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Blog: If Your Money Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy
5 Money Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make

There are so many good things you can do with your money, but what about the wrong things. Sometimes the most simplistic rules can make your financial life flourish.  If you are doing one or all of these, start by changing one at a time.  Financial management is not like a quick shopping trip for an outfit, it takes time, patience and stick-to-itiveness.  One thing my husband and I always want to see is others succeed, especially in the area of finances.  Money seems to show the best or worst of us, so if some bad habits can be changed in your finances it's very possible other good habits could start to form in your life.  Money is not as difficult to manage as you may think, again start with one thing and after getting that done move to the next. 
My husband and I always remember our early days after we got married.  When I lived at home my mom liked to cook and I did not have that much experience with it.  When you live on your own and you cook for one you'd better hope you like it because you'll be eating it for the next three days.  As newlyweds my husband told me "If you make it, I will eat it" and he did, burned, tough, bland, new recipe, whatever it was he held his promise.  Eleven years later I'm not too bad of a cook.  Let's just say he enjoys his meals MUCH more!  Finances are much like that.  You may make lots of flubs at first, but the more you do it on a regular basis the more you become good at it and it will feel much more natural.  Friends and clients I have helped get their money can attest to it personally.  They didn't have a clue how to get started but after some coaching and teaching them they quickly learned it was only scary because they felt intimidated by it.  Become your money's friend, it is depending on you to make it what it could be.  It can't do it on its own so you are the catalyst to success or defeat. 
Mistake #1:  Not knowing how much you make versus how much you owe
Solution: Take a one month time frame and keep track on a simple piece of paper how much your pay checks were and how much your bills were that came in and how much you needed to spend on gas, groceries, etc.  How much is your balances on credit cards, write those in a category as well.  You can do this for one month…it will really give you insight of what your finances look like.  You can give your money a makeover by doing this, my blog last week was a step by step project of an easy money makeover. 
Mistake #2:  Spending more than you should or before you should
Solution:  I know I've done this too.  You see that perfect item that you want so bad and if you wait it might not be there.  That is why I still constantly work on trying to cushion my "want account" first.  Money set aside for items that come up like this, because you know they are going to.  It may be ten dollars in an envelope, but it's more practical than paying for the item now and then paying interest on it.  Many items such as furniture are items that make it easy to think you can buy now.  Don't buy everything on credit and think you can pay for it later.  A rule to live by is that if you can't afford it now and your income is not going to change over the year then don't plan that you can pay for it later…you will pay, just LOTS of interest tacked on.  Stay out of harms way by paying for items you want by pretending you are making payments on it. The trick is you put the money in your savings account and purchase it when you have the right amount, then if you can't make a payment no problem and no interest.  When the money is saved have fun shopping!
Mistake #3:  Not planning for annual expenses
Solution:  You know what I'm talking about, those darn expenses that bite you in the butt when you don't need any more bites taken out of your finances.  If you have any extra money after your monthly expenses, even $20, put it in an envelope or savings and earmark it for items such as Christmas gifts, pet shots, birthday parties, vacation, haircuts, home owner's dues, lawn care, portraits, and projects.  These items and others can add up quick so any money put towards them during the year will give you some relief when they are due.  Give yourself a break a little bit at a time, inch by inch anything's a cinch.
Mistake #4:  I have to keep what I can't afford
Solution:  Ok so maybe you did buy more than what you could afford.  BUT, I am positive, remember I have been a Professional Organizer for almost 12 years, that there are items around your home that you don't need anymore.  Even if its large items that you just can't use much.  I had a beautiful Honda Rebel Ltd Edition with 14K gold moldings, etc. and I just couldn't keep up with it after my first child came, nonetheless ride it so I sold it and I got to let go of maintenance, insurance and gas for it.  Yes, I didn't want to but it was costing me more than than the fun I once had with it.  I've been there, done it, so can you.  There are so many avenues now to sell items you don't need.  Make some money to pay off items you do want to keep by getting rid of what you don't want and need.  CraigsList .com or Ebay or online classifieds with your local paper are some great ways to advertise or if someone you know is having a community yard sale ask them if you could bring some of your items over or have a yard sale of your own.  Get rid of what you don't need and pay off some bills with the cash you earn…you win both ways!
Mistake #5:  Ignorance is Bliss
Solution: "I don't know where my finances are or even how to get them in order" is what I hear more often than not.  If you don't know how, then let someone who enjoys it help you.  I can coach you with your finances, my program Moneywize can be done over the phone or over the internet.  Call your bank or go online to your bank's website, so many have assistance with helping you understand your finances and take the guesswork out of them.  Don't be intimidated by your finances, instead build a relationship with them where you understand them so you can be knowledgeable about what effect your monetary choices will have on your finances.  You will enjoy seeing the progress if you pay attention and quit ignoring the money that's making your life better. 
How did you do?  Are you making all of these mistakes or just a couple?  No matter what your finances can get better and you can help them get there.  Yes it may take a little extra elbow grease but the rewards are great and its better than doing nothing.  If you take the road of Nothing you will get Nowhere!  Enjoy your money and the benefits of having it, but be wise…Moneywize.  Happy earning and spending.  Till next week, happy Fall ya'll!

posted on: 11/5/2008 11:30:00 AM by Triste Horrell
category: Finances

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If Your Money Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

by Triste Horrell

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About Triste:

Being an organizing expert makes one want to be a "showroom" in all areas of life. However reality can hit hard when you're a mother of small children and a military wife and own an organzing business. Of course Triste would like to have a picture perfect Better Home and an even Better Garden. Throw a Pottery Barn in the backyard for exceptional creative time to become the wiz-woman for all the ideas and inventions that the world could not live without. But Triste has settled on the fact of telling herself "I can be perfect in my mind and no one can mess up my space there!" In reality Triste is very self-motivated and has true business accomplishments like having SYSTEMIZE since 1997, the first home and business organizing firm in the state of South Carolina. She has been repeatedly recognized in her Greenville, SC area for her organizing expertise and makeovers on local NBC and FOX news, Greenville News, local magazines such as Greenville Magazine and Upstate Parent and NPR radio. She has turned people's lives around by focusing on what she calls the "four building blocks of being organized" consisting of space, time, financial and personal. This is even represented in her business logo. "That's what I'm in business for, turning people's lives around!" Also applying her popular 3 Steps to Systemize have not only organized her clients but KEPT them organized for years.

Triste's Website:


Downtime Activities

  • Reading Magazines
  • Spending time at our cottage
  • Keeping our Westie pretty
  • Putting tealights around after the kids are in bed
  • Adventures with my awesome hubby
  • Making microwave smores...just for me
    1 graham cracker, broken in half 1 small piece of chocolate 1 big marshmellow On one side of cracker put piece of chocolate and marshmellow on top. Place in microwave and heat for approx. 17 seconds (while cooking replace marshmellow on top of chocolate if needed). Put other half of cracker on top, eat and enjoy and watch out for oozing chocolate!

My Organizing Tool-Box

  • Time - Outlook
    This is a great way to keep papers off the desk and track where you need to go, task list, jot down quick notes on the virtual "post-its, keep up with contacts in the virtual Rolodex
  • Personal Finances - Quicken
    This simple yet practical program keeps your bank accounts in tact...did I mention simple?!
  • Business Finances - QuickBooks
    I have used this program for years and have set many clients up on it. It is a must for keeping track of business transactions and keeping tax time easy...push a few buttons and out come the reports, your done and your tax preparer loves you.
  • Space - turntables
    I love these things! You can put them in cabinets, the fridge, garage, and closets. They are inexpensive, easy to find and available at any discount store and you can even find fancier ones. If you are not sure what they are, they are the white (or other fancier kinds) and spin around like a lazy susan, you can have a single or double-tier one for spices.
  • Personal - Magazines and Internet
    I love to look at magazines and the internet for good articles on personal development, pictures for decorating inspiration and fun projects to do with my family. I keep my magazine subscriptions to a minimum (3) so I can read them and enjoy each one. I look for things on some of my favorite websites for whatever fancies me at that time.
  • Online Recipe Boxes
    Use these on some of your favorite websites, bring the laptop into the kitchen while the recipe is up and you never have to have the paper clutter. One of my and my husbands favorites is Williams-Sonoma.

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