Category Archives: Money Talk

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Debt Free Journey Part 1: Contentment

As I go thru this journey of wanting to be debt free, I have come to the realization that I have to be content.  Not content with my debt situation, but content with what I have so I can get what I want.  What I want is to have no more debt and to have myself in a cash only lifestyle with the ability to use credit if I want to.

Getting debt free takes a lot of discipline and the ability to be ok with saying No.  I don’t feel bad telling my friends No, but my son is an entirely different story.  He is 7 so trying to explain to him why we are not buying sports pictures again when all the other kids are getting them done is hard.  I would rather use that money towards something else.  He plays 3 sports and I am not getting a bunch of pictures each year that just end up collecting dust.

Becoming debt free requires you to be content with not having the latest and greatest.  Would I rather have a really nice fancy car?  The answer is YES, but my Hyandai Elantra is a good car and great on gas.  I am thankful each time I go the pump because gas prices are crazy right now and I still pay less than $30 to fill up.  Gas right now in my area is about $3/per gallon.  That is ridiculous, but I need my car to get around.

I am content with being content until I reach my goal.  Sometimes I get a little frustrated because I want to fast forward and be out of debt already, but this journey will be well worth it in the end.  Here’s to being debt free and living my life the way I want.

 

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10 Things to Stop Doing in 2018

We are well into 2018, but still have plenty of time left if you didn’t start the year off on a great note.  To make things better for you so you can end the year with a bang, here are 10 things to stop doing in 2018:

  1. Stop living beyond your means.
  2. Stop going broke trying to impress your friends.  They probably are broke also.
  3. Stop using money you save on things that won’t bring value to your life.
  4. Stop wasteful spending.
  5. Stop buying food you won’t end  up eating.
  6. Stop buying things on sale just because they are on sale even though you don’t need it.
  7. Stop buying poorly made things because you end up having to rebuy them.  There is a difference between inexpensive and junk.
  8. Stop buying so much processed food and jeopardizing your health.
  9. Stop paying for things that you can easily do yourself. For example you can paint your own nails.  Remember you can be using that $20-$30 towards getting out of debt faster
  10. Stop paying for services you are not really using like a $200 cable bill.  Do you really watch that much TV?

Reevaluate your habits and make the necessary changes to improve your situation.  2018 will be a great year.

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Financial Stress and Health

Financial stress can cause a lot of harm to both your mental and physical health. I am writing this blog post because recently I witness someone so stressed about their financial situation she contemplated committing suicide. She voiced this in a Facebook group I happen to be part of and I do hope she is receiving the help that she needs.

Debt can wreck havoc on your state of mind when you have so much of it. You don’t know where to start, all you see is how much of a hole you are in. The bills are piling and all you want to do is cry. Some people run from their debt. You get embarrassed because you can’t afford things or afraid to swipe your card and pray to God the transaction goes thru. This is no way to live your life, but it is the reality for many.

All of these things are not mentally healthy for you. They will cause you to be stressed and depressed. Normally when you are going thru those things it shows in your behavior and appearance. You act weird, shut off from the world and even possibly neglect your appearance. Processed food seems to be the cheapest so you resort to that because healthier food is more expensive. Too much processed food can cause health issues which means more medical bills. The cost of food adds up when you have other people you are responsible for feeding. The thought of not being able to provide for your children will drive you insane.

The good news is you have control over all of it. No one can save you, but you can save yourself. It won’t be overnight unless you hit the lottery or get some large inheritance, but you can do it over time. It will take some stubbornness, serious planning, commitment and the decision that no matter what you will not let your situation defeat you.

Your current situation does not have to be your permanent situation. 6 months from now you could be in a much better place if you do the needful. Sometimes all it takes is a plan and real dedication to overcome financial stress. It might be rough, but trust me you can do it. Your health and the health of your family depend on it.

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Instacart

Side Hustle:Instacart Flow

The end of 2017 I decided to give Instacart a try to help give myself the boost I needed to get unstuck. It required no financial investment on my part to get started so it was perfect. All I needed was a car, valid license, insurance on my car of course and to pass the background check. It is for sure not something that I will do long term, but it is fast cash in my pocket to help me meet some of my financial goals. Oh and it helped me with having a cash only Christmas!!!!

So what is Instacart anyway. Well it is a service to have your groceries delivered to you. Sometimes I do the shopping and delivery or just the delivery. You can actually work for Instacart full time as well, but this is just a side hustle for me. I can pick my own schedule and work as many or as few hours as I want. Let me take that back because you do have to work at least 2 hours in your shift.

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It is super easy because everything is done via the app. They send you an order and you go shop for the customer. You don’t have to pay for the groceries because they send you an Instacart credit card. It is to be used solely for that purpose so don’t try to use it for anything else or you will get yourself into trouble.

I am an independent contractor so I keep track of my mileage to write off on my taxes and I have to pay my own wage taxes since they do not deduct them from my check 😫.  This requires me to make sure I stay organized, but it really isn’t that bad. Here is some of what I have made over the past few weeks to give you an idea.

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For anyone that has questions just ask me and if you are ready to give it a try, just click on my link and get yourself started. Don’t sleep on the side hustle.

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Diversify Your Money

Recently I was a victim of debit card fraud and it reminded me of the importance of diversification. I am always saying, “Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket” and that is so true even when it comes to your bank account. Some jerk decided to copy my debit card and went shopping at a Walmart in Texas. I have never even been to Texas and I live in Pennsylvania. I have no idea how this even happened, but I am glad it was my credit union account and not my account with my other bank where all of my bills come out of.

My credit union was amazing at getting things resolved, but it took 3 days to have the funds returned back to me and I had to wait about 7 days to get a new card in the mail. If I would have only had one banking institution, I would have been so out of luck. Do they even still take checks in the store anymore? I can’t even tell you the last time I saw someone write out a check in the grocery store.

The point of me writing this short blog post is to encourage you to diversify your money. When I say this I mean all aspects of your money because you will never know when something bad will happen. You need to have multiple income streams, multiple bank accounts for checking and savings, a diversified investment portfolio, etc. I am working on that diversified investment portfolio so don’t you worry. I am building my empire one brick at a time to create lasting wealth for my family. The goal is to build generational wealth.

How do you diversity?

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When Your Budget Doesn’t Work Out

Things are not always going to work out according to plan, so you are just going to have to put your big girl or big boy panties on and problem solve. Sometimes you will have to really sacrifice until you are able to pull yourself afloat. I know this to be true because I struggled with this the past few months. No matter how much you budget things are going to happen and that is why I stress the importance of having an emergency fund. We all have to start somewhere so it doesn’t matter how much you start putting into it at first. Pennies will eventually add up to dollars so don’t be afraid to pick up that penny that is lying on the ground.

Since becoming a homeowner at the end of 2015, there are tons of things I never thought of before so I am constantly adjusting and incurring costs. I was doing pretty well for a while, but the past few months it seems like all of my unplanned bills are hitting all at once. Medical expenses, annual trash bill, I owe money on my taxes, things I need for the house, etc. I am just a middle class citizen trying to get myself to the next tier in the social economical structure. Like I say, money doesn’t buy happiness but it does buy choices.

My struggle the past few months was a lesson that I desperately needed so not all is lost. I was trying to figure out ways to force myself to save more and the universe sure did give me the answers. I was reminded that I needed to start spending less money so I can save more money towards my goals. Getting that wakeup call because I was forced to was very eye opening and proved to me that I can indeed spend less money. So when my budget didn’t work out, here are the things I did to get myself out of the hole.

Packed my lunch EVERYDAY!!!

Of course this is a no brainer for many people, but sometimes I would go on spurts of not feeling like packing my lunch. This adds up so fast because I would spend anywhere from $6-$12 on lunch per day. That is $1560-$3120 a year just on lunch. WTH was I thinking?!? I could use that money to buy stocks or something that will help my money grow or go on a nice vacation.

I planned my meals out.

Planning my meals worked because I didn’t just start throwing stuff in my cart when I went grocery shopping. I literally took inventory and only bought what I knew I needed for the next 2 weeks or longer. I normally do one big shop per month and one mini shop to pick up random items I need and anything that is a really good sale. Oh and I prefer to buy fresh fruit and veggies so you can’t buy that in bulk. Of course I stuck to frozen veggies for the most part while pulling myself ahead of my financial struggle. I also picked up things to put in my work freezer for any days I forgot my lunch.

Forced myself to make do!!!

I was determined not to touch my emergency fund on food because I am still trying to build it back up. I was getting very creative with my meals and working with what I had in my kitchen. Allrecipes.com is my favorite meal resource so check it out for yourself. You can plug in your ingredients and it will give you recipe ideas.

Stayed local

I tried to limit my driving and only traveled when I needed to. Ugh gas is so expensive!!!

Took advantage of free fun.

If you live in or near a major city there is always free fun for you to enjoy. Check out your local libraries or community centers and you will be so surprised what you find. I live in the Philadelphia, PA area and I search for free events all the time. I made sure we would eat at home before going out.

So no I am not perfect by any means and sometimes I need a reminder to focus on my big picture goals. I am working on building wealth and creating memories so buying random stuff that I know I do not need doesn’t help me meet those goals. So now back to sticking to my budget and saving for when my budget doesn’t work out. You have to plan for your successes.

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Credit Cards Are Not the Devil

If you recall I wrote a post way back when on how I was able to live life without using credit cards. It was actually pretty simple if I lived within my means and made sure I saved money for emergencies. I had gotten myself in big trouble by not being responsible with my credit card usage and I promised I would never do that again.

For a few years I swore off credit cards completely until I ran into one little problem. I’m lying because it wasn’t a little problem; it was a big problem because I wanted to buy a house.  The problem was I didn’t have any credit. When I stopped using credit cards, I closed the accounts when I paid off the balance so it was hurting my payment history. It was a safety net that I had put in place that hurt me in the long run. I had no car loan and nothing in my name, but my student loans. 15% of your credit score is the length of your credit history and 35% is your payment history. I would have done better by living the accounts open so I had some credit under my belt.

Fast forward I needed a new car and was able to get the loan in my name at a higher interest rate of course and with the on time payments, I was able to boost my credit score a little. Soon I started getting pre-approved offers for credit cards. Yeah how did they get my information anyway to know I might be able to qualify?

My mortgage counselor suggested I open up a credit card to help establish myself more so I did. I first opened up a Firestone card because I needed to have car repairs done and it was like a blessing since I couldn’t cover all the cost at the time, but I quickly paid that off. Trust me my past credit card experience still has my scared to death. I soon followed up with getting an American Express with a $1000 limit to use for gas and a Visa for any random purchases so I could collect reward points. The Visa card came in handy because I put my son’s school tuition on each month and paid the credit card. The cool part is I almost have enough points to get a tablet that I desperately need for my business.

So no credit cards are not the devil….my uncontrollable spending habits were the devil. I am not perfect, but I have learned so much from my mistakes throughout this financial journey of mine and I hope my experiences can help you as well. Although I now have credit cards, the cool part is I don’t actually need them. It is a choice of whether or not I use them. I can still hold true to what I said before and live my life without them if I prefer.

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What is Residual Income?

Residual or should I say recurring income is something you want to have in your life. It is money that keeps coming with little to no effort on your part. Don’t get it twisted though; you have to put in the work in the beginning stages to set yourself up for residual success. Essentially you are putting in the work now so you can continue reaping the benefits for years to come.

So how do you get this wonderful residual income? It isn’t going to magically appear in your bank account so yeah you are going to have to invest. You will have to invest your time, money or both. Here are some ways to accumulate residual wealth:

Royalties: Have you written a book or song? Or maybe you have an invention that you want to share with the world and can sell it to a company that will run with it for you. Put your creative genius to work and collect those checks.

Investments: Stocks, Bonds, Retirement Plans!!! Invest your money in something that has the potential to collect interest and grow your money. I have to get my stocks and bonds game up and running sooner rather than later.

Networking Marketing: This is one of my favorites and I can help you be successful in this area if you have an interest in getting healthy and earning. Join me and be my business partner with Total Life Changes. You can visit my site directly www.totallifechanges.com/5819311 and contact me for more information.

Real Estate: Not there yet, but this will be part of my income streams in the very near future. You can very easily hire a property management company to run things for if you would rather just sit back and collect your checks.

So again you would be crazy to not want to have residual income in your life. I am working towards that goal every day to have my residual income be enough to sustain me if I decide I want to become a hermit. I would probably never become a hermit, but you get the point. Making a minimum of a six figure income in my sleep is on my list of financial goals within the next few years.

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Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, But It Does Buy Choices

I believe in living a life that you are happy with and that is exactly what I am doing. Money is not going to buy me happiness, but it does buy me choices. I work hard at my 9-5 while I build my multiple sources of income. I do this because I know one day all of my entities and investments will allow me to replace my 9-5. Again money is not going to buy me happiness, but it will give me the opportunity to have more choices. No one wants to live a life struggling to figure out how to pay bills or give their children the things that they deserve and some of what they want. Yeah my little one doesn’t get everything that he wants just because I said he can’t and not because I can’t afford it. He has to learn how to work for the things that he wants. I may not be able to buy everything that I want at that exact moment that I want it, but with planning and over time I can have everything that I desire.

Not all wealthy people are happy just like not all poor people are miserable. The difference is the choices that each group can make and the opportunities that come along with the wealth. I can afford to send my son to a private school that is close to my job so I don’t have to kill myself rushing thru traffic to pick him up from the afterschool program by 6:00pm. Yeah most places will charge you extra if you are late. I can afford to buy healthier and better quality foods for myself and child because of the investments I have made for myself. When I go on vacation I am diffentantly not staying at the Ritz Carlton, but I’m sure as hell not staying at the Motel 6 either. Yeah money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it does buy you choices; choices that will make your life easier and help you enjoy it just a little bit better. I would rather buy a good quality $300 purse over a $10 purse that won’t last, but if I am shelling out $300 on a purse I’m making sure my bills are all paid and I have more than $300 that I can put into my new purchase. I am not a believer in living beyond my means because it is like a domino effect.

Yeah I know some of you are reading this post and saying it is better said than done and you are exactly right. At a certain point you have to stop blaming all of the outside forces as to why you can’t get ahead and start taking control of your life. If you can’t find a job than make your own; plenty of people do it every day so there is no excuse and the world owes you nothing. If you want something you have to make it happen; create your own opportunities. My 9-5 doesn’t pay me as much as I would like, but it gives me the flexibility that I need as a single mother so I had to be creative since I like it there. I have my own business www.happilynaturalyme.com and I am an independent business owner for Total Life Changes. Happily Naturally Me is growing and TLC brings me instant and residual income thru network marketing. I love what I do and so does my son. He is like my little business partner because he comes with me the majority of the time when I am conducting business. He is learning the art of selling at a very young age because he is always talking about selling the toys he doesn’t want any more at the Flea Market. That was my first stomping grounds when I was trying out how my Happily Naturally Me products would do and I would sell his old baby clothes. We would play games in between customers, watch a movie or he would ride his bike around the tent I had setup. Yeah no excuses because if I can do it, so can you.

If you want a life you love, you will have to create it yourself so stop waiting and start taking some action. If you are interested in joining a network marketing company to make extra income just contact me or signup by visiting my site directly www.totallifechanges.com/5819311. Make sure you use rep ID 5819311 and contact me so I can help you get started.

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Two Checking Account System

Keeping your spending money and bill money all in the same account can sometimes be dangerous. Can you count how many times you have over spent and ended up with a negative amount? Overdraft fees are not fun because that is money you could have used for something else. Now you have negative funds for over spending and a negative $30.00 if not more in overdraft charges. Let’s hope you didn’t have multiple transactions that put you in the hole or you will really be in trouble. Remember most banks will charge you an overdraft charge for each transaction processed that accumulates while you are in the negative.

The best thing you can do for yourself to keep your money organized is to have different accounts: 1 for bills and 1 for spending. Any monthly bills you have should be coming out of one account and all of your spending money whether for groceries, entertainment, etc. should be in the account associated with your debit card. Trust me; it will make your life so much better if you separate your money. Utilize the Two Checking Account System in conjunction with your budget and you should reduce the stress of over spending. Keep in mind you can’t spend what you don’t have so you will still have to keep a ledger of any checks you write and not go crazy swiping your debit card buying stuff that you want and don’t really need. Yeah I know that was a long sentence, but you get the point.

Stay organized mommies with your MONEY!!! I am paid twice a month from my 9-5 so I dedicate sitting down twice a month to pay bills and check my funds. I don’t spend unless I have it and I do not rob Peter to pay Paul as they say. It is really not that hard to keep track of your money if you discipline yourself because after a few months of doing this, it will become a habit. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about the Two Checking Account System.

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