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!

Feel Good Friday!

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Today is a day filled with mixed emotions….Today would have been my Aunt Elsie’s 68th birthday.  She was my mom’s baby sister.  She was Belinda’s “buddy“.  She became a Weston angel in 1999.  My past blogs on this day have focused on family and been all about Elsie’s cancer journey. Today I decided to change it up and talk about a path to happiness.  Yes, I miss Elsie – everyday.  I realized that she would not want me dwelling on the past – she would want me to be happy, enjoying the moment while remembering the good times and not the struggle.

Elsie

With the help of some tips from Valerie Burton, we are going to talk about journaling to reflect and shift your attitude in a positive direction.

In her book, Successful Women Think Differently, Valerie talks about the research of Dr. Laura King, a professor at University of Missouri, who discovered that writing about “your best possible future self” actually has health benefits such as boosting your immune system.  Apparently, writing about your life has a very positive impact on your emotions. Then when you combine that with some powerful questions, you will be prompted towards happiness triggers and you’ll feel a shift in your emotions in a matter of minutes.

Here are three questions to do just that:

1. What are you looking forward to tomorrow? (Or tonight/this week/this season?)

No matter what you are looking forward to – dinner with friends, a favorite show or vacation – thinking about it makes you smile.  Anticipation is a happiness trigger. So, the inner gremlins are squashed.  The positive emotions create positive energy.

2. What was your favorite moment of the day and why was it meaningful to you?

It is all about gratitude. It may not be easy but you need to sift through the moments of your day and find the shiny, golden nugget.  No matter how small it may be, find that golden nugget.  Then to deepen the positive emotion created, then reflect upon why you are grateful for it.

3. What achievement are you most proud of (in your relationship/career/finances/health) and why?

Alright, I know the eyes are rolling! Many of you have the tendency to gloss over your efforts or beat yourself up when things aren’t perfect, right? When was the last time you reflected on something you are proud of?  Overachievers and people with high standards tend to take themselves for granted and with the feeling that you’ve never done enough, despite your best efforts, your progress isn’t worthy of celebration yet. BOOO!!!  You push through obstacles and challenges every day and continue moving forward. That is an achievement. Pick something from your life and journal about what you are most proud of and why you’re so proud. What did it take for you to get there, what did you have to push through, and what does it tell you about your ability to handle the opportunities and challenges that lie before you now?

My challenge is to journal yourself to a happier place. I will be journal into a happy place knowing that Elsie is with me.  I have so many memories but her strength stands out the most.  Her fight, her commitment to our family and her ability to dream big are what help me to keep going when my faith starts to waiver. I DREAM BIG and hold fast for I know that in God’s time, my Weston angels will help me to reach my dreams and my goals. I step out of my comfort zone and I know that she is right behind me cheering me on.

Happy Birthday, Elsie. I miss you and I know that even though you don’t like parties – there is one going on in heaven today just for you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Your Best Intentions

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We all have good intentions, right?  You say you want to do something but you don’t.  I don’t necessarily mean those really BIG things that you dream about; I am talking about those obtainable dreams.  Maybe things don’t happen the way you want for a multitude of reasons.  We have all been there, done that and probably have an unwanted t-shirt.

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You start out with a clear vision or plan.  Maybe it is a new kitchen (that’s one of mine), the next promotion or a full calendar (this one too).  Maybe it is keeping your house clean – yes, I have grown attached to my dust bunnies.

You have or know the list of action steps necessary to make it happen.  A plan written out and maybe it is even scheduled on your planner. Then STUFF  happens – you procrastinate, fear creeps in, you get side tracked with life and the next thing you know that clear vision is a muddy mess.

Yes, I know that it may seem a little silly to compare DREAMS with cleaning the house but everyone’s vision is different.  So no matter what your vision is I want you to consider doing these steps:

Step #1: Write down what you really want and why you want it. Are you looking to please someone else or is it something you really want?  Set aside the doubts, the fears and the daily concerns.  YOU and only you have the power to light the fire and get yourself moving.

Step #2: Set aside time to quietly and honestly answer the following questions.  I know that this is probably really tough for you because as busy women, we never seem to have any time, right?  But you can do it – I believe in you.

  1. What do I want?
  2. What is important to me about having it?
  3. How will my life change if I have it?
  4. How will I feel when I have it?
  5. Who else will be impacted by this achievement?
  6. How will those I love see me when I achieve this?
  7. Will I feel different about me? How?
  8. How will this change the outcome of my life or the lives of those I love?

Write the answers in a special spot – for some it may be a journal while for others it could be a spot on your phone or if live by your planner, maybe it is on there.  You want it to be someplace that you can go to when you find that you are distracted or procrastinating.

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Life is full of changes which sometimes means that your ‘what and why’ will change, too.  Your special spot will be a great source of inspiration when life gets challenging.

Step #3: Follow through is the key even when things are hard.  Motivation comes from within and when you know what you really want and why you want it – you are unstoppable.  This inner power helps you to set boundaries to the things that distract you.  It allows you to be ready for the things that challenge you on the journey to realizing your dreams!

So, whether your dream is a dream kitchen or a clean house or a new job or promotion or even to grow your current business remember to tap into that inner power.  You said you will do XYZ but will you do it?  You said you will see your vision become a reality but will you?  What is holding you back?

Share your thoughts with us….Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

A Christmas Gift

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Today’s blog is a reprint from Valorie Burton.

This week, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. If you’re not careful, it can be easy to miss that fact in the midst of all the shopping, parties and gift giving. But we can’t miss it. And we can’t miss the many gifts He gave to us during the 33 years He purposefully walked the earth. His mission statement can be found in John 10:10: “I have come that they might have life, and life more abundantly.” So, in celebration of CHRISTmas, rather than sharing my own words of inspiration. I’d like to share some words of wisdom from the greatest life coach ever – words that came directly from the mouth of Jesus himself – words that can help you get unstuck and be unstoppable, if you follow them. Enjoy .. and Merry Christmas!

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1. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

The tragic shootings recently are a somber reminder of the darkness that exists in our world. We must not forget that each of us can be a light. Now, more than ever, the world needs your light to shine – through the love you show and the gifts you share. Don’t hide your light . Don’t miss the opportunity to be a blessing. This Christmas, be less concerned about what you get and more concerned about what you give. Let your light shine. When you love others, they get a glimpse of God.

2. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Few things make it harder to get unstuck and be unstoppable than exhaustion. If you are worn out or becoming burned out, maybe you need some rest. You can become burned out chasing goals. In fact, research shows that we deplete our energy while reaching a goal. It is important to replenish that energy before moving on to the next goal. But when you shift into overdrive, racing from one achievement to the next, it is often fear that drives you. Stop. Rest. Worship. Let God refill your tank.

3. “If you have faith and do not doubt … you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive what you ask for in prayer.” – Matthew 21:21-22

Fear is the obstacle that gets us stuck. Faith is the antidote. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). You have to believe it before you see it – that’s the key to getting unstuck. Have a vision for where you are going – and believe so strong in it that you move towards it even though you can only see the vision in your imagination. That’s how you bring your vision to fruition. You must believe and not doubt. As we move into a new year, what hope do you need to rekindle? Ask for it in prayer. Believe and don’t doubt. If you do, you will take action in synch with divine orchestration and see your vision come to life.

At the end of each blog, Valerie issues a challenge with a journaling assignment.  I LOVE this assignment

What will you do this Christmas to let your light shine? What burden do you need to surrender to God? What have you asked for in prayer, but doubted you will receive? What will you do to strengthen your belief that you can receive it?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Do you pinch yourself off?

My immediate response was “What do you mean”?  Why would I pinch myself off from anything? I read an article where the writer explained her thoughts on this subject:

If I didn’t stand up publicly for what I truly believed in, no matter how much I talked about it behind the scenes, I would never be able to fulfill my own burning desire to help enough women to live lives they dream of.

By standing in the shadows, and feeling more comfortable being the voice for someone else or staying silent about my beliefs, I had essentially pinched myself off from my big dream.

WOW!  Did you ever think that you were “pinching” yourself off from what you really wanted?  Here are some questions to help you discover if you are limiting your ability to reach your dreams.

 

 

1) Do you put yourself and your needs last?

Okay, let’s be honest – if you are a mom, a wife, a daughter or wear any of the other many hats that women wear every day, we have done this.  Were you ever told that you were “selfish” when you put yourself first?  Guess what, you pinched yourself off.

 

2) Do you feel unworthy or undeserving of your greatest dreams and desires?

Have you thought it for even a moment?  We get what we believe and what we focus on. So when your self-talk and beliefs are negative, it sets off a chain that conspires against creating your own success. Yup, you pinched yourself off.

3) Do you march up to the line with your dream or goal and then pull back?

Fear will stop you in your tracks.  Yes, I am right there with you.  That inner gremlin called FEAR rears his nasty head and I back down.  I have hesitated for a moment, doubting and YUP, I have pinched myself off.  Fear, and fear of failure in particular, keeps many women from even trying.

4) Do you ignore the need to invest in yourself?

Does your money trickle away and leave you with nothing to show for it? How much money do you invest in your personal and professional growth each year?  Honestly, my response was always “it isn’t in the budget”. UGH!  As a result, there wasn’t money in the budget.  I spoke the negative and it happened.  The truth is that you need to expand and bolster your skills, abilities and awarenesses.  When I changed the mindset and started investing in ME (personally and professionally) things started to change personally and professionally.

5) Do you avoid making a plan to get where you want to go?

Do you write down your goals?  Studies show that your chances of success get significantly greater when you write them down then if you don’t.  The plan doesn’t have to be a book, it can be a simple journal entry that will keep you focused and on track.

For me, these questions were a wake up call as to why I could be missing opportunities that will support my dreams.  What about you?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, guess what you are likely pinching yourself off, holding yourself back from sharing your great gifts with the world.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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