Friday, May 28, 2010


Its challenge time again!!! Yes I know, when have I EVER completed a challenge right?? Hey Im trying to motivate myself and some reason the word challenge motivates me so whatever works!

The Entire MONTH of June is going to be a month of transformation as I prepare to turn 28 which is a big deal, as is everything in my life because I enjoy making every bit of life about me (kidding). I am going to be working on better health better body and total make-over so to speak. In my 28th year I WILL be debt free so I just want to prepare to look as good as a DEBT free woman can look and feel!! As I was looking at my budget I realized June will be the first month that I have full paychecks to work with. Im down to 1 final debt (Student loan) and its important that I get serious and not be so whimsical with my budget to make sure Im staying on track.

So I thought it would be fun to go DEBIT CARDLESS for a WHOLEEEEEEEEEE MONTH and just use cash. This should 1. keep me from always having to balance my checkbook register, and 2. help me pay better attention to the budget, knowing I don't have access to a debit card on a whim.

I noticed that when my paycheck got deposited I had more money than I have had in a LONG time that has NO BILLS tied to it. It would be easy for me to splurge here n there knowing I only have one debt (other than my house) to pay on and I do NOT wanna go down that path. I could see myself easily saying "oh mikki everybody has student loans" but NO, I have worked way to hard to make it to the end of my debt freedom so I can't stop now!!

So after I grocery shop, and pay all my monthly expenses I am going to LITERALLY FREEZE THE DEBT CARD. You know how you always see in the movies "break glass incase of emergencies" Yes I am gonna do that to my debt card. Im excited about it and can't wait to see how accurate my spread she has been over the last 6 months.

On June 1st I am going to post my budget, allow readers to see if I am being realistic about it, and to hold me too it.

If anyone else wants to go GREEN let me know, maybe I will include a prize for the person who actually can use cash all month!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Patience Is a Virtue

Over the last few years I certainly can say I have been no saint when it comes to making financial decisions, shocking right? Even being in the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace program you would almost say its safe to say you will never make a financial mistake again? This is VERY untrue. Learning about money does exactly what it was designed to do which is teach. Unfortunately they didn't put "wisdom not included" on the packaging. I believe over the last 2 years I have paid about 10,000 worth of stupid tax between, buying stuff I couldn't afford even though I had cash, and then flat out spending money on things I knew wasn't going to later bring me a return.

Now days I try to limit my stupid but hey as a growing adult you just can't help it sometimes. That is why when a good friend of shared with me that she had purchased a new fleece I didn't faint! Did I want to faint? Oh yes but hey I have been there so what could I really say about it at the end of the day. If anything was to happen regarding her new car it was to teach ME a lesson about patience. You see just shy of a month ago my friend turned in her old leased car and based on some wisdom I had given her she had decided she wasn't going to fleece again and would be fine with a beater car. She was getting around fine and later her father shared with her that he would GIVE her his old car as soon as he brought a new one. Now we all know parents can be procrastinators at times but I would hope had a free car been involved I would have waited as long as it wasn't super inconvenient for me to do so. Well my friend got tired of waiting..... She says her new honda has payments OVER $300 and that does not include insurance. I am just gonna come out n say that was STUPID! It kinda hurt that she didn't stick to my advice but really its her money not mine and it hurts HER in the long run not me.

However through her example I was able to take away some lessons:

1. Patience will make you wealthy - Buying things you can't afford will surly give you instant gratification now but later you will reap the consequences of that choice. Am I money hungry ? No? but I am working on leaving wealth to my children not debt, and surly when you don't master patience you are risking your future.

2. Patience keeps you in a humble place - I have asked God for a few things, one of them being a husband. I have realized that God has been breaking me down to a place to where when that man comes into my life there will be no room for bragging (even though I believe there will be much to brag about) but it will be a time to just thank God and give him glory because it will be nothing short of a miracle (ummm hmmm i said it)

3. Patience brings free stuff - Recently my mom just got me a couch that she got for free. It isn't new but its definitely more than I had before and it didn't cost me anything. As Im typing this I also see that these things are only temporary and when I do have the financial means to have more I will, but until then I enjoy the little things that God blesses me with and take care of that which he has provided me with.

I am so thankful for the lessons I can learn through others, and lessons others can learn from me. I am happy I am 27 and that life gives me a chance to recover from stupid and also grow.

So have you ever done something extremely stupid with money SINCE you came into the knowledge of weath building? Are there any regrets from past stupid money mistakes?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adventures of Me On The Way To Debt Free

After reading comments on my last post about hidden talents, I was inspired by a few bloggers to test drive one of my "hidden gifts" I always wanted to be a writer but never knew what I would write about, at least something that people would be interested in. But today I realized, it doesn't matter who is interested!! I can do it for fun! So today is my very first post for my book idea. I wanted to write a book about my everyday adventures. The idea came about when I was telling a story to a friend about something that happened to me one day. She said to me "you always have a good story" I mean they sound funny when Im telling them (to us at least lol) but I wonder how the stories would come across on paper.... I think I would end each story with a lesson about Gods goodness. So here it goes!!

Breast Milk R Us

If anyone knows anything about me, its that I love parties. Not just regular parties, I mean parties with a purpose, ie super bowl, weddings, baby showers ect.... Well the other day I was at a friends wedding party (picture above) and there were people of all ages, children, grandparents, friends n such. We were having a great time and the weather was just right. So the day progresses and I catch me a comfy seat on the couch to watch some tv. Then this lady walks up outta no where n says " my milk, my babys milk is gone" we proceeded to question her about the type of milk she had lost. You know these days women hardly ever breast feed babies so color us surprised when she answered it was my breast milk" I just about died laughing. The married couple are young and always on the go so the chances of them having "any" milk in the frig would be highly unlikely let alone some random container with no label that looks like a light white watery looking substance.

So we gather that someone at the party needed milk for coffee and just grabbed the first thing they saw. The mom stands in astonishment and eventually says "Well at least there is more where that came from!" I spent the rest of that day being introduced to random guys in efforts to play match maker" needless to say that didn't go to well and it got worse when someone yelled out "her toes are hot and she has a great smile!" talk about embarrassed? Never let a day go by without having your toes talked about right?

The End

Until next time.....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dave Ramsey and Hidden Talents

The above picture was taken by me at my apartment complex when a friend discovered she wanted to relive her high school graduation days and take "senior" pictures. We had a blast and I realized I make a good photographer too!! I enjoy doing lots of things as I consider my self a jack of many trades but taking these pictures awakened a different kind of feeling that I had not experienced in other endeavors (except real estate). I do not know what will come of this, heck it may end up just being a fun little hobby and a great way to help some friends who enjoy taking pictures or it could become a business. Either way I thank God for allowing me to discover fun facts about myself. Each day he reminds me of how special I am.

Do you have any talents that most don't know about? Would you make a business out of something you considered a hobby? What ideas have you come up with to make extra cash?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gratitude Friday Be Wealthy

Today I realized all the things I have that aren't monetary that I love. My family friends and FOOD!!

Becoming debt free isn't about having a ton of money and sacrificing so much that you loss site of the important things, its actually the total opposite. You learn more about life, how to really love when the chips are ALL down, how to face trouble and how to shine when you have overcome. I am a person of integrity, truth, and faith and all this MONEY WILL NEVER BUY!

What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Big Spender Summertime Fever, How do you cope

If you are wondering what this is, its a picture of a boat I was tempted to purchase (details later...)

Summer time rolls around and if you are like me and live in a cold state, you feel like a kid in the candy store when the weather finally breaks. You think of a million things you could do with money when the forecast starts being consistently above 70 degrees and sunny. But what do you do when you are trying to become debt free, and be a gazelle? Let me tell you it can be challenging.

By the grace of God this WILL be my last summer in debt, however the last two summers have been quite the challenge. I have been able to take a few small trips here and there, but other than that my summers have consisted of keeping things to a bare minimum. Is it hard? Oh yes!! Especially when you hear about your friends going on cruises, and shopping for summer clothes, and being at EVERY summer concert.

Today I was able to have an experience that, helped me realize that my time certainly will come. I mean after all if you didn't "live like no one else" how could you ever eventually get to "live like no one else"? I was out and about taking my lunch break today and decided that I would visit the local marina boat shop. The sales person didn't waste ANY time attempting to sell me the "Best boat". Turns out I don't have $9,500 in my back pocket.... duh.... I asked the guy to show me a less expensive boat,and low and behold that picture you see is that boat!! Funny right??

Ironically I could have paid cash for that boat and got it at a real deal. Its not much of a looker but who did I need to impress on the lake? All I wanna do is relax on some water without being limited so some orange cones and only getting 15 minutes of peace (the paddle boats at the lake).

Needless to say I didn't get the boat (thank God) but having the "fever" to make a purchase that large without being debt free really shook me. I mean, all I would have ended up with was a dumpy boat, and guilt from not using that money to pay down debt. Sounds silly and most people if given the opportunity probably would have went into debt for the boat. But I had to see the bigger picture. I still do want a boat, but I know there will come a time where I can not only pay cash but it will be a much nicer boat. Not one that looks like its been resurrected from the dead.

Anyways, it was a lesson about patience and understanding that most things aren't needs they are wants and they all have a time and place. So how have you been able to cope with not being able to make big purchases OR do you just buy and deal with the consequences later? Does summertime put you in a mood to spend???

I just wonder.....

My Last FPU Class!!!

Im so sad to say I don't have pictures to show, but we had a great ending. The last lesson in Financial peace university is about giving, and its the lesson that made me CRY!! I get so emotional lol.

Anywhoot my fpu class is over and its been a LONGGGGGGGGGGGGGG GREAT journey. My students stuck it out and I have seen amazing chances in some of them (not all) which is all I could ask for. I am looking to host my next one sooner than later and hopefully I will have more students and some other people to help me with the class.

I encourage people that no matter what point in life you are at in your financial journey you should take the class. It still is hands down the best program out there for getting out of debt. My life is forever changed because of it, and im so thankful to the people who have come into my life because of it.

On to the next ONE!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

48 Days to the Work you Love

Today I had the privilege of taking part in an opportunity to advance the way we do business in our current department. We met with a large payroll service company which I am responsible for in my everyday obligations. The meeting was very informative and since I was the one responsible for the day to day task my boss allowed me to ask all the questions I needed too. During the 3 hours my brain got to churning, and I began to think of ways that I could possibly advance my career/job.

I have worked in the government sector for 5 years now. While its definitely job security especially in our Michigan economy, I must say its not my dream job. Over the years I have heard people say "you have a great job" Yes being employed is great, but while it pays the bills its certainly not my "Calling". I have for the longest time been afraid to step out because my job was so "secure" so to speak, but today I started to wonder. What if I stepped out in faith and tried something new?

I have plenty free spirited friends who can go from one thing to another and I admit that has NEVER been my style even though I admire it, it would scare the dickens out of me. I am a planner and I always have to have something "lined up" before I can go on to the next thing. In fact I will say part of the reason I have been so dedicated to becoming debt free was so that I could free up my opportunities to do what I wanted. I have always wanted to be a real estate agent yet with the unstable income and a pile of debt, that was a no go. I have always loved the idea of freedom that being debt free gives you. I mean I know now exactly what it takes for me to live on, and if I had no debt I could survive starting my own company, or perusing something I really loved!!!

Anways my point was to say, today I found an opportunity to step out and I am thinking of taking it. The company that visited us is currently implementing a new system that could REALLY use my expertise. Not only could I end up doing more of what I enjoy, I might even get a raise in the process. Studies show that most people are hired by knowing someone, not by checking yahoo jobs (even thought that helps). So my goal is to read a few books (one will be 48 days to the work you love by Dan Miller) about how to get a job and to research the company I would like to work for and see where it leads me...

You never know unless you try, right?? Has debt kept you from pursuing a dream?

The Demotivator!!

I found this link browsing the internet and found it to be pretty cool. It allows you to punch in what you spend on your "gotta haves" like starbucks, cigs, food ect.... and then calculates how much that "thing" is costing you. I dare anyone to try it!!!

here are my numbers on mcdonalds

£625.00 mcdonalds (per year) which im sure I am under estimating
1.2 (this is how much I work to pay for it over the course of a year)
£28,125.00 (how much I would save over my working life)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Identity Theft Protection "I wish I had it"

Recently I was able to pull a copy of my credit report via the website. Im working on getting my credit score to zero and to my surprise there was a few things on my report I didn't recognize. So I follow protocol and send a debt verification letter to all three credit agencies. Weeks had gone by and I didn't really think much of it.


Yesterday I got 2 bills in the mail from this collection agency for $155 each!! Talk about being livid!! I Don't even know what this is!!

So I make the dreaded phone call:

Me: Im calling about xyz account

Lady: ah yea you owe blankity blank blank for some gospel cds

Me: I never purchased any gospel cds and how did you get my social security number in the first place, and what address do you have on file?

Lady: we have xyz address

Me: Well that address doesn't even belong to me and how can you bill me for something I never signed up for?

Lady: call the credit bureaus and yell at them not me.

Me: Why would I do that when you are the one who sent me this BILL!!! "CLICK"

I was sooooooooo heated. I mean you work so hard to make sure there aren't any random bills hanging around and this pops out of the sky. So now it is basically up to me to clear my name of this bill. Which is why I must now be an advocate of identity theft protection. It is not for sake of never having your identity stolen but for assistance if in fact someone DOES steal your identity. You might end up spending countless hours, mailing letters, making phone calls that could all be avoided if you get this protection. I think its like 10 bucks a year. When you sign up for this insurance you have someone working on your behalf to clear you name so you don't have to. Trust me after all this newly developed drama I WISH I would have purchased the protection myself....

le sigh......

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Suzie Orman Talks about Debt Settlement companies

Here is a cool youtube clip regarding, debt settlement companies. I can't say I like Suzie more than Dave but she is giving some great advice!!

Be a book Fanatic!!

I was listening to the Dave Ramsey show a few weeks ago, while he was having one of his entre leadership classes. Someone asked him who helped him the most in the area of finance. His answer surprisingly was books!! He always says if you want to become a millionaire read 1 book a month and 2 if you want to be a 2 millionaire. I have always enjoyed reading in my pass time but as life and technology would cause me to read less and less, and more wasting of time.

So as of now I am going to put away my lazy ways and start reading more. My Iphone turned itouch has a kindle feature built into it and I just downloaded my first book!!!! I will be doing monthly book reviews and hopefully I can do two a month. They won't all be about personal finance but all will be related to personal growth.

Hopefully I will be able to share what I learn, in efforts to educate the masses of bloggers. So do you read? if so how often and what is it you read... Inquiring minds would love to know!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Case for Joint Bank Accounts

The other day I was researching ways to become paperless via the suggestion of young mogul and I stumbled upon a few articles about joint bank accounts (I know blame my a.d.d)

Here is the first: Which Should You Choose: Joint or Separate Finances?


Got My Mind on My Money and My Money On My Mind

While I always try to keep an open mind about how a marriage should work, I was a bit disturbed about the reasons behind keeping separate bank accounts once you are married. I personally believe your accounts should be joint and in a second I will explain why. Before that, however I want to point out a few interesting facts about some of the comments in both these post that just boggled my mind.

1. A lot of people are shacking up - Now before I go on being judgmental, I too was once a shacker-upper at one point in time (until God delivered my brain). When I look back I realize how much I was setting myself up for disaster, needless to say me and that guy aren't together. How can you begin to rap your mind around sharing bank accounts when you can't even commit to each other as partners for life? I think if I was just living with someone I would be a bit hesitant to share my bank account too. Hey I didn't work this hard to get outta debt for you to come mess it up (figuratively speaking)

2. People are dating each other way to long - I am a firm believer of getting to know a person but I saw comments that read "my boyfriend of 8 years" or my girlfriend of 4 years ect...... what the heck last time I checked most of aren't celebs and even all of them don't get a pass to prolong marriage for life. Why is it taking so long for you to decide if its ok to marry each other? I understand possibly getting stuck with lemons be yeeesh, after a while ya gotta know if the person is a dud or not. Studies show that more people are having children out of wedlock so clearly you think someone is good enough to bring a life into the world but not marry.... I am all but puzzled. I personally don't plan on dating anyone again for more than a year without having the discussion about marriage and actually planing for one. You may not think its cool but hey, the longer I wait the sooner I end up with a joint, house, baby, a car note and no ring and SEPARATE bank account lol.

Now on to the case for joint accounts. I did read a few reasons that people like having separate accounts. All reason to pathetic to even list on this blog, so I won't. I will just enlighten you with my reasons why you SHOULD. Now my way won't guarantee a long lasting marriage, nor do I intend to sway people from a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation, because I know there are a few people who will use the argument " my mom n dad did it" So I won't go there. These are simply just my opinion and anyone who doesn't agree can freely share why.....

1. It forces people to communicate - I believe a lot of relationships are already strained because people don't know how to talk to each other. I can freely admit this is an issue I have always had in my dating experience, which prayerfully won't be an issue in my next one. But not sharing banking accounts to me is like saying to me "I only want to talk to you regarding the fun stuff like, sex and where we will go out to eat" I know its pretty far fetched but really at what point will you talk about really important stuff? I think sharing your money will expose weaknesses early on in a relationship and give people a chance to deal with it vs pushing it under the rug until someone trips and falls over it.

2. I may as well not ever marry and just have a roommate - When you don't share bank accounts this to me is just like having a roommate in college. If we aren't going to share things then really what is the point? All you did was moved your pile of unwanted junk into a house or apt we now share. Oh yea and I get to see your eye crusted face when I wake up (oh joy) What exactly do we have to look forward to if whats mine is mine and whats yours is yours??

3. People are sabotaging their financial future by not becoming "one" - How can you really be on the same page about life changing events if you can't share you funds. I have heard many people say that when you get married you practically double your chances of financial prosperity. Keep in mind if you just want to live average and be an average joe then yea this would be ok. I personally don't plan on retiring and ending up eating alpo for life and working at walmart. If I just lived my life on one salary and split a few bills here n there this is what I have to look forward too. If you are smart sure you may end up with a nice size 401k but compare that too sharing with a spouse and having 5 times as much as you would when you shared. Money isn't everything I know but it sure does help when you have it.

4. Sharing creates a bond beyond the norm -
When I am married I don't want there to be any secrets between us. I know everything won't be perfect but why add to the drama when you don't have too? When we both sit down to do a budget we are drawing closer to each other in that we share the same desires and goals and want to do our best to help each other meet them. Im not a natural born nerd but I have become one, and I know it would do me wonders to know my hubby cares about our financial future just as much as I do. We need to be equal partners in this and if one of us is not making decisions something eventually will come up short.

So there are all my reasons, I probably could come up with more but I would rather hear what the rest of blog world has to say about it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I have Joined the Yakezie Challenge!!


Goal Setting, Work and other Randomness.

I haven't been able to post much as of late, due to crazy schedules and facebook (I'm addicted what can I say). But I obviously need to start making more time to post even while I'm so called busy, because you just never know who might benefit from something I write.

So here are a couple things that I am working on in conjunction with becoming debt free. I have accepted the fact that unless I hit the lotto I will be pushing onto the three year mark of becoming debt free. I was really disappointed in myself at first but then I recounted my progress and decided that it not as bad as it looks. This year I have paid of around 6,000 in debt soon to be 8,000 come June. Purchased a car with cash, and still remained sane through it all!!! I don't keep a super strict budget like I use to hence the reason my food bill is over $900 since the beginning of the year don't worry though I did buy lots of healthy food!! I have fasted 2 times this year and so changing to a vegan diet contributes to higher grocery bills which is funny to me. (segway)

As I continue to press towards debt freedom, I have become more active in other area's of life. This includes spending more time with friends, and becoming more disciplined in my work schedule. Since I was able to choose vacation time vs pay during overtime at work I have been working super hard. My goal is by late June I will have accumulated 125 hours worth of vacation time. This is a big deal since I haven't had a real vacation in YEARS!! I can't wait to take a long guilt free paid for vacation next year. My days now consist of waking up at 5am to be at work by 6:30am and I work every day until 6pm. This will continue until May 22nd. Once overtime is done I still have to maintain perfect attendance. I don't have any trips planned until my birthday and they are small trips which shouldn't cost much and both involve the weekends so I won't be needing any days off work for them.

FPU will be over in 2 weeks should have been over 3 weeks ago but I extended it due to schedule conflicts. Even though it has lasted longer than it should have, I have had a wonderful time hosting it. My students have been wonderful and I am excited about doing my second one before the year is out. I still have one student who thinks she can invest while having a $25,000 car with payments on it. I hope she soon comes to the light and either dumps the car, or pays it off with savings (that I know she has) my goal is to eventually show her how life can be with NO PAYMENTS.

Its been a great year for growth as I probably have said a million times, but it really has. I look back over the last two years and understand that this whole process has been life changing. This year has been mostly about spiritual growth more than anything and my attitude towards life. I enjoy going to work (most days) and I look forward to each day now.

I am so excited about the future and always imagine what life will be when I finally get to the other side. Life is good now but wow its gonna be so much better when there is no debt hanging over my head. Now that you have listen to me ramble on...... What changes have you made this year, that contribute to your over all growth and progress.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Busy as a bee!!!

Please forgive me for my absence for the past month. I am working over time and doing my best to push through the month of May and come out ahead. I don't have a whole lot of time to sit and write but I am keeping busy!

Right now I am in the process of reading the 4 gospels of the bible, determined to finish organizing all my files and have labels for them by the end of the week. I have tax papers, debt papers, house papers, and Lord knows what other papers. Im trying to sort through it all because once I do that I will be able to calculate a grand total of debt paid off!! Also my fpu class has been a success and we have 2 more weeks to go! My students have been such a delight through this process and I do look forward to hosting fpu again in the future.

Hopefully soon I will return with all new post for your reading pleasures!! Hope all is well out there :-)