Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Rebounding from Money Drama while Gaining More Assets

Firstly, I want to say thanks to all who've continued to support us through the years.  My journey hasn't been easy but like anything else, you have to first admit when you're more wrong than burlap drawers.  Long story short, I managed my money wrong when I decided to stay in my POS relationship and not think about the future.  Although I've managed to move past the ugliness, I want to share some consumer finance resources if you or someone you know needs a money overhaul.

Now, I've spent the past few weeks going over some of these "expert" tips and I'll keep it 100.  While I've always been about a frugal lifestyle, some things I just won't do because it's more trouble than it's worth -

  • Buy clothes from the irregular section
  • Give up my vehicle (I still live in L.A. County and rideshare services aren't the same in every 'hood)
  • Eat ramen noodles or any cheap processed foods (too much sodium)
  • Intentionally starve myself (there goes my normal blood sugar)
  • Give money to anyone who claims to have "the answer" to my money issues

Taking it Back to the Money Fundamentals

Why?  In most cases, getting ahead is fairly simple.  Funds go in, then they go out, and the owner of said funds controls how much they should remit in the future.  Pay off a little credit and deal with interest rates, or knock it out and build a nice score without going through some stupid app.  If you choose to get into the stock market or long-term investment, do your research.

This has been me for many years and I've done it without the use of a credit counseling service, financial planner, or any special materials by a promoter.  Yes, many people who are selling these packages are taking everyday common sense, putting a pretty bow on it with a little glitter, and looking for their next victim.  However, if you have an extensive financial portfolio, you may want to reach out to someone who's honest and unbiased.

Actually, a lot of people I run into with money problems also have simple solutions to their problems.  It could be that they need a part-time or residual income to balance things out but oftentimes, it's their choices. One choice that got me a few years ago was getting not one or two but a few second chance credit cards.  When your limit is $1000 and your minimum payment includes a 29% interest rate, it's not balling by any means.  You might as well get a roommate that doesn't pay their share of household expenses (more on that in a future post).

Securing Your Money First (then the Bag)

I've spent the past few years at home and notice the TV ads concerning money.  This isn't to say all the merchants that advertise are bad but it wasn't that long ago that record producer-turned-fashion mogul-turned-sickenly rich person Russell Simmons (and his then-wife, Kimora Lee) did similar ads for the Rush Card. I mean they really came across as understanding how rough it can be for the regular working person.

Despite a major hiccup a few years ago that has appears to have been resolved, the Rush Card is still around.  Still, who wants surprises when bills are due?  It's bad enough that a mere few of the financial institutions that advertise have a brick-and-mortar (or native ATM) location that customers can visit.  My takeaway, based on experience and the horror stories I've heard, is that when you don't use a traditional bank or credit union...you will pay a price.

If going to a regular bank isn't happening right now, going with an institution that doesn't use ChexSystems is the best alternative.  While there are many good indie banking apps, choose carefully before sending over ANY information.  Read consumer reviews and maybe even the BBB site to get honest feedback.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Guess Who's Back...Yup, it's FabUplus

We all know that the print mag thing has been on struggle mode for a minute.  Many periodicals have physically shrunken or went into digital mode only.  Women's magazines that don't talk about skinny beauty have been hit particularly hard and the pandemic didn't make matters easier.  So imagine my surprise when I saw this in my local B&N yesterday.

Yes!  After a 2-year (?) hiatus, I was sooo happy to see these among the typical beauty titles.  And for those of you that have been out of the loop, FabUplus isn't the typical BBW mag that shows models that barely qualify as full-figured.  It's about the thing that's most important in anyone's life, and that's being active at any size.

Now, in those two years, the world was introduced to the equally talented Lizzo.  Yes, I'm old and get it but big girls moving around is nothing new.  When I was in school many moons ago, it wasn't unusual to have one cheerleader that was larger than a 15/16...and doing cartwheels, splits, and everything else in between.

Back to the mag, though.  I'd imagine this would be the time to subscribe but I'm going to give it a couple of more issues.  Around the time that everyone with a limited budget was going digital, I got burned by a new women's biz magazine.  It's been years later and I still haven't gotten my four issues or a partial refund.

In the meantime, the new FabUplus is full of color, awesome outfits, and plenty of resources for the plus-size community.  If you pick it up and it feels a little light...don't be disappointed!  I'm telling you, every page is worth reading and there's a little gem that the other mags probably don't know about.  I've noticed some titles are more body-inclusive but most have a ways to go.

While this is a non-sponsored post, I do encourage you to support those who share what it's like to be a non-typical beauty.  For those who remember the early days of GENEROUS, putting together something that readable and informative on a regular basis is NOT easy...regardless of how many ideas or contributors you have. If you or someone you know has an awesome blog or periodical worth sharing, send me an email with a link or more information.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Ladies Use Your Stimulus to Get Affairs in Order

If you haven't done too much damage at the mall (or favorite online stores), now's the time to put things into perspective.  That factor is that time waits for no one...even in the age where 50 is the new 35.  Retirement, whether planned or forced on by unusual circumstances, is a very real thing.  There's no guarantee that you'll be able to punch a clock at 75 or that you will want to.

Income annuities can make retirement planning a lot easier and the earlier you start, the greater the payoff.  Even better, you can plan when you receive payouts in your lifetime instead of waiting to receive the maximum benefit.  In recent, only a handful of working adults have had the luxury of early retirement without having to downsize their lifestyle.

Can I Just Cut Back?

Why yes, cutting back on expenses is a wise move, and choosing to live the frugal life does bring some financial rewards.  However, talking to an insurance agent is one of the best ways to explore your financial planning options.  They are many ways to ensure the strongest growth of money saved over a period of time.

What If I Freelance or Do Gig Work?

Now that you've left that stuffy corporate structure and are living your career aspirations, say goodbye to the cushy perks like a pension.  People of all backgrounds have the power to create their own financial destiny when it comes to having a quality existence - now and in the future.  No one should have to feel stuck in a job they hate in order to receive benefits that may barely supplement their social security when they get older.

So get the facts today, even if your content with your job or feel financially stable.  During the last recession, many workers of a certain age who thought they had it all figured out got the shock of their lives.  While some had the resources to downsize with little effort, others found themselves having to look for new employment or additional income.  Reasons were they needed to work a little longer, made a bad investment, or had an unplanned event within their immediate family.  Remember, no one is immune to the unexpected.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

That Whole Fat, PHAT, and Obese Thing

This morning (3/7/21), I had the displeasure of reading a blog post about the latest pop culture media puppet recording star Lizzo.  It was on Panache Report where she playfully uses the term "obese" to describe her current financial status and seemingly never-ending popularity.  Okay, take a deep breath.

lizzo obese quote

Since she chose to say this during a time when people are struggling financially, I want to take time out to express my condolences for the struggle wig on top of her head.  Her part was so far from her scalp that I would have cut off part of the following words of wisdom - 

Lizzo says her bank account is "so fat." She said: "I wake up into my obese bed. I have to get like a king bed because I'm so obese. I put on my obese Louis Vuitton house slippers, and I walk into my massive, obese bathroom and I just stare into my wall-to-wall, obese mirror and lather myself in the most obese, expensive oils and creams, and - oh, god - I walk into my obese, gorgeous, mid-century modern kitchen, and by the time I've made it into my kitchen, I've already made another obese million dollars. "My bank account is so fat. My bank account is so obese, and, like, I tried to put it on a diet but she's just so stubborn, like, she won't listen."

Once again, most of the U.S. is in struggle mode and a nice portion of those impoverished were struggling before the pandemic...even as far back as the economic downturn in 2007.  However, Miss Lizzo's opinion is hardly new, as the term "fat" has always been associated with some next-level prosperity only a handful of people will see in their lifetime.  Yes, you have...

Buddha (there are slimmer versions of the famous statue)

Fat Cats (yes, they're cute but the kidney problems alone will make your vet rich)

Santa Claus (he comes with gifts once a year but what about the much-needed gift of good health insurance for those of us who work hard and not too naughty?)

Then there's the urban culture acronym for "pretty hot and tempting", PHAT.  Now, I'm actually glad that Lizzo and others are being seen in major TV ad campaigns as the regular person who uses mobile phone service, washes their hair with premium hair products, or does anything besides stuff their face.  While the latter may still be exploited from time to time, the current foodie culture (which will eventually increase medical care expenses) makes this a little easier to digest.

However, I'm tired of overweight/obese women trying to pass themselves off as sex objects.  For one, it's a real esteem killer, as some males intentionally turn to females of a certain size for sexual pleasure.  Depending on the level of satisfaction achieved, they may get "upgraded" to a friend with benefits.  Some studs also single out larger women as mates or part of their stable of women.  Women of any size shouldn't want to be seen as nothing more than a blow-up doll with extra cushioning.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Moving On Up to a Better Host

Right now, we're not out but moving on again.  Actually, we're in the midst of looking for a host not connected to "oogGel" or "StopPop".  We've had unusual relations in the past but when don't acknowledge my host remittance, we have a problem. 

So, we've been holding an audition process that so far has looked like this...

Yup,  it beez that way sometimes.

Anyway, we're narrowing in on a final candidate solution so thanks in advance for your patience!

Friday, July 10, 2020

When Your Online Presence is No Longer the Business

There's nothing more powerful than being able to make a decent living while sitting around in your jammies or putting the hours YOU want.  However, there's a lot that can happen during the course of freelancing or choosing to work at home.  Throw in the COVID pandemic and you may be rethinking your career path entirely.

Not long ago, I chose to use a masseuse service for personal and physical reasons.  For years, I'd seen one young lady inside a luxury-style day spa who appeared to be happy.  Even better, I learned she was the owner.  I never entered or made a live appointment but in checking out her website, it kind of looked like she had some decent offerings.

Even her Yelp profile was 4/5 stars and for this type of business where rough hands can kill everything, this was impressive.  According to commenters, her prices were also lower than most in the area.  So I make an appointment and that's when the question marks pop up in my head.

The navigation on the site was terrible like one person made the lovely animated home page but a different shopping cart package was used. More like a cheap one because her logo disappeared and the services listed on different pages couldn't be found.  I just got my website creator certificate and have a degree in Merchandising so I'm a little picky about these things.  My experience in e-commerce also lets me know that corner-cutting may be a problem for me as the customer.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Gone but Not Forgotten

Courtesy of From Head to Curve

When I read that Fabuplus magazine ceased publication a while ago, my heart sank.  I also think ti kinda affected my desire to work out more.  Anyway, I hope that pioneers like Jessamyn Stanley will continue to break down the walls of self-consciousness that many of us face when we choose to transform our bodies for the better.

Since I last posted regularly, I've been affected by a lot of health issues.  Not just cancer or post-chemo weight gain but the process of gaining natural energy.  I'm 13 years older than I was when I started this blogging thing but I've got the insides of a 75 y.o.  Yes, I'm probably the only person at my college graduation who knows EXACTLY where to find the prune juice in every supermarket.  Hell, I can even tell you how to make prunes more tolerable!

Which brings me to a heartbreaking moment I experienced during finals.  I lost a cousin who weighed around 500 lbs around the time of her demise.  I don't think Dr. Now had a show back then but she faced a challenge that many super-obese people face when they decide to make a change.

The day her son publicly chided her for not being able to walk, I got sick to my stomach.  While they've always had a nontraditional relationship, I knew the pain of that verbal blow.  For years, she held steady at a super-sturdy 300 lbs (about 5'6), which isn't the worst thing but the pendulum can rock with wild abandon when it comes to regular workouts.  Before her passing, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and wasn't able to work.  Although she knew how to work the system, her last place of residence for nearly a decade was a senior citizen home, where she was admitted at 57 years young.

Many times, I managed to walk with a bad knee and even joined a free workout session at the mall (SPOILER: Don't be afraid to join in a senior citizen workout session.  Even if things are a little slow, it's more calorie-burning activity than sitting in front of an electronic box for half an hour).  This was late last year and I felt optimistic.  Strangely, I sometimes consider myself blessed because there's a will to workout - even though I'm no one's athlete.  Not even by a stretch.

We owe it to ourselves to create a sense of community.  Not just for the color of our skin or sexual preference because those things mean nothing if we're not healthy.  In the years since my regular posts, the media has inundated us with images that celebrate gluttony, sloth, and a lack of self-confidence.

I'm no one to say that Lizzo is any better or worse than the next person but I pray for the well-being of anyone who's dealing with mental health and weight issues simultaneously.  Watch any episode of my 600# Life and what is the common factor of most participants?  That they were victims of sexual abuse growing up...some even in the home where they were the most vulnerable.

So, looking ahead all I can do is count blessings because looking at misfortunes (a.k.a. politics) can bring anyone down.  Also, I will stay updated on the re-issue of Fabuplus and I hope you enjoy the resources I've posted.  BYE!🙋