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.

Get What You Want Out Of Life-Lose The Victim Mentality

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 02:  Allan who h...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

What is a Victim mentality? My dear husband describes this as your inner martyr. That part of you that gets pleasure out of thinking: “Poor me, I will never be pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough. I’m just a waste of human DNA; someone please put me out of my misery”.

The victim is your excuse for:

  • not getting the pretty girl or rich guy

  • coming up short on the promotion at work

  • not closing that prospect

Just fill in the blanks on what you don’t deserve and why. If things are not going your way, you can just call in the Victim, and shed a few tears over your own ineptitude as you just quit trying to succeed at anything at all.

Just fill in the blanks on what you don’t deserve and why. If things are not going your way, you can just call in the Victim, and shed a few tears over your own ineptitude as you just quit trying to succeed at anything at all.

The Victim in you survives by replaying your inner DVD of errors and missteps in your life thus far. If you want more out of this life you have to quit reliving your past. Learn from your mistakes and move on!

I am going to use celebrities as an example here: I am sure you’ve read in the tabloids about some star that, early on, got everything that they wanted. But their Victim tells them everyday that this is not a life that they deserve; the Victim is judge and jury and causes them to make decisions on a daily basis that are guaranteed to prove this out. Driving drunk, committing suicide at the height of their careers, being publicly promiscuous, the list is endless when it comes to the damage that some celebrities inflict on themselves and the people who care about them.

We get out of this life exactly that which matches our expectations, and if you are expecting the worst you will get the worst. If your inner Victim insists that you don’t deserve any better – well, then you don’t. To gain small victories we must let go of our Victim mentality. Lose the Victim and gain a life of happiness and abundance.

How do you let go of your Victim mentality? Well you have to put different thoughts into the compartments of your mind. Fill those spaces with thoughts of future successes small and large; don’t focus on your lack of funds, instead think about what you are going to do with all that money when it’s just sitting in your bank account; replace the words fat, chunky and overweight with thin, healthy, and svelte. In short, you must spring clean your mind and rearrange the furnishings (and change the locks while you’re at it) so that the Victim becomes a homeless person.

Stay focused on your desires, live in the moment secure in the belief that you deserve to live your best life.

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The Real Truth About Network Marketing – The More You Fail, The More You Will Succeed

“To think what you want to think is to think Truth, regardless of appearances” – Wallace D. Wattles

momentum is everythingIt’s going to happen to you (if it hasn’t already), whether it’s a phone call  or a face to face  with a network marketer, or maybe you will attend a local meeting  of a network marketing company.  The person who prospects you will tell you about Suzy Q the homemaker who just wanted to make $400 extra a month to help her hardworking husband with the bills, who threw herself into network marketing  and it was so hard that she almost gave up! But she kept at it and today she is a six-figure earner! And then there’s Jimmy Z, everyone knows about Jimmy, he started way back when before Al Gore invented the Internet and he built a multi-million dollar business by doing meetings in McDonald’s and grocery store aisles!

If you go to a local meeting Suzy, Jimmy and their friends will be paraded across the stage and they will each tell their story and they will cry genuine tears – because it was hard and everyone laughed at them and said it couldn’t be done – and they did it anyway! At this point you will be crying too as you fill out the form being handed to you.

When all is said and done you have joined a new business opportunity, you are pumped, you are ready to change your life, you are going to eliminate all of your debt in the next 12 months! You’re so danged excited that it’s hard to sleep some nights, I mean after all you are going to be earning six figure by this time next year – imagine that!

But wait – did you not hear the disclaimer, did you miss the part about :

1. Results not being typical and

2. And the fact that it can  take a lot of years, tears and hard work for the average Joe to succeed

Yes, yes, in your excitement you totally missed where Jimmy said that he talks to folks in parking lots (that’s gauche and yo don’t plan to do that and anyway you just got this email from some MLM guru guy who for just $1197.00 is going to show you howto earn 10K per month by this time next month).  You didn’t miss the part about two to ten years to that six-figure income because that’s for average people and you plan to be Suzy Q the one who did it in a year, heck if she can do it so can you!

So  (totally ignoring all the training you are receiving from your team about investing time rather than money at the front end)  you buy expensive leads, take out expensive ads, and do that guru program and you check your back office and bank account daily to see if you’ve signed up  a thousand distributors and made any progress towards your 10K.  Well that’s just exhausting isn’t it?

And when you realize that you’ve invested more than you’ve made, well that’s when you start to throw up the “Obstacles To Your Own Success”:

1. You begin to find fault with your upline – after all he brought you in, he gets paid off you every month,why isn’t he helping you?  Why doesn’t he provide you with leads or do calls for you so you can watch TV in peace?  And he probably doesn’t even make as much as he said. What a loser, he’s just using you…..

2. You begin to find fault with your company, product or team and you disconnect – you don’t listen to training calls, you don’t attend events, you think the product or service is too expensive or doesn’t work….

3. You become cynical about network marketing – after all everywhere you look on the internet they say 97% fail, and you probably have to get in at the beginning to be successful, and maybe it really is a scam….

So where are you right now? Are you reaching for the stars or are you throwing up obstacles?

* disclaimer- Al Gore did not invent the Internet

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Part Two: Applying The Four Agreements to Your Business & Life

Presents under the tree, courtesy of my residual income check

Merry Christmas To You & Yours!

In my last post I discussed two of Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” and how they can be applied to your life and business.  I was not surprised by some of the responses to my last post since at one point or another,  we all have trouble getting out of ourselves and interacting “correctly” with others. The first two agreements tell us that our work is always with ourselves in that we have to be impeccable with our word & we must not take what others do personally – remember you aren’t the center of the universe and everything is not about you.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Making assumptions wouldn’t be so bad if you acknowledged that “yes, I am making an assumption which may be an incorrect reading of this person or situation”; that never happens, you and I make assumptions every day, believing that each assumption is the truth.  And because we approach people and things in this way, we create drama out of nothingness.

One of the incorrect assumptions one can make in the weight loss business is that if you hand someone your business card, you’re insinuating that they’re fat and need your product. So you assume that it would be insulting to even approach people and you just keep it to yourself.  How much money can you make doing that?

Consider if you will the state of matrimony, starry eyed brides and grooms make a big assumption – they each assume that the other holds the exact same views that they do!  This leads to many problems down the road because each assumes that the other should know what they want, what they are thinking from one moment to the next, what their expectations are! The road to divorce is paved with incorrect assumptions; the road to a long and happy marriage is paved with incorrect assumptions which were then clarified because one or the other of you asks a question such as “Do you mind if I play poker with the guys every other Friday night?”. In some relationships it may be assumed that if there was a poker or girls nite out before,  then marriage won’t interfere with that. hmmm.

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.

Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

To live a happy, healthy, and  productive life you must always do your best.  Doing your best puts you on the up side of your  slight edge and keeps you moving forward in a positive direction.  Face it you aren’t always going to remember to be impeccable with your word – your sister will call and you will suddenly find yourself gossiping about your brother’s new girlfriend or you and a co-worker may engage in a water-cooler talk about a fellow employee.  Sometimes when you are in the middle of a sales or prospecting call you will forget that it’s not about you, you will take something personally, and then you will find yourself unable or unwilling to do another call. And yes of course you will make assumptions – you’ll assume that someone is unapproachable when they aren’t, or that your new husband’s parents don’t like you, or that someone is flirting with your girl, when in reality  they are just being nice.

Christmas is a bad time for a lot of people. I have never understood this. Why are you stressed? Do you tense up just thinking about Christmas dinner? Are you approaching the season with joyful anticipation or intense  trepidation?

Relax, be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions about the presents that you give  or the presents that you receive, just enjoy the season and do the best that you can at all of these things.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you all!

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Honestly, Why Are Scammers Targeting You?

NEW YORK - JANUARY 14:  Accused financier Bern...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

11/24/2009 – I just saw a story on TV where an older woman was scammed out of $3000.00 by two women who claimed to be illegal immigrants with a winning lottery ticket that they could not cash. She bought the ticket from them thinking that it was worth $50,000.00!!!! Of course it was  a useless ticket and she got what she paid for – nothing for something. This being the season for scammers and get rich quick schemes I thought that I should repost this article as a reminder that you really can’t cheat an hones man, but….

If I had a dime for every person who has told me “I’ve been scammed before”, I could retire to my New York penthouse.  But you know if you have been scammed, you do realize that you have no one to blame but yourself?

I hope that didn’t come as a shock and surprise, you see you can only be scammed if you are open to being scammed, meaning you’re looking for easy money or a way to “get rich” overnight with little or no effort.

You can’t cheat an honest man, it just can’t be done. But you can find the man who wants something for nothing, and give him nothing for something. – Michael “Mickey” Foster

Mickey Foster is a con artist, his job is to find people who want something for nothing and give it to them.  Like you, I have lost a ton of money in various “schemes”, for example I invested 10K  hoping to get a 25% return. It was 2007 and before i could say “money for nothing” my investment had vanished into a home that could not be sold because the market had tanked.   I wanted something for nothing and I got just that – nothing.

You’ve heard about the Nigerian scam, my Dad was forced to leave the country, there are millions in the bank and we can’t get it out, Mum is dying and we need the money to get her out of the country, my brother was run over by a lorry and lost his leg…the long and short of it – you give me a small amount of money and when we get our money we will give you 50K. This scam is as old as the hills and people still fall for it, why?

Probably because, it’s got a sympathy and empathy factor so that you don’t feel guilty for getting such a large payout for your small investment and you get to feel that you are doing a good thing. You may think that you’re an honest person, but honest people know that good things come to those who work hard for them. An honest man would delete the first  email after reading it and send all follow ups to his spam folder to be deleted later.

Of course a scam can be much more subtle “i can show you how to make money in your sleep”, “I made $6,326 in one day and I can show you how”, “attract endless leads with this system” and on and on. Here’s a clue:

  1. Only lottery winners make millions overnight, so if you haven’t won the lottery
  2. To make money while you sleep requires a lot of work on your part
  3. If you paid hundreds or thousands for a sure fire business opportunity.
  4. If you are having trouble finishing what you start  (jobs, businesses, relationships)
  5. Then you just may be an opportunist, that guy or gal who is looking for lots of return with little or no investment of time, energy, emotion, or dollars.

Don’t get me wrong , you get into the right business and put some muscle in it, you will make money in your sleep. But you have to be consistent and persistent, you have to be willing to do what it takes, you have to read some books and learn some things, attend a seminar or two or three, hop on some of those guru calls, manage your time well and learn how to be productive, and you can’t give up if you aren’t rich in six months , because then you’re just proving that you’re an opportunist, right?

And who the heck is Mickey Foster you ask? Well he’s just my favorite character on a Brit show called “Hustle“. It comes on AMC, I watch it On Demand so i have no idea when it airs, great show though.

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When Paying Off Debt – Don’t Try To Eat The Whole Elephant

ccToday we are blessed with the ability to have just about anything we want quite quickly. If we get lost on a road trip, a GPS system will give us the correct directions instantly (failing that you can text your location and destination to Google and they will text directions back to you); we don’t just have restaurants we have “fast food” restaurants, and even conventional restaurants now allow fast ordering and pickup via the internet; can’t remember the name of that actor in National Lampoon’s vacation? Google it. Need to visit your money, pay a bill, trade some stock, or buy clothes for the kids? You don’t even have to get off the couch, just log on to your bank, favorite online store etc.

But what has the ability to get things done right now done to all of us? It’s given us the false belief that we can do everything FAST!  You can lose 10lbs this week, speak Italian by Monday, have a gourmet meal on the table in 30 minutes or less, and take a couple of hours off work to  change the contours of your body or thickness of your lips.  So then why shouldn’t you  be able to get out of debt quick, fast, and in a hurry?  I read somewhere recently that if you borrow against tomorrow, you will always be broke. Well think of your debt situation as you having borrowed against tomorrow – and now the day after tomorrow is here and you’ve still got the debt, but that windfall you borrowed against  just never happened.

The truth is that how quickly you get out of debt will depend on a couple of things:

  1. How far down the rabbit hole did you let yourself go? $2000 in credit card debt or $250,000 including a car and a mortgage (yes you should probably pay your mortgage off  if you plan to stay in your house).
  2. How much are you willing to give up ( from that Aruba vacation to eating out to t-bone steaks from the grocery store)?
  3. How much  income can you throw at your debt?
  4. How strong is your desire to be debt free – I mean do you want to be debt free or do you just want to get back to being able to using your credit cards and not hiding your car?

Getting out of debt can be hard work if you do not have the right tools – if you have 3 or more large sums to pay off then chances are you have creditors calling and offering their “special payment plan” , please understand that often these plans will leave you exactly where you are for another 10 to 15 years! In my last post  “How To Survive & Maybe Even Thrive In Our Down Economy” I discussed my aversion to credit counseling services – the main one being that they don’t get you out of debt very quickly (ok, yes I am addicted to fast) and the monthly payment you get stuck with just isn’t worth it in many cases, I also promised my Mamapedia readers some debt reduction tools.

When you begin the work of getting out of debt, don’t try to eat the whole elephant, you can’t really pay off anything if you are paying off everything all at once. Try the snowball method where you start with the little things – your $400 department store card, followed by the $1000 Amex, and then the $5000 Home Depot  bill.  Back to those tools I mentioned ( the links below are all to documents on Keith Chuvala’s FPU page), if you can afford it I suggest David Ramsey’s ” Financial Peace ” or his Total Money Makeover or any book on creating a budget  and managing your debt. The first thing any financial planner worth their salt will tell you is that you have to pay yourself first, which doesn’t mean that you take $200 from your paycheck and go shoe shopping. What it means is that  you should save and/or invest a portion of your income every pay day. David Ramsey suggests saving $1000 before you even consider starting your debt reduction plan because if you don’t have any savings then small emergencies will derail your efforts topay down your debt.

The next thing that you should do is determine what you take home and what you  spend each month, the three spread sheets on this page will help you to document this information and then create a quick and dirty budget.  There are many worksheets on Keith’s website that wil help you with everything from how to save to paying off debt, by far my favorite is the Debt Snowball Calculator, using this calculator I realized that I could actually pay of my 30-year refinanced-too-many-times-to count  mortgage befoe my youngest gets out of college – to me that is awesome!

OK this post ran a little longer than I planned, I hope that I’ve given everyone who’s having issues with debt a few tips and tools for getting out of debt once and for all. Also, if you leave a comment and are among the first 10 people to  link to the post on Twitter( put @deniseporter so I know that you did) I will gift you with a copy of  “The Total Money Makeover”.

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Do I Need A Crash Course In Love?

The Love Course

The Love Course

As you know from reading my last post , my relationship with love has been less than stellar.  Which isn’t to say that I haven’t come a long way from the kid who cried herself to sleep at night cause her Daddy lived somewhere else, but I did bring a lot of baggage on the journey – and I think that I may still have at least one train case with me (admit it, you have no idea what a train case is do you?).

When my blogging sister Lucy Lopez suggested that I try her Love Course, I  jumped at the chance.  The Love Course promises to (in Lucy’s words)  :

  1. Explain some of the most perplexing things about ‘love’
  2. De-myth-ify the most commonly held myths about love and relationships
  3. Lead you gently through a series of questions, exercises, meditations and visualizations to help you identify and sort through your own beliefs, doubts, (mis)understandings and expectations about love
  4. Give you many opportunities to reflect on and re-assess your dominant and conscious as well as subtle and subconscious thoughts, words and behaviours that characterize your relationships
  5. Teach you specific skills to help you overcome unloving habits of thought, speech and behaviour
  6. Help you build the confidence you need to love effortlessly, freely and fully.

Over the next 6 weeks I will immerse myself in LOVE and share the experience with you. In the meantime do visit Lucy at www. lucylopez.net.

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