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The Master Guide to Winter Workouts

winter workouts

Staying active in winter may seem impossible, but with some key tips and tricks you can get back on track and enjoy your healthiest and happiest winter yet.

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Winter is one of the hardest times to work out. Winter has some major eating holidays, it’s cold outside, it’s dark outside, the days are shorter, and you feel sleepy and full of food all the time! But all of this is why it is so important to stay active in winter and avoid being too stagnant during this season.

Tips for Staying Active in Winter

exercise tips

Staying active when it’s cold and dark outside is difficult, and understandably so. Around 17.3 million adults in the U.S. alone suffer from depression and 10% to 20% of those cases are affected by the seasons—like winter. The cold, dark days of winter can really deter us from staying positive and active. But with a few key tips, you can make your life a little easier and help make working out in winter a little easier too.

1. Make Future Plans

By making future plans for the spring and summer you can find your winter workout motivation! Summer plans will give you something to work toward during the winter. This can be anything from a beach vacation to signing up for a marathon.

2. Set Up an At-Home Workout Space

Having a designated space in your home to work out can really help make exercising during the winter easier. You don’t even have to dedicate a whole room to your at-home gym space. Just set up some at-home weights and a yoga mat in an assigned bin near your TV so you can do a short daily workout video and have everything you need right there.

3. Invest in Indoor Equipment

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to working out in winter is getting yourself out the door to go to the gym. Solve this problem by investing in some indoor gym equipment for your own home. Then you don’t have to spend additional time traveling to the gym in order to work out each day. You can even take out a payday loan to help buy the indoor workout equipment you need.

4. Get a Gym Membership

Another way to get yourself going to the gym is to sign up for a gym membership. Ideally, you should choose a gym that is close to home or close to your work. This way your gym will be on the way so you can easily plan a stop to the gym on your daily schedule. You can even keep a locker at your gym so you’ll have all your shoes and workout clothes already there.

5. Find a Workout Buddy

Support is an important part of achieving any goal. A workout friend can help keep you accountable, motivated, and positive as you work toward your physical health goals.

Examples of Indoor Winter Workouts

at home workouts

Just because the outdoors are full of ice and snow, that doesn’t mean you can’t stay plenty active from the warmth and comfort of the indoors.

1. Sign Up for Indoor Sports

There are plenty of indoor sports teams you can join. You can even start your own team with friends! Sports don’t have to be professional or competitive, they can also just be for fun, socializing, and staying in shape. You can also do other indoor sports alone like swimming at the local indoor pool or rock climbing.

2. Use Workout Videos

Workout videos can be a fantastic way to get moving from the convenience of your living room. You can even find free workout videos on YouTube like Fitness Blender. There are plenty of expertly designed workout videos and subscriptions you can purchase as well, like Daily Burn.

3. Do Yoga Circuits

Yoga isn’t just for stretching, it has many great health benefits as a daily workout. Yoga with Adriene are free yoga workout videos you can find on YouTube to get you started.

4. Go Dancing

Sign up for a dance class and learn some cool skills while you workout! You can even find ways to teach yourself how to dance by watching videos or playing games like Just Dance!

5. Do Some Deep Cleaning

Yes, you heard right. You can get your house in order while you sweat by doing some intense spring cleaning early. Make cleaning into more of a workout by doing creative things like core twists while you mop the floor or lifting heavy baskets like they are weights.

6. Create Your Own Workout

Instead of using workout videos you can create your own workout routine with all your favorite moves. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Crunches
  • Plank
  • Mountain climbers
  • High knees
  • High kicks
  • Sidekicks
  • Pushups
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Jump rope
  • Jumping jacks
  • Stairs
  • Weights

Examples of Outdoor Winter Workouts

outdoor workouts

If you are going to exercise outside in winter then there are a few things you need to do to stay safe and be prepared.

  • Do extra-long warmups
  • Wear layers
  • Protect your extremities
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Wear Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare off the snow
  • Stay hydrated
  • Wear the right shoes and be careful of slipping on ice
1. Go Skiing

Skiing isn’t just fun it’s also a workout! It’s a sport you can do in winter that will give you a full-body workout.

2. Ski Uphill

Skiing uphill is also known as skinning or alpine touring. It involves placing a “skin” to the base of skis so you don’t slide backward and can in essence ski uphill. Snow adds some extra resistance to this uphill exercise making it a doozy of a workout.

3. Go Snowboarding

Another great winter sport to do is snowboarding. It can keep you occupied for hours, you can socialize with friends, and get an intense core workout in!

4. Trail Running

Trail running isn’t only for warmer months. You can still jog your favorite trails in winter, just make sure you layer up accordingly and beware of ice!

5. Hiking

Activities like hiking can be really fun to do in winter because it’s cold out and the sun isn’t as intense. Winter hikes can actually be more pleasant because you won’t be fighting the sun or the heat.

6. Sledding

Sledding isn’t just for children! It can be good for adults too. Not only that but you can have fun with the kids in your life all while getting an awesome workout into your day.

7. Ice Skating

Ice skating is a great activity because you can easily do it with friends or on your own. While ice skating you work unique muscles in your legs and abdomen. You can even take an ice skating class and learn some impressive new moves to show your friends.

8. Shovel Snow

This might seem like a chore but it doesn’t have to just be a chore. You can change your perspective on shoveling snow and include it in your workout regime.

9. Play in the Snow

There is a lot of fun to be had out in the snow. You can have a snowball fight, build a snowman, create an igloo, or pull each other around in sleds.

10. Snow Shoeing

Snow adds weight resistance that you can use to your advantage. Going on a walk in the snow can burn even more calories than if you were walking without snow.


Staying active is important for an endless amount of reasons. Physical fitness isn’t just important to your physical health but to your mental and emotional wellbeing as well. Don’t let your physical health plans fall by the wayside this winter by using these tips to finally win at winter workouts.


The Best Daily Deals from Amazon

amazon daily deals

January is a critical time for many of us since the first month of the new year is often when we either make or break our New Year’s resolutions.

Many of us made promises to ourselves that 2020 would be a healthier year, but in order to be successful at keeping this goal, you may need some equipment. That’s where Amazon comes in.

Today, Amazon’s Deals of the Day are centered around helping you get what you need to start strong and keep your health goals this year. But sometimes you’ll need some financial help getting what you need to keep these goals. That’s where the Check City Personal Loan comes in.

*The prices shown below are the sale prices listed at the time of posting.

Nordic Track Treadmill

treadmill-on-sale

Current Sale Price: $674.99
Originally: $999.00
You Save: $324.01 (32% off!)

With an at-home treadmill you can easily keep your health resolutions this year. The Nordic Track treadmill comes in a sleek design that won’t take up too much space in your home. It’s also designed for efficiency so you can safely get the best at-home workouts.

Pre Workout Powder

pre workout powder supplement

Current Sale Price: $26.99
Originally: $59.99
You Save: $33.00 (55% off!)

Gear up for your at-home workouts with C4’s original pre-workout powder. It’s a sugar-free energy supplement for both men and women that can help you get ready and energized for any workout. They come in many other flavors too!

Cuisinart Cast Iron/Porcelain Dish

cuisinart dish

Current Sale Price: $69.99
Originally: $129.99
You Save: $60.00 (46% off!)

Don’t just work out more this year to get healthier though, work on your cooking skills as well. The Cuisinart dishes are some of the best items you can cook with. They can help you start making healthier meals so you’re eating better this year too.

Women’s Racerback Sports Bras

sport bra sale

Current Sale Price: $9.98 to $30.99

These high impact workout bras from MIRITY will make working out a breeze. Working out is already uncomfortable in and of itself, but your activewear doesn’t have to be. Stock up on some sturdy gym clothes so you can work out in style and comfort.

Amazon Brand Activewear & Fitness Equipment

amazon lightning deals

Current Sale Price: $10.99
Originally: $7.47
You Save: $3.52 (32% off!)

Amazon basics are having too many sales to count on their men and women’s activewear, fitness equipment, wellness vitamins, protein powders, and sports nutrition. Amazon offers an inexpensive option for all your fitness needs this year, and everything will ship directly to your front door!


How to Make and Keep New Year Resolutions this Year

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new year wishes

The New Year is a significant time for a lot of people. A whole new year is beginning with a whole new you waiting ahead!

The new year is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts for us all. Many of us will attempt to make new year resolutions to better ourselves and our lives this coming year. We see the new year holiday as an opportunity to celebrate the past year and look hopefully toward the year to come. New Years Eve may be one of the most hopeful nights of the year as we start over with the dawn of a whole new beginning.

New Year Resolution Ideas

Have you decided what your new year resolutions are going to be? If not, here are some common new year resolution ideas that you could choose from.

  1. Work on physical health
  2. Work on mental health
  3. Get more organized
  4. Save money
  5. Get out of debt
  6. Quit bad habits
  7. Stick to a budget
  8. Travel
  9. Read more
  10. Find a better job

new year goals

1. Work on physical health
Every body needs to learn good, healthy habits to keep their bodies fit and strong. This goal works for everyone since we can all do a little more to take care of our physical health, whether that means eating better, working out more, or both.

2. Work on mental health
This goal also works for everyone since we can all always do a little more to take care of our mental and emotional wellbeing. Self-care is important and can make accomplishing other goals a lot easier. Mental wellness goals can be anything from resolving to visit a therapist to doing morning yoga for a happier morning routine.

3. Get more organized
Organizing and decluttering your life is another goal that can make keeping other goals easier. Maybe you want to focus on planning more productive days. Or maybe your office space, bedroom, or garage could use a major cleaning and organizing overhaul. This can be a great goal to make as a family to rearrange and reorganize your home and your lives together.

keep new year resolutions guide

4. Save money
We’d all like to save more money, but making this an actual new year resolution might be the focus you need to really make it happen. You can save money in many ways: 1) reduce spending by getting rid of some monthly payments, 2) get a better paying job or a second job, or 3) learn to stick to a budget that allows you to save more money.

5. Get out of debt
Debt can bog down all aspects of our lives. It can keep us from getting the things we need and moving forward with important life steps. Resolve to get rid of debts this year and make an airtight financial plan for how you’ll do it. Maybe this year you can decide to go without certain things so you can afford the bigger payments to bring down your debts faster.

6. Quit bad habits
Bad habits come in all shapes and sizes. You might want to quit smoking this year, or maybe you just want to quit eating junk food. One key trick to quitting bad habits is figuring out how to replace bad habits with better habits to fill the void the bad habit was filling.

7. Stick to a budget
Creating a budget and sticking to it can be a really difficult goal to accomplish. To finally learn to stick to your budget, try focusing on one aspect of your budget at a time in order to more slowly learn how to live according to that budget. This way you’ll take things slower and not fail due to being overwhelmed.

8. Travel more
Traveling can be a great way to expand your views, learn about the world, and learn about yourself. Make sure that in your goal planning you remember to account for time and costs. You might need to use PTO days at work and plan accordingly. There will also be travel costs like gas, tickets, hotels, or whatever else you’ll need to make your traveling plans actually happen. You can also make use of a Check City Installment Loan in your travel budget to help with costs. Plan to prepare before you plan to travel.

9. Read more
Reading is an important hobby we often forget about in our busy lives. To remind yourself to read this coming year create your own reading list. Keep in mind your own reading pace and schedule out your planned reading for the year on a calendar. You can even form a book club and read together with friends.

10. Find a better job
Money might not buy happiness but a good job can make all the difference in your personal and financial life. Finding a better job might be an important goal this year if you’re struggling to not live paycheck to paycheck. It might also be an important goal if the environment at your current job is less than ideal, or if your commute is too long.

How to Set Goals

set goals
Making goals for yourself this new year is a worthy endeavor, but many of us start to fail in our goals around February and give up by March. Why is this? Generally, we fail in our goals because we lack the proper motivation and planning to keep our goals.

1. Don’t set too many goals
One of the main things that keep people from accomplishing their goals is setting too many goals at one time. Instead, stick to only one or two major goals for the year. You may have up to 50 goals you’d really like to accomplish this coming year, but if you want to be successful at keeping your goals, you’ll need to prioritize and focus on the most important ones first.

2. Make a step-by-step plan for your goals
Once you have your resolution in mind, break the goal up into manageable steps. For example, you may want to save up to buy a new car, but you know you can’t just put thousands of dollars aside. However, you do know you can put aside $10 this month, and $20 the next month. Make big goals more manageable by organizing them into small, easy to accomplish steps.

3. Expect and accept setbacks
When trying to accomplish great things you are going to experience setbacks. Don’t let them destroy all your efforts by recognizing that failure is a normal part of any process. But failure doesn’t have to mean absolute failure. You can fall off the horse and get right back on, and at the end of the day, it’s this kind of effort and resolve that gives you the most out of your goals.

How to Stay Motivated

new year resolutions
One way to keep yourself feeling excited about your goals is to make use of new year quotes. You can print out motivational quotes and hang them around your house or bedroom as a reminder of your goals. It’s also a great idea to have a motto of the year that you look to each morning to stay focused, positive, and motivated. Here are just a few of the many quotes you could use as your quote of the year:

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

—C. S. Lewis

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

—Karen Kaiser Clark

“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”

—Germany Kent

“Life’s not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it’s about doing, being and becoming.”

—Mike Dooley

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
—E.E. Cummings

You can also help yourself stay motivated and achieve your goals by helping others stay motivated and keep their goals. On new years we like to make resolutions for ourselves and give out new year wishes for others. Support your friends and family in their goals by reaching out to them in your new year wishes this year and offer your help and encouragement in their own endeavors.

The Ultimate Black Friday Strategy Guide

In this article you’ll find an in-depth strategy guide for how to tackle your Black Friday shopping this year. Not only that but we’ve provided a guide at the bottom of this article that links to all the Black Friday ads you want (from Target ads to GameStop ads) and their store hours on Thanksgiving day and Black Friday.

The Most Useful Black Friday Shopping Tips

black friday shopping

Tip 1: Hire a Babysitter

Bringing small children along with you to shop on Black Friday isn’t a great idea. Generally they’ll be too young to enjoy the crowds and long waits in line. In fact, they’ll probably hate it and keep you from being out as long as you could be without them. They’ll just get tired, hungry, and bored so keeping the kids safe at home with a spouse or babysitter is better.

Tip 2: Make a Budget

The very first thing you’ll want to do when planning your Black Friday strategy is figure out your budget. This is important so that you stay in control of your finances and not blow all your money on Black Friday. A budget will let you know how much you’re allowed to spend.

Tip 3: Check Out the Ads

Do some pre-shopping preparation by researching what you want to buy now. You can check out the prices of things you want by looking through Black Friday ads beforehand. Make a list of the things you want from each catalogue. Include in your list the price of each item, where they can be purchased, and whether they can be purchased online. This will give you a kind of master shopping list so you can see all of your options.

Tip 4: Prioritize Your Shopping List

Don’t buy everything on your master shopping list. Instead, number the items on your list from most to least important. That way you can match your final shopping list to the budget you made in the first step. Planning your Black Friday shopping trip to this extent can also help you not impulse buy the whole store.

Tip 5: Make Black Friday Shopping a Bonding Experience

There’s no reason shopping on Black Friday can’t be a fun bonding experience with you and your fellow shopping lovers. Make an event out of it by preparing together and using all that line waiting to talk with and bond with your shopping buddies. You can also make the experience a fun time to bond by going out to eat a victory meal once all your shopping is done!

Tip 6: Plan Your Shopping Trips

Actually schedule and plan your shopping trip. Make a shared schedule with everyone you’re shopping with and mark down what order you plan on visiting each store. That way you won’t be left debating where you should go first when you get in the car to start your Black Friday trip. Instead you’ll already have it all figured out.

Tip 7: Skip the Doorbusters

Instead of going Black Friday shopping when everyone else is out flooding the roads and the stores, feel free to go shopping way earlier or way later than everyone else! If you go after the bustle you may not find as many things still in stock, but your overall shopping experience will be much calmer.

black friday shopping tips

Tip 8: Don’t Forget to Shop Online

Don’t forget that you can shop online too. In fact, you can find a lot of Black Friday deals that are exclusive to the stores website now, meaning you have to purchase some things online to get the Black Friday deal. There’s also the matter of stores and roads becoming extremely overcrowded every Black Frida, so if you can find what you want online instead, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and help keep the stores and roads less congested.

Tip 9: Don’t Miss the Deals Around Black Friday

A lot of stores now have Black Friday deals that happen before and after the actual day. In some cases you might even be able to skip shopping on Friday to go to those sales instead. When planning you trip and checking out the deals around Black Friday, don’t miss the sales going on before and after Black Friday too.

Tip 10: Don’t Use a Cart

Don’t use a cart if you can. It’ll just take up space in the already crowded aisles and keep you from being speedy as you maneuver through the store. That being said, if you’re buying something heavy or big, don’t hurt yourself by trying to carry it.

Tip 11: Dress for the Occasion

Make sure you dress right for Black Friday shopping. It is going to be cold outside, but warm inside the busy stores. You are also going to be on your feet a lot and possibly need to carry a lot of shopping bags around. Keep all of these factors in mind when you choose your Black Friday battle outfit. Wear shoes that have thick insoles (like your running shoes) so your feet will have adequate support for standing in line for a long time. Wear warm, long sleeve clothes for if you need to wait outside before stores open, but don’t wear anything too bulky or too warm since you’ll also be waiting in long lines inside hot, overpopulated stores as well. Wearing long sleeves with a vest or medium sized jacket should give you the right blend. Try to not carry a purse while Black Friday shopping since you want to travel light. Instead carry a small, pocket-friendly wallet, or a smaller purse so you can travel light.

Tip 12: Check the Deals are Worth It

Make sure the prices are actually a worthwhile deal before you go through all the trouble to get them. Sometimes similar deals come up later in the year when shopping isn’t so crazy. It’s also a good idea to know the original price of the item so you can see if you’re actually saving all that much.

Tip 13: Bring Your Own Shopping Bags

By bringing your own shopping bags you can help out the environment a little, and also make your life easier. With your own shopping bags you can carry around the items you want to purchase more easily while you finish shopping and wait in those long lines. But carrying a bag will leave you with a lot more mobility in the store then a cart will.

Tip 14: Form Teams

Make teams so that you can divide and conquer your Black Friday shopping goals. You can send your teams to different stores so you can all finish the shopping a lot faster than if you all had to go to each store together.

Tip 15: Do in Store Pick Up

Take advantage of the in store pick up feature when you can. Even on Black Friday some store will still let you buy online and pick up in the store. Then you can possibly avoid some lines!

Tip 16: Be Mindful of Your Funds

Make sure you keep track of your funds and how much you’re spending at each store. For instance, if you’re paying in cash, keep in mind how much cash you have so you don’t suddenly find yourself short once you finally make it to the cashier. If you’re paying with a card then make sure you know how much is on it so you don’t end up with any overdraft fees.

Tip 17: Bring Snacks!

Bring a snack! Keep yourself energized and fueled so that your Black Friday shopping experience can be a positive one. Having snacks can help your team stay positive too.

The Ultimate Guide to Black Friday Ads

black friday store hours

Check out the Best Buy Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: opens at 5:00pm

Friday 29: closes at 1:00am. The doors open again at 8:00am.

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): opens at 5:00pm until 1:00am the next morning

Check out the Target Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: opens at 5:00pm

Friday 29: closes at 1:00am. The doors open again at 7:00am.

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): open from 5:00pm until 1:00am the next morning.

Check out the Walmart Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: opens at 6:00pm

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): opens at 6:00pm

Check out the Amazon Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: all day online

Friday 29: all day online

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): all day online

Check out the Kohls Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: open from 5:00pm to 12:00am (midnight)

Friday 29: open from 8:00am to 12:00am (midnight)

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): open from 5:00pm to 12:00am (midnight)

Check out the Home Depot Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Friday 29: opens at 6:00am

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): closed all day

Check out the Costco Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Friday 29: opens at 9:00am

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): closed all day

Check out the GameStop Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Store Hours:

Thursday 28: open from 3:00pm to 10:00pm

Friday 29: Opens at 7:00am

Best Buy Thanksgiving Store Hours:

Thanksgiving Day (Thursday 28): open from 3:00pm to 10:00pm

 
Black Friday is a fun and exciting time. There are so many important deals that you can take advantage of, and with a personal loan you can make sure you have enough funds to get all the Black Friday discounts you need. But while you do your shopping this year remember that it’s still the season of giving and gratitude, so be kind to your fellow shoppers.


READ MORE

Use these tips to get even more deals this Black Friday, “Find the Best Black Friday Sales with These 5 Tips.”

Read about what to do AFTER Black Friday shopping, “The Aftermath of Black Friday.”


How to Vote

how to vote

Voting doesn’t have to be a confusing hassle. If you have questions about how to vote in the upcoming election just take a look at the links below and find the quick answers you’re looking for:

Voting can seem complicated, especially if you just turned 18 and have never done it before. But it’s actually pretty simple! The upcoming election is also coming up faster than you might think. This coming February 3rd will be the first caucuses in Iowa, beginning the many caucuses, primaries, and conventions you’ll want to be a part of in order to participate in choosing the presidential candidates in the final election.

You need to prepare for the coming election now so that you’re prepared to vote in the primaries, and so you’re registered to vote in general. This way you aren’t taken by surprise when the final election rolls around and suddenly you have all these logistics to figure out. When it comes to voting, you also want to participate as early as possible so you can be informed and make your own educated choice.

Things to Know

There are a few general basics you’ll want to know about in order to understand elections and how they work.

Who can vote?

vote

In order to vote you must be at least 18 years old, be a citizen of the United States, and be registered to vote. But if you’d like to double check the specific voting requirements of your state you can visit Vote.org.

What are the different kinds of elections?

You probably already know about the presidential election, but did you know there are many more elections you can be a part of?

Federal Elections: these elections include anyone in the federal government. This would include the president, members of congress, senators, and members of the house of representatives.

State Elections: this includes voting for state legislatures, governors, the attorney general, secretary of state, state supreme court, and any other members of the state judiciary. State elections are also the time where you might vote on state policies.

Local Elections: this is where you vote on county and city government officials, like sheriffs, the mayor, and school board members.

The convention

One of the first things that happens during election season are conventions for each party. These conventions are generally held nationally. It is where political parties all gather together to browse the nominees for the coming presidential election.

The caucus

If you are registered to vote with a certain political party then you can go to that parties caucus. It is a meeting where people of a specific political party gather together. This can be where members of the party will register their preferences for who should be that party’s candidate. They also gather to discuss political policies pertinent to that group.

The primaries

The primary elections are often simply referred to as the primaries. They are the preliminary voting that takes place to decide who the final candidates for the final election will be. Many people try out to be presidential candidates, so this process helps voters choose the specific candidate they would like to represent their party in the final election. This narrows down the field so that when it comes time to vote for the actual president, there aren’t 30 or more people you have to know about and choose from on the voting ballot.

What is the electoral college?

We actually use the electoral college to determine the presidential winner in the end. Each state has a number of electors who cast these electoral votes. These electors consider the votes of the people from their states and use that information to cast their electoral vote. It’s these votes that determine who wins the presidency.

What’s the election schedule?

There are many events to be aware of during election season that take place the year before and after election year. Here is a general outline of all the most important election events you are going to want to be aware of.

The year BEFORE election year
Spring Candidates start announcing their intentions to run for president
Summer Primaries, caucus, and debates begin to take place
The year OF the election
July to September Political parties choose their candidates
September to October Presidential debates
November Election Day
December Electoral College votes
The year AFTER election year
January Congress counts the electoral votes
January 20th Inauguration Day

If you’d like to learn more about the basics of the presidential election, you can explore USA.gov to learn all about the voting and election process. This website even has educational videos and infographics to help you visually understand the process as well.

How Do I Vote?

register to vote

One of the biggest questions people have when it comes to elections is how to vote. Thankfully this process really isn’t too complicated either. Basically you’ll want to register to vote, participate in primary elections, stay informed, and vote at your polling place on election day.

First: how to register to vote

The very first thing you’ll want to do is get registered to vote. You register to vote in your state of residency so that when you do vote, you’ll be a part of your state’s voting pool. Registering to vote is incredibly easy to do. You can do it in person or online.

Where can I register to vote in person?

  • The DMV
  • Armed forces recruitment center
  • State and county public assistance offices

You can also quickly register online at Vote.gov. You can also check your registration status on this website to check if you’re already registered to vote.

You can also register by mail, if you are out of the country or out of your home state. All you have to do is fill out the National Mail Voter Registration Form found on USA.gov and then mail it to the address listed for you state.

Second: how to participate in the primaries

The candidates that will represent each party in the final vote needs to be chosen. Before election day arrives there will be primaries, caucuses, and political conventions to help narrow down the candidates. Different parties and states will do these preliminary voting events in varying ways.

If you want to vote in the primaries to help pick the final presidential candidates, then read, “When are the 2020 presidential election primaries?” to see when your state will hold their primaries. Then all you have to do is go to the primaries and participate in the preliminary voting so you can be a part of picking the final candidates.

During this time candidates will be narrowed down to the final few. They will also announce who their vice president would be, and then they go across the country campaigning, talking about their views and plans, and debating with other candidates until election day arrives. You can also help out your candidate of choice by volunteering or fundraising for their campaign!

Third: how to vote on election day

By participating in election events now, you can do your own research and watch debates to learn about the different presidential options, what they are all about, and what their presidential plans are. Then all that is left to do is go to your local, designated polling station on election day and cast your vote.

Election Day is always on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. This upcoming election day will be on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

The only way you can cast your ballot is in person, or by mail. There is no way to vote online, so when election day comes you’ll need to be prepared to physically go to the polls, or be prepared ahead of time to mail in your ballot.

To find your polling place type in your address at VotingInfoProject.org to see where you’re designated polling station is.

If you are going to be absent from your registered state, or need to vote by mail for any other reason, then you’ll need to use the website for you state to find out how they want you to cast your absentee ballot.

What do I need to bring to vote?

polling station

The only thing you may need to bring with you to the polls is a form of identification. Whether ID is required for you to vote or note will depend on your state. You can check your state’s requirements for what to bring with you to the polling station by visiting NCSL.org.

How to Vote Early

There are many things that can make voting on election day difficult. But don’t let finances be one of them. If you need some financial help to get to the polls just take out an easy to use personal loan from Check City.

Whatever your reason, if you need to vote earlier than election day, it will depend on your state and whether they allow early voting. States usually have specified early voting dates.

Generally you don’t have to give them an excuse as to why you need to vote early, but this also might depend on your state.

The best way to see what you’ll need to do to vote early in your state is to find your state’s official website. You can do this by choosing your state at USA.gov and they’ll bring up your state’s official website. This site will then have your state’s specific information about early voting.

How to Vote in Midterm Elections

Midterm elections, or congressional elections, occur every 2 years. They happen in between presidential elections. They include voting for members of congress, the house of representatives, and the senate. These elections don’t use the electoral college but instead use the popular vote. The last midterm elections occurred November 6, 2018. If you want to participate in the next congressional elections just visit USA.gov for more information on when they are and how to vote in them.

How to Vote in Local Elections

The presidential election isn’t the only election you should be involved in, there are local elections going on all around too. These elections are equally important as the people put into office and the policies that get decided are all things that will affect your immediate community. Don’t just deal with whatever happens, be a part of shaping your community.

You can either use USA.gov or USVoteFoundation.org to see what local and state elections are coming up in your area.

 
Voting is an important part of being an active member of society. Your voice matters and voting is one way to make your voice heard. Don’t let misconceptions about voting keep you from getting to the polls and doing your part to help our society and grow.

Book Review: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

book review

Dave Ramsey is a best selling author of many popular self-help books about getting your finances together. He’s inspired many with his simple, no-hassle philosophies on how to manage money. He also has a radio talk show called the Dave Ramsey Show, that you can listen to anywhere you listen to podcasts. He even started his own company built on his financial philosophies called Financial Peace University. Dave Ramsey and his colleagues have loads of resources you can find helpful in your own personal money management journey. Whether you are managing a household or a small business, Dave Ramsey has the financial advice you need to be successful and smart with your funds.

Today we’re going to take a focused look into one of Dave Ramsey’s most prolific publications, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. You’ve heard of fitness journeys and makeovers that change your style into something fresh and new, but Dave Ramsey takes all that and puts a financial spin onto it. With Dave Ramsey’s baby step plan you can exercise your financial abilities in ways you never thought possible and finally get into shape where your wallet is concerned.

What Kind of Book is The Total Money Makeover?

book cover

The Total Money Makeover is written as a self-help book. It’s even been compared to popular self-help books like, Your Best Life Now and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because of the reader-friendly way it is written. It’s an engaging book with lots of real-world examples and stories from real people who have actually gone through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and seen results. These short anecdotal stories throughout the book help all of Dave Ramsey’s concepts make clear common sense.

The book also includes a lot of motivational help along with the tips and advice. One of the biggest factors that holds people back from taking full control over their finances is the proper motivation and encouragement to make necessary changes to their lifestyle. Dave Ramsey helps with that too, giving you the fresh outlook you need to understand your goal and the rewards you can gain.

Dave Ramsey is also a Christian, so his books often have a religious undertone. So you may find him referencing Bible verses every so often in this book, and tackling religious views and practices with regard to money as well.

What’s in the Book?

The Total Money Makeover is essentially a step-by-step guide for how to go about your own personal money makeover journey. These steps are based on Dave Ramsey’s key money philosophies. Dave Ramsey has strict beliefs about not ever using debt, loans, or credit cards. He believes that our society today is too dependent on credit and that true financial freedom only comes when you live a completely debt free life. So the first steps in his plan are all about helping you get out of debt, and then setting you up to never get into debt again.

Simple and straightforward advice.

Dave Ramsey’s book became so popular probably because of how easy it is to follow his clearly set plan. Each step is specific enough to leave no doubts about what exactly you need to do, making his plan one that anyone can follow and find success. It also helps that he is never vague about his advice, but rather he is extremely straightforward, open, and honest.

Dave Ramsey has no get-rich-quick schemes. He’s more about using honest work, responsibility, and common sense to reach your goals. So you won’t find any crazy secrets to financial stability and success in his book, you’ll just finally learn to implement the basics in a way that really works.

A change in perspective.

Another reason people enjoy Dave Ramsey’s teachings is because he doesn’t pretend that money is what brings happiness. He’s realistic and believes that money is a tool to create stability and contentment in our lives, not the secret solution to all our problems.

He eloquently tackles many mental barriers and misconceptions many of us have about money, and works to not only change your behavior with money, but your perspective about money as well. One thing he talks about a lot is getting over the need to “keep up with the Joneses.” Often in life we compare ourselves to others in unhealthy ways, and sometimes those comparisons can lead us to make poor financial decisions for superficial reasons. So, when you read the Total Money Makeover be prepared to gain a whole new outlook on the purpose of money, and break free from comparing yourself to others.

The Money Makeover Baby Steps:

The main event of this self-help read are the baby steps the reader can take to reach financial peace and freedom. You can read a more detailed article about each of the 7 baby steps that Dave Ramsey will go through in this book, but we’ll go over a quick outline of those steps here too.

Emergency Fund

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is to basically get your financial life in order. The road to stability starts by setting up your finance in a certain way. This begins with setting up an emergency fund. You can start with at least $1,000 in your emergency fund but eventually you’ll want to work your way toward having at least 6 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund at all times.

Debts

Once you start getting your emergency fund in place, it’s time to focus all other monetary efforts toward annihilating all your debts. He goes into more detail about this in the book. For example, he suggests you start with your smallest debts first and work your way up to your larger ones. He also recommends you save paying off your mortgage for last. But eventually the idea is to throw everything you can at your debts until they are all completely wiped out.

Build Wealth

Now it’s time to build wealth and continue saving. Since Dave Ramsey argues you should pay for everything in cash, continually building up your financial stores is an important aspect of the Dave Ramsey lifestyle. You have to have enough in savings to cover all your costs completely with cash.

In the book Dave Ramsey goes into more detail about what savings you should prioritize. He advises that you first complete your 6 months’ worth emergency fund if you haven’t gotten there already. Then he suggests you work toward saving for retirement and (if you have kids or plan on having kids) your children’s college funds.

Things You Can Do Differently:

Dave Ramsey’s primary goal in all of this is to help people get out of crippling debt and stay out of it. But there are modifications you can make to his more rigorous financial plan.

You can choose how much you want in your emergency fund.

If you’re a college student then putting aside even $1,000 may be more difficult for you. But that’s ok! Just put aside what you can. Even just adding $5 to $10 a month into an emergency fund is better than having no emergency fund at all.

Likewise, if you’re more settled in life it might be easier for you to put even more than $1,000 aside into an emergency fund. It really doesn’t matter how you do it, what matters most is that you start accumulating that safety fund in order to be more prepared for surprise expenses in the future.

You can still use credit cards and loans.

Dave Ramsey may believe in using only cash to pay for things but there are advantages to using credit cards and installment loans. When used responsibly using credit can help boost your credit score and get you the things you need to have a comfortable life. Credit cards can also provide lots of perks outside of boosting credit scores. Some credit cards come with special points that can go toward paying for things like groceries and traveling. So long as you understand your limits and include loans and credit payments in your carefully calculated budget and financial plans, you’ll be just fine.

Should I Read This Book?

You may now be wondering whether you should give this book a read or not. You should definitely read this book if . . .

  • you are in debt
  • you have trouble managing your money or realizing where your money goes
  • you have trouble making a budget

If you are looking for a book with more specific details about financial topics (like investing, or small businesses) then you should check out Dave Ramsey’s other books that go more in depth on complex financial topics. The Total Money Makeover doesn’t expound upon these topics too much since it was written more as a beginners guide to Dave Ramsey’s financial baby steps.

 

READ MORE

Check out some other helpful reviews about Dave Ramsey’s book, the Total Money Makeover:

Review: The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover Review

Goodreads


The Best Books by Dave Ramsey

dave ramsey books

Table of Contents:

Dave Ramsey is a New York Times bestselling author, and a radio show host on the The Dave Ramsey Show. You can find his books wherever you buy books and you can listen to his radio show wherever you listen to podcasts or the radio. All of his books are also on Amazon, where you can find the kindle versions for your e-reader, or audiobook versions so you can learn all about finances on the go.

When getting into Dave Ramsey’s books people often wonder which book they should start with? If you want to read Dave Ramsey’s books in order there are a couple routes you can go. You can read them in the order he wrote them, or read them in order of the things you learn in each book.

Dave Ramsey’s Books in Chronological Order:

If you want to read all of Dave Ramsey’s books in order, you can follow this master list of all his books so far.

1992 – Financial Peace

1993 – Dumping Debt: Breaking the Chains of Debt

1998 – The Financial Peace Planner

1998 – More Than Enough

1999 – More Than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny

2000 – How to Have More Than Enough: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

2002 – Cash Flow Planning: The Nuts and Bolts of Budgeting

2002 – Financial Peace for the Next Generation

2003 – The Total Money Makeover

2003 – The Great Misunderstanding: Unleashing the Power of Generous Giving

2004 – The Money Answer Book

2008 – Relating with Money: Nerds and Free Spirits Unite!

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s High Performance Achievement: Accomplishing the Extraordinary

2011 – EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

2014 – Smart Money Smart Kids

2014 – The Legacy Journey: A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity

Dave Ramsey Kid Books: Life Lessons with Junior

kid books

4.38 stars on Goodreads

Life Lessons with Junior is a series of children’s books written by Dave Ramsey. In them he goes over all the most basic concepts of money management. Following Junior’s adventures can teach your kids all about monetary responsibility in clear simpler terms they’ll understand. He goes over everything from spending, debt, saving, work, giving, contentment, and integrity. Don’t miss out on gracing your household shelves with these great childhood reads with life lessons your kids will keep with them all their lives.

Smart Money Smart Kids

smart money smart kids

4.26 stars on Goodreads

Smart Money Smart Kids is a book that Dave Ramsey wrote with his daughter, Rachel Cruze. It is a book that teaches parents all about how to teach their kids about money. Part of good parenting is preparing your kids to be responsible, independent adults someday and a big part of being an adult is knowing how to manage your money. In this book Dave Ramsey and his daughter will tell you all about how to raise kids who are smart about their money.

If you’re looking for something from Dave Ramsey that can specifically help your teens, check out his article, “A Teenager’s Guide to Building Wealth.”

Dave Ramsey also has a great recommendation for a college 101 bundle that includes Debt-Free Degree by Anthony O’Neal and The Graduate Survival Guide by Anthony O’Neal and Rachel Cruze.

Financial Peace

financial peace

4.31 on Goodreads

Financial Peace is one of Dave Ramsey’s first books, but he has since revisted the book, renaming it, Financial Peace Revisited: New Chapters on Marriage, Singles, Kids, and Families. This newer edition of his first book now includes more information for married couples, singles, children, and families. This book is also where he introduces the KISS rule, which stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It’s about getting out of debt and staying out of debt and the idea that you should use contentment to make your financial decisions. It also goes over how to manage money flow and investing.

One of the primary keys to understanding your finances and being able to take control of them is to manage the flow of your money. A lot of people just let money flow as it does, not really thinking too much about where it’s coming from and where it disappears. But if you learn to take full control of where all your funds are going then the problem of disappearing funds won’t happen to you and you can find financial peace.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

total money makeover

4.28 stars on Goodreads

A large part of what makes makeovers so fun is the joy of reaching your goals and having a different life and a different you at the end of your journey. But have you ever thought about going on a similar makeover journey with your finances? Dave Ramsey will show you how.

The Total Money Makeover may be one of Dave Ramsey’s most popular books. He talks about some of his most famous money tips all while debunking myths about money. He brings a simpler, more straight forward approach to money management that anyone can understand and utilize in their life, no matter their financial situation. Dave Ramsey says that this book can work every time, all you have to do is follow his steps.

Complete Guide to Money

complete guide to money

4.44 stars on Goodreads

In this comprehensive guide Dave Ramsey goes over all his basic financial tips and lessons—How to Budget with Dave Ramsey, how to save, how to get out of debt, how to invest, mortgages, insurance, marketing, bargain hunting, and giving. Anything you want to know when it comes to money, you can find in this master guidebook.

The Money Answer Book

money answer book

3.82 stars on Goodreads

The Money Answer Book is a quick read with questions and answers to more than 100 common money questions! It’s a fast guide that goes over budget planning, retirement planning, shopping tips, saving for college, giving to charity, and so much more. If you need something you can quickly leaf through to find the answers you’re looking for.

How to Have More than Enough: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

more than enough

4.11 stars on Goodreads

How to Have More than Enough is the newest version of Dave Ramsey’s earlier book, More than Enough. Once you have gotten out of debt, he has more down to earth advice about building wealth. Dave Ramsey’s perspective is unique because he doesn’t just talk about monetary wealth, he talks about having a wealth of happiness. He takes it a step further by talking about finding wealth in relationships and in your family. In this book he goes through 10 traits you need to be prosperous in life beyond your financial situations.

EntreLeardership

entreleadership

4.21 stars on Goodreads

In EntreLeadership Dave Ramsey talks about how he built his company, and how to be a strong leader. He talks about how to grow as a leader and the questions you should ask yourself in order to develop yourself. This book has doable, step-by-step guidance to follow to become a better leader and watch your business grow as you do.

He talks about inspiring and unifying your team, handling your business finances, and reaching your business goals. If you are making your own business and you need some pro tips about leadership, this book is what you want. But you can find great insights in this book no matter what you are doing with your life right now. If you are a parent you can use it with your family or at work you can use it with your coworkers! This is because leadership is really all about functioning efficiently as a team and reaching your goals together.

What Books Does Dave Ramsey Recommend?

We’ve talked all about books that were written by Dave Ramsey, but what about books that Dave Ramsey recommends? There are many other great financial reads you can find on Dave Ramsey’s website. You can also read more about Dave Ramsey’s steps to reach financial steps by reading, “Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps.” Here are just a few book suggestions from Dave Ramsey:

Dave Ramsey’s Book Club

If you’re interested in really tackling your finances with Dave Ramsey’s sage wisdom you can actually join Dave Ramsey’s official book club! All you have to do is create an account on his website and then join the book club (fees may apply). Then, at the beginning of each month you’ll receive Dave Ramsey’s book club book of the month in the mail. You’ll also get an email with details about when the live book discussion will happen on the private book club Facebook page along with a study guide to use as you read.

For more answers to any questions you may have about the Dave Ramsey book club, just visit the book club’s FAQs Page.

 
Dave Ramsey along with his many inspiring books have helped a lot of people get back on their feet financially. You can take on his financial fitness challenge too and manage your money like never before.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.


Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

Explore this Article

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund
Step 2: Focus on Debts
Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund
Step 4: Save for Retirement
Step 5: Start a College Fund
Step 6: Pay Off Your House
Step 7: Build Wealth

dave ramsey baby steps

Are you trying to get out of debt? Do you want more financial stability and freedom? Are your finances one of the bigger stresses in your life right now?

If any of these sentiments apply to you then Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps might be just what you need to cure your money blues.

Dave Ramsey is a guy who, through personal experience, was able to get out of debt and find financial peace of mind. He is now a financial expert with courses and books to help the everyday person get in control of their finances.

The best place to start when trying to regain control over your finances and achieve a full “money makeover” is to start with his 7 step plan. This plan has 7 baby steps that you follow to reach more financial stability and get to the point where you can start building wealth.

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund

car maintenance

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is, “Save $1,000 for Your Starter Emergency Fund.”

One of the main reasons people struggle with money is because necessary emergency expenses (like medical bills, car bills, or home repairs) come out of nowhere and drag you deeper and deeper into debt. But if you are preemptively prepared for these surprise expenses then they won’t take you off guard again.

So the very first thing you should do when getting your money in line is to get an emergency fund started. Save up an emergency fund in a separate bank account, until you have at least $1,000 in the account. This will be the start of the emergency fund that will keep sudden necessary expenses from plunging you into deep debts because you weren’t prepared.

Step 2: Focus on Debts

debts

The second step in Dave Ramsey’s plan is to “Pay Off All Debt (Except the House) Using the Debt Snowball.”

The snowball method that Dave Ramsey refers to here means that you start by paying off small debts first, and work your way up to the bigger debts. Debts can include paying off your car, credit card debts, and student loans.

First, make a giant list of all your debts, every single one, except for your mortgage if you have a house. Then, put your list of debts in order from the smallest debt amount to the largest. Then you go through knocking out each debt by eliminating the smallest debts first and working your way up to the largest debt last.

Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund

medical bills

The third step is to “Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund.”

Now that you’ve gotten all your debts out of the way, it’s time to finish your emergency fund. You can use the same money you were using to pay off debts each month and put it toward your emergency fund until it has enough to cover 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses and bills. Then you’ll really be prepared for anything.

Reasons to Have an Emergency Fund

  1. If you lose your job.
  2. You won’t have to worry because you’ll have enough to last you 6 months. This will give you the time you’ll need to find a new job.

  3. If your car breaks down.
  4. You’ll be able to pay for the necessary repairs, the tow truck, or even for a new car in some cases.

  5. Medical bills.
  6. Don’t let your health and necessary medical bills keep you from staying afloat financially.

  7. Home repairs.
  8. If something happens to your home you’ll be able to fix the problem rather than living with it.

Having an emergency fund is THE key to keeping you out of debt in the future. After getting yourself out of debt, an emergency fund is what will keep you from getting back into debt in the future.

Step 4: Save for Retirement

retirement

The fourth step in the Dave Ramsey plan is to, “Invest 15% of Your Household Income in Retirement.”

After your debts are gone and your emergency fund is taken care of, it’s time to start seeing to other important savings like a 401K. Dave Ramsey recommends you take 15% of your gross monthly income and put it toward a retirement fund each month. To figure out how much you should be putting into your retirement fund each month, take your monthly income and multiply that number by 0.15.

Step 5: Start a College Fund

college funds

The fifth step to Dave Ramsey’s plan is to, “Save for Your Children’s College Fund.”

Avoiding student loan debts can be one of the biggest factors in staying out debt as a young adult. If you can pay for your kids college tuition then you’ll ensure their financial security in the future, as they’ll better be able to stay out debt. Dave Ramsey recommends using either a 529 college savings plans, or an education savings accounts (ESA). Talk to your bank or credit union about setting up these accounts for these specific purposes.

Step 6: Pay Off Your House

mortgage

The next to last step in this 7 step plan is to, “Pay Off Your Home Early.”

Put all the extra monthly income you have into your mortgage so you can finish paying it off early. After this step you will officially have no debts whatsoever! All of your earnings will go to you instead of getting drained away in large debts and payments.

Step 7: Build Wealth

wealth and legacy

Finally, it is time to, “Build Wealth and Give.”

Congratulations! Once you’ve reached the 7th step in Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, you can start focusing on building your wealth and leaving a legacy. Don’t forget to keep and maintain those financial safety nets like a healthy emergency fund, retirement account, savings account, and college funds.

Now you are officially in charge of your money rather than it being in charge of you.

Financial freedom is possible for you! Everyone can do it and Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps can help you get there. Dave Ramsey also has other resources that can help you implement this plan. You can participate in Dave Ramsey’s program, books, and podcasts.

You can take the actual course with Financial Peace University.

Dave Ramsey also has a free customized plan and assessment that you can do right now, in just 3 minutes!

Listen to the Dave Ramsey Show anywhere you listen to podcasts or radio.

 
Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps to financial freedom can help you with so many aspects of your life. They can help you decide when to buy a house or help you get situated for saving for a house. It’s a checklist program that can help you get rid of loans and debt (like student loans), or even help you get to where you can budget for a wedding.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.
 

READ MORE

Browse Dave Ramsey’s online store for more great financial resources to help you on your financial journey.

Read more helpful articles on the Dave Ramsey Blog

Learn more about the debt snowball, “How the Debt Snowball Method Works.”

Read Dave Ramsey’s full article on his 7 baby steps, “What Are the Baby Steps?

Stay out of debt through college by using these tips, “How to Stay Debt Free through Grad School.”


How to Succeed at NANOWRIMO

nanowrimo

NANOWRIMO is a writing challenge that goes on every November where lovers of literature everywhere take on the same goal—to write an entire novel in one month. See how you can successfully achieve this goal by following these great tips!

Table of Contents:

What is NANOWRIMO?

NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month. It occurs every November and refers to a writing challenge to finish the first draft of a novel by the end of the month. So if you’ve always wanted to write a book now is your chance!

The Logistics

So the logistics of NANOWRIMO is to get a full, first draft done by the end of the month. The official final wordcount goal is 50,000 words. If you divide that into the 30 days of November, then you’ll need to write about 1,667 words every day for the whole month of November to get to the final word count and end up with a full first draft.

Final Word Count Goal: 50,000 words

Daily Word Count Goal: 1,667 words

But ultimately NANOWRIMO is about you, your writing goals, and what works best for you. Some people only have time to write on the weekends and that’s ok! If you’re a weekend writer then can write 3,571 words for each day of the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), instead of writing 1,667 words each day of the week. Over the course of the weekend your new word count goal would be:

Weekend Word Count Goal: 10,000 words each weekend

How to Write a Novel

how to write a book

1. Pick a genre

The very first thing you should decide when going into NANOWRIMO is the genre you’d like to work with. If you’re going to write a book it’s good to first know what kind of book you want to write. The kinds of stories you could write are an endless list of categories and subcategories, so if you want to see a more detailed list check out Literary Genres.

But here are some of the more basic literary genres:

  • Fantasy
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Memoir
  • Mystery
  • Tragedy
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Self-help

It also might be important to decide who your audience is before writing because that can decide a lot about how you write your novel. Thinking about what age group you are writing for is a great way to start so your reading level and content cater appropriately to your readers.

2. Pick a perspective

First Person: This perspective is written in the main character’s point of view. The narrating character tells their own personal story with their own words. When writing in first person you’ll use words like I, me, us, my, and we.

Second Person: This perspective is written to address the reader directly. It’s as if the narrating character is telling a story to the reader directly. When writing in second person you’ll use words like you, referring to the reader who the narrator is speaking to.

Third Person: This perspective is not written from the point of view of the character or the writer. Instead, a third party narrator is telling a story that they are not themselves in any way apart of. This can also be referred to as omniscient point of view, because the narrator is like the all-knowing god of this story. When writing in third person you’ll use words like he, she, they, and it.

Multiple Perspectives: You can also write your book using multiple points of view. This is especially common when writing in first person because then you can switch between the firsthand perspectives of different characters throughout the story.

Present Tense: You can also write your story in the present tense. In this case you would write as if the character is telling their story as it is happening. For example you would write, “I walk toward the closet door and open it.”

Past Tense: It is much more common, and even recommended, to write your story in the past tense. This means you would write the story more naturally, as if it had already happened and someone is narrating a detailed, perfectly remembered account. For example you would write, “I walked toward the closet door and opened it.

Ultimately, if this is your first novel, it’s recommended you write in third person, in the past tense. If you feel a little more confident in your writing abilities then you can try out writing in first person, or even switching between multiple points of view throughout the story. If you really want to be different, you can write in the present tense, but most books are written in the past tense.

3. Create the world

All stories need a setting. Maybe your story will occur in a small town or the big city. Maybe it’ll take place in an alternate universe, or a completely different fantasy world of your creation. Get a clear vision of what your world is like, and all the important aspects of the world that will affect your story and characters.

4. Create the characters

There are many ways to create really great characters. You can make a vision board for each characters to keep tabs of all your inspiration for who they are. You’ll also want to find names for them and keep notes on all the things you know about each person appearing in your novel.

5. Make a story outline

Now that you have the materials and initial ideas you need to make a story, it’s time to start outlining! One thing that can really help you storyboard your book is to first think about your beginning and your ending.
There are many templates and guidelines out there for how to format a story outline that can help you with all of this.

story outlining

  • Freytag’s Pyramid
  • Imagine the rise and fall of a pyramid. The story starts with exposition, rising action, peaks with the story’s climax, falling action, and ends with the resolution. To see the story outline in even more detail check out the 7-Step “Freytag’s Pyramid” from the Writing Itch.

  • Snowflake Method
  • This method involves starting with a small story summary and expanding it to have more and more details until you have a larger story.

  • 8 Point Arc
  • The 8 point arc includes 8 key story points that you can write about in order to have an 8 step plot outline for your novel.

  • 3 Acts
  • The first act is the setup, act two is when the confrontation occurs, and act three is the resolution. This outline is great for writers who just need a really simple idea of the basic flow of their story.

  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The hero’s journey is a classic story outline you see in popular books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. It’s similar to the 8 point arc in that it has a detailed 10 step plan for your story outline.

  • Notecards
  • Write out your key scenes on different notecards. Then you can use a wall or bulletin board to place your notecards in order. This outline technique is great for writers who often rearrange events.

  • Plots
  • This outline is for when you have multiple plots happening simultaneously. You can have a main plot and sub plots, or have equally important A, B, and C plots.

Story Beginnings:

  • Mid-Action
  • Also known as in medias res, starting in the middle of the action can be a great way to get your audience hooked right away and keep impatient readers from putting the book down after the first page.

  • Ask a question
  • By starting with a question you can immediately give your book an inquisitive tone.

  • Introduce us
  • You can also start your novel by introducing the reader to something or someone important. You can describe the setting, the world they live in, or a key character.

  • Origin story
  • If your story has important background information then you can start with the origin story of your kingdom, or main character.

  • Flashes, dreams, and memories
  • You can also start your book out with an important flashback into the past, a foreshadowing flash into the future, in the lucid landscape of a telling dream, or with key memories.

Create Conflict:

Every story needs some riveting conflict. It’s what keeps the story going and keeps your readers interested in what’s going to happen next. For more help in brainstorming your main and sub-conflicts read, “Decoding the Six Conflicts in Literature (With Examples).”

Story Endings:

Some people really struggle with how to end their book. There are many things to consider in order to create a good ending. You’ll need to ask some important question like, what goal or goals you want accomplished or unaccomplished by the end, how your characters change, and what do they learn or fail to learn.

  • The Happy ending
  • The goal is accomplished and things are better now.

  • The Tragic ending
  • The goal fails and things are worse now.

  • The Twist ending
  • The goal is accomplished, but for some reason things still end up worse.
    The goal fails, but for some reason things still end up better.

  • The Cliffhanger
  • The goal remains unaccomplished, leaving readers in suspense, or in the middle of events.

Writing Resources

Every writer has their go-to resources for writing. Eventually you might find blogs, forums, or books about writing that you like.

Name Generators:

Websites:

Books:

How to Cultivate Yourself as a Writer

Like with any hobby you should look into bettering yourself as a writer, just as you would if your hobby was hiking or drawing. Here are some things you can do to really enter into the writing world:

  • Join writing groups
  • Write with others
  • Get feedback
  • Read books you love
  • Read books on writing

How to Stay Inspired Throughout November

When you’re on a writing deadline it can be really hard to stay inspired. Everyone has their own tricks to beating writer’s block and as you write more frequently you’ll gain a list of your own. Here are some things you can try to get you started:

  • Explore Pinterest
  • Make vision and mood boards
  • Get in nature
  • Take care of your physical and mental health
  • Keep reading things you love
  • Watch things you love
  • Listen to things you love
  • Set up your workspace so it’s decluttered and free of distractions

NANOWRIMO is like a community event on a larger scale. By joining the groups and forums you can accomplish your goals along with your fellow writers and who knows?! Maybe you’ll make some friends or publish something great! What’s more, writing novels can potentially become a lucrative at home job to get your household some extra income.

If you’re going to do NANOWRIMO this month, you may need a little help preparing. If you do need some financial help visit a Check City store or our website to take out an easy to use Personal Loan.

 

READ MORE

Learn some other tips about making more money, “Making More Money.”

Thinking about writing as a career? “How to Choose a Career” can help you decide if a career in writing is write for you.


What is a Chaffle?

chaffle recipe

Cutting down on carbs, especially bread, can be one of the hardest parts of dieting. But easy recipes like the chaffle can make low-carb and keto diets so easy!

*SKIP TO THE RECIPE!

What is a Chaffle?

A chaffle is a keto waffle. It’s called a chaffle because one of its primary ingredients is shredded cheese, hence the CHAffle instead of Waffle, because chaffles are cheese waffles. Cute right?

Waffles are usually made of a flour-based batter, but a chaffle is flour free! Instead, chaffles are made of eggs and cheese. I know it sounds odd, but it actually works! And dieters everywhere are going crazy for this new low-carb waffle hack.

Chaffles are a great way for those on the keto diet to get their waffle fix. They’re also a great way to eat less carbs while still eating what you want! Even if it is a modified version. There are also endless combinations for what you can add to it and how you can dress up and use chaffles.

What You’ll Need

Chaffles are extremely simple and quick to make, but there are a few things you’ll need to gather from your kitchen, and if you don’t already have a waffle iron, you’ll need to get one.

Keto Chaffles Recipe

keto chaffle recipe
 

Here is the basic recipe for these keto, low-carb mini waffles. The serving size of this recipe is 2 chaffles.

Ingredients

1 large egg

1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Optional: (add 2 tablespoons of almond flour, baking powder, or coconut flour, to make it more like a batter)

Steps
  1. Whisk egg
  2. Mix in finely grated cheese
  3. Put the batter in a mini waffle maker for 2–3 minutes
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Sweet Chaffles

Just like ordinary waffles, these low-carb, keto-friendly waffles can come in sweet or savory form. You can make your chaffle sweet by adding any of the following ingredients into your mix:

  • Fruit
  • Cocoa powder
  • Pumpkin
  • Cream cheese

Savory Chaffles

You can also make your chaffle more savory by adding sharper kinds of cheeses. Chaffles work as a great low-carb replacement for sandwich bread. Here are a couple salty chaffle ideas for you to try:

  • Make a mini pizza
  • Use a sharper, cheddar cheese in your mix
  • Make a breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon
  • Add bacon
  • Cream cheese

 
If you’re interested in this recipe, then you should also check out the following Facebook groups for more recipe ideas from your fellow chaffle-lovers:

Keto Chaffle House

Chaffle Recipes

Keto Chaffle Recipes (Low-Carb Chaffles Too)

There are many health benefits to eating the low-carb lifestyle, but there are monetary benefits too! Making chaffles is not only quick, it’s a super inexpensive meal as well. Learn more ways you can save on your food bill by reading our other article, “5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Food Bill,” and take advantage of our payday loans whenever you’re in a financial pinch and need groceries.

READ MORE
Check out even more yummy chaffle recipes!

Chaffles—The Viral Low-Carb Waffle Recipe Everyone is Loving!

Keto Chaffles Recipe (5 Ways!) + Ultimate Guide

Keto Chaffle Recipe

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