Tag Archives: Mental Health

Car Shopping with No Cash… My 12-Step Process

Going car shopping with no money in your pocket, having emptied out your purse and wallet, can really put things into perspective. I personally prefer to shop this way, especially when looking to make a substantial purchase as a  vehicle.

I like doing this as it allows me to “shop” my salesperson to see who is “worthy” of their commission/sale. It also allows me to truly get a better view of how that particular car lot does business; the mindset of the company or atleast management and the sales floor.

I remember my very first, solo, car buying experience. I say solo, since I was by myself, but I did have my brother-like figure helping to negotiate the pricing on my car (virtually mind you). It was a crazy experience and one I will never forget. I had shopped several lots, seeing every single thing I did NOT want and being prompted and prodded to just get this or that. Me being relentless in my thinking and knowing that I would be seriously peeved if I purchased something just to have a new set of wheels, but did not actually enjoy it, just left each lot. You see, in my mind I had plotted and planned and could see myself in a luxury sports sedan, even though I felt that I did not have that type of money and certainly not that type of credit. But I believed in prayer and in my own ability to “think things possible”.

Car shopping, decisions, decisions, decisions...

My 12-Step Process

  1. Deal Breaker List – I planned by creating a list of all the amenities and features I “had to have/deal-breakers”.
  2. Nice but Not Need List – Next I created a “niceties but not necessities” list.
  3. Specs Check – Then I went on the internet to see which makes and models had my specs and I started pulling up the KBB (Kelly Blue Book) value on all as well as checking the gas mileage, emissions and other data on fueleconomy.gov (I truly treasure this site).
  4. Virtual Car Shopping – Next I started virtually shopping the various dealerships and car lots via the web.
  5. Phone Dealer to see if Car is Still There – Once I saw a vehicle I liked I would call, to see if it was still available (this step is tricky as they will say, oh yeah it’s here, and when you get there, it was sold “right before you came” (hoax alert and automatic disqualifier).
  6. Onsite Browsing – I started to make visits to the lots on Sunday’s (Ha, most dealerships are closed on Sunday’s so no hassle, no fuss, just plenty of time for my analytical mind to evaluate in peace).
  7. Test Drive and Vehicle Inspection – I visited the lots when open, so I could inspect and test drive my prospective vehicles.
    • Inspection – This step is so very important, as I am a very particular person. I want quality, comfort, space and practicality, bundled into a cute n’ sexy design – with great gas mileage of course. So I did my standard checks for cup holders, headrest positioning, back seat comfort, seat belt types, storage placement and space, trunk space, rear leg room, rear hip room (need this for the “she/he is touching me” children issues), controls, multi-disc cd changer, stereo system (Bose is a must) etc. I take a look under the hood to see if all the things I have to keep up with (fluid levels and such) are easily accessible and not a hassle to open and close. I literally check all of these things, to name a few!
    • Safety – I checked out all of the safety ratings, including the fact that my vehicle of choice was built on an airliners frame! Oh, yes, safe and secure for my precious cargo (my babies).
    • Test Drive -Manual transmission is my “go-to” decision factor, love me some stick-shifts. So I check for shift ease, steering (too loose or too stiff = a “no”), pickup speed, on dash visuals, how it takes corners, how it handles bumps on the road, quick turning and how it responds to stops. Seat adjustments are key for comfort, love our road trips. We carry our own electronics so the only other creature feature I desire is a jack for my phone, with connection to car speaker system and a usb connection for all else.
  8. Review All My Data – After I have completed my test drives I go home, review and write down all of my thoughts and true feelings. I make a pro’s and con’s list and think over it for a few days to a week or two. Generally if it takes this long I have not found the car I am satisfied with enough and I then begin my search again, with refined parameters and specs, or a new dealer, cause they’ve made me mad.
  9. Vehicle Report – Eureka! I’ve found my vehicle, now at this stage I generally order my own Carfax report on it.
  10. Financing – I either have secured financing or will secure financing. I prefer the online method for securing financing, that way several companies can bid for your business at once and the one that has the most favorable bid, you choose and they literally send you a check; with in 2 days, to your home. I think I went through LendingTree. When you shop via this method, it is less stressful, in my opinion, and it is like shopping with cash. Please note: I had done all of my due diligence earlier in the year, working on my credit, had a good paying job, etc, which made this process simple for me. These days, anyone, no matter their situation can get financing. The terms may not be as favorable, but if you have to do it, there are options out there. And if you are paying with cash, go for it. Congrats and No car payment for you! There are also programs out there, in various cities; some are called “Wheels to Work”. These is a government funded programs, so to find one in your area is a good thing. Each program may be named a little bit different and through different entities, so be creative and diligent in your search; if this option is for you. Note – During this process, I forgot to add that I already, since I had researched first, knew what the price is that I desired to pay for my vehicle. So I knew full well and was not willing to go outside of that figure/price point; unless that vehicle was truly worth it. (This is the step that I like to have a male friend or male family member – who is good at sales and negotiation – do the price talk on my behalf). I also allowed “my car” to sit on the lot for nearly a month, joys of being a manual shift driver, I guess, lol. And a side note, I purchased my car, my “Audi” from the actual “Volkswagen/Audi” dealer lot, made me feel more comfortable and confident buying direct and it came with a warranty so I knew they knew what to do and how to fix it like new, if anything happened to it.
  11. Prayer – I look at it this way, I had prayed over my list of specifications prior to me even stepping out the door. I knew that the Lord was going to bless me with exactly what I needed, and even “…exceedingly abundantly, above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us” Ephesians 6:20 kjv. So I had the faith that He [God] was going to move and bless in my favor; in accordance with His will for my life. So I prayed continuously over my vehicle and each week, or day I checked the price on it, on the internet (yes the lot had it online too) the price was literally dropping thousands of dollars each time. The listing price was $26,000 for a certified pre-owned 2005.5 Audi A4 2.0T, in 2007. By the time I went to collect “my” vehicle (claimed it, in Jesus name), a month later, it was $20,000. Yes! God did it, just for me! And He WILL do it for you too; and NO this does not just apply to material or monetary things. This belief and faith action applies to ALL things. By the time I was ready to pick up my car, they had it pulled to the side, for me, off the lot and they were waiting for me with my keys in their hands. They had already prepared to accept my $16,000 check… Yes, $10,000 off the list price folks…. I know, I’ll just let that sink in…
  12. Last Minute Checks and Fixes – Now, prior to making the handover of the check I had seen somethings that I felt needed to be fixed, the glass on the vehicle was allowing condensation, under the windshield (they replaced the windshield completely), there were dings and things from small, seemingly miniscule rocks on the hood (they filled all holes with same color hood paint), etc, etc, etc… not a whole lot of fixing but my pet peeve, “I’m investing, I want the absolute best for my investment” issues had to be satisfied. Pushy, I know, but the squeaky wheel, GOT the oil.

 

2005.5 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro

This is not a pic of my car, but a nearly exact representation. The main difference is under the hood, this is a Quattro. My Audi was not, but for all intents and purposes, it’s still gorgeous! Just look at those lines!

 

 

My vehicle, we lovingly named her “silver”, yes she was silver, was a blessing to my children and I for many years. She was exceptional on the road. My children loved road trips, as she was ultra comfy, smooth ride with hushed interior and oh….. that BOSE sound…. ummmm, ummmm! Sweeeeeeet!

I did have to replace the clutch about 1.5 years later ($1,500 – yes, *cough, choke, gag*) but that was the only major issue I had and the only issue I had with her for the entire time she was mine; and she drove beautifully.

Many trips 700 miles each way, sometimes every other weekend even, where taken in her and she took to the road like we were going around the corner. Gas mileage on those trips was amazing as I only had to fill up 1.5 times each way! Yes! As you can see I truly enjoyed EVERY aspect of my vehicle, even down to the trunk space. That trunk space was exceptional. You see, they took into account the wheels so that there was not that awkward wheel shape eating up the trunk space; so maximum cargo area in the trunk!!! NICE for strollers and diaper bags snacks, extra clothes, shoes, etc… (my babies where much younger back then…. *sigh*)

So, in closing, take your time. Having cash on hand right then, is not a necessity and helps to keep you in the proper frame of mind, seeing all things as they should be seen. Pray and ask God to give you what is best for you. Do your research. Don’t be bullied. Take your time some more. Weigh all of your options. Extend your research and work with the people that are the most attentive and respectful of your time; regardless of whether they think you’ve got money or not. Take a friend with you that has your best interest at heart. And, most importantly believe you can achieve the object of your dreams… Audi was my dream car and I got exactly what I wanted, Plus a few cool extras!

 

To your health, wealth and continued success. Be blessed, don’t stress, pursue happiness!

6 of Winter Seasons Most Favored Soups, With Benefits

soup

The winter season is the special time of year that soups, stews and ultra hefty meals are increasingly welcomed, due to their ability to promote, that feel good feeling as well as warmth. I consider soups to be my go-to, in the winter months for the additional hydration properties, as well as their comfort factors. The following list contains researched faves and the benefits they provide. Don’t see yours? No worries, leave me a comment and I’ll check it out, to see about adding it to my list.

  • Chicken Noodle Soup – A post by ABC News, states that, “the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, found evidence the soup contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent a cold’s miserable side effects.”
  • Tomato Soup – Contains vitamins A, E, C, K, essential minerals and antioxidants
  • Miso Soup – Anti-Aging properties, beneficial bacteria for the digestive tract, immune system strengthening to fight infection and cancer.
  • Lentil Soup – Macronutrients, Fiber and Iron
  • Split Pea Soup – Vitamin K, Fiber, potassium
  • Gazpacho – In Diane Parcells’ article, Vegetable Soup Fights Cell Damage, she cited, “Scientists at Tufts University in Boston report that volunteers eating a type of vegetable soup twice a day had lower amounts of stress-related molecules in their blood after just 7 days. The researchers say the beneficial effect was due at least in part to an increase in vitamin C intake.”

 


The Article Garden:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117888

10 Amazing Health Benefits of Tomato Soup – http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/health-benefits-uses-of-tomato-soup/

Healthy Benefits of Tomato Soup – http://www.boldsky.com/health/nutrition/2012/health-benefits-of-tomato-soup-030976.html

What’s New and Beneficial About Miso – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=114

Miso Soup: A Delicious Bowl Full of Health and Anti-Aging Benefits – http://www.naturalnews.com/025519_health_anti-aging_soy.html

The Health Benefits of Miso Soup and 2 Easy Miso Soup Recipes – http://veganamericanprincess.com/the-health-benefits-of-miso-soup-and-2-easy-miso-soup-recipes/

Vegetable Soup Fights Cell Damage – https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/food-thought/vegetable-soup-fights-cell-damage

Is Lentil Soup Healthy? – http://www.livestrong.com/article/410170-is-lentil-soup-healthy/

The Advantages of Split Pea Soup – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/advantages-split-pea-soup-4353.html

Health Benefits of Split Peas – http://www.naturalfoodbenefits.com/display.asp?CAT=6&ID=107

6 Steps to Cope with Extreme Stress

Unraveling

Unraveling

Life comes at you hard! You try to keep moving, but you feel you are trampled underfoot, by the series of events overwhelming you. Trying to support your family, have some time for yourself and personal nurturing/care, keeping the bills paid and managing to spend as much time as possible with the your children. You’ve got deadlines and quotas to meet, you might even have to travel far to get to and from work, which further adds stress and strain on your already taxed life and mental well-being.

HOW DO YOU COPE? How do keep your head well above the water, in order to see life clearly, and navigate your ship of life around each situational iceberg? How do you keep yourself from losing your mind? How do you keep your cool and manage yourself and you stress?

I have the tools that may help you management and even reduce/remove your stress:

  1. Talk/Communicate – Speak to a trusted and confidential source, this may be a friend, family member, life coach, spiritual advisor, and/or a licensed counselor. Talk to them about what’s going on that is causing you stress. Talking your situation out releases pent up space, being held hostage by the stressor, in your soul. The person that you are speaking with will provide a sound board and empathetic listening. Some may provide tools, resources and/or advice/methods for you to use to gain control of whatever is being a nuisance to you. It also helps for you to address the stressor directly, in a non-confrontational way and when you are calm, cool and collected. Speaking assertively and without anger to the individual(s), when addressing your concerns is an effective course of action. With the assertive step, you are taking a stand in defense of yourself, which is a critical step in the process. So, talk it out.
  2. Write – Blog, poetry, poems, letters, prayer journaling, are all great ways to get your thoughts out of your head and on to a surface that faces you. Once you have written out your fears, anxieties, depressive modes, stressors, anger, frustrations, annoyances, etc. you can then “SEE” the situation more clearly. The issue is no longer rumbling around in your head, which has left space in your brain for free thoughts and productive problem solving to set up shop and begin to work. I have a saying, “I write to keep myself sane and to release the pressure in my brain.” So, get it OUT of your head, through the “OUT”let of writing.
  3. De-Clutter – If you are feeling as though you are closed in, trapped, having lack of space, confined, and/or restricted give yourself more space to work with and/or more organized space to be in. Sometimes just straightening up a bit more, or changing a room around/resituating/rearranging things, throwing unnecessary items away, letting some old things go, consolidating items, like boxes and containers can also be a great way to free the mind and give the soul more space to dwell and roam.
  4. Exercise – Find, join, and participate in an aerobics, yoga, martial arts, arts and crafts, dance, drama/theatre, swim, and/or boxing class. These types of classes are great to join as they not only help you to immediately relieve and release, as well as get rid of/provide an outlet for stress, they also condition and focus the mind. So, as you’re getting physically fit you are also getting emotionally fit.
  5. Education – Find out what your triggers are. What sets you off? What makes you fly off the handle or lose control? What distracts you so that you are unable to think and react properly? What is going on in your environment? Who are you interacting with? What is being said or done that you do not like or that sends up red flags and warning signs and signals in your brain? What critical life events have occurred that you may not have dealt with completely? Educating yourself about your personal pressure points is important as it serves to equip you in identifying, facing and warding-off your potential stressors/stresses. Without knowledge we perish. So, educate yourself, protecting yourself against potential stress.
  6. Health – Take your blood pressure reading often, when you are stressed (many grocery and drug stores have free blood pressure reading machines, that only take 5 minutes to test). You can’t “feel” your blood pressure rising, until it is already entirely too high and thus at critical, life-threatening stages. So, take the pro-active route and test yourself regularly, ESPECIALLY when under extreme stress. If you do find that your blood pressure is heading toward unfavorable levels you need to see a doctor immediately, and they will TALK to you about ways to manage your blood pressure. If you find yourself breaking out for no apparent reason, if you find that you are getting sick frequently (once or more in a month, each month) you need to seek medical or psychological help. In some states, you can Google to find the ones in your area, their are 24-hour Nurse lines that are free of charge. Search for one in your area first, if you find one that is not in you locale, you can still contact them and they will help you. The main thing with searching locally is that they will direct you to the resources that are in your direct physical location. Get enough rest at least 8 hours per day and eat/refine your diet. Just tackling these too alone can have impressive results for your stress levels.

Stress is termed, in the medical community, as the “SILENT KILLER”. So, applying these steps can help you to refocus, regain control, manage and in some cases alleviate certain stress/stressors all together. There is no one that can protect you better than yourself, so do right by you and on behalf of your children. Always remember… if you’re stressed your children are stressed. No matter how young they are they can tell and are, in some cases, acutely aware of the fact that you are experiencing  stress. So, follow these steps to get it under control.

Have some additional tips or you would like to share your routine for managing stress? Share, I’d love to hear from you. When we share, we all grow! Until next time: Be well and stay well!