P9780767904889Overcoming homelessness is not an easy task. It’s not something you can put on your to-do list and accomplish overnight unless you received a financial windfall to help you to do so.

I’ve been living in my new home for two months. It was imperative that I create a plan, start a budget and set realistic and obtainable goals to hopefully never have to become homeless again. Life happens. I do not know what obstacles I will face tomorrow, however, I will do all that I can to reduce my chance of having to live back on the streets.

Currently, I am working part-time at a retail store. The hours sucks, the pay could be a lot better but the experience is priceless. I have also been the founder and executive director of Touching Heart for the last nine years without pay. My choice. Although homeless, I had to continue to help others. It is my purpose and I love doing so. I’ll write a detailed post on helping others when you are also in need of help at a later date.

Girl, Get Your Money Straight! is a book that I had discovered in 2005 prior to becoming homeless. I had met the co-author, Gail Perry Mason, at HUD (Housing Urban Development) conference in Detroit, Michigan. During the conference, Ms. Perry Mason had a few books that she was distributing as prizes. I was one of the ones to actually win a copy.  The information in this book is one of many that has helped me to finally take charge of my finances and “get my money straight”.

As a teen, my father sent me to school to learn about estate planning, portfolio investing and wealthy building. He was afraid that I would give all that I had away to those who could careless about me. He knew my family and ex-husband’s concerns were only about the number in my bank account. He was right to be fearful because I had allowed my heart to outweigh the lessons I had been taught. It not to blame anyone. It is who I am; I am a giver. I love helping people and I love that I had a chance to be a blessing to a number of folks. Despite the lack of support and help that I had received my heart is not hardened towards them. However, there is caution tape placed around my heart and money. This time around I am going to be a good steward over what God has given me. I am going to invest in me and not material possessions. I am going to continue to help those in need and I will always seek to learn from my experiences. I am not Olivia Pope. I do not have to “fix” someone’s situation. I’ve come to the conclusion that if folks found a way to get what they needed while I was homeless and broke, then they will have to use their same resources to help them when they are in a bind.

I have no credit cards or student loans. Thank God! I have medical bills and debt from my divorce. I also have what I like to call “co-sign” debt. Co-sign debt is when you have helped others and now you’re stuck with the bill. Small things but its debt.

I had taken the entire month of January from blogging (okay, starting to blog on a regular basis) to make changes and implement new strategies to help me rebuild my life. I had to adjust living in a home all over again (post coming soon).

Behind the scenes in January I had made some great strides to pay off debt and working towards my saving goals:

  • Paid off two companies on my Credit Report ($963.84)
  • I’ve opened up a few online savings accounts. I’ll have a very hard time accessing those accounts
  • Ordered and reviewed my Credit Report from all three agencies
  • Created a monthly budget
  • Decided I would live off 60% of my income (prayers needed!)
  • Stepped out on Faith and became a freelance writer and part-time graphic/web designer

Not too shabby.

Now here’s February Goals:

 Hustle My Side Hustle

Over the years I have helped a number of churches, ministries and grassroots organizations start-up for FREE. I have also had ministries who think that you should work  for FREE and “God would bless me”. I have no problem with helping anyone but I cannot afford to allow the gifts that God has given me to be advantage of. I have started a small business to write grants, event planning/fundraising, Social Media Management and other services that I have been doing for nearly ten years.

Debt Repayment

After pulling my credit reports, I know for sure I owe $25,464.73 in debt. My goal is to pay $500 to reduce the amount owed.

Blogging

I have to stop putting this off. I have a number of topics to share that I know will help someone. If nothing else than to write to share my story.

Staying Fit

My weight has been yo-yoing for years. I know it was do to the fact that I have not had a chance to stick with meal planning and exercising because I’ve been from one place to another. Now that I am in my own home my health is the most important issue right now. I cannot keep putting it on the back burner. I will workout at least five days a week and meal plan.

Cut the Grocery Bill

I am an EXTREME Couponer. My monthly grocery bill is about $100. Some may think that’s really good for a single person but I know I can reduce it even further. I want to spend no more than $75 per month. The remaining $25 will go in my savings account.

DIY Projects

I am starting over from scratch. Right now,  I have no furniture. I am going to do a few DIY projects to spruce up my home. I have had successes shopping the clearance aisle at Target. I am not going to do everything at once. It’s going to take time to have my home just the way I want it. I will definitely share here and on video.

What are your February Goals? Leave a comment below.

 


Brooks J. Young

View all posts | 29 Total Posts

Brooks J. Young is the founder and executive director of Touching Heart. She is also the author of Where God Took My Soul, a memoir about healing and hope, domestic violence, and homelessness. Brooks became homeless in August 2011, living in shelters, on the streets, and between the homes of friends and relatives. While homeless, she continued her advocacy domestic violence awareness and the rights of those who were homeless. Since 2005, she has been traveling across America giving inspirational and motivational speeches at churches, conferences, colleges, beauty salons, women’s retreats, high schools and community events – any venue where can raise her voice to educate society on the prevalence of domestic violence and homelessness.


2 comments on this post:


Rae 2/16/2014

I love this. I have a family of 3 and I am constantly attempting to lowering my monthly bill for grocery shopping also save more. This article spoke to me in so many ways. Thank you

Reply

[…] February I have paid nearly $1500 worth of debt. WOO HOO! Now bad for someone working part-time at Target. […]

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About Brooks J. Young

I’m an 30-something advocate of domestic violence and homelessness both of which I've survived. I write every day. I design things. I am a VORACIOUS reader. I am a runner. I LOVE nail polish. I take too many pictures. I try too hard to achieve perfection...and fail repeatedly. I love Starbucks. I'm obsessed with gadgets. My faith is the only thing that has sustained me during the hard times. God is my EVERYTHING! And I'm happy to have you here! {Read More}

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