I have been avoiding talking about this for a while because let’s be honest it is not the most interesting topic to be talking about. As much as you might cringe at the thought of the word it is actually something all smart women should be doing.
I am unashamedly sharing my story to encourage like minded women to proactively plan for their futures and part of that involves being smart with your money and being smart means having a budget. I need a budget because I need to start paying attention to where my money is going. I have been doing a lot of reflecting recently and came to the realization that I wasn’t fully living to my full potential and I wasn’t really living life to its fullest. I took a hard look at myself and my life and saw that I make enough money to really enjoy the life I keep dreaming about but most of that money is going to service debt for things that really do not bring me that much joy.
Experiences bring me joy and these experiences usually come in the form of traveling and doing fun things with the family. I don’t get to travel as much as I would like to because of the money factor and this is because most of the money coming in is busy going out to pay for consumer debt such as credit cards , car loans and the all so awesome student loan. So this got me thinking and reflecting. What would our household income be like if we weren’t having to pay out to other people and boy did I like the figures and that was the beginning of the debt repayment journey.
I have learned that to be all in on something you have to learn from others, I mean why reinvent the wheel. I started off with a simple google search with the key words paying off debt. Who would have known there is a whole community of people out there that have already achieved what we are trying to achieve and I have been reading a lot of blogs and watched a lot of videos and I continue to submerge myself in reading as much as I can and learning about what steps have worked for those that have been able to kick debt to the curb. Key to success is having a budget or as others like to call it a spending plan. A spending plan is where you make a decision to be intentional with your spending, you basically make a plan on how your money will be spent. There is no one size fits all where this is concerned because people are different in the way they think. I generally had a rough idea of what was coming in and what was going out but never really sat down to plan appropriately.
The hubby and I sat down and had a hearty conversation about our finances and we both decided that it was time we started paying more attention. Based on my research the best way of ensuring success is to make sure you are both on the same page. We attended a budgeting class at our local church and the facilitator showed us the envelop method. This is where you allocate funds into different envelopes according to the different categories of your spending. You could allocate based on rent/mortgage groceries, transportation, clothing, tithing/charity, entertainment… you get the general idea. The envelop system is based on the principal that once you run out of funds in that category you are done and you have to wait till the next allocation date… when you next get paid. Other people use multiple debit card accounts to separate out how they spend and save their money it really depends on your preference. A good starting point if you are starting from zero is to look back your last 2 to 3 months spending habits as a starting point. Figure out what you spent where and see if there are areas you can start to cut down on. We have cut down on our eating out so that we can put more money towards travel and credit card pay down. Budgeting is a personal thing based on what you consider to be important to you. It shouldn’t cause you any stress. There are so many apps, blogs, vlogs, and websites that are dedicated to educating the likes of you and me that it will be easy for you to search around and see what woks for you.
I am looking forward to next year because I think it will be a great starting point… I will start with the end in mind by planning a year ahead as I feel that will make it easier to then work backwards this will especially be useful when planning spending towards travel, clothes etc. For simplicity sake if I want to save $1000 towards travel each year I would divide the $1000 by 12= $83 which I would round off to $85 and that will be allocation towards travel for each month. I would then do the same for each category. I feel that will remove the overwhelm and it will keep things manageable on a month by month basis. I find trying this out now would be a bit more tricky so we are just mainly focusing on our spending patterns as a data gathering process to help shape our future budget so for now we are tweaking and perfecting it on month to month process. We are using the debt snowball method to pay off our credit card balances and I am excited to share that we have cleared 3 that had small amounts totaling $1500. Slow but steady wins the game. So if you are on the fence about starting budgeting I would recommend you just start by paying attention to what you are spending on. Take the commitment to write down each and every transaction and then review it and do the math to guide you on how you would allocate your monthly income into the different spending categories. All I know is you have to find what would work for you.
With love and gratitude
Dr Fatsani Dogani
Last week I shared that I was struggling with coming up with topics to write on the blog and asked for some topics that you would be interested in. The one topic that was requested was parenting. So here I am sharing about parenting, I know that we all ask ourselves whether we are doing a good job at parenting and whether we are failing as parents, well I know I do. I have 3 wonderful children and I would like to believe that raising them has given me some sort of experience in terms of what parenting involves. I have made my mistakes and I continue to make mistakes but I realize that parenting is to be seen as a learning process. Our kids are unique and what works for one might not necessarily work for the rest, all you can do is go with your gut and do what you feel is best for your child.
My childhood growing up was so different to the childhood my kids have. A no from my parents usually meant a no, with these modern kids a no sometimes turns into a debate. Just yesterday my 11 year old daughter was asking me for a cell phone. We have held out for so long but now she sees her friends getting cell phones and she wants to also get one. Our reasons for not letting her have one are many, with all the cyber bullying going around, not to mention the screen addiction issues we keep hearing about I would rather not let her have one. The need for communication comes in but for her it doesn’t really apply, for one she is home schooled, and secondly she goes to Taekwando and Gymnastics and we usually know where she is most of the time. I might have been convinced if she was in regular school where communication would be an issue. Besides her older brother got his first phone at age 12 and it was a flip phone at that, he used to walk to and from School so we felt that him having a phone was at least justified. I have a feeling this phone story will continue. Parenting requires flexibility in how you approach different situations , you might have to be strict one minute and understanding the next. We lay pretty solid ground rules and we expect the kids to adhere to the rules. My kids ages are rather spread out, my oldest is 19 and he just moved out his sister is 11 and the last born is 9. I would like to believe that our parenting skills have gotten better over the years but we also had to learn quickly that each child was different and required a different approach with discipline. My daughter only has to hear something once and we can be assured she will not repeat the mistake. My younger son on the other hand will try and push the envelope to see how far he can go. I have been called to the principles many a times about him. My oldest son on the other hand has also given us our fair share of grey hairs but I think it is part of the growing process.
The challenges I have faced with my oldest have somehow prepared me for my younger two. I have learned through my own parenting mistakes that you have to allow your kids to fail because these failures provide the best learning opportunities than you can ever hope to provide as a parent. We coddle our kids so much that we do not realize we are actually hurting them. Our kids need to learn certain life skills because we wont always be there to bail them out. Simple things like doing laundry, doing the dishes , and taking out the trash should be taught to our kids at a young age. I had a wake-up call when I asked my son to got to the post office to send a letter for me and he had no clue how to do that. At first I was disappointed in him because I felt like that was something he should know how to do, but then I realized that it was my own fault. How did I expect him to know what to do at the post office if I had never showed him what to do. This goes back to so many other things as well, should we be getting mad at our kids when they do things that we have never had a discussion about. Is it right to assume that they should know unspoken rules and laws when they have never actually had any conversations about those rules you expect them to know. I have realized that communication and laying out expectations from the onset can go a great way to avoiding most of the parental conflicts we tend to have with our kids. If you dont want your kids to be on their electronics the whole time, come up with the ground rules about when you will be OK with them to be on the electronics, only on weekends, for an hour during school days after homework is done, the key is you are the parent you can set the ground rules.
Understandably ours is a different ball game to the parenting our parents had to do. I grew up during the time of no cell phones, no electronic gadgets, and also what appeared a safe time to live. It might be we never heard of all the scary things that people do or it might actually be that there were no bad people around. I remember the time we would play till the street lights came on, we would walk for miles to go to friends houses and bed time meant bedtime. We never answered back to our parents and they just seemed to have it so easy. I find I have a lot of conversations with my kids explaining why things have to be the way I say they should be. To counter this I have started making them read a lot of personal development books to help themselves. I am pushing the whole self responsibility agenda where discipline is concerned. I am convinced that they will become better kids and citizens by realizing that their future is in their own hands , they have to take responsibility for their behaviors but it is my job to encourage and mold them to the best of my abilities. I am currently reading a book titled “Rich Kids: How to raise our children to be happy and successful in Life” and it is a gem of a book and I would recommend this for all parents. I wish I had this when my oldest was still at home , but I am glad I have it as a reference as I continue to grow my other 2 kids.
If anything remember that you are doing a great job as parents, keep it up.
With Love and gratitude
Dr Fatsani Dogani
As I was contemplating what to write about this week the ideas of buzz words came to me. I have shared that I am on a growth journey and my reading and research and willingness to be open minded has led me to different buzzwords that I am coming across. I am all about these buzz words because I truly see the value in them and how they can help me on this enlightened path that I am now on. As you all know I am on a debt free journey. My goal is to pay off my debt and start working towards financial freedom. All this is possible, I have been listening to pod cast after podcast to get myself in the right mindset and what I am discovering is that it is possible. I am hearing all these stories from people that were able to get themselves out of debt and some that were even able to pay off their mortgages. This actually gets me excited because I can now visualize what debt freedom will look like and what it will mean. Now that I have started paying attention to my money I can see that debt freedom will mean more cash in my pocket for me to actually do all the travelling I want to do. I now realize that you need a workable plan to get to debt freedom. I used to say that I wanted to retire at age thirty and thirty came along and then I changed it to age thirty-five and then age forty. The thought was there the dream was there but there was no plan, the fact is I wasn’t thinking about how this could happen I was just thinking that I would like for it to happen. I now realize that you have to have a plan and this realization has come from my readings and goals. I want the money I make to be going to me and the only way to guarantee that is by paying off my debt as a starting point. I am also really into personal development because I had the self responsibility aha moment come to me. I realize that I am the one that has to take responsibility for the trajectory that I want my life to take.
In this realization of self responsibility I have seen that I am capable of achieving so much through hard work and taking ownership for my growth. This is where the buzzwords come in. As I have been reading and listening to different podcasts I have come across the word “mindset” so many times, you have to have a certain mindset in order to follow your goals and dreams and this is one of the buzzwords I wanted to bring to light. Another buzzword is self-care, the ability to realize that you are worthy to be loved by yourself. Self-care is something I have learned to embrace and it is serving me well. I realize that in this new instant gratification world where social media rules we forget to take the time to care for ourselves. We are being ruled by deadlines and what is going out there that we easily forget to take a minute for ourselves. I have made it a point to create time for myself so that I can function to my full potential without feeling superbly stressed out. I go to the gym , and I date myself whenever time permits. I took myself out just the other day, went to a brewery and had me a nice juicy burger and just enjoyed my own company. This helps me with my sanity as I am able to just slow everything down and partake in another buzzword activity. “Mindfulness” .. being present and savoring the taste , the smell, and the environment. It is important for us to take the time to be mindful of what is going on around us. This makes it possible for us to live with “intention” another buzzword that I am falling in love with. I say this because I feel that is where I am now. I am living each day with intention, I have started asking myself what is important and what is not important and I make the things that are important a priority for me, this is where I am now trying to live my life intentionally and with purpose. We can easily get carried away with the business of life and not really ask ourselves the important questions in life.. such as what our passions are, what makes us happy and what we want to truly be doing with our lives. One final buzzword that I am attracted to is meditation, I like the idea behind it but it remains a work in progress for me. I try my best to meditate when I wake up but I ma still a work in progress, I realize that mastering meditation will require a lot of practice from me . I also realize that it is a skill that will help me with my mindset, self-care and my intentional living journey.
What buzzwords have you been coming across and which ones are applicable to you right now in whatever journey you find yourself in. Please do share.
With Love and Gratitude
Hello all, as the year is winding down and we get into the final quarter of the year I cant help but look over my goals to assess where I am. Overall I am giving myself a pat on the back because I can see that I am doing rather well. My fitness journey is moving along smoothly because I have been consistently going to the gym and I have even added some Neighborhood running to the mix of things. I am on my debt repayment journey and although slow there has been some positive movement where that is concerned. I am a work in progress where meditation is concerned but I continue to try and quieten my brain whenever the time permits.
I have traveled some and I am also valuing the time that I get to spend with my kids. I havent been as great at reading. Granted I have read more books this year than I did last year but I am not close to being on track with my goal of reading 40 books. in order for me to achieve this goal I realize that I will have to come up with a strategy that will actually work. As a reader I am a lifelong learner so I try to learn from the books that I read. My latest read is “The 7 habits of highly effective people ” by Stephen R Covey and it has a bunch of highly efeffective strategies that I am going to try out. One of them is how to plan out your week. He recommends a method that incorporates your roles, goals, and values that way you are focusing on what’s important to you. So I might have personal development goals that might be associated with my roles as a parent, spouse, leader, and athlete. He recommends planning out my week by identifying time slots that I can allocate towards my different roles. This way I will have a general Idea of what my week will look like and I will potentially have a better chance of sticking to my schedule and not reacting to the busyness of life.
Laying out your plan for the week makes it easier for you to say no to the unimportant things that come up making it easier for you to protect your time and sanity. I will definitely try and start planning out my week this way, if anything I will at least get eefficient use of my planner. I am excited to try out anything to get ne through the Katy four months of the year. I have to read a lot of books and what better way to attempt this feat than top plan out the reading on a weekly basis. I will share hope ur all goes along. How do you all plan out your goals and the tasks associated with achieving those goals? Do you plan the night before or the week before? I hope you have a general strategy that does work for you.
I will continue to share things that I learn as I continue on my path.
With love and gratitude
Dr Fatsani Dogani
I have been trying to be as transparent as possible in sharing my journey. My goal in starting this blog is to share my story in an attempt to encourage women to proactively plan for their future I am biased towards women because I am a woman and I am sharing my experience as a woman. Several years back my husband was diagnosed with a spinal tumor and had to undergo spinal surgery, I share that experience in my self published book “Stop, take a breath, and reassess Life”. That experience is what has inspired me to encourage women to proactively plan for their financial futures. I am a work in progress where this is concerned but I have made it a priority in my life. I want to be prepared for what the future holds. I have been working on myself and have had the realization that for any effective change to happen I have to want it to happen.
I am a hardworking individual and I love to read, I am now realizing that people that are in certain levels in their lives are there because of the amount of work they put into improving themselves. I think as I am growing my circle is getting smaller , or it always has been. I just don’t have a lot of time for things that don’t bring me any value and this is where the aspect of habits comes in. As part of my self improvement/ personal development journey I have come across different pod casts, blogs, websites, you tube channels and Facebook groups. One pod cast that I am currently enjoying is the His and Her Money pod cast. This pod cast has been great for me for this season in my life. I have made the decision to get out of debt and following this pod cast has opened me up to a new community of people. Individuals that have decided that life is better enjoyed debt free. They have developed habits that have made it possible for them to make the transition and they are enjoying debt free lives. I am there now, I want to be debt free too and they have made me realize that it is all possible given the right motivation. I want to enjoy life on my terms and I believe debt free will give me that type of freedom. It mean I will have to make certain sacrifices and become intentional with my spending but I am ready for that. This has not been an easy decision and I know that sustaining this will require a mindset shift, this is where my personal development journey will actually aide me. I have been reading and exposing myself to content that helps me grow and I feel like this week the universe was talking to me about habits. I came across a podcast that was talking about how our habits can actually help us achieve the goals that we set for ourselves. There are certain habits that if you took up would actually help you in your own personal growth journey. I am just going to share 2 for now. These are habits that I have easily been able to sustain and I feel that I can confidently share them without feeling like a fraud.
Exercise: your future self will love you and thank you for taking up the habit of regular exercise. I started off this habit really simply I new I had to make it a requirement for myself and I also knew that I had to make it something that I could easily sustain. I looked at my work and home scheduled and really thought about how I could fit any exercise in. I knew that trying to exercise at home wouldn’t work for me so i figured the gym would be a better option for me. As luck would have it the gym is on my way home from the gym so I figured I could try and attend gym sessions on my way from work whenever I needed to make up time. I went with 3 times a week as a starting point because that is not too much of a commitment. Also knowing myself I decided that the class setting would be a better option for me as I was not yet disciplined enough to keep myself accountable if left to my own devices. I didn’t opt for a trainer because I am on a budget (proactively planning for my financial future). Keeping it simple at 3 times a week has actually been great…. I have been able to consistently get to the gym 3 to 5 times a week depending on what my weeks look like. I think because of this I have become physically fit to the point where I have also started jogging around the neighborhood. I run my first ever 6 miles and my time was actually not too shabby. I might actually be developing another habit but we will wait on that one. Exercise is great for your personal development journey because it helps improve your health and it also keeps you in shape, you benefit from being happy…. ask anyone how they feel after a great workout and the majority will let you know that actually feel happy with a sense of satisfaction.
Reading:one habit that I am so grateful I started was reading “self help” books as people like to call them, but to me these are considered personal development books. Read to learn at least for 30 minutes a day. You will be amazed at what your little brain is capable of. We apparently function at only 10% of our brains capability, which to me is a waste. So i decided to test myself and see how many books I can read in a year 40 is my goal and I know i can do it if I now commit to reading a book a week. At the beginning of the year my goal was to read two books a month and i started off really well but as the year has progressed I have started slagging but now that we are in the final stretch I have revisited my goal and will aim to finish a book a week. I will share at the end of the year whether I will have sustained this goal or not. I have also committed to make notes as I read, one thing I wasn’t really doing in the past, I am currently reading the 7 habits of highly effective people and I am writing all the gems of wisdom and aha moments as I come across them. The benefit of this strategy is that i can come back to these notes of mine whenever I want to recall these nuggets of wisdom. How do you read your self help books? Do you tend to make notes in the book, in a separate note book , or not at all?
Beside reading and excersising what other habits do you feel will help you live your best life ever, while you proactively plan for your future? Hope you found this blog post useful.
With Love and Gratitude
Dr Fatsani Dogani
I count myself lucky as I had the opportunity to live in different countries when I was growing up and as a consequence i consider myself a global citizen. I am grateful to god that I had this experience early on in life because it has made me open minded to different cultures and beliefs and I feel that is also where my interest in travel was piqued. Now that I am grown and have my own kids I would like them to also experience other countries and cultures as well.
My kids love to travel and they have been able to travel with us a few times to both Tanzania and Malawi but I would like them to also experience countries in other continents as well. We are therefore planning a trip to Europe more specifically England this coming christmas. My sister recently moved back to the UK and this will provide us with the perfect opportunity to visit her and her family for christmas. We get to see family while getting the opportunity for my kids to travel to a new country. They are excited they will get to see their cousins but not so happy about not staying in a hotel. What is it with kids and hotels? My kids cant get enough of them. Since we are planning a big trip in August i told my kids that we would not be having a big vacation over the summer, needless to say, they were not overly excited about this. In order to make them feel like they had at least done something fun we arranged a few local trips where we ended up staying in hotels for a night. Surprisingly this was well received…. i have read that any trips away with kids will always be well received as it makes them feel loved and appreciated as you are taking the time to bond with them. These are the fun memories your kids will take with them into adulthood.
I find this to be true as the fondest memories from my childhood are those that involved us going away somewhere and staying in a hotel. I am being intentional with life and since I am proactively encouraging women to plan for their futures I am also encouraging them to plan for trips away with their kids as these are the best gifts you can give them. They get to learn about the world around them as well as stock up great memories of their childhoods. I think I will book as a one night hotel stay while we visit my sister in England over christmas I know this will make my kids happy. Whats the use of having marriot reward points if you don’t take advantage of them. I am not a good planner but this new journey of intentional living is forcing me to change my habits one day at a time. How will you create great memories for your kids?
with Love and Gratitude
Dr Fatsani Dogani
As I grow older, it takes me a bit longer to get up from a sitting position, my bones creak every so often and I even find myself making some funky noises with lots of movement. I get it I am not getting younger but I am making the effort to do what I can to maintain some good health habits. I always took things for granted, I have never had issues with weight or major health scares but I am intelligent enough to know that I have to take the necessary steps to prevent the disease that I can at least try and control. I have known family medical histories of hypertension and diabetes and I know that there are certain aspects of my lifestyle that can help prevent me developing these diseases and needing to get on medication. Diet and exercise are the modifiable factors that I have some control over. I have to watch what I eat, while also getting in as much exercise as my schedule will permit me to.
I turned forty last year and I am excited by what the next chapter in life has in store for me. I am on a journey of discovery, self improvement, and intentional living. What do all these buzz words even mean. I am just realizing that life can be what you want it to be. I am now realizing that I can live my life with purpose and not just survive, what this looks like is me asking myself important questions. What do I like, what makes me happy, what do I find enjoyable? Do you ever ask yourselves these questions and go with what your answers are. Do you let your answers guide the trajectory of your life. I feel that it is only recently that I have started asking myself such questions. I am now on a new path and I am excited by it all. I am trying to ensure that whatever I do these days actually brings me some sort of meaning. I have taken on my debt free journey where I aim to pay off my student loan debt and enjoy the freedom that will bring. This has also led me to the healthy eating and exercising path. Which now brings me to the main reason for my writing this blog post.
I am a nurse by profession and I also studied public health, so I am pretty versed on the role that health screening plays in identifying and preventing certain diseases. As a woman I have the risk of developing breast cancer and given great public health advancements I knew that breast cancer screening is encouraged after age forty. Despite this knowledge it took me a year to arrange my 40 year physical to request the mammogram through my physician. I am not sure how other States are but where I am and with my health insurance you have to be in the driving seat of your healthcare. By this I mean you have to be the one requesting certain things from your physician, including the yearly physical… you have to be proactive. I turned forty and its not like my Doctors office was going to call me to say hey you are forty you need your physical and you will need your mammogram, I had to be the one to take these steps myself. Its part of self responsibility I suppose. Despite knowing all this it took me a whole year and several months to get around to booking my physical. When I did get around to doing it I still had to request the mammogram. That was me taking control of my healthcare needs. I am glad I did because I have had to get a follow up ultrasound as well and I have also been advised to follow up with another mammogram and ultrasound in 6 months time. Apparently my breasts are dense (whatever that means) and there might be an area of concern that will need to be followed up in 6 months. Yikes right… shouldn’t I be requesting a biopsy….. if you know me you know that I am not usually one to panic…I have been praised for my calm demeanor and I will continue so and wait for the 6 months to be re screened. I am writing this post for my fellow women. Since my intentional living is now all about encouraging women to pro actively plan for their futures part of that is taking great care of yourselves to maintain good health and prevent and seek out treatment for certain disease. After reading this post I want you to self inventory yourselves.
When was the last time you saw your Doctor?
When was the last time you had blood work done?
If you are forty or over have you had your mammogram?
Do you know your family medical history?
Are you exercising regularly ?
Are you eating a balanced healthy diet?
Let your answers lead you to your best lives ever. I am just here to encourage you to take the small simple steps that can guide you to intentional living.
With Love and Gratitude
Dr Fatsani Dogani