Cynthia

Save Money While Shopping online

 Change Management  Comments Off on Save Money While Shopping online
Aug 212017
 
Save Money

Save Money

© Photographer: Kts | Agency: Dreamstime.com Saving money can seem difficult, even impossible.  It’s important to take the time to carefully consider your values, plans and goals.  But why not save a little while we’re going through that process if you can do so quickly and easily? That way you can experience some early success, which helps to build motivation.

In this article, Dvisma Sinha presents some quick and easy savings tips to help you save money while shopping online.   You may have come across these before, but are you using them?  Knowledge that stays in your head without being put to use does you no good.  Why not take a quick look at her thoughts and add your own tips in the comment section below?

Bargain Shopping – 4 Best Ways to Save Money Online

By Dvizma Sinha

The key towards building a secure financial future for you and your family is by saving money. There are many reasons why we need to save for the future, such as for the purpose of securing a retirement fund or for your family’s future financial needs such as education for your children. Saving money is one of the best ways for you to ensure your financial security. Saving is also a very simple task.

Bargain shopping is one of the best ways you can save money while buying the things you want and although it may sound contradictory, it actually isn’t. The philosophy behind bargain shopping is to avoid spending too much money on the item you want. This is the lost passport to the world of saving money and you will find below 4 great tips on how to save money when you go shopping the next time.

1) Do not be afraid to haggle

While haggling may not be so common, it wouldn’t hurt to try and ask for special discounts or promotions when making your purchase. It is not illegal to try asking for price adjustments on your item and if a sale happened within 10 days after your purchase, some retailers may give you a full credit for the difference in price when you first bought the item prior to the sale. This is a fantastic way to get back some of the money you originally spent, provided that you still have the original receipt for the purchase.

2) Like a Facebook Page

Many outlets and retailers now have their own Facebook page. And here’s the secret; some offers are announced only through the company’s social media platofroms. The evolution of mobile technology has given rise to a new generation of users who want to be connected and able to do the things they like at all times. Companies realize this and reward its subscribers by making exclusive announcements such as sales and discounts that is not available anywhere else.

3) Save on shipping

We all love the convenience of being able to shop and buy our favorite outfits from the comfort of our own homes but many of us don’t like the fact that we need to fork out the extra cash for shipping and handling charges. And you don’t have to put up with it. You can save some money on your bargain shopping by choosing to shop at outlets that offer free shipping when you make a purchase on their website. That way, all you need to do is sit back and wait as your package gets delivered to you, free of charge.

4) Find a website that compares websites

Any real bargain hunter can tell that the secret to finding a good bargain is to compare prices of items sold between stores. Unfortunately this can take a lot of time so it would be a better alternative for you to visit certain websites that can do the comparisons for you. This ensures that you get the best price for any item that you buy.

Any money that you can save regardless of the amount will still contribute towards your savings. Congratulations, you have just found the lost passport to the world of saving money.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dvizma_Sinha
http://EzineArticles.com/?Bargain-Shopping—4-Best-Ways-to-Save-Money-Online&id=8079589

 

 

Jan 032015
 
Meditation

Meditation

We’ve crawled out of the river of denial and taken a long, hard look at our finances.  We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and we know how to get from where we are to where we want to be.   But the road looks H-A-R-D.   It’s easier to see what needs to be done than it is to do it!  So how can we keep our motivation going?

In the post Change Management, the Winning Why, we learned the importance of linking our goals to our values.  In order to develop discipline to get our finances in order, we must stay in touch with the “Winning Why” that makes the sacrifice worthwhile.   There are several ways to do this.

1) Visualization.  Take some time each day imagining the life we can lead when we fulfill are deepest values.   What is happening?  Who is with us?  How do we feel about our life when we honor the things we value most?

2) Storyboarding.   I confess that I haven’t done this because I am not a visual person, but it works for others.  When you use this technique, you create a graphic representation of your “story.”  The story could be the steps you take to Bridge the Gap, or it could be the way your life looks when you attain your goals.

3) Affirmations.   Some people say to speak affirmations as if your goal has already been attained.  If that works for you, great!  If you are like me and a little voice in the back of your head keeps whispering things like “That’s not true,” “You haven’t done that,” or blah, blah, blah, try framing the statement differently.  Example:  I am learning to live within my means and get better each day instead of I always live within my means.

I am sure that there are dozens of other ways to keep motivation pumping along.   How do you motivate yourself?  I would love for you to tell me in a comment below.

Annual financial check up

 Change Management  Comments Off on Annual financial check up
Jan 022015
 
Woman frustrated with finances

Woman frustrated with finances

Here we are at the start of a New Year-what a great time for a financial check up!  Are you as frustrated aws the woman at the left?  This is a chance to take the concepts discussed in our article You are here: moving out of denial  and take some action to improve your financial position.  Are you saving enough for your children’s education?   Are you on track to retire at a reasonable age?  Is Uncle Sam getting too much of your retirement money?   How can you save more money and pay less in taxes? Check these tips from the New York Times and see what you can do to improve your finances in 2015:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/savingandinvesting/an-annual-checkup-of-your-financial-health/ar-BBhrupF

Have you completed and annual financial check up?  What are your financial goals for 2015?   How do you plan to achieve them?

Dec 272014
 

How can you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be to achieve your winning why?  You need a road map (spending plan)!

Yes, it’s time to work on a spending plan (doesn’t that sound better than budget?)   This is your road map to success.  Just like you wouldn’t set out to drive from New York City to Los Angeles without a map if you didn’t know the way by heart, you will want a map, or guide, to help you reach your financial goals.  This road map will help guide your choices to maximize your chances of reaching your goals.   The ideal route is different for everyone and is based on your personal values.  Remember to reach for the things that matter most to YOU.   Here are some questions to ask to help you get started:

What do you value enough to sacrifice immediate wants and delay gratification?  Keep your values always foremost in your heart and in your mind.   This will help you develop the discipline to succeed.

Do you want to take the direct route to your goals, or do you prefer a more scenic highway with a more leisurely pace?  Success means different things to different people, and that’s OK.   Do you believe it is important to achieve your goals as quickly as possible, or are you happier slowing down a bit and enjoying the journey?

What key responsibilities do you need to fulfill to honor your deepest values?  This includes things like time with your family, volunteer work, and continuing education.   Remember to include these things on your map as you plan your journey to success!

Do you have spending habits that continue out of simple inertia, costing you money although they no longer add anything you value to your life?  Think of that subscription to the newspaper you never have time to read or the monthly fee for the gym you never use.

Have you counted the cost?  IMHO, money is good and more money is better, but there is always a trade off.  Don’t get so caught up in always pursuing more that you wind up rich, lonely, unhealthy and unhappy.

Take a look at your income and your current expenses.   Your income must be higher than your expenses if you are to make progress toward your financial goals.  If you find your expenses are higher than your income, you must cut back on spending or increase your income.  Hopefully, this will involve minor adjustments, but some people will find that they need to downsize their home, take a second (or third) job, or find a way to make a hobby pay off for them.

Now it’s time to choose your route and put it in writing.   You might complete a traditional personal budget either with pen and pencil or with financial software.  Or, you may chose to create a financial mind map such as this one.  The important thing is to have a plan that you can follow and benchmarks you can track to help you stay on track.

Sep 062014
 
Set back

Where I am now: Set back

Moving out of denial can be tough.   It’s fun floating in a little cruise ship on de river of de Nile.   But if you’ve ever been to Cairo, you’ve seen that the Nile is a river best seen at night. In the same way that the Nile remains dirty and polluted even when covered in darkness, dark situations in our own life don’t clean themselves up just because we refuse to see them.

I am experiencing some tough times in my own life right now.   I have been diagnosed with a stage 3 cancer.  The treatment plan is solid, the prognosis is good, but this is going to decimate my current financial plans.  That’s a hard fact to face at this stage in my life, but I must acknowledge that truth before I can free myself of it.   I’m going to get it out of my system right up front and say that I am not happy this is coming to me in my mid-fifties, just as retirement was starting to seem a reachable goal.   There, I’m done whining, promise.   The question is, where am I now that the map has changed on me, the streets have been renamed, and I failed to update my navigation system before I started this trip?

I am better off than some.   I set aside part of my retirement savings in a ROTH so that it could double as a rainy day fund.   That gives me the ability to withdraw up to the amount that I have contributed without penalty or tax consequences and it will be a great help.   I am saying a quick thank you to my younger self for that decision.   All of a sudden, though, this blog is a diary of my journey to regain financial health instead of sharing what I have learned on life’s journey.  Well, it is a little bit of both, but it has become personally quite a bit more important to me.

I need to revisit my retirement plans.   I will need to either work longer, find a way to bump up my earnings, or cut expenses.   Pretty simple options, but I don’t especially like any of them.  This brush with serious illness has changed the way I look at time and life.   Although the prognosis for me is good, I am suddenly very aware that life is time-limited, and I don’t want to spend all of it working in a job that provides for my needs but does not give me internal satisfaction.   So, it looks like I will be concentrating on cutting expenses for the time being.

There are some easy and obvious places to start.  I am a “relationship” person.   I tend to build business relationships with people I trust and stay with them for decades, even if the level of service changes and I am no longer as satisfied.   I can start looking at some of these relationships, get some competitive quotes, and think about which of these ongoing expenses can be cut back, perhaps with no input on my lifestyle.

Have you faced similar set backs in your life?  What helped you to get back on track?  I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Apr 042014
 

Hot Air Balloon Aloft in Blue Sky-Achievement
© Photographer: Cynthia Hanevy | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Goals, resolutions, call them what you will. Do you have high aspirations? Do you establish goals for yourself, but never seem to reach them? How much better would your life be if you DID master your goals? How would that change feel to you? Can you smell it, taste it, touch it? Does it make enough of a difference to be worth the effort? The first step to establishing gluey goals is to set goals that really, truly, matter to YOU. Not your friends, family, or boss, but YOU. A goal that matters to you will be based on your unique values. For more on this step, see  The Winning Why.

So, take some time and relax.  Get in touch with what is really important to you.   This blog might be all about the Benjamins, but your life is not.   In order to make change that matters, your goals must relate to the things that really matter to you.

Once you’ve examined your values and set an initial goal, express in a way that helps guarantee your success.   You want your goal to be SMART.   What does this mean?  Here’s how I see it.

S-Your goal should be a stretch for your to achieve.   What is the point of setting goals if they don’t move you beyond your current situation?   Imagine that I am sitting in my nice leather love seat at home.   Sure, I can make sitting in my love seat a goal.  It will be easy to check off my to do list, but it won’t change much in my life.   A more exciting goal for me would be to take a trip around the world.   Just typing that gets me excited!  It is a      s-t-r-e-t-c-h for me to dream of doing that financially, but if I work hard at my goal it should be a realistic stretch.

M-Your goal should be specific enough to be measurable.   If I want to save enough to go around the world, I should know how much money I will need.  That allows me to break down the goal into smaller chunks and to set benchmarks to measure my progress.

A-Your goal should be achievable. To have sticking power, your goal must be within the realm of possibility as you see it.   If you don’t feel in your heart that you can reach your goal, it will be very hard to keep going.  This doesn’t mean that you need to listen to all the naysayers in your life, though.  Know your own heart and listen to that.

R-Some people say that the R stands for realistic.  I don’t agree!  Keeping your goals “realistic” can be an excuse for failing to strive for the things your heart really desires.   I prefer to think of a SMART goal as ravenous!   Because the goal is aligned with your truest values and because you can see its achievement in your heart, you become consumed with the goal.   You are on the alert for opportunities to move closer to your goal.  You have a driving desire for attainment that overcomes the natural tendency to prefer immediate gratification over future success.   You are a powerhouse when you are this motivated!

T-Your goal should be time bound.  This means you set yourself a deadline.  Without the reinforcement of a deadline, achievement gets delayed until tomorrow.   Then tomorrow becomes today and once again we delay.   The deadline, used with benchmarks, keeps us honest.

It may be necessary to adjust our goals as time goes on.  But if we have a clear vision of where we are going and take the time to review our progress against clear benchmarks along the way, we will keep moving in the right direction.

What tips do you have to help people reach their goals?   Do you have a personal story of achievement you would like to share?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Feb 152014
 

Keep asking why
© Photographer: Marek Uliasz | Agency: Dreamstime.com
My friend and I are participating in frugal February .  It’s been a bit of a challenge and definitely an eye-opener.   I am starting to see how my spending in some areas is on auto-pilot.   It doesn’t have to be that way, but old habits die hard.   Change is hard.  The same old, same old tends to repeat itself effortlessly if we don’t combat the inertia of habit.

Enter the winning why.   Fixing your finances is a big challenge. What is going to motivate you?  Why will you give up that latte or that new pair of boots? And do it consistently, day after day.  To keep motivated, your why must be stronger than your spending habits.  Your long term pay-off must be worth the short term pain, and you have to be in touch with it when the temptations come.

When your friends say “WHY???”  Why won’t you go on the shopping trip?  Splurge on some pampering?  Buy the latest greatest must have item of the month?  Make sure you have asked yourself first.  Then you will have an answer ready-they might even find a winning why of their own and decide to join you!

It comes down to knowing what you value most.   Before you make a spending plan (doesn’t that sound more fun than a budget?) decide what is important to you.   Money in the bank doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, which is why it can be hard for me to get excited about saving.  But when my good intentions falter, I ask myself why.

I don’t get all excited about the bank balance, but I DO get excited about retirement.   And I would love to have a retirement that involved travel.   I also like to have a bit extra in the bank if one of my children needs help.   Knowing that making the right choice today will give me the freedom to enjoy more of these things in the future helps me to forgo the little luxuries that might otherwise swallow my future plans, little bite by little bite.

This is about the difference between values and goals.   Goals are great, they give you benchmarks to check your progress and they help  you stay on track.   But goals must be based on your values to have real staying power.

What is important to you?   What will you forgo immediate gratification in order to obtain?  Dream big, dream often, and keep your focus on your dream, not on the little sacrifices you make along the way. THAT is the secret of the winning why.

Please share a little about your goals and your winning why in the comments below.

 

Oct 282013
 

Fix Your Broken Finances

Dollar fix
© Photographer: Shane Larson | Agency: Dreamstime.com All of us experience set backs from time to time, and some of us will have to start over with nothing. One thing I really like about this topic is that it will be a refresher and reminder for me. I have recently purchased a new home and acquired a new dog. And I find that, maybe like you, I need to create financial habits that fit my new reality.  I am also working toward an early retirement, so it is time to get my own personal financial planning in tip-top shape.

As I was letting this idea percolate in my brain (a fairly stable piece of grey matter with a few air holes for ventilation) I wondered what I could bring to the table in this discussion. After all, people have been studying and writing about personal financial planning forever, and we still make mistakes. Hmmmmm, can I bring a unique point of view and add real value here? What do I have to offer and why should people listen to me?

Can we be real, just for a minute? Yes, it’s true that I have a solid background in personal financial planning, both in the academic world and in real life. But don’t most of us KNOW most of this stuff? It’s DOING the right thing that’s the trick. After all, if our finances never got broken, we wouldn’t have to fix them.  And that’s when I realized, it’s my lifelong interest in transforming change that makes me a little different from many of the experts. I admit, sometimes I studied change because I had messed up so badly I needed to fix something about my life-but those are the lessons that stick.  As a certified life coach with real life experience in fixing my own finances and helping others do the same, I am excited to reach out and help even more people with this blog.  See, if you are going to fix your financial situation, and have it stay fixed, you will need some powerful motivation and I can help you with that.

Here’s the tentative outline to get us where we’re going:

Change Management The Winning Why-you must have this to get you through the challenging times

Gluey Goals-the kind of goals that stay with you and help you make the fix stick

You are Here-moving out of denial

Bridging the Gap-between where you are and where you want to be

Mastering Motivation-helpful skills and techniques to keep a strong start going

Money Management The Starting Point-You are Here with an emphasis on finances

Pick the Low Lying Fruit-for a quick start on your fix do the easy things first

A Spending Plan

Smart Purchasing Habits-how to handle big purchases

The Rest of the Story-can you increase your income?

Residual Income and Retirement

Odds and Ends-some other fix it tips that don’t fit elsewhere

Other-any topics you would like to see here?  What do you need to know to fix your finances?

Do you have success tips to share? I’d love you to leave a comment below.

Vision video

 Vision  Comments Off on Vision video
Oct 282013
 

Personal Vision

Are you ready to create your own future?  It’s all about your personal vision. What are your dreams? What is the future that pulls you so compellingly that you MUST reach it and will gladly forgo immediate gratification to pursue your destiny? Reaching for our dreams is hard work. To get through the challenges and temptations, we must create a vision of a future that will pull us through.

Where do you want to go in life? Who do you want to be? Can you see, hear, taste, smell and touch your vision just like the future was already here? Share your answers and your tips below

Struggling?  Watch the video below for inspiration.

Create your vision. Be inspired!

I love to hear from my readers-please share below the tips that you use to keep yourself on track when the going gets tough.