I’m not sure what it is that my 6 year old nephew has discovered about money that my other nieces and nephews haven’t. He made the decision to buy his own pair of sneakers. In a previous blog I mentioned how he wanted that new shiny toy. His mom refused to buy it for him so he decided to wait for Christmas to get it. Of course there is more to the story which is in the blog

.Money Savvy Kid

I was perplexed and surprised why he didn’t just ask for them. It wasn’t as though he didn’t need them. He sometimes receives hand-me-down clothes and shoes. As any child he can be rough on his clothes but he does appreciate all that he receives.  

I had his mom ask him why didn’t ask for new sneakers. His response was very simple. “I hadn’t been good so I thought you would say no.” From there he made the decision to buy his own shoes and plan to earn the money buy them.

  1. Sharing of Information – My nephew and one of his classmates were discussing sneakers. His classmate said sneakers only cost $15. This seemed like a reasonable financial savings goal for my nephew.
  2. Savings Habit – My nephew already had money saved but not $15. He calculated how much more money he needed to EARN in order to reach his $15 goal.
  3. Set Goals – My nephew discussed his decision to buy sneakers on his own with his mom. She explained to him the sneakers were more than $15. His mom negotiated that he would need to earn and save $20. Then she would pay the other half.
  4. Developing A Plan – My nephew’s plan was to earn money to buy his sneakers. He told his mom he would do extra chores at home and at his aunt’s house for money. This is some of the chore pricing:

Dusting – $1 per room

Washing dishes – $2

Folding clothes – $1 

  1. Reflection – My nephew realized he doesn’t get the things he wants if he is misbehaving. However, he knew if he earned the money himself, he would probably get what he wanted and needed. Lastly, he didn’t decide to CHANGE his behavior from bad to good and ask for the shoes. LOL This decision I really have to talk to him about…kids!

What will you modify in your life to have more money to buy the things you want and need?

4 Reasons Tax Season Is Debt Season

Many people look forward to receiving a large tax return from the US federal government. Many times this time of year leads to more debt. Many people who receive tax refunds don’t use the money in their best interest.

Someone sitting in bed with iPad w/ headphones
One Night Stand with Your Money
  1. People use the money to buy more accessories to go with gifts received during Christmas. You received a new smart technology device and decide you want to get apps or devices to do more with the new device.

Solution: Don’t buy anything. Instead do research on hacks to find other ways to get the information or results you desired from buying he accessories. If there isn’t a hack, budget and save for the accessories.

  1. Use the refund to purchase a vehicle. This isn’t always a bad financial decision. However, if the costs of maintenance, fuel, insurance and property taxes aren’t factored in, this vehicle can become more of a financial burden. Just because you can afford the amount of the car payment doesn’t mean you can afford the vehicle.

Solution: Determine how much money you have available in your budget for car payment, maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc. Once you have this information, research vehicles which meet your budget.

  1. Not saving the money for emergencies. Most people don’t have any savings. Tax refund is an easy and painless way to create an emergency fund. Having at least $500 or up to $1000 is a great basic emergency fund amount. Grow this amount to 6 to 12 months of expenses. Don’t confuse this amount with 6 to 12 months of income. If you are living below your means your expenses will be less than your income.

Solution: Save from $500 to $1000 of your tax refund for emergencies. If your tax refund is less than $500, then save all of it.

  1. Immediately after Merry Christmas comes Unhappy Broke! Many people approach friends and family members for “loans” which will be repaid once they receive their tax refund. This generally doesn’t occur. Not repaying personal loans to friends and family members is one of the worst ways to damage or destroy a relationship

Solution: Don’t ask to borrow money and don’t lend money. If you have the money to gift, then do so. Just remember, people will beg for what they need and buy what they want many times.

This is why I say tax season is really debt season. Let’s make this WEALTH season. Use your tax refund to pay off or down debt. Resolve to make this tax season a prosperous season.

3 Reasons To Do A Financial Fast

One of my personal goals is to continue to improve my finances. This is the second year I began the new year with a 31 day financial fast. What is a financial fast? It is where you don’t do any frivolous spending like dining out, shopping for clothes, purchasing entertainment (movies, concert, zoo, plays, sporting events, etc.) outside of your home. You don’t use any debit or credit cards and must only use cash. Yes you can pay bills electronically.  You budget for the month. You can create a meal plan for the month as well. You are able to buy food but only in the grocery store or farmers market. No restaurant food.

Why would I ever participate for a second time in such a RESTRICTIVE activity? I moved from a 3 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom apartment. I have so much STUFF! I gave away, donated and trashed so much stuff prior to my move. Yet I still have so much STUFF!

This is why should you do a financial fast too.

  1. Abundance – when you stop shopping and are forced to use the items in your home. You will notice the ABUNDANCE of items you own. You will notice how many pairs of black pants you have, bottles of ketchup or even tubes of toothpaste. Once you realize how much you have but not used you will be surprised. Now you can shop only to replenish.


  1. Emotional Spending – Many times you don’t realize how your emotions are tied to your money. When times are good, you celebrate by going out to eat, shopping or take a trip. When you are sad or upset you will go out for a drink or shopping to feel better. Spending money is your therapy. It shouldn’t be your therapy. Granted you should reward yourself and shop from time to time. During the fast you will begin to note when you feel the “need” to shop. Now you can develop non-financial methods to feed that “need.”


  1. Planning –“ if you plan to fail, you plan to fail” The fast makes you truly look at your finances by using a BUDGET. I know you hate that word. But here is the key word “YOUR” budget. You can make it work for you. You can also plan your meals by creating a menu. Simply create a list of foods in your house and review your local grocery store sale ads, then you can pair foods together to create meals. Remember leftovers are great for lunch!

Participating in a financial fast is very introspective. It makes you think, evaluate and modify your behavior. You will grow in your financial views.OceanLandscape

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!”

3 Things to Say to Yourself About Money


Our internal language is extremely powerful! If we internalize that we are NOT good at math, sports, cooking, etc. then we will NOT succeed in these areas. However, if we simply note we are not the BEST and are willing to get better, we will take steps to improve. Focusing on money, many times we jacked up our credit in our early adulthood, after a divorce or when you or a loved one was terminally ill or had an expensive medical emergency. (Note: I have never heard of an inexpensive medical emergency.) This can lead us to believe we can NOT improve our financial circumstances. I can absolutely tell you this isn’t true. Changing what you say to yourself can improve your relationship with money.

1. I can create a budget I can live by!

Budgets are not a bad word. You can create a budget that fits your lifestyle. The importance of a budget is to inform you when you are NOT living below your means. It’s simply an organizational tool for your money. If you don’t like your budget then change your budget…EASY!

2. I can SAVE money!

Saving can seem very difficult when you don’t have an accurate account of where your dollars are going. It is important to have a budget so you can track your money. Your budget should be set-up so that you pay yourself first and cover your living expenses.

3. I am more than my DEBT!

The debt you have may seem insurmountable. But like most things in life, you probably didn’t accumulate your debt overnight. It may have taken you 3 years, 10 years or 20 years. You look around and you may not have much to account for the amount of debt you have accumulated. Best believe YOU are MORE than you debt. While your debt is a dollar amount your worth is PRICELESS! You have dreams, hopes, aspirations and achievements. You are MORE than your debt.

Changing your invoice to speak positively is pivotal to improving your finances or any other aspect of your life. Once you make the switch changing your habits will become easier overtime. Don’t give up and don’t give in!


5 Tips To Keep Black Friday From Becoming Your Financial Nightmare

Gifts wrapped in reindeer printed wrapping paper under a Christmas tree.

In the United States, the holiday of Thanksgiving starts major retail shopping until Christmas. Many people fall into this spend, spend, spend trap every year. Then after all the lights, velvet, food and music are gone they are left with a financial nightmare! These are a few tips to keep you financially focused during the holiday shopping season.

#1 – Do NOT USE A CREDIT CARD! Yes I know you didn’t save any money for gifts this year because Christmas, Thanksgiving and black Friday were all re-scheduled. *blank stare* You are probably still paying off Christmas gifts from last year if not two years ago. Don’t use a credit card.

#2 – Go with a LIST! Yes a list! This list should include who the gift is for, the exact description (including size), price, store and coupons/discounts/price matching. If it is NOT on your list it does NOT exist.

#3 – Only buy a gift with a particular person in mind. Why? You are NOT to buy anything because it’s such a GREAT PRICE. Yes you will forget to get someone a gift. Oh well just wish them an extra Merry Christmas.

#4 – Only CASH! This does not mean use your debit card. You must go to the bank or ATM to get cash. Once all the cash you have is GONE, you are to go home. Oh I know there are so many great deals you didn’t buy. *shoulder shrug*

#5 – If the only cash in your account is for bills and not gifts. Instead, stay at home. Please don’t spend your money on what you want and then beg for what you need i.e. rent money, electric/gas bill paid or even food. Instead, repurpose items you already own, make gifts and you can even give out COUPONS. Yes COUPONS for (2) hours of yardwork, (1) hour of babysitting, (1) hour of painting, etc.

Be creative, have fun and better yet, don’t spend money you don’t have!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

My 1st Step To Entrepreneurship – BECOMING DEBT FREE

 Woman Earth Globe White Short Outdoors Water ReflectionI’ve known for years that I would be an entrepreneur. But I didn’t know what business I wanted to start. In 2010, I fell in love with a business idea and started my journey to entrepreneurship. My first step was getting rid of my debt.

Why did I have being debt free as my first step to entrepreneurship? There were 3 main reasons:

  • EXCUSES: I would eliminate the primary excuse as to why NOT to start a business: “I can’t afford to leave my full-time job because I have bills to pay.” The only bills I have to pay are living expenses.
  • FREEDOM: I would be free of obligation to any institution for debt I had incurred. It is truly a relief to be debt free.
  • MIND SHIFT: Because I am debt free and under less stress to pay off my debt, I have much more clarity to see my dreams being accomplished. What I would have previously seen as insurmountable and stupid, is now a possibility that I’m more willing and open to discuss.
  • BONUS – ENERGY: While you may not believe it, I have so much more energy because a burden has been lifted off my shoulders …NO DEBT!

What are some changes I made to get here?

  • I no longer own a television. So no cable here. I do have internet, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Savings $60/month.
  • I don’t buy clothing nearly as often as I used to just 5 years ago. Savings $150/month.
  • My dining out has significantly decreased. Do I still dine out? Yes I do but no more $30 checks more than once every 2 months. $250/month
  • My beauty regiment has drastically changed. I haven’t seen a hair stylist in 6 months. Wherein before I was in the salon every 6 weeks. $80/month
  • I use cash as much as possible.

What will be  or was your first step to entrepreneurship?

5 Money Tips From A 6 Year Old Boy

My 6 year old nephew is my nerd mini-me. He is very observant, inquisitive and strategic. However, at times, he gives up too quickly if a situation is not as easy as he thought. Recently, his strategic side overtook his quit easily side.

Last week, my sister took her children to Target. While in the store they went into the toy section. Of course my nephew fell in love with a new shiny toy. But what happened next made me especially PROUD.Little Boy with Arms Up in Arm

He looks at the toy then checks the price. The toy cost $29.99. He asks his mom, my sister, if she had money to buy him the toy immediately. Does this sound familiar? She does as she always does and tells him, “Son, I don’t have money for that today.” Well like any kid who so desires a new shiny toy, my nephew starts pondering ways to pay for it. His thought process and rationale are those of a financially focused adult.

#1: Cost Cutting Method – Not discouraged, my nephew turns to my niece. He says “Mom spent that amount on us to eat out last night. We should have bought wings, cooked them and eaten at home.” If you can’t make more money to get the things you need and want, find ways to cut your expenses to afford them. My nephew is willing to cutout dining out…except on his birthday.

#2: Savings – My nephew then turns to his mom and request they go home immediately so he can count the money in his piggy bank. His piggy bank was about $20 too short to buy the new toy. Saving for the things you want is important.

#3: Delay of gratification – My sister asks my nephew if he is going to ask his aunt to purchase the toy for him since he doesn’t have enough money. He says “No. I’ll wait for Christmas.” If something is NOT a necessity then you can WAIT to get it.

#4: Earn Money – My nephew decided he could make money to buy the toy. He inquired about a “game” my mom played with my niece. For every 3 sentences he writes, my nephew earns a dollar. Too bad for him my mom lives an hour away so he won’t be collecting his cash anytime soon.

#5: Don’t Give Up – My nephew never gave up! He knew there was a solution to his quest to get that new shiny toy. Find the tenacity to get what you want without going into debt.

I’m so proud of my 6 year old nephew. I wonder who is going to buy the toy for him because if he is like me that money he earns will sit in his piggy bank…LOL

Just in case you didn’t notice, children pay close attention to adult behaviors!