2 Questions That Will Help You Set Appropriate Financial Goals

Have you ever heard that you should set financial goals? Setting financial goals may sound scary or it may sound fun, but regardless as to how it seems to you, the reality of the situation is that it can be tricky.

Setting goals for your money doesn’t have to be hard! If a healthy amount of thought goes into financial goals before they are set, the odds of attaining those goals skyrocket.

financial goals

via via http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/

Here are two great questions to ask yourself while setting your financial goals to keep you on track:

What do you want your finances to do for you?

The first thing that you should do when you start thinking about setting financial goals is to ask yourself what you want your finances to do for you. For instance: do you want to be super-wealthy? Do you want to maintain your current lifestyle? Would you like to improve the financial situation, either for yourself or for your family?

There aren’t any correct or incorrect goals. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to things you want to achieve with your cash. It’s just important that you take the time to find out what you want out of your financial life, and then set your financial goals so that you can get what you want.

But doesn’t everyone want to be super-wealthy? Probably. But even though most people wouldn’t return a million dollar check, most people don’t have that on their list of things that they have to do in order to live life happily.

Where are you, and where do you want to be?

Another good thing to do when you are setting your financial goals is to look at where you are and where you want to be. If you want to drastically improve your standard of living, it might mean making some investments in your education, or in the technologies or equipment that you use. On the other hand, if you want to maintain your standard of living, that might call for you attending classes to maintain a certification, or finding secondary or tertiary sources of income so that you can keep up with the rising costs of living.

If you find that your current employment is simply not going to allow you to reach your financial goals, it might be time for you to look into going back into school, garnering certifications, or looking into other careers that you might be able to use your experience and education to segue into.

How did you go about setting your financial goals for the first time? 

Get Rid of Unwanted Clothing with a Clothing Swap

If you took a look inside my closet, you would see that I don’t have a lot of clothing to begin with.  My partner’s portion of our closet is filled with much more clothing. Despite the fact he keeps saying most of it is ugly, he doesn’t bother to get rid of things he doesn’t like or wear anymore.

clothing swap

Closet Purging

A few months ago, my sister helped me do a closet purge. Since she is the more fashionable one, the purge felt like something right out of a “What Not to Wear” episode. I tried to justify keeping some articles of clothing and a few things she said were: “Get rid of it.” “You have too many hoodies and too many things with flowers on them.” “That’s ugly.” After we were done, my closet looked even emptier, but at least it was filled with clothing I wore quite often. The clothing I had gotten rid of was donated to the Salvation Army.

Clothing Swap

Another great way to get rid of your clothing is have a clothing swap amongst your friends. It forces them to clean out their closet. However at the same time, it may give them an excuse to buy some new clothing. ;)

A good friend of mine held a clothing swap a couple of times. Everyone brought clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry and accessories such as belts and scarves that they didn’t want any more to the clothing swap. Even if your friends are not similar in size, they could still try on certain accessories and check out the hand bags.

It was a lot of fun trying on different clothes and the best part was not having to pay for the “new” (new in the sense that it’s something different for you to wear) clothing you could add to your wardrobe collection. The clothes that didn’t get snatched up were donated to a local charity.

Clothing swaps are a great way to get rid of clothing, get some new clothing and a frugal way to spend time with your friends and perhaps make some new ones.  I found the clothing swap was a nice change from having the usual potluck or movie night. What made it even better was that because it was a free swap, if I didn’t find anything I liked or that fit, I didn’t feel bad.  Most of all, I enjoyed the friendly fashion advice from other guests.

Here are a few tips I picked up from the two clothing swaps I went to:

  • Although this may seem obvious, I still think it’s a good idea to remind guests that the clothing they bring should be clean and in relatively good condition. Ask yourself if you would want your friend to wear this. Besides, what fun would it be to look through clothing full of holes, tears, and stains?
  • Like any party invite, give them a decent amount of advanced notice to give them time to clean out their closet.
  • Space is key. Make sure you have a lot of space to display the clothing and people aren’t crammed together while they try on clothes.
  • Have decent lighting and a full length mirror or two in which guests can see themselves in the entire outfit.
  • Display accessories on a table.
  • Group similar types of clothing together and if possible within that group, separate the clothing based on size, making it easier to sort through. This is especially useful when you have a large amount of clothing.
  • Make it more fun by serving some light refreshments and snacks. Food at any gathering is a must! (At least for me it is).

Have you ever hosted or attended a clothing swap?

Three Areas Of Your Home That Need a Deep Spring Clean

I don’t know what it is about the spring that gives most people the urge to clean their homes (and entire lives) up but it seems with the beginning of winter’s thaw, I instinctively want to clean, clean, clean!

The winter is full of busyness with Christmas and New Year’s, which though they may actually only be two calendar days, consume upwards of five weeks of your life between parties, decorating and then putting stuff away. Honestly after the insanity of the holidays, I’m exhausted. I have no desire to go through the efforts of deep cleaning my home but sometimes around March/April the weather starts to change, the days are longer and I can feel a boost in my energy.

deep spring clean

Any decently nice day I open the windows in every room, even for a few minutes, to get the stale winter air out and some nice airflow throughout the house. This is the easiest way to ‘’freshen up’’ the house without doing anything. There are a few areas of the house that do get neglected though and at least once a year I make sure to pay special attention to.

Windows and Doors

I have a two year old who loves to watch life outside the windows so I am constantly wiping down grimy little finger prints from the inside of window panes and doors, this isn’t the window cleaning I’m talking about. I’m talking about removing the screens from all the windows to vacuum and wipe them down as well as cleaning every tiny crevasse in the window, with Q-tips and rags. I was amazed when I took the screens off our bedroom window how dirty the inside of the casement window was from attracting dirt when it was open in the warmer months last year. They definitely all need a good deep clean.

Same goes from the tracks of any sliding door your home may have, they get disgusting. Full of pet fur and general grim that gets kicked up when sweeping and cleaning the floors. It took me almost two hours to deep clean every window and door properly but got it done with q-tips, rags and warm soapy water. They look amazing now!

Dishwasher

It seems sort of silly to clean an appliance whose job it is to clean dishes but cleaning the dishwasher is something that needs to get done! Last year we were noticing our dishwasher wasn’t cleaning as effectively so I did a little investigation and realized not cleaning the dishwasher regularly is a major catalyst to it dying prematurely and not working effectively. With common household ingredients (hot water, vinegar and baking soda) and a little help from good ‘ol YouTube I had our dishwasher disassembled, reassembled and sparkling clean. I’ll warn you to wear good gloves and be prepared for finding some gross stuff. The food processor in our dishwasher was nasty, and I consider is pretty effective at making sure the dishes are fairly ‘clean’ before placing them in the machine.

Cupboards

I don’t know about you but I don’t regularly clean and organize my cupboards. We get groceries and food gets placed away. We’re pretty good at not buying more food than we need and always shop with a list, but that doesn’t grantee some foods don’t spoil (like the large box of soda crackers that gets open for a bowl or two of soup then finds its way to the back of the shelf when it stales). Another attribute of my two year old is her love for playing the cupboards with mommy’s baking supplies and mixing bowls. They get messy and disorganized.

This past weekend I tackled one cupboard in particular (our main food cupboard) and went through everything in there. I took everything out, wiped and vacuumed the shelves down, since stuff like flour and sprinkles always find and escape, and reorganized it. Spring is an ideal time to do this and make sure everything is well sealed to prevent the impending summer ant population explosion!

 

There seems to be something refreshing about spring that I want to reflect in my home as well. Taking a few hours a week over a month of so to do some of these monotonous deep cleaning of your home can make a big impact!

One Reason Why Someone May Need To Keep Up with the Joneses

We all know that one of the golden rules in personal finance is to never try to keep up with those darned Joneses.

We all know at least one or two people who are our coworkers, neighbours, friends and even family that are constantly trying to emulate the Joneses. They show off with their big houses and fancy cars and you can think one of two things, either they are making a ton of money and thus can afford to pay for these things (but the million dollar question we need to ask is: Are they SAVING a LOT of money as well? If they are, then all the more reason to hate them, right? Ha ha), or they are in deep debt and want to keep it a secret.

keeping up with jonses why

via https://www.flickr.com/photos/drljohnson

Who Should Try to Keep Up With the Joneses?

So you might be thinking who would need to keep up with the Joneses? (Or maybe for all the Gen Ys and millennials, it’s keeping up with the Kardashians)?

People in sales, real estate, investment bankers, that’s who. If you’re selling something, you need to look like you can sell. Image is everything in this case.

I’ve had very minimal experience in sales and haven’t had much to show for it. All I can say is that I’m horrible at it and kudos to the people who are amazing at it. They have the right look, attitude, and confidence to gain a person’s trust. They always know exactly what to say.

Presenting Yourself Well

Regarding looks, as superficial as it seems, if I saw that my realtor was driving some sort of economy car or their car was in a bit of rough shape, I would think to myself, Is he/she really good at selling houses? Or can he/she find the right house, for the right price?

I think we’d all rather have someone who was a successful realtor and aside from word of mouth recommendations and perhaps their company’s reputation, what else could help determine if this realtor was good enough?  The type of car they drive seems to be a common type of assumption. If they have a higher end car (maybe they did buy it used, but we don’t have to know that), then it seems like a symbol of success. It’s a symbol that indicates they have made a lot of profit on the houses they’ve sold and this is what they have to show for it.

The same can go for any type of sales position. My partner’s friend gets a company car for work and it has to be relatively new. The model can’t be any older than 2009 or something like that. Looks seem to be everything when it comes to sales and that look is bright, shiny and somewhat new. Whether or not you have to pay for it, you have to show your buyers that you are successful by having a high-end image.  You need to show them you can make money for yourself and/or money for your company and that they should do business with you.

They also have to wear the nice suits, which is also can cost a lot of money if you’re looking for good quality and the right fit. Again, you can always buy secondhand, but it may not have that same new look to it.

There may be such a thing as the “Wealthy Barber”, but I have yet to hear the term the “Frugal Salesman”. There are  also “Next Door Millionaires”, but I doubt many of them are making the big sales pitch.

 

Can you think of other occupations in which people need to look like they are keeping up with the Joneses? Have you judged a realtor by what type of car they drove? Maybe I’m the only superficial one here. ;)