Oct 31

Of all the potential problems life can serve up to us, money problems rank among the most stressful without a doubt. Ruminating about mounting debt, having trouble paying bills, knowing we are making bad choices can do quite a number on us mentally. If denial is no longer doing it for you, and you are ready to move towards a more ordered financial life, here are some helpful strategies to get you there.

Do a Mental Purge

One of the reasons we let our money troubles get so out of hand is our tendency to push our troubles out of our minds and go into denial mode. Obviously on some level, we are aware of the damage, but so long as we don’t fully face up, we can continue to divert our attention elsewhere.

Actually thinking about the situation for too long is unpleasant to say the least, but this refusal to think about it is just prolonging the suffering. One of the first steps in righting your money wrongs is doing a mental purge of all your worries and problems. Face them head on. This is very powerful.

So, bust out a pen and paper—this is more powerful than just typing it out—and write down all the stuff that has been floating around in your head. What money worries are you currently dealing with? What do you fear will happen now, or in the future because of these problems? Don’t hold back..just let it all out.

What Will Provide Immediate Relief?

You didn’t get into a financial mess overnight, and you can’t expect to clean it up this quickly either. But, don’t focus too much on the whole picture—it will just make you feel super-bummed, and your motivation will drain very quickly. Think about what you can do immediately to provide some relief.

Perhaps there are some inaccuracies with your credit report that need your attention. If they are bigger issues, or you don’t have the time to stay on top of the process, it might be a good idea to find a reputable credit repair company to assist you in correcting these errors. If you haven’t filed your taxes, do so, and once the bill comes, call the IRS to discuss a payment plan. If there are any expenses you can cut immediately that will put some extra money in your pocket, do it.

No matter how small the step, it is a good thing because it moves you out of a place of feeling powerless.

Visualize the Improved Situation

There is a lot of power in visualization when it comes to making positive change. It gives us something to focus on. When we get into a space where we can see and feel the more ideal circumstances of a particular aspect of our life, it motivates us to make this our reality.

What would a better financial life look like to you? Do you see yourself making regular deposits into your savings account? Do you see yourself truly enjoying nights out because you truly have the money to spend on a nice dinner or concert? What does this life feel like? It probably feels pretty good. Think about the lack of anxiety and fear that comes with having all bills paid on time, budgeting properly and managing debt responsibly. How much more peace would you feel if you had a nicely padded savings account, or the oft-talked about ‘emergency fund?’

Visualize yourself as being responsible with money and financially savvy—this may seem challenging from your current space. But, it is important to realize your situation now was not borne of some DNA defect that made you bad with money. It was borne of bad habits, lack of education and awareness and poor decisions. All of that is of the mind and can be changed.

Where you are now probably feels really uncomfortable. Facing up to our money troubles is scary, but this willingness sets a very powerful intention. So long as you commit to following through, and taking things a step at a time, you can turn things around.

 

written by Joe \\ tags: ,

Oct 30

You might think that only retailers are in need point-of-sale or POS stations. Well, if you’re a wholesaler you need one just as much as they do. Why? For much the same reasons. You want to keep track of your inventory, sales, and have your back office functions such as accounting on board, too. It’s not just retailers who suffer from shrinkage, and need to keep their accounting straight. Integrating your warehouse and online storefront will also help you streamline and eliminate redundant tasks, much to the relief of your staff.

How Many Zombies Are in Your Warehouse?

You might not think that zombies are lurking in your warehouse, but they are. Zombies can take many forms, such as moribund inventory, damaged inventory, missing inventory, or the repetitive labor needed to work with your inventory. Inventory costs more than the money it takes to acquire it; inventory creates overhead expenses in addition to its acquisition and transportation. In calculating your cost of inventory you also need to look at how much it costs receive it, store it, count it, pull it, pack it, and ship it. Inefficient inventory practices can lead to shrinkage and excess overhead costs that revolve around servicing the inventory instead of selling it. Inefficient buying practices can land you with more inventory than you can properly handle. Deploying a POS system will help you to integrate your online portal your warehouse and showroom in real time and allow you to track a live inventory each order is tied to specific barcoded merchandise. Some practices that will be helped by the new system are:

  • Purchasing: The need to drive sales often results in inefficient buying practices driven less by customer demand than the idea that more stock is better. By tying your life inventory to your sales, a POS will be able to track sales and profit margins by individual order or whatever criteria you need, such as sales by month, by account, or by salesperson.
  • Receiving: Improving your procedures in receiving starts with purchasing. Properly identifying materials with barcodes, counting them, and putting them into inventory with procedures and policies count and every item, and cost of shipping assure you that you are getting what you paid for
  • Stocking: Under no circumstances should any item be put in stock without first being bar-coded, counted, and scanned into inventory.
  • Order pulling: Pulling an order should be subject to the same rules and procedures as stocking and receiving. No item should be removed from inventory without first being scanned and accounted for. This will result in more accurate inventory tracking and more accurate pulls.

Wholesalers

The ultimate goal of inventory management  is to improve the timely flow of goods from suppliers, to warehouse, to customers while at the same time expending as little cash as possible. You’re not trying to choke your operation, or annoy your customers with rain checks and backorders.

In addition to improving your practices, according to Microsoft, your employees will benefit from being cut loose from repetitive redundant and frustrating tasks.

Stopping Shrinkage before It Starts

For any business shrinkage should always be a concern. Even in wholesale shrinkage occurs due to loss, damage, theft, accounting errors, or other factors depending on the individual industry. Stopping shrinkage, even if you don’t think it’s a problem, might show you the leak in your cash flow that such losses can cause. The Houston Chronicle reports that small businesses implementing these types of information systems can reduce shrinkage and at times may even be able to stop it entirely. The power of live inventory lies in knowing what you have, where it is, and what it is doing at any given time you care to generate report.

Not As Hard As It Looks

Obtaining a POS system used to be expensive and really was only for the upper ranges of the retail and wholesale business. However, as the technology has become more widespread and with the advent of cloud-based software, point-of-sale system is now attainable even by someone operating on the scale of a farmers market stall. Inc. magazine notes that the cloud revolution is well underway with 80 percent of small businesses expected using the cloud or their daily practices by the year 2020. Tablet based point-of-sale systems are eminently affordable, flexible, and scalable whether they are coming from a traditional cash wrap vendor, your local office supply store, or in eCommerce platform such as Shopify. Starting with an iPad or An Android tablet, with a few components your system can be up and running in very short order. Add in a cash drawer, credit card reader, a barcode printer, and a barcode scanner and you can be on your way to a live inventory solution that will cover your entire business from front to back. 

written by Joe \\ tags: ,

Oct 26

This year has flown by and as we approach year end, the IRS shares the numbers that will impact your 2015 retirement savings limits. 2013 inflation was low enough that we saw no increase in ’14. 2015, however, sees a bit of a bump, so let me share these numbers.

Employee contributions to 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $17,500 to $18,000. The cath-up provision, for those 55 and older in 2015 is also increased a bit, to $6,000.

The IRA limit is unchanged at $5,500 with a $1,000 catch-up for 50 and older. The phaseout for IRA deductibility for a single filer covered by a workplace retirement plan is between $61,000 and $71,000, and for married filing joint, between $183,000 and $193,000. The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $181,000 to $191,000 for married couples filing jointly.

The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $183,000 to $193,000 for married couples filing jointly.  For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $116,000 to $131,000.

There are still quite a few numbers we need to see. Marginal rates, HSA limits, FSA limits, etc. As soon as I see the IRS press release, I’ll share the numbers.

written by Joe \\ tags: ,

Sep 13

IncomeGapAn issue that wont go away and lately, pretty tough to ignore.

written by Joe \\ tags: ,

Sep 12

Babies are expensive. They go through a lot of diapers, baby wipes and clothes. These expenses can be a lot to handle for young parents or those that are already on a tight budget. You can be frugal and still enjoy life. Saving money is important, especially when you have a fast growing newborn that is going to require new clothes and bigger diaper sizes frequently.

Make your Own Baby Wipes

Using items that are already in your home, you can make baby wipes which will save an average of $30 per month. To make your own, simply use a good brand of paper towels and separate them into a stack. Make a mixture of one cup of water, a tablespoon of baby wash and 2 teaspoons of baby oil. Soak the paper towels just one at a time when you need them or have a few that are ready to use in a plastic baggie.

Use Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers are reusable and washable. This saves over $100 per month on the cost of diapers. It does take a little practice to get the hang of putting them on but you will find that it is far more cost efficient to buy cloth diapers once and wash them.

Consider Eliminating Cable Television Service

With the availability of streaming services and some major networks offering prime time television on their websites for free, cable television is not necessarily a necessity in this day and age. The expense alone cuts an average of $60 per month from the budget. This frees up money for items that the baby needs such as formula, bottles and specialty products.

Start Couponing

If you don’t use coupons, you are missing out on a lot of savings. There are several ways to obtain coupons including online, manufacturer websites, on products in a store and in the Sunday newspaper. The savings can help make it possible to afford everything that your new baby needs. Many stores double coupons or make their value an even dollar when they are less than one dollar.

Saving money can be done when you have a newborn if you work at it. This may mean missing drinks with friends once in a while or not going to dinner on Friday night, but making sure that your newborn has what he or she needs is far more important. Date nights and entertainment will return once the baby his or her growth plateau, but be forewarned, it won’t last long. 

written by Joe \\ tags: , ,