A New Money Attitude in Four Steps!

Well, we crossed the half year mark last week. At this time of year, I like to stop and reflect on how it is going with my goals. January seems a long time ago and many, many things have come up to take my eye off the goal. So how are you doing with your financial goals? If you aren’t happy (or you didn’t set any financial goals!) then let’s turn it around.

 

A few weeks ago, I talked about the language that I use around money and financial topics and that ties in directly to uncovering your money attitude. If you didn’t get a chance to read that, take a look, and then think about your own attitude. Sometimes there is emotional and mental money clutter that may be holding you back or weighing you down so as you look at setting and achieving your money goals, let’s also look at 4 steps you can take today to sweep out some of your emotional money baggage and get your financial goals moving forward.

 

  1. Tell the truth – to yourself and your spouse

Now is the time to ‘fess up and get it all out in the open. If there are bills and credit card balances, let’s pull out those statements, log in to those accounts, and face the truth. You can’t get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are. Admitting to mistakes and short-comings is the first step to healing, redemption, and a new action plan.

  1.  Take responsibility for where you are

As you look at your savings accounts and your debts, you just have to own where you are and what the situation is. Even if the other person did the spending, you did the avoiding, the looking the other way or the abdicating of responsibility.  If you didn’t take an active role, at least monthly, in reviewing and monitoring spending, account balances and debt, you abdicated, avoided or denied.  You are still responsible for your inaction.  If you fell asleep in the backseat, don’t blame him that you woke up in Canada when you wanted to go to Mexico!  Wake up!  Look at the map!  Help navigate!

 

This applies even if you are single. You chose to look the other way when the statements came or when the savings didn’t happen. You chose not to actively make a plan for your financial life and you just “let it happen.” You got in the car and just started driving without a map or destination in mind. That was then, and now you are awake and alert and ready to…..

 

  1.  Forgive

Forgive yourself for mistakes, bad judgment, ignorance, apathy, spending, ignoring, avoiding, materialism, greediness, and other grave financial sins.  Forgive your spouse for all of the above.  To paraphrase Maya Angelo, when you know better, you do better. You may not have paid attention in the past but today is a new day! Now you are ready to turn it around and seize control. You cannot move forward if you are anchored to past mistakes, so LET IT GO!! Forgive and…

 

  1.  Change your perspective  

There is no more blaming – you and your spouse are one economic unit.  You both have equal responsibility for your financial health and well-being.  Instead of seeing your spouse as trying to control you, limit you, or take away from you, view your participation and “frugality” as a gift that you give to the person you love.  There is no greater gift than financial peace-of-mind whether you have a partner or not.  Everyone should be determined to chart their financial course, define their ideal financial life, and create a step-by-step plan to move toward that life.

 

View a spending plan as a framework for helping you get everything that you ever dreamed of and a way of eliminating all of the “trash and trinkets” that are taking away from your big dreams. Start seeing the shiny objects that are vying for your attention (and your money) as obstacles to what you truly want and create a plan to get those things out of your way so that you can focus on the big dreams – a home, travel, financial security – whatever the most important aspects of your life may be. Make a plan to fund the big goals, be willing to save for them, and have the determination to continue to move slowly, step-by-step, month-by-month, little-by-little toward them.
Then What?

These 4 steps are not “one and done.”  It’s not “paint the house;” whew, that’s done for 5 years.  It’s the laundry; it’s done for today but tomorrow or the next day, sweaty, smelly clothes will reappear. You can’t avoid the truth, the responsibility, the forgiveness, or the change in perspective any more than you can ignore those nasty workout clothes.  If you do, you get the same result – a big smelly mess!

 

Understand that there will be mistakes and missteps so frequently tell the truth, accept responsibility, forgive, and think about the new perspective of embracing opportunities to save for the big, important things and push aside the little distracting things. Keep looking for those tips and tricks to save here and save there and keep revising, reviewing, and revisiting the plan. Old habits die hard so be gentle on yourself and your spouse and try, try again. Saving is a process that happens over time. Changing behaviors, habits and attitudes is a process as well. If you keep at it, you will find yourself with a healthier savings account and a new money attitude before you know it.

 

Let me know how you are improving your money attitude.  To your financial success!

It’s Only 5 Bucks

The phrase “it’s only 5 bucks” is the financial equivalent of a leaky faucet in your bathroom; it doesn’t seem like that little drip can add up to much until you plug the sink and see how fast it fills! You can build up to a $1,000 credit card balance, 5 bucks at time. The cash you had in your wallet on Friday night? It probably drained out 5 or 10 bucks at a time. Think to yourself how often that phrase runs through your mind, “it’s only X bucks.”

 

Here is a tip for saving that 5 or 10 bucks instead of spending it: keep an envelope in your purse or wallet that says, “it’s only” on the front. For one week, every time the thought, “it’s only x bucks” runs through your mind in relation to spending, put the money in that envelope rather than spending it. If you had planned to “swipe” for it, write the amount on the back of the envelope. Next time you are at Target, Walmart, or the grocery store, count how many the times you think, “it’s only,” as you look at an item and throw it into your cart. This time, put it back and write down that amount on your envelope. Every time. You will be surprised at how many times you discount the spending because the cost is low. You will be surprised at the dollar amount that adds up to in a week!

 

At the end of the week, move all the money to your savings account. You just created savings for yourself, 5 bucks at a time!  Become aware of all those “5 buck moments” and pay attention. Don’t buy something just because it is inexpensive. Try to avoid buying at all! Ask yourself, “do I really need this?” Start training yourself to recognize that phrase and stop before you just throw it into the cart, swipe your card, or click the buy button. You can get rich 5 bucks at a time; you just need to save that 5 bucks time and time again.

 

Trying to get a debt paid off?  Do it 5 bucks at a time. If you can plug all of the 5 buck holes in your spending and divert them to your debt, you will see a measurable difference pretty quickly. With the convenience of online payments, it is no problem to send in that extra cash every week.

What’s your  “5 buck” story?

WOYN In Charlotte!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

WOYN will be presenting in the Queen City,  Charlotte .

When:  June 27

Where:  The Wadsworth Estate

400  South Summit Ave.

Charlotte, NC  28208

Time:      6:00 p.m.

Summer Time is the Best Time to Learn to Budget!

Summer is that great time of year when you get to plan outdoor activities, enjoy lazy days by the pool, and spend day after day with your children by your side – all – day – long.  Gone the quiet, empty house during those school hours. Now, you have energetic, enthusiastic, rambunctious children looking for something to do! Somewhere to go! Making plans! Spending your money! Yep, they can hear an ice cream truck a mile away; they feel the pull of the mall from across the county; they fantasize about White Water.

Before you get too despondent, think about the prime opportunity that you have to teach your kids about choices, limits, and priorities. Here are some ways to turn summer energy into money lessons learned:

  • Give them a “treat” budget for the week – cash on the barrel head on Monday but they get nothing else from you. If your daughter buys $20 in ice cream day 1, so be it. She has to watch as everyone else gets treats on Saturday. It’s hard as a parent to make your kids face the consequences of their decisions but that is how they learn. Don’t make it seem like punishment or “see I told you so.” Just be nonchalant and nonjudgmental – her money was already enjoyed. The benefit to you is that you don’t have to make 50 treat decisions every week – you make 1 treat decision for the summer and that is “how much do they each get per week?” You can certainly let them know that if they don’t spend it on treats, they can save it. It’s their money but you have to be on board with that. This works fantastic while on vacation or visiting an amusement park.
  • Give them an activities budget for the month – there are only so many activities that a family can afford in the summer so set your budget and then have a family discussion about alternatives. Give everyone a couple of days’ notice and tell them to come to the meeting with their ideas and proposals. They have to know how much their idea will cost, how long it will take, and other relevant details. This is great on so many levels! They do the work of researching; they see first-hand the costs involved, and they get the experience of selling their ideas to the family. It is also great for prioritizing and making trade-offs: is it better to do one great, but expensive, activity or lots of small less expensive ones? These are decisions that people have to make every day so it’s great to give them some practice.
  • Get them involved with grocery shopping and couponing – have them go through papers to clip coupons for the foods they like and products that they use. Now at the store, let them compare the name brand with the coupon savings to the no name product. Which is the better deal? How much does the family spend on groceries? Make it a game to try to reduce what was spent last week. How much is buying salad fixing versus buying the premade version? How does that compare to eating out? Perhaps you let them help create grocery savings which can then go toward the activities budget.

Kids are naturally interested in money but often we don’t let them participate in the decision-making aspect of spending. They ask (for everything) and we are worn down by having to make decision after decision about the spending. Look for opportunities to give them the budget amount, and they can decide how it gets spent. The key thing, though is that they have to live with their decisions. If you keep the time frame short (a few days or a week), they can see the light at the end of the bad decision tunnel. The next time, they will be more thoughtful and aware of the impact of blowing through their money too quickly. Obviously all of this has to be age-appropriate but even a kindergarten child can understand spending all of his money versus holding on to some for next time.

Summer can be a real drain on moms and on the budget so look for ways to make it easier on both. You will have less to think about and they will get some valuable financial lessons in the process. Let me know how it goes! You can connect with me on Twitter @Grad_Guide, Linked In: Tana Gildea, Facebook: The Graduate’s Guide to Money, or via my website www.graduatesguidetomoney.com

Meet the Author Luncheon!

This is going to be a great event!  I’m looking forward to meeting everyone who has been talking about wanting to take the time to do the things that they keep putting off! Well, this will be your TIME!  The book is out, and Working on Your Now will help you overcome just about every excuse that you’ve ever made to procrastinate!

I hope to see you there! Make the time to start Working on Your Now!  You will be so glad you did!

*The symbols ++ means add the tax and tip.

Commerce Club Luncheon

Availability: Pre-Order

Non-members - $32.00

Are Your Words Tearing Up Your Profits?

I frequently try to “hear” and pay attention to the words that I use in both my thoughts and what I say out loud. The choice of words is pretty interesting and can give you some great insights into your underlying beliefs and how you are approaching life. “This is killing me” – yikes, do I really want to say or think that? “Urg, this is so hard” – should I plant that seed? “There is never enough time” – why view life like that? This also translates to how we talk about money, income, savings, and spending. Consider these that I have caught myself thinking recently:

  • Taxes are just eating me alive.
  • I can never seem to catch up.
  • I’ll never save enough.
  • These college costs are killing me.

Those words are powerful and are telling “the universe” what I believe! I do not want to be eaten or killed and I’m not exactly sure what am I trying to “catch up” to.

I have taken an oath to really change my vocabulary and how I think about these areas. What words do you tell yourself when you think about your assets, your taxes, and your cost of living? Perhaps we all need to overhaul our vocabulary and starting crafting a different picture:

  • I am always able to pay my taxes.
  • Higher taxes this year mean I am making more.
  • I have plenty of money to meet my needs.
  • My savings continues to grow and will be enough to provide for my needs.
  • I am so grateful that my kids are pursuing an education and I know with careful spending I can meet my goal of paying for their educations.

There’s not much drama in those statements. They are pretty ho-hum and bland; nothing to get the heart racing or the stomach lurching. And that’s the beauty of them! They put the power firmly on our shoulders to “get ‘er done” and quit the gripping about it! It’s so much more fun to blame the government for those horrible taxes, high costs for limiting my savings, and colleges for expensive rates, but really, my own perspective creates my reality. Truthfully, I must focus on what I need versus what I want and make a clear distinction between the two. I need air, water, and food; really for survival, that’s about it – shelter is optional. A nice, safe, cozy option but optional nonetheless.

Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

From https://www.notable-quotes.com

This week, I want my imagination singing of the abundance that I enjoy, of my joyful sharing, and of what I truly need. What about you? Where do your words weaken you and how can you strike a new note on the keyboard of your imagination?

To your financial success!

Building Your Visual Brand

flyer

 

Come on out for breakfast on Friday, June 11  and Build Your Visual Brand. WOYN Chief Now officer is the moderator for this fantastic event. Put aside ALL that you ever knew about branding  and learn what people  are seeing  in you when  you are not paying attention!

Hang On to Your Oxygen!

LIFE.  As grown ups, if we knew what we know now when we were between the ages of  18  and 19, imagine all of the over whelming stress that could have been avoided in the never ending journey we call LIFE.

If you have children this age, or have been one to give advice to a budding adult, you probably have tried countless of  times to tell them how to  avoid the pitfalls that you have already experienced.  If they listened, you are to be commended for accomplishing a feat that many parents, mentors and advisors still struggle to figure out.  But if I could offer one piece advice for them it would be:  Take Care of Yourself!

With all of the pressures that young people have these days, it’s a wonder that they take time to reflect upon the number one thing that needs to remain a priority throughout their left time.  As adults we also need to take heed to understanding that our number one priority needs to be to take care of ourselves.  If we don’t do this, what good are we to anyone else?

If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you know the first rule of thumb: When a plane loses oxgen and the masks fall out of the ceiling, you must grab the oxgen mask and put it on yourself first! Once you do this, you can help the others around you. If you lose your oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with theirs, can you?

Have you ever lost your oxygen? How did it make you feel? Where you deflated, weakened and experienced an overwhelming loss of will power?

If you want to stay well, you have to make a decision to do so. According to Oprah, “Being well is a decision. Living well is bonus.” I’d have to agree.  We have to see ourselves staying well, not only in our physical being, but in our minds and spirits as well . Wellness comes from the inside out.  If your mind and spirit is disconnected, it cannot connect with your body. Everything works together holistically as one.

Figure out what will make you whole. What will make you breathe? It’s important to know what will nourish your soul, body, and spirit.  In the end you don’t want to deplete your oxygen. Life is meant to be lived. You want to breathe easily and flourish.   Remember, you’ve got grab your oxygen mask first! So do it!

 

 

 

 

Expecting Something For Nothing?

How many times have you wanted something but didn’t want to do what it took to get the results? Let’s think about that question a little deeper.  Many of us want to lose weight, but are not willing to do what is necessary.  Personally, I don’t like to excercise. But, what I do like is the energized feeling I get after I decide to work out. Although, I’m fortunate to have been able to maintain the same size and weight for over a decade, I’m not proud of the fact that my goal has been to lose 10 poounds for the past 10 years and I’ve never accomplished it.   I  WANT to lose the weight.  I WANT to be thinner, but what I’m missing is  putting forth the effort that it will take for me to really lose the 10 pounds.   That effort would mean cutting back on the things I love to eat.  It would mean intensifying my  workout (which as I mentioned earlier I already don’t enjoy doing).  But, I ask myself when I see other women my age who are fit, why don’t I look like that? Then when I talk to them about what they do to stay in shape, I understand that my commitment level is not there yet and that it up to me to do make the decision to do the  work and stay consistent and committed if this is what I truly want to do.

It works the same way in just about everything we want to achieve in life.  Think about it.  What do you want your end game to be in your personal and professional life?  Are you doing what it takes to get ahead or are you satisfied with doing just enough to get by and wondering why other people are moving forward and you are staying in the same place?

Are you taking classes, reading books, attending networking sessions or talking to people that can help you move forward with your professional edeavors? Or are you living each day without a plan?  What’s going on with your personal life? Are you taking care of yourself and those who may depend on you? Do you have a life plan on where you want to be in the next 5, 10 or even 15 years?  Or do you keep making promises that  next year will be different, and then find yourself doing the same thing you did the year before that kept you right where you said you didn’t want to be?

If you want your life to be different, you have to do something about it.  In the words of Ghandi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  It is up to us. All we have to do is decide what we want and figure out a way to make it happen. If you decide to do nothing then  remember this: “Don’t be upset by the results you didn’t  get with the work that you didn’t do!”- author unknown

For me, I see me making a change by  putting back that extra helping of potato salad and increasing my cardio for another 15 minutes.   I can see that 10 pound weight loss getting closer and closer.  What about you?

It’s Time to Reward Yourself and Your Wallet!

I went into Walgreens yesterday to pick up some pictures that I had printed. “You have enough points to get $2 off your purchase today,” the clerk told me. My purchase was only $7 so $2 was 28% off – nice! I don’t do a lot of shopping at Walgreens. I do get my pictures printed there, though. It’s hard to find places to get pictures printed these days and they are so easy and so fast that I love their photo service. Plus, they have a rewards program. I still give them my rewards number every time and a little bit adds up over time. Think about it for a second – who is rewarding you for your loyalty?
Kroger has a great rewards program that gives me money off certain brands – I’ve saved $40-50 in a single trip (I do have teenage sons that I feed) plus I get fuel points that can be up to $1 off PER GALLON if I go to a Kroger fuel pump. The Office Depot rewards program gets a $25 coupon every now and then when we build up enough points. My Delta Frequent Flyer card plus my Gold or Platinum American Express has gotten me dozens of free airline tickets over the years and I don’t fly much. Hotel rewards programs earn you points for every stay so if you travel for business, never check-in without being a member of their loyalty program. If you like to book online, check out the hotels.com program as you get a free night after so many booked nights.
If you have a children or think you might someday, sign up for Upromise. You register all of your credit cards and get points for using them which can be transferred to a 529 Plan Account or used to pay down a student loan. Even if you don’t have a child, you can transfer that to another child – doesn’t have to be a family member. Check out the details at Upromise.com. They also have a browser plug-in so that you can see what rewards any website will give you by using that browser link. Upromise also has a dining app that can connect to a Upromise restaurant near you. You can go to their site first and link to a buyer site and get 2-9% cash back. It can add up to big dollars over time. Fatwallet.com has a similar program which gives you cash back – sign up, go to their site first and then search for the product or service you want.
My Wells Fargo Visa has a rewards program so I can get “stuff,” gift cards, or cash paid against my Visa balance. I always elect for the cash back and I recommend that you do too.
So, consider the stores that you frequent. Do they have a rewards program? If they do, join. It is usually free. Then, figure out how it works and what you get. Do the same with every credit card that you have – what do you get and how does it work? If your store doesn’t have a rewards program, check and see if there is one close by that does. You should be a frequent flyer member of every airline that you ever use as well as a member for every hotel that you stay in. Check out Upromise.com and/or fatwallet.com if you do a lot of online shopping or you eat out frequently.
Using these programs takes a little time and a little thought (neither of which I particularly enjoy when it comes to shopping) but the rewards over time will be well worth your time and effort. Get out there and make sure you are rewarded for every dollar you spend!
To your financial success!