BEING FINANCIALLY FAITHFUL IN 2021
In challenging times, I cannot stress the need for financial awareness and literacy. For most, the tools to improve your financial situation are already in your possession. In fact, living within your means can be reality. It all starts with sacrifice. Ask yourself these questions?
Do you have a budget?
When discussing financial issues with people, I have realized that most people do not have a budget. They have no method of keeping track of what comes in and what goes out. Without my monthly budget sheet, I would be totally lost. I know that in any given month I will be only be paid twice, and I know what expenses need to be covered from each of those paychecks. This simple tracking allows me to understand what limits I have on my spending. It also leads the way to putting that occasional third paycheck directly into the savings account. If you have no clue what amounts should be in your budget for groceries or extras like grooming the dog or getting your nails done, track your habits for a month or two. Budgets are not made to create restrictions; they are just a guide, so you can achieve financial balance and reduce stress. A happy purse makes a happy person.
What time of year causes the most stress on your budget?
When kids were introduced into my life, the holidays became a major challenge financially. You want them to have everything you did not have as a child, so the Christmas tree had to have lots of gifts for each. Do you know that you are the worst enemy to your budget during Christmas? Kids honestly just want to enjoy your time and attention. You can give them the joy of opening presents and still stay within your budget. But when you know you are going to overspend, have a plan! My plan is my cash back bonus. Review my earnings below:
So basically, I made $482 to spend at Christmas without lifting a finger. How does it work? Whether you have credit card balances or not, you can designate one card that offers a cash back as your payoff card. This means that for the normal expenses that will you pay for in cash monthly, use the card instead and pay it off each month. I'm blessed to be in a position to have only one card, so I use my credit card just like a debit card - for almost everything and I pay it off by the first of each month. In addition to earning cash back on everything, I also can track my balance and be aware of my spending. If I go over, I just carry a small balance into the next month and pay it off before the 28-day grace period to avoid interest. I love this plan and the extra cash at Christmas is the icing on the cake! I use my credit card to make money instead of getting in the interest trap - been there and done that!
What can you do?
Again, I cannot stress how difficult this year has been. Money stresses can affect your health and relationships. Take some time this month to consider ways you can save money or create a plan for saving money. Financial awareness and literacy involve being proactive about your choices. There are some very creative ways that people have come up with to make sure they have the money need to keep afloat. I remember someone sharing with me years ago that they would always round up when writing amounts in their check register (like if they spent $6.07 they would subtract $7 in their log) and ended up with $500 extra in the bank. That may not work today with online banking, but never underestimate the power of creating a strategy and seeing it through. With that said, I hope you have an awesomely Blessed and totally rewarding 2021. Hugs, Carla
Your relationship with money is important
If you ask most single women what is the most important quality in a partner, they would likely say faithfulness or loyalty. Just as we have expectations of a love relationship, we have to set expectations of our relationship with money. Do you start the year out saying you are going to put a certain amount away? Do you talk about saving but end up spending more? How do you think your savings account feels when it is always having to cover your checking account from overdrafts? You are literally cheating on your money and being the worst type of player - promising that you are going to make steady deposits and it just never gets done! Take a moment and reflect on why your saving account is low or gets depleted each month. I know many people struggle with money and lost wages due to the pandemic, but wouldn't things would have been a little easier if you had $10-20K in the bank beforehand? Think back over the last 10 years. Let's say you calculated how much money you spent ordering food instead of cooking. I recently stopped at a fast food drive thru and got combo meals for my son and I. It costed nearly $17. That same amount of money could have bought breakfast, lunch, and a decent dinner at the grocery store. Also consider how much leftovers you threw out last year. Each time I clean out the frig, I'm throwing away at least 3-4 meals. Let's not mention the items we purchase and never use. I'm sure that if over the last 10 years I would have been more aware of how I treated my money, then I would have had a lot more in the bank. So before this first payday of 2021, take a moment and think about your relationship with money and how you can achieve a healthy relationship that grows your bank accounts. How can you keep your savings account happy?
In the next few days, I will also post some tips I have learned and practice to help with my finances. Let's make our relationship with money a prosperous one.
What once was will never be
"2020" We may never ever need to say that again. In a few days, we will be starting a new year. I'm so looking forward to it, but I hope I'm not the only one who can say that despite the challenges of 2020, I experienced the most growth both personally and emotionally than I have ever done throughout my 46 years. Let's dive right into it!
Maintaining what works - In the absence of being physically present, you can show and interact with love ones by answering when they need you, using Facetime, and reaching out through cards or texts. I remember when my son and I were doing a walkthrough of a house I was thinking about buying. He and I included my daughter by having her on Facetime. She was able to see what we saw and hear our thoughts about the house in real time. She also asked questions to the realtor. She was in a sense there. Yes, it was different, but it worked.
Promoting Self Love -I've had a lot of time to reflect during 2020. So many things happened that were beyond my control that I had to rediscover what at the end of the day makes me happy. Sitting down to a movie with a glass of wine, studying a different language, reading a book, treating myself to a bubble bath in the middle of the day, enjoying a walk on the beach, or even having a quiet moment of meditation were all ways I showed myself self love. When you try, you can make something beautiful from very little. For example, I began to mix lavender oil and shea butter with cane sugar, honey, and coconut oil to create an all-natural scrub. Along with warm water, my bath tub became an oasis for refreshing my soul and exfoliating my skin.
A few days ago, I overheard two people having a discussion. One was excited about celebrating Thanksgiving, but the other condemned the holiday. He spoke about how the first Thanksgiving supported colonization of our country and led to the suppression of Native Americans. Judging the views of others is not my job. I will never be the one to ignore history. I feel we should learn from it and find ways to make it better. What I will say is we must learn to build from what we have now. I was raised to see Thanksgiving as a coming together - A time to share your blessings and share love. My mom is not with us today, but she always started cooking on Wednesday night and stayed up until morning baking sweets and goodies to only get back up in an hour or so to start the main meal. I would sneak into the kitchen when she fell asleep and stuff my mouth with anything she would not notice was missing when she returned to her duty. The love of family is instilled in our blood because of how we were taught to celebrate and give thanks to God at Thanksgiving.
My favorite dessert at Thanksgiving is Jelly Cake. My mom would make it and pretend to not notice the missing slice I took before the dinner. She wouldn't say anything but smile. When she passed, my sister Voncille began baking it for me. She would make it with five thin layers and put lots of apple jelly in between each of them. I miss both my mom and sister and my other family members who have transitioned so much. My sister, Vina, then started baking jelly cakes for me. Vina's cake sometimes leaned or was a little crunchy around the edges, but it was so delicious because of the love she poured into it. This year, I'm going to attempt to make my own. I'm not good at baking cakes so my expectation is going to start at the bottom and hopefully I will surprise myself. Sometimes you have to let go of the norm to see what you are made of within. COVID has definitely brought on some challenges, but keep in mind, it will not last forever. Remember Thanksgiving is a blessing of love so no matter how your traditional dinner or gathering changes, let people know that you still love and are thinking of them. Have a beautiful safe holiday and many Blessings always. ~ Carla
My Garage GYM Is Growing
I totally get doing things yourself, but I like my stuff put together already. I don't mind paying a little extra. With the current pandemic, I find that with many companies, assembly service is not available. They just want to leave it on the curb! Sometimes they won't even ring the doorbell to let you know your package was delivered. I had to pull out the tools and with a little help from my dog, we did it. Ok, I may have also had a few glasses of wine too. LOL
So what did I buy?
I love working out. I walk almost every day but some times the weather does not cooperate. I know that my leg strength is important for keeping my knees strong to carry my curvy figure. Squats is one way to help build and protect my leg muscles, but I find doing them challenging - the whole no-leaning thing. Well, I feel like I cannot master doing a squat correctly no matter how hard I try. But wait... this tiny machine is perfect. It guides you down for the perfect squat. All you do is push with the legs. You can make it a full body workout to by pulling with the arms. There are also resistance bands to allow you to build your strength gradually. I am in love with the range of motion of this machine!
Two Month Update
This post was long overdue. I purchased my squat machine in July and I have to say that it has been an awesome experience. I feel stronger, more confident, and motivated to get on it. I use it about 3-4 times per week combined with a simple cardio dance routine.
When you find something that works, embrace it and share it. I no longer feel like squats are difficult. The guided assistance of this machine makes doing squats literally as easy as pie!
Comment below if you are interested in getting one. And remember... Keep your chin up, show yourself love, and do those squats correctly. Hugs, Carla
Women's Mental Health
Be Aware Of Your Internal Signs
We all lead stressful lives. At some point, you have to slow down and take a step back. Whether you are worried about your kids or a little short on a bill or maybe your friend said something you did not like, there is always something to fret about in the daily life of a woman. Despite what is going on in our lives, we are expected to still meet our responsibilities and step up to our roles as mom, leader, confidant, guider, and coordinator. But what happens when you realize there is overload? How does a woman cope when the pressure is on max? One indicator of meeting my breaking point is a noticeable increase in anxiety. When I get nervous or start to become short tempered with those around me, those are my internal signs that I need to take a break - I need to step away. There are so many factors that happen beyond your control. I have lost my Father, then Mother, then Brother-in-law, then Sister, then another Sister. I know what being on the verge of mental breakdown feels like. Grief is no joke.
1. Talk to someone. Do not let negativity or what you are worrying about brew. It is so much easier to talk with a family member or close friend about your problem, than to let it snowball. If you are in a disagreement with a spouse or significant other - talk to them about it.
2. Pray! Rely on your Faith during your time of need. Some things you may not want to talk about with a person. Always take your worries to God for He alone is all powerful and can resolve it.
3. Spend time with yourself. Take a break when you need to. Go get your nails done or have some ice cream. You can also go on an overnight trip. Plan a mini vacation where you can relax and recover.
4. Seek professional help. There seems to be a stereotype that goes along with therapy, but you have to ignore it. Talking with a non-biased person confidentially can go a long way. Keep in mind, that most healthcare plans cover counseling services.
I hope this blog post helps you with whatever you are going through. Know that we all have good days and bad days - it's how you work through them that matters. Comment below with how you cope with life's punches. I would love to see what you do.
Be Blessed today and always, Carla