Archive for the ‘Giving’ category

Begin 2011 with a Personal Budget

January 7, 2011

A personal budget is absolutely critical for anyone that is committed to taking control of their personal finances.  Why? Because a budget provides us the input we need to manage our income, track our expenses, improve our cash flow to payoff debt and start a savings plan.  A personal budget provides us a tool to work on achieving our financial goals.   It is the first step in taking control of our personal finances.

Therefore, the start of a new year is the perfect time to commit to creating and using a personal budget.   This does not have to be an overwhelming task.  There are countless free personal budget resources and free personal budget software resources online to help you get started.  Don’t get caught up in selecting the perfect budget format.  It is not that important.  What is important is capturing all of your income and expenses.  Pick something that is simple to use.  We use a simple budget worksheet in Excel. Here is a link to a Microsoft personal budget template that has over 3.4 million downloads.

It is also very important when creating a personal budget to capture all of your miscellaneous expenses that occur throughout the month.  The only way to accurately capture all of these expenses is to save every receipt for every dollar you spent for a minimum of 30 days.  This information  is essential to preparing an accurate monthly budget.  It will also provide you some great insights into where all of your money goes on a monthly basis.

Once you have completed an accurate monthly budget and have captured all of your expenses you can start looking for creative ways to reduce or eliminate unnecessary expenses and save money.  The monthly savings you create can be used to start paying off consumer debt and funding your savings goals.   

A personal budget is the first step in taking control of our personal finances, controlling our spending and achieving our financial goals for our lives.    Start today and change your life and finances forever.  

 I hope you have benefited from this post on Financial Literacy.  If so, leave a comment.  In addition, please forward this to anyone you think might benefit from this short financial literacy lesson. 

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Fiscal Literacy Friday – Commit to Improving Your Financial Literacy

December 17, 2010

Nothing is more important than each of us taking control of our personal finances.   We cannot rely on someone else to make our decisions for us.   We need to accept the responsibility for our actions and the outcomes of our lives.    I believe this is great news for all of us.  

No one has more vested interest in the outcome of our lives than we do.   This does not mean we do not seek out experts for assistance, help and guidance with our personal finances.    Financial experts play a very valuable role in helping us in a variety of areas.   I have been an invaluable asset and provided expert advice to thousands of clients.

However,  each of us should be committed to increasing our knowledge in a variety of areas relating to our personal finances, debt, assets, real estate, mortgages, investments and our retirement goals, etc.   Our increased financial knowledge will help educate and empower us to make informed financial decisions  that impact every area of our lives.  Our increased financial literacy will help us understand the recommendations of the experts that we seek out for additional advice and input with our personal finances.

Many people never work on improving their financial literacy because they feel that they do not have the knowledge or education to learn or apply financial principles to their lives.  Therefore, they become overwhelmed and never get started.   

However, understanding financial literacy at its simplest form is relatively easy.   We need to spend less and save more!   This is a very simple statement.  However, it is difficult to implement because of the lifestyle and spending choices we make everyday.  We never stop to consider how each purchase or swipe of the credit card is consuming our future.     Therefore, each of us needs to start today to take control of our personal finances with simple things like setting a limit on our spending, saving all our receipts to track our expenses for 30 days, limiting the use of our credit cards and setting aside money very month to fund a cash cushion, etc. 

There are countless resources on the internet from government agencies, non-profits & companies that can help get you started on improving your financial literacy and taking control of your personal finances.    I hope you will get started today.

Here is my closing thought and one simple question.   How much time did you spend on the internet and watching TV today, this week or this year?  How much time have you invested today, this week or this year improving your financial literacy?   What is more important?  

Remember, we must take full responsibility for our own financial lives.  Simplify this task by working on one subject at a time.  Pick something basic like home budgets, etc. and get started today. Work on this with your spouse, family, friends etc.  Together you will learn more and encourage one another. 

I hope you have benefited from this post on Financial Literacy.  If so, leave a comment.  In addition, please forward this to anyone you think might benefit from this short financial literacy lesson. 

You can follow Fiscal Literacy on Twitter and Facebook.

Fiscal Literacy Friday – Concept of Generosity

December 10, 2010

Generosity should be a component of building and applying our knowledge of financial literacy to our own lives.  Why is generosity such an important component of financial literacy?  Because it takes the focus off of our own selfish desires for our lives.  It provides us with a greater purpose for our money that far exceeds our own selfish desires. 

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give” Duane Hulse

We all need to be reminded that our lives will not be remembered for how much we earned or how hard we worked.  Our lives will be remembered for how we touched and impacted the lives of others. 

  “All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why.  Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” Danny Thomas

Therefore, each of us should look for more meaningful ways to use our money, time and talents to impact others less fortunate than ourselves. 

We don’t have to wait to become millionaires to start practicing the concept of generosity.  We can start today. There is always someone less fortunate than us and we can impact their lives today.

Maybe this holiday season each of us should be asking ourselves this question: 

What is the greatest gift I can give this holiday season?  It is the gift of my time & resources to help others less fortunate than myself.

Here are some questions that may help you get started:

  •  Where can I make a difference this holiday season?
  • Who or what is on my heart? 
  • How can I use my unique gifts and abilities to touch and impact the lives of others less fortunate?  
  • Where can I and or my family get involved? 
  • Where is an unmet need in my community or in the world that I feel passionate about getting involved in?
  • What random acts of kindness can I anonymously perform today? 

 “You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone else who will never be able to repay you”  Ruth Smeltzer

 Ralph Waldo Emerson said “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself”

Therefore, I hope you will use this holiday season to find your purpose and passion in life for helping others.  This new found purpose for you and your money may be the first step towards getting freed up financially.  It may provide the motivation to reduce your expenses, become debt free, set a cap on your lifestyle and use your resources to make a lasting difference in your community and our world.

I hope you have benefited from this post on Financial Literacy.  If so, leave a comment.  In addition, please forward this to anyone you think might benefit from this short lesson on the 10 Keys to Financial Freedom.  

You can follow Fiscal Literacy on Twitter and Facebook.