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Judy M Lawrence

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Accessing your inner beauty as you create financial peace of mind.
by Judy M Lawrence   

Last edited: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2002

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Accessing your inner beauty as you create financial peace of mind.

Still suffering from that spending spree last year? Still sorting out how to improve your finances this year? It's hard to have inner beauty and focus on your dreams when your mind is churning over how to handle the latest bills and rising utility costs.

As a reader of BeautyWalk.com, you understand that beauty starts on the inside. How does that relate to your budget? Part of inner beauty is having peace of mind, confidence and a sense of grace. Wouldn't you like to have that same peace, confidence and grace flow through your financial affairs? Well, you can. It's all possible when you have a plan - a financial road map - to take you through your days, weeks and months. So how do we get this road map?

Road maps don't just happen. The number one habit of highly effective people, according to Dr. Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Effective People, is being proactive. Things don't happen to them, they make things happen.

You too, can make things happen. We are going to help you chart your road map so you know exactly where your money is going and where you want it to go.

These proven tips, taken from The Budget Kit workbook, will guide you through the process of getting started with your budget -your own personal financial road map to success.

Have desire

What do you really want in your life? Freedom from debt? Security of savings and retirement? Satisfaction of having a beautiful home?

Changing behavior starts with a clear and strong desire. Without it, how will you change habits of using the credit card when you know the money isn't there? How will you change the pattern of spending cash impulsively to satisfy immediate wants? How will you change your routine of paying high late fees due to late bill payments? What are you willing to do to change your life? What are your priorities that will motivate you to learn and use a new and effective spending plan?

Prevent surprises

This is the missing link that will turn your budget around.

Outline all the expenses you can think of that occur throughout the year on a periodic versus monthly basis. Expenses like annual property taxes, semester tuition, quarterly utilities, holiday and birthday gifts and celebrations. When you really review your records and think about your household and lifestyle, you realize these expenses do not have to show up as surprises.

Now add in the proactive factor. Total up these expenses. Divide by 12 months and see if you can slowly start putting that amount aside each month in preparation for the next upcoming "surprise".

Notice that monthly total. Without a proactive plan, this is the amount that gradually shows up on the credit card balance or consolidation loans.

Don't let accidents happen

Anticipate emergencies. Again, you can be proactive. Take preventative measures concerning your health, car, home, children, pets. Floss your teeth daily, change your oil regularly, take your children and pets in for their shots.

Of course, accidents still do happen. This is where the proper insurance coverage and emergency savings come in. Know what your coverage is ahead of time so it definitely covers what you think it is going to cover.

Be sure to pay yourself first. One of your fixed monthly bills is the emergency savings. Don't worry about putting in enough in the beginning. Start the habit. Save consistently. Put aside whatever amount you can, whether $25 or $250, 5% or 10% per paycheck. The point is to start saving money immediately.

Map your monthly money

Plan out each month ahead of time. Know your monthly needs. Realize that every month has its additional unique expenses on top of the regular ones - more groceries, higher heating bills, added child care. Exactly how much do you need to cover your fixed bills, the utilities, groceries, transportation, children and your faith? That's usually the easy question. Now for the next level. What else will you need or want as you plan out the new month? What will your entertainment costs be for movies, CDs, books, theater, and dinners? What about lunches, gifts, haircuts, parties, etc.?

Be proactive instead of reactive. Outline those monthly expenses ahead of time. Know just how much income will be coming in compared to what you anticipate going out. If the number shows up short, you have time to make some adjustments before the month begins, instead of in the middle when you have more month than money.

Know where your money goes

Do you know how much those Starbucks cost each month? Any idea how much the lunchs total the end of the month? How about the dry cleaning, greeting cards, toiletries, clothes, makeup, electronic gadgets to name a few? Tracking your daily spending will change your life. Over the years I have consistently heard money trackers tell me that once they started tracking their money, they started spending less and saving more.

These proactive actions are not about deprivation. On the contrary, these actions are all about making things happen. When you know where you money goes, when you direct the money where you want it to go, when you have the money to cover all the things that you want - then you will have financial peace of mind, confidence and grace in your life.

Web Site: Beauty Walk



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