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Signed, Logan https://signedlogan.com Balancing Life, Health, and Hustle Fri, 28 Jun 2019 16:02:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i1.wp.com/signedlogan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/cropped-large-circle-banner-wp-icon-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Signed, Logan https://signedlogan.com 32 32 133631619 The Smart Vacation Spending Plan for the Ultimate German Getaway https://signedlogan.com/2018/06/13/smart-vacation-spending-plan-germany/ Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:45:06 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2419 Everybody loves going on vacation. And if you can’t go on a vacation, it’s always fun to vicariously live through our friends’ Instagram posts when they’re off on a beautiful adventure that we would love to take one day! After all, isn’t that why we work long hours in the office or have our side hustles, so we [...]

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Everybody loves going on vacation. And if you can’t go on a vacation, it’s always fun to vicariously live through our friends’ Instagram posts when they’re off on a beautiful adventure that we would love to take one day! After all, isn’t that why we work long hours in the office or have our side hustles, so we can enjoy our free time in someplace far away and magical a few times a year? But the fact of the matter is that most vacations, especially ones that involve a trans-ocean flight, are not cheap. And let’s be real, we don’t all have a few thousand dollars just sitting around in our bank accounts to blow on a European adventure. It’s why you have to be smart about your money and why I followed a smart vacation spending plan for my trip to Germany last month!

The tenant of this plan? You want to get the most bang for your buck without breaking the bank, and that means making smart spending decisions for you or your group before, during, and after your vacation. But you can’t make an informed decision about when to buy what if you don’t know the industry tips and tricks! So…

Let’s create a smart vacation spending plan for your next big adventure!!

Open a travel credit card for your trip.

If you only have one credit card (like I did before January of this year), then it might be worth it to consider opening a travel credit card (or a good cash back card) to help you pay for your trip!

There are a couple things to consider when you’re opening a travel card for a specific trip, but the two main things I look for are: 1) what is their rewards program, and 2) how low and for how long is their introductory APR%?

[ Read On : 6 Tough-Love Ways to Save if You REALLY Need to Stop Spending Money ]

Many travel cards will give you better rewards if you redeem them for travel-related expenses, such as flights or hotels, meaning you get even more bang for every buck you spend on it! Many even have no foreign transaction fees, meaning you could make a purchase in Germany and wouldn’t have to pay a fee just to convert it from euros to dollars on your statement. Definite win!

But the most important thing? Depending on your credit, a new credit card could have a 0% introductory APR (meaning no interest charges!) for 12-15 months! This means you could pay your travel costs (flights, accommodation, excursions) over time instead of all at once, making it more affordable without continuing to rack up interest expenses each month.

Smart Vacation Spending Plan Tip : Look for travel credit cards with no foreign transaction fees and 0% introductory APR to get the most out of your vacation without draining your savings!

Book your flight 6 months out.

It’s all over the internet that the best time to book a flight is 4-6 months in advance of your trip, but I’m telling you right now: if you’re flying to Germany, book it right at that 6 month mark (or maybe a little before).

I had been glancing around at flights 6-7 months in advance of my trip and found prices around $500. My immediate thought? Awesome. But it was Christmas time and my credit card balance was higher than I wanted, so I decided to wait. The result? I thought booking 5 months out from my trip would fit perfectly into my smart vacation spending plan, but I ended up spending $150 more than if I had booked a month earlier.

My flight, hands down, was the most expensive purchase I made for this trip. While I still got a pretty great deal, I seriously regret not booking a month earlier and saving that money!

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Look into hostels or AirBnBs before you look at hotels, and book them in advance.

But make sure you know which one is right for you! If you’re traveling solo, your best bet is probably a group room at a hostel, which can be as inexpensive as 20€ a night! But if you’re traveling with a group or your significant other, an AirBnB is definitely the way to go. But if you one of these options is part of your smart vacation spending plan, you want to book them as far in advance as possible to get the best deals!

[ Read On : Your Ultimate Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide ]

For the vast majority of our trip, Fred and I stayed in private rooms in shared AirBnBs. And honestly? It was amazing. We used our rooms primarily as a place to sleep and shower rather than a destination in and of itself, which allowed us to choose options a little further away from the city centers that tended to be cheaper (around 30€ a night each)!

But remember: at this point, hostels and AirBnBs are incredibly well-known budget accommodations. They’re in everyone’s smart vacation spending plan. It’s why you need to book your rooms as far in advance as possible. Otherwise that hostel in the center of the city that fits perfectly into your budget? It’ll be completely booked. And that dreamy AirBnB you found? Won’t be available.

Smart Vacation Spending Plan Tip : Want $40 of travel credit (aka potentially an entire night free) with AirBnB? Then make sure to sign up using my link* and book your dream room now!

*This is a referral link, meaning that you get credit for signing up, and I get credit for referring you at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting Signed, Logan!

Exchange money at your bank in advance of your trip.

Those kiosks in the mall or at the airport that allow you to exchange money for any currency you need? Uh, yeah, those are a huge ripoff. Their entire purpose is to turn a profit off of you when you exchange your currency, meaning that you’ll get way fewer euros than your dollars are actually worth.

Your bank, on the other hand? While they still want to have a profit as payment for the service of exchanging your money for you, it isn’t their entire business model. So when you’re creating your smart vacation spending plan, make sure to build a trip to your local branch into it.

Depending on the size of the branch you go to, or its location, they may not always have euros on hand for you to just walk in and buy. There’s a good chance they’ll have to order it for you, which can take a few days. So make sure to call in advance! While it may not be as convenient as the mall or airport kiosks, your wallet will definitely thank your only spending $1.25 per euro instead of $1.40 per euro (when the market price is $1.19).

Don’t book your buses or trains until you get to Germany.

The German public transportation system is awesome. It’s fast, efficient, and relatively inexpensive, as well as incredibly convenient! I’ll admit, I was a little concerned when Fred and I decided not to book our intercity travel in advance, but in the end it really worked out.

By holding off until we arrived in Munich, we were able to better plan our days around the train arrival and departure times we had available. For instance, we had originally planned to leave Munich late in the afternoon and arrive to Karlsruhe just before dinner. But when the night before the train ride rolled around? We realized there wasn’t enough that we wanted to do in Europe that next day, so we booked our train for mid-morning (when it tends to be cheaper, too)!

My suggestion? As soon as you get to a main train station, look for the red OBB or DB kiosks and book the longest (and most expensive) legs of your trip first. You’ll get the best deal the further in advance that you book, and you’ll be able to reserve your seats which is a must for long train rides.

Smart Vacation Spending Plan Tip : Spend the extra 9€ to reserve your seats on long train rides. German trains will often oversell, meaning you could end up standing for 7 hours if you don’t reserve your seat or manage to snag an unreserved one before anyone else!

Shop at local bakeries for breakfast and dinner to keep your food costs low.

If you’re not planning on cooking your own food during your stay in Germany, then your best bet is to shop at the many bakeries that your city has to offer!

Bakeries are incredibly popular in Germany and you can find them on practically every corner, in every major shopping center, as well as in almost every train station. While many of the bakeries are chains, this allows them to mass produce breads, sandwiches, and pastries for incredibly cheap, and those savings are passed on to you.

[ Read On : 6 Tough-Love Ways to Save if You REALLY Need to Stop Spending Money ]

Is it the most glamorous way to eat your meals? No, not particularly. But it is convenient. And when you can spend a grand total of 5€ for two coffees, a pastry, and pretzel, and a sandwich, it’s hard to justify spending more!

But if you want to have a few good, sit down meals in nicer restaurants, then I definitely recommend making lunch your big meal instead of dinner. For one thing, it’s the German way! And for another, the meals tend to be less expensive, the restaurants less crowded, and you’ll probably be somewhere cooler in the middle of the day than at the end, anyways!

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Pay attention to the type of public transportation ticket you’re buying.

While German public transportation is generally pretty cheap, depending on the city, I would caution against immediately buying a 24-hour ticket as your way to get around the city unless you really need it. Take the time to calculate how many times you would have to take the bus or the metro to make it worth it!

Generally, a 24-hour ticket is the cost of 3-5 single ride tickets, depending on the city. For instance, in Munich, a 24-hour ticket was 12.00€, whereas a single ride was 2.90€. If you plan on walking around the whole day, and only using the metro to get into and out of the city, just buy two single ride tickets!

If you’re travelling with at least one other person, it is by far the cheapest to buy a “group” transportation card for your party than for each of you to buy individual tickets. Even if there’s only two of you! Group tickets are for “2 or more” people, and will save you anywhere between 0.50€ and 2.00€ each day depending on how many people you have.

Smart Vacation Spending Plan Tip : Public transportation in German cities is different from regional transportation unless specified otherwise. Just because you took a regional train that day doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for a metro ticket! Make sure to purchase one and “activate” it with a timestamp as soon as you get on the train to avoid a 100€ fine!

Stock up on large water bottles at grocery stores instead of train stations!

The water in Germany? Well, it’s pretty amazing. Crystal clear, mostly from melting ice and snow in the mountains, and extremely clean and abundant. Which means, of course, that they charge an arm and a leg for it.

[ Read On : 6 Monthly Budget Mistakes That Are Breaking Your Bank ]

There is no such thing as “free tap water” at a restaurant in Germany, and ordering one will immediately peg you as a tourist without actually saving you money (they’ll still charge you for it). Unfortunately, there’s no way to get around it at a restaurant, so I recommend ordering a nice beer or Radler to get some actual bang for your buck.

But you will need to drink water throughout the day, there’s no getting around that. My recommendation? Walk straight past the bakeries and food stands at the train station and find the nearest grocery store (often tucked inside a larger building) and buy your water there. We’re talking the difference between a potentially 3.00€, 0.5L bottle of still water and a 0.15€, 1.5L bottle of still water! Over the course of two weeks or longer? That definitely adds up!

Have you created a smart vacation spending plan before? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to share this with a frugal friend!

Smart Spending Tips for Your Best Germany Vacation, smart vacation spending plan, vacation spending, frugal spending, frugal vacation, frugal germany, save money on vacation, save vacation money

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Your Ultimate Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide https://signedlogan.com/2018/06/06/neuschwanstein-castle-excursion-guide/ Wed, 06 Jun 2018 14:45:35 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2377 Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine: a striking white castle nestled into mountains covered with evergreen trees. Streams, waterfalls, and farms dot the ascending trails and the wide open valley below. Swans swim on a placid lake in the distance. A few kilometers away lies a town known for its beautiful pastel buildings. [...]

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Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine: a striking white castle nestled into mountains covered with evergreen trees. Streams, waterfalls, and farms dot the ascending trails and the wide open valley below. Swans swim on a placid lake in the distance. A few kilometers away lies a town known for its beautiful pastel buildings. Sound like a fairytale? That’s because it is! And while many people know this place as Germany’s “Disney Castle,” it goes by a much more — well, German — name: Neuschwanstein (roughly pronounced New-SHWAN-stine). And if this sounds like a place you want to visit, then girl, have I got your back with this Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide!

Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in all of Germany, with over 6000 visitors walking through its gates each day! And all you need to do is take a look at the pictures to see why. Just two hours outside of Munich, this striking castle atop a mountain is what inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty castles (yes both) and looks like it’s straight out of German fairytale! For tourists from around the globe it’s a true bucket-list destination, and it absolutely was for me. So when Fred surprised me on Valentine’s day with tickets, I was over the moon! Hiking trails and fairytale scenery? Sign me up!!

While it looks like it’s straight out of the 1500s, Neuschwanstein (which translates to New Swan Stone) Castle was actually built in the 1800s by King Ludwig II, with all the modern trappings inside from that timeframe to make his life comfortable. Each room is like stepping back in time: to Byzantium, to the adventures of Sir Lancelot, and more! Unfortunately, he did before it was ever completed. Neuschwanstein Castle is now the most visited castle in all of Germany, and the money raised through tours and donations goes towards restoring it as well as other regional castles throughout the country!

Ready to get out there and explore everything that this fairytale land has to offer? Then look no further and read on!!

Your Ultimate Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide

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Things to Keep in Mind when Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle:

You can definitely do it in one day.

Fred and I spent a total of maybe five hours in Füssen, Neuschwanstein, and Schwangau, and we felt like we had seen all that we needed to see! It didn’t help, of course, that it was raining for about 50% of that time, so we weren’t super keen on staying out in the open.

This is part of the reason why I called this post a Neuschwanstein Castle excursion guide instead of a travel guide. How much time you spend there will be up to you, however!

You must book your tickets in advance!

Neuschwanstein Castle has become such a popular tourist destination that you can’t just walk up to the counter to get tickets. Well, you can, but then you’re not guaranteed to get a tour at your preferred time or in your preferred language. In fact, if you arrive to the ticket counter after 12pm, you’re most likely not going to get tickets at all.

I recommend booking your tickets at least one month in advance to ensure you can go on the day and time that best fits your travel schedule! This, unfortunately, means that you have to rely on far-out weather forecasting, but it’s better than arriving only to find out that you can’t tour the castle at all!




The weather is highly unpredictable.

I’m sure you’ve heard this about most places in Germany, but it’s especially applicable when visiting Neuschwanstein Castle (and it’s why I’ve included it in my Neuschwanstein Castle excursion guide!). One of the best things you can remember is this: the closer you get to the Alps, the more unpredictable the weather will be.

Ready for a brief science lesson? Füssen and Neuschwanstein Castle are located within the foothills of the Alps, and because of their proximity to these mountains, they get a ton of rain. In order for clouds to rise above the mountains, they have to become lighter, meaning they drop whatever excess water they’re carrying right on top of the castle and surrounding area!

Pro-Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide Tip: Make sure you’re bringing a raincoat and an umbrella with you, as well as shoes you wouldn’t mind getting wet. You never know when the rain will fall!

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The easiest way to get there is from Munich.

If you’re flying into Germany through Munich, I highly recommend staying the night in the city and then travelling to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich the next day! It’s easy, convenient, and the most popular way to get there as well.

This is exactly what Fred and I did when we first flew to Germany: on Monday we landed and checked into our AirBnB, and on Tuesday we hopped on the train to the castle! So, as I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve based this Neuschwanstein Castle excursion guide off of travel from Munich.

Make sure to pack sandwiches or snacks in your bag!

Bakery items like pastries, sandwiches, and, of course, pretzels, are incredibly inexpensive in Germany, especially at the Hauptbanhofs. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, make sure to take advantage of this and buy your lunch before you leave! I paid a total of 5€ for a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch and an iced currant pastry with a small cup of coffee for breakfast. Literally a steal.

[ Read On : 6 Monthly Budget Mistakes That Are Breaking Your Bank ]

Remember, though: water is clean and plentiful in the German countryside, which means they never give it away for free at restaurants. It also means that at tourist traps, water bottles are expensive. Do yourself a favor and buy a 1.5L bottle of water before you leave and sip on it all day!

Pro-Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide Tip: Pack a pair of normal headphones along with your snacks. Trust me, you’ll need them for your tour!

Getting to Neuschwanstein (via Füssen)

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By Tour

Like I said, Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Germany, so you can bet that there will be plenty of tour companies vying for your money! Almost all hostels in the city will have plenty of brochures advertising competitive rates, and they’ll be able to recommend you a company that they work with as well.

Almost all of these packages will include transportation, a group tour guide, and tickets into the castle, so if you’re looking for an easy, all-inclusive option, this is it!

By Train

While you may feel tempted to plan out your entire trip, travel included, long before you ever touch down on German soil, I’m here to tell you: don’t do it. Not only will you (most likely) confuse yourself using the German websites, but it’s also completely unnecessary. Public transportation is incredibly accessible in Germany and also incredibly inexpensive. If you buy it when you’re there, that is!

When Fred and I arrived to Munich Hauptbanhof (abbreviated Hbf, it means central station!) we immediately walked over to one of the bright red kiosks to book our train tickets for the next day. But here’s the catch: You’re traveling to Füssen, not Schwangau or Neuschwanstein, so look for those tickets! It’s the closest town with a train station to the castle! But don’t worry, once you arrive at the train station, it’s a quick bus or taxi ride to Schwangau!

The first departing train of the day to any location is almost always a regional express (ICE) train, meaning it goes faster and has limited stops. It also means that it’s way more expensive than the next train out! As in, 25€ more expensive. Fred and I each purchased a normal regional train ticket for the grand total of 28€. If we had purchased the 8am train ticket? It would have cost us 80€. The regional train tickets were also round trip, and we could take any regional train we wanted back to Munich!

Pro-Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide Tip: Don’t buy the 8am train ticket! Opt to leave an hour or two later and save yourself 25€.




Things to Remember: The Neuchwanstein Castle Ticket Office

Once you arrive in Füssen, you will need to take either a bus or a taxi to Hohenschwangau to pick up your tickets from the ticket office. Both are located right outside of the train station so you can’t miss them! Both rides should take a max of 15 minutes.

For the buses, you’ll need to take either bus 73 (direction Steingaden / Garmisch-Partenkirchen) or bus 78 (direction Schwangau) and get off at the Hohenschwangau stop. The bus costs about 2,30€ one-way, so it’s incredibly economical! But in my experience on a weekday, it only ran once every half-hour to an hour.

My recommendation would be to take a taxi, if possible. It cost us around 12€ total to get from the train station directly to the ticket office, and if you’re a group of two or more, it’s definitely worth the extra euros!

Once you arrive at the ticket office, immediately get in line! Especially if you haven’t reserved your tickets in advance.

Pro-Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide Tip: You’ll have to pick up your tickets before the ascent to the castle because there isn’t a ticket office up there, so make sure it’s the first thing you do!

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Getting up to the castle

There are a number of ways that you can actually get up to the top of the mountain for your castle tour!

Horse-Drawn Carriage

If you seriously want to fulfill your Disney Princess Dream of ascending to your castle via horse drawn carriage, then boy, do I have news for you. You can actually do that!! And no, this is not a joke.

Right outside the ticket office, carriages will be lined up, waiting to take tourists to the top of the mountain and drop them off at the castle. They’re covered can fit up to 10 people, so be ready to squeeze! The cost is 6€ uphill and 3€ downhill.

Bus

Tour buses as well as public transportation buses will regularly take tourists up to the top of the mountain! The good news? You’ll actually be dropped off right next to the Marienbrücke, the must-see bridge between two cliffs that gives you the perfect shot with the castle! It costs 1,80€ uphill, 1,00€ downhill, or 2,60€ round trip.

Good ol’Fashioned Hiking

As a self-proclaimed outdoorsy gal, I will always opt anything that allows me to get some hiking done! So needless to say, Fred and I braved the not-so-terrible 30 minute hike up the mountain.

You have two options when it comes to hiking: you can either walk along the road the horse-drawn carriages use (a less-steep route with a paved path) that takes you right up to the castle or you can veer to the right and hike up a steeper gravel path that lets you out right next to the Marienbrücke!

I personally recommend the more difficult route. It was fun to get our blood pumping as we ascended, and we happened across a natural waterfall right along the path where we could refill out water bottles!

Pro-Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide Tip: Make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for the hike! It can get steep and slippery. Sneakers are good but hiking shoes will always be best!

What to do at Neuschwanstein Castle

Yay, we’ve made it to the top of the mountain! That a feat in and of itself! Here’s your best bet of how to do things:

Head to the Marienbrücke first and scope it out.

Because most buses let tourists off right next to here, you want to try to time it so that you’re on the bridge in between bus arrivals! The bridge is stable, but it’s not for the faint of heart. The railings are solid but the floorboards do jiggle, which isn’t helpful when crowds of tourists are pushing past you! (Believe me, I practically had to drag Fred out there kicking and screaming). But if you can get out there with fewer people on the bridge? The view is absolutely breathtaking. Absolutely worth it! If it’s crowded, no worries, you can always come back after your castle tour.

[ Read On : 6 Tough-Love Ways to Save if You REALLY Need to Stop Spending Money ]

Pro-Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide Tip: If it starts to rain, head to the Marienbrücke immediately! Rain tends to be intermittent and ends quickly, but most tourists will rush off the bridge to get cover, leaving you with all the space in the world and a picture-perfect moment! (My photos were taking in the rain).

Have a picnic in view of Neuschwanstein.

Once you’re done scoping out the Marienbrücke (or taking photos), wander around the hiking paths on either side of the bridge until you find a spot to park yourself with a view of the castle. Remember that lunch I told you to pack? Now is the time to eat it! Or just re-up with a good snack. It’s a great way to relax and take in the views before you head to your tour!

Head to the castle to take your tour.

At your designated time you’ll get in line, insert your ticket into the turnstile, and then walk inside the castle to wait for your tour guide! You’ll be handed an audio-guide with a speaker attached to it so that you can hear your tour guide regardless of how far away from them you are. This is where those headphones come in! All of the audio-guides have headphone jack, so plug yours in and stick the guide in your pocket for easy, hands-free use!

The tour will last about 35 minutes and will only cover the completed rooms in the castle, but you’ll actually get to walk through a ton more to get out of the castle, so don’t rush it! There’s also a cute cafe where you can grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the view of the valley below you.

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What to do when you finish your Neuschwanstein Castle Tour

Altogether, your time getting up to the top of the mountain, taking pictures, and touring Neuschwanstein will take you a little more than three hours total. That’s really not a whole lot of time at all! But no worries, there’s plenty more that you can do in Schwangau, Fussen, and the surrounding areas to keep you occupied until you’re ready to head home.

Tour Hohenschwangau.

As you’re walking around Schwangau and up to Neuschwanstein I’m sure you’ll notice, there’s actually another castle in the same town! This is Hohenschwangau, the original castle in the area before Neuschwanstein was built. It overlooks the Alpsee and it quite beautiful, if not as striking as the castle you’ll have just toured. But if castles are your thing, this is a great opportunity to tour another!

Take a stroll around the Alpsee.

The Alpsee is the lake nestled into the mountains below Neuschwanstein castle and is maybe a five-minute walk from the ticket center! During the high summer months you can actually go swimming in it too! But whether or not you’re looking to get wet, a stroll around this placid lake is a great way to pass the time while taking in the truly fairy-tale-like scenery.

[ Read On : The Long and Short of Ending the Distance in My Long Distance Relationship ]

Pro-Neuschwanstein Castle Excursion Guide Tip: Never been to Austria? The Alpsee actually cuts across the Austrian border! Take a half a loop around and you’ll be able to check another country off your list!

Go for a hike.

As you’re wandering around the Alpsee you’ll start to see signs for hiking trails in the surrounding mountains. If you’re wearing the right shoes I highly encourage you to go for a hike! The nature is absolutely beautiful (seriously, the entire town is a fairytale) and the views of the surrounding area are well worth it. All of the paths are clearly marked and signs are easily readable, so you’ll always know where you are and how far you are from Schwangau!

Explore the pastel town of Füssen.

Once you’ve seen all that you feel like you need to see in Schwangau, hop on the bus or call a taxi to take you back to Füssen. Trust me, there’s even more to do here! The pastel town has absolutely beautiful buildings to take in, art installments on practically every street, handy shops if you’d like to browse, and, even more importantly, plenty of cafes. Take a seat, order yourself a cup of coffee and a slice of German cake, and relax!

Have you ever visited Neuschwanstein? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to share this Neuschwanstein Castle excursion guide with an adventurous friend!

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The No-Stress Guide to a Beginner’s Korean Skincare Routine https://signedlogan.com/2018/05/30/beginners-korean-skincare-routine/ Wed, 30 May 2018 14:45:42 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2362 Hey there friends! I’m finally (unfortunately) back from my amazing vacation in Europe with my wonderful boyfriend, and while I wish it would never have ended, I’m glad to be back to my normal routines: eating healthier, going to the gym regularly, catching up on my TV shows, and, of course, my skincare routine. And girl, [...]

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Hey there friends! I’m finally (unfortunately) back from my amazing vacation in Europe with my wonderful boyfriend, and while I wish it would never have ended, I’m glad to be back to my normal routines: eating healthier, going to the gym regularly, catching up on my TV shows, and, of course, my skincare routine. And girl, my skin needs it. It’s freaking. out. After all of the trains, planes, and buses I’ve taken, with hardly any rest. And given the popularity of my post on my advanced Korean skincare routine last week, I figured it would be a great time to go back to basics and help you all build your own beginner’s korean skincare routine!

Now, for those of you who read my post last week when it was still mislabeled as a beginner’s guide (heads up, it’s definitely not, and please read my post on my Facebook page here about why I changed it), hopefully this will give you a bit more clarity while also preventing overwhelm! A beginner’s Korean skincare routine is one of the best ways to start taking care of your skin, and, in my opinion, one of the best ways to #treatyoself without breaking the bank.

Ready to jump in? Because I can’t wait!

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small portion of the proceeds (at no cost to you!) to help keep Signed, Logan up and running. Thanks for supporting Signed, Logan!
I am not a skincare professional. This advice is based off of my personal experience, but should not replace the advice of your doctor. Please always make sure to consult them when incorporating new products. This article is meant for informational purposes only.

The Simple (But Effective) Guide to Beginner’s Korean Skincare Routines

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So… What is a Korean skincare routine anyways?

No worries, I got you covered with the basics. When you hear skincare addicts say “Korean skincare routine,” they’re not just referencing some Americanized exotic mumbo-jumbo, I promise! Korea as a whole has an obsession with creating healthy, glowing skin, and thus the 10-step Korean skincare routine was born.

The main tenant of a “Korean skincare routine” is that that magical, one-size-fits-all product that will solve all of your skin concerns? Yeah, it doesn’t exist.

Korean skincare focuses on the idea that each skincare concern that you have should be treated with specific products tailored to that concern, in a step-by-step process that gradually layers healthy, targeted products into your skin. These products are applied based on a few different factors, but generally, the more concentrated products come earlier in the routine, as well as the lighter products that absorb easier.

Umm, hold up. 10 steps?? How is that beginner’s Korean skincare routine?

Yes, yes, I know, I’m sure that’s the part where you all gawked and thought, “This girl is crazy.” So let’s get one thing straight:

This guide is to help you get to a 10-step routine, if that’s what you want. I would never encourage anyone to go from a 1- or 2-step routine to a 10-step routine overnight! But if you have some serious skincare goals, I’ll be showing you how to get on your way to that right here, right now.

Now that doesn’t sound all that scary, does it?

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Okay, cool. But do I have to throw out my ride-or-die American brand products? Since they’re not Korean?

Good news, my friend! You absolutely do not need to get rid of any products in your current routine just because they’re not Korean!

Here’s the real deal: just because it’s called a “Korean skincare routine” doesn’t mean that all of your products must be Korean. The term “Korean” primarily refers to the 10-step routine that is popular in Korean culture!

Many Koreans themselves prefer to use Western products, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re better. For your beginner’s korean skincare routine I definitely encourage you to branch out and try some Korean skincare products! But remember: you should always choose what you believe will work best for your skin!




Alright, I’m ready to start my beginner’s Korean skincare routine. What do I do?

Familiarize yourself with what constitutes a 10-step Korean skincare routine.

We may not be starting off with a 10-step routine right away, but in order to make our beginner’s Korean skincare routine the most effective, we still need to know how it works. For a more in depth description of each step, make sure to check out my advanced Korean skincare routine post, but here are the steps:

  1. Oil/Cream Cleanser – Breaks up makeup and loosens dirt from pores
  2. Foaming Cleanser – Cleanses face
  3. Exfoliator (2-3 times a week) – Removes dead skin cells for a smoother/more even complexion
  4. Toner – Balances skin pH / prepares it for topical products
  5. Active – Highly concentrated products that target specific skincare concerns (such as a prescription acne topical)
  6. Essence – Increases cell turnover and helps products absorb easier
  7. Sheet Masks – Concentrated serums in mask form that help with absorption of the product
  8. Serums – Heavier products that target specific skincare concerns (like wrinkles, acne scars, skin damage, etc)
  9. Eye Cream – A light moisturizer to prevent under eye bags, wrinkles, milia, etc.
  10. Moisturizer – Moisturizes the skin and repairs your moisture barrier to keep skin healthy and young

Those are the 10 steps, and the order that everything goes in! But remember, we’re going to be taking this more intense routine and making it our own as we go. Do you see something that you don’t think you’ll ever use? Don’t worry about it! The beautiful thing is that you don’t have to. This beginner’s korean skincare routine is for you!

The No-Stress Guide to a Beginner's Korean Skincare Routine; beginner's korean skincare routine, skincare routine, skin care routine, korean skin care routine, 10-step routine, 10-step skincare routine, skincare help, skin care help, skincare advice, skin care advice

Identify the skincare concerns that you want to address with your new routine so that you can more accurately pick out products.

While cleansers and exfoliators don’t generally target specific skincare concerns, because they’re not on your face for an extended period of time, the rest of the products in your beginner’s korean skincare routine should aim to help with any skin problems you may have. And keep in mind, you may have multiple! Here’s a list of a few:

  • Oily / Normal / Dry Skin
  • Sensitive Skin
  • Acne
  • Acne Scars / Age Spots
  • Fine lines and Wrinkles
  • Dull Skin
  • Uneven Skintone
  • Sun damage

Once you figure out which issues you’d like to address with your beginner’s korean skincare routine, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices of products in the next few steps!

So for instance, I have oily, sensitive skin with active acne as well as acne scars. The active acne is already addressed by my Curology (the prescription active that I use), so the main focus of the rest of my skincare routine is reducing the oiliness of my T-zone and lightening my acne scars! But because my skin is sensitive to new products (and climates, and everything basically) I have to be careful with the products that I choose to make sure I don’t break out.




Choose which steps you’d like to begin adding to your skincare routine.

Now, of course, this assumes that you have a semblance of a skincare routine to begin with! So, for example, let’s say your skincare routine currently consists of a cleanser, a prescription topical, and a moisturizer. Pretty standard routine, right?

Those are only three steps of the ten, but we can’t add them in all at once! So now is the time to prioritize what you would like to add to your routine based on what is available to you, what you’ll actually use consistently, and what fits in with your lifestyle!

[ Looking for a more advanced Korean skincare routine post? Click here! ]

My recommendation? Start with properly cleansing and preparing your face for the future topicals you’ll add. So in this scenario, I’d recommend looking into adding an oil cleanser first! From there, I’d look into toners, and after that, maybe an exfoliator. The good news is that most cleansers (and exfoliators) won’t address any specific skincare concerns that you have, since their primary focus is to cleanse (or exfoliate). So if you’re still figuring out what skincare concerns you want to target, no worries! You can still start adding things to your routine!

Personally, I’d save the more intense serums and essences until you’ve gotten a bit more comfortable with your beginner’s Korean skincare routine, and you’re sure what skin issues you want to address! And if you’re planning on adding Korean products you’ll already have familiarized yourself with some brands by that point, too!

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Only purchase Korean skincare products from reputable, authorized sellers.

Now, we’ve already established that you don’t have to incorporate Korean brand products into your beginner’s Korean skincare routine if you don’t want to. However I would highly encourage you to consider doing so! Many Korean skincare products are of extremely high quality and are comparable to many high-end Western brands that you’d find at Ulta, Sephora, Nordstrom, etc., but Korean skincare products are often way less expensive.

But here’s the thing: you have to take into account the fact that you won’t be able to read the labels on the actual bottles, so you have to be very wary of fakes (which can contain dangerous filler chemicals). This means that you have to very careful about where you purchase your products.

[ Want to browse some product recommendations? Check out this post ]

Both Sephora and Ulta are great places (with great return policies!) to find Korean skincare brands, and because they have hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores around the United States, it’s super convenient to pick up a new product and return it if it doesn’t work. Another website that I absolutely adore is Soko Glam! They carry only authentic Korean skincare products, are constantly curating new brands, and they even have a rewards program! While Amazon does carry authentic products of some brands, it can be extremely difficult to ensure that’s what you’re purchasing, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.

But wherever you buy your products, make sure they’re authentic, and also check their return policy! Ideally you want a return policy of ~ 60 days, because sometimes it can take that long to really figure out if a product is working for your skin or making you break out!




Incorporate products one at a time so as to not overwhelm yourself or your skin.

I’m going to repeat that again. Incorporate products one at a time. Incorporate products one. At. A. Time. 

Look, I totally understand. You’re excited about starting a new skincare routine, more than likely you’re about to fill that shopping cart with products and all you’ll want to do is throw everything on your face when it arrives! And I’m here to tell you: resist that urge.

[ Ready to take your skincare to the next level? Check out my post on advanced Korean skincare routines! ]

Why? Because if you suddenly add an extra seven products to your face when you normally only use three, your skin is going to freak. out. And maybe four out of the seven products are actually great for your skin! But those extra three products are causing hella breakouts, rashes, or irritation. How are you supposed to know which products are actually bad for your skin and which aren’t? The answer is: you can’t.

Or, another scenario: Let’s say you added four new products, and nothing is making you break out, but they’re only mildly helping your issues. How are you supposed to know which products to switch out to improve your routine? The answer is: you can’t.

So please remember to start slow! Your skin, and your wallet, will thank you.

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The number one thing to remember about a beginner’s Korean skincare routine, though? Be patient.

Everyone wants a one-stop shop to fix all of their problems, and they want it now. They need it now, and more than likely, that’s how you’re feeling too!

But remember: there is no one-stop shop to fix all of your skincare woes. There is no single-magical product that will fix your face overnight! It takes time, dedication, and ultimately, the right routine for you. And sometimes, that might take a while.

You might get discouraged, you might get frustrated that you need to switch another product, you might have to wait a while to get the results that you want, but it’s all a process that you need to go through to finally get your skin where you want it to be!

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you’ll never get to that 10-step routine, or you’re not sure you even want to, then think about this: you don’t have to get to 10 steps if you don’t want to. You don’t have to add in a specific step if you don’t feel like you want to! I’ve been doing a Korean skincare routine for years and didn’t add a serum until two months ago. No joke.

So please please please remember, this beginner’s Korean skincare routine is your own, and you can make it what you want. Just be patient and I promise, you’ll get the results you’re looking for!

Need advice on a product for your new routine, or have questions about starting your own beginner’s Korean skincare routine? Let me know in the comments below!

 

The post The No-Stress Guide to a Beginner’s Korean Skincare Routine appeared first on Signed, Logan.

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The Novice’s Guide to an Advanced Korean Skincare Routine https://signedlogan.com/2018/05/24/advanced-korean-skincare-routine/ Thu, 24 May 2018 14:45:57 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=1202 Hello, my name is Logan, and I’m a Korean skincare routine addict. If you’ve never heard of Korean skincare, or if you’ve never looked into it much, I’m going to warn you right now: This post may be a little bit overwhelming for you. May. But don’t worry, because I intend to break absolutely everything down [...]

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Hello, my name is Logan, and I’m a Korean skincare routine addict.

If you’ve never heard of Korean skincare, or if you’ve never looked into it much, I’m going to warn you right now: This post may be a little bit overwhelming for you. May. But don’t worry, because I intend to break absolutely everything down for you so that you can begin to build a routine of your own!

I’ve been a dedicated Korean skincare routine user for a few years now and it’s done wonders for my skin problems! I’ve suffered from oiliness, acne, and acne scarring for much of my life, and while this hasn’t solved all of my problems (yet), it certainly has helped a great deal. And I hope that it can help you, too!

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small portion of the proceeds (at no cost to you!) to help keep Signed, Logan up and running. Thanks for supporting Signed, Logan!

The Novice’s Guide to an Advanced Korean Skincare Routine

Advanced Korean Skincare Routine

What the heck is a Korean skincare routine, actually?

No worries, I got you covered with the basics. When you hear skincare addicts say “Korean skincare routine,” they’re not just referencing some Americanized exotic mumbo-jumbo, I promise! Korea as a whole has an obsession with creating healthy, glowing skin, and thus the 10-step Korean skincare routine was born.

The main tenant of a “Korean skincare routine” is that that magical, one-size-fits-all product that will solve all of your skin concerns? Yeah, it doesn’t exist.

Korean skincare focuses on the idea that each skincare concern that you have should be treated with specific products tailored to that concern, in a step-by-step process that gradually layers healthy, targeted products into your skin. These products are applied based on a few different factors, but generally, the more concentrated products come earlier in the routine, as well as the lighter products that absorb easier.

Another thing to remember? Just because it’s called a “Korean skincare routine” doesn’t mean that all of your products must be Korean. In fact, many Koreans themselves prefer to use Western products, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re better. You should always choose what you believe will work best for your skin!

Sound simple enough? Good! Because I’m about to take you through my whole night time skincare routine, and it’s not for the faint of heart. But if you get overwhelmed, don’t worry! Just remember: you don’t have to do any of this, or as much of this as I do ! That’s the beauty of a Korean skincare routine. You can pick and choose what you want to include and leave the rest behind.

The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

Oil / Cream Cleanser

The first step in any Korean skincare routine is the oil or cream cleanser. The purpose of this step is two-fold. If you wear makeup, these oil-based products will gently break up your foundation, eyeliner, and mascara with ease. Even if you don’t wear makeup, this cleanser will help penetrate your pores and loosen any dirt, grime, or dead skin cells stuck beneath the surface.

You want to use this type of cleanser for at least a minute to ensure that you really work it into your pores! My personal favorite cream and oil cleansers are the Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect Cleansing Oil and the Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser. I’ll switch back and forth between both depending on how much makeup I’m wearing. For everyday wear I’ll use the oil, but if I’ve had an event and did a full face of makeup? The cream cleanser is the only thing that will take it all off!

Foaming Cleanser + Clarisonic with Acne Brush Head

Your next step is the Foaming Cleanser, which should be water based. This will help remove any residue left over from your oil cleanser and will also help deep clean your pores of any impurities that you loosened with the previous step. The two-step cleanse is a hallmark of an easy Korean skincare routine, as they each perform different functions!

Foaming cleansers can also be targeted: for instance, my go-to cleanser, the Skinfood Egg White Pore Foam, focuses on tightening my pores so that they don’t produce as much oil throughout the day and night. If you suffer from acne, you could look for a face wash with Salicylic Acid to clear out acne-causing bacteria! A few times a week I’ll use my Clarisonic, which has a brush head specifically for combating acne, to time out this step and ensure a deeper cleanse.

Now, here’s the important thing: you don’t want to over cleanse. You can strip your skin of oils and nutrients that are essential to its function, which we want to avoid doing in our Korean skincare routine. Never wash your face more than twice a day (unless you’re removing your makeup and reapplying, for instance), and only use one oil cleanser and one foam cleanser at a time. If you have multiple you want to use, use one in the morning and one at night, or alternate days!

Exfoliating Gel

One of the best things you can do for your face is aid in the natural exfoliation of your skin. Dead skin cells can build up and clog your pores deep beneath your skin, leading to whiteheads, blackheads, cystic acne, and milia. This third step in my easy Korean skincare routine will help you avoid this!

Just like it’s important to avoid over-cleansing, you also want to avoid over-exfoliation, as this can damage your moisture barrier and even make your skin worse. Have you ever had your skin sting during your skincare routine, regardless how gentle or light of a product you’re putting on it? This is a sign that you’ve damaged your moisture barrier, and it can take weeks to correct.

When it comes to exfoliators, I prefer gels to cleansers, primarily because I can use them in combination with my double-cleansing without stripping my face. I only use them 2-3 times per week. The two that I prefer to use are the Skinfood Pineapple Peel Gel which causes the dead skin to pill up on my face, and the Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion Pore Perfecting Exfoliator. The Skinfood Gel is much gentler, but my face never feels as clean or as smooth as after I’ve used the Dr. Brandt!

Advanced Korean Skincare Routine

Clay Face Masks

Ever wonder where your cabinet of face masks would actually fit into a Korean skincare routine? Well, here we are! Clay face masks tend to target specific facial issues, like charcoal face masks target oil and acne, and bubble face masks target your pores.

Because you’ll end up washing these off with water or a damp cloth, you want to do this step before you start applying products that you want to soak into your skin. After all, you don’t want to accidentally wash those off!

I’m a huge fan of the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Masks, which I received in a Sephora gift box for Christmas. I also like the Original Skin Retexturizing Mask from the same brand, which I’ll use on the days I don’t exfoliate. And then there’s the fun ones, like the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Clay Mask which literally bubbles up on your face! Honestly, in a Korean skincare routine, you can’t go wrong with masks.

Toner

Now, think about all of the different products we’ve applied up until this point. We did two cleansers, an exfoliator, a clay mask, and we know that we’re moving on to soaking products into our skin. But before we do that, we want to give our skin a reset: we want to relax it so that it will soak up our next products.

That’s where toner comes in. Think of it as a final, super gentle cleanse to get any lingering residue off. I also prefer to use this step, initially, to balance the pH of my skin, which is why I use the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner. This has the same pH that your skin has naturally, which makes it perfect for a reset!

But you know how we talked about not over-cleansing or over-exfoliating? Well, in Korean skincare routines, you can never have enough toners. If you want to layer them (which can be an advanced step) just make sure not to combine things that will work against each other, and you can look this up online. I use one other toner, Nature Republic Greentinol Multi Toner, which has green-tea extract to moisturize the skin and prevent wrinkles!




Essence

Your next step in your easy Korean skincare routine is an essence. Think of these as super light, water-like products with the express purpose of helping the rest of your routine soak in even better!

In a Korean skincare routine in general, you always want to apply products you intend to soak into the skin in order from lightest to heaviest. Toners and essences are extremely light products, which is why they’re applied first, so that they can soak in easier!

I’ve been using the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence in my routine for a couple years not and recently switched to the mist version, and I love it! It helps with cell turnover, which is extremely important to prevent wrinkles and heal acne scars, and it’s so light and refreshing that I want to bathe in it.

Actives

Actives are the most concentrated skincare solutions that you can apply to your face and generally target a very specific concern. So that topical gel that your dermatologist prescribed to you? Yep, this is exactly where it goes in your routine!

But here’s the most important thing to remember about actives: you only want to apply one a night, and you want to make sure to leave at least 20 minutes for it to soak into your skin.

Because actives are so concentrated, they all tend to work at specific pH levels and target different concerns. Combining them in any way that hasn’t been specifically communicated to you by your doctor or aesthetician can severely damage your skin. After all, you don’t want to apply a very acidic product, like a Vitamin C serum, right after a very basic product, if you remember anything about chemistry.

I switch off between two different actives during the week: my Curology subscription which targets my active acne as well as my acne scars, and the Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, which evens out skin tone.

Advanced Korean Skincare Routine

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are the hallmark of a Korean skincare routine, but if I’m being honest? I don’t really incorporate them into my every day or even weekly routine. Depending on where you get them they can be relatively inexpensive ($2-$6 each), but when you factor in that you can only use each one time, it can get pretty expensive to do every day.

These masks work very similar to serums, but they have an occlusive factor to them: basically, they’re soaked in a serum that will address a specific skincare concern, and once you drape that over your face, the only place that serum has to go is into your skin. That’s the occlusiveness of it, it helps with absorption!

Are sheet masks a great way to treat yourself? Absolutely. Are they a sound investment for your everyday routine? In my opinion, not really.

Serums

So, we just talked about sheet masks, which help your skin absorb serums because they’re occlusive. But, in my opinion, the far more sensible step would be to purchase a serum in a bottle and apply it to your face every night! You get more bang for your buck and it lasts way longer.

These are concentrated solutions to specific skincare problems, similar to actives, but they’re not as strong and can be easily combined during the same night and definitely during the week! They vary in how thick and heavy they are, so if you’re using multiple, always make sure to apply the lightest one first.

My go-to serum right now is my Missha Aqua Cell Renew Snail Skin Treatment, which is super light, refreshing, and smells like cucumbers! But don’t get freaked out by the “snail mucin” ingredient. Snail mucin is actually an extremely important aspect of  any Korean skincare routine because it helps repair the skin and, in my case, improve acne scars. It’s a great place to start if you want to start incorporating some Korean products because it’s also extremely gentle!

Spot Treatment

In general, your spot treatment will always come towards the end, and depending on what kind of spot treatment it is will determine whether it comes before or after your moisturizer.

Just like it sounds, spot treatments will target specific problem areas on your skin and should only be applied in those areas rather than all over your face! For instance, I use a few spot treatments that specifically target my acne scars and are designed to be absorbed into the skin, such as my Ponds Dark Spot Corrector or Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream. I’ll apply those to my problem areas and let it soak in!

But spot treatments can also target wrinkles in specific areas or, in my case, active acne that I would like to heal. I’ve used the Proactiv Oatmeal spot treatment, the Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment, and, recently, I’ve been loving the Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches, which help draw out the impurities in your whiteheads overnight! Since these spot treatments are meant to sit on top of the skin and not soak in, you’d use these after moisturizer, at the very very end of your routine.

Moisturizer

Now, for those of your who are newly initiated into the Korean skincare routine hype, this might sound controversial, but here goes: Everyone. Should. Use. Moisturizer. My dry-skin friends are probably rolling their eyes because of course they know they need to use moisturizer. But all my oily-skin friends? That’s right, I’m talking to you too.

I thought the solution to my oily skin was not to moisturize at all because, clearly, my skin had way too much moisture in it at all times. But in reality, my skin was parched for moisture and was over-compensating for the lack of it by majorly over-producing oil. Once I started regularly moisturizing? Man, my skin became way more manageable.

At night I’ll use a thicker gel moisturizer formulated for oily skin, and in the morning I use a mattifying moisturizer right before I apply my makeup primer. It’s made a world of difference!

Advanced Korean Skincare Routine

Are you ready to start a Korean skincare routine of your own? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to share with a fellow skincare addict!

Advanced Korean Skincare Routine

 

 

 

 

 




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6 Tough-Love Ways to Save if You REALLY Need to Stop Spending Money https://signedlogan.com/2018/05/17/stop-spending-money/ Thu, 17 May 2018 14:45:53 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2262 Sometimes, we just need to stop spending money. Whether you’re saving up for a big trip to Europe or maybe your savings account is just looking a bit slim, we’ve all been there. But what are we supposed to do when we’re already following the “generic” advice? You know, the “bring your lunch to work [...]

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Sometimes, we just need to stop spending money. Whether you’re saving up for a big trip to Europe or maybe your savings account is just looking a bit slim, we’ve all been there. But what are we supposed to do when we’re already following the “generic” advice? You know, the “bring your lunch to work instead of eating out” and “buy the generic orange juice instead of name brand” advice. The advice we’ve probably been following for a while now, to no avail? Well, then it’s time for some tough love ways to stop spending money.

6 Tough-Love Ways to Save for the Already-Frugal Spender

Tough Love Ways to Stop Spending Money, monthly budget, adulting, budgeting, budgeting help, how to create a budget, how to budget, budgeting mistakes, finances, finances help

Write down every purchase you make for an entire month.

Nowadays everything is online, which is great! It makes tracking your spending and your purchases that much easier. It’s all in your banking app on your phone, or maybe that budgeting app that you use. And you totally check it everyday. Right…?

Here’s the problem with those apps: it’s incredibly easy to lose track of what you’re actually spending when all you can see are lists of numbers with abbreviated references. It’s incredibly easy to ignore it. And when you need to stop spending money? The last thing you want to do is stop keeping track of your spending habits.

[ Read On : The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Master Your Credit Score ]

So if you really need to stop spending money, it’s time for a mindset reset. Forget about going paperless: we are writing. Everything. Down. And I mean everything! That $3.99 scone from Starbucks, that $1.29 Coke from the vending machine, that $49.99 shirt from LOFT that you just ordered online. Write it all down and keep track of it for an entire month. Not only will you get a better grip on what you’re actually spending as you go, but you’ll also be less likely to spend money on superfluous things that you don’t need.


Sometimes we just need a mindset reset to stop spending money. Forget paperless: write EVERYTHING that you spend money on in a month on a piece of paper to really get a grip on your expenses.
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Don’t eat out on the weekends.

We’ve all heard that one of the best ways to stop spending money is to “bring your lunch to work instead of eating out,” but what if we already do that? Sure, I used to eat out at work maybe once a week, but for the most part I always packed a lunch. So that piece of advice? Yeah, it did absolutely nothing for me.

But what really helped me stop spending money was to cut out eating a restaurants and fast food chains altogether from my diet. That’s right, even on weekends. I realized that most of my plans with friends revolved around getting brunch or grabbing drinks outside of work. And since Fred and I don’t live together (yet…), we fell into the habit of eating out on the weekends, too, instead of cooking for ourselves.

So while my weekly grocery bill was maybe $40 a week, I would spend at least $60 a weekend at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. I essentially undid all of the savings I kept from bringing my own lunch to work every time the weekend rolled around!

Tough Love Ways to Stop Spending Money, monthly budget, adulting, budgeting, budgeting help, how to create a budget, how to budget, budgeting mistakes, finances, finances help

Cancel at least one monthly subscription.

“But I can’t live without my Netflix!!” I can hear you protesting. But no worries, because I’m here to tell you: if you didn’t want tough love solutions, you came to the wrong place.

Monthly subscriptions can be a big source of savings, depending on what you subscribe to and how you use them. But they can also be a huge money drain. Why? Because they’re so regular, and you’re so used to having them that you forget to factor that money into your budget for the month.

[ Read On : 6 Monthly Budget Mistakes That Are Breaking Your Bank ]

Don’t believe me? Well, then let’s look at some of the common monthly subscriptions that most millennials have:

  • Netflix: $9.99/mo
  • Boxycharm: $22.79/mo
  • Gym Membership: $100.00/mo
  • FabFitFun: $49.99/quarter
  • HBO GO: $14.99/mo
  • Spotify + Hulu student package: $4.99/mo
  • Amazon Prime: $119/year
  • Ipsy/Birchbox: $9.99/mo
  • Moviepass: $9.99/mo

How many of these do you have? And about how much are you spending per month on them? If you want to stop spending money, the easiest way to do so is to get rid of one or two monthly subscriptions. I can almost guarantee that you won’t even miss them once they’re gone.


Monthly subscriptions are “passive expenses” that kill your monthly budget, especially if you forget to factor them into each paycheck. Stop spending money on at least one of them, your wallet will thank you!
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Stop convincing yourself that sales are worth it.

Now, I want you to think back to the last thing that you purchased. In fact, I want you to think back to the last thing that you impulse bought. Here’s my question: was your reasoning “it was on sale!!” or was it something else? Be honest with yourself.

Sales exist for one reason, and it’s not to save you money. No, retailers either want to get rid of merchandise (think clearances) or they want to dramatically increase their revenue while sacrificing only a little bit of margin. You know those tried and true “Friends and family discount!! Take 15% off!” emails you get from different brands? Yeah, those.

In reality, unless you were already planning on purchasing something because you actually need it, sales aren’t actually helping you. They’re just hurting you. And I guarantee you that if you stop spending money on all of those random sales, you’ll end up pocketing a lot more at the end of the month!

Tough Love Ways to Stop Spending Money, monthly budget, adulting, budgeting, budgeting help, how to create a budget, how to budget, budgeting mistakes, finances, finances help

 

Get out of the “treat yo-self” mentality.

Here’s some tough love for you: “treat yo-self” has a time and place in life, but it doesn’t belong with the stop spending money mindset. I’m telling you right now: if you want to get your money under control, throw “treat yo-self” out the window.

Getting your nails done every weekend isn’t “treating yourself” when you need to stop spending money, it’s a superfluous purchase. Going out for drinks every other night because work is hard isn’t “treating yourself” when your budget is tight, it’s a waste of your paycheck. Dropping $200 for one clothing item when your credit card statement is high isn’t “treating yourself,” it’s reckless.

[ Read On : How to Build an Affordable and Trendy Work Wardrobe ]

When you need to stop spending money, the “treat yo-self” mentality will only hold you back. But if you can’t get rid of it completely? At least adjust it a little bit. Opt for a wine night in with your girlfriends and paint your own nails, host a potluck at your apartment, go to the beach and split gas and parking with three friends. Your have endless options to treat yourself that won’t break your bank.


The #treatyoself mentality isn't healthy if you need to stop spending money, it's reckless! Find more budget friendly alternatives to your traditional splurges to help you save instead.
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Limit yourself to one or two major purchases a month.

“Yeah, I can afford this, it’s only $7,” You think to yourself as you toss your umpteenth mauve lipstick into your CVS cart before checking out. The next day you think the same thing about that $13 travel size skincare item in the checkout line at Sephora, and that $3 add-on item in your Amazon cart the next week, and the $15 shirt the next weekend. . . See what I’m getting at?

This is what I like to call “idle shopping.” Since you’re not spending a ton of money all at once, you think it’s totally fine to drop a few dollars here and there on some stuff that you want. And you’re right, if you’re only doing this occasionally it’s totally fine! But more likely than not you do this way more often than you think and rather than stop spending money, you end up spending way more than you normally would have had you bought it all at once.

My solution? Limit yourself to one or two days a month for shopping, and get everything done then. Don’t allow yourself to idly shop while you’re bored at work or as you’re walking to Starbucks. Buy everything all at once and see how that hurts your wallet. I guarantee you’ll think twice about that travel-sized skincare item with and $94 cart of things you actually want.

Tough Love Ways to Stop Spending Money, monthly budget, adulting, budgeting, budgeting help, how to create a budget, how to budget, budgeting mistakes, finances, finances help

What’s your number one trick to stop spending money? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to share this with a friend who could stand to learn a thing or two!

 

 

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6 Monthly Budget Mistakes That Are Breaking Your Bank https://signedlogan.com/2018/05/09/monthly-budget-mistakes/ Wed, 09 May 2018 14:45:30 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2254 So, we’ve made it to the real world now. We’re adults! With paychecks and everything! We totally know what we’re doing, right? We’ve definitely got this . . . But chances are, we’re probably slacking a bit in the budget department. In fact, I can almost guarantee that we’re all making at least one of these [...]

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So, we’ve made it to the real world now. We’re adults! With paychecks and everything! We totally know what we’re doing, right? We’ve definitely got this . . . But chances are, we’re probably slacking a bit in the budget department. In fact, I can almost guarantee that we’re all making at least one of these six monthly budget mistakes that are costing us serious bank.

Finances are hard. Seriously! I know I was lucky enough to not have to worry too much about my necessities when I was still in college (thanks Mom and Dad!) so getting a full-time paycheck was definitely a reality check for me. While I may have stayed on top of my budgeting when I first started, as costs gradually piled up I gradually let my finances fall off my priority list. And I can tell you, I’ve made all of these monthly budget mistakes at one time or another. And I may or may not be making one or two of them now . . . but hey, wouldn’t you rather hear from someone who has experience?

P.S. Some of these links may be affiliate or referral links. Thanks for supporting Signed, Logan!

The Monthly Budget Mistakes You’re Probably Making that Really Hurt Your Finances

Monthly Budget Mistakes that are Breaking Your Bank; monthly budget, adulting, budgeting, budgeting help, how to create a budget, how to budget, budgeting mistakes, finances, finances help

You pay too much in rent and utilities.

know I’m not the only one to fall into this trap. You think, “I really love this apartment that’s kinda expensive so I’m going to get it and just save money elsewhere!” Sound familiar? I know I thought it plenty of times when I went on the hunt for an apartment for me and my boyfriend. Ya girl has a thing for hardwood floors and granite countertops.

But what’s the likelihood that you’ll actually spend frugally elsewhere to justify your monthly rent? Slim to none. Rent can be deceiving because it’s so regular: it stays the same month to month, which means you can’t adjust it when times get tough. Unless you’re Elon Musk you should always consider apartments for rent at the lower end of your price range first so you don’t make an impulse decision that hurts you later! Be smart. This is one of those monthly budget mistakes that you can’t just fix right away. After all, you can’t change your lease mid year.

[ Read On : Stop Wasting Work Time and Get Sh*t Done ]

Another thing to consider? You should never pay more than 1/3 of your monthly income towards rent and utilities combined. Yup! It’s that simple! 1/3 is considered the sweet spot, because these expenses are (obviously) necessary, but shouldn’t be where the majority of your money goes each month in case your financial situation suddenly takes a turn for the worse.

The good news is that you have much more control over your utility bills each month than you do over your rent! Both water and electricity are based off of usage, not a flat fee, so if you play your cards right you can save yourself a lot of money by being frugal. So turn off your A/C when you leave the house and time yourself when you’re in the shower, your wallet will thank you!


Never allocate more than 1/3 of your monthly income to rent + utilities if your area allows it. You don't want the majority of your income to go to fixed expenses in case your financial situation drastically changes!
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You don’t contribute to your savings account before you spend.

So, hopefully you have a savings account. I’m going to assume that that is a given because, you know, everyone should have one! If you don’t have one? Well, get on it. Stat.

You need to have a savings account so that you have a place to start saving your money long-term, where you won’t be tempted to just spend it. That’s why it’s so important not to just use your checking account! Savings accounts are designed to work more strictly; meaning, you have a limited amount of transfers out of your savings account that you can make each month before paying a fee. It makes it much less desirable to take money out once you’ve put it in!

[ Read On : How to Build an Affordable and Trendy Work Wardrobe ]

But here’s the thing: if you’re not putting money into your savings account before you’ve spent your paycheck, you’re doing yourself a disservice. We’ve all said “I’ll put everything I don’t spend into my savings at the end of the month!” but how often do we actually do that? More than likely, we’re committing a major monthly budget mistake because that number is almost always less than we want it to be. You should always prioritize putting a set amount of money to the side as soon as your paycheck hits your account.

So if you don’t contribute to your savings account each month before you start spending? Yeah, that’s one of the major monthly budget mistakes that you don’t want to commit. Make sure moving money into your savings account is your first priority when you get your paycheck. And if you have money left over at the end of the month? Go ahead and put that into your savings too!

Monthly Budget Mistakes that are Breaking Your Bank; monthly budget, adulting, budgeting, budgeting help, how to create a budget, how to budget, budgeting mistakes, finances, finances help

You use a debit card to pay for expenses instead of a credit card.

It may seem all around safer to pay for everything with your debit card — money you actually own — instead of a credit card. In fact, in regards to avoiding debt, you’re probably not wrong! But safety aside, this is one of the easiest monthly budget mistakes to avoid, and also one of the most important.

Using a credit card builds credit, plain and simple. What does this mean? Well, credit — or your credit score — is what companies use to decide how trustworthy you are to lend money to when you need it. Everyone starts out with a credit score of zero (out of 900!) until you start building credit, which is why you should start sooner rather than later! You want to have a long, stellar credit history by the time you apply for a home loan so that your interest rates aren’t sky high.

[ Read On : The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Master Your Credit Score ]

The other great thing about credit cards? These things called rewards! They’re the best!! Essentially, every time you use your credit card, you can earn points or cash back based on how much you spent and where. Once you’ve accrued enough points or cash back, you can redeem it for money off of your statement balance! Yep, that’s right, credit card companies will literally help you pay your monthly balance just for shopping with them.

What rewards you earn depends on what type of card you have, so you can choose a card that fits your lifestyle! I highly suggest getting a cash back card for everyday expenses, like groceries, gas, and restaurants, which payout higher for these type of (necessary) purchases. You can also open a card that will reward you for travel if that’s your jam, too!


Don't miss out on the cash back and rewards points that you could be earning by only using your debit card. Start building credit and earning rewards on your everyday expenses with a credit card!
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You’re not getting cash back on your online purchases.

“What??” I can hear you gasping, “Cash back with my online purchases? How do I do that?” Well, my friend, it’s simple. And I’m sure you’ve heard of it, too!

Now, I want you to think back to when you would watch cable TV for hours on end and, ultimately, watch the same commercials over and over. How many times did you see that one commercial with a bunch of middle-aged adults doing poor readings off a teleprompter about how they were being paid to shop online?

Yep, I’m talking about that one Ebates commercial!

I always thought it was fake, but turns out, it actually isn’t! Stores use cookies to track how you came to their website, and when you open a window using an Ebates link, Ebates can track that purchase and give you cash back for using them as a referral! While most retailers have cashback amounts between 2% and 5%, occasionally Ebates will have huge percentage jumps for certain events. Back in May, they were having 10% cash back on J.Crew Factory at the same time J.Crew Factory was having a mega sale, so you better bet I got a pretty check deposited in my Ebates account after that one!

Long story short, if you’re not getting cash back on your purchases, you’re not shopping smart and you’re making one of probably many monthly budget mistakes. So make sure to sign up for your own Ebates account so you can start getting paid for shopping!

Monthly Budget Mistakes that are Breaking Your Bank; monthly budget, adulting, budgeting, budgeting help, how to create a budget, how to budget, budgeting mistakes, finances, finances help



You don’t keep track of your monthly budget.

If you don’t keep track of what you spend each month then you’re literally shooting yourself in the foot. Seriously. This is one of the easiest monthly budget mistakes to correct, but hopefully most of you don’t have to correct it to begin with!

If you keep track of your monthly budget you can detect trends in your spending habits before they start to negatively affect you. Paying attention to your monthly spending can also help you live within your means and save some money to put towards future purchases!

[ Read On : 9 Habits to Start Now So You’re Not Late to Work Later ]

Think about it for a second. How would you know that you spend too much eating out each month if you didn’t track your spending? How would you know that cutting down on eating out could save you money towards your big road trip coming up? Or that your Amazon addiction has seriously started to affect your finances? It’s simple, you wouldn’t! It’s why avoiding these monthly budget mistakes is so important!

There are many apps out there that can track your spending automatically, such as Mint (my personal favorite) or Pluto. Using them is super easy, too: just connect your financial accounts, input your monthly budget for your spending areas, and go! The apps automatically updates every few hours so that you can stay on top of your spending. They’ll even send you push notifications if you go over-budget or if you’re close, which is incredibly user friendly!


Not only is keeping track of your monthly budget financially responsible, it will also set you up for financial success in the future.
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You don’t contribute to your retirement fund.

“Now, Logan,” I can hear you asking, “How exactly is this one of the monthly budget mistakes we should be avoiding? Doesn’t not contributing to a retirement fund save us money?” Well, my friend, you’re not wrong. Not contributing to your retirement fund saves you money in the short term. But in the long term? Really, you’re just screwing yourself over.

Eventually, we all want to retire. I seriously doubt that anyone wants to work until the day that they die. But we still need money to live, money that we won’t make anymore without a job. So where do we get it? Ding ding ding! From our retirement funds, AKA the 401ks and Roth IRAs that we contribute to when we’re young!

[ Read On : Choosing the Planner Set Up Best Suited for Your Life ]

In reality, the sooner you start contributing to your retirement fund, the better. If you don’t currently take care of children or relatives, split your income with a spouse, or have any other financial burdens, then you should contribute some of your expendable income to your retirement while you have it.

Retirement funds work similar to stock portfolios; in fact, they basically are stock portfolios. The money you contribute gets invested on your behalf so that it can grow instead of sitting there depreciating. So make sure you don’t commit this money faux pas and invest in your future each time you receive your paycheck! Your old age self will thank you.

Monthly Budget Mistakes that are Breaking Your Bank; monthly budget, adulting, budgeting, budgeting help, how to create a budget, how to budget, budgeting mistakes, finances, finances help

What monthly budget mistakes have you made in the past? Let me know in the comments below!!




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The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Master Your Credit Score https://signedlogan.com/2018/05/02/master-your-credit-score/ Wed, 02 May 2018 14:45:34 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2260 A little over a year ago (a year and three days, to be exact) I graduated undergrad from my amazing Alma Mater and began the tumultuous but amazingly liberating journey that is adulting! I felt like I was on top of the world, like I could do anything and be anything that I wanted to [...]

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A little over a year ago (a year and three days, to be exact) I graduated undergrad from my amazing Alma Mater and began the tumultuous but amazingly liberating journey that is adulting! I felt like I was on top of the world, like I could do anything and be anything that I wanted to be — and while that was true, to an extent, I got a pretty rude awakening after I had worked for a few months and financial reality set in. And one thing that I seriously struggled with was my credit score. It was never bad, per se, at least not in general terms! But I had no clue how on earth to make it go in the direction I wanted. If you had asked me then how to master your credit score, I probably would have laughed.

But after some careful (albeit recent) research, as well as some diligent time taken to observe how my spending affected it, I feel like I’ve finally gotten a handle on my credit score! So the real question is, are you ready to master your credit score? Let’s get crackin’!

Master Your Credit Score with These No-BS Tips

The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Master Your Credit Score -- master your credit score, finances, get your finances in order, credit score help, credit score breakdown

Check your credit score regularly.

You can’t exactly master your credit score if you don’t know what your credit score actually is, can you? That’s why the first step is ensuring that you’re always in the know in regards to your credit so you can easily make course corrections if you need to!

Now, there are three major credit bureaus from which you can get your credit report: Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. You can access your credit score on each of these websites for free once every 12 months! My recommendation? Get into the habit of checking your official credit score once every four months, cycling through each credit bureau as you go. Each one scores things a bit differently, so it’s important to look at all three to get the full picture! You can order it online through annualcreditreport.com, which, according to the Federal Trade Commission, is the only authorized website for free credit reports.

[ Read On : Maintaining a Productive Work-Life Balance in the Age of “Busy” and “Burnout” ]

In reality, your credit score updates 1-2 times a month, sometimes as often as once every two weeks. But it’s not exactly feasible to request an official report that often, not only because it will cost you money, but also because checking your official credit reports too often can negatively impact your credit score.

The good news is that there are budgeting apps that can help you out in this regard! Most banking and credit card apps will show you what’s called your FICO Score, which is free to check and won’t affect your credit score by checking it. Your FICO score is based on a soft pull of your Experian credit report and will update monthly. Other budgeting apps, such as Mint (which is what I use!) will also do soft pulls of your credit report from other credit bureaus. Mint, for instance, updates every two weeks and is based on a soft pull of your Transunion credit report.

Staying on top of your credit reports is absolutely the best way to master your credit score and empower you to make better, more informed choices about your credit. So if you haven’t already started checking your credit score, I’d suggest getting into that habit now!


Leaving yourself in the dark in regards to your #creditscore is the best way to screw up. Make sure to check your credit regularly so that you can catch bad trends before they make a huge impact! #finances
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Make your minimum payments on time.

Come y’all, this is an obvious way you can help yourself master your credit score. Actually make your payments! On time or early, every month! How hard can it be? But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s break down what comprises your credit card payments and statements.

So you have what’s called a statement period, which is the period of time that your credit card company will look at to generate how much money you owe them. Every company has a different time frame, so make sure to check yours! The amount of money that you spend during your statement period will then comprise your statement balance which your credit card company will issue to you at the end of your statement period along with a due date. If you pay off your statement balance in full by that due date, you’re good to go!

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But sometime, we can’t afford to pay off our entire statement balance by the due date. That’s okay! Because your credit card company will also issue you your minimum required payment. What does this mean? Basically, so long as you complete your minimum by the due date, your credit score won’t be negatively affected. Overtime, your credit score will go up so long as you pay the minimum on time every month!

Any balance that you leave on your card by the time the due date passes will generate interest, which the credit card company charges to your card as a fee for lending you money. The more of a balance you leave on your card, the more interest you generate each month, so be careful!

While it may seem really daunting to pay off your balance each month, don’t get tempted forgo payments altogether! Even if you’re having a hard month! Put in that extra effort to always make your minimum payment by the due date so that you don’t negatively affect your credit score. Here’s a great tip: so long as you put in the effort to pay off a bit of your credit card statement with each paycheck, you’ll never miss your due date and you’ll master your credit score in no time!

The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Master Your Credit Score -- master your credit score, finances, get your finances in order, credit score help, credit score breakdown

Keep a high credit limit and low credit utilization.

Now, you may not know what those mean, but that’s okay! I got you! Basically, your credit limit is your spending power. It’s the amount of money that your credit card companies trust you to pay back to them, and the higher the number, the more trusted you are! While each individual card has a different credit limit, your credit score looks at your credit limit as a whole. Meaning your total combined spending power across all your cards!

Having a high credit limit isn’t enough, though. Your credit score wants to see that companies trust you enough to lend you large amounts of money, but that by the end of each month, you’re not using a ton of it. That’s where your credit utilization comes in. Basically, it’s the percentage of your credit limit that appears in your monthly statements!

[ Read On : An (Affordable) Outfit for Every Occasion ]

Now, when I got my first credit card, I had no idea that credit limits worked like that. I thought I would keep myself safe from debt if I only allowed myself to have a credit limit equivalent to what I made in a month on my measly RA stipend. Yeah, I definitely had no clue how to master my credit score then!

Moral of the story? Either keep your spending to a minimum each month or ensure that you have a good amount of credit limit under your belt! And if you realize that you need a higher credit limit than you have? Call your credit card company and ask them to raise it, but be wary of hard credit checks! Not sure what those are? See below!


Opting for a lower credit limit could trap you with a lower #creditscore because of your utilization. Make sure you don't use a high percentage of your credit each month, or have your credit limit raised! #finances
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Start your credit accounts early to keep the average age of your accounts older.

The first step to master your credit score is starting your credit accounts early. I know this may sound counter-intuitive, but in reality, the best time to open a credit card is when you’re not strapped for cash. The longer that you’ve had your accounts, the more time you’ve had to prove that companies can trust you to make your payments on time!

Your credit score takes into account the average age of your credit history with each credit company. In fact, it’s one of the strongest factors to consider if you want to master your credit score. The longer the relationship that you can stand on, the better! But this also means that you can seriously hurt yourself if you open too many new lines of credit at once, which brings down the average age of your accounts.

[ Read On : Stop Wasting Work Time and Get Sh*t Done ]

I’ll be frank, you’ll have the hardest time improving this aspect of your credit score if you don’t start early. The only thing that can improve the average age of your accounts is, obviously, time. And we can’t speed that up any more than we can travel to the past!

But another thing to consider is not closing any of your credit accounts, especially the older ones that you own. Even if you never use a credit card anymore, even if you finished financing your mattress this month, make sure to keep that card open. Not only will it contribute to the average age of your accounts in the long run, which will go a long way towards helping you master your credit score, but it will also give your credit limit a good boost!

The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Master Your Credit Score -- master your credit score, finances, get your finances in order, credit score help, credit score breakdown

Gradually diversify the types of credit you hold.

Creditors like to see that you have a good mix of different types of credit. While having one credit card is great, especially if that’s all you need, it doesn’t necessarily help you master your credit score at all. The wider variety of credit you have, the better.

And I’m not just talking different types of credit cards, either. Sure, having an everyday cash back card, a travel card, and a financing card looks good, depending on the age of the accounts. But you should also have a good mix of loans thrown in there, too. No worries, though! I know the word “loans” sounds scary, especially to those of us who have just started to get familiar with credit. But there are plenty of different types of loans that you probably have, or might have soon, that can help you.

[ Read On : Free Time Productivity Hacks that Won’t Waste Your Day ]

For instance, if you’ve thought about possibly financing or leasing a car in the near future, guess what? That’s considered a loan in terms of your credit score, since your dealership will generally help you apply through an outside company to qualify. And if you’ve garnered some student loans from the time you were in school? Yup, those count too!

This focus on diversity in types of credit is why you should always look into taking a financing option for a big purchase, like a car or a condo, instead of paying for it outright, even if you have the money to pay for it now. The more accounts that you have, the better your credit will look. But not so fast! Don’t go opening a ton of accounts all at once. While the number of accounts you have plays a role, the average age of your accounts weighs way heavier on your credit score!


Even if you can afford to buy something outright, financing is a great way to master your credit score and can help you get a better interest rate for a bigger investment (like a house) in the future! #financiallylit
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Don’t have too many hard credit checks at once.

Occasionally, in order to determine if you qualify for a specific type of credit account, a company will run what’s called a hard credit check on you. This means they reach out to one of the major credit bureaus, with your permission, and request access to your credit report to determine whether you meet their minimum requirements. Now, this in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if they approve you! But what you want to avoid is having too many hard credit checks at once.

Hard credit checks work similar to points on your license: once you get one, it won’t leave your credit report for two years. While the number of hard checks on your credit doesn’t weigh very highly on your credit score, it’s still something to take into consideration.

[ Read On : Your Ultimate Interview Bag Necessities (and What You Should Leave at Home!) ]

Now, a company may ask to do a hard credit check on your account in any number of instances. In order to your master your credit score you need to specifically ask them if they’ll require a hard credit check in order to complete any of your requests. For instance, if you’ve raised your credit limit within the past four months and you would like them to raise it again, that’s something that could require a hard check, and it will be up to you to authorize them to do that! A company might also ask to do a hard credit check if you want to transfer your credit card type from a “secured” card — one with a lower interest rate and low credit limit specifically designed to help you build credit, like a college cash back card — to a different card without such restrictions.

Overall, the most important rule is to remember is that you need to be smart when working with credit companies to master your credit score. If your request will require a hard credit check, ask what you can do to avoid it, and consider holding off until you’re sure you need what you ask for!

The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Master Your Credit Score -- master your credit score, finances, get your finances in order, credit score help, credit score breakdown

What tips do you follow to help you master your credit score? Let me know in the comments below!

The No-Bullsh*t Guide to Master Your Credit Score -- master your credit score, finances, get your finances in order, credit score help, credit score breakdown




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Maintaining a Productive Work-Life Balance in the Age of “Busy” and “Burnout” https://signedlogan.com/2018/04/25/productive-work-life-balance/ https://signedlogan.com/2018/04/25/productive-work-life-balance/#comments Wed, 25 Apr 2018 14:45:36 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2236 Today’s post hits a bit closer to home than my other posts from this month, especially for someone who is constantly juggling different priorities and often finds it hard to make it work. It’s the side of productivity that we normally don’t talk about when we think about constantly being “productive.” It’s something that often [...]

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Today’s post hits a bit closer to home than my other posts from this month, especially for someone who is constantly juggling different priorities and often finds it hard to make it work. It’s the side of productivity that we normally don’t talk about when we think about constantly being “productive.” It’s something that often feels out of reach. This week, we’re talking about maintaining a productive work-life balance in the age of “busy” and “burnout.”

I opened this month’s theme over on my Instagram with the caption “April Goals: Don’t be busy, be productive.” And it really seemed to resonate with you all! But in our quest to be productive in all aspects of our lives, both in our work and personal time, it can be really easy to lose track of the line where being overly productive becomes just being plain old busy. It can be really easy to shift from being overly productive to burning out. It can be really, really easy to lose the productive work-life balance we all strive for.

[ Read On : How to Build Your Professional Brand ]

A reader recently contacted me asking what my most effective measures are in achieving a good work-life balance. He correctly pointed out that I seem to have a lot going on! After all, not only do I work full-time, but I have a side hustle (this blog) that also feels like a full-time gig sometimes, but I still manage to make time for other things, too. And when we live in an age where it seems like everyone has a side hustle, or a million things they need to get done in their personal lives, it’s almost like there isn’t enough time in the day.

I found myself typing out what ended up being wayyy more than any normal person would (probably) want to read in an email. So I naturally edited it, but I kept the rest, and that formed the basis of this blog post! And if I’m honest? I felt more dedicated to and inspired by this content than I have for the entire rest of the month!

Below you’ll find a pretty detailed account of the steps that I take to ensure that I can maintain a productive work-life balance. But it’s important to remember that these tips won’t work for everyone. We all have different priorities, different goals we want to reach, different ways we value our free time and our work time. And that’s okay! I encourage you all take as much or as little of this as you’d like and put what you can into practice, and maybe pass it on to someone who may be struggling. After all, the goal is always to make navigating the trials and tribulations of adult life just a little bit easier!

Maintaining a Productive Work-Life Balance for Millennials

Maintaining a Productive Work-Life Balance in the Age of

Know your priorities but don’t over-prioritize.

Here’s the truth: over-prioritization is the death of productivity. Why? Well, that’s simple! If everything in your life is a priority, then how can you actually say that you have priorities?

We can’t do it all. It’s physically not possible, at least not all at once, and definitely not all in one week. One thing to consider: over-prioritizing also leads to the interesting conundrum of having conflicting priorities. Think about it! You can’t prioritize taking on extra shifts at work to make more money at the same time that you try to prioritize spending quality time with friends and family. The key to a productive work-life balance is ensuring that you’re not overloading your plate with priorities that simply won’t be feasible in the long-term! After all, we’ll just end up burnt out, exhausted, and seriously falling off the goals wagon.

So here’s what I want you to do: take a few minutes to think about what you really want your priorities to be for the next month, both in and outside of work. Not what they are now! But what you’d really like to hone in on. I’ll give you a hint: you should have maybe three things max!

[ Read On : Stop Wasting Work Time and Actually Get Sh*t Done ]

My priorities haven’t changed much over the last couple of months and as a result I’ve achieved a level of consistency that I’ve never reached before! In work, my priority is always to deliver a high quality product to my clients in a timely manner that won’t have me working long hours of overtime. As a result I always finish my work early and ask for feedback regularly on my performance, so I’ve had the opportunity to work on additional projects that, had I had less of an intense work ethic, I would only have been able to wish for!

In my free time? I have three overarching priorities: my blog, my health, and my social life. These are the things that drive me, that make me feel fulfilled and like I’m using my free-time in a way that not only leaves my feeling energized and accomplished, but also like I’m really making an impact on other people’s lives. The result is that not only do I feel like I more well-rounded, developed person in these areas, but I’ve also reached milestones that I never thought possible before!

Because my priorities in my work and in my personal life don’t conflict, I find that I very rarely get burnt out or feel over-worked or “busy” anymore. But having my priorities sorted is only the first step, the next is making sure I have an environment set up where I’ll be able to achieve those goals.


The key to having a productive work-live balance is choosing a few, non-conflicting priorities in both your work and personal life. Don't prioritize that overtime pay at the same time you're prioritizing spending time with your family…
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Give yourself deadlines to get things done, even if no one else is.

Every Wednesday (and occasionally Thursday) I publish a brand new blog post for you all to check out! I also send out an email to my newsletter each Wednesday in tandem with my blog post to keep my email subscribers updated on the latest happenings on Signed, Logan. I’ll post various things on social media (primarily Instagram) throughout the week as well. At work, I try to finish my to-do list for the day at least an hour to an hour and a half early so that I can help my team mates out with other projects.

Did anyone impose these deadlines on me? No. Do I have anyone breathing down my neck each week reminding me that I need to get my blog post done and scheduled by Tuesday night? Nope! Are my managers and supervisors asking me where my work is at 3pm each day? Also no.

So why do I do it?

[ Read On : Free Time Productivity Hacks that Won’t Waste Your Day ]

I know that if I don’t have a deadline for when I need to have my work finished, regardless of what work it is, then I won’t finish it. It’s something that I’ve come to accept about myself and it’s why I work hard to create an environment that encourages me to meet my goals.

But let’s say that you don’t have a blog, how exactly would you give yourself a deadline to get something done? Well, that’s easy. Give yourself a deadline each day of when you’re going to get your work done while you’re at your 9-5. This is especially important if you work at a company with a “it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get this done so long as you get it done” mentality. Tell yourself that you’re going to finish your work by X time each day! And give yourself a cut off time when, regardless of how much work you still need to do, you’re going home.

Having a productive work-life balance means setting boundaries so that you’re not over-prioritizing work at the expense of the rest of your life! Giving yourself these deadlines is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you a) don’t overwork yourself and b) remain productive during your time in the office.

Maintaining a Productive Work-Life Balance in the Age of

Create a weekly schedule based on your priorities and deadlines.

Alright, so now we have our priorities, and we also have our deadlines. We know we’re trying to foster a productive work-life balance so that we don’t burn out after a week or two. What’s next?

One of my favorite things: creating a schedule.

If you’ll notice, so far we’ve been working backwards from the big picture to the day to day. We start with our priorities or overarching, long term goals. Then we set deadlines or milestones that we want to hit to meet those goals. And now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of productive work-life balance: the day-to-day of our lives. After all, burn out generally hits when we’re trying to do too many things all at once instead of working towards goals in a realistic time frame. This is where your schedule comes in!

By far the most effective way I’ve found to schedule my goals and deadlines is to block off days dedicated to working on specific priorities. This way I don’t become overloaded each day while I try to maintain a productive work-life balance. Let’s think back to my priorities: my blog; my health; my social life; and high quality, timely delivery of work at my 9-5. Based on that, here’s what my schedule looks like for most weeks:

  • Work: While I generally try not to put myself in a position where I need to work overtime, if I know there’s no way around it, I’ll front load my week (Monday-Wednesday) with the overtime hours so that my schedule relaxes in time for the weekend.
[ Read On : 6 Ways to Beat the Procrastination Game ]
  • Health: Most of the time, I devote Mondays to my health. I make it a point to always make it to the gym on Mondays, go grocery shopping right afterwards, and then I’ll meal prep for the week before showering and going through my skincare routine. I’ll go to the gym at least two more times throughout the week, but those visits I’ll schedule around my other priorities.
  • Blog: Tuesdays after work I devote to my blog. It’s my last day to get everything done before my work goes live, so I’ll generally block off the entire night to working on copy, creating graphics, editing photos, etc.
  • Social Life: For the most part, Wednesday through the weekend isn’t scheduled out. I know I want to see friends, I know I want to spend time with my boyfriend, and I know I need to go to the gym two more times to meet my fitness goals. This part of my week hardly ever looks the same as the week before!

Do you have to do it this way? Not at all! But make sure you consider the environment in which you’ll have the most productive work life balance based on your priorities. If you’re someone who can easily jump back and forth between tasks to get things done, maybe consider scheduling your time based on hour of the day instead of day in the week. But if you’re like me and work more effectively with large blocks of time dedicated to one thing, focusing specific priorities on specific days may be for you!

Maintaining a Productive Work-Life Balance in the Age of

Get ready to leave some of your old habits at the door.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned this year is that in order to get everything accomplished in my free time after work, then some things needed to go. So some of my old, unproductive habits? Yeah, I left those behind months ago.

For me, 2018 has been all about being intentional with how I spend my time. And the result is that I’ve been more productive — and I’ve had more free time to spend with friends — than ever! But I didn’t get here overnight. In all honesty, the biggest thing that got me here was cutting out some of those time-wasting habits that kill my productivity.

[ Read On : How to Beat the Mid-day Burnout ]

Now, ya girl loves Netflix, but you’d be hard pressed to find me watching Netflix on my own during the week. In fact there’s nothing on my personal watch list right now! Does this mean I never watch Netflix? No, but I do reserve it for my quality time with my boyfriend after a long day at work, and we almost never watch more than two hours of TV a night. All that extra time I have as a result goes towards keeping up a productive work-life balance!

Do I still mindlessly scroll through social media on occasion? Most definitely and way more than I’d like to admit! But we all have our vices. The fact of the matter is this: if you have goals that you want to achieve in your free time, something has to give. You can’t work long hours, and study for four hours a day for the GRE, and binge watch a season or two of The Office each week, and keep up your social life with friends and family without getting burnt out. And getting burnt out is the exact opposite of what we want to accomplish when building a productive work-life balance. This is why knowing your priorities is so important! And also why you need to be okay with dropping some of your more unproductive habits.


Get ready to leave behind some old habits if you want to avoid burnout while building a productive work-life balance. You can't do it all, every day, without sacrificing your own mental health in the long run, and it's just not worth…
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Schedule some time to be unproductive!

Is the entire theme of this post, and indeed this month here on Signed, Logan, centered around being as productive as possible? Absolutely. So then is telling you to take some time to be unproductive contradictory? Absolutely not.

In today’s productivity focused day and age it can be tempting to go go go without ever stopping. But that’s exactly when we need to take a step back and look hard at the path we’re walking. After all, if you’re always being productive, are you really being productive at all? Or are you falling into the “busy” trap, where your productivity has become an aimless attempt to constantly do more?

[ Read On : How to Make Working Out Work for You ]

Boomers will often say that we work so that we can enjoy the time spent away from work. While this isn’t necessarily an assessment I always agree with, think of it this way: we embody productivity so that we can enjoy the unproductive time that it affords us. After all, being productive is about working smarter, not harder! And how is working 24/7 without a break smarter?

So don’t forget to give yourself some “me” time when you create your schedule! Maybe you’re binge watching the next season of Friends for a whole Saturday, or you’re taking a walk on the beach with a friend, or you’re taking that nap that your body has been craving. Creating a productive work-life balance is about more than just achieving all your goals, it’s also about taking the time to enjoy the little moments that we often take for granted. And those moments often come outside of the boundaries of our productive selves.


Creating a productive work-life balance is about more than just achieving all your goals, it's also about taking the time to enjoy the little moments that come outside of the boundaries of our productive selves.
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Maintaining a Productive Work-Life Balance in the Age of

How do you maintain a productive work-life balance? Let me know in the comments below!!




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Stop Wasting Work Time and Get Sh*t Done https://signedlogan.com/2018/04/18/stop-wasting-work-time/ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:45:10 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2127 Now friends, let me ask you a question: how much time do you actually waste when you’re at work? You don’t have to answer it, but think about it. Do you actually get all of your work done in a timely manner? Or do you constantly find yourself rushing to meet your deadlines at the [...]

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Now friends, let me ask you a question: how much time do you actually waste when you’re at work? You don’t have to answer it, but think about it. Do you actually get all of your work done in a timely manner? Or do you constantly find yourself rushing to meet your deadlines at the end of the day? Chances are you’ve developed some small, but still not great, habits that have kept you from being your most productive self. That’s why this week’s goal centers around helping you stop wasting work time so that you can feel more relaxed during your workday!

I know that I’ve developed a number of bad habits since I started working full-time last June. But this month I’m taking active steps to course correct so that I can increase my productivity and not feel rushed at the end of my day. So these tips? Yeah . . . rest assured, I didn’t just pull them out of nowhere. They’re tried and true solutions that I’ve tested to prevent my own procrastination, and with any luck you’ll navigate away from this article (and maybe onto this one?) with some actionable steps to help you stop wasting work time, too!

Alright friends, it’s time to stop wasting work time and actually get sh*t done.

Stop Wasting Work Time and Get Sh*t Done - We all procrastinate at slack off at work occasionally, but when it seriously starts to get in the way of our jobs it's time for a wakeup call. Stop wasting work time and get back to being the productive bad*ss that you know you can be! Follow these tried and true steps to stop wasting work time and get your work done.

Keep a water bottle and snacks at your desk.

Look. The “gossiping at the water cooler” movie trope exists for a reason. The same goes for the snack machine, which is, often, in the same place. And I get it, you want to stay hydrated and satiated throughout the day, there’s nothing wrong with that! But think about how much time you waste idly chatting with coworkers while you grab a drink or a snack from the break room.

[ Read On : Free Time Productivity Hacks that Won’t Waste Your Day ]

If you want to stop wasting work time, I definitely recommend keeping your drinks and snacks at your desk. Get a big water bottle and fill it up at the beginning of the morning! See if you can time it so that you only need to refill it on your lunch break. If you find that you just have to have your 3pm slump snack each day, start keeping some granola bars or nuts in your drawer. Not only will you save yourself an extended trip to the break room, but you’ll also save yourself some money and the environment some stress! After all, you can buy your favorite granola bars cheaper at the grocery store than in the snack machine. And that reusable water bottle definitely makes less of an impact on the environment than those paper cones.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t ever run to the breakroom for a quick sip or snack? No, of course not! But if you keep your snacks and water bottle handy I’m sure you’ll find that you have more time in your work day!


If you find yourself wasting time during the day at the water cooler or snack machine, start keeping a water bottle and some snacks at your desk. This way you won't be tempted to slack off and you'll stay healthy and hydrated!
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Leave your phone in your desk when you go to the bathroom.

“But Logan!” I can hear you cry, “That’s the one time I let myself use my phone! When am I supposed to use it now?”

Look, I totally hear you. Restricting your phone use to when you’re in the bathroom — and out of sight of your supervisors and managers — definitely isn’t a bad idea. But let me give you a scenario and you tell me if this sounds like you:

You decide you need to go to the bathroom so you take your phone with you. While in the stall, you check your personal email and Facebook notifications. You start scrolling through Facebook, promising yourself that you’ll only be on your phone for two more minutes (even though you’re already done doing your business on the toilet). You get a push notification that brings you to Twitter, so you scroll through that for a few minutes. Maybe an Instagram DM pops up so you check that. You hear a group of people enter the bathroom which reminds you you should get back to work. By the time you get back to your desk, you’ve been gone for at least 15 minutes.

[ Read On : 6 Ways to Beat the Procrastination Game ]

How familiar does that sound? And I’ll be fully transparent here! I literally do this all the time, which is why I know leaving my phone at my desk is one of the best ways to help me stop wasting work time. After all, I’m much more likely to put my phone away after three minutes if I’m at my desk (where my managers can see me) than if I’m in the bathroom where they can’t!

Ultimately, it comes down to how often you go to the bathroom throughout the day, and how much time you spend on your phone while you’re there. I’m cursed with a small bladder so you can bet I run back and forth all day! So I try to leave my phone in my purse when I run to the bathroom so that I can stop wasting work time and get more things done throughout the day.

Stop Wasting Work Time and Get Sh*t Done - We all procrastinate at slack off at work occasionally, but when it seriously starts to get in the way of our jobs it's time for a wakeup call. Stop wasting work time and get back to being the productive bad*ss that you know you can be! Follow these tried and true steps to stop wasting work time and get your work done.

Block Facebook and other social media from your work computer.

Let’s be honest, you shouldn’t be on social media on your work computer anyways. The last thing you want is to leave your Facebook up when your employer has the right to search your computer. But we all know that everyone does it anyways. And that’s okay! But if we’re seriously trying to stop wasting work time, social media in the office has to go.

Have you ever tried to hide the fact that you were on social media when your boss walks up behind you? Then we all know it doesn’t go well. Save yourself the embarrassment and the time and stay off those websites!

If blocking social media on your computer just doesn’t work for you, then at least log out of all of them. Like, right now. And then when it asks you to log back in, uncheck the “Remember Me” button and congratulations! You’ve now put a roadblock in place that will help you stop wasting work time. You can still access your social media if you really need to, but it won’t be as readily available!

Stop Wasting Work Time and Get Sh*t Done - We all procrastinate at slack off at work occasionally, but when it seriously starts to get in the way of our jobs it's time for a wakeup call. Stop wasting work time and get back to being the productive bad*ss that you know you can be! Follow these tried and true steps to stop wasting work time and get your work done.

Set up a “Do Not Disturb” window for your work day on your phone.

When Apple came out with the “Do Not Disturb” feature for the iPhone I basically flipped. I’m in love with it! And honestly, you’ll be hard pressed to find me without Do Not Disturb turned on for the majority of the day.

Push notifications and badges — especially badges — on my phone drive me nuts! I’ve fully accepted that I’ve fallen for my social media accounts’ ploys to get me into their apps more often because I hate. Seeing. Them. I check my notifications compulsively as a result. Which means — ding ding ding! — I often find it really hard to stop wasting work time on my phone.

[ Read On : How to Beat the Mid-Day Burnout ]

Do Not Disturb doesn’t turn off these push notifications and badges, but it’ll prevent them from causing my home screen to light up or my phone to buzz when I have the feature turned on. This is a godsend for me! It’ll also send phone calls from numbers not on my favorites list straight to voicemail. No more accidentally answering telemarketer calls at work!

Do Not Disturb has a handy feature where you can schedule it to automatically turn off and on during certain time periods. If you want to seriously stop wasting work time, I’d recommend setting it up!


Setting up a Do Not Disturb timer on your phone will help you stop wasting work time by keeping you present in your work and the moment without fear of missing important calls or texts!
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Queue up your playlist before you start working.

Raise your hand if you listen to your music, or podcasts, or something while you work! I honestly find that I’m more productive and less distracted when I do. Well, until it’s time to add more songs or episodes to my queue. Then I get really distracted.

[ Read On : The Top Motivational Girlboss Podcasts You Need This Year ]

In case you haven’t noticed, most of my tips revolve around keeping you off your phone unless you absolutely need to check it. And that’s because you’re so much more likely to get distracted when you’re looking at it absentmindedly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened my phone to queue up some more podcasts, forgotten what I needed to do, and spent 10 minutes scrolling through Facebook. Not ideal when I’m trying to stop wasting work time!

Lately I’ve decided to queue up all of my podcasts as they come out so that I have a huge, long, master playlist of everything I need to listen to. I spend maybe five minutes each morning adding to the list and shuffling the order, and then I’m good to go for the rest of the day! I have so many podcasts on my playlists that I very rarely run out of things to listen to in a day, so this keeps me from constantly opening my phone to figure out what I want to listen to next.

Stop Wasting Work Time and Get Sh*t Done - We all procrastinate at slack off at work occasionally, but when it seriously starts to get in the way of our jobs it's time for a wakeup call. Stop wasting work time and get back to being the productive bad*ss that you know you can be! Follow these tried and true steps to stop wasting work time and get your work done.

What’s the best advice you could give to help someone stop wasting work time? Let me know in the comments below!Stop Wasting Work Time and Get Sh*t Done - We all procrastinate at slack off at work occasionally, but when it seriously starts to get in the way of our jobs it's time for a wakeup call. Stop wasting work time and get back to being the productive bad*ss that you know you can be! Follow these tried and true steps to stop wasting work time and get your work done.




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Free Time Productivity Hacks that Won’t Waste Your Day https://signedlogan.com/2018/04/11/free-time-productivity-hacks/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 14:45:56 +0000 https://signedlogan.com/?p=2104 If you’ve had a full-time job for a while, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You get home from work, sit yourself down in front of your TV with your dinner, and you don’t move until it’s time to go to sleep. Suddenly? Those 5-6 hours of freedom a night have gone completely [...]

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If you’ve had a full-time job for a while, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You get home from work, sit yourself down in front of your TV with your dinner, and you don’t move until it’s time to go to sleep. Suddenly? Those 5-6 hours of freedom a night have gone completely to waste! It’s almost as if we’ve forgotten that productivity doesn’t have to stay confined to work hours. In fact it’s totally possible to increase your free time productivity without taking away from your relaxation time! After all, no one wants to feel like they’ve wasted away the few precious hours they have to themselves at night.

After I graduated from University and started working, something that really shocked me was really how much free time I had on my hands. Strange, right? In college you can create your own schedule and you’re only in classes for 12-18 hours a week. But I, like many college students nowadays, had a part-time job in addition to all of my extracurriculars. This left very little free time after my studying was done for the night. Once my daily schedule revolved around arriving to work by 8:30am and leaving by 5:30pm, I was basically at a loss as to how to spend my free time! And what did I do? Exactly what I wrote above: lounged around on my couch watching Netflix and HGTV until I just couldn’t stand it.

So in a continual effort to lead a purposefully productive life, I decided to make a change. I would use my free time in a more productive manner (AKA invest in my free time productivity) so that I could get more accomplished during my few hours I had all to myself. Did this mean I never took the time to just veg? Uh, no! I definitely still do. But now it’s because I want to, not because I have nothing better to do!

So, who’s ready to stop wasting their day and invest in their own free time productivity? Read on!

Free Time Productivity Hacks that Won't Waste Your Day - It's important to invest in your free time productivity so you lose fewer wasted hours! There's nothing worse than realizing that you wasted all of your free time in front of the TV. If you're serious about increasing your free time productivity, then these simple and non-taxing hacks are for you!

Pick up a hobby

At the beginning of last June, after I moved into my first big girl apartment and enjoyed two weeks of nothing but shopping, I suddenly found myself at a complete loss. I had no clue how to spend my time until I started working (at least another two weeks). My life had previously revolved around extracurriculars and studying and paper writing. I had no clue what to do with my free time without those things.

[ Read On : 6 Ways to Beat the Procrastination Game ]

Out of my boredom, though, came this blog: my personal free time productivity fix that started as an experiment and became a reality! The Model UN delegate in me needed an outlet to share my thoughts, my mind needed a project to occupy it, and my heart, as cheesy as it sounds, had secretly always wanted to run a blog. And I can wholeheartedly say that this hobby of mine has kept me productive ever since!

So take some time to ponder the hobbies that you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe it’s knitting or crocheting, sketching or sculpting, writing or singing! Whatever it may be, make it the focus of your free time productivity. Use it to re-energize you to do what you love at the end of your work day. Hone that skill you always wished you had! After all, it’s hard to waste time if you’re actively working towards a goal!


Investing in a hobby is a great way to increase your free time productivity, and can lead you to passions you may not have considered before! #productivityhack
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Invest in a gym membership

Obvious? Probably, but let’s be real, we ALL need the reminder to get off our lazy butts every once in a while. Here’s the thing: if you’re looking for free time productivity hacks but you don’t have a regular exercise routine, then you already know where to start.

[ Read On : How to Make Working Out Work for You ]

After graduation, once you get a full-time job? You should always be factoring fitness into your every day routine. Think about it. I’m generally home between 5 and 6 PM every day. I go to sleep at or a little before midnight. That gives me 6 or 7 hours of free time that I need to fill! Sure, an hour or two may be spent commuting or cooking dinner, but the other 4-5? You can definitely spare some time in there for an hour at the gym every other day.

Taking the time to really invest in my exercise routine has honestly made a world of difference when it comes to my fitness goals! And it’s all because I decided to really make it a priority when I plan out my free time productivity instead of just avoiding it or not acknowledging it as an option at all.


Use your free time wisely; if you're working towards bettering yourself, then there's no way to not be productive. Making time for the gym is a great start! #productivityhack
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Listen to podcasts

Podcasts are my absolute favorite way to get information throughout the day and to invest in my free time productivity. While I’m definitely a very visual person, I’m also someone who needs to be doing something at all times. And I often need to keep my mind occupied while I do things. For a long time my answer was audio books, but those can be expensive. I’ll admit: I just wasn’t willing shell out $15 a month for one audio book I’d finish in two weeks!

My first foray into podcasts, and indeed many people’s, came when the hit podcast Serial took the internet by storm. Since then I’ve expanded my library to include personal development, true crime, politics, blogging, and news! Somehow, it never stops growing!

[ Read On : Find Your Top Motivational Girlboss Podcast ]

If you decide to invest in your own free time productivity, picking up a couple of podcasts is one of the easiest and non-intrusive actions you can take. Think about how much time you spend driving, cooking, cleaning, walking, commuting, online shopping, etc.! For the most part, hardly any of these tasks require active listening to what’s going on around you. By introducing a podcast into any of these situations, you’re not drastically changing your routine, but you are staying productive while you go about your day.

Free Time Productivity Hacks that Won't Waste Your Day - It's important to invest in your free time productivity so you lose fewer wasted hours! There's nothing worse than realizing that you wasted all of your free time in front of the TV. If you're serious about increasing your free time productivity, then these simple and non-taxing hacks are for you!

Read a book

If you’re the type of person who could maintain a stacked reading list while balancing your mandatory class readings, then man, I commend you! I, on the other hand, haven’t read for pleasure since I finished A Dance with Dragons a few ago while abroad. Since then, I just couldn’t justify reading more fiction books and neglecting my studies. The result? I haven’t checked a book off my reading list, or even had a reading list, in the past couple of years.

Now that I’ve made a shift towards free time productivity, however, I’ve made reading a key part of nightly routine. Nevermind the fact that my boyfriend has made it his mission to read me the Harry Potty series (can I just saw I don’t know how I never read these on my own??), I’ve made a concerted effort to invest in the self-help genre of books, something I’ve never had a desire to read before. If you’re already an avid reader, consider improving your free time productivity by investing in your own professional development!

Not only does perusing this genre for a half hour to an hour each night help me stay productive in my free time, but it also furthers my own professional development, something that I’ve taken an increased interest in ever since I started Signed, Logan! Lately I’ve been loving Millennial Reboot: Our Generation’s Playbook for Professional Growth and Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Keys to Success. The former focuses on how millennials can succeed in the workplace by honing in on inter-generational communication strategies through down to earth comparisons! The latter, meanwhile, explains how changing your environment in purposeful, meaningful ways can help you achieve your goals, rather than relying on a finite source like willpower.

Add something of educational value to your watch list on Netflix

While I love a good Criminal Minds binge watch every now and then, rushing through every TV show I can find on Netflix loses its appeal after a few weeks. Shocking, I know, but when you have so much free time on your hands you eventually run out of compelling things to watch!

I’ll admit, it’s a rare day when you find me engrossed in a Netflix marathon. My boyfriend and I have gotten better about moderating our TV time (personally, mine is limited to the two or so episodes a night we watch together), but when I do indulge myself, I normally choose something that has a more educational spin.

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Does this mean I’m watching PBS all day every day? No, not exactly. But I’ll make an effort to watch a documentary every once in a while about a topic I find compelling. Right now, my watch list is filled with True Crime documentaries and series (I’m a little late on the Making a Murderer train)! And a couple of weeks ago, the only thing I would watch on my own were episodes of the french crime thriller La Mante. Fiction? Sure, but I also watched it in French with English subtitles to get my ear used to hearing the language again! This also ensures I’m actually using my free time productivity to its fullest potential. After all, getting distracted on my phone means I lose track of the plot and have to rewind. Listening to it in French forces me to fully immerse myself!

Free Time Productivity Hacks that Won't Waste Your Day - It's important to invest in your free time productivity so you lose fewer wasted hours! There's nothing worse than realizing that you wasted all of your free time in front of the TV. If you're serious about increasing your free time productivity, then these simple and non-taxing hacks are for you!

Do you have any free time productivity hacks that keep you meaningfully busy during the day? Let me know in the comments below! Free Time Productivity Hacks that Won't Waste Your Day - It's important to invest in your free time productivity so you lose fewer wasted hours! There's nothing worse than realizing that you wasted all of your free time in front of the TV. If you're serious about increasing your free time productivity, then these simple and non-taxing hacks are for you!




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