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Getting out of my comfort zone

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Good morning Loves.  We’re into December and it’s the time of year when people look back on everything they’ve done and accomplished over the last twelve months.  Some people reflect on what’s happen to them and some people make a list of all the new things they want to do over the next year.  I like to do both.

What did you achieve this year?

Not to brag or anything but when I look back on 2014 I can’t help but be proud of myself.  Last year I definitely got out of my comfort zone and although it was terrifying at first, I’m happy I did.  I’m the kind of person who likes to be in a routine and I don’t really like change too much.  However this year I really wanted to try a few things that make me really uncomfortable to see if I could grow out of my un-comfort zone and get comfortable, specifically when it comes to social activities.

Attend at least one working social event.  Over my decade of professional experience I have been to several conferences and although I attend the workshops I usually avoid the social activities at all costs.  Small talk makes me uncomfortable and the idea of making small talk with strangers terrifies me.  This September I went to FinCon in New Orleans and surprisingly I went to three different social events.  It was definitely uncomfortable at the beginning but I learned the key is to focus on a few people and make conversation about things you are passionate about or have in common.

Networking.  Another one of my fears is going up to people and making conversations happen out of thin air.  However I have to keep telling myself that everyone else is there to do the same thing so it’s not awkward if people expect you to come and chat with them.  I met a lot of great people and I even got a few jobs out of my last networking event, so all in all it was a good reason to get out of my comfort zone.

Joined a gym.  This was definitely something new to me.  I have had gym memberships in the past, but it was always at the same gym.  Moving to a new neighborhood and joining a new gym was definitely out of my comfort zone.  However I’m adjusting surprisingly well.  I like my new gym, it’s small and the staff are extremely friendly.  There is nothing like the natural high and excitement of working out.  It also gives me something to look forward to every day.

What do you want to do next year?

In 2015 I am going to work towards becoming debt free.  BF and I got into some debt with our move and I want to have it all gone by the end of the year.  Debt really stresses me out and I want it to be gone as quickly as possible without having to sacrifice too much of my current lifestyle.

Photo from Flickr  

Friday Faves: Christmas is coming

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Good morning Loves and happy Friday.  It’s the first weekend of December and the holiday festivities have begun over at the TK/BF household.  Tonight is my office Christmas party and next weekend BF and I are getting our Christmas tree.  Yes the holidays are in full swing and I’m loving it.

What are your plans for the holidays?

Enjoy these posts from our friends:

Frugal Portland – The emotional roller coaster of house hunting

Three Thrifty Guys – 8 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Thrifty Guy

Frugal Beautiful – Lessons in gratitude from a now-single former bride

Young Adult Money – 6 Ways to Run Your Small Business More Efficiently on the Cheap

Broke & Chic – 31 Ways To Improve Your Bathroom On A Budget

Photo from Flickr

5 Relationship Red Flags and What to Do About Them

Regardless of where you are in your life’s journey, the chances are pretty good that part of the way you define yourself is in relation to a relationship or the lack of one. Single, married, cohabitating, in love, breaking up, divorced, widowed, dating, playing the field — the list is a long one, and it includes a wide variety of monikers that all amount to very different experiences and attitudes about love.

Regardless of where you fall within the list, the quality of a relationship is still very likely to affect your happiness, either currently or in the near future. Whether you’ve been lucky in love or you’ve seen your share of shipwrecks, there are some situations, scenarios, and habits that almost always spell disaster — it just might take a while to realize it. Here are five relationship red flags to pay attention to, as well as what you can and can’t do about them.

1. Communication Is Difficult

relationshipCommunication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship — not just romantic ones — because it keeps both parties on the same page, and, hopefully, on the same team. However, when communication is difficult, you can build hurt and misunderstanding over seemingly insignificant things like where to spend a minor holiday or more important issues like how your fiancée failed to tell you she wanted a wedding at a beautiful Los Angeles banquet hall instead of the church you were raised in.

If you and your loved one have problems communicating, or, if communication has been a trouble spot for you in the past, the good news is that improving communication skills and styles is completely possible. Here are some tips on improving difficulties in communication:

  • Don’t try to read between the lines; listen to what your partner is actively saying.
  • Echo back to your partner what you believe you’re hearing from him or her.
  • When you start to feel defensive, bite your tongue and take a break until you can proceed again without overly strong emotions.
  • Tell the truth even if it’s difficult.
  • Practice being open with your words and ears each day.

2. Unpredictable, Immature Behavior

While too much predictability can oftentimes kill a romance’s buzz, erratic unpredictable behavior in one or both partners can have an even more deleterious effect. If your partner is unreliable in terms of showing up on time, paying bills, following through with what he’s promised, or otherwise isn’t someone whose word is his bond, the resulting chaos can be hard to live with. Unfortunately, unless he wants to change and is willing to put in the effort and time to put that change into practice, there is little you can do about this particular red flag.

3. Lack of Empathy

relationship 2Empathy is the ability to understand and experience another person’s feelings, and in relationships, it’s an essential quality that both people must have in close to equal measure. When someone lacks empathy for others’ feelings, it can reveal itself in careless and callous behavior that seems to suggest that your partner is unconcerned with your feelings, or the feelings of anyone else.

While experiencing someone’s lack of empathy for you is painful, there is something that can be done about it, provided your partner is willing to put in the work. Here are some practices that will encourage empathy:

  • Listen closely to what others are saying about their emotions, and imagine what they are feeling.
  • Read more fiction.
  • Consider the other person’s point-of-view wholeheartedly instead of actively defending against it.

4. Abuse or Tendencies Toward It

Any kind of abuse, be it emotional, verbal, physical, psychological, or financial, is a red flag you should run from immediately. People who abuse others or take advantage of them will wreak all sorts of havoc on you and your life. If you have a tendency to get into relationships where people abuse you, or, if you have a tendency to abuse others, seek out a trained therapist in order to find resolution and help, so you can stop the pattern from repeating itself.

5. Won’t Take Responsibility for Wrongs

If your significant other struggles to take responsibility for hurting you, not fulfilling obligations, or she finds it difficult to apologize, you’re going to have a hard time staying in the relationship without hurt and mistrust building up between you. Being able to take responsibility for our actions is an important quality that helps us grow as individuals and couples — even if our intent was not malicious. While it’s possible that your partner may learn to take responsibility for wrongdoing, doing so is often a skill gained in childhood and adolescence, which means this red flag may never disappear from your relationship.

Being in a relationship can be remarkably rewarding or remarkably painful, depending on the relationship’s quality. Keep an open mind, but beware these five red flags — when they’re flying high, you’ll find it hard to be happy.

Are you a money prude?

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Some people say I’m cheap, yes it’s true.  You know what I say to those people?  I’d love to tell you but this is family-friendly blog so I’ll just follow my friend Lyanne’s advice and not say anything because I don’t have anything nice to say.  Moving on.  When people say I’m cheap I usually think to myself “Well you’re careless” because the opposite of being a money prude, hhhmmm how do I say this nicely, the opposite of being a money prude is being too loose with your money.

Everyone talks about money, don’t they?

I personally talk about money all the time, but that’s because I’m a financial planner and all my friends work in banking.  We talk about money all the time, everything from our vacations to our dinner, but I understand we are the exception.  Whenever I talk about money with people who don’t work in banking they always look at me like I’m crazy.  Why is it that people are so afraid to talk about money?

Why don’t people talk about money?

I think it’s partially because people are sensitive when it comes to money; that doesn’t make them a prude it just makes them private… and a little bit cautious.  Not wanting to talk about money because it’s taboo makes you a prude, not talking about your money because you’re shy is completely different.

I think people don’t talk about money for a variety of reasons.  Actually let me rephrase that, there are 3 types of people who talk about their money:

People who brag about what they’ve got.  I find a lot of people who talk about how much money they earn or how much their net is worth are kind of bragging – well at least in finance anyways.  Every time I get in the elevator there is always some corporate douche bag talking about how much his suit cost or how much he paid for his car.  That is totally unnecessary in public – it seems like more of a private conversation. Talking about how much money you have also alienates everyone else who doesn’t have that much from the conversation and that’s just mean.

Those who show off with how much they spend.  I don’t spend $1000 nights at a club and I don’t have $5000 shopping sprees so I can’t talk about it.  I hate listening to people who talk about how much they spend because I can’t focus on the conversation.  When someone tells me they just spent $500 on one pair of shoes all I can think about is all the other things I would rather do with $500 than buy a pair of shoes.

People who don’t make their own money.  I personally don’t have someone who takes care of me so I don’t brag about everything my boyfriend buys me.  BF and I both have full time jobs – sometimes we spend money separately and sometimes we spend money together.  I hate people who brag about all the things other people buy for them.  I mean why do people think that’s an accomplishment? Not being able to take care of yourself or taking advantage of someone else is nothing to be proud of.  I admit it might be nice to have a boyfriend who takes care of me and pays my rent, but then what kind of girl would I be?

Photo from Flickr