Let’s Talk: Fiscal Responsibility

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! 🎄💖

 

BlerDCon the Recap: Part Two

YER. I see you made it to Part Two. Clearly that means you enjoyed Part One 👀. Welcome back, my dedicated reading friend.

Well, since Part One was mostly comprised of the activities I took part in while at the convention, you already know that the second part is going to be about…THE COOKOUT FAM, AYYYYY.

Every convention I go to, just expect me to mention the litty litness of The Cookout. Cookout Fam Chronicles if you will, haha. There’s a lot of pictures that I took of us, so please, enjoy this lovely slideshow:

ANYWAY.

I already learn so much from everyone day to day in Discord, but it’s on a different level when you see your fam in person actually speaking on their personal experiences, etc. with a passionate tone in their voices. Many of the panels I went to, we mostly ventured

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Genesis speaking da truth

to together and it was astounding to hear everyone’s perspectives up close concerning stories and occurrences happening in our communities.

We basically traveled together in one big and various group pods the entire time, and let me tell you, it was the best thing ever. Sure it’s nice to enjoy something alone, but it’s even better to be able to share a moment with someone and laugh, cry and yes, even debate with them about what you all just witnessed (or overheard, LOL).

My most favorite moments occurred when we were all chilling upstairs in @Genesis_0109 hotel room, just hanging out, playing a card game he introduced us to, and just voicing our different opinions on a myriad of topics. If you fell asleep and got caught slipping, best believe you got sleep cammed by yours truly, LOL.

Yes, I have this thing I do called Sleep Cam: if you fall asleep around me while we are all being extremely loud and having fun, your picture will be taken and most likely with people doing random funny things in the background behind you.

I definitely can’t forget the after parties. WHEW CHILLEEEE. We danced and danced and danced, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The fam gets super hype okay, that’s all I’m going to say on that.

So, about this COSPLAY.

Last but not least: I cosplayed for the first time in my entire life and let me tell you, that was one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences I have had in a while. I’m actually getting emotional as I reflect on getting everything together for it. I’m even more emotional because I cosplayed a character of my own original design.

Realizing the fact that I was able to bring her to life, and it wasn’t too shabby looking either? I WAS SHOOK. What made it even better was that a couple people actually chased me down to take a picture with me! I definitely wasn’t expecting that because, even though I was happy that I cosplayed, I was thinking that my cosplay wasn’t as great as some of the others I saw. I honestly had to keep reminding myself that none of that mattered and that I needed to stop comparing myself. At the end of the day, all that mattered was that I cosplayed, I did my best with what I had, I had fun and freaking I enjoyed it! Now I just have to work on my posing, LOL. (Solo photos of me courtesy of @Tru1p)


Right now, I’m tearing up because, this is my family, and in such a short time, these phenomenal individuals have become incredibly important to me and I care about each and every one of them. It’s such a blessing to be able to serve the community as an Admin staff member because I really get a chance to see how our efforts are helping those that come into the community from a granular perspective. Like I mentioned earlier, I learn so much from being around them and hearing their stories. Even though they roast the heck out of me (out of love, LOL), the out pouring of help, support and love I and everyone else receives is incredible. These are some of the most talented, driven, intelligent, hard-working and dedicated people that I’ve come to meet so far in my life. I hate that we all live so far away from each other, but it’s comforting to know that we are all just a Discord message, Voice Chat, Stream or Game Lobby away.

If you’re a PoC Content Creator looking for a group like The Cookout, I definitely recommend you check us out. The group is only accessible through an application, and that is temporarily closed while we process the huge number of applications we’ve received in the past month or so. However, keep up with us on Twitch, Instagram and Twitter!

Special Shout Out to the Cookout Fam I was able to hang with at this convention, y’all are top tier ❤

@blisscreates, @stellyblanca, @SpoonGodTitan, @willthegreatest, @therealrapcritic @LilaBoBina, @Tru1p, @JermainePlays, @vickibewicked, @_LadyKayLee, @DippedNV8Splash, @007Steeze, @_kingether, @DJ_Cocoa_Butter, @CSamSim, @ProdigyDaPrince, @JediOso, @Leesh_Capeesh, @Nizzy917, @Bball4Life35, @frenchiefied, @unicorninthekitchen@RobRegalGxC, @Genesis_0109, @Son_of_a_yellow, @shinageeeexpress, @TheRetroAstro, @dream_killa22, @xStill_Infamous, @skool_the_otaku and @kendallxanime

(Everyone above isn’t necessarily in the Cookout) If I missed you, it wasn’t on purpose. There was a lot of y’all in two days LOL.


Thank you again for reading Part Two of my BlerDCon Recap! There will be an actual vlog of the activities coming soon, once I find time to sit down and edit!

BlerDCon the Recap: Part One

Not that I don’t mind blowing up everyone’s Twitter and/or Instagram mentions with tags, replies, etc., AND WOULD DEFINITELY DO IT WITHOUT HESITATION… I figured I’d type up an article (paired with a vlog, soon come) of my experience at my first Blerdcon this past weekend instead, because, whew chile I have a lot to say.

I truly don’t even know where to begin. I suppose I’ll first talk about the activities I attended! I probably am going to split this into two parts.

Aside from the blazing heat at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City (LOL), I was in AWE from the moment I walked into the hotel.

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Repping our North Carolina Area Codes

This time, having my sister (@Bball4Life35) AND brother (@dream_killa22) in tow, we not only went on our first “family” road trip, but we also got to experience a world that we really are mostly cut off from back in our hometowns. I’m glad that I was able to take them with me, and that we were immersed in this adventure together. It’s definitely a memory we will always cherish!

BlerDCon was nothing short of magical. It was a multi-level, action packed weekend, with everyone absolutely living their best lives with no ragrets (not even one letter). I was able to participate in my first Maid Cafe!

That food was AMAZING. It was just as fun as it’s portrayed in Anime, haha. For the first time in my life I tried soba noodles. Not to mention, one of my good friends from college (@treezyspeakeasy) was actually a maid (Her maid name was Michiko)! It was super awesome to see another one of my friends enjoying the same type of interest as myself. The rest of the Maid Cafe staff were super hospitable too. Since I went to the Cafe alone (I high key was wandering and forgot to tell my fam that I ended up there, LOL), they sat and talked with me the entire time which I really appreciated.

We also visited a few panels. To name a few: It Really Be Your Own People: Gatekeeping the Black Experience, D.I.Y. Sci-Fi Filmmaking and discussion on the Culture of Black Twitter.

It Really Be Your Own People: Gatekeeping the Black Experience was an insightful IMG_0829.jpegdiscussion because it drew light to the fact that, whether we mean to or not…we all gatekeep at some point.

  • If you’re unsure of what “Gatekeeping” means, it’s referring to making someone feel as though they can’t enjoy a hobby, show, book, series, etc. because they don’t necessarily have as much knowledge as you do on the respective topic. Basically making them feel as though they don’t have a right to enjoy whatever it is they’re trying to enjoy because they don’t know all the backstories. Miss me with that.

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I, along with many other people, have witnessed this happening on various social medias, and it’s honestly disgusting and pointless. Just let someone enjoy whatever it is they’re trying to enjoy (as long as it’s not illegal or very wrong, yikes).

The D.I.Y. Sci-Fi Filmmaking panel I came in at the end of (because I was putting on my cosplay, huehuehue). However, for the little bit that I could listen in on, I thoroughly IMG_0842.jpegenjoyed it and probably will soon be getting back into learning more about Premiere Pro and After Effects since I have access to them for now! My takeaway from this panel was that you can do a lot with a little, and you’re really only limited by your imagination.

The discussion on the Culture of Black Twitter, led by one of my super totally awesome brilliant friends Lila (@LilaBoBina), and two other women making some power moves outchea, Tanya (@cypheroftyr) and Shonté (@ShonteWrites),

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Tanya, Shonté and Lila

IMG_0990highlighted how Black Twitter means a lot of different things for everyone. They also discussed how much society takes ideas from Black Twitter and tries to market it back to the rest of the world as if it was their original idea. They especially are privy to doing this without giving credit to the people that they stole from.

Quirktastic, the group who hosted Quirkcon back in June, also collaborated on a video with another group called TeamRedPro to make a live action short film called Afro Samurai Champloo. Y’all. This had to be one of the best and most hilarious short films I’ve seen in a while! The blooper reel definitely had me rolling at the end, ahaha.

Among the other things, I was able to attend a little bit of the comedy show and peek in on some of the table top gaming they had going on as well. I can’t forget the PLETHORA of extraordinary vendors that seemed to never end! Oh, and don’t get me started on the Food Trucks, WHEW CHILE.

I also SHOOK ESTELLE’S HAND, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Haha, well, I think this is a good stopping point for BlerDCon the Recap: Part One. If you would like to read Part Two, stay tuned. If not, that ain’t no problem! I definitely do appreciate you taking the time to read Part One! Be Blessed fam!


Also, I want to just say that everyone, no matter which con you go to…everyone should experience a con. More specifically a comic, gaming, anime, etc. type con. It’s an incredible adventure that I believe would bring out the inner kid in all of us.

More pics from the convention:

New Year, New Things!

Hello everyone! This is a different post for today only (or maybe it might happen in the future, I’m not sure, haha). I hope everyone’s 2019 has been off to a great start so far. If it hasn’t, I surely do pray that it gets better and remember, it’s only January!

I wanted to share with you all that I’ve decided to try some new things this year, and focus on some things I’ve been more or less neglecting.

The new things I’m getting into are: Modeling and Etsy.

Modeling?!

Yes, I’ve been told many times that I should try out modeling. After looking through numerous pictures that I’ve taken/had taken, I figured, why not? If I don’t like it, I don’t have to keep doing it, right? Besides, I’m still trying to figure out the things I like and don’t like doing, so why not give it a shot. It’ll make for an interesting story later in life, haha.

Etsy!

Yes! I’ve opened up an Etsy shop. I’m finally allowing myself to just create and share my random art pieces that I design with you all (also I’m having a hard time paying off these medical bills from last year. Yay Crohn’s check-ups!) The pricing on my Etsy site is considerably lower than the prices on my website. This is because the items being sold in my Etsy shop are more simple and pre-made, rather than custom designed. When you get a chance, I’d appreciate it if you dropped by to see what I have so far! The inventory is of course limited, since I just opened it three days ago, haha.

If you want to know what other services I provide, also check out the Services tab on my website.

Link to my Etsy


So, what else am I going to be focusing on this year?:

Music/Art, Exercise, Health/Weight Gain/Diet, Sleep…and most importantly, ME!

I didn’t neglect myself as much as I did in 2017, but I still have some work to do. 2018 was still kind of rough, but I made it! I’m going to keep making it. In order to do that, I have to focus on me, what my body is telling me, and so on. I also have to do what makes me happy and fills me with joy, hence the Music/Art bit. I have to make sure I keep my Crohn’s in check, and if I’m not taking care of myself, I can’t be there for myself nor others. So this is my plan. I’m giving it to God, praying for strength and determination. Also praying to get rid of this procrastination and laziness…lol.

There was a podcast I created at the end of 2018 (probably the only “podcast” I’ll create), but I really felt God moving in my spirit and telling me to just stop worrying about things and to trust Him. I thought I was doing that last year, but, SIKE, apparently not. Anyway, I feel and believe great things are going to happen this year. Not only for myself, but for you too. You have to believe that for yourself as well!

If you want to listen to the podcast, 20 minutes in total, I have linked it here.

Thank you all as always for reading, laughing, feeling, loving and crying with me! Here’s to a great year for all of us! God Bless!❤️

Corinne

Corinne Bailey Rae! My absolute favorite artist (other than Michael Jackson) to walk this planet.

She’s not a new artist on the scene, she’s been producing some bops since 2005 (I believe, starting with Like A Star). If you haven’t listened to her yet, here’s one of my favorite songs by her:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iibMNsSRCE?rel=0]

I’m writing a little bit about her today because I listen to her music often, and I listen because I relate to most of it. Also, her voice is so pure and genuine and it just puts you at ease and fills you with joy at the same time. Not to mention, she’s absolutely gorgeous!

Corinne Bailey Rae, a British singer/songwriter, provides that connection in her music that we a lot of times don’t have the chance to experience with the music that’s being produced today. Her most recent album was published in 2016, and it’s titled The Heart Speaks in Whispers. 

However, this is not a short artist biography.

I was watching an interview that she had with The Pool , a 10-minute interview, and she talked about the loss of her husband, what it was like to come back to music after that and her most recent album. She talked about a few different things as well, like things she enjoyed, having an inner voice, etc. As I was sitting there watching I just kept thinking: Wow, this girl is so amazing! As she was talking, I really did see myself in her a lot, especially when it came to the creative parts.

Anyway, my point in saying all this is: she is a really powerful woman, and such an inspiration to me. She’s worth listening to and learning about for sure. She’s the reason I started playing guitar and the first song I learned to play real well is in fact Like A Star.

Go and give her a listen! I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Ambition

Since it’s my header quote on my site, let’s talk about ambition today. We hear this word a lot, but do we actually know what it means or what it is? Well…

ambition

Ambition is quite the handy thing to have. It’s the gas that fuels your plane. People with ambition to achieve or want to do something have an awareness that others don’t. They understand that change is good, and that things are more appreciated when you work hard to get something. They understand that the process to get to that something is only improving them on the way there, taking advantage of all the things they are learning.

How many of you can look back to a goal you’ve reached, recount the journey it took to reach that goal, and identify the things you had to go through that only made you a better version of what you were prior to that journey? If you ever feel like you’re not getting anywhere or personally growing in trying to reach a goal, take a moment to do this. You’ll discover that you’ve grown a tremendous amount. The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t look like things are getting better when you keep a constant watch on whatever it is. You just have to keep working at whatever it is, and then the day that you take a break to recuperate, you’ll realize just how far you’ve come (and most likely in a shorter amount of time than you realized).

While people can have ambitions, it may not always be for something good. It’s important that we surround ourselves with those who have ambition for something good and uplifting. We need to continue to forge meaningful connections with those people and continue to lift each other up. It doesn’t have to be an ambition for something large either! It could be something as simple as getting your hair care routine down to a science. Just as long as you’re working on improving yourself in some area (since we are human and not perfect and will never be so), focus on that. You never know, you could inspire someone to do the same. After all, people are always watching.

God bless!