Archive for May, 2010

Step Into Our Wallet

You may want to file this entry under cleaning out your interior closets or skeletons.   Wallets are scared spaces that house some of the most intimate pieces of our lives: money, bills, receipts, and credit cards (very charged for most folks – pun obviously intended).  Beyond aesthetics, how you feel about your wallet is probably a pretty good indication of how you feel about your financial situation.

When a good friend of ours (we’ll call her Dust-Bunny Bank Account) decided to book a trip to NYC she quickly realized she needed a way to pay for it.  Our fiercely brilliant but very broke friend (with a heart of 24 karat gold) is terrible at saving money. DBBA needed a plan. And a hustle. Quickly.   

We offered to help organize her money into a budget.  And, of course, she freaked out.  And, of course, we understood why.  Budgets are bad words. Profane almost.  There’s so much emotional charge around how we make and spend (and don’t spend) our money.   

Here we would like to provide a few simple steps that actually helped our little bunny overcome the fear and resistance of looking at her money (allowing her to make a sure fire plan to spend less of it).

1. Explore and let go of any fear, shame or judgement that you have around money.  There’s a million different ways this can achieved – journaling, meditating, yoga, drinking red wine, blabbing about it to anyone who will listen, etc … Any pop psych self help exercise will suffice.

2. Find out your monthly income and your existing debt. It’s tough, we know. But really it’s the first step to financial liberation. Set aside some time to focus solely on how much you owe.  This includes: credit cards, buy now pay later tricks, student loans, lines of credit, mortgages, phone/cable/internet bills, utilities, family members, pet debt (we know this rings true for someone). Pick up the phone to get the most up to date amount owing, as well as any applicable interests rates. Remember to breathe and not judge. This is the hardest part of making a budget.  

3. Determine and document your fixed and variable monthly expenses. Some of the variable expenses will have to be approximate for now. Things like food, entertainment, clothing and gifts are not set in stone. Do your best to estimate what you think you spend on average per month. With your list of both fixed and variable expenses, add up the figures. Does your budget balance? 

4. Review your list of expenses to determine if there are any adjustments that can be made. For example, there are many different companies that provide phone, internet and cable services. They all WANT your business. Do your research (look online for alternative offers, talk to friends, call your provider and let them know your shopping around). This is difficult. It’s time consuming, frustrating and sometimes feels like a waste of energy. Trust us when we tell you IT WORKS. If you can’t make sense of your bill, it’s your right to ask. You need to know when you’re being overcharged (and often times you are).

5. Get On Track. Yourmoney.ca provides an easy 1, 2, 3 guide on how to track daily spending.   This step is imperative to discover where your money is going (you may be surprised). We think the act of tracking your spending habits will actually deter you from shelling out more money. Who wants to admit on paper that they spent $15 a week on lavender oil (Cheryl!).

6. Take inventory of your tracking. So where is your money going?   Are there any patterns or themes to your spending? Are you surprised by what you choose to spend your money on? After tracking for one month, Dust-Bunny Bank Account discovered that she eats out more often than she previously thought. $10 here and there can really add up. This money could have easily been put aside for her NYC holiday fund. A lesson learned. It’s your turn to go back and edit your budget (step 3). How accurate were your approximations?  Do you need to make any changes?

7. Plan for your future. This doesn’t have to be scary! Dust-Bunny Bank Account is going to NYC. What are your plans? A future mortgage, RRSP’s, or a trip around the world? Following a budget provides you with the financial freedom to map out and work towards achieving your short, intermediate and long term goals. It’s also a major component of Editing Your Life.

May 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm 5 comments

Step Into Our Handbag

If you’re a purse loving bag lady (like our darling Beth here) you probably feel overwhelmed with not only the number of handbags, clutches, satchels, and slouchies you’ve accumulated over the years, but with the stuff that piles up inside of them as well.  We’d like to take a minute to address both of these pressing organizational issues.

As we all know, purses are easy and immediate accessories.  They instantly update and complete any outfit (while simultaneously carrying all of your crap).  They are timeless fashion necessities that at first glance say many things about the woman who’s shoulder they adorn.

The Hermes Kelly bag, for instance, says she makes a hell of a lot more money than we do:

 

A beautiful brown equestrian leather satchel says, well, the same thing:

Beth has 38 (!) purses.  Here are her tips for keeping most of them in rotation (while stylishly storing away those not in immediate use):

Storage Tips

1. Get hooked up.

<—– $10 at Home Depot!

2. For those that like to keep things hidden in storage containers, check out the Closet Clothing Organized App By John Iacoviello for Apple iProducts. It documents your closet items (including handbags); allowing you to plan your outfits even if pieces are stored away. Otherwise taking pictures of your handbags is just as effective.

3. There’s also a ton of storage solutions to help compartmentalize handbags.

4. As with all things in your wardrobe, it’s a good idea to EDIT your bags frequently. Our rule: if you haven’t used the bag in a year its time to say farewell. You’ve had 4 seasons, 12 months, 365 day to use it. Time’s up. Lose it!

Cheryl is a Girl Guide by nature – always prepared.  She only has 5 purses (not a lie) and uses only one consistently. This one poor purse, however, carries an obscene amount of items she can use throughout the day (or if she’s ever launched into Mars).

Keeping It All Together Tips

1. Edit the inside of your bag daily. Remove and archive receipts, take out and put away miscellaneous items, and finally trash the trash (gum wrappers, used Kleenex, the phone number the creepy waiter gave you, the apple you were supposed to eat instead of the chocolate bar.  And while you’re at it get rid of that evidence too!)

2. Key rings for the plethora of cards you own. Punch a hole in the corner of each card and voila!  (You’ll thank us later.)

3. Substantial key chain. Easy to find in your Mary Poppins purse.

4. A removable purse organizer holding all your bits and pieces – check out The “Pouchee” Solution.

5. Always carry reusable bags that fold tiny (smaller than a wallet) and expand for use.  Tres green and chic.

     

Stay tuned for an “Edit My Wallet” segment to come. What you do with what’s IN your wallet could change your life.

May 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm 5 comments

We Did it Too (to get you started)

1. Throw out your ugliest, rattiest, outdated t-shirt. We’ll show you ours, if you show us yours.

Beth: So I found it a little difficult to find a really good example of a ratty shirt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no minimalist (stay tuned for Cheryl’s note). I have a good sized wardrobe, I love to shop, but I LOVE to throw things out (See the pictures below of MY contribution).  A good tip – if you see pills or rips on a piece of clothing its time to get rid of it!

Cheryl: Unfortunately, due to my 10 year old rule of ritually forcing myself to toss 2 items (clothing/accessories) every time I purchase something new, I don’t have a ratty t-shirt to discard. But in keeping with the spirit of the challenge, I’ve helped Beth, the Shopping Queen, part with some of her stuff. No cats playing musical instruments, but we’ve met the challenge nonetheless.

Tip: Getting rid of an old t-shirt is a relatively easy toss away task. They tend to evoke little sentiment (even band t-shirts have a shelf life), and are easy and inexpensive to replace. If you’re looking for a second life for your old t-shirt, we suggest reicarnating it as a dust rag. Continuing to wear ratty, old, faded, pilled, ripped shirts prevents you from being the pulled together, polished person we expect you are. Why else would you be reading this blog?

May 17, 2010 at 9:35 pm Leave a comment


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