Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ballin' on a Budget: A Swaggerific Guide to Money Management (Introduction)

I'm MAKIN IT RAIN!!! Well, not really...

You know what's really cray? In the last few years, unless you've been comatose or have been cut off from any form of electronic stimulation, you'd know that our economy is in shambles, man! We're still reeling from it. Stock market is nothing to smile about, gas prices are just gag-inducing, people are getting kicked out of their homes, getting their cars repo'd, having their businesses shut down, getting laid off work, not finding work. PAN-DE-MONIUM, I tells ya! BUT...at the same time, what is plastered all over your TV screen? What's poppin' in the streets? It's folks with the latest threads, the hottest gadgets and the fanciest cars that are just flaunting their riches like theirs no tomorrow. It's like they're number two'ing out money from their plump little keisters! Like they just stumbled on this money without even trying. You put these two ends of the spectrum together and what do you get?
Abzzzzzzzzbzzbobzibbas!!!?
That's right, absolute confusion. One side saying, "it's the end of the world, God help us all!" and the other is like "I's Gotz Moneys, whats abouts youse?" Well before you go smacking yourself around like our friend up there sitting on this paragraph, I implore you--take in this PhilAsify, chew it, wash it down with some almond milk and let it digest: People just don't know how to use money.

Don't get me wrong. People know how to MAKE money. That's what college is for, what fast food joints are for, that's what creativity is for, that's what overbearing high-standard parents are for, that's what God-given talent is for, its what the NBA is for! But simple elementary application of money in our daily lives is what escapes us as humans. Fundamental rules like, "I exchange money for goods and services only IF the value of said good/service matches the value of what is in my physical possession" or "Whenever I have receive monetary compensation, I set a percentage of that fundage aside for emergency to prepare for imminent inconveniences and potential disasters." (Translation: Only buy stuff you can AFFORD and SAVE your money!) This mode of thinking has not been fully grasped and comprehended by the mind of the human population. And it's not our fault! Eh...but then again it is. 

Step #1: Learn to Read. Step #2: Read this book!
I had the phenomenal pleasure of reading a book by financial guru and radio personality Dave Ramsey entitled "Total Money Makeover" and if you've never had an epiphany before, you will definitely experience one reading this book. Now Dave Ramsey is a millionaire, but he used to be dead broke because he didn't use his money in the best of ways because he was just like the majority of Americans: He bought trash he didn't need, to impress people he didn't really even like. He spent his hard earned money following trends and beefing up this false image of looking wealthy and problem-free in the eyes of others and was too concerned with "keeping up with the Jonses" as he puts it, or in today's terms: "turning our swagg on" or "makin' it rain" like Fat Joe and Lil Wayne so eloquently put it. He lived to impress people and feed his ego til it bit him hard and he hit rock bottom. Down but not out, Dave Ramsey got himself out of the predicament he put himself in and not only got into good standing with his debts, but wiped debt from his life completely and is now a millionaire living it up! And it was all through the sensible steps articulated in his book that anyone can do but the majority of people don't so they end up and REMAIN in debt up to their eyeballs. The majority of us just end up slaves to money rather then really enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Again I say it half is and half isn't our fault. We don't inherit this trait of knowing how to manage and handle our money when we are born. And it's a universal thing no matter what social class we were brought up in. That goes for kids born into rich families, too. They don't know how to use money. Nobody is born with the talent of using money wisely. This is something that needs to be taught, practiced, repeated into a discipline and mastered. Unfortunately, money management is barely even a focus in schools and if there is a course on it, it's usually a forgettable class. Talking about how much you make is something you just don't discuss, but it's alright to flash your wealth down that highway in that new car or invite people over to look at that big 3DTV. Why? That's cause jokers are broke but they don't wanna show it! There is people that have a sweet ride but live in a dump or with their mom or worse yet, live in that car they flaunt because they don't have money for anything else!

I got tinted windows so you won't see me crying...OH MY CAR NOTE! **blubber**
Now I know that you think it's cool to mimic what you see on TV and such and you really want to be like all those rappers and folks cavorting around in all their gaudy goodies on TV-most of which, mind you, are rented or just for the video shoot--but at the same time you have to be realistic. Before you think about the luxuries, how about the bare essentials? Water to drink and bathe in.  A bed to sleep in, Food to eat. Clothes to wear for comfort, NOT just because theres a logo on it that makes it $150 bucks more than something made with the same material.

I'm not saying look like a hobo and drive a hoopty. I'm not saying be poor and like it! In fact being broke or poor is an unattractive and unwanted thing, even in the eyes of God. Umar, one of the beloved companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), once said that "If poverty were a man, I would have slain him!" This quote shows that being poor is a detestable thing. Even if you are a poor holy man, praising God all day, it'd be much better if you kept praising God and doing good things and went out there and made money and dressed yourself and lived in a dignified manner. If you have the ability to make money, then go get that paper! Just be smart about it.

That's what this new blog post series, Ballin' on a Budget, is all about. I will present to you surefire ways in which you can still be enjoying the finer things in life without being an idiot about it. Swagg Smart, it's a winning combination. Look for future posts on how you can Ball on a Budget, look fly to your peeps without having wealth fly away from you. The sources of my knowledge on the subject of money matters comes from successful financial authors such as Dave Ramsey and Robert Kiyosaki, and of course the guide to everything in life including anything having to do with $dollar signs$, The Holy Qur'an and Hadith (Practices/Sayings of the Prophet-Peace be upon him). So sit tight and before you know it, you'll be having fat stacks in no time! (with the help of Allah of course, The Provider of all things hehe.)

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