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The Power of Smalls PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:26
By Melissa Tosetti
Yesterday I was on the phone with clients in Texas. They’re both professionals in their industry and they have two children in high school.
The focus of yesterday’s call was on how to save time and money at the grocery store. I asked them to tell me about their current routine. They have one excellent habit already in place which is to have a non-negotiable day to get to the grocery store. They then usually supplement that visit with at least one other trip during the week to pick up fresh produce.
As I offered a few suggestions such as to time their purchases with sales cycles and plan their meals around the weekly sales ad, they made a very honest comment. “We used to do all of those things, but as we got busier with work, decided it wasn’t worth it to pay attention to small savings.” 
I told them that I understand when you’re making over $100,000 a year, it may not feel like it’s worth the time save $.30 on a can of corn or $1 on a loaf of bread. But if you look at that savings cumulatively, it adds up
My family goes through three loaves of bread a week - Paul and Dante are sandwich guys. Their favorite bread goes on sale every 3 – 4 weeks. I only buy it when it’s on sale and purchase as much as the sale allows, freezing the excess. I typically save $1 on each loaf so that saves me $3 a week and $156 a year. That’s just for bread.
About 70% of the items I purchase for my family are on a sales cycle, meaning, they go on sale every 3 – 6 weeks. As much as possible, I follow the sales cycles and only purchase those items when they’re on sale, stocking up and then running through my inventory until it goes on sale again. 
With this process, I save an average of 30% on groceries. My grocery budget is $125 a week, which means I save an average of $40 a week. Multiply that times 52 weeks and it adds up to $2,080 a year in savings. Instead of spending that money at the grocery store, I’m able to save that money for something much more fun, like travel!   
One of my favorite shows is American Pickers which is about expert antique hunters who drive across America looking for “treasure” in people’s homes and backyards. Although they purchase a lot of really big ticket items, they say in almost every episode that, “Their bread and butter is in the smalls”. Meaning, that it’s the low priced items they buy and sell that keep them in business.
Whether it’s money coming in or money going out, paying attention to the “smalls” can mean big changes in your financial situation.
Do It Daily PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 15 May 2015 06:13


Life Lessons From Dolly Parton PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Sunday, 26 April 2015 07:37

By Melissa Tosetti

I just got back from a quick trip to Knoxville, TN.   I was there to do a speaking engagement for a financial advisor on Thursday. Since it’s spring break, I took Paul and Dante along for the ride. Our initial plans were to go for a hike in the Smokey Mountains the day of the speaking engagement and then head to Dollywood the following day. After hearing about a cavern with an underwater lake from a friend, we shifted our plans and headed to The Lost Sea Adventure the morning of the event. We’re so glad we did! Paul is already planning a trip back with about 12 of our closest friends for their extended 3 hour cave crawl and overnight stay.         
The next day we headed to Pigeon Forge to visit the theme park Dolly Parton started 30 years ago. 
Paul and Dante were excited about Dollywood for the food and rides. Like Paul and Dante, I was also looking forward to the parks attractions, but the real reason I wanted to go was to learn more about one of my greatest heroes – Dolly Parton. 
As a kid, I spent many hours in my dad’s GMC truck listening to Dolly, Loretta Lynn and our long distant cousin Merle Haggard (his mom is my grandmother’s cousin).  
Although I enjoy her music and the memories it brings back, what I love and appreciate even more is her drive. She grew up in a one-room cabin in Sevier County, TN, the fourth of 12 kids. There was no silver spoon in her mouth, let alone her entire house. 
What Dolly did have was an amazing voice, a fantastic personality and a crystal clear vision for who she wanted to be. With those tools, she turned herself into Dolly Parton.
She’s role model for turning a vision into reality through hard work and perseverance. I love that!
For the record, whether you like country music or not, Dollywood is a fantastic place to visit and the food exceeded our expectation, especially the cinnamon bread!   The roller coasters were equally amazing. I’m pretty sure the Mystery Mine burned at least 1,000 calories through the pure terror of it!
If you are a Dolly Parton fan though, there’s one place you have to go while you’re there and that’s the Chasing Rainbows Museum. It holds thousands of memorabilia items from her childhood as well as her music and movie career. 
There was an item on display that caught me by surprise and made me choke up to an embarrasing level - and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. It was the actual Coat of Many Colors Dolly’s mama made for her as a child and inspired one of her most famous songs. Seeing the actual coat made me appreciate just what a visionary that five year old girl must have been to be so poor, but believe she didn't have to stay that way.  That there was something so much more out there for her. We can learn a lot from that little girl! 

The Original Coat of Many Colors

The Bright Side of Tax Day PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 08:28

 The bright side of April 15th is that tomorrow, Tax Day will be a year away!

Your Book Pile PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 03 April 2015 06:39
By Melissa Tosetti
Earlier this week I was on a call with a client, looking for ways to streamline his spending.  When we got to the Books & Music category of his Spending Plan he stopped for a moment.  Being a retired academic and avid reader, this is an area that's incredibly important to him.  I thought for sure he would choose to spend rather than save in this area.  Instead, he described to me the towering height of his "to read" book piles and vowed to read those titles before purchasing any new material.
I've been thinking about that conversation ever since! 
Paul and I both worked at book stores for years and with the exception of the kitchen and bathroom, there is an overflowing bookcase in every room of our house.  I'm pretty good about only keeping books that I love or that I'll use again as reference.  Paul and Dante prefer to keep almost everything they've ever read.  With Paul tearing through a book a week, they add up!
However, it's not the "have read and want to keep books" that can be a financial drain.  It's the pile of "still need to read books" that tie up our money.
If you're a book person you know exactly what I'm talking about.  That pile of books sitting in a corner sadly staring at you while you read the book you just purchased that afternoon.  At one point all of those titles appealed to you, but you kept getting distracted by new titles and the books keep piling up.  With books ranging in price from $16 - $26, that equates to hundreds of dollars tied up, that could be used for other things right now.
I confess to having six books staring at me from my office bookshelf. Three were gifts and two were picked up in trade at my favorite used book store, but still, they need to be read before I get distracted by any more titles.  That is, after I finish reading the two books I'm in the middle of right now.
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