Tag Archives: Personal Finance

2016 IS HERE: THOU SHALT NOT WASTETH TIMETH!!!

  
January 1st. The start of a new year. A new beginning. 2015 is in the past. Blah blah blah. You’ve heard it. I certainly have, and now that we’ve had our New Year 2016 pep talk, IT’S TIME TO GET TO WORK!

THOU SHALT NOT WASTETH TIMETH!!!

In the “Financial Fitness Boot Camp” postings on my website as well as in our Periscope chats, I’ve stressed the importance of financial independence and freedom. It is my prayer that those that are “in this to win this” will fully commit to their financial journey and not just “come along for the ride.” Achieving and maintaining financial independence is an ongoing process. You’ll hear the “F” word… A LOT. FINANCES is the purpose of this entire blog. I’ve actually dropped FIVE “F” bombs already. You’ll hear the “D” word just as much. DISCIPLINE is not to be taken with a grain of salt…Not with what we (yes WE), are about to do. To obtain and maintain financial independence (there’s the “F” word again) and peace, discipline has to be a part of the equation. When I speak of discipline, I’m not just speaking of financial discipline, (well mostly I am), but discipline in ALL areas of your life. Discipline can be incorporated into your daily routine. Forming habits such as becoming more productive, exercising daily, becoming better organized or using your time wisely to name a few, can be attributed to employing discipline.

You’ll hear me say the “P”  word too. PLANNING of course. How can you execute any project without a plan? Simple tasks require planning. Maybe not sophisticated planning, but planning to some extent is still needed nonetheless. Reaching financial independence requires a plan… A BIG PLAN! And let’s certainly not forget the “B” and “S” words. That’s right, BUDGETING and SAVING. Those are the “Queen Mothers” of words that not too many people like to hear when it comes to their finances which may be in shambles. The truth HURTS.

Now that your finances have been “verbally assaulted,” Welcome to Financial Fitness Boot Camp.

So you see, the purpose of this blog really wasn’t to give you an overview of what to expect in the weeks, months or possibly years to come. You can peruse the website for that. This blog posting served the following purpose:

FINANCE (MONEY): In relation to THIS BLOG POSTING, time is money. My money. Point blank period.

DISCIPLINE: Writing this blog posting on New Year’s Day even though there are a million other things I could be doing instead? That’s discipline. Enough said.

PLANNING: Although I didn’t know exactly what I would say or how I would say it because I like to freestyle and let the thoughts come to me as they flow oh so eloquently while I speak poetically as my fingertips tickle the keyboard…. (insert chuckle here), this was a planned post.

BUDGETING AND SAVING: I had to “budget” my time in NOT being so long-winded which I have a tendency to do and “saving” some of my “financial rhetoric” for future posts.

As you can see, I love using analogies when writing. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

~The Financial Hack ©2015

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GOT GOALS? WHO’S READY FOR 2016

CLICK ON THE LINK TO WATCH THE REPLAY OF LAST NIGHT’S “SCOPE”

https://www.periscope.tv/w/aVLl6jFheWpWWUFkcExLcHJ8MVlwS2tyZUVXdk54alLL23JbV6z8sdT7uTyMblBaH_46PA0PNDXEBvR9jHTX

REWIND ON PERISCOPE TV: THE SECRET TO A “STRESS FREE” VACATION


CHECK OUT THE REPLAY OF LAST NIGHT’S “SCOPING AFTER DARK”

https://www.periscope.tv/w/aUBDQjFheWpWWUFkcExLcHJ8MWVhSmJNZERRbGFHWEPvoDeCcyeveEDpb6tZkUA1xpJBGfTxoNXpTil4Pn6y

Look for new “Scopes” where I’ll be dropping plenty of “F” bombs… We’re talking FINANCES that is, EVERY MONDAY NIGHT AT 8:30pm CST. Join us.

WHAT’S IN YOUR VALPAK ENVELOPE?

Have you ever stopped to open your Valpak coupon envelope that comes in the mail?

valpakjpg-744946885030ff30_medium

I can honestly say EVERY TIME I got a “Valpak” envelope, it went STRAIGHT to the recycle bin. Why you may ask? I’ll tell you….

I opened one once (insert eye roll.) I saw so many coupons for dry cleaning, which I rarely took advantage of, discounts on garage door repair and service (which I don’t need because as a Property Manager, I have a contractor who does all the work not only for my properties, but those that I manage as well,) oh and let’s not talk about the endless coupons for local restaurants not to mention the Quick Lube/In and Out oil change locations in the area. I say all of that to say, perusing Valpak coupons to me was a HUGE WASTE OF TIME… Or so I thought.

Since I’m really focused on meeting financial goals by saving money where I can, I decided on a whim to open a Valupak I received a couple of weeks ago. Let me tell you about the TOP 3 TREASURES I found inside:

  1. BANK COUPON: I received a coupon from a local bank that would give me $150 for opening a checking account as long there was a monthly EFT going into the account. POW!!! Right on time. I was able to pick up a job (yet another stream of income) where I set my own work schedule, hours and guess what? IT OFFERED DIRECT DEPOSIT!!!  So guess who received $150 in addition to the opening balance that was placed into the account. (High fives myself here.)
  2. LOCAL SPA: Although I take care of my skin, I like to treat myself to an occasional facial. I found a coupon for a $45 facial (which includes a 15 minute shoulder massage.) Excellent!! This will be a “treat myself for remaining vigilant in reaching my financial goals” reward.
  3. LOCAL HIBACHI RESTAURANT: I found a coupon that offered a GIGANTOR discount on the final bill. This restaurant is very special to me for “personal” reasons. We plan to go at the end of this month. ALL OF US. 😎
So you see. The Valpak isn’t that bad. The Valpak is your friend. Before you toss the next one that comes in the mail, open it. It’s like going to the thrift store. The treasures are hidden…. YOU JUST GOTTA DIG FOR THEM!!!
~The Financial Hack ©2015

MONDAY MOTIVATION “The Art of Saying NOPE”

I took a trip to H&M Store this morning. There was a location nearby that opened over the weekend. A 10 minute drive to Uptown Village sounded a whole lot better than a 25 minute drive to the nearest location at Northpark Mall. I heard the prices were reasonable and the clothing was trendy. Ehhh. I’m not really a “trendy” dresser. I opt for more “classic” pieces which I believe compliment my personality. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not some snot who turns my nose up and frowns upon things that don’t suit me. For those that remember me from my YouTube vlogging days, YOU KNOW ME…. AND THAT AINT ME, but I digress.

I made a pit stop at Starbucks for a Venti upside down Caramel Macchiato with extra whip then headed for the ATM. I gave myself a $100 budget. That was NON-NEGOTIABLE. If my purchases totaled $105.32, something was going back on the rack. Seriously. Unfortunately, I didn’t purchase anything. Or maybe good fortune was on my side. I probably would have had buyer’s remorse before I got to the car. I tweeted earlier this morning although I saw a few attractive items in the store, nothing grabbed me. I refused to make a purchase just because I was there. I did walk around the store twice to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I saw some button down shirts that could have worked for me, but decided against them. Then I saw a couple of blouses that may have worked, but they looked a little flimsy and thin. I’m sure I would have found fault with any and everything that caught my attention. Could it be I wasn’t in the right headspace? Could it be since meeting financial goals is my focus, not to mention I already have a closet FULL of clothes, something didn’t “feel right.” Something was off. I instantly felt the guilt of wasting $100 just to say “Hey! I went to H&M and this is what I purchased.”

One thing I look for in clothing is “quality.” I’ll take quality over quantity any day of the week. To be honest, the higher-priced items were of better quality than the lower-priced items. I saw a couple of dresses in the $50 range that would have worked for me, but in all honesty, I could find the same style of dress at one of my many favorite thrift stores I patronize for half the price and the dress would most certainly have a label in it. See where I’m going with this?

I left the store empty handed and stopped at a nearby Target which carries career clothing in my style and price range. No luck there either. Again, it’s the headspace I’m in. I’m wasn’t in “shopping mode,” I was in “saving mode” and had been there since BEFORE I left home. I’ve got a good system going so why disrupt things now? Honestly, I didn’t want to spend my money on clothing. Was my mission today based on a NEED or a WANT? Well, that’s a “no brainer.” At least it is if you’ve read this far. I WANTED to buy clothing from H&M, I didn’t NEED to. I WANTED to buy clothing at Target, I didn’t NEED to. I did however purchase this sweatshirt:

I purchased it as a reminder of what to say, when I’m about to make an UNNECESSARY PURCHASE:

How befitting…. For me. $21.64 spent just to make a point. 

Practice “The Art of Saying NOPE” and you won’t have to wear THIS SHIRT instead:

  
 Catch my drift? 

~The Financial Hack ©2015

CLASS IS IN SESSION: NERDS VS FREE SPIRITS

schools_in_session

I know I’m behind on my postings regarding Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. If you’re new to this blog, I explained I was taking this class to reinforce what I already knew about finance and to learn additional principles and new techniques and to simply see a picture of financial freedom through someone else’s eyes. Now, I don’t claim to know EVERYTHING about finance, but I do know how to handle money. Although I was irresponsible with it when I was younger, I promise you, I’ve got a GOOD GRASP on my money now. More like I’ve got in a “headlock.”

Even though we are in our FOURTH WEEK of Financial Peace University, and I did tell you I would post weekly about my takeaways from each class session, I thought I’d better get you guys up to speed…. There’s so much information and so many thoughts and ideas running around in my head, I can’t wait to share them with you, but “baby steps” I must take. I thought about bringing you guys up to speed in this one blog, but I get so excited and passionate about the possibility of helping someone else, I’ve got to literally blog one class session at a time. I’ve been known to be quite long-winded when blogging, so brevity shall be my focus. I’ll save the wind-bag for my book.

NERDS VS FREE SPIRITS.

Think about that for a minute and if you ponder it long enough, you can figure out which is which. What may surprise you is which category you fall into. Or not. I knew I was a NERD before we even completed the questionnaire. I answered 9/10 questions, NERD. Yep. 100% Grade “A” NERD. And I wasn’t surprised.

NERDS are your “do it by the book” kind of people as it relates to money. They set goals, create budgets and follow them to a tee. If you’re married to a NERD, the NERD can create a monthly budget and tell you, “There’s no need to discuss this, it’s correct. BECAUSE I CREATED IT.”  The FREE SPIRIT… Not so much. FREE SPIRITS are just that, FREE SPIRITS and they don’t like to be micro-managed and told what to do especially when it comes to money. I’m not in any way suggesting FREE SPIRITS are careless and irresponsible with money. A FREE SPIRIT will take care of their necessities and save as well, but what’s “left over” is theirs to play with. If the FREE SPIRIT sees something they wish to purchase, a piece of art, home décor, tools from Home Depot or whatever tickles their fancy, if their business is handled, they feel entitled to do so, and technically, they most certainly are. The problem is, the rigid, strict by the book Taurus (strike that,) I mean NERD, may become frustrated and deem the FREE SPIRIT as being frivolous. Quite the opposite.

When I was married, my ex-husband and I had many disagreements over finances. He was a FREE SPIRIT. He was the type that wanted a front loading washer and dryer when there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with the washer and dryer we had. He did his part and contributed, but when it came to saving, I felt he could have done more. It was more like me telling him “YOU NEED TO DO MORE!!!” Yes, those caps lock were intentional. We all know the majority of marriages that end in divorce do so not because of infidelity but because of money issues. Now money wasn’t the only issue my marriage faced. It just seemed to be at the forefront of every argument. I was trying to build and save and it seemed as though all he wanted was to do was spend.

One would think a union between a NERD and a FREE SPIRIT is an unlikely one, but that simply is not true. As long as there is a little thing called BALANCE and COMPROMISE, it can work. There have to be some discussions about money and budgets… You have to discuss who’s going to handle making sure the household bills are paid monthly, how much you intend to save, and where your money is going. AND YOU CERTAINLY DON’T WAIT UNTIL AFTER YOU SAY “I DO” TO HAVE “THE TALK” ABOUT YOUR FINANCES. Lay all your cards on the table. YOU ARE A TEAM and as the saying goes, “There’s no “I” in team.”

TIPS FOR THE NERD: Once you’ve meticulously prepared your ZERO monthly budget (meaning all monies for the month are accounted for.) When you subtract monthly bills, household/car expenses, entertainment, etc. even down to your FREE SPIRIT’S “play money,” you should have a zero balance because all income for the month, yes EVERY penny, is accounted for. In a perfect world for the NERD, the FREE SPIRIT agrees to, signs off on the budget and the round table discussion is over. Umm Errm. It’s not that simple. If you attempt to force a budget you’ve prepared on them, your FREE SPIRIT will probably have some FREE CHOICE WORDS for you. Here’s how you side-step a potential land mine:

DEAR NERDS,

Present your budget to the FREE SPIRIT FIRST, explain why you believe certain changes if any should be made, THEN SIT DOWN AND SHUT THE HELL UP! As Dave Ramsey said during the webinar, the NERD has approximately 17min27sec of a FREE SPIRIT’S attention, then they’re totally checked out. (HOLLA IF YA HEAR ME!!!) Your budget meeting doesn’t have to turn into a weekend summit where you don’t leave the kitchen table until a resolution is agreed upon. Allow your FREE SPIRIT the chance to give their input and my precious NERDS, LISTEN TO THEM. Don’t be so quick to dismiss their ideas and suggestions, otherwise, that may be your first and last budget meeting.

TIPS FOR THE FREE SPIRIT: Yes your NERD tap dances on your last good nerve every time there’s a meeting regarding money. Understand, your NERD doesn’t mean to be bossy and unreasonable (hopefully not,) it’s just that they want to be secure and financially stable, not just for themselves, but for the both of you. Remember. YOU ARE A TEAM. Compromise. For example. Are you able to cut your play money to $300 a month as opposed to the $500 a month you’ve allotted to appease the NERD? The NERD may have originally suggested cutting your play money to $250 a month. You countered and suggested $300. By compromising, the FREE SPIRIT STILL has a significant amount of money to play with, and the NERD is happy because they got their way (which was reducing the amount of your play money to contribute more towards savings.) This is how successful budgeting in relationships should work. It should always be a WIN-WIN situation for both the NERD and the FREE SPIRIT.

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Remember: HAVE DISCUSSIONS, FIND A MIDDLE GROUND AND COMPROMISE. You’ll have a much happier and successful marriage when you do.

Whelp. So much for the brevity I aimed for. I pray you enjoyed this blog posting just the same. Wishing you much success on your financial journey.

~The Financial Hack ©2015