Any day is a good opportunity to spruce up certain areas in our lives, but there’s something very special about the dawn of a new year. It’s 2018 and folks all over the place are setting goals and making plans to become a better version of themselves. What’s your motivation? Are your fitness goals fueled by a 20 year class reunion? Or perhaps the passing of a loved one has you thinking about how you can be more present with your family. While it’s great to be motivated, you may also benefit from a little help, some useful tools, and support from communities of like-minded folks.
Keep reading to discover a few ideas that may get you past the initial excitement of the new year and keep you on the road to accomplishing your goals.
I don’t know about you, but this year has flown by for me. Have you ever looked at your list of resolutions you started at the beginning of the year and notice a few things you have yet to check off but the next year is quickly approaching? I used to be that person, every year. Then I thought better of waiting until a new year to make changes that I wanted to make strides towards immediately.
Two things to expect as topics of discussions when approaching a new year are holiday parties and resolutions. I almost cringe at the latter.. SO THIS THING CALLED NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?! WHY, WHY WHY? I think creating New Year Resolutions are done with the best intentions, but are usually not fulfilled because of the lack of motivation. This quote by Thomas Jefferson sums my sentiments up perfectly - “Never put off tomorrow what you can do today."
Resolutions are meant to decree and commit to change in your life. No one lives a perfect life, so if you know there are areas in which you can improve, things that you should be doing to lead a healthier life and obligations that you should be keeping, why would you wait until a new year? Why not start now? You really don’t need a new year as an excuse to be the best you can be. A resolution should be made on a daily basis and not once a year. Focus on making every day better than the last and you won’t have to purge away your ‘faults' at the end of the year. When your motivation is conjured daily, you will see your results are more obtainable. As we draw near to 2018, focus in the results you can get today.
There is a Chinese proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for the day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.
If you learn healthy habits it will last through out the year, even a lifetime and not just for a holiday or a special event. Be intentional about your purchase, so this holiday season and for whatever other occasion considering saving for the gift you have in mind, It’s always about quality instead of quantity. Pursue mindful gifts life keepsakes, if you have to charge it and aren’t able to pay it off accordingly is it worth purchasing?
When surveyed, the FORBES 400 were asked, “what is the most important key to building wealth?’ 75% replied that becoming and staying debt free was the number-one key to wealth building.
These are the top 5 tips 400millionaers said were their Steps for Staying Out of Debt
From Apps to help you save money on purchasing gifts to coupons and tips to help you save on groceries, down to a 52-week chart geared to helping you save money through out the year, below are some resources provided to help you stay out of debt during the holidays.
Apps Geared to Help you Save
Savings Catcher( Wal-Mart)
Retail Me Not
www.babble.com ( featuring 12 coupon sites)
Sunday Paper Ads
Save Money on Groceries without Coupons
Budget section of daveramsey.com
The 52 Week Savings Plan Printable Chart
I have been frugal for as long as I can remember and I have my grandfather to blame. To my grandfather, life was like a scavenger hunt; he was constantly looking for a pot of gold and could see the treasure in anything. I can vividly remember he would save and collect used cans and recycle them for money, or how he used his acres of land as an opportunity to start his own plant nursery because he had a green thumb to match. I’ll never forget the day the City of Miami brought palm trees from him. From him I learned, let your gifts make room for you and there is always a way to save. Fast forward years later and I won’t make a purchase without first searching for the best deal and a coupon to match.
Disclaimer: I am not an extreme couponer! I don’t have a room full of stockpiled items I’ll never get around to using, I don’t spend hours driving or shopping around to find every item I have a coupon for, and I’m still satisfied if my shopping trip does not warrant a free purchase. I bargain shop and shop to save for family, friends, & myself. There are a few methods I use to save on a regular basis, I’ll share three ways to guarantee savings on your next shopping trip.
Price matching is an awesome way to save money by comparing the price of an item(s) from retailers and having the lower price honored by a participating ad match retailer. The key is finding a retailer that honors price matching. Target and Walmart (As of October, Walmart no longer participates in in-store price matching). For my grocery, shopping, and household items I religiously price match as many items I am able to on a weekly basis. Here are the steps:
· Before my weekly grocery trip I collect the sales ad from about 5 grocery stores, I circle all the items that I want to purchase in that ad that is being sold that week for a lower price than Walmart is featuring.
· Write the details in a note pad; including the price, ounce, and which store is featuring the sale of the lower price item.
· Be familiar with your list and bring the ads and your note pad with you. Being prepared is key for a smooth transaction. The cashier appreciates when you are prepared, because you are less likely to hold up the next customer in line.
Let the cashier know that you are ad matching and they will change the price for each featured item, it is a good idea to separate your purchase with price match vs non price match items.
Perhaps the best feature of price matching at walmart is their saving catcher app. For me, this app is in the top 5 of my all time favorite. After shopping at walmart you simply scan your receipt using your saving catcher app, walmart then compares the prices of your purchased items to stores within a certain mile radius, if they find any of your purchased items at a lower price, they refund the dollar item to you via an e-gift card. This has got to be one of the best and easiest ways I’ve ever saved money; you can price match at the checkout line then scan your receipt for additional savings in case you missed something.
If you don’t have a subscription to your local newspaper, it may be something that you want to consider. Most cities (Groupon) offer great membership specials for signing up for the year, but if you can only afford a few days, Saturday and Sunday will be the most advantageous. Why else? For the coupons of course. Clipping coupons and comparing prices between retailers can save you a lot of time and money. With my coupons alone last week I was able to save $11.50. Amazing when you think
Two years ago, I was a frequent visitor to our local urgent care. Not by choice of course, but due to my toddlers and myself catching every cold and strains of flu it seemed imaginable. We opted not to receive the flu shot, and never have, but managed to evade the flu and major coughs and cold until then. Two years ago, things changed, and I was contemplating, should we have got the flu shot, would it have made a difference? I will never know the answer to that question for sure, but what I can tell you is what has made a difference since. This gem has made such a difference, my boys and I have not had any major colds or flu since incorporating it into our wellness regimen.
Black Elderberry Syrup has done wonders for my family. Suggested by a friend, who happens to be a pharmacist, after the frequent bouts with cold viruses and what was at a time, very weak immune systems. According to herbwisdom.com, Black Elderberry (Sambucus) contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. The syrup is taken by mouth usually a tablespoon serving size, one to two times daily, as needed.
The brand I would most recommend is by Gaia, they offer a kids and adult version. The kids version includes organic sugar cane, water, organic honey, natural flavor from lemon juice, and of course the main ingredient of black elderberry. Trust me, with this flavor; this is one medi herb that will be taken with no hassle by your children. My toddlers take their elderberry with ease, as it has a refreshing taste and they are believers too. At the onset of a cough, my 3 year old reminds me, “I need my elderberry”!
The Gaia brand elderberry syrup (3-4oz) will cost you between $13-20 dollars depending on the kid and adult version and if it’s on sale or not. I’ve purchased from amazon before with next day shipping from Amazon prime, and it is well worth the price considering the elderberry contains no artificial ingredients, or preservatives, and it supports a healthy immune system.
I have been asked if Elderberry in the plant form would be more effective to take versus the syrup. In the raw form, Elderberry can be poisonous, so it is recommended that the berry be cooked. The syrup is just as effective as the boiling the berry. What is most important is the source of your Elderberry, I have purchased black elderberry syrup from different manufactures and it has not been as effective as the Gaia brand, because the other versions contained preservatives and other additives, which dilute the elderberry and limit its potency. For this reason, do your research and check the ingredient label before you purchase. There is a kid’s version that contained high fructose corn syrup, the hypocrisy!
I would recommed that you consult with your physician to ensure Elderberry syrup is recommened for your family to take.
Treat your immune system to some black elderberry today, and let us know how effective it's been this season for your household. Cheers to your health!
Since my husband doesn’t like seafood and I have a hard time digestion beef, I mostly eat chicken. Every few years I choose a month and cut meat and processed sugar from my diet. A lot of Christians call this a Daniel Fast because of it’s inclusion in the Bible. As a slave in Babylon, Daniel restricted his diet to just vegetables to avoid compromising his Jewish food restrictions. Despite eating a plant-based diet he remained strong and fit. My personal reasons for test-driving vegetarianism are more physical than spiritual. Sugar, as we know, makes us fat. And… well, I’ve found that sometimes I just feel icky after eating meat.
What the Health, a documentary touting the benefits of a plant-based diet, has a lot of people thinking about becoming vegetarians or vegans. As you know, vegetarians don’t eat meat while vegans don’t eat any animal products including meat, dairy and honey.
I had already considered making August my meatless month. However after watching the documentary and seeing the deplorable conditions surrounding the conventional meat industry, I was ready to make a big switch permanently. It’s not that I hate meat or feel it’s inhumane to process animals for food, but I do have a conviction that the meat industry is actually feeding us a bi-product that is more harmful than healthy.
Are you considering deleting meat from your diet? Wondering how to start? Here are a few things I’ve learned over the last seven weeks.
In her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, decluttering and organization expert Marie Kondo claims her method will help you “put your stuff in order in a way that will change your life forever.” She boldly states in the book’s introduction that decluttering “positively affects all other aspects of [your life], including work and family.”
Kondo has a method for everything, including how to fold socks and t-shirts, but I’ve highlighted what I believe are the main points and actions that move you from “junk to joy” in this post.
The whole idea of “sparking joy” is probably the most unique aspect of Kondo’s method. She encourages you to literally touch and hold every item to feel if it sparks joy. Items that produce a spark are kept; items that don’t are graciously donated or discarded.
I started on my closet and dresser at 7:00PM on a Friday evening. Within 24 hours I’d successfully decluttered them both along with the master bathroom, the linen closet, and the laundry room. It was amazing! I found stuff I didn’t know I had (four first aid kits and brand new bottles of ibuprofen) and could clearly see stuff that I no longer needed (like a box of hard plastic hair rollers). The whole effort was so successful, KonMari is now a verb in my home. As in “Honey, can you KonMari the stuff on the table?” and “This has been KonMari’d and can go to Goodwill.” That said, here are four ways KonMari’ing has changed my life.
A few weeks ago I came across a YouTube video about KonMari, a decluttering method developed by author and professional organizer Marie Kondo. In her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo claims her method will help you “put your stuff in order in a way that will change your life forever.” She boldly states in the book’s introduction that decluttering “positively affects all other aspects of [your life], including work and family.”
I honestly can’t remember how I ended up watching a video of a woman who had decluttered her home, but I can honestly tell you it came at the right time. As the old spiritual says, “He’s an on time God, yes He is.” Not only was my home out of order, but I also felt like my life was a bit out of control. That week had been full of stress, emotional break-downs, and the constant feeling that I was behind the ball with most of my commitments. After two sleepless nights I was determined to get some help and make some serious changes.
Queue Marie Kondo and the KonMari Method. It’s a Friday night, I’m bumping around online and BAM! An answer to the prayer “Lord, help me get my life under control.” After watching a few videos and reading a few articles, I was ready to give it a try. Full disclosure - I did not read the book (although after reading the table of contents on Amazon, it may find it’s way onto my must-read list). While I’m sure the book is amazing (and I hear it’s an easy read) it is possible to start decluttering right away by referring to a few of the KonMari principles I’ve listed here.
I love social media. I think its presence and impact on the world is phenomenal. The ability to connect people and bring awareness to issues across the globe is nothing short of amazing. Not to mention the marketing and advertising aspect of social media; I can’t count how many times I decided to try a product or visit a new place because I saw a testimonial on social media. Talk about great for business.
But (and there is always a but), sometimes I feel as if people have grown too reliant on social media to share information that deserves the courtesy of a phone call.
I can recall having a friend confront me about not knowing about her new relationship. When we spoke I thought, how could I have forgotten the details of that conversation?!? After a bit of back and forth she confessed, “Well I put it on Instagram!” insinuating that because it was shared on social media, I was obligated to know about it.
If it’s big news feel free to share away on social media, but remember that a phone call is sometimes more appropriate. Sometimes social media makes me feel a bit “old fashioned.” Forgive me but I feel strongly about fostering relationships the old fashioned way - like in person or by picking up the phone to connect where you can see people’s excitement (or lack thereof) and/or hear the expression on their voice. Status updates and shared pictures just don’t have the same effect.
Is there such a thing as being too available? For example, you are a person that always gets invited to events because people know your support is guaranteed. Is this something you perceive as as good or bad? Furthermore, are you being used or are you simply a dependable person?
I remember a time when three different friends invited me to personal events each was hosting… on the same day. Due to my schedule, I was able to support two but not the other. This got me thinking. I’d been in similar situations before - rearranging my schedule to support and accommodate the same people. I was curious - would these same people be so willing to adjust their schedule to accommodate an event that I was hosting? I even tried to think about the few occasions when I solicited their support and consistently the response from them had been “crickets.” No call, no show.
What was causing this? Was their support for me lower on their list of priorities? Or was I giving the impression that it was okay for them to decline my invite? Was my passive reluctance to get a commitment from them the “out” they needed to avoid a commitment? Or was this simply evidence of a “one way” relationship where they honestly didn’t care enough to extend the same support?
What do or should you do if you find yourself in a “one way” relationship?
You should be honest with yourself as to whether your attending out of obligation or desire. Know that it’s okay to respectfully decline an invitation when you’re uninterested or unable to attend. You don’t always have to commit yourself to every event. Once I realized I was free to make this choice for myself, I was able to accept the decisions other made about supporting my events as well.