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Yup, that's me up there in that photo as The Big Event Director with the WFAA Channel 8 morning news crew doing a live on-air segment to talk about UT Arlington's The Big Event 2011. Talk about one of the most nerve-racking times in my college career as a senior, but one of the most cornerstone opportunities in my life. During the two years I spent at UT Arlington managing the campus' largest community service event with over 800 volunteers, multitasking and saving money became second-nature to me. I learned how to manage my time between being a full-time student with a full-time job more efficiently, methods to keep a budget, nifty ways pull all-nighters and then get to class by 8 AM, how to get course credit by working on campus, and other hacks and tricks to ultimately create and accept opportunities that would lead me to what I wanted most - a richer life.
Now here I am three years later as an alum and I am continuing to learn what a richer life really means for me and what my purpose is. No matter if you're a recent grad, a top executive, a teenager, mother or father, you too are still on a path to discovering your purpose and what a richer life means for you and how to get to that point. Do you take pride in growing your own backyard garden? Do you make time to get outdoors and explore the world? Do you keep track of your money so you can live the lifestyle you want? Do you live to work or work to live? These and other actionable considerations require you to save time, save money, and most importantly take chances!
Some of my biggest life changes and accomplishments happened because I took chances, invested in risk, and dedicated myself to saving time and money. Below are my 10 tips you can use as a guide for a more efficient and richer life, and how they are just some of the ways I shave time and shave money.
1. Make your own ocean-approved natural beauty essentials
You are in for a complete shock if you think your store-bought makeup, facial cleanser, soap, and hundreds of other hygiene products are 'safe' and worth the money you spend on monthly purchases. Not only are there toxic ingredients causing your body harm, but you are most likely also damaging waterways and polluting the environment. Continue reading about why you should make your own products and how to make them in my tutorial.
2. Cook more at home instead of eating fast food or restaurant meals
You can save some serious cash and increase your quality of health by sitting down to analyze how much money you spend on eating out, then taking steps to cooking more yourself. Everyone will be super jealous of your cooking skills that they'll beg you to make their favorite dish ;) You can't cook, what? That's a silly excuse, because I know you can! If I can whip up this spinach artichoke dip or Greek pesto gyros, I know you can too. If you consider yourself to be your family's chef, I applaud you. But if you're getting tired of being the only one to cook every day, invest in making a family cookbook using Blurb's book making software that allows you to create a book with your recipe instructions and pictures.
3. Plan vacations and road trips months ahead of time
There's nothing worse than feeling you won't be able to stay at your favorite hotel or see specific attractions because you didn't plan ahead of time. My worst has been paying more for airfare and not being able to book a getaway cabin in Texas during the time I needed because I waited too long. If you ever need a list of cabins in Texas though I got you covered here! Also, if you hate being in any kind of traffic when you're pressed for time like I am, you'll want to download the Beat The Traffic app on your iPhone. No, like do it right now, it will change your life I promise (your welcome).
4. Propagate food!
Americans throwaway so much food...and they don't even know they could be saving money buy growing more food from the food they just threw in the trashcan. Did you know you can grow lemon trees from lemon seeds? An avocado tree from an avocado seed? Pineapples from pineapple heads? There are so many more you can grow!
5. Keep a backyard garden
You're probably thinking I'm crazy because who has time to tend to a garden these days without other helping hands and knowledge of a green-thumb pro...Well, I'm here to tell you you can create a sustainable small garden out of water bottles and save time and money doing it by upcycling and following tip #4 above. Continue reading more about the sustainable starter garden I made here. If you don't have time to garden, no problem. You can save other people time and money by buying foods from your local farmer's market and/or buying foods that were made and grown right here in the U.S.A. Not only will you be helping the economy, you'll be eating foods with less pesticides and preservatives, which means a healthier you.
6. Use post-it notes, notepads, anything that you can keep a list on
Lists are a must for keeping up with the dozens of things I have going on every day. I save a tremendous amount of time not having to stop and think what I've got to do next if I keep a list of things to do as they come up. If you need a way to keep up with multiple tasks, try making a list of everything you know you need to do first thing every morning when you wake up.
7. Be financially responsible with loans and credit cards
Return what you borrow, it's as simple as that. If you don't have money to give back over time you shouldn't take it at all. Taking on big loans is risky both for students and working adults if the loan is not being properly repaid. Paying the minimums doesn't get you anywhere when in the background interest is building up day after day! You end up paying more back over time if you aren't actively doing everything possible to lower your debt. That means making sacrifices you might not want to make. I paid off my college loans of $18,000 in 1.5 years making $35,000 a year, and in four months I will be paying off the new car I bought last May but had to take a loan out for just over $18,000; I'm currently making about $50,000 a year. Two important keys here though are that I started paying back as soon as I started borrowing and I made lifestyle sacrifices in order to be debt free. Nothing feels better than knowing you don't owe anyone money!
8. Reuse your bath towel more than once
This has been ingrained in my head forever thanks to my mom. You're coming out of the shower clean right? Like you used soap, water, shampoo, and maybe some conditioner? Great, you can use your bath towel again because all you did is dry off your clean body and hair. Reusing your bath towel more than once helps save water and your time when you have piles of other laundry to do.
9. Serve your community and give back
Volunteering and financially supporting nonprofits and organizations has been one of the biggest contributors to enriching my life. I've had the opportunity to travel to other states to volunteer, meet successful entrepreneurs like TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, learn from historical figures like Mike Jacobs, and assist in solving environmental devastation along the Texas coast during an oil spill. So how does this save time or money? It helps you find your purpose, and your purpose is found through time and investments of either monetary value or personal time.
10. Find quality and affordable ways to enjoy LIFE!
You don't have to payout an excessive amount of money to enjoy life. There are so many free and affordable activities, events, and destinations to see and do. Checkout your city or town's website for lists of upcoming events or attractions, also see what state and national parks are close to where you live. Most importantly though, if you're always on the go and busy, find time to just stay at home. Get grounded in enjoying some quite time to yourself or with family. Enjoy life!
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