Save $300 without even thinking about it

Affiliate disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase of a product or service.

Do you find it challenging to set aside money for an emergency fund or to pay for luxuries such as vacations, new furniture or other items that you know you really shouldn’t put on your credit card?

If your employer offers a retirement savings plan, maybe you put aside money in there as an automatic deduction. You don’t even miss it and to encourage you to go to work one more day, you check it to see how wealthy you’re going to be 30 years from now.

Save your pennies

Take your loose change at the end of the day and place it in an “in-home” savings account.

Using the same principle, you can set up a savings habit and before long have a stash of cash which you can access anytime you need it. A simple, at-home, savings account can be taking your loose change from your pockets and billfold and placing it in a piggy bank. Within a couple of months, you may have added up $60 or more.

Another secure way to add up a savings or emergency fund is to take advantage of round-up programs. Those work by your buying things and the program automatically rounds up your purchase. For example, if you buy $8.75 in gasoline at the 7-11, a round-up program, such as Acorns, will charge $9. The gas merchant will get their $8.75 and the quarter will go into a savings account. Within a few weeks or couple of months, you realistically could save over $300.

Since it launched in 2014, Acorns has added beneficial features for participants, such as debit cards and partnerships with other merchants who will contribute to your account if you buy their products. The best added feature, though, is Acorns is sensitive to your accounts. So, if your funds get low in your checking, Acorns will automatically pause withdrawals until you get your next paycheck. That is a huge benefit, so you don’t have to worry about pausing the program yourself and risk overdraft fees from your bank.

Your bank may offer this round up program, too, and if you can resist frequent transfers of money from the savings back into checking, then this may be more convenient for you.

If your employer has the technological sophistication, you can ask your human resources department to split your paycheck into two separate accounts of your choosing. Some people have a bank or credit union account only for monthly expenses that are on automatic payment. This can be helpful if you need to have strict boundaries around your spending.

Should you need help tracking your money, Mint is a free program for the consumer which can help you monitor your credit score and give you updates on the latest interest rates. How it’s free for the consumer is that the Intuit-owned program makes its money through referral fees to companies they promote.

Unexpected events happen all the time. When my mother went into a nursing home,  I was able to make more frequent trips to visit her because of saving money through Acorns, rather than charging it to my credit card.  Maybe you will have some unexpected necessary trips or have a desire to take a vacation. Wouldn’t it be nice to do that and have it paid free and clear all by saving money without even thinking about it?

 

A little something to get you through

20180702_081713

Some people like to pray.

Others,  as soon as they hear or read the word prayer go a different direction. They are more open to the concept of phrasing such as an inspirational quote, a mantra or meditation. What phrasing do you prefer when you are working to settle down your over stimulated mind?

In 12-step groups, people pray and meditate and whatever other approach helps them build a relationship with a Higher Power, Universal Intelligence or

G. ood
O.  rderly
D.  irection.

Most importantly, while they are developing a trust in a spiritual side of their human experience, they take what they like and leave the rest.

The Serenity Prayer most commonly is associated with 12-step recovery groups. People in these groups open and, often times, close their meetings with this prayer.  But if you don’t like the concept of prayer, you can call it a statement or philosophy. Call it whatever helps you receive the underlying message contained in it.

But the prayer’s effectiveness comes in differentiating between what you have the ability to address in this moment and what you are powerless over. The crux of the matter is you are powerless over other people’s thoughts and actions but you have absolute power to change your own thoughts and actions.

You may not always have control over the first thought, those buggers move around so fast in there, but once you are aware of it, you can make a conscious decision to change it.

And it is an act of courage to change yourself.

What changes are you making today? Could you share on this post as you may be the inspiration someone else needs.

Love and light,
Brenda

P.S. A shortened version of the Serenity Prayer is most often recited at 12-step meetings. The full prayer, usually attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr, is as follows:

God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And Wisdom to know the difference

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
Amen.

What to do when your neighbors Facebook shame you or your dog

My 19-year-old son took our dog for a walk. Like many young (and old) men (and women), he wasn’t inclined to pick up the stuff that our dog dumped on her walk.

So he left it there and walked on.

The neighbor who was looking out his window at the time, saw this occur

  • on his street,
  • in front of his house, and
  • he didn’t like it.

So, he took a photo of our dog and posted it on our neighborhood’s Facebook page.

I discovered the wall of shame after I got off from a long day of work. At about 10 p.m., right as I was getting ready for bed.

man and dog

This is not my son. This man is probably being paid to demonstrate picking up after your dog in this staged photo. That’s the only way my son would do it is if he got paid. There may not be actual poop in this staged photo.

I was EMBARRASSED. Because by the time I discovered the post, about a dozen neighbors had posted their opinions on how the event should be handled, which included picking up a bag of other people’s dog poop and leaving it at our doorstep. THESE PEOPLE HAD ALL DAY WITH NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN DISCUSS DOG POOP. Anyway.

By this time, my son had taken our dog for an evening walk. Uh. Oh. He’s predictable and takes the same routes, and my dog is predictable, too.

I quick got on the phone and had my son come home before any further natural fertilizer could be deposited.

I sent my neighbor a private message and apologized for my son’s inconsiderate behavior.

At first I thought there might be a chance the poop was still in the street so while I waited for my neighbor’s response, I drove by his house prepared to clean it up in the middle of the night like some stealth reconnaissance mission. But, too late, it was already smeared into the road.

My next dilemma was to decide if I should out myself on the public forum. I decided to. My dog is recognizable so I figured no use trying to pretend it’s not us. IT WAS A VERY GOOD PICTURE THE NEIGHBOR TOOK.  I acknowledged the dog was mine and apologized to the WHOLE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD AND EXPRESSED MY MORTIFICATION at being called out as I was.

I had many acknowledgements of my post and several suggestions of how I should handle my son, including making him take a bag and pick up dog poop that other neighbors hadn’t cleaned up on their walks. Uh. no. That would never work.

My reaching out to my neighbor with an apology was all the guy needed. He sent me a private message thanking me for validating his concern and acknowledged he had a young adult son who didn’t always use best judgement, either. He also gave me credit on Facebook that I “seemed like a nice person.”

Then, he took down the post.

Your Personal Bill of Rights in Relationships

Happy Independence Day New Thought, Right Action readers! Below is a post of a New Thought, Right Action leaders (two in particular) who worked and continue to work in the field of mental health. Their efforts in writing and teaching in the area of recovery from addiction and growing up in dysfunctional families helped define what healthy boundaries in relationships looks like. I hope you are enjoying your independence from what ever patterns that have been binding you from living your life to its full, healthy capacity.

********************************

Native Houstonian John Bradshaw was a prolific writer and he, along with Atlanta-based Dr. Charles Whitfield, made popular the concept of “healing your inner child. ”  In the early 90s,  Mr. Bradshaw shared in a public way his vulnerabilities and own recovery journey from alcoholism. He built a platform of lectures, PBS presentations,

and books to help millions of people around the world. If it weren’t ‘t for his and Dr. Whitfield’s service in writing, many people would never have been introduced to the concept of toxic shame. Mr. Bradshaw’s theory, in particular, is that toxic shame is what drives so many people’s decisions to self medicate through alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping, and overworking to mask the intolerable feeling of unworthiness.

IMG_0960(1)Mr. Bradshaw died two years ago. Friday, would have been his 85th birthday. His family held an estate sale at their property last weekend and I chose to attend so I could see where he wrote his many, many influential books. While we were there, admiring the many artifacts Mr. Bradshaw had collected on his international trips, we had the serendipity to meet Mrs. Bradshaw. The reason she and her husband had so many collectibles is not because of materialism but because of Mr. Bradshaw’s spirit of service. Everywhere they went, she said, “John wanted to buy something from the shopkeepers to help them out.”

Helping people out is what healers do. Dr. Whitfield is referenced for his compilation of a Personal Bill of Rights as it relates to interacting in healthy relationships. Here’s his list of “rights” that we are all entitled to enjoy if that’s what we choose. What rights are you exercising today?

independence day

How to get what you envy in others

 

pele

Affiliate disclosure: I sometimes link to other websites that sell products. I currently do not have any affiliate relationships with websites to which I link. What that means is if you go to a website that I’ve linked to and you buy something from them, they will get all of your money and I won’t get a commission. I linked to them because I bought something from them and I liked it.  This disclosure will be updated as required.

A motivational speaker held up a $20 bill and asked the audience “who wants this money?” She asked the audience with increasing volume of prompting: “who really wants this money?” I really wanted the money.

So, what did I do?

I sat there. I just sat there.

Instead, someone else ran up and took the money.

I was envious of both the motivational speaker AND the person who had the chutzpah to run up to the front to grab the bill.  I’ve been green with envy many times. I’ve come to learn, though, that envy is just another word for nothing left to lose, to paraphrase Janis Joplin.

Staying stuck in envy is a wheel-spinning activity. A close cousin to worry, envy keeps you fixated on what’s right in front of you without any effort from you to take what you desire.

That activity was pivotal for me. Well, that’s why I went to see her, after all, was to get motivated.

Her point was that no one is going to hand you anything, but if you want something you are going to have to get out of your seat and get it yourself.

I’ve been getting out of my seat and working for want I want since then.

Who do you envy? Your answers will help you define your goals. You can go here, if you want to learn more about achieving goals.

But what if you’re on the other side of the envy and receiving a lot of hate?

Achieving your personal ambitions puts you at risk of leaving other people behind. Some people can’t seem to get over that hump and they never live the full life they dream about. Other people achieve greatness and forget about the shoulders they stood on which gave them a step up.

I can understand that latter category. People who do nothing but envy can put out a lot of negative energy. I did at one time. But there are some mindsets you can develop to buffer yourself from others envy.

In Maranda Pleasant’s Mantra Wellness (spring 2018 issue) is a short how-to guide to “learn to roll with the punches.” Here’s my version of the article’s suggestions:

  1. Learn to soft belly breathe to calm yourself from other’s negativity and envy.
  2. Others criticisms and feedback might be your best guide in learning what aspects of yourself need healing.
  3. Learn to roll with the punches or toughen your skin. When you put yourself out there, people are going to grumble under their breath, talk behind your back and troll your social media.
  4. Conflict is spiritual. You don’t think the disciples ever bickered? Read up on your spiritual saints and gurus and you will learn a lot about how conflict can develop consciousness.
  5. Speaking your mind can get you hated, especially if you put yourself in front of an audience who doesn’t agree with EVERYTHING you say. Unless you are building an audience of clones of yourself, SOMEONE SOMEWHERE is going to disagree with SOMETHING you say.
  6. Keep yourself grounded by surrounding yourself with those who, too, are getting out of their seat and going for what they want.
  7. If you can’t take all the negativity anymore, then hire a therapist or a confidential confidant with whom you can process how it’s affecting you. As a person with a platform, it’s a misuse of power to use it to get back at people who are filled with envy and don’t have all of what you’ve worked for. Take the high road EVERY SINGLE TIME, PLEASE.
  8. And if you fall off that high road, use it as an opportunity to build, rather than burn, a bridge by humbly making amends.

Now, who REALLY wants that twenty-dollar bill?

 

Hold on, help is available

tide will turnSuicide is a symptom not a set of instructions. But as it manifests in the illness of depression, it can masquerade as a command, which sounds reasonable to the individual who is coping with it.

I have learned a lot about the brain and how fragile AND resilient it is. One thing I have learned is to not say someone committed suicide. Someone dies by or from suicide or from complications of depression, just as you would say someone died from a heart attack or from cancer. Someone who is suffering from this illness doesn’t make a choice as the word commit implies.

There are many forms of depression just as there are forms of cancer. You might say in a general way a person is fighting cancer and then you might follow-up with what type of cancer. And depending on what you hear, you would have a reaction to it as you know certain types of cancer are more aggressive than others. Depression is similar: Some are low-grade, episodic and others are persistent and aggressive. While a person may have “killed herself,” ultimately it was the depression that killed her.

Along the same language lines, instead of saying “I am depressed,” we encourage people to express it as “I have depression.” People don’t declare “I am cancer” but that they have cancer. It’s a way for those suffering to separate themselves from the embarrassment that could be implied by saying “I am.”

Think about the illness of a cold. “I have a cold,” which has its own course and while symptoms can be managed, masked or minimized the cold can’t be cured, as opposed to a person’s experience of temperature cold. “I am cold so now I am going to get a jacket to solve my problem.” People are complicated and so many things are dependent on individual factors as to understanding the “why” of a person’s mental state.

suicide prevention logo.pngIt’s not easy; however, depression can be treated and managed. If you are struggling, force yourself to reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline, your local emergency room or the person sitting next to you. And if you are the person being reached out to, then access support to help your friend or family member by calling 911 and ask for a crisis intervention team.

H.old
O.n
P. ain
E.nds

With treatment and hard work, we can make it through one more day. It is hard work to fight demons within and the demons without. But we can and will do it.

 

Rapid ways to make money and get out of debt

Affiliate disclosure: I have linked to other websites which sell products. I currently do not have any affiliate relationships with websites to which I link. What that means is if you go to a website that I’ve linked to and you buy something from them, they will get all of your money and I won’t get a commission. I linked to them because I bought something from them and I liked it and it improved my life.  Disclosures will be updated as required.

My husband and I completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Course two separate times. What can I say, we’re slow learners.

But we’re not alone: the average credit card debt load in U.S. households is nearly $16,000. Thanks to Dave Ramsey and our own commitment to building a wealthy mindset, we are well below the household average to now $0.

We make it our focus to rapidly pay off our credit card debt. The solution we keep refining is preventing it in the first place. The leading trigger for household debt is unplanned medical expenses. More than a 1/4 of American households have difficulty paying for medical care, according to the Kaiser Family Health Foundation.

abba, moneyThe irony of the blogs you read giving you tips on how to make money and make it fast, work under the assumption you are in good health and you have the energy to take on an extra job.

So, if you don’t feel good enough to get a job delivering pizzas as Dave likes to recommend, what are some other ways to rapidly raise cash?

Here are a few ideas:

Sell what you have:

  • Pawn some unused electronics, guns, or jewelry. The risk is you might not get the item back if you can’t get it out of hawk, but it’s better than running up the credit card debt. Pawning your goods is less labor intensive than a garage sale.
  • Sell unused gift cards. The Gift Card Exchange kiosks will trade your card with a $20 minimum balance, for a voucher minus its fees for you to exchange for cash at the retailer where the kiosk is housed.

Borrow your own money:

  • Some retirement plans will allow you to take a loan out on yourself. While the money isn’t in the account making a return for you, you are repaying YOURSELF with interest. Doesn’t that sound better than repaying the bank or the credit card company with interest?
  • Borrow from your own life insurance policies. Some whole life, or permanent life, policies will allow you to borrow a certain amount, which you have your WHOLE life to repay. If you don’t get it repaid, the insurance will still pay out the amount of the policy, minus what you borrowed.
  • Do you have a stash of savings bonds you’ve been saving up for a rainy day? If they have reached their term, then you might consider cashing them in because after 30 years, they no longer earn interest.

Increase your income:

If you’re not feeling well, then you might not be up to getting a part-time job outside of the home. No worries. With technology, you can earn money from your bed if you need to. Some ways to do that could be:

  • Freelance writing or building a blog. If you have a unique health situation, then sharing your story to a niche audience may help them while it’s helping you. You may not earn a lot of cash the first day, but if you keep at it, you will overtime. And, you will learn a new skill which you could market to business owners who are too busy to keep up with their own blogs.
  • If you live in a house with a nice-sized yard, then you can dog sit for people who are traveling. Just be sure to check your city’s ordinances before providing this service.
  • Rent out a spare room. This might be mutually beneficial if you’re not feeling well. Knowing another person is within ear shot could give you peace of mind. Even better is if you have educational centers which offer nursing programs. Nursing students or traveling nurses would LOVE the low-cost living arrangement you could offer in exchange for their checking up on you.

Cut your monthly expenditures:

  • We had our car and home insurance company review our plans. During our requested audit, we learned that the company hadn’t given us all of the discounts for which we were eligible. It was an “oversight” on their part. They retroactively paid us over $300 and we lowered our premiums more than $100 each month.
  • If you need the extra cash, you will muster the discipline to change cell phone plans. It’s nice to have all the bells and whistle on your phone, but they’re not necessary. If you start a side business and can show proof of your business structure, you could qualify for cell phone business plans, which can run about $100 a month with unlimited voice, text, and internet.
  • Consolidate your debt and look for introductory rates for credit cards. But a word of caution, make sure you mark it on your calendar when the introductory rates end, or you could find yourself owing more than when you started.

While spending money seems to occur more rapidly than making money, take heart. You do have options to keep yourself from drowning in debt. New Thought, Right Action is here to help you develop the skills and mindsets you need to achieve your financial goals.

via Daily Prompt: Rapid

Addiction abruptly ends lives, but there’s always a New Thought, Right Action to choose

road not takenI attended the funeral of a 20-year-old man last week. He died from complications associated with addiction. It was several years of struggle for his family as they helped him navigate resources to manage this chronic, relapsing brain disorder.

The funeral home was packed with nearly 200 friends–many of them the same age and most of them struggling with the same chronic, relapsing brain disorder. The friends who were currently sober talked about their anger at this illness and how it abruptly changed their life. In the early days of abusing substances, an altered mental state is a positively enhanced experience over the highs and lows of common everyday life. But, then, the highs or the check out from reality changes abruptly and something which an individual has had control over is suddenly controlling them.

If complete abstinence isn’t achieved from mind-altering substances, then people with this illness can have many years of long, drawn-out mental and physical suffering from the illness. Once a person has passed the stage of recreational substance use to addiction, there is no alternative street substance to use.  And, unfortunately, as long as the years are for the relapsing stage it almost always ends abruptly.

I’m sure the grieving phase for the man’s family will last the rest of their natural lives. It may lessen in intensity but the abrupt loss has left its mark which cannot be undone.

If you or someone you know is ready for an abrupt change to save yours or someone else’s life, then please connect with us. We have resources available to help you live a life of New Thought, Right Action.

Love and light,
Brenda

 

via Daily Prompt: Abrupt

Astonish yourself with the right questions

questions

Affiliate disclosure: I have linked to other websites which sell products. I currently do not have any affiliate relationships with websites to which I link. What that means is if you go to a website that I’ve linked to and you buy something from them, they will receive all of your money and I do not receive a commission. I linked to them because I bought something from them and I liked it and it improved my life. Disclosures will be updated as required.

Asking the right questions can provide you with astonishing answers about living your life to its full capacity. Starting your morning with five questions can prompt you to begin your day in a powerful and positive state, according to an exercise in Anthony Robbins’ Personal Power II: The Driving Force program.

So you remember your questions, write them down and keep them on your bed stand, tape them to your mirror, or have them as a note in your phone. Each morning for 30 days, read these questions and come up with two answers for each question.

These are the questions I developed for myself:

  • What can I do to be of service to at least one person today and enjoy the process?
  • What can I find to be grateful for today?
  • What actions can I take today that demonstrate I love myself and enjoy the process of loving myself?
  • What can I find to laugh about today?
  • Who do I love and who loves me?

In Anthony’s Personal Power II Success Journal he lists these questions:

  • What am I happy about in my life now?
  • What am I excited about?
  • What am I proud about?
  • What am I enjoying most in my life right now?
  • What am I committed to in my life now?

What are the questions with which you can astonish yourself by answering them?

via Daily Prompt: Astonish