The best and worst thing about money is there’s no such thing as too much. Nearly everyone, especially yours truly, can think of ways to spend cash that has yet to be earned. Sometimes, the problem is nowhere near enough money and that can stress your health, your relationships and your work. The most important thing is to develop a healthy financial view. Here’s how (and like always, I keep it simple).
1. Know where your money comes from and where it goes. Simply put, have a spending plan. Spending plan is a kinder, gentler word for a budget. Use it. Especially if “budget” leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth or, in extreme cases, causes heart palpitations. Budget seems strict and rigid. A spending plan is a proactive approach to getting where you want to be from where you are financially.
2. Understand your bank’s fees so you can avoid paying them. I recently discovered a $5 “bill pay” charge from my bank. I pay my bills online, but I don’t use my bank’s bill pay service? Why am I being charged for that? Don’t be afraid to ask the question. I also avoid ATM fees at all costs thanks to a network of convenience stores that all feature “No Fee” ATMs. Some banks refund out of network fees. Learn your bank’s policy.
3. Learn to read and understand your credit report. You can get one annually from each of the three major agencies from www.annualcreditreport.com. If you’ve never done this, get all three at once the first time. Then, starting a year from now, pull from one agency every three months to make sure your reports are accurate. If you need help, that’s why I am here. Or any credit counseling service in your area will assist you. Your bank should too.
4. Know your score. Your credit score is available on demand from CreditKarma.com. This great, free tool also shows you how to improve your score if that’s necessary.
5. Relax. These simple steps will put you in control of your money than having your money control you. Knowing where you’re at financially will help you identify areas where you can save money or possibly bring more money into your life through making frugal choices, leveraging your talents to earn extra cash or deciding on other ways to increase income.
In the midst of the Holiday Season, sometimes we find ourselves wrapped in sadness. So it is with our family. Our wonderful sister lost a valiant battle with Evil Cancer. I lost my best friend. Some of you will say I’m silly to combine a beloved family member and a DOG but pet owners will understand completely.
So where was I? We attempted to celebrate 12 days of Christmas through our sadness (our sister lost her fight on 12/26) and had some success. New Years Eve with family and friends was a comfortable success. We played video games and cards and had tacos for dinner. Iplan hope to repeat it monthly!
Other ideas for 2012:
Sunday Family Dinners involving our parents and maybe extended family
What does 2012 hold for you?
At another blog I read $5 Dinners, the blogger has come up with a “Word for 2012”. Her word is “Simplify”. Mine is “Healthy”. It’s kind of all encompassing, isn’t it? I’m going to base all my decisions on “Is this healthy for me?”. Activities, relationships, food, habits! If it isn’t healthy, it’s out.
What’s your word for the New Year? Talk to me in the comments!
Every single time I’ve finished a 3Day event, I am tired, sore and looking forward to the next one. This year is no exception – in fact, I’d like to do three! But to begin with one, I have signed up for the Chicago Event in early August. 1 in eight women receives a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. Please consider a holiday donation in honor of the women in your life.
I’m sorry. The blog has been spotty. First the Thanksgiving holiday, then ten days in paradise (not that I am complaining) but my punishment from the universe (I really need an investigation into my Karma) was the loss of my best friend. Champ and I had eleven wonderful years and one shitty day together. He suffered what the vet thinks may have been a stroke in early November and went downhill from there rather quickly. It seemed silly to cancel a trip to Hawaii because my dog was sick, but I was mightily tempted. He needed me!
The kids did a great job taking care of him save for a few urgent phone calls while I was gone but by the time we returned it was clear that my baby boy needed me to do the right thing. One week ago today, almost to the minute, Champ made his final trip to the vet. I know that he is flying in joy, free from pain, but it doesn’t make me miss him less.