TagMoney

Savings is security

How do you take a $35,000 investment and turn it into nearly $800,000,000 in sales? You pay your employees. You pay them twice the national average and you keep paying them to be the best.

Container Store founder and CEO Kip Tindell explains that the secret to the company’s high wages is what he calls “the 1=3 rule,” meaning that one great employee will be as productive as three employees who are merely good.

As a result, Tindell feels he gets ahead by receiving three times the productivity of an average worker at only two times the cost.

Everybody wins!

“They win, you save money, the customers win, and all the employees win because they get to work with someone great.”

He also has a plan to keep those great people by continuing to pay them well through raises.

Tindell then keeps these “great people” by giving them annual raises up to 8% of their salaries, based on their performance.

Not one-time bonuses, but real raises. This investment in the employee by the company tells the employee their company really cares about them and wants them to stay and be happy there.

Many people don’t love their jobs, but they’ll work hard if they feel the company is investing in them as much as they invest in the company.

“Everybody loves to say that it’s not all about pay,” he explains. “But pay is more important than most people realize, particularly if you’re trying to attract and keep really great people.”

It’s all about the money. Every time I’ve changed jobs, even jobs I loved, it was for considerably more money.

Money opens doors. Money is the great enabler. It allows me to save for retirement, afford insurance, and contribute to my savings account.

DIY or BUY

More time or more money is the solution to any problem.

I can either throw more money at a problem to save myself time. Or I can throw more time at a problem to save myself money.

When I was thinking about getting a TiVo, I debated setting up a DIY DVR system. I could reuse a small computer I have, and get a CableCARD to stick in it and wire it into our cable… I could get software setup and make it friendly and convenient enough for myself and my wife to use.

Or I could buy a TiVo. Far more money, but far less time.

We now own a TiVo.

Control

Do I still wrestle with money? Absolutely!
Do I still have days where I wonder where it all went? For sure!
Do I still often think it would just be easier to buy the nice things I want and let the future sort itself out? Embarrassingly, yes.

Getting our financial house in order has taken a lot of work. And recently, when my car died and my wife’s car needed some costly repairs, it wiped out nearly every cent we had saved.

**Nine months of hard work, gone in an instant.**

It was devastating to see all of our hard saved money evaporate into a new car. Sure, it’s nice to have a new car that runs well and has air conditioning, but we weren’t planning on spending the thousands to make that a reality for a couple more years. It just goes to show, you never know what life is going to throw at you, or when. And it pays to be ready.

I have learned a lot since we paid off our credit cards, got student loans under control, made a plan to pay off medical bills and started savings a large part of our income while donating another sizable portion every month.

It’s been a long road and it’s nowhere near over.

Financial control is a journey, not a destination. There is never an end to the struggle and saving. There is never a point where the money starts replicating itself tenfold and all your worries are gone.

Keeping your finances under control is an ongoing endeavor and one I’m happy we’ve done.

There is an amount of peace and security that comes from saving for the future. I’m a calmer person knowing there is money going into savings every pay check.

I am happy to contribute to my 401k and pay Future Carl. He is going to appreciate the efforts of Present Carl one day.

I am happy to be able to pay down our debts and student loans. I am happy I know we have the money to live comfortably while making this happen.

I am happy we’re able to donate 10% of our monthly income to the church because I know it goes for good things. I don’t care where you stand on religion. I’ve been on both sides of the debate in my life.

But for now, I am happy where I am. I feel the religion I am living is mostly in line with my views. I am part of one fo the largest humanitarian aid organizations in the world since the church has a worldwide network of people and communication in place ready to act and serve when the need arises.

I didn’t think there was any way we could contribute to a 401k, put aside money in savings for ourselves and donate to the church every month.

But we do. We can. We are.

And I feel better because I know where my money is going and I know what it’s being used for. Can I afford to buy myself new gadgets, games and other toys at will? No.

But I know the difference I am making in my life as well as the life of others is well worse the sacrifice and hard work.

Healthcare Blue Book

Healthcare Blue Book
Find fair prices for surgery, hospital stays, doctor visits, and medical tests, based on the average fee that providers in your area accept as payment from insurers. Healthcare Blue Book also provides money-saving tips for each procedure and a pricing agreement that makes it easier to negotiate with out-of-network providers.

I never knew such a thing existed. Had I know it a couple of months ago I could have saved 2/3 the cost of my recent root canal. Spend a few minutes with this site and it will open your eyes to the costs of various procedures and give you an idea if you’re being overcharged.

via Wisebread

Control your money before it controls you

My wife and I have worked to get our financial house in order. We have become devout followers of Suze Orman. We have made a rough budget. We have our first emergency fund. We are nearly credit card debt free. We are working to save up an 8 month emergency fund so we can stay that way. We are paying off student loans. We are looking to the future and home ownership. Paying overdraft fees and having to stop spending because we ran out of money before payday is a thing of the past.

We have made a lot of big steps this year. We didn’t want to be a family that was making good money and still living paycheck-to-paycheck. It is an easy trap to fall into and we have been there.

We knew things had to change when we were both working full-time and still barely had money for our bills and expenses. We weren’t going into debt but we weren’t getting out of it either.

Our path to financial health has been slow and steady. There are no quick fixes. We made some good decisions and stuck to them.

First, we did what I think was the smartest step we could take. We created a shared bills calendar. I made a new Google Calendar, called it Bills and shared it with my wife. I added my pay days, a strange 7th and 22nd of every month, and she added her more normal 1st and 15th. Now we knew when our money was coming in.

Next, we added all of our recurring monthly bills. Student loan payments, Netflix, web hosting, Audible, cell phone and Internet were all laid out in front of us. Now we knew when that $300 would be heading to students loans or when FiOS would take its $54. There is something wonderful about seeing all of your money laid out in a calendar.

Now that we knew when and how much of our money was coming and going, we changed some payment dates to better cope with rent. After that, we made a rough budget. How much gas do we buy? What about groceries? Do we want to put away savings for medical bills and vacations? We assigned values based on the previous month’s spending and continue to tweak it. Now that we know where our money is going, how do we start saving?

We are fortunate to bank with PNC Bank and use their Virtual Wallet software. The Virtual Wallet allows us to break our savings into three accounts. From there we can set savings goals and ear mark amounts towards each of those goals.

For instance, we have categories for medical bills, new car tires, vacation and a new sofa. We put a lump sum into savings every pay check. Then my wife goes into the virtual wallet and applies $50 to one category $30 to another and so on until all the money is accounted for.1

I like this much more than having one big sum of savings money. The money already being put towards something means it will not get spent on frivolous things.

Through a simple bills calendar, using our bank’s web-based software and making a simple budget we are digging out of debt. We know where all of our money goes every month. We are in control of our money instead of letting it control us.


  1. I erroneously thought the Virtual Wallet was applying the money to different categories. It does not, so I’ve revised this sentence.