Money In the Bank – Welcome to Your Paycheck!

Give Your Paycheck a TweakFlower Child of Finance Final Colored Version watermarked

As tax season approaches, you might be asking yourself, “How much tax should I owe in April?”  That’s a very good question.

Here’s a quick answer:

You should owe or get back between $500 – $800 unless there are extenuating circumstances, like opening a business, moving, etc. If you owe more, your tax deductions per paycheck may be too small. If you’re getting back more, too much is being deducted from your paycheck. Which means less monthly cash flow for you.

When was the last time you took a good look at your paycheck? That’s right. Your paycheck.

Your paycheck provides a wealth of information that can help you improve your monthly cash flow and make that April 15 tax liability a little less jolting.

Here’s what you should look for:
• Refer to last year’s tax return. What did you owe last year or what did you get back?

• At the very top of your paycheck look for the heading “Exemptions and Allowances.” This tells you what you chose for withholdings as per your W-4.

• Take a look at the actual dollar amount that is being deducted in the Taxes section of the paycheck.

Make some Adjustments:
• Try using the IRS Calculator
It’s a very handy tool and it will help you determine what you should be withholding. The instructions are very clear and helpful.
• Depending on what you discover from this exercise, you may want to head over to HR and fill out a new W-4 for the year. Remember even if your company is on a fiscal year, taxes are always calculated inside a calendar year.
In addition to your Exemptions and Allowances, you may want to look at:
• Time off used and available.
• Other deductions pre and post tax.

Like any financial document, your paycheck deserves your attention periodically,  especially at the beginning of the year. So, before you deposit it or toss the stub, give it a good looking over.

Boy It’s Cold Out There! Here’s A Cup of Hot Chocolate For You.

Happy 2016 to you!

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are off to a great start for 2016.
It’s certainly been awhile since I wrote a blog post. The past few months were earnestly spent moving the Southern NH seacoast and acclimating to the area. We’re enjoying the new digs and getting to know the area pretty well.

Yesterday as I was driving to get my hair cut, I had the radio turned to WUMB when the DJ announced that January was named after the Roman god Janus. Janus represents new beginnings, entrances and exits, and change for the better, thus the list of resolutions and things we want for the new year. Historically it’s also the coldest month here in the northeast, but we already knew that!

So now that the month of January is upon us, how are you spending these cold nights? It’s the perfect time to grab a pad and pencil, curl up on the couch with a blanket and cup of hot chocolate, and start to reflect on what worked and didn’t work in the past, and think about what direction you want to take starting this year. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the evenings creating my vision for 2016 and now I’m ready to really create my spending plan so that I can begin putting my vision in action.

Why do I create my spending plan? Well for starters it’s habit with me. It’s kept me out of trouble and debt free save for a mortgage. There’s still lots my husband and I want to do and with “retirement” only ten years away, it’s a great way to assist me in achieving my life goals.

So here’s five reasons why you simply can’t live without one:
• You work hard for your money.
• Be in charge and confident with managing your money.
• Enjoy spending your money on things that really matter to you without worry or guilt.
• Break free from the debt chains.
• Create savings for retirement, large events, big house projects, and life’s rainy days even while repaying debt.

Yes, it can be done, but here’s the thing. You don’t have to do this alone there is help, that’s what I’m here for.  I am offering you the chance to create your annual money plan so that it’s congruent with your vision. During the month of January, sign up for a six week money coaching package and you will receive a free session. Remember we can always start with a free 15-minute phone call to find out if this is just the thing for you, or someone you know.  So be in touch and I’m happy to help!

So, wait no longer. Sit with your thoughts and create your personal vision for 2016. I’m sure you’ll do great things.

Here’s a great homemade hot chocolate recipe for you:
16 oz of your favorite milk
5 oz of finely grated chocolate (I love the Taza brand chocolate, especially the Chile flavor)!
Honey to taste

Heat the milk to a low boil, lower heat and whisk in the chocolate, whisk until melted. Add the honey and stir well. Pour and add some marshmallow if you’d like. Enjoy!

Good Luck & All the Best!      Donna

Create Holiday Magic Webinar

Are you tired of the old holiday traditions that are making you feel depleted of time, energy, and money?

It’s never too late to create a new vision with new traditions that honors your true spirit without depleting you and your bank account.

That’s why I created my new Webinar called 7 Steps to Holiday Magic designed to help you recreate the holidays so that you can enjoy them when they happen without feeling resentment in January when the large bills come in the mail.

I am offering 7 Steps to Holiday Magic 6 times in October to get you prepared:

Tuesday October 6 12 -1:30 PM
Thursday October 8 9 – 10:30 AM
Wednesday October 14 12 – 1:30 PM
Friday October 16 9 – 10:30 AM
Monday October 19 6 – 7:30 PM
Wednesday October 21 12 – 1:30 P

Each Webinar will be 1 ½ hours in length at a cost of $50.

Handouts are included and will be mailed to you upon registration.

Seating for each webinar is limited so register soon by emailing me at and you will be mailed your invoice so that you can complete your registration. I hope you will join me.

Abundant Blessings,



Does Your Money Story Keep You Stuck?

Flower Child of Finance Final Colored Version watermarkedWhat’s in Your Story?

In August I celebrated my first full year doing business as Pot of Gold.  I feel blessed by all the truly wonderful people I worked with.  It’s a privilege to work alongside of each one to experience their transformation as they go from feelings of stress and being down in the dumps to the peace of mind and feeling of abundance they sought out as they began working with me.  In this process I have learned a great deal from each one of them.  While it hasn’t always been easy both my clients and I and have grown so much from these life changing experiences.

I learned that although all situations are unique, there is one common thread throughout:  there is always a story.  Yes, the money story that is ages old and complete with all the negative messaging. It’s these messages that keep us stuck in our unhealthy and negative patterns.  Where do these messages come from?  From many different places.  First we have the messages we heard from our grandparents, parents, and other family members growing up.  You know the ones.   In fact the biggie that stands out for me is when my parents and others would discuss how making lots of money is almost a sin because of all the problems that it causes.

The Money Story & Negative Messages:

Other negative messages come from outside influences; our friends, culture, the economy, and today’s job market.  All have many limits to them.  For example at one time I would always feel like I never had the right background or the right experience.  What I mean by this is that there are not the “right” letters behind my name, such as CPA or Certified Financial Planner.   Whenever I would tell others about this business that I was about to begin, I would be asked if I was a CPA or Certified Financial Planner.  I felt that it wasn’t enough to have over 30 years of real experience, a passion for helping others, and just living my life in a way that always kept me in the flow of abundance and at peace financially.

The New Story & The Empowering Messages

Once the negative messages in my money story were identified, I used empowering statements to transform the way I look at myself and my situation.

So making a lot of money can be wonderful.  I put money to good use, with enough to pay bills, create savings, and give to organizations that can use financial help.  I know now that money doesn’t buy happiness but it can give us choices.

As for those letters.  I always have enough and I feel good about what I do.  Not only do I have over 30 years of experience with finance, management, and marketing, I also have a masters degree, I work hard, and I live my life so that I make good choices financially.  Mostly I have a passion to help others find peace of mind financially so they can reach goals and enjoy their life the way they see fit without the worry and the stress.

What’s Your Story?

Put a bit of reflecting time into your story and I guarantee you’ll find a message that is keeping you stuck where you are.  Once you identify that message, create an empowering statement of your own and watch what happens.  You’ll begin to move forward out of negative and unhealthy patterns that may keep you from earning what you’re capable of, in debt, and from reaching your goals.  It’s time for a change.  Don’t you think?

Many Blessings of Peace & Abundance,


Life After Divorce

Moving Forward in your New Life

Pauline Robertson, Certified Life Coach & Author of I Have Worn Both Pairs of Shoes
Donna Onacki, Certified Financial Coach & Money Mentor B.S. Finance – Economics; MEd. Training & Development

Manage Money With Style and Confidence – with Donna
One Hour Per Session – 4 Hours Total
Embrace Your New Goals & Experience the 4 F’s of Managing Money
• Establish a Financial Foundation
• Free yourself from debt
• Focus on what’s important to you
• Create savings so you can Flourish in your new life

Overcome the Fear of Being Alone – with Pauline
One Hour Per Session – 4 Hours Total
How to Lead a Happy Life
Be Happy with yourself in your own space

Thursday Evenings from 6:30 – 8:30, April 30, 2015 – May 21, 2015
Small Investment of $597.00
Includes Workbooks, Worksheets, and a copy of I Have Worn Both Pairs of Shoes by Pauline Robertson
Place 300 B North Main Street – Northborough, 2nd Floor Conference Room

To Register

Must pay in full upon registration
Make Checks Payable to:
Donna Onacki
121 Merriam Road
Grafton, MA 01519

Or by Credit Card to Pauline Robertson –

Springtime Miracles & Transformation


An Intention for Change & Committing to You
Spring is finally here and this year it feels like a miracle!  I feel the rush of inspiration to lighten things up and make some positive self improvements. 
I think of self improvement as changing something in my life that isn’t working well.  Change is tough business.  It takes the commitment of time and energy, things we complain about having so little of.

Making a conscious intention to change something that no longer works or serves us comes from a place of deep inner truth.  Coming from our deep inner truth allows us to put our heart and soul behind the intention and keeps us dedicated to the process.

Yesterday I watched a video about the success of making change by John Assaraf, owner of the NeuroGym. It was astounding to learn that only 2% of the population is truly successful at change. A ghastly statistic! Most people, 98% of us know what changes we need to make.

What Do The 2% Do?
The successful 2% commit to this by letting go of past outcomes, committing their time, and putting the right action every day behind what they want to change. The right action are the baby steps you take each day that get you unstuck, shifts behavior, and moves you forward.   You emerge stronger, smarter, and more confident when you reach the other side.

So Why Resist?
Maybe you didn’t care for the way things turned out when you tried to make some previous change and that’s what you remember.   A new venture requires letting go, detaching from past outcomes, and acknowledging the lessons.

Make the Intention
Maybe you want to stop using your credit cards to get rid of debt, stay out, and begin saving money. Write down your intention. and the actions necessary. The actions could be shredding the credit cards, swapping out shopping for a walk with a friend, or reading a book.

Define the Obstacles
How many times have you heard yourself say I don’t have time, or I’m too busy, or I don’t have the right this or that? These are obstacle in your path and some of the reasons why we resist change.

According to John Assaraf knowing the obstacles is as important as the change you intend to make. Overcoming obstacles on the path of change is a challenge but it’s also where we learn, grow, and move forward.  

List the obstacles you would face to get rid of credit card debt and when they come up you’ll recognize them and be able to make a different choice. Your list for getting rid of credit card debt might look something like this:
Responding to a friends need to take you along on a shopping trip.
Wanting something you see or are told about that you can’t live without.
You don’t have a shredder for the credit cards.
The negative voices in your head – ugh!  Write them down as they come to you & then write down the opposite to turn them into empowering statements.  Say them a few times each day.

Your Daily Commitment
Reflect. If you stuck with any of your actions and made a different choice to hurdle one of your obstacles, note it and celebrate it!
Let go of perfection.  It’s about the journey which is always learning and growth with love at its core.
Be Grateful for all of your experiences.  Add humor and compassion.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
When you get off track and you will, try not to be hard on yourself. Gently make your way up, brush yourself off, and try again.

Finally, visualize the essence of what this change will bring to your life.  If you’re working on getting rid of credit card debt, visualize how good it will feel to be free from the stress of having debt so you can focus on what’s important to you, create savings, and overall improve your quality of life.

A Story of Transformation & Success!
I have been working with a client whose goal was to get rid of debt and stay out. She also had another goal which was to save enough money to go to her friend’s wedding in France. She made the intention to fully commit to these goals. She just bought her ticket to the wedding and the light at the end of the debt tunnel is very near. In the meantime she has been successful at finding solutions to her credit card obstacles so that she doesn’t land there again. Although it wasn’t easy most of the time, she experienced many rewards on her path to success.

Success for change = Intention to Commit + Right Actions + Right Attitude

Experience Your Own Transformation!
Wishing You All
Prosperity & Peace

From Week Spot to Sweet Spot

Flower Child of Finance Final Colored Version watermarked

What to ask yourself before spending & the Ninja trick that will keep you on track
Do you “invest” your money or do you just spend your money?   What’s the difference you   ask? It really boils down to how you spend your time, energy, and money and the payoff at the end. When spending money takes you toward your goals, it’s considered an “investment.” An “investment” is a way of paying yourself because the time, energy, and money is being directed toward something important to you.

The other side is spending time, energy, on money on other things that keep you from achieving what you really want. For most people I hear that getting out of debt and creating savings is a huge goal but for some reason they can’t seem to get there. Habits are tough to break.

The Week Spot
Most of us have a week spot; the stuff we spend our money on to feel good or just, well because we’re used to it. Intuitively we know our week spot. Once we acknowledge it, a little discipline and encouragement is necessary to make changes, shift habits, and reach our goals.

Here’s How You Can Turn Spending into “Investing”
Ask Yourself These Questions
Does this purchase get me closer to my goals?
Will I feel satisfied if I spend my money on this?
Are there other solutions?

Know your Goals & Go From Week Spot to Sweet Spot!
Many people I talk to and work with tell me how they would love to get out of debt and save money. I have experienced that many have a tendency to spend $20 or so a week on coffee and sometimes $5 a week on water consistently. I know, we’ve all heard the coffee thing before, but it’s best to start small and with popular week spots such as these. The small price you pay daily adds up to be pretty mighty and can easily be directed toward paying down debt and create savings. Check out how:

DIY and Save a Latte!
Invest in a coffee pot for about $52 and add to that a bag or 2 of coffee grounds each month. At the high end you’d be spending $16/month tops, or $192 for the year.

The Return
You would begin to make your money back after a month of having the coffee pot.
• Current Spending – One month of buying coffee @$20/week = $80.00
• DIY – Cost of the coffee pot $52.00 + Coffee $16.00 = $68
• ($80 – $68 ) = $12.00 Savings in the first month!
Overall savings per year approximately $1,000.

The same is true for the water. You can buy yourself a nice water bottle and fill it up from your tap.    The environment loves this choice!

Congratulations, you’re actually paying yourself! You found some money to save, pay down debt, or put to another good use! Once you begin to experience the benefits of doing this you’ll feel the incentive to keep going.

Here’s what I’m not saying
That you should never buy coffee out or water out. The new DIY you buys coffee and water on occasion which becomes a treat!

The “Ninja” Question
When you’re out and about, it’s the question that helps you think on your feet and evaluate whether you’re just spending your money or investing it. Remember an “investment” provides you with an immediate return on your money toward your true goals while spending pushes them further away and therefore a waste of time, energy, and money. The next time you’re out and ready to spend your money on something, ask if this is going to work for you tomorrow, next week, and further down the road. It’s a challenge at first, but it gets easier the more you do it.     Stay with it!

Are your “Nikes” on the ground? Or Do Ya Feel a Bit Shaky?


6 Steps to Implementing Financial Systems that Work For You

It’s so interesting and inspiring to work with small businesses. Each owner is so unique, creative, passionate, smart, and interesting and creates a business that brings in all of these wonderful qualities and more.

That’s why I do what I do!
Teach you how to manage your money, your cash flow, and do the very best you can with what you make. I do this because each of you are the very essence and backbone of this economy and we need you!

So let me ask you this. Do you have your accounting systems in place? How much time do you spend managing your money?

I know I get it, it’s hard to keep up with because well you have your business to run, customers to see, prospects to meet, and all the rest which leaves not so much time for the money management thing. And you’re right, any one of us who is in business for ourselves should be spending ¾ of our time generating revenue, myself included. That means there’s not so much time left for the rest.

But if you don’t have your financial systems in place it’s a recipe for disaster and everything you’ve worked so hard to build can crumble quickly. It takes the right systems to be in place and a team of people who can help get those systems in place for you to be on the solid ground necessary to manage your business. Once those systems are in place you’ll be able to spend the time you need to make sense of the financial reports that will help you make proactive decisions about your business. When you are proactive in managing your money your business will be poised for economic downturns as well as for growth and expansion and any other surprises in life.

Here’s “the what and the who” that will get you going:

Get the right systems implemented
The accounting system – There are many to choose from: QuickBooks, SAGE (formerly PeachTree), or another accounting system that you like. The accounting system will track all the money that flows in and out of your business checking and / or savings accounts by vendor and customer. It is important that the structure of this system is implemented to mirror your business with concise revenue streams, cost of sales, and other related expenses. Reports that help you manage your business are generated from your accounting system any time you need them.

Planning & Forecasting – A system that allows you to budget, plan, and forecast so that you know if your business is on track with your goals. By comparing the plan and budget with what is actually going on gives you insight to any changes that you need to make before areas of your business get out of hand. This is the blueprint toward your overall vision.

Get a Binder & Dividers – For bank statements, credit card statements, and monthly financial reports. Because believe it or not you are the CFO of your business, not a position to sneeze at. The CFO is a highly respected position and is the voice of reason. So welcome to it and make some space for it!

Choose a great team – Bookkeeper, Financial Mentor/Coach, CPA

Hint – You most likely know one of each of these from your networking groups.

The Bookkeeper
Ask them questions and have them walk you through what they will do. They need to understand your business as much as you do so they can help you define your financial structure inside the accounting system. A great structure yields great reports that will help you plan and make good business decisions.

A Financial Mentor/Coach
Helps you navigate through the financial system that you’re setting up. This person helps you implement a financial forecast, read the reports from your accounting system, manage cash flow, and will let you know which questions you should be asking a CPA, a bookkeeper, perhaps a Financial Planner, potential funding sources, and how to set up that financial structure in your accounting system.

The mentor/coach will also ensure that you have done two very important things:
• Plan to pay yourself which is important for both your business and personal welfare.
• Spend money in such a way that you actually “invest” in your business. That means money spent actually helps you reach those goals and visions with evidence that clearly supports that.

A good business plan and cash flow management will always incorporate a tax strategy. Building a good relationship with a CPA is priceless. They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to taxes, tax strategy and other related advice

Other Financial People to Build Relationships with:
Bankers and lenders
Insurance Agents
Financial Planners

Some Good Reads & Resources

My Favorites

1.  Financial Recovery Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money by Karen McCall – a little bit about Karen’s remarkable story that lead her to her life’s work as founder of the Financial Recovery Institute.  Highlights of client cases Karen has worked with to develop healthy relationships with money.  There’s something we can all relate to here.

2.  Overcoming Under Earning by Barbara Stanny – a client a long time ago of Karen McCall, Barbara is the daughter who was the founder of H&R Block.  This book will give you insight on the attitudes that block us from making the money we deserve to make.

3.  Money Harmony by Oliva Mellan – an insightful book about how money has an impact on your relationships with strategies and dialogue to help overcome what is in your way.  Great for couples.

4.  Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach – a nine step program for women of any earnings to formulate financial strategies in order to come out ahead.





Ten Things To Do Besides Shop

When The Shopping Bug Hits…Try These First!

  • Read a book – borrow one from the library.  I love going to the library because I can browse magazines, look for CD’s, books, movies etc. and then get to bring one home for free!
  • Go for a walk or hike – enjoy nature and the fresh air .  This is good in any season.
  • Plan a garden
  • Organize a closet or an area of your home.  Get creative with storage solutions.  You’ll most likely declutter when you do.
  • Bake some bread
  • Make a large batch of homemade pasta sauce
  • Look through  your cookbooks and plan a week’s worth of meals.
  • Put on a cup of tea, sit in a quiet spot and either journal or just enjoy the quiet for a while.  It takes the edge off of life!
  • Nurture a hobby
  • Volunteer for a community organization