Archive for December, 2011

So in less than 12 hours from now, the year 2012 will be upon us. It’s probably been the most anticipated changing of year’s since 2000. This is the year that has been speculated on endlessly ever since the Mayans ended their calendar on Dec. 21, 2012 thousands of years ago. If we believe pop culture, this is the next trendy date for the end of the world. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that no man knows the day or the our of the end. I’ve always liked to view each new year as a fresh canvas, waiting to be turned into a cosmic masterpiece by the Creator.

This year, I’m really focusing on getting my financial life together. I’ve always been kind of a by-the-seat-of-his-pants-type of guy and in these tough economic times, that just isn’t getting it anymore. I’m determined that by this time next year, my financial situation will be markedly better than it is right now. I plan on making my money work for me, building up my savings and setting myself on the path to financial independence. Here are a few things I either already do or plan to practice in the coming year.

1. Pay your tithes-first and in full.

This has to be my first priority. I believe when you give God ten percent up front, he will carry your 90 percent much further than the 100 percent you would have without obeying him. The times when I’ve stepped out on faith and paid my tithes on time and in full, I’ve seen God do miraculous things.

2. Go pre-paid.

If you are under contract with one of the major carriers, you’re probably paying way too much for your phone. And no doubt, you’re getting less for what you pay every day. Most traditional carriers have eliminated unlimited web usage while making you pay more to use it. If you’re a serious techie, have no fear–you can still get a quality smartphone without emptying your pockets. Prepaid companies have really stepped their game up in the last few years. For music lovers, Cricket’s Muve Music Plan may be the best thing since the invention of iTunes. It allows unlimited, free downloads without have to sync them to your computer.

3. Cut your own hair.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…This brother has gone too damn far! This might sound like blasphemy to members of the Barbershop Brotherhood but give it some consideration. Depending on where you live, including tips, the average haircut can run anywhere from $15 to $20. You gotta stay fresh, so let’s say you go at least twice a month. That’s $40. That’s almost five hundred dollars in a year. Sure, you say, everyone would like to keep an extra $500 in their pockets, but is it worth the risk of looking crazy? Well I’ve been cutting my own hair for three years now. I’m not going to lie, the first couple of times were rough, but luckily for you, there are plenty of good youtube videos.  Invest $30 to $50 in a good pair of clippers and keep some money in your pocket.

4. Get Thrifty

Forget what those lies purported by 90s Sprite commercials , image does matter. Everyone wants to look good, but going to the mall and buying a new outfit (or two or three) every week just isn’t in my budget. I started going to thrift stores about three years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. The great thing about thrift stores is that whatever brand you favor, you can find them there for less. I’ve gotten just as many compliments on pieces that I’ve picked up in a thrift store as I have for things I brought fresh out of the rack. I would really recommend this if you’re a recent college grad trying to build up your professional wardrobe on a limited budget. I’ll post more in-depth about my love of thrift stores at a later date.

5. Save Your Change

In a time where people barely carry cash, let alone change, this may seem like an antiquated, Leave It To Beaver type idea. Over the years most people have probably lost hundreds of dollars worth of pennies,  nickles and dimes. A dime here and a quarter there doesn’t seem like much, but when the bank account gets low, it’s nice to know you’ve got a couple of bucks to fall back on.

Have any other money-saving tips? Comment and share them with the world! Happy New Year everyone!

Advertisements

When the Los Angeles Lakers open up the 2011-2012 season against the Chicago Bulls next weekend, there will be some lineup changes in the Player’s Wives’ section of the arena. Not only is Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian going to be gone, but so will Vanessa Bryant. Yesterday news broke that the 29 year-old wife of superstar Kobe Bryant filed for divorce after 11 years of marriage. The two met on the scene of a music video back in 1999 and their short romance quickly turned serious as the pair was married shortly after her high school graduation the next year.  The 21 year-old guard opted not to sign a prenuptial agreement. With the world and Bryant’s parents against them, the couple seemed to be doing just fine as Bryant pumped out babies and championships in the next four years.

Then came 2003’s sexual assault allegations. Rumor had it that Vanessa was ready to split then, but then Kobe copped heavily jeweled ring worth a reported $4 million and all seemed to be well in Bryant land. But on December 16, Vanessa filed the papers for divorce, likely signaling the end of their marriage.

With no prenupt, there’s no telling how much bread Kobe’s gonna have to break off to Vanessa. According to basketball-reference.com, Bryant has made almost two hundred million in NBA salary, in addition to the tens of millions he’s made with endorsements. I’m thinking Vanessa may get something close to the $96 million that Shaq’s ex-wife, Shaunie O’Neal got a few years back, give or take a few million.

Bryant isn’t the first athlete to get caught with his pants down and no prenuptial, and he definitely won’t be the last. Every time I hear of some athlete getting divorced with or without a prenuptial, I have to ask– Why The Hell Did You Get Married? Think about it, you’re a young, muscular millionaire with women practically trying to rip the pants off of you at every turn. Unless you have A.C. Green-like willpower, why go before God and Man and promise to be faithful???

This is not to say that these athletes don’t love the women they marry, but we all know that some of the most rabid cheaters love their wives to death. When it ends badly, as most of them do, not only do you lose her, you also lose the kids and much of the money you worked so hard to accumulate. And let’s not forget your privacy! In this age of Twitter, Tell All Books and Reality TV shows, you can believe your  business will be out on the street!

On the flip side, if you’re a female being pursued by a professional athlete, are you really expecting him to stay faithful to you? Yes, he’s telling you that he loves you. He may even mean it. But the reality is that most men are only going to turn down so much of the good stuff. Especially a young, rich athlete who is constantly being stroked by everyone from his agent to his mother and feels he’s invincible, on or off the court.

For all the talk about women loving harder than men, it seems like they also think of the business end of the marriage much more fervently than their husbands. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Vanessa chose to stay with a 25 year-old Kobe in his prime after her husband’s infidelity was highlighted in the media yet she is divorcing him at 33 and no confirmed reports of adultery? Maybe they just grew apart as sometimes happens. Then again, maybe she knew Bryant had at least six or seven peak years and two major contracts left? She stands to gain much more financially now than she did eight years ago. I’m just saying….

Moral of the story-love and money don’t mix, at least not for a professional athlete. If you don’t believe me, ask Eddie Murphy. Be honest with yourself, protect yourself and by all means, don’t get married until you retire!!!