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

5 Immediate Actions to Reach Financial Freedom

I am currently sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting to catch a plane home after spending 4 weeks in SC taking care of my parents.  As I am sitting here, I am reflecting on how financial freedom played a role in that.  You see, most people wouldn’t have been able to leave their home or their job for 4 weeks to do something, even if it was necessary like my situation was.  However, many years ago, I had a big aha moment and realized that debt wasn’t taking me where I wanted to go.  So I developed a plan to change all of that.  And now, I enjoy financial freedom – the ability to not worry about being away from home for 4 weeks.  Most people would not be able to leave their jobs – most can’t go 4 days without pay, much less 4 weeks.  Financial freedom has given me the ability to own my own business and have no worries about whether or not I could afford to be away.  When I got the call and needed to be there to take care of my parents, it was a no brainer – something that financial freedom brought me.

I want that for all of you.  I want y’all to be able to not have to worry when life happens.  Today, I am going to share 5 things that you can do immediately to begin the journey to financial freedom – there is no need to wait.  Let’s talk about them.

  1. No More Excuses – You need to stop all of your excuses as to why you can’t get out of debt, save money and also stop your “reasons” as to why you “need” something now and it just can’t wait.  We all have an excuse bag.  I had a huge one.  It’s a bag that we carry around every excuse in the book in and are at the ready to pull them out when needed.  Stop being a victim.  Stop making excuses and start making a plan to pay off your debt, build your savings and reach financial freedom.  I did it with $200,000 in debt – you can do it!
  2. Save Something – We all have an excuse as to why we can’t save money.  But without saving money, you will never have any extra.  Do you think I reached financial freedom without saving for a rainy day.  You need an umbrella – it is going to rain and like most storms, there won’t be any warning.  Start somewhere today – automate $10 to come out of every paycheck – today!  No matter how much debt you have, do this one thing.  And when you build that muscle up, raise it up and soon you will have a rainy day fund that can cover any emergency and like me, you will be able to jump on a plane, no questions asked, and help someone.
  3. Live Within Your Harvest – This simply means live within your means.  We reap what we sow and what we sow is our harvest.  What you earn is your harvest.  If you keep borrowing against a future harvest, you are going to owe more than you can possibly pay back.  Stop using debt today.  If you stop today, and just pay your payments, you will eventually be out of debt even without a plan.  A plan will simply get you to financial freedom quicker.  Stop using debt to get what you want.  Debt will never bring wealth.
  4. Develop a plan – No one builds a house without a plan and you will not build wealth without a plan.  Whether it is a plan to get out of debt, a plan for retirement, a savings plan or a spending plan, you need plans in your financial life.  Don’t go through life willy nilly – living on what’s in your head.  Develop a plan and you will have success in all areas of life.
  5. Believe in yourself – If you don’t believe you can, you won’t.  It’s that simple.  Believe you can reach financial freedom.  I believe you can because I did and if I can, anyone can.  Believe you can and you will.

These are 5 things you can start today that will bring you wealth and financial freedom.  They are the top things I did when I decided to pay off $200,000 in debt.  It wasn’t instant and it definitely wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.  Financial freedom will bring you a peace beyond understanding and especially in those moments like I have had recently.  Financial freedom is worth every sacrifice.  It is freedom!

Listen to Debbi’s podcast episode on this topic right here!

Posted in Budgeting for Everyone, Saving for Your Future, Winning with Your Money, You and Your Money

How to be a Yard Sale Pro

This past Saturday, I did what I do almost every Saturday from April to October – I went yard saling.  For me it is a hobby – I really don’t “need” anything, but it is fun and you never know what kind of good deals or rare items you may find.  In addition, once a year, I have a yard sale.  I am always evaluating what I have and if it doesn’t bring me value anymore, it goes in the yard sale box in hopes it will bring someone else joy.  The one thing I noticed as I go from neighborhood to neighborhood is that some people take this yard sale concept to an extreme.  Some people selling think they are a retail shop and some people buying think everything should be a quarter.  Today I wanted to share a few tips from both sides so that every transaction is a win/win.

Buy Like a Pro

  • You want to be reasonable in your buying approach.  You are at a yard sale so you don’t want to overpay; however, you don’t want to insult someone either.  If the host of the yard sale is reading this, they will have priced items fairly and to move.  Some people want close to retail and some, like me, just want to get rid of it.  Don’t hesitate to make an offer, but be willing to walk away depending on the seller’s attitude.
  • Know the value of something as much as you can.  For example, this weekend a lady was selling Vera Bradley purses for $20 each – new.  She refused to negotiate on the price.  Yes, they were new; however, I could go to the outlets and get the same purse for $20 and it would be showroom new.  I politely declined.  If I were selling the same purse at my yard sale, I would have sold it for $12 and been willing to take $10.  Again, don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s not something you really want.
  • Take lots of small bills and change.  When you have ones, fives and quarters, you have more negotiating power.  It is awkward to offer someone $1 instead of the $2 they are asking and then whoop out a $20.
  • Have a list of items you are looking for.  This will help you to focus and not get too caught up in the goodies.  I usually come home every week with one thing not on my list, but I always have the perfect use for it.  If you get caught up in the sales, and who wouldn’t, your house will eventually be overrun with too many things you don’t use.  And if you do buy something for the price and hope that you can find a use for it, if you don’t, make sure you donate it.  This way it doesn’t take up residence too long and collect dust.

Sell Like a Pro

  • You want people to buy your wares so make sure you price them accordingly.  Would you rather have $3 for something or $0 for the same something?  Remember, you are not a retail store.  Your items are used even if they have tags on them.  Price them accordingly and you will make more money.  Selling 30 items for $1 is more than selling 4 items for $5.
  • Price everything – when items are priced, people know exactly what you are wanting and they can decide if they want it or not or if they want to make you an offer.  If it is not priced, odds are they will walk away.  You can always change it if you see a lot of people looking and no one buying, but pricing everything usually brings more sales.  I also have 10 cent, 25 cent and 50 cent boxes.  People love those and they are great for the small stuff you don’t want.
  • Run your sale Friday and Saturday if possible.  I have had yard sales in both PA and in SC and in all cases, Friday was the busiest day.  You get a lot of professionals and older people, but for the right stuff they are willing to pay.  One year, I made $200 on Friday and $10 on Saturday.  This all depends on the area and if it is a neighborhood sale or not, but give it a try if you can.
  • Advertising is important. People need to know you are out there.  We have a local circular that comes out every week with lots of sales in it.  It is inexpensive to advertise in something like that and so worth it.  There are also many free websites and social media groups.  Let people know what you are selling and use catchy phrases like “huge yard sale” or “everything must go”.
  • Be willing to negotiate.  On Saturday of our sales, we have a half off everything event many times depending on what is left.  Your goal, like mine, is to get rid of everything – not take it back in the house.  So sell what you can for what you can and then donate the rest.  Remember, your stuff is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.  Sell it, get something for it and move on.

This year I was just going to donate my boxes and not have a yard sale.  Then my wise daughter said “Mom, have a yard sale, sell what you can and then donate the rest.  You will have more money than you would donating it and you can donate what is left.”  Those are wise words.  We made over $200 and donated 2 car trunks full of stuff.  That’s a win/win in my book.  So whether you are buying or selling, have fun with it, don’t pay/charge too much and everyone wins!!

Debbi’s new budgeting course – “The 411 of Budgeting” – is now available in her store for only $19.95.  For the price of a pizza, you could take the first step in the journey to wealth and financial freedom.  Check it out right here along with her “Adulting Survival Kit” and all of her award winning, best selling books.  

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.