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Review Your Credit Card Statement PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
One of the most important money saving habits you can adopt is to review your credit card statement each month.  

Back in July, I was charged $95 to renew a subscription for anti-virus protection on a computer I know longer own.  I immediately called the company and asked them to reverse the charge. 

Had I not noticed the charge, I would have blindly paid it, quite possibly for years to come as it was an annual subscription. I can think of many more things I would prefer to spend that $95 on! 

A much more impactful example of how crucial it is to review your credit card statements came at the expense of one of my clients in Virginia.  When we started working together, she discovered that she had been paying $200 a month for a personal trainer that she hadn't seen in two years.  That mistake cost her $4,800!

When your credit card bill arrives, invest the two minutes it takes to review the statement and make sure you're getting billed appropriately.
How To Change Your Spending Habits PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
Yesterday I posted a piece about being willing to save for an item if it’s what you really want, rather than buying a cheaper item by default. I posted a link to the article on Facebook where Cheryl Stafford Ferguson wrote the following comment:
Don't want the more expensive one just because it is more expensive.
More expensive is not necessarily better quality.
Cheryl is absolutely right. Just because an item costs more, doesn’t mean it’s better quality.  The true nature of savvy spending is in questioning every purchase.  Is this an item I should invest in or should I bargain shop?
Her post reminded me of a conversation I had last week with clients who, previously, never had to worry about money. Now that they’re in retirement, they’re having to be mindful of their spending to ensure they don’t outlive their money.
They asked me how to become more conscious about their spending. Before, if they wanted something, they’d just buy it and never look at the price. 
I suggested two books for them to read. One is, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and the other is What Would A Wise Woman Do by my friend Laura Atchison.
Both books talk about how so much of what we do in any given day is out of habit, including the questions we ask and the decisions we make. If you’re trying to change your financial situation and your making decisions based on your old habits, your situation is not going to change.
If you can break out of the fog and become conscious of the spending decisions you make, from a pack of gum to your next car, you can change everything. 
One of the things The Power of Habit explains is the need for a trigger to implement a new habit. So, if you want to be more conscious about your spending, something as simple as putting a post it note on your debit or credit card with the words “spend smart” will be the trigger you need to ask yourself the right questions before making your next purchase. 
Don't Be Cheap PDF Print E-mail

Savvy Living isn't about being a cheapskate or a tightwad.  Don’t settle for a cheaper item just for the sake of saving money if the more expensive item is what you really want.

Often, in the long run, it’s more expensive to purchase the cheaper item - because it's inferior or because you won’t have the satisfaction the more expensive item would give you.

Without that satisfaction, you will likely end up purchasing the more expensive item on top of the cheaper one, costing you far more in the long run.  Be willing to save for what you really want. 

Are You Eating Your House? PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
Donna Freedman is one of my favorite personal finance writers.  I had the pleasure of talking with her awhile back after we met on a panel. After reading her column on MSN for years, it was a pleasure to put a voice and personality to her written words.   
Last week I saw a headline for an article on GetRichSlowly.com that jumped out at me. The title was We’re Eating Our House. I clicked on the link and was not surprised to see that Donna was the author.
The focus of the article is whether your financial goal is a new house, retirement or your dream vacation, if you find yourself struggling to achieve your goals, look at your dining habits. It’s likely that “you’re eating your house”.  
My favorite line in the article is…
Ever listened to a friend bemoan her paycheck-to-paycheck status while using an iPhone to Instagram her entrée?
But Donna doesn’t just point out where people stumble in achieving their goals. She offers dozens of suggestions for how to fix the problem. 
Check out the article and while you’re at it, visit her blog Surviving and Thriving.
A Neat & Organized Wallet PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
Years ago I heard Suze Orman talk about having respect for your money by keeping your wallet neat and organized. 
Since then, I've tried to remove receipts from my wallet on a daily basis.  I keep my cash in denominational order with the heads facing the same way. I also try to put all my cards back in the same slot so if I'm walking into Costco, I know exactly where to find my membership card and don't have to scramble at the last minute.  
At first, I was embarrassed, feeling very Type A. But after awhile, I really liked how my wallet looked and that everything was in its place. My self-consciousness went away.   
If you're wallet still has the key card in it from last summer's trip to Vegas as well as your Starbucks receipts from two months ago, give this tip a try.  Clean it out and keep only the items in there that you actually need.  Then, on a daily basis, "declutter" it to keep it as neat as possible.  It's such a simple thing, but makes a massive impact on your goals of taking control of your money and spending mindfully.
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