August’s 💵 Money Challenge 💵: 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.

Make Plans, They Come True Too

I have a smile on my face today.

This passed Saturday I finally completed my passport filing.  I have made several appointments and at least two genuine attempts to apply for my passport but failed miserably do the confusion and time constraints.  But Saturday, I was on it!  I even found my passport photo that received when I had to the application and live scan for my notary commission.  I had been looking for it for months just about resigned to paying the additional $15 for something I knew I already had.  But when I woke that morning, something told to check behind headboard/stand and sure it enough it was.

I’m also smiling because I finally opened my business bank account, to better help me manage and separate my monies and expenses.  Something very important to me but never had the time to do.  Both tasks were completed within in a matter of week of one another.

And I’m smiling.   I’m smiling because it was earlier this year when I wrote what I called my “personal business plan”.  A document I typed up, edited and printed to show my goals for every quarter of the year.  And to be honest, much of the stuff I wanted to get done didn’t get completed, for whatever reasons .  But some stuff did.  And two large ticket items for me were my passport and business account.  I had them on wrote them down and included them in this quarterly task list.   Just last Friday, I met a financial goal, which I in the business plan as well.  There were items and unchecked boxes I was approach with much trepidation because I didn’t know the how.  I was worried that along with the conviction, I needed to know the how of my plans.  I mean, how else was I going to execute a plan if I didn’t know how I was going to do it?

But I’ve been working.  Networking.  Hustlin’.  Trying to go as hard as I can after dream and the things I need to get done in order to achieve the dream.  Keeping my head down more and just focusing on the bigger picture.  And my plans, however small or inconsequential to someone else, perhaps, are unfolding.   Not at the exact times I would like them to do, but they’re still taking shape and blossoming.  And it feels good. And has me smiling.  I’ve read about the power about making plans, writing it down, putting it on paper.  Something to do with the way our brain our wired to perceive actions and goals in our mind.  And I here I am on the path to be living proof.

AND I LOVE IT.  No, really.  I do.  I have finally seeing the fruits of my labor manifest.

What other plans can I make come true?  I’ve got time.

What Are You Building?

Or more like, are the efforts I putting out today building the goals and dreams I envision in my head? And much of the time, my answer is I dont know. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have a plan in place of where I’d like to get to. It just means I am not always sure that everything I am doing is will factor in to the overall plan.

But… my actions are still fruitful and produce many positive and learning opportunities. Otherwise, I would need to either revisit the plan or start over. And starting over is too hard. Not impossible, just hard. And time consuming. And resource draining.

Every so often I am to remind myself that my actions will contribute to the means for a prosperous end and dont need to know the how every thing will fall into place. I just need to keep working on the dream and trust that it will fall into place.

Don’t stop building.

Hey… I Published a Book

And I’m excited about it.

Now, it’s now great American novel and it doesn’t fall into a story genre, but a little somethin’-somethin’ I’ve been working on.

It’s a short body of work that combines poetry and photos summed up as a snippet of my perspective as an Los Angeles dweller. And I hope to work on more writing and book projects and the near future.

And I will have the upmost respect for anyone who is interested in purchasing my book: https://amzn.to/2zzdDBb (you should already know there is no shame in my hustlin’ game).

Thursday Thought’s: Side Hustle vs. Use of Time

First and foremost, let’s welcome in March!  It’s the top of the bottom of the first quarter of the year (I said that to deliberately confuse you). We are blowing through these months in 2018, aren’t we?  My mom was right.  As you get older, time just seems to speed up.

SLOW DOWN, 2018!  I’m trying to enjoy the year. I have plans!

Side hustling plans, obviously.  Speaking of side hustle, I had a short enough conversation with a coworker on the way down in the elevator one day leaving work realizing something interesting about how single people and “our time” are viewed.  My coworker had asked what was in the heavy bag I was carrying as we left work and I explained to her it was a project I had finished for a real estate client and I was dropping it off to them.  And then she tilted her head as if to say ‘what’.  I then quickly stated that I do work “on the side”.  And she then replied, “Oh.”  Oh.  Oh, as in, how wonderful it was that I really didn’t spend all my single free time do absolutely nothing.  [frowns face].  But if I wanted to, I surely be entitled to it.  After all, it is my time.

Now, this coworker of mine is my age, recently turned 33, acts a little older. But that’s because she has two young kids, her oldest is 3 and her youngest is 17 months.  She’s married to man who seems to constantly be in between jobs, so her salary supports all four of them.  And she commutes from Palmdale to LA five days a week for work.  Her plate is full, to say the least.  And for someone whose plate is so full to look at me, a person whose plate isn’t as full — oh, so she may think — and to know I do more with my time than just come to work almost validated my existence.  Again, the assumption that single people are lucky and have it easy.

I so do not agree with that, but I’m also a side hustler who keeps her plate full by choice.

Her validation of my “extra-curricular activity” wasn’t made because of the activity itself, but because I actually had one.  I was doing more with my time than Netflixing.  Forget the fact I am on path to position myself to be self employed.  I’m doing more than what I need to with my life.

Over it.  So over it.

Now, I like this coworker, but I will be damned before I apologize for my life choices or hers.  To each their own.  And I made this decision years ago that success would be a priority in my life.  A good friend of mine used to tell me all the time, ‘the more you have, the more you have to give’.  Damn straight!

I don’t want to be like everyone else.  I don’t want to content with mediocrity and the hum-drum of every day life  Low or status quo expectations are not for me.  I want more because I need it.  I need to know that when I leave this earth that I used every ounce of potential that was gifted to me.  I need to know I tried every avenue to live the life I see for myself in my head.  That doesn’t include kids before I’m ready.  Or a deadbeat husband.  Or even average friends.

So, yes.  I spend my time doing bigger better things (within my limited scope and reach) because I want bigger better things for myself.  That is the declaration I made to myself for myself.

To all side hustlers out there, you are validated in every thing you do, not because of the expectations that are placed you on and you exceeded them.  But because of you and all efforts.  You could have given up.  You could have realized “this” isn’t working and settled for what you have right now, hoping it might get better on its own.  But, no.  You decided to make it better with your own two hands.

You are the shit.  In case you needed reminding.

Thursday’s Thoughts: Staying in an Element

Just got off the phone with a heavily medicated co-worker of mine who is on medical leave.  She had an emergency hysterectomy recently and is currently recuperating on what sound like a fantastic voyage.

Anywhoo, in the midst of her slightly slurred ramblings, she talked about environments and how we do more harm to ourselves by staying in toxic places and in elements that do not serve us because of priorities we’ve been told we need to take care of.  And it’s true.  I fall for this myself on a regular basis.   I work at a job I do not like so I can pay the rent.  So I can pay the phone bill.  The car insurance.  Renter’s insurance (yes, I may have a little studio apartment, but it is covered!).  The internet bill, which I think is way out of hand for 10/Mbs.  Food because, well, food is life.  And I like being alive.  My tap card (some of you may be thinking why am I paying for car insurance if I’m also taking the bus.  I’ll revisit this matter in the future).  And a host of other expenses that keep popping up.  And I am giving away my time to an organization and people I could care less about.  Wouldn’t even spit on if they were on fire.  Okay, that’s harsh.  But not far from the truth.

So why AM I in an element that I am allowing to under serve me?  That doesn’t deserve me?

For now, I like to think for the same reason as my other hustlers are.  To get to the next level.  Everyone told me starting my own business would be hard.  Hell, I was warned about freelancing.  But I’m doing it and have been doing it.  The fear of relying on myself and putting myself out there doesn’t frighten me.  But it’s also not enough.  It doesn’t cover all the costs of my humble lifestyle, but it does make traction.  It keeps me motivated and reminds me why I even bother to dream.

Yeah, I may work at a job I don’t like.  I may hold a bachelor’s degree, a couple of certificates and a professional license.  I may be well under paid and overworked.  But this job is NOT my end.  It’s my means.  And the clock is ticking.  This is just one element I’m in to use as a stepping stone to get to where I want to be.

Aren’t we all trying to get an inch closer every day to our dreams?