Financial Literacy Lessons – Concept of Generosity


Generosity should be a component of building and applying our knowledge of financial literacy to our own lives.  Why is generosity such an important component of financial literacy?  Because it takes the focus off of our own selfish desires for our lives.  It provides us with a greater purpose for our money that far exceeds our own selfish desires.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give” Duane Hulse

We all need to be reminded that our lives will not be remembered for how much we earned or how hard we worked.  Our lives will be remembered for how we touched and impacted the lives of others.

“All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why.  Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” Danny Thomas

Therefore, each of us should look for more meaningful ways to use our money, time and talents to impact others less fortunate than ourselves.

We don’t have to wait to become millionaires to start practicing the concept of generosity.  We can start today. There is always someone less fortunate than us and we can impact their lives today.

Maybe each of us should be asking ourselves this question:

What do I have that can make a difference in someone elses life?  It is the gift of my time & resources to help others less fortunate than myself.

Here are some questions that may help you get started:

  • Where can I make a difference?
  • Who or what is on my heart?
  • How can I use my unique gifts and abilities to touch and impact the lives of others less fortunate?
  • Where can I and or my family get involved?
  • Where is an unmet need in my community or in the world that I feel passionate about getting involved in?
  • What random acts of kindness can I anonymously perform today?

“You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have earned your money, unless you have done something for someone else who will never be able to repay you”  Ruth Smeltzer

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself”

I hope this short aricle inspires you to find your purpose and passion in life for helping others.  This new found purpose for you and your money may be the first step towards getting freed up financially.  It may provide the motivation to reduce your expenses, become debt free, set a cap on your lifestyle and use your resources to make a lasting difference in your community and our world.

I hope you have benefited from this post on Financial Literacy.  If so, leave a comment.  In addition, please forward this to anyone you think might benefit from this short lesson on the Concept of Generosity.

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Self Storage Units – Store it or Sell it?


Self storage units have gotten a lot of attention lately with A&E’s real-life show, Storage Wars.   It showcases some individuals who attend auctions to bid on repossessed self storage units.   The show provides a look into what Americans keep in their storage units.   The show also provides the estimated value of the items that are purchased by the winning bidder.  Many times the estimated market value of the items is very low.

The show got me thinking about a simple question.  Sell it or Store it?  What is the best financial decision?  The initial monthly costs may seem like a bargain when compared to the estimated value of the items being stored.  However, the monthly costs really start to add up over a period of months or years far exceeding the actual value of the items being stored.

Here is a quick example to illustrate my point.  We have average size 10’ x 10’ unit.  The monthly rent is approximately $110 per month.  We have been renting the unit for approximately 3 years.  We have paid the self storage company approximately $3,960 ($110 x36 months = $3,960) over the last 3 years.   The total expense represents our payments.  However, it does not take into account the lost income or gain if the money had been invested during the same period of time.

The contents of the storage unit are not worth approximately $4,000.  In fact, the estimated current market value or garage sale value would be far less.   We could have sold the items (probably for more then than today), not stored them and saved thousands of dollars.   Why have we continued to pay the monthly fee?  Because we like millions of people across America have kept making payments for things we hope we will use again one day without ever fully considering the costs vs. the value of our items being stored.

As a result, we have decided to sell or donate all of the items in our storage shed.  This will save us $110 a month and simplify our lives.

Do you have a self storage unit?  How much are you paying to store your stuff?  What is it really worth vs. what is it really costing you?  Maybe it is time to ask the question, store it or sell it?   This simple question may save you thousands of dollars over the next few years.

I believe self storage units serve a purpose for people that have short term needs to store their possessions for a brief period of time.   However, due to the costs it is very important to evaluate the expense and time commitment we are making to a unit before signing on the dotted line.

Do you know someone that might benefit from this article?  If so, please forward this article to them.

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Credit Cards: Swipe Your Life Away – Convenience over Cash


Do you remember when cashiers would ask “cash or credit?”  Those days are long gone.   Consumers have traded cash for convenience.  Unfortunately, convenience comes at a price.  It is consumer debt.  It is very difficult to control our spending when we merely swipe our credit card for any and every purchase without ever stopping to realize the impact that each charge has on our overall personal finances.

The convenience of a credit card does not illustrate the actual exchange of our money for our purchases.   Think about this the next time you receive your credit card statement.   Take a look through your credit card statement and review each charge on your statement.  Ask yourself, if you would have made the same decision if you had to pay cash for every transaction on your statement?

If the answer is no, then think about why did you make the decision to purchase something when you did not have the cash to pay for the transaction?  Convenience?   As I stated above, it is the convenience of a credit card that encourages excessive spending.

Over time this excessive spending creates outstanding balances on our credit cards that cannot be paid in full every month.  As a result, we end up paying thousands of dollars in interest charges that dramatically inflate the cost of our original purchases.    In addition, the money that is consumed by our debt keeps us from funding our savings and investments goals.

The good news is we can work on improving our spending habits by simply reverting to paying cash for all of our purchases.  If we have to use our hard earned cash to pay for our purchases, it provides us with a very real illustration of how much money we are actually spending on a monthly basis.   I am confident all of us will make different decisions if we limit our spending to cash only purchases.    There is an awareness that occurs when we have to make a conscious choice to take cash from our wallets, count it and pay for our purchases.  Cash is a limited resource that must be managed to ensure we have enough money to last until our next paycheck.  As a result, this awareness surrounding each purchasing decision will start to improve our financial habits.  It also provides us a new perspective on how we spend our hard earned money if we have to pay cash.  I hope this article inspires you to start living with the time-tested motto “Cash is King.”

If you have enjoyed this article please take the time to read some of other articles on a variety of personal finance topics.

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Top 10 Summer Finance Tips for Teens

Summer provides the perfect opportunity to help our teens learn some valuable lessons managing their money.   Many teens get part-time summer jobs, mow lawns or get weekly allowances for doing chores around the house and they have a myriad of summer activities vying for their attention.


Therefore, summer provides the perfect time to help them learn how to manage their money.  These summertime personal finance tips are invaluable for preparing your teens for handling their own finances.

10.  Make it Fun – Learning about money does not have to be a boring class or lecture in the living room.  Learning about money should be a fun and rewarding experience.  Because, ultimately it is money that allows us to do the things we want to do.  Learning to manage money as a teenager helps teenagers ensure they always have money for their summertime activities.   It is our responsibility as parents to present it in a way that engages them.  There are a multitude of free online resources from some great national organizations and non-profits that can help you and your teens learn about money in a fun and engaging way.

9.  Celebrate their Success – Help your teens establish some financial goals for their summertime money.  Help them establish some goals that inspire and motivate them to work on managing their money.  Get their input on what would be a great prize or reward for accomplishing their summertime financial goals.

8.  Free & Fun Entertainment – Teens today spend a lot of time and money playing games online or on their gizmos and gadgets.   They expect to be entertained and are willing to pay for it.  They have missed out on a lot of the simple times we experienced as kids and teens in our lifetimes.   However, if our teens have to pay for all of their entertainment out of their money, they may make different choices.  This also provides us a perfect opportunity to encourage them to unplug and use their imaginations to have some fun for free.  Some of the best times in our lives are the simplest times.

7.  Generosity – Generosity is an important financial lesson for our teens.  Because it takes the focus off of them and gets them thinking about how they could use their money, time or talents to help someone less fortunate than themselves.   The concept of generosity helps our teens develop a different perspective regarding their money.

6.  Savings Account – “Pay yourself first” is one of the most important financial lessons we can teach our teens. Therefore, we should work with our teens to help them commit to setting aside money in a savings account from their weekly income from part-time jobs, mowing lawns or weekly allowances.  We should also discuss the investment aspects of a savings account by explaining how interest can impact the money they set aside.  We can also discuss using the savings to invest in the stock market or other investments to illustrate how their money could grow over time.

5.  Cash Only – Teens do not have a concept of money.  Therefore, it is critical that they learn to manage money by only using cash.   The convenience of a credit or debit card does not illustrate the actual exchange of their money for their purchases.  They simply learn to swipe a card for any and every purchase never stopping to realize the impact that each swipe of the card has on their money and budgets.  However, if they have to use their hard earned cash to pay for their purchases it provides a very real illustration of their money disappearing before their eyes.   Helping them develop the habit of only paying cash as opposed to using credit will serve them well throughout their entire lives.

4.  No Cash Advances – I suggest as parents we refrain from advancing them additional cash above and beyond their summer incomes.  If we keep advancing them money after they have spent all of their money, we are reinforcing their spending habits.  This pattern may ultimately impact their financial habits after they have moved out.  Therefore, I suggest sitting down and discussing weekly expenses and who is responsible for paying each expense.  You and your teen can work out an agreement that works for everyone and also creates some boundaries so they learn to manage their money.

3.  Needs vs. Wants – There are a million things competing for our kid’s money, time and attention.  It is absolutely critical that we help them learn to not make impulse purchase decisions.  They must learn to evaluate each of their purchasing decisions within their budgets.  They also need to develop the patience to wait and save for something as opposed to wanting to charge everything they see.   The “needs vs. wants” analogy is a great way to help teens stop and think through purchasing decisions before they make them.

2.  Control Spending – We live in a consumer driven world that encourages excessive spending.  As a result, we become burdened by excessive consumer debt because our spending exceeds our income.  This is especially true for teens and young adults.   Their lives revolve around online activities and social media sites.  Teens are constantly bombarded by advertising with every online visit.  They also face a lot of social pressures to wear the latest fashions and have the latest tech toys to keep up with other kids.   They must learn to control their spending and live within their incomes before they become consumed by debt as young adults.

1.  Teen Budget – A simple budget should include their estimated weekly or monthly income from chores, part-time jobs, allowances, etc.  In addition, the teen budget should also list expenses they will incur on a weekly basis during the summer.  It is a great idea to get them to write down all of their expenses.  Then review the list with them to ensure it includes items that may not have considered.  Help them create an accurate budget.  Then help them review it every few weeks to see how they are doing.   Set some goals and reward them for achieving them.  The best goal or reward is helping teach our teens to responsibly manage their money before they are on their own.

I hope you have enjoyed this article on the Top 10 Summer Finance Tips for Teens.  If you know someone who would enjoy this article, please forward it to them.

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3 Steps to Debt Free Living


Debt is consuming the lives of millions of people.   Debt is what keeps us from pursuing our hopes, goals and dreams for our lives.  Debt robs us of our future.  The only way we can take control of our financial lives and our future is by becoming debt free and never going back into debt.  Debt free living must become your passion and your unrelenting goal.  Debt free living can be a reality for anyone that is willing to commit to the goal.  What if you were debt free?  How would it change your life?  What could you do or pursue if you were debt free?  Here are 3 Steps to help you become debt free.

 1.  Cut Expenses – We live in a consumer driven world.  Our spending habits are consuming our future.  We must take control of our spending habits to start moving towards achieving debt free living.  Therefore, the first step towards achieving debt free living is to cut out our unnecessary expenses.  When was the last time you reconciled every dollar you spent for the last 30 days?   When was the last time you looked at every charge on your credit card statement?   I challenge you to track every expense for a minimum of 30 days to see where all the money goes every month.  My family and I just completed this exercise.  I was blown away at how much money we wasting every month.  We were only able to identify these unnecessary expenses by tracking every dollar and keeping every receipt for a minimum of 30 days.  This simple exercise has dramatically impacted our spending habits and has freed up a lot of money.  Therefore, I challenge you to use this exercise to look for ways to reduce your unnecessary expenses and start saving money.

2.  Payoff Debt – Our debt is typically the result of the lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis.  We never stop to realize that with every swipe of the credit card we are consuming our future.  We never stop to think how much the new car, boat or other luxury items we purchase with a personal loan costs us over our lifetime.  Until one day we wake up and realize we have nothing to show for all of our hard work.  This is the reason millions of people are unable to retire and enjoy life the always dreamed of living. Therefore, nothing is more important than paying off your debt and taking control of your financial future.  We must create a plan to systematically eliminate all our debt one debt at a time.  We must commit to stop using our charge cards and only paying cash.  This will require a change in lifestyle and discipline. However, the financial freedom and rewards of debt free living will change your life forever.   It will free you up financially to pursue your hopes, goals and dreams for your life. 

3.  Cash Cushion – It is a lack of personal savings that forces us to use our credit cards or obtain personal loans to pay for the expenses we incur in our lives.   Many of these expenses are unplanned expenses for car repairs, kid’s braces, home repairs, etc.  We also use our credit cards for pay for other large expenses i.e. vacations, holiday shopping, home furnishings, etc.  These large expenses dramatically impact our overall debt, increase the costs of every purchase due to the interest we pay over time and also reduce or eliminate our ability to save money, fund retirement, etc on a monthly basis.  Therefore, we must commit to establishing and funding a cash cushion account or emergency funds account to pay cash for these expenses as opposed to charging the expenses.

A cash cushion is an emergency fund that is created to cover your living expenses for 3-6 months.  It is also used to cover unforeseen expenses, repairs, etc. that come up in everyday life.  The purpose of a cash cushion is to keep you from incurring expenses on your credit card when emergencies arise.  A cash cushion will also provide you peace of mind that you have 3-6 months living expenses in the bank at any time.   I encourage you today to set up a separate bank account and start funding your cash cushion account

I hope you have benefited from this post on Financial Literacy.  If so, leave a comment.  In addition, please forward this to anyone you think might benefit from this short financial literacy lesson.

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Copyright © 2011, All Rights Reserved

Money Saving Tips for Summer Vacations


Summer vacations provide the perfect opportunity to escape from the busyness of life, unplug, relax and enjoy life.  This has never been truer than over the last few years.  The financial crisis has created a substantial amount of financial stresses  and strains that have taken their toll on people, marriages and families.  Therefore, a summer
vacation may be just what the doctor ordered to get reenergized and get reconnected with your spouse and kids.

Here is some money saving tips for your summer vacation that will help you save some money and have some fun.  Because the last thing anyone wants to do is spend the next twelve months paying for last year’s vacation long after the vacation glow has faded.

Set A Budget – No one likes to hear the word budget.  However, it is absolutely critical to live, play and work within your finances.  Therefore, sit down and review your available cash, savings, etc. to get an idea of how much you are willing to spend.

Vacation Cash – How much cash could you save before your vacation if you worked hard to eliminate all of your unnecessary expenses and impulse purchases?   Use your vacation as your motivation or goal to cut your spending and save as much cash as possible for your trip.   Think of it just like a crash diet to shed a few pounds before the summer vacation

Locals Coupons – Many times local businesses offer “locals discounts” and or discount coupons to locals for their summer activities and restaurants.  Spend some time looking online for locals’ discounts or for local discount coupon books.  In addition, you can look through the local newspapers of your vacation destination for locals’ discount coupons as well.

Garage Sale – Sell your stuff to fund your vacation – This is the perfect time of the year to have a garage sale and sell off your old things to fund your vacation.   If you have a family get everyone involved in cleaning out their closets to fund the trip.

Vacation Options – Everyone has a “bucket list” of dream vacations and destinations they want to visit or experience during their lifetimes.  However, due to the current economy this may not be the perfect time to take the dream vacation.  Use your budget and timeframes to narrow your vacation options to fit within your budget.   Start a dream vacation fund to start saving for the “bucket list” trip of a lifetime.  Don’t go until you can pay cash for the entire trip.  The Dream vacation will keep you motivated to save.

Travel Time vs. Vacation Time – Nothing is more valuable than our time.  This has never more true than when we are on vacation since our time is very limited.  Therefore, spend some time looking for new destinations or experiences that are closer to your home.   This not only will give you more vacation time and less travel time it will also lower your overall vacation costs.

Travel Discounts – The economy has impacted every industry including the tourism and travel businesses.  Therefore, spend some time looking online for the best deals in hotels, airfares, excursions, etc.  In addition, don’t be afraid to ask for additional discounts from hotels, excursions and activities before booking them.  Tell them you are shopping for the best deal. Get them to compete for your business.

Vacation Home Rentals – Many times you can rent a vacation home for less money than a couple of hotel rooms to accommodate a family or several couples.  A vacation home may provide a more relaxing experience than a busy hotel.  A vacation home will allow you to stock up on food and beverages at the local big box discount chain saving you a substantial amount of money as opposed to eating out every meal.   Search for reputable vacation rental businesses and get references before paying deposits.

Magical Moments for Less – Many times the most memorable moments that are created with our friends and family are created from the simplest activities i.e. a sunset walk on the beach, making smores over an open fire, a morning latte at a sidewalk cafe, etc.   Use your imagination to create some magical moments and memories.

I hope this short article has provided you some creative ideas and insights on how to save money on your summer vacation.   Do you have some great money saving ideas for summer vacations?  Take a moment and share your thoughts below.

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Top 10 Tips: How To Blow It All & Work Til You’re 90


Life is too short to save every penny we earn hoping we will need it for a rainy day.  We work too hard not to reward ourselves daily with the some of the nicer things in life.  After all, it is our hard work that allows us to raise our standard of living, purchase the new car we have always dreamed of owning and take that incredible vacation.

What are we waiting for?  We need to live large and enjoy life today.  There is no reason to wait when we can have it all today.  Are you ready to get started?  Here are  the Top 10 tips that will help you blow it all and work until you are 90.

10. Latest Fads & Fashions – Who wants to wear last year’s fashions or miss out on the latest fads?  No one wants to make a fashion faux pax and wear the wrong style or color.   We can easily keep up with the latest fashions and fads without worrying about the costs  by using our credit cards.   We can look great today and pay another day.

9.  New Cars  – There is nothing like the smell of a new car.   The new cars have all of the whistles and bells.  In addition, you get all the stares and attention when you drive the latest ride.  The best part, you can finance it or simply lease it.   A monthly payment is cheaper and easier than taking the time save up and pay cash.  Why wait?  You can be approved and drive away today.

8.  Entertainment  – We are all looking for ways to escape and zone out from the busyness and stress of life.  The good news is there are countless choices and options all competing for our time, attention and money.  What are we waiting for?  We can do something different every day and night of the year to entertain and amuse ourselves.

7.  Gizmos & Gadgets –  It is so cool to be the early adopter and always have the latest and greatest tech toy or gadget.  It takes some extra effort and time online to make it happen but in the end it is worth it.  As an added bonus we will get all of the attention showing off our new gizmos and gadgets.

6.  Shop til You Drop –  There is always something on sale and a bargain waiting to be found.  Shopping is a great way to reward ourselves for so working hard.  We deserve it and with a simple swipe of the credit card we can buy it.   There is no need to wait and think about it, buy it today.

5.  Latte A Day – The best way to start the day is with a nice latte.  It is the perfect treat.   It is a great way to start each and every day.   It is only $4 and worth every penny of it.   Four dollars  a day is nothing.  Right?

4.  Dining Out –  Dining out is very quick, easy and convenient.   There are countless choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  There is no need to waste time cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.    Dining out is a great option for young adults, couples and families.  If you are in a hurry there is always a fast food restaurant with a drive thru lane open nearby.

3.  Dream Vacations –  Nothing is better than a dream vacation to a killer destination.    It is the perfect reward for working hard all year.   The great news is we can get free miles or reward points  if we charge our vacation on our credit card.    We can even make monthly payments after our vacation to keep the upfront costs down.    Monthly payments are easier than saving the money to  pay for our vacation in advance.

2.  Keeping Up With The Jones – The Jones always have all of the cool stuff, the newest cars, the latest fashions, designer furniture, bigger homes and more toys.   No Worries!  Credit provides a great way for us to keep up with the Jones.   We can have it all just like the Jones.    Who knows, with enough stuff, we may become the Jones in our neighborhood one day.

1.  Living Large on Your Credit Cards  – Credit cards are so easy and convenient. Why would we ever carry cash?  Our credit cards allow us to get what we want, and when we want it without ever thinking about it.   What could be easier?  Not to mention the convenient minimum monthly payments.

This article was obviously written with a sense of humor to illustrate how our debt and daily financial decisons are consuming our lives and our financial future.  I hope this article makes each of us stop and think about our own spending habits and their impact on our lives.   I know I have been guilty of all of the items in the top 10 list at one time or another in my life.  What about you?  What would you put in your Top 10 List of How to Blow it All and Work til Your 90?  Share your comments.

p.s.  please forward this article to the Jones they really need to read it.  You may also know someone else that migh benefit from this article as well.

I hope you will follow Fiscal Literacy on Twitter, Facebook or sign up for our free personal finance, news & updates.  The Fiscal Literacy Radio Show Premiers June 7th at 1pm ET.   You can listen live on our website.

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The True Cost of a Credit Card


Millions of American carry credit card balances every month because they are unable to pay off the balances in full.  The latest G-19 report from the Federal Reserve for March, 2011 reported that consumers owed approximately 796 billion on revolving credit card debt.  This is a great deal if you are the banks and credit card companies who collect the millions of dollars in interest every month.  However, for the millions of families making these payments it is consuming their lives and their personal finances.

Have you ever stopped to consider the true cost of carrying balances on your credit cards?  I hope you will take a moment to click on the Federal Reserve Credit Card Calculator and input your information to see the true cost of carrying a credit card balance.   It is an eye opening exercise.    Here is a link to their site

The credit card calculator only reveals half of the story.  The credit calculator only shows you the costs of carrying balances on your credit card.  Unfortunately, it does not illustrate the other half of the story.

The other half of the story is the lost financial growth that could have occurred if you had invested the money.  Why?  Because the power of interest can also work for you just like it works for the banks and credit card companies.  Once you understand the power of the compounding effect of interest, you will never want to pay interest again.

There is an anonymous money quote that states “those who understand interest earn it, and those who don’t understand interest pay it.”

Here is a link to a great free online investment calculator with graphs by Fidelity Investments.  Take a few minutes to enter some information to see the impact of interest working for you.    To see the difference or both sides of the story, enter your current outstanding credit card debt and monthly payments as an investment.

I hope this article has inspired you to start working on paying down or paying off your credit cards.  More importantly, I hope is has inspired you to start saving and investing your money so you start earning interest and building your financial security.

Do you know someone that might benefit from this article?  If so, please forward this article to them.

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Money Saving Tips for Home Buyers


One of the biggest challenges for home buyers today is the increased down payment requirements of many mortgage loan programs.  The larger down payment requirements combined with closings costs and the prepaid expenses to establish an escrow account for property taxes and home owners insurance can prohibit many families from purchasing a home.


There is a way to save thousands of dollars and lower your cash required to close if you understand the impact  of your down payment & mortgage finaincing on your out-of-pocket closing costs.

The vast majority of home buyers are looking to save money and want the best deal possible.  Therefore, they want to offer the lowest price.  This seems like it makes the most sense and will save the homebuyer the most money.  Let’s look at a specific example to see the actual impact of this choice and how much this strategy lowers the buyers overall closing costs.

The home buyer has a limited amount of cash available for the down payment and closing costs.  Therefore, the home buyer is planning on making a 5% down payment.  The remaining 95% of the sales price will be financed.

Let’s presume an asking price of $200,000 and the home buyer wants to make an offer of only  $195,000 on the home.  The buyer thinks they are saving themselves $5,000. Did they? What do you think?

You can only answer this question by looking at the specific percentages of the down payment and financing percentages.  The home buyer is only providing 5% of the funds to purchase the home and the lender is providing 95% of the funds.   Therefore a $5,000 down payment only lowers the buyers closing costs by $250 ($5,000 x5%= $250).

Here is another idea to consider that will dramatically lower the buyers closing costs for the same amount of money.   As opposed to a price reduction the home buyer could ask the seller to provide them with a closing costs credit of $5,000 and make an offer of $200,000.   What is the impact of this option?  A $5,000 closing costs allowance will save the home buyer $5,000 in out-of-pocket closing costs.

What would you rather save as a home buyer $250 or $5,000?  For many people this may be the difference in them purchasing a home.   This strategy can be especially helpful for first time home buyers.

*The lending guidelines for seller paid closing costs can vary based on the amount of your down payment and the loan program you select.  Therefore, consult with a mortgage lender.  The mortgage lender can provide more information based on your particular situation.  In addition, your Realtor can provide additional input and guidance on how to properly structure your offer.

Do you know someone that might benefit from this article?  If so, please forward this article to them.

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Debts & Diets – What’s the Secret?


How many of us could stand to lose a few pounds and also payoff some debts?  Everyone is searching for the latest and greatest fad to get ripped and or get rich. Everyone wants to know what is the secret?  The secret lies within each of us.  We are the secret to getting ripped or getting rich.    It all starts with us.


With debts and diets it all starts on the day we say, enough is enough, no more.  I have had it and something must change and change now.  Maybe that day comes when we look in the mirror or we sit starring at a pile of credit card bills, car loan and consumer payments and wonder how did we ever get ourselves into this mess.

That day is critical because ultimately it is the breakdowns in our lives that can lead to the biggest breakthroughs in our lives.  How do you transform a breakdown into a breakthrough?  It will only occur when the breakdown becomes a defining moment in your life.  It is in that defining moment that you will create the motivation to change your behavior and your habits that will transform your life and your finances.    If you are at that point in your life, here are some tips on how to “get ripped” financially by establishing a plan to pay off your debt.

Step on the Financial Scale – With any weight loss program you must first step up on the scale to capture your current weight.  The same is true for your debts.  Start by creating a ledger to capture your current debts.  Use this to define your starting point.

Set Your Financial Goals –  We all have an idea of what we would like to lose or payoff.  However, without specific clear written goals, we will never accomplish them.  Therefore, take some time to establish a some clear financial goals and timelines for paying off your debts.

Daily or Weekly Financial Weigh-In  –   It is absolutely critical that you measure your results and celebrate your progress.   Therefore, you need to break-down your long term debt free goals to short term weekly goals.   Celebrate these weekly victories.  They will build your confidence and enthusiasm.

Change Your Financial Habits –  The only way to successfully achieve your diet or debt goals is to change your habits.  We have the ability to create new financial habits.  There are numerous studies that show new habits can be formed in 30 days.  Therefore, start today and work on building some new healthy financial habits.

Daily Financial Calories –  Successful dieting involves making conscious choices everyday at every meal.   The same is true with a financial diet.   You need to make conscious financial choices and decisions every day regarding every purchase.

Avoiding Financial Temptations – You cannot stay committed to your diet if you are tempting yourself with your favorite treats and foods everyday.  The same is true for financial temptations.  You cannot wander through the shopping malls, look through catalogs or eat out every meal if you plan on achieving your goal of paying off your debts.

Building Your Financial Will Power – There is power in the moment of choice.  Every time you avoid temptation and make the right decision you build your will power.  You create certainty, build momentum and confidence that you will achieve your goals.   You can further strengthen your will power by regularly reaffirming, reading or visualizing the achievement of your goals.   Your financial goals are the same as your diet goals.  With a diet you may visualize fitting into that perfect outfit , looking great on the beach during your vacation or wowing your friends at  a reunion or special event.  It is that vision that compels you to stay committed to achieving your goals

The Power of You – Ultimately you will determine whether or not you get ripped, get rich or live debt free.  Never underestimate yourself.  You have all of the power, talents, abilities and drive to achieve any goal you are willing to commit to achieving in your life.  History is full of compelling stories of individuals who overcame adversity, lack of education, physical limitations, lack of financial resources, etc., to accomplish great things in their lifetimes.  They were able to accomplish these great feats because they had a crystal clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish in their lives.  They were unwilling to accept failure or be deterred from achieving their goals for their lives.    They were no different than you and I.  You can do it! Don’t wait another day.  Step Up and Go For It….

I hope this article has inspired you to start working on creating specific financial goals to make your dreams become a reality in your life.  Do you know someone that might benefit from this article?  If so, please forward this article to them.

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