Sunday, December 29, 2013

Millionaire Thinking

As I was watching my handsome man getting sized for alterations on his work shirts yesterday, I was reminded of the books The Millionaire Mind and The Millionaire Next Door. These two books completely changed the way that I look at things, especially as a consumer.

First, however, it made me realize that there are many “every day” millionaires all around us that we wouldn’t even know about. When I thought of millionaires, I thought of Donald Trump, or trust babies (Dave Ramsey’s term, I can’t take credit) such as Paris Hilton, professional athletes, or famous singers. I had started having my eyes opened to who real millionaires were with businesses I had participated in, and then again after listening to Dave Ramsey’s talk show. But I guess I had no real idea of how many of them were out there around us, who do so well with their finances. These books were the icing on the cake, bringing it home for my brain. True millionaires are not necessarily those who live in mansions, drive the latest Bentley, and purchase the most expensive diamond necklaces. They’re not the people you see in gossip columns, and probably not even in Forbes richest people.

Instead, they are your everyday people. According to Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D, author of The Millionaire Mind, “They live in lovely homes located in fine neighborhoods. Balance is their approach to life. They are financially independent, yet they enjoy life-they are not ‘all work, no play’ type of people. Most became millionaires in one generation. Neither their lifestyle nor their wealth was generated from being highly leveraged financially. They are not credit junkies. How did they accomplish this? How did they balance their need to become wealthy and economically productive with their need to enjoy life? They have the millionaire mind.” Wow. You could live near a millionaire, and not even know it.

Secondly, the way they consume was very fascinating!! Again, I thought these people would be wasteful and not care about how much they spend on things. NOT TRUE!! I don’t think I understood how some of them got to be millionaires in the first place. I sure never saw these kinds of ideas talked about on TV. I’m not saying they would be the people on EXTREME COUPONERS, but you better believe that they are smart with what they purchase. Some of the things listed in the Millionaire Mind are:
• Having furniture refinished instead of buying new
• Switching long-distance telephone companies (the copyright on the book is 2000)
• Never buying from telephone solicitations (Door to door would probably be on here too)
• Having shoes resoled or otherwise repaired • Using discount coupons when shopping
• Buying household supplies in bulk
They typically purchase quality and have it fixed as needed. Also, their habits do not feed into a discontentment. You probably won’t see too many of them hanging out at the mall.

Ok, so I’m not bringing this up, so that we will worship the ground these millionaires walk on!! NO WAY!! They’re people, and that would be creepy. It was just amazing to me, that I was doing many things to impress people (I don’t know who, but people), and trying to look more successful than I was, and yet, I was hurting my family financially, and not really impressing anyone anyways. Don’t tell me you’ve never done this. I see people doing this around me all the time, and I have to admit, I still catch myself doing it. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with liking nice things, and I like to dress in style-I am careful with how much I spend on TRENDS now, and I no longer, ever put it on a credit card! I just think we have to be careful about our motives, and the decisions we make based on those. For example, if you are leasing a car to make people around you at the stop light impressed, but you are swimming in debt, and you can barely make the payments, what good is that doing you? You are simply adding stress to your life that is unneeded, and what’s more is-it won’t get you ahead in life leasing that car. You saw above that millionaires don’t over leverage themselves out-leverage means debt. Stability does not come this way, and you’re not impressing anyone who matters.

I have to say that these ideas are where the true epiphanies came for me years ago. I love to spend money!! I mean, who doesn’t. But I realized that I was never feeling content. I realized that many of my habits were also keeping me there. I was really excited though, when I began to change my ways. For example, I have a pair of silver boots that I love, but the heels had the nail poking through (they are not expensive boots, but I love them), and I had never thought of having them fixed. I didn’t even know what the professional name of someone who fixes shoes was. It’s a cobbler, for those of you who don’t know either. Anyways, I took them in to see if a local cobbler could fix them, and sure enough, it was only $9 for the pair to give those boots a few more years of life!! Funny thing too, he said he had to hide them, because women kept coming in wanting to purchase them-they are great boots!! But, how awesome is that?!! Also, I had heard of altering from my military days, and from What Not to Wear episodes. They often talk about purchasing clothing to fit your bigger parts, and then have them taken in. I don’t know why I didn’t think I could do this, but I finally decided to give it a try. I found myself a local alterations shop, and I had the gal take in, and even completely change the look of a couple of Blazers, and sure enough they looked amazing!! I’ve been using them ever since. It really makes you love your smaller amount of clothes more when they fit you exactly the way you want them to.

Anyways, the point to all of this is:
1) I highly recommend that you read, or listen (they have the audio book at our local library) to the Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley. It will hopefully change the way you think about purchasing, and the way you handle your finances.
2) Do your habits keep you broke?
3) If you are purchasing the latest and greatest of anything (clothes, electronics, etc.), that’s ok, but make sure that you’re not just doing it to impress people, who aren’t really impressed anyways. Make sure it’s a good value and something you really want or can use.
4) Lastly, but actually very importantly, find local shops that can help you fix or redo items in your home. This is a Win-Win. You get what you need, and you help local businesses. Can you fix your shoes? Alter clothing? Re-upholster furniture? Buy used, and it have it customized? Think about it  And have fun with it!! I have actually enjoyed this way of thinking for years!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A case of 2 Layoffs!!

I would like to tell you a story of 2 COMPLETELY DIFFERENT layoff scenarios!! And they just happen to be ours…Make some tea, and get comfortable. I’m going to try to keep this as short as possible, but I hope it will help you to see the bright side of your situation…

I do have to do a tiny bit of back story, but not too much. I think most of us expect that when we graduate from High school, and move out of our parents’ house, we will have everything they had, and more, ONLY instantaneously. Well, I have to tell you, we were pregnant teenagers (ok, just me, but we were obviously in it together) coming out of High School, and boy did we have an even BIGGER “chip on our shoulder” to do that, because now we wanted to prove that we wouldn’t be complete failures, like many were telling us we were going to be if we kept the baby and got married at such a young age. Alex and I graduated Monday, and got married Friday, because of money. LOL, actually that’s just what we love to tell people. We had already been engaged, and were planning to get married in November of that year; however, when we found out we were pregnant, and that Alex could make 3 times more during his military training if we were married, we quickly upped the date, and that was that.

Fortunately, Alex was also so amazing at Auto Cad, that while in High School, he had already been working for a Civil Engineering company through his teacher, which allowed them to hire him fresh out of school. He worked there for quite a while, and we really didn’t think he would ever leave, even though we were specifically taught that our generation wasn’t expected to be at the same job all their lives, like past generations, plus he bumped heads with some of the people he worked with. Being the youngest in the company, it was assumed that he knew the most about technology too, so he was given the opportunity to start learning some IT. Through this he did form a relationship with the owner of another company, who would come in and do IT work with him on occasion, and that person was the owner of the company he works for now.

Now to the first layoff. We really didn’t see it coming. We had taken the Financial Peace University, but really hadn’t applied any of the principles. We went away for a weekend leadership conference for a business we were in at the time, and came back the next day to a pink slip. WOW!!! Total KICK IN THE FACE!! We had NOTHING saved, and no idea what to do!!

We did at least have SOME good things happen:
• Alex got a severance package (Thank God, that truly was the only thing that saved us);
• His PTO (Paid Time Off) was also cashed out; • And of course we got some unemployment;
• Furthermore, we weren’t paying a lot in rent at the time, because we were “house sitting” for some friends who were away for a year at a job up North. BUT man, we were truly not prepared, and pretty ignorant as to what to do:
• We didn’t know to put our kids on state health insurance; So of course, Byanca broke her arm adding an astronomical medical bill, and when we did get a job, we got it JUST in time for them to tell us, “you make too much money for us to write this off” at the hospital.
• We didn’t know to sign up for food stamps;
• We decided to have Alex take a whole month off, because we had $3000-a HUGE chunk of money in our eyes back then. I know, I know-we were still such children. Now don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed that month, but looking back, it probably wasn’t the best idea.
• And finally, we were completely desperate, when Alex did finally start REALLY looking for a job, which caused us to make our decision too quickly.

We can at least say that when Alex did start looking, we were very excited about how marketable he had become with both his AutoCad experience, and his new IT schooling and experience, so that part was nice. He did get several offers, and because we were so frantic after a couple of months of living on the low pay of unemployment, we made a quick decision, and though the company he chose was a nice one, when we look back, we wish we had decided differently for a couple of reasons:
1) The pay WAS the highest offer, but it was in Portland, and we had never paid Oregon taxes before-WOW, what a shocker. Even though we were making more hourly, we were losing money, BIG TIME in taxes!! AND we couldn’t vote over there!!
2) He had had an offer from the company he now works for, and if we had taken more time to consider, we would’ve picked that one, which would’ve put him further ahead in seniority now, plus put him in his new chosen career sooner.

I wish I could say that this put us in the right mind about finances, but it didn’t. We did decide not to buy a house, but when we quickly needed to move, we ended up in a very expensive townhouse that we really had no business being in. We also took on a car payment on a sports car for Alex that we both enjoyed. And we really didn’t pay any attention to what we were spending. Alex was making a ton of overtime, and we were making so much more hourly, that we figured we could just do whatever we wanted. This was right around 2007, and the housing market was just starting to slow down.

Some of Alex’s largest clients at work were housing developers, and they were starting to see a slowing in purchases, in addition, they were having issues with their plans getting pushed through the city due to crazy regulations. Alex’s boss had to tell everyone “No more overtime.” I didn’t feel this hit right away, but that’s only because I wasn’t paying attention. I kept wanting to spend money, and kept wondering why Alex worked so much, and would never take a day off. Finally, one day, I called my man, while out shopping with a friend to just check in, and see if I could buy a pair of jeans I reaaaaaaallllllyyyyyy wanted. I’m not even sure why I called, I hadn’t truly been communicating with him about my purchases at that point, just spending on whatever whim, BUT I did. And I was completely humiliated when he said, “No babe, we can’t afford it.” He said it very gently, but made it clear that we couldn’t afford it. He later told me that that was the hardest thing for him to do. He hardly ever told me no. We both have such a love for spending, and we don’t care for confrontation, so those words barely come around to each other.

He took me aside not too long after that, and we had a “heart to heart” about our situation. He told me that we weren’t doing well, overtime had been cut, and we were over our heads where we were living. He was cashing in his Paid Time Off just to try to make the bills, and we still weren’t making it. I felt horrible!! I hated thinking about my husband trying to do everything he could to support his family, and still feeling like it wasn’t enough, and here I was just having a jolly ol’ time in my ignorance!! Spending, spending, spending!! We decided a long time ago that this marriage was going to work, no matter what happened, thick or thin, rich or poor, sick or healthy, so we were sticking it out!! We decided right then and there to take drastic measures. We saw the writing on the wall, in fact, we know the Lord made it very clear that we would soon be facing another layoff, and we knew in our current state, there was no way we could face it.

Our plan was to move back in with my parents for as long as we could ALL handle each other :-) My parents were very gracious!! And we were, and still are, very thankful for their willingness to help us out!! We were also very desperate, because we were spending so much more money than we made, that we didn’t have any money to put down on a less expensive place, and we really just needed to pull the plug and start over with our lives. We lived there for 3 months. Then we found a tiny little 2 bedroom, where we could have extra money to throw at our debts, and handle a lay off when it came. As we had anticipated, a year later, pretty close to the day of our life changing conversation, the layoff came. In fact, we asked for it, literally. Alex’s job was asking everyone to cut way back on hours, not enough to live on, but still enough that it would be difficult to look for a new job. Plus they asked us to take off both the week of Christmas and New Years without pay. We decided that it was time to seek out a new opportunity.

This time we were experts. Because we saw it coming, and had a strategy, we made good things happen:
• We were ready with a list of things we could cut back on to take our lifestyle down;
• We had $1000 emergency fund;
• We knew to sign up for food stamps, and health insurance for our kids;
• We had a great budget worked out (In fact, we were able to continue paying off our debts during our layoff-this was a part of our 2 year time for getting out of debt);
• And, our kids were completely on board with us, and knew our goals;
• We were barely stressed out. It was inconvenient-sure, and of course, we didn’t love having our lifestyle cut back, but I have to say, these were some of the most amazing times in our financial life.
• Most IMPORTANTLY, we didn’t have to rush to the next job. We had plenty of people offering ALL kinds of work, which we appreciated, and felt extremely loved and supported amid this time. However, we were able to wait it out, and truly make sure that we made a better decision this time around.
 • Alex was also able to completely change careers. He decided to let go of his AutoCad career, and focus 100% in IT. This was a wonderful, yet kind of scary move!!

It’s hard to think that this was about four years ago now, in the Holiday Season, and I think we all look back at it as a great time. These were total NIGHT and DAY experiences!! This time, Alex went and exercised every day, and then was home for us after school, and we got to just enjoy him. We didn’t worry about bills. Everything was taken care of. Even Christmas was greatly blessed. We did tell everyone around us that we were only doing gifts for our inside family that year, and it was taken well, as the struggle that year was felt by everybody, and in fact, several people appreciated our honesty about it, and chose to do the same thing. We still had fun, and it was the year that made us decide we wanted our Holiday Season to be more about making memories, something we try to continue to this day, even though we get to buy or make gifts for others (we’re all GIFT love language people, so we enjoy giving).

I don’t share this to make us look good. My hope is that if you are going through tough times you will see that it is important to unite, and communicate!! I hope that this will encourage you!! If we can get it together with how screwed up we were, anyone can do it!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Confessions of a Meal-Planning mom

I must confess that I have been really bad about my Meal Planning lately. Between the Holidays, and fun projects that I’ve been able to be a part of, I have simply had no aspirations to cook. I will at least give myself some credit, in that my family 1) Did not starve, and 2) Didn’t eat out too much…However, I have to admit, we ate a lot of prepackaged goods that I seriously prefer to stay away from. Needless to say, we are all very much feeling the consequences of said diet, and all longing for home cooked meals yet again. Although, with my going to work within the next month, all of this not-so-great cooking has made me realize that it will be time to yet again refine the way we do our meal planning. I think I will visit this after the New Year though, and perhaps put a few videos up that I did a couple of months ago on meal planning for inspiration, and a reminder.

I have also decided-besides obviously needing to get back to Good Ol’ Homecookin’, I am going to do less gluten. I’m not going gluten-free, just doing less. It’s pretty funny though, ever since I decided to do this again, I feel like the world around me is gluten-free. It does make me start to feel rebellious (I have a very rebellious nature-it’s true), but I just have to remind myself that that just means it will be easier to do. When I did elimination diets previously, there wasn’t much support, let alone much selection. So, with that being said, I do like many of my same websites for recipes: (which has complete meal plans) (great budgeted, and yet gourmet foods) (I love the APP for this)

I have just decided that I need to try to either make the meals gluten-free, or just use less than the meal calls for. I am sort of still following the’s weekly meal plan, so here is this week’s plan from them:

I will do fruits, oatmeal, and smoothies for breakfast. I usually do leftovers for lunches (I’ll have to see if that still works when I’m working…I may have to bring in my own microwave, just to make it happen), but her tomato soup sounds delicious, so I’ll probably make that as well. I have a few dinner alternative ideas to hers:

Portabella mushroom pizza:
Italian chicken soup:; I’ll just leave out the noodles, perhaps add potatoes or something.

We have a lot of dinners out at other people’s homes, so I don’t have to over plan, but it’s nice to have a couple of ideas. I’m not putting days on these either. The last couple of weeks, when I was still planning, I found that I would just pick what sounded good each night from the list, and that worked out well. There you have it, my confession, and I’m ok with it. I have to let go of my perfectionism, and just take care of my family. I am so excited for Christmas, and I know they love me the way I am, which is very comforting. I am the only one who sets high expectations for myself, whereas my family is pretty happy, even though they prefer home-cooked, which makes me feel needed too, they still don’t greatly care if we’re eating Hot Pockets for an evening.

Enjoy your Christmas week!! I can’t wait to see all the photos on Facebook!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Star Wars Chocolates!!

Yep, those are all the supplies.  Really, that's it!!
Hehe, we made Geeky Chocolate Novelty Gifts!! In the Star Wars form-to be exact!! It was lots of fun to do, plus it was pretty easy!! Best of all, we get to give the chocolate gifts, and guess who gets to keep these awesome ice molds??? That’s right, US!! Woot woot!! We definitely have a pretty awesome beverage station building up. This just adds to our fabulous soda stream, and the fun things I plan on doing to it with my birthday money!! I will add pics when it’s done, but for now, I had to share these fun gifts!! Thanks Think Geek!!

A little Death Star and Millennium Falcon anyone?

Microwave the chocolate for 40 seconds. Stir.  Repeat, and then:  Mmmmm!!!  Soooooo Creamy and Chocolatey!!

Spoon the soft chocolate into its mold.

We added oreos to the bottoms of the Millenium Falcons, so they would hover :-)

The Death Star required a bit more sophistication.  So we used a quart sized baggie as our piping device of choice!!

And then we just piped away!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Ok, hopefully you went through the tedious “Reality Check” from my last post. I’m sorry if it was hard to see, but it is necessary to see and admit what is going on. Spending more than you make can become an addiction, and is sometimes difficult to face. The first step of the 12 step program for recovering addicts is to “Admit you are powerless over your addiction.” It is the first step to freedom. Maybe you’re not that bad, but it was still helpful to get some refining in your ideas of where your money has been disappearing to.

Now, let’s do another activity. I don’t want you to not think of where you are “at” for a moment, and instead think of where you would like to be, and dream a bit and perhaps even start the foundation for setting some goals. Here we go:

CLOSE YOUR EYES...Hehe, ok, so you can’t actually close your eyes and do this at the same time. Pretend to close your eyes. Really think, or meditate on these thoughts.

Think back to when you were about 8 years old, around 3rd grade. Hopefully you can picture your class mates, who was your teacher? What did your siblings look like at that age? What kinds of things did you play at recess? Who was your best friend?
(Picture of Disney’s Recess on ABC)

Keep thinking about it, but I want to tell you why I pick this age. This was the age between complete innocence, and just on the brink of starting to understand the world around you more. You probably had an IDEA of what the world was all about. I doubt there were many limitations to you, as this was still an age of imagination; the possibilities of life as a grown-up were endless!! You probably played those things out on the playground, between games of tag, wall-ball, four square, and perhaps Mario Brothers, or Ninja Turtles. You probably had an idea of what KIND of adult you wanted to be, and more than likely wanted to be an astronaut or president or teacher when you grew up…

Now I want you to think further on the KIND of adult you wanted to be, not so much what you wanted to BE for a job as an adult. What KIND. I know I thought I would be adventurous, not boring like so many adults I saw. I wanted to be full of energy; I didn’t give thoughts to finances, obligations, responsibilities. I was going to be a parent like no other; my kids would think I was the coolest!! Think on these things. I will stop suggesting, because I want to give you the chance to think of your own, and if it helps, write them down.

Now let’s take it just a bit further. If time, money, or education didn’t matter, what would you do with yourself? I think all of us think like Bill Murray in Ground Hog’s Day, where we have silly petty things we would get out of our systems first, but then with this question, you get to go deeper in the endless time and money, and you realize you can truly do anything you want (except killing ourselves over and over again like he did in the movie)!! What did his character finally do? He learned to play piano, and carve ice sculptures. He learned about people, and helped people. He worked on his people skills and more. Think about this. Why do we like this kind of a movie so much (or despise it, because we really want more time so badly we can taste it)? What things have you always wanted to learn? What hobbies have you wanted to do? What adventures have you wanted to take? But even more, what kind of parent do you want to be? What kind of marriage do you want to have? What kind of person do you wish you were?

Alright, here is the hard part to these questions:

(Picture from Disney’ Recess on ABC)

First, I want you to know that I’m not saying, go buy that expensive car you always wanted, or sporadically go on that dream vacation to Greece without planning, or jump over 50 cars with a motorcycle.
What I am saying is that there are so many things you can still accomplish with your life. Dave Ramsey says, “There is hope, if you are sucking air.” You are not limited by the things that have or have not happened in your past. You can make things happen!! You can have a fiery marriage that others are jealous of. You can be an intentional parent that your kids want to bring their friends home to. You can plan that Hawaiian vacation.
There are things that tie us down though. Maybe for you, it’s because you are swimming in debt and don’t know how you will EVER get out of it. Maybe you and your spouse only communicate to have intense discussions about the bills. Maybe you feel like life is completely unfair, and all you’ve been able to do is be reactive to the lemons it has thrown your way.
I want you to really allow yourself to reflect on the things you want. And start thinking of the ways-even if they’re completely crazy, you never know, sometimes those end up being the best ideas-that you might be able to start working towards those things.

I’m going to stop here for now, but will be back with more soon. In the meantime, I pray that you will be able to start getting an understanding of who you are now, and not give up hope. Instead think of who you want to be, and know that you can get there, with a little time and work.
  Make it a blessed day!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Are Your Spending Habits? A hands-on activity to SHOW you what you're really spending

"And I'm off!!"  I have been writing curriculum like a crazy person for my Financial Basics, Advanced Finances, & Life Management Skills classes.  It's all looking like an English Course Composition Paper with scribbles, notes on the sides where I want to add things in, messy handwriting, questions, answers, info, etc. etc. etc.  I love the process of creating.  I get to research, interview, reflect on past experiences, read, read, read, and get my thoughts onto paper.

One of the things I love to do, when writing a curriculum is think of the visual aids, hands-on experiences, and stories to share that will bring the information together, and hopefully bring an "Ah hah" moment to someone.  I am a very strong believer in trying to implement all the different learning styles into my teaching, so it is very important to me to incorporate these.  It can be a difficult task, because sometimes, there just isn't a way to make a subject more interesting.  Sometimes, it's just hard truth, and/or it's just tedious.  None the less, I still always try.
Anyways, I have come up with a few aids & activities, and am excited to share them.  This one has to do with telling your money "where it needs to go," and discovering the reality that it doesn't already do that.  We all have an idea of where we think our money should go, and then we make up a "budget" and say, "We're going to only spend $300 on food this month, and we're not eating out!"  The problem is, you didn't really account for where your money is going.  You also didn't do an assessment of your spending HABITS!!  The word HABIT comes from the Latin, HABITO, which literally means TO LIVE.  A HABIT IS "HOW YOU LIVE."  These are the things you HAVE been doing.  If you don't take a look at the REALITY of how you have been living, and don't set up a realistic plan, you are setting yourself up for failure, my friend. 
So, I came up with this activity. It’s not really a new, renovative thing.  I have been told many times, when struggling with finances, or in financial classes to do this very thing.  I have simply created a method for it over the years in helping others through their finances.  Here it is:
You Will Need:
Your Check Registry OR at least One Month print out of your Bank Statements
A separate piece of paper
A pen
Your Brain J

 (Please know that your categories will go in a different order than mine.  Don’t lie to yourself; be honest about what you are doing.  This is to help you.  Restaurants are separate from the food category. Netflix and Hulu are entertainment, not utilities.  And going out to the bar and buying a drink does not fit into the FOOD category either :-)

What you want to do, is start at the top of your statement, and look at the first line item.
For example: Rent Check
Mark it with a small #1.  On the separate piece of paper, write: 1-rent.

Go to the next line item. 
For Example:  Winco Foods
Mark it with a small #2.  On the separate piece of paper, write: 2-food.

Next line item.
Example: Pier One Imports
Mark it with a small #3.  Separate paper, write: 3-shopping

Next line. 
Example: Taco Bell
Mark it with a small #4.  Separate paper, write: 4-restaurants

Next line.
Example: Electricity Bill
Mark it with a small #5. Separate paper, write: 5-utilities

Continue down each line item. Write a NEW number for each NEW category.  Eventually, you will start to see repeat categories.  You don’t need to make a new number, if an item fits into a category you already wrote down.

For example:  Phone, electricity, gas, trash, etc. all fall into the utilities category, and can be marked with a little 5 next to them.  You don’t need to create a new category for each of those. 

It seems like a slow process when you first begin, but I promise as you get your categories established, and you continue down the list, you will see patterns, and be able to mark each line item pretty quickly. 

Once you’ve finished this step, I bet you will already be seeing some strong habits.  This is not to calculate your percentage of what you’re spending-yet.  We just want to see which activities you engage in the most.

Now is where we see the BIG REALITY.  Brace yourselves. You probably already caught on a bit, when you were seeing the pattern in the numbers.  We really have to bring it home though.

Go back to the top of your Registry or Print Out.  Tally the number of numbers J That sounds weird, I know.  So, if you have a 2 in your first line item, put a tally mark next to 2-food on the separate sheet of paper.  If the next line item is a 4, put a tally next to 4-restaurants on the other piece of paper, and keep going until you have tallied them all.

Look at your data.  There are some questions you’re going to want to think about:

·         Which activities are you doing more of? Which ones are out of balance?
·         Which activities do you need to do less of? Or more of?
·         What ARE YOUR Spending Habits?

Now that you have completed this activity, you truly have a better handle on what is going on with your finances, and you’re not just guessing.  Remember to have GRACE, when learning these truths.  Also, make sure to consider your current circumstances.  When I did this activity in my registry last night, I had 15 tallies under shopping, and I don’t mean grocery shopping-we’re talking World Market, Pier One, JoAnne’s, and other stores.  Normally, this would be WAAAAAAAYYYY out of balance; however, it is Christmas time, and not only was I shopping for my own family, but I was also purchasing items to make Christmas Baskets for my hubby’s employer.  Since I rarely use my Debit Card, it was easier to do all these purchases through our account, than to have another envelope to haul around, not to mention a ton of cash to be carrying.  Eeek.  The thought of anything happening to that really scared me.  So, in this case, the shopping made sense.

Alright, hopefully your brain is not fried, and hopefully this was a helpful activity for you to really SEE what you’re doing.  I pray that you will be able to take this information, and move forward.  That you’ll give yourself GRACE through this process of discovery and growth. 

(You may be perfectly happy with doing this activity, and that’s great!!  I however, like to take numbers and data like this as far as I can.  So, there are things you can do with this information to take this to the next step, if you wish. You could write down the Dollar amounts in each category, add them up, and then find out what percentage of your income each of these categories is.  Then, you can compare it with the percentages of a financial expert, like Dave Ramsey to see if you think you need to make changes to your budget.  I will probably do this, just because I’m a nerd, and proud of it.  I love numbers J)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Personal Mission Statement

I have been encouraged to start a brand new blog to start documenting my journey of learning, and things I am pulling out through my consulting and teaching, etc.  But, I have to say, that I really don't want another blog, so I am going to be working on this one to remodel it a bit.  I probably won't change the look.  I happen to like the bling.  However, I have been learning about photography, how to make better thumbnails for youtube videos (I want this to be a vlog), and things like that.  This time, I'm also not worried about trying to get everyone to read it either.  This is really for me, and putting my thoughts in order. 

So, I need to share my credentials for a coming up job, and I have to admit, even though my credentials are awesome (to me anyways :-)), I am quite intimidated by it.  I've been reading some books on the subject, and came acrossed how to put together a personal mission statement.  I have never done this, so I thought, "why not, it certainly couldn't hurt anything."  Here is what I came up with:

"The last 7 years of my life have been spent with my hubby, getting ourselves out of all the messes we had created up to that point.  We had to learn how to have a marriage we actually enjoy, how to raise kids who are someday going to be well trained for life (something we weren't prepared for), how to get our finances in order, how to have proper boundaries with our friends and extended families, how to learn without feeling like we had to pay for it, and how to set goals for what we want to accomplish in life.  Through a lot of hardship, mentoring, specific training, reading, and applying we have decided to be people of impact, happening to life instead of just waiting for it to happen to us.  In that, we decided that the next step for me is impacting others.  We decided that there weren't to many things we are willing to give up my time for, but once I realized I had a gift and passion for teaching and communicating knowledge, I began my process of being trained, and learning, so that I could help others with the things we have been through."

There it is.  It was kind of hard, because I really like to explain things.  Believe it or not, this is the edited-down version.  I like it though.  This is definitely where we're at.

If you want info on how to write your personal mission statement, there are two books that I really love (they of course, help with more than just this):  "48 Days to the Work You Love" by Dan Miller, and "Entreleadership" by Dave Ramsey.

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