Money Clueless

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

Image by: Morgan Daniels

Picture this, it’s a warm Sunday afternoon. I and a few of my millienal friends are enjoying a bottomless instagrammable brunch. The drinks are flowing and the bacon is crisp. It’s like the apartment scene of The Great Gatsby.

Suddenly, the bill arrives. I look around the table to see my peers contemplating that dreaded question

“Should I move my some of savings to my checkings?”

I furiously refresh my LGE credit union app, while the deja vu of opening and closing my refrigerator door in hopes that food would magically appear dances in my head. In the end, brunch won and I drove home full and slightly defeated, arguing with myself about whether I really needed cheese on those eggs.

Growing up my father had one simple rule, a mantra rather; Cash is king. A simple and annoying reminder to spend less and save more. Anytime we would pick up a pair shoes or purse that was a “luxury” he would wipe away any shopping high with those three simple words that would make the simplest purchase seem like a shopping spree at Saks. He became so relentless that my mother and I would often hide our shopping until he fell into a deep Sunday nap. Then, quickly and quietly smuggle them into the house.

To be honest I wasn’t broke; I mean at least not as broke as I have been in college.

My humble bi-monthly freshman year allowance never seemed to come and go fast enough. Between late night food truck runs and constant Sassy’s dress shopping, I always managed to have approximately $.25 in my account every 13th and 28th of the month. I now appreciate my father for being so strict at the time. It made me creatively broke. I miss the days when my friends and I would take a collection of $20, cook an entire meal, get a huge bottle of cheap wine, and enjoy each other’s company and Netflix accounts.

These days, adulting makes it a lot harder to get the girls together so the experiences happen less and cost a little more.

Here are a few of the tips to making your money work for you.

4 Tips to Making it as a Broke Millennial

There’s rice at home.

I remember the cool thing in elementary school was buying lunch from the cafeteria. I never wanted to be “that girl” who pulled out rice and stew for lunch. However, I have no in shame in bringing in homemade jollof rice and chicken wings four times a week for lunch. The only person who can judge me is my bank account.

It’s just you and your vices tonight.

Bars are fun but tabs are not. In an effort to have a YOLO night, a simple drink with the squad can turn into a frantic call the bank for “unrecognized charges”. There is no shame in staying in and inviting your people to wine down or liquor up.

Cash is King.

No matter how much budgeting is done, life happens. It’s doesn’t take much for a tire to bust or a must see artist to drop tour dates to ruin even the most planned out budget. Keeping an extra $40-$100 stashed away from yourself and your account can come in handy for life’s inconsiderate moments. Apps like Digit help to make saving money digitally and virtually painless.

Be Honest.

As much as we would love to be at every function, sometimes you just don’t got it and there should be no shame in saying that. Try to keep an honest dialogue about spending with your people. Real friends will understand.

The Waiting Game

Photography by: Morgan Daniels
Styled by: M. Ansah
I vividly remember the day I started waiting for love, or rather on it. A friend’s church had organized a women’s conference. It was three days of getting to understand how to be the woman that God had called you to be.
Being an angsty 14 year old, I embraced the thought of God being able to help me deal with pimples and missing homework assignments. We prayed, laughed, and cried as we talked about the insecurities of womanhood. I felt heard and seen, as I saw older women confess to feeling less than beautiful in their younger years. I absorbed every question brought up and discussed, while furiously and meticulously taking notes to apply to my real test of life.
Then, this woman stood.

“I’m intelligent. I’m accomplished. I’m beautiful and yet I’m 30 and alone. Is God punishing me?”

Our eyes, and exposed hearts turned to the speaker, anxious to hear her insight pour forth about love and God.
“Just pray and wait.” She replied and moved on to the next question.
We all sat in shock and I knew the collective thought in the room was “Girl wut?”
We had dissected almost every question. Pouring through the Bible for answers about everything from body image, to being a good friend to others, even mental health. But when it came to love and marriage, We were told to wait.
That message never sat well with me but it definitely stuck with me. I remember mentioning to my mother that I could and would date in college.

“Just wait Maame, there is no need to rush into that part of life.”

College came and went with two interesting relationships and a handful of situationships under my belt.

And I was still waiting.
I thought I was waiting for my crush/favorite rapper to put me in a song. But when it did, the song didn’t move me like the rest of his music. Then I moved on to waiting for my lil business man boo to explain to me what our future looked like together but his proposal was depressing and not as romantic as he has lead me believe. The picture the artsy LOML made of us just wasn’t in focus. So I just kept waiting.
It wasn’t until my parents a few months ago, so lovingly asked

“So Maame. Why aren’t you dating?”

I replied that I was taking a break. And they asked me what the wait was for.”
I calmed looked up from my phone and replied,

“I dunno, the speaker never went into that part.”

Why is You Here?

As I sat across from my gold cladden date, I couldn’t help but think to myself

Hoe, why is you here?

My eyes began to glaze over as he talked about his various business ventures and recent trips. I only snapped back as he expressed his desire for a woman who could “keep the house in check” but not hassle him about going and coming when he pleased.

“Why not just hire a maid?” I inquired. He shook his head furiously as if I’d made the most ridiculous suggestion. He tried to explain that every man needs someone to come home to at night but that person needs to be able keep him and home in line. Blah, blah, blah.

I could sense my attention drifting further and further from the delusional conversation so I excused myself to the restroom.

As I looked at my self over, lip gloss popping and my favorite wig bobbing, I again thought:

Hoe, why is you here?

This sadly hadn’t been the worst date/ encounter I had with the male species. A particularly interesting one involved a hotep that slipped through the cracks of my vetting process with his beautiful teeth and washboard abs. Our time was quickly cut short after he explained to me on our first date that he was interested in marrying me but only if I give up my desires to further my education and my instagram.

I knew I was bored. My mundane routine of work, home, sleep had me left grasping any and every bit of excitement that could find me. Except, the excitement finding me weren’t even particularly interesting. To be honest, I had allowed “swit” words and fine dining to steal some of my Friday and Saturday nights. I never thought my time could be bought until I tasted the Côte de Boeuf from Marcel’s.

Damn me and my bougie stomach.

I started to think of all the things I could have been alone doing rather than sitting across from one of the most boring men on the planet. Ideas of pole classes, coloring books and actually writing about my feelings again danced in my head. All of sudden, I began to feel sick about how I had just wasted my time and this poor delusional misogynistic man’s time. I quickly texted my friend:

<<Save me in 5 min>>

I walked back to the table, feeling more nauseated with each step. He could sense my discomfort and asked me what was wrong. I played it off as a stomachache and anxiously waited for my phone to ring. I don’t think I even allowed a second vibration to pass before I picked up and motioned that I was stepping out to take a call. I explained my situation to my girl and we both agreed it was time to go.

I walked back into the lounge and bullshited an excuse about a friend going through a bad break up. He gave me his unwanted and unneeded blessing to leave and I dashed to the valet. Within 30 minutes, I was undressed and in my bed. Before I pressed play on Living Single, I looked around and realized I knew exactly why I was there.