Money Mastery – Three Easy Steps to Mastering Your Financial Destiny

When I was a kid I was constantly told, “We can’t afford that; we can ONLY get this; ask your dad if you can have that; you must save your money for a rainy day; start saving now for retirement.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand the intention of some of these messages and that they may even hold value for some folks but I also have learned that these statements can lead to potential financial paralysis.

By hearing those statements over and over again, I developed what could have been my Money Destiny. That Money Destiny led me to believe I would never have enough money, that I must always save and never spend, and that I was not financially safe. These messages repeated themselves in my mind every time I needed to make a money decision or anytime I thought about money. Soon thereafter I found myself resenting the “mean green” and at times wanting to rebel against it. Thank goodness I realized one day that should I continue down this same Money Destiny road, I was destined to have just enough (not plenty) or none at all for that matter or worry about money constantly, and stay in the middleclass.

When I noticed how I was making decisions that would keep me in the same place and never propel me forward financially, I knew it was time to bust my old patterns, break debilitating money-habits, and create a new money system, a new Money Destiny. Doing this was going to take some mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical work, oh yeah, and financial work as well! It meant I was going to have to stop listening to what I had been told all my years growing up as a child as well as stop playing the “tape recording” of these messages over in my mind. It also meant I was going to have to buck this old system every time it flashed before my eyes! My intention in sharing this article with you is to help you break down your conditioned mindset and build it up with a new one that actually works with you and not against you. This is a mindset that YOU are going to create, nobody else will be creating it for you. Isn’t that exciting?

So what does mastering money look like? Mastering your money literally boils down to one thing: your mindset. Have you ever noticed that when your bills are paid off for the month and you have some extra “bread” in savings, you are just bouncing around the planet like you are rich (even if you aren’t)? However, on the contrary, have you noticed that when you don’t have enough to make ends meet and you’re struggling to figure out where the next dollar will come from to pay your rent or mortgage, you never seem to see the light? And, have you ever noticed that you actually decided, either consciously or subconsciously, which of those scenarios would play out in your life?

What I would like for you to do is sit for a moment and put yourself into both situations. First, visualize yourself in the moment when you have no money, nothing in the bank, in fact you may be in the negative. You’re not going to be paid for another week and all of your bills are due yesterday. What is the first feeling that you notice? Desperation, anger, frustration, helplessness? Take a quick note of that. Now, go to the visual of having money in the bank, all bills paid off and in essence you feel free. You have extra money to do what you would like and everything seems to be going right in the world. Again, take note of the first feeling that pops up for you when sitting in this visualization.

Let’s take an even further step. Picture that you are in control of both scenarios. You actually designate or choose which will happen in your life. And, you actually choose the same scene over and over again. Which do you choose? Do you choose the visualization with lots of money and financial freedom or do you choose the daunting visual? I venture to guess you wish to choose the one of Money Mastery.

The concept of Money Mastery has to do with having a destiny when it comes to money. Some folks actually are destined to be rich, middle class or poor. For most of us, we witnessed how our parents behaved with money, listened to things they said and then modeled after them. If our parents were rich, we figured as adults that we, too, had the right to be rich. If our parents were poor, we grew up thinking we did not deserve to have more money so we followed in the footsteps of our poor parents.

I am here to tell you that you don’t have to follow in anybody’s footsteps when it comes to mastering money except your own. Today, you get to decide your new Money Destiny in just three steps.

Step One: Change Your Money Talk-

As I stated earlier, mastering money has to do with your mindset so if you have been saying repeatedly, “I don’t have enough money” or “I need more money” then I venture to guess you haven’t had enough money for quite some time. So, I challenge you to begin saying(even if you don’t believe it in the moment, trust me, you will learn to believe the following statements wholeheartedly), “I have plenty of money,” or “I am grateful for the money I have,” or “Money is a precious gift.” These are simple statements yet extremely meaningful. These affirmations are packed with power! And here’s why: when we hear ourselves say something, we generally believe what we say-whether it is good or bad-we believe it! Thus, if you are constantly saying, “Money is a precious gift and I am grateful for it,” somehow your mind hears that statements and translates it into action. Before you know it you are taking action to have more money in your life or better yet, money is finding its way to you and you did not even lift a finger!

Do you see where I am going with this new verbiage? Positive thoughts become positive feelings which lead to positive actions that grant you positive results.

Step Two: Change Your Money Feelings-

If you feel badly about money all the time you will not get money in return or worse yet, you will spend it like water because you want to get rid of the bad feeling. Makes sense, right? Therefore, it is imperative to change your Money Feelings.

Here’s an exercise: Take out a one-dollar bill. Look at it, in fact, examine it. Notice what you like about the one-dollar bill. Is it the color, the images printed on the bill or perhaps it is what is stated on the bill. I want you to find at least two things you like about the dollar. Now, sit there for a moment and FEEL what you like about it. It may help you to close your eyes and just be in the feeling, be in the moment. Now, think about what you can get for just one dollar. Maybe an apple, a banana, an orange. Maybe a pack of gum or two packs of gum even? You can give a tip to somebody after buying a coffee or you can get change for your one-dollar bill and put money in the meter to prevent getting an expensive ticket. Do you see how far that one dollar went? Did this give you a new feeling and new perspective about that bill? For what appeared to be a small bill it certainly turned into big things, didn’t it?

The idea here is to constantly associate positive feelings with money in order to get more of it. Let me give you another example. I used to get angry every month when I had to pay the bills. I would say to myself, “I get so angry working so hard for my money only to turn around and give it over to somebody else.” Then one day it dawned on me that I should be grateful that I have the money to pay the bills in the first place! Suddenly I reframed my thinking to state,”I make plenty of money to pay my bills every month.” And believe-it-or-not, I no longer resent that time of the month when I have to pay bills and more money has been coming my way.

Step Three: Change your Money Behavior-

If when you get your paycheck and you turn right around and spend it then I am going to challenge you to pause for a moment and not take the same action. In fact, I am going to ask you to replace that action with a new action: Paying yourself first. What I suggest to my clients is that they take at minimum 10% of their paycheck and pay themselves first by putting it in a savings account, retirement account or money market account. What is better is if you can automate this so you never even see that 10%. These days, most banks or employers offer an automated savings plan whereby they take whichever percentage you desire and they put it into whichever account you want. This is a great way to begin paying yourself.

Now if you are the type who never spends a dime, I ask you the question, “What exactly are you saving for?” Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging you to not save your money, but I am encouraging you get really connected to what exactly you are saving for. If you are saving in case of an emergency rather than for freedom, excitement, purpose, joy, or love, realize what will manifest is an emergency. My challenge to you then is to change the reason for your saving.

When we stop and really think about the phrase, “Money Talks” we realize just how truthful that is. What’s important to note is that we have the power to dictate the conversation with and about money so that it is either a rich conversation full of financial freedom and joy or it is a poor conversation wrought with desperation, frustration and debt. Here, you have been given three powerful steps to Money Mastery. My question to you: Which conversation will you now be having?

Personal Budgeting: An Imperative

Budgeting is a basic part of accountancy.

Nations, states, cities, towns and every incorporated company have budgets. Every private company, or other commercial entity, worth its salt has a formal budget. So why is it that the vast majority of people do not use a formal budget in their private lives? They do budget of course. We all do in one way or another. But very, very few people have a good enough memory to successfully budget informally – that is, without writing it down. And it's when we forget to allow for some expense that we get into trouble. We get into debt. Is not that just about the worst feeling in the world – to be in unplanned debt?

To be poor is a sad experience – it's a state of mind. To be broke is an uncomfortable experience – but it's a temporary condition. To be in unplanned debt can be gut wrenching. And generally speaking, unplanned debt is just plain carelessness.

Why then does it happen? Simply because in the days before computers and calculators budgeting was a boring and time-consuming task. There was an awful lot of adding up to do and the darned thing had to be continuously adjusted as time went by, usually every month at least. So it was not surprising that most people just did not bother and as the generations passed by, so did the practice of ordinary people not preparing budgets for their personal finances. They just did not think that the value derived from maintaining a personal budget was worth the time consumed.

So what's changed? One very important factor: personal computers – they've just made it so easy that if you do not budget, you're making life unnecessarily difficult for yourself. It is now well and truly worth the very small investment of time to input a few lines of data every week. Because from that the computer can give you more financial reports than one person is ever likely to need. It will produce reports on tax payments; about what you've sent; about where you've spent it, about what you've spent it on and it will do that for any given period of your choosing. It'll find transactions that you've forgotten about but that suddenly you really need to know about. It will tell you how much money you will have in the bank next Christmas (or what you've got to stop spending money on so that you will have the amount of money you need in the bank next Christmas.)

The really big thing is that you will be in charge of your finances. It makes it so easy to explain to your dependents – be it spouse, partner or children; just exactly what the household can afford to spend, on what and when. Ninety-five percent of the arguments about money will go out the window because people will be able to see clearly what can and can not be done. If we buy you that cell phone, we will not be able to buy that game. You get the idea.

What software is best? Well there's no shortage of it. It's not expensive. The best is less than a hundred dollars and you'll save that in no time flat. Check out the choices available, and choose the one which best suits your personal needs. It will be well worth whatever you decide to invest in it. And it will most definitely save you lots of headaches and heartaches in the long run, if used properly.

Spruce Up Your House by Gardening!

It’s a good time to start thinking and planning ahead for your garden. A neat and tidy front yard can enhance a property, but a beautifully planned one can really make an ordinary house look special.

Some accessories that will make your yard look really good can be very inexpensive. Most of us are on a budget, especially these days when we never know how much it will cost to fill up our gas tank. Sometimes at this time of the year, you can find last year’s garden accessories discounted. Benches or garden lights may be listed for sale before the new stock comes in.

There are some basic rules which apply to every garden. Before you start you should try and afford a soil test. This is quite inexpensive and either your local nursery or the Internet will tell you how to go about it. You can also buy do-it-yourself kits. The second thing is to dig compost into your garden, and now (winter) is a good time.

If you are having a soil test carried out, you will know from the results if you should add any other nutrition to your soil. A soil test will mean you will not be buying the ‘wrong’ shrubs, plants etc for your soil type.

There is one last thing that you should monitor: how long and where the sun shines on different parts of your garden. Plants can thrive without direct sunlight, but only if you plant a type that likes the shade. This can still include many bright, colorful plants (i.e. impatiens), so you can still brighten up dull areas.

Once you decide to buy, you do not want to waste your money by having the plants or shrubs die on you. The soil test will curb some of these mistakes. The other thing to do is to look up, on the Internet or from a book, your particular growing zone. If you live in an area where, for instance, you come into the ‘Hardiness Zone’, it will enable you to pick the type of plant that has the best chance of surviving in your type of climate.

Always put short and stocky plants in front of taller ones. Remember to check the expected height to know this information – do not decide by the height at purchase time. Remember that short and stocky plants are generally tougher and more resilient, so choose more of these.

Try to resist buying plants in bloom at the time of purchase. The ones that still have to bloom will probably be stronger for the transplant process. If you have more shady areas than you wish, think about drastically trimming a tree to get more sunlight onto certain patches. Remember that some plants like a lot of water, so group these together to make the watering less laborious for you.

There are many small accessories that will really make your yard stand out. Obviously a strategically placed bench -or chairs and small table- under a tree will look welcoming and relaxing. A small bridge can really enhance a yard, and you can use it as a focal point for a few reeds or grasses to give the impression of water. Or if you feel daring you can try digging your own long shaped pond. Instructions on this are easy to find in books or on the ‘net.

For cheap plants (in fact free ones!) buy a can of ‘rooting powder’ and offer to swap cuttings with your neighbors. It is not recommended to sneak out at midnight with your scissors in hand!!

Top 10 Celebrity Styles For 2008-2009

Every year we look to celebrities for fashion inspiration and new styles. Looking back over this year we can say that 2008 did not disappoint. Although some celebrities veered a little too far left of what is fashionably acceptable many others hit the bulls-eye. Even if you didn’t commit to any of the following trends, you can’t deny that they made statements in 2008. We have broken them down in order from 1 – 10 and let you know who owned that specific celebrity style.

Fashion Trend # 1: The Two-finger ring. This is one of the coolest jewelry trends we’ve seen in awhile. It has been spotted on famous celebrities such as Rihanna and Lauren Conrad from ”The Hills”.

Fashion Trend # 2: Baggy ”Boy” Jeans. This was a hit-and-miss look. It really depended on the body type of the person sporting the look. We think the new Baggy Boy Jeans should have a distressed and loose look, but should also be cut to show off a woman’s curves. This celebrity style was rocked by Reese Witherspoon and Katie Holmes.

Fashion Trend # 3: Nail Designs. Many celebrities decided to wear crazy colors on their nails this year. Those celebrities include Beyonce, Eve and Rihanna.

Fashion Trend # 4: Sky-Scraper High Heels. Every year high-heels get higher and more dangerous looking. If you don’t believe us just take a look at Victoria Beckham and Madonna.

Fashion Trend # 5: Pointless Accessories. Anything and everything was up for grabs to be an accessory in 2008. Just take a look at Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Beyonce.

Fashion Trend # 6: Obama T-Shirts. For the first time we can remember political T’s were available and worn by the general public. Check them out on Halle Berry, Beyonce and P Diddy Combs.

Fashion Trend # 7: Nerdy Glasses. Geek-chic is a sure thing, when worn right. But be careful because dark, thick plastic frames aren’t a look everyone can pull off. If you want to see them worn right check out the celebrity style of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Common.

Fashion Trend # 8: Bangs. This look also doesn’t work for everyone, but when it does, watch out! Check out the bangs on Jessica Alba and Christina Aguilera…HOT!

Fashion Trend # 9: Leather Jackets. This look was taken straight from the 80′s, but worked great in 2008. Some celebrities rocking leather jackets were Vanessa Hudgens and Rihanna.

Fashion Trend # 10: Hippie Headband. Very few people can actually pull this look off. Personally, I’m not of fan of it on anybody. Some ladies sporting the hippie headband this year were Nicole Richie and Mischa Barton.

As you can tell there were many new celebrity styles this year, along with some re-tread styles. Every year we are amazed at what people bring back out of the closet and add to their wardrobe. No matter how much we may fight it, the looks always seem as glamorous and hot as they did before. We can’t wait to see what celebrity styles these people pull out next year. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!