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!

 

 

Choose Forgiveness and Set Yourself Free

Thank you to Mary Southerland for today’s message.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you ~ Colossians 3:13, NIV

Do you remember the last words of Jesus as He hung on the cross? “It is finished!” The most literal translation would be “paid in full.”

I will never forget paying off my very first car loan. After sending in my forty-eighth and final payment, I celebrated the fact that I finally owned my bright blue and ever-so-compact Chevrolet Vega – from bumper to bumper. There were those who said you couldn’t drive a Vega – you had to wear it. Others described the bright color as strangely “unique.” But to me, it was the most beautiful car in the world because it was mine.

I quickly found other places to spend the once allocated car payment and went on with life – until the day I opened my mailbox to find the loan papers for my car. Stamped in big red letters across the document were the words, “Paid in full.” I danced a jig right there in my driveway because I was finally free of that debt.

Part of forgiveness is releasing the person from the debt we think they owe us. Refusing to let go of the hurt and pain someone has caused in our lives will always rob us of our joy.

We can choose to release our pain and cut our losses, instead of allowing the weight of an unpaid debt deplete our mental and emotional energy. In other words, we can forgive the debt and free ourselves.

Forgiving the debt is a deliberate choice that is made by an act of your will. You may not feel forgiving. It doesn’t matter. Just do it, and many times the feelings will follow that choice – other times they won’t. Feelings are irrelevant, but obedience is crucial. Do not base the validity of what you are doing on how you feel. Make the choice to forgive … and then obey.

Someone once said: “We put our resentments in cold storage and then pull the switch to let them thaw out again. Our grudges are taken out to the lake of prayer to drown them, and we end up giving them a swimming lesson. How often have we torn up the canceled note, but hang on to the wastebasket that holds the pieces? This is not to say that human forgiveness does not occur; only that it is rare and that much that passes for forgiveness is often not so at all.”

God is the One who heals painful memories. Forgiveness puts us in the correct posture for Him to do so in our lives. Over the years, I have learned several life-changing truths about forgiveness:

If we make the choice to forgive, God will supply the forgiveness.

There should be no limit to our forgiveness because there is no limit to His.

Forgiveness is not a feeling or an emotion. Forgiveness is a deliberate choice.

Forgiveness is our greatest need and God’s greatest gift.

While we cannot change the past, we can change our response to the past and dictate the power it has over us.

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator.

If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist.

But because our greatest need was and is forgiveness, God sent a Savior.

Jesus Christ is calling us all to a higher place, a place of forgiveness. The choice is ours to make. Today, we can choose freedom by choosing to forgive.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

September Basics

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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.

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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!

A Scrapbook of the Future

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I have just come home from an AMAZING Thirty One National Conference.  This is just a “few” of the friends that I got to hang out with on The Beacon of Hope team.  I am reflecting on all that I heard and realize that this was life changing in so many ways for me.

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This year’s theme was “What Matters Most?”.  If you were asked that question, how would you answer it.  Would you say: Family, Faith, Friends, kids, work, travel, or giving back?  For me, it is faith, family and friends.  But I realized that if I looked at where I spend most of my time, it was definitely NOT in that order OR on those 3 things.

What about you…. do you spend your time on the things that matter most to you?  Are you juggling lots of balls (tasks)?  At the end of the day, is your energy drained and you have nothing to give to the things that matter most?  I have been there.  I know what that is like. I actually thought that when I left my crazy full-time job things would be different.  I would have time for the 3 things that matter most to me.  WOW!  Was this weekend an eye opener when I realized that I was so far from where I wanted to be.

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I know that many of you have heard of vision boards and if you are like me, maybe you have been unsure what to put there.  Maybe you have even avoided them.  Maybe you put the things on there that you “thought” should be there.  Maybe your fears have kept you from dreaming BIG.  Sound familiar?  Maybe those Pinterest boards or Instagram pictures have you comparing your dreams to that of others.

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Let’s change the picture (actually, the mind set).  How many of you have made scrapbooks of your kids, family vacations, life accomplishments, etc?  Things that have happened in the past that we want to cherish their memory, right?  What if you were to do a scrapbook of the future?  I can see the eyes roll as well as the doubts and negativity creeping in.  HOLD ON!!!  Let’s break it down into 4 sections:

  • Relationships
  • Business
  • Finances
  • Kids

What if you were to visualize (DREAM) where you want to be in each of these areas?  Set aside about 30 minutes for each one and start making notes or flipping through magazines for ideas.  Focus on one at a time.

Relationships: Not in a relationship, do you long for one?  If so, what would that person be like?  What qualities would he/she possess?  Are you in a relationship, do you want to get married?  Are you married, what kind of relationship do you want with your spouse?  Is your relationship having some rough spots, what would you like to have happen?

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Business:  Do you have your own business (or would you like one)?  Do you have a career – what is your goal, where do you want to grow?  If you want your own business, why is it important to you?  What would it look like?  

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Finances:  Are you in debt and want to pay it off?  Do you want to own a house? What would it look like?  Do you want money to travel? Travel to where?  Do you want to make a difference in the lives of others – what would that look like?

Kids:  Do you have them or do you want them?  What would you like their life to look like growing up?  

For some this may seem like a silly exercise BUT did you know that if you HEART wants it your HEAD will get you there.  It is true!  Your current circumstances DO NOT control your dreams.  Your dreams are YOUR DREAMS!  They are not anyone else’s.  Others may think they are silly.  Who cares?  They are YOUR DREAMS!  You need to BELIEVE that all things are possible.

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I challenge you to make your own scrapbook of the FUTURE!  Share it with us.  I am headed out to find some magazines because we don’t get any at the house.  I am read to get my scrapbook together so my head will start heading to where my heart wants to be.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

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