Financial Advice

Emergency!!

I think it’s safe to say that many people, millennials mostly, are not set up to financially handle an emergency. If you follow Dave Ramsey, his first Baby Step is to have an emergency fund of $1,000. To be clear, I don’t necessarily follow his steps, but I do agree with having an emergency fund.

For some, $1,000 is a lot to attempt to save, while for others, like myself, $1,000 doesn’t seem like enough to save. If anything, I believe, to start, $2k-$3k is a good place to start. I know for many that will be a struggle, but in all honesty, it’s necessary.

Before beginning a debt free journey, while you’re being all gazelle intense (meaning throwing every cent at debt), it’s wise to have a cushion in case something was to happen. Outside of your bills, of you are throwing every cent to debt and working a $0 budget, that means you have no money left. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you are screwed. To literally have $0 in the bank, that’s ludicrous. This is why it’s best to have an emergency fund before starting this journey.

Things will arise, major things that you didn’t expect or plan for, that will throw a wrench into your progress. That’s life and you need to be prepared at all times for it. Unknown that when I started this journey, I had a car that was causing me problems. I blew threw my emergency fund for repairs. Despite having to empty my EF account, I was glad I had the money to do it. Had I not, I’m not sure how I would’ve been able to get to work and make the money to pay off debts.

I say all this to say, do not start any kind of financial journey that requires significantly large amounts of money to be spent, if you don’t have an emergency fund. Period.

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Angela, The Novice Wealthbuilder

The #debtfreecommunity on Instagram is rapidly growing and so many millennials are becoming debt free. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m on a journey to becoming debt free. Through this community, I’ve sesrched for, found, and still searching for single black moms who are either debt free or working towards becoming debt free. Our guest on the blog is one of these moms who has recently become debt free, and here is our interview.

1.    First, tell me a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, number of kids, all that you would like to share.

I’m in my mid-thirties, mother to a pre-teen girl and reside in California. I work at a major tv network assisting with developing entertaining and educational tv concepts and programming. I’m currently at the low end of totem pole but rapidly working my way up the ladder!

2.    How did you accrue your debt? (Credit cards, student loans, personal loans, car loans, etc.)

My debt came from the usual suspects. Credit card, car payment and student loans. When I began my journey in 2014 the breakdown looked like this;

• Credit Card- $4,000

• Car Loan- $26, 315

• Student Loan- $27,465

            I decided to follow the snowball method and tackle the smallest debt first.

3.    What was your final straw to make you start tackling your debt, and what kept you motivated on the journey?

I was making decent money, for me, at the time. About 50k a year, yet I didn’t have anything to show for it. Yes, I had nice clothes, nails and hair done, and I was just learning about building wealth. I was contributing 10% to my 401k and additional funds to my HSA. The lightbulb hit when I started reading getting interested in purchasing real estate, specifically a multi-family unit. After tons of reading and research I learned that purchasing something of that caliber as a single woman and mother with no substantial savings and a ton of debt would be extremely risky, that it was a risk I was not willing to take. So, I decided to become debt free, build my emergency fund and then save for my property. I want my purchase to be a blessing and not a curse.

4.    What are some things that you stopped doing or deprived yourself of on the journey?

EVERYTHING! One thing that stands out the most was the decision to stay in my one-bedroom apartment. Once things financially started to pick up, I wanted to move into a bigger place so my daughter could have her own bedroom and we can live more comfortably. To keep my debt payoff momentum going I decided to stay. Housing is one of your biggest expenses so keeping that at a bare minimum is what allowed me to progress during my journey. Now that I’m debt free I have no desire to move, and I’m able to tackle my other financial goals rapidly as consequence to that.  To be completely transparent most of the deprivation came from simply not having any money. Over the course of my 4-year debt payoff journey I was laid off 3 times. I went from making 50k a year to 30k to 15k a year. Thankfully I was diligent with paying off my debts (credit card and car at that time) that I only needed to pay for basic living expenses which included rent, internet, cell phone, tuition and food.  When my income finally did increase it was easy to forgo birthday parties, events, concerts, spa days, hair appointments, restaurants, shoes, and weekend getaways.  I saw how easy it was to go broke and I was determined more than ever to finish off my student loans and save.

5.    What are some things you did to assist in paying off your debts?

I worked and sacrificed. I didn’t side hustle because that was time and energy that prevented me from performing exceptionally well at my place of employment and would prevent elevation. I did work overtime whenever I was able. I would dabble in focus groups but that wasn’t very lucrative. I made a budget, cooked at home, started an Instagram account to share my journey with like-minded individuals since I had no one in real life I could relate to. I also started my account to document my journey so that when things are at a halt or I get discouraged I could look back and see the ground I’ve covered and muster up the motivation to continue.

6.    Did you have a support system and how did people around you react when you said you were starting this journey? Did anyone understand?

My boyfriend at the time was a huge support to me. Mainly because he was getting out of debt as well. My friends were supportive by being offended when I turned down invites. Some even offered to find free to stuff to do and at times would treat me. My mother respected what I was doing and was amazed at the numbers I was throwing towards debt each month. When I explained to people why I was putting myself through such drastic measures it made sense and people understood. However, it’s very difficult to put into action. Lastly, my baby girl was my support system. She understood why she couldn’t do certain activities, why we couldn’t get hot lunch anymore or why we ate the same foods over and over. She would remind me that we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the house when I wanted to stop and get food on the way home.

7.    Are there people in your inner circle who you have inspired to do the same?

I inspired mother to be more aggressive with paying off her credit cards. She’s not gazelle intense but she’s moving. She’s also been thinking about paying her house off in 7 years instead of 15 so she can be debt free when she retires. Other than my mom, I’ve helped a few friends complete a budget to at least see where their money is going and how they can cut back and save.

8.    What was your feeling when you pressed the submit button on that final payment?

Words can’t describe the feeling. There were times when I wanted to give up and stop, especially after the layoffs. I had to take on jobs that paid practically nothing and rely on government support to get by, which I’m so grateful the option was there. Once the day finally came, that I would be making my final debt payment, an unexpected tear came down my face ( I know it sounds a bit melodramatic) but it came from a sense of relief and actual peace. I didn’t expect to be emotional. It’s probably one of my greatest accomplishments, and for my daughter to not only see but experience the ups and downs and then witness the end was just amazing. 

9.    Now that you’re debt free, what are your money goals? Will you still budget? Will you invest? Save?

I still budget and track my expenses. Now that I’ve gotten a raise so to speak, it’s even more important to assign each penny a job. I’m finally able to put into action what motivated me to get out of debt. I’m currently on month 3 of my 6-month emergency fund. I’m contributing 6% of my income into my Roth 401K, and in April I will save for 2 months to pay for a Disney Cruise  that my daughter and I will be taking in September (Our 1st out of state vacation together). Once my emergency fund is complete, I will up my retirement contributions to 15% and will begin saving for my investment property, which I hope to buy in 2021.

10.  Thinking into the future, how will you help your child(ren) when it comes to managing money and not taking on debt?

I’m placing a big emphasis on school and education right now, so that she can obtain scholarships to attend college. Whenever she gets money some goes to savings, giving and she can spend. I also have her plan out her month with events and activities she wants to attend, and she’ll budget and spend money according to what she has left in her spending pouch. I’m proud to say this experience has taught her a ton about not only budgeting but the dangers of debt and the rewards of building wealth.

11.  What are some last encouraging words that you have for other single moms out there who are embarking on this journey to living a stress-free, debt-free life?

JUST DO IT!  It’s so fulfilling and worth it.  Although my daughters father financially supports her there are many times when I wished that I didn’t NEED his support. Now, that I’m debt free, so much money has been freed up to continue offering her a great quality of life.

 Best,

“Angela” 

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Acquiring More Debt

FML. That’s my thoughts early this morning. As I was reviewing my budget planner for the last six months, I was shocked st how much money I was just throwing away (I’ll post a pic of my final budget review tomorrow). I was literally floored at how much I spent on groceries, eating out and miscellaneous things, in just six months!! This scone half of the year, I have got to do better.

Due to all this frivolous spending, despite saving as much as I did, I ended up having to take out a small personal loan yesterday. Unfortunately, financially I will not make it through until school starts in August. I’ve revisited my budget again and again and unless I find a teaching position before August, I’ll literally have $0 in the bank. That means no rent money nor car payment.

I’m so pissed at myself for that too. I just paid off my last credit card and only had my student loans and car note debts left. I’m hoping that I won’t need to use the loan, but I’m thinking that may be out of the question. I really beating myself up about this but hey, things happen.

My next goal over the next six months is to save 6 months worth so that I don’t have to experience this again. Luckily, I was able to push paying my student loans until December, but depending on how things go, they may have to get pushed further.

I’m really going to buckle down this second half of the year. I’ll explain in detail in a later post.

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: USAA Credit Card and Loan Debt is Paid

 

 

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I’m debt free!!! Well, with USAA I am. I made my last credit card payment with them on May 31 and it just now hit my account. I cannot be happier. I owed them a total of $5,000 in credit cards and a personal loan. I have paid off and closed all accounts. I feel so much relief have one less debt. Now, all I have left is my car and student loans. That’s it.

Next, I’m going to tackle these student loans. If you are new to my blog, I am a single mom on a debt free journey. As of June 4, 2018, I only have student loans and my car to payoff and then I am officially out of debt. Along this journey, I will be sharing what I use to stay on top of my finances. I am not a financial advisor, coach, consultant or guru. I am just using what I learn to get me out of debt in order to retire early and give my son the best life.

Setting goals is important on this journey as well as budgeting. I’ll soon be selling budgeting products in my shop, so stay tuned for that.

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: My Top Financial Gurus

Disclaimer: This will be routinely updated.

Debt Free Black Girl – debtfreeblackgirl.co

The Budgetnista – www.joinlra.com

Clever Girl Finance – www.clevergirlfinance.com

Shanaan Dawda – www.frompaycheckstoower.com

Akira J Dixon – www.akirajdixon.com

Financially Intentional – www.financiallyintentional.com

 

Financial Advice, My Life

First Week of School | First Adult Purchase

This week was a week of firsts for me. Due to hurricane Harvey, we had to start school two weeks later. Just wrapped up the first week and I feel like I’ve really gotten a feel for all 70 of my students and we have gotten into sort of a routine. Now it’s time to really get into teaching writing (did I mention that I am a 4th grade writing teacher?! I’m still stoked about that).

I’ve gotten a feel for the school and working in a public school as well as a district (last year I worked at a charter school). I prefer a public school because of the surmountable resources, trainings and help from other teachers.

I ended the week with making my first adult purchase that was not financed or charged to a card: I bought a couch!!! You all have no idea at how absolutely lit I was when I swiped my debit card. The fact that I swiped my card and didn’t feel like I was going to have a heart attack, that was a long time coming. I have been working so hard, living paycheck-to-paycheck for so many years (6 years to be exact), going from job to job (8 jobs in the past 6 years and that does not include freelancing, UberEats, Postmates, Lyft, Shipt and being an author and YouTuber) and taking out loans and credit cards just to stay afloat. Granted during this time I was living with my mom, however, my bills are my bills.

Now that I have paid off those loans, credit cards, IRS and teacher certification program, I am able to make adult purchases such as buying a couch, in cash. I actually felt like an adult. People always ask at what moment do you feel like you were an actual adult. It wasn’t the real job, getting my first apartment, getting my first car (or second or third), or having actual bills. It was being able to make such a large purchase and not feel my chest tighten or have to look at my bank account. To live comfortably and not be worried about money 24/7.

I say all of this to say that you don’t have to be controlled by money. Take charge of that money and your life. No one else will do it for you and I know that all of this seems cliché and repetitive, however, it works. Budgeting, saying no to extracurricular activities, saying no to Chipotle (that was hard af, and now I want Chipotle), saying no to Starbucks, the club, the movies, dinner, lunch, whatever. A couple years of just saying no, has paid off for the countless years of living reckless and saying yes, balling with no money of my own (all charged or borrowed).

Let me know your financial journey in the comments below.

xoxo The Black Vegan Author

Financial Advice

Financial Check and Update!!

If you have been following me for a while, then you know I am on a journey to financial freedom, and I have been doing a damn good job. I have paid off so much debt since 2015 and I am happy that I am now in the place that I want to be – closer to my goal of being completely debt free. On this journey I have made a few unwise decisions that ended up not being costly, but they could have, so let me get real real with y’all. 

For past financial posts, click here.

Now, I have officially paid off one credit card, Texas Teachers (my alternative teacher certification program) and I am on a payment plan with another credit card that will be paid off real soon. In the midst of having no credit cards, I unwisely decided to get an Amazon credit card and a Capital One credit card, both with extremely high interest rates, I’m talking 24.99%. Yikes!

Now in getting the Amazon credit card, I figured it was a good idea because I shop on Amazon like nobody’s business. The downside is with a credit card, you tend to shop more because it’s not your money. With that being said, I became behind on payments and they lowered my credit limit. By the grace of the universe, I finally got my first unemployment check and with that, I paid off that Amazon card. Will I close it? Maybe, maybe not, but I will by using my own money from now on. 

With the Capital One credit card, I got that because I didn’t know if I was going to have a job and I had received my last check from my last job. I got it in case of emergency. Luckily, I ended up getting the perfect job and didn’t have to use it, though I did have to to pay my health insurance, but upon receiving that unemployment check, I paid it off as soon as it hit my account. 

Now I am back at a 0 balance with both cards. I actually will be closing the Amazon one and keeping the Capital One card for emergencies only. I am happy that I have become financial smarter when making decisions. The old me would’ve taken that unemployment check and when crazy with it. I also received a check from my bank for the hurricane, which was surprising, and that is just going to sit in the bank.

This last credit card that I have to pay off will be paid off by December. I want no debt other than student loans and the note for my new car, going into the new year. I vowed to myself that those would be my only debts for 2018, and look at me now, making it happen. 

So tell me, what were your financial goals this year and have you achieved them? If so, how? If not, what is your plan moving forward?

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Cut Expenses, Add Hustles, Getting Out of Debt

I have been on a “kicking debt’s ass” journey for the past couple of years. I am so determined to be out of debt at 30 and so far, I am on the right road. In the past couple of years I have paid off a credit card ($2500), a personal loan ($3500), the IRS ($500), medical expenses ($200) and as of this month my teacher certification program ($400). Altogether that is $7,100 in two years. That may not seem like a lot to those who have paid off more, but for someone with similar debts as myself, that is a lot, especially considering my main sources of income.

If I still lived at home, I would be halfway through  my loans and my car would be paid off, but life happens and circumstances arise. How did I pay off these debts, you may ask? Here are somethings I did and somethings that others I know have done:

  1. Cut my cable and got an Amazon Fire Stick. It is the best decision ever. I was late to the game, but better late than never right? I know many people who have taken this route and noticed how much money they were spending on cable.
  2. Meal prep and cook at home more. This is a huge thing to cut money and to cut weight, being that we are the fattest country in the world. Meal prep saves you from cooking during the week and from putting on those extra pound.
  3. Upwork is a freelance site that I use to ghostwrite, edit novels, papers, essays and so much more. There are all kinds of freelance jobs on there from virtual assistant to graphic designer. Find your niche and get to work.
  4. GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats and Postmates are other ways many millennials are making money. They’re like Uber and Lyft, but for food. Someone orders food, you pick it up and deliver it.
  5. Kick your Starbucks habit. I would be afraid to see how much some of you spend on Starbucks in a year and I am sure y’all are too.
  6. Apply for odd jobs like dog walking, babysitting, personal assistant, in home cleaning jobs, etc.
  7. Buy clothes from thrift stores and secondhand shops. $300 purses and shoes are not necessary and will not add value to your life.

There are so many ways to save and make money to get out of debt, you just have to be willing to make sacrifices.

Other Financial Posts:

Financial Friday: Minimalism Saves Money

Money & Health (plant-based living)

Financial Friday: My Plan To Get Out Of Debt

Financial Friday

Financial Advice, My Life

Money in Relationships

A while back, someone I follow on IG made a post about why men don’t take women on dates. Now he had some great points, I will admit, but it also brought up another topic that has been on my mind. In my past relationships, I have always been broke. Relationships can be expensive if it is only one person footing the bills. That person has always been me except for one relationship. I have always gone broke putting gas in a man’s car, putting gas in my car when he didn’t have one or if I ended up driving because he didn’t have gas in the car. I spent money on dates, often times paying for myself. Now I am not saying that a man should be paying for everything, but if we are in a courtship, I feel the man should be the man. I don’t think I should be the breadwinner and the one collecting and paying the bills. That’s just not how I see things. 

I have always made the mistake of not seeing these broke men from a mile a way, or staying in these one-sided relationships, putting myself in even more debt. When will it be my turn to be splurged on? When will I ever hear, “Baby, I got it.”? For me, if a man can’t afford to pay all of my bills, he can’t afford me. I am not saying this to say that I am looking for someone to pay my bills, because I can do that myself, however, universe forbid, if I lost my job, I need and want that security that my King has me, that I don’t have to worry about anything. I think every woman wants that security that her man has her. 

Now this all goes vice verse, I would have my man too, but I am not talking about that right now. In my courtship, relationship, marriage, what have you, I feel like the man should be the one taking care of things financially. This is not to say that I won’t be working and helping out, but I also will be taking care of home, making sure the bills are paid, cooking, cleaning, raising and schooling the kids, etc. 

I know that money should not be the main focus of a relationship, but when two people come together, it needs to be talked about and discussed as far as how things will be paid. Just like sex, money is the one of the leading causes of divorce. People don’t like to talk money especially when it comes to spending it, but it is a necessary conversation. Questions need to be asked like:

Do we combine accounts?

Do we keep separate accounts?

Do we combine and have accounts on the side?

How are we going to pay the bills?

Who pays what bills?

Will we set aside money for trust funds? College? If so, do we open a joint account or one in the children’s names?

Things like that have to be discussed. My point is, if a man is not prepared to talk money in this essence, we can’t have any kind of conversation. I’m talking about if and when it gets that serious that we should be discussing money. I have been in too many relationships where I was expected to do everything monetarily as if I were the man in the relationship and the breadwinner, which often times I was. I made the stupid mistake of staying with these men even though they were causing me to go broke.

I’m not looking for someone to take care of me because I can do that myself and have been. I want someone who can take care of me when I need it most. Someone who will make me allow them to take care of me and let me know it’s okay and that I don’t have to do things alone and for myself all the time.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Minimalism Saves Money

I posted the video above on YouTube earlier in the week. Minimalism is something that I have always been into but haven’t practiced until recently. Growing up and having almost everything that you want, you start to take things for granted. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the vandwelling and tiny home movement that I realized that this was my destiny all along.

In the past few months I have given away and sold a lot of my things. I had stuff that I’ve kept since high school and that was almost 10 years ago. Since then, I accumulated so many more things and it was really impulse buying. I would go to the stores and because I had money, I would spend it. I knew that I wouldn’t use or wear the things I bought but I bought them anyway. Most of those things, I no longer own.

I always wonder if I had a better sense of finance at a younger age, would I be in the financial state I’m in today? If I had lived a minimalistic lifestyle and only bought the necessities, would I have a savings or be able to afford a vacation? I think about these things often.

Advertisements on television are targeting certain groups of people; minorities and millennials. These two groups typically have no sense of financial knowledge and tend to fall into the trap of sales or products made to seem like “necessities”. I have fallen into that trap numerous times, seeing as how I am a minority and a millennial. My parents had no financial knowledge growing up so there was nothing to pass down to me or my brother.

I had to learn on my own about budgeting, not buying things just because I can, and that having a lot of stuff just shows how much money you wasted. I have been on a serious purge lately, getting rid of things that I have not touched in years. I am a huge fan of getting rid of things now and not buying new things to replace the old ones. I know some people have the philosophy that they will only buy something if they get rid of something to replace the new item with. That is absurd.

I got into minimalism because I had a bunch of crap, to put it plainly. If y’all could see some of the stuff I got rid of and how long I’ve had it, you would be surprised. Check out the video on my latest purge below.

What I am learning about minimalism is that the less you buy, the more money you have to pay off debts, which is something that I am doing. Being debt free is a huge goal for me and I really want to do that so I can afford an RV or tiny home in the next few years. With that, being a minimalist is a must. Both of these types of homes are small places and you can’t have a lot of stuff.

I want to really get this message out to my people that we need to stop buying stuff just because we can. We need to be satisfied with what we have and stop accumulating useless things. I encourage everyone who reads this to pick a day that you are off and go around your house. Pull everything out that you own and sort it into different piles; things you need, things to give away, things to throw away and tings to sell. You can thank me later.

Financial Peace and Minimalism,

Afro Hippie Vegan

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Debt, Debt, Go Away!

As of today, I have paid off two debts. Wooohooo! That is a huge accomplishment. I have paid off the IRS and a personal loan. Two steps close to being debt free! Even though those are two milestones, I am not ready to celebrate just yet. When I pay off my two credit cards, I will really celebrate. Those are the most important things right now (other than moving out of my mother’s house).

I am so happy to no longer have these two debts hanging over my head. Now I can really focus and go for the gold. I am in the process of getting two new hustles so I can have more sources of income. Right now I have three sources of income and I am working on a fourth and fifth. My hustle game will be strong this summer.

I have so many goals that I want to accomplish on my vision board. Even though that’s only $3000 that I have paid off in three months, it is still an accomplishment. That extra money that was going towards those debts, will go towards these credit cards. I am so serious, like y’all don’t even know how hard I am about to hustle to get these debts paid off as quick as possible. Then to top it off, I still have student loans. This will be a summer of absolute grinding.

Let me know if you have paid off any debts and if you have some tips for paying them off faster.

Journey to Financial Freedom,

Afro Hippie Vegan

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Everyday I’m Hustlin’

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL COACH OR ADVISOR.

I have been told that I work like a Jamaican (yes, Jazzie, I’m talking about you, lol). I have several different forms of revenue, and so should you. It’s important to not rely on one form of income when you are trying to pay off debts or for whatever you’re trying to do. 

I’m going to list the different forms of revenue I have now and then those I want to obtain.

Current Revenue:

1. Teaching – I am a substitute teacher, which is my main form of income. I have been doing that a little over a year now and that pays all of my bills.

2. Tutor – I’ve been tutoring almost two years and that pays for things I’m trying to pay off and it acts as side money.

3. Author – I have been a self-published author for four years now and I don’t make much but it’s something. 

4. Freelancer – I am on Upwork and I do a lot of editing freelance work. 

Revenue I am working towards:

1. YouTube – I would like to make a little money off of YouTube. I don’t make videos so I can make money. A lot of research and effort goes into my videos. It’s my passion to educate people. It would just be nice to get paid for my passion. Everyone wants to get paid from doing something they love.

2. Author – though this was in the above list, I would like to be a bestselling author in order to not only make money, but to reach more people and educate them about being vegan.

3. Blogger – I went to school for journalism to be a journalist, but blogging is what came of it and I wouldn’t trade blogging for myself about what I want to write for someone that will control what I write.

4. Business owner – I do have a shop on Etsy but it is closed at the moment until I can bring in enough revenue to open it back up. I make oils, shampoo and all sorts of bath and body stuff.

It is always good to have side hustles when you are trying to achieve a goal. Right now, I’m working on paying off debts so I can free up money to invest in myself and do things that I want. This is why I work so many jobs. 

Happy Friday!

Afro Hippie Vegan

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Why are Black People in So Much Debt?

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL COACH OR ADVISOR

Out of all Americans, my people are the most in debt. We have the highest debts, even those of us who live in low income areas. Why? I blame lack of knowledge, the environment, rappers, Black reality shows, financial ignorance, etc. There are many things to blame and I want to express my reasons for a few.

Rappers

Everyone wants to be a rapper nowadays. To most it is the quickest way to get rich and they all want money to throw on cars, clothes, jewelry, etc. These rappers promote a lifestyle that is not attainable by most, and this keeps my people down, struggling, dying and who knows what else. This lifestyle that so many want to attain, is not even real. These rappers aren’t happy with this lifestyle and are selling their souls to promote it. All these rappers rap about are drugs, sex, women, drinking, cars and money. But reality is, most of these rappers have never experienced any of the things I listed above. My people, stop letting these rappers lyrics fill your head with empty hopes and dreams. Either the person becomes broke, lands in jail or is murdered for not paying their dealer on time, in full. Yeah, drug dealers don’t have payment plans.

Reality Television

Excuse my French, but reality television is shit and it is a damn shame that my own people would act so ignorant, foolish and like a stereotype for the entire world to see, just for a paycheck. Why would anyone want to be like that? This shows us in a bad light and we watch it, wanting to be like them and have money and be fancy and show off for people when we don’t even have that kind of money. Many of these reality stars don’t have that kind of money. Stop going broke just to be able to promote ignorance like these reality stars. Many of these reality stars are doing reality television because they are broke and in debt. That is not an excuse but it’s the truth.

Lack of Knowledge

Many of our parents grew up poor and in low income areas. We tend to be like our parents because they are our first teachers. We mimic what they do. Many of our parents didn’t finish school or get a proper education and some of us fall victim to that. They didn’t have the mindset of wanting to get out and not be like their parents, which causes them to make horrendous financial choices, then we follow suit. Many of our parents didn’t and still don’t know about credit cards, loans and any money that you have to pay back. This is our downfall. Many credit companies target Black people to get them in debt and keep them slave to a system that has been out to destroy us. I fell victim to that.

College

Because of a want for diversity, many colleges target kids in low income areas, bribing them with huge scholarships, not telling them that eventually they will have to take out student loans. This false advertisement is for the student to come to their school so that the school gets money, with no regards to that student’s financial future. Schools purposely do this because they know these kids can’t afford to go to college, and even though they may drop out, the schools still get that money. Or you have those like myself who did not qualify for free money and had to take out student loans my entire college career with no knowledge of how loans would affect me financially.

Conclusion

There are many other reasons like credit cards, not being able to manage money, the death of a family member who’s financial burden falls on you and so much more, but this post would be exceptionally long. There are so many factors that play a part in why Black people are in so much debt. I want my people to educate themselves on credit cards, loans, leases, mortgages, anything that requires money. Below are some resources to help you out.

Resources:

Financial Peace,

Afro Vegan Hippie

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Managing Debt

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL COACH OR ADVISOR

Managing debt is the hardest thing for Americans to do, I mean look at how much we are in debt as a country. 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Why? Because we cannot manage our debt. I am one of those that can’t measure their debt, at least I used to be. Then I stumbled upon Shanaan Dawda and he changed my life. His book is to the right, From Paychecks to Power.

Let’s get started on how to manage that debt.

  1. This is the biggest expense of majority of Americans because we are too lazy to cook. If you meal prep for the week, it will save you a lot of money.
  2. Limit going out. I know we all like to have a good time, but that $50 tab at the bar or $60 bill at a restaurant, that money can go towards paying a debt.
  3. Take public transportation (if available). This will save on gas, from buying new tires if you get a flat, and from changing any oils. It will also be good for the environment.
  4. Pay more than what is owed. If you can, that is. It’s good to pay the amount owed, but it’s even better to pay more in order to pay it off faster and move on to the next debt.
  5. Pay debts on time. This will save you from late fees which is paying extra money that won’t go to your debt.
  6. Stop impulse buying. We are all guilty of this, buying things on a whim because we can. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should. I used to do this and ended up taking the stuff back because I didn’t need it or wasn’t going to use it.
  7. Carry cash. This was hard for me but effective. When I have cash, I am less inclined to spend money. With a card, you just swipe because you can keep track of your spending but with cash, can’t really do that.
Financial Advice

Financial Friday: My Plan To Get Out Of Debt

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR OR COACH.

Editor’s note: I noticed that I had forgot to include that I owed the IRS money in my last post. I owed them almost $500 and as of yesterday, have paid them off. That freed up $25 every month that is now going to one of my credit card payments.

In my search for ways to get out of debt quick, I found there is no quick way to pay off debts when you work as a substitute teacher, part-time tutor, and freelancer. It’s just not going to happen. Nevertheless, I have created a plan and I have been sticking to it.

  1. In my last post I talked about a personal loan I took out with the bank due to my job at the time not paying me. Because I was so behind on payments, it went to collections. I knew nothing about collections or what it was. It just so happened that I watched a scope about how you can “pay to delete” a debt that has gone to collections. What this means is, you can pay a certain amount, less than what is owed, to have the debt removed. I was elated when I heard this. My loan started at $2500 but was $1500 when it went to collections because I had been paying what I could on it. Anyway, instead of paying the debt collector the entire amount, I ended up only having to pay $876. That’s a little over half of what I owed. This happens because the debt collectors buy the debt for like 10% or so of what the debt actually is. Granted 10% is $150 but of course they won’t let you pay that. They have to make a profit. But $876 is better than $1500. Now, I only have $200 left to pay on it (which will be paid at the end of this month) and that debt will be done.
  2. My two credit cards are maxed out and since I am behind on those payments, the accounts have been closed. I have been paying on one consistently to lower it and pay it off faster. $200 here, $100 there, as much as I can afford to pay without risking going hungry or without a car because I can’t pay for gas.
  3. As for my car, I have been making regular payments only because I am paying so much on my credit card. Once that credit card is done, then the next, my car will be the last thing that I owe my bank. Boy,  I can’t wait for that day.
  4. My student loans are in forbearance for now and they will be until I can get a teaching job to pay them. I am praying that one of these schools calls me soon and I can start paying on them in the fall. I know that after working for five years as a teacher, the loans are forgiven, but um, that is not soon enough.

This is my plan to get out of debt. Come back next Friday to see how to manage your debt.

Love and Finances,

Simply Moniqua

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: How I Got In Debt

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR OR COACH

My goal is to be out of debt by this time next year. This goal is still feasible but I am not going to stress myself trying to make it happen. I owe $21k in student loans and $10k+ to my bank. So, in essence, I owe over $31k. I know that’s a lot and being that I will be a full time teacher in the fall, it’s manageable. Now, you may be wondering how I plan to get out of debt by this time next year. I will save that for next Friday, but first, let’s talk about how I got in debt.

  1. As for student loans, I mean that’s self explanatory. Many of you reading this have four year degrees of some sort and racked in a surplus of loans. We all know what a pain in the ass they are. I know some of you may have more and some of you may have less. But yeah, being the child of parents who made too much money, I did not receive any free money. My four years in college were borrowed. Originally I owed $26k, but now it’s $21k (interest). I will talk about how I paid that down next Friday.
  2. I got my first credit card in college because I heard that was the thing to do. It was a way to get credit and before I know that having a credit score was BS, I wanted to have a line of credit. My limit was $2500 and I maxed it out quickly and not by going on shopping sprees. Soon as I got the credit card, my car broke down. The A/C went out, my fan broke, I had to replace all four tires. That $2500 went fast and not by choice either. It seems every time you get more money, something always happens to where you have to spend it. Just my luck, my car hated me. I eventually had to get a new one. All that money just wasted.
  3. I got my second credit card a few years after the first because I was working for a nonprofit organization and I could not make ends meet. I was legit struggling. I never made it to my next paycheck without being in the negative. That one maxed out pretty quickly due to more unforeseen events. That limit, too, was $2500. So now I am at $5k that I owe my bank.
  4. I then took out a loan for $2500 from my bank because I worked for another nonprofit, and the last month of my contract, they decided to not pay me and it was two months before I got a paycheck from my next job. I was pissed. I had no money to pay bills, buy food, put gas in my car, nothing. So that put me at $7.5k that I owed my bank. Oh, it gets better.
  5. Remember how I had to get a new car? My old car was paid off and I am so sad that I ended up having to get a new car. So, I had to take out an auto loan to get my new car and that was $9500. That put me at owing my bank $17,000! Yes, all to my bank. I cried a lot because I was like on top of loans, how am I going to swing this?

This is how I got in debt, not by careless spending (that’s how I stayed in debt and still am), but by unforeseen events. I couldn’t help any of my situations. Stay tuned for the next Financial Friday post to see how I now only owe my bank $10k and my loans are now $21k, and how I am paying some of my debts down.

xoxo,

Simply Moniqua

Financial Advice

Financial Friday

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL COACH OR CONSULTANT

In the past month or so, I stumbled upon a guy on Periscope named Shanaan Dawda. He is a financial coach and I have heard several different financial coaches but his scopes caught my attention. For starters, he’s only two years older than me and he has paid off all of his student loans. That’s unheard of for people my age! I mean, it really is. The average millennial has $29,000 in student loans (I have $21,000) and many of us are living paycheck to paycheck. We are barely making ends meet and it’s really hard when you have a four year degree and don’t have a job to pay for it.

Anyway, listening to his scopes are so inspiring and they give me so much hope. I even bought his book, From Paychecks to Power and I have been reading it continuously. I have not finished it because at a certain point it talks about after you get out of debt and I want to wait until I am completely debt free to finish.

He talks about his financial blunders and being scammed, he even had his identity stolen. He talks about a typical college student trying to make money the fastest way possible. He then explains about his parents being in debt and how he doesn’t want to end up like them.

The best thing about this book that has helped me is he financial plan. He talks about finances in his scopes and he really breaks it down. He spills all the tea and that is really what many people, young and old, need to hear. I wish there was a curriculum like this in high school to really explain to us the damage of credit cards and student loans.

He even talks about how he has a credit score of zero because he doesn’t borrow. If you can’t pay cash for it, then you don’t need to buy it. He gives so much insight, and he is a CPA, so he knows what he’s talking about. He paid off over $26,000 in just 11 months and that is admirable. Granted I don’t make nearly as much money as he was making when he was making these financial gains, but I am on a get out of debt plan that is in his book.

I won’t go into detail about the book, but he tells a lot of secrets in the book and on his scopes that many of us believe the opposite from what we are told by money hungry banks and sales people. I can say that if I get a teaching position that I will be able to pay off my debts by this time next year. All my debts paid before I’m 30??? I mean how good will that be? Then I can do whatever I want.

I have made a vow to myself to never get another credit card or loan as long as I live. If I cannot outright pay for it, that means my behind does not need it. We always tend to buy things we don’t need, nor can we afford. We need to stop it, immediately. Have you ever thought about how our country is in debt and 76% of us are living paycheck to paycheck because we are in debt?

We buy things that we can’t afford to impress people that we don’t even like and/or who don’t even care. Let’s be honest, we care way too much about what other people think and about showing others up. If you can’t put a significant down payment on a house, don’t buy it. If you can’t pay cash for a car, don’t buy it. I want a tiny house, something small, moveable and costs less than college tuition.

In America, we seriously have some unrealistic goals and expectations. We are more about what we can show people than what we can afford. We would rather be in debt than to have someone have more than us. We put more value in stuff than our finances. It’s really sad.

Set some short term financial goals and I will see you guys next Friday with the first task!

xoxo,

Simply Moniqua