How Will I Stay Motivated After Losing Weight?

I’ve written a couple of times about how I have been working to get in better health this year.  So far things are going great, and I’ve now lost about 9.5 pounds total.  Things have definitely slowed down over the past couple of months.  I expected that, as this is typically the area where my body hits a wall.  But, I’m still happy with where things stand.  The issue now will be how to stay motivated after losing weight.

Summer Is A Downfall

I wrote earlier about how I stopped snacking at work at the beginning of the year.  That’s still held up.  I haven’t eaten one single thing that I haven’t brought in!  If you know my typical snacking habits, that is a big accomplishment.

But my other normal downfall is upon us:  Summer.  We do lots and lots of camping, and this tends to bring about a lot of poor nutritional choices, at least compared to the rest of the year.

  • Snacking.  There are always munchies and stuff around for camping.  It’s just the nature of things.  I’m always a sucker for a handful of potato chips or something.
  • Alcohol.  It’s vacation, usually at the beach or around a fire. These things make a nice cold drink or two a big temptation.
  • Lack of exercise.  Right now I’ve been trying to get some sort of exercise just about every day.  This involves a combination of running, walking, or lifting weights.  Last year, I tended to do very little of this while camping.

As you can see, these are all things that could definitely put at risk some of the gains I’ve made.

How To Combat The Dreaded Summer Weight Gain

So, I guess the question now is how do I fight this?  Here are some ideas I have:

  1. Hold myself accountable.  Last year, I knew I was gaining weight throughout the summer.  In typical denial, I basically avoided the scale.  This year, I’ll make sure to check in regularly no matter what.
  2. Carry a snack cup.  Instead of a handful of this or that, I’m thinking of getting my own little snack cup that I would have to use when snacking.  This would force me to go get it, force me to fill it, and hopefully put up a mental block if I fill it multiple times.
  3. Take some healthier options.  There’s between 4-8 of us on typical camping trips.  I can’t ask that people like be removed on my account. Nobody wants to be that person.  But, hopefully I can take some of my own stuff to mix in so that it’s not all junk food.
  4. Reduce alcohol and change mixers.  I don’t drink beer, but instead prefer mixed drinks.  Last year, my drink of choice was whiskey and Coke.  This year, I’ll probably switch to vodka and club soda.  Vodka has a few less calories than whiskey, and club soda is 0 calories, compared to a whole lot for Coke.  I’ll also mix them a little lighter.
  5. Exercise regularly.  I’ve gotten in such a routine of waking up and doing some exercise, that I’m hoping I just keep this up.  Right now, if I wake up and don’t exercise, I don’t feel right.  So, if I can tap into that when camping, it’ll keep me pushing along.

Crossing My Fingers For Success

This probably won’t be easy.  The work thing was actually easier because I went cold turkey.  But, I just can’t see myself going cold turkey on the fun things associated with camping.  I think starting off with an approach centered on moderation is my best bet.

The best laid plans, right?

Wish me luck.

Readers, how do you deal with temptations and other obstacles that can derail success you’ve made? Do you have any tips for me?  Please let me know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

7 Tips for a Perfect Open House for Your Rental

An open house is crucial for attracting new tenants.  This is a time to show off the rental you put so much time and money into.  If you want to entice high quality tenants, prepare your property using these seven tips for the perfect open house.

  1. Make it Spotless

Nothing turns off a potential tenant more than a dirty property.  Dirt and grime will cause prospective tenants to turn right around and walk out.  You may want to hire a cleaning service that can deep clean the entire space, from the walls to the floors and everything in between.  If you have carpet, make sure it looks fresh and free of stains.  If the exterior is dirty, consider using a pressure washer to clean all of the outside walls of your property.

  1. Make the Space Appear More Open

As a landlord you want renters to feel at home.  Tenants come to open houses in order to visualize their future living space.  Make the space more open to allow them to imagine their own furniture in the property to make it feel like they already live there.  The first step to creating a clear space is to store unnecessary knickknacks, decorations or furniture that make the home look too busy. Rearranging the furniture is another great way to make the space larger.  Seek the help of a friend with an artistic eye to help optimize the space of your property.

  1. Clear Property of Furniture

If you’re moving, feel free to clear your rental of any furniture.  After all, there’s no better way to open a space than to have nothing in it.  A clean and empty property is the ultimate blank slate.

  1. Paint Your Walls a Neutral Color

Bright pink walls may be your style, but when it comes to rentals, neutral colors are the way to go.  It will make the space feel breathable and open and will let in more light.  Need help choosing a color?  Consult a paint specialist at Home Depot to find the perfect shade for your property.  They will help you pick out several swatches that you can compare to your walls to add dimension and interest.  Whites, light beiges, and even shades of blue may help you will create a calm and relaxing environment.  This year, navy is a good neutral to create a beautiful accent wall or to complimentary fixtures, so ask your expert at Home Depot for some ideas.

  1. Let in More Light

More light will make your home inviting and cozy.  Open all blinds and make sure the windows are clean.  If your property doesn’t get much light, place lamps strategically throughout the space to make it look brighter.

  1. Increase Air Circulation

A stuffy property is a turnoff.  Open the windows to let in fresh air.  Encourage circulation by placing fans in strategic areas, such as in a room with a small window.  If you’re showing your property when the weather is hot, close your windows and turn on the AC.  Air conditioning will keep the home nice and cool and it’s worth the extra spending.

  1. Bake Cookies

This is a big real estate agent secret.  Before you open your property for the big day, bake some cookies a half an hour before.  Choose a basic scent everyone loves like vanilla, sugar, snickerdoodle or chocolate chip.  Avoid cookies like peanut butter because the peanut smell may cause allergic reactions.  The bonus is that your potential tenants get a cookie just to sweeten the deal.

The open house should be an enjoyable experience. Remember to vet potential tenants through a service like to get the best of the best. This is the opportune time to build a professional relationship with your future renters, so use these tips to get started today.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Personal Finance For Young Adults

When you’re out on your own for the first time, it can be easy to live life to the fullest and avoid making a financial plan for the future. While it’s important to have plenty of fun while you’re in college, it’s absolutely vital that you form solid personal finance habits for the future. If you’re hoping to establish a bright financial future, consider the following tips regarding personal finance for young adults.

Avoid Going Out Every Weekend

College students often find that their weekly budget is completely decimated by the end of a long night of partying. While exploring local bars can be a blast, it’s never a good idea to make it a weekly habit. If you love being social with your friends but you’d like to save money, be honest and open about the fact that you’re trying to conserve cash. Instead of going out for drinks every weekend, host a game or movie night at your apartment.  Make it BYOB to really save some money.

Shop at Stores That Offer Student Discounts

While it might feel like college is the most expensive time of your life, you can actually use your status as a full-time student to your advantage. Several stores offer steep discounts for students, including the one-stop-shop of Amazon and clothing retailers like J. Crew. While it’s smart to be frugal, everyone needs new clothes occasionall.  Often you can use your student ID card to score great deals.

Find New Auto Insurance

If your parents have cut you loose from their auto insurance, you might be tempted to go with one of the big-name insurers simply because you’ve heard about them. However, it’s often worth your while to shop for a local auto insurance company. It’s incredibly important to have car insurance so you’re prepared for the unexpected.  You’ll want to have the best coverage possible for the lowest price available.

Build Your Credit

Many students are unaware of how important it is to start building a spotless credit history during your college years. If you’ve heard about the dangers of credit cards and you believe you might be tempted to overspend if you apply for a card to your favorite store, opt for something boring, like a gasoline card. If you have a car on campus, you’ll need to refuel on a regular basis.  Having a gas card makes financial sense.  Just make sure you’re committed to paying off the balance in full each month.

Get a Part-Time Job

College tuition is skyrocketing, and ensuring that your grades are up to par is a must on your to-do list. However, if you’re an established student with good study habits, it might be the ideal time to start looking for a part-time job. If you’re hoping for a manager who’s understanding of your situation, consider searching for jobs within your university. These types of jobs are usually low-stress.  You can earn extra income while also having the ability to take off work as needed. In addition to the income that you’ll earn, a job is also great to have on your resume for after graduation.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

6 Easy Tips for Saving Money This Summer

It can be easy to overspend during the summer. From increased energy bills (you have to crank that air conditioner during those hot days) to vacation costs, spending seems to snowball during the hottest season of the year. Instead of leaving the summer with far less in your bank account, find ways to ease the strain on your wallet—while still having a great vacation season. Keep these simple strategies in mind and ensure your finances don’t get hit by the summer spending trend.

  1. Turn Down Your Hot Water Heater

Many homeowners turn up their hot water heater during the winter months to keep their showers warm. However, they forget to turn back the settings in the summer months (when all most of us want is a cold shower). The Department of Energy recommends having any tank-based hot water heater set to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Do a double check and find out where your temperature gauge is sitting to ensure you’re not wasting energy and money on heating water you’re not using.

  1. Automatic Savings

If you’re not the best at self-discipline, it’s a good idea to bolster your savings account automatically. Instead of manually setting aside a chunk of your paycheck each month, have your bank account set up to do it for you. Most banks offer automatic transfer; simply set it up and you never have to worry about it.

  1. Plan a Staycation

Summer is the season for vacations, but sometimes, planning that trip to a beachside oasis is too costly. Week-long vacations can easily cost upwards of several thousand dollars, and for tight budgets, it’s just not feasible. That doesn’t mean you can’t capture the vibes of rest and relaxation. Plan a staycation and get away from it all. Book a hotel room in your city through for an amazing discount, or go camping in your backyard to get back to nature. It’s important to set some ground rules for your staycation. If you’re at home, it’s easy to let the normal tasks and stressors affect you. Make a commitment to abstain from chores, and turn off your phones and tablets.

  1. Invest in a Home Energy Audit

If you’ve got an older home and haven’t made any energy efficient upgrades since purchasing, it’s likely that your house is wasting a great deal of energy and water—which means excess costs. Understanding how much energy you’re wasting and learning ways to cut down on this waste can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. Book an appointment with an energy professional; they’ll come in and audit your home’s energy use, uncovering hidden energy leaks and providing you with invaluable advice on how to fix it. Most audits find small issues that are easy to repair on your own, while others find major problems that could become disastrous if left untreated. Making the investment in a home energy audit is more than worth the money you’ll save—especially during the summer months when your air conditioner is likely to be on full blast.

  1. Grow Your Own Produce

Summer is the time for fresh fruit and vegetables, and nothing’s more satisfying than a light, crisp salad on a hot day. Instead of throwing money away for overpriced produce at your local supermarket, plant a garden and begin growing your own produce. Start small with easy to grow herbs and vegetables and move onto more difficult plantings as you get the hang of your gardening.

  1. Pay Off Lingering Debt

We’ve just left tax season in the dust, but for those who still the IRS, the struggle continues. If you’re in tax debt, one of the most important things you can do for your family and wallet this summer is focus your spending on paying off these bills. Forgo the summer vacations and costly meals out and focus on getting your debt paid off. Using a company like Community Tax to negotiate payment plans and installment agreements with the government makes it easier to begin breaking down your debt. This effort now will pay off in the long run.

Saving money this summer isn’t as difficult as you might think. Keep these tips and strategies in mind and bolster your savings this season.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.