Health + Wellness, My Life

21 Reasons to be Happy and Why I’m Not

I’ve been unhappy for quite sometime now, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay all the time. What’s not okay is to continue on this path and not do anything to change your emotional direction. I won’t go into specifics of what I’m not happy about, but let’s discuss why I should be happy.

  1. My son is healthy, thriving and hitting every milestone.
  2. I’m almost at my one year mark of breastfeeding.
  3. My Budget is finally working for me.
  4. Debt is dwindling.
  5. My tax refund is going to help me out a lot.
  6. My meal planner is coming out tomorrow! Wooohooo!
  7. I’m finally coming out with a cookbook sometime in March.
  8. My students are progressing significantly in writing.
  9. I’m not living paycheck to paycheck.
  10. I went to the doctor on January 21, and all of my results came back negative and/or normal. I have an absolute clean bill of health.
  11. I can afford to pay all of my bills.
  12. For once in my life, I have no bills that are late and I have nothing in collections.
  13. My son and I wake up every morning: alive and kicking,
  14. I’m finally going to start therapy.
  15. I’ve been able to let go of a lot of toxic people, and I’ve been able to recognize my own toxicity.
  16. I’ve been consistently practicing yoga.
  17. Drinking a falling of water a day has become increasingly attainable.
  18. My skin is clear and my bowels are regular.
  19. I’ve been cooking more and eating out less.
  20. I still have money in the bank from last check.
  21. There’s food in my pantry and fridge.

The list could go on, but with all of these positive things, I’m still unhappy. I’m excited to be starting therapy soon to be able to better understand this emotional turmoil I’m experiencing.

Have you ever felt unhappy despite everything in your life going perfectly well and it’s all positive? How did you cope with it? Did you ever get to the root of your unhappiness?

My Life

5 Reasons I Won’t Be Buying A House in 2019

So, my biggest goal this year was to buy a house. I set this goal in the middle of last year. After talking to a friend who is a financial consultant and listening to the latest podcast on Experiencing Motherhood Single and Black, it seems that buying a house just isn’t logical right now. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. I haven’t saved enough money for a down payment. Yeah, I was banking on using my income tax, but at the same time, I have debts to pay and bills that are due now.
  2. I don’t have the money to furnish a house. Not only would I need a down payment, I would need money to buy the things that go inside the house.
  3. Maintenance costs, cost, which again, I don’t have the money for. In an apartment, maintenance is already covered in the rent. In a house, you’re on your own, even with home buyer’s insurance.
  4. My credit score isn’t where I want it to be. Yeah, it’s better than good enough to get a loan and a good interest rate, but my debt to income ratio is not at all appealing to lenders.
  5. I decided I really need to focus on paying off debts and not adding on debts. Two of my other goals for the year was is to pay off my CC and personal loan. I need to start with small milestones.

As you can see, clearly I am not ready to buy a home and I’m glad I hadn’t gone to view any homes or started the home buying process. Once I get my debts down and my income to debt ratio is better than superb, I will revisit this. Until then, I’ll be kicking debts ass.

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, 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 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: 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