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 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?