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How to Up Your Motivation on Getting in Shape

by Advance Financial | July 6th, 2017

Fitness

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.

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How to Trick Yourself into Saving Money

by Advance Financial | June 8th, 2017

trick-yourself-into-saving

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.

 

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The Secrets to Saving Even More at Walmart

by Advance Financial | May 18th, 2017

Walmart3

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!

 

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Best Mom and Pop Businesses in TN

by Advance Financial | March 30th, 2017

CoverMOMANDPOP

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.

Cootie_Yelp

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.

MIz_dexnows

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.

OverMnt

Image Credit –Johsoncitypress

 

 

Bea’s Restaurant – Chattanooga

Great all-you-can-eat style southern restaurant with some of the best fried chicken around.

Beas_yelp

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.

MoonPie_yelp

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.

groovy-Yelp

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.

Elliston_yelp

Image Credit – Yelp

 

 

Batch Nashville-Nashville

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.

Batch_yelp

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

615yelp

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.

 mast

 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.

NIckandJ

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.

3rivers_ylep 

Image Credit – Yelp

 

 

 

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Weird and Wacky Items You Need in Your Life

by Advance Financial | February 17th, 2017

wierdcover

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

UBS-Typewriter

 

uncommongoods.com


 

 

Monkey Nail Dryer

 

 

monkey

 

infmetry.com


 

Mini Donut Factory

donut

bedbathandbeyond.com


 

Singing Pasta Timer

sining

amazon.com


 

Webbed Swim gloves

Web-Hands

wish.com


 

Scary bottle squeezer

ketchup

 

blacklabproducts.com


 

Food USBs

food-usb

amazon.com


 

Chemist Spice Rack

spicerack

amazon.com


 

Bear Oven Mitts

bearmittens

amazon.com


 

Splash Bowls

Splash-Bowl

amazon.com

 

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Guide to Cutting Heating Cost Down this Winter

by Advance Financial | November 3rd, 2016

heating-cost-cover

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.

airfilter

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.

filterpic


fans

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.

fanspic


spaceheater

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.

spaceheatpic


vents

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.

ventspic


doors

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.

doorspic

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Workweek Meal Plan That’s Cheap, Easy, and Healthy

by Advance Financial | November 1st, 2016

meal-prep

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.

monday

Breakfast

Banana and peanut butter on wheat toast

Lunch

Turkey sandwich – Recipe

Carrots with light ranch, and an apple

Snack

Low-fat yogurt

Dinner

Chicken tortilla soup – Recipe

(Note: Make extra chicken and set aside for Tuesday’s lunch.)

tuesday

Breakfast

Yogurt and all bran cereal

Lunch

Grilled chicken caesar salad wrap – Recipe

Celery with peanut butter

(Note: Use leftover chicken from Monday’s dinner.)

Snack

Mixed Nuts

 Dinner

Bacon and Broccoli Rice Bowl – Recipe

(Note: Make extra boiled eggs for Wednesday’s breakfast and extra bacon for Wednesday’s lunch.)

wednesday

Breakfast

Boiled eggs and wheat toast

(Note: use extra boiled eggs from Tuesday’s dinner.)

Lunch

BLT with avocado – Recipe

Chips and salsa

(Note: Use extra bacon from Tuesday’s dinner.)

Snack

Cottage cheese and saltine crackers

Dinner

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.)

thursday

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with peppers

(Note: Use extra peppers from Wednesday’s dinner.)

Lunch

Southwest salad with chicken –Recipe

(Note: Use extra chicken and corn from Wednesday’s dinner.)

Snack

Carrots with light ranch 

Dinner

Antipasti Penne –Recipe

friday

Breakfast

Oatmeal and bananas

 Lunch

Tuna salad sandwich – Recipe

Low sodium chips

Snack

Peanut butter and crackers

 Dinner

Turkey Chili – Recipe

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Easy Halloween Crafts To Do With The Kids

by Advance Financial | October 26th, 2016

covercraftshalloween

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!

 cups-textcup-details

mason-jar-text mason-jar_details

 

rolls-textcat-_-details

tissuebox-text monster-feet_details

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