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Project ‘Spring Clean’ – Taking your home & money from good to great in these 7 steps!

Justin and I are back from our incredible wedding weekend and are starting our newlywed lives together. With wedding planning behind us, we are now focusing on the next project – creating a beautiful home! While we have been living in this apartment for almost four months now, it’s a great opportunity to do some spring cleaning and make our space ideal for us!

It’s also a great time to get a jump start on our new money lives together. We are now a team working toward each other’s goals and dreams together. You’re probably not surprised, but I found all kinds of parallels in the spring cleaning of our apartment to the spring cleaning of our money lives. I’ve combined them so that each of these seven steps works for both! I’ll be posting over the course of three weeks – I hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Come up with your strategy.

There are many facets to our money lives and even New York apartments have more than one room – are you going to tackle one at a time or would you rather do all at once? There is no wrong answer here. For me, it’s been helpful to see real progress in one room before I move on to the next. I’ve found it motivates me a whole lot more than completing one step for the entire apartment. I also decided I’d start small. My home-office is a sacred space for me because that’s where I spend the majority of my time each day. It’s also pretty small so I could hone my strategy in that room before moving on to the next. Set up your strategy so that you get to have the most fun with this!

Step 2: Take inventory and give the excess away.

One of the best parts of spring cleaning is clearing out of the excess. And how abundant do you feel when you get present to the fact that you have so much more than you need?! First, take an inventory of what you have and then set up time to do a walk through of your home and/or financial setup to find any excess. Does having accounts with four different banks make your life any better? Does it complicate things to be spending on five different credit cards? Do you really need five different measuring cups? You might not think so but if you have a partner or roommate, make sure to talk to them before getting rid of the excess. For Justin, the many measuring cup sets are a necessity. You just never know!

Project 'Spring Clean' Money Coach_Make a Mess_02.28.15

Step 3: Make a list of in-completes and check them off one-by-one.

By now, your money life and home are looking pretty great. You have a plan and have cleared out the excess! I feel lighter already. Now it’s time to deal with the things that bug you. These might be broken lamps, disorganized closets, unused transit benefits or setting up automatic increases to your company 401-K. Walk around your home and think through your money life. What things bug you, even if it’s just a little bit? You don’t have to live with these!  Make of list of any and all things that bug you. Set aside time each day or week to start going through and checking off the list. Not only will you feel amazing after getting all of these down on paper, you might find that there were things that bugged you that you ignored and had no idea they were even bugging you. Think of all the space in your mind you are creating by not having these thorns in your side every time you walk into your home!

I’ve given you plenty to keep you busy. Next week I’ll take you through two more steps to take your money and home from good to great!

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Get Control of Your Spending with a Spending Fast

When you hear the words ‘impulse spending,’ you probably automatically think of big purchases and large shopping sprees, but impulse spending comes in all shapes and sizes. Whenever we make a purchase that we wouldn’t have made if we were being conscious and intentional with our decisions, it’s impulse spending. No matter how small the expense. In the moment of making the purchase you might feel excited and happy but hours or sometimes even minutes later, you think “what was I thinking?” and the guilt starts to set in. This can happen while shopping online sales or at the mall but also at the lunch counter of your favorite deli or even when buying a snack at your local bodega. We buy something, feel great and then quickly feel guilty. It’s no fun but we do it again and again.

Try a spending fast to stop this cycle. How often do we take a day to spend nothing? If you haven’t thought about it, probably pretty rarely. People I surveyed said the longest they go without spending is from the time they fall asleep at night until they buy their morning coffee or breakfast. We flutter around morning to evening, swiping our credit cards, exchanging cash or hitting “confirm payment’ and then wonder “where did all my money go?!”

A spending fast can take a bit of planning. Look through your plans for the day or two you plan to fast and come up with ways to make it so that you don’t have to spend a thing. Make sure you have enough groceries to eat at home or pack your meals, plan to walk, use a prepaid metro card or a car with enough gas. Pay any bills coming due before your spending fast so that you don’t have to break it. It might sound silly but it’s hugely powerful to take a break from the cycle of spending.

If a complete fast doesn’t work with your lifestyle, try stripping out all frivolous spending for a couple of days to a week. Give yourself a break and watch the peace flood into your life!

If you want a little structure or help with your spending fast, join me tonight for the beginning of the 30 Day Money Cleanse. After the thirty days you will feel confident and in control of your spending once and for all!

30 Day Money Cleanse

5 Signs You Need a Money Cleanse

It’s time for some spring cleaning! Here are 5 Signs You Need a Money Cleanse.

1. This is you right after you see your credit card bill…

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2. This is you 20 minutes after you see your credit card bill…

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3. You try to find the cash to pay it off…

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4. Then decide it’s time to get back on that budget…

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5. And you feel like this…

Money Cleanse, Knowing Your Worth, the Fiscal Femme, Money CoachDo you need a 30 Day Money Cleanse? Join me on March 2nd!

Love & Money – Saving as a Couple

We often think of our money goals (and all of our goals) as being our own but as you may know, I’m a huge proponent of creating a dream team to maximize results. If you are in a relationship, one very important, if not the most important member of your dream team is your partner!

When it comes to our money lives it’s very important that we are on the same page as our partner. It’s important that we share our goals, dreams and create a plan to make them happen!

Why is it important? Not only can our partners be a huge source of support and encouragement, but they are also part of our vision. What if your number one goal this year is to take a vacation to Tahiti and your partner’s number one goal is to save up for a down payment on a house? Which will you prioritize? Are both goals realistic given the timeline you’ve laid out?

Sound complicated? I highly recommend sitting down with your partner for a dream sesh. Set aside thirty minutes or so, sit down with a blank sheet of paper and a pen (or computer screen) and let the ideas roll. It might make sense to break up the sheet into short-term, mid-term and long-term dreams. Notice the amazing energy in the room as you brainstorm and dream up your incredible lives together!

Next, you can start putting numbers and priorities to each dream. Yes, you want to send your future children to college but you might decide to prioritize your wedding or home fund first. The fun part is, with two people working to achieve these goals, you’ll achieve them twice as fast. Maybe even more quickly because you’re inspiring each other!

Finally, you can put these numbers into existence. If you aren’t saving money at the end of each paycheck now, what changes can you make to start? Try coming up with creative solutions together. You might decide to play chef for each other two nights a week instead of going out. How great of a meal can you create for $15 or less? Maybe you start a wine and movie night instead of heading out to the bars one night a week. You can create something that works with what’s important to each of you. Saving for your dreams can be even more fun than what you were doing before.

Don’t forget to track your progress. If you are 1/10 of the way toward one of your goals, mark it down! Celebrate. Congratulate the other and get excited. If you are saving for a trip, tape a picture of where you want to go on your fridge and mark it for milestones as you get closer to reaching your goal.

Love & Money_Saving as a Couple_Money Coach_the Fiscal Femme_02.22.15

The Power of Habit: Weekly Update on Project ‘Get Abs & Save Money’

Project ‘Get Abs & Save Money‘ ended a little over a week ago when we had our wedding in Florida. I’m still in awe of the magical weekend we spent with family and friends in the gorgeous weather. It was really a dream come true!

While I expected the wonderful memories and happiness to stick with me, I didn’t expect my very healthy eating habits leading up to the wedding to stay with me as well. It really goes to show you that building habits works!

I really expected to be pigging out post-wedding but interestingly enough, when I placed my first grocery order since returning back to New York, I found myself craving the same Glutenfreeda oatmeal, Ezekiel bread and sugarless peanut butter. Hm! Maybe there is something to be said for faking it until you make it!

Are there any habits you’d like to try on in hopes that they might stick with you? I can think of a few money ones that would be wonderful for my financial wellness!

You might be wondering if I got those abs I wanted for the wedding. I did! The goal-setting, planning and hard work paid off. When the professional photos come out, I promise to share but for now, you’ll have to enjoy those borrowed shots from friend’s iphones!

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My favorite thing about my job…

There are so many wonderful perks to being an entrepreneur living your passion. It’s very exciting, extremely fulfilling and I learn so much everyday! While it’s hard to pin down one thing that makes me the happiest about my running my business, seeing my clients’ results and transformation has to be one of the best things ever!

My most recent 30 Day Money Cleanse was an incredible group of women who really transformed their money lives and took their financial wellness to the next level. I hope you find their stories as motivating and inspiring as I do!

If you are interested in joining in on the fun, the next 30 Day Money Cleanse starts Monday, March 2nd. You can learn more here and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

-I LOVED the money cleanse!  You have no Jill Ozovek_Money Cleanse_Testimonial_02.22.15


Meet Elisabeth Santana: Entrepreneur & Floral Design Expert

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with floral design expert and entrepreneur, Elisabeth Santana to learn more about the way she thinks about money, get some great money wisdom and hear about what she loves! I think you will enjoy her answers. Stay tuned for some fun floral events we will be hosting this year!

What’s your #1 Frugal Joy?
Summer: Going to Shakespeare in the Park, Central Park. It’s just magnificent and completely free! What more could a New Yorker ask for?!

All Year: Getting complimentary haircuts and color from TIGI Advanced Hairdressing Academy. The services I get would be typically be over a $500 value. Here’s the link.

Do You have a ‘Money Motto?’
My money motto is “Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” – Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

Best money advice you ever got?
Best advice I’ve ever received was to determine the difference between my wants and needs. When starting a business, one could get caught up in making frivolous purchases that aren’t a necessity. A plan of action and set of goals need to be created, read and re-read regularly!

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?
Attending a show through the Theater Development Fund (I’m a member) or trying out a new restaurant.

What are you most excited about right now?
The opportunity to work with my alma mater, Poly Prep Country Day School, on designing the floral arrangements for their March Gala at Cipriani Wall Street!

How can people connect with you?
Though email at elisabeth@ejblooms.com or via social media outlets!

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Earn Some Interest on Your Savings!

If you have a rainy day fund or short-term savings goals, you probably have some money in your savings account. If you have your savings in a brick and mortar bank, you are probably earning around .01% interest. That means earning $1 a year on $10,000 of savings. Not too exciting…

I highly recommend high interest savings accounts (also called high yield savings accounts) for your short-term savings. Right now, you can get about 1% interest for this type of account. Although interest rates are low and 1% probably won’t have you jumping for joy, you’d be earning $100 a year on that same $10,000 of savings versus $1. You could do something fun with that $100 or reinvest it into your savings goals!

Another thing I like about the high interest savings account is that it’s separate from your checking account. It’s nice to have a mental and physical separation between your checking and savings accounts. It takes a couple of days for money to transfer from your high yield savings account to your checking so you will have to plan ahead to dip into savings rather than have it happen at the click of a button whenever you need. Definitely leave a buffer for yourself in your checking account but the remaining savings should be earning you some interest as it protects you or lets you plan your next vacay!

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The Story of My Rehearsal Dinner Dress

Next weekend, we are getting married and I’ve truly enjoyed and cherished the planning process. It’s been such a wonderful time of love, joy, dreaming and celebration. I’ve also really enjoyed incorporating all of my money strategies into this process and am so excited to share with brides everywhere what I’ve learned – How to have a fabulously wedding without all the money stress! Stay tuned for upcoming ‘Bride on a Budget’ bootcamps!

Even before I found my wedding dress, I fell in love with this absolutely gorgeous dress (pictured below) by Krikor Jabutian. I originally thought I’d change into this dress for the reception but after I met my wedding dress, I decided I wanted to wear it as long as possible. This dress would be perfect for our rehearsal dinner.

Krikor Jabutian_Wedding Dress

I emailed the designer and found out that I had very expensive taste. The dress was $14,000! I knew that wouldn’t work for me and my wedding happiness allocation so I continued to look. After a good deal of searching, I couldn’t find anything that I loved as much as this dress. While Googling, I found that a dressmaker from China made this specific dress for $150. He had hundreds of positive reviews (but not for this specific dress) so I sent him a ton of measurements and waited patiently for the dress to arrive. I knew it was probably too good to be true but I thought… if this works, it would be unreal fabulously frugal.

The dress came… and rather than try to describe it, I’ve included a picture below. I planned to wear it for Halloween but actually never put it on because it was THAT bad.

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Don’t I look thrilled?

I decided this was the dress I wanted and started to research dressmakers. A friend of mine recommended Amanda Perna, who I interviewed here, and I absolutely loved her. She had just made her own gorgeous wedding dress and was working on her first wedding line.  How fortuitous! She worked with me on a dress design that I could not be more excited about. Not to mention, I’ve never had a dress fitted to me – it’s so much fun! She recommended that we die the skirt black after the wedding so I could get more use out of it. Very fabulously frugal!

Long story short, I got an even more special dress for a fraction of the cost that I can wear forever. Here is the sketch of Amanda’s dress. I’ll be posting pictures after the wedding and stay tuned for Amanda’s wedding launch – all I can tell you is that it’s going to be fabulous!

First Sketch of Rehearsal Dress_House of Perna