It’s All About Choice


money pig Image from Good Search

Here we are, into the new year. The bills have arrived, which raises a question: Are you happy how you spent your money—or didn’t spend your money in 2013?

Did you go to the Nutcracker, after years of wanting to go, but thinking you didn’t have the money? Was this the year you baked bread, cookies or candy to give to the service workers in your life (postal, UPS, garbage, landlord)? Or was it the year you told those you normally spend money on that you’d given to a charity in their honor. Did you have a shopping budget, and stick to it for the first time ever? Congratulations! Keep going strong in 2014!

It all comes down to choice. This year, remind yourself that you are in control of the choices you make. Every day. All year. No one can upset you without you being “upset-able”. If you dread (insert group here) family, work, neighborhood… get-togethers, then make plans now to be somewhere else and with someone else for next holiday season. If that sounds impossible, another option is to make plans to show up at the event and not be offended, hurt, or angry. It’s about choice.

Back to your budget. Do you have it ready for the new year? It’s never too late.

Here’s a budgeting booklet download:

Print it out, put it together, and write in your categories. Most important is tracking your expenses. If this sounds too complicated, then save every receipt in an envelope and add them up. If your income varies, keep a running tab of that, too. Bottom line, you need to know income in, income out, and the difference +/-. If you have extra money, save it. Save it for long term (retirement, big goals), short term (six months rent, and fun.) If you come up short, look at where you’re spending. There are several factors to this part, but usually, it about the spending.

How To Keep That Happy New Year Feeling


IMG_3861 Poster sketch by Rocky Moody

Here we are in a new year. How can we make the newness and cheerfulness last? Try this:

Unplug. Talk in person. Hang up. Make eye contact. Walk. Meditate, pray, be kind. Whisper, laugh, sing. Smile. Smile more. Hold the door for someone. Say, “Bless you” when someone sneezes. Yield to pedestrians. Breathe. Slow down. Light a candle, watch it burn. Read a book. Make a date, keep it. Invite someone over for dinner. Bring flowers to someone “Just because”. Plan a mini getaway. See your town through tourist-eyes. Buy the next person in line a coffee. Feed an expired parking meter. Hand out lotto scratcher tickets to strangers. Give compliments freely. Say “Thank you.” Say “You’re welcome.” Wave to your neighbors. Give a genuine complement.

Every moment can be a new start. If you wake up grumpy, you can change it. If you go to bed upset, get out of bed until you find your peace. Don’t wait a year to start over. Happy New Here! Celebrate the newness and cheerfulness right now. (I love confetti!)

Teaching kids money and investing fundamentals


teach kids about money image credit: Good Search

In the Wall Street Journal, I came across an article about Judith Ward, a financial adviser, who shared her experience teaching her children to save and invest money.

The steps in this article were very familiar to me. My mom did much of the same for me that Judith did with her kids. My mom isn’t a financial adviser, and you don’t need to be, either. Just remember: KISS, Keep It Simple, Sweetie. Don’t overwhelm your kids with the details, or scarcity stories.

Judith opened savings accounts for her kids when they were in elementary school. She’d take her kids to the bank to make their deposits and review their monthly statements with her.

As a child, I’d often gone to the bank with my mom and seen her deposit money into her account. She’d give short lessons, without me knowing announcing, “This is a lesson.” She’d say things like, “I put money in so we can buy food/clothing/Girl Scout uniform when we need it.” When I was thirteen, my mom took me to the bank and I opened my own savings account. I’d save money from the jobs I had—ironing and babysitting, and we’d make trips to the bank together to deposit our money. When I got a bank statement, mom showed me how to read it. I loved the reward of seeing the amounts go up!

As Judith’s children grew older, she’d show them her paychecks, and her monthly bank statements with them as a learning tool. She’d also share her investment statements with them.

My mom didn’t show me that information, but she did tell me things like, “Every little bit of savings makes a difference for now, and the future.”

Judith shared how she explained to her son, now 23, how to invest when he opened up a retirement account. If he invested every month—whatever the market was doing, he’d get fewer shared if the market was up, and but more shares if it was down. That’s known as dollar-cost averaging, but she, didn’t use fancy financial adviser terms on her son. She used what he could understand, and because it made sense, he’ll probably stick to saving money.

How do you talk to your kids about money? Are you trying to teach someone how to budget, or invest? Or, are you in process of learning yourself? KISS. KISS. KISS. Keep It Simple, Sweetie.

 

Celebrating Good


Here’s a video that’ll make you smile. It’s a tribute to Art Linkletter for his birthday in 1995. Bill Cosby is the host.

I never saw the show—I was a kid. I still waver on the idea of asking a child questions, and having a huge audience laugh at their answer. Not stellar for building confidence or compassion. But, this video has helped me change my mind a bit, be more open to the idea of this show. The end to this video wowed Art Linkletter, and me, too! What a great way to have honored this man. Obviously, these people felt no harm done for their past experience on the show.

The human spirit loves to celebrate good. Do you remember this show? Did you like watching the T.V. show?

What Are You Thinking, Right Now?


bright future ahead image credit: Good Search

Do you know your current thoughts are creating your future experiences?

To the extent we put energy or conviction into our thought, we get a mirrored experience of it. Don’t believe it? Look at your life. What’s working, and what isn’t. Are you bad mouthing money? Are you involved in gossip, or angry about what someone did—even if it was years ago? Maybe you’re not angry, but still wounded by their tone, their actions, or lack of actions.

The best thing you can to do to help yourself is to let it go. Move on. Forgive. Oh no! The “F” word! —It may as well be! No body likes to hear it, and few talk about it. When we forgive, we’re not doing it for the person who upset us. We must forgive because it frees us. As long as we’re the jailer, we  have to stand watch over those we’ve imprisoned. Let them go! If their consciousness is truly not a match for your consciousness, the issue will end. If their behaviors continue, it won’t bother you this time around, because you’ve shifted your energy via your consciousness. Or, they’ll just find someone else to be around. That person will either be the new target for upset, or a new teacher, perhaps in a way that is better understood by them than what you provided. Your trouble—or let’s call them a sacred messenger, will find a replacement.

What are you thinking right now? You are planning your future with those thoughts. If they’re not supportive of the good you want to experience, change your thinking now. Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science (not to be confused with Scientology or Christian Science) would say, “Change your thinking, change your life.” Over the years, other teachers have used the same meaning to spread positive thinking. “Thoughts become things” and “Energy flows where attention goes” are more recent versions of the same idea.

Be honest with yourself. If you really don’t like someone, don’t pretend there isn’t a problem. That just makes it fester within, and ultimately you’ll have a big blow out, or an eruption—and they may not even be around for it! The first step to move on is acknowledging what’s going on. Okay, you don’t like this person. Say you have to interact with them at work. Keep it professional. That doesn’t mean act fake, or not be true to who you are. It does mean you have the opportunity to look at your beliefs. What does this person trigger within you? What are they a mirror to? If they’re out of integrity, how are you out of integrity? Maybe they blab too much. What’s your communication like? Do you talk about them after work? At work? Do you feel you work hard, and they have fun? What’s the trigger for you?

Once you can find the trigger, see what good is in the situation. Maybe you have a great view out a window at work. Maybe you work Sunday through Thursday and love your schedule. Find what you do like, and focus on that. If you plan to leave your job, focus on the good, knowing that good comes with you to your new employment, and say, “This or something better” for the other stuff. For the stuff you hate—focus on the good you’ll accept. Don’t gripe about the bad performers, that will only put energy on them, and bring that type with you.

Change is cumulative. You have to be part of it. You can’t be conscious for a week, and coast for three. Decide what you want, and claim it. Then stay focused. If you drift, don’t get mad at yourself, just acknowledge you drifted, then get back on track, focusing in the direction you intend to go.

Onward!

How big is your container? (a look into consciousness)


how big your bucket image credit: Good Search

If you go to the ocean with a teaspoon, that spoon will fill up with water pretty fast. Go down to the ocean with a bucket, and you’ll get more water. If it’s raining and you leave a bucket outside—but the bucket is turned up-side-down, it wont’ catch a drop.

What if our containers, instead of teaspoons and buckets, were our minds, where our imaginations held what we desired. In New Thought, water is symbolic for consciousness, but let’s shift to the container itself. How big is it? How much good can you accept? If you go to the ocean with a teaspoon, you won’t be able to accept much. What if you go to the ocean with a bucket? How about leaving a big bowl, upright to catch the rainfall?

Do you have an abundance consciousness? Do you read this and envision the Grand Canyon as your container to fill?

Try this:

Sit and think of lots of different containers you could use. Think big! See them fill up with experiences you’d like to have. Is your container large enough to hold an airplane? Cruise ship? House? Lots of loving relationships? Keep expanding it to hold more wonderful things. Remember, the universe keeps expanding, so why not your container!

How big is your container?

Movies on the Cheap


movie-theater

image credit: Good Search

Walt Disney has said it will lose $190 million on movie, “The Lone Ranger” this quarter.

While you won’t personally experience that sort of loss by going to a dud movie, you can still avoid feeling ripped off from paying top dollar at the movies when there’s a way around it.

Here are some ways to search for discounts at the movie theater:

Can’t find the movie you like at the library? Tired of renting movies, or watching NetFlix on your computer? If you have kids, or want a retro-experience, try a drive-in theater. Search on-line for a drive-in near you.

If you’d rather drive home without that popcorn smell, check out your local movie houses. You can catch a matinee, or weekend show. If you’re a senior, student, or military and show I.D., you can often get a discount. An AAA card will sometimes get you in for less, too. with the movie theater. If your company participates in an employee discount program, you may be able to get discount tickets through the Human Resources department. Living near Costco has perks beyond the availability of getting pallets of Cheetos. Movie tickets are often at least 20% less expensive at Costco than they are at the movie ticket window.

If you go to the same movie theater on a regular basis, ask if they have a loyalty program, or if they sell tickets in bulk at a discount? Do the math for loyalty programs: You earn one credit for every dollar you spend, and when you reach 150 credits, you get a free small popcorn. To keep this real easy, say you buy two tickets at $10 each. That’s $20 toward 150 credits ($150). This means you’ll need to buy fifteen movie tickets before getting your free small popcorn (the cost of half a movie ticket.) If you are a movie buff, and go to the same theater, then think of the popcorn as a token thank you—nothing else.

Occasionally, there will be a free advanced screening in town. Check on-line, your local media. You’ll pay, and pay more for any service charge for ordering on-line, or special movies like 3-D, or IMAX shows.

Some deal sites on-line like Groupon, and LivingSocial occasionally have movie bargains. My issue with sites like these is that people often spend more than they would originally in order to save money, and often, they get a bargain, then don’t use what they bought.

Go have fun, but spend your money consciously. That goes for you, too, Disney.