Celebrating the wins… (2019)

Image result for twists back

2020 has started off pretty well for me. And as I continued to reflect on 2019, I realized that while I could always do more, I had some significant financial wins and I have much for which to be grateful. So, counting down Afro Penny’s top three financial wins of 2019…

#3 – I learned to braid/twists my own hair – This may seem less significant if you are not African American/black/have highly textured Afro hair, but learning to do my own hair was a game changer. And I am only sad that I did not learn to do it much sooner, especially while I was living abroad.

Braids/twists, even in cities with significant populations of African descent, are not cheap. While you can find bargains on Craigslist and the like, a decent stylist is still going to charge you between $150.00-$200.00 for an average style not including the cost of synthetic hair, which is often used to add length and durability to the style (note: braids/twists can be worn for at least a month, and take between 2-6 hours to install on average). If you want trendier styles like stitch braids or spring/bomb twists, the cost only gets higher. I will confess that in August, shortly after I moved here, I used some “found” money to pay almost $400.00 for shoulder length bomb twists. Despite being assured that it would last for at least three months, and look better as it aged, the stylist had a poor technique, and it looked raggedy after four weeks. Through headbands and other creative styling, I managed to extend the style to seven weeks just so that I didn’t feel like a total fool.

After that experience, I said enough was enough and I attempted to twists my hair myself. After six hours and $30.00 worth of synthetic hair, I had a style I liked. A month later, my confidence improved, I tried again with different hair. The second style came out even better that the first and the hair I used was not as heavy and cheaper (only $16.00) for the two packs I used.

Since I did my hair that first time, I have done my hair three more times and my technique and the outcome improves each time. To date, I have saved at least $500.00 and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

#2 – Only a two week gap in employment – By the time I departed, I was really unhappy at University A. If I’m even more honest, I put in my letter of resignation/intention not to return/contract non-renewal in February, with the hope that I could find a job before the academic year came to an end in June. Not only did I find a job in a pretty great city, at a better resourced university, much closer to my parents, there was less than a two week gap in my employment. While the move from a bi-weekly to a monthly paycheck took some adjustment, I am very happy with my new employer, and excited that the decision I made to switch employers, for my health and happiness, was a relatively smooth transition.

#1 – I paid off the personal (student) loan to my best friend – This was huge for me. Even though I had time to see it coming, I didn’t realize how much of a relief it was not to owe my best friend money anymore. While she was as kind, considerate, and as generous a lender as one could hope, owing her money was a constant reminder of how far I had fallen financially and how long I had been in such a place. There was so much shame. It was a small step of which there will need to be many, but at the moment, I am nothing but relieved and grateful.

5 thoughts on “Celebrating the wins… (2019)

  1. Hi I'm so glad you're back! Congrats on these wins. The hair one is HUGE. Oh my gosh, so much $$. And I'm super glad you got rid of the personal loan that was dragging you down spiritually. Here's to 2020.


  2. C!!! Thank you so much for continuing to check-in with me. The hair one was huge! It would have been my #1 if I weren't so happy to not owe my friend any money. This was the first month I didn't have to Venmo her a payment in five years and I can't describe that feeling on January 1st.So…are we really not going to talk about the elephant in the room…what is going on with your blog? Did I miss a farewell post. If so, I apologize. I have been seriously MIA from the personal finance blogs for several months. I was feeling stagnant and ashamed. But I'm here for the long hall. DDSW showed what you can do if you just stick with it.Are you writing guest articles or do you have another venture I can support?


  3. (I tried writing a comment yesterday but I'm not sure it went through so trying again, sorry if it double posts) — No big mystery! I forget that the six people who still read my blog don't all follow me on twitter, where I did talk about it 🙂 It's only that I wasn't using it anymore, hadn't really for a couple of years, and didn't want to keep paying to maintain the site, so when my hosting plan ran out I didn't renew it. I downloaded it though and if I can ever figure out how to import it to a free site I might put it back up again.


  4. Okay so I read this, but wasn’t in a place to be able to write. Took a hot second to find it again. For $400, you could have gotten a coach plane ticket, round trip to Atlanta. From there, gotten your hair done and had a drink in the airport lounge. I am African-American (don’t pay attention to the stock photo on my page) and I have extremely thick hair so I know the issue you speak of.

    I too, moved to a new city, got a girl for $200 to do my braids…they started unraveling 4 days later. I am extremely proud of you learning to do your own hair as it isn’t for the weak. Saving money and soon you can have a side gig doing the other girl’s hair who are getting robbed at their salon.

    Liked by 1 person

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