Friday, February 20, 2015

Less Clutter Means Less Stress

For some reason I have been in a decluttering frenzy for awhile now. It's as if I sense that I am going to need to be really clear going into the new year and with the new energies that are here. (Maybe you do too?)

Numerous studies have shown that:
Clutter can make you tired.
Clutter can make you stressed.
Clutter can cause disharmony.
Clutter can mean less abundance in your life.
Clutter can make you anxious and depressed.

And studies have also shown that getting rid of clutter can bring peace, harmony, more energy, and even better relationships into your life.
Decluttering makes room for so much more (and so much better), in your life.

When you can't even relax at home; then where is the peace in your life?

For this article, I'll just focus on decluttering your physical space; your house, your office & work space, and your car. However, more serious decluttering efforts involve cleaning up and decluttering EVERY aspect of your life from your beliefs to your relationships, your Internet and online clutter, and your emotional, mental, and spiritual clutter.
This is what I have been doing this year, working on decluttering every aspect of my life. Whew!

As for the physical, there's more to that than just getting rid of excess "stuff" in your life as well.
For example, how's your diet?
Aren't junk food and poor quality food physical clutter too?

Check out these great articles on decluttering by clicking the link:
Declutter: The Huffington Post Articles on Decluttering

Clutter Quotes:

110 year old Huichol shaman Don Jose Matsuwa says that having too many possessions around us can detract from inner peace and balance. And he's not alone, most of the worlds greatest spiritual leaders advocated "The Simple Life."

"Clutter is stuck energy."
-Karen Kingston

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
-William Morris

"The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are."
-Mother Teresa

"Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow."
-H.G. Chissell

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
-Leonardo Da Vinci

Monday, January 12, 2015

Job Hunting and Working Those Side Hustles

You might have noticed if you're a regular reader of my blog that I've suddenly started posting a bunch of articles about either job hunting, side hustles, or earning or saving money.
There's a reason for that. I am currently job hunting, after a job ended and then a promised job situation fell through. So now I'm doing all I can to survive and pay my bills.

I know I'm not the only one in this situation, so I thought I'd try to help others who are job hunting or trying to get through a tough situation, by sharing information on earning money, saving money, and job hunting, on my blog. If I help even one family I consider it a job well done.

I also have a Donation button on my site and am asking for donations to help keep me writing and sharing good information and inspiring people in any way I can.  If any of my readers feel inspired to help by donating, there's a button on the right side of my blog, under my photo and personal information. I thank you in advance for your donations, large or small!

How to Live Without a Job

If you are paying attention to the current economy you are probably aware of the need to prepare for a possible period of unemployment, or of having a job that pays much less than you're used to.
If you do find yourself in this position, here are some things you can do to get through it, and even learn and grow from the experience.

Preparation and planning is the first, and the most important, step for surviving any crisis, including job loss.

Start a savings program immediately, and build it up until you have at least three months salary in the bank, six months worth of savings is even better.

And, while you're in a saving mode, stock up on food too. A full pantry has saved more than one family during a financial emergency.

Get rid of debt. Stop using credit cards, then begin paying off all your credit cards.

Get out of debt in any way you can. Instead of buying a newer car, use the money to pay off some of your old bills. If you get a Christmas bonus, tax refund, or a birthday gift of money, use the money to eliminate debt.

Learn new skills that will make you more employable, more valuable to your current or to future employers. Take a first aid class, upgrade your computer skills, take classes in "getting along with other people", or in how you can add value to your business or company.

If your people skills are weak, you'll be the first fired, last hired. Employers want those men and women who fit in and don't cause trouble with other employees or with the bosses. Smile more, work harder and smarter, and learn how to network.

Learn the basics of money management. Learn to "pay yourself first." Start a savings plan. Set up a budget. Take free or inexpensive classes that teach you about some aspect of finances or money management that you currently know little about.

Eliminate as many "frills" as you can. Do you really need cable? Eating out three or four nights a week? Three cars? A new dress every month? Magazine subscriptions?

Ruthlessly pare back on the excess spending you've been guilty of in your family. Examine every aspect of your life, from insurance, travel, food, shelter, clothing, medical, entertainment, transportation, etc. etc., for ways you can cut down your current expenses in that area of your life.

If you do become jobless, then make some money in any way you can. If that means taking a temporary job of some kind, or washing dishes in a cafe, or learning some new ways to make money without a full-time job, than so be it. You can pay the bills this way, just like you did with your old job.

There are many ways to make money without holding down a 9 to 5 job, so look around you for money-making opportunities.
  • Check out your elders. Grandma and grandpa may know a lot of ways about living on very little. Ask. Check out books on thrift and frugality from your local library.
  • Research your field, so you can spot hiring, or firing, trends in your area.
  • Dress well. This is for your morale, as much as for the business of job-hunting.
  • Treat job hunting like a business. Set goals, research companies and jobs you are unfamiliar with.
  • If you do lose your job, don't panic. Most people will face a period or two of unemployment in their life. If they can survive it so can you.
  • Don't get stuck in the rut of only applying for jobs in the field that you know. Apply for any job you think you can do, including one's you may not have considered "good enough" for you before. All jobs have value, all are worthy of your respect. A ditch digger or a plumber is as valuable and needed as a nurse or a teacher.
  • Don't forget to tell everyone you know that you are looking for a new job. That's just how most jobs are found.
  • Have some fun. No one can job hunt 24/7. It's just too stressful. Cut yourself some slack.
  • Remember your family is feeling the stress too, so support each other as much as possible.

How to Live Well Even If You're Broke

Spending time in nature is free

More and more people are facing job loss or job insecurity, but you don't have to give up all the good things in life just because you're broke. There are so many ways to have a great quality of life on very little money.

Take to heart the old quote that you are broke and not poor. The two words mean entirely different things. Broke is a temporary state, that can change in an hour, while poor is a definition of someone who has basically lost hope and can see no way out of poverty. You are broke, not poor, and there is hope for you.

Investigate the services and aid that can help you through this time. For example, do you qualify for Unemployment? Have you applied for food stamps? Assisted housing? Signed up to receive a free food box from your local food bank? Enjoyed lunch at a local soup kitchen? Check out your states services to the poor and struggling people who live there (or your country if you are not a citizen of the USA), and take advantage of everything that you qualify for. That's what these services are for, to help struggling people survive.

If you still have more than one car, get rid of all but one of them, and make sure that it's the most fuel-efficient and usefull vehicle you have. If you're really desperate, sell all your vehicles and use public transportation, or buy a bicycle with carrying ability, or walk everywhere.

Check out all of the places in your area that offer free entertainment. It will be different in every city, but likely your public library can help you with this, they probably have some free entertainment and free activities themselves, as well as knowing what's going on in your town.

Make new friends with people you meet in the same situation as you. Standing in line at the food bank or checking out the library's stack of books on frugal living, you just might run into someone who's already living good while broke. If you ask, they just might share what they know with you.

Learn a new, but inexpensive hobby. Either for fun and entertainment, or as a way to have some future earnings, or both. If you always wanted to learn to crochet or sew for example, now might be a good time. You might get good enough to sell what you make. Many do.

If you own one of those huge "mega-houses", this might be a good time to sell it and buy a much more energy-efficient, smaller and easier to heat and cool house. You might consider moving to a cheaper area too. Where you live, and your choice of home, can make the difference between surviving this period of being broke, or not.

If you still have some money in savings, put some of it to good use and stock up on several months worth of food. A full pantry will ease your mind down the road when little or no money is coming in, because at least your belly will be full.

  • Try to think "out of the box." Just because you're broke, doesn't mean you have lost your ability to reason and figure out solutions to problems.
  • Stay close, or get closer, to your loved ones and friends. Now's not the time to "go it alone."
  • Learn to make do, do without, use it up, and wear it out. No more disposables or throw away products. You just can't afford that now.
  • Give something to others, whether time, energy, or something you have that they need, that you no longer use. Other people are in the same boat, and good people help each other through things.
  • It's not the end of the world if you're broke, so watch out for depression and hopeless thinking.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Your Angel Messages for January 12 - 18, 2015 with Doreen Virtue

How to Earn Money Without a Job

Jobless? Trying to live on minimum wage or unemployment? Retired but need more income? There are ways to earn some cash when you need some, either for short-term financial help or as a long-term money-maker.

Here are some more ways you can earn money when you have lost your job, can't get a job, or maybe you are retired but need more money to live on, or you work a minimum wage job and need more money than that to support yourself. 

None of the jobs in this article are online or internet jobs, although there are plenty of those kinds of jobs available too.

There are a lot of businesses that need temporary or one-time help, and that is a good place to start looking for work. Examples include working as a department store Santa, selling Christmas trees or pumpkins at a store parking lot, picking fruit for a farmer, working summers in a National Park, or as a summer campground host, working at a carnival or county or state fair. They need a lot of help during the time the fair is running. That help could be you.

How can you find one of these temporary jobs? Often they are posted through your local employment office, or in your local newspapers, as well as online on job boards and places like craigslist.

Start checking about a month before the season starts for fairs and carnivals, and throughout the summer growing season for work with farmers. Also drive down country roads and see if any farmers have posted "help wanted" signs in their orchards or fields.

For holiday or seasonal jobs like playing santa or selling pumpkins, ask your local employment agencies where/how these people are hired, or again look on craigslist and job boards.

work a summer tourist job

Also some RV work sites have listings of jobs you can do if you live in an RV. Many Christmas tree lots hire people who live in RV's to stay on their tree lots for the season. These people are called work campers and a google search for your area may turn up a job like this. You don't need to live in the RV if you are already in the area though. Just something to keep in mind.

Another idea that has worked for some people is to offer your service for free for a week or so to someone needing help, then do a really good job at whatever work you're doing, because you're going to ask the boss for a paying job when the time is right. The hard part is putting yourself forward enough to do this, but you're job hunting anyway, which is also a challenge, so you might as well try anything that will get you through the door and earning.

If you know how to do anything that other people will pay you for, then start selling your skills or products. Figure out the amount you need to make a profit and start selling.

If you have a home of your own, maybe you can rent out a room or two to someone else. Yes you lose some privacy, but you'll probably gain some security and possibly a friend too. Don't do anything illegal, and have some sort of system for checking out the people you want to rent to.

Volunteer anywhere, and do a really good job. Two different volunteer jobs I had led to a paying job somewhere else because the people I worked for appreciated my hard work, and wanted to help me out. They recommended me for a job with someone they knew that needed a good worker once they knew I was reliable and hard-working and could do the job. This happened to me in two different states where I was volunteering on different projects, and I did not ask either of the people I volunteered with to help me find a job, they just did it.

Hold a yard or garage sale. Most people have heard of this, and many people have held their own garage sale at one time or another. To make money at it, you will need to be business-like, advertise with bright signs all over the area, set up a neat display area, have items clearly marked, and price your items reasonably.

Collect scrap metal and resell this metal to the scrap metal dealers in your town or area.
You almost need a pickup or a van for this one, although it is possible to start small by cleaning out the scrap metal that is laying around your own place.
Ask around, many people will let you pick up their scrap metal, even pay you to do this, just because they can't be bothered to do it themselves.
There is a market for aluminum, copper, brass, and many other metals. To make any money at selling scrap metal you need to do some research into how to locate the metals to sell, how to identify each metal, what to avoid, and what things aren't worth picking up, and how to clean your items, as well as how to find the recycling centers.
I learned most of this from a book in my local library, but there is also information on the internet, or you can look up the scrap metal dealers in your phone book, call them, and ask them what they will take, and how to sell to them.

Collect pop bottles and cans for recycling. I doubt if anyone needs to know how this is done. I live in Oregon, where we recycle a lot, so nearly everyone takes their used cans to the grocery store here. You should do it too. Of course, you could also pick up cans beside the roads and in parking lots, and even in trash cans. (Why should these cans or bottles get thrown away, help save the planet, recycle!)

Donate your blood or plasma for money. I've never done this, but I know people who have. They earn money, and help the people who eventually receive the blood or plasma. The places that pay you for this usually advertise in some way, either in the local newspaper, or online. Ask local homeless shelters where to donate blood or plasma in your town. They should know. You won't make a lot doing this, and you can't do it all the time, but it might earn you enough to keep going.

Hire on as a parking lot attendant at your local fair grounds or event place. These jobs are advertised through employment offices usually. Or you might get a job as a ticket taker, working at the same place.

Grow lots of vegetables in your garden this summer and sell those extras. You might even start your own little vegetable stand beside your place. Make sure you take out a permit if you need to, to sell in your area.

Apply for work on a local farm. This means picking strawberries or lettuce or whatever the farmer grows in his fields. Some farmers hire people to help them during haying season too. (I grew up "haying" on a ranch, so be warned, this is hot, dirty, and hard work.) Look for these jobs in your local newspaper. Sometimes the farmers will pick up local workers in a bus or van too, to take you to the job site. Take water and a lunch!

Apply at your area tree farm, to help plant trees. This is big business in Oregon where I live. Christmas trees mostly. And it's very hard work, but if you need a job, you should look into it. Check the local newspaper for tree planting jobs. Sometimes the employment office lists them too.

Work as a seasonal firefighter. (This means forest fires.) In areas of the west and in Alaska, there is a real need for people who can do this work. It's very hard work, and can be dangerous, but it pays well during the fire season. Ask at your local employment office for the companies who hire fire fighters.

Apply at a local food cannery. In the area where I live, we have a lot of food processing jobs every summer. It's hard work, but only lasts a few weeks or a few months.

Don't forget to try those area "labor ready" associations. Each day, whoever is present and ready to work can get the work that the employers are needing workers for. These places seem to have different names in every city, but you've probably seen the long lines of men and women outside, waiting for any job available. Sign up with them and do good work whenever you do get one of these temporary jobs.
  • Think positively, you can earn enough without a "regular" job to live on. Millions do right now.
  • Be alert for opportunities. They are everywhere, you just need to recognize them
  • When one job is about to end, you need to start looking around for another one.
  • Ask the people you work for to write you a reference. It'll help when you apply for the next job.

Remember the pay might be minimal but it's more than you're making now. And if you do a good job in one of these seasonal jobs they often will invite you back the next year. It's happened to me before.
  • You'll need to put some time and energy into tracking down jobs because no one is going to do this for you.
  • Always be prepared, at anytime, to apply for any work going. You could be driving along a road and see a "help wanted" sign, or someone you know may mention a job opportunity and you'll have to move fast to have a chance at it.
  • You won't be able to do most of these jobs for more than a few weeks, or months, and sometimes they are only a one day or one weekend event type job, so you'll have to be prepared for that.
  • You probably won't have many, if any, job benefits.

How to Stay Warm Frugally in Cold Weather

With energy costs sky high, a lot of people are going to be turning their thermostat down this winter in an effort to cut heating and energy costs in every way they can. This means a colder house, but there are ways to stay warm this winter while saving on your heating costs.

I once saw a girl get out of her car at a gas station, in the midst of a winter snowstorm, wearing a tank top, shorts, and flip flops on her feet. I watched incredulously as she pumped her gas dressed as if she were at the beach instead of in the midst of a harsh wind and freezing temperatures. I can only guess that she had her heater on full blast in her car so that she thought it didn't matter what she wore.

Wearing those kinds of clothes around your own house in the winter time means you are behaving in a similar fashion. You too aren't dressed appropriately for the winter weather, but rather you are dressed for the artificial climate created by using excessive amounts of energy and fuel in your house, and heating it to the highest possible degree.

Of course, with energy costs sky high, people are starting to rethink habits like overheating our homes in the winter, as well as the way we dress inside our homes in the wintertime. To save money you can turn your thermostat down, but if you do you will want to dress in a manner more suited to the cold weather.

Dress in layers, so you can then adjust the layers as you get warmer or colder, rather than turning the thermostat up and down. Keep it turned down, a few degrees lower than you normally would, or to a temperature that seems reasonable to you. Consult energy and heating experts if you are unsure of the proper temperature. Try 60 degrees, or 55 degrees, at first. Then go a bit lower if you can without being too uncomfortable.

Dressing in layers means you start with long johns, add shirts or tops, then perhaps a wool sweater or a fleece vest, then maybe even a coat if its cold enough. Warm socks are important too, and so is a hat since a lot of heat is lost through the top of the head. Don't go barefoot on cold floors either, wear socks and warm slippers.

You'll want to be able to move around and do your chores, so don't put on so many layers that you can't move comfortably. Your body will adjust to the cooler temperature in your house in time, and you may find you don't need as many layers to stay warm as you did in the beginning.

Sleep is vital to health, so it is important that you are warm and comfortable at night. If you are too cold, you'll have trouble getting a good nights sleep.

Flannel sheets keep you warmer than cotton ones, and you can preheat your bed before you get in it by placing a water bottle at the foot of the bed. Make sure you have plenty of warm blankets. Snuggling with your mate keeps you warmer also, and it feels great to snuggle together under the warm blankets when the room is cold.

Cold weather calls for cold weather foods like bowls of steaming hot soup, stew, or chili. Hot drinks are nice too. Salads and summer foods usually don't seem as satisfying during cold spells, so go with your cravings and eat heartier foods during the cool weather.

Get some exercise because that will warm you up too.
  • Make sure your home is adequately insulated for the cold weather. If not, do what you can to get it insulated before winter sets in.
  • Shut off a room or two that you don't use much, if need be this winter, and only heat the rooms you use most.
  • Try sleeping in an unheated bedroom; you may find it invigorating and end up preferring your room to be unheated in the winter.
  • Don't do anything to endanger your health or wellbeing.