Are you one of those people that sets a goal to have or increase your emergency savings fund each year. As we reach the year end, did you accomplish this?
An emergency fund is something that each and every one should have. If life hands you an unexpected expense and you really need to pay for this now, how will you handle this without that emergency fund? That unexpected expense can be a car repair, loss of a job, a home repair and more. These expenses typically come when you don’t have any extra money. If it’s something you need to do immediately, without this savings you will be adding debt to your budget. That’s where your emergency fund comes into play. If you have one, you wouldn’t have the stress of figuring out how to pay for it. That’s why you need to start or increase yours today!
Have you made your plan to start or increase your emergency fund? Don’t get overwhelmed thinking you need thousands of dollars now. Nobody starts off with thousands, think baby steps to increase your emergency savings with each and every pay check.
Steps to start your emergency fund:
- Open a new savings account for your emergency fund – don’t link it to your ATM. debit card.
- Set an amount to save each pay period – can you find $10 or more to save each pay period?
- Set up automatic withdrawals from your paycheck – either through your payroll dept. or with your bank. Think pay yourself first attitude (you won’t spend it if you don’t see it).
Follow these steps to start out and increase the dollar amount at least annually. A good time to do this is when you get a raise at work – more money coming in, the more money can go to your emergency savings. Suze Orman’s suggests that everyone needs eight months in their emergency savings. That can be overwhelming, so let’s start with a goal of saving $1,000 in a year – you can do this as it’s on;y $20 a week.
If you haven’t started or at the level you want / need to be at, these are some great tips from WIFE – Women’s Institute for Financial Education to get you started.
It’s that time of year and we are all faced with this issue. Today, I am rerunning this newsletter if hopes of helping you decide.
The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! You probably know this and the retail stores are starting the holidays off during the summer. From Labor Day weekend, I see the holidays all over the place in retail stores. I’m thinking the beach and heat and they are thinking December. While it’s not bad to plan ahead and be proactive, it’s too early for me, but it’s never too early to think about your budget.
Tipping is always something that comes up around this time of year. Here are my thoughts and what we do.
First, we don’t wait for the holidays. In my opinion, good service doesn’t have to wait until the end of the year. If someone goes out of their way or does an exceptional job, then by all means tip them. A while back we bought dining room chairs and the person in the store took the time to go out of his way. That deserved a tip then and there.
Second, give what you can afford. While it’s nice to give cash and to be able to give to everyone, that may not work for your budget. You can thank people verbally and express your gratitude with a conversation, special note in a card, contact the company or supervisor and express the great service you received, instead of cash. I have made calls to the airline to express how grateful we were for a particular person and the excellent service we received. Rarely do companies get calls like this and they can seem shocked at the call.
This is my plan of attack. Create a list people in your life and here are some examples:
Mail Carrier / Package Delivery
Personal Care (Hair, Nails, Massage)
Child & Elder Care
House Cleaner / Lawn Care / Snow Removal Care
Pet People (Groomers, Walkers etc.)
Doorman / Maintenance Workers
Assistants / Key Employees
Then make a plan. If you were to tip everyone in one week, you would break the bank. I like to start after Thanksgiving and end this by New Year. Now if you have decided on an actual tip, it can take the format of the cash or possibly a cash gift card, unless you know them well enough to pick a specific merchant’s general gift card. Spreading out the tipping, helps my budget. Plus, I like to do this in person. So when I have a service done, that’s the time I tip, and again throughout the year helps my budget as well.
Finally for cash tips, make a trip to the bank and get nice new crisp bills and have thank you or blank note cards. People who get many tips need to know who they received it from, so a short thoughtful note handwritten in the card works well. It always is so much nicer to give a tip with a good presentation. I feel that the recipient thinks you took the time to think about them versus handing them crumpled bills from your wallet.
Not sure how much to give? That’s entirely up to you. There are many guides on the internet to assist you, but ultimately it’s your choice. Make your plan now so that you check one thing off your holiday to do list.
Did you vow to not accumulate holiday debt this year!
According to Wallet Hub, the average person is expected to spend over $1,000 this year, that is up 4.1% over 2017.
What’s your plan to stay out of debt this holiday season? Here are some questions you need to think about?
- How much can you afford to spend this year without going into debt?
- How many people are on your list?
- Can you eliminate or reduce the number of people? Think group gifts where you can pool your money with others.
- Could you offer a service they need instead of a gift? What can you do that they need? Think childcare for an evening, so they can go out without the kids.
Take some time to think about what is important to you and your family. Don’t forget to think about your budget too. This is something that is really important so that you don’t have a January hangover. Everyone wants to celebrate the season, but no one wants someone to have all these bills come in January. Make a plan and stick to it.
Make sure you don’t fall off your plan with Black Friday this week.
Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends.
My heart truly breaks for all the people effected by these disasters. The latest one being the California wild fires. It seems that no matter where you live something could be coming your way.
For us here in Connecticut, we get Nor’easters and this year plenty of rain. For other parts of the country it could be a hurricane, wild fire, major storms with repercussions and so much more in the way of natural disasters. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only situations you have to be prepared for in today’s world. Are you ready for what could be coming your way?
You need a plan and possible several plans (for all that’s involved in your life). Here are something you may need to consider:
- How will I know what’s going on? Think your power is out and many items need to be charged or do you have a manual option.
- Where do I go if I need to evaluate or should I stay in place? Remember, you may have to plan for your elderly family members, young children and pets too.
- What are the important things to take with you or have available to access?
- How will I communicate to / family others that I am safe?
Just this week on the news, someone tried to abduct a young girl. Her family had a plan in place with a “code word”. She asked the potential abductor what the code word was. They didn’t know, so she was able to figure this not to go with that person and run safely away. This was great plan and it worked for them. What’s your plan?
There are so many questions and situations that you need to be prepared for. One place to start is with the government website.
Thursday, November 15 is America Recycles Day!
I have always been someone who recycles. My mom started me recycling when we were growing up. That all I knew and we still continue to this everyday in our household. We separate our deposit cans/bottles to return to the store, we sort our plastic, metal and glass for trips to the town’s transfer station and we shred and recycle our paper items.
For those other items, we participate in special days throughout the year. Here are a few in our area:
- Light bulb day – we are able to turn in used light bulbs for new ones
- Prescription / Over the counter medicine – we turn in on that day of the year
And now, we have America Recycles Day this week. You can turn in a variety of items in your local area. For more details of what is available in your area, go to America Recycles Day. In addition, Staples has make this day a week long event from November 11 to the 17, they will accept your old electronics and give you a coupon towards your next purchase (see Staples for details).
For more information on places to get rid of items, please check out my resources page for more suggestions. If you have a place that you use that’s not on our list, please let us know.
If you want to reduce what coming in, here are some other great links:
- Phone Books https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com/
- Unwanted Mail / Catalogs www.DMAChoice.org, www.OptOutPrescreen.com & www.CatalogChoice.org
- Phone Calls www.DoNotCall.gov or 888-382-1222.
Take advantage of this and other recycling days in your area.
This year we celebrated our anniversary with a Pacific Northwest cruise.
Back in the early summer, I wrote two newsletters about planning our fall vacation. We are back and wanted to share the trip with you. Here’s the link to the two earlier newsletters – first and second issues to remind you of the details.
We took a Pacific Northwest cruise out of Seattle with stops at Astoria, Oregon, San Francisco, California and Victoria, BC and few days in Seattle too.
With all this planning and paying ahead, we spent very little on the actual vacation. Mostly everything was paid (or paid with points / miles) in the months before as our budget permitted – hotel, cruise, airfare, attractions and some meals were included. We selected hotels with breakfast included, bought City Pass’ (discount admission to attractions) and walked and/or public transportation. Lots of steps – over 21,000 in San Francisco in one day!
Yes, there was a lot of research and planning, but this step saved us money and we have fun – lots of money!
Here we are at the Space Needle. To view more photos, visit our Pinterest page.
No (or minimal) retirement savings! If you are getting up there closer to retirement, this can be a scary thing.
Suze Orman wrote this great article, that there can be hope and it’s not too late to start or catch up on retirement savings. Help! I’m 55 and Have No Nest Egg
You can do anything you set a goal to do.
If you love to travel like we do, you better read on. Do you owe the IRS money? If you owe a substantial money and haven’t made payment arrangements, your passport could be in jeopardy.
Here’s some more information from AARP’s travel newsletter.
Another reason to stay on top of your finances.