Archive for May 2015

3 Ways to Save Money – Part Three

During this series, I’m sharing PROVEN and PRACTICAL techniques that have helped people save money.

PART ONE – Automatic Draft From Paycheck

PART TWO – Create an Escrow Account For Known, Upcoming Expenses

PART THREE – Establish Accountability

Find someone who is (1) winning with money, (2) not trying to sell you something, and (3) available to help you. Ask them to hold you accountable to your saving goal.  I have seen some people go to the extreme length of actually giving the money to the other individual to hold for them because they cannot trust themselves to keep their own hands off of it.

Accountability can also be created by your written spending plan that you prepare every month before the month begins (you do prepare one, right?).  This plan helps cement your goals in your mind and helps you connect the fact that if you spend money on unplanned items, you will literally be robbing yourself of your savings goals.

I am married – this means I have built-in accountability.  Jenn is a huge saver.  She keeps me (the spender) in control. Establish accountability – it works!

3 Ways to Save Money – Part Two

During this series, I’m sharing PROVEN and PRACTICAL techniques that have helped people save money.

PART ONE – Automatic Draft From Paycheck

PART TWO – Create an Escrow Account For Known, Upcoming Expenses

For those unfamiliar with an escrow account, it is a savings account that is generally established by a mortgage company.  The mortgage company totals the annual cost of property taxes and homeowner’s insurance and divides it by the number of payments being made each year.  The mortgage company then pays for the taxes and insurance from this escrow (savings) account.  For example, if the property taxes are $1,200/year (sorry Northern folks – this is how low they are in the South) and the insurance is $600, then the total amount needed each year is $1,800.  The mortgage company will collect $150 extra with each monthly payment to place into the escrow account.

An escrow account smooths out the cost over a year – instead of having to pay for it all in one month.  It tightens the monthly budget, but having a fully funded escrow account sure is AWESOME when vacation arrives and the money has already been saved to pay cash for it!  Those who have a mortgage with an escrow account will testify to the fact that they never worry about paying for the taxes and insurance – ask someone!

Take it from one who has lived it – if you do not plan for your known, upcoming expenses, your ability to save money will be tremendously hampered!

Related Tool – Known, Upcoming Expenses Calculator


3 Ways to Save Money – Part One

One of the largest issues I see during one-on-one financial coaching is the inability to save money. Saved money is essential to long-term sustainability.  Saved money relieves stress and allows you to take a chance.  Saved money allows life to happen (job loss, disability, pay cut, injury, etc.).

But you already knew that part.  Yet, even though we KNOW how important it is to save money, most people fail to do so.  So, I wanted this series to focus PROVEN and PRACTICAL techniques that have helped people save money.

If you have negative savings (no money plus overdrafted accounts and debt), the goal is to bring you to zero.  If you are at zero, the goal is to get to at least $2,500.  If you have been able to save a substantial amount of money, it is my hope that you will participate in the discussion and share your own tips that have worked well for you!

PART ONE  Automatic Draft From Paycheck

Establish a savings account and have the money drafted from every single paycheck.  Whether it’s $25 or $250 per pay period – just SAVE!  You KNOW that the car is going to break down.  You KNOW that the school is going to send home a surprise expense.

By establishing this draft, it allows the money to be “out-of-sight.”  When money is out-of-sight, it can be out-of-mind.  This allows the account to grow without being robbed.

Now, I personally had a problem with this when I did not have a monthly budget.  I would ROB my own savings account about 2.1 microseconds after I was paid.  My account did not start growing in a healthy manner until after Jenn and I developed a plan that we agreed on.

How about you?  Is your paycheck set up for an automatic draft into your savings account?

“I Just Don’t Have Enough Time” (and other poor excuses for not having a budget)

“I just don’t have enough time.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a person tell me this when discussing the importance of preparing a written budget each and every month.

But it’s not true. It’s a lie we tell ourselves. You see, if we can come up with an excuse, then it stands to reason that it is okay to avoid doing what we know we should be doing to maximize our money – a budget!

Here is a list of items of which at least one is true for nearly every single person who has told me, “I just don’t have enough time to prepare a budget.

  1. They have enough time to watch their favorite TV show each week
  2. They spent at least 45 minutes sitting on the sideline of their child’s sporting event (before and after the actual event)
  3. Facebook consumption exceeded 4 hours each week (probably looking at funny Cat and dog videos)
  4. They stressed out over money for at least 30 minutes each day (checking bank account balance each day and worrying about an expense clearing the bank too early)

Here is a fact: You DO have 1,440 minutes each day.

Here is a good question: What do you need to eliminate from your life so that you can prepare and follow a budget?

To help you get started, we’ve created a helpful set of budgeting tools as well as an instructional video for you HERE.

Other poor excuses for not having a budget:

  1. “I hate dealing with money.”
  2. “Money stresses me out.”
  3. “There’s just not enough money.”
  4. “I just need to make more money.”
  5. “I have no idea how much money I’m going to make this month because my pay is so crazy.”

Financial Tool Spotlight ==> Savings Account Balance Tracking Tool

Have you ever been saving up for multiple purchases and holding it all in multiple accounts? The list of items my family saves for ranges from vacations to car replacement funds to property taxes to life insurance payments. When you look at the account(s), it’s hard to tell what money is for what. Well we have a great FREE tool to help! Let me introduce you to the Savings Account Balance Tracking Tool.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you are saving for the following items:

  • Emergency Fund
  • Christmas
  • Property Taxes
  • Annual Car Insurance Premium
  • Life Insurance
  • Vacation

And, let’s say that the money is being saved in three different accounts – a Christmas Fund, Savings, and Checking Account. The Savings Account Tracking Tool can help you tackle what each dollar is for! In this example, there is $1,000 in Checking, $5,000 in Savings, and $200 in the Christmas Fund.

Saving Account Tracker 1




What is the $6,200 in the accounts for? Using this tool, you can clearly give a name for every dollar you have!

Saving Account Tracker 2





If all of the money has not been give a name, the BALANCED sections turns yellow with a LOW and show you the amount you still have left to name.

Saving Account Tracker 3



If too much money has been given a name, the BALANCED sections turns red with a HIGH and show you the amount you’ve overspent.

Saving Account Tracker 4



When the total amount matches the total amount named, the BALANCED section turns green with a YES. Here is what it will look like when it is balanced!

Saving Account Tracker 5










One huge benefit of having your savings account completely named is that you AND your spouse will KNOW what the money is for. It eliminates disputes (yes – this is what the money was for), it provides encouragement (yes – we get to take vacation), and it make sure the necessities get paid.

Ready to try it out? – Savings Account Balance Tracking Tool (Excel)