Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Saying What I Said I Wasn't Going To Say

I said that I wasn't going to say anything about the Zimmerman trial/Trayvon Martin, but then I ran across a picture of the body after he was shot. Something about it made me change my whole mind frame about the different scenarios I thought could have happened the night of Feb 26, 2012. These were mostly private thoughts using a realistic viewpoint of what could have possibly happened....trying to put myself in both of their shoes.

Being Zimmerman you want your neighborhood to be safe. There have been some break-ins and you see an unfamiliar black face walking around in the rain. Would I be suspicious? Yes! Would I get out of my car and follow him? No! I would report the "suspicious activity", asked for a patrol car, and if something was to happen that night, have comfort in knowing that the police have a proper description of a suspect. Then I would have went home and kept my heat on me in case anyone decided to come into my home/property.

Being Martin I have the right to be wherever I want to be wearing what I want to wear. That shouldn't make me a target. But if you do find me suspicious, you will NOT follow me and/or confront me asking me questions about why I'm in your neighborhood. That would make me angry and I would probably swing on you. I run to get away from you initially and you come find me? Oh, yeah we have a problem. Does that make it ok? No, but neither is the fact that you're following me because you want to be top flight security of the world. At this point I'm just as, if not more, suspicious of you than you are of me. Only difference is, you've actually given me a reason to be.

I can understand both viewpoints, but in the end, I can't wrap my mind around how this man was found not guilty. It just isn't right. I admit that I'm no law scholar, but I have faith in the justice system when it operates properly and according to the written law. But it didn't work this time. It failed....horribly. I read somewhere that the jury was comprised of some mothers, but instead of feeling the need to protect Martin, their instincts were to protect Zimmerman. Makes perfect sense to me. Martin was left in the cold yet again. Even seemed to be put on trial for his own murder. smh

I tried to ignore a lot of the comments, videos, and even the trial itself, because I really didn't want to deal with it. I didn't want to deal with the anger that I feel now, I didn't want to deal with the racism that is still very much alive, I didn't want to deal with how the media chooses cases like this to ignite firestorms, but ignore so many other issues and topics in which we need to be informed, and I didn't want to deal with how most blacks want to crucify "the man" for killing us, but choose not to address the HUGE issue of black on black crime and other issues facing our community caused by our community. But here I am stating my opinion and viewpoint.

Seeing Trayvon's body angered me so much. Nothing about that boy said thug or burglar. He looked like he could have just left school and was on his way home. It was 7pm. The time when most people are getting home and settled in, not the prime time to be concerned about a break in ideally. He had a frightened look on his face. He was slim, had a clean shaven face, low haircut, his pants were pulled up, none of the things that would strike you as suspicious or thuggish. It pissed me off. I finally got angry. But am I going out to protest or sign any petitions? No. I'm not. Not saying anything is wrong with people who choose to, but I'm just being honest. That's just not my avenue of dealing.

I'm a huge advocate of putting up or shutting up. I believe that "if you wanna reach the nation you have got to start from your corner". I take an active part in making a difference. I do so not to brag about it, but because I feel that I have that responsibility. It really is messed up how black men are viewed in society. I hate the stereotypes, but if you remove the emotion out of it, you can see how it has been earned. I'm more afraid of a black neighborhood in Pine Bluff or Chicago than I am of Sanford, FL. That's just an honest truth. So after this movement is over and done and Trayvon Martin becomes a forgotten name, what will you do? It takes more than a tweet, a Facebook post, and blacking out an avatar. We have got to actually do something. Its way past the time to get uncomfortable. Talk to some kids that you're around. Share life stories with them. Prepare them for this cold hard world that awaits them. Teach a young man how to tie a tie, open the door for a lady, and the importance of forming a proper sentence. Show a young lady that a single dress should not be worn for the club and church, that she should speak when she walks into a room, show her how to take care of her body with proper hygiene. Making a difference doesn't have to cost anything, but it does require giving a damn.

Let us all say a prayer today. Let's pray for all broken hearts, the lost, and lets pray that we fulfill the purpose that God has for each of us. Peace.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Old Facebook Post

Ok, its been a while since I’ve gotten deep folks, so here it is….another note. Most of these thoughts are random….some would call me a blogger, but facebook is the only site I visit daily and there is no blog section on here, so notes it is.

As I write this note with India.Arie “Testimony: Volume 2, Love and Politics” playing on my new laptop :D I have a lot of thoughts running through my mind. So I’ve decided to break it down into categories. Lets start with America’s favorite topic (and since “Chocolate High” is playing)…….RELATIONSHIPS

RELATIONSHIPS

I’ve been contemplating the idea of being in a serious relationship, but I have decided that I’m not “together” enough right now for all that, BUT if I were, what would I look for. I have learned that it is important to be able to answer the question, “What are you looking for in a man”. Mainly because you have to know what you want, or what you expect from a guy. Of course we know what we DON’T want, but its just as important to know what we DO want, and its not as simple as just saying, it’s the opposite of what we don’t want. For example, I know I don’t want a liar (compulsive or not), but I definitely know that I will not find someone who doesn’t lie at all. SO, its fair to say that I want someone who is honest, and considerate. Give me the option of knowing the truth and making my own decision.
Another topic I think a lot about as far as relationships go is roles. I know plenty of men who have their minds made up of what they think a woman should/should not do in the relationship. Most say, cook, keep the house clean, sex on demand lol, etc. The same goes for women. Most think the man should, be the sole provider, pay for the meals, and whatever else. Ok, first of all, if you are in a SERIOUS relationship, the bible outlines the roles the man and woman play in a relationship/marriage. Now, if you are just “talking” there’s no need for you to be even worried about all that right now. Cause you know how we do, we’ll be with a dude forever, have kids, live together and everything thing and still say “Girl, we just talking right now” lmao. But seriously, the roles are outlined in the bible. I’m not a bible scholar or preacher, so I’ll leave that up to you to read it for yourself, but for future reference, if you ever wonder what you are supposed to do, its in there. I’ve read it, and I really don’t know if I’m grown enough for all that yet. Lol Ok, that's enough about that. I could go on, but there are a few more topics to cover. Next topic (since “Better Way”) is playing …..POLITICS

POLITICS

Well, well, well. Here it is. A brand new year, and after all the ignorant (black, white, and ESPECIALLY Republican) people in America thought that on January 20, 2009 all the problems of the world were supposed to disappear just because the new president was black…umm, looks about the same to me! People, I tried to tell ya’ll in my last note, that this was not gonna be easy. This is going to take a while to clean up, years and years to be exact, and its only going to be worse because you have people like Rush Limbaugh, who is a significant influence in the republican party, who are hoping that the Obama administration fails. As if this recession has not taken a toll on their pockets as well. I don’t care how rich you are, you have to feel some kind of loss right now. If not for yourself, for others. If not, then you have no business in any kind of leadership position in this country. Maybe u need to just preside over your yacht club and call it a day. Cause I don’t need you in my government. For real. All I can say is that we have to stay prayed up. That’s all I know to do, and I suggest you do the same. End of that topic. Next up….Contentment (“Grains” interludes playing)

CONTENTMENT

This is a topic that I’ve been wrestling with lately. But I think I’m getting it. I can not tell you how to conquer it, but this may help.
Oh god, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things that I can not change, the COURAGE to change the things that I can, and the WISDOM to know the difference.
In life, we may have something, but we always want more. Which is a good thing, never settle for less than what you deserve, but there comes a time when you have to just enjoy what you have and be content with it. Everybody cant be rich, everybody cant be poor. We all cant own homes, but we all cant be homeless, we all cant drive a Lexus, but we all cant ride a bike. Lol Think about it, If we were all rich, we would take wealth for granted even more than we do now. If we all owned homes, who would make the money in real estate? If we all drove a Lexus, how would GM and Toyota survive? Lol I mean it sounds funny, but think about it. Bottom line, be grateful for what you have, even if you want more. You never know what the future holds. You may get more, but then again, you may just be stuck with what you have, but be grateful for it. Next and last topic……Forgiveness (Testimony: Volume 1, Love, Life, and Relationship now playing “Wings of Forgiveness”)

FORGIVENESS

This topic is tough. But I learned the beauty of it between November 2006, and August 2008. Long time huh? But its not that long when you spend it resenting someone, and in reality yourself. And honestly, the above mentioned song, jumped off the whole process for me. From there it required a lot of studying my bible, venting, and actually being asked for forgiveness to actually be able to do it. It also helped that I needed to be forgiven by someone else as well. So that’s the advice I’ll give on that. If you’re ever in a situation where u find it hard to forgive someone, always remember that you need or may need to be forgiven for something you’ve done as well. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Never put yourself above anyone else for any reason. As a line in that song goes “If Jesus can forgive crucifixion, surely we can survive and find a resolution”. Now if Jesus can forgive what happened to him…….don't make me preach now. Lol

Well I’m tired of typing, and I’m sure you’re tired of reading if you haven't quit already, lol so I’ll end this note here. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Talk With my 18 Year Old Self

As my 10 year high school reunion quickly approaches, I've been thinking back to that time, 10 years ago when I was preparing to graduate from high school and go to college. Like most people who lived in Pine Bluff, and were going to UAPB, I thought that I would do a semester or two there, and then transfer to a "better" school. lol But I'm so glad that I was wrong about that. I met some of the most beautiful people while in college and formed some everlasting bonds that are very close to my heart. But there is so much that I wish I knew then, that I know now. I didn't have sisters that I was close with to kind of show me certain things, and although I have a GREAT mother, there are some things that she just didn't get to experience at my age to tell me about. So I just kind of did things my way. I am a very logical and responsible person, so I had a pretty smooth transition from high school to college, but there are some things that I wish I had someone tell me during that time. So here's some advice that my 18 year old self needed to hear.

1. Slow down You don't have to attend every event on campus. There are going to be people that notice you, but give them a chance to miss you. Don't be one of those people that are everywhere. It may not seem like it, but you will be noticed more when you aren't always around.

2. Pay attention Watch people that you admire. Don't stalk them (lol) but pay attention to the qualities that you admire most about them, and mimic them in your own way. You think this teacher is well respected? Why is that? This will help you build character and will become very beneficial once you enter the real world.

3. Network Get involved in more student organizations/events that will allow you exposure to working and hiring professionals. This is especially important in your area of concentration. This will help you to build confidence when speaking to those hiring managers in the future. Believe it or not, it will help get rid of those interview jitters! Another important aspect of networking is finding a group of people to hang with that share your interests. College will be one of the last places where you are surrounded by people with as many common interests as you. Take advantage of it!

4. Shut Up and Listen In class instead of facebooking and texting, listen to the professors and class discussions. Some of the most valuable information that you will receive will come from listening to the shared experiences of teachers and students. Not all class conversations will be related to the subject. Professors' "real world' experiences will help you more than you realize.

5. Let the Boys Be Boys College is the time for exploration. Not many are trying to be in monogamous relationships or be completely committed to anyone, which is OK. This is the best time for you to find out what it is you want (and DON'T want) so that you can make better choices in choosing a mate, as well as, what you will and won't settle for in the future. Don't get too caught up in appearances and reputations, for that is meaningless when it comes to what will best suit you when its time for a relationship. Also, hold out on giving up the cookie. That brings in complicated feelings that change situations from what they could be if sex is withheld. If he cant wait, GOOD, he just saved you a headache! College is the best place to meet a potential husband. Don't waste time on people who don't deserve it!

This is just a short list of some things I could think of at the moment. What are some things that you would tell your 17/18 year old self? It may be too late for us, but we can always help a real life 18 year old and guide them along the way. I have 18 year old twin nieces that I talk to all the time about things that they will experience....I just hope they listen.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Successfully Unsuccessful

While trolling around on Facebook, I saw a post about why successful men are, or choose to remain single. After watching the video and reading the comments from the men, I began to think, what defines being successful? And does success in life necessarily qualify you to be successful in relationships?

In my opinion, people put too much praise on "success". What qualifies as being successful? As a woman, I can (and I actually do) have the degrees, good job, home, etc but what does that mean if I cant make a man WANT to stay around? In reality, the only way to define my success as far as relationships go, is my track record of maintaining a good one. The same goes for a man. Who cares about your education, money and the fact that you don't have kids if your personality is garbage and no woman can stand to be around you?

I read some comments from men that pretty much said that because they are successful in life (degree, no kids, preferable debt to income ratio, etc) that they are in an elite group of superhuman individuals that are too good for love and that women should go above and beyond the realm of what is humanly possible to get his attention. Its absurd. Wait.....let me back up. I honestly don't feel that MOST men feel this way, but that group does exist and this needs to be addressed dammit! If you watch the video that I've posted, you may get a better idea of what I'm trying to express here. One guy even goes as far as to say that he's on a higher shelf because he doesn't have the flaws that another guy may have. Huh? The fact that you said that made the next guy just a little more attractive. I personally cant stand a cocky, arrogant man. I understand its a struggle to be humble at times when you KNOW that you're shitting on the competition, but everyone must realize that arrogance is not very attractive. Especially when there's no personality to match. Ugh. Disgusting.

I used to think that because I brought so much to the table that I didn't have to work as hard to be considered a "good" woman. I figured that once he saw what all I had going, that I was in there. Wrong! I had to realize that no one would want to marry me because of my degrees, or job, or deed, but that I would have to show them a WOMAN! You can look real good on paper, and never get someone to like you because You have nothing in the form of attractive human traits to offer. Why do you think so many "accomplished" women get snatched up by street dudes or bad boys, or whatever you like to call them? He may not have the Fortune 500 job, he may have a kid or two, but he treats her like a woman, makes her feel good, and probably isn't boring her to death.

Now don't get me wrong, once you get to a point in life where you've reached a majority of your goals and have attained the things that you want in life on your own, and you begin to search for a mate, its natural to opt for someone who has reached a similar level of......."success". But its important to keep an open mind and to be realistic when dealing with people. Its a struggle, trust me I know, but its hard to match up with someone who's tit for tat with you. And if you do meet someone 'on your level', doesn't mean that it will automatically work. Point is, there is no formula for a happy life. You just gotta go through the trial and error and try not to let the bad experiences make you bitter or hold a grudge. You will be hurt, your feelings will be out there, but there is no reward without risk!

Here is the link to the video that sparked my thoughts :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZ9u7qdK4Xo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The video has been removed. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You Are What You Deal With

This post is half dating, half self perception, please discern the half that applies to you.

We've all had the experience of dealing with someone who doesn't quite deserve us. Whether its in an intimate relationship, a friendship, co-workers/bosses, etc. But where do we draw the line? Is the pain of letting go, really as bad as the pain of dealing with the situation? Does it take that strong of a person to let it go, or does it take being completely fed up to leave?

From my personal experience, I usually let go once I'm completely fed up. Sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes it takes years. Of course, your attachment to that person/thing often determines your time frame of when you CAN let go. Sometimes when that emotional attachment is so strong, you can't fight it. I suggest you just keep at it until you absolutely get tired of the mess. BUT remember, that the more you contribute, the more you're gonna be tempted to stick around and wait for your effort to be reciprocated. How many times have you thought, " I've put in so much work and I just want some appreciation." So we stick around and wait.....and wait, and wait, and wait. Next thing you know, years and years have passed and you're still waiting.

One thing that I know for SURE is that when you're truly wanted, you don't wait. You are a priority and anything else that you're told is just a lie to keep their benefits package. I have a few close male friends that I know will keep it real with me, whether it hurts my feelings or not. I also know that they know me very well as well as my worth, so I trust their opinions. What I've learned from them is that a man can fake it til he makes it. Men are not as emotionally attached to us as we are to them, (I'm talking during the dating phase, or usually the phase where the relationship status hasn't been fully established. Don't know if you're in this stage? If someone asks you if you're single and you have to think about it, this is you. lol (#NoBeef) so the little things that we do that we think shows our affection and devotion, most men don't notice. Now there are exceptions. One being that he is REALLY into you and notices and appreciates everything. When you have that, you know it. But let's be honest, it usually takes a while to get a man to that point, and with the woman to man ratio being so high, competition is fierce, and some of these women are ruthless and unstoppable when it comes to seducing and reeling in a man! Secondly, it depends on the maturity level of the guy. I mean really, if he isn't established in his life, he probably isn't ready to settle down. Sometimes we feel as if we can coerce a man to be with us if we show our "ride or die" qualities or try to help him through his l il storm. Nope! All that does is give him someone he can depend on, nothing more, nothing less. It wont make him think "Damn this girl is really down for me, I'm going to marry her when I get myself together". Although that's what a lot of us think, it doesn't always work that way. When a man wants you, you wont have to guess or do anything to "make" him see that you're that one and only, he'll show you!

Now all of this is just from my personal experiences, conversations, and observations. I don't claim to know it all, but I know what I've been through and I know that the outcomes seldom change. There are some good men out there that want to settle down and be providers who aren't quite able to for whatever reason, be it, career instability, financial reasons, etc, that could use that extra push to get it together. But, what I want people, especially women, because that's who does this more often, to understand is that, helping a man doesn't entitle you to anything except a "THANK YOU". Not a ring, not a commitment, not a house, none of that. If you (men and women) want to be there for someone, do it from the kindness of your heart, not because you expect something in return. Whether that something is a relationship, a YOM (you owe me), or whatever, make sure you're doing it for the right reason. If you KNOW that you're only helping someone because you want them to owe you, do them and yourself a favor and DON'T. I'd rather struggle than have someone help me who is only doing it so that I will own them later. Another thing, if you have those kind of tit for tat relationships in your life, you may need to do some evaluating. Personally, I don't want friends like that. Do you? Then why in the hell would someone marry your ulterior motive having ass? LOL You are what you deal with!

What are your opinions on this?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Spend Too Much Money On....

I was supposed to have this post done earlier this week, but the pressures of work, life, and laziness were overwhelming. Sorry.

Explanation of Findings


The loan repayment programs that I found were mostly for government workers, non-profit organizations, and educators. Although the majority of the programs are workers within these fields (mainly due to the lower salaries paid within these areas), make sure that your current employer doesn't offer education assistance or loan repayment programs. Contact your HR or benefits representative for that information.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

This program is available to anyone who works in a "public service" job. This could be a government agency (including local, state, and federal govt, military, public schools, etc), a 501(c)(3) non profit organization (501(c)(3) identifies tax exempt non-profit org), Peace Corps, and Ameri Corps. You must be employed full-time (average of 30 hours per week), regardless of your position within these organizations.


  • Qualifying Loans and Repayment Conditions 
You must have Federal Direct Loans to qualify for this program. These loans include Federal Stafford, GRAD Plus, etc. FFEL and Perkins Loans are not eligible UNLESS you consolidate them in Direct Consolidation Loans. If you are unsure about the types of loans that you have, contact your loan servicer. In order for your loans to be forgiven, you have to make 120, on-time monthly payments. That's 10 years. The payments are counted from October 1, 2007. You must maintain employment in these areas during that time. At the present time, the Department of Education is developing an application to the program, but in the meantime, keep accurate records of your employment dates and payments so that you can received proper credit. I have personally called and verified all of the information I have provided, but please research for yourself. I have provided links below.

There are also two conditions in which the Department of Education will allow you to participate if you do not meet this criteria (I copied this directly from the Department of Education's website):

1) your employer is not "a business organized for profit, a labor union, a partisan political organization, or a non-profit organization engaged in religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing;"


2) your employer provides any of the following public services: emergency management; military service; public safety; law enforcement; public interest law services; early childhood education; public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly; public health; public education; public library services; and school library or other school-based services.


Helpful Hints



  • If you qualify for this program and would like to take advantage, but can't afford the monthly payments, consider Income-Based Repayment (IBR). This has been around since 2009, and bases your payments from your monthly income. It can be used with pretty much any type of loan EXCEPT Parent Plus loans. Payments are usually less than 10% of your income. 
  • Consolidation Consolidation combines several loans that you may have with different services into one payment, but BE CAREFUL!!!! I was looking to consolidate my undergrad and graduate school loans, but learned that my undergrad loans had a lower interest rate, and if I consolidated, it would go up by 4%! I'm in the process of learning how I can keep my low interest rate, not sure if I will be able to, but I will pass along any info that I find. 
  • Of course this program is for those who would normally have loans that require repayment past 10 years. If your debt is not that much, just work out a plan with your servicer. I have learned that as long as you make some type of repayment attempts, they are more likely to work with you. Imagine the people who have made up their minds that they WILL NOT EVER pay back their loans. lol I'm sure its refreshing to them when people actually make the effort. 
  • Being debt free is one of my goals in life. If I can rid of them by the time I'm 38, I think that's great! Although, my debt is not as great as a lot of folk's, I still would like to pay them off. By using this information I have provided to you, I took my 50,000 debt and squeezed it into $178 a month. 
There are even more programs available to teachers, but since I'm not an educator, I didn't spend any time researching it. But make sure that you do if you are in that field.


Hope this information helps! If not.......*insert rude comment*

Thursday, March 15, 2012

That girl LOVE saving money!

I have a reputation amongst my family and close friends as being a very "frugal" person. They call me cheap, but they don't know very much. LMAO jkjkjkjk But I thought I would share some of my money saving tips with everyone. Some are pretty common, but I added them nonetheless. Enjoy!

1. Budget For me, I add up all of my bills and subtract the total from my monthly income. Starting with income, I take a certain amount from each check and have it deposited into my savings account. The longer it sits, the more interest it earns. Then I have a certain amount taken out for 401k. These are also ways to save....but for the future! After those two are subtracted, I use the new total as my income amount.
      Bills. I add to the cost of gas and I budget for groceries to be deducted as "bills". Add everything that you buy frequently. So here's a sample list.

mortgage
lights
water
phone
internet
insurance
gas
credit card
student loans
groceries
toiletries
pampers
day care
car note, etc.

As a rule of thumb, try to have enough money in your account to cover at least 3 full months of expenses in case of hard times. If you subtract your expenses and you are in the negative or close to 0, you may be living above your means. Get it together please.

2. Coupons and Apps This one is pretty common. But did you know that your favorite store may offer special coupons and savings through mobile apps? I frequent Kroger and their app is awesome! You can download coupons right onto your Plus card and just swipe it during checkout to apply the savings. Also, make sure your address is current on your Kroger plus and other rewards cards. I get coupons in the mail all the time for free merchandise. Good stuff too. Like Free gallons of Tropicana orange juice, free Ben and Jerry's, free eggs,etc. Yeah, I know! LOL

3. Receipts Read those receipts! Not only to ensure that you didn't get got, but also to see if you can take a survey for free food/merchandise. Look at the back of your receipts as well. There could be coupons for other stores.For example, Buffalo Wild Wings offers 6 free wings after taking a short survey. Burger Kings offers a free Whopper or Chicken Sandwich with the purchase of small fries and a drink for taking their survey. These savings can come in handy when on the go as a lot of us are.

4. Scissors OK, this one is kinda sad and I wouldn't let anyone see me do this that I wasn't REAL cool with, lol, but when you get to the last bit of toothpaste, cut the tube open and dig the rest of it out. Use this method with any tubed products. Also, set lotion bottles upside down to make sure you get all of it out. You may not be "frugal" enough to do this step, but whatever, do you boo boo. lmao

5. Use Less! Instead of wrapping a whole roll of tissue around your hand, just pull off what you need. Be conscious of how much you use! Pull off one paper towel at a time. You can always go back to get another one. Don't fill up your cereal bowl with milk, just add enough to cover the cereal. Start being conscious of how much of a product you are using, versus what you really need.

6. Groupon This is like one of my favorite apps on my phone. Not only does it save you money, it gives you a chance to try out new places that you may not know about otherwise. A lot of small business owners use Groupon to get their business' name out there. They offer food, spa, fitness, and any other kind of service you can think of. Deals change daily so check them out!

7. Freeze It! Often times when I make a special recipe, I use ingredients that I don't cook with often. I've learned to chop up those ingredients and freeze them for future use. I cook with onions and bell peppers a lot so whenever I buy them, I automatically chop them up and put them in a freezer bag and freeze them. It not only cuts down on prep time, but it also keep me from throwing out so much food. I also like to look for new and different recipes using those "occasional" ingredients to expand my recipe repertoire, and ensure that those items will be used. Some people also freeze milk and other items that perish quickly. I've never tried it, but I'm sure it works fine. Examples of some of my usual occasional ingredients are green onions, basil, mint, and other fresh herbs to name a few. Some people buy powered herbs, but fresh is sooooo much better! Try it!

This is a short list, and I will add to it as things come to my head. What are some money saving tips that you use?