Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Frugal Files: Fiscally Focused on Family

Hey there!!
Frugalicious Diva here!! I can only imagine how the last challenge went for you. Talking about money can be awkward, so investigating our feelings about money and spending; it’s downright intrusive!! I hope the emotions came up and out so you can be more economically aware and stable.
So for the last two weeks, we’ve talked about you: your lifestyle and healthy changes for yourself, as well as your internal thoughts about money challenges. This week the focus is not on you, but on those you care about. This week’s LIFE challenges will concentrate on “F”. I bet you think it stands for frugal, but not so. It’s Family.
For family, it is not just about frugal living, but also financial planning. Both are important when looking to live within our means, meet our financial goals and build wealth for many generations to come. First thing, let’s chat about frugal finances. Over these last few weeks, we’ve discussed cooking, using what’s on hand and staying within our budgets.
What else can our family use to save money? COUPONS!! I am the first to say, coupons are not my expertise, but I typically use them and always feel good when I save money with them. I try to NEVER pay full price for anything and I dare you to do the same. After all, they call it the “suggested” retail price. I choose to bypass that option and suggest something lower.
We’ve all seen, or at least heard of, those extreme couponing shows. I’m not necessarily advocating adding a stockpile room onto your house, but we can learn a lesson from those who do. In these extreme temperatures we’ve had the last couple of years, keeping a small stockpile of necessities might make sense…and save you some cents too.
Challenge #1: Only purchase items this week on sale or items for which you have a coupon. Obviously, you can get coupons from the weekend newspaper mailers. If you don’t, grab one or ask a neighbor. Also, go to http://www.meetup.com/ and check for a coupon group in your area.
With so many online options, find an online group. They usually have great deals. Coupon Katarina and Sister Save-A-Lot are just two of several coupon experts online; they post daily! My absolute favorite online coupon code website is http://www.retailmenot.com/. Sometimes they feature secret coupon codes that retailers aren’t even aware are available or still working. So before leaving the house to shop or filling up your online cart, log on to this site and copy and paste a code that will save your cash.
Frugally, you’re set this week. Now, let’s talk long term. What are you doing to prepare and sustain your family in your golden years? Do you have a 401k? Are you maximizing it? What about Stocks? Bonds? IRAs? Mutual Funds? I was fortunate to be introduced to my current financial advisor while looking to purchase a home. He demonstrated how easy it is to invest my money. Do your homework and when you invest you’ll see how much you’ve gained by sacrificing a small portion of your budget now.

Challenge #2: Ask your employer if they offer a 401k/403b. If they do, sign up at the maximum. If your employer offers to match your investment, then take it. It’s FREE money!!
Challenge #3: Search for a Financial Advisor. It’s recommended that, like an insurance agent, you find someone in your age range that you can trust and of course is certified and training in investments. Look for someone that takes the time to explain each topic thoroughly. When interviewing, ask multiple questions and study their character. If you think they are only out for your money, keep looking. You want an advisor who’s willing to go the distance with you and cheer you on.
Just as the Autumn leaves fall and change color, realize you can change too. By changing your mindset, you can change your financial situation both now and later. It’s time for the old way of thinking to go away and for you to welcome the new season of wealth and healthy finances. Go and grow!! Have a great week!!

Frugalicious Diva

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