Hi everyone! I have been in Madrid for about two weeks now, and will spend another 2 1/2 weeks in Europe before going back to Guatemala. Traveling long term is what I like to do, because you don’t have to rush from one hotel to the next, I hate packing, I always forget something in the hotel, etc. And since I have time, why rush in anyway?
Unless you live in a cave like I usually do, you have heard about the tragic killings in Paris a couple of days ago. Armed people came into satiric left wing newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters during their editorial meeting and killed twelve people, including two policemen on the way out.
The response has been one of shock, as you can see from my FB feed turned black in a matter of just a few hours
People gathered in the streets with #jesuischarlie (I am Charlie/I follow Charlie) banners and holding pens representing their freedom of expression.
In Madrid, where I am at the moment, hundreds of people stood silently for hours in front of the French Embassy. Even Times Square was mourning
I am not one for politics, as a matter of fact I have never voted in my life, I don’t think it would be fair to have a voice somewhere I haven’t lived for the past 12 years, and I rarely talk about my relationship to my home country either. But the attacks have touched so many things I felt the urge to do so. They have attacked one thing we hold sacred in France, our freedom.
You see, our motto is Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. We put freedom first, always. Then equality, and fraternity. The values of the Republic keep you with a strong identity as a French person. Even first generation born migrants feel like they are French. Unlike the US or the UK, in France you won’t see a Little Italy, or an Indian neighborhood. Not even a Portuguese one, and there are over a million of them in France. There is a small Chinatown in Paris but that’s it. The rest of our migrants have melted quickly. It is just something you learn at school. You’re part of it. We don’t translate official forms in 36 languages, we don’t do special treatment to get into college for minorities, we just give you the opportunity to become French and act like one.
So even when you leave, you still feel very strong ties to France and its freedom. After spending a third of my life abroad, I still belong there. I love Guatemala, my home is there, but people never made the effort the French do in integrating foreigners as part of their own. I am comfortable in Guatemala, but people still stare as I am a foot taller than the average person, they still ask sometimes offensive questions. The French just suck you in as long as you respect their values.
And the value we hold highest, our freedom, was attacked, so instead of bending our heads and being resilient, we stood up and got defiant.
Like someone tweeted “Hey dummies, we are millions of people with a crappy sense of humor in a newsroom called the Internet, good luck getting to us!”
I feel hurt because they hit my hometown, the city I am about to fly to in a few days, they hit people who like me make a living expressing their thoughts and begging other people to challenge the status quo and stop being resilient sheep, they hit policemen who could have been my friends or family members, and thankfully weren’t on duty that day.
I can’t do much but for once I can use this blog to keep spreading the word and support freedom of speech, as I would hate to see uniformity all around. RFI has always been about being different from the crowd, and today another flock of loud speaking weirdos has been hurt, I may not share their opinions, but it hurts as much as if our little online bubble had been the target, since they were killed for saying out loud being different was okay.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good break and may 2015 be full of happiness, laughter, health and wealth. I spent the past few days crunching numbers and reviewing goals, before thinking about the year ahead, and here are the final results of 2014’s goals. [Read more...]
Good morning! I am sharing the last 2014 blog income report over at Make Money Your Way, and happy to report I closed the year just over $70k
When a death occurs, it can tear a family apart, not just emotionally, but also financially and ensuring that your nearest and dearest are secure should be atop of your priorities list.
There is no telling what could happen tomorrow and the most logical and financially rewarding way to protect your loved ones is through a manageable life insurance policy. As we have now entered 2015, one of your new year’s resolutions should be to select the right life insurance policy for you and your family. [Read more...]
You may have noticed that things have been pretty quiet over here, and to be honest, I think they’ll remain quiet until the end of the year. A lot has happened in “real life” and that has taken up most of my energy, so for the past month I was either crashing in bed exhausted or binge watching TV shows to avoid thinking about a never ending todo list of online stuff I didn’t want to deal with. And I am alright with that. Those blogs are meant to be fun, I don’t treat them as a business, at least for now, and so real life will always have first place. Also, for some reason I had an overdose of PF stuff. [Read more...]
Every year you make a resolution to get your finances in order. You’ve read every book, checked out a few personal finance blogs, and maybe even completed a few courses. After tracking your expenses, you lay out your budget on an excel spreadsheet. You follow the budget for a while, but after a month or two you find yourself falling off track. What is it about budgeting that’s so challenging? You’ve got the gist of what you’re supposed to do, but no matter how hard you try, you end up right back where you started….broke and in debt.
Learning New Routines is a Challenge
The truth is, learning anything new can present a challenge – especially when you’re used to doing something a certain way. For years you’ve spent your money as you please, but now that you want to discipline yourself, you feel trapped and resort to what feels comfortable. The only problem is that you end up ruining your credit and your personal financial status. Identifying your challenges and finding efficient solutions is often the best course of action.
Identify Your Budget Shortcomings
Everyone has a weakness when it comes to budgeting and managing finances effectively. Bringing those shortcomings to the forefront can help you to make a plan of action that will actually be more effective than your previous attempts. Some of the most common reasons that personal budgets fail to begin with include:
· Your budget is too restrictive – Budgeting certainly requires discipline, but being too strict on yourself in the beginning can cause you to stop budgeting altogether.
· You fail to adjust your budget as your financial circumstances change – As new expenses arise they need to be entered into the budget. Often people don’t reassess their budget. As a result, they end up going over budget each month.
· You didn’t prepare for the unexpected – Life is full of surprises. Many of us don’t take the time to prepare for those instances and as such end up going over budget. We talked with Natalie Cooper of BankingSense who suggested “opening a savings account and adding some money to it for insurance against unexpected expenses. That way you’re not pulling from your budget to accommodate those needs.”
· Your household is not all on the same page – Another common problem with budgeting is being on the same page with your entire household. If you are sticking to the budget, but your spouse is still mismanaging their money, this could throw a monkey wrench in your attempt to become financially stable.
So What’s the Solution?
Now that you’ve identified your budget shortcomings you can begin to find tools and resources to help you stay on track. There are plenty of ideas that you could consider as a solution, but here are a few recommendations.
· Pace Yourself – If your issue with budgeting is that it’s too restrictive, you may need to pace yourself a bit more. For example, if you normally eat out every day for lunch, cutting back to save money is a great idea. However, completely eliminating your lunch budget and trying to bring your lunch every day might be a bit restrictive. Instead, you should give yourself one day per week that you can eat out. This still saves money but doesn’t make you feel “broke” or “trapped” by your budget.
· Periodic Budget Reviews – If your problem was failing to update your budget with financial changes then you need to have periodic reviews. In your first year of budgeting, try to evaluate your budget at least once every two months to include any changes.
· Create an Emergency Savings – As stated above, not preparing for emergencies or unexpected events can really set your budget back. The ideal solution is to create an emergency savings account. Even if you’re on a tight budget, adding $5 a week to an account can add up over time and keep you from dipping into money that was expensed for something else.
· Gather Support – Your family is your biggest group of supporters. When you’re ready to set your budget, have a family meeting to assure that you’re all on the same page. When everyone is aware of what the overall goal is, they’re more willing to pitch in and do the right thing.
Hopefully this gives you some insight (and relief) on budgeting. When you’re trying something new, it can be very challenging to work out all the kinks and stay on task. However, by clearly identifying your shortcomings and effectively researching ways to remedy them, you will find that budgeting is not as bad as it seems.
The following is a guest post from
Thomas at i need money ASAP!
My secret number is… 3000 12 16. This number is actually written down in a few different places. Most prominently you’ll find it on my fridge at home and written on a post-it note stuck to my computer screen at work. No this isn’t my computer password. It’s not my social security number. It’s not my PIN code either. This number is a secret that only a few people know about. This number is a goal. [Read more...]
Technology and the Internet provide many different aspects of making life more efficient. Through innovative developments, humankind is able to set aside monies for a variety of reasons across many different online organizations. What are some ways that can help you save money in the 21st century using these businesses? [Read more...]