10. Go vegan or organic & start reading the ingredients on everything.
Just keep this in mind–clean eating doesn’t have to be boring. I hate when people ask me what do I eat when I say I’m vegan. I eat food. Duh. And no–I don’t just eat fruit and veggies all day. I go to Chipotle. I eat beans and rice. I make nachos. I make pizza. I make bread. I make fresh-cut french fries. And so on. Vegan essentially means not eating any animal products, like dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt) and meat/seafood (chicken, beef, pork, veil, bison, fish, shrimp). That’s it.
Another part of the lifestyle I like to live is reading the ingredients on everything. And you should too.
A lot of the chemicals they put in the food today I don’t know what they are, let alone, how to pronounce them. When I used to eat at fast food joints and restaurants, and say I ordered a hamburger, I thought I was getting just that–100% hamburger. Wrong. There are about 15-20 fillers and chemicals in most fast food burger joints. That doesn’t even include the bun (probably another 15-20 fillers and chemicals), the cheese (another 20), the sauce (another 10-15), and the fries (another 15-20).
That’s crazy. One meal, could easily contain almost 100 fillers and chemicals. It’s no wonder a lot of Americans are overweight, tired, and constantly in need of medication.
The owner of Ty’s Conscious Kitchen helped me turn the average boring vegan meal into a 5-star meal that even my kids love. You should definitely check out his website.
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9. Go to the gym at least 4 times per week.
Doesn’t really matter where you go–just go. A gym has its benefits especially in the winter time when it’s too cold to run outside. I’d recommend doing at least 30 minutes cardio on the treadmill every time you go as a starting place, and then trying out other equipment from there.
8. Put at least $100 per month in a savings account.
If you can do more–do more. But I would start with $100/month. And if you get direct deposit, I would set it up so that money is automatically transferred. That way, you won’t even miss it out your check and you can learn to live off what you have left over. At the end of the year, you’ll have $1,200 saved. It may seem small, but it’s a start, and you’ll be amazed if you knew how many Americans don’t even have that.
7. Pay off your credit card debt and think twice before using.
I’ve had a few credit cards since I went off to college, and although they’ve helped me through some hard times, the interest part is what I’m not a fan of. I’ve had a $2,000 credit line before and it was hell trying to payback. Some people have way more than that ($10,000+) and I can’t imagine the nightmare they’re faced with every month.
Another thing about credit card debt is that if you use up too much of your credit each month–it will drop your credit score. Speaking of credit score and managing debt, a free tool that I’ve been using for quite some time now is called CreditKarma.
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6. Put it back. Save your money. Put it back. Pay off your debt. Put it back. Maybe next time.
If you can honestly say, you have no debt (car loan, student loan, credit card debt), then by all means, buy yourself whatever makes you happy. The problem is that most people are not in that boat, and what happens is when they get money, they buy things they really can’t afford on credit, they pay that lender the minimum, and they go on with their life. What then happens is that person becomes a “slave” to their materials.
Another thing that happens is that when most people get paid–100% of it goes to other people. They don’t save any of it, which is not uncommon, seeing that most Americans live from paycheck to paycheck. Some employers offer their employees retirement tools like a 401K. If not, you can always open up something like a Roth IRA retirement account and allocate a portion of your check directly to the account. I opened one up with Fidelity online and they have a great staff to help you along the way. You can choose who you want, just be proactive and prepare for old age, opposed to trying to react to waking up old one day and not having any money.
5. Going with a $40 phone plan instead of a $100 phone plan could save you $720 this year. Make the switch.
This is pretty self-explanatory.
4. A lot of plastics and storage containers are made with a harmful chemical called BPA. Consider replacing what you have with BPA-free ones.
Your homework today is to Google “BPA chemical.”
3. Income tax season is right around the corner. Don’t waste yours going shopping and traveling. Be smart. Pay off debt. Save. Invest.
I beg of you, if you’re out there–do not blow your income taxes on shopping and trips the same month you get them and have nothing left come March. DO-NOT-DO-IT. You’ve been talking about the come-up season all year–this is your chance.
2. By going to college you can earn more than someone who just has a HS diploma?
I’ve got a lot of friends who don’t even have their high school diploma. They ask me how can they get their life on track? I tell them go get their GED. That way, noone can deny you employment because you don’t have it. The next thing I advise them is to go enroll in a community college and work towards their Associate’s degree. There’s plenty of data out there that suggests that you can make more money with a college degree than I HS diploma. Is college for everybody? No–but all I can say is you don’t want to be the one that has to constantly work and struggle through life because you refused to get an education and little piece of paper.
1. People die everyday, without life insurance leaving the burden on family. For less than $30/mo you can get covered.
People die everyday, from all walks of life. One thing you don’t want to be is a burden on your family when you die. I purchased my life insurance plan through SelectQuote, and they were able to get me a couple hundred thousand in coverage, for less than $30/mo. For you, it could vary depending on your lifestyle and needs, but they can tell you that over the phone.
That’s all I got for you. Take it or leave it. It is what it is. Oh, and I know people take things the wrong way, so here’s a disclaimer: I’m not a financial advisor and this editorial I’m sharing is just based on my experiences.
-Farlin Ave (@farlinave)
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