Follow along as I document real love stories and share a glimpse of how I see the world through the lens of my camera.

I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and doing well. I’m not sure what the world has come to… this feels like a movie (if you haven’t watched the movie “Contagion” – you must do so as it closely represents what we are experiencing today). Everything has happened so fast in such a short amount of time that I don’t think a lot of us were mentally prepared for it; or at least I wasn’t.

I almost didn’t want to write this blog post because it seemed quite insensitive of me to do so sitting behind the screen while there are doctors and nurses out there on the front lines dealing with life and death situations. I feel very helpless. However, with so many small businesses forced to temporarily closed down and layoffs happening in the workforce, I felt this blog post was more relevant than ever. Today, I’m sharing with you my personal financial matters in hopes that it will help you find ways to improve your own personal financial situation during this tough period.

Disclaimer: I have a background in accounting and finance but I am NOT a certified financial advisor. The information contained herein is not intended to be a source of investment advice and reflects my personal opinions. It is important that you do your own research and understand the risks involved.

  • Refinance my mortgage – With the mortgage rates being at an all-time low, I was able to refinance my house from a 4.75% 30-year to a 3% 20-year. Doing so helped me shave off a few years from my mortgage and significantly decrease my interest rates. Mortgage rates changes rapidly throughout the week so make sure you monitor the rates and lock it in as soon as you see a rate that works for you. If you’re thinking of refinancing your mortgage and not sure where to start, I would recommend using this Realtor refinance calculator. This will help you see how much you’re saving over time.
  • Taking advantage of the stock market – the stock market has taken a significant hit in the last few weeks and I am taking full advantage of the low prices. I’ve been on a stock shopping spree… You know how Nordstrom has it’s semi-annual sales? This is basically the same except it’s the big sale of the decade. My goal is to buy low and sell high. If you’re looking to learn more about how stocks work or just more about personal finance in easy-to-understand terms, check out the Real Personal Finance podcasts. Also, a really easy and FREE trading app that you can use is Robinhood. When you sign up, you automatically get a free stock and there’s no minimum to invest. I am in no way affiliated with the podcast or the trading app – I just find them really useful and want to share them with you.
  • Get a credit card with benefits – if you’ve read my blogs, you know that I LOVE to travel. With my love of travel, I acquired the United Explorer Mileage Plus Visa credit card which allows me to acquire travel points on all my purchases. Oh and did I mention? I was able to get 3 roundtrip flights from Chicago to Paris for a total of $700 by signing up for this credit? You heard that right: $700 for THREE roundtrip tickets. I am so looking forward to traveling again once COVID-19 settles down…
A sample of my water-coloring images
  • Turning your passion projects into a business – if you’re really good at something or are passionate about a particular initiative, now is the perfect time to explore how to turn that passion into a business. In fact, that’s how DreamBox Photography was born. I started out just taking photos of my children and overtime discovered my love for wedding photography. Somehow I was gifted with the ability to see things a bit differently and be able to transform those visions into photographs. Other passion projects that I’m currently working on includes water painting my travel pictures digitally and turning vintage gowns into modern and unique pieces. I’ve been thinking of selling some of my water painting images to raise raise money for charitable foundations – specifically foundations that will empower young girls to go on and do impactful things life. More to come on this once I figure a few things out…

I hope you were able find some use out of this blog post. If you have any questions at all regarding any of the above topics – please feel free to reach out to me!

Until next time, please stay safe!

Sandra Vue

DreamBox Diaries #5 – Money Matters

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