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Great website for drawing names
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 16:31

 

 

This year is going to be a challenging Christmas for many families, so it is a good time to start some new traditions where you concentrate more on “doing” things than buying things. I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but as the season fast approaches, it is a good idea to take another look.

As discussed, a great idea to reduce expenses and the stress and hassle of buying for every member in a family, is the concept of a “Secret Santa”. This means picking just one name and setting a dollar amount that everyone has to keep within…i.e. $50.00. My niece has just told me of an awesome website called drawnames.com where you can register your family, or workplace or whatever group you are doing gift draws for. This website will manage everything for you including doing the draw and emailing each person with the name of who they will be buying a present for. It also has features where you can communicate anonomously with gift suggestions or asking a question of your recipient. Sounds like a fun way to make this more interactive, without spending anything extra.

Another idea is to give presents that are for “free experiences” rather than for a bought gift. A good suggestion for your spouse or your whole family might be to commit to going to a new park in your area, once a week until you have been to every park. Your local tourism department or Chamber of Commerce will have free guides on public parks in your area. Be creative and have some fun thinking up fun, or inexpensive outings to do together.

Please send me your ideas for a more frugal Christmas or gift giving at any time of the year.

To assist you in saving money this Christmas I’ve got a special offer on my book. Get 3 – pay for two or Get 5 – pay for three. If you haven’t received your FREE email report “Ten Tips To Instantly Improve Your Credit”…just send me an email and I’ll send it right to you. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Until next week….."Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another."

 
Ten Tips to instantly improve your credit rating
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 17:42

 

Do you know what your credit rating (also known as credit score) is?

Your credit rating “score” is an important part of your Financial Fitness. Many people prefer to put their head in the sand and do not know - or want to know - what their score is.  However, the quote above is very apt in this situation. This rating is in essence, a report card, of how you manage and use credit. A good credit rating can be your ticket to financial freedom, while a bad rating can cause you to miss out on opportunities and to prevent you from buying a home, renting the apartment you want, or borrowing for something that you need to improve your situation such as: your education or a car for work.

It is critical that you understand exactly what a credit rating is and what influences the score AND where you stand, so that you can celebrate your success or take action to improve your situation. Many people aren’t aware that being sloppy with bill payments (or simply forgetting due dates) can cause your score to plummet – which has serious effects for you.

In order to explain it fully and simply, I have written a handy FREE report entitled:

Ten Tips to Improve Your Credit Score Instantly

This report covers the following issues:

  1. Know what credit is:
  2. Understand how Credit Scores are tabulated
  3. Know your score and what a good score is:
  4. Understand why a good credit score is so important:
  5. Learn how a credit score is computed.
  6. Understand the behavioral factors that can influence your credit score.
  7. Use credit cards wisely
  8. Do not exceed 50 percent of your available credit on a credit card.
  9. Do not sign up for a credit card just to earn a bonus, an instant discount or to get promotional items.
  10. Accept responsibility and take action

Bonus Tips:

11. Automate all your monthly payments and credit card bills

12. Turbo charge improving your credit score.

To get your copy of this FREE report, simply sign up for my monthly newsletter on this website. http://www.financialfitnessbooks.com/index.php/join-the-financial-fitness-club.html You will be emailed a copy of the report right away. You may also cancel your newsletter subscription at any time.

P.S. I know it may be a little early to think about Christmas, but I’m offering a great special right now on 3 (pay for 2 – get 3 books) or 5 books (pay for 3 – get 5 books). Just click on the Buy This Book button and you can cross a few people off your shopping list.

Until next week: Points to ponder….Why do they put round pizza in square boxes?

Cheers…..Diana

 
Let your imagination run wild
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:26

 

Happy Halloween. This is a day to let your imagination soar and to be playful, with costumes, parties, neighborhood celebrations, fireworks, trick or treating with your kids, or however you choose to spend this annual holiday.

It seems a fitting date to promote imagination in this blog. It is often quoted that “if you can believe it – you can see it”. This means that everything that comes to you, you had to have imagined at one time or another. I am a firm believer in positive thoughts, manifesting and the Law of Attraction.

I wanted to share with you a delightful “game” that I have just read about in the book “Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest your Desires” written by Jerry and Esther Hicks. I would highly recommend you get a copy of this book to give you an interesting perspective on the starring role you play in creating your life.

The Prosperity Game:

Get yourself a notebook, or even better a book of cheques to establish an imaginary checking account. You could also use a computer program, or just slips of paper as your deposit slips and your cheques. Now the fun begins:

On Day One deposit $1,000.

On Day One spend $1,000 however you would like.

On Day Two deposit $2,000

On Day Two spend $2,000 however you would like

…..and repeat this every day increasing by $1,000 each day. You can spend your daily earnings on one item or as many items as you wish. You are able to save money from one day to other days for a larger purchase.

Do this for at least 60 days so that on the 60th day you will be depositing $60,000 and spending $60,000. If you want to continue past 60 days feel free to do so. Have fun with it and use your imagination!

For me this game was a visual reinforcement of my commitment to donate at least 10% of everything I earn. Writing the first cheque each day, in ever increasing amounts, to various charities of choice is a powerful inspiration to me and a great way to jump-start the day.

So, turn up your imagination and enjoy your daily deposits and spend to your heart’s content. This game will help you become crystal clear about what you really want to be spending your money on and it may very well bring you some pleasant surprises in real life.

Until next week….."Each man (is) the architect of his own fortune."

-- Appius Caecus, builder

 
Spend less and enjoy the Christmas holiday season more!
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 16:13

We are just 10 weeks away from Christmas, which should be a time of making memories and connecting with friends and family. Unfortunately, for many it becomes a time of stress and anxiety, especially due to the financial strain that you allow it to become.

My suggestion is to look honestly at your situation and to decide how you want to spend Christmas – not just on how much you want to spend on Christmas. Your time and effort should be spent creating traditions and arranging to enjoy this season as much as possible. You could also challenge yourself and your family to do activities that is low-cost or free. It’s easy to spend money – it takes more thought and consideration to plan experiences.

With young children I saw a great 4-gift rule. It is basically

-1 present for something they need

-1 present for something they want

-1 present to wear

-1 present to read.

That seems like wonderful advice.

(Thanks to Lesly, one of my followers for sharing that)

For older families as they grow and have families of their own, it becomes more of a challenge. In our family, with four adult children and spouses we are starting a new tradition of a “Secret Santa”. Everyone’s name goes in to a hat and each of us draws just one name. We then purchase just this one present at a value not to exceed $60.00. Of course, grandchildren are excluded from this at least in our case. Additionally if a spouse wants to get presents for their immediate family, that is their choice and something they decide themselves.

The good thing about this system is that siblings don’t stress over what to get their siblings, or parents, etc. They know they only have to buy one present, and therefore can take more time and effort to choose it. We also encourage and welcome re-gifting!

I look forward to the holiday season with great anticipation each year. For me, I love to drag out my old tacky sweaters, the hand-made ornaments that the kids made decades ago, cover our home with crass decorations and crank up the Christmas carols. We make sure to take in a number of live Christmas events and current Christmas movies. This includes driving around and checking out the festive lights.

Our four days of “family” Christmas are spent with pot-luck dinners, lots of laughs and traditions such as watching Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve. For over 30 years I have been making a Christmas cinnamon bun tree for breakfast (yes, I confess out of Pillsbury package)…which takes no time, costs very little, but still means so much to all of us, if only to remind us that some things never change.

We do not spend much money on buying things, since I’m a firm non-consumer and prefer doing things than having things. We do donate and give of our time to the Food Bank and other important charities at this time of year.

Before you let Christmas sneak up on you, take some time to discuss with your significant other and your family how you want to remember this Christmas. Set some boundaries and some goals for making this the most special holiday season you’ve ever had.

Until next week….."Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn't spend half our time wishing."

-- Alexander Woollcott, Critic and Commentator for The New Yorker magazine.

 

 
Do your spending habits surprise you?
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 14:53

 

 

The very first step in becoming financially fit is to keep track of your income and your expenses. It sounds basic and easy – and fortunately it is.

This process is now significantly easier than it used to be. We have the advantage of using computers, which enables us to input data and then have the computer programs do all the calculations for us.

I have also made it easy for you by including spreadsheets on www.financialfitnessbooks.com that you can use to plug in your own data and numbers. For a full explanation on how to insert your numbers and to track your finances, please refer to page 23 in Financial Fitness for Beginners.

Your exercise is to get yourself a little notebook that you carry with you at all times. When you purchase anything, keep the receipt and write on the back of it to identify what the expense was for. For any small cash expenses that do not have a receipt, such as coffee or vending machine purchases, simply write the expense down in your notebook. Make it a new habit to use your ATM card as often as possible, rather than cash, as this provides a backup system for recording your expenses.

The first time you complete the Tracking Spreadsheet provided on my webpage will be the most time-consuming because you have to input your income categories and the expense categories that are specific to your spending habits.

By recording all your expenses you will fully understand where you spend your money. There may be areas that you want to cut back on and also areas that you wish to spend more of your hard-earned money on.

Similar to a weight loss program where you are required to record everything you eat and what exercises you have done, with consistent financial tracking you are more apt to be conscious of your daily habits. By recording your income and expenses, you cannot be in denial or kid yourself about what you are really spending your money on. The truth is in black and white.

Many financial experts recommend that you go back and record your spending over the last few months or years. I prefer to suggest that you just start now. Wherever you were in the past is long over. You are starting fresh from today and looking forward, not backward.

Until next week…."If you want more, you have to require more from yourself."

-- Dr Phil, Motivational Author and Talk Show Host

P.S. Wishing my Canadian family and friends a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

P.S.S. In appreciation of Thanksgiving, for this week, I am running a promotional special on my book to allow you to share it with those you know would benefit from it. Buy 3 books and pay for only two. ($47.98) A savings of $21.00. Buy 5 books and pay for only three. ($70.97)  A savings of $44.00.

 

 
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