Saturday, January 25, 2014

WORK Tip- How to Schedule your Day when You are Unemployed

By Heather Huhman of Levo League

Just sharing this to you my dear followers. You could be stuck in a rut, underemployed-meaning you have more skills than what your job entails and work for far less hours than the normal. Or you could be on the lookout for better opportunities. 

So you lost your job. Or you graduated from college and can’t find a full-time position. Whatever your circumstances, unemployment can be tough. It can be tempting to stay out all night and spend all day under the covers. You keep your mouse on the refresh button on your email, constantly checking for news from potential employers.
But believe it or not, there are better ways to spend your unemployed days. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your day:

Make a schedule, and stick to it. While your bed seems to have some gravitational pull of its own, you have to get out of it. Set your alarm clock for the same time every weekday. Get up, shower, and put on real clothes (as in, not PJs or sweats). Even if you spend the day sitting at your desk on the computer, you’ll feel better having showered and dressed. Keep a regular bedtime too ‘” try not to go to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Assume a night schedule similar to what you’d keep if you were working.

Plan out your day. If you don’t own a planner, you might want to invest in one. Allocate time in your day for activities like applying to jobs, exercise, socialization, and networking.
Applying for jobs: Applying for jobs should occupy a large part of your day. Research niche job boards, specific companies, major job boards, and social media sites to see where unique job postings might crop up. To keep the job search from getting monotonous, assign specific job boards or sites to specific days. For example, Tuesdays and Thursdays might be spent looking over companies’ social media sites, while Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays involve searching on niche and major job boards.

Rank the companies that appeal to you in terms of how well your skill set fits with the openings available. Make note of companies you’d like to work for that don’t have current job openings, and subscribe to RSS feeds that might help you track when openings become available. Keep track of all the jobs you apply for, and be sure to follow up when appropriate. Send follow up emails a week or so after submitting an application and always send a thank you note after interviewing. Organize your applications in terms of their status: researching, applied, interviewed, etc.
Exercise: Physical exercise is important to keep you feeling fit and happy. Even if it’s just a walk around the block to clear your head, make time in your day to get out of the house. Staying cramped up inside all day will only dampen your spirits. Don’t trap yourself in and obsess over your unemployment. Go for a bike ride, a run, a walk, whatever ‘” just get out of the house and into the sunshine.
Socialize: Keep in touch with family and friends. This is another way to break up the monotony of your daily routine ‘” plus they might have useful contacts in your industry. Pick their brains over coffee and catch up on other aspects of life. Be sure to leave time in your schedule to let your hair down so life doesn’t feel like a constant cycle of applying and waiting.
Network: Networking is one of the most important aspects of finding a job. Schedule time in your day to email contacts you might have in the industry. Set up lunch and coffee meetings to ask about your field, the best places to look for jobs, any recommendations they may have or openings in the industry that may not be common knowledge, etc. Be sure to follow-up with your contacts after these meetings to keep the connection going.
Volunteering with nonprofits looking for your skill set is another great way to meet people, plus it boosts your resume and gives you great experience. Keep a comprehensive list of contacts who might be able to help in your job search. Update your status on LinkedIn to reflect your current job search and network through your LinkedIn connections.

Make a weekly goal list. Aside from your daily plan, make a weekly goal list to chart the progress you want to make over any given week. Check things off as you get them done; at the end of the day, those check marks will make you feel accomplished!
Check your goal list at the end of each week to make sure you’re staying on track. If you’re not getting everything done, reassess the way you’re spending your time. Make sure you aren’t spending too much time on Facebook or watching re-runs of Dawson’s Creek on TV. Compare your daily schedule and your weekly goal list side-by-side to confirm you’re using your time effectively.

Maintain a positive attitude. While it can be hard to be unemployed, a positive attitude goes a long way. Keep your spirits up and believe in yourself; eventually, hard work and perseverance will prevail. You will find the right job.
Armed with these tips, be prepared to spend your day in a whole new way. Make the most out of your unemployment, and you won’t be unemployed much longer!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

SUCCESS Tip- 15 Billionaires who Came from Nothing

By Vivian Giang of Business Insider

Be inspired with this list by Miss Giang on the 15billionaires who made it. You could be waitressing today but you could be a gazillionaire tomorrow. Dream and make it happen!

Wealth tends to create more wealth, but a rich background is not the only way to the top. Some of the world's wealthiest people started out dirt poor.
All from humble beginnings, these 15 people not only climbed to the top of their industries but also became some of the richest people in the world.
Although the rich do get richer, these rags-to-riches stories remind us that through determination, grit, and a bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.

Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.

Getty Images
Net worth: $1.7 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance. He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a $3.5 billion deal.
He's now retired and invests heavily in racehorses.

Starbucks' Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor.

Net worth: $2 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
In an interview with British tabloid Mirror, Schultz says: "Growing up I always felt like I was living on the other side of the tracks. I knew the people on the other side had more resources, more money, happier families. And for some reason, I don’t know why or how, I wanted to climb over that fence and achieve something beyond what people were saying was possible. I may have a suit and tie on now but I know where I’m from and I know what it’s like."
Schultz ended up winning a football scholarship to the University of Northern Michigan and went to work for Xerox after graduation. Shortly after, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which at the time had only 60 shops. Schultz became the company's CEO in 1987 and grew the coffee chain to more than 16,000 outlets worldwide.

Investor Ken Langone's parents worked as a plumber and cafeteria worker.

Net worth: $2.1 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
To help pay for Langone's school at Bucknell University, he worked odd jobs and his parents mortgaged their home.
In 1968, Langone worked with Ross Perot to take Electronic Data Systems (HP) public. Just two years later, he partnered with Bernard Marcus to start Home Depot, which also went public in 1981.

Born into poverty, Oprah Winfrey became the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville.


Net worth: $2.9 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Winfrey was born into a poor family in Mississippi, but this didn't stop her from winning a scholarship to Tennessee State University and becoming the first African American TV correspondent in the state at the age of 19.
In 1983, Winfrey moved to Chicago to work for an AM talk show which would later be called "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour.

Getty Images
Net worth: $3.8 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
He's now one of the richest people in the world, but when Khan came to the U.S. from Pakistan, he worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham.

Mega-resort owner Kirk Kerkorian dropped out of school in the eighth grade to become a boxer.

Net worth: $3.9 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
To financially help his Armenian-immigrant family, Kerkorian dropped out of school in the eighth grade and later would become a boxer called "Rifle Right Kerkorian." During World War II, Kerkorian worked for Britain's Royal Air Force. He eventually turned his interest to constructing many of Las Vegas' biggest resorts and hotels.

John Paul DeJoria, the man behind a hair-care empire and Patron Tequila, once lived in a foster home and his car.

Net worth: $4 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Before the age of 10, DeJoria, a first generation American, sold Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family. He was eventually sent to live in a foster home and even spent some time in a gang before joining the military.
With a $700 dollar loan, DeJoria created John Paul Mitchell Systems and sold the shampoo door-to-door while living in his car. He later started Patron Tequila, and now invests in other industries.

Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang worked as a janitor, gas station attendant, and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America.

Net worth: $5 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
The husband-and-wife team — Do Won Chang and Jin Sook — behind Forever 21 didn't always have it so easy. After moving to America from Korea in 1981, Do Won had to work three jobs at the same time to make ends meet. They opened their first clothing store in 1984.
Forever 21 is now an international, 480-store empire that rakes in around $3 billion in sales a year.

Ralph Lauren was once a clerk at Brooks Brothers dreaming of men's ties.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Net worth: $7.7 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Lauren graduated high school in the Bronx, N.Y., but later dropped out of college to join the Army. It was while working as a clerk at Brooks Brothers that Lauren questioned whether men were ready for wider and brighter designs in ties. The year he decided to make his dream a reality, 1967, Lauren sold $500,000 worth of ties. He started Polo the next year.

Luxury goods mogul Francois Pinault quit high school in 1974 after being bullied for being poor.

AP Images
Net worth: $15 billion (as of March 2013)
Pinault is now the face of fashion conglomerate Kering (formerly PPR), but at one time, he had to quit high school because he was teased so harshly for being poor. As a businessman, Pinault is known for his "predator" tactic, which includes buying smaller firms for a fraction of the cost when the market crashed. He eventually started PPR, which owns high-end fashion houses including Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Leonardo Del Vecchio grew up in an orphanage and later worked in a factory where he lost part of his finger.

Net worth: $15.3 billion (as of March 2013)
Del Vecchio was one of five children who was eventually sent to an orphanage because his widow mother couldn't care for him. He would later work in a factory making molds of auto parts and eyeglass frames.
At the age of 23, Del Vecchio opened his own molding shop, which expanded to become the world's largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyeware with brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley.

Legendary trader George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary and arrived in London as an impoverished college student.

Net worth: $20 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
In his early teens, Soros posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture in order to stay safe from the Nazi occupation of Hungary. In 1947, Soros escaped the country to live with his relatives in London. He put himself through the London School of Economics working as a waiter and railway porter.
After graduating, Soros worked at a souvenir shop before getting a job as a banker in New York City. In 1992, his famous bet against the British pound made him a billion dollars.

After his father died, business magnate Li Ka-shing had to quit school to help support his family.

Net worth: $31 billion (as of March 2013)
Ka-shing fled mainland China for Hong Kong in the 1940s, but his father died when he was 15, leaving Ka-shing responsible for supporting his family. In 1950, he started his own company, Cheung Kong Industries, which manufactured plastics at first but would later expand into real estate.

Harold Simmons grew up in a shack with no plumbing or electricity.

Net worth: $40 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
As one of the richest people in the world, Simmons grew up in a "shack" without plumbing or electricity. He managed to get accepted to the University of Texas where he earned a bachelor's and masters in economics.
Simmons got his first big break buying a chain of drugstores, which would later sell for $50 million. He went on to become an expert in corporate buyouts.
Simmons recently passed away at the age of 82

Oracle's Larry Ellison dropped out of college after his adoptive mother died and held odd jobs for eight years.

Business Insider/Julie Bort
Net worth: $41 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to a single mother, Ellison was raised by his aunt and uncle in Chicago. After his aunt died, Ellison dropped out of college and moved to California to work odd jobs for the next eight years. He founded software development company Oracle in 1977, which is now one of the largest technology companies in the world

Saturday, January 11, 2014

NEW YORK GOOD NEWS -Apology 35 years after

Michael Goodman apologized to his mugging victim 35 years later through Facebook.Thirty-five years ago, Michael Goodman mugged a stranger on the steps on the American Museum of Natural History.
Goodman, then a teenager, held up Claude Soffel for his bus pass.
"I went up to [Soffel] and said, 'Where’s your bus pass?' The cops immediately pulled out badges and arrested me," Goodman, now 53, told the New York Post. "I told this story throughout my life. I felt so bad about it."
Goodman was sentenced to three weeks community service. He never forgot Soffel's name.
Last month, Goodman finally had the opportunity to apologize to Soffel, now 52, for the incident that has haunted him for more than three decades.
Goodman spotted Soffel's name in a facebook post about a closed bagel shop, H&H Bagels. He used the comments section to come clean.
"You may not remember this (about '76 or '77) but a long long time ago I walked up the steps of The Museum of Natural History one afternoon, trying to look like a tough guy to [somebody] & saw you standing there at the top of the steps, I walked up to you & (mugged) you for your bus pass," Goodman wrote.

"I'M VERY SORRY that you had to go through that crap that day long ago, I wish it had never happened but it did. Like I said I was trying to look tough to impress some guy who didn't believe I was in a gang, pretty frickin' stupid huh ? So once again I'm truly sorry for taking your bus pass back then — forgive me & thanks for reading this 'strange' & very long message!"
Soffel read the message and responded graciously.

"Clearly your [sic] a 'bigger man' today. wow. Memory is a funny thing, I recognize your name now, as well. So, apology accepted. Interestingly, I have dedicated a large portion of my life to helping other men be the man they have always wanted to be, and moments like this one continue to fuel my faith that the battle may be uphill but so rewarding. Any man who draws aline for himself, 'Today I step forward for myself, my family, and humanity' is a hero to me. So let us now, jointly, put this in its proper place, behind us. With respect, Claude Soffel," he wrote.
The two men continued to message back and forth, now both part of a viral good news story.
"A very large weight has been lifted off my shoulder," Goodman told the Post. "I feel peace and dare I say joy. I'm even happier this is bringing joy to other people."

SUCCESS Tip- What do successful do on the weekend

This is by Carolyn Cutrone of Business Insider and it gives us a glimpse of successful people's planning skills both at work and off work. It is really a consistency in planning and doing the more important things. Read on!

Over the course of our lives, we only get a few thousand weekends. The most successful people know better than to squander them by laying around or scrubbing the floors.

In her book, "What the Most Successful People Do On The Weekend," time management expert Laura Vanderkam outlines how to make the most of this sacred time off from your harried workweeks.

She outlines how you can take control of your weekends by planning ahead, being selective with your time, and finally indulging what you love most.

The first step to controlling your weekends is making conscious choices.

It's so easy to plop down on the couch on a Friday night or Saturday morning and watch TV, but falling into these routines will suck away the few free hours you have. Instead of doing something by default, choose to decide how your time is spent.

Vanderkam writes, "In a world of constant connectivity, even loafing time must be consciously chosen, because time will be filled with something whether it’s consciously chosen or not — and not choosing means that the something that fills our hours will be less fulfilling than the something our remembering selves will likely wish we’d elected to do."

Make appointments for yourself, even if it's only to read a book.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee says you need to have a plan for the weekend, setting specific hours or minutes aside for activities you want to do. Then you have to commit.

Huckabee advises: "If you know you want to read a book, then get the book out and have it set aside and make plans to read it. Say it's going to be at 1. When that starts, get on it. Don't wait until that afternoon, then think — could I read? Or listen to some music? Or take a walk? Then you'll sit about wasting an hour of what little time you have figuring out what to do with the rest of it."

You have to be disciplined and commit to the decisions you make.

Planning actually makes weekends happier, and unlocks a key mechanism of joy.

Vanderkam cites Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert's 2006 book, "Stumbling on Happiness." In it, Gilbert argues that "the greatest achievement of the human brain is its ability to imagine objects and episodes that do not exist in the realm of the real."

Gilbert is talking about anticipation. Anticipation accounts for a huge chunk of happiness, which comes from thinking about the events we plan. Vanderkam writes, "As you look forward to something good that is about to happen, you experience some of the same joy you would in the moment. The major difference is that the joy can last much longer."

Plan three to five anchor events each weekend, but don't plan out every hour.

Vanderkam says most people cringe at the idea of planning their weekends. But placing three to five main, or "anchor," events on your calender for the weekend doesn't mean you need to plan them down to the minute.

She writes, "Three things taking three hours apiece is nine hours of your 36 waking ones. That leaves a lot of time for sitting and nursing a scotch, if you don't have three small children, or watching 'The Backyardigans,' if you do."

Make a list of the things you dream about doing, and you'll find the ones you can do every day.

When the weekend rolls around there may be so many things that you want to do that you freeze up and end up doing almost none of them. That's why it's effective to have a really good list.

Vanderkam suggests people create something called "A List of 100 Dreams," which prompts you to brainstorm anything you might want to do in life. Although some things, like going to see the pyramids in Egypt, may not be doable right now, by the end of the list you'll have come up with everyday activities, like getting together with friends for a picnic in the park.

As you make your plans, don't discount something you haven't done in years.

One of Vanderkam's key secrets is to "dig deep." Even if there are activities that you haven't done since childhood, you can still make them part of your regular weekends.

For example, one of her readers signed up for Saturday morning piano lessons. She says that sometimes parents get so caught up in planning their kids' lives that they forget to schedule fun activities for themselves. Pick something that means a lot to you, and make it a permanent routine.

Weekend mornings can be the best time to do things for yourself.

Weekend mornings are very easily wasted in laying about. Instead, set them aside for personal pursuits.

Vanderkam writes, "If you're training for a marathon, it's less disruptive for your family if you get up early to do your four-hour run than if you try to do it in the middle of the day. To get up early, you'll probably have to avoid staying up late the night before, but this is a good idea in general."

Establish small habits to create new traditions for your family.

"Happy families often have some special weekend activity that everyone loves but no one has to plan each time," Vanderkam writes.

It could be as simple as making pancakes or taking a stroll on a Sunday evening. Whatever you'd like to implement, make it a ritual. Soon they will become traditions, and traditions become comforting memories, which are proven to boost happiness.

Set aside specific hours for down time, and turn off your phone.

It's important to schedule down time, because otherwise you may never unplug. Vanderkam says Jess Lahey, a New Hampshire-based teacher and writer, has an official weekend nap time every afternoon between one and three.

Like siestas in Spain, you don't necessarily need to sleep and may choose to watch a movie or read. The time is meant to relax. Vanderkam says that in Lahey's family, "Everyone turns their phones off, and Lahey and her husband close the door to the upstairs, [and] read for a bit."

Be sure to make plans for Sunday night so you don't sit around stressing about your job.

Planning something for Sunday nights is an easy way to avoid stressing about work in anticipation of Monday. That can happen even when you like your job, but for people who don't like their jobs, Sunday night stress can be draining and sad.

To combat this, Vanderkam suggests scheduling something during these hours because it extends the weekend and keeps you focused on the fun to come, rather than the next morning. Aliza Rosen, a reality TV producer, goes to yoga at 6 p.m. on Sunday nights and says it is a great way to sweat out the toxins of the week and center herself for Monday.

Keep chores, errands, and busy work to a minimum on your days off.

There are always things you have to do, but keeping chores to a minimum on the weekends is really important.

Finishing chores shouldn't be central to your weekend because they often expand to fill available time. Instead, try to do a chore each day during the week. If that's not possible then set aside small windows of time during the weekend. For example, set a half an hour on a Friday night between dinner and when you watch a movie to put away the laundry, or 20 minutes between your piano lesson and bike ride on Saturday morning to empty the garbage.

Setting small amounts of time will motivate you to get chores done quickly.

Make sure to unplug completely for at least a few hours.

Have a tech "Sabbath" day — or at least a few hours on the weekend when you unplug from your email and professional life.

Although it becomes harder to do that with smartphones and demanding careers, Vanderkam recommends hiding your mail icon on your phone during your "Sabbath," so you are not even tempted to click on messages that spill into your inbox. You may not be able to completely avoid working on the weekends, but you can at least carve out a few hours.

If you live to be 80, you'll have 4,160 weekends in total, so don't let any go to waste.

Four thousand weekends isn't all that much. It's very easy to feel overwhelmed and simply do nothing (or meaningless things). But by falling into that trap, Vanderkam points out you may miss the best parts of your own life.

Too often people don't think about what they'd like to do and wind up living constrained versions of life, doing little tasks on a to-do list.

Vanderkam says, "What the most successful people know about weekends is that life cannot happen only in the future. It cannot wait for some day when we are less tired or less busy." So start with this weekend and do something.

Friday, January 3, 2014

BUSINESS Tip-Fastest Growing Industries for Small Business

Want to take the plunge into entrepreneurship? Here is an article by Catherine Clifford of Entreprenuer magazine who writes this article. I am sharing to you because I found it useful for myself. And I hope you learn a thing or two from this as well. Happy Great New Year everyone!

Past performance is no guarantee of future results, as the old business truism says. But you also may have heard that you can’t know where you’re going without knowing where you have been.
To get a sense of which industries small businesses are growing in, the analysts at Raleigh, N.C.-headquartered private-company financial-information company Sageworks ran some numbers for Here’s a look at the industries where U.S. companies with $10 million or less in annual sales have shown the highest and lowest percentage change from Jan. 1 to Dec 31, 2012. As a benchmark, the average growth rate across all U.S. small businesses in the time period was 8 percent, says Libby Bierman, an analyst at Sageworks.
Fastest-Growth Industries for U.S. Small Businesses in 2012
  1. Residential building construction: 14.77 percent
  2. Building custom software and servers for businesses: 14.29 percent
  3. Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers: 13.75 percent
  4. Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: 12.31 percent
  5. Architectural, engineering, and related services: 11.40 percent
  6. Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors: 11.37 percent
  7. Building finishing contractors who make additions, alterations, maintenance and repairs: 11.32 percent
  8. General freight trucking: 10.41 percent
  9. Services to buildings and dwellings, including pest exterminators, janitorial services, and landscaping: 10.11 percent
  10. Other specialty trade contractors, including site preparation activities and other specialized trades: 10.04 percent

Slowest-Growth Industries for U.S. Small Businesses in 2012
  1. Skilled nursing care facilities: -3.29 percent
  2. Printing and related support activities: 1.86 percent
  3. Automotive repair and maintenance: 2.81 percent
  4. Offices of physicians: 3.00 percent
  5. Highway, street, and bridge construction: 4.24 percent
  6. Insurance agencies, brokerages, and other insurance-related activities: 4.32 percent
  7. Lessors of real estate: 5.07 percent
  8. Other miscellaneous manufacturing including jewelry and silverware, sporting and athletic goods, dolls, toys, and games, office supplies other than paper, and signs: 5.55 percent
  9. Offices of health practitioners other than physicians and dentists, including chiropractors, optometrists, mental health practitioners, speech and occupational therapists: 5.98 percent
  10. Other amusement and recreation services including bowling centers, golf courses, and recreational centers: 6.03 percent
The good news for entrepreneurs is that much of the fastest growth is in service businesses, which can be started without a lot of money to buy equipment and inventory, says Bierman. Software development, management consulting and architecture firms have been frontrunners have been for a few years now, says Bierman.
Not all of the businesses on the fastest-growing list are service based. In particular, the residential housing market has just started to recover, and that is supporting businesses related to the construction industry, including foundation and exterior construction and specialty contractors. A lot of construction projects were abandoned during the recession and so part of the bounce in construction is businesses and individuals picking back up old half-finished projects.
Business services and construction are looking strong in the coming years. “They provide services that are, maybe not critical, but very much needed by other businesses and people who are trying to even grow their homes,” Bierman says. “I don’t see these industries going anywhere. Maybe their growth rate won’t be as high as it has been, but I don’t think it will be a decline anytime soon.”

MONEY Tip -Start the Year Debt Free


When Amy Kroezen, 29, graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta in 2008, she couldn't find a job that took advantage of her interior design degree. "I was turned down for job after job, and even advised to go wait tables by a design firm until the economy got better," she says.
To make matters worse, she soon had to start payments on her student loan debt. She and her husband, a dance instructor, owed about $116,000 in student loans and $2,000 in car payments. "I had no idea how we were going to spend the next 10-plus years paying $990 a month in debt. How would we ever own a house, have a child and have any quality of life?" Kroezen recalls asking herself. She felt physically ill, just as she had as a child when she heard her parents talking about money.
So Kroezen and her husband, a native of Australia, decided to do something about it. In April 2009, they committed to paying off their debt within four years by dedicating one of their incomes entirely to paying off debt and then living off the other income. At the time, Kroezen and her husband were each earning between $32,000 and $35,000. Now a growing family with a 2 and a half-year-old daughter and another baby on the way, they are very close to achieving their goal - and they say their strategy could work well for other families, too.
According to a December survey of more than 2,000 adults from Think Finance, an online financial products company, about three-quarters of Americans will carry debt into the new year, including credit card debt (36 percent) and car loans (28 percent). Here are six strategies that can help those Americans - and you - climb out of debt in 2014:
1. Downsize. Not only did Kroezen and her family start living off only one income, but they moved into a cheaper apartment that was minutes from each of their jobs, which meant they could also save money on gas. That also made it easier for them to live off just one income.
2. Use the envelope system. Whenever Kroezen got her paycheck, she turned it into cash and then distributed those bills into envelopes dedicated to different costs, including food, rent and other essentials.
3. Get ready to work and get support. "It's not easy," Kroezen acknowledges. "You need a good support system whether it's family, your spouse or a friend." She adds that aiming to get out of debt, not become rich, will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
4. Be super frugal. Kroezen and her family cut out all spending that wasn't absolutely necessary. That meant repairing broken items instead of buying new ones, skipping restaurants and making her own coffee. "There will be times you feel depressed over it, but remember the end result is going to outshine all that," she says.
Her family still lives on about $19,000 a year, so they can save the rest. She even built her own furniture when her family moved into a new house, and asked family members for power tools as gifts for Christmas. She's since built a king-size bed, dining table and toy box. She also makes her own cleaning supplies and grows some of her family's food, too.
5. Pay off the most expensive debt first. Not everyone abides by this approach, and instead prefers to pay off the smallest debts first to build momentum and a sense of accomplishment, but many financial advisors recommend paying off the most expensive debt first. That helps reduce interest and fee payments. Credit card debt is often the most expensive debt that people carry, followed by auto loans and student loans. Any debt with a variable rate can go up quickly when interest rates start to rise.
6. Stay inspired. Certified financial planner Jude Boudreaux learned how to stop overspending with the help of a vision book - a collection of images of financial goals, which helped keep him and his wife focused and on budget. Boudreaux's vision book includes images of where they want to vacation and their condo, which they want to pay off. He flips through it when he needs to remind himself to avoid spending on unnecessary items.
Now, Kroezen and her family live in Nashville, where Kroezen is a stay-at-home mom and her husband works in the insurance industry. Kroezen has paid off $103,168 of her student loan, and she says she would have completely paid it off were it not for the birth of her daughter. She and her husband also bought a home and put down a $20,000 down payment on it. They pay off their credit card bills in full each month.
"We will attack the mortgage in the same way as the student loan, although we may take a month off and buy some clothing, which we haven't done in years," Kroezen says. Her family is also growing, with another baby on the way.
If going debt-free is one of your goals for 2014, these strategies might help you get there.