Self-Image Regarding Your Finances (Part I)

A word to encourage you with today my friends. I want to address with you an area of self-image, your finances. You might not think that the two go hand in hand, but they absolutely do.

Ponder a few questions with me for just a few moments. Concerning your finances, do you find yourself frugal and always looking for the deals? Do you shop only the clearance racks of the stores and nothing else? Do you buy things you really want or only things that can get you by?

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The Greatest Channel To ‘Your’ Success

Hi, for those of you viewing this post that don’t know much about me, my name is Tara Hayes-Johnson. Prior to going into business for myself, I was working 80-90 hours a week for a boss that didn’t appreciate my work. Not only was I burnt out and stressed out, but I had no money to cover my minimum monthly expenses. Knowing that I was going to law school, not only did I need something that would allow for time, flexibility, and freedom, I needed a way to pay cash for school instead of incurring that student loan debt and adding to the debt I already had. In the last 4 years now, I have been able to profit a 6 figure income averaging 6800.00 in profit per month. My spouse and I have paid off over 84k in debt in 34. All I know is, I am diversifying my income,I never have to answer to another corporate boss again, and we are on our way to financial independence here soon.

You might be reading this thinking so what?!? or yeah right, this is the internet,, how do I know this is real??? I have a message specifically designed for you my friend, so indulge me for a moment and stick this one out, this message probably has a purpose for you.

I share this because recently I faced a bit of an epiphany. You see, even though I have made alot of money the last 4 years, doesn’t mean I mastered how to keep it. There are people that confuse the definition of wealth. For some, ‘wealth’ means making alot of money and for others, it means keeping money in your account. Wealth truly means the ability to make money, keep it in your account, and watch it grow in front of your very own eyes. The difference between who keeps their money and who doesn’t is the difference between the 98% and the 2%. According to my corporate trainer, Dani Johnson, ‘98% of the population will be dead or dead broke by the age of 65,’ Some of us are simply searching and measuring our success, comparing and contrasting success to that of others for many of us in a very unhealthy manner. Do you really want to be another statistic; the sad truth is that 98% of us will settle as another statistic because we simply thought we couldn’t get there ourself.

Think about it, you probably know people who want to ‘keep up with the Jones’. The pressure to have the BEST and have brand NEW things all the time grows on us. We see commercials, we network with people, we listen to the radio; these ‘things’ program our minds and trick it to believe we have to pay more to get more and we have to have the BEST. If we don’t have the best then we are stupid, we don’t fit in, we need to get with the program. How far has the lies, the brainwashing truly gotten you? I know this is going to create a stir for some people, and that’s okay. The truth is as a man thinks so is he. You only think that you need these things because you have been programmed to believe that this is reality and the truth. My friends, the truth is, true millionaires have grown their money by using what they have in front of them. True millionaires are so busy investing into others and putting them first that they don’t care about what they have or what they do not have; they have mastered the ability to keep their money in account that grows them dividends and gives them other options for residual incomes; they have learned how to make wise investments even in a down economy.

Let me ask you, are the 50-,60,70,80 plus hours that you work a week worth it to you? Is it worth it to you to sacrifice your family because the amount is never enough for what is outgoing? When is the last time you did something for yourself that truly made you happy? When did you feel you could cut the break? Is the financial pressure you have worth it to you? When is the last time you took a vacation just because you do? Compare your once or current dream circle and compare it to your income circle? How big is your ego, how far has this gotten you? Are your ideas making you money or leaving you dead broke? What kind of stack is in your account?

If you want to stay that way, then that is on you and I promise not to judge you for the lifestyle you desire. We all have hopes, goals, and dreams, and I would want you to live by your design the way that you are designed to be. If you are happy with where you are at and things are perfect, this might not be the message you were looking to read. If you are reading this, however, with a pit in your stomach there is a reason for that. I am so grateful you are reading this message and if you are upset, I know that is because something has reached down into your heart. Maybe you were like me and didn’t know how to cry out for help or what your next steps were.

Let me share something with you if I may. Let me tell you where I was 4 years ago. This won’t be the whole story, but let me highlight to you what that really looked like, just so you have an idea. If my mess helps your success, I am all about you not making my same mistake. Now seven years ago, I met a guy that I thought appreciated me for me. He spent his time telling me everything I wanted to hear. I would come home to the floor vacuumed, meals made, and a perfectly clean home. He would even get the mail for me and bring it in. Kind of odd for a guy that did construction work, who you would have thought would be so busy working that cleaning was the last on his priority list. When I met him, I had one credit card for emergencies. He was so persuasive that one turned into 5 and 5 then 6, so on and so forth. I was in between work struggling to use credit to pay for basic necessities; my first mistake (never again ever). He was off wining and dining women on my credit, etc. etc. He even took a vehicle to which he had no title to. The situation continued to get worse as I did my own investigating. He promised me the moon, the stars, the sky, but had nothing to show for it. He promised to marry me, took me ring shopping, and almost had me sign off on a town-home that I later found would have been fraud because he had lied on the entire application! I started investigating matters and taking them into my own hands. I was going through a Lifetime drama movie of my own and was terrified to share it openly to anyone. I was raised in a performance oriented household and unless things were good, you didn’t make mention of what was negative. I had rejection, abandonment, fear of mistakes, failure, and success written all over me and I didn’t even understand to the extent it went. He began to avoid me, abandoned his post, and left me high and dry to clean up the mess that he had left from so many women before. As far as I know, I am the only woman that he never put through banktrupcy, but I was super close! Most women he did this to were single mothers raising kids of their own. He had never paid his taxes that I am aware of and stopped his payments to his ex-wife for child support. He rode a slippery slope enough that he barely kept himself out of incarceration. I really didn’t know any better until it was too late, so I thought.

Before I met this character, I had a beautiful apartment and a career going for me. His screaming and threatening antics had me beside myself and impacted my ability to function at work. I had social services and law enforcement background, I should have seen the signs. This is classic right, everyone thinks, ‘well gosh, she should have seen the signs’. You can say that all you want, but love is blind and feelings can lie to you. I learned this all too well the hard way.

I had to pick up two jobs just to pay the bills. In fact, I was working 80-90 hours a week. I got 2 hours of sleep a night, and barely ate because I didn’t have time. I was always on the go and didn’t have the time for a social life. I was burnt out in miserable as a social worker by day and retail worker by night. There were plenty of nights that I didn’t get home until 11:45 at night only to have start on my homework towards my paralegal certification. On top of it, I had made a decision to go to law school and had been going through the application process. I thought I could do everything and I was going to show him what I was capable of.

I moved home briefly, but I never felt like it was home. I was not satisfied with my work and I certainly was not making enough money according to my worth and performance on the job. I was always stressed, especially about my finances. He bought a bunch of stuff that we really didn’t need, but he convinced me we needed it! We had a huge, flat screen tv mounted to our wall with Bose speakers and surround sound! You might not think this is alot, but this was just one out of many items we had no use for when we had a perfectly good, fat box television that was still working!!! Talk about not putting money in the right cases, that was certainly foolish on our parts. The worst part is that we put it on credit! Can you imagine the interest?!?

Because he abandoned his post in my life, both jobs were not cutting the cost of the interest alone. I was able to wheel and deal with the companies on lowering my APRs (annual percentage rates), however, it still wasn’t enough. Gosh, I wasn’t even meeting my minimum monthly expenses, let alone interest payments!!! This man was after my life and I had no idea how I was going to escape all of this mess. I was constantly on the look out, unsure of what he was going to do to me or my bank account next. After I cut him off from access to my finances, it still took me 3 paychecks to reach 33.00 in my checking account! I don’t say this to gain your sympathy, but merely to share what I had gone through. Talk about anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis. I really truly didn’t see a way out of my situation and became so depressed that I faced suicidal ideations regularly.

I was constantly reminded by others of all the mistakes and failures I had made and what they thought I should do. I couldn’t even think clearly. All I knew to do was to work and work harder to escape the realities of my situation. All I knew was that the income I was bringing was not enough and I had to fix it fast. I began looking for paralegal thinking that might be a good option and then stumbled upon a work at home job. I filled out the information, but didn’t think anything of it. So, I filled the form out not expecting a call. Yet, I received a call. I wasn’t very nice and came up with every attitude and excuse as to why I should not or could not do it. I told the guy who contacted me, ‘I can’t afford to go into business for myself’, ‘what if I don’t have a guarantee’, ‘that’s good for you, but how much have you really made’. No matter what angle you looked at it from, I had an excuse for everything. My director in my business should have just said NEXT and moved on, but somehow, he saw something in me and didn’t give up.

I remember looking at the business opportunity and thinking the investment was hopeless. How could I spend money on something I didn’t have money to waste. Sure the folks in the industry said they would, ‘help me’, but how did I know they really would? I had no experience in business before, so I should just stick with something ‘safe’ and pray that ‘somehow’ I will make it out of my situation if I ‘became’ lucky somehow. One thing was for sure, success wasn’t going to fall out of the sky and I had to do something, but what?

I was fortunate that my parents had put money aside for educational purposes and after I reached a certain age, I had the ability to decide what to do with that money. The stocks were really aggressive, going up and down and I wanted to be sure that I had control over my own finances being in a position to tell them where to go, something I never had control of before. I took a risk without a guarantee (heck, most jobs aren’t stable anymore, look at the number of layoffs in our country today). I finally realized anything is better than my situation. My director, actually two directors, were the first to ever encourage me in a long time. They shared something that really touched me. What they said was profound to me, ‘I believe in you’. When I heard those words, I knew that God had placed these directors in my life for a very important reason. I decided from there on, to be teachable and coachable and follow their directions. I plugged into training designed specifically for our industry and also plugged into our industry’s corporate trainer, Dani Johnson. My first month in business without any prior experience I made 1k, 5200k in 90 days, nearly 50k in under 5 months time, and made over 70k my first year. Here is the kicker, I was still working my full-time day job! I only had 10 hours to work my business in the evenings and on a Saturday! The 70k did not include my pay from my full-time job; it was in addition to. 70k!!! This business became my soul source of income as I worked around law school. I was overly ambitious and not very happy with my decision for law. Something about impacting lives and talking to people around me became more appealing then researching and writing articles. Television makes a career in law look so much more glamorous! I prayed about my decision because I didn’t want to burn both ends of the candlestick.

My business ended up taking off and law school was left in the past. In the meantime, I met my husband while in law school and eventually we ended up married and now have a 22 month old daughter. We are very happy together, but that doesn’t mean after I made that money that again I knew how to keep it!!! For some reason, I had some ‘bright’ idea that I should hurry up and pay off all my debts and fast. In theory, this was an excellent idea, but I paid off too much too quick with my husband. We are glad that to this day we have paid off 84k in 34 months, but had we been applying directions correctly, according to what we learned from our corporate trainer, we could be financially independent right now! We followed some directions, but we didn’t follow all. I guess you could say it was like the recipe that had good intent, but re-inventing the ingredients wasn’t such a great idea when the outcome wasn’t as anticipated. We made alot of money, but we certainly didn’t keep it!

Recently, my husband and I had fallen into a hardship. He works part time, but they give him nearly 40 hours a week pay, or close to, rather. My husband and I agreed he should pick up additional income. With my educational background, I thought I had the cat in the bag and that I should start applying to any agencies that could help us out. Of course we made too much money to qualify and unless we had eviction notices, noone could help. I started applying for work, with my education, I had interviews in no time. I was excited about the interviews, but somehow, not fulfilled. I really had tried to psyche myself into believe that more meant more. If I could just land this one job then I could do it around my business, have a nanny for my child, and give my family everything they wanted.

Sometimes you do get what you want, even if it’s not right for you. This was certainly the case for me. I ended up landing that job that still gave me flexibility around my business and on top of it, I had begun helping another director in my industry. Next thing you know I am back to those 80 hours; back to that bondage that I thought I had said goodbye to forever. I was miserable, making mistakes, and had lost my balance. I was missing appointments, flying on the road, tryng to juggle everything. I was trying to be everything to everyone else. Nothing came out of this, but exhaustion, depression, and meltdown. My work became the very thing that I was eating, breathing, and sleeping. My husband and daughter were on the back-burner, while I was the one that was going to lead us to success, NOT! Sure, my appointments were there and I had prospects I was interviewing, deals were on the horizon, and I was confident I could still do all of this! The more I sat in training, the more I started to have this pit in my stomach that something wasn’t right. I prayed about my situation and once again was removed from it and placed strategically back in my business.

I then realized the epiphany. How could I put my work before my family? Were my priorities really in the right order? Was it worth it to put paychecks that paid our bills before my own family? I have the ability to make 1-9705k a sale in my business, so why would I settle for mediocrity and set myself up to fail? My friends, I am here to tell you no work hours could make up for what I was missing in my family’s life. My husband never had the time to look for additional work and I treated him like he was second class. I never wanted to be with him because I was too busy for him. I am not proud of it, but I was short-tempered with my daughter and here I am supposed to be setting an example by leading in business, but also being a wife and a mom; a role that was seemingly non-existent. Talk about not honoring or respecting the relationships that existed. How in the world could I be made ruler over much when I wasn’t being entrusted with what I was given? The answer and conclusion was a simple one, to help others get what they wanted and I would be entrusted with more. The change started with me. I was at a breaking point and no matter how much my husband encouraged me and supported me, I had to make the decision to change. I decided not to move forward with the job and to scale my hours working with another director and in my own business, cutting it down to no more than 20 hours a week! That is a 60 hour difference, but a well worth it difference! I had something in front of me that had made me so much money in the past, so why did I stray from it? All I had to do was pick up the phone, get in front of the computer, have a hallway commute, and work around my husband and my daughter, putting them first. This meant, in the mornings spending time with them and making them feel special and honored. This also meant that each week my husband and I have begun discussing our schedules for the week so that they coordinate; this has opened up family time to spend doing activities in and out of the home, has allowed one on one instruction time that I can teach my daughter, has allowed us to communicate where we can eliminate expenses in our budget and accrue money, allowed us to pay off more debt, and has allowed our financial income to increase; especially in business. I have now closed 3 sales in the last 1.5 months and finally have time, flexibility, and freedom. Instead of only giving part of myself to my work and my family, I am able to give it my BEST shot in ALL areas and it is such an honor to grow with my family and to be one as a family unit. I am able to have that quality time with my daughter and even date nights with my husband! It is amazing to me how less can truly mean channeling more success.

Again, everything may be perfect in your life and you wouldn’t change a thing. If you are, however, in a rut and tired of not getting anywhere, if you are looking to increase your relationships, better manage your time, while having more fun and making a greater income, visit wwww.danijohnson.com, go under the ‘events’ section and register for the next First Steps To Success.

The One Key That Determines A Get By Ployee To Empowered Employee-Preneur

We all know the tale of the two stereo-typical cast employees, the one who gets by and the one who goes above and beyond the call of duty. Both fit very different molds, but yet have one thing in common, the work place. The work place is always looking to maximize profit margins and grow info structure. The work place is always looking for the ‘one’ who will get the job done in a timely, efficient manner meeting all needs, demands, and deadlines without complaint. The work place is always looking for reasons to either ‘demote’ or ‘promote’ the right person to represent x,y,z, business or company. The work place is always looking for the right qualities in today’s market trends, whether ‘qualified’ or ‘unqualified’. If you were in front of a mirror right now, what would your reflection mimic? In other words, what type of employee do you see yourself as, the kind that gets by or the kind that will stop it nothing to be that model employee, who rises to the top quickly? You might think you already know, but lets evaluate and see which category you truly fit into, whether get by or employee-preneur.

The first category, is the get by ployee. The get by ployee is the employee who may set their alarm clock to wake up on time, but they hit snooze at least 3 times before getting out of bed. This employee is far from the representation of the excellent employee who is occasionally running behind because of a personal mishap; rather this is the employee who is continuously, perpetually late. This employee may or may not wash their hair and their appearance may be sloppy, not well-kept. In fact, this employee probably found the shirt nearest the bed from last week, forgot to wash it, and decided to put it on anyway! This employee may be speeding down the highway and park in the spot closest to the building because it is more convenient. This employee has been in the bosses office multiple times for being tardy and is wanting to slip through the cracks to get by, hoping that their tardiness goes unnoticed. This employee walks through the door on their cell phone and as they walk by you smell a pungent aroma in the air as if they were in such a hurry you notice their face as a 3 o’clock shadow and their armpits as not having used any form of deodorant and it’s only 8 in the morning!!!

When this employee walks by your desk, you can’t help but notice they are still on a personal call from their cell phone discussing ‘the night before’. This type of employee is loud and unprofessional and rather than going to their desk to start their duties, they are going to their ‘buddies’ desks socializing. Their boss catches them around the corner and is demanding their reports that they promised to get in before the end of last week and is wondering why they haven’t been turned in yet. This employee realizes that they missed their deadline and is now sweating bullets hoping they don’t ruin their annual evaluation that is less than 3 weeks away. This employee is already on a probationary status because their last evaluation was less than sub-par. This employee goes to prepare their reports for their boss, but does the minimal work to skate by. Rather than working consistently and diligently this employee is skimming through and checking facebook constantly. Many companies now monitor sites being used by employees for personal use, but now with smart phones, an employee is able to check their email and facebook with various phone apps. This employee views their job as a loophole that if they want something, they can get by.

Before you know it, the day has passed by for this get by ployee. They have done alot of work and worked hard, but yet, don’t have the fruit that speaks highly of their results. This employee has hardly worked and the lack in their reports and work functions shows that numbers don’t lie and they have yet to get their work done. This employee attends an ‘at the end of the day’ meeting and finds out the company has been losing money due to the number of employees hanging out on various sites for personal work and lack of production. The boss is not very happy and to save the company money, has just announced that they have to begin laying off employees. This employee ‘hopes’ that they won’t be the first to go, but their actions over the last year have said it all. This employee models the laxadaiscal approach and is guilty of exhibiting ‘I don’t care about my job’ approach to their boss. This employee behind their bosses’ back has been complaining about their job and how much they hate it. This employee plays the ‘blame’ game of why they haven’t been selected for a promotion after they have been there the last 5 years, or wonders why they have not received a raise. This mentality has caused them to be angry, bitter, and resentful towards their boss and other company employees. This employee is selfish and only cares about the welfare of themselves rather than others. This employee is asking to be the first for layoffs in today’s economy. It will be a miracle if this employee is not nominated #1 on the lay-off list; that is if his/her boss has not already started the proceedings for dismissal of their position based upon their merited behavior.

The second category, is the empowered, employee-preneur. The get by ployee could stand to learn a few pointers from this employee, but they are too unteachable and not coach-able; they think they know everything. The employee-preneur, on the other hand is extremely teachable and coachable. In fact, the employee-preneur sets their alarm 15 minutes ahead of schedule. They have a system and plan in place so they are punctual. The employee -preneur is the type of employee that being punctual means arriving at work 15 minutes early and that being on time is late. This employee sets their work clothes out the night before and knows exactly what they are going to wear. This employee makes sure that their attire is crisply pressed and that their shoes have been shined. The work that they did accomplish at the end of the week, has now been completed and is neatly placed in a folder of their brief-case. This employee turns their mobile device on vibrate or silent while they drive. As usual, they are not caught mingling with other employees, but are at their desk with 10 minutes to spare, sipping their cup of coffee, and looking at their day’s agenda. The reports they prepared are placed on their bosses’ desk before he/she arrives at the office.

This employee exhibits great integrity and leadership. They appear at their morning office meeting on time, with pen and paper handy, ready to take copious notes. This employee realizes that their ideas will leave them broke, but that of ‘the boss’ or ‘expert’ will teach them new skills that they can learn, invest into, and glean from that will allow them to be the first up for promotion. This employee desires to learn what will best benefit the company and empower other employees to give their first fruits in their work habits. This employee wants to bring others up with them to the top. If this employee sees that another is struggling, they will encourage that employee and discuss a way to take their weakness and turn it into a strength that makes them shine and an asset that is modeled to others in the organization. This employee is not just about themselves, but wants to learn how to honor their boss and how to create growth and expansion in the company. This employee is a visionary and gets the ‘bigger’ picture, but they aren’t afraid to look at the pursuit they must take as they aim to achieve results. This employee is never prideful or boastful, but knows how to receive a compliment and how to compliment their everyday work environment. In their bosses’ eyes, this employee is the ‘model’ employee who goes above and beyond deadlines. This type of employee figures out how to promote their boss and this is why they are made unusually successful, receiving promotion after promotion, raise after raise in a short amount of time. The time this employee spends working is now leveraged with dollar amount; they have now become the most ‘valued’ employee by the company.

How recession-proof the economy is, is not just determined by the community, but ‘you’ are the factor that propels the community, for better or worse. You, my friend, have a decision to make, which employee will you choose to be, the get by ployee or the empowered employee-preneur? The market place pays for value; especially for the employee that is willing to invest into themselves and their own skill set, the one whose motives are of pure intent. What you put in my friends, is what you will get out of it. What you sow, so too shall you reap and eat the fruit of it. 98% of the population will claim they are the employee-preneur that gets their hands dirty, asking questions even when they don’t understand something. Only 2% will actually live by the model of ‘above and beyond’. Look at what everyone else is doing that is facing that layoff list, and choose to do the opposite. If you see an area that you can change for the better, don’t be afraid to be held accountable and ask questions that will propel that change. Find ways to honor your boss and encourage them and you will be surprised at what transitions happen in your life. Learn how to help others get what they want, and you will succeed, but you must make that choice, that decision, and be all in! Get ready for the ride and adventure my friend, your life is about ready to be drastically changed if you choose it to be! To learn more about shifting to an employee-preneur visit www.danijohnson.com, go under the ‘products’ tab, ‘career, finances, & everyday life’, where you will find tools to help you to succeed the way that you desire in the market place. You may also type in the ‘search’ bar, ‘job domination’ where additional sources and references may be found.

Let me grab a quick BITE…I am on the run!!!

Today is Monday, this means it is the start of a new week. How you plan to manage your time is critical. The hustling and bustling of your day has just begun. You are probably contemplating how you are going to meet all your deadlines at work for the week around your kids’ school conferences, rehearsals, and various extracurriculars. It might be morning, but your feet have instantly hit the ground running and there is absolutely no time to slow down. You have an important meeting with your superiors that you must be punctual for. If you don’t allow enough time to get to work, you could be facing traffic jams and your child(ren) receiving a tardy slip for not arriving in their seat on time. You answer the phone as you begin to prepare school lunches and it is your boss wanting you to stop by and pick up coffee and donuts for your morning meeting; after all presentation is everything. You open the refrigerator door when you realize you have completely forgotten to grab ingredients to make dinner for that evening. You open the pantry only to find random ingredients left over from the week before. There is even more undue stress and pressure as you attempt to figure out when you are going to make dinner in between practices and helping your child(ren) with their school work, and still having that 15 minutes to yourself once you get your family through their evening bath and bed routine. It then dawns on you that you are so focused on your children, that you forget about your spouse, where do they fit in to the equation?

If only you could find an extra hour in your day to connect, but what if you could? Does your life really have to be this way? What if you stopped focusing on what the problems are and what you ‘can’t do’ and focus on implementing a solution? What if there were a way to add that extra hour in a day, would that extra hour be worth it to you? In a previous post I made, I mentioned to you as a part of priorities and time management, learning how to meal plan. Time is money, but so is your freedom with your family. Having that extra hour in helping your child with a math problem they are struggling with could mean the difference between a C to an A on their midterm exam. Having that extra hour could be the difference in whether or not you and your spouse were able to spend quality time together communicating rather than arguing about something comparably minute. Having that extra 15 minutes to yourself could mean gathering and collecting yourself, separating work from home and feeling you could give the best of yourself to your family. Having that extra few minutes at the dinner table could mean planning a family activity for the weekend where you could be building memories together. You could be figuring out a way to cross a goal off your list instead of your goals remaining unplanned dreams. Your dreams could become a reality for you and then you would be living that quality life by design. Your dream circle doesn’t have to be a silly pin dot on a piece of paper. Your income circle could become your dream circle, IF you are ready to allow your excuse circle to shrink down to that silly dot on that pad of paper. Are you tired of struggling and your situation never changing? You do realize you are that part of the equation that must change FIRST? Only YOU can propel change for better or for worse. if you tired of beating your head up against the wall and are ready to make that change, YOU have to be the one to take that initiative. All you need to do is be willing to put one foot in front of the other. That change could be YOU, so lets focus on the start of a simple set of steps that can lead to a BIG change. Now that you are ready to focus and move forward, lets take one step at a time in reaching your solution. The topic I want to focus on with you is meal planning.

Lets take a look at your meals for the week and how you plan for them. Instead of your time telling you where to go, how about you tell it where its going with your everyday meals:

1) Is there food in your cupboard and the freezer? Is that extra trip to the grocery store necessary?: This sounds like a simple question, but it’s not always that simple. You might have ideas of meals you would like to try and prepare for your family, but there may be just that ‘one’ ingredient missing and you are feeling the need to go on a shopping trip. We all know, as soon as you hit that store, your one item that you ‘plan’ to shop for turns into an item of 5!!! You proceed to check out at the counter and realize, you really didn’t need those 5 ingredients, but there was probably a ‘sale’ you saw with a deal you thought you couldn’t beat. Better yet, you saw that same sale, looked in your wallet, and realized that you had a coupon where you could get ‘2 for the price of 1’ or ‘buy 6 and get the 7th item FREE’. Instead of spending what you thought was $3.00, you have now spent $20.00 worth on items you really didn’t ‘need’. That doesn’t sound like much, but that one extra trip to the grocery each week is $100.00 that you could have used towards a special family outing. Multiply that by 12, and that is money that you could have been applying towards that family vacation of yours. You have now delayed that vacation an extra 5 years because you thought YOU could not afford it!!!

Now, I want you to do me a small favor, go back and look in your freezer for a second. Go to your pantry door for a minute and look at the ingredients you have again. You probably see a couple packages of meat in your freezer, maybe it’s crammed full of items that with one other item from your pantry that you don’t have, you could have a well-planned meal. How do you KNOW you don’t have a meal? Are you ‘assuming’ because it wasn’t the meal you had in mind? Are you not sure of what ingredients to put with the other? A simple step you can follow to resolve that 2-3 times a week run to the grocery store, is by going online and exploring your resources. With Internet technology today, you can plan any sort of meal imaginable surrounded by the ingredients you already HAVE. You can do this by clicking on Internet explorer, typing in the ‘google’ search engine or better yet using ‘pinterest’ . There are all sorts of resources, ways, ideas, to use existing ingredients, this is a great way to explore your inner CREATIVITY that you maybe didn’t know you had in you!

2) Do you experience what I call, ‘the picky child syndrome’?: Do you have that one or two children in your house that don’t seem to want to eat what everyone else is having, so you find yourself making 2 & 3 meals to compensate for that one? Do you find when you do this your child(ren) still aren’t eating what is on their plate? The solution is simple, STOP giving your kids ‘choices’. The only reason they are not eating what is on their plate is because YOU allowed that to be an option. Instead, pick one meal that you will be fixing. Prepare the meal and serve it to each member. If your child refuses to eat what is on their plate, wrap it up, put it in the refrigerator, and save it to heat up at the next meal. When you are reading to fix the next meal, your child(ren) who did not eat the previous meal, will now have this same meal re-heated as the rest of your family enjoys the next meal. This may not seem ideal at first, but your child will learn that it is not about giving them options and YOU are the one in authority that they need to honor and respect, this includes what they are eating. This will teach your child(ren) to be thankful for the food that has been blessed and put forth on the table. This will also teach your children that you are not going to argue and justify with them ‘why’ they are being asked to eat the meal. This will also eliminate a guilt trip and your anger and frustration that isn’t necessary.

Your meal should not be up for discussion. You worked hard to provide that meal for them and you worked to prepare a place that could be a safe place, open for discussion. Eliminate the argument before it even happens. Diffuse the situation by turning it around and using this as a ‘lesson’ time to teach your children about other children across the world who are starving and are ‘hoping’ for a meal like yours. It’s time to step up an teach them the ‘value’ of a dollar, the ‘value’ of respecting and honoring you as a parent, and that it is ‘okay’ to not always have what we ‘want’ so long as our ‘needs’ are met.

3) When you do go shopping for groceries, how do you spend that time in the store?: In the time you have set aside to grocery shop, include in that time for an itemized list. The meals you have generated from looking online, look in your pantry and your refrigerator to ensure of what ingredients you have and do not have. IF you find that you do not have a ‘certain’ item, write that item on your list. This itemized list will go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This list will be for work and school lunches as well. When you do arrive at the store, STICK to your list. Any item that is not on your list, DO NOT BUY IT, even if it is on SALE. Even if your child(ren) are bothering you to buy it, remember who is in control of the situation, YOU or them. Remember, you are asserting your authority as a parent.

4) Do you buy extra snacks as options in your house?: Are you a parent that buys ‘extra’ snacks for your child(ren)s lunches or for after school? That extra $15.00 dollars you spent on your last bill were probably on the ‘extras’ that you and the family thought you ‘had’ to have. Cut out the ‘extras’ as ‘options’. This goes back to that plate of food your child decided not to eat because they weren’t hungry or this wasn’t what ‘they’ had in mind. You will find ‘eliminating’ these extra options will ensure your child has a healthy appetite and eats what is on their plate. You will find that by doing this, that extra savings of not buying snacks can be applied towards your ‘fun’ budget in planning for that vacation! IF your child is hungry after school, the bag of apples you decided would work well in work and school lunches and also as a breakfast option, can be had as a snack. I guarantee you that bag of apples was bought at a fraction of the cost of your extras and is a much healthier option that promotes brain function especially while your child(ren) is doing their homework.

5) Do you allow your family CHOICES?: Choices aren’t a bad thing, but remember, you are trying to cut that extra ‘FAT’ and expenses out of your budget in planning for the vacation. This means getting serious about what items are in that cart. In breakfast alone, what options do you have lying in your cart that are able to be put back on the shelf? Do you find that you have 2-3 cereal options in your cart for the child(ren) to choose from? Do you have bacon and sausage to go along with the carton of eggs you just put in the cart? Do you find your kids going through the growth spurt so you put in 5 produce options to compensate? Wait remember, you are in a hurry in the morning, so it only made sense to put the instant waffles and pop-tarts in your cart for on the go breakfast. STOP, what are you teaching your child(ren)? Not only are you ENABLING options, but you are teaching them that rush, rush, rush is a good thing, that on the go is the way to go.

What are we really in a hurry for? What are we promoting to our kids? What are we teaching them about the value of nutrition and what they are putting in their bodies? How are they really functioning in school? Was your child caught by the teacher ‘dozing’ off in school and you are just now finding this in the notes section of their report card? This may have been due to all the processed sugars and ‘extra’ ingredients found in your ‘version’ of ‘on the go’ breakfast. It’s good to have a plan in place and to have breakfast foods for each meal per family member, but sticking to the parameters of the store and the necessary ingredients on your list means you are in control of what your family receives, you are in control of your finances, and you are in control of where your time is now going. This might be difficult at FIRST, but over time, you will be living in FREEDOM rather than bondage to your options and choices. You cannot serve in bondage and freedom at the same time. When you eat foods that are not right for your body they have negative and reverse ramifications, therefore, what I am saying is take control of the situation, YOU are the part of the equation propelling these changes for the better. Remember, you wanting to serve in EXCELLENCE being a good steward in ‘ALL’ areas, this includes what you ingest,

6) Do you have blocks of time during your weekend that are FREE? In between your child(ren)s game times and house cleaning, maybe you have an hour or two window that you could spend preparing and cooking meals with the ingredients you just purchased at the store. Simply put, take the extra time you do have set aside and make as many meals as possible. This works well if you have similar ingredients to cook and prepare at the same time. Focus on getting as much of the meal prepared ahead of time as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to cook it right then and there, but if you have ingredients that go together to make a soup, or a casserole, for example, cook the chicken ahead of time and save the stock (this works great for making yummy soups). Cut up all the vegetables ahead of time and put them in Tupperware or gallon zip lock bags to store in the freezer. You can even portion off the meals to make several meals worth of serving at a time. Doing this will even eliminate a meal for the following week, saving you on time and budget. When you are ready to serve that meal, you may season it and heat it up in oven for the allotted time.

Now I have shown you how to save money, eliminate stress, while having fun, and maximizing quality time with your family, while still yet, accomplishing your goals!!! For more information on how to be a good steward in applying these areas to your everyday life, visit www.danijohnson.com. Click on ‘products’, Click on ‘career, finance, & everyday life’. You can also, type in the search engine at the top, ‘time management, debt free’ any of these searches will give you strategic articles or tools to listen to that will guide you in these areas as well! Also, if you click on her events section, you will see the calls that our trainer, Dani Johnson has available to listen to as well as what event venues she will be speaking at next. Blessings my friends!!!