Top 10 Effective Personal Finance Habits

3 branded blog image 5-4

Do you know the 10 most highly effective personal finance habits? Read on to find out!

A big income and fancy degree do not guarantee financial abundance. Effective money habits are an important part of achieving financial independence. Over time, your habits will ultimately determine your outcomes. Choose your habits wisely and watch your bank account grow. A few new, simple habits can create positive change.

Add these money habits to your financial life:

  1. Automatically transfer money to your savings or brokerage account. If left to our own devices, few of us would consistently put money into our savings account each month. Remove the temptation and responsibility. Save a portion of each paycheck without having to think about it.

     

  2. Review your financial goals each day. One of the most effective ways to save and invest effectively is to review your financial goals and keep them fresh in your mind. Don’t have any goals? Make a few.

     

  3. Only use a credit card in an emergency. Sure, there are cards that allow you to earn points toward good and services. But is the risk of running up your debt worth it? Pull out the debit card and save the credit card for emergencies.

     

  4. Pay your bills weekly. Set up a day and time each week to pay your bills. Try to pay all bills at least 10 days before they’re due. Holidays and weekends can prolong the amount of time it takes for online payments to post or for the mail to reach its final destination. Avoid waiting until the last minute, and late fees will be a thing of the past.

     

  5. Learn a little more each week. You might have had a single class on personal finance in high school. Any additional education on the topic will be your responsibility. Spend 30 minutes each week on a topic that will enhance your understanding of personal finance. A few ideas:
  • Managing debt
  • Investing
  • Retirement planning
  • Taxes
  • Diversification
  1. Check your bank accounts each day. Take a minute and review your account balances. Everyone has unexpectedly run out of money at one time or another. Never be surprised again.

     

  2. Live below your means. This single habit makes it easier to pay bills, save money, and avoid debt. Adopt a lifestyle that will allow you to save at least 15% of your paycheck and still avoid going into debt.

This where a budget really comes into play. With a household budget, you’ll be able to see how well you’re doing each month.

  1. Max out employer retirement accounts. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, be sure to contribute enough to receive the maximum match amount.

     

  2. Eat at home. Every meal out costs a significant amount more than the same meal would cost at home. Plan your meals in advance and save money.

     

  3. Comparison shop. Comparison-shopping can save money and prevent wasteful purchases in the first place. By taking your time, you’ll have a better chance of finding the best price. You might also find that the urge to splurge has passed by the time you find the best deal. Shopping around can be half the fun.

How many of these habits do you currently have? Consider the idea that every money habit you have is either taking you closer to or further from your financial goals. Are your current habits enhancing your finances or harming them? Evaluate your habits and rate their effectiveness with a long-term perspective. Decide to adopt one new habit today.

********

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

Common Limiting Money Beliefs That Aren’t True

2 branded blog image 5-4

There are limiting money beliefs that we all believe to be true. Turns out, they’re myths.

It’s not the things you don’t know, but rather the incorrect things you believe, that cause many of the real challenges in life. A few errors in your thinking can be a detriment to your finances. Enhancing your understanding of money and personal finances is an effective way to get on the path to prosperity. 

Avoid these money myths:

  1. Income equals wealth. People that make more have a tendency to spend more. Lottery winners are notorious for losing everything. Many of the families that earn over $1 million per year manage to outspend their income. You can earn a very high income and still live paycheck to paycheck.

Wealth is what’s left over after you’re done spending. The more money you’re able to invest in appreciating and income-producing assets, the more you can expect your wealth to grow. A high income provides opportunity. It doesn’t provide a guarantee.

  1. More money equals more happiness / Money has nothing to do with happiness. Studies have consistently shown that more income results in greater levels of happiness to a point. The break-even mark appears to be $75,000 per year.
  • If you’re earning less than $75,000, you can expect your feelings of happiness to increase with a greater income.

  • If you’re already earning that much or more, more money isn’t going to make you feel any better.
  1. Wills are for rich people. Everyone with children or assets needs a will. Unless you want the courts to decide who will raise your children and receive your assets, you need a will. A simple will is only a few hundred dollars. You might even be able to do it yourself for less.

  2. Owning is better than renting. From a financial viewpoint, it depends. Mortgage interest is deductible, but it’s still a significant expense. Home ownership also includes property taxes and maintenance. The upside is the potential for appreciation and a place to call your own. Crunch the numbers and decide for yourself. Renting is generally advantageous in the short-term.
  1. Quality and price go hand-in-hand. There are many examples of this statement being false. Generic drugs are identical to the brand name version and cost much less. Companies price goods and services in order to maximize profit. That means the perceived value affects pricing, not the actual value.

Many items are priced to accommodate expensive marketing campaigns. The Beats headphones so popular with teenagers are considered by experts to be only worth half the common retail price. In this case, you’re not paying extra for higher quality.

  1. An index fund never wins. Over time, index funds outperform the majority of managed funds. More often than not, the lower expenses and turnover rate of an index fund are more important than a professional stock-picker. Take advantage of the ability to match market returns for very little expense.
     
  2. You should never have a credit card. Credit cards are a wonderful invention if used properly. However, credit cards also provide a means to spend money you don’t have. This can be a challenge or a godsend, depending on the circumstances. Credit cards can also help (or damage) your credit.

Are your erroneous beliefs limiting your financial growth? Consider all of your money beliefs and question if they might be incorrect, too. Having accurate beliefs enhances decision-making and results. Avoid buying into the myths.

**********

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

Are These Outside Stressors Ruining Your Marriage?

biggest-causes-of-stress-relationshipSometimes problems in a marriage are caused not so much by two people in the marriage but by outside stresses.  Some things just seem to cause so much pressure and stress on two people that their relationship with each suffers.

These outside stressors might include:

  1. Prolonged unemployment
  2. Stresses on the job
  3. Financial problems
  4. Death in the family
  5. Caring for an elderly parent or other relative
  6. Having a sick or special needs child
  7. Physical injury or illness to one spouse
  8. Surviving a traumatic event, such as an accident or crime

Why do these particular problems cause so much stress in a marriage?  Usually it’s because one or both spouses are expecting the other one to handle things in a manner that’s different from how they are handling things, or they become so wrapped up in this stress that they neglect their relationship. 

It’s also true that sometimes one or both spouses will feel so stressed that they begin to take their frustrations and anger out on each other, and this of course wears away at the marriage bond.

Another common factor is that one spouse feels so depressed, guilty, or angry at the situation that he or she just cannot face the other spouse without feeling as if they have let him or her down.  This makes it difficult for there to be a positive bond in the marriage.

It’s important to be aware of how these stresses can affect your marriage and take steps to keep them from wearing away at your marriage bond.  Sometimes just understanding that you’re upset or angry over something outside the marriage can be enough to keep you from taking things out on your mate or from resenting him or her for situations outside their control.

Communication is also important.  Talk about your feelings openly and honestly, and allow your spouse to do the same.

How to Forgive, Release, And Be FREE!

blog image - forgiveness

Forgiveness does not only benefit the person you’re forgiving. It can be very beneficial to you too. I’ve learned to forgive, release, and Be FREE!

Each day, I see the benefits of offering forgiveness to others. I see how it helps to put someone’s mind at ease. I know that granting my forgiveness to another helps them move on with a light heart and clear conscience.

I feel rewarded when I forgive someone for offending me. I am happy to have the opportunity to resume a positive relationship with them.

Sometimes it is challenging to overlook an offense. When I am hurt, I initially feel unwilling to give my trust back to someone. But I take the time to think it through.

I believe in my role as protector of good in the world. Even when I am mistreated, I put aside my pride. I know it takes two to resolve any conflict.

Forgiveness gives me a stronger sense of purpose.

I choose to be a bigger person who learns from negative experiences. I shun the chance to hold onto something that keeps my heart dark.

I am a good example for my loved ones because I practice forgiveness. I am proud to be a role model.

Today, I acknowledge that forgiveness builds me up. I strive to make amends. I am poised to be strong and positive because I choose to forgive others.

Now it’s YOUR turn.  Answer these self-reflection questions:

  1. In what ways can I forgive others without portraying myself as weak?
  2. What positive attributes do I develop as a result of forgiving others?
  3. When was a time I failed to intervene during a conflict when I possibly could have helped?

***********

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

Top 10 Financial Skills For Adults To Master During Economic Uncertainty

4 blog

When faced with challenging periods in your life, it’s a good idea to master these financial skills for adults to help you through.

The ability to survive on a modest income is a skill. However, it’s a skill that could be useful for anyone, especially in these uncertain economic times. Even if you’re great with money in general, you might not have the expertise to live on a low income, and such expertise could come in handy.

Master these financial skills for adults and you’ll be prepared for any financial challenge:

  1. Be able to differentiate between wants and needs. What you consider to be a need will change when financial resources are scarcer. Before spending any money, ask yourself if the item or service is a true need or a want.
  2. Save anyway. Saving is often a challenge during good times. It’s even more challenging when money is limited. It’s still important to save a portion of any income.
  3. Know how to budget and have discipline. Just about anyone can create a budget, but it’s sticking with the budget that’s hard. It takes practice and discipline. It’s no fun to barely scrape by each month, but a budget makes it possible. It also highlights the little ways to get ahead each month.
  4. Use your car as little as possible. It costs money to use an automobile. Combine shopping trips. Create a carpool to minimize driving to work. If possible, use a bike or walk.
  5. Find an additional source of income. A part-time job can be a big help. There are many things you can do on your own instead of seeking additional employment. You can rent out your car, rent a room in your home, buy and sell items on Craig’s List, or any number of other activities.
  6. Learn to eat inexpensively. A bag of rice costs less than a dollar. Chicken leg quarters are less than $0.70/lb. Choose the least expensive type of fruit. Food is a considerable expense for most families. It’s also an expense that’s easy to minimize if you know how to eat healthy on a budget.

Hit the local food bank. Most cities, towns, and counties have one or more food banks. You typically can’t get enough to satisfy all of your food needs, but you can take care of 50%.

  1. Purchase used clothing. Use clothing stores are everywhere. For example, Goodwill sells most of its clothes for slightly over $4. The first Saturday of each month is half-price.
  2. Be aware of all the public assistance programs. Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, heating subsidies, and the Affordable Care Act are just a few programs that are available in most areas. If you’re used to living a middle-class lifestyle, you might not have the slightest idea of how to take advantage of these programs. Become familiar with what all is available in your area.
  • Most areas have employment assistance or job training programs to help you find work.
  • You can also receive a big tax break if your income falls below certain levels.
  1. Find inexpensive healthcare. Often pharmacies or bigger stores, like Walmart, have an inexpensive clinic. You might be able to find a free clinic if you do some research.

     

  2. Find less expensive housing. The citizens of the United States enjoy some of the most spacious living quarters in the world. In many countries, it’s not uncommon for ten or more people to share a small apartment. You can probably find a less expensive place to live that will work.

Surviving during challenging financial times requires a new way of viewing money and the world. The less money you have, the more scrutiny each dollar requires before it’s spent. If you find yourself with less income than you’re accustomed to, it’s important to aggressively conserve at every opportunity. Challenging times require a new set of skills.

Please Share Your Thoughts 

In the comments below, share with us:

1. Share with us what financial strategies have helped you through trying times.
2. Which one of my tips do you think would be particularly helpful?

************

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Child Safety Seats: Easy Guidelines to Prevent Tragedy

blog post draft (4) 7-17

Be a smart parent. Learn these important guidelines for the proper use of child safety seats.

Safety seats in your car are the best way to protect a child in the event of an accident. The position of traditional seat belts and the airbags designed to protect adults are not sufficient to protect children in the car. Small statures and low weights make it difficult for the standard safety features to prevent a child from being thrown from the vehicle during a front-end collision or from being seriously injured during a side collision. While it is unlikely that you will ever need the life-saving features of a safety seat, it is always better to be too safe, than not safe enough.

  1. Find a seat that is the right size for the child’s age, height, and weight. Most safety seats will have general guidelines to help you choose a seat that will protect your child, but it is important not just to buy one that is the right “age” for your child, but actually the right size. Most child safety seats will also be rated for certain height and weight strata, so use those guidelines to pick the right size for your child.
  1. Read reviews and test the seat. Before committing to a safety seat, you will want to thoroughly read the reviews. Chances are, there will be someone who has actually seen this seat “in action,” and can testify either to how safe it is or how unsafe it is. Don’t just look at the overall rating, read through the reviews one by one, paying attention to those who mention how safe it is and how comfortable it is. Once you have a selected a seat, try it in your car before really committing to it. You can always take a seat back if it does not have the features or the protection you need.
  1. Make sure your seat is properly installed. Your child safety seat will come with instructions and a diagram for ensuring it is properly installed. Review that information before you actually put your child in the seat, so you can make sure that it is correctly secured in your vehicle. Having a seat that is incorrectly installed is as bad as having no safety seat at all. Follow the instructions and check your work before you drive away.

If you follow these guidelines when selecting, buying, and using child safely seats, you’ll be well on your way to preventing a tragedy when an accident happens.

*************

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

3 Easy Divorce Stress Management Tips To Feel Calm & Confident

blog post draft (6) 7-17

Divorce stress can leave anyone feeling drained. Try these tips to get you through the rough times.

On the scale of most stressful life events, divorce is topped only by the death of a spouse. The third most stressful life event is actually marital separation—that really tells you how stressful it is to go through this kind of trauma. If you are going through a divorce and are feeling the weight of stress, anxiety, and frustration on your shoulders, it’s time to take a step back. Here are some divorce stress management tips that will actually work and will actually save your sanity.

  1. Reconnect with activities you love. Are there old hobbies or habits that you used to love to do, but have recently let fall by the wayside? Many women lose track of the things that they loved to do when they were single when they get married, sacrificing those habits or hobbies in favor of something else. During a divorce is the perfect time to pick up those activities again, especially if you find yourself a little listless. Did you used to love to read, but haven’t had time? Curl up with a book for an entire day. Did gardening soothe your soul? Get a couple of plants!
  1. Create a support network. The friends and family that you surround yourself can greatly influence your stress levels and how capable you are of dealing with whatever difficulties come your way. Right now is the perfect time to start creating and relying on that support network. Choose individuals that understand what you are going through and are genuinely concerned for you and your well-being. Cut yourself off from negative influences or those that encourage you to wallow in your stress and sadness. Instead, spend your time with those that lift you up and make you feel better.
  1. Make time for yourself. This is something that women are notoriously bad at doing but its one of the most important divorce stress management tips to implement. We are nurturers, we want to care for others, sometimes so strongly that we completely forget to care for ourselves. When you are in the middle of a divorce and the stress is piling on, you need to make time for yourself. Self-care during this time is extremely important. Take care of yourself: treat yourself to a dessert, take a long bath, spend the entire day watching your favorite television series; do something that is just for you.

************

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

8 Things You MUST Do if You Need Extra Money to Pay Bills Every Month

blog post draft (2) 7-10

It’s important to stay on top of your bills each month, but if you find yourself short one month, follow these tips to get you back on track.

It can be difficult to stay on top of your bills. If you find yourself coming up short every month, here are a few tips to implement if you need extra money to pay bills every month! Get back on top of those bills and master your finances:

  1. Stop using credit cards. It’s easy to rack up credit card debt, as it’s easy to disassociate the little plastic card from the very real money that you will eventually have to pay for those items. If you’re having trouble meeting your financial obligations, it’s time to stop using credit cards.
  1. Sharpen your money management skills. Not yet following a budget? Make one. Not saving for a rainy day? Open a savings account. Get on top of how much you make each month and how much you spend each month. Click here to learn how to sharpen your money management skills.
  1. Call your creditors. There are many situations in which a creditor will take a lump sum much lower than your principal, in order to close out your account. Call your creditors and offer to pay an immediate lump sum.
  1. Look for more ways to cut expenses. Chances are, there are some expenditures that you don’t need to be making. For example, if you are eating out five nights a week, it can be much more economical to buy and make your meals. Learn about the financial habits of the wealthy that can help you beat money stress.
  1. Look for ways to increase income. There are a lot of options for making a little bit extra cash. These range from taking on a second job, picking up a side job, asking for more hours, and more.
  1. Sell things you don’t need or use. If you’ve got extra stuff lying around your house, taking up space, that you never use, list them on eBay or Etsy. Chances are, someone will want them and buy them—that’s money back in your pocket.
  1. Do some menial work. Lots of people avoid menial tasks like the plague, despite the fact that they can pay extremely well. If you’re hurting for money, be willing to clean someone else’s house, weed their garden, or vacuum their carpets. It’s not glamorous, but it does pay.
  1. Ask for help. Never be too proud to ask for help when you need it. If you are falling behind, ask a friend or family member to help you get back on top of your finances.

*************

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

How To Reduce Stress During Divorce

blog post draft (1) 7-17

Divorce stress is one of the worst forms of stress a woman can experience, but there are ways to overcome it and persevere. 

Only the death of a spouse is more stressful than going through a divorce. That doesn’t mean that you should avoid getting a divorce if a divorce is the best solution for your relationship, it simply means that you need to learn how to reduce stress during divorce.  There is a very particular form of stress that divorce generates that can leave you feeling completely destroyed and devastated.

You know what it feels like: there are a million things to do and not nearly enough time to do them, paired with the knowledge that a relationship you have put a lot of time and energy into is coming to an end.  Add to that, the massive, heavy blanket of self-doubt, helplessness and the inability to think or see things straight.  I know.  I’ve been there.

If you are feeling the stress of a divorce, here are three practical ways to beat that stress:

  1. If you need to cry, cry. In today’s world, women are told that they shouldn’t cry, that they should be strong and “suck it up.” Crying relieves stress—it’s a very appropriate response to the stress of getting a divorce and is not something to be looked down upon. If you feel like you want to cry, go ahead and cry. You’ll feel better after the tears have been shed. Fighting back tears only piles more stress on top of your existing stress.
  1. Take up a new hobby you find rewarding.  Another tip I can share on the topic of how to reduce stress during divorce is to find a new activity that you really love to do and that satisfies you. This could be anything, from reading to gardening to exercising to writing. This should be something that makes you feel happy and content while you are doing it. It doesn’t have to show results or create anything that you can use in your life—it should just make you happy. Many married women find that they do very little for themselves. Now is the time to reclaim your life, and picking a new hobby is a great way to do that.
  1. Don’t skip meals. When you are stressed out, tired, and sad, you may forget to fulfill some of your most basic needs. Don’t skip meals. Your body will be hungry, even if you don’t actually feel hungry. Dealing with divorce and the stress it brings can sometimes suppress the appetite (that’s an evolutionary response), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t nourish your body. Make sure that you eat at least three square meals a day. If you often forget to eat, or don’t have much of an appetite, try snacking on fruits during the day, grabbing some soup, or pick up a new juicing routine. You need good nutrition to beat divorce stress, so make healthy eating a priority.

************

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.

8 Signs to Quickly Spot & Understand Depression in Loved Ones

10 branded blog image 5-4

Be on the lookout to spot and understand depression in loved ones with these 8 tips.

Depression isn’t always easy to spot in loved ones, and they may be hiding it on purpose. However, there are signs and tips to help you understand depression in loved ones and uncover their hidden depression.

Depression can be a devastating condition that affects them on multiple levels.

Use these strategies to help you discover if your loved one is suffering from depression:

  1. Why people hide their depression. It’s easier to hide the issues than to deal with them, so it’s common for this to occur.
  • People hide their depression because they’re scared and don’t want others to know what is happening to them. They also may be worried about losing their jobs or kids. Embarrassment is another reason for it to happen.
  • Depression still comes with a stigma, and they don’t want it attached to them.
  1. They may overcompensate. To hide their depression, they overcompensate by being more outgoing than usual.
  • Studies show that people trying to hide their depression can force themselves to be more outgoing and give fake smiles. They’re trying to keep their issues undercover, so they want others to think they’re fine.
  1. They have eating disorders. Issues with food are common among those with depression.
  • Changes in appetite are common. They may eat too much or too little. Their diets may be out of control as they try to hide their depression.
  • If you notice diet changes in your loved ones, then consider why they’re happening. Food can serve as an emotional trigger. They can use it to make themselves feel better or worse.
  1. They have angry outbursts. These outbursts can become more frequent as the depression gets worse.
  • An occasional angry outburst over a terrible situation is normal for everyone. However, if you notice frequent and strange angry outbursts, then your loved ones may be suffering from depression.
  1. Their sleep patterns change. Unhealthy sleep patterns are an issue for those with depression.
  • Sleep patterns that change for no reason may be a sign of a deeper issue. Your loved ones may sleep too much or too little. They may complain about not getting enough sleep, yet they refuse to go to bed.
  • It’s important to look deeper into sleep issues. Why are they having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Or, why are they staying in bed for so long?
  • Insomnia is frequently linked to depression.
  1. They turn to addiction. Addiction and depression are often linked together.
  • Addiction can come in many forms and includes food, drugs, alcohol, or other items. It can also include gambling or other behaviors.
  • Risky behavior is an issue for people who suffer from depression. If you can spot these behaviors, then you can seek help and get them treatment. It’s important not to ignore their cry for help.
  1. They hide their feelings by keeping insanely busy schedules. Work, family, and volunteer activities can fill up the day and stop them from addressing their depression.
  • It’s common for those who are hiding their depression to fill up their day with a ton of activity. This keeps them busy and stops them from thinking. It also keeps others from questioning them.
  • A busy schedule prevents them from having to deal with their emotions, so they pile on the activities.
  1. They have trouble thinking clearly. People who suffer from depression can often make bad decisions or refuse to reach any decision and have trouble with their thoughts. They may also show difficulty in focusing on easy things.

Use these tips to help you spot hidden depression in your loved ones. You can help them feel better and get help.

********

All content on this ​website was created and/or compiled by ​Natural Stress Relief Women. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (including text and images) without express and written permission from this ​site’s author/owner is strictly prohibited.