Sweet Read: The Latte Factor by David Bach

Coffee Cup

Have you ever heard of the term, The Latte Factor? If so, What do you think about The Latte Factor?

If you haven’t heard of it, The “Latte Factor” is a term that equates to saving and/or investing a large amount of money by not spending money on daily lattes. However, your “latte factor” doesn’t have to be a latte. Instead it could be cigarettes or maybe even avocado toast.

Do you think grabbing a cup of coffee every day is keeping you broke or keeping you from your financial goals? Or does that cup of coffee not really matter because its only a few dollars a day. The average cup of coffee can cost $3 – $5 a day, even more if you purchase coffee more than once a day or if you add on another treat at the coffee shop. In David Bach’s (with John David Mann) latest book, entitled, “The Latte Factor – Why You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Live Rich” explores The Latte Factor through the lens of a millennial young lady named Zoey.

Zoey is going about her daily routine as normal and one day notices a specific photograph in a coffee shop but feels she can’t afford to buy it because she is broke. She meets a barista named Henry and over a few visits they start talking and conversations around money start. I won’t give the story away but Henry points out to her that she is richer than she thinks and goes into the Three Secrets to Financial Freedom which is essentially the book’s big idea.

The Three Secrets to Financial Freedom

1. Pay Yourself First.

The first hour of your income is yours and you should invest it. For example, if you invest $10 a day and it earns 10% annual interest, after 40 years, you’d have $1,897,224. Almost 2 Million dollars! In this example, you make $10 per hour but if you make $25 per hour then you would invest $25 a day.

Sugar and Money Tip: Make paying yourself non-negotiable.

The Latte Factor

2. Don’t Budget – Make it Automatic.

Well if you know me, I definitely believe in budgeting but also highly believe in automating everything financially that I can. By automating finances you are able to make sure the following things happen: bills aren’t skipped,  bill aren’t paid late, savings is drafted and sent to the appropriate account(s), designed funds are sent to investments like retirement account(s). In, “The Latte Factor” Bach writes, “Set up a simple, automatic system that will run by itself in the unseen background so it takes zero discipline, zero self control, zero willpower. Just set it up and let it run.”

Sugar and Money Tip: Automate your finances, because if it isn’t in your bank account, you can’t spend it. Examples: 401k, IRA, Sinking Funds, etc.

3. Figure out what matters and follow that! Live Rich Now!

With this secret, think about things that truly bring you joy and focus on those things. Build in ways to enjoy those things now and not some far off future. Some ideas could be to travel, attend a specialized class like dance or cooking that you’ve always wanted to do or plan to take a sabbatical.

Sugar and Money Tip: Brainstorm the things that truly evoke joy in your life and write them down. What do you want to do that truly makes you happy?

In Conclusion:

The book was an easy read and I love that it was written as a story. The book held my attention the whole time and it also provided great financial charts for review.  The story about Zoey and discovering her path to financial freedom is a story that I think many people can relate to. I recommend this book to not only read but to apply to your life and take action. No one is getting younger and everyone should consider all 3 Financial Secrets and how they can be applied to your life. “The Latte Factor” can be picked up from your local library or by clicking here to purchase from Amazon.

As a lover of personal finance and blogger, I am always interested in new personal finance books and I enjoyed that this was a short read and it was written as a story versus filled with numbers and facts. It made the book more relatable but numbers and facts was still included when appropriate.

Other books by David Bach include:

Smart Women, Finish Rich

The Automatic Millionaire 

Please comment below: Do you have a latte factor? Is there a small expense that you spend on regularly that if eliminated could grow into a nice nest egg when compounded with interest over the next 20, 30 or 40 years? Let me know and Thank you so much for reading.

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10 Ways Finances and Fitness are Alike

finances, fitness

Recently, I started back working out and eating better to get some weight off but to also have an overall healthier lifestyle. One day in spin class it came to me that my debt free journey and physical fitness journey are very alike. I didn’t always think they aligned so much but they do. I have listed 10 ways below:

10 Ways Finances and Fitness are Alike

 1. It’s going to take time.

You didn’t gain the 20 or 30 pounds overnight and you won’t wake up 20 or 30 pounds lighter after one salad and cardio session. Which is the same thing with paying off debt or building a saving account, you won’t reach your goal with one payment or deposit but all journeys start with taking the first step.

 2. You must decide.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Nothing happens until you decide” which I read in Oprah Winfrey’s book, “What I Know For Sure” (a really good book that I need to re-read) and that is very true with physical fitness and with finances. You have to decide that you want a change and you will do what it takes for that change to occur. 

3. You will have to say No – A lot!

Examples will be saying No to foods that are outside of your eating plan/diet. Saying No to things that are outside of your budget, unnecessary purchases, impulse buys, etc. You can’t continue to eat the same way that caused you to gain weight and just pray and hope that the weight falls off. Same with finances, you can’t keep spending more than you make or spending everything and not saving for a rainy day and expect to have a fat bank account or a thriving investment account. You will have to do the work for the weight to come off, debt to get paid off, savings account to grow, and that work will include saying No to some things.

4. Planning becomes very important.

You will start planning out your meals so you eat what you are supposed to eat- some people may call it eating based on your macro’s or maybe you are counting calories either way you will probably start packing your lunches and/or meal prepping. With your finances, planning can come in the form of creating your monthly budget and sticking to it. Scheduling time to review your budget and purchases. Some prefer the envelope method to control spending while others may prescribe to creating digital envelopes with multiple bank accounts. I love using my Erin Condren deluxe monthly planner for laying out my bill due dates and scheduled workouts.

 

planner, finances, debt, bills

5. Celebrate milestones.

Yes plan for celebrations when you reach a certain goal. Now don’t go overboard, but a small ice cream cone, slice of pizza or budgeting extra spending money for a Target run for something you’ve been eyeing could help you stay onboard. 

 6. Remember this is your personal journey.

Your journey is your journey and someone might be doing better than you but that’s okay. I can’t remember how many times I have been in a workout class and one of the other ladies is killing their workout, spinning faster than me, dancing harder and more on beat than me in Zumba or passing me while running laps. Guess what? It is going to happen but I don’t quit. It actually makes me go harder and realize that if she can do it, so can I. Same with paying off debt or seeing someone’s investment account numbers. They could be paying off debt faster than me, accumulating more wealth than me, etc but again that’s cool. Everyone’s journey is different but just stay focused on your journey and don’t you dare quit.

7. Don’t put it off any longer.

Plain and simple – the choices your present self make directly affects your future self. So make the needed changes now for Future You! You only have body and one life to get it right so start now. Think about “your retired self” and how you want to live.

8. Get an accountability partner.

It helps to have someone that you are accountable with. This person might workout with you at the gym or maybe you text them when you are thinking about making a bad food choice and they talk you out of it or suggest a healthier option. Same with your finances. Have someone that you can talk with about your finances because more times than not, your selected accountability partner will be happy that you asked because they need accountability also. They may have the same struggles you have or maybe they can solve a problem that you have. If you don’t want to talk to a friend then there are numerous Facebook groups that you can join for free for accountability or even Instagram because Instagram has a large community of people that talk finances, debt, weight loss, diet, etc.

 9. Write down your goals, create a plan and start!

Plain and simple write down your goals clearly and look at them often. Create your plan and then start. Two books that I recommend for creating a financial plan is, “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey and “Rich Bitch” by Nicole Lapin. However, remember my motto – Take what you need and leave what you don’t because I don’t believe that personal finance is one size fits all plan.

10. Don’t give up until you reach your goal.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back, DON’T GIVE UP UNTIL YOU REACH YOUR GOAL! If you give up then you will have to start over so you might take a break at times on the journey if you need to but DON’T GIVE UP!

BONUS: Follow the path of someone that has achieved what you are working to achieve.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, they are numerous books on financial topics and also physical fitness/diet. There has to be a plan out there that will work for you or get you started on your journey. Just start researching online or head to the library or bookstore to read up on the appropriate topic to reach your desired goal.

 A few books that I like as it relates to finances:

Total Money Makeover

Rich Bitch

Girl, Get Your Money Straight

Richest Man in Babylon

Think and Grow Rich

One book that I like as it relates to physical health is:

The New Abs Diet

Only one because this is the one book that I followed in the past and helped me to lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks! So I always sing the praises of this book because it worked for me.

What do you think of a connection between personal finances and fitness?

Please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already.

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Six Figures of Debt!

debt, money

Reminder: I am currently half way through my debt free journey so I am depending on my awesome memory for this story.

The Year Was 2009

I was sitting at my home computer browsing the community forum boards on The Knot and somehow I came across a post recommending a financial book. Since I have always been interested in personal finance I decided to read on about this suggestion. The book was, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. At this particular time, I knew nothing about Dave Ramsey and never heard of this book even though it came out in 2003. My first financial book was, “Girl, Get Your Money Straight! A sister’s guide to Healing Your Bank Account and funding your Dreams in 7 Simple Steps” by Glinda Bridgforth, so the interest has always been there. (Thanks Dad for picking it up for me in 2001) Other than that book, my other financial advisor in my head was Suze Orman. Dave Ramsey was definitely new to me but several community members was saying this was a good book.

Libraries have free books!

Due to a recent layoff because of The Great Recession which really hit the manufacturing industry I was out of work. I was also planning to get married, so finances were pretty tight in my neck of the woods. Therefore, there wasn’t a lot of extra spending going on so I checked it out from my local library. This book was so good and since I wasn’t working, I think I read it in two days. In my opinion, it was an easy read and it got me excited about getting out of debt FAST! Needless to say I didn’t get gazelle intense and follow the plan step by step otherwise today, 9 years later, I would surely be out of debt and not blogging about the remaining $50,000. (More to come on that in another post)

Enter The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover” consists of 7 Baby Steps. In baby step 2, I remember being instructed to total up all of my debt from lowest debt balance to highest debt balance, and create a debt snowball by paying the minimum payment on all other debts while throwing all extra money on the lowest balance. This process would continue as you pay off each debt with your snowball getting larger as you knock out each debt. I created my snowball, printed it out and then suggested to my then fiancé, (now husband) that once we get married we should live off one income and use the other income to pay off all of our debt. Yes, I was that fired up! Guess what? He said, “No” to that idea and honestly I didn’t push the issue, but I wish I did. I think he didn’t like my idea of cutting the cable off. Soon after, I tossed that snowball printout to the side and it was out of sight, out of mind. (Again, More to come on that in another post) From there, I continued being normal with my finances – didn’t create a budget, paid minimums on debt but I did carefully watch our wedding expenses.

We got married in May 2009 and I found a new job in October 2009 after being unemployed for 8 months. Then fast forward to May 2010, I decided to buy a brand new 2010 car. Yes, brand new but I never regretted purchasing my car which I still drive today. I financed it at 0.9% financing for 60 months and figured that was a great interest rate. Everyone I know, finances their cars for at least 5 years so that’s just what I did.

At this point, I was just living like most normal people with a car note,  monthly revolving credit card balances and student loans, but I knew that a change had to be made because so much of my income was going towards debt and I like to keep my paycheck. I don’t work to simply pay bills. Again, I don’t work to simply pay bills. There is so much more to life than working and paying bills. It helped that me and my coworker at that time, (Hi Glenda) would talk about saving money, paying off our debts, traveling etc. Then, one day I went online and created another debt snowball that calculated my debt free date and how much I would need to pay on each debt monthly for the plan to work. That is when I realized that I had nearly $100,000 in debt, not including our mortgage:

$20,000 in Credit Card Debt – Just shopping, eating out, charging whatever – you know just being normal.

$23,000 in Car Debt – I could “afford” the monthly payment and I deserved a new car – again normal.

$56,000 in student loan debt – Well, how else would I pay for college? Its normal to get student loans.

Immediately, I knew that something had to change because $100,000 in debt isn’t cute and if that’s considered normal, then I choose to be weird. Very weird!

“Debt is normal. Be weird.”
– Dave Ramsey

Stay tuned and I will discuss how I paid off $50,000 of my debt and Thank you so much for reading.

Let me know, have you read any of the books I mentioned? Do you plan to read either or both of them? Or please share a favorite personal finance book of yours in the comment section.signature

 

Permission Granted

book

If you are waiting for someone to give you permission to take control of your finances or any area in your life, well here you go! Ok, That’s a big statement to claim but follow along and see where this ends up.

I wrestled with starting this blog and the funny thing is that I wanted to start a blog since 2012 and actually did start one via Blogger or some other platform. Guess what it was going to be about? Travel and food, two of my favorite things! I was obsessed with food blogs at the time and my husband and I was in the process of moving to Richmond, VA. We figured it would be a great way to document our new life in Virginia, places we ate at, places we visited, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t keep up with that at all.

Then the idea of creating Sugar and Money to me because of my love for personal finance and I figured it would be nice to sprinkle in a little lifestyle (Sugar). It was still hard to bite the bullet but then I read, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I will admit that the book started off a little slow to me and the more I read it, I thought that maybe this book really wasn’t for me. The subtitle is, “Creative Living Beyond Fear” and the more I read it seemed geared towards artists, writers, basically creatives and I don’t consider myself a creative. But, I guess I am now a Blogger so does that make me a creative?

The chapter which struck a cord with me was, “Permission”. That chapter was so good that I just about highlighted the whole chapter. No, really I did. It was that good! A few things seemed especially for me because I have a little fear around putting my personal actions as it relates to my financial life out on display for the interwebs. However, the lifestyle part should be fun.

The chapter titled, “Permission” reminded me of a few things: First, that we should be curious of things. Just like I am curious as to where this blogging adventure will go. Curiosity can be a good thing. Worst case, I will document my journey to becoming debt free and no one would read this blog. But, I will end up debt free so that really isn’t a bad ending, is it? However, I hope my bravery will encourage someone to take a close look at their finances and make changes that sweeten their life. It could be debt payoff, investing, proper insurance coverage, retirement savings, legacy planning, etc.

Then the following excerpts really spoke directly to me:

“If you’re supporting yourself financially and you’re not bothering anyone else, then you are free to do whatever you want with your life”

Can I get an AMEN? I support myself financially, purchased this domain, hosting, etc so I can do what I want with this blog and my life, correct? Yes, Thank you.

“Let people have their opinions. More than that – Let people be in love with their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your creative work. And always remember that people’s judgment about you are none of your business. Lastly, remember what W.C Fields had to say on this point: ‘It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.”

Now if that isn’t some encouragement to live your own life, make your own decisions and be curious about where your actions will take you, I don’t know what is. Just think, this is only a couple snippets out of, “Big Magic” and even though it started out slow, it ended very well and my favorite section was “Permission”. I know I will reference this book again and again when I need some encouragement.

With Sugar and Money, I hope all my readers will see that they have permission to create and live their own life and with sweet finances. If you need a little encouragement to push past fear, I recommend reading, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Comment below if you have read it or if you plan to pick it up.

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