weights and exercise
Are you someone who avoids making resolutions because you know you’ll fail at following through with them? You’re not alone. A recent roundup of statistics shows that about 38 percent of us never make resolutions.

Although this approach may save some disappointment, the need to sell slightly-used workout gear online, or even some wishfully-invested financial resources, giving up entirely still won’t help you accomplish your goals – whether to improve your physical fitness, mental fitness, or fiscal fitness.

Even if it helps to ditch the negativity associated with making formal resolutions, the beginning of the year is a good time to start a new financial habit like budgeting, set a savings goal, or otherwise improve your fiscal fitness. It’s hard but not impossible to stick with these resolutions, and these tips can help.
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Now that a new year is well underway, it’s time to figure out how to make it great.

One of the best ways to improve your life and your finances is to invest. You can invest your money and you can invest in yourself. Here are some of the best ways to invest in the new year:

1. Boost Your Retirement Account Contribution

One of the best ways to invest is to boost your retirement contribution. That’s money that will grow for you over time. It’s even better if you work for a company that offers an employer match. In those cases, you get free money to invest.

If you have room to increase your retirement account contribution, do so — even if it’s just by a few dollars every paycheck because getting into the habit of improvement will help you be able to increase the contributions even more down the road.
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party food
Hosting a party is a fun way to express hospitality to friends and family, but the expense can also be a strain on the budget. The concern with trying to throw a party on the cheap is that it will end up looking or feeling just as cheap. So how do you pull off an amazing, classy party that’s much less expensive than it looks? I threw a holiday party recently and came up with quite a few ideas. Here are seven simple ones for you to try next time you want to host a gathering.
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new year resolutions
My method for setting resolutions has changed over the years.

At first, I used to make lists of things I wanted to accomplish throughout the year. Then, as I realized I could rarely get through my laundry list, I began narrowing things down. I’d pick one big goal to work on for the whole year in different areas of my life, which worked really well.

I liked setting one big financial goal (such as working up to maxing out my Roth IRA or refinancing the house) for each area of my life and then spending the whole year working on it.

Last year, I didn’t set any New Year’s resolutions. Reeling from my divorce and my second cross-country move in as many years, I used the year to explore and figure out what I wanted from life. I wanted to try new things, and evaluate what to keep and what to shed.

Setting a Theme for the Coming Year

After evaluating how things went, I’ve decided to do something similar going forward. Instead of setting a few goals for the year, I am going to choose a theme. Last year was all about exploring myself and trying new things.

The coming year, I think, will be about growth. How can I grow in my life?
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successful personWhen we think of skills that set us up for career success, things like efficiency, the ability to multi-task, and proficiency in technical or specialized equipment might come to mind. But, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of occupations expected to add the most jobs over the next 10 years — home health care, nursing, retail, and service — a very different set of skills will be in high demand. Can you guess the common denominator for these occupations? If you said social skills, you’re right.

Even if you’re not employed in one of these fields, social skills are becoming an in-demand qualification. Employers in STEM fields are showing an increasing preference for applicants with “high social skills,” not just technical skills. Even business professionals need to be able to communicate with other departments, anticipate customers’ desires, needs, and reactions to formulate effective marketing strategies, interact with suppliers, and secure funding by building rapport with investors. Finally, if you’re an entrepreneur, financial success hinges strongly on the social skills needed for building a network of investors and customers.
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santa stop here
I love gift cards. They are my favorite gift — to give and to receive.

Gift cards make great presents for a number of reasons. If you still aren’t sure what to get for the special people in your life, gift cards make a good choice. Here are five reasons gift cards are the perfect gifts:

1. You Can Easily Stay on Budget

When you provide gift cards, it’s easier to stay on budget. You don’t have to worry about spending just a little bit more for something you see that would be “perfect” but outside your limit. With gift cards, you just decide on an amount and that’s it. It’s easier to keep to your budget because it’s sort of like having cash in your hand for a specific store.
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