Miss A Columnist

Andrea Rodgers is the Founder of Miss A (AskMissA.com), which covers the intersection of charity and lifestyle for 1.5 million unique readers annually. Based in Washington, DC, Miss A has a presence in 21 U.S. cities with 30 editors and hundreds of writer. Andrea was inspired after 9/11, and became heavily involved in Washington’s charity circuit in an effort to give back to the community. At the core of the Miss A brand is Andrea’s personal belief in the positive power of volunteering and charity — not only to benefit those less fortunate, but to improve the individual, business or brand that gives their time, money and energy to a cause. AskMissA.com serves as a technological platform which connects editors, writers and readers around this core belief and shines a spotlight on the best nonprofits, charity events, cause marketing campaigns and philanthropic & stylish people, businesses and brands to inspire others to get involved.

Andrea Rodgers is a member of the Vogue 100, a hand-selected group by Vogue magazine of 100 influential decision makers and opinion leaders across the country known for their distinctive taste in fashion & culture. She has been featured in Vogue, W and Allure, CNN, Fox News, NOS Dutch Public Broadcasting, TV Tokyo, France 24, Alhurra, USA Today, Washington Post & Politico.

Diva On A Dime: Taking A Closer Look At Your Bills

Ladies, do you ever feel like Cinderella? I know I do. By day, I’m working hard trying to bring in more revenue for my new business and funds for my nonprofit. I’m struggling in this economy, and cutting back where I can. By night, I’m glammed up living the glamorous life looking like a million bucks. 

I was talking about this bizarre dichotomy with one of my friends who is also very involved in the Washington charity circuit and gets a lot of press. They say “perception is reality”, but is it? Someone said, “People can either look rich, or be rich. Very few can be both.” This is so true, and I try to keep this in mind, as I’d rather be rich than look rich. It’s a tough balancing act. I think we’re all fond of sparkly new things, which is what got us into our current economic crisis. Eventually even the hottest new “it” bag ends up gathering dust on a shelf. A life chasing material success and status symbols won’t make us happy.

I have taken a pay cut by starting my own company, but I am so much happier now to have more freedom, to use my creativity, to follow my passion, and to have flexibility. I’ve had a lot of success already, even during this tough economy, so I know that if I persevere, I’ll do just fine. I recently took a closer look at my bills. In better times, I wouldn’t have taken the time but now every bit I can save helps. 

I took a look at my Verizon bill, and unfortunately there wasn’t a way for me to cut back. I have to have my phone and access to the internet at all times. It’s how I stay connected, and being connected is very important, especially in Washington, D.C..

I also took a look at my Comcast bill. and was really surprised to see how much my cable was costing me each month. I never really have time to watch TV or movies. I have never watched a single episode of Gossip Girl or Desperate Housewives. I basically just keep the news on while I’m working during the day. So I picked up the phone –Vonage by the way, a Voice over IP service which only costs me $14.99 per month — and asked Comcast to pick up my boxes and just give me regular cable. They first told me about the Premium cable which still gives you all the channels but is about $60 per month. I asked, “Oh, so that’s Premium so what’s the level below that?” Well, the lowest level of cable gives you 15 channels and is only $16.99 per month. So that is what I’ve got now. One step above “the bunny ears”. Not only will this save me over $100 per month, but it will force me to read more, which is one of my personal goals for 2009. 

I was in my Ladies Who Launch incubator last week, and I told the other female entrepreneurs about how I feel like Cinderella. I told them about how I may do photo shoots, or be written about in the press, and it all seems very glamorous, but at the same time I can barely afford cable! I was raised in the South and know it’s tacky to talk about money, but I thought I should put this out there, because I know I’m not alone. I feel like we all need to be real with eachother, and open about the hard times many of us are going through in this economy. I think being more open will allow folks to cut back and not feel so embarrassed about doing so. If we all start living within our means, and aren’t embarrassed about it, I think it will do wonders for our economy. I think all the excesses of the past decade is what killed us. So hopefully soon perception will truly be reality.

I also want to remind everyone to try to still give to nonprofits in our community, as they need us now more than ever. And when you do spend –spend at a local store and not a big chain. Everybody is hurting, and our local restaurants and retailers need your support!

– Miss A



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