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Upgrade the Old-Fashioned Way of Saving and Make Your Piggy Bank Smile

15206262-successful-savings-financial-concept-with-a-happy-smiling-piggy-bank-wearing-dark-sunglasses-with-a-Do you work full time? Do you find that your household income just barely covers the necessities and you have little left for the extras?  Maybe you’re  thrifty and do your best to save,  but still have no extra cash to show for it all? If so, here are two old-fashioned solutions, that like many trends, are coming back around and have been upgraded to include today’s technology.

Money Market Accounts: Money market accounts are a bit of an upgrade from your regular  savings accounts that were very popular for many of our grandmothers and mothers. You remember when they would go to the bank and deposit their little nest egg money and then would write every cent down in their nifty little passbook.  Well the money market is like the Extreme version of a savings account. There are a few key differences between a traditional savings account and a money market that make the upgraded option a favorite with expert and novice  penny pinchers everywhere.

First, the interest rate is usually a bit higher on a money market account, which is a good thing. But, in order to get this higher interest rate, you have to be comfortable with the second difference. With a money market account, the financial institution can invest your money more freely in other, safe investments. But, don’t worry, there is very little risk of losing your money and just like traditional accounts, money markets are FDIC insured for up to $100,000. Most online money market accounts do not have a minimum balance requirement and a few favorite institutions where you can get them online are Capital One and ING Direct. They are available at most brick- and- mortar banks as well, but be sure to ask for individual restrictions and features.

So, now you have the money market account but not much is going into it?  I know this is probably going to sound like a pain and maybe even a waste of time, but try clipping coupons.  If you’ve ever watched an episode of Extreme Couponing and felt a tiny tinge of jealousy when the families save hundreds of dollars per grocery store visit, then you know that couponers are a force to be reckoned with. This is another money saving tip that has been around for decades but that has been cast aside.

The reason many frown on couponing may be because actually finding the time to sit down and clip them is the hardest part of it all. If you’re serious about saving, dedicate just 30 minutes per day to couponing. As you begin to save you’ll probably be willing to add more and more time to your new favorite task. As soon as you get home from shopping and your groceries are unloaded and put away, sit down at your computer and move the amount you saved in coupons from your checking account into your money market account. Most stores will show you what you saved on the bottom of your receipt.  Make this task  as much a part of grocery shopping as putting away the cold items first.  And, if you want to make this savings tip even less traditional, use your smartphone to transfer the $$$$ into your money market .

And remember that coupons are not just for groceries anymore.  Check the mailers and magazines you get every month.  There are coupons for makeup, clothing, large retailers like Bed, Bath and Beyond and more.  A friend recently bought a sweater at Macy’s and saved $25.00 with – that’s right – a coupon.

Use the internet to download either printable coupons or coupons you can load onto your cellphone. There are many sites, like www.smartsource.com, that are designed specifically for this purpose.

Still not sure a money market  account coupled with coupon savings will help you establish that little nest egg you are after? Consider this – if you spend $3,000 on groceries, clothes, housewares, gifts, etc. and you save 10% in coupons.  That is $300.00 you just put into your savings.  Try for twenty-one days to use a coupon every time you shop and deposit the savings.  You will be pleasantly surprised.

Emmie Graham and Diathe Garnes

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Stop Compromising, Do What You Love and Make Money Doing It

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When did you first decide to compromise what you loved doing for the “easy” way? When did you decide that in order to have steady income, you had to put aside your dreams? For me, it was right after I started working in the financial services industry. I had been studying professional writing and literature but, decided that I wanted to always have a job. I had been told over and over again that there were not many job opportunities for writers, so I changed my mind about the thing that I love doing. I changed universities and my major and invested two years of my time working on a BA in Business. Every time I think about that decision I hear Cher singing If I Could Turn Back Time in my head.

It took me about one year after graduation to really realize how much I regretted my decision. I think I regretted it a lot sooner than that, but I had been so busy working toward accomplishing this goal that I thought was necessary in order for me to find success. The price I paid were the years I spent swimming around with a school of fish that I never quite fit in with, trying to find my way.

Most of us have a distinct moment in time that we can remember like it was yesterday as the moment we decided to compromise. When was yours? What dream did you compromise and what did it cost you? The good news is that it’s never too late to begin living a uncompromising life. For years we’ve been brainwashed to believe that we can’t do it on our own. We’ve been told that we need to work for a company in order to truly be successful. That may be true for some people, but for those of us, who imagine something more, there is another way and we can make money doing it too.

So, after you finish reading this, I want you to do a few simple things. First, I want you to list 3 things that you love doing. Then, brainstorm about ways you can turn it into a business. Next, decide to take action and make it happen. The last step can be the easiest or the hardest depending on your belief system. The last step is to expect it to succeed. If you’ve had some failures, this can be hard. But make up your mind to do it anyway.

Some of you may be in the midst of this process already. You have a plan to transform what you love from a hobby to a business, and you’re already half way there. Either way, just remember to avoid the easy way of compromise. Live your dreams starting today, and make the money you deserve doing it.

Diathe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of [imagerymajestic]/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Remaining Positive in a Negative Work Environment

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It can be difficult to hold true to your values and morals when working in a negative work environment. It’s important to search for multiple methods of handling day to day works stresses so that remaining motivated comes easily.  Actually, a negative workplace is the perfect environment to practice the values that you hold true in your life. It can be a challenge, but the alternative is to allow the negativity to alter those values, and that simply should not be an option.

By armoring yourself with a positive attitude, you can find peace of mind which will guide you throughout the work day.  A good practice is finding quiet moments when you can remain silent and meditate on uplifting quotes, scriptures or phrases.  For instance, the quote by William Ellery Channing that states, “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict,” is a great motivating quote to consider on difficult days at work. Another great practice is to focus on remaining thankful rather than focusing on the stress of the day.  Both of these practices may take time to adapt to, but they will help keep you focused on the positives that you receive from working and not the negatives.

Thinking of your job as a labor of love, done for the pleasure you receive from being able to take care of your family is also a great motivator to get you through the day. Just like at home, you can create a positive example by developing attributes of honesty, commitment and faithfulness in the workplace. Although you will no doubt encounter many difficult people and situations at work, it’s important to realize that by dealing with them in the proper way, your character, faith and humbleness will grow.  As uplifting people of faith, the world is watching and remaining positive even in the face of negativity can set an example that will be noticed.

 

 

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How to be Successful at Working From Home

Work at homeWith so many work from home opportunities available now, what keeps everyone from doing it? We work for years for other people, so why not put that same energy into working for ourselves? Well, like any other situation, there is always a fear of the unknown. Also, there is a fear of losing the security blanket that we mistakenly think we have with a regular 9-5 job.

With layoffs rising, many are starting to see the big picture and are realizing that there is no greater security blanket than ones own abilities, talents and determination. Of course, working from home is not all about sleeping late, laying on the beach with your laptop or 2 hour work days. It does take hard work and the early bird still catches the worm. But, there are some definite benefits to working from home, including the most important one, spending more time with your children (I also love being able to cook dinner on my lunch break).

If you’re ready to take that big leap of faith or if you’re out of work and are running out of options,  give working at home a shot. Here are some tips to help you be successful at it so that you’ll never have any regrets about leaving that 9-5 behind. Good Luck!

  1. Do your research. There are many work at home positions available that allow you to work as an independent contractor and set your own schedule.LiveOps.com, is one of my favorites. If you are not quite ready to cut all ties with the corporate world, there are many well known companies hiring for work @ home positions. Capital One, American Express and 1800-Flowers are just a few of them. When searching for jobs on company websites, always do a search for telecommuting positions just in case. Visitwww.theworkathomewoman.com to get you started (men, you can visit too. We won’t tell).
  2. Consider yourself an expert in your field of choice. If you are a customer service representative, believe that you are the best one ever known to man! This will give you the confidence you need to move forward.
  3. Invest in yourself. Be willing to invest in your business just as you’ve invested your time and energy in all the other jobs you’ve had in your lifetime. Even if you don’t have an exclusive space for your home office yet or a lot of money to spend, try to invest in the needed equipment like, a headset, desk (even a small one  will work, although many great businesses have been launched from kitchen tables) and a printer.
  4. Dress for success. Hey, I admit that this is a hard one for me some days too. Many work at home professionals list laying around in their pajamas all day as one of their favorite benefits. Once you’re a work @ home pro, you may get days where you can do just that, but in the beginning, try to get dressed each day. I’m not saying you need to put on your business suit. A nice pair of jeans or slacks and a nice shirt will do. Getting dressed helps set the tone for your work day and helps you to be more productive. Oh, and combing your hair and brushing your teeth are a must too. (I’m just saying…some days you will be tempted not to.)
  5. Don’t let household distractions pull you away from your work. Okay, so the dog is outside acting a fool and the kids are inside cutting up. Don’t let it get to you. Remember that if you were at a 9-5, those things would still be going on. The bright side of it is that you can now get to the kids and the dog just by taking a few steps into the other room as opposed to trying to beat rush hour traffic to get home.
  6. Work part-time until you’re ready to ramp things up. Working part-time will allow you to get your feet wet and get you prepared for the next stage. It will also help you let go of your old life slowly as to avoid any withdrawal symptoms as you separate from the corporate world.

These six steps will get you on your way but the rest is up to you! Believe in yourself and your abilities and you will move forward to your new life work at home life, regret free!

 

Written by Diathe Garnes
Image courtesy of [Master isolated images] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net