Karen's Blog

The High Cost of “Impulse” Buys

My clients and the coaches I train know that I feel very strongly about tracking your spending. This is for many, many reasons. But I want to talk here about how tracking influences “impulse” spending. If you start tracking your spending, after a while you’ll probably be in for some surprises. I’ll bet you didn’t know how much those morning lattes were adding up to week after week. Tracking your expenses will help you identify the small expenditures that can add up to big money over the course of a year. Using the information you get from tracking, you can evaluate what effect those expenditures are having on your overall financial condition, and whether or not you could be using that money in more meaningful ways. I always had my clients create a list of their most common impulse buys. I would ask them to evaluate whether or ...Continue Reading

Why Not You? Why Not Now? The case of Louise

The late psychologist Abraham Maslow is said to have asked one of his classes: “Which one of you believe that you will achieve greatness?” The class stared back at him, no one answering. Maslow said quietly, “If not you, who then?” When it comes to taking charge of your money, and your life, why not you? And why not now? When I used to ask my clients why they’ve put off looking at their money, the most frequent answers I got were, “Well, I’m too old.” Or “I’m too young”. Or “I don’t know what to do and how to look at my money”. Or “I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start. So I don’t do anything.” But statistics tell us that procrastination is the number one reason people fail financially. If you put off looking at your money because you’re scared or you don’t know what to do, or you don’t...Continue Reading

The Money/Life Drain

I see examples of unstable financial structures in people’s personal finances all the time. They are characterized not only by the burden of debt or by shaky financial practices but also by signs of a predictable—and progressive—downward slide. I call it the Money/Life Drain. Signs that you’re caught in this downward spiral include a lifestyle where the demands on your time, energy and money leave nothing for the things that make life worth living…. When you are unable to save and are pressured to work more and earn more, your relationships become strained, your health is impacted by the stress, and ultimately your overall quality of life deteriorates. You are filled with despair and hopelessness. Does this seem extreme? Believe me, it’s not. I see people from all walks of life, both in my years of financial counseling and f...Continue Reading

Capturing the Spirit of the Holidays

I know Christmas is only a week away. So I wanted to share some fun ideas that may help you capture the spirit of the holidays for little or no cash. Remember, the point of “gifts” is to let people know you care! You can do this without breaking your personal bank. No one would want you to go into debt simply to buy them a gift. • Offer to watch the children of busy parents while they spend some special time as a couple. Make them a gift certificate for this. • Plan a scavenger hunt or Game Night with another family. It will take the focus off gifts. • Set aside time to make handmade wrapping paper from brown paper grocery bags and paint or stamps. • Encourage the children in your life to make things for the people they love. They can make a card or a picture book, a bookmark or a collection of recipes. Two children I know...Continue Reading

How do you really feel about the Holidays? Here is some of my truth.

I want you take a moment and really think about how you feel about the holidays. Really. What is your current reality? The first step in creating a better holiday is to look at how you’ve felt about the holidays the last several years. You simply can’t change without being aware of what is and isn’t working. So let’s be honest here. Think about the way you’ve felt before, during and after the holidays the last several years. Think about your spending, your activities and how it felt – and try to be as honest as possible. If you’re honest about your behavior and your feelings, you will open the door for transformation. Don’t be alarmed if you dredge up some feelings that aren’t very pleasant. Thinking about recent holidays may not be easy. I used to feel, for example, absolutely frantic during the whole holiday season....Continue Reading