Penny Pincher

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While being a penny pincher may come with negative connotations, by taking some of the basic principles-spend less and save more– you can make simple changes that have huge returns. If you spend less on small, unnecessary items, you can spend more on larger items and experiences ie. purchasing a new car, home, investing in your own business, or taking a much needed vacation

Here are 3 small ways to save more:

1.Instead of drinking at a coffee house everyday, make your own coffee. You do the math; let’s say on average you spend $5 a day at your coffee house of choice. Multiply that by a 30-day month and that equals $150! Let’s just say you take $50 of that towards buying your own to-go hot containers, coffee mix, sugar, cream, and water, this still leaves $100 a month, or $1200/year that you have saved. You can even go to your favorite coffee house half a month and still save a good chunk of change.

Don’t buy snacks: a bag of potato chips here, a candy bar there may not seem like much, but that $1 that you spend can quickly burn through your pockets without even noticing it. Let’s just say you spend $3 a day on random snacks. Our simple formula $3×30 days=$90 a month, or $1,080/year.

Dine In (your home that is), going out to dinner or lunch may be nice and quick but it can be costly. Let’s say you spend an average of $10 four times a week on eating out, that’s $40 a week, $160 a month, $1920 a year (Probably on the low side)! Save money by buying groceries on sale, cooking at home, and taking left overs for lunch or dinner the next day. If you want to dine with friends, invite them over, potluck style!

Seven Stages of Grief

Loosing something or someone you love is a terrible experience that we all will go through. We cannot escape loss. It’s a part of the human experience. But we can learn how to process it so that it does not subsume us.  

  1. Shock & denial: Often our immediate reaction to finding out about a loss is shock and denial of its occurrence. Upon phone calls I received about loved ones passing, my first response is always “What? Really? Are you serious? No…” I’m in shock. I can’t fathom the thought that this person is gone.
  2. Pain & Guilt: Once the moment starts to settle in, “my loved one is gone”, feelings of pain seep into my heart. It hurts to think about it. Guilt often overwhelms me, what could I have done differently to change the outcome? You might notice these feelings often accompany breakups. You blame your self for what happened and ruminate on what you could have done to save the relationship.
  3. Anger & bargaining: anger is often talked about as a secondary emotion, one which emerges from pain. Often times we get angry for our loss. Looking to blame someone for what happened. Sometimes blaming ourself. The What ifs set it? We try to find answers, why is this happening to me?
  4. Depression, reflection, loneliness: Intense sadness often overcomes us when we reflect on the loss we have sustained. Memories of our loved ones make us reflect on all the times we have shared coupled with the pain of realizing we will never be able to create new ones with this person. Sometimes we isolate, and turn inward, feeling like no one else understands what we are experiencing.
  5. Upward turn: Something clicks, and though the thought of our loved one still pains us, we find that it is not as painful as before. We began to experience an upward turn where life is not so desolate, and we can find some joy remerging.
  6. Reconstruction & working through: We begin to work through our negative emotions, making an effort to get on with life.
  7. Acceptance & hope: We accept that what we had is no longer with us and will not return. We have restored hope and optimism about the future. Though our loss will likely never be forgotten, and we may experience sadness sometimes, we are better able to cope with the loss and integrate it into our lives.

These stages are not fixed. Grief often looks different for each person. Reflect on current or past losses and how you grieve. What are/were the emotions you experience/d in relation to this loss? Does this process look familiar?  

The three A of Apologies and Behavior Change:

We often make mistakes and are quick to say sorry without taking time to reflect on what we did wrong and how we can keep from doing it again.  The next time you find yourself in the red with another person try following these three steps:

1.    Acknowledge what you did wrong. “I’m sorry” is sometimes our automatic response when we see someone is upset. An empty apology can make situations worse and often contributes to repeat offenses. The next time someone is upset with you take time to reflect on the situation and acknowledge what you have done wrong.

2.     Apologize for your actions and the impact they have had on other people. Once you realize your faults in a situation, make a mends with the person by apologizing to them. Having a specific apology about what you have done to hurt someone else helps the other person see that you understand their pain, opens the lines of communication, and helps you to pin point exactly the behavior that needs to change in order to not repeat your wrong doings.

3.     Action Plan Come up with an action plan about how you will change your behavior so not to repeat the same mistakes. All too often we recognize what we have done and apologize for it but find ourselves making the same mistake because we didn’t take the time to plan out how we will act differently in the future. The mistakes we make are often a force of habit. It takes thought and action plans in order to make behavior changes. 

Two steps back, Four Steps Forward

Sometimes we are headed full speed in one direction in life. We think everything is going perfect. We have a plan and are putting it into action. But, just when life couldn’t get any better, it gets worse (or so we think). Something the unexpected happens which derails our plans. We don’t get the promotion at work, we weren’t accepted into the school of our choice, we break up with a long time mate, or don’t relocate to the place we wanted. These hiccups in our plans can be devastating to us because we thought we had it all planned out.

In these moments when our realities do not meet our expectations we have a few choices:

1. Stay stuck in the mud thinking of all the “if’s” and “what should have”, “could have”, and “would have” but didn’t.  Though we all need our moments to deal with the fact that we have experienced a set back, we cannot ruminate for too long, lest we become stuck in that season. These are the people who are often unsatisfied with life and tend to loom in their past unrealized dreams. The sorrow of regret becomes their life and it gets hard to get out of the disappointment.

What we should do is:

2. Accept what life has thrown our way, using this time to reflect, learn all that we can from what has transpired, and move in the direction where life takes us. No it doesn’t feel good to feel like we failed but it is our failures that often push us to success. Sometimes the set back is what we need to pull us from the road we were traveling, that looked nice and scenic but was really heading in the wrong direction. Set backs allow us time to regroup and can position us right where we need to be.

Reorganizing the way we think about set backs will allow us to see that life is full of the unexpected and it is precisely this that often gets us to where we are supposed to be. Setbacks are difficult but don’t let them hold you back. Instead take from them the rich lessons they offer and realize that sometimes it takes two steps back in order to take four steps forward. 

How to keep your New Year’s Resolution!

 

65% of Americans pledge to lose weight/get healthy in the New Year.  What many of us fail to realize is that this resolution has to occupy patience. A healthy lifestyle is not something that can be achieved overnight, thus because of the slow results we tend to give up on this goal too quickly. So, let’s start slow! Listed below are ways to work towards achieving this objective in 2012.

1. Eat Breakfast- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only will it motivated you to stop hitting the snooze button (ahh food!) but it gives you the energy need for your workouts.

2. Take The Stairs- Start doing little things to get your body working and blood pumping. Park far away to walk to your destination, take the stairs as opposed to the elevator, or for my fashion-addicts go shopping!

3. Find a Buddy- Search for a friend with the same goal as you. They will provide the competitive spirit, motivation, and peer pressure to continue to work towards success.

Happy Healthy UBLifestyle!

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