I recently had a “financial physical” with my financial advisor, Bob Tresley, who is very strict with me regarding my wasteful expenditures. He is relieved to hear that I no longer buy Gevalia coffee, and that I have finally quit my book clubs. He notes that my loyal Ford Taurus (1991 model year) is greatly over-insured, that I need to emphasize retirement savings over college savings, and that I need to stop using “buy American” shopping as therapy!
Natural gas and electricity prices are predicted to skyrocket this winter. Bob suggested a series of energy-saving measures (e.g., water heater blanket, compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout the house, automatic thermostat, and weather stripping for doors and windows). He also hammered home the following commandment of energy savings:
“Apply thee NOT the weather stripping to thy windows WHILST some of them remain stuck open a full inch at the top from the time last summer when the trim on the outside of the house was painted …”
You may not all have access to Bob Tresley, but it’s still a good idea to take stock once in awhile. Are you saving a little (or a lot) each month? Are you paying off your credit cards each month? Are you buying things you don’t really need? Ordering too many pizzas for delivery?
There are lots of free resources on the web that can help you get started; e.g., try BetterBudgeting.com for household budget forms, checklists, and money-saving tips. In addition to taking a close look at spending and saving habits, Bob recommends ordering that free credit report we’re all entitled to (go to AnnualCreditReport.com).
I also want to pass along a great website tutorial on Ten Financial Questions and Answers for Women, courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. The web seminar runs just over 11 minutes, but I encourage you to listen through to the end even if some of the initial questions don’t seem to apply to you. Issues covered include estate planning, life insurance needs, supporting aging parents and children, and saving and credit strategies.
Here’s wishing you financial AND physical health!