Money Talks

They say money talks, but the only thing it ever says to me is goodbye.
Paul Waner

Don’t you wonder where the money went? Last night we went out to eat and had a coupon that covered one meal. You know how we all do mental calculations and manage to conveniently forget the extras? Restaurants that offer coupons are hoping we will do just that. So by the time we added on the salads, drinks and a side, the bill was significantly more than we had planned on spending.

In the same vein, I went shopping during the after season sale and came home jubilant that I had bought everything at great discounts. In my head I had added up over $300 in savings.  But when the $400 credit card bill came I was really surprised.   I was so busy adding up the savings I forgot to add up what I was actually spending!

Car dealerships are also great at helping us forget to think about the cost. They make the loan for a longer period of time in order to get the cost down to ONLY a few hundred dollars a month. It sounds like such a great deal we forget to ask how much the car will actually cost once we’ve paid all the interest on top of the purchase price. Likewise, TV ads are also effective at getting us to part with our money.  For ONLY three easy payments of $39.99 plus shipping and handling we can change our lives with a new exercise machine or a designer necklace. We think $39.99 is the price, not the actual cost of $150.

Becoming aware of marketing strategies can help us make more informed choices before our money waves good-by!

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyNeed more storage? Have space under your bed? Instead of buying plastic bins, consider using the drawers from an old dresser in your house or one you can pick up cheaply at a yard sale or thrift store. Clean and paint the drawers. Put casters on the corners. (Look for wooden drawers so they won’t crack when screwing in the casters.) Screw on pulls and slide under the bed. You’ve got lots more storage space that’s easy to get to and looks great.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Where’s Your Attention?

The easiest kind of relationship is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.
Joan Baez

One day I watched Luanne, 25, at a community event as one person after another gushed about how wonderful Vanessa, her mother, was. While she was very proud of her mother, Luanne wished that her mother had been more accessible when Luanne and her brother were growing up. Even now, Luanne and her family had planned a long weekend to visit her mom but it was obvious that there would be very little time to actually spend with her. Vanessa had the whole weekend filled with parties and events and, in-between, she would probably be spending a lot of time on the phone.

Being available to everyone else and minimizing time with those we say mean the most to us is an easy trap to fall into. I experienced that myself when my own sons were young and one of them complained that I was always on the phone. He was right. It was actually easier to ignore my own kids and be available by phone for work. I justified it by telling myself I was working with parents of young children with special needs and they were dealing with so much that the least I could do was to always be available to them.

At first I wanted to dismiss his complaint and explain how important these calls were, but I didn’t. I reminded myself that typically these were not life-and-death calls and that I was fortunate to have two wonderful, healthy sons. I began intentionally limiting my availability to others during our family time. Who’s important to you? How are you making time for them?

Money Saving Tip

saving money When you’re traveling and renting a car, check to see if there is a shuttle service or public transportation that will get you to a car rental place away from the airport. Taxes and fees on airport-based rentals can add a considerable amount to your bill.

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Letting Go

11-14Aug-women sand dunes Wholeness relates directly to the process of detaching – letting go.
Melody Beattie, More Language of Letting Go

What keeps you from feeling like you are enough and you have enough? We hear a lot about setting goals, having dreams and building the life you love. While there is merit in looking forward, sometimes it keeps us from enjoying who we are and what we have. If we’re always looking for the right fix, the right job, the right partner, the perfect child, the best vacation, the house of our dreams, the salary that’s three times what we’re making—what are we really looking for?

Is it time to take an inventory and love who you are and be satisfied with what you have? Is it time to let go of dreams that don’t matter any more? Of lifestyles that weigh you down instead of support your happiness? Of friends that reinforce bad choices or decisions you made at a different time in your life that aren’t really working any more?

Just today, love yourself just the way you are. Go through the day and catch yourself whenever you hear the words floating through your brain telling yourself that what you have isn’t enough. Listen for: if only, I wish, I hope, I want…

Just today relax and enjoy who you are and what you have. Let go of the should, coulds and wannabes.

Money Saving Tip

saving money Before you go out to eat, check online to see if the restaurant has a discount coupon you can use. Many places will post coupons on their websites. If you’re visiting, get a local paper to find local deals on eating out and entertainment.

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Teachers

A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though awakens your own expectations.
Patricia Neal

I’ve found that the best teachers I’ve had were people who saw things in me that I didn’t see myself and believed that I could do anything. Dr. Clayton was one of those teachers. I’ve lost touch with him, but his influence on my life continues.

When I was in my mid-twenties Dr. Clayton was the director of the Child Development Program at Georgetown University Hospital and my boss. I was his secretary when he called me in and asked if I would be interested in working on a new federal grant. The next thing I knew, I was in charge of implementing that grant which meant coordinating, writing, organizing and a dozen other new challenges. He had no doubt I would come through with flying colors and I didn’t disappoint him.

At the time I was also getting my Masters in the new field of early childhood special education. Subsequently, he gave me the opportunity to be the assistant in the program for infants with special needs and when the director of that program left, guess who got the position? I was excited by the opportunity and his unfailing belief that I could do it. It turned out to be one of the most wonderful and rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. His belief in my abilities kept me charging ahead and doing what needed to be done.

Who believed in you enough to help you believe in yourself? Was it actually a teacher in school, a parent, a friend or someone else in your life? Is it time for you to become the teacher who believes in someone else? Is it time for you to become your own teacher and believe in you?

Money Saving Tip

saving money After checking for hotel bargains online, call the hotel directly and ask if they will beat the online rate if you make the reservation directly through them. Surprisingly, some do! Some hotels will offer an additional discount if you prepay for your stay but be aware, these deals are usually nonrefundable.

 
What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?

Home Decorating

A house that does not have one worn, comfy chair in it is soulless.
May Sarton

When we moved and needed to buy a rug I asked a new acquaintance if she could suggest a store. She was from the area and had also recently moved into a new house but she said she had no idea. She had picked out a color scheme with a decorator and then the decorator purchased the furniture, pictures, accessories and rugs. I was reminded of that recently when I was looking at a women’s magazine.  One article suggested going to library sales, thrift stores and yard sales to buy inexpensive used books for your bookshelves that had bindings that were the right colors for your room to fill up your bookshelves. Another idea was to buy artist’s brushes and display them in jars on an art book properly placed on a shelf or table.

This concept of decorating is foreign to me. As I look around my house, every picture has a story. Every item on my shelves reminds me of a place I’ve been, a person who is important to me, an experience I’ve had or is simply something beautiful that brings me joy. Books are my weakness. Our shelves are overflowing with books we’ve read or will read as soon as we can get to them.

Sitting in front of my computer I can see a silly rooster on my cabinet that reminds me to smile and lighten up and a metal owl created by a friend that reminds me to “observe, wait and listen” when someone is talking. On one wall are two likenesses of Ganeesha, the Hindu god of new beginnings and overcoming obstacles, gifts from a friend from India and my son when I was starting my business. The room is filled with pictures from my travels and photos of people I love.

Being surrounded by things that make me smile and remind me of the people and experiences that are so important to me helps me keep a balanced perspective and reinforces my values about what brings meaning to my life.  What do you see when you look around your home or office?  When you feel good in your environment it can help ground you and keep you focused on your long-term goals.

Money Saving Tip

saving money If you like to keep up with trends and change the look of your home or office often, start with neutral colors for big items like a couch and rug. Create the new look with pillows, lamps, pictures and accessories which can be easily changed and purchased inexpensively.

 
What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?