5 TIPS ON PAYING OFF YOUR DEBT

As someone who is young and slightly dumb, I have had my fair share of paying off debt. I can definitely say I’ve kept up with the trend of “treat yourself”, but it’s time we put an end to such toxic trends and take responsibility for our actions. We cannot expect to have no consequences to our actions and we shouldn’t let debt take over our lives. So here are 5 tips of what I have been personally doing to pay off my debt once and for all!

# 1 – Determining How Much Debt You Have

The first step would be to determine the total amount of debt you owe. This can be done by simply looking at all your account balances and adding them up, or you could even use Credit Karma to total up your debt. When totaling it all up, I would suggest writing the account balance next to the name of the credit card/loan/etc. so you can keep track of what is owed to whom.

#2 – Organizing Your Account Balances From Smallest to Biggest

This next step is key and is essentially the order on how you will be paying your debt down. It’s smartest to pay off your smallest account balances first before moving onto the larger account balances. You never save the easy thing for last, you do the easy step first! Paying off the small debt balances first is easiest since they’re so low. This also takes off the stress of having multiple open accounts. Many people have many small accounts opened, so once those are taken care of, you can release some stress as your number of accounts has gone down. Once you knock out all the small debts you can then move up to the big leagues! Now, once you have organized your debt based on amount owed we can move on to the next step!

#3 – Paying Extra On Each Account

It’s always smart to pay a little extra than just the minimum required. This will help you to decrease the amount of interest accrued over time as well as pay off your balance in a shorter timespan. Of course not everyone has the ability to do this, at least not in vast amounts, but even if it’s just a little extra each week/month, it can still help! I have been paying extra on my car so I can finally be done with that loan. A tip for this, always put your extra money towards the principal amount only and not the entire loan. You don’t want to put down extra money that is then divvied up between the loan amount and the interest amount. You want to put that extra money towards the original loan which lowers the total amount owed which in turn lowers the interest on the loan as well.

#4 – Adding Debt Payoff Into Your Budget

If you are going to be paying your debt off with intention then it’s best to add it into your monthly expenses on the budget. This way with every paycheck you have a dedicated amount that is for paying off debt specifically. No more waiting around for “extra money” to come in to put towards it, it’s time we take control of our financial situation and make paying off our debt a priority! Even if your current circumstances prevent you from being able to add debt payoff to your budget, I would go out there and make the sacrifice to find some sort of extra income to dedicate to paying off your debt. There are so many opportunities for remote work that adding an extra source of income shouldn’t affect your schedule that much. I for one do freelance work, editing, proofreading or even writing. I say, 1 year of hard work and dedication to finally be free of debt is time well spent.

#5 – Stop Using Your Credit Cards

The most efficient way to lower your debt is to stop making charges to your credit cards! I have found not carrying my credit cards with me to be extremely helpful as well as erasing the cards from my computer, phone and any other digital history. That way it won’t be as easy to make a whim purchase like making an emotionally-linked purchase. For instance, you’re having a bad day so you decide that you’re going to “treat yourself”. NO. If you don’t have your credit cards on you or saved in your phone then you will be forced to use your debit card. If you can afford this purchase on your own (debit) then by all means, go for it. But stop borrowing money for materialistic things that lose there value almost instantly after you buy it.

These are my best 5 tips for paying down your debt. Do with it what you will but I truly hope that if you are in need of paying down your debt you will consider trying these 5 tips out for yourself! Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed so don’t waste your entire adult life paying off debt for materialistic things that don’t even matter. My advice, lower your standards a little and make sure you have money for the necessities. There’s no need to have the newest car on the lot, the most expensive purse or the newest iPhone! If it’s not broken then don’t fix it. Save and pay off your debt and once you can afford those things using cash or debit only, then go for it! Until then, make your choices wisely.

TOP 14 EASY CARE INDOOR PLANTS

If you are obsessed with plants, like myself, then you might be in search of some easy, low-maintenance plants that you can add to your collection! Here are 14 of the easiest plants to have in your home. Let’s start with the 7 that I have myself!

My 7 Easy Care Indoor Plants

  1. Bromeliads

This plant does not require direct sunlight but perhaps a well lit area, it’s important to keep the soil moist but not soggy (to prevent root rot) and you’ll want to make sure the pot you have has proper drainage. I water this one on average every 1-2 weeks.

2. Anthurium

This plant has actually turned out to be my favorite! This plant thrives in a sunny area, no direct sunlight and you water it once a week by placing 5-6 ice cubes on top of the soil. This is called a “slow watering” process and it’s one of the easiest ways to measure your watering.

3. Aloe Vera

This plant you will water deeply but infrequently. So if you’re typically the forgetful type to water your plants, this one is calling your name! This plant is great in direct sunlight and you should water once the top layer of soil dries out, so not very frequently.

4. Succulents

There are many different types of succulents and this one is another great one for the forgetful waterers. Succulents generally thrive in direct sunlight and the best part, you only have to water the soil directly about once a month. Make sure it has proper drainage and it will do best if you buy the proper soil for it as well. So, water it or don’t water it, succulents will thrive regardless.

5. Asparagus Fern

I’ve actually acquired this plant on accident and it has turned out to be one of my favorites as well. This plant will thrive in direct sunlight and you should only need to water it every 1-2 weeks. Just make sure the soil is dry before watering again. A great tip for this type of plant is to buy a spray bottle and mist it daily.

6. Peace Lily

These are a beautiful plant to have indoors and can grow big if potted in a bigger pot. Find a nice sunny spot with indirect sunlight, thrives best in indoor potting soil and you should keep the soil moist but not soggy (again to avoid root rot). Water at least once a week and you should be in the clear.

7. Phalaenopsis Orchid

Orchids are another beautiful flower to add to your collection. It needs a sunny area with no direct sunlight. It will thrive best if in the correct potting soil and you should actually fertilize this with orchid fertilizer. Another great tip for this plant would be to repot with fresh orchid mix once the bloom is finished. Water only once a week!

Top 7 are my current plants & Bottom 7 are the ones I desire to add to my collection!

My 7 Easy Care Plants That I Plan to Add to My Collection

  1. The ZZ Plant

This one is a simplistic plant that thrives in a sunny area with indirect sunlight. Water it every 2-3 weeks, which you can keep track of by letting the soil dry between watering, and of course proper drainage.

2. Pothos

I specifically like this plant because I’m obsessed with the hanging pots. This plant requires indirect sunlight, proper drainage and you should only need to water it every 1-2 weeks. Always let the soil dry out between watering.

3. Yucca

I cannot wait to add this one to my collection because it can be small and cute and once you’re more settled it can grow to be grand. This one also requires indirect sunlight and proper drainage, letting the soil to mostly dry out before the next watering. Should only need to water every 1-2 weeks.

4. Kalanchoe

This plant can add a bit of color to your life and amongst all the leafy greens can really pop out. Thrives in direct sunlight, requires proper drainage and you only need to water once every 2 weeks. Always let the soil dry out before watering it again.

5. Philodendron

This is one of those leafy tropical type leafy plants, also known as, my favorites! Requires sunny area but indirect sunlight. You should water when the soil is about 50% dried out. Yellow leaves means it needs less water and brown leaves means it probably needs more water.

6. English Ivy

Another leafy green that has vines and can grow long and wide. Thrives in a sunny, well-lit spot indirect of sunlight. You should keep the soil slightly moist if it’s younger, but as it grows you can begin to let the soil dry out more in between watering. Of course proper drainage will help as well!

7. Dracaena

Another favorite of mine, it’s actually a childhood plant that we had and I desire to have my own once again! This plant thrives in a sunny spot with indirect sunlight, requires proper drainage and you should only water every 1-2 weeks. A great tip for this plant is to mist the leaves daily and to also mist the soil to keep it moist. Do not mistake moist for soggy, to avoid root rot.

BENEFITS OF PILATES

There are many great benefits to Pilates, to name just a few:

  • Improved Flexibility & Posture
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
    • particularly of your core muscles of your body: abs, lower back, hips and butt
  • Relaxation of your shoulders, neck and upper back
  • Enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs

So what’s the difference between Pilates & Yoga?

Some of you may recognize the same benefits from Pilates and Yoga! Well, that’s because the two are actually very similar. The main difference between Pilates and Yoga is that Yoga is used more for increased flexibility of the body as well as flexibility of the joints. Whereas Pilates focuses more on relaxing the muscles that are tense and then strengthening the core muscles of the body.

Which one is better for me?

If you’re looking for a new weight loss routine, studies have shown that both Pilates and Yoga burn about equal amounts of calories. So it’s really up to you on whether or not you want to dive in quick or go slow. Yoga is the slower option and Pilates is generally the more fast-paced option and both have both mat-based practices and equipment-based practices.

If you’re looking for muscle strengthening exercises, then I would side more with Pilates as it focuses on relaxing the muscles that are tense and provides strength to all the core muscles of the body. Now, Yoga can also be great for core strength and balance, but it is definitely more emphasized in Pilates. Pilates MAIN focus would be core strength and stability, for instance, helping with back problems if you play a rigorous sport that requires strong core muscles, Pilates would be most beneficial for you.

Yoga likes to use your own body weight as the resistance factor because there main focus is improving balance, flexibility and mind-body connection. Yoga is also more on the spiritual side, connecting to your Chakras and your different energies as well as keeping intact with your breathing. So if you’re seeking increased flexibility, fluidity of the muscles and joints, increased balance with a touch of the slow-flow spiritual, then Yoga is the way to go.

In the end, it really depends more on what you’re looking for in a workout. Is your end goal to gain increased flexibility and to experience mind-body connection or more fluidity of the joints? If yes, then I would start practicing Yoga. But if your end goal is more to do with gaining strength of the core muscles of your body and having more stability and reduced tension in your muscles, I would definitely give Pilates a shot.

Either way both are great and have many benefits to them so if you choose to add either to your daily workout routines you will see great returns!

VISION BOARDS

What is a vision board and why should you have one?

A vision board is something that you can use to pin up all your wants and desires that your little heart can think up! It’s something to remind you of what you are working towards or what you’re grateful of. It’s a physical/digital reminder that has the purpose of motivating you, even on the hardest of days.

A vision board is meant to be inspiring, so don’t put any negative connotations on there. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you wouldn’t want to “motivate” yourself by putting the worst picture of yourself up there. You would want to post a picture of yourself when you feel you were your most healthiest and if you don’t have one, go through some magazines and find someone with similar features and the goal body you want and use that one. This can be applied to all aspects of whatever you post onto your vision board. The goal is to uplift and build up your confidence, not to tear yourself down or be reminded of any failures.

Another quick tip before you get to work. A vision board is not limited by fears or what ifs or the word “impossible”. A vision board is to put any single thing that you desire and know you can get if you just worked hard enough. So don’t dull it down by your “reality” of things, because anything can be accomplished if you work for it. If you change the way you think, it will change your beliefs and in turn, it will change your reality.

So let all your heart’s desires come out with your vision board and start manifesting everything you want in your life!

How to make your own vision board!

So now let’s get into the good stuff! How to make your own vision board!

  1. Determine the main goal or goals that you are creating your vision board for.
  2. Find magazines, clip art, specific images from the internet or Pinterest that you can contribute to your vision board that goes towards your end goal.
  3. The tedious task of actually cutting out said images.
    1. I’ve found that making the vision board in collage form is more beneficial than square cut pictures, yes it takes more time on the cutting but it will totally be worth it!
  4. Start arranging your pictures on your board and get a feel for how you want the layout to be like.
  5. Take a quick picture of how your board looks like once you’ve added all your images so you have something to reference if they move out of place.
  6. Now, find a glue stick, some double-sided tape or even some Mod Podge glue and start sticking them down! Stick them down with some purpose! You don’t want anything falling off!
  7. BONUS: I like to throw some glitter on top of mine as the finishing touch
  8. Now hang that bad boy up where you will see it EVERY. DAMN. DAY! To remind yourself of what you’re working for and to keep you motivated and inspired!

HAPPY VISION BOARDING!

GETTING OUT OF YOUR ROUTINE

A lot of us find comfort in our routines, our daily rituals and our regular ways of doing things. While routines can be extremely useful in life and help you to really accomplish more, it’s important that we learn to break them every once and again. Now, when I say to break your routine, I don’t mean break your diet routine or your workout routine to do the exact opposite and ruin all your hard work. I’m leaning more towards a positive outlet of rigidness.

For example, it can get very boring doing the same exact thing every single day for months on end. Before you even realize you could have lived the same exact day for so long and then BLINK, 2 years have passed by. I think we all should take part in being a little more spontaneous in life and with our routines. Instead of coming home from work every night, making dinner and watching the same Netflix show that you’ve been binge watching, why don’t you call up a friend and invite them over for drinks. Go to the movies on a Wednesday night and watch that one chick-flick you’ve been dying to see. Go get a massage after a long day or just go out for a drink somewhere and make it a point to talk to someone. Call up all your besties and schedule a fun girls’ trip for one weekend, or even decide to just chill at the beach and watch the sunset one night.

So, when I say to “get out of your routine” I am not suggesting drastic changes, just small little things that make each day feel different and gives you the opportunity to meet new people or build stronger relationships in the process. We could all use a little change of scenery because I for one go mad if I find myself living the same exact day on repeat. It makes life feel boring and life should be an adventure because we only have 1 life so why waste it on doing the same thing everyday!

So today, I challenge you to do one out of routine thing this week and then evaluate how it made you feel and maybe consider doing it more often. I think we will all find ourselves going a little less mad and find a little more happiness.

SETTING A POSITIVE CLIMATE

This is something that may seem very simple and easy but it can actually be quite difficult and trying at times. The main point of setting a positive climate for anywhere or anyone you interact with is to be open to positive energy flowing and returning back to you. If we walk into a room or get into an argument with a negative climate surrounding us, nothing but negativity is going to return to you.

Setting a positive climate can be as simple as hearing the other person out, simply listening to their side of the story instead of barking at them and cutting them off. You never want to go into anything assuming the worst, we all must assume the best in order to set the positive climate. Another thing, we must not start our day “on the wrong side of the bed”. Yes we could have woken up grouchy but we should take a minute and re-evaluate all the things we are grateful for in this life and in this day and then reset our moods, or at least try our best to do so. Being positive may come naturally to some people but for most it does take a lot of effort, forgiveness and a lot of conscious decision making.

Imagine you are on the way to work and some ass on the street cuts you off and then has the audacity to brake check you! Of course this would make anyone mad and make us want to curse perhaps and honk on the horn. A lot of people then carry that road rage anger into their work space and walk into the room with furrowed brows and an attitude. Cutting people short on their greetings and slamming doors. You may even find any way to continue this unpleasant mood by listing every reason on why you wish to be elsewhere, why this job sucks and so on and so on. Not only have you let this stranger affect your mood but your letting your mood disrupt the happiness of everyone around you.

Instead of letting a complete stranger ruin your entire day, how about we just get angry for the one second that the incident occurred. You cursing and honking your horn honestly won’t make you feel much better and you spending the rest of your day in a frantic rage is helping absolutely no one. So why do we do this? Why do we let complete strangers, who we will never encounter again, take control of OUR day? This is where the conscious decision making comes into play. We must consciously decide to let it go, because perhaps he had to be somewhere and was in a rush, perhaps he didn’t realize he had brake checked you and cut you off. We must learn to see things from a different perspective and we must learn to let things go and to not let our negativity affect those around us, especially when the ones around you have nothing to do with the incident.

Setting a positive climate is like having a clean slate. Once you can rationalize why a person behaved the way they did by putting yourself in their shoes and trying to understand their point of view, we can then consciously decide to forgive and let it go. We can then decide to have a fresh start in the next moment by setting a positive climate for yourself and for others who are around you. By setting yourself back on the track to positivity you are then welcoming more positivity back into your life, and you will be surprised at how great your day may end up being.

EVERY ACTION HAS A REACTION

With every action there is a reaction. Depending on how big or serious the reaction was will vary on how big or serious the action may have been. These are the basic things that we were taught in grade school! But this does not have to be the case for our actual daily lives. So many people feel that the world is just “happening” to them, which is true to an extent. Yes we cannot control what the world or the Universe throws at us, all we can control is how we choose to react or respond to the situations we find ourselves in.

When you find yourself being at the mercy of the Universe ask yourself this one question, “Will this matter in a year from now?”, ask yourself this BEFORE you react! Sometimes we can make the situation ten times worse just by how we choose to respond. We let our primal instincts kick in and turn into this raging, furious monster which breaks and destroys everything in its path, in other words, only making things worse. But if you took the time to stop and ask yourself this one simple question, we can then take control of the situation by choosing how to react.

At the end of the day, the only control you have in your life IS how you choose to respond to anything thrown at you! It’s a small but powerful control mechanism. You can either receive the terrible news and just let yourself go into a downward spiral, throwing yourself a pity party and letting everything you’ve worked so hard far turn to crap. OR you can choose to look at the bright side, find the silver lining and turn the situation into something positive!

For instance, a lot of people were let go during Covid. Instead of reacting negatively, throwing a pity party and worrying about everything that you have lost, we can turn it around and see it as a blessing in disguise. We now get to spend more time with our families at home, we can go outside and enjoy the fresh air a little more. We can finish some of the home projects we’ve been neglecting and in the mean time we can search for new opportunities of work, maybe ones that we’ve been holding back on because of the timing, and maybe ones that we’ve been wanting to pursue for a long time.

There is always a bright side to every single situation thrown at us and we can always find the silver lining. It’s up to us to change the way we think and to take control of our ONE control mechanism we have, HOW WE RESPOND. Do not explode over something that you won’t even remember in a year, it’s a pure waste of energy and it won’t get you far. We must choose to live in the present and handle all situations given to us with grace, patience and positivity. Just because you had a bad day, does not mean you have a bad life, you will make it through this and you will realize just how much control you have by choosing to respond gracefully.

STOP LIVING IN AN IMAGINED FUTURE

Have you ever pictured out how your future will look like? Pictured your whole life and how it would play out, how many kids you’d have, who’d you marry, where’d you live and what kind of job you’d be doing? It’s honestly quite normal to do this and I myself do this a lot. But it’s important that we don’t use these imagined futures as the firm blueprints of our lives.

Life changes on the daily, circumstances change, people walk in and walk out of your life and nothing is really foreseen. So it’s vital that we learn to grow with the flow. Odds are, our perfectly imagined futures will not play out the way we want them too so I think we should spend a little less time planning out every little detail of what you want and a little more time on just living our lives.

A healthier version of imagining your future would be to determine what it is you want out of life and then taking small steps that will get you towards your ultimate end goal. Don’t obsess over the small details because those can and will change with time. Focus on the one end goal and make sure you are slowly working towards that and in turn you will be working towards your future.

So many people have these exact plans of what they want to happen and when they want them to occur but sometimes the things we want are completely out of our control. The people in our lives are their own people and cannot be controlled by your plan. So it’s unreasonable to live your life on that type of tight schedule. As long as you know you’re working towards the future you want, the rest will fall into place when the time is right. It may not be the time you had planned or wanted, which is fine, but you can only control what you do and that’s that.

So loosen the reigns a little and just learn to live in the now. Stop focusing on your imagined future and focus on what you can control (yourself). As long as we have some type of vision that we are working towards and we make sure that we are taking the necessary steps required of us, then we will obtain the end goal.

THE ONLY THING HOLDING YOU BACK IS FEAR

Today’s topic: Fear. Throughout our journeys in life we tend to discover what we like and what we don’t like, things we like to do and things we tend to avoid. But have you ever wondered what your life could be like if you ventured outside of your comfort zone, just a smidge, to discover something completely new and exciting and even liberating!

Most of us have an extremely difficult time getting out of our comfort zones because it is getting you to do something you either haven’t done before and is totally new to you or it’s opening you up to new experiences that you feel you may not be prepared for. We must remember that we are all born the same, we are all brought into this world with no prejudgments, with no bias or opinions and no fears! It’s not until we start to grow that we begin developing said fears. Some may be irrational and others may be brought about due to traumatic experiences but in life we are put on a roller coaster. Things are thrown at us from all sides and we must learn to deal and to heal with these things. The only real thing that is holding us back is fear.

We must learn to let go and move on. Can you imagine living a life where nothing changes for several years? All because you were scared to put yourself out there, scared to let go, scared to move on. We cannot and must not live our lives in fear because in the end does that really qualify as living? Those who live with no fear are the ones who get to experience the full beauty of life and can really say that they’ve lived. But for the ones frozen in fear, too scared to take a step forward or even a step backwards, those are the ones who stay stagnant in time. If you are stuck in one spot, you are literally just watching life fly by you.

So, today’s topic was fear, we need to stop letting fear hold us back and start living, like TRULY LIVING! I know that when my time comes, I will have no regrets because I chose to live my life exactly how I wanted to. No one wants to be the person who is old and gray and bitter because they wish they could go back in time to actually live their life.

LEARN TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT

This topic can be interpreted in many different ways, today I will discuss the importance of living in the present when it comes to losing someone.

Since the passing of my oldest brother I’ve found it to be extremely difficult to focus on the present. I constantly find myself reminiscing of the “good ole days” and wishing I could be back there. Sometimes I get so caught up in the memories that I end up making myself upset. This is where the advice of learning to live in the present comes into play. It’s a very hard subject to take your mind off of, but I tell myself daily to focus on the present and to focus on the future. The past is gone and there is nothing more I can do to change the hard truth that he is gone. If there is anything I could do I would have done it by now, no question.

The key word out of all of this is “Learn”, as it is a learning process. To learn and to figure out how to continue living in my present life without my brother because it feels so irregular to have to do something as easy as living. When I remind myself to stop thinking of the negative and to focus on living in the present and for what has yet to come, I can pick myself back up and keep it moving.

I have to focus on being a better person in this world, I have to focus on being there for my family and being there for his daughter when she arrives in June. I have to focus on strengthening myself so that when his daughter is here I can tell her all the stories that me and her daddy share together and to make sure that his memory will continue to live on through me and his family.

So, even though learning to live in the present is an extremely hard topic, it is necessary. I can’t keep my thoughts secluded to the past, I have to keep moving forward for him and I have to be prepared for the blessing that is on the way. We all need to learn to live in the present because living in the past will only bring us heartache. Of course it’s healthy to remember the good times and all the laughs and smiles but when it gets to the point that you find yourself getting severely depressed by the thoughts, then you need to remind yourself to live in the present!