Month: January 2016

Budget Bootcamp Day 9:Adjusting Spending Habits

budget bootcamp day 9 adjusting spending habits
Adjusting Spending Habits

If you are hanging in here with me or just joining me, welcome to week two and day 9 of budget bootcamp. Lets talk about our spending habits. Last week we covered how to break bad spending habits, but not all spending habits are bad. Some just need to be adjusted and changed. Think about the financial choices you have made up until this point. Most of those choices may have felt like they were well-considered decision making, when in reality they weren’t. They were just habit’s whether good or bad, they were simply habit’s. Although a habit means little to nothing on it’s own, over time and with a combination of other habit’s be they good or bad, habit’s have an enormous impact on your financial security. Actions that you perform on a daily basis are not so much decisions, but rather, habit’s.

Habits are formed in your brain and that is why they are so hard to break. This is the core understanding of the basic framework that explains how your spending habits emerge. Here are a few rules on how to adjust your spending habits.

Rule 1. Identify your spending habits- This may be a bit tricky because then thing about a habit is that it feels a bit unconscious, For example, I have a habit of taking my lunch to work each day. It’s a no brainer, it’s set on auto pilot, I do it unconsciously. The reason why is because this is set in the unconscious part of my brain. To figure out your spending habits, you must first identify them. You must identify the cue, the routine and the reward of the habit. My routine is taking my lunch, my reward is the money I save by doing so and my cue is I know I have to each lunch every day.

When it comes to spending money, something similar happens when you walk into a store, feel hungry and pass a restaurant, or receive your paycheck and automatically decide how much you will spend, save or invest. A routine takes over, you act almost unthinkingly and that action either depletes or fattens your bank account.

To take control over your habit’s you need to identify them. To identify them, you need to look for patterns in your spending, A great place to start is your bank statement or credit card statement. Ask yourself a few questions: When do you spend? Are you spending more often through the week or on weekends? Are you spending more in the mornings or in the afternoons? Do you make a few small purchases or several large purchases? Do you spend more when you are with your friends or when you are alone? When you answer these questions, you will see the spending patterns that highlight the routines that shape your financial life.

Now that you have figured this out, you will need to ask yourself some less obvious questions: What is the cue for this routine? Am I bored or is this spending for a genuine need like food or shelter? Am I spending to socialize or to entertain myself on my own? Do I crave the things I buy or the shopping experience itself?

Rule 2. Look for rewards- Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings. Oftentimes we are not conscious of the cravings that drive our our behaviors. It may be helpful to perform an experiment of different rewards to figure out which cravings are driving particular habits. Here is an example. Let’s say you are trying to adjust your shopping habit. When you feel the urge to shop, adjust your routine so it delivers a different reward. Instead of shopping you could exercise or read a book. What you choose to do instead of shopping isn’t important. The point of the experiment is to determine which craving is driving your routine. Are you craving shopping or a break from the norm? If it is the shopping, is it because you really need what you are buying? Or is it the excitement of the mall, in which case you can easily find other options to bring excitement to your life.

Whatever is driving your spending behaviors, look for other alternatives if those behaviors are detrimental to your finances.

Rule 3. Devise a plan- Once you have figured out your habits and the rewards driving your behavior, the cue triggering it and the routine itself, you can begin to make the necessary changes and shift the behavior. You can change to a better routine by planning for the cue and choose a better behavior to deliver the rewards that you want. For example, I was spending too much money eating out for lunch every day. Once I changed that habit and began taking my lunch, my reward was being able to cut my spending and add that money to my savings.

Adjusting spending habits can be difficult, but it is a must if you want to achieve financial security and freedom. Once you figure out the cues for your unnecessary spending, the rewards it is delivering, the behavior can be changed. Once you create cues and rewards for automatic saving or investing, your financial outlook expands.

Today’s assignment is to sit down and see what habits you want to change or improve and find out what cues and triggers cause you to spend. Then develop a plan to help you achieve the reward that you are looking for



Budget Bootcamp Day 8: How to Avoid Common Budgeting Mistakes

budget bootcamp day 8: how to avoid common budgeting mistakes
Avoid Common Budgeting Mistakes

Can you believe we are on day 8 already? So far, we have defined our why, crafted our financial mission statement,written our financial vision, set our S.M.A.R.T. financial goals, made sure we are on the same page as our significant other, determined out net worth and broken our bad spending habits. We have covered massive ground, but there is still more ground to cover. If you are just joining in, make sure to go back by clicking here and, catch up and do the exercises.

Today we will focus on avoiding common budgeting mistakes, however, you already knew that by the title of the post. Everyone makes financial mistakes at some point, and that’s ok, it’s a part of life. When you know better, you do better, at least you should do better.I feel that if you are aware of certain common mistakes, you can reduce your chances of making them. It is not complicated to build a solid budget; even the best of budgets can go awry. There are some common mistakes that throw people off, and that’s not a problem we all get off track sometimes. Here are a few common mistakes that I have made and seen others make.

Making your budget too strict- I know that budgeting can be tedious and far from exciting, however, the feeling you get from taking hold of your finances and the results that you anticipate from doing so can be most refreshing and exhilarating, In all of the excitement, we can become consumed and create a budget that is too strict. I have been there and done that and let me tell you, you won’t stick with your budget if you make it too strict. Making a budget with no room for fun, small indulgences, or discretionary spending can and will backfire. I know, I have been there and it wasn’t pretty. Even the smallest discretionary spending would have my budget so far off track that it made my budget pointless.

Another pitfall of an overly strict budget is you will become tired and frustrated, from restricting yourself, so you go on a spending spree. You end up spending more than if you had given yourself a small amount of “mad money” in the first place.

A better option to curb this pitfall is to budget for the life you have. When you are crafting your budget, and assigning spending categories, be realistic. If you enjoy the occasional night out on the town then allow a certain amount of money for it. Don’t tell yourself that you won’t enjoy any indulgence at all, because you know that isn’t true. Instead, give yourself a little breathing room.

Budget with a purpose- This goes back to setting financial goals. What good is your budget if it doesn’t have a purpose? When you don’t have a purpose, your budget then becomes an afterthought versus a spending plan to aid you in reaching your financial goals. Come up with a purpose for your budget. Whether it is to get out of debt or to go an a lavish vacation, give your budget a purpose.

Forgetting irregular expenses- Life happens and things “pop up” from time to time. If thing’s “pop up” for you on a monthly basis, then you probably have not budgeted for those irregular expenses. No worries, it happens to the best of us and is quite common and easy to fix. What I did was add a “random” category to my budget and set an amount to be placed there. This is different from an emergency fund, this is just for those random thing’s that come up, such as, a field trip for the kid’s or that contribution to some random expense at work, such as, a gift for your boss on bosses day.

Emergency fund- Those irregular expenses we just talked about illustrate the need for a cushion in your budget and an emergency fund. Of course, the children’s field trip is not an emergency, but your car breaking down is. With an emergency fund, you have a place to pull cash from rather than blowing your budget. Building an emergency fund will help keep you from blowing your budget when the unexpected happens.

Now that you know these common mistakes, be sure to steer clear of them.

If you would like more assistance with voiding these budgeting pitfalls, I invite you to book a consultation with me.

Book with tracie


Budget Bootcamp Day 7: Breaking Bad Spending Habits

budget bootcamp day 7 breaking bad spending habits
Break Bad Spending Habits

Before you go, hear me out, I am guilty, as a matter of fact, we are all guilty of bad spending habits. In todays lesson, I will give you 4 tip’s to help you break those bad habits. Bad spending habits can wreck your budget. My bad habit had to with clothes and shoes. If I saw an outfit or a pair of shoes that I wanted I didn’t care about my budget, I had to have them. Thank God for deliverance!

Let’s use eating out as an example. Now you may budget for $50 a month toward eating out, but in actuality you end up spending $150. In my case, I started budgeting for my impromptu shopping trips and I became more conscious of my spending. In the beginning, there were times I went over my monthly limit, but with persistence and the right mindset, I was able to break my bad spending habits. Whatever your vice is that causes you to go over budget, you must get it under control. That bad spending habit is keeping you rom reaching your financial goals. It may be so detrimental that it keeps you from saving or causes you to pile on more debt. Keep reading for my 4 tip’s to help you break your bad spending habit(s).

  • Allot for your vice in your budget. Once that money is spent for the week or month, then don’t spend any more.
  • Know your spending triggers. Were you having a bad day the last time you balled out? Were you upset about something and decided a trip to the mall was the cure? Start recording how you feel at the time you decide to blow your budget. Write down exactly how you felt when you went off the deep end. Were you bored? Had you run out of things to do? By identifying and understanding any underlying issues, it is possible that you may be able to find ways to avoid this behavior in the future.
  • Know your weaknesses and avoid them at all costs. My weakness was shoes and clothes. I had to stay away from the mall. I had to cancel all my emails from places like Bakers shoes, AMI Club Wear and Banana Republic. If I received an email and saw something I wanted I was bound to buy it. Same with the mall, if I went in the mall there was no such thing as window shopping. I literally had to remove myself from those situations that caused me to spend money that I knew I didn’t have. Whatever you have to do to avoid your weaknesses, DO IT!
  • Limit your access to funds. Stop carrying your credit card’s, debit card and check book with you. Take cash and when it runs out then you stop. Without access to all of your funds you can’t over spend. To this day, I only have just enough cash on me to take care of what I need to take care of when I go to the grocery store or the mall or wherever. On a daily basis, I leave my check book and debit card at home. I take out enough cash for gas each week and I stick to it. I take my lunch each day so there is no reason for me to have more than $10 on me, and that is for emergency only. I drink water from the water cooler at work, so I don’t even have to have vending machine money. I know this may seem harsh to some of you, but it works for me and it may just work for you. I have been doing this for year’s and I don’t see myself stopping this behavior.

I hope these tip’s help you. If you have any way’s that you have broken bad spending habit’s comment below, I would love to hear them.



Budget Bootcamp Day 6 How Much Are You Worth? How To Find Your Networth

Know Your Net Worth

It’s day 6 already! I know you are probably wondering when we will create your budget. In due time, in due time. There are things I want you to know with regard to finance, before you create your budget. Knowing your net worth is essential, but knowing how to determine your net worth is vital. Essentially, your net worth is the value of what you own, minus what you owe. In formula form it would look like this: assets – liabilities = net worth. has an online calculator to help you determine your current net worth; and it also estimates how your net worth can grow over grow or decline over the next 10 years.

If you would like to calculate it manually and keep it on something as simple as an excel spreadsheet then follow these steps below:

  • The amount of money in your checking and savings accounts
  • The amount in your brokerage and retirement accounts
  • The estimated value of the items in your home
  • The estimated value of your paid off automobiles
  • Cash value of your life insurance policies
  • Any investment properties

Some finance experts say that you should include the market value of your home, but personally I feel that if your home is not paid for, it is not considered an asset. It is totally up to you if you want to include that.

Now subtract any debt’s that you owe. If you are not sure of your debt’s then this would be a good time to order your credit report since all of your debts are listed there. Here is a list of common liabilities:

  • Home loans, such as, your mortgage, home equity loans or lines of credit
  • Auto loan or lease
  • Credit cards
  • Student loans
  • Other loans, such as, bank loans or loans from your 401(k)

This will give you your net worth. Calculate your number on an annual basis. This will show you where you need to make changes to your budget, such as, maybe increasing your 401(k) contribution, to be where you want to be at retirement. If there is a need for an increase you can add that to your budget for the year. Calculating your net worth may motivate you to save more, or decrease debt, if your numbers are not where you want them to be, or if your numbers are good then it may even motivate you to continue on at the same pace despite any tough sacrifices that you are making to do so.

When it is time to review your annual numbers, remember that net worth only offers a snapshot of a moving target. Some of your assets, such as, your home and stocks may change in value on a regular basis no matter what you do. Those changes are not necessarily indicative of a need to take action.

Your assignment for today is to calculate your net worth.


Budget Bootcamp Day 5 Unless Two Agree: Getting On The Same Page As Your Significant Other

Unless Two Agree

The Bible tells us in Amos 3:3 (KJV) Can two walk together, except they be agreed? If you co-mingle finances with your spouse or significant other, it is of the utmost importance that you are both on the same page. Numerous studies have shown that managing money can be the most divisive issue between couples whether they are married or living together. One may be a spender while the other may be a saver. Opposing ideas regarding money can make finance one of the most explosive topics for couples to discuss.

You have to remember when you come together as a couple; you may have two different money perspectives. That was the case with my husband and I. He grew up very poor and I grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in my mouth. He was used to hand me downs and I was used to Parisians. (Did I just show my age?) Long of the short, he vowed that he would never wear hand me downs once he started working, and I wanted to afford my children the best of the best, like I had. Our spending habit’s were a recipe for disaster. We could not agree on anything when it came down to our finances.

To effectively manage money, couples need to be on the same page. They must understand each others ideas about finances. I know you must be wondering what this has to do with creating a budget. It has everything to do with creating a budget. If you and your partner co-mingle finances and are not on the same page financially, then there is no way you can create an effective budget.

Your assignment for today is to make sure that your spouse or significant other is on the same page and wants to create a budget. For all you single people, take note, so that, before you get married you and your future spouse can make sure that you are on the same page regarding your finances.


Budget Bootcamp Day 4 S.M.A.R.T. Financial Goals To Drive Your Budget

budget bootcamp day 4 smart financial goals drive your budget
Set Your S.M.A.R.T. Financial Goals


Welcome back for day 4 of Budget Bootcamp. I know we all have goals for the new year, whether it is to be healthier, learn a new skill or become more organized, there is something or thing’s that we are striving to improve in the coming year. One area, I hope you have started to set goals in is your finances. I don’t want you to just set any old goal, I want to you set S.M.A.R.T. goal’s.

S.M.A.R.T.stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. Let’s break those letters down a little further so you can :

S-Specific. A specific goal has a better chance of being achieved versus a general goal. For example, I want to save money, is a general goal. A specific goal would be, I want to save $500 in my bank account by March 1, 2016 to go toward my emergency fund. A specific goal answers six “W” questions:

  1. Who? Who is involved?
  2. What? What do I want to accomplish?
  3. Where? Identify a location
  4. When? Establish a timeframe
  5. Which? Identify requirements and constraints.
  6. Why? Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

M-Measurable. Establish concrete criteria to measure your progress to your goals. When you measure your progress toward your goal, you tend to stay on track. You reach target dates and experience the gratification of achievement that keeps you pressing on in your efforts to reach your goals. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask yourself these questions: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

A- Attainable. When you identify what financial goals are most important to you, you begin to figure out way’s that you can make them a reality. You develop the attitudes, the abilities, and skills to reach them. You begin to see previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of reaching those goals.

You can achieve any goal you set, when you plan your steps wisely and set a timeframe that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that previously seemed unattainable, suddenly seem attainable not because your goals shrunk, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals, you build your self image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and you develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

R- Realistic. To be realistic, a goal has to represent an objective that you are both willing and able to work toward. A goal can be both high an realistic. Only you can determine just how high your goals should be, just make sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is oftentimes easier to achieve than a low goal, because low goals don’t take much motivation. When it does not take much motivation to accomplish something; then you are more than likely not motivated to accomplish it.

T-Timely. A goal should be rooted and grounded in a timeframe. Without a timeframe attached to it, there is no sense of urgency. If you want to save $500, when do you want to save it by? “Someday” won’t work. Anchor that goal with a timeframe, “By March 1” then you are setting the wheels of your subconscious mind in motion to begin working on that goal.

I have included a FREE S.M.A.R.T. goal financial financial printable, where you can start setting those S.M.A.R.T. goals today.

Additionally, I am hosting a S.M.A.R.T. financial goal workshop Sunday November, 22 at 4:00 PM on Periscope. I hope you can join me. My handle is @TThreadford

S.M.A.R.T. Financial Goal Worksheet


Budget Bootcamp Day 2 Family Mission Statement

budget bootcamp day 2 family mission statement

Welcome back! By now you should have crafted your clearly defined why and come up with a couple of affirmations to help keep you focused. Today we will craft your family financial mission statement. A mission statement will help you stay focused on your goals. We all get busy and life happens, so it may be easy to get off track.  Many of my client’s start out dedicated and ready to make the changes needed to improve their financial circumstances, a mission statement increases their chances to actually reach their goals.

A financial mission statement helps you to visualize your financial goals and remind you why you want to accomplish them. A family financial mission statement is that constant reminder staring you in your face each day, and you will be more apt to tackle those financial goals head on. This is a great strategy, so let’s get down to the business at hand and create that statement.

A good financial mission statement outlines your household’s mission, purpose and reason for being financially sound and secure. It will accurately explain what your household wants to achieve financially now and in the future and how you plan to get there. It will also incorporate your values, for example, if you want to thrive financially without sacrificing any benevolent contributions to your favorite charity, then you will want to include that in your mission statement.

Here is my three step guide to creating your family financial mission statement:

STEP 1. Determine what problems or opportunities that you need to address.

STEP 2. Focus on how you will address these problems and opportunities.

STEP 3. Determine your household values and determine how they will help you in achieving your financial goals.

Sounds easy, right? Well, if you have been reading my blog then you know there is more work to do than just answering these questions. You already know that I want you to be as specific as possible. So let’s revisit these steps in a more specific manner.

Step 1. Determine what problems or opportunities that you need to address.

In this step you need to include any problems and or opportunities that your family faces and how you will correct them. This part of the statement should be quick and to the point and stress the areas you need to focus on. Mine and my husbands problem was over spending and paying off my $50k in student loan debt. What I had to do was include some motivational key words to make us want to stop this behavior fast. Here is an example:

The financial mission statement for the Threadford household is to eliminate this atrocious, diabolical, ferocious student loan debt that is strangling us. We will not spend more than we make and we will eliminate frivolous spending. We will strive to not incur any other debts but rather to aggressively pay off this looming student loan debt.

Step 2. Determine how you will address the items in step 1.

Now that we have our areas of focus, we will state the path that we will take to get there. Again, my focus was paying off my student loan debt and eliminating frivolous spending, so here is how I explain how I will do that.

We we will aggressively pay off my student loan debt by earning extra income through part-time or contractual work as well as a strict budget. By setting a strict budget we will eliminate frivolous spending and by eliminating frivolous spending we will have even more money to tackle my student loan debt. We realize that frivolous spending is hindering us from being debt-free and it is time to stop that debilitating behavior.

That statement focused on how William and I planned on paying off my student loan debt and why we wanted to eliminate frivolous spending,  and it gave us steps to focus on to ensure that our goals were met.

Step 3. Incorporate the values of your household and list how they will hep you complete your goals.

In this final step you will insert your family values. If looming debt is keeping you from donating to your favorite charities as it was doing to us, this is the section where you will put what you will do with the extra money once the debt is paid off. Do you want to travel? My student loan debt was also keeping our family from taking vacations and from just enjoying simple thing’s, such as, going to the movies.

While paying off my student loan debt and increasing our income, the Threadford family will begin to donate 10% of our income to our favorite charity and we will being having family outings once a month and take a real vacation next summer.

Now that you have completed each step, you put them all together and make a motivational family financial mission statement. Here is the finished product of my family’s first financial mission statement:

The financial mission statement for the Threadford household is to eliminate this atrocious, diabolical, ferocious student loan debt that is strangling us. We will not spend more than we make and we will eliminate frivolous spending. We will strive to not incur any other debts but rather to aggressively pay off this looming student loan debt. We we will aggressively pay off my student loan debt by earning extra income through part-time or contractual work as well as a strict budget. By setting a strict budget we will eliminate frivolous spending and by eliminating frivolous spending we will have even more money to tackle my student loan debt. We realize that frivolous spending is hindering us from being debt-free and it is time to stop that debilitating behavior. While paying off my student loan debt and increasing our income, the Threadford family will begin to donate 10% of our income to our favorite charity and we will begin having family outings once a month and take a real vacation next summer. 

It’s also worth noting that in the worse case scenario, me and my husband have done our research on who would be responsible for our student loan debt if we were to divorce. Charles R. Ullman & Associates answered all of our questions like Is a student loan a marital debt? And if there were any debt forgiveness options available for us to take advantage of? To be closer to that holiday we’ve always wanted for our family.

Our mission statement was straight to the point and conveyed exactly what we wanted to do as a family. Now it is your turn. I have included a printable to help you compete your family financial mission statement. Once you have completed it, hang it somewhere you will be able to see it daily. Also, if you are so inclined, please share part or all of your family mission statement in the comment section below.

family mission stmt-happy-new-year-pack-5
Click to Download Printable




Budget Bootcamp Day 1: Define Your Why, Get Your Mind Right


Welcome to Budget Bootcamp! This bootcamp will help you craft a budget that work’s for you! As you complete the assignment’s, you will find that this is the foundation to a total money makeover. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that you MUST do the work in order to obtain the results you are looking for. I’m excited that you are here, so let’s get started.

The first thing you must do is change your money mindset, in other word’s, get your mind right. The way you think and feel about your money and finances in general, affect what goes on in your financial world. Let me give you an example, if you are constantly saying that you are broke and you don’t have any money, that is exactly what your financial picture will look like. Have you heard the old adage, you have what you say?

If you focus on the things you lack, or having a scarcity mentality is the quickest way to sabotage your finances. With this mentality, or mindset, you will be so focused on the thing’s you don’t have or the thing’s you can’t do that you will miss out on key opportunities. Money is just energy, and the longer you believe you will never have it, the longer you will be stuck in a money rut.  Below, are a couple of affirmations that you can say daily throughout the day, to help change your money mindset. I use these and have for year’s, they help me stay focused and I hope they help you too.

AFFIRMATION 1: I have a plan for my financial future that involves me building sustainable wealth for my spouse and children. The passion I have for my financial goals helps me stay the course. When I am tempted to make an irresponsible purchase, I remind myself of my goals and exercise restraint.

AFFIRMATION 2:  Today, I am improving my finances by refraining from unnecessary spending. I use my creativity to look for ways to save money knowing that the sacrifices I make today will be well worth it tomorrow.

Now it’s your turn. I want you to make your own affirmations.

The next step in gaining control of your finances is defining your why. If you don’t know where you are going then you will have a pretty tough time getting there. Your why is your purpose. Why do you want to change your financial trajectory? Why do you want to get your finances under control? Can you see where I am going with this?

Most people can easily say that they know their why, but in reality your why is much deeper than you think. If you have children, most likely that would be your why. I am doing this for my children, that is why. You couldn’t be more wrong. Your why must be clearly defined. Your why is the

reason you get up in the morning, it motivates you, it keeps you on track, it moves you to action, it keeps you focused when you want to give up. So when you define your why, you must do some soul searching.

Year’s ago when I was broke, I had to search my soul. Sure, I knew I didn’t want to be in that situation ever again, but it was so much deeper than that. I had to sit down and find out first, how I got there and second why I couldn’t and wouldn’t go back. Today I want you to take some time and clearly define your why.

Here is an example of a clearly defined why, my why: The reason I must take control of my finances is for my family. I must be able to provide them with their necessities as well as some extra comforts. Not only must I provide for them now, I must make sure that their future is secure. I must  be able to provide a quality education for my children and grandchildren, as well as future generations. I must be able to sow into their lives through gift’s of down payments for home’s. I must leave a financial legacy for them to continue to build to pass down through future generations. I must leave generational sustainable wealth for my children and my future generations. This is my reason why I must take control of my finances TODAY!

Once you have crafted your why, place it somewhere you can see it every day. It may even help to carry it with you in your purse or wallet, for those times when you want to spend frivolously. I have created a printable, so that, you can write your why, as well as your affirmation’s and keep them with you.

define ur wy-happy-new-year-pack-5 copy
Click To Download Printable

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