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Money Smart Meal Planning

Money Smart Meal Planning

by Trenati Baker Summer is an exciting time for Chicago youth, especially those who are employed through the One Summer Initiative or other job programming. For some Chicago youth, this summer may mark their first time receiving a paycheck, and for others this may be one of the many checks they’ve earned; however, what ties everyone together is the struggle to budget and, specifically, how the temptations to eat out complicate money management. Fear not, effective meal planning is an essential practice that allows one to save money and can help individuals lose weight. Meal planning, similar to what its name implies, is planning and preparing your meals in advance at home. On average, if a person were to go out for burgers and fries every day for a year, they’d spend a whopping $1600 (Get Real 39). This statistic speaks to the importance of meal planning as a money management tool. By purchasing groceries, home cooking them, and bringing balanced meals to work for lunch breaks, youth could save lots of money which could be put into a savings account or invested. This is why it is imperative for everyone to begin to meal plan. Chicago Nutritionist, Karen Kim, advocates for basic meal plans that are in line with those advocated by the United States Department of Agriculture. These plans include a serving of fruits, vegetables, a protein, and a carb (see the image below). Kim says that this method is a simplified guide to formulating healthy and filling meals—meals that don’t have to be expensive. Simple staples like chicken, rice, green beans, and apples are examples of food that can be purchased inexpensively, cooked easily, and eaten to help youth get healthier and avoid spending copious amounts of their paychecks during their lunch hours. One Summer Chicago Money Mentor and teen financial ambassador, Kaliah Little, explained her experiences with meal planning as “life changing.” She explains, “at first, I would go out for lunch—Potbelly one day, Chipotle another—but it just got really expensive, especially downtown... meal planning helped me save money, avoid stress from waiting in restaurant lines during rush hours, and eat healthier... I’m not going to lie, meal planning takes discipline, but once you begin and start to get the hang of it, meal planning gets easier and you can really put the extra money you save to good use. I’m buying some of my college textbooks with the money I saved!”

Name Brand vs. Generic

Name Brand vs. Generic

by Jamal Ray Recently, fashion has become more and more expensive. A name brand shirt with holes in it may cost $350, but you can get the equivalent for $15-$30 at H&M. The lingering question is, what is it about name brands that make people spend more on items? According to Cholmes0410 at Infogram.com, a website that focuses on infographic reports, 19% think name brands have better design, 13% of people feel more confident, and 10% wear it because of their classmates. Surprisingly, 40% of the people polled mentioned that they like name brands because they believe it has better quality. Choosing name brands over generic is not only an issue in clothing brands, it’s also an issue in pharmaceuticals. Renard Thompkins, a pharmacist, says that the difference between generic and name brand medicines is similar to an analogy that “would be the example of taste of Wonder Bread or the taste of generic bread. They typically use the same ingredients but the quality of those ingredients could affect overall efficiency of the product. Meaning it may not dissolve like the brand or it may (have an) undesirable side effect." Portraying the idea that name brands simply may have better quality in usage is a key detail to the overall question. In addition, this idea has been expanded to other areas, such as shoes. John, an employee at Foot Locker, states that “having that name brand shoe can often make people feel confident in what they are wearing. They don’t have to worry about people talking about them, because they have the hottest shoe.” Overall, it’s a pattern that people assume based on their past experiences, that name brands have higher quality. In reality, most food and pharmaceuticals all have to meet the same quality standards. As a result, we are left with the question of what makes a name brand so attractive rather than a generic brand. In addition, there are standards for the clothing. According to the International Trade Administration, Federal Trade Commission does have a quality standard for clothing. From the sources, consumers that are in search of quality are expecting a specific name brand to have even higher quality than generic.

The Price of Going to Infinity and Beyond

The Price of Going to Infinity and Beyond

by Arushi Chauhan NASA has a $25.2 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year (NASA 2020). This is less than other government organizations received in the U.S., but it is still a lot of government and tax dollars dedicated to space exploration. Although it seems like a distant subject, citizens should know why their money is or will be spent on space exploration and how its benefits to the economy make it worth the cost. Organizations like NASA, the U.S. military, and SpaceX need money from their budgets for many aspects of the space industry. George Washington University Research Professor Henry Hertzfeld explained the most costly parts of space travel are, “Without question, hardware and launch...it is especially expensive to insure the safety of the astronauts.” The funding for space exploration is necessary to ensure that the technology used for space travel is safe for astronauts. Scientific lab equipment is also sent on space missions, especially to the International Space Station (ISS), so experiments can be performed in zero gravity. It may seem like space travel does not greatly impact the average citizen, but the impact of its price is felt by everyone. NASA supported more than 312,000 jobs nationwide and generated more than $64.3 billion in total economic output during the fiscal year 2019 (NASA 2020). The economic benefit from these jobs is huge; however, there are downsides to spending money on space exploration. According to Harvard Business School professor Matthew Weinzierl, the main argument is, “[O]f course, the money could be used elsewhere.” Industries like healthcare could use the money; however, space exploration is just as essential because it helps launch satellites needed for internet access. The money spent on space travel is used on necessities like the hardware required for launches. Space exploration boosts America's economy and impacts the availability of the internet. The experiments conducted in space also have the potential to help people suffering from a variety of medical issues, such as Osteoporosis. Funding space exploration in America has many benefits for the economy and individual citizens that make it worth the cost.

Survival of the Aerospace Industry in the Corona-Economy

Survival of the Aerospace Industry in the Corona-Economy

by Harman Dhillon Intriguing advances have let humankind take science and technology to new levels. The aerospace industry has drawn students’ interest for years allowing it to grow, but now, it is struggling in the corona-economy. A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found “92% of space firms with R&D as a primary business line were small businesses, sole-source providers of critical parts, equipment, and services.” Similarly, the aerospace industry as a whole finds itself in trouble. Via the CARES Act, the government provided economic assistance during the pandemic. Funds were provided to federal agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), specifically to address the impact of the pandemic on safety and mission assurance programs and on-going activities. NASA received: “$60 million in CARES Act funding within its Safety, Security, and Mission Services appropriation to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus domestically or internationally.” Government aid prevents the aerospace industry from collapsing. Although government aid helps the industry, its survival is almost independent of it. In the words of Sean O’Keefe, former NASA administrator and professor at Syracuse University, “The government is involved in research and development of activities, it doesn’t actually make anything the industry does.” He saw coronavirus disrupt commercial demand, but not push the industry past recovery. He believes people interested in aerospace keep the industry alive. He did not see the corona-economy hindering interests of aerospace students; O’Keefe described increasing interest among students in this expanding industry. Wallace T. Fowler, former professor at University of Texas at Austin, sees constant drive in students as well: “It’s a certain group of people… to those people, it's not a job, it's a calling.” Fowler described the successful careers of many former students explaining they should remain in the industry despite coronavirus-related lifestyle changes. People truly interested in aerospace will stay interested, regardless of the economy. The government helps aerospace companies and larger organizations stay afloat in a drowning economy, but public interest remains the driver of the industry. The aerospace industry will survive as long as students remain interested, and coronavirus has not changed that fact.

The Rising Prices of Pharmaceuticals: Diabetes

The Rising Prices of Pharmaceuticals: Diabetes

by Karis Kelly Within the past 10 years, drug costs have risen dramatically. A combination of Big Pharma, insurance deductibles rising, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have been a catalyst for the rising pharmaceutical costs. According to Consumer Reports, diabetes medication Lantus has increased its price by 24% over six years. In 2014, this life-saving medication cost $408 a month. Whereas in 2019, Lantus cost $504 a month. The rising prices of diabetes medications have hurt families across the US. Dr. Kathy Starr, a pediatrician with a diabetic son, discussed “...it [insulin] has cost a co-pay of $30-50/month… [insurance] would not approve of more insulins so we had to pay over $300 for a small vial...his insulin pump and a continuous glucose meter. This can add up to $3000-4000/year, but it is so vital”. Proper medications and equipment for those with diabetes are vital for survival. Without treatments, a myriad of complications can occur such as heart disease, stroke, and more. Rising prices of diabetes medications can affect anyone, but especially seniors. According to the American Diabetes Association, 26.8% of diabetes cases are in adults 65+ in the U.S. Dr. Urvashi Thakkar, a pharmacist, discussed that many seniors have fixed incomes, which makes it hard for many to afford the expenses. Sometimes it is the choice between a needed medication and rent or food. Most will choose food or rent over their medications. This creates a tremendous problem. With rising pharmaceutical prices across the board, more and more families and individuals are struggling to keep up. The main concern of rising prices can affect anyone, but those with fixed incomes are especially affected. Some suggest that big pharma should work with PBMs to help lower the prices. Overall, diabetes medication prices are rising and are affecting more and more people every day.

Tips on Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

Tips on Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

by Joshua Burns Did you know that 75% of startups fail? In fact, after 5 years, the failure rate of all U.S. companies is well over 50% (Entrepreneur, 2017). Many entrepreneurs launch businesses feeling as if they’ve created a pioneering product but fail to understand the risks necessary to obtain the most optimal reward. To really grasp what it takes to become an impactful entrepreneur, evaluate what triumph means to you. Not all entrepreneurs will value the same success, but all successful entrepreneurs follow three main tips throughout their career path: Investing in yourself, understanding your market, and professional networking. Investing in yourself is key on your journey to becoming an entrepreneur. Introspection, taking the time to assess who you are, is a great way to establish your values and goals. Jaclyn Woodruff, Founder of Woodruff’s Tutoring, advises rising entrepreneurs, “Get to know yourself. This encompasses knowing your strengths and weaknesses and understanding your priorities.” When you truly know yourself, you’ll have better judgment as to what type of impact you’re bound to make. Understanding your market will allow you to make necessary adjustments to your business. Debbie Cortez, Business Coach at Sunrise, says “You must be patient, dedicated to your craft, and adaptable as markets do change and you will have to be prepared for your business to adapt to such changes.” Companies may fail to adapt to market changes due to an insufficiency in business modeling, technology, and/or referral to potential customers. Networking is also critical. In fact, 55% of entrepreneurs find it difficult to access informal communities, and most market share comes from word-of-mouth clientele, highlighting the importance of networking (Guerrini, “Study: For 78% of Startups, Networking is Vital for Entrepreneurial Success”). As time evolves, the world is becoming more industrialized with technological advancements. Entrepreneurs are in high demand and can help shape the economy tremendously. Everyone wants to be their own boss and talk the talk, but if you REALLY want to become a successful entrepreneur, remember the three main tips and ask yourself: Have I truly invested in myself? Do I understand my intended market? And who can help me scale this business?

BLOGGING: Pastime or Profession?

BLOGGING: Pastime or Profession?

By Nia Robinson To most, blogging is a way for stay-at-home moms to have something to do. But in fact, the online blogging world is not just a pastime, but also a way for someone of any age or gender to make money. The online blogging business is a unique, creative way to make money while writing about a topic of interest. Online blogging can be a profitable job that more teens should take advantage of. To give you some idea of the potential earnings available, top blogging network Weblogs, Inc. is believed to earn about $30 million a month in revenue from 13 million unique visitors. According to smartblogger. com, bloggers can earn over $150,000 per year, with some of the top bloggers earning $25,000 a month! How are they making this money? They get sponsors and loyal followers who help the success of their business. ChiTown Fashionista blogger Nikita Jefferson said, “When I first started blogging over 8 years ago, many companies were not at all convinced that bloggers and influencers could have a positive impact on their business and sales. Nowadays, companies are more aware of the benefits and are much more open to the idea.” Bloggers use their sites to advertise companies’ products, generating profit for the company. Blogging is an easy way to make money due to the various topics a blogger can write about. Named one of the top 50 successful female bloggers by successfulblogging.com, Charlotte Anderson chose to write about fitness for her blogs. She said, “I always tell people to write about something you already are doing and love rather than trying to just blog for blogging sake.” Her passion? Fitness. Although you might have believed blogging is a pastime, for a select few successful bloggers, blogging offers a profitable job in which you can write about a myriad of topics of your choice. So next time you turn on your computer, remember this could be the time to start your blog.

Could Your Relationship With Your Clothes Inspire a Business? African American Female Entrepreneurs

Could Your Relationship With Your Clothes Inspire a Business? African American Female Entrepreneurs

By Amber Anderson According to a 2015 Fortune article, the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs is African-American women. “The number of businesses owned by African-American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.” Included in this are two friends, Ayanna Watkins and Kimisha Moxley. Ayanna Watkins is the creator of the clothing line Rebirth which she created after being a camp counselor at XS tennis camp. A conversation with one of the children after being bullied about her clothes inspired Ayanna. Ayanna told her, “that what she wears does not define her, and to never belittle herself due to not following a ‘trend’. I told her to be proud in what she’d wear, to be different.” Ayanna’s clothing line Rebirth is focused on empowerment for individuals. The name ‘Rebirth’, Ayanna said, comes from the concept “to ‘rebirth’ the idea of always following trends for fashion.” Her clothing line indeed sends out a powerful message to individuals about being confident in what they wear and that you don’t always have to follow the latest trends. Kimisha Moxley is the creator of Kim Products which was based off her interest for arts and crafts from an early age. She also said that due to her parents being fans of recycled clothing and her love for thrift shops, her cultural appreciation of clothing flourished. Starting in 7th grade she would customize her own clothing, such as jeans, and she made wallets from the back pockets of pants. Once she began high school, she started taking her craft more seriously. “This is only the beginning”, she stated. She has branded the message of her clothing line very well and talks about how each jacket sends out its own individual message. She discussed her motto is for individuals, “to not underestimate the mind and capability of a young teenager.” The motto very much inspires other young teens to get out and make their visions a reality. Kim Products indeed sends out the message that teens are very capable of getting out into the world and making their vision a reality.

“Straight from the Go”

“Straight from the Go”

By Allegra Mendosa Straight From the Go is a Chicago originated t-shirt company created by high school senior, Raven Smith. Raven was looking to get rid of the use of the word “chiraq”, along with the violent and negative associations with Chicago. In order to do this, she created the phrase “Straight from the Go” in order to show that Chicago has much more positivity within it than some may believe. With her idea and passion, she went on to create a line of t-shirts that swept the nation by storm. Her mother, Eraina Smith, says she is “proud and amazed at the positive response the t-shirts have gotten.” Raven’s story shows that with hard work and ambition, change can truly be made.

Saving for an Apartment

Saving for an Apartment

Getting an apartment can allow young adults to live their life and have some privacy from their family. Most high school students dream of attending a college where they can receive the full experience of living in a dorm/apartment and having a place of their own. Since many young adults are supporting themselves, it’s important to budget your money and consider ways to stretch the dollars you have to spend. First, determine how much you’d like to be able to afford in rent each month. Generally, experts recommend that your monthly rent be no more than 30% of your monthly income. If you’re earning $4,000 a month, you should generally pay no more than $1,200 a month in rent (McKinley, 2019). As McKinley shows, a key aspect of budgeting your income is to understand that if your rent is a major amount of your paycheck, then you would have less money for saving, spending on necessities, and entertainment. A way to stretch your money would be to find a partner/roommate in leasing the apartment, which would help save a lot of money over time. The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in 2021 is $1,934. Divided by two and it’s $696 cheaper a month (Incharge, 2021). Munif Hakim, a senior at Central Michigan University, says, “Getting the most number of roommates was helpful as monthly payments would be a lot easier to make and basic necessities wouldn’t cost as much, since we all pitched in for the apartment” (Hakim, 2021). Samira Patel, on the other hand, has chosen to live alone, but has said how most of her time is spent at school or in the office. A place centrally located was ideal for her. “I spent most of my time outside of the studio, since my meals were provided either at school or in the office” (Patel, 2021). She was able to save time by choosing a location near campus. Sources: https://www.incharge.org/financial-literacy/budgeting-saving/how-to-save-money-on-rent/ mckinley.com/blog/how-to-save-for-an-apartment/

China: The Future of Digital Marketing

China: The Future of Digital Marketing

By Fathima Shaikh Digital marketing is the future of marketing everywhere. Everywhere you go, you see a company's marketing through digital means, such as search engines, social media, email, and mobile apps. China specifically, has an online ecosystem that has been one step ahead of Western mainstream social platforms. Through the incorporation of storytelling and consistently merging things such as e-commerce with social media, Chinese social platforms are a big indicator of the direction Western social platforms will be heading in the coming years. Eric Toda, the Global Head of Social Marketing at Facebook, said that "successful marketing always tells a story." Chinese social media platforms are doing just that. Storytelling has been vital in Chinese culture for decades, and Chinese social media marketers focus on it to build brands. Multifunctional Chinese social media platforms, such as WeChat allow brands to advertise their story through video. TikTok, another popular Chinese app, is solely based on videos. Video has proven effective in delivering a message, targeting an audience, and engaging a customer. In 2019, the online short video market in China amounted to 130 billion yuan with Doyin and Kuaishou being the largest short video platforms that incorporate e-commerce marketing into video content (Thomala 2020). Over 90% of internet users consume online video content, with a 93.7% penetration rate of online video use (Thomala 2020). M-commerce is also booming in China. Chinese social media platforms take advantage of the fact that a majority of its population spends a considerable amount of time on their phone. M-commerce, or mobile commerce, is the buying and selling of goods through handheld devices. Platforms, such as the famous WeChat, combine social aspects with commercial ones, proving to be extremely beneficial to the Chinese e-commerce industry. 69% of Chinese consumers (versus 46% of US consumers) have purchased a product or service through their smartphones (Simply Mandarin). WeChat is set on becoming one of the most powerful apps in the world. Olivia Plotnick, founder of Chinese Digital Marketing Company Wai Social, says "WeChat is an app you must have if you're doing marketing in China". Wai Social helps businesses use all of WeChat's commercial aspects to their max potential. Meanwhile, western social media apps have only just begun the move towards incorporating commercial aspects.

The Artistic Entrepreneur

The Artistic Entrepreneur

The rise of e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and Etsy, has made it easier than ever to start small businesses. In 2020, there was a 14% increase in e-commerce in the U.S., with greater increases in other countries (UN, 2021). The creative professions (artists, designers, and writers) have especially flourished on these sites, offering unique products without a physical store location. Talking directly to two creative entrepreneurs can give insight into the unique ways that they market and think about their creations. Allison Warren, founder and owner of ModernPlum, a Chicago-based textile company, has been selling products online since 2014. She says that “the starting place [for artistic entrepreneurs] is not necessarily only to make money or scale. Creative people like to keep operations tight, and remain engrossed in the making process”. These “tight operations” that Allison mentions makes starting a creative business online a profitable option for sellers. Although e-commerce platforms charge a small fee for usage, they make products available on the world market, and can help businesses just starting out access large segments of the population. One teenager, Caroline Thies, began her own business, Life Still Is, in July 2020. She sells custom prints and hand-made products focusing on resilience. Caroline uses social media to market her company, and calls it “a science [that] really helps you succeed”. Caroline also recommends using multiple sources for marketing; she uses a weekly newsletter, a YouTube channel, Instagram, and Etsy. The growth of her business demonstrates that young people can be successful and that there are many tools available to help them succeed. Entrepreneurs like Caroline and Allison are not unusual. The creative professions are ranked 7th in the United States for the highest number of self-employed workers (Simovic, 2021). Using tools such as social media, online selling, and other tools can help these small sellers access a wide consumer base and break into a market dominated by large corporations. Teenagers and other young people especially, can profit by celebrating and sharing their unique creative talents with the world. Sources: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/05/1091182 https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/entrepreneur-statistics/#gref