Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Do You Live Like an Inbox?

What is your work style? Could you be an inbox type of person?

People who live like inboxes don’t prioritize. Instead of looking at their work and formulating a plan, they get straight to work at whatever is dumped on them. If you do this . . . STOP! Planning is a critical part of generating results. Your time is limited. Be selective in how you spend it. Decide what you will and will not do. You don’t have enough time to finish everything. Determine what your priorities are and start with those.

Managing your time is not someone else’s responsibility. It is yours. You are responsible for your own time management and prioritization management, so do not allow others to dictate your life and your schedule.

When someone gives you a new task, don’t automatically do it. Take the time to look at each item to decide whether or not it is a good investment of your time and talents. Ask 1) Is it important? 2) Am I the right person for the job? and 3) Should I say no?

Every day, evaluate how you will spend your time. Prioritize. How do these items align with your personal goals, priorities, and mission? Think before you work.

 

You have a choice, and the choice is yours.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach LLC
“Helping You Get Your Financial House In Order”
2280 W William St., Suite A
Delaware, OH 43015
http://www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net
https://www.facebook.com/MyFinancialLifeCoach
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/bryan-cooper/26/199/722

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Filed under Attitude, Balance, Goal Setting, Goals, Inspiration, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Time, Time Management

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 11-12

Note: For the first couple of weeks of January I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!

Days 11 and 12

Day 11

Today we begin to work on our spending plan. I have done this in the past off and on, but never felt hugely successful. While I was able to make a plan and get from month to month, I didn’t ever feel like I was getting ahead.

Bryan’s spreadsheets are a little different than anything I had come up with in the past, and to be honest, it was kind of fun. I have to pause here a minute and let this soak in. I, never in my entire life, have, nor ever thought I would…say that figuring out my monthly budget was fun. Most of my bills are due around the 20th of the month and it is pretty common for me to start waking up in the middle of the night panicked about my money a few days prior. It doesn’t matter if I have the money in the bank to cover things or not. This post traumatic stress syndrome is so much a part of my monthly routine that when I wake with a start, my first thought is, “What’s the date?”

So…we’ll see how this process changes things. Bryan’s demo of this spreadsheet was fluid and easy to understand, and his tips were enouraging.

Bryan says:

1. At first you’ll forget things. Don’t sweat it.
2. It takes about 3 months to get your monthly budget down.
3. Be serious.
4. Make it your plan. (Otherwise it won’t work.)
5. Celebrate your victories. (My favorite part.)

Plug your paychecks into the spreadsheet and divvy it up amongst your expenses. When you assign some money to a bill, that amount is subtracted from your total. Once you get your spreadsheet filled in, take a look to see where you can cut costs and how you want to arrange your paycheck across your expenses. I was thrilled to see that I could be putting more money on my debt that I thought. I am pretty excited to start watching those balances tick away.

Ready to come on board? Leave a money tip, and go into the drawing for a free chance to go through Balance UP!

Day 12…recording the details

I…am a big picture person. I understand details. I respect details, and when possible, I defer details. I would truly rather be at the dentist than wade through number details. (No offense Dr. Tony.)

Given this, you can probably imagine how quickly my eyes glazed over when today’s video started talking about making a separate ledger for items like eating out and car stuff. My first thought was, “How can I get around this?”

I know. That was bad. We don’t eat out. It’s not a challenge to manage our once a month pizza, so that’s one less sheet for me. My focus is paying off debt and I am not buying a thing that isn’t a necessity. When I do, I take that off the extra I am putting onto the debt. Maybe I don’t need these. I wondered, “Can I get to where I want to go without doing this part?”

I haven’t yet.

Bryan says this will take some getting used to, and to play around with it for a while. OK. I printed out my ledgers, and I’ll give it a try. Cross your fingers for me!

– Sara

Let’s hear from the readers!  What part to tracking expenses do you find to be the hardest?

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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Filed under Budget, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, household budget, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 9-10

Note: For the first couple of weeks I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy

Day 9 

Stop watching the Joneses

Those darned Joneses! They make us keep thinking we need more and more. When will they stop consuming?

In all seriousness, it’s not the Joneses, it’s our continuous materialist sweet tooth that is causing our debt obesity.

As we learned from Bryan, we need to think of our expenditures in terms of monthly payments, the hours we must work to pay for them, and what that money costs us over time. It’s not easy to manage these ideas at first, but as will any lifestyle change, the turtle wins the race.

Start slowly, but keep going. We discussed giving to others on Day 7. Today we are encouraged to pay ourselves, and to do it first. I know that is so very hard when you don’t have enough money to get to the end of the month. Even if it is $5 a month, set it aside for yourself. Do you best. You will just feel better.

Now, how can we impact our monthly expenses?

Do you have a mortgage? Bryan encourages us to consider a bi-monthly payment, or an extra payment over the course of a year. Either of these approaches will take years off your mortgage.

Can you decrease your electricity? Changing to fluorescent light bulbs can decrease your lighting costs by 75%, not to mention decreasing your lightbulb replacement costs. The price of these bulbs has decreased enormously over the years and it is no longer a burdensome purchase.

Turn off and unplug. You can save up to 8% in electrical costs by turning off lights, and uplugging and other electrical appliances such as TVs, computers, and chargers when not in use.

Change your showerhead. Switching to a low water showerhead, or even toilet if you are able, will decrease your water costs, and you won’t even notice the change. (I grew up with a well as our water supply, and the water bill is simply one I just hate to pay.)

Do you pay for voicemail? Even if the voicemail is only $1 month, over 20 years that will cost you $240, if the rate never goes up.

Bryan has even more tips for Day 9, and none are the least bit painful. Remember, every dollar you save per month on your regular bills, is money you can save, use to pay debt off, or buy some great shoes!

Bryan has offered to give away Balance UP to one visitor of Single Moms Ask Sara, and to a friend of that visitor. To enter, simply go to my Money Saving Tips and leave your favorite tips for my readers.

Day 10!

All caught up! Today is tip day! Bryan offers a series of money saving tips. Today I am going to give you a few of his, and a few of mine.

I have to confess that I am feeling much more relaxed and much more confident about money. It is a relief to know that I have been on the right track, it was a shock to look at my finances across the long term, and it is encouraging that Bryan thinks that no matter where you are in your financial life, you can get on track.

Tips
Bryan: Don’t grocery shop hungry, and shop from a list.
Sara: Make your list from a menu. For a downloadable menu and shopping list, check my Free Downloads page.

Bryan: Use coupons. Check Bryan’s site for great coupon websites. (scroll down tot he links section)
Sara: If the house brand is cheaper (and it often is) don’t spend the extra money to use the coupon on the name brand item. Be sure to sign up for your store’s discount program.

Bryan:Don’t waste food. Make larger servings to use for other meals or to take for lunch.
Sara:Incorporate leftovers into your menu. Today’s leftover roast is tomorrow’s beef and noodles or roast beef sandwiches.

Bryan: Save money on clothing by buying at the end of the season.
Sara: Shop with a plan. Put together your wardrobe in a logical way. Click here to see what Clinton and Stacy recommend for wardrobe basics.

Bryan: Go to www.gasbuddy.com to check gas prices in your area.
Sara: Make sure your change your oil regularly, and your tires are inflated to the proper amount. Both of these can affect your gas mileage.

These are just a few of the money saving tips available at Bryan’s site: MyFinancialLifeCoach.net.

– Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Let’s hear your comments…1) What are your 1 or 2 favorite money saving tips? 2) Have you stopped over at Sara’s website to post your money saving ideas? All money saving posts will be entered in a drawing to win a Balance Up program.

Related Articles – (Note from Bryan – Along with some of my articles below I also included some articles from folks who I read on a regular basis…enjoy!)

Phantom ElectricityMy Financial Life Coach

New Money-Saving Holiday Strategies- Smart MoneySmart Money

Are You Eating Your College Fund?My Financial Life Coach

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Balance, Budget, Change, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 7-8

Note: For the first couple of weeks I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!

Days 7 and 8…Tracking the Bucks

Day 7

Only 42% of people track their spending.

This means, as Bryan points out, 58% of people do not track their spending. I do track my bucks. I might not track for a week or two, but I always balance up (no pun intended) when I sit down to pay my monthly bills. I was surprised to learn that so many people do not track their spending.

Bryan reminds us to think about how much money we actually have to spend over our lifetimes. Think about how much money you make a year (the net amount) and write down your number. Now multiply the number by 10. This is the amount of money (discounting raises) that you have to manage over a ten year period. Now multiply by 20 years, and then by 30 years. You likely have much more to manage than you ever realized.

Looking at that grand total, it is much easier to see how you can become debt free and use your money to fulfill your dreams.

Not feeling it? Still having that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach? Bryan says this is when you should pull together $10 or $20 and give it to someone else. Suze Orman echos this sentiment explaining that her clients who had the most money were the ones who gave away the most money, and Wayne Dyer tells us to give away the very thing we want to receive. Someone is always worse off than you. By giving, you shift your focus away from yourself and your issues, and you do something wonderful for someone else.

Day 8

Monthly payments rob you of your future wealth.

I hate those monthly payments. It’s one thing to be paying something off and knowing those payments will someday disappear…but the phone, the electric, the gas…I hate paying those every month…forever and ever.

But what about those payments you don’t think about. What about that $1 coffee everyday? That is $30 a month, or $13,000 over 20 years. What about that $25 or $50 mani-pedi payment? That every other month haircut? Etc.

By breaking your spending down to a per month basis it is much easier to track your spending. The process can cause a few butterflies, but ultimately, knowledge is power. You can’t manage it if you don’t about it.

Almost caught up! Ready for Day 9!

– Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Let’s hear your comments…1) Do you track your spending? 2) What are 1 or 2 items you can eliminate that will give you cash to apply to your debts?

 

Related Articles – (Note from Bryan – Along with some of my articles below I also included some articles from folks who I read on a regular basis…enjoy!)

Take Control of Your Life?My Financial Life Coach

Are You Fearful of Writing Your Goals?Motivation to Move

SomedayMy Financial Life Coach

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Balance, Budget, Change, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Uncategorized

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up – Days 4-6

Note: For the first couple of weeks I’m posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!

Money…Days 4, 5, and 6.

Spreadsheet free days! Yep, these are my kind of money lessons!

In days 4 and 5 we learn about what we think about our lives in relation to money…and what we should think. We all know,

Attitude is everything

But we don’t always realize those forces that are negatively impacting our attitudes. For example, do you feel like you are lacking? Do you feel that society is passing you by? Do the Joneses have a lot more than you do? Maybe you are just watching too many commercials. Something as simple as pitching the ad magazines and turning off the TV can make a major difference in your perceptions.

Bryan reminds us there is a difference between being broke, and being poor. I have long said that poverty is a mindset, and has little to do with your cash flow. Lesson 4 addresses the very reasons why.

In Lesson 5 Bryan addresses the emotional side of getting your finances in order, and reminds us that there is no shame in getting your dollars in line and making great plans for your life going forward. Here, Bryan echos the profound observation of Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad:

You were never taught to manage money

Think about it. You probably had English class (your native tongue) your entire school life, but never had a money management class, beyond figuring out what kind of career you needed to pay the monthly bills. How in the heck are you going to know how to plan your life and work your money to support that plan?

Ready for Day 6? Me too!

Day 6: Cost in Hours

“Change Your Thinking”

We all know how much our purchases cost. After all, everything has a big fat price tag on it. But is that price tag telling us the whole story? Bryan says “no”.

In just 7 minutes of video instruction Bryan brings our purchases into some quick perspective.

Bryan asks,

“How much is a $1000 couch?”  (Careful, it’s a trick question…)

Answer: $1532.95.

What?

Yes…the COST TO YOU is $1532.95.

Why?

With taxes, the actual sale price of the couch is $1070.00. But those are just sales taxes.

You also have all those lovely taxes that are taken out of your check. You know, FICA, State, Federal, Local, etc. So for you to have $1070.00 to spend you have to have earned $1532.95. Yikes.

If you earn $15/hr it will take you 102 hours, or 2 1/2 weeks to buy the couch…if you pay cash. You had better really like that couch!

That $30,000 minivan? Well…let’s just say it’s A LOT more hours. That $10 birthday gift for your child’s classmate? At $15/hr you worked just over a full hour to pay for that, and you probably don’t even know the kid!

I do think in these terms, and I get a bit frustrated when I think about the number of hours I spend working to pay for things. When you think about the hours you slave at a desk, a store, a construction site, etc., it makes you think twice about whether or not you really need the item you’re looking at!

-Sara

Interested in learning more about Balance Up? 32 online lessons taken over a 42 day period for only $29.99.

Let’s hear your comments…1) Where you ever taught about money? 2) What can change your mind about money? 3) What do you think about the concept of the $1000 couch?

 

Related Articles – (Note from Bryan – Along with some of my articles below I also included some articles from folks who I read on a regular basis…enjoy!)

Financial GrowthMorning Coach

Are You Truly Living the Life You Want?My Financial Life Coach

The Major Obsticle to Financial Success Brian Tracy

How to Stay MotivatedDenis Waitley

How Much Does a $1000 Couch cost?My Financial Life Coach

Bryan Cooper

My Financial Life Coach, LLC

Delaware, Ohio

www.MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

My Financial Life Coach is a provider of financial education, coaching, web-based training,

and seminars for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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Filed under Balance, Budget, Change, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Uncategorized

Happy New Year

Happy New Year and welcome to the first post of 2012!!

I will be doing things a little different this year. A majority of the folks start out the new year with some type of financial resolution, so for the first couple of weeks I will be posting Sara’s (Single Mom’s Ask Sara) journey through the Balance Up program.  I will be including some additional posts during this time too and then later in January you will see a little more topical structure with my posts. Enjoy!

Sara’s Journey Through Balance Up

Day 1

Here we go! Taking a deep breath I opened my first Budget Up! email and clicked on the link to the lesson.

Bryan reminded me:

“Today you made a choice to make a change in your finances and your life.” – Bryan Cooper

Again…big deep breath. Was I ready for this? I mean I have a pretty good handle on my dollars…in my head. Was I ready to put those dollars on paper?

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.”

Another reminder from Bryan. Yes…I do want a bit of a change, and it would be very nice to think about my finances without getting sweaty palms and chest pains.

I am ready to continue…prosperity, here I come!

Sara Sherman money

Money…Day 2–Official Start!

I am back! I have been traveling for work and am a tad behind in my financial classes. The great thing about this email day by day format is that I can catch up as I am able. Thank goodness!

I opened my “official start” email and followed the link. The first thing I noticed on the screen was a link to spreadsheets. “OK,” I thought. “I can do spreadsheets.”

I clicked the link. Yikes! There were a whole bunch of spreadsheets! As I tabbed through the spreadsheets of income, expenses, equity, balances, and paycheck assignments my heart hit my throat and I started throwing the numbers I could remember into the cells. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember everything, and I wasn’t sure what to do with some of the sheets. Now I would have to go upstairs and sort through files, and the stuff in the “to be filed” pile and figure out all this stuff. Not my favorite thing.

I took a deep breath and fired off a list of questions to Bryan. This was on a Sunday night. I got a prompt email response from Bryan who kindly and patiently answered my questions. Then he asked. “Did you watch the video tutorial?”

Did you watch the video tutorial?”

Video tutorial? Oops. In my panic and rush to plow through the spreadsheets I failed to notice the large square to the right telling me to watch the video tutorial.

So…I am going to go do that now, and I’ll let you know how I fare with those spreadsheets after I actually see the instructions.

Ahhhh…..the video

So…following Bryan’s reminder, I watched the video instruction for Day 1. Easy peasy!! Turns out, instead of flipping from spreadsheet to spreadsheet in a state of mass hysteria, I really only needed to work with 3 of the spreadsheets for Day 1. Much better!

These three spreadsheets are the foundational pieces of your personal budget. In essence, “What do you owe to whom?” and “How much are your monthly expenses?” Pretty basic stuff.

A few months ago I realized I had gotten some outright wrong, or at least misunderstood (I am going with the former) advice on the self-employment income I had last year. Finding out my federal, state, and local taxes were thousands of dollars that I did not have, gave me the opportunity to go through this process to determine what I could pay Mr. Tax Man each month. Given that, I had a pretty good idea of what was where.

For the few spreadsheet lines I wasn’t quite sure of, I popped in a number and watched what happened. Seeing the calculations the spreadsheet performed cleared up any confusion and I knew what to do.

I have a few pieces of advice for this part of the process:

1. Gather your bills to get a good idea of what you owe and what you pay.

2. If the process is stressful, or causes you anxiety, do it in little pieces at a time, and think of it as someone else’s money. For example, “My goodness, Davy Crockett has an $8,000 Master Card bill? Well we’ll just have to see what we can do to help Davy get that taken care of.”

3. Understand that none of this is in stone. Your financial picture moves and changes each day, at least a little bit. Yesterday’s cash on hand was $72, today’s is $65. Pick a spot to start, and just keep going.

Bryan gives his students the weekends off…Go Bryan! So I should get a good start on catching up from my work travels this weekend.

Happy Money!!

Money…days 2 and 3

The lessons for days 2 and 3 work hand in hand. In these days, Bryan challenges us to list our goals. Yep. Goals. But not just our money goals, our life goals.
money

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

Ponder this quote from Bryan for a few minutes. Take a deep breath or two and let this idea roll around in your head. How does it feel to you?

I have two strong sensations when I do this. First, the idea that my life is actually running my money is very freeing to me, and my second sensation is…how in the heck am I going to get there?

I am good with the goals. I own Covey’s 7 Habits, nearly every Wayne Dyer book, 2 of Joel Osteen‘s, and a handful of other how-to’s by delightful writers. Sometimes I have those goals down on paper and I am trucking right along, and sometimes life is trucking right over me. When it takes everything you have to get from sun-up to sun-down each day, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. All of a sudden the years have passed and what you wanted for your life seems like a pipe dream.

And because Bryan is sooooo darn thorough, he talks about that a bit too. In this lesson we also review possible reasons why we have not moved forward with our goals. If we cannot identify our barriers, we cannot overcome them. Bryan reminds us that we don’t have to have to have all the answers, and we don’t have to already know how to get from A to B. After all he says, “Nobody knows everything.”

Because I want to be successful in this Balance Up program, I decided to sleep on the idea of goals for a few days. I am now ready to put them to paper and move on.

Yes, you will need to do a little spreadsheet work in this lesson, but it’s just a little and it won’t take you too long.

Onward and upward!! – Sara

Related Articles – (Note from Bryan – Along with some of my articles below I also included some articles from folks who I read on a regular basis…enjoy!)

Build the New Year of Your DreamsMorning Coach

Is This the Dream You Want?My Financial Life Coach

5 Reasons Why Most Don’t Become Wealthy Brian Tracy

Remove the Constraints and Live Your Dream LifeMotivation To Move

Take Control of Your Own LifeMy Financial Life Coach

What will your compass for 2012 be?– Johan Coetzer


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Filed under Balance, Budget, Change, Finance, Financial, Goal Setting, Goals, household budget, Life, Life Balance, Miscellaneous, Money, Personal Finance, Priorities, Resolutions, Stress, Uncategorized

Time Tip Thursday

Home: When purchasing something which may be out of stock, call the store before leaving home to see if they have it.

Work: When scheduling, use a single calendar to ensure that business and family events do not conflict.

Work: When you are at work, be sure to work. Being more efficient while in the office will increase your productivity, enabling you to focus on other things when you are not at work, such as building relationships with your family and friends.

What are some of your favorite tips? Let’s hear about them. Post your comments here or on my Facebook page.

Just a reminder, between now and December 25, I’m donating $2 to Lifeline Christian Mission for every new “Like” on the My Financial Life Coach Facebook page.

 

Bryan Cooper

Financial Life Coach

Dave Ramsey Certified

2280 W William St., Suite A

Delaware, OH  43015

Info@MyFinancialLifeCoach.net

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

Leave a comment

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