5 Steps to Breaking It Off for Good

I spent most of my undergrad years watching the entire series of Sex and the City on constant rotation.  I know almost every episode by heart and can recite most line by line.  As a young woman, growing into my own, I relied heavily on how I saw “adults” dealing with life issues I knew were coming my way.  Inevitably, that meant breakups.  I remember the episode “The Post-It Note Always Sticks Twice,” in which Carrie has an absolutely bonkers night out with the girls reveling in the disgrace she felt being broke up with on a post-it note.  She even used the post it to get out of a drug charge!  Classic.

Since college, I’ve had a few break ups.  Some were decent and others were honestly, truly awful.  So, I set out on a journey to figure how to end a romance with both parties’ egos unscathed. I want to make sure I note that this advice is strictly for people who are ready to end their relationships, not people who are scouring the interwebs looking for a reason.  Also, this is for an average relationship.  If you are being physically or emotionally abused, I insist that you seek professional help from law enforcement, community agencies, and your support system.

  • Commit to decoupling. You know when it’s time to cut and run.  You now the why.  Don’t go back and forth with yourself once a decision is made and definitely don’t avoid the inevitable.  
  • Rip the Band-Aid off.  As soon as you commit to decoupling, you need to have the conversation.  It will be less stressful than holding onto the bombshell for days, week or even months.
  • Speak clearly to be understood. This break up is about to be permanent so make sure you say as much. Be concise with your words and emotions.
  • Carry an umbrella and sunglasses.  This means be prepared for whatever feelings they will have.  You two may be in agreement or it could be a war of words.  No matter what reaction your soon-to-be ex has, you want to be prepared for it so it doesn’t influence your words or deeds during the conversation.
  • Go to your corners and stay there.  Once the deed is done, do yourself a favor and retreat.  It’s not cowardice but simply allowing both of you to deal with the aftermath in a safe, comfortable environment.  I recommend getting a suite at a hotel or hanging out with your friends. 

Tell me about your breakup stories.  What worked for you? What didn’t?

 

Here are 5 Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

Tax Time is upon us, my friends!  Many of us are expecting a windfall in the form of a tax refund and our palms are itching to spend it on some very new, very shiny things.  Hold. Up.  Before that, I want you to take a look at this list of "Adult" ways to handle this refund. 

Save - This should be the very thing you want to do with all of your extra income, honestly.  No, it’s not super glamorous or baller, but dammit if it isn’t practical as hell. Put those dollars in a savings account to pad your emergency fund or start one.  Most Americans don’t have $500 in savings.  Let’s change that.

Invest - Like savings, but (potentially) on steroids.  Investing your money in an IRA, stocks, or CDs not only prevents you from unnecessary spending, it can actually MAKE you money! WHAT! Make that money work for you, girl!

Charity - DONATE THEM DOLLARS! What cause are you most passionate about? Literacy? Environment? Disease Research? Whatever it is, use your windfall to support something you actually believe in.

Debt Payoff - I really should have placed this hire because it would be the responsible thing to do.  But frankly, who really wants to do that.  Still, this is a great use of your refund.  Pay down that car, loan, credit card that’s been hanging over your head and get closer to being debt free.

A Much Needed Vacation - If you’re anything like me, you are in DESPERATE need of a vacation. While this is last on the list, it is by no means a last resort Sure, every single one of those suggestions would impact your bottom line in a positive way (debt reduction, net worth increase, potential tax benefits) but sometimes...you just need to treat yourself.  Americans waste over 600 million vacation days a year.  WHY IS THAT A THING?! Use this cash to finally take some time to just be either on a beach, in the forest, or in your own town.  You work hard, you definitely deserve it.

 

Ask these 3 questions before you lend to a friend.

Let’s be honest with each other: no one really likes being asked for money.  There is something that makes our skin crawl every time someone asks us for our hard earned dollars.  Of course, if it’s someone we like, we are more than happy to do it... sometimes.  However, what about the times we just don’t want to?  Here are the questions you need to ask yourself before you lend money to a friend.

  1. Do you have it give? This seems like a no-brainer, but clearly there are people out here giving the shirt off their back and then having to ask someone else to come out of pocket for them.  It’s a vicious cycle.  My mother gave me a great piece of advice about this when I was growing up.  She said, “If you can’t afford for them not to pay you back, then you can’t afford to give it.” I live by that.  If I can’t feed myself to help you pay your insurance, then you can’t have it.

  2. What’s your philosophy on repayment? Before you take a loan out with a bank, they make it very clear what the terms of repayment.  What’s the interest? What term of time? Penalty? All laid out in the not-so-fine print. If you don’t know your terms, it’s unfair to both parties involved.  Before you hand over the $, make sure you have gone over how you expect to be paid back.  If they don’t agree, don’t part with your cash!

  3. Worst case scenario, What if they don’t pay you back? Check it.  No one wants to think about this, but it’s a hard truth.  Some of our dearest friends and most treasured loved ones are not responsible borrows.  That’s probably why they are coming to you.  So if they do you like they did the bank, credit card company, or landlord, how will that affect the relationship?  Will it damage trust? Will you be able to forgive them?  Could you move past it? If your friend not paying you back would kill the relationship, you might not want to jump down that hole.

Having a very frank and honest conversation with yourself about this topic will save you a lot of heartache and financial loss in the long run.  Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, even if this friend or family member tries to guilt you. You are the only person on the planet responsible for you.  The folk that love you will respect whatever decision you make, trust.