All posts by afromadu

Daylight Savings: How to create habits during this transitional time.

So, I have a confession. I LOVE when Daylight Savings time ends. Yup, the darkness, the cool air, checking your watch and noticing that it’s pitch black, but it’s really 12 noon- ALL of it.

But most importantly, I love to feel like I have a second chance of fighting old habits and building new ones. That extra hour gives me a rebirth of something. Almost like a clean slate to try this thing called life again. So as I begin to recharge, I wanted to send some vibes along your way.

 

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What better time to change a bad habit than Daylight Savings time? 

 

Here are a few tips that can help you stretch that extra hour and reflect on the way you manage your time this daylight savings period:

A morning routine: After moving back in with my parents once I graduated from college,the mere THOUGHT of waking up early was not even a figment of my imagination. Who wants to do that? Do you really think I want to get out of my bed and work? When I wake up, I will work!  let me rest. But actually, that was wrong. Super wrong.

I have been studying successful people and their lifestyles for a while now. It is important to look at these psudeo-mentors (because they don’t really know me, yet) and almost mimic their ways of thinking, eating, and breathing (it’s not that creepy, i promise). While each person is different, I noticed that all of them have something in common: a strong, consistent morning routine. Yup, waking early and HANDLING THEIR LIVES.

Morning routines set the tone for your day. If you are waking up groggy and slow, chances are, your day might be just that. The opposite though, is fascinating. Imagine waking up early, reading a chapter of your favorite book, meditating, getting a killer workout in, and leaving the house ready for whatever life throws at you. Get it going!

Seize your day: Now that we got your morning down, what about the rest of those hours? Getting into a habit of being intentional with your time is the perfect swing to this dark weather that we are about to endure. Imagine what you can actually accomplish with the time that you are doing, hate to say this, pointless things.

I remember being fed up with my day -to-day routine. It went something like this: I would wake up late, rush to work, complain during my commute, get to work and under-perform, get a burst of energy to contact my friends and go out for dinner, hit up all of my social timelines to see what folks were doing, stay up late to watch tv, and do it ALL over again the next day. NOT OK.

We all have 24 hours to grind. Your dreams ad aspirations can be handled in that time span, but its all about what you do with them that makes your time effective. I dare you to think about what you do with your 24 hours that we all have? How much time do you spend being productive? What are you doing instead?

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-Change your mindset about Mondays: Let’s face it: You are sad that the weekend is over because you didn’t have time to do the things that you wanted to do. You were using your off-time carelessly and you can’t even imagine going back to work and starting the week all over again because you are backed-up on your personal tasks.

So now you take it out on Monday, the day that you should hit the ground running. The Monday that gives you a fresh start for your attitude of the week….

Consider this Sunday, the end date of Daylight Savings, your starting point. Instead of waking up and noticing that you have an extra hour to catch some more zzzz’s, GET UP AND GET IT. Do the work. Hit those crunches. Write like you never written before. Read like you’ve always wanted. Go ‘head. Those 24 hours belong to you. And now that extra one too.

#BookClubMadu November 2016

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For the month of November, we will be reading Marc Lamont Hill’s, Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. From your feedback, we noticed how necessary it was to continue the conversation about the state of our Black bodies. Antoine and I were so encouraged and inspired from all of the love notes and great things you all said last time. So, let’s continue the discussion.

Hill’s book has been the topic of discussion in the book world for months and we want to give you the chance to get some opinions in for yourself!

Here is November’s reading schedule:

 

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So we hope that you will enjoy this one. Cause we definitely will. Happy reading!

For Black Millennials who are trying to get their lives together, financially.

So the other day, I posted on my social networks that I paid my FINAL payment on a credit card that I had for over 5 years. The responses that I have gotten to this post have been super inspiring, but i also noticed that there were lots of folks who contacted me about how had I even done it.

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…..and that question, nowadays, is a relevant and thought-worthy question. 

Because let’s admit it. We are Black, we are young, and we are poor. We can’t move out of our parents crib, because the mere THOUGHT of rent or even a mortgage will completely break the bank! Let alone our college debt, (please don’t get me started) and the “idea” of a possible retirement plan, the possibility of being as financially responsible as the generations before us is, at this rate, almost impossible.

Realizing how much is against me, I made a vow to myself that I would stop complaining about my financial issues, focus,and try to chip away at some of the things that were effecting my financial situations.

So here’s what I know:

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I eat out. Like, a lot. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even some snacks in between. The thrill of sitting around a restaurant table or even pulling up to my favorite take out spot literally gets the best of me. I love it. I love trying new food and hanging out with friends, but of course, at an expense. An expense that eats away at my pocket. smh.

I am an impluse spender. I spend money based on my emotions. Had a long day at work? Ill take the $15 chicken platter! My friend just got a job promotion? Let’s get her a huge congratulatory gift! I feel lonely. Let me buy that $300 coat that I’ve always wanted. And now, look at me.

-I run the car of my bank account til the wheels fall off. I have NO problem swiping my card. I don’t get to physically see how much is left. The idea of the plastic makes me want to spend soon much more. And because of this, I would carelessly spend money, not worrying about the repercussions.

This is legit the first thing that you want to do when you are changing your financial mindset: Admitting that you were wrong. And now that you know there is an actual problem, it is literally time to get back to the drawing board. Which is why you are reading this.

So here’s what I’m doing to fix it:

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-Being honest with myself. This means that I am checking my credit card balances weekly, looking at my bank account statement daily, and calling those debt collectors and actually asking them to put me on a payment plan. Because the truth is, I have debt and I can no longer pretend that it isn’t there.

-Creating a budget. Yes, that stupid thing that adults use to not only pay out bills, but delegate their spending. Budgeting helped me in more ways that I can imagine simply because it allowed me to literally track my money before I had the chance of spending it carelessly. I treat my budget like gold and I always have to refer back to it to make sure that I am on track with my finances. I can just easily tell you to make a budget, but I will be doing a disservice to you if I didn’t tell you how. Here are some of my favorite folks who have awesome resources on budgeting, saving, and personal finance that you can always alter or take from to create your personalized budget and build your resources:

thefinancebar.com

myfabfinance.com

thebudgetnista.com

thebmex.com

-It takes time. Not just time for you to actually see growth in your accounts, but time is needed to make sure that you are not spending money. Time means waking up earlier in the morning to prepare your breakfast instead of buying your normal coffee and breakfast sandwich at the local spot near your job. It means mapping out your expenses and revamping your budget monthly to make sure that you are crunch numbers and owning your spending. It even means using your free time to get a part time job or pick up an extra shift JUST so you can make more money to work through your financial stuff. So time, yes. It will cost you.

-It no longer hurts to stay at home. One of the most important things that I did is changed the meaning of what my house meant to me. (I am getting somewhere with this point, trust me.) When I started to realize that my home could be my place to love and live out of (as it intends to be), I don’t have to drop pointless dollars on places and things because I don’t want to stay in the house! You know that feeling: “OMG Im so bored, let me hit up my friends so we can go out”. Yea, that one. Then you check you bank account and noticed that $100 was carelessly spent on something, when you could of just easily stayed home. While we know that we need to begin changing our mindset about money, we must also change our mindset about the things that we already have that can help us combat our old financial habits.

-Build a support system! You can’t do life alone. So what makes you think that you can do this alone? Get those friends that like to spend and have poor financial habits with you, and make a commitment to each other to get the job done. Hold each other accountable, most importantly, and let them know that y’all got each other’s back! Just makes this easier.

-Setting deadlines for my guap goals. Because we all have goals, but we never execute them. So setting a deadline for goals throughout the year sets a responsibility and level of execution a bit higher. You wanna pay off that credit card in October? Work towards the deadline to complete the goal. Goal Completion at its finest.

Now, from all of this, I NEVER said that this would be easy. NEVER. Because it wasn’t, and it still isn’t. I have to learn how to say “I can’t afford to go out with y’all tonight.” or “Lunch? I brought something from home.” or my favorite, “Ill pass on happy hour. I have some wine that I purchased chilling in my fridge for me.” It is serious sacrifice and lonely days will come, but it is ALL for the better. Besides, if it was so easy, do you think you would have this problem now? of course not. So its time to level up. Make the decision now or even as you begin to think about your 2017 financial goals to prepare yourself to thrive with your coins.

Feeling excited? Yea, me too. Let’s get out of this financial bondage. ❤

 

 

 

#BookClubMadu August 2016

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We are so excited to share with you this month’s book!

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing has been the latest rave in the world of literature and we thought it would be super awesome to have our readers right in!

IN ADDITION TO OUR AUGUST BOOK RELEASE, AfroMadu has teamed up with Urban One Radio to host a #BookClubMadu BI-WEEKLY PODCAST!!!!! Yes, a podcast to talk about books, culture, and everything in between. How cool is that?!?!?

Here’s how this month’s book will work:

-Discussions will be held on afromadu.com and on twitter, @afromadu.Throughout the week, we will be posting questions and quotes from Homegoing. 

-On August 14th, we will host our very first show, highlighting the first portion of the book. Readers are able to email us thoughts and questions about the book. Submission emails must be in before Thursday, August 11th.

We are so happy to be back with all of this exciting news. Are you? Happy reading! #BookClubMadu

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Homegoing’s schedule is as follows:

August 1st-14th: Part One (pages 1-153)

August 15th-31st: Part Two (pages 154-300)

Tweet us, email us, or find us on our social media sites using the hashtag, #BookClubMadu!

Your Morning Routine: The definite deal-breaker and habit-maker.

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So I’m not coming into this post as one who is an expert NOR knows what she is doing. I am coming as a concerned professional and creative, who is worried about her inner thoughts and ideas that have been flushed out by the day-to day priorities of life.

This hit me one morning when I woke up 2 hours after my alarm clock. When 25 minutes was the only thing that kept me from being at work, and yet I hadn’t even moved out of bed yet. It was after I became a ninja and hopped out of bed, threw clothes on, and sprinted out  of my house. I sped down streets and cut through corners saying to myself, how do we get here? Something definitely had to change and I knew it was my mornings.

As a tired (literally) snoozer and procrastinator, I began looking up morning routines and the things that people do to prevent ninja mornings like the one that I had myself. I was extremely surprised to find that the most successful folks are ones with solid morning routines. That people usually use mornings to work out, meditate, and figure life out in the wee hours of the mornings. And here I am, still wiping the crust out of my eyes at my computer screen.

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SO I changed, for the better. I didn’t say it was easy, now. But I began waking up early. And when i discovered the joys of waking up simultaneously with the sun and listening to the newness of the morning, I was sold.

Morning routines are crucial. It is time that you have with yourself before the world enters in and takes you for the storm of the day. You know, the “let me tell you what happened last night” texts, the 9:30am conference calls, and of course, the  demons that try you each and every day. Morning routines are the moments to reaffirm your position in the world and motivate yourself to get through properly.

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And for my fellow creatives: what are some things you would like to do that you don’t have time to? you don’t even have to tell me. Those mornings will definitely allow you to get to work on some of those long term projects.

Whether you take 10 mins to drink your morning coffee at home and reflect on the doings of the day, or if you want to journal your thoughts out, I truly encourage you to find that happy place. It not only helps in the morning, but it also gives you something to remember when you are having a rough day. Take it from a snoozer, who used to crawl out of bed and believe that everything was going to be alright.

 

Have a morning routine? Tell us what you do! Don’t have one? What are some things that you might want to accomplish during those morning hours?

 

Financial Fall: Labor Day Weekend Sales; From Clearance to Clear-Out.

 

Fall CleaningLabor Day weekend landed on the first weekend on my Financial Fast. As I tried to find alternative ways to have a good time and not spend a dime, the email and text alerts about all the fantastic deals and sales in stores were sooooo convincing. I thought about all the things I could possibly purchase if I was spending money, along with just ditching this whole fast thing and cop the latest Nike Roshe Runs.

While I prepared for the weekend and brainstormed of all the things I could do, I ran across a post about the benefits fall cleaning has on your health and your pockets. At that point, I was sold. Staying home and getting my life together was definitely in my budget! A non-cost, high productive activity.

This was no easy task. I’m sure we all dread stepping into our closet and noticing all of the clutter and mess that the racks hold. We dread the millions of shoe boxes that are thrown everywhere. But I held strong and committed.

Cleaning and organizing your closet is not only a great way to save money, but it also de-clutters your actual life! It gets rid of the things that you do not need and allows you to see what you absolutely need in order to have a functioning wardrobe.

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My biggest challenge during this clear-out was forcing myself to give things away. I continued to use statements like, “I could wear this on a rainy day.” or ” this would fit me eventually.”, when the reality of it was I never planned to wear that and it would sit and take up space in my closet. This is important in de-cluttering. WE MUST LET GO! Letting go will not only provide us with more space, but it will also leave us to things we only need. And just like this financial fast, we are beginning to step foot in a process of only keeping things that we need. No worries yall, it is ok to let go of those favorite jeans that cant fit you anymore. I promise.

My labor day clear-out not only left me with a solid list of essentials that I will need for the Fall season (tights, cardigans, sweaters, dresses, etc.) but it also is the starting works of creating a habit of making a way with my own things, knowing exactly what I need in a store, making a list of the essentials, and planning and budgeting properly how much these items were, instead of walking in a store without a clue and picking up pieces that i did not really need.

So not only am I starting the Fall season with an organized closet and a clear mind, but I removed the pressure of shopping during one of the  most daunting sale time in the summer, Labor Day Weekend.

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Financial Planning; Short Term Plans, Long Term Actions.

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Financial illiteracy has plagued and largely impacted the African-American community for many generations. Most of us are lacking when it comes to the understanding of how money works and how to efficiently manage and build wealth. Our impoverished communities continue to rest in this state because there is no transfer of wealth. Wealth continues to be held and dominated outside of our communities because of our low receptivity to financial literacy. Though the tides are beginning to turn on this matter as awareness grows, we as a people still have quite a ways to go. How do we regain prosperity? How do we bring it back to our communities and families? How do we protect it and keep it? How do we go from “new money” to “old money?”

Every great accomplishment begins with careful and strategic planning. While planning may be the answer, it may NOT be the solution. Integrated financial planning as the answer only becomes the solution when it is followed through. You need a plan, it begins with a plan! Wealth building is an ongoing process of structured forced, systematic, efficient and consistent saving habits.

While having a generous income does help, it is not entirely about how much money you make or the lack there of. It is about having the discipline to start today with a meaningful amount that you can commit to monthly or annually regardless of your economic status. Truth is there will always be a reason or rather an excuse NOT to save or invest. You have to conquer that need of immediate gratification by giving up the things you want now, to invest in what you will need in the future. Don’t put it off any longer because there is a huge cost in waiting. Time is our most valuable asset as well as our biggest liability. Due to compound interest of returns over time, essentially the more time you have or the sooner you begin to save, the less it will cost you to achieve your financial goals.

Find a trusted and competent advisor to help you with your financial planning. Google makes it very easy to self-educate, so I am sure that most of us are well capable of doing our own planning. One of the biggest reasons that I recommend you leave it to a professional is that we all have emotional attachments to our money, believe it or not. When it comes to money most of our decisions are made based on emotions and feelings, rather than logic. I have found it to be very helpful to have a fellow colleague as my advisor even though I am in the profession as well. It gives you someone to hold you accountable and to help take out the emotions to make sound financial decisions.

This is my last bit of advice and what I believe will catapult your finances to new unseen levels; pay God first. First and foremost, even before you save or spend, pay God what is due to him. As a devout Christian, I believe that being a faithful tithe payer is imperative to our financial success. With EVERY increase the bible says to give10% to the house of the Lord. In fact it is one of the few areas in our lives that God says “TEST ME!” (Malachi 3:10).

Financial Post

Questions & Inquiries

Laud K. Anderson

Website: Laudanderson.nm.com

Email: Laud.anderson@nm.com

Phone: 732-310-6697

Pray, Plan, Persist

#FinancialFall Introduction: The first step is admitting, right?

Financial Freedom

Sooooooooo, I have a problem. I shop uncontrollably, I dine out at places all over the city, I party excessively, and I carelessly spend money on any and everything. Phew, that was easy. But I am not completely off the hook just yet.

I have decided to devote the entire Fall season to getting my act right, financially. This fast is in place to manage my money better and continue to grow my personal finances. Whether that be paying off long-term debts, considering investments that I would have never thought about, learning how to say no to that cute dress on sale, and saving MORE money than ever. I am going to stay committed, for 28 days, and see how much of an impact I can make.

I’ve received tons of feedback about the fast, and I wanted to extend the invitation to everyone who is interested! Fasting and blogging along the way will be a cool way of holding myself accountable for keeping up the promise to myself. For folks who want to fast, I’ve laid a few things out.

For starters, here are the rules:

  1. Absolutely, no excessive spending: You should only be spending on your basic needs (food, water, bills, rent,etc.)  There are exceptions to everything of course. But you should be able to decipher which expense is absolutely necessary or if its truly a want.
  2.  Keeping a financial journal: yup, that’s right. Some good ol’ pen and paper. This will help you write down financial goals, tracking spending expenses, and writing through your thoughts and reflections along this journey. Its ok if you want to curse your journal out one day because you weren’t able to turn up with your friends that night. That what its there for.
  3. Discipline and Sacrifice: Even if you’ve never had it before. Taking this fast one step at a time will open you up to the characteristics that you never even seen. This is going to be extremely rough, but looking at your flourishing bank account afterwards will make you feel A LOT better.

So, for those who plan to fast with me, I have a few goodies for you. I have been researching  different sites and resources to not only stop spending, but to learn about money and the rewards one can have for being conscious about personal finances. Here are some of my favs:

  • mydfree.org
  • thefinancebar.com
  • thebudgetnista.com
  • michellesingletary.com

From these sites, I will be pulling a few things and discussing them here. I will share important stuff like budgeting tips, saving, debt dashing, and just getting you in the habit of letting go. I will also have a few guest post of folks in the financial field who know their stuff, along with some friends that are fasting with me.

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

P.s: Please, please, please feel free to comment, like and share your thoughts with me. I wanna know what you’re thinking!!!

Isaiah 58:9-10: “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

Between The World And Me, And Every Other Black Man.

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More times than others, I read books that compliment my moods. If I am happy, I will not even think to touch a Toni Morrison, but rather consider some work from Maya. When I want to feel hopeful, Ill grab Zora Neale. And on a rainy day, shade is usually being thrown from Richard Wright and Audre Lorde.

But I didn’t get a chance to choose this book, it just happened. And I realized that I not only read the book at the right time, but so did everyone else. And that was because we had no choice.

I took my seat on the Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bandwagon and I don’t think that I will ever get off. In fact, I might have to bully someone for their front seat  because his new book, Between The World and Me, helped heal my temporal fury.

The overall purpose, a letter to his son, was more than I can bare. The thought of constructing a letter that contained all the problems to Black male existence and not even giving a solution, because there is none that you can possibly provide, shows me all the revolutionary steps needed in the awakening  process.

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The idea of the body; existing physically, biologically, politically, and socially, was extremely necessary to digest. The consequences of not living  causes disembodiment. Both self-inflicted and inflicted, in which you have no control over. The tennis game of Coates analyzing his manhood versus raising a child to challenge manhood was extremely striking.

And the responsibility of mustering up a narrative that share Black America’s grief has already been acknowledged by one of the finest American writers ever, Toni Morrison.

‘The modern-day James Baldwin’ comparison straps this author with an extreme high award of valor, because someone has to fill the shoes. And Coates, with his blunt references and his bold opinions does nothing less than remind you of our Uncle Baldwin himself.

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This is no ordinary book review, because this is no ordinary book. I usually include fancy quotes and witty remarks, but it is nearly impossible to choose quotes that are more important than others.

I found myself in a salsa of emotions during my time reading because it is reflective of the current happenings in the world. This book does not put you in some kind of fairy tale land that you are able to get away from once you close the book. The reality is, the book is just as dark as the world we share.

Go ahead, it is safe to pick up.