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Weekend Homework: Let the Little Stuff Go Today

Last year, Todd and I ran a rather successful and valuable column called “Weekend Homework” every Friday. We wanted to educate our readers on the basics of personal finance and development, ranging from calculating your net worth to reducing redundancies. Today we’re proud to announce that the column is back by request.

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When I was young, my little sister would snap at anything. I could antagonize her without even trying. Most of the time, in fact, I didn’t even know that my actions stressed her out. My dad would turn to her and ask, “Do you need to read”Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” again?”

She’d grumble, “NO.”

Do you find yourself grumbling? The little details of business driving you bonkers? Sometimes I want to go crazy. I’m letting details that don’t even matter control my perspective.

I’m not going to lecture you on how to let things go because the solution is different for everyone. For example, I start baking (maybe even crying). Something tells me that Todd doesn’t do that stuff. Maybe he goes out and shoots tin cans. We all have our own ways of dealing with stress. In any case, check out the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff website. They have a few quick-read articles that you might find refreshing. Plus you can get your mind off of work for a few minutes.

Then throw your rants and raves into our comment box of this article. Get those silly frustrations out before your weekend really starts.

Weekend homework: hand over the goods

This weekend, I want you to collect all of your bank statements, credit card bills, Quicken reports, net worth statements, and piles of loans; hand them to a complete stranger. Let him read over everything, sift through your budgeting, and throw in a lot of hmms and mmms. What will he think? Are you spending money intelligently? Are you earning money intelligently?

I feel like I am always nitpicking at the financial behaviors I see in others’one friend spends too much on cigarettes and Mountain Dew. My cousin eats out too much, and my old roommate buys expensive furniture on credit that she’ll be paying off for years along with the newer, cooler car she just upgraded to.

Then I see people making money by selling plasma. Others spend their whole lives working to make their bosses rich (note to self: stop doing that!).

Yet I look at my own financial situation and find nothing wrong. I’m perfect! And I suppose that you are perfect, too!

The truth is’I attempt to admit to myself’is that it’s easier to find faults in the spending and earning habits of others than pin down problems in ourselves. But imagine handing over your finances to a complete stranger. He might find you and I have similar silly spending habits.

I’m not trusting any stranger. I’m pasting a fake mustache on myself and calling this new guy “Mr. Frank”. Mr. Frank is examining my habits. Heck, he’s already bombarded my kitchen to report an exceeding abundance of pasta and corn. He’s still trying to help me pinpoint illogical financial decisions. Has he found anything to report to you?

Weekend homework: We found a way to rescue our wealth this year. Your turn.

One year ago, my husband and I established a budget for ourselves. We were going to pinch every penny so that we could walk out ahead in a year. Our only source of income would be his 9 to 5 job as I finished school.

I found our old calculations last night, and you know what? Our plan equaled a negative net worth. Between student loans, wedding expenses, and other elements of past life, one year of penny pinching would have equaled a net worth of about negative $4,000. How could that be? So much hard work…

Our problem was that we lacked multiple streams of income. If you want to make money, you have to increase your earning power outside of 9 to 5. We chose to use our weekends. Our efforts make our net worth something exciting to look at. In fact, our weekend work has been the equivalent to nearly TWICE my husband’s salary. Plus our hard work this year will continue to pay us in the future with small effort on our part.

When you work for someone else, the rewards are instantaneous. Of course, it took months before our efforts were rewarded. We juggle with little spare time, large credit card loads, and a whole lot of loans. But we have something bigger and more valuable to back each of those expenses today.

So this weekend, I challenge you to find something outside of 9 to 5 that can increase your wealth in the future. The sense of accomplishment will, I guarantee, far exceed any thrill that your paycheck might provide.

Weekend Homework ‘ Reduce Redundancies

Right now where I work there are a lot of extra steps in order to check someone out. The system was not built with usability in mind at all.

Let me take you through the steps to help someone with the register. For this example we’ll say they are buying a bottle of perfume for $37.50.

The Keys you would press would be as follows

-enter your user number-
-enter where they are from-
-enter the customer’s name-
Scan barcode on perfume – or type in product number
-perfume seller’s user number

Now I have seen systems before that take extra steps to make a sale before, but never twenty seven of them.

Checking someone out should be as simple as scanning a product and entering the cash amount. Granted because of where I work I have to take the customer’s information and name, but that should not entail a huge plethora of steps.

So you’re homework for this weekend to identify the places where your business could benefit from a streamlined operation.

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