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Financial Literacy Month – Tip #25

CREATE A VISION BOARD

Where focus goes….energy flows!

Craft a vision board with all of your financial, personal, and professional goals. A vision board can be made using a poster board, cork board, large frame or crafted using wood and chicken wire (chicken wire allows you to clip goals and remove easily). It can be as elaborate or as simple as your crafty heart desires.

Whichever style you choose, simply write each goal, pin each to the board and add visuals. For example, let’s say that your goal is to reduce debt. Print a thermometer, at the top note the amount of debt you want to reduce and the date you want to achieve the goal. Each month mark your progress on the thermometer. You can also use a thermometer to increase savings, fund college or camps for kids, or save for a home or vacation. If you need a thermometer, PM me and I will send you a printable copy.

If goals include a healthier lifestyle, buying a home, going on vacation, or a new car, add visuals for each. Search the web and print a photo of your dream home, vacation, car or fitness image.

Creating a vision board allows you to visually remain focused on your goals and measure results along the way. Happy crafting!

Financial Literacy Month – Tip #24

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”. ~Tony Robbins

Financial goals are unique and personal to every individual and family. Regardless of what your goals are, take the time to write them down. Having written goals will help you stay focused, measure your progress and keep you motivated.

Below are a few financial goals to get you started:

  • Debt Reduction – pay down credit card, student loan or mortgage debt.
  • Increase Savings/Retirement – grow a savings/retirement account.
  • Kids Funds – save for future college expenses, summer camps, or sports activities.
  • Buying a Home – save for a down payment to purchase your dream home.
  • Plan a Vacation – save to go on vacation (versus charge & pay later).
  • Start a Business – build a reserve to pursue your passion and open a business.

Once the goals are written, review frequently. Visually seeing and reviewing your progress will help you maintain momentum to achieve each financial goal. Tomorrow, we will use your goals for a fun and creative exercise! 

Financial Literacy Month – Tip #23

Tired of filling your recycling bin with junk mail each and every week? Here are five steps to reduce junk mail, credit card offers and the temptation to spend.

OptOutPrescreen.com – The credit bureaus offer a website or toll-free number that allows you to opt out of having credit card offers mailed to you. You can choose to be removed for 5 years or permanently. Visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com or call allow you to opt out of 1-888-5-OPTOUT.

DMAchoice.org – For a fee of $3, DMA (Direct Marketing Association) allows you to reduce the amount of commercial advertising mail that you receive at home for 10 years.

CatalogChoice.org – allows you to set mail preferences one catalog at a time. There is no cost for this service, just enter the name of the catalog and opt out.

Unsubscribe to email offers – take the time to unsubscribe from unwanted retail offers in your online inbox.

DoNotCall.gov – register your home and/or cell phone to reduce pesky phone offers.

Taking the time to unsubscribe and remove your name from the various lists will not only save you hours of sorting and trashing mail, it will also remove the temptation to open new accounts and shop for items you do not need.

Financial Literacy Month – Tip #22

Whether you are trying to payoff debt, save money, or just want to become a more savvy spender, there is no time like the present to start a “Spending Challenge!”

All you need for this tip is:

  • A good friend
  • A goal
  • A timeframe

Have I done this? You betcha I have! In January 2008, my New Year’s Resolution was to not shop for ONE YEAR! Yes, you read that correctly. I had just had my daughter, was cleaning out my closet and realized that I had quite a few items with tags still attached. Seeing how much stuff was stuffed in my closet, I set the goal of not shopping for a year, picked a good friend to hold me accountable, my husband, and gave the goal a timeframe of one year.

I am thrilled to report that on December 31, 2008, I met the goal! For an entire year I only shopped for essentials, no new clothes, shoes, handbags, workout clothes, make-up, you name it, if it was not essential, I did not buy it!

With the current Shelter-in-Place, spending habits have abruptly changed for many from “want” spending to “need” or essential spending. Before life returns to normal, ask yourself, do I really need to return to my old spending habits?

If the answer is no, pick up the phone, Facetime a good friend, set a goal, establish a timeframe and determine the reward (if you both meet the goal). Let the challenge begin!

Financial Literacy Month – Tip #21

Building on yesterday’s tip…..once you get the momentum going and focus on paying one account off at a time, the next step is to create the snowball effect. When the first account is paid, take the payment from the first account and apply it to the second account. When the second account is paid, take the payment from the second account and apply it to the third account. Keep building until all debt is paid. Let’s take a look at an example:

Card / LoanBalanceInterestRate%Minimum Payment
Macy’s$025.74%$60 (add to Best Buy)
Chase Visa$6,50018.24%$260
Best Buy$1,50025.24%$60+$60 (Macy’s)=$120

When the Macy’s account is paid off, take the $60 payment that was being made to Macy’s, add it to the Best Buy payment and the new payment to Best Buy is $120 (vs $60). When Best Buy is paid in full add the payment of $120 to the Chase Visa for a total payment of $380.

As each account gets paid and the payment is applied to the next account, the payment grows (like a snowball). The larger the payment, the faster you eliminate costly debt.