What Not To Wear??

Question: 

At what point in a relationship is it appropriate for your significant other to criticize what you wear?

Guadeloupe

On a recent trip to the Caribbean, that was supposed to be a romantic getaway, I decided to change into a pink off-the-shoulder tunic that I absolutely adore.  It has a string of multi-colored pink pom-poms tiered on a braided cord.  I intended to wear it as a beach coverup.  My boyfriend clearly didn’t take to the look.  He kept asking, “What is that hanging there?” And something like, “Why would you wear that?”  Granted, we kid around with each other – I call him Bighead, but that’s more like a double-entendre. (Hehe)  Anyway, he proceeded to inform me that it’s something he would give his 10-year-old. I felt he was getting pretty liberal with his commentary needed to be reined in.  You see, this was our very first trip together after three months of talking on the phone; we’ve known each other most of our lives, but only as casual friends.  We were still sorting out this new version of our relationship.  We’ve decided that we’re in love.  That said, I’m a practical girl.  I’m not lead by emotion and having been single most of my life, I have a pretty good idea of what I stand for and the sacrifices I’m willing to make to compromise and make my relationship work.  But I’m also an independent woman who needs to be respected.  So my response was to establish a “New Rule: If you didn’t pay for it, you don’t get to criticize it!”  I said it as nicely as possible.  I believe I put a smile on my face to force myself to not have an attitude about it, but not a big enough smile to make him think I wasn’t serious.

It took me a month to pack my suitcase! I thought I was satisfied the first time I packed, but as time went on and I thought more about what I would need and how I wanted to look, I decided to reconsider everything.  I put back half the things I had packed when I realized I had enough for a week, not three days!  Then, like I said, I had to reconsider what I wanted to look like. What experience did I want to help create for us through what I wear.  See, what a woman choosesto wear is not only self-expression but atmosphere transforming. What impression do I want to make? Where that pink tunic fell into that context is ‘ beachy, fun, silly, youthful.’  The flip side of this situation is what it tells me about him at this early stage of our relationship.

The Top Three Things I Learned About My Boyfriend Via My Wardrobe

One impression of him i solidifies is that his personality is more on the serious side.  I’ve said this to him.  He does have a sense of humor and we laugh a lot (mainly because of my lightheartedness, to be honest) but his disposition is serious.  He is divorced and perhaps this is due to the experience that lead to that conclusion, as well as his sense of obligation to his children and the family business.  Whatever the case, the bottom line is that he is more of a serious, conservative person.

The second impression it gives me is that he does have an expectation for how I am to look for him.  This surprised me a little because he has made statements about being a more casual dresser – jeans and a nice t-shirt – although not against dressing up a bit when it’s called for.  When I talked to him about my challenges with packing well for the trip, he told me I don’t need to give it that much effort just for three days.  But in the back of my mind I know my man would want me to look good for him, therefore I took his input with a grain of salt.  If nothing else, I have to look good for me. Looking back, I am adding up the comments he made that make it clear he ispaying attention and what I wear doesmatter to him.

The third thing I have learned about my new boyfriend is that he will definitely complement me when he is impressed with how I look, and it doesn’t require overt sex appeal.  It was the outfit that covered me nearly head-to-toe that got a rave review: “You look really beautiful in that outfit.”  It was a pair of grey lounge-y, refined sweater pants with a grey hip-length tunic with embroidered cut-out floral design, and sparkly dark grey platform open-toed sandals.  When I walked toward him at the outdoor bar where he was waiting for me, his associates turned around to watch.  I think that did it.  I’ve also figured out that he prefers neutral tones like grey, tan, navy blue, brown, black, etc.

The moral of the story is, I am willing to dress the way my man likes, but the decision is mine to make unless he foots the bill for my wardrobe. (Gotta work on that!)  In the meantime what I amwilling to do is avoid wearing things I know he definitely won’t like – but ONLY if it’s convenient for me!

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Overthinking: The Anti-Superpower?

UntitledWe all know what a superpower is, right?  I would describe it as some incredible ability that nobody else has or a very rare gift that allows the holder to do amazing things.  Earlier this year my uncle told me I was Superwoman because nobody expected me to live when I was battling hodgkin’s lymphoma with a scleroderma pre-condition, much less to go into remission from both and thrive while reaching for my dreams.

But what is the opposite of a superpower?  Maybe there are a few.  But I strongly believe (since yesterday!) that one word that can definitely define the opposite of a superpower is over-thinking.

I’ve been thinking about over-thinking and how to resolve it; how to overcome it to accomplish goals, certainly, but more importantly, to create a great an abundant life.

Here’s Why I Think Over-Thinking Is The Anti-Superpower

Over-thinking will destroy the ability to take advantage of an opportunity; it will lead to procrastination; it can even lead to self-doubt because the more you think think think over something the more likely you will end up thinking your way out of doing it.  Ultimately, over-thinking is dis-empowering.  This occurred to me very clearly just the other day.

Two days ago I posted about my issues with not completing my book and what could be holding me back.  I believe that over-thinking plays a part.  Instead of just going for it I over-think and psyche myself out.  When you spend too much time thinking instead of stepping boldly into action it’s like getting yourself caught up in a net that is difficult to untangle without great effort – lost in your thoughts.  And that process can lead to overwhelm.

We Can Express Both Strength and Weakness In The Same Habit

I must give myself credit for the areas where I can see that I am overcoming this habit.  There are things I am doing business-wise and personally that are happening because I am blocking out worry – another offshoot of overthinking – about if I’m ready and the definite and potential risks.  I am taking my own advice to others, that you have to take a risk if you want to accomplish something.  If you let fear keep you petrified in the same place you end up with frustration.  You end up with real failure.

“Fail Forward”

The above is one of my mantras.  There are different kinds of failure.  There is failure that leads to growth, which can form a stepping stone in the right direction.  And then there is failure that keeps you from moving forward.  (Moving forward can mean moving in another direction, but the operative word is moving!)  Not trying in the first place is a sure-fire way to not move forward.  I consider not trying a form of failure because it could mean missing your true calling.  Much of the time we don’t try because we are full of fear.  When there is no escape from fear, like laying down in a hospital bed nearly immobile, barely lucid much of the time, in never-ending excruciating pain for months on end, you eventually figure out how to defy your fears if you want to live.  This is why challenging our comfort zones is so important.

Well, this is my lesson to myself today: overcome this “anti-superpower” called overthinking.  I’m so proud of me!!

What do you think?  Do you have an issue with spending too much time rummaging over an idea in your mind instead of taking decisive action?

Follow me on instagram at @melissa_the_mariner and on Facebook at @thefinancialfashionista.

You can also find me on the Rainbow in Bloom podcast here:

Apple:  http://bit.ly/RainbowOnApple     Spotify:  http://bit.ly/RainbowOnSpotify

 

The Paper Chase

ChasingMoneyMotivational posts are a big thing on social media.  Type in hashtags like “motivation,” “inspiration,” “hustle,” “grind,” “quoteoftheday,” and so on, and a plethora of slick memes will show up with quotes from business leaders and motivational speakers through the ages.  You will find many quotes from Jim Rohn, Robert Kiosaki and Tony Robbins, to name a few, extolling the virtues of persistence, focus, planning, how to build wealth, and the like.  Entrepreneurship has exploded as the internet has made education more accessible than it has ever been.  Technology has lowered barriers to entry for many industries in terms of knowledge as well as start-up capital.  In theory the playing field of capitalism is far more level than it has ever been before.  My inbox and social media accounts are flooded with offers to take a look at some idea to build wealth using the wonders of modern technology, usually with a rags-to-riches testimony.

Now we can “monetize” just about anything.  Industries are growing for motivational speakers, business coaches and trainers, for which clever entrepreneurs will provide instruction on how to tap into the market, for fees small and large.  Usually potential clients are lured into listening to the sales pitch with a free webinar or ebook download.  Somewhere within the material, usually at the end, there is a sales pitch – an up-sell – to turn the free information into a revenue stream through memberships, subscriptions or further coaching.  That sales pitch usually includes at least one quote from a “guru”, such as those mentioned above, to imply that the person shares that winning mentality; they have the thing that you don’t think you have.  It is a very effective tactic as it taps into the deep-seeded self-doubt many of us live with; our desire to be perceived as and feel successful; and guilt over not achieving our full potential.  When I was in network marketing we were taught to always search for the NEED and posit the product as the solution.  The need that motivates many people to pour hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars into these trainings is freedom from the imprisonment of financial struggle.

But even with the abundance of opportunity at our fingertips there is still a pervasive sense of lack in our society.  Increasing abundance of opportunity has not resulted in increasing satisfaction or happiness.  Why is that?

Ecclesiastes 5:11       

As goods increase, so do those who consume them.  And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?

gold-dollar-sign-on-groundI decided to call this blog The Financial Fashionista in part because I recognized that I myself had a conflict between my desire to acquire things and my desire to establish a solid financial foundation.  I have an economics degree and experience in high and low finance. (That’s a joke.)  In my head I have a very clear understanding of how money works: the concept of compound interest, investing in the financial markets, financial products and services, saving, interest expense, depreciation, the difference between cost and value.  In college my focus was mortgage-backed securities, the same product that brought down the world financial markets. But when it comes to personal finance emotion is almost inextricably linked.  This is why most people pull their money out of the market during a correction, as happened in 2008, marriages fail, and even cause business owners to make poor management decisions.

I am now looking very closely at the ‘why’ in my spending habits and attitude toward money in general.  What lessons from my past must I un-learn?  How do I bridge the gap between my rational understanding and my emotions?  I have rooms full of “stuff” that I never have to look at or touch for the rest of my life.  The older I get the more I realize that it is all meaningless.  Whatever satisfaction I receive from purchasing a new dress or some other thing is absolutely fleeting.  And as such the process must perpetuate to reach the same high.

What motivates us to do this?  I know I’m not alone.

Ecclesiastes 4:4

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

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Chasing after the wind.

Another thing that social media brings to the forefront is the deep desire to be simultaneously approved and envied by others.  We lament the unrealistic standards of beauty and lifestyle promoted on the medium but those who do it best gain the most followers, by which they are able to creative highly lucrative businesses.  Posts and hashtags about grinding and hustling extol the value of pushing to reach goals and measurable achievements; we respect most the people who seem to be accomplishing big goals and dreams and the wealth that comes with it.  But that value system is based on outward signs of a success that can disappear even faster than it came; not character or the virtues of community, humility, patience, temperance and generosity.  It is inherently inauthentic.  No wonder it  cannot bring forth lasting satisfaction and happiness.

Motivation in this day and age is temporary because it tends to be based on comparing ourselves to others and wanting what they have.  Inspiration is more authentic and long-lasting because it is based on the vision and purpose that is uniquely suited to the individual.  As the saying goes, “chase your passion and the money will follow.”

 

Debt & Delay

cbbfb2a7It is not hard to find advice on managing money.  There are print publications, websites, gurus, apps, non-profits, licensed professionals and people we know who give us their ideas on money: saving it, investing it, making more of it and how to spend it.

One of the biggest concerns Americans have about money is debt.  In our consumer-centric culture we rely on interest-bearing credit cards and loans to finance non-essential wants, in the process racking up mountains of debt that we end up struggling to pay.  We are bombarded with ads while checking e-mail, on social media and elsewhere designed to trigger our impulse to purchase on a whim.  Temptation to consume is everywhere.  But for the small business owner, being mindful of discretionary spending is especially important; the consequences of personal finance habits can have a big impact on their business aspirations.

Debt & Delay

According to the 50/30/20 rule, 30% of your income should be allotted for discretionary spending.

098689848723_2A disheartening consequence of having unmanageable “bad” debt is delay in attaining goals and dreams.  Bad debt is debt acquired for things that have no real value.  (Good debt is that which is acquired for things that we can use to increase our net worth today that could also continue to provide resources in the future; for example, a home mortgage.)  Money diverted toward paying the monthly interest on balances carried forward on credit cards represents an opportunity cost both in the moment and the near future.  This is especially true for entrepreneurs.  Access to capital is essential to start and grow a business.  Many entrepreneurs will apply for a bank loan and solicit investors for this purpose.  After loan officers and investors read the business plan, they will want to assess the owner’s financial credibility.  They may look at the credit report and bank accounts among other things, and usually require that the owner have some “skin in the game” to share in the risk (a certain percentage of the loan amount.)  The amount of his/her own cash and/or assets that the owner is expected to have invested in the business could be sizable.  Besides that, business owners always need a cushion for unforeseen hits to their budgets.   Even the most motivated entrepreneur with the best ideas can have trouble getting their business off the ground due to perpetual financial constraints.  An entrepreneur can spin his wheels for years and years, missing out on opportunities and delaying plans, due to large amounts of avoidable debt.

Unmanageable, avoidable, high-interest debt can cause delay in living as well.  We probably all have a wish list of things we’d like to do and things we’d like to see.  Travel pages on Instagram are some of the most popular on the platform.  They portray idyllic destinations both abroad and at home and we can just picture ourselves on that beach or walking those shop-lined streets.  A nice trip to Morocco, Tanzania, Singapore or Brazil can cost thousands.  But most Americans have less than $500 in their savings account.  People put off weddings until enough money is saved to have the kind of wedding they would like.  In so many areas we delay living our lives to work for money to pay debt.

Or as soon as we pay debt off or down we begin the cycle again.  When we don’t have the cash to do and have the things we want we often turn back to our credit cards.  When we in the habit of using credit there is always something else for which to use it.  If we cannot save or save less than we should, we remain cash-poor and resort to credit once again.

2017 is the year to end this vicious cycle of debt and delay!  It will require discipline, planning and keeping our long-term vision in focus.

There are behaviors to void and behaviors to embrace:

  AVOID                                                                  EMBRACE

Impulse buying/Giving in to temptation                     Delayed gratification

Using credit cards                                                                 Paying with cash

Lending money you can’t afford to not get back      Paying Yourself First

Scrambling for money in an emergency                       Building an Emergency Fund

Spending Every Penny                                                      Saving 10-20% of Income

Redundancy                                                                          Reusing/Recycling/Repurposing

Spending for unnecessary things                                  Spending for experiences

Expensive outings with friends & family                    Free to low-cost events

Delayed Gratification:  Do you have a closet full of clothes that you hardly ever wear?  A house full of belongings you hardly ever use?  You were probably excited to buy them.  But you got over it quickly.  If we choose to take the time to save the cash for a purchase instead of whipping out the credit card, after a while that item may not seem as desirable.

credit_card_logos_10

Credit Cards:  Take a look at the interest payment you make on each card every month.  Have you ever added them up? Get a monthly total of interest you pay to make it viscerally clear how much your debt is actually costing you; money that you are not able to invest into your future. Remember this feeling every time you consider using a credit card to buy something you don’t need or could put off until you have the cash.

And have $1,000 saved before attacking your debt.

Lending Money You Can’t Afford to Get Back:  Judge Judy would be out of business if people would say “no” to friends and family who ask them to borrow money that they cannot afford to lend.  Such a loan is really a gift by another name.  A generous spirit is beautiful, but it should not cause you stress and damage your relationships.  Part of becoming successful is knowing when to say “no.”

Scrambling For Money In An Emergency:  On the other hand, it doesn’t feel good when you have to resort to asking family and friends for money to bail you out in a pinch.  Things happen.  There’s no shame in needing and asking for help.  Sometimes it’s unavoidable.  The best thing to do is save as much as possible when times are good, not spend it all.  An emergency fund should be at least three, but ideally six, months of living expenses.  Start where you are towards a specific target based on a realistic idea of how much you live on every month.  But strive to consistently save 20% of your net income (after taxes), before spending or paying bills. Visit www.bankrate.com to compare savings account interest rates.  I like Barclay’s.

Don’t neglect to invest – and I don’t mean CD’s!

200520930-001Redundancy:  As stated above, many of us have lots of stuff we don’t use and eventually forget about.  It is good to take an inventory of those junk drawers and crowded basements to avoid re-purchasing items we need down the road for a project or errand that pops us.  Otherwise try to sell excess belongings, especially duplicates, on auction sites like ebay, apps like 5miles, or sites like craigslist.

Spending On Unnecessary Things:  A lot of times when we shop, especially women, it can feed a need for satisfaction, accomplishment or escapism.  How about putting that money and effort toward investing in experiences?  Concerts, art shows, international travel, charity, lessons to learn a skill or develop a talent.  Good experiences that allow us to de-stress, meet new people, learn new things and really LIVE can satisfy the same needs while also allowing us to grow as individuals.

Expensive Outings:  I have a small group of girlfriends that I love spending time with.  We schedule regular outings to eat, go to cultural events and hang out.  I found myself spending much more than I would intend to and promising myself that the next time I will stick to a budget.  In 2017 I am going to be more disciplined about this.  Being honest with my friends about my need to reign in spending will help me to keep focused.  I have a specific saving and investing goal for the year and I am going to be ruthless in achieving it.

It can be challenging for entrepreneurs to remain motivated and inspired.  The things of life can distract us and make our dreams seem farther and farther out of reach.  Controlling spending and debt can help to secure some peace of mind and allow us to leap forward when the right opportunity comes about.

Make Your List. Check It Twice. (Or more)

 

We’re nearing the end of summer. In some places the public school year has already begun. And do you know what that means? Christmas is around the corner! Sure, back-to-school season is almost over and parents are happy, I’m sure, for the relief on their wallet.  But at the blink of an eye we’ll be gearing up again for that great shopping season that retailers and consumers alike wait all year for. In our debt-dependent, consumerist society we are most vulnerable to overspend during this time.

Christmas, for better and worse, can be a very emotional time. It raises sentimental feelings about family, friends and togetherness. Advertisers are masters at pushing those emotional buttons to create a strong impulse to buy things we often can’t afford to express to our loved ones how much we care.  The best defense is to devise a solid plan and commit an iron will, now, to resist the temptation to overspend later.  We certainly don’t want to experience another year paying off all the debt we accumulated in the name of the birth of our Lord!

Here are five things to do starting today to handle the next big shopping season like a boss!

  1.  Make a List

List all of the people (individuals, organizations, charities, etc) for whom you would like to buy a gift. Write down everyone you can think of.  You can pare down later.

2.  Get Ideas

Get an idea of what each person/organization would want or appreciate. Write down all of these ideas next to the name. If you’re really organized use a spreadsheet! As you know, vendors will be throwing huge deals at us to get our business.  This way you know what to zoom in on when your phone apps, inbox and mailbox gets inundated with offers.

3.   Estimate the Cost

So now that you have your list and some ideas about what kind of gifts each recipient may like, you can begin to put a budget in place.  Get estimates for the items.  Yes there will be sales, discounts, rewards and cash back promotions, but it’s still useful to determine how much it could cost without those benefits.  Give yourself a little cushion.  The grand total will be your Target Christmas Shopping Allowance (TCSA).

4.  Start a bank account

For the sole purpose of your Christmas budget.  This way, it won’t get mixed up with other money.  If you leave the Christmas funds in the same account that you shop and pay bills from it will be easy to have a memory lapse after a while and end up dipping into it.  Also, it will be easier to see how well you’re progressing toward your TCSA by keeping these funds separate.

5.  Save

Now comes the hard part: consistent implementation.  There are roughly three months between now and Christmas shopping season.  How much money do you need to save each month to reach your TCSA, and by what specific date would you want to accomplish that savings goal?

Knowing how much money you will need, and by when, along with clear ideas on the types of gifts you want to focus on will hopefully give you some sense of control and reduce stress when the season is upon us.  It will help with overall household budgeting as well because you aren’t waiting until the last minute to come up with a large sum of money.  You get to pace yourself.  And when the time comes you may be less likely to make hasty, financially wasteful gifting decisions.

Are Your Finances “On Fleek”? Part 1

 

On fleek: the quality of being perfect or on point; the combination of fly and sleek, synonymous with ‘on point’ (on top of things; in control of the situation) Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com

How to be on top of our finances and in control of our financial situation isn’t something that comes to most us naturally.  Many of us don’t have parents and other mentors and influencers who have the knowledge and personal experience from which to impart any real financial wisdom.  It’s one of the main areas of weakness in the public school curriculum.  Money management, after all, is foundational to life itself but I have yet to hear of a high school or middle school that teaches kids how to handle money.  We’re told to go to college or trade school and get a job but nothing about how to handle the money we will spend the majority of our time and energy to earn.  So for the most part we’re left to figure things out as we go along, which is often a journey riddled with setbacks, stress and missed opportunities.

So what does it mean to have your finances ‘on point,’ or ‘on fleek?’  A high income? Loads of money in the bank? Certainly those things have the potential to make it a lot easier. But there’s the saying, “It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep.”  Fortunes are made and lost every day.  The specifics of what it will take to get in control of your financial situation is unique to you, however here is a good place to start.

Top 3 Ways to Get Your Finances On Fleek, Starting Today!

1.  Keep Your Receipts.

Do you withdraw cash from the ATM and a day or two later you have no idea what you did with it?  Do you impulse shop on a regular basis?  Do you go to a store for one thing and end up getting ten?  Do you buy things simply because they’re “cheap” or a “great deal?”  In our capitalist society it’s easy to fall into these pitfalls.  One small, “insignificant” purchase here, another one there, and in a couple of days or so your wallet is light again.

Or do you purchase with your debit card on a regular basis?  I have broken myself out of the habit of never having cash, for two main reasons: 1) obviously there are times when I actually do need greenbacks to pay for something, but 2) paying with a debit card, just as with a credit card, can give the feeling that you have more money than you really do.  There’s a pain factor in having to reach into your wallet or purse and remove that money from your person and hand it over.  Swiping a card doesn’t involve as much deliberate thought – you don’t literally see the money leaving you.  Worst yet, it is easier to walk away without a receipt because we assume the transaction will appear on our statement.

Homework: For 30 days get a receipt for every single purchase, no matter how small, and even purchases that are unusual/one-time; don’t leave anything out.  Keep the receipts in a folder dedicated to that purpose.  At the end of the month – or throughout the month if you’re a very organized person – categorize them.  For example: gas; toiletries; eating out; transportation; coffee; breakfast; personal care; entertainment; etc.  At the end of the month add up each category then add them all up for a grand total.  You will repeat this 2 more times (come back for Part 2).

It is imperative that you understand what your spending habits are and where your money is going before you can truly be in control of your finances.  Just as how pulling out cash forces you to face the reality of the depletion of your bank account, collecting receipts forces you to view your spending in a concrete way, unlike just keeping it in your head.

2. Know Your Worth

Your “net worth,” that is.  Your Net Worth is a number that measures your personal financial condition.  Knowing this number will give you a baseline for your financial life. It will provide a frame of reference for gauging the progress of getting your finances on fleek as you learn, implement those lessons, make adjustments, and improve.  In a nutshell, you want to get to a place where this number continues to go up, or at the very least does not go back too often.  How do I calculate my net worth, you ask?  Simple: your assets – your liabilities.

What are assets?  Things you own that are of value; things you can sell.  Approximate what they are worth, realistically.  It’s easy to look up similar items on eBay, craigslist and elsewhere on the web to see what others are willing to pay for similar things.

What are liabilities?  Your financial responsibilities.  Debts and obligations. Ex., student loans, credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, etc.

There are several advantages to knowing your Net Worth.  It paints a very realistic picture of your financial situation in the here and now.  It gives an idea how far or not you have to go to at least breaking even.  Life is like a business, you want to operate at a profit.  In addition, seeing the big picture can make tackling the details much more manageable.  And it can impart more of a sense of purpose to keeping track of receipts, discussed above (more on that later).  For people with families of their own, the net worth can give a general idea of how much of a financial burden your family would be left with if, God forbid, you take your last breath before being able to get on solid financial footing.

3. Honor Your Commitments  Reputation is everything.  And honor cannot be compartmentalized.  You’re either honorable and trustworthy or you’re not.

The worst thing you can do is destroy your financial reputation.  This isn’t about being perfect; it’s about the journey to a clean slate.  Your net worth, discussed above, includes all debts and obligations and that isn’t just about credit cards and student loans.  Have you borrowed money or other resources from family and friends that you haven’t begun to return?  Have you asked for something with the promise to repay in one way or another but have yet to follow up with action?  These are things that will hurt you in the long run financially.  Not only will your loved ones no longer trust you, but the circle of people you will be able to rely on if and/or when things get even worse will disappear when word gets around.

It doesn’t take much to keep your reputation stellar as you get your money on point.  All you have to do is be your word.  Say what you’ll do then do it.  Don’t over-shoot how much you can accomplish.  Be honest about your capabilities and then be disciplined in keeping in integrity.  If a wrench gets thrown into your path, let your creditors know up front then state by when you will be able to get back on track.  Even with institutions, as long as you consistently exhibit the intention to repay, you can keep some of the pressure off.  Pay what you can afford and do it on a regular basis: monthly or bi-weekly until you get to a point where you can do more.

***What tips and tricks do you use to keep your finances on fleek? Respond below!