Money Isn’t The Only Factor For Success

Chasing success is great, in fact everyone should want to be more successful than they already are. However many people tend to confuse chasing success with chasing money, which can be a pretty bad idea. Successful people tend to have a lot of money, so this confusion makes sense, but not everyone with money would consider themselves successful. Rather, money tends to be a symptom of success rather than a cause.

Getting money is pretty difficult, so while you can put in all the effort, the results are by no means guaranteed. If the root of your efforts are based in your desire for money, it’s easy to become frustrated and angry when you’re not seeing the financial fruits of your labor. However, even monetary success can be an illusion. If you’re not happy with who you are or what you do, no amount of money is really going to change that. In fact, if you based your future happiness on how much money you planned on one day having, you’ll likely feel lost once you reach that goal and discover how empty it can feel to be rich without contentment.

The solution? Passion and priorities. The rich find a way to get money. The rich and successful find a way to add value. If you’re creating something or doing something that you care about, or doing something that adds value to the life of others, you’re on the right track. The next step is monetizing your passion. Therefore your goal shouldn’t be to have money, but rather to find your passion, and find a way to make money doing it it. Yes you’ll work hard, yes you’ll have financial ups and downs, but if you’re doing something that you care about, it’s a lot easier to grit your teeth and embark on the journey.

How To Have Fun On A Budget

Fun doesn’t always have to be expensive. Sure, almost nothing beats a night of frivolous shopping or fancy eating, but there’s a lot of fun to be had on the cheap as well. Here are a few ideas on ways to have fun without hurting your bank account to much.

Grab A Good Book

Reading can be a lot of fun if you find the right book. Print books, ebooks, newspapers, magazines, whatever you can find works. There are tons of free ebooks to access online, and you can even find new publications at your local library for free.

Host A Get Together

Hanging out with friends can get pretty expensive. If you think about it, dinner and a movie for a friend group of 6 can easily cost the entire party $200-$300 just for a night out. A get together at someone’s house can be significantly cheaper though. Everyone can bring a dish from home to share, and one Netflix subscription (~$8) means tons of great movies for everyone to enjoy together.

Learn

Most cities have free museums, botanical gardens and aquariums. If you’re looking for some fun or to pass the time, a quick visit to these venues can be costless and enjoyable.

Cheap Out

You can still enjoy activities and experiences that cost money while being savvy about how you enjoy them. Check Groupon for deals on outing and restaurant. Go to cheaper movie theaters or even dollar theaters. Instead of hitting up a five star restaurant, consider eating at a cheaper fast food joint.

Take Alternate Transportation

If you plan on going far for your entertainment, or you don’t have a car and you’d have to Uber, consider taking public transport instead. It’s a cheaper, albeit slightly less convenient way to get around. Alternatively, if you’re going to an outing with friends, carpool and split gas costs.

Saving Money On Medical Expenses

Many consumers have experienced difficulty using their health insurance in the last year, and the impact of health premiums on budgets is a top concern for families.

Here are  some ways to slash or manage your medical costs.

Is it necessary. Providers don’t often consider cost, but if you explain, they may change their course of action to eliminate less necessary tests.

Buy generic Ask if your medication comes in a generic. Generics are as safe as their brand-name equivalents and may cost up to 80 percent less.

Investigate fair pricing. The Healthcare Bluebook features a service’s “fair price” by ZIP code based on a database of rates paid by private insurers.

Choose the right facility. Urgent care clinics cost a fraction of emergency rooms. They are usually less crowded and specialize in non-emergency care.

Ask about cash discounts. Talk to your doctor, hospital and insurance company about the cost of a procedure or office visit and which of your local facilities charges less. Sometimes facilities offer a discount if you’re paying cash.

Set up a payment plan. Avoid putting medical bills on a credit card because it becomes consumer debt, which can adversely affect your credit. Contact the provider to find out if you can set up a payment plan.

Hire a medical billing advocate. Patient advocates offer a variety of services including paperwork tracking, negotiating a lower rate and help researching treatment options.

Open a health savings account (HSA). If you have an HSA-qualified health plan, open an accompanying HSA account and deposit pre-tax dollars for medical expenses. The money rolls over every year and is deducted from your gross income.

Watch for mistakes. Keep a sharp eye on “Explanation of Benefit” statements and bills for errors. Even if you’re being billed correctly, it pays to ask questions so you understand your insurance benefits.

Understand your insurance coverage. Be sure to check that your in-network providers still accept your policy. Double check how your insurance covers in-network and out-of-network providers, medications, and chronic conditions so you don’t end up making a financial misstep.

 

Lessons Learned From A Spending Fast

The idea of spending only on the necessities is a scary one, but if you are determined to try a spending fast, you will be surprised at what you learn about yourself AND your spending.

Rules of a Spending Fast

Some things are obvious: There is no question that rent, electricity and other necessary bills have to be paid. Food is more difficult, though. You don’t need to go to the most expensive grocery store in town, and certainly don’t need to eat lunch or dinner out.

Exercise is another tough one. Yoga and group fitness classes are great, but running and walking outside or putting together yoga sequences at home keeps you from spending.

What purchases actually make you happy?

As you go through the spending freeze, the first couple of weeks are full of moments spent daydreaming about what you can’t buy. By Week 3 the things you truly miss become clear. Maybe it is going out to dinner, drinks, and coffee with friends.This is less about the food, and more about sitting down with a friend and catching up. One remedy is suggesting walks or hanging out in the park. Free, but still fun.

Studies show that spending money on others makes us happy. When a friend is having a particularly bad day, you want to get her flowers to cheer her up or offer to take her out for a drink, but you can’t during your freeze. Or when a friend has a birthday party and you show up empty-handed, that doesn’t exactly feel good. So, use this time to figure ways to bond with your friends without cheating on your fast.

What spending looks like after the freeze

A spending freeze helps you become a lot more mindful with your spending. Will that four-dollar almond milk latte really make you happier than the free coffee at work? Do you really need that T-shirt right this instant, or can it wait until fall? Overall, you learn what is really important and what you can live without.

Does Money Buy True Happiness? Maybe.

Money is kind of like health in that it affects us more in the negative. Not having it, you’re very aware of its impact on your happiness. But then once you have it, it’s easy to take it for granted.

Once your basic expenses are covered and you don’t lie awake thinking about bills you can’t pay, there are still ways to use your money to increase your overall happiness level.

Buy things for other people.

Kindness and altruism are important qualities for most people, and studies show that buying things for others makes us happier.

While buying ‘stuff’ won’t bring you happiness, buying things for others can. When people spent their work bonus on someone else, independent of how much money they spent, they felt happier. What’s more, investing in experiences, such as a family vacation, can help increase your happiness.

Use your money to invest in your relationships.

If long-term happiness is the goal, you’re better off investing that money in your relationships with other people.

Money can buy you that plane ticket to visit someone you love or you can have a baby sitter for a date night, or a party with your friends. These things can help you keep relationships strong, and money can help you do those things. Is money something that’s essential to developing strong ties to other people? No. But it can make it easier if you are spending your money wisely.

Use money to save time.

Putting your money toward saving time could be an excellent use of it. More specifically, putting your money toward tasks you dread doing yourself could contribute to happiness.

One way to spend money is to pay people to do chores you don’t want to do. People who use money to save time are happier.

Remember, spending your money on plane tickets to see your friends and hiring a house cleaner isn’t essential to happiness—but they’re certainly worth keeping in mind the next time you’re getting ready to pull the trigger on that expensive handbag.