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Kohl’s Black Friday deals 2019
Waiting for this year’s Black Friday deals at Kohl’s? So are we. Keep checking back, because we’ll share the 2019 deals as soon as they’re released. In the meantime, here’s a look back at what happened last year.
Kohl’s Black Friday deals 2018
Along with Macy’s and J.C. Penney, Kohl’s is one of the major department store chains that delivers big deals on Black Friday. In 2018, stores opened on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m, but online deals began before that.
Discounted products ranged from jewelry to TVs, and shoppers could rack up Kohl’s Cash with qualifying purchases.
Some of the biggest deals included:
Samsung 58-inch 4K smart TV for $549.99 (get $165 Kohl’s Cash).
Instant Pot for $69.99 (get $15 Kohl’s Cash).
Select toys for $4.99.
50% off select games.
70%-75% off select fine jewelry.
50% off LC Lauren Conrad handbags, slippers and slipper socks for her.
40% off celebrity fragrance gift sets.
Kohl’s also offered a coupon for an extra 15% off, but it was important for shoppers to read the full details, because certain products and brands didn’t qualify. If Kohl’s offers a similar coupon again this year, make sure the item you’re buying qualifies for it.
We get it. You’ve been busy since you found out you were expecting.
Baby preparations turn into sleepless nights turn into homework-filled afternoons…
So when it comes to money, you’re probably just trying to pay your bills on time, right? That’s a good move, but you’re probably forgetting about some bigger milestones you should achieve before your kid gets too old.
No need to overwhelm yourself and do these all today. We set these up in order of priority, so let’s start with the easiest — yet, arguably, most important — first.
Before They’re Born: Secure Their Future
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income? Without your support? Maybe you’ve worried about this a little too much since your little one has entered the picture.
That’s totally normal, but you might be able to tame a few of these anxieties by securing life insurance, which will help ensure your family is finally secure if anything happens to you.
You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes — and you can secure a policy starting at $5 a month through a company called Bestow. Yeah, no need to pay hundreds of dollars a month.
“The biggest mistake I see millennials making is being duped by insurance salesmen,” says Andy Yadro, a financial planner with Googins Advisors in Madison, Wisconsin. “Everyone needs insurance, but a very small subset of young people need the insurance that is sold by most financial advisers.”
So if you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without the medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, check out Bestow. The company is built around one concept — helping you get the term life insurance policy you want, simply and fast.
It just takes five minutes to answer some basic lifestyle questions, and you can get quotes for up to $1 million in coverage without a medical exam. If you’re approved, you can personalize your coverage to fit your budget. You can change or cancel your plan at any time.
Now you can rest a little easier tonight.
When They’re 2: Open a High-Yield Savings Account
Remember when you turned 18 and jumped ship into adulthood? Errr, well, tried to jump into adulthood? For many of us, that was a tough time. If you want to give your kid a little boost, set them up with a savings account.
You don’t have to contribute anything major. Think about it: If, when they’re 2, you start putting $25 into an account once a month until they turn 18, that leaves them with nearly $5,000. That’s enough to help with the cost of college living, starting a small business or backpacking through Europe.
And if you stash the money in a high-yield savings account, the balance will grow even more, thanks to that sweet, sweet compound interest.
When They’re 6: Talk to Them About Money
If you’re going to work hard to build your kid’s savings, then you probably want them to use it responsibly, right? That’s why it’s important to teach them the value of a dollar early on.
One fun way to do this? Take them grocery shopping. Give them a mini-cart or basket, and let them walk through the store with you. Point out what’s considered a want and what’s considered a need. Fresh doughnuts from the bakery? That’s a want. That loaf of bread? That’s a need.
Another classic way to teach kids about money is to set up an allowance for chores. Of course, they’ll want to spend this money on a toy. That’s OK! This exercise helps them understand the value of a dollar.
Before They Turn 10: Involve Them in Financial Decisions
As your kid gets older, they’ll want to participate in every after-school activity, attend every summer camp and buy every new piece of technology.
Instead of feeling guilty — or caving and overspending — let your child hear and participate in your household conversations about money.
“Classically, parents will go behind a closed door to talk about saving, budgeting and investing,” says Maggie Johndrow, a financial adviser at Johndrow Wealth Management. “But psychologists have found that will make your children think finances are scary, taboo and something that’s not to be talked about in the open.”
Instead, Johndrow encourages parents lay it all out there. Let your child know your budget for after-school activities, for example, then work together to choose what’s affordable.
“Empower them and teach them by giving them that choice,” Johndrow says.
Now, that wasn’t so bad, right? Almost easier than remembering to pay your bills each month.
Have you ever thought about how much of your time is spent simply watching television? It’s probably more than you think.
If you’re like a growing number of people, you might suspect, deep down, that watching hours of TV every day isn’t the best use of your time. And a growing number of scientists and researchers are saying the same thing: Spending hours a day glued to a screen is robbing us of having a life – you know, that thing where you exercise, make things, connect face-to-face with friends, and follow your dreams.
TV is also expensive. You pay monthly for cable or satellite, but you also pay more when you make unnecessary purchases as a result of an advertisement or product you saw in a show.
If you’re ready to cut down on your TV consumption, or even stop watching entirely, it’s important to have a plan in place before you do it. Read on to find out why your physical, emotional, and financial health might benefit from cutting the cord – and how to go about doing it.
Our Addiction to the Tube
According to the most recent Nielsen data, Americans now spend 11 hours per day interacting with media. This includes watching TV, surfing the Web on a smartphone or tablet, and listening to podcasts.
Out of those 11 hours, we spend over 4.5 hours just watching TV. That doesn’t count the additional hour we spend watching content on devices like smartphones and tablets, giving us a total of 5.5 hours of daily watching. We’re also more likely to engage in binge-watching than we used to be. According to data from Netflix cited by TIME, it now takes the average viewer just 3 days to watch a show’s entire season.
All that being said, watching TV isn’t inherently bad. Watching a show with your spouse or family can be a great way to relax, relieve stress, and bond. Some TV shows are highly educational and introduce you to perspectives and ideas you might never have considered otherwise, while other shows can help you learn new skills such as cooking or home improvement.
The problems creep in when you spend hours, every day, glued to a screen.
Why You Should Cut Down on TV Watching
Consider these five reasons why you might want to consider cutting back on your TV time – or giving it up altogether.
1. It’s Bad for Kids’ Health
All of this watching isn’t doing our kids’ health any good. A Japanese study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex found that children who watched more TV had more gray matter in their frontal lobes, an area associated with verbal reasoning ability. However, despite having more gray matter in their brains, the children who watched more actually had lower IQs.
Children are also negatively affected by scenes of violence they see on TV. This violence can make them feel fearful or cause them to emulate it.
Too much television also turns kids into consumers at an early age. They see food, toys, and candy they want – and, being kids, it’s hard for them to hear you say no. All too often, parents fold and end up buying their kids things they don’t need. That’s especially true with food that, according to Stanford Children’s Health, can lead to poor eating habits.
Countless studies continue to have similar findings, and scientists and pediatricians are sounding the warning bell that less is better when it comes to kids and screen time.
2. It’s Bad for Adults’ Health
Unsurprisingly, your health is just as vulnerable to the harmful effects of TV as your kids’. According to a study by researchers at Georgia Southern University, college students who engaged in binge-watching showed a higher likelihood of depression and anxiety. Another study, cited by The Washington Post, found that young adults who watched a lot of TV – more than 3 hours per day – had lower physical activity and worse cognitive function when they hit middle age than those who watched less TV.
After all, watching television is a sedentary activity. A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Network found that a sedentary lifestyle could be worse for your health than smoking. A lack of frequent exercise has been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a long list of other health conditions and diseases. Sitting all day at work and then sitting most of the evening in front of the TV is just plain bad for your health.
It can also affect your health later in life. A study published in the journal Brain and Cognition found that increased TV watching is positively linked with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. According to the study, for every additional hour of TV you watch every day, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease increase by 1.3 times.
3. It Can Be Addictive
TV watching, especially binge-watching, can create feelings of addiction. According to NBC News, watching your favorite TV show feels good because it causes your brain to release dopamine, the “pleasure” chemical that can be highly addictive. When the show is over, you want to watch more of it, but what you’re really craving is that dopamine release. And as Dr. Renee Carr tells NBC, binge-watching starts the same process in our brains that occurs when a drug or other type of addiction begins. The more we watch, the more we want to watch.
4. It Can Cause You to Spend More
Television can also be bad for your financial health in a few different ways. According to USA Today, the average cost for cable is now up to $85 per month, and satellite TV is over $100 per month. Add in Netflix at $10.99 per month and Hulu at $7.99 per month, and you’re looking at some significant savings throughout the year if you cancel.
The constant advertisements you see on TV also affect your finances. These ads have one goal: to convince you that what you have isn’t enough. You need whatever they’re selling if you really want to be happy. And whatever that is – a new car, designer jacket, or the latest smartphone – it’s usually expensive.
Even when it’s not expensive, it’s often something you don’t really need to buy. How many hundreds or thousands of dollars do you fritter away each year on things you bought because of ads, or things you wanted after seeing them on a show? You could be saving a good portion of this money if you simply stopped watching television.
5. It Can Be Isolating
Watching too much TV can contribute to feelings of isolation, especially in older adults. According to Nielsen data published by Marketing Charts, people aged 65 and older watch 48.5 hours of live television per week. And while seniors watch more television than any other age group, a study conducted by the University of California – San Diego found that they enjoy it less.
Having a TV on all day often makes seniors feel less lonely, especially when they live alone in a quiet house. Unfortunately, by sitting at home watching shows, they’re not going out and interacting with friends and neighbors. All that sitting also has negative effects on their physical and mental health. Watching more means that seniors are moving less – which, in turn, can speed up physical and mental decline. It can also lead to feelings of depression.
Why My Family Quit TV
My husband and I quit watching television almost 10 years ago. I’ve never seen an episode of “Orange Is the New Black” or “The Big Bang Theory.” I have no idea what “Russian Doll” and “Game of Thrones” are about. In fact, I had to Google “most popular TV shows” to even find out what people are watching these days. To say I’m out of the pop culture loop is an understatement.
Are we crazy? Some people might think so. After all, if we don’t watch TV, then what do we do? How do we relax and unwind?
Well, without television in our life, we have time to do yoga and go hiking in the woods by our home. We draw and do crafts with our kids in the evenings. We cook dinner at home every night, read stories, listen to music, talk, and play.
Without daily doses of TV, our kids get plenty of exercise. In turn, this positively affects their behavior and ability to focus on their homeschool lessons the next day. We still have movie night on the weekend, but during the week, we’re screen-free. For us, ditching TV has enabled us to create a life that’s full and rich with experience and connections. And we don’t miss TV a bit.
Was it easy? At first, no. When we first canceled our cable and Netflix, my husband and I were left twiddling our thumbs in the evenings. I didn’t know what to do with all this time I now had. It took a few weeks to adjust, but I quickly realized I now had the opportunity to learn things, and do things, I never thought I had time for before. Instead of watching TV, I learned how to can food. I learned to knit. I wrote more fiction. I started exercising frequently. I baked bread. We planned a major life change of moving into an RV and traveling the country.
My life became better, richer, and more interesting when I stopped investing all that time in passive watching.
Now, almost a decade later, we use our evenings for quality family time with our kids and to prepare for another adventure: selling our house, getting rid of most of our possessions, and moving into an RV to travel the country, this time with our kids. This transition would be impossible if we were spending four or more hours every day watching TV. In fact, it likely wouldn’t have even occurred to us to do this again if we were watching other people do cool stuff every night on the screen rather than thinking about cool stuff we could do ourselves.
What do you think you could do with your life if your time was freed up in this way?
How to Stop Watching Television
So, ready to give life without TV a try? Here’s how to do it.
1. Make a Plan
I’ll say it again: When you’re used to filling your evenings with television, it can be difficult to just stop. If you don’t have a plan in place, you’ll be tempted to turn it on for lack of anything better to do.
So, before you officially cut the cord, make a list of what you’d like to do with your evenings instead. What friends would you like to connect with or meet for dinner? What hobbies have you always wanted to learn? What household projects have you been putting off?
Consider some of these ideas:
There’s no end to what you could do with an extra four hours or more in your day; you’re only limited by your imagination here.
2. Take the TV Out of the Picture
When we stopped watching TV, we decided to hide it from view so it wouldn’t stare at us, silently asking why we weren’t turning it on. We bought an inexpensive television cabinet with double doors that hid the screen and tucked it into the corner – out of sight, out of mind. Eventually, we donated the TV and the cabinet, and now we have a lot more space in our living room. (We use a laptop for our weekly movie night.)
Hiding your TV, or taking it out of the room entirely, can help you adjust to not watching it every night. If you don’t see the screen, you’re less likely to be tempted to turn it on. At the least, it can help to readjust your furniture so that all the chairs are pointed away from the television. Set up your living room to promote conversation and play, instead of watching a screen.
If you have TVs in multiple rooms, consider storing or donating these and only keeping one TV in the living room, where everyone in your family can watch a movie together.
You might also want to fill your living room with things you and your family can do instead of watching every night. For example, stack some books you’ve been wanting to read on the coffee table, put some games on the floor by the couch, and place a craft bin in the corner.
3. Work for Your Screen Time
If you can’t quit cold turkey, then try earning your TV time instead.
Eric Braverman, founder and president of Path Foundation NY, a nonprofit that studies brain health, has an excellent rule of thumb to live by. In an interview with Fast Company, he says that you should never watch more TV than the amount of time you exercise. So if you exercise for an hour, you can watch an hour of television. Put in two hours of exercise? You can watch for two hours.
That said, some studies have found that watching too much TV is bad for your health, even if you do get enough exercise. A study conducted by the American Heart Association found that the risk of fatal blood clots increases the more you watch, even in people who get enough exercise. This risk is significant; study participants who said they watched TV “very often” were 80% more likely to develop a fatal clot, even though they were getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week.
You don’t have to join a gym to fit more exercise into your day; there are plenty of exercises you can do at home without any equipment at all.
4. Set a Timer
How many times have you sat down an hour before your favorite show came on and mindlessly channel surfed, then kept the TV on after your show was finished, looking for something else to watch? This mindless viewing is deeply unsatisfying, and before you know it, your entire evening can be gone in a haze.
Curb your watching using the timer on your phone. Set it for a couple of minutes before your show comes on, and set it to go off again when your show is finished. The audible alarm will remind you not to stay on the couch watching, but to turn off the TV and go do something else.
It’s amazing how much more you notice when you stop watching television. And by this, I mean that once you go a while without watching, you might be shocked at how noisy, distracting, and irritating TV actually is.
My parents watch a lot of TV, and when we bring our kids over for a visit, I’m astounded every time at how brash live TV is. The constant cuts and scene changes, which occur every four seconds or so, are overstimulating and annoying, as are the frequent volume changes. They’re designed to hold our attention, which keeps getting shorter and shorter. But they overload the senses and, in turn, can subtly increase your stress levels.
It’s important to realize that you don’t need to cut out TV entirely to experience a greater quality of life. Again, television isn’t inherently bad; it only becomes a problem when you use it as a substitute for a life. Cutting back to an hour a week, or even an hour a day, can motivate you to create a richer, more fulfilling life.
What are your thoughts on watching TV? Do you feel like you have control over your watching? Do you ever wish you watched less?
Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. Please enjoy the archives of earlier collections of inspirational things.
1. Mario Quintana on chasing butterflies
“Don’t waste your time chasing butterflies. Mend your garden, and the butterflies will come.” – Mario Quintana
This is true for virtually every way you might want to improve your life. You can’t chase things like “happiness” or “wealth” directly – you’ll never achieve them. Rather, what you can do is cultivate your life such that those things are a natural outcome.
If you want lasting happiness, tend to your life so that the elements that seem to bring you happiness are well supported and the elements that bring you unhappiness are pulled out like weeds. Don’t chase happiness – focus on constructing a contented life that bubbles up with happiness.
If you want financial success, tend to your life so that you have good control over your spending choices and a good pattern of positive steps in your professional life. Financial success comes naturally once you have constructed a daily life with those elements.
Build your life into a beautiful garden and the butterflies you want will come. Spend your time chasing them with a net and dragging them to your garden and they’ll just fly away.
From the description:
When venture investor Natalie Fratto is determining which start-up founder to support, she doesn’t just look for intelligence or charisma; she looks for adaptability. In this insightful talk, Fratto shares three ways to measure your “adaptability quotient” — and shows why your ability to respond to change really matters.
Her three main signs of adaptability are the ability and habit of asking “what if” questions and answering them well, having a beginner’s mindset about everything and never relying on or assuming expertise, and exploring new things as a basic life habit. Those things point to success in many areas of life.
If you want to be able to more easily handle unexpected events in life, one of the most powerful things you can do is simply make exploring new things a completely normal routine for yourself. Consciously choose to try new things, even if they seem scary and difficult. Make that a normal and consistent thing in your life.
What you’ll find, over time, is that new things start to come easier to you, no matter what those new things are, because you’re wiring your mind to be adaptable. At that point, unexpected events and crises are much easier to handle than they were before.
3. Jackson Brown on time
“Do not say you don’t have time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein and Mother Teresa.” – Jackson Brown
When you say you “don’t have time” for something, what you’re actually saying is that “this particular thing is not a priority for me and not important to me.” When you tell someone that you don’t have time right now to do something together, you’re telling that person that they’re not a priority in your life – it’s just a nicer way of saying it.
How you use your time is an expression of what’s actually important to you. If you spend three hours a day watching television, then that’s what is important to you. If you spend two hours a day exercising, then that’s what is important to you. If you spend three hours a day reading, then that’s what is important to you.
Look at how you actually spend your time very carefully. Keep an honest time diary, then look at it after a few weeks. Are these the things that are actually important to you? Compare that to the things left undone, the friends you didn’t see, the family members you didn’t check up on. Are those things less important than some of the stuff that you actually did?
No one is perfect here, but at the same time, improving in this direction is always a powerful move.
4. The Ten Things
As many of you know, I was really inspired a few months ago by the book The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The core idea of the book is that you tend to get the most value out of a day when you choose one small thing (that serves as an element of a bigger goal, ideally) and you just nail it, and that strong success creates a domino effect of positive impact on your broader goal (and your life as a whole). For example, my “one thing” today might be to write an absolute killer article for The Simple Dollar.
The only caveat with that idea is that I’ve discovered, over time, that there is a limit to my productivity in a certain area of life in a given day. I can only write for so long before my writing quality rapidly declines. I can only exercise for so long before I feel dead and my arms are rubber. We aren’t robots.
So, what I’ve been doing lately is really focusing on the week ahead rather than the day ahead, and I’m creating a list of ten discrete tasks I want to absolutely nail this week. Most days, I try to nail two of them, but in very different areas so I don’t burn out.
I’ve found that this has been working incredibly well. For example, part of my list this week has been: + Conduct a dry run of my black belt test in taekwondo (it’s still pretty far off, but I want to be incredibly prepared for it) + Brainstorm and outline a week’s worth of articles for The Simple Dollar + Script, record, and edit a podcast episode (I’m involved with a podcast on tabletop gaming) + Do a double meal prep session (which should result in 7 full dinners in the freezer) … and six other items.
Try it yourself. This Sunday, make a list of ten significant tasks you want to accomplish in the coming week. If you’re on a career path, make three or four of them career related, but also make some of them about other spheres of your life. Make it your goal to nail all of the items on the list this week.
5. E.B. White on explaining a joke
“Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process.” — E.B. White
One of the interesting things about parenting is the need to sometimes explain jokes, particularly when kids are younger. The purpose of this isn’t to make that particular joke funny, but to enhance their understanding of and appreciation of humor so that future jokes are funny and they learn to cultivate their own humor.
This becomes awkward with other adults, though. If I tell a joke that completely whiffs, I usually just self-deprecate with it. “Oh, never mind… that was just an awful attempt at humor.”
Explaining a joke is rarely worth it, and should be avoided at all costs. White spells it out beautifully.
From the description:
This week on Basics, I’m taking another look at our beloved pizza and showing you how to make great pan pizza at home using a cast iron skillet, glass pie pan, or rimmed baking sheet.
I know how to make pan pizza, but I learned – at my count – seven little things to apply to my own homemade pizza making process from this video, and that’s why I wanted to share it.
This video manages to do everything that a good teaching video should do. It’s informative while still being entertaining. Not only that, it explains things in a way that a beginner could follow while still offering tips that a person familiar with the topic could find valuable. For me, for example, the single most valuable tip was that, when you’re trying to “stretch” pizza dough across a pan, stretch it a lot, then let it sit for a while, then you’ll be able to stretch it even further.
This is what I try to do – and on my best days, succeed at doing – with my writing. I try to write articles that are approachable to a beginner but include some useful stuff for regular readers and try to keep it interesting by weaving in anecdotes of my life. In this video, Babish pulls that all off really well.
Another thing worth noting – a video like this looks so effortless and clean when it’s done and you’re watching it, but I know from experience that a ton of work went on to make this video. This is something I’m going to touch on again in a bit.
7. Leo Tolstoy on changing the world
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” — Leo Tolstoy
How do you want to change the world?
I found that when I was younger, I wanted to change the world in the sense of being some kind of great leader or accomplishing something that would garner a bunch of media attention.
Today, I’d far rather change the world by improving a lot of lives in my community, or helping even a small portion of my readership actually improve their own lives.
I moved from someone who wanted to save all the starfish to someone who was perfectly content to throw back a starfish at a time.
I’ve learned over the years that the best route to being able to throw back a starfish at a time is to have your own life in good order first, to have a sense of what your strengths and weaknesses are, and to really focus on the individual you’re trying to help rather than focusing on making yourself into something “great.”
8. Plato on progress
No one should be discouraged […] who can make constant progress, even though it be slow.” – Plato
If you make it your aim to be just 1% better today than you were yesterday, and you keep that up for an entire year, then at the end of the year, you’ll be 35 times better than you were at the start of the year. Seriously.
Heck, if you make it your aim to just be 0.1% better today than you were yesterday, and you keep that up for an entire year, then at the end of the year, you’ll more than double your current state.
If you get exhausted after two minutes of running, strive to add 1% to that run each and every day. Run two minutes today, then two minutes and one second tomorrow, then two minutes and two seconds the day after that. After a while, you’ll start adding two seconds a day, then three seconds, then four, and so on, whatever 1% of your time is. In about four months, you’re running a 5K without a break. In about six months, you’re running a 10K. By the end of the year, you’re doing a marathon.
Strive to do a bit better at anything in your life, every single day, and you’ll find yourself approaching greatness with surprising speed.
Over the last several months, I’ve gotten more book recommendations from this site than I can even count. I’ve wound up looking for and requesting an incredible number of books from the library because of delves into this site.
The site basically conducts interviews with people in which they suggest five key books related to their career path or area of focus in life. For example, David Allen, the writer of Getting Things Done (a seminal productivity book), offered a list of five great productivity books and Joe Posnanski, a great sportswriter, recommended five books on baseball.
The thing I’ve found interesting is that, if I go to one of the interviews on a topic I’m interested in and I find that I’ve read one or two of the five suggested books and really enjoyed them, my interest in the other three skyrockets and I’m immediately requesting books from the library. This is far more likely to happen if I know I’m on board with one or two of the books than if I’ve never heard of any of the choices.
This is just a great place to dive if you’re looking for recommendations.
10. Michelangelo on genius
“If you knew how much work was put into it, you wouldn’t call it genius.” – Michelangelo
Quite often, what we think of as genius is actually the result of almost countless hours of incredibly focused work and deliberate practice. We see a basketball player make an astounding play, but what we don’t see is the fact that he or she spends several hours each day, every day, prepping for that moment, shooting baskets and running sprints and lifting weights and making passes and shooting turnarounds and on and on and on. We see a truly breathtaking piece of art, but what we don’t see is the many, many hours that went into every tiny speck of detail in that piece, and the many, many, many hours of practice and effort that went into building up the skill even needed to attempt it.
The best part is that a lot of that stunning stuff seems almost simple, like we could almost do it ourselves. We could make that basketball pass. We could make that creative play. We could bake that cake. Often, absurd high levels of skill make something very difficult look very simple.
If you want to get good at something, there’s nothing like hard work and deliberate practice. There is no real shortcut.
11. The “reading hour”
At the start of this current school year, I decided to start doing some of my heaviest reading right in front of my kids when they got home from school for about an hour or so. When they get home, I greet them and talk for a bit, set up shop on the kitchen table, put on noise-cancelling headphones, and read for a while. I do this at the same time that they’re doing after school chores or homework.
My original aim here was just to set an example for them of how to study. I wanted to demonstrate best studying practices for them in a very clear and tangible way and also make it clear that deep reading is part of a healthy adult life.
What has happened has been wonderful. Not only have I had more time to dig through some pretty challenging books, the practice has already rubbed off on the kids after just a few weeks. Once a few after-school chores are done (mostly related to taking care of pets and a few really straightforward household chores), they use that same exact time to camp out at the same table and dive into their homework, or if they don’t have anything, they start reading on their own as well. They’re not turning to the Switch or to online games or Youtube or anything like that. They’re either studying or reading.
I’ve started to call this the “reading hour,” and it has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day.
12. Mark Twain on information
“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.” – Mark Twain
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve largely stopped reading or watching “the news” aside from a brief one or two minute scan of the headlines that I mostly do so I can follow conversations. This doesn’t mean I don’t read about current events, but I find that “fast” reporting is so error-prone and usually so full of bias that it usually puts the wrong idea in my head – something that’s either factually wrong or incredibly biased. I’d rather wait for detailed quality reporting, and that takes time.
So, does that mean I’m uninformed? In terms of headline news, I probably am. However, does the headline news ever actually change anything about my life? Am I ever going to take action on it? Almost never, and if I were to take action, it would probably be a bad action. Good quality reporting, on the other hand, often spurs me to do something, or at least helps shape my way of thinking.
The world seems to want quick reporting, but I’d rather have slow reporting with fact-checking and quality. It feels good to know that Mark Twain seems to agree.
His name is Dave. A retired Naval officer, he’s written two novels and about to publish his third. His books (thrillers in the style of Dan Brown and John Grisham) have been well received and even won awards, yet he’s still a relative unknown in the competitive world of fiction.
Her name is Michal. She’s a residential and commercial painting contractor in central Ohio. She’s a natural artist, a trait she inherited from her father and passed on to her daughter. She’s truly gifted, yet has struggled to grow her young business.
His name is Rob. He wants to achieve financial freedom at a young age. Yet, fresh out of college, he has mountains of debt. He makes a good salary, but most of it goes to paying school loans and everyday expenses. He manages to save and invest $100 a month, but feels like he’s making little progress.
These are all true stories.
Dave is Dave Grogan, a friend of mine. You can find his books here.
Michal is Michal Cheney, my sister. She owns and operates No Drip Painting, a company that has enjoyed tremendous growth, but only after years of hard work that seemed to go nowhere.
Rob is, as you might have guessed, me — 25 years ago. What started as $100 a month turned into early retirement at the age of 49.
What do these stories have in common? The Flywheel.
A flywheel is a mechanical device designed to efficiently store rotational energy. Well, that’s how an engineer would describe a flywheel. I majored in English. To me, a flywheel is a wheel that’s really hard to get started. Once it gets going, however, it’s really hard to stop.
Anybody who has taken a spin class and tried to stop the pedals with their feet has learned firsthand just how much a moving flywheel wants to keep moving!
Today, I want to tell you about the flywheel of wealth. Like any flywheel, it can be slow to get started. But once it’s moving, it’s almost unstoppable.
The Flywheel and Business
Most young entrepreneurs experience the flywheel. The new realtor struggles to get her first sale. The second sale is just as hard. So is the tenth. As she struggles, she watches long-time realtors get new clients with ease.
An online entrepreneur struggles to get visitors to his new website. He publishes great content, yet watches as long-established websites, even those with lesser quality content, get gobs of visitors.
I can remember publishing my first article on my personal finance site, The Dough Roller. I was terrified. I knew that as soon as I clicked publish, the entire world could see my ideas, my thoughts, my opinions. How would they react? With adrenalin aplenty, I clicked publish and sat back and waited, and waited, and waited. Nothing happened.
In hindsight, my fear was comical. Why? Absolutely nobody, and I mean nobody, read that first article published on 27 May 2007. I was pushing against a flywheel that was at a dead stop. It didn’t budge.
Up at 5:30 am seven days a week to work on my blog, I kept pushing against that flywheel. On the subway going to work I pushed some more. I pushed against the flywheel at lunch. I pushed against the flywheel at night after the family went to bed. It didn’t move.
Then the inner voice we all have spoke up. “Keep pushing if you want, buy you’ll never get this flywheel to move. You don’t have what it takes. Just give up. Life will be easier and you won’t embarrass yourself.”
I kept pushing.
It took six months following this schedule before the flywheel begrudgingly moved ever so slightly. I kept pushing. And pushing. And pushing.
Fast-forward eleven years and what started out as a blog with one post nobody read had become a multi-million dollar business. The flywheel was humming along so fast I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to.
What accounts for the success? I didn’t quit. I kept pushing and, importantly, learning how to push against the flywheel. In my case, it was learning the art and science of online publishing.
Note: I sold the blog in 2018, but continue to record the Dough Roller Money Podcast. Here’s my interview with J.D. about how to manage your money as the CFO of your own life.
The Flywheel and Financial Freedom
All of this brings me to the flywheel of wealth. I’m on a mission to motivate young people to save and invest. It’s not easy.
Many people in their twenties see saving money as:
A huge sacrifice,
Having no short-term benefit, and
A long-term benefit they may never get to enjoy.
I challenge these beliefs in my new book, Retire Before Mom and Dad, which was published last week. [J.D.’s note: I read Rob’s book a few weeks ago. It’s fantastic!]
Here’s the thing. Most young people can’t see past the seemingly immovable flywheel of investing.
Let’s imagine you read my book and I’ve convinced you to start saving and investing today. Excellent! So you give up cable TV to save more money. You take the $100 monthly cable fee and invest it in a low-cost index mutual fund. You feel good about your decision, although you miss some of the shows you use to watch on TV.
Now let’s fast forward one month. You’ve suffered through withdrawals from the lack of cable. You’ve yelled at your kids a bit more than usual. Surly would best describe your “I gave up cable to invest” mood.
To ease your pain, you decide to check your investments. You log into your account, and if we assume the month was an average month for the stock and bond market, you earned about one-twelfth of 8% — or .67%. (Over the long term, the U.S. stock market returns about 8% per year.)
Your $100 investment has turned into the princely sum of $100.67. The flywheel didn’t turn much!
At this point several things happen.
First you curse me and the day you bought my stupid book or read this article.
Second, you kick yourself for giving up a month of Property Brothers for a lousy 67 cents.
And you’re at a loss on how to respond to your significant other who went through his own cable TV withdraws and wants to know how the investment is performing.
Welcome to the world of investing. Yeah, it starts really, really slow. (Maybe that’s why J.D. named this site Get Rich Slowly?)
Greasing the Flywheel
And that brings me to what I call the “Nine Year Rule of Compounding Magic”. Here it is:
It takes about nine years of investing the same amount each month for the monthly returns to equal the amount you’ve been investing.
Let’s use our example of investing $100 a month. If we again assume an 8% return, after nine years we’ll have $15,742.96. If on an average month we earn about 0.67% (which is 8% divided by twelve), our $15,742.96 will be generating an average monthly return of $105.48.
Now our investments are generating more than our monthly contributions. And if we continue to invest our $100 a month plus the income generated by our investments, our wealth continues to compound . The flywheel picks up speed.
Now let’s take it to the next level.
It took about nine years at an 8% return for our wealth to generate monthly income of about $100. How long will it take to increase this income to $200 a month? If you’ve been following along, you know it will be fewer than nine years given the magic of compounding.
Let’s do the math. Using an Excel spreadsheet, we can quickly calculate that after another five years, our balance rises to $30,802.26. That amount of wealth will generate about $200 a month in income at an 8% return ($205.35 to be exact).
It took us nine years saving $100 a month to have enough to generate another $100 in monthly income. But it took us just five years to double the monthly income to $200.
We can keep going:
9 years: $100 a month
5 more years: $200 a month
3.5 more years: $300 a month
2.7 more years: $400 a month
2.3 more years: $500 a month
1.9 more years: $600 a month
1.7 more years: $700 a month (26.1 years total)
Here’s the key point. The first $100 of income is the hardest. It took us nine years.
As the power of compounding grows, it gets easier and easier. In our example above, we jumped from $600 of monthly income to $700 in just 18 months. And in case you were wondering, our $100 monthly investment grew to $105,195.67 after 26.1 years.
Why is this important? It’s important because we need to set realistic expectations. M. Scott Peck in his bestseller, The Road Less Traveled, makes this point in a different context. He says that life is tough. And as soon as we realize that life is tough, life gets a little easier.
Building wealth is slow at first. It can even be discouraging at times. But once we realize this, once we set realistic expectations, it gets a little easier.
Keep pushing on that flywheel!
Author: Rob Berger
Rob Berger is an investor, entrepreneur, blogger, husband, father, and Buckeye fanatic. He founded the personal finance site doughroller.net in 2007, retired from the practice of law at the age of 49, sold doughroller.net and retired again in 2018, and now is a Deputy Editor at Forbes Money Advisor. You can reach him at robberger.com.
What better way to find your next great purchase than to consult financially savvy consumers much like yourself — you know, the kind of people who read Money Talks News?
We couldn’t think of a better way, which is why we rounded up the Amazon products that were most popular last month among Money Talks News readers, including our own staff and contributors.
Don’t worry: We have no idea what items you — or any other individual — buys online. We can only tell you which products Money Talks News readers as a group purchased on Amazon after reading our stories.
Following is a look at the most popular items from August.
Just note that although prices you see here will almost always be accurate, they sometimes differ slightly from what you will find when you check Amazon. We also suggest that you compare prices around the web before buying anything online to confirm you’re getting the best price available at that time.
What was your favorite recent purchase? Let us know why by commenting below or on the Money Talks News Facebook page.
Elizabeth Lotts and Melissa Neiman contributed to this report.
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
If you’re asking yourself whether the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is worth the annual fee, the answer should be based on two questions: “Is the annual fee worth it for the first year?” and “Is it worth it for the second year and beyond?”
Here’s how to evaluate both questions so you can decide whether this card is right for you.
Is the annual fee worth it for the first year?
Whether the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s annual fee of $99 is worth it during the first year depends on the sign-up bonus and whether you end up earning it. Here’s the current offer: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
As long as you meet the minimum spending requirement in the given amount of time, you’ll earn these bonus points. We estimate the sign-up bonus to be worth between $600-$700 based on NerdWallet’s valuation of Rapid Rewards points.
Because of this value, you’ll almost certainly come out ahead for the first year. To make your points go further, book Southwest’s cheaper “Wanna Get Away” fares. (Southwest’s redemption rates vary with the cash price of their flights, so you’ll shell out fewer points when cash prices are low.) And be flexible if you can.
For instance, at the time of publication, a one-way “Wanna Get Away” flight from Indianapolis to Los Angeles on Oct. 3 was 6,145 points. But the price to fly roughly two weeks later, on Oct. 16, was more than double: 15,142 points.
To figure out what flights you might be able to book with the points from your sign-up bonus, use the Southwest website to check points prices for several destinations.
Is the annual fee worth it for the second year and beyond?
Whether the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s annual fee is worth it after the first year is a bigger question. First, consider that you’ll receive 6,000 points every year on your cardmember anniversary, which may cover the value of the annual fee outright if you redeem them well.
However, the real value of this card in the long term comes from flying Southwest Airlines on a regular basis with paid tickets, and spending enough on your credit card to really rack up points. The card earns 2 points per dollar spent with Southwest Airlines and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners. These aren’t exactly stellar bonus opportunities if you don’t plan to fly Southwest Airlines regularly.
If you want to try to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll need to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a year. This means you’ll likely need to be dedicated to flying Southwest Airlines regularly and charging your daily expenses to the card. If you plan to do this, the card may absolutely be worth it, since you can bring someone with you on every flight for at least a year just by paying taxes and fees.
Other travel rewards card options
Whether a card is worth its annual fee isn’t just about what the annual fee is compared to the value of any rewards you earn. It’s also about the opportunity cost of not having used another card instead.
For instance, if you value hotel points more than airline miles, the versatile IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card usually offers a higher sign-up bonus with the opportunity to earn points more quickly (as high as 40 points per dollar on IHG hotel stays during your first year). But keep in mind that hotel points often have a lower value; NerdWallet currently values these IHG points at 0.6 cent each. The annual fee on this card is $89. IHG has a range of hotels where you can redeem points, from Holiday Inn Express to higher-end Kimpton and InterContinental hotels.
The bottom line
There’s no question that the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card’s annual fee can be worth it for your first year. However, the annual fee may not be worth it after that if you don’t plan on flying with Southwest Airlines or making purchases with their car and hotel partners — or if you value hotel points more than airline miles.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies
Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).
For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.
I’ve been finding a LOT of random markdowns at Kroger recently, so my shopping trips this week were mostly made up of those!
Kroger Shopping Trip #1
Kroger Eggs — marked down to $1.29
Cinnamon Raisin Bread — marked down to $1.29
2 cans of canned Pineapple — marked down to $0.49 each
JIF peanut butter — marked down to $0.99 each
Kettle cooked chips — marked down to $0.79
Kroger sour cream — $1.39
Deli chicken — marked down to $2.39
Elbow macaroni — marked down to $0.39
1 bag of peppers/squash — marked down to $0.99
Kroger peanuts — marked down to $0.89
Sirloin Steak — marked down to $4.40
1 bag of cucumbers — marked down to $0.99
Strawberries — $1.50
2 cans of Kroger soup — $0.79 each
1 bag of lemons — marked down to $0.99
Bananas — marked down to $0.39/lb. = $0.71
Tyson Frozen Chicken — $6.99
2 cans of salmon — marked down to $1.99 each
Package of Kind Breakfast Bars — marked down to $0.99
2 cans of green beans — marked down to $0.29 each
Simple Truth organic seltzer water — marked down to $0.99 each
2 boxes of Rice-a-Roni — marked down to $0.49 each
Kroger taco seasoning — marked down to $0.19
Total with tax: $41.96
I was excited about the Weekend Deals at Kroger this week and am going back to hit some of the others on Monday!
Kroger Shopping Trip #2
Salad Kit — $1.99
Nature Valley Granola Bar — marked down to $0.69
Kroger eggs — marked down to $1.29
Annie’s Mac & Cheese — marked down to $0.59 each
Capri Sun — marked down to $0.69
JIF Peanut Butter — marked down to $0.89
3 packages of Smithfield Bacon — $2.99 each with Weekend Deals
Kind bar — Free with Free Friday coupon
Creamed Corn — $0.99
Kroger Green Beans — $0.59
5 Lara Bars — $0.50 each with Weekend Deals
Franks Red Hot Sauce — Well, I thought this was supposed to be $0.99 with the Kroger Weekend Deals but as I was typing this up, I realized that I think I actually paid $2.99 for this!! Now I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth taking back to the store. Probably not? But I kind of surprised that I didn’t catch that I overpaid for this. 🙁 I usually am really good at carefully checking everything. Here’s another good reason why you should check your receipt really thoroughly before leaving the store!
Lettuce — $1.79
Total with tax: $26.18
What We Ate This Past Week
Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.
This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.
Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.
Cereal, Toast, Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwiches (Silas and Kaitlynn have been loving this for breakfast recently!), Eggs
Ham Sandwiches, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Capri Sun, Salad, Leftovers, Fruit
Cookies, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Go-Gurts, Apple Crisp, Fruit, Veggies
Total spent on groceries: $68.14
Cashback earned this week: 50 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards
Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!
You go from sleepless nights to messy mealtimes to curious toddlers to, suddenly, tiny humans who talk and have (very strong) opinions. Then, before you know it, they’re in school.
At this point, you definitely know how expensive kids are — we don’t have to tell you that. But we wanted to check in: How are you feeling financially? As your kid gets older, you’ll face even more expenses (e.g. school activities, clothes, food, etc., etc.).
Before you get too overwhelmed, make these seven smart money moves before your kid turns 5. Heck, you can do many of these by the end of today!
1. Secure $1 Million in Life Insurance for Just $5/Month
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income?
“The biggest mistake I see millennials making is being duped by insurance salesmen,” says Andy Yadro, a financial planner with Googins Advisors in Madison, Wisconsin. “Everyone needs insurance, but a very small subset of young people need the insurance that is sold by most ‘financial advisors.’”
You might still consider a basic life insurance policy, which can be useful if you have loved ones who rely on your income — a significant other, a child or even a relative you help out financially.
If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without the medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, check out Bestow. The company is built around one concept — helping you get the term life insurance policy you want, simply and fast.
It just takes five minutes to answer some basic lifestyle questions, and you can get quotes for up to $1 million in coverage without a medical exam. If you’re approved, you can personalize your coverage to fit your budget. You can change or cancel your plan at any time.
2. Get Free Gift Cards When You Load up on Groceries
As your kid gets older, you’ll probably notice your grocery bill go up and up. They’re growing fast and need the fuel. Plus you’ve got to plan for their school lunches — every parents favorite chore, right?
But what if you could turn your grocery receipts into free gift cards? That’s be nice, right?
It might sound too good to be true, but a free app called Fetch Rewards will turn your grocery receipts into gift cards. It partners with tons of brands to give you points for every grocery receipt you share. Then you can exchange the points for gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Chipotle and dozens of other retailers.
And it’s perfect for those of us who don’t want to put a ton of work into this. All you have to do is send Fetch a photo of your receipt, and it does everything for you. No scanning barcodes or searching for offers — and you can use it with any grocery receipt.
When you download the app, use the code PENNY to automatically earn 2,000 points when you scan your first receipt — you’ll be well on your way to your first gift card.
So next time you’re packing lunch for your kid, think about all the things you can buy with an Amazon gift card.
3. Pad Your Emergency Fund
We all know kids can be a bit reckless. They think jumping off the jungle gym is a great idea… until they break their arm. Or maybe you look away for literally two seconds and they’ve burned themselves on the stove. How did they even reach that high?!
You never know what’s going to happen, so it’s best to be prepared for unexpected accidents with an emergency fund.
If you need some help getting started — or padding your existing one — try banking with Chime. This free online bank gives you the option to put 10% of your direct-deposit paycheck away into your savings. The money adds up quickly, and it’s completely automatic.
We talked to Samuel Demeny who was able to save up $1,250 — without even thinking about it.
Opening a Chime bank account takes five minutes, and you get access to its checking and savings accounts.
You can’t always prevent your kid from making a reckless decision, but you can at least be prepared financially.
4. Check in With Your Budget
At this point, you know how expensive it is to raise a kid. Yes, it’s totally worth it (ahem, most of the time), but it’s important to keep tabs on your budget, especially because, as your kid grows, your expenses likely will, too. (Think: After-school activities, clothes and sports)
Keep tabs on these new expenses as they pop up so you can keep your budget updated accordingly. And if you don’t already have a budget? We like the 50/20/30 budgeting method. It’s super simple.
Here’s how you’ll allot your income:
50% goes toward essentials — yup, that’s your kid stuff.
20% goes toward financial goals — think: that emergency fund.
30% goes toward personal spending — this is basically your catch-all category.
5. Don’t Forget About Retirement…
We get it. Retirement seems so far away, especially when you’re just trying to get through the day-to-day. However, once your kid is out of the house, you’re going to start counting down until retirement.
Don’t let it slip!
If you have a 401(k), kudos for that… but is it doing what you need it to?
If you’re like most people, you have no idea whether your 401(k) is on pace for your retirement or just sputtering along.
Chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better. Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.
It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.
After that, if you sign up, it’s just $10 per month to have Blooom monitor and maximize your 401(k). Bonus: Penny Hoarders get a special rate of $99 per year with the code REEETIRE.
6. Finally Pay off Lingering Credit Card Debt
Feeling like you’ll be stuck forever with credit card debt? We get it: Those insane rates are no fun, but now that your kid is growing up, it’s time to break free from the cycle.
Luckily, a website called Credible knows how to get you a better deal — and you could have your credit card paid off by tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Credible will match you with a loan that’ll cover your credit card tab. Use that loan to pay off your debt, then make monthly payments to repay the loan. It could lower your monthly payments and help you pay off that debt a lot faster.
Credible won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
Now you can finally breathe a little easier!
7. Stop Giving Your Car Insurance Company Extra Money
If you need to free up some money in your budget but those monthly bills keep holding you back, look into simple ways to lower the tabs. One of the easiest bills to save on? Car insurance.
If you really want to get the best price on car insurance, experts say you should be shopping twice a year.
OK, we can hear you laughing from here. Who has time to do all that?
But seriously, insurance companies take a lot of factors into consideration, and they change all the time. Ipso facto — you’re paying too much.
Thankfully, a free website called The Zebra will do the shopping for you — in just two minutes.
All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price.
The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year.
If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly.
Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.