A Case of the Mondays

A Case of the MondaysI was all hyped up last night for today. I was going to get up early and get some work done. I just KNEW I would get up on time, I’d fix myself a nice pot of coffee, add some caramel macchiato creamer, get comfy on my couch, and rip through all the assignments I had due this week.

Turns out, I overslept by an hour and a half. Groggy, I made my way to the kitchen, let pup out of his bed, put his harness on him, opened the door, and, ta-da! It’s pouring the rain. I fumbled with my pup’s raincoat, got it around him, hooked him up to his cable, and set him loose.

I trudged through my morning routine, made it back to the door to let pup back in the house, and through the door he runs, shaking the rain across my apartment all the way. Still, my day isn’t going so bad.

I get ready to leave the house, make it to my car, and run to a nearby town so I can go to Hobby Lobby and a few other places. As I make it through the aisles, the rain starts coming down harder, the parking lot begins to get flooded in a few areas, and as I leave, I soak my shoes in the puddles.

Back in my car on the way home, I almost rear-end someone who decides to slam on their brakes in the pouring rain. I go off to the side a little because my brakes don’t seem to be stopping quick enough and, while I manage to avoid hitting the car, I do end up hitting the curb a bit. I’m not sure what it did to my car because I’m afraid to look, but the sound of it didn’t seem so great.

I get home, set my drink on top of the car as I get my bags out of the backseat, and all of a sudden, although my umbrella is protecting me from the rain, I am suddenly soaked. My drink had fallen off the top of my car and landed on me and the backseat of my car. Lovely. And the day has just barely begun.

I’m doing my best, however, not to let the dreary day get to me. My Mondays aren’t usually this bad, but they could be a whole lot worse. So, in order to spread the cheer, I’ve come up with a few ways to get rid of your “Rainy Monday Blues.” I hope they help you.

  • Watch the rain on the window. Remember when you were a kid and you would be in the car staring out the window as rain fell outside? Go back to that time, pick a couple drops running down the window, and try to pick which one will win the race to the bottom.Sail Away
  • Dress up. I know that your mood may say you should be in comfy sweatpants and an oversized sweater, but dressing up always boosts my mood. If you need a little confidence boost, people will likely be giving you more compliments than usual when you dress up on a Monday because everyone else will be dressed to fit their mood. Try a pop of color to add a little extra cheer.
  • Play with a puppy. I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of research that says puppies relieve stress and make people more cheerful. What else will make you feel better faster than a cute, fluffy puppy who will give you tons of love and kisses? If you don’t have a puppy or know someone with one, then head to a shelter or pet store and play with them there.
  • Go to the gym. This one always works for me if I can manage to get myself there. Exercise helps your endorphin levels – a.k.a. it makes you feel good. Don’t feel like being around people? Try one of those fitness regimens that do not require any equipment. If you’re pressed for time, there are always five- or ten-minute routines you can try!
  • Reward yourself for making it through your Monday. What do you enjoy? Chocolate? Movies? Both? Reward yourself for making it through your Monday (or even during a break for not losing it by that point in the day) by giving yourself something you love. If you have a favorite movie, watch it. Been craving a brownie? You deserve it. Make Mondays work for you.

No matter what you do to make your Monday better, just remember: the weekend is only 4 days away!

Do you have some other way of beating rainy Mondays? Let me know in the comments below!

Photos:
“A Case of the Mondays” taken by Volkan Olmez. Available on unsplash.com
“Sail Away” taken by Hugo Kerr. Available on unsplash.com

6 Ways to Keep Those Pesky Resolutions

6 ways to keep those pesky resolutionsWell, the holidays sure did fly by. Christmas always seems to come and go in no time at all. And I guess I’ve finally reached “Christmas Adulthood” this year.

I asked for a paper shredder and a filing cabinet, which I received. When telling my boyfriend what I got, I knew he would make fun of me for my two proudest presents. And what did he say, you ask? “You’re such an adult.” He then proceeded to laugh in my face. Go figure.

Anyway, it’s almost time for 2015 and those wonderful resolutions no one can ever seem to keep up with. To help you along, I’ve compiled a few ways that may help you stick to those pesky goals you’d love to achieve.

  1. Don’t compare your goals with those of others: Comparing yourself to others is a no-no, as is comparing your goals to those of others. You are living your own life and have your own hopes, dreams, and issues. Your life is not the same as someone else’s, so why would your goals need to be similar to someone else’s? You don’t need to try to out-do people either. Live your life and set goals that will improve your own life. In fact, make one of your resolutions to stop comparing yourself to others.
  2. Have someone hold you accountable: Have your significant other or friend or family member or whoever hold you accountable to your goals. Tell them your resolutions and have them check on your progress throughout the year. Having someone hold you accountable will most likely make you want to stick to your goals and should help your motivation when it seems like your goals are out of reach.
  3. Don’t let a minor setback sway you from your goals: Did you set a goal to only eat out once a month and end up going through the drive-thru twice in one week? These things happen. Remind yourself of your goals and get yourself back on track. Did you plan to lose forty pounds this year and you feel like you’ve stuck to your diet long enough and it just doesn’t seem to be helping? Just because you don’t see progress immediately doesn’t mean you aren’t making any. Stick to it. See the next step.
  4. Set goal milestones: You need to celebrate your little victories to help keep you motivated and on track. Break down your big goal for the year into smaller parts and set minor goals for each month or every other month or every six months—however you decide to divide it is up to you. Do you want to put $1,000 into a vacation fund? Set $100 minor goals and do something snazzy when you reach them.
  5. Make your goals specific: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Making your goals specific will help you measure your progress toward your goal. Do you want to save money and lose weight this year? Specify a specific amount of money you want to save and a specific amount of weight you want to lose. Simply stating, “I want to lose weight,” is not going to keep you motivated; you need to set a specific number.
  6. in order to change, you have to focus on the newDo it for you: Most importantly, you need to set goals that you personally want to achieve. Don’t say you want to cook five times a week because your parents told you that you should. If you want to personally cook more homemade meals, then set that goal. Just like you shouldn’t compare your goals to those of others, you shouldn’t set goals that you don’t personally care about. Don’t set a goal because you “think you should.” Set a goal because it will make you feel better in the long run.

I’ll be setting my specific major and minor goals soon and I’ll share them with you when I get them planned out to help with my accountability. I hope you set awesome goals that you want to achieve and that you achieve them (and maybe even surpass them). Feel free to share your own tips in the comments! I wish y’all the best of luck in 2015 in everything you do and wish you all a “Happy New Year!”

O’ Money Tree, O’ Money Tree, I Wish I Could Live Frugally

Wouldn’t it be great if money really did grow on trees? How much easier would life seem? I guess we would be more likely to take what we already have for granted if it did, but for those who live paycheck to paycheck, being able to go out in the yard and pick up a few more dollars when they need it would be a true blessing.

For those who are trying to live frugally and save up some money while barely scraping by, I’ve gathered a few tips to help put away money here and there in order to build up some savings:

  • Keep track of your spending: I know this seems like a weird way to save money, but if you keep a close eye on what you are spending and why, you may notice that the $5 you spend twice a week on coffee adds up to $520 per year. Just cutting down to one cup of coffee per week would save you $260 per year. All those little purchases you make throughout the week ($2 here, $5 there, $3.25 there) may seem small, but they really start to add up. Keeping track of these small purchases (or even cutting them out) will help you manage your money better. Instead of making those random small purchases, add what you would spend to your savings!
  • Cut back on the take out: Do you buy your lunch at work every day, or even a couple days per week? Stop eating out as much as you do and you’ll save tons of money. The same idea from the previous point applies here: if you work five days per week and spend $5 on lunch every day, then you’re spending $1,300 per year on lunch. Take your lunch to work a few times a week and save the cash you would usually spend and watch your savings increase! (And you may even drop a few pounds by taking a healthier lunch to work with you!)
  • save-your-loose-change
    Image used with CC license: text added

    Save your loose change: If you are anything like me, you probably don’t like to pay with change, let alone carry it around with you everywhere. I hate digging in my purse to find it (I have a change purse yet the change never seems to make it in there), and it just takes up more time than I find necessary at the register. I’ll find tons of change in my car, my purse, the bottom of the washing machine, and random other places. I’ve started putting all the change I find into a jar, and, at the end of a few months, I have quite a bit of money to add to my savings.

  • Do it yourself: Not only will you save money by doing things on your own, but you can build and learn new skills! Instead of going out for dinner, cook yourself a gourmet meal at home. Instead of going to a seamstress to have your clothes hemmed, learn to sew yourself. Instead of buying expensive wooden signs for your home or abstract pieces of art, buy some supplies on sale and try your hand at being creative. Not only will you have a truly one-of-a-kind piece for your space, but you can customize it to fit your décor perfectly.
  • Entertain yourself at home: Do you go to the movies every weekend? Do you like watching the game in person? Try cutting back on the out-on-the-town nights once in a while and entertain yourself at home. Try renting a movie and cuddling up on the couch with some popcorn and enjoy the glow of your own tv. Replacing a few nights out with a few nights in will boost your savings.
  • too-much-on-coffee
    Drink water and stop spending so much on coffee.

    Drink water: Get a water filter and drink tap water to save the most money possible. You can also buy large packs of bottled water at the store for under $3, and they will last you longer than that 12-pack of pop that costs $4.50. Not only will drinking water help you save some money, but it will allow you to drop a few pounds, too! There’s nothing like looking your best and saving money while doing so!

  • Don’t miss payments: Really, do NOT miss any payments on any of your bills. Pay up as soon as you have the money to do so instead of waiting until the last minute and realizing the payment won’t go through on time. Making payments on time will keep you from getting hit with late fees and save you from the credit card company raising your interest rate. As a bonus, pay more than the minimum payment on your credit cards and loans to pay down your debt a little faster.

Hopefully you can put a few of these tips to use and bolster your savings. While the tips may not help you grow your own money tree, hopefully they will help you put a few extra bucks in your pocket. And, if you’re looking for a last minute Christmas gift, check out these money trees: Tall money tree, money topiary, and money tree with a star.

Image sources:

loose change CC image: Linus Bohman, flickr.com

coffee beans: Daniel Ruswick, unsplash.com

Surviving Christmas Break

Hey, everyone! I apologize for the lag in posts—this week has been a whirlwind of events. I finished my first semester of grad school (with a 4.0! Hooray!), I accepted an internship offer, and I traveled back to Ohio to visit friends and family for Christmas break.

My pup traveled with me to Ohio, of course, so that made my trip a little longer than what it would usually take—he’s small and with that comes a small bladder. After we crossed over from North Carolina into Tennessee, we stopped by the welcome center to stretch our legs.

tennessee-mountains
© 2014 – nightskiesanddragonflies.wordpress.com

The mountains were gorgeous and had just a dusting of snow on the top which was beautiful. My dog didn’t admire the mountains as much as I did, but he did give some undivided attention to the posts along the pet walk trail.

Anyway, I expected a few days just to relax once we got to my family’s house, but, boy, was I wrong. I’ve run around every day since I’ve been back and I am exhausted already. I don’t make it back to my hometown too often and, when I do, there are always a million events to go to and plenty of people to see. I can already see the need for a break from my break.

If you’re like me, you probably struggle to make it through all of your holiday obligations. Here’s some tips to survive all your holiday events and make your time with your family more enjoyable:

  • Don’t buy-in to the drama: We all have that one family member who thrives on creating problems out of nothing. You know, the one who stirs up drama and then places all the blame squarely on your shoulders? Don’t encourage them; if they are intentionally trying to get a rise out of you, which they undoubtedly will, ignore them and strike up a conversation with a less stressful member of your family. If the drama-lover won’t stop talking, just ignore them—trying to argue with them will only be a losing battle, so just let them talk. Once they realize they aren’t getting a rise out of you, they will move on.
  • Be okay with being wrong: If someone is arguing with you and insisting that something you said or something you did was wrong, sometimes it’s just better to agree that you were wrong and let them have their small victory (even if you were right). There’s a saying by Katherine Miracle perfect for this type of situation, “When you have a disagreement with a loved one, I challenge you to say, ‘I love you more than this argument.’” Sometimes, the relationship is more important than some trivial matter that you won’t remember later on.
  • escape-planHave an escape plan: Always drive yourself to family events. I do not ride along with other family members because they may want to stay long past the time you are ready to leave a family party. I’ve learned this from experiences of riding with others who decide to stay and play card games until well past midnight when I was ready to leave at 6pm. I’m not an entirely social person to begin with, so I always have a plan ready for why I need to leave by a certain time in case people question why I’m leaving.

Hopefully these three tips will help you survive the holiday events that are sure to fill your calendar this month. Enjoy your time with your family and remember this time only comes around once a year. Whether that’s a blessing or you wish you had more time is purely a matter of opinion. Just remember, some folks don’t have any family at all, so listen to your loved ones and let them know you appreciate them. They’ll thank you for it.

Here’s a few more tips to surviving the holidays from Stanford University. If you have some tips of your own, share them in the comments!

“Escape Plan” image: Forrest Cavale, www.unsplash.com