Organist Overcomes Obstacles

There are people who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who do not know anything happened until a wake-up call alarms them that they are in trouble.
Flora L. Williams

Flora is an inspiration who makes things happen. She has written eighteen books on family economics, financial counseling and financial planning and taught at Purdue University for 32 years.

Her list of awards and accomplishments are incredibly impressive. After university retirement she returned to school to get a master of divinity and continues touching people’s lives in her new role as chaplain and interim pastor.

But here’s where her attitude of making things happen really impressed me when we met. Flora loves music and is an organist. When she lost her right hand in an accident many years ago, did she give up playing the organ? No! She researched music for one-handed pianists and organists and practiced until it became second nature to her. She not only adapted with grace to overcome that obstacle, she continues her active lifestyle with humor. She introduces her husband as “literally my right-hand man.”

Obstacles will pop up in your life, but like Flora, look for ways to make things happen and navigate around them. You can do it!

Money Saving Tip

saving money Check out gas and other gift card specials that are offered by hotels and vacation packages to make sure they really are good deals. A gift card for $25 worth of gas may require a minimum number of nights stay. Unless you’re planning to stay there multiple nights, it may not be worth it. Some gas gift cards are limited to a particular brand. Other times you’re required to submit a receipt and some paperwork to get your gift card or cash back; it’s hoped you won’t bother. Always check the small print to be sure you’re getting a deal.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Stair-step

What really matters is what you do with what you have.
Shirley Lord

Because so many of you indicated how helpful the concept is, I’d like to revisit the stair-step strategy. Think about your goal and, starting with the top step, figure out how you can achieve the goal if money were no object. On each lower step, consider how you can achieve it by spending less money. For example, here is the stair-step strategy if your goal is to get a dog that would be a good family pet and you’ve decided to get a medium-sized female that is good with children.

  • Top step: Pick a specific breed and pay top dollar for a dog from a breeder who can give you the pet’s family history. Buy ceramic dishes hand painted with Fifi’s name, a new crate, doggy bed, a dozen adorable toys, and a rhinestone studded collar and leash.
  • Second step: Do a search on the Web for different animal rescue organizations for the specific breeds that fit your criteria. Shop at your local pet supply warehouse for a crate, weighted dishes, doggy bed, collar, leash and toys.
  • Third step: Go to the local animal shelter and ask the staff to help you identify the dogs that have the right temperament. Choose one that appeals to you and your family. Go online and find the best deals on a crate, doggy bed, dishes, a leash, collar and toys.
  • Fourth step: Look for ads in your local newspapers and online resources for dogs and puppies that are being given away for free. (You may want to have a vet check the dog before you agree to take it to be sure the breed meets your needs and there are no obvious medical problems.) Use a sturdy box if it’s a puppy and needs to be confined until it is housebroken. Provide an old blanket for a bed (or find one at a thrift store) and look for bowls, a leash, collar and toys that are discounted.
  • Fifth step: Talk to your local vets. Sometimes people need to give up their pets and are looking to find a good home. The pet and all their supplies will be free and you will have done a good deed.

The final outcome for each step is a new dog and related canine accessories that meet your needs.  However, step one could easily cost thousands of dollars while step five is free.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyCompare prices for the food you’ve decided to feed your dog. Buying it in bigger quantities and from warehouse stores or online can be a big cost savings. Check to see if your community or local vets offer discounted spay/neuter services and shots on certain days or under certain conditions. Usually dogs from an animal shelter or those who have had a previous owner are already spayed/neutered and will be up to date on shots.

 
What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Plant a Tree

11-tree autumn Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
Martin Luther

Doing things that make the world a better place after we’re gone isn’t just about leaving a legacy. One thing you can do to make life easier for your family is to be sure you have your affairs in order regardless of your age.

As many of you know, it can be emotionally overwhelming and tremendously time-consuming when someone dies or becomes disabled to pay bills, dispose of property, arrange for care, a burial or cremation, make choices without knowing that person’s wishes and beliefs and do all that needs to be done.

At a minimum, put all your important papers in one place and let someone responsible know where they are. Have a will, healthcare power of attorney, living will and power of attorney signed and accessible. Need help? Starting places to find local resources and referrals if you don’t have a lawyer could be: United Way, the law school at a local university, AARP, senior center (even if you’re young), the HR department at work and your place of worship.

Money Saving Tip

saving money Online legal wills and other forms may be free, but don’t be a penny wise and a pound foolish. If you have minor children or there is property or other assets involved, it is best to talk to a lawyer to avoid small mistakes that could have big consequences.

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Needs vs Wants

The real trick with frugality in modern life often isn’t figuring out ways to spend less. It’s getting past the mountains of marketing messages and cultural norms that revolve around spending.
Trent Hamm

One of the classic exercises in financial education programs is to help people differentiate between what they want and what they need. That’s easy if you’re talking about basic survival, but after that it’s not always black and white. Advertising compounds the problem because it exists to create needs by tapping into emotional triggers so you feel you have to have something.

Everyone knows you need food, but buying a chocolate truffle for $2.50 is clearly a want. If you are trying to eat healthier food then paying more for organic vegetables would be a need, but what about paying more for items marked low-fat, low-salt or all-natural? Be alert and don’t make assumptions!

Chances are the marketing experts have linked their product message to your “need” for healthier food, but it may just a marketing ploy with no real nutritional differences. Read the labels carefully before spending the extra money!

When your child is shopping for school clothes and wants a brand name or a look that is “in” but costs more that would seem to be a want. But what if your daughter is different in some way and has a difficult time fitting in? Even though you know clothes don’t really make a difference in the long-term, if marketing has convinced her that it will help her fit in, do you see it as a “need” because it might provide that extra small boost of confidence when she starts school?

What if your business acquaintances have invited you to join them at an expensive fundraising? You want to go because it sounds like fun, but you know the cost of a ticket is not in the budget. On the other hand, this social opportunity is the opening you’ve been hoping for to meet people who have the influence to help your organization in important ways. Does that elevate it to a “need”?

Continue questioning yourself and differentiating between needs and wants, but remember that once it gets past basic survival, it may not always be as black and white as you might think.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyPlanning ahead can help alleviate some of the stress that accompanies the holiday season. Is now a good time for you to start thinking about the holidays? Make a list of people to whom you intend giving gifts, the most you will spend on those gifts and begin going through catalogs, online shopping sites and watching for sales. If you’re going on a vacation this summer, is there something unique to the area you plan to visit that would make the perfect holiday gift for nearly everyone on your list and minimize the time and stress of buying different individual gifts?

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Put Yourself on High Alert!

DSCN9414Fortune favors the prepared mind.
Louis Pasteur

Planning to stop at the grocery store to pick something up on your way home? Before you do, stop and assess your resistance level. Are you hungry, tired, rushed or feeling down after a busy day?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, and this is the only time you have to go to the store, put yourself on high alert! You will be more vulnerable to marketing ploys, product placement, sales signs and impulse buys.

Before walking into the store, be prepared! Agree with yourself that you will ONLY buy the things on your list. Go to a familiar store where you can head directly to those items and leave without walking up and down all the aisles. Don’t take a cart or basket. If you’re tempted to treat yourself or buy extra items, repeat to yourself: This is a quick stop for these items and I’m out of here. I’m fast and focused. This is a quick stop for these items and I’m out of here. I’m fast and focused. By preparing yourself you will be able to pass up the impulse buys that beckon.

Money Saving Tip

saving money Some stores give a cash back receipt for the next time you shop in that store. Pay attention to the date. They usually expire fairly quickly. If it’s a store you will be going back to anyway, plan to take advantage of that cash back. If not, pass it onto another customer. They will save you money, you will not have spent money for something you didn’t need and you will have done a random act of kindness.

 
What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?