Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Money Management Tips - Are You Frugal or a Spendthrift?

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money Video Series. My name is Stacey Powell and if you’re ready to not just know better but do better, you’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re going to be talking about how we all spend money. Are you frugal or are you a spendthrift? I am always fascinated by the spending decisions that we all make. I have lots of clients over the years that it doesn’t matter what they buy. They’re going to buy the most expensive thing they can possibly afford.

I also have a lot of clients that it doesn’t matter what they buy. They’re going to buy the cheapest or the best deal and just be frugal about all of their spending decisions. Then there are some people right in the middle. It just depends on what they’re buying. Some things are really important to them. So they buy the best. Other things aren’t really so important. So that’s where they go and find the best deal.

I illustrate this on page 81 in the book, if you’re following me along. It’s two shopping carts full of the same six things – a couch, a watch, a TV, a necklace, a vacation and a car. These people over here, they have to have the best of, $311,000 price tag. These people over here, $16,000 price tag. It’s the same six things. When you sit on a couch, maybe it makes a little bit of a difference what kind of couch you’re sitting on. But in the end, you just need a place to sit.

So if you’re buying a $4000 couch or a $300 couch, why are you making that decision? I’m not placing the judgment on either decision. If you can afford a $4000 couch and you’re fully funding your reserves and your retirement and taking care of everything else, then by all means go buy that $4000 couch. But I also know there are a lot of people that buy that $4000 couch on credit and pay for it over many years and then they pay more for it. Why are you making those decisions? So in this video, I’m really just asking you to spend some time thinking about which side you’re on. I’m going to ask you to spend some time writing about some of your spending decisions.

In the book, page 78 and 79, I ask you to talk through your spending habits. There’s a worksheet that has a bunch of questions for you to fill in. You can go to and in the store, there’s a whole area of free pages of the book and we’re going to put these up there for you to go and download and fill them out even if you don’t have the book. I’m going to help you, so head on over there.

While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the newsletter. You can also go to Facebook and join our Team Do Better group, a great place to talk about your spending habits on there, you can chat with me. And also you can sign up for our video series down below so that you can catch every single one of these as they come out. Now go do some thinking about what kind of spender you are.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Talk to Kids About Money: How to Teach Your Kid to Buy Stuff

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money Video Series. My name is Stacey Powell, and if you’re ready to not just know better with your money but do better, you’ve come to the right place. Today I’m going to teach you about how to teach your kids about buying stuff.

If you watched the last video, we were talking about how we would probably make better spending decisions as adults if our parents had spent more time on how to better plan for teaching us how to buy stuff when we were kids. I don’t want to make that same mistake. So I didn’t always do it right, but I was very mindful about teaching my daughter when she was growing up, and I want to teach you three of the things that you can do to help teach your kids about buying stuff.

Number one, have a plan for when they ask for something when you’re out shopping. Don’t just buy something right then when they want it. Take them back home. Talk to them about where the money is going to come from. Can they earn it? Do they have an allowance? Do they have a plan for their spending allowance? How much does it cost? Look at some of those kinds of questions that I’ve taught you to ask yourself and have them think about it.

If they weren’t going to buy that one thing with their money, what else would they buy? Go over some of those decisions and even if it’s a $5 toy and I’m completely serious. Talk to them about this $5 toy because what you’re doing is laying the groundwork for when they want to buy a $60 computer game or a $400 smartphone or their first starter car or when they want to buy their college education which they’re probably going to buy partly with you. You want them to have that groundwork of practicing with small things.

The second thing you want to teach your kid is how to put together a spending plan. If you’ve got a vacation coming up, sit down on a family night over ice cream and talk about that vacation and what you’re going to do, where you’re going to go and where you’re going to have to spend money.

If they’re teenagers, they’re old enough to do a bunch of the internet research probably better than you and put that spending plan together. Have them do it. If they’re younger than teenagers, then sit with them and go through parts of it, the simple stuff. How much are tickets to Disneyland? Make it fun. Include your kids in this. Don’t make it dull.

The third thing is there are parts of your spending plan that have everything to do with your kids. I want you to incorporate them in those decisions. If they have a clothing budget every month, let them know how much it is. What I did with my daughter when she was young was around summer camps. We had a set amount of money and summer camps is the kind of thing that you can send thousands of dollars on, and so she had a budget, and she looked at the thing she wanted to do and made some balanced decisions about whether it was going to be horse camp year or tennis year or swimming year. She would choose. We made her an active participant in that, and hopefully she learned something from it.

So those are a few ways that you can teach your kids how to buy stuff. If you want to come chat with me about ideas you have with teaching your kids, come join our Facebook group Team Do Better. It’s a private group where only people that are working on doing better with their money are at. You can also join our weekly newsletter list at and don’t forget to subscribe below to our video series, so you will know when they come out. Now go have a conversation with your kid.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Golden Rule of Buying Stuff

Hi. Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. My name is Stacey Powell, and if you’re ready to not just know better about your money but do better, then you’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re going to be talking about the golden rule of buying, and it comes out of the chapter of the book called Buying Stuff. In that chapter of course at some point, I get around to talking about buying a home, buying a car, buying a college education.

But at the beginning of the chapter, I take us all the way back to what we should have learned when we were kids, what hopefully some of our parents taught us. But we know most of our parents, they didn’t teach us this stuff. So now it’s time to start learning, and I start by teaching you about how to buy a bike.

Maybe it’s a $500 bike, $100 bike. You could spend $1000, $3000 on a bike and so what I ask you to do in the chapter is practice some mindfulness techniques when you’re buying. My golden rule of buying is ask how much and get 3 quotes. That’s not just when you’re buying a car, but that’s also when you’re buying a $200 piece of electronics or when you’re getting a root canal from your dentist.

When you are buying anything, just practice asking how much and that way, when you’re buying a house or a car or a really big ticket item, you’ve practiced what you should have practiced when you were kids so that it became easier.

Can you imagine asking how much? Something that the doctor’s office is going to cost. I found for many people it’s uncomfortable and becomes more comfortable when we just practice. So here’s what I would like you to do. The next thing you’re going to buy that is in that kind of mid-range couple of hundred dollars, several hundred dollars, I want you to do these 4 things.

I want you to get paper and pencil out, and I want you to do a little journaling about how important is it that you have the best of this thing you’re buying.
  1. What would make a difference if you bought a new one or a used one? 
  2. How many years do you plan on having this thing you’re going to buy? 
  3. Then the last and most important question. If you bought the less expensive one if you’re going to buy a bike and you’re going to buy an inexpensive used bike or a really expensive brand new one, what are you going to do? 
  4. If you choose the less expensive one and you’re going to save all that money, what would you do with that extra money if you chose the less expensive one? 
So I encourage you just to practice the mindfulness around your buying and practice on smaller stuff where the stakes aren’t quite so high as they are when you’re buying a house or a car. Let me know how it goes.

If you want to know where to let me know how it goes, come into our Facebook group Team Do Better and you can chat with me in our private group. You can also sign up for our newsletter at and subscribe for our YouTube video series. Now go out there and practice some mindful buying.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How to Convince Ourselves to Save for Retirement

Hi! Welcome to the Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money Video Series. My name's Stacey Powell. I'm here on a mission to make you and your money stronger.

Today we're going to be talking about, you. Not you right now, but you when you're 75-year-old. We're going to do a little thing that makes you stop, sit and think about what it would be like if you were able to time travel. Forward yourself ahead, for me it would be 25 years from now, what would it be like if I could sit and have a conversation with my 75-year-old self. What would your 75-year-old self have to say to you about what you're doing with your retirement savings right now, for her or him? What would you say to your 75-year-old self when they ask, were you putting money aside when you were in your 20's? In your 30's? In your 40's?

I thought a lot about today's video because I wanted to make it just right. I think a lot about what would somebody have said to me when I was in my 20's that would have actually made me start saving for retirement. Because I didn't. And I wonder what somebody could've said to me when I was in my 30's that would have actually gotten me to start saving for my retirement. But I didn't. And when I hit 40 I still wasn't saving for retirement, and I know so many people in their 30's, 40's, 50's, I even talk to people in their 60's who still haven't started saving for retirement.

And what I tell everybody I can when they're a teenager or in their early 20's is, start now it's so much easier, it feels hard. And I wish I knew what it was that I could say to you that would inspire you to do it. And quite honestly, I don't know.  I've never come up with the answer.

But I do know something ... I turned 50 this year, and I feel so much closer to that conversation with my 75-year-old self. And I know that I want to be able to look her in the eyes and say, I cared about her future. I cared about her ability to keep a roof over her head and take trips when she wants and putter around in the garden. I might still be working when I'm 75; I love what I do.  But you know what ... I might just want to spend every day in the garden. That's what my Mom's doing right now at 82 years old, and she took pretty darn good care of her retirement.

So quite honestly I don't know what to say to you to get you to do this, but what I do know is that when you're talking to your 75-year-old self, he or she is really going to want you to have saved for retirement.

This indeed is something you can't do alone. So come join us over at Team Do Better, our Facebook group. Sign up for this video series over on YouTube or sign up for the mailing list at And join us in taking care of you and your 75-year-old self.