Five Tips For Practical Frugality in Modern Times

Although Benjamin Franklin is well accredited for being the Father of many different ideals and processes, one of the most underrated practices that he developed through his youth and practiced throughout his life is the idea of staunch frugality. Lest we forget that he is the man who championed the phrase, “A penny saved, is a penny earned!”

Burning Money and Practical Frugality
Burning Money and Practical Frugality image courtesy of Pixabay

While the idea of thrifty spending may have been a bit more simple in the 1700’s as purchasing access was nothing like what we have today, the principles of thrift have not entirely changed all that much. In this blog we will look into five techniques that are more inline with today’s world and reveal how to trim the fat around your budget to save more of those precious pennies!

Define a Goal and Budget

Saving will always be easier if you have a defined goal for why you are doing so. Principally, your goals should be based on clearing any debt that is currently keeping you from building a nest egg. If your goal is to become debt free then set a clear amount that you will need to save each month and build your budget around that. If you are fortunate enough to be clear of debt than physically sit down and bluntly define why you want to save.  As you parcel out your ‘why,’  your ‘how’ will become that much more important and achievable.

As for budgeting, I can not stress enough how useful the phone and computer applications make this in our world (oh how Mr. Franklin would love the convenience!). Define an upcoming month as your ‘strict observation month’ as you need a starting point for your financial analysis. During this month, track where every single dollar goes in your spending the second after you spend it. I use an app called Spending Tracker that allows me to easily categorize spending into things like, ‘Grocery,’ ‘Utilities,’ ‘Rent,’ etc. once you have a whole month to examine it makes for an easier platform to see where you can cut back on overspending. If you don’t know where your money is going how can you possibly expect to keep more in!

Online Shopping and Cell Phones

Resist the urge to online shop! There is a reason that it is so easy to just click a button and have something delivered to your door – the companies want you to spend more money! As you find yourself opening your browser of choice to shop for new online goodies ask yourself these two questions:
1) Is this really something that I need right now?
2) Do I want this thing more than I want to achieve my financial goal?

Another important technological suck on the budget is the cell phone bill. Overages, specifically with data, can double or even triple your original cell phone bill and leave you with an empty wallet. Utilize the data tracker that is available through most of the service applications to know exactly where you are in your usage and do not go over. If you find that you are getting close each month, see if there is useless usage that can be cut out throughout your normal day and eradicate the waste.

Electricity, Water, and Air Conditioning

Inside the home, as lights and televisions are left on, water is left running, and AC is cranked, there are dollars flying out the window constantly. Set new rules in your house to turn off lights unless the room is being used and to turn the television off unless someone is watching it.

As for water use, try to limit your showers and also turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth as it was estimated recently that leaving it running wastes more than one gallon of water every single night (that’s 30 gallons over the course of a month – 360 per year!).

Air Conditioning can also be a major drain especially for those who live in the South and have poor insulation. Try to turn the AC up every time you leave the house and up as much as you can bear it at night. If your AC unit is constantly whirring this is a good indication that the wallet will be hurting when the utility bills come.

Shop Store Brand

When you are doing your grocery shopping, do your due diligence to inspect the ingredients of every product you buy as there is almost always a cheaper alternative. The ingredients are what you are buying, not the name on the box, so pair your favorite foods with the store brand alternatives to see that you are in fact paying more for the exact same products. With one of the major budgetary strains being the grocery store, this small oversight can lead to all kinds of money waste over the long term.

Shop Used

If you find yourself answering yes to the question of, ‘do i really need this,’ then see if there is a better alternative to the purchase. If you live in a major city then chances are your local thrift store has more higher end clothing than most of the brick and mortar stores where people spend money on new threads.

If you happened to be in more of a rural area there are still hidden gems to be found, although you may have to look a little harder. Do not let the cultural stigma of ‘used’ taint your desire to spend money and achieve your goals. Often times the hunt for finding what you want used can lead to the discovery of new cool, interesting, and cheaper things anyway!

There is money to be found in every budget and with a few easy thrifty steps, even the tightest of budgets can be happy. Sit down and define your goals and then create the habits that help you to accomplish those goals that leave you with a plentiful wallet full of pennies saved!

Weekly Motivation Note Card

Motivation and positive thinking are finely tuned, highly functional muscles in the body, spirit and mind that are often neglected. Just as you would not go to the gym once and expect to be extremely fit and healthy, you can not simply read a self-help book, or do one set of affirmations and anticipate motivational success.

Motivation Note Card Tips
Motivation Note Card Tips image courtesy of Pixabay

How to Use the Weekly Motivation Note Card System

By IWrite4U!

The Weekly Note Card is a great organization habit to keep you focused, goal-centered, and driven throughout each week. The idea is that you fill a personalized note card each week with a positive quote, goal, reassurance, affirmation and where you would like to be at the end of the week and then carry it with you at all time and reference it throughout.

What You’ll Need

In order to get started, all you will need to purchase is a pack of standard 3×5 note cards. I prefer packs that offer a variety of colors so I can use the different colors to have different overall meanings, for instance:

Red Card: a very emotionally exciting color, red actually increases respiration and heart rate – I will use if I have a big week of projects or major test or presentation
Yellow Card: associated with joy, creates a warming effect – will use if it is a rainy week or there is possible gloom on the horizon
Green Card: symbolizes growth, harmony, and freshness – will use if I am feeling stagnated or anxious

How to Make it Work

Once you have your selected your preferred card it will be time to fill it! Try to lay out a schedule for yourself in when and where you create the card and also reference it at home. I find that Sunday evenings work best for making the new card for the week as it lays out your mental road map. In practice, I will keep the card on my nightstand if I am home, or on my bathroom counter, so that it is the first thing that I see when I wake up and last at night.

Allow yourself to be creative in your composition but try to stick to the card format of:

Affirmation: Speak in the first person and be specific. Some examples:
– I am in charge of my mood
– I have everything that I need to make this a great day
– When I breathe I inhale confidence and exhale timidity

Positive Quote: Search and select something that resonates with you. Some people keep books they quote (Bible, Collections, Poems) or some just reference web searches – either works!

Goal: What would you like to accomplish this week?
– Spend more time with kids
– Take wife out on date

Thing to work on: What would you like to see different in yourself?
– Be more patient with your employees
– Be humble about your successes

Compose your card and keep it on your person at all times throughout the week (wallet or purse works great). Whenever you have a moment pull out the card and reference it and overlay it with your present moment to check in and exercise the ambition and positivity muscles. At the end of the week, look into what you could have done better and where you ended up, and use it as a platform for your next card! Have fun with the practice and enjoy the positive growth that is summoned within you!

Relax With Some Quotes About Relaxation

I haven’t posted here in a while, I guess I haven’t really been feeling the positivity of it all, but I wanted to pop in today and share some quotes I found about relaxing, because I just thought they were kind of nice.

Relaxation Quotes
Serenity Pool image courtesy of Pixabay

3 Classic Relaxation Quotes

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”                                                   – William S. Burroughs

I like this quote because it made me stop and think about all the times I’ve been really struggling to find a solution to a problem, but I was so caught up in the problem I couldn’t see a way through. Then, when I finally just let go, the answer would come to me in a dream or out of blue when I was doing something totally unrelated. Have you ever had that happen? I’ve heard it’s really common – kind of a ‘you can’t see the forest for the trees’ kind of  a thing.

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”      – Sydney J. Harris

This one is like the second half of the thought from the first quote, because when you’re under stress or feeling sad, that’s when you most need answers, and it’s when you can’t possibly find them because it’s so hard to relax and let your mind think about anything other than the problem.  It just feels like you have to work harder, and that ‘power through it’ mindset can be the thing holding back from finding a solution.

“When the solution is simple, God is answering.”                 – Albert Einstein

I was struggling to find the right quote to end this post – I should have known I would find it in Einstein’s words. So, here’s why I picked this as the last of my 3 quotes  about relaxation to share with you today; when you just relax, and be still, and let yourself move and think outside the parameters of your current existence; when the solution to something that has been making you struggle and ache just comes to you out of the blue, when it’s finally clear, and it’s finally simple, then you know the answer came from a source bigger than yourself.

By Laure Justice

 

The Circling Hawks

I’ve often heard that human beings are the only life form that moves into an area and decimates the natural resources, and I’ve never really questioned that; because there are many examples of people ruining their own natural environment only to end up having to relocate when life gets too hard in the newly barren environments they’ve created.

The Circling Hawks
Tethered Red-Tailed Hawk image courtesy of Pixabay user Skeeze

 

The Circling Hawks

By Laure Justice

I realized today that that myth, that belief that only humans ruin the environment they need to rely on to survive, is not quite correct. (The title kind of gives away what tipped me off to this tidbit of information…)

This time of year, the woods around my house is normally alive with fluttering birds in search of a mate or already-mated songbirds building tiny nests to raise their young, and lots of young squirrels and even some baby rabbits and mama bunnies normally skitter around the yard.

This year is different, though, and here’s why…

Three years ago a red-tailed hawk nested in the woods here, and as she raised her two young, they stayed with her.

The trio of hawks hunted, and hunted, and hunted, feasting on the tiny songbirds and skittering bunnies and fluff-tailed squirrels – until now – with spring in the air – the normally chirp-filled woods lies silent except for the occasional whirring sound of the wind and rare caw of an unlucky crow that passes through – shrieked in its last moments before being surrounded by three full-grown, very hungry birds of prey.

Every day, these once-majestic birds hungrily eye the neighbor’s cats or sit perched on tree branches hoping for a chance to snatch a small dog or an unlucky chicken.

Looking at the creatures – from a human perspective, as I am quite obviously an outsider in their avian world, its easy to see that they need to move on, to find a fresh hunting ground, or they will eventually starve to death.

But, they stay, and each day seem a bit more desperate in their hunts.

Why? Why do they stay?

Applying human logic, which most likely does not apply to birds, but it’s all I have at my disposal, it’s hard to fathom why these creatures stay rooted here, where the food supply is dwindling, having been decimated by their own growing hunger.

Even as I sit here surrounded by a silent shroud of trees, grounded by my human form, I watch the nearly starved hawks; envying their wings and admiring the way they drift across the sky, riding the wind.

It seems as if the world is theirs, surely these regal creatures have the ability to soar across the sky and choose a life filled with abundance and where painful gnawing hunger is not part of each day.

They could quite simply go anywhere.

But still they stay. Rooted by invisible bonds. Tethered to a land that was decimated by their own talons and hooked beaks.

Maybe they stay because this is all they know of the world.

Maybe they stay because the nearest woods already has more hawks or even some larger eagles nested there – and the world beyond the next woods is simply unimaginable and scary.

Like a Hawk

Can you see yourself in the story of these hawks?

Each of us has within us that same magnificence, that same regality, that same beating heart that can soar, even if we were not gifted at birth with wings, taking us to anywhere we choose.

But, how many of us never soar?

Each of us has the option to stay rooted, tethered, in a place that is too small for us, either physically like these hawks, or emotionally, where we end up decimating the very things we most need to survive and thrive.

But, how many of us never truly thrive?

Only you can know what keeps you tethered and what you let into your life that holds back your magnificence, and only you can choose to soar instead of depleting your own internal natural resources: your brilliance, your character, your spirit – your regal, amazing awe-inspiring you-ness.

 

 

Can New Years Superstition Mess Up Your Happy New Year Wishes?

New Years superstitions, like kissing our loved ones at midnight on New Years Eve to ensure they stay with us the entire year or eating a plate of pork and sauerkraut for a year’s worth of good luck, tend to become part of a family’s yearly practices and a family’s story – but honoring mystical thinking by bowing to superstition isn’t the key to having a great year.

Happy New Year Wishes
Happy New Year Wishes image courtesy of Pixabay.

New Years Superstition vs Happy New Year Wishes

Luck is exactly that – luck – it can be good or bad and it’s completely random.

Relying on superstitions, which are in fact nothing more than imagination, to give you good luck is adding pretending to randomness, and it basically amounts to getting exactly the same results you already have and if you had a bad year or an average year last year, then it is just inviting another bad or average year in the coming year.

Simply Accepting the Imagination Behind Superstition Plus the Randomness of Luck Just Equals More of the Same Random (Good or Bad) Luck You Already Have!

Successful New Years Wishes

The word wishes is really the wrong word here, because the solution is really based in goal-setting, and applying action to making your new year resolution (or new year resolutions if you have more than one) a reality instead of a wispy, ethereal hope.

Avoid the kind of new years resolutions where you are going to do a total overhaul of your life and lose 10 or 100 pounds in a month with no actual plan for how to do it, because that sets you up for failure when you make it too big with no realistic plan, and failure puts you in a negative mindset that’s super hard to escape.

Also, don’t focus on only the root meaning of the word resolutions, because that means you’re relying solely on willpower to get the things you want – combine goal-setting with resolve and action to actually get the results you want.

Goal Setting + Will Power + Action = Desired Results

Happy New Year!

So, go ahead and kiss the people you love at midnight, if it makes you happy, and go ahead and eat that pickled cabbage we call sauerkraut if it makes you happy, but do it because you enjoy it.

Don’t rely on a new year’s superstition to decide if you’re going to have a good year or not – make choices and act in ways that deliver success – so you don’t have to rely on luck to have the kind of life you want in the new year.

Please stop back or sign up for my free newsletter (the form is on the right side of the screen) – and I hope you’ll let Intrinsic Vicissitude be part of your happy new year. I would like to thank my corporate partner, Target, in bringing you this post, and invite you to visit their website by clicking on the symbol to find, well, pretty much anything you need to do pretty much anything.

By: Laure Justice

Preparing for Better Health and Total Fitness in 2017

A new year is like a fresh slate, at least in some ways, and it’s a great time to set some goals that help you start preparing for better health and total fitness.

Preparing for Better Health and Total Fitness in the New Year
Runner image courtesy of Pixabay

Preparing for Better Health and Total Fitness in the New Year

To get psyched for achieving the goal of better health and fitness, think about where you really want to end up, what you can safely achieve; and then take a look at your fitness gear, both comfortable clothes and shoes, as well as exercise equipment, because looking good when working out and being comfortable boost your morale so you earn even more success.

Convenience Makes it Easier to Succeed

For any goal you set, make it easy to succeed. This works whether you are talking about fitness, your finances, your career, or your relationships (thought relationships are obviously harder to plan success into because you have to account for the feelings of someone else who may have entirely different goals.)

In the case of better health, if you find anything lacking, look for great deals and one-stop shopping when you’re buying new gear, like you find in your local Target store or on the company website.

Mental Preparation for Total Fitness and Getting Healthier

Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness program, and also, like I mentioned above, go ahead and get yourself psyched.

Changing your lifestyle takes work because habits become so ingrained in our lifestyle, even a small change can take big effort, and a lot of the time, that work is 99% mental work – getting and staying psyched for success.

The Slow and Steady Tortoise Won that Race

Be emotionally prepared for the occasional setback, a little setback is not a failure, it can just be your subconscious telling you you’re jumping in too fast – that you need to ease into your lifestyle changes.

Just like in the fable about the tortoise and the hare, sometimes the fastest runner gets tired out and ends up losing to the one who puts forth a slow and steady effort.

Your goal may be to get swimsuit-ready by spring if you are using weight as the basis for your goal-setting, but if that means crash dieting, sure, you could probably achieve that goal, but it also probably won’t last and can even damage your long-term health goals.

Set Some Goals, and Then Achieve Them

If you’ve browsed around the site and seen my older posts, you probably already know that I don’t like setting New Year’s Resolutions because they are too easy to forget – and I have my own version of planning for each new year – and you’re welcome to try it in your own life if you feel inspired; instead of making resolutions, I set goals and then start figuring out what needs to be done first to achieve my new goals.

  • Know yourself: Your goals can be anything that will make you happy, and in all seriousness, I have found I always achieve the ones I keep to myself and I almost never achieve the ones I tell others about. I used to think being accountable to others was the key to succeeding, but for me, it’s a sure way to fail.

So, I suggest looking back at your life during this time of introspection and goal-setting – and if you have a similar pattern – keep your new goals to yourself and quietly begin the real work of creating a new life story for yourself, one that includes success, better health, and total fitness – it’s no one else’s business anyway.

I would like to extend a special thank you to my affiliate sponsor for this post, Target, and if you need anything to get started on your path to better health and fitness, I invite you to take advantage of the links in this short article to get a jump on getting anything you need for your healthy new lifestyle – oh – and be sure to come back and let me know how it’s going or sign up for my free newsletter (the sign-up box is over on the right side of the screen) so my positivity boost emails can be delivered right to your inbox.

By: Laure Justice

 

 

Products to Help You Achieve Body, Mind and Spiritual Balance as We Ring in the New Year

The new year is the perfect time to set goals for achieving body, mind and spiritual balance, but those goals don’t add up to much unless you find a way to make them stick.

Body Mind and Spiritual Balance
Medicine Wheel image courtesy of Pixabay

This year, set yourself up to succeed in your goals by making it easy on yourself – set goals that align with your core beliefs and, if necessary, pick up some products that help push you to succeed.

I’m going to share a few of my favorite tips and products here, and I hope you’ll feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section at the end of the article.

Achieve Body, Mind, and Spiritual Balance

I’ve found that things in my life are generally connected, and that seems to be a fairly common thread for people everywhere.

When good things start to happen, they snowball and more good things keep piling on, and it’s a great time – but when things start to go wrong, the same thing happens only in reverse – the negative things keep piling on until every part of life feels disastrous.

That’s why it’s so important to set yourself up to succeed and to achieve a healthy balance in life – every little success snowballs to become part of a bigger success, and part of a happier healthier life.

For Better Health

While there are so many things that go into better health, I’m starting with fitness, since I’m thinking about my own new year’s goals right now.

Personally, I’m not a person who is likely to ever go join a gym, because it would be inconvenient for me, plus, the last thing I want is to pay to exercise with people looking at me, so I wanted to find a program I could do in the privacy of my home.

I love thisprogram because it lets me access all the workouts, from any device, for less than I would pay per month at my local gym, and – plus – and this is a big plus – they give a 30-day free trial.

For Mental Stimulation

For mental stimulation, it’s hard to beat reading – and when it comes to feelings of success and inner peace, you can so easily turn to the masters by picking up or downloading a book from one of the masters of positivity, like Anthony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, Ralph waldo Emerson, and W. Clement Stone – just to name a few.

So, for a place to find a great selection of reading material to stimulate your mind and forge a path to better life, I wanted to share this link to .

While I love, and expect to always love, having a paper copy of a book to hold and reread, I find I now download books more often than I get paper copies – it saves trees and the gratification is instant because I can start reading within minutes of paying for the book.

For Inner Peace

Choosing something to share with you about inner peace is a little harder, because everyone finds peace in a different way, and I don’t want to leave anything out, but this is getting long and I will be back to share different things that I find.

My first thought was that I would share information on yoga or meditation, but that’s so closely linked to fitness that I decided to go with upgrading your home with pieces that make you feel comfort and pleasure.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to fix every little part of your life before you fix up your surroundings, but turning your home into a place you are proud of gives you a psychological boost, and besides, you and your family deserve to be surrounded by things that give you pleasure.

So, the third place I picked to share with you was a company called Rejuvenation. I loved the unique blend of restored antiques and elegant newer pieces this site offers, and it was a joy to be able to tell you about their unique decor items.

By: Laure Justice

I was honored to partner with Daily Burn, Barnes & Noble, and Rejuvenation to bring you this article about achieving a balance between your body, mind, and spirit.

The Surprising Difference Between Moving On and Running Away

When problems are overwhelming and the pressure and pain are just too much to handle, it’s completely normal to want to escape, but there’s an emotionally healthy way to do it and a less balanced way, and that way is the surprising difference between moving on and running away – and what you CHOOSE to do determines whether the outcome is positive or negative, too.

The Difference Between Moving On and Running Away

The Difference Between Running Away and Moving On
Running Away image courtesy of Pixabay

Both running away and moving on are means of escaping a situation that isn’t working, but the difference between the two approaches to rewriting your life story is the thinking behind each move, and that thinking determines your end result.

Running Away

Running away is an act of desperation, typically done without a lot of forethought or maturity, it gets you away from an immediate bad situation, but not necessarily to a better place.

  • Almost everyone has heard of, been, or known that little kid who packs a bag of snacks and a teddy bear (but no clothes, jacket, or safe destination) and runs away from home because of getting punished for something.

Running away can offer instant relief to the things that are wrong in your life, BUT, and it’s a BIG BUT, your problems, or even worse ones, will be waiting on you when you reach your destination.

Moving On

Moving on in life also removes you from your problems, but it’s not an immediate escape: it’s harder and it takes longer, but it’s worth the effort and the wait.

  • Moving on is taking the time to examine what went wrong in your life, being honest about your role in your own problems, and carefully considering the path to take as you move on with your life.  

Moving on with this type of considered approach helps you leave the problems you are trying to escape where they belong, in your past.

Be Safe First

I want to add, if you’re in physical danger, go with running away and get to a safe place, just… once you get away and you’re in that safe place, give yourself time to reflect on what went wrong and heal before you rush right into another bad situation.

Both ways of escaping can remove you from the immediate problem, but moving on intelligently can stop your problems from following you into the next part of your life while running away leaves you pulling your old problems right along with you like a wagon full of… useless… stuff.

Now, if you’re ready to move on and you’re considering actually moving to a new location, be sure to check out his mini list of house hunting tips to help you maintain positivity while finding a great new home. 

By: Laure Justice

How To Stay Positive During The House-Hunting Process

How To Stay Positive During The House-Hunting Process

Positivity determines happiness, especially when you’re in the midst of buying a new home.

How To Stay Positive During The House-Hunting Process
How To Stay Positive During The House-Hunting Process image courtesy of Pixabay

It’s easy to go into the house-hunting process in New York City (or anywhere) with a positive attitude and all the hope in the world, but it’s just as easy to end up feeling jaded, frustrated, and unhappy. The NYC real estate market changes every day, and it’s not always changing in ways that help you. The house-hunting process might not always go the way you’d like it to go, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose your positive attitude.

Remember Everything Happens for a Reason

When you look back on your life, can you see how everything you thought was a horrible situation turned out to be for the best? In most cases, the things you see as a downfall actually turn out to be for the best. It’s a lot easier to keep a positive mindset when you consider that amazing apartment you lost in a bidding war last week was probably the wrong house for you. Keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason, and that apartment went to someone else because an even better one is about to pop up for you.

Stand Out from the Crowd

House hunting in a demanding market is tough. When you find the perfect place, chances are good someone else thinks it’s pretty perfect, too. This leads to bidding wars, raised prices, and ample stress. A positive attitude reminds you to stand out from the crowd. Set yourself apart by making offers sellers can’t refuse. When you know an apartment or home is in demand, make an offer above listing price, and don’t ask for too many concessions such as a longer closing process, closing costs, and so on.

Contact the Seller

Here’s a tip that might make your house hunt much more enjoyable. When you head into an open house and fall madly in love but worry you won’t get the house because of higher offers, do yourself a small favor. Send a little thank you note to the seller immediately. Tell them how much you love their home, tell a little story about how you envision yourself hosting family dinners there for years to come, and compliment them. Send in your offer, and chances are good they’ll feel a connection to you with your personal stories and thank-you note. When this happens, sellers might choose you over others even if your offer isn’t the best one. This is their home, and they want to know someone is going to love it.

Also research your sellers, especially based on the area where you’re selling to make sure you’re getting something reputable. For example, real estate in NYC is one of the most hotly contested markets, so you have to go with someone reputable like Town Residential.

Know What You Want

It’s easy to settle when you can’t find what you want. Do this, and you’ll end up disliking your new home before you’ve even had time to unpack. Know what you want, make a list, and don’t make too many concessions when searching for the perfect home. It’s easy to stay positive when you avoid falling in love with every home you see because it’s not the right place.

A positive attitude makes a huge difference when it comes to finding the right home. You can stay positive by reminding yourself you won’t search forever. Keep the picture of you sitting in your new home enjoying Christmas morning with your family in your mind as you search. It will happen, and you just have to be patient.

I was honored to partner with Town Residential for this great information on remaining positive while house hunting. – Laure