How to Organize Your Great Ideas

Thank you Christie Browning for these AWESOME ideas..

 I used to think I was the person who took ideas and made them happen.  Over the last year or so, I have become an idea person.  The problem is, I get the idea – maybe write it down and then forget about it.  Or I get obsessed with it and go over board doing everything in my power to make it happen.

Can you relate?

Most ideas which fizzle out probably should.  They would be the ultimate Pinterest fail (at least in my case).  But sometimes there are some really good ones, I don’t want to lose track of.  Maybe the timing is wrong or worse the ideas keep coming to the point I am on overload.  Overload and MS are definitely not a good mix!!!  I then end up not taking action on anything or implementing any of the amazing ideas.

Are you someone who has a lot of ideas but struggles with keeping them organized or putting them into action?  Thanks to Christie, there are some suggestions for you…. I am going to try to start organizing my ideas, so I can move into action mode and ultimately make them happen!  Want to join me?

#1:  Dump your brain

I have been to MANY trainings where we have done this at the start of the session to help us focus.  It is a great way to just empty the mind-clutter without losing the great ideas! YES, it is possible.  So, grab a notebook and pen and start writing!  Keep the notebook on your desk,  your nightstand or wherever as long as it is close so when an idea hits, you can write it down. Get the thought on paper and stop depending on your brain to remember!  My brain is useless for this.  LOL!  By writing them down, you have a written record of your ideas.  Believe it or not, some of them will overlap and work with ones you have already had.  Also, by writing it down, you can review them when the “aha moment” passes to see if it is really a great idea.  Maybe you will pass on it now, but who knows in a few years, it might be doable.

#2:  Organize the madness

Having ideas is a great ….BUT every brain dump needs a little bit of organization.    I use color coding in my planner, so why not use the same principle in organizing my ideas. Create a color reference for each category. My categories are:

  • Blue – Personal (medical in my planner)
  • Pink – Business
  • Yellow – Family/ Household
  • Green – Financial
  • Orange – Spiritual

Once, you jot down an idea make sure there is enough information (not a book, just a few sentences) so if you come back to it, you remember what you were talking about.  Now, highlight it with a color.  In a “perfect world”, all of the ideas would be together in a notebook by category.  Yup, I’m so not there yet.

#3:  Plan to take action

So every idea I have doesn’t get acted on or do I even attempt.  There are some ideas  which die the minute I wrote them down or when I come back to look at them with a fresh pair of eyes, I think… “that ‘s crazy!”  I still keep them around in the never ending notebook because you never know, right?  The truth is, you will be able to tell from a brain dump which ideas will work at at that moment and which ones you need to hold on. The ideas I want to work on, I transfer to my planner and start planning it out. I figure out what steps I need to take to get started.  I identify what needs to happen. Then… jot dates (a basic timeline) or I prioritize what needs to be done first, then second, etc.  Unfortunately,  identifying a budget has always been last on my list.  If it is going to cost money,  I find someone with a more practical head to talk with about it so I don’t go off half cocked.

Organizing your ideas is a way  to help you stay focused on what needs attention now. I “squirrel” a lot lately so using this system has helped.  Be sure to ask yourself, “What needs to happen first?”.  “What projects have I already started I need to finish before I launch another idea?”  Sometimes ideas are great, but need to wait until other things happen first.  It’s easy to get distracted when something is new and exciting comes along, but the reality is, you will never actually cross a finish line or reach completion on an idea if you keep jumping around.

We all have goals, visions or even are why, right?  So be sure the idea you want to launch gets you closer to your goal, to your vision for your life, your business or your finances?  If it does, then hold onto this idea.   If it isn’t a perfect fit, push it to the bottom of the priority list.  Keep your list alive but updating it and reflecting on it regularly.

How do you organize your ideas?  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You an Emotional Spender?

Are you an emotional spender?  Honestly, until about 6 months ago, I spent when I was happy, sad, bored…. it really didn’t matter what I was feeling.  I shopped  I have been working hard to stay on a budget but it is hard!

Did you know “The number-one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy”?

Why??? The truth is, the problem is a struggle with self-control. You went to the mall to buy a birthday gift for your niece, and walked out with a new pair of shoes for yourself. You’ve tried a budget, but somehow you always seem to find something to spend money on that wasn’t in it. Can you relate? If so, consider these practical strategies to get your emotional spending under control:

1. Sleep on it.

If you think you just have to have it, whatever it is, make it your rule to sleep on your decision. Very few things are so urgent you can’t wait 24 hours to make your purchase.

2. Phone a friend.

Be accountable to someone!  You are more likely to reach your goal if you tell someone you’ve set one. So, tell a friend about your goal to stop digging yourself into more credit card debt. Then when you find yourself about to make another purchase you can’t afford, call them up and let them talk you down.

3. Never go shopping alone.

If you can’t trust yourself to phone a friend, then don’t go shopping alone. Of course, my biggest problem (and maybe yours) is online shopping).  The simple click to get what we want, NOW!  Headed to the mall, have someone with you who will hold you accountable.  Shopping online, STEP AWAY from the computer.  Leave it in your cart for 24-hours!  Refuse to use “retail therapy” to deal with loneliness, boredom, or disappointments. Find a new hobby which keeps you active, helps you to connect with others and builds new relationships. Focus less on accumulating stuff and more on enjoying experiences with people and things which matter most to you.

4. Plan for it.

STOP right now!  Take out a notepad and jot down the most important thing you need, and then the most important thing you want. Do you know how much each will cost? Jot it down. Not sure, find out.  How long would it take you to save for each? Practice delayed gratification (so hard for a recovering addict to do!). It forces you to appreciate the true value of your money, which will help you spend your money more consciously.

5. Keep a picture of your goal in front of you.

I have a vision board I carry in my planner so I am always reminded of what I am working towards.  Post pictures where you will see them on a regular basis so you are reminded of your goal. Whether it is on your refrigerator, in your purse, or on your bathroom mirror, make the vision plain and visible.

6. Take the credit cards out of your wallet.

I LOVE this saying…” if you want to get out of the hole you’re in, stop digging!”  If you’re in debt, it’s time to stop adding to your debt. And if you’re an emotional spender, keep your impulse purchases to a minimum by leaving your credit cards at home. No need to make it easy to charge it.  Better yet, cut up ALL of your cards (maybe keep one for emergencies).

7. Use cash.

I will admit, I am not a cash person.  I use my debit card for most things.  I actually feel like I spend less than when I use cash.  Crazy, right?  There are always those places which don’t take cards too so I can’t spend. Research shows though, forking over cash makes you spend less. As simplistic as it sounds, one of the best ways to curb spending is to determine your budget for various expenses (i.e., lunch, groceries, clothing, etc.), then take out your budgeted amount in cash.  Dave Ramsey’s system from Financial Peace University is AMAZING!   While it can be easy to lose track of how much you spend when you swipe a credit or even a debit card, cash forces you to count and keep track of what you spend in a concrete way.

If saving or spending is a problem, I challenge you to stop spending emotionally and start managing your money wisely.  Which of these tips were most helpful to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

December Kick Off

Did you open your newspaper today to find lots of Black Friday sale circulars, each one luring you their store with unbelievable sales, and early opening?  Yes, I will look at the circulars to see what there is and I might actually venture out in the LATE afternoon to see if there is anything left but most of my shopping will be done online with other direct sellers this year.

Thirty One is kicking off the December customer specials starting TODAY!  These are some of the BEST specials I have seen during the holiday season.  The Littles Carry Alls and the Mini Zipper Pouches for $5 are a great teacher gift.  Fill the Littles with a box of tissues, some hand sanitizer and a gift card.  Or maybe get a mini zipper pouch and add a gift card to their favorite coffee place.

I am most excited about the addition of the Savvy Sleeve, the Glamour Case and the Around the Town tote to the December sale.  The Around the Town Tote is one of the BEST deals.  This bag retails for $78 and did you know you can get TWO bags for less than the cost of just this bag.  Spend $35 (on anything in the catalog) and get an Around the Town Tote for $25.  The BEST part is you can pick a second customer special.  You can pick any one even another Around the Town Tote.

Did you know there is still get FREE and discounted products?  I know you think you are too busy to host a shopping event BUT you can do it in just 31-minutes on Facebook.

I will send you a hostess packet so you can share it with your local friends, family and co-workers. PLUS everyone who orders or hosts a party, will be invited to my VIP Customer Appreciation BINGO event (online) where $200 in FREE products will given away.

So, let’s recap what you get for just gathering 6 orders (all it takes for a $200 party):An average Facebook party (with a little help from you) is about $600 which gives you the chance to take advantage of the December Hostess Special:

How many people could you check off your holiday gift list with the free and discounted products you earn for hosting a party? Maybe even treat yourself to something special.

Have you been crunching numbers to figure out YOUR holiday budget? No time for a part-time job? You work full-time? Are a mom taxi 24/7? What if I told you, you could earn up to $1000 and be able to have a debt-free holiday? Impossible right? You are thinking not enough hours in your day….. I may be able to help with an investment of just $99:

  

Share the catalog with friends, family and co-workers. You would do it anyway if you were hosting a party, right? Why not get paid to help them do their holiday shopping? What is the worse that could happen? You have ALOT of your holiday gift shopping done with just an investment of $99. OR, you could make some money, earn some free product and enjoy a stress-free (okay, maybe not totally) holiday season.

Which would you like to do?

#1 Shop for the things on the holiday gift list. Spend $35 and get your choice of TWO: mini zipper pouch or little carry all for $5, the glamour case for $10, a Savvy Sleeve for $15 or the Around the Town Tote for $25.

#2 Gather some friends (via online, Facebook, home, or for coffee/drinks). Earn FREE and discounted products.

#3 Join my team and earn money (and products) for a stress and debt-free holiday season.

The choice is yours? Which will it be?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Spend Less

Thank you Carrie Wilkerson for these AWESOME tips on how to spend less….

  • If you want to make more, spend less. #truestory
  • If you’re complaining about being broke, spend less.
  • If you’re stressed about minimum payments or juggling dollars, spend less.
  • If you’re mad at yourself or your spouse or fighting about money, spend less.
  • If you’re jealous of other folks because of ______ then spend less.
  • If you want more choices about where to live, what to drive, where the kids go to school, quitting your job or having some options… SPEND LESS.

It all starts with SPEND LESS!  I know, I have been there.  We struggle with wants versus needs especially during the holiday season.  YES – we can make more with our business. YES – we can still work to change our circumstance- but first we need to SPEND LESS.60b970c17dbc402287d7382d2eb326f7

Trust me, I know this is NOT the time you want to do this.  BUT this is the exact time you need to do this before we get caught up in the holiday craziness.

Evaluate EVERY expense. Is is NECESSARY or just something you ‘deserve’?  Is it a want or a need?  What if you did ‘without it’ for a few weeks/months? Would it change your quality of life?

How do you do this?  First, print out 3-6 months of credit card and debit card statements.  I know it will be scary.  Take a deep breath and jump in.  You can do it!

  • Highlight EVERY recurring charge.
  • Highlight EVERY disposable thing.
  • Highlight EVERY spontaneous purchase.
  • Highlight EVERY expense for something you don’t wear/play with/use/cook with/read or watch anymore.
  • Highlight EVERY unlicensed therapy expense (meaning you were self medicating with food/shopping/movies/girl time/drinks/etc.

Now for the hardest part – STOP spending on those things!

This part, may be a little easier….Evaluate insurance, credit card rates, cable plans (unplug it), phone plans (downgrade) and new clothes (seriously. stop buying them)

I love how Carrie shares her story of getting ahold of her sloppy financial habits (a process, she has used to pay off boatloads of debt MORE THAN ONCE #slowlearner).  Her story helps me to remember, I am not alone.  I have done it too.  Paid off debt, then got sucked in with the thought “I can manage it”.  WRONG!  My addictive behaviors come back in the form of spending money.  So here I am again paying off some debt.

We need to put the blinders on and here is how Carrie did it:

  • UNSUBSCRIBE from email ‘sales and newsletters’ – you can’t buy what you don’t see!
  • THROW AWAY catalogs that come in the mail.  Don’t bring them INTO THE HOUSE. Do NOT fool yourself ‘I’m just getting ideas, I’m making a wishlist, I’m just planning for when I can afford it.’ – NO NO NO NO – THROW IT AWAY. It will still be available for purchase when you can afford it. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER SALE.
  • Do NOT click on Facebook ads (they follow you around, wearing you down until you can’t help but buy. STOP IT)!
  • Do NOT attend home parties or demonstrations or trade shows or craft fairs or open houses or garage sales or ANYTHING WITH THE CHANCE TO BUY. This is a tough one for me since it is part of my business.  How I manage this is I don’t take any money with me or my cards!
  • TAKE THE APPS off your phone… Amazon, Starbucks, Instacart, ZigZag, Macys – ALL OF IT — OFF THE PHONE. If we can purchase with a click and without a brain, they WANT THAT. STOP THE MESS. TAKE OFF THE APPS.
  • During commercials on TV pick up a project. Tidy the sink or move a load from washer to dryer or go outside with the dogs – AVOID MARKETING MESSAGES. It is extreme but so is debt, financial stress and possibly bankruptcy. 
  • SHOP your CLOSET. Sounds silly, right?  Try it and see what happens. See an outfit you like on someone else or on FB, go into your closet and drawers to put together something similar. Or do without.
  • Grocery shop ONCE a week and plan meals ahead of time to avoid mealtime meltdown and drive through overspends.  
  • Use cash instead of cards.  My hubby swears by this!

What if you were to think of every purchase in terms of the effort it takes to make the money to purchase it?  For example, “how many xx do I have to sell or hours do I have to work to pay for this delivery pizza instead of doing a frozen pizza?”

Many of us are victims of marketing messages, bad habits, lack of will power and deserve levels.  We play the comparison which usually results in spending more.

  • Think of what you what MOST (financial stress-lessness and freedom) instead of what you want NOW (cute shoes or a top).
  • Think of WHY you’re so quick to spend and what you are self-medicating about or delaying…

Carrie suggests a spending freeze at least once a year.  It’s wot be fun, I’m sure BUT it may help to keep you in check.  I know you are thinking NOW, it is the holidays….
but HONESTLY it is the MOST EFFECTIVE time of year to do it!  If you wait until JANUARY… how many more THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS will you have overspent??

Change your habits.

Change your life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tips for Saving on National Savings Day

National Savings Day was set up by Capitol One.  A great way to market their business, right?  Despite the marketing aspect, it is a great way to encourage people to gain confidence about their relationship with money.  Believe me I get it!  Savings accounts have come and gone in my life and at the ripe old age of 60, I think I am finally feeling better about my relationship with money.

Most of us are great at collecting sentimental items – pictures, scrapbooks, or jewelry passed down through generations of family.  Why?  Because they mean something to us and they evoke emotion. These collections are the thing which helps me on the days when brain fog and MS lesions cause me to forget.  To same it is just “stuff” while for others it has a different meaning.

Why is it then so hard for us to transfer this concept to a portion of our paycheck every month?  Why is it so hard to pay ourselves FIRST in preparation for a rainy day or retirement?  What if you were to consider a savings account like your junk drawer or the sock basket?  Would it make it any easier?

Growing up my mom had a bottle she kept half dollars in.  When she was at work, if someone paid with a half dollar, at the end of the shift/day, she would swap bills for those coins.  She took the coins home and dropped them in the bottle.  Her savings account when she started working.

Life and my addictions got in the way of my saving money.  From drugs to credit card debt, I always had an excuse NOT to save.  I needed money for bills or groceries or whatever.  I know I am not alone, right?  Does the thought of paying yourself first and NOT touching the money seem crazy?

Here are a few tips which might help you get started on the savings road:

1. Organize your grocery shopping

Being organized when you go grocery shopping can help you save money. Have a list of what you need to buy, and coupons (I’m still working on this one).  Shop early in the week to avoid the stress of over crowded stores.

2. Eliminate one service each year you can do without

YIKES  Scary, right?  We cut our cable bill by almost half.  We went from what seemed like 1000 channels to about 300 although the cable company said there are only 143.  We use our cell phones all of the time.  We have a landline for doctors to leave messages.  So I cut the cost to less than $30 per month.

3. Don’t buy “off the shelf”

There are so many ways to buy things – Facebook, Craigslist are on top.  Then there are thrift shops, yard sales, and church rummage sales.  Surf the web for the lowest price, or upcoming sales.  You may not want to do this for small purchases but maybe say $50 and above.

4. Participate in – and use – your rewards programs

Admit it!  You have tons of reward cards, right?  How many of them do you actually use?  Sign up for them where ever possible, and keep tabs of your points. I love Ebates because the notification pops up about a rebate when I am shopping online at a store which offers it.

5. Sell what you no longer need

Instead of throwing away items you no longer use, try selling them first to make some additional money. Then put the money towards a bill.  We are not allowed to have yard sales at our condo complex so I have tried Facebook and Ebay.  Those require a little bit more time and organization.  When items don’t sell, donate them to a local non-profit and be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes.

6. Buy clothing in thrift or discount stores

I have been a fan of thrift stores for years, since before Belinda was born.  Thrift stores don’t have a huge selection, but you can often come across the perfect item from time to time, sometimes barely used. This is great  for kid’s clothing since they outgrow them so fast.  If thrift stores aren’t your thing, then take a look at discount stores like T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s.

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Thirty One’s Soft Utility Tote is perfect for these kinds of trips.  It can be a large purse and then expands to carry all of your treasures home.

7. Buy when everyone else is selling

Retail sales usually fall off in January, so nearly everything goes on sale. Wouldn’t it be better to do the bulk of your buying in January rather than November and December.  Buy your winter clothing in late winter or early spring, when winter items go on clearance.

What are some of your best tips to save money?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!