Hope Wissel

Penny Wise, Dollar Foolish

Penny wise and dollar foolish is a saying I have heard since I was little.  I will admit, it has been me on occasion – okay, maybe more occasions then I care to admit!  🙂

Halfway through the year and starting a new fiscal year at Thirty One this month is when review my goals and my finances.  Doing it mid-year check helps me keep things in balance or get back on track if I have wavered.

Life with MS (#MSwillnotdefineme) has been interesting to say the least.  No excuses, just the realization processing things doesn’t work unless I have a system.  A system to stay on track with bills.  A system to work my business.  Admittedly, the the money system faltered some in the first few months but I have grabbed the bull by the horns and am back on track with a new plan.

I hate to admit I am still learning money matters in my 60’s, but there are a few things I wish I had learned in my 20’s.  Learning is an ongoing process and I am determined not to give up on my goal.

#1 A bigger and better job doesn’t mean you get to spend more.  By keeping your costs the same when you increase your salary you’ll be able to save some.  I always thought more money meant I could spend more.  Silly me!

#2 Never spend more than what comes in.  And limit your cards to the lowest amount possible. This has been the toughest for this recovering addict to conquer. 

#3 Pay off any debt first.  Pay your credit card debt as soon as possible, those high interests won’t be doing you any good. Then once they are paid off DON”T use them anymore.

 

#4 Student loans on autopilot.  Students loans usually have a really small interest rate so make regular, steady payments to pay off your loan and it’ll soon be a thing of the past.  Check out too if you are eligible for a “forgiveness program”.  Make 120 payments on time & the balance of your loan is forgiven.  Works for the kids but not the parents.

#5 Build a back-up.  YES, saving is still important even if you have debt.  Make sure you always have a few hundred set aside for unexpected costs and bills.

#6 Insuring yourself is essential.  A crashed laptop, unforeseen doctors bill or stolen bike can wreak financial havoc if you’re not insured. The cost per month will pay off in the long run for any unexpected mishaps.

#7 Set long term goals to help you focus on what you really want. Figure out how much you’re gonna need and start saving now.

#8 Monetize your talent if you can.  Write blogposts, take photographs or try to monetize your special skills as (additional) income.  I have been a crafter for as long as I can remember.  I just wish I had of saved some of that money.

 

#9 Think about retirement.  This is especially important if you are your own boss.  Sadly, I learned too late it’s essential to put away money for the future.

#10 Lastly, here is a marvelous piece of advice given by StickleyMan on Thought Catalog. It’s reaaaaaally good.

Take some more chances. You know that idea that’s been ruminating in the back of your mind for years? That one that doesn’t have anything to do with your job or your mortgage. That one that falls outside your schema of living and routine and that you shrug off as some immature or impractical idea; as just some silly fantasy. Maybe it’s a crazy business idea or a trip to go live in a hut in India for three months or to breed Pygmy hippos or to become a juggling street performer. Whatever it is, explore it. Maybe even try it. I don’t mean take a stupid, life-threatening risk. I’m not suggesting a trying a lifestyle of meth addiction and bare-knuckle Fight Clubs. But something outside your comfort zone. Try it. Maybe you’ll fail miserably at it. But just try it. Because in about a decade when you’re responsible for more things and more people, you won’t be able to. And you’ll find yourself in a self-imposed mental prison of ‘what-ifs’. And take it for someone who didn’t because I was too scared, too embroiled in my own insecurities and addictions, and so heavily conditioned to fear failure – you’ll wish you did.

Any cash lessons you learned in the past year? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to hear how you spend and save.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Budgeting Works

8

For many of us, this was one of our New Year’s Resolutions.  The holiday bills have started to roll in.  Maybe bad weather caused you to miss some hours at work.  Maybe you lost your job.  Maybe hours have been cut due to lack of business.  Whatever the reason – this is probably the last thing on your list right now.  Great intentions when we start the new year but like most resolutions by the 3rd week, they are starting to lose their luster.

1844_10153223080145724_1522613950_n

Setting up a budget is tough.  Monitoring your spending is tough.  Believe it or not, when you have control of your money it is empowering.  You can also reach your financial goals one step at a time – even if they are baby steps.

The basic idea of a budget it simple – spend less than you make.  I know the kids need XYZ.  I know you will put it on the card and pay it when you get paid. I have heard (and used) all of these reasons as to why I can’t save or stay on a budget.

The truth is that once I figured out what I was actually spending money on, what I wanted to spend money on, and how to automatically save – life got so much easier.

Do you really know where you money goes?  I mean most of us will say we do but if we had to track every penny spent in a given week, could we?  How can you create a budget, if you don’t know where your money is going.  I have to admit this is the toughest part.

If you use a programs on your computer like Quicken or Quick Books, that is a great place to start.  Look at your spending from the past three months.  Now it may not count the Starbucks coffees or lunches if you use cash.  If you are like me and use your debit card for EVERYTHING, this will be very easy.  The key is to put ALL spending into a category.

Here are some categories:

  1. Needs: rent, utilities, basic groceries, car payment, paying off debt, etc.
  2. Wants: eating out, shopping, vacations, etc.
  3. Savings: retirement, emergency fund, savings for future purchases (such as a house down payment)

So, how does your monthly spending look? Are you spending more on wants than needs?  Are those needs being put off?  Believe me, I cringed when I saw that most of my budget fell into the needs category due to debt.   It was time to make some changes.

I started to prioritize my want spending so that I could save and pay off that debt.  I looked at my wants and decided which was the most important to me.  Then I started cutting some things out.  WaWa stops when I worked to pick up food when I could make and take it from home.  I stopped getting my nails done every 2 weeks and  made it a monthly treat.

Then I set up an auto transfer to start saving.  Okay, so it may not be the recommended 20% but it is a start. On payday, I automatically pay myself first.  I will admit that on months when I am short due to a smaller paycheck, I may borrow BUT I always do the transfer.  Start with $5 a paycheck and put it in a savings account.  It will slowly grow.  I actually do $25 a month then if I get a bonus or any extra money, I split it between debt reduction and savings.

Budgeting does work.  I stomped out my inner gremlins around budgeting and money management a few months ago.  It made a HUGE difference in how I look at my checkbook.  I have money saved plus bills are paid.  I am using the snowball method to pay down debt.  Honestly, it wasn’t easy but give it a try because it was so worth it.  Start somewhere even if it is figuring out where your money ACTUALLY goes instead of just guessing.

I would love to hear your best tips for budgeting.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

Hope Wissel

Budgeting

Does that word make you break in a cold sweat?  Do you have visions of missing out on things because it is “not in the budget”?  Do you have a business budget and NOT a household budget?  Or vice versa?

images

I have to admit that this word used to bring me to tears – lots of mixed emotions. As a grant writer & program person for over 25 years, budgets were my friend. Budgets kept me on track and allowed our funders to know exactly where their money went.  I was good at making budgets and sticking to them!

Now, move HOME where that word took on a totally different meaning.  Why is it that something that made perfect sense at work NEVER worked at home? Am I the only one? Creating a list of expenses and knowing what to pay was the easy part, living within the budget was the tough part. There were lots of excuses – single mom, didn’t make enough, and the list goes on. In reality, I never learned (until recently) how to live within my means. Credit cards were my friend and I used them a lot to provide for my daughter (wants as well as needs).

Fast forward – daughter grown and still have credit card debt with new excuses.  With ALOT of patience from hubby, I am NOW learning to live within my budget. See you can teach an old “dog”, new tricks.

Unknown

 

Several years ago, I took Dave Ramsey‘s financial class and it was AWESOME.  I was still working full-time getting a regular paycheck and I made it work.  Then I went from full-time work to my own business.  Should have been a no-brainer, right?  I am slowly adjusting to receiving commission checks from my business instead of the bi-weekly checks. Not an easy adjustment but this “old dog” is re-learning a new trick!   Mind you, I have a hubby who is debt-free and LIVES by budgets. We have only been married 3 years and I have decided to be solely responsible for any past debt. YIKES!

One of the biggest problems that I now have with Ramsey’s envelope system was that I make stops without planning – I know not good right?  If I want to stay on budget, I would love to have the envelopes with me so I only spent what was in the envelopes.  So now instead of carrying envelopes, I carry Thirty One’s All About the Benjamin Wallet with dividers in it for: groceries and gas since these are the typical unplanned stops.  My credit card slots are empty with the exception of a occasional gift cards and my business debit card.

 89875176ab1781455b50f1c6e00c29dc

As for my business, I am applying my grant writing skills to my direct sales business.  Here are some tips:

  • Know your averages: It’s important that you know not just what your average income is but also what your the average expenses are.
  • Know your fixed and variable costs: These are the things that you pay for each month, quarter, or year?
  • Write it all down:  TRACK!!!  See “tracking” is vital in all areas of your life – business, personal and weight loss.  It is essential that you keep track of the money coming in and going out from your business.
  • Be conservative in your estimates: It’s important to have some extra income set aside for unanticipated expenses, so you have some flexibility in your business.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether it is with your personal budget or your business budget. Find a system that works and stick with it.  If you have debt, it will take time and patience to reach financial freedom but it can be done.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

Hope Wissel

Finances in the Year Ahead

Yes, I went there this early in the morning and this soon into the new year…..I am sure for many of you, your New Year’s resolution contained one like this “Stop using credit cards” or “Pay off credit card debt”, right?  Dave Ramsey shared his thoughts in a recent blog on this subject.

Like with most resolutions, the motivation starts to dwindle as we get closer to Valentines Day.  You know the next “holiday” that encourages gift giving.  It is when our goals for self-improvement turn to flowers, chocolates and gifts.  If you have stuck to your budget over the last 6 weeks, you may think “I am entitled to splurge a little”.  If you don’t have the cash,  how often do you turn to credit cards thinking that you HAVE to give a “certain gift”.  The new year resolution and its commitment get left in the dust.  I know it is too early to talk about Valentine’s Day, right?  The truth is we need to be ready for those temptations.

Try something different as each holiday or special occasion approaches that you are tempted to spend or over spend.  Think about the progress that you have made to reach your financial goal – financial freedom.  Financial freedom sounds so much better than “paying off credit cards” doesn’t?  When you are tempted to charge or overspend, remember that the gift of giving is not about the gift but the thought that is attached to it.  Those words don’t only mean something at Christmas but all year long.

Starting a financial freedom plan and sticking to it can be hard.  Think of it like a diet – Going on a diet and starting to exercise is hardly ever fun at the beginning. But when you look at the scale and you’re two pounds lighter, that brings a smile to your face, and you want to do more of it. So, paying off small amounts of debt first and making that debt smaller will definitely bring a smile to your face.

Find the motivation that fires you up personally. What is your REAL reason for wanting financial freedom?  Who do you want to give to when you have no payments? How will your life be different when you are debt free?  This is the year to find out.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Coupon Clutch and More

Happy Saturday!  I am off to St. John’s United Methodist Church in Hazlet for their fall fest and craft show.  If you are in the area, stop by and say hello.  I will be partying Thirty One style along with having my handcrafted angels.

Today, I decided to focus on one of Thirty One‘s “overlooked” products.  I say that because when customers see the words “coupon clutch” they immediately react with  – I don’t use coupons.  I have to admit, even though I use them – I seldom carry them with me unless it is a PLANNED shopping trip.  As you know, I have been talking about budgeting and Dave Ramsey‘s envelope system.  I have a friend who got an adorable cash envelope system from Daisy Lane Designs on Etsy which got me to thinking (since I am all about different uses for Thirty One products) what would work the same way?  ANSWER:  The coupon clutch.

coupon-clutch 1

The coupon clutch has 5 accordion pockets for each of your categories along with 5 colored tabs for labeling each dividing pocket.  You can even have it personalized to encourage your saving habits.

Not into budgeting?  Are you a commuter?  Do you gather lots of receipts when you travel only to have to try and sort through them when you get home?  Why not use the coupon clutch to store those receipts?  You can label the tabs as: transportation, food, business expenses, medical – or whatever other labels you need to keep your bookkeeping records straight.  You can either carry it in your purse OR leave it in the car and then on the first of every month, take those receipts, log them in and return the clutch to the car to start all over again.

One of my “mom” customers, uses hers to hold all of those loose things in her purse.  I would use a mini zipper but am always open to suggestions.  She says it is easier to keep band-aids, tylenol packets, shout packets (for those little messes), nail file and more in this clutch.  If she is going to the fields to watch her children play sports, there is a pocket for her id, money and even her cell phone.  Add a wristlet strap and she is ready for any minor emergency.

So, the coupon clutch isn’t just for coupons… what would you use your COUPON CLUTCH for?  Add your ideas here and who knows you might even win one of your very own.