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!

Gaining Confidence Is An Ongoing Process

I have been having one of those weeks…. yup, fear and doubt has crept in.  My confidence has been shaken and I am wondering what my purpose is in life.  What happened?  I’m not sure except I have had some weird health days.  Days of feeling unsure.  Most days I can shake it then there are some when I need a confidence booster.  Surrounding myself with supportive  friends and family is part of it BUT sometimes I need to work on me.

Here are some things I do to help shake those nasty inner gremlins:

1.  Share Your Gifts & Passion with Others

Everyone has gifts and talents even when our confidence is lacking.  When I have days like this, I start writing.  Because I know sharing my struggles with others is one of my gifts.  You have accomplished great things – don’t downplay what you have achieved.  I know I am guilty of this all of the time.  The truth is, we are all good at something and there is always someone who wants to learn.

2. Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes

When I have days like this, I tend to focus on all of the mistakes I made in life. Remember negative thoughts brings more negative thoughts.  When we hold ourselves or others to high standards expecting perfection, we are usually left feeling less than, a failure, and unworthy. Give yourself a break!  Self-forgiveness is an important step towards building your self esteem and confidence.  Everyone make mistakes, you are no exception and you deserve to be forgiven.

3. Pay it Forward or Pay Yourself

Are you looking to right your wrongs or make a change due to mistakes from your past which may be holding you back?  We can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away BUT we can change the outcome.  Didn’t make school a priority in your life?  Go back and take some classes.  Maybe you weren’t there for friends and family – make amends.  As a recovering addict, my mission is to help those who are struggling because others helped m.  What mistake can you forgive yourself for so you can move on?

4. Be Solution Focused

I always say negative thoughts brings more negative – positive brings more positive, it is the way of the Universe.  So, when you are always complaining about not having enough (of anything), nothing gets accomplished. Look for solutions when things aren’t going as planned. This will take some practice before it becomes natural.  In the end, you will be able to approach a problem from a mindset of how to solve it instead of WHY ME victim mindset.

5. Smile

I know it is hard to smile when you are feeling less than BUT a little smile goes a long way. You would be surprised how it can actually change your mindset. It makes me feel good to smile, and it can also brighten someone else’s day.  In some cases this is where I advocate, fake it till you make it.   I don’t mean being fake to others, it is about learning to pick your head up and feel good along the way. The more you do it, before long, you will forget you were “faking it” and actually feed better, maybe even GOOD or GREAT!

6. Fear is Your Friend

FEAR is huge when we are not feeling confident (at least for me).  I am trying hard to use fear to my advantage! Think about it – fear shows up when you are about to step out of your comfort zone, stretch yourself and build your confidence. This is your secret weapon to growing.  When you recognize it is about to get scary, you are about to expand yourself which is HUGE confidence builder.

Despite popular belief (and my constant writing about it) I do struggle with confidence.  I am always amazed how I am more confident around people I don’t know then I am around friends or business colleagues.  Those nasty inner gremlins love to play the comparison game.

Share your struggles and your successes with us.  Let’s BUILD each other up so we are all successful in our business (and our lives).

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Guest Blogger: Shades of Amber

Today’s blog is courtesy of a fellow blogger, direct seller, accountability partner and friend – Amber Nowlin.Why I Love Direct Sales..as a customer!

It wasn’t right away, mind you. In fact, my first experience with the direct sales industry was not great at all. In college I got sold on joining a scrapbooking company. I was new to the hobby and I liked the convenience of the products. I definitely never made any money off that venture, and I’m pretty sure some of what I bought is still in my papercrafting stash more than a decade later. That company ended up going under within a few years. My next experience, about six years ago, was a considerable improvement, with a reputable health and wellness company. My sponsor was supportive and the products really did help me form some healthier habits. I still take their vitamins because the quality is that good. I even made a little money at it from time to time, but getting the compensation plan to work for me consistently was really difficult. As much as I was benefiting from using the products myself, no one in my circles was seriously interested in joining the business or consistently using the same products. While the health and wellness sector of direct sales ended up not being my dream fit of a company, it was during my first three years with that company that I really learned about the industry as a whole…and why it is AWESOME. Even as my personal business venture was failing, I was meeting highly successful sales reps who did this full time – and having a series of amazing customer experiences with several well known direct sales companies and their representatives! I fell in love with the customer experience, and I knew I wanted to also provide that experience for others.

I’m not the first person to blog about why you should consider purchasing direct sales products from your family and friends, but here’s my list of why buying from my friends and family ROCKS!

1. Convenience.
I shop online and what I want is delivered straight to my house. For consumable products, I can generally get a monthly subscription or auto-order with reduced or free shipping. I can log into any of my preferred customer accounts and alter those orders easily.

2. Quality
With most of my direct sales purchases, I have never had a bad product delivered. In fact, I can only think of one time when I had a defective product from any company I order from in over six years. Nutritional supplements, skin care, protein/meal replacement shakes, makeup, clothes, exercise programs, nail care, jewelry, books…I’ve tried a little bit of everything as a customer, and the quality in this industry is generally worth any extra I might be paying for. If the quality of the product doesn’t justify any extra cost, then the quality of another aspect certainly makes up for it…

3. Customer Service
When you purchase from most small businesses, there is a tangible benefit of a higher quality customer service experience. Small business owners, including your friends and family in direct sales, have a seriously vested interest in your customer satisfaction! Within reason and within their company policies, most reps will do whatever they can to ensure your customer satisfaction. When I had a defective product a few months ago, a rep of that company took immediate steps to get it replaced for me in a way that was fast, convenient, and free to me. I can’t get that level of service – from across the country, no less! – from a retail store or even most retail websites. Direct Sales reps will throw you parties, assist you with perfecting use of their products, keep you updated on the latest product releases tailored to your interests based on knowledge from your relationship and prior purchases, handle returns and exchanges…all of it. This is probably my favorite reason for being a loyal direct sales customer.

4. Your purchase really does help the financial success of someone you have met.
This is true of all small business purchases, not only direct sales. It may be somewhat cliche to bring it up, but all those smaller purchases you make? The commissions on those purchases help a rep’s family pay their bills or add some little luxuries to their family budget that would otherwise be out of reach. In the case of representatives who manage large teams full time, helping you with your purchases and helping their team to do the same for their customers is their full time job, and it is awesome that they are earning a full time income for it! Wouldn’t you rather your purchases directly benefit a family you have met, knowing they are fairly compensated for their work, than a bunch of strangers in a corporation who might not be fairly compensated for their efforts? I feel good about where my spending dollars are going when I purchase through direct sales!

As for my reasons for loving the direct sales life as a representative of a company, that is a different list!

Be sure to check out her blog at Shades of Amber.  She is also a Jamberry Consultant and her website is: Shades of Amber

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Everything is a Choice 

It has been a whirlwind weekend and is it crazy to say, I am grateful it is Monday.  LOL!  Thursday, I spent the day with my mom exploring farmer’s markets in the area.  Then Friday, we had date night.  Hubby and I went to see RENT.  It was amazing.  Saturday a vendor event.  Then yesterday was a full day of Thirty One style partying after church – first a home party followed by a Facebook LIVE party.  

Through this busy weekend, I learned the lesson of there is not one-size-fits-all answers and solutions to things.  We each have obstacles, struggles, and frustrations we face in our business and life but we each have a different way of handling them.  I could have been bummed out this weekend I wasn’t attending my upline’s retreat in Pigeon Forge, TN. I decided to make the most of it and keep myself busy in my own pink bubble.

I found myself talking with members of my team and other women who needed some support and encouragement.  I was grateful to be able to celebrate and encourage them so we could explore ways to make things happen as they pursue their goals.

It’s Monday and some don’t feel motivated or inspired. Some feel overwhelmed or stuck. Some are crippled by fear.  For some, things aren’t going the way they hoped or planned.  It could be as simple as not having enough time or support from their family and friends.

No matter what your challenge……

Feeling motivated is a choice. Feeling inspired is a choice. Feeling focused is a choice. Showing up and getting your work done is a choice. Pushing through fear is a choice. Not relying on the approval or validation of others is a choice. Choosing a mindset of abundance over scarcity is a choice.

I know, this is easier said than done. We all carry lots of baggage, mindset, and fears. Our experiences have shaped us and as a result determines how we navigate through our work and our life.  Life is a journey and there is always work to be done.  We need to rewrite the stories we are telling ourselves.  We need to discover the hidden inner gremlins so we can become emotionally aware for when they attack.   We need to change our mindset –  positive attracts positive – remember “The Secret“.

When we shift from feeling like things are happening to us and accept we’re choosing to experience these things (since most of it is out of our control), we can start to move forward along the way.

It is your choice to create a space and energy to feel inspired and motivated.  It your choice to be productive when we don’t really want to do anything.  It is your choice to dig deep, work through the fear and squash those inner gremlins.  It is your choice to be in the moment and embrace what is happening instead of complaining there is not enough time. It is your choice to be your own cheerleaders, instead of resenting the people who aren’t.

You can make the choice to get unstuck.

What negative things are you saying about your business or your life, which you can make the choice to change?  What are you going to do to get unstuck and move forward?

I believe in you.  Let’s move forward this week ready to conquer the world – or at least ours.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Grow Your Self Confidence

Did you know 62% of all girls feel insecure about themselves?  How about 4 in 5 women have low self-esteem?  For some low self-esteem feels like a life sentence with no chance of escape.

Self Confidence by definition is realistic confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, power, etc.

With such a simple definition, why is is so hard at times to wrap our head around the idea?   I battle the inner gremlins of low self-esteem as well as a lack of self-confidence.  Honestly, I don’t know when it all started but I’m sure it goes back to those formative years in middle school.  I’ve learned (okay, so still learning some days), we each have our own unique story, and with help we can rebuild our life and rewrite our story.

The words self-esteem and self-confidence are usually interchangeable when we talk about our struggles but there is a distinct difference between the two:

Self Esteem is determined by whether you believe you’re worthy of respect from others

Self Confidence is whether you believe in yourself.

When we rebuild our confidence, we are actually retraining our brain to recognize our worth thereby increasing our self-esteem. Here are a few of my favorite tips which have helped me fight those nasty inner gremlins.

1. Dress for Success.

I am guilty of NOT dressing for success when my confidence is waining and my self-esteem is low.  How often are you worried about what others will think of you based on how you are dressed?  Feel like you are stuck in a rut? Battling with self-consciousness?  Take a minute to focus on your appearance. Scary, right?  When you feel good about how you look, your confidence will shine through.

Have a favorite outfit which always gets you compliments?  Wear it.  Need a hair cut?  Pamper yourself and get one. What makes you feel good?  It is a simple pedicure – go get one.  I’m not saying go on a spending spree, but you need to dress for success.  Use the things in your closet or check out a local thrift store for some great finds.  Working from home, I have found the sweats and no make up are an every day thing.  I find when I “dress” for work even at home with a little bit of makeup, I feel good.  When I feel good, I am confident.

2. Positive Thinking

I know I talk about it a lot but the truth is changing the way we think can change the outcomes in our life.  There are some amazing people out there who teach this – Dana Wilde at Train Your Brain; Eryka Peskin with her fierce cheerleading; and of course, Norman Vincent Peale in his book Positive Self Image or The Secret.

Negative thoughts bring more negative thoughts.  When you learn to shift your mindset, you gain the ability to see things in a new light, which in turn provides new alternatives and better outcomes.  Daily affirmations from Dana Wilde and The Secret have helped me to fight and win most days the battle with the inner gremlins.

3. Invest in others deeply

This one probably sounds the craziest right?  If you have low confidence and low self-esteem, how can you possibly get to know others and build a relationship with them?

By taking the focus off of you and putting it on them.  As you start getting to know someone else, asking questions beyond the surface they will see you are genuinely interested in them.  As we start to care for others helping them to feel seen and heard while building a rapport with them, we are letting our own light shine.

We talk about this a lot in direct sales but the truth is when I do it every day, I have gained confidence.  I started many years ago as a newly recovering addict who was helping individuals during the early years of the AIDS epidemic.  My focus was on helping to improve their quality of life and through it, I became an expert in my field.  Confident, letting my light shine.  Most days, I consider my work in direct sales the same way.  Helping others with organizing or gift giving or just feeling good about themselves.  When I focus on helping others instead of “needing sales”, my confidence sparkles.  As an introvert (yes, I really am), I know it can be hard so it is something I am aware of and practice being more open to receiving every day.

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What is your best tip for boosting your confidence or has helped you to raise your self-esteem?  Share them with us…

Have  ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

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