goals http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3301/all en-US 6 Moves to Make in Your First Month of Debt Repayment http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-to-make-in-your-first-month-of-debt-repayment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-moves-to-make-in-your-first-month-of-debt-repayment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_career_confidence_000051439618.jpg" alt="Woman making moves in the first money of debt repayment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, it's time, is it? Time to get serious about paying off your debt?</p> <p>Congratulations!</p> <p>If you've made the decision to begin repaying your debt instead of generating more, that is huge! Repaying debt can feel so daunting that people avoid it, making minimum payments until their dying day. But facing your problems is always better than running away from them, and, in deciding to do that, you have taken a giant step forward.</p> <p>Still, it's easy to feel overwhelmed when you're just starting to repay debt. If you're not sure where to start, here are some thoughts for you.</p> <h2>1. Stop Overspending</h2> <p>It might seem obvious, but this is the very first step to take when you want to begin digging yourself out of a financial hole. Stop making more debt!</p> <p>Start by analyzing where you're spending. Is all of your spending necessary? Are there areas &mdash; like eating out, buying clothes, or going to happy hour &mdash; where you're spending a lot more than you thought you were? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso">Start Saving With This One Simple Tool</a>)</p> <p>Looking at this takes some courage, as it can be hard to actually see just how much money you're putting towards things that don't matter. However, the only way out is through, at least in this case, and once you know where you're spending too much, it's easier to make better choices.</p> <p>All of this assumes that you are not overspending simply because you don't have enough money. If that is the case, then your first step is to figure out how to make more or lower your expenses. There are always options, but they will differ depending on your situation. The point is, you won't know where to start cutting until you know where you stand with spending.</p> <h2>2. Add It Up</h2> <p>When you have a spending plan in place, add up all of your debt. List each debt source, including total amount owed, monthly minimum payment, and interest rate.</p> <p>This step tends to stop people in their tracks. However, it's essential to know the total amount of damage before you can take steps toward eliminating it. And, sometimes, seeing exactly how much you owe, all in one place, is just what you need to feel motivated to make significant changes in your life.</p> <h2>3. Prioritize Your Debt</h2> <p>There are a lot of different ways to decide which debt to focus on first. Obviously, you need to make at least minimum payments on all of your accounts. But after that, you need to decide which debt will receive higher payments until it's paid off. Then, you can move on to a different account.</p> <p>Some people swear by Dave Ramsey's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you">debt snowball method</a>. Others say that you should focus on the debt with the highest interest rate first, and still others think you should choose the one that causes you the most stress for your primary repayment efforts. Honestly, and especially when you're just getting started, the most important thing is that you choose a method that appeals to you and that motivates you to keep moving forward with your debt repayment.</p> <h2>4. Set Repayment Goals</h2> <p>Look realistically at your finances, at how you're planning to change your spending patterns, and decide when you think you can pay off your first debt. Set that date as a goal. Circle it in all of your calendars. Set an alarm for it on your phone. Do whatever you have to do to get that date in your head.</p> <p>Having a goal will help you feel motivated, and it will also give you some sense of progress as you move forward. For instance, if you decide it will probably take you six months to pay off your first debt, you'll know after three months that you're about halfway there. That can be satisfying in and of itself.</p> <p>Set these goals knowing that you can always change them. If your financial situation changes, you can always change your goal, too, moving it forward or backward as circumstances dictate.</p> <h2>5. Generate More Income</h2> <p>If you want to pay off your debt as quickly as possible, think about ways to generate more income. This will not only make your repayment move faster, but it will make it so the process isn't just about cutting back all the time, which can feel demotivating after a while.</p> <p>For some people, making more money is as easy as working overtime. Others have to be more creative. Think about taking on freelance projects, turning a hobby into an entrepreneurial enterprise, or selling things that you find around your house on eBay or Craigslist. Depending on your skill set and how much time you have, the possibilities are truly endless. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a>)</p> <h2>6. Reward Yourself</h2> <p>It's important that you realize just how significant of a choice you've made to reduce debt. You can mark a time as important by celebrating it. Just do this in a way that doesn't mean spending a lot of money. Buy the special coffee, learn a new recipe, or treat yourself to an extra dessert. Sure, these things cost a little bit, but they aren't a shopping spree at the mall.</p> <p>Make sure you build rewards into your whole system. You can buy yourself a coffee every time you pay X amount off, or reward yourself with something small every month that you follow through with your budget. It's important to stay motivated and to reprogram your brain to actually enjoy this repayment process.</p> <p>Plan a big reward for the day when your debt is all paid off. Maybe that's the day you can start saving for your dream vacation, or maybe you can talk a friend into taking you out for the evening. Plan a big party at your house, spend a weekend in the mountains, or do whatever it is that feels right. Knowing this is coming will help keep up your motivation through the hard days.</p> <p><em>What is your experience of debt repayment? How did you start on that journey?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-to-make-in-your-first-month-of-debt-repayment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youve-crossed-from-healthy-debt-to-problem-debt">8 Signs You&#039;ve Crossed From &quot;Healthy&quot; Debt to &quot;Problem&quot; Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-if-you-have-too-much-credit-card-debt">Do This If You Have Too Much Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-your-money-back-without-losing-your-friendship">Getting Your Money Back Without Losing Your Friendship</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management goals money habits overspending repayment reward yourself Mon, 04 Apr 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1682375 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Restart Your Resolutions This Spring http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000076065413_Large.jpg" alt="restarting her resolution in spring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sure, I resolved to &quot;be better about flossing&quot; and &quot;do more crunches&quot; in my list of resolutions for 2016. I even spoke my resolutions aloud in my work wellness group to reinforce ethem. And then, upon re-reading them, I wondered how long those goals would last. A little research told me that only 8% of people who make resolutions actually achieve them.</p> <p>As it turns out, maybe New Year's just isn't the best time to make resolutions. Maybe we should all be waiting until the snow melts and the flowers start to bloom. Isn't that a better setting to tap into your motivated self anyway? Here are five ways to restart your resolutions this spring, so you actually achieve them.</p> <h2>1. Remember That Goals Can Be Made Anytime</h2> <p>We like to make resolutions in January, because it's the traditional time to do so, and that &quot;new year, fresh start&quot; feeling is palpable and contagious. By breaking free of that January tradition, you might be able to actually achieve success. According to StatisticBrain, the top <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/">New Year's Resolutions in 2015</a> were:</p> <ul> <li>Lose weight</li> <li>Spend less, save more</li> <li>Enjoy life to the fullest</li> <li>Stay fit and healthy</li> <li>Learn something exciting</li> <li>Quit smoking</li> <li>Help others</li> <li>Fall in love</li> <li>Spend more time with family</li> </ul> <p>Sure, it's easy to hop on the scale January 1 and resolve to move more and consume less, but when the days are short and your energy is at an all-time low, it can be tough to get motivated. Why not start that new fitness chapter of your life once the snow melts and when being outdoors is actually bearable?</p> <p>And for &quot;spend less, save more,&quot; wouldn't reviewing your financial goals <em>after </em>your taxes are done make more sense? That's a very natural time to review what you've done, and see where you need to work harder. April, then, could be a month to <em>begin</em> setting financial goals.</p> <p>Many of these resolutions can be implemented at any point during the year. There is nothing magical about starting them in January.</p> <h2>2. Learn to Exercise Because You Want to, Not Because You Have To</h2> <p>A soon-to-be-published Duke University study found that <a href="http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/news_events/news-releases/jordan-etkin-tracking/">measurement of exercise</a> &quot;Has these pernicious effects. Enjoyable activities can become almost like a job, by forcing out the outcomes of things that used to be fun,&quot; said Professor Etkin, of the results.</p> <p>I'm guilty of that. I like to write tasks down, and then cross them off. In doing those crunches, I'm not focusing on whether I'm doing them well, and using good form. I'm just counting them. I see a lot of this on Twitter, in tweets about how far a person has walked, or the amount of exercise performed. Instead, find something that's actually enjoyable, and it will feel less like a chore and more like a treat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money?ref=seealso">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a>)</p> <h2>3. Get Focused on Being Frugal</h2> <p>What do many of us do in January? We pay, or begin to pay, our credit card bills. Christmas was merry, but the Macy's bill isn't. And yet, what do we do? Join gyms. Buy exercise equipment. We pile debt upon debt in the name of self-improvement. And then tax season hits and we're back to suffering through another financial stress period.</p> <p>Once Tax Day passes, look at springtime as a fresh start for your finances. Banish the urge to buy a new spring wardrobe and focused on becoming more frugally-minded instead.</p> <h2>4. Use Winter as a Recovery Period</h2> <p>After the delightful fun vibe of the holiday season, we put away our decorations and gear up for the new year. Many of us have put off big work projects until the holidays are over, since it's frustrating trying to coordinate meetings or meet deadlines at the end of the year. So, work in the winter becomes one long day after another. If you have resolved to go to the gym before or after work, that's just one more thing you need to get done each day. If you are already stressed about bills, work, family pressures, or other areas of your life, this is the wrong time to try to &quot;better yourself.&quot;</p> <p>What's best is to get your life in a calmer place, first. Think of winter as a recovery time for every aspect of your life, and use the dewy beauty of spring for rejuvenation and goal achievement.</p> <h2>5. Go Slow and Steady Toward Your Goals</h2> <p>Would you like to make a lot of self-improvements? First, remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Next, try making a list. Pick the <em>one </em>thing on that list that is the most important to you. Make sure it's realistic. When you feel you are ready to try to achieve this goal (meaning not stressed out about other parts of your life), give it a while. If, after a month or two, you are sticking with it, <em>then</em> add another. Be like the tortoise, and you'll get there way before the hare.</p> <p><em>Will you restart your resolutions this spring? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/checking-in-with-old-goals-for-the-new-year">Checking in With Old Goals for the New Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do">Spice Up the Conversation by Skipping &quot;What Do You Do?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm using Mind Maps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Lifestyle focus goals new year's resolutions resolutions spring Fri, 22 Jan 2016 12:00:04 +0000 Marla Walters 1642418 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Financial Decisions You'll Never Regret http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_000058476892.jpg" alt="Woman making financial decisions she&#039;ll never regret" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A new year is here. And even if you've already broken the resolutions you made at the end of the holiday season, it's never too late to make new ones, especially when it comes to your finances.</p> <p>Here are eight financial decisions you can make now that you'll never regret. Make the moves on this list soon, and you'll dramatically increase your odds of a happy financial future.</p> <h2>1. Save More for Retirement</h2> <p>How much money will you need each year to enjoy a happy and healthy retirement? That depends on what you want to do after you leave the working world. You'll need more money if you plan to travel the world, and less if you envision days spent reading, binge-watching TV, and playing with your grandchildren.</p> <p>A survey released last April by the Employee Benefits Research Institute suggests that more workers understand they'll need large amounts of money to enjoy their retirement years. The survey found that more than one in 10 workers think they'll need to save at least $1.5 million for their retirements. That's a lot of money. One way to reach such a lofty goal? Put away as much as you can each year now, even if your retirement days seem far away.</p> <p>You'll never regret your decision to maximize your contributions to your 401K plan or your annual deposits to an IRA. Start boosting those savings today.</p> <h2>2. Building an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>What happens if your furnace conks out today? What if your car's transmission needs to be replaced? If you're like too many people, you'll put the cost of replacing these items on your credit card, building your debt.</p> <p>The better option is to draw from an emergency fund of cash that you have already saved, usually in a savings account. Financial experts recommend that you build an emergency fund that can cover at least six months of your daily living expenses. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-emergency-fund-myths-you-should-stop-believing">6 Emergency Fund Myths You Should Stop Believing</a>)</p> <p>This might seem daunting. But if you deposit what you can each month &mdash; even if it is as small as $100 &mdash; that emergency fund will steadily grow.</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your Credit Cards</h2> <p>Carrying a balance on your credit cards each month is a terrible financial decision. That's because cards come with such high interest rates &mdash; sometimes 18% or more. This makes your monthly debt grow by too much, even if you don't add any new purchases to your cards.</p> <p>Don't just make the minimum monthly payment on your cards. If you do this, it will take far too long to pay off your credit card debt. Say you have a credit card with a balance of $5,000 and an interest rate of 18.9%. If your minimum monthly payment is 4% of your outstanding balance, it will take you more than 11 years to eliminate this debt, even if you don't make any new purchases with this card.</p> <p>The better move is to always pay more than the monthly minimum. And don't buy items with your cards that you can't afford to pay off at the end of every month.</p> <h2>4. Pay Your Bills on Time Every Month</h2> <p>A single missed payment &mdash; on credit cards, mortgage loans, auto loans, and other debts &mdash; can drop your three-digit FICO credit score by 100 points. That missed payment will also stay on your credit report for seven years.</p> <p>Decide today to never make a late payment again. Having a low credit score makes it difficult to qualify for loans or credit. When you do qualify for these loans, you'll be faced with high interest rates.</p> <h2>5. Buy a Home That You Can Actually Afford</h2> <p>It's tempting when home shopping to stretch your budget to get into a bigger, more expensive home. But buying a home that's out of your budget, even by a bit, can be a big financial mistake. Those monthly mortgage payments can quickly become a burden.</p> <p>Instead, buy a home that you can comfortably afford, even if it's not your dream residence. Mortgage experts recommend that your total monthly housing expenses, including your estimated new mortgage payment, be no more than 30% of your gross monthly income. Follow this guideline if you don't want to feel the strain each time your monthly mortgage payment comes due.</p> <h2>6. Track Your Spending</h2> <p>You might be surprised by how much you spend each month on take-out lunches or morning coffee runs. But if you create a spending book and track those expenses, it might help you make lifestyle changes that can add up to big savings each year.</p> <p>A spending book is just a notebook in which you record all your daily purchases for a set period of time, usually anywhere from two weeks to two months. Once you're done tracking your expenses, add them up. This gives you an idea where you are overspending. (You can also use automated tracking at free sites like Mint.com.) If you're spending too much on those morning coffees, for instance, you might decide to limit your time at Starbucks to twice a week instead of five times.</p> <h2>7. Create a Household Budget</h2> <p>You might shudder at the thought of drafting a budget for your household. But you can't get control of your finances if you first don't know exactly how much money is coming in and going out of your home each month. Fortunately, creating a budget isn't difficult.</p> <p>First, write down the income you receive each month. Then write down those monthly expenses that never change, everything from your mortgage payment to your auto payment to your student loans. Then, write down those payments you make each month that fluctuate a bit. This would include your utility bills, credit card bills, and transportation costs to and from work. Estimate these. Finally, include estimated amounts for monthly groceries, entertainment, and eating out.</p> <p>Once you have these figures, you can determine how much money you should have left at the end of the month. Armed with this information, you can figure how much money you can save, invest for retirement, or put away for a child's college education.</p> <h2>8. Save First, Then Buy It</h2> <p>You want that new computer or that high-end flat-screen TV. It's tempting to simply use your credit cards, but the better move is to save up for that big-ticket non-necessity, and only buy it when you can pay for it with cash.</p> <p>This takes patience, of course. It might take you several months to save up for that new TV. But you'll enjoy your new electronic treat more if you don't have to dread next month's credit card bill.</p> <p><em>What financial decisions have you never regretted?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-money-is-easy-if-you-set-the-right-goals">Saving Money Is Easy If You Set the Right Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-opportunity-funds-are-the-new-emergency-funds">Why &quot;Opportunity&quot; Funds Are the New Emergency Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance emergency funds goals Paying Off Debt resolutions retirement saving money Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1634855 at http://www.wisebread.com You Can Too: 7 Amazing Things People Have Accomplished in Under a Year http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-too-7-amazing-things-people-have-accomplished-in-under-a-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-can-too-7-amazing-things-people-have-accomplished-in-under-a-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_map_000041834602_0.jpg" alt="man accomplished goals within a year and traveling with map" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are days when I feel incredibly productive, and others when I do not even get off the couch. Can you relate? On those couch days, I enjoy marveling at the accomplishments of others.</p> <p>Imagine what you could achieve by stringing together a few of those productive days&hellip;or even 365 of them! Here are a few incredible, inspiring, productive things your fellow humans have done in a year. Let the motivation begin!</p> <h2>1. Stroll the Continent</h2> <p>There are a number of people who have either run or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_who_have_walked_across_the_United_States">walked across the United States</a> in less than a year's time. Many embark on such an adventure to raise awareness of certain medical or social causes. Take Louis Michael Figueroa, for example. He was only 16 when he ran from New Brunswick, NJ to San Francisco, CA as a promise to a friend who was dying of bone cancer. Figueroa became the youngest person to make the trek &mdash; in just 60 days. It makes that recommended <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-walk-more">10,000 steps a day</a> seem like not such a big deal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-adventurous-things-you-should-do-before-you-die?ref=seealso">7 Simple Ways to Get Motivated for Your Workout</a>)</p> <h2>2. Sail the World</h2> <p>Here's another distance feat: Francis Joyon <a href="http://www.worldrecordacademy.com/sports/fastest_round_the_world_sailing_world_record_set_by_Francis_Joyon_80127.htm">sailed around the world</a> solo in 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes, and six seconds back in 2008. To put that in perspective, he made that wicked fast time journeying nearly 21,600 nautical miles. In less than two months. Alone at sea. Whoa.</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Debt</h2> <p>I am majorly inspired by the story of Jackie (<a href="http://thepaleomama.com/2013/08/how-we-paid-off-more-than-27000-of-debt-in-6-months-and-still-ate-paleo/">The Paleo Mama</a>) and her husband. The duo were able to pay off more than $27,000 in debt over the course of just six months using the Ramsey Method and some smart planning. Along with taking a hard look at their budget and bills, the family made some big modifications to their lifestyle as a whole, including selling one of their cars, buying most things second hand, canceling cable and expensive smart phones, and using a cash system for most purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt?ref=seealso">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Raise Millions</h2> <p>We've all heard of crowdsourced fundraising campaigns, and some are certainly more successful than others. Take the GoFundMe campaign for <a href="https://medium.com/@vonwong/my-video-raised-2-million-in-less-than-a-year-heres-how-you-can-do-it-too-46c0ed26b6fe">Eliza O'Neill</a>, a beautiful four-year-old girl with a degenerative brain disease called Sanfilippo syndrome. The amazing story, as told by photographer/videographer Benjamin Von Wong, raised more than $2 million in less than a year. This money will all go toward a clinical trial to find a cure.</p> <h2>5. Plant a Forest</h2> <p>In September 2010, a Pakistani soldier named Muhammed Yousuf Jamil <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/culture/pakistani-soldier-plants-20101-trees-in-one-day-sets-new-world-record.html">planted 20,101 trees</a> in just 18 hours and 40 minutes. As you can imagine, this accomplishment set a new world record in the Guinness book. For those of you curious about the math, that's a whopping 18 trees per minute. The previous record? An impressive 15,170 trees, held by Canadian Ken Chaplin back in 2001.</p> <h2>6. Lose All Fear</h2> <p>I first heard the term &quot;rejection therapy&quot; a few months ago on <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/01/16/377239011/by-making-a-game-out-of-rejection-a-man-conquers-fear">Invisibilia</a>, but concept has stuck with me. <a href="http://fearbuster.com">Jia Jiang</a> claims he completely broke through his fears of rejection through requesting crazy things from strangers for 100 days straight &mdash; so, less than a year. He is now featured on everything from Ted Talks to The Huffington Post to Forbes for this unusual, effective method of self-rehabilitation.</p> <h2>7. Read Books</h2> <p>Many of us set some reading goals for the new year, but I've never heard one quite like Nina Sankovitch's. She <a href="http://www.readallday.org/blog/tolstoy-and-the-purple-chair/">read a book per day</a> for an entire year after her oldest sister died of cancer in 2005. That's 365 books by 365 different authors in 365 days. Sankovitch chronicled this chapter in her life by writing a memoir called &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061999857/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0061999857&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WNMAEHTFW46MELLC">Tolstoy and the Purple Chair</a>.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Please share your favorite inspiring story &mdash; maybe it stars you!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-too-7-amazing-things-people-have-accomplished-in-under-a-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">But I Don&#039;t Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-go-for-inspiration">10 Places to Go for Inspiration</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-more-eureka-shower-moments">How to Have More Eureka! Shower Moments</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity goal setting goals inspiration persistence Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1358025 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Stress-Free Ways to Stay Productive on Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/7-stress-free-ways-to-stay-productive-on-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-stress-free-ways-to-stay-productive-on-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000023308689_Large.jpg" alt="man pool suit" title="man pool suit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Vacation is a time to relax and let loose &mdash; and you've earned every minute of it. But while it's healthy to slow down every once in a while to enjoy some of life's finer things, taking a much-needed break doesn't give you full credence to be lazy (unless that's what you want, of course; hey, it's your vacation). Fact is, you can still have fun &mdash; and stay productive &mdash; with bit of concerted effort. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Tie Up Loose Ends Before Vacation Commences</h2> <p>There's nothing worse than having an open-ended project hanging over your head that you wished you'd have finished before your vacation started. Whatever the reason you didn't complete it &mdash; maybe you were rushed, maybe you just didn't feel like bothering with it &mdash; your lack of follow-through will nag you for the duration of your holiday, and that's no way to spend what should be an otherwise fun time. Do yourself a favor and be a trooper &mdash; work through the night if you have to &mdash; to check these tasks off your list so there's one less thing to worry about when it's time to kick your feet up. You'll likely find that with this burden lifted, you'll be more motivated to work leisurely on something else at your own pace &mdash; if you'd like.</p> <h2>2. Schedule Small Tasks to Accomplish in Short Bursts</h2> <p>Instead of scheduling large, daunting tasks to complete over vacation &mdash; let's use cleaning the house as a blanket goal &mdash; try fitting in smaller, more manageable projects into your schedule. For instance, if you have free time one afternoon, tackle cleaning your pantry; the next day clear out your medicine cabinet. By working in short bursts to accomplish small tasks, you'll avoid becoming overwhelmed but still enjoy the feeling of staying somewhat productive.</p> <h2>3. Engage in Activities That Stimulate Your Brain</h2> <p>Studies show that playing games, eating certain foods, and exercising can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/brain-games/games-make-you-think">boost your brainpower</a>, the result of which is a conduit for productivity. If you're feeling a bit sluggish on vacation &mdash; like you just want to binge-watch every available season of House of Cards on Netflix instead of getting something worthwhile done &mdash; play a videogame,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/best-foods-your-brain?s=5">have a piece of chocolate</a> (legit!), or go for a walk to help get you shake off the lazies and spend your time more wisely.</p> <h2>4. Reflect on Positive Things You've Accomplished Recently</h2> <p>When my business is lagging, or I haven't accomplished anything of which I can be proud lately, I like to reflect on some of the positive things that I've done in the recent past to help me remember why I do what I do. If you're in a similar rut on vacation, think back to one of your rockstar moments to help provide a boost of motivation to get moving.</p> <h2>5. Schedule Time to Exercise</h2> <p>There's a direct correlation between&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-pozen/exercise-productivity_b_2005463.html">exercise and productivity</a>, so it's not a bad idea to schedule time to work out even when you're on vacation. I know, I know &mdash; who wants to break a sweat when there are free-flowing frozen margaritas at the pool bar? Very few of us. But I can tell you from experience that when I drag myself to the treadmill and commit to at least 20 minutes of non-stop exercise, my day is immediately much better. I feel healthier, my confidence gets a boost, and I walk away with more energy to do more than just tip a glass back (even though it's not completely off the schedule).</p> <h2>6. Limit Your Food and Drink Indulgences</h2> <p>Speaking of the sweet nectar of delicious drinks that seem to be omnipresent when you're on vacation, it's important to not overdo it. We all know what happens when we drink too much &mdash; we get a one-way ticket to Hangover City that sucks the fun right out of our getaway &mdash; but overeating also can be a detriment to your productivity. Indulging too much can make us feel nauseous, tired, and bloated &mdash; which ultimately will ruin our mood and kill our motivation.</p> <h2>7. Sleep In &mdash; But Not Too Long</h2> <p>Getting a good night's rest is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/physical-side-effects-oversleeping">critical to staying productive</a> &mdash; and having the stamina to keep going &mdash; and there's no better time than vacation to catch a few extra Zs. But, mind you, there's a fine line between sleeping in and oversleeping. You want to get enough sleep that you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day opposed to rising lethargic and down in the dumps. A good way to handle this is to let yourself sleep one more hour than your normal schedule allows. That's a reasonable amount of time to get in a few more winks without wasting your vacation.</p> <p><em>How do you stay productive on vacation? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-stress-free-ways-to-stay-productive-on-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-ways-the-sharing-economy-helps-you-save-on-vacation">5 Fun Ways the Sharing Economy Helps You Save on Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-saving-travel-gadgets">5 Money Saving Travel Gadgets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-take-a-frugal-grownup-spring-break">4 Ways to Take a Frugal Grownup Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Travel energy goals vacation Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1279974 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: What Are Your Goals for 2015? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-goals-for-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-goals-for-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl-cafe-thinking-winter-Dollarphotoclub_68642749.jpg" alt="girl cafe winter" title="girl cafe winter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-goals-for-2015#comment-764433">Kim</a>, Lynda, and Elena for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>The new year is a time of fresh beginnings and hope for a better year. Many people like to set goals and resolutions at each new year, but it can be difficult to keep it up if you don't have a clear plan and the determination to follow through.</p> <p><strong>What are your goals for 2015?</strong> What steps will you take to achieve these goals? What is your favorite tip for achieving a New Year's resolution or goal?</p> <p>Tell us about your goals for 2015 and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rcwidget_13lyjnw2" data-template="" data-theme="classic" data-raflid="79857dfa163" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa163/" class="rcptr">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, January 12th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after January 12th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your goals for 2015 and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-goals-for-2015">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-i-used-to-but-now-i">Ask the Readers: I used to __, but now I __ to save money.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-volunteer-experience-had-the-deepest-impact-on-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Volunteer Experience Had the Deepest Impact on You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers goals Tue, 06 Jan 2015 16:00:10 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1273735 at http://www.wisebread.com 31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right http://www.wisebread.com/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-morning-coffee-Dollarphotoclub_73432160.jpg" alt="woman coffee morning" title="woman coffee morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've got two ways you can play January. One is to sit around on your butt and lament the winter weather; the other is to suck it up, stay active, and get yourself in gear for the rest of the year. You don't need much to accomplish the former, but here are 31 ideas to help you get started on the latter. Your fresh start won't know what hit it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fight-the-post-holiday-blues-20-cheap-ways-to-make-january-special?ref=seealso">20 Cheap Ways to Make January Special</a>)</p> <h2>1. Enjoy the Day Off</h2> <p>It's the first day of the year, and you probably need some downtime after last night's celebration. Feel free to take it. Relax, watch TV, order a pizza. Savor this lazy (but productive in the sense that it's helping you recuperate) day, because you've got 30 days of productivity ahead of you.</p> <h2>2. Hit the Tail-End of the After-Holiday Sales</h2> <p>One of my favorite post-holiday activities is to hit up the after-celebration sales to stock up on decorations and other useful items (think scissors, tape, wrapping papers, bags, and more) that by this date will probably be anywhere from 75% to 90% off the regular price. Pickings will be slim, but you're saving 25% to 40% more than you would have if you went the first few days after Christmas. When you're shopping, remember to think outside the holidays, too. Some of the discounted items are useful year round. Keep that in mind when you're in retail renegade mode.</p> <h2>3. Write Thank-You Notes for Holiday Gifts</h2> <p>Personally, I think a verbal thank-you suffices when you exchange gifts in person, but if you've received a gift in the mail this season, take a few minutes to write a quick note of thanks via postcard or e-mail. The former is a more thoughtful gesture, of course, but I'm never offended by an e-mail thanks. Something is better than nothing, and I'd rather the sender save paper and his or her stamp.</p> <h2>4. Edit Your Social Media Profiles</h2> <p>I recently did a purge of all the photos on my Facebook page that I didn't like, untagged myself from photos I didn't like on other people's pages, and I whittled down my friends list a bit by removing a few folks that I've never heard of before in my life.</p> <h2>5. Take Down Your Holiday Decorations</h2> <p>Did you know that January 5th is widely considered to be the day when holiday decorations should come down? It's all based on the 12 days of Christmas (it's not just a song, y'all), which is steeped in a&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Days_of_Christmas">long history of religious tradition</a>.</p> <h2>6. Organize the Basement/Attic/Garage</h2> <p>While you're moving your holiday boxes back into their respective storage places, take the time to organize the rest of the space. Pace yourself though. If you have all three of these areas &mdash; basement, attic, garage &mdash; there's no harm in spreading the work out over a few days to a week.</p> <h2>7. Clean Out Your Closet</h2> <p>You probably received more than a few new pieces of clothing over the holidays (either as gifts from someone you love, or as presents to yourself; I'm very guilty of the latter), so to ensure that your closet doesn't start spilling out from the seams, take stock of what you like and wear, and then collect all the unwanted items to sell. I unload a lot of my old clothing at my twice-yearly yard sales, but donating the clothes to the needy is another option.</p> <h2>8. Raid Your Pantry for Expired Food</h2> <p>Non-perishables perish, believe it or not, and I'm willing to bet that there are items in your pantry that are no longer safe (or delicious enough) to eat. Take an hour or so to empty it, examine the labels, and toss out whatever has expired. Also take a good look at what's close to its expiration date so you can make a conscious effort to use it to avoid wasting any more money.</p> <h2>9. Defrost and Clean Freezer and Fridge</h2> <p>This is one of my least favorite chores, but there's something about a clean fridge and freezer that satisfies me inside. This also is a great opportunity to toss out any expired foods and/or anything you know you're probably not going to eat.</p> <h2>10. Tidy up Your Medicine Cabinet</h2> <p>Just like food, medications have expiration dates. Go through your medicine cabinet and remove all expired items, toss out anything that only exists to take up space, and re-organize what's left so it's easily accessed.</p> <h2>11. Give the House a Deep Clean</h2> <p>Now that you've tackled some of the more time-consuming small areas of your home that require specialized attention, it's time to do the dreaded deep clean. This often means getting down on your hands and knees to scrubs toilets, and floors and baseboards, and on ladders to clean ceiling fans and blinds &mdash; but you can do it. Besides, it's freezing outside; would you rather be cleaning the gutters?</p> <h2>12. Rearrange Your Furniture</h2> <p>Besides giving your living space a fresh feel, there are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-creativity-cure/201404/rearranging-the-furniture-makes-me-feel-better-2">bonafide psychological benefits</a>&nbsp;to rearranging your furniture. Move a chair here; put a lamp there. You might be surprised at how much this simple fix can improve your mood &mdash; which might be a much-needed pick-me-up this time of year.</p> <h2>13. Check in With Your Boss/Work Team</h2> <p>With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you may not have had an ideal opportunity to get down to actual business with your boss and co-workers. The beginning of the year is perfect for reconvening after a period of relaxation to talk about where everybody's at work-wise and plan ahead.</p> <h2>14. Update Your Pet's Health Info</h2> <p>Check in on your pet's health status by revisiting your files to make sure all vaccines and tags are up-to-date. If your pet hasn't been to the vet in a while, schedule a routine check-up.</p> <h2>15. Schedule a Physical</h2> <p>After your furbabies receive a clean bill of health, it's time to get yours. Make an appointment with your doctor to make sure everything is in working order. Use this time to discuss with him or her any issues you've been having and any prescriptions you need refilled.</p> <h2>16. Tune-up Your Vehicle</h2> <p>Hopefully your car is already winterized &mdash; you don't want to cause damage to your vehicle by facilitating avoidable issues that can arise from neglecting it &mdash; but you still need to get an oil change from time to time (check your owner's manual!). It's probably that time again.</p> <h2>17. Update Your DVR</h2> <p>At the beginning of the fall TV season, I create season passes for all the new shows I want to watch. By now, however, I've either lost interest in a few of them or they've been canceled. I know I'm not alone. Take 10 minutes to delete unwanted shows from your queue and cancel the season passes in which you're no longer interested.</p> <h2>18. Plan a Date With Your Partner</h2> <p>You don't want to get so wrapped up in being productive this month that you forget about your significant other. Plan a date for you two to spend several quality hours together enjoying each other's company and catching up with one another's lives.</p> <h2>19. Create a List of Goals for the Year</h2> <p>Having the intentions to work toward positive goals and actually planning for them are two completely different things. Exchange more talk for more doing this year by creating a list of goals that you'd like to achieve along with an outline of your plan to achieve them.</p> <h2>20. Learn Something New</h2> <p>You can learn the darndest things with the flick of a finger these days. Skip the cute cat videos on YouTube and search for something useful that'll leave you with a new skill after watching it.</p> <h2>21. Make a Two-Week Meal Calendar With Recipes</h2> <p>I've talked about this tip in several posts, and I keep bringing it up because it's truly changed the way I eat. Instead of blindly going grocery shopping, buying food, and then deciding what I'll make with it after I get home, I've reversed the process. Now I plan ahead of time what I'll make for dinner by adding two weeks' worth of recipes to a calendar and create a shopping list of ingredients based on those recipes (and nothing more!), so I can eat healthy meals on a regular basis. Having this structure in place has cut down on the amount of food waste in my house as well as the number of pizzas ordered because I can't decide what to make for dinner. I've also dropped 15 pounds (exercise helped, too), which I hope will give you more incentive to give this a try.</p> <h2>22. Clip Coupons for Your Next Shopping Trip</h2> <p>Before you head to the supermarket with your very healthy shopping list, clip those coupons. I round up coupons from circulars, past shopping trips, online resources, and apps to ensure that I'm maximizing my food savings as much as I can.</p> <h2>23. List for Sale Your Unwanted Items of Value</h2> <p>If you're feeling the pinch in January (because who isn't?), a great way to make some extra cash is to go through your home (while you're cleaning if you want to kill two birds with one stone) and round up all those odds and ends that you no longer need or want. If any of these items have value (electronics, accessories, appliances, etc.), decide how you'll sell them. Craigslist is a great place for larger items, while Amazon and eBay are ideal for smaller, lightweight pieces.</p> <h2>24. Deliver Remaining Unwanted Items to Donation Centers</h2> <p>After you've determined what you can sell, send all the other unwanted clutter to the donation center so that it can live a second life as someone else's.</p> <h2>25. Scan Old Photos Into the Computer</h2> <p>Unless you were born after 2007, you likely have albums and boxes and drawers full of actual paper pictures &mdash; and you're probably wondering what the heck you're going to do with them. One option is to scan the photos onto the computer so you can keep them in a file or in the cloud for forever safekeeping. You can do this daunting task manually (it's the cheapest way), or you can send your photos away to a company (of which there are plenty) that will do this for you.</p> <h2>26. Consolidate and Clean up Computer Files</h2> <p>Adding so many large photo files to your computer is going to eat up a lot of space, so you've got to make up for that somehow. Take this opportunity to delete unwanted files, consolidate stragglers, and otherwise organize your computer in a more concise, easy-to-access manner.</p> <h2>27. De-Clutter Your Office/Desk</h2> <p>Clean your desk the same way you cleaned your computer &mdash; decide, discard, dust. Seriously, you don't need all that nonsense that you keep year in and year out.</p> <h2>28. Set up a Dentist Appointment</h2> <p>You only get one set of teeth. Take care of them.</p> <h2>29. Establish a Fitness Plan</h2> <p>Six months ago I decided to get my health in check after years of a leading a sedentary lifestyle that severely damaged my self-confidence. I established a goal weight, created an exercise plan to help achieve it, and completely revamped my diet. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't very delicious &mdash; at first. Now that it's part of my normal routine, I've learned how to live healthy and love it. I feel and look better than I have in many years (since high school actually), and if I can do it, then so can you.</p> <h2>30. Reevaluate Your Debt and Establish a Plan of Action</h2> <p>Unless you're going into the New Year completely debt free, now is the time to take a good, long look at your finances and make a solid plan to improve your situation. One of my friends recently told me that she always makes this a part of her New Year's to-dos.</p> <p>&quot;We look at what we saved last year, areas we need to improve on, any debts we need to knock out this year, and big expenses we might need to plan for also,&quot; she says. &quot;By no means is this the only time we talk about finances, but it prepares us mentally for what we want to accomplish.&quot;</p> <h2>31. Prepare Your Tax Materials</h2> <p>Nobody wants to do this. Ever. But I've found that by getting this out of the way sooner rather than later, I stress a whole lot less in a shorter amount of time. In fact, if you wrap it all up by mid-February, you could have your refund (if you get one; my fingers are crossed for you) before the federal tax-filing deadline even arrives. Spring vacation, anyone?</p> <p><em>Do you have other ways to stay productive in the first month of the year so that the rest of it can run smoothly? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-too-7-amazing-things-people-have-accomplished-in-under-a-year">You Can Too: 7 Amazing Things People Have Accomplished in Under a Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development goals january New Year resolutions to-do Thu, 01 Jan 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1275494 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money-Saving New Year's Goals That You Can Actually Keep http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-thinking-piggy-bank-Dollarphotoclub_41216910.jpg" alt="woman thinking piggy bank" title="woman thinking piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can you believe it's almost 2015? I certainly can't, but I'm already mulling over my resolutions list for the coming year. After the parties end, the champagne is served, and the ball drops, some of us have some major catching up to do financially. So, here are 10 money-saving goals to ring in the new year.</p> <h2>1. Start Cooking</h2> <p>Getting a hot meal on the dinner table is difficult during the week, and often we used to resort to ordering pizza or eating out, spending way over our food budget each month. Taking a few extra minutes to pack lunch at night can save $10 or more per day. Set a goal this year to cook more with the food you have on hand. Meal planning is the key here, so get out your favorite recipes and cookbooks and write a plan for the week. You can shave dollars off your grocery bill by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list">learning which ingredients</a> give you more bang for your buck, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans?ref=seealso">How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week</a>)</p> <h2>2. DIY Your Pantry</h2> <p>And if you're interested in learning to cook, consider extending the fun to your pantry. Making your own ingredients at home is both fun and frugal (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy">here's how</a>). You can take your cooking and baking skills to another level and also eat healthier foods when you control their ingredients. And without all the packaging and store markups, you'll be taking more than a few pennies off the cost.</p> <h2>3. Take a &quot;No New Clothing&quot; Challenge</h2> <p>I challenged myself to stop buying new clothes for an entire year back in 2010. It was hard, but in the end I got used to working with what I already own. It helps to have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe">minimalist wardrobe</a> to begin with, and the rest is self control and avoiding fashion trends. You will definitely save some major bucks if you can curb your regular spending &mdash; and you don't have to eschew purchases altogether. Consider reducing your yearly clothing expense by ⅓ to start.</p> <h2>4. Track Your (Actual) Spending</h2> <p>Most of us have a budget, at least in theory &mdash; but few of us know precisely where the money goes. Start the year off right by recalculating your monthly totals and tracking your spending. Not only does this exercise help you be more mindful with your money, but it also allows you to see where you can cut and save. While you're at it, make sure there aren't any stray bills hitting your account (old subscriptions, unused gym memberships, etc.), and you might see savings right away. Use tools like Mint to track your progress. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money?ref=seealso">10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money</a>)</p> <h2>5. Organize Yourself</h2> <p>Getting my house (and my life) better organized is one of my personal goals for this year. And there are lots of areas of focus here. For example, by keeping better track of your mail, you'll have fewer unpaid bills and late fees. By cleaning your pantry and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space">organizing your refrigerator</a>, you'll have less food spoilage and waste. Neatly folding and hanging clothes will allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead">wash them less often </a>and save money on both resources (electricity, water, etc.) and new clothing purchases. The list goes on.</p> <h2>6. Get Fit</h2> <p>Many gyms see a traffic surge of <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/01/this-is-why-you-dont-go-to-the-gym/251332/">up to 50%</a> in January, only to find a steep decline after those origination payments are made. Skip the pricey gym and workout at home. Jogging and walking are virtually free, so sign up for a 5K or join a neighborhood runner's club. And there are many other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free">types of body weight routines</a> you can do &mdash; for free &mdash; right in the comfort of your living room. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap?ref=seealso">7 Online Workout Videos for Free or Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>7. Lean Out TV</h2> <p>Along with getting more active and exercising regularly, you can also cancel your cable subscription. In fact, the average cable bill could hit a staggering <a href="http://time.com/money/2987833/comcast-cancel-ryan-block-time-warner-att-directv-cable-bill-save/">$123 per month</a> this year. Without hundreds of channels at your disposal, you might feel more inclined to get off the couch and get moving. You'll have more time for other areas of your life, like cooking and organizing. If you just have to watch, consider alternatives like Hulu and Netflix, which allow you to be more intentional with your time and conservative with your dollars.</p> <h2>8. Clip Coupons</h2> <p>I'm sure you've heard stories of people walking into the store and leaving with several carts full of stuff for $0. While stories like these sound extreme, learning to clip coupons can mean <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/couponing-hobby-or-lifestyle">an entire lifestyle</a> of savings. And if you play your cards right, you can indeed see some impressive rewards. Try paying it forward by sharing your loot &mdash; here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-places-to-donate-extra-goods-from-couponing">13 places to donate extra goods from couponing</a>.</p> <h2>9. Simplify Your Routine</h2> <p>Women spend an estimated <a href="http://www.today.com/health/stop-obsessing-women-waste-2-weeks-year-their-appearance-today-2D12104866">55 minutes each day</a> on their looks (that calculates to around two weeks per year!). And not only that, but think of all the money spent on manicures, pedicures, haircuts, colors, and other spa treatments that pile up monthly. Men aren't immune either. You can greatly simplify your routine and use fewer chemical-laden soaps and creams by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-easy-diy-bath-and-body-products">making some of your own</a> bath and body products.</p> <h2>10. Go Debt Free</h2> <p>If you're able, try <a href="http://www.johnnymoneyseed.com/debt-free/guide-becoming-really-really-ridiculously-debt-free/">going debt free</a> this year &mdash; you may not erase all your debt in 12 months, but you'll make important progress and transform your money mindset. Start by listing all your debts, interest rates, and any other pertinent information. Set payoff goals that are measurable and attainable. Sink funds into those balances starting with the highest APRs and work your way down. Trade in or sell your high ticket items to help pay off debt in larger chunks. And stick with it because &mdash; seriously &mdash; being debt free is totally, completely awesome. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-false-assumptions-about-debt-free-living?ref=seealso">6 False Assumptions About Debt-Free Living</a>)</p> <p><em>What money-savings goals do you have for 2015?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-your-boomer-parents-could-afford-that-you-cant">8 Things Your Boomer Parents Could Afford That You Can&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Personal Development cost cutting goals resolutions saving spending Mon, 29 Dec 2014 14:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1272418 at http://www.wisebread.com Successful New Year's Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours? http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new-years-resolutions-notes-Dollarphotoclub_73113952.jpg" alt="new years resolutions notes" title="new years resolutions notes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/">45% of Americans make New Year's Resolutions</a>, little wishes with wings sent out into the universe on high hopes that they'll come true. Yet only 8% of all resolutions are successful before the year's end, and more than half of them are forfeited within six weeks.</p> <p>It's a grim forecast, but don't be dissuaded. Research shows that we're more apt to achieve our goals and aspirations if we set out to do so on the first of the year. Chalk it up to the &quot;fresh start effect&quot; &mdash; <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2204126">that little boost of willpower our psyche lends us</a> when we attempt something new or difficult on a clean slate. Timing isn't everything, but when it comes to achieving our goals, it's truly half the battle. So just by timing your resolution with the new year you're giving yourself an instant leg-up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-most-effective-times-for-setting-a-new-goal">The 4 Most Effective Times for Setting a New Goal</a>)</p> <p>But how do you ensure that your New Year's Resolution lands among the successful 8%?</p> <p>Here's the scientifically-backed secret.</p> <h2>The Secret Is Focus</h2> <p>What all successful resolutions have in common is that they are focused, singular goals (not a long laundry list) equipped with a step-by-step plan of execution. (Hope is not a plan, as the saying goes.)</p> <p>Here's why this formula works.</p> <p>Most resolutions (eat healthier, exercise more, make better financial decisions, call Mom once a week, etc.) require that a person <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/hea/29/4/374/">break one habit and replace it</a> with a healthier or more desirable one. In order to adopt a new habit, it's crucial to have a game plan outlining exactly how this new, desired behavior will be integrated into daily life. And <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201212/why-new-years-resolutions-fail">it must include small steps</a> that will eventually lead you to reach your end goal.</p> <p>So when you sit down to brainstorm your resolution, remember to settle on just one goal, and make is specific. Examples of specific, singular goals include quit smoking (versus adopt a healthier lifestyle), host a monthly family dinner (versus spend more time with family), join and become active in an online dating community (versus fall in love), and build a $5,000 financial safety net (versus spend less, save more).</p> <h2>Next Comes the Plan</h2> <p>Once you've hacked any semblance of vagueness out of your resolution, it's time to map out your plan of attack &mdash; complete with benchmarks, timetables, and rewards.</p> <p>If your resolution is to lose 40 pounds, decide exactly what exercises you'll do, where and when you'll do them, and what behaviors you'll nix in their stead. For example, you might decide that you'll go snowshoeing around the park for 45 minutes three times a week with a podcast in your ears rather than watch your usual morning television news show from the couch. And don't forget to reward yourself with a new purchase or fun weekend outing for each month of 100% success. Even the smallest of rewards goes a long way to motivate a difficult change in behavior.</p> <p><em>What are your resolutions this year? How will to stick with them? Please motivate us to complete ours in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-too-7-amazing-things-people-have-accomplished-in-under-a-year">You Can Too: 7 Amazing Things People Have Accomplished in Under a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right">31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet">25 Bite-Sized Money Resolutions to Make 2015 Your Biggest Year Yet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development goal setting goals new years resolutions Mon, 22 Dec 2014 12:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1270662 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buying-new-car-Dollarphotoclub_53578392_0.jpg" alt="couple buying new car" title="couple buying new car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With 2015 just around the corner, it's time to plan ahead to set yourself up for success in the New Year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-you-need-to-make-before-the-end-of-the-year?ref=seealso">10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before the End of the Year</a>)</p> <p>However, not all money resolutions are good ones. Some of them might become an obstacle towards your financial wellbeing and, even worse, undo any benefits that you accumulate throughout the year.</p> <p>Let's start the New Year with a bang by avoiding these four bad money resolutions.</p> <h2>1. Buying a Brand New Car</h2> <p>New year, new you. So, by extension &mdash; new year, new car, right? Not so fast.</p> <p>From a purely financial perspective, a new car is always a bad idea because a car loses over 10% of its value in the first year due to depreciation. A car is not an investment because it virtually always loses money due to maintenance, insurance, and registration costs. According to Edmunds.com, a $25,000 new automobile purchase generates an estimated total cost of $33,604.</p> <p>It's true that the average interest rate on a 60-month new car loan is now lower than in the last five years, but that's not the full picture. As more Americans are taking out car loans, the prices of cars are increasing. This means that the <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/031914/americans-are-borrowing-more-buy-cars-should-they-be.asp">average car loan principal is getting larger and larger.</a></p> <p>By purchasing a car that is over a year old, you avoid the 10% depreciation hit and the higher tax and insurance costs. It's a good idea to buy used cars from a dealership that you trust and that offers a comprehensive warranty. Remember that <a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0055-buying-used-car#warranties">not all automobile warranties are equal</a>.</p> <p>Also, consider buying a car only when you can pay cash for it. Assuming a loan balance of $20,000 and a car loan rate of 5%, you would pay $1,000 in interest in the first year. That money would be better used towards paying down other debts. However, If you are in dire need of a reliable vehicle and need to take out a car loan, then limit your monthly car payment to <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/how-to-buy-a-car.html">20% of your monthly income after taxes</a>.</p> <h2>2. Withholding (Too Much) Taxes</h2> <p>Here's the scenario: When you file your taxes at the very last minute in April, you suddenly realize that you owe Uncle Sam a lot more than you expected. You promise yourself this won't ever happen again, so you update your W-4 form with your employer to withhold more than last year. The problem is that now you withhold way more than it's actually necessary. In fact, every year, <a href="http://business.time.com/2013/03/18/why-were-so-irrational-when-it-comes-to-tax-refunds/">75% of Americans withhold too much tax</a>.</p> <p>It's a good idea to withhold a <em>little bit</em> extra in order to avoid owing taxes on April 15th. But the average tax refund in 2013 was over $2,800, meaning that &quot;little bit extra&quot; was probably too much. The IRS isn't a bank and it won't pay you interest for your taxes. You're better off withholding the right amount of taxes and putting the extra in an interest-bearing savings account.</p> <p>Updating your W-4 takes very little time. Before filling it out, figure out <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator">how much you need to withhold in federal taxes</a> based on your income and set your W-4 accordingly.</p> <h2>3. Saving &quot;More&quot;</h2> <p>In theory, this sounds great. In reality, you're setting yourself for failure by not defining any specifics. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-new-years-resolutions-will-fail?ref=seealso">Why Your New Year's Resolutions Will Fail</a>)</p> <ul> <li>How much is exactly &quot;more&quot;? $100? $1,000? $5,000?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What is your time frame? Summer? Your birthday? Christmas?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your other resolutions prevent you from saving? If you're planning to join a gym and bike to the office, are you going to have money leftover?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are you cutting back on other expenses? If so, which ones?</li> </ul> <p>The concept of &quot;go big or go home&quot; doesn't apply to saving. If you want to improve your chances of saving this year, you need to be as specific as possible.</p> <ul> <li>Establish your reason to save. For example, &quot;I'm saving for a mortgage down payment&quot; or &quot;I'm saving to replace my desktop computer.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Specify a dollar amount. Unless you have that number, you won't be able to know if you have reached your objective.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Calculate how much you need to put away per week or per month to achieve your target number.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a separate account, such as a savings account, every week or month to force yourself to save.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take advantage of mechanisms to block the access to your stash until the deadline. For example, if you're saving to buy Christmas gifts with cash, you could use a Christmas savings account (also known as a &quot;Christmas Club&quot; at some credit unions).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Determine what activities and expenses you need to cut back. Remember that the savings money has to come from somewhere!</li> </ul> <h2>4. Borrowing From Your Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>More and more Americans are treating their retirement accounts as revolving lines of credit.</p> <p>There are several statistics that show why borrowing from your retirement account is a bad idea:</p> <ul> <li>As many as <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/168824/fewer-rely-401-retirement-pre-recession.aspx">48% of non-retirees</a> are planning to use retirement saving accounts as a major source of income during retirement;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Yet, Americans took about <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-06/early-tap-of-401-k-replaces-homes-as-american-piggy-bank.html">$57 billion from retirement funds</a> before they were supposed to;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Even worse, every year Americans default on <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/17/retirement/401k-loan-defaults/">about $37 billion on 401(k) loans</a>;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Unpaid balances become part of your taxable income and receive an additional 10% tax penalty from the IRS.</li> </ul> <p>This partly explains why <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/shocking-number-of-americans-have-no-retirement-savings/">more than one-third of al</a>l<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/shocking-number-of-americans-have-no-retirement-savings/"> working-age adults have no retirement savings</a>. There are very few times when it makes sense to borrow from your retirement account. If you find yourself borrowing from retirement accounts, you need to resolve to kick this habit next year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">This is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <p>Let's start 2015 on the right foot!</p> <p><em>What are some other bad money resolutions to skip next year? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right">31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-ways-to-make-a-big-financial-change">21 Ways to Make a Big Financial Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Personal Development goals money goals resolutions Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:00:16 +0000 Damian Davila 1270229 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Millennials Do Later Than Previous Generations Did http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-do-later-than-previous-generations-did <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-millennials-do-later-than-previous-generations-did" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-couple-buying-home-153215091-small.jpg" alt="young couple buying home" title="young couple buying home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For millennials &mdash; young adults ages 18 to 33 &mdash; life unfolds a bit more slowly than it did for previous generations. Blame it on their entrepreneurial spirit or the Great Recession, but either way millennials have been hitting life's landmarks &mdash; marriage, mortgages, babies &mdash; at a rate that's startlingly delayed from the timetables followed by every generation before them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-important-financial-lessons-people-learn-in-their-20s-did-you?ref=seealso">The 5 Most Important Financial Lessons People Learn in Their 20s</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the things millennials are putting off &mdash; and social scientists' best guesses as to why.</p> <h2>1. Buying a Home</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.trulia.com/trends/2014/09/millennials-leaving-nest/">homeownership rate among young adults ages 18 to 34 dropped</a> this year to a new low of 13%, according to U.S. Census Data. Meanwhile, nearly a third of young adults in this age bracket are living at home with their parents. And instead of buying or renting, those who do leave Mom and Dad's basement are more often bunking with friends or siblings. Experts say the hurting job market and high lending rates are among the top culprits of this shortage in home sales.</p> <h2>2. Saying &quot;I Do&quot;</h2> <p>More than <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/20/news/economy/millennials-marriage/">30% of millennial women are on track to remain unmarried</a> by their 40th birthday, according to Urban Institute research. That's double the rate of unwed 40-year-old women from Gen X. The reasons are societal. Where marriage used to mark the start of adult life, today's millennials typically embark on that journey as single college students. Increasingly millennials have come to believe they can coexist with a partner and raise a family without the vows and white gown. College educated millennials, however, are more likely to marry than those without higher degrees.</p> <h2>3. Making Babies</h2> <p>Millennial women are putting off motherhood at higher rates than any previous generation, and experts say it's largely because they're focusing on getting their financial footing before even thinking about building a family. In fact, <a href="http://www.pressherald.com/2014/09/22/lower-u-s-birth-rate-here-to-stay-millennials-putting-off-motherhood/">the birth rate among women 20 to 24 is at an all-time low</a>, according to Brookings Institution research. Women in particular are making more time for career and education before becoming pregnant. For each year motherhood is put off, career earnings increase by 9%, according to an economics expert from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.</p> <h2>4. Building Loyalty to a Company</h2> <p><a href="http://www.payscale.com/gen-y-at-work">Millennials change jobs every two years</a>, more than twice as often as the generation before them. In fact, studies show that 78% of twenty-somethings not only want to swap jobs, they're looking to change careers&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 22.1000003814697px;">altogether</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">. What they're on the hunt for is fulfilling assignments, opportunities to enrich their skill set, and, above all, greater flexibility.</span></p> <h2>5. Buying a Car</h2> <p>&quot;Unlike baby boomers and Generation X, it's from the internet that millennials derive their sense of freedom, not from owning cars,&quot; writes Bloomberg View contributor Leonid Bershidsky. And we've got numbers to back it up: Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/09/the-cheapest-generation/309060/">bought just 27% of all new vehicles</a> sold in America in 2010, down from a peak of 38% in 1985, The Atlantic reports. Instead, Bershidsky writes, millennials are more interested in smartphone apps that can connect them to carsharing services, public transportation offerings, and maps that direct them to the nearest and best sushi spot.</p> <p><em>What are you waiting for? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-do-later-than-previous-generations-did">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-frugal-shouldnt-be-a-dirty-word">4 Reasons &#039;Frugal&#039; Shouldn&#039;t be a Dirty Word</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-milestones-every-20-and-30-year-old-should-hit">7 Personal Finance Milestones Every 20 and 30 Year Old Should Hit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring">5 Ways to Restart Your Resolutions This Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-you-dont-know-about-generation-z">11 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Generation &quot;Z&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-men-carry-these-7-things-around-with-them-do-you">Successful Men Carry These 7 Things Around With Them — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle goals milestones millennials success waiting Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1246353 at http://www.wisebread.com The 4 Most Effective Times for Setting a New Goal http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-most-effective-times-for-setting-a-new-goal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-4-most-effective-times-for-setting-a-new-goal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-exercising-98353364-small.jpg" alt="woman exercising" title="woman exercising" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a bit of science behind birthday wishes and the resolutions we make on New Year's Day.</p> <p>Research shows that we're more apt to achieve our goals and aspirations if we set out to do so at the start of a new month, the first of the year, or after we celebrate a birthday. Chalk it up to the &quot;fresh start effect&quot; &mdash; <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2204126">that little boost of willpower our psyche lends us</a> when we attempt something new or difficult on a clean slate. Timing isn't everything, but when it comes to achieving our goals it's truly half the battle. Be it dieting or a pledge to call Mom more often, our odds for success are increasingly favorable if we begin the challenge with a tabula rasa. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals?ref=seealso">6 Steps to Achieving All Your Goals</a>)</p> <p>Read on for step-by-step guide for figuring out the best time to start chasing after your next personal or professional ambition.</p> <h2>Give Yourself a Fresh Start</h2> <p>We're more likely to tackle our goals with vigor and a heightened level of commitment if we start the journey on the day after a holiday, the day after our birthday, New Year's Day, the first day of the month, or the first day of the semester on the scholastic calendar. Researchers have found that we reach our goals more readily when we create a new beginning, thereby distancing ourselves from our past failures and false starts.</p> <p>&quot;Framing certain days as opportunities for fresh starts may help people make choices that maximize their odds of achieving their aspirations,&quot; concludes the study on the &quot;fresh start effect.&quot; &quot;For example, employers could potentially reframe transition points in the workplace (a desk move or a return from vacation) to increase the adoption of aspirational activities.&quot;</p> <p>However, it's important to note that we tend to lose steam as we move farther in time from our fresh start date. But if we survey and savor all the little successes that nudge us toward our end goal, we'll be more apt to stay on track.</p> <h2>Is Your Resolution Related to Your Health? Start on a Monday</h2> <p>Research shows that <a href="http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news.aspx?s=74703">we're more likely to think about our health and well-being on a Monday</a>. So, why fight it? Use this opportunity at the start of the week to assess your diet, exercise habits, and lifestyle choices. Make changes and set goals accordingly.</p> <p>For example, Lisa Bonchek Adams, a Connecticut-based mother of three who <a href="https://twitter.com/adamslisa">famously tweets her experience living with stage four breast cancer</a>, is the creator of #mondaypleads, a social media campaign designed to encourage people to make a doctor appointment they've been putting off every Monday.</p> <h2>Break Bad Habits, Start Better Ones After a Change in Circumstances</h2> <p>We can more easily break bad habits like smoking or adopt new positive behaviors like catching up with the news each morning if we <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15982113">begin the process after experiencing a major change in lifestyle or environment</a>, such as a move to a new house or the start of a new marriage or job. Research shows that altering our lives in significant ways helps facilitate new changes to our routine. For example, if we aspire to become a more diligent student, it'll be easier for us to adopt a stricter study schedule while cutting down on our time spent watching television if we transfer to a different college, change our area of study, or move into a new living environment.</p> <p><em>How do you decide to start on your next goal?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-most-effective-times-for-setting-a-new-goal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-men-carry-these-7-things-around-with-them-do-you">Successful Men Carry These 7 Things Around With Them — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-too-7-amazing-things-people-have-accomplished-in-under-a-year">You Can Too: 7 Amazing Things People Have Accomplished in Under a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-unbelievable-visualization-board-success-stories">3 Unbelievable Visualization Board Success Stories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-know-when-to-persevere-and-when-to-quit">How to Know When to Persevere and When to Quit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips achievement goal setting goals success Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1219251 at http://www.wisebread.com Want to Be Happier? Work These 7 Magic Words into Your Vocabulary http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-be-happier-work-these-7-magic-words-into-your-vocabulary <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-to-be-happier-work-these-7-magic-words-into-your-vocabulary" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-businessman-56518316-small.jpg" alt="happy businessman" title="happy businessman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a sad but true fact: Only one in three <a href="http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/1200/Default.aspx">Americans say they are very happy</a>.</p> <p>With a <a href="http://www.epi.org/publication/class-of-2014/">tough job market,</a> a <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/05/21/how-to-ask-and-get-raise-deserve/">hard time getting raises</a>, and a <a href="http://time.com/8740/federal-reserve-debt-bankrate-consumers-credit-card/">high level of debt</a>, many of us are getting hit with a triple whammy. This means that you need to take action and start working on improving your own happiness. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a>)</p> <p>One of the easiest ways to become happier is by simply starting to use these four words and phrases more often.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Yes&quot;</h2> <p>In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0025YKDJC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0025YKDJC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CL2L3B33RKY6KXP6">Yes Man</a>, Jim Carrey plays Carl, a guy who challenges himself to say &quot;yes&quot; to everything for a year. From the start, this commitment ends up filling Carl's entire day with activities. It seems that he is so busy that he doesn't have time to be sad.</p> <p>Studies confirm this theory. (Yes! Actual scientific studies confirm the validity of a Jim Carrey movie.) Richard Weisman, a British psychologist and author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0099443244/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0099443244&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2MHPBTNRRRVGECXV">The Luck Factor</a>, believes that lucky people create, notice, and act on the chance opportunities in their lives by saying &quot;yes&quot; more often. Saying &quot;yes&quot; more often creates a fuller agenda, a fuller agenda keeps you busy, and being <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/christopher.hsee/vita/Papers/IdlenessAversion.pdf">busier you makes you happier</a>.</p> <p>Of course, there are three important caveats to saying yes more often.</p> <ol> <li>Don't say yes to everything. Dangerous vices that can lead to addiction or activities that can put you in harm's way are generally not a good idea. Use your common sense.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be busy but don't feel rushed. Become part of the group of happier Americans, the ones that are not overwhelmly busy. Having too much free time leads to boredom, so the key to happiness is to be productive at a comfortable pace.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Choose friends and relatives over tasks. Say &quot;yes&quot; to spending time with Uncle Paul rather than working overtime on that project. Turns out having a <a href="http://www.trncmagasinet.se/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/valuing_social_relationships_15.04.pdf">better social life can be worth as much as an additional $130,000 per year</a>. A man who has friends is indeed a rich man, and a happy one, too.</li> </ol> <h2>2. &quot;Will I&hellip;&quot;</h2> <p>If you are going to be busier, you need to be more efficient at getting the job done.</p> <p>The popular catchphrase &quot;I think I can&quot; from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0448463598/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0448463598&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Q62QS3X2VBYVAJTG">The Little Engine that Could</a> has taught us from a young age that self-motivation is a key to success. However, it appears that the Little Engine might have gone about it wrong.</p> <p>Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tested the <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/21/4/499.short">effects of &quot;I will&quot; and &quot;Will I&quot; on self motivation</a>. The test subjects were far more motivated to complete a task when using the phrase &quot;Will I,&quot; which is a question instead of a self affirmation.</p> <p>According to the researchers, by asking yourself questions about a specific task, such as &quot;Will I lose weight?&quot;, you are more likely to build your own motivation to complete the task. This means that <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LQEYTC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004LQEYTC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=X7LLDH7KUU5SGM4E">Bob the Builder's</a> &quot;Can we fix it?&quot; is a better model for self-motivation than the Engine's &quot;I think I can.&quot;</p> <h2>3. &quot;Laughter,&quot; &quot;Happiness,&quot; &quot;Love,&quot; and &quot;Happy&quot;</h2> <p>What do these words have in common?</p> <p>They are the top four of the most frequently words in the English language that <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0029484#s2">exhibit the most bias towards positivity</a>. Basically, the words that make you happier.</p> <p>Researchers poured through Twitter, the Google Books Project, The New York Times, and a ton of music lyrics in search of the most frequently used words. Then, study participants rated each one of these 10,200 words individually, producing a list of the <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchSingleRepresentation.action?uri=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0029484.s009">50 most positive words</a>.</p> <p>Based on these findings, the researchers suggest three key actions to take. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-simple-ways-to-change-up-your-routine-and-love-your-day?ref=seealso">25 Simple Ways to Change Up Your Routine and Love Your Day</a>)</p> <ol> <li>Incorporate the top four positive words into your life as much as possible.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find songs that make use of the 50 most positive words and create a happy playlist to boost your routine. For example, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-pFAFsTFTI">The Beatles' All You Need is Love</a>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM">Pharrell's &quot;Happy&quot;</a> and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDksOhAhqaM">Al Green</a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqqAnjY2Rmo">'s &quot;Love and Happiness</a>.&quot; <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Avoid using the <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchSingleRepresentation.action?uri=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0029484.s010">50 most negative words in the English language</a>.</li> </ol> <h2>4. &quot;You're Right&quot;</h2> <ul> <li>Do you ever feel like nobody gives your the proper credit for what you do?</li> <li>Do you think that people are giving you too many &quot;buts&quot;?</li> <li>Do you wish to have more conversations instead of confrontations?</li> </ul> <p>Then start saying &quot;you're right&quot; to your relatives, friends, and co-workers more often.</p> <p><a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10902-011-9289-z">Showing gratitude can cause a chain reaction</a>. Some call it karma, others &quot;paying it forward.&quot; It all boils down to this: If you expect the world to tell that you're right more often, you need to start recognizing when others are.</p> <p>Start today. It will take some time, but it'll be completely worth it. When you hear that first &quot;you're right&quot; from a relative, friend, or co-worker, you'll get a wonderful, warm, fuzzy feeling of joy.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite things to say to make you happy? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-be-happier-work-these-7-magic-words-into-your-vocabulary">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-small-things-that-can-bring-you-joy">100 Small Things That Can Bring You Joy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-scientists-say-will-boost-your-happiness-today">11 Things Scientists Say Will Boost Your Happiness Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-youre-not-as-happy-as-youd-like-to-be">6 Reasons You&#039;re Not as Happy as You&#039;d Like to Be</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-willpower-and-be-more-successful">10 Ways to Increase Your Willpower and Be More Successful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-fortune-become-your-own-hero">How to Make Your Fortune: Become Your Own Hero</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development goals happiness joy magic words motivation Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1215195 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Dark-Side Motivations to Start Saving http://www.wisebread.com/8-dark-side-motivations-to-start-saving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-dark-side-motivations-to-start-saving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-couple-flirting-480187847-small.jpg" alt="business couple flirting" title="business couple flirting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From ruling the galaxy to getting out of debt, embracing the dark side can be a powerful tool. Sure, the motivations may be impure, but if it's monetary results you're after, maybe that's okay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt?ref=seealso">10 Dark Side Motivations to Getting Out of Debt</a>)</p> <p>So embrace your demons and get ready to stockpile some cash with these eight ways you can use the darker side of your nature as a driving force to save more money.</p> <h2>1. To Impress Someone</h2> <p>Whether it's a potential new partner, or just someone you really want to one-up, having a nice wad of cash in the bank can be a great way to get noticed. You can't just casually drop &quot;hey, I've got $30k in my savings account&quot; into conversation, though. You'll need to find more underhand ways to do it. You could check your balance, get a receipt, and just happen to leave it in a place someone else could see it. Or, you could ask about investment opportunities for your enormous rainy day fund. This works well at those high school reunions.</p> <h2>2. To Get Laid Off</h2> <p>Most people don't want to get fired. These days, jobs are tough to get in many industries, and just as tough to keep. Why on earth would anyone want to get laid off, or fired?</p> <p>Well, some people do have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-laid-off-a-step-by-step-guide">reasons for wanting to leave a job</a>. They may genuinely hate it, but leaving is not as lucrative as being kicked out, with many companies offering handsome severance packages. If this is your plan, you need to have some savings as a safety net. When the time comes, you can use it as buffer until you find work. A word of warning though: be sure to check the redundancy policy of the job you plan to &quot;leave.&quot; Some companies are making cuts everywhere, and that includes termination benefits.</p> <h2>3. To Get Revenge</h2> <p>It may be a dish best served cold, but it can also be an expensive one. If you really want to hit someone where it hurts, you are going to have to put down some cash to make it happen. Revenge can be as simple as a college prank, or as complicated as the plot from a movie. It could be something that takes five minutes to plan or several months. Depending on the level of vengeance you're aiming for, you may need to put away a large sum of money to finance your cunning plan.</p> <h2>4. To Spy on Someone</h2> <p>Cheating spouse? Co-worker embezzling money? Neighbor's dog using your lawn as a toilet? Whatever your reason, you'll need a nice sum of money if you want to get hard evidence. This could involve hiring a private investigator, setting up a substantial hidden camera system, and even wearing recording devices (check the legality of this in your state first). However you plan to spy, you'll need to bankroll your operation. Start saving now &mdash; some of these people will only accept cold, hard cash.</p> <h2>5. To Get Plastic Surgery</h2> <p>Some would say that improving yourself is very worthwhile, and I tend to agree. Are breast implants, tummy tucks, and lip injections really that bad? Well, it all depends. If you're saving for those and letting your kids go hungry, then yes, that's bad. If everyone is taken care of, and this is something you'd rather do than buy a new car or go on vacation, then more power to you.</p> <h2>6. To Annoy Your Neighbor</h2> <p>Have you ever watched a show about battling neighbors? It happens often, and it can go from the silly to the downright bizarre. Case in point &mdash; the Bank of Manhattan and the Chrysler building. Both wanted to be taller than the Woolworth back in 1929. It looked like the Bank of Manhattan won the battle, but the war went to the Chrysler building a few months later, when a spire was secretly assembled on its roof. From building bigger fences, to painting houses brighter colors, suburban neighbors have also battled for years. If you want to get into it, you'll need the money to compete.</p> <h2>7. To Get Divorced</h2> <p>Maybe you're in a relationship that is just barely hanging on for life. You may be tied to the other person financially, and cannot separate until you have the money to do so. This is where saving money comes in, but you will have to be careful how you do it. You cannot just squirrel away money from your partner, and not declare it. But if you do it legally, and with full disclosure, saving money now is the best way to ensure you can finally start down the road to unwedded bliss. As Louis CK has so rightly said, don't commiserate with people going through this; no good marriage ended in divorce.</p> <h2>8. To Do Nothing</h2> <p>Some people have a dream that is neither productive, nor inspiring. They simply want to save enough money so that they don't have to work again. Or do anything else remotely connected to work, if truth be told. There's a famous quote from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-about-life-and-career-from-office-space">Office Space</a> that sums it up, uttered by the protagonist Peter Gibbons, when asked what he'd do with a million dollars: &quot;I would relax&hellip; I would sit on my ass all day&hellip; I would do nothing.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, his friend Lawrence counters that with, &quot;Well, you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin; he's broke, don't do sh*t.&quot; Sorry, Lawrence, you do need money. A lot of money. Doing nothing may not cost a lot, but you still need to eat, pay bills, and live a somewhat comfortable existence. Start saving.</p> <p><em>So, those are eight dark side motivations, but what are yours? What dark things inspire you to save money? Let us know in comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-dark-side-motivations-to-start-saving">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-valuable-thing-debt-takes-from-you-isnt-money-its-this">The Most Valuable Thing Debt Takes From You Isn&#039;t Money — It&#039;s This</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt-free-living-is-attainable-if-you-want-it-you-can-have-it">Debt-Free Living IS Attainable: If You Want It, You Can Have It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt-repayment-is-not-an-expense">Debt repayment is not an expense</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management debt goals motivation saving Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1209316 at http://www.wisebread.com Successful Men Carry These 7 Things Around With Them — Do You? http://www.wisebread.com/successful-men-carry-these-7-things-around-with-them-do-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/successful-men-carry-these-7-things-around-with-them-do-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-smartphone-506187267-small.jpg" alt="businessman smartphone" title="businessman smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>To succeed in this world, it takes smarts, confidence, likability &mdash; and a handful of portable items to help you stay organized, current, fit, and performing at the top of your game. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-women-have-these-7-things-in-their-bags-do-you?ref=seealso">Successful Women Have These 7 Things in Their Bags &mdash; Do You?</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the things every man should keep within reach if he hopes to share a seat among the best.</p> <h2>1. Mobile Devices &mdash; Complete With On-the-Go Juice</h2> <p>You've got to stay connected, even when you're on the run. Smartphones, tablets, and whatever other gadgets help you keep up with email, news, and your loved ones' birthdays are essential. But what good are they when they're out of juice?</p> <p>A successful man needs to be powered up &mdash; at home, at the office, and in places where wall outlets don't exist (like the backseat of a taxi). That's why portable chargers are every successful man's must-have device.</p> <p>We recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A35KPQQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A35KPQQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3FNUBTEJ6JFRFBSI">IOGEAR's GearPower portable battery line</a>. (Pros: Allows for multi-device charging. Cons: Too big for your back pocket.)</p> <p>Or try the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AANQLRI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AANQLRI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QKI72NMISGX5P7L4">Jackery Giant</a> (Pros: Cheaper than most competing brands. Cons: It's a bit heavy.)</p> <h2>2. A Slim Wallet</h2> <p>The successful man is too sophisticated to be shoving crumpled up bills and receipts in his pockets. A slim, sleek wallet with room for cash, credit cards, and business cards is a necessity for any man to be taken seriously.</p> <p>We recommend this <a href="http://www.target.com/p/merona-men-s-bifold-wallet-assorted-colors/-/A-14508030#prodSlot=medium_1_1">timeless bi-fold design</a> available at Target. (Pros: It's inexpensive and fits as many cards as will fit in your pocket. Cons: It doesn't allow much room for anything beyond the basics &mdash; cash and about a dozen cards if you double-up.)</p> <p>Or carry this <a href="http://shop.corterleather.com/collections/frontpage/products/travel-wallet">English-made travel wallet</a> by Corter. (Pros: Fits your passport, boarding passes, and a small notebook. Cons: Good luck fitting it in your pocket.)</p> <p>Whatever you choose: keep it light, and store your receipts elsewhere. George Constanza is not a wallet role-model.</p> <h2>3. A Memorable Business Card</h2> <p>The successful man knows his business card isn't merely an old-school status symbol to pass around at board meetings. It's his trademark &mdash; a snack-size version of his personality and business merits smartly packaged on a well-designed rectangle. Trumping even the Twitter feed, the business card is the most influential marketing tool he has. It's something he offers every new friend, acquaintance, and business connection. That's because the successful man knows everyone has something to offer. You can never tell whether it's the guy in the corner office or the bell boy down the street who will lead to that next big client, sale, or promotion.</p> <h2>4. A Nice Watch</h2> <p>It doesn't need to break the bank. But the successful man knows a good-looking wrist watch is more than a vanity piece. It's a symbol of maturity, reliability, and taste. It puts him on the same plane as as Tony Blair, who reportedly owns dozens of them, and President Barack Obama, who sports a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C40I18/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002C40I18&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YTHHGH5QZNRI3KCN">Jorg Gray 6500 Chronometer</a> designed specifically for the Secret Service.</p> <p>&quot;Watches are <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/14/men-wristwatches">one of the few items that a man can wear that he believes display true character</a>, signal that he is a member of a particular club &mdash; whether it's an Audemars Piguet or a Swatch &mdash; and indulge in a little dose of extravagance without, generally, drawing criticism,&quot; writes Jeremy Langmead of the Guardian.</p> <h2>5. A Healthy Snack</h2> <p>The successful man needs fuel to perform his best. And he knows it makes all the difference whether that fuel consists of processed sugars or healthful, natural ingredients like protein and vitamins.</p> <p>The natural fiber in apples and bananas can help keep focus between meals. Nuts like almonds and dried fruit like raisins are high in protein, which prevent energy levels from dropping during that mid-morning slump.</p> <h2>6. A Goal List</h2> <p>The successful man knows that dreams remain dreams until he sets them as goals. One way to forge the transition is to <a href="http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm">create a big, bold, unfiltered list of them</a>. Once he has identified all the things he wants to accomplish, he's better poised to script a roadmap detailing what he needs to do to get there. Then all he's got to do it stick to it.</p> <p>Don't be afraid to declare your goals aloud to friends and family. Michael Phelps asserted to the news media his goal to win the gold in the 2012 London Olympic Games &mdash; something he accomplished twice, making him the most decorated Olympian in history.</p> <h2>7. A Gym Membership Card</h2> <p>Exercise is a staple of the successful man's regular routine. And not because he's trying to get chiseled abs. A <a href="http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/exercise/">good workout boosts energy</a>, relieves stress, and releases those feel-good endorphins that make him feel like he can most certainly conquer the world &mdash; and smile while doing it.</p> <p><em>What's in your wallet? (Or pocket, or satchel, or briefcase?) Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-men-carry-these-7-things-around-with-them-do-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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