Simple Inspiration Interview featuring Shimeka from Design the Life You Want


Do you feel stuck in a job you don’t like or feel you can not get ahead in life?  Well this week’s Simple Inspiration Interview may just help you change those feelings.  This week I have the pleasure of interviewing Shimeka from Design the Life You Want.  We all have a vision of the life we want to have but many times that vision does not always become reality.

Design The Life You Want is about reclaiming your power as a creator. You have the power to produce the results in your life that you want. Design The Life You Want offers are bi-weekly podcast episodes which interview entrepreneurs and experts who address the common challenges that people face when they want to transition from employee to entrepreneur.

Let’s hear how Shimeka has simplified her finances as well as how she has designed the life she wanted:

What event lead you to decide you were not living the life you envisioned?

I was introduced to a network marketing company in my mid-twenties and realized that being an employee was never going to get me where I wanted to be in life.

How long did it take you to realize that?

It probably took a few years to figure it out. I graduated from college thinking that I was going to climb the corporate ladder. I ended up taking a job in a call center, desperate to get a job before my student loan payments kicked in. I later went to work for a “a good company” in the area and still had hopes building some sort of career. However, the negative interactions from the customer service interactions began to take its toll. I HATED my job and the area where I live didn’t really offer corporate career opportunities. I live in the call center capital of the world, or at least it feels like it. I realized that I had been living a life that required me to put my destiny in someone else’s hands.

What steps did you need to take to change it?

I just quit one day with no plan. I didn’t take the steps that I should have. I had the discretionary income to pay off or pay down my debts, but I was an “in the box” thinker at the time. I should have created a financial plan to address the debt and minimize the risk associated with quitting my job.

What was your biggest challenge or roadblock when it came making that change?

My biggest roadblock was me. I decided to buy into this pipe dream of network marketing success, but did not have the action to produce successful results. I was paralyzed with fear and refused to step outside of my comfort zone. As a result, I spent my 401k, maxed out my credit cards and messed up my credit. I do not regret leaving the job, I just regret the poor financial decisions that I made afterwards.

How did you feel once you made the change?

I felt liberated, but I was delusional at the same time. I kept this charade up for a year before I decided to look for another job. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

Why did you start Design The Life You Want?

I realized that there are a lot of people who want to quit their jobs in order to pursue their dreams. When I asked what was holding them back, there were a few common themes, including finances. I wanted to create a platform to help people overcome those challenges and empower people to live by design and not by default.

What type of feedback have you received since it started?

The feedback has been very positive. I am pleasantly surprised and how receptive my audience has been to me. I started a podcast because I wanted my personality to show and I had not figured out a way to do that with my writing.

What are your current financial goals?

My primary financial goal is to improve my money management and pay off my credit cards. Now, that I am in a better place financially, I find it easier to lose track of what I spend. My biggest variable expense is food and that will be the first project from a money management stand point. I will use the savings to apply to my credit card payments. I other financial goal is to increase my income. I have been using my discretionary income to pay for the cost associated with launching my business. By increasing my income, I will be able to use the business revenue to cover business expenses. This will free up even more discretionary income to pay off debts.

What tools do you currently use to manage your finances?

Online banking is my favorite tool. It’s quick, easy and cost effective. At the same time, it can be more of a challenge to keep up with expenses. I have always balanced my accounts mentally, even when I wrote checks. However, with some items being drafted out of my account, it is hard to keep track of those types of expenses.
What one thing have you done to enable you to live your current lifestyle?
I have never tried to keep up with the Jones’. I get this from my parents, who live very frugal lives. I will also be the first to admit that I do splurge on technology. I treat myself to the things that I really want and that is it. We still have a big square 32inch television in our living room. It would be nice to have a big flat screen tv, but we really don’t need it. I rarely spend money on clothes, shoes or home decor.

What three things do recommend in order to simplify your finances?

– Use online banking. You can manage your accounts, set up notifications and pay your bills.
– Opt for electronic bill notification. This cuts down on the amount of paper mail that you receive.
– Make some of the money that you are saving harder to access. Instead of using your regular bank, find another one located across town. This makes it accessing the money more of a hassle, unless you really need it. It may not be simple from an implementation standpoint, but it is a simple way to leave the money alone once you put it there.

What’s your best savings tip?

I like to save large sums of money versus small systematic sums of money. For example, we save the majority of our income tax refunds every year. The reason why I like this approach is because it is extra money. You don’t need it to pay for any necessities. In my early twenties, I would get a performance bonus every year. I would get few thousand dollars in extra cash and blow it. I don’t remember much of anything I spent that money on, except when I bought a Yorkie. I promised myself that I would never let large sums of money slip through my hands like that ever again. I have been saving my bonus money for eventual maternity leave (whenever I do have kids), because I want the option to stay home even after my paid leave is over.

What book, blog, or podcast would you suggest to someone who is looking to simplify or improve their finances?

I am a big fan of Gen Y Finance guy. I was really impressed with his approach to reaching his financial goals and even interviewed him on my podcast. He offers a detailed look into his personal finances and tells great stories at the same time.

What advice or thoughts you would like to share with others who are looking to change their life?

You have the power to change your life, right from where you are. The first step is to believe that you can and the next step is to start working on an idea. Start listening to podcasts related to your area of interest. You will begin to learn strategies that you can implement in your own life.

Thanks Shimeka for sharing your story with my readers. As I mentioned earlier I am sure many can relate to your story.   You provided some great advice to help those who want to simplify.

If you would like to learn more about Shimeka, check out her blog and podcast which is Design The Life You Want.  She also offers one on one coaching for those who want to break free from the employee mindset and take their businesses to the next level.  She is also working on her first book so keep an eye out for it. You can also follow them on twitter @shimekism.

To read previous interviews in the series click below

If you are interested in sharing how you have simplified your financial life, send me an email and I will follow up with you.  Enjoy the rest of your week. Til next time, take one step at a time to simplify.


10 Things to Give Up in Order to Simplify Your Finances

What Are you Willing to Give UP

Ever considered giving up something to help improve your finances?

With the Lenten season upon us now, it’s the time of the year many decide to give up something as a sacrifice or work to improve yourself during these 40 days of lent.

Why not apply the same philosophy to your personal finances?

We can all benefit from giving up certain aspects of our financial life that is preventing us from achieving the goals and objectives we have set for ourselves. Many of these things are not positive which end up dragging us down. Think about the things that are preventing you from achieving the financial peace you are looking for.

We should remove those things that prevent us from moving forward with our financial lives. You can do it if you put your mind to it.

To help you, here are 10 things you should give up if you want to improve your finances:

Give Up Keeping up with Jones

Trying to keep up with the Jones happens to many people even the rich and famous do it. It’s more likely you will end up with less money than more money if you try to keep up with everyone else. Many people believe buying things and spending money like everyone else does is a good thing. If you are spending beyond your income, you will eventually end up in a very difficult financial situation.

So if you want to simplify your financial life, you must give up trying to keep up with the Jones. It will be a good thing for your bank account and stress level.

Give Up your Financial Fears

Many of us have a financial fear regarding some aspect of our financial lives. It could be as simple as a fear of change. If you want to move forward or improve your finances, you will have to give up some of these fears if you want to simplify your finances.  This post Is Fear Preventing you from Simplifying Your Finances may help you get over some of your financial fears.

Give Up Manually Managing your Finances

We all have specific financial tasks we must do to manage our finances. However, doing some of these tasks takes time to manage. For example, each month you may transfer your excess money at the end of each month or you write checks for all of your bills. These takes time out of your day and you probably do not enjoy doing them.  Well instead give up the manual tasks to manage your finances and instead automate these tasks each month. Automating will

  • Save you time
  • You will not forget to do it
  • Simplify your financial life

Give Up Receiving Paper Statements

Are you still receiving your monthly bills and statements in the mail? Consider giving up those monthly paper bills and statements instead go paper less. This will reduce the amount of mail you receive as well as reduces the chances that your bills are missed placed. It will also help the environment.

Give Up Blaming Other for Your Financial Situation

We are all in different financial situations. Sometimes things don’t go the way we want them to go.  Many times we don’t take responsibility for the financial mistakes we may have made and often we blame others for the financial situation we are in.  Give up blaming others for your financial situation and instead focus on making you your financial situation better by finding ways to improve the situation you are in and take ownership of the things you have done.

Give Up Not Taking Action

Many times we say we want to or we should do something.  But we take no action to do what we say we want to do.  You will not achieve financial success by not taking action.  Give up not taking action and move forward with your first action step to achieve the financial goals you want to achieve.

Give Up Waiting for the Perfect Time to Start

No one is perfect and every time you do something it does not have to be perfect.  You don’t have to set the perfect budget, you don’t have to have the perfect saving plan in place, or find the perfect credit card. If you are waiting for the perfect time to invest it may never arrive or waiting for the perfect time to begin saving.  Give up having to have the perfect situation instead take action and get started.  You can always make changes once you start.

Give Up Telling Yourself You Cannot Achieve the Goals You Set

Many feel they are not able to achieve their financial goals and dreams they would like to achieve such as retirement. The belief that you can not achieve what you want is a big hurdle to overcome. If you don’t believe it can be done you will probably  not put the effort in to achieve it. By giving up the belief that you can not achieve what you want is the first step to reach your ultimate goal.  Once you believe you will begin to see the many possibilities you can achieve.

Give Up Bad Financial Influences

We are often influenced by those we surround ourselves with from family, friends, and co-workers.  We often develop the habits and values that we are most often in contact with. These individuals maybe bad influencers. They may be preventing us from achieving what we want to achieve or may have developed bad financial habits by surrounding ourselves with.  Give up your bad financial influences.  Find people who have similar values to you and will a good financial influencer.

Give Up the Past

Don’t let your past bad experiences influence how you handle things in the future.  For example, because you were not able to manage a budget previously does not mean you should not use one in the future.  Just because you were not able to save last year should not prevent you from saving going forward.  Best way to handle this is to find a better way to budget or save that fits your lifestyle.  Remember past performance is not an indication of future results.  So give up those past experiences and find a new way to handle your finances.

Now which of these 10 things do you need to give up so you can begin to simply your finances?

Are there any others that you have given up that have helped you begin to simplify your finances?  I would love to here other things each of you have given up to achieve financial simplicity.

Remember take one step at a time to simplify your finances.

Avoid those Financial Teasers

iStock_000001614441XSmallAs the holiday season quickly approaches, now is the time of year we maybe tempted to take one of those financial teasers as we shop.  We all see them and we are all tempted by them. But in order to simplify your personal finances you must say no thank you  and avoid falling for the trap.  Financial teasers are incentives which are offered to entice us to open a new account.  Financial teasers are everywhere from your banks offering higher interest rate for limited time for deposit accounts to department store offering zero interest for several months when you apply for their credit card.

These financial teasers are usually for a limited time to get you to sign up hoping you will remain a customer for a long time.  Before you agree to accept their offer ask yourself:

Do I really need this financial product such as an additional savings or checking account?

Will I consolidate my existing account to this one account?

Determine how this financial teaser will benefit you in the long-term not just the short-term. If the offer does not have long term and short term benefits, you should look to see if this offer fits within your financial goals and objectives and what other benefits will it have on your financial life.

Here are some of the most common financial teasers you will see and you should approach with caution:

The Irresistible Rate Offer 

Financial institutions often offer special interest rates on saving and checking account and to entice you to open a new account. But how long will you receive the special interest rate and what do you plan to do with the funds when the intro rate has expired. Consider do you really need another account because many times these offers or only for new customers. Does this offer fit within your other financial goals. Will you receive notification that your intro rate has expired or do you have to set up a reminder? Do not just accept a great rate offer unless there are other significant benefits to you as well.

The No Fee Option

Often to get you in the door fees will be waived for a period of time. Before you accept this offer consider how long will your fees be waived. What are the usual fees associated with this product or service? Will I use this product if I had to pay the fee? In addition to these questions, you should consider do you have to call and cancel the service or return the product so fees are not charged to you if you do not want the service or product.

The Free Gift

Financial teasers are gifts for signing up for a credit card or opening a particular type of account. Think about it are you just signing up for the credit card or new account just for gift. What is the gift really worth? There are usually strings attached for example if you sign up for a new credit card just for the gift think about how this credit card could impact your credit score even if you do not use the card. Also determine if you will be charged any fees for openning the account which may equal the cost of the gift you received for free. If you received a gift and plan to closed the account soon after make sure there are no penalties for closing the account or period that the account must remain open. It is sometimes easier to just say no. The simple free gift could turn out to be more hassle than its worth.

Rewards Points

Have you ever signed up for a credit card just because of the rewards program. Rewards card can be great to have but consider the quality of the card not just the rewards it offers. How does this reward card compare to your current card? For example, you just signed up for this great reward card but come to find out the interest rate is twice what your other cards offer plus there is an annual fee in addition to the higher interest rate. Make sure the rewards are not the only reason you have signed up for the card.

So next time you are tempted by one of these financial teasers think before you decide to take the offer. The offer may cause you more stress than its worth. So consider all factors before you say yes to the next financial teaser you see especially around the holiday season when teasers are all around.  By not accepting these offers you may miss out on a short term benefit but in the long term you will not have an additional account you do not need or gift you did not use.

7 Things You Can Control That Will Help You Simplify Your Finances


“ Let go of all the stuff you can’t control and start using your time to master what you can control. ”


Control – The power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

Are you frustrated when the stock market is down and your saving rate remains low.  Are you allowing things you can not control such as stock market, interest rates, or even the weather control your personal finances. Stop worrying about those things.  The only way to simplify your finances is to control what you can control.  If you can’t control it try not to worry about it.  You can not allow those things to control your financial life.  It may be preventing you from achieving your financial goals you set for yourself.  It sounds so simple but many times we find this to be a challenge.  We all do it.  I know I do it as well.  We worry about the things we can not control.  If you think about it, if we would just focus on the things we can control , I am pretty confident you can simplify your finances.   Simplify your personal finances by controlling what you can control.

Here are 7 things you can control that will help you simplify your finances:

Your Asset Allocation

You can not control the stock market but you can control how you allocation your assets.  We know the stock market goes up as well as goes down.  But having the appropriate investment allocation based on your risk tolerance and time horizon will help you weather those ups and downs.  Also building a diversified investment portfolio will help reduce the risk in investing in the stock market.

Having Emergency Fund and Proper Insurance

You can not control the weather or when an emergency will occur.  But you can control if you have a properly funded emergency fund in place for those unexpected expenses.  You can also control the amount of insurance you have in place on your home, car, and medical coverage to cover those unexpected expenses which maybe caused by the weather or other factors.

The Amount You Save

You can’t control the interest rate you earn but you can control how much you save.  You determine how much you save each month.  You don’t at least I hope you don’t determine the amount you save based on current interest rates.  Consider saving a set percentage of your income each month.  This post Secrets to Savings may help you with your savings.

Your Spending

You can not control the price of products and services but you can control your spending.  Controlling the amount you spend dictates how much debt you may carry as well as how much you are able to save.

Multiple Income Sources

You can not control when your job is eliminated but you can create multiple sources of income.  Having another source of income will help in case your job is eliminated.

Where You Bank

You can’t control the fees your bank charges but you can decide where you bank.  Make sure you match your banking needs with your bank of choice.

Having Life Insurance and Will in Place

You can’t control when you die put you can prepare for it with will pre-plan arrangements and life insurance.  Having preplanned services will not help you but will make it easier on your family when they have to make arrangements as well as decided how to handle your assets.

As you can see there are many things you are not able to control so stop worrying about them and focus on those things you actually can control.  What you can control is what will make the difference in your financial life.

What will you take control of in your financial life so you can improve your finances?

Til next time take one step at a time to simplify.