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So far Angela Keller has created 118 blog entries.

The Key to Reducing Money Stress in Your Business

As a business owner, you are responsible for the finances of your business. That responsibility can come with a lot of stress. However, with proper management, the financial side of a business can become a seamless system that sustains you and your passion. The key here? Get organized.

What does getting organized look like when it comes to your business finances? It looks like solid record-keeping and the ability to look back at financial data easily. It looks like a good awareness of the money coming in and out of your business. It looks like knowing you have enough to pay yourself, pay your taxes, and run your business.

All of this can be done without the chaos, by implementing a few changes to how you do your business finances. What you need will vary depending on the type of business you run and its current financial conditions. Today, I’d like to share a couple tips on getting your business finances organized that seem to come up most often in my work with clients.

Create a Supportive Money System

Last year, I wrote a full series devoted to money-mapping, a practice you can use to visualize the flow of money in your business. Creating a money system, and a visual way to understand it, can help you recognize where the income you receive through your business is needed most, and how your personal and business finances integrate. By creating a money system that tracks every dollar (including cash) of income that you receive, you set yourself up for success. A good money system gives you an idea of the profitability of your business, so that you’re not guessing at how much you’re really making.

My work around money mapping integrates the Profit First system’s allocations idea, to help business owners set aside money for various uses in their business. These include the important things, like paying your operating expenses, getting paid, paying taxes, and saving a portion of that money in a profit account. You can read the series on money mapping here: Part I, Part II, Part III, and a follow-up article on keeping your money systems simple.

Get Prepped for Taxes

One of the big themes in my guide to getting prepped for tax time is just simply keeping your documents organized in one place. Keeping all your paper documents in one physical spot, and saving all your digital documents to a designated folder, can save you from a lot of digging and stress when March rolls around. Creating a simple organizational system for tracking these things is a great preparation step for tax season, and a definite stress-reducer.

Show Up

They say that 90% of success is showing up, and this rings true when it comes to keeping your business organized and stress-free. If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, you’ll know I’m a proponent of having weekly “money time,” which is for you to review your financial situation and do any financial admin work that needs to get done. This time is extremely important for financial self care. Perhaps even more important than what you do during this time, is simply scheduling it in and doing it. When you make a regular habit of revisiting your finances, you will naturally start to shape them to be more organized.

Use Helpful Tools

These days, we are lucky to have many tools available that can help us stay organized in our businesses. Here are a couple that I frequently help clients integrate into their finances:

  • MoneyGrit is a great tool for either personal or business use.
  • Mint has fewer features, but can be really helpful for solopreneurs with few transactions, or personal use.
  • Quickbooks is a classic and excellent for business use.
  • YNAB is a tool I personally have less experience with, but a few other coaches I know use it often and recommend it.

I am planning on doing a more in-depth post on money tracking softwares, and the why and how to use them for business and personal finances later this month. Stay tuned for that!

I hope these tips on organization encourage you to decrease the financial stress in your business. A lot of this work can be accelerated when done with an accountability partner. I’m currently offering a 4 Week Refresh package through the end of January for people who’d like to work with an expert to gain control of their business finances. This package of four private sessions is designed to help you review 2020 and create a clear roadmap to your financial goals in 2021. We’ll also construct a money map personalized to your business, so you can effortlessly visualize your money system. If you’re interested in this package, you can learn more and sign up for a free consultation here.

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Angela

Image by  Arnel Hasanovic

My #1 Tip for Keeping Your Financial Self Care Sustainable

Self-care is important, but if you never actually do it, it’s not that valuable. The key to reaping the rewards from a financial self care routine is making sure it’s something you can actually do on a regular basis. So far this month, we’ve talked about the importance of financial self care. We’ve also touched on why regular “money time” makes a difference. Finally, last week, we focused on three simple steps you can take to infuse financial self care into your work routine. To wrap up this month’s series, let’s focus on how we can make sure you are able to keep that routine going sustainably.

Celebration

Yep, my number one tip for keeping your financial self care routine is celebration. Specifically, celebrating your financial wins. A financial win is any instance where you get a little bit closer to a goal you’ve set for yourself. So even if it’s just saving an extra $5, resisting the urge to spend on something small, paying down your debt just a bit, or making the first appointment with a bookkeeper or coach, these are big steps, and they deserve to be celebrated.

In my series on how to do a mid-year business review, I wrote this passage on celebrating your financial wins:

…[T]ake stock again of all you’ve done this year, including this review process. Chances are, you will find you’ve done quite a bit of work towards your goals, no matter how close you might be to completing them! Take some time to celebrate all the work you’ve done. Treat yourself to an afternoon off, a fun or inspiring event, or whatever you’d like to do to celebrate your achievements so far! Being a self-starting solopreneur is hard work. If you’ve done the work, you deserve to cheer yourself on once in a while.

I whole-heartedly believe this is true, and especially with the challenges this year has faced us with, we definitely need a moment to look at all our accomplishments and congratulate ourselves. Doing this is important to sustaining our financial self care routine, because it encourages to keep moving forward on our goals.

I invite you to find whatever feels like it would be the most meaningful way to celebrate these things. It might be sharing them with other people, like a money buddy or a mentor. It could be rewarding yourself with a purchase or some time off. If you use the Profit First system, it’s time for your quarterly profit distribution! Think about what you’d like to use it for. If you need some help thinking about the most meaningful way to celebrate, check out The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.

Marking Time and Progress

Over the years, running your business may often feel like a blur. In order to get the fulfillment and satisfaction you want from it, it’s important to take time to mark time and progress. Notice how long you’ve been running your business. Make a practice of keeping track how you’ve grown and progressed as a business owner. Celebrating your financial wins is one excellent way to keep up with that practice.

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book CoverMarking time and progress also helps you create a sense of momentum and purpose. This helps you keep coming back to your financial goals. When you notice how your actions are bringing you closer to certain achievements, it gets easier to show up every day and do the work you need to do.

So, celebrate yourself today! If you’d like more thoughts on celebrating your financial wins and other topics in the realm of financial self care, download my free e-Book, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care

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Angela

Photo by Aaron Burden

3 Simple Tips to Infuse Financial Self Care Into Your Routine

When you first decide you want to put effort and intention into your finances, it can be hard to know where to start. Especially as a business owner, you already wear many hats. You have a lot to do, and whatever you add to your plate needs to be simple. I’ve got you covered. Here are three ideas for infusing some financial self care into your work routine.

Organize Your Passwords

If you want to look at your accounts regularly, organize your passwords for easier access! I am a huge advocate for looking at your numbers on a weekly basis. The more you’re checked in with where you and your business are at financially, the better. Taking some time to do this step will simplify the process of working on your finances, and take away some of the hesitation.

Find a Financial Education Resource You Love

…and then stick with it! Whether it’s a podcast, a book, or a YouTube channel, financial education comes in all formats these days. Find a person or resource who really resonates with you. Then, dive deep into what they have to say, and try to integrate that into your life. If you want some guidance around finding sound financial advice, read my guides on some things to look for and how to steer clear of the not-so-helpful stuff.  You can also check out my favorite educational resources. Here’s a list of some of my faves from other sites, and a list of my best educational blog posts.

List Some Action Items

You know your business and personal finances best. Chances are, there are probably already some to-do list items in the realm of your finances. Try jogging your memory for those and writing them down. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try creating a money map for yourself. Maybe you want to automate all your bill payments. Identify those action items and write them down somewhere you can revisit them.

Next, strategize. How can you get these done? What resources or assistance do you need to do so? Can you divide the tasks into bite-size chunks and work on them piece by piece? Your financial wellbeing is something you can handle – sometimes it just takes some strategy and awareness.

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book Cover

I hope you’ve enjoyed these quick tips for financial self care. You might also be interested in downloading my free e-Book, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care. In this e-Book, I go in-depth into 9 different steps you can take to build a solid financial self care routine for yourself. Try it out by clicking the link above!

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Angela

Image by Siora Photography

A Simple Strategy for Financial Self Care

Humans are creatures of habit. It’s well-known that one of the best ways to incorporate something into your life is to make a habit out of it. So, if you want to engage in some financial TLC for your business or personal finances, make a habit out of it! Last week, we talked about why your finances are the key to self care in your life. This week, let’s talk about how you can bring that financial self care into the center of your life.

It’s Routine

We often hear about how important it is to develop an exercise routine or a bedtime or morning routine. But what about a financial self care routine? Adding in some financial self care every week is key to remembering to revisit your numbers and your spending plan.

In my e-Book 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care, I recommend setting up a weekly period of time for yourself. Ideally, this is a short amount of time so that it doesn’t feel like “too much” and become difficult to continue. I typically recommend starting out by dedicating thirty minutes to an hour every week for financial self care. This time can be used for things like checking in with your spending, setting or checking in on a financial goal for the month, learning about finances, or doing any finance-related admin work.

Make it Fun

I recommend making this time as pleasant for yourself as possible. I love the ideas Bari Tessler presents in the Art of Money Y about making your regular money check-in more pleasant. Dealing with money can bring up a lot off difficult feelings that get in the way of doing this regular check-in. To counter this, doing our best to make this time fun and rewarding is very important.

Try an environmental upgrade, like playing some nice music or lighting a scented candle. You can also try temptation-bundling, which involves doing a pleasurable activity during or directly after doing an activity you need to do (like your weekly financial self care sesh!).

Lastly, try ending the session on a high-note. Stopping for the week while you’re feeling good and enjoying yourself makes it much easier to feel interested in repeating the habit next week.

If you’d like some more ideas about how to make your financial self care habit stick, check out this playlist full of tips on YouTube by MuchelleB.

Buddy Up

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a big proponent of having a money buddy, or better yet, a money team! Having trusted people in your life that you can talk to about money is a huge asset to your own financial self care. Another way to enhance your financial self care routine could be inviting a money buddy to do it along with you. Do you have a friend who’s also a small business owner? Try having a numbers study sesh together! Team up once a month to check in with your numbers and talk about financial goals. You can also try setting up a regular time to check in with your partner about money. Working with another person can make this time fun and sociable.

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book Cover

If you enjoyed these ideas about incorporating financial self care into your life, I encourage you to check out my free e-Book, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care. You can download it for free at this link.

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Angela

Photo by Suryaansh Maithani

Your Finances are the Key to Self Care: Here’s Why

We know that self care is important. We know it’s important to do things like unplug from electronic devices, get exercise, and treat ourselves. But oftentimes the conversation about self care can leave out one important aspect: financial self care.

Financial self care is the foundation of all other self care in your life, so it’s a shame that it gets forgotten! By financial self care, I mean doing the routine maintenance and occasional projects to keep your finances in good order. Things like reviewing your spending plan on a weekly basis and planning for irregular expenses are key to other aspects of your life. When your money is in order, it is so much easier to care for yourself. Your physical, spiritual, and mental health benefit when you are confident in your financial situation.

What are some areas of your life that need more care? Take a moment to really think about this. Perhaps you want to be able to purchase organic food or pay for a medical treatment. Maybe you want the ability to work less and turn down certain engagements. Or maybe you would benefit from seeing a therapist or spiritual worker.

Underlying all of these self care actions is a financial decision. When you engage in a regular financial self care routine, these decisions get easier. When you know whether you’ve met your spending limit for a category, deciding whether or not to spend the money to get that massage is much more simple. Regular financial self care takes that guesswork away and helps you get clear.

Financial self care involves engaging in a process of setting financial goals and working out what you actually want to spend your money on. When you’ve got this worked out, it makes it much easier to decide what to spend money on in order to take care of yourself. This process can illuminate what you really need and want. Therefore, it can deeply assist your overall journey of self care.

9 Secrets to Financial Self Care Book Cover

I created a full e-Book on the concept of financial self care, which you can download by clicking here. This e-Book goes into depth on many different strategies to infuse your days with financial self care and build a solid routine for yourself. If you are interested in exploring how financial self care can support your life, I recommend giving it a read!

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Angela

How to Create a Generous Business: Leverage Your Profits

I’m a big proponent of using a money system in your business for many reasons. One of those is the way it can make giving away money, or donating, so much easier. Today, we’re focusing on how to use your profits to be able to give freely in your business. In my series on money mapping, I wrote about setting up a profit account like the Profit First system suggests. I’ve also written about how you might use that profit account to donate money. This post will be a more in-depth exploration of those concepts, so go ahead and read those posts if you haven’t already!

The Purpose of Profit

In my post “The In-Depth Guide to Mapping Your Money, and How it Can Fortify Your Business, Part II,” I describe the profit account in a money system this way:

The profit account accumulates and then is distributed quarterly. Business owners are encouraged to use their Profit Distributions to reward themselves for their hard work. This keeps the owner excited about and invested in the business. It also discourages any tendency to reinvest everything back into the business, or over-save.  Rewards can range from a day out to charitable giving, to really anything you want!

Note that last bit: charitable giving. Recently, I’ve made a couple posts about how to figure out what we really want to spend our money on. It has to do with our values – when we know what’s really valuable to us and we think about how to get that, we can spend our money in ways that are the most purposeful and fulfilling to us. We can spend in a way that brings us that feeling of “enough.”

Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, describes this phenomenon this way: “When people were able to align their money with their deepest, most soulful interests and commitments, their relationship with money became a place where profound and lasting transformation could occur.” Imagine doing this every quarter with your quarterly profit distribution! To create a generous business and get the most satisfaction from your profits, I encourage you to engage in some soul searching. Think about what the word “generous” means to you and what you might do with your money to embody this word.

A Generous Business is a Happy Business

One suggestion I’d like to make here, is sharing your profit distribution in the form of holiday bonuses for any employees or independent contractors you work with. Appreciate the work they do by sharing your profits. Receiving their thanks and building up a relationship of mutual appreciation can be one of the most satisfying ways to use your profit distribution. It can also improve the overall quality of your work life! Because I advise clients to use the money accumulated in their profit account every quarter, the last distribution of the year comes up during the holidays. This is the perfect time to show employees some appreciation.

Be For Your Community

This year has given us more opportunities than ever to show up for our community as small business owners. I encourage you to think about organizations in your local community or on a larger level that you would like to show visible support for with your business. I wrote a post about thinking about your business’s role in your community called “How to Step Up for Your Community as a Business Owner,” that you might like to read to get some more thoughts on this subject.

One way your business can give (that’s coming up soon!) is by participating in #GivingTuesday on Tuesday December 1st. Here’s their guide for small businesses who want to participate. For GivingTuesday, At Peace With Money is supporting Violence in Boston and Second Harvest Food Bank, just to give you some ideas!

I hope this post inspires you to be generous this season! If you would like to work with someone to develop a money system which enables you to feel abundant and be generous, schedule a curiosity call with me. I’m happy to chat and see if we can work together.

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Angela

Image: Kelly Sikkema 

How to Make Donating Money Way Easier On Your Finances

This time of year, many of us are thinking about giving. Traditionally, we come together to be thankful for our blessings and share generosity. While many aspects of the holiday season will look different this year, your giving doesn’t have to! I know many kind and generous people who wish to give money to organizations or causes they support, or simply other people in the community who are in need. However, sometimes being clear on how much you can really afford to donate is difficult.

To really clear this up, you need to develop a solid financial base for yourself. I’m talking about using a spending plan, a savings plan, and money mapping to really get clear on where your money is going. Let’s look at how each of these three tools can help you give way more easily:

Spending Plan

First, you need to know how much you’re spending and where it’s going. Take a walk through your income and expenses and figure out how much you’re saving, if you are saving. The point of developing a spending plan (also known by the less-fun-sounding-term “budget”) is to get clear on what your spending is like right now, and how it compares to your income. When you look at this, you can see what your spending priorities currently are, and you can start to think about that critically. Do you really want to eat takeout food every week, or would you rather be able to donate that $35 to a conservation campaign like Protect Juristac? Looking at your spending and weighing your priorities can make room for the giving you want to do. To develop a good spending plan, check out my article with ideas and strategies here.

Savings Plan

Saving money gives you serious options, whether you’re saving for an emergency fund or a big purchase. You can also decide to dedicate a portion of your savings directly to giving. Maybe, you decide to save 5% of your income every month and donate it to the COVID-19 Hopi Relief Fund at the end of the year. Whether the giving comes out of your savings or your spending plan, having both gives you a fuller picture of how you can spend, give, and save for your goals. You can read more about creating a savings plan for yourself here.

Money Mapping

Once you’ve got the spending and the saving figured out, you can put it all together into a money map! Money mapping is a visual tool for organizing your own money system. It’s super helpful for both your business and personal finances. I’ve talked about the how-to of money mapping quite a bit on this blog, so I won’t go into detail. I recommend reading my full series on money mapping, and especially How to Use Money Mapping to Give Back.  The big pro of money mapping is that you can visually parse out how you will allocate for giving money. Whether it’s coming out of your business finances, your monthly living expenses, or you’re saving a big sum, creating a money map helps you see that and stick to it.

Want to Give? Get Organized!

The bottom line here is that donating money from a solid financial base requires getting organized. You need to go over your financial priorities and see what kind of money you have to work with. From there, you can make an informed and generous decision about where to put your money, without putting yourself in dire financial straits. I hope you found this article helpful. Currently, I have a few openings in my practice for some personal finance coaching clients, so if you’d like to work closely on your personal finances and develop a giving plan with support, reach out to schedule a free consultation!

 

 

Happy giving!

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Angela

 

Book Review: The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist

This is the time of year when we focus on giving and gratitude. While I don’t believe either should really be relegated to one season, especially when it comes to our money, I do like taking this time to really think on these themes. I recently finished The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Life by Lynne Twist and found it the perfect resource to meditate on these ideas. Lynne Twist is a recognized global visionary who has worked with people of all income levels and is committed to ending poverty and hunger. Her thoughts in this book are a beautiful exploration of being intentional and in alignment with your money. Here are four takeaways I enjoyed from this book, that you might too! 

Scarcity vs. Sufficiency

One of the key tenets of this book is Lynne Twist’s definitions of sufficiency and scarcity mindsets. She posits that,

“Scarcity speaks in terms of never enough, emptiness, fear, mistrust, envy, greed, hoarding, competition, fragmentation, separateness, judgment, striving, entitlement, control, busy, survival, outer riches…Sufficiency speaks in terms of gratitude, fulfillment, love, trust, respect, contributing, faith, compassion, integration, wholeness, commitment, acceptance, partnership, responsibility, resilience, and inner riches.”

This quote offers some excellent perspective for self-examination. How frequently are we acting from a place of scarcity or sufficiency?

Lynne also discusses how the assumed scarcity that our monetary system and culture are both built on reinforces inequality of all kinds. She explains how when we accept scarcity, we also accept that some will not have enough, and that perhaps they don’t have enough because they are “less than.” She explains,

“When we believe that more is better, and equate having more with being more—more smart or more able—then people on the short end of that resource stick are assumed to be less smart, less able, even less valuable, as human beings. We feel we have permission to discount them. When we believe that’s just the way things are, then we assume a posture of helplessness. We believe that a problem is unsolvable. We accept that in our human family neither the resource-rich members nor the resource-poor members have enough money, enough food, or enough intelligence or resourcefulness to generate lasting solutions.”

Working from a place of sufficiency can help us transcend that place of helplessness and accepting inequality.

Sufficiency Opens Up Energy

The author also remarks on how, when we let go of scarcity and stop going after things we don’t really want or need, this “frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have. When you make a difference with what you have, it expands.” She also remarks, “when people [a]re able to align their money with their deepest, most soulful interests and commitments, their relationship with money bec[omes] a place where profound and lasting transformation c[an] occur.” This reminds me of the concept I come back to often; knowing your money why. It’s so important to align your finances with that which is truly important and valuable to you!

Our Conversations Are Our Reality

If you look at the first quote I pulled about scarcity versus sufficiency, you’ll notice Lynne says “Scarcity speaks…”. In her book, she makes a point to discuss how our words and thoughts are connected, and work together to create the conditions we find ourselves in. Take a look at how sufficiency speaks. What if your conversations centered around gratitude and possibility? Surely sticking with that can have a positive effect. Imagine approaching your money with that attitude!

On the whole, this book is inspiring and eloquently written. Lynne Twist does a great job articulating a philosophy that I hold dear in my practice at At Peace With Money. She emphasizes how important it is to align with our true values, claim our power, and work to create transformation, for ourselves and others.

If you enjoyed this article, check out my other book recommendations! I’ve got a great collection of my faves that can help you explore your relationship with money.

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Angela

 

 

Roundup: At Peace With Money’s Best Educational Posts to Level Up Your Financial Learning

This week, please enjoy a roundup of some of my best educational posts yet. I’m getting close to my two-year blogging anniversary! In that time I’ve written up quite a few how-to’s, exercises, and perspective pieces on handling money. Below, I’ve pulled out some of my favorites, in the categories of business finance and personal finance.  I’m recommending these articles in particular because they contain foundational info that informs my practice as a profitability coach. The tips and perspectives that I blog about here are tried and true. I share them because they make a huge difference to my clients, just as I hope they’ll make a difference for you! If you’re looking to kick your financial learning into high-gear, let these resources be your guides:

Personal Finance Articles

Business Finance Articles

Suggested Readings – My Favorite Financial Books

I hope these posts are helpful for you! I find that the practice of writing a blog has been a great practice in building up an archive of knowledge – one that I hope is just as helpful for you as it is for my clients.

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Angela

The One Indispensable Spending Guideline: Needs Vs. Wants

One spending guideline that is indispensable is identifying your needs versus your wants. Difficulty understanding this can result in either over-spending or over-saving. Ultimately, it can reflect a lack of clarity around our values around money. If you feel stumped by this concept, or aren’t sure how your spending behavior measures up, don’t worry! We’re going to parse out the details right here:

Needs vs. Wants

Many of us are familiar with differentiating between needs and wants. It’s a skill we cultivate throughout our lifetimes. Although we sometimes run into pitfalls, we are ultimately making thousands of decisions a day – it’s important to have a little compassion for ourselves when we’re thinking about our financial decision making.

So, what makes a need, a need and a want, a want? Basic necessities you need to take care of yourself and live with a certain degree of comfort are needs. Nutritious food, sound housing, quality clothes and shoes, and things like electricity, car insurance, etc. definitely fall into the need category. We also have needs related to caring for ourselves. This is where things can get tricky – many people have difficulty differentiating between needs and wants here. When considering a purchase, it can be helpful to try and identify the underlying need. For example, if you want to spend money on a day-long spa retreat, but what you really want is some quiet time to yourself, there are likely other ways you could meet that need. Especially if it’s a matter of staying in your budget or not, sussing out the need underlying the want can be very helpful.

Over-spender, or Over-saver?

You may have some idea of whether you fit into either category. If you’re not sure what over-saving is, I recommend reading my article about it – it could be enlightening. When it comes to identifying needs vs. wants, over-spenders and over-savers tend to behave differently. Over-spenders frequently feel every purchase is filling a need, while over-savers tend to see every potential purchase as a want. In both cases, these spending habits can cause problems. Over-spenders can find themselves without important savings accounts or in debt, while over-savers can hold off on essential purchases like medical expenses. Both behaviors result in a deficit of self-care. To really take care of ourselves financially, we need to find a midpoint, where we have our needs met, and a few of our wants too. Someone who has really good thinking about this is Vicki Robin, who speaks poetically about finding your “enough” in Your Money or Your Life. You can read my book review here.

I hope these thoughts will help you examine your own spending behaviors. If you’re interested in a little more self care, check out my Facebook page for Financial Self Care Fridays, all month at 8am PST via FB Live. I’m providing prompts and accountability to help you develop a financial self care habit. I hope you’ll join me!

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Angela

Image by: Artem Beliaikin