July 6th, 2017
Let’s go back to around March or April and think about your fitness goals. Was it something along the lines of “ the ultimate beach body by summer?” If that has yet to be obtained, then there is still time to kick it into high gear at the gym and start eating a healthy diet. If your reading this blog, then chances are the reason you haven’t obtain your fitness goal is due to lack of motivation. I mean let’s face it, working your butt off at the gym and then going home to eat a salad and downing a protein shake isn’t the most exciting routine to start. To help you get in the gym and start eating right, here are some tips to help with motivation.
1. Get some new workout clothes
Ever experience that feeling of no longer dreading the next day of work because you have some new threads to show off to your co-workers? It works the same for when getting new gym clothes. Make going to the gym a fashion show. Purchase some workout clothes you feel confident in and you’ll be itching to go to the gym to show them off.
2. Recruit a fitness buddy
Misery loves company ;). We kid, but having a partner in crime to knock out the weights does make it a lot more enjoyable. Turn working out into your new weekly get together with your closest friends and you’ll start looking forward to hitting the gym.
3. Sign-up for group fitness classes
It’s not all about boring work out routines and the monotonous jog around the track. Sign up for a swim class, a dance class, a spin cycle class, or any other class that gets your blood pumping.
4. Put your money where your motivation is
We have found a way for you to actually get paid for working out, or charged for not working out. The app Pact makes you accountable by tying your bank account in with your workout success. Make a weekly pact to exercise more or eat healthier. Set what you’ll pay other Pact members if you don’t reach it and if you don’t they get paid. It works the same for you though, so if another member doesn’t meet their goal you get paid.
5. Reward yourself
If you work hard then you deserve a reward. Set goals and if you meet those goals reward yourself. Say you lose 5 pounds in a week’s time; you get a new pair of shoes. Reached a new bench press max? You get a beer (light beer). When your working for small rewards then you’ll have more motivation to make it through the week.
6. Track your success
There is nothing like success to boost your motivation. Make sure and keep track of where you start and the progress you’re making along the way. There are tons of apps and programs, like Weight Watchers, that help you track your progress so you know how far you’ve come in your fitness journey. Take pictures as well so you can visually see your progress.
7. Let the world know of your progress
All your friends are doing it so why not join in? Take what they call “gym selfies” and pictures of the healthy meals you prepare and share on social media. Getting praise for a “progress pic” is a pretty good feeling. It may sound a little vain, but hey, it sure will get you motivated.
8. Create a workout playlist
Does the right music get you in the mood for throwing around weights and sprinting around a track? Make yourself a playlist of music you like that’s also up beat and only allow yourself to listen to it at the gym. Pandora has some great pre-made workout stations that you can also take advantage of.
9. Splurge on a personal trainer twice a month
If a fitness crazed trainer yelling at you won’t get you motivated to push through that workout then nothing will. Make an appointment twice a month to work with a personal trainer as a way to mix things up and ensure you get a seriously good workout. You can even get some friends to join and do a group session.
10. Get creative with your workouts and diet
It’s not just about salads and the treadmill. Make eating healthy enjoyable by trying unique, yet health conscious recipes. Working out doesn’t have to be the same old gym workout you do every time. Take a hike one day or do some indoor rock climbing. Switching things up and making them more exciting will make getting into shape something you enjoy and you’ll be motivated to keep it up.
June 8th, 2017
It’s all in your head! Being financially frugal with your money and putting some away to save is all about psychology. You’ve got to mentally commit before you’re ever going to be able to see the numbers increase. Here are some pretty simple ways to trick yourself into building that savings account.
Get More Tax Refund with Payroll Deductions
We know – manually removing money from your checking account and putting it into savings can be painful. Even having money be automatically taken out every month hurts because you still see that money leaving. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s the moto you need to focus on and the best way to do this is to claim fewer exemptions on your W-4 so extra cash is withheld from your paycheck. When tax season comes around you will get all that extra money back through a refund. You never had to see the amount actually leave your account the whole year so you won’t even notice it’s not there.
Remove Credit Card Numbers from Online Shopping Sites
One of the best moves from online retailers was adding the feature to save your credit card information for easy checkout. I mean think about it. The extra steps at the end of checking out can actually make you not even want to make a purchase on something you don’t even need. By removing all of your cards from all your favorite stores will force you to take that extra step of checking out when shopping online, which in turn, is deter you away from even making the purchase, hopefully. If you are an online shopping addict, you’ll be shocked at how much you can save by taking away the convenience factor.
Make Yourself Think You’re Broke
When your checking account is overflowing with cash it’s easy to spend money like you’re a celebrity. Easy way to fix this- make it look like you’re broke. Figure out the base amount you’ll need to survive and put the rest in a separate checking account that’s not connected to a card. Just the fact that looking at your main checking account and seeing a low number will be enough to put you on guard to think twice about every purchase. And if it gets to the wire, you can always transfer some back. But make sure it’s just enough to get you through. Once payday comes back around transfer whatever is left in the second checking account into savings.
Transform Your Routine
Change things up and make expensive routine things in your life either be scarcer or completely disappear. Take smoking for instance. Cut back or completely quit. Not only will it be a lot healthier, but you will also save a lot. Do you have a routine of eating out with friends multiple times a week? Try making a new tradition of eating dinner at each others house and everyone brings a dish. This one definitely takes creativity, but if you can find ways to switch out expensive routines for cheaper ones then you will be one your way to saving some green.
May 18th, 2017
Love it or hate it, Walmart is one of the largest super markets in the U.S. and their competitively low prices are what draws so many people to the retail giant. It’s no secret that you can save a substantial amount of money by choosing to shop at Walmart over stores like target, but did you know there are even more ways to save. Below you will find some of the secrets to rolling down those prices even more.
1. Utilize the Price Matching Policy
Part of Walmart’s lowest price guarantee is their promise to price match any of their competitors prices. This means if another retailer has an item for a cheaper price, you can bring in the advertisement or a screenshot of the deal online and they will match the price.
This also goes for their own website. If a product is listed for a lower price on Walmart.com than in the store, they will honor the price listed online.
2. Use a Gift Card for Gas
The Walmart Gas Gift Card is a sure fire way to save on gas. Get a discount on gas at any Murphy’s USA Gas station when you pay with a Walmart Gas Gift Card. You can add any amount from $10 – $1,000 to the card. The amount you can save per gallon changes throughout the year, but right now you can save 3 cents per gallon when using the card.
3. Hold Out for the Last Mark Down
If you want to know when an item has been marked down to its lowest amount, you got to look at the last digit in the price. Yep, Walmart uses a numbers code that distinguishes what level of clearance an item is. Items with prices ending in 7 are the original price. Items with prices ending in 5 are the first markdown, and Items with prices ending in 1 are the final markdown. So if an item is still fully stocked and it’s priced at 5.95, hold off a couple of days and the price will drop even more.
4. Download the App
Another easy way to utilize even more savings at Walmart, is using their app. The app lets you create shopping lists, check in-store and online prices and availability, look at the weekly ad and more. On of the best features is the Savings Catcher. You simply scan your receipt using the app and it will compare prices at local stores, including current advertised sale prices. If there is a lower price at another store, Walmart will credit you the difference on a gift card.
5. Get a Free $10 Gift Card
MyPoints.com is a site that pays you to print coupons and shop online. Right now they are running a deal where if you spend $20 at Walmart they will send you a $10 gift card. It’s extremely easy. All you have to do is Sign up for MyPoints, follow the directions on how to use the site, and spend $20 on Walmart.com. And that’s It!
March 30th, 2017
As a family owned and operated company, we at Advance Financial understand the importance of supporting and giving back to communities you live and work in. There are tons of great places to support local businesses here in the state of TN and we have created a list of some of our favorites. Building a strong community starts with supporting local businesses, so get out and buy local.
Cootie Browns- Johnson City
Just might be the best sandwich place in JC and the cool and colorful atmosphere of the restaurant is definitely something to experience.
Image Credit – Yelp
Mize Farm and Garden Supply – Johnson City
Family owned and operated, the employees here ensure that your shopping experience will be great with their knowledge of agriculture/gardening.
Image Credit – DexKnows
OverMountain Outdoors – Johnson City
This place is owned locally and stocked full of all the necessities for spending time in the great outdoors.
Image Credit –Johsoncitypress
Bea’s Restaurant – Chattanooga
Great all-you-can-eat style southern restaurant with some of the best fried chicken around.
Image Credit – Yelp
Moon Pie General Store – Chattanooga
You’ll definitely be able to find just about every flavor of Moon Pies that exists at this place, as well as old timey candy and other great souvenirs.
Image Credit – Yelp
All Things Groovy – Chattanooga
All Things Groovy is your go to place for anything that’s psychedelic and tie-dye. For some hippy vibes and great local souvenirs make sure and stop by.
Image Credit – Yelp
Elliston Place Soda Shop – Nashville
Serving up homespun milkshakes and homemade pies for 75 years, this is the local restaurant you’ve got to try at least once.
Image Credit – Yelp
You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to shop local with Batch. They provide gift boxes with goodies that are all made locally.
Image Credit – Yelp
Project 615 – Nashville
If you looking for the coolest Nashville t-shirt around, then you need to stop by Project 615. They also carry all sorts of Nashville inspired décor and souvenirs
Image Credit – Yelp
Mast General Store- Knoxville
Decked out with an old timey vibe, this is the place to get everything from Appalachian toys to glass bottle coke and ice cream.
Image Credit – Yelp
Nick & J’s Café – Knoxville
Named after the owner’s children, Nicholas & Jordan, this place has become a staple restaurant for the Nashville area.
Image Credit – Yelp
Three Rivers Market- Knoxville
This is a great local grocery store that does tons to give back to the community while also supporting local farmers.
Image Credit – Yelp
February 17th, 2017
When it comes to online shopping, the sky is the limit for weird and wacky items available to purchase. Do you actually “need” any of these items? Probably not. They all would definitely add a little uniqueness to your life, though. Here is our list of some of the most interesting items available to order online.
USB Type Writer
Monkey Nail Dryer
Mini Donut Factory
Singing Pasta Timer
Webbed Swim gloves
Scary bottle squeezer
Chemist Spice Rack
Bear Oven Mitts
November 3rd, 2016
The cold will soon be upon us and with cold weather also comes high heating bills. Whether your home is heated by electric or gas, the cost to heat your home can significantly increase if you don’t take certain precautions to run your system as efficiently as possible. The more energy used this winter the higher the cost will be, so the key is to conserve as much energy and heat as possible. To help out with being energy efficient this winter we have listed 5 quick and easy things to do to conserve the heat in your house which will help to lower your electric or gas bill.
A dirty air-return filter can significantly increase the cost to heat your home this winter. Dirt and grime in the filter restricts airflow causing your AC unit to work extra hard to heat your home, which increases your electric bill. Make sure to check all air filters and replace them regularly to ensure your system is working as efficiently as possible.
If you didn’t already know, you can set your ceiling fans to either spin clockwise or counter clockwise. When your fan is set to run counter clockwise, or forward, it pushes air down creating a cooling effect. This is recommended for summer. When set clockwise, or reverse, the fan pulls air up and redistributes it, which is recommended for winter since heat rises.
You might be thinking, “Wait? A space heater uses electricity!” If you turn down your ac a few degrees and run a space heater in the room that’s occupied the most, the amount of energy used from the AC is substantially less. Even with a space heater running. Just make sure to turn off the space heater at night, and bundle up with extra layers.
If you have a guest room or bonus room that is never used, don’t waste energy heating it. Most thermostats are in the living room and the AC is regulated based on the temperature in that room. If you close the vents in unused rooms more hot air will blow into rooms with vents opened, causing the temperature to regulate faster and use less energy.
Just like closing vents in unused rooms, make sure to always keep all interior doors closed. This will cut down the amount of square footage the AC is heating and cause your house to warm up quicker. Your system will turn on less, which will have a positive affect on your heating bill.
November 1st, 2016
The actual decision to start eating healthy is effortless. You just decide one day, “hey, I’m going to start eating healthier.” The phrase “easier said than done” fits perfectly with the idea of eating healthy. You can say you’ll do it, but when it comes down to actually choosing healthier options for meals it can be rather difficult. Below we have created an easy planning guide to making cheap, easy, and most importantly healthy meals that will get you through the entire workweek. A lot of these recipes utilize leftovers from previous meals, which will aid in cutting grocery costs. Links to full recipes for lunches and dinners are included.
Banana and peanut butter on wheat toast
Turkey sandwich – Recipe
Carrots with light ranch, and an apple
Chicken tortilla soup – Recipe
(Note: Make extra chicken and set aside for Tuesday’s lunch.)
Yogurt and all bran cereal
Grilled chicken caesar salad wrap – Recipe
Celery with peanut butter
(Note: Use leftover chicken from Monday’s dinner.)
Bacon and Broccoli Rice Bowl – Recipe
(Note: Make extra boiled eggs for Wednesday’s breakfast and extra bacon for Wednesday’s lunch.)
Boiled eggs and wheat toast
(Note: use extra boiled eggs from Tuesday’s dinner.)
BLT with avocado – Recipe
Chips and salsa
(Note: Use extra bacon from Tuesday’s dinner.)
Cottage cheese and saltine crackers
Chicken, pepper and corn stir-fry – Recipe
(Note: Make extra and before seasoning set aside. Use peppers for Thursday’s breakfast and chicken and corn for Thursday’s lunch.)
Scrambled eggs with peppers
(Note: Use extra peppers from Wednesday’s dinner.)
Southwest salad with chicken –Recipe
(Note: Use extra chicken and corn from Wednesday’s dinner.)
Carrots with light ranch
Antipasti Penne –Recipe
Oatmeal and bananas
Tuna salad sandwich – Recipe
Low sodium chips
Peanut butter and crackers
Turkey Chili – Recipe
October 26th, 2016
Halloween is the best time for crafts with the kids. Between carving pumpkins, making scarecrows, and making your own spooky decorations, they are bound to have some great childhood memories. To help you make even more memories with the kids this Halloween, we have outlined some super easy and kid friendly crafts to try out. Enjoy!