3 Types of Memberships Costing More Than They’re Worth

We seemingly have great plans and good intentions when we sign up for monthly billed memberships. However, most times these memberships are not leveraged much less used. Frequently they are repeatedly charged with the intent of us using them to improve our health, career, network, physique, etc. Instead, they are a waste of money and can keep us in debt. In the coming days review any memberships you have that could be cut. Then move that money to paying off debt, emergency savings or investments.

Coupon/Gift Certificate
  1. Professional Memberships including LinkedIn Premium – Are you truly active or leveraging these memberships? Are you just using the memberships as a resume filler? There are other manners to make connections and find jobs through unused memberships. Use basic LinkedIn to stay connected. Utilize the blog feature to exhibit your expertise in a specific area. As for professional memberships, join non-profit boards that align with your beliefs to network. Leverage Facebook and LinkedIn groups to connect with other professionals in your field as well as to obtain and share information.
  2. Health Memberships – *sigh* Yes health is very important. I know the mantra “New Year New You” is on your lips as you aim to lose weight, get that keg to a 6-pack and complete your first marathon. Slow your roll! Instead get DVDs, apps (i.e. MyFitnessPal), pedometer and an accountability partner. Utilize free workout shows on cable TV or YouTube. Several community centers offer free fitness classes and workout equipment. This includes not only gym memberships but yoga, spin and Pilates memberships too.
  3. Bargain Shopping – I know Sam’s and Amazon Prime are GREAT! But do you find you are ordering MORE than usual from Amazon because you bought the Prime account? Did you realize you can’t buy in bulk but 3-4 times a year because you don’t have the space or consume as quickly as you thought. Well don’t renew these memberships! Instead, use your library, discount stores and coupons to buy items. Do you believe you didn’t spent more on Amazon Prime than previous years? Check your bank account and your Amazon account and compare. I’ll wait while you check because you will *gasp* in total shock.

Companies utilize very good marketing tools that are very successful to get us to buy memberships. Don’t feel bad. Instead feel EMPOWERED because you can now change all of this. I can relate. That massage membership will be ended in January 2016. I actually use my gym membership and I opted NOT to do a Pilates membership. I simply pay as I go. It may seem more expensive to pay as you go. But only you can determine the true cost by either committing to using these memberships or not. Be purposeful on how and why you are getting these memberships. More importantly understand the COST to cancel the memberships.

Happy New Financial Year!

5 FREE Gifts for Christmas

Christmas is the most expensive time of year for many people. This year it can be different. We should not feel guilty when we can’t afford to give gifts to those we love. But most of us are judged by the gifts we do give and especially if we don’t give a gift. To make this year a less stressful and more caring Christmas, give the gift of your TIME! This is an invaluable and non-renewable gift you can give. Let me explain.

Gifts wrapped in reindeer printed wrapping paper under a Christmas tree.
Time is the one thing we can’t get back or buy more of. Unless you have repaired the flux capacitor (Google the movie Back to the Future…now moving pass my nerd moment)…you can create coupons as gifts. YES COUPONS! These are five of the best coupon gift ideas:

  1. Create a coupon to visit a family member, loved one or even a stranger who is in a retirement home or confined to a bed. This could be for an hour a week for 4_weeks or an hour a month for the year. Let them know they aren’t forgotten and someone cares.
  2. Create a coupon to participate in a race (5k, 10k, half marathon, iron man, etc.) for an organization or cause the giftee strongly supports. It could be race for the cure, YMCA domestic violence, cat rescue, etc. You can wear a shirt with the giftee’s name on it.
  3. Create a coupon to volunteer at an event like Habitat for Humanity home building or sorting groceries at a food pantry for the giftee. This should be a cause the giftee believes in and supports.
  4. Create a coupon for snow shoveling or raking leaves. This can be any physical activity the giftee can no longer do physically or afford to have someone do on a regular basis.
  5. Create a coupon for babysitting or pet sitting. This can be for an hour a week or for a 3-5 hour monthly date night.

Bonus coupon – take the giftee on a trip down memory lane. Take some old pictures that you turn into a slide show. It will forever be a memorable moment.

If you don’t have a printer or want to add character to the gift, then make the coupons by hand and wrap them as you would any gift. You can have an expiration date or simply say “Expiration Date – Til The End of Time”. Most importantly Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Single Most Powerful Word in Your Finances – “NO”

Saying this one word, “No” to your desires to shop, dine out, use debit/credit cards, entertainment, etc. is the fastest way to get hold of your finances. Don’t be afraid of the word but know that using it gives you POWER! Here are some popular scenarios:

Woman sitting on stool with legs crossed
Say “NO” to Improve Your Finances
  1. “Mom can we have Chick-fil-a for dinner tonight?” Now you know there is a plethora of food at home, so just say “No!” Besides if your kids are still alive your cooking isn’t that bad.
  2. “Do you want to put in $25 for the NFL pool this season?” Think of all the other things you could do with $25 like invest in your business you dreamed of starting. Or you will need it for fuel next week to get to and from work. Say it with me “NO! I’m good. Thanks for asking.”
  3. “There is this new (iPhone, nightclub, golf course, yoga studio, etc.). You have to buy/try it.” You know you have debt and the costs for each of these will end up being costly. I will help you say it “NO!”
  4. So if it is really difficult for you to say “No” verbally, you can say “No” by
    1. crossing your arms,
    2. placing your hands in your pockets
    3. if you are sitting down you can cross your ankles or legs
    4. raise one eyebrow
    5. screw your lips

It is very important for you to learn to say “No.” The word “No” is not a bad word. You must learn to pause and reflect before you take action. Saying “No” simply gives you the POWER to make better decisions especially with your finances. Say it with me “NO!”