Ways to be a better saver of money


save money

Image Credit: Google

According to Rand Corp. economists, in a study on money saving behavior from August 2012 to March 2013, people who wrote their money saving goals down saved 64%. People who did not write down their goals saved 53%. In this study, savers were given money and some of the savers were asked to write the following: “I am a good saver. I will commit myself to achieving my savings goals.” A third group in the study were those assigned to an account where they could not withdrawal any money over the next six months. That group saved even more than the other two.

If you want to save more, write it down, or share it with a trusted friend or family member. It seems to be the act of pledging to be a better saver that makes a person better at saving. People want to have their words and deeds match, especially if others know about a goal. Another sure way to set you up for success is to have some of your savings hard to get to.

Savings? Words matching deeds? Accountability? There’s an app for that! Yep. If you can’t come up with your own motivation to save, there’s an app and website Stickk.com by Yale behavioral-finance experts. With this app you can create a contract and share it with others. You can even include a penalty if you slack off. The penalty can be something like authorizing a credit card payment to a charity. Stickk.com has found that users who do share their goal with supportive people and chose to elect the penalty, have a success rate of 80%, while those who keep their goal of savings private succeed nearly 40% of the time.

How to Visualize


visualize-square image credit: Good Search

If you want something, you’ve got to experience it in your mind’s eye before you can have it. It’s not, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” It’s “I’ll see it when I believe it!” Visualization is different than daydreaming. Daydreaming is just out there. In a daydream, you imagine without structure. You might even talk to a flying squirrel in your daydream. With visualizing, you’ll want structure. It’s not pondering what could happen, but what you want to happen. If you want a better job, say working in nature, you visualize yourself happily doing the job, wearing the uniform, and if you “see” a flying squirrel in your mind’s eye, it’s part of the job’s joy, not a random thought, or concern of the squirrel being a pest to plants and eroding the hillside.

Let’s say you want to pass your driver’s test, or get a promotion at work. Whatever you want, decide on it first. Then, lower your shoulders, and unwind from any anticipation or pressure to get what you want. Next, make sure you have five minutes uninterrupted to visualize what you want as if you’ve just gotten it. See yourself being acknowledged with words and actions, “You passed your driver’s test. Congratulations!” See people at work smiling, congratulation cards and e-mails, and things on your desk being packed up to move to the big office down the hall. Hear your friends and family say things like, “Good for you!” “Well done!” Feel the hugs, hand shakes or high fives. Take in the atmosphere. What does it feel like? Your body should feel the excitement of your accomplishment. It’s just happened! Jump! Shout! Feel the glory!

The feeling part of visualization is called seeding. Your thoughts create feelings, and your feelings create a corresponding vibration (high or low) in your body. All thought creates form, the form it takes depends on the vibration connected with it.

There are two types of visualization. One is having a precise idea of what you want before you begin visualizing it. With this type of visualization, you know what you want, and repeat that same vision every day. The other type of visualization is to just let positive thoughts of the outcome of your desire flow.

Keys to visualization: 

  • Keep it positive.
  • Keep it about the end result—as if you’ve just achieved it!
  • Visualize at least once a day for five minutes. It’s better to visualize 5 minutes 1x/day than 1 hour 1x/week.

You point the direction with your personal budget


arrowrightpngkey-benefits-from-three-budget-stages-30357 image credit: Good Search

Some people avoid having a budget out of fear it will rule them. No! YOU have far more control by having a budget, than without one. YOU direct how much, when, and where to allocate the money. Just put aside money and point your mind and actions in the direction you desire.

I’ve been called The Budget Queen for years. I recently learned that Margaret King of Philadelphia, PA reins as Queen Budget with a net worth of $850,000.

It began when she was a graduate student. Her budgeting formula? maximize money for investing. She lived within her means. Her life necessities (needs, not wants—things like utilities, food, housing) fit into 57% of her income. She set aside 10% for travel, and 3% to gift family and friends. That’s a total of 70%. The other 30% was for savings, investments, and paying down the principle on her mortgage.

Ten years ago, King paid off her home loan. Each month, her minimum payment was 15% more than what she owed. Once that money was freed up, she put that 15% into investments.

Don’t get caught up on her net worth. Don’t play the “yeah, but—” game. She did it! Awesome!

So can you! You can take budgeting seriously. You can save money. If you really don’t have extra money, don’t start with a goal of paying down 15% over your debt. If you say you don’t have the money, but are spending it elsewhere, then it’s time to look in the mirror and do some soul searching. The only way to manage something is to track it. By watching your spending, you’ll know where it’s going and that means you’ll know how much you have to spend or save.

King’s budget formula is basically the standard 70-10-10-10. Living on 70% of your net. Investing 10% to long term savings. Investing 10% to short term savings. And 10% for fun. This is where I encourage charity, and pull funds for fun from the short term savings. If someone’s in debt, they can use this last 10% for paying debt down. How you break it up doesn’t matter at all. What’s important is that you begin.

Every once in a while, I grab an envelop and for a month I keep track of all my receipts. If I spend money and forget a receipt, I write down the cost and what it was for on the envelop, or piece of paper and put that piece of paper in the envelop. At the end of the month I take a look at where my money’s going. I also check in with myself at a “real” level. Were there a bunch of things I could really do without? It’s not to punish, it’s to cross check desires and actions. If you say you want to save more money, or have more money—but you spend on immediate gratification, it’s not a match. Something has to give.

I am steeped in New Thought (law of attraction, act as if, affirmations, etc.) You cannot pray for money (or anything) and do nothing to draw it to you. Prayer or meditation may be part of that action, but at some point there will be a message for you to “treat and move your feet.” This is a metaphysical saying meaning, pray (sometimes called prayer treatment) and take action. Action begets action. Not action begets wishful thinking.

You can do it! Be the Budget Queen. Be the King within. As within, so without. It’s all about cause and effect. As our beliefs change, so do our experiences.

Money and the Subconscious Mind


Money-and-Your-Subconscious-Mind1-300x163 image credit: Good Search

The conscious mind is the ship’s master. If you go around saying, “I have no money” your subconscious mind take you at your word, because the subconscious mind follows directions. It cannot argue, decide or initiate—It’s the servant of your conscious mind.

If you say, “I don’t have money”, your subconscious mind works to ensure you don’t have money for what you want. (Because that’s what you’re saying.) Your subconscious mind is just following your orders. Rather than saying, “I can’t afford that” try saying, “I choose to use my money elsewhere” or “I’ve budgeted for something else right now”.

It’s not about giving up desire for what you can’t purchase right now, it’s about being real, fiscally intelligent and planting the seed for the item to come your way. It doesn’t matter how expensive the item is, either. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be given to you as a gift, or you win it, or you have the money sooner than you originally expected.

Years ago while window shopping, I saw a dress at a boutique. I said, “That’s for me!” I went inside the store. The dress wasn’t in my budget, but I tried it on anyway. It fit and looked great on me. I took note of the size, and told myself I’d check back, and if it was on sale, I’d get it if I still liked it. A month later I did go back. My size was the only one left—and it was 50% off! I tried it on again and still liked it, so bought it. I still have this classic red dress with black velvet cuffs and collar. It still looks good, and I still love it.

I’ve known two people who were gifted with cars by non-family members. One of the cars was brand-spankin’ new. I’ve gifted people with travel, money, and finding what they’d been looking for, but couldn’t find themselves. I’ve won money, books, a Cat-in-the-Hat Pillow (at age six-when it was really important!), a month of in-door rock climbing, candy,  a scarf, hula-hoop contests —and cancer—twice.

Say, “I’m a winner!” and act like one. In other words, name it. Claim it. Act accordingly.

Earning Money


buttered toast  Image credit: Good Search

Earning Money. Did you leave a job, or were you laid off, and are now back in the workforce? Did you take a salary hit? You’re not alone. According to Urban Institute, re-employed workers ages 50-61 have taken a -21% hourly pay hit compared to pre-layoff wages. Ages 25-34 have taken -7% hit.

Are you in this group? Did you leave a job and can’t find one at comparable wages? Are you willing to take a new job anyway, even if it’s not what you want, not what you’re trained for, and not at that pay you are accustom? If not, what are you doing for income? Are you living off savings? Moving in with others? Moving to a less expensive location?

How’s your attitude, and outlook for the future? Do you feel you’ll “land like a cat” (on it’s feet), or “land like a piece of buttered toast” (buttered side down)? Do you have a support system? Do they help in obvious financial ways, or in more subtle ways?

If you’d like to share on any of these thoughts re: earning money or related,  please do.

Budgeting Goals for 2013


piggy bank Image Credit: Good Search

Happy new year! Now, stop eating, go to the gym and make a budget. Hello? Hey! Come on back here!

It doesn’t have to be hard or boring. None of it. It’s about allowing you to do the things you want to do. It’s about giving yourself permission, freedom—not limiting you.

Making a budget should be personal. It’s called Personal Finance. Personal comes first. You set the rules/goals. Having a budget and goals helps you reach your desired outcome. If all you do it put numbers on a piece of paper and you’re not a numbers person, you’ll find a budget boring and won’t be motivated to work it. For what are you saving? Is it a trip? Cut out some pictures of the place and include the experiences you want to have. Include photos of you smiling, money and symbols of a Higher Power —be it a sunset, dove, Krishna—something to remind you of hope and Infinite good available to you.

If you want a buddy to help keep you on track, agree to be accountability partners. Then do the numbers. You know what your rent/mortgage cost, and if you owe on your car. If your insurance is semiannually, divide by six and put it into your monthly expenses. Go through your expenses, even if you’re not positive what they run exactly. This is when an accountably partner is great. They can say, “Oh, I forgot to allow for vet bill expenses. Thanks for reminding me.” Don’t panic. It may take time before you have the unexpected aspects of your budget are covered, but do begin to think of your expenses and having the money for them. Build in a buffer zone for each category. Some months we eat more. We entertain, or splurge on special types of food. Other months, we may have car, child or vet expenses. Nothing gives peace of mind like knowing you’ve got the money in the bank account for the expense.

Do you go to the movies, shop or go out for lunch? Add up approximately how many times you go out and spend money, then add a “fun” column into your budget. This is a guilt-free amount from where you can take money for the fun.

If the budget you set up isn’t working for you in a few months, change it. Check in with your accountability partner and budget weekly or monthly until you get a feel for it. Then you can advance to a quick look monthly, and go into depth a few times a year unless there are big changes in your spending, then check more often, making adjustments. You can do this! Reaching your dreams and goals takes commitment, trade-offs and being aware of you want versus what’s become habit. Allow your budget to become this year’s habit.

So, Now, stop eating, go to the gym and make a budget.

 

Cardboard Bike!


Short and sweet:

Need a lightweight bike? Check out this video! This man makes bikes out of cardboard, and the bikes work! They can ride through puddles of water, carry an adult male and give transportation to people who couldn’t otherwise afford it. He was told it was impossible.

Now that’s creativity and determination put to good use!

Maybe Izhar will be the one who makes cardboard cars. We may need to peddle like the Flinstones did, but the cars would get great mileage, and when crashes happen, there’d be only minor paper cuts to heal.

This year let’s do good for people, places and events. Let’s be the good for all people, places and events. . . . Do-Be-Do-Be-Do.

As it is within, so without — meaning, what we create inside ourselves, we experience on the outside. Izhar began with “Yes!”

Evidence Based Spiritual Practice


evidence based practice

The wind blows, but you cannot see it. You see evidence of it by the leaves on the trees moving. You feel the cool air on your skin. You may even hear rustling noises—but you don’t see it. “I’ll believe it when I see it.” No! You’ll see it when you believe it! If you’re not familiar with Wayne Dyer, he wrote a book titled, You’ll see it when you believe it. Well worth a read.

You don’t see the wind, does that mean the wind doesn’t exist? It can blow buildings  down, and it can supply energy for cities. Wind power can be a sailor’s dream, or deadly nightmare.

What could you see in your life if you believed in it? I believe we are channels for the Universal Power at all times. It’s impersonal, but we personalize It.

I think this story is about Edwene Gains, but we’ve all had something similar. As the story goes, she identified with prosperity and abundance when she had almond-stuffed green olives. They were expensive, and it was a rare treat to have them. Opulence!

A friend invited her on a cruise, already paid for. At the time this was a big, extravagant event for her. She went and set the intention to feel the energy of abundance. To take in the wealth, and feel rich!

One night at dinner, her plate—not the plate of anyone else’s at her table, but her plate had an almond-stuffed green olive on top of her meal. To her, this was the pinnacle of feeling the abundance all around her. Not only around her, but for her. For her!

How in tune are we with abundance? We say we want it, but do we think, talk and act like it, or do we wish, hope, and bemoan what isn’t in our hand right now. If there’s a feeling of not having, it’s a feeling of lack, and that pushes what you want further away. Think of it this way: when you daydream of living a certain life, you catch yourself smiling, and feeling great. When you wish, or look back with regrets, you catch yourself frowning and feeling sad. Both activities are directing the universe. Which scenario do you want the Universe to answer? It will answer the stronger lead.

 

Buying Stocks for Kids


 image credit: Google

Do you have young family members, or children of friends you’d like to get interested in investing? While I don’t like the idea of promoting gambling—and let’s face it, the stock market is a form of it, I do think the stock market is at least worth talking about to kids.

Do you watch television, or read the newspaper? If you watch a television show to do anything with money, or pour over the stock report page in the newspaper, talk about it with a child, teen—or anyone who’ll listen. I’ll never forget the day when I was living in New Zealand and a friend of mine saw me reading the stock reports and with shock asked, “Do you understood it?” Meekly adding, “I wish I did.” I brought the page over to him and explained the columns. Soon after that he let me know how Coke and Disney were doing. For his birthday a few years later, I bought him some shares in Coke. Rather than having him open an account for a few stock shares and pay taxes on his gift, I bought some shares to add to my account then told him what I’d done, and why. The idea was to sell the shares to cover some of his travel expenses to the states when he came for a visit.

According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, 12/20012 if you want to buy some stock for a minor, you could go through a brokerage firm, several of which offer custodial accounts with low minimum, no setup or annual fees, and low or no commissions for buying and selling shares.

  •   Capitol One (formerly ING Direct) has no minimum and charges $4 per trade if you sign up for their monthly automatic investment plan. Capitol One (as far as I can tell) is continuing with their Kids Saving Account, which has no fees or minimum and currently pays 0.8% interest. I like this site for kids. It promotes taking/teaching about money—specifically saving, in a casual, fun style.
  • Charles Schwab has a $100 investment minimum and charges $8.95 for on-line stock trades.
  • TD Ameritrade charges $9.99 for each on-line stock trade, and has no fees or minimum.
  • Scottrade has a $500 investment minimum and charges $7 for on-line trades.

If you have more than one child involved, they will each need their own custodial account, each having a custodian, who’ll manage the account assets until the child is eighteen or twenty-one, depending on the state in which they reside. The custodian doesn’t need to be the child’s parent. The custodian can be a grandparent, aunt/uncle, parent’s friend—anyone who’ll manage the assets responsibly until the child is of legal age to do so. Anyone may contribute to the child’s account, not just the custodian.

This could be a fun gift if you got creative with it. You could still wrap something up, or create a scavenger hunt for hints—stock report page, pictures from magazines that represent the stock. You don’t have to go big with this. You can buy one share if you want, and depending on what you buy, maybe you wait a few months and buy another share. Have fun and use it as a learning tool for your child. Maybe they pay the fee and you pay the stock, or the other way around. Make sure you educate them the ups (bull) and downs (bear) of stock, and how time heals most wounds. Maybe a trip to the library for some books or videos, too. Have fun!

Children friendly links:

Creative wealth

Money management 

 Finance park video

Young Savers

 

Free Money


 image credit: Google

Boom! Wow! You’ve just won $1,000.00 after taxes.

What would you do with it?

It’s “unscheduled money” so would you use it for bills anyway? Or would you use it as “fun money”?

House repairs? Car savings? A year’s worth of dinner and movies? Travel? Clothes? Tools? Donations?

Sit with this idea of getting $1,000.00 and feel it. Pay attention to how it feels receiving the money, and making plans to spend it. If it doesn’t feel good, you’re in the moment of lack — wishing it were more than $1,000.00, or focusing on “it’s not real.”

Everything begins in the mind. Imagination is where it all starts for everything — the chair you’re sitting on; the computer you use. The idea is to feel the fun of the money and plans. That shifts your focus and energy to receiving and if you keep this up throughout the day, you’ll see a shift. Some may see it that day, others in a few days, and others a week or so. Don’t stress out about “doing it right.” Have fun. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.

Sometimes I do this throughout the day. I’ll plan to spend it on yard art. Then a few hours later, I spend it on travel. I never tell myself, “You can’t re-spend it.” I just keep having the experience of receiving and planning.

Have fun with  your free money!

Cha-ching!