Monday, September 26, 2011

Striving past debt: Master your money!

Should America's enslavement to money be billed to over-stimulation of marketing or a major lack in self control? Truth be told, no one can pin down a single agent to Americans biggest adversity today. But the statistics on household and personal debt are, literally, taxing. Click here for some insane facts.

The truth is a lot of people just don't know where the money is going or they aren't realistic about what they spend each month. My husband and I went to a budgeting consultation because we recently inherited a car loan payment from a co-signing situation and wanted some advice on how to survive until we could sell it. While our situation wasn't ideal, the good humored counselor told us he was hopeful because we at least know how to sacrifice one thing for another and where every penny is going. "I had one couple that should have had over a grand each month sitting in savings. They had no clue where it was spent!" I chuckled. Like a lot of families in our country, I couldn't imagine having that much extra cash each month. It would be a gift! The great news is as I continue to work with my home business team, I am on my way to making that much extra money each month and more!

Here are some helpful hints to mastering your money:
~ Write it all down: As soon as you get paid, write down every single thing you spend money on in a small notebook. Then figure out how much you are spending on necessities such as food, gas, rent, etc... You will be amazed sometimes how much more you are spending then you realize in one or more areas!

~ Be honest with yourself: If you know you spend more on alcohol, fast food, etc then you can truly afford, face the music and make an effort to right it. Your wallet will thank you! And perhaps your body will too!

~ Sense the patterns: Chances are you have a bill that's always late or something that never seems to get covered with your pay check. Pay that first or before you spend any money on retail items.

~Use cash: One great suggestion my friend Leslie made was to cash check or pull out paycheck in cash and use envelopes to divide the money. Plastic makes it so easy for us to just swipe and go. When we are using cash, we are more aware of our money and we prioritize what we spend it on.

~ Karate Chop your debt: Pay just a little more on those credit cards each month, and stash the plastic out of your purse or wallet! If its not there, you won't use it! Plus, every extra dollar you pay ahead on a revolving credit type account will be less interest later! (Average interest paid PER YEAR on a credit card in America is over $1000!!! I would much rather pay that money off on my balance, wouldn't you?)

We all have our vices: fast food (a big one for Americans), coffee house stops, chocolate (one of mine as of late), rec vehicles and weekend entertainment. Rising costs don't help the debt situation either. We all are dipping deeper in our pockets to survive. Just know, we aren't in it alone and there is help out there! "Seek and ye shall find!" And if you happen to be a military family, I happen to know a lot of resources. And if you want to work from home, ask me how I am doing it and striving for a brighter financial future!

Until next week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday's Early Morning Conversion

The fact that I am about to say this will shock those that know me best. The last several days, I have awaken with my husband at a time that up 'til now most would consider the "butt crack of dawn", that is, while it is still dark. And frankly, I have enjoyed it. Yes, enjoyed it. Up until now, my habits leaned toward a perky evening type. But sitting at my desk I have seen a world unknown to night owls and late sleepers, a time when the world is vulnerable and calm. Sipping my tea, I have watched the sky dress itself in the most brilliant of pinks and oranges and used the bay as its lively mirror. And off of that mirror danced a breeze that provoked the trees, our patio umbrella, and all the fluffy seeds of our yards' dandelions into a lively rising. (Nolan may not appreciate that last bit next time he mows. :) )

Maybe it is the lovely picture God has painted this morning. Or maybe it is the half an hour of time I get before my munchkin wakes up to focus on my day and God. Or perhaps it is the fact that rising early gives me the opportunity to serve my husband by making his coffee and lunch and enjoying a few moments in his exclusive company. Whatever the reason, I am sensing a shift in my habits and a strength in my marriage.

Along with this proclamation of discovery, I began to wonder if there was any other reason why I should make this a permanent habit. On September 17, the Telegraph published a health article confirming my curiosity: early risers are less likely to be depressed or obese. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8763618/Early-risers-get-ahead-of-the-game.html)

Now I am a stay at home mom who home schools with no where to go early in the morning, but even parents who are on the go first thing in the morning have great reasons to go to bed earlier and get up just a little earlier then necessary. They tend to be more proactive, self aware, organized, and successful at work. Click for source.

Not that night owls aren't on to something, as they tend to be the perfect yang to early risers' ying. Whichever you choose, may it do you well. But for this Mama, I think this beautiful Saturday morning may have converted me. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Initiate Memories

A wonderful book 25 Ways to Win with People by John Maxwell and Les Parrott had a chapter that could easily speak to the heart of any human being. They stated we shouldn't be so complacent in life to wait for awesome moments to happen, but instead take the reins ourselves and initiate them and create special memories with people. What a concept!

There are so many benefits to reminiscing on fond memories, including promoting positive emotions and connecting with others on a very personal level. But you can only do this if you have positive memories to reflect on.

"Few things bond people together like a shared memory. Soldiers who battle together, teammates who win a championship, and work teams that hit their goals share a connection that never goes away." (Pg. 26, Maxwell)

Since when are we required to wait for those moments to happen? Take the time to make it happen, and if you don't have the time, don't bother. Give what it takes to make that connection; don't set a boundary that could cut the memory or the special bond short. Limitless possibilities for special encounters will open up if you give yourself the time needed. Just imagine where this could lead... drawing you closer to your children, spouse or other family members. Strengthening work connections and team mates. Meeting strangers who become life long friends! And don't forget the mementos to relive the wonderful moments over and over either in your own mind or with that special person. Its like your own secret.

I know I am looking forward to making this a part of my business team and my relationship with my daughter. My husband and I already play this out and I know our relationship is stronger for it.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Monday right?

Sure I could blame prego brain for my spacey realization that today is, in fact, Tuesday. But what sort of blog-ist would I be? Okay, so I missed my Monday writing, but lets all face it, everyone thought of today at Monday and will feel as though the week is short when we hit Friday for a new weekend. That being said, I still want to take the time to say "Happy Monday" to all my readers, and also to say I hope you all had a great weekend.

I often hear, especially among military families such as ours, that the men "make the money" and the woman spend it. Even this afternoon my husband jokingly said, "isn't it funny how I always ask you for money for a car part, as though I need your permission? I mean, I bring home the paycheck!" I laughed at him and responded, "Hey, if you want the headache of paycheck budgeting, you can have it." And, of course, he refused! It was all in fun, but it got me thinking. Not only do more then 60% of American wives and/or moms balance the checkbook, pay bills, and make decisions when things need to be arranged for a sudden expense. They also must have a major sway on their children and the money management skills that are acquired.

'"Moms do handle a lot of the day-to-day spending decisions, and that's what kids see," says Patricia Seaman, a spokeswoman for the National Endowment for Financial Education. "When they're young, they are dragged to everything with mom, for school, shopping for groceries, for clothes, to the garden center and to the ATM. It's not just spending decisions. They may also be exposed to money handling habits, like using cash or credit cards or checks," Seaman says.' For source, click here.

I know all of us must have paydays that we are pulling our hair out. My last one was like this. Debt might be part of the problem, or bad planning for big expenses like vehicle registration (as was my case). But a scary concept is what my daughter learns by seeing my reactions or the way I shop. We may all need to examine the way we are influencing our kiddos in this VERY important subject that is often overlooked. If we don't tell them the danger of interest rates or credit cards, who will? If we don't show them to plan ahead and save, will they make the mistake of spending all that they have all the time?

I am thankful that I have thought of this so that I can make the effort to show Brylie the "way that she should go" [proverbs 22:6] when it comes to her finances. In the same way I tell her everything daddy makes for us at work is really Gods, so too, should I show her the best way to use it as God would want us to.

And lastly, I am so thankful that I can show her that hard work and making money doesn't have to be separate from family and home. My home business is showing her that I can make money and still be here to home school her, play with her, and take care of our home. What mother,child, or hard working dad for that matter, doesn't love the concept of that?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Starting fresh and staying spry in September

There is a shift that hits each person on September 1st. Its as though change has taken on a persona and spoken like a friend to everyone. Not only does nature get the memo, changing colors and temperatures but our society does as well. Even in our house where my daughter is still too young to go to school, its as though a sharp charge has rolled through and she is ready to learn. Which is good considering I plan to home pre-school her this year.

Not only am I taking on personal goals like becoming Brylie's mentor in her learning abilities, get my house in order for the baby coming in five weeks, and keep myself healthy and in my weight gain goals for the baby, but I am looking forward to my business goals being accomplished as well. Never before has my heart been more ready for these changes. How am I doing this? Great products that give me a clean home, fresh energy each morning, and a business team that gives me hope and inspiration.

Now is the time to take action on your goals and your health! If this means more energy and a healthier mindset to get through the changes and start the school year off right, I can help. If this means that you need a extra or bigger income, I can help too! Ask me how you can earn $500 or more in the month of September working part time from home just like me.

Stay spry in September!