Time to Get Your Finances In Order

I’ll admit, I am not the one to give financial advice because I still struggle with staying on budget as well as paying down debt.  As hubby says “You will never be a Rockefeller” which is why I was a perfect fit for social work and non-profits.I am always looking for tips on how to get better at this because:

Managing your money is the key to success!

So, if you’re looking to try and get your finances in order, stop spending, and start saving, here are some top tips are for you to try….

 

1. Create a Spreadsheet 

Do you know how much you owe?  If you have debt, do you now how much your interest rate is on each one? To easily organize your finances, a spreadsheet is a great way to see your income and your expenses.  You can create one in Google Drive so you can stay on top of it.   I have a list including interest charges so when there is extra money, I can pay down on the highest interest rate first.

2. Set Up Savings 

I know this sounds crazy if you have debt BUT you need to start saving for an emergency.  It can be as little as $10 a paycheck or $25 a month.  Check with your bank too for some of those instant kind of saving programs.  Bank of America takes the change from your ATM transactions, rounds up and the money is put in your savings account.  Those pennies add up quickly.  It all helps!

3. Organize Direct Debits 

I used to advocate direct debits but when my income varies, it is better for me to have repeated reminders set up. I have reminders set up on each of my credit cards when payments are due – 14 days out and 1 week out.  This ensures I avoid any late payment fees and any (further) damage to your credit score.

4. Refrain From Impulse Purchases 

Yup, we are all guilty of it.  Sometimes it is easier said than done.  Be sure to have some room in your budget for treats – large or small so you can occasionally splurge!

5. Make A List – Stick To It How many times have you gone to the store and your list is home?  The end result, you buy more than what you need and usually forget what you originally went to the store for.  I have started putting my grocer list on my phone.  When was the last time you left home without your phone?  Whether shopping for Christmas, clothing or groceries – always stick to the list!

6. Set Budgets for Events 

Everyone’s salary is different so why not set a budget for Birthdays so you don’t feel pressured to match what everyone else is spending.

7. Emergency Fund 

This goes back to #2 when we set up a savings account.  What happens why you have a surprise expense – car repair, etc?  Tempted to pull out the credit card. DON’T!!!  Use your savings account or emergency account.  By saving a little each money, you are ready for those unexpected events.

8. Don’t Be Drawn In By Offers 

Sales.  How often are you drawn in by the offers non things you may not really need.  If you need it, great.  If you don’t, why buy it.  I mean do you really need the  half price Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?

9. Make a Packed Lunch 

Taking lunch to work is so much cheaper than a daily visit to the local sandwich shop.  Think of the money and time you will save.  Have an hour for lunch?  Imagine being able to enjoy a full hour of leisurely eating your lunch and catching up with friends instead of waiting to order food and then gulping it down.  Bringing your lunch to work is better all around as well as far healthier for you.

10. Cut the Coffee 

Yes, I went there.  When I was commuting to work, I would do a WAWA stop on the way to and from work.  That came to at least $5 or more a day or $25 per week or over $1,300 per year.  I’m now hooked on Starbucks unsweet green tea and thankfully, I don’t commute or it would be about $1,000 a year on ice tea.  What could you use a $1000 on?

 11. Use Your Legs 

If you live in the city or your commute is to an area where there is good public transportation, this is a great way to save money.  Growing up in NJ, there really is not a very good public transportation system unless you are headed to NY to work. In addition to saving money, you can also burn some extra calories by walking to and from the stops.

12. Seek Out Deals 

Yes, I have gotten lazy when it comes to looking for the best deals.  Whether it is car insurance, phone service or our cable bill – I haven’t shopped around for the best deal in ages.  When I did call Comcast to re-negotiate our bill, I was able to save about $50 per month which is $600 to apply to paying down credit card debt.

13. Sell And Buy Online

I used to do this all of the time – selling on eBay was a regular thing.  It has gone by the wayside but it may be time to revive this old habit.  When it comes to shopping online, I am always looking for the best deal using apps like Ebates and others.

What is YOUR best tips for getting your finances under control?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Know Your Numbers

Thank you Carrie Wilkerson for the inspiration for today’s blog.  I have been battling weight for as long as I can remember… my first diet was about the 8th grade with the hard boiled egg and grapefruit diet.  Most recently I have lost over 100+ pounds with the help of Weight Watchers.  But knowing my numbers on the scale are not the only numbers I need to know…..

See before you can make a change in your life – You MUST know your numbers!  The scale is an easy measure during a weight loss journey but there are other numbers which are important….

What about your debt? Or when your business is stuck? Or even when relationships are stale?  Do you know YOUR numbers for these things as well?

The numbers are facts and data you can’t ignore if you are going to focus on your dreams and make changes in your life.  Things never change or we slip deeper into debt or gain more weight or even loose business because we make the choice to ignore the numbers. Are you like the ostrich who sticks his head in the sand thinking things will “work themselves out” or have you given up altogether thinking “That’s just how things are.”

***If you’re in debt…….Know TO THE PENNY what you owe and the interest rate. (It’s probably more than you think).

***If you’re broke….Know TO THE PENNY what your monthly bills are, where your spend too much, what your income is or ISN’T and write it down.  It will be the SMACK in the head you need to make a change.

***If you’re overweight or over-fatigued or out of time, spiritually distant or in stale relationships….do the discovery, find the data and make it real.

When you stop ignoring the truth and know your numbers – you can make a change!

Now, I’m not talking about a major overhaul in ever aspect of your life.  Start with a few  little tweaks and changes to move from the scary numbers to a better place.  You will be surprised at the changes which will occur when you are in the HABIT of KNOWING your NUMBERS…you can be encouraged and celebrate the successes as they start adding up for you!!

Accepting my highest weight (295 pounds) was a reality check for me.  It was the moment when I knew I wanted something different.  Thus began the LONG journey of heathy eating and portion control.  Did it happen over night? NO!  Is it an ongoing battle to stay focused on the number on the scale? YES!  The difference is now I believe in myself and am able to make the small changes.

I will admit owning my debt is a little tougher… the old inner gremlins (or my personal ostrich in the sand) says “don’t worry, be happy”.  I KNOW my numbers for my debt, my income and the crazy interest rates on my debt.  I am making small changes but just like my weight loss journey, it is a work in progress.

I believe in you even if you don’t believe in yourself…. What numbers do YOU need to figure out to make a change in your life?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

September Basics

images

Where is September going? In just a few short days, it will officially be autumn.  The Jersey Shore has been hit with some hot humid weather so it is hard to believe that it is actually the middle of September.

14222226_10157517227315220_354257421413110542_n

Being in direct sales, I always feel like September is a restart.  Thankfully, every month we get to wipe the slate clear and start again.  I just came off an awesome 3 months in my business with personal and team volumes back to where they used to be.  So, I was riding on the high of summer unlike the past when I was in Vacation Veronica mode. But the reality was, my numbers for September during the BEST special of the Thirty One year were not where I wanted them to be.  I have been working hard to turn them around by putting forth a little more effort…. actually going back to basics.

I know it can get old, right?  Many times, I have written off a month when my numbers were not where I wanted them to be and began focusing on next month.  It always seemed easier to get excited about something NEW coming then to WORK in the here and now.

I was a Doubtful Debbie for a long time.  Never really taking some of the suggestions to heart OR doing any of them.  Never really trying. Playing the “comparison game”.  This time, I let the doubts linger for a day or two and then I kicked it into overdrive.  Sat in my office to do “money-producing” tasks.  Yes, that means picking up the phone – making calls and texting.  Calling people just to thank them for their support of my business.  I have been sharing my business with EVERYONE! Well, almost.

Occasionally,  I slip back into the “JOB” mindset.  Yes, I work a part-time job. Although, I don’t want people to see it instead of my business when they think of me.  I ran into an ex- co-worker from WAWA.  She asked me if I was working.  I said yes and proceeded to tell her about my part-time job!  OPPORTUNITY  MISSED!!!!  I called my hubby to tell him I was on my way home and had an AHA moment.  I had only causally mentioned Thirty One, I mean I was wearing a Thirty One t-shirt so did I really have to say it?  DUH???  I guess so because she asked “are you still doing Thirty-One”? OMG!  How did this happen?

When I started with Thirty One, I told everyone about my business.  I am not sure when the mindset changed and the worse part is I didn’t even realize it.  I LOVE my business.  I LOVE making a difference in the lives of others.  The passion is still there BUT I began thinking “people know what I do”  so I don’t need to say anything.  WRONG!!!!!  Talk about an AHA moment.  As I struggle with health issues, I have found I need to PRACTICE sharing about my business when people ask me what I am doing.  I say practice because it is a habit  I got out of and need to desperately get back into.

Thirty One pays the bills (or a lot of them) AND I want it to be the ONLY thing paying the bills.  It affords me the opportunity to spend time with my family and make my own schedule. It is my business!  My part-time gig is just a part-time thing – nothing permanent.  It has helped to fill the gaps as I struggle with health stuff. Or, do I hold onto it out of FEAR?  That is a scary question.  Do I not have enough faith in the fact with God’s help I can make my business a success?  Did the mindset change when I lost some of my faith and I didn’t even realize it?  WOW!  No, I am not going to try and answer these in this blog…

I just wanted to share my thoughts with you… maybe you are having an off month, maybe you are desperately seeking to have your own business but hold onto a JOB out of fear, maybe you need to change your mindset?  Whatever the struggle, there is still time this month to KICK out of the old mindset and bring in the NEW.  Almost sounds like a New Year’s Eve blog, huh?

What do YOU need to do different in your business?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Dreams and Desires

BsNIN_xCIAAz4Gs

Happy Monday morning!  No, I did not develop a desire or a dream to jump out of a plane!

I am part of a program called “31 Days & 31 Ways to Jumpstart My Abundance” with Eryka Peskin.  With memory issues, I have struggled connecting to my emotional why and had trouble dreaming about the future.  Crazy, right?

A desire is that which moves you forward. There is no forward movement or growth without a desire. (Think about it!)

A desire is your motivator, your reason for getting out of bed in the morning, for making the coffee or standing on line at your coffee place, and for Making. Things. Happen.

The truth is that many of us feel like we need permission to dream or we need validation for them from family and friends.  We keep them tucked away, not sharing for FEAR of being judged.  We let our inner gremlins nibble away until those dreams become just a distant memory.

Your  dreams and desires are the underlying thing that brings a smile to your face and energizes you.  They can change during different seasons in our lives.  That was a new concept for me!

When was the last time that you thought about your dreams and desires?  If you thought about them, did you write them down?   I know, you probably dismissed your dreams as silly, right?  Something that will never happen – a dream.

Say this to yourself: “I, (insert your name), give myself permission to dream and to live an abundant life!”

How did that feel?  I know for me it was energizing.  If you still are hesitant, keep repeating it with more conviction each time!

 

I’m sharing some of  my dreams:

I dream of coaching other women who are struggling and getting paid for it.  I dream of having my blog produce income.  I dream of quitting my part-time JOB and having my business generate enough income to pay the bills.  I desire having someone come clean my house regularly.  I dream of paying off my credit card debt and having money in the bank.  I desire to bring a smile to others with random acts of kindness on a regular basis.  I dream of taking a vacation twice a year with hubby without worrying about finances.  

Dreams and desires should not come with “ifs” or “buts”.  They are YOURS and no one else’s.  My dreams center  around making a difference – helping other people everyday.

To regain focus on my dreams, once a month I:

1. Take a break.

I know, no time in your busy schedule for a break.  Schedule it on your calendar – some time that works for YOU.  A chance for you to get a fresh perspective on where you are and where you want to be.  My best ideas come when I take some time off whether it be an outing or a fun get-together with friends.

2. Reflect.

With your dreams and desires in mind, ask yourself these questions about the last month:

What excited you the most?

What did you learn?

Did the things that happened help to reach the kind of future I envision?

 

3. Be willing to make changes.

After reflecting, I need to be willing to make changes  – tweak things all with the goal of reaching my desires.  Thinking your dreams will materialize “when you retire”,  or “when the kids grow up” is no way to lead a happy and fulfilling life.  Complaining or feeling sorry for yourself brings more negative energy.  It is all about the Law of Attraction – positive thoughts bring positive things.  Are you looking for the magic wand that will give you your dreams?

Share your dreams with us.  Let’s help each other to fulfill our dreams and desires.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Last Minute Holiday Shopping

angel ornament

I am off enjoying the day with Belinda and family but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some words of wisdom to share with my readers….

This is for those ambitious people who can actually pull off a “crafty Christmas” in 36 hours.

As I reflect on the last year, my inner gremlins always want me to head to the “shoulda”, “coulda”, “woulda” kind of things.  You know what I mean, things like wanting to pay off debt but not getting very far, vowing not use credit cards and then you do or the big one this time of year is to not spend ALOT on Christmas gifts.  Everyone’s definition of “a lot” is different but a post on Dave Ramsey‘s site about Christmas on a Crafty Budget brought back so many memories….

Somewhere in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas  and the desire to make sure Belinda had everything she wanted (but maybe did not need), I lost some of the meaning of Christmas.  Yes, I was one of those crazy moms who didn’t care that I went into debt.  I was a single mom and never wanted Belinda to feel like she was missing out on things.  Don’t get me wrong when she was younger, I used to make her clothes for special occassions including Halloween costumes.  The sewing machine was my friend.  It took up space in my dining room and when we moved to the trailer, I had an office.   A corner of the office for my consulting business and one for my sewing.  I miss those days.  Those were the days of the crafty Christmas….

Ever heard the expression “It’s the thought that counts”? I always felt like that was the polite way to say, “This gift stinks, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”  That was always my fear just before the person receiving the handmade gift opened their present.  Only to find out, the best gifts you can give are sentimental or have some thought attached to them, not a price tag.  Some of these were: table runners that are still used by family or the recipe file that contained all of recipes we loved that Grams made.

When I buy gifts now (non-Thirty One gifts that is) they are usually from a fellow crafter.  I love being able to share the amazing things that others create.  Add to my bucket list  – get back to sewing or at least making some things.

So, are you fretting about money or the lack of it and worried that you don’t have something for everyone on your list?  Are you getting sucked into the shopping frenzy, tempted to just “charge a little” this holiday season?  Why not try some of these ideas…

  • The gift of time is a great gift for that mom that never gets a break from the kids.  Or how about a set of new parents that could use a date night.  What about spending the day with YOUR mom or dad?  Special time of just hanging out together, enjoying each other’s company.
  • Homemade goodies are always well received especially by those who have little time to bake.  Why not bake a batch of cookies and drop them off to a friend, a neighbor or even that family member that you don’t know what to give them.

I was blessed this year to have a CASH Christmas as a result of my Thirty One business.  Of course, fewer gifts were bought since Belinda and Ashley just got married in August.  The best gift is that the girls are back in NJ for Christmas.  Gathering with family and extended family over the holidays will be the best gift of all.

Maybe you have already finished your shopping and are having buyers remorse.  Bless and release!!!! Now is never too late to start planning for next year.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

%d bloggers like this: