52 Week Money Saving Challenge

one year saving

Definitely doing it.

This is a really cool savings plan I found on this wonderful blogΒ and figured it’s perfect for someone like me – someone who could use that extra $ 1,378. By adding a dollar to your savings amount each week, the most you will need to put away in a week is $52! Pretty simple to do, if you ask me. If my man follows the same schedule we’ll have double that. I’ll update you on how that goes and on any other awesome budgeting tricks I can find!

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Never Enough Sleep

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Sleeping has become an unsatisfying affair. Don’t get me wrong, sleeping is one of my favorite things in life, at least right now. Sleep is what I dream of as I am driving to work, running through a blizzard to my next class, or when I am nodding off in the middle of an important meeting. Sleep is still easy for me to accomplish – as soon as my head hits the pillow – it doesn’t matter if my boyfriend is watching TV or talking on the phone. Nothing can stop me, because sleep is what I never get enough of.

From the Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom of Lifelong Health:

Today our bodies have become thoroughly confused by the artificial signals of modern life. Light is no longer a cyclical function of the sun, but of always-on indoor lights,Β TV screens, and computer monitors. Temperature no longer follows a dynamic cycle of cooling at night and warming during the day but sits at a static level set by the thermostat. Human chatter and social interaction used to follow a natural ebb and flow, but now we are more likely to live and sleep in isolation from real people, even while we have 24/7 access to artificial people (faces on TV, voices on the radio). Then, after utterly confusing our circadian rhythm, we try to take back control with stimulants (caffeine, nicotine) and depressants (alcohol, sleeping pills). Is it any wonder that a third of Americans are chronically sleep-deprived?

Despite the fact that I sleep well, rarely dream, and more often than not sleep right through the night – I never feel well rested. Waking up always has and always will be a pain for me. And it doesn’t matter if I am waking up at 6 am or at noon (yay Sundays!), regardless of the time, my head is cloudy for at least 2 hours after waking.

Sometimes I am so tired in the morning, that I feel like my whole drive to work is spent sleepwalking. Eight or nine hours later, when I am finally ready to go home – I can’t remember where I parked my car!

So how do you deal with something like that? I don’t suffer from insomnia, I sleep well, and I get around 7-8 hours of sleep, which is pretty healthy compared to how I used to live on 1 hour of sleep a week…. but that was a long time ago, in a totally different world.

I have looked into vitamin supplements, Seasonal Affective Disorder (here in Upstate NY it’s a serious concern!) – anything that could explain why I never get enough sleep. But in all honesty, instead of looking for deficiencies and diseases to blame, I should look at all the energy-consuming activities I put myself through. Maybe eliminate some of them for the sake of my health.

Taking 8 classes, working in between, developing a startup, actively pursuing jobs and internships, constantly monitoring social media channels (because god forbid I miss anything – my whole career literally depends on it), supporting the eboard of the largest organization on campus, maintaining a happy relationship, taking care of a pet, budgeting, figuring life out. It’s a lot and it happens every day. It starts every morning and it doesn’t end until I fall asleep. And I could say “f— it!” and quit half of those things. Find some time for myself, to do the things I love, to sit in silence without feeling guilty for not being productive.

But then I really will be a lazy, self-absorbed millennial, won’t I?

Part of the Daily Prompt: Mr. Sandman

Top Social Media Trends From Mintel

Mintel, a London-based market research firm, recently came out with 5 top social media trends of this quarter, which are discussed in this article. Some of those trends have actually been trending for many months, even years now. However, their continuous success only reinforces them as good marketing strategies.Image

1. Find your niche.

You may be tempted to portray your business as the best, biggest, and most amazing at everything. But what matters is how much you can satisfy a niche market. A small group that is 100% satisfied is like a “cult” – they will be loyal, they will promote you, and they will share your message with their friends. They are the most dedicated fans a business can have.

2. Bloggers and Youtubers are great assets.

Mintel’s study suggests that blogging and Youtube are the best platforms for the beauty industry and DIY. This is great for marketers in that industry, because blogging is one of the easiest and fairly inexpensive ways to generate a loyal following of people who trust you, are willing to buy from you, and are willing to recommend you to their friends. You can have your own company blog that teachers reader how to do something, or you can find some successful bloggers in your field and do whatever it takes to get your product in their hands.

3. Need for Information-Driven Content

According to Mintel, customers tend to go to websites such as Amazon to do their pre-shopping research. This includes price comparisons, reviews, product photos and detailed descriptions. What marketers can learn from this trend is that customers want to be informed and empowered by knowledge when making purchasing decisions. You can provide this to your customers by including very detailed product descriptions, many photographs, reviews, and recommendations about your products. Give them everything you know about your product and they will be more likely to buy from you (as well as trust your business).Β 

4. Customer Involvement

Customers respond positively when given the opportunity to be involved in a company’s process. Whether you ask them to send you “selfies” of them wearing your product, or ask them to design your next packaging labels – customers become significantly more invested into your company. Some magazines publish their fan’s top tweets in every issue – something as little as that can generate a lot of conversations and good response on social media. Make your customers feel important and get them involved.

5. Add Personality to Your Social Accounts

Big companies seem more approachable and down-to-earth when customers see real people behind them. This is why allowing your employees be part of the social conversation usually results in more trust from the consumers. It is okay to let them post on the company’s behalf, or include work posts in their personal social media profiles. Of course this involves a certain level of risk, but when done correctly, has great results.Β 

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