Be Better With Your Money
The Problem: The holiday season tends to be the time of year when you don’t bat an eye dropping hundreds on presents… until that credit card bill comes along. We all make promises to ourselves that we’ll be better, we’ll stop frivolous spending, we’ll really crack down, yet a few months pass and we’re spending away.
The Resolution Solution: Living life on the edge is fun and exciting, but sometimes it’s nice knowing you can pay the bills at the end of the month. For those who only have a minor spending habit, a website that syncs to your bank account online may be the answer. Mint.com is used by millions to track their purchases. It can handle multiple accounts, categorize your purchases, and even send you alerts when you start getting a little too credit-happy. For those without online access, or for the shopaholic, sometimes a little pen and paper go a long way. Start with a piece of notebook paper and write every single thing you bought during the day, everyday. Include the price, where you bought it, and use a calculator (or for the ambitious, your brain) to calculate your new bank account total. Not only will this help you be more aware of your financial situation, but thinking of all the effort you have to put into cataloging the item is a pretty solid deterrent when you’re standing in the check out line.
The Problem: Gyms are packed this time of year because, as we all know, there was some pretty great food eaten this holiday and now’s the chance to burn off those 5 pounds of turkey. Maybe this was your resolution last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and you’re thinking right now “You know, I should have kept up with that. I’m going to stick to it this year!” Woah. What if I told you that you could live longer and feel better without having to go to anywhere, not even the gym.
The Resolution Solution: Eating healthy is easier said than done, but the hardest hump to get over is the first month or so. After that, this resolution will almost keep itself going! Start small by visiting your local farmers market. Just walk around and take it all in. If you don’t have access to a local farmers market, try Sprouts. Their growing number of stores puts one close to most people in DFW, and the price tag won’t make you shudder. Find some fun looking foods and make a meal, but be sure to include some sort of green. No, green gummy bears don’t count. Keep including more and more color into your meal until none of your foods have the same look. Usually, this means you’re getting a variety of foods and a variety of vitamins. Throughout your path to health, it’s important you remember not to take cheat days. If you want, you can have a cheat side dish, a cheat drink, a cheat dessert, but taking a whole day will disrupt your body in its effort to kick the sugar and fat addiction. After you keep this up for a month, you’ll be amazed at how awful some of that fatty, greasy, fast stuff tastes. Once that realization happens, eating healthy becomes a heck of a lot more fun.
The Problem: It seems like the fad now is complaining about big business. They ignore customers, charge too much, and are all around terrible, but gosh if only Walmart wasn’t so convenient.
The Resolution Solution: New businesses are formed every day. From restaurants to clothes to toys, your favorite store had to start somewhere. Shopping locally has a ton of benefits for you and the economy. If you buy something from a smaller company, you probably have fewer people between you and the original creator. This can mean a direct complement for the chef or a knitter who wants your new sweater to fit perfectly. Talking directly to the person who provides your good or service can make for better experiences in the long run, because they’re tailoring their business to serve your needs. Local business benefits the economy, too. Besides employing local people and helping out someone who wants to make their dream real, your money also gets used more efficiently. Whether that means buying more merchandise or expanding to a larger location, small businesses use every cent. There’s certainly no big CEO payday for a small, new company. Ok, ok we admit it. We might be a little bias in our choice of resolutions, but local shopping really is undervalued, and downtown Arlington has plenty of places to start.
Smile at Someone Everyday
The Problem: Have you ever had one of those days where it felt like a tiny cloud of rain followed you everywhere? Probably 95% of people know what that’s like. Some days are just yucky, and when things feel yucky, it always seems like they’re going to stay that way forever.
The Resolution Solution: Lucky for 95% of humanity, science is to the rescue! Studies show that changing your facial expression can stimulate your brain, causing the release of chemicals that match your face. Frowns produce more of that negative-cloud feeling, while smiles actually do brighten your day. Pair that with other studies which suggest that people mirror their peer’s emotional status, and we’ve got a chance at world peace! Well, maybe not quite, but it’s a start. Either way, smiles are good for you and good for your neighbor, so it seems like a win-win to dish ‘em out. You never know who needs to have their day brightened a little.