Archive for April, 2010

“Small leaks sink big ships.” – Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I think it’s amazing that Franklin’s simple philosophy still holds true today. Wasting something as small as $3 a day will add up to $1,095 by the end of the year. And some of us waste much more than that everyday. But the same thing works in reverse. Just imagine being able to save $10 a day and having $3,650 in the bank by the end of the year.

Tips for Being Good with Your Money

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
Extra News | April 14, 2010

Alice Wood is the founder and president of Wealth Watchers International, a company dedicated to promoting financial education. She is the author of Wealth Watchers – A Simple Program to Help You Spend Less and Save More. The following are some tips on how to better manage your money.

Tips for Being Good with Your Money

1. Spend less money than you have.

2. Look for ways to save money.

•When possible, use public transportation or carpool
•Consider walking or riding a bike when running errands
•Plan meals in advance
•Borrow books and movies from the library
•Shop with a list
•Pay down debt as quickly as possible
•Try not to use an ATM outside of your bank’s system to avoid extra service charges

3. Set up direct deposit for your paycheck. Having your paycheck automatically deposited into your bank account or onto a payroll card will save you time and money by avoiding the long lines and high fees charged by some check cashing stores.

4. Open a savings account. Go to your local bank to set up a savings account. Even a small amount will make a difference over time.

5. Discuss your financial goals with a friend. You’re much more likely to reach a goal if you share it.

Celebrate Earth Day (April 22)!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

It’s time to think of at least one way you can give back to the Earth. Try one of the following: bike, walk or take public transportation to and from work; use a refillable water bottle; reuse shopping bags; reduce your shower time by a minute or two each day; and turn off the TV and/or lights when you’re not in the room. For more tips and information on Earth Day, visit www.epa.gov.

Join a volunteer group.

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

No matter what your situation is you will feel content doing something for the greater good and working towards a goal. You can also enjoy the additional benefit of meeting new people and spending time away from the house and/or office.

Local woman writes about key to budgeting

Monday, April 12th, 2010

By Kim Mikus | Daily Herald Columnist

Published: 4/8/2010

Alice Wood, a lifelong Naperville resident, wrote a book on personal finances.

A brain injury drove an estate-planning attorney from Naperville to create a simple budgeting system.

Alice Wood wrote a book about her budget saving process that McDonald’s, Visa and area schools have embraced.

The book, “Wealth Watchers: A Simple Program to Help You Spend Less and Save More,” is similar to the popular Weight Watcher’s program. Instead of tracking calories, participants journal their spending.

By tracking spending, Wood says it’s easy to calculate the program’s key number – how much you can spend per day without getting into financial trouble.

A concept behind Wood’s book is, “you can’t spend more money than you make,” an idea she believes more people of all ages should learn.

The program is implemented in Naperville School District 203. Later this month as part of Money Smart Week, Visa USA is sponsoring the program to teach students in Chicago Public Schools how to keep a wealth journal.

“We’re hoping the program will help raise a generation of people who don’t make the same mistakes we did,” Wood said.

She believes there has been a gap in teaching people about finances and spending. “We spend more money than we have, because we can,” she said.

Wood grew up with a strong knowledge of how to save money, a skill she learned from her father, the president of a community bank.

Raising three children, with her husband, Dan, Wood was in charge of her family’s finances that took a negative turn after an injury 10 years ago. Wood suffered a brain injury during a commercial flight. The plane lost cabin pressure and Wood’s oxygen mask didn’t work. She first noticed a problem when she arrived home, kissed her husband and noticed the area around her mouth was numb.

The next year was filled with fatigue, memory loss, depression, compounding bills, debt and weight gain.

Wood, 50, was treated for a hypoxic brain injury.

She attended Weight Watchers meetings to lose the weight, a move that eventually led to her budgeting system.

She started using the simple journaling method with her husband. They spent $12,000 less than they had the year before.

They made simple changes including not paying to have pizza delivered, making frozen pizza every other Friday and cutting back on daily ice tea purchases made at a local restaurant. “I found the same brand of tea online and now I brew the tea at home,” Wood said. “We used to eat out too much. Now I cook more.

“Reckless spending is something everyone should be aware of,” she said.

Wood’s program involves one simple calculation: your Daily Disposable Income, the money you can spend each day without going into debt. The second half of the book is dedicated to financial journaling.

“You have to think before you spend,” she added.

Pick your favorite stores and become a fan.

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Nowadays, everyone is offering special promotions, sales, customer loyalty programs and – not to be overlooked – good old fashioned coupons. So take a minute to pinpoint what you really need and where you want to shop. Those few minutes can equate to HUGE SAVINGS.