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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To The Person Feeling Like They're Losing Their Hometown Friends

Don't fret to much, if they are truly your best friends, you aren't gonna lose them.

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When you grow up and leave home to go to college or whatever your plans are after high school, you and your hometown best friends promise to make time for each other. You promise to always get together over breaks and to visit each other if you aren't going to the same schools or living in the same town.

But you realize over time that maybe those promises aren't gonna be kept.

Life gets complicated. School starts to become harder and harder, there are extracurriculars and work, and trying to figure out the rest of your lives; things start to get in the way. Visiting starts to happen less and less, getting together over breaks gets more complicated, you try to stay in contact but the hours in the day seem to get shorter and shorter. There are too many things that you have to accomplish in one day that it's difficult to know if you can even get together.

You start to ask yourself "Am I losing my closest friends?"

And the answer to that question is no, your lives are changing and things are starting to become real but they will always be there. Just because you don't talk all the time or you go a few months without seeing each other, they are still your friends. They will always care and always be there. Don't stress about it too much, they are always gonna be there, it's just that your lives are pulling all of you in different directions and it can get hard to keep up with everyone because you are all so busy.

You are growing up but you're not necessarily growing apart!

If they are truly your best friends they will always be there, and you there for them. As time goes on, your lives will continue to change but you are always gonna be friends. Just know that they are there when you need them, and when you do get to see each other, it's like nothing has changed and you pick up right where you left off. Your friendship is important to all of you. Don't let a little bit of silence or a busy life cause problems. You haven't lost them, trust me, you all are just figuring out life. Don't take it personally when you don't talk for a while.

"Amigas, Cheetahs, Friends for life" — Cheetah Girls

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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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