We are always learning lessons, more so as we get older. This past year has been a whirlwind of learning and life events. Not all have been good, and not all have been bad. I have to say 2017 was a pretty damn good year.
- Budgeting. I have been on a strict budget and I have to say, it has paid off, literally. I’ve paid off a good amount of debts this year and it showed me that I can manage my money. I used to be this huge spender, especially when it came to food and clothes. I’ve become more frugal and minimalistic and that has been a money saver. I don’t buy anything that is not an absolute need. If I leave something in the store and the next time I come back and it’s not there, that means I didn’t need it. I always used to confuse my needs and wants ( not really, I just needed everything I wanted lol). Needs are things that you can’t live without and I had to keep that mindset.
- Consistency. I think 2017 has been my least consistent year when it comes to my blog, YT channel and novels. I have slacked so much this year and I now realize that that contributes a lot to me falling further and further behind of becoming a full time creator. Had I been as consistent as I know I could’ve and should’ve been, I may be in a different place right now. I let outside distractions deter me from my goal, and now I am paying for it. Could I have been a full time blogger and creator by now? Damn skippy, but I let all of these outside distractions occupy my mental. I remember when I first started my blog how dedicated I was, posting almost everyday. I have now set a schedule to where there are at least 2 new posts a week. I would let the ways of others and how they run their blogs influence my moves, but now, I know that techniques don’t work the same for everyone and don’t fit every situation. I have to run my business the way I see that best fits me and my consumers (that would be you, the person reading this).
- Love. Love is not just for another person of the opposite sex. I have learned that love can be for anyone. I fell in love this year and I know in 2018 I will fall deeper in love when my baby is born. I never knew how being pregnant can open your eyes to a different kind of love. Feeling my baby kick is the most beautiful thing and knowing that I am doing everything in my power to make sure my little one comes out healthy, there’s no greater love than that. I always equated love to being something I would feel with a man, not knowing that love is family, children, friends, etc. There is not one definition of love nor one person whom it’s for. Love can be for anyone. Do I still want love from my mate one day? Of course I do. Who doesn’t? But I had to learn that love has no number (person).
What is something, or some things, that 2017 has taught you?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Afro Vegan Hippie