I’m notoriously bad with money. Every paycheck that comes my way seems to deplete just as quickly as it came in. Ironically, it would seem as though the more I work, the more money I lose. And let’s not even get into the pile of student loans I’ve accumulated throughout my college career. Unfortunately, this problem is common among black women.
According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, black American women who work full time and year-round, still only earn 63 cents to the white man’s dollar. And this fact is even more disheartening, when you consider the abundance of black women (like myself) who lack competent financial literacy.
Therefore, when I found out about Dasha Kennedy, founder of The Broke Black Girl, I was ecstatic. Here was a chance to receive money tips and strategies from a millennial financial advisor who actually gets the unique financial struggles of today’s young black women. Kennedy has built Broke Black Girl, a non-profit organization that creates a safe space for black women to discuss financial problems and to seek help in learning how to manage our money.
By joining their Facebook group, you have access to live videos, host credit repair sessions, small business promotions and even budgeting tips. The point of the group, essentially, is to remind black women that we are not alone. But the group’s purpose isn’t just to give us hope, but to help us implement practical tactics that will place us in substantially better financial situations.
With an online community of 53,000 members, Kennedy is inspiring and equipping black women with the tools to manage our finances, and it’s important for even more black women to take advantage of this opportunity. According to an article Kennedy wrote in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “The Broke Black Girl is more than a group; it’s a sisterhood.”
Kennedy told Blavity, “growing up black and growing up in a black household, credit and finances is not something that parents talked about – at least my mom didn’t, unless it was a struggle.” But thankfully, she and business partner Kiara Martin, are trying to help women in the black community to develop the tools to “self-regulate” what she is teaching and successfully apply it to our lives.
The stigma of being a broke black girl will hopefully give way to a new stereotypes of black women as smart budgeters and wealth builders. And she and business partner Kiara are leading by example, since Kiara Martin has gone on to own the successful credit consulting business Credit with Kiara.
So instead of just telling you why the Broke Black Girl organization is phenomenal, I’m going to show you by sharing three important things I’ve learned from the group so far:
1. Don’t Go Broke Trying To Be Beautiful
In an interview with Black Enterprise, Dasha Kennedy stated that black women “face a stigma regarding our overwhelming ‘need’ to be beautiful” or appeal to white standards of beauty. She continues, “we have to understand that the world’s definition of beauty does NOT define us.” Things like hair extensions, acrylic nails, the latest clothing and shoes are not a priority if you’re struggling to meet basic necessities. Instead, the Broke Black Girl community lives by the motto “priorities over prettiness”. Kennedy stated, “We have to take control of our finances by becoming conscious of our spending habits, setting a monthly household budget, and cutting back on expenses that ultimately leave us financially strapped”.
2. Don’t Isolate Yourself When Things Get Rough
When you isolate yourself, you’re reducing your chances of getting out of your financial rut. Don’t let the shame of your financial situation keep you from reaching out. Remember that allowing yourself to receive support from friends and family will help reduce shame and improve your chances of receiving help. Be open to reading books, attending seminars and joining organizations that will help you build credit, repay debt and even increase your annual income.
3. Build An Emergency Fund
You never know when disaster will strike and you’ll be left searching for money and trying to make ends meet. Whether it’s a death in the family, loss of a job, or a natural disaster, an emergency savings fund will help you out when you most need it. Especially if you only have one source of income or you’re planning to start a family, starting an emergency job will prevent you from getting into debt. Save at least $1000 (or more) and do not allow yourself to ever spend this money, except in the case of emergencies.
All in all, it’s important to set yourself up to succeed. Your money is yours, and it shouldn’t be a cause of stress. Join Broke Black Girl here to start enjoying incredible financial management tips!
"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."