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.

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?

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. 🙂

Mother’s Day is Sunday

Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 9. Regardless of our age or dependency status on our parents, our mom’s deserve all our love and appreciation until our last day. They gave up more for us than we’ll ever be able to thank them for.

Whatever your relationship with your mom, take time to tell her, “Thanks” for the years of wisdom, care and provision she gave you. Whether it’s a card, flowers, chocolates, some other gift or just a hand-written note or letter, she’ll be so blessed to know that you are grateful for all she’s done for you.

I can’t say enough about my mom. She is the most loving, thoughtful person I know. She is gentle and kind and compassionate and is constantly going out of her way to serve her family and loved ones. She puts others above herself and shows honor on a daily basis. A perfect example of a wonderful wife, mother and lover of Jesus. She is slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to become angry. I just love her to death! =)

What are some things you are grateful for your mom exhibits?

P.S. It’s already Wednesday! Don’t forget. 😉

WE Bring the Value

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we perceive ourselves and how that affects the way we make decisions, the way we think and even the way we interact with other people. It’s important that we have the understanding of who we are and what value we carry within.

As a young person, starting life out and trying to “get out there” can carry a lot of weight. We want to perform well at work and have solid relationships. We want to handle our money right and make it work for us instead of us just working for it. We want to not just take advantage of opportunities but actually create those opportunities. And if we’re not careful the tendency would be to find our value in how well we’re doing in those areas.

But here’s the thing: Our work does not give us value. We give value to our work.

We are running our lives. God granted us intrinsic value that sticks with us regardless of what kind of decisions we make or how well we perform on the job or managing our finances. We get to take that value within ourselves and willingly offer it to a task. Or not offer it . It’s our choice. The job, relationships, spiritual life, money and health we have are, mainly, not forced upon us. They are things we willingly engage in.

They do not own us. We own them.
They do not give us value. Instead, we give value to them. (With the exception perhaps of a spiritual life…but even then, it is nothing without our interaction!)

Until we realize this, until we realize that inside of us is a greater potential for good works and connection, we will be run over by the things in our daily lives. We’ll feel bound by what is.

But the truth is that your finances are ultimately going to end up however you’d like them to be because you’re going to work (or not) work at it. Positive thinking won’t do. The job or career you have is going to be the one you pick, not the one that picked you. Your relationships will be great or terrible based upon the value you willingly add to them.

So today, as you go through the day, think about all the things you are involved in and what you are doing. Look at the details and the big picture. And decide whether or not you want to be a part of it. Do you want to add your value to it? If so, do it! Add all the value you can to whatever is at hand. But if you don’t want to add value to it, stop faking it and move on to something you DO want to add value to.

How to Start Off and STAY on the Right Course

We all know the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” But really, it’s only the “right” kind of practice that makes perfect. I can practice wrong over and over and I’ll be, well, perfectly wrong.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

When we start off on a new goal, whether it’s a new career path, a new financial goal, a new way of living, a new relationship, trying to better a relationship, or just starting “life” out right in general, it’s imperative we not start off in the wrong direction. If we do start off wrong, we’ll have to back-track which leads to waste of time and other valuable resources.

So what do we do? How do we start off right?

1. Take your time and count the cost.
Don’t jump to a conclusion about where you’d like to be without giving it some time. Consider it much like a large purchase. A large purchase will take a significant amount of money. And a big “goal” will also require a significant amount of resources. It’s not something to decide on a whim. If you do, it will probably fade quickly cause you haven’t counted the cost.

2. Write it down.
Okay, I’m sure you’re tired of reading it but it’s so true. There is so much power in writing things down. First write down the goal or end-product you’d like to see and then take the time to write down  the specific steps it will take to get there. Those steps will probably be certain actions you need to take with due dates. This will give you a clear blueprint of how to get and stay on the right course all the way to the fulfillment of your dream.

3. Invite the help of others.
Start off right by having some support. And keep the support all the way through. Friends who hear your passion about something will help remind you when the passion is running dry later on.

4. Take frequent pit stops.
Some people say that if you ever take a break from working toward your goal you’ll give it up all together. I disagree. Sometimes you need to step back and take an honest look at the situation. Take a rest and look over your blueprint again and see the big picture. Find yourself in it and remind yourself why you’re working toward it. You’ll feel refreshed and energized and ready to get back to work to reaching it.

That’s just a few things I thought of on how to start and stay on course toward any kind of goal you’d like to reach.

What do you guys think? Any other tips on starting and staying on the right course?