Welcome to my dfree® blog. I hope these thoughts will help someone think new thoughts and take new actions toward their financial freedom. The proverb says that "the borrower is slave to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7) I have dedicated the rest of my life to helping people obtain spiritual and economic freedom.

dfree® to Host Virtual Conference July 24th to Bring Forth Tangible Strategy and Solutions for the State of Black America

Led by Black Economic Empowerment Leader Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., Event Will Yield Action for African Americans to Survive and Thrive in Light of Current Racial Injustices

SOMERSET, NJ – JUNE 22, 2020 – In already unprecedented times, the state of Black America has seen major turmoil in the last few months. Between two national crises, COVID-19 and the current horrific racial injustices, time has never been more crucial for real change. One thing that continues to become more obvious is that true help will not come from the outside; Black Americans must be the change they wish to see. Real social justice is impossible without economic empowerment. As a result, urban community development leader Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. and the dfree® Financial Freedom Movement will host a national virtual conference on July 24th, 2020 to bring forth tangible strategy and solutions for the progression of African Americans.“To advance in life, we need more than just goals, we need strategies,” said Soaries, CEO + Founder of dfree®, who has worked on civil rights issues for the Urban League as a community organizer and Operation PUSH as the national coordinator. “We’ve been led to believe that knowing more makes us do better. But when it comes to finances, having a plan and sticking to it is what makes us do better. Knowledge is power, but knowledge without strategy is just acquired information.”

As the premier financial freedom movement designed specifically for African Americans, dfree® focuses on cultural, spiritual and psychological spending influences. Through training, content, curriculum, tools and resources, dfree® offers solid strategy on how to become debt free, and then offers ways to build legacy and secure a positive financial future. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the dfree® movement has grown globally and is used by more than 4,000 churches and organizations, and 200,000 individuals. Its strategies are tried and true. More than 6,000 people have taken the online dfree® course which has resulted in true life transformation. Through the dfree® Billion Dollar Challenge alone, the organization has guided more than 10,000 African Americans to rid themselves of nearly $25 million of consumer debt.

“We are on a critical mission to annihilate the wealth gap statistics that have been placed on us as a race,” continued Soaries, who also served as New Jersey’s first African American male Secretary of State. “We’re flipping the script and mobilizing the Black community. We are providing solutions and strategy beyond slogans and hashtags!”

Since the beginning of the April, dfree® has provided free webinars, resources and tools to help more than 3,500 attendees financially cope during the pandemic. To continue the momentum, the organization is hosting an all-day virtual event, “dfree® Conference – From Crisis to Clarity: A Cultural $hift,” that will include power-packed panels and discussions featuring change agents in the Black community, solid steps for attendees to begin their journeys toward financial freedom including access to the free dfree® classes and curriculum, resources and tools to help attendees achieve their financial goals and more!

“Financial freedom is Black power!” said Tamika Stembridge, Esq., Executive Director of dfree®. “We are leading our people to financial liberation, legacy creation and wealth building from the inside out! We are literally fighting for our future – the future of our families, the future of our communities, the future of our people. And, dfree® has the keys to a life of fulfillment, flexibility and freedom.”

There are two ticket types for the dfree® Conference, free admission and a $15 ticket which includes a digital download of a dfree®book. For more information and to reserve and purchase tickets, please visit mydfree.org.

About the dfree® Financial Freedom Movement:

As the only faith-based, wealth-building system specifically designed with the black community in mind, dfree® delivers access to financial freedom. dfree® uses a variety of tools to educate, motivate and support people who make the choice to achieve and sustain financial freedom.  Featured in CNN’s Almighty Debt: A Black in America Special, dfree® began as a faith-based initiative to help stem an epidemic of overspending, particularly in the African-American community. dfree® has grown into a movement that gives participants the: ability to handle their own financial responsibilities; willingness to help others do the same; and, capacity to leave assets for future generations.

In the tradition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., dfree® also is a movement to help achieve economic justice in America. Rev. Dr. King once said, “We must never let it be said that we spend more for the evanescent and ephemeral than for the eternal values of freedom and justice.” dfree® emphasizes controlling money matters so that individuals have the freedom to focus on more purposeful pursuits.

About DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.

Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr. is known as an active agent for change and is a widely requested speaker. He is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, former chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and former New Jersey Secretary of State. His pastoral ministry focuses on spiritual growth, educational excellence, economic empowerment and faith-based community development. Soaries is the founder and CEO of the dfree® Global Foundation and author of several books including “Say Yes When Life Says No.” Soaries currently serves as an independent director at three companies: Independence Realty Trust, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and Ocwen Financial Corporation.

MetroFocus: June 3, 2020

Why has the George Floyd incident inspired such a widespread response? Will this crisis end by bringing us closer together or tearing us further apart? And as we witness a massive lack of social distancing during these protests, will we see a corresponding recurrence of covid-19 as we prepare to reopen? Former New Jersey Secretary of State and Baptist pastor Deforest Soaries Jr. shares his perspective on the nationwide protests playing out against the backdrop of the pandemic.

A vaccine could be ready by Fall pending FDA approval. Will it be safe and effective? Will it be made readily available to everyone? And who’ll decide who gets priority access? And will there be treatments for everyone else? While there are currently no approved therapies, there is plenty of controversy and misinformation surrounding drug therapies and treatment. Tonight, a former FDA official named one of the 300 “most powerful people in American healthcare” by Modern Healthcare Magazine weighs in on our safety as the city readies to reopen for business.

Aired on June 3, 2020. Full video here

How to Keep Your Faith and Strive For Financial Freedom During Challenging Times

Reverend Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) in Somerset, New Jersey, and the former New Jersey Secretary of State, launched the Billion Dollar Challenge to create black wealth and to motivate the black communities to strive for financial freedom during unprecedented times.

Black Enterprise spoke with the leading activist to learn more about his efforts and to hear his tips for staying positive and encouraged to practice faith during trying times.

Black Enterprise: What kind of tips/advice have you shared with your parishioners for maintaining their faith and staying positive during quarantine?

Dr. Soaries: We have transitioned to a completely virtual church. Generally, here is the guidance we have offered:
Take this COVID-19 seriously. Don’t allow faith to be a substitute for good sense and common sense. Stay safe – wash hands, practice social distancing, wear masks and shelter in place.
Participate in virtual church activities – worship, prayer, Bible study, webinars, etc.
Be grateful for what we have and express our gratitude as often as we can.
Do something for others. For instance, we had 200 people volunteer to adopt a senior by calling them twice a week and making sure they had what they need.

Black Enterprise: How often are you holding virtual mass or prayer sessions?

Dr. Soaries:  We have one main weekly Sunday morning worship celebration with live streaming; five telephonic prayer meetings; 10 Bible study classes; nightly small group sessions; daily tele-counseling; weekly outreach providing prepared meals for the food deprived in partnership with local food bank.

Black Enterprise: How do you envision the church reopening process?

Dr. Soaries:  We have a special committee planning for the re-opening of our building. However, we are in no hurry to re-open and have not set a date for doing so. We will likely not re-open until there are minimum restrictions required. The church is open so we are not that concerned that the building is closed.

Black Enterprise: What are some of your main concerns about reopening the church?

Dr. Soaries:  Our main concern is the health and safety of our members. I want to see much more testing for COVID-19 before we make plans to re-open. We are also concerned about having the ability to function inside the building in a manner that is reasonable. For instance, social distancing is unreasonable for much of what we do. Virtual ministry may be more effective than prohibitive functioning inside the building.

Black Enterprise: Can you tell us what the Billion Dollar Challenge is? What is the ultimate goal with the challenge?

Dr. Soaries:  The Billion Dollar Challenge (BDC) is a dfree® campaign to create black wealth. The goal is to motivate and mobilize 100,000 black people to pay off $10,000 each and shift the former debt payments to savings, insurance and investments. Paying off one billion dollars of black debt can create 50 billion dollars of black wealth when debt payments become insurance and investment payments.

BDC at its core basic level is an online tool that is used to help people manage their debts, make plans to pay them off using online calculators and planning tools as well as build our savings to establish a more positive financial position. The website www.billiondollarpaydown.com is the “base of operation” where people set their debt reduction and savings goals, track their progress and form groups to make progress together.

Black Enterprise: Can you explain some of the tools being offered to help motivate and educate people that are striving for financial freedom?

Dr. Soaries:
1. Individual User Debt Profile (understand who you owe and what you owe)
2. Calculator tools to help strategically manage, plan and pay down/pay off debts
3. Group and community functions that allow our people to join together, encourage and celebrate success, together, confidentially and without sharing any of their personal information or plans.
4. Online events that provide financial tips and educational information
5. Free online education, curriculum, and media and tools to continue learning and motivating to financial success.
6. Staff support for groups and organizations in strategies, plans, tools and support as they lead others.

Black Enterprise: How many people have you helped so far through the Billion Dollar Challenge?

Dr. Soaries:  We have signed up 10,000 participants

Black Enterprise: How can the African American & black communities utilize the stimulus checks in a way that benefits them for the future, beyond COVID-19?

Dr. Soaries:  Stimulus checks should be used in a manner that is consistent with the financial goals of the recipient. The receipt of these checks should motivate us to meet with financial professionals to create a plan that can inform us best as to how to use the stimulus money. We shouldn’t spend the money until we have our plan.

Black Enterprise: Can you share any advice for the urban communities on striving for financial freedom and how to manage their finances after receiving the stimulus check?

Dr. Soaries:  dfree® means freedom from debt, delinquency and deficits and freedom to deposits, deeds and dividends. When we pay as we go, pay our bills on time and live below our means we can save money, invest money and own assets.

From Protest to Solutions

From Protest to Solutions
After Minneapolis and Louisville
By: Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.


Let us be clear: we need law enforcement. That is undeniably true. Having been abducted at gunpoint and saved by a white police officer myself, I will never deny the need for police. But I also cannot deny that we have a problem that is much larger and deeper than one, two, or even a handful of incidents.

What is true is that the legitimate protest that has emerged in response to the death of George Floyd is addressing the same issues that the legendary civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s addressed. What is also true is that in 1968 The President’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders—known as the Kerner Commission—released its report, condemning racism as the primary cause of the surge of riots that occurred in the mid-late 1960s. Headed by then Illinois Governor Otto Kerner the 11-member commission was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in July 1967 to uncover the causes of urban riots and recommend solutions. It is true that the Commission report in 1968, which declared that “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal,” called for expanded aid to African American communities to prevent further racial violence and polarization. Unless drastic and costly remedies were undertaken at once, the report said, there would be a “continuing polarization of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values.” But the Commission report did not awaken America to the awareness that institutionally law enforcement agencies were both the perpetrator and defender of the racism that would cause even economically and socially successful blacks to live in a perpetual nightmare.

It is true that the election of hundreds of black mayors, county officials, state legislators, congresspersons and even a black president has not had a measurable impact on this issue. And it is true that the protests that are occurring right now are likely to fail to result in creating long term, sustainable change. It is true that the protests in response to the Minnesota incident may influence the disposition of the cases that will be brought against the men responsible for the death of George Floyd. But the lack of coherent strategy, the lack of disciplined action, the lack of experienced organization, and the absence of long term, comprehensive policy initiatives all minimize the sustainable impact that will result from this formidable showing of discontent.

One intelligent, articulate, and passionate 30-year-old activist lamented that he suspects that the youthful crowds will return to their normal disconnected lives after a few more days of televised outrage. This is what has happened even in the era of video recordings of beatings and killings. And the sincere, most vulnerable young people that need the change the most will have contributed to the rise in prominence of “celebrity” activists – some new, some old – and will live on without the needed police reforms but also education, jobs, and access to health care. But they will be available for the next protest after a police shooting.

This protest is revealing a unique surge of serious concern among the demographic that seems to normally be preoccupied with fake reality TV and celebrating vulgarity and nudity wrapped in musical genres. As commendable as it is, our current “social uprising” lacks the guidance and the substance needed to know the definition of victory. For the past fifty years, blacks have behaved as if simply putting other blacks in the right positions constituted a victory for all black people. So, it must be excruciatingly painful to their otherwise political saviors when these young protesters seem to sense no substantial difference between their new, diverse political representatives and the former urban, white political machine despots. Many of them are railing against and expressing distrust in cities held by black mayors just as the activists of the sixties expressed no confidence in southern racist sheriffs.

And they lack formal, credible, trained leadership. Their base is comprised of fragmented grassroots sympathizers and their fragile organizational infrastructures have allowed them to be infiltrated and at times upstaged by those whose goal is chaos and destruction rather than justice and progress. Organization was a key to civil rights era successes.

A social movement in America is by definition legitimate only to the extent that its goal is to make America a better democracy. Any other goal is too narrow, shallow, and self-serving to deserve broad sympathy and support. This means that the core of a legitimate movement or protest must be the belief that America is worth improving and able to improve. Anything other than that is not much more than group selfies claiming bragging rights for cursing at the enemy government officials with impunity. That kind of movement cannot allow real progress to occur because it needs the problem to justify its existence.

The civil rights movement wanted to work itself out of a job. And its leaders knew what that looked like. Desegregation. Legal rights equal to other Americans. Support to catch up to historic deprival. The policing issue needs similarly concrete goals. And the “movement” for justice needs to define what justice means in the aftermath of the George Floyd moment. It must be more than hashtags, slogans, and periodic marches. We need a seven-part agenda:


  1. We must find diverse communities that exemplify excellent police-community relations. We must study those communities, dissect the parts of their strategy to discover why it is working effectively, document the model, and promote it as a best practice. Communities must be incentivized to tailor the principles for use in their locale and replicate the model. We may want to start with Genesee County Michigan where Sheriff Chris Swanson marched with protesters in Flint, Michigan this past weekend.
  2. We must increase penalties for abusive behavior by law enforcement officials and implement no tolerance practices for police misconduct. This includes lowering the threshold for charging law enforcement officials with violating the civil rights of citizens.
  3. We must create independent commissions that review, evaluate, revise, and monitor the use of training manuals, procedures, and practices in law enforcement agencies.
  4. We must recruit, train, and promote law enforcement personnel that possess the psychological, emotional, and cultural capacity for law enforcement work and assess them every three years to ensure that they have maintained that capacity.
  5. We must incentivize law enforcement personnel to breach the “blue wall” of silence even as we motivate communities to oppose the “don’t snitch” culture.
  6. We need a national database of law enforcement who were terminated for misconduct and ban them from working in other law enforcement agencies.
  7. We must elect political representatives that support this agenda and hold them accountable for follow-through.

If the activist energy that is currently being displayed can be harnessed into support for a concrete agenda, then we may be able to unify our country and start working on the next issue that threatens the greatness that we all desire for our country.


Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens and former New Jersey Secretary of State.

Living dfree®: Sustaining the Pandemic

Living dfree®: Sustaining the Pandemic

There’s a constant, overwhelming influx of information and updates: closings, precautions, warnings, etcetera on the Coronavirus a.k.a COVID-19 a.k.a. what the media has portrayed as our worst nightmare. Whether you’re watching the news or scrolling through social media, this information can for sure be overwhelming and quite frankly, scary.

Be reminded.

Isaiah 43:1 “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”

The reality is we don’t know how long this pandemic will last and affect our daily lives. However, instead of letting fear control us during this time of uncertainty, let’s proactively plan for our sustainability and future.

Here are some lifestyle and money tips to help you get control during COVID-19:

  • Cancel unnecessary subscriptions and memberships
  • See what free/discounted resources are available nationally, regionally and locally
  • Invest in yourself – maximize the time home to learn or create something new
  • Be aware of potential scam attempts
  • Don’t waste money on unnecessary things i.e. clothes, shoes, etc.
  • Contact your lenders and loan service companies
  • Keep track of credit reports
  • Look out for seniors
  • Don’t over-buy out of fear
  • Take advantage of lower interest rates/refinance
  • Keep some cash on hand
  • Look for opportunities to cut expenses – reevaluate your needs versus you

Remember this too shall pass. Be sure to keep up with us as we go through social distancing together.

Be sure to keep up with us on social media for updates – @mydfree.

Black Banking & Financial Empowerment

A Message from Our Partners at MoneyLion

The powerful movement of black banking has a strong message and a relentless mission to pursue excellence through financial empowerment.
This movement is aimed at providing powerful banking tools and accessibility of information to help provide a practical way toward financial freedom.

Banks Pushing The Movement Forward

Banks that care about empowering all communities, especially those traditionally underserved by the big banks, are leading the charge. Knowing which banks are pursuing this mission and what to look for in a bank can help individuals understand where to start.

What To Look For In A Bank

There are some key characteristics to look for when determining which bank is the best bank for African Americans. Before making a decision, do your research and consider the following aspects.

1. Join a Bank with Low or Zero Fees & Overdraft Protection

Overdraft fees and charges have in the past been generally just accepted as the norm. In recent years, these fees are being viewed as deceitful toward consumers. One banking CEO even went as far as naming his Yacht Overdraft and is now in deep water after some appropriate backlash from communities.

When researching banking options, ask up front about overdraft fees or hidden service fees that have the potential to harm you in the future. MoneyLion’s truly zero-zee banking solution in partnership with dfree eliminates overdraft fees completely and also has zero service fees.

2. Consider a Bank Without Balance Requirements

Balance requirements are often not a large concern until you realize that if you are to fall below a certain threshold, you can again be charged a fee. Senseless fees simply take the hard-earned money out of your pockets.

It’s good to use a bank without balance requirements, and it’s a trend some banks like MoneyLion are adopting. Having no minimum balance gives you more flexibility with your funds, and you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t see fees being tacked on to your account.

3. Banks Helping You Stay Connected on Mobile

Banking institutions date back for hundreds of years, and sometimes the way they conduct business seems dated as well. Technology-driven banking has led a new charge that puts financial comprehension and connectivity into the hands of all consumers.

Staying on top of your financial goals requires appropriate tools and access every day. Tools such as credit building offerings, cashback rewards while spending, and investing capabilities all built into one accessible mobile app.

4. Banks With a Large ATM Network

A bank needs to be able to provide access to your funds when you need it most. Having a large network of ATMs available gives you 24/7 access to your money when you need it, without surcharges for withdrawing funds.

MoneyLion’s network of ATMs includes over 55,000 locations throughout the US, all of which can be easily found here.

5. Partnerships With Banks & Community Leaders

Groups involved in helping to continue positive trends in black financial growth include black-owned banks and organizations like as dfree® that are focused on the financial health of the African American community.

With a mission on scaling financial freedom for black individuals and organizations, dfree® provides expert resources and strategic financial partnerships through their online community.

Founder of dfree® Reverend Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. set out to accomplish the mission of providing approachable wealth-building solutions for African Americans and their communities. Through their mission and in partnership with MoneyLion, African Americans have access to financial and lifestyle coaching as well as all of the relevant banking tools from MoneyLion that empower black communities.

How To Be A Part Of The Movement

Start with researching which aspects of banking are important to you. We covered factors that are most important for banking solutions, but you can do your own research and learn more about what is important to you.

If you are looking for guidance from the start, organizations like dfree® can help. They offer online courses, free resources, expert tips, live workshops or events, and their membership includes a 12-step program toward financial freedom.

Banking in 2020 is accessible for everyone, and with the right tools and guidance financial empowerment is within reach for African Americans across the country.

From Rhetoric to Reality: Financial Freedom Movement Issues a National Call for Black Economic Empowerment to Commemorate 15th Anniversary

Life-Long Activist of Improving the Black Community Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries and dfree® Kick off National Billion Dollar Challenge Tour with 2020 Vision


The global grassroots organization featured in CNN’s Almighty Debt: A Black in America Special, dfree®, celebrates 15 years of its financial freedom revolution this year. As the only faith-based nonprofit tackling the crippling wealth gap, dfree® has trained churches, community organizations, corporations and individuals to lead financially richer lives. dfree®’s Founder and CEO, renowned community development leader, Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. has issued a challenge to black America to pay down $1 billion of consumer debt.

“It doesn’t make any sense to talk about closing the racial wealth gap or building wealth without focusing on the need to reduce consumer debt,” said Soaries, who also served as New Jersey’s first African American male Secretary of State. “Getting out of debt is the first step to achieving financial freedom. If we shift $1 billion of debt payments to savings, investments and insurance, we can create over $10 billion in wealth.”

To date, 10,000 individuals have accepted Soaries’ challenge and have paid down more than $23 million of consumer debt using the dfree® Billion Dollar Challenge tool. Since 2005, dfree® has touched more than 4,000 churches and 200,000 individuals around the world.

“We are on a critical mission to annihilate the wealth gap statistics that have been placed on us as a race,” said Soaries, who has written books and given speeches about how he overcame his own struggles with paycheck-to-paycheck living. “We’re flipping the script and changing the model of ministry in the black community. We are providing solutions beyond slogans!”

To commemorate the dfree® 15-year anniversary, the organization will conduct a national tour, which kicked off on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in New Jersey.

“The wealth gap is a major barrier that needs to be dismantled in this post-civil rights era,” said dfree® Executive Director Tamika Stembridge. “It’s the only way we’ll truly move forward and so dfree® is leading that charge!”

With stops in Tulsa, Flint, Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Charlotte, New York City, and more, the goal of the Billion Dollar Challenge Tour is to garner more people to take the challenge to make financial wellness a priority on its 50-city tour.

dfree® Partners with NJ’s Largest Health Care System RWJ Barnabas Health to Bring Financial Wellness to its More Than 34,000 Employees

Employees to Be Offered Free Resources and Strategy to Achieve and Sustain Financial Stability


This article appeared on NJBiz.com.


This week, dfree®, the financial freedom organization that has unprecedentedly aided 10,000 individuals nationwide in paying down more than $23 million of consumer debt through its Billion Dollar Challenge initiative, has announced its partnership with RWJ Barnabas Health (RWJBH) to provide content and curriculum for the health system’s more than 34,000 employees. Founded by former New Jersey Secretary of State Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., dfree® uses a variety of tools to educate, motivate and support people who make the choice to achieve and sustain financial freedom.


“The opportunity to help this magnitude of people free themselves from financial burden and reclaim their lives is truly remarkable,” said Soaries, who has written books and given speeches about how he overcame his own struggles with paycheck-to-paycheck living. “The dfree® Program perfectly pairs with businesses to empower people economically on all pay scales.”


New Jersey is among the top ten most expensive places to live in the country. In fact, according to a 2018 NJ.com report, 41 percent of New Jersey households are considered among the “working poor,” meaning they struggle to afford basic necessities like food, healthcare, transportation and housing. As the largest private employer in the state of New Jersey, RWJBH is committed to ensuring that its employees are equipped to manage their lives, families, and create financial stability at all levels.


“We are excited about our partnership with dfree and look forward to our continued efforts to build more equitable, economically stable, and healthier communities together,” said Michellene Davis, executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at RWJBarnabas Health who drives the system’s Social Impact and Community Investment Practice.


Available confidentially online through the dfree® Online Academy, RWJBH employees will have a customized experience of the dfree® 12-Step Course in which they’ll be able to take at their own pace with complimentary access to the core dfree® content, materials and additional resources.


Based in Somerset, dfree® is a transformational lifestyle movement that promotes financial freedom through value-based principles and practical approaches to financial management. Since its inception in 2005, the dfree® movement has grown globally and is used by more than 4,000 churches and 200,000 individuals. dfree® empowers churches, community organizations, corporations and individuals to lead richer lives by improving how they think about and manage money.


The course is available now to all RWJ Barnabas Health employees and is completely free. For more information about dfree®, please visit mydfree.org.



dfree® In The News: Dear Fall…Don’t Miss Me

Dear Fall…Don’t Miss Me: Tips for Making Your Dollars Stretch The Extra Mile This Fall

Tamika Stembridge, Esq.

Date: Oct. 29, 2019


This article was originally posted on HopeforWomenMag.com.


Last fall for me was all about staycations, selling stuff, and saving the proceeds. While these things are still very appropriate as one makes their way to financial wellness, I’m looking forward to being much more active this year.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m just as committed to stretching my coins as I am about stretching my social calendar, so here goes… Tamika’s Tips for a memorable fall while managing your money!

Less is More

The temperatures are dropping so it takes a lot more to do the most when it comes to fashion and style. With the fall social scene heating up, it can be very easy to click and ship, snag and swipe, and grab and go every time you get ready to head out. Believe me, this way of life is a one-way trip to seasonal sadness for your bank account. Give your wallet a break and your closet some room to breathe. Pick your fave pieces and style around them.

“Pool” Your Resources

Literally. I love a good afternoon at the pool, but tolls, parking, admission, private memberships, cabana fees, towel rentals, etc. can add up. I made it a point this year to be strategic about my water-wandering ways. My friends and I have agreed to never go at it alone. We always invite at least a plus one when we visit the pool club, and we carpool if we’re headed “down the shore.” Also, the super friends that have pool access with their apartment, condo, or community have already agreed to be the designated hosts for gatherings. We bring the food and other amenities in exchange!

Speaking of food…

What’s Cookin’?!?

Or should I say, “Who’s cookin’?” If you’re anything like me, you lovvvvve a good meal, especially one that someone else is serving, preferably on a rooftop deck, an umbrella’d patio, or in a cozy, heated oasis. But let’s face it, one too many mornings, afternoons, or nights on the town can wreak havoc on your wallet. As a first line of defense, scope out all of the restaurant weeks, happy hour discounts, and holiday specials you can find. Check your budget, mark your calendar, and make your way. Should the deals run dry, there’s nothing like a good ole gathering of friends at someone’s home. Prep or purchase a dish, prep your favorite playlist, and make a party out of potluck!

To read more of this article, subscribe to this season’s digital issue of Hope for Women!

Tamika Stembridge, Esq. is the executive director of dfree® Global Foundation, an organization dedicated to the wellness of the African American community.