About Donnica Smalls

http://www.donnicakelsey.com

Resident Palmetto Peach expert on glitter, baking and why football is the 5th season. Pragmatic dreamer. “I might bend a little bit, but I don’t fold.”

Posts by Donnica Smalls:

Transformation Tuesday: Transforming Your Finances

Transformation Tuesday: Transforming Your Finances - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.comI’ve always been semi-responsible with money – or so I thought. In college, I didn’t sign up for a million credit cards because they were being offered or because I needed extra money for Bonnaroo. However, within the last year or so I’ve become really serious about transforming my financial situation.

Debt free by 30 is my goal!

At the beginning of the year, I paid off one super high-interest credit card and it felt amazing!! Everyone should have the feeling so let’s talk about transforming your finances.

Transforming Your Finances

The debt snowball method Vs The debt avalanche method

You may have heard of these two methods. I’m not going to persuade you that one is better than the other because honestly either way you’re being proactive and taking a step toward being debt free. You get a round of applause from me either way. But here’s the difference:

With the debt snowball method, you pay off your debts from smallest balance to largest balance, regardless of interest rates. With the debt avalanche method, you pay your debts from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate, regardless of balance. I’m not a math wiz, but in case you care, mathematically the avalanche method makes the most sense.

Here’s what I would consider:

The snowball method gives you small wins. Think about all the little statements you have every month: doctor’s bills, store credit cards, etc.. For me it’s my Victoria’s Secret, Express, and Ashley Furniture cards, in addition to the two credit cards I have.They’re not significant debts by any means, but lots of little minimum payments. When you pay your debts from smallest to largest balance you start to clear those little debts away very quickly- which can be motivating. The avalanche method makes sure you’re paying less in interest thereby saving you more money.

I’m in need of some motivation so I’m going with the snowball method. I’ve got two printables below if you’d like to try it as well.

Debt Snowball

  • List all of your debts from the smallest to the largest and include the monthly payments on the payout plan printable
  • Make minimum payments on all of your debt except for the smallest. For the smallest debt,  you will make the minimum payment PLUS extra money monthly. Adjust that extra amount based on what you can afford keeping up with all of your other payments.
Here’s an example:
  • Express – $450 ($25 per month)
  • Discover Credit Card #1 – $750 ($40 per month)
  • AMEX #2 – $1300 ($60 per month)
  • Car Loan – $8430 ($400 per month)
  • Student Loan – $30,000 ($200 per month)

In this example, the Express card is the smallest, so you would make the minimum payment of $25 a month with an additional $50 per month –  that’s $75 all together, mathletes). With this method you are paying more than the minimum due and cutting the debt down faster. If you’re consistent (and aren’t adding to you balance) in about six months (this all depends on your interest rates) your debt will be paid off.

Next Step in the Debt Snowball

The next step is to add the $75 you were paying on the Express card to your next smallest debt. So in this example, it’s the Discover credit card. For six months you made the minimum payment of $40, but now you’ll pay $115. Again, this varies by your interest rate, but within another six months you can pay of this card. So in this example you’ve wiped out two credit cards in a year.

Transformation Tuesday: Transforming Your Finances - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

 

Click on the thumbnails below to download copies of the two worksheets. 

                     Debt Snowball Payoff Plan - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com      Debt Snowball Worksheet

I’m not a financial adviser, but hope this method can work for some of our readers. Feel free to share what other methods you’re trying or completed to reach your goals in the comments below.  Good luck to everyone with transforming your finances!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

Spring Mood Board

Be intentional. Live life with purpose. See the beauty in everything.

I wrote that statement in my journal at the beginning of the year and return to it pretty frequently. I haven’t made a mood board since the fall, so I decided to create a spring mood board inspired my vision statement for the year.

Spring Mood Board - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Just a little reminder:

mood board:

 an arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text, etc., intended to evoke or project a particular style or concept.

I’ve seen mood boards used in fashion, photography, branding, web design, wedding planning, and interior decorating.  It can include just about anything — photography, designs or illustrations, color palettes, textures, descriptive words — anything that helps you define the direction or feeling of your project. I plan to use my spring mood board to inspire my style and my creative endeavors this season.

Spring Mood Board

 

 

Spring Mood Board Inspiration

Be intentional. I want everything I eat, create, read and wear to be deliberate. My 30 days of decluttering  is helping tremendously. I want everything I own and consume (physically and spiritually) to be intentional and getting rid of these I don’t  need is a great first step.

Live life with purpose. One of the first images I stumbled upon looking for inspiration was a One Tree Hill quote that I’m pretty sure Peyton said (OTH fans, fact-check me). I loved it and thought it fit perfectly with my vision statement.

See the beauty in everything. For me this is more of a message to slow down and enjoy the little things more. I’ve lived in Atlanta for four years now and there are still so many places I have yet to go explore.

Spring Mood Board on Pinterest

Everything on my mood board can be found on this Pinterest board:

What’s inspiring you this season? Leave a comment below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

Five Things To Do With The Extra Sunlight

Five Things To Do With The Extra Sunlight - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.comWe’re about a week out from the first day of spring and it’s snowing…

Five Things To Do With The Extra Sunlight - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Despite the cold weather, it will officially be brighter in the evenings each day. Thanks Daylight Saving Time. Although – first world problem alert – I get slightly annoyed by having to change all of my clocks that don’t automatically update. Seriously, yesterday I totally forgot about the clock on my stove and confused myself for half of the day. Although, this is looking like an unusually long winter, I think we should all use this additional daylight to increase our productivity. So please join me in engaging in some new or productive activities with all the extra sunlight coming your way. So here are five things to do with the extra sunlight.

Five Things To Do With The Extra Sunlight

Exercise Outside

I’ve been on a pretty consistent gym schedule, but with the extra sunlight I’m going to try and find some outdoor routines. Yoga In The Park starts later this month in my city. Check Meetup or local yoga studios to see if anything similar exists in your town. I may even attempt to run outside. I’m a little traumatized from my experience of starting the couch to 5K program and almost being hit by a car on day one, so we’ll see.

Meet Up For An Outdoor Happy Hour

I fully plan to take advantage of patio weather when it arrives. Brunch, lunch, or breweries, I don’t care. Just sit me on a patio, please.

Work Outside

I do not have a window in my office. So unless I visit my coworkers with the a view or take a walk outside I have no idea what’s happening with the weather. Also, I have a bad habit of just locking myself in the office – until dark sometimes – when I want to get things finished. My resolution is if I have work from the day leftover, I’ll take it home and work from my balcony and enjoy those last fleeting moments of daylight.

Read that Book You’ve Bought But Never Started Outdoors

Here’s an opportunity for you non-outdoorsy folks (me) to enjoy the great outdoors besides just brunching on patios. Go outside and take that book you’ve been meaning to read or finish reading.

Evening Walk

When it gets dark early, I rush my pup on our walk. I’m going to slow things down and enjoy a nice long walk in the evening with Sgt. Pepper. Besides a long walk will tire him out and he’ll head straight to his bed or just snooze on my feet until it’s officially bed time.

What are some things you plan to do with the extra sunlight? Leave a comment below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches

Rom-Com Fake Out: The Time Netflix Tricked Me

Rom-Com Fake Out: The Time Netflix Tricked Me - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.comAll I wanted was a recommendation for a good rom-com and Netflix let me all the way down. Netflix actually tricked me. I thought no one understood me better than Netflix, but this relationship was a lie. So, if you’ll indulge me: I have a quick story.

Rom-Com Fake Out: The Time Netflix Tricked Me

Let me set the scene for you: It’s a Saturday night and no part of my body or soul wants to go out and drink or socialize with other humans. I had all the conversation I needed chatting with my four-legged bestie, Sgt. Pepper. I’d read a few chapters of a book and decided to Netflix it for the rest of the night. I had wine and about a half a pan of salted caramel brownies at my disposal and all I needed was a rom-com to pair with it.

As I scroll through my options, I realized I’ve watched everything hundreds of times. I know all the dialogue for Two Weeks Notice, so I have to skip that one. Leap Year. I just watched that…next. Bridget Jones’ Diary: meh…Renee isn’t going to do it for me. Next.  Hope Floats..Ok, Netflix I get it. You know I love Sandra Bullock. Step Up. Well, I just watched She’s The Man (the best Channing Tatum movie). So, I decide to skip that movie as well. As I continue to scroll I see a title I don’t recognize: Copenhagen and decide to give it a chance.

How Netflix Played Me

Now, here’s where everything starts to go left. The movie has 3.5 stars which is good enough for me, so I don’t really read the description. Big mistake. Huge!

The movie is about this 28 year old guy (this is important) named William. Moving forward, he will be referenced as homeboy. Homeboy is traveling to Denmark to find his grandfather. However, his only clue is an old letter he finds among the items of his deceased father who abandoned him. Homeboy doesn’t speak Danish and as a result needs help. He ends up meeting a nice girl who decides to help him with his quest. Homeboy clearly has issues with women. However, you see their chemistry and how she’s clearly quite different from all of the other women he’s encountered and is slowly changing him. It’s pretty cute. Here’s where it goes super sideways. Homegirl is 14. 1-4. As in illegal AF.

I’m now distraught and obviously felt the need to go back and read the description. Because how in the hammerhead halibut is this categorized as romance?  I thought this was called pedophilia. Netflix tricked me!!

Actual Description: An immature womanizer in search of Dad. It’s about time someone helped him grow up. Even if it’s a girl half his age. 

Thanks, Netflix! Now, that I’ve been flagged for watching this. My government job is now in jeopardy, but I felt like I might as well finish it since my name will forever be on a list. I might as well see how it ends. I think that there must be a twist. Surely, this 28 year old man knows better than to hang out with this, albeit mature,14 year old girl.

Here’s actual footage of me watching the rest of the movie:

Rom-Com Fake Out: The Time Netflix Tricked Me - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

 

Me: Homeboy don’t you dare tell her you love her. She’s slamming shots. No, no, no. Cigarettes? Don’t you dare kiss her. Leave your top on, ma’m!!

Suffice it to say, I was and still am very disappointed in Netflix for that rom-com fake out.

(more…)

30 Days of Decluttering: A Minimalism Challenge

30 Days of Decluttering: A Minimalism Challenge - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com If you’re interested in participating in this challenge you may want to check out my Minimalism 101 post or my Art of Decluttering post.

I’ve pulled together a challenge for the month of March to tackle some physical decluttering needs that adds adds on some decluttering of items that are using up our mental energy as well.  While I’m calling it a decluttering challenge, you can also think of this as start to your journey to minimalism. If minimalism isn’t your thing, consider this a spring cleaning challenge.

“Sometimes, the only way to figure out what is really important is to get rid of everything that isn’t.”

30 Days of Decluttering: A Minimalism Challenge - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Click here or the image above to print off your own copy of the challenge.

(more…)

Cultivating Stronger Friendships in Your Late 20s

Cultivating Stronger Friendships in Your Late 20s - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

I’ve touched on the difficulty of making new friends before, but what about the friends you already have. One of my goals for this year was to put more effort into maintaining and cultivating stronger friendships. I’ve thought a lot about why it’s so easy to drift apart from the people you love so much. I finally realized for me, it’s because my friends and I are in all different stages of life.

I’m 27. Single – not actively looking, but open to a relationship. I’m focused on my career and perfectly happy being a fur parent. I love kids, but at this stage I can’t imagine trying to find a babysitter to watch my kid when I want to have a wild night in Buckhead. I also don’t want to go out every weekend. I’m perfectly content with parking my body on the couch with Netflix or a good book, my pup, and sweatpants (wine is always included).

Cultivating Stronger Friendships in Your Late 20s - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Some of my friends are married. Some of my friends are married with kid(s). Others are out every weekend, waking up with hangovers. I’ve got a few friends who are actively trying to lock down a significant others, while others are on every dating app – just looking for hookups. A few people have never left our hometown, while others are traveling every chance they have. Some are still doing what we were doing at 21 (how Sway? Is your liver okay?) others have started companies.

So what’s a girl to do to stay connected?

Friendships take work

Don’t forget about how your friends have been there for you. Likely, they’ve seen you through something – even if it was just a rough finals week. Then think about what connected you. Friendships take work, just like any other relationship. So you’ll have to put in a little effort. I’ve been lucky to hold on to a few of my friendships from high school. Oddly enough, I’ve also become very close with some people I went to high school with, but would not – at that time – even think to call them a friend.

It’s hard to stay connected to someone you were friends with when you were 14, but not impossible. One of my high school besties is married and a fantastic mom. Have I ever had a wedding? No, but we talked about all the wedding things. I even designed her Save the Dates. Have I ever had a baby? No, but we talked about all the baby things and I helped her sister-in-law through her baby shower.

My point is as long as you don’t forget about those who have been there for you – you will be able to find  You won’t always have everything in common, but you will always have the common ground that your friendship was based on. Sometimes that is enough, if you both still want to be in each other’s lives.

Maintaining Friendships

This year, I’m determined to make more of an effort. I’m celebrating birthdays. I’m sending letters, cards, care packages – just because. Earlier this month, I sent Galentine’s Day packages to some of my favorite ladies – local and abroad. But it’s not just about gifts. I’m going to schedule regular phone dates and just check-in on people. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone ask you “Are you okay” and mean it.

I realize my friends are my friends because they support me in whatever I do. Sometimes they laugh at me, but I know they love me unconditionally.

So to my friends who may be reading this:

If you need a home cooked meal, to borrow my dog for some puppy snuggles, a hug, a ride, my Netflix password, someone to proofread your resume, occupy your little one while you wash your hair, a wing girl, someone to help you hide the body or someone just to do nothing with – I’m here.  And I love you!

Cultivating Stronger Friendships in Your Late 20s - The Palmetto Peaches - palmsinatl.com

Anyone else struggling with maintaining friendships? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches