Financial Fitness

I hope you enjoy this page!  I update this page every week with 1 new tip for how to become more financially fit.  Saving money and "frugalness" are in my nature. 

For me, it's super important to have balance and alleviate stress in life and one way that I do that is by having a strong hold on my finances. 

Check out some of these tips and let me know how it goes!  

Dave Ramsey 

I love reading Dave Ramsey's books.  Try working on #1 and #2 ... super important!!  

If you want some book recommendations, let me know-- he's written a lot of books and I've read a couple! 

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5 Tips for Saving $$ on Your Superbowl Party! 

I see the importance of not just being physically fit.  Financial fitness is important!! So important!  Check out this section for 1 tip on financial fitness! 

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  1. Make your party BOYB. Instead of saving money by making your party pot-luck style, save by providing the food, but making everyone else bring the drinks of their choice whether that be beer, wine, liquor, soda, or mineral water. The reason I say this is that alcoholic drinks are much more expensive than preparing nachos, and sometimes pot-lucks turn into a lot of stuff that no one eats and not enough of the few things that are good. 
  2. Prepare your food from scratch. Yes, it’s going to take a little bit more time and effort on your part, but your bank account will thank you for it. Catering food or buying pre-made food from the grocerty store is ALWAYS more expensive than preparing it on your own. Plus, you can control the types of ingredients you put into the food, how fattening or unfattening you want it to be, and how much salt you want to add to it. Check out these great ideas from the Food Network for menu ideas.
  3. Buy in Bulk.If you’re having more than 10 people over for the game, consider shopping at a wholesaler like Costco or Sam’s to buy some of the staple foods that you know you’re going to use a lot of in your food. Price it out first at the wholesaler to make sure it makes sense, and MAKE SURE that you’re going to use all of it all at once. You don’t want to buy something that’s a better deal, but waste half of it in the process.
  4. Scour the newspapers for coupons. Yes, the savings does add up!
  5. Make foods that cater to large parties. A great example of this is Chili. People love chili, and the ingredients are relatively inexpensive. You can make a lot of it for a little price. Also, a taco bar would be a good idea too. Cook up a ton of ground beef, and put out cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and diced tomatoes.

Saving Money During the Holiday Season 

Sending Holiday Cards?!  Is it a MUST?! 

1. If it's not in your budget to send Christmas (or other holiday) cards this year it's okay, your friends and family will understand.  If you do want to send them but need to scale down consider sending cards to the people you would like to get in touch with the most. 
2. Send postcards or letters, instead of Christmas cards. 
3. If you send postcards, whether purchased or homemade, remember they require less postage than a regular card!
4. Christmas cards always go on sale in December, and the longer you wait the better!
5. If you purchase inexpensive cards at a discount store be sure to look at them carefully.  Some actually look cheap, while others are much prettier.  If you’re going to buy Christmas cards they might as well look nice!
6. For friends and family that live out of state or out of the country make a brief phone call and your loved ones would probably much rather hear your voice than receive a card in the mail.
Adjust Your Thermostat 

Who says you can't change the weather? We alter the temperature inside our homes all the time with the press of a button or the turn of a dial on our thermostat.
But what many of us fail to do is "teach" our thermostat how to save us money.
You can save 10 percent on your winter heating bills by adjusting your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees cooler for the eight hours you're at work, according to the Department of Energy. Cut it back an additional eight hours when you sleep and you might save 20 percent.


How Much to Contribute to 401k (in your 30s) 

1. Make retirement contributions as aggressively as you comfortably can.  SEE CHART BELOW. 

2. Hit Level 1, then step up only after you’ve paid off high interest credit card debt and saved $5-10k for emergencies. 

3. Balance 401(k) contributions made with pre-tax dollars with a Roth IRA, which will provide income that’s tax-free at retirement.


Prepping for the Holidays 

**Christmas will be over in less than 2 months!  Plan ahead and save money... 

Allow enough time for all your holiday preparations.

Who hasn't run out for a gift at the last minute and ended up paying top dollar? But whether you're shopping, baking or wrapping presents to send cross-country, budgeting your time can end up saving you tons of money.


Does your company match your retirement contribution?! 
There are many things to consider when choosing a job, but the retirement benefits offered are vital to wealth-building in the long term. 
A 30-year-old who doesn’t carefully research his or her benefits and chooses to work for a company with no company match or retirement contribution could  be way behind someone who works for a company with robust benefits. 
For example, a 30-year-old making $75,000 a year who saves 10% of his or her income in a 401(k) and earns an 8% average return would have a balance of just under $600,000 at age 55.  Compare that to a 30-year-old who saves 10% at a company that matches 5% and adds a profit sharing contribution that averages 5% a year. He or she would have almost $1.2 million in their retirement account—double our first example’s amount—at age 55.


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If you don't keep good records of your finances, you're probably not claiming all your allowable income tax deductions and credits
Set up a system now and use it all year. It's much easier than scrambling to find everything at tax time, only to miss items that might have saved you money.
Check your state's website for information on allowable income tax deductions and credits

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