Archive for June 2014

Success Equals Hard Work


ID-100147799As a student of human behavior, I am often so very amazed at the vast number of people who think that success comes via dumb luck.

Consider this quote from the great Vince Lombardi.

?The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.?
? Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi was one of the greatest NFL football coaches of all time, and some might say “THE greatest”.? Lombardi had such an impact on the NFL that the Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor. According to Wikipedia, Lombardi never had a losing season as a head coach in the NFL – a job he held for over a decade.

Lombardi played baseball and basketball in school, but never amounted to much in those areas due to the fact that he had poor eyesight and was, by most accounts, a sub par athlete.? Having tried and failed at several different types of work, he finally got his first coaching job, as assistant football coach at a Catholic High School in 1939, and finally, in 1954 – 15 years later – he started his career with the NFL, and went on to be the most successful NFL coach in history.

How did this man, who obviously was not born with a talent for athletics, become such a grand success in the NFL?? By living and working under the guidance of one very important truth:

Success Comes From Hard Work

You see, Vince Lombardi knew and understood that success is the product of attitude and hard work.?? It doesn’t come via the luck of the draw, and it doesn’t come by sitting on your behind watching TV 24/7 or by wandering willy-nilly through life, doing whatever it is that pleases you.

In the Midwest where we live, farms and crop fields abound.? Many of these fields here in my state are owned and/or managed by members of the Asian community, and every time I drive by one of these fields, I see a group of hard-working folk picking weeds – by hand – and tending to the care of their fields, which often consist of several acres of land.?? These hard-working families spend hours and hours each day, weeding the farmland and caring for the crops, day in and day out.? No machinery, just their hard working hands.?? And as a reward for their hard work, they have food to feed their families and to sell at local markets.

Having a semi-large garden, I can tell you that weeding by hand is an enormous amount of work.? Our family puts in about 1-2 hours a day, and then we’re spent.? Done.? Back to the TV we go.

But not these guys.? They’re not afraid of hard work, and they don’t sit around and whine about what they have to do – they just put on their sun hats and their long-sleeved, lightweight shirts, and they do what needs to be done.? Period.

They are successful because of their hard work.?

Do you have dreams, goals or things you want out of life?? Are you unhappy with the way things are?? Do you want more money?? Less debt?? The freedom to work where you want to work – or to not work at all?

If so, what are you doing to get there?? Do you have a plan in place?? Are you doing the hard work it’s going to take to achieve those goals, or are you trading in your dreams for the instant gratification of today’s fleeting and not nearly as satisfying short-term rewards?? Was that dinner out, that trip to the amusement park or the movies worth giving up your dreams?? Or do you want something better out of life?

You can have your dreams – you really can.? You just need to make daily choices that will bring you closer to your dreams instead of pushing your dreams farther away.? You just need to work for your success.


Other than hard work, what have you found to being key to success in different areas of life? ?What do you do in order to not give into the temptation of throwing in the towel at times?


Photo courtesy of:?Free Digital Photos


Five Quick Tips to Avoid Impulse Shopping

Impulse shopping

Impulse shopping

We have all been guilty of it from time to time. You head to the store with only a couple items in mind, and wind up leaving with a basket full of stuff?err crap. What happened? No matter how you ended up deciding to purchase all of that extra stuff, it most certainly isn?t free.

If you are living on a carefully planned monthly budget, giving in to impulse shopping is one quick way to fall off track. By avoiding impulse buys and sticking to your financial game plan, things will look a lot better at the end of the month.

We?re all bound to be tempted from time to time, but those who are wise with their money will not be satisfied by giving into financial temptation. While not earth shattering, hopefully the following simple tips will help you keep the impulse shopping at bay and more money in your pocket.

#1 ? Make a List

Something as simple as making a shopping list before you leave the house is an easy way to limit impulse shopping. If it isn?t on the list when you walk in the store, it shouldn?t be in your basket when you leave. If you can stick to that rule, impulse purchases can be kept to a minimum.

#2 ? Don?t Go Grocery Shopping Hungry

In terms of impulse food purchases, going to the grocery store when you are hungry is a recipe for disaster. Everything will look and smell delicious if you haven?t eaten in awhile, and you might find yourself leaving with a whole bunch of items you simply don?t need.

Try to fit in your grocery trip when you aren?t hungry so you can stick to your list easier and not break the budget on unnecessary food items. This is also not to mention the fact that if you want to eat healthy, many of those impulse purchases tend to be junk you just don?t need. At least, that?s the case for me most times.

#3 ? Sleep on It

If you are tempted to make a purchase that you haven?t been planning on, leave the store and sleep on it for a day or more. If it still seems like a good idea the next day, then it?s up to you to determine if the budget will take it.

Giving yourself a night to consider spending the money is often all it takes to realize you would rather have the money still in the bank as opposed to being spent on the item you were considering. Suffice it to say, if you can see yourself living just fine without it then just keep the cash. You?ll be much happier in the long run, trust me.

#4 ? Don?t Walk the Mall

Some people love to go walking at the mall just to walk. If it?s purely for exercise I can understand it. However, I know there have been many times (years ago) that I would go to the mall because I was bored or just wanted to hang out. You guessed it?that was also when I was in debt up to my eyeballs. Needless to say, this is a huge no-no if you?re in the least bit tempted to give in to impulse shopping.

If you?re looking for simple exercise try other things like walking at a park, or around your neighborhood. Heck, even try using the track at your local high school. If priced right, I think you could even argue that paying for a gym membership is likely to be more affordable than the money you could waste by impulse shopping your way through the mall.

#5 ? Avoid Impulse Shopping by Paying Cash

Impulse items are generally more likely to be purchased when you are using a credit card. It is argued that if you?re paying with cash you feel the pain of handing that money over as opposed of swiping a credit card.

Instead, try to pay cash for everything that you buy at the store. That way, you will know that you are spending ?real? money on the item ? not just using credit. This will make you think twice about the purchase, and likely have you come to the decision that it isn?t worth the money.


What are some tips you use to avoid impulse shopping? What is the last item you purchased that you still can?t believe you bought?



Photo Courtesy of: Polycart

3 Cheap Ways to Eat Healthy on any Budget

Eat Healthy

Eat HealthyWe all know that we need to eat healthy, well most of us do at least. 😉 We also know that we need to save money. Balancing those two can be a challenge at times, though you certainly shouldn?t use it as an excuse not to eat healthy.

When you walk around the grocery store, it can seem like all of the healthy foods are the most expensive, and that you will have to break the bank if you want to keep stick to your dietary choices.

That fact is that really isn?t the case, but a myth in my opinion. While it may not be easy you can find some cheap ways to eat healthy. You just have to want it and stick to a plan. The good news is that it can be done, and plenty of people have done it before you. If you?re looking for some ways to eat healthy on a budget, the simple tips below should give you an idea of how to get started.

Eat Healthy by Cooking at Home

Prepared healthy foods are some of the most expensive items in the grocery store. If you are buying prepared and packaged meals and other food items that are marketed as ?health food?, you are sure to pay a premium. You may save time by going this route, but that time savings comes at a steep cost.

Instead, cook your own food using healthy ingredients. Fresh fruits and vegetables aren?t that expensive, and they can be used to create a wide variety of meals and snacks. If you want to cook at home but you don?t know where to start, there is a simple solution to that – the internet. The internet is a great resource to learn how to prepare some basic, healthy meals for you and your family. You will find that you can save a lot of money by cooking for yourself over buying health food, and you just might enjoy doing it as well.

Don?t Throw Out Food

Buying food gets much more expensive when you don?t actually use everything that you purchase. Plan your menus carefully for each week and only buy food that you are sure you will use in a timely fashion. If you get off-track and aren?t going to use something before it spoils, freeze it if possible so it can be used later. We do this quite a bit with vegetables we pull from our garden as it allows us to prolong the shelf life of the produce.

Food items that go unused are a complete waste from a budget perspective, as it?s basically the same as throwing money in the trash. By being more efficient with your grocery shopping and meal planning, you can save a good chunk of money and stretch your grocery budget even further.

Eat Seasonally

Buying fruits and vegetables that are out-of-season can be rather expensive, and they often don?t taste as good either. Try to plan your healthy meals with seasonal foods in mind so you can find fair prices and high quality product. This might take a little bit of a learning curve to discover what the seasons are like in your area, and when certain items are their most affordable.

Do a little internet research on your area to get a good idea of the timing of the seasons and look for recipes that take advantage of what is available currently. That way, you get a nice variety of foods throughout the year, and you are able to eat healthier without completing breaking the bank in the process. Going back to gardening, this is another great way to save money through gardening. By planning your gardening strategy you can have items that may be out of season but at little cost to you as it came straight from your garden.

Eating healthy while staying on budget is something that you will likely need to practice, but you can certainly do successfully with a little effort. Saving money and cutting calories is a powerful combination that just about anyone can benefit from, so focusing on this process is certainly worth your time.


Have you found it a challenge to find cheap ways to eat healthy? What are some of the tricks you use to balance eating healthy and staying on a budget?



Photo Courtesy of: AmySelleck

What is the Difference Between Term Life and Whole Life Insurance?

Difference Between Term Life and Whole Life Insurance

Difference Between Term Life and Whole Life InsuranceHaving worked in the life insurance industry, I often get asked what is the difference between term life and whole life insurance. It is an understandable question as there is quite a bit of misinformation in the term life vs. whole life debate. That misinformation or confusion can make it difficult for many when they?re faced with the decision of what kind of life insurance coverage they should purchase.

If you read my previous post on When is the Best Time to Buy Life Insurance?you know that the younger you are, the better it is for you to buy life insurance. Now we want to take a look at the two main options you?re going to be faced with when looking at buying life insurance coverage.

The Difference Between Term Life and Whole Life Insurance

The main difference between term life and whole life insurance coverage really comes down to a renting vs. buying mindset. With term life insurance you are essentially renting coverage that spans a defined time period. Whether that be something short like five years or as far out as 30 years, your coverage will have an end point. If you outlive the coverage, then the insurance expires and you receive no value.

With whole life insurance, it is as it sounds. It lasts your entire life. This sounds good on one hand, and I?ll cover the pros/cons of that later. As it would make sense, you are going to pay more for whole life coverage because it lasts the entirety of your life. As that presents more risks, generally speaking you?re going to pay significantly more for permanent coverage.

Beyond time span and cost, the other difference between term life and whole life insurance is how the premiums are handled. With term life, the premiums pay towards the policy and that?s it. With whole life, part of the premiums go to build a small cash value that gets added to the overall value of the policy. If this thoroughly confuses you, hopefully the next section will clarify things a bit and help you with your purchasing decisions.

The Case for Term Life Insurance

The biggest positive term life insurance has going for it is that it is generally considerably cheaper to purchase. Those who know me know I like to get value in what I buy and life insurance is no different.

As term life insurance is cheaper this also allows you the opportunity to buy more coverage which is great for someone like me. If you?re relatively healthy and younger you should have no issue finding coverage of at least several hundred thousand dollars for somewhere around $20 per month. With most term life policies having level terms for the entirety of the term it can provide great value that can?t be found in a whole life policy.

Outside of those main reasons of why to buy term life insurance, the simple fact is term life coverage is straight forward. You pay a premium and get coverage. Nothing more and nothing less. As a result, this can be great for families wanting to cover potential short term needs in the event of your passing or to cover major expenses like a mortgage or college for your family.

The Case for Whole Life Insurance

As a disclaimer, I write this as someone who does not own whole life insurance. That being said, however, I do not believe it?s a bad product, just something that gets pitched the wrong way.

Whole life insurance has the same benefit of term life coverage in that your premiums are stable over the life of the policy. You don?t see premiums go up, you just pay the same premiums for your entire life, or you lapse the policy. The other main benefit of having whole life coverage is that it builds a small cash value aside from the face value of the policy. While having that additional cash value is nice, it is important to note that this cash value is not invested in the stock market or in anything you can control but is generally managed at the discretion of the life insurance company.

While whole life insurance may not be a good fit for younger individuals, it can be a good fit for those who have high incomes or have a considerable net worth. Think in the neighborhood of at least $1 Million.

Term Life vs. Whole Life Insurance? – The Decision

At the end of the day, the term life vs. whole life insurance decision is one that needs to be done in light of what?s best for you. That said, in the overwhelming majority of the time term life insurance is going to serve your needs. Of course, that should be viewed in light of your specific circumstance as what is best for most may not be what?s best for you and your situation.

As I pointed out in my previous post on life insurance, there are many sales reps that will use numbers to try and convince you that whole life is the way to go when it comes to purchasing life insurance. Of course not all are this way, as the ?bad? ones make it easy to view all in the light. That is not the case, but it is something to be mindful of.

I will say that if you are considering purchasing whole life insurance to make sure that you have your other investment needs covered first. That means things like maxing out your 401k plan at work, potentially fully funding an IRA, and even possibly educational needs of children prior to getting serious in buying a whole life policy. Beyond that, you generally would not want to buy whole life coverage before having a fully funded emergency fund?and all consumer debt paid off. Essentially, you want to cover things that are going to bring you greater return and provide for you in the short term if something were to happen to your job.

There are a number of differences between term life and whole life insurance, so make sure you educate yourself on them before making a purchasing decision. The difference is real money, so make sure it?s not one you take lightly.


What are your thoughts on term life versus whole life insurance? What kind of life insurance coverage do you have?


Photo courtesy of: David Amsler



This post was featured on Money Smart Guides, Save and Conquer, Financial Nerd and Single Moms Income.

Five Things You Should Try to DIY Before Hiring Someone


DIYAs a homeowner, it seems that there is always something that needs fixing. If you decide to simply hire someone to come in and fix every single problem that pops up, you could find yourself quickly spending a lot of money. The good news is that many of the problems that come up around the house can be fixed on your own with a few simple tools and a little elbow grease. Even if you don?t know exactly how to do something, the internet can be a great resource for learning about simple household fixes.

Never do any job that you don?t feel comfortable with, especially if you feel unsafe. However, putting your DIY hat on and trying to complete some simple repairs could end up saving you a lot of money. Below are five things that you can try to fix yourself before hiring a professional.

Toilet issues

Over time, you are bound to have one or two problems come up with your toilets. These problems can be serious, but most often they are easy to fix with a DIY video from Homeclick?and couple new parts and a wrench. Open up the top of the tank and watch the mechanisms work as you flush the toilet. There is a good chance the problem will make itself known just by watching, and you may be able to fix it by just replacing a part. It really isn’t that difficult to do, and I know if I can fix a toilet then pretty much anyone can. 😉

Painting a room is an Easy DIY Task

If you decide to repaint a room in your home, you might as well try it on your own before hiring a painter. Indoor painting is pretty straightforward, and you will only need to purchase a few supplies to get started. Again, this is something that pretty much anyone can do. If you’ve not painted before it will take you a little extra time, but the cost savings is well worth it versus paying someone to do it for you.

Yard work

Hiring a company to care for your yard on a monthly (or more) basis can get expensive. Doing the yard work yourself will require some upfront investment (lawnmower, trimmer, etc.), but you can save in the long run. While I’m not a fan of mowing the yard, I certainly have no desire to pay someone for something I’m more than able to do. If saving money isn’t motivation enough, then be motivated by the fact you’ll get a little exercise in as well.

Oil change

This isn?t a house-related job, but it can save you money nonetheless. Generally speaking, taking your car in for an oil change will cost you approximately double as compared to buying the oil and doing it yourself. Of course, your cars? engine is quite expensive to fix, so make sure you know what you?re doing before taking on the oil change (and filter change) on your own.

If you’re unsure as to how to change your oil, there are plenty of free videos on Youtube that can walk you through it. Also, be sure to dispose of the old oil in a responsible manner.

Power washing

Your driveway or walkway might need to be power washed from time to time to bring back their clean look. Power washing isn?t that difficult of a job, as long as you have the right machine for the job. Instead of paying a professional, look into renting a power washer that you can use yourself. Most machine rental shops offer power washers for rent, as do many big box home improvement stores.


What are some of your favorite ways to DIY around the house? What skills have you been able to teach yourself that has saved you a chunk of money?


Photo courtesy of: AJ Hill