financial planning series [part 2]

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I am in no way a college educated professional financial planner, but I think I'm about as self-taught educated as a person can get!  :)  You can be too.  While we're on the subject of self-educating ourselves to become financially serene, I have a tip for you.  You DO NOT need to purchase 100 different books on budgeting from people who make millions of dollars selling those books.  There is a wealth of knoweledge already provided for you on the internet.  If you want to know what "Mr. Money Advice Man" suggest for budgeting, google it!  I guarantee you there is a million blogs, articles, and forums that have leaked all the good points in his book.  I will be honest when I tell you, I've never read one of those Best Selling money guru's books.  We're smart women... we know deep down what we need to do to make our household budget work for us.  We're just scared, lazy, or frustrated.  Don't be!  It's not hard, and the reward is worth it.  

Today I want you to gather all your bills, pay check stubs, and bank statements.  [Don't be scared]  Get familiar with what you have coming in, and going out.  Look at what you need to cut.  Listen, I'm all about having a good time & enjoying life.  If you want that Starbucks, have it!  Just make sure to budget in how much you actually can afford.  If you have more bills than income... you cannot afford Starbucks.  [But that's a whole other post.]  How many vices do you have?  Do you need ALL of them?  If you're buying Starbucks in the morning, Subway for lunch, vending machine at work for a snack, ordering pizza for the family for dinner cause you didn't meal plan... we've got a problem.  So get all your financial statements, some highlighters [I'm a major color coder, so you will see me advise using highlighters often], and a pen & paper, and a calculator, cause we're going to dissect!

Dissecting your finances:
We're going to start small.  I want you to take last months bank statement.  Grab a green highlighter, and I want you to highlight all income.  Total it up and write it on your piece of paper.  Once you're done, just look at it for a moment.  Think about how hard you worked for that money.  How many transactions do you have that are money spent, in comparason to your income?  A lot?  Look at how quick you were to waste that hard earned money.  I like to look at everything in how much I had to work to pay for each item.  Let's say you make $10 an hour.  Remember that Starbucks trip?  You ordered your Venti Carmel Macchiato and then also decided to tack on a muffin for breakfast.  Your total will be with tax, nearly a full hours worth of hard work.  As you go through your statement, I want you to highlight in pink all the purchases that were made that you regret.  [Don't be hard on yourself, we all have them.]  Total those up and add them to your piece of paper under your income total.  Grab a blue highlighter now, and we're going to highlight all our "bills".  This will be mortgage/rent, utilities, phones, cable, internet, car payments, insurance, etc.  Add up that total and write it down underneath your "regret" number.  Let's stop and subtract those 2 from our total income.  Where does that leave you?  Are you already in the hole?  Do you have tons leftover [if so, what're you doing reading this? haha!]  

I want you to think about what you're looking at.  Are you content with your money spending?  Are you ashamed?  Figure out where you stand financially.  Is there some adjustments that need to be made?  If there are keep following this series.  I have tons of advice on frugal living, without feeling like you're deprived.  

Let's cover what we've done so far.  We've created our financially serene workspace in part 1, and now in part 2 we've dissected and assessed our finances.  Give yourself a pat on the back!  We're making progress!

financial planning series [part 1]

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Let's talk about money.  I know, I know, money is something that each and every one of us have a love/hate relationship with.  I want to help you have more of a love for your income.  A respect for the hard work you do, and an appreciation for the hard work your husband/wife/significant other does.  Now, I'm not wanting to turn you into a money hungry greedy Mr Scrooge.  I just want to help you become financially "serene". 

First and foremost I want you to think about how you pay your bills.  What's your ritual?  Do you have one?  Where do you sit down and do your financial planning?  Do you have a desk?  The coffee table?  The dinner table?  Floor?  Is bill paying something you regret?  Financial planning is something that we HAVE to do.  Much like eating and showering!  We might as well learn to enjoy it.  [Or at the very least, be able to sit down and do it without the need of antacid and a xanax haha!]  

We're going to create a space that is calming and serene.  A space that you enjoy and brings good positive energy to you.  I'm not telling you to run out and purchase a bunch of decorating items, organizing items, and a desk.  That would definitely defeat the purpose of all of this.  Work with what you have!

If you have a desk:
What is the state of your desk?  Paper clutter galore?  How can you be serene with your bill paying, if you're sitting in a clutter swamp?  Organize that puppy!  Do it now!  If you can't even find your bills, how are you going to be able to pay them on time stress free?  

If you don't have a desk:
For the longest time I did all my household planning including finances at the dinner table.  I know what you're imagining.  You picture paper clutter all over the dining table, a laptop sitting there, and yesterday's coffee mug!  Well you're wrong!  I had a wonderful tote that I kept everything I needed.  That tote lived in a chair tucked under the table.  This portable office housed my netbook, my kindle, my budget binder, my planner, pens/highlighters, charging cables, and anything else I needed including my "serenity items".  I use this one from Reisenthel, it's sturdy & has an aluminum frame...
Serenity items & creating your space:
I LOVE candles!  Sorry Scentsy ladies, I can't live without my candles.  There's something about that flickering flame that calms me.  My candle of choice is Bath & Body Works candles.  "But Emilee... those are expensive!"  They can be, you are right.  I ONLY purchase them when they are on sale.  2 for $20 is when I usually stock up and I always stack a coupon with that.  For a quality candle I have no problem spending $10 a piece.  You could even get the smaller ones that are even cheaper, which I might suggest to you if you're taking advantage of the portable office approach.  To me, having a candle flickering and emitting the most pleasant aromatic experience is a bill paying necessity.  What do you feel most calm with?  Classical music playing?  Candle burning?  Being surrounded by pictures of loved ones?  Think of the things you LOVE!  Make sure to incorporate that into your space.  Make it a happy place for you.  How about your favorite tchotchkes?  You need a space that you are happy to sit in, feel comfortable in, and that is YOURS.  If you're taking advantage of the portable office, you may be at the dinner table or coffee table.  During bill paying time, that space is YOURS and YOURS ONLY!  

I want you to hop on Pinterest.  Create a board just for ideas for YOUR PERSONAL SPACE!  An Illustrated Discovery Journal of sorts [If you're not familiar with Sarah Ban Breathnach's books, an Illustrated Discovery Journal is a Visual Autobiography of your Authentic Self.  Pictures that speak to you, ideas, things you love.]  I want you to focus on things for your space.  For example:  Take this picture of an office space below...

This wouldn't take much to create.  What do you love about it?  The desk?  Well that looks like a wall shelf!  Take shelf brackets & a shelf, mount it on the wall.  Voila!  How about the flowers?  That could easily be replicated with Dollar Tree items.  Find "office" spaces that you love & pin them!  Then use your creative side to recreate them!

I will do this homework with you!  Once you've created your board, post the link in a comment below.  Share your progress!  We are in this together!  Happy pinning!

happy 4th of July

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

sale alert! [e.l.f.]

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

e.l.f. cosmetics is celebrating their 9th birthday with a free gift!  You can get the 85pc Birthday Palette ($150 Value) for FREE when you spend $25 or more!  This offer is valid 7/2-7/8 only using coupon code BIRTHDAY at check out! 

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