Categories
Finances

Budgeting

The software and the method

YNAB (You Need a Budget) is both a software and a method that helps you to manage your money. It is based on four rules that are life-changing that have helped lots of people to have peace of mind in their financial life.

Detailed explanation here

Rule one: give every dollar a job.

Decide how you are going to use your money and stick to the plan.

Rule two: embrace your true expenses.

Budget for upcoming expenses, when they come, you only need to pay the bill.

Rule three: roll with the punches.

You will not be able to anticipate all the expenses and will need to adjust your budget multiple times. Move funds from one category to another and make room for the expense you need to cover. For example: there is no money in the dining out category but you can afford to transfer from groceries. You make the treat affordable by taking advantage of some offer at the supermarket or by adjusting your shopping list.

Rule four: age your money.

As you begin to live within your means and spend less than you earn, money will start to age. This way, you will spend money that you earned at least 30 days before. This is completely different to the pay check to pay check life-style many people have got used to.

If you are interested, have a look at the workshops here.

My experience

When I got my first salary (I was 17 years old), I couldn’t believe it, it was both exciting and shocking to see money coming in and out almost immediately. At the time, I needed to cover some expenses I ran into so that I could start that first job: clothes, transportation, food, essentials. Therefore, my first pay check wasn’t mine anymore. I had to return the money and hope to catch up and stabilise my situation in the coming months. However, this situation (which should have been temporary) became the norm. I kept my head above water most of the time but I did not experience financial peace until I got my degree and my second or third salary as a professional (I had to pay my university debts first).

I will graduate, get a job and lack of money will be a distant memory. This is temporary!

My thoughts as a university student

Perhaps some young people, especially university students who work to pay for their studies might be familiar with this situation and might get on with it.

I learned valuable things, for example, I could cope with the struggle, hope for a better future, be a more disciplined student and prioritise my studies. I am not sure this was the case with some people who got support from their parents. Don’t take me wrong, great for them but I would not change a moment, those were good times. When I finally saw money left in my bank account after paying my debts and my monthly expenses, a thought struck me:

Surely I deserve a break after all my effort! Let’s travel, eat out and do things I couldn’t afford before!

I am flushed with cash … this will make sense if you watched Parks and Recreation 😀

This was a big mistake! I could have enjoyed for a while, I did deserve it. However, I forgot the tight budget of the old days and spoiled myself with treats for too long. Therefore, I went back to square one and I continued to live pay check to pay check. I eventually got a credit card and accumulated debt carelessly. It took me a while to realise how bad the situation was.

I was planning to get married at the time and I was determined to pay my credit card debt and to change my financial behaviour once and for all. My future husband told me about budgeting, financial principles and gave me ideas to fix the situation. The whole process took about 7 months and there is no secret… just keep this in mind:

  1. Live within your means, do not spend more than you earn.
  2. Plan ahead, not only for the monthly expenses but for emergencies, a house or retirement.
  3. Most of the things we want to spend our money in are unnecessary, give it a second or third thought. Indulgence might be your worst enemy.

I have no debts at the moment and have tried to master the rules above. I still struggle sometimes to stick to the original plan and allow myself treats at times even when I know I shouldn’t. However, the underlying principles I have decided to live by always help me and bring me back. I am glad to have an organised financial life for the most part and this motivates me to keep on track.

There are useful resources that gave me a different perspective on finances and I list them below if you are curious.

The Richest Man in Babylon

The book contains a series of parables which are set in ancient Babylon thousands of years ago. The financial advice encompasses saving, controlling expenses, earning, preserving income, investing and general principles which anyone can grasp. Additionally, I was able to draw numerous lessons in regards to character: diligence, caution, patience, honesty… The book is fascinating! You can purchase it online easily.

David Ramsey’s story

He is a financial advisor in the United States. He tells the story of his bankruptcy and subsequent recovery. He hosts the Dave Ramsey Show and offers advice and courses.

Biblical wisdom

The Bible speaks about stewardship, debt, diligence, laziness, labour but most importantly about God’s promises. If we keep his word, he will help us in all things.

Luke 14:28 
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Psalms 37:21
The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

Proverbs 27:23
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. 

Proverbs 6: 6-8
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Hebrews 13:5 
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Happy budgeting!

This post is day 6 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Visit 100daystooffload.com to get more info, or to get involved.

Categories
English

Noticias y artículos

Aprenda leyendo noticias y artículos cortos

Hay páginas dedicadas a la publicación de noticias o artículos en inglés para diferentes niveles. Puede encontrar una transcripción, un audio y algunas sugerencias para aprender inglés usando estos materiales. Por ejemplo:

  • Lea el texto y busque las palabras desconocidas.
  • Lea el texto nuevamente y escuche el audio para familiarizarse con la pronunciación.
  • Lea y escuche la misma noticia el día siguiente, con seguridad su entendimiento habrá mejorado. Al leer y escuchar nuevamente podrá consolidar más vocabulario.
  • Repita el proceso con una nueva noticia. Cada día usted estará revisando lo anterior y aprendiendo algo nuevo.

Days in Levels se puede usar de la misma forma. Aquí encontrará artículos cortos sobre eventos históricos.

Pienso que 20 minutos diarios serán suficientes. Es una forma fácil y entretenida de aprender.

This post is day 5 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Visit 100daystooffload.com to get more info, or to get involved.

Categories
English

Materiales

En este artículo encontrará una lista de materiales disponibles en internet para aprender o mejorar su inglés, la mayoría de recursos son gratuitos pero a veces es necesario crear una cuenta.

Pronunciación

Tim’s pronunciation workshop

Aprenda los sonidos a través de episodios cortos. Recomiendo empezar por el primer episodio el cuál tiene una introducción a todos los sonidos.

Forvo

Busque la palabra y el acento (británico, americano, otro). En los resultados podrá escuchar la pronunciación, podrá ver la palabra siendo usada en contexto y sinónimos.

En la sección guides encontrará las palabras por categoría.

Escritura

Write and improve

Esta es una herramienta fantástica. Hay que escoger un nivel y un tema, escribir un texto en respuesta al tema escogido y hacer click en check. Su texto será revisado y recibirá un puntaje junto con sugerencias para mejorar. Realice los cambios y envíe el texto de nuevo, esta vez podrá ver un nuevo puntaje y continuar trabajando en su texto hasta que esté a la altura. Este video muestra cómo funciona.

De todo un poco

BBC Learning English

Aquí encuentra cursos, noticias, historias… Algo que recomiendo muchísimo es 6 Minute English. Cada día hay un nuevo tema y una discusión y la transcripción está disponible.

Discursos

Esta página contiene una serie de discursos con subtítulos y transcripción. Cada discurso tiene una pequeña reseña.

Canciones

Escoja el nivel y la canción que desea aprender. Es muy bueno para escuchar activamente, aprender vocabulario y practicar la escritura de las palabras. ¡Es bastante divertido! También hay canciones en otros idiomas.

Juegos

Games to learn English

Algunos juegos para practicar vocabulario, gramática o la estructura de las frases en inglés.

Quiz your English app

Esta aplicación le permite practicar y competir al mismo tiempo con otros jugadores. Es de selección múltiple principalmente y parte del contenido es gratuito, fue creado por Cambridge Assessment English. Está disponible en  Android y iOS.

Para niños

Contiene juegos, canciones y otras actividades interesantes.

Sé que estos materiales serán útiles para quien procura aprender de forma independiente. Puede ir a su propio ritmo, sin prisa pero sin pausa como dicen por ahí.

This post is day 4 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Visit 100daystooffload.com to get more info, or to get involved.

Categories
English

Aprender inglés

Consejos para comenzar

En mi opinión aprender inglés es fácil, agradable y extremadamente útil. Sin embargo, para muchos es un dolor de cabeza y parece una tarea tediosa y hasta casi imposible. Cuando digo que aprender inglés es fácil, no quiero decir que el aprendizaje se dé mágicamente o como nos decían los profesores en el colegio ‘por ósmosis’. Es necesario tener disposición, ganas de aprender y constancia.

En este momento tengo en mente a las personas que viven en un país angloparlante, pero estos consejos son útiles para cualquier persona. Creo que lo más importante es aprovechar cada oportunidad y ser proactivo.

Entorno

Al ver una palabra o frase desconocida en un anuncio, búsquela en el diccionario. El contexto le va a ayudar a entender y a recordar pues es algo que usted está usando inmediatamente. Seguramente la próxima vez que lo vea va a estar familiarizado o ya no va a necesitar de la traducción. Lo mismo se aplica a una canción, a un artículo o a un libro.

Yo soy un poco aficionada y escribo las palabras pues esto me ayuda a memorizar.

Interacción

Hable con otras personas en inglés aunque le cueste. Intente tener una conversación breve en la cual usted entienda el mensaje principal y comunique lo esencial, esto es más importante que tener una pronunciación perfecta o parecer sofisticado. Esto no quiere decir que hay que pronunciar de cualquier manera o quedarse en lo básico, pero no deje que esto lo detenga (voy a compartir algunos materiales que le ayudarán a progresar). A veces tenemos pánico escénico y temor de errar pero debemos superarlo. Aprender a hablar requiere práctica y paciencia, paso a paso usted podrá mejorar su fluidez verbal y pronunciación.

Use gestos y no dude en solicitar aclaraciones, puede decir:

  • Could you repeat please? – ¿podría repetir por favor?
  • Could you speak slowly please? – ¿podría hablar más despacio por favor?
  • What does “x” mean? – ¿qué significa “x”?

Las personas son comprensivas por lo general y no tienen ningún problema en colaborarle. Nadie me ha dicho que no, o me ha dejado hablando sola jamás. Es más, pedir aclaración sobre el significado de una palabra o sinónimos es la mejor oportunidad para aprender a usar la palabra en contexto y para vincularla con otras palabras.

En este ejemplo la palabra “huge” es desconocida pero “immense” o “gigantic” son cognados.

WordReference es un diccionario en línea que además de mostrar la traducción de las palabras permite escuchar su pronunciación y ver su uso (English collocations).

Linguee es una concordancia y allí se pueden buscar términos específicos y frases. Es muy útil para verlos en contexto y comparar los dos idiomas.

Estoy convencida de que estos consejos le ayudarán bastante. En el próximo artículo voy a compartir algunos sitios web para aprender y practicar inglés.

¡Hasta pronto!

This post is day 3 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Visit 100daystooffload.com to get more info, or to get involved.

Categories
Journalling

Bullet Journal 2

My Bullet Journals

Nearly three years

I have been using the Bullet Journal method since January 2019 as a New Year’s resolution… this might be the first time I stick to one.

At the time I had an idea of who I wanted to be, I wrote a detailed plan of the ‘ideal me’ and determined some steps that would allow me to become that person. To make this tangible, I set some goals and then thought of smaller periods of time and specific actions to achieve them.

In regards to personal goals, I decided to change my daily habits; this included prayer, bible reading, exercise, contacting family and friends. The main professional goal required about a years preparation and I broke tasks down in weeks. I pictured a well-rounded person and I included several aspects of my life.

However, I made a long list of ideal habits and I did not think too much about how feasible it was. It took me a few weeks to realise that aiming for a radical change was very difficult and frustrating. To fix this, I defined attainable habits that I was not willing to negotiate with myself and tried my best to stick to them. The Bullet Journal book did warn me about this mistake but I made it anyway! I guess this is fine and one needs to learn some lessons along the way. Once I managed the basics I had defined for myself, I added a bit more.

Not every week or month was perfect, I still have a long way to go until I am overall satisfied with the person I want to be. However, I see significant progress in several aspects of my life and that makes me happy. Nothing in this world will be ever perfect and it would be quite proud to say that one has nothing to improve. I attained my professional goal which was to be a qualified Spanish teacher. This was a massive project and I am glad to look back in my journals and see all the stages I went through to achieve this. This was a monumental task but it was done one day at a time.

One of the best lessons from Bullet Journal until now has been intentionality. Having a purpose, being mindful of the things I expect from myself and remaining focused has shaped my character and kept me stable throughout 2020 and 2021 in spite of all the changes and challenges that arouse. The thousands of things I got done in this journey are valuable, but secondary.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Lao Tzu – Chinese proverb

This post is day 2 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Visit 100daystooffload.com to get more info, or to get involved.