Explore Habits

horses

New posts to Inspired Savings will be ending Jan. 1st. All posts are archived at inspiredsavings.com and Inspired Savings is available as a calendar book.

Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way,
ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.
Deepak Chopra

 As we are getting ready to bring in the new year, it’s time to challenge some of our old habits.  We all develop habits because they work!  They provide a short cut for our brains so we don’t have to stop and think every time we’re faced with a situation.  However, as we grow and change, our habits may no longer be working for us—they need to grow and change too! Now is the time to think about those habits.

Are you in the habit of always saying “no” to yourself?  Maybe now is the time to begin to catch yourself and ask if there’s really a good reason to deny yourself some pleasure.  Think about it deeply.  If there is no good reason, enjoy yourself!

Are you in the habit of spending money and then regretting it hours, days or weeks later?  Maybe as you just look around your home you see so many things that are unused and unwanted. Is it time to explore how your buy things and ask yourself how you were feeling, who you were with, what else was happening or what was the timing when you bought without thought?  Then plan how to minimize those situations so you aren’t tempted to spend impulsively.

Which habits do you want to explore and challenge in the new year?

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyToday is a great day to go to www.annualcreditreport.com and order your free credit report from any or all of the three major credit bureaus.  Check it  at least once a year to be sure all the information is accurate.  Errors can mean a lower credit score and that could mean higher interest rates and fees. Check your name (spelling, middle initial, Jr., etc.) Any mistakes may mean someone else’s information may appear on your report.  Check your address–or you may have a tax lien, unpaid bills or other surprises reported on a property you no longer own.  Look for any bills reported as unpaid that you can prove you paid on time.  Check the hard inquiries and new accounts.  If you did not initiate all of them, someone may be fraudulently using your account.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?


The power of “no”

New posts to Inspired Savings will be ending Jan. 1st. All posts are archived at inspiredsavings.com and Inspired Savings is available as a calendar book.
trees lakeWrite, “say no” on your to-do list for a week and see what happens.
Katrina Alcom, Daily Worth

One little word can be so powerful. Often we get into the habit of doing things because it’s expected or it’s what we’ve always done.  If you’re feeling stressed, resentful, angry or overwhelmed, it may be time to stop and think if it’s time to say “no” to something or someone.

This week I’ve heard people say “no” to holiday party invitations, family traditions and buying gifts just to buy gifts.  Those changes were made intentionally with a lot of thought. It meant saying “yes” to having more time and energy and starting new traditions.  I’ve heard people saying “no” to their inner voice that was shouting “clean the house, do the laundry or go over that report one more time” so they could have some time to relax or do something that brought them joy.

If you were to say “no” to one thing or one person that drains your energy or your resources (including money!), what would that feel like?  What would happen as a result?  How could you handle any negative consequences?  Would the benefits pay off for you?  As they year ends, it’s a good time to look for ways to say “no” to things or people that drain your time, energy or finances.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyThere is no magic number of how much you should save for the future.  The most important thing is start get in the habit of saving something with every paycheck and start now.  Here’s an interesting suggestion, take your age and add two zeros on it for an annual savings goal.  If you’re 25, go for $2500.  If you’re 48, go for $4800.  Too much?  Save your age each week.  At 32, save $32/week.  At 50, save $50/week.  (From AARP magazine, 12/12).

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?


Changes

New posts to Inspired Savings will be ending Jan. 1st. All posts are archived at inspiredsavings.com and Inspired Savings is available as a calendar book.
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.

Carl Rogers

If you want to make some changes, start with a metaphor: My [challenge/problem] is like____. Then write a few sentences or a short story about it. Here are examples:

  • Marian: My weight is like a sack of potatoes ready to sprout more potatoes. There’s not enough room so the garden will need to get bigger.
  • Leslie: My muscles and lack of strength are like lasagna noodles. As soon as the noodles hit the boiling water they are pushed around and gave in without any resistance. Now they’re limply waiting for heavy stuff to be layered on top and require a pan for support.
  • Jessica: My credit card debt is like a vault that has me locked inside of it. I feel panicked that there’s not enough air and unless someone comes to let me out it will kill me. It also feels safe in here. No one can reach me and no one can expect anything from me.

Play with your story to see the bigger picture. Marian realized she feared gaining weight more than wanting to lose weight. She changed her focus to maintain, not lose, weight. Leslie identified with the noodles being pushed around by the water. She often went along when friends pressured her to do things even when she didn’t want to. Her story also helped her see she was afraid of not being strong enough to maintain her independence as she aged which was a real motivation to exercise. Jessica’s aha! moment was realizing she had given up all control of her life. Being in debt was scary, but she was depending on someone else to save her instead of taking responsibility. Even more revealing, she realized she was using debt as a way of protecting herself from her family’s inevitable demands for help.
Write your own metaphor and tell your story. What can you learn from it?

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyFreeze leftovers from parties and meals before you get tired of  eating them.

 

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?


Count Your Money

New posts to Inspired Savings will be ending Jan. 1st. All posts are archived at inspiredsavings.com and Inspired Savings is available as a calendar book.

When we know exactly how much we spend on “incidentals” every week,
 or how much money is in our wallet at any given moment, 
or what our monthly take-home pay is, to the penny, 
we demonstrate in a concrete way that we have mastered the conscious use of energy.
Maria Nemeth

If you always know exactly how much you have right to the penny and have everything absolutely in order you may need to lighten up a bit, but if you want to take control of your life and your money, treat your money with respect. Flatten those bills, put them in order and keep them in a designated place in your wallet, purse or pocket. Every day count your money so you do know exactly how much you have before you leave the house. When you take the responsibility to be aware of your money and treat it with respect it can make a big difference in the way you make decisions and take control. In fact, when you take control of your money and treat it with respect, you will find your will feel more in control of your life and will treat yourself with more respect.

Likewise, even though many of us rebel about keeping track of every penny, doing so for a few weeks can be an eye-opener. You may be surprised by how much those quick stops for one or two items at the supermarket really cost. There can be some surprises. Instead of getting overwhelmed and trying to keep track of everything, either (1) choose to focus on the money you carry with you and keep track of what your spend for a few weeks or (2) really thoroughly read your bank statement, credit card or salary information this month. You can take control by focusing on just one aspect of your money. What will you focus on?

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyIf your bank is charging a monthly fee for using a debit card call to see if they will waive that fee. Many will if you use direct deposit or keep a minimum balance in your account.

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?


Free chocolate

New posts to Inspired Savings will be ending Jan. 1st. All posts are archived at inspiredsavings.com and Inspired Savings is available as a calendar book.
Have the courage to act instead of react.
Earlene Larson Jenks

It takes a long time to change. Along the way there are lots of choices and they are not always easy. The most important choice is to choose to catch yourself performing old habits. We all do so many things automatically that we’re not even aware that we’ve fallen back into our old habits until it’s too late and the deed is done. Think about any “slips” you had this past month. Who were you with? Where were you? What were you doing? What were you feeling? Describe the situation. I was trying to lose weight and was actively avoiding eating chocolate–my downfall! However, when I went shopping there were lots of people giving out samples.  Without even realizing it, I took some delicious chocolate covered fruit that was offered to me and ate it.  It wasn’t until hours later that I realized I had eaten chocolate!  Now, before I go into a store where I am likely to be tempted, I remind myself and prepare myself to say “no thank you” and keep walking! Like me, once you can identify some predictable patterns, it is easier to be prepared for success. You can start by determining what you will say or do the next time you are faced with the choice of starting a new habit or just reacting as usual. You can imagine the situation and rehearse your new action in your mind to feel more confident in following through. Whether it’s a habit related to eating, exercising, speaking up or taking charge of any area of your life, catch yourself and prepare to act!

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyFrequently merchants, such as car rental companies and hotels, put a hold on your credit card for the amount they anticipate you will be charging. That means the amount you have available to charge can be significantly less so be careful not to exceed your limit.   What made you smile today? What made you proud of your money choices today?