Do You Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?

I’m not the greatest at recycling, but now that I’m on my own I’m beginning to see the benefits of it. Not just for the environment but also for your wallet (which I have to admit to me is much more of an incentive.)

I’ve found myself stuffing the trash can more full than normal to save on trash bags, reusing sandwich bags that had chips in them, turning off lights and fans when I don’t need them and cracking the windows instead of turning on the air.

That’s just a few things I’ve found myself doing, but I am sure there are countless ways to reduce my use, reuse certain products and recycle all around. All of these things reduces waste and helps both the earth and you.

So why don’t more people do it? It takes a little bit of effort and this thing some of us don’t like to do all of the time called “thinking.” But it’s well worth it and if we all would take a little bit of time and go out of our way to recycle ultimately everyone would profit. You can recycle almost anything–paper, plastic, glass, food (for compost)–and you can often reuse things around the house.

Here are a few fun facts I found about recycling*:

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for 3 hours
  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
  • Energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours.

Do you recycle? What are some ways you practice this?

*Facts found at Recycling Revolution

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Back and At ‘Em

It’s been so weird not blogging for the past several days. But it’s been a whirl-wind of action, and it was definitely best.

I’m all moved into my new apartment, and it’s beginning to feel normal (though I’ll always miss my family!) I actually have spent relatively little extra money during this move because I planned accordingly beforehand. Not to mention family members have been very generous to both myself and the friend I’m living with.

Sometimes we don’t understand the value of something until we don’t have it anymore. For me, blogging is about sharing what it is I’m learning in life in hope that you’ll be able to benefit as well. I didn’t realize how much this kept me motivated and on top of my game until I wasn’t doing it. I’ve been more lackadaisical and probably a little more wasteful with my time. But no more! 😉

I hope and pray you all had a wonderful Easter weekend with your family and celebrating Christ’s gift to all of mankind. Happy Wednesday!

Blogging helps keep me motivated–what helps you stay motivated?

Apology for Lack of Posting

Sorry for the lack of posts, guys! I feel really bad. It’s seriously a goal of mine to blog every [week] day, and I’ve failed at that this week. I am moving tomorrow and have been making preparations for that.

But in the middle of this move I have learned A LOT about life and money and growing up. Basically–life takes a lot of money. But it doesn’t have to take all of it. Remember….

Wealth = What you earn – What you spend

There are several things I am going to blog about I’ve learned this week so be on the look out!

I also figured my net worth today for the first time. (Crazy, huh?) I’ll blog on that too. It’s quite interesting. I’m looking forward to doing it every 2 weeks and seeing it grow. Does any of you calculate your net worth at all? I’d like to hear how you do it and how it motivates you.

Thanks for being awesome, everyone! Hope you have a great weekend. And remember what this Easter weekend is all about. 🙂

Savings Goals: Laptops vs White Boards

We all know what this is. You’re probably sitting at one right now. And it’s made all of our lives better. Right? The computer.

I do the majority of my financial stuff on a laptop connected to the internet. I use online banking to transfer money and check account balances. I use Google Docs to hold my budget, savings goals and deadlines, a list of regular bill amounts and due dates, and other financial information. It’s convenient, really. To pick up a small device and be able to access all of that information in a few minutes and make any changes necessary and then be on my merry way.

But I started getting frustrated a couple of weeks ago. I have an excel document that holds all of my savings goals for the next couple of years and then I have it outlined (basically) how I will reach those goals. It’s in detail for the year 2010 and in general for the following years. But for some reason looking at those on a screen was just not satisfying me–plus, there were a lot of “little” things I wanted to buy with cash that I didn’t put on there because they didn’t seem important enough.

And for the life of me I couldn’t get the spreadsheet to look just the way I wanted it to. Computers can only do so much, you know.

So what did I do? I pulled out the white board. I’m pretty sure I just THINK better when I have to hand-write instead of type.

Once I found a dry-erase marker I was at it. I could put things wherever I wanted, however I wanted and it was so easy to change. I know spreadsheets aren’t hard to change, but I think I was just beginning to feel limited by my small screen. I wanted to see everything for the next few months in one glance as far as it came to making purchases I am saving for. There were items, dollar amounts, dates and current totals listed and everything seemed to be sooo much more organized.

I feel so much more free now. I don’t know about you but there’s nothing like getting things in order that takes any stress that I had completely off. Call me old-fashioned but this white board method just soooo worked for me. Who knows, maybe it won’t last but a couple of days but being able to see all of it right there and being able to change it in my own handwriting whenever I wanted to brought me a sense of control that I didn’t have when I was putting them all on the spreadsheet.

Maybe I’m crazy but what I’m trying to say is just do what works for you.

There are countless gurus out there who will tell you, “This is the way you do this” and “This is the way you organize your finances (or your life for that matter).” But none of that really matters if it doesn’t work. Find what works for you and then do it! It will save you time, money and energy.

Computers work for me–most of the time. But for savings goals I’d rather have it on the computer AND on my handwritten white board where I can, literally, touch it. 😉

What about you? Do you prefer computers or hand-written boards or pieces of paper when organizing? Do you have any efficient non-conventional methods of planning you can share with the rest of us?

Juggling It All

I remember there was this time when I was young when I found myself whining, “I’m boooooooooooooooored” to my mom and dad. It usually happened about 2 weeks into summer when I was tired of doing all of the “out-of-school-summer-fun” already. But it probably happened on the weekends too. I just didn’t know what to do with myself!

My how things have changed! I can’t remember the last time I said those words now. There’s just so much to do! Always. I am fairly certain I could keep myself occupied for 24 hours out of the 24 hour day if I could. Sometimes I hate sleep.

Our hours are filled with working, playing, learning, relating, eating, sleeping and a thing I like to call bettering. 😉 But whatever our hours are filled up with there’s one thing that is for sure–we don’t want to drop any of these. There may be seasons when we have to focus a little bit less on a certain area but we have to keep them in our lives regardless of how busy we are because that’s why they are there in the first place: they’re important to us.

So we juggle.

I juggle.
Today I juggled the fact it was a Monday with the fact I am moving this Saturday with the fact I had to be at work for 8 1/2 hours with the fact I want to spend time with my family with the fact American Idol was on tonight with the fact that since I am moving this weekend I need to get all my homework done before then with the fact my eyes hurt from already looking at a computer all day with the fact it’s such a beautiful day I just want to go outside with the fact I didn’t write a blog this morning so I want to tonight with the fact I got a new cell phone and I just want to play with it!

It could seem like it’s all so much that something’s got to give. But…it doesn’t. Necessarily. All of it’s possible. And yes, it’s a struggle, but when you set your mind and heart to it you can handle anything. And you can handle it well.

But it won’t just happen. We have to make it happen.

We have to set priorities and plans. Even if that’s a quick jot-down in the morning of what you want to do that day and how you’re going to get it all done. When you get into a routine like this the juggling becomes less and less of a struggle and more and more of an enjoyment. You feel satisfied. Accomplished. Energized. Ready to move forward some more.

We don’t have to give up things we love for other things we love or certain goals for other goals. We can handle more than we think we can…and we can handle it with a smile and with poise. 😉

How do you juggle everything in your life and keep a right heart at the same time?

Being Young: Rent or Buy?

It’s part of the American dream to own a home. You know–maybe one with a white picket fence and two little children playing in the yard.  Sounds like a plan!

But that’s never really been  my dream. My dreams have always consisted of travel, volunteer work, starting up non-profits, exercising some entrepreneurship, and helping start-ups get their feet off the ground. So buying or building a home wasn’t at the forefront of all of that.

And at the age of 20 I have decided to go out on my own. So when I chose to do this I was faced with the decision to save up for a deposit on a house and buy one in my hometown or rent.

Some people say rent is throwing away your money every month. But realistically it’s money that is keeping a roof over your head and providing a place for you to live outside of your day job.

So personally, at my ripe young age, I’ve decided to rent an apartment. Mainly because I want to  build up my assets in the form of cash right now, and because since I am so young I don’t exactly know what the future holds. It seemed like too big of a risk to just buy a house for the sake of buying one.

I have to admit I had somewhat of a prejudice toward people who rented–I thought maybe they rented because they couldn’t handle their money well enough to have a mortgage. But my thoughts have changed in regards to that. That may be the case for some people but I know it’s definitely not the case for everyone who rents. Right now, renting allows me to be mobile and not feel as “stuck” as I might if I had a mortgage.

I still have a long ways to go in understanding everything about buying a home vs. renting but overall I think it’s a choice each individual has to make for themselves. One day I may very well own a home but even then I hope to travel around doing different things.  =)

Let me ask you–what do you think of renting vs. buying? Do you think it’s wise when young people get a mortgage during or right out of college?

Millions By 30

Happy Friday everyone! It’s going to be a great one–I can feel it!

Today I just want to let you know about a cool new website/blog I”m privileged to be a small part of: Millionsby30. I worked as an intern at the same organization the founder of Millionsb30 did and he’s recently invited me to help write for it.It’s a blog dedicated to helping young people realize their financial dreams and create wealth. My first post is up this morning and you can check it out here. It’s called The Starting Line and all about the beginning point of a journey toward financial independence.

There are some other great writers over there too so subscribe to the feed and keep checking it out in the future. Good things are happening!

That’s a wrap for today–hope you guys enjoy the start of your weekend!