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Why New Year’s Resolutions Suck

Why New Year’s Resolutions Suck

Yep, you read that right, not a fan. New Year’s resolutions suck almost as much as diets and budgets lol. Anything that makes me commit to certain rules or tries to stuff me into a perfectly gift wrapped box is honestly not for me.

Our brains are actually wired to revolt against conformation. Think about it. From the time you were able to pick up a pencil to write your name, you favored one hand over the other. To this day (unless you’re ambidextrous) you still write with your dominant hand. This is because our brains have been wired to know that we use our right (or left) hand to write. Have you ever tried to write with your non-dominant hand? Yeah, so have I lol. It’s pretty difficult to do. This reminds me of resolutions.

Why are resolutions so difficult to stick to? Well for me, I have a routine. I like things a certain way. I mean, who doesn’t? Now I have made a resolution that requires me to adapt and stick to it immediately because if I don’t, then I fail. Therefore, I am a failure. Sheesh, this does not sound like a good time amiright? If I didn’t mention before, New Year’s resolutions suck!

This is the same concept behind why diets don’t work. Forcing yourself to conform to something that takes you out of your comfort zone is a recipe for disaster. Now I know people will say, “But Melissa, being out of your comfort zone is when a person experiences growth.” Ok, you’re not wrong but you’re not right either. Ultimately, it depends on the architecture of your comfort zone. Was I able to draw out my own blue print? Am I able to make my own rules? What are the repercussions if I fail? If I am not able to stick to it will I feel like crap about myself? These are all questions that are important to ask when designing your comfort zone.

Intentions? What are Those?

So, instead of resolutions, I like to set intentions for the New Year. This isn’t to be confused with Day 1 pedal-to-the-metal resolutions. An intention is more of an acknowledged notion of moving forward. Setting an intention removes the pressure of a set-date or time to complete the goal. Setting an intention is like setting your radar or your GPS. You know where you’re going but you have options (highway or surface streets?) on how you will ultimately arrive at your destination.

Another tip to setting successful intensions is asking yourself why this is important to you. Whether it is to lose weight or to stop smoking to improve your health, or maybe it’s to stop impulse shopping to improve your financial situation, you need to ask yourself “why.” Having a reason that is important to you and a reason that actually means something to you helps you to be mindful of the intentions you are setting.

However, the best tip IMO is to stop beating yourself up mentally. Thinking negative thoughts about why you won’t be able to accomplish a goal or getting down on yourself because of a setback is no bueno. Self-demoralizing thoughts sabotage progress and hinder our belief in ourselves. The easiest way to overcome this is to recognize when a negative thought enters your mind then add “but I am doing/making/choosing such and such to change that.” For example: “I am never going to lose weight…but I am making small changes like walking for 30 minutes every day to change that.” Using this method turns your negative into a positive. And when all else fails, fake it till you make it baby!

In Closing

Really guys, I am excited for the New Year. It’s an opportunity to reflect on our own progress and acknowledge new goals. I have set my intentions and am ready to see them come to fruition this year. I hope you have all set your intentions as well. While you’re at it, head over to the “Free Stuff” section and download some freebies to use, especially if your intentions are to improve your finances this year.

I would like to wish each and every one of my readers a safe, prosperous and happy new year. Cheers!

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How to Start a Super Simple Budget

I feel like it’s everywhere. “How I paid off $40k of debt in 8 months” and “How I saved $1200 a month using this budget.” I am not hating. Don’t get me wrong. I just feel like these are especially unique situations. Getting out of debt is a real struggle. It’s not glamorous and its not effortless.

Getting Started

When I started my journey towards financial freedom, the first thing I needed to learn was how to create a budget. I tried creating a budget on Quick Books and even tried creating a spreadsheet on Excel…only to not ever use either of these again. Finding a budget that works for you hugely depends on your learning style. I love computer graphs and colorful charts but I learn best hands-on.

I found this budget sheet on thebudgetmom.com website and decided to give it a whirl. This is a great budget sheet. However, I found myself whiting out certain sections of the sheet that didn’t really apply to my situation. I wanted something super easy (and cute to look at) to use until I became more familiar with budgeting. Ultimately, I ended up creating my own budget sheets. (You can get them free under the Free Stuff tab) Below is a picture of how I set up my monthly budget sheet. I like to know what I have to pay and when I have to pay them in correlation to my paydays. This type of budgeting is called paycheck budgeting.

The Rationale

Overall, this method has helped me make my payments on time (no more forgotten payments Yay!) and it has helped me plan special purchases. For example, (referring to my budget sheet pictured above) I know I have two birthdays this month. Budgeting these special occasions on to my monthly budget sheet ensures that I can control which paycheck the extra expenses will come from. This way, my regular monthly bills are not affected and I don’t forget to buy birthday gifts.

Honestly, I lived and breathed for TBM’s budgeting techniques. I learned so much from Miko. You can check out her page here.

The How-To

How to use this budget sheet:

  1. First, write down every bill you pay. Write down the company name, amount due (estimate if the amount varies per month) and write down the day it is due.
  2. Second, fill out the calendar for the month you are budgeting. Write the bill name down on the corresponding dates on the calendar.
  3. Next, write in your paydays with your estimated net take home pay.
  4. Color code your paydays for each week and highlight the bills you will be paying with each weekly pay check with the correlating color.
  5. Finally, sit back and admire your masterpiece!

It’s Not Over

Once this monthly budget sheet is completed, I take it a step further. I use my Paycheck Bill Tracker sheet to write down the exact dollar amount of each expense. Ultimately, I also use this sheet to deduct the total amount of expenses from my total amount of income. You can download all the budgeting sheets you need for free here. Depending on what (if any) is left over after doing this, I also use this sheet to determine how much will be placed into savings and my sinking funds. Wait, let me not get too ahead of myself. More about my Paycheck Bill Tracker and sinking funds on my next post.

Would you like to see how I distribute the left over funds from each paycheck? Comment below & I’d be happy to show you!

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Passive Income You Can Start Using Now!

Three Easy, Minimal-Effort Passive Streams of Income You Can Start Now!

We could all use a little extra money, am I right? I’ve spent nights pinning articles on how to make extra income. Every pin I come across always offers great suggestions but usually the recommendations are very time consuming. For instance, a common suggestion is to start a YouTube channel. That’s a great suggestion (check out my channel here) but it takes a lot of time. Aside from the fact that you need to film something that interest people, edit your video, upload your video and promote your video you also need to meet certain criteria before you can monetize your video. Ain’t nobody got time for that, especially when you need a little extra income now.

What about the recommendation to sell your unwanted clothing online? I do this exact thing on Poshmark (check out my closet here.) The buzz kill is that you have to find time to take pictures of all your items, write descriptions for each item and then price the items competitively. Then, you sit and wait to see if anyone makes an offer on your item. You can usually get your money within a few days after a purchaser accepts your item. This is a great way to make extra income but you have to be ready to put the time and effort into it.

My point is, these are all great steams of income, but I want to share something with you that will provide a quicker return without taking up a lot of wo-man hours.

I am going to share with you 3 passive streams of income that will generate a bit of extra cash for you now with little to no effort. Don’t get me wrong; These suggestions are not going to make you rich over night, however the potential to make a pretty penny is definitely there. Are you ready to get that bag? Lesssgo!

Cash back apps are a great way to make money on items you were already planning on buying. Wait, come again? I am going to make money on the money I was already going to spend? Yasss Queen, that’s what I’m sayin’. How this works is you link your debit card to the app and once you make a purchase with a corresponding rebate, you get cash back. Here are some screenshots of my most recent cashback payments I’ve received from cash apps. I have seen people who use these apps religiously and make a ton more money than I do. However, the amounts I am showing is just from me “setting-and-forgetting” the app and going about my day. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

I am a total “set-it-and-forget-it” type of gal. I don’t want to have to wade through pages of rebate offers just to see if anything matches what I am going to buy. Just let me swipe my card and get cash back? K? K. Bye.

Dosh is a new cash back app that I am absolutely in love with. Similar to Rakuten (formerly Ebates), you earn cash back on items you routinely purchase. What I really like is that you can link your debit card to the app and earn cash back online and in-person. You don’t need to waste time looking through their rebate deals and matching them to your purchases. You make the purchase, Dosh matches it to all the available rebates it offers for that item and bada-boom bada-bing, you get your cash back deposited into your account. You can check out Dosh here and Rakuten here.

So, the next stream of income I use that takes a wee-bit of time are survey sites. This is not a set it and forget it type of income stream. However, I like to use apps like SurveyJunkie and Swagbucks when I’m waiting in the doctors office, in a long line at the grocery store or sitting on the toilet (come on! We all play on our phones in the bathroom lol) When you have down time, why not make some extra cash?

Both of these apps allow you to cash out your money with a bank transfer, PayPal or e-Gift cards. You get to choose how you want your cold hard cash. Check out Survey Junkie here and Swagbucks here.

Finally, the third stream of income I want to mention is car advertising. What is car advertising you say? Well, let me explain. If you have a car, it could generate some extra cash for you. Sites like Carvertise pay you money to allow them to advertise their business on your vehicle. Just think about this. All you have to do is drive your car like you normally do, but the only difference is you make money while doing it. Cha-chiiiiiiing! Check out Carvertise here and see if it’s something that would work for you.

That’s how I like it. Pay me money to do the stuff I was already planning on doing.

These, my friends, are true passive streams of income that take almost little to no effort at all.

Although some of my posts contain affiliate links, I am not an affiliate or ambassador with any of the companies I mentioned above. I mentioned them because I personally use them. Any link listed is a referral link which allows me to receive a small referral bonus. This referral is offered to every single customer using their app.

Maybe once you have extra dough rolling in from using these passive streams of income, you might be interested in saving some of it. Learn how you can save like a pro here.