Thursday, January 06, 2011

Me and My Finances 2011

I have been sitting around here over the past month thinking about my finances.

I want some fancy smancy goals, man. You know, something big and bold.

But alas, I must admit, I don't have them.

For the past three years, it's been "Pay off my credit card debt!"

That was the big goal. The big target at which I've aimed many an arrow.

Then, last April, I paid off all my credit card debt.

It wasn't exactly a feel good event for me. Oh, I got excited later. But, I was a bit deflated, even upset for a minute? Why? Because everytime I got a nice piece of change over and beyond my normal paycheck, I had to look at some debt and pay it off. Yeah, yeah that's called being ungrateful, I suppose. But shoot, I need clothes and shoes. I wanna go splurge that money on a car. I want to take MORE trips per year.

I wanna put that money on ME and my desires. Period.

And this is bad. At least I acknowledge it. Spent time talking to God about it.

And it helped me understand within my own heart an interesting verse in the Bible, James 4:2-3

You want things, but you do not have them. So you are ready to kill and are jealous of other people, but you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You do not get what you want, because you do not ask God. Or when you ask, you do not receive because the reason you ask is wrong. You want things so you can use them for your own pleasures.


An Oldgirl be having some serious pleasures in mind. They roll like thunder through my brain. That's what happened when the EXACT amount of what I needed to pay off my debt minus the mortgage in entirety fell into my hands. I was thinking about things other than debt payoff.

A movie titled The Pleasure Principle starring LadyLee, in full technicolor was in full full effect in my mind.

But I also thought of something in my personal vision statement...

Like the setting on a thermostat, the temperature of my life is set on the vision statement, but it ain't quite there yet.

And that is the very last line of it:

"I am a good steward, a fine manager over the finances He has blessed me with, to the point that God knows He can trust me."

That sobered me up. Made me go ahead a pay the last of my debt off.

Felt okay about it. I think I learned, if I'm praying about something, I better be searching the reasons and motives for it, and I better come through like a trooper if given the choice to do the right thing versus something else.

Afterall, it's a trust thing... Am I faithful in the little things or not? A hard question to answer. But deep down, the answer to that question is always crystal clear, if I'm being honest with myself.

No, I didn't want this to turn into a spiritual post... No sir.

That might be due to my current activities and state of mind.

So let's walk into another room of the House of LadyLee right now. I wanna talk about my goals for 2011.

Whelp. The debt thing is off the list.

And that's a GOOD thing!

Let's see... other goals for this year.

Continue to maintain an account for Grandma. It's a small account. I just want to be able to make sure she has all the gas she needs to get around, and can buy groceries without worrying about it. She seems to maintain it well. And it doesn't put a strain on me in any way. This woman sent me $50-$65 dollars a month for seven years while I was in grad school. I could at least make sure that she don't have to buy her own groceries and gas.

I was trying to tell her if she needed things done around the house, to let an Oldgirl know. It might take me a couple paychecks to save up the money to fix a furnace or something like that. But she janky on that. Won't tell me anything. So I can't worry about that. I can just help in any small way that I can.

Make and meet a Savings Goal for the year. Last year I missed my savings goal by about $80 dollars. And that was stupid, because when I saw how close I was in December, I was gonna transfer money. But I forgot. OH WELL. It'll be alright.

This year, I want to put away double that amount. That bothers me a bit, as it is a lofty goal, but I've learned from my own personal goals technologist, Ms. Not so Anonymous, to JUST TRY. If I don't meet it, then it's okay. Identify what went wrong and fix it. So that is definitely a goal. I do this by automatic transfer, so that will continue to be the order of the day.

Pay a little more on the house than what's due. This almost seems futile to me. Heck, I wish I could sell and go live in someone's basement because I don't really care for home ownership. But with the market the way it is, and my house not being some grand mansion, well.... that will have to wait. For now, I want to pay down, and simply enjoy my house.

This is like eating an elephant: do it one bite at a time. And I'm starting with the elephants toenail, lol.

Continue with my Financial Freedom Fighters, Triple F Possee activities. I'm fickle about this, because I'm not sure where our group is going. All I know is that I need to stay in some type of group activity concerning finances. It is helpful, and the number one reason why I paid off my debt last year.

Green Eyed Bandit wants step down as group leader. I was thinking about being the leader, but that ain't going on. I ain't a leader. I have trouble leading my ownself, much less other people. We have 12 people returning this year, which I find bizarre, taking that we never saw some of these women. And me being a leader AND as standoffish as I am, I would be a problem for them . But I won't gripe about that. I will just continue with it. I learn something new with each meeting, and it motivates me to hear others stories, and to come up with suggestions and to actually see someone meeting their goals. That's worth it right there.

Budget better. I need to have it on paper and know where the money is going. I'm in and out with this. I can always do better. Spreadsheets help, but I mess up spreadsheets something terrible. I'm going to try again not to destroy yet another version this year. (You have to understand, I am DEEPLY disturbed by spreadsheets. I must find a way to get over this, and I think the way to do that is to keep trying them, destroying them, and trying again.)

I think with the spreadsheet action, I can incorporate other goals, like a clothing budget, a travel budget, church giving budgeting, etc... I'm also considering buying a second car (with cash) and there are more things I simply like to do. That takes budgeting.

So that will take some spreadsheet action. I have to get over this spreadsheet fear though. I am determined to do that.

Those are my financial goals, in no particular order of importance. There's no stunning quality to them. The goal this year is to identify my problems, locate the truth of solving those problems, and consistently work that truth until the desired breakthrough takes place.

Can I do it?

I think I can.

If I can't do it... at least I can do better than I've been doing.

And that's what really matters.


  1. If I can't do it... at least I can do better than I've been doing.

    And that's what really matters.<----THIS!

  2. Were we separated at birth? We think waaaay too much alike --sometimes it is uncanny except that you're waaay too PhD smarter than me. Good'll make it if not re-group and start all over again. :)

  3. Lee, get outta my window! Its crazy how finances are my TOP priority this year and every time I get discouraged or want to revert back to old ways, I'm shown signs. I needed to read this, this morning.

  4. I really love the challenge of a spreadsheet.

    My financial goals are to stay out of debt. I put my tithes on automatic transfer and I increased my savings goal, which is also on automatic transfer. That's about it.

  5. You and Chele really got it going on. My goal this year is to work to pay off my credit card debt so next year, I can be increasing my savings and also planning more travel.

  6. I need to get rid of a balance on my credit card. I need to lower my exemptions because I still owe taxes and I am slowly paying them off. I will probably owe again. SMH.

    I have more than one credit card. I only use one. Last year, I racked it up going on a trip and making several major buys. I hardly ever use my card unless it is for a major buy, then I set scheduled payments.

    With my new grandson and a big tax bill, I was not able to save as much. I plan to increase my investments and I have cut back on spending for several months now.

  7. @Adrienne... That's my goal these days... just do better than I did the year before. Seems to be working!

    @Cyncere Sista... A Ph.D has nothing to do with it. It probably hurts me. I spend waaaaaay tooo much time thinking about stuff instead of stepping out and DOING it. Sigh. Tryingto correct that.

    @Mzinspiredmind... I get discouraged too. Especially when I was your age. I'm understanding, and glad that I did, when I was your age, I at least TRIED to take baby steps in the right direction. I think we look at the whole big picture and it's overwhelming. Gotta look at it in small, tiny pieces. That moves one forward.

    @Chele... Automatic transfer. Whoever invented that needs a big award. I want to do an automatic tithe transfer, but for some reason, I like taking my tithe to church. That might change this year.

    @Serenity30... Two words: DEBT SNOWBALL. We talked about that. Try it.

    @Shai... Yeah, I had one credit card for YEARS. And got to the point where I rarely used it, just kept trying to pay it down. That is HARD, when it is old and got a lot on it.

    What helped me was converting that big credit card to a lockbox loan. That way, I could pay it off without it revolving. BUT you have to put that card up, and use it only for emergencies. Sigh. That is hard.

    IRS got me GOOD last year. 10 year old LA tax return that I didn't file. Geez. I took advantage of the amnesty program, and just went on and paid it. Make sure you file, and get on some type of payment plan. Also, setting the dependants at 0 will keep you from owing. It's a lot to think about, but there are ways to do better.

  8. @Ladylee: That's the thing I rarely use it. I went several years not using my credit card and when I do I pay it down quickly. As for the dependent, if I did 0 I would get a big bite out. I have to find the right number and it will be all good if I don't owe them and they don't owe me.

  9. @Shai... I understand what you mean about finding "the right number". I'm unable to find it, so I get a big refund every year, when what I really want is just enough money back for a tank of gas and a happy meal, lol.

    I think that's good if you use the card and can pay it down quickly. I just don't have that discipline!

    Things could be worse. My baby sis worked at BOA for awhile, on the customer service line and she told me that I would not believe the high amounts of credit debt that folk have (hundreds of thousands of dollars) and how they deftly move it all around to get the lowest interest rate. It gave us both courage to work on our own credit isshas. Because we realized it could be so much worse...

  10. It all starts with a plan...

  11. Anonymous11:49:00 PM

    that bible verse slapped me in the face! I'm truly blessed but i'm still wanting more. Gotta ask myself why? This is something I need to deal with. Mary


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