What Happened to the $27.00 Bra Girl – Part 2

Goals are important but life sometimes just happens.

Without Tessa’s plan, in the early days, I have no idea what we would have done.

Achieving a goal that you have looked forward to and worked hard for is a feeling of victory and accomplishment that cannot be duplicated. We could list the things we have given up or not done or not had to achieve them. We have made mistakes that have delayed our goals and we have also fast tracked to achieve others. I have laid awake at night worried if our goals are too big or if we are not doing enough. My husband has not. He and Tessa are very similar in this way. They see bumps in the road as just that, a bump on their path. This has been my biggest lesson and challenge. My mother will often tell me ‘sometimes life just happens’.

As well prepared or as well intended, you are, sometimes life just happens. Our dog gets sick right before a final payment on a trip is due, we have dinner plans with friends from out of town and realize my math was wrong when managing the ‘entertainment funds’, I attempt to transfer my household grocery money into our joint account but transfer it into my RRSP, the list can go on. Each time a delay or bump in the financial path has happened, I have learned it is more important to just keep on the path than it is to waste time worrying about what we could have done differently because for the most part there is very little I could have changed to make a real impact on the outcome. I will not be arrested by the Visa police if I do not pay off one month in full, but I have learned to check my math twice (and that my husband’s math skills are better than mine….) Our little dogs make our home so enjoyable and the trip to see my brother marry the love of his life with 50 of our family and friends was worth every penny from each account we took it from.

Tessa’s view on financial planning is very clearly laid out in her book and I realized not everyone would have the opportunity to hear her speak and hear how motivated and dedicated she is to improve other lives. Not everyone will be brought a hot cup of tea, by her wonderful husband, soon after being told that a $27 bra was not an essential purchase.

The plan is tough. Sometimes it outright angers you to be on it. Sometimes in makes you cry because you’re convinced no one else lives this way.   Sometime it makes you the happiest person on earth. Sometime you have no idea what your life would be like without it.

Our journey is different now we have a wonderful daughter. Our plans and goals have changed. Our daughter’s education is our main priority. Anyone who knows Tessa, is very aware how much value she places on education. We have already begun the journey by setting up her Registered Education Savings Plan.

We will keep you posted on this new focus.

WHAT YOU WANT VERSUS WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO PURCHASE

I had an encounter at the mall earlier this week. I needed to get a short, white jacket to wear with my summer dresses.  I entered a store, was looking around when this young lady came to assist me in selecting my purchase, asking whether she could help me. I explained to her what I was looking for and informed her that I had already looked around and did not think they had exactly what I wanted.  She said that she would check her stock at the back and, after a few minutes, came back with several ladies’ jackets. I looked at each one and kindly explained they were not what I asked for.

The young lady began explaining to me that the shorter jackets were out of style and these are the latest fashion. They were seen on the runways of New York and Paris.  I again told her that I wanted a specific jacket.  She said the benefit of having one of these jackets is that I could go from spring into summer and then right into fall. The colours she had were spring and summer colours.  I explained again, in case she had forgotten, that I wanted a short, white jacket. She then informed me that white, as a colour for spring and summer, was out and the popular colours were bright green and bright yellow, and if I got one of those jackets I would be the envy of my friends.  The price is great, she said,it is at 50% off today and if I had a friend who is a senior I could get an additional 15% off.

As a former sales person myself, I must commend the young woman; she new the benefits of her product, she did her best to sell them to me, she informed me that I would be right in the fashion of the times since this was seen on the runways of New York and Paris for the spring, and that I would be the envy of all my friends with my new runway jackets. Then, she went for the jugular by informing me of the price and the discounts.  Who in their right, impulsive mind could let that amazing sale pass?

The sales woman did not hear my needs, she wanted to sell these jackets and her job was to convince me that I needed the jackets even if I had come to the store for something entirely different.  My needs were completely forgotten. She had an agenda and it was to sell me those jackets. I love these encounters and when I get one of them I often try to put myself in the place of the impulsive shopper.  What would an impulsive shopper do?  Would she agree with the sale person and purchase the runway jackets?  What then would she wear with those summer dresses?  Would she now have to purchase something else to wear with these new jackets, I know she could not wear the jacket without a skirt or a dress?   So the impulsive shopper would leave that store with a bag full of unintended purchases, a maxed out credit card and a belly full of regret before even getting home.

I politely told the young lady that I was not interested in the jackets and left the store.

When you go shopping, you should always be sure of what you are looking for and how much you plan on spending. Remember that the sales person’s job is to get you to buy what they have in their store. You must be aware that they are not your friend, you just met them and they are doing their job… and some can do their job very well.  Often, when we get into those stores and the sales person is helping you, they already know what has to move from the store today.  There was a sales meeting prior to opening and the manager gave them their target for the day or for the week.

When you enter a store you are swimming in unchartered waters.  Be careful as you might drown in a sea of debt before you know it. The bright, spring sunshine can push us into spending more than we plan this season… especially after the cold and snow-bound winter we just experienced.

Take your time and plan your shopping wisely. Take a friend who will tell you the truth no matter what and do not depend entirely on what the sales person has to say.

Tessa-Marie

 

APRIL 2ND 2013

FIVE POWERFUL STEPS TO FINANCIAL SUCCESS

Interesting year we are in, 2013!  Commonly, anything with the number 13 generates fear and superstition.  Many people run away from this feared number. Buildings do not have a 13th floor as it is so feared.  Do we have a choice?  Can we ignore the year 2013 or pretend it does not exist just because it has the number 13 in the mix?  No, we can’t so we are going to include 2013 in our lives.  We are going to do something different this year.  We are actually going to embrace the number 13; we are going to embrace the entire year!  A suggestion for our theme for 2013 is NEW HOPES, NEW DREAMS AND FINANCIAL SUCCESS!

Every year we make plans and set goals, which we refer to as RESOLUTIONS.  Let us scrap that word. We are setting New Goals for a New Year with a number that will surely improve our chances.  We will begin by naming “2013” the year my life changed for the better.

My first question; what do you want to ACCUMULATE and what do you want to ELIMINATE?  Take a few minutes and write your answer down.

In the past few years were you a MISSILE WITHOUT A GUIDANCE SYSTEM?  Were you just going about your business working, paying bills, spending and reacting to life instead of life reacting to you?  It’s time to change.  Give yourself a GUIDANCE SYSTEM. Where do you want to go and when?

Now what are those five powerful steps to financial success I am talking about?  Well here they are, you might have heard some version of them previously, but not described to you in the way I am going to do so now!

1.  SPECIFICITY

Key to meeting your goals is to know your goals. Describe your goals completely and entirely until they become something you can recite like a nursery rhyme. You want to pay off your Master Card then say I want to completely pay off my Master Card.  Do not only say I want to pay off my debt.  This non-specific statement does not completely describe your goal.  The specific statement you want to make describes which debt and the amount.  Generally, when a goal is not specific it is not attained.  Ask yourself which debt, the $100.00 you owe your brother, or the $3000.00 outstanding on your Master Card?  Be Specific.

2.  KEEP SCORE

What steps are you taking to meet those goals?  In other words, keep score of your progress towards your goals.  Your statement should be as follows.  I want to pay off my Bank Master card (name the bank) and I am paying $250.00 towards the card every month.  So I Keep Score every month of the total I have paid towards my Bank Master Card debt, which shows me the headway that I have made.

3.  PUT YOUR GOAL INTO YOUR LIFESTYLE

Now that I am paying this Bank Master Card off, I should not continue to use the card.  Making payments to eliminate debt every month and simultaneously incurring more of the same debt is counter-productive.  For example, one should not make efforts to pay $250.00 a month towards a Bank Master Card debt and charge $200.00 to the card just because there is available credit.  Create habits that will enable you to bring your financial goals into your lifestyle and eliminate the habits that work against you.  Modify your behavior.

4.  PROGRAM FOR SUCCESS

Now that you know the steps you need to take in order to meet financial goals, avoid the impulses and temptations that are a hindrance to your targets.  An immediate reward can produce long-term penalties.  A drink after work every Friday is no longer one of your pastimes.  Dinner out every weekend with your friends should be scaled back. Why not cook with your friends at home and everyone contributes to the meal.  A lovely homemade Tuscan soup and some fresh buns with a bottle of wine can make a lovely winter dinner with friends at home.  Try it!  You’ll it!

5.  TIME.  WHEN DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL

This is one of the most important steps in accomplishing your goal.  A friend of mine always wanted to retire to Jamaica.  I’ve heard the following statement for the last 15 years. “I am going back home to retire.”  Now that is an incomplete plan.  My friend did not complete his statement; he should have said:  “My goal is to retire in 2001 at the age of 60 in Jamaica.” Now that is a complete goal!  We have the where, the what and most importantly, the when!  My friend is still in Canada, retired and only vacations in Jamaica.  He maintains his dream of one day living in Jamaica but his goal is still incomplete.  With no when, no timeframe, this is an incomplete and unattainable goal.

So there they are!  Your Five Powerful Steps to Financial Success!  Every three months take time to look at your progress towards meeting your financial goal.  If you are not on tract, then re-evaluate and make the necessary changes to get yourself back on tract.  It may not be easy, keep plugging away, do not abort the goal!

Happy New Year

Tessa-Marie

January 2 2013