Posts Tagged ‘cut back’

Three Ways to Increase Your Impact in the World

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

By Guest Blogger Rachel Sayers

When I was growing up, my parents established a very meaningful tradition.  They made it a priority to have regular dates with us.  We would rotate between Mother daughter nights, Father son nights, Mother son nights, and Father daughter nights.  They were a lot of fun!

It didn’t take us kids long to realize that when we went out with Mom, Dad had pregiven her a “budget” amount to use for the evening.  But Dad actually did not hold the same standard to himself and would get swept away in the moment.  By the time we were at the checkout, you probably could have said, “Dad, can I buy a racehorse?” and he would of been like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, put it on the counter…”

We were not trying to be outright manipulative, but all kids quickly catch on to what they can get away with regarding their parents!  Whereas my Mom would be required to share the candy with us at the theater because she had a clear amount of money to make last for all of the activities, with Dad, we would get candy, popcorn, nachos, you name it because he had the whole wallet and wasn’t keeping track!

We have many family stories of how these outings ended up.  Especially when the boys would go out together!  They would come home with new fancy vacuum cleaners and gadgets of all kinds!  Once they brought home a robot they had bought!  They also purchased metal detectors!

I don’t know that any family bonding activity we ever did was simple, because that would be too, um, easy, right!?  (Think the Griswold’s…) When we went camping, it was with an excessive amount of gear!  Between the television, fan, etc.  it wasn’t really like camping at all!  And at the beach, I have several humorous flashbacks of my Dad (in his socks!) and brother scaling the beach with those metal detectors instead of relaxing in the sun with a paperback book!

Sometime between growing up as a habitual consumer who sought to be entertained and now, I have learned that finding real treasure isn’t as difficult as we think, but it is often buried!  Buried underneath familiarity, activity, and disorder.

What if I told you that being a wise steward isn’t always just thinking of how you can cut back and save money, but how you can take what you are already doing, and do it in such a way that it produces more than enough for you and others?

As a stay at home Mother with five home schooled children, learning how to be frugal and efficient with our resources has been an important part of our family growth and development.  Let me share with you three ways that we have begun to tap into our own treasure, in the hopes that this will help you to do the same.

First of all, I want to encourage you to take inventory!  Take inventory of yourself, your gifts, and your choices.  This is not always a simple thing to do, but it is a crucial step.  You may even want to think of yourself as a business or product so you can evaluate yourself and what you have to offer without the personal blocks or emotional patterns that may be getting in the way.  Sometimes our deepest gifts and calling is so much a part of us that we do not even notice it and maximize it.  Not only does this rob us from being fully compensated for these skills, but undervaluing ourselves and our contributions also means we are not as available as we need to be to help others.  Common sense is not actually common.  It is specialized.  What is unique about you?  How do you like to spend your time and energy?  Where do you go for inspiration?  Who do you feel you can serve and solve problems for?  Why are you motivated to do this?  What is your story?

Chances are, you don’t have to dig too deep to find your treasure chest, you just have to be open to find opportunities that align with your heart.  Once you get in touch with what is really in your heart, you will be able to clearly see what you value.  And if you value it, you probably hold a precious insight regarding the topic.

Second, assemble your tools.  What are you already doing in some capacity?  Why are you pursuing these actions?  How are you using tools in your daily life to accomplish these goals?  Which ones (tools and resources) are working for you well?  Where do you notice excellent results?  Who would benefit by learning about these things?

For example, I am a homeschooling/home birthing vegetarian woman who tends to appreciate natural solutions and holistic health.  I never considered my particular preferences to be exceptionally profitable until recently.  And, although profit is NOT my main motivation, I have come to see myself in a whole new light this past year.  I was literally sitting on a goldmine, and did not notice it.  So not only was my family missing out on some financial contributions I could have been making with some small changes and adjustments in my time usage, there are also a bunch of people who I was NOT reaching because I thought of myself as “just a housewife”.  Your awareness of these things is not only your own personal responsibility, it is really also a community issue.  And, when you are operating in your life assignment, you feel much more fulfilled as well.  This is why I am passionate about encouraging you to locate these treasures today!

I will use myself as a case study, since this is my only first hand reference point.  Many things started to become different for me when I determined to create instead of just consume.  One of the tools that I personally was using in my household and life were essential oils.  I would not say that they were my focus, at all, but I put them to work for us for medicinal purposes at times, for cleaning, and for their enjoyable fragrance ~ and had done so for years.

I had spent many of my at home moments over the past ten years writing from home while I was with the children.  Last year I thought it would be a great time to actually turn these writings into books.  That had been a long time dream of mine, and I found that the forties that were looming in front of me were a good incentive to finally get moving on this desire.

I tend to be a do-it-yourselfer, and so I went about things in this vein.  And generally, I think being resourceful is a handy skill, but there is a vibrancy that community and teamwork provides that is not always able to be duplicated solo.  Finally I had reached the point in my labor where I was could see that I might not make it to the end (at least not joyfully) unless I enlisted some help!  So my husband and I discussed my challenges and decided to hire a coach.  This person had already done a considerable amount of what I hoped to accomplish, and I could relate to her so she made a wonderful mentor.  I implemented her suggestions and an interesting thing happened on the way!  Like all great coaches, she noticed things that I did not, and showed me how I could position myself better to be a change maker with a broader platform while keeping my faith and family first.

One of the strategies that she suggested is that I not just buy my essential oils from health food store or natural food co-op, but use this interest I had in natural things and plants to build.  At first, I did not see the tie in.  I was on a very linear route, and had more of a wooden privacy fence mindset than a chain link philosophy.  But it didn’t take long for me to realize how one thing in my life could support another thing, and then even extend and offer support to others as well, at the same time ~ as long as it aligned with my values!

This decision to switch from going somewhere occasionally to purchase my essential oils retail, to instead get them each month at wholesale cost as an Independent Product Consultant for doTERRA (Latin for gift of the Earth) has not just given me the chance to use the best quality Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils daily, but has also created for me a means to connect with others who are also interested in sharing their contributions and discoveries.  (Like Carol Coots, who is such a brilliant and kind person!)

Of course I am still planning to publish my stories, but in the meantime, I have been able to earn money just by being myself and showing other people how I have been able to keep myself and my family healthy and strong without hype, prescription medicines, and other conventional propaganda.  You can’t beat that!  So thirdly, keep in mind that on the way to the adventure destination of the hidden treasure, you may need to stay on the lookout for those little detours.  Sometimes you can mine the very best gold out of adversity and your waiting time can be reframed as preparation time.  What are you ready to create? Do you really need a metal detector, or can you just start shuffling through the sand you are standing on and make your own castle?

Rachel Sayers is an Author, Speaker, and Teacher who passionately creates resources to empower people to live in health and wholeness.  She supports people in creating abundance and complete wellness in their lives and can be found at http://twitter.com/rachelsayers

Carol Coots has recently joined her team of doTERRA distributors, and will soon be teaching along side of her and independently on how to incorporate essential oils into your life for cost savings and practical day to day problem solving regarding everything from pain elimination to weight loss to cleaning with oils to pest control!  Stay posted to this blog for Carol’s upcoming classes and check out her new website here:  http://www.mydoterra.com/carolcoots
If you have any questions at all about essential oil usage or this business opportunity, please send a personal private contact message Carol at www.twitter.com/ccoots or follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolcoots      or follow Carol at Practical Cost Reduction on Facebook or Stop Wasting Money on Facebook
You can find a digital doTERRA catalog here:  http://doterraproductguide.com  It contains a small description of each essential oil and a nifty usage chart for reference.

There are three ways to get your doTERRA oils!  The first is retail, on Carol’s website, which requires no commitments other than your purchase price.  http://www.mydoterra.com/carolcoots

The second way to secure these amazing oils is as a preferred customer.  This option costs $10 for a year subscription, and has no ordering requirements but means that you will always get a 20% discount.  This usually pays for itself if you plan to order more than $50 worth of items over a 12 month period.  You can sign up for this on Carol’s site as well, but please email her here to let her know you have done so because she will then email you a preferred customer price list for you to keep to save you time on math calculations!  Carol’s email is czsissom@yahoo.com

And the third way to get your doTERRA essential oils (and our favorite) is to join our team!  When you commit to purchasing 100pv of product each month (which is one point for each dollar spent for essential oils), you not only get the very lowest prices, but you get many fringe benefits as well.  Like loyalty rewards points that you earn every time you place an autoship order.  (These equal 30% a month after just 13 months with the company, and you can redeem these points for products!).  As an IPC on our team, you also receive the opportunity to establish a new income stream for yourself and loved ones, a chance to opt in to the free product of the month club, special promotions and discounts the general public do not receive, and world class support and counsel from your team leaders.

Visit here to register and click “Join” in the top right corner:  http://www.mydoterra.com/carolcoots
Plus, as a special part of our team, you will receive a complimentary tuition to Heather Madder’s Wakeup Academy, which is a one of a kind success school that you can access anytime online that it is convenient for you.  It is packed full of videos, audios, and written training that helps you take your dreams and make them a reality.  Our team is the fastest growing doTERRA team ever, and we tend to think this is why!  This tuition is a value of $2700, and it is yours free!  We are a community of creative, compassionate people who are always ready to welcome you and assist you to launch into your specific greatness.  It’s easy to become an IPC!  You can do so on your own on Carol’s site ( link), and you can also do it with our assistance by email or on the phone.  Either way, we will send you a wholesale price list for your convenience and also be there to walk you through the commitment every step of the way!  We look forward to speaking with you and helping you determine which of these methods above would work the best for you!  If you are seriously interested in saving money and having better health please follow or send a personal message to Carol at www.twitter.com/ccoots  or purchase her book at Amazon.com.  http://www.tiny.cc/2qhlq  or Carol’s newest book on Cleaning with Essential Oils that will be available from Amazon on May 15, 2012.

Debt Busters

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

From putting spare change to work to going on a spending fast, these folks found creative ways to chop their debt.

Anna Newell Jones

Strategy: Go on a spending fast for a year
Advice: Get creative. There are endless ways to save.

I had been spending over my means for a while. Every month I was spending at least $300, overdrafting my account and feeling horrible about it.

I realized I had all these wants and it was an insatiable thing. I would say, “Oh, I love this top from Anthropologie,” and then as soon as I got it everything would be great… until I wanted something else. So I knew I needed to do something drastic. And one day, it clicked.

I decided to start a spending fast for the new year, which meant no spending on anything except absolute necessities — like my mortgage, utilities, car payments — oh, and hair dyeing. That was one “want” that I turned into a necessity as I started to see my roots grow in.

I can’t buy clothes, no coffee out, no eating out. To save money, I’ve done the normal budgeting things like buying generic brands of groceries. But I’ve also started wearing all black and dyeing my clothes to extend the color. I’ve been re-gifting, growing my hair long to avoid haircuts, stuffing two loads of laundry into one and eating a lot of old canned food I’ve found in my cupboard. I also make random stuff to sell in my spare time. I have a store at Etsy.com where I sell zombie portraits of people, super cute baby onesies and banners, tags and shipping labels.

My year-long spending fast began on January 1, and so far, I have saved $5,772.25. $4,800 of that went to credit cards and the rest will go to paying my parents back the $3,247.97 I owe them and my $10,000 in student loans.

Lance Pickett

Strategy: Live without the little things
Advice: Don’t go too far — like trying cloth diapers to save $60

My wife and I owed $18,000 in student loans, $6,000 in car loans, $2,000 in credit cards and $152,000 in my mortgage.

We were living paycheck to paycheck and I was tired of seeing my bank account zero out every month. So we wanted to get out of as much debt as possible as soon as possible. We started by saving an extra 1/12th of our total required expenses — like mortgage, utilities and Internet — each month, in order to have one month worth of bills saved up at the end of the year. Then we got excited and doubled that. In three years we had six months of living expenses and threw that into a high interest CD at 5%. That really got us going, seeing the money grow — and we became obsessed with eliminating debt.

We just really took a look at what we need and only spending money on those things. I used to eat out a lot and that cost me $200 a month. Now we invite friends to “eat-in” at our house. We have a garden and purchase produce from co-op programs. Before we became debt-obsessed we would also get nice Christmas gifts for each other, but now we limit each other to $50.

Now, if there’s something we want we put it on our “Dream Board,” a cork board by our bedroom door that we see everyday. And it will stay there until we’re debt free. It also has the loan schedule for our house, and each month we scratch off a month. Next to the schedule, we post our ultimate “want” that we agree to purchase — with cash of course — once our house is paid off. I have a 2010 Camaro waiting for me.

Cutting back so much has been hard, but we’ve learned a lot along the way. My wife learned some things are worth paying more for after trying to use cloth diapers — which most people use as burp rags — pinned inside training pants with plastic pants over them for our two kids, all so that she could reuse the diapers and not spend $60 a month on Pull-ups. As a result they both got horrible rashes, so we switched to a cheaper brand of regular diapers.

Altogether, we’ve paid off around $90,000 since 2005.

Jowharah McNeil

Strategy: Put spare change to work.
Advice: Cut back, use cash.

I was laid off for 18 months and had two credit cards to pay off, so I had to learn to be creative. My husband and I have been trying out a cash-only spending system and we’re only allowed to spend $40 a week per person on non-necessities. That means once the cash is gone, it’s gone — no more spending.

While doing this strict new budget, we noticed we had a lot of loose change everywhere — in our cars, leftover from doing laundry — so we started collecting all the change we could find and putting it in a jar by the door. Every month, we would use whatever money is in the jar to make payments on one of the credit cards. The minimum payment is only $39, but we usually paid an extra $50 or $60 using the coins we collected so that we can get it totally paid off as soon as possible.

Since we started collecting the coins about six months ago, we’ve already paid more than $560 of the $1,000 balance on the card, so this is really working for us.

Brian Leigh

Strategy: Track your expenses
Advice: Don’t limit yourself too much, or you will give up.

I was able to pay off $22,000 of my $35,000 in credit card debt over the past 24 months just by looking really closely at where I was spending my money.

Being young, I made foolish mistakes with my credit cards, so when I started really wanting to knock out my debt, the biggest thing for me was tracking my expenses. I started by adding up how much I had been spending on meals and found out I was spending almost $55 a week just on lunch at work.

After that, I sat down, got a little notebook and started tracking every single thing I spent money on. I did that for a couple months, and then I came up with a payment plan. After overestimating how little I could live on the first month, I decided to take small steps.

I readjusted my allowance until it worked with my lifestyle. I started to bring my lunch to work four days a week, I shopped for groceries for one week and would then eat only leftovers during the weekend. I learned how to cook and found foods — like broccoli — that I can use in multiple meals so I don’t have to waste anything.

To make sure my money goes where I need it to go, I set up two checking accounts and two savings accounts. I deposit $250 into the first checking account every two weeks –when I get my paycheck — to use for everyday expenses. When it runs out, I don’t go out.

I put another $250 into the first savings account as an emergency fund. Every five paychecks, I remove $1,000 from this account and apply it toward my credit card debt. I deposit $100 into the second savings account every paycheck. This account is used for long term goals, like a down payment on a house or a big vacation I want to take. Everything else gets deposited into my second checking account, and my bills and rent are automatically paid out of this account. Those automatic payments include an extra $1,000 toward my non-credit card debt — like my student loans and car loans — every month.

Jaime Tardy

Strategy: Budget!
Advice: Save, save, save before you quit your day job.

A couple years ago, I decided I wanted to have a baby and quit my job. But there was a problem. My husband and I were in debt, and I made two-thirds of our household income. So I couldn’t just quit.

I started out by sitting down and adding up all our debt — which ended up being around $70,000. The first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, we really need to start getting rid of this. We should sell our car right away.’

After some prodding, my husband got on board too. We sold his car and were able to immediately get rid of $19,000 of our total debt. After that, we knew we were totally doing this.

Craigslist and eBay became our best friends, and we sold everything from a kayak to a weight bench and a computer monitor.

My husband did some website design jobs on the side to make some extra money, and we printed out a budget each month so we knew exactly how much we could spend and what we would be spending it on.

We saved on gas costs by limiting the amount of driving we did, and we put ourselves on a grocery budget of $300 a month. On top of that, we cut out cable, lowered our phone bill as much as humanly possible and switched our car insurance twice in one year to find lower rates.

By the time I quit my job for good — which was less than two years after I started the budget — we had paid off $70,000 in debt and put $23,000 in the bank as an emergency fund.

http://financiallyfit.yahoo.com/finance/article-111092-7153-1-how-she-paid-off-big-debt-in-a-few-short-years

Original Article written by

Blake Ellis
Friday, October 22, 2010

www.CNNmoney.com