4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

Do you believe that you are not good with money? Did you learn how to spend and save money at school?  Did you ever have a class in high school that talked about debt, interest, investments, and practical money tips?  

Well, I didn’t and most of us aren’t taught or exposed to how to deal with money in a positive way.  Most schools completely neglect to teach personal finances, how to balance a checkbook and basic money-management skills.

If children aren’t taught about finances and how to manage money wisely by their parents, they are going to have to learn the hard way. It’s not a surprise that most people make financial mistakes, especially when they are young, because they just don’t know any better.

 

I remember during my first week of college there were tables set out by a few locals banks.  They were trying to reel in all the incoming freshman and any other college students with credit cards by using some cheap bait.  They tried to woo all of the broke college students with a free 6″ Subway sandwich and I almost fell for it.  A $3 sandwich was the entry point into a heap of financial mess.  

Banks and credit unions know that college students are an ideal target audience.  College students are young and finally have some independence.  Plus, they have no money and are paying for expensive tuition, books, food, and living expenses for the first time.  Of course, they’ll draw these newbies in with an offer they can’t resist even if it’s a frisbee or a crappy T-shirt they’ll never wear.

Now, I know laws have changed and banks and credit card companies can’t go onto campuses like they once did offering frisbees and subs for new sign-ups.  The CARD act is good first step. But how often do we get sucked into some ‘amazing offer’ that really isn’t that amazing?  If we don’t know any better, we’ll probably make a lot of poor financial decisions just like a typical college student.

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Good with Money

ONE

Lack of Financial Knowledge

Knowledge is power if acted upon.  If children, teenagers, and even adults for that matter learned the in’s and out’s of how money works and principles for building wealth, our society would change. 

Could you imagine if people were educated on the power of compound interest in terms of investments and debt? The amount of debt and financial blunders would most likely decrease or be completely avoided.

People would literally run away from every cash advance store in the country.  Maybe people would fully understand how much interest their student loans will accumulate over time.  Fewer people would run themselves into debt.

So, if you don’t know much about money management, immerse yourself in research.  You can find most answers online.  Check out my posts and other resources that will help you understand these concepts more.  And if you know someone who is good with their finances, ask them what they are doing.  I’m sure they would love to share and be a support to you.

 

TWO

 Schools Don’t Require Financial Literacy

Schools aren’t equipping students to understand and manage finances either. There are only five states in the U.S. that require all high schoolers to take a personal finance class.  Those five states are Utah, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia. Clearly, this is a problem. It’s no surprise that most people are not good with money, because they weren’t taught about finances.

We can’t rely on schools to teach children everything they need to know in life.  As a parent myself, I want to educate my kids on finances because it’s important.  I want to equip my children to be able to excel in life and in the real-world.  So, I need to help prepare them by teaching them about personal finance. If they know better, they’ll more likely do better.

In an ideal world, all states would require personal finance classes and parents would also teach their children money-management skills at home.  But we all know that the likelihood of that happening is as like winning the lotto.

So if you’re a parent, make it YOUR job to teach your children how to manage money wisely, because you can’t expect them to learn these skills at school.  And the best way to teach these skills is by modeling them to your children and explaining to them what you are doing.

Let your kids watch you create a budget, calculate a tip at a restaurant, write a tithe check, pay bills, and the list goes on.  The more we equip our kids to be competent adults, the better.

 

THREE

The Majority of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Financial Literacy test

In fact, more than two-thirds of adults can’t pass a basic financial literacy test. That means that the majority of Americans don’t understand the math behind interest and other financial principles. It’s no wonder that people are drowning in debt and the weight of their financial choices. If you don’t understand financial principles, of course, your going to make some bad financial decisions.

Most people start making poor financial decisions when they leave their parents home. What would our world look like if high school students understood how taking out student loans will affect their lives?

I know so many people who regret taking out student loans on a degree they’ve never used. It’s downright tragic. The US has $1.5 trillion in student loan debt and 45% of those millennials wish they would’ve never taken out student loans in the first place.

Take some time to look at the interest rate you’re paying (debt) and earning (investments).  Look at the math and see if you need to make changes.  You might want to check into a financial advisor that will help you look at your finances and help you get to where you want to go.  This is a financial advisor I’d recommend, Liftoff Financial Planning.

FOUR

We Are Taught That We Shouldn’t Talk About Money

One of the biggest reasons why people struggle with money is because we don’t talk about it.  We need to quit making money a taboo subject and start talking about how to manage our finances wisely. 

People put money in the same category as politics and religion as a big no-no to bring up. This is yet another reason why most Americans have little to no financial knowledge base.

If people felt comfortable talking about money, they would be more likely to ask for help and ask questions.  It’s just assumed that you just figure out money on your own, but it really doesn’t work that way.  Finances are complicated.  There are many different facets like investing, saving money, retirement, real estate and so much more.

So don’t shy away from talking about money.  Ask questions.  Talk with people who know more than you.  Read and research what has you stumped.  And if you’re married, TALK to your spouse about money.  Look at your finances together, because you don’t want money to be the divide between you and your spouse.

Needless to say, we shouldn’t be silent when it comes to finances. The way we spend and save money must be addressed because money impacts every area of our lives. I wish this wasn’t the case, but finances make a daily impact on us and it’s our job to manage our finances well.  

It’s time to stop saying that we are not good with money. You can have a different future. You can stop generational poverty in your family.
Talk to your kids about money, ask people who are making wise financial decisions what they do, research on your own the topic.  Because if you want to see a better financial future for you and your children, you have to start being proactive.  

What is something you can start doing today to help your financial situation?  I’d love to hear your comment below!

 

Why We Paid Off Our House Early

Why We Paid Off Our House Early

Why We Paid Off Our House Early

A paid off house sounds magical, right? For most of us, it just seems like a pipe dream or maybe not even a dream at all because the thought of a paid-off home seems unimaginable. Maybe you must be a unicorn or have some special powers to pay off your mortgage early.

Most people just wish to have a paid-off home before they retire so they are able to retire, but what would life look like if you could have a paid off house today? What would having a paid-off home give you the ability to do?

Could you go on that dream vacation to Greece? Would you be able to afford some things you’ve always wanted? Or maybe you wish you could be able to be more generous with your money and your time? Having a paid-off home gives flexibility and financial freedom.

Financial freedom looks different to each person. To some, that means being able to pay for whatever you want without caring how much it costs. For others, it means being able to work fewer hours, play more and be more present.

For me, financial freedom means that I don’t owe anyone anything and I’m not stressed by finances. Financial freedom would allow me to be generous when I see a need. It would give me the ability to live my life how I want to, without money being a roadblock.

 

I crave financial freedom, and I’m sure you do too. We all long for security, the ability to live our lives without the stress of living paycheck to paycheck. Finances impact every area of our lives, and sadly, most of us are held back by them.

The decisions we make about money profoundly changes our lives. This is why my husband and I have been on a journey of getting rid of every ounce of debt, including our mortgage.  And believe it or not, we’re debt-free! We didn’t get to this goal by accident or luck. We didn’t win the lotto or inherited money.  

Honestly, we’ve never had brag-worthy incomes that would make this goal an easy feat.  What we have had going for us is a stellar financial defence. What I mean by financial defence is that we are really good at saving money.  

Financial offense is the money you earn.  It doesn’t matter how good your financial offense is if your financial defense is not on par.  Financial defense wins the game. Here are a few of my articles that go more in depth on saving money: Live Like a College Student, The Phrase I Use to Curb Overspending, and How to Save 40% on Groceries Without Coupons.

My husband and I have had a clear goal and we are determined to change our financial destiny. We don’t have one big secret to help you be financially successful. Finances don’t work that way. Every little financial decision has an effect. That’s why I can’t pinpoint just one thing that has helped us more than anything to reach our financial goals.

A Good Financial Plan:

A good financial plan is a culmination of millions of everyday choices. The small choice of making coffee at home instead of purchasing it at a coffee shop can make a huge impact on your ability to save. Over time that consistent coffee shop purchase adds up. Our choices change our financial future and that’s why we need to start paying attention and being intentional with those decisions.

Now in the financial world, most people would’ve recommended that we should’ve invested into the stock market more instead of paying off our house early.  Their reasoning is that the interest rate you pay on your home is typically quite a bit less than you’ll make on your investments.  Yes, this is true.  But, we still invested and we’ll be able to invest quite a bit more when we have no monthly mortgage payment going out.

Or the other common reason people don’t pay off their home early is for the tax deduction.  When you actually do the math, keeping a mortgage for the tax benefit doesn’t add up. You’re only getting deducted from the interest you are already paying on your home.  It’s not a tax credit. But we took a different route.  

We didn’t want to just follow what the mainstream financial world recommended us to do.  We wanted to pay attention to what God says about money and He is very clear that debt isn’t good at all.  In fact, in Proverbs 22:7 it says, “The borrower is slave to the lender.”  That means that when I owe money to anyone or to the bank, I’m giving up my freedom and handing it over to someone else.  

Christ has set us free, but when we live in debt (being enslaved to the lender), we aren’t experiencing the full freedom given to us.  And that’s why we wanted to become debt free.  Now that we have no mortgage, we have more available finances to invest and use in other areas. 

If you want to here some of the tips that helped us pay off our home at 31 years old, check this out.  I’d love to hear about your financial goals.  What are you doing to make your financial future a brighter one?

Collecting Dust: My Journey to Love and Use What I Own

Collecting Dust: My Journey to Love and Use What I Own

Collecting Dust: My Journey to Love and Use What I Own

I’ve always been one of those girls that held onto my fancy and higher-end items and would never use it. I remember being given some Burt’s Bees lotion, but I thought it was too expensive and special to be used only on special occasions. It just became a decoration on my nightstand. Then after a long while (it might have been years later), I opened the bottle and poured out the lotion into my hand. It was brown and watery and smelled funny. That too-fancy lotion ended up going bad because it was never used. At that point, something dawned on me. How often do I hold onto items and never use them because they are too nice to use?

That lotion experience was quite an eye opener for me. Too often I don’t wear that nice dress because it’s just too nice. I don’t use my wedding serving utinsils because they are too special. My china is in a box in storage where it hasn’t seen the light of day in years. How often do we not enjoy the special and sentimental things that we own? Honestly, I’m getting a little better in this area but I still need some work.

So how do we start to enjoy what we own instead of letting our stuff collect dust?

ONE

Scarcity Mindset

The more I contemplate my own tendency to not use the good stuff, I realize two key points. First, it shows a scarcity mindset. If you don’t know what a scarcity mindset is, it’s when you think and believe that there isn’t enough to go around. For example, phrases like, ‘I’ll never have enough money,’ ‘when will I ever be able to get this again,’ etc. Now back to the lotion example, I didn’t use it because I knew I wouldn’t spend the money to buy it again. It was special, so it was for display only. What a travesty. That displayed lotion ended up in the trash- that’s not too special.

I remember in college, one of my friends only ate on china. Yes, you heard me right. Real porcelain china, the kind your grandma passed down. I was in shock when I went to her home. She enjoyed her china plates and actually used them. I remember sitting down for a meal at her home and it felt so fancy and upscale. We don’t even use China for Christmas and Thanksgiving, and there she is using china everyday. When I look back at that experience, I want to be like my friend who actually used and enjoyed the fancy plates instead of storing them in a box in the attic.

TWO

 Don’t Wait for a Special Occasion

The second reason I think I’ve struggled with using my stuff up is feeling like it needs to be a special day or occasion to use it. Deep down, it really shows that I don’t think I’m good enough to use it right now. I’ve got to get over this. I need to wear the earrings that I got from my grandmother after she passed. She would want me to enjoy her things, and not just store them away because they are so valuable.

My daughter has nailed this!  She would get fancy dresses from her grandma every Christmas and Easter. Instead of only wearing her beautiful dresses just for the holidays or for church, she wears these fancy dresses to school or the library.  Her dresses get a lot of love and wear- which they should!  For her, wearing those dresses make her feel beautiful and special, so she wears them.

 

I’m ready to start using what I have and enjoying it right now. If I don’t use those nice items, they just become clutter. I want to honor those memories and the people who have given me lavish things. We aren’t meant to hoard, but to enjoy what we own. And I’m ready to start living that out!

Do you struggle with not enjoying and using what you own? What are some things you never use or wear because they are too special or valuable? Please comment below…

The Phrase I use to Curb Overspending

The Phrase I use to Curb Overspending

The Phrase I use to Curb Overspending

Saving money is incredibly satisfying. Don’t we all love getting a great deal? I love when I’m able to get something I want or need for free or cheap, but often I run into those not-so-good deals. You know, when you’re going to the grocery store and the grapes are $2.98 lb or the recliner you’re eyeing is still full price. That’s when it’s tough. It’s hard to not give in and overspend.

Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking: I deserve this? But I worked hard for this? Or I really want it? Most of us rationalize a pricey purchase with these types of phrases. The truth is, no amount of rationalizing will cover the fact of overspending. Dollars and cents add up. It’s simple math. If you overspend, there’s a literal price tag on that.

According to CNN, Americans aren’t living within their means.  More than half of U.S. citizens are living paycheck to paycheck or going into more and more debt each month.  Now this statistic probably isn’t a shocker to us.  It’s human nature to want more stuff, but it’s also our job to have some self-control.

If we don’t set up healthy limits and live within our means, overspending is inevitable. What I’ve found to be my own mantra to help me limit my spending and stay on track is this: ‘That’s not good enough.’ Yes, it’s super simple but incredibly effective.

So when I push my grocery cart with my kiddos in tote past the grapes that are $2.98 lb. and my kids are wanting them, I say, ‘that’s not good enough.’ I know that I won’t spend over $1.00 lb. for grapes, so I don’t purchase them. I know grapes are an inexpensive purchase in the grand scheme of things, but all the little purchases adds up quickly over time. So, don’t neglect the smaller and cheaper items.  

If you want to learn how to save 40% on groceries without clipping coupons, you’ll need to read my post here.  It’s even more important to have self-control on the bigger purchases. My husband and I had been eyeing a recliner for two years. Yep, two whole years.

 

We know the Costco system for marking down prices, and each time we went there we would check the price of a leather recliner. And that recliner stayed at $399.99 for two years. The truth is, we never saw the price change and we never ended up buying it. I don’t look back and wish we would’ve bit the bullet and just gave in on the purchase. We both felt like it wasn’t meant to be.  If you want to quit overspending at Costco, check out this post.

We have to not give into everything we want or desire. By practicing this kind of self-control we are not only saving money, but we become more content with what we have. Plus, as a parent, I want my children to see that I don’t get everything I want all of the time. I want my children to be content with what they have and not ask for a new toy every time we walk into a store. As a parent, I must demonstrate the behavior I want my children to have before I can expect them to have it.

Now, I don’t want you to take this too far and get to the point where you never buy anything full-price or feel guilty when you splurge. If you have the financial ability to do that, go right ahead. But, no matter what income level you’re at, practicing self-control is important. Create your own mantra or steal ‘that’s not good enough’ from me.

Start being ok with not buying something today. It’s ok to sleep on a decision before making a purchase, even a small one. Buyers remorse is real. You don’t want to get home and realize that you were emotionally-charged when you purchased and now you regret it.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Curb Overspending:

Here are a few questions beyond, ‘that’s not good enough’ that will help you see if you really need to purchase something and will help curb overspending. So the next time you’re in Target and you find a cute sundress that you’re eying ask yourself:

  • Do I want this or do I really need this?
  • Do I have something similar to this already?
  • How often will I actually use this?
  • Will this make my life easier or better?
  • What is one reason why I shouldn’t buy this?

After you answer all of those questions, you’ll have a better idea of whether you should buy it or not. If you start second-guessing the purchase, don’t buy it.  These questions will help you not have a closet full of clothing with the tags still on it or whatever your purchases may be.  

I’ve even heard of people who will shop, but won’t buy anything that day. If they wake up and still are thinking about what they wanted to buy, they’ll go back to the store and purchase it. Now that’s the opposite of an impulse purchase.

 So instead of just buying what you want, take a little bit of time to ask yourself some deeper questions. Practice some self-control. It will save you some serious cash and clutter. 

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown that Changed How I Parent

I love reading parenting books. They give me ideas and inspiration to help me be a better mother and raise my kiddos well. Each parenting book I read gives me more tools in my parenting toolbelt.  I just listened to probably my favorite parenting audiobook ever. Brene Brown’s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is a true gem. In this post, you’ll see four parenting tips from Brene Brown that will challenge and encourage you to level-up in your own parenting.

This audiobook doesn’t give you phrases to say to your kids or a step-by-step program. This book is different. There isn’t extra fluff added here and there.  Every word is noteworthy.  “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” challenged me to become a better example for my kids and equipped me with new parenting tool for my toolbelt.

4 Parenting Tips from Brene Brown’s Book:

ONE

Shame versus Guilt:

Most of us know what shame and guilt are, yet I didn’t fully understand the difference when it comes to parenting. And I sure didn’t realize the different outcomes of shame versus guilt on children as they grow up.

Brene is a shame researcher. She distinguishes shame versus guilt in this way. Shame says I am bad and guilt says I made a bad choice. Do you see the difference? Shame-based parenting puts the negative behavior as who they are, while guilt-based parenting focuses on the behavior.

Shame-based parenting is what was the norm in past generations. It’s slowly becoming less popular as new parenting methods are becoming more prevalent.

What blew me away was the long-term effects of shame-based parenting. Those children who are raised with shame are more likely to be depressed, drop out of school, be involved in risky sexual behaviors, drugs, and alcohol. While children who were parented using guilt are more likely to graduate and be involved in less risky behaviors. This is a big deal and the biggest factor between the shame-driven versus guilt-driven kids is the way they are parented.

Obviously, Brene Brown recommends that we should parent using guilt, not shame.  She states, “I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values.”  This is what we want our children to experience- guilt, not shame.

TWO

Developmental Milestones to Look for:

 

Brene Brown talked about a study that was done in the 1960’s where they put 12-18 month children with their mothers in front of a mirror. They put rouge on the mother’s nose and watched what the children did. The children would look in the mirror and try to wipe off the rouge off of their own nose, not their mothers.

 

From this study, they determined that young children cannot distinguish themselves from their caregivers (attachment theory). But when children hit around the age of two, they are able to see themselves as separate from their parents. That’s why when you ask your two year old to come they run the other way.

 

Brene’s husband is a pediatrician and he wants to hear that the two year old is being a challenge. If a two year old isn’t being defiant and doing the opposite of what you ask them to do, he’d be concerned about their developmental stage.  What we see as frustrating behaviors are often times developmental milestones that should be celebrated.  

 

Since I have a two year old, this really resonated with me. It changed my perspective and gave me a better understanding about his behavior. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give our children limits.  Brene says our job as parents are creating limits and boundaries and sticking to them.  My big takeaway was understanding why my child’s behavior is really a developmental milestone.

 

THREE

The Power of Play

Obviously playing together as a family is important, but I’ve never heard research that backed this up. A violence researcher studied case after case of people who are incarcerated because of violent behavior. He was trying to find a common factor from their childhood, and his conclusion was that there was a lack of play as children.

This research was really interesting to me and encouraged me to play more with my kids. Brene Brown wanted to put this into action in her own family, so she had a family meeting where each person talked about what activities they enjoy so much that they lose track of time and laugh to the point of tears. They were able to determine what they love as a family and they plan activities and vacations around those activities. I love this idea.

FOUR

Practicing Gratitude as a Family Tradition:

We live in an age where entitlement is a huge concern for our children.  Brene says the cure for entitlement is practicing gratitude. Her family makes this a practice when they eat dinner.  They say a prayer before the meal and then each family member says something they are grateful for that day.

She says that they have had deeper dinner conversations because of this technique.  Sometimes her kids reveal something that they are dealing with like ‘I’m thankful for my grandparents.’ Her child who said this had a friend who was dealing with a grandparent that just passed.  I’ve loved this idea and have started incorporating this gratitude practice into our dinner routine.

  

Brene Brown‘s audiobook “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion & Connection” is full of so many wonderful parenting ideas.  This isn’t a book you’ll just want to skim- every word is powerful! I listened to this audiobook three times, it’s that good! Plus, it’s only two hours long.  

I recommend listening to this audiobook with your spouse. It will give you valuable information and great talking points to help you both approach your parenting together. So if you’re looking for a refresher in your parenting or a good dose of encouragement, I’d highly recommend Brene’s book.  

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