! Before I jump into all of the wonderful new adventures to come this season, I always make sure I check on my investments and conduct a review of my retirement accounts. My goal is to retire early and spend my latter days really enjoying the fruits of my labor. Lately, when I discuss saving up for retirement with my peers and pals the same questions keep popping up…

I’m in my 20’s that means I’m too young to invest, right? 

Of course not! You’re never too young to start planning for your future. Let’s face it, the average life expectancy for women in the U.S. is 81, 78 for men, so we’ll be around for many years to come. Why not start stashing away for long-term living. You’ll thank yourself later!

While we’re young, we have the opportunity to take risks and be more aggressive with investing as opposed to playing catch up when we approach retirement. Investing early is a fundamental step in wealth building.

How do I invest and where do I begin?

Most people begin investing with a company sponsored employee plan, 401(k). Many employers will match you dollar for dollar up to a certain percentage as a part of their benefits package. I recommend contributing 15% of your household income towards retirement. 401(k) plans come with a tax deduction at the end of the year, and the money you contribute is considered pre-tax dollars. This means you will pay taxes on this money upon retirement or if you withdraw funds from your IRA early.

If your employer does not offer a retirement package, you can open a Roth IRA with a financial institution. With a Roth IRA, you will contribute after-tax dollars to your retirement account. Upon retirement, qualified distributions from your Roth will be tax-free. Look at it this way, you already paid taxes on the money beforehand so Uncle Sam doesn’t hit you twice!

If you’re self-employed you can still contribute towards retirement by opening a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension), and like 401(k) plans, SEPs also receive a tax deduction. I recommend contacting a financial consultant who really understands the ends and outs of SEP accounts before setting one up on your own.

Who can I trust with my investments?

You can trust trained financial professionals to help you with your investments or a wise financial mentor. The best way to find a good financial representative is through word of mouth. It can be difficult to build, establish, and maintain a relationship with a stranger. Especially when they are responsible for handling your life’s savings. Investing is risky business but it’s essential for financial planning. The higher the risk the higher the return.

Think of investing like riding a roller coaster. With every good ride, there are highs, lows, bumps, and turns. You have to hold on, close your eyes, say a prayer, and just ride the wave. Don’t be discouraged by what you see on TV or read online about the economy. Research shows, markets always bounce back. You may have to shift your investment strategies or opt-out of specific plans but try not to pull out completely. I know it’s easier said than done but unless you have a major financial emergency and need to tap into your investments, I’d recommend sitting tight. After all, good things come to those who wait!

While saving up for retirement make sure to check your investment account(s) periodically. It’s important to track your progress and get a game plan for success! Remember the younger you are the more aggressive you can be, so don’t be afraid to take a few risks. We have plenty of time to recover. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and when in doubt hire a professional!

 Until Next Time!
-Stacy & B
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Happy Friday y’all(Stacy here)! We’re days away from spring & one of my favorite parts of this season is getting away for spring break. Whether you’re off for a full week or taking a weekend getaway, here’s a few tips to help you travel on a dime. Besides, who doesn’t want to learn how to travel on a budget?

1. Book a reasonable flight & pack light

I normally fly Frontier and have really grown to like this airline. My sister and I took a girls trip to Denver a few months ago and had a blast. We managed to snag roundtrips for $40 per person flying Frontier. The only challenge was we had to pack light to avoid paying to check our bags. I managed to pack everything I needed in an oversized backpack. It worked for me but you can always pay the additional fee to check your luggage. Find great deals on other airlines using Cheap Flights.

2. Travel with a group

Traveling with a groups helps cut down on costs and allows you to split lodging accommodations. Splitting a hotel multiple ways as opposed to covering the entire stay on your own makes traveling affordable. Also, there’s nothing like catching up with old pals. The savings are a plus but spending quality time with friends is another great benefit!

3. Use Airbnb

We all know hotel accommodations can be very expensive. Airbnb is a great alternative to overpriced hotels. It gives you the comfort of a cozy home and likewise offers the opportunity to experience the city as a local. If you prefer hotels or resorts, I recommend using Groupon for the best deals. Oh and don’t forget to google coupons before checking out. Groupon normally offers additional savings on the weekends and during holidays.

4. Come with a budget

For my trip to Denver, I set aside $250 to cover my 4-day getaway. I put a little cash away in my spring break piggy bank each pay period. Over the course of six weeks, I had my $250. This amount included travel and lodging accommodations. Frugal, I know! After deducting flight and hotel, I had about $150 to spend on food, Uber, and shopping. What helped was preparing beforehand. Saving in advance really paid off. Also, calling our hotel to see the best way to get around resulted in major savings. We didn’t need a rental car and traveled by train from the airport to Union Station which was a few blocks away from our hotel. Tapping into local food deals and happy hours helped maximize our food budget. Also, I hit the best sales while shopping. I bought snow boots from Ross and a coat from H&M both for under $45, what a deal!  Believe it or not, I actually came home with $25 in my pocket at the end of our trip.

5. Take advantage of free adventures

During our stay, there were so many fun activities going on in the city. As soon as we checked into our room I jumped all over the local tourist guides and magazines. It turns out there was a free German festival, a parade of lights, an art show, and concerts all within blocks of our downtown hotel. We made a quick list of things we wanted to check out and then walked one block to catch the Free Mall Ride. The free ride trailed from downtown Denver to Union Station and stopped at every block in between. We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel, formerly known as the old Colorado National Bank. This hotel featured rich history and also offered complimentary breakfast, plus free snacks. In addition, the proximity of our hotel was perfect and close to bars, shopping, and eateries.

Traveling does not have to be expensive. You can make the most of any vacation by using these 5 tips. So grab your friends and find your next best getaway!

Until Next Time!

-Stacy & B

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At the beginning of the year, I knew I wanted 2017 to be a great year all around! I wanted a year full of new exciting adventures, both in my person life & on my blog as well. So far, I’ve started out 2017 with a bang- announcing that I was the new Rice Village Blogger Ambassador for the year (still can’t get over this!). In addition to this, I have made my series #BossBabes a now weekly series in which I have the chance to interview amazing women who are doing great things! Well….I am super excited to say that I have yet another surprise for the year!

First let me start from the beginning= during last December, I randomly became really interested in finance & all that it entails (investing, saving, etc.). God, being who he is of course, had already set my path to meet with someone else earlier in the year who shared the same interest as mine! Long story short, I met a woman named Stacy Davis at a Fashion event we were both working behind the scenes at who has become a friend over the past few months. Low & behold- finance is her thing. She recently launched her blog, Stacy the Survivor, & I couldn’t be more excited for her!

Okay so back to the story– I’ve always lived by the saying “stick to what you know”. Due to Stacy’s  passion for finance (& my lack of knowledge in the industry), I have invited her to guest post on Styl’d Grace once a month to share some of her finance gems with us (YAY!). I am so excited about this & can’t wait to learn along with ya’ll.For her first post on the blog,  read below to learn a little about budgeting for the weekend & some tips to consider before swiping your card!

Hey y’all (Stacy here!)! It’s finally Friday and I can’t wait to enjoy the weekend with friends. Before I hit the mall or head out for Sunday brunch, I do my best to reference my spending plan. Here are 3 things to consider before breaking the bank:

1.  Check your budget!

I like to set aside $50 to cover expenses FridaySunday! 50 bucks will cover my weekend adventures. That may be a low number for you but it works for my lifestyle. Whatever your spending amount is, just make sure it balances to zero or you’re left with extra cash come Monday morning (you’ll thank me later).

If you’re not currently using a budget,  it’s never too late to start. I use Dave Ramsey’s Allocated Spending Plan & it keeps me focused on my financial goals. If you prefer tracking your expenses electronically, check out Mint. This is a great online resource to help you stay on top of your finances.

2. Be mindful of any upcoming trips or special occasions

The reality is, even with a budget we forget things. It’s crazy how quickly spring break sneaks up on us, or when your coworkers decide to do a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift exchange. P.S.-If you’re still looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift check out this guide! Always take a minute to stop & think about what’s coming up before blowing your budget! Pull out your calendar and try to stay at least a week ahead of your schedule. Trust me,  it will save you from stressing your balance.

3. Call your accountability partner (aka get one ASAP!)

My oldest sister is my accountability partner and for the most part, she does a great job of encouraging me to stick to my plan! From to time to time, she’ll let me indulge but it’s normally a reward after achieving a goal or major milestone. It’s easy to go wild on the weekends, but having that guy or gal to give you a friendly reminder of your budget and goals will keep things in perspective.

Whatever your plans are this weekend don’t forget to have fun and just relax. The truth is tomorrow has enough worries for itself. Live a little, just live on your budget!

Until Next Time!

-Stacy & B

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