in Search

Money Coach

December 2011 - Posts

  • Set goals to ensure financial health in 2012

    There's no doubt that financially, 2011 was a tough year. The recession is, well, receding, but we've got a long way to go yet. With a new year looming, it would be wise to start planning and making your financial goals for 2012. Setting realistic goals is a great first step.


    • Set both short- and long-term goals. Short-term goals include things you want to accomplish in the coming year like reduce your debt or build up your emergency cash fund. Long-term goals might be things like saving for your children's education or putting money away toward an early retirement.


    • Set your budget, love your budget. Some people may look at budgeting as a chore or a heavy weight to bear, but having a set budget can actually be quite freeing. Once you've set yours, stick to it and you'll not only be guilt-free, but you'll be in better shape financially.


    • Determine your priorities. Figure out what matters most to you, and focus on those things. 


    If you've figured out what's most important to you, you'll want to follow three simple rules. First of all, spend less money. Be sure, before any purchase, to ask yourself if spending this particular amount of money will help you achieve your goals. If you are even slightly unsure, it's best to not spend it.


    Second, save more. Putting more money away for a rainy day or emergencies is never a bad thing, and saving toward retirement also has to be a priority. 


    And last, make sure you invest your money wisely. Don't put all your eggs into one basket, and remember to reevaluate your investment goals periodically in order to be sure you're still on track with your overall financial goals. 


    No matter what your goals are in the coming year, spending less and saving more, as well as investing wisely, will surely help you stay focused on your goals and get even closer to making those goals a reality.

    Posted Dec 29 2011, 11:27 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Make these New Year's resolutions – and keep them

    Getting out of debt is something everyone longs for. And this time of year, with the idea of New Year's resolutions looming, it may be a good time to finally make those resolutions to keep – and change your financial well-being for the better. Here are four things you can do to make that happen. 


    1. Lower your debt to income ratio. Your debt to income ratio can make a difference in the type of home loan you qualify for. It can also help you determine what your current financial snapshot looks like. If your debt to income ratio is higher than 30 percent, you need to lower that number as soon as you can.


    2. Pay off old debt. Contact one company at a time and work out a deal with them. This will improve your credit score, and as you pay off things one by one, you'll see your overall credit history improve.


    3. Stop using credit cards. The best way to get out of debt is to refrain from creating more debt. So stop using your cards and pay them off.


    4. Set up a debt payment plan. Setting up a good debt payment plan is an excellent way and the first step toward getting out of debt. You have to have a plan to get anything done, right? This is no different. Make a plan and stick to it. 


    As you work to get out of debt, make sure you track your progress. Knowing how much debt you still owe, as well as how much you've already paid off, can be a great motivator. Make these your New Year's resolutions and for once, keep your resolutions. You'll be debt free and happy you took the steps to make it happen.

    Posted Dec 22 2011, 11:25 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Top 10 Inexpensive teacher gifts for Christmas 2011

    If you have a child in pre-school or elementary school, you may be like a lot of parents – you dread Christmas because it means you have to buy teacher presents. Not that you don't want your child's teacher to get a gift – it's just that no one is ever sure what to give a teacher. And we all know teachers have plenty of Christmas mugs – so put that idea right out of your head.


    Here's our Top 10 list of teacher gifts.


    1. Get together with other parents in the class and pool your resources. You could ask for $5 from each child, and purchase a large gift together, like a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant or store. Then have each child sign a card.


    2. Put together a basket with the ingredients for a quick meal, like a pasta dinner, which could include a jar of gourmet sauce, pasta and breadsticks, or a pancake breakfast, complete with mix, a bottle of syrup and maybe some fruit. 


    3. Teachers often wind up buying art supplies for their classrooms, so why not purchase a gift certificate for the local craft or dollar store, or pick up some of the items yourself. Parents could work together on this and provide the supplies needed for the class until the end of the year.


    4. Find out what the teacher enjoys. Does she go to Starbucks often? Does she read romance novels at lunch. Pick up a gift certificate.


    5. Pick up a gift certificate to a local movie theater, and attach it to a box of movie candy.


    6. Purchase a little indulgence for the teacher that she might not think of getting for herself – like cashmere gloves or socks, gourmet chocolates, bath salts, or a scented candle.


    7. Have your child do a portrait of the teacher, have him or her sign it, then frame it as a gift for the teacher. It's a personal and thoughtful gift. You could also have each child in the class do a picture or story page about their class or teacher, and put together a scrapbook as a gift.


    8. Remember that teachers have to spend time on the playground every day, just like the kids. Buy her a hat and scarf set, a pair of gloves, an umbrella or a rain hat.


    9. You can pick up some personalized notepads for your child's teacher, and have your child help pick the paper and ink color, as well as the pad design. 


    10. Most craft stores sell canvas tote bags, and your child can get creative when he or she personalizes this useful gift for teacher.


    It doesn't take a lot of money to make a teacher happy – it just takes a little thought and a lot of heart. 

    Posted Dec 15 2011, 11:48 AM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web
  • Cheap Christmas party host gifts can be creative

    By now you've probably received several Christmas party invitations. While attending Christmas parties can be a lot of fun, buying a host/hostess gift for each one is not. And it can get expensive. Here are some ideas for inexpensive gifts any host or hostess would appreciate.


    • Good enough to eat – Give your host a small selection of locally made products like flavored oils, candies, mustard, barbecue sauce, spices or nuts. You could also give a jar of ingredients to make a batch of brownies or cookies, along with the recipe. If your host likes tea or coffee, you could gift him or her with a variety of tea bags or coffees, and a new mug. A fruit basket is also a great gift.


    • If you know your hostess is a crafter, bring her some stickers, acid-free pens, or decorative scissors. You could give a collection of craft magazines tied together with pretty ribbon. If your host is a gardener, give a new pair of gardening gloves with a coupled of packets of seeds.


    • Always cookin' up something – Give your host who loves to cook an extra serving dish, or a holiday-inspired serving bowl. You can also purchase some quality wooden utensils or a collection of gourmet peppercorns. Kitchen towels or dishcloths are also a welcome gift.


    • Got no idea…? If you don't know your host that well and are unsure what to give, you can always fall back on a CD of holiday music, certificates for the local movie theater, a deck of cards with an instruction booklet of card games or a bottle of wine.


    • If your host is a personal friend, you could give a jar of bath salts, a journal, a collection of nail polish, a makeup bag, a collage of photos from activities you've done together, a set of fishing lures or a pair of warm winter socks or gloves, or even a personalized scarf.


    Whatever you give, making it as personal as possible and catering it to the recipient's tastes is always important. You don't have to spend a lot of money to make someone's holiday a little brighter – you just have to step out with a smile and  put a big bow on your gift. 

    Posted Dec 08 2011, 12:29 PM by moneycoach with no comments
    Add to Bloglines Add to Del.icio.us Add to digg Add to Facebook Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Newsvine Add to reddit Add to Stumble Upon Add to Shoutwire Add to Squidoo Add to Technorati Add to Yahoo My Web

This Blog

Syndication