Why you can’t stick to your budget!

image1(2)We have all been there before.  You know, the moment you write your income and expenses on paper with good intentions.  You say to yourself, “This month will be different. This time I will reach my financial goals.” But then it happens…

Macy’s has its one-day sale!

Of course Macy’s has it every day, but to you, this day is different! [Read more…]

College grads: What should you do with your first paycheck?

According to the Economic Policy Institute, 2014 college graduates are expected to earn reduced earnings for the next 10 to 15 years.  This is because wages have dropped significantly, approximately 7.7% since 2000 for new college graduates.

Because of these many issues, class of 2014 have to be extremely careful what they choose to do with their first paycheck and others to come.

Save a little

First, college graduates have to make certain they take advantage of employer retirement programs such as a 401(k).  A 401(k) plan provides employees the opportunity to save money for retirement on a pretax basis.  Most often, employers would match contributions dollar for dollar or a certain percentage, thus, giving them free money to be used for retirement.  The great thing about a 401(k) plan is it allows employees to reduce their tax liability, since the amounts contributed are not taxed.

Split your pay in 3

Next, it is extremely important for college graduates to take a realistic look at what they can or cannot afford.  A great way to split your pay is to consider splitting your pay in 3.  1/3 of your pay should be designated to savings and gifts.  The next 1/3 should be allocated to living costs and finally the remainder should be allocated to discretionary expenses.

Graduates should explore cost saving opportunities to keep more of their paycheck.  Some great ways to save is to consider sharing costs with a roommate, foregoing home phone lines and cable, and maybe resisting the urge to financing a new shiny vehicle, but opting for a less expensive dependable used car.

Spending is as easy as ABC

Lastly, it is important to create a roadmap for your finances – a budget.  Remember, your budget does not have to be complicated, just simple and easy to use. Consider using three steps — A, B and C — to get back on track.

A — Automated savings

If you have struggled in the past with savings, set up an automatic draft to have the money withdrawn directly from your checking account and deposited into a savings account.

B — Bill management

Determine the total amount of your monthly bills. Then, set up a checking account dedicated strictly to paying your bills.

C– Cash for other purposes


By this point, you have determined the amount you need to tithe, save and spend. Whatever remains is yours to spend as you wish!

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and certified public accountant.  She writes a personal finance blog at kemberley.com.

When it pays to break the budget! $100 Giveaway Winner!

Over the past weekend, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will know that I have been posting wedding pictures from my best friend Crystal’s wedding!  I have known Crystal since the seventh grade and had the honor to be her maid of honor this weekend.

I have to admit, when it came to her bridal shower and purchasing gifts for her along the way, I happily broke my budget.  And here is why…

Crystal is not only a true and loyal friend (which is rare in these days and times) but I truly consider her family.  She has not only been a blessing to me but to every member in my family.  She has been a praying partner with my mother, takes care of my niece and steps in when needed for my family’s last minute errands.

More importantly, even as our lives have changed, we have both grown in God.  For this reason, we would wake up each morning at 5:30 a.m. and pray for our families and seek God’s direction for our lives.  These days, she also takes time to edit each and every article I write.

So yes, when it came time to celebrate her special day, there is no money that can ever repay Crystal for all that she has done for my family and I.  If you see the pictures you will see why I am smiling so big.  She is the best and there is no budget that would keep me from blessing her!

Just this past week, at the same time as I celebrated Crystal’s wedding, I also mourned the loss of my brother’s best friend’s father, Mr. Bobby Roy, Sr. We have to remember life is very short.  Therefore, when moments present themselves to show each other we care, we have to do it.  We never know when we will have that chance again.  I could imagine each and every one of us has someone today we can show them how much they mean to us.  You never know if this will be your last time to do it.

Finally, I am so excited to announce the winner of the $100 giveaway!  The winner is a Michelle Norwood, who has suffered an illness and was only given a few months to live but through God’s grace, she has lived more than 6 years since her diagnosis.  While this gift may not help much, I hope that it can be a blessing to her.

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University.  She is the author of The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing.

Want to be a millionaire? Take care of a $1,000 first!

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Throughout life, God will bless you with an infinite amount of resources.  You will be blessed with only so much time, assets and talents.  With each blessing God has given you, He expects you to be a good steward of what He has blessed you with.

Faithfulness creates fruitfulness

How can you ask God to bless you with millions if you can’t take care of a thousand? Real financial healing takes place when you learn how to take care of the little that God has blessed you with already.  Think about it, how can you desire a 3,000 square foot home, but fail to take care of your small apartment? If you want to really see blessings in your life, you have to learn to take care of small matters first!

Learn to live off less

Take time to commit to live off less than what you earn. No matter if you are earning $20,000 or $200,000, if you are not careful about your spending habits, then you may find yourself having more month than money. After creating and reviewing your budget, look for creative ways to live off less of your earned income.

Consider your savings off limits

From day to day, you will be faced with making decisions whether you should save or spend.  Because of this, you have to really stay committed to your budget and more importantly consider your savings off limits. Of course, there may be times when you have to dip into your savings, but consider your savings off limits unless there is a dire need.

Remember, you never know where this life may take you. Saving consistently will help you weather adverse financial events that may come your way.

Remember: your choice, your future!

Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and a certified public accountant (CPA).  She writes a personal finance blog at kemberley.com. Follow her Twitter or connect with her on FaceBook.