How Our Spending Patterns Have Changed Over the Last 100 Years

The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Melissa Batai.  Melissa is a freelance writer who covers topics ranging from personal finance to business to organics to food.  She blogs at Mom’s Plans where she shares her family’s journey to healthier living and paying down debt.

Do you go out to eat several nights a week?  Do you feel like you’re just getting by financially even though you have a decent income?  Do your kids have so many clothes that they can’t close their closet doors?  Do you have three cars in your driveway?

Think back in time 100 years ago to 1917.  Our finances and conveniences have changed drastically since then, yet many of us still feel dissatisfied and that we don’t have “enough.”  Why is this?  Why are we unfulfilled when we have so much more than our ancestors who lived 100 years ago?

Our spending habits have changed dramatically since then, but we’re still not satisfied.

 

Spending Habits in the Year 1900

The Atlantic put together an eye opening article about how drastically our lives have changed since the year 1900.  Back in 1900, “A quarter of households have running water.  Even fewer own the home they lived in.  Fewer still have flush toilets.  One-twelfth of households have gas or electric lights, one-twentieth have telephones, one-in-ninety own a car, and nobody owns a television.”

Just stop for a minute and imagine being without these things.  If a 1900 household didn’t have to pay utilities, make care payments, or purchase a television, cable, Netflix, etc., how did they spend their money?

According to The Atlantic, “Families [in 1900] spend a whopping 80% of [their money] on food, clothes, and homes.”  Eighty percent!   More precisely, this breaks down to approximately 43% for food, 14% for clothing, and 23% for housing.

Undoubtedly, life in 1900 was simpler in some ways, but a family needed to be diligent with their money just to take care of the necessities of life.  There was very little leftover for extras and “fun money.”

 

Spending Habits Now

Thanks to outsourcing our textile industries to foreign countries, our annual apparel cost is only 4% per year, and yes, that includes those big spenders who have many, many more clothes in their closet than they will ever be able to wear.  Thanks to big company farms, our food costs are now only 13% of our annual income (The Atlantic).

While it cost 57% of an annual income to pay for food and clothing in 1900, now those same categories only require 17% of our annual income.  That’s a lot of extra money left over.

In 1900, housing costs were 23% annually, while they are now 33%.  That accounts for some of the difference.  Health care is now 6% of our annual spending; it was 5% in 1900.  Another category that is now costing us more is transportation.

However, there can be no denying that our interpretation of “necessities” has changed.  We now consider many luxuries necessities, and that mindset is squeezing our budgets.

 

How Americans’ Attitudes Toward Spending Have Changed

My husband and I like nice stuff as much as the next person, but for the 16 years of our marriage, money has always been tight.  We’ve always been a one-income family.  First, I worked full-time while my husband attended graduate school full-time.  Then, when he graduated, I stayed home with the kids while he worked full-time.

Thanks to student loan payments and a fairly average income while living in a high cost of living area (Chicago), we’ve always had to live on a fairly tight budget.  That means we were a one car family until this last fall.  For 15 years of marriage, we made do with one car.  That car is now 12 years old and has nearly 180,000 miles on it.

We rented until we finally bought our first house 2.5 years ago.  In many ways we were more like a 1950s family than a family living in the 21st century.

In the book, The Overspent American, Jennifer Lawson, who participated in a focus group on spending said:

“In the fifties, growing up in upstate New York, my parents were considered middle-class pillars of the community. My father was an accountant. It’s a fairly poor rural area, and most people worked in a factory or waitressed or something. My dad was actually a professional person with a sign out in front. [My parents] had one car, and they drove it until it fell apart, and then they bought a new one, usually a station wagon. They had a fairly modest house. We took a vacation as a family for two weeks and rented a little cabin in Maine. And drove–nobody flew anywhere. I can’t remember anyone who had a second car. Everyone walked everywhere; children certainly didn’t have $100 sneakers. It amazes me now that my younger brother, who still lives there and who has a job that’s roughly equal to the job my dad had when I was growing up … he has three teenage daughters. And since they were about nine, they’ve each had their own color TV, and they have their own CD players, they all have their own telephone lines, because they complain about calls not being able to get through” (The New York Times).

Our lifestyles have changed dramatically since the 1950s, even more so since the 1900s.  What we now consider necessities—two cars per family (at least), exotic vacations, designer clothes, Internet access and cable tv, college education, just to name a few—were not priorities, or even available, in earlier times.

 

Another phenomenon of spending is that the U.S consumer is quickly bored by what he has.

We can see this phenomenon whenever new electronic devices are released.  Even though their current smartphones, iPads, etc. are working just fine, people are eager to get the newest release.  Never mind that it may cost hundreds of dollars that they really don’t need to spend.

The same mindset is present when people choose to lease a car rather than buy it so that they can continually have a “new” car to drive every few years.  Never mind that leasing costs them much more than buying a car, especially if they buy a used car.

People also frequently redecorate their homes, even though what they have is working just fine.  When they redecorate, they often buy all new towels, couches, etc., depending on what room that they’re “updating.”  Now, we tend to replace long before an item is worn out.

This is a luxury that people in the 1900s didn’t have.  My grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression, regularly washed out plastic baggies over and over again.  Rather than throwing them away, she would get 5 to 10 uses from each bag.  If something like a kitchen towel got a hole, she didn’t throw it away; she mended it.  We’ve lost that bit of frugality that earlier generations developed out of necessity.

Undoubtedly, many in the middle class are feeling a financial strain.  While some of that is due to modern day high costs (such as earning less money because our employers have to take so much out for taxes and insurance costs), much of it is also due to our increased expectations and standards.

The next time your budget feels unbelievable tight, look around your house and see how much you have compared to what your ancestors had 100 years ago.

How about you all? Is there a “necessity” you can do without to find more room in the budget?  Can you be content without the latest new electronic upgrade?

***Photo courtesy of http://www.idpinthat.com/edit/5340

Should You Really Give Up Your Latte?

The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Chonce. You can read more articles by Chonce over at her personal blog, My Debt Epiphany. Enjoy! 

What’s your guilty pleasure expense? For many hardworking adults, it’s their daily latte or cup of coffee.

Almost everyone has a guilty pleasure expense and it’s often a smaller expense you may hardly even notice.

Maybe yours is the discount section near the checkout at Target, picking up a freshly baked bagel on your way into work in the morning, or grabbing a scratch-off lottery ticket at the gas station.

For the sake of this post, I’m going to be offering a new perspective on the latte factor since many people drink coffee and it’s understandable how that small expense can add up quite a bit over time.

Breaking Down the Latte Factor

How much does a typical cup of coffee cost? In most areas, it can run you anywhere from $2-$5 on average depending on the size of the cup whether you’re grabbing a cup at the gas station or at your local Starbucks.

If drinking coffee is a daily habit for you, that means you can spend anywhere from $10-$25 per week just on your lattes if you pick one up each week day.

While that may not seem like much, that could be gas to fill up your car or go toward a smaller monthly bill.

If you buy coffee on your way to work each morning, you could spend anywhere from $40-$100 per month and that’s if you’re not a repeat offender who picks up a second cup in the afternoon.

Needless to say, your daily latte habit which seems so small can really add up over the course of the year.

If you have financial goals to pay down debt, save more, or stop living paycheck to paycheck, it could seem like you’re wasting your money on an unnecessary expense that you need to cut ASAP.

Before you think about giving up the latte completely so you can become a debt-free millionaire, here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t.

How is the Latte Helping You?

Before you give up your guilty pleasure expense, first determine if and how it helps you. My example of purchasing items from the discount section was a bad example because it’s not the best idea to keep buying things out of habit.

However, if you were looking to decorate your home for the season or pick out a birthday gift for your coworker or niece, you might find some good deals which could help you save money.

If your daily latte helps you wake up and focus, it could increase your productivity throughout the day so you get more done.

You May Not Have to Go Cold Turkey

If buying the latte is your thing, you might have a hard time trying to go cold turkey and cut it out completely.

If you try to cut out your habit too quick, you might pick up other bad habits that cost you even more money and provide no real benefit to you.

This is why I believe when smokers try to quit, they find better results if they work on weaning themselves off cigarettes first.

In the case of coffee, you don’t always have to purchase it at your local cafe. You can brew your own coffee at home or wait until you get to work if your employer provides coffee for free.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself, but my husband is and we pick up cappuccino drink mix at the grocery store so we can make coffee at home each day for less.

It costs about $4 per small container and that container makes about 17 cups so we save a ton of money with this DIY hack.

See if you can find more affordable hacks for the expenses you’d like to keep so they don’t deter you from reaching your goals.

Going After Big Wins

Finally, the most important reason why you may not want to give up your latte is because it’s still a small element in the grand scheme of things.

Yes, it’s important to cut unnecessary expenses especially when you’re trying to manage your finances better or get out of debt. However, you may find it difficult to cut out everything.

And if you do, you’ll realize that there’s not much else you can do to lower your expenses once you’ve cut out several categories.

What you should do is focus on going after big wins instead of focusing so hard on the small wins.

Scoring a raise at work, establishing an additional stream of income, or selling your car for $7,000 are all big wins that can have a profound effect on your finances.

When I was working a traditional job and started freelancing on the side to generate more income to put toward my debt, I earned an average of $2,000 per month after taxes essentially giving myself a $24,000 annual raise which was huge.

I committed to bringing my lunch to work most of the time but at least once a week I’d eat at a restaurant or order takeout because I like dining out and it was a great way for me to relieve stress from work and get out of the office for a little time.

The $5-$10 I spent on lunch once a week didn’t deter me from meeting my debt repayment goals for the year given that I was bringing in $2,000 from side hustling each month.

So Should You Give Up That Latte?

Only you can decide what’s best for you since you know your situation best. You should take all these factors into consideration and try to find a balance between cutting back on the small stuff and going after big wins.

Making small adjustments to reduce your expenses can definitely add up and help, but big wins provide a faster, more satisfying result.

How about you all? What small adjustments in your spending have you made that have really helped (or not!) your budget?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/akane2011/14330276248/

Low-Effort Ways to Lower Your Spending

consignment-shop-my-personal-finance-journeyThe following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Chonce. You can read more articles by Chonce over at her personal blog, My Debt Epiphany. Enjoy! 

Many times in the past, I used to tell myself I needed to earn more money in order to improve my financial situation and make all my money problems go away. Once I started earning more, I found that this thought process was wrong as my money problems didn’t subside at all.

This leads me to ask you: Do you have an income problem or a spending problem? Maybe you have both, but you can’t expect to fix your income problem and improve your situation without fixing your spending problem first.

Overspending can look very different depending on the person. You may be an emotional spender and make impulse purchases at your favorite store each week. You may buy one too many lattes. You may not take the extra effort to lower your expenses so you spend less on utility bills each month.

Whatever you spending habit is, there are so easy and low-effort ways to lower your spending so you can have more money to put toward your financial goals whether they are paying off debt, saving, or investing.

Leave Credit Cards at Home

If you tend to overspend when you’re out and about, research shows that we spend more with a credit card than we do with cash. I know that personally, having a credit card in my hand makes me feel like I have more flexibility. If I go over my budget with a purchase, it’s not as big of a deal since my account won’t go negative and I can always pay the expenses off in 30 days.

The only problem, however, is that sometimes you don’t pay your credit card balance off in full which can lead to debt. It may be better to take your credit cards out of your wallet, or even switch to a cash budget and utilize the envelope system when you go out so you can avoid spending extra money.

Invite Friends Over Instead of Going Out

Going out when friends is super fun I’m not going to lie, but it adds up over time. A great way to lower your spending on dining out and having fun with friends is to invite them over to your place instead.

My husband and I like to go out, but we also tend to stay in quite a bit and watch movies or play games together to save money. We like hanging out with each other, but when we invite our friends over too, it’s also super fun because we get to laugh and talk all together as a group.

You can host potlucks at your house or even prepare cheap meals and snacks like nacho dip, cookies, popcorn, etc.  and have a fun night in with your favorite people. You’ll save a ton of money if you do it regularly or even let other friends host you as well.

Unplug Electronic Devices You Aren’t Using

This is a super easy way to save money on electricity. Besides clocks and your refrigerator, you should take the extra minute or two it requires to unplug items in your home you aren’t using.

Electronic devices that are plugged in 24/7 take up a small amount of electricity each day, but it adds up. I personally can’t stand when my son leaves the television on when he’s done watching it or playing a game. And I’m sure his Xbox eats up quite a bit of energy as well.

Plus, it’s not good to leave things like chargers plugged into the wall because it can drain their battery.

Read Through the Circulars Before You Go Grocery Shopping

If your grocery spending is out of control, you’ll need to take advantage of more sales and deals. The good news is that grocery store savings are all around you. You should receive weekly sales and promotions at local stores in the mail.

Most promotions are time sensitive so make sure you check the expiration dates for the deals. Before I go grocery shopping and as I’m making my list, I always check out the circulars to see what sales are being promoted.

If you don’t like looking at sales papers, you can download an app that will gather all this information for you and provide you with coupons that you can clip digitally. Free apps like Grocery Pal and Checkout 51 are great for this.

Stop By a Consignment Shop First When Buying Clothes

Clothes can be pretty expensive but if you need to buy something, you have no choice but the spend the money right? Wrong. If you’re heading out to pick up some clothing items anyway, stop by a local consignment shop first to see if you can score any deals on gently used apparel first.

Stores like Goodwill have monthly discount sales where nice clothing is dirt cheap, and other stores like Plato’s Closet offers trendy clothing for both men and women. If you have kids, I’d recommend stopping by Once Upon a Child for some good deals. I purchased half of my son’s school clothes from there and saved a ton by doing so.

If you don’t have any of these stores near you, you can try online consignment shops like ThredUp.

How about you all?  What techniques do you use to lower your spending? What do you do with the extra money?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan-light/10891438675/

5 Little Habits That Are Ruining Your Budget

budget-my-personal-finance-journeyThe following is a guest post by Richard Adams. Richard is a UK personal finance blogger and obsessive money-saver. His blog can be found at http://www.FrugalityMagazine.com. Enjoy!

Budgeting. It’s a critical skill for those of us trying to build a strong financial future. But for all the talk about budgets, controlling your spending can be a lot harder than you might first think.

I speak from personal experience.

Over the years I’ve tried to create one budget after another. I’ll be honest; my initial attempts for a dismal failure. But over time I found my budget getting more and more effective. So while it’s taken some time to reach “budget nirvana”, my own experience suggests it is possible.

The key is identifying those areas that keep on causing problems. Once you know the potential pitfalls you’re all the better prepared to deal with them. As a result you can create a budget that really works, and helps you to control exactly where your money goes.

But if you’re just getting started with a budget, what are those habits that derailed my plans time and again? In other words, what should you look out for if you want your budget to work?

Lack of Visibility

They say that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Creating a budget is all well and good, but it’s not an end in itself. Instead, in order to control your spending you need constant feedback; both on how you’re doing and on what corrections are necessary.

When I first started budgeting I would create a monthly budget and then run with it. Then just a few weeks later I’d discover that the money had run out (again). The reason was that I wasn’t consistently tracking my progress. As soon as I started to track my money on a daily basis I found it easier to spot any problems, and to modify my spending to achieve my goals.

There are a number of ways to track your budget. Some people subscribe to the “envelope system”, using all cash that has been carefully divided up into categories. Others simply decide on a cash budget for the week, pop it in their wallet and try to make it last. Possibly the greatest threat comes in the form of credit cards and debit cards, because you’re not being faced with actual cash every time you spend.

Under such circumstances try to use one of the many budgeting apps available to track your spending, or install your bank’s app on your phone so you can monitor your balance over time.

The exact system you use isn’t critical, and the best solution will depend on your individual personality. What is critical, especially in the early days of budgeting, is to track your spending on a daily basis.

Someone should be able to stop you randomly in the street, and you’d be able to tell them your bank balance within a couple of dollars. Only when you get to know your money this intimately can you be certain of managing your budget properly.

“Tiny” Spending

We tend to pay a lot of attention to large purchases. That new cell phone or flat screen TV probably gets a lot of research and thought before you finally hand over your cash.

But smaller purchases tend to be treated entirely differently. Whether it’s a takeout sandwich, a newspaper or a packet of cigarettes, these “tiny” purchases are often made without a second thought. After all, how much of a difference is a couple of dollars really going to make in the grand scheme of things?

The honest answer is: quite a lot. The reason is that because many of us are happy to spend small amounts of money without too much consideration, we tend to do it regularly. That daily newspaper and coffee can quickly start to add up.

The key message here is that all spending matters, irrespective of how insignificant the sum really is. Pay attention to where your money is going, and make conscious decisions about how you’re going to spend (or save!) every last dollar.

Lack of Control

It’s no secret that budgeting your money can take a fair amount of self-discipline, at least in the early days. All too often I speak to people who start off with the best will in the world, only to give in to temptation a short while later.

Fortunately there are all sorts of ways to do this. One of my favorite examples is to think of money not in terms of dollars, but in terms of hours worked. Figure out your hourly income (after tax) and look at prices in terms of “4 hours of work”. Applying this principle I’ve found that spending my money looks rather less appealing.

Unexpected Expenses

One of the most frustrating aspects of carefully planning your spending is when an unexpected bill drops through the door, or your car suddenly needs some emergency work. In the space of a few minutes your whole budget gets blown out of the water.

The funny thing is that unexpected expenses don’t necessarily need to be so much of an issue.

There are two solutions I have used which make such expenses almost a non-issue.

The first of these is the creation of an “emergency fund”. This is a pool of money separate to your budget which sits in an instantly-accessible account exactly for situations like this. If a financial emergency arises you can simply draw money from this fund without needing to touch your budget. Then next month you can simply modify your budget to start rebuilding that fund.

The second solution is that most other unexpected bills can be planned for, if you base your budget on a long-enough period of time. For example I pay my car insurance once a year, and it would be all too easy to be surprised the next time it comes around. Instead I have planned out all these payments in advance, and put aside a small amount of money in my budget to cover them. When that insurance finally becomes due I’ve already put aside all the money over the preceding months.

In other words to avoid unexpected expenses derailing your budget take time to start an emergency fund, and to consider what big purchases you make only occasionally and plan for them well in advance.

Unnecessary Waste

The last factor which can ruin your attempts at budgeting is simply “waste”. One of the most common examples is the amount of food that people throw out each week because it is past it’s best. As a result they’re literally throwing money in the bin, then having to replace that food with yet more. If you budget $100 for groceries then throw $25 worth in the bin you better believe your budget is going to struggle.

So take the time to learn how to control the waste that comes out of your kitchen. In doing so you can be sure to use as much as possible. For example, consider freezing items like bread and milk to keep them fresh, only defrosting them when you really need them. Additionally, consider buying frozen vegetables rather than their fresh equivalent. They’re just as nutritious but won’t go off while your back is turned.

As you can see there are all sorts of ways that your budget can fail – but in almost every situation there are solutions. If you’re going to invest the time to actually create a budget, then these simple principles can make it all the more effective. Produce a budget that truly works and you’re well on your way to better times.

How about you all? What habits do/did you have that did a number on your budget? How did you fix the problem?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6869762317/

Is Your Addiction to Being Busy Costing You Money?

tired-my-personal-finance-journeyThe following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Melissa Batai.  Melissa is a freelance writer who covers topics ranging from personal finance to business to organics to food.  She blogs at Mom’s Plans where she shares her family’s journey to healthier living and paying down debt.

My name is Melissa, and I’m addicted to being busy.  There.  I said it out loud.  I have an addiction to being busy, which has only gotten worse in the last three years that I’ve been homeschooling my kids.

There are so many great activities, co-ops, etc., for the kids that saying “no” is hard.  Inevitably, I overbook our schedule one semester, and we limp through, exhausted.  The next semester, I’m wiser, and then I cut our responsibilities down to the bare minimum so we can spend more time at home.  But the semester after that, recharged, I overcommit again.

It’s a bad cycle, but, unfortunately, I’m not alone.

If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably overly busy, too.  According to Dr. Gina Manguno-Mire, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Tulane University Health Sciences Center, “America is an achievement-oriented culture.  Success is defined by accomplishment, and that mindset starts at a very early age.  Today, we see both kids and adults who are so structured that they just don’t seem to know what to do with free time, so they fill it with activities” (Health Fitness Magazine).

Sound familiar?

But it gets worse.  Our addiction to busyness is costing us money in a myriad of ways, both short and long-term.

Short Term

In the short term, busyness costs us money on a daily basis.  We have to pay for the activities we’re involved in, and we spend additional money as we look to save time and we lose track of the items that we already have.

Activity Expense

Being in many different activities costs a lot of money.  Right now, my kids are in archery, photography, and citizenship 4-H groups.  They’re also in two homeschool co-ops.  The expense of all of these activities easily cost us $500 extra this semester.

It’s a bit ironic that to overbook yourself with activities costs money, and then once you’re too busy you spend too much money on the following items:

Convenience foods

When we’re busy, we don’t have as much time to cook, so we rely on restaurants, fast foods, and quick convenience foods.  All of those food sources typically cost much more than if we made a nice, basic meal at home.

Even though my family is very busy right now, I’m still cooking at home, which is good.  However, I am spending more on food because I find myself buying things like already chopped cauliflower for cauliflower “rice” instead of processing it myself or buying more lunch meat for quick lunches instead of eating the from-scratch lunches we usually make.

Gas

Running around town for activity after activity causes you to use more gas.  While gas prices are reasonable now, this expense can really hit your wallet when gas prices are $3 or more per gallon.  Still, I’m easily spending $20 to $30 more per month on gas than I do during quieter semesters.

In addition, because I’m using the car more, I have to have oil changes and tune ups more frequently than I would if we had a quieter, simpler schedule.

Buying more items than you need

Let’s face it.  When you’re too busy, you don’t have as much time to clean.  Clutter may build up, and it’s hard to find the items you need.  You may unknowingly buy one or two of an item that you already have but have forgotten that you own or simply can’t find.

My son has been too busy to really clean his room the last few months.  However, last weekend, he had a little free time, and he found two items he thought he had lost that we were planning to purchase again—his arm guard for archery, and his calligraphy pen for calligraphy.  True, if we had to buy these items again, we would have only spent approximately $20, but that’s $20 we shouldn’t have had to spend because we already owned the items.

When losing items and buying them again because you can’t find them becomes a habit, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars every year.

Long Term

While the short-term expenses can add up, the long-term expenses of being addicted to busyness are really budget busters.

Medical expenses

Your body may be affected by your schedule because you may not be sleeping as well, and you may not be eating as well as you should as evidenced by the many convenience foods you may rely on.  Both lack of sleep and reliance on convenience or fast food can lead to weight gain, which leads to medical conditions like high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.

Busyness causes stress, and stress can lead to a host of health problems if you aren’t already suffering from health problems because of lack of sleep and weight gain.  Being addicted to busyness may result in the need for prescription medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.  If the stress is unmitigated, it may eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes years down the road.

Wear and tear on your vehicle

I mentioned the expense of more frequent oil changes and tune ups in the short term effects, but the long term effect is that your vehicle wears out more quickly.  If you weren’t driving to as many locations, your car might last you 15 years, if you choose.  However, an accelerated life styles means you add on the miles more quickly, cutting several years off the time you can keep your car in good working condition.

A perpetual cycle of busyness

Over the last two weeks, my family and I have carved some downtime into our busy schedule.  I noticed that my kids really didn’t know what to do with themselves or their free time.  When kids and adults are always busy, we don’t know how to entertain ourselves or how to lose ourselves in a project or an interest we’d like to pursue.

Children who are being raised this way will naturally crave busyness, and all of the related stress, pressure, and financial burden that goes with it, as they grow older.  This simply perpetuates the cycle of busyness.

According to journalist Tim Kreider, in his 2012 article for The New York Times, The Busy Trap, “‘Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness.’  Some people actively create their hectic lifestyle because they dread ‘what they might have to face in its absence’” (Health Fitness Magazine).

What Should You Do If You Want to Break the Busy Cycle?

My family and I have been in this super busy cycle for just two months, and we have two months to go before it’s over.  We’ve already decided to cut our responsibilities in half for upcoming semesters so we can enjoy our activities and our lives.

However, if you’ve been in a busy cycle for much longer, slowing down isn’t always easy.  Dr. Manguno-Mire says, “It is important to remember that busier does not necessarily mean happier.”  She advises “taking a ‘gut check,’ especially when feeling overwhelmed.  ‘Be present and mindful in your own life.  Ask yourself, what am I doing?  What meaning do I derive from this?  Create support systems, and carve out unstructured time every day, even if it is just half an hour.  Set boundaries with technology.  All these things help counteract the effects of stress.  And ask yourself this—who really needs to be busy and available 24/7?” (Health Fitness Magazine).

How about you all? Are you addicted to busyness?  If so, are you still in the busyness trap?  If not, how did you learn to slow down?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy https://pixabay.com/en/tired-axhausted-woman-female-377438/