Video gamer

Gamification used to rest only on the outskirts of society.

It involved people staying up all hours of the night speaking in foreign tongues, living secret lives of mystical time travel, and using weapons of intelligence to reach their destination.

Dungeons and Dragons was the ultimate game.

Now, gamification is everywhere. Want to shed pounds or get shredded? There’s a game for it. It’s called Fitocracy.

Want to enforce a new habit you’re trying to form? There’s a game for that, too. It’s called Streaks.

Offering Rewards

Gamification makes our must-dos fun. It grants us the immediate satisfaction we need to successfully change our lives.

Changing a lifetime of bad habits suddenly becomes easier. Thanks to Charles Duhigg and “The Power of Habit,” the world now knows “all” you have to do is tweak and adjust a few key things, and changing bad habits become easy.

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filing taxes
My son’s been rocking his first part-time job since April. He works about 20 hours a week, and has managed to save a significant amount of money towards a car, fund a major upgrade for his computer, and still have money in his pocket to socialize with his friends. I was recently telling him that I spent the earnings from my first part-time job very similarly. I also mentioned to him how awesome it was to get a sizable tax refund while I was in high school.

He looked puzzled, and asked, “Why would I get that back?”

I recognized the situation as an excellent opportunity to teach my teenager about how taxes work. It would also ensure I knew how to correctly handle his taxes next year, and whether or not his income would affect my taxes.
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Tax season is something that comes around the same time every year. Yet, it still creeps up on us and leaves us wondering if we’ll be getting a refund or break even.

Considering the simplicity of my taxes, I almost always received a refund of some amount, and admit that it’s something I look forward to in the bleak mid-winter months.

Receiving a sizable refund also makes it easier to put a bigger dent in your debt, start an online savings account or retirement account, or place a down payment on a house. But, other than the perk of getting a chunk of money at the end of the year, is getting a large tax refund a smart choice, financially?

Let’s take a look at the facts.

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It was a bone chilling winter day in Minnesota with the forecasted high temperature struggling to rise above zero. The air seemed chilly in the house, so I bumped the thermostat up a few degrees as I walked down the hallway.

About an hour later, my home still seemed cold. Checking the thermostat again, I noticed the air temperature was 61 degrees even though it was set at 70. Putting my hand over the nearest air vent I could feel that the furnace fan was running, but it was blowing out cold air.

My furnace was broken! “Great”, I thought. As any man would do, my first course of action was to descend into my basement mechanical room. I stared at the furnace hoping some sort of divine intervention would occur to impart wisdom on me as to how the metal giant actually worked.

After a few minutes, and a few choice words that no wisdom had arrived, I decided it was time to attack this problem from another angle. There was no way I was going to call the repairman before I exhausting all my efforts.

If there was a way I could save several hundred dollars by doing the repairs myself, then I was going to do it.

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side hustles
Many people have the dream of making a little extra money from home, perhaps engaging in a side hustle. The good news is that many of us have plenty of time to start creating that income stream.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statics’ American Time Use Survey, the average American between ages 15 and 44 spend 2 hours a day watching TV. That’s more than enough time to start and maintain a side hustle.

Are you ready to give up that TV for a better life by developing another income stream? Here are 4 side hustles to consider:

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how to use leftovers

While some people have an aversion to leftovers, my mom dubbed me “The Human Garbage Disposal” because having too much leftover food was never a problem while I was in the house. To this day, I often have leftovers for breakfast and lunch, which not only saves us money but also saves me time and effort during my busy days.

However, not everyone is keen on eating the same meal several times in a row. The good news is that some of the tastiest dishes are based on leftovers. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your leftovers:

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