Fortunately, when I was younger I was taught some good money management skills. A single parent, my mom worked hard to make ends meet and often sat with my sister and I to show us how she wrote checks to pay bills and how to manage a checkbook. She taught me that debt was not a thing I wanted to get into, so I have tried to avoid it, although student loans and car loans seemed necessary in my late teens and early twenties.
In the past decade or so I have come across an astonishing number of people in their twenties who have no idea how to manage their money, or they are making huge mistakes and racking up debt with no plan to pay it off. And putting money into savings? It is like a foreign concept. It hurts to see the path they are traveling down and the struggles they will face throughout life because of it.
The good news is that I have been blessed to be a part of the creation of the iMoneyCoach Financial Life Training System Young Adult Edition. This is a version of our online course designed with the young adult in mind, whether in college, recently graduated, still living at home or already married. The course speaks to scenarios the young adult might face, and teaches important money management skills that will last a lifetime.
The chance to learn good money management before making huge mistakes that can take years to fix is tremendous! Discovering skills to make wise decisions for a lifetime can completely change the future for a young person. And iMoneyCoach wants to be a part of that!
Here is a list of some of the benefits of the iMoneyCoach Financial Life Training System Young Adult Edition:
Learn money skills that will help you avoid pitfalls and instead find success early on that will last throughout your lifetime, including how to balance a checkbook, track spending, create a budget, and prioritize spending.
Discover how life and finances are interconnected and interdependent. Every decision you make in life affects and is affected by money. Find out how you can make better life decisions that will ultimately allow your finances to work.
Learn other skills that will help you both with your finances and with other areas of your life, such as your relationships or work.
There is an entire section devoted to re-defining goal-setting in a way that will help you reach your dreams in every area of life.
Conveniently work through the course at your own pace and from your own computer or Internet-connected mobile device. As an online course, the Financial Life Training System allows you to access the material when your schedule allows. You can stop anywhere in the course and pick back up in the same place the next time you login. All of our worksheets are also easily accessible in the course, so if you want to return to one of them or need to print a new copy, they are easy to find.
It is absolutely better to learn good money management early on. There is no reason to wait. In fact, waiting can cost you dearly. In your twenties you are at a prime age to learn about the importance of handling your money well so that you can afford the things you want now and in the future. If you have any questions about the course, I would be more than happy to answer them. I am passionate about getting the financial knowledge out there to young adults so they can live happy, fulfilling lives.
To get started with the iMoneyCoach Financial Life Training System Young Adult Edition be sure to visit the iMoneyCoach University today.
Losing money is never fun, but losing money through identity theft is particularly unpleasant. At iMoneyCoach we are not doomsayers, nor do we want to scare anybody into action. But we do feel responsible to encourage you to be alert and to be aware of things you can do to protect your finances.
The best way to protect yourself from identity theft is by arming yourself with knowledge. The more you know, the better prepared you can be. Knowing what methods identity thieves use is a good start. That way you can be watchful and avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
How identity is stolen and ways to protect yourself:
* Skimming – You are probably aware that thieves occasionally manage to put card readers on ATMs and gas station pumps to electronically grab your credit card information when you swipe your card there. But there is also technology out there that allows thieves to steal the information while your card is still in your wallet if it is the type of card you can use for “express pay” or holding near a reader to pay without actually swiping it. This video explores the danger of this type of skimming and shares how you can protect yourself.
* Phishing – This type of identity theft can occur via the computer or phone. Phishing scams are those where thieves pretend to be a reputable company asking for your personal information or trying to get you to click links that will give them access to personal information on your computer. Here is a more in-depth look at phishing from Google.
How to find out if your identity has been compromised:
* Credit report – You are eligible for one free credit report with information from all 3 credit bureaus each year. On your credit report you should look for any suspicious activity or accounts that may be listed that you did not open. Should you see anything out of the ordinary, be sure to call the credit reporting company to talk about the activity and find out what to do next. You can get your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com (*please not that this is the only government-authorized site that the three credit bureaus are using, and there are imposter sites out there to avoid – more info here)
The underlying theme in identity theft and protection is to be aware. Know what the risks are and keep yourself informed.
Here are some more ideas on ways you can avoid identity theft:
- Do not freely give out your personal information. Know to whom you are giving out information and why. If there is a vendor at a booth asking for your SSN, it might be better to walk away or contact the company directly at their office. Do not give out passwords or other personal information over the phone unless you have specifically called a company via their actual phone number (not one you got from an email that might be spam!).
- Keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you feel that you are in danger or that someone is trying to get your information, you can call the police or contact the company that this individual or email is representing. Many companies say they will never ask for your personal information or password via email, so if you get something of that nature you can get in touch with that company and forward the email so you can be sure it is junk and whether or not you need to take action to protect your account.
The Federal Trade Commission has a site dedicated to sharing information about what identity theft is and what to do if your personal information has been stolen. You can read more on their site about identity theft: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
Remember, we don’t want to scare you into action or make you think the sky is falling. We are about being alert and being proactive in your life and finances. If you have any questions about identity theft or want to share any other tips and ideas you may have experience with, please leave a comment below.
iMoneyCoach is getting ready to attend the Denver Home Show, and I am so excited to be a part of it! To get ready, I made some custom signs to make our booth beautiful and informative. Since this was for a home show, it was only fitting for the signs to be of a style you could find in a real home. I will walk you through the process here of making your own custom sign. It can be done for little cost (maybe even free depending on what you’ve got around the house!) and can match your own personal style.
Steps for creating a custom sign
here is a printable instruction page with the basics, but read on for the full scoop:
1. Decide where the sign is going to go and what it is going to say. This is important so that you can keep it in mind as you gather materials and actually create the sign. For example, if you are going to do a sign that says “Beach This Way” and hang it in your blue and white guest room, you wouldn’t want to get a guitar-shaped sign and put bold red lettering on it. When I started, I pictured a dark background with some light contrasting letters to catch people’s attention but also fit into a home show.
Knowing what you are going to say can also help you decide how big your sign should be. If you are putting a long quote on it, you may need more space. Or you might use smaller lettering and make a long sign across the wall.
2. Pick your background. This is the fun part. For me, it started out a little boring. I pictured an old board for my background with a little decor set around to beautify it. Lucky for me, I only had 1 board in the garage and needed another idea for my second sign. My next thought was to use the back of a picture in a funky picture frame. Not wanting to spend a fortune since I was going to personalize it, I headed over to a new thrift store in my area. They had several pictures at a decent price, but nothing really jumped out at me. So I walked around to see if I could get some inspiration. Then I saw it. An old tray with handles that was already the right color and size. Anxiously I took a peek at the pricetag. $3.89. What a great deal! It was perfect! So I snatched it up and headed home to get started.
I’ve seen several ideas online for using wood pallets or small boards nailed together for signs. You could also use real old signs and paint over them. Or even do this directly on a wall or cupboard. I am currently entertaining the idea of painting some cute words or sayings on the cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom, or maybe the laundry room would be a good place to start.
3. Prep your item and gather materials. When I got home I pulled out the Windex and wiped up my tray to see what I needed to do to get it ready. It cleaned up so nice, and there were just a few nicks and scratches on it that would be no problem at all. The board from the garage just needed a good wipe-down with a wet rag to get off the excess dust.
I pulled out an old can of dark brown paint I had used for this tree project in my bedroom a while back to get ready for the fun part.
Here are the materials I needed for the rest of the custom sign project:
- 1 can of paint
- 1 can of clear glaze (I didn’t end up using this, but it would be a good idea to seal your painting)
- 1 sample size paint or a small tube of acrylic paint
- paint brushes
- masking tape
- newspaper (just to keep paint off the kitchen table)
- 1 metallic silver Sharpie (this is totally optional but a LOT of fun)
I painted the bottom of the tray and dotted over the little nicks. This took all of 5 minutes. I could have left it the way it was, but I wanted the bottom to be as smooth as possible for when I added the lettering later. I was tempted to go ahead and paint the whole tray simply because I was enjoying the painting part, but I made myself stop so I would not cover up the cool color of the outside edges.
I did do the edges on the board because it was unfinished. It was pretty dry (that tends to happen in Colorado), so it took a couple of coats until it looked the way I wanted it to.
4. Print your sign. There are some awesome fonts out there, and it is super easy to install them. I found a couple of new fonts I loved at dafont.com. All you do is click “download” on the font you like, then right click the zipped file it saves on your computer and select “extract.” Once the file is unzipped, you just right-click and select “Install” (this is on Windows 7, I’ve also done it on Vista). And voila! You can open up a Word document and type in the font you just found. There are tons of different styles on dafont.com. Since this was for a business sign, I wanted to be sure to comply with copyright and usage rules, so I actually did a search for a couple of free fonts that did not have any restrictions – many say “for personal use only” or “please donate for business use.” If I found a style I was going to use a lot or ongoing, I would be happy to make a donation, but this is for a 1-time sign.
Once I printed the signs at the size I thought I wanted, I had Debbie from our office take a look at a distance and make sure that they would be legible from a little ways off. If you’re by yourself, set up your page in a corner or use a magnet to stick it to the fridge then take a few steps back to make sure your printed font is the size you want.
5. Stencil your words. I used a great idea from a blog that gives instructions for a DIY Inspirational Quote Sign (thanks Wilma!). Basically, here are the steps:
- You just print out your quote or words and cut them all out.
- Then grab a piece of chalk and color the backside of each of the words. I used chalk from my daughter’s easel, which was handy. I found a whole box at IKEA a while back and couldn’t believe the price – either chalk is really cheap or IKEA is a great place to buy it. I’m betting you could find some at the closest dollar store too. Anyways, I used green chalk since I was going to paint the letters green, just in case there was any residual chalk left afterwards.
- Next, turn the words over and use masking tape to hold them in place on your board.
- Use a pencil to go over the outline of each word (just do a couple at a time so you don’t accidentally wipe off any of the other words when you are painting).
- Then paint in each letter. I had just received a coupon for a FREE sample of Valspar paint from a Facebook drawing they did, so I found a jar of a pretty green called Gold Infusion. Samples can be a good way to go if you want a custom color, and the Valspar samples near me run about $2.94 at Lowe’s. Of course, free is great. Keep an eye out for free paint samples for your project. The dark brown I used was actually a free quart of paint I got at ACE Hardware thanks to another online freebie.
6. Seal with glaze. This is an optional step. I didn’t do it myself this time, but I wanted to include it because it would be a good idea, especially if you are making a sign you are going to keep in your house or anywhere dust settles. If you like the matte finish of your paint that is completely OK, and you can leave it at step 5. But if you would like a glossy shine to your sign, then go ahead and add the gloss once your lettering is completely dry.
Ta-da! You now have a beautiful custom sign with your own quote and lettering that fits your style and space.
We’re going to start with a disclaimer. We are going to talk about how iMoneyCoach is different from other financial programs. And that doesn’t mean that we are putting those other programs down or trying to throw them under the bus. There are people and organizations out there that have made an impact on thousands of people and their finances. But we’d like to share what sets us apart.
iMoneyCoach is a financial training and coaching company. This means that we focus on your finances AND your life. You see, we believe that money is the smallest part of your finances. That sounds a little strange, I know. But when you look a little closer, you will see that it’s actually the rest of life that has the biggest impact on your finances.
There are many other programs out there that deal with finances. You may have read Rich Dad, Poor Dad or attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Or you’ve followed Suze Orman’s show. Perhaps you have picked up a number of good financial workbooks or attended seminars about getting out of debt and becoming rich that were really exciting and had great information. Any of these things may work for some people. But if you are reading this, then chances are that it didn’t work out quite right and you are left feeling a little unfulfilled and wanting more.
Often we find that even after attending seminars filled with good content, or reading books with good ideas, or participating in a small group that provides good support, people still fail at their finances. And that is because these programs fail to address the most important factor in financial health: your life.
At iMoneyCoach we dig deeper and ask you to consider some questions like:
- What do you think money is? Security? Happiness? Trouble? Cause for divorce?
- What did you learn about money when you were going up?
- What are your fears about money? That you won’t have enough? That you will run out? That others won’t like you if you don’t have enough of it?
- Why do you spend money on the things you do? Do you spend money to try and win friends and gain influence?
- What goals are you setting in your spiritual life that will help you financially?
It’s All About Life Balance
Besides focusing on your beliefs about money, we also share the concept of Life Balance and how working on all the areas of your life can allow your finances to thrive. Imagine a bridge that gets you from an unfulfilling life to one of happiness and financial freedom. Each part of your life (Spiritual, Personal, Relationships, Work, and Finances) is a stepping stone of that bridge. If some of those areas are really low and suffering, you come to gaps in the bridge and cannot cross to the other side.
Conversely, if you are just surviving in most areas except for one where you are really doing great, it can end up acting as a huge roadblock that you can’t climb over to get to the other side. All the areas of your life need to be level. And as you work on each area, you can begin to move them all up to success and eventually to a level of significance where you are sharing your success and teaching others so they can be successful too. This last part is leaving a legacy, and it’s something that iMoneyCoach believes is important. Not only are you helping yourself, but you are passing along knowledge and success that helps other people.
So that’s how we are different. But you may be wondering, what about the money? What about the budgeting? We still teach you the basics of good money management! As you learn about Life Balance and the iMoneyCoach philosophy, we teach you about getting out of debt, budgeting, setting up the right accounts, what your spending personality is and how to work with it as you budget, how to set goals and reach your financial dreams, and how to teach your kids about money. We also offer numerous money-saving tips and ideas to help you keep spending down.
One part of our goal is to get you to a place we like to call HomeFree. That is where the money you make from your savings and investment accounts is greater than the amount you spend each month. On top of that, you have your income so you can save and invest more and pay for the things that truly matter to you.
The other part of our goal is to get you to a place where you can truly and honestly say “I LOVE my life!” It’s that place where things are going well and you are finding success and enjoyment in your days. A place where you are able to live your dreams.
So are we putting down other programs? No. But we will share with you that the number of clients we have who have gone through those programs and still need more is telling. If you’ve tried workbooks and seminars or if you’ve followed Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and you find you just need something more, then iMoneyCoach is a great place to be. Get started with us today and you’ll truly be taking the first steps towards financial freedom and a life you love.
Watch this video to learn more about iMoneyCoach and what we do.
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Are you wishing you had more time on the clock and more money in your wallet? There’s an app for that.
We’ve done some research to find legitimate apps that can save you time and money:
1. Key Ring App - If you are tired of carrying around a stack of reward cards that seem to be available everywhere, from your favorite restaurants to the pet store to the makeup store, then you can use this free app on your Android or iPhone to store all of the reward cards.
When you get to the register, you can scan the screen without having to dig through a mountain of cards to find the right one (or find that you left that one at home!). You can also share your cards so that you and your spouse or kids can save up rewards together. This is a great way to organize your wallet to save time and money. For more info, see this video on the Key Ring App from ABC News.
2. Snapguide – This iPhone (and iPod or iPad) app is a great place to find step-by-step guides on any number of projects. And it lets you create guides to help others. Say, for example, you would like to be able to still use makeup that is broken and crumbled in a container instead of having to buy a new compact, see this guide. You can search for guides here. If there is something you know how to do well and want to share with your friends or clients, you can easily take pictures with your Smartphone through the process and add instructions, and voila!
3. CheckPlease has a free version for Droid and iPhone – This app allows you to easily calculate the tip when dining and can also split up a bill among diners. All you do is enter the bill amount, the percentage you would like to tip, and the number of people splitting the bill. No more confusion about how much to pay or one person getting stuck in the awkward and unfortunate position of footing the remainder of the bill!
4. Coupon Sherpa - lets you use coupons at stores by scanning your device, no more clipping! Save 10%, 15%, or more just by pulling up your coupon on the app for the cashier to scan or enter into the register. Works with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Here is a video of Coupon Sherpa featured on Denver’s Channel 2 news.
5. CompareMe for iPhone – helps you stretch your budget by giving you an accurate cost comparison. If store A gives you 10 ounces of a product at a certain price, but you can buy 50 ounces at another store for another price, you can enter all of the information into this app to see which is the better deal. Also good for figuring out if an item on sale is really a better deal than the store brand item right next to it.
Please let us know what your favorite money-saving apps are so others can get in on the savings!