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Creating HarMoney™ with Food, Fun, and Finance

1546417_10152142532347878_1079704578_nWhen it comes to living life to its fullest, food is often a part of that experience. What I’ve found is, meals need to meet three criteria: simple to make, easy to serve, and interesting, right? If not, chances are the stress of making something to eat after a crazy day will cause one to vere off course. The result often winds up being a trip through the drive-thru, pulling up to the bar or restaurant.

Keeping to a food budget can be impossible when it’s constantly sabotaged by “life” happening. Eating out too often can rip the heart of any well-intentioned financial goal. Many don’t even realize the total amount they’re spending.

Here are some money-saving tips to keep you on budget while having yummy food and keeping stress under control.

 

  1. Get a plan. Plan for EZ! Crock pot meals are the bomb …you come home and the house smells GREAT. In most cases, you simply grab plates and utensils and chow down!
  2. Set-up Saturday or Sunday. After shopping, find the prep cooks in the house (cue for kids) and slice, dice, and bag veggies, meat, and snacks. My friend, Naomi, taught me to bag meats with sauces, tomatoes, onions, spices, and oil, and freeze. Take the bags out of the freezer a couple days in advance. Most can be made in 30 minutes or less when paired with pasta, rice, or potatoes.
  3. Share the fun. One night a week, let the older kids, spouse, or house mate make the dinner and bag lunches. They can choose the menu leaving you to kick back and relax for a bit before enjoying something prepared by someone else. You’d be amazed how great your kids can be in the kitchen when given the ground rules and opportunity.
  4. Seek out new recipes to try. Allrecipes.com, Food.com and others will enable you to find recipes that are new and interesting using what’s on hand. I love these sites …as does my hubby. We’re never bored.
  5. And lastly, start practicing Fridge Fridays. Check out what’s left in the fridge at the end of the week. Lots of times, there are left overs, both prepared and raw, sitting in there waiting to die a slow death …and along with it, wasting your food and money. It’s easy to make a soup or pasta dish with left over veggies and protein, that can be served as a light lunch after a late breakfast Saturday or Sunday, or even frozen to take to work as lunch.


Food is a requirement. Making it fun and interesting keeps your money under your control, enabling you to put it towards the things you want, including a weekly family night out. (Gotta reward yourself for good behavior, right??)


It’s your money, your rules, your way! You can do it! I believe in YOU!

Money Savvy Woman, Inc. © 2015

 

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Are You Asking for Trouble?

Photo credit-tang90246Anyone who’s been defrauded of their cash, investments, nest egg, or everything they’ve got, can most likely say, “I never saw it coming. I believed in …” whomever got them involved in the scam.

The point of this blog is to make you aware of the five main categories white-collar criminal use to separate you from your money. For the sake of ease, I’ll call the criminal a con or con artist, and the victim, a “mark.”

  1. Pyramid schemes. So often I hear people say that multi-level marketing (MLM) companies are “pyramid schemes.” A genuine MLM company doesn’t function like a pyramid scheme. Here’s the difference: MLMs sell a product directly to a consumer; they often offer an opportunity to create a “down-line” of sales people that will also sell products to consumers and give a percentage of the sales of their down-line as compensation for “sharing the business opportunity.” This is the nature of a multi-level marketing firm. 

    A pyramid scheme is clearly different. It starts with eight (8) investors who bring a required amount of cash as an investment to the deal for the promise of a return on their investment. Each investor brings in another eight investors. The newest investors’ monies payback the initial investment plus the promised returns to the previous level’s investors. But, it becomes increasingly impossible to recruit a new line of investors rather quickly. When looking at the math, Level 1 recruits 8 people, Level 2 recruits 8 each totaling 64, Level 3 recruits 512 “investors”, and by the time you get to Level 8, over 16 million recruited investors are needed to keep the pyramid going. Recruiters are looking for “investors,” not consumers seeking a product for sale. In a pyramid, there isn’t a product to sell. It’s almost always an offer to make a large return on a small investment very quickly.

    If someone approaches you with on offer to invest a small amount of money for an unrealistic return on your investment in a very short period of time, but requires you to bring in eight people, DO NOT GET INVOLVED AND NOTIFY THE AUTHORITIES.

  2. Ponzi Schemes. Ponzi schemes are somewhat related to the Pyramid Schemes by the fact that they require a constant inflow of cash. However, where they differ is “marks” aren’t asked to recruit anyone into the scheme. The con artist simply cons more and more people out of their money to pay the “returns” to the previously conned. When the incoming cash flow dries up, the con artist can’t make the promised payments and the scheme falls apart. The con artists often pose as investment advisors and do a good job of playing the part, including having offices, official looking paperwork resembling that of legitimate investment companies, and possess the trappings of wealth.

     

  3. “Pump and Dump” Schemes. These cons are often introduced through email or text messages. I like to sum them up as “have I got a great investment for you!” They search out a very low cost stock of a mediocre firm, get a lot of “marks” to “invest” driving of the price of this otherwise worthless stock. Once the price is driven up enough to net the con artist a tidy sum of money when they sell their shares, (remember these shares are the very first ones purchased at the lowest price), they sell their shares and disappear. Without the interest and activity generated by the con artist in the stock, its price falls very quickly leaving the “marks” with a worthless investment.

     

  4. Advance Fee Fraud. In this scenario, the con calls the “mark” and offers to help them recoup the loss on a poorly performing stock. The kicker is, a fee must be paid in advance of this loss-saving measure being put into action. Once the payment is made, the con is gone, as is the mark’s money. The fee is lost and the loss is never recovered.

     

  5. Offshore Scams. These are introduced a lot of the time through email. They can take several forms, including those above. But many manipulate Regulation S, a law put in place by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. They sound completely legit, just like every other con, but since they’re located outside the U.S., there isn’t much U.S. law enforcement can do to investigate or help retrieve lost monies.

These descriptions are very brief and certainly not inclusive of all the idiosyncrasies of each plot to defraud. You can find more detailed information on the FINRA website here.

The thing to remember is this, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do your homework. Protect yourself. Proceed with caution. Investigate the advisor here. Investigate an insurance agent here. A great place to find out more about investor fraud and how you can protect yourself is here.

Remember, it’s your money, your rules your way!

You can do it! I believe in YOU!

Money Savvy Woman © 2015