Browsing Category

Finance

Finance Money Taxes

Simple Ways to Manage Expenses So Tax Write-Offs Are Easy

Life is expensive—and even more so when you have kids. Does it seem like your expenses just keep piling up? Wouldn’t it be nice to easily locate permissible tax write-offs come tax season?

Now that it’s a new year, it’s a good time to take charge of and manage your expenses. We all know the benefits of managing our spending, such as getting out of debt or increasing our savings. But did you know that there’s the added benefit of simplifying your tax write-offs?

With all of your spending clearly tracked, locating expenses that can be written off on your taxes will be a piece of cake!

Filing taxes can be time consuming and an outright drag, but with a few simple changes to your spending (and banking) habits, you’ll soon be breezing through the process. Here’s our list of life hacks on for managing expenses to make tax write-offs easy!

Up Your Budgeting Game: Embrace Technology

You’ve heard about the importance of budgeting—it’s nothing new and remains important. Technology exists to make your life easier, so why not apply technology to ease the stress of budgeting?

There’s a wide range of free financial software available nowadays to help you track your expenses—some of our favs are Mint, LearnVest, and mvelopes. Features include links to bank accounts and automatic calculation of income and expenditures. If you mostly use cash, many apps allow you to manually input information. Data is presented in charts and graphs that are so clear and easy-to-read, your 5-year-old could probably make sense of them.

When it comes time to file your tax returns, all of this data can be easily retrieved. Just remember, setting a budget is easy, but the most important thing is sticking to and frequently reevaluating it.

Switch to Debit Cards

When it comes to credit cards, many of us have a bad habit of maxing them out and only paying the bare minimum. This means you’re spending more than you have, which only increases your debt. If you must use a credit card, charge only what you can afford to pay off in full. The more you can pay in full, the fewer payments you have to keep track of for tax purposes.

Making the switch to debit cards is easy and has the added benefit of hard spending limits. This is particularly helpful if you don’t trust your spending habits, or those of your kid who’s away at college!

Record as You Go

When it comes to tracking your expenses, it’s best to record them as soon as they occur. If you wait to record your purchases from your receipts (and let’s be real, who saves their receipts any more?!) at a later date, you’ll end up losing track of transactions or accumulating a huge disorganized pile on your living room table.

Tracking spending in real time not only ensures accuracy in your accounting (guaranteeing the most write-offs come tax season!), but also helps with accountability since you’re forced to record every dollar that you spend in writing.

Cancel All Unused Accounts

How many subscriptions are you paying for each month?

How many are you actually using and how many could you do without?

Oftentimes, we subscribe to a service and then forget about it. How can you keep track of your spending if you’ve completely forgotten what you’re spending your hard-earned dollars on? For example, if you subscribed to a magazine about newborns two years ago and your baby is now a toddler, that’s a subscription you can do without. Or that weight loss membership you haven’t used since last year? Good riddance!

Get the Family Involved

Involving all members of your family will help you feel more responsible by leading by example. Some ways to get the kids invested in smart budgeting include:

Teach your children to budget and keep track of their pocket money—an intuitive smart phone app can make this more fun.
Avoid giving your college kids a credit card. Instead, get them a debit card and teach them how to track their spending.
If your kids are old enough to run errands for you, make sure they have electronic receipts for any purchases emailed to you so that you can easily input the transactions into your finance management app.

By making sure everyone else is accountable for their spending, you’ll likely feel encouraged to be more responsible and organized yourself—helping you stay in better control of your spending.

How to Manage Expenses: Less is More

The bottom line is: The less disorganization and overspending you have to deal with, the easier it is to keep track of your expenses. The responsibility ultimately falls on you to keep your spending in check, which will help you keep your sanity when it’s time to file your taxes.

And who knows? You might just uncover a tax write-off you never noticed before! Cheers to that!

Debt Free Finance Money Work at Home

Simple Steps for Working Moms to Become Debt Free

Being Debt Free – Oh the Freedom!

“I’m in debt. I am a true American.” – Balki Bartokomous

Many of us aspire to get ahead in life, but then things happen—it seems like, no matter our financial situation, debt sneaks into our lives and holds us back. Just when you think you’ve got some extra money saved, another bill pops up that needs to be paid off. Sound familiar?

The harsh reality is that many people are struggling with all kinds of debt. From credit card balances to student loans to taxes to car loans to medical bills and everything in between, being in debt has become a way of life for many of us. Add to that the fact that you have a family to take care of and the situation becomes even more stressful!

The good news is that you’re not the only one drowning in debt. The even better news (no bad news here!) is that you don’t have to accept it as a way of life. You have options to get out of debt and actually start saving money. With some discipline, clever thinking, and the right attitude, you and your family can be well on your way to experiencing the freedom of a debt-free life!

Tips for Becoming Debt Free

1. Create a Realistic Budget

Before doing anything else, you need to establish where you are financially. Everything you spend money on has to be accounted for—whether it’s bills, kids’ daycare or extracurriculars, food, or entertainment—record each item and the amount of money you spend on it every month.
After compiling a comprehensive list of items to include on your budget, decide what you and your family can do without (cable, for example). Oftentimes, it’s only when we see something in writing that we realize how much we spend on unnecessary things.

Speaking of putting things in writing, don’t forget to make a list of your debts and face them head-on like the strong mom that you are. Once you complete this exercise, you’ll be able to determine how much money you need to dedicate to debt repayment each month. This will help you envision the best plan for reallocating money from that list of unnecessary expenses (like your unused gym membership) to pay off your debt.

Look at that, your total debt is decreasing already!

2. Stop Borrowing!

Stop signing up for credit cards.

Forget about test driving that car you’ve been eyeing but really can’t afford the car loan for.

Remember, when you borrow, you’re only digging yourself further into debt. The more you dig, the longer it will take to get out!

3. You Can and Should Start Saving

Think of it as an emergency fund.

Life happens—If an emergency comes up and you have no savings, chances are you’re going to turn to credit cards to fund those emergencies.

Start small and work your way up. As a mom, ensuring that you can take care of the kids, particularly in an emergency, is undoubtedly one of your top priorities. Savings will be the safeguard between you and endlessly mounting debt.

This way, you can get out of debt and have peace of mind that you’re (somewhat) prepared for emergencies.

4. Pay off the Smallest Debts First

Let me tell you why:

You’ll be able to remove smaller debts from the list faster than that big loan with insane interest rates.

Once those debts are paid off, you’ll be able to contribute more to the bigger loans and pay them off faster.

Seeing debts removed from your list will give you an incredible confidence boost. Good job, mom! (Go ahead and do your happy dance!)

Don’t forget to automate your payments—the more automatic and effortless you can make the debt repayment process, the better.

Working From Home – A More Permanent Solution

There’s so much more you can do to become debt free. Getting discounts on your car insurance, cutting back on your lifestyle, and meeting with a financial advisor are all smart steps to help get you on the right track. However, if you want to permanently and quickly leave your debt-filled days behind you, then becoming a work-at-home-mom is an excellent option.

Ultimately, your ideal situation is having an ever-increasing income. And if you’re in the corporate world, you know that a traditional job doesn’t offer immediate financial growth.

Working from home has that earning potential. As a work-at-home-mom, you have the power to double or even triple your earnings from one month to another! You can take an active step towards becoming debt free—for good!

Our goal at Moms Making Six Figures is to give moms and their families the freedom to do what they want without feeling tied down by financial burdens. For more details on how to live a permanently debt-free life, visit our website at momsmakingsixfigures.com or call us at (858) 837-1505.

Finance Success Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance: Do Women Want the Same Thing as Men?

It’s no secret that men and women think differently than each other. Maybe it’s biology, maybe it’s our history of laboring at home while men work in a completely separate sphere. Although it’s probably some combination of the two, let’s be real—when it comes to gender, some things haven’t changed all that much. Even though women now make up more than half of the U.S. workforce, we continue to be responsible for 40% more housework (on average) and two times as much caregiving as men (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics)!

As most of us can attest, what this means is that work-life balance is often far more complicated for women than it is for men—after all, we have a lot of responsibility on our shoulders, from creating and raising little humans, to keeping the household from falling apart, to supporting our significant others, to providing financial security for our families. This complex and multi-faceted role that we play means that women simply have different mindsets when it comes to careers.

While it may seem like women and men largely want the same things for their family, such as healthy, happy children and a safe home, the details of what success really looks like tend to diverge widely between men and women.

We differ from men in several key ways in terms of how we conceive of our long-term goals and how we define achievement, both of which can greatly influence how we think about our own careers as parents, spouses, and employees.

1. Women Prefer Flexible Schedules

According to a recent report from the AAUW (American Association of University Women), women are far more likely than men to take time off from work after having children, whether temporarily or until their children are grown and out of the house. An estimated 17% of women work part-time following the birth of a first child, while 23% of women leave the workforce altogether for years, if not decades. In contrast, only 2% of men work part-time and 1% leave work following the birth of these same children.

While there’s a multitude of reasons for this difference between genders, as women we clearly choose to spend more one-on-one time with our children than our male counterparts. Some of this stems from practical factors, such as women tending to have almost double the length of parental leave and many women opting to breastfeed children without engaging in the potentially painful and disruptive process of pumping.

Yet, some of us simply choose to prioritize quality time with our children over seeking professional advancement. After all, when our little ones are so young and defenseless, it can be tough to leave them in the care of strangers—the “mommy guilt” alone can be crippling!

2. Women Are More Self-Directed

It’s been proven that men and women think very differently. This means that we tend to work in unique ways, many of which actually benefit the work-at-home mom. Women are far better at multitasking than men, meaning that we’re hard-wired with the ability to simultaneously manage multiple customer histories, inventories, emails, etc., all while making sure that the kids stay fed and (sometimes) clean.

This option is also extremely beneficial because, while women tend to be punished in positions that don’t offer flexible schedules, we excel in more accommodating work environments. As a result, women working in home industries with adjustable work hours tend to become more ambitious than in a corporate environment with a rigid schedule. With the reins in our hands, we’re are also happier and less stressed out, making us feel more fulfilled overall.

3. Women Have Stricter Definitions of Success

For women, success is all about work-life balance. While men tend to define success in terms of income, wealth, and possessions, women are far more likely to consider ourselves successful only if we are both financially stable and have meaningful relationships—we truly want it all. Sure, we may be realistic with our ambitions, recognizing that we might not be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies while working 20 hours a week, but we still want to provide for our families and have something tangible to show for ourselves outside of our role as mom.

When it comes to excelling at business, men and women see things very differently. Women tend to prioritize work-life balance—a more artful juggling of work and family make a woman feel more accomplished.

When push comes to shove, a woman is far more likely to leave even an extremely successful career in order to accommodate family needs.

That doesn’t mean that we’re not driven, however—many of the women who end up leaving fulfilling careers due to family circumstances still feel like they aren’t reaching their full potential. If these women had it their way, they would prefer a challenging and high-achieving position, if only it worked with their hectic schedules.

4. Believe It or Not, Women Can Have It All!

As women, we want to be both fulfilled in our jobs and our home lives, yet many of us forget that these two aspects of our loves don’t need to be in direct conflict with each other. By becoming a work-at-home mom, you can actually have it all by setting your own hours, spending quality time with your children, and providing financial stability for your families.

Many of our team members end up even more financially successful in home business than was ever possible in their more traditional corporate job. Contact our experts today and start your journey toward becoming your own boss and running a lucrative home business!

Family Finance Work

Self-Limiting Beliefs

When I decided to walk away from my corporate job 2 years ago, I honestly thought the hardest part would be finding clients. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but after 15 years in the corporate environment working at both big and small companies, I thought I was well prepared to take on a new challenge and start my next chapter as a business owner.
Throughout my corporate career I found myself attracted to those who had worked for well-known corporations with notable educational backgrounds. I felt many of those high-level managers had a real “it” factor, and I aspired to be like them.
The biggest obstacle of being out on my own was simply changing my mind set. I had to let go of the corporate insecurities to be able to build my brand. I had picked up some deep-rooted beliefs from the corporate world.
Credibility
I felt a lot less important without the business card of a well-known company and big job title on it. I went from being wined and dined, continually sought after for business, to…well, I was now the one attending networking events looking for prospective new clients. My how quickly the tables had turned! Though I began to question my professional self-worth, I decided there was no other option than to honor myself and my personal brand. I reminded myself daily – “I am knowledgeable, creditable, and can add value to the lives of my clients.” I began reading books, listening to all the personal development/motivational greats like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and Suze Orman to help shift my mindset.
What is My Worth
Working inside the walls of a major corporation afforded me many luxuries – healthy salary, benefits, expense accounts, airfare mileage, hotel points, complimentary upgrades, etc. I hadn’t paid for a vacation in years due to the countless perks I had at my disposal to cash in on. I was always aware of my market value, as it wasn’t uncommon for a recruiter to reach out to me a couple of times per year pitching me on a new opportunity. 
I knew I would be walking away from these added luxuries, but didn’t realize how envious I would be the first time I walked through first class and thought, “that used to be me,” as I headed to my seat in coach. I had to stop using the monetary metrics I had picked up from corporate America. This was definitely more challenging to overcome than I had expected, but for once I was truly happy; my decision to work for myself provided me the opportunity to finally be the mother and wife I had always envisioned myself being. I was now in control; I actually owned my time. I could head to Costco at 10:00 am on a Wednesday and avoid all the crazy lines. I could go on a field trip with my daughter without having to use a trumped up story with my boss. I could attend a fitness class in the middle of the day and come home and use my own shower rather than the bacteria breeding grounds…err, I mean, the gym showers. I could make business decisions without going through several managerial layers for approval. Even with the new-found advantage, it is still often challenging to maintain my mind-set (i.e. that the “lifestyle wealth” outweighs the material wealth. I am in best shape of my life, I am present for those I love, the work I am doing is meaningful and I am truly helping others find their greatness. In addition, I know that I am making significant progress daily toward equaling the material wealth I had before I left oppressive corporate life.
Measured by My Title
My title drove where I sat on the corporate ladder and from a young age, I worked hard to be close to the top (versus standing at the bottom staring up). I felt my job title was a direct reflection of my success. Shortly after I had left the corporate environment, I celebrated with a friend who was promoted to Vice President of a large corporation and, as she was telling me about all of the luxuries the new title came with, I remember driving home that night feeling slight disappointment that I was no longer on the management fast-track. In that moment though, I realized just how much I had allowed my position on the corporate ladder to become the measure of my success. I knew I couldn’t let this false measuring stick hold me back any more and that it was no longer valid (if it ever had been). I had to find new, more meaningful methods to measure my success, like: 
- Do I have quality time with those I love?
- Do I feel good about the person I have become?
- Do I have the ability to accomplish my goals and live my mission? 

I encourage you to learn from my struggle and skip to the fun part of developing your own questions to measure your success. We may not have the fancy corner office or the big title any more, but it doesn’t matter because those anchors of the corporate world no longer drag me down or have any bearing on my perceived success. I still work hard, sure, but I do so on my terms. I make good money, and it’s getting closer to great money every day. But most importantly, I am an available mom to my two young daughters and a loving wife to my husband—and that is priceless.
If you are contemplating stepping out on your own, contact one of our mentors at Mom’s Making Six Figures so we can share our experiences and help you begin your journey toward true success.

Finance

3 easy tips that will help you ensure an amazing holiday without the stress of breaking the bank!

Have you ever gotten to Thanksgiving and had a sudden moment of panic when you recognize that Christmas is only a few short weeks away and you haven’t saved enough money to cover the cost of all that you would like to do for your loved ones?

Well don’t worry, you are not alone. I know we just finally got through summer and got the kids back to school but believe it or not, NOW is the time to start planning for Christmas….at least from a shopping and saving perspective!

Here are 3 easy tips that will help you ensure an amazing holiday without the stress of breaking the bank!

  1. Write out a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for this year and budget an amount you want to spend on each of those people. This will help prevent overspending on certain individuals but also help prevent “last minute” add-on’s. If you don’t know the person in September or can’t think of them in order to add them to the list, do you really need to purchase them a gift? With this list, you can come up with a comprehensive figure that you want to spend for the holidays and start saving toward that amount between now and the end of November. If you can’t figure out a way to save the total before December 1st, then you have probably allocated too for each person OR you have added too many people to your list. Revise so that the plan is actually doable!
  2. Plan what you want to get each person (at least in a category of clothing, electronics, toys, etc) before you go shopping! Let’s say you budget $200 for each of your kids. By planning in advance, you can decide whether you want to allocate that $200 to one big gift (maybe a new cell phone for a teenager) or many small gifts (toys and books for toddlers). This will prevent you from spending $150 on miscellaneous small items before coming across a big $200 item that you know will MAKE their Christmas! So instead of OVER spending $350 on that individual, you can stick to your original budget!
  3. Start shopping now which will allow you time to do price comparisons and to find great deals! It also allows you to spread out the spending so that it doesn’t all hit your checkbook in the same month. One of my favorite ways to shop is online as it a) keeps me away from the parking nightmare and the crowds at the mall, and b) keeps me away from impulse buys at the store! It’s much more likely that you will see something in a store that catches your eye and you add that impulse to your cart than if you are searching online for something specific. Another great way to control your overall budget!