How to Sustain Financial Flexibility Moving Forward

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Money should never be the objective of your life. It should only be an instrument to help you achieve your dreams. But with that in mind, you should never be careless with your finances in order to maintain your success and flexibility in the future.

Preparing a budget is a time and tested solution to any financial woes. It helps you gauge if you are spending more than what you are earning. Through this you will also determine if you are saving enough for your goals, both short term and long term.

The safety of an emergency fund

No one wants an emergency situation. But it happens in life. An emergency fund helps you stay afloat should an unforeseeable event pops up such as job loss, death in the family, natural calamity and the likes.

This fund will serve as a safety net for these situations. This should be equivalent to at least three to five months worth of your salary. The best-case scenario is that you never have to use this fund at all. But it pays to be prepared.

Tracking your finances

When you blindly spend your money and don’t even read your billing statements (especially credit cards), you run the risk of getting blindsided with your finances. Keep tabs of your spending routine.

Maybe there are some purchases that count as luxuries and not as necessities. If you become more practical in your approach, you may just be able to save a significant amount.

And always remember, any amount will still not count as savings unless it is safe in a savings account.

Manage your credit card usage

A credit card is not necessarily a good or bad thing. It all depends on who is using it. If it can be used on all purchases and paid promptly on time every month, you can reap various points and rewards for its usage. With the emergence of technology, a credit card is also very useful for digital transactions.

But if you don’t have enough finances to pay off your credit card bill, you will probably end up stuck in debt with continuous finance charges and interest rates.

Simply be honest about your situation if you can manage your credit card. The rule of thumb is that if you don’t have finances devoted for your credit bill, don’t keep on swiping your plastic card for transactions.

The importance of goals

A goal in mind helps set a vision for your future. This is true for finances as well. If you wish to set up financial goals, make sure these are realistic and attainable so that you will have more motivation to work hard for these.

Don’t forget to invest in yourself as well. You’re working hard and it’s only right to devote your hard earned pay for your recreation and relaxation. Also at the end of every day, it should be your objective as well to save a fraction of your earnings for your retirement.

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The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Passion in Life

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A wise man once said “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable!” Actually, a little girl named Matilda said it but Roald Dahl was the writer behind this lovely quote. When it comes to doing something on an everyday basis, how do you rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 10 meaning you are following your passion? Yes, that was a trick question but what I am truly trying to find out is “Are you following your passion?” Do you get out of bed every day with a spring in your step and your heart is light with joy? If not, then why aren’t you doing it? When you are motivated by passion, everyday feels like you are working towards your heart’s goals and desires. While you may have a few bad days, your work still won’t feel like a chore to you because you feel fulfilled, knowing the fact you are pursuing your passion. While the lucky ones get to feel like that, what about you? Do you feel passionate about what you do? Have you actually identified your passion in the first place? If you have answered ‘no’ to most of the questions, I am here to change you into a ‘yes’ man. The first thing we need to do is to take a blank piece of paper and start drawing a mind map on it.

What Are You Good At?

A mind map helps you chart and visualize exactly what is going on in your heart and your mind. All you need to do is draw a circle and write your name inside it. Now, draw a few other circles connecting to it and fill them in with whatever we will be discussing next. Now you have the basic structure of your mind map all set and ready. Your name is in the middle, the empty bubbles beckon to be filled with your thoughts so the first thing you need to think about is, ‘What are you good at?’ It can be anything. Seriously, a person can be good at a ton of things so start writing them down. Is it cooking? Gardening? Photography? Following the stock exchange market? Making sales? Traveling? Whatever it is, just jot it all down. Now sit back and take a look at the map you have made. Out of all these things, narrow the list down further to find out what you are truly good at.

What Makes You Happy?

When you have noted down and identified what you are truly good at, how about sifting through the list and writing down what actually makes you happy out of all the things you are good at? For example: You may be good at sales but does that make you happy? You may be good at cooking too, but does it fill you with a feeling of completion or a sense of purpose? When you start looking at the things you are good at with this critical view, you will begin to get on the right track to finding your passion. Since you want to be on the right track though, do think critically about what makes you happy. Watching TV can make you happy too but it doesn’t have to belong on your mind map because when you think about it critically, it may be just a way for you to relax and get rid of the stress you were feeling throughout the day.

Can You Imagine Yourself Continuing in the Same Way for Years to Come?

Now, you might have a messy mind map but it’s time to put it aside for a little bit. It’s time to use your own mind to see what you can consider your passion out of the mind map. You have already answered two important questions which were ‘What are you good at?’ and, ‘What makes you happy? Using this information, try to visualize what you think you can imagine yourself doing for years to come. Can you still feel happy if you had to continue on in sales? Can you still imagine yourself following the stock exchange even when you are old? Your passion does not dim over age. In fact, it grows stronger as your skills improve and you gain access to vital resources which allow you to pursue your passion with more vigor and energy than you previously had. Can you see yourself being excited about making another sale? Getting more profit or snapping more pictures at a party or wedding down the road?

Hooray! We Discovered Your Passion!

If you start being able to answer these questions with ‘yes’, then you know you have found your passion. One thing you have to pay attention to though, is that it is possible for you have to have two passions. Two things which make you feel passionate about them but it can be in two completely different ways. So, what do you do? You choose between them. Which one calls to you more? Which one can give you the satisfaction and sense of purpose you desire? But most importantly, which one can make you feel like you can build your future on it? Once you have answered those questions you have truly identified your passion. But once you have identified your passion, what do you do? Before you hop around with joy, call your boss and resign from your current job which is sucking the happiness and passion out of you, take some time to think things through. If you aren’t following your passion already, you don’t have to do it this instant.

Now What?

Start looking around for opportunities which will allow you to pursue it but still keep doing what you are doing. You might have heard stories about people who just got up and left and never looked back since a particular day but keep in mind you have to be practical. Do you have a huge circle which can provide you the moral support you need? Do you have enough saved up to support yourself while you try to kick-start your passion down the road to success? If you said ‘no’ to both, hold on and give yourself some time to turn those no’s into yes’s. Discovering your passion is interesting and definitely important but it shouldn’t break a person in the process. There will be plenty of opportunities to try taking risks and leaps of faith but when you are just starting out on the road towards your passion, you need a firm footing which can help make the foundation or base for your amazing journey. With these things in mind, you can finally head on to find your passion and pursue it in life and when it comes time to take a leap of faith when you are well on your way, go ahead and do it!

Why You Must Live in the Present

An excess of anything is always bad. This holds true for some positive things such as financial planning. Many people might not believe it, but excessive planning can also ruin your life by stopping you from enjoying the present. People who think more about the past and future rarely live a happy life. Therefore, if you want to spend a happy life, do not think too much about the future; live in the present.

Each Moment is Precious

Life is short and you should not waste it thinking about what will happen in the future. Do not take happy moments for granted because you never know when the next happy moment will come. As such, when it comes, do not miss out.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy your life, concentrate on the present. Plan for the future when needed, but learn to enjoy today as well.

Stress Reduction

Stress is one of the main reasons behind many diseases. One of the biggest advantages of living in the present is that you are free of stress and anxiety, making it great for your health and happiness. For example, over planning your future will increase the amount of stress you experience.

Identifying and analyzing your thoughts will help you for the future but also live in the present. As such, make a habit of working on present strategies and modify them into future ones.

Happiness

When your stress and anxiety levels are down, you are one step closer to happiness. Thinking less about the future and concentrating on the current is the secret to happiness. If you do not believe me, you can apply it yourself and feel the difference.

Accept the present and relish it, because your plan might not work every time. Do not impede yourself from enjoying the joy of the present moment.

Greater Control

Living in the present is associated with greater control over life. The present is the only moment that you can change. In other words, it is the only thing you have control over. Future planning is good, but the future is uncertain and thus out of your control.

Whether you choose to cherish the present or choose to occupy yourself with future plans, remember that it is your choice. You cannot change the future with your plans, but you can try to do so by improving your present.

Affordable and Healthy Food to Maintain Your Health

Grocery expenses and household expenditures are a big chunk of your monthly budget. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can reduce the amount you spend on your food and live healthy at the same time. The secret lies in natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, poultry and various dairy products. Stay away from processed and canned foods, because they will keep you healthy and save you lots of money.

Here is a list of some of the foods that will keep you healthy on a budget.

Apples

“An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Apples are loaded with vitamin C, which make your immune system stronger so it can fight against diseases in a better way to keep you healthy. It also contains antioxidants, fibers and fewer calories to keep you fit. Furthermore, it is cheap and easily available in the market. As such, make a habit of eating apples and keep various diseases at bay.

Bananas

Another food that fits the bill when it comes to being frugal and healthy is bananas. If you are looking for lots of energy and potassium, there is nothing better than bananas. It contains many vital nutrients that will keep you going throughout the day.

Carrots

A carrot is a vegetable that is both affordable and nutritious at the same time. Carrots contain many different vitamins such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It also contains a significant amount of fiber and folate. You can use it in many different ways. You can prepare a salad, add to soup or eat it raw; there is nothing better for blood production than carrots. Research has also shown that it can significantly improve your eyesight.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are easily available in every country and are quite inexpensive in most. Counted among one of the best foods for your skin, due to the presence of lycopene and carotene, the chemicals in tomatoes protect your skin from sun damage. Research has also proven that tomatoes significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Yogurt

Many people consider milk effective at keeping you healthy, but do not rank yogurt in the same category. You will be surprise to know that yogurt contains most of the benefits of milk. Like milk, yoghurt is a rich source of calcium and excellent for making your bones stronger. Moreover, yogurt is rich in protein and has helpful bacteria that kill germs in your body. If you face stomach issues, enjoy some yogurt regularly and feel the difference.

Lentils

If you have a heart condition, then doctors might have advised you to stay away from beef. However, this could lead to a protein deficiency in your body. If you do not find a suitable alternative to fill the gaps, caused by a lack of lean red meat in your diet, the situation might get worse. For many, lentils are the best alternative to beef and help you meet your daily protein needs. They are highly affordable, rich in antioxidants and keeps your hunger away.

What you can learn From Successful People

We are all humans and makes mistakes. Successful people identify their mistakes, learn from it and never repeat the same mistake again. That is what you need to do to improve your life. Bringing a positive change in your life might look like a daunting task, especially when you are surrounded by bad habits but it can be made relatively easy.

Make the Most of the Resources you have

You will not need unlimited resources to bring improvements in your life. You can achieve your goal by making the most of the resources you have. All you have to do is concentrate on the resources you possess and utilizing it. Do not waste your time running after acquiring more resources.

Make S.M.A.R.T Goals

Another common trait in many successful people is that they set S.M.A.R.T goals and pursue them. S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. When you pursue S.M.A.R.T goals, you prioritize the goals and keep your motivation level up. This makes any task you do more efficient and effective.

Stay Away From Procrastination

It is time to make a move and take action. Do not leave today’s task for tomorrow. It is a bad habit that leads to failure. When you delay a task, it becomes more difficult for you to complete it later. Even a simple task will become daunting once you tackle it in the future. As such, avoid procrastination, because it is one of the major causes of a static life.

Take it to the “Next Level”

Look for inspirations in what you do. Whether you are a scientist or love art, you can easily find inspiration from the same domain. Additionally, you need strong willpower to drive you towards your goal. Aim to excel at whatever you do and make a name for yourself. Never get bogged down by negative comments and never give up. Respond to their negative comments with positive performance as it will eliminate the comments and give you a dose of motivation.

One Change per Day

Never try to bring numerous large changes in your life overnight, because it is not possible; accept this fact. It takes time and the best way to do this is by taking it one change at a time. Therefore, start with small changes, because many small changes in your life contribute to a big change. Furthermore, it will be easier for you to make small changes. Stick to this formula and it will not take long for you to be successful.

Ways to Boost Your Productivity

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Whether you are at workplace or home, being productive in whatever you do is important in utilizing your time. Proper planning and focused efforts are essential elements of productivity. Improving your productivity is an evolutionary process and takes time so do not initially aim for perfection. Analyze and identify the aspects you can improve to enhance your productivity.

Here are some of the best ways to increase your productivity.

Make a To-Do List

Make a to-do list to keep track of the tasks you have to perform. It is one of the first steps you should take to boost your productivity. Many websites make it easier for you to manage your tasks and prepare your to-do list.

Try breaking a large task into many smaller ones to make it more manageable. Prioritize the tasks by looking at the deadline on the to-do list and allot time to each task accordingly.

Avoid Distractions

One of the main culprits stopping you from being productive is distractions. Distractions will put you off your target. Spending too much time on social media and other similar sites will decrease your productivity.

In essence, disconnect yourself from other tasks to focus on the task that really matters. However, if you cannot do that, minimize the time you spend on internet and TV. Whether you are an employee or a student, staying away from these distractions will bring positive changes in your performance.

Set Ambitious yet Realistic Goals

Setting yourself a very large and unrealistic target will decrease your chances of achieving the goal. Moreover, it will hurt your confidence and willpower in case you fail. Always set realistic goals that are achievable.

Set a deadline for your goal to avoid failure and careless attitude from creeping into your schedule. Setting specific goals and monitoring your progress is the right thing to do. Moreover, set different goals for both your personal and professional lives.

Seek Help

It is better to seek help than to waste your time trying to fix what you cannot. There is nothing wrong in asking for help because nobody is perfect. Seek help from your colleague, asking them to help you solve a problem you find tough to solve on your own.

Reward yourself Periodically

When you achieve a milestone, reward yourself with something you love. This will keep you motivated. If you do not reward yourself, you will ultimately lose your passion to achieve it. So, keep rewarding and motivating yourself. Take some time off, watch a movie or eat your favorite dish as a reward.