3 Ways to Start the New Year Off Right

3 Ways to Start the New Year Off Right

We're in the second week of the new year, and it's time to really make some positive changes in our lives.

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Look beyond new years resolutions and just ask yourself "how can I make a difference in the world this year?". Read on for three ways to start the new year off right.

Go (More) Green

There's no denying climate change, and we need to start doing more to protect our environment. Recycling isn't enough anymore. This year, commit to buying less plastic, re-using plastic containers, and support green business instead of huge corporations that are destroying the environment. Also, consider going solar and buying a portable solar generator or install solar panels on your home. This can reduce your carbon footprint in 2019 and save you money on your utility bill!

Support Local Businesses

Businesses like Walmart and Amazon are making it more and more difficult for small business owners to thrive in their hometown. Start shopping at local farmer's markets instead of Whole Foods. Go to your local decor shop instead of Target or IKEA. Try giving your money to business owners in your community instead of billionaires. Not only will you help your community, but you'll help small business owners and the economy.

Don't Speak Negatively of Others

It's easy to talk badly about others, but it does nothing to make you feel better and it's hurtful. I was once told that speaking negatively about others is like drinking poison expecting it to harm someone else. Negative words bring you down and make you feel even more upset. If you are feeling negatively towards someone, channel that into something positive. If you need to approach them, do it in a respectful way and don't act purely on emotion.

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Growing Up Catholic And How It Shaped Me

"I like being able to believe there is more to life than our time on Earth."

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Ever since I can remember, I have attended church every Sunday morning. Not always at the same church, but always at the same time with all the same people. I've never known anything different.

Both of my parents are Catholic and so are their parents and so on and so forth. I attended religious education classes my whole childhood and when I was 15, I chose to get confirmed which basically says you are choosing to continue your faith.

As a kid, I didn't really understand why we went to church every Sunday and there were some Sundays where I just didn't want to get out of bed to go. When I'm on the verge of not going to mass I tell myself that it is just 1 hour of my time, 1 hour each week and that is all I have to give. Everyone has 1 hour to spare.

Now that I am older, I'm grateful my parents have introduced me to the Catholic Church. I like having something to believe in and being able to have faith. I'm a huge optimist in my daily life and a big part of that is because I trust God's plan for me, whatever happens is with his best intentions for me. I like being able to believe there is more to life than our time on Earth.

It seems that the word "Catholic" has a negative connotation nowadays and that makes me extremely sad. No one should be judged or profiled based on their religion.

Being Catholic to me means always striving to better myself and bring myself closer to God. Being Catholic might mean something else to another person and that's what is great about religion and faith, they affect everyone differently and it is up to you to decide what to do with these 2 things.

At the end of the day, I am grateful for being brought up in the Catholic family I was because it gave me my morals and made me the person I am today, whom I am proud of.

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3 Ways You Can Save Money as a Young Adult

Whether you're in college or trying to make it out in the "real world", it's important to save money in any way you can.

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Don't fall into a hole of debt as a young adult. Start making smart financial decisions and save money from the get-go. Here are some simple ways you can start saving money.

Start Budgeting

The most important thing you can do to save money is to start budgeting. Create a budget where you can lay out on paper how much you're making, how much you have to spend on necessities (rent, groceries, gas), and see how much is left. From what is left over, determine how much you should be saving per month. If you can save 25% of your paycheck, that's a great way to start an emergency fund. However, many people who are just starting out can't save that much, so just do what you can. Have a set amount of money per month for non-essentials and pleasure, such as eating out at nice restaurants, going to events, etc. By sticking to your budget, you won't fall into debt and you'll be saving at least a little bit of your income each month.

Make Smart Investments

It may seem difficult to start thinking about investing money when you don't have a ton to begin with, but you can start small and work your way up. Investing money will allow you to start making a passive income down the line, which means you'll be saving money without working any extra. You can make investments in the stock market, or by purchasing things that will save you money directly. For example, you could invest in solar panels which will end up saving you a ton of money down the line on utilities.

Pay Off Your Debt 

Many young adults are in debt, especially if they went to college and had to take out student loans. The key to not falling even deeper in the hole is by paying off your debt as fast as possible. This may mean you need to cut out some pleasure purchases such as a trip to Europe or even just not going out to dinner often. The faster you can pay off debt, the more money you'll save by not paying interest on your credit cards or student loans down the line.

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