There is nothing glamorous about having a budget. You'll have to start saying no and most likely develop a shopping list and meal plan. This takes a lot of structure and can be exhausting. But in the long run, you'll end up keeping money in the bank for when you really need it.

In my mind, there are two ways to get rich. Either you provide a service (entertainment, technology, etc) that makes it big or you save and invest for retirement. The latter is what I'll talk about in this article. It's usually seen as the safe, get-rich-slowly plan but if done right, it is the most full-proof. The downside to getting rich slowly is that you tend to live a more conservative life and you won't be able to enjoy your money until close to retirement.

Now don't get me wrong guys, I'd love to live it up like the celebs. And I'm not telling you to give up on those dreams. What I'm trying to say is to have a fall-back. Always have a backup plan in case your dreams take a little longer to flourish. Work hard at your day job while using it to support your goals. But also try to put a little of that money into a savings account, a retirement account, etc. Just a little something, something for an important expense. I'm in no way a financial expert. If I were, I'd probably be a millionaire by now. I'm also not the best when it comes to money management. But what I am is someone who is trying and who understands the struggle of reaching financial freedom.

By nature, I'm a spender. And as such, I find it hard to see money just sitting there doing nothing. I start thinking of all the things I could buy. The clothes, food, makeup, hair products! I'm sure you guys can relate. But I've slowly developed the discipline to go through a series of questions before every purchase. Do I really need this? Was this a planned purchase or am I just emotional? Do I have something similar? What will I remove to make space for this item? How many hours of work do these items cost and are they worth it? These questions help me decide if this is a planned expense or an impromptu one. Based on my answer I can tell if I'm making a financially intelligent decision.

Let's say you get paid bi-weekly. What I'd suggest is to split your bills between checks. Figure out when each bill is due and pay them with the check that comes in around that time. Figure out how much you make after taxes, total up your bills, and subtract them from your income. The money left over is how much you have for food, gas for your car, and savings. You'll have to adjust your numbers accordingly and the longer you do this the more money you'll be able to move around to build up your savings account.

I do realize I'm coming from the viewpoint of someone who has the extra money to put towards a savings account. I understand majority of us don't have that luxury. Most people are overworked and tired. I totally get it. I know what it's like to have 3 jobs and in school full time. I know what it's like to not know if you'll make rent this month or where you're next meal will come from. Trust me I've been there and I can honestly say that things wont change unless you find a way to learn new skills that will increase your pay. You'll have to sacrifice sleep and having fun to do this but if you don't the situation wont improve.

I tend to be an optimist. Probably more than I need to be. But I believe there is always a way out of any situation. You just have to tell yourself that failure is not an option and give it 100% of your effort. If you do that and always focus on the good things (no matter how small) I can assure you things will start working out.

Love,
Ruseberry


Budget for financial freedom

by on Monday, October 24, 2016
There is nothing glamorous about having a budget. You'll have to start saying no and most likely develop a shopping list and meal pla...


Do you feel like you never have enough money? Or that you're living or close to living paycheck to paycheck? This is even more frustrating if you work every day of the week and pay your bills on time. So what's the problem? Why don't you ever have enough money in your account for things you really want or if an emergency pops up? Why is it that you have to use a credit card to cover these expenses and then end up making the minimum monthly payments (to avoid late fees. you'll still get interest charges unless you pay it off in full).

Turns out, it's the way we use our money. Or better yet, it's how we let our money use us. We're not telling our money what to do and if you let your money do what it wants, you'll never know where it goes. Then, by the time you realize, you'll be stuck eating cup noodles for the next couple of days until your next check comes in. When your stress finally hits you hard enough you'll tell yourself to take a break and order out or buy something just because it makes you happy for the time being. And that my friends is why you never have enough money. Don't feel bad about it because the majority of people have this issue. It's something you have to change for yourself. You have to be sick and tired enough of living this way and working too hard to be this broke.

Start by asking yourself this question. If you lost your job today, would you have 3-6 months of monthly expenses to tie you over until you found a new job? If the answer is no then I suggest following these steps to get on your way to financial stability:

1. Save $1,000 as soon as possible.

2. List out all your monthly bills

3. Create monthly meal plans and grocery lists for the week. stick to a spending limit as well.

4. Decide what check is best to pay what bill to avoid any late fees

5. List out your debts from smallest to largest

6. Look through your bank statements to see what unnecessary spending you can cut

7. Start by paying off your smallest debt while also continuing to save towards your 3-6 month emergency fund.

8. Set up a savings account and put your emergency fund into that (this should never be used for anything other than loss of job)

9. If your company has a 401k plan, enroll in it even if all you put in is 1%.

10. create separate savings for planned purchases or minor emergencies such as car parts, housing costs, etc. Keep this separate from your emergency fund.

11. lock away your credit cards and never touch them again. It's just a way to help build your credit score. Not free money. Try this: if you have to use a credit card, that means you can't afford it.

12. If you have kids, start savings for their future.

These steps will take time and I've piggy-backed off  Dave Ramsey's total money makeover steps quite a bit. But the key in this process is to always continue to save. Getting out of debt is not easy and becoming financially secure can be as much of a challenge. But the more you sacrifice, the greater the benefits you'll reap.

Love,
Ruseberry

When you're busy living up to your responsibilities you don't have a ton of time to contemplate the higher meaning of life. But every once in a while the dust settles and you're faced with that unanswered question, "What am I doing with my life?"

If you've found yourself asking this question then I'm here to tell you you're not alone. I feel your pain and as a fellow member of this anxious and confused group, I know what it's like to never know what you want to be when you grow up.

Well, thank goodness we're not trees! Which means we have the power to decide where we live, what we do and with whom we do it. Here are some questions that can probably help guide you to the answers you seek. I know it helps me to do a quick refresh every so often to ensure I'm truly doing something I love.

  1. What would you be doing if you didn't need money - really think about this. Imagine not having to worry about money. You've bought, done and eaten everything you've ever wanted. What now? What would you do that would truly give you joy and bring meaning to your life? Ironically this is usually something that isn't done just for money. 

  2. What do you do in your free time - do you enjoy reading blog posts or looking at images of beautiful places and cultures online? This might seem like wasted time but in reality, it could be your calling. Maybe you have ideas for articles, or you have a better way of displaying images online. This could mean starting your own blog or building your own photo sharing app. 

  3. What do you wish you were doing - whenever we have to do something there is always something we wish we were doing instead. Pay attention to that feeling. Write it down if you have to. If you notice that you constantly want to do this/these thing(s) that might be another way to find your purpose.

  4. What makes you jealous - We all get jealous. Some in a negative way and some in a very "sportsmanship-y" way. However, there is no question that when you feel jealousy it's because someone has something you want for yourself. Instead of spending time being angry or bitter use this emotion as motivation. The thing  you are jealous of is a sign of what you really want. And working towards a goal is a much better use of your time than moping around.

  5. What do you NOT want to do - If I gave you a list of things to do I'm sure you'd be able to cross out the ones you don't like. This is a great way of figuring out at least what you're not. By doing this you help to narrow your options giving you a better idea of where to put your focus.

  6. What are your needs and wants in life - Our basics needs of food, water, clothing and shelter tend to not be so basic. We all want nice things and that includes a nice home, car, clothes, and food. We want to provide the best for ourselves and families. Take the time to figure out what you want for your life. That will help you determine how much money you need to make in order to achieve these things. Then from there you can prepare for a job that pays enough to support that lifestyle.

  7. Picture the perfect version of yourself - "Work hard and figure out how to be useful and don't try to imitate anybody else's success. Figure out how to do it for yourself with yourself"
    -Harrison Ford
    "Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That's who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn't believe it."
    - C. Assad

  8. Learn to say no... often - This is probably the most difficult thing on this list. This isn't something that's going to happen overnight and it requires careful thought. But saying no can save money, give yourself precious "me" time and regain control of your life.

Whatever you do just know you will always start as a beginner. Whether you're starting at 15 or 45. You have to invest the time to develop yourself. It's ok to take breaks from time to time but if it never leaves your mind then that's a clear sign from the universe of something you need to do. So spend the time figuring out your purpose in life. You are your biggest investment and it's guaranteed to pay off in the end.

Love,
Ruseberry

I've been running in the morning for a few weeks now and I'm honestly surprised I've kept it up this long. For starters, I'm not a morning person, and running this early hasn't changed that one bit lol. I'm the keep pushing snooze, 5 more minutes type of girl that is always rushing out the door at the last minute. But then one night I went to bed early enough and got up two hours earlier than normal. Out of curiosity I decided to try my daily workout in the morning rather than waiting until after work. Then I did it again, and again and now I'm hooked. It's now part of my morning routine, sort of like brushing my teeth and taking a shower. It's weird but what's even more weird is how much it has affected my life... in a really good way.

Rise before the world -  at 5:30 6-ish I'm probably the only one awake in my apartment complex. The world is so quiet and the air is crisp and fresh. I can tell everyone is still asleep by the silent hum around me and it's like this weird "twilight zone" time of day. I'm pretty grumpy on my walk to the gym but I've already made up my mind to go. The thought that there are only a handful of people including myself up at this time really makes you feel like you're experiencing a different part of life that most people tend to sleep through.

Quiet time to reflect - with all this solitude I can take a moment to pause and think clearly about life, my day or anything that might be on my mind. Human interaction doesn't really exist at this time so it's just a girl and her thoughts running for no particular reason to no particular place. I catch my rhythm by the second mile and after that it's just me and my brain having a conversation.



Control of my day - by doing something I choose first thing in the morning I'm taking control of my day. I got up this early not for work but for me. It means that Mondays are no longer "work" days but instead the first run of each week. That really changes your psychology when you think about it. It takes back the power we tend to lose in this paycheck driven life and sets the tone for the rest of the week.

Eat the frog - when you do something as difficult as running 3-6 miles first thing in the morning you are truly "eating the frog". Anything that may happen the rest of the day will most likely be less difficult mentally and physically. This helps me put things into perspective whenever I sense pressure or stress. I just tell myself, hey you did this tough thing already, so this really isn't as hard in comparison. After you reach a certain level of fitness (And no, I don't mean skinny,..) your run becomes 95% mental. You're not tired physically, your brain is just not conditioned for this strenuous activity. By training your mind to do this you develop not only endurance but self control, self awareness, and discipline.



Put myself first - usually when you think of treating yourself you picture facials, shopping sprees, things like that. But for some reason I feel that making time for your health by exercising is the best way to treat yourself. Exercise ensures you are healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally. Did you know that exercise can fight depression and anxiety? There are these things called endorphins that cause "runner's high". Trust me, it's the real deal.

Make myself proud - if you work a 9-5 job you're probably making sure you get your job done properly so you don't get in trouble or fired. If you commute you're constantly making sure you don't break any laws. You try to have a good relationship with your family and friends. You make sure you look clean and well put together for the office. So basically you knowingly or unknowingly try to impress everyone around you. When I do my run in the morning I impress myself first. I'm amazed first of all that I even got out of bed and made it to the gym. But to then run three miles most days just really makes me proud of myself.

So guys, I'm not telling you to run in the morning. no one told me to. I just happened to do it one day and liked the results. I'm still not a morning person. And I'm still super pissed off as I leave my warm comfy bed to walk through the parking lot on cold mornings. But we do a lot of things we don't want to do in life anyway that is usually dictated by someone else. So I decided to do something for me first thing in the morning to make time for myself. So far I have no complaints. I'm more mindful of what I put in my body the rest of the day, I'm less stressed at work and have a lot more energy. Not to mention I'm getting stronger, faster and sleeping better.

In the end I think as long as you exercise (regardless of time of day) you're doing your body a huge favor. Whatever time you choose just remember that consistency is key :)

Love,
Ruseberry


Why I run in the morning

by on Saturday, July 23, 2016
I've been running in the morning for a few weeks now and I'm honestly surprised I've kept it up this long. For starters, I&#...

When you spend 40+ hours a week in one place you eventually develop daily habits that can make or break your health goals. A lot of us have a few pounds we'd like to lose here and there but we can't seem to wake up early enough to go to the gym. Then by the time we get home, make dinner, etc we are too exhausted to even think about working out.

So how do we get to our weight and fitness goals with all these dilemmas? We need to find ways to work out and be healthy while on the job. Here are some things I do everyday (or try to) in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle around the clock.


Drink green tea - Tea really does a great job of keeping hunger at bay. It magically speeds up your metabolism and burns belly fat (mostly around the stomach area). There are many varieties of green tea with some being a lot stronger in flavor (oolong) or more mild (jasmine). I tend to stick to typical green tea or peppermint on a daily basis. I always drink mine without a sweetener but if you have to sweeten it use a little honey. I'd aim for 3-4 cups a day.



Take the stairs or park farther away - making these two subtle changes can have a huge effect on your weight loss. By taking the stairs and/or parking farther away you are burning calories and building muscles. So next time you are tempted to take the elevator just take the stairs instead. And rather than fighting for the closest parking spot choose one with a bit more distance. Trust me these little things will pay off big time!



Take a walk on your lunch break - a really great way to burn major calories is to go on a walk after or before you've had your lunch. Be sure you wear or bring comfortable shoes to the office for this. Do this everyday and you're bound to see some changes. Plus a midday walk will energize you and fight that afternoon funk we always seem to get.



Pack a healthy breakfast and lunch - plan a healthy breakfast and lunch early enough so you're not rushing out the door and grabbing whatever you can. Always eating out for lunch limits your control over your exact calorie intake. Preparing healthy meals for work ensure you stay within your calorie limit. Remember, abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!



Keep healthy snacks - we all get the munchies at work and it's so easy to run to the store or the vending machine for a snack. These seemingly small snacks pack on major calories and sugar and can be detrimental to your weight loss goals. To avoid this be sure to pack some fruit, veggies, or nuts to snack on throughout the day.


Drink a lot of water - this is so important you guys. Be sure to drink at least half your weight in water (oz). So if you weight 150 lbs that's 75 oz which is about 4.5 (16 oz) water bottles or 9 (8 oz) glasses of water. When you don't drink enough water your body will store a lot of toxins, salt and water that can make you appear a lot heavier than you actually are (i.e. water weight).


Get up, stretch, and walk around - sitting for long periods of time can slow down your metabolism and tighten your muscles. Be sure to stretch every hour to help your blood circulation and keep your muscles active. Plus if you're drinking all that water and tea you'll be getting up frequently anyway to use the restroom.


Exercise in the bathroom - this might seem a little weird but just bear with me. When you go to the bathroom try doing some squats and lunges. You already know or have at least heard of these amazing workouts. Try doing 15 each and each week slowly build up your repetitions. These are a sure fire way to tone and tighten your legs and butt.


Learn to say no - this is probably the most important tip. I can't tell you how many times a week someone brings in donuts and baked goods. It takes a lot of self-control but each treat does seriously add up. So next time someone mentions free pizza or cake just gracefully decline, eat some fruit and go on a walk girl. You got this! and remember you're not the only one trying to make healthy choices. Try reaching out to fellow health conscious coworkers for support if that helps :)

Love,
Ruseberry

How to lose weight at work

by on Tuesday, July 12, 2016
When you spend 40+ hours a week in one place you eventually develop daily habits that can make or break your health goals. A lot of us ha...

Being in your 20's can be a roller coaster of heartbreaks, hangovers, career growth, and self discovery. This is a lot to deal with! And we're lucky if half of us make it to 30 with our shit still together. I know we all have a ton on our plates and never feel like we have enough time for anything but here are a few essentials to start doing now to ensure you make the most of this fleeting decade:

Get in shape - believe me, I know how hard it is to start. But you don't have to wait for a Monday or a special meal plan. Just get out there and go for a walk on your lunch break. Building muscle mass and getting your body used to exercise ensures that you'll not only look and feel great but that you'll maintain these habits the rest of your life.

Eat better - all those nights of drinking and getting hangovers are slowly starting to take a toll. Maybe that run to In-N-Out or Burger King ever lunch break is starting to show and affect you a bit too much. What you put into your body will end up showing the next day. Drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables is the way to go. Start developing ways to enjoy these things from now to ensure you'll keep them in your diet.

Wear sunscreen - I'm sure you've heard it a million times but just trust me. Wearing sunscreen is probably the most important thing you can do. Not only does it protect you from cancer causing UV rays but it also keeps your skin moisturized. Keeping your skin dry day after day breaks down the elasticity and will encourage fine lines and flaking.

Do things you love - this is the time to find hobbies and to try out a ton of things to find out what you love. If you don't take time to get in touch with yourself you're going to have major problems once you start settling into life. You'll realize that your life is super lame and it's all because you have no work life balance. So take the time to start trying new and old things to see what you're into.

Let go of negativity - do you have a grudge you've been holding on to for a while? Are there toxic people in your life that always put a damper on your day? Are you ready for a change but too afraid? This is the time to get rid of all of this. Holding on to grudges only affects you. It's a good idea to free up that space for more important things. Sometimes you have to exclude people from your life. This sadly can also include family members. If these people offer nothing but stress and sadness then they are not worth your time and effort. Learn to respect yourself enough to let go and move on.

Save, save, save - you never know when you'll get into an accident, have an unexpected bill come up or need to go on a last minute trip. That's why it's so important to save something from every pay check. Even if all you can put away is $5 from each check that's still better than nothing and it will add up over time creating a nice emergency fund for future disasters.

If you have a child, start saving for their future - a few of us have kids by now. Maybe we're even married. If you have reached this step in life the best thing you can do is to start saving for your child's future. Open a little account on the side where you put away as little as $10 a month (something you'll barely even notice).

Create meaningful relationships - those one night stands and hi-bi friends aren't gong to be there when you really need them. And trust me, when you are in a rut emotionally, physically, etc it's going to be really nice to have some super close friends you can call just for advice. Also, make sure you're that good friend for someone as well. It is such a great feeling to help someone get through a hard time and knowing that you were able to make a difference in their lives. Age really doesn't matter when it comes to this and some of my close friends are my senior by 10-20 years.

Plan ahead - start thinking of where you want to be in 5, 10 or 15 years. Where do you see yourself at  30, 35...? Do you want to make a certain amount of money, own your home, car, start a business? Start planning these things out. Then break them down into smaller more manageable tasks that you can work on a few times a week. A little planning goes a long way.

Don't take these years for granted guys. Don't wait until 30 or 40 to take that trip you've always wanted to go on. Or to apply for that dream job. Put yourself out there. This is the time where you need to take risks, work super hard, and set the habits for your future self. Just be sure to appreciate each moment while doing it :)

Love,
Ruseberry

Tips for your 20s

by on Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Being in your 20's can be a roller coaster of heartbreaks, hangovers, career growth, and self discovery. This is a lot to deal with! ...

Did you get the memo for the "office 15"? I sure didn't. And it wasn't until my clothes started to get really snug that I realized what was really going on. It turns out all those lunch time outings and daily break room desserts (usually left over cake from a meeting or party) were causing the pounds to pack on. And my measly 3 workouts a week at just 30 minutes each weren't able to keep up. So, I decided to take a deep, hard look at myself and came up with a plan that for the past 3 months has been both realistic and effective.

Have something to eat as soon as you get into work - I believe they refer to this as "breakfast" but I like to think of it as an early morning snack. For me this is usually an apple or some plain steel cut oats with flax seeds and cinnamon. I'll usually have some hot tea with this as well. All of this would usually tie me over until about 11:00 am or even noon.

Drink lots of water - Honestly I would say you should be refilling your water bottle at least 4 times a day. Supermodel Adriana Lima drinks 1 gallon a day! I mean look at her....nuff' said.

A photo posted by Adriana Lima (@adrianalima) on
Get that water grrrrl!

Go for a walk in the morning (and afternoon if you can) - not only are walks refreshing but they also aid in weight loss and lowered stress. I noticed that my concentration was more than doubled after coming back from a walk. Things that seemed impossible to solve were now clear as day.

Get up from your desk every hour - if you're drinking water at this rate then you'll automatically get up every hour just to use the restroom or refill your bottle. But if you're not that frequent then try setting a little reminder on your phone or computer that tells you to at least stand up and stretch a bit.

Snack every time you feel hungry - The days of starving yourself skinny are long gone and have been proven wrong on so many levels. If you feel hungry then eat! but eat wisely. keep a couple snacks on hand: almonds, fruits, veggies. Things that take little to no prep that you can just munch on throughout the day.

Eat right before you leave work - Here's something that took me a while to pick up on. I was doing so well throughout the day but by the time I was ready to go home I was famished. So much so that I would go home and just eat everything in sight.

My fix: eat something right before you head out the door. That way your chances of going to the gym are much higher and your chances of over eating much lower.

Set a goal for when you get home - Visualize the rest of your day while still at work. What do you see yourself accomplishing for those last 5 or 6 hours in your day. I always try to set myself 3 goals a day. Nothing big, just tiny pieces of much larger goals.

Relax -Always take time to relax. If that means taking a quick bath or a minute to just close your eyes and be thankful for what you have in life. It's very important to have "me" time. Doing this prevents you from burning out, keeps you in touch with yourself and in the end makes you a lot more happy.

Thanks for reading :)
Love,
Ruseberry