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I'm someone who's undergone a complete life/self overhaul. I'm now a professional in my dream job, balancing an amazing relationship, a healthy body, a healthy self image, my passions, my family and surrounding myself with good people. It's hard, not gonna lie. But I'm here to help, to inspire and say "you're not alone."

Me, today. 4.20.12. INDEPENDENT WOMEN throw your hands up at me!

Today ROCKED!!! I made my very last car payment and got my title documents! As I reviewed the title document I thought about how far I’ve come, and all the independent women making ends meet, providing care for their loved ones, saving and trying to get ahead in life. Do you feel truly independent and walk like you’ve turned life’s lemons into lemon zest? If the answer is no (and it’s hard to be at the point to say yes) then take a look at why you don’t feel that way.

What are you dependent on? and is it truly that you are, or is it a mental block that you’ve created? To free yourself and be independent first think about how and why you are psychologically dependent on other people, products or processes, make a plan to get you away from those, and take a small step every day towards those goals.

Example map

Take a big piece of paper (or a window and dry erase marker), write the top 5 necessary things for your life and happiness. List the different people, processes or products that you depend on to get those and connect them to each other. Decide where you can make some eliminations and make a plan to do so. Questions? Want to share your story? Post a comment!

Save Money Vacation

Fatten up that piggy!

Now it’s easier than ever to budget with so many free online budgeting software! I haven’t reviewed all of these, but I do use Mint and with the mobile app, it’s pretty dang useful. Here’s the quick blurb on the largest ones.

In no particular order:

  • Mint – Free, and now owned by Intuit (the Quicken folks). Tracks your spending and categorizes it automatically. Getting very popular.
  • SimpleD – An “open source Windows application designed for personal or household financial management.” The screenshots actually look pretty slick.
  • AceMoney Lite – Freeware version of an offline personal finance management program. It even downloads stock quotes from the internet.
  • PearBudget – An Excel spreadsheet that has definitely had a lot of time put into it. It’s a bit busy, but I still like it.
  • Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 – Seems targeted at business, so this may be overkill for home budgets. But amazingly it’s free!
  • Yodlee MoneyCenter – Initially just an account aggregator, Yodlee now offers spending categories which can be used to help you budget.
  • Stackbacks – The “Stackbacks Automated Budget System” is more of a budgeting setup guide than a tool, but hey, download the .pdf and read away.
  • Buddi – An open-source personal finance and budgeting program, which will run on any machine with Java installed. Thanks Gerard.
  • Budget On Web – Also more biz-oriented, it is a “free online system that integrates project management with contacts management and financial tools.” Free up to 5mb of storage, that is. But that sounds like plenty for personal needs.
  • Mo.neytrack.in – A “free online webapp that allows you to track all your expenses and income.”
  • Grisbi – Another offline open-source personal finance app.
  • MySpendingPlan – A free online budgeting software system that works on the ?”envelope” system.
  • PHPFIN – An open-source personal finance management program. It seems like you have to install it on your own server?
  • GnuCash – “Personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris and Mac OS X.” Does OFX and QIF imports.
  • Budget Master – A free personal budgeting program that offers charts and visual reports.

Tell me what you think of these? What works best for you? Read more from Shelly Elmblad on Personal Finance Software: http://financialsoft.about.com/od/cheapandfreesoftware/tp/Free_Personal_Finance_Software.htm

Artist, Ashley Lowe. Watercolor and colored pencil on paper

After a long day at work, I dressed up and had dinner before attending a good girl friend’s thesis art show titled “Exquisite Remains a Contemporary Vanitas.” As I stood next to her, she physically and expressively grew when talking about her pieces. She stood taller, spoke louder and her gestures were stronger and filled with power and passion. The courage she must have to put a piece out in the world and stand in the face of judgement is amazing. She’s minimized caring about what others think, focuses on herself and what she says with her art.

I hope that all of you have at least one expressive means in your life that is free from caring about judgement, that is unfiltered and 100% you. Take a long hard think about the ways that you let your awareness of what others think, dictate your actions. Free yourself from being fearful of judgement. You are who you are, you express yourself the way you do, and your self love should be more than the opinion of others.

A quick Mr. Rodger’s shoe change later, I zoomed my way up to a huge hip hop event called Crewz Control. I cheered on my friends in I aM mE (winner of ABDC‘s season 6); Hype 5-0 (appeared on ABDC’s season 5, 3rd place); Kaba Modern Legacy (appeared on ABDC’s season 1, 3rd place); BreakEFX (appeared on ABDC’s season 5); Motion Underground from Boulder, CO; The Hype 303 from Denver, CO; Colorado School of Dance from Denver, CO,; and the Winner of Down for Life Hip-Hop Expo from Fort Collins, CO.

I was so incredibly inspired by the passion for dance, the love and happiness that these people have for themselves and their lives! Surround yourself with others that share the same passion, to keep yours going and grow it into a lifestyle. What are you passionate about?

(above) Sarina and I sharing a hug. (below) The whole dance community cypher (dance circle) after the show.

What a roller coaster! I’m falling asleep with a smile on my face and fulfillment in my heart, I hope you are too.

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2 Comments on “Me, today. 4.20.12. INDEPENDENT WOMEN throw your hands up at me!”

  1. independentwomencanfindlove July 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Reblogged this on independentwomencanfindlove and commented:
    This author offers up some great tips for managing your finances. We don’t need a man to do it for us!

    • Jennifer M Leong July 12, 2012 at 4:39 am #

      That’s right! We want a man in our lives, we don’t need one.

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