One Hard Lesson

In my 20s, buying Coach handbags, Nine West shoes and Bulova watches made me happy. I had to be the first woman in my crew with the latest trend.

When I was happy, I shopped. When I wasn’t happy, I shopped. I worked hard and told myself, “I deserve it.”

I didn’t think overspending with no savings was a problem. My credit limits were high and I was never late paying a bill.

Then, one day, my Land Rover needed an expensive repair. I didn’t have the money to fix it and my credit cards were maxed out. I was so embarrassed. I had a closet full of expensive clothes, handbags and shoes, but couldn’t put my hand on the cash that I needed to fix my expensive car.

That was it for me.

The idea of not having enough money in my savings account to pay for a basic necessity scared me. After that, I sought help through credit counseling, and I paid down my debt. I learned how to save, live within my means and let go of emotional spending. And yes, I got rid of my Land Rover and eventually bought a Camry. More than 200,000 miles later, I’m still driving that car.

Now, instead of buying things I don’t need, I save money and I choose to invest in experiences, such as traveling and fine dining.

In this issue we tackle two of the most important issues facing women of color — money and health. Hopefully, our story, “In Red Bottoms or In the Red” on page 20 will get you thinking about your own finances. If you’re managing your money well, I commend you. If not, hopefully this story will get you to be honest with yourself and make changes.

Speaking of changes, on page 25, you will meet three women who made life-changing decisions. They started eating healthy and exercising. They lost weight, but more importantly, they live healthier lives. Getting healthy isn’t easy. It takes courage to acknowledge you need to change bad habits and then to do something about it.

When we know better, we must do better.

Keep it positive and keep it moving,

Lashawnda Becoats

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