Please meet guest blogger Rilind Elezaj, who reached out to share a lesson on avoiding negativity.

If you allow a negative person into your inner circle, be it in business or personal life, it will just be a matter of time until their negative attitude, pessimism, and backwardness start to rein havoc in the inner circle. This kind of people will approach you and befriend you pretending to care about you and your business but once they have your trust, they start oozing catastrophe.

Is there a way of identifying negative people and cutting them lose early enough? The short answer is no, the reason being that the negative vibes could even be coming from a close family member. In such a case, you inhale negativity every morning and in the end, you start seeing negativity and feeling it like it was a part of you. But our advice is to never allow negativity coming from people affect you or the environment surrounding you. Seek the help of a reputable life coach whenever you feel overwhelmed by the negativity around you.

The long answer, on the other hand, has everything to do with identifying negative vibes from a distance and avoiding it before it comes your way. You don’t cut it lose; you simply don’t allow it into your life.

1. Be the Author of your Attitude

Negative energy will only thrive around you if you aren’t in charge of your attitude. That is the time they move in with their bad attitudes and lend you some of their pessimism. And because we said that a negative person can be so ingrained in your life that you unknowingly overlook their negativity, it is best that you treat everyone around you as a suspect. Deliberately refuse to allow anyone, positive or negative, to influence your attitude. Tell yourself every morning that whatever happens throughout the day, you will maintain a smile through and through.

2. Ignore the Haters

Haters will always try to get into your head and spoil your mood by judging you or by giving you reports of how others were gossiping about you. Whereas that is hard to control (every human being hates to be judged), you can minimize its effects by telling your mind to stop caring too much about what other people say behind your back. And if we are to be honest, judging other people is part of the human composition. Even those you love and those who love you will judge you sometimes.

In some cases, you invite people to judge you by being dishonest and betraying their trust in you. But even when you are the cause of it, you will still feel bad when it happens. To avoid inviting malicious judgments from negative people, always try to be honest and dedicated to whatever you are mandated to do.

3. Don’t Care too Much

The secret to achieving anything in life is to not care too much about it. If you want to be happy, don’t sacrifice too much for it otherwise you will be frustrated in the long run. If you don’t want negative people in your life, don’t go looking for them everywhere. You don’t need to know them to block them out. As a matter of fact, searching for them with the mission of avoiding them later will actually make everything worse. Remember we said that even your loved ones can be the negative tumor in your life. Knowing who they are will affect your trust in people and deal a big blow to your happiness.

4. Take full Responsibility for Your Life

Negative people will always make you mad and disoriented, to the extent of affecting your productivity at work. If a close friend is negative but you are yet to decipher that, he will get into your mind and probably feed you with negative info about your partner. In the end, you become angry and do unimaginable things.

But then instead of apologizing to those you hurt and make amends, you result in blaming the negative friend for making you mad. That is exactly what the pessimist wanted you to do because when you blame him, you unknowingly refuse to take the blame for your actions and admit to everybody that he/she has you under his spell.

Always take responsibility for your actions. Don’t give anyone the satisfaction of seeing you admit that they have power over you.

Related: What to do When your Boss Hates You

Bottom Line

Never allow negativity space and oxygen it needs to grow. Seek the help of a reputable life coach whenever you feel overwhelmed by the negativity around you.

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4 Ways to Avoid Negativity - The Art of Not Caring - #whocares #negativity #career

The need for personal boundaries is eternal, but all the more vital when it comes to the workplace. After all, when at work, you want to work – and ideally, as efficiently and productively as possible. If your boundaries are transgressed, then maintaining a high standard of work is incredibly difficult.

However, maintaining personal boundaries can also be incredibly difficult. If you have struggled in this area in the past, then the tips below may help you to establish and maintain the boundaries you need.

Trust Your own Feelings

Many people find themselves conforming to a kind of peer pressure in the workplace. Say, for example, your colleagues are making sexually-explicit jokes; you may feel that you have to at least smile and nod, because they’re enjoying themselves, and you don’t feel you can disturb that. Some people even find that when they complain of this kind of behavior to their supervisor, the supervisor suggests they are the one with the problem, and it’s all just good-natured fun.

So, let’s be clear: if something your colleagues are doing is making you uncomfortable, or causing you to feel like the environment at your workplace is hostile, then that’s all the evidence you need. Ignore the peer pressure, the insistence it’s just harmless banter; you have a right to feel safe, protected, and at-ease at work. If your employer doesn’t help resolve the situation, then get a harassment lawyer to examine the matter in more depth; you simply do not have to tolerate unpleasant behavior from your colleagues under any circumstances.

Look for ways to Establish Physical Boundaries

Often, physical boundaries help to reinforce personal boundaries – but the popularity of open-plan offices can hugely complicate matters in this regard.

If you find a lack of personal, physical space difficult, talk to your manager, emphasizing why the issue is impacting your ability to work as you wish. You could suggest that you be allowed to erect portable screens between you and your colleagues, or use strategically-placed pot plants to create a space that is just yours. Finally, it’s also worth seeking permission to wear headphones while you work; you can just listen to white noise, and hope that your colleagues see the headphones as a sign you are not looking to engage in conversation.

Related: 10 Ways to Establish Better Work-Life Balance

Be Straightforward if You’re not Willing to Discuss a Topic

Colleagues sometimes become friends, sometimes even best friends – but the desire for a working relationship to become a friendship has to go both ways. If your colleagues are asking for more information about your personal life than you are willing to divulge, then say so: “I don’t really feel comfortable talking about that at work.”

The idea of being so blunt may make you wince but, in most cases, honesty is the only way of dealing with intrusive questions. If you try to be more subtle, hoping that others will take the hint that you don’t wish to discuss that topic, then there’s every chance these hints will be missed or – worse yet – ignored. By being blunt, you’re establishing your boundary and making it clear that you will only provide non-work related information if you want to. If they continue to ask, speak to your manager as soon as possible.

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There’s no denying that your career is an integral aspect of your life. However, it’s important that you remember to work to live rather than live to work. If your job is stopping you from leading the life that you wish to lead, you must find a way to overcome this problem.

Of course, you cannot afford to simply give up work. Try these 10 simple steps instead, and you won’t go far wrong. 

1. Find A Job You Love

The old cliché that “if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day again” isn’t quite true. Still, there is no doubt that being happy in your career will have a positive impact. Whether you love hospitality or fitness, accounting or retail doesn’t matter. When you can wake up and actively look forward to your shift, it removes the pressure to squeeze fun into your recreational life. 

2. Cycle To Work

Cycling to work on a cold morning might not sound overly appealing. However, the ability to combine your commute and daily exercise into one is far more attractive. It’s more fun than sitting in heavy traffic while being able to go straight home without hitting the gym is a blessing too. On a separate note, this solution is a great way to save a little money in the process.

3. Move Closer To Work

If you spend two hours commuting to work each day, that’s 20 hours over the course of a week. Moving closer to the job may be the smartest thing you’ll ever do.  Finding a condo for sale near work place environments can be great news for your current role. Moreover, being closer to the hustle and bustle can make you an attractive prospect to future employers too.

4. Invest In A Cleaner

Not everyone will need to do this. Still, if you’re struggling to find the time for chores, hiring a cleaner may work well. This is especially true if you are self-employed or run a business because you could earn more than the cleaner charges by working. Besides, the professional will often get through those activities far quicker than you would. And you won’t need to buy the cleaning tools.

5. Make The Most Of Time Off 

There’s nothing wrong with taking a day off to recover from an illness or enjoy a lazy day on the sofa. Nevertheless, your annual leave is limited, and you’ll want to do more with it. Taking vacations, road trips, and days out needed break the bank. Better still, exploration broadens the mind and should provide clarity in life. Moreover, the magical memories are sure to last a lifetime.

6. Cut Down On Tech Time

Modern tech is a wonderful thing that allows us to stay in touch with loved ones. Sadly, the temptation to spend hours talking to old school friends and people we no longer see can get in the way of relationships in the real world. Learn to focus on the people that actually matter to you now, and your personal life will feel enriched. A break from tech is extra important if you work with it too.

7. Earn More

Managing your time isn’t the only challenge. Money is incredibly important if you want to enjoy a better lifestyle, and your job is the main source of it. Asking your boss for a raise in an effective manner could be the key to making your life a little easier. Apart from anything else, it may remove the need to take on overtime. Those extra hours can be spent doing something far more productive. 

8. Don’t Be Afraid To Clock Off

Thanks to modern communication, it’s possible for employers to maintain links to their employees at all times. Unless it’s something urgent, you’d rather it just wait. Don’t be afraid to turn off the notifications on your emails and team messaging Apps, especially if you have a day off. Worrying about work when you’re not even will soon eat away at your enjoyment in and out of work.

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9. Enjoy Time With Colleagues

It’s a crazy phenomenon, but you’ll probably spend more time with work friends than lifelong mates. While you are primarily there to work and earn money, a little friendly chat can actively boost your productivity. Welcoming new colleagues to the team can make a big impact on your life as well as theirs. Likewise, it’s never too late to make new friends with old colleagues.

10. Know What You Want

 It’s very easy to go through life without really focusing on the things you want. Take the time to determine what matters to you. This should cover your work life as well as your personal life, and will help guide you to far smarter decisions. When you are focused on the intended destination, the journey becomes far smoother. With less time being wasted, your work-life balance should thrive.

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If you’re spending your entire weekend doing chores, you probably return to work on Monday feeling tired. No one does their best work when tired. Instead of spending the entire weekend grocery shopping, taking the kids on play dates, and cleaning the house, carve out some time for self-care. You will be amazed how taking just a little time for yourself can supercharge your productivity.

Here are a few self-care ideas to practice this weekend:

Eat Right

If you spend your workweek lunch hours sitting in line at a drive through, you probably feel sluggish by 2 PM. Over the weekend, instead of following the same fast-food routine, pick up healthy, easy-to-grab snacks and meals during your grocery run. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, grab nuts, dried fruit, and cheeses instead of cheese doodles and donuts.

To make meal planning healthier and easier on the weekend (and all week, for that matter), look at in-store recipes and meal kits at your local grocer. If you live near a Fresh Market, their Little Big Meals make great, healthy meals the whole family will enjoy. Unlike most things at Fresh Market, the Little Big Meals are reasonably priced at $20 for a three (or more) course meal for a family of four. This past week, we had barbecue pork sandwiches on brioche buns, with coleslaw, corn on the cob, and cupcakes for dessert.

Publix is my go-to for groceries, so we often buy rotisserie chickens or plain, un-breaded wings for weekend munchies. You can order wings from the Publix app, which saves a ton of time. You can order sandwiches and deli cuts from the app, too. Publix has even started delivery in some areas, so really, do you even need the drive through on the weekdays?

Dress Beautifully

It’s easy to think that just because you’re not at work you can wear whatever you want. It’s true, but running around town in yoga pants and a super messy bun probably isn’t doing much for your self-esteem. It’s probably making you feel like you’re a mess outside of the office.

Take the time to put on clothes that make you feel good about yourself, even on the weekend. If you feel like you have nothing to wear, try something like Filly Flair that provides numerous summary styles and accessories.  Visit their site if you are looking for inspiration.

As far as your beauty routine, you can still feel relaxed yet look put together. Experiment with easy updos, and try a lip stain like Revlon Colorstay so you don’t have to think about your lipstick at all after you apply it in the morning. My weekend makeup is generally lipstick and mascara, but do whatever you need to feel like you’re taking care of yourself.

Take a Walk

Try to slip away for at least half an hour over the weekend to walk outside. Be deliberate about it—feel the warm sun on your skin. Smell the flowers. Embrace the wind. Just being outside is often enough to feel rejuvenated, but the physical action of walking can make you feel more confident, mindful, and relaxed.

Take a Nap

Even a quick, 30-minute nap can make you feel more rested and focused. It’s a nice time-out for your brain, and a common habit among successful people.

Read Something Recreational

During the workweek, we are focused on reading emails, text messages, memos, and industry-related materials that we forget what a joy reading can be. On the weekend, try to find a few moments to read something you enjoy.

You don’t have to read novel to experience the joy of reading. Pick up a pretty magazine at the grocery checkout, but steer clear of the ones that have diet tips plastered all over them. You don’t need that kind of negativity when you’re trying to relax.

Do One Thing

If you’re reading this list and thinking, “I don’t have time to sit around and read a magazine and take a nap,” make the commitment to yourself to do just one thing for you this weekend. It doesn’t have to be a big something. Find half an hour to try just one thing that will help you relax and refocus. You’ll be surprised at how much more you will accomplish after even a small break.

Wake Up Early (Maybe)

Other people suggest waking up super early to feel more successful and productive, but Jarell and I haven’t had much luck with that. Check out this video to learn more about that theory:

Eat the Frog on Monday Morning

If the weekend flies by and you find yourself feeling cheated on Monday morning, the best thing you can do is tackle your most difficult tasks at the beginning of the day. Whatever you’re dreading, get it over with. The rest of your day, or even your workweek, will feel smoother and more accomplished with this task out of the way, and you’ll be more likely to feel secure in taking a little time for yourself when the weekend comes again.

Small Ways to Rejuvenate this Weekend and Rock Your Workweek - #selfcare #career #weekend #relax

No one wants to experience a loss of income. Depending on how much you earn and how much you lose, it could mean that you end up struggling financially or it could just mean a hit to your savings. However it affects you, it’s better to prevent it if you can.

All kinds of things could affect your income, from being unable to work to having an investment go wrong. If you want to avoid losing money, it’s best to be prepared for any situation. You can prepare for almost anything, even situations completely out of your control. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself.

1. Know Your Employment Rights under the Law

It’s always smart to know what your rights are when you’re employed. You should know they ways the law protects you, and the ways the law doesn’t protect you, so that you can prepare for any situations when it might not be on your side.

For example, in most states in the US, you can be fired for almost any reason at all. However, there are protections for employees to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, race, and other factors. As well as knowing the general law, you should check your employment contract to see what protections it might offer you.

2. Choose Supportive Employers

Everyone knows that there are good employers and others that aren’t so good. You don’t always have a great choice between employers, but when you are able to be more selective, it’s worth looking for an employer who takes care of their employees.

Many employers recognize the value in treating their employees well and offering them various protections or allowances. For example, you might look for an employer that offers flexible working hours, which can be useful if you’re a parent. You should also look for an employer that offers disability insurance, which can protect you in the long-term if you become disabled.

3. Understand What to Do After an Injury at Work

Your employer needs to have worker’s compensation insurance, which protects both you and them if you are injured at work. It’s important to know how this helps you and what you should do after a work injury.

Worker’s compensation helps you to recover the financial loss an injury might have caused. If the insurer doesn’t come through, you can get in touch with a firm like mcmahanlawfirm.com today and take legal action. If you sue the insurance provider, you’re not suing your employer, and you shouldn’t lose your job. Suing can help you avoid losing income due to your injury.

3. Stay Healthy to Avoid Sick Days

It’s impossible to completely avoid ever getting ill. We all catch coughs and colds, and common illnesses like the flu or stomach viruses can hit us hard too. Even if you live a very healthy lifestyle, an illness can always come out of nowhere, whether it affects you for just a few days or for months or even years.

However, staying healthy can make getting ill less likely. You can support your immune system and avoid behaviors that could cause serious or chronic illnesses. For example, not smoking can help you avoid long-term diseases like cancer and heart disease. Eating a healthy diet may help you avoid diabetes. In the short term, a balanced diet can boost your immune system and help you fight short-term illnesses like colds and the flu.

4. Make Childcare Arrangements in Advance

Juggling work and being a parent is tough. Even when your child is at school all day, and perhaps even at an after-school program after, there are unexpected things that can happen. If your child is ill or injured or their school unexpectedly closes for the day, you need to make other arrangements. Having a supportive employer can help with this, but it’s also useful to try and make plans before anything happens. Know who could look after your child if they can’t go to school so you don’t have to take a last-minute day off.

5. Always Be Prepared to Look for Work

Losing your job can be devastating, but it’s often unavoidable. If you’re going to be out of work, you don’t want to be for long. That’s why it’s a good idea to always be prepared to look for a new job. Even if you feel secure in your current position, you never know when things might change.

If you want to be ready to find a new job as soon as possible, keep your resume up to date. Continue working on your professional development, even when it’s not necessary for your current role. And maintain a network of professional contacts so that you can reach out to people for advice, recommendations and tip-offs about jobs.

$49 Resume Makeover

6. Manage Investments Carefully

Investments are another form of income that can benefit you both now and in the future. But if an investment goes wrong, it could upset your financial plans. It’s especially annoying if an investment is paying out a regular income that you’ve been using for daily expenses.

It’s always important to be cautious with investments, but it’s especially wise not to rely on them as a main source of income. If you only have a few investments, one of them going wrong could have a huge effect on your budget. Manage your risk carefully by hiring a wealth adviser, and it will help you avoid any real disasters. Investing is a good way to increase your income, but only if you get it right.

If you want to protect yourself against a loss of income, you need to be prepared. If you’re prepared for anything, it will be less of an impact if something unexpected happens.

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Sudden changes to your health, and the costs that can come with them are some of the greatest risks facing employees and self-employed people in today’s society. An injury could cost you not just your sense of security, but your income as well. If you do find yourself coping with the damage that would risk your career, knowing how to react is crucial. Here are a few tips worth remembering:

Report and Recover

If you are injured at work, you need to let your supervisor know as soon as possible. This is the first step in getting the ball rolling on workers compensation. Similarly, you should see a doctor even if you don’t feel like you need to. Should an injury exacerbate itself further or be worse than you thought, you have an informed basis to seek further treatment. What’s more, should you need to make a claim, the more evidence you have that an injury occurred and of how much pain it caused, the better your chances of seeing justice.

Find some Accountability

Some people are hesitant to make a claim when they are injured. For instance, if they skipped our first step, their chances might not be as favorable as they should be. What’s more, people feel guilty about costing others. But the truth is that, if you don’t, you are taking on all the costs that weren’t your fault by yourself. Team like Dolman Law Group can help you proceed responsibly while ensuring that you’re not left handling it all by yourself. A measure of accountability is crucial, or else people will continue to get away with hurting others without any checks to stop them.

Scale Back Your Budget

Even if you make a successful claim or get workers compensation, any injury or illness can introduce a level of financial uncertainty to your life. It’s a good idea to rein in your finances and take full control of them, cutting costs and putting aside savings where you can. You never know if other costs might come up in future. Even if you have a means to recoup them, you might have to wait some time for them to bear fruit.

Rally the Troops

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If your family is on hand and willing to lend assistance, don’t let pride get in the way. If you’re in severe need, there are organizations like the Healthwell Foundation that can help you deal with your essential costs while you’re on the road to recovery. Besides government assistance, there are nonprofits and charities on the local, statewide, and national level that could provide some assistance. Some provide help based on specific circumstances, such as financial support for those injured on the road, and so on.

Dealing with an injury is never pleasant and it’s certainly not made any better by the implications it can have throughout your career and your financial life. Hopefully, the tips help you adapt and overcome the adversity that those sudden health costs can bring with them.

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If you are feeling stressed with work, or balancing work and family obligations, you may feel too overwhelmed to think about changing your situation. To feel better, try thinking about small actions you can take today. It can make a big difference.

The biggest thing remember is not sabotage yourself with bad habits like drinking, smoking, or overeating. Instead, focus on small positive actions you can take to handle everything in front of you and combat the side-effects of stress.

1. Exercise

Exercise won’t help your stress to vanish instantly, but it will help you to reduce some of the emotional intensity that comes with it. Exercise can help you to clear your thoughts and it can also help you to deal with your stress more efficiently. When you exercise, you release endorphins and this can cause you to feel better about yourself. You’d be surprised at what a difference this can make to the outlook you have on your life.

If you’ve never exercised before, try walking around your block in the morning before you start work, or walk around a park on your lunch break. Getting outdoors can help, too.

2. Take Control

There really is a solution to every single problem. Lack of control is one of the main contributors to stress, so take a step back and figure out what you can control, and get to work taking actionable steps to change the situation.

If you are drowning in a stack of work or working long hours with few (if any) breaks, then it’s time to talk to your boss. Let him know that you want to do your best work, and you feel your current workload is not allowing you to do that. You can ask your boss to extend deadlines, or assign a coworker to help you. You can ask you boss to consider outsourcing some of the small administrative tasks that take up a good chunk of your time. The point is, have options to offer your boss so you’re not dumping your stress on him, but rather helping him help you find the help you need.

It may even be worth asking your boss if they have looked into hiring EAP providers, Peninsula Group to help give the other employees you work with the support they need as well. An EAP can make a huge difference.

3. Connect with Others

If you’re stressed, make time to do small, simple things with your friends and loved ones. Go get a pedicure with your best friend. Meet your significant other for coffee on your lunch break. If you can find just a half hour to connect with your loved ones, you will feel some stress relief.

4. Take some “You” Time

I can hear all the mothers of the world laughing at once at the idea of taking “you,” time, but it’s important when you’re feeling stressed. Find little ways to sneak in time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes. Take a bubble bath. Flip through your favorite magazine on the Zinio app, or close your eyes and savor a rich dessert.

The point is, take a few minutes to have a mental vacation. When I worked in the city, I would spend my lunch break walking around an art museum. It’s a quiet place where you can feel inspired by the creativity of others. Plus, you have to silence your cell phone, so no one can bother you.

5. Welcome a New Challenge

When you’re feeling like you can’t handle even one more thing, thinking of a new goal can be tough. But, if you can think of something that inspires you, setting a new goal can help relieve your current stress.

Try something small, like saving a specific amount of money or planning a fantastic vacation. Just the act of planning a vacation is often enough to make you feel better about life.

If things are truly bad in your current job, set a goal of finding a new one. Redo your resume, improve your LinkedIN profile, and start thinking about how great it will be to find a new job with new opportunities.

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6. Give to Others

Stress can make us forget how wonderful it feels to give to others. Even though you feel like you don’t have a lot of time right now, look around you for ways you can help someone in a small way. Maybe you can pick up a neighbor’s groceries while you’re picking up your own. Maybe you can do a load of laundry for your equally stressed teenager. You don’t have to do something epic—just small, thoughtful favors are enough to help you feel less stressed and help someone else feel less stressed too.

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We post a lot about side hustles and making extra money through entrepreneurship, but sometimes saving money can be as good as making more money. In The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley and William Danko talk about how one of the biggest groups of self-made millionaires got that way not by making a ton of money, but rather by saving it. Can you guess which group they’re talking about?

It’s teachers. A lot of life-long teachers retire quite well, and we all know teachers earn laughable paychecks. They retire well because they know how to save, and they manage their money by making solid decisions every day.

You, too, can retire rich by thinking through your day-to-day purchases and managing your money like an adult rather than a toddler in a candy store. Here are 22 ways to save up to $10,000 this year: 

1. Set a Budget

Set a budget

The number one way you are wasting money is not sticking to a budget. When pinching pennies, the best tip is to look at your bills and income to see how you can change your spending habits. You can cut everything non-essential and still not have extra cash if you don’t set a budget.

When our family moved from two incomes to one, it was a huge adjustment. But, because we sat down looked at our bills (electric, phones, and mortgage only) we could see clearly how much we had left to spend on food and gas. Nothing else! Yes, there were many nights we had Raman noodles and grilled cheese. Now we can afford the occasional dinner out (with water to drink) along with a few extras like Netflix.

2. Create a Shopping List

Create a list

Now that you set a food budget the best way to stick to it is to make a shopping list. This will keep you on your budget and keep you from impulse buying.

Pro Tip: Use the smartphone you likely have in your pocket for more than just taking selfies--use it to make a shopping list. #savemoney #grocerybudget #manageyourmoney #iPhone Click To Tweet

In fact, if you have an iPhone, all you have to do is say, “Hey Siri, put milk on my shopping list” and she will do it for you. Many smartphones have similar features. You can also text a list to yourself. While it may be strange texting yourself, it makes for a convent list.

3. Limit impulse buying

Limit impulse buying

Buying an item when you don’t need it is impulse buying. If you have a good working cell phone, there is no need to update it to a more expensive one. Instead of buying an item, try the 30-day challenge. Write the item you want on a piece of paper, along with the place you found it and its price. In 30 days if you still need the item, return and make the purchase. If you decide you do not need the item, just recycle the paper.

Pro Tip: the vast majority of the items you need are located on the outer walls of any given store. By not venturing into the middle of the store you limit the amount of impulse buying. Click To Tweet

4. Drink Less Alcohol

Drink less alcohol

Drinking alcohol on the weekend could cost you $1000 a year, or more. If you drink and drive (Never drink and drive!) a DUI can cost upwards of $10,000 and negatively impact your career. By cutting out alcohol (or cutting back to just one drink per week), you may also cut healthcare expenses. Drinking alcohol can lead to alcoholism and cause liver disease. 

5. Kick Your Soda Habit

Kick your soda habit

Sodas are a better choice of drink, budget-wise, than alcohol; however, sodas can set you back about $300 a year per person. In a family of four, that can add up to $1200 or more!

The best choice for enjoying inexpensive sodas, and improving their quality, is investing in a soda stream. You can flavor your soda any way you please and save the extra money. For example, we make cherry limeaids with by adding a couple tablespoons of cherry syrup and a squeeze of lime to carbonated water. It tastes better than anything you get at Sonic, and it costs about 15 cents for a 16 ounce serving. 

Of course, switching to water saves the most money because it’s free. Add a piece or two of your favorite fruit to water for flavoring. Studies have shown that drinking more water increases your productivity and focus.

6. Cut the Cord

Cut cable

If you are still holding on to cable, it’s time to cut the cord. On average, cable bills are $100-$200 per month–that’s $1200-2,400 per year. Hulu costs $13.52, or $162 a year. Netflix is $13.99 or 167.88/year. Amazon Prime is $120 a year. DirectTV Now is $35 a month or $420 per year. You could have all four services for $870 a year and save $330.

Pro tip: if you invest in the DirectTV Now, you will not need Hulu or Netflix subscriptions–it’s just like having cable.  You could save even more!

7. Use Energy Efficient Bulbs

Use Energy efficient bulbs

One cost saving a lot of money gurus overlook is modernizing your light bulbs. Often, people do not change old-style bulbs until they go out, but waiting is costing you money. LED lighting is the most energy-efficient lighting on the market, and the bulbs last 8-16 years!  Energy.gov states “By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year.” 

8. Eat at Home

Eat at home

On average, eating out costs $13 per person. Eating at home averages a cost of $5 per person. That’s a savings of $7 per person, per meal! For a family of four that only eats out once a month, that’s a savings of almost $400/year.

One of our favorite cookbooks is Rachel Ray’s 365: No Repeats 30-Minute Meals. It’s a steal at just $6.99 on Kindle! 

If you do eat out, make sure to look for coupons or use the in-store rewards card.

9. Drink Water While Out

Drink water while out

When we cut out our soda drinking, it also changed our bill when we saved up to go out to eat. On average, a soda at a restaurant costs about $2-3 per person. Water is free. With 2 people that is an automatic savings of $4. For a family of four, it’s $8. Alcohol is much more expensive in restaurants. It’s easier and more cost effective to skip it. 

10. Watch movies at home

Watch movies at home

Waiting until a movie leaves theater can save you $10 per person. By watching at home, you can enjoy many benefits. You can wear your PJs, save on concessions, avoid rude people singing the songs or texting through the movie, and you can pause the screen at a moment’s notice. Best of all, there are no previews.

If you absolutely must see the latest move in theater, check out matinee tickets. These are tickets usually for shows that start before 4 pm and cost about $5 per person. If you choose this option, skip the concession, as it’s a money waster.

11. Brew Coffee at Home

Brew coffee at home

Let’s face it–we all know “you can’t live” without your morning cup of coffee. Starbucks coffee costs $1-$6 per cup. Dunkin Donuts is $1-$4. That’s almost $2000 a year for one cup of coffee per day. Instead, invest in a Ninja Coffee Brewer System. These systems are easy to use, and you can recreate your favorite coffee for pennies. If you are into cold brews, invest in a French Press. Enjoying your coffee at home will also save you time. You will not have to wait in line or rush out the door forgetting important items. Saving time also saves money.

12. Stash Some Cash

Stash some cash

Paying to receive cash back from a store or ATM is costing you money. Banks can charge between $1-$4 per transaction. One way to save money is to keep $20 cash on you or in a hiding spot in your car. This money can come in handy in an emergency situation or if you find yourself at a cash-only location.

13. Use your Library Card

Use your library card

If you are an avid reader, instead of spending $15 per book, you can save money by investing in Kindle Unlimited or visiting your local public library system. Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 a month and allows you access to 1 million titles. Public Libraries are free to use as long as you renew or return your book. Switching to the library or Kindle Unlimited can save $1000s per year depending on your reading habits.

14. Capitalize on Reward Programs

Capitalize on Reward Programs

Many stores offer free rewards cards. You gain points, cash back, or free products from your normal shopping habits. There are also ways to turn your receipt into cash. Walmart has a saving catcher within its app; all you do is scan your barcode on your receipt. If they lower the price on an item, they pay you the difference.

Another great app is Ibotta. Ibotta takes a bit more work as you must add items and then scan them. Finally, you have to upload the receipt.

Pro Tip: Don’t want to carry around a bunch of rewards cards? Instead, download an app like KeyRing.

Bonus Pro Tip: by using the KeyRing app, you can share rewards cards between family members, thereby capitalizing on the number of rewards you can earn.

15. Avoid Buying a Brand-New Car

Avoid Buying a brand-new car

One of the biggest financial mistakes you can make is buying a brand-new car. Once you drive that car off the lot, it becomes used and decreases in value by at least 22% in the first year. For years 2-4, a vehicle loses 12% (Check out our math for yourself at USAToday.)

Our favorite place to find used cars is Carmax and Autotrader.

Pro Tip: Make sure if you use AutoTrader you check the company website for the vehicle. Many AutoTrader vehicles are added by hand and may not be updated.

16. Don’t Lease a Car. Ever.

Stay away from leasing a car

Think leasing a car can help your financial situation? Sure, the down payment and monthly payment may be lower. However, leasing is worse than buying a new car. Leasing requires you to have excellent credit, higher insurance deductibles, and you are restricted to a certain number of miles with a steep penalty for going over. Also, once again, as soon as you drive the vehicle off the lot, it becomes used. At the end of the lease, you’ve paid the car’s depreciation and then some, and you have nothing to show for it because you don’t even own the car.

Save your money and look into a used car. Buying a used car can save more than $10,000 per purchase.

17. Stop Renting

Stop renting

When you first move to a city renting is a fine choice. However, it costs you more money. Often you can expect to pay 50% more per month for a rental than a mortgage. Yes, you need good credit for a mortgage. If you are renting, it will be difficult to raise your credit score because of the extra monthly strain of the rental. It is wise to save money before moving. This way you can look into a mortgage over a rental.

Another popular housing option that is a waste of money is rent to own. Only part of your rent goes towards the purchase price of the home. You would still be better off with a mortgage where the entire payment goes to paying off the home loan. Purchasing a home over renting can save you $10,000 a year on its own.

18. Avoid an HOA Community

Avoid an HOA community

Before you buy a home, make sure you check out your new community thoroughly. Look at the tax bill for your new hone, but also check out community fees, like those charged by an HOA. Home Owners Associations (HOA) charge $200- $400 per month, and they set all kind of rules and regulations you must follow. HOAs can have amenities benefits; however, you can access the same type of amenities elsewhere and save money. Avoiding an HOA can save $2400 per year.

19. Move Out of the City

Move out of the city

You could cut costs even more by not living within city limits. Often cities charge more for garbage, electric, and water than their country or suburban counterparts. Buy moving just outside the city limits, you could save money. On average, I pay $100 less on my electric then my family members in the city, and I break the rule and have an average house temperature of 73. I do live in a smaller home, but would still pay less as I do not have the upcharge the city adds to electric and water (we have a well). I save $1200/year just by living in the country.

20. Decrease Your Cell Phone Plan

Decrease your Cell Phone plan

Are you using all of the data you pay for each month? If not you’re wasting money. Just by switching to a lower data plan, you can save $20 per month.

Pro Tip: To save on data, turn off the cellular data option on apps that don’t need it. Check your battery usage to see what the top 3-5 apps you use the most, then turn cellular data off for the rest. Also, many apps have background refresh. By turning off cellular, the app can no longer refresh unless it’s on Wi-Fi, saving your battery and your data. By living within your data plan, you could save $2,400 per year.

21. Shop around for insurance

Shop around for insurance

If you bought that used car, it’s going to need car insurance. Now is a great time to look into options. By comparing rates, you can save $1000-$2000 per year. When we changed our insurance, we doubled all of our coverage and still paid less. Also, save money by paying your insurance every six months. Yes, it can be an investment, but the $20-50 extra charge for paying your insurance monthly adds up.

Consider looking at the health insurance options your employer offers. If you have not seen a doctor in years, you may want to consider a lower coverage plan. However, if you are seeking medical attention frequently, then the higher plan may save you money in the long run by the type of coverage offered. If you lower your coverage, depending on your employment options, it could cost you $0 out of your paycheck. Looking into health care options can save $100 a month or $1200 per year.

If your employer doesn’t offer insurance, make sure you compare policies and find the best plan that fits you and your budget.

22. Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking

Smoking is not only hurting your health–it’s hurting your bottom line. If you smoke one pack of cigarettes a day, it will cost you about $3000 per year. Think vaping is better? Wrong. While vaping costs less than cigarettes, at about $400 a year, that’s enough money for a car payment. If you partake in recreational drugs (and you really shouldn’t), you are wasting money and could be missing out on potential job opportunities.

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22 Ways to Save up to $10,000 this year, even if you don't have time to side hustle #savemoney #managemoney #budget #career