Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fun & Budget Friendly Idea Generator

One of my goals is to have a "no-spend" weekend each month.  Needless to say, I've had to become creative in finding ways to manage my time without wrecking my budget.  To make things easier, I've created a simple generator with 50 low cost activities that anyone can do.  It's easy to use, and if you are indecisive like me, it will select one idea for you with just the touch of a button! Your idea of fun may be different from mine, so feel free to add your own ideas to the generator.  Download by clicking HERE or selecting the link under my "Helpful Tools & Downloads" page.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, September 17, 2010

What "The Apprentice" taught me about money management

This week I caught the premiere episode of the new season of The Apprentice.  The show was an absolute thrill ride! I think I'm going to try to watch this season regularly...I especially like how this season is focusing on second chances for people who have been struggling due to the economy.   From hearing the personal stories of the contestants and watching the struggles of the team challenge, I found some life lessons and inspiration for my financial journey.  Here's what I learned:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Disappearing Acts

It's the day after payday.  Do you know where your money is?

$5 at the corner store.  A quick dollar menu lunch from McDonald's.  The daily Starbucks latte.  These little purchases may not seem like much, but that's the problem.  It takes a few of these before you are able to really notice a big dent in your account,  so it's easy to justify making these purchases everyday.  By the end of the month, you may have spent $100 or more than you planned!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The More You Know...

I am no longer in school, so I am completely in charge of what I choose to read and study for the first time in years. I wholeheartedly believe in personal development and being a lifelong learner, so I am committed to gathering all the information I can to help me improve my finances. I want to share with you all some of the resources that I’m using to bring me closer to achieving my goals.

Short Term Goals

Here's the plan for the next couple of years:

  • Create a $1000 emergency fund by September 2011.
  • Have a "no-spend weekend" every month.   
  • Double my 401k contributions by December 2011.
  • No credit card debt by September 2012.
  • Set a wedding budget (and date) with an action plan for saving the money to pay for it by January 1, 2011.

Personal Growth
  • Read 1 book a month from now until December 2011.
  • Identify 1 skill that I have and create an action plan (certification? Books/other resources? Practice?) with a timeline to develop it. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Surprise Income: The Do’s & Don’ts

When I was in college, I had two extra holidays on my calendar: “Tax Refund” Day (I was always working or doing an internship) and “Student-loans-were-dispersed” Day. I celebrated these holidays every year…I decorated my closet with new clothes. I ate (sit-down restaurants), drank (top shelf baby), and was definitely merry. I told myself that if I got money that I didn’t expect, I could blow it all without feeling guilty…after all, “unaccounted for” money did not exist. That means that refund checks, birthday money, and even the “gas money” my grandmother slipped me every time I went to visit, all disappeared without a trace.