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Financial Freedom: What does it mean to you?

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Financial Freedom is a cliché term used and it means something very different for every person. For my husband, financial freedom is the freedom from the dependence on a company to pay him every other week. For myself, it’s the ability to give freely to others without the stretch of providing for our own needs. And for others it may be the freedom from living paycheck to paycheck, having money saved for emergencies, or being debt-free. Whatever your definition of financial freedom is, it certainly means something different to many of us.

What if we were to take these definitions of financial freedom and applied them to our Christian faith? What type of impact do you think we could have on the Kingdom? Walking in this newfound freedom in relation to our finances. How would this financial freedom trickle into all aspects of our daily lives like our marriages, the church, and our testimony of the gospel? Even into eternity?

It is my belief that our financial freedom is not something that our Father takes lightly. Meaning, it is important for us to live our lives in a way that moves us toward financial freedom. It’s important to not shield ourselves from this concept for fear of losing our faith. Financial freedom does not always account to Ferraris and mansions; although it may for some of us. Financial freedom is a state of mind, a higher calling, to which I believe all of us are called to. Yes, this includes you!

Let’s first talk about how financial freedom can influence a marriage. Some of the greatest points of stress in my marriage have been when money was tight, there was high amounts of unpaid debt, and a loss of work. While a new job and more income have not made our marriage perfect, it certainly has brought the stress level down. If this is the case, can all of us attest to how financial freedom would indeed bless a marriage? I believe so. Why wouldn’t God want that in our lives? Wouldn’t it help our daily walk if we were less stressed, fighting less, and had a sense of wellbeing and security?

In addition to marriage, our state of financial freedom can also tremendously impact the church. By walking in financial freedom, we’re able to support the church in its mission. Not only does the church need to keep the lights on, which supports the facility in which the Word of God is shared with others on a weekly basis, but the church is also fulfilling missions all over the world. Our freedom to get behind our church is powerful. It has Kingdom impact, it moves things forward. Some of my saddest moments are when I feel like I can’t give the church more; especially a church that I believe in and stand with. The church is a powerful component in the Kingdom and our support of it is a necessity.

Not only can financial freedom affect our marriages and the church, but it is also a reflection of our faith. The gospel is a profession of our faith, the way we live our lives speaks to others. Therefore, if we’re not managing our finances in a responsible way, how are we professing that what we believe is righteous? In his book Relentless, John Bevere states, “If we cannot pay our bills, we propagate a bad name” (98-99). Growing up in a family of non-Christians, this was the biggest beef I heard, the hypocrisy of the Christians. They say one thing but do another. We are called to mange our finances in a way that reflects control, godliness, generosity, and wisdom. What I find even more revelatory is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. If we can get our hearts right, and learn to give generously, we have the ability to reflect the gospel to others. But for a majority of us, it is difficult to operate in generosity if our finances are in a state of chaos.  This is powerful. Our finances become a large part in the reflection of our faith to others. Not only in how we manage them, but our generosity becomes a large part of our profession of the gospel to others.

In the end, I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” I want to hear and experience this NOW. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) we see how the way we manage the resources is being watched and measured. There is an eternal significance to what we do today in relation to our finances. If there is anything that puts a fire under me, it’s this. See, financial freedom is more than Ferraris and mansions; financial freedom is a reflection of our walk with God that pours out to our relationships, the church, the gospel, and eternity. This is an area of our faith that we need to start taking seriously.

Where can you start?

If you’re a pastor, pick up a copy of The Stewardship Movement here. It’s time to get to the heart of the matter in terms of finances. I taught people how to budget and pay off debt for years…but their financial freedom only changed when their hearts did. That is what this book is all about, helping others uncover their hearts’ condition regarding finances and giving them practical steps on how to change their financial state. We also offer this study as a curriculum that you can start hosting in your church today, click here.

If you’re a church member and you desire change in your life in terms of your finances and you would like to increase your financial freedom in a biblical way, lead a study group. Sign up by clicking here. This 9 week journey will lead you and your study group’s hearts to what God’s Word says about financial freedom and how to manage your finances in a way a glorifies him. It’s time to break the chains of financial slavery!

 

Generous Moment #1

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Generous Moment #1
Generosity does not always = MONEY.

The other day I got this text from a friend, I was amazed at how her and her husband were seeding into the lives of others! This is truly generosity at work. So, don't get discouraged if you don't have loads of money to give...be encouraged by giving other blessings you have to others like talents, time, love, friendship, and much more!!

 

Numbers: I should care, but I don't

 

Thinking About Math

When I was a child, I really struggled in the area of math. My strong subjects were English, art, and history. The teachers called me “creative.” Anything analytical or related to mathematics or science was out. Needless to say, my grades reflected it.

The problem was that I allowed myself to assume this false identity through adulthood. I say false identity because I believe that we can chose to be good at things, if we want to be. While the execution of the act may be more difficult for us because it does not necessarily come naturally, we can chose. An area that I have found this to be true in is regarding numbers. While numbers don’t necessarily come naturally to me, I have made a choice to face them and do what I need to do in my life so that I can interact with them.

We are constantly faced with questions regarding measurements, quick addition and multiplication, and many mathematical decisions that need to be made in regards to our finances. If I chose to continue to be afraid of numbers, allowing my identity to be rooted in the fact that I was “bad with numbers,” how can I function as an adult in the area of finances?

While math may not be the natural calling for all of us, it is essential to realize that we are all called to be wise stewards of the resources that God has given us and that is going to require some math on our part. We have to make a choice to ditch old identities that may be holding us back and embrace with faith that God can equip us to do anything we put our mind to in Him. Sure, there are always exceptions to the rule, but I strongly believe that all of us are called to be wise in this area.

So, if you’re like me and you may have struggled with math growing up, don’t allow that to define you in your adulthood. It simply takes discipline and practice. You don’t have to fall in love with numbers…but take responsibility over the ones that you will be accountable for.

 

Faith Can Defy Logic

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As adults we have accumulated knowledge. Therefore, most of our   decisions are based on this knowledge.

This knowledge can also be labeled as logic. While God created logic, there are aspects of logic that defy our faith.

There is something inside of us that resists logic’s ability to make us question. We take a step of faith only to be met with what we may label as “defeat.”

We say to ourselves, “I believed, it didn’t work and I was wrong, therefore my ability to have faith is wrong.”

Yet faith and logic don’t necessarily co-exist.

There are elements of our faith that grow and mature in the hidden ways of God, even when we don’t logically see the outcome we expect.

Therefore, here is the commission. Continue to have faith, no matter how many times the answer to your faith doesn’t line up with what you logically expected.

Remember, God is working all things together for good when we seek His face and love Him.

Our love for God will enable us to continue in our faith – keep believing!

Question:

What have you given up on? Is it possible that God is working this situation together for good, yet the answer exists outside of your expected logical, outcome?

Less About Me, More About Him

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 “I still myself in your presence, I let out a sigh of relief and welcome you into my heart.

My knees fall to the ground and my face looks upon your throne.

My voice cries out – Holy, Holy, Holy – King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Worthy is the Lamb.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

Jesus, thank you for today – Father God, please use me today as a vessel to bring glory and honor to you.

I know that by your empowering grace that you can use me to advance your Kingdom no matter where I am.

I ask for your favor and blessing today, that I might be able to lead my day in a way that’s pleasing to you.”

 

Interesting.

As the Holy Spirit led me to inscribe a prayer this morning in my journal, I was lead to reference the Lord’s prayer as a template. I noticed that as I did this, my prayer became less about me, and more about bringing the Father glory.

What a humbling experience.

My prayer takes a path at the end that I did not expect, one that is not the norm for me. Typically I write to the Lord empowering prayers, authoritative prayers regarding my life or the lives of others the Sprit leads me to pray for.

Afterward, I dust off my hands and feel pleased in my “accomplishment.”

Today wasn’t about getting anything off my chest, today was about coming to the Lord’s feet – in awe and ready to serve.

After having this experience, my heart questions…ponders…no…is encouraged.

Perhaps I see why Jesus lead us to pray in this way. Perhaps He leads us to pray this way so that the focus is less on ourselves and more about His will for our lives? What a greater honor, than to bring the Creator of the Universe glory each day! It’s not that I don’t think we desire to do this, but perhaps we neglect this valuable "prayer template" given by Jesus to get us there?

Try It!

Get out a piece of paper or your journal. Open up your Bible to Matthew 6:9-13. Utilize the Lord’s Prayer as a “template” and write your own version that follows along with it.

 

Identity

Just the other day I was talking with a girlfriend about how easy it is to get our identity wrapped up in our stuff. The object of our discussion was our homes. While neither of us desire to fill our homes with “stuff,” we still were talking about how having a comfortable home that we’re proud of is important to us. The one word she used that really struck my spirit as we were talking was “identity.”

I was sharing with her how Stephen and I had sold practically everything in our home last year because we were sure that we would be moving over seas the following year. I told her about how this experience made me realize that it can be quite easy to fill our homes with “stuff” that will either be sold in an estate sale some day or end up in a trash heap. That all this money and time we invest in this stuff is for what? While I did gain this amazing perspective, her use of the word “identity” got me thinking. Maybe I don’t have this all figured out yet? Is my identity still wrapped up in my home and the car I drive? Yes.

Dang It! Here I thought I had learned the lesson, check it off and move onto the next.

This then lead us to the discussion of having nice things. That all good things come from God. I felt our discussion pointing to the message that God has been speaking to my heart along – “It’s not what you have that is the issue, it’s your heart.” Amongst our discussion I found some cobwebs that needed a sweeping…

So, my desire is to press into this word IDENTITY. Thank you to my friend and the Holy Sprit for challenging my heart in this area. While I may not desire to stuff my home with meaningless objects like I may have in the past, how can I move past finding my sole identity in my home?

Question To Ponder:

What is your identity wrapped up in that you feel the Holy Spirit is directing you to release so that you might be able to press into God's identity for you?

Sobering

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Much to our dismay, we do live in a world that throws darts at us on a continual basis. Those darts may come from the enemy or they may come from our own brothers and sisters…regardless, the sobering reality is that we live in a fallen world.

Over the course of the last several weeks, I have been feeling the weight of packing up everything I have ever known or owned - to sell. The experience is beyond humbling. The sense of “nakedness” that I have felt this past week in doing this reminds me of my solitude in this world without God.

Even though we pack our lives full of things…the reality is that those things that we pack our lives with don’t change the fact that we are on this earth for mission. That the world is “mean” and it really does not care if you are “having a bad day.”

See, I think these things defined me more than I realized…even though they were not designer or brand new, they still gave me a false sense of security. Security in knowing what “home” was. What I feel like I am getting to this week is the heart of Jesus. He had no “home” and he was very alone in this world. Yet regardless of all of this, he still executed the will of his father.

The enemy is on a mission to “knock us off our game.” He knows we have a purpose and if we fulfill it, many lives will be changed, therefore, he is doing all he can to knock us off the track. Regardless of the stress that this is in inflicting in my life…I have to remember that I have God – the creator of the universe. 

Sometimes we forget this.

We forget this because we are so distracted with all the “stuff” around us that we don’t realize that the stuff around us is providing no security at all. 

In my “nakedness” this week, I realize that with or without my stuff, God is still in my life and is still orchestrating each step in his will…what is there in this world that I need beyond this?

Sobering.

Share your stewardship story with us! You can email us a video of it at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , just send us the You Tube link! We will then share it with the rest of the world! Let’s join in this movement together…a movement towards the heart of Jesus.

 

Let Go and Let God

CharlieBarf right? Well, as a follower of Christ, this phrase was barf to me for a looonnnggg time. Being the control freak that I am, this phrase bugged me and still does to an extent. While I don’t think that we should ever rely on this phrase as a crutch in life, I do believe that it does have a strong meaning for my fellow control freaks out there.

I have been through a tremendous season of having the perfect plan and that perfect plan falling flat on its face, over and over across the past 2 years. There have been many instances when I wanted to flat out quit, but I haven’t yet. I continue to push forward in what I feel like God is calling me to do and while that has been and continues to be very challenging, I know in my gut that I am doing what I have been called to do. With all of this said, I am learning that sometimes I need to, “let go and let God,” this was proven clear to me through a little kitty named Charlie.

Charlie is a little black with brown tinted cat, he is probably less than a year old and has beautiful greenish, bluish eyes. His meow is sweet and low and his demeanor is cuddly and loving. Charlie is the name that I gave to this little guy that ended up on my porch one day, we have a lot of cats in the neighborhood, but there was something about Charlie that was different. He sat at our sliding glass door peering into our dining room as if he had arrived and we had been waiting for him. When greeted, he happily meowed with joy. He was different. I was worried for Charlie when I first met him because I had never seen him in our neighborhood before, is he a stray? Does he belong to anyone? I thought he must just be wandering the neighborhood, but wanted to test his appetite to see if he might be a stray. He did not attack the food, instead he took every moment with me that he could soaking up the pets coming his way, circling me excitedly.

My initial encounter with Charlie was brief as Stephen and I were off to New York City the next day for a 2 day trip. I figured when we would be back that Charlie would have moved on, well he didn’t. I again spent time feeding him, giving him water, worrying about him and even crying for him. See, I wanted to ignore the little fella, seeing animals outside like this, is so hard for me. I rescue stray dogs all the time and so, it seemed that Charlie did not have a home. We could not take him in because we already have three cats of our own and I don’t know if Charlie has any sicknesses. So…we had to leave Charlie outside. I still felt the Lord tugging on my heart to continue to give Charlie food, water and pets and that I did and continue to do.

During the course of this week or so, I have called several no kill animal shelters, got him checked for a microchip, asked friends if they knew of a home for him, ect, but my spirit never quite felt settled about doing any of this. So, the other morning I cried out to God, “WHY?!?!” I felt the Lord say to me, “Let him be.” What? Let him be?! Are you kidding me Lord, here is an innocent kitty outside with scary predators, cars, ect. – Let him be?! Yes…that is what I heard, that is what I continue to hear and that is truly what my spirit felt from the beginning. So…for the last day…I have let it be, anytime I get anxious about Charlie I pray a prayer for him, and that we find him a nice home, somehow, if he does not have one. I continue to feed him in the morning and at night and give him pets and trust that the Lord will bless and keep him better than I ever could, after all I am dealing with the Master of the Universe who created Charlie to begin with. So…I am practicing.

How funny that the Lord would take something so close to my heart like a little animal to teach me this lesson…I am still struggling to hold onto the control in this situation, but I am really trying to let go. I have watched Charlie bopping around on our deck all morning and continue to pray for him. This has been hard, but I trust that the Lord is going to help me grow tremendously in my faith through this little angel, Charlie.

So, in life, sometimes you do need to let go and let God. Thank you to Charlie for the excellent instruction!

What Goes Around, Comes Around

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I was running with a friend this morning and we were talking about the perplexities of receiving. She was sharing a story with me about a co-worker: a patron in front of him at the gas station purchased his drink for him, without him knowing it until he got to the counter to pay for his drink. He then turned around and purchased the drink for the person behind him.

I wrote an article a while back about the Christmas Card Phenomenon - same concept. You send out your Christmas cards for the year. You get a few cards from people that you didn’t sent cards to, so if you have extra, you in turn send them a Christmas card back.

There is something broken within our spirit when it comes to receiving things, we either don’t like it or it makes us feel uncomfortable. I would differ to the latter.

But why does it make us feel uncomfortable? Why can’t we accept the money that a friend wants to give us because they want to help us? Why can’t we let a family member buy our lunch because they want to?

I love it when I meet people with “functioning receivers,” those who know how to receive and do it well. I also love those who at first don’t want to receive but then do. This is a beautiful depiction of what God is trying to do in all of our lives.

"Come near to God and he will come near to you…” James 4:8, NIV

It is the natural order of things as God has designed it…draw near to things and they will naturally draw to you.

There are so many generous people in the world who are continually seeding into the lives of others…they need to also learn to receive. I believe we have been designed to receive this blessing, after all, we have been designed to receive the Father.

So…next time someone wants to do something nice for you, don’t let pride, fear, arrogance or anything else stand in your way. Accept with a grateful heart and open mind.

 

Failure

4-2014 343Failure is the probability of most circumstances…perhaps that is why the “success rate” in soo many things is soo low. This week I feel like a bit of a “failure” on the cash challenge, I just found about 6 receipts hidden in a stack of my latest receipts from my business trip that I failed to account for when I did our budget last week. Dang it. That is the worst feeling.

Being someone who is prone to perfectionism, these moments have the opportunity to either destroy me or rough me up, I will only let this rough me up, but not for too long.

The reason why I won’t let it destroy me is because I am on a journey to uncover the true meaning of Biblical Financial Stewardship for church leaders. I recently dove into a book written by R. Scott Rodin and Gary G. Hoag called, “The Sower.” Ultimately, the way we handle our finances is a heart condition, nothing else. I believe scripturally that if I handle my money with the right heart, it is not the intention of God to beat me up for lacking perfection this week. This concept is further exemplified by the words of R. Scott Rodin:

                “…God is primarily concerned with who we are rather than what we do” (8).

Relief, thank you R. Scott for that word! What a blessing it is to know this…while this does not gives us the excuse to go crazy, it certainly gives us grace and I need it!

So, this week, I did not fail, I won…because I continue to pursue the heart of Christ and am working to be more like him.

Be empowered in Him this week!

Get your copy of "The Sower" here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0979990793

Cash Travel

Kate3The third week of the Cash Challenge with Gerri Willis was revealing. One of the top objections that I have heard from friends and family is the pickle one paying cash would run into while traveling. This past week I traveled and I got to experience these challenges first hand. Here is a list of the challenges I ran into…

Checked Baggage

Guess what? The airlines kiosks don’t accept cash…therefore, in order to check my bag at the kiosk I had to use my debit card. On my way out, I dealt with an agent directly and I was able to pay her cash…but on my way home I was not so lucky.

Conclusion – Debit card most likely required, unless dealing with an agent directly.

Hotel Incidentals

When I checked into the hotel, I asked about putting the incidentals on my debit card. She told me that with debit cards they have to put a freeze on the amount of the room and then some. Since I was staying at a Hyatt and not a Days Inn, let’s just say that the “freeze” amount made my heart skip a beat. It is my estimation that they have to do this with a debit card because it guarantees that the funds are there? Ultimately, I had to utilize my credit card in this situation.

Conclusion – Credit card necessary, unless you have thousands extra sitting in your checking account.

 

ATM Fees

I did not have a rental car, so I was in essence subject to the hotel. I am sure I could have utilized the Wells Fargo bank locator on my phone to find an ATM close by since I was in the heart of downtown, but I did not have the time. I was subject to accessing cash via the bank ATMs which cost me $3.95 a pop! I had to access cash 3 times…that may have been combination of poor planning, figuring out how to use cash while traveling and unexpected expenses. Lesson learned.

Conclusion – Get your cash before you travel to avoid steep ATM fees.

Something else that I noted, but did not run into was the fact that airlines do not accept cash for their snacks and drinks on the plane, so a debit card would be required in this situation too… Ultimately, if you are going to travel, try to outline your daily expenses ahead of time, transfer cash into your checking account and pull the cash from your bank’s local ATM prior to travel to save!

Bonjour LaCroix!

10013946 10202201441452059 1554795349 nYesterday marked our first week of the Cash Challenge! We are so thankful to Gerri Willis and FOX Business for allowing us to take this journey with them, it has been an interesting first week filled with various cash adventures.

Week 1 Adventure - Bojour LaCroix!

LaCroix is a sparkling natural drink that was speaking to me off the shelves of Natural Grocers the other night, it was a random purchase. I had picked up my protein powder and then remembered that I also needed to pick up some protein bars for an upcoming trip. Have you ever walked down a “bar” aisle at a natural foods store?! It is Mecca if you are a bar lover…so much to explore, so many fun labels to read…it pretty much rocks my world. On top of this all, it is just fun to eat something called Cookies and Cream and not have it actually consist of Cookies and Cream…ahh yes, welcome to my world. I divert. After I picked up protein bars for my trip, I was craving sparkling water so I walked down the aisle for the drinks and there LaCroix was. I knew of it because a friend of mine drinks it and I have always wanted to try it. I am always on the hunt for a low cal, natural drink…and there it was, I quickly threw it under my arm, as I juggled the protein bars in my other hand. Then I was off to get my jug of protein, somehow I managed to balance this all between my body and both arms.

Checkout Time!

I unloaded it all onto the belt at checkout…then I had a pit hit my stomach. I realized that I only had cash…and while I did have cash in my wallet, I was not sure if it would cover my purchases. I started to quickly add up my items on the belt as the gal in front of me was checking out, I started to break out in a small sweat as the numbers were being added and I glanced in my wallet to see how much cash I had. I looked behind me to make sure no one was there, the coast was clear. Sure enough…as she ran the last protein bar though I was about $3 over the cash that I had in my wallet!

I think the last time I came up short at a register was when I was 18 and had only the cash in my pocket from waiting tables the night before. Why hadn’t I run out of cash at the register since? Because I always have my trusty credit card! But how trusty is my credit card really, when if I did use it that night, I would have impulse bought a drink that I never drink? Oh, and I forgot to mention that I impulse bought Whey protein samples for Stephen to try… What is it about grocery stores and impulse buys? And I wasn’t even hungry!

This Cash Challenge with Gerri Willis of The Willis Report, has taught me that we are going to SAVE MONEY! Yay, one of our favorite things to do. See…we always had the cash to cover impulses against our budget in the past, but that money is now going to savings! Whereas before, it would go towards “slip ups” over our budget, we are pumped, one penny closer to South America!

Cash Challenge, Here We Come!

S moneyStephen and I are pumped; we have been invited by Gerri Willis with The Willis Report on FOX Business Network to participate in the Cash Challenge!

The main event that spurred this Cash Challenge on was the credit card breach with Target…can consumers live on cash alone again?

Stephen and I are going to find out!

During this Cash Challenge we want to uncover whether or not the stats are true – do people actually spend less money by utilizing cash over credit/debit cards?

Join us live this Tuesday April 1st on the Willis Report at 5 p.m. EST. as we kick off this challenge!

Continue to follow our blog as we document this journey, here is to a great challenge!

Risk Is Good - For Everyone

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This morning it was pouring rain here in Colorado and it has been now for over 2 days, refreshing after all of the hot weather we’ve been having.  I decided that I wanted to get my run in the morning, so I decided to brave the storm.  The creek next to the trail was raging with water and I felt like I was the only soul standing out in this rain storm for several square miles.  I was encouraged as I started to run and I saw this man out on the trail in front of me, braving the pelting rain from the gusting winds.  With each step I realized that despite my rain jacket and other precautions, the likelihood of me finishing this run soaked, was 100%.  As I made my way towards the other runner on the trail, I could not help but chuckle to myself and question my sanity…it was crazy, pouring rain and wind – I had a brief moment when I thought to myself that going back to my dry car was the best option and that I would get out later in the day when the rain stopped.   I wrestled with the thought for a few minutes, but pressed forward into the storm.  I had a flashback to Stephen and I’s conversation just moments before as he questioned my reasoning and cautioned against hypothermia jokingly… 

Read more: Risk Is Good - For Everyone

Receive It!

MP900422261To receive is not to take away from someone else.  Receiving is accepting a gift that has been extended to you.  It seems that a majority of us have trouble in receiving something from someone because we feel like we are taking something from them.  Why do we keep letting our pride, fear or shame get in the way of a gift that someone wants to bestow upon us?  Do you ever feel guilty when you get a gift from someone and you feel like they spent too much money on you?  Argg, I hate that feeling.  Why is it that we experience that emotion? 

Read more: Receive It!

4 Signs Of Financial Danger

Danger Thin IceNone of us are perfect financially, even those of us who “have it together” may have downfalls in some areas of our finances.  That weak area for me is grocery shopping – as much as I try, if I don’t have a plan for the month, I will go over budget.  Or there are other times when I really want to do something, know that money designated for that item has been used up for the month, and do it anyway.  All of us are tempted in one way or another to push the boundaries of our financial means, yet there are also boundaries that can become dangerous once we cross them.  In a brochure, The Consumer Credit Counseling Service has identified 10 financial danger signals, are you pushing your financial boundaries?

Read more: 4 Signs Of Financial Danger

Are You Born To Spend?

Are you born to spend?

Check out this report sponsored by Chase, click on the cover below:

Source: Chase - https://www.chase.com/online/chase_blueprint/document/JPMC_Chase_BornToSpend_FINAL.pdf

The Power of Habit: Getting Into The Financial Freedom Routine

In chapter 1 of his book entitled “The Power of Habit,” Charles Duhigg breaks down the concept of a “habit loop”. He describes a habit loop as set routines we get into each day on a subconscious level, some of which are good and others of which are bad. As I was watching this short trailer on his website, I thought of running.

Read more: The Power of Habit: Getting Into The Financial Freedom Routine

5 Reasons You're Earning More Money and You're Still Miserable

5 Reason's You're Earning More Money and You're Still Miserable
By Mandi Woodruff - Business Insider, Friday July 26, 2013

Getty Images/Thinkstock

Whether you're a millionaire or a middle-class father of two, we all make the same mistakes when it comes to money – we think the more we earn, the happier we'll be.

If you really want to buy yourself a more fulfilling life, it's not how much money you earn that matters, but figuring out the right way to spend it.

That's the idea explored in a fascinating new book, "Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending," written by a pair of renown behavioral scientists, Dr. Elizabeth Dunn and Dr. Michael Norton. 

"When it comes to increasing the amount of money they have, most people recognize that relying on their own intuition is insufficient, spawning an entire industry of financial advisors," they write. "But when it comes to spending that money, people are often content to rely on their hunches about what will make them happy."

That all ends with this book. We've combed through and highlighted five ways to change the way you think about money that will make you happier in the long-run.

Read more: 5 Reasons You're Earning More Money and You're Still Miserable

“I Have To Have Those Shoes!” – Creating Healthy Shopping Habits

women shopping looking in store windowImpulse breeds regret, at least it does for me. Just the other day I heard a story of a gal who recently got her house paid off and decided that it was time for a new car that she has been eyeing, so what did she do? She replaced her $1500 mortgage payment that was for a brief moment eliminated with an $800 car payment. Now, you might be thinking, well, “she is now saving $700 per month!” I disagree. One of the best things that I ever heard was that we are never “saving money” if we did not intend on spending it in the first place…if you didn’t intend to buy a new car when your house was paid off, then you are not saving $700 you are actually now losing $800, totaling $1500 of lost opportunity. 

Listen To This Article Here

Read more: “I Have To Have Those Shoes!” – Creating Healthy Shopping Habits

Summer Parties On A Budget

bbqThere are many things that a lot of us express we would do if we “had money.” Well, one of those “things” that I would do more of is entertain. I L O V E to entertain, but after the cost of food and drinks, it can get expensive. So, how can you entertain and not break the bank? Here are 4 tips to you for hosting your next summer party on a budget.

1.Evite

My friend, if you haven’t heard of Evite, I am afraid you are living under a rock…

This is a great site to send out your party invitations on without having to write or print them out and get them sent in the mail. While email would suffice, Evite offers you. . .

Read more: Summer Parties On A Budget

Pulling Off A Great Wedding On A Budget

WeddingQ: From Michael in Colorado, What are ways to save money for a wedding?

Let me just start by saying that weddings are like home improvements. You get the money set aside to install the wood floors in your house, you start the project and three other things come up – outside of the budget. Needless to say, you almost always end up over budget and it may not even be on purpose. Now this is a loaded question Michael, so let me lay out for you how I am going to answer your question in a way that I feel will be most valuable to you, lined with my humble opinions.

Read more: Pulling Off A Great Wedding On A Budget

4 Money Saving Tips For Your Family Road Trip

MP900438719All of us get stuck in the rut of life, not that it is bad, but it is what I like to call the “hamster wheel,” it is good to get off every once in a while, take a deep breath and evaluate.  But how can you evaluate when you are surrounded by laundry that needs to be washed, floors that need to be cleaned and telephone calls that need to be answered.  You really can’t, all of the things around will pull you back onto the hamster wheel, that is why I declare summer as the – Go On A Road Trip Time Of Year!

My favorite part about road trips is that they make me STOP.  I can’t read in the car because I get sick, I can’t get up because I’m strapped down and I am in a contained space with my husband.  Some of our best conversations have been in the car on road trips.  What also makes road trips so fun is that fact that you are on your way to a special place, it may be new or close to your heart, but you are on your way there.  Relaxed yet?  I know I am. 

Read more: 4 Money Saving Tips For Your Family Road Trip

The Importance Of Long Term Care

Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance

Provided By Jamie Giddings, First Command Financial Services
For many of us, financial planning is synonymous with retirement planning. We plan with the intent to enjoy a comfortable retirement lifestyle, and we dream of the day when we’ll have the time and freedom to pursue long-awaited interests. Many of us, too, make estate planning a part of our retirement plan, thoughtfully considering the financial legacy we’ll leave to our families. But often, even those who carefully plan for tomorrow fail to consider their potential healthcare needs – specifically, the need for long-term care – and the potential impact long-term care expenses can have on their financial well-being.

Read more: The Importance Of Long Term Care

Organic Shopping On A Budget

Organic Shopping On a Budget

Thank you to Ashley from Colorado for her question:

Organic food is generally considered much better for us however it is a lofty financial investment, is it worth it in your opinion?

I am passionate about financial freedom for everyone, but I am also just as passionate about health for everyone! A large part of health in my opinion is how we’re eating and we have the ability to make choices about what we put into our mouth! A large concern of mine is the amount of chemicals that are being sprayed on our produce these days and if we’re eating produce that has been sprayed, we are ingesting the chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. Remember that these chemicals are designed to kill these insects…and we’re ingesting them!  So, Ashley, BRAVO for such a great question!

Read more: Organic Shopping On A Budget

I spend money too!

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Wow! I laughed out loud when I read this ecard. I remember this feeling haunting me ALL THE TIME in the past, and it still occasionally does! I want all of you to know that I STRUGGLE too! I am not perfect and I don’t have it all figured out. I sometimes skip tracking a week. I sometimes spend out of my budget. I buy impulsively at the grocery store when I am hungry. I understand. Just the other day, I crossed a boundary and bought something I shouldn’t have. Tried to bring it back due to the GUILT. Could not return it because it was a “sale” item. None of us are immune to this power struggle within ourselves, but we certainly can better manage it so that we’re not feeling GUILTY all the time. Nothing feels good on your arm, feet or body if you didn’t have the cash to buy it. Your home does not feel as cozy when the TV you just bought was an impulsive purchase at Costco because it was a “good deal.” Why does it not feel good? Because you feel OUT OF CONTROL. We all feel better when have have a sense of equilibrium about us, but we chose to walk around seasick. Remember, that when you start this journey, you will NEVER get it 100% right and if you do, you are imbalanced in that state too. You can do this…

If I can do it, you can too!
Cheers!

Freedom Is Possible

freedom-is-possible

A Budget – I’m responsible I don’t need one…

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I’m sure we’re all responsible adults in this world but we have to remember that money is emotional. Therefore, when we make decisions about money, guess what? We’re almost always emotional. When we’re experiencing a dilemma we almost always ask our friends for advice, why? Because they can see our situation from another perspective. When we think about the situation, we are emotional.

I think this is the primary reason why many couples have the very best intentions when completing a class on finances but end up doing nothing with what they’ve learned. There is a deeper issue, an emotional one. When it comes to finances, a lot of couples find it extremely hard to communicate. Why? Because there are emotions attached there… It is not that the couple is NOT RESPONSIBLE…it is that the couple’s hearts are somehow tied to money in an unhealthy way, causing friction.

A budget is a family discipline…so if you’re responsible, I would say add this to your repertoire!!

Start today by completing a Cash Flow Worksheet.

57% of US Workers Have Less Than $25,000…

mp900448669“Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) released Tuesday found 57% of U.S. workers have less than $25,000 in total household savings and investments, excluding their homes.”

Read more:
http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/03/19/more-than-half-americans-have-less-than-25k-for-retirementwhat-should-do/#ixzz2O1QagaU1

A Budget – I’m not a numbers person…

Ahhh yes…my favorite excuse. It is my favorite because I used it all the time! My degree is in Marketing, I am a total right brain, creative thinker and all my C’s in college were in accounting and math. With all of this information, how in the world could I be good at finances?! After all, I’m not a numbers person.

Read more: A Budget – I’m not a numbers person…

A Budget – I don’t make enough money to have a budget…

The question that I ask all of you is this – why don’t you have a budget?

Read more: A Budget – I don’t make enough money to have a budget…

A Budget – I don’t make enough money to have a budget… (2)

The question that I ask all of you is this – why don’t you have a budget?

Read more: A Budget – I don’t make enough money to have a budget… (2)

Why do I need a budget?

30-day-challengeWhy don’t you have a budget?

Is it because you’re thinking. . .

I don’t make enough money I’m not a numbers person I’m responsible, I don’t need one I make a lot of money, why would I need a budget? We have one, but my spouse manages it Let me challenge these stances this month, stay tuned!

4 Secrets To A Successful Home Sale

By Christine Chiaro, Re/Max Properties

mp900442184There is no mystery to successfully selling a house…

There is no magic advertisement or marketing trick to successfully sell a house.

The answer is so simple, it’s right under our noses…

Read more: 4 Secrets To A Successful Home Sale

Keep Personal and Business Finances Seperate

mp90044221490% of my clients are self-employed, this has offered me the great experience of helping clients not only tackle their personal budgets, but also their business budgets.

Read more: Keep Personal and Business Finances Seperate

The Hamster Wheel of Life

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This past weekend, Stephen and I sat down to discuss where we are at in life. We both came to the grim realization that we were stuck – running the wheel of life each day – the same drill each moment – yadah yadah. We all know this cycle. We all have been “stuck” in it at one point or another, or perhaps you are stuck in it now? It is not fun and Stephen and I are bound and determined NOT to live this way – our purpose and passion are TOO great.

Read more: The Hamster Wheel of Life

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 30

mp900402904Gasbuddy.com

Simply amazing. What a cool tool! Plug in your zip code and find the lowest priced gas near you. You can even select the grade that you prefer, check it out:
http://www.gasbuddy.com/

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 29

mp900430677Bundle Travel

Next time you book travel on expedia.com – look at bundling the hotel, car and flight together.  I recently booked a business trip and saved over $200 by simply bundling all three together.  By bundling, I got the same flight, car and hotel – but for LESS!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 28

mp900448490Start Your Own Garden

My husband LOVES to garden and he started his first garden last summer. It was such a treat to go into our backyard and pluck tomatoes right from the vine! I also got spoiled with my parsley, mint and cilantro plants. I cannot believe how much those little packages at the grocery store are!!! So, start thinking about how you might be able to start a garden in your backyard, or perhaps even look at bringing herb plants into your home.

Read more: 30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 28

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 27

26Consignment

I have found an amazing thrift store by my house, I went in there a few months ago and spent $80.  For $80, I got a pair of jeans, several dress up jackets, cute tops (about 3) and a cardigan.  All of these items were also brand name, such as Anne Taylor, Banana Republic, Polo, White House Black Market and Express.  To me, brand name is not about status, because none of these brand names are displayed on the outside of the garment, it is about quality.  I find that brand name lasts longer and tends not to fade as quickly when compared with other brands of clothing.  It is simple, you purchase your new clothes and put them in the wash!  Like New!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 26

25Make It!

I am a sucker for furniture, but the problem with that, is that furniture is expensive!!!  I have found a fun new hobby and that is updating furniture that others might consider trash.  This table with chairs cost us $20.  This table was sitting outside of my neighbors house with paint spatter and chewed up corners, they sold it to us for $10.  These chairs are hand-made from Germany and were being sold by a couple in their garage sale, $5 each.  This table sits 8 comfortably, we used to only sit 4 with our old table.  Pretty amazing hah?  Now this cost does not include my time sanding and re-staining the table or the stain, but I got a beautiful table for a lot less than I would have spent to get all of this NEW!  Plus, it’s fun…. :-)

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 25

mp900399564Know Your Seasons

Instead of trying to tackle all of the seasons and what is best to buy in each season, I’ll stick to one example. Gym memberships. Are you thinking of joining a gym? The best times to join a gym is in December says Howard Brodsky , chief executive of New York Health & Racquet Club. This is when everyone is starting to think of burning off all of the weight that they gained over the holidays or changing their lifestyle in the new year. During this time you will find a lot of special promotions that you may not find the rest of the year. Know your seasons when shopping for big ticket items, another example would be to buy an air-conditioning unit in the dead of winter off Craigslist, versus the dead of summer…

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/26/health/26patient.html?_r=2&ref=health&

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 24

mp900406569Negotiate

Negotiation = Confrontation. Not all of us like confrontation, therefore, the thought of negotiating the price makes our skin crawl. Why? Because we are making ourselves vulnerable to the “no” that may follow. But why not? What do you have to lose? Next time you are in a store and see some cosmetic damage that you can repair, why not ask for 10 – 20% off the item and point out the damage? I have found this to work about 70% of the time!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 23

mp900442488Make A List

Have you ever heard the expression, “don’t shop hungry?”  Phew, I have and have tested it personally and they knew what they were talking about.  If I shop hungry, I over shop…and that does not have a positive affect on the budget.  My recommendation to you is to make a list before you go into any store with the items you need, whether it be the grocery store or Kohl’s.  This helps keep you on track and may help you to not overspend.  I have found it to help me greatly!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 22

mp900411753Discount Codes

Ever make purchases online?  Have you heard of discount codes?  If I am purchasing something from a store online, I will always Google ” ‘Store Name’ Discount Codes.”  By doing this I have received as much as 25 % off my order to free shipping.  Sometimes the discount codes don’t work, so it takes research.  Give it a try!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 21

mp900178035The Purpose Of Your Glove Box

What a strange word, glove box. Do you keep gloves in your box? I don’t! I keep my registration and insurance information, a map of Colorado, and a tire pressure reader. Do you know what my glove box is missing? Coupons. I have a tendency to to function on emotion, therefore, I shop on emotion most of the time. Oh, hey, I have 2 hours and I need to shop in the next few days and I have time now, and I go grocery shopping. But you know what happens when this happens…every 2 weeks? I never have my coupons!!!! It drives me crazy…therefore, my solution is to put my coupons in my glove box or anywhere in my car, so that when this happens, I have my coupons!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 20

mp900314251Bag Credits and Pennies

I figured that the two of these go hand in hand, considering that over time, they don’t add up to a whopping number that I can wow you with, but still matter. They matter because when we VALUE saving money, we will. I am very thankful that Whole Foods offers a 10 cent bag credit if you bring in your own bags for groceries or don’t use a bag. That is 10 cents off my bill and that is better than nothing. Another thing that blows my mind is how people walk by money…even if it is a penny, pick it up! If you don’t value money at its lowest value, how will you value it at its highest? So get your bag credits and pick up pennies!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 19

mp900433104Return It

A friend the other day was dismayed because she could not find her receipt for a pair of jeans that she bought for a family member at at store that didn’t fit. She came to the conclusion that she would just have to bite the bullet and take the loss. I asked her where she bought them and she said Kohl’s, I am not a frequent shopper at Kohl’s and I have never returned anything, but I was for sure they would at least give her a store credit. In thinking about writing this today, I looked up the return policy on their website, and indeed, they say, “No receipt? No problem. We’ll give you a refund, an exchange or Merchandise Credit.” SWEET. It pays to know the store’s return policy, make an effort to find it out before shopping at the store. I’ll shop at REI over other less expensive stores, just because I feel that they have a KICKIN’ return policy.

Source:
http://www.kohlscorporation.com/customer_service/returnsexchange/returnsexchanges.html

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 18

mp900439499Brown Bag It

Does brown bagging it remind you of your elementary days?  Well during those years, you didn’t have to pay a mortgage, buy groceries, pay off your car or worry about buying new socks.  The years have caught up to you, and now you have to worry about these things.  Do you know that the typical worker spends nearly $2,000 per year on lunch according to a study by staffing company Accounting Principals?  If we’re looking at 52 weeks in a year, that is almost $40 per week!  That equates to almost $200 per month!  Time to brown bag it – try to take dinner leftovers?

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 17

mp900175567Bi-Annual Reviews

Keep those vying for your business on their toes…if you are not in a contract, make sure that you conduct a bi-annual review of your current bills to see if you can save money elsewhere.  Currently we are paying $97 per quarter for trash and recycling service, we did some shopping around and found the same service for $63 per quarter.  That is savings!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 16

20130115-190053Shop Around

This can of soup costs $1.50 per can at Walmart. At Costco, an 8-pack costs $11.99 – that is $1.49 per can. Sometimes it comes down to which store is more convenient for you?

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 15

mp900408952Check The Receipt

Always check the receipt.

The other weekend, I was at a coffee shop with my mom and we ordered coffee and some food. I don’t know if it is a healthy habit or not, but as I am saying my orders to the person helping me I am adding in my head how much the subtotal should come to. The kind gal helping me said, your total is “24″ something. Woah…I thought in my head. Either my math is off or an extra button got pushed. Well, a few extra buttons got pushed and 24 went down to 16. What happens when we’re not paying attention? Always keep the running total in check to avoid losing money…

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 14

couponsCoupons

I am not a coupon clipper, but that does not mean I flip through the coupon books at the stores that I shop at.  There isn’t anything more exciting then handing over a coupon and saving $2 on a product in my book, I feel empowered and wise!  Take some time and flip through the store’s coupon books, you might just find a discount on an item you love!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 13

71mulhzw3el- sl1500 Department Store vs. Discount Department Stores

The other day I was making Paleo cookies and my mom asked, “What is that sound?”  I replied, “Oh, that is just the cookie pan warping…”  Well, thanks to my mom, I soon realized that it is simply time for a new cookie sheet and a few new turners/spatulas.  My response in these situations is automatic – Ross and TJ Maxx.  Why?  Because I know that I can find high quality kitchen products for much less than I would spend in a large department store.  The Farberware turner I purchased at TJ Maxx for $2.99 – the same turner retails for $8.09 on Amazon.  That is a savings of ~ $5 on just 1 of the items I purchased.  Give one of these stores a try next time you are in need of cooking utensils, you will save BIG!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 12

Rug Doctor Mighty Pro Professional Carpet Cleaner908StandardAre you in need of a big ticket item for a one time job, like a cleaner for cleaning your carpet or couches? Those carpet cleaners are expensive for a job that you may do annually. Instead of running out and spending $400 on a new carpet cleaner, why not rent it? Or perhaps you have a friend that you can borrow it from? Save yourself some money and rent it from your local grocery store…

There may be some cases, due to the amount of use, where purchasing a large ticket item might make more sense…but 90% of the time, you don’t need to buy it and have it sit in a closet all year.

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 11

48c829d2-000f1-035f3-400cb8e1Generic vs. Name Brand

Are you fearful about a food product that has a generic label on is vs. a name brand? From my experience, what it comes down to is quality. While I am attracted to the price of the generic brands, the quality is not always equivalent to the name brands. One example I can think of was with almond butter, there is a brand that we always buy, but we were on a trip and the “store brand” was less than the brand that we normally buy, so I thought, why not? After plucking almond skin from each bite, I determined I would stick with our “name brand” in the future. When it comes to trash bags, generic. Hand soap, generic. Dish soap, generic. This list goes on and on, experiment at little bit and save some money! Check out this fun article about the battle between generic and name brand:

http://www.dailyfinance.com/photos/generic-vs-brand-name-products/

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 10

mp900422368Warehouse Shopping

I have decided not to tackle the sticky subject of warehouse shopping vs. grocery store shopping today, but just want to share a small observation. My shopping is split up amongst Costco, Walmart and Natural Grocers (aka Vitamin Cottage). No, I don’t have an excel database consisting of every item I buy rounded to the last penny, but I do keep track in my mind of who has the best price among the three. The three store shopping dilemma is not only in an effort to save money but can also be attributed to the fact that not all of the stores have what I desire. Costco has bread, lots of bread and at great prices, but not Organic Sprouted Wheat Bread. Walmart has apples, lots of apples, but not Organic Fuji apples, ect. Whenever a client asks me the benefits of shopping at Costco, I tell my spinach story. There are several factors that go into this such as the membership fee, how often you shop there, blah blah. That is not where I am going with this, I am going towards the simple fact that I can buy 1 lb. of Organic Spinach at Costco for $3.99 or go to a grocery store where only the 5 oz version is available for $3.99. There are 16 oz in 1 lb.

Read more: 30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 10

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 9

mp900401552Eating Out

If you love to eat out, raise your hand. Um, that should have been everyone. Awww, the joy of eating out. You sit and your food is cooked and brought to you, it is a beautiful thing. While I am a “sucker” for eating out, even if it is Chipolte, it still comes with a very hefty price and ultimately the price of convenience catches up with us!

Read more: 30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 9

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 8

mp90042303019 Cents Per Day

Back in the old days I would buy 1 – 2 grande coffees from Starbuck’s per day. While I LOVE a cup of coffee from Starbuck’s, I view it more as a treat now, versus an everyday thing. This change of view has made my husband very happy.

Read more: 30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 8

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 7

gswveggies$500 Juicers For $40

Do you know what this is? If they didn’t have the fruit and vegetables in the background, you might have to take a moment to examine this contraption to figure out what it is. This is a juicer that we just purchased…

Good juicers are A LOT of money (this one is around $500), that is why we have waited for quite some time to get a good one. We went over to my parents house and they juiced a wonderful drink for us using this juicer. Stephen, my husband, exclaimed, “I want one!” My hand clutched into the sofa cushion, thinking to myself…”they are a lot of money and we are already savings for several other things…” I kept mum.

Then my mom said the most profound thing all day, “Let’s see if we can find one on Craigslist!” WAM! She found this model on Craigslist for sale and for….

Read more: 30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 7

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 6

mp900422389STUDENT LOANS – PAYING EXTRA TOWARDS PRINCIPAL

Paying extra towards your student loan principal is a great idea…but don’t get tempted one month to not make a payment when you see that you don’t have another payment due until June 2013. This drawn out due date is because you have paid additional towards the minimum payment.

You will still be paying interest on your balance the months you don’t make a payment. Your overall balance will grow due to the interest your collecting and also because you won’t be making payments.

Tip #6

Keep paying those suckers down!

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 5

pm1CUSTOMER LOYALTY CARDS

This stamp card was started in August 2009:

If they’re free and you buy food from there a lot, do it, what do you have to lose?
The main reason why companies offer these stamp cards with free food and discounts is to build customer loyalty. The new electronic cards not only do that, but also act as a great marketing tool – tracking every time you purchase, what you purchase, and much more. They would have to spend thousands if not millions of dollars for this data, but by throwing a free sandwich your way or offering you a small discount on gas…they gather valuable data which helps their profit.
I am all for these customer loyalty cards (IF THEY ARE FREE).

Read more: 30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 5

The Consumer In Us

42

Thank you for shopping with us today, BUT I think you forgot a few things: the chap-stick you’ve been needing, scotch tape to wrap your presents, the lanyard for your niece, a notepad to write down your to do list, a flashlight for your son, gum because your breath stinks, don’t forget chocolate for later and OH, why not buy a gift card for Uncle Joe while you’re at it?! I mean, you are right here at the register, and you NEED it! What a nice store as they made it soo convenient because they truly care…NOT!

Read more: The Consumer In Us

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 4

internetADVERTISEMENT – “Internet For $14.99 Per Month!”

You – “Wow! That is a great deal!”
You, After Further Research – “I don’t need all of that too…”

Read more: 30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 4

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 3

cash-back-envelope-e1355942686996Any enticing credit card offers come in the mail lately? Notice how every envelope that you get from a credit card company will have an offer stamped on the outside of the envelope to get you to open it. 1% Cash Back – WOW! – $1 dollar per every $100 I spend…are you motivated by $1 for much of anything?

What if I offered you $500, would you be motivated then? This credit card company is offering you $500, you just have to spend $50,000 to get it…

Tip #3 – What to do when you get credit card offers in the mail:

cc-trash

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 2

savingsSavings isn’t savings unless you need it, and most of the time you don’t.

Tip #2 Make a list before you go into the store and stick to it to avoid impulsive spending…

Why Do Goldfish Jump?

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This is the image on the cover of the workbook for my course entitled “6 Steps To Financial Awareness.” My husband took one look at the workbook cover and was perplexed why I didn’t put a picture of dollar bills or a happy family, goldfish? He asked me why, I didn’t know. I was simply drawn to this picture, to me, it communicated the pursuit of freedom.

Read more: Why Do Goldfish Jump?

30 Ways In 30 Days – Shopping Aware - Day 1

de310afc488f11e2b62322000a9f12da 6Identify what this pretty little tree tower of soda at the entrance of the grocery store is trying to do – This display catches your attention, right as you are walking in the store, throws you off focus, you notice the great deal on the soda – you were not coming to the store for the soda, but what a great deal!!! You buy it. They tricked you.

Tip #1 – STAY ON TASK…

What other strategically placed item do you see in this picture??

Your Ego

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Ego has such a negative connotation when it is mentioned, but ultimately, we all have an ego. Our ego is simply our self-image and we all have one of those. Our self-image is how we differentiate ourselves from the world around us, it is how we want others to see us or how we see ourselves and the desire to project that image onto others.

Read more: Your Ego

No More Excuses…

Anything worth having in life we have to FIGHT for and want

BADLY enough that we don’t GIVE UP when it gets hard…

Check out this video on our Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/MAPFinancialSolutions

“I can’t afford it…”

mp9004312431We all have an expression that when we hear it, we cringe. “I can’t afford it,” is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. This expression is a lie that we have trained ourselves to believe about our circumstances. I will preface this comment with the fact that anyone can dream up something to disprove what I just said, but I will tell you that in most cases this expression is a false belief that many of us carry with us everyday.

Read more: “I can’t afford it…”

Health = Wealth

mp900255395As my friend and personal chiropractor would say, “Health is Wealth.” Therefore, I like to always remind my clients that they have to strike a chord of balance in their lives…

Why Is Exercise Important?

1) Helps Prevent Diseases

2) Improves Stamina

3) Strengthens and Tones

4) Enhances Flexibility

5) Controls Weight

6) Improves Quality of Life

Source:
http://bit.ly/B6y9K

Small Tips To Make The Holidays Less Financially Stressful…

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How has your fall been? If you are in Colorado, you will have experienced our first snow fall right before Halloween. In past years, when we get our first snow before Halloween, it is going to be a SNOWY winter…but I am no weather forecaster, so don’t hold me to it! One of my favorite parts about Colorado Springs this time of year are the sun’s rays bouncing off the freshly dropped snow…this is why I’ve lived here my entire life; the beauty is breathtaking.

Read more: Small Tips To Make The Holidays Less Financially Stressful…

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 30

mp900382720A MAP – leading to a “mind at peace”

MAP stands for Mind At Peace, but it also represents the MAP that you need to get there.  I am passionate about you achieving the FINANCIAL PEACE that you desire and I am confident that I can get you there.  In Colorado or outside Colorado, schedule your initial, NO COST Consultation today and get one step closer to a “Mind At Peace!”

Schedule By Calling Me: (719) 213-5607

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 29

mp910220936Become A Better Cash Flow Manager

We are all managers of our cash flow, therefore we have the opportunity to create cash flow with the way that we manage our money.  All of us have opportunity before us, it is typically a matter of becoming a better cash flow manager to access that opportunity.

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 28

Opportunity

What do you call a positive cash flow each month?  Opportunity.

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 27

20121103-223853Giving – Gifts

We’re all really good at giving and want to give, with a plan you can do more of this!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 26

20121102-232239Worry Less.

Are you constantly worried about your finances? While I can’t promise that a budget will ELIMINATE your financial worries 100% – I can say that you will worry LESS – this is good for your entire body! Start today people!!!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 25

20121101-225943Responsible Credit Card Use

Latest plane ticket cost, $5. Latest debt incurred for plane ticket, $0. Latest credit card balance, $0.

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 24

20121031-211002Paying Cash For Major Purchases

Have you ever done this before? Have you experienced the freedom this brings?

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 23

mp900443831Plan – Blueprint

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” Fitzhugh Dodson

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 22

mp900427741Giving

All of my clients desire to give more…the beautiful thing about a budget is that you can create a plan in order to give more.  Most goals are reached when they are coupled with a PLAN, if you PLAN to GIVE MORE and stick to your PLAN, you will!  Exciting!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 21

mp9004308191Debt Free

Can you imagine being debt free?  IT IS POSSIBLE FOR YOU!  It just takes a goal, plan and action.  A budget is a great planning tool to get there…

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 20

mp900408958Communication

Ever get in arguments with your spouse about money?  Sick of asking permission for purchases under your discussed limit?  If so, there is a way to communicate about your finances that does not create a tense environment…a budget.  It keeps you both on the “same page.”

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 19

mp900438386Happier Home

Ever since Stephen and I have started serious budgeting and expense tracking, we have not been happier.  I can’t remember the last time that we had a disagreement about finances – we are now on the same page and moving in the same direction and have an idea of where we are going.

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 18

dscn2737Eating Out.

I make dinner for us at least 6 days per week, what a blessing it is to be able to eat out together at least 1x per week. It is a TREAT and FUN, we love having this time together…

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 17

mp900443982Freedom

There is freedom in a plan.

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 16

katie-w-stateCollege Education

80% of you want to make sure that you either help with or cover the costs of your children’s higher education. A budget allows for you to be able to save money each month towards this goal!!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 15

20121020-140613Comfort

When I’ve asked you all to use an adjective to describe money, 90% of you surveyed said Comfort.
While I believe that there are no guarantees in life, it is certainly nice to feel comfort when we are better money managers!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 14

20121019-1233411Home Improvements

Any areas of your home that you would like better organized? It was the garage for me and Stephen built some beautiful shelves for $150. I’ll post the finished product soon!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 13

20121018-084822Travel.

Wouldn’t it be nice to fly to visit family or go on a getaway a few times a year? You can do this! It is as simple as building it into your budget!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 12

4a9638ac187511e2b70422000a1cbafc 6Organization.

What I love about budgets is that it forces us to get ORGANIZED! How can we expect to have financial order and peace in our lives if we are not organized?

Start Small – Buy manilla folders. Label them with your bill names and the year. Keep your bills filed on a monthly basis, small steps are the first steps towards success!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 11

mp900405586Savings.

Since Stephen and I have been on our budget, we have been able to create a liquid emergency fund, as well as build up money for the future!  It is very nice to have that cushion!!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 10

sun-1Time.

Similar to what I mentioned on day 8, what we value is what we chose what we “afford.”  Time is a precious gift in a lot of ways, but even more precious if you value it.  I chose to “afford” the time to take Sundays off to be with my family.  We can afford to take Sundays off because we value it enough to budget it not only into our finances but our time.  I urge you to find your balance this week.

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 9

peacePEACE.

Until you experience the peace of financial freedom, you cannot explain to someone else what that peace looks or feels like. Most of us can dream about what it would be like to have financial peace, but most of us think that financial peace equates to MORE MONEY. I am here to tell you today that you can have financial peace and you DO NOT need to have MORE MONEY.

It is about becoming a better money manager and learning how to optimize every hard earned dollar that comes in!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 8

ea7f54fe149011e2bbd422000a1f9ab2 6A fridge full of beautiful and healthy food!

There is a lot of buzz out there about families not being able to “afford” good food. Well, I am here today to tell you that all of us can “afford” anything that we value. Take a moment to self reflect and you will find that you will only buy what you value or need. You don’t “need” to eat healthy food, but if you value it enough, you will find a way to “afford” it.

This is where a budget comes in handy, it acts as your plan so that you can “afford” what you value.

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 7

paneraLittle treats with no guilt or overspending!

My coffee spending has certainly gone down over the past 6 months, in the past I would frequent Starbuck’s at least 2 times per day. I have come along way…but I still love my coffee.

Nothing that feels better than to be able to buy one of my favorite treats with no guilt…or dent in the opportunities that our income offers. Cheers to a Cup of Joe!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 6

clothesLADIES – ONE WORD – CLOTHES!

Each month, Stephen and I each get $50 cash that we can spend on whatever we want.  Over the last few months, both of us have been saving our money up.  Yesterday, there was a cute consignment shop that I have never checked out, so I went in.  Have you walked into a store and just thought you you may have entered the first level of Heaven?  Well, yesterday I did!  Name brands and quality galore, like new and amazing prices!!!  Check out the goods I scored for $70!!!!  Hello Anne Taylor, Banana Republic, Polo and White House/Black Market!!!!  Utopia!  I looooovvvvveeee my budget!

The Joy of Budgeting – Day 5

baseball-date-nightDate Nights!!!

Before Stephen and I were on a budget, we would spend anywhere from $500 – $700 per month on eating out and dates!  Can you believe that?  Why did that happen?  Because we did not understand where that money was going, we were not managing our cash!  Now our budget is $100 per month and we do just FINE with that, we can now save that extra $600 or use it it pay down debt.  Budgets equate to FREEDOM, not bondage!!!