Tag Archives: Motivation Monday

DON’T GIVE UP…JUST KEEP SWIMMING!!!


In light of the upcoming release of Pixar Film’s “Finding Dory,” I sat down this past weekend and re-watched “Finding Nemo” and began to think (because I do that sometimes)  about not giving up and pushing through. The gist of the movie was a father Marlin, a clown fish, who refused to give up looking for his son Nemo, captured by a scuba diver after disobeying him by swimming beyond the reef. Marlin’s quest led him all the way to Australia and along the way, he met some interesting characters one of which was Dory. Dory claimed to have seen the boat that carried Nemo away and she and Marlin gave chase. Marlin followed Dory in one direction, then another, and another, until she couldn’t remember why he was following her to begin with. Dory suffered from short-term memory loss. Can you imagine how frustrating it must have been for Marlin to follow someone who lacked direction? Although Dory wasn’t much help in terms of direction, she was ultimately there for support and encouragement. She kept Marlin on track. When he wanted to quit, turn around and go home, those famous words of hers still resonate with many: “When life gets you down you know what you’ve gotta do?”

ūüé∂JUST KEEP SWIMMING. JUST KEEP SWIMMING.ūüé∂

When you feel like quitting because the obstacles before you seem insurmountable, here are a few tips to keep you on track:

  1. FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: Make sure your accountability partner is someone who encourages you, not someone who criticizes, judges or tears you down. Your accountability partner is stronger than you in the areas where you are weak. It can be a spouse/partner, a significant other, family member, co-worker, mentor or friend. When you feel like throwing in the towel, there’s nothing like a “Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah” from your accountability partner to get you back on track.
  2. TURN TO YOUR FAITH/MEDITATE: Whether you are deeply spiritual, deeply religious, deeply spiritual and religious or none of the above, turn to your faith. Turn to something. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, staying rooted in or strengthening your faith/what you believe in can help you press on. Deep meditation can also help regain focus and reinforce goals.
  3. EXERCISE: Remember exercising releases endorphins which can alter your mood. Exercising may not be your thing, but find an activity that elevates your heart rate. Cardio is key. A jog or a brisk stroll through your neighborhood can provide the boost you need to jumpstart your dwindling energy. You’d be amazed at how therapeutic opening the blinds, and letting a little sunshine inside your home or stepping outside to breathe in a bit of fresh air makes you feel better.
  4. SOCIALIZE/NETWORK: Your schedule may not always allow you to get out in the mix of others, and you may be a bit of an introvert, but social media can help.  I love the interaction I have with connections I’ve made on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my new favorite, LinkedIn. No, I’m far from an introvert. I love to read on social media about others reaching their goals/accomplishments, creating new ones or even reading just to escape for a laugh or two. Either way, virtual interaction can be a great motivator.

When I was fulfilling the education requirements for my AFC Certification, I wanted to quit… many times. Overwhelmed with a demanding class schedule, problems on the home front, trying to maintain the update of my social media outlets, and the general pressures of life had me leaning towards giving up. At one point I thought about shirking my way through the semester, barely passing my classes with just the minimum required grade. But in the back of my mind, doing so would have left me disappointed in myself because I knew I could have done better. Determination kept me going. Each time I entertained the idea of quitting, I thought of how far I had come and kept my ultimate goal in mind. Before I knew it,  I was half way through the semester. I kept pressing forward. I kept pressing forward until it was time for final exams and I pulled down A’s in both classes.

So the message here is quite simple. DON’T QUIT! Is it clich√©? Of course it is! And as clich√© as it is, the message is still effective today as it ever was.
DON’T QUIT!!! KEEP GOING!!!

Andrea Coleman (The Financial Hack) ©2016

 

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SO YOU’VE SAID “I DO”…NOW WHAT?

married-couple

Getting married is a happy joyous time. Whether you planned a large ceremony or a small, intimate gathering, embarking upon your new life can be very exciting.

Now before you jump into your chariot¬†and ride off into the sunset with¬†your knight in white¬†shining armor, I hope you and Mr. Right have already had “the talk” long before¬†your¬†“big day.” You know what talk I’m referring to. The talk about finances. This is one of the most important conversations you will have with your soon to be spouse…. and it is NOT to be taken lightly. It is important that each of you know¬†where¬†the other¬†stands¬†on issues regarding finances.

  1. PUT ALL YOUR FINANCIAL CARDS ON THE TABLE: Never start out your relationship keeping secrets. Your spouse needs to know if you have $30K in credit card debt. Your soon to be spouse also needs to know you¬†accrued¬†$75K in student loans while¬†you were in medical school.¬†It’s important to disclose to the other if you like spending money shopping/traveling and¬†if you¬†don’t budget and/or save. No one wants to find out 30 days after saying “I Do,” they’ve inherited a walking talking credit disaster.
  2. DECIDE WHO WILL HANDLE THE FINANCES: THIS IS NOT ABOUT CONTROLLING THE CHECKBOOK. This is about who is the better organizer or who has the time to sit down and take care of financial obligations. Believe it or not, there are some people (myself included) who still write checks. Even in the age of automatic bill pay, in some instances I am much more at ease when I am in control by writing the check. Another reason why it may be more advantageous that one spouse is favored over the other is time. Suppose your new bride has a demanding work schedule or is heavily involved in community service or the hubster works a part-time job? Decide between the two of you who would be the best fit to take on that responsibility.
  3. BUDGET MONTHLY TOGETHER: I recall when taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that a couple sitting down going over the monthly budget doesn’t have to be a weekend summit. It is important to establish clear financial goals (savings, investing, retirement, new car, vacation, upsizing¬†as you plan on a family, college funds and the list goes on.) It is important that BOTH parties speak and are heard. This would be the time to voice any concerns. If the wife is going over budget because she’s spending too much on clothes, shoes and handbags, or the hubster is losing his mind at Best Buy, bring it to the table. Not in an accusatory fashion, but in a way where your¬†concern(s) can be heard and received. Monthly budgeting should also be a time to decide how much “pocket change/play money” the other should have. Decide on a reasonable amount and stick to it.¬†Concerning purchases over a certain dollar amount (birthdays, anniversaries and the like, not withstanding,) couples should discuss the purchase in question before it is made.
  4. AS A COUPLE, YOU SHOULD BE AGGRESSIVELY ATTACKING ANY FINANCIAL DEBT:¬†This would include any credit cards, student loans, car loans and the like. There is no such thing as “HIS debt” and “HER debt.” You are ONE FLESH. Therefore, it is YOUR debt as a couple. Just think of how quickly you can annihilate debt when you devise a plan to eliminate it. You’re a team. Teamwork makes the DREAM work. Once all debt is eliminated, you can focus your attention towards your next financial goal.
  5. DECIDE HOW YOUR ACCOUNTS WILL BE DIVIDED: This is¬†always a “slippery slope” for some couples. I remember my Uncle giving¬†my cousin and her husband marriage¬†advice on their wedding day. His advice, “Always have ONE MONEY… PERIOD.” I may get slaughtered for writing this, but I agree in many respects. I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to marriage. If I can’t trust you with “our” money, perhaps we should rethink getting married. I understand many couples marry out of convenience, many marry for companionship and others simply because they need help. Believe it or not, some couples do put their money together with the end result being a Joint Checking/Savings/MMA Account. In essence, everything is done together.¬†What I’ve seen with couples today goes a little something like this: Joint Bank Account, Joint Savings/MMA, Her SEPARATE checking account, His¬†SEPARATE checking account, and in other cases I’ve seen some “secret” accounts that the spouse knew nothing about.¬†Are you¬†really saving for a rainy day or is mistrust lurking in your subconscious?¬†Secret accounts in my opinion indicate there is¬†a lack of¬†trust which can defeat the purpose of marriage to begin with, but I’ll get off my soapbox when it comes to that. Who am I to say how¬†a couple should divvy up their finances?¬†I will say when I was married, my Business Accounts remained my business accounts because I started my business PRIOR to being married however, there was complete transparency regarding them.¬†If at any time my then husband wanted to look at the bank statements,¬†I had no problem showing him. He never asked to see them however, because he trusted me.
  6. STAY GROUNDED IN YOUR FINANCIAL BELIEFS NO MATTER WHAT:¬†The¬†#1 cause of divorce¬†as you know is not infidelity, it’s finances. Arguments¬†can arise from one spouse’s negligent¬†overspending, the loss of income due to a layoff or even an unexpected pregnancy. Whatever hardship may arise, keep a united front. Talk it out. Communicate. Pray about it. Remember. The family that prays together, stays together.¬†¬†GOOD LUCK AND MUCH SUCCESS TO YOU!!!

~The Financial Hack ©2016

SPRING IS HERE… TOP 5 CLEANUP “MUSTS” IN YOUR LIFE

Can you¬†believe it’s been over ONE MONTH¬†since I actually posted a blog on my website? Not the occasional PSA or motivational posting, but REALLY¬†SAT DOWN AND WROTE A BLOG POSTING? Wow! One month is too long. I do thank all of you that are on the email list and those who religiously visit my website if for nothing else but to check the “Quote of The Day.” Again, I cannot thank you all enough.

So let’s get to the topic at hand…. SPRING CLEANING. This blog won’t be your typical “spring cleaning” blog. Well kinda. It’ll be pretty standard, but I’ve got to¬†put my extra two cents into what spring cleaning also involves most this season (to me anyway) So here we go… The TOP 5 Cleanup MUSTS in your life:

  1. TACKLE LARGER PROJECTS FIRST: If cleaning out your closet is the biggest chore for you, start there first…. AND DON’T STOP UNTIL YOU’RE FINISHED. Survey your closet. Look at every article of clothing and every pair of shoes. If you haven’t worn it within the past year, get rid of it. Donate it to your local charity/thrift store, or have a garage sale (my personal favorite.) Garage sales can be quite lucrative especially if you have items that are in excellent condition, have never been worn and/or still have the tags on them. If you are simply not ready to part with those items just yet, put them into boxes, plastic storage bins, etc. If you don’t come back to those items within the upcoming year, GET RID OF THEM. You don’t need them.
  2. DECLUTTER YOUR SPACE: As I always say, declutter your home, declutter your life. The same holds true for your office, your car or anywhere you spend a great deal of time. It’s ironic I can’t work on a desk riddled with papers strewn about, yet¬†I’m a paper hoarder. Don’t ask me why or how it happened, I just am. I¬†spent three days sorting through letters, receipts and paperwork AT HOME some dating back to 2008,¬†shredding what was unimportant and filing what was. You will find¬†when you’re better organized, completing tasks aren’t such a chore. I haven’t¬†begun to start on the files in¬†the drawers at my¬†office. Never fear, Thursday is the target day. If your car is riddled with papers, trash, toys, empty water bottles, soda cans etc, get rid of it. That is a source of irritation for me. I never ride with trash in my car. A tip to dispose of your trash when you’re driving is to find a small plastic bag (I keep the small bags I get from Barnes & Noble) and I put it on the gear shift of my car. This way, if I finish a cup of Starbucks, a bottle of water, etc., I put it in the bag and empty it when it’s full. If your children travel with toys, try to transport the smallest¬†of toys and find a canvas bin, or even a box to store them in. They’ll make your life much easier.
  3. CLEAN YOUR HOME IN WAVES: I have 4/3.5/2. My suggestion is to clean your home in waves. I wouldn’t dare try to clean the 4500+ square feet¬†I have in one sitting. Forget about it. Not gonna happen. That’s bananas! Again attack the toughest projects FIRST.¬†For me that would be my bedroom, bathroom and closet first, move to the kitchen, the great room, guest bath, study… you get the picture. Perhaps for you, the kitchen is where you’d start. It doesn’t matter in what room you start, start where you spend the bulk of your time. Your level of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment will be much greater.
  4. CHANGE YOUR HABITS/ROUTINE: If you’re usually LATE everywhere you go, LATE meeting deadlines, LATE responding to emails/text messages, change that behavior. Make it a point to arrive 15-20minutes early. Promptly respond to important text messages/emails (or at least acknowledge the message has been received.) You’ll be surprised yourself…. and many others in the process. Don’t do it once or twice, make it a habit. I’ve read it takes 21 days to form a habit. In my opinion, it depends on the habit and the behavior towards the habit that determines the amount of time to change. I firmly believe if the behavior is something you truly wish to change, it shouldn’t take long to adapt. It’s all about your mindset. You may also want to change up your routine. Use this change of season as a time to take up a new hobby. Exercising, running, mentoring, taking an enrichment class, reading more, becoming involved in your child’s school, increasing your community service, you name it… YOU CAN DO IT!!!
  5. EVALUATE FRIENDSHIPS/RELATIONSHIPS: This to me is by far THE MOST IMPORTANT of the five “musts” of spring cleaning. Spring indicates a change of seasons. Just as seasons change, people and relationships change as well. Is it time to let some friends go? Cut ties in some relationships? Only you can answer those questions. My mother always told me to ask myself if¬†the friendships in my life were one-sided. In my opinion, a true friend is concerned about your well-being. A true friend looks out for you, and a true friend always has your back. If the opposite applies, you have to ask yourself if this person is truly a friend. If your relationship is bringing you more¬†misery than joy, perhaps it’s time to have a “sit down” with the one you love. Whether it’s a friend or¬†a significant other,¬†have a conversation, voice your concern(s) and¬†hopefully the end result will be a win/win situation.¬†If not, it may be necessary to¬†plan some¬†funerals, bury some friendships/relationships and begin the healing process.
I hope these five suggestions will help you in your Spring Cleaning process. GOOD LUCK… AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!
~The Financial Hack (Copyright 2016)

Hello My Name Is…. AND I’M A PROCRASTINATOR

procrastination

NOTE: This should have been posted as yesterday’s “Motivation Monday,” but because of my persistent procrastination, I’m posting it today. Read on to find out what the triggered my “call to action.”

It has taken me 15 minutes to get started writing this post. Let me tell you what I’ve done during that time.

  1. Sent a Tweet.
  2. Responded To a Tweet
  3. Sent a couple of Text Messages
  4. Put a clear coat of polish on my nails
  5. Searched Google images
  6. (You get the picture.)

I did everything I could do to avoid this posting. Procrastinating is something I have always done and had yet to master, to my detriment of course. I always work well under pressure, but is it necessary to put undue stress on myself as a result? Of course the answer is a resounding “No!”

Why do some people procrastinate? I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you why I do. I suffer from Type “A” personality. No, I’m not an A-hole, but when I complete tasks, I want them to be perfect. Flawless. Almost effortless. I’m one of those people who gets agitated because of a misspelled a word I catch AFTER posting on my website, posting a tweet, or sending a text message for that matter. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t make these kinds of simple mistakes. In MY world? Forget about it. The result, is wasted time, stress and anxiety. I’m used to it, so I should have adapted by now and should also be able to deal with it right? Yes and No.

Case in point….

As you know (if you don’t, I’m telling you now,) I’m taking classes to become an AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor.) Keep in mind. I received my last degree, an MBA, in 2002. That was 14 years ago this month. Distance/Online courses are NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING like they were over a decade ago. Back then email is what kept everyone connected. No FaceTime, Skype, Lynk, Google Plus or any other methods for face to face communication. Matter of fact, there were no smartphones back then either. Technology has come a mighty long way, but I digress. A couple of days after being registered for my classes, it was important to sign up with a school id and password. I’ll do it tomorrow became the next day and after about 4days (and an email from the Program Coordinator,) I set it up. Now that that “chore” is completed, it’s on to the syllabus for both classes right? Wrong. I’ve got time. I can look at it tomorrow. Oh wait, the weekend is here, I’ll get everything done Sunday. This is the self talk of a “Professed Procrastinator.” HUGE MISTAKE on my part.

Allowing an entire week to pass cost me TWO CONSECUTIVE NIGHTS OF STAYING UP PAST 3am. After reading through the syllabi, I discovered assignments/exams are due by 1pm in the afternoon, NOT the normal midnight that I was accustomed to. OH NO… What have I done? I’ll tell you. I screwed up by procrastinating. Here’s a glimpse of my initial reaction….


Once I saw the work required, I immediately got my ass in gear. One of the professors gave us a “crap ton” of assignments to complete. The practice assignments were even brutal. Word of advice… Never underestimate a professor who is teaching a class and also working on a Doctoral Degree at the same time.

From that moment on, I was OVER IT!!! Over procrastination. Over waiting until the last minute to complete my assignments, blog postings, anything that required time constraints be placed on them. My “struggle glasses” were past over it refusing to stay on my face, somehow punishing me for the sin of procrastination.


At the end of the day, I am pleased to say, I completed ALL the assignments including the extra credit for BOTH classes. It only cost me two nights of decent sleep. Having a Type “A” personality can come in handy especially when it motivates us to excel. And when it comes to exceling, it doesn’t take much for the “Type “A”

So how does procrastination tie in to personal finance? IT DOESN’T. Just felt like sharing. Well, I could tie in a lesson to it, but not on this posting. It’s random. What I will say is procrastination and poor planning IS NOT a habit successful people employ. Successful people create “To Do” Lists and STAY ON TASK. I too create “To Do” Lists. The problem is, the lists would be much shorter if I wasn’t constantly moving tasks I procrastinated doing from the previous day/days to the current day. You get what I’m saying.

Never again will I do this. I have created a schedule where I block off time during the week to complete important tasks whether it’s my class assignments, reading, writing blogs etc. It’s somewhat robotic, but for me it’s a necessity to keep me on task. This schedule allows me to balance school, community service, maintaining my website/social media, my social life, and just life in general. I can now remain consistent, stay on task, and most importantly, keep my weekends. I’ll work hard during the week… The weekend however belongs to me.

Have you found yourself in this situation? I hope this posting helped you understand procrastination and what you can do to avoid it. Does procrastination leave you feeling powerless, stressed and anxious? If so, how did you overcome it? Leave your feedback below. I’d love to hear from you.

~The Financial Hack ©2016

 

MOTIVATE YOURSELF!!!

“Liven up yourself in the morning time y’all…. Liven up yourself, Cuz I said so.” ~Bob Marley

If you’re familiar with Bob Marley and the song “Liven Up Yourself,” you know his interpretation is slightly different from what most are accustomed to.¬†Its underlying meaning however, remains constant. It’s time to get up. It’s time to wake up.

IT’S TIME TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF!!!

When I decided to commit myself to helping others by promoting Financial Literacy, there were¬†people around me who were skeptical. People close to me. People I actually knew. There were naysayers and I sensed a general lack of interest from¬†those I¬†believed could benefit from the knowledge and experience I had. It had/has nothing to do with¬†“feelings of superiority,”¬†I was¬†simply excited to share with others what took me most of my adult life to learn.¬†It was crushing to not have¬†the support from people¬†I¬†truly believed¬†I could count on, but that didn’t stop me. I AM MOTIVATED¬†to do what I do. I “liven up” myself daily and am constantly reminded of my purpose. I wake up every day determined to learn something new that I can share with those who wish to receive it. As someone¬†reminded me¬†in one of my Periscope sessions, when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Powerful.

I teach Financial Literacy to our youth. I teach¬†Financial Literacy¬†to adults…. And you know the beauty of it all? THEY GET ME. The ability to connect to people no matter where they are on their financial journey is motivation for¬†me.

Motivation comes from knowing you’re on the right track. Motivation comes from knowing what you are doing is positive. Motivation comes from¬†the excitement¬†of seeing your purpose manifesting itself. Walking in¬†my purpose¬†is enough to keep¬†me going.

So stop seeking validation from others. Stop¬†waiting¬†for someone to pat you on the back and¬†tell you¬†“Good Job,” or “Well Done.” Never mind what others are saying…

You’re too busy being great.

~The Financial Hack ©2015

 

 

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Plants Can Teach Lessons Too?

  
Let me share some Wisdom that was laid upon me early yesterday morning. 

Look at this photo. In it you will see a potted plant next to the fireplace. What’s the big deal? I’ll tell you. This is the plant given to me to take care of when my cousin “Bubba” died in 2010, approximately SEVEN days after I got married. I married Christmas Eve, he passed New Year’s Eve. Five years later, his plant is still thriving but that wasn’t always so. I always took special care of that particular plant. I watered and pruned it. After a while it was no longer thriving. It began to wither, the leaves became sparse and I could tell it was dying. After a while, I thought there was no hope left for “Bubba’s plant,” but I refused to let it go. Bubba was like a little brother to me and when he was a young boy, like a son. 24 years old is too young to die and he had so much living to do. 

So what happened to the plant you ask? There’s an answer to that too. I evaluated the factors contributing to the death of the one plant I cherished so much and came to three conclusions:

 1) The plant had been in the same spot receiving DIRECT sunlight for years. All plants don’t need direct sunlight they just simply need to be in the “presence” of the light. 

2) The leaves were yellowing because of overwatering but I couldn’t understand why its growth had become stunted and wasn’t thriving. 

THEN WHAT WAS MOST IMPORTANT HIT ME:

3) THE PLANT HAD OUTGROWN IT’S PLANTER!!! Its roots were exposed and could no longer spread because its soil had eroded. 

To solve the problem, I re-potted the plant into a planter that could accommodate its growth, added more soil to COVER its roots and repositioned the plant so it was no longer receiving direct sunlight. The result: ABUNDANT GROWTH. The new planter not only made room for the roots to spread and grow, but old leaves were revived, new leaves formed and as I type this, sprouts of new leaves can be seen. 

So what did I learn from my quiet time in reflection: 

In life, we sometimes have to be “RE-POTTED,” our roots “RE-COVERED” and our life “REPOSITIONED” in order to thrive. 

Change is inevitable. We can adapt to it or resist and risk stunting our growth. I could have given up on “Bubba’s plant,” but I refused. Look at it now. Growing. Thriving. Flourishing. THAT’S LIFE. THAT’S LIVING.

Rest In Peace Bubba…. I Love You.

The Financial Hack ©2015

MOTIVATION MONDAY: You HAVE NOT because you ASK NOT

As I’ve navigated and continue to navigate on this financial journey of mine (it’s never-ending you know,) I’m always learning something new along the way. One thing my mother always¬†tells my sister and me¬†is “You HAVE NOT¬†because you ASK NOT.”

Have you ever told yourself “No” to something before you bothered to ask the question, even of yourself? Case in point: The¬†man who discounts his chances of scoring a date with a young lady because he doesn’t think he’s “her type.” How does he know what her type is? Now granted there are ways a man can tell if a woman is what some consider “high maintenance,” and whether or not he can keep up with her “lifestyle,”¬†but as not to get too technical, let’s keep it simple for all practical purposes.¬†Allow me to tell you my story:

Last week, I wrote in my Tip Tuesday post “What’s in your Valpak Envelope” about a coupon from a bank where first time customers opening a new checking account could get $150 just for doing so.¬†Read that¬†post here:

https://thefinancialhack.com/2015/10/14/whats-in-your-valpak-envelope/

Here was¬†the catch: The coupon was to be presented at the time of opening the account and an EFT/direct deposit must be established and deposited into the account¬†within the first¬†60 days. I was behind the¬†eight ball¬†because 1) I didn’t have the coupon at the time I opened the account¬†which required the coupon code, 2)¬†The account in question was now 30 days old and the main problem 3)¬†The coupon would be expiring October 16th. I in essence had TWO DAYS to do all I could to take advantage of receiving $150 of F-R-E-E MONEY.

no

Some people, because of the¬†odds stacked against them,¬†would have automatically told themselves “No.” I refused to allow my circumstances to dictate what I thought would be the outcome.¬†Remember: EXCEPTIONS CAN ALWAYS BE MADE. I knew this was a decision that only the Branch Manager could override, but I still went through the proper chain of command. Attitude and tone is everything. As¬†the saying goes,¬†“you attract more¬†flies with honey than with vinegar.” So I flashed the banker my “colgate smile,” explained my situation and presented¬†my coupon. He attempted to use some creative tactics to enter the coupon code, but was unsuccessful. He called¬†an 800 number and was¬†given a¬†few¬†additional creative tactics to¬†try¬†but was still unsuccessful in his efforts. I explained to the banker this¬†wasn’t just about the $150 (which is what I WANTED,)¬†but also¬†about¬†establishing relationships and building¬†customer loyalty (which is what the bank NEEDED.) I told him if¬†the bank could do this for me, they had a life-long customer. DUH DUH DUNNNNNNN… Enter¬†the Branch Manager.

I allowed the banker to explain my situation to him, and the Branch Manager asked¬†for¬†my coupon. Upon reading it, he told me he was unable to override the transaction because the¬†monthly EFT/Direct Deposit amount had to be at least $500.¬†UMMM WHAT? I read the fine print when I first saw the coupon in the Valpak envelope, read¬†it a second time before heading to the bank, then one last time in the parking lot of the bank. No where did¬†the coupon specify a monthly Direct Deposit dollar amount. I asked¬†the Branch Manager¬†to show me on the coupon where¬†a dollar amount¬†was¬†specified and I would not take up any more of their time. HA! I’ve got him in a trick bag now, because he couldn’t substantiate his comment. What now? Awkward silence, at least for the Branch Manager. Sitting with¬†a¬†smile on my face, I began to reiterate how I know the bank values customer loyalty and¬†overriding this transaction¬†was certainly a great way to gain mine. At the end of the day, the Branch Manager said because I was so persistent as well as knowledgeable,¬†and¬†only on occasion¬†do¬†people like me come into the bank and ask for/challenge the rules, would he override the transaction. I’d like to think it was my reference to customer loyalty that caused the override. Perhaps it was because¬†the Branch Manager¬†erroneously¬†assumed I hadn’t read the fine print. Perhaps it was a combination of the two. WHO CARES! It’s a WIN/WIN situation.¬†I got the $150 and the bank now has a life-long customer.

RULE OF THUMB:¬†Never tell yourself “NO.” Let THEM answer. It could very well be a resounding “YES!”

~The Financial Hack ©2015

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Told Ya… Those Singles ADD UP!!!


On a previous posting (September 15th) I mentioned a faster way to save your money was to save your singles (as in dollar bills.) As of yesterday’s count, I have saved $30. That’s an average of $10 in singles saved per week. If I continue to save at this rate, in one year, I will have $520. That money can be used to take a mini-vacation, invest, buy Christmas/birthday gifts, add it to my emergency fund or just simply save it. The options of what to do with the money are endless.

The way to accomplish “saving your singles” is to use the cash method. Withdraw your budgeted allowance at the beginning of each week… AND STICK TO SPENDING ONLY WHAT YOU’VE WITHDRAWN. Today, it is so easy to whip out and swipe our debit cards. My bank has the “Keep the Change” program, where the remaining change from a debit card transaction rounded up to the nearest dollar, is deposited (usually into a savings account) that’s tied to your checking account. I’m sure your bank has something similar. “Keep the Change” can be beneficial because it is often used as overdraft protection. The problem is, some banks charge a fee each time overdraft protection is applied. I try to keep  a “cushion amount” of $200-$300 in my checking account to avoid these fees. The “Keep the Change” program works for some people, but how many people do you know actually allow the money from the program to accumulate over time, then withdraw it? I don’t know any. For me, the temptation to spend it is too great. Technically speaking, the only reason I keep the Keep The Change/overdraft protection savings account is to avoid paying the monthly fee for my checking account. I prefer the “Keep the Singles” method better. Truth be told, there’s something about the “tangible.” I can see the dollar bills, I can hold and count the dollar bills, and most importantly, I can sock the dollar bills away in my piggy bank… Then hide the piggy bank. Out of sight, out of mind right? Problem solved. Money Saved.

Let me know if you incorporate the “Save Your Singles” method or a similar method of saving money by commenting below. I’d love to hear from you.

~The Financial Hack ©2015