- Start spending time with the right people – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways. They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.
- Start facing your problems head on – It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them. Problems will not disappear unless you take action. Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done. It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch. These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.
- Start being honest with yourself about everything – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed. Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become. Be honest with every aspect of your life, always. Because you are the one person you can forever count on. Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are. Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there. Read The Road Less Traveled.
- Start making your own happiness a priority – Your needs matter. If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself. Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you. And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.
- Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Be yourself. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else. Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms. Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
- Start noticing and living in the present – Right now is a miracle. Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future. Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past. Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening. Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.
- Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you – Mistakes are okay; they’re the stepping stones of progress. If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning. Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again. Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving. Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures. One of the ‘mistakes’ you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet.
- Start being more polite to yourself – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will.
- Start enjoying the things you already have – The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life – a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc. Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you’ll likely have a new destination in mind. You’ll end up spending your whole life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy the things you have now. So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.
- Start creating your own happiness – If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’re missing out. Smile because you can. Choose happiness. Be the change you want to see in the world. Be happy with who you are now, and let your positivity inspire your journey into tomorrow. Happiness is often found when and where you decide to seek it. If you look for happiness within the opportunities you have, you will eventually find it. But if you constantly look for something else, unfortunately, you’ll find that too. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
- Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance – In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance. You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work. Most of the time you just have to go for it! And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win.
- Start believing that you’re ready for the next step – You are ready! Think about it. You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward. So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges – they’re gifts that will help you to grow.
- Start entering new relationships for the right reasons – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be. Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect – people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment. And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
- Start giving new people you meet a chance – It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you’ve ever made. People and priorities change. As some relationships fade others will grow. Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgment. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
- Start competing against an earlier version of yourself – Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time. You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. Aim to break your own personal records.
- Start cheering for other people’s victories – Start noticing what you like about others and tell them. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
- Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations – When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope. Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times. And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right. Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
- Start forgiving yourself and others – We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others. And while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go. Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
- Start helping those around you – Care about people. Guide them if you know a better way. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness. And so on and so forth.
- Start listening to your own inner voice – If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition. Be true to yourself. Say what you need to say. Do what you know in your heart is right.
- Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks – Slow down. Breathe. Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose. When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity. These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.
- Start noticing the beauty of small moments – Instead of waiting for the big things to happen – marriage, kids, big promotion, winning the lottery – find happiness in the small things that happen every day. Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious taste and smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner. Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference in the quality of your life.
- Start accepting things when they are less than perfect – Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’ One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are. Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal. No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.
- Start working toward your goals every single day – Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen. Get out there and DO something! The harder you work the luckier you will become. While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it. By ‘working on it,’ I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result. Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
- Start being more open about how you feel – If you’re hurting, give yourself the necessary space and time to hurt, but be open about it. Talk to those closest to you. Tell them the truth about how you feel. Let them listen. The simple act of getting things off your chest and into the open is your first step toward feeling good again.
- Start taking full accountability for your own life – Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them. Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own. You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. And no, it won’t always be easy. Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them. But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles. Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.
- Start actively nurturing your most important relationships – Bring real, honest joy into your life and the lives of those you love by simply telling them how much they mean to you on a regular basis. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people. Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty. Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.
- Start concentrating on the things you can control – You can’t change everything, but you can always change something. Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation. Invest your energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.
- Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes – The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it. The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful. Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward. No, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things. Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether or not you’re happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on. Read The How of Happiness.
- Start noticing how wealthy you are right now – Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective. You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You didn’t go to sleep outside. You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning. You hardly broke a sweat today. You didn’t spend a minute in fear. You have access to clean drinking water. You have access to medical care. You have access to the Internet. You can read. Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.
Here are 30 positive things to include on your To Do list for a happier and better life. This article comes from MarcAndAngel.com - a site with practical tips for everyday living. Many of these tips align well with the frugal lifestyle, especially #9 - Start Enjoying The Things You Already Have and #30 - Start Noticing How Wealthy You Are Right Now. On a personal note, I started planning towards one of my dreams... I finally booked our apartment in Paris for next summer - et oui, il est trés savvy! More about that in future posts:)
Halloween is right around the corner! If you are going to a Halloween party or event and don't want to spend a mint on expensive costumes - you can get creative by putting together your own!
A must is to visit local thrift stores to see what you can piece together for a bargain. Or get crafty and make or construct your own creative one-of-a-kind costume!
Here are some frugal, clever and inexpensive costume ideas for inspiration. Whether it's couples costumes, group costumes, kids costumes or pet costumes - like the photo above of this cute doggie wearing a fro' wig, cool shades and a gold chain - you can do it cheaply!
Happy Throwback Thursday! What lessons can we learn from the past? Although our economy has (hopefully) been on the mend. I always try to be smart and savvy when it comes to how much I spend, how and where I invest, and how much I save.
I've also been watching the stock market, which has been rising for quite a while now. As the saying goes, everything that goes up, usually comes down. Take for instance the housing crash in 2008. I want to be prepared in case the U.S. has a "money bubble".
We can all learn a tip (or ten) from the past. If you aren't practicing a frugal life, now is the time to start - just in case our economy doesn't fully recover from this recession. In order for our society to prosper, we must try to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Here are 10 thrifty throwback tips and practices from a bygone era:
1. Grow your own - even if your yard is not large enough for a vegetable garden, you can still grow your own with potted herbs. Save money over time by planting basil, cilantro, rosemary, etc. If you have the space, plant fruit trees which are organic and will give you an abundance of food for years to come. You can even keep chickens that will lay fresh eggs!
2. Don't be wasteful - if it's still usable, don't throw away anything, whether it's food, products, furniture, etc.. For example, be creative with leftovers, squeeze out the last drops of beauty products, create a compost, refinish an old dresser, etc..
3. Make it yourself - are you handy and/or creative? You can save a lot of money by making your own meals, clothes, jewelry, liquid soap, baked goods, etc.. By making things yourself, you can also give these unique items you've created as gifts - instead of buying them from a retail store or a restaurant.
4. Recycle stuff - we all know you can recycle such as items like plastic, bottles, cans, magazines, newspapers, etc.. and get cash for them at your local recycling center. You can also reuse or repurpose some of these same items (with a little creativity) into flower vases, gift wrapping, containers, and other misc. items.
5. Use it - if you have clothes (or shoes) that are perfectly wearable... continue to wear them. Many people (mostly women) buy too many clothes and other stuff. If you have items that you simply don't wear, are tattered or are tired of - you can donate them or sell them at a garage sale. This applies to other items as well.. such as tech gadgets, purses, accessories, bedding, home decor, furniture, etc..
6. Walk or bike more - be like an Amish... walk to places instead of driving. Not only will walking or riding your bike save you gas money, they are the best ways to exercise. Have a purpose or destination when you go walking to make it more pleasurable. I walk around a tree lined street and get inspired by the beautiful homes, I walk to the store to pick up some essentials, and most recently I started walking dogs to earn some extra money.
7. Borrow stuff - back in the day, people lived amongst close tight communities where the neighbors all knew each other and would borrow things from each other. Today, we can adapt that same concept. Instead of buying things, you can borrow them - which can save you a lot of money. For example, instead of buying or even renting DVDs, go to your local library and borrow them.
8. Share things - instead of buying the latest fashion magazine, my friends rotate magazines amongst each other. Carpooling is a means of sharing rides, where everyone involved takes their turn in driving. When traveling with one or more people, bring one set of necessities so that there's no need to check in your bags. Share as many things as possible, such as recipes, books, clothes, meals, tools, etc..
9. Spend less - why pay more when you can pay less for products or services! Before I buy anything, I check whether I can use a coupon, get cash back, get a promo code, ask for a discount, or get it for free! For more tips and ideas of how to spend less on practically everything, click here.
10. Get free stuff - one sure way to spend less is getting stuff for free! If it's your birthday, many places reward you with free treats. For more freebie ideas, click here. The best things in life are free!
I believe we can all benefit from what books billionaire Warren Buffett have read. After all, he is one of the most successful investment moguls in the world. Here is a list of 9 books Warren Buffet thinks everyone should read. It's from an article on Business Insider . These books are helpful guides to anyone looking to be a little more business savvy.
When Warren Buffett started his investing career, he would read 600, 750, or 1,000 pages a day. Even now, he still spends about 80 percent of his day reading. "Look, my job is essentially just corralling more and more and more facts and information, and occasionally seeing whether that leads to some action," he once said in an interview. "We don't read other people's opinions," he says. "We want to get the facts, and then think." To help you get into the mind of the billionaire investor, Business Insider rounded up his book recommendations over 20 years of interviews and shareholder letters.
1. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
When Buffett was 19 years old, he picked up a copy of legendary Wall Streeter Benjamin Graham's Intelligent Investor. It was the one of the luckiest moments of his life, he said, because it gave him the intellectual framework for investing.
"To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information," Buffett said. "What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework. This book precisely and clearly prescribes the proper framework. You must provide the emotional discipline."
Click here for book details.
2. Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham
Buffett said that Security Analysis, another groundbreaking work of Graham's, had given him "a road map for investing that I have now been following for 57 years."
The book's core insight: If your analysis is thorough enough, you can figure out the value of a company — and if the market knows the same.
Buffett has said that Graham was the second-most influential figure in his life, after only his father. "Ben was this incredible teacher; I mean he was a natural," he said.
Click here for book details.
3. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits
by Philip Fisher
While investor Philip Fisher — who specialized in investing in innovative companies — didn't shape Buffett in quite the same way as Graham did, he still holds him in the highest regard.
"I am an eager reader of whatever Phil has to say, and I recommend him to you," Buffett said.
In Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Fisher emphasizes that fixating on financial statements isn't enough — you also need to evaluate a company's management.
Click here for book details.
4. Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
by Tim Geithner
Buffett says that the former Secretary of the Treasury's book about the financial crisis is a must-read for any manager.
Lots of books have been written about how to manage an organization through tough times. Almost none are firsthand accounts of steering a wing of government through economic catastrophe.
"This wasn't just a little problem on the fringes of the U.S. mortgage market," Geithner writes. "I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I knew what financial crises felt like, and they felt like this."
Click here for book details.
5. The Essays of Warren Buffett
by Warren Buffett
If you want to get to know the way Buffett thinks, go straight to the Sage himself.
In this collection, he keeps it very real — in his signature folksy-intellectual fashion.
"What could be more advantageous in an intellectual contest — whether it be chess, bridge, or stock selection —than to have opponents who have been taught that thinking is a waste of energy?" he asks.
Click here for book details.
6. Jack: Straight From the Gut
by Jack Welch
In his 2001 shareholder letter, Buffett gleefully endorses Jack: Straight From the Gut, a business memoir of longtime GE exec Jack Welch, whom Buffett describes as "smart, energetic, hands-on."
In commenting on the book, Bloomberg Businessweek wrote that "Welch has had such an impact on modern business that a tour of his personal history offers all managers valuable lessons."
Buffett's advice: "Get a copy!"
Click here for book details.
7. The Outsiders
by William Thorndike, Jr.
In his 2012 shareholder letter Buffett praises Outsiders as "an outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation."
Berkshire Hathaway plays a major role in the book. One chapter is on director Tom Murphy, who Buffett says is "overall the best business manager I've ever met."
The book — which finds patterns of success from execs at The Washington Post, Ralston Purina, and others — has been praised as "one of the most important business books in America" by Forbes.
Click here for book details.
8. The Clash of the Cultures by John Bogle
Bogle's The Clash of the Cultures is another recommendation from the 2012 shareholder letter.
In it, Bogle — creator of the index fund and founder of the Vanguard Group, now managing $2 trillion in assets — argues that long-term investing has been crowded out by short-term speculation. But the book isn't all argument. It finishes with practical tips, like:
1. Remember reversion to the mean. What's hot today isn't likely to be hot tomorrow. The stock market reverts to fundamental returns over the long run. Don't follow the herd.
2. Time is your friend, impulse is your enemy. Take advantage of compound interest and don't be captivated by the siren song of the market. That only seduces you into buying after stocks have soared and selling after they plunge.
Click here for book details.
9. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street by John Brooks
Back in 1991, Bill Gates asked Buffett what his favorite book was. To reply, Buffett sent the Microsoft founder his personal copy of Business Adventures, a collection of New Yorker stories by John Brooks. Gates says that the book serves as a reminder that the principles for building a winning business stay constant. He writes:
For one thing, there's an essential human factor in every business endeavor. It doesn't matter if you have a perfect product, production plan and marketing pitch; you'll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans. The book has become a media darling as of late; Slate wrote that it's "catnip for billionaires."
Click here for book details.
- Drake Baer