Financial Wellness: Money Saving Apps

Holiday season is upon us, like it or not (I like it) and with that comes the inevitable cost of buying gifts, travel, the food…fear not though, I may have an article that could prove to be a bit valuable…8 different apps that you can actually use year round but this article is marketing it towards the holiday season. I was most excited to try Santa’s Bag but unfortunately it’s not available for Window’s phones (truly the only negative of Window’s phones has to be the lack of apps made available). It has a countdown until Christmas, it’s password protected, and lets you create budgets and lists of gifts. If you use the app appropriately, it will even save all the gifts that you have gotten for people so no more cruising through Eddie Bauer trying to remember if you have already given your stepdad that exact same fleece 4 years in a row…

There are apps that range from hotel, to food, to clothes, to toys…check out the article and if you download any of the apps, let me know in the comments below. And damn you iPhone users and having a better store…but I will just have to live with having a superior phone ūüôā

Occupational Wellness: Be a Rockstar Job Seeker

Behind physical wellness, occupational wellness is probably my most blogged wellness topic. I blame it on the fact that I work in a career center so I’m surrounded by, well, job and career stuff. In fact, I also am a blogger over at NACE¬†and wrote a post up a few weeks ago centering on a conference I attended. Which is great Vanessa,¬†but why do I care?¬†Oh you don’t, I’m just telling you about it. And trying to give a¬†little¬†bit of justification behind why I blog on work place stuff so much. Oh, and I have a degree in what is essentially work psych (industrial and organizational psych). Ok, get to the topic at hand!

Right then, big surprise that I bookmarked THIS article from LearnVest a while back detailing traits that you find in¬†fearless¬†job hunters. I love that – they aren’t classified as “successful” but rather “fearless”. I won’t harp on the obvious ones, we all know that networking is beneficial. Got it. But I wanted to touch on a few of my favorites, show how maybe I implemented them in my job search and maybe help you job seekers out there implement these as well!

My favorite is actually the last one – learning from each letdown. I’ve said it many times, the job search process is stressful and emotionally draining. And it is painful to get rejected. Multiple times. In a day. And some of those wounds can sting for a long time. I think I just recently got over getting rejected for a wellness position down in Florida and that was 2 years ago. But learning from letdowns does make you better. I learned from my interview in Florida time you are around people, you are being interviewed. And letting your guard down or trying to sneak a yawn in b/c you slept poorly b/c you were so nervous the night before counts against you. And not being able to make small talk at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, can kill the interview for you. Those are hard lessons that I learned and it helped me prepare for the interview I had in Kansas. I didn’t make those mistakes again and I ended up getting the job.

Lesson 3 is also great – having passion and purpose. It draws me back to that TED Talk with Mike Rowe about bringing your passion with you instead of following your passion. And sometimes, especially for new job seekers, you may not always know what your passion is. And it may change as well. I entered my job search passionate as all get out about wellness. I ate, slept, breathed wellness. And now I analyze data for a living…and¬†I love it. But that doesn’t mean that i left behind my passion for wellness. It is still right there with me. I got involved in different groups,¬†I started this blog…have a passion and make sure you have a purpose.

Ok, one more…this blog is getting long….let’s briefly talk about confidence. Now the article is saying to be confident but not arrogant, but what about the people who it is more like be confident and not quiet? I think in my interview in Florida, I held back a lot of my knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs for you I/O-ers) but when I got to my Kansas interview, I was able to present my KSAs in a respectful and humble way that didn’t have me looking like an egotistical maniac. Whatever end of that spectrum you are on, it’s a fine line without a formula but I’ll say this – if you have proof or data of some kind that can back up your statements, that makes it better.

So there it is, a long blog grazing the topic of being a fearless job hunter. Are these types of topics relevant or interesting to you? Is there a certain dimension of wellness that you want to hear more about? Let me know!

Financial Wellness: Twitter?

How can twitter save you money? Check out this article by LearnVest.

Twitter is great for a variety of things and checking it out for discount codes and giveaways is also great. One thing that is new to me though is Twitter Parties. This article contains some good links to checkout if you are interested.

I’m not someone who is on Twitter 24/7, so I often miss the giveaway things, but the discount codes are great. Search for hashtags and shop smartly!

Also, check out Ebates to earn money back when you spend at certain stores. If you are going to be spending money, might as well try to earn some back!

Financial Wellness: Ease or Smart?

I’ll admit, I have a secret love for a few YouTube channels and lately they have been showing all these “unboxing” videos. Whether it is makeup/skincare or food (for people and pets), it seems that these subscription boxes are the new “it” thang. I love it when people break down how much they paid for the box and how much the contents of their box were actually worth to see if it was actually a good buy. Now before I share an article, which I haven’t read¬†yet¬†(I wanted to put my thoughts first, read the article and then share any difference of opinions!) ¬†I thought I would throw my 2 cents into the talk. Are subscription boxes really worth the money? I would say for me, no. I strive to only have things that I need and to not have a bunch of crap all over my apartment. But I can see where some people would find them nice. People who like to try different things would probably find use, also people who like to get mail that isn’t another credit card application or menu from the pizza place down the street. Ok, now to read the article. You can join me if you would like…here!

Ok, there are a ton of subscription services out there…why would someone ever need to leave their home? You can literally have everything delivered right to your door. That’s weird, right? Anyway, the jist of the article is that when considering a subscription service, ask yourself if you want or need this service. If it is a need and you can clearly justify it (like w/ the Target or Amazon subscriptions), then you are probably ok. If it is a want or borderline need, don’t think about the monthly cost, think about the yearly cost. Do you really need to spend $120/year on makeup? Do you even spend that much to begin w/? Is it something that is a financially smart idea to do? If it is, then go for it. Or if it is something that you think you might enjoy, you might see if you can get it as a birthday/holiday gift. The gift that keeps on giving! The other thing is to look at what the cancellation policy is. The article mentioned that some places, it’s go online and end, other places you have to talk to someone on the phone (shudders).

Bottom line or the tl;dr:  Is the subscription box something you need? When you look at the year cost, would you spend that much on similar products?

Financial Wellness: Invest in Your Future

I have been open on my views that I do not feel that high schools (at least back in the day when I was in high school) properly prepare students for the realities of being an adult and they sure do not prepare students with the knowledge that they need going into college and what debt they will likely acquire. So you can imagine my excitement when THIS article landed in my inbox last week. 4 courses for young adults on money? Tell me more!

Well, apparently you are only a young adult if you are enrolled in college. All 4 of the courses mentioned are for college kids. I guess they assume that you have your life together after you graduate from college and you are perfectly aware of your finances. Even though this is when, excuse my language, but shit gets real. Loan payments are no longer deferred. Student discounts disappear. That free, er, “free” gym membership is gone. Public transportation is no longer free or discounted. You all of a sudden maybe want to eat more than ramen noodles. You are working a full-time job which means financial forms to fill out, health insurance to figure out, retirement funds…shit gets real when you get done with your schooling!

I’d like to see a real financial course for adults and I’d like to to be free! Really I would just like to not feel like I’m flopping around when it comes to my finances. And I’m not even just talking about paying bills and making ends meet. I got that…it’s the rest that I am not so good at.

Financial Wellness: Spending Triggers

According to this article from LearnVest, my spending trigger is a perfect home. …Now I tend to not agree with a lot of these quizzes like this…I mean BuzzFeed pretty much has a monopoly on my quiz taking now that I am out of grad school but I have a really hard time seeing the validity and reliability in this specific quiz.

First of all, it’s very limited in the questions and answers for the questions.

Second, it’s one thing to be interested in interior design/architecture (or whatever you are interested in), but it is quite a different thing to actually be spending all your money on it. This quiz asked a few questions about things that you have spent your money on…but honestly I had a hard time answering it. Yeah I bought my dining room table for $200 a few months ago…but I also used gift cards with it and paid a total of $50 for it. No where in the quiz does it give you any option of saying that you budget or use gift money or something…

I get that this was a quiz about what your spending triggers are but, at least for me, this quiz was a complete bust. It asked random questions that didn’t really have links…I’m sorry…I love LearnVest and their articles but this one just doesn’t do it for me. If you take the quiz, let me know A.) what your spending trigger was and B.) if you agree with it.

Occupational Wellness: You’ve Got Mail!…er E-mail

I suppose this could fall under life wellness as well…

I’m so guilty of letting email run my life. I hear the ding and in a middle of a person to person conversation (even when I’m at home or out or at Eric’s) I grab my life vest (aka my phone) and start checking my email. Just typing that sentence, my brain is screaming at me. It’s SO rude! I hate when people interrupt me while I telling a story or talking…I hate it. It drives me up the wall. But I will just grab my phone in the middle of a conversation and start scrolling while claiming that I am listening to whoever is talking to me (IN REAL LIFE).

But honestly, my day is run by email. If I’m not at my desk with immediate access to my outlook, then I have my Surface (yes, I’m that person) that is updating me with my emails or my phone is dinging letting me know that I have a new email. And of course I have to check it. But once I get home? Oh the dings do not stop. The dings are still there and the last minute frantic emails about something that has to get done right this second haunt my dreams as I toss and turn then inevitably get up and get whatever needs to be done. That damn email ding is like Pavlov’s dog experiment. Except less salivating.

Well, last week, LearnVest had an article in their daily newsletter about 5 steps to help keep email from making you salivate at a ding. And the tips aren’t too shabby. But I know that what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for anyone else. So I’m asking you, yes you reading this post. Go ahead in the comments and give one tip that you have for making yourself not chained to your email 24/7. Let’s share some ideas, shall we?

Financial Wellness: Student Loans (insert groans here)

One thing I absolutely cannot wait for, but must, is to just be done paying my stupid student loans. For those of you that don’t know, I did my undergrad in Iowa (my home state) and then did my masters in Kentucky (uh, not my home state) so I racked up quite the pretty penny with my student loans. I almost daily try and think of how I am going to pay these bad boys off. And I have no clue. It feels overwhelming to think about it. But alas, my troubles are not your troubles and today, I’m here to provide what I think is a valuable resource. And of course, I found it from my daily LearnVest email.

Here is a checklist for paying of your student loans.¬†But honestly, if you are in high school or are in college right now, do the work and find scholarship opportunities. Meet with a financial counselor to have them help you figure out what your budget is and get a job to cover your living expenses instead of relying on student loans for everything. Take out as absolutely little of student loans as possible. Sure doing things like researching scholarship opportunities and making a budget are harder than just taking out all of your student loans, but being tied down to that kind of debt for 10, 20, 30+ years…I definitely wish that I had been more conscientious of my finances in college and grad school than I was. Even if you do end up getting a great job when you are done with school and you could pay off your student loans in a couple of years…wouldn’t you rather use that money for something else…anything else? Hell, I’d rather use the $200 a month I pay for my repayment for anything – food, clothes, an eye doctors appointment, putting it into savings…really anything sounds better than paying my student loans.

Apparently this week I’m getting ranty on topics. Meh.

Occupational Wellness: You Said WHAAAT?

There always seems to be a fine line that you walk at work with what you can share and what maaaaaaybe you should just, you know, not. All of this depends on the culture of the organization as well and the relationships that you build with your co-workers, plus your own personality. Some people are more willing to chat and talk about things while others like to feel things out first. This article from LearnVest though kind of sets the tone for a few things that you should really just not talk to your boss about. And really, they are pretty basic/common sense. Obviously you never tell you boss that something they are asking you to do is impossible. If something is difficult or you don’t think that you can handle the task, think about reframing your concerns. Flat out saying no way this is impossible and I’m not going to do it…just doesn’t go over as well.

The other thing to keep in mind is your personal life. Often times, our professional lives and personal lives will meet and possibly bleed into each other. Sharing a bit about your personal life helps you also establish relationships (and dare I say friendships) at work. But there is appropriate to share and then there is not appropriate. No one needs to hear how hungover you are (heeeey college kids, same goes for you) or what insane drama is happening in your life that is making it hard to concentrate at work.

Again, what is appropriate and not appropriate at work really depends on a number of things. I have had bosses that have barely known my last name and I had a supervisor who I actually ended up living with in grad school. My general rule of thumb, don’t overshare. Air on the side caution. You can always let more people into your personal life but you can’t undo saying things that you have already said.

Occupational Wellness: #Hired

This recent post¬†by LearnVest is pretty much on target right now. Social media is huge right now. I’ll give you that I think social media is a fad and will fizzle out, but right now, companies are all over the Facebook and the Twitter and the Instagram and the Vine and the … the … TOO MUCH SOCIAL MEDIA!¬†Bring it back Vanessa, bring it back. Ok, so yes social media is taking over the world, even the corporate world. Many companies are taking it to the social media streets announcing job openings, finding candidates (er stalking candidate?), branding their company…the list goes on and on.

We discussed this a few years back when I was in grad school and we use social media a ton at my current employer. In grad school, we discussed the legality of using social media and privacy issues. At work, we use it to brand ourselves and reach out to a specific demographic. I’m generally torn on the subject and can talk myself into circles on if companies should use social media or not.

What are your thoughts? Have you used social media to get a job? Do you use any of the tips that LearnVest suggests?