Introducing…Money Smart Latina!

Although I started a FinCon recap many times over, I never published one. Sure, I had a great time. I saw people I only get to see once a year and got to see my baby, the Plutus Awards Happy Hour, come full circle. However, there was a nagging feeling as I went about FinCon and noticed some things.

I am not one to play the minority card, like, ever. But, I noticed at FinCon, the majority of people in attendance were Caucasian. Sure, we have some people of color, mainly African American and Asian, but we don’t really have any Latino personal finance writers and enthusiast. I mean, by reading my own blog you probably wouldn’t even know I was a person of Latino descent either. I mean, my name is Athena for goodness sake. But, what’s in a name really?

I’m a Latina and I am so proud of it. I love the color of my skin and my heritage. I mean, who else has the best food hands down? And the most sensuous women on the planet? We also have the most passionate people of any culture and rich, with music and dancing and so much heritage. But for some reason, we have a sincere void in the personal finance realm and that was the most prevalent thing I noticed while in New Orleans.

No one in my family taught me about personal finance and as I work with so many first generation Latinas myself, I’ve noticed that a lot are in generational poverty and no one in their family is passionate about personal finance. A lot however are taught that money is scarce. Money can be scarce but there’s also ways to move past that to where money could be plentiful and work for them instead of against them. I want to share my stories of how I was able to break the cycle, along with tips and education to my fellow Latinas and young adults.

And so, after working with a consultant and a designer, my new site and project is ready to be announced! I introduce to you, Money Smart Latina, where Latinas and finance meet! Please stop by and check it out! It’s time to bring the personal finance community to the Latinas!


After tracking my spending from my trip to New Orleans and Disneyland, I can easily say I overspent in the vacation budget big time. I may have even cried a little realizing I had overspent by $500 and dipped into my apartment savings account, which bummed me out but what really bummed me out was realizing how much I would need in deposits to move into my new apartment after the first of the year and how my spending binge hurt me in the end.

Even though my roommate and boyfriend were both totally understanding of the situation ( her for allowing me to stay just a bit longer and my boyfriend delaying his snowbird trip), I still felt extremely guilty and had a wake up call. A few weeks ago, one of my best friends was talking to me on the phone after a revelation I had in therapy. My friend said I really needed to ask myself what do I want in my life and make choices from there. I know I don’t want to let others down but what I really don’t want to let myself down. I don’t want to financially sabotage myself and my goals and that’s what exactly I’m doing every time I have a spending binge. So, after talking to Janine and Sofia, we decided to all three go on a spending challenge for various reasons. And you know spending challenges aren’t necessarily fun unless you give it a nickname so we titled “NoSpendVer.”

NoSpendVer is a 60 day no spend challenge that will be taking place from October 20th until December 20th, right until Christmas, which means we should be back on financial track right before the holidays and the new year! It’s always great to spend the new year on a right foot and we think this is the way to go. The rules are as follows:

  • No spending on non-essentials
  • Essentials include: groceries, gasoline, utilities, rent and anything you NEED to live.
      1. Because we don’t want to be completely anti-social, there is a limit to $20 a week on “fun”, or $160 in 2 months
      2. No purchasing clothing – with the exception of a pair of winter boots.
      3. No dining out or coffees unless it’s included in the fun budget.
      4. Christmas gifts can be purchased – tis the season ( but only spend accordingly)
      5. Reimbursable expenses don’t count.

Those are the basics of our rules we’ll all be following but we are allowed to alter in our own circumstances. I will definitely be trying to only spend my side income for those holiday expenses coming up, such as travel and gifts. I have two plane tickets to purchase along with a few gifts for loved ones, my secret Santa at school and postage for Christmas cards. This will only me to hustle even harder since I need to save all of my paychecks to make my goal of moving out into my own apartment by February 15th!

By doing this challenge, I hope to save up not only $1,000 towards my apartment but $400 for my retainer. That’s right, my braces are coming off soon! So, starting the new year in a new apartment with a new smile sounds definitely fitting to me.

And if anyone else wants to join our challenge, please let us know!

September Goals Recap/ October Goals

Hello all! It’s the first week of October and I’m reporting on my goals but not my budget since I haven’t had a chance to recap my spending yet. I printed off all my transactions but have yet to categorize them. My goals last month were short and sweet and because of that, I did pretty well.

  • Be nice to myself. PASS! I was pretty nice to myself all month, despite getting severely sick during FinCon in NOLA. I also spent a lot of time at home this month which was hard at first due to my mindset but I’ve been really enjoying it as of lately. I’ve been working hard on my homework and reading so that’s good.
  • Finish all my work before FinCon. Sort of pass. All of my homework was done but not all of my writing gigs so that bothered me. I had to work during FinCon a lot of the time so between that and being sick, I spent a lot of time in my room.
  • Make $1,000, save $500. PASS. FINALLY. Between my part time job, writing gigs, and a long term project that finally wrapped up, I beat my goal! All of this money is pretty much going towards my new apartment fund. I’ve been really tempted to actually start buying things for it but that’s even more I’d have to move in January. :(

September had me venturing to NOLA, attending FinCon, and going to New Jersey. Also, I went back to school full-time and it’s kicking my ass. What’s up for this October?

  • Catch up on all data! Work is going really well except for that whole data thing. Time to catch up!
  • Launch my new site. After FinCon, I was inspired to start a new site. ATA won’t be going anywhere so don’t worry. However, my new venture will be strictly finance. My goal is to have it up and running by the end of this month. The domain has been bought, I have secured hosting and a designer so I just need to start up the content. I can’t wait to share! It’s something I feel will make a difference and it’s not around yet but definitely needed.
  • Get back into a routine and relax more. I recently expressed to a few people that I was feeling frazzled, stressed out and exhausted since returning back to school. My therapist and I discussed it more in detail, and she tactfully explained to me that I AM doing too much and anyone would be stressed, frazzled and exhausted with my schedule, not to mention what a hot mess it is when you throw in those devils named Anxiety and Depression into the mix. I’ve decided to take it easy a bit more, in the forms of not traveling until Thanksgiving, as much as I enjoy it. I also decided to try relaxing a bit more, even though I thought I relaxed enough?
  • Make a $500 in side income, save $500 in my apartment fund. My apartment fund is looking snazzy, I would just like to keep it growing since I need to put deposits down soon.
  • GO ON A SHOPPING BAN I spent way too much money in New Orleans and Disneyland so I really need to reign in my spending. I’m giving myself a $20 allowance to go out with per weekend BUT THAT IS IT. No spending on everything else in the world so hopefully I’ll be able to get my savings back up. I do need to buy some holiday plane tickets and a few gifts, but that will be the only exceptions. I’ll write more about this later.

That’s it, but it’s way more than enough to keep me busy. How’s your month shaping up?


Things I’m Looking Forward To At FinCon

I started my blogging journey in 2009 when I was a broke college student. The very first blogs I had ever started reading were Fashionably Broke In The City, Well-Heeled and Give Me Back My Five Bucks.  At the time, I was trying to make better financial decisions and had recently gotten into personal blogging, so it just seemed like the right fit. Although I didn’t attend the very first FinCon in Chicago, I’ve made it a real point to be at all of the other ones ever since and I am so glad that I’ll be going to New Orleans in a couple of days for FinCon 14. What am I most excited about?

  • The energy. If there is one thing I am most excited about, it’s the energy I always feel at FinCon. It’s amazing to connect with so many like minded people in one room at one time and to bounce ideas off of each other and get creative feedback. Motivation, ideas and creativity are definitely not in short supply at this conference which I appreciate the most. The conference has amazing keynotes this year and I’m definitely most excited about my personal mentoring session with Dr. Daniel Crosby through the Bloggers Helping Bloggers mentoring session that will take place on Saturday.
  • The people. Not only have I met other bloggers, I’ve made relationships with other bloggers as well. I’ve gone on vacations with other bloggers and stayed at their homes. I even started dating another personal finance blogger earlier this year and there is no way I ever would have met him if we both hadn’t blogged. Besides building personal relationships, I’ve also start professional ones as well and have gotten writing & social media gigs over the years by networking at this conference. Huge bonus to me and my growing online business!
  • The Plutus Awards. I’m the social extraordinaire for the Plutus Awards this year and it’s something that I take pride in! Not only have I done the social media this year but I’ve also planned the Happy Hour that takes place right after the awards. Last year I planned the Plutus Awards After Party in St. Louis and we had a blast. One of the last social events of the year, we’ll be catching up, exchanging contact info and congratulating this years winners!
  • New Orleans. I’ve always wanted to see The Big Easy and I am so happy that this year required me to travel there by default. I’ll be arriving a day early to explore as well as staying a few days later. Not only am I hoping to soak up the culture, I’m also a big sightseeing buff so you know I’ll be touring the French quarter, stopping by Pat O’s to listen to the dueling pianos and seeing a cemetery or two. I can’t wait!

If you’re going to FinCon, what are you most excited about?