Guest Post by Galia Gichon
Ever notice how it seems like everyone else is going on an amazing vacation? And when you sit down at the end of the month and are trying to find those extra dollars for the vacation, you just can’t seem to stretch that dollar enough. One of the keys to making it happen is putting the fun back in your money. How? Follow these easy steps.
1. Associate the Fun with the Not-So-Fun.
If you are like most of us, figuring out your mutual fund allocations is as much fun as going to the dentist. But what if you crossed learning about mutual funds with your favorite hobby such as yoga or watching NASCAR? It could be as easy as that. Start associating the two. Every time you plan to take a yoga class or watch a race on TV, you have to look up a mutual fund you own on www.morningstar.com, or read a few pages of Money Magazine or even ask a smart friend about their mutual funds in their 401k BEFOREHAND. Put it in the schedule and then you have permission to om away!
2. Running to Ratios.
You are so wild about running, you would run every night after work or sign up for a 5k every weekend if you didn’t have other obligations. But what if you could start learning key financial terms such as expense ratio, exchange traded funds and asset allocation, while you are making your mileage every week? Take advantage of that time running by downloading some interesting and FUNNY podcasts from NPR or iTunes onto your ipod. Most are free. My favorites are: Planet Money (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94427042) and Marketplace (http://marketplace.publicradio.org/).
3. Live a “Seinfeld” Episode.
One of my favorite “Seinfeld” episodes is the one where Jerry and the gang decide to live in an opposite world. All their actions were supposed to be opposite what they usually did. Why not tackle this idea with your money? If you usually pay for everything with credit cards, try just using cash for one week.
4. Reward Yourself.
For every $1,000 you save, go out for dinner at your favorite restaurant. Set a goal, stick to using innovative sites like SmartyPig. Yes, you are spending money, but you also have a plan and are sticking to it!
5. Find a Buddy.
It’s always easier to reach your goals when you work together. Go through your FACEBOOK page and look for friends with good money habits and share your own, or bloggers you enjoy who are on the right path.
Galia Gichon is an independent personal financial expert with more than 14 years of experience in financial services, including nearly 10 years on Wall Street and an MBA in Finance. She runs her own company, Down to Earth Finance, which offers personal financial education, and is completely independent! She offers individual sessions, seminars – including SIMPLY MONEY, which has been featured on the TODAY SHOW and CNN. She has been quoted or made appearances in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Glamour, SELF and much more. She is also the author of “My Money Matters” kit which was featured in Newsweek and on the TODAY SHOW. Visit her at downtoearthfinance.com or simplymoneyclass.com.