Savvy Kitchen Investments
By Melissa Tosetti
Thursday night I gave a presentation on running a Savvy Kitchen at the Cooks Nook in McPherson, KS. 
It’s one of my favorite talks because in my experience of working with clients, food is the number one area where people struggle. The presentation focuses on how to save both time and money from creating an effective grocery list all the way to managing leftovers. 
What was particularly cool about doing the event at the Cooks Nook is that part of the presentation concentrates on the importance of investing in good tools. Not gadgets, but tools. 
Gadgets are the As Seen On TV items you buy that never get used. Tools are the things that get used on a regular basis and are worth spending a little more on to ensure they work well and last. For example…
  • Invest in a good set of knives and you’ll be amazed at how much faster you can dice an onion or slice a tomato.
  • Purchase a quality set of pots and pans and they’ll cook more efficiently and last twice as long as their cheaper counterparts. 
One of the aspects of a professional kitchen that's worth imitating is that everything pulls its weight. There’s no clutter to slow down the process of preparing each and every meal.
With that said, it’s important to note that one person’s gadget is another person’s tool. It all depends on what you like to cook. For example, my husband Paul is crazy about egg salad. Fifteen years ago I purchased an egg slicer for about $5 that has paid for itself over and over again by saving me time. 
Another item that could be considered a gadget in one person’s eyes but a tool in another is the Chop Stir. I first saw one at my Aunt Sadie's house that she used while cooking hamburger. She has rheumatoid arthritis so the tool is a blessing for her! My mom now swears by it too.
To take the first step to streamlining your own kitchen, consider going through everything in it and getting rid of anything you haven’t used in the last year. This will not only help make cooking more efficient, but will also help make room for quality tools you may purchase down the road. 
One of the racks at the Cooks Nook
Take Advantage of Labor Day Weekend Sales

By Melissa Tosetti
Labor Day Weekend is the unofficial transition between summer and fall.  Retailers have created a tradition of offering deep discounts to encourage consumers to use their extra day off to shop.  Listed below are just a few of the items you can pick up at some of the best possible prices during the holiday weekend. 

Office & School Supplies
Now is a great time to not only stock up on school supplies for your children, but home office supplies as well.  Just make sure to only purchase what you're going to use.

Home Improvement
Paint and other home improvement products will be on sale this weekend as retailers know we'll have an additional day to get home projects done. 

With 2015 models rolling on to car lots, dealers are anxious to liquidate their older models.

Outdoor Living
Desperate to make room for Halloween and Christmas items, retailers will offer fantastic sales on patio furniture, BBQs and other outdoor living products.

Thanks to a competitive market, Labor Day sales are hitting clothing stores a week early!  For a list of stores and their discounts, check out Labor Day Sale Prices Are Here.

Beyond Labor Day
The sales don't necessarily end when Labor Day is over.  Stores are trying to get rid of excess stock in anticipation of their most lucrative season of the year - the fall and winter holidays.  Throughout the month of September, pay attention to your favorite stores sales ads and take advantage of the great discounts.  Just remember, only purchase what you're actually going to use.  

The Power of $6.58
One of the reasons people hesitate to begin putting money into a retirement account is because they feel like they can't contribute enough to make a difference.  And yet you read stories of school teachers, librarians and bus drivers who managed to accumulate millions of dollars on small salaries.  How do they do it? 
In the article, How to Turn $200 a Month Into $5 Million, Patrick Morris demonstrates how just $6.58 a day can transform into $5 million.
The key to is to stop making excuses and just do it!  Call your financial advisor right now and ask them to increase your monthly contributions or call your HR department and ask for the forms you need to start contributing to your 401k. 
Back To School Organizer - No Kids Required
When we think of back to school we think of fresh starts, new wardrobes and school supplies
- a reboot to the year. 
There’s a lot to do in the days leading up to the first day of school and it’s easy to waste time
as well as money if you go in without a plan. So we created one for you.
The Back to School Organizer has been designed to help you save you those precious
resources of time and money, now and throughout the school year. 
The organizer includes:
  •          Clothing inventory guide so you can create a list of what your children truly need.
  •          School supply inventory guide
  •          Links to your favorite stores sales ads to help you save time and money
  •          Lunch and breakfast idea lists with links to web pages for additional ideas.
  •          Tips for saving time in the mornings and throughout the year.
Inventory Sheets
The organizer is separated into different sections which include brief introductions as well as
inventory sheets. The inventory sheets are on separate pages so you can print and then fill
them out.  Each inventory list also includes blank lines so you can add additional items. 
No Kids Required
Even if you don’t have children, there’s an opportunity to use this time of year to refresh and
refine your wardrobe and day-to-day routine. At the end of most of the sections, you’ll find a
No Kids Required segment with suggestions for how to adapt the information for your
situation.   There are also several inventory lists specifically created for you as well.
To download the organizer now for just $7.95, click here: 

Being in Control...

Famous Friends & Tiny Houses
By Melissa Tosetti

Last night I was watching TV with Paul when I jumped up from the couch and yelled, "Oh my God, it's Kristen", a friend of mine who I met at an author's conference a few years ago.

Kristen and her husband lost there home during the devastating Colorado wildfire in 2012. She barely got out with her dogs.

Her story of rebuilding is amazing and one that is being shared on the new TV show Tiny House Nation which airs on the Wednesday, August 13th.

Kristen is an amazing person and worth watching for that factor alone. But, I'm also a big fan of the tiny house movement and the mindset of quality over quantity.

I'll be in Indiana on Wednesday for a speaking engagement, but have set my DVR to record the show so I can watch it when I get back.

Here is a clip of Kristen on the show...
Easily Manage Those Annual Expenses
By Melissa Tosetti
Over the last few weeks, a common theme that has popped up with clients is how to manage those annual expenses so they don’t negatively impact a single pay period.   
Even if you’re a rock star at managing your daily and monthly expenses, taking your pet in for an annual checkup can throw you completely off. 
The easiest, and least painful, way I’ve found to manage these expenses is to set aside money for them with each pay period. 
  • Start by listing the expenses that come up on an annual or semi-annual basis such as:
    • Car Registration
    • Pet Check Ups
    • Car Maintenance
    • Property Tax
    • Insurance Premiums
  • Add the expenses and then divide that number by the amount of paychecks you receive each year. 
  • Finally, set up an automatic transfer of that amount to a savings account that is specifically set aside for those expenses. Do not put it in with your Emergency Savings or a Travel Savings account. It’s too easy for that money to get used for other expenses, or visa versa.   
If annual expenses are typically a stumbling block for you, take 30 minutes today to set up the process. It will immediately pay off for you both financially and emotionally!  
It's a Lifestyle
What is Living The Savvy Life all about? Well, it’s about…
  • Knowing where you stand financially on a daily basis so you can make intelligent spending decisions.
  • Choosing to purchase only things you love and make you happy.
  • When you do go out to eat it’s because you want to go to that particular restaurant, not because you are too tired to cook or don’t have any groceries in the house.
  • Creating an environment in your home that is warm, comforting and expressive of who you are.
  • Having a wardrobe made entirely of clothes that fit and look great on you.
  • Enjoying your time off even more because you planned for it and know you can “afford it”.
  • It’s the idea of caring for your items once they transition from cash to possession to ensure your investment in them goes as far as possible.
Are you Living The Savvy Life right now? If not, take the first step toward Savvy Living by identifying just one area where you can take action:
  • You could start by tracking your spending on a daily basis.
  • Commit to cooking at home at least three nights a week.
  • Decide not to purchase any more clothes until you clean out your closet and see what you really need.
  • Or you could start spending just five minutes a day clearing out the clutter in your home until it's gone.
The Savvy Life isn't just about personal finance. It’s about living an intentional and a purposeful life.

Take The Cash Challenge

By Melissa Tosetti

The other day I had breakfast with my very savvy friend Carla.  She told me about a challenge she recently took on which included using only cash for seven days straight. 

Carla immediately began to think twice about purchases as she pulled cash instead of her debit or credit card out of her wallet.  By the seventh day, she had a completely new perspective on where she wanted to spend her money.

When was the last time you used cash to make a purchase?  

The advances in banking technology have made our lives so much easier.  But an unfortunate side effect is that it has emotionally distanced us from our money.  It's so much easier to swipe a card than to physically pull cash out of our wallet, as Carla experienced.

Let's put a twist on Carla's Cash Challenge and use only cash when making discretionary purchases for one pay period.   

When you receive your next paycheck, start the challenge by figuring out how much discretionary income you have left over after paying all of your bills, filling your gas tank and buying groceries - then withdraw that amount from the bank.
As you go about your days, use only that cash when going to the movies, dining out or purchasing non-necessary items.
Your goal is to still have cash left in your wallet, even if it is just $1.00, when your next paycheck arrives. With the right attitude, this can be a very fun challenge.

Keeping your fun money separate from your regular living expenses is an excellent habit to help you avoid overspending. 

Tell us about your Cash Challenge experience by sending an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Your story might get published.



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