Friday, September 30, 2016

3 Tips for Keeping on Task

I love Fridays.  I really do.  The one day of the week where I have nothing planned, don't need to leave the house and can just relax and hopefully not have to worry about anyone or anything.
This past week was crazy - my husband was out of town at a conference in NYC and my girls had a ton of activities to be at.  Every time I thought I'd be able to relax, I just couldn't do it.  Something would come up.  I had a schedule all made up for the week but I admit by Friday I really wasn't following it.  So I thought this might make for a great Periscope or blog post... or both.
3 Tips for Keeping on Task
1. Brain Dump
Get all of your distractions out on paper.  Don't do this on your computer.  Make sure you sit down with few distractions at the beginning of the week or at the beginning of a project and write down everything that you have going on for the entire week or everything you need to do in order to accomplish your goal or task.  You can always sort it if you need or want to but it is important to just get every thing out if you can and as quickly as possible.  For particular projects make sure you write down steps involved, what it will take to get things done, time estimates and a plan to accomplish it.  Once you've done this you'll be able to figure out the best way to get started.
2. Create a plan
Once you have your brain dump and can see everything you need to do in regards to a particular project it will help you to create a plan for getting it done.  You can then create a schedule or at least know what it will take to get everything done and how you can accomplish it.
3. Set aside distractions and setting aside the time
Once you've had your brain dump and created your plan of attack, find a time to actually work on getting things done.  This means a quiet time where you can work on your tasks with little to no distractions.  For me, this is nap time between 12:30 and 2 and 3 and 4.  Not a great amount of time.  If I really need time with NO distractions, after the kids are in bed is also a good time for me to get stuff done.
Those 3 quick things can really help you to stay on task or to complete a project if need be.  I'd love to help you more - make sure you check out and join my FB group where we will be talking more about this in depth there.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Shout Out Thursday

It's that day again where I shout out someone who's encouraged me over the past week in some way or another.  This week I am calling out my friend Kija.  She is amazing.  She recently joined my Norwex team as a consultant and she's going to be taking the Honeybadger 101 Course with Kelly Paull with me starting in October.
She is a ray of light who makes me smile and I know if she were here in Boston she'd be one of my best friends.  I am so grateful for meeting up with her through Periscope and Jamberry.
I will be sending her a quick thank you note just to let her know how much I appreciate everything she's done.  I hope that you take the time to shout out someone who has encouraged you and hopefully send them a quick note to thank them for that encouragement.  Let them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them!
Everyone needs a little bit of encouragement now and again and often times it can be difficult to know if you've made a lasting impact on someones life.  Keep that in mind as you go about your week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Whatchya Reading?

I literally just finished up a book that I really wanted to share with everyone today.  It's called, So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson.
Now, as many know, the idea of public shaming isn't anything new but with the advent of the internet it has gone to a whole new level.  Things that once went down in private settings are now made public and things that one never had to worry about going viral are now being blown so far out of proportion that viral takes on a whole new meaning.
One of the reasons why this book has resonated with me so deeply is that I have to wonder how I would feel if one of my worst moments were taken and made public for the whole world to see.  It really made me think.  I mean, my children are amazing little people but every once in a while they turn into little terrors who like to create scenes and make life more miserable than it needs to be and sometimes my reaction can be less than stellar.  I try my best to stay calm and to not be anything less than a good person while out and about but every once in a while I can say that's not always the case.  How would I feel if my worst self came out and someone chose to film it or discuss it on a public forum or go out of their way to shame me?  I would be mortified.
I highly recommend this book - even though it really had nothing to do with finances.  Check it out.  You can get it on Amazon for kindle or in paperback.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Podcast Tuesday - What Are You Listening To?

It's Tuesday!
I have been playing catch up over the last few days when it comes to podcasts.  I am SO far behind.  I try to listen to them when I'm cleaning the house or trying to get stuff done but I am easily distracted by little ones these days.
This week I have been listening to Direct Sellers ROCK! which is put out by Power Coach Alicia.  Now, if you don't know who she is let me share a bit.  I first came across her during a free training provided by Melanie Parker over at Party Plan 123.  Alicia is a no-nonsense direct sales coach who does not mince words and will basically tell you like it is whether you like it or not.  She is a powerhouse in the direct sales world and has been a coach for at least a few years now after running a very successful DS business herself.
I recently started listening to her free trainings online and have only recently started listening to her podcast and actually investing in a few of her trainings.
One of the things to keep in mind about Alicia is that she does like to swear and so if you aren't a fan of that, well - I suggest finding someone else to listen to.  She is definitely not into the mushy stuff and she will pretty much say what she wants to say, how she wants to say it.  I personally have no issue with this as sometimes I need a swift kick in the ass.  I am linking to her website here if you want to check her out.

Monday, September 26, 2016

It's like that Joni Mitchell Song

Sometimes life can throw you a curve ball.  Something unexpected.  Something that can really make or break your day.  Sometimes you really have no choice in the matter or how things turn out and sometimes you do.
I want to suggest that there is actually something that can be done when life gives us a not so pleasant life circumstance.  I want to suggest that instead of letting a small something turn into a big something or letting our circumstance ruin our entire day instead of a few moments in time that we start thinking about our blessings and remembering that a bad 5 minutes should not ruin an entire day.  We also need to remember that if a person is rude to us that often they themselves are going through a bad moment and may need some compassion and understanding instead of us getting rude right back.
Yes there are times when life can throw a curve ball or when something can go so entirely wrong it can ruin an entire day, week, month or even an entire year of our lives but we need to learn to control what we can in every situation - our own attitudes - and start remembering that life is going to happen one way or the other.  We have to be stewards of our own time, our own lives and our own circumstance.
I want to encourage you today that while life can be cruel at times, we should not be victims to our own circumstance.  Life will happen, whether you choose to engage or not.  Try to be present.  Try to be a blessing.  Try to be compassionate.  And above all else, try not to let your circumstances take over your life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

3 Ways to Invest in Yourself

I have had a virus or cold for the last 3 days and it needs to GO!

So I haven't been as on top of things I should be this past weekend and my blog posts are one of those things unfortunately.  But I wanted to provide some content this week, so I figured I'd hop on here and throw up a quick post about 3 ways you can invest in yourself with little to no money... see what I did there?

Self Help Books

Yes, I said it.  Self help books can help you invest in yourself.  There are books on how to lose weight, how to maintain relationships, how to raise your kids, how to do better in sales and how to invest money.  There are literally thousands of books that are all about helping you be a better version of you.  So if you struggle with something, go find a book to help yourself improve in that area.  Currently I am reading Valerie Burton's book, "Successful Women Think Differently."  It was a FREE  download on  Seriously.  FREE.  I love that word. 

Courses and Training

If you want to get better at something you can find courses and trainings out there to help you to be better.  Just like with books, you can usually find a training on pretty much anything.  And there are tons of FREE resources out there.  But remember, many times with courses and trainings if you opt for the FREE version you are only getting a small piece of the pie.  You may need to actually invest money into these trainers and teachers in order to actually get the whole enchilada.  If you don't want to invest in a course or training then maybe consider listening to a podcast or TEDtalk and see if you can learn something there.  And many times you can find inexpensive courses and trainings out there that can help you to learn what you want to learn or get better at.  

Self Care

Now this may seem rather silly but it's important and you need to do it if you haven't been.  Self care can be anything from taking a walk by yourself for 5 minutes just to leave the house OR it can be indulging in a massage while the hubs watches the kids.  Self care is a vital part of investing in yourself and you need to do it.  After I had Lydia I had a hard time letting myself spend the money on massages, nail appointments or hair appointments.  I just didn't have the "time" to spend doing such things and I figured no one would notice.  But I noticed.  I noticed how I snapped more at my kids or how I didn't really like how I looked in the mirror or how I was just more tired and run down.  I wasn't taking care of myself.  My trips to the gym were infrequent or non-existent.  I wasn't taking time out for me.  So I've started making sure I book a massage appointment every few weeks to get out of the house and do something for me.  No kids, my phones turned off and it's just me time.  I'm not saying it has resolved everything I have on my plate but it does help to relieve some stress.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Podcast Tuesday

haha... I've themed my day.  I wasn't going to do this but I have come across such amazing podcasts lately that I feel like I need to share them and I have no other avenue to do this, so Podcast Tuesday is here.
Today I want to talk about Young House Love Has A Podcast.  For those who don't know, Young House Love is a blog written by John and Sherry Petersik.  And for 7 years they shared their love of DIY and their lovely homes and family with the internet world.  I have no idea how I came across their blog but I fell in love.  I was totally devastated when last spring the Petersik's decided to take a year off.  But, over the past few months they have started blogging again and I was super excited to find they have a podcast - and it does not disappoint.
Young House Love Has A Podcast is super fun and while it focuses on DIY, it gives us a chance to connect with our favorite bloggers on a different medium.  Many who followed the blog already felt like they knew John and Sherry pretty well, but now I feel like I know them on a totally different level.  Listening to them tell corny jokes or come up with silly puns or even geek out over things that I would never have thought would cause them to be quite so excited makes me feel like they are way more approachable than I ever would have thought in the past.
Young House Love Has A Podcast comes out Mondays and is definitely worth the listen if you like fun interviews with DIY guru's and HGTV designers.  And if you were a fan of the blog then it's a must listen.
Check it out, if you hate it I totally understand.  But I think you will like it... it's entertaining, fun and has interesting interviews so I'm sure you'll love it!  You can check out the blog at  and there is a link to their podcast there as well or you can find it through iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Monday, September 19, 2016

New Target Find

I have always loved the idea of a planner.  Haha, get that?  The idea of a planner?  Sounds great, but I've never ever found a planner that I absolutely had to have.  I remember in high school I was given a planner my freshman year of high school and I loved that thing.  Sadly they didn't have anything similar the next year and I've been looking and looking but never found anything that I liked quite as much.  
As a Jamberry consultant I thought maybe I should get one since I had things I needed to keep track of and using my phone wasn't really cutting it.  So I spent the money and got myself the company planner but it just hasn't worked for me.  I love the monthly calendar part and the party planning part of it, but for my every day life it's just not cutting it.  In fact, it just makes my life more complicated because I have to have a separate planner for my every day life.  
Needless to say yesterday when I went into Target I knew I needed to find something to help me make my life a bit more organized.  I browsed the dollar aisles as I usually do and then went into the office supply section thinking maybe I would find a new notebook and then I found The Day Designer... OMG... I am IN LOVE!  
The day designer planner is "a strategic planner and daily agenda for living a well designed life."  
Ugh... yeah!  That's exactly what I need.  It has a space for goals, has a place for my daily to do list, my top 3 tasks, a schedule, a place to write down dinner and gratitude.  I was using an app for gratitude, an app for tasks, an app for my schedule... I literally have a million apps for everything and it's driving me crazy.  I use the Notes app on my phone for pretty much everything but I like having things written down on paper.  It helps me feel more in control of my calendar and like I can get things together easier if I can see it and organize it on paper.
I highly recommend that if you need a panner that you look into this one.  It's pretty affordable - $20 or less at Target (I apologize but I can't find the receipt and there was no price sticker on the planner) and if you use your Target Red debit or credit card you should be able to get it for 5% off whatever the sticker price is.  Most planners sell for a heck of a lot more than $20 so to me, this was a good investment.  I've already been filling this one in and am very happy with it (it's a July 16 - June 17).  I am already excited to invest in another for next year! 
Does anyone else get as excited by being organized or is it just me?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Did you know?

I promise I am done with the boring part of FICO scores.  But you really do need to know about how they are generated.  If you don't, you are only doing yourself a disservice.  FICO scores and your credit report are part of what decides whether you qualify for a mortgage, loans, credit cards and sometimes even if you can rent from someone.  If you have a ton of credit but aren't taking care of your credit that looks bad.  If you have no credit that also can look bad.  Knowing and understanding why will help you to understand why you may or may not qualify for credit on any given day.
With that said, if you haven't pulled a copy of your credit report in the past year then you need to.  To do this go to  
You will receive a copy of your credit report from each agency for free - you are entitled to 1 per year.  Check it over.  Make sure your information is correct.  Make sure that you do not have any inquiries on your report that you yourself didn't make or apply for.  Make sure all credit lines are yours and that you are not listed as an authorized user or that you are not listed joint on something that you are not supposed to be.  Make sure that all the payment information is correct and that address and social security numbers are correct.  If you find any errors you will need to dispute them and I will get into that in a later blog post as that is a long and drawn out process that can sometimes take years.
If you do not find anything erroneous with your credit report and everything looks good then review it and see if there are any credit lines that you should close out or if there's been any credit closures in the past year or so.  Also look to see when the last time you applied for credit was and make sure that no one has pulled your credit without your authorization.  If you have more than 5 inquiries in a 6 month period that is a red flag for creditors.  If you went through an auto dealership or a recent mortgage refinance be aware that they often go through more than one bank or lender when going through the process so not only will you have an inquiry from the dealership itself but you will also have one from each bank/credit union/mortgage lender who handled your application, as it is a necessary step for them to take to ensure they are not getting false information (which is also something that happens at times).
If you have any questions about how to read your credit report please let me know - I'll be happy to look it over with you - we can do it via Zoom, through Google Hangouts or some other private screen sharing way.  This was something I did a lot of when I worked at my last job, before I became a loan officer and I love helping people to see how they can read and interpret their credit report information and make it work for them!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Last 3 Factors That Make Up Your FICO Score

The last 3 things that make up your FICO score are how often you apply for, the mix of and the length of time you've had credit.   It is really important to know these things since they make up that last 35% of your FICO score.  Let's start with length of credit history.
How long ago did you start establishing credit?  What is the age of your oldest and your newest credit accounts?  How long since you last used your accounts?  How long since you closed an account?  How long since you last opened an account?  You want to keep your oldest credit lines open even if they don't have balances for as long as you can.  Obviously if your first credit line is a car loan then you can only keep it open for the length of the loan term but if it's a credit card - try to keep it open for as long as possible.  Some credit card companies will shut cards down that aren't in use after a few years but some will leave them open indefinitely.  This will help your FICO score.  Especially if that credit line is and stays in good standing.
Mix of credit sources in use makes up 10% of your FICO score.  How many credit cards do you have in your name?  How many have balances?  How many retail accounts do you have? How many installment loans?  How many mortgages?
People with no credit cards tend to be viewed as a higher risk when it comes to lending than someone who has and manages a credit card responsibly.  Closing an account does not make your credit history go away over night - it can take a number of years (usually 7-10 years).  So these are all things to keep in mind when it comes to your mix of credit and the length of time you've had credit.
Lastly, new credit.  The more accounts you open in a short amount of time, the worse this is for your FICO score.  Most creditors see it as a red flag.  If you are taking on a lot of debt all at once you need to be aware that while your FICO score may not take a hit right away, it will eventually catch up to you.  And if you are applying for a mortgage  you should NEVER apply for additional credit until the process is over.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Do You Pay Your Bills On Time?

Seriously, do you?  Have you ever missed a payment on a credit card?  Have you ever had a call from a debt collector?  Have you ever had to beg for someone to lend you money so you could pay your bills?
Repayment history makes up 35% of your FICO score.  That means that if you've ever been late, if you've ever had anything in collections or if you've ever skipped paying something or put it off for more than one billing cycle, that you have probably had your FICO score dip.
The fact is that repayment history makes up the majority of your FICO score.  You really need to do whatever is in your power to make your payments on time.  If you are late with a payment or do not receive a bill and then get charged a fee and you've never done this before you should call your credit card company and ask them to remove the late fee and see if they will report you as on time and not late.  This obviously can not be done more than once or twice but if you are a customer in good standing than you should be able to get the fees dropped and have them fix the credit reporting.
Some credit card companies will report you as late even if the payment is only 1 day late.  They also will raise your APR (annual percentage rate) so make sure you are making your payments on time so that you don't start having to pay more in interest, additional fees and have your FICO score affected.
Do these red flags show up on your credit report?
-Short Sale
If those words show up anywhere on your credit report you may have issues applying for and being approved for any additional credit in the future.  Banks and credit unions do look at the length of time between when these things occur and when you are applying for credit but these things are definite negatives and will not only affect whether you can get credit but what your FICO score is.

Bottom line: make your payments on time.  Pay your utilities, pay your credit cards, pay your bills on time.  Even if you only pay the bare minimums make sure you are paying something.
This is not advice that would probably be given to you by Dave Ramsey but this is my advice - if you can not afford your minimum payments on your credit cards than you are over charging.  You need to pay your debts.  If you are unable to then you need to figure out a way to get the balances to a reasonable level so you can pay them.  I do not recommend bankruptcy unless the debts are massive but there are other things that you can do.  I will go into that in another blog posts but I highly recommend that you get an accountability partner and someone you can discuss finances with and be honest with and go over your debts.

Monday, September 12, 2016

How is Your FICO Score Determined?

I want to get back into discussing FICO scores and why it is important to know what yours is.
The fact is, your FICO score is a debt calculated score.  Remember if you have no credit cards, no loans and no mortgage then you will have no FICO score.  If you ever want to get a credit card, a loan or a mortgage you may have issues when you apply for them and may need a coborrower or cosigner in order to qualify.  I will discuss those further when we finish this series, but you do need to know the distinction in case you ever decide to assist someone else in getting a loan or need someone to assist you.  Ok, back to FICO scores and how they are calculated.
The minimum requirements in acquiring a FICO score are at least 1 account opened for 6 months. That account must be reported to the CB for a 6 month period and the credit bureau must get no indication of you being deceased.  A student loan would qualify you to have a FICO score but just because you have a FICO score doesn't mean it's a valid score.
Banks and credit unions have their own ways of determining a valid FICO score, these may vary a bit from financial institution but for the most part this is the criteria:

  • 2 years of credit history.
  • 1 revolving line of credit (open ended, like a credit card)
  • 4 tradelines (a trade line is any credit line other than a student loan; credit cards, personal loans, mortgages are all considered tradelines)
  • And at least 1 tradeline limit of $5000 or more

Now, while these are the things that you need to have a valid FICO score, there is a calculation you can use to actually come up with your FICO score.  These are obviously subjective but this is how the 3 major credit bureaus determine who has a high or a low score:

35% - payment history
30% - Amount owed
15% - length of credit history
10% - new credit acquired
10% - mix of credit

I'm going to go into detail and break it down a bit further but as you can see - repayment of credit is going to affect you the most and how often you apply and what kind of credit you have available to you is going to affect you the least.  So you really want to do your best to pay your bills in a timely manner.

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Favorite iPhone App

How do you keep track of your schedules?  Do you make a to do list?  Do you write it out?  Do you keep it on your phone?  What kind of tools do you use when you are planning out your life?
For me, the easiest way to keep track of life is to use the Notes app on my phone.  I think I'd be lost without it.  It syncs to my computer so I can pull things up while I'm out and about and it helps me to keep track of my life without over complicating my life.

My To Do List for a week in August
One of my favorite ways to use the Notes app is for my to do list.  I've done my to do lists differently in the past but I'm trying out a new way my friend Trish Russell suggested in her Successful U course.  So far I like it but I may end up going back and doing it the way I used to in the past.  Obviously there are other ways you can do a To Do list but I like being able to see it and change it as needed.  I try to make out my list at the beginning of the week for each day.  It helps me to get focused and in some ways to create my schedule for the week of what must be done, can't wait to be done and so I know where I need to be when.

Periscope Ideas - you can see what
I've already discussed and what I
haven't yet
The second way I use my Notes app is to create content for Periscope and my blog.  One of the things I have found is that I like to have quick outlines of what I want to discuss for the week in front of me when I'm planning out content.  In order to do this the Notes app is great - I can keep it open on my computer while I scope and no one knows the wiser.  I also like to have it with me so I can add things to it while I'm out if something comes to me - like while sitting waiting for my girls at swimming lessons or while at karate or dance.  It has fun little boxes for checking things off so when I've done something I can click it off and I know it's been done and it makes my life much simpler and look a lot more organized that it probably is.

Example of how I do
my meal planning
And the last way I like to use my Notes app for is meal planning.  Now, I also use Pinterest for this as well but the way I meal plan is pretty plain Jane.  I basically comb through Pinterest, food blogs and my cookbooks to come up with 3 recipes that I want to make any given week - preferably something that creates enough for 2 meals and something that won't break the bank (like I won't make 3 chicken dishes all in one week or a dish that calls for flank steak if I'm already making 2 chicken dishes if that makes sense).  Once I have pinned the 3 recipes on Pinterest, I then open my Notes app I will usually make out a list of all the ingredients I will need for each recipe, then I create my grocery list.  My husband and I have been using Peapod through our grocery store to outsource the shopping so we stay more on budget and keep better track of what we are buying.  So once my grocery list is created I then go to the Peapod site and put everything in there - double checking my list to make sure that I don't miss anything.  While it's probably more time consuming to do it this way - it works best for me and I like doing it this way because I keep the recipes there so I have them if my internet is down or my phone dies or for whatever reason I can't find the recipe on Pinterest (these things have happened to me in the past if you couldn't tell).

So tell me, what's your favorite app for scheduling or to do lists or meal planning?  I'd love to hear in the comments.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

How Much is Too Much?

30% of your FICO score is made up by the amount you owe on each credit line.
When you review your credit report you need to look at a few different things.
First off, how close to your credit limits are you?  If you have a lot of credit cards and are only using one and you've spent almost 80% of your available credit limit that will hurt you just as much as if you have 3 credit cards and all of them are near their capacity.
Next how much total credit do you have available to you?  Do you have several thousand dollars?  Only a few hundred?  Nothing?  Add up all of your credit limits then figure out how much you have available to you and that will tell you how much you have available.  This number is used to determine your debt to income ratio and is a very important number when it comes to applying for loans.  I'll get into that later but it's also super important when figuring out your FICO score.
Third, how much revolving credit verses installment loan debt do you have?  Revolving debt is anything open ended such as credit cards, lines of credit, anything that allows you to continue borrowing off the available balance.  Installment debt is anything that's closed ended, like an auto or personal loan, mortgage or a student loan.  In most cases you must pay a certain amount each month for a fixed term at a fixed rate.
And lastly, you must be aware that your account balance on your credit report will most likely be your statement balance.  So even if you pay off your credit card every month it will most likely not show $0.  This can hurt you if you pay everything with a credit card every month.  If your balance is high in relation to your limit it's going to lower your FICO score.
I always recommend to people that they should make sure they keep their limits high and their balances low and pay them off every month.  If you are unable to do this then you may need to rethink your budget and how you spend your money.  Easier said than done sometimes, but it's something to keep in mind if you ever want or need to take out a loan.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fall Expectations

I'm not sure about anyone else but with Fall comes the expectation of schedules, back to school shopping and a million and one other things that I just don't have to deal with as much in the summer.  Life falls back into routine and there seems to be much more of an expectations that things will get done, where as I don't feel that pressure in the summer.  Not that things get thrown to the way side, but I definitely feel like I can put things off more than I do.
I embrace the chaos of back to school and routine because it helps me to get life back on track.  No
My Oldest daughter headed off to her
2nd day of the first grade.
more lazy days of nothing to do.  No more relaxing on the couch watching movies or Saturday morning cartoons.  With back to school is also back to afternoon and weekend activities.  It means meal planning and making sure that there's a meal in the crockpot or something made I can quickly throw on the stove or in the microwave to heat up after a long day out and about.
With the chaos of after school activities it means being more flexible about nap time and less flexible about my cleaning schedule and activities for the youngest.  It means making sure I take the car for an oil change and get gas before I "need" to and it means checking the calendars and making sure I didn't miss anything.  It means putting the girls needs above my own and scheduling appointments for them and making time for them to have "down time" and "screen free" time.
Expectations, back to school, fall, schedules - while for some it is a sad time, for me, it is welcome.  It gives me something to look forward to and reminds me of why I enjoy being a mom.  Not that I don't enjoy being a mom in the summer, but I kind of thrive on the busy-ness of life and less on the chaotic fun of summer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Place To Be

Summer is pretty much over here in New England.  While I love fall with it's gorgeous leaves, cooler temps and of course the pumpkin spice, I am also sad that it's here.  Summers are too short and always seem to end so abruptly.  The typical New England summer starts mid-June and it seems like it ends right on Labor Day.
This year we were invited to our neighbors grandparents home in Rhode Island, about a 2 hour drive away, to hang out and go to the beach.  It was quite fun but I am NOT a beach person.  I would love to be one, but I'm not.  I'm paranoid enough when my girls are running around swimming pools, let alone when they want to boogie board and swim in the ocean.  Lydia and I enjoyed the surf and the sand from our beach blankets while the girls had a blast making sand castles and playing in the waves.
Being at the house near the ocean reminded me of why I want a small shack by the beach.  Even if it's small and only has 2 bedrooms, a living area and kitchen it would still be a fun place to congregate and have friends and family to.  I've often thought that the bigger beach homes are a bit over rated but a small cottage would definitely be a fun place to spend summer nights with friends while the kids sleep all bunked out in one room.  As long as there's a place for the kids to run around and enough room for a few sleeping bags on the floor, and an area for a fire pit who really needs a huge place?
My neighbors say they would rather just go to a hotel but for me, having that place we could go and invite people to join us at would be ideal.  We try to do that with our home now but I think people feel like they're intruding where as with a beach house or lake house it would be a welcome intrusion.  People could do their own thing during the day and then meet back at night for dinner or ice cream.  The expectation of visiting and being "stuck" would not be there as I think it's almost expected with a beach house that you'll be off on your own.  And if you choose not to be, it would be so relaxed that it would be ok... no one is stuck or forced and there would be no hard feelings if someone chose to nap instead of partaking in conversation.
Maybe that's just my idealized version of a beach house and what it should be there for... or really any vacation experience.  Maybe what's in my head is never truly the reality that will be, but this is how I would want it to be.  I'll keep dreaming...

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Struggle is Real

Mom guilt.  The struggle is real.  If you've ever worked full time or even part time while trying to balance life with kids and your husband or if you've ever been a stay at home mom who is no longer contributing monetarily to the household budget or if you've ever bottle fed or didn't baby wear or whatever, the mom shaming and the mom guilt is of control.  Like seriously out of control.
I have dealt with it and I know other moms who struggle with it.  Sometimes it feels like it's all in your head and then someone comes up to you and you say something and they just nod and you know they are judging you.  You just know.  Because they are.  With that little nod of the head they have given themselves away and you are left feeling guilty.
If you aren't a mom, you've probably heard the term "mom shaming" and thought it's just a made up thing.  But I can promise you, it's not.  There are countless articles about it, there are letters written about it, there are Dear Abby posts and blog posts and a million and other things that come up when you search the term in Google.  Mom shaming is a thing and mom guilt is a direct result of it.
The reason I am even mentioning mom guilt is because often I associate my mom guilt with money.  Funny how that works huh?  But I do.  My mom guilt is often tied, very much so, to my bank account or my credit card balance.  It is directly tied to how much money I am spending on myself.  It is directly tied to how much money I make on any given day and how much money I don't make on any given day.  It is tied to how much I spend, how much I make and how much I don't make.
I am sure that I am not the only person to ever experience this.
As a working mom I felt guilty for not spending enough time with my children.  Now I feel guilty for not being able to give them enough experiences or for spending too much money on them or for not spending enough money on them.  I feel guilty for not working out in the world and having them see me out in the workforce balancing home and career.
There are so many things that I worry about and feel guilty about but I want to assure you - mom guilt is not a good reason not to take care of ourselves.  It is not a good reason to go back to work.  It is not a good reason to try to do everything.  Mom guilt is the reason we need to take care of ourselves.  It is the reason we need to take time for ourselves and spend  a little bit of money on ourselves and need to forgive ourselves.  We are not perfect.  We will never be perfect.  Trying to live up to others standards is not going to help us to live a better life.  In fact, if anything it just adds on to the already large pile of guilt that's already accumulated.
So forgive yourself.  Move on and the next time someone says something like, "when are you going to go back to work full time?" simply nod your head because they just don't get it and think "when are you going to get that I love my life just as it is?" and redirect the conversation.

Friday, September 2, 2016

What's Your Favorite?

My new favorite podcast is HerMoney with Jane Chatzky. I never thought that I'd be as in like with a podcast as I am with this one.  And yes, I did say "in like."
Usually when I tune into a podcast I like it because of the host or because I feel like I'm gaining knowledge that I can't get elsewhere.  In this case it's a bit of both.  I truly like the host and I feel like she's sharing information that needs to be shared.
Obviously you have to take any information that is given and see if it checks out since it is endorsed by Fidelity Investments, but for the most part the information is solid.  One of the things that truly hooked me was her interview with Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruz.  I personally am a graduate of Financial Peace University and Rachel Cruz is one of my new favorite people.
Most of the interviews she does are not actually about money yet, it does come into the conversation and it's an interesting listen when cleaning the house or running errands.
What's your favorite podcast?  I have a few other favorites but this one is currently in the top 3.  Let me know in the comments what you're listening to.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It Was Miserable

As a full time working mom there were so many things that I was unable to do although I was monetarily contributing to the household income.  I remember the week before I quit my job looking at my bank account and thinking how much I loved having the cushion and the flexibility to buy what I wanted when I wanted and not have to talk it over.  I bought Kyle a TV for Christmas one year and an Xbox 360 another.  I enjoyed spoiling Emma and purchasing things for my family when the need arose.  
But I also remember how stressed out I was.  How much I hated my job.  How much I hated being away from my daughter and trying to keep up with the housekeeping and put nutritious food on the table.  I remember feeling trapped.  Yes, it was nice to have money but at what cost?  My sanity?  Probably not worth it.  
So I quit.  I gave my notice and less than 2 weeks later I was finished.  
My bank account currently has the least amount it has ever had in it.  I no longer can just buy what I want or spoil the girls or buy Kyle the latest and greatest.  We now have to talk about finances and talk about expenses and talk about budgets.  It's all... rather depressing.  
But, there is an upside.  While not contributing to the budget monetarily there are things we are saving money on - such as full time day care, housekeeping, eating out (I cook now!) and take out.  We save on gas since I'm no longer commuting.  
Being a stay at home mom has it's own issues but I think every mom, whether working or not, has to deal with their own.  I felt guilty and frustrated not being able to be home.  I felt guilt and frustrated not being able to give 100% of myself to my job in the way I once had.  I felt like I was constantly calling into work.  Kyle traveled a lot the first year we had Emma and I remember she always seemed to get sick the day or two after he was gone.  It was miserable.  
Remember that there are two sides to every coin.  Having money verses not having money can be a difficult pill to swallow. Sometimes it is easier to let go of something if you have no other option - which is how I felt at the time.   No matter what stage of life you are in or where you decide to devote yourself or how you contribute to the family, it is important to remember that you are still contributing.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back to School

My oldest daughter, Emma, starts school today!
Can you tell I'm excited?  Probably more excited than her.  It's been a VERY long summer, .
I do love my girls, I absolutely do, but I also really relish fall and the back to school routine.
I bring out the fall recipes, start burning yummy smelling candles because fall is one of my favorite times of year in New England.  It starts at the end of August and stretches out until Mid-November.  It has beautiful crisp 70 degree days, with a little bit of wind and a little bit of chill.  It's perfect for throwing on a light sweater or vest while getting the kids out of the house.This is the perfect time to start thinking about the dreaded Christmas shopping.
When I only had 1 child I would start Christmas shopping right around now.  I would pick up 1 toy, piece of clothing, or stocking stuffer on my weekly trip to Target.  By the time November hit I was finished.  Sadly that doesn't work so well anymore.  I need to figure out a new system but since having Ella I haven't.  In fact, I've been more of a last minute do it all online shopper instead.
This year I plan to have things a bit more in order.  I plan on each child getting 2 pairs of pjs and 1 Christmas dress/outfit for pictures and Christmas Eve.  I also plan on getting each child 5 books and 4 toys.  I think that's more than enough.
I have already started cleaning out the girls closet and getting things in order.  I need to make a few trips to good will over the next few days to get rid of the clothes that no longer fit or aren't wearing well.  I also will be listing some items on local yard sale sites on Facebook.  I want to spend no more than $150 per kid this year.
Have you started the dreaded Christmas shopping yet?  Made a list?  Even thought about it?  Any tips and tricks?  Let me know in the comments.  I'd love to hear how others plan it out each year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why is Talking About Money Uncomfortable?

One of the things that I have found over the past few years is that people get very uncomfortable when you start talking about money.  Not just money, but anything that has to do with money.  People just don't like to talk about their finances and I get it.  It's uncomfortable.  It can be awkward.  And honestly, if you have money you come across as a snot and if you don't then you come across as needy.  So I get it.  Money is a topic that most people keep to themselves, much like sex.
How do we get past this though?  Because we have to.  Money needs to be discussed and for a number of reasons but here are the big 2 - or at least in my mind, these are the 2 biggest reasons money is so important
1. Money is a necessary part of life
Sad but true.  Money is a necessary part of life.  Some people will say it's a necessary evil, but I don't see it that way.  Money is how we pay our bills, rent, utilities.  It is the currency that runs the world.  If we didn't have money, there would be some other similar system in place.  While bartering for goods may have worked in the past, it's not going to get you very far in this day and age.    
2. Money allows you freedom and power
Some people may not actually agree with this statement but this is what I have found.  Money allows you to be independent.  It can provide you with a sense of security.  If you have money it can make you feel as though you are in control.  Many times when people don't have money they feel trapped, stuck in their circumstances and unable to remove themselves from situations.  Money, if well received, can allow you the freedom to go where you want to go, when you want to go.  And money can cause you to be more or less independent, which is where power comes in.  If you have little money to play with and are unable to get out of your circumstances you will feel powerless, where as if you have money you may feel more powerful as you can come and go as you need or want throughout life.
The fact is money will not buy happiness or the things that are truly valuable, although it will definitely help contribute.  Much like material possessions money can be fleeting.  Here one minute, gone the next.  If we are not talking about money and how to make the most of it while it's in our possession we are going to have nothing left to leave to our children.  And while that's not a huge deal, we do want to leave them some sort of legacy.  How to handle their day to day finances so that they can live their lives freely and without fear is a great way to provide that legacy.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Did You Do It?!

I know I said I would go into how to read a credit report, however I wanted to check in and see if anyone did the 7 Day Challenge I issued a few days ago.  Did you do it?  How did it go?  Did you find any area's where your spending needs to be curbed or where you can save a little bit in the future?  Were you able to come up with a better idea of where your money is going?  Are you buying too much coffee?  Are you using credit for everything?  Do you take money out of the ATM and then forget what you purchased with it?
I want to hear how things went.
Let me know in the comments what your takeaways were/are.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Power of the Almighty FICO Score

A FICO score is an (un)necessary evil according to many.  It determines so many things.  What interest rate you will get on a loan or a credit card.  If your credit limit is raised or lowered.  If you have to pay points on a mortgage.  If you qualify for a refinance.  If you should or should not get a loan you may or may not need.
And it also can determine things like whether you get an apartment or qualify for a lease.  It can also determine whether you get a job.  Sound crazy?  Unfortunately it's true.  Employers, land lords and others all have access to your credit history.  And while they may not see your actual score, there are a lot of other things on that report that they will see and it can be to your benefit or to your detriment.
A FICO score is definitely an (un)necessary evil.  While it may not seem fair, it is beneficial to know that your FICO score is determined 100% by you.  So if you know how to read a credit report and understand how a FICO score is determined then you are way better off then someone who doesn't.  On Monday I am going to go more into detail about how to read a credit report and the 5 factors that make up a FICO score.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What Doesn't Affect Your FICO Score

Maybe you're wondering what FICO even stands for.  Well, it stands for Fair Isaac Corporation which is really just a nice way saying an abbreviation for the guys who came up with it.  Bill Fair and Earl Isaac, who were the founders and the fist ones to offer a credit-risk model with a score.  

So what doesn't affect your FICO score?  
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Age
  • Where you live
  • Salary
  • Occupation
  • Employer
  • Employment history
  • child/family support obligations

A number of these things may show up on your credit report, and in fact I would say the majority of them show up there, they have no actual score implications.  And while that is something to be mindful of when you are reviewing your credit report, you actually want to make sure that any of this information that shows up on your credit report is valid and belongs to you.  I have had a number of people who have had some of this information incorrectly listed on their reports and it has played a roll in them having information inaccurately reported on their credit report which has then affected their credit score.  

Now, if you do find information reported incorrectly on your credit reports, such as wrong address, past employers or something of that nature, you do want to try to dispute this information and have it corrected.  This can be a very tedious process.  I suggest contacting your local credit union to get the number for a non-profit company that can actually assist in the process, as opposed to contacting and trying to deal with a credit reporting agency directly.  You can 100% go through the agencies yourself, however it can be difficult to get that information corrected in a timely manner on your own and I have found even with a go-between it can still be a long and drawn out process.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Doing My Best

My husband gave me some feedback on my blog today.  He said I am writing this blog the way I talk, as opposed to writing in good ol' proper english.  I told him I wanted it to come across as relational.  He said that's not even a word.
So I apologize if it seems like I'm being too stilted or not stilted enough.  I am still learning this blog thing and not 100% sure how to find my voice or get my points across in a way that is both me and yet screams I was a Journalism major.  I am in many ways a work in progress, as is my blog.
I don't really know how to make FICO scores and credit reports and applying for loans and everything else that goes along with money and credit all that interesting and so I guess I am just trying to figure that out.
In the past when I have tried writing blog posts I have always found them super boring and tedious.  Usually I end up giving up after a few days because I feel like I have no real content to share.  I mean, who really wants to hear about my kids for the umpteenth time?
Even when I thought about writing a blog about starting my own business as a Jamberry consultant I still found the material to be boring and superficial.  At least when it comes to credit and money I know a thing or two about it.  I actually feel like I am sharing something of value.
So please, bear with me as I figure this out.  My style isn't polished.  I haven't figured out how to write a blog post without sounding like a college kid in a composition class mixed in writing in their journal.  It will take me a while to find my voice.
I hope you will join me over at and the other ladies who have already joined me there.  I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise and hopefully being of value to you and others.
Finances are not easily discussed and I'm hoping to make it an easier conversation to be had.  

The 3 Credit Reporting Agencies

There are 3 different credit reporting agencies:
  • Experian 
  • Equifax 
  • TransUnion

Depending on where you live, depends on where your bank or credit union will (in most likelihood) pull your report from.  Your score may be different for each credit report pulled from these 3 agencies.  If you live on the East coast they will pull your credit report from Experian, if you live in central US or the south then Equifax tends to be king and if you live on the West Coast Trans Union seems to be the reigning favorite.  

The discrepancy in credit scores may not be super significant but really it depends on who your debt collectors are reporting to (by debt collectors I mean, your credit card companies, loan processors and whoever else you may have borrowed from).  Not all credit card companies report to all 3 agencies.  In fact, it is very common for them to only report to 1 or 2 agencies and not a 3rd.  If there is a large discrepancy on your credit report in regards to score this is normally the issue.      

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report, from each agency, per year.   It is important that you either pull all 3 at once or pull 1 every few months to make sure there are no mistakes on it.  You want to make sure all the information on the reports is accurate. To obtain your free credit reports, visit:  

Some credit unions may provide a service called a score enhancement or something similar to that where they break down your credit report so you can see why your score is what it is.  If your credit union offers this service FREE of charge I suggest taking them up on it.  You should always know or be aware of what is happening with your credit report.  I have seen many instances where people didn't know and were unable to qualify for loans or mortgages that they needed due to mistakes or their own lack of knowledge of how a FICO score is calculated.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Almighty FICO Score

The almighty FICO score is truly the key to your financial health.  There are some who believe that you don't need a FICO score at all and others who think you should piggy bank off the financial health of others when it comes to a FICO score but in reality it is (for most people, obviously not everyone) a very important part of your life.
A FICO score is really just a number that is given to show how creditworthy you are.  It is determined by a few different factors, such as how long you've had credit, what kind of credit you have AND probably the most important how you pay back your creditors.  If you are someone who has a few credit lines, low balances and have never been late with a payment then your FICO score will be much higher than someone who has many credit lines, high balances and is always late.  Obviously this is a generalization and there can be other factors that come into play, but this is the easiest way to explain it.
A FICO score ranges from 350 to 850.  It is a magical number that will determine what interest rate you pay on an auto loan, if you can qualify for a mortgage and also may determine if you can get that apartment you've been thinking about moving into.  It is an extremely important number to know if you are interested in any sort of loan or credit card.  In many ways, it can make or break you.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Let it Go

Last week was all about budgeting.  Obviously there's a lot more to it so we will delve a little deeper at some point.  However I want to share a few things happening in our lives right now.
Emma at 6 months old
First off, Emma turns 6 on Wednesday!  Where did time go?  Seriously, it has flown by.  I am amazed by what a smart and animated little girl she is.  She is very well mannered when we're in public (at home is a completely different story, but we won't go there) and while she is a bit on the dramatic or theatrical side of things temper wise, she is growing up to be a very extraordinary little girl.  She loves to read and write.  She enjoys karate and dance - whenever I tell her she will eventually have to decide what she loves more she tells me she can't.  And I am grateful that she seems to love school and make friends fairly easily.  This did not come easily for me as a kid so I'm glad it seems easy for her.
Secondly, Kyle and I finish refinancing our mortgage this week.  Yay!  It was a pain to get all the paperwork together and to set up dates for appraisals and such but it's done and now all we have to do is sign the paperwork.  We are happy it's just about done.
Thirdly, Kyle and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary this past week and while it was a quiet one for us, we have much to celebrate.  We have 3 beautiful children, a nice home and while not everything in life is ideal, life is good.  We are truly blessed and I'm grateful for the 9 years we've had and look forward to the year ahead.
Lastly, I am closing a chapter in my life that I started 1 year ago.  I am no longer going to be a full time consultant for Jamberry.  Instead I am going to focus my attention 100% to Norwex and this new endeavor and let Jamberry.  It's something I have been thinking about for quite some time, but have yet to pull the plug.  I decided to give it one more month so I could say it had been 1 full year but when it's time to let go of something, you just have to do it.  I am excited to see what the next year holds for me and hope that I continue to grow and learn more about myself through the process.
I hope you all had a blessed weekend.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Budgeting 101: Day 5

Today I am going to challenge you to do something you may not have ever done before.  I am challenging YOU to write down everything you spend for 1 full week.  
So how do you go about this?  Keep a log on your phone.  Most have a notes app.  Keep track and write down the amount, where you spent it and how you spent it (cash, credit, debit).  This may sound super easy.  But it may not be.  Especially if you have automatic payments set up out of your accounts - make sure you include those.
While it may sound like a silly challenge, I have a reason.  
It's kind of amazing how small amounts can add up and how quickly you can spend money without even thinking about it.  Here's a sample log:


By keeping track of 1 weeks worth of expenses you will have a better understanding of where you are spending your funds.  You will see where you can cut back and what habits you may need to think about breaking if you are having a hard time saving money and that's a financial goal you've set.  Tracking expenses will help you to know where your money is going.  
If you have any questions head on over to and I have some resources there that will be able to help you get started.  If your phone doesn't have the notes app just track using paper and pen, but make sure you are definitely keeping track somehow (when I tracked my expenses for this exercise I kept all my receipts and then just double checked the amounts I had written down.  
I hope this helps you and I look forward to hearing how you are doing.  See you Monday where we will talk about methods you can use to help break poor habits.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Budgeting 101: Day 4

Day 4:

Budgeting is nothing if you simply make a budget but aren’t willing to stick to it.  You have to follow through.  Many of direct sales girls know all about implementing and that you can buy all the trainings in the world but if you don’t follow through and implement what you’ve learned in those trainings then there is little to NO point. 
So what are the steps?  
First thing is you MUST make the commitment to follow through.  Because budgeting can be difficult.  Figuring out your goals, priorities and what you want to accomplish financially is KEY to making a budget.  
Next you must figure out what your expenses are and what your income is.  Last night we talked about writing down EVERYTHING you spend your money on.  By everything I mean EVERYTHING.  Write down if you put it on plastic, use a check or cash… You have to do it.  You have to look back at this written record and figure out what you are spending your money on.  This written record will allow you to see where you can cut back, where you need to cut back and gives you a great place to begin.  
Once you have done these things you need to get on the same page as your spouse if you have one.  If you don’t have one you need to get an accountability partner.  Someone who will help you to see your overspending (if you are doing that), someone who can help you set goals and someone who will cheer you on and encourage you!  Find someone that you know won’t judge you and someone who will be “in your corner” and help you to be your best self.  
Next, come up with a written plan.  A budget.  Use a spreadsheet.  Use paper and pen.  Use a written outline.  Use an online calculator.  Use a worksheet, online or printed out.  Find something that works for you.  Write it out.  
Make sure you have your four necessary expenses written down: Shelter, Utilities, Transportation and clothes.  Once those are covered then write down all other expenses for the month.  One of the things that really helped me when I was single was to write down my balances of all my debts and expenses.  When I was working to pay off my debt I would work out in my budget how much I wanted to pay toward each debt each month or each pay period.  As I got older and once I was married my husband and I had things we would pay with our first pay check and things we would pay with our next.  Obviously we have a lot more expenses these days than we did in the past, with 3 kids and a mortgage.  
So once you have a written plan and you’ve figured out what you want and you’re on the same page as your spouse or have that accountability partner to keep you on track - you have one more step.  
That step is to stick to your budget.  To do it.  To work on the plan so that you’re able to meet your goals.  You have to do it!  You have to be willing to put in the work.  If you don’t do it you’ll always be stuck.  Living paycheck to paycheck.  You have to work the plan.  You have to do it!  You can do it!  And that’s the truth - you can!  

I will post a few links over at so you can find resources to help you in this process.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or put them in the comments.  I am always available to help or to help you find the resources you need.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Budgeting 101: Day 3

Day 3: 
Today we are going to take a look at necessary verses arbitrary expenses.  What the heck does that even mean?  Well, we will answer that below but it's really important that we figure these things out before we start our budget.  It will help us to figure out what is truly important and what isn't.  What a need is verses that want you can absolutely live without if you need to.  So let's answer these questions: 

What is a necessity?  
What must be paid?
What is an arbitrary expense?
Why is this important?
How do these expenses get you closer to your goals?

Necessary expenses: 

Shelter - mortgage/rent
Transportation - car/gas/upkeep
Clothes (be reasonable)
Utilities - heat, water, electric

What is arbitrary?

Credit card debt
Like to have’s

The fact is if you are trying to get out of debt, are trying to save for the future or for a specific goal/project then you need to look at your expenses each month.  I suggest you write down everything you spend your money on during a given day.  From the $5 for your coffee to the $25 you spend to fill your gas tank to the $2 you gave to your kids for their school lunch.  Keep track of everything.  Do this every day for a full week.  This will help you to figure out where you are spending your money.  Even if you are using a credit card or a debit card or just grabbing cash - write it down and keep track of it along with what currency you chose to use.  At the end of the week go through - how much did you spend on the necessities?  How much did you spend on things that aren’t, like eating out or coffee or a pack of gum?  How many of these expenses were things that you had planned on spending your money on and how many of them were things you actually needed and had planned on purchasing?  

Now figure out what’s important to you.  Is it important that you allot money towards coffee or that you make sure you have a line item in your budget for eating out?  Is there an area you want to cut back on, such as eating fast food, where the money can be better spent toward your goal of paying off debt or put toward groceries instead?

Keeping track of these expenditures will help you to make a more cohesive budget and will give you a great starting place.  

Dave Ramsey says that you should use an envelope system for items that tend to bust your budget.  Food, restaurants, entertainment, gas and clothing are 5 key areas he thinks the envelope system works great for.  
I have used an envelope system in the past - in college - and I was glad to have tried it.  My husband and I have been talking about using a system like that for a while but have yet to do it. I admit that I am very good at pulling out the debit or credit card when I need something and not getting out cash from the ATM.  Often times I do not have cash on me and I am trying to get better about that.  Tonight at the Farmers Market was a perfect example of when the envelope system probably would have come in handy.  My daughters and I went and there were tons of wonderful vendors.  While checking out the margarita mixes made by a local vendor my daughters saw the delicious looking chocolate chip cookies for $1.  So I pulled out the $5 bill I was saving for tomorrow and bought them a cookie to split.  A few minutes later we were checking out some yummy protein balls made by another local vendor and they took credit so I pulled out my card because I don’t carry cash and 5 minutes later we were checking out a local winery and I bought 2 bottles of wine, also with my credit card… ouch.  I am now a dollar short for tomorrow, and I have spent money that I didn’t intend on spending and if I had been using the envelope system i would have had the cash I needed and wouldn’t have had to grab the credit card.  

 Dave Ramsey put together  this worksheet for people who are looking to learn how to budget or how the envelop system works.  I highly recommend checking it out, as there is a lot of great information there.  

Ok, so this is a lot of information I'm throwing at you.  We will go back and talk about these things in further detail later on but I really want to get the basic steps you have to take before you can truly come up with a workable budget.  I hope that you'll stick with me and head over to and join the discussion there.  I'd be interesting in hearing your feedback on the information I'm providing so far.  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Budgeting 101, Day 2

So yesterday we talked about why it's important to budget and answered some basic questions.  Now, today we will focus on Goals and priorities.  Once again there are a number of questions that need to be answered, with the very obvious questions what the heck is a goal and what is a priority?  How are they different?  Why do they matter when it comes to creating a budget?

Day 2:  Goals Vs. Priorities
We are going to answer these questions and hopefully give you a great foundation so that you can figure out what is truly important to you in regards to your financial future.  
What is a goal?
What is a priority?
Why does this matter?
Why do you need to know the difference?
Why is this important when it comes time to create a budget?

A goal is an observable and measurable end result with one or more objectives that are achieves within a certain timeframe.  

A priority is a goal that takes precedence over all others.

When it comes to a budget it is important to realize that you are going to have financial goals but you are going to have to prioritize those goals and figure out what is truly important to you.  Which means you will have to make sacrifices and if your goal is to start saving for a home improvement project then you need to prioritize savings and figure out a budget that allows you to do that.  

How does one figure out their goals and what to make a priority?  

There are several ways to create goals - you can use the S.M.A.R.T. method.- what the heck is that?  Why should I use this method when creating financial goals?
If you’re in direct sales then you have probably already heard about SMART goals.  
OR you can use the method Charlene Johnson recommends in her FREE 30-day PUSH Challenge.  Either way is fine.  

Specific  - What exactly what is to be done with the money involved?
Measurable - Exact dollar amount?
Attainable  -  Determine how it can be reached, which is often determined by your budget
Relevant - Is it attainable?  Is it realistic?  Are you able to achieve it?
Time bound - what is your deadline?  Be very specific and determine when the goal needs to be reached.

You can find worksheets online along with more information on creating SMART goals - seriously, Google it and tons of information will pop up.  Here is an example of a financial SMART goal:
Build a 3 months emergency savings fund ($10K) over the next year.
Is this attainable?  Is this realistic?  

Chalene Johnson’s PUSH method - 
This is how you create your goals each week:
**Create a list of 10 goals EVERY week.
Same date/time every week
1. Something nearly impossible but possible
-Do not set a goal that you KNOW you will achieve
-Not something that’s a stretch
-Something that makes you slightly uncomfortable
-Outlandish BUT not unreasonable
2. Come up with a KEY PRIORITY and then reread that statement and make sure your   
 goals align with that statement
3. Written as if you already accomplished them
- I am exercising 
- I am earning
4. Measure
-Write them out in such a way they are NOT ambiguous
-My goal is to exercise 5 days a week.  
-I have earned ________ dollars
-I am enjoying a date night with my husband once a week every month
-You need to set an end date for it so you can say I nailed it.
*The more specific you are the more likely you are to accomplish them.
****Don’t forget at least 1 goal is meant to be FINANCIAL!

I HIGHLY recommend that you take Chalene’s course.  It is FREE and you can find it over at her website  I will post a link on the creditsavvydiva group wall.  If you haven’t taken it yet this could really help you to figure out your priorities and where you want to focus your attention, both in life AND FINANCIALLY!

No matter what your financial situation and no matter what your goals are, you must keep them in mind when creating your budget.  Otherwise your money isn’t going to be working for you and you’re still going to be wondering where it went at the end of the month.  Yes the bills are paid but that cash left over… where did it go?  Did it go into savings or did you throw it into a discretionary fund?  Did you just spend it because it was there?  well… probably.  So set some goals  Figure out what your priorities are.  Then write them down, make them attainable and then put them into action so you can achieve them!  Seriously, it isn’t difficult.  

Tomorrow we will discuss necessary verses arbitrary expenses and why when creating a budget it is important to figure out what you must pay and what you are willing to give up in order to achieve your goals.  DO you want to give up anything?  What are you willing to do in order to make sure you are living within your means and not go over budget each week/month?  Is there something you absolutely won’t give up?  We’ll talk about it tomorrow.