Exiting the Stage, Ms. Aretha Franklin

We lost a queen today, ladies. The incomparable Ms. Aretha Franklin has passed away. A music legend of legends. And as she leaves this world for the next, I hope we all reflect on how important it is to live our lives to the greatest. Live it with passion, live it with drive and in honor of Ms. Franklin, live it with soul.

August’s πŸ’΅ Money Challenge πŸ’΅: First Comes Budgeting…

…then comes planning.

Aaaah! I know I’m a few days late following up on our money challenge for August, but I wanted to check in quickly and get us started for this week even though it’s half way over. But no worries. This next part is easy. Ish.

Now last week we wrote out our expen6se, right? What’s going out? I did it too because what’s the point of calling it our money challenge if I’m not participating, right? I used an Excel sheet even though I also use Mint and Trim to help me stay mindful of upcoming due dates. And I have a little over $1,800 in life expenses. Wowzers. Now, for LA that’s actually on the low side and to be fair, here’s why:

  • I don’t have a car payment. Got a used car from a friend, paid in full.
  • I live in a studio apartment for under $1,000 a month, utilities included.
  • I don’t have cable or satellite service. I have a Roku device. I cut the cord about 2 years ago. I only subscribe to Amazon Prime and Netflix (the $7.99 Netflix). So my in-home entertainment costs is a little over $14 a month. And I love it.
  • I take the bus to work and most places — and I have a car? Well, my mom drives the car since I live about 1.2 miles from work. That monthly TAP card for the bus is about $100.
  • I’m still on our family plan cell phone bill with T-Mobile. I do pay the bill for all of us, but if I didn’t, my portion would average to about $60 a month.
  • I also save about $100 a month. That doesn’t include the 401K account I have with my job in which $280 is deducted from my check before taxes even are every month.
  • I try not to spend no more than $200 on groceries and $60 on eating out for the month.

A little rigid? Yeah, maybe. Why? I have a dream home in mind. That’s why the budgeting, that’s why the cutbacks in certain luxuries or amenities. I want something bigger and better down the line, so I’m making small sacrifices today.

So, the next part of your our August money challenge is to figure out why we’re budgeting and what we can live without for little bit. Make budgeting plans.

I can live without cable or satellite TV. I get most of my news from the internet anyways. I’m down for reruns and I get to discover a bunch of stuff I never knew I’d like. Plus, when I had satellite TV, I was paying almost $70 a month for basic channels. But I spent 9 hours at work and getting to and from there. About 7 hours of sleep and another 1.5 hours getting ready for work. So 17.5 hours I wasn’t even getting my money’s worth during the work week. Damn. All that money down the drain. Now, I get to keep that dough.

But I’m budgeting with a plan in mind. I know why I’m budgeting and what I’m doing this for.

So, you know what you’re spending now in greater detail. Maybe some of those monthy subscriptions to stuff you don’t really need. Look over all your expenses and see what you do without for your ultimate goal in mind. I’m sure it’s worth it.

Happy Friday: Knowing My Own Strength

HAPPY FRIDAY.

Oh, man. I look forward to each and every Friday from the last Friday. And that’s the gospel truth.

This particular week has been relatively frustrating for me as I am feeling a bit “stuck”. I’ve had a number of interviews over the phone and in person, but no call backs for a second interview or a job offer and I’m… frustrated. I really hate the place I work at. It is soul draining. And I’m trying to get out of here and keep my head straight while pursuing other avenues that allow me to earn and be creative. But it’s not enough. I spend 40 hours here and ever hour feels like I’ve shorten my life by a day. It feels that bad.

But somehow I manage to fall out of bed, get dressed and come to work. Wanting, every day, to call out. Wanting a windfall of money to come my way so I can quit on the spot. Wanting anything but to be at this place.

So this morning I wake up to a text from one of my dearest and nearest, Elle, who sends me this beautiful message of how thankful she is for me helping her with an idea that she’s launching called J.U.N.K. Food. It’s about helping people who are interested in incorporating more plant based food into their diets to promote a healthier lifestyle. She sent me this long beautiful text about how all the women at her gym loved the idea and they can’t wait for it to fully form and follow the development of its concept.

And that made me feel good. Real good. Through my own troubles, I can be of service and benefit to someone else. I have strength even when it feels like I don’t.

So, I hope that all my hustlers out there who are also finding their own strength even when shit is not going according to plan. Keep hustling.

August πŸ’΅ Money Challenge #1

I thought it was time to bring back the topic of money but in a more natural and healthy way. And there’s nothing more natural and healthy than…

A CHALLENGE!!! πŸ’΅πŸ’΅πŸ’΅πŸ’΅πŸ’΅πŸ’΅πŸ’΅

Well, at the very least, nothing as rewarding as a challenge can be. And I’m going to join in and do it too.

So to kick this off starting with the first Monday (and every Monday for the month) in August is budgeting. Dun-dun-dun. I hate that word too. I know how to do it, but I don’t always stick to a budget as much as I would like to. And maybe there are a few of you out there who feel the same. So to get things started, here’s what we’re going to do:

List all our expenses, everything we pay out from rent to our Netflix and Hulu subscriptions. List them and tally up the actual amount we’re spending. If we’re ordering out twice a week, include that too. We’ll go log online to our bank account to get an idea what we’vespent on food outside of groceries if we need to. We gonna do this right.

After we’ve written everything we’re spending, we’re write down everything coming in. And if you haven’t guess or figured it out, we’re going to substract what we’re spending from what we’re bringing in. This is going to give us an idea of what kind of “disposal income” we have.

Now, here’s the challenge: write down what you’d like to save in dollar form from what you’re already spending.

For example: if you’re bringing in $3,000 a month (and no, this isn’t before taxes) and you’re spending $2,500 a month, that means your disposal income is $500. But what you really want is to have $750 a month in disposal cash. Okay. That means you gotta cut back on $250 in your expenses this month. And no, I don’t want you to get a side hustle for this challenge. We’ll get to that in the coming months. Right now,we’re going to work with what we have to save that extra $250 or $100 or $50 or even $25 that will give us a little more wiggle room. The only activity for this is cutting back.

What can you do without for this month?

Happy Friday: Getting Back to Me

Happy Friday, my fellow hustlers!

And a wonderful Friday it’s going to be. Because I’ve decided to stop doing overtime at my job and start focusing on more on my side hustling and business ventures. Getting back to ME, ME, ME!

Yes, the overtime was nice when it wasn’t all being eaten by Uncle Sam, but those hours I was giving away to someone else’s business, I’m taking back and focusing them on me and mine. Putting more time into building the professional path I want for myself, and not one I have to ask or beg for.

My time. My dreams. My goals.

Anyone else deciding to focus more on their aspiration rather than circumstances?