Category Archives: Financial Success

Not having gas money to get to work is serious

This reader story over at Girls Just Wanna Have Funds is sad.  The last days of the month arrive without enough money left to pay for basic expenses — including gas to get to work (emphasis mine):

” … Right now I have a full time job where I’m paid monthly.  However, my problem is that I run out of money by the last 10 days of the month.  I’m in some hot water at work because I often have to call out because I can’t get to work.  This week I was written up because I wasn’t able to come in to work because I had no money for gas. …” ~Jennifer, a reader of Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

This is serious business.  This is a huge downward spiral just waiting to happen.  If money is tight now, it will be really tight if this reader gets fired because she’s not showing up.

Her first priority should be making whatever arrangements necessary to be able to get to work when she needs to.  She needs to keep the money coming in.  If the money stops coming in, she’ll quickly be in default on her debts, and will be delinquent on whatever she’s paying for shelter.

Once she can get to work reliably (but maybe inconveniently) then it’s time to work on the other areas.

Here are some options for lower-cost methods of getting to work:

  • Public transportation.  This may be inconvenient and may take longer, but it’s likely cheaper.
  • Friends and family.  Maybe some work nearby, or are available to take her there as a favor.
  • Ride sharing websites. Depending on her geographic area there may be websites that can match her up with someone who’s passing by where she lives on the way to her workplace.
  • Church and other community organizations.  Some people may offer free rides to work as a ministry or a community service.

Finding a cheaper way to get to work can also be part of her overall debt reduction plan.  If she can get by without a car, then she could sell her car, save on the insurance and upkeep, and use the difference to pay down her debt.

If this isn’t quite enough, then finding a second job or cutting all but the most basic of expenses is the next step.

But first and foremost:  Keep the job and keep the money flowing!

Posted in Financial Success, Getting Out of Debt.

The toughest part about tracking your spending

The standard procedure for getting a handle on your spending is to track it for a month — track where every penny goes, and categorize the expenditures.

Getting past a month is the toughest part.  It’s not too bad for the first few days of the month, but after a week, remembering to go through the freakin’ receipts is a drag.

I know this.  I’ve run across this psychological barrier many times and it’s tough to crack.

Fortunately, if you use a credit card for most of your purchases, you already have a record of what you buy — or, at least, the stores that you bought at.  This record, coupled with your receipts — which you can just shove in a box, honestly — are enough to give a decent picture of where your money went for the month.

Once you’get this 80% – 90% picture of where your money has gone, then you can tackle the last little bit — the cash purchases at the vending machine, paying out an allowance, yard sale purchases, etc.  But that becomes much easier to do if it’s only a small part of what you buy.

Posted in Budgeting Know-How, Financial Success.

Did your team get kicked out of March Madness? Time to budget!

Fellow personal finance blogger Jeremy Vohwinkle of Generation X Finance was lamenting over at the Wise Bread forums the recent drop in traffic due (allegedly) to the ongoing basketball tourney.  To quote Jeremy: “These people need to turn off the TV and get back to reading about the exciting world of personal finance.”

Hear, hear!  Especially if your team has been kicked out already.  Why are you still watching?  It’s over for your inferior team.  Why add insult to injury by spending your valuable time and adoration on the team that ousted your favorite?  No good reason I can think of.

A great way to ease your sorrow is to replace the time with some self-investment, like making or revamping a budget.  (Or at the very least, if you’re in a bad mood already, why not do something unpleasant and get it over with? 🙂 )  Finding time to invest in yourself is a constant re-evaluation of priorities, and merciless replacement of low-payoff activities with higher-payoff ones.

I don’t really care much at all about college basketball, but I won’t fault you for caring about it if you do.  We all have different ways to recharge.  If you find yourself wondering where all of the time goes, though, then you might consider looking at how you spend your time, and whether some of the ways you spend your time are really that enjoyable.

Posted in Financial Success.

Financial Advice From Successful People

Sometimes we need some inspiration to get back on track. Here are some great quotes from people who want you to experience your own greatness:

Wayne Dyer, PH.D., Author of The Power of Intention
In an interview with Ray Hemachandra, Wayne Dyer said:

“Money always has come to me, because I always have seen myself as endlessly abundant.”

Dyer goes on to say:
When Francis of Assisi was looking for peace, he didn’t say, “Please give me some peace. I don’t have any peace. I’ve got to have peace.” What he said was, “Make me an instrument of thy peace.” What I say to my source, what I say to God, always is, “Make me an instrument of the abundance that I came from, make me an instrument of thy well-being, and make me an instrument of thy love.” I don’t go to the  the source and ask for money, any more than Francis went to the source and asked for peace.

Continue reading

Posted in Financial Success. Tagged with , , .

Financial Worksheet | Regain Control of Your Finances

First things first, write it down! If you want to create a life where you are conscious of what is taking place, you have to write it down. This gives you a clear vision, making it easy to regain control.  Whether you prefer pen and paper or budgeting and forecasting software, you will need budgeting skills and a basic knowledge of how to fully utilize a financial worksheet.  Here are a few of the best online resources (researched by us, for you) that will give you the information you need to have a successful financial life …

  • SmartMoney.com – This website offers way more than just a financial worksheet … and they offer all different types of those too.  From the net interest calculator financial worksheet to the asset allocation system for retirees to short-term investing and everything in between, you are sure to find what you need to calculate your current financial situation as well as your future finances. Also, while you’re visiting SmartMoney, read informative budgeting articles like 10 Things Cellphone Services Won’t Say and A Happier Happy Hour for Your Wallet. And with constant updates, you’ll be a financial wizard in no time.  Bookmark this site!
  • Kiplinger.com – Need information, tips, advice, and resources for you or your business? Well, this is the website for you. Use the home budget financial worksheet to manage your living costs and get ahead of the game.  The worksheet is free and easy to use.  Take advantage of other useful tools like the tax withholding calculator, the money guide for military families, tax planning guide, and so much more. Take time to browse the site to find sections that peak your interest, you won’t be sorry for gaining any knowledge from Kiplinger.  Become a member of the forums–a financial community for you to discuss ideas and ask questions.  For those of you new to the financial world, check out the Getting Started Forum.
  • Sheconomics.com – Women of the world, take control of your finances at Sheconomics–made for women by women! Buy the book and use the website as a great online resource, remember to bookmark it.  Enjoy free downloads that include tip sheets (like The 7 Laws of Sheconomics and How to Have a Positive Money Mindset), logs, and worksheets. Use the monthly income and spending worksheet or the spending and payment plan (or a number of other great tools) as your financial worksheet. Visit the blog to gain much-needed knowledge with posts like Don’t Make an Issue Out of Giving. Enjoy your new and improved financial life, ladies! You will love Sheconomics, no doubt about it!
  • MyMoney.gov – The Federal Government’s website dedicated to helping Americans learn more about their money-how to save it, invest it, and manage it to meet their personal goals. Find out here how to budget your money according to life events such as losing a job, getting married, or planning for retirement. Be sure to read informative articles like New Employee Saving Tips-Time is on Your Side. Check out resources for youth, military members, teachers, women, and more. Use tools like calculators and checklists.  Find a financial worksheet that will work perfectly for you here too. Print out all the available resources for free and share it with those in your life.

Now that you have all these great online resources at your fingertips, you are certainly excited about your financial future.  So, get out your financial worksheet and have fun taking control of the money you make.  Your money is meant to enhance your life, and you deserve to learn how to allow just that to happen!

Posted in Financial Success. Tagged with .

Personal Finance Merit Badge

We’ve mentioned teaching your kids about money before here on Financial Planing & Budgeting, but we were a little surprised to see that some kids may know more than adults about money. How, you ask? It turns out that in order to become an Eagle Scout when you’re a young boy scout, you have to get something call a Personal Management Merit Badge, which, is mostly a Personal Finance Merit Badge. This may seem like a bit of a joke, but the requirements taught are important financial lessons that anyone should learn. You may want to see if you can go back and earn your own personal finance merit badge.

How To Earn a Personal Finance Merit Badge

1. Learn The Difference in Savings and Investing

This may not seem like an important distinction, and while both are beneficial, it’s important to know what your money is doing. You can save and save a lot, but to invest is to increase, with the knowledge of risk. You should know how to define interest and compound interest and how to measure your return on investment and the risk of that investment.

2. Learn How to Choose Publicly Traded Stocks

To gain your Personal Finance Merit Badge, you can practice by picking five publicly traded stocks from the business section of the newspaper or online. Take note of the current price, the difference of the price from the day before and the 52-week high and low prices. This may seem Greek to you, but it should just be motivation to find out what all of this means and get involved in trading stocks for profit.

3. Learn Different Ways to Save and Invest

If you have enough money to save or invest, look into each of these options and learn all you can about each:

  • Common stocks
  • Mutual funds
  • Life insurance
  • A certificate of deposit (CD)
  • A savings account or U.S. savings bond

4. Learn How to Effectively Borrow Money

Personal Finance Merit BadgeBorrowing money can be a really good thing, or a really … really bad thing. To get your Personal Finance Merit Badge, you need to learn what a loan is, what interest is and what the annual percentage rate (APR) is for a loan and what that means. Learn all you can about credit cards and charge cards and the best way to pay them off. And, last but not least, learn the best way to pay off debt.

I think we can all agree, learning these skills at a young age would’ve been very helpful and are helpful to those who are still young and have the chance to gain such financial knowledge. However, just because it’s something a boy scout would do, shouldn’t stop you from learn all you can and improving your financial knowledge and situation.

For an indepth look at what goes into earning a Personal Management Merit badge, visit here: Personal Management Merit Badge.

You can also download the Personal Management Merit Badge Worksheet here: Worksheet.

Posted in Financial Success. Tagged with , .