Financial Fitness Tips

If you had to choose, be more concerned about how high your net worth is versus your credit score.

Your lifestyle should not really be your LIFEstyle.

Don’t live within your means, live below your means.

A savings account is for planned expenses. An emergency fund is for unplanned expenses.

Tips for Saving Money

  • Create a spending plan (i.e., budget) and stick to it.
  • Stop using credit cards if you can’t pay the balance in full at the end of the month.
  • Speak with an insurance professional about your insurance needs (e.g., homeowners, renters, auto, life) to save money by getting a multi-policy discount and other discounts.
  • Cut back on luxury expenses if you can’t afford it. Get rid of cable TV or watch basic cable. Consider bundling your cable, internet and phone service.
  • If you have a cell phone, revise your plan to fit your basic needs. Use a prepaid cell phone. Don’t buy more phone than you “need.”
  • Adjust your thermostat so it’s higher in the summer and lower in the winter.
  • Carpool or walk and plan your outings to include many stops if needed instead of going out 2 or 3 times in the same direction. (gas is on the rise…conserve)
  • Cook at home. Make a dinner plan/menu for the week to avoid impromptu eating out. Eat healthier. Use a grocery list every time you shop.
  • Use coupons. Remember, don’t buy something you don’t need just because you have a coupon.
  • Shop at consignment shops or thrift stores. Expensive clothes don’t make you a better person. They’re mostly just pieces of material with someone’s name on them you’ve never met. Buy basics that you can build your wardrobe with.
  • Stop buying coffee and make it at home. If you think gas is expensive, I dare you to calculate what you’re paying per gallon at Starbucks.
  • Make your lunch. Take your lunch and snacks to work and even when you are out and about.  Picnics are great.
  • Make eating out a special time not just a time of convenience.
  • Commit to saving money, set goals and even small rewards when you accomplish them.  Take that vacation when you have saved the cash for it.  Allow for that savings in your budget.
  • Re-evaluate the stuff around your house. Sell things you do not use or need put that cash towards something specific like debt repayment.
  • Live a healthier lifestyle (e.g., eating right, exercising more). This may save in doctor bills down the road
  • Get back to basics, live within your means and make savings an important part of your financial life
  • Plan and implement. Take baby steps and don’t give up. Persistence and dedication will pay back with big dividends.  Financial Peace of Mind….

Tips for Couples

  • Remember there is no I, my, or mine. Since you’re in a relationship, speak in terms of “we” and/or “our.”
  • Have a heart to heart conversation about what money means to you and the emotions you attach to it.
  • Calculate your net worth (total assets – total liabilities) to establish a baseline as a couple and recalculate it every six months.
  • Ensure all household income is deposited into the same account from which the “team” makes decisions regarding how it’s allocated.
  • Your personal spending money (e.g. allowance) should be agreed upon as a team. It doesn’t matter who earns the most money.
  • Establish a plan regarding how the “team” will spend the “household” income.
  • Set goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) and determine action steps to ensure the goals are achieved.
  • Determine and implement a debt elimination plan (excluding your primary mortgage). Celebrate successes (without spending money).
  • Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. They’re broke!

Tips for Parents

  • If your child is over 21, not in college, or has a steady job, are they living under your roof? If so, charge them a real world rent. Sometimes you have to develop independence instead of enabling dependency.
  • If your adult child is constantly borrowing money from you, utilize these teachable moments to reinforce how a budget is created and implemented.
  • If your child is old enough to start asking about money, they’re old enough to start learning about money (i.e., work produces money, importance of budgeting, saving, philanthropy).
  • Don’t try to become the parent you didn’t have by buying your children everything you grew up without. This is how many children become “spoiled.”
  • Develop your child’s sense of responsibility. You will not always be around to dot their i’s and cross their t’s.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to allow your child to make their own money (e.g., entrepreneurship, baby sitting, lawn mowing, car washing, fast food, etc.).
  • Teach your children about managing banking accounts.
  • Explain how debit and credit cards work (the pros and cons).

Get help from a professional to help set things up and help you to be accountable.

Use all the resources and knowledge available. Educate yourself and do it for yourself and your family.

To have what we want is riches; but to be able to do without is power…..