Tag Archives: The financial Hack

THE FINANCIAL HACK IS BACK!!!

Courtesy of giphy.com
I’m back! That’s enough reason for  me to celebrate. 
I can give you a million “excuses” as to why I haven’t posted, but I won’t because I can sum all those excuses up into one word: COMPLACENCY. 

Over my six month hiatus, I remembered a few principles about blogging I should have never abandoned. Allow me to share the most important ones with you.

1. MAINTAINING A BLOG REQUIRES DISCIPLINE: Spending 1-2 hours each day can make the difference between an engaged audience vs an audience who suddenly becomes disinterested.

2. MAINTAINING A BLOG REQUIRES PLANNING: This includes posting on topics relevant to your target audience not just topics that interest the blogger.

3. MAINTAINING A BLOG REQUIRES CONSISTENCY: Committment is doing something even when we don’t feel like it. There’s no other way to say it.

I thank those who gave me their positive feedback as well as constructive criticism and well, just criticism in general. 

Be on the lookout for regular postings, helpful tips and tricks and I’ll be adding “My Two Cents,” a column responding to questions/given scenarios posed to me. 

Posts will be much shorter (please hold your applause,) which should make for a more pleasant reading experience (I’m a Journalism major and a wannabe writer/poet so cut me some slack here). Also look for guest postings.

Weekly Periscope sessions with The GOAL Patrol will resume although I’m indecisive regarding the future of my Facebook page. 

I do look forward to resuming my blog. I’m not ashamed to tell you I’m a little excited. Okay a lot! In the meantime feel free to explore my website and tell me what topics you’d like to discuss. 

Wishing you prosperity and healthy finances in 2017,

~Andrea L. Coleman, The Financial Hack 

HEY!!!! Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @TheFinancialHack

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DON’T GIVE UP…JUST KEEP SWIMMING!!!


In light of the upcoming release of Pixar Film’s “Finding Dory,” I sat down this past weekend and re-watched “Finding Nemo” and began to think (because I do that sometimes)  about not giving up and pushing through. The gist of the movie was a father Marlin, a clown fish, who refused to give up looking for his son Nemo, captured by a scuba diver after disobeying him by swimming beyond the reef. Marlin’s quest led him all the way to Australia and along the way, he met some interesting characters one of which was Dory. Dory claimed to have seen the boat that carried Nemo away and she and Marlin gave chase. Marlin followed Dory in one direction, then another, and another, until she couldn’t remember why he was following her to begin with. Dory suffered from short-term memory loss. Can you imagine how frustrating it must have been for Marlin to follow someone who lacked direction? Although Dory wasn’t much help in terms of direction, she was ultimately there for support and encouragement. She kept Marlin on track. When he wanted to quit, turn around and go home, those famous words of hers still resonate with many: “When life gets you down you know what you’ve gotta do?”

ūüé∂JUST KEEP SWIMMING. JUST KEEP SWIMMING.ūüé∂

When you feel like quitting because the obstacles before you seem insurmountable, here are a few tips to keep you on track:

  1. FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: Make sure your accountability partner is someone who encourages you, not someone who criticizes, judges or tears you down. Your accountability partner is stronger than you in the areas where you are weak. It can be a spouse/partner, a significant other, family member, co-worker, mentor or friend. When you feel like throwing in the towel, there’s nothing like a “Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah” from your accountability partner to get you back on track.
  2. TURN TO YOUR FAITH/MEDITATE: Whether you are deeply spiritual, deeply religious, deeply spiritual and religious or none of the above, turn to your faith. Turn to something. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, staying rooted in or strengthening your faith/what you believe in can help you press on. Deep meditation can also help regain focus and reinforce goals.
  3. EXERCISE: Remember exercising releases endorphins which can alter your mood. Exercising may not be your thing, but find an activity that elevates your heart rate. Cardio is key. A jog or a brisk stroll through your neighborhood can provide the boost you need to jumpstart your dwindling energy. You’d be amazed at how therapeutic opening the blinds, and letting a little sunshine inside your home or stepping outside to breathe in a bit of fresh air makes you feel better.
  4. SOCIALIZE/NETWORK: Your schedule may not always allow you to get out in the mix of others, and you may be a bit of an introvert, but social media can help.  I love the interaction I have with connections I’ve made on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my new favorite, LinkedIn. No, I’m far from an introvert. I love to read on social media about others reaching their goals/accomplishments, creating new ones or even reading just to escape for a laugh or two. Either way, virtual interaction can be a great motivator.

When I was fulfilling the education requirements for my AFC Certification, I wanted to quit… many times. Overwhelmed with a demanding class schedule, problems on the home front, trying to maintain the update of my social media outlets, and the general pressures of life had me leaning towards giving up. At one point I thought about shirking my way through the semester, barely passing my classes with just the minimum required grade. But in the back of my mind, doing so would have left me disappointed in myself because I knew I could have done better. Determination kept me going. Each time I entertained the idea of quitting, I thought of how far I had come and kept my ultimate goal in mind. Before I knew it,  I was half way through the semester. I kept pressing forward. I kept pressing forward until it was time for final exams and I pulled down A’s in both classes.

So the message here is quite simple. DON’T QUIT! Is it clich√©? Of course it is! And as clich√© as it is, the message is still effective today as it ever was.
DON’T QUIT!!! KEEP GOING!!!

Andrea Coleman (The Financial Hack) ©2016

 

Spirit Airlines: A “Spirit Breaker?”

Let me give you the skinny about Spirit Airlines…. From my perspective.

I recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic via Spirit Airlines. Yep you read correctly, SPIRIT AIRLINES. The words Spirit Airlines is usually followed by groans, grunts and frowns from many, but I must say, my experience wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. Let me give you the Cliff Note version of “Spirit Airlines for Dummies.”

  1. GET AS MUCH FEEDBACK AS POSSIBLE: If someone is interested in trying out a new restaurant or visiting a particular city/country for example, what do most people do? They ask for feedback. They may ask what is the best hotel stay in a particular city or even the best restaurants. If you value their opinion, you’ll take their advice. My point: Ask questions. Before booking my flight I asked Facebook friends and Twitter associates to provide feedback as to their experience. It was overwhelmingly negative in general, many complaining of flight delays and hidden fees, shoddy service and anything else negative they could think of all of which I took into consideration. I also read several internet reviews. Some were good, some were terrible, and some were really terrible. On the other hand, some were indifferent. They didn’t sing the praises of Spirit Airlines, but they didn’t rip them to shreds either. I considered choosing another airline however, after looking at available flights through my http://www.CheapTickets.com package, no other airline got me to Punta Cana before 10:30pm and I couldn’t risk missing check-in to my hotel. Therefore comma, Spirit Airlines to the rescue!!!
  2. PRINT YOUR BOARDING PASSES IN ADVANCE:  Either do it at home, or pay $10 or more to print them at the airport. No thanks. I can find better ways to use that money. Boarding passes can be pre-printed 24-hours PRIOR to your flight’s departure. Do you prefer a window seat? Be prepared to pay for it. Is an aisle seat  more in line with your personality? The same thing applies.
  3. SAVE $$$ BY JOINING THE “BARE FARE” CLUB:    Now this is where things got a little tricky for me. By joining the “Bare Fare” Club, you pay $59.99 per year to get a discount on any checked luggage. You are only able to board the flight with ONE PERSONAL ITEM (diaper bags, oxygen tanks, etc., notwithstanding.) Keep in mind, you pay less if you pre-check your luggage. When I fly American, Delta, Virgin, Joe Blow Airlines, or whoever, I’m allowed the smallest of the smallest carry on suitcase and a personal item that can fit underneath the seat in front of me. Not on Spirit Airlines. In a nutshell the “Bare Fare” club is no “free” bag, no “free” drink. It’s just your ass plus gas and ONE personal item… POINT BLANK PERIOD. Thirsty? Better get something before you board. Oh, you want peanuts to tide you over? Cough up the dough. Weaning yourself from alcoholic beverages? You’d better have a debit/credit card handy. Now that you know the ins and outs, Welcome. You have now officially  been inducted into the “Bare Fare” Club.
  4. PRE CHECKING BAGS ONLINE SAVES YOU NO ADDITIONAL TIME AT THE AIRPORT: You’d better get to the airport at least TWO HOURS prior to departure. Even though I pre printed my boarding passes and pre-checked my itty-bitty teeny-tiny suitcase online, I thought there would be a dedicated line for the “chosen ones.” Fuh-get about it. I got no preferential treatment and had to wait in line as if I hadn’t spent 30 minutes at home deciding whether or not to join the secret society of the Bare Fare Club. The upside; there were plenty of self service terminals where people pre-printed their boarding passes and were standing in line to hand-off their luggage to the Customer Service Agents. Okay Spirit, I’ll give you a pass for execution. The TSA checkpoint moved fairly quickly as well, so it’s off to the gate. Let’s get to the fun part… “The Plane Boss, THE PLANE!”
  5. THE LEGROOM ISN’T AS BAD AS YOU THINK:  I’m about 5’8 1/2-5’9″ and I still had more than enough room to cross my legs. I can’t speak for the guy that sat behind me on the trip back who decided to give me a nice lower back massage with his knees. If you are 6′ or taller, you may harbor some Spirit Airlines flight resentment afterwards. I never used the almost non-existent tray table which appeared to be the size of my iPad 2 and thank God I sprang for the additional $10-$18 (depending on flight capacity) for a window seat. I would have been miserable had I not. I didn’t miss much because I make it a point to pop my Dramamine 30min prior to my flight, Beats headphones in and it’s Good Night Nurse until our flight descent. The flight was on time as scheduled, but hey, when 6am is probably you’re first flight out, how can you not be on time?

My return trip wasn’t so good. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. I pre-printed my boarding passes and I discovered there IS an Airport God… at least in Punta Cana. There was a line dedicated for the Bare Fare Club “chosen ones” to check their bags. Here’s where the fun starts. The flight was scheduled to leave at 1:37pm and boarding was to begin at 12:52.The plane came in and sat there looking at me and the rest of the passengers in all of its splendor and glory for another 1 1/2 hours.


At 1:30, Spirit reps allowed us to start lining up to board. Guess who was first in line. I offered to let a lady and her friend get in front of me because they had a young child but I should have rethought that idea once the child awakened and refused to stop screaming. 

Enter foreshadowing. We finally took off at 2:45pm and much to everyone’s dismay that innocent sweet-looking child screamed from Punta Cana all the way to Ft. Lauderdale. Beats headphones really do cancel outside noise.

To make a long story short (too late) the connecting flight to Dallas was delayed 1 1/2 hours. The delay now puts me in Dallas at midnight instead of 10:30pm and for some odd reason I thought it would be a good idea to go to the office the next day. Ten o’clock is nearing as we quickly shuffle on board and upon takeoff right on cue, that cute innocent screaming child commences Act II. Man, I swear those Beats headphones really were worth the money I didn’t spend on them. Good Night Nurse!!! But just like the Ginsu Knife commercial, you get a free set of 20 steak knives just for flying Spirit. We land at 12:15am, deplane and everyone is looking like Charles Manson at the luggage carousel for an additional 30min waiting on our luggage. This cannot possibly be happening. It was. I finally snatch my teeny-tiny itty bitty suitcase from the carousel and my Spirit Airlines Experience was over. It wasn’t sexy or glamorous. Just over.

So after all of that story-telling, the burning question you’re wondering is “Would I fly Spirit Airlines again?” The short answer is “Yes.” I didn’t experience anything I haven’t experienced on any other airline (aside from the bag fees) but I’ve learned to pack light. Spirit Airlines I believe is good for a weekend getaway where everything you need will fit neatly into ONE small carry-on suitcase. I suggest taking early flight to avoid delays, buy snacks at the airport, and if travelling with small children, find a way to tranquilize them before boarding. Oh never mind, Just buy a pair of Beats headphones. They make EVERYTHING better. Oh, And that $50 voucher Spirit Airlines emailed me for my inconvenience the very next day didn’t hurt either. I’m headed to Miami after Labor Day. HAPPY TRAVELS!

Do you have a Spirit Airlines story to tell? Leave your comments below.

~The Financial Hack ©2016

 

Hello My Name Is…. AND I’M A PROCRASTINATOR

procrastination

NOTE: This should have been posted as yesterday’s “Motivation Monday,” but because of my persistent procrastination, I’m posting it today. Read on to find out what the triggered my “call to action.”

It has taken me 15 minutes to get started writing this post. Let me tell you what I’ve done during that time.

  1. Sent a Tweet.
  2. Responded To a Tweet
  3. Sent a couple of Text Messages
  4. Put a clear coat of polish on my nails
  5. Searched Google images
  6. (You get the picture.)

I did everything I could do to avoid this posting. Procrastinating is something I have always done and had yet to master, to my detriment of course. I always work well under pressure, but is it necessary to put undue stress on myself as a result? Of course the answer is a resounding “No!”

Why do some people procrastinate? I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you why I do. I suffer from Type “A” personality. No, I’m not an A-hole, but when I complete tasks, I want them to be perfect. Flawless. Almost effortless. I’m one of those people who gets agitated because of a misspelled a word I catch AFTER posting on my website, posting a tweet, or sending a text message for that matter. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t make these kinds of simple mistakes. In MY world? Forget about it. The result, is wasted time, stress and anxiety. I’m used to it, so I should have adapted by now and should also be able to deal with it right? Yes and No.

Case in point….

As you know (if you don’t, I’m telling you now,) I’m taking classes to become an AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor.) Keep in mind. I received my last degree, an MBA, in 2002. That was 14 years ago this month. Distance/Online courses are NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING like they were over a decade ago. Back then email is what kept everyone connected. No FaceTime, Skype, Lynk, Google Plus or any other methods for face to face communication. Matter of fact, there were no smartphones back then either. Technology has come a mighty long way, but I digress. A couple of days after being registered for my classes, it was important to sign up with a school id and password. I’ll do it tomorrow became the next day and after about 4days (and an email from the Program Coordinator,) I set it up. Now that that “chore” is completed, it’s on to the syllabus for both classes right? Wrong. I’ve got time. I can look at it tomorrow. Oh wait, the weekend is here, I’ll get everything done Sunday. This is the self talk of a “Professed Procrastinator.” HUGE MISTAKE on my part.

Allowing an entire week to pass cost me TWO CONSECUTIVE NIGHTS OF STAYING UP PAST 3am. After reading through the syllabi, I discovered assignments/exams are due by 1pm in the afternoon, NOT the normal midnight that I was accustomed to. OH NO… What have I done? I’ll tell you. I screwed up by procrastinating. Here’s a glimpse of my initial reaction….


Once I saw the work required, I immediately got my ass in gear. One of the professors gave us a “crap ton” of assignments to complete. The practice assignments were even brutal. Word of advice… Never underestimate a professor who is teaching a class and also working on a Doctoral Degree at the same time.

From that moment on, I was OVER IT!!! Over procrastination. Over waiting until the last minute to complete my assignments, blog postings, anything that required time constraints be placed on them. My “struggle glasses” were past over it refusing to stay on my face, somehow punishing me for the sin of procrastination.


At the end of the day, I am pleased to say, I completed ALL the assignments including the extra credit for BOTH classes. It only cost me two nights of decent sleep. Having a Type “A” personality can come in handy especially when it motivates us to excel. And when it comes to exceling, it doesn’t take much for the “Type “A”

So how does procrastination tie in to personal finance? IT DOESN’T. Just felt like sharing. Well, I could tie in a lesson to it, but not on this posting. It’s random. What I will say is procrastination and poor planning IS NOT a habit successful people employ. Successful people create “To Do” Lists and STAY ON TASK. I too create “To Do” Lists. The problem is, the lists would be much shorter if I wasn’t constantly moving tasks I procrastinated doing from the previous day/days to the current day. You get what I’m saying.

Never again will I do this. I have created a schedule where I block off time during the week to complete important tasks whether it’s my class assignments, reading, writing blogs etc. It’s somewhat robotic, but for me it’s a necessity to keep me on task. This schedule allows me to balance school, community service, maintaining my website/social media, my social life, and just life in general. I can now remain consistent, stay on task, and most importantly, keep my weekends. I’ll work hard during the week… The weekend however belongs to me.

Have you found yourself in this situation? I hope this posting helped you understand procrastination and what you can do to avoid it. Does procrastination leave you feeling powerless, stressed and anxious? If so, how did you overcome it? Leave your feedback below. I’d love to hear from you.

~The Financial Hack ©2016

 

MOTIVATE YOURSELF!!!

“Liven up yourself in the morning time y’all…. Liven up yourself, Cuz I said so.” ~Bob Marley

If you’re familiar with Bob Marley and the song “Liven Up Yourself,” you know his interpretation is slightly different from what most are accustomed to.¬†Its underlying meaning however, remains constant. It’s time to get up. It’s time to wake up.

IT’S TIME TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF!!!

When I decided to commit myself to helping others by promoting Financial Literacy, there were¬†people around me who were skeptical. People close to me. People I actually knew. There were naysayers and I sensed a general lack of interest from¬†those I¬†believed could benefit from the knowledge and experience I had. It had/has nothing to do with¬†“feelings of superiority,”¬†I was¬†simply excited to share with others what took me most of my adult life to learn.¬†It was crushing to not have¬†the support from people¬†I¬†truly believed¬†I could count on, but that didn’t stop me. I AM MOTIVATED¬†to do what I do. I “liven up” myself daily and am constantly reminded of my purpose. I wake up every day determined to learn something new that I can share with those who wish to receive it. As someone¬†reminded me¬†in one of my Periscope sessions, when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Powerful.

I teach Financial Literacy to our youth. I teach¬†Financial Literacy¬†to adults…. And you know the beauty of it all? THEY GET ME. The ability to connect to people no matter where they are on their financial journey is motivation for¬†me.

Motivation comes from knowing you’re on the right track. Motivation comes from knowing what you are doing is positive. Motivation comes from¬†the excitement¬†of seeing your purpose manifesting itself. Walking in¬†my purpose¬†is enough to keep¬†me going.

So stop seeking validation from others. Stop¬†waiting¬†for someone to pat you on the back and¬†tell you¬†“Good Job,” or “Well Done.” Never mind what others are saying…

You’re too busy being great.

~The Financial Hack ©2015

 

 

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

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.

UNOFFICIAL PERISCOPE BROADCAST A SUCCESS!!!

MY DAY WAS OFFICIALLY “MADE!” 

 
“PERISCOPE UNOFFICIAL” WENT WELL TODAY. The “Virtual Meet and Greet” ran way longer than expected but you guys were asking such great questions I had to keep it going. I promise next broadcast, the content will be better organized and the questions I didn’t get a chance to address will answered BEFORE new content is presented. There are also a couple of answers I gave that must be double-checked regarding accuracy. I certainly don’t want to misrepresent any info given. I do appreciate all those that tuned in, those that participated and of course all the love/hearts. If you missed it, CHECK OUT THE REPLAY while supplies last. l’ll see you soon!