7 Simple Steps for Achieving Financial Freedom

The stress that comes from living a life of financial bondage can be absolutely overwhelming. Too many people live in bondage to the debts they owe.

Studies have shown that financial struggles hurt more than just your pocketbook. The stress of financial uncertainty is linked to obesity, digestive tract issues, insulin resistance, ulcers, poor nutrition, poor sleep, marital conflict, and more.

That’s why Melaleuca is such a strong proponent of total financial freedom. It provides options and resources that can improve almost every aspect of life.

Financial wellness—getting out of debt and securing your financial future—along with physical wellness, environmental wellness, and personal wellness, is part of the total wellness concept that Melaleuca teaches and encourages. Indeed, financial freedom is at the heart of Melaleuca’s mission of enhancing lives.

When people stop paying interest and start earning interest, they discover a sense of peace that they’ve never had before. That peace can be achieved by following a simple, step-by-step plan that is focused on aggressively conquering debt, carefully budgeting finances, and wisely building wealth.

If you’ve achieved total financial wellness in your own life, help others achieve what you have achieved. If you’re still living with debt, then it’s time to dump it once and for all.

The following seven simple principles will help you achieve financial wellness. Try implementing a few of them today!

  • Start An Emergency Fund. Debt that spirals out of control usually begins with an emergency. Your car breaks down or your child breaks a leg and you don’t have the means to pay for it. You’re already living paycheck to paycheck, so what do you do? You pay for it with a credit card. Then the monthly credit card bill becomes too much to pay. Avoid that nightmare and instead work over the next 90 days to establish a savings fund of $1,000. If you can save more, that’s great. That money can and should only be used to save you on a rainy day.
  • Reduce Your Expenses. Find ways to cut your spending. You’ll be surprised at how many things you pay for that you don’t really need. Using coupons, giving up cable subscriptions, buying in bulk, and carpooling to work are all easy ways to save money. You can also eat at home instead of going out— which usually comes with health benefits, too!
  • Increase Your Income. Look for ways to find extra income to eliminate your debt. If you already work fulltime, consider a side business or a family paper route to bring in extra cash. Sometimes increasing your income is as simple as asking for a raise. If you work hard at your job, you have a right to discuss compensation with your boss.
  • Power Roll Your Debt. When budgeting, compile a list of all your debts from smallest to largest. Make the minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest. Do everything you can to pay that one off as fast as possible. Once it’s paid off, you can take the money you were paying toward it and put it toward the next debt. Each time you pay off a debt, the amount of money you have to pay off the next debt will continue to grow.
  • Pay Off Your Mortgage Early. This is usually the last debt people have to pay off. If this is your only debt, don’t be fooled into paying the minimum monthly mortgage. Doing so over the course of a 30-year loan means you’ve paid an incredibly large amount toward interest. That’s money wasted. Paying your mortgage off 10, 15 or 20 years early can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
  • Save And Invest Monthly. Having a plan to cover future costs like retirement and medical expenses is the only way to be truly financially free. Begin by investing 10 to 25 percent of your monthly household income. Maximize 401(k) and other low-risk retirement funds.
  • Invest Wisely and Give 10 Percent. Diversify your savings portfolio so you can smooth returns and limit losses. Then give 10 percent of your income to those in need. Doing so will transform the way you view money. It will help you appreciate more the resources you have and allow you to bless the lives of others.

As you celebrate financial freedom, we want to celebrate it with you. If you’ve cut up a credit card, started a savings fund, or paid off a nagging loan, share it on social media with our new “That’s Why I Love Wellness” poster and our official Melaleuca hashtag #whyilovewellness.

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Healthy Holiday Spending

Have a Joyful Holiday Season Without Breaking the Bank

The holiday spending season is already in full swing. With all of the dazzling advertisements that will surely be shoved in our faces over the next two months, it could be really easy to buy all the hype and fall headfirst into the spending trap. After all, that fuzzy feeling of watching our loved ones smile as they open our gifts can be quite addicting. Still, the holidays are a lot more joyful if we’re not weighed down with financial worries after the fact.

Following these tips will help make your holidays festive without being a financial mess:

Plan ahead. Hopefully, you’ve had an idea of what you want to buy for a while now and you’ve been putting savings aside for several months. If you haven’t, start right now by determining your budget, then stick to it. Create a list of wants and needs. If there’s something you want that will make you go over budget, don’t buy it.

Santa makes a list…you should too. Shopping for sales can be a great way to save money. However, they can also lure you into impulse buying. So start the season out by making a list of family members, friends, and neighbors you’d like to give gifts to and gift ideas for each of them, then search the sales based on that list. If an item for sale isn’t on your list, don’t buy it. Another great way to avoid impulse buying is to do as much of your shopping online as you can. That way, you can easily compare prices from site to site and find the best deals without battling holiday shopping crowds, weather or traffic. For even more savings, shop with Melaleuca’s online retail partners. See page 36 for details.

Go and do. You don’t have to spend money to make this time of year special. Look back on your favorite holidays past, and what do you remember? It won’t be the new purse or necklace you got. It will be the time you spent with those you love. Try sledding, building snowmen, and making paper snowflakes with the kids. Attend free community concerts, tree-lighting ceremonies, extended family game nights and neighborhood parties. These are all great ways to make lasting holiday memories without spending a ton of money.

Avoid debt. Nothing wipes away those joyful holiday memories quicker than seeing a credit card bill in January. Studies have shown that when shopping with plastic, consumers spend up to 50% more on impulse purchases. And steer clear of those sneaky layaway plans retailers use to entice shoppers. They may be interest-free to start (miss a payment and you’ll be dinged with penalties), but they’re just another form of incurring debt. Whatever you purchase this holiday season, purchase it with the cash you know you have today, not the money you think you’ll have tomorrow.

Increase your income. If you’re willing to work for it, there are all sorts of opportunities to bring in some extra cash during the holidays allowing for more holiday spending. A lot of businesses need and advertise for seasonal help. However, as a Melaleuca Marketing Executive, you already have the perfect way to earn as much extra income as you’d like and loosen a tight budget.

Life’s Better On A Budget

Have you ever daydreamed about having more money than you knew what to do with? Imagine wanting something—stylish new shoes, a sports car, a sprawling mansion, an island, anything—and buying it without pause thanks to your bottomless, overflowing coffers. How wonderful would that be?

Unfortunately, none of us has an inexhaustible supply of money. Income is finite in the real world, which makes budgeting an imperative element of household finance.

A budget, simply put, is an estimate of income and expenses for a set period of time. If you’re like most people who get paid once or twice a month and pay their bills on a monthly basis, you should be budgeting your household finances each month.

The problem is that many people see budgeting as a nuisance, if not a nightmare. In fact, a recent poll shows that just 32 percent of Americans put together a monthly household budget. The flip side of that statistic: More than two thirds of adults in the U.S. aren’t keeping detailed track of how, where or when they’re spending their money.

However, budgeting doesn’t need to be a necessary evil, nor should it be. It’s a fantastic tool for controlling what you spend, developing discipline and avoiding unnecessary stress. It can help you eliminate debt, reduce impulse buying, save money and plan for the future.

The following are a few tips on making—and sticking to—a budget:

Achieve balance, shoot for surplus
In a balanced budget, revenue and expenses are equal—in other words, you spend what you earn. If you spend more than you make, you have a deficit budget; if you spend less than you earn, you have a surplus budget.

If your monthly budgeting reveals a deficit, make balancing your budget your first goal: Cut up credit cards, use cash, pay off debts, and cut wasteful spending anywhere you can. When you’ve balanced your budget, take time to celebrate the win. After all, you’ve just accomplished something that many individuals, businesses and even governments have yet to do.

If your current budget is balanced, make surplus your goal. Look for additional ways to cut expenses and increase your income so you can start saving money.

Do you already have a surplus budget? Good for you. Your goal should be to tip the scales even further in your favor. The more you save, the healthier your budget is and the more secure your future will be.

When you’ve balanced your budget, take time to celebrate the win. After all, you’ve just accomplished something that many individuals, businesses and even governments have yet to do.

Record It
Begin by simply making a list of monthly expenses—both essentials and extras—and a separate list of your income-generating activities—full-time job or residual Melaleuca income. This will give you a picture of where your money is coming from and where it’s going every month.

Also, save your receipts and balance your checkbook regularly. Set aside time at least once a week to update your ledger. Most people who are caught off guard by overdraft fees fail to record their debits and credits in a timely manner. If you’re not a paper-and-pen person, try using personal finance software. A lot of programs can be accessed on the go via your phone and include built-in budgeting tools to help you analyze your spending.

Share Responsibility
Lighten your load and be accountable for your budget by sharing it with others. Couples who keep finances secret from each other not only run the risk of a relationship of mistrust, they also miss out on the benefits of teamwork. When both of you are on the same page, you can set goals and celebrate wins together, offer each other advice and encouragement, and keep an eye out for potential spending traps.

If you’re single, turn to others in your household and keep them apprised of your budget. While they may not be accountants, your parents, siblings and even children can serve as familial financial consultants because they care about you and likely share your financial goals.

Cut bad habits
If there’s a deficit in your budget, you have two options for achieving balance or surplus: increase your income or reduce expenses.

Thankfully, building a Melaleuca business is within your direct control, and it’s the best way to increase your residual income.

Cost cutting is also within your immediate power, and quitting a bad habit or two is an excellent way to quickly free up cash. Are you watching too much TV? Cancel your cable or satellite service. Are you eating out too much? Commit to making all your meals at home.

Alcohol and tobacco are not only bad for your body, they’re murder on your wallet. If you quit smoking and drinking, your physical health won’t be the only beneficiary. You’ll have more money for other expenses, you’ll probably qualify for lower insurance premiums and you’ll likely avoid health care expenses down the road.

Use Cash
One way to help you stay on budget is to use cash for the entire month. After you’ve paid your fixed expenses and other bills, take the remaining cash and divide it into as many categories as you need for the month—$200 for groceries, $150 for gas, $75 for restaurants, for example. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone. You’ll find it’s a lot easier to say “no” to a $100 blouse when it will drain the rest of your month’s cash than it is when you can just swipe a card for it.

A significant contributor to overspending is the card—both credit and debit. In fact, when shopping with plastic, consumers routinely spend up to 50 percent more on impulse purchases.

Revisit and revise
Just because a budget is set for one month doesn’t mean that things won’t change. A lost job, a new job, new insurance premiums or the arrival of a child all require adjustments to your finances.

Be flexible as you update your budget regularly. If you go over budget one month, don’t beat yourself up. Take time to reevaluate your plan and get familiar with the system. Budgeting can be a challenge, but the longer you stick with it, the easier it will become.

Whether you make $30,000 or $300,000 a year, knowing your financial numbers can save you a lot of heartache. The news is replete with stories of celebrities who earned tens of millions only to end up bankrupt due to their lack of financial discipline. The lesson is simple: Life is better on a budget, regardless of your income.