Becoming a Minimalist: 10 Essential steps to get started

Want to become a minimalist but don’t know where to start? Here are our top 10 tips for getting started with minimalism.


I did not become a minimalist overnight. In fact, it took me two years to fully understand the concept, and another two years to finally have the courage to let go more than half of what I own.

I honestly had no idea that my one burning desire to change my life would actually lead me to embracing a minimalist lifestyle.

Over the course of four years, I simplified my life – I stopped going to the malls, sold some of my stuff, donated most of them, paid my debts and changed my spending habits. But I wasn’t just getting rid of stuff – I also wanted to know what meant most to me and what made (and would make) my soul happy. 🙂

That day when I decided to declutter my life, I was overwhelmed by the difficulty and complexity of the tasks I made for myself (ugh!). There were just so much stuff I have accumulated over the years that I didn’t even know where to begin with. It was such a daunting task, but I knew I had to do it.

If you are a beginner or somewhere in your journey to simplify your life and become a minimalist and are looking for help, you’ve come to the right place! (*wink*)

Here are the 10 essential steps I did to get started:

1. IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS AND PRIORITIES.

Write down all the reasons why you want to start a minimalist lifestyle. What made you decide to simplify your life? What are the things that matter to you most? What makes you happy? Your list of goals and priorities should inspire you to keep going and make that big change in your life.

2. EVALUATE YOUR POSSESSIONS.

Now that you’ve set your priorities, it’s time to address your material possessions. Think about everything you own and make a list. Now ask yourself: do these things make your life any better? Do these things help you reach your goals and priorities, or do they just weigh you down? Do they make you happy, or do they cause you unnecessary financial burden? Ask yourself if your material possessions truly add any significant meaning or purpose to your life. If not, then let them go and make room for things or people that truly matter to you.

Have you heard about the 10/10 Material Possession Theory? According to The Minimalists, our ten most expensive material possessions from the last decade and ten things that add the most value to our life “likely share zero things in common”.

I did this exercise myself and I had a rude awakening that I spent so much time, money and energy on some less important things at the expense of the things and people that I truly care about. (sniff*)

3. CLASSIFY YOUR BELONGINGS.

Your next step is to identify the things that you need on a regular basis.

Start by emptying that one area of your house that you want to declutter (for example, your kitchen pantry). Then start taking only the basic items that you will actually use back into that place. The rest can be categorized and tossed into four different boxes labeled as the following:

  • to donate
  • to sell
  • to recycle
  • to throw away

Place these boxes in an area where you can always see them (say, living room). This is a good visual reminder to declutter your space regularly and toss unwanted items into your boxes (For bulky items, you can use sticky notes to mark them). Make sure that you place at least 2-3 items in each box at least once a week. Do this for 30 days. You will be surprised by how much stuff you don’t need and are able to let go.

4. DECLUTTER ONE SPACE AT A TIME. 

Start clearing out clutter one place at a time. The best way to do this is to start with the smallest area of your house.

You can begin with a small drawer in your bedroom, the bookshelf in the living room or the kitchen pantry. Then in the next few weeks, you can start working on your closet, your shoes and accessories collection, the bedroom, the kitchen, the garage, and other areas of your home.

Avoid decluttering multiple spaces at the same time. It can be very overwhelming and stressful and may discourage you from doing it again. Start small and take your time.

5. EMPTY THOSE SPECIAL BOXES CONSISTENTLY.

Remember those four large boxes where you put your unwanted stuff? Empty those out every week or at the end of the month. Keeping the boxes at home for more than a month will ruin your momentum and may tempt you to change your mind about giving your stuff up.

Take all items for donation to the nearest charity shops, such as The Salvation Army Thrift Store, Value Village and MCC Thrift Shop. You can also donate your big household items to Hands of Hope Mission, a charitable organization that provides furniture and household items to people in need.

As for items for sale, take a photo of each item and post an ad to kijiji, Craiglist or eBay. I personally have sold a bunch of stuff through kijiji and 204 Filipino marketplace in Facebook.

Did you know that more than half of your household waste can be recycled? Be sure to follow local rules and guidelines in recycling. If you live in Canada, check out www.simplyrecycle.ca to get a few helpful hints and tips to make recycling more effective in your home.

6. JUST LET GO.

Like most people, we feel that there’s always something in our life that’s holding us back – the old toys we had kept since we were kids; a basement full of old, broken items we refuse to recycle; a big shelf of sentimental items collecting dusts; a crappy friendship that we can’t seem to get rid of; or a nasty spending habit that we can’t shake off. (sigh…)

Why are we holding on to these things? What if letting go of these things means having a cleaner home, a clearer mind, a less stressful life?

There is no better time to let go than now. Just. Let. Go.

7. LIVE SIMPLY.

We tend to buy more of less important stuff than of things that we truly need. We tend to spend more than what we actually have. We tend to have more clothes than space to accommodate them. We tend to have more time browsing Facebook than spending quality time with our kids.

We always tend to complicate our lives rather than simplify it.

One way of simplifying your life is to live with less.

I’d rather have 33 quality clothes that I enjoy wearing everyday than get stuck with a closetful of clothing that broke my wallet.

I’d rather prepare a few simple healthy meals to repeat for the next several days than waste too much time and energy trying to think of different meals to prepare every single day of the week.

I’d rather spend my time having fun with my husband than work overtime to pay for things I didn’t need in the first place.

I’d rather have a smaller and calm-looking space than own a big house brimming with stuff I don’t enjoy.

I’d rather live with less than live with regrets.

8. STOP BUYING UNNECESSARY THINGS.

Minimalism was a key component in my own journey towards financial freedom. One of the things that I have gained through this journey is finally being able to improve my spending habit.

I used to go to the shopping malls every weekend just “to stroll”, but I always end up buying a couple of items from different shops. I also used to bike around my neighborhood to “stay fit” but it was just my excuse to check out a few garage sales in the area. I also used to browse the flyers and websites for items “on sale” even though I really didn’t need them.

Minimalism is not about depriving yourself of owning things – it is more about appreciating what you already have and get only what you need. By clearing the clutter from our lives, we are able to eliminate debt and spend your hard-earned money on things that truly add value to your life.

9. LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS.

Most of the people I know who own big houses, several cars, expensive clothing and jewelries unfortunately live paycheck to paycheck.

According to Ipsos’ recent poll, the average Canadian owes $8,539.50 in consumer debt. This amount does not include mortgage debt. The report also states that “the generation that appears to have the most consumer debt is that of the Gen Xers, or people aged 35-54, who report an average debt above $10,000”.

This is a very sad reality of the world we live in and unfortunately, this is very common in the Filipino communities across Canada. If you are in a big financial trouble, seek help. There are several credit and debt counselling services available in your city – all you need to do is pick up your phone and book your appointment.

Living within your means is one of the most important steps in achieving financial freedom. Know how much you make and spend less money than you bring in. Find ways to boost your income and stop relying on your credit cards. Limit your spending, save up and enjoy a modest lifestyle.

10. STAY MOTIVATED. 

If you have done steps 1 to 9, congratulations! (Yay!) 🙂

Take a break and celebrate your victory! Embracing a minimalist lifestyle is definitely not an easy road to take, but I assure you it is a worthwhile adventure.

Now that you have come this far, it is important to stay motivated. Remember, a lot of people have done all sorts of declutter and minimalism challenge, however, most of them fell right back into their old bad habits because of lack of determination and discipline. Be consistent and focus on your goals. Then repeat steps 1 to 9. Do not stop until you’re satisfied with all the changes in your life.



What I have learned from the past four years is that change will come only if you want it so bad. Your “why” should be greater than your excuses, not the other way around.

Minimalism is a journey. Take the first steps, enjoy each moment and learn from it. Be happy knowing that your journey to living with less lets you do more.

What have you learned from your own journey towards a minimalist lifestyle?

I want to learn from you. Please share in the comment box below. 

Sincerely,

Jomay

Thank you, 2018. Hello, 2019!

The year 2018 was one of the best years of my life. It was truly magical and full of great moments and unforgettable adventures.

I started the year traveling with Steve to the Philippines and Korea, discovering wonderful places and spending time with my beloved family.

Then we got engaged in Seoul and got married in Edmonton. I was reunited with my family and best friends.

My mother and my brother Jr were able to travel to Canada to attend our wedding. My sister Jane and her family also made their first long trip to Edmonton to attend the most magical event of my life.

And Steve and I traveled again and again. We went to Banff, Jasper, Vancouver, Victoria, Niagara Falls and Toronto. I’ve never done so much traveling in a year like this and I intend to do it again.

I am grateful for being able to celebrate the gift of family and friendship.

I feel so fortunate for being able to enjoy many amazing Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Bombers games, good food, opportunities, as well as great conversations, music and movies over a glass of our most favourite wines and craft beers.

The entire year was filled with fun and laughter – and love and forgiveness.

Life is good. God is good.

You see, just a few years ago, my life was a complete mess. I was heartbroken, broke and hopeless. I almost gave up.

But I didn’t give up. I prayed for the best things to come.

And it did come.

Thanks to Him. He listens, He loves me.

And He loves you too.

Thank you 2018 for the great year and wonderful memories. You are never forgotten.

Hello 2019, I welcome you with great optimism and gratitude. May this be another year of great moments of love, hope, success, friendship, togetherness and camaraderie.

Thank you dear family and friends (and kind strangers) for everything – your love, friendship and kindness are always appreciated!

To my best friend, my life-long partner, my soulmate Steve – thank you for coming into my life and bringing me love and light brighter and more magical than any fireworks I have ever seen in the past 38 years of my life. I love you now and forever.

Have a blessed 2019,

Jomay

Week 12: Share the power of kindness

The Christmas season has a deep resonance for me. We all lead such busy lives, but over the holidays, the world seems to slow down just a bit to share a message of love and take time to be together.

Despite the consumerism and the mall crowds, the Christmas season really brings out the best in people. It’s a time when people are more kind and open-hearted and loving.

In the spirit of giving, I challenge everyone to do the following:

PERFORM A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS

One random act of kindness goes a long way. Help those you love or a total stranger without looking for praise or expecting something in return.

PAY IT FORWARD

“Pay it forward” is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor.

One good deed might not seem like much, but if everyone did something good for someone else, then the cycle of generosity and kindness can spark us to become better people.

VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME

There’s a well-known secret among long-time volunteers: an act of kindness does more good for you than those you’re serving.

Spend a few hours at a food bank, an animal shelter, or your church helping others. Sharing your time with those in need can help put your own life into perspective.

DONATE TO CHARITY OR A FAMILY IN NEED

Be willing to share your blessings and material possessions with those you love and those that are not as fortunate. You can donate money, time or in-kind donations to local charities in your area. You can also get your workplace involved by organizing a fundraiser for a family in need.

HELP THOSE IN NEED ALL YEAR ROUND

We need to remember to be charitable in our hearts not just for the season, but throughout the year.

Starting this year, instead of giving during the season of giving and then returning to your “normal life” when you pack away the gifts, the Christmas tree, the ornaments holiday what-nots, let the holidays be a starting point to a life of year-round giving.

This is my holiday wish for you: may you always have a heart that reaches down and lifts people up.

With much love,

Jomay

Week 11: Make holidays more meaningful

When I decided to simplify my life and reduce my belongings, I didn’t realize that the “holiday gift-giving department” of my life would be a bit more challenging than I had expected.  

I am a very generous person. I love to give. Giving makes my soul happy.

I provide for my aging parents back home (Philippines). I have supported my six siblings through school when my parents became unemployed. I spoil my nephew and nieces with gifts.

I regularly send at least one balikbayan box full of stuff to my family every Christmas since 2007.

I donate to charities. I volunteer in my community.

I love giving gifts. In fact, I find the act of wrapping gifts very, very “relaxing”. I put my heart and soul in every gift that I wrap.

But then, the question is, how can I celebrate the holidays without compromising my own minimalist ways?

How can we make holidays more meaningful?

Here are a number of simple suggestions for making the holidays more meaningful—for you, your friends, and your family. They’re guaranteed to help you savor this season of warmth and caring.

REMEMBER WHAT THE SEASON IS ALL ABOUT

It is so easy to be swept up in the consumerism of the season, but remember that holidays are not about money and material things.

Holiday season is more about traditions and togetherness – and less about consumerism.

So this year, celebrate the holidays by spending more time with the people you care about and less on unimportant material things.

DON’T BUY IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT

Taking out a loan or going bankrupt in order to cover holiday expenses is simply ridiculous.

If you can’t afford to buy your family some expensive gifts, then just don’t do it – it’s okay to say no.

Losing your mind due to holiday financial stress is far more detrimental to you and your family than skipping a few presents.

GET CREATIVE WITH GIFT GIVING

You can still spread the holiday cheer by making personalized and/or handmade presents. These are extremely thoughtful and nice gifts that you can make while spending only a fraction of the cost.

Just like what they say, “It’s the thought that counts.”

GIFT EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS

When Steve and I got married, we set the expectation with our friends and family that we don’t need any more stuff, and if they want to give us gifts, they can get us experiences we will enjoy.

I love the fact that they were able to celebrate our new married life with us by spending time with us, not by piling on more stuff.

GIVE YOUR TIME

What if your parents want nothing more than a visit from you?

What if your little kids might love nothing more than to play or have fun with you?

For me, the people I care about mean much more to me than a fancy new gadget or another unimportant expensive gift.

Your best present is your presence.

Whatever you decide when it comes to giving gifts, this is my holiday wish for you: 

Less mess, less stress.

Less debt, more peace of mind.

Less presents, more presence.

Live with less, give more love.

With much love,

Jomay

Week 9: Adopt eco-friendly habits – 30 simple ways to become environmentally-friendly

Being environmentally friendly simply means having a lifestyle that are better for the environment. It’s all about taking small steps towards making our planet a better place for generations to come.

This week’s blog post features environmentally-friendly habits that are definitely worth adding into your daily routines.

Embrace these habits and soon you’ll notice you are beginning to think and act in a more eco-friendly manner without even realizing it.

So here’s the 30-day challenge to help you get started with an environmentally-friendly lifestyle:

  1. Stop using plastic cups
  2. Use own mugs when buying coffee and other beverages
  3. Say no to plastic straws
  4. Stop using plastic bags
  5. Bring re-usable bags when you shop
  6. Stop using plastic wrap
  7. Use old cloths instead of paper towels
  8. Buy locally-sourced products
  9. Support local farmers’ markets
  10. Use eco-friendly products such as loofah, bamboo toothbrush
  11. Don’t litter
  12. Segregate household wastes
  13. Recycle items
  14. Re-use old jars and containers
  15. Buy second-hand items
  16. Shop less
  17. Plan your meals
  18. Bring lunch to work
  19. Eat less meat
  20. Eat more vegetables
  21. Choose organic
  22. Help save the bees!
  23. Make your home energy-efficient
  24. Turn off the lights
  25. Unplug unused appliances
  26. Drive less
  27. Take a bus or carpool to work
  28. Avoid using Styrofoam materials
  29. Start composting program at home and at work
  30. Educate other people

Now is the best time to embrace an eco-friendly change. Join me in this exciting 30-day challenge and share this among your family and friends!

Do you have any eco-friendly tips you would like to share? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

For Mother Nature,

Jomay

Week 8: Build a simple wardrobe – Introducing Project 333

Over the next 3 months, I’m going to be participating in a minimalist fashion experiment called Project 333™.

Project 333™ is the minimalist fashion challenge created by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less. The project is about dressing with less – which is basically dressing with 33 items or less for 3 months.

The Rules

  • When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (but your workout clothes have to workout).
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

I have begun embracing minimalism to improve my way of life since about 3-4 years ago. Since then I have donated and sold a lot of clothing and shoes, however, I still feel the need to declutter my closet and simplify my wardrobe even better.

I’ve read about Project 333™ several months ago but I didn’t have quite the time to get started.

But now that holiday season is upon us (which means more vacation time), I thought this is the best time to join the Project 333 challenge and see the benefits for myself.

So the first thing I did was sign up for the free Project 333™ Capsule Quick-Start Guide.


Minimalism is not about depriving yourself of owning things – it is more about appreciating what you already have and get only what you need.

By clearing the clutter from our lives, we are able to eliminate debt, stress, sadness and other negativity in our life. Once we have successfully removed such negativity, only then we can truly enjoy peace of mind, contentment and happiness.

So for this week’s challenge, I invite you to read the rules and tips on how to start Project 333™. I will share with you my experience soon and I hope that you can share yours, too!

Have fun and best regards,

Jomay

Week 7: Live with less, adopt intentional living

Have you ever been frustrated by the clutter in your home?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of time that you spend cleaning and caring for your stuff?

Have you ever felt that your earthly belongings were weighing you down?

Have you ever felt the need to change your life?

If you have felt any of these things, then maybe it’s time to consider living with less and adopt intentional living.

Learning how to live a minimalist lifestyle is all about understanding what minimalism is. It starts with making lifestyle changes that will help you live life with intention.

MINIMALISM DEFINED

Minimalism is a growing lifestyle trend that is prompting many people around the world to consider living with less and adopt a more intentional way of life.

minimalist lifestyle means different things to different people, and the good news is that you can define minimalism for yourself.

For some people, minimalism is about owning fewer number of possessions and having a living space that’s as small as possible yes functional and meaningful.

Many people start living a minimalist and intentional lifestyle by removing clutter in their homes, which is a great place to start.

Others embrace it by using a minimalist approach to the way they dress, work, travel, and manage relationships.

Other people also look at living a simple life and making decisions and actions that protect the environment.

For me, minimalism is about simplifying my life, owning less and being mindful of others and the environment – so that I can be healthy, do things that make me happy and spend quality time with the people I truly care about.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to read my four blog posts below to learn how you can get started with minimalism and intentional living:

The Benefits of Minimalism: 12 Amazing benefits of living with less

What the heck is minimalism?

Becoming a Minimalist: 10 Essential steps to get started

Journey of Joy: A 90-day journey to a happy, meaningful life


Thank you (in advance) for taking the time to check out these helpful blog posts and congratulations on taking the first step to a better, more meaningful life!

Please don’t be shy to share your minimalist journey through the comment section below. 

All the best,

Jomay

Hey Manitobans, here’s how to save money with 8 local programs and rebates

Hey fellow Manitobans, this special blog post is for you.

Are you a Manitoba homeowner wanting to implement energy-efficient measures to your home?

Are you a low-income individual or family needing some rent assistance or free energy-efficient upgrades?

Or are you a small, independent business that aims to reduce energy and water consumption to save money and energy?

If you live in Manitoba province and you said yes to at least one of the questions above, then you can save a lot of money by doing one or more of the following:

1. Sign up for a matched savings program

Did you know that SEED Winnipeg offers a special matched savings accounts program to match participants’ savings 3:1 up to a specified limit?

For every $1.00 you save, SEED will match it with $3.00.

SEED’s The Saving Circle Program helps low-income individuals and families to save for needed assets including furniture, medical expenses, a computer, education, a small business, or other household necessities.

If you want to learn more about this program, call SEED at 204-927-9947. Limited spots are available each month.

2. Apply for rent supplements

Manitobans receiving Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) will receive Rent Assist if they have housing costs. Rent Assist will be included with monthly EIA payments.

If you are a low-income individual and you need some help with your monthly rent, Rent Assist can help you too.

To apply for non-EIA Rent Assist, you can download an application form, or call Provincial Services at 204-945-2197 in Winnipeg; 1-877-587-6224 toll free; or TTY 204-948-3698 to have an application form mailed to you.

For more information about this program, click here.

3. Check out rebate program for 55+

Rebates are currently available for income-tested tenants over the age of 55 to offset the school tax portion of rent costs.

If you are at least 55 years of age and have a household income of less than $23,800, then you are eligible for annual rebates of up to $175, payable once a year.

To find out if you qualify, call 204-523-5230 or 1-800-563-8793.

4. Cash in on cans and bottles

Recycling is not just good for the environment, but your local bottle depot can help you make some extra money.

As per Regulation 68(1) of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Board Regulation 68/2014 to The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Act, a retail beer vendor must accept empty beer bottles or beer cans from products purchased in Manitoba on which a refundable deposit has been paid.

All beer containers carry a 10¢ refundable deposit with the exception of containers 2L or larger which are 20¢.

To find a Hotel Beer Vendor near you, visit our Manitoba Liquor Retailers page for location and contact information.

5. Retire your fridge and get $50

What if you can get rid of your old fridge and make money?

Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart Refrigerator Retirement Program will pick up your second refrigerator or your freezer for free, recycle them responsibly, and give you $50 for each one they collect.

Find out if your fridge or freezer qualifies and register for your free pick up today or call 1-855-5FRIDGE (1-855-537-4343) to schedule an appointment.

6. Receive free energy-saving items

The Power Smart Water and Energy Saver Program also offers free Water and Energy Saver Kits that will help you save money, water and energy, while reducing your carbon footprint.

The kit can save you approximately $30 a year on your residential energy bill.

Each kit contains:

  • 1 to 2 low-flow 5.7 litres per minute showerheads (choice of handheld massage or wall mount massage);
  • 2 low-flow bathroom faucet aerators;
  • 1 low-flow kitchen faucet aerator;
  • 3 metres of water heater pipe wrap insulation;
  • plumber’s tape;
  • refrigerator/freezer thermometer.

Apply for a kit today by calling 1-877-ECO-FITT (326-3488). For more information, click here.

7. Avail of free home upgrades

The Power Smart Affordable Energy Program offers qualified low-income homeowners the opportunity to make some energy-efficient upgrades such as free insulation for attics, walls, basements and crawlspaces.

You may also qualify for a high efficiency natural gas furnace for $9.50 per month for 5 years. A home renter may also qualify but the furnace cost of $9.50 per month for 5 years will be the responsibility of the landlord.

Note: This offer is subject to change at any time.

For more information about the program, call Power Smart at 1-855-360-3643.

Click here https://www.hydro.mb.ca/your_home/savings_home.shtml to learn more about other savings & rebates program provided by Manitoba Hydro.

8. Replace old toilet and get $60 credit

Replace an old inefficient toilet and receive a credit from the City of Winnipeg.

If you are eligible, you will receive a credit of $60 per toilet. You may apply for a credit for up to two toilets per water account per year.

To learn more about this program, simply call 311 or contact City of Winnipeg’s Water Conservation – Toilet Replacement Credit Program.

Other programs and rebates for homeowners, businesses

There are at least 28 existing home and energy efficiency programs being offered in Manitoba.

To learn more about these government financial incentive programs, please click here.


Do you know of any other money-saving programs being offered in your community? If you do, kindly share it with us through the comments section below.

Have a lovely day!

Jomay

Week 6: Save money

Looking for a few simple ways to save money? Here’s simple ways to save money.

Saving money isn’t always easy.

For many of us, our budgets already seem pretty tight, and it’s hard to imagine where we’ll be able to find more areas to cut.

If you are looking for a few simple ways to save money, then you’re in the right place! Here are 30 simple ways to save money:

  1. Make a budget and stick to it.
  2. Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours.
  3. Limit credit card purchases to those you can pay off in full at the end of the month.
  4. If you use a debit card, don’t rely on an overdraft feature to spend money you don’t have.
  5. Take advantage of discounts and/or rewards programs in your local stores and the community.
  6. Save money by buying items in bulk.
  7. Bring lunch to work. If buying lunch at work costs $5, then you could save about $500-$1,200 a year.
  8. Save your loose change. Putting aside $1 a day over the course of a year will allow you to save $365.
  9. Cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
  10. Get a receipt for everything you purchase. Stack and review them at the end of the month to see where your money is going.
  11. Ask your physician to consider prescribing generic drugs.
  12. Avoid bouncing checks or overdraft fees each month. This saves you around $30-$45 a month.
  13. Make your monthly credit card payment on time.
  14. Keep your car engine tuned and its tires inflated to their proper pressure.
  15. Live relatively near your workplace. If this is not possible, try to walk, bike or take a bus to work.
  16. Weatherproof your home and save big on unwanted heat or cooling loss.
  17. When shopping for clothing, look for sales at discount outlets. You may also consider purchasing previously-used clothes from other second-hand stores like Value Village, or school or church thrift sales.
  18. Use local newspapers and websites to learn about free or low-cost parks, museums, film showings, sports events, and other places which you and your family would enjoy.
  19. Plan gift-giving well in advance to avoid expensive, last-minute gift shopping.
  20. Cancel extra cell phone feature.
  21. Cancel home phone service altogether in favor of cell phone service only.
  22. Try switching your internet service to another provider in order to take advantage of new subscriber deals or promotions.
  23. Save on TV and entertainment fees.
  24. Use utilities wisely.
  25. Take time to shop around to find the best rates on your insurance whether it’s auto, home, life or other types of insurance.
  26. Take a bus or carpool to save on gas.
  27. Appeal your property taxes if you believe the appraisal they’ve given your home is incorrect
  28. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars a year on mortgage insurance, your best alternative is to apply for your own life insurance coverage.
  29. Pick a bank that allows you to save more money. Some banks offer no ATM fees, free cheques, high interest on savings accounts, no overdraft fees, and even better interest rates and perks.
  30. Try paying you bills online instead of mailing in a check. Less mail and fewer envelopes to open also means less hassle for you — and less paper waste in the landfills.

I hope you find these tips helpful!

Do you have any simple money-saving tips you would like to share? Please share in the comments below.

Have a great day!

Jomay

Week 5: Nurture your relationships

Relationships are living, dynamic aspects of our lives that require attention and care. Much like a plant needs water, love and attention, so do human beings!

While it is important to work on ourselves and our personal growth, we should not take our relationships for granted. We can damage beautiful relationships if we don’t give them the attention they deserve, so it is necessary to put in the same amount of time and energy you would any other aspect of your life.

For this week, I have prepared two sets of relationship challenges below (feel free to do one challenge, or both):

  1. Spice up your (romantic) relationship
  2. Nurture your relationship with others

I hope you will find these easy relationship challenges helpful!

Have fun and enjoy each moment with your loved ones!

With much love,

Jomay

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Week 4: Love yourself

This is what my typical workday looks like: I sit in the office all day working on loads of paperwork, finishing off a mile-long to-do list, managing my boss’ jam-packed calendar, booking staff flights and meetings, ordering supplies, answering phones, etc.

Then after work, I take a long commute home, do errands, make dinner and spend time with my husband. By the time I finish doing stuff for other people,  I have canceled my yoga session, coffee with a friend, or massage appointment.

Sounds familiar?

Life is crazy and most of the time, I tend to put my self-care on the back burner to make room for all other things.

And I know most of us do, too.

However, practicing self-care is an essential part of my life and it has helped me stay sane and upbeat. A few simple habits of self-care can be so rewarding and relaxing that it allows me to let go of everyday stress and negativity around me.

Below are 12 self-care tips that you can try this week. Pick the ones that speak to you and do it as often as you can.

1. PUT YOURSELF FIRST

As women, we find it really difficult to remember our own happiness in addition to everyone else’s. We tend to love selflessly, but we also forget to love ourselves.

Do you remember what flight attendants say before the plane takes off?

They always say, “Put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others around you.”

If you aren’t taking care of yourself, how will you be able to take care of others?

You cannot share an empty cup. Fill yours first.

Put away the excuses and take care of yourself.

2. SAY DAILY POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS.

In simple terms, the definition of affirmations (sometimes called “self-affirmation”) is ‘positive sentences that you repeat to yourself’.

Saying positive affirmations helps me stay grounded and positive in the midst of daily challenges. It helps build my self-confidence, and overcome self-doubt and negative thoughts.

Remember: You are what you think.

Here are some examples of positive affirmations that you can tell yourself every day:

“Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy.”

“I am beautiful and strong, and my imperfections make me unique.”

“I am worthy of love, respect, and acceptance. There is love all around me.”

“I have the power to create change.”

“All areas of my life are abundant and filling.”

“Every experience I have is perfect for my growth.”

“My past is not a reflection of my future.”

“My life is a gift and I appreciate everything I have.”

“My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.”

“I am successful. Money comes easily and effortlessly.”

3. EMBRACE YOUR IMPERFECTIONS.

Have you ever felt pressured to have the perfect body or a flawless image of your life on social media?

Have you ever scrolled through your social media feed admiring a friend’s vacation photos or flawless selfies, only to find yourself depressed or anxious about not measuring up?

In the age of social media, we often find ourselves obsessing over how other people perceive us, so we use filters and whatnot to paint a perfect image of ourselves.

But what if, instead of trying so hard to be perfect, why don’t we just allow ourselves to embrace imperfection?

4. CREATE JOYFUL RITUALS.

One of the simple things that make my soul happy is having a few joyful rituals. This is my way of celebrating life and infusing my days with joy and meaning.

So what is a joyful ritual? For me, it can be a simple thing as enjoying tea time while reading a book on a weekend. Or having a nice, warm bath while listening to a relaxing sound or music. Or it can be a hugging ritual with your partner each night before bed.

A joyful ritual can be something so “simple” or “common”, yet heartwarming enough to make your soul smile, no matter what life throws at you.

5. PRACTICE GRATITUDE.

Being thankful can make your life better in so many ways.

Research shows that people who are grateful find a greater sense of feeling connected to others and have a more optimistic view towards life.

One way of practicing gratitude is by starting your day with morning gratitude affirmations.

Affirmations of gratitude will help you to set the intention to spend your day in a state of thankfulness. This positivity allows you to better cope with any unpleasant surprises which the day may bring.

6. EAT GREEN.

Green eating is about making healthy, natural choices when it comes to the foods we eat along with choosing foods that are healthy for our planet.

Why do I choose green eating?

Because it is better for your health, it helps the local economy, and it reduces fuel consumption and global warming.

Buy local. Choose organic. Eat well knowing you’re taking care of yourself and the environment.

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7. SQUEEZE IN A MORNING WORKOUT.

One of the best ways to energize your day is to do a short, quick workout in the morning.

I personally do a quick 10-minute yoga session in the morning, and I feel great every single time.

You can use Youtube or apps that offer 5 to 10-minute workouts that will help keep you going throughout the day.

8. UNPLUG.

We live in such a busy, over-gadget-ized world. Most people, including myself, are guilty of being “disconnected” socially by being connected digitally.

The one bad habit that I want to get rid of is grabbing my phone first thing when waking up. (oops!) I regularly set my alarm clock to wake up early but most of the time I would find myself wasting a good hour scrolling my Facebook or Instagram.

Unplug for several hours a day and find a quiet place – and just sit there. Be still. Enjoy the peace, and just appreciate the stillness.

9. LEARN TO SAY “NO”.

I have been a people pleaser all my life.

And this attitude has caused me a lot of stress and heartaches.

But now I have slowly learned the art of saying no.

Being able to say “no” means that you are aware of your own value and boundaries, and you are not afraid of letting other people down to protect your own happiness or safety.

It’s when people learn to say no that their careers take off, their well-being improves, and personal values are preserved.

Learn to say no and you’ll realize how liberating it is.

10. AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE.

Did you know that negative people are literally killing you?

Yup, those toxic people that are no fun to be around, can actually have incredibly negative effects on your health and success.

Avoid that friend or coworker who always complains or spreads gossips. Don’t let them bring you into their negativity.

Unfriend those annoying people on Facebook. Unfollow the “toxics” on Instagram.

Surround yourself with people who inspire you, encourage you and help you realize your potential.

11. SUBSCRIBE TO INSPIRING BLOGS.

Now that you’ve taken the toxic people out of your life, it’s time to surround yourself with uplifting, positive thoughts.

Pick a few articles from blogs and websites that you find inspiring and read them throughout the day.

You can also help share positivity by sharing these articles through social media.

Be inspired – fill your heart with love and your mind with positivity.

12. PAMPER YOURSELF.

Reward yourself by giving in to some simple pleasures.

When I think of simple pleasures, I think of all the little things I enjoy that are either free or inexpensive. They are the most unassuming moments, but things I truly find immense pleasure in.

Simple things such as enjoying a decadent dessert, a hot bubble bath or a romantic-comedy movie make my soul smile with glee.


Love yourself as much as you would like to be loved.

So which ones of these self-care tips will you try first? What self-care tips can you share with me? I would love to hear from you 🙂

Take care,

Jomay