Often, we think we don’t have money to put toward retirement, to buy that house or to go on that dream vacation, but in most cases, the money is actually there.
Every week, financial lifestyle expert, Melissa Tosetti works with individuals and families across the U.S. to “find money”. By showing them how to plug financial leaks and streamline their spending she is able to uncover anywhere from $100 - $1,200 per month that can be focused on what’s most important to them.
Sometimes you need more than just a book to help you get on track financially. You need someone to understand the circumstances surrounding your situation and to help you devise a plan to get on stable ground and achieve your financial goals.
Melissa understands there is no one-size-fits-all answer to day-to-day money management. With The Savvy Life’s Bridging The Gap Program, she helps each client create a plan that will work for their situation, schedule and lifestyle.
In the Bridging the Gap program you and Melissa will take two separate, complementary looks at your financial life. Together, you will evaluate your numbers - income, monthly expenses and debt. Next, you’ll review your lifestyle, including your goals and dreams. She will then work with you to create a plan that will Bridge the Gap between the two.
The Bridging the Gap Program is normally $495, but if you
sign up by Friday, June 21st, it’s just $395!
That’s 20% off the regular price.
Family of Five in Sacramento
Melissa worked with a family of five in Sacramento whose situation is quite common. They couldn’t make it from one paycheck to the next despite their annual $100,000+ income.
They were spending $1,500 a month on food, mostly dining out because there were never groceries in the house. The family had no habits or routines around shopping so Melissa focused on helping to create them.
Ultimately, their food bill was cut in half, but they also saved several hours a week by no longer having to wait in line for takeout every night or run to the store for one-off items such as laundry detergent.
In addition to the $750 saved on food, they also identified another $450 that could be saved each month in other areas. The $1,200 savings was then funneled to their Christmas, Vacation and Emergency Savings Accounts and the bulk of the money was put toward increasing their monthly retirement contribution.
Executive in Chicago
Melissa recently worked with an executive in Chicago who already had many good money habits in place. She and her husband contribute 10% of their income to their Retirement Account and still managed to save enough to get to Europe every summer. They came to Melissa for help in finding an additional $1,000 a month to increase their retirement contributions.
By making a few simple changes to their day-to-day spending, Melissa was able to find the $1,000 plus an additional $245 a month to put toward their Vacation Savings Account giving them an additional $2,940 for those annual international trips.
Each individual and family has a unique financial situation. The opportunities to streamline or repurpose their spending are equally unique.
How The Program Works
Step 1: Introductory Meeting
Meet with Melissa over the phone for an initial consultation.
Step 2: Fill out the Financial Worksheet
Financial Worksheet includes income, monthly expenses and debt.
Step 3: Financial Worksheet Review Meeting
During this one hour meeting, you and Melissa will review your Financial Worksheet and create a plan to plug financial leaks and streamline your spending.
Step 4: Report
Melissa will summarize your plan in a report giving you a clear path for moving forward.
Step 5: Follow Up Calls
A 15 minute follow up call is scheduled for a week later to see how the plan is working and to make adjustments. An additional follow up call is scheduled for 30 days later to check in and make additional alterations if necessary.
By Melissa Tosetti
This morning I stumbled on an article by Gregory Karp, one of my favorite personal finance authors. In the article
, he mentioned the following statistic:
"The CFA study found that just 37 percent of low-
and moderate-income families have a savings account."
Over the last nine years, I've worked with individuals and families from all different income levels and have found that putting money into an Emergency Savings account, let alone a Retirement Account is a task many postpone, not just low income households.
If you're currently not saving anything at all, you can start today! Grab your paycheck and calculate what 1% of your take home pay is. If your paycheck is $2,000, then 1% is just $20. Easy, right?
Once you calculate your 1%, set up an automatic transfer of that amount for each payday. That's it! You just started your Emergency Savings Account.
Often, we think we have to start by saving 10% or more. Over the years, we've found that the key to building and sustaining a sucessful savings account is to do it incrementally, 1% at a time. Every 2 - 3 months try to bump up that savings by another 1%. It's much easier than you may think. Give it a try by starting right now!
By Melissa Tosetti
Shopping requires constant decision making. One of the major decisions to be made is whether to invest in an item or to bargain shop. This is a personal decision, as the things that are important to you and worth an investment may not be important to the next person. However, it's imperative not to get into the trap of always purchasing the cheapest item for things that are not as important to you.
For example, fashion may not be your thing, but that doesn't mean you should always reach for the cheapest item. In fact, if you don't like shopping for clothes, investing in classic items that will last for years is a savvy way to keep yourself from having to shop more often to replace cheaper items that didn't stand the test of time.
In the case of an article of clothing, if you decide to purchase a new sweater you have two choices. You can easily go to a disposable fashion store such as Forever 21 and invest $19 on a sweater. Typically, with disposable fashion, money is saved by making the garments as fast as possible and the attention to detail in finishing stitches is not always there. It is possible that your $19 investment will last just one season. If during that one season you wore the sweater 12 times, the cost per wear would be $1.58.
If you go to a higher end store and choose to spend an additional $10 looking for a sweater in the $29 range, the attention to detail is most likely greater and that sweater could last you five years or more. If during that five year time period you wore the sweater 100 times, the cost per wear would be $.29.
Using a Cost Per Wear/Use Calculation is one of the most helpful tools in deciding when to invest and when to bargain shop.
By Melissa Tosetti
As you know, the Golden Rule of Personal Finance is to spend less than you make. But, how do you do it?
One technique is to strive to have left over money in your checking account at the end of each pay period. Even if it's only $5, that means you have successfully spent less than you make.
Once you get into this habit, make a game of it and try to have more and more left over at the end of each pay period. You can then transfer that money to your emergency savings account if you’re working on building that, or to something fun like your vacation savings account.
Just remember to do “something” with your leftovers. Money left in a checking account with no purpose has a tendency to disappear into the ether. Make every dollar count by giving it a purpose!
By Melissa Tosetti
Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer and the sales will be in full force! It's an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the deep discounts and stock up.
Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day are the best weekends to purchase:
- Condiments such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.
- Hamburger and hot dog as well as buns. All of which can be frozen.
- Soda will also be listed at some of the best prices of the year.
If your wardrobe needs an infusion of warm weather clothes, there will be plenty of discounts offered over the holiday weekend. Although the best prices for summer clothes will be after the 4th of July, this weekend you can still get great deals and the shelves will be fully stocked.
BBQ & Patio
If you’re in the market for a big ticket items such as grills and patio furniture, this is the weekend to shop. Like clothes, the prices will fall even more after the 4th of July, but if you have something specific in mind, grab it now before it’s too late.
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