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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life balance: 6 Critical areas

Many times, we often are busy with many non important and non-urgent tasks and life gets out of balance. If we focus on following six areas, we can be balanced. All of these six areas need attention in order for our life to be in balance. One can be healthy, wealthy but yet lonely,that will not be a true balanced life, you get the picture.

1. Money:
Money is one of the biggest issue we all face, if it is ignored, it can destroy happiness and harmony in any relationship, including one with yourself. Did you know, many married couple or family members fight about money and it is #1 cause for divorces. Not to mention sleepless nights and constant worries that will wreak all other aspects of one's life. Best way to deal with this issue is to spend less then you earn, pay off debts via snowball and automate your financial life, so you will need to spend little time maintaining it and more time enjoying it.

2. Health:
Some one has said " True wealth is health", which is so true. We will realize it only after being sick often that how easy we had it and how we abused our bodies by eating unhealthy and not exercising. Health problems can make us feel miserable, cut our social and financial life short. It is good to spend little time cooking, eating healthy food, drinking water and exercising your body and staying right weight. Doing little changes everyday will have a major impact on your health, slow and steady wins the health race too.

3. Family time:
If this list was based on priorities, it will be at the top. If we are so busy making money and exercising but not spending enough time with family, our life will be out of balance. At the death bed, no one wishes that they had made more money, or worked long hours. All of us want to be loved and tell loved one that we love and care for them. Make a effort to spend time with your spouse, kids, mother, father, siblings, and in-laws and friends. You will be glad you did.

4. Religious/ Spiritual:
Prayers do wonder for most of when we are down, worried and do not know where to turn. One does not need to be religious for a prayer, being spiritual also helps. When we are down, a simple prayer to a god from a heart does us so good. Mahatma Gandhi has said "There has never been a time when God has not answered my prayers". Even if we do not have conviction like Gandhi, being spiritual helps tremendously when we are drowning in worries. Even when the problem does not go away, big burden on your heart might be lifted and that is a good reason to pray for most of us.

5. Knowledge/Learning:
One does not need to keep learning from PhD, Masters and other degrees to keep learning. For many people who are working, they keep learning, new tools, software, technology to help them get better at their professional career. However, even for people are unemployed or work from home, stay at home like myself, there are many ways to keep learning and gain new knowledge.

Learning can be simple as learning cook, or sew or garden. Learning how to save money, invest, how to be a better parent, reading various books on topics you might be interested in. Learning about other countries, culture also counts. As long as we are constantly learning, we feel part of society, part of contributing member of family.

6. Social:
We human are social creature. Solitude helps us focus what we want in our life from time to time, however, we need social contacts from family, friends to talk our feelings, hear others perspective and live among others. Too much social and not enough inward focus will leave this area out of balance.

Stephen Covey has once said, we play many roles and fulfilling each roles will help us achieve balance we seek. For example, my role is as a daughter, wife, mother, friend, woman and home CFO (basically bills payer), if I ignore any of the role long enough, my life would be uncomfortably out of balance.

I believe, if any of us followed these 6 critical area of our lives, our lives would be happier and smoother and in balance. Do you agree? How do you balance your life? Would you like to add any suggestions that would help?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Irony of Recession: Expensive and Cheaper things

 In our recent downturn economy, certain things have became more expensive and other things have became cheaper to purchase. Irony is most basic necessities such as food, medicine, education items have become more expensive while, more want items such as electronics, cars have become a little cheaper. Read on and you be the judge!

Information on statistics of percentage increased and/or decreased is taken from MSN money article here . Analysis and thoughts are mine.

7 things that are getting cheaper:

1. Homes
Although not quite so cheap, house prices have fallen way down in many part of the country, leaving many home owners upside down in their mortgages.

2. Electronics
Electronic gadgets such as flat screen TV, DVD players, camcorders and camera, computer seemed to be getting smaller and cheaper.

3. Clothing
Prices of cheaply made clothes have decreased so much. Many people have to replace their not so well made clothes almost every year. I doubt that it is cost effective in long run.

4. Cars
With recent program "Cash for clunkers" success, car prices seems to be down and making many people believe they can afford newer model of car, and prices of used cars have plunged even more.

5. Air fare
Air fare have decreased but additional fees for baggage, food, seat selections have increased. So it actually makes illusion of reduced  price while actual total prices have increased for flying. I even heard that Ryan air planning to make coin operated restrooms!! I am not sure that will go well with most of the travelers.

6. Alternative energy
Although MSN article mentions alternative energy as getting cheap, I am not quite sure if solar panels are affordable for most average people just yet. Yes, there might be discount for having an alternative energy installed, I am not sure it big enough to qualify as a cheap or even affordable for most of us.

7.  Toys
Cheaply made plastic toys prices have decreased significantly. However, there are still outrageously priced toys sold in a store such as $200 robotic dinosaur, which can move and roar, does our children need that at all? I think not.

7 things are getting expensive

1. Food/Groceries
Prices of staple food such as corn, rice and wheat have increased so much that many poor people in mexico and iraq and other developing countries can barely feed themselves.

2. Medical care
Despite the health care overhaul, prices of medical care and hospital stay have increased, even before recession began. Some of the service have increased  to over 84%  in last 10 year since 1999.

3. College education
College tuition have increased to almost 30% since 2006 to 2009. Many middle class parents can barely afford to send their kids to college now.

4. Gas prices
Gas prices always fluctuates, lower during election time and higher during summer and Christmas holiday vacation time. But it has increased over 6% in a few months time period and that is a lot.

5. Garbage/Water/Utility
In our area price of garbage collection and water usage have increased. There is proposed Utility increase again since last increase in 2005. There are no lower rates for people like us, who compost and have only 2 small bags of trash every week. Rain water collection is also not legal without a permit, in many area too.

6. Beer/Alcohol
Another great reason to give up drinking, raising prices of alcoholic beverages. Enough said.

7. Prescription drugs
Price of prescription drugs have increased over 200% since 1990, who knew? I think even with generic prescription price is still going to be high. It is not so great news for people who are on daily or monthly medication plan such as diabetes or cancer.

What did you think? I would love to what has increased or decreased price wise in your area.


Picture Source: MSN Money

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Backing up computer and data is very important

Quick and short update. We are back from our trip from east coast to visit family, and we are getting back to routine slowly here in California.

My laptop hard drive died for some reason while we were gone and all my files and blog posts that I had in the laptop are lost. Zenguy is trying to recover data, so let's see. Meanwhile, I have to re-create many things.

My posting will be minimal until we get my laptop up and running. Meanwhile, I suggest to all of you back up your files, and data even when you computer is running fine. I hope a few of my readers will still stick around to more great content to follow.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New year Resolutions

Every year, most of us make new year resolutions, only to lose it in shuffle by February rolls around. Does it happen to you? What are usual new year resolutions? We all tend to have similar resolutions year after year.

History of New year resolutions:

According to mlive article here , is short history information on New year's resolutions.

The tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar. With two faces, looking at the past and future, Janus became the ancient symbol for resolution. Actually, month of January is also named after Janus, the mythical king.

January 1 was always start of a new year and it only became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons of privious years.

It is interesting to note that not every culture or countries celebrates new year around this time but everyone celebrate January 1st as a start of calender year celebration .

Interesting tidbit huh? Also, According to Wikipedia, some of the popular new year's resolutions are;

Success rates of these resolutions are low 12% of people, which is quite surprising that I fall in 88% of population, by late January. This year, I am making only resolution that I know it will be successful. How so? I have decided to not to have any resolutions this year at all. I have goals instead, such as do less stuff and enjoy more life. I think goals are easier than resolutions, only time will tell it will be a success or not.

Do you have new year's resolutions? How successful you are keeping those? What strategies works for you?


Image source: Wikipedia