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Personal Finance Mentoring - Integrating the practical and emotional elements of your money.

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Filtering by Category: Women + Money

A Bit of Calm for the Holiday Storm...

Megan deBoer

Photo by  Caley Dimmock

Photo by Caley Dimmock

Is your inbox as full as mine? Black Friday! Cyber Monday! Giving Tuesday!

And so here we are... fully immersed in the holiday season before we have even turned the calendar to December.

I won't lie. It all makes me tired. It is a quick pull away from this moment - a grounded sense of enough. Of plenty. It reminds me just how quickly we can get pulled off center.

It isn't necessarily negative - so much that is being offered is lovely, worthy, helpful, and fun! It is just that there is an incessant pace to all of it at this time of year. This is the first ingredient of the storm.

It is the season of over-spending, over-eating, over-drinking, over-committing, general over-indulging. Each one of these has an effect on your financial wellbeing. Combined, it creates a bit of internal chaos.

This time of year also holds emotional highs and lows - for many of us this time is laced with sorrow or nostalgia for what was, or isn't. This is another layer of the storm - and can increase its intensity.

So - what to do? I wanted to share some thoughts, and some resources to provide an anchor in the coming weeks. 

Holding steady emotionally becomes your most trusted anchor. And what prevents debt, over-spending, or other financial hangovers come January.

Checking in with ourselves regularly becomes the practice that helps us stay true to ourselves... and our commitment to our financial health.

A Quick Assessment - to do throughout the holiday season… 

  • What is the feeling I am feeling? Simply name it. Acknowledge the feeling. Be with it for one breath (happy, sad, angry, anxious, overwhelmed...)

  • What do I need right now? Water? (maybe pack a bottle of water to bring with you each day) Deep breaths? (1 deep breath does wonders…) A snack? (maybe keep some good protein in your bag…nuts and dried fruit are my favorite) A few moments alone in your car between ALL.THE.THINGS? (it is perhaps the best gift you can give everyone around you...calm and centered you) A quick call to your best friend to cry or laugh with? (you know, that friend who grounds you…)

  • Meet that need! Drink the water. Eat the snack. Take that long deep breath - or 5. Or do all of the above! (and if I sound like a mother, it is because I am a mother - and a human who knows how easy it is to forget these things)

  • Then ask, Do I feel grounded? Feeling grounded allows clear thinking, making decisions from an un-rushed, un-reactive stateIf the answer is no, consider repeating 1-4... and know it is all about PRACTICE... not about being perfect!

I would recommend doing this quick assessment before you make any purchasing decisions... online or in actual stores. 

[And TEA… always take time out to pause for tea - or your beverage of choice. If you know me, you know how much I love to have tea in my cold hands.]

Being a mindful spender is all about practice... a practice in learning how we respond and react. A practice in being more conscious and intentional about the choices we make - about our money, our time, and our energy. Each of which is a resource to be tended with care.

I hope you stay grounded during this season - coming through feeling as though every dollar was money well spent.



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7 Steps to Consciously Invest in your Wardrobe

Megan deBoer

We all need to wear clothing... and for so many of us, it is more than just covering our bodies and being warm - it is about expressing ourselves. Spending money on clothes can be thrilling. Expressive. Sometimes guilt-inducing - but of course - necessary.

It is an area that gets confusing - where there is often a blurry line between 'need' & 'desire'. We tend to be more vulnerable to overspend when we aren't clear - making impulsive decisions that may be filled with later regret.

This year, I want to invite you to take a look at your closet and approach buying new clothing for the season from an intentional, thoughtful, 'slow money' perspective - where it feels really good to wear what you buy! I want you to LOVE what you wear and spend without guilt.

The steps below help you get there. 

Because I am so tired of our culture wasting on all the levels - wasting MONEY, wasting RESOURCES, wasting TIME, wasting SPACE,wasting ENERGY. There is another way - for you, your wallet, your 'I feel fabulous in this!' and the greater world around us.

I think the biggest hurdle is that no matter how much we have, it can feel like 'not enough'. This is where the myth 'more is better' (even when more is scratchy, doesn't look good, doesn't fit) has been our cultural mantra. To realize 'plenty', we have to start defining what is 'enough' for us. How many pants? How many shoes? How many shirts would be enough?

I am thrilled that there is a solid trend towards a 'capsule' wardrobe - a thoughtfully curated closet of a small number of interchangeable pieces.

Wherever your 'enough' line is, I want to encourage you to define it. Because I believe LESS really is more in this area (less laundry, dry cleaning, less space required, less folding, less money, less ironing... you get the idea).

Here are my steps to mindfully clear out a closet and discern what you need/want to invest in.

Step 1: SORT

  • Get 4 bags (laundry baskets, boxes): Label them "Keep" "Not Sure" "Care/Repair/Replace" "Pass Along" - Go through everything and force yourself to decide which of the 4 piles each goes in. The "Not Sure" might be really big - but that is just fine. You don't have to know yet. Everything that is "KEEP" can go immediately back in your drawers / closet. Leave the other piles alone for now.

Step 2: MAKE LISTS

  • Have 3 Lists: "NEED!" "Want!" "Replace" - This step calls for honest reflection. What is truly 'missing' in your closet (go back and take a look at what is in your drawers / closet. What is missing? It might be that you 'have' everything you need, but it is all black... or it is all very boring, or doesn't feel fresh to you... this may indicate that you actually 'need' some colorful pieces, some new pieces, to add a little life to your closet. Need doesn't mean it is restricted to socks, underwear, one pair of jeans, and a t-shirt! It is a perfect time to make a Pinterest Board, or if you are a bit of a nerd you might enjoy the Style Book App that helps you plan outfits (oh yes, I am that nerd). But whatever you use, play around with the new colors, textures, and styles that inspire you as you are right now... (not the 5 year ago version of yourself).

Step 3: SHOP WHAT YOU HAVE

  • Look through your "Not Sure" pile with fresh eyes - sometimes our brains see things through an old filter. Take a look through the 'not sure' pile. There may be nothing, or there may be something that catches your eye now that things are clearer (your style, your needs). Don't keep anything out of guilt - it was an impulse buy you regret, it was expensive, it was a gift. Nope. If you are tempted to keep it out of guilt, it most definitely needs to go in the pass along pile. But maybe there is something that catches your eye... and will satisfy a few of the 'want' items on your list. This isn't about 'making do' necessarily - though you may see something as working for a little while longer while you search for something better - if this is the case, put it on your "replace" list.

Step 4: CARE / REPAIR

  • Learn some new skills - we are a consumer culture, meaning we have not been taught - or have forgotten - that it is entirely possible to extend the life of your clothing with a few simple skills: mending, sewing on a button, de-pilling sweaters, shining shoes, hand washing, ironing... I have a "Waste Not Want Not" board on Pinterest with a few tutorials, but there are plenty with a quick you-tube search. This time of year you can care for your sweaters by hand washing, de-pilling, or dry cleaning. Taking care of our clothing is a re-emerging art form. I, for one, am pretty excited - because it is yet another way we can actively 'tend' to our wealth.

Step 5: EXCHANGE

  • Turn your "Pass Along" pile into new clothing, money, or happy recipients - letting go of what is no longer serving you is liberating. It can also provide a way to get a few of the pieces you have on your need or desire list! To spin your straw into gold, here are some of my favorite options...

    • Sell / Exchange - Your local consignment store, Crossroads, Buffalo Exchange OR Online: Thread UpDepopPoshmark (if you get cash back, put this in an envelope for #6)

    • Host a Clothing Swap - Your friends may also have a pile that they are tired of, but would be fun for others. It can be a really fun social event as well! 

    • No matter what, make sure the clothes move along by the end of the month - you don't want these hanging around any longer than they need to - circulation requires that they move out for good.

Step 6: PLAN

  • How much can you spend? - Make sure this is conscious, thoughtful, and grounded. If impulsive spending, or credit card spending has been a problem in the past, take the money out in CASH so you are clear about the limit you are working with. But you will still want to add a little more detail to your plan. Prioritize what you need. Look at prices online. Plan how much You may need for the big pieces. You may have to span the purchasing over a few months, but I want you to be clear. This is where your list is a fantastic guide.

Step 7: INVEST

  • NOW you are ready to spend money on those new pieces for the fall - 

    • Investing in new pieces means that you LOVE what you buy. 

    • It is a good investment if you WILL actually wear it (my rule is that if I can hardly wait to put something on the morning after I get it, I know I will love it for years. If, on the other hand, I am a little 'meh' about it and don't wear it right away, I usually take this as a sign and return it - hence I have a rule of keeping tags on for at least 24hrs). 

    • So, in addition to the actual COST of the item, make sure you will get MANY wears out of it - otherwise even a $20 shirt can be extremely 'expensive' if you end up never wearing it out the door.

    • It also means that the item will LAST - it won't fall apart after a few wears but can be mended throughout its long life.

Ahhh... can you envision your closet: sorted, clear, clean, curated... everything that you love, nothing less, nothing more? I am working on mine. Every year I add a few new pieces: good shoes, sweaters, and pants that I like (this is the toughest of all for me to find). I have a ways to go, but I am further along than I have ever been.

To money well spent on a closet full of your favorites!



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Announcing Equipped to Thrive! An Online Course

Megan deBoer

Equipped to Thrive - Online Course

I have been waiting for this day for months - about 16 of them to be precise! Life has a way of unfolding organically, and I am learning to trust this and calm the part of me that quite honestly prefers The Plan. The straight line. And the checked-off-to-do-list. But trusting my process has brought to life something far greater than I had originally envisioned.

16 months ago I had blocked off time to record what would be an online version of the work I facilitate. My girls would be with their grandparents - I would have the entire week to focus on what I had already scripted to record.

But that morning was November 9th, 2016. The world felt upside down. As hard as I tried to resume, I couldn't. I made the difficult decision to wait. 3 months later I went on a solo retreat to the Oregon Coast. What I needed more than anything was the space to hear myself think. To listen to my heart. To understand what I was really trying to say and share through my work.

I walked in the forest and along the beach - the cold, fresh February air cleared my thoughts. The sun peaked between the clouds and pouring rain. This is the landscape I was raised in, and it filled my mind and heart in indescribably profound ways.  

And from that place, the clarity came.

My mission is to include people - particularly women - in a new conversation about money, wealth and prosperity - where money can be a medium for healing, collaboration, possibility, empowerment, abundance, generosity, prosperity, reciprocity, and even - love.  

Years ago, when I gave my business its name, Tended Wealth, I intentionally wanted to conjure up the idea of caring for our wealth in the same way we may tend to our garden, to our children, to our homes or our communities. I realized, on that weekend, that this is the conversation I want to have more directly. I want to use new images, new metaphors, and new ways for us to explore the medium of money. I feel we must shake money out of its old and worn associations for it to have new life. 

My new online course, Equipped to Thrive, explores the principles of building a solid financial foundation by using a metaphor of the garden - and elements in nature - to communicate how to be in a thriving relationship with our money: in both the practical realm as well as the emotional realm.

For too many people, money is the stumbling block preventing them from living their best life. Too many feel excluded. Intimidated. Overwhelmed. Disillusioned. Thwarted. Ignorant. Full of Shame. Stuck.  

I want to help many, many more people than just those I can work with 1:1 transform their own relationship with money so that they too transcend this barrier and find themselves on the other side.

I am delighted to invite you to take a look at this new baby of mine - one that asked me to slow down, listen, take time off to create, and now share with the world.  

I also want to invite you to listen to the quieter, slower voice that may be speaking to you now - about something that is equally important for you to hear about your own life and the next step that is just right for you.  

More than anything, I want to support you and provide a place for you to explore a new relationship with your money.

This is a conversation that has been steadily growing on the sidelines of our culture. I want to be another voice bringing it to the frontlines.  

Thank YOU for being a part of this growing conversation, and more importantly, this beautiful evolution of money.

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Yoga + Prosperity

Megan deBoer

Yoga & Prosperity

The more I work with clients, the more I recognize how much our bodies need to integrate prosperity.  

I have had clients get nauseous when we talk about a big leap - it might be asking for a raise, raising their fees, even having savings to begin experiencing financial security.  

I have had clients yawn, fidget, get up and pace, or even want to leave my office (thankfully they stay!). It isn't always physical - sometimes a client will unconsciously spend everything they had intended to save.  Or find other brilliantly creative ways to sabotage themselves - to stay safe.

This can happen at any income level, and usually shows up when we are nearing an expansion.

 

We want this leap - we know in our hearts it is the right direction, we know in our minds this is the next step.  

And yet - it is unconsciously terrifying.  It is activating our nervous system.  Our protection from danger.  We would rather remain safe in the discomfort of the known, then venture into the unknown.  

What might be your perceived 'danger'?  Well, the list of possibilities is a long.  Your answer will be very personal and it deserves exploration.  When you find it, your life will begin to change in subtle and profound ways. 

I am thrilled that almost a year after dreaming it up and designing a collaboration, Tanya Woods and I get to combine our individual gifts to help anchor prosperity deep within your body, mind, and spirit.  

Yoga teaches your body to relax, to open, to accept, to be willing - in spite of resistance.  The energy centers of our bodies are powerful, and it is by clearing and activating these channels that we begin working with our bodies - expanding to receive all that we are ready to receive, without hesitation or resistance.  

By working directly through the physical body, we tell our nervous system: the unfamiliar is not danger, it is delight.  

Yes, prosperity is delight. 

Join us for the first of many weekend workshop/retreats of 2018.  

The weekend will be filled with yoga, mediation, sound healing, exercises to illuminate where you are stuck, where you want to go, reflective journaling, and will help you clarify the direct actions that will ensure you meet your goals. 

January 26, 27, 28 - Portland, Oregon

*Tanya Woods pictured above

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From Motherhood to Livelihood - Shaping your life to shine both ways...

Megan deBoer

From Motherhood to Livelihood - Shaping your life to shine both ways

I chose to have my children at the 'young' age of 24. It was motherhood that called to me before a career.  I was fortunate to be able to follow my desire to stay at home with my growing babies - and we made many financial sacrifices to make this a priority.  Yet I wasn't done growing and expanding myself.  I felt myself become restless within my mothering role, yet also experienced a very real inner conflict and tension about what that would mean for my family.  I was just as committed to my role of being a mother.

Along the path to this work I am currently engaged in, I struggled with the tension, the questioning, the doubt, the fear, and especially the financial pressure as I tried to 'figure it out!'  It felt lonely and overwhelming.  It was a common issue among my peers, but there was little guidance or the kind of support I was craving.  

Perhaps you - or someone close to you - have a different experience balancing motherhood and your work in the world.  None of our experiences are exactly the same, but they are similar and deserve the space and support to realize something that works in all ways.

We feel called to provide space for this evolution - with the guidance, support and healing that it deserves...Join us for a talk on May 2nd and a workshop series June 15th, 22nd, and 29th - (details here)


I am honored, and delighted, to be creating this supportive space  with Barb Robitaille.  She has a brilliance in helping you reconnect with your own wisdom, your own trust, and the truths that were too buried to know were even there.  She helps to heal the disconnect, and re-align you with your own heart.

I have supported many of my clients through their own version of this conflict from an earning perspective.  I know the triggers.  I know how this tension is reflected in your financial life.  I can spot and help guide you to the shortcuts - the ones I wish I had had - to find that heart centered balance of being both a mother and fulfilling the other parts of you that are ready to be expressed.

If this is speaking to you, honor that voice and that nudge.  This may be the next step that accelerates your journey to finding wealth - in all its forms.  If you know someone who may be interested, please feel free to share this with them.

Registration details can be found here on my website. 

Even if this doesn't personally relate to your life circumstance, I do think it is something that we as a culture can hold in conversation providing a supportive space for all the mothers (and fathers) finding their way in this new cultural era.

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In Honor of Women & Jack Pine Seeds

Megan deBoer

It is International Women's Day...

We have been taught, as women, that if we give, we will receive in return.  If we provide for our family, our family will take care of us – love us, and support us.  If I do this for you, you will do that for me. 
 
In this contract there is an inherent assumption of reciprocity.  But too often in our culture, this natural balance is interrupted – disrespected – forgotten. 
 
Women have traditionally been in roles of giving – mothering, caring for the elderly, the sick, and even the poor.  Cooking, cleaning, nurturing, birthing, rearing, volunteering and teaching have made up the work of our days. All are unpaid - or low paid - but expected and culturally relied upon nonetheless.
 
In the very first schools our country formed, it was decided that women would both be more suited for the role AND that they could be paid far less than a male – it was economically strategic.  Our valuation of this crucial profession began with this assumption, and has persisted through today. 
 
The valuation of womens' work has extended beyond the teaching profession and spread throughout our economy.  Statistically, for every dollar a man earns, a white woman will earn .76, an African American .63, and a Latina woman .53.  We have a long way to go to rectify our current reality of inequality.
 
It is a complex combination – it is a mix of our internal beliefs about ourselves, mirrored and formed by the deeply rooted beliefs of our external culture and the institutions that perpetuate them.
 
There is a collective female uprising happening in our country – a demand for recognition of our myriad roles as modern women.  It is also a personal revolution, occurring within the very intimate chambers of our own selves, our own histories, our own homes, and our own families.  It is causing tension, conflict, disruption and very often…anger. 
 

Perched on a Jack Pine tree branch are pinecones that rest for years before they open – glued tightly shut with resin.  It is only the tremendous heat of a forest fire that melts the resin, allowing the cones to open and release its seed to begin a new life.

 
The current energy being fueled culturally and politically is not unlike a forest fire.  It is tumultuous, chaotic, destructive, and disorienting – and necessary.  It holds old unresolved conflict, unacknowledged hurt, an imbalance of power, and pent up anger. 
 
But its presence is opening up possibility – the seeds that have been held tightly, silently, invisibly, in patience – waiting for their own existence, are emerging.
 

I can’t help but notice the metaphoric connection between the Jack Pine and the women who are discovering what has lain dormant within them.  It is a conversation arising with my clients, with my friends, and my colleagues.
 
It is common for women to wait to be given permission.  To wait for approval before feeling they are worthy of a raise.  To feed everyone before nourishing themselves.  To tolerate being taken for granted.  To give and give, and then give even more, waiting to receive fair compensation, often left feeling depleted – financially, energetically, emotionally, or spiritually.

We, as a culture, have it backwards. 
 
If we look to nature, the female must first receive before giving.  She must receive nurturing – nutrients, water, and sun – before bearing fruit - or new life.
 
Rather than giving first, and waiting to receive, we must receive first – SO THAT WE CAN GIVE...
 
What does this mean to you, as a woman, or a man supporting women?

This means respecting that you must first receive. 

This is where WE hold power to shift this old cultural tide.
 
It is about identifying, honoring, and giving yourself permission to be a top priority: that your physical, emotional, spiritual needs matter.  Satiating these needs yourself, or allowing others to help you meet them.  It means asking for what you need.  Clearly.  Consistently.
 
It is about upholding healthy boundaries – so that what you receive from others aligns with what feels right to you, so that you can trust yourself to not allow anything to pass through you that will not support you fully.
 
It is about putting yourself first – letting go of the assumption that this is somehow selfish… indeed it is selfless.  In trusting your ability to meet your own needs, you release yourself and others from the complexity of being dependent on others to fulfill you.
 
It is about receiving with gratitude, celebration, and an unquestioning recognition of your worthiness – to exist, to be powerful, to allow wealth, energy, health, and abundance in all its forms to flow into your life and support more growth.

Today is International Women’s Day - but tomorrow, tell me what tomorrow holds for you? 

The seeds have been released… they are finding their way to new ground.  Let them land in nurturing soil – receiving all they need to bear fruit. 
 
Imagine what you can gift to the world from a deeply nourished self...  

Don’t settle for less – we will all delight in the fruit that will drip lovingly from your branches...

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Grocery Shopping - An experiment

Megan deBoer

Grocery Shopping - An Experiment

The "Grocery Budget"...everyone seems to wonder how their spending compares to everyone else.  "Is how much we spend normal"? "I should really clip coupons, (shop at ....., never eat again!)".  It fascinates me - particularly this one category. Because it is the one category that we all share - we all have to eat. And so, inside this category lies some interesting psychology.

Spending on food can be justified, excused, celebrated, or induce shame, or guilt ("there are people who go without food - regularly!").  Extravagance - even essentials - can create different emotional responses.

Sometimes a few extras slip into this category (a magazine, a candle, a $7 snack for the kids to keep them quiet while you shop after school, more low nutrient food than you would care to really add up, produce that eventually gets composted from neglect). No one but you will ever know...

I had a client years ago who would berate herself monthly for how much she spent - but from what I see, it was actually very frugal. I asked her why it bothered her so much. After a few moments she remembered that her mother's grocery budget was X.  Her grocery budget was also X.  The only problem was that over 20 years had passed, and that number was no longer realistic!  In her mind it "should be" possible to fit within that amount, and each month she "failed". She hadn't realized she had internalized a ceiling on what was "ok" to spend, and it was fixed in stone.  (if it isn't groceries for you, it may be another category... I have one for pants, which is hilarious and I keep trying to re-adjust my comfort level to normal inflation! What is yours?)

You see...when we compare ourselves to another person's normal (or another era's normal), we will always fall short - of our own "expectations" or our true needs. A better practice is to examine, realistically -

"what are my needs, my values, and can my money sustainably support this spending?"  

When you examine it from this angle you are much more likely to reach an answer that is in alignment with your true needs.  

I see single people spending more than families of 4.  I see clients value where food comes from, their health and the health of the planet, who prioritize food over all other spending. I see clients who spend nearly nothing on groceries, but they eat out all the time. 

So, comparison... it really can only do one of two things: make you feel better about yourself, or make you feel worse about yourself (there will always be people who spend more, or less, than you on groceries, give your ego a rest!). Sure it is interesting, but it isn't necessarily realistic. You may base your budget on someone else's who cooks absolutely everything from scratch - but you work 55 hours each week.

Whether it is groceries or something else, we are more served if we find our own yardstick and measure our progress to it.  Can you spend less and be more mindful at the grocery store? Absolutely! Will your spending look like your neighbors? Probably not.

For a week, try this experiment: keep all your grocery store receipts. No judgments allowed, just keep them in a pile.  At the end of the week circle anything that you know wasn't entirely necessary, was wasted, or wasn't enjoyed.  Total this up... how much does it come to?  Multiply this by 4. This is a potential money leak - where would you rather this money went? Or are you ok with this amount?

This is the best way to begin making any changes...which do you want to make? Do you want to save more? Be less anxious? Donate more to the local food bank? 

If you want to know your answer to the question "can my money sustainably support this spending?", consider taking my course: Equipped to Thrive! 

Master the 7 Principles

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