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5 Signs That You’re Smart With Money

Since you most likely work hard for your money, it’s important that you are also smart with money in order to hold on to it and put it to work so that it helps you achieve your financial goals.

Here are some signs that you are smart with money.

You Have a Budget

If you are smart with money, you have a plan written down to decide how you will spend your money each month. You know that without a plan, you might run out of money before your next paycheck or before your next invoice is paid.

Over the long term, those who budget effectively will have manageable debt, room to indulge occasionally, and savings to pay irregular or unexpected expenses and retire comfortably.

You Keep Your Financial Goals in Mind

People who are smart with money have short-term, midterm, and long-term financial goals. These goals may range from paying off a credit card to retire by a certain age or saving enough to start a business. Whatever your goals are, if you’ve always got them in mind, it’s easier to ignore unnecessary expenses like impulse purchases that may take you off your path.

You Leverage Credit Wisely

There are many ways to leverage credit to create wealth. However, wealth creation via credit only occurs when the item purchased is an asset that puts money in your account on a regular basis, and continues to gain value that exceeds the interest you are paying on it.

You Avoid Unnecessary Fees

Although fees related to banking and financial services are almost impossible to avoid, there are some that you should never have to pay. Being smart with your money means understanding the financial products you are using.

With your bank, you avoid being charged unnecessary monthly fees and fees for insufficient funds or bounced payments. With your credit card, you avoid paying late fees. Even with services such as PayPal, you use the free “family and friends” option to avoid their transaction fee.

You Shop for Necessities with a Plan

Raise your hand if you have ever walked into a store for a few items and walked out with three times as much as you originally planned to get. I’ve been there too. Failing to plan means planning to fail. That’s why I now create a list beforehand and stick to it (most of the time).  Whether you are shopping for your home or your business,  it’s smart to do so with a list that has your budget in mind.


Tony O. Lawson

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4 Smart & Easy Ways to Begin your Shoppe Black Journey!

One of the many thought provoking songs on Stevie Wonder’s 1976 double album Songs in the Key of Life is “Black Man”. The first line is “First man to die for the flag we now hold high (Crispus Attucks) was a Black man.”

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The lyrics go on to tell of the many unnoticed or underappreciated contributions people of color have made to America. Then there’s this striking, still relevant passage:

“We pledge allegiance all our lives to the magic colors red, blue, and white, but we all must be given the liberty that we defend. For with justice not for all men history will repeat again. It’s time we learned this world was made for all men.”

Unfortunately, many people would agree that Stevie’s impassioned declaration still does not reflect reality in America 40 years later. With modern technology and social media we continue bear witness to the brutal racism and racialized violence that still exists at an unfathomable level in America.

Just as Black Lives Matter, Black (earned) dollars matter. We must use our money to further prove just how much Black Lives Matter by supporting Black owned businesses. By doing this, we will demonstrate to non-Black owned businesses that our spending (or the absence thereof) is hugely significant. This is a call to action!


Ways to Begin your Shoppe Black Journey

Shopping Black is more than buying African print fashion, jewelry, and art, although buying those things is meaningful too. The goal of this article is to encourage you to dig deep and see where you can send significant amounts of money to Black owned businesses. Below are four steps to shopping Black and making a difference.

  1. Understand what your spending habits are. If you already have a budget you follow, this should be easy to do. Otherwise, jot down a list of all the categories of your spending. Then, next to each category, list the companies and professionals your money typically goes to each month. Here is a sample:
Category Provider
  • State Credit Union
  • Big Bank
  • Employment Credit Union
Retirement/Investments Big Bank
Mortgage/Rent Big Bank
Utilities Big Energy
  • Local Black Farmers
  • Latino Grocers
  • National Grocer
  • Black Personal Trainer
  • Black Zumba Instructor
  • National Health Insurance company
Car maintenance/gas
  • Big Gas
  • Chain Oil Change Co.
  • Big Tire Store
Loans/Credit Cards
  • Aunt Sallie Mae/Uncle Navient
  • Big Bank
Professional Services
  • Local Tax Guy
  • Black Attorney
  • Local Therapist(s)
  • Black Printer
  • Local Stylist
  • Black Natural Hair Care Shoppe
  • Local Black Fashion Designers
  • National clothing stores
  • Afro-Brazilian Drumming Group
  • Local bars
  • Black Made Wine and Spirits
  • BlackandSexyTV
  • KweliTV (Black)
  • Virp (Black)
  • Family Charity supporting Black kids going to college and traveling abroad
  • Various Crowdfunding Campaigns for Black artists and initiatives


Having an understanding of what you spend your money on and where you spend it is a great first step to shopping Black because you can then look for Black owned options that fit your specific needs and desires.

Simply committing to not buying products by big, multinational companies or not shopping at big box stores does not get you closer to spending your money with Black businesses.

Bonus: If you are someone who does not budget every month, completing this step puts you in a position to do so!


  1. Research Black Owned Businesses

Next, and this will take some patience and effort, you should research Black owned businesses and professionals that can fulfill your needs and wants. Refinancing your mortgage with a Black bank may not be a feasible or realistic short-term goal. However, who are the professionals within those companies that currently loan or hold your money?

You’re going to want to build relationships with them. This goes for insurance agents, realtors, mortgage brokers, etc. With respect to the entertainment category, consider “BlackandSexyTV and Chill” instead of “Netflix and Chill.”

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(Sidenote: the author is #TeamMilan! The actress is her BFF and linesister). If you want a simple place to start researching Black owned business, start at your plate. Look for local, Black farmers as a source for your food.


  1. Build Your Shopping Black Team

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Outside of gift and clothing products, it can be challenging to find Black business, especially if you do not live in a diverse area. Therefore, you should build a Shoppe Black team. Your team can be made up of friends and family, or folks from your place of worship. It can be your sorority sisters or fraternity brothers.

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Any logical connection to similarly interested people will work. If you have difficulty finding people in your personal network seek out like-minded people in groups such as Girltrek, Outdoor Afro, and on platforms such as

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And don’t think your team of people who are shopping Black have to only be Black. While the political statement of Blacks demonstrating the tremendous monetary power we have in the US is very critical, it is also important that Black businesses thrive and that requires everyone’s support.

4 . Spend, Document, and Share


Spending your Black dollars after you followed the first three steps should be easy. You should also document what you do and share your successes and learning moments with your network and the world. The Shoppe Black team would love help you do just that. When you share your Black business spending use the hashtag #ShoppeBlack. Also mention Shoppe Black on Twitter and Instagram (@shoppeblack).


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The Bottom Line

No matter what the reach of your spending is, you can make a difference in Black spending by directing money from just one budget item to a Black business or professional. The more you direct to Black Business, the greater the impact this entire movement will have.

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The author of this article recently had a “Shoppe Black Saturday” during which she endeavored to consume food and drink grown and/or sold by Black businesses. It’s a lot tougher than you think. Learn more about her experience here.

– Contributed by Mavis Gragg

Mavis Gragg is an attorney at the Gragg Law Firm, PLLC in Durham, North Carolina where she specializes in estate planning and estate administration. She is very passionate about maintaining and growing Black wealth through sound legal strategies and problem solving. When she is not being a justice girl, she can be found at an art gallery, trotting the globe, or on the dance floor.

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