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Freelance writer & indie author sharing thoughts on creativity, productivity and success. https://karenbanes.com

Annual expenses dictate monthly budgeting.

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When it comes to making a budget, one thing that will often trip you up is a lack of understanding regarding what you actually spend. You can start tracking your spending at any time, of course. But if you’ve tracked your spending for a month, you still won’t have a good idea of what your annual expenditure is.

Some expenses are quarterly, annual, or (the worst kind) completely unpredictable. Some seasons are more expensive. And those varying expenses depend on you and your circumstances. Live in a hot climate? Those summer energy bills will be higher while you’re constantly running…


Exploring the world without blowing your budget.

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As the world starts opening up many of us are planning to start traveling again. And some of those who haven’t travelled much before have decided to start. Over the last year or so many of us have realised that life is short and maybe we should see a little more of the pretty amazing planet we live on. The good news is that no matter where you want to travel, there are a few ways to make sure you do it in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Know your travel style

This will determine whether it’s better value for you to travel independently…


And those selling it aren’t hustling as hard as they say they are.

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You can’t move far online these days without encountering what we’re now referring to as hustle culture. Generally speaking, hustle culture is all about working harder, working longer hours, and making bigger sacrifices than those around you. It’s peppered with “inspirational “ quotes like:


But so will most married women.

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I read a lot of feminist writing. Naturally enough, it’s sometimes critical of men, or at least the toxic masculinity and misogynist attitudes prevalent in our culture. Unsurprisingly, it’s not unusual for a certain type of man to pop up in the comments to tell the writer how unattractive her attitude makes her to him. These men genuinely seem to think this will bother her, which generally means they’ve completely missed her point. Sooner or later, one of them decides to point out to her that with an attitude like that, she’ll die alone.

Many of these men have not…


Because some progress is better than none.

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

One of my most dearly held beliefs got turned around during the pandemic, and I can never go back. I think it was my grandfather who first told me that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. I took it to heart. And then some. I told myself that everything worth doing was worth doing well. Not just well, but as near perfect as possible. For a long time, I never wanted to half-ass anything. If I was going to do something, you could bet I was putting my whole ass into it. …


That don’t involve a whole lot of effort.

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OK, so the title’s kind of arrogant. I don’t pretend to know exactly what you need in your life right now. But I’ve found these five things have helped me through a crappy year and kept my life (overall) on an upward swing. I hope they’ll do the same for you.

Be Focused When It Comes To Work

By work I’m referring to specific work projects at your regular job, freelance work, or studying. Anything that’s a task that needs to be done but doesn’t have a specific time frame.

Focusing exclusively on the work at hand is a valuable skill. Not because work is the most…


And we are all in perfect agreement about this.

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One thing I’ve noticed as we open up after our third (and, we’re really hoping, final) lockdown here in the UK, is that everyone knows exactly how Covid spreads, and therefore what we should do to keep it under control. According to my friends in different countries, the situation is the same worldwide. We have had more than a year to study this virus, and we all know exactly how it spreads.

What’s more, everyone is in complete agreement on this. There are no disputes, no doubts, no arguments. …


Generational poverty is very different from short-term poverty.

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Years ago, while I was studying for a social science degree, one of my lecturers pointed out that even the most secure, middle class people are often just one tragic event away from poverty: a divorce, a medical emergency, a bereavement (especially of a spouse or partner when children are young).

It’s true, but the sort of poverty secure, middle class people are often plunged into by tragedy is still very different from the generational poverty that many are born into. And that’s a problem, because some middle class people who have experienced temporary financial setbacks think they know about…


Spoiler: There are no consumer goods on this list.

Photo by Patrick Schneideron Unsplash

I talk a lot, in my personal finance articles, about mindful spending. It’s one of the keys to feeling in control of your finances and comfortable with your spending habits on any budget. There are an awful lot of things we spend on that are unnecessary and even likely to add to our mental stress. So thinking before we spend can be really useful, even when we’re doing well, financially. There are a few things, however, that are (almost) always worth spending money on.

Health

Medical debt is now the most common reason for declaring personal bankruptcy in the US. In…

Karen Banes

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