Controlling Your Credit Score: Procrastination Bites!

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Paying credit cards can seem like such a hassle. At times we often put such things off or simply pay the minimum balance due each month just to keep the collectors off of our backs. It is important to remember, however that the debt is ours to pay…often times with interest! That being said, you do NOT want to wait until you are in the market for buying a home to take a look at your credit report and score. Your credit report can take years to get under control, therefore start NOW! Grab your yearly free credit report and review everything. Make sure that all items are actually yours and seek professional assistance if you are not sure of any charges. Identity theft might also come into play so you want to be sure that you know what your credit report says. If anything is false or incorrect, you have a right to dispute and remove such items. There are laws in place that protect consumers from such threats.

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The next thing to do is to look at your credit score. It is a sum total of all of your financial behavior and stewardship – yes you are graded on your financial stewardship. This is what lenders look at on whatever document you provide your social security number on, such as mortgage application, vehicle leasing applications, renting applications, credit card applications, home security applications, and so on. When applying for such things, as quickly as it seems to take, you are placing separate inquiries on your credit score and it WILL continue to go down until you stop applying. Ironic isn’t it? Here you are with decent a credit score – between 720 and 800+, and you are applying to lease a car or home and yet with each application and credit inquiry, your score goes down a little each time! There is a difference between a ‘hard inquiry’ which will affect your credit score and a ‘soft inquiry’ which will not affect your score. Before providing the completed application, it’s in your best interest to inquire which type of inquiry the lender is pulling. Most times however, it is a hard inquiry bringing your credit score down with each application.

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It is important to remember that your payment history alone makes up 35% of your credit score. This means that any time you miss a payment or are perpetually late; your personal credit score goes down. What does this mean for you? If you are looking to apply for more lines of personal consumer credit or looking into making a larger purchase that requires a lease or inquiry into your credit history, the majority of the final review will be base on how often your pay your already acquired credit on time.

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Since it takes such a long time to credit the perfect credit score, you want to be sure you are executing behaviors that work in your favor. The best I can explain it is that when your finances are going well, use this time to be sure to keep your payments on credit on time if not early. Four to five days early is best, especially if you have any credit established in a business name. Don’t know how to do this? Subscribe for info on one of my upcoming FREE webinars.

Feel free to share and tweet!

~ladiSims

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I wants…

So, last week I told you that we took Super F to see Marvel Universe Live as part of his birthday gift. Well, we splurged a little and got really good seats, so on the way in to see the show, I mentioned to him that we weren’t going to purchasing any souvenirs during the show, and that I didn’t want to hear any begging. He agreed. So, we walk in and are immediately inundated with souvenir stand after souvenir stand on the way to our seats.

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Super F immediately asks for a plastic sword. We tell him no. We walk past the next stand, same request. Repeat 5 more times as we make our way to our seats. I gently explain to him how much time I would have to spend at work to make enough to pay for the sword. That gets him thinking for a few minutes and he stops asking about it…until intermission, when the vendor walked past our seats selling the darn sword again!

How do you handle souvenirs and the “I wants” with your kids at events like this?

P.S. He did NOT get the sword…

image credit: http://www.examiner.com

Mo Money, Mo Problems…to Solve!

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Many times over, I have had the opportunity to revamp a budget for myself or someone else and have exposed ‘extra money’. This money, often times, is used for spending – we usually feel as though we deserve to spend it on ourselves. We do deserve to enjoy our income however I would encourage you to look into making plans for all money – including the seemingly ‘extra’.

Your ‘extra money’ can be something that you let run through your fingers or you can look to the future. If you think you are living paycheck-to-paycheck and do not have access to ‘extra money’, I have to ask about your spending. Do you eat fast food on a weekly or daily basis? Do you subscribe to cable or satellite TV? Are there things you spend money on monthly that are beyond the basic essentials? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the previous questions, you are able to adjust your budget and get some ‘extra money’.

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What can you do with ‘extra money’? You might want to first secure an emergency fund. Your emergency fund is needed for the ‘just in case’ moments that you and your family may experience. It should be at least 3 months of expenses for your household that sits without being touched unless there is an emergency!

Ever thought about investing? It is not just for the wealthy! Banking professionals and financial gurus will tell you that in order to start investing you have to first be financially set. Being set financially includes budgeting for your expenses and saving for a rainy day. Your ability to save is often the key to having a mindset of investing. You want to be able to set an amount aside without touching it for quite some time in order to invest well and obtain a profitable return.

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Investing can be done in a number of ways. You can seek out business owners who may be in need of funds. You can take courses or attend workshops from financial institutions on the basics of investing into the stock market. There are also opportunities in network marketing, an entrepreneurial stream, or a type of passive income that may require an upfront fee- this too can be counted as an investment.

It’s important to remember that you are not only on this planet to exist but to fulfill a purpose. There are many people in need and who may lack the very resources you have in abundance. You can make a difference with your ‘extra’ by touching others around you, even in simply giving in order to meet a need. I encourage you to also think about others when spending that ‘extra money’. Where else would it be more effective?

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This message is not only for my readers but myself as well. Of course my goal is to be financially free – paying off my student loans and medical bills, but that is not all. I’d like to be able to give on a larger scale – providing wells in foreign countries and meals right here in the U.S. I would also like to pursue passions that I feel blessed to be talented with in order to earn my income instead of working a meaningless, purposely 9-to-5 making someone else wealthy. I would like to see my child taken care of and out of the public aide system. I would like to leave a legacy for my lineage and not just a long line of debt they never acquired. I’d like to do my part in our economy and invest in small businesses and entrepreneurs. What are you looking to do with your ‘extra’?

~ladiSims

Feel free to tweet and share!

Wants vs. Needs: Prioritizing Your Budget for Balance

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Often times we can get caught up in our spending by confusing our wants and needs. What we’d like to do with our money and what we need to do with our money can sometimes be put into the same category. Sure, it would be great to shop whenever there is a sale, or go out to eat with friends after a stressful week at work, but what does it really cost? Our bills continue to pile up but when we look at our income, it seems as though everything should be taken care of.

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Our budget is not just a tool to keep an eye on what we earn but also what we spend. This is where a Spending Diary can help you understand where, when, and how much you tend to spend. Having a few drinks vs. not being able to pay your mortgage seems like an obvious issue, but is it really? Since much of our shopping can be impulsive and driven by emotion, we might not pay close attention. My initial response to emotional spending or retail therapy was to simply stop doing it! I would feel like I deserved a treat with all of my hard work to earn the money. It can’t all go to bills; I have to be able to enjoy my income right? No! This must end, I thought. I have to get a hold of this spending now or else I will be in a lot of debt! I know! I’ll just stop spending out of my emotions all together – if I do not need clothes, I won’t buy any just because there is a sale. If I am hungry, I will prepare meals to take with me – no need for bars or restaurants when it is much cheaper to eat and drink at home…right?

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After about a month of not spending outside of my essentials, I became angry and felt like I was missing out on something. People were shopping sales and bragging about the nice meals they had at lunch while I stuck to my brown bag all month. Sure I was saving money but at what cost? This is why I determined that my budget was essential to my balance in finances. My budget included the essentials to my household but nothing was attributed to my ‘wants’. Although this is extremely fiscally responsible, this is not a long term solution. If you are working a full time job and only spending on basic essentials and nothing else, you miss the joy of your labor. Just like everything else in life, a balance is necessary to make sure you are being responsible but enjoying your income as well.

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Since I was in a lot of debt (student loans, car payments, credit cards, etc.) a one point, going on such an extreme change with my spending for a month was actually a good thing! I would recommend it as an exercise from time to time in order to get your finances under control. I was able to catch up on some bills and really hone in on what was becoming an addiction for me. According to my Spending Diary, I ate fast food almost every day but spent the most on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. I also saw from my notes that I would often eat out after shopping for a long period of time, even after buying groceries! With this information I was able to note my behaviors and adjust. Instead of eating out so often during the week, I would pick 1 day a week (this later became 3 times a month) to go out and invite friends and/or co-workers. That way I’d have something to look forward to and could indulge with company – making it seem longer.  As far as sales, I would maintain a list of items I needed for a couple weeks in anticipation of a sale (there’s always a sale) and then go shopping for everything on the list.

Image from funtobefrugal.com

You can do similar activities in order to get yourself in financial shape! I urge Moms to be on the look out for their household behaviors and adjust as needed, a little tweaking could go a long way! You may be able to set an allowance for weekly or monthly spending. You may see an area where you’d like to invest into a way bring more money into the home just for retail therapy so you don’t touch household expenses. Maybe you have a business and are spending too much out of your own pocket to keep it running – have you sought out business financing? How did your Spending Diary help you adjust your budget for the better? I’d love your comments and feedback!

Liked what you read? Feel free to retweet and share~

ladiSims1

ladiSims is a Workforce Consultant with 6+ years of extensive experience in social services, workforce development, small business development, recruiting and case management. She serves a variety of job seekers, including veterans and disabled adults, with finding employment and adjusting to career changes. Many of her clients seek to transition into new careers with financial and educational barriers hindering their success. ladiSims also shares resources, teaches Employment Readiness, and provides solutions for small businesses in her community. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, ladiSims has a passion for helping people progress towards their career, family, and entrepreneurial goals – she is also an advocate for education. Her BA degree is in English with a minor in African America Studies from SIUC where she also studied creative writing, journalism, and education. She also has a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) with a concentration in Community Development from UIC. Her ‘why’ includes her daughter Charlotte, 2 moms, 2 dads, numerous siblings, faith in Christ, and the youth of ChiCity. Among her peers, she is known for simplifying complex issues, offering conflict resolution, and being able to connect with individuals of various socioeconomic statuses, cultures, skill sets, & educational backgrounds. ladiSims uses her ability to create and maintain strategic partnerships to influence both rural and urban communities. Find ladiSims on Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope for more of her shenanigans!

What’s in YOUR wallet: The Bare Basics to Budgeting

A budget is basically a plan for your income. It can be used as a guide for how and when to save and spend money. When starting an effective household budget, a complete list of all income and expenses are required. Income from 1st, 2nd, and all side jobs/hustles are required. Don’t get paid consistently? Pick the smallest amount you’ve made within 1 month’s time. Total up your Net Income (this would be after taxes – no need to include gross since taxes are typically taken out automatically.)

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Your expenses need to also be laid out in front of you…in writing! Hopefully this is also shared with your family members so nothing is left in the dark and a sense of trust can be established and maintained. Your expenses should include EVERYTHING you knowingly spend money on throughout the year – this could be weekly, biweekly, monthly, or even every 6 months. The anticipated expenses should be planned in order to maintain control over your finances.

Your complete list of expenses can include anything you pay into. Savings, tithe, mortgage, insurance, child care, clothing, food, and cable are just a few examples of typical expenses. If you have miscellaneous items you pay into, include an ‘other’ section for the average amount for the timeline structure. Do not be afraid to add everything as this will help you focus on what you need and things you just want to have. Writing out your budget can be an eye-opening experience and should be used as a guide as you may have to revise it a few times.

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After your initial information has been written, do the math! Ahhh…doesn’t everyone just love math? Your total expenses for the month can be subtracted from the income in order to determine how much you have left over for a ‘Spending Allowance’. To determine the daily amount you need to earn in order to cover expenses, simply add up your monthly expenses and divide by 30 (average amount of days within the month). For the specific amount of salary you may require to cover expenses, add up your monthly expenses and multiply by 12 (total months within a year). For your records, you can even divide the yearly expenses by 52 (number of weeks in a year) in order to determine how much you need to earn per week (or divide the yearly expenses by 26 like I do for how much you need to earn bi-weekly).

Why all the math?

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I like to emphasize specific budgeting practices to my job seekers and entrepreneurial clients in order to make it clear to them how much they will need to earn in order to know, what I like to call, their “bottom number.”

I refer to a “bottom number” as the amount individuals need in order to maintain their lifestyle. This number can be used to concisely and confidently negotiate salaries, raises, or personal goals within their careers. Our “bottom number” helps us to know without a doubt how much we can financially survive on and even compare it to how much we’d like to earn – leading to our desired lifestyle.

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Coming from a limited income background, I often used my budget to manage my expenses as well as to create what I desired. I would create my actual budget and then an alternative one that would include family vacations, seasonal shopping sprees, upgraded car payments, and additional childcare costs (I used to want a large family!). You can do this as well! It’s a great exercise for imagining the possibilities and envisioning your desires that some say, will ultimately appear if your focus is consistent. We’ll see! Stay tuned and one day very soon I hope to share my success story with you once I reach my goal of becoming debt free!

Feel free to retweet, comment, and share!

~be blessed,

ladiSims

Diet and Exercise – How to Start Budgeting

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Diet and exercise. When reading up on healthy strategies for dodging illness, pains, disease, stress and tension in the body, doctors continually recommend ‘diet and exercise’ as a preventive measure. But what do we tend to do? Eat poorly and sit around all day…watching TV, having drinks with friends, reading a book (well, reading a book isn’t bad but you get what I’m saying!) We tend to justify our behavior with excuses like, “I’m so tired from work” or “I just need to relieve some stress” or even “I deserve this tasty meal, I deserve to treat myself!” But are we really “treating” ourselves by gaining more weight and eating poorly? The same goes for our spending habits, and we often times use the same excuses like, “I work hard for this money, and shouldn’t I enjoy it?” Are you really ‘enjoying’ your income if you constantly spend what you cant afford and place yourself in deeper debt?

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So now that you know what your spending habits are, let’s dig into the budget moving forward. There are some basic ideals to keep in mind when creating your budget. Take a look at your income first, that will probably be the easiest. What income is coming in on a consistent basis? Are you on a fixed income? Salaried? You want to write with the income that you are confident about. If you work a part time position and your hours vary from week to week but you bring in at least 50 hours every two weeks, you want your budget to reflect the 50 hours every two week scenario. That way, if you are able to bring in more, you can easily adjust or pay off some things earlier. You income starts the budget and should be mapped out a few weeks or months at a time so that all of your monthly bills and responsibilities can be covered.

Bills are the next thing to take a look at. What are you responsible for paying out each month? What are the due dates for each? This is important to know for your own records. DO NOT CHEAT YOURSELF by not knowing the exact dates that your bills are due. Are they directly taken out of your account? Do you have to pay with cash or are you able to pay with your debit card or check? These are things that will help you to decide the order in which to pay the bills and GET ORGANIZED! Need an example?

Image from http://www.thebostoncalendar.com

Give yourself time to do this; it takes time to map everything out. Most importantly, figure out whether your lifestyle is more costly than your income? Are you allotted spending money each month? You should NOT have to use your credit cards for spending or else you will NEVER be able to pay them off…NEVER! If your income does not suit your lifestyle, first change your lifestyle, and then prep for a new career, promotion, or some type of additional income (I can help with that!). Numbers do not lie, know your income and your expenses and then plan on using your left over for futuristic items such as an emergency fund or savings account, IRA, or investment opportunities for the future. Are you giving to charities? Would you like to give or give more? You plan to succeed and you will! It takes time and discipline but it is possible no matter the income level.

~ladiSims

Happy Go Lucky!

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I know that we look to having more money as a way of making us happy, but much of what we seek, we are not ready for – so to be sure that we will not take our financial success for granted, we must first learn how to get ‘happy’ without it. As mothers, we often seek the best for our children – clothes, education, care, health, toys, God-parents (this one is taking me quite some time to do!), future mates, and so much more. When it comes to ourselves, however, we can do without the absolute best and will settle for some things we just well, shouldn’t. The efforts we place into caring for our children’s well being should also pertain to our own sense of fulfillment and happiness. Although not all things in life are meant to make us happy, we are to maintain a sense of ‘happy’ in our lives in order to be whole, in order to look forward to the future and even care for our children.

 

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Even though caring for a child could take over your life, you have to realize your happiness cannot be jeopardized in pursuit of ‘Mommy of the Year’. This extreme focus, as I am sure many mothers experience from time to time, can cause unwarranted stress, health issues, depression, isolation, and detachment from reality. In response to this, I look to the ideals I teach during my job search techniques workshops – positive thinking. I do not just teach positive thinking to be something that is unrealistic, but just like every other healthy discipline in life, positive thinking MUST be on purpose and on a regular basis. We schedule meals, workloads, social gatherings, and family time – positive thinking and personal development should also be included on the schedule. I highly recommend a positive thinking practice to be conducted DAILY for my clients searching for work in this economy and I would not suggest anything less for fellow moms.

 

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Daily, we need to take the time to remind ourselves who we were before becoming a mother – what our passions and goals were, what made us happy, what we aspired to be in life. This may take some time to rediscover but it is well worth it! One of the major values we need in life is to value ourselves – our self worth. Knowing that we are worth the best puts all the more emphasis on our care for those we love – including our children. For example: I am a single mother (for now), however, just because my child’s father does not want to partake in co-parenting our child, does not mean I am worth any less as a woman. I could not allow thoughts of rejection to sink into my subconscious while attempting to care for my newborn – if I did, I would not be able to love her fully. I felt this early in my pregnancy and later in the first few weeks after having my child. I realized when I allowed feelings of rejection to settle, I would not take care of myself, and I would not eat as healthy nor care for my appearance when out in public. A mother’s health is important to the child they care for – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

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In order to get out of the funk of negative thoughts, I would find it soothing to think of the possibility of having a better future – including an acceleration in my career, earning more money, doing more ministry work with my church, traveling, remarrying, having a healthy relationship with my child’s father, and thoughts of creating a better life for my child than the one I had growing up. All of these thoughts seemed sporadic and brief until I purposely prompted them through my reading, repetitive statements of hope and success, or viewing my vision board.

Positive thinking has to be on purpose and intentional. Why? Negative thinking comes very naturally to us because it is what we can experience constantly, while positive thinking often comes from an imaginary place we hope to see – our faith. Biblically, psychologically, and many successful wealthy people argue intellectually in favor of the practice of positive thinking and personal development. The practice seems too simple to actually work, however it does! Just try it.

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Instead of investing in fast food and alcohol, try investing in books geared for success and positive thinking. Just try it! Give it 6 months and you should see changes, not only within but also without. Have positive twitter accounts tweet to your phone, follow social media profiles that promote a healthy lifestyle, change you music and television choices to be consistently about the positive values. There is a belief that what we believe and say is what will consistently be in our lives. Imagine thinking happy thoughts and only having ‘happy’ things happen to you – ok well at least happening more often than before! It has worked for me and led me to pursue some entrepreneurial endeavors which continue to unfold rapidly. I am very excited about my future and pray the same for you and your family (you deserve it!).

 

~ladiSims

 

ladiSims1
Danita Sims is an aspiring entrepreneur and workforce development professional with extensive experience in social services and Case Management. Ms. Sims has assisted a variety of job seekers, including veterans and disabled adults, with finding employment and adjusting to career changes. Many of her clients seek to transition into new careers with financial and educational barriers hindering their success. Ms. Sims shares community resources, teaches Employment Readiness, and provides Career Counseling in order to see her clients obtain self sufficient employment and pursue their career goals. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Ms. Sims has a passion for helping people progress towards their career goals and is an advocate for education. Her BA degree is in English with a minor in African America Studies from Southern IL University-Carbondale where she also studied creative writing, journalism, and education. She also has a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) with a concentration in Community Development from the University of IL at Chicago. Among her peers, she is known for simplifying complex issues, offering conflict resolution, and being able to connect with individuals of various socioeconomic statuses, cultures, skill sets, & educational backgrounds. Ms. Sims also has experience in Business Development and uses her ability to create and maintain strategic partnerships that would influence a community as a whole.

Money Doesn’t Have to Be Taboo

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When I think of Mothers, I think of my own experiences with good Moms– they’re basically superheroes. Since having my own child, I have had the pleasure of seeing just how superheroes do it all – strategic planning. The more you plan, the better you are at planning and executing your goals, which could vary from your everyday to-do list to starting your own home-based business. Everything that happens outside of planning seems to just be luck, good karma, or a manifestation of blessings – whatever coined phrase you’d prefer – either way everyone gets at least a little extra help along the way in order to help you take care of your children.

 

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Motherhood can be one of the most rewarding roles a person could step into during their entire lives. There is no doubt, however, that motherhood can also be very challenging and extremely traumatic to a person. One of the major concerns of many Moms, whether single or married, is the issue of managing finances. Money is never a popular topic, especially when discussing how you manage it, accrue it, and spend it! Luckily for you, I have been groomed from childhood on how to at least introduce the conversation. After the months of changes to your body during the pregnancy, the hours and in my case days of labor, and the trauma of delivery, you have a beautiful soul you are to care for emotionally, physically, and ultimately financially.

 

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Money does not have to be so taboo. We can simply start the conversation by asking about your plans. Most things we would like to do in life, whether for selfish reasons or humble, require money. Before offering up any advice for how to manage debt or a savings plan, I would encourage Moms to look at their goals. If you do not have any presently, spend some time thinking of some. Life can be much more rewarding when you are working towards something. Our children, for instance, will need items right away. Are you financially able to provide? If not, there starts your short term goal list – providing for your child. Most mothers will then look at the possibility of taking care of themselves – sometimes just the bare necessities – just to be able to effectively take care of their child(ren). Next, imagine your child(ren) want for nothing, what would you do if money was no object? Save for education or go back to school? Buy a home or pay off some debt? Invest in stocks or start a business of your own. You must clearly state what you want to do with money before you decide to pursue it in order to become a successful steward over the dollars that come in. Dare to dream and don’t limit yourself! I am a firm believer that those who set out to do a thing, accomplish it, so be prepared some time later to write a new list!

 

~be blessed

ladiSims

 

ladiSims1

Danita Sims is an aspiring entrepreneur and workforce development professional with extensive experience in social services and Case Management. Ms. Sims has assisted a variety of job seekers, including veterans and disabled adults, with finding employment and adjusting to career changes. Many of her clients seek to transition into new careers with financial and educational barriers hindering their success. Ms. Sims shares community resources, teaches Employment Readiness, and provides Career Counseling in order to see her clients obtain self sufficient employment and pursue their career goals. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Ms. Sims has a passion for helping people progress towards their career goals and is an advocate for education. Her BA degree is in English with a minor in African America Studies from Southern IL University-Carbondale where she also studied creative writing, journalism, and education. She also has a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) with a concentration in Community Development from the University of IL at Chicago. Among her peers, she is known for simplifying complex issues, offering conflict resolution, and being able to connect with individuals of various socioeconomic statuses, cultures, skill sets, & educational backgrounds. Ms. Sims also has experience in Business Development and uses her ability to create and maintain strategic partnerships that would influence a community as a whole.

Mother’s Day Moment Photo Contest

Photo Contest

It is Mother’s Day. This wonderful, special day is a day we celebrate, remember and commemorate the women who gave so much of themselves for us. It is also a day you are hopefully adored and pampered yourself!

Food LionIn honor of this day we are hosting a photo contest. We are excited to announce that our new affiliate partner, Food Lion, is sponsoring our giveaway. Two lucky winners will win a $50 Food Lion gift card! With their commitment to low prices and quality products you can purchase anything you need to help make a working mom’s life easier.

Entering is Easy:

  • What do you do? Answer the question, what does Mother’s Day mean to you using a photo. It can be a new photo or one you already have.
  • How do you enter? Post to our Facebook page, Twitter account or send to us via email at mommy@mommywurk.com. Don’t forget to tag Food Lion.
  • When is the deadline? The deadline for entries is 11:59 on Monday, May 11.
  • What is the prize? A $50 Food Lion Gift Card!
  • What is the criteria for the winners? The top two most creative posts will be chosen.
  • How will I receive my prize? Gift cards will be mailed to the winners.

Happy Mother’s Day MommyWurkers!

*This photo contest has been sponsored by Food Lion.

Spend Less Challenge – Week 1

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Image credit: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com

Happy Friday!  I am so excited to bring you our first installment of the “Spend Less Challenge” via video.  I am obviously a novice at this and debated whether I should re-record this video, but #1 – I’m not perfect, so why does my video have to be AND #2 – MommyWurk, so I had to keep it movin’. 😆

So, enjoy and please share how you spent less this week!
* Any brands seen or mentioned in this video are not a paid endorsement.

Until next time-

On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. (1 Corinthians 16:2 NIV)

God’s best-

Alexis