Test your business idea by creating a list of potential customers — and then call them. Will they buy what you want to sell?
Prove your concept by trying it out before you launch.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
She pulled out this little sheet that basically was a chart that had little check marks for area's that need improvement. For example " exercising " you are suppose to check each day you actually exercise in a month. Then by looking at it at month end it either had a few check marks or a bunch. She also had another chart that broke down times of the day like morning, afternoon, evening ect.....
Honestly the thing looked amazingly overwhelming. I mean who wants to actually see how much time they waste in a day? NOT me lol. True indeed I work a full 40 hours a week and then another 15-20 at the salon, and when I come home I am either glued to my laptop actually just staring at it because half my brain is mush at that point, or sleeping. There are a TON of things that I could be getting done, even right now I could be separating my clothes to be washed BUT IM NOT!
Now I am not saying every minute of the day should be tracked like a wacky person but I think time management broken down would help me accomplish way more things than not having any at all would ever do. So starting this week I am going to get brave (I think) an start managing my time. On Monday I will list everything I think should get done each day and then mark what I do accomplish....
Do you think you waste a lot of time?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
2. Don’t be a package snob. There’s a funny commercial running right now promoting bag cereal that gently chides people for being box snobs. I like this commercial because I have to admit that I have chosen items simply based on their packaging. Focusing on the content, rather than the container, is a smart money move.
3. Practice patience. Love to go to the movies? If you can stand to wait a few weeks, your favorite flicks will be playing on the big screen at the discount theaters. If you can’t wait to watch your favorite flick, choose a less expensive matinee.
4. Dust off your negotiation skills. Most service providers are willing to negotiate on price, especially on slow business days. I recently got a great deal on a radio install simply because the shop had immediate openings.
5. Skip dessert. Or if you are a chocoholic, skip the appetizer. Skipping one course when dining out is a simple sacrifice that can benefit your wallet and your waistline.
6. Don’t leave without the leftovers. Portion sizes have become so huge that a restaurant dinner can easily double as the next day’s lunch. If you purchase a bottle of wine that goes unfinished, ask if you can take the rest home.
7. DIY. Need your car washed, your dog walked or your lawn mowed? Do it yourself! This also works for snow shoveling, house cleaning, doing laundry, and getting your nails done. (I will leave it up to you if you want to try and cut your own hair—I sure wouldn’t!)
8. Pack your lunch. This is a commonly offered financial tip for one reason—it makes perfect sense. Packing your lunch one or two days a week can quickly save you $10 or more. In addition to saving you money, bringing, rather than buying, your lunch saves you calories and time.
9. Try before you buy. Think twice before buying expensive equipment to support a hobby that may or may not hold your interest. Instead, borrow equipment from friends or family for a while and buy your own only when you are ready commit.
10. Cancel a costly card. Review the terms of your credit card agreements carefully and consider canceling the card with the highest cost of credit. The cost of credit includes the amount you pay in fees and interest.
11. Jump on the coupon bandwagon. Coupon clippers know that it is easy to save $10 during a trip to the grocery store. If you can’t commit to couponing, invest in an entertainment or “eBook” typically sold as school fundraisers. The eBook I just purchased for $10 has (among many other things) four $5 off coupons to my local grocery store.
12. Be late (or early). We all learned about supply and demand in school, yet most of us still tend to follow the pack. Instead, travel during off-peak months, dine at odd hours, and celebrate a holiday (Valentine's Day is right around the corner!) a day or week late to get the best deals.
13. Try free service before fee-for-service. A lot of software companies offer “basic” programs for low or no cost. The idea is to lure you into liking their products so much that you will be willing to pay for more features. But before you do, ask yourself if you really need more. You might find that the “basic” service adequately and affordability serves your needs.
14. Buy generic. Look for generic brands or store brands of items where it really doesn’t make a difference. For example, some products have the same taste and texture, regardless of whether it’s a name brand or the store brand. The difference in price, however, can amount to as much as a 50 percent.
15. Save your energy. A 50 percent increase in energy costs during the colder months is not uncommon, depending on how cold it actually gets. Setting your thermostat at a reasonable temperature, sealing leaky windows, and insulating your water heater can result in substantial savings.
16. Buy in bulk. Buying large sizes can often save money. Usually, the unit price is less for larger containers. It is also a good idea to stock up on items you will need when they are on sale. But before you buy in bulk, be sure you will actually use a bulk of the item.
17. Comparison shop. Do not assume that all supermarkets have the same prices. If you have a few chains in your area and you do not know which ones are least expensive, check them all out. Make a list of the ten or so products you buy most often, and do some comparison shopping. Often you will find a huge difference between chains, and, if you can save just five percent, it adds up to hundreds of dollars over the long run.
18. Shop at the thrift store. Before you head to the mall, stop by your local thrift store. This is especially smart for an item you need only once. For example, I found black dress pants my son needed for a school concert for $2.99 (they were J Crew and in perfect condition!)
19. Visit your local library. The library is a treasure trove of books, movies, games, and CDs. Borrowing books and other media can quickly and easily save $10 or more (just be sure to return items on time!) You might also consider turning in books you no longer want to second hand book store that gives you credit to read more.
20. Consider the cost of convenience. Limit or eliminate shopping at the corner convenience store for items that could be purchased less expensively on your weekly supermarket trips. Along those same lines, don’t assume that the grocery store is the best place to buy non-grocery items such as batteries and laundry detergent.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I have been so exausted over the last couple of weeks and working very hard to shake the feeling so I can carry on with life. Yesterday I was speaking to a good friend of mine who currently is attending college full time. She was telling me about how wonderful it is to not have to work full time and I am telling her how much work sucks typical right?
Then I went on to tell her how much money I make and her voice went 2 octaves up exclaiming "what!!" Umm geez yea its not really that much but I guess so when your income is pretty much zero. I went on to explain how while I am so thankful I have a "stable job" (only 2 lay off days a month aint bad), I do not intend to work a normal 9-5 for the rest of my life. I think this is ok for some people but not me.
I was over visiting Brads website Enemy of Debt and his blog post No More Mondays reminded me of something!! What was it? That I DON'T HAVE TO WORK A 9-5 EVER AGAIN ONCE IM DEBT FREE!! Mind you I don't plan on quitting my job the day after, but remember the reason I started my debt free journey is so that I could actually enjoy what I wanted to in life and not be tied down to one thing forever because of debt.
The economy is only as stable as you make it in my opinion. People start business every day that end up thriving over a period of time. I believe as long as you plan and work hard you will make it just fine. I don't knock people that enjoy working 9-5 at all and my job is the one thing allowing me to become debt free. I am so happy that I have been working on getting out of debt because it has allowed my dreams to be much more like reality which you just can't get at a 9-5.
My goals once I am debt free are as follows:
Take Dave Ramseys counselor training - Like Brad
Become a full time landlord
Work at the hair salon part time and eventually open my own
Become a home buying counselor and get paid to do it!
What are some of your dreams? Do you think having to much debt keeps you from them at times?
Monday, January 25, 2010
Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine about wanting to give up her home because it wasn't worth what it was 2 years ago. Umm excuse me? is anybodies home worth what they paid? That is honestly not a reason to let your house go into foreclosure and watch your credit score go up in smoke just because you don't want to pay. I don't profess to be the most moral person but I will own up to mistakes I have made and attempt to fix them.
I think anyone who believes its ok to let their house get foreclosed on really needs to check themselves. There are people out here than really can't afford to pay due to a job loss or an illness, but when none of those factors play a part in your decision it really urks me. I personally don't like having to pay knowing my house isn't worth what I paid but the fact is I do believe the economy is going to bounce back and even if it doesn't I won't worry about it.
I would like to know how many people out there are willing to just throw in the towel would you? Maybe I am missing something but I just think its so wrong. If anybody has any logical reasons for this please fill me in...
Friday, January 22, 2010
You’ve made the huge decision to start a business. As you probably know, most efforts to start a business end in failure. Fortunately, there are things you can do to guard against wasting time and money and improve your odds. While every business is unique and comes with its own set of problems and opportunities, there are some basic steps — writing a business plan, proving the concept, raising capital, choosing a legal structure — to consider when getting started. Let’s take a look:
The Business Plan
Writing a business plan seems like a chore, but it’s critical. It doesn’t have to be formal or long — just a few pages is fine. But try to cover the basic sections, especially if you expect to make a pitch to investors or lenders. These sections should include an overview of the business, industry background, the product or service, the business model (how will you make money?), the strategy and the team. For guidance, take a look at Score’s business plan template.
Think of the process as a way to better understand the opportunity and the risks. It may even show you that the business is too tough. If that’s the case, you want to know it as soon as possible.
Try to answer the following in the business plan:
1) Who is the customer?
Try to focus on a defined market segment. In some cases, it should be easy. Perhaps you are aiming at lawyers. But if your product applies to virtually anybody, you need to narrow things. Look at Amazon. At first, the Web company focused on books. Once it built a strong business there, it moved into other categories.
So, where to start? Try to find the customer segment that is experiencing the most pain or is willing to bet on new ideas.
2) What’s happening with your market?
Immerse yourself in the market. What are the major trends? How will they help or hurt your venture? Along with doing Google searches, you should also check out trade publications and association Web sites.
If your business is in retail, look at ZoomProspector, which provides helpful information on local economic trends (population, income and demographics). Visit Yelp.com and see how many competing retail outlets you’ll be facing. Is the market too crowded?
Finally, make a list of your competitors and update it regularly.
3) What are the start-up costs?
Be realistic. Entrepreneurs often underestimate the time and expense of starting and operating a company. Put together a detailed start-up budget as well as a forecast (Score’s template offers a worksheet).
As you put things together, look for ways to minimize costs. Some ideas: shopping for used equipment on Craigslist, bartering your services, using free or inexpensive online applications like Skype (for free calling), Web.com (to setup a Web site) and VistaPrint (for printing business cards and brochures). Always ask for discounts.
O.K., you’ve got a plan.
Prove the Concept
Once you’re satisfied with the business plan, the next step is to test it. This means answering the question: Do customers really want to buy what you intend to sell?
It’s a brutal question, but you need to be realistic.
One idea is to talk to potential customers, but avoid your friends; instead, identify a list of likely customers and call them. The good news is that there are many free lists on the Internet. They include sites like CPAdirectory.com, Lawyers.com, Dentists.com and so on.
While the calling is not glamorous, you’ll eventually get a sense of whether there’s demand. You will also get new ideas to refine your product, and you will build valuable sales skills, which is critical for anyone starting a business.
Next, you can conduct a survey using an online service like Zoomerang, which has a panel of about two million people. You can designate groups with up to 500 attributes (industry, age, gender, income and so on). This is a quick way to get feedback on your business idea.
Or, you can set up a free Web site and try selling your product. This was the approach for Sneaky’s BBQ, which set up a blog at sneakysbbq.blogspot.com. Believing that there were few good places for authentic barbecue in San Francisco, Patrick Wachter started to cook up his recipes in his backyard and put out free ads on Craigslist. It was a hit as word-of-mouth spread, helped along by review sites like Yelp. “We can’t even eat our own barbecue anymore,” Mr. Wachter said. “It’s already spoken for by the time we pull it off the smoker.”
Here’s another example: Megan Calhoun saw that it was difficult to use online services to find other mothers. Deciding she wanted to “be fast, be cheap and see where it takes you,” she registered TwitterMoms.com, and instead of building a Web site, she used the free service Ning.com, which allows you to build your own social network. On the first night, four mothers joined, and from there, it grew and grew. Now she has 15,000 members and has attracted advertisers like Lands’ End, Children’s Place and even José Cuervo. The total cost to launch? Only $50.
This is time-consuming and can distract your attention from the business. It can easily take six months to get your first investment. Investors are naturally hesitant and want to see proof that the business is viable.
That means you will probably need to bootstrap. This is not easy but it does have the advantage of allowing you to keep more control and a larger equity stake.
You can do things like: borrow against your 401(k), life insurance and house; use credit cards; and even do consulting projects.
Next, you can reach out to your friends, family and colleagues. Even though they may trust you, it’s important that you have a convincing business plan and investor contracts. To this end, check out Virgin Money. This online service provides the necessary legal documents, administers the loan payments and makes reports to credit agencies (which will help build a credit history for the business).
It’s tempting to seek financing from banks, angel groups and venture capitalists, but those sources usually look at more established businesses.
Choosing a Legal Structure
If you are bringing on investors or partners or signing contracts, it’s a good idea to set up a legal structure for your venture. Here are the main alternatives:
Sole Proprietorship: You are the sole owner. There is little red tape or expense. But there is a big downside: unlimited liability. If the business is the target of a lawsuit or owes a large debt, the owner’s personal assets are exposed to seizure.
A sole proprietorship is known as a “pass through” entity. This means that the income is taxed on your personal return.
Partnership: There is more than one owner. And as with the sole proprietorship, there is little paperwork involved and it is a pass-through entity for tax purposes. Unfortunately, partnerships also have unlimited liability exposure.
Corporation: The fees can easily range from $200 to $1,000. Even though you can use cost-effective online services to help out, such as LegalZoom, it’s still a good idea to have a lawyer review the documents and filings. You can find a qualified attorney by visiting sites like Avvo.
The main benefit is limited liability protection. This means that the business owner risks only the investment in the company.
Keep in mind that there are different flavors of corporations, which are often based on how taxes are paid. For example, a limited liability company (L.L.C.) and S-Corp are pass-through entities. On the other hand, a C-Corp is taxed — and so are the dividends. Before making a decision, consult a certified public accountant. It can be a big money saver.
Regardless of the legal structure, business owners should also think about the legal issues of the company name. It’s a good idea to find a name that is memorable and distinctive, but that is no easy task. Anders Heie, the founder of KaDonk said: “When thinking of a name, I hit my head against the wall and the sound it made was kadonk, kadonk, kadonk. Our lawyers loved it. It was unique, and had nothing to do with our product, so we grabbed all the domains and went with it.”
A lawyer can help with the process.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The past few days have been much like a roller coaster ride. I facilitated a home buying course for about 10 people which went super good and they have even requested a second session. I have had to make big relationship decisions in dealing with the opposite sex which was very hard to face, but I did non the less. I also ran into a couple road bumps at the salon which cause me to go into a short frenzy of some sort.
Sometimes its easy to go into a funk and over the last few days I have realized how much being in a good or no so good place can have an impact on my finances. I can think of 2 times where I felt like going out and blowing a couple hundred bucks to make myself feel better. Having been on a financial plan for the last two years have regulated much of my impulse but life always seems to happen. I have had to find other ways to deal with being overwhelmed and truth be told shopping is only a temporary fix and after the money is spend you actually still have an issue only your broker lol.
Its not easy to deal with problems head on but I have been learning that it gets easier the more you do it. Life doesn't seem so much like a crisis, and when it does it certainly doesn't last as long as it use to.
I want to be sucesful in my life and now more than ever I understand what it means to have balance and be well rounded. So my question is, has any of you ever felt your circumstances cause you to fail? Do you think spending money solves problems or help you cope better?
What methods have you used to deal with stress and being overwhelmed?
I guess when life gives you lemons you really should make lemonade!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
As I have entered my last year of being in debt, I have been reflecting on how I have gotten to this place. Though I haven't been 100% focused in the scope of the 2 years. I have managed to not return to most of my old habits which to me is worth a big ole pat on the back. The last 2 years have sailed by and If anyone wants to partake on this journey I encourage people to NEVER GIVE UP. Once you start you will be amazed at how much time flies. I do realize it can be a challenge to sacrifice so today I will share a few things that helped me stay on track. Please keep in mind this is about personal finance so always do what works best for YA!
1. Be honest - This was by far the best thing I could have done right from the start. It was very scary to account for all my debt, ie car payments, student loans, pay day advances and credit cards. I decided from the start that I wasn't going to lump debt into good vs bad, i had to deal with ALL OF IT. Once I figured the true number I was able to devise an action plan to pay it all off.
2. Pay cash for big ticket items - Since working the debt snowball I have made a few large purchases, some good some not so good. I made it a point no matter how stupid the purchase was to keep it cash. I knew that once I got back into my old habits of using credit, it would be hard to break. Though it has taking me longer to be completely debt free I feel much comfort knowing im not deeper in a hole.
3. Reevaluated my goals - I had to do this a LOT, with moving 3 times, working extra jobs and still dealing with life I had to change my money plans. I started out wanting to be debt free in 15 months but as you can see im a little bit past that lol. When I looked at my budget for the year I could see if I was on track and also if I needed to make changes to the plan.
4. Took a break - Since becoming debt free is all about personal finance I made it super personal and took a LOT of breaks lol. In 2009 I took more than a few trips but I paid cash for them. You should treat yourself every now and then, just don't get carried away.
5. Worked a lot - I have had 4 different extra jobs since I have been working my debt snowball. The most recent job I have taken on however is unpaid to advance my endeavor to be self employed one day. I do believe had I not been working to become debt free I wouldn't have as many opportunities put before me as I do now. Trust God honors your hard work and commitment.
6. Watched my funds - Even though this is last on the list it is the biggest of them all. I have an electronic check book in excel that will calculate my end balance every time I make a purchase. Its been the best thing I can do. It keeps me from stressing out about how much money is in the bank, and it also lets me see where I need to cut back.
If you have anything to add to this list please feel free to post it. I hope these things help each of you to stay encouraged and know there is an end in site if you keep at it!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Lets face it: Even when you're on top of the world, chances are good that the idea of networking sounds like a big, fat drag. You can probably think of 100 other things you'd rather do -- like cleaning the blades of your ceiling fan. But if you're one of the 14.9 million people who are competing for what seems to be a handful of jobs, your confidence has probably taken a hit. So now is probably not the time to be meeting anyone new. In fact, now is not the time to get out of your pajamas.
Ah, but it is. Networking is the single most valuable thing you can do with all this free time you have now. It will help you build the relationships that will stay with you for the rest of your career. You will learn more about your profession, industry and community. It will protect you from becoming an out-of-touch doofus. And, best of all, it will put you in front of people who have leads on jobs that haven't been published yet (the hidden job market). Through active networking, you could be the only candidate who is considered for that great job. Why? Because you got there first. Networking will do that for you. So while you change your clothes, change your mind about networking, too! Here's how:
Remember there's nothing phony, lame or desperate about being out of a job.
With so many people who have been laid off, people are expecting to hear from you and help you. Call them.
Change your mind about what you're networking for.
If you think that one meeting this afternoon is going to land you a job, you're going to sound desperate. Each meeting is a chance to tell your story about what you do and who would benefit from your talent. So try to relax and take each meeting as it comes. Some that you have high expectations for will turn out to be duds. Some that you think will be long-shots will be gold mines. You're networking not to land a job but to meet people, who will then introduce you to others, who will then introduce you to still others -- one of whom will one day say, "When can you start?"
Remember that it's not all about you.
You're meeting because the two of you have something in common (similar job title; shared interest in the profession, industry or community; the person works in a company that interests you). Focus on that commonality and explore possibilities that spring from that commonality. Truly listen to what that person is saying, don't just wait until his lips stop moving so you can start talking yourself.
That is, be your best self. Don't be the self that wants to stay home in your pajamas, hugging a pint of Ben and Jerry's tight. Be the self who is at the top of your professional game, with a wealth of value to still deliver to the world, with a track record of successes that you still keep top of mind.
Tell your story without the usual job-search downers.
If your story tends to end with, "And then I got laid off," you might want to rewrite your script. Focus on your accomplishments and the fact that people noticed your potential throughout your career. Be real about how it is that you're between jobs right now, just like "a lot of really great people these days" (use those words). And then immediately ask your networking partner a question about the company, industry trends, anything that shows you're still a player in your field and ready to start contributing again.
Have a full calendar.
No networking meeting should ever be the last networking meeting you have scheduled. Always have something else (lots of something elses) lined up. No one wants to be anyone's last, best hope.
Have an agenda.
Many job seekers have only a vague notion of what to talk about in a networking meeting, so networking becomes synonymous with small talk. Small talk does not impress anybody unless you're looking for a hostess job. Spend two minutes talking about your background, 15-30 minutes talking about the jobs and employers on your target list, and the rest of the time talking current trends in the industry. Don't forget, like any good business meeting, end it on time. Don't dawdle. Don't linger. Don't ask for that second cup of coffee. Get out politely, but get out.
Thank your networking partner immediately afterward and confirm you'll stay in touch.
It's amazing how few people actually do this. Stand out! Send a note. Send an e-mail. Say thank you. And report on how you followed up on all that great advice you just got. Keep that person informed of your progress. If you do this, you'll continue to have a lively network of people who care about you and respect you for the rest of your career.
Pay it back.
You may be out of work, but you still have all your resources. Use them to help others in or out of the job search.
I couldn't sleep last night and I had this amazing urge to post something here before I laid down for good to get up at 7am for work. I know this site has to do with money and debt and stuff like that but I wouldn't be fully disclosing what this site was about if I left out how much it was about GROWTH.
I was talking to a friend sharing a story about where I started out 2 years ago and how much I had to give up in order to walk the path of debt freedom. When I got off the phone I prayed and then I laid in bed and started to remember what happen back then. I remember In January 2008 wishing God would remove me from this earth. I wasn't going to do it myself because I was to much of a chicken but I was more than happy to let God step in and take my life. As many a times he had spared my life before this time I wanted to go. It was such a hard time in my life and I remember when I signed up for FPU I said God if this don't work nothing will and thats about all I could muster. I wasn't even a very spiritual person AT ALL but I had people praying on my behalf. Its been 2 years since that time in my life and I am so happy to say im so far from where I came from. I proudly remember those times because it taught me about faith even when I had little, and it showed me what God can do even when I feel he isn't there.
Now I have dedicated my life to Christ and this life is all about faith and when I say my faith is in full force I tell you no lie. Its like the before and after of this biggest loser contestant Helen. That was then and THIS IS NOW. Look at me im healthy, im fit and I am winning in my walk with Christ when from looking at this picture of Helen you wouldn't think some things are possible but they are.
So If you are on this site and you just read because you want to know about money or debt or budgets, just know you are going to also get words of encouragement because I am 10 times better when I am encouraged by other people. So if you are struggling with a job, health, family problems or anything of the sort just hang in there. We serve an amazing awesome wonderful God and he protects us even when we don't realize. I hope I can inspire someone to share this when anybody you know is going through because all it takes is one positive person to have an affect on you. I am a strong believer of that and having positive people is just good for the soul.
I thank everyone who reads this blog and I hope you have gained something thus far, there will certainly be more to come. Until then im going to beddy bye!! LOL
Friday, January 8, 2010
This week has been yet another Divine one!! I am getting some positive feedback on my class coming up which is very encouraging. My first pay day came with my income slashed in half and It kinda sorta didn't have any affect on me. Makes me wish I had set up my auto debt snowball much sooner but aye better late than never!!
A friend of mine decided to play match maker and hook me up with a date. Its been a very long time since I have been on a date so keep your fingers crossed that I don't scare this guy away lol.
Its snowing much here in Michigan and its all so very good. I am working on eating healthy and exercising (eventually). I am so happy to have created this blog, not only for myself but for others to be encouraged. If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are you grateful for Today?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
A month ago, I wrote about being challenged to be a better giver for 90 days. Well I am finally here to report whats been going on in my life since I have challenged myself a bit more this new year.
1. Hosting fpu became official (My first class)
2. My Pastor gave me permission to advertise the class at church and the church staff have been amazingly helpful with this process.
3. My very good friend who owns a local news paper gave me FREE AD space for an entire month to promote my class. I may even have some live coverage of my preview class by the media which is very exciting!!
4. I have learned more about how to pray and how to stand on my faith.
5. My friends are being very good supporters of me when I really need them the most.
6. I had a car break down scare and it turned out to be nothing major.
7. When my car broke down I was just around the corner from my house so I walked right home.
8. New years eve was amazingly fun and I had some great quality time with my family over the holidays.
9. Work is going great and I am much more happy to be there and working towards getting there on time!
10. I paid cash money to get the FPU class of the ground on top of slashing my paycheck in half for paying off debt.
These are just some things that are happening in my life and I am very excited about the next 2 months. If you haven't gotten in on this giving challenge I dare you to just try it and you won't regret it!!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The pile of mess you see is an accumulation of the past 4 years, doesn't look like a lot but trust me it is. Since I will be hosting financial peace university in a few weeks, I felt it was important to get my home life organized, so that I don't become overwhelmed with class, work and hair school.
The plan is to separate all my documents into important vs non important and put them all into a file. I want to get all my tax documents together as well as everything pertaining to my rental home.
This process is way over due and it makes me anxious even looking at the pile of stuff but it must be done!
How do you stay organized?
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
So if you haven't heard I want to be a stay at home mom. Now before you get all worked up about it let me clarify that I do intend to work, just not in the traditional sense.
I didn't use to want a big family until this past year, but the decision to stay at home was decided when I realized I could afford to two years ago . In fact it's one of the main reasons for getting out of debt. Even though I'm no where near becoming a mother yet, I wanted to make a case for the ones that already are (by choice). As I have talked to many of my girlfriends, they believe that you MUST work and there is no way you can't be at home with kids.
I believe this to be untrue and let me tell ya why. One, Lifestyle plays a big part in being able to stay at home. That means, no 250,000 homes, no fancy cars, or decked out wardrobes. I decided that once I became a mother none of that "Stuff" would ever mean more than my children do. Do I want nice stuff? sure but I won't sacrifice my kids time with me vs a day care, or their college funds. Two, Day care cost way to much!! Most people don't factor in all expenses when deciding to work a traditional job or stay home. If your not an avid budgeting guru you could spend way more in food, clothing, gas and other "gotta have its" during the processes of keeping your child in day care. Eventually it all adds up to my entire check, why do that when I could cut back and save by staying home with them.
Lastly on my list im lazy!! (kidding). Its a very rewarding thing. I don't want to live my life working and missing out on those precious moments my children will have while I am at work all day, its just not worth it.
Currently I am In the process of paying off my debt and obtaining training in fields that will allow me to still work as an entrepreneur, making my own hours and care for my kids. Its such an exciting feeling, now all I have to do is convince the man in my life that this is the way to go.
So what do you think, should all women stay in the workforce? Is being a sahm much more valueable than a steady paycheck? Would you be willing to cut back a life style to care for little ones or do you feel you were born to work so thats just the way it is?
Monday, January 4, 2010
So I have been reading about this new bill being passed about stopping banks from charging fee's for over drafting bank accounts. While I think this is totally ridiculous (though im not for banks) I still don't find it feasible that the government should have to step in a save people from themselves. Are the fee's ridiculous? absolutely but people need to learn a lesson called accountability for there own money. U.S. banks will collect a record $38.5 billion in overdraft fees this year, according to a recent CNN Money article. These overdraft fees accounted for more than 75 percent of service fees charged on customer deposits. As I researched this topic a little more I discovered what the banks actually are charging people.
Bank of America : When you do not have enough available funds in your account to cover an item, and we decline or return the item unpaid (a returned item), we charge a $35 NSF: Returned Item Fee.
Chase Bank : The first overdraft within a 12-month period is charged at $25, the second the fourth at $32 and the fifth at $35.
Suntrust Bank: Charges the highest overdraft fee for a single overdraft at $36, according to to the Consumer Federation of America
Citizens Bank : Charges a $39 fee after three overdraft items and follows with two separate "sustained" overdraft fees for repeat offender
So what can we do to protect ourselves against these fee's? Simple, you must do a budget, know whats coming in a going out each month. Write how much money you have at the top of a sheet of paper and write down what you are going to do with it.
Sounds simple I know but so many people are spending money they don't have that it is costing them hundreds of dollars a year. Its time to start being responsible with our money and stop being lazy. Balancing a check book is just as important as waking up on time for work so lets not continue to neglect this area of our lives. Pledge today to never be a victim of overdraft fee's ever again because you are an adult who knows how to manage money.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Here is a letter I found from the credit info center website, if you need to verify an account. Please remember any letters sent to creditors must be certified return receipt requested, This way you can verify they received the letter and also keep track of how long it takes to get a response.
Under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act, I am allowed to challenge the validity of a debt
that a collection agency states I owe to them. Keep a copy for your files and send the letter registered mail.
123 Your Street Address
Your City, ST 01234
123 NotOnYourLife Ave
Re: Acct # XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is being sent to you in response to a notice sent to me on September 30, 2002). Be advised that this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.
This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
Please provide me with the following:
- What the money you say I owe is for;
- Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
- Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
- Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
- Identify the original creditor;
- Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account
- Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state
- Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent
These questions should be answered also
Who is the current owner of this alleged debt?
Who is the original creditor for this alleged debt?
If [NCO/AIS] is the current owner, when was it purchased?
Who was it purchased from?
Have you assigned the alleged debt to another entity for collection?
If so, who?
If [NCO/AIS] has sold or otherwise transferred this alleged debt, to whom was it sold and when.
At this time I will also inform you that if your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the 3 major Credit Bureau’s (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) this action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:
- Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Defamation of Character
If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested in the following Declaration, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.
Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel for suit. This includes any listing any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.
If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.
I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls and calls or correspondence sent to or with any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter by USPS.
It would be advisable that you assure that your records are in order before I am forced to take legal action. This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Its been a while since we have spoken. I know I have been avoiding your calls for some time now. You know its not that I don't want to talk to you, its just that every time one of your representatives call my house they are so rude. I know I owe you money, and I intend to pay you back, soon as I get a job and make enough money to feed my family. Last week you called my house and threatened to take me to court and garish my bank account. While I appreciate your enthusiasm Its unfortunate that you won't be collecting this time around.
You see you have fallen below the yellow line this month. I realized that when I did my budget I had to first feed my family, keep a roof over their heads, make sure they had lights and heat. When I got to the end of the money there was nothing left to give you. I do hope you understand this and don't take offense because its nothing personal, I do all my creditors this way. Now that I know my rights I won't continue to allow you to harassment me day in and day out. You can't harm my family with your tactics and you cannot convince me any longer that YOU come before them. So you say you can hurt my credit, well go ahead, turns out I won't be borrowing money ever again so I guess it doesn't even matter. I do however want you to know that I am a person of integrity and I intend to pay you back as soon as I am able to, after all I did purchase that flat screen, dvd player, digital camera and laptop with YOUR money.
Again, I thank you for calling me checking up on me and I hope to talk to you soon. Please though, don't call me I will call you......
Friday, January 1, 2010
So I totally missed yesterday but no need to fret because there is still today and two in one is better than none!!
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
December 31, 2009 was a great day as 5 churches celebrated the new year, it couldn't have represented both of these principles better. We celebrated a collective effort working together to bring forth Gods glory even in the midst of several denominations we all set out to have one common goal, community. As we end the celebration we remember all seven principles that represent one thing which is helping each other advance. Also we remember that with out faith nothing can be done for faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I believe this will be an amazing blessed year for my finances and spiritual growth. As I have stated many many times that when I changed my habits financially everything around me also changed. I can not thank God enough for what he has done for me, restoring my faith and allowing me to return to him as a child of God. My prayer for everyone in this new year is that we will become better people than the year before, we will reach out to those in need, and teach one another the things we have learned be it out accomplishments and failures.
I now know what its like to live full in the Christ and there is NO WAY I am turning back!! Let 2010 be a beautiful one for all of my family friends and bloggers who share one common goal, educating each other and loving one another.
Happy New Year!!