5 easy ways to make money without even trying

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When I was about 16 or 17 years old, my parents got me a book for my birthday. For most teenagers, this may have been the worst gift possible, but I loved it because reading was my therapy (in addition to dance and writing). When I realized the book they got me was Robert Kiyosaki’s best-selling book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” I couldn’t be happier.

Yes, that sounds strange. But it makes sense once you realize I was one of those nerdy kids who loved reading financial help books. (It’s probably what made me so frugal and enterprising today) Within that book was a lesson that became the icing on top of the cake of a birthday gift. Don’t work for the money. Make the money work for you. It’s a mantra that I kept in the back of my mind for a while when thinking about jobs. While that life lesson resonated with me, this next one was embedded in my heart. The key to being financially rich, is doing something once and continuously getting paid for it.

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Your Realistic Mindset is Not a Badge of Honor

 

The Reason Why You Should Never Be Realistic

 

When I told a few of my friends that my plan is to be completely debt free by the time I’m 30, I got a lot of side eyed stares. Now I’d be the first to admit that it’s a lofty goal. I went to a private school that cost a lot of money. Unfortunately, the debt didn’t disappear when the late night study sessions did. So I wasn’t really surprised by the skepticism and side eyes I received upon my goal declaration. What I was surprised about were the responses I received.

“You need to be realistic. That isn’t going to happen.” Continue reading

32 Things I Do to Make the Day a Little Brighter

 

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It’s no secret I am generally a happy and positive person. I’m one of those people who always believes in the fairytale ending. Even it’s not the ending I hoped for, I do everything I can to believe the outcome is what was best for that particular situation. Contrary to what people believe, I wasn’t born with a magical ray of sunshine up my butt. I wake up dreading Monday’s, stress about work problems, and get upset about dealing with people just like everyone else. Continue reading

How an airbag that failed to deploy saved my life…

accidentquote-JPG-6728 days. That’s how long it lasted. No – that’s not the length of my menstrual cycle. I’m talking about the tragic death of my car after 28 days. It wasn’t my dream car but it served it’s purpose. And after a bout of bad luck when it came to cars (we had two cars die on us within 6 months), this new one was God sent. It wasn’t brand new, but it was new to us. In fact, other than being a year newer, it was almost identical to my husband’s pride and joy that had died the month prior. The only difference was that this car, though a 2002, was in pristine condition. It was well maintained and had no issues. And all for a great price, thanks to the family friend who sold it to us.

My husband and I felt like we were on cloud nine to have lucked out with such a reliable car. In fact, after the year we had and all the issues we had with our other cars it was amazing that the universe had even trusted us with a car again. Continue reading

The one tip that will guarantee your most amazing workout ever

 

This one small change can make a world of difference in the way you break a sweat.

This one small change can make a world of difference in the way you break a sweat.

Give a girl the perfect shade of red lipstick and she can conquer the world. I don’t know why but there’s something about it that commands attention. It delivers confidence. It’s risky. It’s bold. And of course, it’s the perfect mix of sultry and sassy. – All things that almost every woman in America knows. I never believed it though. Despite, having to wear red lipstick for every dance recital or performance ever in life, I’ve never understood the lure of red lipstick. In fact, I hated it. I always found it’s bright red hue to be overly loud and obnoxious. Characteristics that I never found in myself.

The notion never stopped me from owning red lipstick though and mixing it with every other lipstick color I owned just so I could tone it down a bit . That is until one faithful  day when I was scheduled to teach a Zumba class I was dreading. I loved Zumba but I’m never quite sure if the participants love me. In fact, this class in particular has been pretty challenging – they hardly ever crack a smile, are very quiet and never answer any of my questions. In fact, it had gotten so bad and mind boggling that I debated quitting. Continue reading

How 57 Cents Became My Key to Paying off Student Loans

Few things make me happier than a good bargain. In fact, since my husband and I vowed to changequotelimit spending to necessities in order to pay off debt, a good bargain happens to be the easiest path to our shared high as of late. That means eating out is a no-no, random shopping sprees are forbidden and going to the movies is out of the question. Our quest to pay off student loans also meant that if an item wasn’t on sale, it wasn’t getting purchased. So if there’s not a coupon, or special pricing it’s not gonna happen. Hence, a lot of things get left on the shelves.

That’s why when IHOP announced it’s 57th anniversary sale of a short stack of pancakes for 57 cents, I was beyond ecstatic. In fact, I immediately called my patient husband to let him know that nothing else mattered on that day because we had a date at IHOP. For weeks, I fantasized about how the date was going to unfold. I pictured the welcoming host ushering us to a table  romantically set in the dim corner overlooking the garden outside the restaurant. I imagined my husband and I joining hands as we admired our color coordinating date night outfits. And finally, my smile grew and eyes twinkled as I fantasized about the ridiculously inexpensive check thanks to our splurge on those perfectly priced 57 cent buttermilk pancakes.

Just the thought of the cheap date made my heart smile. Who knew such a great splurge could make a bargain hunter so happy. That is until reality struck. And unfortunately that reality was that my planned date was a forbidden one. Why? Because it was a splurge. Inexpensive or not it wasn’t a necessity. Sure it was only 57 cents but it was 57 cents taken away from my student loans. My husband and I made an agreement that only necessities and career purchases would be made while focusing on a future of debt free lives. And even though an inexplicably cheap short stack at a favorite pancake eatery was good there was no way I could justify it as a necessity.

In fact no discount percentage on a splurge was worth my shifting focus away from the bigger picture of paying off those student loans. I realized that once I justified one splurge it would only be a matter of time before I justified another one. First it starts with a splurge of 57 cents on a shortstop of pancakes. Then leads to a splurge of $5.70 on some new pole dance gear. Then the next thing I know I’ll be justifying a splurge of $57 on a crazy sale at MAC cosmetics. No matter how good the sale is, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s money that should have been applied to paying off student loans. I was not about to let a 57 cent shortstack of pancakes be my gateway drug to irresponsible spending and a longer debt sentence.

So instead, I said goodbye to my dreams of cheap eats and revisited the pact we made reserving all expenses for necessities.  And with that, I sealed the deal by applying the 57 cents I would have spent on pancakes to one of my student loans. While disappointing to know that I soon wouldn’t be feasting on Ihop hotcakes I was proud of myself for standing my ground. Because if a splurge on 57 cent pancakes was the gateway drug to other inexcusable splurges, than resisting a tempting 57 cent bargain was the gateway to resisting even more unnecessary sales allowing me to get even closer to my debt free dreams. If I could say no to 57 cents, than I could say no to $5.00, $15, $150, $500 and more. With every no I say to an unbelievable sale I get even closer to being student debt free.

And to think it all started with 57 cents. It may not be a lot now, but has the potential to become much bigger than I ever imagined. 

Are you nickeling your way to a student debt free life? What methods have you taken to pay it off?

TERRIfic Quips: Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is bringing you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.

Why It’s Hard to Trust Your Gut and How to Start

moneyquoteAt 1 am one Thursday morning while I was sound asleep, I got a phone call from my husband who was at work. Normally, a phone call at this time will jerk anyone out of a peaceful sleep in fear that something was wrong. On any other day that probably would have been me. However, this night in particular I didn’t get the feeling that something had gone array. And I was right. As I sleepily answered the phone, my husband asked me a question about a topic I normally wouldn’t care about it. But this time was different.

“Guess who just got traded to the Sixers?”

Without hesitation, I excitedly yelled into the phone as though I wasn’t just sound a sleep, “Jason Thompson.”

See, this was a big deal to me. My husband and I went to school with Jason and since the day he was drafted to the Sacramento Kings several years ago, I told my husband that one day he would be playing for the Philadelphia 76ers. However, according to my husband and many other die hard basketball fans, that would never happened because the Sixers didn’t need a big man. However, I stuck to my gut despite what the naysayers said.

Many years went by and my gut never wavered in spite of my lack of sports knowledge and what the statistics dictated. So when I got the late night from my once skeptical husband announcing the news, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. People doubted me, questioned my reasoning and pointed to facts “proving” my speculation would be wrong. However, my gut didn’t care. I knew what was meant to be and I was right.

Moments after hanging up the phone with my husband while basking in my glory, I questioned why it was so easy to stick to my gut when it came to something that didn’t effect me at all.  Meanwhile, I can’t do the same when it comes to my future.

It’s easy to take a gamble when there’s nothing at risk. In my case, the worst that could happen would be the relentless teasing I’d get from my husband and brother who thought my prediction was outlandish. It wasn’t a real gamble. However, sticking to my gut when it comes to starting a new business venture, moving or other life altering change is a huge gamble – one that can affect my family, friends and entire livelihood.

So instead, I play it safe – ignore my gut and go left when everything in me tells me to go right. Why? Because it’s the tame thing to do. Just like when I listened to my gut in regards to Jason being traded – believed not trusting to my gut with big changes involved no risk. Of course, I couldn’t be more wrong.

As I looked back on different scenarios in life, I realized refusing to trust to my gut had been the riskiest thing I could do. Choosing to ignore my instinct, resulted in my entering a toxic friendship that later caused me heartache, a much smaller bank account and missed business opportunities. And of course, I can’t forget the guilt trip I put myself through once I realize I actually should have gone with my gut feeling. It usually begins with  beating myself up for a few hours, complaining to my husband and then second guessing every decision I make for the next week as I’m suddenly less in tune with my gut. In hindsight, the aftermath is always much riskier than the decision my gut was telling me to make.

It always seems to make so much sense after the fact. Meanwhile, at the time  you should be trusting that annoying feeling, it’s so unclear and scary for reasons that never make sense. And that’s just it. It’s so scary because it doesn’t make sense. We’re scared because the risk of trusting defies logic and we’re afraid of making the wrong decision.

So what’s stopping us from taking the risk of following our gut now? The fact that we made wrong decisions in the past? Is it because we have no way of predicting the outcome of following that gut feeling and being wrong? Well, here’s the funny thing. Even if it is the the wrong decision we have the power to turn it into the right decision later on. And when you think about it, that’s what life is all about. We are all a result of our bad decisions, which isn’t such a bad thing in hindsight. And at some point, even when the decision was wrong we found a way to amend it. And look at what great people we’ve become because of it!

But imagine if you trusted your gut. If it’s the right decision you’d be patting yourself on the back for a job well done. And even if your gut was the wrong decision, you wouldn’t be dealing with that nagging voice in your head asking, “What if did trust my gut?”

Why don’t just avoid all of that and just start trusting yourself. Of course, it’s easier said than done. But trusting yourself is a lot like trusting the person you intended to marry. If you want to begin following your gut more, I suggest building the type of trust you see in a spouse. How do you do that? Make a decision, stick to it and learn from the results. In time, you’ll see that the more decisions you make and stick to, the easier it will be for you to trust your gut when the time comes.

I can safely say that as trivial as it was, my ability to stick to my gut in regards to Jason Thompson being traded to the Sixers has definitely boosted my confidence when it comes to trusting my gut when it comes to riskier decisions. And to think all this clarity came from a late night phone call.

Do you find it easy to trust your gut? In what ways have you learned to trust yourself?

TERRIfic Quip: There’s a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen

 

 

The Most Important Life Lesson You’ll Ever Learn

 

imporantlessonDuring my short 26 years on this earth I’ve been taught a lot of things.

I’ve learned the importance of manners.

I learned self-respect and self-love are the best gifts you can give yourself.

I learned having a budget is the key to financial security.

I learned that college is not always synonymous with education.

I’ve also experienced my fair share of disappointment. Continue reading

The Reason Why You Should Always Help the Competition

Want to be a success? Help the competition

Want to be a success? Help the competition

It’s no secret the job market these days is extremely small. And if you are unemployed, it seems as though the job pool is always shrinking by the minute. Throw in the desire to work in a highly coveted field such as journalism plus the fact that the field is constantly being wiped out by the internet and you’ve got yourself in what seems like an extremely complicated 5k with merciless racers and a finish line you just can’t seem to cross. And in that 5k race, the competition is truly ruthless as they trip you, lie, steal and keep secrets from you.

It’s a 5k I’m proud to say that I’ve come out on top. My blog reaches a decent amount of views a day, I’ve had my byline appear in national magazines, I’ve found a balance between my writing and dancing and I’m able to schedule my own hours as I work from the comfort of my home. I’ve certainly had my fair share of competition and have been fortunate enough to beat a few across the finish line. Continue reading

Motivational Monday: Are You Stuck in a Rut?

There’s something about Monday’s that make you not want to do anything remotely relating to work. Correction: There’s something about Monday’s that makes you not want to do anything at all. Throw in a the gentle rumble of some thunder and soothing rain and you’re almost guaranteed a day of non-productive activities of cuddling on the couch and watching your favorite movie. In fact, as I write this I’m fighting the urge to crawl into bed and play dead for the rest of the night. Could you blame me? There’s nothing more lethargic than a summer storm. It’s the perfect setting for putting you into pool of laziness.

Usually, that lazy, I’m-stuck-in-a-rut, don’t-even-think-about-talking-to-me, pissed at the world feeling lingers on into Monday. However, this Monday was different. I awoke this morning to 77 degree weather and a sun who’s warm kiss reminded that it was indeed the first full day of summer. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about summer that makes me feel inspired, motivated and imaginative. And then that feeling quickly vanishes as I realize, my summers will still be filled with work, bills and responsibility that once again settles me into that rut.  It’s not like it was when were kids when every new Monday meant a new adventure once school let out. Of course, it only took me a matter of seconds to realize that summer isn’t like it used to be  because I changed it to an excuse to fall even deeper into a rut.

As I listen to the kids giggling outside my window, I decided it’s time I look at each summer Monday through the eyes of a child – those eyes that knew every new day was an adventure waiting to be explored. And so,  I made a list of my summer adventures to break me out of my rut.   Rather than dread every Monday that comes your way, revisit your childhood and make a list of all the things that make you feel like a kid at heart. After all, summer is the perfect excuse to go an adventure.

TERRIfic Quip: It’s Monday. Don’t forget to be amazing.