February 2016 Life Update

feb 2016Good morning everyone. I hope all is well. We are now in month number 2 of 2016. Hopefully, January went well for you. I had a pretty good month.

I continued freelancing. I even found another client. Combining my freelance writing with my eBay sales, I made a little over $500. That’s cool, but the goal is to make at least an extra $1000 each month. My eBay money sales were pretty low. That was to be expected with people trying to recoup after Christmas. I know this month will be much better.

Top Posts of January:

How I Raised My Credit Score By 168 Points

16 Things to do in Atlanta

13 Tools you Need as a Blogger

Saving Money on College Textbooks

Last month was also the first month where all of my debts went down in amounts. I have a loan that’s in deferment. I don’t need to make a payment on it, but I decided to do so. Seeing the numbers get smaller each month is addicting. Hell, I’m even thinking about getting another part-time job for a couple of days out of the week, but not sure if I should do it. On one hand I want to do it, but on the other I figure that if I don’t get one I can start looking for more freelance opportunities. What would you do if you were in my situation?

I would have never started freelancing if I didn’t start my blog. If you’re interested in starting a blog check out my step by step guide called Creating a Website with Bluehost




I also want to share with you the results of my original thrifting challenge. This was the 1st of two challenges that I did last year. I purchased items from a thrift store and wanted to show people how much I could flip them for. The 2nd thrifting challenge finished in October. This one surprisingly took much longer than I expected. I originally started it in July.

I purchased five items. Below are the item names plus the amounts that I paid for them and sold them for.

0705151750

Keith Brooking Bobblehead – Paid: $4.94  Sold: $20

4 Super Bowl Cups – Paid: $1.60  Sold: $1.00 (Small loss)

1 Expired Computer Ink Cartridge – Paid: $0.80 (Actually unsold. I added it to a group of 20 other ink cartridges that I’m selling.)

Atlanta Braves Lunch Box – Paid: $1.21  Sold: $4.01

Kids Air Jordan 5 – Paid: $2.92  Sold: $16.99

I spent a total of $11.47 and turned it into $42. That’s almost four times more than what I spent. I plan on having another thrifting challenge once it warms up.

Last but not least I want to share with you my latest t-shirt design. What do you think?

Dabbinlep

How was your January? What do you have planned for February?

Ebay, Life , , ,

10 Jeezy Lyrics to Keep You Motivated

10 Jeezy LyricsI love hip hop. It’s one of my genres of music. Being from Atlanta, it’s a huge part of the culture. Artists like Outkast, T.I. and Jeezy has continuously represented for the city. Rappers don’t always talked about negative things Some of them drop hidden gems in their songs from time to time. Today, I want to share with you 10 Jeezy lyrics that will keep you motivated. If you don’t know who Jeezy is, go here for a quick tutorial.

10 Jeezy Lyrics to Keep You Motivated

1. “I used to hit the kitchen lights cockroaches everywhere, hit the kitchen lights now it’s marvel floors everywhere” – Thug Motivation 101 (song) Let’s Get it: TM 101 (album)

At one moment Jeezy talks about being poor and seeing cockroaches scattering all over the place. The next moment he saw marble floors. With hard work, we all can change out situations like Jeezy did. We just have to stay focused.

2. “Might not just be the best, just know I plan to be” – Hustlaz Ambition (song) The Recession (album)

We are all working towards something. We don’t start out being an expert or the best, but you gotta have the foresight to know that you can be.

3. “Let em talk, let em hate, watch the Lincoln navigate” – Amazin (song) The Recession (album)

Everyone will not always support you. Some will talk crap and others will hate for no reason. Let them do that while you continue to become more and more successful.

4. “Look up in the sky and tell me what you see, the clouds, Nah homie not me. I see opportunity, I’m an opportunist” – Sky’s the Limit (song) Let’s Get it: TM 101 (album)

Every day that you wake up is another day to create opportunity. Are you going to sit there and let it pass you by or are you going to get out there and make something happen?

5. “You gotta take the time to thank God you made it” – The Real Anthem (song) The Real is Back 2 (mixtape)

The struggle is real or has been real for a lot of us. Whatever religion you may be, you have to stop and give thanks to a higher power.

6. “They boxed me in the corner and I came out fighting” – I’m Back (song) Can’t Ban the Snowman (mixtape)

Whether its debt, haters, or a dead end job, you can’t afford to let that situation box you in a corner. Life is too short for that. Make a plan and come out fighting.

7. “I say I grind like it’s 10 of me, I swear to God it’s just one of me. Lord I know I ain’t there yet, just know I’m gonna be” – Hustlaz Ambition (song) The Recession (album)

To get somewhere you’ve never been you gotta do things you’ve never done before. Sleeping less and working multiple jobs are two of the things that I’ve done in the past to make things happen. By sacrificing some stuff, you will eventually get to where you want to be at.

8. “If you’re a real hustler, you gon get out here and get it” – 4 Zones (song) Seen it All (album)

Things will not always be easy for you. Are you going to complain about the situation or are you going to get up off your ass and make things happen. Choose wisely.

9. “Every time you see me I grind more and every time you see me I’m in grind mode” – Grind Mode (song) Church in these Streets (album)

It’s the truth. A lot of creatives and business owners stay on grind mode. We want our products to be the best. The only way for that to happen is to continually be in working even if it’s just a little bit.

10. “I can’t wait to see the day I can change where my Momma stay” – Hustlaz Ambition (song) The Recession (album)

I heard this lyric 8 years ago when I was a senior in college. It has stuck with me over the years. A lot of children want to be able to give back to their mother or father once they become successful and are able to. I know I want to make sure my mother is taken care of. This is one of the things I think about if I lose a little motivation.

Do you have an artist that motivates you every once in a while?



Motivation , ,

5 Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Vday Gift ideasValentine’s Day will be here in less than 2 weeks. Have you purchased your gift for your girlfriend or boyfriend yet? I haven’t. Hell, that’s because I’m single :) . I know a lot of people may be procrastinating. If you are struggling with ideas for what to get your partner check out this list of 5 last minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas.

Candy and Flowers

You can’t go wrong with candy and flowers. Candy is reasonably priced, so you should be able to go to any store like Walmart or CVS and get what you need. For flowers, I would check with a florist as soon as possible. Other options would be to visit your local grocery store.

Movie at home

The next item on the list is to watch a movie at home. This might be one of the few times that “Netflix & Chill” will actually work. If the movie that y’all want to watch isn’t on Netflix you can try Target or Walmart.



Gift Card

Gift Cards are always a good gift for any holiday. Valentine’s Day is no exception. Make sure that you get your partner a gift card that they will actually use. Find out what they really like before Valentine’s Day and plan from there.

Spa Basket

The next gift idea on the list is a spa basket. Creating a spa basket for your partner is pretty easy. The items that go in there are very inexpensive. Some items that you can include in your basket are candles, wash cloths, body wash and lotions.

Waffle House

waffle-house-v-day-specialThe final last-minute Valentine’s Day gift idea is to go to Waffle House. Yes, I am talking about that Waffle House. Select Waffle House restaurants in the country will be having candlelight dinners. They will also be taking reservations at these restaurants. Check the Waffle House website to see which locations will be participating.

What are some other last-minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please ready my disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Random

January 2016 Round Up

January 2016 Round upGreetings everyone! It’s the last Friday of the month so you know what that means. It’s round up time. The January 2016 round up features post that I enjoyed this month. I hope you like them as well.

Robert from The College Investor shows us How Regular People Make 6 Figures A Year Right Out Of College.

Lenie from Frugal for Everyone shares with us Lemons for Health, 20 Reasons Why.

Chonce from My Debt Epiphany tells us How to Get Taken Seriously as a Professional Freelancer.

Michelle from Making Sense of Cents shares with us Things You May Feel When Paying Off Debt.

David from Young Adult Money gives us 4 Things he Does Every Month to Manage his Money.




Blogging , , , , , ,

How I Raised My Credit Score By 168 Points

Raised my Credit scoreMy debt repayment plan officially started again in January 2015. I vowed to get current on all my bills and start the process of eliminating my debt. So far it has been an interesting journey. Besides seeing the numbers get a little smaller each month, something else happened. My credit score went up by 168 points in only 8 months. That was amazing. When I checked my score last August I was in complete shock to see that much improvement. In today’s post, I want to share with you some things that I did to make it happen.

The first thing that I did was get current on every bill that I had. It didn’t matter if it was a student loan or credit card bill; I made sure that I got up to date with each and every one of them. I also set up automatic payments for a couple of my bills. That was huge for me. I’ve never had the discipline to do that in the past, but I was focused on making this happen. 35% of your credit score is your payment history. I had to make sure that my payment history was getting better.

The next thing that I did was that I stopped using my credit cards. By just paying on them, my credit utilization ratio started going down. I’m not at the recommended 30% yet, but I am damn sure lower than the 90% that I was at last year at this time. With hard work, I should be under 50% by the end of the year.

I also started adding extra money to all my debts. I’m not sure how much that helped, but it was something that I had to do.

I’m still amped at how much the score went up in 8 months. I’m proof that even if you have thousands of dollars of debt you can still raise your score. If you have a low credit score I want you to realize that you can raise your score too. You just need to create a plan. Remember, 65% of your credit score consists of your payment history and the amounts owed.

One tool that I use when I’m looking at my credit score is credit sesame. Credit sesame has a financial debt analysis tool that shows you your total debt. It then breaks the debt down into categories such as credit card debt, student loans, and others.

Credit Sesame also goes into detail about your credit score and credit report. They also give you several credit recommendations. Those recommendations could be credit cards that you can sign up for or personal loans that can help you pay off high-interest debt.

Did I mention that credit sesame is free to use? All you have to do is sign up. If you’re interested in getting your credit score in order click here!

What is the most that your credit score has gone up in a relatively short time? Do you wish your score was higher?

Debt, Motivation , ,

13 Tools That You Need as a Blogger

13 blogger toolsHave you ever thought of becoming a blogger? If the answer is yes then this post is for you. This post will also be good for you if are a beginning blogger as well. I’ve been blogging for nearly 3 years here at The Butler Journal. I’ve learned quite a lot during this time frame. I want to share with you 13 tools that you need as a blogger.

Domain & Hosting

If you are serious about becoming a blogger you should purchase your own hosting and domain. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent free options out there for setting up a blog, but the things that you can do with them is limited. By having your own domain and hosting you’re able to create your site any way that you want to. You also don’t have to worry about your URL looking like www.blogname.blogspot.com. If you plan to eventually monetize your site it would definitely need to be self-hosted.

I use Bluehost for my hosting. I haven’t had any problems with them in nearly 3 years of service. They have a great deal for new bloggers right now. Hosting is starting out at $3.95 per month if you purchase a yearly plan with them. A domain also comes with that deal.

WordPress

WordPress s a blogging platform that a lot of us bloggers use. After you get your hosting and domain taken care of you should add the WordPress software to your blog. WordPress is very easy to use. It has hundreds of themes for you to choose from. The themes are user-friendly.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a program that you can download to your computer that helps with grammar. I’ve been using Grammarly for a few months and I love it. It helps you with spelling, punctuation placement, and other grammar issues. There is a free version and a pro version. I currently use the free version, but will probably upgrade once I pay off another couple of my debts.

PicMonkey

This is the 1st of three sites that I use to help design pictures. PicMonkey allows you to edit and touch up photos as well as make collages. They have a lot of options such as adding overlays or frames to your pictures.

Share As Image

Share As Image is the second site that I use to help design pictures. I don’t use it as much as I used to, but it’s still good to know about.

Canva

I had been hearing about Canva, at least, a year before I started using it. In September, I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. Can I tell you something? I wish I would have started using it sooner. It is my favorite site to edit pictures with right now. Canva already has predetermined design templates available.  They have templates for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest posts just to name a few. You also can see any previous design that you created as well as any picture that you uploaded to their site. Both are features that PicMonkey and Share As Image don’t have.



Morguefile

Morguefile is a website that has free images that you can use. There are hundreds to choose from. The images range in the type and quality. You can use them on your site without having to publish where you got the image from.

Social Media

If you plan on growing your blog you should have some kind of social media. I have a Twitter account, Pinterest account, and a Facebook page. You may or may not need all three in the beginning. I would choose one that I was familiar with and start promoting with it.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a site that allows you to schedule and post stuff to your social media feeds. This site has been a lifesaver! Hootsuite has allowed me to schedule posts anytime during the day or night without having to physically do it each time.  I usually set my weekly tweets up every Sunday. One of my followers asked me a couple months ago when do I sleep. I asked her what she meant. She then proceeded to say that I’m always tweeting after 3 or 4 in the morning. That proves that Hootsuite is doing its job.

Email List

Every blogger needs to eventually start collecting e-mails. Doing that can eventually  be huge for you. You can create a newsletter for your most engaged readers. Your readers could turn into potential customers depending on what you plan to do with your blog. Aweber and Mailchimp are two of the top e-mail marketing tools out there.

SumoMe

SumoMe is a tool that can help grow your website. They have a fantastic WordPress plugin. SumoMe helps you grow your e-mail list by offering several tools that are designed to help you collect emails.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a tool that shows you your website statistics. It shows you the type of traffic that you have coming to your site. It also shows you the most popular sections amongst other things. Google analytics also has a plugin. It is a MUST HAVE!

Share plugin

WordPress offers several share plugins. Have you ever been on a website and saw tabs on a post that allows you to share it on Twitter or Facebook? That website had a share plugin. There are many of them around. Some work better than others. They are very important to have on your blog. If someone really likes one of your articles you want them to share it with their friends and followers. Share plugins allow that to happen. Having the opportunity to have your posts shared equals more readers.

You just finished reading 13 tools that you need as a blogger. These all should help you to create the best website possible.

Are you a blogger? Do you use any of these tools? Are there any other tools that new bloggers should use?

If you’re ready to start your blog today check out my step by step guide here. I go into detail and show you just how easy it is to create.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please ready my disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Blogging , , , ,

January 2016 Debt Update

January 2016 Debt UpdateHappy Friday everyone. This is my first debt update of the New Year. It’s also been a year since I started actively paying it off. I will talk more about that shortly, but in the meantime let’s look at the January 2016 debt update chart below.

 

My total debt went from $69,919.18 to $69,670.54. It decreased by $248.64. I thought it would have decreased by more, but then I realized that the interest is ridiculous for some of these debts.

Loan 2 – DOWN from $5900 to $5890

 

Wells Fargo Loan – DOWN from $983.02 to $876.72

 

BOA Credit Card – DOWN from $2999.94 to $2962.79

 

Navient – DOWN from $25,144.59 to $25,052.74

 

Nelnet – DOWN from $34,891.63 to $34,888.29

This is the 1st time I’ve been able to mark down by my Nelnet loan. It’s still in deferment, but I want to make an effort to make some type of payment on it. The interest is ridiculous on this one, though.

This month also marks a year since I’ve gotten serious about paying off this debt. In this time, my debt has gone from $72,703.05 to $69,670.54. That’s a decrease of $3032.51. That might not be much to some, but it’s pretty damn good to me. It’s a nice starting point. Paying off a large amount of debt isn’t easy. If it was everyone would be debt free. I expect the decrease to be much more this year. With hard work and more focus, it will happen!

Previous Debt Updates

January 2015 Debt Update (The Beginning)

October 2015 Debt Update

November 2015 Debt Update

December 2015 Debt Update

How is your debt repayment plan going?



Debt, Life