Archives For how to

After studying marriage for 25-years, Dr. Terri Orbuch, research professor at the University of Michigan revealed the number one cause of divorce.. can you guess? Money! Of course it is. If you can't pay the bills you get stressed and it occupies your thoughts and time. It's hard to be kind, understanding or affectionate when your thoughts are a million miles away. As provider of my household I can tell you that life is much better when there is money in the bank and the bills are paid. Bills and finances take a backseat to more important things like my family.

When you marry you are committing to stick it out through thick and thin "until death do you part". That is definitely easier said than done. It takes work to build something of worth. Most people, unfortunately, are not willing to be uncomfortable in any way and want to live life just for the "now". But by pushing through these trials and persevering we are opening up our lives to a beauty we have yet to experience.

Money is NOT the number one cause of divorce.

Money is not the cause but it's the affect of money mismanagement, miscommunication and not getting to the heart of the true issue at hand. If you and your spouse constantly fight about money ask yourself the question, "Why?". Is it really about the money? Maybe you don't have enough money to pay the bills so you fight about that. But why don't you have enough money? Maybe the real reason is because you have too many bills. Bills that could be eliminated. Expenses like cell phones, TV cable, high housing payment, and car payments. Maybe the real problem is you are too prideful to give up some luxuries that others have and you think you deserve as well or you are embarrassed to drive a not-so-nice car.

How to Prevent a Divorce Because of Money

We all know that money is definitely a major player in marriages. So, if money issues in a marriage lead to divorce 46% of the time how do you prevent it?

1. Create a Common Goal

Most money problems stem from not having a plan or having the wrong plan. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Well, as I said in a previous post, I don't believe that completely. We create habits that sooner rather than later become our unwritten plan. Sit with your spouse and come up with a common goal. Maybe your goal could be to be debt-free or to buy a vacation house? Maybe it could be to have $100 a month to spend on anything your heart desires. Write down a goal that you and your spouse agree upon and keep it visible so that you can read it aloud each and every day.

2. Be Honest

Honesty is really the key factor to building momentum and reaching your goal quickly. Be honest with yourself and your spouse. If you did something contrary to your common goal then fess up and try again. Dishonesty could eventually lead to divorce even if your money management is good. Again, be honest with yourself and your spouse.

3. Communicate with your spouse

Communication is not just talking. It is also listening. God gave us two ears and one mouth, use them. This list, how to prevent a divorce because of money, is numbered but each item in the list is equally important. Silence can be golden but not if there is something you really need to talk about. Be honest with your spouse, communicate your successes and failures and stick to your common goal.

4. Revisit your Goal Monthly

One way of keeping your communication healthy and maintaining a steady focus is to revisit your common money goal each month. Make this time special with your spouse. Make it a picnic in the park, a trip to the local coffee shop or just some special time alone. Invest your time together.

1. Read your goal aloud together.
2. Share your successes and failures.
3. Reassess your goal. If it changes write it down and use it for the upcoming month.

Conclusion
The affects of mismanaging money can lead to divorce but if you are honest with yourself and your spouse you can prevent it. Create a common money goal, read it everyday and stick with it. Nobody is perfect so if you fail be sure to come clean and get back on course quickly. Dr. Orbuch's 25 year study revealed not only that 46% of marriages end in divorce but that the majority (54%) of marriages succeed!

All the best to you for a long, happy, successful marriage!

Some of these tips for saving money may not be new but they are definitely worth repeating.

1. Save money - Pay cash!

By paying cash you will eliminate any potential interest you may be charged from your credit card company. Do you like getting a discount? Yes? How about paying 30% more? I hope you said no! When you pay by credit card you are more likely to spend 30% more because of interest. Unfortunately, that is just the nature of the beast. Think of your credit card as a tool. If you don't know how to use it (ehhem.. by paying it in full every month), then stick with cash only.

2. Ask for forgiveness of late fees

I cannot tell you how many times I have been hit with a late fee from one of my credit cards. Life is busy and, quite honestly, paying my credit cards isn't my number one priority. (Sorry, Amex, but I have 4 kids!) So, occasionally, I will get a friendly reminder - a late fee on my bill. Don't get me wrong this might happen once every 2 years. I'm not that bad. ūüôā But, when it does happen, I do the same thing every time. I call the credit card company and ask if they would please forgive me for missing my payment and waive the late fee. Exactly 100% of the time they have said, "Yes".

3. Make eating at home the norm

Going to dinner at Taco Bell for my family of 6 can easily run around $25... that's just for fast food! If we step it up to an Applebees or Red Robin we are looking at a bill with a tip for anything from $60-90. While it may be an easy choice for a busy family it isn't as healthy and it will add up over time. My wife and I have committed to eating out for special or planned occasions only... not because we failed to plan. Our children are really starting to see "going out to eat" as a treat. In my book (and pocketbook) that is awesome!

4. Cancel Cable/Satellite TV

When we first moved into our house it had no cable TV or satellite hook up. Long story short, it took them 6 months to finally figure out how to install it. No joke! It was a blessing in disguise. It made watching a DVD movie something special and it got our kids outside. I liked it so much that I canceled our TV service for the next few Summers. I wasn't under any contract and there wasn't anything to watch anyway.. a win-win! The best part is I saved a bunch of cash. Paid TV is expensive. If you are struggling or want to pay down your debt then get rid of the cable.

5. Turn off the TV

Okay, so you've decided you can't go without your cable/satellite TV. That's totally understandable. You can still potentially save yourself some money. The easiest way to do this is to record your favorite shows and then skip the commercials during playback. Sounds simple.. maybe even unnecessary? If we didn't buy things we don't need then the world wouldn't be drowning in debt right now. Marketers are very savvy. Skip their sales pitch by fast forwarding the commercials.

6. Coffee, Coffee, Coffee

We love our coffee.. Guilty as charged. You can save a bundle by making it at home. A bag of good coffee could last you 2 weeks. That's only $8 or less. Compared to the tall (small) coffee I had at Starbucks today which ran over $4. (It was a treat, not the norm!) Both taste great but your wallet will like the home brew better.

7. Cancel the Newspaper

I used to work for a newspaper and I love some of the old school aspects of it but realistically you can get everything (besides coupons) from the paper online now. If it's really newsworthy then rest assured you will hear about it. The newspaper company will miss collecting your check however. Afraid you might miss something big? Sign up for Twitter or Facebook.

8. Limit your time on the Internet

We only have so much willpower to use so make the most of it. Think about when you make most of your purchases online then block it out. By eliminating your peak hours of potential spending you should have enough strength to resist the urge the rest of the day. Save money!

9. Don't make that Huge Purchase!

Are you penny wise and dollar dumb? I know I can be. I have chosen a glass of water with lemon over a $2 soda at a restaurant many times. I have also burned thousands of dollars on cars. I saved $2 and wasted thousands, hence, penny wise and dollar dumb. Luckily I have learned my lesson. If I want to make any type of big purchase I sit on it for at least a week. If I still have a burning desire to buy it (and I have the cash) then I go for it. Usually (99.9% of the time) after a week I'll pass on the item. I save my money and have no buyer's remorse.

10. Go for a Walk

Get up, go outside and just walk. The change of scenery will stimulate your muscles and brain cells making you more creative and alert. Bonus money saving tip: Try walking as an alternative to joining the gym as well. The majority of people who buy gym memberships go just once a month after the first 30 days. That's another reason not to lock in for the entire year.

Concluding Thoughts
In keeping with the 5 minutes a day philosophy this list was meant to be short and to the point. This article didn't and wasn't intended to talk about the ideas of "saving" versus "investing" money. What you do with all that extra cash you save is a great topic for another discussion.

Saving money can be fun. What *simple* ways do you use to save money? Share your money saving tips below!

If you have been following my blog you may have noticed that I like to keep Friday’s post short and sweet.  Most of the time I fail miserably because I love to share everything that I’ve learned with others.  So, thank you for reading and…  I’ll try to keep this brief.

One of the biggest hurdles I see people run into is lack of ideas.  It’s like you go full bore and then hit a brick wall.  I’ll be the first to admit; consistency is hard.  It’s hard to continually come up with fresh ideas that haven’t been already been exhausted.    Let’s take a look at 5 things you can do to keep your ideas flowing.

1. Don’t overcommit yourself

Posting a new blog post every day is a great goal and I guarantee that you will eventually have quite a following but keeping that up for any length of time is next to impossible.  Seth Godin does it and I did it for an entire Summer.  As much as I liked the growth of my blog it started to feel too much like work.  Since then I have committed to delivering 3 posts per week.  It’s much more manageable and I can still enjoy it.

2. Go outside

Sounds crazy?  God made our planet with such natural beauty.  Go outside and appreciate it.  Get some fresh air and exercise.  Enjoy a quiet walk or a hike.  Maybe just sit and watch the sun set.  Fresh ideas come from inspired refreshed people.

3. Read other people’s blogs

I love reading a good blog post; one that the author has really spent some time on.  Posts that are unique are always inspiring to me and spark new ideas.

4. Read Your blog

If you have been blogging for a while go back and read your posts.  When I do that I find so many ideas that I can expand on.  No one blog post is an end-all post.

5. Write it down!

I have forgotten so many ideas that by the mere number alone a few had to be great ones!  Do yourself a favor. Buy a small notebook and keep it with you.  Or get used to using your cell phone to record your ideas.  Send yourself a text with the idea. However you do it, just do it!

Conclusion

Keeping your blog current with fresh ideas is hard but there are things you can do to spark new ideas.  Reading your old blog posts and other creative blogs will help.  Don’t forget to take breaks!  Go outside and get some fresh air.  When your ideas come write them down or record them.  The next time you get stuck you will be good to go with a long list of ideas to keep your blog flowing with fresh content.

How do you keep fresh ideas flowing in your blog?

Early on in my life I figured out that if you want something done you are better off just doing it yourself. ¬†Sadly, a lot of people are not good for their word and you just don’t know if they will show up. ¬†

I have gotten a lot of “stuff” done since then using this approach of not depending on others. ¬†But is this the best way to go about accomplishing your goals? ¬†Is there a more efficient way to do things? ¬†Are two brains really better than one? ¬†Today I am going to share, just briefly, some lessons I’ve learned as a do-it-yourselfer.

1.  You do not have to be an expert at everything

Do not worry about becoming an expert.  Just give 100% at everything you do and know where to turn for answers.  Before long people will be turning to you.  

2.  Know who the experts are in your field

This is key to honing your skills and leveraging other’s expertise. ¬†

A great example for me is with websites and search engine rankings.  I have worked with SEO (search engine optimization) a lot in the past and I know that it is not a simple black and white affair.  

The rules change (thanks to Google most of the time) often.  It becomes a full-time job trying to keep up with the criteria that will keep your website ranked at the top of the search engines.  

Thankfully, there are people out there who are passionate about the subject. ¬†Joost de Valk developed and maintains a WordPress SEO plugin that is just fantastic. ¬†When it comes to SEO (and I just happen to be using WordPress) he is the first “expert” I rely on.

3. Know where to turn for answers

This key point is not to be taken lightly.  With the Internet (and Google) you have access to the largest library the face of the earth has ever seen.  

When I started my career as a computer programmer years ago the Internet was still in it’s infancy and most companies didn’t allow their employees or contractors to use it. ¬†So, each gig I went to I would cart 100 lbs worth of technical books. ¬†I couldn’t remember everything.. nobody can. ¬†Now-a-days you would be hard pressed to find a company that doesn’t have Internet access.

But, having access to the answers doesn’t mean¬†diddly if you don’t know what to ask for.

4.  Know what to ask for

This seems simple enough if you are an expert in your field but if you are just starting out you know how much of a struggle it is not knowing what to ask for.

Personally, I don’t remember everything nor do I care to. ¬†I know what to ask for and Google (my PA - personal assistant) finds me an answer 99.9% of the time. ¬†

Conclusion

You can’t do it all yourself. ¬†Know what questions to ask and where to get the answers you need. ¬†A lot of the things you need are probably things that can just be plugged right in so leverage the work that others have already invested their time in completing. ¬†Know the experts that you can trust. ¬†Build your own team of “go-to” people that you can use. ¬†

Most importantly, whatever you do, do it with all of your heart, 100%.

Tell me, what experts do you rely on?

Today is Friday and it’s been a long week. ¬†I’ll keep this short and sweet and jam packed with how to get and keep Twitter followers.

First off, if you are new to Twitter I suggest you get and read my Twitter guide.  It is a great starting place for getting up to speed quickly and we all want success to come quickly right?

Of course we do, the problem is, if you do the wrong things you may just be sailing against the current or swiftly moving in the wrong direction.  Here are some basics to get started making friends on Twitter.

Twitter is a unique social media website that took quite a bit of time for people to “get”. ¬†They give you 140 characters of text to make a statement. ¬†I love that! ¬†It forces you to be¬†efficient to be effective. ¬†Simple right? ¬†Now let’s see how you can hone your Twitter skills from here on out.

The cut to the chase:  People are interested in like-minded people with like-minded ambitions.  In other words, the same thing that attracted you and your friends together is the the same thing that will keep you and your Twitter buddies together; something in common.

How to get Twitter Followers and Keep Them

1. Define your purpose - What topics are you interested in? Limit yourself to 3 or 4 major topics of interest.  If you are blogger this is a must if you plan on growing a following and keeping it.  Write 3-4 major areas of interest down and stick with them.

2. Follow people you are interested in - The majority of these people will fall under the 3-4 categories you wrote down in step 1. ¬†Look at the top guns you follow. ¬†The ones that have a ga-zillion followers will probably not follow you back. It’s too much for them to manage. ¬†Look at their followers for new friends. ¬†

TIP: Don’t follow someone expecting them to do the same! ¬†Follow the people you are truly interested in.

3. Post regular updates - This is one of the hardest parts to keep up with. ¬†It takes time to post quality content to twitter that is not just chatter. ¬†While chatter is okay some of the time, it won’t keep people as friends for long (unless you are chatting with them). ¬†Your regular updates should be links to your blog posts, links to other people’s blog posts, retweets or some other piece of useful information. ¬†

4. Always lend a hand - Most successful people on twitter are not leeches but are givers.  They post regular quality updates of useful content and are there to support others.  Would you rather be around someone that is always taking or some that is always generous?

Conclusion

Growing a Twitter following isn’t easy. ¬†Anything worth having takes work but by following these few simple rules you will be on your way to building a successful community of friends. ¬†Friends that not only know they can count on you for help but also friends that will be first to lend you a hand when you need it.

Tell me this:  Would you ever pay for Twitter followers?

The Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Twitter Marketing Pro is available for free on Amazon.com and also by subscribing to my mailing list.