Archive for the ‘Stretching Your Income’ Category

The Dry Wood Pile

Posted on October 16th, 2014 in Stretching Your Income by

campfire in the mountainsAs we approach another winter in the upper Midwest, we are probably spending some time and consideration on how we can plan if we have another bitterly cold season; checking coats and boots, mittens and scarves for the kids, and of course having plenty of hot chocolate on hand! And if we do have another rough winter, we will feel the impact in many ways – especially with regards to heating expenses.

For just a moment, let’s think back in time… How did people heat their homes 200 years ago? We didn’t have forced air heating systems powered by natural gas.  Back in the day, they used wood burning stoves of course!

Back then this was a life or death necessity, so how did folks properly prepare for the ensuing winter cold? Someone would have to chop trees down and get firewood split early enough so that it could dry in time for it to be ready to burn when the snow flies. This was commonly referred to as, “the dry wood pile.” They would chop what they needed for that winter, and the remaining hardwoods were left for continued growth so that future generations could feel confident in their ability to heat their homes for years to come.

George Washington inside a grocery cart riding down the roller coasterHow big would they need to make that dry wood pile? Well, that would depend on how long and cold the winter would be. Could we use our experience from previous winters to estimate for this year? While we cannot accurately predict the coming winter based solely on history, we can probably guess within reason. Most likely, reasonable people would plan to have a little extra wood on the pile – just-in-case.

If they had a particularly brutal winter like the one we just had in 2013, or maybe even a few of these bad winters in succession, would there EVER, EVER be a time when someone would chop down the ENTIRE FOREST to make the dry wood pile? Of course not – that would be ridiculous. If they did, then someone would have to plant saplings so that the forest could regrow and future generations could plan for their survival. Some of those saplings would flourish and grow while others would die off. In any case, how would that affect those families and their abilities to plan for the next generation?

Neat story, right?  What does this have to do with investing…?

With all of the recent economic volatility, some people have been asking if they should be invested in the stock market now. Or if they are invested, should they sell and get out of the markets?

With this analogy in mind, I might respond to that question with, “how is your dry wood pile looking right now?” Do we have enough (cash and low or no risk money) available to pay our bills for a while – pay our rent or mortgage, buy groceries and clothes, provide for our transportation and medical needs? If not, then maybe we should look at options to help grow our “dry wood pile” by enough to make us feel safe for some amount of time – 6 months, 1 year, 3 years – whatever amount is right for you.

In any case, do we really want to chop down the entire forest? The next time you’re feeling anxious about the markets, why don’t you schedule a visit so we can analyze your “dry wood pile.”

We’re there when life happens.

The material contained herein has been prepared from sources and data we believe to be reliable but make no guarantees as to its accuracy or completeness. This material is published solely for informational purposes and is not an offer to buy or sell a security or investment product. Opinions and estimates are of a certain date and subject to change without notice.

Ed Burnett is a Registered Representative with The Schaeffer Group, LLC, where he implements a team approach to provide financial solutions for his clients. A life-long resident of Southeast WI, Ed is married with three terrific kids, is active in his church and community, and enjoys woodworking and running. Please contact Ed for a free financial consultation at 262-551-8900 or Ed@TheSchaefferGroupLLC.com

Price Check

Posted on July 31st, 2014 in Stretching Your Income by

squeezing every penny out of a dollarThink for a moment about the routine shopping trips you take to the store to purchase frequently needed items.  Perhaps you are loyal to your store and name brand and don’t even think about where to shop or which item to buy no matter the cost.

What if we took a few moments to make a master list for frequently purchased items? Why would we want to go to the trouble of doing that? Let’s see . . .

  1. Start with price checking. Write down the price you generally pay. This step could save you money as you compare the price at your store to other stores’ advertised sale prices. Having a master list enables you to quickly recognize if the sale price is a good deal for you.
  2. Stores occasionally try to sweeten the deal, by providing gift cards or coupons as an example. If the price is a good deal and you need the item anyway, buying in bulk and taking the deal may save you time and money.
  3. Consider where and how often you shop for items. Generally, the less you’re out, the less you spend. How easy is it to be distracted from your list by a quick impulse purchase? Maybe with your list in hand, you can change that weekly visit to a monthly visit. You will save time and money.
  4. Take advantage of online shopping. As you are aware of prices, you may find it cost-effective to shop online. Combining items from your list, you may qualify for free shipping.  Some retailers offer additional discounts if you sign up for their email list.
  5. brunette woman cutting cuponsDon’t forget to keep an eye out for manufacturer’s coupons to combine with the sale prices. Keep these with your list so you have them when you shop.
  6. As always, whether you shop at the store or online, review your receipt/confirmation to verify you receive the sale price and discounts you worked to earn!

Happy shopping!

Best Regards,

Kristi

The material contained herein has been prepared from sources and data we believe to be reliable but make no guarantees as to its accuracy or completeness. This material is published solely for informational purposes and is not an offer to buy or sell a security or investment product. Opinions and estimates are of a certain date and subject to change without notice.

Kristi Schaeffer Kleutsch, Vice President and Financial Advisor with The Schaeffer Group, LLC, works with a team of Advisors in providing financial solutions for her clients. Kristi and her husband reside in Kenosha with their three active children. She is active with the kids’ organizations, community and her church, while enjoying concerts and cooking. Please reach Kristi for a confidential financial review at 262-551-8900 or Kristi@TheSchaefferGroupLLC.com.