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
Last night I taught an in-depth Savvy Money class as part of a PTA fund raiser for my son Dante's school. During the class, I talked about finding ways to save money for the things you want to buy or do such as vacations.
One of the attendees has been to several of my events in the past and is one of the savviest women I know. I've had the pleasure of getting to know here over the years and to hear about her adventures as she travels all over the world.
One of the ways she pays for her trips is with a side business that she has on top of her 9-5 job. She caters in-home tea parties. She brings the china as well as the tea and treats and the host doesn't have to lift a finger. Every few weeks she spends a few hours doing something she absolutely loves - catering tea parties - and the money she earns has taken her from one country to the next.
One of the other attendees shared how she and her son saved their recycling money for two years which allowed them extra spending money on the family's trip to Disneyland.
There are so many different ways to either earn or save money for your adventures. It's just a matter of getting a little creative!
Intro by Melissa Tosetti
Last night I did a speaking engagement for Seivert & Associates in Turlock, California. Part of the presentation was focused on building a Savvy Wardrobe.
I challenged the audience to "shop their closet" and try on everything they own. As they try on each piece, to then ask themselves if they would buy it again. If the answer is "no", then give themselves permission to get rid of that item.
The goal is to get out of the habit of "buying clothes" and to build a wardrobe of clothes that make you feel wonderful.
This morning, I stumbled on this article from Real Simple magazine featuring 12 Secrets of the Closet Pros. It's been awhile since I've done a closet clean out of my own so I have decided to walk my own talk and shop my closet this weekend.
I've also been inspired by the Closet Pros article to purchase and install a Valet Hook to help me plan my outfits.
By Melissa Tosetti
My friend Adrienne is the host of the lifestyle blog The Rich Life on a Budget. Last November she wrote a post about committing to shop for used items in her article Secondhand First. In the article you can see some of the gorgeous used items she's managed to pick up.
Since reading Adrienne's post, I have also recommitted to shopping at secondhand stores.
Almost every time I get a compliment on a clothing item, it's something I purchased from a thrift store. In fact, on Tuesday, I was wearing a beautiful long brown skirt I picked up at a shop in Fresno and I received five separate compliments. Talk about motivation!
Like Adrienne, I continue to purchase undergarments and shoes new and if I fall in love with an item at a store, I will pick it up. But otherwise, I enjoy the hunt that comes along with secondhand shopping.
In addition to clothing, I've also decided to look for used household and garden items. Again I enjoy the hunt and if I can save 80% or more on a gently used item, then that makes it all the better!
Kiplinger recently posted an article on 11 Things to Buy Used. After reading it and seeing just how much money you can save, you may be inspired to start shopping secondhand as well.
By Kevin Gibbons
In our book Living the Savvy Life, we devote a full chapter to managing your pantry and cooking.
One of our favorite mantras is “the most expensive food is the food you throw away.” A corollary to this mantra may be “the second most expensive food is the food that sits in your cupboard and is never used.” This is such an important concept, that we issue quarterly “Pantry Challenges.”
The idea behind these challenges is to see how long you can go without buying staples, and living off what is in your pantry. Many of us have hidden inventory tucked away in our cabinets. By doing these periodic purges, we find these hidden items and use them, maybe learning new recipes or at least learning never to buy that particular item again. We have had readers go as long as 3 months living out of their inventory of food, buying only those fresh items like milk and eggs.
It is pretty easy to figure out how to use items like dried pasta, cans of soup, rice and beans. But what do you do when you have a can of peaches, some cornmeal and dried cranberries? Like virtually everything else in the world, “there’s an app for that.” Actually, there is a Public Radio program for that. NPR’s Morning Edition
has started a new feature called Cook Your Cupboard
. You simply post a picture of the contents of your cupboard, and their experts and readers will offer ideas on recipes you can prepare to use your varied ingredients.
Your pantry is more than just your kitchen storeroom. It is also an investment, representing hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of dollars of your money. A good investment is one that provides value for the money you put into it. A poor investment is one that just sits there, tying up your money, or even losing it as the value decreases. Make sure your pantry represents a good investment, containing supplies that are turned into valuable meals. As you refine your pantry’s contents, use resources like Cook Your Cupboard to help you make those meals. You may even find a new favorite recipe!
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