Monday, October 22, 2012

8 Steps For Holiday Money Smiles

Every year we plan to enjoy the holidays with less frantic shopping, more memorable time spent with family and friends, and staying on budget.  Once we hit the day after Thanksgiving, all plans are off.  How can this year be different?
Plans are great, and written plans are the ones that are more likely to succeed.  Here are some suggestions to consider.  Start writing your plan now:

ü  Write out a budget of what you plan to spend, including decorations  (avg $40) and food (avg $85).
ü  If the money isn’t already set aside, there’s still time.  The average planned holiday amount is $689.  O.K., so you started a bit late this year.  Set aside $75 a week for the next 6 weeks, you’ll have $450 by Black Friday.
ü  Use cash (not debit cards).  You’ll spend an average of $180 more if you use plastic. Hide credit cards until 2013.
ü  Don’t fall for the impulse purchases – keep a printed list or put a list on your smart phone and stick with it.
ü  Stores offer credit cards with discounts because they sell more to you – don’t do it!
ü  Focus on happiness – discuss your plans with friends and family. Have a potluck or cookie party and recipe exchange.  Encourage smaller exchanges for our kids who already have too many toys. 
ü  Be creative – yeah crafts, cooking, baking are always appreciated.  Creativity extends to funding gifts, too.  Use reward points, re-gift unused gift cards, or use them to shop for gifts.
ü  After-holiday sales are great if you need it and include it in your spending plan. Return gifts promptly for refunds, use money and gift cards to make purchases.  Still keep those credit cards out of reach.
 Remember, right down your spending plan right now.  Keep it handy and get through the season smoothly and with happy recollections of 2012.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Personal Money Blog

I finally decided to jump into the blogosphere. I've had my share of money related experiences, and helped a lot of friends, family and co-workers with their financial situations. I created Money Wise Advisors as an answer for the people who wanted a more intense money coaching experience. This has been rewarding to start my own business and help people make positive changes in their lives.
I'll start with a little of my background. My mom was a stay-at-home mom who showed me how to balance a checkbook, helped me get my first credit card and shared stories of success and lessons learned. Both my mom and dad always shared with me that the most important thing you can do to get ahead is to spend less than you make. I was brought up in a very frugal, sensible household where we ate casseroles, sewed our own clothes, and spent time with friends and family more than going out to restaurants or other entertainment venues.

Along with being frugal, there was a time to spend for the right reasons. My parents, thank goodness, enjoyed to travel. We took Sunday drives to nearby towns, camped in our truck with a camper shell, or later in our small trailer. We visited family out of town on weekends. Even better, we flew to British Columbia and Hawaii. We enjoyed our family vacations, learned a lot about the places we visited, and shared memories through photos and stories.

Sure, it was a simpler life just a few years ago.  My goal is to break down our current circumstances into easier controlled decisions on how to live well and save and invest for the future.  Are you telling your money what to do each month?  I’m a money coach, and I’ll say the first step is to pay attention to where your money currently goes. ..