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Fact #1: 497 people (approximately 0.000008% of the world’s population) control $3.5 trillion (over 7% of world GDP). Fact #2: 99% of the US population is NOT part of the “investing class” Fact #3: For the first quarter of 2012 the average credit card debt for indebted households was $14,517. And it may continue to grow. You can consider wealthy people evil and...

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Grocery Shopping Psychology is a real science and that our consumer brain can be manipulated into buying more. Find out how to outsmart the stores!According to The New York Times, the average American spends 139 hours, 55 minutes shopping every year. It means that we spend one-and-a-half days a month shopping.

I am not a big fan of shopping, unless you take me to a funky design store or Bed Bath & Beyond.

Another necessary ‘evil’ I cannot escape is grocery shopping. It is not that I mind buying groceries. It is just that I probably spend more time in the supermarket than the average American does.

I like to read the labels and compare different products. Where do the strawberries come from? How much sodium does this bag of pita chips contain? How about saturated fats?
Then there are hundreds of choices to make…

Which eggs to buy? Local? Cage-free? Vegetarian-fed? Organic? Omega-3-enriched?

Sometimes it is simply overwhelming. And on top of all this, there are prices and specials to consider.

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Do you know what any financial struggle starts with? No, not with the poor economic situation, bad luck or inadequate financial planning. It starts with the mind!

This might be hard to accept at first, because we may often feel that some life circumstances are beyond our control and, therefore, it is logical to blame external factors and other people for our financial difficulties. There is just one problem with this type of thinking – it does not resolve anything. Moreover, it leads us deeper into negative thinking patterns and creates bigger financial difficulties.

allow-abundanceI am not saying that as soon as you change your attitude towards money, 100 dollar bills will fall from the sky like wild rain in spring time. Nor will I try to convince you that just by visualizing beautiful cars and dream houses, your financial situation will magically improve without you having to do anything.

But I am convinced about one thing – you can not become wealthy by thinking and reasoning like someone, who always struggles to make ends meet.

All that said, there are two ways to improve your financial situation:

1. Identify and challenge your negative and limiting beliefs about money.
2. Take these 3 Simple Steps to allow unlimited Abundance and life-long Wealth:

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We all have different perceptions of what a successful and abundant life should be like, but there is no denying that success and abundance is not limited to the amount of money that you make or the number of properties that you own. The core meaning of success and abundance is mainly based on a person’s view of life and how that person lives it. In fact, there are no ‘helpless losers’ or ‘sure winners’, when it comes to success. Each and every one of us is able to become successful with our aspirations and achieve abundance in physical, spiritual and mental enrichment.

abundant-life-fundamentalsBelow are the Six fundamentals for a Successful and Abundant life that, I hope, will help you to achieve your dreams, overcome any setbacks that you might encounter on your way and appreciate the process at the same time!

1. Having a clear goal.

When you envision the life and person you want to be, you have taken a big step toward getting there. As opposed to floating aimlessly with the uncertainty of destination, having a clear goal keeps you closely centered on yourself. Of course, this follows that your goal is rooted on your core desire. It is much easier to follow your heart than to be floating amid the external demands of who you must be from other people.

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Many people believe that spending less requires making sacrifices – buying cheaper products, cutting back on vacations and denying yourself other pleasures like shopping and movies. This is partly the reason why we approach the concept of saving money as something highly unpleasant and even painful. But it does not have to be that way.

save-moneySaving money can not only be fun, but doing it can noticeably improve the quality of your life and bring your family even closer together.

So if you are looking for Smart ways to save money, here are a few money saving ideas that are easy to follow:

1. Take care of your health.

A sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits come with a hefty price tag. It has been calculated that in America alone, people spend about $35 billion a year on weight-loss and fitness products and as much as $93 billion in annual medical bills. If you want to save money in the future, start taking care of your health. Eating healthy and exercising are a few of the best long-term investments you can make. And as an added bonus, you will get a good-looking body and have more energy.

2. Get Grocery smart.

One thing I miss about Italy when I go to the United States is food. Everything just tastes differently and I have to pay attention to what I eat. I try to buy organic food, but it is not always as budget-friendly as conventional food. Fortunately for us not all of the products have to be bought in the organic aisle section.

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Christmas – the Magical time of love, and joy and giving.

save-money-christamUnfortunately, for many of us, it is the most expensive time of year too. If you feel that you have more cheer than cash this season, do not worry! There are plenty of ways to save money during the holiday season, while having the best Christmas ever!

Here are 40 Smart Strategies to stay in budget this Christmas:

1. Start budgeting for the holiday season today

Before getting to any Christmas money savings tactics, decide how much money, realistically, you would like to spend on the holiday festivities, including Christmas decorations, entertaining, gifts, Christmas cards, etc… When you figure out how much money you want to spend, let’s see what you can do to stay within your budget!

2. Help out Santa with gifts this year

Instead of buying expensive gifts for your family and friends, make them yourself! Believe me, there are hundreds of inexpensive home-made gift ideas that literally anyone can do! Why spend hours in the mall, waiting in huge lines, when you can make gifts that are personal, meaningful, inexpensive and above all, fun to do. ( You can find homemade gift ideas here and here)

3. Opt for cool, rather than expensive!

Think of cool, funny and inexpensive gifts that you can give to your family members and friends. There are plenty of great gadgets, personalized mugs, and funny quote books for under $5- $10.

4. Give a framed picture

Nowadays, when most of us have digital cameras, it seems we never have time to print our pictures and frame them. Maybe this is why a good picture, beautifully framed is a gift that so many people appreciate!

5. Re-gift!

Go through your stuff and see if there are any presents that you have received, won or got with the latest promotions that you are not planning on using. Think of who might like these gifts!

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Have you noticed how some people seem to have everything they need to be successful: right knowledge, good looks, family connections and starting capital and yet they fail miserably? While others who do not seem to be that smart or that outgoing become successful against all the odds? The true reason behind success and material wealth is not the resources that you have; it is the way you think, talk and act!

poor-mindsetUsually after talking with a person for 15 minutes you can already tell if they will achieve the great heights of turning money-making into a never-ending struggle.

Poor people generally talk about:

  • Their problems and all the injustices ever done to them
  • Discuss banal reality shows, latest “news” and negative events that they have no control over
  • Gossip about other people – what is wrong with them
  • Blame everything and everyone for their misfortunes
  • Complain about their lazy spouses, ungrateful kids, stupid boss, and controlling parents
  • Have strong prejudices against other social groups (usually this includes wealthier and more successful people, people of other nationalities and other religions)
  • Brag about all the good things that they have ever done for someone else
  • Invest in things that bring instant gratification, without thinking about the consequences.

Wealthy or wealthy-to-be people talk about:

  • New theories and skills that they are learning
  • Investment ideas and strategies
  • People who inspire and guide them
  • Positive events that have happened in their life
  • Activities and things that motivate them
  • Their long-term goals

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Saving money is not about having to deny yourself something you want or feeling guilty about spending it. By doing this you only suppress your desires and make yourself feel unsatisfied and inferior by not being able to afford the stuff you want. Trying to force a “frugal” lifestyle onto yourself is like trying to stop the flood from a broken drainage pipe with your hand. It helps to temporary stop the flood, but does not fix the real problem!

tips-to-save-moneyI am a true believer that saving money should be painless and even an enjoyable activity!

Here are 7 Counter-Intuitive tips that will help you save more money for a rainy day than any “money-saving plan” could ever do:

1. Redefine your definition of “wealthy”. Most of us define wealth as having LOTS of money and LOTS of things. How do you define when you are rich and decide that it is enough? When I was a student, I dreamed of having my own car. After 7 months of hard work and many sacrifices I finally bought my first car. It was a sky blue 12 year-old Toyota Celica, with a scratch on the left front door. I loved it! And for a time I felt really cool! After a year and a half I bought a new car, but it did not feel as great, because there was an even cooler car at a dealership that I could not afford. No matter how much you have there will always be more.

Now I sit in my rented apartment in Miami, looking at a picture of my family and my closest friends on the desktop and I feel like a millionaire! Being rich to me means having enough money to pay my bills, puting some money away for “rainy days” and being able to give some money away to those who need it. What is your definition of wealth?

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Have you noticed that most of us have an unhealthy emotional relationship with money?

money-loveOn one hand, we love money because:

•we need it for basic necessities like food, shelter and clothing

•our financial security and well-being depends on it

•it gives us freedom to do whatever we like

•it is a powerful tool to help others

On the other hand, we hate money because:

•we feel it controls our life

•we do not have enough of it

•we believe that money changes people and brings out all the negative qualities in them

•it forces us to get a job that we hate and robs us of our freedom

This love-hate attitude is very similar to the one we have with food.

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