How to win big ($10,000!) and save big at tax time

As a partner with, we often receive great information to share with others about how to develop a savings habit.  As the year comes to a close and you’re in the thick of holiday shopping, I wanted to send out a little reminder about planning a tax time strategy.

If you haven’t done so before, consider joining the challenge and commit to saving part of your tax refund.  Our next post will also share ways you can save money starting with the  New Year!  Easy steps to take as you develop a new habit.  To help you along the way, Commonwealth and AmericaSaves are teaming up to give you over 100 chances to win prizes!  I’m going to register and so should you.

How to win big ($10,000!) and save big at tax time


Did you know that half of all Americans don’t have any emergency savings, yet 100 million taxpayers get a refund each year from the IRS? It’s the perfect opportunity to save!

Each tax season, households making less than $50,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. If you’re like us, that tax refund is the largest check you will receive all year. But with the holiday spending season in full force, a lot of us are already thinking about what to do with that cash, whether it’s paying off a credit card, fixing the car heater, or taking a vacation.

You can do all those things, but consider saving at least $50 of your tax refund for longer-term goals, like a rainy day fund or a home. Saving at tax time is as easy as filling out IRS Form 8888 when you file, which automatically sends a portion of your tax refund to a savings account.


By making a commitment to yourself to save now, before you file your taxes, you’re more likely to save. >> Commit to saving at tax time now

And to sweeten the deal, Commonwealth and America Saves are teaming up to offer SaveYourRefund with over 100 chances to win $30,000 in prizes, including two grand prizes of $10,000. To be eligible to win, simply direct $50 or more of your tax refund in a qualifying savings account using IRS Form 8888 and fill out the contest form at

But to win, you need to save. Improve your odds of saving by making a commitment to yourself now, early in the holiday season. >> Commit to save at tax time

How to Avoid Holiday Hangover

You know what a hangover is, right? It’s that groggy, headache, nauseous feeling you get when you’ve consumed too much alcohol.  Some of us experience similar symptoms when we’ve consumed too much of the holidays.  That consumption often involves too much spending.  As credit card bills start rolling in, so does a headache, nausea, and grogginess.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Before the holidays start, plan to avoid the holiday hangover.  Here are a few tips to help keep you sober.

Tip #1 – Make a list

 This is the easiest thing to do.  Start telling family and friends now that you will not buy a gift for everyone.  If you want to avoid the holiday hangover, you need to set realistic expectations for your gift giving.  Limit your list to include immediate family and maybe a few extended family members and friends.

Everyone does not have to be on your list!

Tip #2 – Set a spending Cap

 A spending cap is designed to stop you from overspending. Visit the Resource link for a FREE Spending Cap guide to help you with your list.  Once you set your limits, you can withdraw cash and take with you while you’re shopping.  You can transfer the spending amount to a prepaid card to use while shopping so you only spend up to that amount.  My favorite tip is to put the amount you want to spend per person on a gift card and give gift cards for Christmas.  This tip is sure to stop you from overspending!

Tip # 3 – Setup a group gift exchange

The holidays often involve spending time with family and friends.  Use this as an opportunity to cut down on your holiday expenses.  Rather than bring a gift for everyone, host a gift exchange.  Some call it, White Elephant or Dirty Santa, whatever you call it, this type of exchange requires you to only buy one gift and exchange with one other person at the party.  In my family, we only buy gifts for the little ones and we set a spending cap of $5-10.  The adults come together for a family style dinner and we enjoy watching the kiddos open their gifts.  This has cut our shopping budgets significantly!

Tip #4 – Think about your life goals

Christmas comes once a year, yet we often find ourselves paying for it most of the following year.  Before you spend a single penny on gifts this year, think about your life goals.  Will buying these gifts help or hinder you from your bigger goals?  Will buying expensive gifts help you reach your goal of homeownership?  Will using credit cards to buy “guilt gifts” help you save for retirement?

While we all want to share in the Christmas spirit, let us remember one thing; Santa Claus didn’t give away gifts until he was settled into retirement.  If your financial future is shaky, perhaps this Christmas you should be less like Santa and more like Scrooge!

For more tips I learned from Santa, look for my next post, “Last minute gift ideas that won’t break the bank.”



Do you believe that God has called you to a better quality of life, yet, you’re not experiencing it?

Do you make enough money and still have more month at the end of your money?

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Living Abundantly will present workshops for those who know there is an abundant life waiting for them and they are ready to experience it. If you are looking to do the same thing you did last year, then our workshops are not for you.

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This package includes all of basic budgeting and Credit Plus services but it is designed for those who want to see measurable changes in their overall financial life.  This package will prepare you to work with a Certified Financial Planner so you can establish wealth building habits.




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Do you know that you want to be in a different place, but can’t figure out the best way to get there? The destination is clear, but the road is a little foggy. Your Coach can help you clear away some of the fog by uncovering the tools that you need to use to get to your destination. The best part is you already have everything you need, its just time to see things differently. With Coaching, you are in control. No one will tell you what to do or how to do it. Rather, your Coach will come alongside you as you navigate this journey and they will help you see things differently.

“There is strength in numbers.” -author unknown.

Are you part of a group of like-minded people? Do you and your friends have similar goals? Maybe go to college, save for a vacation, start a small group Bible Study or just save more money. Group Coaching may be what you need. Our Coach could meet with your group and support your goal by identifying ways that you all can reach it together. Usually, one member of the group has a wealth of knowledge that they assume the others members already know and so they don’t share. Our Coaches know how to ask the right questions to draw out the skills and resources that each group member has. Then, the Coach will help the group see how to utilize those skills to help the group reach its collective goal. Invite us to your group and let’s reach for your goal now.

Welcome to Change Purse!

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Come one, Come all!  Living Abundantly presents Change PurseWe don’t spill tea; we drop coins to change your life! 

So sit back, relax and prepare to pick up your change! 


Recently, I had a conversation….I think I’ll start every blog post off this way because honestly, most of what I write about will be sparked by a conversation I’ve had with someone…even if that someone is me! 

I know we all have limited time and if you’re anything like me, you want to get right to the point as quick as possible, so I will not write lengthy blogs and I won’t have long videos. 

I’ll strive to keep each post to 500 words or less and the videos will be 2 minutes or less.  If you want more information, you are welcome to join my private Facebook group where I answer specific questions and share more tips and advice.


Perhaps I should tell you a little about me.  I’m Brandy and I’ve been living an abundant life since 2010 when my husband and I realized we no longer owed on credit cards, car payments, or store cards.  Five years earlier, we owed over $75,000 in consumer debt!  That’s a story for another time.

I started this blog because I wanted to create a space where women, in particular African-American professional women, could learn the things our parents didn’t teach us about money.  I want to write to the young professional who makes plenty of money and still lives paycheck to paycheck.  I want to write for the female entrepreneur who sacrifices saving for her future because she’s determined to see her business succeed.  I want the women in my community to have a voice they can identify with when it comes to relevancy and reality when talking about money.  I want to be a voice for women like me.


My passion is seeing people experience freedom when they realize they can budget their money wisely.  I love connecting with people who are serious about making changes in their financial situations.  I’ve spent several years learning through trial and error what would work for my family and families like ours who want to save more money.  I’ll write about things my friends ask me about.  If they want to know, you probably do too. 

My faith has been a mainstay in everything I do with my financial choices.  I’ll write about how applying Biblical principles will allow you to experience true abundance in your life and not just your finances.  I’m pursuing a project where I want to provide financial education to the community surrounding my church.  I will definitely write about what I learn from that process.

Back to the conversation….recently, I had a conversation about…Oh, look at the time.  I guess you’ll have to come back to hear the rest of the story.  Smile