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Take a look at what a few dollars now does to your retirement projections



Typically, in your household budget, fuel costs are your biggest fluctuating expenses. You use your car to get to work and meet family obligations. You use your mind and body to serve well at work and at home, so let’s fuel your physical as well as we fuel your vehicle.

This is part 2 of a 4 part series on using a slow cooker to create meals at very low cost and small time investment. Whether you are a family of 6 or a family of 1, the principles stay the same: cooking at home saves you money. Read on for a Bourne Legacy type Black Bean Soup recipe with time/date stamps and everything.  Continue Reading…

Welcome to Financial Literacy Month 2013! This is Part 1: Identify and Define the Problem

Usually, I am willing to complain about a problem a lot faster than I am willing to start solving a problem. Maybe we’re all a little like that? (That may be beside the point) (click the “More” tag to see a transcription of this video) Continue Reading…

bruce_hulkDr. Banner is a scientist through and through. He is willing to study, research and assess until he gets to an accurate result thereby serving the greater good. Unfortunately, Dr. Banner’s studies of gamma radiation have left him with a problem – when he gets angry, he loses control. He transforms into a green, raging, powerful, raw emotional monster capable of great destruction. Many of us can relate to the context of the situation even though the circumstances are different – you experience a traumatic event that leaves your emotions and brain function vulnerable to external triggers. Losing margin then loses us the time and resources to think strategically through an event.

Brain research has proven over many studies that higher-order thinking skills diminish as we get into higher emotional states. Fear, rage or hopelessness do not serve anyone well when trying to do math or any kind of strategic planning. No matter our official IQ or EQ scores.

Dr. Banner is a mild-mannered servant willing to share with his fellow Avengers. He has come to the conclusion that avoiding stress is not the secret to controlling his emotions, nor is never being angry.  The secret to avoiding that over-emotional state is in recognizing the margin between what happens to us and how we choose to react to it, then making choices according to our deepest held values. Once that emotional energy is harnessed with clear logic, the power and transformation can be directed at the problem – not in inflicting damage on other people or property.

What can we learn from Dr. Banner and the Hulk about budgeting or cash flow planning?

1 – Set yourself up for success by deciding ahead of time what you are willing to say and do as you face into your current financial situation. These decisions include when you and your spouse, or you and your accountability partner if you are single, will talk about the goals you have for your money, as well as the words you are willing to use when expressing your ideas.

2 – Start experimenting in small ways with managing money. What about using cash envelopes for the next week or for the trip out of town next weekend? Accept the fact that some of your experimentation will fail and you will have the opportunity to learn from these micro-failures.

3 – Look for the truths that are replicated over many situations and corroborated with habits that work across time and all economic situations for you and your family. What do you do well 99% of the time? What is the first “bad” habit that you observe come to the surface in times of stress and pressure? How might you maximize what you do well in managing other finite resources while limiting the consequences of any “bad” habits?

4 – Limit the effects of your “worst” habits by intentionally picking healthy people to be around and staying away from temptation areas. Which family members and friends build you up and help you find solutions? Which people leave you feeling less confident after hanging out with them? If you were going to overspend, where would you usually be?

Bruce Banner went to see a martial arts master (Rickson Gracie) to develop discipline. If you’re having trouble developing a plan for your finances, why wouldn’t you schedule time with a financial coach (a financial habits master)?



January 2, 2013 — 4,415 Comments

TakingControlIs 2013 the year that you take control?

I look back at 2012 and am happy with several projects, goals and accomplishments.

I also look back and see failures. I know that I learn from failure, but that doesn’t make the emotion any easier to swallow. Pride is a bitter pill – worse than swallowing unbuffered aspirin dry (no glass of water).

One of the failures I see is that I did not keep this blog updated like I wanted. From this failure, I can see that I prioritized helping people above keeping the blog updated. This is acceptable to me.

From this failure, I can also see that I allowed too many people access to my calendar which then made it messy for me to try to live. This is not acceptable to me. I am responsible for my calendar. I must do better at being available to those who are ready to do the hard work and limit my availability to those who merely talk pretty (aka those not ready to do the work).

I have plans in place for 2013. I am excited to get after my resolutions/goals/whatever-you-want-to-call-them. I will endure the discipline and process to get to the results that I want.

Are you ready?

(I hope so!)


July 6, 2012 — 3,721 Comments

Recently I received an email offer from a favorite coffee shop of mine. They were offering me a coffee press for free! My  initial reaction was “YEAH!” – a gift.

But was it really a “yeah” moment? Feelings are all very nice. They are just not reliable for making good decisions. Continue Reading…