Thursday, December 20, 2012

Be Your Own Santa Claus

Santa Claus or St. Nicolaus is known as a legendary saint and is the symbol of generosity. He gives to the less fortunate, goes all over the world, carries a naughty or nice list, loves children and inspires imagination. Santa answers and fulfills the hopes, wishes, thoughts, and prayers of children all over the world.  Santa symbolizes a belief in something.  The mere belief in his existence shows faith, innocence and a strong belief system. Santa Claus is always happy and full of joy.  Santa is young at heart and has an open heart showing love for all mankind.  Santa provides gifts to children and has a vast knowledge and memory of what each child deserves as a gift for Christmas.

Giving unites people of all races, cultures and backgrounds.  Giving eliminates fear and helps to relieve your burdens.  Giving to others helps you discover who you truly are.  The best way to give to others is to give to yourself first. Start by being the best person you can be. 

Make a commitment to learn something new every day.  Make another commitment to manage your finances on a regular basis.  Many hopes, wishes, thoughts and prayers are not fulfilled due to lack of money or not properly managing your money.  Money will not solve all of your problems but effectively managing your money with help you develop good habits that will transcend into other areas of your life such as patience, discipline, accountability, and time management.  Here are 19 ways to be your own Santa Claus.

  1. Change Your Mindset.  Change the way you think about money. If you believe you will always be in debt or always be broke you will.   
  2. Develop a Financial Plan. Write a list of your entire total monthly expenses including debt and write down your total monthly income after taxes.  If you do not have any money left over (at least 10% of your monthly income) look at the areas where you can reduce spending.
  3. Pay down debt. Pay ½ the balance with the 1st paycheck then pay the remaining balance with the 2nd paycheck or pay the minimum monthly payment when you get the bill, then each week pay as much as you can toward the balance.
  4. Become debt free. Pay more than the minimum monthly payment which helps pay your balance down faster so you can get out of debt. Keep debt balances at than 10% of your monthly income.
  5. Keep money in your pocket. Do an annual check on your heating system or insulate your attic. Automate thermostat settings and use the lowest setting. Seal drafts and cover floors to retain heat. Open blinds during the day to let heat in. Find other ways to save money.
  6. Plan for the unexpected. Create an emergency savings account to cover all of your monthly bills and expenses for 9-12 months. Create a backup plan if some financial crisis occurs and you need extra money. Have a plan A, B, C and D.
  7. Go green. Help save the environment by filing your taxes electronically and get your refund in 2 weeks from the date of filing. Use tax preparation software like Turbo Tax or Tax Cut to help with the tax filing process. Purchase energy efficient appliances.
  8. Shop like the rich. Set a budget and find bargains online, use coupons or shop at holiday sales. Mix and match basic pieces with fashionable accessories such as belts, earrings, bracelets, shoes and purses. Buy knockoff pieces for extra style. Shop at discount stores and outlets.
  9. Cut back. See what areas you can reduce spending in your budget. A balance budget recommends 35% should go towards housing, 15% towards debt, 25% towards transportation, 10% towards savings, and 15% towards other expenses.  Reduce spending by 30-50% each month.
  10. Save. Do at least one thing a week to save money, i.e. bring your lunch to work or bring coffee from home one day a week.  
  11. Limit Credit Card Usage. Use your credit card for emergencies only.  Keep credit card balances at 20% or less of the credit limit. Pay balances off at the end of each month.
  12. Plan for the future. Open a retirement account and save at least 10% towards your retirement each month. You will need 70-80% of your pre-retirement salary for a minimum of 20 years to have enough money during retirement or at least $1,000,000. 
  13. Don’t be a question mark.  Know your net worth (assets - liabilities). Verify your net worth annually. Know how much you earn, how much you owe and how many assets you have. Use the figure as a baseline to increase your net worth on a yearly basis. 
  14. Get Your Financial House in Order.  Organize financial papers and store in a centralized secure location. Backup financial documents and records saved on your personal computer.  Make copies of all personal documents and store in a waterproof fire proof safe.  Develop a will and update beneficiaries for life insurance policies.
  15. Get insured. Make sure you have adequate health, auto, life, disability and long-term care insurance.
  16. Don't stop at retirement. Don't just plan for your retirement, plan for your children's retirement. If you plan for your children's retirement or your grandchildren's college education this will ensure you have more than enough money to retire and enjoy your golden years.
  17. Do better than your parents.  If you parents retired at 65 or had to work until they were 70 and had nothing to show for it, do better than your parents. If you retire at 55 be sure you have at least enough money to live on for 20 years.
  18. Further Your Education.  Take training classes or get a college degree to increase your skills set and salary. Plan to take at least one training course every year during your career to stay current with industry standards and technology advances.
  19. Consult a professional.  Contact a financial advisor or financial planner to help you determine your financial goals, where you want to live, the age you want to retire and the lifestyle you would like to have when you retire.


Joan Price said...

This is great advice. I am trying to be better with my personal finances. I had an bad accident years ago, and I got into a lot of debt as a result. I ended up settling, but it was a structured settlement, and I had to sell it in order to ease my debt burden. Now that I am clear, I want to start 2013 on the right foot. These tips should definitely help! Thanks.

12 month loans said...

12 month cash loans with no fees monetary disaster and you have no way to position of them, and then cash advance are ideal fiscal solution accessible 12 month cash loans all places of UK with hassle free.