What’s in your bag?

May 9th, 2012

I’ve always loved those magazine articles where they show what celebrities carry with them in their bags, don’t you?Here’s what’s in mine:

what's in your bag?

  • Sunglasses
  • Mini Post-it notes
  • Pen
  • Sharpie
  • Re-usable (that folds small) bag
  • Small umbrella
  • Wallet
  • iPhone
  • Business Cards
  • Headphones
  • Survival mini bag: hand sanitizer, ibuprofen, Tiger Balm, eye-drops,
    Tide to-go stick, baby powder, paper clip(s) & Rosebud salve

What’s in yours?

Sunscreen it is

March 18th, 2012

 będzie ok! // everything will be all right

The other day somebody emailed me this video; the infamous “Sunscreen Speech”. I had seen it before, several times actually, but the words are just as inspiring as the first time I read it. So today I’m sharing a few of my favorite quotes from the speech:

“Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.”

“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.”

“Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.”

“Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.”

“Don’t expect anyone else to support you.”

Here’s the original article that was published back in 1997 by Mary Schmich. Kudos to her for such remarkable words!

Important & Affects All

March 16th, 2012

Important and affects ALL employers…

For those employers handling their own payroll, and just for information’s sake! On February 22, 2012, President Obama signed the Tax Relief Act of 2012, which extends the 2 % reduction of social security tax rate paid by employees from 6.2 to 4.2 %, through the end of 2012.

So whether you agree with it or not, you need to make sure you keep on retaining just 4.2% of your employees paychecks.

Employees: If you can, and your personal situation allows, this would be a great opportunity to make an automatic savings plan with that 2%.

Unplug

February 28th, 2012

When things are hectic (good or bad), sometimes you just need a moment to unplug. Here are my recommendations:

  • One-Moment Meditation

Or,

Unplug your mind and you will see everything from a different angle.

Not easy

February 24th, 2012

 Freelancer Notepad: Dylan Ousley

Just when I thought I was back, then along came the holidays and a really tough month and a half business-wise with the beginning of 2012. Freelancing is not easy. As rewarding and fulfilling as it is, it comes with obstacles that make you question your choice. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart and requires tons of planning, but then again, lots more flexibility. Needless to say the last few days have been challenging but I’m getting through it and thought for a come-back I would share some interesting tools I’ve gotten to know recently:

  • Freelancers Union: Platform for independent workers, free to join and brings many benefits.
  • Twelve by Twelve: Book I just finished that touched many life aspects which I question all the time; the author, William Powers, struggles with “being a man without a country” and reflects upon the environment, volunteering, working, parenting, etc.
  • Pinterest: Yes, everyone seems to be talking about this online pin board! I was skeptical at first and now I have to admit, I’m completely addicted. I find it useful for many industries and even just for hobbies. Give it a shot and follow me or one of my boards if you like.
I’ll be back soon with more content and better news. Yes, it’s not easy but in the end it’s all worth-it.

Year-end Tax Planning (& I’m back!)

November 30th, 2011

2011 is rapidly coming to an end and I know I’ve been missing in action at TheOrderGal for the last two months (blame it on school and work!) but here’s a quick helpful video (borrowed from Fresh Money Studio) for any business owner out there planning for year-end taxes:

Take notes!

Our choice

September 30th, 2011

 Choice

In this day and age where women should be treated as equals, it feels like we are going backwards in the movement towards gender equality. It’s embarrassing to hear that there’s parts of the world where women still can’t take on the simple act of driving, or hear that congressmen will try and abolish laws that allow women to choose what to do with their bodies in extreme circumstances.

Major political issues aside, it’s in our daily lives involving business transactions that we still need to make progress. Last week I went to movies and saw one in the category type I like to call “chick flicks” – usually light comedies that don’t add much to the stress level. This time the turn was for “I don’t know how she does it” which in the end didn’t prove to be so relaxing as I wanted it to be. My friend and I left the theater confused and upset. It felt unfair to be watching an entire production of how a woman struggles to balance life, marriage, kids and work; would there be such a movie about a man? I doubt it.

Coincidentally this week someone suggested a TED Talk from Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook’s COO) which couldn’t have fit in nicer with all that’s going on in my mind lately. I wanted to share it with everyone, women and men alike, because this movement is not a battle of the sexes as many like to call it, it’s a joined effort between all of us and we need to support one another. Just like Sandberg says:

“I want my son to have a choice to contribute fully in the workforce or at home. And I want my daughter to have the choice to not just succeed, but to be liked for her accomplishments.”

Rated-R

September 10th, 2011

money love

This week I had dinner with my girlfriends. One’s pregnant, one’s getting married in three months, and the other one is a newlywed pursuing her MBA. As it’s been happening lately, all these major life events taking place in each other’s lives have made our get-together’s full of grown-up talk. Perfectly normal I guess, but still a bit… funny!

During our very real, grown-up conversation many topics were touched, but one in particular brought some controversy. Mainly because there is no black or white solution, but a lot of gray-tone approaches to “how to handle finances with your partner”. We each had our own perspectives and ways to handle this, but we all came to one very unanimous conclusion:

Discuss finances with your partner. The sooner, the better. Find an approach that works for both of you. If necessary, consult with an expert. Speak up! Your relationship deserves at least that.

Every case is different, but generally speaking here are two approaches that I like and usually recommend:

  • Then & Now Approach: The “then” bills are the ones you’ve each arrived with like student loans, car payments, etc. and the “now” bills are the ones you start acquiring together. Basically once you have categorized each, any “then” bills are obligations you each pay separately, and any “now” bills you split 50/50.
  • Proportionately: You can also factor in both your incomes, get a total and then distribute a percentage. Next step is to list all your expenses and then using the percentage you came up with from your incomes, that’s how much each partner needs to contribute to cover expenses. Any remainders are for each to keep, and spend or save as they please.

Once you are both clear and happy with an arrangement, then use all the tools out there available to assist with budgeting, etc.  I have added some links on the main page of the blog to some of my favorite tools. Feel free to browse and also share your thoughts and ideas regarding relationship finances.

Self-made benefits package

August 23rd, 2011

In the midst of all the things I have going on lately, somehow I was able to to tackle a couple of tasks down: health insurance and time-off.

Shopping for health insurance and booking time-off that is.

Very quickly, some pointers I want to give out regarding what I so dearly call my “self-made benefits package”:

  • Remember; treat yourself like the best employer would treat you: budget for health insurance and time-off.
  • Don’t wait till the last minute to book your time-off for the holidays. Most people do travel on the holidays but for some reason we procrastinate on the planning of such travels and end up spending way too much on air tickets, hotels, etc. Go ahead, use this post as your reminder and coordinate with family, research prices and get things started.
  • If you are employed, book your time off! According to a poll by Rasmussen Reports 39% of adults didn’t plan to use their vacation days in 2010. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds boring! The simple act of scheduling some R&R makes me happy and gives me something to look forward to.
  • Health insurance, ah health insurance… So much to say, yet so little makes sense. Funny how such a basic human right seems almost like jargon when written by health insurance companies and hospital bills. If you are, or could be very soon shopping for health insurance take a look at these two websites that help average Joes & Janes like you and me make some sense of it all:
    • HealthCare.gov – a Federal government website that lets you compare insurance options, Understand the law, etc.
    • eHealthInsurance.com – this website‘s main goal is to sell insurance plans, but in the process let’s you compare policies and plans for different companies even if you don’t buy through them.

Treat yourself

August 10th, 2011

The last two weeks have been a bit hectic and not much has happened on the posting front. Unfortunately this week’s post will be a bit on the short side.

Short but nonetheless productive.

I want to talk a little bit about one of the books I am currently reading, “The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-timers, and the Self-Employed” by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan. An artist friend actually recommended it while she suggested I should not only give advice for people that get a paycheck every two weeks but most importantly to those who have no boss and manage their own business. You my friend were completely right! And while I have not finished the whole book (promise to post a review once I’m done), I do want to post the main advice and point that I think this book tries to get across:

“If you are going to run your own business, you must treat yourself better than the best of employers would treat his or her employees” 

We tend to think that because we are going solo we can sacrifice a few things here and there. Well both the authors and I think that’s wrong. Employers by law need to pay taxes, handle their bookkeeping, etc. Those of us working independently are really not required to do much and by default we end up spending any cash that comes in. Wrong! Independent workers need to prioritize any money that comes in, account it well, and set out percentages that suit your personal situation to save for taxes and retirement. This is major, and if you don’t take control no one else will.