Monday, July 30, 2012

Christmas in July

I know the last thing you are thinking about this July is Christmas.  Why would you, it's 5 months away, right?  Christmas is the time of year when we tend to drastically go over our income.  The average American spends 40% more than what they earn during the holiday's.  The excuse we give ourselves to cope with the spending is, "Hey, its Christmas....I only do this once a year.", or "I want to show how much I love them."  So we spend our whole paychecks on gifts and when that is not enough we turn to the all mighty credit card to save the day. 
Here are some holiday statistics brought to you by
  • Americans spend $525 billion over the holiday season.
  • The average American spends a little under $1,200 during the holidays which includes gifts, food, and travel.
  • 23% of the $1,200 spent is paid through credit cards.
  • 1 out of 3 bankruptcies filed in March sited overspending on Christmas.
Is this what Christmas is really about?  Spoiling our kids with gifts we can't afford.  Are they even playing with the gifts that we bought them on Christmas today?  Do we really need to be competing with others to see who receives the best presents and buys the most expensive gifts?

Instead lets give gifts this Christmas that will touch people's hearts rather than damaging our wallets.  Find out what they really need in their life instead of what they want.  I rather my girlfriend give me boxers, socks, and wife-beaters for Christmas (I really need those) instead of going broke buying me that 50" 3-D flat screen TV that I want.  In this case I would be happy, she would be happy that I'm happy, and of course her wallet might even be happier.

But if you are the type that has to buy a lot of presents here are some tips:
  • Start Saving Money Today- People tend to spend the money that they make during November and December for the holidays.  Try to put money away now so when December comes you do not have to use all of your current monthly income on presents.  If you can save $50 a month for Christmas that is $250 you are starting with on your holiday budget.
  • Make a List- Make a list of the people you plan to give gifts to and also what type of gift you are planning to give them.  Start to research the price of the gift and then add up the cost of all the gifts together.  Maybe you can find something cheaper now then if you wait to buy it during the holiday's.
  • Secret Santa- Sometimes it could be a hassle to give all your co-workers or all your aunts, uncles, and cousins a gift.  Why not start a secret Santa?  This is when members of a group secretly give a present to a person that they are randomly assigned to.  You can set a price limit on how much you can spend on the gift.  In the end everyone will not feel left out if you do not give them a gift.
  • DO NOT USE YOUR CREDIT CARD!!!- This is the last but most important tip that I can give you.  The bottom line is you can not afford the gift you want to buy if you are thinking about using the credit card.  People usually spend 112% more when using their credit card than what they would if paid in cash.  How is this possible?  Buying that $500 Ipad on your credit card might make you feel happy in the short term but with the average credit card interest rate at about 15%, you have just added close to an extra $100 to your purchase.  So stay away from the credit cards during the holidays, no purchase is worth it. 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

College Grads Facing the Employment Blues

"Everyone keeps crossing their fingers for a new burst of hiring. And for those just starting out, a crystal ball would certainly help steer them on the right path.  But fortune tellers and fairy godmothers seem absent from the job-forecasting business, leaving some recent college grads regretting their choice of studies and wishing they had prepared for a "more practical" profession"

Say goodbye to the days where receiving that career job after college was a for sure bet.   Elizabeth G. Olson writes about the effects of the economy on recent graduates.  In order to survive in today's world we must adjust to the times.  If your about to go or are currently in college, begin researching the starting salary of the position you wish to be employed in.  Also, come back down to earth if you think your graduating college making a six figure salary.  But there is a silver lining within the job market.  Check out which job industries have been growing and are expected to grow till 2020. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Your Independence Day

Hello and Happy Independence Day! I know everyone will be enjoying the beaches, barbecue's, and fireworks on this beautiful day. July 4th is an important time in American society being that 236 years ago we broke away from the powers that held us back to usher in a new world, a new set of ideas and freedoms. Who would have known back in 1776 that the New World would be like it is today. No one could have imagined that America would be the most powerful country on the planet.

The founding fathers and our ancestors before us knew there was something wrong with the livelihood in which they were living. They had the courage to fight against the normalities they were accustomed to in hopes of a better world for themselves and future generations.

We all know there is something in our lives that might hold us back from reaching our full potential. Whether it's our friends, our livelihoods, or our careers. These troubles have always been around in our lives and we think that because they've been there for so long, we have to get use to living with it until we die. My friends, I would like to be the one to tell you how wrong you are. If our ancestors thought that way we would be drinking tea on this July 4th day instead of celebrating our Independence.

We must have courage to fight the norms of our everyday lives in hopes of a better future. Of course its not going to be easy, you know how many people died in the war against the British in our quest for Independence? Their deaths do not go in vain neither do your pitfalls along the way, for they are just moments to build your character for a better you. Through belief in a brighter future and faith that you will get to where you are going when the time is right, you will achieve what you set out to accomplish plus more. America just wanted to be broken off from Britain's authoritative rule and now they come to us looking for advice.

You already know what is holding you back from being the person you want to become. Today I challenge you to take the step and have the courage to fight for that goal, your dream, your belief. Nothing worthwhile in this world comes easy so embrace the struggles as character building lessons instead of giving up. Envision what you want to be and when the time is right you will become it. So celebrate life today knowing that a better you is just around the corner. Today, celebrate your Independence Day!

God Bless!!