12 Days of Giveaways: Life in Case

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Here is what you can win:

Life in Case Portable Document System

 

How to enter to win: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Winner will be drawn on December 23rd!  Good luck!

12 Days of Giveaways: Smead Products

 

Entertowin

Here is what you can win:

Complete Filing System from Smead Products

 

How to enter to win: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Winner will be drawn on December 23rd!  Good luck!

smead with Jennifer Ford Berry

 

 

 

 

Our Story of Empowerment with the Debt Snowball

debt snowball

As most of you know I believe that clutter comes in ALL shapes and sizes and that being organized is a lifestyle not a destination.  I don’t just preach, I practice what I preach and I am always researching and educating myself on ways to do it better not only for myself but to teach others.

A few years back, while I was writing my book Organize Now! your money, business and career, I did a lot of research about different ways to budget, pay off debt, save money etc.  At the time my husband and I were following the Transforming Debt Into Wealth Program designed by John Cummuta.  I will say it is a great program and it really helped us save a huge down payment for the house we built.  John’s program taught us the power of the debt snowball.  Many of you know how this works but for those who don’t you basically pay off your debt from smallest to largest.  Once you pay off your smallest debt you start applying that monthly payment to your second debt.  For example: If you are paying $100 per month toward a credit card….once you pay off that credit card you would put $100 extra toward your next debt (say a car payment).  The payments basically grow larger and larger (like a snowball) until everything is paid off! Can you imagine how awesome you will feel on that day?!!!

Then last year I started listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio show on my way home from work.  I really got into it because Dave is a Christian and teaches from this perspective.  As an organizer, I especially love when he encourages his listeners to sell what they aren’t using and put this money toward their debt.  YES! I always think…. I totally love this guy!

I started applying what Dave calls the “Baby Steps” to our life:

Baby Step #1

Put $1,000 in an emergency fund.

Baby Step #2

Pay off all debt using the debt snowball.

Baby Step #3

Save 3-6 months living expenses.

Baby Step #4

Invest 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement.

Baby Step #5

Start saving for your children’s college education.

Baby Step #6

Pay off your home mortgage.

Baby Step #7

Build your wealth and give! Continue to invest in mutual funds and real estate.

I had been listening to Dave’s show for about a year and had told a few friends about it.  One day my good friend, Jessi, said let’s order the Financial Peace University course.  This course is offered at my church (and hundreds of churches around the country) but we just didn’t have time in our schedule to commit to a weekly class at night.  Jessi and I also own a business together so we figured this was valuable for both our professional and personal lives.  It would also be fun to have the extra accountability from each other.  Plus, we really wanted to get both of our husbands on board (they were getting way too comfortable letting us do all of the number crunching)!

Well, my husband and I have been watching the DVDs from the course together for about 4 months and applying the principals to our lifestyle.  I will say that we both felt like we were pretty darn smart with our money before but I can not tell you how much MORE we have learned in just a short time!

Here are some of the major changes we have made:

* We not only paid off our one credit card but we cut it up in a million pieces AND canceled it forever!  FPU taught us that the so called “reward points” you earn off that piece of plastic are just not worth it.  I have had that same card for about 15 years and let me tell you it was a little scary for us to let go of that huge credit limit! But with Baby Step #3 completed we learned that WE should be able to cover an emergency, not the card.

* We implemented Dave’s Cash Envelope System.  What is this? Just like it sounds…you literally budget out your spending money each money with cash.  We are always good about using cash but what we have learned is to sit down together and plan out where our money goes each month….very empowering!  Important note: when the cash is gone you are done!

Here is the system my friend Jessi set up:

debt snowballdebt snowball

She loves it because it fits in her purse.  I am using Dave’s envelopes. Both work great!

* We dropped our mortgage from a 30 year loan to a 15 year loan….this saved us $88,000 in interest!

*  We shopped for new rates on our auto and home owner’s insurance and saved over $700/per year by switching!

* We switched to a new financial advisor, who is personally endorsed by Dave, and that believes in the same system we believe in and that can keep us accountable to it.

One of the most exciting things that I have noticed in this process is the grace we have encountered.  The more responsible we are with our money the more it seems to come our way.  My belief is that we are to be good stewards with what God gives us and when He sees that are can handle the precious gifts he sends our way…he gives us more.  I am in awe of His grace and truly grateful.

This journey has been amazing so far.  My husband and I communicate more than ever about our finances and our future.  We get excited about what we are doing and where we are going.  The best part is that we are working as a team.

I am sure there are many more fantastic ways to organize your finances and meet your goals but I thought I would share this post with you because this one works for us.  I love how this system forces you to focus on your goals one baby step at a time (just the way I teach organizing anything in your life)!  Plus, I always love a good plan!

I can not encourage you enough to apply these systems and the debt snowball to your life.  Just by taking control of your clutter (which in this case is debt) you will feel empowered more than you ever have before!! The younger you are when you begin, the more exciting your journey will be.  SO START TODAY!

** I have an organized a spreadsheet that works great if you are following the Baby Steps program.  I have also included a budget sheet and some tips on how you can find more money to put toward debt.  You can purchase your own copy of my Debt Reduction Worksheets for only $3.00!

Debt Reduction Worksheet

* This post is not a product review.  I am in no way being compensated by Dave Ramsey or his company.

Jennifer Ford Berry

Stop Planning and Start Doing!

start doing

Entrepreneurs are busy! But sometimes you just need to stop planning and start doing!

We are involved in so many things over the course of each day that it’s sometimes hard to get anything actually done.  And you know what I find…it’s the really important things that never get finished.  These tend to be the things that will have the biggest impact on my business’ long-term growth.  

As Stephen Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, says, we tend to be drawn to urgent tasks, answering client email, writing today’s newsletter or getting pulled in hundreds of directions from a simple web search, yet we don’t get around to “not urgent tasks” like creating a marketing plan or making sales calls.  

The problem is that we spend our time putting out fires which never would have started had we done the big projects in the first place.

Your business may be getting along okay without having this project done, but you know that doing it will make such a difference in you, your business and your bottom line.  

What has been on your to-do list for what seems like forever now?

Sales calls?  

Redoing your website?  

Bringing your inbox to zero?

Writing the copy for a series of emails?  

Laying out a new program along with a sales page?

 Writing the outline of your book?

It’s time to finally get it done!

I’d like to invite you to a program: Finally Get It Done Program.  It’s a live virtual program.  It’s FREE and I am one of the guest speakers.  

speaker_image 500-500

This is not another program where you will get lots of information that will end up sitting on your desk waiting for you to get around to doing it.  Sure you will get information; however, the idea is for you to use that information during the two days we will be working together to help you to finish your project.

There is no cost to the event, but you do need to register to attend.

It will be streamed live to your computer from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET April 2-3.  

You can find out more here 

If there are tasks you would like to cross off your To Do List consider joining me in infusionsoft.com/go/fgid/jfordberry/”>this program!

Jennifer Ford Berry

Pantry Crashers: Inexpensive Beef and Brocoli Recipe

Here is the second part of our Pantry Crashers segment from yesterday.  In this video we complete what we started by showing how to make a simple, healthy recipe for your casino online family with basic ingredients that are in your pantry.  Cooking from your pantry is easy if you are organized and the best part is it will save you money!  The recipe we make in this video is meant to be a healthy, inexpensive alternative to ordering out from a local restaurant.

pantry crashers

This particular recipe is Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli.  

The entire recipe is written out on Motherthyme.com.

3 Tips to Organize Your Style

Organize Your Personal Style

It takes a certain level of self-confidence to embrace and release your own personal style.  Your age, body shape, size, personality, and cultural background all influence your style.  We were created unique for a reason, so embrace your unique qualities; after all, if everyone had the same look the work would be boring!

3 Goals for This Week:

1. If you want to organize your style, start out by going through your current wardrobe to learn about what you already have.  Go through your dresser drawer and your closet by hanger and make three piles:

– Clothes you love and feel good in

– Clothes you wear but don’t get excited about

– Clothes that you don’t wear or hate

– Clothes that don’t fit

2.  Immediately bag up the clothes you don’t wear or that don’t fit and put them in the trunk of your car.  They are taking up closet space and holding you back.  Donate them.  If you lose weight in the future, you can reward yourself by buying new clothes.

3.  Now go through the “clothes you love pile” and identify what these items have in common: color, fit, fabric, etc.  This is your taste-embrace it and make note of it.  When you shop in the future you’ll have a better idea of what will work for you.

Organizing Tip of the Day

*  Be true to you!  The most beautiful people in the world embrace who they are and shine because of it.  Don’t be afraid to have a style that is not exactly like all of your friends.

Reflection:

I am a dress girl all the way. I love all kinds—long, short, staples, casual, formal. A dress are by far my most favorite piece and the easiest piece for me to shop for. I know I love them, and I give myself permission to wear them.  I also love the fact that I can throw it on and my outfit is complete without a lot of thinking!  What is your favorite go to piece?

Happy Organizing