ByMariaLopez Weekly Financial Tips:

How do we prepare for the Holiday Season?

I love the season of Fall! ? The air and the breeze in the afternoons are just beautiful!
My 6 personal financial tips as we prepare to rejoice the 2017 Holiday season:

1. Giving is a beautiful gift and sharing with our family and friends and community is wonderful! There were several natural disasters this year; many families and children will welcome a new toy, new clothing and a great meal!
2. We choose what the Holiday season means to us! As we plan to give gifts, i invite us to write down a list of what we are buying and it’s estimated cost. Let’s create a budget!
4. Do we already have the available funds to purchase the gifts for our loved ones? If not, there is still time to save in the next 2 months; I would recommend we use a separate savings account to put aside the funds.
3. Let’s be resourceful; the same product or item can be purchased for a lot less in a different store.
4. The overuse of credit cards do not make a season bright! So, we decide if we want to build more on a high credit card debt balance or create other affordable alternatives of how to celebrate the season with our family!
5. Let’s not fall for “sales” and “discounts” at department stores; let’s do our research before we buy!
6. My always favorite: Play some Holiday ? music!! ?
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Providing you the best tips and practices for reducing your cash disbursements.

So you are planning a vacation getaway!

Fun, Fun, Fun !!

Financially, what would I do first?

Depending on the duration of the vacation and the distance traveled, let’s consider the following:

  1. Let’s assume it is in the USA and it’s for 5 days of duration. Therefore, if we can afford it without saving ahead of time, then I would move to step 2.
  2. I would start with “how much, more or less, cash I have available in my bank account.
  3. If my bank account balance is at least 3 to 4 months of personal living expenses AND I have current steady cash coming in every month, then I go ahead and take the 5 days getaway without any hesitation.
  4. Budget? No way!! The moment I prepare a budget for this trip, I am automatically limiting my enthusiasm, my joy and the fun I want to experience. (I know! This is contrary to what many financial advisors would recommend.  Budgets are great for other purposes) The idea of taking this vacation is that if I can afford it, then why impose limitations in my vacation experience?
  5. Because I have the funds available for this trip, I would use my credit card, because I will be able to pay it within a month and possibly earn rewards points.
  6. I would be responsible on the spending on dinners, entertainment, etc. We should have an idea, a range in dollars amount, how much we can play with during this 5 days trip.

If I don’t have the funds available for this trip, it means I will end up using credit cards and this is exactly how I can get into a high credit card debt balance through time = TROUBLE.

So, if my next trip is Paris for 14 days, for example. I would revisit all of the steps above, and if necessary, save the funds months ahead of time, rather than paying for the vacation borrowing with credit card charges that add interest over interest to the unpaid balance.

Last but not least; enjoy the 5 days getaway trip! YOLO!!


Lease a Car vs. Buy a Car: What makes more economic and financial sense for business owners?

Should I buy or lease a vehicle for business use?

So, my car lease expires this December 2017, I started today to slowly look at the available inventory (this was the first time I ever leased a vehicle).

The questions most business owners have are:

  1. Do I buy or lease?
  2. Do I buy brand new or certified/pre-owned?
  3. Do I pay Cash or Finance?

Let’s address Question #1: Most business owners believe leasing is best because one can write off the monthly lease payment as a business expense.

I have news for you: Buying makes more financial/economic sense than leasing! (I know, this is contrary to what you have been told before. Just run the numbers: scenario 1 Lease versus scenario 2 Buy.

For more information or if you would like to chat about this topic, contact me at