You Will Fail @ *Blank* If You Don’t…

24 11 2009

Let’s play a little game! For each word below, repeat the phrase in the title of this post, then read the word, and then think about how that complete phrase applies to something in YOUR life.

For example: “You will fail at _____ if you don’t Communicate.” *A.  Marriage

*A. Is rhetorical, there is no right/wrong answer, only examples that may apply to the associated word.

Try not to move on to the next word until you’ve mentally answered the current word. Also, when reading a new word, try repeating the entire phrase “You will fail at ______ if you don’t…”

Got it? Good, now let’s get started…

You will fail at _____ if you don’t:

Believe

Work

Move

Communicate

Hustle

Act

Care

Motivate

Play

Exercise

Risk

Calculate

Heal

Budget

Compete

Run

Survive

Rise

Ask

Study

Assert

Prioritize

Sweat

Own

Shine

Dream

Change

Rest

Pray

Persevere

Give

Read

Obey

Learn

Perform

Mature

Let’s face it, we could continue this game forever right? The basic point of this post was to basically offer you a mind check. If you feel you’re lagging in a certain area, or procrastinating on moving forward with something you want or need to do, I hope this was of help to you.

If you came up with some other words that resonated with you more than the ones I listed, please let me know in the comments section, I’d love to know what they are!

Thanks for playing along and…

Live Invincibly,

@W





Spark Your Debt Reduction with a Firesale

21 10 2009

match strike

During the past 2 1/2 years that we’ve been trying to get out of debt, my wife and I have exhibited all of the true hallmarks of a “Gazelle Intense” couple… well all except for one. We’ve worked extra jobs, we’ve trimmed our budget to the bare minimum necessities, we’ve just about done it all except SELL some stuff.

Dave Ramsey has a saying that goes like this “Sell so much stuff that the kids think they’re next!”

We’ve – or at least I have — always been on the fence about selling things to raise extra cash. Now, I’ll freely admit that some, no most of the issue is pride. It’s hard letting go of things you worked so hard to purchase. And that is especially the case if you are selling the items because you either need the cash, need the extra space or if the items are in perfect working order. All of the previous 3 examples apply in our case and in some ways that adds to the challenge.

But in all actuality we really do need the space, we have a 2 bedroom condo stuffed to the gills with various items that we are not using. Only 2 people live in this house but somehow we have 3 bikes lol. And up until a few weeks ago our 2nd bedroom was serving as on-site storage for everything that we either didn’t have a staged place for, or didn’t want to use, but also didn’t want to lose.

Then comes the challenge (at least for me) of finding the motivation to come up with a price list, take pictures, and then post a compelling ad on Craigslist and the local want ads and the other various channels (church bulletins, ect)

But alas the time has come to put add a notch to our belt of Gazelle Intensity. We could use the proceeds to pad our Emergency Fund at this time since I’m still unemployed.

And as an added benefit my mother is preparing to move to Florida next month and she’s already offering for us to post anything she’s not taking down there with her AND we get to keep those proceeds as well!

In truth maybe this won’t be so bad. And besides we know this is only temporary. So if you’re in the market for a bunch of gently used stuff (we take really good care of our things, which is a blessing.) hit me up lol! I’ve got a leather office chair, L-shaped glass desk, high-powered telescope, set of 2 grey video chairs, printer-copier-scanner, stainless-steel mini-fridge (perfect for a man cave), Full-sized bed frame/mattress/box-spring, 27-inch tv, M&F mountain bikes, and a whole lot more that’s getting ready to be posted.

The 2009 Invincible Living Firesale… get it while it’s HOTT!! Lol

Live Invincibly,

@W

Photo courtesy of mad_airbrush





I Think We Need A Change…

29 07 2009


Photo courtesy of Forgotten memory

As you know if you’ve been around us for even 5 minutes, we’ve been at this for almost 2 full years now! September 13th – which also happens to be my birthday – will make it official.

Within those 2 years we’ve picked up a lot of personal insight and we’ve also tweaked a number of techniques to find a more ‘custom’ fit than most of the major programs provide. We took all of the info and then applied our personal filter to it based on our beleif system, our financial situation at the time, and our decisions based on just how aggressive we wanted to be at the outset. Once we got the hang of it we essentially just let it run it’s course without much change. Sure there was a streamlining process that we had to go thru but it mostly happened as a result of our weekly budget meetings and in very small increments.

But now I’m coming to a place where I feel we need a change in strategy. And I’d prefer for it to be a MAJOR change! At times I question if we are somehow too ‘comfortable’ with the pace we’ve settled into lately. Quite honestly there are times where I dont feel very “Gazelle Intense” at all about what we’re doing.

And then when you couple with that the fact that we are quickly becoming role models through the ever-extending reach of this blog, Facebook and Twitter it becomes a challenge sometimes to manage a balance between what we’re doing as a household vs. what we want to empower you to do as a person/family.

The bottom line is that I feel the need to possibly change the way we are approaching our debt. I’m looking for a way to make it ‘fresh’ again to us in spite of the fact that we’ve accomplished so much and are now at our virtual halfway point in the journey.

I’d love to hear ideas from any of you who have felt this same way and done something about it! Please leave me a comment below or hit me up on Twitter with your suggestions!

See ya next time,

@W

If you enjoyed this post, please make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!





@Risk Remix: A Look Back

1 06 2009

Photo courtesy of ZaksterNT

*This is the second time I’ve turned to this image for a post, the first was “Full Circle: How our TMM Began…“. I encourage you to read it as well. This picture represents perfectly how our financial situation felt before (Barren) and how it feels now in comparison (Overflowing)

Today I found myself looking back over a few posts from nearly a year ago, just to see how far we’ve come in that amount of time. I really must say that I’m pretty amazed by what I saw. The post in question is “1/3 way home” And it was about how excited we were to reach a minor milestone in our journey.

At the time we had just finished paying off the 10th bill out of the 30 that we started with, so we had just passed the 1/3 mark on our debt snowball list.

Fastforward to today and we are WELL into paying off the 32nd bill out of the 41 we now have on that same list. That means we are 3/4 of the way done with the ‘list’!

At the same time we have officially passed the Half-way mark on our debt total as well. We’ve paid off $52,730.06 and have $$51,506 left to pay before we are DEBT FREE!

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!! So I guess in our case you could say that “Hindsight is 50/50!” We’re halfway there!!! I can’t wait to see where we are this time next year! We should be heading into the Home Strecth at that point!

It’s never too late to start, if you have not already! We’re here for you, so let’s GO!

@W

If you liked this post, please click on an ad. Or you can click this link to donate.





Simple Secrets: Paying on it vs. Paying it OFF

28 05 2009


Photo courtesy of Tea & Jam

Ok folks. In my last post we went over the basics of the 7 Baby Steps that have helped us pay off over $53,000 in debt in the last 20 months. But today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: There should actually be 8 baby steps!

Step Zero: Stop using currently established and available forms of credit, and also stop accepting NEW forms of credit.

This step contains the key to your Total Money Makeover, and it’s such a radical shift from ‘the norm’ that it causes many to fail even before they start. Some folks just cant get their head around living off of CASH.

When you really get the point of this program, you will soon realize that you really don’t need credit at all. Not for credit reports, or FICO scores, or for your cash back rewards. You don’t need it.

Minor tangent: Speaking of cash back rewards… how much CASH are you really getting BACK when the creditor is charging you interest for the use of your credit line? Think about it!

Now, in my last post I promised to tell you why we REALLY chose to stick with this system, and here is the reason: Because at first we felt like we were doing something WRONG. And when I say ‘wrong’ I mean we felt like we were being disloyal to the credit industry in some way. It’s hard to articulate, but Visa and MasterCard have become so prevalent in our society and in our spending habits, that it felt truly odd to simply make the decision not to use our charge cards! How sick is that?

The entire credit system is propped upon the fact that they NEED you to NEED them. They constantly send the message that if you aren’t using credit in some way, you simply will not be able to ‘compete’ with or keep up with the average consumer. It’s a very Pied Piper mentality!

Once we realized why it felt so wrong, it lit a fire in us! And it opened our eyes to the many tactics and tricks that are pressed upon the average consumer.

THIS IS A WAR PEOPLE! And if you haven’t noticed, take a look at what this nation has been through in the last 16 months as proof. The housing market collapse, the banking and financial institution implosions, the economy woes, the employment issues. They are all mutations of one virus: CREDIT…

Credit tells you it’s ok to spend more than you actually possess. Credit tells you it’s ok to borrow against your future, to acquire something today. Credit can erode your character and your sense of delayed gratification, and it can also ease you into a place of irresponsibility and ‘living for the moment’ emotional purchasing.

Because of this, you are required to make a change in your approach toward money. This is where the title of my post comes in. People who are comfortable with debt, have no problem “paying on” something far longer then they ever intended to, because they get lulled to sleep by the convenience factor of a payment plan.

Meanwhile, those who have had enough of this game of debt become addicted to “paying off” things as quickly as possible so that they can free up their income and truly live a life that’s not dictated by a three digit score, and the limits on their cards.

Thanks for tuning in, I hope you’re enjoying this expose’ series.

Next up: “The $1,000 Scramble”

You are worthy of the journey!

@W

If you liked this post, please click on an ad. Or you can click this link to donate.





These "Baby Steps" AIN’T for Babies!

28 04 2009


Photo coutesy of Bettina.Schwarz

In the last 2 posts I’ve kind of gone thru a sort of ‘reset’. Maybe it’s a second wind of sorts? I dont know. But I’ve felt the need to simplify the emotions and actions WE (my wife and I) faced when we first started out so that YOU can duplicate them as much as possible.

In the first post of this mini-series, I laid out exactly what we’re doing and how it has helped us pay off $49,000 in debt in only 19 months! In the second post I continued to zoom in on the mindset and underlying philosophy of “Living Like No One Else”.

Luckily we never felt overwhelmed with the process, and I think that is in part due to what I intend to share with you in this post. In his book The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey calls them the Baby Steps. They are meant to be simple bullet points on your journey to debt freedom.

But please dont sleep! Just because these steps are simple, doesnt mean they’re for ‘simple’ people. It takes vision, committment, and perseverance to see these steps through to completion!

I want to take a few moments to list them out below, but I’ll delve deeper into each step in future posts.

Step One: Save $1000.00 CASH as quickly as you can to start “Emergency Fund”

Step Two: Pay off ALL debt in order from smallest to largest using “Debt Snowball”.

Step Three: Save 3-6 months worth of expenses, to fully fund “Emergency Fund”.

Step Four: Invest 15% of income into Roth IRA’s and Pre-tax retirement.

Step Five: Begin funding your childrens’ College Educations.

Step Six: Pay off your home early

Step Seven: Build Wealth & GIVE! (Mutual Funds, Real Estate, ect.)

Step “Zero”: STOP using any forms of credit and accepting new forms of credit.
Pretty simple and straight forward right? Well yes, and no. Yes, because they set a framework for you to follow. No, because if you dont follow the framework that has been set… you’ll only be making it harder for yourself. In addition, these steps can’t tell you how aggressive to be in your Total Money Makeover. The intensity level must be left up to you.
The downfall to the simplicity of this plan is that so many “SMART” people in this world think they need to re-invent the wheel and make it more sophisticated. But as the saying goes “K-I-S-S” (Keep It Simple Stupid).
As I said before, I’ll be breaking each step down and explaining why the order is so important. I’ll also be sharing exactly why we REALLY chose to stick with this system. As you become more and more familiar with the steps, you will inevitably feel that something is “wrong” about them. This is natural! At first, I did too, until I realized how CONDITIONED i had become by the FICO scores and the credit card industry! They NEED you to NEED them, and they’re NOT going to make it EASY for you to cut them loose!
We’ll talk about that further in my next post where I’ll address the ‘objections’ I’ve heard toward getting out of debt. The reason objections is in quotes is because the people objecting were spitting out all the BS that is fed to them daily by the media and credit card industry.
Next Episode: “Paying On It VS. Paying it Off”

You are worthy of the journey!

@W

If you liked this post, please click on an ad. Or you can click this link to donate.





Deal or No Deal: Part-time Work that Pays

3 02 2009


Photo courtesy of cgat

Warning: this post will be very quick and to the point…

Part-time work has always had it’s place in our economy. For some it has been a nessescary way of life, but to others it has been an added vehicle to getting “stuff” at a decent discount.

At some point in your life you may have picked up a job at a favorite department store or big box electronic retail chain… y’know just in case THAT jacket goes on sale… or so you can support your video game addiction with some semblance of pride that you earned it.

Now I’m not here to pick on you if you are one who still is working that PT because you want to. But if you are now looking to pick up a second gig because you have to, I urge you to stay away from any place where you could potentially cash in on your employee discount. Alas this means you’ve gotta find ‘work’ vs. landing a ‘gig’.

If you have a weakness for gadgets then what’s the point in taking a job at Best Buy? If your express purpose for getting extra work was to make ends meet, then you’ll be setting yourself up to undercut your goals if you do this.

That’s why I made the title of this post “Deal or No Deal”. You must make up in your mind what type of deal your really going after by picking up that nice little retail opportunity. Is it the kind that gives you the discount on stuff, or the kind that puts you ahead of the game while things are rough? It’s key that you don’t go into the situation kidding yourself!

This might even mean taking on a job you HATE, or look down on. But dont worry, it’ll be good for ya!

Last summer I started considering picking up a side-job in the evenings. The opportunity that I kept coming back to at the time was delivering pizza’s (One of Dave Ramsey’s prime examples of a Gazelle Intense hustle.) Truth be told, had it not been for the insane gas price wars last year, I would have gladly taken a job slanging pies! Not because I love the work, but precisely because I hated the thought of that type of work. But it would’ve brought in some steady hustle money to throw at our debt.

I wasnt concerned with whether or not I’d get a discount on the food, I dont even like pizza enough to do it for that reason. And I wasnt exactly thrilled about slapping one of those lighted pizza signs on my car. But I knew that I could basically challenge myself to bring in a certain dollar amount per night in tips, and at the same time call out my own hours in which to bring those tips in. At the time that was a win-win to some degree.

Not shortly after I put aside the thought of delivering pizza’s (right around when gas became $4 buck a gallon!) I was given a nice promotion and raise on my FT job. Problem solved! But I still would have had no problem going through with the pizza plan if the raise had never come and gas was resonable.

Part of the reason I’m even writing this post right now is because I may be getting an itch to again look at taking on some extra work. Not because money is tight right now, but because I dont want to wait until it is tight to get my butt out there to defray the cost!

So there ya have it, just a few thoughts from @W on where you should put your focus if you find yourself needing to bring in extra “dough” lol.

Thanks,

@W

If you liked this post, please click on an ad. Or you can click this link to donate.