I truly believe we can find extra ways to save money NO matter how tight our cash flow might be. I would bet money that there is something you can go without for just 1 month if you really, deep down, wanted to save more money. So let me ask you, what are you be willing to give up for just one month to jumpstart your savings? For just 30 days, can you go without one item in order to get to your goals quicker? Think of it like going on a 30 day diet, or maybe a 21 day fix.
My sister- in-law goes to a nutritionist, and one day we were talking about what an impact giving up one thing each month can have on our health. Maybe the first month you give up soda, then month 2 you give up fried food, and another month you give up candy. It isn’t a drastic change that you will find absolutely terrible and too hard to follow. By the end of the year, you will be eating healthier and will really see a dramatic change in your life. Some people get frustrated when they try to lose weight, and get impatient. However, even if you lose just half a pound a week, by the end of the year, you will be down 26 pounds. Not too shabby huh?
What about when you start living on a budget? Budgets are like diets, they can be great in the short term, but not quite sustainable. It can seem impossible to live when you try to limit how much you spend each month. So let’s take the same concept and use it with spending. I am putting myself through a full year of a monthly savings program. Let’s call it my 30 Day Spending Cleanse. Each month I will give up one thing, just for the month, and put aside money each time I would have spent on that item. I have my first six months planned out with estimates on savings. For some reason I’ve decided to get the torture over with and start with alcohol. Below is a breakdown of the first six months with my savings estimates. I have already completed my first month, so you can see my estimates and what I actually saved.
Month 1: No Alcohol, an estimated savings of $200
Month 2: No Shopping, an estimated a savings of $300
Month 3: No nails, an estimated savings of $110
Month 5: No desserts, no estimated savings of $30 per week, $120
Month 6: Only buy brand names at grocery store, an estimated savings of $25 per week, $100
Total estimates $1,430 over six months
At the end of each month, I will put the actual savings amount along with some tips and tricks. Stay tuned to see how my progress is with my monthly savings. I am going to put myself through it so I know you will be able to do it too. Will you take my 30 Day Spending Cleanse Challenge?
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year! Don't forget to sign up for our Parntering for Prosperity Webinar on January 10th. Click below to register:
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Any opinions are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those Raymond James.
Let me ask you something...
Are you more scared of getting coal for Christmas or to look at your credit card statement? I’m guessing it’s the latter. Ok time for a tough question, how much have you spent this holiday season? Any idea? If my husband asks me, I’ll just say I’m still tallying it up. The problem is we can be so good all year long with our budgets, but when it comes to the holidays, gifts, and our children, it all seems to fly out the window. Are you shaking your head in agreement with me yet? Don’t feel bad if you’ve gone a little over board with your holiday shopping. The average shopper spends an average of $929 on gifts (according to the American Research Group, Inc. survey), and if you add in food, decorations, and alcohol it goes up to $1611.30 Are you thinking if you’re over or under the average now?
I started wondering whether it is better to spread the pain (or costs) of the holiday out over the course of the year, a few months, or jam it all in. What I’ve done in the past and what tends to be my recommendation is to spread the purchases out so it isn’t an extra $1,000 right at the end of the year. On the other hand, if you like to wait until the last minute, you can still put money aside each paycheck leading up to the holidays, which would work the same way. But my thinking brought up a theory that while spreading out your purchases might be better, do we spend more since we have extra time to pay off the credit card bills? The average early shopper spends $1,182, and this was a huge increase from 2015, which was $636. The Christmas shopping season does start as early as Halloween, and maybe will even start on Labor Day next year with how the retailers are going. With the festive items already out with trick or treaters, we start shopping earlier and earlier each year. That being said I’m not surprised by the increase in spending by the early birds.
Still pondering my theory, I took to Facebook to get some feedback. The majority of comments agreed that buying gifts earlier and throughout the year is the way to go. When you factor in late credit card payments, even if you spend more on gifts by buying earlier, you will most likely end up saving money. You might not know how much you are paying in interest from your credit card balance, but most credit card rates can be upwards of 15-19%. Yikes! You’ll be paying for the holiday a lot longer with an interest rate that high. Some people said retailers will hike up their prices as the holiday gets closer, which makes sense when you see the black Friday discounts. Others mentioned lower stress levels if you start shopping earlier, which I can agree with. The holidays can be stressful enough trying to please everyone so anything you can do ahead of time and mark off your to do list will help.
So with everyone spending an average of $1,611 on the holidays, how much money is being pumped into the economy? We are expected to spend about $655.8 billion during the season, that is billion with a B! The expected amount is supposed to rise by 7-10% from last year or by $117 billion. That is a HUGE increase in spending for our economy. With so much money being spent in our economy, it is no wonder why we usually have a Santa Claus rally at the end of the year in the stock market. Retailers will higher on average about 640,000-690,000 seasonal employees each year. So we are spending more money, and more people are working, which usually helps the stock markets, which might help us! So you may wish to continue spending your money because in some way it might make the market go up which might make your 401(k) go up. Talk about finding the silver lining! Who else can justify your spending like me?
So here are the statistics on the Santa Claus rally, yes it is real despite your feelings on the real Santa Claus. Dating back to 1896, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained an average of 1.7% during the last 5 trading days of the year and the first 2 trading days after the New Year. The Dow Jones rose 77% of the time during these seven trading days. Some attribute the rally to the increase in spending, which means higher earnings for companies. But there are a few other factors such as increased optimism on Wall Street and more stock traders taking end of the year vacations, are likely to contribute. Now it doesn’t always work, and last year we did not get a Santa Claus rally. So here’s to hoping this year we will get one!
Have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season! And don’t forget just because you might have blown your budget during the holiday season, you can still get back on track for the next year. Let’s start the New Year off right and click below to register for our Partnering for Prosperity Webinar next month!
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of Wall Street Journal. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members. The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of Raymond James.
Being stuck in your life is costing you more than you think. How many times do you think maybe one day I’ll have enough to go on that trip to Europe. Maybe in retirement I’ll finally be able to take care of my health. Maybe if I win the lottery I can to help my family. Someday, but not today. Are you sick of it being someday and not today? Why are we waiting to live the lives we want? Why are we giving up today because we think there is no possible way we can do it now? In the end, why not now?
It all comes down to living your self-worth. By being “stuck” or “trapped” in your current life, means you are accepting to not live up to your self-worth. Have you thought about how much it is costing you to be “stuck” at your current job? Or what about being in a bad relationship for 1 year, 5 years, or even 20 years too long, what is that costing you? And another big one, how much is that downward debt spiral really doing to you and to your family? Since we can’t actually measure the effects of these to our lives, we don’t really think about them. But they are all there, and they are all costing us the most precious thing around: ourselves.
I want you to think about all the ways being stuck is affecting your life. What are the emotions surrounding it? How much energy is it draining you of each day for the last how many years? What are the snowball effects of it to your family and friends, because trust me, they see it and feel it too. You might not feel like yourself at times and act out towards the people you love. I’ve done it, and I’ve seen it too. When the most genuine and kind person starts yelling at a car, or maybe that is just New Jersey road rage. NOPE! I’m pretty sure it is that negativity surrounding their life because they aren’t living it the way they want, and the way they deserve to live.
We can continue down this path until our life is over, or we can say enough is enough, my life is worth living! I have chosen the latter because I know I am meant to transform women’s lives, and I hope I can transform your life too. Now that you’ve thought about all that you’d like to shred from your life and all the energy and emotions that go along with it, think about all that you want. What your life can be, and think about how it will affect those around you. Do you think they will notice the change and want to change too? At first they might be nervous or apprehensive about your new direction in life. And that is fine. They want to keep you safe and comfortable, and what is safe is continuing your current patterns of life. (Even if it is hurting you since no one likes change.) But change is a must, and life is built on decisions. As they say the only constant is change…so should we try hiding from it or embrace it? That’s right, embrace it!! How will you feel once you get there? Is this feeling worth the change?
I have seen this rejuvenation in women’s lives first hand, and I have helped women get there too. So I want to help you and start transforming your life for the better. My goal for you is to feel confident and empowered after reading this post, ready to take on the world. So ask yourself if what you are currently doing with your life helping or hurting you. Do you want to find other ways to live? It is time to start living the life you want, just like my favorite quote says: “Ten years from now, make sure you can say you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.” –Mandy Hale
And let’s start the New Year with some umph! Join me for a Partnering for Prosperity Webinar on January 10th at 7 p.m. When is a better time to create new goals, new resolutions, and a new start on life? During this webinar, we will go through how much your current path is costing you, how it is affecting your loved ones, and find out what is stopping you from taking action. Click below to register for Partnering for Prosperity in the New Year! Don’t procrastinate any longer, a mere forty minutes is worth the opportunity to transform your life.
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
As we enter the Holiday Season, we are greeted with the season’s excitement, joy, and love, along with…all the stress, exhaustion, and very high Pinterest standards. Yes, I said it, and I know in some part of you, you know it too. Maybe that is why we start seeing Christmas decorations before Halloween, so we can get a jumpstart on the preparations. I don’t know about you, but that only adds to my stress level. I start thinking everyone else must be halfway done with their shopping while I haven’t even compiled my list, and definitely not checked it twice. So go ahead, and vent it out, scream out loud: “I am not prepared, I am not a perfect housewife who got it all done without sweating a drop!” Didn’t that feel good?
This Holiday season, I want to enjoy every bit of it and not get bogged down from all the stress. I’d rather not scream at the mall traffic. And if you'd like to join me so we can both have a wonderful season and celebrate versus the alternative: curse and scream. One of the big stresses of the season is money and how do we fit all the gifts, decorations, baked goods, meals, and traditions into our budgets? It’s too late to start saving, so instead of suggesting a savings plan, how about a checklist of the Holiday Financial Traps and how to avoid them?
I hope these tips help keep the holiday stresses to a new low and enables you to be fully present during these joyous times. Don’t feel the need to use your entire bonus for the holidays because you shouldn’t have to go paycheck to paycheck to have a wonderful holiday. We tend to get all carried away with the presents, decorations, food, and drinks, that we get so worked up and need a vacation after our holiday break. Wouldn’t it feel great to use this time to reconnect with family and friends instead of stressing all December long? My recommendation is to turn off your social media accounts for a few weeks, and try to reflect a little on what we have compared to what we don’t have. Please share one thing you are grateful for on my Facebook page Jessica Weaver, Wealth Advisor.
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
Opinions expressed are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James is not affiliated with Pinterest or Groupon.