If you are like most people, being able to purchase and enjoy a luxury car, is right at the top of your bucket list. With interest rates at an all-time low, you may even be contemplating the thought even stronger. Before heading to that dealership where suits and refreshments are an ordinary sight, think about the reality of what you are doing.
First of all, your pride will take you to your friend’s house to show off your new ride. Of course, everyone will be invited for a cruise around town while you show them the latest gadgets, only found in luxury cars. Before you have driven a mile, a hush falls over your guests in the back seat. A confession is finally made that a screwdriver, sticking out of a back pocket, has made a tear in your genuine leather seat. Knowing your friend has no savings, you let it go, thinking of your own savings starting to dwindle.
After dishing out an unheard of amount of money to repair the tear, you and your wife go out to a nice restaurant with more friends to impress. The dinner is relaxing and just what you need to forget about the leather seat repair, until you walk to your car. The hood ornament is gone. Not only that, but a calling card of the thief has been left by a nice long key scratch down the passenger side of your car. Thank goodness for insurance, you think, after the $500 deductible.
Two months down the road, you begin to wonder why it was that you really wanted a luxury car when you barely have enough money to put gas in it. You are afraid of anyone to ride in it or to park it in public. Maybe luxury cars are better to just admire from afar, as you go back to the dealership and discover that your car is only worth 80% of what you paid for it.
We all do it to some extent or other, spend without being truly aware of the little impulsive items we buy thinking ‘It’s only a dollar.’ The idea of writing down all of the money we spend, from the change our jeans pocket to the latte we grab as we dash thru Dutch Bros. for coffee. Being aware is the first step to finding out what our spending habits are really doing to the state of our finances. Writing down every cent spent is a great way to become aware of just how much we spend that we don’t consciously plan for.
It is the little spending that adds up, just as the words, thoughts and deeds add up to make an individual character traits. A dime or nickel here or there soon adds up to several dollars a week or hundreds a month. The importance of being aware of the spending habits you have established or the need to establish better ones is not emphasized enough. The instant gratification mindset of today’s society is shown in the way we treat everything from time to food.
Make a habit of writing down all the spending you do and review the totals and purchases. Are you surprised by what you spent? If you ask yourself if you really need that candy bar or coke, you can start spending purposefully instead of not being selective where your pocket change goes. The amount saved will allow you to invest in something you really want or need. Selective spending and awareness of money is a matter of practice and noticing what your habits of handling money are.
Budgeting and money handling are two of the keys to changing your lifestyle for the better. Being aware of your actions is a key to changing those spending habits that are not healthy. It takes time and effort but the end result is worth it when you are conscious of the money spent for a purpose.
Human beings are an excellent example of the sum of all parts. Everything that has happened to us, good or bad, since birth, has played a role in who we are today. The “Nature vs. Nurture” debate is ongoing, but I believe that both play a part in our lives.
Not only do your successes and failures shape different aspects of your life, how you handle them can play a vital role in your future. Failure is always disappointing, especially if it’s something you wanted badly, and worked hard for, but letting failure cripple you is unacceptable. When things don’t turn out the way that you wanted them to, it’s hard to be objective, but that is exactly what you have to do in order to move on.
Failure to achieve a goal is not failure as a person. Don’t automatically blame everyone else to cover up your own disappointment. No failure is the result of the actions of just one person, but in order to understand why you failed, you have to accept your share of the responsibility. Even if the failure is the result of another person’s actions, remember, you only control yourself, not other people. Hindsight is 20/20, so look back and think about what you could have done differently and learn from it. There may have even been something that you could have done to make that person act, or react, differently.
There are times that no matter how closely you look, you can’t find a reason for not succeeding. There doesn’t always have to be a logical reason, life just works that way once in a while. While failure may change your life, it doesn’t change you as a person. The people that truly love you won’t see you any differently as long as you don’t let it color your opinion of yourself.
Put the whole encounter down to experience, when you learn from past mistakes you are much more likely to succeed in your next endeavor. Even the most painful events in our lives offer a chance for you to learn from them, and grow as a person.
Money, no money, savings, no savings, work, no work, are all symbols that you have a major worry. It seems that no matter what we have, or what we do, the creeping insecurity of being financial stable, never leaves us alone. Letting the subject fester and build to extreme proportions, can turn you into a total wreck.
Money has become the idol of our very being and letting go is just too unrealistic, or is it? Well, of course, you say. Everywhere you turn, money is at the heart of the matter. Getting in your car, going to a sporting event, shopping for food, are all simple patterns that would not occur without some type of income flowing into your life.
A good tip to remember when letting financial woes beat you up, is to set aside a time for nothing but money worries. At first, you will want to cheat and look at bills or check the stock market, but don’t give in. Eventually, you will have to force yourself to keep your appointment with looking at your money situation. Another way of calming your thoughts is by trading a bad worry for a good worry. Instead of wondering if your check will arrive on time to a creditor, look ahead to a planned event or anticipated trip.
Causing financial stress in your life will accomplish nothing, except to increase your blood pressure and get an upset stomach. What type of achievement is this? Money is nothing more than a tendor for purchasing material items. Stop and consider the things in this world that are free, like nature, your family and your health. You will begin to see life from a different perspective.
Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
As any writer can tell you, writer’s block is a serious problem when you have a deadline. Any author who is honest with himself will also tell you that writer’s block is sometimes just a lack of focus. It’s not always easy to write, especially if you would rather be out enjoying the sunshine, or doing just about anything but writing. The trick is to stop focusing on what you want to do, and focus instead, on what you have to do. There are many things that you can do to improve your focus, but here are a few that I sometimes use.
Remove visual distractions such as the television, if you don’t like complete silence turn on some music, that way you won’t be trying to pay attention to what’s on TV instead of writing. Music can also help you relax, which in turn, will allow you to focus on the job at hand.
Like many things, the hardest part of writing is getting started. Just write one sentence on your topic, sometimes this will start the ball rolling. Even if it’s not a good sentence, your mind will usually look at it and start thinking of ways you can make it better. Once you’ve started, the mind will usually keep going, with or without you.
Sometimes it can be helpful to write as if you were talking to a friend about your topic. Whether you are writing directions, telling a story, or providing information on some topic, write it the same way that you would say it to a person. This will at least give you the bulk or your content, and you can go back and edit it to fit your needs, once you’re done.
There is no fool-proof way to make yourself focus, but just relaxing a bit can often help you start writing, and once you’ve started, you’ve already overcome the highest hurdle.
New opportunities open up for those wishing to make money each time technology takes a step forward. That includes the distance learning that takes place for many college students as they take online courses. There is another side to this as well. Not only degreed professors have the opportunity to work from anywhere they like as they lead students through what used to be reserved as classroom exercises. Today, students also search for tutors online to help them during struggles.
With the proper credentials, many people teach college courses right from the comfort of their own homes. Online universities such as Kaplan and University of Phoenix employ Master’s degreed individuals for their programs. At times, a Bachelor’s degree with demonstrated qualifications can also secure a teaching position.
These days, with the growing need for easy access to learning opportunities, some traditional universities and community colleges offer online learning as well. Even Harvard has learned to adjust to this new trend. However, a Master’s degree is definitely required and many courses must be supported by a Ph.D.
If you are interested in finding out more about possible openings you may qualify for, get in touch with the university you would like to teach for. You’ll have to understand how to work with educational content platforms such as Blackboard and Canvas, and use tools like Skype to chat with students or hold webinars.
Then again, if you have a talent of skill you feel like people would be interested in learning, think about setting up workshops or classes. You can advertise these and start making money teaching without the benefit of being affiliated with any institution of higher learning.
There are many opportunities for those willing to research and educate themselves in how to earn money teaching others what you know.
There are all kinds of consequences for the things that we do and one of the most important is the impact they have on our lives. Ensuring that activities will provide a positive impact is dependent on several things. One is the activity itself and another is our attitude when it comes to these activities.
What if you were totally alone and had no contact with another human being? Can you imagine not having anyone to call and just chat with for a few moments? What if you had no family to motivate you or lend an ear when you were feeling down?
We may like to pretend that we are totally independent beings and do not need others, but the truth is – we really do value family and friends. They are the ones that encourage and love us and help to shape the type of person we become. The relationships we forge are one of the most important positive impacts on our lives.
What other activities provide a positive impact on your life? One that most people do not consider is rest. Without it you are probably irritable, short-tempered, exhausted and no fun! Sleep is an activity that provides this rest so that we can function on a daily basis. Impacting your life by causing you to make unwise decisions or being incapable of making them at all, a lack of sleep will actually have the opposite effect on your life – a negative one.
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to have a zest for life? They constantly have a twinkle in their eye and are ready to jump up and go at a moment’s notice. The difference between these people and those who take a full five minutes to get out of a chair is not just physical. It is dependent on mental attitude as well. It is a well-known fact that people who exercise have more energy. Exercise is not just about being physically fit. The mind needs to be exercised as well to provide mental energy.
Every activity that we do from sleeping to holding a conversation, playing ball or doing a crossword puzzle can have a positive impact on our lives. The key is to do a variety of things that are enjoyable and retain a positive attitude throughout life.
There’s a plethora of suggestion on the internet about how to handle the situation of spousal overspending. With the economy and jobs spiraling downwards each year for the past six years or so, it may be something you haven’t noticed before. There is no way one person can put money aside for a rainy day when the other person is out spending it. If it is time for the big talk about fiscal responsibility, approach it with tact and fairness rather than blame and innocence.
Set an appointment with your spouse for the sole purpose of discussing finances. Create and follow ground rules:
1. Name calling and blame are not permitted.
2. Each party will have a list of the debts they know about.
3. Each party will bring a list of the income they know about.
4. Each party will identify the debts they feel should be paid when due and the reasoning for placement.
5. Each party will list 3 financial goals for the future and how they will be achieved.
6. No patronizing allowed.
Make this a productive event. Beverages, pizza, cupcakes and cookies are great comfort foods. A veggie tray with ranch dressing is another choice. People like meetings better when refreshments are available. Use paper plates, cups and napkin to minimize cleanup duty.
Exchange the lists of known debts. Cross out identical entries and enter the remaining items on a fresh sheet of paper. Repeat the process with the income lists and the debts to be paid, including the reason or reasons they appeared on one of the original lists.
Now the two of you can get down to the nitty-gritty of controlling overspending. Each person keeps their original lists and gets a copy of the new one. The next step is scheduling another meeting to discuss the new lists and how it affects the 3 financials goals each one selected, which will be revealed at that time. This step gives each one an opportunity to realize three things:
1. Something good was accomplished without screaming.
2. Unrecognized debt affects personal goals.
3. Financial responsibility now can provide purchasing opportunity later.
Needless spending is a very easy habit to fall into, and it usually happens so gradually that you don’t really notice until you stop and think about it. When you get a raise in pay, it’s very hard not to treat yourself to something that you normally wouldn’t buy, but if you don’t stop and think about what you’re buying, soon that little treat becomes the rule, not the exception. That’s not to say that you should never treat yourself to a night out, but if it you do it so often that it’s no longer special, you can probably do without it. It’s also very easy to use that extra money to buy something that you don’t really need, just because it looks cool. Gadgets are very nice, but think about how often you will actually use it, and how long it will be before it is replaced by a newer, better version.
One way to control your spending is to put half of whatever extra money you have in an account of some sort. Some employers will deduct a certain amount of money per paycheck if you ask them, it can be used to purchase things that you need for your job, such as tools, or it just accumulates until you let them know you want to cash it in. It acts like a Christmas club account, except the money is accessible with just a short notice, usually one pay period. This will give you a little time to think about what you want to purchase with the money, and if you really need it, rather than seeing something and buying it impulsively.
Choosing a method to manage your budget doesn’t have to be painful, or make you feel like you’re shortchanging yourself, all you really need to do is stop and honestly think about your purchase before you get out the bank card.
James is a married man whose wife recently had their first child. Before the baby came, James worried about how he would be able to afford another person in the home. His wife could not work because she needed to take care of her ill grandmother. That left him to make sure that they bills were paid each week.
As the pregnancy got near the end, James realized that his blue collar job at the local manufacturing company would not be enough with the new addition to his family. He looked for a side job that he could do early in the mornings so that he could still spend the evenings with his wife and child. He finally gained a newspaper route, and used his vehicle to deliver close to 90 newspapers each morning except Sunday.
It was not long before the newspaper gig began to take its toll on James. He was exhausted from getting up two hours early six mornings a week to deliver the papers. By the time he got home, showered, and left for his full time job, he was already ready for bed.
His job performance was beginning to slack, but his boss was a long time friend. He knew James was having a hard time and had a baby on the way, so he overlooked the problem.
When his wife had the baby, James tried his best to be attentive to his wife and new daughter. It was difficult though, as he wanted to hit the sack as soon as he arrived home each evening. This made cooking, cleaning up, and spending quality time with his family difficult. Some nights he felt like a zombie functioning on auto-pilot.
Taking surveys for money would have been a much better alternative for James than his second job with the newspaper. He could have woken up about 30 minutes rather than two minutes early and completed a few surveys. He would then have plenty of time to get dressed, have breakfast with his wife, spend a few minutes with his daughter, and then be out the door for work.
When he arrived home each evening, he could do one or two more surveys, then enjoy the rest of the night with his family. He would not be driving all over the neighborhood each morning, adding mileage to his car. He would be able to sleep later each morning, making him well rested for the day ahead. His job would not suffer as a result of him being so busy every single day.
With taking surveys for money, James could have made at least double what he was getting paid for his paper route. Most of those jobs pay minimum wage. If he worked two hours a day for $8 an hour, that is only $96 each week. By taking surveys, however, he can earn $10 or more for each one. If he was able to take just three a day, which is about one hour of work, he could make $150 without working weekends.
There is a website called SurveyMoneyMachine.com that allows you to sign up with a number of paid survey companies. The site does not spam your email, and provides this service free of charge.