Archive for October, 2016

PostHeaderIcon IS THERE A DOCTOR ON THE PLANE?

By Vernalee
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Here’s a current event story that may leave you speechless. It did me! A few days ago on a Delta Airlines flight, Dr. Tamika Cross of Houston volunteered to help a male passenger who became unresponsive during a flight from Detroit to Minneapolis. Upon the flight crew asking if there was a doctor on board, Dr. Cross immediately volunteered. When I read the account of what transpired next, I went into culture shock. I think you will too.
Here’s the skinny.
“Oh no, sweetie, put your hand down,” Cross said the flight attendant told her. “We are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”
What! No she didn’t say that; the nerves of her. Stop the madness!
For the record, Cross is a Black female physician, an OB-GYN resident to be exact. It begs to ask a crazy question. What does a doctor look like? In this day and age, the audacity of this question is so ridiculous and outrageously shameful.
Now, if all of this is true, Delta has a lot of explaining to do! I would of course offer my suggestion of immediate implementation of a full scaled diversity training program. It would certainly help to sensitize its employees. In fact, it is reported that it happened again to another physician of color, Dr. Ashley Denmark. Unbelievable!
Alright, I love examining facts. Let’s do the math. Doctors receive minimally 6 years of education and residency training beyond their undergraduate degree to earn the coveted M.D. Degree. If they choose a medical specialty, tack on a few more years. Correct?
After all of this education/training, to be disrespected is not in the cards. Agreed?
Being a born and bred southerner, I have always favored traveling via Delta Airlines. I am disappointed and appalled, but nothing surprises me these days.
My advice to Delta Airlines is simple. If these facts of biases are substantiated, someone needs to be “grounded” before they can fly! My thoughts ….
Photo credit: www.wect.com

PostHeaderIcon SHOPPING WITH THE PREZ

By Vernalee
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As I wrap up my series on shopping, I invite you to travel back in time with me a couple of years. It was in 2014 when this news broke. Take a look.
I might have been a dollar short and a few days late in reporting this sighting, but I was thrilled to see President Obama shopping at The Gap in NYC. I realized that his appearance had a political and public relations angle since The Gap had raised its hourly minimum wage for its workers from $7.25 to $10.10; but he is such a natural! Isn’t he?
President Obama is an avid reader and a phenomenal author. His books are excellent reads. He also loves to buy books. Mr. President, you need not shop for my next book, “The Rainbow Inn” which will hit the shelves soon. I will save you the steps and deliver a free autographed copy directly to you. My pleasure! That is the least that I can do considering how much your service to the country and your writings have inspired me!
Okay guys, follow President Obama’s sterling example to buy gifts for your number one’s when traveling (or otherwise). I am sure that the Obama ladies enjoyed their new garbs. It’s the thought that counts!
By spending $154.85, the Prez also did his part to stimulate the economy. What a President! What a thoughtful shopper! I’ll say!
Photo reprint: www.nydailynews.com

PostHeaderIcon COUPONS ADD UP AS THE SAVINGS ROLL IN

By Vernalee
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Yesterday, I was in a crowded check out line at Walgreen’s.
Noticeably, the customer in front of me had a big three ring black binder and a shopping cart full of items. After seeing about 5 containers of Tide detergent in her cart, I asked if the detergent was on sale. “Yes,” she energetically replied. As we engaged in a friendly conversation, she showed me her fascinating coupon system. Her binder was full of organized coupons in every conceivable product category. I took this to be a lot of work! Then, I was converted when I saw the end results. She had about $100.00 worth of merchandise for which she paid only $12.00 … after her coupon discounts. Incredible! Proudly, she said, “I use coupons for all my purchases. Everything! The savings are tremendous!” I ‘ll say, they are! As we exited the store, she rolled her cart to a gorgeous luxury vehicle. “My coupon savings bought me this,” she yelled! “Great… you go girl,” I shouted back! Hmmm. Raking in additional savings is not a bad idea. Maybe, I should start clipping those discounted coupons myself. It may be classified as an unconventional savings method, but it’s a proven system that works. The dividends add up! Every little bit helps! Besides, those extra savings may enable me to splurge on an item of my choice – a summer home in the sunny South; a vacation of a lifetime; a financial blessing to someone in need … You get the point; right?
Photo credit: www.passbookready.com

PostHeaderIcon WHAT TYPE OF SHOPPER ARE YOU?

By Vernalee
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Yesterday, I talked about shopping in your closet. However, when you go to the stores, be prepared. Have a plan. Smart shopping requires research, skills, and time. My daughter Phoebe and I tend to go to a particular shop, purchase the items we desire, and go home. My nieces, however are shopping divas with a skill set that can rival the best. They are the “shop till you drop” ladies. They can dig up a pricey Saks Fifth Avenue designer suit at a bargain warehouse for such a ridiculous price that it is laudable. I kid you not! Their finds leave you speechless! I don’t know if they have telescopic vision, but they know where all the sales are (near and far; on line and off) including the moment of their occurrence. Finding the “blue light” specials is their specialty as they emerge into one or several of the smart shoppers categories below:
1. The Bargain Hunter – Gets the best price.
2. The Impulse Buyer – Acts quickly to snag a deal.
3. The Loyalist – Uses rewards to save big.
4. The Researcher – Compares every offer.
5. The Negotiator – Always haggles.
6. The Shopper on a mission – Plans strategically.
To my nieces, I am recommending that you set up a personal shopping business. You will make a mint! Sometimes, I wonder who is the best shopper – Beverly, Sharon, Stefe, or Stacy. It’s too close to call. They are all … just that good!
Here’s my advice girls –
To get you started, I’ll prepare your business plan and develop the necessary business particulars. Use your skills and talents to shop for others and make big money doing the one thing that you love – shopping! Cha Ching!
Photo credit: www.essence.com; Illustration by Aimee Camilien; Source: Essence Magazine

PostHeaderIcon SHOPPING IN YOUR CLOSET

By Vernalee
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I had a fabulous shopping experience last week. My finds were terrific. Guess where I went? No, I did not go to Macy’s or Saks Fifth Avenue at Lagacy Village or Beachwood Place. Waking up to see the Eifffel Tower out of my Hilton Hotel window and walking the streets of Paris cruising from one boutique to another would have been great. It is on my bucket list!
Instead and not as exciting as the previously mentioned places, I walked into my guest room and went shopping in my closet. That’s right! It was there that I found a number of items with price tags on them. Really! Where did these items come from? The answer is simple. I went shopping some time ago, bought some items that I liked, put them in the closet, and forgot that they were there. Unbelievable! How many women can tell the same story? Hush! Yet, I don’t know how many times that I have said, “I don’t have anything to wear!” How about you? Shame … on you and me!
What I realized is that my closet was not organized so I didn’t know exactly what I had. Oh my!
It doesn’t surprise me that the average woman spends over $3500.00 a year and some change on clothing.
However, I am here to testify that a shopping experience is within arms reach with an archival dig and better organizational skills.
A whole new outfit awaits you when you shop in your closet. Take it from me! So before you go to the store, go to your closet first. Afterwards, here’s what you need to do:
* Team up with your tailor.
* Repair and Renew.
* Accessorize outside your jewelry box.
* Get crafty.
* Mix and Match it up.
* Strategically reposition and organize your clothing.
Now because I took a few steps, walked into the next room, and pulled out a few hangers that were already there, I have about 10 – 12 new outfits. Groovy! I am thrilled. I have new glamorous outfits to sport a new look with no money spent!. I am also rethinking my look and style. It’s time for a makeover since I got up off my rear end to move beyond my comfort zone of wearing the same things over and over. To my fan club, you will be seeing me in a flash of more colors than my standard traditional black. While searching, I also found colorful scarves and attachments that I didn’t know I had! I plan to add a little spice to my life by accessorizing with vibrant sun bright colors … and more. You go girl!
Time and energy are my only hurdles because I have 3 more closets to go! Then I’m off to search through my jewelry boxes. Vintage jewelry, anyone? Join me … but do so in your own closets … not mine!
Photo credit: www.pininterest.com

PostHeaderIcon 20 UPLIFTING SCRIPTURES

By Vernalee
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Worry, stress, pressure, anxieties, fear … Life is full of them and other emotional hiccups.
We can’t escape them.
Right?
What we can do is learn how to cope. That is where our faith kicks in; where our confidence in the Lord and belief in his Word to guide and comfort us come into play.
God will never leave us.
As Dottie Peoples sings, “He is an on time God.” He is right on time!
We can lean on God 24/7. His Word provides the answers no matter what the problem.
The following Scriptures can offer encouragement and provide inspiration and strength as we cope with life’s challenges. These scriptures can uplift us when we are down and out.
Let’s take a scroll.

Proverbs 18:10
10 The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 41:10
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 14:27
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 46:1-3
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

2 Timothy 1:7
7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Psalm 16:8
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 55:22
22 Cast your cares on the LORDand he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

1 Peter 5:7
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Isaiah 26:3
3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Psalm 118:14-16
14 The LORD is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation. 15Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! 16 The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”

Psalm 119:114-115
114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. 115Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!

Psalm 119:25
25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.

Psalm 119:50
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Psalm 119:71
71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

Psalm 120:1
1 I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.

There is an old Negro spiritual called, “Jesus is on the mainline. Call him up.” Whether you use your land line, cell phone, or two tin cans, you’ll never hear, “Leave a message!” What a relief to know that our calls will be answered! What a blessed assurance to know that our calls will not go into voice mail! I just want to say, “Thank you Lord for not leaving me; for listening; for keeping your loving arms around my family and me.”
Happy Sunday!
Blessings!

PostHeaderIcon HAPPY SWEETEST DAY

By Vernalee
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In case you forgot Sweetheart … Love is in the air … today!
Let me give you a historical reason – why!
October 8, 1921 was the first Sweetest Day … and it was celebrated in Cleveland, Ohio. Yippee!
I had never heard of Sweetest Day growing up in Mississippi. Here’s why. It was nonexistent in the South … and it still is!
However, 94 years since its inception by confectioners, Sweetest Day is a holiday celebrated in 11 states (and portions of 2 others) on the third Saturday of October. Celebrated in primarily the midwest states, it is a day , just like Valentine’s Day to bestow romantic deeds and expressions. Now that you know the history, how will you be celebrating Sweetest Day with your sweetie? Will it be dinner, a movie, a concert, or a quiet intimate romantic evening?
As always, I ask too many questions; I went too far … again! Excuse my intrusion. Still, if you want to tell, I am all ears, but today you can spare me the explicit details! But please don’t spare your romantic expressions to your sweetie if you want to remain sweet in his or her life!
Happy Sweetest Day!

PostHeaderIcon MAKING ENDS MEET

By Vernalee
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As I wrap up this financial series, I am reminded of the many working women in Mississippi as they picked cotton … would say, “Child, I’m just trying to make ends meet; to get by.” Honestly, those words meant nothing to me as a teenager, but their meaning became clearer as the years went by.
Just what does that expression mean, “To make ends meet.” I’m glad you asked. Here’s the dictionary versions:
* To manage so that one’s financial means are enough for one’s needs. The ends, it is assumed, alludes to the sum total of income and expenditures.
* To have just enough to pay for the things you need.
* To have enough money to cover expenses; to get by financially; to get through the pay period (sufficient to meet the next payday).
Defining it was just a matter of strolling my fingers to a dictionary, living with it – well that’s another thing. It’s a daily struggle for many. The upside is this – there is hope. Those same old women who told me about making ends meet, also told me that, “hard times don’t last always.”
I share with you a few other inspiring and motivational quotes that will move you to act; to change your condition; to move you from point A to point Z. Here we go.
* God first. Family second. Career third. With life in that order, everything works out.
* Every man’s the same; he wants the sunshine in his name.
* If you change nothing; nothing will change.
* Just when you think you can make ends meet, somebody moved the ends.
* Don’t let your struggles become your identity.
* Keep the faith, hold on. Things will get better. It may be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever.
* People aren’t always going to be there for you. You have to learn to handle
things on your own.
* You create your own opportunities.
* Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.
* Don’t count the days. Make the days count.
* Success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pockets.
So what do you do? How do you change your condition? You must “keep on a climbing because life ain’t no crystal stairs!”
Photo credit: www.quotesthat.blogspot.com

PostHeaderIcon WAYS TO SAVE MONEY

By Vernalee
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Yesterday, I was listening to The Sam Sylk radio show on WZAK, 93.1. Sam has an on air contest where his audience calls in and provides answers to a question within a short period of time. The question yesterday was simple. It was – Name 5 ways to save money. Believe it or not, the time buzzer went off on all the callers. No one could name 5 ways to save before the strike of the alarm. Amazing, isn’t it!
How could that be when most of us are looking for ways to stretch our dollars? There must be a void or a disconnect somewhere. Therefore, today I present to you a plan from the financial experts on how to save. There is a short version (8 ways to save) and a longer detailed version (54 ways). It may take a “long” time to read, but the “longer” our dollars can stretch, the farther it will go toward maximizing our saving/spending plan. Perhaps, there may be a tip that may influence your spending behaviors to change – which may mean more money in the bank. That’s alright by me; you?
For your reading pleasures, I present significant ways to save $$$. Take a look!
Here are 8 ways to save money when money is tight.
Shop smarter.
Keep the change.
Pay yourself first.
Save with purpose.
Make it automatic.
Stop using credit cards.
Create a budget.
Stay committed.

Here are 54 Ways to save money.
1. General-
*Save your loose change. Putting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund.
*Keep track of your spending. At least once a month, use credit card, checking, and other records to review what you’ve purchased. Then, ask yourself if it makes sense to reallocate some of this spending to an emergency savings account.
*Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours. Acting on this principle will mean you have far fewer regrets about impulse purchases, and far more money for emergency savings.
*Use debit and credit cards prudently. To minimize interest charges, try to limit credit card purchases to those you can pay off in full at the end of the month. If you use a debit card, don’t rely on an overdraft feature to spend money you don’t have. With either approach, you’ll have more money available for emergency savings.
*Are you looking for an effective way to establish a budget? Beginning on the first day of a new month, get a receipt for everything you purchase. Stack and review receipts at the end of the month, and you will clearly be able to see where your money is going.
*It pays to practice preventative dental care, since a good cleaning routine helps prevent fillings, root canals, and dental crowns, which are expensive and no fun.
*Most people don’t track what they spend and may not realize when expenses add up to more than their budget can handle. To keep track of what you spend, put what you think you should spend for the month on transportation, food, entertainment, etc., into envelopes. This will help you avoid buying things you don’t need, and what’s left over can go into saving.
*Take advantage of discounts and/or incentive programs provided through your employer. For example, if the company you work for offers discounted rates for computers, fitness center memberships, movie tickets and passes to summer festivals, take advantage! Check your corporate intranet or talk to your human resources representative. And don’t forget the best deal of all – investing in your 401(k)!
*One way to establish a savings discipline is to “save” an amount equal to whatever is spent on nonessential indulgences. Put a matching amount in a cookie jar for expenditures for beer, wine, cigarettes, designer coffee, etc. If you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the $4 super almond low-fat latte.
*Take the amount the item costs and divide it into your hourly wage. If it’s a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10 an hour, ask yourself, are those shoes really worth five long hours of work? It helps keep things in perspective.
*Aim for short-term savings goals, such as setting aside $20 a week or month rather than long term savings goals, such as $200 over a year. People save more successfully when they keep the short-term goal in sight.
*Save money by buying items online, in bulk. Some companies even offer free shipping on large orders. Clearance items are sometimes available, and good savings can be found on non-perishable groceries and diapers. This saves time and money!
2. Food –
*Substitute coffee for expensive coffee drinks. The $2 a day you could well save by buying a coffee rather than a cappuccino or latte would allow you, over the course of a year, to completely fund a $500 emergency fund.
*Bring lunch to work. If buying lunch at work costs $5, but making lunch at home costs only $2.50, then in a year, you could afford to create a $500 emergency fund and still have money left over.
*Eat out one fewer time each month. If it costs you $25 to eat out, but only $5 to eat in, then the $20 you save each month allows you to almost completely fund a $500 emergency savings account.
*Shop for food with a list and stick to it. People who do food shopping with a list, and buy little else, spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the food market. The annual savings could easily be hundreds of dollars.
3. Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs-
*Ask your physician to consider prescribing generic drugs. Generic drugs can cost several hundred dollars less to purchase annually than brand-name drugs.
*Find the lowest-cost place to purchase prescription drugs. Make sure to check out not only your local pharmacist but also local supermarkets, area discount centers, and mail-order pharmacies.
*Purchase storebrand over-the-counter medications. Storebrand medications often cost 20-40 percent less than nationally advertised brands. The savings could easily exceed $100 a year.
4. Banking-
*Avoid bouncing checks or overdraft fees each month. The $20-30 you save by not bouncing a check each month would save you enough money to nearly fully fund a $500 emergency savings account.
*Reduce credit card debt by $1,000. That $1,000 debt reduction will probably save you $150-200 a year, and much more if you’re paying penalty rates of 20-30%.
*Make your monthly credit card payment on time. The $30-35 you save by not being charged a late fee each month on one card would save you most of the money you need for $500 in emergency savings
*Use only the ATMs of your bank or credit union. Using the ATM of another financial institution once a week could well cost you $3 a withdrawal, or more than $150 over the course of a year.
5. Insurance –
*Shop around for auto and homeowners’ insurance: Before renewing your existing policies each year, check out the rates of competing companies (see the website of your state insurance department). Their annual premiums may well be several hundred dollars lower.
*Raise the deductibles on auto and homeowners’ insurance: Being willing to pay $500-1,000 on a claim, rather than only $100-250, can reduce annual premiums by as much as several hundred dollars.
*Assess your need for life insurance coverage. If your children are now on their own, or if your spouse works, you may not need as much life insurance protection. The annual premiums on a term life policy would typically fully fund an emergency savings account
*Consider dropping credit insurance coverage on installment loans. Many consumers don’t need credit insurance because they have sufficient assets to protect themselves in the event of death, disability, or unemployment. Terminating this coverage often reduces financing costs by three percentage points, a savings of about $1,000 on a four-year $20,000 installment loan.
6. Transportation –
*Keep your car engine tuned and its tires inflated to their proper pressure. Doing both can save you up to $100 a year in gas.
*Shop around for gas. Comparing prices at different stations and using the lowest-octane (recommended by the car owner’s manual) can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
*When driving, avoid fast start-ups and stops. Over time, you will save hundreds of dollars on lower gas and maintenance costs.
*Take fewer cab rides. Using public transit instead of cabs can save you $5-10 per trip or more. If you’re a frequent cab user, the savings could complete ly fund your emergency savings account.
*Check all airlines for cheap fares. Since no website lists all discount carriers, also check out the websites of discount carriers like Southwest and Jet Blue, possibly saving you hundreds of dollars.
7. Housing –
*Don’t pay for space you don’t need. Americans have relatively large houses and apartments. Think about more efficiently using space so you can purchase or rent less square footage.
*Live relatively near your workplace. While this isn’t always possible, driving 5,000 miles less a year can lower transportation costs by more than $1,000.
*Refinance your mortgage to lower interest charges. Consider refinancing your mortgage to lower the rate and term. On a 15-year $100,000 fixed-rate mortgage, lowering the rate from 7% to 6.5% can save you more than $5,000 in interest charges over the life of the loan. For each $100,000 you borrow at a 7% rate, you will pay over $75,000 less in interest on a 15-year than a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. And, you will accumulate home equity more rapidly, thus increasing your ability to cover large emergency expenditures.
*Choose home repair contractors wisely. Favor contractors who have successfully performed work for people you know. Insist on a written, fixed-price bid. Don’t make full payment until satisfactory completion of the work.
8. Home Heating and Cooling –
*Ask your local electric or gas utility for a free or low-cost home energy audit. The audit may reveal inexpensive ways to reduce home heating and cooling costs by hundreds of dollars a year. Keep in mind that a payback period of less than three years, or even five years, usually will save you lots of money in the long-term.
*Weatherproof your home. Caulk holes and cracks that let warm air escape in the winter and cold air escape in the summer. Your local hardware store has materials, and quite possibly useful advice, about inexpensively stopping unwanted heat or cooling loss.
*Use window coverings to block or let in sunshine. In summer, use these coverings to block sunlight, keeping your house cool. In winter, open the coverings to let sunshine warm the house. You could easily save more than $100 annually while being more comfortable.
9. Clothing –
*Look for sales at discount outlets. There are huge price differences between clothing on sale at discount stores and that sold regularly at many department and specialty stores, though keep in mind that prices at the latter are often deeply discounted.
*Consider purchasing previously-used clothes from Good Will, second-hand stores, or school or church thrift sales. With a little effort, you can find low-priced, high-quality used clothing items that can be worn for many years.
*Assess clothing in terms of quality as well as price. An inexpensive shirt or coat is a poor bargain if it wears out in less than a year. Consider fabric, stitching, washability, and other quality related factors in your selection of clothes.
*Clean clothes inexpensively. Wash and iron clothes yourself. If you use a cleaner, compare prices at different establishments. A 50 cent difference in cleaning a shirt, for example, can add up to $100 a year.
10. Communications –
*Assess your communications costs. As Internet and wireless use grows, many consumers are overpaying for unneeded communications capacity. For example, if you have a cell phone and two phone lines — one for your computer — consider receiving personal calls on your cell phone so you can give up one of the phone lines.
*Communicate by e-mail rather than by phone. If you’re on-line, e-mail communications are virtually free. Even for subscribers, landline and wireless calls often carry per-minute charges.
*Be aware of your cell phone costs and how to reduce them. Cell phone use has dramatically increased communications expenditures in many households. Understand peak calling periods, area coverage, roaming, and termination charges. Make sure your calling plan matches the pattern of calls you typically make.
11. Entertainment –
*Research free or inexpensive entertainment in your community. Use local newspapers and websites to learn about free or low-cost parks, museums, film showings, sports events, and other places which you and your family would enjoy.
*Give up premium cable channels or better yet, cable all together. It’s a lot cheaper to rent one film a week than watch one on premium cable channels that may cost more than $500 a year.
*Borrow books rather than purchasing them. Borrowing books and reading magazines at your local library, rather than purchasing reading material, can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
*Attend high school rather than college or pro sports events. High school sports events rarely cost more than $5 and are often free, with hot dogs and sodas typically costing $1-2. College and pro football and basketball games rarely cost less than $20, and their concessions are usually several times more expensive.
12. Family and Friends –
*Plan gift-giving well in advance. That will give you time to decide on the most thoughtful gifts, which usually are not the most expensive ones. And if these gifts are products that must be purchased, you will have the opportunity to look for sales.
*In families, discuss limits on spending for gifts. These limits not only tend to reduce expenditures; they also be greatly appreciated by the least affluent family members.
*Socialize at pot-luck meals rather than at restaurants. Because one wants to be generous to friends and family, there may be huge cost savings here.
Consider writing letters instead of making frequent phone calls. Thoughtful letters are usually far more highly valued than phone conversations, and they are often saved by recipients for future reading.
In summary, I hope that this novel of a plan helped. Time will tell when the dollars add up. If you roll into the bank with a wheel barrow full of dollar bills (5’s,10’s, 20’s, 50’s, 100’s), it worked! I see you! You laughed all the way to the bank! Your discreet spending paid off. Happy savings!
Photo credit: www.bankrate.com; Source: www.bankrate.com; www.americasaves.org

PostHeaderIcon TAKE BABY STEPS TO FINANCIAL HEALTH

By Vernalee
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Since a feature was recently presented on the thought patterns/processes of millionaires and the middle class, it’s time to bring in an expert to talk about that “mean green” that the O’Jays sing about in “The Love of Money.” I present to you, Dave Ramsey.
David L. “Dave” Ramsey III is an American businessman, author, radio host, television personality, and motivational speaker.
Ramsey’s syndicated radio program, The Dave Ramsey Show, is heard on more than 500 stations and has a weekly audience close to 8 million listeners.
I like his views because his books and broadcasts often feature a Christian perspective that reflects Ramsey’s religious beliefs. That never hurts. Right?
Ramsey offers a plan that will help us “Take Control of Your Money One Step at a Time.”
With no editing (why go off script), I present for your reading pleasure – advice from a respected expert, Dave Ramsey. Here you go.
“Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps are designed to help you out of debt and stress and into a life of saving and giving. We’re all in different places with money. Start right where you are and get where you want to be. Know-how is 20% of the equation. Behavior change and self-discipline make up the other 80%. You can do it! Just follow the 7 steps.
Here’s The Process:
1. $1,000 to Start an Emergency Fund.
An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life you can’t plan for. Whether there’s a plumbing issue and everything but the kitchen sink is draining, or your brakes are squealing at every stop sign, you can be ready!
2. Pay Off All Debt but the House.
List all debts but the house in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first.
3. Have 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in Savings.
This step is all about building a full emergency fund. It’s time to kick debt for good, with 3–6 months’ worth of emergency savings. Sit down and calculate how much you need to live on for 3–6 months (for most that’s between $10,000–15,000) and start saving to protect yourself against life’s bigger surprises like the loss of a job. You’ll never be in debt again—no matter what comes your way.
4. Invest 15% of Household Income Into Retirement.
Now it’s time to get serious about retirement. With no payments and a full emergency fund, put 15% toward the retirement of your dreams. Between your 401(k), Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA, you have a lot of options. Find the fit that is right for you. The money you were using to attack debt can now help build your future.
5. Plan College Funding for Children.
College tuitions and housing expenses continue to rise. Don’t let college sneak up on you. Saving now will put you ahead of the game when your kids graduate from high school. Two smart ways to save for your kids’ college are a 529 college savings fund or an ESA (education savings account). These are both tax-advantaged savings vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses.
6. Pay Off Home Early.
It takes the average family five to seven years to pay their home off early. Just imagine life with no mortgage. There’s only one more debt standing in the way of freedom from all debt! Apply all the extra money toward paying off your home. Not only are you paying off your home early, you’ll be saving tens of thousands of dollars in interest fees.
7. Build Wealth and Give.
This is the last step and by far the most fun. It’s time to live and give like no one else! Build wealth, become insanely generous, and leave an inheritance for future generations. You know what people with no debt and no payments can do? Anything they want! Now that’s leaving a legacy.
Great, So Where Do I Start?
The first step in taking control of your money is to create some cushion between you and life’s little emergencies. Start by getting $1,000 in savings. According to Ramsey, It’s easier than you think, and it’s worth it.”
Supposedly, it’s never too late to start. Many, including me, have to learn to crawl before we can walk – but we are a stepping. Baby steps are better than no steps at all. Baby steps will move mountains. No steps keep you exactly where you are. You choose.
I close with this famous quote which describes a state of mind that we don’t necessarily want to have. I think you will agree.
Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.” –Will Rogers
Photo credit: www.tradereacts.com; Source: www.daveramsey.com

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