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I have returned….

So, I ended 2016 with a huge surprise. I was living a new life as an empty nester and now THEY HAVE RETURNED!

I am happy to say that my children have returned home but now I live in one of the most expensive states in the country. My last journal entry I discussed getting out of debt, and living the second half of my life fit. Financially fit, emotionally fit, spiritually fit etc…. Well, let’s take a look at where I am with those plans.

The Cheap Car

One year ago I purchased a car for $1000. That thing is amazing! It has excellent air conditioning and only one repair has been required. The repair cost $550. I have been blessed to have this car and a really good mechanic to help.

Part- Time Jobs

My part time jobs were seasonal. I have not started working those jobs yet for the new year but I will look into them again for the summer. I also have found new ways of making money due to some of my new friends. (Sidenote: It is very important to find people who will support your goals to get out of debt.)

Housing

Ok, because my children have returned I have decided to relocate out of my small studio apartment.  We needed a larger space before someone lost it! faces

 

The larger home is in the same nice neighborhood and yes it is more expensive.  I know that sounds counter productive but I will not compromise our safety.  However, since my children are young adults they pay rent!

thats right ( I will list the exact numbers later.)

Challenges

While starting and stopping is not what I wanted to do, I am happy that I am starting to focus on becoming debt free. Here are a few challenges that I face:

  1. The cost of living here is not cheap. But it’s about making the best choices and not trying to keep up with the Jones’s. I will have to become stronger at saying “NO!” 
  2. New debts– I have new debts. I owe Uncle Sam! Pay him…that is all.
  3. Mental focus– The patience required to wait for things I think I deserve now is not always easy. Looking at others spending habits might make me feel “less than”.
  4. Getting un-stuck- Feeling trapped or overwhelmed by this mountain of debt makes me not even want to start.

bright side

The Solution

 

stick to it

Rome wasn’t built in a day. I know this. I can do it. Others have done it. I am not alone. I have enjoyed reading several stories of others who had the same situation and they did it. One dollar at a time! I’m back….errr We’re back!

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Ridin’ Debt Free!

So, following the leadership of Dave Ramsey has helped me in my quest to get out of debt, but today I am happy to announce that I have purchased a car in cash! NO CAR PAYMENTS! This is the first time I have done this for myself. Whenever I have bought a car for myself in the past I have had payments. I am putting the title to this car in my name today.

Dave Ramsey and the Financial Peace University lessons have made me rethink about what is important to me. I am following the plan.

Part Time Job:Check

This month I wrote my budget and got a part time job. It was a fairly easy decision on what I would do for work. I was hired to work as a tutor for students in my district who are hospital or home bound. I was hired but had to wait before I could begin serving students. So, while I waited I looked for other part time work.

I interviewed at a local retail store and got that job too. Between the two jobs I can bring in an extra $1000-$2000 per month. Not bad for a little extra time.

New Whip:Check

In order to work these new jobs I needed to get a car. I was saving money by taking public transportation but it cost me my time. Lots of time was spent traveling. Travel time costs me money…drive time earns me money! The money I earn from the jobs far out weighs the money spent on the car. Not to mention the freedom! Oh Baby there is nothing like the freedom of buying toilet paper in bulk and not carrying it on the bus!

This month has been very productive. I followed my budget, added the job and car to my life, but most importantly I have maintained the discipline and the momentum to keep this new lifestyle going. How did I get here:

  1. I made a decision to make a change.
  2. I made a plan to act on my decision.
  3. I followed that plan.

 

 

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Getting Out of Debt

 

So, since my life has changed and been turned upside down completely, I’ve decided that everything must change. My mindset since my divorce had been focused on taking care of my children, then making a life for myself. Most mothers do that for their kids. As for me, I was in some happy little cloud able to move seamlessly from married, separated business owner, to a twice relocated party girl!

It’s true, I went from being very focused and serious to being all about the next party. After my children went away to college I relocated twice. Once settled I went to the shows and partied with celebrities in glitzy night clubs with hot dates and a few duds. Then one day after a night of partying I decided I’d had enough.

I went to a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course and decided to change my life: spiritually, emotionally, and financially. The course made me take a cold hard look at my debt which was just over six figures. I had $96K of student loans and $10k car note and a few medical bills and one store credit card all less than $2k. I fell buried in debt and I wanted out.

After taking a sobering look I decided to act! First, I wrote a plan to get out of debt in 5.5 years.

Sell Something

I already sold everything to move to paradise with two suitcases of clothes and books. I gave the $10k car to one of my children. High mileage and owing more than the car was worth (aka being upside down) meant I couldn’t sell the car without causing more problems. I wanted to sell something but had nothing left to sell.

Living in Paradise

I started my new life on a tropical island. Unlike other tropical islands this one was expensive. I once had a two bedroom apartment in a southern state that only cost me $475 a month. That same apartment on the island would cost me $2250 easy! So I opted for a  studio apartment in a nicer neighborhood for $1300 per month.  That’s quite a deal according to the locals. The rent was all inclusive fully furnished, water, electricity, cable, internet, and parking all included. Not too bad but still expensive. Here’s a thought:              I could leave the island for someplace more affordable.

Get a second or third job

As it stands I am in a noble field that does not get paid enough but I like it. I work as a tutor, and in retail as a way to earn extra income. So technically, I have 3 jobs and a side hustle (the side hustle is the occasional hair client that wants braids or weaves). Here’s a thought: Find a career or part time job that earns a commission. This doesn’t have to be major like real estate or auto sales but at least furniture sales or even waitressing. 

Get Started. Make payments.

Go to work put the money in the bank and automate those payments. Make the extra payment too.  Don’t start and stop over and over again.  Work the plan and watch the plan work!

I don’t know the answers to everything but I do know that this is something I must do. I am ready to do it now! I want to go to the Dave Ramsey show and scream, “I’m debt free!” I want to give more. I want to get out of debt so I can have the feeling of being financially responsible! I Am Free from the bondage of debt. I will have my freedom papers very soon! No longer a slave to debt!

 

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Stop It! Why are you looking back?

There is no long introduction today. This is not even going to be a long post. There are not three main points and a behavioral objective given. One statement sums it up: STOP. LOOKING. BACK.

 no_looking_back

Your life is ahead of you. Everything that is behind you is meant to be there. There “ain’t” nothing back there that you want or need so bad. Somethings are not meant to be revisited. Hold on to some memories but that’s it. What should you do instead?

Move ahead. Be forward minded. Find a new normal… or better yet forget normal! keep-moving-forward-1

Stop being afraid to be different. You have been different all along. It’s alright to continue. That’s just who you are. Don’t think there is something wrong with it because there isn’t.

Let the past stay in the past, because let’s face it not ALL of the good old days were good. And not every memory is pleasant. All that matters is where you  are right here;right now. Learn to love it because it will be behind you soon. 

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No Comment….

I wore a head wrap to work today. No one made a comment. Well…no one made a bad comment. As I got dressed in the morning I could not help but think of what everyone would say. What questions would they ask? Would they think I was ill? Would they label me as Mother Theresa? Winnie Mandela? Rachel Dolezar? I was so worried that they would judge me but I wore the head scarf/head wrap anyway. When I got to work…there was nothing. NO COMMENT. I was worried and yet no one judged me. Then again, maybe they did. I got a compliment. I got a few smiles and a couple of looks of approval and appreciation but for the most part everyone continued to work as normal.

Image

It’s funny how we think so much of ourselves that we think for some reason the whole world is going to be as judgmental and critical of our every move as we are. Here’s a news flash: The whole world is not watching and waiting for your every move to judge and critique you. Nope sorry to break it to you sugar lump but it’s true. In fact, the majority of people simply do not have the time to care. I read a T-shirt the other day with the following caption…”I don’t have 2 fucks to give.”

When I first saw the shirt I was taken aback by the language and the mean, carelessness it implied. Quietly, I asked myself, “Is this what the world has come to?” For a moment, a very brief moment, I was saddened. I soon began to realize that the world is not full of mean people. (Ok, maybe sometimes it feels that way but in all actuality it isn’t). There are so many people who give to worthy causes and support one another in difficult times. Good kind people who come to the aide of complete strangers are proof that the world is simply not filled with “meanies”. The world is filled with people. Just lots and lots of everyday people. And when you really think about the fact that you attract who you are in the first place– YOUR world is filled with people just like …YOU!

“……NO ONE HAD ANYTHING NEGATIVE TO SAY ABOUT MY HEAD WRAP…”

So, as I continued about my day in my usual professional manner, I soon realized no one had anything negative to say about my head wrap ( at least not to me anyway). Maybe because they did not notice it. Maybe it was because it was attractive. Or maybe just maybe it was because it did not change who I was. It did not change the fact that I was a professional and THEE best at what I do.(In my humble opinion of course)

It – the head wrap-was just a garment…worn on my head. It only effected my day. Everyone else went merrily along with No Comment.

For me there are several lessons to be learned. Here are a couple:

  1. Stop being so worried about what people have to say. They do not care as much as you do. Nor do they care as much as you think they do.
  2. Walk confidently. Regardless of what you wear, you should be confident and self assured. Especially at work . Your success is not based merely on your attire or in this case head gear. It’s based on you and your ability to get the job done. If you showed up to work with a bike helmet on but worked at the pinnacle of your ability (albeit you’ll get some strange looks and perhaps a psych evaluation and an escort out of the building) but they will not be able to deny your professional work and obvious enthusiasm.
  3. I learned the meme below as pictured with Jack Nicholson:

    The less YOU give a fuck, the happier you’ll be.

    The less I worried about what people thought the better my day went. Soon after I got my first compliment and focused on my day I quickly forgot I had it on…

  4. If you act normal everyone else around you will act normal too because lets face it…no one wants to be caught not acting normal, right?

give a fuck

So here’s to you, my fellow people of the world! My offering of advice is simple and plain. Stop worrying. Start living. That’s it. Nothing too deep. Not a hard concept to digest. In fact if you want to make it more plain do this: Say it with me people:

I don’t give a F*&k! 

It might sound crass but it could be a game changer. And if the language offends you, well I have NO COMMENT.

two fucks

Change

Growing and Changing: Yippee!

life upside down Ever feel like everything in your life has been turned upside down? Your kids have changed, your significant other has changed, your finances have changed, and your response to situations has changed. Everything you thought you knew has suddenly changed before your eyes. And you are there in the middle of all of this. Even you have changed. You changed jobs, residences, friends, and yes, your body has changed. You may have gone from being perky and uplifted to less perky and less lifted. You may have gone from being married to being divorced/single. You may have  been in a two parent home to now a single parent home. Single parent home to empty nester. “Hey mom” to “Hot Momma”!

Change. everything has changed         Change is everywhere.

And there you are. Are you changing? Are you growing? Are you keeping up with the changes life has brought you? Or, are you rebelling against the change kicking and screaming your way through it all. Most of the time change is good. Growing hurts. Have you have heard the term: Growing pains? It is true. You have to change with the changes. That requires growth. Growth can hurt, but I have found that it is a lot like going to the gym. You may not always want to go, when you get there you may not always want to stay, and when you leave you sort of feel glad but sore. Over a period of time, you begin to see the results of your hard work.

My hope for you is that you grow with all the changes in your life. As you grow, you change. Embrace the changes in your life. Change is going to happen anyway, so you might as well have fun with it.

Here’s how:

  •  Take control of your emotions
  • Adjust your perspective
  • Guide your responses

In this blog:

  1. We will work together to promote positivity, as we enjoy this Next Phazz and all the joy it brings.
  2. We will discuss strategies and techniques to keep us motivated and excited about our own lives.
  3. We will explore and discover new possibilities.
  4. We will live, love, and learn as we are EVER GROWING AND EVER CHANGING!

Enjoy!