10 things to do on your family STAYCATION this Spring Break!

Are you sticking around for Spring Break this year? The number of people that go into debt for vacations is insane. You do NOT have to go somewhere exotic or drop hundreds of dollars for a few hours getting your feet rubbed at the spa to have a memorable spring break vacay. You can go the budget-friendly staycation route—living the good life close to home.

The key is making a plan. Decide what activities you’re gonna tackle BEFORE spring break sneaks up on you, so that you can tally up the total cost and adjust your plans if need be. Don’t forget to budget for:

  • Transportation
  • Entrance Fees
  • Meals
  • Activity Equipment
  • Time off work

There really is an endless list of activities that you could do with your family to keep entertained for the entire spring break, but here are 10 ideas:

Bring a picnic and play some games

You don’t have to be sporty to enjoy some active time, either. Pack up some home-made food, portable music, and bring a fun activity like Spikeball, Bean bag toss, or Croquet. See if you can borrow a lawn game from the endless number of people on your Facebook page instead of buying a new one.
*If you’re local to me, you can head down to Tulista Park near Sidney with a volleyball and play on their beach court (which is also right next to a skateboard park, the beach, and a community arts centre…hello!)

Do something artsy

Even if you can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, you can get creative. If you’ve never done a Paint Nite, give it a go this spring break. You probably don’t even have to buy tickets to an actual Paint Nite – chances are, you KNOW someone that could lead your family through a guided painting! You could check out the splatter room at 4 Cats art studio, take a pottery class, or go to a local gallery. Google a DIY craft and stock up on a few supplies to have some fun at your dining table if you’d rather stay in!
*Victoria BC locals, check out the ART BATTLE at the Victoria Event Centre!

Do something physical

Drop in to a rec center that you haven’t been to before. You could skate, swim, partake in family sports and activities… whatever they offer! Or try something that you haven’t before… like a climbing wall, trampoline park, or laser tag. Whatever it is, get your bodies moving! See if you can take advantage of a day pass, punch card, or weekly pass to maximize your $.

Go on a bakery adventure

Drive into town somewhere and park the car. Then get out and wander around until you find a bakery. Buy one treat at that stop and share it. The goal is to find new places to treat without using google maps and get some steps in while you search! You can vote for your favourite after you’ve decided you’ve had enough walking, or enough sugar!

Experience Luxury… at home

Kids… you’re going to Gramma’s for the day, because Mom and Dad are booking in some R&R. The key here is to get in some relaxation time together. Put some candles around the tub and dim the lights. Give each other a massage. Jump in the shower together. Paint your toenails, trim your beard. Order skip the dishes from a fancy restaurant and eat it at your dining table in your house robe. Snuggle and read to each other, or rent a movie. Put the phone away and ignore the clocks, because it’s time for you.
*If you’re local to me and have never been to the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, it’s a real luxury treat! If you book for a treatment, you are allowed to spend 4 hours in their heated outdoor pool and hot tubs right on the ocean. If you’re going to spend $$$ on a spa treatment, get your money’s worth by choosing a place that has a grotto or mineral pool, like this one, so that your dollar per hour goes way further.

Host a board game night

Invite some friends over and play some board games. There are some seriously fun ones out there! Play a game that includes the kids, have a BBQ, put on a movie for the littles, and bust out the games for the grown-ups. Try “Speak Out” with the kids – it’s hilarious. A list of my must-have games includes Codenames, Guestures, BANG, Ticket to Ride, Cranium, Sequence (they have a kids version too) and Settlers of Catan. Check out your local thrift stores to buy a pre-owned game (I literally just bought three for five bucks) or ask your friends to bring their fav board game over.

Have a pancake competition

If you’ve got some lazy mornings available to you, make the most of them by infusing a little friendly competition. Make a breakfast buffet and see who makes the better pancakes. The kids can be the judges!

Go on an adventure

Go hiking, biking, or kayaking. Just get outside. Make a scavenger hunt out of it and ask the kids to find you the smallest leaf, or the biggest rock. Go somewhere you haven’t been before. Go geo-caching or play POKEMON GO. (Graham and the boys have been battling geodudes all over the place lately)

If the weather just ain’t right outside, check out a local attraction.
*If you’re local to Victoria, check out this list!

Camp

Whether you score an awesome spot at a campground, or you pitch your tent in your backyard, camping creates memories. Get some sparklers or glow sticks, ingredients for smores or banana boats, and get your propane fire pit ready for fun!

Find some animals

See what attractions your local farms have; chances are there will be a market or farm tour available. You could also check out a petting zoo or the actual zoo.Book a trail ride on horseback, or go on a horse carriage tour. Check out the local bee farm (some of them have honey tasting bars, yum!)
*If you’re local to Victoria, we are lucky to have the bug zoo, butterfly gardens, Shaw ocean discovery center, beacon hill petting zoo, and urban bee farm!

Happy budgeting for your stay-cation this spring break!
~Lindsay Plumb

11 Ways to talk about MONEY with your partner.

Download my free list “7 tips for having SUCCESSFUL money chats with your partner”

Marriage can be full of joy and fulfillment, but it definitely ain’t a walk in the park. Anyone who has been married any amount of time can tell you it’s NOT always easy.

And what about money management? Same story. It’s not easy. You can even have all the steps laid out in front of you… and it’s still tricky! In the Pretty Money Club, we do an 8 week course to gain the knowledge, but then continue to meet regularly for refreshers, community, and accountability. It’s absolutely necessary!

Put marriage and money together, and you are definitely not going to get rainbows and sunshine all of your days. (I’d be shocked if this is a bubble-burster for you. I’m guessing you already know this.)

I’ve chatted with thousands of women about their finances by now and I know one thing to be true: If we hope to overcome money problems and money fights in our marriage, we have to be intentional. We gotta purposely set aside time for money talks. We have to make appointments with our partners to communicate. And we need to learn to communicate WELL.

The Reality of Money Problems for Couples Today

Money magazine found that 70% of married couples argue about money—and money fights happen more often than fights about household chores, spending time together, sex, and snoring! Money is the 2nd leading cause of divorce, which just shows how serious and hard putting relationships and money together really is. We need to take this very seriously… (seriously doesn’t mean boring though, for the record. I’ve never heard the Pretty Money Club described as boring.)

What if money IS a problem in my relationship?

The answer is pretty simple. To overcome financial conflict in your relationship, you have to get on the same page as your partner. Of course this is easier said than done, but putting in the effort and work will be worth it.

The good news is that you don’t have to have the same beliefs about money to make it work.

In fact, your unique perspective regarding money is actually a strength you each bring to the table. I’ve worked with tons of woman that are self-declared “spenders” while their spouses are “the savers,” and vice-versa. Relationships can have a partner that is introverted and one that is extroverted, one that loves gardening and one that is allergic to grass. We are different people and that’s okay!

You’ve got to be able to have open conversation where you can appreciate your partner’s perspective and where their opinion may be coming from. If you can learn to appreciate your own emotional perspective of money and really hear your partner’s invested emotional interest, you can become more unified as a team.

If your money conversations always go sideways, try this:

  1. Plan a time. You need space for this conversation that will not be interrupted by your life. It should be a time where jobs, kids, and other distractions are unlikely. Distractions will kill this conversation quickly. If you walk into this process dreading it, it’s going to feel dreadful, so try to make it feel a little more upbeat by combining it with a budget friendly date.
  2. Show up for these chats prepared with a list. Write down some things together that you want to talk about. If it’s a topic that is really touchy, just keep it to that one item and have some open-ended questions ready to ask each other. If it gets emotional, take a break immediately and start with a different topic (from this list) when you’re calm enough.
  3. Share your money stories. How your family treated money when you were growing up has shaped how you think and feel about it today. The same goes for your partner. By talking about your history, you understand each other more. And that understanding can go a long way. A major part of staying together is communicating shared values and honoring them. So while your partner might prefer to shop at the whole foods market and you love the discount grocers, you both value healthy living and nutritious meals. So how can you meet in the middle spending-wise while still eating well?
  4. Share your financial fears. Fear makes us do crazy things—like hide purchases or get a secret credit card. Fears boil down to a few common words: power, respect, security, and dreams. Look for the underlying truth. Some truths could look like this:
    “I feel like I have no influence over how our money is allocated.” (A lack of control = power)
    “I don’t know what I’m doing with money.” (feeling inferior or ill equipped = power)
    “I’m afraid something bad will happen and we won’t be able to afford it.” (Security)
    “I’ll never be able to do XYZ because we can’t afford it” (Feeling like a dream is unattainable)
    “You never listen to me.” (Feeling disrespected.)
  5. Do a budget together. You need a budget plan that you both agree on. If you don’t have a budget plan that is written down, you’re both just going to be guessing. If you feel like you have to hide your purchases to avoid conflict, then your budget plan needs to include an agreed upon equal spending allowance for each of you. Then you can buy your latte’s without judgement and stop nitpicking your partner for impulse buying that new toy. Having a LIFESTYLE BUDGET is a key part of my budget plan.
  6. Don’t keep money secrets. Many of the stories I hear about arguments stem from one partner keeping purchases hidden from another. When you try to hide your spending, your spouse feels like they can’t trust you, and you can’t build a strong marriage without trust.
  7. Dream for YOU. Make a list of your own personal goals that you want to accomplish, even the ones that don’t seem like they have anything to do with money. It will cost money or time to actually make dreams happen… and time can cost you money!
  8. Dream together. Then think about the goals you want to accomplish as a couple by combining your individual goals. Talk about your long-term goals, like vacation and retirement. When you’re working together toward common money goals, you have a shared vision and shared dreams. Dreaming about the future with the one you want to share it with can deepen your relationship. Prioritizing your goals together can make it easier to decide which ones to focus on first. It also makes compromising a lot easier because you can choose what is most important to you and what you are willing to give up in order to have it. As you work through deciding which financial goals you want to focus on, take some time to FIND THE FACTS about how much those goals are going to cost. It’s really easy to get carried away with goals and underestimate how much money or time it will take the accomplish them. Remember, we don’t use UNICORN BUDGETS.
  9. Listen to your partner. I know, you’ve heard that before. But how many times do you really listen? Most of us (including me) are guilty of listening only to think up a response. And then we interrupt with our ideas and viewpoints and criticisms. Make this a rule: When your spouse is talking, you’re only allowed to ask questions. You can’t offer your thoughts until they ask or until they’re done sharing. It’ll change the conversation, I promise. If this is challenging (which is often is) then use a “speaking pillow.” Only the one holding the pillow is allowed to speak.
  10. Forgive your partner. We’ve all made money mistakes. And we’re all going to make more money mistakes in the future. The way we handle those mistakes—ideally with grace and without enabling—dictates how comfortably we can talk about money in the future. Make a plan for this too. Tell your partner what you would like for them to do if you make a mistake, and ask them what they expect of you.
  11. Have money chats regularly. Seriously, don’t wrap up your conversation without scheduling another. You have to be doing this regularly, because you have to be revisiting your budget any time your income changes or your goals shift. Deciding which goals you want to prioritize as a couple and fitting them into your budget is just the beginning. As time goes on, you might want to add new goals in or you might find that one or both of you don’t actually want the things that you thought you wanted when you initially set your financial goals. That’s okay. People change and goals change too.

Remember to download my 7 tips for having SUCCESSFUL Money chats with your partner. You can bring it to your next chat!

Attitude, Gratitude, and Money Mood.

There are scientifically proven benefits to being someone that practices gratitude.

  • Grateful people have better relationships
  • Grateful people have improved physical health
  • Grateful people have improved mental health
  • Grateful people are more empathetic and less aggressive
  • Grateful people sleep better
  • Grateful people have higher self esteem
  • Grateful people have better mental stamina

We know that gratitude will change YOU as a person, but did you know that intentionally focusing on shifting to a grateful mindset will change A LOT about your money too?

  • The way you save it
  • The way you spend it
  • The way you feel about it
  • How much you earn
  • How successful you are

How exactly does being grateful change your money?

Gratitude gives you patience with money.

Gratitude can combat a tendency toward instant gratification. People who practice gratitude are more likely to feel positive about their current situation or what they currently have, meaning that they are less likely to give into instant gratification or overspending. They are more likely to wait for a good deal and less likely to be mesmerized by the shiny new object. They don’t “HAVE TO HAVE IT.” Gratitude makes you good at identifying the “NEEDS vs WANTS.”

If you get beyond the need for instant gratification, you’re going to reach for that credit card less, which means you are saving on the compounding interest payment you’d be making month to month. Not only are you saving on the item itself, you’re saving on the later effects of “needing” that item now. Gratitude for the win.

“My whole approach to finances has changed since starting my gratitude journal. I’m more careful about my spending and put more of my paycheck into Future Me savings. When I was job-hunting, I had a financial cushion that empowered me to hold out for a new position that I really loved AND had better long-term earning potential, rather than simply accepting the first offer I got. I wouldn’t have had that patience before.”

Grateful Journaler

Gratitude Beats Materialism

Imagine being a person that smiles and feels truly thankful for something simple like getting a good parking spot when it’s raining out. That feeling of bliss is very real and for some people it does come as easily as this, but it takes practice. A person who can smile and be thankful for the little things in life is far less likely to feel they need the latest model iPhone, or third pair of cute shoes. Buying something new may give you a quick feeling of short-lived excitement, but it dies away as you begin take the item for granted. Grateful people are more likely to spend money on experiences that connect them with long-lasting memories and people.

Gratitude Promotes Generosity

Gratitude also promotes generosity… but wait, how can giving your money away tie into better finances?

When you make giving to charity a priority, you’re forced to re-evaluate your finances so that you can meet your objectives. It means you are more likely to pay closer attention to your spending, and track it better. You’re also more likely to reduce your own expenses to make room for more generosity.

Plus, when you give, you have the chance to get a bit of a tax break. If you’re a business owner, giving can help raise your profile in your community and encourage goodwill toward your business. That’s not a bad thing when you want to attract more customers.

I’m a people-pleaser by nature, which unfortunately has led me to make bad business choices even though they didn’t feel right. I started meditating and focusing on how grateful I was for things that did go well. Growing this respect for my accomplishments through gratitude helped me become more confident in my decisions and now I trust myself. My business is doing better than it ever has in such a short time.

Grateful Entrepeneur

Gratitude can Advance your Career

Grateful people are more likable, make better managers, and are more focused and productive. Gratitude raises optimism and self esteem, which leads to higher confidence. All these qualities translate to higher income potential, which grateful people are likely to use for cultivating even more gratitude in the world.

“Great, but how do I become grateful?”

Keep a gratitude journal

By writing down a few items every day that you are thankful for, you may eventually become more attuned to all the tiny good things in your life. For example, maybe it’s that first sip of coffee in the morning, the bus that came on time, or the stranger who smiled at you.

Volunteer

There’s nothing like helping others in need to remind us to feel grateful for what we have. Sometimes it’s all about perspective and when you see life through another persons’s eyes, you can see your own life more clearly.

Be Grateful for the Joneses; Don’t Envy Them.

Comparing our real lives (which are messy and crazy) to the curated “highlight reels” that others populate their social-media feeds with can leave us feeling dissatisfied instead of grateful. Sometimes a break from social media can help us focus on what’s good in our own lives. We all need a screen detox FREQUENTLY. It’s a societal crisis.

A simple Thank You.

When you make a point of acknowledging the contributions of others, you can’t help but feel grateful to have them around. You might find they reciprocate with their own thankfulness to you, which can only strengthen the feedback loop of gratitude. Try it. Write a card for someone. They’re GOING to smile.

How’s your Money Mindset? Take my Quiz to find out if you could use some Gratitude in your life.

Are you making the NUMBER ONE money mistake?!

This might be the NUMBER ONE mistake when it comes to money….Not planning for FUTURE YOU. In my day to day practice, I find that most people think about their budget within the NOW… what will they need this month? When it comes to debt, most people think in the PAST… where they spent their money to get the debt. The PAST and NOW are important… but the MOST important is FUTURE YOU. 

Who’s future you? That’s you next week. That’s you in 3 months when you gotta take the dog to the vet. That you in 6 months when the brakes go on your car. That’s YOU at your kid’s graduation. That’s YOU in retirement. Anything after today is “future you.” 

www.prettymoneyclub.com/budgetmakeover

If you, like many others, have a budget that is only concerned with this month, then when the brakes go on the car 6 months from now, you’re gonna be reaching for your credit card. This is where the hamster wheel comes in. We can’t seem to get ahead. We take one step forward and then two steps backward. Have you ever had these experiences? This is something that I hear every day…. “I  started on this budgeting journey but then ______ (fill in the blank) happened.”

Do you drive a car? If yes, then car maintenance is not an unexpected expense.

Do you own a home? If yes, then home maintenance is not an unexpected expense. (The water tank, the appliances, the roof, the windows, the tree in your yard…) 

Do you have kids? If yes, then new soccer cleats are not an unexpected expense. Neither are no-pay sick days. Or school trips. 

Just because you have not planned for expenses does not make them unexpected.

www.prettymoneyclub.com/budgetmakeover

You absolutely know that those expenses are going to be coming…. you just may not know when they’re going to come. Planning for “future you” is absolutely key. Putting money aside for “future you” allows you to gain control over your money. 

If you have ever wondered where the money was going to come from, or if you found yourself reaching into an account that was not intended for a particular expense, you probably weren’t feeling  like you were in control of that spending choice. If you are somebody that is carrying debt right now it’s probably because when an expense came up, you hadn’t planned for it. You didn’t have the money for it and you needed to reach for the credit card. This is what is happening day in and day out with families and why we are having a hard time getting out of debt. 

So do this today: grab a pen and paper or use your phone and list your irregular and future expenses. Think of EVERYTHING that you MIGHT have to spend money on… back to school shopping, christmas, birthdays, property tax, vacations, retirement, kids education, time off work, medication, activities, field trips, home maintenance, car maintenance, weddings, date nights… 

Also put aside some extra money for an emergency fund. What if your property floods and you find out that home insurance doesn’t cover the perimeter drain? What if your kid is being a donkey outside and throws a rock through the neighbours window? What if you drop your phone in the toilet? (All these stories are true… by the way.) 

http://www.prettymoneyclub.com/budgetmakeover

If you do a complete list… you should have AT LEAST 20 things on it. You may have upwards of 30 or 40!

I’ve got a freebie for you to help you make sure that you don’t miss things on your list. It’s my list of DON’T FORGOT expenses. You’ll get access to this list, my free budgeting template, and more when you sign up for my free video series called “the 5 day budget makeover.” I’ll e-mail you the freebies and the videos I’ve created to help you create your FUTURE YOU budget! 

GET YOUR FREEBIES HERE.

You need a goal… FAST.

If we want to achieve financial success we need to identify what financial success looks like for YOU. Financial success to me will look differently than what it looks like to you. Everyone reading this blog will have different versions of success. The best way to achieve ANY version of success is to have goals… but not just the kind that you dream about. You need tangible goals that are written down and that have a plan to achieve them. It’s nice to dream about that gorgeous island with the white sand and the sun shining all day, but if you don’t know how to get there, you won’t ever get to feel the sun on your skin. 

So tell me… what are YOUR goals? What do YOU want? 

When I am setting goals with my clients, I like to have them come up with one or two goals that they can achieve within ONE year. It can be really draining when our goals are always long term.  It’s important for us to see that our efforts are really working and it’s really easy to get discouraged if you don’t get a little thrill of success along the way. If you don’t have a goal that is short term, I want you to cut a bigger goal down. Here’s what I mean:

If you are saving to buy a house and you need $20,000 in three years, then you need to set a goal to accumulate $6666 in one year. I actually want you to save $7000 per year. I’ll tell you why in a sec. Break it down even further by putting that into a monthly goal. $20,000 in three years is $6666 per year, or $555.55 per month. Now, I bumped your goal up to $7000 annually, which is $583.33 monthly. Stay with me. You have to save $555.55 per month to achieve your three year goal for a down payment on a house. But I want you to put $583.33 into that account every month. I also recommend that you automate this transfer and make it as difficult as possible to withdraw the money (don’t put it in an account that has a debit card attached to it… make it so that you actually have to log into your bank to move the money.) Now, why did I ask you to deposit more than you need to achieve your goal? Because if the accomplishment of setting that money aside every month and visually seeing the number climb to achieve your goal isn’t enough… and you’re starting to feel discouraged… you can treat yourself. You have been putting just a little extra away ($27.78 monthly, to be exact) which can add up in a few months to a nice dinner out. Remember that if you do use this money for a morale booster to really think about your goal and congratulate yourself for working so hard to put that money aside. Use the extra treat money to realign your MINDSET with your goals. It’s a refreshing buffer. 

“It can be really draining when our goals are all long term. We need quick wins to FEEL like our efforts are actually getting us somewhere.”

Lindsay Plumb, Founder of the Pretty Money Club

I LOVE to hear about goals. It’s always fun to hear what excites and inspires somebody else to make changes in their lives. And by sharing, we can inspire somebody else. Could you be the person to ignite a spark in someone else’s life? I’d love if you would share your money goals with my Facebook group. 

And if you’re getting fired up thinking about your goals, but you’re not really sure how to start aligning your finances to achieve them, take my mindset quiz. When you get your score, I’ll give you the link to my free 10 day video series where I give you 10 practical things to do to make your next 10 years the BEST yet. It’s packed full of value… and FREE. It’s my gift to you… because I want to see EVERYONE on fire for their goals in life!!!

You Need a B WORD.

… BUDGET.

Woah there! Did you just CRINGE at the word “budget”? You, like many other people, may get a negative feeling even mentioning the big “B” word. I personally love it. I get EXCITED when I get to talk about budgeting. My day is MADE when someone tells me how my budget tips changed their life.  I’ve got a super simple task that you can do TODAY to start getting on top of your budget…. but first….

What IS a budget?

One of the reasons many people have a hard time budgeting is because they don’t actually know what a budget IS in the first place. Let’s cover that now. A budget is a plan. It is a road map for how you are going to spend your money. It is NOT an analysis of how you HAVE spent your money. A budget is looking FORWARDS. It is NOT looking backwards. It is finding the facts of how you have been spending your money only so that you can create a plan to modify your spending in the future. It is making sure that you have money set aside for FUTURE YOU. It is planning ahead for expenses, like new brakes on your car, a new hot water heater, or having someone come clean your gutters and mow your lawn. It is figuring out what your NEEDS are vs what your WANTS are. It is how you figure out how much money you have to spend on your LIFESTYLE, after covering all of your NEEDS. It is achieving your lifestyle goals, like a family vacation, by putting aside money every month to get them. It is checking in and adjusting your plan any time your financial situation changes, or you add a new goal to your life.

And my favourite way of budgeting is to make things as automated as possible… because you have better things to do than sit down and look at your statements to figure out where your money went every month. 

I break budgeting down into these easy steps:

  1. Find the facts
  2. Needs versus Wants 
  3. Future You
  4. Lifestyle
  5. Make it Stick

Today we are going to focus on step one. Finding the facts.

Now, one of the things that people do wrong when they budget is they look out the window and they see unicorns. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean they’re in a fantasy land. They’re not looking at reality and using the facts of their life and their expenses when they create the budget. What are the chances of you staying on track if your numbers are grabbed out of thin air? 

This step can be very time consuming if you have never done it before, or if you haven’t done it in awhile. You NEED a comprehensive list of your previous expenses that spans at least 3-4 months to capture all of the irregular expenses that come up. You don’t have to finish it today (unless you’re feeling super ambitious) but you do need to figure out how you are going to get this done in the future. Make an appointment in your calendar with yourself. If it ain’t in the calendar, it ain’t gonna happen.


Here are some ways that you can track your spending:

  1. Log in to your online banking. Many banks have apps, graphs, or charts to show you a record of your spending categorized for you. See if your bank has one of these options. 
  2. Use a program like Mint or You Need a Budget that links to your bank account. These apps will categorize all of your purchases automatically and let you filter timeframes. You will have to edit some of the categories, because they aren’t always labelled correctly.
  3. Print your bank statements and use a different colour highlighter for different major categories (Groceries, Utilities, Mortgage/Rent, Health, Education, Coffee or Fast Food, Entertainment) Try to keep the categories simple. 
  4. Bank Account Budgeting. In the Pretty Money Club, we automate our bank accounts so that our money is allocated ahead of time. We tell our money where to GO, we don’t look back to try and figure out where it WENT. I call this Bank Account Architecture, or budgeting right inside your bank account… Bank Account Budgeting. It’s the easiest way to do things… but it takes a bit of time to set up. More time than I have to explain to you in this exercise. If you want to learn how to do this, join the Pretty Money Club.
  5. My Spending Tracker. I’ve created a super simple tracker for you to use going forward. You can keep track of all your lifestyle spending choices (your wants.) You might be surprised at how much they add up.

Your task is to PICK a way that you are going to track your spending and make some time in your calendar to DO IT.

If this is too overwhelming or you’re looking for some extra support, sign up for my free 5 day budget makeover series and I’ll walk you through it.

HOW IS Your MONEY MINDSET this decade?!

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before… and maybe you’re guilty of saying this too…

“New year, new vibe. New me. This is the year that I will accomplish ALL THE THINGS!”

A day goes by, two weeks, then maybe a month. Before you know it, your New Year’s resolutions slip away from view and the goals you set for yourself seem like distant dreams that simply live within the pages of your morning journal.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone. While it is human nature to challenge ourselves, consistency and determination to meet said challenges do not come as naturally.

“Mindset is THE key to lifestyle changes and resolutions are just lifestyle changes made to achieve goals we want.”

Lindsay Plumb – Founder of the Pretty Money Club

The reality is that people make resolutions with good intentions… but then fail. THERE IS GOOD NEWS though: a few minor adjustments to your mindset in the follow-through process and you have the power to change your narrative.

Think about your deepest desires… those wants and needs living just beneath the surface. Don’t think or judge what comes up; accept the first things that come to mind. Use what you discover to answer these questions:

What do you want to accomplish this year in order to get that much closer to your goal?

How will you go about accomplishing it?

Get comfortable with asking yourself the tougher questions:

How will you make sure to stay on track?

Are your finances in line with your desire to accomplish your goals?

If necessary, are you willing to make some lifestyle changes? (That’s totally okay if your answer is no, too. I myself am unwilling to make sacrifices sometimes.)

Become aware of that voice inside your head that says you can’t. Negative self-talk is the biggest obstacle that keeps us from achieving our goals. Naturally, things may come up throughout the year that pulls us away from our resolutions. We have no control over that. The only thing within our control is how we respond to those circumstances.

One thing is certain: You are totally capable of getting your money in line. Think of a time when you absolutely needed something and
YOU made it happen.

Regardless of the circumstance, you found a way to navigate through to the end goal. Perhaps you reflect back with humor and incredulity, wondering how it was even possible. Think of this moment as your ‘money mindset,’ or the ability to accomplish anything given the right amount of focus and determination. Now, round up those dollars and harness those cents. Indeed, you are stronger than you think!

You can achieve the impossible. But first, you must get your ‘money mindset’ right.

Want to see how your mindset scores up?

Take my money mindset quiz!

Teach Your Kids What Christmas is REALLY About

If you don’t want your kids to be materialistic, quit buying them so much stuff.

You’ve probably seen me say this before. Don’t feel badly though if you’ve fallen into the consumer vortex and got a little gift-happy this year. I’ve been guilty of this too! Sometimes we all need a little reminder.

We all want to teach our kids to be grateful for the things that they have and more importantly, the people in their lives. But you know how Christmas is. Their friends at school are talking about their Christmas lists… and what they want. They’re going to want stuff! Chances are the grandparents and awesome aunts and uncles in their lives are going to get them stuff, too. If they got a bunch of stuff last year… how quickly did that thing end up in the corner of the closet never to be played with again? How fast did they lose that vital piece? How soon were they onto something else?

That’s why it’s important for you to help your kids understand what Christmas is really all about.

How do you do that?

You have to lead by example. If your kids see you getting all frazzled and excited over Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals, then they’re probably going to get excited and start talking about these things too! But if you take the time to talk about how important it is to spend time together and build cherished family memories by experiencing the parade, checking out the lights on your street, or baking peppermint cookies and making hot cocoa, they’ll be excited for those things too.

No one is going to give a Christmas toast about you that says “She has a designer couch and really expensive earrings.”

I love waking up on Christmas morning with the excitement of Santa MAGIC. I love when the boys open their stockings. But the absolute best part of the day is when the stockings and the small items inside are all put away and we get to head to the beach as a family to have a sand castle building competition. We forgo big gifts and set aside money all year long to go on a family vacation. Yes, it does require money to do this, but spending time together does not.

When I was a kid we would volunteer as a family at the Santa’s Anonymous warehouse. We spent the entire day freezing our butts off and packed HUNDREDS of hampers. I don’t remember every gift that I unwrapped. But I remember the faces (rosy red and cold) of the people who came together in community to do this cold task every year.

These are experiences I’ll never forget—and they had nothing to do with a gift that was given to me. It was all about spending time with my family and giving to other people.

This Christmas, I hope that you’ll teach your kids how important they are to you, and how much you cherish the time you spend with them. I hope they learn that their worth as a friend and human on this planet is FAR more than the brand-name sweater they wear or the shiny new bike they ride. Here are some practical examples of how you can build your family bond this Christmas season:

  1. Volunteer as a family. You might sing carols at a nursing home or build a gift basket to donate to a family in need. You could volunteer at your local soup kitchen or church. Talk to your kids about why you are choosing to spend time this way. That will make for some memorable and rewarding conversations!
  2. Take your kids on a gift-buying date, individually. Give them each a small amount of money and have them buy thoughtful gifts for their siblings. Ask them questions about what their brother or sister really likes and what is really important to them. On Christmas morning, let them unwrap these gifts one at a time and have the buyer explain why they thought of their sibling when they bought it. You’ll get a special one-on-one date with each child and the joy on Christmas morning will warm your heart, I promise!
  3. For every gift your kids receive, have them give something away. You’ve got to give them a heads up before Christmas morning so that they know what to expect. Get them involved in choosing which toys they want to give away. This will help with the after Christmas clutter storm and encourage your kids to value generosity.

Don’t get me wrong here… I do NOT disagree completely with giving gifts. I just think we need to be more mindful of the reason WHY we are giving gifts. I do not believe in feeling OBLIGATED to spend money that I don’t have on people that don’t need or want what I’m giving them. I think that sometimes the best gift you can give someone is to release them from that culture-created obligation of gift giving in the first place.

So if you DO want to give someone a gift, make sure that it’s something really special. Something that’s not a fad. Something that will be cherished. And remind them that there is so much more to this world than material things.

And if you want some meaningful gift ideas that range from absolutely free to out-of-this-world unique, check out this gift guide!

3 Ways to Cut Your Christmas Spending!

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Christmas falls on December 25th this year!

I’m only kidding a little bit. Why? In reality, we all know what day Christmas is… yet every year we fail to plan for the cost! Gifts to buy… time off work… turkey dinners to make… it all racks up.

If you’re in my inner circle called the Pretty Money Club, then you’ve budgeted for this holiday all year long. You’ve set up your bank account architecture and you’re automatically putting money into the Future You category, which includes Christmas.

If you’re like many other busy people who flail around the holiday season and promise to do better next year instead, don’t beat yourself up. I got your back. Here are three things you can do to stay on track this Christmas.

1. Make a budget and stick to it.

I know this might seem like a no-brainer, but if you don’t figure out how much money you have to spend, you’ll definitely blow your budget. Take 5 minutes and download my free holiday spend tracker. You will get to make a budget for everyone on your gift list, and actually track each purchase right from your phone.

2. Don’t get distracted by shiny “SALES.”

Just because those awesome shoes are on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy them. Sales are going to come up again. They don’t JUST come up at Christmas time. In fact, I promise that there will be a sale within a month of Christmas coming to an end. Stick to your list! Is the item that you’re drooling over on your gift list for someone? No? Then don’t even. You’re falling for the shiny object. You’re getting distracted. Just because there is a big red sign that says it’s 70% off DOES NOT give you an excuse to reach for your credit card and spend money you don’t have on something that isn’t on your list in the first place.

3. Meaningful gifts don’t have to be expensive.

Chances are that your most treasured memories have little to do with a material object and more to do with an experience with friends or family. Think outside the mall this season. Use your skills. Get creative. Give your time. There are so many ways that you can show someone how special they are without having to spend a ton of money! Maybe it means that your family pools their resources to do a really fun activity together. Maybe you frame a photo taken on a life-changing trip with a friend. Maybe you knit a hat for your niece’s favorite dolly. Maybe you host dinner this year and buy a fun board game to make some memories with.

If you feel like you’re scrambling this year, I encourage you to get on top of your finances with my FREE 5 Day Budget Makeover Series, so that next year you are not SHOCKED that Christmas arrives on the 25th… again!

PS – Don’t forget to download my free Christmas spending tracker!

Can We Just STOP with the Gift Giving this Christmas?

Christmas has become a retail festival with a CONSUMERISM mindset… and it shouldn’t be.

Christmas should be joyous, a time to relax and spend quality time with the people that we care about…. but it causes some people unhappiness, debt , and anxiety.

Many people this season will feel obligated to buy gifts for friends, extended family, coworkers, our even our kid’s teachers… that they may not even use! Many people will buy these useless gifts with money they don’t have and cause themselves stress they don’t need.

I think that one of the reasons for this completely insane mindset is that we have disconnected with what a gift is in the first place. A gift is something given without an expectation of anything in return. It is given because we want to bless or benefit someone else. We want to benefit the other person, because we WANT to, not because we feel obligated to. We want to benefit the other person without expecting that they are going to benefit us in return. We are receiving the gift of joy simply by knowing that we blessed another person, hence why you feel good even when your gift is completely anonymous.

“A gift is something given WITH JOY and WITHOUT AN EXPECTATION of ANYTHING in return.”

Lindsay Plumb – Founder of the Pretty Money Club

If we do not consider gifts in this manner, then Christmas becomes a zero-sum game. I give to you and you feel obligated to give back to me at a similar value. This becomes a numbers game where we are trying to end up with 0 obligation to each other. Lets pretend I spend $25 on a scarf for you, because I care about you and I know that you will be out in the cold often this winter… and you don’t have a scarf. I give you the scarf with joy in my heart because I have budgeted money for gift giving and I genuinely want to bless you. I tell you that you are in no way obligated to return the favor. You trust that I am being sincere and accept the gift without feeling obligated to gift back to me. Fantastic. Unfortunately, it often does not go this way.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

Saint Francis of Assisi

A more common scenario would be this: I buy you a $25 scarf because it’s Christmas and I felt like I should get you something, so I grabbed one I saw on my frenzied shopping spree, even though I didn’t budget for it. I give it to you without explaining that there is no obligation attached to the gift. You really didn’t need a new scarf, but since I bought you one, you now feel obligated to buy me something of equal value. You spend $25 on me, instead of putting the money toward something else that you actually needed: new boots. After Christmas, I am anxious because I have spent more than I intended and I’m not paying interest on my credit card, and you mis-prioritized your spending money because you bought me a gift instead of putting that money towards new boots. And now your toes are still getting wet because of those holey boots.

IT’S TIME TO STOP THE MADNESS.

I think it is time for us to get off this gift giving trend. The best gift is releasing others from the obligation of having to give to you in the first place! Lets work together to ban unnecessary Christmas presents. I’m not telling you to skip gift-giving altogether. Go on and get your spouse that thing you know they’ve been dying for. Get a few presents for the kids to see their smiling faces on Christmas Day when they spy the sparkly boxes under the tree. But don’t let that list of people grow beyond your means. You may be embarrassed to raise this point, but most people feel the same way, so you’ll likely be doing them a HUGE favor.

Okay, so what about the people in your life that you know are going to give you stuff, because you know they want to. Your parents, for example?

If you do have generous people in your life that really want to bestow a gift upon you, it would be doing them a huge service to tell them what would really benefit you. For example, let’s say I had money budgeted for Christmas and I decided that I wanted to really bless my sister. So I go out and buy her that expensive hair straightener she was talking about last week. I give her the gift on Christmas and she opens it, with a stunned expression on her face. I think she loves it, but in her mind she is actually thinking “Oh my gosh… we could really use that money for groceries. Things are so tight… what would she think if I returned it ?” I would ABSOLUTELY want her to tell me that. If she returned it to get herself something that really helped her… awesome.

What about your kids? How many times have they received toys that they play with for like, 2 days… then they lose the charger, break it, or just plain lose interest? What if instead of those material things, they got a pass to the pool? How awesome would that be? Be bold! Be brave! TELL the close people in your life what it is you and your kids really want or need.

Let’s all make a pact together, right here, right now.

We shall NOT give gifts beyond that for which we have budgeted.

We shall give budgeted gifts with joy and without ANY expectation.

We shall NOT give gifts out of feeling obligated.

We shall be BOLD and tell the world all about our pact… inspiring others out of their anxiety and encouraging generous gifters to give gifts that are actually useful!


PS: If you have a habit of over-spending at Christmas, get on top of your budget this year by joining me for my 5 Day Budget Makeover Series. You’ll learn how to set money aside for next Christmas, so that you have cash in hand rather than grabbing that credit card! AND you’ll be invited to join a Facebook Group full of people who are doing the same!

PPS: If you need help tracking your purchases this Christmas so that you DON’T blow the budget, use my FREE tool: the Holiday Spend Tracker! You can put it right on the home screen of your phone so when you buy something you log it right away.

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