Category Archives: Food

Grocery, Eating Out, Food Budget, Budget, Saving, Coupons, Resturants, Planning

I’ll Blow the Budget Tomorrow

English: A set of EBC performance disk brake pads

English: A set of EBC performance disk brake pads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought I’d talk about procrastination today, but I decided to wait until my next article . . . not! Instead of procrastinating, let’s talk this very minute about how procrastination can blow your budget.

Let’s consider your car as an example. A few weeks ago, it started making that strange noise. You know the one I’m talking about. Something is clearly wrong, but you just haven’t had the time to take it into the repair shop. The noise got louder and more obnoxious. You finally took it in. The mechanic informs you that your original problem was that your break pads needed replaced. That would have cost you $200. Because you waited, however, the problem grew worse. Now you’re looking at an $800 bill to replace the brake pads AND the rotors.

Here’s another common example. You don’t plan for a meal until 7:30pm. Looking in to the refrigerator, you discover it’s empty. You’re hungry, so instead of cooking a meal for your family at home for $5-$10, you spend $40 eating out.

It’s easy to blow a budget through procrastination. Fortunately, it’s a simple fix. Plan ahead and save big!

Not only do these items need to be high priorities on your to-do list, but you need to actually schedule time on your calendar for them. Be sure to reasonably estimate how much time each task will require, and add a little extra time to that amount. Don’t allow procrastination to blow your budget. Instead, focus on procrastination and prioritization management.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan D. Cooper
My Financial Life Coach LLC
“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015

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Filed under Auto, Budget, Family, Finance, Food, household budget, Personal Finance, Priorities, Procrastination, Relationships & Money

Step 2 – Determine your goals. Think LONG-TERM

 “Your personal goals (vision) need to determine your spending, not your spending determine your goals.”    –  Bryan Cooper 


Dream a little . . . what would “Financial Freedom” look like to you? Close your eyes, can you see it? Can you taste it? Reflect on this for a few moments.

As I’ve coached over the years I have learned that you must spell out what financial freedom means to you and you must start establishing and prioritizing goals to get there. When I work with a client the first thing we do is spend 30 minutes in this area and we revisit it during the entire process. This is where you design life around family, events, etc.

Please understand that you don’t need to have every detail figured out before you start, you just need to start!     Brainstorm your goals. Your goals should include financial and non-financial goals. Establishing the right goals will help you with life balance.


Your goals need to include:

  1. Very short-term goals –  (under 1 year):
  2. Short term goals – (1-5 years):
  3. Long term goals – (over 5 years):

Your goals should become your compass. Everything you do will be measured against your list of goals. As every new opportunity comes before you, you will evaluate it to see if the opportunity helps you toward your goals, or away from them. If it helps, consider it. If the opportunity distracts or hurts your progress towards your goals, eliminate, say no to it because it will get you off course.

Remember, your goal list is a living document. You will make changes to it as priorities change or as other life events unfold in your life.

Take Action

So today why don’t you do the following two action items.

1. Take a pencil and paper and start writing out what Financial Freedom means to you.

2. Write out your goals, breaking them into < one year, 1-5 years, and > than 5 years.

It’s your life; why not make the most of it?

Remember, YOU have a choice, and the choice is YOURS.


Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about life, food, family, life events, spending, and economic news. We do make every attempt to avoid the topic of politics but we will bring up economic policies that need communicated.


Filed under Blog, Change, Events, Family, Financial, Food, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life, Personal Finance, Stress

Three attitudes that really mess with your financial wellness

Attitude is Everything!

Attitude is everything in the game of personal finance. About 60% of the folks I meet with have the right attitude, the attitude that they can take action and correct their situation, no matter who caused it. For this post I want to talk t0 the other 40%.

1.   The government or my employer will take care of me.

It isn’t wise to allow others who have little or no vested interest in your well-being to have control over your future. I’m not making a political statement here. It is in your best interest to take an active role in your finances, your education, your employment, your health, and your retirement.  Being passive or not taking responsibility in these areas could result in a non-positive outcome. You need to take action and own the responsibility.

2.   I’ll do something about my situation tomorrow.

You need to DO IT TODAY! Stop procrastinating. Take action. The two main reasons I see procrastination with finances is a) lack of knowledge, or 2) the fear of failure so no action is taken, which results in failure anyway.

3.   I don’t need a written plan for my financial goals.

I’m sure you have heard the saying “What is measured gets managed.”  It is also true with budgets. Writing it down:  a) it keeps it in front of you b) it improves the communication because it is documented, and c) it makes it real because you can read it and touch.

Remember, YOU have a choice, and the choice is YOURS.

Ten years or twenty years from now, will you be saying “I wish I had gotten my finances in order”, or will you be saying, “I’m REALLY glad I DID get my finances in order!”    – Bryan Cooper

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

Thank you for reading the My Financial Life Coach blog where we talk about life, food, family, life events, spending, and economic news. We do make every attempt to avoid the topic of politics but we will bring up economic policies that need communicated.


Filed under Blog, Budget, Change, Economy, Events, Family, Food, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Money, News, Personal Finance, Priorities, Procrastination, Saving Money

Taking Control of Your Finances – Is the Economy Really that Bad?

The Situation

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Most people want to become financially independent, but only 5% of Americans ever attain that status.

Most Americans have no idea where their money goes each month, yet they can tell you about the latest Hollywood gossip or the latest sports statistics. What are your priorities? It is nearly impossible to change your situation without investing time in creating and following a plan (budget).  A budget is a very simple written plan that, used consistently, can help you attain your goal of becoming debt free.

You can decide to take charge of your life by getting on a budget, or you can continue to do what you have been doing. Are you getting the results you want and need? No? Then it is time for YOU to take ownership of your situation and take action.

I use the following steps in my seminars and my on-line coaching program. I will be discussing these steps in my blog over the coming months.

The Plan

Balance Up – Eight Steps to Maximize, Energize, and Organize Your Financial Life

Step 1 – Know your financial condition

Step 2 – Determine your goals.  Think LONG-TERM

Step 3 – Make the best financial decisions; calculate the REAL cost

Step 4 – Create your spending plan – maximize your income

Step 5 – Create and maintain life balance

      Step 5b – Six Areas of a Balanced Life

Step 6 – Establish your Emergency Fund (EF) of $1,500

Step 7 – Eliminate your debt (except the home)

Step 8 – Establish your Emergency Living Expense Fund (ELEF)

       Step 8b –  The Power of Savings – the sinking fund approach


Anytime you start something you need to evaluate the situation. If you are going to cook dinner, you need to make sure you have food to cook. You need to know what equipment you’re cooking with, and you need to know that there will be someone to eat it. If you miss one of these elements you will not have a successful dinner.

It is the same way with working with your finances. You need to understand your situation and the environment that you are working with. For that reason I start all of my seminars and sessions reviewing some economic statistics. It gives the participants a fresh look at the economic conditions. Here are the two I want to talk about today.

The Stats

1.   National unemployment rate for January 2012: 8.3%.

Bureau of Labor Statistics– February 3, 2012

2.      Nationally, 7.89% of mortgages (3Q 2011) are either 90 days or more past due, or are
in the process of foreclosure.

                                                                          Mortgage Bankers Association –November 17, 2011

So what is being said here is that 1 out of 12 adults are out of work and 1 out of 13 households are behind on their mortgage or being foreclosed on. Those are not good statistics if you are one of these folks but let’s look at these numbers from another direction.

Just the Facts Ma’am

11 out of 12 are working.

12 out of 13 are not being foreclosed on or are not 90 days or more behind on their payment.

When you look at the statistics from this view you can see that a lot of folks are employed and a lot of folks are making their mortgage payments and making them on time. I bring this up because I have had many conversations from folks who are employed, who are current on their mortgages, who were thinking about defaulting on their mortgage because things are “so bad.” Basically, many Americans have listened so much to the media (bad news sells) and the Politian’s (who only they can save you) that they had given up hope even though things were going well for them.

I’m not discounting nor ignoring those who are hurting. What we are reviewing here are not really statistics, but people who are out of work and/or who are behind on their mortgage. But it is important for us to look at these numbers and see the positive in these numbers.  When we start looking positively at our situation, we can help others to see the positive in their situation. It is time to look at the actual numbers without the commentary and without the hype that generally comes with statistics.

Is it time to switch off the News with all of its unnecessary negativity? No, I’m not saying go bury your head in the sand…I’m saying re-evaluate where you get your News. Are you getting the real news or are you getting the sensationalized version of it? If you are getting the sensationalized version of it it is time to say “You’re Fired!”

– Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training, and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.


Filed under Change, Economy, Education, Finance, Food, household budget, Money, Personal Finance, Relationships & Money

The Gift That is Sure to Please!

I think I have seen this comment on about every Christmas ad. It’s on TV, its in print. Everyone telling you that they have just that special gift. The advertisements are selling the gifts of jewelry, clothing, entertainment, or even exercise.

There is nothing wrong with these gifts and there is nothing wrong with gift giving. But I do have to ask a couple of questions…

Do you REALLY need to upgrade from the 42″ TV to the 60″ plus TV?

Does your Dad really need another tie to add to his collection of 70 ties?

This year I want to challenge you to include a gift to charity.


$15 will but a food basket for Haiti. Does Dad really need that tie?

$120 will buy a desk for 3 Haitian students. Does Mom need that 18th necklace?

$4,000 will buy a home for a Haitian family. Can you and 19 friends come up with $200? Can you imagine the joy you can bring to a family who doesn’t have a home for their family?

Interested? Below are two ideas for you to help those in Haiti.

#1. Check out a number of great gift giving opportunities at Lifeline Christian Mission. This is a great organization. We have sponsored children for years and my teenagers have traveled to Haiti on mission trips. An excellent and well run mission!

#2. From now until December 25, I will donate $2 to Lifeline for every new “Like” on the “My Financial Life Coach” Facebook page (18 and older please). I’m currently at 157 likes so I need your help…tell your friends and have them stop over and like this page. Be sure to “Like” the page, not just the posting.

100 NEW LIKES EQUALS $200. PLEASE help me make this happen!!

As I always say, YOU have a choice, and the Choice is YOURS.


Bryan Cooper

Financial Life Coach

Dave Ramsey Certified

2280 W William St., Suite A

Delaware, OH  43015

(740) 815-3243


Visit us at for hundreds of money saving tips, articles, and other resources.

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Filed under Christmas, Dave Ramsey, Education, Family, Food, Uncategorized

Are You Eating your College Fund?

So how much do you spend eating out?

Maybe you spend $50, $100, or even $200. So what is the big deal? When I coach folks, I typically see the eating out in the $175 to $300 range. What I typically hear is “I didn’t realize how much we were spending until you made us put it on paper.”

For the record, I’m not against eating out; I’m actually okay with people eating out as long as they understand the overall potential impact to their budget and their personal goals.

How does eating out and other spending impact your long term goals?

Take a look at the chart. The chart is based on 9% return. I know, you are saying you can’t get 9%. You are correct, you cannot get that today…but I look long term. I’ve seen interest rates at 18%. Thinking short-term will get you into trouble but that is a topic for another day. So for the next few moments, think long term with me and let’s take a look at the chart.

If I’m spending $200 a month eating out, that means over the next twenty years I may have had the potential to accumulate $133,680. Have you ever said you can’t save for college? Maybe you are eating your college fund. This is why it is so important to establish your life goals and then build your budget around those goals.

So, how do you reduce your eating out expenses?

Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Drink water instead of a beverage.  A family of four ($1.75 each x 4 people x 4 meals) = $28.00 monthly savings.

2. Better planning. Instead of hitting the restaurant after the game, have a crock pot or casserole cooking in the oven so it is ready to eat when your get home. A family of four ($30 per family x 4 meals) = $120 monthly savings.

3. Go out for lunch instead of dinner. Many times a $10.00 dinner meal is around $6.00 at lunch time. Family of four ($4.00 each x 4 people x 1 meal) = $16 monthly savings.

So you reduce your eating out expense by $164. Take $64 of this and move it to your grocery bill (since you are eating at home more) for a true savings of about $100 a month. Go back to the chart, what is the potential of saving $100 a month for 15 years? $37,870.  How painful is the above? The bottom line is 1) you drink water, 2) you eat out one less time per week (eating at home), and 3) you eat lunch out instead of dinner once per month.

What if you double it? 

If you double what we talked about above, you are looking at a potential savings of $75,740 over 15 years. That looks a lot like a college fund to me. Let me put it another way. For most families, the $75,740 is more money than they will bring home after taxes for an entire year. That is a lot of money, and we only addressed one category within the budget!

Modify and Reduce 

We didn’t eliminate eating out. We modified it and we reduced it. The goal of a good spending plan is not to stop spending; it is to maximize your income by spending the right amount, on the right things, so you get to do what is important to you. You must set your life priorities and then build your budget around those priorities.

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, OH  43015

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Balance Up: 42 Days to Maximize, Energize, and Organize Your Life

Balance Up is different than most other programs because it combines Goal Setting, Financial Management, Prioritization Management, Time Management, and Life Balance into a single program. In the mid 90’s Bryan developed and delivered corporate training in the areas of Goal Setting, Action Planning, and Time Management, so he understands adult learners. Bryan has combined that experience with his experience in financial coaching to create Balance Up.


Filed under Balance, Budget, Change, coach dave, Dave Ramsey, Finance, Food, Goal Setting, Goals, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Saving Money, Uncategorized

Getting organized with meal planning

There will be two posts today. This one is from a friend of mine Karen Dawkins who resides in North Carolina.

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Filed under Balance, Family, Food, Home, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Parenting, Stress, Uncategorized