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Take Control of Your Money
By Julie Fuimano
Do you know where your money goes? Many people complain they don't have enough or they need to make more. Yet ask them how much money they really need and many will have no answer. These people have no idea how much money they need to cover their bills and expenses. They also have no idea where their money goes and may easily be living beyond their means. If this rings true for you as well, then it's time to take control of your money!

Most of us do things out of habit without considering alternatives or examining our choices. Working with a coach involves becoming fully aware and taking personal responsibility for all areas of your life. Are you ready to take responsibility for your money?

Action: Keep a running list of every dollar you spend. You will need to do this for a few months to get an accurate picture of your spending habits. Include your bills and regular expenses on the list. You will want to list quarterly and yearly expenses as well, dividing them into monthly parts. There are many expenses that come up at certain times of the year such as birthday parties for the kids and day care/camp costs, holiday gift expenses, car expenses including inspection. You want to include on your list everything you typically spend broken down into monthly totals. Keep your receipts, all of them, cash and credit cards. This will help at the end of the month identify where your money is being spent.

There are only two ways to put more money in your pocket: increase your income and reduce your expenses. If you are underutilizing your skills, then find a job that pays you what you're worth; or find a way to make passive income. It is more difficult to increase your income; it is fairly easy to reduce your expenses. My clients have found from $200 to $2000 a month in unnecessary expenses!

Action: Examine every item on your expenditure list. For each item, identify whether it is a need or a want. See if there are hidden expenses that you can eliminate. Make a game of it and see how much money you can find in a month. Can you find $100 a week that you can put back in your pocket? $100 a week is over $5000 a year. Let that sink in a moment as you look over each expense. Look for patterns in your spending. Do you purchase coffee in the morning or can you make it at home or work? Do you pack your lunch at least sometimes or go out every day? Examine how you spend at the market - do you market with a grocery list? Or do you just peruse the aisles for what you think you need? Do you look for sale items? Do you use coupons? Are you using your coupons wisely, or are you buying something just because you have a coupon? What about your phone bill, how many options do you really need? You get the picture. Identify the difference between need-to-have vs. nice-to-have.

Not only are all the luxuries expensive, they make our lives complicated. As new discoveries occur and new products invented, they are marketed as necessities. Decide for yourself whether each new product and feature is necessary for you or just nice to have.

Be in control of your money and how you spend it. There is great power when you are fully aware and are in control. When you find all of the extra money you have been wasting, save it. Save 10-20% of your income. Saving paves the way for financial independence and the accumulation of wealth. You may wish to consult a financial advisor to help you invest appropriately.

Don't go through life with blinders on. Be fully aware and live life by design!

Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN is a Success Coach and co-founder of Nurturing Your Success, Inc. Her passion is coaching clients on leadership and career development, communication, team building, marketing and branding. You may visit Julie at www.nurturingyoursuccess.com, write to her at Julie@nurturingyoursuccess.com.

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