7 Ways To Save Money

I’m sure you’ve heard it countless of times and if not here it goes: “It’s not hard to make money. It’s hard to save money.” You notice the trend in the world that we live in? The more we make, the more we’ll want to spend? It’s like a never ending cycle and all it does to us is mess with our minds. Take a step back and analyze how much you make. In all honesty, you don’t need much to get by in life but yet we’re in-tuned with the “materialism” world especially with what we see through the news, media, and the internet. If you want to detach yourself from everyone else in the world that spends all their money constantly, then continue reading.. If not, then I suggest you go on your favorite shopping site and spend your money effortlessly.

There are 7 Ways to Save Money.. Believe it or not, it’s simple but it’s very challenging to do..

1. Track your Spending Habits

If you bank online or use credit cards, you can download a list of your expenditures over the past month, quarter, or even over the past year. You can use Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program where you can divide your spending by category. You might have even done this for your taxes. The idea is to get a handle on how much money you spend each month in each category (food, gas, clothing, utilities, etc.). Are there categories that you should be spending less money in? Are there things that you get on a regular basis that are eating up your money? Once you understand your spending habits, it will be easier for you to decide where and when to spend your money.

If you’re not that proficient with excel then you should sign up for mint.com. It’s free and it’s easy to use. All you do is plug in your bank accounts and credit cards (trust me it’s 100% safe), your goals as far as spending and from there mint will do the rest. I like this program a lot because it will notify you through e-mail or text if you’ve gone over budget. And it also tells you exactly how much you were charged on interest for each credit card. Sometimes, it’s good to know the exact number rather than looking at percent of interest.

2. Have a Budget

It’s a good idea to have a budget so that your spending doesn’t get out of control. Once you understand your spending habits, you can create a budget that allows you to spend money in the categories that are important for you and spend less in areas that aren’t as important to you. It takes discipline to keep a budget and it takes discipline to save money. With a budget you will have an idea of how much money you have to spend on the necessities and also on the niceties.

3. Don’t ALWAYS use Your Credit Cards

If you don’t have the money in your bank account, don’t use credit cards to get by. If you don’t have the money now, what makes you think you’ll have the money in the future to pay off your credit cards? Credit cards charge interest which works for the credit card company, not for you. If you don’t have the money now, don’t make the purchase. Of course, if you have a credit card for emergencies, and an emergency comes up, like your car breaks down or something, go ahead and use it. But going out to dinner with your family when you don’t have the money to pay for it is not an emergency.

4. Make Your Own Food

If you make your own lunch and take it to work you can save quite a bit of money over a year. For example, it cost on average about $10 a day just for lunch! And the sad thing is that junk food restaurants like McDonalds have their prices going up as well! So you’re not only spending more money, but you’re wasting it on unhealthy food. You can simply prepare your meals every day and you can save more than half of your weekly expenses. The same thing goes for coffee. If you take your own coffee, which you can make for pennies at home, instead of dropping by Starbucks on the way to work, you can save quite a bit of money If you go on YouTube you’ll see all kinds of guidelines on how to make delicious food. Nevertheless, it’s nice to eat out but don’t do it all the time, especially if you’re trying to save money.

5. Have a List When You go Shopping

When you go shopping, have a list. That goes for food shopping as well as other shopping. Have an idea of what you need to buy before you go shopping. Stores are set up in a specific way to get you to spend money. Millions of dollars of research is done every year in order to help stores sell more stuff to you. If you try and fight retailers, it will be a losing battle. The best thing for you to do is to have a list of the things you need before you go shopping. By doing this, your list should help you have the discipline to only get the things that are on your list. This will save you money. I can’t tell you how many times I went to Target without a list, and I leave the store with a deep hole in my pocket. I would tell myself that I’d only buy paper towels, and instead I’d come back with a videogame, and a bunch of junk food. I just lost over $50 right there since I didn’t discipline myself by creating a list. A list goes in conjunction with tracking your spending. You create a list once you know your weekly budget.

6. Look for Discounts and Coupons

Many employers provide discounts to their employees. You can find out about these programs through your human resources department. Also, don’t be above clipping coupons out of the newspaper. If there are coupons for things that you buy all the time and you can save a dollar here and there, that can really add up. It takes a lot of organization to clip coupons, but if you’re an organized person and willing to save money through coupons, this might be a method you can use.

7. Pay your Bills on Time and Avoid Fees

You can avoid paying a lot of extra money by paying your bills on time and avoiding late fees and overdraft fees. Pay your bills on time so that you don’t have additional finance charges. Pay your credit cards on time so that you don’t have additional late fee charges and your interest rate won’t be bumped up to 30%! Don’t spend more money than you have in your bank account because you don’t want to pay insufficient fund fees. By managing your money, even if you only have a little bit, can save quite a bit not paying exorbitant fines and fees.

Regardless how much you make, you can save a lot of money just by making small changes with your spending habit. It’s all about organizing everything, and creating a weekly – monthly budget. Make sure to pay off any unnecessary bills because the interest charges pile up!

Money is NOT The Answer to Happiness

NOT ENOUGH !!!

For the past 20 years, I’ve learned that money isn’t the answer to happiness. Don’t get me wrong, money is definitely important in this “materialistic” world that we live in. We need it to place food on the table, pay for our clothing, mortgage, and so on. However, living every day to make more money and to spend more things doesn’t bring happiness. I’ve experienced this in so many levels. There comes a time where all we care about is making more money to buy things that we “want” to have. And what happens once we obtain that materialistic item? We want something better, or we want something new. It’s a never ending cycle.

True happiness comes within yourself. You honestly do not need anything to be completely happy. My father, lived a very simple life. I witnessed a man who stayed home all day just reading books, and played with his dogs every single day. He barely went out the house; the only time he did was when he would be in his backyard working on his garden. Myself on the other hand, I loved spending money on the latest clothes, the latest shoes, the best gadget, etc. Every time I came home, my dad would tell me that I wasted my money because I already have clothes that were still in good condition And so why spend more money on clothes that I don’t even need? I would ignore his comment, but over time I realized how he was right. I remember wearing the latest clothes, and having the best gadget. But after a certain time, I lost interest and I was no longer happy with my possessions. Therefore, I needed to go out there and buy more materialistic objects just to fulfill my happiness. And that’s when I realized that I can never truly be happy with money.

Happiness to me is finding yourself. Knowing your worth, and that you’re more than just a robot. Happiness is to live your life freely and detaching yourself from this “worldy” life. Loving yourself is also a strong form of happiness. Look at yourself in the mirror and be thankful that you get to live another day. You can be happy without having anything; however it all starts with you. Personal development and being mindful of things will get you there. Everything here on Earth is “temporary.”

I was able to find my happiness by doing several things.. Hopefully this list will bring some perspective on your end.

  1. Take the time for yourself and love what the Earth has to offer. Go out to the beach and relax, or go on top of a hill and see the view. Watch how the world moves. Look at the ocean, the sand, the sun, the sky, the birds, the people, and nature. Put some headphones on and listen to some type of instrumental song. You’ll notice how life is beautiful without you having to do anything but to appreciate everything around you.
  2. Be open to everything. Being closed-minded can eat you up in the long run. You might miss an opportunity where something amazing could be apart of your life. For example, I had an assumption of a specific religion was always bad, which caused me to have anger towards people that were apart of that religion. However, I cleared my mind, and told myself that I need to experience it for myself. And so I went to a wedding with that specific religion and realized how AWESOME it was. The people were great, and the sermon from the pastor delivered a wonderful message. I would have never experienced this if I kept a closed mind, and my anger towards that religion would still be around.
  3. Appreciate the little things in life. Take the time and look everything around you. You’ll start to realize that all the little things surrounding you will make you happy. Sometimes all we need is just time off for ourselves and to reflect on everything.
  4. Give.  I learned that I found happiness from giving rather than receiving. I remember I loved to spend so many unnecessary toys / gadgets for myself that would only keep me happy for a small time being. The never ending happiness was when I would treat my family and friends out for dinner. Spending quality time with your close ones is priceless.

Again, I’m not here to say that you shouldn’t make money – because that’s not my intention. I’m just saying that money isn’t the answer to happiness. By all means, make as much money as you want but don’t let it take over your life!

How to Deal with Difficult People

We deal with difficult people in our lives. Friends who love to take the spotlight. Co-workers that have a slow learning curve. Girlfriends or boyfriends that smell funny. If these people don’t matter to you, then it’s easy to disregard them in your life. However, there are those that you truly care about where you’ll want to work something out.

Be aware though, that there are times these people could possibly be “testing” you. For example, a friend that loves to take the spotlight from you or everyone else – usually this means this person is insecure / lacks the confidence and is showing up a “front.” He or she probably wants you to reach out to them, which shows a sign of “proof” that you care about your friend. If you don’t meet that person’s expectation then everything else could escalate, where you will be at a point where you’ll want to give up on the relationship.

First thing is to decide how much of an effort do you want to put into this person. Do you value anything from this person, and does he or she value anything from you as well? Do you believe you’ll grow with this person as well, or do you think it’s time for you to move on?

It’s important to try to understand the person’s behavior and history. Perhaps your best friend is an alcoholic, and the reason for that is due to their rough history with their family. Coping with an alcoholic is difficult and ultimately it boils down to your tolerance. How much of an effort do you want to keep going with this person? Once you have a better understanding of why that person is acting that certain behavior, then it’s much easier to communicate effectively with him/her getting offended. For example, you can reach out to your friend and let them know that there’s a better solution than drinking alcohol due to his past history.

Best Solution:

  1. Talk about the manner in a calm tone. Express how you feel about that person, but do not attack them because the problem could escalate.
  2. Make sure you are descriptive. Do not leave anything out, and don’t sugarcoat anything. But remember! Stay calm.
  3. Once you talk about it, let them know that there is a consequence to the relationship if that person doesn’t adjust to their behavior.
    • For example, you tell your friend that’s an alcoholic “I won’t invite you to any events if you keep drinking!”

If that person hasn’t lived up to your expectations then give them the consequence!

 

 

 

Protect Yourself From Your Doctor!

I learned that not all doctors are that great. At the end of the day they’re humans just like us which means they make mistakes. Nevertheless, it’s important to minimize those mistakes ESPECIALLY when it’s YOUR health or a close family of yours we’re talking about! Long story short, my father recently passed away because he was misdiagnosed and went through substandard quality of care. His family doctor told us that my dad was going through muscle pain and that losing weight was completely fine. Within a month my dad was sent to the hospital and was diagnosed with liver cancer and he passed away the following morning. My goal here is to share my lesson to you because I want to make sure that you’re getting the best quality care as much as possible. Learn from us and don’t always assume that every doctor knows what they’re talking about.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from your doctor and also to make sure the doctor is treating you at the highest quality possible!

1) Always ask questions – We used to be intimidated by our doctor because we assumed that he knew everything and that asking questions was embarrassing. Don’t be that person. I would always advise to do some prior research (look through credible websites / books / or someone you know that’s in the medical field which I’ll get into #2), so you can ask those questions and see your doctors response. You want to make sure that the doctor isn’t just there because he or she is getting paid. You can tell if they’re sincere just by answering all your questions thoughtfully and also providing recommendations. Our doctor always kept telling us to trust him and not to worry and to listen to him because he was the professional. Unfortunately we were wrong.

2) Talk to family members / friends that are in the medical field. You want to hear their opinions. Since they’re your family / friend they would care about you and would do whatever it takes to help. It’s always good to hear a secondary opinion especially if that’s their profession. Nevertheless, still do your own research as well. Keep in mind that your body is different from everyone else’s as well. Therefore, you really want to see what doctor would suit your needs.

3) Look online for reviews. The biggest mistake we’ve done is that we checked our dad’s doctor reviews AFTER my father had passed away. We saw that he scored a 2 out of 5! Always read what past patients have said about their doctors. It will give you an “idea,” of who you’re working with.

4) Walls can be deceiving – Usually doctors will show all their diplomas and credentials on their wall. Don’t be too impressed by that it tells you nothing about the doctor. The main thing you should know is if your doctor is board certified in his/her specialty. You’ll want to check your doctor’s background in the Directory of medical specialist. If you’re from the United States you can go to the American Board of Medical Specialties to check your doctor’s credentials.

5) Find out if your doctor is part of the medical staff of a hospital. You’ll want to see if that local hospital has a good reputation! I recently switched my doctor knowing that
-They have good ratings online
-They’re part of a really good hospital
-Everyone that was working at the hospital recommended the doctor.

I’ve learned the hard way that I had a terrible doctor. Please make sure you protect yourself at all times because your health is important! Your family and friends we’ll want to see you at least for another day!

3 Important Things to Live By in Life

Over the past several years I’ve gone through so many challenges in life. I’m blessed and thankful that I was given the opportunity to go through these challenges, because I’ve grown as a better person. And during these challenges, I’ve learned that there are 3 important things to Live by in life.

1) Come and Go. What do I mean by that? Simple. Everything will come and go in your life; whether it’s a materialistic object, an emotion, or even someone you care about. The important thing is to appreciate and cherish that moment. For instance, you may love to play videogames every single day. Unfortunately there will be a time where you’re no longer capable of playing your favorite game due to your health Or you’ll be too busy in life. Live by the moment, but cherish it as well and understand that the times of playing videogames will not last forever. This applies to emotions. What do I mean by that? You’re going to be angry, and you’re going to be depressed. These emotions will COME and they WILL GO. And that goes with being happy as well. Understand that everything in this world is temporary. I reflect on the times when I was angry or depressed, because I realized that I was able to grow during that process. Again, I accepted that these emotions would come and go.

2) Accept that You’re Not THAT SMART. I’m not here to put you down, but I’m here to let you know and even myself that we’re gifted. You might ask, then why accept that we’re not that smart? I’m basically trying to tell you that there’s no lid on top of your brain. In other words, we need to accept that we don’t know EVERYTHING and that the beauty in life is to learn something new every time. The hardest thing is to accept that we’re not that smart. When you come to that realization then everything opens up and you realize how much more you can grow. Stop limiting yourself.

3) Be Open to Everything. The last thing that I love to live my life by is to be open to everything. I’ve been a lot happier when I became more open to everything. Whether it’s trying out a new type of food, accepting a different culture in my life, appreciating different types of music, etc. I remember when I was younger, I used to like “certain” things. I only listened to hip hop music, I only hung out with a certain ethnicity group, and I believed that only successful people were college graduates. Ha! I was DEAD wrong. I started listening to rock music, and even country and realized how much I’ve been missing in life! Of course, there will be preferences; but the point is you won’t know until you decide to try it out yourself. Hence, it’s important to stay open to everything. I remember when I accepted friends that were all different races; my life changed for the better. I was happier knowing that we’re all different! I was very closed minded when I was young and I just felt like I was in a small bubble..

These are the 3 important things that I like to live by in Life. Remember, don’t limit yourself when it comes to knowledge. Stop thinking you know it all because you don’t. Accept that things will come and go, and the main thing is to cherish those moments. You won’t know what you have until it’s gone. The last thing is to be open to everything. You might just learn a thing or two by keeping an open mind and heart!

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