Changing Money Strategies Part II

My credit score has jumped up 50 points from “fair” to “good” in the last 2 months! This is very exciting for me, as moving through this process, I will be able to take advantage of better interest rates on my loans. 

Working through the emotional aspects of my own worth, and taking The Daily Om Course on “A Year to Get Rich with Purpose,” I have made some more positive changes to my money strategies from when I originally posted here. As Sunday marked Day 70 for me, and my awareness of my thoughts and actions surrounding money has increased tremendously, I decided it was time for an update! While the program has not instructed me to make the changes I am about to explore, the awareness I have gained from the program has helped to inspire these shifts.

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor. I do not play one on TV. Instead, I am sharing with you my personal strategies for getting out-of-debt and changing the way I use my financial resources. Take what you like. It is my hope there is something here for you.

Personal Loan

Through signing up on LendingTree, I found a personal loan that worked for me. It allowed me to decrease the interest rate I was paying on credit cards by 13 percentage points. I chose a loan whose payments I could afford that did not have any additional fees such as early payoff fees, origination fees, etc.

With this, I moved a good amount of money off of credit cards. I now understand this was instrumental in improving my credit rating, as credit card debt is counted against us more!

Low Introductory Rate Credit Cards

The personal loan did not cover all of my credit card debt. So when I received a promotional low introductory credit card offer, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for it. After seeing that the offer would save me quite a bit in accrued interest, even after the transfer fees, I took it! Also, while the interest rate after the introductory period is high, I plan to move the remaining debt to a lower loan before the zero rate expires. Even if I do not move it, I will still have saved a significant amount of money in interest fees when it’s all said and done.

Making Payments Count

The Early Bird

By making payments when the money is available, instead of waiting until the due date, I am reducing the amount of interest accrued on the loans/cards, as the interest charges are based on the average daily balance. The sooner the payments are credited, the lower the average daily balance becomes and the less interest is charged. Some cards also include the interest charges in the next months’ daily balance; a double charge!

Paying early also helps to decrease the risk of payments being received late, thus avoiding late fees as well as the potential to being smacked by a higher penalty interest rate.

The Snowball Effect

I have read different definitions of the snowball. This is how I am using this effect to my advantage.

  1. I calculated how much money I have each month to put towards my debt payments, as a whole. (let’s say $800)
  2. I ranked the debts by highest to lowest based on each debts’ interest rate (A to D).
  3. I then totaled the minimum monthly payments for each debt (B to D), EXCEPT the one with the highest interest rate (A). (let’s say $500 for B to D)
  4. Then I figured out the monthly payment for the highest interest rate debt by subtracting #3 ($500) from #1 ($800). Per the example: $800-$500=$300 for debt A.
  5. As each debt is paid off, the money I was paying from all prior paid off debts then goes towards the next in line highest interest rate debt. (After A is paid, then payments A+B are paid to B. After B is paid off, then A+B+C is paid to C, and so on). Hence the snowball!

Windfall Payments to Highest Debt

When I receive a windfall that extra money then goes towards the highest interest rate loan or credit card. This strategy keeps me from spending the extra money, keeping me trained to my budget. Also, it helps me to have more financial freedom in the long run. Note: this is a different strategy than I described in my original post.

Allowing Exceptions

After recently receiving a windfall, I decided to cash in some of my hotel honor points to take my kids on a mini-vacation. The windfall will then pay for our outings, meals and fuel/parking expenses. It’s been a few too many years since I’ve been on a vacation and I owe it to myself and my kids to get away for a few days.

Spreadsheet to Track Progress and Keep Me Motivated

I also created a spreadsheet that projects when different debts will be paid off. This is helping to keep me motivated, as money can be such an abstract thing for me. The spreadsheet also helped me to see how paying off the higher debts first, instead of the lowest balance debts – which some financial advisors recommend, actually saves more money over time.

An Attitude of Gratitude

It can be easy for me to fall into the trap of beating myself up for the financial choices I have made that “got me here.” When I begin to have those thoughts, I find that I feel defeated; something that leads me to make poor choices. Instead of going down that rabbit hole, I choose to be grateful for the changes I am making NOW. I also acknowledge to myself that if I COULD have done differently, then I WOULD HAVE! My power is in the NOW. Heck! I could have kept going down the path I was already on, too!

What strategies have you found to help you in changing your financial landscape? Please feel free to share!



Changing Money Strategies

It’s difficult to share that while my income has grown over the past 3 years, I’ve still managed to spend more than I’ve made to the point of being in more debt after 3 years than I was in the prior decade (student loans aside). This was a recent wake up call for me that something needed to change and now!

First, I began to look into the feelings I had surrounding money. It was then that I saw a pattern emerge: I had a healthy fear of money, both of having it and not having it.

As ironic as that may sound, yes, I feared having money. I saw this in how as soon as I received a windfall (or knew one was coming), I immediately made plans to get the money “back out the door.”

The Universe also brought a spotlight to shine on the areas in my life where I did not appreciate nor value myself. It was easy at first to blame the “others” involved, however, if I truly valued myself I would not have put myself in the position to be devalued by others. I knew something needed to change within. And again: Now!

Next, I began to track my spending with a free app called “Spending.” After using it for a month, I saw how I had more money than I thought and I also saw how I misused it in some areas.

From this tracking, I created a budget I could stick to, though it is quite strict. I’ve even created a grocery list that gives a break down of what I can spend in different areas of the store (I created about 5 areas) and gave 2 numbers, each based on if I’m shopping for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.

Since then, I have sought personal loan offers on Lending Tree to help lower my interest rates and to get out of the revolving credit door. This loan has since been applied to my credit card with the highest interest rate being paid off first.

Part of my budget also includes plans for windfalls. 1/2 of any extra money goes into savings and the other 1/2 goes to my highest interest rate loan and my student loan- as extra payments.

On New Year’s Day, I saw and signed up for a 365-day course on healing my relationship with money, with a spiritual focus through Daily Om. It is helping me to see how my relationship with money is a reflection of my relationship with myself. Money is no longer a charged word for me!

It is my hope that in sharing this that one of you will gain a foothold into healing your own relationship with yourself, your self-value and your finances. Until we look within, we cannot heal what is without.

Namaste 🙏

P.S. An integral part of this, which is now a habit for me, is to feel gratitude for what I do have. This has been a tremendous help, as have daily meditations on shame, guilt, forgiveness and healing my inner child (The Insight Timer App has MANY awesome meditations).

REleasing during Mercury REtrograde

People have learned to fear Mercury REtrograde. This is a time when all things with communication and technology can go haywire. Recently, I even read an article about how explosive the topic has been this go ‘round on Twitter. I once feared Mercury REtrogrades myself and now I see them as an opportunity for growth and REnewal.

REtrogrades are a time of REflection, RElease and when the first two parts are allowed, REnewal. During this time, we are being pushed to look inwards and backwards at the things that no longer serve us. Our beliefs, thoughts, actions and habits are all on the witness stand, being thoroughly cross-examined. This can feel like death as it can wreak havoc in our lives, particularly when we fight the flow, as we are questioning many aspects of our lives.

When we understand that this is a time to throw away the rubbish that has been stinking up our lives and our minds, then we can see this as what it is: time to take out the trash! This can be literal, figurative or both. It is our choice.

Personally, I find that when I give permission for the things in my mind (particularly those parts that no longer serve me) to exist that they quickly dissolve. Then my physical life demands that I do the same. In the past 2 weeks I have deeply cleaned and cleared the clutter in my kitchen and living room. It feels truly REfreshing now to be at home in my own home.

I encourage each of us to embrace this time of REview/REflection, RElease and REnewal, instead of focusing on the havoc it seems to create. REtrograde CAN be an awesome opportunity, if we allow it.


This morning, I burned a card that detailed the child support that my ex owes me. I release the need to worry about it. This or something better will come my way. Mercury REtrograde, for me today, equals RElease.

The Irony of Growth: Friction 

Friction and conflict can build our strength. Friction lights the match. Friction makes waves as the wind blows across the water. Friction gives us traction, allowing us to move forward. It is along this edge of conflict, of friction, that we grow. 

There exists a conflict when we choose to take a new vision or new path. We must leave our comfort zones and embark on a new adventure. Just as trees grow from their edges, we too grow when we push into a new aspect of life. 

This friction in life can push us into new ways of living, if we open our wings, if we open our sails. Or we can allow the friction to keep us stuck where we are. It requires each of us to have faith and believe in our own ability to change, to do something new, to open our wings and fly. 

There is fear that can crop up and keep us stuck. Or we can redirect the energy of fear and change it into excitement to give us the courage we need to take that leap, trusting that the air will support us.

Monday Motivation: Chasing Our Heroes

By chasing our heroes, we find new ways to push our growth edge. By continually moving out of our comfort zones, we make our best a reality, over and over again. 

Last night, a very good friend shared with me Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar acceptance speech. It blew me away! 

I hope you find it does the same for you. Today and every day, let’s find new ways to “chase our heroes!”

All of this Anger

This past week I have been chipping away bit by bit at a humongous block of anger and resentment. The posts I have written during this time have been realizations I have had as I’ve worked at chipping away. Yet, a good bit of the anger, resentment and even sadness still remained. So today I’m going to do my best to dive into the depths of this pain, to give it a voice and validation; to set myself free. 

Due to several events in my life, I have felt unappreciated, even depreciated. The resentment soon follows and builds fresh wounds that ooze instead of soothe. All this anger builds up inside and blocks my ability to sleep, to fully appreciate the flowers and the things that are going well. Now, it’s not all bad, as I do appreciate the good things more than I would have, say 2 months ago. However, in attempting to push away the anger and resentment, I also kept some (not all) more positive experiences and feelings away. 

So today I step back and look at what I’ve created. A shield instead of a coat of armor. By blocking the seemingly bad, I’m also blocking the things I want more of in my life. It numbs me and robs me of my right to more fully be me. 

Sinking into the layers of the pain, I allow the anger its voice; “just be,” I tell me. To get through, I remember to keep loving me; allowing the anger that is part (not all) of me to be. A physical wound doesn’t heal faster nor go away just because we want it to. It must be given its course, love and space emotional wounds will do what they need to do.

Once again I now emerge with a new sense of freedom and a new clarity of my voice. Just by allowing my feelings to be. 


Nostalgia’s Permission 

As my eyes lay closed this morning, my mind’s eye imagined lying in my bed back in the bedroom of my marital home. The image and especially the feelings of nostalgia that surfaced were almost immediately met with an excessively large dose of suppressive fire in an attempt to “knock out” this feeling. Instead of dying under the reign of bullets, the nostalgia bucked up in its own defense in an equal amount of resistance. 

When I recognized what I was doing, amazing considering my half-awakened state, I stopped the assault on my feelings and allowed them their natural course. Within less than a minute of getting out of my own way, the nostalgia disappeared. By allowing myself to feel what needed to be acknowledged, I set myself free to then choose differently. No longer fighting my own civil war by fighting my feelings, I can now choose to use my energy to move forward.  Now looking back, the winter holidays were filled with nostalgia that I met with painful responses to suppress. I chose to suffer instead of release…

Just as the arrow is drawn back with the bowstring prior to its release, if we can allow ourselves to move backwards into the feelings that come up, we find we are only there for a moment before we propel forward. So often we resist the backwards movement, thus we miss the next opportunity to advance. Be the arrow that springs forward. 


Kali Under Fire

It is said that Kali is the most misunderstood of the Hindu Deities as she is often mistakenly seen as the Goddess of Death.  While she is the “dark” aspect of the Primordial Mother Goddess Parvati, Kali’s domains are creation, destruction, rebirth, time & Shakti, or Divine Feminine Energy. She rides and is associated with the Lion, a symbol of courage. Other associations include the fire of transformation and blood. Kali’s association with blood – which is a carrier of energy and life sustaining oxygen – connects her to the mysteries of Life & Death. 

Kali is the slayer of demons and the Ego, but not men (despite the depiction in the main image). She is associated with cremation, which itself is a firey transformation. Though she carries the spirits of fallen warriors and slain animals, she does not kill them. Instead, She is the compassionate mother who loves Her children by slaying their demons and egos, or illusory selves. In this way, She brings freedom through the removal of Karma. Our station in life can cause us to have different perspectives of this Deity: Bringer of Death or Bringer of Freedom and Rebirth.

Her sword of knowledge separates the lies from the truth. For this reason, she can be seen as a bringer of Death to the parts of us that need to die. This can be intimidating and feel like a true death to those who do not wish for change. Kali can also be seen as incredibly compassionate for those whose Karma and ego are cleared by Her grace. By separating the lies from the truth, She grants us a new freedom that we did not have before. Through this freedom and release of Karma, we feel Her motherly compassion.

Additionally, “She consumes all things and denotes the act of tasting or enjoying what society regards as forbidden (i.e. Her indiscriminate enjoyment of all the world’s “flavors”).” This is why she is often depicted with her tongue sticking out. I love this aspect because I enjoy exploring many things that “society regards as forbidden.”

After being introduced to Kali through a recent Jungian dream analysis, I must say that I have fallen in love with Her. Her energy is very much a part of my own. With each post, I allow a part of myself to be brought to the altar to be altered. Writing and sharing my experiences frees me while helping others in seeing paths to greater levels of freedom. This is my passion and I’m seeing more clearly that this is also my purpose.

It’s fascinating to me to look back today and see how much Kali’s presence has been quietly infused into my life over the years. I smile to think back at the resistance I felt when Lord Shiva‘s influence first came into my conscious awareness. While Pavarti naturally came up at that time, I did not identify with her the way I do now  with Kali. Her name alone now brings a smile to my face, for I can better see the strength and courage within myself through Kali. I see now how frequently I write from her view, even with this last post where I describe breaking open to become more free in The Allowance of Grace. 

It’s interesting to note that I have attempted several times to connect to and write about the archetype that most represented my nurturing and mothering side. Now I see the Deity that I sought all along was in Kali, and now so many pieces have fallen easily into place.

Additional qualities and characteristics of Kali

  • She is the feminine energy or Shakti for Lord Shiva, creator and destroyer
  • Her mantra is “I am that I am. I am Spirit.” Parallels well with my own, “I am that I am Love.”
  • Kali lives in the Anahata (true heart) Chakra. 
  • The Kali Yantra has within it the fires of transformation
  • She is the “tough love” aspect of The Primordial Mother, guiding us into our greater potentials 

This following meditation very much has the energy of Kali; healing through letting go of what no longer serves, creating a new level of freedom through transformation. I hope you find the time and space to listen and follow this loving guided meditation.


Celebration Time

All work and no play makes for a dull life. Each day is filled with accomplishments that remain unrecognized. 

Tonight I’m celebrating a year of changes. Doing my best to focus on the good I’ve accomplished this year of being single, while letting go of the things that didn’t go so well. Endings precede beginnings… 

I’m far from perfect and it’s easy to focus on the imperfections…like in the pen and ink drawing above, my eyes are immediately drawn to where the pattern is rough, or the errant pencil marks left behind. Yet this is a habit that’s time has come to be broken. This year I’ve climbed mountains and conquered many fears, along the way I’ve shed many tears. Through my vulnerability, I have helped others to find their own power; both here and at work. No more will I ruin my day based on a few errant marks. The overall drawing  and the day are still beautiful…

What about your life can you celebrate today? Gratitude opens the heart that grief closes. 


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