Why I Haven’t Been Around

I didn’t realize I never posted about why I wouldn’t be posting for a little while. It’s been almost 3 weeks!

The reason why is because I started a new site called Start Well, Live Well. at http://www.startwelllivewell.com

I have been creating content and trying to get everything running over there smoothly so please go check it out! It’s centered around helping people start heading in the right direction toward financial independence and wealth with some practical and inspiring tips. =)

As of right now I will not be posting to this blog anymore. If I decide to bring it back into action I’ll be sure to post something at Start Well, Live Well.

Happy reading!

Some Favorite Bloggers

I’ve come to love reading blogs so much lately that I’m having to limit myself. I still subscribe to whoever I feel I will benefit from reading but I only actually get on my reader and read them in the mornings for 30 minutes. I was beginning to use the excuse that I had to read the blogs I’d subscribed to no matter what and was not getting other things done that I wanted to!

But now that I’ve got that under control I still wanted to share a few of my favorite bloggers with you. Of course not everyone that someone writes I agree with but for the most part I think these people have some very good thoughts and ideas to share. I think you’ll enjoy them too….

Seth Godin

Ivan Campuzano

Untemplater

Get Rich Slowly

Free Money Finance

Money Crashers

Any blogs out there that you suggest me to read??

Why Gyms Have Contracts and Cable Companies Don’t

So it just hit me today why I had to get into a contract with the fitness center I am apart of, and I didn’t have to when I had the cable company come out to my apartment and hook me up (maybe some cable companies do have contracts but mine, thankfully, does not.)

More than likely the fitness center thinks at some point I will want out.

The cable company on the other hand doesn’t necessarily think that about me.

Because entertainment is always easier to stick with than running out of breath. ;-)

But I’m really glad I had to get into that contract. It keeps me going. Because I know every month for the next long time I am going to be shelling out a good amount of money in order to be able to walk in those doors and use that treadmill and those machines. I’m in a contract. And that keeps me going.

Maybe we need contracts more often. With ourselves. About things we want to do or see accomplished. Because we all will want out at one point or another. Maybe we need to write one up and throw some kind of incentive in there for ourselves that if we do this then we’ll get that. Whatever it may be for whatever goal you want to meet. Because though it may be hard to stick with the reward will be well worth it.

Using Credit Cards Wisely

I’ve had my credit card for almost 6 months now, and it’s a great feeling to know that I’ve used it wisely enough to not have to pay a dime in interest so far. The only way to do this is to pay the balance off every month. And so I have. But here comes my admission:

It’s not only wise to pay off your credit card every month but it’s wise to not put more on there then you can realistically handle for that month without having to cut other things in your budget.

The reason I bring this up is because though I’ve paid off my card every month I’ve had to forgo a few of my payments to myself (aka: savings) in order to make sure I didn’t receive any finance charges. Of course, it was worth it to me since I already had some saved up to go ahead and pay off the card but at the same time I wish I wouldn’t have put so much on there. Was it too much to handle? No. But then again, it was! Because I wasn’t able to do the thing I want to do the most for a few weeks: pay myself!

But as of today I’m back in the game. My credit card balance is back to 0, still no finance charges, and I am ready to pay myself first when my next paycheck comes in. It will be a nice feeling to see my emergency fund start to build.

Obviously, my position is GREAT compared to some but I try not to compare myself to others. I compare myself to well, myself and the goals and position I’d like to be in. And for a little bit there I was falling short of that.

So here’s to using credit cards wisely:

1. Pay off the balance in full every month. I know, it’s said over and over and I’ll say it again. If you don’t have the money–don’t buy it!

2. Put a plan in place. If you don’t have a plan in place, you need to get one! Decide on what you are going to use your credit card for. Is it for gas? Is it for all your expenses? Is it just for special times like vacations or other trips? Whatever it is, keep it simple and stick with it.

3. Watch little expenses. Depending upon your plan, it’s still easy to put things on your credit card without thinking twice. I realized 2 months ago that the majority of my balance (which wasn’t much but still…) was food. Food?? Why didn’t I just pay that with my debit card or cash? I don’t know the answer to that but I wish I wouldn’t have. It’s just unnecessary stuff and definitely out of my “plan.” =)

5 Keys to Staying Productive

It seems like the more I have on my plate the more productive I stay. It’s easy for me to hop from one thing to another and cross things off my list when there’s a lot to it. But when I have little to “do” I sometimes fall off the productivity grid because I have no outside force pushing me. But the crazy thing is that I’d actually rather stay productive doing my own thing rather than things other people put in front of me!

So the idea would be to be even more productive when I don’t have school or other things to do with getting things done that are important to me and will further my life for the better. So how do we do it?

1. Write it down. What do you want to accomplish? This is apart from finishing your homework or getting your oil changed. What is it that you want to take upon yourself to do or complete that will make your life or someone else’s life better? Get a clear picture of it and then take the time to write it down so you won’t forget. =)

2. Schedule out your day. One of the keys to staying productive even is to schedule your day (or even your week) even when it’s not scheduled for you! I’m not the expert here, but I want to get back into it because I’ve always felt the most fulfilled when I did. I sit down in the morning and write out what the next 24 hours will look like. Whether it’s the gym right after work or reading during lunch or making phone calls on my drive home. Whatever it is, I want to know how I am going to spend my non-renewable resource called time.

3. Stay involved. Those things you wrote down? Get into them and stay into them. Even if they are goals or things you’d like to do that will take several days or even weeks, don’t give up. Read them and think about them everyday. And actually DO something when you are scheduled to. This will keep you interested and keep your mind on the prize. If the goal is to weigh 10 lbs less and you are going to work out 4 times a week then don’t miss a workout! If you do, you’ll want to miss the next one too. ;-)

4. Track progress. If you’re going to stay involved you might as well take the time to track your progress. Otherwise, you might feel like all that “involvement” is not paying off! Whatever it is you are working toward, track the progress you are making toward it. As you see yourself getting closer to the goal you’ll want to stick with it and see it to completion.

5. Cut out unnecessary time-consumers. Once again, I’m no expert here but I am realizing more than ever what an hour of TV watching could be. Or how I could grow even during a lunch break. The possibilities of using our time wisely are endless and so are the time-consumers! ;-) Choose what you want to spend your time on and then spend it on that. Simple, right? ha! I know other things try to cramp in on your time but the key is just to be protective of it.

What do you guys think? Do you have any other tips on staying productive?

The Automatic Millionaire: Pay Yourself First

Simple concept: pay yourself first.

Don’t dismiss it. Don’t say it’s impossible. Because it is possible. Of course, you may have to cut some expenses but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

If you are truly interested in being financially independent and at peace then you will pay yourself first. You will decide how much of each paycheck (or other source of income) you want to save for the future (your retirement or any other goal)–it can be a certain percentage of your income or a set amount–and before you do anything else with all the money you just received, you put YOUR money into a savings account.

Then with the rest of the money you pay bills and live on it. If you can’t live and pay bills with the rest of it then you need to cut expenses, not necessarily savings.

Of course, when you are ‘paying yourself first’ you need to be realistic. Don’t tell yourself you can save 80% of your income and live on 20%. Unless you really can, of course! Sit down and figure out what is realistic and yet will still stretch you a little and force you to cut down some frivolous spending.

When you’ve decided on the amount you want to save, do it. =) Save it. Before spending any of it. You can set this up to be an automatic deduction from your paycheck or even automatic from your checking account to a savings account on payday. But however you do it, the key is to actually do it.

Of course, I’m not perfect and am still figuring out exactly how to make it all work. But once you start to play around with it, it actually becomes quite enjoyable and fun to see your savings accounts go up (and therefore, hopefully, your net worth!)

Retirement Doesn’t Have to be Your [only] Goal

Ever since I’ve started to read Personal Finance blogs I’ve realized there seems to be a common theme: retirement. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. Many people’s goal is to work, save and live in such a way to be able to retire earlier than most with more money than most. Now, what they are actually going to DO during retirement, I am not sure. It varies from person to person, I guess.

But regardless if that is the dream most people are chasing and working to achieve it does not mean that is the dream you have to work to achieve. Or at least the only one you work toward.

Maybe your goal is to save enough money to start your own business one day. Or to have enough to live on while you start blogging full-time.

I guess it all comes down to how you define, “retirement.” Sure, one day, I’d like to escape the 8-5 and “retire” but that doesn’t mean I want to sit around and do nothing. It means I want to be able to do whatever I want 24/7…whether that’s working, playing, relaxing or traveling. But with that definition of retirement we don’t have to wait till we’re older when we are able to cash in our 401(k)s or IRAs. It’s something we can work to achieve much earlier than that if we would like (while still funding those ‘retirement’ accounts for later on.)

Of course it’s hard enough to save enough to live on after the traditional “retirement” around the age of 60, so if you’re wanting to do some major things before then it will require even more focus and planning. But of course, as always, it’s totally possible.

If you’ve been stuck in the mindset that all you’re working toward is retirement but feel a little uneasy about it you should take time today or this week to sit down and write out the things you’d like to achieve before then. And then how you’re going to get there. :-)

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