Financial Tip Friday! – Financial Diet

financial-diet

Just like you can’t lose weight if you take in more calories than you burn, you can’t reach your financial goals if you consistently spend more than you make. 

Happy Friday!

Financial Tip Friday! – Don’t Stress

I’m coming to you live from Brooklyn, NY this morning with a very important tip!

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My financial tip for you on this cloudy, damp Friday, is to not stress yourself out over your finances. I’m a worrier by default. I think I inherited it from my mother. I worry about getting a flat tire. I worry about getting places late. But more than anything I always worry about my finances. Worrying isn’t going to help you pay your rent this month, but a solid plan and a strict budget will!

Also, I know I talk about saving money all the time and it’s one of the most important things that you can do, but you also need to live a little. For a few months I’ll be on a savings kick where all I wanna do is just save money because I look at my bank account and I see the benefits of all that savings. And then sometimes I just want to blow it on something fun, like a 2 night stay in Brooklyn and a couple tickets to the Nets vs Heat game which I will be attending tonight! (OMG! Lebron James and I will be in the same room!)

Moral of the story, or of this blog or whatever… Don’t spend all of your time worrying. Spend a little time worrying, a little time having fun, and a lot of time in control! And in the words of my grandfather, when he came to my mother in a dream (true story!), “Don’t worry so much … I worried my whole life and everything always worked out.”

Have a good weekend!

Retirement Calculator – Are you saving enough?

I’m fairly young to be thinking about retirement, even though I so often dream about those long, leisurely days, but I’d like to be prepared for when the day finally comes. I also want to have a plan well before then so I know how much money I should have saved. Thinking about retirement and the money I want to have saved for all of the things I’d like to do, quite honestly, terrifies me. It’s not on the top of my worry list right now but it’s only a matter of time before it nears.

Today I was surfing the CNN Money page and they have a retirement calculator.

retirement calc

You enter your age, what age you’ll be when you retire, how much money you have saved for retirement already, and your annual salary and the percentage at which you’re saving and voilà! It lets you know how much you’ll probably need and how much you’ll have if you stick to the same annual salary and percentage of contribution.

No matter how old you are, it’s a great tool to utilize once in a while to keep you on track. It probably sucks to be old but you don’t want to be old AND poor!

Check out the money calculator here.

Financial Tip Friday! – 52 Week Money Challenge REVISED!

Welcome to Financial Tip Friday! The first of many, I hope.

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52 Week Money Challenge

52 Week Money Challenge

I’m sure you’ve seen this image before. The 52 Week Money Challenge was posted everywhere at the beginning of last year and has resurrected itself yet again in 2014. It’s an awesome and super easy way to save $1,378 in one year. Even though it’s very easy, I failed the challenge last year. I kept forgetting about it or the end of the week was an inconvenient time for me to go and get cash out so I’ve been looking for a better way to approach the challenge.

Last year, She Makes Cents came up with an incredible way to participate in the 52 Week Money Challenge by doing it BINGO STYLE! Check it out:

Bingo Style 52 Week Challenge

Bingo Style 52 Week Challenge

By using this method you can spare yourself the larger contributions later in the year around the holidays by making the larger deposits whenever you can throughout the year! At the end of the 52 weeks, you’ll still have the same total amount. You can check out Danielle’s post here and if you’d like her bingo style template you can email her at shemakescents@gmail.com.

I’ve also come up with a way to really intensify the challenge this year!

Level 1 – First Quarter Double

1st Quarter Double

This is a great way to save almost $100 more by just pushing yourself a little harder to save more money.

Level 2 – 26 Week Double

26 Week Double

By doubling the totals for half of the year you’re able to save $351 more dollars and the most you’ll have to save a week is $52.

Level 3 – Full Year Double

Full Year Double

Now this challenge is not for the faint of heart. This is some serious savings. Saving almost $3,000 in a year on top of what you’re already saving is something crazy! My husband and I both get paid bi-weekly but our pay days happen to fall on opposite Fridays, which is fabulous! So every Friday one of us is getting paid so this could definitely be a challenge that I may have to try and really push myself to do. It won’t be easy and if it becomes too much then I can always go back to the original challenge and still be ahead of the game.

So my challenge to all of my readers is to push yourself and try amping up your 52 week money challenge this year! Try one of these levels of savings and let me know how it goes but hurry because tomorrow is the end of week 1 so decide how much you’ll be saving!

Here is the link for you to download all of the PDF’s of level 1-3 of the 52 Week Double Money Challenge:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/iowa63dh2ultdzp/OFkNedXjLk

Setting and Accomplishing Financial Goals!

set and reach goal concept

Setting and accomplishing goals are so important. They boost your confidence and improve your overall attitude. Setting goals and following through can be difficult so I thought I’d let you all know how I go about setting goals and trying to accomplish them.

Figure out what your goals are. Sit down and REALLY take time to think about it. Also, include your family in on your thinking process. You know what they say, “family knows best”… sometimes. Give yourself a realistic time frame to achieve these goals. Your short-term goals may take you 1-2 years or even 5 years to complete. Don’t get discouraged because time flies! Once you figure out what it is that you want to accomplish and when, the next step is to make a list of things you’re going to need to give up in order to get there. You may need to cut down on yearly vacations and just go every other year. Or it may be something as simple as not going out to eat multiple times a week. Whatever it is that you need to give up, list it below your goal.

Some of the things you need to give up my affect your family so make sure you talk to them about it. If you have children, explain to them that accomplishing goals are important and sometimes giving up certain guilty pleasures will help accelerate you to your goal. Younger children may not understand so cut back on family events that cost a lot of money like going to the movies, which all of a sudden costs an arm and a leg! When I was growing up it was like $5.50 to go see a movie and now it’s $10-$12 and if you’re a senior citizen, that’ll save you, what, $.25? Woopty-doo! And don’t even get me started on the price of 3D movies! Just because you spent $500 million making the movie Avatar, James Cameron, doesn’t mean you can charge us the same price just to go see it. Sorry for the randomness! Anyways, instead of taking the family to the movies have a movie night at home with a $1 red box movie and some good old fashion Orville Redenbacher. When the weather gets nicer check around your area to see if there’s any outdoor movie theaters or drive-ins. Also, summer is theme park season and the price of admission gets crazier every year. Kids always want to go multiple times but let them know that they can only go once or twice this summer and tell them to choose wisely.

Lastly, you’re going to need to review and re-prioritize your goals regularly. There’s going to be unavoidable setbacks. Also, some of your goals may seem unimportant after awhile so replacing one goal for another is not a big deal as long as you keep working towards something.

Organizing on a Budget – #6

I was searching online for a 12 x 12 paper holder for my scrapbook paper so that I could free up storage space in one of the drawers in my white storage container. I found a really awesome Cropper Hopper Paper Holder on Amazon.

It was perfect for the amount of paper that I have and it was only $7 something and eligible for Amazon Prime free two-day shipping. Though the price has went up to $10.70 since I bought it late last, it’s still totally worth it. It holds up to 200 sheets of paper and it’s really easy to store. I actually decorated mine with some really pretty tissue paper and some mod podge.

It fits perfectly with my binders. I found the same product at scrapbook.com for $6.65 but you need to pay for shipping so it may be worth it if you pair it with any other scrapbooking items that you may need.

I also found a similar item on amazon. It’s pretty much the horizontal box version of  the vertical stand up box. And it’s also eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping!

This one runs for $10.99 so the prices are very similar and I’m sure you’d be able to decorate this one and make it pretty also.

The best part of all of this is that now I have a drawer open to store random stuff in! HOORAY!

Happy MONDAYYYY!

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If you use or know of any affordable organizational supplies, I’d love to know and feature you on my blog. Comment with your e-mail address or e-mail me at kate@coordinatedkate.com

Cheap Travel Kit For The Car!

I have this weird reoccurring dream that I’m driving through a desert like setting at night and my car breaks down. Don’t ask me why! I don’t think there are any desert-like roads in New Jersey but for some reason I still think my nightmare is relevant – Hahaa! That nightmare is the reason I always keep a few necessities in the car at all times. Remember those $.97 storage boxes I told you about last week in my Organizing on a Budget #4? Well that’s what I’ve used to put my kit together.

My kit includes:

– Toilet paper, because you never know when you’ll have to go. I know this all too well. But that’s another story!

-Small first-aid kit

-Bottle of ibprofen

-Pack of Wet Ones wipes that are on sale this week at Target for $1, by the way.

-Small bottles of shampoo & conditioner

-A mini lint roller. I don’t know why, but I never notice that I need a lint roller until I’m in natural light (like when I’m sitting in the car), so I added a mini lint roller to my purse and to the car kit.

-A little pack of tissues

-Hand sanitizer

-A small bar of soap that I stole from Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City 🙂

– Swiss army knife (w/ a wine bottle opener!)

-And matches, in case I really do get stranded in the desert and need to start a fire to stay warm in the freezing cold nights to keep away the dangerous animals and desert scorpions that are all out to attack me! (Alarm clock goes off)… Oh, just a dream.

So the whole kit was under $10 to put together and I think it’s well worth it because you never know when you’ll need some of this stuff. Some things I might add is maybe a couple bottles of water. Maybe a couple small bags of snacks or nut bars that won’t melt or get gooey if left in the hot trunk. Super easy to customize and actually pretty fun to think of all the scenerios when you might need this.

Happy hump day!

Organizing on a Budget – #5

I was talking to a friend at work, Lacee, who doesn’t have her own blog, but she should, but I’m glad she doesn’t because she has really awesome ideas that would put my blog outta business! So I OBVIOUSLY need to give her a shout out because this idea was hers and it’s a great idea for people trying to save some money all year round! And who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Buying blank note cards and holiday cards in bulk will save some big cash!

I got 28 blank note cards with envelopes for $3 and a variety box of 26 Christmas cards with envelopes for $2.99 that I only used maybe 3 or 4 of last Christmas. I also got a birthday card because it was $.40 on clearance.

And look how awesome these personalized cards are…

There’s different kinds of ways to decorate them so you’re not always giving out the same card. They’re great if you want to make your own birthday, anniversary, or even a thank you note. The best cards don’t always have to be Hallmark or something fancy. Usually people don’t even care about the card, they just want whatever is inside it or whatever came with it, like a present. But I really like them and I like having the option to send little notes to people. Next time someone does something nice for you, don’t send them a text or write on their Facebook wall. Send them a nice hand written thank you card to show your appreciation and I’m sure it will mean a lot more!

I picked up these cards at Christmas Tree Shop which is like the greatest place on Earth but if you don’t have one of those near you then try the closest dollar store. I’m sure they’ll have something similar.

Happy savings! And by “Happy Savings” I mean HAPPY MONDAY! And by “Happy Monday!” I mean shit, it’s not Friday yet 😦 Sorry!

Yearly Budget Spreadsheet!

Here we are again! With the last and final part of the financial spreadsheet. With this Yearly Budget Spreadsheet you’re going to be able to track all of your spending all in one place! In order to be able to complete this spreadsheet, you’re going to need to finish the Monthly Budget Spreadsheet, first. If you need that template, let me know!

It looks similar to the Monthly Spreadsheet, right? Well, it’s supposed to.

 

The first column should be labeled ‘Budget’ and this is where you’re going to input all the information that you have on your ‘Monthly Budget’ spreadsheet. All of the same amounts, same categories, etc. I’ve added ‘Additional Income’ to this category, but you want to make the monthly budget $0.00 because you don’t want to expect any additional income, but if you get it, you have somewhere to put it. I use ‘Additional Income’ on my personal spreadsheet because my husband works in sales and often gets a commission check so I put that commission check amount in this spot. So if you or your partner get commission or maybe you sell stuff on Ebay or have a little side business going where you make funky bracelets or something crazy, I dunno.. you might just want to put this extra row on your sheet.

Then the next part is simple:

You’re just going to label the next columns with the upcoming months and you’re going to keep track of how much you spend in each category. Remember when I said to make a Monthly Bill Binder?  Well this is where it would come in handy. You keep all your bills together when you get them and then sometime near the end of the month, take a half hour on a Sunday morning and go through the binder. Input all the totals from your bills, grocery receipts, pay stubs, etc. It doesn’t take long at all. Add them all up and see how you did this month.

I’m going to explain the sample sheet a little further.

These are the ‘Household Expenses’. As you can see in the sample, some of the expenses may fluctuate like I said in the Monthly Budget post but all you need to do is just type in the exact amount when you receive the bill. You can see that on the Yearly Budget Spreadsheet I’ve added a category that I didn’t have on the Monthly Spreadsheet and that is ‘Miscellaneous’. I consider Miscellaneous to be trips to Target for household supplies or  beauty items, stuff like that. Also, let’s say you have to go to a birthday party this month and you need to buy a gift for someone. I would put that total under ‘Miscellaneous’ also.

‘Gas’ and ‘Maintenance’ will probably be the only categories under Automobile that will change much. One month you may get an oil change, the next month you wont, and maybe the next month your tire blows out and you need to purchase a new one. Those are pretty crazy fluctuations. Add them to your sheet to keep it together!

Your liabilities can be different every month also. Like I said in the Monthly Budget, you’ll want to just put what you’re comfortable with spending. Some months you may want to pay more based on how much income you’ve got and some months you may feel better paying less.

Savings will change, most likely every month, so you can be prepared for that with this spreadsheet. At the end of the year it will be awesome to see how much money you’ve put away!

Isn’t this so inspiring? This is how you can see how much money YOU can save each month if you just STICK TO THE BUDGET! And that’s the trick! Not this spreadsheet or the planners or the binders. Sticking to the budget is definitely what you need to be doing. People think that coming up with the budget and keeping everything organized is the hard part, but it’s not even close! These spreadsheets are just going to help you stick to it!

I was actually thinking yesterday that if you made these spreadsheets and then kept cash for things that you’ll be buying in separate envelopes, kinda like the ‘Envelope System‘ that She Makes Cents wrote about, it might work really well! Most people pay for their bills like cable, electric, rent, cell phones, etc either online or by check, so you would keep that money in the bank. But let’s say you take out money for food, entertainment, and miscellaneous things and put them into their own labeled envelope and once those are gone, they’re gone. Except for maybe food. If you need more money for food then I think it’s ok to take out some more, unless you’re going out to eat all the time or getting fast food, then it’s a no-no. That way, you’re only using your bank account to pay for bills and then you’re using the cash in your envelopes for things that you may typically get carried away with. Because I KNOW that if I walk into Target and see a bunch of stuff I want I’m going to pull out that debit card or credit card and tell them to charge it!… But if you go in there with your envelope and you see how much money you have left to spend for the ENTIRE month, you may think twice. I think I’m going to try this next month and I’ll let you know how I do. If you try it or already do something similar, let me know!

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So that is it for the spreadsheets. Isn’t it sad? 😦 LOL

We’ll do this like the last time. If you’d like the Excel spreadsheet template, the PDF template, or the GoogleDocs version, let me know either in the comments or email me at kate@coordinatedkate.com. If you leave me a comment please be sure to also leave me your email address!

If I sent you the Monthly Budget Spreadsheet, then I have your email and I’m going to just automatically send you this one so that you don’t even need to bother asking for it!

Hope you enjoy!