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5 reasons why you need a budget right now

A budget reduces your stress.

A budget reduces uncertainty. Uncertainty is what is making you stressed right now. Not knowing is being stuck. Getting everything out on the table is hard work, sure, but it will guarantee you stress less about money.

A budget gives you freedom to spend.

Most people think a budget means you can’t spend money. On the contrary! We encourage all of our clients to create a spending money or fun money category. That’s money they plan to spend without guilt or stress! From there, we also encourage them to budget the fun things in life like date nights, birthdays and vacation. The difference with a budget is you plan for these things, so you know you’ll actually have the money. You plan for the fun, set the money aside, and then bringing home only the memories. That’s instead of planning the fun, not having any money for it, going into debt to fund it and then carrying around that burden.

A budget clarifies your priorities.

Do you know what your priorities are in life? Do you know where most of your money goes right now? You might think you know these things, but most people haven’t truly thought them through and then put them down on paper. On purpose. That’s what a budget will do. For example, many times folks are spending hundreds of dollars eating out and not saving money for college for their kiddos. Or some folks are spending more on Amazon a month than they have in a savings account. When they think it through, this is probably not what they want, right? As your coaches, we will guide you through a discussion about your priorities and your future. Then we will help you create a budget to match them.

A budget makes your future possible.

We all have a vision for our future. We like to ask you what your future would look like if money wasn’t an issue. That’s certainly a possibility if you start telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went! But, your future isn’t going to happen on accident. It takes planning, good habits and work to get there.

A budget gives you a goal.

We work with folks in every kind of situation: couples, families and single folks. Regardless of your situation, we’ll help you set mini goals and then celebrate as you succeed! Savings account. Check! Credit card paid off. Check! Paid for vacation in cash. Check! These wins are so good for you & your mental health! You’ll prove to yourself you can do hard things and that builds confidence. As you move along the path to financial freedom, the goals get bigger and you get better.

If you are ready to get on a budget, let us help you! Schedule your free, 15-minute, no-obligation consult today!

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Uncategorized

Find a focus for your anxiety

Many of you know, for the most part, the remainder of your term for lockdown. Perhaps your local government has said May 1, perhaps June 1. Whatever the date that you know, count the number of days there are until that date. So, X = Number of days until lockdown is over. Now, we have a question for you.

What can you do in X amount of days?

Ah, that’s a good question. You see, most of us are experiencing some anxiety right now. Other emotions we have may be fear, frustration, anger, disappointment. Lots of (understandable) negative emotions. Part of the reason for these emotions, among other things, is our human desire for certainty and for control. In most of our situations, we are no longer in control and we lack certainty about a lot of things. So what can we do?

We can choose to funnel that energy into something good. We can choose to pick a small goal and get after it over the next X number of days. We recommend you make your own homemade countdown calendar with X number of boxes that you can cross off. Then, pick a goal and allow your brain to focus some of it’s desire for control and certainty on THAT. Here are some ideas:

  • Read that book you’ve been meaning to.
  • Organize your closet (or one area / item per X day left).
  • Lose 5 pounds.
  • Walk 30 miles.
  • Write 10 handwritten notes to loved ones.
  • Learn to knit.
  • Try 10 new recipes.
  • Start journaling.
  • Stop drinking sodas.
  • Learn a dance with your child.
  • Work up to running 1 mile.
  • Pick a Bible study.

Pick a goal that is reasonable for YOU. Pick a goal that you’ll be excited to get after each day. Pick something that you’ve been wanting to do, that you’ll be proud to say you accomplished during this time at home.

As always, if you need a little help finding this focus or working through your thoughts so that you can feel better. We help clients set goals and work through it. Want to set up a free, no-obligation 15 minute consultation?

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Mindset

What hasn’t changed?

Last week we coached about trying to balance your thoughts out. Right now it’s easy to focus on the bad, the crazy and the scary that’s going on in the world. It’s not just easy, it’s human and it’s normal. Aiming to get rid of all of those thoughts would not only be impossible, it would also be kind of crazy. Instead, we talked about trying to balance them out with good. So, while we might automatically think, “I am scared” we can intentionally balance that thought out with, “I am scared but I’m pushing through.” Balancing what feels authentic with a way for your brain to focus on something good and/or hopeful is many of our best case scenarios. Another example we gave was “I am running out of money.” This may be true but you can certainly add on using evidence from your past. Maybe you say, “I am running out of money but I am resourceful.” As we said, everyone has evidence in their past of doing hard things and being resourceful. Let’s draw on that now.

Today we want to give you another mental balancing exercise. Right now it’s very easy to focus on what has changed in our world. Our schedules, our economy, our health, our day-to-day, our schools, our jobs, our social life. E-A-S-Y. What we want to invite you to think about today is what has NOT changed. Go through your life and think about what hasn’t changed.

  • The birds haven’t stopped chirping.
  • The sun hasn’t stopped shining.
  • My kids haven’t stopped making me laugh.
  • My favorite book hasn’t changed storylines.
  • Cooking for my family hasn’t stopped bring me joy.
  • My partner hasn’t stopped smelling good.
  • Praying hasn’t stopped making me feel better.
  • My crazy facebook friend hasn’t stopped ranting.

This is a terrific exercise in creating calm and creating gratitude. It also allows us to realize what really matters in life.

Now, the only trick here is that times like these might be magnifying some things that haven’t changed that you may WANT to change. Your budget, your health, your home…if you want some help to change those things, of course that’s what coaching is for. If not, sit back and feel the good! =D

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Home Organization

Time to Simplify

Imagine opening your closet doors and seeing nothing but clothes that you love, that fit, that go together and that are spaced apart so they are easy to see, easy to get out and easy to put away?

Imagine opening your kitchen cabinet and finding and pulling out the bowl or item you need without having to rummage or remove other things.

Imagine looking over at your bookshelves and seeing only books you love, neatly arranged, along with a few beloved knickknacks.

Imagine doing one load of laundry a week and finishing it completely.

These are all visions that can take place in your simplified home. Your home that has been reduced of its clutter, of the things you don’t really want or need. A home that represents only what you love and need to function around the home. A home that has more room, more joy, more space, more time. A home that has less stuff, less chores and fewer decisions.

Yes, we are talking about the less is more ideology. The process of simplifying. Now that you’re at home everyday, what better time is there to go through your home and make those decisions we’ve delayed so long about the mail, the clothes, the old appliances, the old board games and more?

You see, everything in your home requires your time and your energy. Your brain has to process it and your hands have to work with it, either to clean it, move it, store it or some other way. This is why we want to simplify our lives by having less stuff to manage. We want to keep all the things that we truly love and that keep our homes running well and remove the rest.

Having less stuff around is the end, but at this time the means is a win as well. Yes, the act of going through your stuff, of being productive in this way, can be very healing and therapeutic. It feels really good to be doing something that has such clear results when you’re done. It feels really good to be doing something for the future you. While you’re doing the sort-of mindless task of cleaning and purging, your mind is free to process the other things going on in your life–and there are a lot of those. Cleaning and organizing can be quite therapeutic, much like exercise, in this time of high stress.

It also just feels good to get rid of stuff. Many times clients will say that they physically felt the weight lifted off of them when they dropped the bags off at the donation station. First, the physical space the stuff was taking up in your HOME has been taken away along with the figurative space the stuff was taking up in your MIND.

Letting go of stuff can also symbolize letting go of other things in your life: thoughts that aren’t serving you, relationships that have moved on, past decisions you used to dwell on and more.

So, now is the time. Time to simplify. Here are three dos and three don’ts when it comes you

Do one thing at a time.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You may be tempted to try and tackle a lot. We say you start small. Maybe just the sock drawer. Maybe only the silverware drawer. Maybe just the towels. Whatever you want to start with, make it bite size. Make it possible! Better to spend a little time everyday and have some actual progress/wins rather than get overwhelmed 4 hours in one day one and give up.

Do focus until you finish.

Okay, so you’ve set your mind to one small area. Now, focus until you finish. Set aside the time. Set aside the phone. Set aside the distractions. Absolutely focus until you finish. Focus on the task at hand and don’t stop until you’ve finished. Give yourself the gift of finishing something! These days, the only thing we finish is a Netflix series. The dishes remain unfinished, the laundry sits half done. Our college degrees are almost finished and so is that plan to learn a new language or write a book. For your own sake, allow yourself to be present with the task at hand and to finish it.

Do keep what you love.

This isn’t an exercise in getting rid of stuff so much as an exercise in keeping solely what you love and what you really need. So, if you’re starting with your wardrobe, pick up your favorite clothing item. Every time we’ve done this with a client, they grab something and start gushing about it. The colors, the time they wore it a certain place, etc etc. So, pick up your favorite item. Pay attention to how you FEEL about it. What does it make you feel in your body? You should only be keeping things that make you feel THAT way. What is the point of keeping things that you feel meh about? You don’t need meh in your life.

You can apply this concept to every part of your simplifying process. Pick your favorite book. What makes it your favorite? Why? How does it make you feel? Why are you keeping a bunch of books that don’t make you feel that way?

Other items like dishes or linens might be harder to FEEL in these ways which is why it’s certainly better to start with categories like clothes and books. But, if you tune into your gratitude, you’ll be able to apply it even to more functional items.

Stay tuned for the don’ts…

Categories
Budget Money

Dos & Don’ts of Budgeting During Uncertainty

Right now there are a lot of things uncertain. What to do with your personal finances doesn’t have to be one of them. Grab your coffee and read about what to DO with your money and what NOT to do right now.

Do:

1. Create a budget for April.

We will always say that’s the priority, but right now it’s especially important. Let’s not ignore the numbers, let’s confront them. You will certainly need to tweak the numbers. Some things will be better (lower gas, less childcare costs), some may be worse (lower income). Just get it on paper.

2. Focus on NOW.

Many people are thinking about May or even September. That’s how overwhelm happens. Focus on the now! Let’s all get through April. No one knows really what’s coming anyway, it’s best to use our time & energy to make this month the best it can be.

3. Cover the four walls first.

This means food, shelter, transportation are the items you cover first in your budget. We’re not paying the credit card bill this month if it means we can’t afford to put food on the family table.

4. Control the controllables.

There’s so much you can’t control right now. You can’t control whether your get to leave your house, keep job and whether your kids are at home until August. And that’s just the beginning! So, let’s focus on what you CAN control.

You CAN control whether you get to work with what’s available. That may be side jobs or a job at Amazon or Target-they’re hiring. It may not be your chosen field, but we know you’ll do what it takes to take care of your family.

You can also be selling stuff or, at the least, simplifying your home during this time. Being productive and making your living space better are wonderful ways to process what’s going on.

You can control your attitude. You can control whether you help spread panic or spread hope.

Remember, the kids are watching. You can control how you frame this for them and how you take advantage of this time with them.

Don‘t:

1. Don’t keep making extra payments.

We’re in storm mode, so we are going to pause being gazelle intense on paying off debt and instead pile up cash until the storm passes. Don’t worry, when everything gets “back to normal,” you’ll have a big pile of money to dump on debt.

2. Pull your money out of investments.

Don’t panic and pull your money from investments. You haven’t lost any money until you do that very thing! Plus, there are so many unintended consequences with doing so. So, just don’t do it!

3. Be willy nilly with your Emergency Fund. 

Right now, everything feels like an emergency. But it’s not, not necessarily. We are still going to ask our three questions before pulling money out of that emergency fund. Is it unexpected, is it necessary and is it urgent? Getting takeout isn’t. Even getting a new dishwasher isn’t. But, losing your job and needing to pay the electric bill somehow, YES! That’s an emergency fund. You need that emergency fund now more than ever, so be very discerning when using it!

This is a little preview of what we do. We help clients create a budget & payoff debt. Want to set up a free, no-obligation 15 minute consultation?

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Mindset Planning

How to have a better week

If you’re anything like me, last week wasn’t your best week. I know for me many things went wrong. While it is tempting to just wallow in that for a bit, I decided to take action and do the things I know I need to do to have a good week. So, how do you do that? Here are 5 steps to have a better week.

1. Figure out what went right.

What went right last week? What can you celebrate? What can you duplicate? This will get your brain in the right frame of mind to be positive. It will also give you some much needed clarification.

2. Figure out what went wrong.

Last week might not have been great, but WHY? Letting the nagging feeling rule the day is no productive. Pin down what went wrong, what made you feel less than happy or productive or satisfied.

3. Stop focusing on others.

Much of our frustration comes from trying to control others. You may not think so, but it really turns out to be true. We focus on how others are behaving, reacting, doing or not doing. That brings a lot of frustration and makes us feel powerless because we clearly CANNOT control anything about what others do.

4. Balance the input.

Many times a bad week can mean we had a bad average of bad that went into our brains versus good. Maybe we watched more bad news than normal or listened to more bad attitudes. That can’t always be controlled but what you CAN do is purposefully try to balance the bad with good. Purposefully input GOOD things into your brain whether it’s music, podcasts, books, thoughts or more.

5. Focus on you.

What can you control? What CAN you focus on? In a world where things seem out of control so often, there is much you can focus on in your small sphere of control that will make you feel better, I promise. Download the worksheet to consider your top 10. I’ll give you mine to get your brain juices flowing.

  1. Pray
  2. Read the bible
  3. Journal
  4. Listen to good music during breakfast/drive
  5. Read book / listen to podcast
  6. Exercise
  7. Eat well
  8. Clean or organize something
  9. Skin time
  10. Hug kiddos
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The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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