Thursday, December 12, 2013

Reflection Time

2013 is almost gone. I had totally forgotten about my blog until I clicked on a link in a friend's e-mail. It took me to her blog. Thought...what happened to my blog? It's still here; I've just not been showing up. I took a look at previous posts and noticed the one entitled "Goals." Let's see how I did: 

1. Read the Bible in it's entirety. I've read 20% of it in 15 days. Completed
2. Do a joint Bible study with the hubby. We started one this week.  Well, we started one together, but we haven't finished it yet.
3. Attempt to let my husband be the head of our household. I'm really struggling on this one. I think I'm going to fail.....I am giving it a valiant effort. I now acknowledge my husband as head of house. 
4. Prepare myself for a career change. I meet someone tomorrow to work on that. I quit my job, and I should be studying for this test next Friday to pursue my degree in financial planning. 
5. Lose 30 lbs and focus on being healthy. I'm down 11 lbs, but I think I've hit a plateau already. Sigh. Okay...I did lose 30 lbs, but I put 15 back on. It does not take much for me to gain weight, but at least when I get started I can do it. My goal is to net -20 lbs before the end of the year. 
6. Call my Grandma at least once a month. I always have such great conversations with her. Ooh...this was a goal, huh? Put this on my reminder list. 
7. Become better equipped financially. Working on it (Debt Slayers 2013)! We're Debt FREEEEEEEE!!!!!! We also have a 6 months emergency fund with an additional $7k toward a home. What what?! 
8. Show love to people more often. Volunteering more often would be a great start. I should stop to talk to Clayton and Freddie more often. (I think Freddie may be crushing on me. He gives me that "Hey Gurl!" wave in the mornings and then asks for change. He could just want the money.....) I no longer see Clayton and Freddie in the morning since the move. However, I'm not volunteering like I want. It will be on the list for 2014.  
9. Worry less. Child boo! I do love and trust you Lord, but you know your child. Still working on this. 
10. Cook more. Read comment above. 
11. Do something with my hair! I've been rocking the same style since I've been natural. I guess I'm overdue for a change. I really and truly am over hair. I just could not care less. I'm cutting it after winter. Why spend my life dealing with this madness?!?!?

Okay so 5 (two adding up to .5 each) out of 11. Not the score card I wanted, but the major things were accomplished. Goals are necessary in life. I used to hate the idea of resolutions, but I see the purpose in writing them down on January 1st. It gives us something to at least think about and work towards. If nothing else, we have to work on not procrastinating or being inconsistent since our lists are probably very similar to previous lists. I don't know what I want for 2014, but me and the hubs will sit down and figure it out. Until then, I'm going to enjoy the free time, family, friends, and fun.  Did you like my alliteration? Lol 

Merry Christmas!!!  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Butting In...We Probably Should Do It More Often

(I wrote this the third week of July and forgot to post it.)

This morning, I received an e-mail from a friend who was lovingly "butting in". I informed a group of my friends yesterday about my 13 year old nephew searching for pornography in my home. I was past livid. I was "turnt up"! I was extremely upset with my nephew because I could not believe that he would betray our trust, lie to us about his actions, and also defy our rules. The thing that hurt me the most really was the lying. My husband walked in on my nephew as he was watching porn on a system that we put in his room so that he could enjoy playing games and watching movies that we had approved for him. I was upset with myself because I kept meaning to turn on the parental controls, and I just kept forgetting or was too tired to concern myself with it. He had only been with us for three days at this point, and all he talked about was World War II and asked to go to the bookstore. I've always thought of my nephew as a little nerd, but he is still a 13 year old nerd whose face and new height show the signs of puberty. This is not how this trip was supposed to go.

Monday night, Dan came into the living room with the power supply for the XBox, and I knew, but I thought it had to be something else. I was right. I was so upset that I was shaking. My nephew was being beaten within an inch of his life in my head after I heard Dan tell me what happened. I told him to come out, and I asked him what did he do. He lied and said "I ain't do nothing." This put fuel on my already sky high flame. I yelled at this point. I was trying to avoid it, but it was happening. At that point, I informed him to take a shower and go to bed. We did a search and found out that he had actually searched for porn the first night he was in our home. It was the very same day that the rules were laid down and broken within a matter of hours. I often stood up for him when others thought he was lying, and every time we found out he was telling the truth. I know why he lied, but that didn't make things better. I sobbed because I felt like I had failed my parents in being a responsible guardian for him and that I had failed to protect him from this. I know he had already done this before but still. Children should not have access to the vices of this world as easily as they do to a candy store, and I didn't do my part in preventing this.

While talking to my friends about this, their sentiments seemed to be in line with mine. Shock, anger, disappointment and a need to ensure our freedom by not killing pubescent people. However, one friend expressed another sentiment to me this morning. It was about ensuring that children just don't have a fear of parents, but ensuring that they have a fear of God. She informed me how living under the iron fist of her parents led her to go "buckwild" when she went off to college. On her own, she was able to do whatever she wanted to do and didn't need to worry about fearing her parents. This is a story that I was familiar with in regards to other people. It's not uncommon to hear about college students going crazy when they leave the eyes of their parents. At the end of her e-mail, she apologized if I thought it was butting in, but she needed to say something. I agree with her. It's why she is in my life. I appreciate people who feel that they need to add a different perspective to a situation because many times we don't look at how our actions fully impact others. I e-mailed her back and thanked her for her words of advice. I informed her that although I almost killed my nephew, I stayed away from him because...well, I was going to KILL HIM!!! I also didn't want to say anything that was too hurtful given that he's been through a lot in his short life, and it wasn't going to be productive.

That night, Dan explained to him that the trip was over. He was on punishment. Dan was patient and he waited until my nephew finally admitted what he did and was fully honest about it as well. My nephew has since continued to lie about things that we have caught him doing. He attempted to go into our bedroom closet to get his book about the presidents, but he didn't know that we had put tape and tissue on the door to tell if he attempted to get into the closet. Also he's pretty weak, so he was unable to move the heavy hamper that we had placed behind the door as well as a second barrier. Yes, we will be those type of parents. The tissue was torn on Tuesday, and our line of trust was broken again. Since Monday, we have spent quite a bit of time discussing the importance of telling the truth. Last night we had a breakthrough because he came clean about a lot things that he had been keeping as a secrets. Most of his secrets really aren't secrets. I mentioned earlier that my nephew has gone through a lot in his short life, and he informed us about how those things have impacted him. I'm not sure if he needs a clinical therapist, but he definitely needs to talk to someone. It'll take time, but we'll be patient and get him to where he needs to be.

To wrap all of this up, butting in isn't always a bad thing. If more people butted in, lives may be saved, mistakes avoided, and lives could be transformed. Most people shy away from saying anything because they don't want to offend someone or convince themselves that it isn't their business. I think we always need to be respectful when giving unsolicited advice, but we have a responsibility to help each other be great people.

Thanks Love for butting in. It is appreciated.  

Onward to Baby Step 4!

Team Watkins, aka Debt Slayers 2013, is moving onward to Baby Step 4. So what is Baby Step 4? Well, here are the Baby Steps:

Baby Step 1- $1,000 saved for emergency fund
Baby Step 2- Debt snowball (Get out of debt plan)
Baby Step 3- Save 3 to 6 months living expenses
Baby Step 4- Save 15% of your income for retirement
Baby Step 5- Save for kids' college
Baby Step 6- Pay off the mortgage
Baby Step 7- Build wealth and give

The Baby Steps are simple enough on paper. It's a logical progression/plan to try and ensure a strong financial future, but it's not easy at first. I've written before about how behavior modification is key to this program. It's actually key to achieving most things in life. We wouldn't be able to get to Baby Step 4 if we hadn't gotten our stuff together and started acting like adults with out money. Because we got it together, I feel confident in our financial future even on one income.

As of late, I have been wanting to take out a credit card and CHARGE!!! I've been buying a lot of unplanned stuff that was needed after we moved, so August's budget has been a bust. Since it's been a bust, my mind has been like, eh what's another $20? It's another $20 is what it is! However, I know the ramifications of those actions, and we are on Baby Step 4 looking towards buying a home soon. We had our monthly budget meeting, and now we are back on track. It's just goes to show that the plan is not fool proof. It's not perfect because we're not perfect. However, I don't have to use my credit cards to get the things I need and want. We just come up with a plan for it.

For the first time ever, we may max out our Roth IRA's. I've always wanted to do it, so now I don't know what to do with myself. I'm quite eager to see if we can do it by April 2014. Oh the things that I get excited about now. Maxing out Roth's, babies, and Heath Bar ice cream! Lol.

- Faithwalking for Life

I Am Happy

I was riding down the road today with my Daniel, and it hit me.... I am happy. I've not been this happy in years. I really don't think I've been this happy since my wedding day (10/12/08). I have been happy about things, people, events, but I have not been happy. I am unemployed and awaiting an appointment on Wednesday to see if I need surgery, and I am happy. I woke up on August 5th, and I was a little depressed because for the first time in nearly four years, I didn't have a job. I listened to the phone calls of many who were trying to have what I had, and I walked away from it. For what? I walked away from it for the day that I could wake up and be happy about a future filled with so much unknown but also so many possibilities. It feels amazing.

Will I succumb to fear about my endless possibilities but somewhat unknown future? Probably. However, I know that although those feelings may be natural, they are not real. Faith is real. Fear is just a way to keep my false self alive, and that heiffah must die. Lol.

Be well. Be happy.

Sharing is Caring

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Replacing a Spirit of Fear with a Spirit of Faith

So it's been a while since I've written anything. For the last month, I have been battling some anxiety. I won't go into the details, but I'm getting better. Earlier this year, I made a statement that I wanted to be the type of Christian who continues to praise God no matter what I am going through. The statement "Be careful what you ask for" could not have been felt more than in this last month.

Last month, some friends and I had decided to read Max Lucado's "Fearless". I was very interested in going through the study because I have lived a life that has been driven more by my fears than my dreams when it should have been the other way around. What my life could have been if I had at least tried, I don't know. In an effort to also live this "Fearless" life, I am also trying to learn how to live in the present. There's nothing like living in fear and with regrets. It's the recipe for internal disaster. So we're making some changes ASAP.

Our biggest change is we're moving. Team Watkins is taking the show on the road, and we're making a stop in Atlanta, GA. We prayed on this, and God confirmed this decision with a sermon from our pastor on June 2nd. What I love is how we were both filled with God's peace on this decision. Like many couples, we are night and day, so to have come to the same peaceful conclusion together is a blessing in itself. God is truly the foundation for Team Watkins.

Daniel has a new job. A job that I believe with catapult him to new levels in his career. I love that my husband loves the work that he does, and I too would like to feel this love and passion. Over the next few months, I will be studying to go back to school. I'm pursing that PhD I've always wanted, but I was too afraid to even try. I came up with the excuses, and I let myself believe them. At least this time, I am going to attempt. If I am denied, I am denied, but I will have tried. Nothing beats failure like a try.

There's so much to do! We're both excited about our new endeavor and can't wait to be close to our families. That is by far the best part about all of this. I am praying to be a Proverbs 31, fearless, faithful, and loving woman. It's not easy, but I'm working on it.

Thank you Heavenly Father.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Financial Maturity (Yes We Are Moving Again)

A question many have asked me after proclaiming our Debt Free status is what are you going to do with all of that money? My first thought is all of what money? The student loan payment was only $280.61 a month. If we were to stop our plan this is all we would have added back to our monthly budget. That's not very much. As a result, we have to find money elsewhere.

Our biggest expense is our rent. I live in a building that many would agree is a really nice building. I love it. It looks more like a hotel than a rental property, and it was a great ride. See in an effort to fully gain the benefit our our new found Debt Free status, we must now become financially mature. Now, I am not saying that people who live in our building or want to live here are financially immature. In fact, I think they have made a wonderful home decision. However for us, we see it as an opportunity to find money to help us build our wealth. The maturity part comes in deciding between granite wannabe counter tops vs. actual granite counter tops, relatively new appliances vs. older appliances, tile vs. linoleum (Oh sweet Baby Jesus!), and hideous fireplaces that take up space vs. no hideous fireplaces that take up space. Sigh. We found a place. It's actually right down the street from us. It's a nice place, but it means giving up our 23rd floor view of the National Mall for a courtyard view in a garden style apartment. It's quiet, clean, and almost serene in certain parts. The problem is it's not our home; however, it helps us to walk in path of the financially mature. The apartment is $771 a month cheaper than our current apartment. That is $9,252 a year! Now, $280.61 wasn't much of an addition back to our budget but $771+$280.61=$1051.61 is. That gives us $12,619.32 a year! We found a leak, and now it's time to plug it up. Put that into an investment account at 10% (that is on the side of extreme optimism for some) for the next 40 years. Drum roll: $6.7M!!! My mind is just blown! BOOM! At 5%, which is about average, it's $1.6M. Crockpot millionaires...I'll take it. Oh imagine the good we would be able to do! Also, this is just an investment account. This doesn't include whatever other retirement/savings accounts that we will have as well. This is what financial maturity can mean for us. Our situation will probably change as I am trying to find a job that I care about which means a very probable decrease in pay, but the lifestyle change and behavior modification is the important part no matter how much money we make.    

So those are two big things that we were able to do to find this additional money. It's going to be an exciting journey to find out what small things we can change as well that can help us add to this amount. I'm just excited to see all of the things that we can do to be able to do so many wonderful things in life. Not just 40 years from now, but starting in July! This is going to be a great start to that down payment on a home, saving for a kid(s), and increasing our giving at church. Amazing. 

I am grateful for all of the many blessings that God has given us. Right now, I'm especially grateful for the ability to give up granite counter tops and a concierge for linoleum and $771 a month. I'm becoming financially mature, and I'll admit it less bougie. Linoleum is not the end of the world. Lol.   

-Debt Slayers 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

I really enjoyed this TED Talk. I have tweeted it and shared it with friends via e-mail. I hope that anyone who stops to read my blog will enjoy it as well.

My next personal topic may be on fear. Ooh wee!

-Still Debt Free ;)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Toodaloo Nelnet!!!! WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!

On January 1, 2013, Daniel and I embarked on a path that we had been wanting to embark upon four years prior to finally doing the darn thing! On April 10, 2013, we made our last student loan payment. It's really surreal. Many have asked me how do I feel. Honestly, I was expecting to feel overcome with joy, but I didn't feel anything. Unfortunately, on the same day that I should have been rejoicing in us achieving this wonderful goal, I was dealing with a situation that I have dealt with for a while on my job. I thought my feelings were subsiding, but on the day that I was supposed to be experiencing unbelievable joy, I found myself needing to close my office door and cry. And I cried. I cried for 3 minutes maybe even more. I was crying because for as much as this was a wonderful moment, the devil has been tap dancing on my spirit. Someone was playing the song, and he was doing some of his finest footwork on my heart. I hate letting him ever have a moment where he feels that he is winning. What was even worst was that this was the time when I should have been praying more and lifting my eyes to Heaven, but I found myself falling  asleep without praying and waking up without giving God His due as well. I was reading my Bible, but I was really going through the motions. In my moment when I needed God most, I was turning away from Him. I hate to admit it, but it's what I was going through. Flesh sucks. (Pastor Wesley's sermon was on this very topic today. Perfect timing.)

For as horrible as this situation has been, I have people in my life who are simply amazing. On the same day that I was going through this low moment, I received a call from a friend at work. She was calling to ask me some standard questions, and I decided to open up to her. She gave me the kick in the pants that I needed. DON'T YOU LET THIS STEAL YOUR JOY FROM YOU!!!! (Yes ma'am!) I know most of the right words to say to anyone for their down in the dumps moments. I actually don't like to address these moments because most people know what to do, so I try to just listen. This showed me that sometimes people just need to hear it. I needed to hear this more than I knew it. She reminded me that it's okay to let it out, but you will not let this steal your joy. I thanked her, got off the phone, cancelled our fancy reservations, and decided I just wanted to chill at lively restaurant in DC. It was everything that I needed.

So...It's Saturday, and I'm debt free. How do I feel? Well, I still don't feel like throwing a party. My current work situation may have had an impact on this, but I really think the reason is that this is now a way of life for me. It's my new Sunday through Saturday. Being debt free is just a result of this lifestyle. I'm really happy that we can start working on Baby Step 3. We aren't slated to finish this until August of this year. Once we're done with that, then we can move on to Baby Step 4, a baby, Baby Step 5, another baby maybe, Baby Step 6, no more babies, then Baby Step 7. We found an awesome program and it works.

Starting Debt January 2013- $13,366.54
Current Debt  April 12, 2013- $0.00

Toodaloo Nelnet! My next step is to figure out what all I need to call into the show to do our Debt Free Scream. 

1, 2, 3 WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!! (Just Practicing)

Thanks Daniel for being the wonderful husband you are. Back in January, you made me put down the Christmas ornaments. They were only $2 a piece, but they weren't a part of the budget. Of course I could have afforded the $6 to buy the ornaments, but this was about modifying our behavior. Small steps lead to huge bounds.

SN: I did end up getting those ornaments in February for 25 cent each. I got 2 whole dollars worth of ornaments from my budgeted blow it money. Lol.

Monday, March 25, 2013

We've graduated!

Team Watkins aka #DebtSlayers2013 have graduated from FPU! Woot woot! It was kind of funky how it ended. We got to class about ten minutes late, and instead of waiting until the end to go through questions, the facilitators did this in the beginning. We thought it was odd, but I wasn't concerned because I honestly didn't want to go through them. The same six or seven people always answer, and I've grown tired of hearing my own voice in class. Nonetheless, the class ended with a whimper instead of a BANG! After 9 weeks of seeing the same people, learning Dave's baby steps and money principles, and sharing our life experiences,  the facilitator got up and said "Okay, that's it. Everyone can go home now." For real? That's it? Dan and I are excited about being facilitators at Alfred Street, but I know one thing we aren't having is people leaving without a support network or a proper send off. It was just shameful.

Okay that was the negative. Here is the positive. Our class started off with $1.1 million dollars in non-mortgage debt. In 9 weeks, we paid off $52K+. How awesome is that? Dan and I accounted for 15% of this debt alone! Before I think there was only about $24k in savings and at the end of the course our class had $95k+ put into their savings account. That was just nine weeks. Things will start to move faster and the debt slaying and savings accounts will only get bigger over time. I hope everyone stays on it. I know we will.

Starting Debt January 2013- $13,366.54
Current Debt March 2013- $5,182.87
Difference- $8,183.67

What's better is that we have a huge payment that we are making on Dan's student loan this week because we had an extra pay period this month! We'll be done next month!

Other Goals:
Joint Bible Study- Not so great, but we set our days and they are not to be negotiated anymore. Sundays and Tuesdays. I've started a women's Bible Study at church and I've read 1/3 of the Bible.

Weight Loss- March hasn't been a great month for weight loss. I definitely hit a plateau, but I won't let it stop me. I've lost 14 of my 30 lbs so far, and I know I can lose at least 2 more this week if I can get over this nasty sinus issue. I hate allergies!

Making Friends- We met another couple in FPU, and the husband is just as big of a nerd as Dan. The fiance is cool too. Dan and Eric are bonding, and it's so cute.

Volunteering- I'm going to take on an official role with Cub Scouts at Church. After our last lesson on giving in FPU, I became fired up and ready to go. I didn't want to commit at first because I know there are other things I want to do, but I like the little guys and they give me a healthy dose of birth control every time I see them.

Career Change- My meeting got moved, but on April 10th at 12:30, I'll be meeting with the director over financial education at the CFPB. I'm praying! Pray for me! I've been blessed to work at FERC, but Lord knows I need something that has meaning to it for me.

There are some other things, but I don't know what they are right now. I need to go read a previous post.

I'll try to be more consistent but life has been a haze of tissue, meds, coughing, and liquids. I just want to run!

Have a blessed day!

- Team Watkins

Thursday, March 7, 2013


For the first time in my post wedding life, I'm setting goals AND accomplishing them. Here are some of my goals for "The Last Year Before 30":

1. Read the Bible in it's entirety. I've read 20% of it in 15 days.
2. Do a joint Bible study with the hubby. We started one this week.
3. Attempt to let my husband be the head of our household. I'm really struggling on this one. I think I'm going to fail.....I am giving it a valiant effort.
4. Prepare myself for a career change. I meet someone tomorrow to work on that.
5. Lose 30 lbs and focus on being healthy. I'm down 11 lbs, but I think I've hit a plateau already. Sigh.
6. Call my Grandma at least once a month. I always have such great conversations with her.
7. Become better equipped financially. Working on it (Debt Slayers 2013)!
8. Show love to people more often. Volunteering more often would be a great start. I should stop to talk to Clayton and Freddie more often. (I think Freddie may be crushing on me. He gives me that "Hey Gurl!" wave in the mornings and then asks for change. He could just want the money.....)
9. Worry less.
10. Cook more.
11. Do something with my hair! I've been rocking the same style since I've been natural. I guess I'm overdue for a change.

I read somewhere that writing down your goals increases your likelihood of achieving them. Looks like I have about 8 new things I can write about.

These are my goals for The Last Year Before 30". Nothing crazy. I just wanted them to be achievable. Now, when I turn 30, this list will look be insane. Why wait until 30? I've got some basics I need to get accomplished first. 2013 is shaping up.

Have a wonderful and blessed evening!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Insurance: Better Late Than Never

Last night in our FPU course, we focused on Insurance. When I saw the topic, I was ready! I've got this or did I? I didn't. I really didn't. I actually felt a little immature that I didn't have it together like I thought I did. We have health, life, long term disability, auto, and rental insurance, so I thought we were good to go. It's great that we have these things, but 1. Do we fully understand our policies? (No) and 2. How often do we review them? (Rarely) Last night's lesson wasn't just about understanding and reviewing our policies and comprehending premiums and deductibles, but it was about protecting ourselves from liabilities that we are not financially capable of handling on our own. It's why we have insurance.

It should have dawned on me a few weeks ago when I took a trip to Target. I was getting ready to make a left hand turn on to a street that I have made hundreds of left hand turns on, and I've done it plenty of times at night. This particular night as I was getting ready to turn, I didn't see that there was a woman crossing the street (Yes, she had the right of way.). I was so close to her that I could see the paralyzing fear on her face. She stood in the street frozen from fright because my vehicle was less than a foot away from her. I too was frightened like I've never been in my life. My first thought was that I could have seriously injured this woman or worse. I had to let my window down to apologize to her. She told me that it was "okay", but no it wasn't. My carelessness could have cost her her life, potential jail time for myself, and created a financial liability on my family that we aren't equipped to handle.

I continued along my journey to Target, and I thanked God for the blessings he bestowed on both of us. I thanked him for having properly functioning brakes, and it dawned on me just how important FPU is because what if my insurance wasn't enough to cover her medical expenses if I had hit her. That was a great reason why 6 months living expenses would have been needed. All of this dawned on me except to check my auto insurance policy! I found out last night that we have been riding around with what I'll call "basic" auto insurance. It's the minimum that the state of VA requires. I'm almost 30 years old, and I'm rolling around with basic! Now it's one thing if that's all you can afford, but for 1, 2, 3, 4 $10 extra a month, I was able to increase my insurance by 20 times more than what I previously had. INSANE!!!! Now, we know we have way more than what we need, but there was only a $2 difference between really great coverage and insane coverage, so I got a little crazy.

Our lack of coverage isn't about maturity but about financial literacy. It's a topic that I love, but even I didn't have it all together. I shared the topic with friends, and I found out that many of them had just increased their rates or they needed to review their policy as well. Some didn't respond at all, but that's okay. I just hope they read the e-mail.

Insurance really is one of those peace of mind financial products out there. I encourage all to learn more about it and make sure you have the right coverage. We all know that we need it, but fully understanding what we have is a different story. Insurance is marketed to us on a purely emotional level for a reason. Companies know that you don't want to leave your loved ones behind with a financial burden. If you put aside your feelings about marketing and salespeople, you will find that this one is pretty spot on. I don't want to leave Daniel with a ton of debt, a decrease in household income, and have to deal with my death. We want to make sure that if anything happens to either of us, the other one will be okay at least financially.

I love how God doesn't stop speaking to you. You may have not gotten it the first time, but he'll find another way to get your attention. I'm very appreciative that I didn't have to go through the School of Hard Knocks for this one, and I hope that this may prevent someone else from being a part of the School of Hard Knocks Class of 2013.

- Debt Free in 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013


I had a conversation the other day with a friend that turned into an argument, but it was helpful. How often can we really make that statement? I wasn't happy with the way the conversation ended, but it did begin with us discussing what happiness is. Happiness is something that we all are seeking to gain on a daily basis or we think we can schedule it on our calendars. All I've ever wanted was to be was "happy", and I've yet to find that complete sense of happiness.

I like many think that happiness resides in having a great career, a wonderful spouse, a sense of success and self-fulfillment, but if all of those things were to be taken away would I still be happy? Probably not. See, I can't be happy if I try to find a permanent state of being in temporary places. People will die, money will come and go, and time will continue to pass by. I no longer search for happiness in the material things of life. One of my most earnest prayers to God is that I do not get caught up in the hype of stuff. I have looked for it in people or travelling- temporary places- and when the friendship/person was lost and the trip was over, now what? I came to the conclusion a while ago that happiness isn't something that I should seek externally. It should be an internal peace and a sense of contentment. So instead of looking for this ever evasive sense of happiness, I will seek contentment instead.

Why contentment? Isn't that just reaching for the middle rung of the ladder instead of the top rung? Well, let's look at the definition of contentment or contented. Thanks to Merriam Webster, contented means feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation. I even like the example they give "contented smile". (It can be argued and even shown on Merriam's site, that content and happy mean the same thing. However, I chose to go with the connotative meaning for both words, so I can make my point.) Now reading over this definition, I feel that you can run into the same problem as trying to achieve some ultimate sense of happiness because what will determine when you are satisfied? Who will say that enough is enough? Well of course you will. The goal is to determine what enough is to begin with, set an "Enough" goal, assess that goal, and reassess that goal, to make sure that you aren't trying to achieve something that you already have. Oftentimes, we forget that many of the things that we think we are lacking are often in front of us. How many times have you found yourself in excess of some product because you forgot you had it? I've done this quite a few times. I've done this because I didn't take a true inventory of my pantry to see if I had something that I thought I needed. Don't miss that analogy. This may require creating a new perspective about a situation, people, or life. It will require some soul searching, but you have to be willing to put in the work. We shouldn't be afraid to find out some things about ourselves. "I'm too busy." and "Ain't nobody got time for that!" have become quick phrases that allow us to put it off until tomorrow or not do it at all. I wonder what life would be like if procrastination was illegal....let's get to assessing! 

Where am I with all of this? That's a good question Kim. I think I'm at the point where I need to reassess my assessment. I've gone without a lot this year. Living off of one income was scary, but we've found more peace in this process than before when we didn't know where the last dime went. I'm doing something I thought I would never do, and it's working. We've had our internal strife, and Lord knows I've been on my knees looking for strength in our marriage. Year four has been tough, but that's another blog. Nonetheless, we continue to be Team Watkins. I don't think I'll be done with the reassessment of my assessment any time soon, but at least I'm working on it. 

This is all of my humble opinion of course. None of this is avant-garde, but it may serve as a little reminder.  I don't know it it will mean a hill of beans to anyone; I just hope that during a time period when things are so dark around us people can still take a little time to find that silver lining or some small joy that can bring a smile on their faces. Hopefully, it will be contented smiles. 

Numbers on the Debt and Weight Loss

Weight Loss-  I'm down 11 lbs down for the year. I have a minimum of 19 lbs to go. (Woot, woot!) 

Debt Loss- We've paid off  $6,146.80 in student loan debt! It hasn't been 100% of the plan. We had to do some crumb snatching from the debt money, but that's a little more than half of our student loan paid off.

I hope you've enjoyed! 

#TeamWatkins #DebtSlayers2013  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Simple Conversation Leads to Major Changes

Hello Blog World!

My name is Kimberly Watkins, and I'm getting the hell out of debt. Also during the process, I'm giving back at least 30 lbs to the fat Gods. Thanks, but no thanks. So what was the simple conversation? Two friends and I meet up to go through a Bible Study (don't stop reading because I like Jesus) at least twice a month when we can. After one of our discussions, a friend of mine mentioned that she and her husband live off of one income. I was absolutely shocked. My husband and I had aspired to live like this, but after moving to the  DC Metro area we almost gave up on the idea. Our plan was to pay our bills, do some savings, and then eventually get out of debt. We found ourselves spinning our wheels because we would pay off our credit card one month only to find ourselves doing it again in a couple of months. We'll just pay it off in a few months and then we can move forward, but we never really adhered to our budget! It's laid out in a wonderful spreadsheet, but it meant nothing for three years because we spent at our leisure.

The dreaded "b" word will determine if you have control of your money or if it has control of you. How were we making all of this money, and we didn't know what was happening to it every month? Did I just rob Peter to pay Paul? How did that happen? Well we said ENOUGH! We paid off the last of the little credit card debt that we had, and decided it was time to get radical. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and we don't accept this to be our norm. We are Team Watkins, and we are the Debt Slayers of 2013 (insert Lion O's HOOOOO here).

From here on, I'll be blogging about our Adventure to get out of debt and hopefully other wonderful things as well. I would like to thank Deanna and Simone for being a part of some small conversations that led to major changes.

- Debt Free in 2013