Category: Holidays

Valentine’s Day…how to stay on a budget

Do you find it difficult to stay on budget during any holiday but especially the ones that you love to spend money on others…Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries?  Don’t fret…there is hope!  You are not the only one.  Many people struggle with this dilemma because it is so common and occurs so often.

The best course to make cents4you is to create a spending plan or budget for the holiday AND stick to it!  You have one year to save up for it and then you can keep any leftover for the next year.  Below are the 7 steps on an exploratory journey that I follow to stay on a holiday budget.

  1. Brainstorm your annual holidays, list everyone you want to buy for- include what gift or what event, be creative and enjoy the exploration…involve the person if you need to do so, don’t worry about the budget at this step
  2. Take a look at your personal budget now…if taking your loved one to Europe is not in this year’s budget then maybe that can be a long-term goal…get realistic…set SMART GOALS (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely)…For example you can spend $20 each for ten Christmas gift, $40 for six birthdays, and $100 on your (one) Valentine.  Now you follow the plan!
  3. Open a savings account, it can be at any online or local bank
  4. Add your annual gift giving totals then divide by 12, this is the monthly amount you need to put into your savings account…for our example the total is $540 annually or $45 each month.  Hey that is only one family meal out per month that you stay home and cook.
  5. Stash away the same amount ($45 in our example) every month into the savings account; the best way is by splitting your paycheck using direct deposit…out of sight, out of mind then you won’t miss it.  You can always send more but remember this is not your rainy day fund this is specifically for holidays and special occasions.  Maybe you are saving up for a 10 year anniversary cruise or a family vacation to Disney.
  6. As each special day occurs transfer funds or withdraw from the account, but don’t stop placing the full monthly amount into the savings account.  You are beginning to save for next year.  If you have multiple birthdays in the same month and feel that your account will be drained then you could plan to save faster with larger amounts, try doubling the monthly funds if your withdrawals will come quickly in the first year of planning.
  7. Enjoy the day..don’t stress over didn’t put it on your credit card..your bank account is not drained..and you are still debt free!! (If you can responsibly utilize the rewards of a credit card, then yes place the special day on it BUT remember to pay it off on the due date…better yet as soon as your day is over.  Now you have zero on your credit card and you have the rewards; that makes cents4you!!)

Allow your Valentine to take your breath away not your money this February…enjoy today and plan for next year…stress free!  If you would like to learn more about a personal plan contact our coaches today for a free phone consultation.

FEB 2018 – Love and Money

Who holds your heart?  Where is your treasure?   What do you love??  For the love of money is the root of all evil…I Timothy 6:10…but what does this really mean? Below I have listed four different Bible versions, just different ways to say the same idea in a way easier for the current culture to understand…and I want to elaborate on the idea behind this phrase.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.-The King James Bible

But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after. -The Message Bible verses 9-10

For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows. -The Amplified Bible

[For] The love of money causes [is the root of] all kinds of evil. Some people have left [strayed/wandered from] the faith, because they wanted to get more money, but they have caused themselves much sorrow [and have pierced themselves with many pains]. -The Expanded Bible

During this month when most focus on love toward one another, I want to take a deeper look into why the love of money, or as the writers have mentioned the lustful greediness of money, is such a powerful aspect of our choices in life.  I have used the acronym LOVE to elaborate my points:

L  = Lusting after what we do not own, coveting another’s gifts or possessions
O = Ownership well the lack there of, not taking responsibility for your own actions and choices and accepting the consequences good or bad that follow
V  = Vindictive, Vengeful mean-spirited towards others when you feel like you don’t get “what you deserve”…what if you did get what you derserve…would you be satisfied or surprised?
E  = Exchanging one bad habit for another – you cut spending in one area but overspend even more in another area, or you stop smoking only to replace it with over eating, you stop watching 10 hours of TV per day to replace it with playing video games online until the early hours of the next morning

We all have negative thoughts, bad habits, or something (we see) wrong with us…hey that is what makes us human right?  But you cannot dwell on the have to keep your thoughts and mindset positive, looking toward a hopeful future and a bright tomorrow. Phillipans 4:8 says to think on these things:  “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, honorable, and worthy of respect, whatsoever things are just and right, confirmed by God’s Word, whatsoever things are pure and wholesome, whatsoever things are lovely and brings peace, whatsoever things are admirable and of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things continually, center your mind around them and implant them in your heart.” (KJV & AMP mixed)

There are five steps you can follow to overcome this unhealthy, unloving mindset.  I use the acronym MONEY to remember the steps:  Mindful, Open, Necessary, Exchange, Your (rewards)

M = MINDFUL, Stop and think before you purchase, before you make a choice!  Don’t buy or choose on impulse or under pressure from anyone; save for big items such as vehicles, homes, weddings, vacations, etc.  You will enjoy yourself (on vacations or in everyday life) and find that you are more relaxed (able to think and focus) if you know that you do not have a huge debt overhanging you while you soak in the rays on the beach or glide downhill on the slopes, or even just enjoy a movie or game on the couch.
O = OPEN, honest communication with your spending partner and with yourself is a must.  Why are you spending your money or buying this particular item?  Is it attached to a memory, does it bring you good vibes or pleasure?  Can I buy the nonbrand name; I know there are some items that you have to buy Brand X…but not every item on your grocery list…really???!!! Being candid and truthful can save you hundreds of dollars, not to mention the sanity and freedom of weightlessness from debt.  Don’t allow debt to hold you as its slave!  Create a list before you leave the house and stick to it; you can do it.
N = NECESSARY, do I really need this or do I just want this?  Do not rationalize an unnecessary purchase because everyone has it or it’s the newest gadget, or this is so last year’s color scheme and I have to wear this if she is wearing this.  If you really want it then save up for it, or ask for it as a gift…you have a birthday annually ask your friends to offer $10-$30 towards your NEW HIGH PRICED ITEM then invite them over to enjoy it too.  
E  = Exchange boredom or bad buying habits for new positive ones: take a walk, solve a puzzle, read a book, take a nap, play with your kids, exercise, romp with your pet – notice they are all free activities.  You can also cook more meals at home, go to a the park or a concert, drive to a friend whom you haven’t seen in a while…get outside and enjoy the Vitamin D it is not only healthy but takes away the boredom purchase urges.  Make a plan and follow that plan.
Y = YOUR rewards for reaching the goals you set, for paying off that debt, or to just energize yourself; they don’t have to cost a cent or they can be low costs such as ice cream cones, a weekend with friends and family without working, a visit to a local museum or historical site, a movie and dinner at home while the kids visit friends.  Get creative and allow everyone to be involved; launch the reward when you set the goal and countdown to the day of celebration. Who knows it might arrive early.

Making your money work for you, not for you to work for your money, just makes cents4you!  Implement your MONEY steps to overcome the LOVE of money and reset your thinking!  If you would like one of our coaches to encourage you more or to show you how to create a personalized spending plan and build new habits, contact us today to schedule your free phone consultation.  We offer evening and weekend follow-up appointments upon availability.

A NEW YEAR…making cents4you

This year as I reflect on accomplishments, learning opportunities (aka failures) and the changes that affected me and my business…I am content with my choices.  I am moving closer to long-term goals, letting go of the past, and moving forward into the goodness the LORD has planned for me.  For the upcoming year I choose to be INTENTIONAL with every choice that make; if it does not bring me closer to my goal…then it doesn’t get completed!  I have created a one year plan but I am breaking that into 12 week goals and action steps.

If you would like to join me on this journey then stay tuned and follow my blog.  Be sure to like Cents+Ability Financial Solutions on Facebook and look for more from us in Twitter this year.  We are also launching our three month coaching course online this Spring…keep looking for the date!  You can begin purchasing pre-sale membership soon!!

From all of us at Cents+Ability to you and your family…Have a blessed New Year!

December 2017-Joyful Year End

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

As you end the year, begin to plan for the next one by reviewing your spending habits.  Do you know where you spent?  Did you stay on budget?  Were you able to save for retirement, unexpected emergencies, holidays, birthdays, special events, and vacations?  If you answered NO to any or all of these, then we are here to make cents4you!  Begin 2018 with our online courses…a self-paced video financial coaching series that allows you to navigate through WHY you spend money so you can create a personalized spending plan that makes cents4you!

You will also receive unlimited email access to your personal financial coach, monthly live webinars for Q&A with our founder Heather Gauntt, and downloads to assist you with following the step-by-step program to make cents4you!  Click here Cents+Ability Financial Courses to buy your membership today.

November 2017 – Thankfulness

As we enter November, I am reminded of all the things that I am thankful for…my family, my company, my friends, my health…and breathing fresh air, having plenty of food in the pantry and fridge, numerous outfits to choose from to wear, extra money to spend on vacations and business trips, fun money to spend on ME TIME and Girlz Nite Out!

But none of that would be possible if I did not have a thankful heart.  I believe that your finances are tied directly to your heart choices…your morals, your integrity, your gut feelings.  Some say you are what you eat, I say you are what you spend…so where are you spending your money?  Think about that and make a plan (also called a budget) so that you can tell your money where YOU WANT IT to go, not allowing it to fly away into the unknown abyss of “where did my money go, I still have month left!”

Once your budget is set, you can relax and make cents4you in the other areas in your life; being truly grateful and thankful for all those areas where you are rich!  For our treasure is not in gold or silver but through instruction and wisdom we gain wealth…Proverbs 8:10-12

JUNE 2017 – Summer Fun

It’s summer time, time for fun – grillin out – and checkin out  your current budget.

Budgets are not cut in stone, they need to be fluid, to adjust to your ever changing world…when you plan and budget up to one year out for vacations, holidays, and summer fun then they do not seem so overwhelming for your pocketbook or your calendar! Go enjoy today but this weekend sit down and review your June budget: what do you need to add, what do you need to subtract, multiply your fun and divide the needs over several months.



Spending time with Dad and grads this month could be expensive if you did not budget for the parties and gifts. Honor your father by not overspending your finances, but offering time with him.  Teach the next generation (Congrats Graduates!) that budgeting is not difficult or a waste of time.  Show them that a realistic budget offers freedom, and clear decisions offer rewards!  A great gift is a coaching class with us, graduates receive a discount so contact us today.

February 2017 – Loving

As the season of love approaches, I am reminded that you should love yourself first.  So what does that mean?  Loving yourself is not selfishness but creating the best you to THRIVE in all you do – relationships, work, finances.  When you pay yourself first by setting aside your savings, your retirement, or fun money; then, you are setting yourself up for success in the future.  You are thriving to become all that you can be by setting aside funds for your future plans and goals.

If you would like to find out more, sign up for our WOW! board class.  Find one near you on our calendar and register today.


This month we are reminded to be thankful. Make a list of what you are thankful for, then go to that person and say thank you! Friends, family, the grocery clerk, your mail carrier or trash pickup, your boss and secretary, your kids and spouse! Lastly don’t forget yourself!! As we approach the end of the year, many forget to be thankful for how far they have come. I remind my clients that rewarding yourself at milestones are just as important as celebrating the end of the finish line, reaching that goal to be debt free or buying that new home. Small rewards may be that ice cream cone, a night to read your favorite book, or taking that bubble bath not a quick shower. They don’t have to costs money, but if they do you need to plan for them in your budget.


Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your reward!!