The economy is depressed. Hell, even Henry seems depressed. Job loss has gone from something you heard on the news to an event that has affected everyone personally in some way. If you are lucky to have a job, with fewer people in the work force, you’re probably working harder and possibly for less pay (which I’m sure wasn’t one of your goals as you advanced in your career.) The bottom line is, we’re all being forced to make some changes in order to “stay in the game” (and out of foreclosure, divorce court, bankruptcy, the mental ward, & the bar before 5.) Here are a few ideas:
1. Change How You Entertain Yourself. I’m not going to sugar coat this because you and I both know we like to “treat” ourselves. You still can, but lets tone it down a bit. Instead of taking that trip to Hawaii, vacation at a friend’s house. Chances are you’ve been meaning to go visit someone for years and haven’t gotten around to it. Instead of that night out with the girls, have them over for a movie or game night and do a potluck. Finally, cut back on salon expenses and you’re halfway to achieving enlightenment. I couldn’t believe how much money I was spending on manicures, pedicures, cuts, color, massages, and hair products…. OH MY. All I can say is, eliminate where you can, cut back where you can’t, and you’ll be amazed.
2. Shop Smarter. There are more sales than ever before, but you still need to pay attention. It’s also a good idea to check out sites like Amazon and eBay for items you really want, because they may be for sale somewhere else. I also like ShopItToMe! While you’re at it, sell that outfit you just “had to have” but have never worn on eBay so you’ll have some money to buy something.
3. Save money on batteries; sleep with your husband/boyfriend. Sex has so many health benefits, so we should really be making it a bigger part of our lives. It releases endorphins, fights depression, relieves stress, burns calories, and it’s FREE! Take your birth control through, because babies aren’t. While you’re at it, save money on the gym membership and kick it up a notch or two in the bedroom!
4. Make sure you’re getting the best rate. You can do this with everything from your cell phone to your cable. Boost Mobile offers an unlimited plan for $50 a month and most all companies offer an unlimited plan for $99 a month but you HAVE TO ASK! Go online and look at their websites and see what they have to offer. I also love BankRate, which lets you compare rates for all different lending institutions and tells you who is offering the best deal for what you want. This site is amazing and they have tons of calculators and tools to help you figure out your finances. To make sure you are getting the best deal on your credit card rates and to see what is available, check out Credit Cards. I think a great FREE tool for getting your personal finances organized and helping you evaluate where you are spending and where you can save is Mint. Of course, if once you take a look at all the facts and realize it might be more than you can handle on your own, the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) has information and resources on different options.
5. Read a book, even if it’s chic lit. I think reading enhances our well being tremendously. It motivates, empowers, humors, educates, and allows us to escape. I started reading again a couple years back and now it’s my favorite thing to do in my spare time. Here are some great books I recommend that will help give your mental state, financial smarts, and career outlook a boost: Stepping Out Of Line by Nell Merlino, Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan, Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk, Basic Black by Cathie Black, and Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster.
The important thing to remember is that you need to prepare yourself for whatever the future holds, the good and the bad. To me, that means doing something every day to better yourself in one area of your life. Be good to yourself, and while your “best” will vary from day to day, keep going and be proud of the woman you are today.