5 Ways to Slow Down This Holiday Season

This post is by Rachael of KitchenCourses.com.

The holidays are always about good food, relaxation, and family. Or at least, that’s how we pretend they are. For most people, the reality is that the holidays are a chaotic time of last-minute preparing and entertaining, stressful shopping, eating poorly, and ultimately being exhausted by the “most wonderful time of the year.”

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos that ensues the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But with a few days off and people we care about coming together, we should be relishing in this time instead of trying to shift our attention to what we’re told is important.

While all your friends and family are buzzing in and out of stores, eating a few too many pieces of pumpkin pie, and hosting tons of holiday parties, you’ll be set with these five ways to slow down this holiday season.

1.    Plan meals and food gifts ahead

Cooking for the holidays

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Set aside a few hours on a weekend to plan out your meals through the month so you can have peace of mind and not have to worry about last-minute planning or be tempted to order takeout. Take it one step further and prep some of your ingredients in advance. Think about chopping vegetables for meals later in the month, then freezing them. Or preparing slow cooker meals and placing in freezer bags, so on a busy day, you can defrost the ingredients and toss them right into your slow cooker with almost no effort.

If you plan on giving out any type of food gifts, like cookies or quick breads, prepare these early as well. Many cookie batters and baked cookies and quick breads will freeze fantastically for up to a few months. Get started now and you won’t have to think about it again until it’s time to start handing them out.

2.    Determine your priorities and be okay with saying “no”

If you’re often bombarded with too many requests for get-togethers or family events, take some time to write down what your priorities are. List the events you know are coming up and the ones you’re certain you will make time for in your calendar. Write down three goals for the season and if an event doesn’t meet one of the goals, be okay with declining the invitation.

3.    Shop at home or give handmade gifts

For so many of us, the holidays are more about shopping and gifting than they are about savoring the time we have surrounded by the people we care about. Flip this notion and vow to do all your shopping online from home, or create handmade gifts, so you don’t have to worry about fighting crowds or getting frustrated not finding the perfect item for someone.

The go-to solution whenever I can’t think of a gift to give someone is to make something. I tend to favor food gifts and handmade crafts, but you could also just write a nice letter to someone or find a photo of the two of you and having it framed. The more thoughtful gifts we give this year, the better we can feel about giving them out.

4.    Start a brand new tradition this year

Make it a point to start a tradition to take in some of the most enjoyable parts of the season. Bundle up the whole family, pack some hot chocolate, and take a car ride around town for a Christmas light parade. Find a local venue that puts on a show or offers ice skating at a low cost for an afternoon of fun. These simple but festive activities can really get you in the holiday spirit and help you to enjoy the people you’re with.

5.    Make a date with close friends

You don’t have to see everyone you know on Christmas Day or on a specific holiday. The “holidays” are plural for a reason! Make your plans with people last throughout a few weeks leading up to Christmas or the New Year so you don’t get burned out. Setting a date to get together and catch up in the middle of the month when stress levels are high is a great idea to get some quality time in and break up some of that stress that you and your friends are probably encountering.

Remember, the holidays don’t have to be stressful and chaotic if you make plans to simplify and set aside time for the things you really care about. These are just a few ways to slow down this holiday season so you can make the most of your time to relax with good food and people surrounding you. What are some of the ways you like to slow down for the holidays?

Rachael is the blogger behind KitchenCourses.com and is the author of How to Cook For Yourself: A Complete Beginner’s Guide. She writes about her passion for food, eating well while saving money, and inspires people to get familiar with their kitchens and cook for themselves.

5 Realistic Ways to Live a Healthier Life

This post is by Josh Sarz of sagoyism.com.

Are you as healthy as you should be? Everyone wants to live a long, healthy, meaningful life. But the harsh reality is, it’s not that easy at all.

A healthy life

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We talk about it every day. How we always plan to turn our lives around live a healthier life. But do we actually follow it? Do we get up and work on our body? Do we invest in ourselves the way we all should be doing?

I didn’t think so.

Is living healthily hard work?

Of course it is. We don’t expect to get something so beneficial for free. By just sitting on your couch all day and watching mind-numbing television, you won’t miraculously turn into a healthy human being.

It’s supposed to be hard! That way, not a lot of people will turn out healthy—and the ones who do will have something to gloat about.

Well, not really.

There are actually small, realistic steps that you can take to turn your life around and start living more healthily.

You don’t have to be The Biggest Loser, folks

You don’t have to slave and torture your body in an effort to force it to lose weight. Remember, you’re not on a TV show. You don’t have to go through psychotherapy or hypnosis to quit that bad habit like smoking or drinking. There are step-by-step guidelines on this. And you don’t have to go through the whole ordeal alone.

You don’t have to finish an Ironman triathlon. Although one of the highest accomplishments bestowed upon man, this is not required to prove you are living a healthy life.

You don’t have to venture into the extremes. There are easy and realistic ways to start this healthy, upward spiral.

1. Get enough sleep

I can’t stress this enough. There’s a reason why this is number one on the list.

If you plan on living a healthier life, you need to understand that sleep is one of the most important parts of your day. You shouldn’t miss it for anything. If you run late, just make up for it.

The average adult body needs around eight hours of sleep per day. Any less would mean a visible decrease in productivity and quality of work. Spending more than nine hours on sleep causes more or less the same effects.

For the incredibly busy, what I can suggest is to prioritize your physiological needs over anything else.

2. Eat well

Healthy does not mean that you avoid food. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Food has a purpose for our bodies. It helps us grow. It helps us live for tomorrow. It gives us the nutrition and energy we need to achieve anything physically and mentally.

How many times do you eat a full meal each day? If by any chance that number is below three, then you need to change that. Fast.

If you’re trying to lose weight, simply eat smaller meals five to six times a day. It’s much more effective compared to actually starving yourself. Go on, don’t be scared. Indulge.

3. Clean up your act

I’m not just talking about physical clutter here. I’m also talking about emotional clutter, as well as psychological clutter. There’s a lot of forms of clutter. The most common ones are smoking, alcoholism, drug dependency, etc.

Moderation doesn’t cut it in the long run anymore. As long as you still have addictions in your life, you’re not going to get any better. Wean yourself off of that baggage. Lessen your smoking, day by day, to the point where you actually quit. If you can pull this off, you’ll find that this is one of the best decisions in your life.

I myself had to let go of alcohol and cigarettes. My body was addicted to them. I had to let go of alcohol because I didn’t like how my body felt every time I had a hangover. Although there were withdrawal symptoms, I was able to beat the habit after about a year.

I also defeated smoking once, until one fateful day where I eventually went back to it. This time was much harder, as my body actually wanted to smoke like a fiery dragon. The thing is, it damaged my personal relationships with my family and my girlfriend. So I decided to try and quit smoking again. I’m now on my third week of being smoke-free.

4. Put down those gadgets

This can be tied up with the previous point, on de-cluttering. But you don’t have to throw away your computer. Your console. Your phone. Or that iPad.

What you need to do is make time for yourself. Your physical self—not your social media account. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Find time to smell the roses. Learn how to ride a bike. Take leisurely bike rides along the beach or on the countryside. Play some basketball with your friends. Do something physical. Work out. Get fit. Anything.

No, Angry Birds isn’t a physical activity.

5. Fall in love with walking

One of the simplest, yet most effective way to live a healthier life is by walking. Yup. Walking.

Research shows time and time again that people live longer if they’re physically active.

No, they didn’t do some research on athletes. They did it on regular adults, both male and female, aged 40-79. One group walked for more than an hour a day, and the second group didn’t.

The results were amazing. The group who actually walked for at least an hour a day came out healthier and lived longer lives than the other group.

Just by walking for an hour a day, that group of people had an average lifespan increase of three years. Amazing.

The stage is yours

See how simple the above guidelines are? That’s the key. There are no secret techniques, and no marketing. Just simple, realistic steps you can take to start living a much healthier life.

Once you’re able to put them to practice, you can then incorporate the intense workout routines if you still need to.

Now, when do you plan on living a healthier life? What are you waiting for? What steps have you already taken toward this goal? And how many times have you tried, but failed? Tell us all about it in the comments.

Josh Sarz is a Cebu Blogger who writes about Finding Ways to Enjoy Life. You can check his series about Rest Days, or you can read all the other posts over at his blog.

FeelGooder Asks: What Do You Feel Good About this Festive Season?

It’s officially that time of year! While the festive season can get stressful, bring up issues, and undermine our savings plans, it still gives most of us more than a few things to feel good about.

What do you feel good about this festive season?

Festive fun

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I feel good about being with my family for Christmas. In the last year, a few bygones have been allowed to be bygones, and a few hatchets have been buried, so I’m looking forward to a less awkward Christmas, and one that’s more open and fun.

I also feel good about having time off. I don’t know about you, but this year’s been a bit hectic for me. There’s been a lot on, and a lot to tackle, so having free time will be something of a blessing.

Finally, I’m having a party at my house over Christmas time, and I’m really looking forward to that. I live a long way from most of my friends, so it will be great to have some of them come out and stay with me for a night of country fun!

What about you? What are you feeling good about this festive season? Share your excitement with us in the comments.

Life After Debt: What You Need to Know

This is a post by Kevin Yu, author of the DebtEye Blog.

It’s a great and liberating feeling after you made your final payment to your credit card company.  Your hard work, persistence, and dedication finally paid off.  Go ahead and celebrate and rejoice, but don’t get too comfortable.  Getting rid of debt is only half the battle.  The other half is knowing how to stay debt-free so you don’t follow the same road as before.

“Nearly all debtors stated that they had received offers for credit [cards] in the first months following their bankruptcy,”—Source.

Living

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Why is this quote so important?  The reason is because credit card companies love targeting consumers who are fresh out of debt.   They know that with this new “fresh start,” consumers will likely begin to rack up credit card debt again. 

Credit card companies don’t like you if you pay off your balance in full each month; they like you because you’re considered a “revolver”.  A revolver is someone who only pays the minimum payment and carries their balance over each month.

How do you stay debt free?

The first part of living a debt-free life is knowing how you got there in the first place.  Let’s face it, accumulating debt doesn’t happen overnight.  There was some reason why you started to accumulate debt in the first place.  Here are the most typical reasons most people get into debt.

  1. Not enough savings: There comes a point in everyone’s lives where we’re faced with unexpected expenses.  It can include medical expenses, car/home repairs, or even a friend or family who needs to borrow money.  You should have at least six months of living expenses saved in case of emergencies.  If you had an emergency fund, you wouldn’t need to charge it on your credit card, right?
  2. Keeping up with the Joneses: Having the best things in life is great.  We’re living in an age where technology and innovation creates new “must-have” products.  Your neighbor buys a new 3D TV, and you now feel the need to buy a bigger and better one.  A friend buys the iPad2 while you’re still stuck with the original iPad.  This is a habit you want to avoid at all costs.  Do you ever hear about celebrities who file for bankruptcy?  I wonder why.
  3. Poor money management: How many of us actually have a budget and stick with it?  You must create a monthly budget and get in the habit of following it.  However, I always recommend that everyone starts off with a monthly spending journal.  A spending journal involves writing down every little expense (even the $0.25 pack of gum you buy).  After a month, you’ll start to notice a trend and see where your money is going every month.  From there on, you can now construct a realistic monthly budget and find where you can trim some of your expenses.  Also, don’t forget to set aside 15% of your income towards savings!

Learn to use credit responsibly: become a “deadbeat”

A “deadbeat” is a term used in the credit industry to describe a consumer who pays off their balance in full each month.  Creditors refer to you as a “deadbeat” because they don’t profit off of you compared to a “revolver”. 

I’m not here to tell you to stop using credit cards forever. Using your credit card is important in establishing credit in case you’re making a big financial purchase.  Without it, you have no creditworthiness. 

But here are some tips on how to use credit responsibly.

  1. Have a small credit limit: There’s really no need to have a $2,000+ credit limit on your credit card.  Having a higher credit limit only makes you feel that you have “free money” that you can pay off at any time.  This is why credit card companies send letter saying that you’re eligible for a higher credit limit.
  2. Pay off your balance: This may sound like an obvious tip, but it’s surprising how many people carry balances.  For example, if you have a $500 balance, you can tell yourself that you’ll pay off $400 and leave a $100 balance.  Soon enough, this is going to develop into a habit.  This is exactly what your credit card companies want.  Have the discipline to pay off credit cards quickly before the due date!
  3. Gain reward points: If you decide to use your credit card for daily purchases (and of course pay it off every month), make sure you reconcile your transaction at least once a week. Make sure you’re keeping track of how much you’re spending every month in each expense category.  This will ensure that you’re not “freely” using your credit card for unnecessary purchases.

Living a debt-free life involves learning to spend money wisely. If you can keep to a budget, set aside money towards your savings account every month, and pay off your credit card balances in full, then you’re well on your way to becoming a deadbeat!

Kevin is the author of the DebtEye blog. He is a certified credit counselor and used to own a credit counseling company in Chicago. He is also the co-founder of DebtEye, which is an online software to help people get out of debt.

How to Buy Christmas Presents Without Breaking the Bank

This guest post is by David Lazar of PdfConverter.com.

You can play the idealist and say that Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, not about presents, but realistically, presents have become something that you cannot have Christmas without these days.

Before you start stressing over all the money you will spend and all of the credit card bills that will be staring you in the face come January, take a deep breath and compose yourself. There are things that you can do to prepare yourself for the holiday spending season.

Christmas gift

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If you are watching your spending and counting your pennies all year round, December should be no different.

Here are some steps that you can take to make sure that you will be able to indulge in your holiday spending spree without losing sleep over it. With some careful planning and smart shopping, you can get all of your Christmas shopping done without digging yourself deep into a financial hole to start off the New Year.

Take all spending into consideration

Remember, presents are not the only expenses that you will incur during the holiday season. There are many things that you need to take into consideration along with the gifts and plan accordingly.

Many people set aside a certain amount of money for the holidays and then proceed to spend it all on presents, when in reality, they need to be looking at the many other expenses that they will undoubtedly be faced with in December. Perhaps you will be traveling to a relative’s house for the holidays.

Don’t forget about the money you will have to spend on a tree and decorations, parties, food, wrapping paper and greeting cards—all of these things cost money and you must be aware of these factors when planning a holiday budget.

Plan a gift budget and stick to it

Now that you have taken all of the costs into consideration, you are ready to see how much money you are left to work with and how much you will be able to spend without emptying your bank account. Make a list of all of the people that you plan on buying gifts for and prioritize the list.

Do you really need to buy something for all of your colleagues at work? Probably not. If you have coworkers who you consider to be good friends, buy them something and get some candy or simple cards for the rest of your coworkers. Or you can just make some cupcakes for everyone in the office instead of trying to get gifts for everyone.

Your children and close family members and friends are your priority—see how much you need for them and then look at what you have left to cover other people you are thinking of giving presents to this year.

Setting a budget plan and sticking to it might take more work than you are used to having in these situations, but you will thank yourself for doing it when your bank statement arrives in January.

Create a gift list

People who don’t make a list and budget plan end up going shopping and spending way too much, because they buy impulsively and spend a lot more than they can afford. When you go food shopping you always have a list with you, right? You even have a bag of coupons which you have clipped in preparation. There is no reason that Christmas shopping should be done any differently.

As with any kind of financial practice, planning your spending is essential: the better prepared you are, the less you will spend. Be sure to make a list and check it twice before going out and spending blindly on gifts that you are not even sure you need to buy.

Start shopping early

The sooner you start, the better. Perhaps it’s too late now, but take this into consideration for next year. If, while you’re shopping for your kids’ school clothes in September, you see something that you think they would like for Christmas, and it’s on sale, snap it up and put it away for the holidays.

The more time you have to shop, the more options you have. If you start looking for gifts early, you will be able to visit more stores and compare prices better. You don’t have to wait for the Christmas sales to shop: there are sales happening all year round.

Mind the sales

Here’s a good tip regarding sales for you to consider. Do you really think that the store employees arrive at the store at the break of dawn on the day the sale begins to adjust all of the prices? Usually not.

Try visiting some of the stores on the night before the big sale officially starts. There’s a good chance that the prices will already be marked down in preparation for the sale. This allows you to get the items at their sale price while also avoiding the large crowds that will undoubtedly file into the store in the morning.

If you are not familiar with shopping on the Internet, get familiar, because this is the new frontier of shopping and saving. Just as there are sales and coupons for regular stores, there are tons out there for web-based stores as well.

An easy way to find savings is to Google the name of the store that you are interested in, along with keywords like “discount code,” “coupon,” or “promotional code.” There’s a good chance that you will find some additional ways to save online that way, especially during the holiday shopping season.

Go easy on the plastic

If you have planned accordingly and have followed all of these other steps, then hopefully you won’t have to use your credit cards when buying presents. However, the reality of the situation is that you probably will have to use your credit cards for some holiday expenses.

If you are going to use a credit card, use it as minimally as possible. If you’ll be able to pay off the money that you spent over the holidays by March or early April, then you are going to be alright, but if it’s going to take you an entire year to pay up, you’re going to be in trouble. And of course, if you are going to use a credit card, makes sure you are using the one that offers the lowest interest rate.

Stick to these guidelines as closely as you can to be on your way to a Christmas full of presents but void of financial stress and worries in the New Year. What others can you add to this list?

David Lazar is a blogger at PdfConverter.com. With a background in journalism, he enjoys writing about and following a variety of topics, including finances, careers, technology and new media.

5 Festive Date Ideas

Off the back of the couples’ holiday survival guide, I thought you might appreciate some suggestions on festive season date nights.

Plan a couple of these in the run-up to Christmas so you and your sweetie can spend time together alone among the chaos! A relaxing night alone for the two of you can be a soothing balm among the shopping crowds, family arguments, and financial strain of Christmas time.

Festive dates

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At the very least, find something that the two of you love doing and turn it into your own Christmas tradition—something to look forward to each year, just for you and your relationship.

1. Ice skating

Gliding over the ice hand-in-hand, all rugged up in your mittens and scarves? Anyone who’s watched the couples’ skating at the Olympics knows it’s pure romance on blades. If you’re not quite Torville and Dean, you can settle for shuffling your way around together, holding each other up.

At any rate, cold noses and a warming hot chocolate or eggnog afterwards will definitely up the romantic ante.

2. Christmas movie marathon

Snuggle on the couch together and hold your very own Christmas movie marathon. Instead of popcorn, make your snacks mince pies and warmed, spiced nuts and get into the spirit of the holidays with a classic (It’s a Wonderful Life) a romance (Love, Actually) or even a comedy (Bad Santa) if that’s more to your tastes.

3. Christmas lights

Go for a late-night stroll or drive and check out all the Christmas lights around your neighborhood. They really are magical.

4. Attend carols night

Find out when your town or city’s carols night will be and go along to add your voices to the chorus. Singing is a great way to boost your mood and release stress.

5. Volunteer together

Your help is needed—go together to a soup kitchen or a toy drive and lend a hand. The real meaning of Christmas is found in these places.

Do you and your partner have your own special Christmas tradition? Tell us about it!

FeelGooder Asks: What Were You Mindful of This Week?

While mindfulness has become something of the flavor of the month in self-help circles, for many, having a conscious awareness of what we’re doing does help us feel more focused and alive.

In fact, it can seem astonishing that something so simple can make us feel so good. So I wonder:

What were you mindful of this week?

This week, as in most weeks, I was mindful of the weather.

A beautiful sky makes me feel good

By this, I don’t mean that I just grumbled about changeable conditions, checked the forecast, or tried to “wash” my car by leaving it in the rain (although I did all these things).

Being mindful of environmental conditions this week brought me some really enjoyable moments.

There was the feeling of sun on the back of my neck as I ground the morning coffee. There was the moment when, while I was running, a sunshower hit the west side of the forested hill in front of me. And there were the spectres of mist that appeared like faint devils in my headlights late one night while I was driving along a country backroad.

I find the physical environment is like a doorway to mindfulness that’s always open. It’s an instant way to feel good, wherever you may be.

But what about you? What were you mindful of, and how did it make you feel? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

How to Be Positive When Everything Seems Like it’s Falling Apart

This post is by Lea of leadingedgeadvocate.com.

At times life can throw so many curve balls that it feels like things are falling apart one after another. Just when you seem to fix something, another thing falls to pieces. When it rains, it pours right?

It’s not easy maintaining your positive attitude and motivation when a downward spiral consumes you. For instance, it you are having financial troubles you may get anxious every time another bill or notice comes in.

However, focusing on the point that you don’t have money is not going to pay them.

The pointlessness of worry

Take a second and think about the pointlessness of worrying. When you worry, do you come up with great ideas to get you out of a jam? No, if anything, you shoot down every suggestion presented to you. Worrying may be an emotion that you feel the need to express, but don’t linger in it. It is an idle state that will get you nowhere fast.

At some point you’ll have to face this problem and all the time you spent worrying is not going to provide you with a solution. It is bad enough that you are in financial turmoil—there is no benefit in worsening your mental and emotional state.

Instead, devote your time and energy to doing something more constructive. Stop focusing on the negative and take positive action.

The effort is worth it

Your situation may not be easily changed, but it can be changed. The effort you put into it will be worth it in the end.

If you need some help getting into a more positive place, practice the attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for what you do have even when it feels like everything has fallen to shreds. Something is still very much together.

If you’ve had to give up little extras, like going out to dinner weekly, in an attempt to save money for something else, be appreciative that your basic needs are still covered. Be glad that you can still but food in your fridge, even if you have to cook and serve it.

No matter how small the item is, acknowledge it because will help improve your state of mind so that you can be productive.

When your emotions have changed from negative to positive, think about what you can do. Brainstorm your next course of action, things that you can do to put yourself in a better place. Maybe research the issue to get the ideas flowing. Look up articles and tips to save or make extra money. Talk to someone about it. Another person may have workable solutions you haven’t even considered because you were too busy moping around. There is always something—even small steps add up.

While you are searching, keep in mind that there are ways to overcome your situation, regardless of what it is. You just need to be proactive when it comes to finding these solutions. Even if an opportunity just presents itself to you, you need to be open enough to realize that it’s worth a try, and do it.

Small steps add up

In order to get over your problems, the first and most vital thing you need to understand is worrying will not help. You must to be positive and take action, otherwise you are just stalling.

A positive attitude is an effective characteristic to have while doing what you need to do overcome your issues. Knowing that something is out there to help you is the motivation you need. Stay positive, have faith in yourself, and take action, and you’ll find yourself in a better place sooner rather than later.

Lea is a conscious living advocate and personal development coach. She enjoys helping others reach their potential and achieve true happiness. You can get your free guide to personal development at http://www.leadingedgeadvocate.com.

5 Tips for More Online Dating Success

This post is by Nabil Gulamani of successatreach.com.

Many men enter the online dating world thinking that all they have to do is write a brief profile and message a bunch of women to succeed at getting more dates.

The Internet is a great tool to meet people but many men think that using the Web is a substitution for solving all of life’s social problems, including overcoming shyness.

The fact is that online dating can be as challenging as traditional, offline dating, and if men don’t understand the key fundamentals, they will fail to attract women—especially the quality women who they’ve been wanting to meet for a very long time!

Here are my tips on how you can increase your chances of online dating success and supercharge your dating life.

Make sure that you have high standards

If you want your dating profile to stand out more and be read by more women, show that you have some kind of standards.

If you are looking for women that are athletic and like the outdoors, clearly state that on your profile. If you want to meet a woman that wants to party on a Friday night, mention that on your profile also.

Many men think that if they set high standards on their profile than that will limit their opportunities. The truth is that if you start setting high standards, you will attract the women that you really want to attract, rather than waste time with women you don’t really want to spend time with.

Be optimistic in your writing style

Women are attracted to men with positive personalities. If you want to get dates with quality women then you have to show that them that you are ambitious and like yourself.

On your profile you always want to show that you are passionate about what you’re doing with your life. If a woman reads your profile and gets a clue that you lack passion, she will skip your profile. The last thing she wants is to spend time with a man that complains about how his life really sucks.

The reason women are really attracted to optimism is because it is shows that you have a healthy and well-balanced life style. Women want a man with purpose and mission.

Use a great photo

Men, stop posing in front of the mirror to take a picture of yourselves! It shows that you are insecure and suggests a lack of personality.

Instead, add a variety of pictures that show your true personality. You want to show the woman that is browsing your profile that you have a life, and that you are going to be the rock star of her life if she decides to spend time with you.

The first impression is very important. If you decide to stand there with just your boxers on, looking half asleep, you will be dreaming to get a date for the rest of your life, but it won’t happen!

Don’t be afraid to tease women when messaging them

Many men are afraid to take the risk to tease women when they are chatting with them online. Teasing women shows that you are comfortable in your own skin and don’t really care about how they’re going to react.

Many men work hard on establishing great connection with women but start having boring conversations with them later. Then they log on to their online dating profile and are frustrated to see that the women that they were just chatting to have blocked them, or no longer want to chat to them.

Women get stormed with a million messages from all sorts of different men and they know which of those men come across confident and experienced. The reason men are afraid to tease women is because they’re afraid that they will get rejected. Don’t be afraid of rejection! Men who take the risk to get outside of their comfort zones and don’t care about the outcome are the ones who are going to score dates with the beautiful women (because risk-taking is a sign that you have guts!).

Take a few minutes to think about men who have achieved amazing things in the past; these are people you have probably read about in history books. The reason these men were able to achieve great success was because they took risks! Once a man starts taking risks in his dating life, he will start to see results that will get him ahead.

Be consistent if you want to succeed

Do you give up after just sending one message to a woman? If so, you are not trying hard enough.

Yes we all know that bothering women by slamming their inbox with a bunch of messages is going to make you look like a creep, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be consistent with sending more messages to the same woman.

Many woman really appreciate a man who’s consistent, because it shows her that you really want to connect and get to know her more.

Simple steps to get started with online dating

  1. Sign up to open an account.
  2. Start filling out your profile description.
  3. Find some good pictures of yourself and add them to your profile.
  4. Start searching for women that you are attracted to and message them right away.
  5. Keep updating your profile so all the information about yourself is current and up to date.

So what are you waiting for? You are sitting in front of the computer reading this. You might as well go open an online dating account and start meeting the women that you have been waiting for.

Nabil Gulamani is in sales and helps businesses nationwide with their Direct Marketing. During his free time he blogs about self-improvement and personal growth to help people improve their overall lifestyle. You can visit his Self-Improvement blog www.successatreach.com.

Five Top Tips for Surviving the Run-up to Payday

This post is by Dani Butlerson of Payday Express.

Ah, the elusive payday, when spending and expenses have taken their toll and month end just can’t come quick enough!

It’s Murphy’s law that you seem to have a run of bad luck with expenses that you hadn’t banked on at the end of a month in which you soon realize you might have spent a bit too much. Maybe a few too many nights out, the forgotten credit payment, or a holiday that seemed mandatory at the time left you with not quite enough money to cover that broken boiler as winter sets in.

The end of the month can often be the most stressful as it always seems that unforeseen bills or emergency expenses rear their ugly heads then, and you have to start relying on the clearance section of the supermarket!

saving

Image copyright Jakub Krechowicz—Fotolia.com

Okay, it mightn’t often get so bad that you’ll start eating bits of paving slab for sustenance, but it’s never a pleasant experience to realize that you’re not on top of your finances and still have a bit of a wait until payday.

So what can you do to calm your end-of-month worries? Well, while this advice might not work for everyone, here are the top five tips with which I’ve managed to pinch a few pennies to tide me over til payday.

1. Switch to public transport, take a walk or cycle to work

Heck, why not? It’s environmentally-friendly, a darn sight cheaper and should be more relaxing than tackling rush hour traffic.

2. Cook your own meals

If you’re anything like me, you’re a restaurant fiend. I don’t even know how it happened—I even had a brief stint as a chef! And still, when I get in from work, I can’t resist meeting up with a friend in a fancy restaurant or ordering some Chinese takeaway. Thing is, if you actually weigh up how much you spend on this (generally unhealthy) food, it’s amazing the savings you’ll make by cooking your own meals.

3. Sell some of your stuff

I admit it: I’m a hoarder. I have stacks of DVDs, useless junk, and old sporting equipment that is just gathering dust. I recently opened an eBay shop and started pawning my wares, and the extra windfall definitely helps.

I recommend services such as Envirofone or Mazuma for your old mobiles; play.com for CDs, DVDs and games; and, if you’re a particularly creative sort, etsy.com fro craft items.

4. Take out a payday loan

Easy to apply for online, a payday loan can provide the extra bit of help when you need some temporary short-term credit to see you through to payday. Just ensure you only borrow what you know you can comfortably pay back with interest on your payday, and keep everything organized. Speaking of which…

5. Plan those weeks ahead

Now, this is one I’ve struggled with somewhat, despite it being the most important! I hate to plan ahead and would much rather do things spontaneously, but with finances, this is just too big a risk to take.

Since I created a list of expenditures and allowed for a monthly budget, I’ve not only reduced my stress levels, but also ensured that I generally have something left over at the end of a month in case one of life’s little emergency expenses suddenly crops up.

Now, it’s my payday at the end of next week and I’m actually doing alright! Okay, I’m not going to be rushing out and buying a 42” widescreen TV (although if anyone would like to donate one to me, please feel free to get in touch!), but I think I’ve started to understand fiscal responsibility that little bit more.

Just remember, money is rarely a constant and you can’t predict the future—stay sensible, plan ahead, and look after your finances, because you never know when you’re really going to need them.

Dani Butlerson is a writer for the web team at Payday Express, short term payday loans providers, offering a quick, easy, and friendly service for customers.