FNPhenomenal Woman is a monthly series where I take the conversations that we have as women that are empowering, informative, and fun and bring them to the world. In the spirit of Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman, I want to showcase how phenomenal we are and that we have something unique and amazing to bring to the world. These conversations will occur in two forms. The first form is an interview with the current month’s FNPhenomenal Woman, and then the second part is a Google Hangout!
This month I chose Kara Stevens of The Frugal Feminista because I love her spirit and her commitment to helping women. I couldn’t wait to share her energy, knowledge, and passion with you all!
Enjoy the interview and be sure to join us over at the Google Hangout!
What do you do and why is it important?
I am the founder of The Frugal Feminista, a pretty badass community of women of color that want to use money as a tool to live their juiciest lives. On top of that, I am an Abundance and Budget coach where I help women create passion-based budgets. I also write about money, career, black womanhood, and financial intimacy on a number of online outlets.
It is important because our relationship with money is a relationship that can make or break every other relationship that we have– with ourselves, family members, and lovers. A lot of us highly educated in the way of degrees but not in terms of financial literacy. I think that we all have the potential to be millionaires and it is my mission, passion, and pleasure to help women unlock their financial power and confidence so they step into their abundance.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell her that it is not her responsibility to have all of the answers. It is her responsibility to take action on the dreams and passion what make her soul sing. The Universe has a way of providing, so move.
What is the single best piece of advice that you have learned?
Hmmmm. That is hard, so I will give two. My cousin told me, “Don’t be afraid to go to counseling when you get married.” Even though I was newly married and did not think I needed to go to counseling, I think the larger idea of asking for help when you need it resonates with me deeply. Sometimes you get in your own way thinking that about what you should be able to do instead of getting what you need to get done done. The second piece of advice I received from a mentor is to honor my feelings–no matter what they are. I think it is easy to feel the need to pretend that everything is okay when they aren’t. I don’t do that much. I take my mental health days when I need to. Conversely, I love to tell people that I miss them and love them when I do. When I am feeling playful, I play.
How did you get the courage to step out and live your authentic self by pursing your passion?
I never looked at founding The Frugal Feminista as an act of courage. Just like my hair and fingers, I see it as an integral part of me. If I am not talking money, talking sisterhood, writing, or sharing my feelings about the world, then I am not being me. But for a more grounded answer, I would say that doing things in chunks and baby steps has helped me step out on courage.
What are your guiding principles?
One of my deepest and overarching guiding principles is authencity and the courage to live your truth. Ever since I was a little girl, I was a loner, a thinker, and dreamer. I never intentionally meant to stand-out, but I did so because it was difficult for me to conform, submit, and go with the crowd when what was going on bumped against my principles and values. At first, I used to beat up on myself, thinking I was weird or a pariah. But there have been so many instances where sticking to my values and committing to my guiding principles saved my life, made me money, or created an opportunity for me. So, I have learned to embrace myself and listen to that still voice. I realize that it my higher self speaking to me.
What does the word “phenomenal” mean to you?
Phenomenal means authenticity and courage to me. It also means staying in your lane and running your own damn race. I also think it means being able to acknowledge the phenomenal-ness in others without feeling threatened.
What is one key money principle that you live your life by?
What a great question. I think one key money principle that I live my life by is that my spending has to be mindful. There has to be purpose and reason for my purchases; I don’t believe going through this world all willie-nillie. I think actions made with purpose add the most value to your life.
What is your favorite book and why?
I have a lot of favorite books, so this is an unfair question. 🙂 No, but one of the books that changed my life was The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Brother Malcolm’s book showed me the power and possibility of personal transformation through education, self-awareness, and faith. As for the second book, it would be any and all things by Jamaica Kincaid. Talk about fiery, fierce, and unapologetic. I believe that Kincaid speaks her truth throughout all of her books and her truth inevitably hurts others, but it is not done with malice.
Kara is a life coach, motivational speaker, author, and founder of The Frugal Feminista, an online home created to inspire and inform women of color about financial empowerment, girl power, and “juicy” living.
Kara and her message of financial empowerment has been featured on Black and Married with Kids, The Root, The Grio, Madame Noire, Ebony.com, Ebony Magazine, Black Enterprise, and Clutch Magazine. She also pens a personal finance column at The Huffington Post.
Kara’s mission is to lead a Frugal Feminista revolution where women feel as confident speaking about money as they do men, fashion, and their bodies. Kara wants women to know that money is a tool to be used to fund the lives of their dreams and that financial freedom is in their power.
Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at www.thefrugalfeminista.com
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