Unclutter Your Life

Are You an Emotional Spender?

Are you an emotional spender?  Honestly, until about 6 months ago, I spent when I was happy, sad, bored…. it really didn’t matter what I was feeling.  I shopped  I have been working hard to stay on a budget but it is hard!

Did you know “The number-one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy”?

Why??? The truth is, the problem is a struggle with self-control. You went to the mall to buy a birthday gift for your niece, and walked out with a new pair of shoes for yourself. You’ve tried a budget, but somehow you always seem to find something to spend money on that wasn’t in it. Can you relate? If so, consider these practical strategies to get your emotional spending under control:

1. Sleep on it.

If you think you just have to have it, whatever it is, make it your rule to sleep on your decision. Very few things are so urgent you can’t wait 24 hours to make your purchase.

2. Phone a friend.

Be accountable to someone!  You are more likely to reach your goal if you tell someone you’ve set one. So, tell a friend about your goal to stop digging yourself into more credit card debt. Then when you find yourself about to make another purchase you can’t afford, call them up and let them talk you down.

3. Never go shopping alone.

If you can’t trust yourself to phone a friend, then don’t go shopping alone. Of course, my biggest problem (and maybe yours) is online shopping).  The simple click to get what we want, NOW!  Headed to the mall, have someone with you who will hold you accountable.  Shopping online, STEP AWAY from the computer.  Leave it in your cart for 24-hours!  Refuse to use “retail therapy” to deal with loneliness, boredom, or disappointments. Find a new hobby which keeps you active, helps you to connect with others and builds new relationships. Focus less on accumulating stuff and more on enjoying experiences with people and things which matter most to you.

4. Plan for it.

STOP right now!  Take out a notepad and jot down the most important thing you need, and then the most important thing you want. Do you know how much each will cost? Jot it down. Not sure, find out.  How long would it take you to save for each? Practice delayed gratification (so hard for a recovering addict to do!). It forces you to appreciate the true value of your money, which will help you spend your money more consciously.

5. Keep a picture of your goal in front of you.

I have a vision board I carry in my planner so I am always reminded of what I am working towards.  Post pictures where you will see them on a regular basis so you are reminded of your goal. Whether it is on your refrigerator, in your purse, or on your bathroom mirror, make the vision plain and visible.

6. Take the credit cards out of your wallet.

I LOVE this saying…” if you want to get out of the hole you’re in, stop digging!”  If you’re in debt, it’s time to stop adding to your debt. And if you’re an emotional spender, keep your impulse purchases to a minimum by leaving your credit cards at home. No need to make it easy to charge it.  Better yet, cut up ALL of your cards (maybe keep one for emergencies).

7. Use cash.

I will admit, I am not a cash person.  I use my debit card for most things.  I actually feel like I spend less than when I use cash.  Crazy, right?  There are always those places which don’t take cards too so I can’t spend. Research shows though, forking over cash makes you spend less. As simplistic as it sounds, one of the best ways to curb spending is to determine your budget for various expenses (i.e., lunch, groceries, clothing, etc.), then take out your budgeted amount in cash.  Dave Ramsey’s system from Financial Peace University is AMAZING!   While it can be easy to lose track of how much you spend when you swipe a credit or even a debit card, cash forces you to count and keep track of what you spend in a concrete way.

If saving or spending is a problem, I challenge you to stop spending emotionally and start managing your money wisely.  Which of these tips were most helpful to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Saving on a Budget

I don’t know about you but Saturday seems to naturally be a shopping day – food shopping, clothes shopping, needs vs wants, business supplies, etc.  If it is a dreary day, what is the first thing we think about doing – go walk the mall.  Okay, so let’s be REAL!  Are we just going to walk the mall and window shop in other words or is it really an excuse to shop for no apparent reason?  I haven’t been to the mall in a long time but I do seem to spend a lot more time roaming Walmart, Target, Kohls, etc.

I am working hard to TRICK MY BRAIN into saving money.  According to a report on Chase Blueprint “only 25% of us are born with the ‘good’ gene” which means that we have self-control when it comes to spending.  As a recovering addict, I am not sure I have self-control in any area of my life.  I have the addictive gene.  You know the one who eats too much so weight is an issue, experiments with drugs and needs rehab to get off them, goes window shopping and ends up with lots of bags filled with things that I don’t really need.  You have the picture, right?  Do the happy dance!!!  Our brains can be TAUGHT to be smarter with money.  AMEN!!!  There is hope for me, so here goes:

  • Adopt a new mantra.  What the suggestion actually is to make a rule and DON’T break it.  Psychologists say that we feel poorly about ourselves when we break a rule – do we really need another reason to feel bad about ourselves?
  • Make saving a no-brainer.  What we don’t see, we can’t spend right?  Set-up an auto withdraw on payday to transfer money into a savings account – one that is not easily accessed.  We don’t miss what we don’t see.  According to the study, this type of savings activated the slow-thinking region of the brain that promotes self-control.
  • Pick a plan and stick to it.  Trying to pay off debt?  Find a repayment plan that works for you and stick to it.  I like Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and it seems to be slowly working for me.
  • Spend on your best self.  For those who have small children, this may be a no-brainer.  I mean, you want to provide for your children so you make financial decisions based on that goal.  According to the identity reinforcement theory, you can override bad money behavior by adopting good habits that reflect the person you really are.  Um, what if you don’t know who that is?

So, as you head out to shop today – THINK first about that impulse purchase.  Does it fall inline with your savings goal or your debt reduction plan?  Share your financial tips with us, we would love to hear how you are saving money.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Are You Making Money?

Happy Hump Day!  I am sure that if I were to ask many of my friends in direct sales if they were “making money”, their response would be “of course” at which point they would tell me about all of the incentives they have earned, the free products and the nice commission checks.  I guess the real question is, “At the end of the year, does your business have a profit or a loss?”  Honestly, I am a hot mess when it comes to doing bookkeeping – the pile grows with receipts, notes, paid invoices, etc that need to be entered into my excel spreadsheet so I know if I have at a profit or a loss.  Budgeting has never been one of my strong points.  In preparation for the busy holiday season and the upcoming end of the fiscal year – yes, I am planning for tax time – I thought I would talk a little bit about money and budgets.  Some may walk away because “they got this” and I would ask that they share their tips with us so that we can ALL GET THIS!

I was never good with a budget so credit card debt and living paycheck to paycheck was a way of life for MOST of my adult life.  Of course, add in an addiction being a single parent and working for grassroots non-profits to the mix and I could easily justify the financial mess.  It seems so strange that I could easily manage agency money, do budgets, ensure that we did not overspend on those budgets and stretch dollars when I couldn’t do it in my personal life.  Now, I am married to a PLANNER – plans for the future, plans for a time when there may be a lapse in income, has savings – UGH!  Alright God, I get the message!

I took a course offered at our church called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.  The course helped ALOT when I had a regular paycheck.  Bills were getting paid and I actually saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Then life happened – I got complacent in my budgeting, started with Thirty One and went on a shopping frenzy to have EVERYTHING, left my full-time job of 5 years due to a 20 hour a week commute – BUSTED!  Budget went down the tubes.

So, part of my preparation for this busy season of selling was to get BACK on track with my budget.  I found several great articles and blogs that might help you too.  A fellow blogger who is also a H.O.T. (Husband of a Thirty One) shares about their families experiences with Budgeting for Direct Sales.  Dave Ramsey has some great budgeting forms on his website that are simple and easy to do.  I love his quote “When you spend your money on paper and on purpose each month with a written budget, you’ll actually experience more freedom than before!”

I ask you again – are you making money?  Do you actually know how much your business is costing you or are you going to have sticker shock at the end of the year when you do your taxes?  I would love to hear your suggestions and comments.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!