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Studies show that women are much less likely to negotiate for a higher pay. Read on for conversation tips that’ll help you increase your income.

Salary and raise negotiations are one of the most uncomfortable situations for most people, especially women. Although women are highly educated, running Fortune 500 companies, and taking major control of their lives, certain women are still resistant to directly asking for what they want. A study was performed stating only 12 percent of women negotiate their salaries, while 50 percent of men negotiate their salaries. Crazy, right? I sat down with Business Coach and Career Strategist, Louisa Shepherd, to get the inside scoop on negotiating salaries and raises for women. I summarized our conversation and provided all the best kept secrets.

For negotiating salaries here are the key takeaways:

  1. The best time to negotiate a salary is when you are first offered the position. It is when you have the most leverage over your employer.
  2. Go in strong and firm with your negotiation, but don’t be pushy or bossy.
  3. Never accept your first offer, ask for some time to review and meditate.
  4. Don’t feel nervous because employers are expecting you to negotiation.
  5. If the employer is not able to budge on your salary expectations, try for additional benefits such as moving expenses, working from home, flexible hours, or additional vacation time.

For raise negotiating here are the key takeaways:

  1. Before you communicate you want a raise, set your work goals. Once you have achieved your goals, outline your accomplishments, as well the value you added to the company by achieving those goals.
  2. Research how your company awards raises, as well as your value in the market. is a great website for such research.
  3. After you have you facts in order, present your case.
  4. Approach your boss strategically right after a good performance review.
  5. Put your offer on the table and allow your boss to speak.
  6. Expect some pushback, but don’t feel the need to immediately justify or continue to reiterate your value.
  7. Don’t get an attitude or backtrack
  8. Be firm and confident in your ask.

Suggestions for both salary or raise negotiation:

  1. Your deal breaker should be the higher number of your range (ie. If the range is $60,000 –  $70,000, your ‘ask’ should be $70,000)
  2. High ball your ‘ask’ because the employer will most likely give you a little less.
  3. Frame your talk as a collaborative conversation. Instead of making the conversation about how the increase will benefit you, find ways to demonstrate how this increase is advantageous to both parties. For instance, Louisa says you can explain that confidence, decisiveness and strong negotiation skills are qualities that will be advantageous to the company.
  4. Practice! If you are nervous try practicing or role playing your negotiation with a trusted colleague, friend or partner. This will help lessen nerves and anxiety.

As a financial strategist, I am always talking about ways to increase your income and if entrepreneurship is not your forte, a salary or raise is a great way to gain more income. There is no time like the present to ask for what you want in the workplace. Companies are changing with the times. Companies are more accepting of flexible work schedules, working from home, more vacation time, and more pay. If you are at a company that does not value you or your contributions, trust me, there is another company that does. If you are working at your 8 to 5, it should definitely help you achieve you financial goals; therefore, ASK FOR THE MONEY!

Follow Louisa Shepherd on and email her at

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Our financial guru suggests nine local spots where you can have fun on a budget with your girlfriends for night out.


I promised my loyal Cincy Chic-ers in my previous article that I would write a captivating piece on fun, frugal activities to do with your girlfriends for a Girls Night Out Adventure. These tips will be great for a weekend gathering or a celebration of the sorts. Cincinnati and its surrounding areas have some of the most awesome spas, restaurants, bars, and fun activities to participate in for an enjoyable night on the town with your favorite gals!

I am the master of finding the best and most exciting things to do for the least amount of money so let’s dive right into my list of awesomeness.

If you and your girls love to paint and drink wine, try Positive Vibe Studio located in Pendleton Art Center Middletown, hosted by the awesome Ryan Combs. You can design any creation, drink all the free wine you like, and enjoy the smells of aromatherapy oil infused paints for only $20. After painting, let your masterpiece dry in the car and walk across to the street to West Central Wine to enjoy a great casual atmosphere and their fully loaded bar. Additionally, their signature meat and cheese tray is delicious.

If you and your girls want to relax, get pampered, or be made pretty, try Pure Beauty Bar Cincinnati located in Pleasant Ridge. Sylvia, the owner, offers both waxing and skin care services for reasonable prices ranging from $18 to $70. Additionally, her awesome staff of highly qualified cosmetologists will cut, blow dry, and style your hair. If you want to change your look even more, she offers hair extensions.

If you and your girls enjoy dining out, try Teller’s of Hyde Park located in Hyde Park. Not only does this place have an awesome happy hour special with both food and drinks starting at $6, it also has tasty dinner options at a reasonable price. Did you know Findlay Market has been hosting some awesome cooking classes from sushi to Thai to cheese? Learning how to make your favorite foods with your girlfriends is awesome. Additionally, The Celestial Steakhouse located in Downtown Cincinnati offers a Lady’s Night every Wednesday!

If you and your girls want to shake a tail feather, try Ivy Lounge located in Downtown Cincinnati offers a Ladies Night every Thursday, which is combined with tons of top-shelf drink specials starting at $3. Great music plus great spirits plus your gals equals fun times.

If you and you girls like working with your hands, try The Candle Lab OTR located in Over-the-Rhine. You can make your own candle from scratch. You pick the size, the scent, the color, and you craft your own candle to make your home smell awesome for around $17.  They have some unusual scents that you will not find anywhere else, as well. This place is a great bonding experience for a group of friends wanting to try something different.

If you and your girls like fitness and getting into shape, try CycleBar located in Norwood. These indoor cycling classes are for the lovers of all things fitness. If the intensive workout is not enough, the insane music selection will get you and your crew pumped for the night.

I hope I have successfully included all activities for the multifaceted woman of 2017. Remember when you are enjoying your night out with your girls, be creative and use your resources. Groupon and Yelp are exciting sources to build an awesome Girls Night Out Adventure from start to finish. I know my girls break away from the normal activities. Don’t be afraid to try something new, there are a ton of interesting things to do and see in Cincinnati and its surrounding areas.

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Dig in as our financial expert explains how to make healthy eating affordable on any budget.

Healthy habits can seem to be expensive, but so can management of chronic health issues. Just like finances, we can choose to save now or save later. As food prices continue to rise, we are challenged to find additional ways to meet our health goals. Thus, it only seems natural, for the start of the year, to share these six tips on how to save you money and prevent you from falling short on your ‘new you’ goal. As I am a ‘financial expert’ and not a ‘health expert, I sat down with Kevin Brunacini, APRN to gather his insights about healthy eating.

Plan Your Meals
When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, planning is essential. Select a day each week to plan your meals ahead of time and make a grocery list of what you need. For less creative people like myself, I have found it extremely helpful utilizing both the Kroger Main Dish recipes and Tasty Recipes online cooking channel (Facebook).

Stick to Your Grocery List
Once a plan of attack is established, stick to it! We have all been there; it is far too easy to get sidetracked at the grocery store. It tends to lead to unnecessary and expensive purchases. It’s also often why it is suggested not to go hungry.

Cook at Home
While eating out can be cost effective, ultimately cooking at home is cheaper and additionally it offers you the chance of repurposing some as leftovers, which gives you more meals to plan. Don’t know how to cook? No problem. There are free or low cost cooking classes all around Cincinnati, just do a little research. Recently, I attended a free cooking class at the Life Learning Center in Covington, KY. Do the Math The larger container is usually – but not always – the best deal. Read shelf tags to see which option has the lowest cost per ounce or pound.

Limit Buying Junk
Food It’d be impractical to state no more junk food, ever. I bet you would be surprised to see how much you may be paying for soda, fast-food, cookies, pies, and even pre-made meals. It is important to remain cognizant of our spending habits and health for the success of our families.

Prescription drugs, doctor’s visits, and health insurance can certainly add up, but just like our financial planning, we can PLAN our eating habits to support a healthier lifestyle. With health conscious trends on the rise, there is not a shortage of better eating options. Let’s make this the time we protect our health and wealth, simultaneously.