Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Going "Write" Through It

I am back this time with a vengeance and I got a pen in my hand! Blogging at times can be your worst enemy when you are feeling down or it can be your best friend when your feeling up! If your me however I am deciding to write myself through these hard times. Certainly I am going through some things but the fact still remains Im here and that alone is enough to write about.

So through these next few months and year I will be back to blogging for as long as my thoughts inspire me to do so. I have no idea what about but I will have something to say. When I first started this particular blog the goal was to journal my financial experience but it was also to inspire others who face similar financial struggles. Truth is you just can't always write about the good and leave out the bad because there will always be some. But hopefully my issues financial and non financial inspire others to at the very most KEEP HOPE ALIVE! (I thought that was funny).

Currently I am working on getting an interview with the author of "Girl make your money grow" Gail Perry Mason" My desire is to have her come speak at my church which I think would be amazing! I just had a light bulb moment, I could do a panel of financial guru's kinda like Oprah's debt diet at my church!!! (writing that down).

Other than that, my debt snowball is at a stand still, Im in between fighting being an utter mess and well you know that comes with plenty retail shopping. Hey don't judge me lol. Seriously being able to just buy something is allowing me to have one less thing to worry about. Yes I still keep tabs on my money but paying down debt is the last thing on my mind. ITS ON MY MIND, its just not at the front! The year is winding down and I just as soon figure that I will bring in my student loans right under 10,000 into the new year and work on some new avenues of income to push it along once I get my ball back to rolling.

Haven't heard anything regarding my home being sold but I am still praying I get the call really soon. Thats all I have for today but there is certainly more to come with a focal point of course......

whats on your mind????

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Burnt Out

A lot has happened over the last few weeks and I know instead of blogging regularly I am always giving "updates". Certainly life has me currently in a place where at times I am not sure if I am coming or going but im still here. Its easy for me to hind my stresses around everyone. Most of the time I feel when I am smiling around others I give people some sort of hope thats its possible to find happiness. Of course we know happiness is only situational and if you chase it long enough you might end up disappointed at every turn....

Church has been my source of "life" during this time of uncertainty. We recently held a conference that was a huge success and I was honored to be part of the planning team.

On the outside looking in things are great, I have friends and family that love me and a church that I absolutely adore. But on the inside I can't shake the feeling that something is missing. I honestly don't want to go to work each day. Im happy to have a job, but man I hate it. Yes I know we are in tough times so I really should not complain. But when I think about my financial goals, I remember that being able to leave my job was one of the reasons I decided to get out of debt.

Im not their yet and even when I get there sometimes I wonder if my view of my current status will change or will I remain complacent. I have been off for a few days and I am dreading returning to work. I know when I get there its the same paperwork, same people, same phone calls. Swallowing that pill is so hard when you know what you want to do but can't. I wish I could just call it quits, but I worry more about what people will think of me more than what I know I could accomplish if I didn't have my job. I have been in this place before and I remember that prayer brought me out so its what I must do.

Im not giving up, Im just gonna take a break......

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Are You Committing

Today, I was given an opportunity to reflect on what it means to commit to something. At some point in time, each of us find something to commit to, be it work, church, families, or ourselves. As I evaluate what it means to be committed I realized that first I have to be committed to an end result. Work = paycheck, Eating healthy = longer living and so on. We all know the old age saying "you get in what you put out" This is true in just about every area in our lives with the exception of grace and mercy given by God.

As it relates to my walk with Christ I understand that my commitment is never ending. However unless I have something to clearly aim for I will most likely always fail. For example being a bible scholar, I could pray until the cows come home for God to help me remember all the books of the bible but chances are I won't get that unless I actually STUDY the bible.

In order for me to stay on track with my walk I have to be real with the fact that I am AIMING for SOMETHING. Boldly put yes I do want something from God. Just as we reward our children for getting good grades, or cleaning their room we are rewarded by God. But make no mistake he does for us not because of our works but because we are his children. I am also aware that there are things you must do because you are apart of "this family" meaning we don't pay you to take out the "Family trash", you do it as YOUR contribution to this household. You also do it because if you didn't you might end up with a raw behind !! I honor and I respect my heavenly father. I am obedient to him because his is my "father" because of what I know I can have from my "Father" and because this is how I show him I am proud to be a part of "the Royal family"

So I say all that to say, as a leader, a future leader, or leader in the making. It is always inspirational and beneficial to know where YOU are taking us as a whole. I know through Jesus Christ I am going to heaven because I have confessed, repented and turned away from my sins. My reward is clear, I understand it and do my best to live by it to its completion . Where do you want to take your ministry. Do you want to help 100 people get saved in 1 year? Do you want to serve 300 meals to the homeless by Christmas? Do you desire to have every person in your camp "Debt free" (hey thats my vision). What are your people doing to make sure they reach that goal? Is there a time line for each of us? How are you measuring progress? Are you celebrating progress??

I have seen through out my life how God has given me a clear vision, and opened doors to get me there. We have celebrate together both publicly and privately. His commitment to me and PROMISE to me allows me to continue to be a part of HIS ministry. My goal IS to one day see heaven, but what am I gonna do while I am here on this earth.

So I set forth a task to write a vision, make it plain, measure your success, celebration your success and realize your hard work will eventually pay out. Its not about "if it doesn't we will be iight" WHY because you can't stay committed to something you can't see progressing. You can't do it alone, you need people to catch your vision but you also need a plan to get there.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 1st and New Beginnings

I have been listening to a lot of audio books lately and they have really got me to thinking about things. As I just started listening to flight plan by Brian Tracy I have learn a lot of valuable information. He talks a LOT about goal setting and being realistic with your goals.

Right now as it stands I will probably not be debt free by April 15th. But have no fear!!! I have discovered some good things by delaying debt freedom just a bit and I will share...

1. I can start saving for things that will come after debt freedom like a vacation.
2. I will eliminate some of the frustrations I have had with not being able to shop.
3. I will be able to save up to give my little brother a $1,000 for his graduation from college.
4. I will be able to save for car repairs and other random things that pop up.
5. I can practice life after debt with a real budget as I have been so far removed from such a thing I HAVE to get back.

Of course I am making progress, but I have wasted a LOT of money from poor planning. I enjoy reading and learning about things that will challenge my thought process. I am welcoming the new start of a budget and welcoming returning back to basics.

I will be in Alabama for the weekend and I am on a NO spending plan weekend. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend and I shall return soon!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Case For Early Marriage

No Wedding. No Womb.

Of course my blog is mostly about finance, but its hard to ignore other issues that ultimately affect peoples finances all around the world. When I got wind of the No Wedding No Womb movement I was beyond excited. Finally a day to speak out about the issues we face regarding being unmarried with children. I'm not a writing for NWNW but hey I got a blog too so why not use it as my way of speaking out on this occasion? There are people blogging from every part of the nation about what we all can do about the disparity of single parenting. At first I wasn't sure if I would talk about women and low self esteem, or the I can do it on my own epidemic sweeping the nation. Though both of those are important topics there was one more pressing to me that I felt would hold more weight.

Waiting to long for marriage......

I have had so many conversations regarding waiting to be married that I have lost count. I think I have come to the conclusion that in my circle I am the only person that thinks waiting til you are college educated and with a career is the dumbest thing you could do. After this post I still might be the only one but really who cares??

People say you need to "find yourself" or establish your self first before you take the leap. Funny thing is the more I have the less I want to share it with anyone. But when Im jobless pressing my way through college who has much to share except love?

Without going into all the statistical data, common sense would say why would you even want to spend your college years, sleeping with every tom, dick and harry. We know everybody isn't studying because if they were we wouldn't have a movement trying to stop out of wedlock pregnancies right?? Further more how many years does the average person spend in college, 4 years, 5 or 6 are is it really that easy to wait until Im 34 before I have sex? Oh yes it can be done but how likely is that to happen? By the time Im 30 even If I am the most conservative person I have gone through at least 2 sexual partners and prayed my way or aborted my way out of a child.

I thought the last relationship was gonna be forever but I told him we should wait until we were both "established" now he is gone because my education trumps everything. Is education important? Oh certainly but who said that you have to quit obtaining a higher level of education just because your married. Oh I forgot you feed into the stereo type that you as a woman, must cook, clean and walk around barefoot and pregnant but who is having that? (not me) so I just won't be married but I will certainly make a child.

Its all so very backwards if you ask me. I would love to only have known one love and married that person and have grown with them than to "find" myself in my mid 20's and also find men along the way who didn't give to cents about me yet I still gave him my very best including my womb. Why is young love such a terrible thing? If parents would promote helping young married couples instead of condemning them we might be better off. Instead they say just wait until this or that, or don't make the same mistake I did.

You got into a car accident when, you were 21 does that mean don't ever drive a car?? Young marriage isn't easy, but it can be done. I think if we taught our youth that you can marry in love and young, still have support, and do all the things you would like in life we would be better off. We wouldn't be so afraid to marry and if we knew that marriage was really life long we would take time to pick our spouse just as carefully as we pick our shoes.

I certainly will be an advocate for my kids to marry young to spare them of the heart breaks of waiting, potential std's and babies will bring.....

I will also promote loving yourself, and not settling for something just because you think its your only option. The way we do things now certainly aren't working, so why don't we start to try something new...

The Food Challenge

Every body knows by now I am a sucker for any type of challenge. Most challenges I partake in are typicallys self made just because I like to see what I can do. When ever I come across new information I believe to be valuable, I try to find ways to incorporate it in my every day life.

I recently watched food inc, and the super size me documentary regarding the food industry. I was aghast at how the industry is only run by a few people, and what they put in our foods. I was having a conversation with my best friend and she advised me to just pray over my food and get over it. Yes I can be an extremist at times, but more and more I begin to wonder how much of what I eat affects me on a daily basis. I actually already know the answer. When I eat fast food im always tired, usually hungry a few hours later, sick to my stomach and short of breath. Some times when I am super busy I would eat out every single day which we all know is a bad idea, not to mention it takes a toll on my pocket book.

After watching super size me, I began to think about what roll eating fast food plays on my health. More specifically my asthma. I have been asthmatic since age 11 and have never had the luxury of "Growing" out of it. I have been hospitalized, put in intensive care at least 3 times and intubated once which was the most scariest thing I have experienced to date. I have gone on health binge, but have never really paid much attention to my over all health. When I eat better of course I experience weight loss, increased energy and better moods, but I don't really know if it affects my asthma.

So I am finally going to find out. If I could eat healthy and rid myself of breathing medicines and return to normal lung activity don't you think it would be worth it?? I certainly do. Although recent studies regarding poor diets and asthma are inconclusive, there is no doubt that, lack of certain nutrients cause problems for the average asthmatic. While its generally good to eat healthy all the time, I want to find out what long term benefits come with changing my diet maybe for good. I have never smoked, and I am not currently over weight so that is two positive things on my side already.

So the plan is to go 60 days eating healthy. I will not disclose what I will be eating until the end. My best friend believes its not possible because you will simply run out of good healthy stuff to eat....

To avoid that I am going make a 60 day meal plan that will include breakfast lunch AND dinner. I am also going to make a doctors appointment to check out where my health is NOW and then later after the challenge is over. Today I took one last dose of asthma medicine and I will track how often I use it over the next 60 days. I will also, (Try to) stick to mostly organic foods and track my spending regarding what I eat.

So let the eating begin!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Money Problems Don't Come From Lack of............

About a week ago I was finding great pleasure in helping a good friend do a budget. She reminded me a lot of my self almost 3 years ago. Confused, frustrated and hopeless. When you are deep in debt a lot of times its not the issue of wanting to get out but its about how to get out. Being in Financial Peace University not only showed me how to get out of debt, but it helped me discover how I got there.

Just like me, my friend makes decent money for a single person. You can live comfortably, buy most things you want, and do most of what you want without breaking the bank. Yet and still you can't pay your bills at the end of the money, and calling for those pay day advance companies to get you to the next week. When I looked at the situation I was thankful it wasn't a lack of money causing her issues, but a bigger problem lied ahead..... the person in the mirror.

We over spend, we give until we can't give any more, and we don't save anything for the future but we are in debt and broke because we haven't dealt with ourselves. When I found myself deeply in debt, I was attempting to be like my friends I saw going on vacation, buying lots of clothes and eating out every day. I thought that was "cool" at 25 I hadn't discovered who I was which caused me to do things that had I known myself I wouldn't have done. I spent money because I was digging my self out of deep depression (so i thought). I hated my job, I hated where I lived, and I was in one relationship after another. I thought buying things would solve my happiness, if not just for a moment. I learned after almost being fired from my job, that filling my life with stuff would not keep me happy. So through out the last few years I have been learning about what I need to be happy. I needed to accept at the time that work is really what you make it, a location is what you make it, and relationships certainly are what you make it.

In my friends situation, I quickly discovered she had a serious problem with boundaries. She was a loving person, but didn't really know how to tell people NO. Stuck in a two bedroom apartment because she couldn't tell her grandma no. Living paycheck to paycheck because her friends have weddings she HAS to attend, grandma wants to eat out EVERY night, adult brothers can't afford college so she foots the bill. She is the classic case of an enabler. Some people have it in their nature to be kind and God bless em but when you just don't have it to give you end up more stressed than you would have been, had you just said no. I love my family to death but I can't give them everything. However I learned quickly that just because I couldn't give them something they still loved me.

So I say all this to say, take a look at your money problems. Are they REALLY a result of not enough money, or is it because you have yet to deal with problems saying no to family, friends, children and spouses. Are you unhappy in a situation and you spend to mask the hurt and frustration? I challenge you to really get to the root of the problem. I can guarantee once you solve the "root" your money problems will work themselves out. Until then, you will chase after finances, and still not solving the REAL problem.

Think about it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Debt Free Vacation!!!

I will be leaving for St Louis in a day and I am super excited. Its just a mini trip but mini trips are what keeps me motivated to get debt free. While its not an all out vacation it gives me a little time to gather myself.

I have thought about a few places I would like to go once I am debt free on a REAL vacation and the closer I get the more research I will do to be able to make a final selection.

So here is my top 5 list:

Jamaica - Recently I attended a Caribbean festival and I must say the Jamaicans were the liveliest bunch of them all. I mean they can party until the cows come home! I hear its a really nice place and the people are the most friendly.

Florida - More specifically the Acqualina resort & spa in sunny isles beach Florida. I have a thing for luxury and when my pocket book finally catches up with my taste, this is exactly where I will be. I hear Miami is nice but I really don't want to be around a lot of people, I just want to relax on the beach with no real distractions.

New York - I do realize if I go to new york it won't be much of a vacation, but more like a crazy adventure. However I do want to shop and I hear its a good place to go if you want a lotta bang for your buck. I hear people are pretty mean too but im from Detroit, I should know how to get with the best of em right??? eh....

Martha's Vineyard - I dunno much about this place I just hear thats where the rich people go, and I just wanna pretend for a moment to be rich (until i really get there).

Los Angeles- This might be my number one pick, because im ALWAYS thinking about being in L.A wind in my hair top down on my rented high end car and palm trees galore. This is where you go when you are trying to make it and, when you make it. If I could pretend im the star for a moment this would be the place I would go to do it.

So those are my top 5 picks. I have a few other places I want to go later but one of these places will be my first get away from 3.5 years of sacrifice. But what are some of the places you love to vacation or want to vacation. I would love to hear!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Hey everyone who missed me!! Its been a good week and I am in the progress of trying to secure a new apartment. I really like the space in my current apartment but this new one has a rent of $395 dollars a MONTH!! You really can't beat that with a stick in a nice part of town, and a lake, mall, and walmart in walking distance. Hopefully I will know something by tomorrow.

Ever since my lease was up at the beginning of September I have been wondering if I should stay or go. It was definitely an upgrade moving to this place and this place represents where I have come from. I really can't believe its been a year but hey time flies when you are getting debt free. Thats why Its important for me to encourage people when they say they can't do it. With anything else worth having it can take a while. However you just don't realize how fast time goes by when you are sacrificing so much. As I get closer and closer to debt freedom I am thinking of ways to increase my snowball. Renting a cheaper apartment can not only bring me closer to debt freedom faster, over the long hall I could save a LOT OF MONEY. I looked at my budget and assuming I am debt free by March I would still have over 20,000 worth of income to build an emergency fund, have a little fun with some travel, buy some toys and begin to invest in my future. It was a really exciting picture to see, and that just made me pray more that I get this new place.

I have set some goals for the rest of the year to help me stay on track. I REALLY want to call In to the Dave Ramsey show and scream I'MMMMMM DEBTTTTTTTTTTTT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and I can TASTE IT. I hope everyone had a beautiful holiday, stay tuned to more!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr Had a Dream – Do You?

My good buddy Brad over at Enemy of Debt.com wrote a very inspirational post (he has a gift) and today I thought I would spread some inspiration, ENJOY!!

As I had a chance to reflect on one of America’s great historic figures this weekend, I couldn’t help but think of you. Granted, what this man endured had nothing to do with personal finance, but it had everything to do with amazing self-sacrifice, determination, courage and hope. These are all things that are needed when trying to defy overwhelming odds in order to make big changes in your life.

On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the most inspirational speeches ever, about a dream and a vision he had for America. That dream was inspired by something inside him that believed it was possible to change something very wrong with his country. His dream was brought on by some truly sad times of racism that I couldn’t possibly begin to understand.

What I do understand, however, is that he never gave up, even though his opposition must have been overwhelming! As he found himself jailed for his activism, he very easily could have given up, but at what cost to his dream? He could have just let his surroundings and his situation deter him from what he knew to be right. Instead of giving up though, when times were difficult, he marched on, thinking not of himself, but of those he was trying to help. He sacrificed so much for what he believed in, which in the end, cost him his life.

Martin Luther King Jr. may not have lived to see the result and impact of what he did so many years ago, but I have to believe that if he had to do it all over again—he would.

Perhaps some will say that my using Martin Luther King, Jr’s story to inspire financial freedom is quite a stretch. Maybe in content, but not in character, principle, or in action.

What I see, and how I relate the two, is very simple.
What you are experiencing today financially, may seem so overwhelming that you just can’t comprehend being able to overcome it. My assumption is that there were likely times when MLK must have thought he was fighting a losing battle, yet I have read nothing to imply that he ever thought of giving up.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King, Jr

Change comes with lots of hard work and sacrifice. It is not something that just happens because you want it to. Change is not easy, but one thing is for sure, if you keep doing the same things with your money, you will keep getting the same results. You may struggle along your path to financial freedom, but that is precisely what will teach you the most, as well as strengthen you for what is to come. Be strong—do not let your struggles and perceived failures be the reason for your financial demise. We all have struggles, even those of us who have managed to turn our finances around. Financial success isn’t reliant upon the absence of problems, it is reliant upon how you handle those problems you face.

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom.” Martin Luther King, Jr

Your solution, or the solution that society seems to look to first, are not necessarily your best options. It may seem as though they are at first glance, but using a debt consolidation company to manage and pay off your debt, teaches you nothing. It can also cost you more than just the fees they charge for the opportunity to do so. Most people end up right back where they started, because they didn’t learn what needed to be learned to keep from returning to the debt they eliminated. The easiest way is typically not the best way.

Bankruptcy seems like the right thing, because after all, you pretty much get to start all over. Just like with debt consolidation companies, you didn’t really solve the problem that caused the financial mess in the first place. You technically just avoided the problem all together and treated the symptom instead of the cause, which happens to be your behavior.

Think about what is at stake before you make each financial decision.

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” Martin Luther King, Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr might have been fighting for the rights of blacks in America, but you should be using the same principles to free yourself from the bondage that enslaves you.

You may not see the light at the end of the tunnel at first, but know that it is there!
It may be difficult, and at times feel impossible, but know you can do it!
It may be hard to believe in your ability to turn things around, but keep this in mind—you are your best solution!
You are the one that must step up to the plate. You are the one that must be strong and courageous! It is YOU that will make the difference!

I hope you’re able to take from this story the message of hope and hard work, determination and courage, and above all, the belief in your ability to make great things happen.

You don’t have to be in debt. You don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. The choice is yours, and your dream is what you make it. If you follow your dream the way he followed his, chances are, your dream will become a reality.

What is your financial dream, and what are you willing to sacrifice to accomplish it? Are you willing to pay the price and sacrifice to become financially independent? If you’re not, what cost are you willing to pay to do nothing?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goal Setting and Education

Me and higher education have never been the best of friends. You could say my hatred developed somewhere in between graduated from high school and my first semester at community college. I have written post about higher education and my disdain for some people who go on to obtain degrees and deem themselves "better" than me. The older and wiser I get I realize that all of my reasoning behind not wanting to finish college made no sense (other than all that debt). I really didn't hate college because of the people, I hated college because for me it represented my failure.

I won't get into ALL the details surrounding my failure, but I will admit to one reason and that is lack of planning. Today I am here to say something that you probably already know. If you fail to plan you PLAN to fail. I have always heard this saying but it hasn't really meant anything until now. Yes I have been on a plan to get out of debt but much of the rest of my life over the last 3 years have been kinda all over the place. Im turning 28 and I think getting older always brings about reevaluation of the last year.

I want to do things differently this year and with a concrete plan,instead of this pie in the sky type of mentality I have had for so long. Total rabbit trail..... Back to education, yes I hate it but I am seriously thinking I should finish college. One thing that keeps holding me back is my inability to complete a math class. This time around I figure if I take all my math requirements I won't be so quick to drop out because of my math phobia. Right now im working on a MATH game plan, not a 5 or 6 year plan to finish college, or pay for it or anything, just MATH. Taking on to much is a sure fire way to fail so thats what I plan on NOT doing.

Paying cash will be the only way I finish and Im totally fine with it taking a while even if that means only 1 or 2 classes a year. I realized the idea of doing to much freaked me out so much to the point of doing nothing at all. I don't want to regret my life, and I want to show my kids the best way to make it in the world and while education doesn't mean EVERYTHING it is important.

How are you at goal setting? Have you ever tried to do something without a plan? How did it turn out?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gratitude Friday & How I love My mom

I really do enjoy the relationship I have with my mother. We certainly have had our share of ups and downs throughout the years, but every year I grow older the closer we get. A few weeks ago me and my brother gave her a 49th surprise birthday party and by the grace of God next year when I am debt free I can pay cash for her to celebrate her 50th on a cruise ship. Yesterday I asked my mom to help me brain storm about how I could best promote Financial peace at my church. I promise she was talking so fast I couldn't keep up!! By the time we finished talking I was overflowing with ideas. I love my mom with all my heart and one of the blessings of being debt free is knowing she will be taken care of by her two loving children :)

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Don't Be a Debbie Downer!

Occasionally I like to venture off to my favorite blogs and read up on the latest topics. I have a few on the issue of marriage, relationships, and faith, but most of them are about debt. While I was browsing I happen to check out a blog titled "paying off debt is a pain in the butt" by money plan sos The post itself was great and even most of the comments until I got to the very end to read what another person wrote. Usually I don't get worked up about comments because everyone is entitled to their own opinion but some things can just be left between you and your thoughts. The comment read "we are debt free, however our taxes are slightly higher than our mortgage payment. Unfortunately even when your out of debt you still have debt"

For some odd reason that statement just rubbed me the wrong way. On one hand you are celebrating being debt free COMPLETELY but then you are basically saying you still never get out?? I personally don't consider property taxes to be debt, but more as paying your due diligence. Like a child not getting paid to clean there room or take out the trash, hey its just what you do because you are part of this family. The statement also didn't seem to encourage others because its like hey if you are gonna technically be in debt anyway you may as well stay there right? I dunno maybe I am being pesky but its not something I want to hear when im working my butt off myself to become debt free and you say "hey mikki there really ISN'T a light at the end of the tunnel that was just me flickering my key chain lol"

I try not to be a debbie downer myself and really its something you have to practice on a regular basis. After reading that I am more motivated to watch what I say. Have you ever encountered a person who could always find the negative in something?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Its Possible To Get out of Debt (IF you want it)

I remember a while back ago having a conversation with a friend of mine about getting out of debt. His exact words to me were "the government is designed to keep you down and as long as you make minimum wage you will never get out of debt". While I understood what he was saying, only part of his statement was true.

First I must say the government has nothing to do with your life as a whole. They don't decide where you work, where you live, or what you do with your money. It baffles me when I hear people talk about what the government can and will do for me. I also hear stories about how medicare constantly screws people over, and how you can only buy foods on a "list" with your food stamps. I remember going to the grocery store one day with my mom and as we checked out we stood behind a woman who was dressed to the nine, with all the name brand foods in her cart, and she whipped out a load of food stamps. At the time all my mom could afford was a loaf of bread and some off brand cereal.

That day still stands out in my mind, when I think about government assistance. Now days me and my friends bawk at how people so called "Get over" on the system but how nice do you really think those people live? My guess is NOT as great as it looks. I decided long ago that as nice as it SEEMED to be, I still didn't want to allow the government to dictate my life.

As far as people making minimum wage, my friend was right. YOU can't become debt free working for pennies, but you also can't become debt free if you are constantly doing broke people things like getting pay day advances, and renting to own stuff. Becoming debt free is a personal choice and if its something you really want NOTHING can stop you. I have done a LOT of not so hot things to get out of debt that the average Joe would call crazy, like living with 3 girls to save money, buying furniture second, third and fourth hand, watching a 19"inch t.v with no cable for 3 years and driving a beater. CRAZY RIGHT? NOT AT ALL. These are just a few sacrifices I have made to eventually get to live like no one else. Right now I don't live lavish but one day I will have nice things that I pay cash for.

So for those of you who think it can't be done I am living proof that it can. Will it take a while? Maybe but when its over you will be glad you made the choice.

So I say to you, how bad do you want it?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Types of insurance that is vital to your well being

Health insurance
Long term disability insurance (LTD)
Long term care insurance (if you are over 60)
Life insurance 10 times your income

Things to stay away from
Return of premium (pay extra and they return your premium over 5 or 10 years)
Cancer insurance (good health insurance covers this)
Short term disability (emergency funds should cover this)
accidental death insurance

Forcing Gods Hand

I was sitting at work today listening to the debt free Friday Dave Ramsey show and I started thinking about what I would say when I called Dave Ramsey to do my own debt free scream. However this time my thinking took me down a much different path and I thought it would be good to share with others.

Dave Ramsey always ask his callers what the hardest part of getting out of debt is. Usually I come up with a different answer in my own mock interview, but my most recent answer was having to short sale my home. This thought process lead me to how I came to own my home in the first place and the answer struck me like lightening.

I proceeded to tell Dave how I wanted to be like my friends and have a piece of something. Also at the time I so desperately wanted to leave Lansing Michigan because well after a break up it was the last place I wanted to be, not to mention occasionally seeing your ex out and about to add insult to injury. I figured if I purchased a house where I wanted to be (Back in Detroit), God would work his magic and actually cause my job to transfer me. After months and months of applying it just wasn't happening. I am still paying the price for buying a home before it was my time though there is a light at the end of the tunnel, its the most expensive lesson I have ever had to learn.

Now days when people ask me why I brought my house, the answer finally is clear to me " I was trying to force Gods hand" The more I learn about God the more I realize forcing God to do things never works. I realize that in life we create more havoc than if we just allow God to operate in his own time. Becoming debt free has taught me a lot of life lessons but this is the one that stands out to me the most, simply because its something I struggle with everyday.

There are many things in life that you can do that will cause you to be successful, but then there are those things that no matter what you do won't change until you allow God himself to change them for you. So if you struggle with this aspect of life my advise would be to "wait on God" You can experience so much more peace when you don't try to figure out EVERY single aspect of your life. Sometimes its actually ok to just go with the flow and allow things to play out. When we try to do things our own way and make things happen, things tend to go south and we spend a life time trying to turn it back around. So do what you can and let God do what you cannot :)

Have you ever tried to force Gods hand?

Friday, August 20, 2010

What Do you spend your time doing?

I recently picked up the Millionaire next Door book by Thomas J Stanley and its a great read. In one particular chapter Mr Stanley went on to described two types of people. Throughout the book he references the two types to drive home points. I thought it was interesting so I decided to share it....

PAW- Prodigious accumulator of Wealth: To be well positioned in the PAW category, you should be worth twice the level of wealth expected. PAWS are builders of wealth, that is they are best at building net worth compared to others in their income/age category. PAWs typically have a minimum of four times the wealth accumulated by UAWS.

UAW- Under accumulator of wealth (self explanatory)

According to Mr Stanley, efficiency is one of the most important components of wealth accumulation. People who become wealthy allocate their time, energy, and money in ways consistent with enhancing their net worth. PAWS allocate nearly twice the number of hours per month to planning their financial investments as UAWS do. I personally believe im somewhere near the UAW side of things. I KNOW I waste a lot of time doing things that have nothing to do with building wealth. I do believe that we should spend time enjoying our guilty pleasures but sometimes we can go overboard.

So what would you rather be doing, spending time watching t.v or building wealth? DON'T BE A UAW!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Michael Jackson & My Debt Snowball

Today I was looking over my budget and I have to be truthful with my fellow bloggers and say its not looking to good!!! Originally I thought I would be ok bringing in the new year with a little bit of debt but that debt free date keeps going futher and further out. I have been spending a lot, and putting very little towards my snowball with the excuse being "wait til my home is sold" but my house is having less and less to do with my other remaining debt. When I saw that debt free date being pushed closer to march I started to freak out. Hey its been almost 3 years now and this has gone on longer than need be and its time to REALLY kick it in to gear.

Soooooooo (DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!!!) I am going to get a second job (REALLY THIS TIME). I am so ready to be done with this debt and move on with life and I am at the point where I am ready to do what it takes. I took a lot of time off in between due to burn out and ever since I have been plinking away at my debt. Have I done well? Oh yes no doubt!! but I need to bring it on home and wrap it up!!! I realize the more I piddle away the more depressed I get because nothing is happening.

I have about 4 news papers that have been piling up on my door step since the weekend and I am going to plug away until I find something. I need an extra $6,000 to be debt free by year end which is somewhere betweeen $600-$700 every two weeks give or take. I am ready to put this debt to sleep for good and the time is gonna be now!!!!!

Has anything been keeping you from moving faster in your snowball, or are you having a hard time getting started... Let me know!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Debt Round Up

I haven't giving an update on my finances in a while so I thought now would be a good time. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about my debt and I remember saying to her "I haven't paid much this year" Being shocked at my own statement this taunted me for a good few days until one day I was laying in my bed and realized it wasn't true!

When I was having the conversation I was basically recalling actual checks I have written to pay off debt which is mostly why I couldn't really tell from just looking at the numbers on my spread sheet. However it dawned on me that I was having money auto drafted out of my paycheck for a good 2 months in excess of 500-800 at a time. So after I went back and recalculated here is what I discovered.

My total debt pay off to date : $11,000 - this includes a 401k loan and a pay day advance from YEARS ago.

I also brought a car for $2500 with $400 in repairs to date.

There are a bunch of other randomness within my budget but over all I have done a great job (In my opinion). I certainly didn't think I would be rolling up on 3 years worth of getting out of debt but it has definantly made for good story telling if nothing else!

Whats your debt repayment round up?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Court Is In Session

Today was my court date to evict the girl who is living in my property and I am happy to report I won my case! The judge showed no mercy or sympathy regarding her not paying rent.

I am overwhelmed by the situation but happy as well. Its been a long 2 months and I am still not out of the clear regarding the property.

I will continue to keep everyone up to date.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Meal Time Makeover Update*

I missed everyone so very much and later on I will post more but I thought I would share my food update first!!

I have been using emealz (read previous post) for about a week and so far I LOVE IT!! I haven't had to eat out once and everything I cook I love! I haven't even made it through much of whats in my frig and the two times I made dinner (full meals) I fed more than myself so thats a pretty darn big deal. I think I can officially say that with the exception of a few things like milk and cheese (my favorite) this food will certain last me close to the end of the month. So the advertisement says cut your grocery bill in half and it just might actually be a true statement!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Am Trying Emealz

I always hear emealz being advertised on the Dave Ramsey show but was never really brave enough to try it. I would always figure it would be no good to me since I don't have a family. However after putting off grocery shopping and going coupon stir crazy I just went ahead and took a dive right in.

Its $15 every 3 months and they do your meal planning and grocery list for you! Yes I can be lazy at times what can I say.... It has been a long time since I have really cooked (like real food) so its always challenging to make sure I get everything I need and not have to make trips to the store because I forgot an ingredient. With the meal time makeover you pretty much are guaranteed you won't need to return to the store until your next grocery shopping experience.

Posted Every
Plan Posted Every
Kroger Sunday
Wal-Mart for 2 Friday
Publix Wednesday
Any Store for 2 Friday
Wal-Mart Thursday
ALDI for 2 NEW MEAL PLAN! Tuesday
Any Store Wednesday
Publix for 2 NEW MEAL PLAN! Wednesday
ALDI Tuesday


They also make it to where a lot of what you purchase that week is on sale and they tally up how much your total will be based on sales. I printed off 2 weeks worth of groceries, and the total would have been $150 dollars.

After getting mostly everything I wanted on the list (I edited it some) plus a few other items that don't relate to dinner I spent $138 dollars after coupons and savings. I don't remember ever having this much food in my frig or pantry all at once let alone spending $138 for at least $200 worth of groceries.

As soon as I got home, I started prepping my food. I cut up all the veggies and put them into plastic baggies so when its time to cook, it goes right into the pan. I also put all the meat and fruits into baggies so I could create more of a grab and go type situation so there would be no excuse for when I am in a hurry. Emealz is set up for people to shop once a week but since its just me I think I have enough to last me at least 2 maybe 4 weeks which is nice. Its going to be great to say bye bye to eating out for a long while!!

I may take pictures of my dinner creations so stay tuned and check out emealz if you have a free moment, I think it works well even if its 1 person or the Duggar family!

Monday, July 26, 2010

10 Things We Say That Keep Us Broke...

This post comes from Money Plan SOS-Debt Free Coach. I heard Dave Ramsey mention this post on Friday and thought it would be fun to share. Check it out and add to it if you DARE!!


1. I’m too ________ (old, young, in-a-middle-age-crisis, broke) to save money.
2. I deserve ________.
3. I did it to improve my credit score.
4. My student loan/mortgage is “Good debt”.
5. He told me I would _______.
6. The “Little Man” can’t get ahead.
7. I can write off the interest on my taxes.
8. How much a month?
9. I have retirement covered, Social Security _________.
10. When I _______, then I’ll be able to ________.

So whats keeping you from building wealth?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Decluttering & My First Couponing Experience

So I did tell you all a few post back that I was starting to collect coupons. After much consideration and anticipation I finally stepped out and used what coupons I had. I decided to go to walmart to buy all of my tolietries but later discovered I may have come out cheaper at meijer.

My total spent was $68 dollars and a savings of $11 worth of coupons. I got a LOT of stuff I never would have brought all at once had I not had the coupons. The only bad thing about this experience is that in discovering walmart doesn't double coupons I could have went to another store and came out a little cheaper especially with the $1.00 off coupons. All in all I had a lot of fun and I look forward to getting more coupons. However I must stress that couponing doesn't matter if you are not actually working a budget. You could say what I did yesterday was like someone having an expensive hobby, fun but not really benificial.

I haven't been on a budget this much and until I went grocery shopping yesterday I really didn't care. Im not over spending or anything but I am not really trying to keep close tabs on my funds, stress is playing a big factor in all this but I am trying to do some damage control before it gets out of control.

After I put all my shopping items away I started cleaning and realizing I had a lot of junk laying around I don't use. So I grabbed a big ole trash bag and started throwing stuff away. Over these next few months I want to get my life into a simple routine preferably one that doesn't cause me to spend lots of money thats not in my budget. I do believe once this house situation is done with I will have things a bit more under control, but for now I am going to do the best I can with what I got!!

Have you ever experienced a time where financial stress caused you to be sloppy in other areas of your life? How did you bounce back?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Got The Feeling!! My New Car

This video best describes how I was feeling when I received the keys to my new silver crysler 300 (pics below)

All those feelings I had suppressed for over 2 years came rushing back into my lifeless body. I felt like a new woman! As I drove off I began to wonder was this the feeling that so many people crave when the make new perchases. That feeling that puts you so high on cloud 9 that the cost doesn't even factor into your thought process.

Who really cares about college funds, or 401k's when you can cruise down the highway in style feeling like everyone is looking at you thinking "how fly is she in that new whip" Driving this car makes me feel like I can do anything, go anywhere and be anybody. Now I can say "Im normal" again, I fit in with the rest of America and I FEEEELL like the rest of America too, sooo good. When you take a ride with me you can enjoy that new car smell, xm radio, and don't forget you have your own temperature controls.

Leather seats, custom wheels, the steering wheel audio controls, I mean life really doesn't get much better than this! I mean its like, why not be in debt when you can feel like this every day of the week. You know what they say "you really only live once so why not enjoy your life now" I couldn't agree more. That is why I couldn't resist when the offer was presented to me. Jetta wha? that ole thing? don't worry I gave it to someone who will take good care of it.

I really wonder if this feeling will last or if it will fade away over time. I don't know but time will tell, because I have to return that sucker back to the rental place tomorrow morning!!

haha got cha!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

On My Way To PA!!!

Random trip to Pensylvania, couldn't even spell it right until I had to map it irroncially but hey what can I say! I am headed to a family reunion that I totally forgot about due to stress! My cousin reminded me and I jumped at the chance to go. So by the time you read this I will be on the road! Back with plenty pictures, stories and money still in the bank!

Gratitude Friday

I was looking over my calandar at work yesterday and was thinking about how fast this year is going by. Im a few months shy of 28, and closer to debt freedom than I have every been. Dispite the home situation this year has been a pretty good one. I have great friends and family and I have enjoyed much much financial peace throughout the months.

I am very grateful and I believe that there isn't a situation good or bad that I can't learn and grow from. I am thankful for another year and I am sooooo looking forward to the next!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

8 Reasons to Never Borrow from Your 401k Retirement Plan

I was browsing the comment section of my last post and came across a comment by Mogul in Training. As I was explaining to a previous poster, where I would be getting the money to pay for my house, she chimmed in and raised a great point. Always check with a professional before you borrow any money.

I am currently aware of all the risk that are involved, as I have taken out loans before (pre Dave). However I want to share with the rest of blog land why its such a bad idea. There are plenty sites out there, that will tell you "oh yes go ahead and borrow from your 401k" but trust me they aren't giving you all the pros and cons. So I was able to pull a site that gives ALL negatives. Why would I do that you say? Because I don't want people borrowing money just randomly. Even in my situation, I am looking for ways to lower the amount or just allow the home to foreclose (which I will probably explain the ramifications of that in a later post). Bottom line is it should be a LAST resort, my advise.. .JUST DON'T DO IT, but if you need real reasons here you go: This information comes from 401klookup.com

8 Reasons to Never Borrow from Your 401k Retirement Plan
(March 4th, 2008)

According to a study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in 2005, 20% of all 401k investors who were eligible for borrowing from their 401k plans (taking out 401k loans) did so. The average loan option exercised in 2004 was $6,946 which is about 1/2 of the average debt of households in America (excluding mortgage debt). The $6946 figure represents the following percentages of peoples' total retirement savings.

Age % of Total Savings
20s 25%
30s 20%
40s 22%
50s 11%
60s 9%

As you can note from above, as the person gets older, he has more retirement savings and tends to borrow less from his/her 401k plan. However, people in their 40s borrow about 2% more than people in their 30s, anyone have a logical explanation for this? Post your comments below if you do! And while it is good that as the person gets older, he tends to borrow less, it is not advisable to borrow from your 401k at all! We will go over 8 major reasons why you should never borrow from your 401k.

Some financial advisors might tell you that borrowing from your 401k is better than using your credit cards or taking out a commercial loan with higher interest rates. They also say that when you repay your 401k loans, you will be repaying interest to yourself, and not some bank. While this is partially true, in the long term, you would be way better off accumulating your savings and gaining compound interest, rather than reducing your principal amount by borrowing money from it.

1) Your Savings Growth is Reduced

If you take out a 401k loan, most plans have a provision that you cannot make any more contributions until a certain percentage of the loan is paid back. Some plans may even have a provision that states that 100% of the loan amount must be repaid! Added to that, even if your plan does not have a repayment provision, you may not be able to afford to keep up with your 401k loan payments and make additional 401k contributions (that you were supposed to make every month anyways). This significantly reduces your ability to grow your 401k savings. The whole point of 401k plans is to save for your retirement, by withdrawing any amount of money from it, you are really defeating the purpose of the plan!

2) You Are Losing Money

Every monthly contribution that you miss also misses the growth & appreciation that is available from the stock markets, bond markets as well as commodities futures markets. Furthermore, you are also missing the power of compounding interest on your total principal balance. The low interest payments that you are paying to yourself is likely to be insignificant compared to the appreciation & returns on investment that is available in stocks/bonds/commodities markets. Also, the money you are paying yourself will be after-tax. For every $1 you earn, your ability to repay the loan will only be $0.78 (considering you are in the 22% tax bracket). Also, that $0.78 that you have to repay yourself will be taxed AGAIN when you retire and withdraw your money from your 401k. You are pretty much getting beat down by the double taxation & losing the power of compounding interest, you do not want that!

3) Time is Not In your Favor

By making monthly contributions to your 401k, the idea is that over the long term, your money will grow substantially and accumulate the power of compounding interest. Compounding interest calculators state that your money will double every 8 years if you invest diligently and with discipline. Most 401k plans allow loans to be held for up to 5 years. If you used a 401k loan to purchase your home (or finance for a down payment on the home), you are losing the ability to double your money in 8 years average. What's more, you will lose the power of making additional contributions & more growth opportunities & returns on investment. Over time, your 401k balance will never reach its maximum potential and the greatest sum of money you could have had!

4) Unable to Repay the Loan? More Trouble!

If you get yourself in a situation where you cannot repay the loan, it will be considered a taxable withdrawal and you will be subject to income taxes. This is in addition to the 10% early withdrawal penalty you will have to pay for your withdrawal.

5) Quit Your Job? Repay the Loan!

If you quit your job with your current employer, the 401k plan administered by your employer will require you to repay it immediately! Thus if you have a 401k loan, you will be stuck at your current job for as long as you do not repay the loan. This is because if you quit, you will have to come up with the cash to repay the loan. If you do not have that cash, you cannot quit your job. This might require you to pass up a better opportunity where there's more pay, challenge and career enhancement.

6) No Financial Cushion

You should borrow a 401k loan in the toughest of circumstances where you really have NO other source of funding, no family, no relatives, etc. If you borrow a 401k loan to pay off your credit card debt or to fund an exotic vacation, this money will NOT be there when you really need it in the toughest of circumstances. That is why we say, do not borrow from your 401k!

7) Living Beyond Your Means?

If you need to borrow from your 401k, this automatically creates a red flag that you are living beyond your means. If you cannot find any other way of making money other than borrowing from your 401k, you should revisit your spending habits and see where you are blowing up excess money.

8) Violates the King Rule of Personal Finance

Borrowing from your 401k violates the very important saying of "Pay yourself first." It is definitely a bad idea to violate this rule.

So there you have it. If I do end up needing the money, I will put myself on auto repayment for minimum $1000 a month payback, I can't spend what I don't have and once you set up auto withdrawl there is no turning back. I will be in debt longer than anticipated but who said all this was suppose to be easy? 2.5 years on a debt free journey isn't all fun and games and I made a commentment to see it to the end, in both good and bad, so thats what I intend to do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"To The Wire To The Limit To The Wall" my homeownership struggles

Its been so hard the last couple of weeks and seems like it keeps getting worse. At first I was going to blog after all the smoke cleared but I think its even more important, to share what I have been going through so people can learn from my mistakes.

To make a longer story short, my home has been on the market for 6 months under the conditions of possible foreclosure. I will say based on bad information I decide to stop making payments on my home, so I could negotiate a short sale. I purchased my home in 2007 and have had it rented for 2 years because it was to far away from my job. It was pre Dave and there are days I could undo the situation but I cant.

The closer I have gotten to my debt free date the more I realized I wanted to be completely debt free. I didn't want to struggle with loosing money on a personal residence turned rental. I didn't want the stress of owning a home with a tenant and mortgage looming over me in a city an hour away (never purchase real estate you don't work or live near). I knew when I decided to list the house I would be opening up a BIG OLE CAN of worms but I wanted to at least see if selling the house was possible.

I have dealt with not so great Realtors and now a tenant who insist on not paying rent or cooperating with potential buyers because of the foreclosure. By the time I tried to explain to her I was not going to let the home actually foreclose, she had already decided she was going to rebel. So now the foreclosure date is looming over my head and I have done EVERYTHING possible to make sure the possible sale goes smooth. My new realtor keeps telling me she has a buyer but has not given me any paper work to begin the process, she actually hasn't even listed the house with her company. Today I wanted to take matters into my own hands and list the house on craigs list, but I know that wouldn't be trusting God.

The law firm says I have til July 23rd to pay $8600. The plan from day one was to borrow the money from my 401k which is the only exception to borrowing money on the Dave Ramsey plan. However I never anticipated it would take this long to sell. Its partially my fault for being extremely passive about my old realtor and now my new one, but I have yet to figure out how to deal with them.

Even though my credit isn't of much importance I DO NOT want that dreaded "Forecloser" stamp added to my report even if I never plan to borrow money again its just some silly psychological thing I got going on. If I pay the 8600 I get to keep my home without having to deal with the "AFTER FORECLOSURE" after math. If I wait to let the home foreclose, the bank will still work with me but I still have to deal with my tenant,eviction and the foreclosure workout plan which honestly all this at once has been way to much stress and that would be more than I care to take on.

If I pay the balance I will have another debt added back to my snowball and it will be another year or more paying it off. In hindsight I will be debt free except for the housing loans, but mentally it wont register that I will have paid off $40k in 3 years so I won't be able to relax until the ONLY debt is one mortgage or none at all. So that's the update, and I ask everyone to continue to keep me in prayer as every day is a struggle but I think I am doing a lot better since last week. I limit my phone calls with people that will speak negative things to me and contribute to my stress regarding my home. I was aware what I was getting myself into but all of this has been WAY more than I would have liked to have gone through. Not to mention I have to pray my tenant doesn't do damage to my home out of anger. If I could go back knowing what I know now I would have tried to sell the home 2 years ago when I moved out, but my stubbornness got the best of me, so time will tell how it all plays out so stay tuned....

Have you ever done anything financially that you regretted?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Hey guys, I haven't fallin off the face of the earth "YET" lol, its been a super busy week!! I finally got a new realtor for my house so hopefully things will be back on track. I will keep you all posted!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Weekend Fab

Obviously I haven't done my budget for July yet but I promise its coming soon!! My boss let me have Friday off so that I could go enjoy the lake with my friends. We had a great time, and I think I spent $20 bucks in gas to get there and I had an oil change for $30 which was way over due. The yard sale was a big success, I made $80 bucks off the sale of only a few items, which was great because I didn't have to do much work.

I think today I will finally sit down and work out a budget and figure out my expenses. I might even do some grocery shopping.

Its very important for me to get organized this week because my over time starts at work and I want to keep things at home as stressless as possible. Im gonna clean, and organize my week so I don't become over whelmed with work.

I hope everyone had a super fab weekend see you next week!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Extra Income and Budgets For July!

Yesterday, while at work I was informed that my department will have an opportunity to work 1 full week of overtime. Boy was I excited when I heard the news!!! As soon as I got a free moment I calculated how much I would make if I worked 20 hours and It came out to be an additional $560 bucks!! With the yard sale this weekend and over time, I will be able to put money towards my debt and possibly have a little fun.

I thought I would feel like going spending crazy on my first day off the budget but suprisingly there is nothing I actually need right now. This is good because it gives me time to plan out my spending, and keep track of whats coming in and going out. I am looking forward to the holiday with no major spending. My best friends birthday is tomorrow, I know we are schedule to have a bowling party and of course I am going to get her a gift, it would probably be a good idea to sit down and do my budget today.

I shall return with Julys figures!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Go Green Challenge Comes to an End

First let me start out by saying I DID use my debit card on Monday and Tuesday of this week to get gas and groceries, but I refrained from any unessesary spending which was very tempting while I was out and about. My girlfriend gave me $3 bucks so I wouldn't have to use my card to buy a book that I so desparately wanted which was cool because I haven't put the book down yet!

All in all the challege was a great sucess. I learned many many lessons and figured out that as long as you have a plan for your money it always works out. For the month of July I will be holding a yard sale with my best friend, and hopefully will generate enough cash to go clothes shopping with at the outlet mall.

I am also looking forward to couponing. Ever since I started collecting them I have formed a habit of checking to see if what I need from the store has a coupon. So far I haven't been able to save anything with a coupon but hey its only been 3 weeks, so im going to give it time. Going green brought me closer to my kitchen which was a welcomed experience as well. I look forward to doing a budget in July and all the way through becoming debt free. I would like to say thanks to Young Mogul In Training and her friends for doing the challenge with me and hope you got as much out of it as I did!!
Until next time, use cash and go green!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Facing Giants (my own)

Yesterday was a particularly interesting day as I decided I was going to face some things I had been putting off due to fear.

As you all know my home had an offer placed on it over a week ago. For the most part I have been blessed to supply everything the realtor is asking for considering they basically need your whole life when doing a short sale. However as of late my realtor hasn't been so pleasant and each day my frustration has been growing. Well I decided that I need to put an end to the madness! Throughout the process of purchasing my first home and selling it now it has never been pleasant. One of the reasons I got my real estate license was so that I COULD be the good agent and people wouldn't have to put up with the agent that bites! I currently don't actively sell real estate but it is one of my future goals when all this debt is paid off and I have built up a hefty bank account. Anywhoot so I wrote a letter to the company expressing my concerns and my good friend helped me draft the letter.

Im usually not so good at confrontation but its something that I feel God is bring out of me because as I get older things like this will come up and if I don't face it (just like the car situation) I will be left with a mess on my hands. So here is the letter I wrote....

Dear Mr. Jon Swords,

This e-mail is being sent to inform you that, I have applied and paid for the home inspection for 12851 Riverview St which is Scheduled for July 1,2010. I would also like to make you aware of several issues that have arisen in my attempts to sale my property, namely, my dissatisfaction with
the service I have received from my agent John Lewis.

First, is the issue regarding the property not being able to be entered at the time the agent wanted to do a showing. I received an email days later stating there was a chain on the door. When I contacted Mr. Lewis regarding not notifying me sooner, His response to me was "I did not have your number". This was extremely disappointing as the sale of the property is important to me and should be important to your company as well. I had expected that any time there would be an issue regarding the property, at the very least the real estate office would be contacted in order to obtain my number on file in order to schedule appointments.

Second, I do not appreciate being told things at the last minute, i.e. being informed about the inspection cost and fees regarding the law firm's negotiation of the short sale. It is unnecessarily
stressful to receive news that has financial ramifications for me that is likely information my agent could have shared earlier.

Finally, I question Mr. Lewis's level of professionalism. When communicating with me about the inspection cost and law fees, he made racially offensive comments about Detroit's former mayor. He insinuated that I am on a first-name basis with the former mayor and that if I had a problem with
paying for the inspection, that I should take it up with Kwame. I am a black woman, who was raised in the city of Detroit but find it highly offensive that someone I have a business relationship with--Mr. Lewis--would make any hint of associating me with someone who has been convicted of a crime.

Based on the issues above I would like to request another agent to complete this process. Though we are in the final stages of the sale of this property, I expect professionalism and good customer service from the agency. My experiences are not enabling me to give good reviews or referrals
for your agency. I desire a more positive and professional relationship. If your company cannot provide me with another agent, I have made arrangement to do business with another company.

I look forward to being in communication with you regarding the new agent who will be assigned to work with me to sale my property.


Kimike Clark

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oprahs Debt Diet

I caught my first episode of the debt diet series yesterday and it was pretty good. If you get an opportunity please tune in, as they talk about a lot of things that Dave Ramsey covers!! Not to mention the entertainment value is pretty appealing if you have been on this journey for a while and can remember some of the same struggles....

Go Green 'Money cometh my way"

Its a funny thing how God works!! Yesterday I had put the last of my go green challenge money into the gas tank, all $13 dollars. The day before I had spent $20 bucks on a new outfit and the plan was to not eat out for the next 7 days! Well low and behold yesterday I recieved $80 dollars!!! It was totally unexpected but perfect timing. I ended up using half of the $80 to take my 2 girlfriends to dinner and I do have plans for the other $40 bucks but im going to try to be as wise as possible with it.
So over the last couple weeks I have received a total of $125 semi extra dollars!! Getting all this money has reminded me a lot of the old days when I use to budget and what Dave Ramsey would refer to as "found money" when you have a plan for your money, you always end up with extra or more some how. When I use to budget that was always proven to be true so its nice to have the feeling back. So with the help of loving people my go green challenge just may be a success!! stay tuned!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If I Was A Boy and My Go Green Challenge

I am a beyonce fan (don't judge me lol) and if there was any song I could relate to right now it would be "If I were a boy". I hate it so much when men KNOW they can take advantage of you JUST because you are a woman!! My initial thought when the situation came up (Which I will share in a second) was see if I had a boyfriend none of this would have happened. But then I recanted that statement and told my self I just need to learn to think like a man.

The story:

As you all know I brought a new car a few months ago. Since then the old car had been sitting at the mechanics shop ever since then. So recently he called me and told me to come get it. So since I knew the car wasn't worth much, which is what he has been telling me for the last two months. I called someone to go pick it up! I get a call today saying the POLICE are at the shop and my mechanic wants to take me to small claims court if I don't bring him $50 bucks. I had to go to the bank and get $50 bucks to keep the peace. When I get to the shop he starts going on about how mad he is at the guy who came to get the car (basically he took it out on me by charging me the money to keep the car). Then he goes on grilling me about who I sold the car too and how he could have gotten me $150 for the car!! hello you told me it was worth 0 DOLLARS!! Im not a mind reader.

Point is I believe I was seriously taken advanage of and it makes me wonder, how many other times I have been taken advantage of. Thankfully it wasn't over a lot of money but I really believe I need to step up my game as a woman and learn the tricks of the trade so it doesn't end up costing me MORE money.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Black People and Debt Freedom

I would like to start this post by saying, I don't have any statistics, no hard core facts or research. This is just my observation of things going on around me every day.

If you know anything about me you know that I am a big fan of wealth building and debt freedom. I have developed this passion over the last two years and its continually growing. While I have enjoyed the process of becoming debt free myself, I have enjoyed helping people more. But one thing I have noticed over the years is that black people don't wanna get outta debt!!!

I remember last year going to a Dave Ramsey Live event and seeing over 5,000 people in attendance. I think I could count on 2 hands how many black people I saw. Now I know the economy isn't the greatest but I do remember those tickets being $10 bucks at one point in time. Heck me and my family went for free due to volunteering. There is a lot of free information out there about getting out of debt yet it seems my people don't care and this frustrates me. I was talking to my pastor about the issue and his words were "you know we don't like to pay for stuff" Thats a funny statement because I see people all the time with the latest cars, clothes, and shoes everyday.

I used to think nobody wanted the information because most of us had it all together, well over the years I learned that certainly isn't true. So what is it about our culture that can't grasp the need to not leave debt to our families? My pastor was telling me how if we didn't charge or slap Dave Ramsey on everything then maybe it would sell. I am pretty confident in my ability to teach this stuff but Dave Ramsey has a little bit better track record than I do. My passion for this stuff is serious and I just hate that people miss out due to stubbornness. Over the next year I plan to work at getting this information out to my church family. I hate not having to charge money knowing I PAID my own money to get the materials in the first place, not to mention the stuff works if you actually apply it.

There will be a time when I can stand in front of an audience and be bold enough to say "cut it out". Im working courage but seriously this is bugging the crap outta me. At any rate, im determined to make it out of the race and PROVE what can be done when you build wealth, give and save. If I eventually gotta pay for people to go through financial peace my self I will, thats just how much I care about this.

So I ask, why do you think people shy away from becoming financially stable?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My $25 Dollar Living Room!

So my living room is 95% complete thanks to my mother who is queen of bargain shopping. This whole room has been empty (minus the tv and stand) for almost a year up until now. When I moved into my place I had nothing, zippo, zilch, nada. This was my first place since living in a college apartment complex with roommates, furniture and drama included lol.

I was so happy to have my own place, that I didn't even need furniture I was just happy to be living on my own again. Last year was a very trying time in regards to becoming debt free, I had very bad credit so not too many people would rent to me, and I lived with 2 other girls which I can safely say they were the spawn of Satan no kidding!! But looking back through the sacrifice I mad it and now slowly coming full circle.

This living room is very important to me because it represents my sacrifice and testimony in that when you WAIT things will eventually fall into place. There has been many a days when I wanted to just say bunk it and buy all new furniture and go nuts at ikea or something but I held back. Funny thing is I prayed for furniture that wouldn't cost me and well God hears ALL prayers because 2 months after I prayed that prayer it came to pass! My living room needs a few more touches but the bulk of it is complete and I am so very proud and thankful for my momma and her looking out for me. So here is the break down of cost, who says you can't design on a dime!!

Couch - Free from freecycle.org which is a website were people just give stuff away. The couch came in almost like new condition and all I did was brought new stuffing for the pillows and re-stuffed them.

Chairs - Free from a friend of a co-worker. There are 6 chairs total which I have sitting at the table I brought from a yard sale a while back ago. Eventually I want to buy a nice set but for now it works!

Coffee table- $5 bucks at a yard sale. My mom found this table and its actually a super cool table that the people purchased from Ikea. Its my favorite part of the whole room.

Tv stand - $20 walmart- my ex boyfriend gave me the t.v and I refuse to purchase a new tv right now but when I am debt free its on and popping!

Eventually I want to buy a rug, and hang some pictures, and wall art, so how did we do?

(the view outside my window)