9.02.2015

On Being Ready.. Or Not

Greetings from cyberspace! In my current role at work, I am a project leader in getting our software ready for something wonderful called ICD10. If you don't know what that is, Google it. Trust me, it is a fascinating subject. And, yes, I am being facetious!! As a nation, we are severely behind the eight ball in implementing this new system, where as most of the world is already using it. In fact, ICD11 is in the development stage. The original implementation date for ICD10 was October 1, 2013, but then the powers that be realized that as a nation, we were not ready, thus it was delayed for one year. Then there was a bill in Congress that created another one year delay.  And why did this occur? Because again, we as a nation procrastinated but we sure love to spend money getting ready for this big event. Money spent on education and training, upgrading systems, beta testing, and more beta testing, and communication. Not too mention the amount of money spent on lobbyists representing medical association that are resistant. For those are still resisting, I quote from the Borg from the television series Star Trek. 'Resistance is futile.' So what is the correlation between this and debt. We, as a nation, are resistant to change, whether it be on our personal habits, or the way we bury our heads because we are not ready for the change. We can get educated on how to get out of debt. We can test out several theories. We even buy software packages or apps to help us figure out a payment plan. But when it actually comes down to executing or implementing the plan, we are resistant. We are afraid of change. Let's face it. Change is scary. Very scary. And it is not easy to change. Case in point. When I decided that I wanted to lose 20 lbs, I knew that I needed to change my lifestyle, via eating right, exercising more and adopting a healthier attitude. It was not easy, but I am doing it. And now, I am at a comfortable weight, feeling stronger and healthier, and if I do say so, look pretty good. The same thing applies to our financial 'weight' aka debt. Similar changes are necessary to get out of debt. However, like I mentioned in a previous post, one has to be in the right mindset and be ready for that change. And so like our healthcare industry, change is coming, whether you like it or not. ICD10 - bring it on! Debt - get ready to get your butt kicked!

On a side note, responding to the comments on prioritizing my debts - I will get my current numbers and APR's and solicit advice. I am interesting on reading the suggestions. I thank you in advance for them.

8.26.2015

On Prioritizing Which Debts to Focus on First

Greetings from cybersapce! Happy Hump Day!!! I am so glad the week is halfway over. Oh heck, I can't wait for this month to be over. It was a very expensive month with the car repair bills, the cost of groceries, miscellaneous items. Ugh. Which leads me to my LEAST favorite topic. Which debt should I focus on first, after I get my emergency fund re-filled. I've blogged about this before, but I thought it would be a good idea to blog about it again. And like the nerd I am, I did an online search to see if there were anything new and exciting out there. Nope. Still the same three: Traditional Snowball, Dave Ramsey Snowball, and David Bach DOLP.

Traditional Snowball
This method traditionally focuses on the debt that has the highest interest rate. The theory is the more principal you pay, the less interest you will be charge.  That is all fine and dandy, but what if this is your highest balance. It will take FOREVER (or at least it seems so) to pay off this debt. But consider this, if you are focusing on the debt with the highest interest rate AND it has the highest balance, one could get discourage quite easily. Now, if the debt has the highest interest rate AND the lowest balance, this could work in your favor.  It plays into the next method.

Dave Ramsey Snowball
This method focuses on the lowest balance, paying a debt sooner, which becomes a great emotional boost. As many of you know and feel it, being in debt really can weigh heavy on a person, sometimes making them physically ill.  Each time you pay off a debt, it feels like a little win, and then you just want to keep going. You may end up paying more interest, but the feeling you are paying something off is priceless. I've talked to quite a few people, and they prefer this method for tackling their debt.

David Bach DOLP
This is not a well known method, but it is interesting. DOLP is an acronym which stands for Dead On Last Payment. The premise is that you divide the balance of the debt by the minimum payment due, and the focus is on the lowest DOLP number. In the past when I have done this, the order is almost identifical to the Dave Ramsey method, because the lowest balance will generally have the lowest DOLP number. Thus it too can be a good motivator.

So which method should one chose? Well, that would depend on YOU. How quickly do you want to get out of debt. How focused are YOU going to be? For this gal, I like the Dave Ramsey method. I don't know about you, but I need that emotional boost in getting the win. Once I get that motivation, I get laser focused. Hey, I did it when I started on my weight loss journey. Small step, little wins, great motivation. It is all about being positive and staying positive. And don't worry, we will slip up, but we just need to dust ourselves off, and press on. Well, that is what I keep telling myself. Now I just need to believe in it.

8.24.2015

On Getting Healthier

Greetings from cyberspace! One of my goals this year is get fit, lose 20 lbs, maintain a healthy lifestyle and just have total new perspective on life. I started this journey in January. In fact, it was right before I met Hawk. I recall telling him about changing my lifestyle. Andd so my journey began. Here are the things that I did to help me reach my goals.

Food, Glorious Food  (aka What I Eat)
One of the first things I did was look at what and  when I was eating. I've always been a proponent of eating breakfast, but now, I pay attention to WHAT I have for breakfast. Generally for the summer months, it is non-fat organic greek yougurt with fresh blueberries and KIND granola. It is quick and satisfying. In the winter months, I have quinoa porridge a small serving the yogurt and berries, or apple cinnamon oatmeal with a hard boiled egg. For lunch, chicken with veggies, turkey chili or lentil soup with small spinach salad. For snacks, usally fruit and nuts, or celery with almond butter.  For dinner, I generally have turkey, chicken or pork with either rice or quinoa (small portion) and always a veggie. I try to drink a lot of water throughout the day. That is really important to stay hydrated. 

Push It (aka My Workout Routine)
In January I started going back to the gym. Heck, I am paying for it. So I started to get up before I went to work and started working out. I would run 3 days a week, and do strength training.  Or so I thought. I kept straining my knee. Well, one of the staff members recommended that I consult with one of the trainers. And WOW, what an eye opener. I was doing EVERYTHING wrong. So I had to unlearn some stuff and start from scratch. And what a difference! Before I started working with him, I was at 153 lbs, but within a few months, I met my first goals - 140 lbs and 25% body fat.  For me, because of my knee issues, I had to strengthen my core, modify my cardio workout and work on building lean muscles. He also recommended incorporating some yoga in my daily routine. Even though we only meet once a week (wish I could afford more than 1 session per week - next year...), what he shows me, I work on during the week, and now have quite the 'portfolio' of exercises to work on, so it is NEVER boring, and I don't hit a plateau. Yes, I have lost the weight as well as inches, and look pretty amazing (so I have told), it is how I FEEL is what makes it worth every penny, which is why I keep this in my budget.

Get Out of My Life (aka Reduce Stress)
This has been a little more challenging, and I am still working on it. One of the things I have done to help me in this area is to make of list of things, events, people who stress me out. On one side of the list arethe 'stressors' and the other side I write down ideas how I can deal or elminate them completely. For example, when Buttercup calls me up all frantic, I calmly tell her that I am not going to listen to her rant, and I hang up. It has worked amazing well. In fact, she turned the tables on me a few weeks ago. Brava Buttercup! It is not always easy. It takes a lot of prayer and reflection and patience, but I am slowly reducing or dealing with these day by day. It is when I am super stressed that I tend to fall off the 'pay off debt' wagon and incur more debt. So, I am going to deal with MY own stress, and let others deal with theirs. So, I make sure that I have downtime. It is so important.

Get Me to the Church on Time (aka Walking in Faith)
This has been much easier than I thought. I attend a church that I love. My church family is supportive and kind. I have been blessed to meet some wonderful people and have fellowship with them. And through the church, I have a wonderful mentor. She has been a rock for me in the past year. I've grown so much in my faith by working with her, that even though I stumble and fall, she encourages me to not give up and take my problems to God for guidance. There are several members that have been so supportive during this journey, that I feel blessed. And by doing so, I have more peace in my life.

With a Little Help from My Friends (aka Motivation)
Of course, the biggest key to this is find motivation, and it does not matter where you find it. I find it through my cousin, daughter, co-workers, old friends, new friends - everywhere. When I tell my story, I get asked, how did I do it. I say the usual stuff - watch my diet, execise regularly. I don't think that there  is no real 'secret'. It is NOT a fad diet, or a trendy workout routine (you all know what I mean). It is just a lifestyle change. And believe me, several friends have jumped on that bandwagon, and we have al supported each other, When we are down, we pick each other up. Even Hawk provides encouragement, and is impressed by my dedication. I support his activities as well as my other friends who are on this path. And trust me, they each appreciate it!!

There it is. My journey to getting healthy. It has not been quick. It is still a work in progress. I am a work in progress. But then again, you knew that. I just need to remember that when I get frustrated. I will survive. I am a survivor. I have the Eye of the Tiger. Roar!!!!


8.21.2015

On Shifting the Mindset

Greetings from cyberspace! Before I get into the topic on hand, here is the update on the car. The total amount to fix the car was less than $500, but still, OUCH!!! There is still a slight vibration, but I will have to get that checked out within the next month. Sigh.. it will be fine.  Honestly.  So, let's get back to topic. I was discussing my financial woes with a friend (who is really a great sounding board) and they suggested that maybe it is my mindset that is the problem.  Whaaaaat? Then they pointed out to me that I tend to waffle when it comes to money, I say one thing and do another. (Sounds familiar???) We began to discuss mindsets. The one thing that was crystal clear to me is that I do NOT have the mindset of getting out of debt. Now mind you, my friends are in debt (worse than I am). And it has taken them awhile to get into the mindset to deal with it. What put them in that mindset is when their family was planning a destination wedding for a niece and they could not go. Never again they said, and now they are in that mindset. For me, it is the possibility of NOT being able to see Buttercup for Christmas. And THAT is going to really going to hurt. Not being able to see my daughter is enough to put me in the mindset that I am done with this feeling. Mindset - consider yourself shifted.

8.17.2015

On Dealing with Failed Goals

Greetings from cyberspace! I'm throwing in the towel in regards to my goal of having a certain percentage of my debt paid off.  Why do you ask? Because I am going to have to use my credit card to pay for the repairs on my car. I am praying it is not too crazy.  I've been doing so well in all my other goals. But on the financial ones, definitely a bust. It is so busted, that not even all the King's horse and all the King's soldiers can put it back together again. I was talking with my cousin this morning about it, and she was really supportive. I had to explain to her that I have this 'rescue' complex (not only with Buttercup, but with her as well) and that I need to break this cycle. She promptly apologized for her actions and we prayed together. I don't feel like a 'failure', I just 'failed' my resolve to NOT be a 'rescuer'. It has helped that Butterrcup has been much better in handling her finances, and is paying me back, even though it is little amounts, it helps. What is going to help as well is when I no longer paying spousal support. I still need to meet with an attorney about that. My goal by the end of the year is to get that ball rolling along with going back to my maiden name. It's going to feel weird, but it is time. I don't see myself getting remarried, so it is time to reclaim my original name. But of course, all of this takes money to accomplish. But I did notice Buttercup's health insurance payment ended when she turned 19, so there is a little more I can put towards my debt or for that matter build up the emergency fund, because honestly $50 per pay period is taking FOREVER!!! If I am lucky, I will be able to save $500 by the end of the year. Have I mentioned that Debt sucks? Well, let me restate the obvious... but louder... DEBT SUCKS!!! (And no, I don't feel better for saying it loud) So, for now, I am going to throw in the towel, pick myself up and march forward. Darn these rocks in my shoes.


8.10.2015

On Having Large Credit Card Limits

Greetings from cyberspace! Does anyone remember the good ole days in which one had small limits on a credit card? I certainly do. In fact, I loved it. The payments were manageable. There was ceiling that you could not go past (well you could but you paid for it). Life was so simple back then. Today, not so much. As much as I am glad to see that my credit score improve (as evident in the interest rates I currently have), I hate the fact I have such high limits on my main cards. I never imagined I would ever have them. I have heard stories about them. I thought they were an urban myth, until the day I got a Discover card with a limit of over $10,000. Oh Mylanta! I am getting heartburn just typing this! Never thought I would have a credit card payment of over $100 let alone over $200. Yikes! Crash! Yes, that is the sound of the trainwreck and derailment. It is going to take me till the end of.... ummm... eternity... to get rid of my consumer debt. And my car needs some major work done, and guess how I will have to pay for that. You know, maybe it will be better to walk to Planet Debt Free. Because each time I get on the train, and I gain momentum.. CRASH! Another derailment, because I didn't pay attention or can't say no. And I can't seem to find my backbone.. Has anyone seen it? Well, if you find it, could you toss it back to me? It would be greatly appreciated. I am hoping by the end of this year, I can get my minimum payment for the Discover card below $200. That would be lovely. Actually, I would like to just get through this day. Can you tell that I am just.. bleh?? Yeah, that is where I am at. Bleh. So for those who just starting out... beware of high credit card limits. They are like sharks circling.. just waiting... CHOMP!!!

8.09.2015

On Being a Redhead

Greetings from cyberspace! I generally am not a vain person, except about my hair color. Naturally I am a brunette, but it tends to wash me out. A few years ago, the Ex Boyfriend suggested that I change it to maybe red. At first I was really upset and hurt about it, but after a while, and finding the RIGHT shade of red, I have to admit he was correct (and that is all that I am going to give him credit for). I have to admit, I much prefer this to my natural color. I feel sassier, and if I dare say, a little more sexy. However, I can't justify going to a salon to have it professionally done, because if I start to go, I will want to keep going, and THAT is NOT in the budget. So, I use John Frieda Dark Red Brown at home product. At first it is bit dark, but then it starts to mellow and look really amazing. I always feel sassier right after I've done it (see picture). The one thing that I have learned to keep it fresh is to use a color refresher glaze and a shampoo designed for red-hair color, which helps the color last longer. Also, I rarely blow dry my hair as it makes the color fade and dries out the hair, even if I use a thermal product. And when I consider the cost of doing it myself ($15.00) versus a hair salon ($100.00), you can tell what my preference is. The only problem is that it is hard to find, and the only place that is carrying this brand AND color has been Walgreen's, which marks up items in their store. I think I am going to have to look to see if I can order it online. I'm sure I can find it cheaper. Doesn't hurt to try!