Tag Archives: personal finance

Tips for Financial Happiness

How to Be Financially Happy This Year

Tips for Financial HappinessThey say money can’t buy happiness. And while this may be true, it doesn’t mean we can’t follow a few tips to be happier about our finances.

We’ve just entered 2013 and many New Year’s resolutions may still be well intact, but whether you start today or in a few months, it’s never too late to resolve to get happy about our finances. At least that’s what Money magazine would like us to do.

It’s no secret that money is a huge source of stress to individuals, couples and families alike. But according to recent research examining the connection between money and mood, there are six steps to easing some of that stress and working toward financial happiness. Take a look:

  1. Several small indulgences will make us happier than a few large ones. Money magazine encourages us to skip the big-ticket purchases and spread smaller ones out over time. One of their examples: Instead of dinner and a show each week, go out to dinner one weekend and then to the theater the next.
  2. Slowly pay off credit card debt. It can be easier to stick to a monthly budget, which includes paying toward that credit card debt, rather than focusing on the big dollar sign in front of the debt total.
  3. Save for a rainy day. I’m happy to report that my husband and I already do exactly what Money magazine suggests in this arena: We take tax return money, reimbursement checks for company trips and other small chunks of money and put them into a joint savings account.
  4. Take a vacation. You’ve earned the days at work, so use them. Plus, looking forward to time away–and coming back rested and reenergized–is good for anyone’s happiness levels.
  5. Speaking of work, is it time to find a new job? If you’re getting paid to do a job, make sure you’re doing work that is meaningful to you and that you’re doing it with people you get along with.
  6. Finally, give your money away. According to Money magazine and the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, those who donate to their favorite charities are 43 percent more likely to say they’re very happy about their lives than those who don’t.




The Weight-Loss Tool You’ve Likely Never Thought About

Family Circle magazine's January 2012 issue

Family Circle magazine's January 2012 issue

Family Circle magazine offers New Year’s resolution assistance by reviewing websites designed to help those looking to lose weight, save money, or both.

I’d love to know the number of New Year’s resolutions lists that begin with “Lose weight.” It’s a goal for most of us for 2012, and the January 2012 Family Circle┬áhad a great article on how make sure you stick to this year’s promises.

We use our computers for every other area of our life; why not for weight loss? Today there are several online social networking groups that help like-minded goal setters who are trying to lose weight. And if you don’t want all your Facebook friends following your every pound, you can even register anonymously for most of them.

Family Circle’s tech writer Christina Tynan-Wood tried a few out before jumping in. The spark she got from making it public was just the thing she needed to tip the scales (pun intended). “Within days, my own previously private nutrition and exercise goals had become part of my public (but still anonymous) online identity,” she wrote in the article. “And when I stepped on the wireless scale, I got to hold myself accountable–my small success was instantly posted to my virtual profile. Backtracking now will cause my online identity to lose.”

I know lots of people who’ve had great success with Weight Watchers, mainly because of the weekly weigh-in meetings. You’re more likely to stick to your goals if you have someone monitoring them. I’m not the type to join an in-person Weight Watchers group, but I can totally see myself participating in one of these online networks.


Family Circle recommends DailyBurn.com as one of the social networking weight-loss sites that can help people stay motivated.

If saving money is more important than losing weight in 2012, there are online tools to help you there too. The article mentions a service from Mint.com called Goals and Budgets that helps you keep track of spending in relation to savings goals. It even sends a text message to you instantly when you exceed certain budgets. Eek! The guilt I’d feel in the Target parking lot.

Here are a few of the sites the magazine reviewed and recommends:

Sparkpeople.com: Diet plans, online and mobile tracking tools and inspiration.

DailyBurn.com: Use a wireless scale for weigh-ins and you’ll never be able to cheat.

Mint.com: Budget and track your money and be held accountable with text messages when you blow it.

CreditSesame.com: Use a game-type system to help improve your credit rating.

All You magazine's January 20, 2012, issue

New Year’s Resolutions: It’s That Time of Year

All You magazine's January 20, 2012, issue

All You magazine's January 20, 2012, issue has tips for spending less money in the new year--whether it's a resolution or not.

After a rough 2011, blogger Summer Huggins is taking a different approach to New Year’s resolutions this year.

I’ve made an executive decision about setting New Year’s resolutions this year. I’m not gonna do it. Instead I’m going to keep things simple. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink, so quitting those are out already.

I’m not one of those people who wallows in self-pity, but it’s been a rough 13 to 14 months for me. I lost my dad, a cousin and a dog, and my mom is in a rehab facility recovering from a stroke. Those events have shifted my priorities. So instead of setting lofty goals for myself by making one of any of the most popular resolutions, I simply want to continue to live well.

Instead of resolving to exercise more, I simply want to live life outdoors more, taking more photo walks, spending time playing fetch with the dogs and volunteering in my community.

Instead of resolving to lose weight, I plan to just make the healthiest decisions possible. When faced with fried chicken and mashed potatoes or a plate of locally grown fresh grilled vegetables, I want to choose the healthier option. That’d be the vegetables.

Instead of resolving to save more money, I will simply spend less and let the saving happen naturally.

If you’re making New Year’s resolutions, I wish you all the best sticking with them and making them work for you. If you’re like me and bucking the trend, I wish you a happy and healthy year.