Category: Debt

Changing your Financial’tude

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These are some interesting times. All I hear from my clients and acquaintances is that nobody can survive financially. Is there anything to be done?

I say YES. There is a lot we can do.

We can start by changing our attitudes toward money and toward what we think we NEED. We have become so spoiled that we have lost touch with reality. TV and Social Media are filled with posts and ads that tell us how to make more money, how to save money, how to invest or not invest and how to cut expenses. The other half fills our brains with SPEND SPEND SPEND.

Where is the happy medium here? How do we learn how to exist in moderation while at the same time enjoying our lives? Greed has become synonymous to success, to prosperity and to our status in life. How wrong is that?

The first thing we ALL have to realize is that when we leave this earth, we will take NOTHING with us. No expensive clothes, no cars, no homes, no jewelry, NOTHING. Having said that, what are our actual NEEDS in life? Well, it’s simpler than it sounds. We actually NEED to have a roof over our heads, our health and food. The rest we have learned to accept as society’s rules for our status in life.

Do we need a new car every couple of years? NO
Do we need to buy “stuff” for our homes every month? NO
Do we need the newest model of cell phone, tablet, and computer? NO
Do we need to spend on lattes daily? NO
Do we need to have manicures and pedicures every week? NO
Do we need to eat at Restaurants weekly? NO

Can we live with less? DEFINITELY! Can we learn how to prioritize needs vs. wants? DEFINITELY

When you compare your income versus your expenses you MUST have money left, otherwise you are running on empty. You haven’t seen me mention anywhere about a credit card debt payment. I did this on purpose, because you should NOT have credit card debt. If you do, you have to pay it off immediately. Take your credit cards, lock them in a drawer and forget they exist. You never need more than one credit card and that ONLY for emergencies such as doctors, or hospitals.

You have to put aside the money you have left after all is paid every month. Do not splurge on lattes, haircuts pedicures, clothes, shoes, etc unless you can actually put some money in a savings account.

If you have, let’s say 50 dollars left, then this is your “pamper” budget for the entire month.

This is the ONLY way we will all survive and get out of debt. STOP comparing your situation with others. Learn to enjoy your home, invite friends over for a meal, actually friend meals that rotate from home to home is a great way to have fun, pay MUCH LESS for food and drinks and stay connected.

Make the effort to live within your NEEDS and below your means. We have to live within our own truth, take charge of our lives and situations and be HAPPY and GRATEFUL for the little things in life, such as our friends, our homes, our communities.

4 Ways to Conquer the Debt Beast!

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Debt, debt, debt! It seems like this word has become our nemesis and we are all looking the other way to make it disappear. I was right there, until I got really mad at myself for feeling defeated.

Debt can feel so big and overwhelming that it almost feels like it is a living breathing creature, a beast. I decided to use the idea of debt as a beast as a tool to help me fight.

“Hey Debt! Can you hear me?? Are you playing David and Goliath with me? Do you know who won in the end? I will beat you!”

You may be laughing at my childish outburst, but this really gave me the power to start my war to conquer this beast. Here are the four keys to my success in fighting the debt beast, maybe they will work for you….

  1. The first thing I did, was sit and write down what I spend and why. Then, I started deleting all the “extra stuff” like new shoes, clothes, music, restaurants and did not stop until I was satisfied from the outcome of the first battle. NOTHING is more important in life than ourselves. No clothes, no jewelry, no restaurant. NOTHING.
  2. The next step was to ask for help. Me, ask for help? Well, yes I did and it feels wonderful, because the feeling of receiving actual help is lifting a ton of weight from our shoulders. You have to look at this in a very cool fashion. It isn’t personal; it’s just part of life. Be honest with yourself, and you’ll see that nothing can hold you back once you get in the mindset to live a debt free life.
  3. Be happy and live within your means. It feels so good to look the debt beast in the eye every month and say: “Ah I just cut another limb from your ugly body!” This mental game made me feel so empowered, so happy every month that I could sleep at night knowing that I was doing the right thing.
  4. Another tip is that you can pay a little extra when you have it, and you will be out of debt in no time. But be careful. Do not pay more when you don’t have enough money left to pay for food, rent/mortgage, or utilities. Paying off debt and being responsible for your day-to-day bills is the key to final and absolute success. I usually pay a little more here and there during the Holidays. I see this as a small gift of freedom to myself, instead of hitting the Malls and buying gifts. A little radical some may say, but it works for me.

So, let’s go and face the battle together! We can slay the debt beast, and live FREE at last!

This is your life

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October 10th is International Mental Health Day.

Every year that day, the main purpose is to raise awareness about mental health and mental illness, the deletion of every stigma that surrounds this topic. Every year seems to open a little more space for people who want to talk about what they experience, but they feel they cannot. Mental health is not a shame – we all live in the same society that is constantly running and we all set high expectations to ourselves constantly. Sometimes, we need to take a break and take care of ourselves. It is our only source of power.

Below, a text from www.awakengr.com has made the round of the internet – and for good reason. It is worthwhile to read.

“We do not live, we run.

We’re all running, to catch up, to do, someone to see, to pay, to hear, to learn, to read, something.

From the moment we open our eyes until we close them, we run.

Even during moments of rest, even in our spare time, even then we feel like we must do something.

“What are you doing?”. “Nothing” (this is the most worrying answer).

“What are you doing?”. “Running” (this is the most common answer).

If you sit for an hour without doing anything, just looking at the wall or nature, you feel guilty.

If they see you resting for an hour, doing nothing, just looking at the wall or nature, they will suggest ‘antidepressants’.

Because beyond the tasks you have to do, besides your duties, you could make use of this time by reading, listening to music, hitting the gym – instead of losing your time.

As if the time of relaxation is lost life. Like the rest of life, where we’re running to prevent something, is a winning life.

Even our children are breastfeeding with the ideal of the unrelenting effort.

We run, our children are running.

We always have to do something, not to “waste our time”. But this empty time is an absolute need.

When we empty our mind, we get closer to our core.

Mental illness is the pandemic of modern civilization.

Depression, compulsions, phobias and especially anxiety.

Why we are running? We run to save our life and we do not understand that life is actually left behind.

What we chase is the face of the expectations we think we must have.

Why we have to be successful, we have to have more money, we have to be educated-smart-beautiful-tired-weak-happy -we have to have the smartest kids, and we have to overcome the others, get more money from others, be more educated-smart-beautiful-tired-weak-happy than others.

We have to do, we have to be, we have to have something more and something more and we are all running to grab it and we are all struggling to achieve this “more”, and finally comes a moment where you understand that you lost the little that you had.

You did not enjoy your body and your youth, because you always wanted to be stronger, handsomer, sexier.

But when you are eighty years old and you look at the pictures of youth, you understand that you were more handsome than you believed then.

You did not enjoy your partner because he constantly complained and did not make enough money, and he was not romantic-handsome-erotic and because you did not get to work with him, you had to run.

But at the age of eighty, when you will not have him/her next to you, you will miss his complaints and his faults, and that stupid way he told you, “Oh, yes, I love you”

You did not enjoy your kids because you had to send them to the kindergarten so you could run to offer them everything and you had to prepare them for kindergarten, send them to elementary school, send them to learn – music-theater-ballet-computers, and they had to read all day to go to university and then leave the house before you even realized where time went.

And at eighty, you look at your children’s pictures and you understand that you did not get to embrace them as much as you wanted, you did not get to play with them because you had to run and they had to run.

You look back and you understand that you did not gain anything.

And that seems strange to you.

You were all running but you did not get it.

Why did you run then?

To pay all bills? But you still owe and new bills come every day.

And you understand that you were running to survive.

I’m sorry to say, but now, at the age of eighty, you do not have time for remorse.

Take a deep breath and empty your mind. Do not run anymore. Stop!

And if you are not eighty, if you have small children, embrace them, play with them. So quickly, before you realize it, they will no longer be children.

Stop! Take a breath.

 

What I Have Learned From my Mistakes

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When we make mistakes, or rather while we are making them, we often don’t realize that they are mistakes. My excuse was always, “Oh, I’ll find a way around this,” or “Just this one time.”

I found out though that the more slack I gave myself, the more I repeated the behaviors, and then I beat myself up for not learning from my mistakes.

It is a big thing for me personally to be able to say that I have learned from my mistakes. It took time, effort, and a lot of tears.

Here is my personal list of lessons learned. I have a copy on my fridge so I never forget.

  1. Be honest about what you need and what you think you need.
  2. Ignorance is not bliss. Not knowing where you stand financially, can ruin you.
  3. Don’t buy unless you pay off your debts. No shoes, clothes, jewelry, spas, lattes.
  4. Stay on top of your bills every month. Pick a date and go through your bank accounts, bills, and payments.
  5. Run your home like you are the CEO of a huge corporation.
  6. Don’t “invest” in get-rich-quick schemes. You will only wind up spending more money. When something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is just that: Too good to be true.
  7. Be happy with every small victory. Every payment that you make toward your debt brings you closer to freedom.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone in this journey.
  9. Don’t be ashamed of your situation. MOST of us have been exactly where you are at some point in our lives.
  10. And last but not least, SMILE. Life is going by too fast. Smile; you’re doing the right thing. Every small step is a step closer toward achieving your goals.

Happier With Less

Times are changing fast all around the world. A lot of people keep saying: “ah those good old days”. The old days were much simpler and people were used to living with much less.

Just think about it for a second. Did they have cell phones or television or Internet? Did they care if they would buy a new car every two years? Did they have stacks of clothes hanging in closets unused?

People were happy with one good pair of shoes, one Sunday outfit and a roof over their heads. OK I get it, nobody wants to live in what we have come to label as poverty anymore.

BUT living with less can actually make you happier.

My husband and I decided to do just that, and you can’t imagine how much happier we are. As a result we spend MUCH less, we actually have extra money left at the end of each month.

I will explain how we do it. In my last blog I explained how to create a budget. Using this budget, we see and decide how we can save even more.

Here’s the list:

  1. We never have lights on except for the room in which we are sitting.
  2. We have only ONE television set. No need to pay high cable bills.
  3. We did a research and cut the home phone line completely. We are only using our cell phones. We save about $120.00 per month. And you can add your cell phone to your local police station for reverse 911 calls and emergencies.
  4. We switch computers off at night and unplug everything from the walls. We managed to pay an average electric bill of $25 per month.
  5. We never let the water run while brushing our teeth. It’s a waste
  6. We use small space heaters and not the central heating unit, because this way we are warm where we sit and spend much less energy.
  7. We eat out once every other month. The rest of the time, we socialize with our friends and share dinners at our homes. We are having so much fun.
  8. We have a set grocery list and never “cheat”. We buy what we actually eat and never have to throw good food away. For a household of two, we pay no more than $850 per month for groceries, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics.
  9. We have created a “wish” list of clothes, shoes and accessories, and we send it to our friends and family. We have decided that receiving what we need during Christmas and our birthdays, makes it easy on the people who want to buy gifts for us, and we almost spend zero on clothing anymore.
  10. We don’t buy magazines. We can read everything we need online.

You can play with this list idea and you will see how much simpler your life will get and how much money you can save with little effort. We are very happy and wish you all the same! Life is about living happy and within our means.

The uphill marathon toward entrepreneurship

Hi everyone! Have been traveling a lot this summer and have been observing a lot of stuffThe uphill marathon toward entrepreneurship.

There is a frenzy for blogging, for success, for more, more, more and more. S T O P!

Start thinking and calm down. When will OK be good enough? I do not make money from my blog on purpose. I just write my thoughts, my experiences and see it as what it really is. A hobby. Not EVERYONE has to be an entrepreneur, not everyone has to have a blog. Continue reading “The uphill marathon toward entrepreneurship”

Holidays are around the corner

November is already here and with it starts a frenzy of spending.

This is a very good time to budget your expenses, because most of my clients come to me wide eyed after the Holidays asking themselves where all the money went. We tend to forget that the year comes to an end and we need to prepare for taxes. Do you have all your ducks in a row?

I have talked about creating a budget in the past. If you haven’t done so, PLEASE start now. Make sure that you are out of debt! If you have consumer debt (credit cards, store cards, etc.) get creative about the upcoming Holidays. Expensive gifts are not going to help you with your debt, and don’t show how much you love your friends and family.
Start simply with an excel sheet, write down ALL your monthly expenses and include your credit card debt payments.
On the next column write down what you bring in every month. Subtract expenses from income and see what you have left.

If there is nothing left, then you have to set some goals and get rid of your debt as fast as possible. Wait to do some basic shopping after Thanksgiving, when prices are at their best.
Make a very conservative list of people you NEED to buy presents for. If you have kids, they don’t need 20 presents each. They can do with 2. Don’t fall for the social pressure trap, and never compare your situation with others. Everyone has their own financial situation and never forget that we create our situation.

Make these Holidays simple, happy and surrounded only by people that truly matter. You can absolutely decline invitations that do not mean anything more than more expenses, and that are not surrounded by friends.

I have cut my list down to 8 people. Everyone else, like colleagues, social acquaintances, my hair and nail salon people etc., will be very happy to receive a small package of cookies or a cake that you baked. You can easily find cheap festive baking pans in your local super market, and simply bake something. The cost of this will only thank your wallet.

I will be posting more ideas as the days go by. Have a great November, and remember! Good finances give you absolute freedom from stress and anxiety.

 

 

 

Unemployment as Reality

Thinking about life, jobs, careers, finances, I read this very interesting article and am sharing it with you.

Unfortunately, unemployment is a reality nowadays, so some of you might find some hope and insight.

Feeling Ashamed of Being Unemployed – Am I afraid of telling people that I am out of work?

Published by Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D. in Anxiety Files

I told a neighbor of mine that I had written a book on coping with unemployment and he said to me, “I never told you this, but last year I was unemployed for five months. The worst time for me was when I got up in the morning. I was too embarrassed to go out. I felt like I was in a prison until five in the afternoon when I could leave my apartment. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was unemployed”. How sad—but how human. He is not alone. In Tokyo businessmen get dressed up in the early morning in their suits and leave their apartments and take a train to another part of the city where they sit in a park all day until they can return home. They don’t want anyone to know that they are unemployed. For many, there is a sense of shame, of personal failure, a sense that everyone can see that they don’t have a job and that everyone is judging them. Some people think, “It’s like I am wearing a sign around my neck—unemployed, failure, unwanted.”

Normalize unemployment

But isn’t unemployment a normal condition in our economy? If there are millions of people unemployed at any one time, isn’t it part of our economic system? An unfortunate part-but also simply a reality. Being unemployed is not the same thing as committing a felony. It’s a difficult time, it’s hard to cope, but it’s seldom something anyone intentionally wants. In fact, at any time in history, the job market is fluid. People are always in and out of and in between jobs. One of my former employees filed for unemployment after he finished his training—because his next job (an internship) didn’t start for two months. He was simply exercising his rights in collecting his benefits. He was smart.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world of permanent, life-long jobs. We live in a fluid world, jobs change, markets change, and the job pool is “elastic”. Jobs disappear and jobs are created.

Networks count

Ask yourself, if you are unemployed, “Am I afraid of telling people that I am out of work?” If you are, then you might be missing the chance to get a job. Why? In a study by Franzen and Hangartner in 2006 in the United States, 44% of people got their job through a social contact. The more social contacts that you have, the easier it is to get a job. But if you are so embarrassed about being unemployed- and you tell no one- then you are not making use of your network. Reaching out may be the lifeline that you need.

And think about what you may be avoiding if you are like my neighbor. You are not getting out meeting people, doing things, feeling normal. You are imprisoning yourself. I suggest to my patients who feel this way that they need to take back their lives, go to all the places that they have been avoiding and even—if it seems appropriate—tell someone that they are out of work.

Don’t assume that everyone is a critic

How do you feel about a friend or family member who is out of work? Do you treat them like they are an outcast? You probably have more sympathy and acceptance for a stranger than you might have for yourself. One of my patients who had been unemployed found that a friend also told him that he had gone through a period of being out of work. Sometimes people might actually look at this as an opportunity to help someone they care about.

Take back your life

Locking yourself in your own prison and feeling ashamed about a normal but difficult part of life only undermines your opportunity to take back your life, recognize that being unemployed is simply a current situation to deal with—not a character failing—and that talking to people can help you realize that some people might actually be on your side.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Unemployment is a normal part of life for millions of decent people.
Being unemployed is not a crime or a moral failing.
Feeling ashamed of economic conditions is like blaming yourself for the economy. You didn’t cause it, you don’t control it.
Bad things happen to good people during difficult times.
Taking back your life means getting out, talking to people, and normalizing what you do.
Don’t assume that people will judge you. Maybe they have been through this in the past.
The more people you talk to, the better your chance of getting a job.

 

 

About a new friend, Mike Omar

I rarely write about others in my blog. This one though not only caught my attention, but also made me change my simple blog to a website-blog.

Looking around to buy a new book for my Kindle, I saw a title that captured my curiosity: HOW TO START A BLOG THAT PEOPLE WILL READ, by Mike Omar. I bought it and started reading, to see what this guy had to say. BIG POSITIVE SURPRISE!!!

Needless to mention that I am sick and tired of the same marketing recipe that is floating all around us. And I mean: “this book will show you how to this and that and the other… Have you ever……???? Well I am here to……” 30 some pages go by and you still haven’t even started reading what you bought the book for!

Not Mike Omar though. He captured my attention from the first paragraph and literally reignited my passion, my fire and my inspiration. I have been writing my blog since July 2010 and with a lot of patience and persistence I gathered 700 followers and subscribers. Not a small feat for a novice like me.

He took me from blah… to WOW in a minute! So my friends, I followed step-by-step his easy to understand, straight forward advice and here I am today with a brand new website-blog of my own, that supports WordPress and I have a wonderful blog with new features, more interactive and without space limits.

I am still learning by Mike, and I will make this a lucrative blog that can eventually bring me some income.

I totally urge you to go see what Mike Omar is all about, at http://makemoneyfromhomelionsclub.com/

Even if you are not interested in blogging, you will learn some valuable stuff.

THANK YOU Mike!