Budget, Grocery Shopping, Home, Money Smarts / September 25, 2016

Hustle and Budget, everyone needs a BUDGET!


You need a budget and working on your budget is a continuous journey, and don’t I know it.

We live in a world of social media, were being a financial advocate is not new; Suzie Orman, Crown Financial, Focus on the Family, Clark Howard all people I listened to either on the radio or TV in the good years before the recession of 2008. Many of us due to that event, or as a passion project pursuit are now entrepreneurs in the financial literacy field creating and advocating awareness. We are doing what Susie Orman and others do and have done for years and we are damn good at it too, just like they are.

Go Passion! Go Hustle.

Entrepreneurship is not new; there have always been business owners who were entrepreneurs, the convenience store owner, the hairstylist and even some of our dentist and doctors to name a few.  Back to Suzie Orman all the other awesome financial experts; they were the voices I would later turn to as I immersed myself into understanding my finances more, as a result of my changed life. And thus began my mission of building economic security through debt freedom.

My budgeting journey started in 2006, with a living downgrade, to a 2 bedroom apartment with my kids in tow. I took with me the debt from life as a married couple, I started my single mom on “one income family” journey and my finances has been a continuous balancing act.

When did your budget journey start? Are you aware that we must be economically stable and strive if possible to build assets, not just for today but for generations to come.

In 2016, I’m fully committed to the work needed for financial freedom, and understanding that a side hustle will do that for me and help me boost the deficit that child support does not cover.

Changes happen and to good people too; if you think they won’t happen to you, then you are naïve. Don’t be like Gloria, be Smart. Even the bible tells us 1 Timothy 6-17.… Crisis and changes… are all uncertainty; but in all God remains our certainty, we see that things can come and go but our God remains the same.

A budget is a plan for spending money. To create a budget; a good place to start would be to check what you spent the prior month, and whatever that amount is, is the start of your new budget. If you have spent more than you should then you should not be using what you spent last month as the starting point. This may lead to an exaggerated spending plan and it won’t be a realistic place to start; if you can relate let’s start with an averaged out spending of your last 2 or 3 month.

Are you confused already? Budgets – averages, 2-3 months prior??? If this is you!!! Then you need a zero based budget, meaning that you my dear need to budget afresh at the beginning of every month.

List all your income, expenses and debt including irregular income like dividends, bonuses and child support in a separate category of income and remember not to base your monthly expenses on them.

Concerning your grocery category, it should always include; Paper goods, Laundry supplies, School lunch for kids, and eating out. If unclear about your $0 budget for grocery, you need to check the federal guidelines; click below link   for guideline set by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodFeb2015.pdf

My family of four on the LOW COST PLAN monthly budget will be spending at least $725.00 monthly, find were you fit in the schedule and see what your family plan cost should be and work from that amount as you plan your shopping.

Here are five basic needs category to focus on.






Ways to save on basic budget needs

Food – Use coupons, Shop loss leader page, buy store brands. You may need to visit the food pantry for non-perishable foods.

Shelter – Inquire about discount programs through your employer or state programs. Research locations always and compare against school districts and proximity to basic places you and your family go to.

Transportation – Ask or Google discount programs through your employer may have or any federal promotions. Also remember that the winter is the best time to buy new cars. Take advantage of local buses, trains and employee benefits through employer.

Healthcare – Enroll for Health savings account with your employer and ask about state medical services you may qualify for through Obama Care. Coupons are also available for major medicines if you ask your medical doctor or pharmacist.

Clothing – Shop at consignment stores, shop semiannual sales at major department stores and visit your thrift stores. And invest in a good laundry detergent.


Change Watch – 

What savings services are you trying out?


Ellicott City, Events, Giving Back, Loving Life / September 25, 2016



There is still so much to do and see in Howard County, Maryland in spite of the incident that happened on that stormy night of July 30th.

The County is rebuilding and fast too, some of the shops not badly affected by the flood on July 30th have re-opened. The flooding killed two (2) people who were actually from out of state ~ my heart hurts for their family, people were left homeless, businesses are still rebuilding. There have been concerts, fundraisers and other events and ongoing events to benefit Ellicott city. The County Executive has been the voice of the county, continuously updating the the people of Columbia via TV and social media platforms, link here.

The businesses in Howard County and individuals have also teamed up; the football team at Howard High, an artist partnered with a graphics design company – Nightmare graphics and so many more. One of the yearly event was moved to Merri – Weather and runs today since main street is still impassable – tickets are $12 and free for under 12 year olds. Countless post, local events to show our support has gone out. The County Executive’s initiative is fantastic, we can nominate those that have done good during this time in Ellicott city. To nominate someone in go here. Click here to see work done as of August 26th, 2016.

If you want to be part of the rebuilding fun and activities with all the events that will be held this Saturday in honor of #ECSTRONG, then come to Howard County today and be part of the rebuilding.

I love where I live, and that’s Howard County, Maryland. Finding things to do is not difficult living in Howard county, an urban suburb tucked between Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland and a 35 minutes drive to Washington, DC; you can actually have too much to do. Every county has hidden gems for its resident to enjoy and explore, and Howard County has an abundance of that.

Howard County is home to various suburbs; the one most prominent being Ellicott City, It has always been featured in Money Magazines post of one of the “best places”  to live in.

HOCO as it’s called is a blessing of sorts for me and my kids. Of course everyone know Howard county is expensive to live in, as a result I have learnt to scale down and It has also given us so many things that I wanted to continue enjoying and doing, once I knew I was heading for separation-ville.

Twelve minutes away; that’s how I describe most of my errands, I love that everything here is a few minutes away. Things that make our lives functional like; going to the pool, the library, the mall, grocery, the post office, the doctor’s office the general hospital and even the bus and commuter stop or a cup of coffee.

Other things make our lives fun in #HOCO, going to the park, discovering a new food/or place to eat, attending an annual or a new festival or event, finding a new pool or a place for kids to play.

I love the Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring all at the waterfront  across from the mall… just as the sun is going down. I adore the Arts gallery to see what local artists are up to and reigniting creativity, don’t live in #HOCO ask around for a new gem in your own neighbourhood to discover what adventures await.

Asking can be accomplished anywhere; at your local grocery store, or on a walk around your neighborhood and I continue to ask when I can with people, when the pride in me becomes humble for a minute. We are not vulnerable enough sometimes but when we break it floods for us, we are at our most vulnerable needing the community, if not the whole village… hahaha!!!! dear sis and single mummy remember what the good book says ~ “ask and it shall be given” if I don’t ask, how will I receive?

GM xoxoxo

Change Watch

What things have you been able to discover by asking others for help, and was it easy asking?.


Home, Staying Organized / September 14, 2016

Your daily 5-minute organizing challenge with Marsha Sims


I will be sharing Marsha’s 5-Minute organizing challenge here on this blog.

I have learnt a lot from her over the years and can call her a mentor and friend. In sharing here I hope you learn from her too.

Don’t forget to sign up at her website.

Today’s 5 Minute Organizing Challenge:
Organize your errands
Make a list of the errands you need to do once a week. Select an errand day, and accomplish all of your tasks on that day.  This will ensure that you will get everything done every week.
Organizing is never about the “stuff,” it’s about people.  It’s about how you feel.
Get organized – Feel happy!
Have a terrific day!
Marsha Sims
Sort-It-Out, Inc.
You can do it too!
Two Programs to Help you Get Organized!
  • Learn to get organized on your own schedule
  • Step-by-step guidance with your organizing project
Like what you read?  Don’t be Shy! 
Share today’s 5-minute organizing challenge
with a friend.
Get Organized – Feel Happy!