10 easy ways to make your life 1% better today

10 easy ways to make your life 1% better today
 
Let's chat about making life just 1% better every day.

I know 1% doesn't seem like much and it's not in the very moment, but compounding isn't just for finances!

Someone was asked "How did you achieve financial independence by such a young age?"

Their answer? I packed my lunch ever day.

See, in the moment, packing your lunch once won't get you to financial independence. But packing your lunch even just 200 days a year could save you $1000 a year. Invested it's even more! And not only that, you've created a new healthy habit.

If you're here, my guess is that you want to do something different with your life, you want to change it up. 

Maybe it's a new job, a new relationship, a new place to live, or just living differently.

Fact is, you'll never change your life until you take action on it daily. And when you focus on the practice not the performance, you're more likely to find enjoyment in it.

Here are a few ways to become 1% better and on your path to create life by design, not default: 

🤩 re-evaluate your friend circle and only keep those who push you to be better, support you and love you wholeheartedly.
🤩 start reading books about the things you want to accomplish. Increase your knowledge.
🤩 learn a new skill and practice it.
🤩 exercise - seriously, just 15-20 minutes of exercise will boost your mood and your mindset.
🤩 write down your goals (with dates to achieve them by)
🤩 take one action step daily towards reaching those goals.
🤩 have fun - smile every day.
🤩 start a healthy morning routine - don't check e-mails or social media until later in the morning.
🤩 reduce clutter - both physically and mentally.
🤩 create a budget - healthy finances = healthier relationships with self and others.

Last but not least, practice believing in yourself daily. Affirmations, gratitude journaling and the like are so powerful, especially when compounded over time.

What will you start with today?

xoxo,
Gwen

oh and by the way, if you're looking for inspiration or ways that you can start living differently, come join our free community at http://www.inspiredandready.com





Four Easy Financial Resolutions For The Fall

Four Easy Financial Resolutions For The Fall
It's the last 100 days of the year, what are you going to do with them? How about setting some financial resolutions? This gives us the opportunity to close out the year by really going hard to achieve the financial goals we set for the year initially or achieve new financial goals we set along the way. Fall allows us to reflect upon the last 265 days of the year and evaluate whether or not we like what we saw. If we didn't, now is the time to pivot and change it.

If you find yourself struggling to keep the financial resolutions you made last year, take a good look at them again. Why did you choose those goals? Why are they important to you? Throughout the year our priorities can change and some goals take precedence over others, or we forget the goals we set. Don't be discouraged if upon revisiting your financial goals, you find you have broken them. A good mentor once told me, "Where you are is just where you are, not who you are." and this reminds me that you can choose to start fresh today no matter what the last 265 days have looked like. 

Here are a few great financial resolutions you can adopt heading into Autumn:

1. Set up an emergency fund of at least $3000.
When we have an emergency fund, everything else in our finances feels easier. This emergency fund is the first step to getting your finances in order and a great resolution for the end of the year. And, you can do this even if you think you don't have money to spare after paying your monthly expenses.

Go through your home and find things you no longer use or haven't used in 6 months. This includes clothes, furniture, shoes, decorations, anything you can find, you can sell and earn cash for. I like to use Facebook marketplace and stick to local pickup so you don't have to worry about shipping.

The other way to increase your income and beef up your emergency fund is by cancelling subscriptions. This is where you can evaluate whether a subscription is a need or a want. For example, I had an Audible subscription at $15 a month. I found that I could cancel it, join my local library and listen to audiobooks for free! Check your tv subscriptions, gym or anything else you pay for monthly and really evaluate how much you use it and whether it is something that is necessary for you to live.  I usually say anything that makes me money, puts food on my table, or gets me to my job is necessary, everything else might not be. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions and put that cash right into your emergency fund.

Last but not least I recommend taking on extra hours at work or using your skills to work a side job. Everyone has strengths, what is something you can do that can bring in extra income? With the holiday season approaching, lots of jobs are looking for extra help and hours to fill. Any extra money you bring in can go right into your emergency fund.

2. Start investing!
This is something I wish I had done in my twenties. It's how you can make your money work for you and how you can set yourself up for retirement (and maybe even retire early!). The sooner you start, the easier it is. If you're not sure how, youtube is your friend.

My recommendation is to start with opening up an investment account if you don't already have one. My favorites are Vanguard or Fidelity or Charles Schwab. Each has different pros and cons depending on your lifestyle. If you have one with your employer and they match your investment, make sure you are maximizing that by putting in the percent they require to match. For example, if you start investing $200 every month for 10 years and you earn 6% yearly, at the end of 10 years you'll have $33,300. Of that though, only $24,200 is money you've put in. The other $9,100 is interest you have earned on your investments. The more that grows, the more your investments grow.

The amount you invest monthly will depend on your age and when you aim to retire. The younger you are, the less money you'll have to start investing monthly to reach your goals. Use Google to find a retirement calculator and calculate how much you should be investing. If you can't meet that minimum, that's ok! You can work your way up. Any amount of money you can invest is better than not investing at all. My suggestion, automate your investments so you can set it and forget it. Just be sure that you're money is being put to work inside your investment accounts and not just sitting in your investment company waiting to be applied to a specific investment.

3. Pay off debt.
Do you know how much debt you have? Write down all of the debt that you owe from credit cards to car loans to student loans and even borrowed money from friends or family. Once you can see it, you can create a plan of attack to pay it off.

Now list your debts from smallest to largest. Let's be honest, paying down debt isn't exactly the most fun but if you can give yourself quick wins you're much more likely to stick with it. That's why we start with the smallest debt you have. I recommend calculating your monthly expenses and monthly income to arrive at your "green gap" amount. This is the money you have leftover after paying all of your bills. Once you have that amount, you can delegate 45% of it to paying off debt, 45% to investments and then take 10% and put it into a fun account.

The key here is to continue paying the minimum payments on all of your debts and take that 45% extra to put on your smallest debt. Watch how fast that debt disappears and see how good you feel about your accomplishments. Now keep going!

4. Pay for the holidays with cash.
This is a great financial resolution to set now that you are on your way to becoming debt free! The holidays are a time of year when marketing is turned way up and we are made to believe that gifts = love. It's so easy to get sucked into the belief that more gifts equal more love, right? If you're a parent you have probably felt the pressure to "keep up with the joneses" when friends are posting on social media pictures of how many presents are under the Christmas tree. Here's where you can start to free your mind from these beliefs because you are clear on your financial resolutions.

Set a holiday budget for yourself and stick to it. One way I like to do this is to set up a "holiday fund" at my bank. This is just an extra account where I can put money for the holidays. If you have to lessen the amount you pay towards investments these next three months, you can choose to do that so that you don't go into additional debt just for the holidays. Know how good this will feel going into 2022 with less debt.

Let me know what financial resolutions you are setting for the year, and of course if you need help, reach out!

If you haven't grabbed the Ditch Your Debt Freebie yet, get started on simple solutions to get out and stay out of debt right here.

xox
Gwen

work less, accomplish more

work less, accomplish more
Wouldn't it be great if you could work less and accomplish more? Like duh, yes!

If you're like me, you probably love crossing things off your to-do list, but sometimes that sense of accomplishment can be fleeting and exhausting.

So if you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list, let me show you how I get the most out of my day without wasting time:

Step one: Brain Dump.
This is a technique that has been used by many creative thinkers to get their thoughts and ideas down on paper in the most unrestrained way possible. Write it all down until you can't write anymore.

Step two: Organize.
This is a process called chunking, where you're looking at your items to see if anything is related. Can you put them into categories, like, these things belong to my children and my family, these items belong to my household chores etc.

Think about how can you make the process easier to group them together, so you know what to do first.

Step three: Prioritize.
When you look at your categories, can you star the items that are absolute musts?

These have to get done. Where some of the items are “shoulds” and can be put in a container to do later on.

It can be hard to prioritize when there are so many items on your list. When you see those must-do tasks, make sure they get done before anything else!

Step Four, Delegate.
This is where, looking at your list of tasks to do, you should ask yourself whether or not the task needs to be done by you personally and cannot be delegated in any way shape or form. So many things in our day can be delegated to others to take a little off our plate, things like laundry & food shopping. You'll likely have to release the need for perfection here (aka someone else will not do it exactly the same as you, but it will get done and that's all that matters).

Step Five: Be prepared.
This is simply knowing what needs to be done the next day.

This is the last step before you go to bed. Spend a few minutes thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow and plan out your day accordingly so that when it's time for work, you're already ahead of schedule with no worries!

So if you can totally relate, and you're curious about getting more done in less time, just click this link and join our free community, where women just like you are designing a life they truly love.

Encouraging you to be you and live the life you truly love!

xoxo,
Gwen

self-doubt...what's wrong with me?

self-doubt...what's wrong with me?
the thing about self-doubt is that we've let someone else tell us how we should show up....
Read more...

How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck

How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck

More than 50% of the U.S. Population lives paycheck to paycheck and over 62% don't have enough savings to cover an emergency. Sometimes we think “gosh, how did this happen?” but the truth is, we know how. 

Education is a business. Banks are a business. Marketing is a business. And it’s so easy to get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses, right?

So let’s talk about how to get yourself out of this rut. I'm going to show you how to solve it in three easy steps.

Step one, unsubscribe.

Raise your hand if you have Netflix. Now raise another hand if you have Hulu. And another...oh wait...no more hands! But how about Disney plus? Amazon Prime? HBO? 

I know, I know one show is on Netflix and the other show you watch is on Amazon and so how could you possibly pick just ONE to keep?

Well, when you're in financial stress, you're going to have to differentiate need versus want. So pick one and put the others to rest. We can sit here all day and say “but Netflix is only this amount of money, or Disney plus us only this much.” Ok yeah but how does it feel every month to squeeze by on paying your bills? The ones that keep you driving, or keep a roof over your head or food on the table? Let’s prioritize.

Step two, create a budget.

This is where most people say “I’m out!” and it’s because we already know our situation, we’re just scared to see it on paper. But this is where you get clarity on your income versus your expenses. Because when we tell our money where to go, we are in control, rather than our finances having control over us.

Trust me - this works. 

Step three, stop spending.

Yup, I said it. Have you ever looked at your bank account and wondered where all of your money goes? When you start to look at the nitty-gritty details of your expenses. We have coffees out here, we have dinners out there, online subscriptions yadda yadda. 

If you have money leftover at the end of the month, that's where you can take 10% of that and put it towards a “fun” account. Forty-five percent of it and put it towards your debts, and another 45% towards your savings or investments.

This is being in control of your money, not your money controlling you. This is opening your bank accounts and knowing, BELIEVING that you are abundant and will always have enough. 

If you want more tips on creating your best life, which includes your financial wellness, click the link below and join our free community where women just like you, are working on designing a life that they are truly in love with.

http://www.inspiredandready.com ← I’ll see you in there!

xoxo,
Gwen


 
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