Budgeting

Minimize Grocery Trips to Save Hundreds

Grocery Shopping

Financial Tip of the Day

I finished my grocery shopping earlier today. Twice a month, my husband and I do a large grocery run to replenish everything we need until our next trip. Shopping twice per month saves us LOTS of money.

The more trips you make to the grocery store, the more you end up spending monthly. This is because you often end up buying smaller sizes of items with the idea of needing them to last a shorter period of time.

Take milk, for example. When you buy four quarts of milk instead of buying one gallon in a month, you end up spending quite a bit more. Multiply this by all the other items you do this with, and you can easily overspend by hundreds.

With clients, I’ve noticed that those who make larger shopping trips, less frequently, spend considerably less than those who shop every week. I even had one client who shopped EVERY day. Needless to say, they had a HUGE grocery bill.

By making fewer, but larger, grocery trips every month, you’ll save so much on your shopping bill. Plus, your savings automatically increase because you end up spending less on gas/transportation to get to the store. The net result: having more money to spend or save on the people and things that you love even more than groceries 😊.

Still Haven’t Saved a Dime This Year? Try “Tricking” Yourself into Saving

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As we move through the fourth month of the year, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate how we’re doing with our money goals so far. Saving up money is a goal that most of us have. (And if we don’t, we should). But putting aside money for savings is a real challenge for the majority of us. Either we have too little saved or not at all. Am I right?

Truth be told, we often treat saving as optional, negotiable or non-essential. Don’t we? But we know that is not the case. Having a savings cushion really IS a necessity. Living without savings is a sure recipe for falling into debt.

The great news is, saving is a habit that can be DEVELOPED through practice.

The way to ensure that you save money every pay period, is to add in your savings goal to your budget. When we do our budgets, we typically include expenses that we must pay to someone else. But we don’t include what we must pay to OURSELVES. Savings are what we pay to ourselves.

The bottom line is that there is no lasting financial success without the use of a budget. Visually seeing what you spend and earn shows you the reality of your actual situation. Budgets help to clarify our expenses. In other words, they detail the absolute necessities that MUST be paid to avoid losing things we consider vital to our happiness, health, and comfort (like shelter, water, heat, electricity, etc.)

A trick that I use to help me save is to include savings in my budget as an EXPENSE. I treat it like a necessity. Just like all my other major bills. I also set up my savings to be automatically deducted and transferred into my savings account, so I don’t have a chance to spend it on something else (like all the music, movies and other things on my huge Amazon Wish List).

When you add your savings amount goal into your budget, make sure you add it in as a SEPARATE additional item in your budget. That is what I do. This method has helped me save thousands for my retirement and emergency fund at the SAME time.

Initially, you’ll feel the drop in your available spending cash. So just adjust other areas of your budget to account for this. In no time at all, you will get used to working with this new cash flow and will create new spending habits.

Begin treating your savings like a NECESSITY. When you start doing thing, saving will become a habit, and you won’t even think about it anymore. It will become as automatic as the deductions you’ve set up to fund your savings account (make sure you don’t forget this step!).

Then you can watch your savings grow. And grow. And grow. There’s just no feeling like it. That feeling of increased security and accomplishment, as you see yourself steadily moving closer and closer to your dreams…

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom is a financial educator, speaker, coach and workshop trainer who teaches people how to confidently master their money so that they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and speaks on topics of personal finance, personal development and Black issues. You can book her to speak at your next event about this topic or her other speaking topics by visiting Yolanda Ransom Speaking

Are You Choosing Progress or Settling for Failure?

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Financial Tip of the Day

Well, we’re in the beginning of a new month – and the second quarter of the year. This is a very important time of year because it holds so much opportunity. Typically, by this point, many people have started petering out on their New Year’s resolutions or goals.

On that note, I’d like to ask how’s it going for you: if you continue what you’re currently doing, where will you be financially by the end of 2018?

If your actions are resulting in steady progress towards your goals, good for you. Keep it up!

But if your actions are resulting in more credit card debt, no savings, or poor finances in general, it’s time to seek out help. Isn’t it?

I’ll be the first to admit that change is NOT easy. And the longer a bad habit has existed, the more challenging it can be to change it.

Especially when it comes to money, we may have “inherited” poor habits and beliefs from our families. But the good news is that no matter WHERE or what we have come from, we can reclaim ownership of our money and financial futures.

I want to encourage and remind you to seek out the help you need to make the changes you desire.

Seeking help DOES NOT make you weak. It actually shows you strong you REALLY are. It shows strength to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers. And to be open to receiving help from others with more experience and/or new ideas.

So, if you’re struggling to keep your 2018 goals – or have stopped trying altogether – there is STILL plenty of time to make 2018 YOUR year of progress. Find a trusted financial resource or professional and seek out all the help you can.

I get coaching help myself, and it’s made all the difference for me on my own journey. Help is there. Have the determination and willingness to seek it out.

*Ladies, by the way - because I want to offer you ALL the support that I can, I’m delighted to say that I will be opening up individual and group coaching again soon! I’m creating some exciting programs aimed at helping you ladies uniquely master your money. Email me at yolanda@yolandaransom.com if you’d like to be personally notified when I open up my schedule for coaching.

How I’m Saving My Health, PLUS Lots of Dollars…

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Financial Tip of the Day

I rarely post pics of food simply because rather than photographing it, I would simply rather just eat it 😊. But I was inspired to post about my new lunchtime meal for 2 reasons: 1) I’m eating healthier AND 2) I’m saving lots of MONEY doing it.

To be 100% honest, I LOVE junk food. Yes. I said it. But junk food doesn’t love me back. It leaves both my waistline and my pocketbook in worse shape. You know what I mean? Plus, I’ve committed to taking much better care of myself because I’m worth it. I want to continue to have my good health until I’m no longer here.

The truth is, I like salad, but am very picky about which ones I’ll eat. So far only McDonald’s and Chopt have had chicken salads that I enjoy and would happily eat every day. But spending about $7 a pop every day for salad just DOESN’T work for my budget.

So while shopping at Walmart recently I spotted these Bistro pre-packaged individual salads and got so excited! They cost $3 each. And while I know it would be cost even less to buy a head of salad, fixings and everything, and mix them myself, I know how I am. That’s just NOT going to happen. I’ve thrown away way too many heads of lettuce and salad fixings because I didn’t have the patience to toss together a salad once my stomach began rumbling.

Anywho, I bought a bunch of these salads, some tomatoes and a bag of breaded chicken cutlets. I baked the cutlets and diced them up. Now I just mix in tomatoes and chicken and replace their dressing with Light Balsamic Vinagrette. And I genuinely look forward to my healthy salad every day.

I feel good about my food choice AND I’m saving money in the process (which ALWAYS makes me happy). I figured out how to make my own “gourmet” salad that I enjoy just as much as the restaurant ones.

What about you? What food hacks do you have that save both your health and your wallet? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear some more great ideas from you!

Getting Your Money Right for the Weekend (and Week)

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Financial Tip of the Day

It’s Friday! Whoopee! For many of us it’s also payday. We’re setting up for an extra long weekend (if you have Monday off) and the opening of the Black Panther film along with ALL of the other weekend activities. Holiday sales will also entice us to spend at the stores. All in all, it should be a wonderful weekend. But it doesn’t have to be one where we break the bank (or our wallets). The answer? Sit down before heading out for your festivities and divvy up your cash for your expenses.

I take my cash, separate it, write a sticky note labeling it, paper clip it and put it away. So, my transportation, food, “fun” money and my other expenses are taken care of until my next pay period. This helps me stick to my money goals and avoid overspending. The less you use debit and credit cards, the better you’ll do with your spending. Seeing cash move out of your hands makes you much more aware of what you’re actually spending. You CAN stay on course while STILL having loads of fun at the same time. This is how to end your weekend with no financial regrets - just happy moments and memories. Have a fantastic weekend!

By the way, this is Success Tip #6 from my top 10 money tips. Get 9 more FREE tips to help you master your money here: http://eepurl.com/c46KtL

“Maximize Your Money” Time

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Financial Tip of the Day  

Many of us exist in financial chaos due simply to a lack of organization. “Money emergencies” arise because of  missed payment due dates, forgotten bills, unopened mail, etc. And we can actually “get used to” this chaos, the longer we’ve practiced poor organizational habits. But the price for this messiness is steep – both literally and figuratively. If you can relate to this, there’s a simple way to start changing this. To get organized, block off  1 to 2 hours on your calendar for a “Maximize Your Money” appointment – with yourself. Depending on how much you have to tackle, do this every 1 or 2 weeks, until your money is “tight.” Once you start to get things in order, you can schedule shorter appointments, less frequently. Time to own your finances!    

P.S. – For 9 more FREE tips on how to maximize your money, click here for instant access: http://eepurl.com/c46KtL

Start Off 2018 with Crystal Clarity

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I hope 2018 is starting off joyfully for you! I'm truly excited about all the possibilities this New Year offers.

To get my New Year off to a strong and focused start, I spent a large part of the day compiling my bills – both personal and business –  for the entire year. Not surprisingly, the process took quite a while.

I included my monthly, bi-annual AND annual bills to calculate my grand expense total for the year. This may not sound like fun to most people, but the end result is that I no longer feel confused and overwhelmed about what I owe, when, and to whom.  

I now have peace of mind and clarity regarding 1) how much I will actually pay out 2) how much money I need to earn to cover everything and 3) my earning goal for the year (which is of course above and beyond my combined expenses).

An added bonus is that I identified areas where I could change services and/or providers and save some money (always a GOOD thing, right?)!!

So in essence, I ended up completing 2 steps of my “10 Tips to OWN Your Money Right Now“ which are:

2. Sit down and gather financial documents
As with anything in life, if you don’t know what’s going on with a situation, you can’t fix it. Set aside a couple of hours – distraction free – and gather all your financial papers together…

3. Create a list of all expenses
Type your list, use an app, or write it down…This includes monthly bills like rent, utilities, cellphone etc., as well as bills that fluctuate (like groceries). With fluctuating bills, write down the highest average amount spent monthly. Don’t forget to include annual or bi-annual expenses like renter’s/home insurance, life insurance, credit card annual fees, birthday gifts, holiday gifts, etc.

If you’d like the other 10 tips and haven't gotten them yet, get them instantly - for FREE by clicking - “10 Tips to OWN Your Money Right Now“ 

Year after year, these tips have enabled me to confidently manage my money. See how they work for you.

Improve Your Cash Flow Instantly...

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Financial Tip of the Day

Better Budget Management: if a large chunk of your bills hit at the same time each month, one idea is to move some of your due dates around. Most credit cards – both personal AND business – allow you the option of moving around your statement posting date. Doing this can stagger out bill payment dates and make it easier to manage your monthly cash flow. Check your card issuer’s website or give them a call to inquire about this. And check out this piece: How to Change Your Credit Card Due Date. (You may be able to do this with other bills too – check with your service providers).

Here's to Stress Free Spending

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Financial Tip of the Day
As we gear up for more holidays, you can take positive steps to end December on a financially empowered note. Instead of racing through the month spending on gifts and holiday festivities, you can spend in a clear, organized manner with NO stress about where your money is going. If you haven’t taken time to create your monthly budget yet, this is as good a time as any, isn’t it? One extremely useful tool I always recommend is the FTC’s Budget Worksheet. With certain software, it also totals everything up as you fill it out. So cool! If you like seeing your cash flow on paper (my preference) you’ll really like this worksheet. Click here to get it: FTC Budget Worksheet. Be sure to spread the love and share this worksheet with a friend!

Finishing Up Your 4th Quarter Strong (Just Like the Big Businesses Do)

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So…we’ve entered the final quarter of the year. Starting next month, it will be filled with plenty of holidays and celebrations (however, if you count Halloween, this is where it kicks off). Rather than letting holiday expenses control you, decide to control them - in ADVANCE.

Years ago, I failed to do this and bought a bunch of expensive Christmas gifts for my friends and family - on credit. Needless to say, it took a while to pay it all off. I learned a A LOT from that experience.

Sit down and figure out your “spending” budget. Decide how much you want/need to reasonably spend in light of your current finances.

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Then, consider setting aside money each pay period to cover your planned expenses, rather than incurring credit card debt because you don’t have all the money available upfront. Xmas club savings accounts and layaway plans (Walmart started theirs already) are also great ways to manage gift buying in advance or over time so that you don’t overspend during the holidays.

P.S – The last few months of the year leads to reflection for many of us (including me). Looking at where we are and where we planned to be can reveal important areas where we feel (or know) we could’ve done much better.

Is this true for you? If you haven’t achieved the financial progress you desire (or need), contact me for a FREE Discovery session to see how I can help you get there. Get off to a positive financial start for the upcoming year! Schedule your FREE chat here by clicking on "Schedule FREE Discovery Session."

Guilt-Free Splurging

Financial Tip of the Day: 

The other day I saw this lipstick online at Fashion Fair and fell in love with it! I really love “unusual” lip colors. So I bought it. For $18. That’s the most I’ve ever paid for a lipstick. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m not a “spontaneous” shopper. My tastes are pretty simple so I rarely splurge on cosmetics. I usually shop around for the best price first (which I admit I did here too before catching a sale at Macy’s for $18. That’s my “thing”). But no matter what, I decided that even if I could only buy it at full price – $20 (plus tax and shipping) – I would still get it.

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I bought it on a whim because I really wanted it. I also had some birthday gift money left over. But most importantly, I’d already taken care of my most important bills. Whim purchases are only a problem when there actually is no money in the budget for them (often adding to an ever-increasing credit card bill) and they go over what we’re truly bringing in. So, in this case, an occasional unplanned splurge is a well-deserved treat.

I can’t wait to get it in the mail! I’ll take a pic and post it so you can see how it looks on me. What’s the most you’ve ever spent for a lipstick?

I know that so many people need help with their spending, which is why I created “10 Fast Ways to OWN Your Money – Now!” If you’re splurging a bit more than you should or would like to, get my FREE tips by clicking here and I’ll email them to you.

The #1 Budget Killer...

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Financial Tip of the Day:

Overspending is one of the biggest ways that people incur debt. Spending beyond their budget is what gets individuals into hot water. The problem is, many people don’t use a budget or even know that their actual budget is. Vague ideas about “what I can afford” results in not being able to pay off credit cards in full each month. Or ideas such as “I’ll pay it off later” - without setting a specific deadline - is another way that this happens. Being free of credit card debit begins with creating and staying within a budget. This is a key part of financial freedom.
#overspending #creditcarddebt #budget