Money And Me – A Love Story

All my life money has had issues with me. I’d work hard to make it, put it in the bank and watch it disappear.

Oh there were patches there where money and I would reconcile and stay together for long periods of time, but inevitably I’d find my money cheating on me with my bills and I’d realize  that money didn’t love me as much as I loved money.

It took me a half a century to figure out how to keep money happy and believe you me, that makes me happy too. I want to share what I’ve learned with you and if I can help just one person to improve their relationship with money – well that would be a good thing.

1.     Don’t spend other people’s money

Other people’s money, that means credit cards,credit union loans, bank loans, student loans and anything else that you will have to pay back with interest.

Other people’s money seems like a great idea when you’re in the line at Macy’s and the cashier says you can get 10% off of your purchase today if you sign up for a card RIGHT NOW. Trust me the one day sales and percent off coupons and those gratuitous credit limit increases will have you in debt up to your eyeballs in no time and that 10% off won’t offset the 16 to 30 percent interest you’ll be paying on your balance each month.

IF YOU CAN”T PAY FOR IT WITH CASH, YOU CAN PROBABLY LIVE WITHOUT IT. Remember your money will leave you when it discovers your affair with other people’s money.

 2.     Don’t spend money now that you think you’re going to earn later

You just got a new job, big promotion, your tax refund is going to be awesome this year- so you think to yourself “I’m going to earn that money later, so why not go ahead and  treat myself or the family to____”. I think this was one of my major shortcomings, always spending money I thought I was going to earn before it was actually in my pocket, I like to call that “euphoria spending”. Just think about it, if I’m spending as though I’m making more, when I’m not, then something is going a gangling as they say. Maybe it’s the electric bill, the gas bill, money for the commute to work next week, lunch money for the kids…whatever.  DON’T SPEND WHAT YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE…YET.

3.     Pay your bills in full every month

Keeps the bill collectors at bay, makes you feel rich , and helps you to keep your sanity.  This is a hard one for some people, they tend to pay half of this and a quarter of that, steal from Peter to pay Paul and end up in this deep pit full of past due bills. I’ve never been one of those people, just wasn’t in my DNA, but I wasn’t always able to stay  on top of things and would suddenly  discover that the cell phone bill was 3 months past due because I  got busy and wasn’t keeping up. Continue reading and I’ll tell  you how I fixed that and how you can too.

4.     Open an ING account

I am sure that by now there are other online banks that allow you to open as many accounts as you’d like and manage your money in the way that I am about to explain. Back when I started ING was the one that I found and that’s the one that has worked for me

  1. Open an Electric Orange account and have your paycheck Direct Deposited there.
  2. Add a savings account and call it “Emergency Fund” because this is where you will stash a little money every month for unexpected things like a busted water heater or car repairs and the like
  3. Open one savings account for each one of your bills – this will keep you on track so that you don’t miss any of your monthly payments. I name my accounts after my bills: The Rent, Gas bill, electric Bill, Cell Phone,Car etc.

 

5.     Set up automatic transfers from your Orange account to each of the savings accounts

This will ensure that each month when that bill comes due – you have enough to pay it. Here is an example:

Bill and his wife earn $1000 per week. The table below shows their bills and the automatic transfers that should go into each account when they get paid every week,( the math may be off but I hope you get the idea):

Bill Amount Weekly Automatic Transfer
Mortgage $1000 $250
Electric $120 $30
Gas $30 $7.50
Cell Phone $200 $50
Cable $75 $18.75
Car $350 $87.5
Credit Card $100 $25
Gas and groceries $550 $137.5
Savings (external Account) $800 $200
Emergency Fund $300 $75
$3525 $881

As I hope you can see – by saving money from each check to pay their bills, Bill and his wife are able to live happily with their money.

6.     Open an external savings account

I need to have money that is hard to get to, so I have an account outside of ING where I transfer out 20% or so of my income each paycheck. That amount is based on how much I usually have left over after bills, groceries, gas, and other necessities.

Today, money and I have a healthy relationship based on mutual respect. I’m able to eat out, shop, shower my children with unexpected gifts, build up my savings – and pay my bills on time. We’re finally happy together – and you can take that to the bank.

I Wish You Enough

Sunny yellow flower by Sharee Basinger

Sunny yellow flower by Sharee Basinger

Shortly after Christmas last year I received one of those sappy forwarded emails which I usually scan and then delete. I kept this one because the message it contained resonated on some level. It was the story of a father saying goodbye to his daughter at the airport, and he told her “I wish you enough”. There was a lot more to it of course, but this is the part that drew my attention.

The question is what is enough? Once upon a time in America, a good job, a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your belly were always enough. This was the good life , when cars and vacations were paid for in cash; “bills” meant utilities such as water, heating, electric, and a home phone; and a house large enough to fit the family was  more than enough.

Very slowly, we decided that enough was no longer enough. Suddenly we needed a cell phone(for everyone in the house) in addition to the home phone, two cars instead of just one, vacations that cost several months worth of paychecks,  a mini- mansion in what used to be the country and is now the suburbs. And suddenly, home cooking wasn’t good enough – I know stay at home Moms who buy the kiddos lunch at McDonalds!

Of course we could no longer pay cash for all of this, so we had to have a credit card or two or three. For the most part we took out  large loans with exorbitant interest (any interest is excessive if you ask me) for the cars. And I won’t even cover what we’ve agreed to so that we could have those mini-mansions in the suburbs.

When the economy tanked in the past couple of years, I think (I hope) we all realized that we had gone past having what we needed, to having things that we wanted just because we could pay monthly on them.  I hope that we have learned to pay with cash, and that buying “on time” means giving up years of your earnings for something that will have very little value at the end of that time.  I know that many of us have had “enough loss to appreciate all that we possess” and I hope that we take this lesson learned with us and pass it on to our kids.

In closing I wish you enough:

  • Enough money in your bank account to pay your bills .
  • A roof over your head that is paid off or at least paid for on time each month.
  • Enough time to enjoy your children because they are grown and gone so quickly
  • Enough gratitude for the people and things in your life so that you may attract more good things and people
  • Enough winter so that you appreciate spring and summer when they finally arrive
  • Enough despair that you appreciate hope and the smallest bits of happiness
  • Enough clarity to explore the alternatives
  • Enough hate and war,  so that you appreciate love and peace

5 Reasons to Recession Proof Your Income With a Home Based Business

As we descend deeper into this dip in our economy, we find our portfolios shrinking, our paychecks dwindling, unemployment rising, and disposable income disappearing. Due to job losses many two-paycheck families are down to one paycheck and maybe an unemployment or part-time job check. As we head into the holidays our children are affected by our lackluster approach to the holidays, and our fears of what the New year will bring.

There is a way to approach the season with anticipation rather than hesitation. Here are my five tips to recession proof your income this year:

  1. You can Lower Your Tax Debt Or Increase Your Refund – By owning your own home business you are eligible for tax breaks and incentives not available to an employee.
  2. You Can Help Yourself By Helping Others – As a home based business owner you are in a position to offer those hardest hit by the recession something that they need – a hand up as opposed to a handout. A Home Based business requires only a small investment and with a little hard work can be profitable almost immediately, so someone who is out of work but has a small severance package or an unemployment check, can invest in a home based business and start generating an income for their family!
  3. You Will Be Able To Create Residual Income – That’s income that grows over time based on work that you do only once. This is recession proof income that won’t be affected by the stock market, the world market, or the job market. It’s what you earn , as some in the business so eloquently state “before your feet hit the floor every morning”.
  4. You Can Determine What You Are Worth – instead of an employer telling you what they are willing to pay you, you can determine what you want to earn each month and how hard you are willing to work to make it.
  5. You Can Improve the Quality of Your Children’s Lives -Our children want more than great presents at Christmas, they want quality time with their parents! Why do we have them and then turn them over to day care centers, babysitters and the school system? A home based business allows you to be there for your children whether it’s breakfast before school, chaperoning school trips, helping with homework, or coaching their little league team. You can shape your kids lives through active participation in their lives.

If you are employed but don’t feel “safe” or are under paid and considering a second job, a home based business is a better Plan B. Why? Because a second job means more time spent working and less time spent living. It means more income to be taxed by the IRS without the numerous deductions provided by a home based business. It also means less family time and more time away from the place that you are trying to take care of – HOME

.

Who’s Going To Accept Responsibilty For The Recession?

Having been on this planet for quite a few years now (how many is irrelevant to this topic) I’ve been privileged to live through some good times, as well as some bad turns, in our economy. When things are

Image Courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk

Image Courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk

going well, everyone steps up to take credit for for a job well done; but when it gets really bad…

  • Politicians will go back 20 years to blame it on legislation passed by some other congress
  • Children will blame it on their parents not giving them an allowance and teaching them how to manage money
  • Investors will assign responsibility to bad income statements from company a or b
  • Economists break out the charts to show how inevitable it all was

And the little guy gets left holding the bag? Doesn’t seem fair, does it?.

I believe that when we accept the responsibility for our successes, but assign blame for our failures to God , the Universe, or the Economy , we are failing twice. I received a bit of flack for my last post about the recession because it was assumed that I was making light of the situation by saying that it only exists in our minds.

Well I stand by what I said previously, but I want to add that we all have to be fiscally responsible. Meaning, don’t spend money that you do not have (credit cards, pay day loans and the like),  because that’s exactly what has gotten us into the mess we’re in – fiscal irresponsibility in government, business, and our own households.

I was going through some things a while back and was blaming everyone but myself; one day as I was railing against the bill collectors I realized that I, and only I, was responsible for the financial mess that I was in and the bill collectors were just working a J.O.B so that they could pay their debts.

People who are spiritually aware will tell you that until you accept responsibility for past bad acts, you will be unable to attain the blessings God and the Universe have in store for you. I have accepted responsibility for my past (bad) monetary decisions, are you ready to join me – or do you have yet another person or entity that you’d rather have carry this burden for you?

Are Americans Thinking Their Way Into A Recession?

My husband and I had an argument the other day because someone on one of the forums he frequents said that we are not in a recession, we just think we are. I agreed with Mr Anonymous, hence the argument. So to clarify for my husband and anyone else who cares to listen in, here are my thoughts on the subject.

” If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”- Henry Ford

This one sentence describes exactly what is happening to this economy right now. The television tells us the economy is bad, the DOW is down (who is this Dow guy and what does he have to do with me anyway?), retailers are quaking in their boots in anticipation of a bad holiday season . So what can we do but hold on to the money we have for the “just in case scenario”?

  1. Just in case we join the ranks of the jobless
  2. Just in case we are unable to pay holiday bills
  3. Just in case gas prices go up again
  4. Just in case our 401K continues to decrease in value

And what does all this just in casing (yes I know that’s bad grammar but bear with me) lead to? Retailers don’t make any money so they don’t hire as many seasonal workers, they pay less than they did last year to the ones they do hire, and they will definitely let people go when January rolls around.

Did I mention that they probably don’t order anything from their manufacturers, who then don’t order from their suppliers, who have to cut costs probably via layoffs and so on, and so on until our deepest darkest fears become reality and we have to take a pay cut or join the ranks of the unemployed.

Bottom Line – Our thoughts and beliefs, decide our fate. If we think that we live in an abundant world then we do. If we focus on what we fear the most, then it will come to pass.

Go out and spend some money on toys and clothes and stocks and jewelry. It will boost the economy and cheer you and someone else immensely!

Your Boss Is Not Your Daddy!

I read the stats about how many jobs the economy has “shed” over the past 10 months; the candidates for office this year Barack and McCain even make it a point to highlight the number of jobs lost when they’re out stumping for votes.

When my company was bought by a large oil company several years ago, they told us that if we worked hard and survived the inevitable layoffs we would “ride the gravy train” . I hung in there for almost a year, worked really hard and thought I had “survived”. One day I was told that I was a very valuable person, you see, and they were letting me go so that I could provide that same “value” to persons unknown who really needed it more than they did.

I lived off my (skimpy, taxed to kingdom come) severance package while I searched for these “persons unknown” , who one would assume were also searching for me, but we kept missing each other! Realizing that I had to eat and pay the mortgage, I settled on a home-based business to bring in a few dollars per month and set out to find others who were in my shoes past or present, and wanted a Plan B that would provide an income for them if their employer were to send them off to give value to someone else.

Well, imagine my surprise when folks hung up on me, or told me they were looking for a JOB from home and couldn’t see their way clear to pay to work, or they couldn’t afford it, or that they didn’t have time for this right now. Excuse me?

I think what I am hearing is “I do not have 2 to 5 years to work towards earning a 6-figure income on my own, but I trust the system to provide a job for me that will allow me to retire to a greeter position at Walmart in 20 to 40 years”

Was I missing something there? Then it hit me, I was once just like these guys, I too believed that the road to financial freedom ran right through corporate America, a savings account, a 401K and a pension at 65 – and that all those make money from home things that people called me about were scams. I too was once afraid of financial freedom. If only I could go back, I would not have hung up on quite as many network marketers!

Your boss is not your Daddy and your company has made no provisions for your future. Read that again please “Your boss is not your Daddy” and unless you actually do work for your father, your job can

* End up in Mexico, India, China or anywhere but where you are
* Be eliminated due to budget cuts or a takeover (like mine was)
* Disappear overnight for any of a multitude of reasons

So what is your Plan B?

Look I’m not saying quit your job and join me on some Man of LaMancha quest, where we fight windmills and other imaginary foes.

I’m just saying that you could get yourself a viable Plan B with a legitimate company (and increase your tax refund while you’re at it) while Plan A is still working for you.

I’m saying that a small investment could help you to quit your job in 6 months to 2 years ; or maybe it could help you to quit your job and then help you to bring your spouse home too ; or maybe, it will just keep you from having to work nights at the Walmart.

And if you don’t currently have a Plan A (meaning, you are already unemployed), then you already know exactly what I’m trying to say here. You’ve been down that road, you know exactly where it ends, and that is not where you want to be.

So go look in the mirror and ask yourself “Am I afraid of Financial Freedom?” And If the answer is “No”, well then don’t hang up the next time someone calls you about a business opportunity.