10 Best Tips to Managing Money

MoneymanagementMoney management is a very tricky subject that can leave many feeling apprehensive. Finances can lead to arguments in relationships and lots of worries, maybe even depression among some. I am well into my 40s and I have talked to people my age that have been putting off saving for retirement….NO! Some have never heard of having an emergency fund for a rainy day. It is never too late to get your finances on the right track so we need to get started and begin to make good financial choices so that we can live the life that we dream of.

So here are 10 money management tips to get us started on the right track…

  1. Acknowledge your priorities. Before we even think about creating a budget, we need to know what our priorities are. We have to see that our money goals match up with our money habits. Any part of your financial life that makes your stomachmoneymanagement2 sick at the mere thought of it is now a priority. Whatever concerns you most, make that a priority.
  2. Know your monthly income. This is so important because you cannot manage your money without knowing what you earn. This number is easier to know when you are a salaried employee. If you work for yourself, like I do, you have to estimate this number. Once you determined that number, do not forget to add your side gigs in.
  3. Track where you spend your money. Some banks have software that will show you where you are spending your money on the websites. This process can be overwhelming so taking it one month at a time. This means you have to keep receipts, credit card statements, bank statements, housing and utility bills, and those electronic payments like Amazon and PayPal records. Write down everything in categories and label your wants and needs.
  4. moneymanagement3Have a plan. First, we have to look at our spending habits. Look at your expenses, if you are spending money for a gym membership and you never go, it is not important so it can get cut out. Go walk in the park for free. Do you go out to eat every day? That is not necessary and can get cut down or out. Go do some grocery shopping and buy things that you can prepare and bring to work for lunch. Cut out what is not a need and/or not important to you and start saving to build your emergency fund.
  5. Stick to the plan. Once you figure out the plan, you have to stick to it! Give it a full month. You may have to tweak some things until it works for you. Find a budget that you may want to try. There are a few budget worksheets out there. My boys have vision boards so that they have visual goals that they see often. I believe this helps you stick to your plan because it keeps your goals fresh in your mind.
  6. Expect emergencies. We should always have some easily accessible liquid funds.  They say you should have six months of income saved, maybe you can start with having 1-3 months. You never know what may happen out there. You or your moneymanagement4partner may lose your job, or some medical emergency may arise, or a tire blows on your car. How you put away money away for an emergency is up to you. Having money to deal with problems as they come definitely gives you some relief and makes you feel more secure. Most emergencies have enough stress with them as it is; not having the finances to take care of them will add more.
  7. Save early and often. The sooner we save, the sooner we build interest. Whether you do a savings account or an IRA or 401k, you will still need to consider the future. I just started saving when I shop. No matter if its the grocery store or anywhere else, when the receipt says, “you saved $….,” I actually put it away so I really save it and not just spend it somewhere else.
  8. Take advantage of free money. If your employer matches your 401k, you need to take advantage of that, it’s free money! Another place to look is your health insurance. Some build up a little side savings account.
  9. Look at your debt again. You may need to consider refinancing your car for a lower rate or transferring a credit card balance to one with a lower interest rate. It is worth combing through your debt to find out where you can save money to put away.
  10. moneymanagement1Find what works for you and keep doing it. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Once you find a system that works for you, do not get distracted by the new trends, apps, and TV financial advisors advice. It is sometimes tempting to try the next new thing but if you are in a good rhythm, keep it going. Your focus will pay off!

Comfort Is For The Boring

comfort1There is nothing like a comfortable bed with lots of fluffy pillows and a nice warm blanket. I know this and I want that in my life…every night! I like my bed and other places that I sit and/or rest to comfortable, but what about my life? Just how comfortable do I want to be?

If you are presently comfortable with your life, your routine, and your relationships…I think it is time to force yourself to get uncomfortable.

Something that we need to think about is the more we sit still and be “happy”, the less we actually grow. The more we stretch beyond our comfort zone, the more we grow.

You know what is not comfortable for you, personally. Talking to people who are where you want to be in life. Going to places you want to go alone. Taking a chance on starting that business or writing that book you have been dreaming about.

When you realize that you just wash, rinse, and repeat daily, you have to throw a comfort2monkey wrench in that comfort and push yourself to do something out of your comfort zone. Start questioning yourself and your motives, saying no when you used to say yes, or yes when you always said no, go out instead of making excuses to stay in (that one used to be me….frequently!).

Getting out of our comfort zone is really the only way that we will see growth in this life. The more we do, the more confident we will be and the more self-assured. We may fail at times, but we will eventually fail our way to success if we learn something from the failure and take notes.

If you think you know your path and have everything you need to get there, you are way too comfortable and you may get your feelings hurt. Our thoughts cannot be set in stone about our future. God is the only one who knows and He will not let us know anything before its time. So for us, our path will never be clear, so we should just strap up our boots and enjoy the ride… and get uncomfortable. We never know how much more fully we will enjoy our lives or how truly happy we can be until we let go and face being out of our comfort zone.

comfort4So if you are living a mundane and routine life, I urge you to throw yourself a curve ball every once in a while. There is so much out there in the world to explore and learn. And what about those things that pop in your head that you want to try? Do not leave those things undiscovered if it is in your power to do them! I am sure that is not how you want to live. To do things you have never done, meet new people, have new discoveries and explore new places…that is when you will feel like you are doing more than existing.. you are LIVING and being the person you truly want to be. How do they say it? You will be “Living your best life!”

The only way to get there is just to do it! Get out of your comfort zone and see what your life can truly be. Get uncomfortable! There is nothing wrong with doing something for the first time, even at our age. We can be awkward and embarrassed while having new experiences, it’s ok. We can embrace those moments that we find ourselves in where we do not know what to do or say, oh well.

We are the only ones responsible for our lives and how we live in the end. You choosecomfort3 your emotions at the end of the day. How do you want to live this life? What attitude toward your life experiences do you want to have? Do you want to remain stagnant and “comfy” or grow while experiencing more of what life has to offer? I am learning more and more that when I open myself up to doing new things and learning from them, I feel more alive and confident in myself…the feeling is like no other!

So just do it…get uncomfortable and live your best life

 

 

New Year…Same fabulous me!

newyearsameme2Yes it is a new year and we are all looking to be greater. Lose lots of weight, read more, get financially fit, travel more, open a business, write a book, or erase all of the negativity in our lives. New year, new me is all I keep hearing. I used to say that but then I thought about it. Why do I want to be a “new” me? I love me…just want to better. I am absolutely fabulous!! Not perfect by any means and I definitely need improving but I don’t want to be a new me. I am working to build onto the old me. Working to be a little more fabulous. Not each year, but as I think of new ways throughout the year, I will continue to build.

Building on to the old me is about getting up in the morning and making the decision to live my life and follow my dreams with no apologies. Whatever it is that you want to do to make your life a little better today, do it. Whether it is making music or singing, an art masterpiece, creating a budget that works, or starting your own business…let’s go! Get to work. That work is whatever needs to be done to get closer to your dream. I know that I feel so accomplished when I can look at my day and see that I am one step closer to

Newyearsameme

Same beautiful me…Only better!

seeing what I have been dreaming about. It is a Blessing to be able to just see another day but…what are you going to do with it? Accomplish something everyday! EVERYDAY! That is what matters because that is the proof that we are moving forward.

Do something…make something! Stop just telling everyone about it. Don’t be satisfied with just having a dream.

We are all dreamers and really if you don’t have a dream, you are just existing. Just breathing and that is not cool, in my opinion anyway. Letting life just blow you where it may is scary. I mean, the wind is unpredictable and it can be cold, why would you trust it more with your life than you trust yourself(and God for that matter)? Making those dreams a reality or at least trying to see if they can be is living! We have to work our a***s off to get those dreams out of heads and it truly will be worth it. I am working pretty hard to research and get my blog out in front of others and my other business as well. It is cool to do something to work toward our goals but we also have to BE the someone who does something.

newyearsameme1Every single day, we need to do something. It is cool to have a day off of work and decide to do nothing all day every once in a while but who can really do absolutely nothing all…day. Nothing?

Don’t just write your book, be the author of that book. Don’t just start a company, be the founder. Put more that just your foot in it. Life is really all about what we do every day. You can think about what you want to do, but if you never DO, you will never feel like you have accomplished anything. Work does not always feel good, especially while you are doing it. The work is important though, it matters. We cannot only work to be somebody; we have to focus on doing the work. I want to be special. But I want to do special things, accomplish bigger things more that I want to be special. I don’t know about you.

I listen to a lot of people talk in my profession and the same conversation is happening every visit with a lot of them. Talking about what they want to do, who they want to be. If every month I see you, the conversation is no closer to the dream, what is the point in talking? I cannot take you seriously if everything is a conversation…you have to do something! Sheesh! Eventually all of the lip service you are giving people will get old and we are going to want to see some proof. That includes yourself telling others (and you) IMG_0720about what/who you want to be. Seeing the work you have done is what makes others take notice. If you want respect, you have to do what it takes to earn it. I haven’t seen any ads in the Sunday paper (I am a young couponer) with anyone giving respect away and you cannot buy it.  We have to earn it. Work on the things that matter and put you closer to what you talk about doing/being. Everyday you put a little more effort to do the things that matter, you will earn the respect that you feel you deserve.

Set real goals for yourself, short term and long term. Do what you love instead of worrying about who you are trying to be and what people are going to think about it. DO SOMETHING! I am determined to get out there and make many things happen. I am going to do things that I enjoy and things that get me closer to my dream and every once in a while this will be the same thing. I believe that if I am focused on doing something more than being something, I will see more of what I dream actually happen. That is the path that I am choosing for my 2018. What are you up to?

Let’s Get It Started

LetsgetitstartedI cannot tell you how many bright ideas that I have had that have yet to pass the starting position. I am honestly quite busy but I know that I have the time to put more than a thought and a journal entry into a few of those ideas. I admit that I try to put as many things on my plate as I can so that I stay busy and it can make a girl crazy! The things that I do attempt get finished, it is just that I am completely worn out after them and I have little time for anything else. Time management and learning to say no are going to be at the top of my list for the New Year, that is for sure.

I have a new planner on the way and goals that I have set for this year are going to see me as a more organized and accomplished being (giggles from excitement). I have been using my meditation and quiet time to map out a vision board and this girl is going to see plenty of good in the coming year. How am I getting there? What is the plan? I am evaluating my past attempts and experiences and making the changes from there. I have learned a lot from previous choices and I am ready to make my goals a reality. Let me share with you what I have learned…letsgetitstarted1

  1. Enjoy what you are doing or trying to do. It sounds simple enough but many of us end up spending most of our day doing things that we do not enjoy. Why do we do that? When you have an idea….for anything at all, you are more than likely going to find yourself hitting a few dead ends. That doesn’t mean that you need to quit altogether and go back to doing what you are comfortable with. We just have to step back and find another way to get there. Everything that we do will not always go well all of the time; we just have to love the process of getting to where we want to go as much as finally getting there.
  2. Be in love or fall in love with your ideas/goals/dreams. You know what they are! The things that I am working on are definitely things I am passionate about. You know, those things that make you so excited you can burst from the inside when you are thinking about them or make you so full you want to cry when you visualize the moment you realize you did it. They are part of your purpose and they are the things that make the rest of your life a little easier to deal with. The thought of what that idea/goal/dream can be should give you the motivation to push forward and forget about quitting until you get there.
  3. Mind your budget. Depending on your idea, this budget has the potential to get out of control. Budgets are crucial and I work on doing one for everything…sometimes. There are times when I hit the mark and others, not so much. Seeing a budget helps us to measure our goals, making them more tangible. Numbers help us to see if and when those ideas can become a reality with what we have on hand. If you don’t see enough resources, you can be creative with what you have before looking for outside sources. If you are like me, you want to do things yourself, which is another thing that I learned about.
  4. “No man is an island”. We know that saying and for some of us, we are working on letsgetitstarted2believing that (my hand raised). It is very rare that we have all that we need within ourselves to accomplish our goals. We need help! And so what if others know we cannot do it alone. We have to network. There are few things that we can do without meeting others who have been there so that we see those dreams of ours as a reality. Talk to people that are where you want to be or read about their journeys. For the most part, there is a person or a group that is already doing something similar to what you are trying to do and not getting paid for it.  Join them and bring value to the people that you are meeting with. If you don’t find that group, create it.
  5. Prepare yourself for change. I am not one of those people who have to see things done the same way every time. I am very spontaneous and flexible. I think that is part of why I do not get worked up when things do not work out. It can be frustrating, don’t get me wrong, but it will not completely knock me out. Embracing change is not a strong point for many but it can save anyone a lot of stress if they learned how. It is best to not get fixed on things happening one way. A new way of thinking or doing things can be refreshing and can set things on a greater path than you originally planned.
  6. Tell the world! This one is huge for me because I am not good at this one. I am a quiet person when it comes to sharing who I am and what I am doing. I have no idea why I am such a private person (yet I started a blog, right). Maybe it is because I have problems trusting that the people I know will actually support a project I have or maybe I have a problem with rejection. I am not sure and I do have issues with both of those at times. I am learning that I have to go outside of my circle for authentic support and be bold and confident in what I am doing. If I don’t believe in it, I cannot convince anyone else to. I know that I have to be ready for all types of feedback and advice and I am. I also know how to weed out the good from the bad and keep it moving. Feedback is important for a lot things that happen in our lives but we cannot get caught up in the opinions of others. We also have to know that we should not worry about things being perfect, nothing really is. We just have to be careful not to just share any ol’ thing with the world. We have to give our best at the time and work on improving things from there.

letsgetitstarted3Whatever it is that you are planning on trying or doing in the upcoming year, do it! Do it afraid. Do it with boldness…just do it! If you are like me, you may be tired of creeping your way to the place you want to be. Tired of letting someone’s opinion make you back away from the idea. Get in your quiet place and make a plan, set a goal, journal your dream. Get ready to have the time of your life on a journey to everything that you want to do/be. Celebrate yourself with every small accomplishment along the way. Love on yourself with every little failure as well. Write it down…make it plain…get it done!

‘Tis The Season

Tis the season2I truly do love this time of year! I love the weather because I get to wear my cute boots and scarves. I love the sales, music, and the friendly faces too. Right next to the people with those friendly faces, are the ones who absolutely dread the holiday…yet, they still get out there with everyone else. Why?!!! I do not get that! Looking all irritated because they feel like they have to run up a credit card bill and empty out their accounts to make someone they love semi-happy.  I refuse to drive myself crazy trying to give everyone everything on their list, and do it all in 30 days. We all know that the Christmas season does not shift around…meaning, it comes every year at the same time! The prices are not always something to celebrate at this time because many stores raise their prices so that you will pay the real price after you get your “60%” off. We swipe those cards and give the credit card companies an opportunity to make a lot more money off of us if we pay the minimum balance, so where are we saving?

I have enough bills to deal with throughout the year so I am mindful of this time of year and the “bargains” it may bring. I would like to enjoy the season and still be on good financial footing when the new year begins. I have been reading some about finance and budgeting and I have been using some new ways to keep my stress level down and my wallet balanced during heavy spending times, including the summer, school, vacations, birthdays and Christmas.

  • Tis the season1Set a budget and stick to it! I used to buy things just because I could and it would end up being something that would probably not be used, it was just on sale. Am I the only one? We do not need to impress others with our ability to create debt. Look at your finances and create a budget that gives you air to breath. If you need someone to help you stay accountable to your spending, get someone!
  • If you think you need to, earn some extra cash. There are plenty stores that hire for the holiday season so get out there and do what you need to in order to help your family have a memorable Christmas and not put any significant dents in your main income. You can always take on more hours at your present job if you do not want to take on another job. I found a mobile app where you can do surveys and make extra money as well, Swagbucks. There is also Field Agent. With them, you go around scanning items in stores that you frequent and make money for each scan. It really does work and has plenty of positive reviews. Check them out!
  • Sell things that you have and do not need, use or want. Get rid of it! Go ahead. ItTis the Season is taking up space and you can potentially make money off of it. I am currently giving away purses (you have no idea how hard that is) and maybe a few pairs of shoes.  Someone is probably looking for what you don’t need anymore. I see a lot of people selling things on Facebook yard sales and other places. You never know what you can make and be able to purchase gifts for the family without having to create more debt.
  • Be creative with your gifts. Think about the people you want to purchase gifts for. They are not all the same and some of them already have too many scarves, ties, and pajamas at this point. You can always make something unique or plan an excursion that they would appreciate. I coupon so some of my loved ones may be getting gift baskets with practical everyday things that they can use. That saves them money and the time it takes to shop for the items. Be creative and “out of the box”; most of the time those gifts turn out to be the best and most memorable ones.
  • Tis the season4Pay your bills ASAP! If you did have to use credit cards, try to pay the debt off as quick as you can. The longer you sit on it, the more interest builds and that $9.99 sweater you purchased will really end up being a whole lot more depending on your rate. I know it may be hard to do, but just try not to use them at all. If you have no choice, budget your spending on them. I do not really use mine much because the plan is to be credit card debt free by the end of next year and it is a reality for me because I only have one to go!

This is the time of year to show love to our families and also strangers. Trying to make it through the holiday season without significant debt can be hard, but with careful planning and sacrifice, we just might be able to do it. Giving gifts at Christmas does not have to sneak up on us. I know that it’s coming so planning throughout the year allows a little less stress and gives time to actually enjoy the season and the reason for it. Happy Birthday Jesus! Tis the season3