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Create a Savvy Budget that Sticks!

I launched my first Udemy course, Create a Savvy Budget that Sticks! I’ts a comprehensive guide to creating a budget that will make you happy, won’t feel restricting and will save you money!

The word budget gets a bad rap but really budgeting is just a way of distributing our money in ways that make us the happiest so that we can fulfill our goals and dreams. Sounds better, right? It’s all about spending money and prioritizing what we truly value. Budgeting is an important tool for creating wealth and setting ourselves up for financial success and independence.

In this course, I will:

- Take you through my step-by-step guide for creating a savvy budget that won’t feel restricting
- Help you consciously spend money in ways that make you happiest
- Create a budget that you will stick to
- Re-frame your outlook on budgeting and provide accountability

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By the end of the course you will have a comprehensive budget in line with your goals that you will be able to maintain. Whether you are starting from scratch or looking to get back on track, this course will provide valuable insights and tools to help you create a savvy budget that sticks.

I’m offering $20 off (44% off) to the first 100 people that take my course. Just use this link to sign up. I’d love to hear what you think!

Would I qualify for a mortgage?

The majority of people use some type of financing or mortgage to buy their first home and there are many factors that come in to play when you want to get a mortgage. The better your standing according to each factor, the better rate you’ll get. This flow chart from RealEstate.com tells us if you we will qualify for a mortgage loan from our bank and what we can do if you won’t.

Do I Qualify for a Mortgage Loan_RealEstate.com_07.22.14

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Work & Money: What are my 401-K options?

A 401-K is an employer sponsored retirement account where eligible employees can make contributions from their salary on a pre-tax or post-tax basis. When you start at a new company, you will typically have the opportunity to sign up for their 401-K plan as well as choose your contribution percentage. Contribution percentages are typically a percentage of your pre-tax annual salary. Some companies allow you to contribute to the company 401-K plan immediately and some companies have you earn the benefit over time. Either way, make sure to understand your company 401-K match program and maximize it. If your company matches 3% of your annual salary and you make $100,000, you have the opportunity to earn $3,000 dollars from your company’s 401-K match program if you contribute at least 3% to your 401-K. Not too shabby!

In 2014 you can contribute up to $17,500 to your 401-K. More and more frequently, companies are offering Roth 401-K options in addition to the Traditional 401-K. The main difference between the two types of accounts is that with a Roth, your contributions are post-tax and with a Traditional 401-K your contributions are pre-tax. Your investments grow tax free in both accounts but when you withdraw money from a Roth at retirement, distributions are not taxed and when you withdraw from a Traditional account at retirement, distributions are taxed. If your tax rate is the same now as when you retire, there is no difference between investing in a Roth or Traditional 401-K. That being said, it’s typically expected for young people to be making more when they are older than they are making now and therefore in a higher tax bracket later in life. A Roth 401-K is also a way to mitigate tax risk as we don’t know what tax policy will be like in 30, 40 or 50 years.

Photo credit: giphy.com

Photo credit: giphy.com

5 Money Saving Life Hacks

Going into the weekend, I thought I’d leave you with some money saving life hacks that will help you cut your spending without cutting out your fun! Happy Friday!

1.) Pay with cash!

Studies have shown that people are more likely to spend more when using a credit card than when using cash. Ask the group taking my 30 Day Money Cleanse. It really works! Leave the plastic at home and whip out the Benjamins, it can save you more than you think.

Gif Credit: http://www.gifbin.com/.

Photo credit: http://www.gifbin.com/.

2.) Freeze plastic bottles

Instead of purchasing those expensive cooler packs for your cold margarita for the beach or picnic, freeze some plastic bottles as substitutes instead!

Photo credit: http://giphy.com/.

Photo credit: http://giphy.com/.

3.) Clear your browser history to find cheaper flights

Remember to cache your browser when making ticket purchases online! If not travel sites can access your information and jack up prices based on your browser history! Why spend more money on tickets, when you can use that money for your next trip? I have seen people save ~$50 using this trick!

Photo credit: http://www.women24.com/.

Photo credit: http://www.women24.com/.

4.) Go to the library

Instead of spending money on books and Netflix or HuluPlus, head over to your local library to rent out books and movies! You will be saving money and doing something good for society by helping to keep our libraries around.

Photo credit: collegecandy.com

Photo credit: collegecandy.com

5.) Make it at home

Instead of purchasing a $3 cookie or brownie, put on your apron and whip up your own home-made desserts! You will feel more satisfied, will have plenty to share and will know that you are one step closer to becoming America’s Next Master Chef! Win-win-win!

Photo credit: http://giphy.com.

Photo credit: http://giphy.com.

Receipt help! What do you need and where should you keep them?

This might seem like a no brainer but I struggle with this all the time. Between business expenses and big ticket items there are some receipts I want to keep and I try to put them in a safe place or even the same place in my wallet but there is VERY little chance they will still be with me by the time it’s tax season at the end of the year or by the time the electronic breaks and I’m wanting to use that warranty. What’s a gal to do?

I like to start simple first. Is there a decorative piece or something pretty you have lying around that you can use as a receipt holder? The catch with this method is that you have to make sure 1) you keep the receipt and 2) it makes it home with you. Not a fool-proof method for me, but it’s a start!

Next I tried taking photos of receipts immediately after I got them. This made more sense for me because I didn’t have to clutter up my wallet or purse and ddn’t risk losing or forgetting about it. You can then transfer them all to a file on your computer and name them in an organized way and voila, a new method.

But then… I realized we can take this even further and make our lives even easier. There’s an app for that! There are actually many apps for that. I went with Shoeboxed because it seemed really straight forward and didn’t have too many bells and whistles. The app stores receipts for you and you can make notes about them and tag them as reimbursable, deductible or I’m not sure.

Do you use an app for your receipts? Why do you love it?

Photo credit: my.datasphere.com.

Photo credit: my.datasphere.com.

Work & Money: Maximizing Your Benefits

When you start working with at a new company, you may get a physical folder or an email with all of your benefits listed and explained. This probably comes at an overwhelming time when you want to hit the ground running and do excellent work on your first projects and aren’t that interested in making sure you have the correct amount of disability insurance or that you are maximizing your transit benefits.

That’s okay! If you don’t have the time in the first week, make a note or mark your calendar to remind yourself to come back to the packet. BUT make sure that you do come back to it because your benefits are part of your total compensation and you don’t want to leave free money on the table. If you have been at your company a while and aren’t sure if you are maximizing your benefits, do a check and see what you have available to you and what you are using. Tackle a couple items a day until you get through all of your benefits. Make sure to maximize anything that says pre-tax because you will be saving 20-35% on these items. Unfortunately, all benefits might not be relevant to you. If you don’t have children, the free childcare benefit won’t be too helpful or interesting. If your company has a benefits page on their website, check it out. I found that my past company had an agreement with my wireless provider and I could receive 30% off my phone bill. Not too shabby!

Some other great benefits are transit benefits which give you pre-tax spending on items such as your subway card, parking or train tickets to and from work, fitness benefits which give you a stipend for the gym or any gym classes you want to take, flexible spending which provides pre-tax savings on many qualified medical expenses, phone plan discounts, paid time off or vacation days, stock purchase plans where you get a discount on company stock, health care benefits, disability insurance, life insurance benefits, 401-K company match programs and education benefits where the company will pay for certifications, certain degree programs and continuing education.

Photo credit: www.spi-global.com.

Photo credit: www.spi-global.com.

How do you budget your time?

I’ve wanted to get a better idea of how I use my time and then figure out how to maximize it. I guess it’s only natural for a money coach to want to budget her time! I was so excited when my coach brought it up this week and I have been printing out and marking up calendars ever since. We hear the saying, “time is money,” but we often don’t treat it that way. There is a busyness epidemic all around us, where everyone is running around feeling busy and productive but are we actually getting the right things done? Are we actually doing anything to move ourselves toward where we want to go? Are we accomplishing anything important?

Good questions, right?! Well, just like with money we have to start by figuring out what is true now. We can’t get where we want to go if we don’t even know where we are. So I’m starting this week by accounting for each hour of my day to see where I’m spending my time. Not surprisingly, having to write down how I use my time has been quite incentivizing for keeping me on task. As far as my business, the next step will be to assign each task to various categories. Was that hour spent marketing, revenue generating, accounting, etc.?

Where does your time go? How do you budget your time? I’d love to hear what you find!

Photo credit: www.thetastyvegan.com.

Photo credit: www.thetastyvegan.com.

 

The Great Debate: Co-op vs. Condo

When purchasing an apartment in New York City, you have to understand the differences and financial implications of owning a cooperation (coop) or condominium (condo). Where do you stand – co-op vs. condo?

What’s a coop?

~75% of New York City housing is comprised of co-ops, which are owned by a corporation rather than an individual. When you buy a co-op, you don’t actually own the apartment, you buy shares of a corporation and then lease your apartment from that corporation. You are an investor in your co-op vs. the owner of your apartment. The board of the co-op creates standards of approval for those applying and the process can be rigorous. The co-op board can reject or accept anyone they want. The board also controls how the building is managed and maintained. Co-op residents pay a monthly maintenance fee for building expenses, taxes and the mortgage on the building. Co-ops can be tight-knit communities that work together to run and maintain a building while condo owners are on their own as far as maintenance and upkeep and tend to keep more to themselves. The culture of a particular co-op as well as their rules will be important to your happiness and satisfaction in your new home. The interview process can be just as important for you as it is for them in figuring out which co-op is right for you and your needs as a new homeowner.

What’s a condo?

When you purchase a condo, you actually own the property and home. With a condo you operate as your own entity and receive a separate tax bill from the city, have your own mortgage and pay your own common charges. The common charges are typically much less than those of a co-op as they don’t include the mortgage payment and taxes. Purchasing a condo provides more flexibility because you don’t have to follow the standards and rules of the co-op board. Co-op boards typically have strict rules for sublets and leasing out your apartment which can be a deterrent to those who aren’t sure they will be living in New York City for the next 5-10 years. Given how limited they are, condos are much harder to find and tend to be limited to new construction.

Where do you lean – co-op vs. condo?

Photo credit: brickunderground.com.

Photo credit: brickunderground.com.

Putting Your Money Where Your Heart Is

Some people equate having money with greed. It’s one of the many limiting beliefs we harbor about money and it can keep us from earning and maintaining any sort of wealth. It makes sense… who wants to be greedy?!

Money is just a tool we use for our currency. On it’s own, money isn’t anything. It’s the people behind it who make money what it is. Money can be used to do incredible things! You can use it to support your friends in their interests, it can give you the time to volunteer, it can fund research and even feed and clothe people who wouldn’t have those needs met otherwise. We can use our money for the greater good in big and small ways. Wealthy people leave billions of dollars to organizations they believe in.

Where will you put your money this week, next week and in the future when you have accumulated more wealth? Generosity breeds abundance and the understanding that your money can be used for good. You know the saying.. the more you give, the more you get. And it’s true!

Photo credit: www.myphilanthropedia.org.

Photo credit: www.myphilanthropedia.org.

 

What I Learned from Sally Hogshead

“The greatest value you can bring is being more of yourself.” – Sally Hogshead

Levo League holds weekly “Office Hours” with amazing leaders and gives members the opportunity to ask questions. Last week I joined for a Q&A with Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation and How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination and was absolutely inspired! Sally shared how to have the world see us at our best by accentuating our differences and being fascinating.

The greatest value you can bring is being more of yourself. 

You don’t have to change who you are – you want to become MORE of who you are. Focus on your differences and unique qualities.

Every time you communicate with someone you are either adding value or taking up space.

When you add value people want to talk with you. You become fascinating to them and people focus on what you say. On the other hand, if you aren’t adding value, you are taking up space. Think about a spam message. When you receive one you feel irritated and annoyed. .

High performers communicate with a specialty.

Restaurants with a specialty have something that they do exceptionally well. She recommends focusing all of our communication on what you naturally do extraordinarily well. We already have a specialty, we just have to let it shine!

There are 49 different archetypes in her book and assessment, describing how the world sees YOU at your best. When you are in the flow you are being in your archetype. Through the archetypes, we can predict where we can really stand out. Sally explains that in life we are either being vanilla or pistachio ice cream. Vanilla doesn’t have any haters and no one complains about it but it’s pretty boring. Pistachio is polarizing. When we are pistachio we create advocates because we are accentuating our unique differences.

Was there a time in your life where you put yourself out there and in someone else’s eyes failed? In that moment we decide it’s safer to not be fascinating and decide to play it safe. When you play it safe you are unlikely to be seen at your best. You don’t win by being quiet. You win by being heard. We are already fascinating, we just have to unlearn how to be boring.

Photo credit: INC.com

Photo credit: INC.com