CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY FOR THE LOW LOW

By Kenyae Shelton

4th of July is around the corner and there are plenty of ways to celebrate at little to no cost.

FAIR ST LOUIS (July 2nd-4th)

This is a traditional event for St. Louisans. Not only is there great music, fun booths, and fireworks, but it’s also FREE ADMISSION. There are some other features that do cost including the delicious foods, rides, activities, kids area, and merchandise vendors, but the prices are reasonable. It’s a great way to spend the holiday and enjoy the company of family and friends.

More info here! https://www.fairsaintlouis.org/

4th of July Parade (Saturday July 1st)

The 135th Annual VP Parade begins at 10am. This is an event for all ages at no cost. There are plenty of amazing floats and other attractions including brief performances. It is an experience that you and your family can cherish and remember for a lifetime without spending a dime.

There are plenty of other fourth of July festivities featured in Webster Groves, Chesterfield, and Kirkwood, MO. There is so much to choose from for the holiday. You can visit one of the following websites for more info.

http://www.greatriverroad.com/stlouis/calendar07.htm

https://explorestlouis.com/july-4th-fireworks-st-louis-2017/

4 Ways for Teens to Avoid Financial Stress

By Malaika Charrington

Being a teenager is hard enough without all these pesky bills. Sometimes it seems near impossible to be a teen juggling work and school, and an active social life, all while swimming in expenses (car bills, gas, food, etc). It can all be exhausting. It often feels like there’s not enough time to do all the things that need to be done, and earn the money that you need for all of your expenses.

Well, here are a few tips to alleviate some of the pressure.

1. Manage your time wisely.

Learn to plan your time well to allow for all of your daily ventures. Have a reliable, yet flexible schedule with your work hours, the time you dedicate to schoolwork, and your social events. This will organize your life, and allow you to focus on one task at a time without that pesky anxiety. Planning your time well will ultimately allow you to maximize your profit, academic success, and free time.

2. Budget your money well.

This is one that you’ve probably heard tons of times by now. Well, that may be because it works! Just grab a piece of paper, and list all of your monthly expenses and how much each item will cost you. First, list the necessities, such as gas, bills, and savings. Next comes the math! Subtract your budget’s grand total from from your monthly income, and that’s how much you can spend! This will keep you from splurging on things you don’t really need and/or can’t afford. Need help on budgeting? The first rule of budgeting is spend less than you earn! If you earn $450 a month from your job, and earn another $50 from your allowance or birthday money, your income for the month is $500. If your savings account earns another $5, your total income is $505. Now you know that you have to spend less than $505 for the entire month.

3. Open a bank account.

Avoid check-cashing establishments to the best of your ability. But you have more time than money so fight the urge to spend your money for this type convenience. They may seem convenient, but you shouldn’t get into the habit of using them, as the average adult spends up to 900 dollars a year cashing their checks. This is an unnecessary expense that could be avoided altogether if you open a bank account. Research the banks and credit unions near you and find one that works for you! (Most banks are free, but require you to deposit a minimum balance when you open your account. These minimum balances typically range from $1 to 50. Find the one that works best for you).

4. Don’t drown in your expenses.

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Finances have led to stress for many, and stress leads to health problems. Don’t allow finances to control your life in a negative light. You have the power to make the best out of your cash and live financially free.

Take these 4 tips into your own hands and flourish!

How to Start a Business + Be Trendy

By: Kea Green   

We all know the saying, ‘Keeping up with Jones.’ Here at OTM, we are keeping up with the latest trends. Almost every day there’s a new trend that we are likely to go out of our ways to follow. We often get inspired by what our favorite artists or athletes are wearing. We could see Chance the Rapper wearing the latest Nike Air Max or even his own costume made Nike Air Max shoes. We can also catch Odell Beckham rocking the latest Nike athlete apparel. But keeping up with the latest trend comes with a heavy price tag and that’s when we turn to our parents to get the brands we want.

Teen walks into the kitchen where Mom is washing dishes.

Teen: Hey, mom can I have a new Nike outfit for my next practice?
Mom: Why do you need a new outfit for practice, you’re just practicing and besides Nike is way too expensive. Have you considered getting a job?
Teen: A job!?
Mom: Yes, honey a job. It’s where you work and make money, so you can be able to buy your own things. You should really consider getting a job, honey.
Teen:

We have all had this conversation with our parents before. We would consider the thought of getting a job but not actually getting one. Why should we, when we have parents? We don’t want to give up our freedom. But one of the benefits of working is having our own money and not having to ask mom and dad for everything. You can be up-to-date with the trends and not having to wait for your parents to buy a trend that has already become old.

            But, no, we should really consider getting a job. Okay, I get we don’t like to be told what to do when our parents do that at home, but who said you have to necessarily work for someone else. It’s possible you can become your own boss, buy that Nike apparel outfit, and even make good money like the founders of Nike.

Phil Knight (right) and Bill Bowerman (left) with a net worth of $24.7 billion and $400 million. They created a company in 1964 to market better performing track shoes for athlete that was comfortable. In 1968 the company was named NIKE Inc. (Greek goddess of Victory). In the beginning, they sold their shoes to athletes at track meetings until their company thrived through entrepreneurship and innovation. In the 1980s, NIKE’s advertisement helps to become the company they are today.

5 tips for you to start your own business are:

1.      Passion: Find something you will love to do. Do what you love, because your innovation can leave you in the middle of nowhere with no GPS, if you don’t.

2.      Know Your Target Market: When you are thinking about what you want to market keep in mind what you consumers (your peers) want or need. Also, start off small by doing it locally.

3.      Pricing: You want to make sure it’s an ideal price for your market, if you’re not sure what is the ideal price, then create a survey and choose the suitable price from the survey.

4.      Advertise: Use social media to reach out to your target group just like Phil and Bill.

5.      Find Mentors: Try to find some mentors in your community through networking. Find someone who will be willing to support you and give you advice on the business industry.

So, if you are tired of your parents telling you to get a job and don’t want to work under someone’s rules, these are the steps to get you to be an entrepreneur and the latest trends.

To learn more about Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman and their journey to success go to http://lemelson.mit.edu/resources/bill-bowerman-and-phil-knight for more info.

NEW YEAR KICK OFF! Top 3 fun & affordable events to begin 2017

by Kenyae Shelton

Loose Cannon SLIM presents State of Emergency 4

Do you enjoy listening to music in live concert? If so, the State of Emergency concert is a must see. There will be 7 very popular Rap, Hip Hop, and R&B artists in live concert for only $3.14! Tickets went on sale last Saturday, hopefully you caught the deal! This event is on 314 Day (March 14th) located at the Chaifetz Arena at 7pm. Be there!

Family Night with Fred Bird

If you are a St. Louis Cardinals Baseball fan, you will enjoy Family Night with Fredbird. Invite your family to come to Ballpark Village for good food, games, and prizes. If you have a younger sibling, bring them too. Fredbird will be there from 6:30pm to 7:30pm and there will be half price kids meals from 5pm to 10pm. This event is every Wednesday until March 29th.

Book Fair

If you like to read, this is the event for you! There is a very affordable book fair being held at St Matthias the Apostle Parish Center. Friday, January 13 from 4pm to 9pm is “Preview Night” for only $5 admission. Saturday, January 14 from 8am to 6pm and Sunday, January 15 from 9am to 4pm, it’s free admission. Paperback books will ONLY be 50 cents and Hardback books will be $1, plus there will be refreshments. On Sunday from noon to 4pm, you can get a bag of books for $5. More information here!

Clearly there are plenty of upcoming events for 2017. Take my advice and start the new year right!

 

Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving: Top 3 Tips to Save You Money

By Dominique Shields

 

I know you guys can’t wait for all that good food coming on Thanksgiving; turkey, dressing, macaroni, sweet potatoes, the whole crew. But what about how much that stuff is going to cost? Not only are you buying the food, you have to get all the ingredients that make the food. Add in the fact that the serving size is much bigger with this particular meal, you are looking at a potentially pricey holiday. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. As you prepare for your Thanksgiving, whether it be with family or friends, take these tips with you as you go:

 

Buy food now!

Thanksgiving is literally right around the corner, so instead of trying to get everything you need from the stores in the same week, go now, like right now. Thanksgiving is next week, so you should get your keys and get to those stores. I bet the staff is already cutting out the sale labels right now to raise prices on the last minute shoppers. Don’t be one of them.

B.Y.O.F. (Bring Your Own Food)

Why should you and your parents be the only ones making all the food and spending all the money? If you make your holiday feast a potluck, all you have to worry about, at the most, is decorations and your single dish. Even if you don’t want to do a full on potluck, just say yes if a guest offers to contribute. Regardless, this is not only saving you money, but time. Now you can focus on getting those hand turkeys just right with your younger siblings.

Decorate for the low

Speaking of hand turkeys, that isn’t the only affordable way to decorate your home. If you are having trouble with ideas, or places to go, your nearest dollar store, park, or backyard (your own!) have some great items you can use to give your home the natural autumn look for Thanksgiving. So grab that bag of leaves you had to rack up and let the creativity flow. For some ideas, visit here.

I’m sure you were focused on that cheesy macaroni and a few things I’ve mentioned slipped your mind. But I’m always here to let you know I got your back. Save yourself a few coins and take my advice. Or if you have some advice of your own, feel free to comment below!

 

Creating A Simple Budget You Can Thank Yourself For

By Dominique Shields

Whether you’re preparing for prom, your first car, or those shoes you've been eyeing, the importance of a budget cannot be neglected. We tell you guys all the time that having a budget and saving is important, not just for now but for your future as well. Having a budget will help you anticipate your financial success and responsibilities and teach you so much more. Because I want to help you be financially happy, I’ll help you with creating a simple budget.

To get started, all you need is a pen/pencil and a notebook to keep your records in. When you have that, the information that you’ll have is 1) fixed expenses (costs that stay the same), 2) altering expense (costs that change), 3) budgeted prices (what you plan to spend), 4) actual prices, and 5) the difference between your budgeted and actual costs. Below is an example budget sheet:

Follow that guide with whatever you want to budget your money for and you will soon see what you are great at saving at and some habits you can benefit from changing. You can surprise yourself when you see where your money goes and where you think it should go. But in the end, you're making a good choice for yourself and your future so you can live comfortably.

Money Making Monster: How to Make Money This Halloween

By Dominique Shields

Are you one of those people that think Halloween is just another day? Are you not really into the trick-or-treating scene? Would you rather be somewhere making money? Well you’re in luck because you can be making money while everybody else is trying to be scary and rack up on candy. I’ve put together a list of # ways to make money this Halloween.

Grow and Sell Pumpkins

Are you into gardening? Great, because you can grow pumpkins and sell them. Pumpkins are a big deal, not only in October, but in the fall period. People will be busy making jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin pies, and whatever else people use pumpkins for. And when they’re too busy to go all the way to the store, they can just knock on your door and you can watch the money roll in.

Sell Jack-o-Lanterns

So maybe you aren’t into growing things, but you are all for carving something up. Then sell jack-o-lanterns! You can make different types, from subtle to scary, or just ask the customers what they prefer. And you know who would love for you to start this seasonal business? Busy parents. I can see it now; everyone stopping by to let you know what they want and going on and on about how glad they are that someone in the neighborhood decided to do this because they are sooo busy. They might even give you a tip because they’re so grateful! To get started on design ideas, visit here.

Make Halloween Costumes

No one wants to wear the same old store bought costumes and look like everyone else. They want to jazz things up a bit and do something different; be something new. But they don’t have your expertise in costume design or your desire to monetize your time this holiday. Actually, you don’t even need the designer skills. You can make a pretty penny making simple, yet creative costumes. For some ideas, check out this article.

Take children trick-or-treating

I know you think it’s so pointless to go trick-or-treating, but what about the part about making money? Don’t you get it? I’m trying to help you fill your wallet with that green paper. So round up all those little munchkins and take them door to door for their sweet treats while you get a sweet treat of your own. I mean money. The sweet treat is money for you, unless you want your payment to be a piece of cake, just like this mini business. Get it? Just take the kids trick-or-treating.

If these jobs don’t fit something you’re interested in, make up your own job. I’m really here to put the idea in your mind. You can make better use of your time than sulking in the fact that Halloween isn’t a real holiday to you. Get up and get your money mind going,man. There’s money to be made on the darkest night of the year! Don’t forget my 10% cut for giving you the idea!

 

The Affordable Airfordable: How Flying Just Got Easier

By Dominique Shields

Have you ever planned a trip and missed a good deal because you didn’t have all of the funds for your plane ticket? Then you honestly need to know about Airfordable. Created by Ama Marfo, Airfordable’s goal is to help travelers fly to their destinations more affordably, hence the name. It’s super simple and great for you when prices go up after you’ve booked your flight. Here’s how the process looks:

 

Let’s plan a summer trip to Los Angeles next year. The first thing to do is look up the flights to get our prices.

We’re going to focus on a departure ticket for now. The best option price is $364. Don’t have that much secure right now? Need to know what you might be looking at in a payment plan? Airfordable has a calculator for you to get a glimpse of your payment plan. It asks for the date of your entire trip and the total price of your ticket, including taxes. It will then show you the price for your deposit and your biweekly payments. Here’s the one for our trip:

At this point, we can see it will cost us about $50 every two weeks to pay off our tickets for our trip. And if you look closely at the dates, we will still have enough time to continue saving for the trip itself.

If you have any questions, check out the FAQ’s page. Or if you’re ready to do some traveling, let’s get planning!

 

Ty Allan Jackson: The Man Behind Danny Dollar: Millionaire Extraordinaire Lemonade Escapade

By Dominique Shields

Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world” and that’s what Ty Allan Jackson, author of Danny Dollar: Millionaire Extraordinaire, did. He saw something that was needed and he did what he had to do to get things done.  It all started when his son wanted to have a lemonade stand and made a profit that was unexpected.

“In 3 hours he made $50 selling lemonade, which completely blew my mind because I’m thinking we’ll make $5 or $6,” says Mr. Jackson. “...  but it prompted him to ask me what he’s going to do with all that money.” And his son’s questions about how he should spend his earnings prompted Mr. Jackson to go out and find answers for his son, only to find some serious flaws in the books available to society.

“There were no books teaching kids about money, and there were very few books with kids of color. At first I thought this was ridiculous and I say somebody needs to do something about this, and then I thought maybe I could do it.” And didn’t he do it! In the parking lot of the bookstore, Mr. Jackson came up with his Danny Dollar story and immediately started writing about finances and entrepreneurship.

After being denied 150 times by 150 publishing companies around the U.S., Mr. Jackson set out to start his own publishing company and was able to sell 1,000 copies to his family and friends. Then he took the next step to start marketing, reaching out to banks. Two weeks after getting his book, a CEO reached out to Mr. Jackson for him to come to her community and teach, and she also bought 1,000 copies of Danny Dollar. That same day, Mr. Jackson quit his job and focused on his calling, getting young kids the books they need with the beneficial information they were lacking, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Now that he has established a company and published multiple books, Mr. Jackson had many words of wisdom for any young authors-to-be out there. “It’s an uphill climb... it takes ingenuity and creativity, but when you start to get feedback, it makes it all worth it. You have to be diligent with your money and you have to sacrifice. You’re not going to be able to get some of the things you want in the short term for your long term objectives.And lastly, have the same level of enthusiasm promoting [your book] as you want people to have when they read it.”

Well said, Mr. Jackson, well said.

To catch more about Ty Allan Jackson story, check out his TEDx Talk below:

"Promoting the joy and power of reading to our children is the most important thing we can give them. Children cannot be a leader in life unless they’re a reader in life."
-Ty Allan Jackson

#BlackGirlMagic: How GirlCode Empowers the Girls of Tomorrow

Think about something you’re passionate about doing in life. Now imagine you’re a young girl and everyone is telling you that you can’t do it, it won’t work, or you should try it your way. These are some of the things Keona Blunt, Creator of GirlCode, faced as she built her organization from the bottom up.

“Initially everything was self-funded. I really knew I wanted to do this. I volunteered with similar organizations, and I felt like they were always missing something; they weren’t as dedicated as I feel like I am. They weren’t as passionate.” Keona stated. Already, she knew that if she wanted something done right, she would have to do it on her own. And she did.

To get GirlCode started, Keona put in the work she knew she would have to for the results she wanted. She was able to sacrifice her summer and get two jobs to kick start the funding for her organization as she watched it build. She faced her haters head on, challenging their negative criticism and feedback, because she was passionate about what GirlCode stands for. “It’s like so many people try to discourage you, so many people say ‘No, this is how you should do it’ and you get so many voices you start to lose sight of the vision. You get discouraged, and you’re focusing on trying to make everyone happy.” But Keona believed in herself and in GirlCode and never stopped supporting her organization on her own and going to college at the same time!

Now GirlCode is here! The ‘no boys allowed’ organization opened up their website August 1st, and they are offering two scholarships for female students. For more information about GirlCode and their scholarships, click here.

 

5 Ways to Keep a Good Credit Score

By Khyle Buchanan


    There’s a good chance that at some point in time you’re going to want to buy a house. There’s also a good chance that you’re going to own a credit card somewhere along the way as well. Well there’s a link between the two that draws these items together, and that link is known as a credit score. I am about to drop a few major keys on ways to keep your credit score in good shape to buy that dream house of yours.

    

5. Use your credit card: You have to actually use your credit card to affect your credit score. Don’t max it out though, as that can have a negative effect on your credit score. Not only that, but maxing it out could also mean that you’re going to have a hard time paying your bill for the month.

    

4. Pay your credit card bill on time: Once again, you have to use your credit card to affect your credit score. But the effect on your score is determined by how effectively you pay your credit card bill and how fast you do it. Doing it on time will keep your score in good shape and possibly even raise it if you do it early.

    3. Don’t spend more than you can afford: Now chances are, if you are using your credit card then you can’t afford what you are attempting to buy at that moment, and that is okay. However, you have to keep in mind that if the amount you make in a month is not enough to pay for the combined total of everything that you bought on credit, then you probably shouldn’t spend all of that money. If you can’t pay the balance off in a reasonable amount of time, it will bring your credit score down.

    2. Monitor your spending: Make sure that you monitor your spending to make sure that your bill at the end of the month will be within your budget. Monitoring your spending also makes sure that there is no one else using your credit card and ruining your credit. You can often call your card provider, get text alerts, and/or download an app that will keep a record of your transaction history. It depends on who your provider is.

1. Use your debit card: You should always remember that you have card that accesses your bank account. If you don’t have enough cash on for purchase, you can always use your debit card to pay for it right at that moment which stops you from adding too much money to your credit card bill. Keeping that bill as low as possible is ideal.

Now that you know how to keep a good credit score, it’s time to put that knowledge to use and work towards that dream house of yours.

 


Financial Tip Friday: 5 Simple Ways to Make Money All Summer '16

By: Kenyae Shelton

There are plenty of ways to enjoy your summer. Most of these options include a cost in order to participate. Aren’t you tired of asking your parents for money? Have you been struggling trying to get money of your own? There are tons of ways for you to make money without applying for a 9 to 5. Here are a few examples:

Babysitting

Kids are out of school, but most parents work year round! Be on the lookout for those parents who may need help with the kids and are willing to pay you. You must be attentive, cautious, and patient with children. You should also be aware of household expectations, so you can act accordingly.

Cutting Grass

This job is not only for males, but highly recommended for young men looking for a way to earn money during the summer. A lot of people would gladly let someone else do the job. All you have to do is ask if they’re willing to pay you.

Walk dogs/Petsitting

This gig is just like babysitting! Some people have pets that they consider “their babies,” and they need to be taken care of as well.  Be on the lookout for people who may need you to pet sit while they are away or busy in exchange for a little cash.

Tutor

This gig requires skill and patience. Although most students are out of school, some parents want their children to do work during break so they are prepared in the fall. Some students even have summer homework or have ACT coming up. Check to see if any young people need help in areas you can offer assistance.

Sell Things/Entertainment

DO YOU HAVE A CRAFT? SOMETHING YOU ARE GOOD AT MAKING??? SELL IT! You will be surprised at the things people will buy. You could even make money by performing music, drawing, or dancing.

Ask your neighbors what they need help with. Be on the lookout for opportunities to make money without applying for a job. Even small jobs can make a difference. Once the money adds up, you can do what you want to enjoy your summer.

Recipes by Malaika Charrington

Breakfast

1. Classic Egg Omelette

A simply delicious breakfast recipe that can be modified to fit your exact wants and/or needs! Click here for recipe!

A simply delicious breakfast recipe that can be modified to fit your exact wants and/or needs!

Click here for recipe!

2. Potato Hash

This breakfast dish is the perfect combination of meat, potatoes, and eggs. It’s guaranteed to help you start your day off right! Click here for recipe!

This breakfast dish is the perfect combination of meat, potatoes, and eggs. It’s guaranteed to help you start your day off right!

Click here for recipe!

3. Classic French Toast

A childhood favorite made simple! You’ll find yourself craving this constantly after you make it. Click here for recipe!

A childhood favorite made simple! You’ll find yourself craving this constantly after you make it.

Click here for recipe!

Snacks

4. Zucchini Chips

These zucchini chips are just like the real thing, but they’re better for you and much tastier. Click here for recipe!

These zucchini chips are just like the real thing, but they’re better for you and much tastier.

Click here for recipe!

5. Kale Chips

This is a super quick and easy recipe. It’s healthy and delicious and you won’t regret trying it. Click here for recipe!

This is a super quick and easy recipe. It’s healthy and delicious and you won’t regret trying it.

Click here for recipe!

6. Homemade Microwave popcorn

This is very simple, very convenient, and much healthier than the prepackaged popcorn you find at the store. Not to mention it’s much cheaper! Click here for recipe!

This is very simple, very convenient, and much healthier than the prepackaged popcorn you find at the store. Not to mention it’s much cheaper!

Click here for recipe!

Lunch & Dinner

7. Crispy Cheddar Chicken

Cheesy, crispy, and delicious! What's not to love?! Click here for recipe!

Cheesy, crispy, and delicious! What's not to love?!

Click here for recipe!

8. One Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

This awesome recipe makes something as simple as making pasta, even easier, and even more delicious! Click here for recipe!

This awesome recipe makes something as simple as making pasta, even easier, and even more delicious!

Click here for recipe!

9. Homemade Chicken Fried Rice

Why go out and buy this when it's so easy to make at home? You won't be sorry for eating this healthy and delicious dish. Click here for recipe!

Why go out and buy this when it's so easy to make at home? You won't be sorry for eating this healthy and delicious dish.

Click here for recipe!

10. Fettuccinie Alfredo

Here's an incredibly simple recipe for an incredibly delicious dish! Click for recipe here!

Here's an incredibly simple recipe for an incredibly delicious dish!

Click for recipe here!

11. Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

Quick, easy, and delicious, this tasty dish will quickly become a common meal in your household. Click here for recipe!

Quick, easy, and delicious, this tasty dish will quickly become a common meal in your household.

Click here for recipe!

12. Baked Salmon Filets

You don't have to go out to eat well. This delicious salmon is restaurant ready, from home. Click here for recipe!

You don't have to go out to eat well. This delicious salmon is restaurant ready, from home.

Click here for recipe!

13. Loaded Nachos

These loaded Nachos are guaranteed to excite your taste buds! Click here for recipe!

These loaded Nachos are guaranteed to excite your taste buds!

Click here for recipe!

14. Baked Mac & Cheese

This cheesy pan of goodness is easy to make and won’t break the bank. It’s sure to become a household favorite in no time. Click here for recipe!

This cheesy pan of goodness is easy to make and won’t break the bank. It’s sure to become a household favorite in no time.

Click here for recipe!

15. Homemade Burgers

A super simple and super delicious burger to make at home. When it’s this easy it sure beats getting fast food! Click here for recipe!

A super simple and super delicious burger to make at home. When it’s this easy it sure beats getting fast food!

Click here for recipe!

Desserts

16. Brownies

These brownies are the perfect mix of sweetness, simplicity, and chocolate. What’s not to love? Click here for recipe!

These brownies are the perfect mix of sweetness, simplicity, and chocolate. What’s not to love?

Click here for recipe!

17. Fruit Sorbet

This perfectly sweet and fruity treat can be made in a variety of flavors and in a matter of minutes. It’s perfect for the summer! Click here for recipe!

This perfectly sweet and fruity treat can be made in a variety of flavors and in a matter of minutes. It’s perfect for the summer!

Click here for recipe!

18. Frozen Jello Pops

Kids love it, and adults do too! This creative snack would be great for enjoying a day in the sun. Click here for recipe!

Kids love it, and adults do too! This creative snack would be great for enjoying a day in the sun.

Click here for recipe!

Financial Tip Friday: 3 Ways to Ditch Unnecessary Expenses

By Malaika Charrington

Living on your own can be hard -- sometimes even seemingly impossible, but with these simple tips, you’ll be able to cut down on your spending and relieve some of the stress.

Stop Paying for Cable

Cable users in 2016 are paying nearly $100 per month. For this reason, tons of people have been leaving cable companies in recent years and paying for subscriptions with services such as Netflix,  Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime instant video. With a Netflix membership costing 9.99 per month, a Hulu Plus membership costing 8.99 (No commercials plan is 11.99), and an Amazon Prime Video membership costing about 8.99 per month (this is different than the Amazon Prime full bundle which includes free shipping on selected items and costs $99*), the final bill costs significantly less than any cable service.  As an added bonus, some like to invest in Amazon Fire sticks, or Roku Boxes which make it possible to watch Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Amazon Video, and much more all from the TV.
*Amazon also offers a “prime” discount for students at $50 annually (50% off of its usual price).

Cook at Home

You may be inclined to settle for cheaper food alternatives like fast food, but while that may seem like a good choice, in the long-run eating fast food every day will have very harmful effects on your health. A better option is to buy bulk amounts of easy-prep foods such as pasta, meats or vegetables from local warehouse stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco (For both of these chains, a membership is required, $45/year for Sam’s, $55/year for Costco), and prepare your meals in advance. This may seem more laborious than what you’re used to, but ultimately, your body and your wallet will  thank you. Here are some quick, easy, and cheap recipes to get you started.

Manage Your Transportation Costs

If you live in a place where public transportation would be ideal, then take advantage of it. Having a car doesn’t necessarily make it imperative to drive everywhere. Walking, biking, and public transportation are all ways to save money on gas. If you’ve decided that you NEED to buy or lease a car, then check out our guide to buying your first used car.

So there you have it! Three great ways to save money and cut down on unnecessary spending. Now you can cut down on the burden of budgeting, and enjoy life on your own.

Financial Tip Friday: Financial Birthday Benefits

By Kenyae Shelton

It’s a tradition to receive gifts on your birthday. I’m never excited about spending my own money to celebrate my day. Why not take advantage of the freebies offered to celebrate your birthday at your favorite places?

Here are some examples:

  • Applebee’s will give you a free dessert
  • Auntie Anne’s will give you a free pretzel.
  • Dairy Queen will give you a free blizzard.
  • Denny’s will give you free breakfast.
  • Hooters will give you 10 free wings.
  • IHOP will give you free pancakes.
  • Joe’s Crab Shack will give you a free appetizer.
  • Noodles & Company will give you a free bowl of noodles.
  • Olive Garden will give you a free appetizer OR dessert, if you join their eClub.
  • Qdoba will give you a free burrito, if you join the “Qdoba Rewards Club.”
  • Red Robin will give you a free gourmet burger.
  • Ruby Tuesday will give you a free burger, if you join their “birthday club.”
  • Starbucks will give you a free drink, if you are a member of their rewards club.
  • Steak n Shake will give you a free double steakburger with cheese and fries.
  • Texas Roadhouse will give you a free appetizer OR a “sidekick of ribs.”
  • TGI Friday’s will give you a free dessert with the purchase of an entree.
  • Waffle House will give you a free waffle.
  • Which Wich will give you a free sandwich, if you sign up for their “Vibe Club.”

Many birthday freebies and coupons are via email, so it’s best for you to claim your gift before your big day. Visit their website or ask how to sign up in advance for free birthday offers next time you visit the restaurant or store. Some places won’t ask you to sign up, but it’s always good to make sure. Be on the lookout for ways you can enjoy your birthday at little to no cost.

 

Financial Tip Friday: Track Your Expenses

By: Latahjia Robinson  

Have you ever thought about what you’re spending all your money on? Trying to figure out which products are breaking your bank? There is only one option for you and that is an Expense Tracker. Why is an Expense Tracker easy and convenient for everyone? It’s the first step  to help you save or to stop certain habits you’ve noticed.

An expense tracker is basically a way to see what you would usually spend your money on. There are so many people who spend so recklessly on things that they can live without just because they desire to have them. If they would just have an expense tracker and see what they’re costing themselves, it would help eliminate their bad spending habits. Then you would know what it is that’s aiding you in losing your money quickly. You might see things like take out, snacks, and places such as movies or the mall.

Some people would go the old fashioned way with using a expense tracker that you would  write on, but a tip to know is to keep up with receipts and put those on the tracker as well. The generation today is always on their electronics so they might as well have a mobile app that tracks their expenses since there is online shopping too. With doing an online expense tracker there should be a way to automatically put the item, and how much it costs into to the expense tracker for those people who tend to forget.  

Hopefully this has opened your mind to tracking your expenses and spending wisely! 
 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 

Better Money Lifestyle: Managing Your Money the Right Way


 By:Latahjia Robinson

After you read this article you will have a clear understanding of what financial institution you want to invest yourself to, whether it’s a bank or credit union.                                               

 

So many times we tell ourselves we will start doing better with money. And so many times we continue to spend recklessly and dig our debt hole deeper. It’s time to put a stop to this. You don’t know how? Luckily, OTM got a chance to talk with Brian Mobley, a personal banker at Midwest Bank Centre, to gather some valuable information to change this.

Before you start trying to get a credit or debit card, look online to find various Banks and Credit Unions  to see which one is best fitting for you. With Credit Unions and Banks, there are different environments, policies and rules; therefore you need to know what’s best for you. You may be worried about overdrafts fees, convenient locations, or scholarships opportunities.All these points lead up to doing the research to see if a bank or Credit Union is best for you.

 

Want to build your credit? There is a system that can help everyone with high credit, low credit, or no credit. It’s called the Credit Booster. It says it in the name. It’s just a system where you pay amounts like $25.26 monthly, weekly, or daily. There would be different prices depending on the bank or credit union but it’s affordable for everyone to do it. The bank or credit union would use that to pay off any debt from various places or money you owe from using a credit card.

Would you research more information about credit unions and banks that you want to join? If so, that is a step closer to being financially secure and responsible. It is better to have knowledge on what you’re investing yourself in. Just know what your habits are and use that as guidance to help you.

 


Financial Tip Friday: Cry Now, Eat Later

By Tubias J.

Budgeting is better than balling and will eventually pay off because…

When it comes to spending money I am what some would call 'cheap.' In fact, I am not cheap I am extremely cheap. I love thrifting, I despise people that buy bottled water, and I am teaching myself how to coupon as we speak. I don’t know what it is, I just love not spending money. Some say it’s wrong, but my Christmas money from 2010 says otherwise.

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When my senior year came around it was a living nightmare. Not because of college stress, but because I knew I would have to spend money, a lot of it. Prom, senior trips, graduation, etc. Plus, by senior year at least one of my friends had a car, so I’d be peer pressured into going out in the world and being taken advantage of by this capitalist society.

Luckily, I didn’t fall into peer pressure like my peers. Soon I began to feel sorry for these lost souls that did. Everyday I’d listen to someone’s “Man, I’m broke” stories. So I decided to share my eighteen years of wisdom with my people.

My theory is really simple.

“Cry Now, Eat Later.”

Here’s how it works:

Cry Now:

A wise man once said, “It's beauty in the struggle." I live by those imperative words. There is nothing wrong with struggling at times, it makes you stronger and builds character. Even if you aren’t dirt poor, live like it! Be that person that orders water when you go out to eat (or don’t go at all!). Don’t feel ashamed to go straight to the clearance rack. (Usually the stuff is better than the regular priced stuff anyway). Simply just say no.

You remember that episode of SpongeBob when he attempted to go inside of Sandy’s dome without a water helmet? He waited to get the water helmet until he absolutely needed it. Be that way with your money! Constantly motivate yourself to not spend money. If you need to spend money, don’t! Because as soon as you spend money, you'll need to spend more money. If that makes sense... It gets difficult, but it is only mental.

Eat Later:

This is when it all pays off. From eating peanut butter out the jar, to going in that restaurant and not even thinking ordering a value fry, because you are here to eat! You have saved money, so much money that you now have a chance to humbly splurge.

“Cry Now, Eat Later” has the ability to be used for short term and long term spending. And those who implement this theory have yet to do anything except prosper. Call me what you want, but you cannot call me broke.

Financial Tip Friday: Dab On Debit Without Using Credit

By Kawan Yarbrough

What’s the difference between a debit card & a credit card? I personally prefer debit. Here’s why!

What's a credit card?

  • Credit cards allow consumers to borrow money from the financial institution up to a certain limit in order to purchase items or even withdraw cash. 
  • You are given your own spending limit, and have a monthly billing cycle
  • Highly affects your credit score
  • Charges you fees known as interest, which comes from what you owe. i.e. If you have a $250 credit card, your interest could require you to pay $300 back for their service instead of just $250. 

If those credit cards aren’t paid off on time, or at all, that affects your credit score. A bad credit score is not good to big companies. Want a car? Want a house one day? You have to have good credit.

What's a debit card?

  • A debit card allows you to spend money that you already have.
  • Some debit cards allow you to use it like a credit card (spending without entering a pin code), but still it's with YOUR money that's in your account
  • There's most likely no interest fees 

I personally prefer debit cards for these of reasons:

  • With a debit card, you actually are spending money you have
  • You don’t have to worry about this extra credit card bill each month
  • You can track your spending on your phone or online

If one were to get a credit card, here are a few things to consider:

  • Spend wisely
  • Don’t buy things that you know you won’t be able to pay back when the bill comes
  • Pay your  bills back in full every time to help build up your credit score
  • Don’t get a credit card until you’re financially literate and ready
  • When you buy something, pay it off immediately  

Eventually, you’re going to need a credit card, how you use it is all up to you. A credit card isn’t for a haircut or some new shoes; it’s for emergencies and should be used as such.  If you get it, be smart.

For more information visit the following:  

More info here about credit cards! 

More info here about debit vs credit!

Hopefully these tips were helpful! Do you have any? Leave some tips in the comments below! Meanwhile I'll be dabbing to the bank! 

Financial Tip Friday: Get Paid To Play Games

By Lekia Zegenee

Have you ever played a game and was like "I wish I could get paid to play games in my room all day"? Good news, that wish could come true and all you need is a Twitch account and a gaming console.The esports market, already worth $194 million per year, is set to more than double in size by 2017 according to a "conservative scenario" from research firm Newzoo. This research firm pins a predicted value of $465 million on the sector within two years. Not only can you get paid to recordyourself playing everyday games, you can possibly become a millionaire doing it.

What is Twitch?

It’s essentially the YouTube for live gaming, people broadcast themselves playing and/or talking about games while other people watch them while chatting about it. Every major event, publisher, developer, and media outlet in the gaming industry has a presence on Twitch. Streaming became an ever-present piece of the gaming experience. And it’s only going to get bigger.

How to sign up?

To sign up for an account, go to http://twitch.tv and select the "Sign Up" button on the top-right portion of the page.

Just a reminder not everyone that makes a twitch account get paid it's kinda like Youtube; the more views, the more the money. So keep your day job and keep focusing on school. But give it a try! You never know that gameplay of you winning all your deathmatch on GTA 5 may just get you to the top.