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Tuesday, October 22 2013

Is your house haunted by clutter?  Is there clutter in your basement, attic or garage?  Is it hiding in a closet, under your kitchen sink or under your bed?  Is it lurking in your filing cabinet or desk drawer?  Are you afraid to tackle your clutter?  

When you can close a door or drawer to hide whatever is inside, it's easy to ignore it.  Even though these areas might not be a distraction to you on a daily basis, it does create stress and anxiety each time you access that area or whenever you think about these spaces.  That's a scary thought!  

Unlike clutter that is in plain sight, clutter that is hidden away can lead to bug or rodent infestation, increased levels of dust and dirt and prevent you from discovering leaks, cracks or other major structural issues.  The inability to view your home's hidden spaces can cost you a lot over the long term - both financially and emotionally.

Flat surfaces are an ideal location to bring those hidden items out into the light of day.  Anything from a dining room table to a driveway works well.  This will enable you to determine what can be thrown away, recycled or donated to charity.  The rest can be returned to its original location if it still makes sense for them to be there.  However, before doing so, take a few minutes to clean the area of dirt and perhaps cobwebs, and note any repairs that need to be made.  

If the contents are being stored in a small dark area, consider installing a battery operated light.  (I installed a push button light in a lower cabinet in my kitchen next to my stove where the access is not in the center of the cabinet to provide better lighting.)  

The basement, attic, garage, closet and other enclosed areas are NOT dumping grounds for your possessions.  Be sure to replace cardboard boxes with plastic containers to avoid bugs, rodents and perhaps water if it leaks into the space.  Be sure to label the containers clearly so you will know what they contain without having to open them. 

Ultimately, the less you have stored away, the better.  This will prevent your home from being haunted by clutter this Halloween!

If you want more information on how you can get help to eliminate your clutter that is haunting your home, contact me.  I am glad to help.   

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 14 2013

The holidays will be here before you know it and you will be shopping in the malls and in the local stores.  Now is a great time to organize your wallet so that using it will be easier. 

You probably use your wallet on a regular basis.  (I know I do!)  When was the last time you cleaned it out?  Are you able to find what you need when you need it?  How long does it take you to find that credit card you want to use or a store reward/loyalty card?  Is your wallet bursting at the seams with receipts and information?  Do you need to hold it together with a rubber band?  (Yes, I've seen this!)

 

Here are five simple steps to organize your wallet:

 

1.  Purge your receipts.  I recommend that you do this daily to keep it all under control.  Log the debit expenses into your checking account ledger and put your credit card receipts in an envelope until the bill arrives.  Hold cash receipts for no more than 30 days following a purchase in case you need to return something. 

 

2.  Use digital coupons.  If you carry store loyalty cards or paper coupons in your wallet, they could be taking up too much space in your wallet.  Try using digital coupons or a smart phone app instead.  Try Passbook for iPhone.  They attach your phone and loyalty number so you don't need those cards anymore.  (This might free up your keychain as well!)

 

3.  Determine your "Must Haves".   Everyone has difference needs and routines.  There is not one way to organize your wallet.  Whatever works best for you is the right way.  However, that does not mean it should be stuffed or stretched beyond its limit.  Take a few moments to figure out what you really need to have in your wallet on a regular basis.  Consider how many credit cards you need to carry with you at all times.  Do not carry your social security card in your wallet!  For me, I keep it simple:  debit card, major credit card, wholesale store membership card, drivers license, health insurance card, AAA membership card, some business cards, and a small amount of cash.  The rest of my credit cards are kept in a separate wallet that I use when I am going shopping at a particular store.  (I plan ahead for any excursions to the store.)  

4.  Decide whether your current wallet fits your needs.  There are many types of wallets to choose from.  Find one that comfortably fits what you need.  Sometimes a wallet can be too big for your needs and you can downsize.  Sometimes you need a longer one to fit your contents.  (Remember to make a copy of your credit cards and keep them in a safe place in case your wallet gets stolen.)

 

5.  Have a spot for emergency money.  Keep a small sum of money in case of emergency in your wallet.  Sometimes you find that a store only takes cash (my local produce store is a good example) or you find that your credit card is not working.  Fold up some cash and keep it separate for use in an emergency only. 

 

What do you have in your wallet that can be removed?  

 

If you find that you are overwhelmed with your clutter and need help getting and staying organized, contact me.  I am here to help!

 

In the meantime, Happy Organizing!  

 

 

 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 03:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 02 2013

Are you struggling with debt?  Are you fed up and ready to do something about it?  Is your debt weighing you down?  Perhaps its time to go on a debt diet.

If you are seriously ready to gain control of your finances, I have some ways to help.

1.  Figure out your total debt.  Do you have any idea how much you owe?  Do you know what the current interest rate is on each of your credit cards?  Are you able to figure out how long it is going to take you to pay off your debt?  Collect all of your monthly statements and make a list.  When you have a clear picture of your financial obligations, you will be able to make better decisions about how to manage it.

2.  Stop spending.  You need to start by figuring out where the money is coming in from and then where it is going.  Most people discover that they are spending more than they are making.  Figure out what things you could easily do without and stop spending money on them. 

3.  Prioritize your debt.  There is a difference between secured and unsecured debt.  Secured debt has an underlying asset, such as your home or car that can be repossessed if you don't make payments.  Unsecured debt does not have assets backing them up.  The worst that can happen is that your credit score drops.  Make sure to pay on the secured debt first.  Be sure to pay your taxes to keep Uncle Sam happy.  Then, pay those credit cards with a focus on those with the highest interest rates.  Try to pay more than the minimal balance.   

4.  Repay your debt.   First you want to reduce your interest rates.  Start by learning your credit score by getting a copy of your credit report.  You are entitled to a free report once a year from the various reporting agencies.  What is your FICO score?  If it is not above 720 (a perfect score is 850), work to raise it by paying all of your bills on time and not applying for any new cards.  Every time your apply for a new credit card, your FICO score goes down.  Every time you make a late payment your FICO score goes down.  Every time you cancel a credit card, your FICO score goes down.  Take steps to avoid doing these.  With a higher score you can contact a Customer Service supervisor and attempt to get a better rate.  You could refinance a car loan for a lower rate.  Consolidate student loans, refinance your mortgage. Then, put as much money as you can toward paying off those bills. 

4.  Create a monthly plan.  Attempt to spend no more than 35% on housing expenses (including taxes, insurance, upkeep and your mortgage).  Attempt to spend no more than 15% on transportation (including gas, insurance, car payments).  Put 10% of your income away for savings.  Put 15% towards repayment of debt including credit cards and 25% on other aspects of your life. 

5.  Earn more money and make hard choices.  Ask for a raise.  Sell some valuable items.  If you are unable to do so, you might need to sell your car or look for a less expensive place to live. 

Do you need to go on a debt diet?  You might want to start with my U CAN DO IT BUDGETING SYSTEM.  It is an easy 6-step process to figure out what is coming in, what is going out and where it is going.  Simply visit my ABS Store right here on my website.  You can download it immediately and begin your debt diet today!

In the meantime, happy organizing! 

 

     

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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