I was young and full of a 700 credit score. The world was my oyster. I could apply for loans, cards with high balances no one could stop me. I was unstoppable. That was until I was spending more than I was making. The credit card payments became too high. Before I knew it, I was dodging creditors, refusing to open the letters and then, years later I was hit with the wage garnishment.
The first time was shocking. I was wondering what the hell was going on. Initially, I thought my employer had got me for my hours. I called my manager raging mad trying to figure out why such a large chunk of my check was missing. I called the Marshalls office and made an agreement with them of something I could afford. One week, I was unable to make it to their office before they closed and the next paycheck, my wages were being garnished.
I learned a few tricks about garnishment including the switch up. Switching jobs doesn't STOP your garnishment but it does put it on hold until the company you're working for reports that you're working for them. Most small companies it takes a while almost a year until the next tax time. Larger companies report immediately and you'll be found. No matter where you go, they will take your check until you pay what you owe.
Last Monday was the last day of a garnishment of mine from Capital One. It's been 3 years. I owed them give or take $3,000. I work seasonally and wage garnishments are not allowed to touch things like unemployment so that's something to bare in mind. However, a peculiar event did happen at the end of my garnishment. It appeared that there was a second garnishment, I called our processing company ADP to see what gives. They informed me that Capital One had sent another order in addition to the one on file stating I owed them an additional amount of money for fees and interest. Fortunately, I knew to call the Marshall immediately and have the office fax over a letter that would cease the payments. Capital One had committed fraud by making up an order that never existed to recoup additional funds and hoped that they were dealing with a rookie but they're not.
Here is the direct law regarding wages
In New York State, a creditor can garnish the lesser of 10% of your gross wages or 25% of your disposable income to the extent that this amount exceeds 30% of minimum wage. If your disposable income is less than 30 times minimum wage, it cannot be garnished at all.
The last part is extremely important. If your disposable income not total income, disposable is less than 30 times minimum they can not garnish you but YOU have to be diligent.
Here are some tips to combat wage garnishment in NYC
1. Do not miss court dates. Missing court dates gives them an automatic judgement in their favor which you can have repealed but you don't want to go through that process. Avoid this by showing up the first time.
2. Be realistic and don't let them bully you. These companies will try to suck you dry for every penny you have. Some interest rates are exorbitant make sure you have your paper work from when you signed the contract, some companies (like Capital One) will not only give you a higher interest rate but tag on expenses you never owed in the first place.
3. Keep a calendar with the amounts you paid and what you have left. I was very diligent with knowing my payments and predicting when it would end. A lot of people don't pay attention and end up having to fight these companies for their funds which will take forever. Don't be that person who lets money leave their hand freely.
4. Learn for next time. Wage garnishment is no joke. If it happens to you once make sure it never happens again! Make realistic credit agreements, learn the 30/60/90 rule. Otherwise, it can go on your credit report as a tax lien and makes it difficult for companies to trust your creditworthiness in the future.
5. You don't need an expensive lawyer. Everything you need to know about the law is right there on the free world wide webs.
OTHER POSTS IN MY PERSONAL FINANCE SERIES
Assistance if you've fallen behind in your rent
Life after fucking up your credit
Buying a Metrocard can help build your credit
I was first introduced to ToSave earlier this year in January it was one of those websites that I felt was too scary to shop on because it had EVERYTHING kind of like an Ali Express. I received an email from their PR company to do a review on the website and things did not go smoothly. Some of the items I wanted were not available in my size o were sold out but eventually we picked items that they had in stock and items that would fit. As always when shopping on Chinese sites, I am so worried with sizing because I don't fall into the traditional S,M,L,XL I'm in between M,L, XL and 1X so shopping can be super difficult for me. I posted tips on how to shop overseas (sites like Zaful, SammyDress, SheIn and now TOSAVE) and you can see this blog post here and this exact outline is what I used to make my determinations with sizing on ToSave.
I ordered 4 items and they came in approximately 11 days. Shipping from China usually takes anywhere from 10-30 days so this was pretty exceptional. All my items fit except for the lingerie piece that I had, the bottom piece was too small but it was beautiful quality. The lingerie item was the only thing that I felt didn't match the picture 100% I thought it would have more structure to it like it did in the picture however, for $4.00 you really can not complain. The most expensive item in this haul was the dress and it was $8. I'm interested in ordering more stuff from this site they have many home items and probably more bralettes because you can never have enough of those.
If you liked my mini haul, check out their sister site BeautyIn Hair
This post has affiliate links! Feel free to click and shop.
1. Rock a bodysuit
After out mid sections expand and attempt to rubber band back to normal, we still try to hold on to our former selves. Our past lives of Forever21 camis and tight H&M tees are over. Bodysuits give coverage to your front and your back without the plumbers crack or chicho cleavage.
2. Not every jean needs to be skin tight
In the 2000s it was all about the skinny low rise. While we gasped at our moms rocking their mom jeans, we can do it too with a little more pizazz. Mom jeans are flattering to the tummy area without being too tight and still provides the assmazing view of the backside you want. Plus with the options of shoes to wear the jeans become much greater. My favorite pair of jeans came from Banana Republic.
3. Show your arms/ shoulders
You can be sexy without showing cleavage. I was so ecstatic to see off the shoulder tops make a come back. Those things were my favorite. You can grab some cute, inexpensive, off the shoulder shirts from my favorite site SheIn or from Rainbows if you are close to one. Some of them are similar to styles you may have seen at Zara for a fraction of the price.
4. Get fitted professionally for a bra
One of my biggest post partum challenges was the guess work of my bra size. I was doing the math adding and subtracting 32s, 34s, dividing cups until I figured something that I thought worked for me. A bad bra can ruin a great outfit. There's no need for your bra to be so tight that your skin seeps underneath in a cry for help. Back fat shouldn't be accentuated unless of course that's your thing. No one has the same size boobs all their life and like a pap smear you should be getting fitted yearly. AdoreMe.com is actually doing FREE fittings this month so check them out.
5. Go from body con to skater
As a smaller lady, my go to outfit was a crop top, body con skirt and Tory Burch flats. Now that I have a little more meat on me, I wear body con skirts occasionally but I really love A-line and skater skirts. They're so feminine and stylish. You can add elements like a leather jacket or studs to create a cute, contrasting look.
6. Do not get rid of your crop tops
Yes, I know the majority of us don't want to show our stomach and that's fine. But, do not get rid of your crop tops. Crop tops are not only great layering pieces but are excellent to pair with high waisted linen pants and a- line skirts.
I know you probably read the title in awe. Probably cursing me out as you read this calling me all sorts of names, maybe stanky leg, stinky butt or whatever else is clever. But the truth is it's not that bad. There is life outside of deodorant(for the most of us anyway).
Ever since I was a young girl, wearing deodorant was sort of a rite of passage in which you cross into adulthood. I still remember the name of my very first deodorant; Team Spirit. Through my journey of life, I've seen many family members go through ailments, people die for drinking and smoking and on the extreme end, people dying for absolutely no reason at all. I gave up meat last year and it was a very long time before I had a steak again. Now, I may eat meat every other month if the mood hits me. After reading articles about pus and the mistreatment of cows, I decided that maybe milk wasn't the best thing. We switched to almond milk. I gave up cheese altogether.
Giving up certain foods has caused me to be the butt of many jokes, and sometimes being called a fool. Rightfully so. While I was giving up these things I was putting into my body, not once did I pay attention to the things I was putting on my body. Such as laundry detergents, facial washes, perfumes and deodorant.
If you thought looking at an ingredient list for a bag of chips would make you crazy, just try looking at the ingredients on a can of hair spray. The majority of them you would probably have to Google and when you see their other uses, you'd probably be shocked as hell to know that you're spraying that in the air or any where close to your face. This was my shock when I looked at the ingredients of my beloved Secret deodorant.
Thinking back to when I was a young girl, I would find lumps underneath my arms after extended uses of deodorant. My grandma told me I just needed to change the deodorant but I never asked why or what it was. There is no solid evidence and it's only suggested that swollen lymph nodes can be attributed to life altering diseases such as breast cancer and lymphoma. Why was smelling good possibly worth the cost of my life?
Honestly, it's not but here's my journey of my one month without deodorant.
Weather is mild 50's to low 60's. Raining occasionally and dark.
All is well. Shower daily, smell decent, did not shave all is well with the world.
One day in upper 80's. Mostly 60-70 degrees. No rain in sight and sunny as hell.
Going strong, smelled a little musty one day towards the end of the day. Kept underarms to self. Enjoyed life. Gives up cheese.
Decent days, low 60's no rain. Sun with clouds.
The stench hit the motherfucking fan. Increased activity, and nervousness. Changed soap from almond and patchouli to citrus. Smelled like onions from the hot dog cart. Feeling wild self conscious. Tried to mask it with perfume. Failed immensely. Body changed smells through different emotions. First time I've ever noticed it. Smell subsides when emotions subsides, or maybe my nose grew accustom to it. LMFAO. That's terrible. Shirts smell terrible at the end of the day.
Gloomy and cold. Low 50s - mid 60's. Went on vacation for two days, hot, muggy and 87 degrees.
Switches back to patchouli and almond soaps. Decided not to bathe for 2 days. Smells perfectly fine. Drinks more water. Controls sweat through controlling nervousness smell subsides when emotions subsides. Shirts do not smell after being taken off.
What I can say is that I smell different at certain stages of the day and certain emotions trigger different responses which I have never noticed in my whole life. I have been some accustomed to smelling like Dove and Secret that I never took the time to smell me. It was also really cool to figure out that citrus oils did not blend well with my body's natural chemistry which was shocking because I was using that soap before I decided to give it up. Dr. Bronners soap has become my go to body wash and I can't wait to explore with fragrances.
Obviously, I am not the first person to do this!
Check out these other articles on going aluminum free!
From the time you graduate high school, besides going to college, the only thing that any one ever talks about in the US is credit(It's a little different in the UK). You would think since credit is such an important factor in our lives the powers that be would teach a course on money management in high school or personal finance in college but they don't. That just makes you wonder if the system was designed to keep those who don't know down and generational wealth up.
As a young woman, I always had a decent job(sometimes two or three) and I made sure to save my money for a rainy day. At the age of 19, I had a 710 credit score and at the age of 22 that score was 730. I paid my bills on time, my credit cards had high limits and I was able to pretty much keep myself afloat. With the progression of time, and my desire to be self sufficient, I ultimately drowned in debt. I ran away from the mail lady, man, UPS, FedEx and even DHL. I learned the names of bill collectors, their sneaky tricks to get you to open their envelopes not limited to sending envelopes that looked like checks or packages marked "sensitive", "urgent" or "you don't want to miss this". My credit score plummeted. It was like the SATs where you get 300 points just for writing your name. Besides the agony of the low numbers, I couldn't get a bank account. I couldn't apply for a loan and when my family needed help, I couldn't have any utilities in my name. Having a low credit score not only fucks up your borrowing life but prevents you from going back to school. Possibly buying a house, getting certain jobs. And definitely forces you to put up more money when renting an apartment. I seriously considered doing bankruptcy so much so that I went downtown Brooklyn to the courts to start the bankruptcy proceedings in New York. After one of my debts magically disappeared off of my credit report(good ol 7 year rule), I decided to re-evaluate my stance and make a sizable effort to diminish the amount of my debt or at the very least increase my credit score.
Regardless of all that, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can still live after fucking up your credit and you can be proactive. Since I was no longer able to get a bank account at any of the normal banks, I got a prepaid debit card. It became my primary card, 3 years later I still have it today. There are no fees associated with the card except ATM fees. No overdrafts for being poor. 7 months ago, I opened a savings account with my prepaid debit card. Allowing all my accounts to go to collection put me in a position to barter with them significantly bringing down the amount I owed them and almost 100% of the time avoid paying the exorbitant interest fees. I learned the laws regarding credit. I fought every MCN creditor that came my way. I disputed all the stuff on my credit report. Your credit score is a numbers game but cash is king. There are things like THISISALICE which helps you build your credit while you pay for your transportation. They don't deny you, they won't send you a letter explaining their decision. I also make sure that I save 35% of my income. 17% of that 35% goes to my 401k that I can withdraw from in case of an emergency. A 401k plan is a no frill loan account for those with terrible credit. As of now, my student loans are up to date, I pay $5 per month. In September, I will be able to return to school and that will put a freeze on my loans accruing interest.
Here are some tips for people who are struggling with credit. CreditKarma is a great place where people who have beaten the odds go to share their various experiences.
1. Get rid of your bank.
The fees that accumulated from being poor was more often than not an additional bill. One time, I had a accumulated $150 in fees that the bank refused to give me a pass on. Prepaid debit cards are more feasible for people who have a problem planning or those who like myself love to swipe without looking.
2. Set realistic goals
One of the most prevalent issues I had with saving after my credit score disappeared was being realistic. I was 24 years old with a rent of $800 bringing home $900 a check. It was impossible to save $600 every pay period when things needed to be paid. So tell the truth, don't lie to yourself success comes easier that way.
3. Don't procrastinate
The famous saying is good things come to those who wait but that's not always true. The longer you wait to dispute or take care of credit card claims, the more detrimental it will be not only to your financial health but your mental health as well. Oh the anguish!
4. Apply for a CreditOne card
If all else fails and nobody is approving you for a card(not even Victoria Secret) credit one takes EVERYONE. Be sure not to abuse it and pay it off in a timely manner. Don't bite more than you can chew.
5. Creditors are bullies, don't be afraid to fight back
Collectors are trained to ask you what can you pay today. Don't be ashamed to say nothing. Don't be too afraid to say I don't owe you because you sold my debt. These small statements can be the difference between unknowingly admitting to a debt and winning the battle in court.
6. Credit is not a one size fits all
What worked for your best friend's debt may not work for yours. Exploration through trial and error is the only way to know what works for you. It's perfectly okay to turn down advice and it's normal to question things you read on line.
How's your credit? Have you had any issues in adulthood with school loans or credits? How did you manage?
Also, check out this article on the balance for some necessary information on credit.
OTHER POSTS IN MY PERSONAL FINANCE SERIES
Assistance if you've fallen behind on your rent
Life after fucking up your credit
Buying a Metrocard can help build your credit
Why I decided not to file for bankruptcy in NY
We've been bouncing around for the past few months. Now that we've finally settled in the fun begins. Now we're in the process of redoing our new apartment(DIY only) which happens to be my dad's old apartment. On the list of things to re-do is the bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen. The kitchen is definitely a top priority because of the build up that my dad accumulated over the years, the stove is next to the window in the kitchen which is great for eliminating the smells of cooking but kills the curtain and the wall. Many people tile their wall but I think an acrylic splash back is more fashion forward and colorful. Simply Plastics has affordable back splashes and an array of colors to match any kitchen. The acrylic is also easier to install noting that all you need to install it is screws and stain protection is easy.
*This is a sponsored post!
*This is a sponsored post
If you know anything about me then you know dressing up is one of my favorite past times. Whether it's getting sexy for yourself or your spouse in the house, or choosing a new restaurant to show off your new garms, getting dressed takes the monotony out of life. You get to step outside of the daily rigmarole and transform into a different person. I love going to formal balls and playing Cinderella but more exciting than the actual dressing up part is finding the perfect dress. There is no one size fits all approach to dress shopping but some of these new, overseas websites make it a little more manageable to shop by offering things such as specific sizing, customize-able colors and 24 hour customer service.
Chic Mall is no different. You can check out their array of beautiful and elegant evening gowns by clicking the link.
I have a love affair with shoes but after Sai came, my shoe size increased and for the last 3 years I have been trying to re-build my shoe closet. I love unique and comfortable shoes. One of my best friends Shauna and I had a shoe website that ended up dissolving over time due to a number of things. As many of you know, I do a lot of shopping at stores like Rainbow and Dr. Jays but I also do high end shopping as well. I limit myself to one expensive pair of shoes a year. For me, there is no in between. It's either really expensive or super cheap. I love stripper shoes for the bedroom, a good pair of flats for work, and a good wedge for a BBQ. Lately, I've been going to tons of balls so crystal or sparkly wedding shoes are a must. FSJ shoes sent me an email and after looking at their website and looking up some reviews, I decided I would give them a try. So this is the preview post to the review post. They have a good range of designer inspired shoes and some really unique leopard print shoes. I haven't been wearing stilletto heels lately because one who wants to run behind a toddler in 4 inch heels and two I have a bunion so if I do wear them they have to be open toed. I picked out a few of my favorite shoes from the, check out the site let me know if you like my picks or if you see anything on there that you like.
*Tip they also make custom shoes so if you have an idea in mind they can do it for you!
If you follow me on my snapchat, you know that in the midst of screaming good morning, talking about work and the weather, I often spit a few gems that I have found helpful and might assist other people navigate life. This particular lesson I was going to speak about a few weeks ago on my snap. I believed someone desperately needed it, like I so needed to hear it at the time it smacked me in my face. However, after a conversation with Corey, I did not want him to think that the sermon was about him so I diverted from posting about it and a few weeks later here we are again with the same theme.
The one thing I miss about pre-motherhood was experiencing the freedom to, well be free. I loved getting up when I felt like it, going where ever the wind took me and not having single responsibility besides my rent and occasionally eating food(seriously I was like 100 pounds). I've never not had a job and in between the few but very brief periods of traditional unemployment, I had the flexibility to decide when I wanted to go back to work, where I was going to work and how often. I successfully controlled that aspect of my life. Being a mom and being in a relationship means that I am not free not in any sense of the word. My decisions do not belong to me. I can not get up one day and decide something is not for me. I can not create my own plan to get where I want to in my career because my plan includes more than me and my life is no longer solely my own.
This is not a #ihatemylifeandwishiwassomethingelse post. I'm getting to the good part so allow me to get there.
I was reading this self help book about two years, the name of it is not important. At this time, I was dealing with post-partum depression, quitting a job that I loved, a spouse who was mean spirited and didn't understand my life. Just a bunch of eye rolling experiences at once. Anyway, the entire book pissed me off starting from the first sentence. It said that every thing that happens in the world is your fault. Every thing that happens to you is your fault. Starting from the weather extending to your failures in life, your shitty job, your 30 cent promotion, all of it can be traced back to you. You ultimately have the power to change the weather. When I first read it, I thought "wow, the author of this book must be on some good crack to think every thing is my fault and I can control the weather" but what I wasn't realizing at the time was the underlying meaning was not to literally change the weather where you are but change your location which in turn changes the weather. This was not a book that said you had hypnosis powers like the Secret. Instead it was more logical, look at something that you have no control of, alter the parts you do have control of and carry on from there.
Learning how to change the hand you've been dealt doesn't just happen overnight. I'm still struggling with this. I blame myself for many things that happen in my life. I blame myself for starting my career over at the age of 26, I blame myself for being a mom, I blame myself for writing this post. This life of mine is my fault. The tipping point is turning the whole this is my fault thing into a positive. Making the things you're responsible for a great thing, something you can gloat about.
Claiming your faults allows you to be proactive, foresee events and prevent fires instead of putting them out. I know the MTA is going to fuck up today therefore, I'm going to leave 20 minutes earlier than I should and if I should end up late it's my fault because I probably should've left an additional 20 minutes earlier. Accountability is half the battle of being prepared.
There ain't nothing like a Brooklyn girl! When I tell you guys I love Amra, I fucking love her. #rezyrider for life. She started from the bottom and when she gives life she makes all the girls gag. Her resume is impressive from Instagram baddie to full out business owner(hello Lipland). Amrezy is setting the Instagram trends before they even become outfit trends and is inspiring a whole new group of boss bitches through her confidence. I've personally been following her life since I first got on Instagram back in 2012 and she's slayed from then. There's been tons of negative things said about her including her choice to get some plastic surgery(key words here, HER CHOICE) her glow up pictures have surfaced but she doesn't give a fuck and I love it. Below are some of my favorite looks (trust me there's more), her whole closet is #goals. There's some #glamrezy in here too. Enjoy and hopefully you get some fashion inspo from it.
*photos taken from Instagram