Friday, July 8, 2011

Fast Food is so convenient or is it?

There are many different avenues you can take to stay financially healthy. Many of us who struggle or have struggled with simply maintaining often bounce back to the point of really only learning to stay afloat. That is not healthy! It is hard living with just the bare necessity's. I can admit to that. But working just to pay the bills seems hardly fair. I think that it is really time to go back to the basics. What happened to cooking meals at home? I remember when I was little, my mother who was a single parent with 3 girls would come home (after working as a Nursing Assistant in a Nursing home) and make us a home cooked meal. Was she tired? Yes! Had she worked hard all day? Yes! Was cooking a home meal less convenient then fast food? Yes!

We all get tired at some point. I also truly believe that times are not the same as then. Everything seems even more convenient now then it ever has. There is literally a McDonald's on every corner or some fast food joint. It easier to stop and pick up a couple hamburgers but think of the bigger picture. What value is that adding to your life, to your health, to your pockets? None! It is simply a scape goat. I understand  every now and then but families are seriously eating at McDonald's more then half of the week and that's only considering the dinner hours. It's surely not easy on the pockets. Add the amount of money you spend in a month on the amount of fast food you buy and if you have never done that before, you are in for a huge shock.

I was one of those moms who bought fast food because I was too tired to cook but when I checked my monthly spending in regards to how much I spent on fast food, it was ridiculous. (Not to include the toll it takes on your health). Besides I really enjoying eating meals with my boys at the end of the day. It gives us time to catch up on our day! So I would encourage you to balance your monthly spending by watching how much you spend at restaurants, fast food places and coffee shops by challenging yourself to the following:

  1. Instead of buying a fast food meal after work for the fam several times a week, buy a hamburger or a fry to hold them over until dinner is ready. Try this maybe 1 or 2 days a week. The other days they can eat a PB and J sandwich! Its better for them anyway!
  2. Instead of buying coffee every morning, try picking 3 days out of the week!
  3. Start cooking one pot meals. What happen to the days of Yellow Rice and Chicken? It takes less then 5 minutes to clean skinless chicken breast, season and throw the chicken in some boiling water. About an hour later add the rice and walla, there you have it!
There are other ways to control your spending. Most of it requires self discipline. Challenge yourself by making small goals and sticking to those goals for 3 weeks at time and then add to those goals. You may be pleasantly surprised at your progress!

~Sincerely Striving

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is Credit Repair Cheating or Not?

I often wonder how many people incur bad debt over a life time, how many bankruptcies are filed and how many lives are destroyed over the sake of credit! With that said it begged the question in my mind is Credit Repair Cheating or not? My personal take on it is that No it is not. From what I have read several financial gurus frown at the idea of credit repair because it does not teach you the necessities of managing money. Credit report to some is a solution to remove bad debt just for one to incur more. It is simple a band-aid to bad debt. Although I did agree with several of the points that had been made in several of the articles, I still disagree.



What many people don’t know is that you can use credit repair as a form of solution to help get you on the right track however it is important to use it as only a stepping stone. Many companies write off bad debt and sell your debt to a collection agency for a very minimal and I mean very minimal fee to whomever. That’s not the disappointing factor. What is; is that an unlicensed collection agency can have purchase your debt, your personal information and not even be licensed to collect debt in your state. Is it legal “NO!” Most collection agencies “seem” to bank off of the consumer’s lack of knowledge. You can fight back, but remember that knowledge is power. Read up on how to protect yourself and most of all do what you can to stay debt free by maintaining a budget and clear up any old debt if you can. Stay blessed and keep striving!


*To get more info on fighting credit and credit regulations contact your local commerce office or go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Take the Challenge: Mind you’re spending

Part 1:                                                         
There have been times throughout my life when I have said to myself if I would have done this differently or that differently that would have been a better decision. The truth is life is a learning lesson. Ask yourself if you had done this or that differently would it have really made that big of a change in your life and would you be the person you are had those changes occurred. For some of us, the answer may be yes. Especially when it comes to our finances! There are so many “free” websites that offer education on personal finances so take advantage of that information by searching the web. Here is a personal challenge for you to take on this month:



Challenge 1: Mind your spending (by):

 Keeping track of every purchase (write down the item and the cost)

 At the end of the month tally the total amount you spend

 Next tally separately what was not a necessity

 Ask yourself what items added any value to your life

 The following month try to spend below the amount that was not a necessity (remember to still keep track of every purchase) It helps!



Good luck and be blessed!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Impulse of Buying "or" Spending

...How do you control impulse spending or impulse buying? Spending & buying are 2 different behaviors. To "buy" something means that there was some thought behind your purchase. To “spend” means to pay out, splurge, use up indicating there was no thought behind the purchase. Some people do have an addiction to one or the other or even both. How do you identify that you have a problem?:




1. You spend your money before you get your check

2. When your finances are affected because you have no self control

3. When you make enough money to last you until the next paycheck but yet your super broke by your next check



I am not saying that an occasional planned or unplanned purchase is wrong because it's not. What makes it wrong is the IMPULSE-the need to have! I have a friend who is an impulse buyer. She actually thinks about the purchase before she spends her money however the thrill or the impulse of a planned purchase comes from when you have to have something and in this case if there is a sale or a coupon which makes the sale so extreme you can't pass it up- And don't let it be combined with a buy 1 get 1 free offer, you can best believe it is a done deal!



So nothing’s wrong with that right? You're right it's not! But when you can't make your car payment, put gas in your car to make it to work or take your child to the doctor's because you don't have the $10.00 co-payment then guess what, it's a problem right?! And let me be the 1st to testify I have been down that road. It is a road of destruction.



Admitting you have a problem (yes you have a problem) is truly the only way to a healthy start of recovery! Recognize your behaviors, when does this impulse occur, identify the type of impulse behavior you have! Once you have successfully identified your type of impulse and when it occurs, set goals for yourself such as at the end of the week set aside some money "SET ASIDE" and treat yourself if you've made it through the week and did not "impulse buy or spend"!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stand Up to Your Finances

   

We’ve all heard of the excuses. The consistent place of blame of not being financial stable: I don’t have enough income, I owe to much or I don’t know how to create a budget. It’s time to start taking accountability and start working with what you have. Understanding it’s not easy and there will be some definite sacrifices but in the end it will all be worth it.

Think of those that have been able to follow their dream by taking a chance using their last as a sacrifice; read up on the owner of allhiphop.com Greg Watkins @blackenterprise.com. Surround yourself with positive people, keep talking about it or create a blog.


  A key factor is to continually pray about it, prayer really does help! If you think that your habits are out of control and you don’t know were to start try searching on the internet for credit counselors. Changing your spending behaviors for the better changes your relationship with money for the better. STAND UP TO YOUR FINANCES and show whose Boss!

*I’ve been down that journey and may have some advise that can help you, let me know what your challenges are and I will share with you my words of wisdom!



~Sincerely
          Striving,

         

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coupons!!!!! Who uses those anymore? .....The best of the best

Have you heard of thegrocerygame.com? A sister friend of mind turned me on to this site and I have to say that this is definitely a worth while “Real Life Game” to play. When you subscribe to thegrocerygame.com, you are privied to all of weekly sales for the grocery stores in your area via one site.

The basic concept is Coupons... Yes you heard me right, remember those things? Thegrocerygame.com compiles the sales with the manufacturers and in store coupons, letting you know how much you save and how much you will spend. You should purchase 1 Sunday paper for every house hold member or ask anyone you know that may buy the paper for their coupons if they are not using them.

About 2 weeks ago my sister friend spent $5.93 and saved an $68.35 with Publix's Buy1 get1 free sale and using coupons. This is what she purchased 6 Arm & Hammer Tooth Paste-Free, 4Packages of Hillshire Farm Sausages @.49$ per package, Mabeline Mascara @.29$, 4 Krusteaz Bakery Cookies @.15$ and 4 Snuggles Fabric Softener Free.

Being a single mother, it is definitely worth purchasing, cutting and filing these coupons to say the least. Playing this thegrocerygame.com will save you time and money. For more info on how to play the grocery game check out: www.ehow.com/how_2096169_play-grocery-game.html or simply log on to http://www.thegrocerygame.com/

Monday, October 19, 2009

Creating A Life Plan




Creating a life plan is much easier then it sounds. A life plan starts with goals and a detailed pathway on how to get there. For most of us it's not how to get there that is the challenge; it's making a commitment to our self to see the pathway through.




Creating a life plan can be overwhelming if you chose to do this in one setting. I suggest over a 2 week period (depending on what your seeking to accomplish) dedicate 1 -2 hrs daily to creating your life plan On Paper. It is well worth the effort. Those that choose to create life plans are far more satisfied with their life and have a comfortable since of direction then those that don't. I will use myself for example. I need structure in order to function. If I have to make a choice no matter how big or how small, I get an overwhelming feeling which ends up being frustration in a matter of seconds if I don't have time to think it through. Part of my on going life plan is to get as organized before 2010. As you may have read in a prior blog my objective was to organize our closets. For some people this is a simple task however for those of us that have created a life plan, the picture is much bigger then re-organizing a closet. It is a process. Above is an example of a life plan to reorganize my home. Click on the picture to see the diagram enlarge. The goal is to organize my home. In every color block I listed a reason why I want to accomplish this goal. The lines are some of the task on how I chose get there.