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3 Ways To Improve Your Financial Point Of View

3 Ways To Improve Your Financial Point Of View

By Beatrice Right

If you are like most bill-payers, it might seem as though financial demands will never let up.  From monthly musts, like mortgage payments and grocery bills, to pop-up spending for repairs and other unexpected costs; financial pressure comes from every direction.  Although you may feel isolated as you sort out money matters, you are not the first to face financial uncertainty.  Many have come before you, leaving worthy strategies you can use to improve your financial security.

Set financial goals and track your progress meeting them

Haphazard financial management leads to inconsistent results.  On the other hand, setting near-term financial goals, as well as making long-range projections gives you something to strive for without losing sight of your immediate needs.  Each person’s financial circumstances are unique, so your planning may not mirror another person’s. Your customized goals should acknowledge your existing financial obligations, setting milestones for improving conditions.

A one-year plan might include benchmarks like eliminating one credit card from your monthly balance sheet or setting aside money for holiday expenses in advance so you start the year without a mountain of seasonal debt. If you are saving for a major purchase, like a new car or property down payment, use your one-year plan to establish savings goals, pushing yourself to trim spending in favor of achieving long-term objectives like home ownership.

Five-year planning extends your outlook, accounting for life’s expensive milestones.  Are you starting a family?  Sending a child to college? Opening your own business?  These and other major financial commitments call for advanced preparations.  A five-year plan not only sets you up for future success, but the required discipline for meeting extended goals also improves your bottom line as you stick to the plan.  For the best results, track your progress meeting financial objectives using periodic review to evaluate headway.

Reduce or eliminate debt

In modern, credit-dependent society, wiping out debt is a tall order.  No matter how intimidated you are by the prospect of facing debt head-on, each move in the right direction translates into healthier personal finances.  Using an incremental approach, prioritize payback with goals in mind. Identify which debts carry the highest interest rates, targeting your most expensive accounts for priority payment.  And if possible, set your sites on a debt with a relatively low balance you can eliminate quickly. By reducing monthly credit obligations, you’ll feel the improved cash flow immediately, directing the resources to other priorities (such as paying off more debts).

Revolving debt spirals out of control, in part, because users are not held accountable each billing period.  By paying the minimum payment amount, for example, credit card users do not keep pace with repayment, continually rolling over the debt and compounding costs.  As you strive to reduce or eliminate personal debt, it is essential to freeze additional spending.  And as accounts are reconciled, consider closing unneeded lines of credit to resist future temptation and improve your credit profile.

Cultivate financial literacy

Staying informed about financial and economic matters enables you to make timely, informed decisions. If you are preparing to buy a house, for example, it makes sense to track the real estate market in your desired area. Familiarize yourself with sales prices and the number of days homes are on the market before selling.  With home-buying as a goal, you’ll want to assess various mortgage alternatives, consulting online resources for side-by-side comparisons.  When personal funding is needed, you’ll land the best loan terms, using comparison sites to evaluate available borrowing options.  With basic financial understanding and a sense of prevailing economic conditions, you’re well-equipped to face most household cash flow concerns.

With home-buying as a goal, you’ll want to assess various mortgage alternatives, consulting online resources for side-by-side comparisons.  When personal funding is needed, you’ll land the best loan terms using comparison sites to evaluate available borrowing options.  With basic financial understanding and a sense of prevailing economic conditions, you’re well-equipped to face most household cash flow concerns.

Financial knowledge and understanding can help you:

  • Make the most of your income
  • Secure the best financing rates
  • Improve your retirement outlook
  • Balance your budget
  • Take advantage of a buyers’ market

Expensive missteps are hard to overcome, so learning by example provides financial tools without the high price of failing firsthand.  Setting and tracking measurable goals, keeping personal debt to a minimum, and committing to the lifelong pursuit of financial understanding are three proven methods to be applied at any income level.  Use these three practices to ease fiscal pressure and reinforce your financial security.

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What I’ve Learned Being The Broke Friend And Employee

What I’ve Learned Being The Broke Friend And Employee

By Beatrice Right

I figured out pretty quickly that you need thick skin to make it through a debt free journey. When you decide to adhere to a strict budget, things obviously change, and your balances are not the ones doing a disappearing act. Since becoming the broke friend and employee, I’ve had to endure everything from ridicule to lonely nights on the sofa and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

“Sorry, I Can’t”

This slowly becomes your response for everything.

Going out every Tuesday for tacos is now a thing of the past, and your friends will wonder why your frequent presence has slowly dwindled to the status of a ‘no-show’.

Although I knew making plans for a night out was definitely not in my budget, I would tag along to unplanned festivities just so I didn’t look lame. I believed that I deserved to treat myself, but in reality, I was just using that as an excuse to be irresponsible.

Do you want to know what was lame? Me swiping a credit card because I knew I couldn’t afford to leave my bed that night.

Yes, I would have a good time, but in the back of my mind I would be thinking of the things I would have to sacrifice in the upcoming weeks in order to repay what I had borrowed.

Shooting down an invite became easier with practice, but I am still trying to find the right balance between my budget and my social life.

Party pooper

At my job there is always something going on that requires a donation. Whether it is a potluck or a baby shower, it’s a sure thing that someone will be walking around with a donation bag and a smile. Seriously, a co-worker could break a toe and the next day someone will be asking for a few dollars to buy a card or to collect a ‘get well’ fund. Ridiculous.

When I was newly employed I would always participate due to the fact that I did not want to be looked at as that girl who never gives, but it quickly became to be too much on my finances. I was out around $10 each month from giving to people that I barely even knew.

Once again—ridiculous.

I’ve now taken on the ‘party-pooper’ title and I wear it proudly. If I don’t have it then I don’t give it, which is most of the time so I don’t participate. No one is going to collect a ‘pay Dyana’s bills’ fund so sorry not sorry.

Debbie Downer

As you learn to manage your finances you will want to share your findings with the world. Seeing someone making a not-so-smart purchase may cause you to want to throw on your cape and save the day.

This is not always appreciated.

My friend recently traded in her Tahoe for a new Jeep and my immediate thought was why in the world would someone want to get rid of a car that’s paid off for one that’s over $30,000? Instead of congratulating her, I babbled on about why she didn’t need a new car and how much she’s going to wind up paying when the interest is added in.

Her response? She didn’t care.

Not many will want to hear what you are saying. People want things, and they could care less about how much it will cost them in the long run. I’ve learned to only share my knowledge when it’s welcomed, otherwise, I always seem to take on the role of a Debbie Downer.

You’re not invited

Those invites from your friends and co-workers will slowly start to shrivel up and blow away in the wind. They’ve heard “Sorry, I can’t” for so long that they don’t even want to waste their time inviting you someplace that you probably won’t go.

Fair enough I suppose.

I’ve found myself spending more and more time at home, missing out on the social life that my credit cards and I once had. I used to feel betrayed when I learned of an outing that I was not invited to, but I knew I would not have gone anyway.

I keep telling myself that my friends are still my friends but sure enough, not everyone wants to live by a budget. Debt is not forever if you don’t want it to be, and I firmly believe that my nights alone on the couch are only temporary...I hope!

Are you on a budget? What have you experienced?

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10 Things I Wish I Would’ve Done In College

10 Things I Wish I Would’ve Done In College

By Beatrice Right

  1. Stay home

I moved out of my mom’s house at the end of my junior year with a one-year-old and a part-time job. It wasn’t because I didn’t have a choice, in fact my mom advised me to stay until I graduated, but the rebel in me wanted to prove that I could survive on my own. I waited until my tax refund deposited into my account and off I went into adulthood with no specific plan or budget.

I was in for a huge surprise.

Now I had budgeted (mentally) for my rent and electric bills, but the other expenses? Not so much. It wasn’t until I went to sit down on the toilet that I realized I had no tissue paper, or when it was time to wash dishes that I discovered I had no dishwashing liquid. The little things that I had taken for granted became huge needs and unwanted expenses.

I was out roughly $650 each month simply for living expenses in addition to a $459 car note and a $50 monthly medical bill. Around this time my paychecks were about $530 every 2 weeks so needless to say I racked up a lot of unnecessary debt due to depending on my credit cards to get me through the semesters.


  1. Avoid unnecessary loans

I began taking out subsidized loans during my sophomore year simply to get a larger refund check. I had grant assistance and a scholarship but the amount of money I had in excess was “not enough.”

Yes I know—not smart—but it made sense at the time. Since I only worked part-time I would use my refund checks to pay up my bills so I guess I was not that stupid.

During my pregnancy I dropped down from 6 classes per semester to 2, and when my classes dwindled so did my grant assistance. I went from taking out unnecessary student loans just for the heck of it to actually needing them to help cover tuition costs.

If I was the money-savvy mom I am today I would have taken out just enough to cover the costs of my tuition instead of accepting the full amount.

Sigh. What is done is done.

  1. Save

I wish that I would’ve saved, I mean really saved during college.

I would set funds aside but I would always do a withdrawal for something I thought I needed—like a new dining room table that no one sat at. My savings was like a give-and-take relationship when it should have been more like a give-don’t-take. Any time I had an unexpected expense it was my credit cards that came to the rescue.

  1. Figure out my interests

When I started college I had no idea what I wanted to do which (surprise) isn’t uncommon. It is typical to change your major at least once or twice as you test the waters and find your strengths, or realize that your middle school dream job is an absolute nightmare. I knew I had a passion for writing but the thought of a writing career did not sound lucrative enough for my liking, and sitting at a cubicle was just not my thing (although I am now).

Quite frankly, I did not know what all I could do with a writing degree so I ran from my writing passion. Blood and body parts sounded more exciting so I opted for a Biology major instead to get me into the medical field.

I hated Biology.

The price of each class was through the roof as most came coupled with a lab, and the amount of information I had to cram in for each test was a no. Literally desperate for some relief, I took a huge leap of faith and changed my major to Professional & Technical Writing.

Although I think changing my major was the best decision I could have made I was still stuck with thousands of dollars from my previous Biology venture. If only I would have taken the time to figure out my interests and what I could do with them before jumping into the lion’s den.

  1. Budget

When I go back and think of my college budget I want to take a palm to my forehead and just leave it there.

I had a new ‘budget’ every week which only consisted of my bills and that’s it. I had no idea just how much I would have left over to pay for my other expenses, such as gas, so needless to say when the funds ran dry I would have to depend on my credit card to carry me until next payday.

  1. Rent my textbooks

I would always buy my books from my local Textbook Brokers, and at the end of the semester when I would go to sell the books back they would be worth breadcrumbs when just months before they were the price of a whole pie. I had rented a textbook from Chegg once and the price was significantly lower than what it was in the store, but it took about a week for the textbook to arrive in the mail and I was far too lazy to order all my books in advance. I could have saved a fortune by simply getting the names of my textbooks before the start of the semester but what a task that was.

I’ll just use my refund check, I’d say to myself.

I once bought a brand new textbook series for my computer class for roughly $150, and when I went to sell them back I was told that my version was outdated and would be no longer used. The buyback price? $0.

Imagine the look on my face.

  1. Scholarships

Scholarship money is free money and only a fool wouldn’t want free money. I was a recipient of two scholarships— the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery and the Single Parent Scholarship. I was pretty darn proud of myself for snagging two, but I know I should have applied myself more.

A WHOLE lot more.

I remember my professor invited one of her former students to be a guest speaker in her writing classes, in which she explained how she got through college without a single loan. Searching for scholarships became her full-time job, and she was obviously pretty good at it. I got so inspired that I went home that evening and browsed through a few scholarship websites like and Fastweb. I thought that I was just going to fill out a few simple applications then sit back and watch the money pile up but oh boy was I wrong.

These were no simple applications.

Most required an essay of at least 500 words, which felt more like 1500 at the time, or some sort of presentation. Despite my laziness syndrome, I managed to get in about 20 applications and won $1000 from one of my essays. You would think me winning would have sparked some motivation, and it did, but sadly it was short-lived.

  1. Begin making loan payments

If only I knew what I know now.

I wish I had thrown any extra cash that I had towards my student loans to save myself some heartache. I figured since I was still in school and my loans were not yet accruing any interest that I should just save my money.

My loans were a ‘worry later’ type of thing but now that I’m in that ‘later’ I cannot help but wonder how less frightening my loans would be if I had just prioritized my funds.

  1. Bunk up

I should have been more open to the idea of a roommate, but I wanted my privacy—especially with a baby and a boyfriend.  I am a bit of a recluse, and the thought of ‘permanent company’ lead me to swiftly shoot down everyone who made it clear of their intentions to move in.

Thinking back, halving up the bills would have been worth the awkward moments and fights over unmarked food.

  1. Be cheap

You know those people who try to live a Bill Gates lifestyle on a poor man’s salary? That was me.

I was more concerned with how others would perceive me if I lived within my means so I would rather swipe my card for unnecessary purchases than to face the truth.

Denial is an illness folks.

I would even pass up the generic brands at the grocery store out of fear of looking ‘cheap’ at the cash register.

Ridiculous I know.

I suppose if we all came out the womb financially savvy we would not be working towards a debt free life. What are some things you wish you would’ve done in your earlier life to avoid some of your financial pitfalls?

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How To Cure Your Shopping Addiction

How To Cure Your Shopping Addiction

By Beatrice Right

I was once addicted to shopping, and it’s been a dark secret that I’ve kept from those closest to me. I don’t like being judged, and the wounds of my retail therapy are still fresh. Buying a new item gave me an unexplainable rush of excitement, and it helped to block out negative emotions. If I had a bad day at work I would shop. If I was stressed out about schoolwork I would shop. Heck, sometimes nothing would be wrong at all, but I was bored so I would shop.

My shopping addiction was so bad that all of the retail workers at the local mall knew my name by heart. We managed to build a relationship as I sifted through their clothing racks each week, and they would often coax me into making extra purchases. It took me nearly a year to get my excessive spending under control, but I did it. It feels good to be able to walk out of a store without multiple bags of guilt.

If you are currently trying to break your bad spending habits then check out a few of these tips.


Set a Goal

What really helped to curb my senseless spending was creating a goal to attain. Sometimes that goal involved paying down a balance or saving for a large purchase—a purchase with value of course.

Once you have your goal, write it down to help bring it to fruition. Next, tape it down somewhere you can see it, like at your workstation or on the kitchen refrigerator. When you get an urge to spend refer back to your goal in order to keep yourself on track.

Make a list

When you are a recovering shopaholic, something as simple as making a list can keep you focused when walking through those sliding doors to eternal bliss. It doesn’t matter if you are out for a pair of socks or next month’s groceries—consider making a list. Write down exactly what you need to purchase and abide by it as if your whole well-being depends upon it…because it just may.

You are more focused on going in and getting out quickly with a list. The temptation to blindly throw items into your cart is lessened because you’re not roaming around the store in hopes of simply recognizing what you need. If it didn’t make your list then it doesn’t need to make it to the check-out line either.

Avoid going to the places where you know you will splurge

If you don’t want to spend then avoid going to certain places.

Of course, this sounds a lot easier than it actually is. Sometimes it isn’t possible to completely avoid someplace, like the grocery store, but lessening your visits will help to minimize your spending.

Get a hobby

Many people, including myself, shop from boredom or as a way to escape unwanted emotions. When I was feeling down, which was often, I would grab anything that I thought would restore my happiness. Of course, once the newness of my purchases wore off I was right back in the store acquiring more stuff.

Getting a hobby helps to take your focus off of spending and puts it towards your newly found pass time. For me, I blew the dust off my old notebooks and found a love for DIY projects. When I was feeling down, I would find something around the house to spruce up or write out my thoughts.

Do some soul searching

Let’s face it, basically living in a store is not exactly normal. There’s a reason for your excessive spending, and the quicker you figure it out the quicker you can get a handle on things. Instead of putting on a new shirt to temporarily fill a void, take some time out to identify what your triggers are. I promise you, once you discover what is driving your spending it will become a lot easier to break your bad habit.

Press that unsubscribe button

When I finally got my shopping at physical stores down to a minimum, the problem with online shopping began. The mass amounts of emails I would receive from retailers about new sales often sent me over the edge. Next thing I knew I was scrambling for my credit card and impatiently checking the USPS tracking number.

This tip is fairly simple: unsubscribe!

Make a budget

This tip may seem to always be used as a cure-all for your financial woes, but a budget truly does put your finances into perspective. Without one, it’s like you’re driving down a dark highway with no headlights and hoping that you wind up where you need to be. Sadly, you’ll end up in an unfamiliar place and not know how you got there or how to get back.

Having a budget gives you the power of making your dollars work for you. Every dollar will have a purpose, and you will likely discover that there are not enough funds left over to support your habit.

Use the 24-hour-rule

I discovered this rule about a year ago, and it helps me to decipher if I really need my purchase or if it’s just impulsive. The trick is to leave your purchases in their bags for 24 hours to determine their value. If you could manage without them then chances are you didn’t need them.

When making online purchases, leave your items in the cart for the 24 hours and see how you feel when you return back to them. By this time your impulses will have subsided, allowing you to make a conscious decision.  If you lost your items to another buyer, even better. This way you won’t have to deal with the heartache of emptying your cart because it hurts…I know.

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Letting Go Of Fear

Letting Go Of Fear

By Beatrice Right

Unless you are some God who has been delivered from the heavens above, you have fears. It doesn’t matter how tough you consider yourself to be, as long as there is blood rushing through your veins you will have them. They are all a part of our awareness, and it would be difficult to measure just how far we’ve come without them.

I’ve had my fair share of fears, especially while on my journey to financial freedom. When you make the decision to take back control of your finances the “what-if” scenarios start to play out in your mind like the lyrics of that catchy song you despise. I am a single mother of soon-to-be two small children, and it’s not always easy to find courage in myself.

What if I lose my job? What if I have an unexpected expense? What if I’m not good enough?

All questions we like to ask ourselves but secretly pray we don’t have to answer them.

Sure, it’s a walk in the park to sit behind a keyboard and say “let go of your fears”…so I won’t. Those joy snatchers may have been around so long that they’ve somehow become a comfort to you. They cradle you with familiarity, and to let them go in a place full of uncertainty would be like jumping off the Grand Canyon to your doom.  


Yes, you read that right. Chance + fear =tranquility. Crazy huh?

Your doom may turn out to be the most exhilarating and rewarding moment of your life.  I’ve realized that it’s nearly impossible to hold onto stagnancy in a world that is always changing. The seasons change and we complain about it. The structures change and we get upset about it, but the Earth still rotates. It still goes on about its planet-like duties despite the chaos within its structure, just as we are able to carry on despite the doubts in our minds that we let hinder us.

Next time you are on the edge of that cliff just close your eyes real tight and walk forward. We can even hold hands on the way down.

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How To Get Your Overdraft Fees Back And Stay Out Of The Negative

how to get your overdraft fees back and stay out of the negative

By Beatrice Right

Let’s face it, overdraft fees are embarrassing.  I think we can all agree on that. A few months ago, I had a little run in with not one but two overdraft fees that hit my account at the same time. $70 worth of fees were being taken out of my available balance, and I was devastated. I was so confident that I had everything under control, so I nearly lost my breakfast when I checked my account that morning. Frantic, I began looking through my transactions to see just where my calculations went wrong. $20 ATM withdrawal. $13 beauty supply purchase (don’t judge). $11 for gas. All three purchases were pending to post at the same time, although made on separate days. Luckily, after making a phone call I was able to get my $70 back. Shew!

Get Your Overdraft Fees Back

Develop a good relationship with your bank.

Throughout my college years, I worked as a bank teller and got to witness firsthand just how important a good banking relationship is. When you establish a good relationship with the people of your financial institution, they are more willing to work with you during your time of need. I’ve been with the same bank for about five years now, and have gotten to know the employees pretty well. When I spotted my overdraft charges I immediately contacted the branch location I was most comfortable with, and plead my case to the manager. Squeeze in some time to physically stop by your bank every once in a while so the employees are able to put a face to your name. When an issue arises, please be polite. If you come storming into the bank making demands you’re more likely to get the “I’m sorry but…” response. Do not threaten to close your accounts, although it may be tempting when your emotions are running high, or else you lessen the likelihood of getting any assistance. As a teller, I’ve seen this play out numerous times and it rarely went in the customer’s favor. Did the manager care about their threats? No. Did they really close their accounts? No. Were their fees refunded? Of course not. Were their fees refunded? Of course not. Calmly own up to the fact that you made a mistake, and make them believe that your mistake will not be one that is reoccurring. After all, your account is down in the dumps so if you close your account it isn’t like your bank is going to mourn the loss of your non-existent funds.

Keep all accounts in good standing.

When your account is in good standing banks are more willing to refund fees because you’ve proven yourself to be a valuable customer. Think about it. If you are always in the negative then what would motivate them to work with you? As a teller, I would look over an account’s history to determine if overdraft fees should be refunded. If you have always kept your account with a positive balance, then you are more likely to get back your funds. Trust me, banks want to keep your business if you are a good customer so don’t be afraid to ask for your money back.

Stay out of the Negative

Use cash.

If possible, try to use cash to pay for your purchases instead of your debit card. This way, you know exactly how much you have left to spend because you can physically see your money. When using a debit card it is easy to lose track of your remaining balance and thus the chances of overdrawing increase.

Remember that your balance may not reflect all of your transactions.

This is what trips up a lot of people, including me. Let’s say you have $30 in your account so you swipe your card at the gas pump for $15 on a Saturday. When you check your account the next day, your balance still reflects the original $30. Great right? Not exactly. You know that feeling when you check your account and you have more money than you expected? You’re on top of the world but there’s that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something? Well, after being over the moon you make a $20 purchase, not remembering that the previous $15 you spent on gas has not yet cleared. Come Monday, the $15 gas purchase posts to your account leaving you $5 in the negative. Oh yeah, don’t forget to top it off with that lovely overdraft charge.

Track your spending.

I know, I know, this should be a no-brainer right? Well, common sense isn’t always common…I should know. Tracking your spending is vital for keeping a positive balance.  You may think signing up for online banking is good enough, but solely relying on it for the most accurate balance can cost you big time. If you are a pen and paper type of person, then consider using a checkbook register if you don’t mind doing a little math. If you are more tech-savvy, there are numerous spending apps that will do the math for you. Lately, I’ve been using an app called Spending Tracker and so far so good. It allows you to enter your income, and you can even set it up to add funds automatically to reflect your payday contributions, etc.  You can categorize your expenses, and when you make a purchase simply enter the amount and instantly get your new current balance.   It can be pretty discouraging when your account goes into the negative, and the extra fees applied by the banks are like salt on an open wound—they sting. Luckily, there are ways to get back your fees and ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes twice.

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