Budgeting

How To Spend Less

Thank you Carrie Wilkerson for these AWESOME tips on how to spend less….

  • If you want to make more, spend less. #truestory
  • If you’re complaining about being broke, spend less.
  • If you’re stressed about minimum payments or juggling dollars, spend less.
  • If you’re mad at yourself or your spouse or fighting about money, spend less.
  • If you’re jealous of other folks because of ______ then spend less.
  • If you want more choices about where to live, what to drive, where the kids go to school, quitting your job or having some options… SPEND LESS.

It all starts with SPEND LESS!  I know, I have been there.  We struggle with wants versus needs especially during the holiday season.  YES – we can make more with our business. YES – we can still work to change our circumstance- but first we need to SPEND LESS.60b970c17dbc402287d7382d2eb326f7

Trust me, I know this is NOT the time you want to do this.  BUT this is the exact time you need to do this before we get caught up in the holiday craziness.

Evaluate EVERY expense. Is is NECESSARY or just something you ‘deserve’?  Is it a want or a need?  What if you did ‘without it’ for a few weeks/months? Would it change your quality of life?

How do you do this?  First, print out 3-6 months of credit card and debit card statements.  I know it will be scary.  Take a deep breath and jump in.  You can do it!

  • Highlight EVERY recurring charge.
  • Highlight EVERY disposable thing.
  • Highlight EVERY spontaneous purchase.
  • Highlight EVERY expense for something you don’t wear/play with/use/cook with/read or watch anymore.
  • Highlight EVERY unlicensed therapy expense (meaning you were self medicating with food/shopping/movies/girl time/drinks/etc.

Now for the hardest part – STOP spending on those things!

This part, may be a little easier….Evaluate insurance, credit card rates, cable plans (unplug it), phone plans (downgrade) and new clothes (seriously. stop buying them)

I love how Carrie shares her story of getting ahold of her sloppy financial habits (a process, she has used to pay off boatloads of debt MORE THAN ONCE #slowlearner).  Her story helps me to remember, I am not alone.  I have done it too.  Paid off debt, then got sucked in with the thought “I can manage it”.  WRONG!  My addictive behaviors come back in the form of spending money.  So here I am again paying off some debt.

We need to put the blinders on and here is how Carrie did it:

  • UNSUBSCRIBE from email ‘sales and newsletters’ – you can’t buy what you don’t see!
  • THROW AWAY catalogs that come in the mail.  Don’t bring them INTO THE HOUSE. Do NOT fool yourself ‘I’m just getting ideas, I’m making a wishlist, I’m just planning for when I can afford it.’ – NO NO NO NO – THROW IT AWAY. It will still be available for purchase when you can afford it. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER SALE.
  • Do NOT click on Facebook ads (they follow you around, wearing you down until you can’t help but buy. STOP IT)!
  • Do NOT attend home parties or demonstrations or trade shows or craft fairs or open houses or garage sales or ANYTHING WITH THE CHANCE TO BUY. This is a tough one for me since it is part of my business.  How I manage this is I don’t take any money with me or my cards!
  • TAKE THE APPS off your phone… Amazon, Starbucks, Instacart, ZigZag, Macys – ALL OF IT — OFF THE PHONE. If we can purchase with a click and without a brain, they WANT THAT. STOP THE MESS. TAKE OFF THE APPS.
  • During commercials on TV pick up a project. Tidy the sink or move a load from washer to dryer or go outside with the dogs – AVOID MARKETING MESSAGES. It is extreme but so is debt, financial stress and possibly bankruptcy. 
  • SHOP your CLOSET. Sounds silly, right?  Try it and see what happens. See an outfit you like on someone else or on FB, go into your closet and drawers to put together something similar. Or do without.
  • Grocery shop ONCE a week and plan meals ahead of time to avoid mealtime meltdown and drive through overspends.  
  • Use cash instead of cards.  My hubby swears by this!

What if you were to think of every purchase in terms of the effort it takes to make the money to purchase it?  For example, “how many xx do I have to sell or hours do I have to work to pay for this delivery pizza instead of doing a frozen pizza?”

Many of us are victims of marketing messages, bad habits, lack of will power and deserve levels.  We play the comparison which usually results in spending more.

  • Think of what you what MOST (financial stress-lessness and freedom) instead of what you want NOW (cute shoes or a top).
  • Think of WHY you’re so quick to spend and what you are self-medicating about or delaying…

Carrie suggests a spending freeze at least once a year.  It’s wot be fun, I’m sure BUT it may help to keep you in check.  I know you are thinking NOW, it is the holidays….
but HONESTLY it is the MOST EFFECTIVE time of year to do it!  If you wait until JANUARY… how many more THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS will you have overspent??

Change your habits.

Change your life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Budgeting

Saturday Spotlight: Money Saving Apps

We all love to save money but who has the time.  Do you cut coupons to grocery shop and then forget to take them?  I am definitely technically challenged but I am on a mission to pay off debt so I learning how to use digital coupons and money savings apps. So, pull out your smart phone and check out some of these money saving apps.

My favorites are:

Shopkick – rewards you with “kicks” when you visit participating retailers like Macy’s, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.). Admit it, you go to at least one of these retailers every week. You also can earn “bonus kicks” for scanning specific items while in store. NO, you don’t have to purchase them, just scan the UPC code. Once you’ve earned enough reward points you can redeem them for retail and restaurant gift cards.  This is a fun way to get the kids involved in grocery shopping by letting them scan the products.  They have also added online rewards too.

Ebates – my favorite site for saving money when shopping online! You have seen the commercials right, where people are getting thousands of dollars back.  Well, the truth is I do’t get thousands back but I do average about $25 per month which is pretty good. Right now, you can earn $10 for clicking my link and joining as a new member.  Then get your referrals link so you can earn $25 for each person who joins using your link.

Cartwheel – Are you a Target shopper?  Be sure to grab their Cartwheel app so you can save additional money on products you buy.  This is a savings on top of the 5% they offer by using your Target credit card or debit card.  There is no need to open a credit card to get the 5%, you can link your Target card to you checking account and use it like a debit card.

For the grocery shoppers who love to use coupons, here are three apps just for you:

Checkout 51 – to save on groceries. Every Thursday morning, Checkout 51 updates with a new list of offers. Simply choose the offers you like, purchase them at any store then upload a photo of your receipt through the mobile app or website. When your account reaches $20, Checkout 51 sends you a check.

Ibotta – Before heading to the store, choose the offers you like then go shopping. (The more offers you select, the more you can earn.) After you check out, take a photo of your receipt which Ibotta will verify and then credit your account. Cash rewards can be deposited directly into a PayPal account. Every time you redeem an offer a new one will be sent to you.

What are YOUR favorite money saving sites? Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Family, Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Save Money Grocery Shopping

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Thank you to Makingsenseofcents for some of these tips….

I went grocery shopping this past weekend – nothing special, most of us do it every week, right?  It is only hubby and I so you would think it would be relatively cheap, right?  I only cook twice a week with enough to freeze meals for the week while he is at work.  I am always amazed the total is about $100 a week.  Eating healthy with lots of fruits and veggies is expensive combined with no dairy, no gluten and no soy products.

Did you know the average family of four spends around $700 to $1,000 a month on food?  Did you know most families waste around 40% of food each month!  That’s about $300 on an average monthly bill of $750.  YIKES!!!  Wouldn’t you rather keep $300 in your pocket? Here are some tips to help you………

#1 Plan your grocery trips with a list.

I know, you try.  You make a list of what you need.  You scour the circulars to find  sales, and the best deals.  Then you realize you have to go to 4 different stores to save money but are you really saving if you have to spend the money on time and gas?  Or, if you are like me, I make a list and half the time I forget to take it with me.  Shopping without the list is a bad idea.  How about putting your list on your phone?  When was the last time you left home without your phone?  I also tag where the sales are on the items I need so if I am running errands and go by the store, I stop in quick, pick up what is on sale and nothing else.

#2  Meal plan to save money on groceries.

Meal planning can completely change your life. We eat healthier, we save money, and we waste less food.  Planning doesn’t mean just in your head, it means actually writing it down so everyone knows the menu for the week.  It makes life so much easier.

#3 Use coupons when grocery shopping.

Do you use them?  I will admit I was a coupon cutter for years then I got out of it.  Now, I do most of my coupons through apps at the various stores.  I also take advantage of other apps which reward me for shopping – Cartwheel from Target, Whole Foods app, Receipt Hog and Shop Kick.  What are some of your favorite apps?

#4 Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.

This one is HUGE for me especially now when my diet is restricted to no gluten, no dairy and no soy.  Shopping when you’re hungry leads you to spending more money and not sticking to your list or your budget or your diet!

#5 Compare prices on items.

I was a name brand snob for years.  The truth is generic items aren’t always cheaper than their name brand counterparts, but sometimes they are.  I price compare our most frequently used products and get the best price for them whether they are generic or not – cheaper (with the same taste) is the name of the game.

#6 Don’t forget about the top and bottom shelves.

Did you know the middle shelves at grocery stores contain the most expensive items?   It is usually where people’s eyes are usually drawn to this area.  When you go shopping, be sure to scan prices and items on the other shelves to make sure you’re not missing out on a better deal.

#7 Sign up for grocery store’s loyalty card.

I know this may sound like a no brainer, right?  Most stores now have loyalty cards where you can save 10% or more on your purchase each time.  I have a key ring in my purse with LOTS of these cards.  They are all in one spot and easy to use.  Not a store you usually shop at – check with the person in front or behind you in line, they may be willing to share the discount with you.

#8 Shop with cash.

This is toughest one for me… I am a debit card girl all the way.  Hubby is the cash person.  The truth is one of the best ways to save money on groceries is to go shopping with only cash.  By doing this, you stick to your grocery list and your budget because you know exactly how much money you have to spend.

What are your best tips for saving money on groceries? Share them with us..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

No Money

“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy.” ~Proverb

Three apple
Three apple

The back to school rush is on!  It has been a few years since I had to get Belinda back to school but I still remember the struggles.  I was a single mom who struggled to make ends meet.

Are your kids going back to school?  Have you just lost your job?  Have you left a job to start your own business?  Or are you unemployed and receiving assistance.

Think about YOUR bad money situation.  The time when you had to carefully watch your spending.  You weren’t able to afford simple luxuries like McDonald’s or a Starbucks coffee.   You worried about how to make ends meet.  Maybe you have a dream that you thought was impossible.  The kind that scares you to the core, makes your palms sweat, and your heart beat faster? Yep, that’s the one.

I have been there, done that and still sometimes manage to live paycheck to paycheck.  The reality is that we need to look at those times as blessings with LOTS of valuable lessons in them.  I know it is hard when you are struggling and you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel BUT believe me there is a light.  You just need to focus on the end and enjoy the ride in between EVEN when it is bumpy.

When money was tight, I learned some lessons that I wanted to share with you:

1. You connect with people.

When we lack money, we become more dependent on others.  It can be a painful experience, but it can actually help you strengthen your connections. Allowing others to be there in moments of difficulty isn’t always easy (hello, pride).  When you share your vulnerability with others, you give them permission to do the same and you make deeper connections.  Build stronger relationships.

2. You realize your fears were overblown.

Let’s test your fears.  List all of the worst things that could happen if you don’t have enough money (or whatever your fear is).  Write them all down in detail.  It may look like this:

FEAR told me that I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent, so I’d end up on the street. I’d lose all my friends, I couldn’t afford to go out, so I’m at risk of starvation and potential death.

Has any of that happened?  Is it really going to happen?  Our minds imagine everything that can go wrong, and builds up our negative expectations.  The reality is rarely as bad as we imagine it will be.  Most of the scenarios exist in one place only: our imagination.

3. You tap into your inner strength.

When things around you are uncertain and unstable and life isn’t easy, you simply have to tap into your inner strength.  The only thing that you can control is YOU!  It is inside YOU that you can draw true and lasting strength.

4. You become more grateful.

When was the last time you were grateful for the little things – the ability to go for a walk, watching the sunrise/sunset, or playing in the park with the kids.  Maybe you can’t afford material things or things that others take for granted, BUT you are blessed.

Happiness isn’t derived from what we can buy, but from the gratitude and appreciation we gain from our own experiences.  Each day is a gift.  Good or bad, each day is a blessing.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Money

 

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“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income” Ecclesiastes 5:10

How many times have you said “When I have enough money, I will retire, living comfortably and doing just about anything I want.”?

How many times have you focused on your own ability to make money and just when you thought you had everything (or at least reaching your dream); the wind was knocked out of your sail and you lost everything?

How many times have you changed jobs for more money only to loose it or end up leaving it?

These are the times that our focus is on money and not trusting in God.

That has been me in so many ways.  I can look back on events in my life and realize that it was God at work – teaching me a lesson.  Okay, so I didn’t think that at the moment.  I cried.  I became angry.  I sat in my pity pot for days, weeks and in some cases years, thinking “poor me”.  The truth was that God was just waiting for me to turn to him and ask for help.

As I work through my Leadership Bible, I realize how many times I stopped trusting in God and thought I could do it on my own.  I was never good at money management.  For years, I allowed credit cards to rule my life.  I robbed Peter to pay Paul.  Debt was/is an addiction for me.  Crazy, right?  But it is Satan’s way of trying to keep control in my life.  Then SMACK – a wake up call from God.  Why? Because God loves us too much to allow us to continue down that destructive path.

When I talk to new potential recruits on their “WHY”, the focus is often on money – more money to pay bills, for a vacation, and the list goes on.  Isn’t that why so many of us start their own business or change jobs – for more money?

The truth is that when we live a life according to God’s plan for us – we will have everything that we need.  Notice I said “need” and not “want”.  I am learning that I have enough money for what I need but maybe not everything that I want.

Have often have you asked for “God’s will in your life” when secretly you didn’t want it in all areas.  But the truth is, many times I  wanted to pick and choose which ones?  Truth be told – money and finances were on the top of the list.  I was afraid that if I let God’s will be done, I would not get what I wanted!  OUCH!

God’s plan for us is that we become good stewards of the resources we are given.  Making money should not become the idol in our lives.  Check your motives today and see if your financial life can stand Jesus’ scrutiny.

Are you operating as a steward of the financial resources He has entrusted to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!