How To Change Last Year’s Spending Habits

For some people, changing spending habits can be as difficult as adjusting to the loss of a limb. In 1960, surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz believed that it took an amputee 21 days to get used to having a missing limb. So it is with forming habits. More recent studies indicate it could take anywhere from a few minutes to several months, depending on the new habits to be formed and how complex they are.

That’s why creating new spending habits after years of spending and saving the same way would likely fall into the latter category, requiring several months to change. It’s understandable that changing your spending habits will take a lot of discipline and repetition, but the reward you’ll receive at the finish line is well worth the struggle. To see your savings balance and retirement funds steadily rise from year to year is literally worth gold.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2011 was a year of heavy spending. The average spending per consumer rose 3.3% following a decline in 2010. There was an 8% rise in transportation and a 5.4% increase in spending on food and cash contributions, which included support for collegestudents, alimony, child support and charity donations. Health care spending rose by 4.9% while clothes and entertainment spending also increased. Changing spending habits won’t be easy, but with a bit of discipline and by changing your outlook about the money you make, you can make the change in 2013.

Wear Red!

Photo by smarnad

Today is Wear Red Day, the start of American Heart Month. This month draws attention to cardiovascular disease and its negative impact on women. Heart disease is considered America’s number one killer which has affected more women than men. That is why it’s important to bring awareness to this dreadful disease and continue fighting it. So please, get your heart checked and tell everyone you know. It’s important!

¡Vista de Rojo!

Photo de “Master isolated images”

Hoy es el Día en que todos vestimos de rojo en reconocimiento al mes del corazón. Este mes le trae atención a la enfermedad cardiovascular y su impacto negativo en las mujeres. La enfermedad del corazón es considerado el asesino número 1 de América que afecta más a las mujeres que a los hombres. Por eso es importante ponerle atención a esta terrible enfermedad y continuar peleándola. Así que por favor, vaya al médico para que examinen su corazoncito. ¡Es importante!

What is the new credit card check out fee?


Are you ready for another credit card fee? Ready or not starting Sunday retailers will begin passing on a credit card fee called the check out fee unto customers. Beginning January 27th, retailers will start charging what they call the payment card surcharge. This surcharge comes from a settlement reached between merchants and credit card companies in 2012 to defray swiping costs.


What you need to know:


  • If a retailer charges the surcharge, they must make it clear on the receipt.


  • Retailers are not allowed to add the surcharge fee to debit card or prepaid card purchases.


  • Before the actual purchase, retailers have to inform customers they are charging this additional fee.


  • Retailers can offer a discount from the surcharge if customers pay with cash, a debit or a check.


  • Not all states are adding the surcharge. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas will not be adding that extra fee.


There is a limit


Retailers must limit the amount of the surcharge to the applicable merchant discount rate. The merchant discount rate is the amount banks charge retailers for providing credit card services. The average discount rate is between 1% – 3%. There are some cases where the merchant discount rate exceeds 4%, however the new surcharge cannot exceed 4%.


Next time you go buy something at a store or online, find out if you are being charged the check out fee if you live in the states that allow it. You might want to consider paying in cash or debit card instead.

5 Ways to Feel Great in 2013!

We all have new goals and ideas to implement this year. The key is to succeed at them is to start out small. You’d be surprised how the “little” things motivate us to keep going or go stronger in our everyday lives. Here are a few ideas.


Yes, exercise is good for you. There’s no way around it. In order to groove, you’ve got to move! Moving around helps stimulate your body and makes you feel more vibrant. It helps lift your mood and makes you feel energized. If you are more energetic then you can do more. It’s a positive cycle that helps you physically and mentally deal with the stressors in your daily lives. Try it! Start by moving to the beat of your favorite song for about 10 – 15 minutes a day, then do it twice a day. As your energy level increases, go ahead and do exercises like jumping jacks, a few pushups and crunches. Then you can move on to more complex exercise routines. Trust me; you will feel the difference in just a couple of days. Your body will thank you for it.

Drink Tea

Many folks I know say tea is for people who don’t feel well. It’s for people who have a cold or otherwise feel under the weather. Not true! On the contrary, tea is for people who want to prevent not feeling well. Chamomile tea for example helps soothe your nerves and enables you to sleep better. Peppermint tea is an antiseptic; it’s good to keep your stomach in check by stimulating bile which improves digestion. Lavender helps lift your mood and it smells great! My favorite, green tea is a fat burner. It lowers cholesterol and get this – it helps protect us against two of the nation’s top health issues affecting Americans- heart disease and diabetes. So yes, tea is good for you, so this year drink up!


Ease your mind, calm your nerves, and reflect on your present day.  Focus on your breath, sit up straight and inhale deeply. Think about your wishes for tomorrow and take things one day at a time. Oh, and one more thing- stop watching the news so much. All the negativity will certainly put you down. Meditating just a few minutes a day will help you feel more at peace with yourself and the world around you. Try it.

Do something fun

All work and no play is sure to make even the most stable person a grumpy old grouch. On a daily basis, make sure you sneak in your schedule something you love doing. Like playing video games? Go for it. Like dancing? Go ahead and shake that thing. Enjoy watching the Kardasians reality show, go ahead and knock yourself out, no one’s going to judge you. The point is that you need to do whatever lifts your mood – DAILY! Life can bring anyone down, whether it’s the daily routine of work or the grind of daily chores, you need an outlet in which you can have downtime to relax and be yourself. So go ahead, read those comic books you’ve been meaning to take a gander at. Enjoy!

Don’t stress it!

Listen, life is hard, we all know that. There are plenty of ups and downs in our journey through life. We all have them. How we each deal with this cycle of life is what makes the difference on how we perceive the world. If we stress everything, we’ll feel more of a wreck and more stressed out. That’s a bad cycle to be in. Break this cycle and as the common saying goes, life is short, don’t stress it. The great thing about life is that there is always a new day to follow a bad day. A new day brings hope of better things to come, so please don’t stress as much this year!