How do you encourage yourself to save money?

 

Hitting my first savings goal has been really exciting. One of the main uses of this savings account is to save as much money as possible and to get to all my financial goals, which I will discuss. So far now, I called my bank today to check how much was in my savings account. I added some more money of savings this week. The total so far is £527 ($869). I also added £10 in my account today and it should reflect in my bank balance on Monday. One thing I am noticing is it is easier for me to put £10 or £20 away at a given time then do big transfers of £100 or £200. What I wanted to know from you all is how do you encourage yourself to save money if you are naturally a spender?

Thinking of ways to encourage myself

I don’t think that vision boards are bullshit at all. I think a financial vision board or vision list would help me to succeed. I have not achieved many of the things on my list of goals but I have achieved some which include passing my Masters and paying off my credit card completely, which means I am free of credit-card debt. Below, I’m going to give you a financial flavour of some of the money goals I would love to get as soon as possible and they are all linked to saving:

1. Overdraft: I have until July 2012 to pay off my overdraft. I think about it a lot – it is interest-free until next July. One reason why I am saving so voraciously is because I am putting money away for this overdraft in my savings account.

2. UK: God-willing, I will go back to the UK as soon as possible. Understandably, I need a huge chunk of cash for this.

3. £10,000 savings

4. £100 emergency fund

How am I going to get there?

Obviously, by continuing to save. I would love to hear any savings tips or ideas that you all use to save and feel free to share your savings goals. I know I need to be relentlessly focused in order to get to my savings goals. I know that I have to continue what I am doing but ramp up my business x 10 in order to reach these high savings goals.

Let me know in the comments how you encourage yourself to save money and if it is working.

On The Politics and Talents of M.I.A.

The New York Times Magazine just published a very long profile on British/Sri Lankan/Pop/Hip-Hop star M.I.A. You would think that someone would be flattered to have so many words written about them, right? Wrong. Not if the reporter writes an article painting you as a hypocrite and poser! Lynn Hirschberg wrote about M.I.A.’s siding with the Tamil Tigers, who are now in a bloody civil war with the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka. I don’t know much about this civil war and Hirschberg argues that neither does M.I.A.

The article is an interesting read because Hirschberg is a great writer and a clear thinker. Her thesis is that M.I.A. is an incredibly talented and unique musician, who makes uninformed statements about politics and Hirschberg stays true to that through all 9 pages. That is an incredibly hard feat to accomplish unless you had all your evidence lined up. The following is a perfect example of her thesis:

The combination of being nearly naked, hugely pregnant, singing incendiary lyrics and having the eyes of the world upon her was too much to resist. And she was riveting, upstaging the four much more famous guys and dominating the stage. “That’s gangsta,” said Queen Latifah, one of the show’s presenters. Three days later, her son, Ikhyd (pronounced I-kid) Edgar Arular Bronf­man, was born. … As usual, she wanted to transform her personal life into a political statement. “You gotta embrace the pain, embrace the struggle,” she proclaimed weeks before Ikhyd was born. “And my giving birth is nothing when I think about all the people in Sri Lanka that have to give birth in a concentration camp.” As it happened, Maya, who is 34, gave birth in a private room in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

And this quote is just HILARIOUS in its dry humor:

Jimmy Iovine, who runs Interscope, my record company, said, ‘Pick your battles carefully — don’t put your life at risk,’ but at the end of the day, I don’t see how you can shut up and just enjoy success when other people who don’t have the fame or the luxury to rent security guards are suffering. What the hell do they do? They just die.” Maya’s tirade, typical in the way it moved from the political to the personal and back again, was interrupted by a waiter, who offered her a variety of rolls. She chose the olive bread.

As much as I love M.I.A., I will have to side with Hirschberg on this feud. M.I.A. has a very distinctive sound and I love her music. It is infused with an infectious, tribal beat and she does things with sound that you don’t think will work, but for some reason it does. She named her first two albums after her father, Arular, and her mother, Kala. You have to respect that. She claims the first two English words she learned were “Michael” and “Jackson.” I don’t know if that is actually true, but anyone that holds MJ on a pedestal is OK by me!

Despite my obviously being an M.I.A. fanboy, it absolutely drives me nuts when celebrities decide to make political statements. Just because you are a good musician does not give you the right to spread your opinions as if they are gospel and then throw a temper tantrum when someone disagrees with them, which is exactly what M.I.A. did. She tweeted the reporter’s phone number, so that she is now deluged with calls from random people. I am not saying that pop stars can’t have opinions, but by being a pop star, you have already signed onto be a role model. People will honor your opinion and take it as more than just an opinion. With this power comes a great responsibility — not to let your personal bias shape your public statements. Everyone has a personal bias; I am not faulting M.I.A. for that, but you must be aware of what limitations are imposed by this bias.

Oftentimes, it seems that celebrities take up political causes because they believe it is trendy. At some awards show I can’t quite remember now, people were wearing pins for Haiti. Nice gesture, but really, that pin did a lot more for the celebrity wearing it than it did for Haiti. Politics are too complicated, too murky, too serious to be trendy. You are an entertainer. You get paid to entertain us. Please stick to doing that because we are not paying to hear your personal opinions on a civil war, the complexities of which we are completely naive.

Hirschberg’s portrait of M.I.A. was indeed accurate. She IS a fascinating musician; she IS a pop star; she DOES live a life of privilege; but she is NOT an expert on global politics. Hirschberg does not even say any of that is undeserved or wrong. It is only incongruous. Take the criticism as constructive and move on.

EDIT: I just saw M.I.A.’s video for Born Free. I love it. It is a work of art. In the video, M.I.A. shows a group of young redhead boys being captured out of their homes, put on a bus, and hunted down. The images are raw and incredibly shocking as the children are shot in the head point blank and blown up by grenades and land mines. Although I stand by my argument that M.I.A. has no place telling the world whether the Tamil Tigers or the Sinhalese are correct, she is still an artist and an artist is nothing if they are not breaking down boundaries. Her music video can be interpreted in different ways and is not restricted to Sri Lanka. She is not directly making a statement about any political group, but is taking a universal stand against genocide. Some have even applied the message of this video towards Arizona’s recent law making discrimination against immigrants legal. These are abstract concepts that absolutely fall in the domain of artistry, even though specific politics do not.

3 Ways how niche blogs such as Black Girl with Long Hair can innovate in digital media

3 Ways in niche blogs like Black Girl with Long Hair can innovate in digital media
 
Black Girl with Long Hair (BGLH) is one of the premier black hair websites around. It has over 2,300 RSS subscribers. Leila & the BGLH team did a recent of the site, which you can view here. I read it regularly. As a media obsessive, I am always thinking about how the media landscape will look like in the future, and in particular the black media world.
 
Here are a few ideas I have about niche sites such as BGLH. I will be using BGLH as my case study here.
 
1 – Mobile
 
The rise of the smartphone means more people are accessing content on their phones. This includes social media like Twitter. As a leader in natural hair online, BGLH could take advantage of this. For example, a mobile phone application could be created in association with a mapping service like foursquare. Capital cities such as London, Paris and New York could be index in the application where it tells you where to find all the natural hair salons around you. This would save time going on a search engine to do reams of research.
 
2 – The E-reader (iSlate)
 
BGLH could form a strategic partnership with a publishing company such as Earl G. Graves Publishing Co.(this is the company that publishes Black Enterprise. It is black-owned and Black Enterprise has over 480,000 paying print magazine subscribers). BGLH could there produce content that could be disseminated on this readers. The wicked thing about them is this. Imagine the new e-reader from Apple, tentatively called the iSlate. If a subscription service for media could be worked out where a user could pay a flat rate of X £ for content, niche publishers like BGLH could create articles on how to integrate natural hair regimes into your personal finance lifestyle, for example. In this example, BGLH is therefore working in partnership with a business publisher like Earl G. Graves Publishing Co. to create content for natural-headed sisters to helps them solve problems. This is all the while done whilst being innovative in the technological sphere.
 
3 – Specialised Reports
 
Corporate content is where the cash cows are. In this case study, BGLH could create specialised white papers for corporate clients in the natural hair care field, for example a hair product company such as Miss Jessies. These reports could be on anything from a survey on what natural women are buying to future trends in the natural hair product scene. BGLH could then charge corporate clients significant money to retrieve this information as it is not easily available and requires rigourous research.
 
I’d love to hear your feedback for these ideas!

Why Black Magazines Like Pride & EBONY Are Like Ships…

michael ebony 1984mike ebony jackson cover

It’s easy to look at blogs and think they have all the answers. I seriously think Concrete Loop did help to teach VIBE a lesson of not taking its’ audience for granted. Concrete Loop is a great example of a polished media product. I can see a correlation to ships + the sea and what battle is facing the black magazine industry.

1. Captain: The captain always goes down with the ship or so they say? Magazines like EBONY have come from a long, illustrious and rich tradition of capturing the moments of black people. Despite the immediacy of the Internet, this does mean that magazines which have survived for a long time, like Pride, which is 18 years old, it means that these magazines become the captains of the black media ship so to speak due to the fact they have survived for so long. Continue reading

Ebony Magazine & Michael Jackson Commemorative Issue – WTF?

I am considering subscribing to Ebony, but I am so confused over how they are covering Michael Jackson. First, on their site, they have made a pre-order 100page book, that has farewell essays etc from people who have tried to slag him off after he died. No prizes for guessing who. Here’s what it looks like:

michael j

I would definitely love to see the pictures in the archive, but I am not checking for articles by Quincy or anyone else. Sorry. I would much rather order the 2007 back issue of him in the cover.

I really like Ebony as a magazine, and I think I will subscribe, instead of buying this issue to be honest with you. I would have preferred it if Ebony released the magazine twice, ie gone with their July 2009 issues of Tina, Halle etc but then put a special issue in the magazine shops, instead of making this pre-order.

People need to see what they are buying, before they get it.Normally, I am with Ebony but I don’t like this pre-order shit or the whole idea of farewell essays. Why can’t it just be transcripts of interviews they have done with him before or something?

Something For The Media To Drink: To Put It Mildly…

…Michael was the greatest performer/entertainer of ALL TIME (Beatles or no Beatles, Elvis or no Elvis).

This is not an opinion, it is a fact so all the haters in the media need to shut the fuck up or stop their printing presses.

Just needed to get that off my chest. Makes me want to …… AH….Scream! What song is that from?

Look below to see:

And no, I am not a bandwagon closet fan either. Have loved Michael’s music for as long as I can remember and Charcoalies will know I was so excited about going to the concert.

Black Model To Watch: Georgie Baddiel in Arise Magazine (May 2009)

This girl is stunning. I think she has done a shoot for Colures magazine as well before. Her face is amazing and her body is sick.

model three

model one

The scan above is my favourite shot. Lest I repeat it again, sick body.

model fourmodel two

I picked up Arise magazine in Borders, and so far, it is looking like a good black magazine. It brands itself as a global African magazine. I hope it does well – so far so good. And to be honest, I found an article in it where my mum was quoted in an article about green issues in Africa so that was kind of cool!

Links & Further Information

Ethnic Men in Magazines: Alex Rodriguez in DETAILS

I heard this bloke plays baseball. I have no clue who he is. All I know is he can have it.

And FYI before anyone goes after me for saying this guy is not ethnic, he was quoted as saying in Sports Illustrated that:

When people write [bad things] about me, I don’t know if it’s [because] I’m good-looking, I’m biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team….”

Bloke is kind of buff. I am feeling his physique.

[Image Source]