Vacations Are Possible When You Plan For It

With the spring and summer months right around the corner and summer break right on its heels, most people's thoughts turn towards vacation! My family is no different. In fact, we've been planning all of our vacation time for the past twelve months.

Our goal is to take three trips a year. Two short ones; maybe a weekend trip to another city in our state or a bordering state. And one nice, relaxing, long trip that we have to pack our bags and head for the airport for that lasts seven to ten indulgent days!

For example, about the time our son's April birthday rolls around, we plan a weekend trip somewhere in our state. His favorite is always San Antonio because he likes to visit the theme parks and gorgeous Riverwalk that they have there. Since we live in Dallas, it's less than a four hour drive; and it's usually the precursor to kicking off our year of getting away.

This year, the longer trip will be in the summertime, a week after school is out. We are planning a vacation to Florida to visit Walt Disney World. We will be gone for ten glorious days for fun in the sun.

And then, in October, my husband and I are planning a three to four day getaway to celebrate our anniversary in beautiful Mexico. And that will give us our three getaways for the year! It's as simple as that.

Now, we have not always been able to do this. Why? Because of poor planning on our part. But, that is no longer the case. We've wised up, and if you have not been getting away for a little rest and relaxation because of the same problem, here's how you can guarantee that that will not be the case next year … or the year after that – forever !

My husband, Muri, and I have created what we call a "Battery Recharge" account, or in regular terms, a travel account. All monies that go into it ensure that we'll be able to get away with our ten-year old son, Jordan, or for a romantic weekend on our own!

Have a family discussion and decide where each of you would like to go. Narrow it down, and vote on three locations. One that's far away and two that are within a reasonable driving distance.

Once you've done that, do your research. There are a number of online resources. Thanks to technology, finding attractions in the city of your destination is no more than a click away! You can build an itinerary of what your family will do, as well as get the costs of each show or attraction you'd like to attend.

Then, one-by-one, you begin to fund your "Batter Recharge" account until you have the money to do each trip! What's so great about the two short trips, most can be done for less than five hundred dollars. The key is not extravagance. It's just getting away with your family to bond and re-energize yourself.

You work hard, everyday. Take some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor with the ones you love and cherish. Your mental, physical and relational well-being will be all the better for it!

Happy vacationing!

Money Mastery – Three Easy Steps to Mastering Your Financial Destiny

When I was a kid I was constantly told, “We can’t afford that; we can ONLY get this; ask your dad if you can have that; you must save your money for a rainy day; start saving now for retirement.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand the intention of some of these messages and that they may even hold value for some folks but I also have learned that these statements can lead to potential financial paralysis.

By hearing those statements over and over again, I developed what could have been my Money Destiny. That Money Destiny led me to believe I would never have enough money, that I must always save and never spend, and that I was not financially safe. These messages repeated themselves in my mind every time I needed to make a money decision or anytime I thought about money. Soon thereafter I found myself resenting the “mean green” and at times wanting to rebel against it. Thank goodness I realized one day that should I continue down this same Money Destiny road, I was destined to have just enough (not plenty) or none at all for that matter or worry about money constantly, and stay in the middleclass.

When I noticed how I was making decisions that would keep me in the same place and never propel me forward financially, I knew it was time to bust my old patterns, break debilitating money-habits, and create a new money system, a new Money Destiny. Doing this was going to take some mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical work, oh yeah, and financial work as well! It meant I was going to have to stop listening to what I had been told all my years growing up as a child as well as stop playing the “tape recording” of these messages over in my mind. It also meant I was going to have to buck this old system every time it flashed before my eyes! My intention in sharing this article with you is to help you break down your conditioned mindset and build it up with a new one that actually works with you and not against you. This is a mindset that YOU are going to create, nobody else will be creating it for you. Isn’t that exciting?

So what does mastering money look like? Mastering your money literally boils down to one thing: your mindset. Have you ever noticed that when your bills are paid off for the month and you have some extra “bread” in savings, you are just bouncing around the planet like you are rich (even if you aren’t)? However, on the contrary, have you noticed that when you don’t have enough to make ends meet and you’re struggling to figure out where the next dollar will come from to pay your rent or mortgage, you never seem to see the light? And, have you ever noticed that you actually decided, either consciously or subconsciously, which of those scenarios would play out in your life?

What I would like for you to do is sit for a moment and put yourself into both situations. First, visualize yourself in the moment when you have no money, nothing in the bank, in fact you may be in the negative. You’re not going to be paid for another week and all of your bills are due yesterday. What is the first feeling that you notice? Desperation, anger, frustration, helplessness? Take a quick note of that. Now, go to the visual of having money in the bank, all bills paid off and in essence you feel free. You have extra money to do what you would like and everything seems to be going right in the world. Again, take note of the first feeling that pops up for you when sitting in this visualization.

Let’s take an even further step. Picture that you are in control of both scenarios. You actually designate or choose which will happen in your life. And, you actually choose the same scene over and over again. Which do you choose? Do you choose the visualization with lots of money and financial freedom or do you choose the daunting visual? I venture to guess you wish to choose the one of Money Mastery.

The concept of Money Mastery has to do with having a destiny when it comes to money. Some folks actually are destined to be rich, middle class or poor. For most of us, we witnessed how our parents behaved with money, listened to things they said and then modeled after them. If our parents were rich, we figured as adults that we, too, had the right to be rich. If our parents were poor, we grew up thinking we did not deserve to have more money so we followed in the footsteps of our poor parents.

I am here to tell you that you don’t have to follow in anybody’s footsteps when it comes to mastering money except your own. Today, you get to decide your new Money Destiny in just three steps.

Step One: Change Your Money Talk-

As I stated earlier, mastering money has to do with your mindset so if you have been saying repeatedly, “I don’t have enough money” or “I need more money” then I venture to guess you haven’t had enough money for quite some time. So, I challenge you to begin saying(even if you don’t believe it in the moment, trust me, you will learn to believe the following statements wholeheartedly), “I have plenty of money,” or “I am grateful for the money I have,” or “Money is a precious gift.” These are simple statements yet extremely meaningful. These affirmations are packed with power! And here’s why: when we hear ourselves say something, we generally believe what we say-whether it is good or bad-we believe it! Thus, if you are constantly saying, “Money is a precious gift and I am grateful for it,” somehow your mind hears that statements and translates it into action. Before you know it you are taking action to have more money in your life or better yet, money is finding its way to you and you did not even lift a finger!

Do you see where I am going with this new verbiage? Positive thoughts become positive feelings which lead to positive actions that grant you positive results.

Step Two: Change Your Money Feelings-

If you feel badly about money all the time you will not get money in return or worse yet, you will spend it like water because you want to get rid of the bad feeling. Makes sense, right? Therefore, it is imperative to change your Money Feelings.

Here’s an exercise: Take out a one-dollar bill. Look at it, in fact, examine it. Notice what you like about the one-dollar bill. Is it the color, the images printed on the bill or perhaps it is what is stated on the bill. I want you to find at least two things you like about the dollar. Now, sit there for a moment and FEEL what you like about it. It may help you to close your eyes and just be in the feeling, be in the moment. Now, think about what you can get for just one dollar. Maybe an apple, a banana, an orange. Maybe a pack of gum or two packs of gum even? You can give a tip to somebody after buying a coffee or you can get change for your one-dollar bill and put money in the meter to prevent getting an expensive ticket. Do you see how far that one dollar went? Did this give you a new feeling and new perspective about that bill? For what appeared to be a small bill it certainly turned into big things, didn’t it?

The idea here is to constantly associate positive feelings with money in order to get more of it. Let me give you another example. I used to get angry every month when I had to pay the bills. I would say to myself, “I get so angry working so hard for my money only to turn around and give it over to somebody else.” Then one day it dawned on me that I should be grateful that I have the money to pay the bills in the first place! Suddenly I reframed my thinking to state,”I make plenty of money to pay my bills every month.” And believe-it-or-not, I no longer resent that time of the month when I have to pay bills and more money has been coming my way.

Step Three: Change your Money Behavior-

If when you get your paycheck and you turn right around and spend it then I am going to challenge you to pause for a moment and not take the same action. In fact, I am going to ask you to replace that action with a new action: Paying yourself first. What I suggest to my clients is that they take at minimum 10% of their paycheck and pay themselves first by putting it in a savings account, retirement account or money market account. What is better is if you can automate this so you never even see that 10%. These days, most banks or employers offer an automated savings plan whereby they take whichever percentage you desire and they put it into whichever account you want. This is a great way to begin paying yourself.

Now if you are the type who never spends a dime, I ask you the question, “What exactly are you saving for?” Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging you to not save your money, but I am encouraging you get really connected to what exactly you are saving for. If you are saving in case of an emergency rather than for freedom, excitement, purpose, joy, or love, realize what will manifest is an emergency. My challenge to you then is to change the reason for your saving.

When we stop and really think about the phrase, “Money Talks” we realize just how truthful that is. What’s important to note is that we have the power to dictate the conversation with and about money so that it is either a rich conversation full of financial freedom and joy or it is a poor conversation wrought with desperation, frustration and debt. Here, you have been given three powerful steps to Money Mastery. My question to you: Which conversation will you now be having?

Education Based Marketing

We are a society of information junkies. We thirst for information every single day. When we consider our own buying habits, where do we go? If it is a big item we might go to Consumer Reports or search for information online. We will certainly go to Google or Yahoo and search for whatever it is we want.

One of the very best examples of "Education Based Marketing" is seen at http://www.askthebuilder.com . That web site is packed full of information on the how to's of home improvement. People gravitate to vendors who supply the greatest amount of information.

A Simple Example:

If we were going to buy a pizza and we were standing right in front of two identical pizzerias, side by side, and one of them had a big sign in the window that read: "FREE Pizza Recipe Book," which one we would walk into first? We would probably all be interested in what ingredients are in the pizza and how the pizza is made.

What comes into play here? First of all we probably would never see two pizzerias side by side and we will more than likely NEVER see a pizzeria owner "divulge any secrets." The fact is, not very many people are going to ever try and make a pizza at home and it will certainly never taste the same as it does when you buy if from your favorite pizza vendor. The pizza vendor could have a business card with his web site address taped to the box with instructions on how to claim your free "Pizza Recipe Ebook." Of course there are "More Coupons" inside the ebook.

Many restaurant owners do not have much time to spend online. If the owner just had a printed recipe every week, (with his next week's coupon on the other side) he would create a customer loyalty and a following. All of his customers would look forward to the next recipe and would have to come into the restaurant to get it.

Most of us that have an e-mail address have bought something online or subscribed to an e-mail invitation for "specials" that the vendor offers. When we get their e-mail, all it includes is the items that they are selling and often times it is quickly deleted. If we were to buy something from the local craft store and they asked for our e-mail address and said: "We will be happy to send you the free" how to project of the month, "along with some coupons. up? Most likely we would if we had an interest in crafts. Of course that e-mail is going to include the "Special of the Month!" We might just head right back to the craft store to grab the new set of paint brushes that are on sale.

Yes, we are playing in the digital age. That brings up the power of educational ebook marketing. Ebooks are being made all the time and distributed freely all over the Internet. Along with the free information is an opportunity to purchase the vendor's products or services. Ebooks are easy to make or easy to have made for you. A simple example of ebook marketing is seen at: http://www.investigate.net The vendor gives away a free ebook that is useful for locating unclaimed funds held by the states. In it, there is an opportunity to buy unlimited access to public databases. Someone who uses the ebook can access it over and over without ever buying a thing. However, if that customer ever needs to find someone or find some secret public record, where are they going to go?

The salesman or woman who sells to business owners can be a welcome sight if he or she always shows up armed with some written information or "little known secret" about that particular owner's business or industry. That information is always given freely without any expectation of a sale resulting from it. In addition, if the salesman or woman took the time to send a one page piece of mail to all of his customers every month with the "Idea of ​​the Month" on how to increase sales, (along with a business card) who do you think the business owner would want to buy from?

The mission is simple. Educate your customer every chance you get. Provide the most valuable information you can to your customers. Continue to educate your customer the best way you know how and you will develop a customer loyalty that is worth its weight in gold.

Ten Reasons You Can not Lose Weight

You may be among many who have attempted to lose weight many times yet remain unsuccessful. You might be thinking, "If only I had the secret!" If you are frustrated, take a look at why weight loss comes difficult. Here are ten pitfalls that slow down or halt the process:

1. Fat Overload . We need protein, but often the sources of our protein are also sources of fat. Fat has nine calories per gram. It is wise to choose foods with unsaturated fat and eat cleaner proteins, such as soy products and whey protein powders.

2. Sugar Overload . By eating candy, cookies, and breakfast pastries, and drinking juice, we tend to consume a lot of empty calories, which digest very quickly in our bodies. The excess gets stored as fat. It is better to satisfy our sweet tooth cravings with fruit.

3. Water Deficit . Water is a miracle nutrient. It can help us to lose weight. Many times we feel hunger pangs and think we are hungry, but our bodies are really telling us that we are thirsty. Water satisfies our cravings and makes us feel fuller.

4. Soda Pop Overload . Many people try to quench their thirst with soda pop. This contributions to the many empty calories that we consume each day. And why put all those chemicals in your body anyway? Switch to water.

5. Alcohol Overload . Alcohol has 7 calories per gram. One 12 oz. bottle of beer has 180 calories. A 24 ounce beer has 360 calories. Your body will break down alcohol calories before it breaks down carbs, fat, or protein. Drinking only one serving a day and counting those as calories is very important.

6. Condiment Overload . It is really important to count condiments in your calorie counting. How much mayonnaise or ketchup are you putting on your chicken sandwich? Yes, and pickles have calories, too.

7. Meal Deficit . It is a whole lot more fun to eat six times a day then three times a day. Eating more often raises the metabolism and improvements digestion, because we consume less food at a time and are able to eat more in 24 hours.

8. Skipping breakfast . Never skip breakfast. You may be eating less food, but you are also slowing down your metabolism. Who wants to drag all day?

9. Burning too few calories . It is difficult to lose weight by only dieting. Exercise is essential. So get on those running shoes and go for a thirty-minute walk every day. Weight training can also really accelerate your weight loss efforts.

10. Lack of goal setting . Weight loss takes time. One should lose only 2 pounds per week at most. It is there important to set short-term and long-term goals so that you can celebrate as you reach miles and continue this lifelong journey.

Now, it is time to throw out all of those negative results and get some positive ones. Get excited, because you are about to begin a successful weight loss journey.