Staying Cash-Flow Positive

Taught by grandparents who lived through the depression, Ayanna Goring knows how to hold on to money

to perks, such as a free breakfast.

A stickler for detail, Goring actually reads the fine print on all her bills and credit cards statements to make sure she isn’t being overcharged. The way she sees it, the more she can cut costs in areas that are less important to her, the more money she’ll have for things she truly loves, such as traveling, entertainment, and music.

Overall, Goring’s sensible approach to managing money has helped keep her debt load relatively light. While she owes $100,000 in student loans from earning her undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta University and an M.B.A. from Georgia State University, the only other debt she has is a $5,000 credit card bill, which she expects to pay off early next year. Goring hasn’t bought a home yet, but pays rent to live in her great-great-grandmother’s home, which has been handed down through her family and is now owned by her mother.

So as Goring prepares for her future, she literally lives in a part of her family’s wealth-building legacy, watching her money and looking out for quality deals that can lengthen that heritage in a meaningful way.

Goring loves to share her frugal shopping and budgeting techniques with family and friends. Here are three of them:

  • Think quality, not quantity. Goring is a big proponent of buying classic clothing items, that will remain stylish for years and can be dressed up or down. “Forget about trendy, whether it’s clothes or cars,” she says. Goring recommends buying a few things of high quality that will last, rather than items that will go out of style or that you may tire of quickly.
  • Research your purchases. “The best consumer is a smart consumer,” says Goring, who routinely researches the products and services she wants to buy on the Internet and by talking to family, friends, and coworkers. “I’m not just talking about big things like computers and cars, but research and get opinions on just about everything,” she says.
  • Invest in what you know and support. “Support companies that share some of your values,” advises Goring. She suggests learning about a company’s culture and practices. “I believe that companies that treat their employees and customers right are companies that are going to be successful. That core philosophy will manifest itself in their bottom line, and that company will likely be a good investment.”
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