Let’s Talk: Fiscal Responsibility

Money is a tool, not a toy. How are you using it?

I want to start this post off with a definition today:

House Poor – Being able to pay rent, mortgage, bill payments, etc., but unable to purchase basic necessities such as groceries, fuel, clothing, etc. and/or live a happy life due to financial strife.


As we begin making preparations to head into the new, grand year of 2020 (a whole new decade!), I wanted to take some time to impart the knowledge that I acquired this year regarding Fiscal Responsibility. I’m doing this because I want those around me that I have the ability to impact, to financially start their year off right. If I can help it, I would like to prevent anyone from dealing with what I dealt with this year.

Many of you already know that I struggled a lot with my finances this year.

A lot.

However, in the midst of a struggle, you learn, you change and most importantly you (hopefully) grow.

If you’re still reading, there’s a few steps I want you to take as soon as you can. No, actually, do it now. Enough fooling around.

Step One – Control Yourself: Open up an INTEREST BEARING SAVINGS ACCOUNT at ANOTHER BANK (preferably a credit union). Do NOT by any means, order a debit card for this account. If you get one by default, hide it from yourself, cut it up, give it to someone you trust, but you better not use it unless it’s for emergencies.

Step Two – Automate EVERYTHING: This part is really important. Take 7% of your paycheck (or whatever you can afford to do), and set up AUTOMATIC TRANSFERS TO THIS SAVINGS ACCOUNT AT THE OTHER BANK. Set it up for every time that you get paid, whether it be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

Why? When you are moving money automatically from one bank to another, it’s in process for 3-4 days. It’s up in the ether, and you can’t touch it. Therefore you can’t spend it. Once it arrives at the other bank, it’ll take the same amount of time to transfer it back, once again inhibiting you from unnecessarily spending that money you’re supposed to be saving.

Also, the way my bank is set up, there’s a $3 transfer fee to an external account for the 3-4 day transfer. I never notice those missing $3 dollars. If I’m feeling spicy, I can immediately transfer the funds the same or next day for $25, but ain’t nobody got time for all that.

I would also suggest that if you can, set up auto pay on bills that are easily manageable. Sometimes you get a discount for doing so!

Step Three – Tame your Money: Download these Monthly Budgeting and Bill Tracking Excel Spreadsheets from my Google Drive.

Budgeting has a bad rap. Budgeting is not something that’s supposed to give you restrictions, it’s something that’s supposed to liberate you and make you aware of how you’re utilizing your income. We use budgeting sheets to see where our money is going and to tell our money where to go. It helps us identify if we’re spending money on things that we don’t need and can do without. When you’re filling out the sheet, make sure that you…LIST EVERYTHING YOU SPEND MONEY ON. Including all your lil’ subscriptions to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Discord, Apple Music, alladat.

If you want tips on budgeting per paycheck, check out The Honest Plan on YouTube.

Once you’ve completed your monthly budget sheet, the Bill Tracking sheet will be your best friend. You’ll use this to list everything you pay a monthly bill for, see if you’re staying on top of your bill payments, observe to see if there are any fluctuations in bill amounts and overall be absolutely sure that you’re paying things on time (especially when the collectors attempt to call you and tell you that you’re behind).

Not only do these two tools give you peace of mind, but you’ll also feel like you’re doing a lil’ sumn sumn as a money managing guru.

numbers money calculating calculation

Step Four – Side Hustlin’ (Optional): Find a side hustle you wouldn’t mind doing. If you’re good at something, you might as well get paid for it. There’s nothing wrong with a little extra income! While you’re at it…check out Blankets of Blessings 🌚

Step Five – Trading & Investing: It would be worthwhile to hop onto YouTube and watch some videos on Trading vs. Investing. It’s never too late to start, and besides, if it goes well, it’s something you can set aside and “forget about” while your money grows. I’ve recently started using the Robinhood and Stash apps. If you’re interested in Robinhood, use my link here to get a free stock! Disclaimer: You should already know this is not a quick way to increase your income (unless you get the blessing of a lifetime and have an incredibly successful day trade).

Step Six – The Snowball Effect: I’m sure many of you have heard of this. …No? Okay, my bad for the assumption. Allow me to enlighten you: The Snowball Effect is something that one of my mentors shared with me, and it involves paying off looming bills. Essentially, all you are doing is paying off the small bills first so that you can launch a full, head on attack on the larger bills and aggressively pay those down. It’s effective, it works, do it.

Step Seven – “It is Finished.”: God rested on the seventh day, so we shall rest on the seventh step. Put this cycle in motion and you’ll be taking your first steps on your path to Fiscal Responsibility.

Matthew 25:14-28 

These things I mentioned above will take time to get going, and this blog post is not the end all to education about Fiscal Responsibility. This is just what I’ve learned from my experiences and those around me. You have to ask questions, you have to be attentive to what’s going on with your wallet. It’s up to you to take control, and use money as the tool it was intended to be used as. I do care to mention that, be careful you don’t become obsessed with money. Money isn’t everything, but how we use it determines how we live our lives.

Here are a few things to take away from today:

  • Wherever you put your value, that’s where your money is going.
  • Don’t go after things that have no eternal value.
  • You cannot serve both God and money. – Matthew 6:24
  • Figure out what your definition of money is – this will help you determine if you’re using money as a tool or a toy.
  • Don’t forget to pay your tithes.

 

Happy Holidays! 🎄💖

 

Be Sure to Spend Time With God

He’s the best friend you could ever imagine having, so why wouldn’t you spend time with Him?

I know that as we go throughout our busy days, we many times forget to sit down and give thanks to God for the many blessings He bestows upon us as we go throughout our busy days.

Why is it that we can devote so much time to all these various things that stress us out, disappoint us, anger us, etc., but we struggle with spending time with God who relieves all of that stress, anger and disappointment? It’s very backwards. It does not make sense. It frustrates me, especially because there’s really no excuse for why I don’t spend time with Him. The extended amounts of time that I can sleep or play video games for…I could be spending time with God. The extended amounts of time that I spend worrying about things beyond my control…I could be spending time with God.

I used to pray every morning before I left for work. I fell off. However, that alone just isn’t enough. God deserves so much more than that from me! Especially the way I’ve been getting blessed recently? I should be running through the hallways at work, at home, where ever I go. I should be praise breaking all OVER the place.

Yet…I don’t.

Why?

There’s numerous distractions, numerous illegitimate reasons that I could come up with as to why I don’t spend time with God. It’s ridiculous really. It’s ridiculous because, do you think God sits back and says “Oh, I didn’t have time to bless you or forgive you because I was too busy and distracted with something else, but I’ll get around to it.” No! He absolutely, DOES NOT do that. Do you know how bad things would be if that happened? We would be S.O.L., on steroids. No, but instead I imagine God shakes His head at us daily, probably saying “my children, my children, what will I ever do with you”, but still continues to love us and bless us REGARDLESS of our actions. Oh yes, and let’s not forget, He’s teaching us lessons in the process. God will not hesitate to break us down first in order to teach us a valuable lesson about not being humble, not spending enough time with Him, etc. God gets jealous, just like our boyfriends or girlfriends or husbands or wives, or even our FRIENDS do when we don’t make a point of spending time with them.

I get it though, I get it. We can’t see God. We can’t see Jesus. Out of sight, out of mind right? If we aren’t interacting with something physically every day, it’s easy to forget about whatever that something may be. We’re human. That’s bound to happen. However, it. is. not. an. excuse! I have to do better. WE have to do better. God has done way too much for us, for us not to sit down, thank Him, spend time with Him, tell Him about our day, give Him praise for simply being who He is and taking care of us, EVERY DAY.

How you spend time with God is how you spend time with God. There’s no special technique or method you’re supposed to do. What matters is the strength of your relationship with Him. Imagine, all the time you spend being angry or worrying about something beyond your control, all that time could be time you’re spending with the One who created you. It’s one of the best times too because you can cry and let things out and not be judged, you can laugh with God (yes, contrary to popular belief, God has a sense of humor), you can even vent your frustrations! He will listen to every single word you have to say. You just have to patient, quiet and listen to what He has to say about everything.

Also keep in mind, just because you’re improving your relationship with God, doesn’t mean your life will be without hardship. If life was easy, we wouldn’t grow. We wouldn’t need God. God is there for us. God is our strength when we become weak and can’t fathom how we will continue living life. Let God fight the toughest parts of your battles for you. Don’t try to do everything on your own. It won’t feel good and everything will spin out of control, and we don’t want that.