Monday Gets Eye-Opening

For The 2012 Tax Season: Nearly 99 million people have filed their individual tax returns.  Over 210 Million have visited the IRS website.  Over 224 Billion Dollars have been refunded to tax payers.  (I am ‘batting’ 2 out of 3 on these statistics….no refund in my pocket this year!! 😦

Maybe you’re reading this post while waiting in line at the post office for that prized, date stamp on your IRS envelope proving you made the deadline.  Or maybe, you’re surrounded by many little pieces of paper in a last-ditched effort to not have to file an extension.  Or maybe you’re sitting back and breathing a sigh of relief that you were among the 99 million that have already had their returns processed.

No matter what your situation, Today is a day to acknowledge……

MONDAY GETS EYEOPENING

I have noticed since I filed my Return, I have been scrutinizing every receipt I get….is this a tax deduction?  where should I file this?  Realization hit that I don’t even have a filing system set up to save receipts for the coming year.  But more importantly….I have been questioning, with each purchase, do I really need this?  Definitely, an ‘eye-opening’ experience to take the moment to take stock of your current circumstances……

Did you Know?….

  • Only 24% of consumers have the recommended six months’ savings cushion.
  • Less than 24% have ‘not a single penny’ tucked away. Only 1 in 4  could easily survive a huge demand in their budgets.
  • One survey indicated 56% of adults don’t have any kind of budget.
  • About 1/3 of Americans don’t pay their bills on time.

So how do we get in some of these situations?  It didn’t just happen overnight, my friend!!  Creating budgets means setting goals.  I’m not really one who asks myself where do I want to be in five years….not to say, that’s not a great idea.  We all have different capacities and for me, it is about what do I want to accomplish by the end of 2012.   It is a conceivable ‘finish line’ that I can easily visualize.

What works for you?  Maybe start small and just tuck $5 or $10 into your piggy bank each week.  Maybe make a point of emptying your change each day into a jar.  It’s really amazing how much can accumulate in just one month.  My Dad use to religiously do that each day he came home from work.  When I wanted or needed something special, it was amazing the amounts he could ‘pull’ from his glass jar!!  It took me a long time to learn (and appreciate) his spend-thrift ways….but better late than never!

So get some paper and write down every single penny you will need to spend in the next month.  I get paid twice a month; so I divide mine into two columns.  Be sure to include food, utilities, gas and any other amount that is constant.  Be honest with yourself and include everything, including those expensive lunches(sometimes breakfast and dinner too) and your Starbucks’ visits. Tally them and subtract the amount from what your total monthly net income might be.  If it’s a negative number, then it’s ‘back to the drawing board’ to find a place to conserve.  The ‘food’ item is a place to start.  Food category should include those expensive lunches and café lattes.  Bet you could pack a lunch that is much less than what you are spending to eat out every day and also much more nutritious and yummy too.  I like to save on gas spending for my car; so I park my car on Friday after work and don’t move it again until Monday morning.  I save gas money AND I walk more; so I’m improving my health (which also will save money in the long run) and improving my budget all at the same time.  Not to mention….my dog, Tramp, loves walking too.

Now, if you are in a better place financially, and your bottom line number was positive, you still have work to do.  What do you foresee in the near future that you need to save a few bucks?  Kids heading to college soon?  Might need a new car in a year or so?  A special trip?  Purchasing a new home?  No matter what it is, just be sure to tuck that extra money away

AND try to improve your budget in places that you can add even more to that nest egg.

Another thing to think of is something that can be expended for Free…..Your Time.  Maybe you and your neighbor could barter skills….you could walk their dog every day while they are at work and they could take care of your dog while you’re away for the weekend……Have you priced what it costs to board a dog over the weekend!!??  Maybe you could start a garden together?  or have a garage sale?  or perhaps, you could get together with a few people in your neighborhood and have a pot luck dinner?  Whatever it is, you will be saving money AND helping out someone else too.

So……Open your Eyes!

Deal with Reality and Move yourself to a better place.

Only YOU can make the changes.

I’m headed to file all my receipts away in an organized way.

Then,  headed out soon to check my garden on the patio.  Yummy things are popping up in every pot we planted…..saving money—eating healthy.

What are you going to be doing?

Whatever it is…..realize that you are making a difference for yourself AND for others around you.

Making choices is a good thing—it’s about being the best you can be and wanting to live a rewarding life!

Have a Great Monday—Make it the Best Day of the Week.

Smiles,

Nancy

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