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!!