Balancing your Finances with The Financial Gym

Talking about money or even just thinking about money can be difficult and really just make you want to bolt to the nearest exit to avoid it at all costs, especially when you are just starting out on your own; maybe you own a business or are learning how to manage your finances. For the last few weeks, I've been fortunate enough to work with amazing women from The Financial Gym to help me to all of this - better prepare me for my future; help me set goals, balance and manage my finances, make all of this feel less intimidating, and present it in a way that was comforting and just easy to understand. Trusting someone to talk over your finances with can be difficult but I felt at complete ease when I was discussing my future plans, where I was at now, and the little information I knew about my money currently with one of the financial trainers. It is almost as if you are talking to a friend; a casual conversation that flowed effortlessly between money, finances, goals, to more personal topics or off conversation topics that naturally found their way into our first Skype sessions. A little background first: can be found here on The Financial Gym website.

For most of us, we leave this magical land of college where our lives were pretty carefree and somewhat tied to your parents (possibly) compared to the reality post graduation looking for a job, apartment, moving to a new city, and the burden of budgeting your paycheck, saving for retirement, a family and maybe even trying to throw a vacation in there! Feeling unprepared we just go through the motions, living our lives and not too concerned as to how we are spending our money. We may be oblivious to the $5 latte or $10 smoothie we buy every day because we are only thinking in that moment, not realizing that it truly does add up; month after month and year after year! For me, it is always out of sight out of mind. When I do not look at my finances in front of me, then I don’t always know what I am spending.

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After leaving my stable job this past April; one where health benefits were covered, I received a paycheck each week guaranteed, I had vacation days, and paid sick time…life was pretty good. Yet, I decided to pursue my true passion, leave that job to start my own business (of blogging, writing, teaching yoga, and anything else that came my way) and knew it was a risk, but it would be worth it. 

Living in the city, with things like high rent cost, blogging and teaching yoga isn’t the most ideal job to have especially when you are first starting out because you are constantly wondering when and where your next paycheck is coming from AND you are working 24-7. Just because Friday comes, does not mean you receive a paycheck, in fact there are some weeks that I do not even get paid! It is a constant struggle to manage your money, balance your spending, while constantly finding new projects for the future as you always need to stay a few steps ahead of the game, while working on current ones, all while staying afloat, manage your stress levels, stay relevant and most importantly, not burn out! 

I wanted to change all of that, now that I have established my own business. It is a goal of mine to be more aware of how I spend and save my money so I can better prepare myself for the future that I hope to have. It is always important to think about goals, what you want in the next few months, next few years, and where you see yourself in the long term future. Speaking with the women from The Financial Gym helped me with all of this! On their website, they have a podcast, "Martinis & Your Money," if you want to tune in where their CEO, Shannon, speaks with 3 clients who go over their process and experience of working with them! So, not only can you read about my experience here, but you can hear from others as well and Shannon! There is also another great article on the blog that talks about the top ten ways to save money! Click here.

In a nutshell, you, have the opportunity to work one on one with one of their financial trainers that offer you tools, resources, and their full support to make sure you stay on track once they have gone over your full financial profile. The best part is you can do all of this online! For me, I was paired with Joy, one of their financial trainers and so far we’ve had two Skype meetings, each lasting about 1.5 hours. During our first conversation I will admit that I wasn’t prepared for the call at all. I was slightly embarrassed but Joy was so easy to speak with, she wasn’t intimidating, and constantly reassured me that it was OK that I wasn’t prepared for the meeting. The first meeting with one of their trainers, is the discovery session and the second is the plan delivery where they give you a financial roadmap! During the first meeting the trainer literally discovers everything about you and during the second meeting they lay it all our for you and act as your accountability partner and money mentor to help you and hold you accountable along the way to accomplishing your goals! 

To summarize, in our first meeting, Joy talked through different points; such as setting goals, mapping out my journey, how their approach is private, judgement free, answering the question: what is the most important to me, and what my current financial situation is now, etc (a total of 8 points). We went through all 8 step by step and it was a real wake up call, but in a good way! It really allowed me to think about my future goals, how I spend my money, what areas I need to be better with spending my money, and most importantly allowed me to think about what I want to be doing in a few years financially or even in general. It didn’t necessarily cause any added stress, yet this first call was a proactive way to begin to think about the ways in which I can prepare now wisely in how I spend my money so I can have the future that I have always dreamed of having. 

The second meeting is a week later and before this meeting, Joy, had sent over a spreadsheet of everything that we had talked about during our first one; my income, assets, liabilities, my goals. It was amazing to see everything put together as I have never taken the time to actually put this type of information down on paper myself. You could tell that she was truly listening during our first conversation and also made notes on the documents, suggestions as to how I can save money, areas in which I can manage my money in order to reach certain goals that I have set for myself. Nothing was out of my reach. Once again, it wasn’t intimating at all, nothing was forced upon me and it was as if I was once again conversing with a friend!

I think my favorite part was, their Financial Gym Training Zone. Here, you link your credit cards, bank accounts etc, and you and your financial trainer (which would be Joy for me) can keep track of your money together, what you are spending, how you are spending it, where etc. This truly does make you more aware of how you are handling your money especially since someone else is watching how you are spending your money too! It almost feels as if you have your parents watching you spend your money on something you shouldn’t be buying!! 

After the first two meetings with one of their financial trainers, the next time you officially speak with your trainer again is in a few months. The reason being, is they want to check in on you then to see if you have essentially done your homework. Have you saved money, have you reached any of the goals you have set for yourself that you discussed, have you changed any of your spending habits and so forth. So for me for example, I am trying to set aside money to re do my blog, I also want to become better at spending money at the market, and I want to begin to save money each money and set it aside for the future.  During this time, you can still email your own personal trainer at any time and use any of their resources, such as the Financial Gym Training Zone or even attend any of their events in you are in the area! 

I am excited to see how far I have come and where my life is at then. Blogging is a different world because it is different every single day, week, and month, for me at least, yet that is what makes it exciting for me. I have set certain goals for myself, yet things are constantly changing and evolving but I am excited to make certain financial changes, be more consistent with my spending and saving, and reach the goals that I have set and discussed with Joy. I can’t wait to continue to share this journey with you all too! 

So far, I think that this has been a really great resource and is especially great for anyone that feels lost or intimidating by handling their finances. It is such a great start! If you want to try it out, they have been so generous to offer a 50% discount code by just simply saying “balance with b” off your first month of service if you get started in September! You can also sign up for a free 15 min consult call here to learn more about the service and get all your questions asked and answered before making a decision to use them or not.

theSkimm, Healthcare, and YOU!

For the month of June, I’ve partnered with theSkimm, for their No Excuses Healthcare Campaign. Ok, two things; first if you aren’t familiar with theSkimm, it is a media company that is changing the way female millennials receive news and information, that was just so happened to be started by two females! You are 100% missing out if you are catching up on the latest news every single morning with them. It has a no BS, super funny, but factual way of delivering the news to you; all before you even wake up. It’s just waiting in your inbox ready for you to open the moment you roll over in your bed and grab your phone in the morning. 

Second, you are probably wondering, what their No Excuses Healthcare campaign is all about. A quick summary: They are engaging their audience on key issues driving the national conversation and challenging US to make ‘No Excuses’ when it comes to being informed. During their last No Excuses campaign, they activated over 1.5 million of their followers across social media to take action. For their campaign around the 2016 Election, they registered over 110,000 people to vote. And for their recent No Excuses immigration campaign, they rallied over 500,000 people to take the citizenship test. They’ve been making huge differences to say the least in getting people involved, spreading the news, having people become more aware, more informed, no matter what political or social stance they take! It doesn’t matter! The goal is just to become informed and to simply care about what is happening in the world. You can read about their No Excuses Health campaign, by clicking here

"Why is this a big deal?

Because theSkimm’s mission is to make it easier to live a smarter life. And this time, we’re getting personal. Part of living a smarter life is taking charge of your own health. That doesn’t just mean going to the doctor. It means understanding what health coverage you have, what you want now, what you would want for your children, and how that matches policies being discussed. And we don’t just want to give you the info you need to understand and join the conversation, we want to give you the tools you need to take action."  Link

So why is this important to me? For starters, you all know that health is a big deal to me, a really big deal. Mental health and digestive health is my life and I openly discuss it with you all whether it be on my blog, Instagram, or throughout my stories from time to time. If you’ve been on this health rollercoaster ride with me, you remember that in February of this year (2017) I decided to leave my full time job and unbegntost to me, my health insurance was terminated before the end of the month from my previous place of employment. I had talked about this happening to me and the situation on my stories the moment that it happened, sharing my feelings, thoughts, frustrations, and was taken back at the amount of responses that I had received from you all that had experienced similar situations or had/have issues when it comes to health care coverage. I was under the assumption and was told that I had health care coverage until the end of the month, yet when I had gone to the pharmacy to retrieve my medication, I was unable to due to the lack of insurance and the prices it was going to cost me. I suddenly had no health insurance and the medication was now costing OVER 1,000 dollars for only a 30 day supply. Unfortunately, this medication is something that I need to take currently every single day as it is preventative care for my migraines. I’ve tried to not take it before, but have continuously ended up in the emergency room with severe migraines that are so debilitating that it takes almost 2 weeks to recover. Secondly, money does not grow on trees and I had NO way of paying for this. 

Naturally, I cried and was at a loss as to what to do. Working for yourself and figuring out health plan is the best one is confusing. (Side note, there are a variety of plans out there: HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, POS, HSHPs and so forth…any sound familiar or just confusing you even more?!). Honestly, would you know what to do? Which plan to pick, truly know which one would be the best for you now, fit your needs, your budget, in the future, for emergencies, medications, doctors and anything that might come your way? 

Having no health insurance flooded my mind with thoughts: What if I had a family? What if this was an emergency situation, how would I pay for it? What if I had a child and the child needed this medication ASAP? I couldn’t imagine how stressful this would be. Luckily, I can get by without taking the medication for a few days as I know what I need to do to take care of myself, but after a few days, I need to take the medication, as my system will begin to develop migraines, anxiety and it will soon spiral out of control. 

It ended up taking over 3 months to figure out a health insurance plan that would work best for my situation. The first two weeks of figuring out a plan were extremely stressful. It felt as if I was being passed along from one person to the next and because I take medication and see my doctors a good amount, I needed coverage fast. Therefore, for the first month, I had to go on a plan in which I had to pay a ridiculous amount for the first month. I would say that it was as high as most people’s monthly rent. However, there was no time to figure things out, wait a few weeks, plan ahead, or give it much thought because I needed medication and I needed coverage fast and this was the only thing that I could do. After that month had past, I was able to switch plans, a plan that is much better, the price is much lower and it works for me now and for the future. Even just typing this is giving me flashbacks and headaches! 

I often wonder I had just been more informed from the start, could this situation have been avoided. Would there been a way to have worked with my previous place of employment, my doctors, or anyone else to have figured out what I would have needed to have done in order to make this transition much smoother. If not, then it is up to me to be completely informed about what is available to me. I share this with you, not to cause stress, anxiety, or to freak you out, but because there are real issues that we must face every single day that we often forget about. There are things such as health care, that you need to be informed about; it affects me on a daily basis and my future greatly and while it may not affect you now, it will in the future; if there is an emergency, if you have a child, visit the hospital, anything! Being prepared now, being informed, and educated, only allows you to take care of yourself better today, tomorrow and the future to come. It is especially important, for us, women because we need to be in control of what happens to our bodies and should be the ones making the decisions when it comes to matters such as our reproductive system. We should have a say in how we want to run our bodies, the medications that we want to take, and the plans that fit our needs the best. This link, is a great read by theSkimm, that talks about statistics, facts, and other information regarding women, healthcare, and our systems today. Its quick and to the point, mainly focusing on reproductive care, trust me! 

I wanted to bring awareness to this idea, the importance of healthcare, the importance of being informed, educated and aware of your options, in hopes that you to do the same to others. Even if you are perfectly healthy now, it doesn't mean that it will not affect you later in life.Little did I know that leaving my full time job with benefits and working for myself, would I end up in the predicament that I was in for a few months. It was stressful, expensive, and left me feeling extremely frustrated and only wanted to learn more information about how our system works as well as make sure people are aware as to how important this is. Living in our world today, we should make it a goal to stay current with the issues that we are challenged with daily so we can either, make positive changes, be informed for the sake of it, and most importantly spread awareness. 

These kind of topics can make your head SPIN, I get it! theSkimm can help you understand everything and break it down for you! They’re Skimm’ing everything you need to know, by going here!

The Heart-Healing Exercise That Will Get You Through A Breakup (MindBodyGreen Article)

The Heart-Healing Exercise That Will Get You Through A Breakup

When you are grieving, whether it's from a breakup, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or whatever it may be, the pain and stress is taxing—not only on the body but on the mind as well. It is extremely hard to endure head on, and the majority of the time we run from the suffering, denying the reality of the situation, overanalyzing every little detail, or begin to foster the worst possible situation that we believe will happen.

Heartache does fade over time, just like physical pain. This is where yoga comes into play, not only during these times of suffering—a daily committed practice is essential to helping you grow and transforms your outlook, self-awareness, and perspective. The breath (pranayama) and the poses (asana) both have proven to be effective in calming nerves, soothing your mind, and helping in treating depression, allowing you to become more flexible and stronger during times of instability.

Yoga teaches you:
1. Self worth
2. Gratitude
3. Focus on the present
4. Go with the flow

I have a committed yoga practice, because of the transformation I have seen it do for my own mental, physical, and spiritual life, but I always turn to yoga during stressful times especially when I feel as if my world is caving in and I am just barely crawling to the surface. The four corners of my mat are where I find solitude, my own rhythm. By focusing on these four points, my perspective shifts from hopelessness and weakness to peace and strength and where I can begin to quiet the chatter in my mind.

Read more of the article that I wrote for MindBodyGreen here! The Heart-Healing Exercise That Will Get You Through A Breakup (MindBodyGreen Article)

Enjoy! xx

Part II: You need to heal your body first

You need to heal your body first. Part I here, incase you missed it.

In the second part I want to focus less on the facts, "the what is" per-say of the digestive health issue someone, aka you, maybe dealing with, and focus on the foods, tips, and offer up suggestions on how to heal and nourish your body from the inside out. I want to take you on a written, tour of my kitchen, my cabinets, fridge, what I keep on hand, always, and let you in on what has helped me overcome these daily struggles and what I do when I am experiencing the worst flares of my life. 

While some of these might not be anything new or groundbreaking to hear, it is just a reminder that self care is so important. It truly affects how you feel, how you carry out your day, and just your overall energy that you put out there. A few of the biggest things that I've learned throughout this whole process, is understand your trigger foods and stay away, seriously, managing stress and finding an outlet to do so is so key, and to not be embarrassed about any of this. Who cares if you bring your own food somewhere, it's better than feeling like complete crap, it's ok to be selfish during this time. 

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Part I: Digestive Health, the what is.

so a lot of you have been messaging me on a daily basis related to questions about certain digestive health issues and how to deal with them when it feel as if you have tried just about everything under the sun and then some, yet nothing works. To be honest, I love these emails and questions the most. I geek out about gut health and read about it all the time, since this is the whole reason as to why I started my blog in the first place and I know what it is like first hand to deal with all of this; leaky gut, IBS, SIBO, distention of the abdomen, you name it, I pretty much have it or have suffered through it. It seems as if more and more people are suffering from these types of problems, yet we are at a loss as to why. What is the root cause? I like to think of these often taboo topics, a silent health issue, because while the person may appear normal on the outside, their insides and mental health is taking a huge hit. 

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Meet: Jeannette of @shutthekaleup

Before we get started, a lot has been happening in my own personal life & I am excited to share just a few of the projects that I have been working on. [I am going to make this short as possible to not take away from Jeannette- more shares to come!} For starters, just as one's personality and life progress, it only seems natural that my blog would reflect this transition as well. Food/recipes of course, will still be of main focus, but so will yoga/wellness/and anything else that life throws at me. To kick things off with this new theme I have decided to do an interview series and what a better way to kick it off with J! [which we will get to the reason as to why I choose her first.] Each month, I want to shine the spotlight on someone that we all love in the community or someone that we might not know too much about. Someone that continues to inspire not only me but others as well each day. Readers would get to see a snapshot of their daily lives plus I think you will enjoy reading each one because I am approaching it with a lighthearted and fun touch.

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