Things To Do Everyday

Everyone has different and various goals at different times in life and we usually spend most of our time investing in those goals. But there are certain things that regardless of what our goals are it would benefit us to participate in every single day. Even if only for a few minutes. They are the foundation to the rest of life and will help you live a better life overall.

1. Be quiet.
Whether it’s one hour or five minutes, take time to just be quiet. Listen. Look out a window or close your eyes. It’s in this time that God will speak and you’ll hear more about your purpose and direction for the day.
3. Write it down.
Make it a habit to write things down. Whether it’s writing down what you heard while you were being quiet or just writing things down throughout the day that come to mind you will need to remember lately. Writing things down is such a stress reliever. You don’t have to worry about it anymore–it’s on paper.
3. Get moving.
Personally, I’ve joined a fitness club and try to go everyday. Some days I spend 30 minutes there and other days I spend 1 1/2 hours there. But regardless I try to get myself moving some everyday. It does wonders for your health and well-being and the endorphins released will definitely make you feel better overall.
4. Eat right.
I’m not the expert here, and I definitely don’t do as good as I should some days. But the key is just to be aware. Be aware of what you’re eating and deliberately choose healthier options each time you go to eat. Make sure you’re hungry and aren’t just snacking mindlessly and that what you’re putting into your mouth has some good nutritional value. Apple or cookie? Try to choose the apple more often. =) Same thing as with exercising, you’ll just feel better knowing that you’re eating a little healthier.

5. Do something new.
This isn’t easy because our days are filled with things that are “old.” Who has time for something new?  But just try something. Whether it’s saying hello to someone you’ve never met before or picking up trash you see on the ground or taking a walk in a new park–take a few minutes to do something you’ve never done before. You’ll feel enriched and probably learn something you didn’t know before.

Those are just a few things that came to mind that we can all do every single day to help build a better life.  Do you have any more ideas or thoughts on these?

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?

March Spending

So here it is short and sweet. I like to budget but a budget is just a plan of what you’re going to do with your money. An important part of keeping track of your finances is to review at the end of the budget period (for me it’s a month) and see where all your money went.

When you create a budget, break it down into a few major categories. If you’d like to have sub-categories that is fine but the categories should be very general. Mine are:

1. Savings (this includes emergency fund savings, vacation savings, school savings, etc.)
2. Debts (this includes what I put on my Visa card that month and paid off in full, student loans, etc.)
3. Transportation (includes gas, oil, auto insurance, auto repairs, etc.)
4. Housing (includes things I buy for my house, rent, all utilities renter’s insurance, etc.)
5. Life (includes everything else: food, entertainment, phone bill, cable bill, etc.)

So this month (my ‘budget months’ run from the middle of a month to the middle of the next) I tracked my spending through my online banking website and broke it down into categories. Here is the breakdown (as seen on the graph) of how I spent my money:

Savings 21.47%
Debts 9.07%
Transportation 16.96%
Housing 15.06%
Life 37.44%
There are definitely a few items when I went and looked back I should not have spent my money on. Most of it was some unneeded eating out that I am going to purposefully cut back on this next month.
Ultimately, at the rate of income I’m currently at, I’d like this to be the breakdown…
Savings %27
Debts 0%
Transportation 15%
Housing 25%
Life 33%
Since I’m moving soon my expenses are a little strange so this next month more will be under Housing than Life so I can get settled well.

Do you or have you ever tracked your spending? Do you find yourself consistently meeting your goals? How do you stay on track?