Financial Guru

Debt, Finance, For Fun, Money

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Somehow I graduated with a Bachelor’s – BBA, Management with a 3.4 GPA. This is the girl who had to take remedial math just to take college courses and pulled a C in Finance thanks to my friend sitting next to me. And no, I didn’t cheat to get my GPA completely – only in Finance because current events tests from newspapers all over the Globe was worth 60% of our grade for some damn reason, and my friend just so happened to be obsessed with those kinds of things. Sidenote: over half the class failed because of those impossible current event tests so I had to do what I had to do otherwise it would cost an arm and a leg to repeat that class for absolutely no reason. Didn’t learn doodlum squat about finance.

Anyway.

That said, math and finance are not my strong suit although it may look that way on the outside- College Degree in Business (ahem, numbers) + career in office admin, accounting, marketing etc. etc. etc. Most of which I abhor.

The great news is that I am up for hire as a Financial Guru! Yes!?

Because I know that $.99 (2 liter) is greater than $1.69 (20oz).

Math skillz and financial skillz – I got’em.

Nevermind the stares from people*possibly* thinking I was rude drinking straight from a 2 liter. I think it’s rude to charge nearly twice as much for the smaller size, thank you! And anyway, manners really hasn’t gotten me far in life. My kindness has, not my manners.

The Shopping Pause

Capsule Wardrobes, Debt, Minimalist Shopping, Second-Hand, Second-Hand Shopping, Simplicity, Thrift Shopping

The Shopping Pause is something that I have had to practice and learn over time in my simplifying journey. I like to think of it as smart, intentional, frugal, and fun. I have always been an impulse decision maker – and my shopping habits reflected that. It resulted in over-crowed closets, unhappiness in my wardrobe, buyers remorse, and debt.

Now, I shop for discounted items and second-hand.

This type of shopping took a while to get the hang of, but is perfect for my new lifestyle.

Today, I was on the hunt for a new pair of blue jeans. My current pair had a button that broke off and was not fixable. I wear blue jeans all the time and knew this was something that I needed back in my wardrobe.

So, I shopped online at Target and found a pair of blue jeans on clearance! Yay! It was only $10.00 so I thought, no harm done. Well, then Target required a $25 checkout for free shipping. So I spent over an hour trying to find enough things I ‘need’ to make up for the shipping cost.

My cart was upped to $28 just so I could get enough ‘stuff’ for my true mission which was originally one pair of discounted jeans.

I decided to use the Shopping Pause before checking out and getting the carted items. I let my account just sit until my lunchbreak without buying.

Then, I went up the road to a local thrift store. I told myself, that if I didn’t find a pair of jeans there, I would checkout my Target order when I got back.

On the way to the thrift shop, I realized just how pissed I am at Target anyway. I am currently trying to pay off my credit card and they charged me an interest fee of $25 just this past month. TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS out of the $30 I paid went to interest.

Fuming about that, but also excited to hunt down a new pair of jeans at the thrift store, I searched through the rack. In all of about 5 minutes I found a new pair of Silver Jeans for $7.99.

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I tried them on and they fit perfectly and had zero flaws. These bad-boys are $85 brand new at Buckle.

Needless to say, I checked out very happy and even more happy that I paused before rushing my order and getting items that I truly didn’t need.

Shopping second-hand is the number one way that I am paying off debt quickly and also fulfilling my capsule wardrobe. I like my stuff smart, simple, stylish, and nice – and I intend to keep it that way!

Second-Hand Score

Debt, Minimalism, Minimalist, Second-Hand, Thrifting

Human beings are hunters and gatherers. Although we have a lot of luxuries, and conveniences now, that primal instinct seems to flair every now and again. We have a true need to compete, mark territory, gather, store, and stock up. But, there is a fine line between enjoying what you need and going overboard.

My focus is simplifying my life. I spent the last decade climbing the corporate ladder, acquiring, and following the American Dream only to find that true happiness is not found that way. It’s the undoing of excess and focusing on the important things in life that is bringing me pure joy.

There are times, of course, that I need to acquire something new. But, I don’t want to break the bank because I am also paying off debt and spending less. My definition of minimalism isn’t doing without or counting items so much as it is about clearing the unnecessary to make room for importance.

This brings me to shopping second-hand for new items that I need or for things that I need to replace in my current stash. The reasons that I love shopping second-hand are pretty much endless, but I have a few reasons that make me passionate about turning someone else’s trash into my treasure.

  1. Second Chance Life: It is a beautiful thing knowing that an item someone else discarded can be used by me! I can bring that item to life again in a new and different way.

2. Saving Money: Purchasing something new from a store is going to have one hellacious mark-up price. Buying second hand is a severely discounted price for a used item.

3. Environmentally Friendly: A thrifted item can be saved from the landfill. We can choose to use what is already in circulation over something new.

4. Creativity: Second-hand items are a great way to explore style and fashion for less.

5. Charity: A lot of thrift shops donate to help the greater good.

6. Working Conditions: Just because you buy something from a clean, well-lit, fancy store doesn’t mean that the item came from that same environment. Sheltering yourself from the truth doesn’t mean it is OK.

My latest and greatest thrifted find

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A Marc Jacobs purse! Some poor soul paid full retail price for this, which was around $400.00. I scored it for $3.99.

It’s super cute and has a lot of life left in it. It is replacing my old, broken Fossil purse that I have been using the last few years. This Marc Jacobs purse is mine to now use up to it’s fullest potential.

While I am not completely against buying new, I do feel it’s important to shop smart for yourself, buying only what you need in the greatest of quality possible for the least amount of cost and heartache.

Slow Down: Sacrifice for Impact

Clarity, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist

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It’s so easy to forget our mission in life when busyness, procrastination, clutter, and to-do-lists overtake our time. It seems a majority of us are in the cycle and it seems there is no way out. At some point, we accept it and just call it ‘adulthood.’ And once we name it, we own it. We tick through the rest of our life vaguely aware of our surroundings. Guilt seeps in when we want to take time for ourselves. We become weak, agitated, frustrated, and overwhelmed. We continue at this pace because we are supposed to.

I’d like to meet the person who told all of use that we have to live this way.

Because I truly think this ‘person’ does not exist at all.

This ‘person’ could be society. We feel that we have to compete with others and one-up our status. This one-upmanship is also known as Keeping-Up-With-The-Jones. Sure, we all agree that this keeping-up is not the best way to live – but if we are honest, we live that way anyway.

Our Facebook post has to look cuter than someone else’s. Our car has to look fancy so we can show everyone that we do, in fact, have a job and are contributing to the pot of society. The American Dream is being lived, y’all! But at the end of the day it’s no dream at all. We know it deep down, but we can’t break this cycle because we don’t want to come across as lazy, unfit, or less-than.

So, debt and possession rule our lives. It comes in between us and our families. We have no friends, because we have to work ourselves to the bone to pay for that new loveseat. It’s cute though, but unfortunately we don’t have time to host friends over because we are at work. And when we aren’t at work, we are at home cleaning, organizing, and moving around our stuff.

When our friends ask us how we have been or what we’ve been up to lately we respond:

Busy.

Yes, we have been busy. We’ve been busy trying to create a lucrative life at the hands of our employer. We’re busy thinking about acquiring a luxury lifestyle and living beyond our means.

We haven’t been busy contributing to what’s most important, which I feel safe to say is:

  • Family
  • Helping
  • Serving
  • Resting
  • Relaxing
  • Creating
  • Wanderlusting
  • Traveling
  • Exploring

Those are my most important things in life. And I’ve neglected those things for far too long.

It takes time to shift to a more simple, deliberate, slow lifestyle. But, when we realize that we need to change our path and begin to clear the distractions: clutter, busyness, overwhelm, we can gain clarity and shift focus to what’s truly important.

We won’t be remembered for our career, but we will be remembered for our impact.

There’s more to life than just paying bills and then you die.

I’m not willing to sacrifice my life for stuff and status. I am however, willing to sacrifice my life for change, memories, and impact.

Paying Debt & Common Sense

Debt, Financial Boss Series, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money

Wouldn’t it be perfect if we didn’t have credit card debt, could live a passionate life, and be generally awesome?

One major focus of mine is paying off debt. I’m no guru, but I have recently changed my strategies and have let go of fear. I have become my own Financial Boss and put the responsibility back where it has belong all along: to me, the Boss.

I’ve done a few things that I want to share:

  1. Admitted I am severely in debt and need to change that now.
  2. Opened my mind, let go of fear and adjusted my strategies.
  3.  Stopped useless spending.

But there is one thing that I think is most important of all when paying off debt and it’s really simple:

Use common sense.

I saved nearly $8.50 on one grocery store purchase today using that philosophy alone. Want to know how?

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By not buying mixed nuts with a black label that only used the words ‘Premium’ and ‘Deluxe’.

Excuse my sarcasm (not really), but who would buy that, I thought? Then I was mad at Publix for putting an outrageous pricetag on nuts in the slightest, tiniest, bit larger can than the one it sits next too.

Then I thought…

Well, clearly people are buying it! Why?

I just…I can’t.

We all need to be sure to keep our eyes open for ridiculous marketing strategies. It’s us against them. It’s easy to fall prey when we shop. It’s important to know our values and follow through with our dreams and not let silly obstacles get in our way of being who we want to be. It’s important.

Take a Chance, Make a Change

Capsule Wardrobes, Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simple Life, Simplicity, Yoga

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We have a chance to make numerous choices every, single day. There comes a point though, when maybe our auto-pilot life becomes comfortable. Boring, stagnant, and comfortable. We realize beneath it all something is lacking. Our joy has been squelched due to the day-to-day demands that we dictate to ourselves. We measure our worth based on checking off the to-do-list and then beating ourselves up when we simply can’t accomplish it all.

That’s a rut. It’s a tough one to admit to, and a stickler to dig out of.

That’s where I was just a few short months ago. I started running – not walking – in the opposite direction.

It was time to take a risk: I have to change and take some risks, here. 

This realization and admittance that I am in fact, not Super Woman was a little hard to come to grips with, but there was truth beneath the surface.

I don’t want to be Super Woman.

I don’t want to be living in chaos. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety. I want peace and joy.

The contrast between the two are pretty drastic.

That means I have to open my mind and try different solutions to my struggle.

Day by day, my slow changes are really easing my anxiety and happiness is finally creeping in. I do things a little differently now by:

  1. Getting rid of excess and clutter for clarity and less wasted time on organizing and picking up.
  2. Removing social media from my life so I can focus on myself and what’s important.
  3. Thinking positively by meditating and appreciating what I have and where I’m going.
  4. Letting go of other people’s behavior and my past.
  5. Changing daily chores: I hang clothes to dry, use less dishes and hand-wash when done, put things back where they belong, and let it go when I want to do something else.
  6. Eating well helps me feel energized and lose excess pounds.
  7. Paying off debt by getting my finances in order and stop useless spending.
  8. Daily Yoga helps my body stretch and tone as well as a great way to integrate balance in my life.
  9. Being conscious of my beauty routine where less is definitely more.
  10. Creating a capsule wardrobe so my style is consistent and less stressful when getting ready and wasting money filling the gaps for sake of fashion.

These 10 changes have taken time. I began slowly and deliberately and have really tried to understand myself and my past along the way. It’s been my saving grace in the stickabilty to a major life change like this one.

Knowing you need to make a change and then taking the plunge can be scary. But there is nothing to fear. You can always go back to the way things were before. I mean, what’s there to lose?

Financial Boss: Part 4

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Gentle Change, Money

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After a long time of digging deep into my financial dependence, and auto-pilot behavior the day had come to come up with a budget and game plan. If we continue to do the same thing over and over we will continue to get the same results.

Well, I don’t like my results.

That means that I have to change how I do things. This can be super scary, but in order to move forward and have a chance for success, we must take risks to get us where we want to be.

I have determined that I have been on auto-pilot allowing my money to rule me instead of me being the boss.

For me to be the boss, I had to take the initiative and create my own financial plan.

My goal is that every month I will be telling my money where to go. Period. 

My plan started after I de-cluttered my wallet and credit cards. I cancelled every unused credit card account. Then, I had a shred party where I disposed of those soul-sucking colored pieces of plastic. Some financial gurus say you still need to keep your unused credit lines open because if you don’t it will hurt your credit score. Well, I have a secret:

I do not care. I want them gone. My credit score doesn’t define me. And, I’m giving up credit cards all together when I pay off the last of my debt. This means that my credit score is not a factor in my money or how I live my life. My credit score no longer rules me either. I rule it because I am the boss and am handling my imaginary “credit score” as if it doesn’t exist. Because from now on, I will pay upfront for everything I want or need. 

I’m not scared anymore. I am angry. I am angry because the little score that pops up took me 20 years to create a ‘green colored’ number. I stressed, fretted, and had anxiety attacks to keep it there. Then, outside of my control, I got laid off from my job and within 2 measly months my credit card number is now ‘red colored’ and it is designed to make me feel bad.

So, if you want to do something drastic just like I am; you have to be ready and willing to let go of a lot of your predisposed thoughts about money.

I totally am, so that’s why I am doing this. And secretly, I know that my credit card number is going to quickly increase back to green without any of my mental chatter and obsessions about ‘keeping it at the top.’ And that’s fine. It’s just a weird game to play anyway and I’m not playing anymore.

My passion from opening my mind and looking at my finances with a new outlook made me motivated.

I grabbed a sheet of paper, a pen, and a calculator and got to work.

Previously:

My bills were auto-payed out of my checking account every week, whatever their due date.

My income is consistent weekly so I get paid a certain day every week.

I ball-parked estimated what discretionary money I had each week for gas, groceries, and anything else I wanted.

Nothing into savings, and nothing left over at the end of the month.

Now:

do not auto-draft. Ok, this is a big deal to me because I have ALWAYS auto-drafted. Now I am in control of paying my bills individually.

I pay my bills the first week of the month. Every single bill that is due that month is paid in the first week. So right then and there I am current.

I have three banking accounts:

  1. Bill account
  2. Spend account
  3. Savings account

Bill Account: I have figured up how much I owe each month in fixed bills. I divided them up weekly. Every pay day I put that amount into my ‘bill account.’

Spend Account: This is the amount of money I can spend on gas, groceries, and anything else I need/want. I have figured out how much I will allow myself and will deposit that amount into this account.

Savings Account: I have pre-determined how much I will save each week. I will be paying myself now. This amount will be deposited into this account each week on payday.

This way, at the first week of the next month, my ‘bill account’ will have the money need to pay my next month’s bills. I will then use that money to pay bills the first week of the month.

I have a separate debit card for my spend account. This will be the only debit card I use for purchases.

My savings account is going to grow really quickly. I will be using money here to build my emergency monies and pay off current credit card debt.

The formula is simple (and I am no math whizz that’s for sure!)

  1. Add your monthly fixed bills (car, house, insurance, credit card payments, etc.) and get the total. Divide by 4 (4 weeks in a month).This is the amount that you need to put into your ‘bill account’ each week.
  2. Determine your spend account. This is the amount you have to spend on things like gas, food, snacks, clothing, or whatever is not a fixed expense. Set a cap on it and divide by 4. This is the amount that goes in your ‘spend account’ for the week.
  3. Whatever is left over goes into your savings account. I am separating my money among these three account on payday which is the same day every week.

This is my new, drastic way of telling my money where to go. When I do the math and split my accounts this way, I have plenty leftover for my savings. I have savings because, well…you never know what can happen and I don’t plan on working in a career for someone else until I’m old, feeble, and dead.

There are a billion different ways to handle your finances. There are spreadsheets and programs and so many opinions.

I am not at all saying this is the BEST way to handle finances; it’s just the best way for me now.

Are you in a financial crisis? Do you hate the way your finances are ruling you? Is it time to be the boss? If so, and you are prepared for action, discover why you do the things you do, behave the way you behave, then for god sake grab a pen and paper and get to work!

I wish I had done this sooner. I really, really do. But there is no better time than today to be the person we want to be. And sometimes, that means a drastically different approach to something and an open mind.

Financial Boss: Part 1

Clarity, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

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It totally happened yesterday.

I am now in charge of my finances aka THE BOSS.

Financial advice is totally rampant on the internet because so many of us live reactive to our money.

I want to share with you how I went from reactive to proactive in 24 hours. Sounds to good to be true? Well, it is and it a’int. It was a long day yesterday getting my finances in order:

but I went to bed PROactively in charge of my money last night. 

I’m going to break up this explanation in parts because it is a little lengthy. I want to share my personal history and background and then tell you how my strategy changed drastically.

It’s not a magic potion or fix-all. It’s just a financially lazy, simple girl’s way of shaking up the way I do things and TELLING my money where to go.

You may be in the same place, but scared to make a change. It is kind of scary, but when you have your mind made up that you must do things differently, take risks, and are in an energetic, positive mental state: It can be done.

So, follow along if you want to hear about it. It’s time for change and it’s time to be the boss.

For starters:

That picture above was my stack of credit cards as of yesterday. Wow. Let’s just say that it has reduced drastically as of today, only 24 hours later.