Posted in Budgeting for Everyone, Building Wealth, Debt Free, Financial Freedom, You and Your Money

Why I Didn’t Buy a Microwave

45 days ago my microwave blew up – sparks flying everywhere, blew up.  Well, of course, a microwave is a need, right?  So I started shopping for the best bargain I could find.

3 days later, the least expensive one I could find was $70.  I remembered paying that just 2 years ago for the microwave that blew up.  That seemed a little pricey for something that would only last 2 years, so I decided to wait.  And since it was Christmas time, I challenged myself to see how long I could go without a microwave.

I thought my family wouldn’t last a week, but here we are 45 days later and still no microwave.  So, why haven’t I bought a microwave?  I have the money, not an issue.  It’s a need, right, so why haven’t I bought one?

During the 2 week challenge – waiting until the new year – I channeled my beloved grandmother and realized that she never had a microwave.  She cooked wonderful meals and great desserts, all without a microwave.  And I realized over the 2 week period, that I too could do everything I needed to do without a microwave.

I haven’t bought a microwave yet because I am perfectly content without one.  Do some things take me a little longer – sure.  But this gives me time with my family as we prepare meals together.  Without a microwave, I can’t make all of those wonderful frozen dinners that are so convenient.  This means I am cooking more natural meals and eating healthier.  So far, there has been no reason for me to purchase a new microwave.

I’m not writing this to tell you to get rid of your microwave – I am writing this to encourage you to challenge yourself more before you buy something.  Make sure it is going to bring value to your life.  I took my $70 and put it toward our 10 day cruise in April – that brings me more value than a microwave.

We can have anything, not everything.  We must evaluate closely what we need and what we think we need.  Most people would classify a microwave as a need – I would have too 45 days ago.  But having lived without it now for a while, I realize it is not as “needed” as I thought it was.  Take the time to evaluate your purchases, give yourself a short time to discern your true need, and then decide whether to buy or not.  I think you will be surprised at how many purchases you will choose not to make and how much money you will have to invest in your future and spend on things of value to you.

Order Debbi’s latest book “50 Shades of Money” today!

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Posted in Budgeting for Everyone, Building Wealth, Debt Free, Financial Freedom, Raising Your Income, Saving for Your Future, Winning with Your Money, You and Your Money

New Year, Better You

Why do we continue to be enslaved in our finances?

Why do we continue to spend more than we make?

Why won’t we do what we know to do?

Deep down most of us know what we need to do to better our finances.  Maybe we need to spend less.  Maybe we need to make more.  Maybe we simply need to say no every once in a while.  So why don’t we?  Personal finance is 10% math and 90% emotions.  We get the math – it’s 1st grade math for heaven’s sake.  But the emotions of money take us to places we never thought we would go.

When you were in the 9th grade and the teacher asked you to write about where you saw yourself in 10 years, you would never even think to write “I want to be doing a job I hate, but I need because of my $50,000 worth of debt.”  But that’s exactly where you are.  How did you get here?  For me, it was years and years of misspending and trying to live a life that my income couldn’t support.  Within 8 years, I had amassed $200,000 in debt and had gone from making $30,000 a year (it was 1998) to making $10,000 a year.  This was definitely not the story I had written in the 9th grade.

I believe that if it was just a matter of education, most of us would not be in debt, especially nowadays with the internet and all of the information out there about money.  We know exactly what we should be doing.  Odds are you have been handed the key to wealth and financial freedom numerous times, yet you still choose to stay shackled.  Why is that?

Wealth takes actions – not just ideas. In order to get out of debt, stay out of debt and build wealth, you must take action each and every day – action that will take you in a positive direction.  Here are a few things you can do in 2018 to make it the best year ever:

  • Budgeting – People hate budgets; however, they are your biggest wealth building tool.  A budget is simply a monthly layout of where you need (and want) your money to go.  It will help you spend less than you make which allows you to save, invest and build wealth.
  • Spending Journal – Keeping track of every dollar you spend helps you to prepare an accurate budget and to see where all of your money is going.  How many times have you looked up at the end of month and wondered where the money went.  With a journal you never have to wonder.
  • Spending Freeze – I am doing a one year spending freeze for 2018.  There are many reasons – we are taking a huge trip this year, I want to learn contentment first hand, and I want to take a deep look at needs vs. wants.  You don’t have to do a year like me.  I have done multiple one month freezes and that is where I would start if I were you.  You can’t imagine how freeing it can be – once you get past the shock
  • Cleansing – Take an opportunity this year to look at everything you have and be real with yourself about what brings you value and what is just there.  Begin to release the “just there” and let someone else get value from it.  Have a yard sale, donate items, sell them on Ebay – move them out of your life and into someone else’s, someone who can enjoy them.  It is a very refreshing process.
  • Save a little – Make sure you save something – even 2%.  If you keep telling yourself that you have nothing to save at the end of month, you won’t.  However, if you budget 2% and pay yourself at the beginning of the month, you remove the risk of spending it instead of saving it.  Reality is you have more than you think.  You have the money for lattes, for eating out, for movies, for cable, for unlimited GBs on your cell plan – you have money.  You are just choosing luxuries over your future.  You can have both – you just need to make sure you have your priorities straight.  Pay yourself and then enjoy life.
  • Value – Look at every purchase, every bill, every decision through the eyes of what brings value to your life.  I heard this from a colleague of mine when I read his book last year and it was very eye-opening for me.  You can have anything, but you can’t have everything.  Learn what brings value and spend your money on that.  Don’t waste money – focus on making money.

2018 is going to be your year – a year of hope, a year of renewal, a year of financial freedom.  You are not going to make a new you this year – you are awesome!  But you are going to make a better you this year – better decisions and better results.  Let’s do this – together!

Look for Debbi’s newest book “50 Shades of Money” releasing on January 20, 2018. You can preorder it in paperback or for Kindle.  Don’t miss this amazing book answering the top 50 personal finance questions asked to Debbi over her 15 year career.  

Posted in Budgeting for Everyone, Building Wealth, Debt Free, Financial Freedom, Saving for Your Future, Winning with Your Money, You and Your Money

It’s New Sponge Day!

Ok, it’s not as exciting as it sounds.  But it makes me happy because it is a monthly reminder of how I saved money and how I learned patience.  Let me explain.

About a year ago, I needed a new kitchen sponge – a simple 2-sided sponge (one spongy, one scrubby).  I had been buying the generic brand at Wal-Mart for 97 cents and making it last as long as I could.  I did try to buy 2 at a time because the less I go to Wal-Mart the better.   About this time, we signed my daughter up for 6 free months of Amazon Prime (a deal for college students).  One day I was doing some comparison shopping and found a 21 pack of the Scotch brand of sponges for just 63 cents per sponge.  That was a savings of 34 cents a month, I got the brand name and I didn’t have to go to the store every month to get a new one.  And with this, I could have a new, clean sponge every month which was great for my OCD.

See, I told you it wasn’t very exciting.  But when you have a savings mindset, every penny counts.  Today, when I opened that new sponge, it was just a reminder of the money that I had saved.

A savings mindset will not make you wealthy in and of itself, but it will definately contribute to it.   Many people focus all of their energy on savings.  Others, focus all of their energy on bringing in more money.  But it is having a great balance of both that will bring you wealth.  Building wealth is a lifestyle not just a diet.  And like a diet, all the plans out there for building wealth will work for a short time, but in order to sustain, you must make lifestyle changes.

After I had my aha moment 19 years ago, I didn’t just become debt free over night and start building wealth.  As a matter of fact, I would pay off a few credit cards and find myself using them again.  The reason was I didn’t have the right mindset.  I was taking the actions but my mind, and as a result my habits, weren’t changing.  When I realized this little gem, my finances starting changing dramatically and have been ever since.

Whether it is sponges, toilet paper, paper towels, or anything else you find a way to save a few pennies on, celebrate the savings because by saving money you are building a savings mindset and that along with increasing income will bring you to where you want to be – building wealth and reaching financial freedom

For more about how Debbi got out of $200,000 worth of debt as a single mom making $10,000 a year and to learn everything she learned in her journey, check out her best selling, award winning book “The ABC’s of Personal Finance” wherever books are sold and in ebook form on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, & Google Play.