Archive for May, 2010

May 26th, 2010

A Message To You About Stress

I am thinking about you all today and hope this makes you feel better.

Stress A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience,
raised a glass of water and asked, ‘How heavy is this glass of water?’
ranged from 20g to 500g.

So, my friend, Put down anything that may be a burden to you right now. Don’t pick it up again until after you’ve rested a while.

Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

sleep late. * Birthdays are good for you.
The more you have, the longer you live.

but they all have to live in the same box.

Answers called out

The lecturer replied, ‘The absolute weight doesn’t matter.
It depends on how long you try to hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem..
If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance.
In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.’

He continued,
‘And that’s the way it is with stress management.
If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later,
the burden will become increasingly heavy:
and we won’t be able to carry on. ‘

‘As with the glass of water,
you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again..
When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.
So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down: don’t carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow.
Whatever burdens you’re carrying now,
let them down for a moment if you can.’

* Just accept that, some days, you’re the pigeon:
and, some days, you’re the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet – ,
just in case you have to eat them.

* Always wear stuff that will make you look good
if you die in the middle of it.

*Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that can be
“recalled” by their maker.

* If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again,
It was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time,
because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can’t dance well.
Just get up and dance.

* Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird,

* The second mouse gets the cheese.

* When everything’s coming your way,
you’re in the wrong lane.

* You may be only one person in the world,
But you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons… Some are sharp; some are pretty; and some are dull. Some have weird names; and all are different colours;

*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today….I did

May 24th, 2010

A Message from Chief Arvol Looking Horse

As you all know, this oil spill has made me very sick and very worried for our earth. I am putting this letter from Chief Arvol Looking Horse and asking that you pray with us and help out earth start to heal. We have had so many warning from our ancestors about things like this happening and we have to try and do something to stop what is going on. Thank you for being my readers. We are starting to gather with friends on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. Central Time. If you cannot attend and would like to pray with us, please make an appointment with yourself to take out one hour and put your energies with us to help save our Earth. Buy a small globe and hold it up to your heart while you are praying and think nothing of healing our earth. Please send your friends to this blog. We need as many people around the world as we can. We can do this.

Please read this and join me and so many of my friends in praying for healing of our planet. Thank you so much.

A Great UrgencyMy Relatives,Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.

We, from the heart of Turtle Island , have a great message for the World; we are guided to speak from all the White Animals showing their sacred color, which have been signs for us to pray for the sacred life of all things. As I am sending this message to you, many Animal Nations are being threatened, those that swim, those that crawl, those that fly, and the plant Nations, eventually all will be affect from the oil disaster in the Gulf.

The dangers we are faced with at this time are not of spirit. The

catastrophe that has happened with the oil spill which looks like the bleeding of Grandmother Earth, is made by human mistakes, mistakes that we cannot afford to continue to make.

I asked, as Spiritual Leaders, that we join together, united in prayer with the whole of our Global Communities. My concern is these serious issues will continue to worsen, as a domino effect that our Ancestors have warned us of in their Prophecies.

I know in my heart there are millions of people that feel our united prayers for the sake of our Grandmother Earth are long overdue. I believe we as Spiritual people must gather ourselves and focus our thoughts and prayers to allow the healing of the many wounds that have been inflicted on the Earth. As we honor the Cycle of Life, let us call for Prayer circles globally to assist in healing Grandmother Earth (our Unc’I Maka).

We ask for prayers that the oil spill, this bleeding, will stop. That the winds stay calm to assist in the work. Pray for the people to be guided in repairing this mistake, and that we may also seek to live in harmony, as we make the choice to change the destructive path we are on. As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember June 21st, World Peace and Prayer Day/Honoring Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children’s future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),

Chief Arvol Looking Horse
19th generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe

May 24th, 2010

BP Oil Spill

I need to talk about this subject one more time. I don’t think anything has made me more mad than the BP Oil Spill and how they have handled this They are lying when they say they are doing everything they can. When this happened, they should have immediately capped off that oil pouring out into the ocean. All they have in mind is saving their all mighty dollar. They have done everything possible to save that oil so they can make more money. They could care less about the people, animals and the environment. As a citizen I wish I could sue them myself. I just had to say something about this subject one more time. It breaks my heart how much this is affecting our country. I am angry at our government for not stepping in in the beginning and putting a stop to this oil leak since BP wouldn’t. The government in our country is getting worse, not better. They are not for the people, they are for the almighty dollar. For right now, that is all I am saying.

May 19th, 2010

23 Ingenious Uses for White Vinegar

I ran across this list the other day and would like to share it with you. I have used some of these remedies myself. Especially the one where to put baking soda down your drain, then ad some vinegar. It cleans your pipes like crazy. I have also cleaned mildew with vinegar. Put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the infected area. It kills the mildew. Enjoy!

Owner/Pama Lyons

Melissa Breyer says

“1. Adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water when poaching eggs helps the whites stay formed. Add a few tablespoons to the water when boiling eggs, and if any shells crack, the whites won’t leak out.

2. If your leafy veggies are wilted, soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar can perk them right up.

3. After chopping an onion, you can eliminate the odor from your hands by rubbing them with a bit of white vinegar.

4. When cooking any vegetables from the cabbage family (like broccoli or cauliflower), adding a little vinegar to the water will perk up the taste and reduce the gassiness they can induce. This also works when cooking beans, making Mexican food a far more attractive option.

Cleaning House: Vinegar can help with a variety of cleaning tasks, since the acid acts as a disinfectant and an odor neutralizer.

5. Clean and deodorize the garbage disposal by mixing equal parts vinegar and baking soda and putting it down the drain. After letting this fizzing mixture sit for a few minutes, flush out the drain with warm water for a clean and stink-free sink.

6. The steam from a boiling a bowl of vinegar and water can loosen caked-on food and get rid of odors in the microwave, too.

7. One of my favorite vinegar remedies and my personal weapon against fruit flies is to set out a small dish of white vinegar and some smashed fruit, covered with plastic wrap with some holes in it–the flies crawl into the trap, but can’t get out.

8. If your stemware is cloudy from the dishwasher, wrap the glasses in paper towels soaked in vinegar, let them sit, and the cloudy deposits will rinse right off.

9. There’s no need to use bleach on tile grouting when you can let vinegar soak on it and then scrub with a toothbrush.

10. Bring lightly scuffed or dirty DVDs back to life by wiping them down with some vinegar on a soft cloth.

11. If you have water condensation marks on your wood, just rub the piece of furniture with equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil to remove them. Make sure to rub with the grain, and then invest in a set of coasters.

Cleaning Clothes: Vinegar works magic on upholstery and fabric, too.

12. If a child has an “accident” on a mattress, clean it with a solution of vinegar and water. Afterwards, pour some baking soda onto the mattress, and brush or vacuum the residue once it’s dry.

13. Spraying vinegar onto deodorant-stained shirts before the wash can remove the discoloration. It’s also great for fighting mustard, tomato sauce, or ketchup stains.

14. Adding a cupful of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine can freshen up bright colors and give you cleaner laundry. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer, and a mildew-inhibitor.

15. Vinegar will also loosen chewing gum stuck to car upholstery, rugs, and carpeting.

Outdoor Solutions: Tough enough even for the outdoors, vinegar can function as a car cleaner and an organic pest remover.

16. If your car still sports a bumper sticker from two elections ago, remove it by spraying the decal with white vinegar to saturate the area, and the sticker will peel off in a few hours. (You might need to spray it a few times.)

17. Wiping down your car windows and windshield with a three-to-one vinegar-water mixture can keep them frost-free in the wintertime.

18. Kill weeds and crabgrass growing in sidewalks and driveways by pouring vinegar onto them. A half-and-half solution of vinegar and water can even kill garden slugs if it’s sprayed directly onto them.

19. To extend the life of cut flowers, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the water in their vase, along with a teaspoon of sugar.

Pet Protection: There’s no need to use chemicals near pets when vinegar can handle most cleaning and bathing tasks.

20. Wipe out itchy ears with undiluted vinegar to keep dogs and cats from scratching at them.

21. Cats avoid vinegar, so to keep them from scratching furniture or sitting on certain areas, spray a vinegar solution onto the spot.

22. For outdoor areas, soak a sponge in vinegar and place it in the forbidden area to keep cats away. If kitty likes to mark his territory, spraying the area with vinegar can help eliminate the smell and deter recurrences.

23. Vinegar also gets rid of skunk odor. Soak the animal with a half-and-half vinegar and water solution, and then rinse with fresh water.

Vinegar can disinfect, deodorize, and de-gunkify just about everything. From shower curtains to sofa cushions, there’s not much that it can’t do. As an alternative to expensive and harsh cleaning chemicals, vinegar is something you can feel good about keeping in your cupboards. White vinegar and baking soda can even remove product buildup from hair and leave it soft and manageable. A product that can clean you, the dog, your car, and your house is what I’d call a good, green buy.”

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May 12th, 2010

Back Problems

There are so many people who have back problems. I believe as one grows older, the things that they did when they were young catches up with you as the years go bye. I had some pretty nasty falls when I was young, even in my 30’s and 40’s. When I was 18, I had a horse accident that landed me on my butt which bruised my tail bone very badly. Then through the years  working in restaurants, I slipped on water more than I can remember giving my back a whip lash.  Also as I slipped on water on the floor, going up in the air and landing on my butt. About four years ago I was lifting one of those 50 pound stepping stones in my back yard and out my back went causing sciatica down my left leg.

Not having health insurance I choose to go to a chiropractor. He put me on a machine that stretched my whole body putting my bulging disc back into place. This helped me so much and felt wonderful. He had me come back three times a week for awhile, then two, then one. Finally I felt my body telling me I needed a rest, so I quite going.

I was fine for about two years. One day my back just sent out. I went back to the chiropractor. He did the same thing. This time it wasn’t working and my sciatica was really hurting me. He told me I needed an MRI. Not having health insurance, I could not afford to have one on my own, so I went to Huntsville Hospital’s business office. I told them what I needed and my financial situation. They put me on a program that paid for my MRI, which came to $6000. Thank you God I said.

When my chiropractor recieved the results he called me into his office to discuss what was happening with my back. He told me I needed surgery. He also told me not to do any kind of exercise. I had to work which almost killed me. It hurt so bad. Especially when I had to stand in one place too long. I told my regular doctor what the results were and she recommended the hospital in Birmingham. They also had programs for people who couldn’t’ afford surgery’s on their own. I applied and never heard a word from them.

The time I spent feeling sorry for myself started me thinking about my condition. I started reading up on it. The information I was reading was total opposite of what my chiropractor told me to do. The information told me to walk and swim. I started swimming at the community pool three times a week. They had stretching exercises. Also a couple of days a week they did water aerobics which as I progressed, I joined.

Within about six months my sciatica is totally gone. I still have some things wrong with my back, but nothing like it was. A friend told me to take an herb called Gamma Oryzanol, which is made out of brown rice. Athletes take it to help build mussel. I have been taking it now for a couple of years and will continue to do so. I am hoping that I won’t have anymore serious episodes with my back.

I hope this information helps you with your back if you don’t have health insurance. There are no guarantees, but you do have to work at it if you want results and believe in what you are doing.

Owner/Pama Lyons

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May 10th, 2010

12 Animals Threatened by the Oil Spill

I can’t tell you how sick this makes me fill. I just don’t know what these people are thinking. When they put that rig out there they should have installed emergency caps right away in case something like this happened. They were trying to save money as usual. Now it is costing much more than money. I truly hope they are totally shut down by this episode. It breaks my heart knowing all the animals, humans and land this disaster has killed or ruined. All aspects of life are being affected by this oil spill all over our country and possibly the world. Below is a list of 12 animals that are being threatened by this oil spill.  I grew up on the beach and this really hits home to me.

Melissa Breyer said:

“1. Nesting and Migrating Shore Birds
Shorebirds such as plovers, sandpipers and oystercatchers are nesting or preparing to nest on beaches and barrier islands in Louisiana. Those that build their nests on the ground and feed on invertebrates are vulnerable to oil coming ashore.

Many shore birds are also making their spring migration through the area, and habitually stop along the Gulf Coast to rest and feed. Shorebirds currently coming from wintering grounds in South America to breeding grounds in boreal forests and arctic tundra congregate in large numbers on beaches and barrier islands during the last week of April and first week of May–as chance would have it, the two weeks of the entire year that migration peaks. Experts are very concerned for a number of different bird groups and species based on the uncanny timing and the possible scope of the impact.

2. Migrating Songbirds
We may not associate songbirds with the gulf shore, but migratory songbirds–warblers, orioles, buntings, flycatchers, swallows, hummingbirds and others–fly across the Gulf from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and rest and feed in the spill area. The non-stop journey across 500 miles of open water tests their endurance to its limits, and they rely on clear skies and healthy habitats on both sides of the Gulf in order to survive their journey.

The next two weeks mark the height of their migration as they travel north from Central and South America to breed in North America. Aside from needing healthy habitats for rest and food, the smoke from controlled burns to mitigate the oil spill could affect the migration.

3. Brown Pelicans
The brown pelican has not had an easy time of it. The gracefully gangling birds were only removed from the endangered species list last year, and there is a major population, around 34, 000 of them, currently nesting in the Gulf at the Breton National Wildlife Refuge–they are facing serious threat.

Diving birds are very susceptible to oil spills because they come into direct contact with the oil. A bird’s feathers overlap to trap air and provide the bird with warmth and buoyancy. Birds that come in contact with an oil slick may get oil on their feathers and lose their ability to stay waterproof, they may ingest oil while trying to clean their feathers or when they try to eat contaminated food, and they may suffer long-term reproductive effects.

Brown pelicans were once the victims of hunters seeking feathers for millinery–which led to the birth of the National Wildlife Refuge System more than 100 years ago when President Theodore Roosevelt created the first refuge at Pelican Island in Florida. In 1970, brown pelicans were officially declared an endangered species when their population was decimated by the use of DDT.

4. Sea Turtles
Of the seven remaining species of sea turtles known today, five of those species are in the Gulf. The oil spill area is one of the only foraging grounds for the most endangered species of the bunch, the Kemp’s ridley turtle, which is in its peak nesting season. One of its two primary migration routes runs south of Mississippi. Loggerhead turtles, also endangered, feed in the warm waters in the Gulf between May and October.

The seven species that can be found today have been around for 120 million years (longer than the dinosaurs)–and many of these species live up to 80 years.

5/6. Whales and Dolphins
A total of 21 whale and dolphin species that routinely inhabit the northern Gulf are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and two whale species may be in the area of the spill: Bryde’s whales and endangered sperm whales, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The greatest threat is if whales get oil in the filtering structure in their mouths, which could lead to starvation and death, notes the The New York Times.

As well, when marine mammals come to the surface to breathe they may inhale hydrocarbon vapors that can result in lung injuries; oil that comes in contact with the animals’ sensitive mucous membranes and eyes may produce irritations. Young cetaceans may be injured due to ingestion of oil from contaminated teats when nursing; and there may be long-term chronic effects as a result of migration through oil-contaminated waters.

7. Manatees
Manatees are beginning to spread out along their full range of summer habitat in the Gulf, making them vulnerable to contaminated waters. According to the EPA publication, Wildlife And Oil Spills, manatees may be affected by inhaling volatile hydrocarbons while they are breathing on the surface, and it is very likely that exposure to petroleum would irritate sensitive mucous membranes and eyes. As with most animals, the young are the most at risk. Nursing pups may be injured due to ingestion of oil from contaminated teats. There may be long-term chronic effects as a result of migration through oil-contaminated waters, and there is a substantial possibility of consuming contaminated plant material and other incidental organisms. Manatees may not be severely affected by the oil spill through direct contact, but they are sensitive to habitat disturbances and injury, such as collisions with boats and barges and propeller strikes, that may occur during response actions.

8/9/10. Fish, Shellfish and Crabs
According to The New York Times, the delta estuary is also the breeding ground for a lot of fish, shellfish and crabs, says LuAnn White, director of Tulane University’s Center for Applied Environmental Public Health. “All of those are at risk for being damaged,” she said. “That estuary area is responsible for the breeding for about 40 percent of the aquatic life that’s in the Gulf, [so] you could be affected not only the wildlife that lives in that area, but the whole Gulf.”

Fish may be affected by spilled oil in different ways. They may come into direct contact and contaminate their gills; the water column may contain toxic and volatile components of oil that may be absorbed by their eggs, larvae, and juvenile stages; and they may eat contaminated food. Fish that are exposed to oil may suffer from changes in heart and respiratory rate, enlarged livers, reduced growth, fin erosion, a variety of biochemical and cellular changes, and reproductive and behavioral responses.

If chemicals such as dispersants are used to respond to a spill, there may be an increased potential for tainting of fish and shellfish by increasing the concentration of oil in the water column. This can affect humans in areas that have commercial and recreational fisheries.

Coastal marshes are key to the life cycle and development of Louisiana shrimp and blue crab; both staples of the local seafood industry. Inshore shrimp season will open in mid-May, while brown shrimp are in their post-larval and juvenile development stages. The coastal waters around the very tip of Louisiana’s boot-shaped coast are home to some of the most productive oyster farms in the country. Oils and hydrocarbons are toxic to oysters. Unfortunately, hydrocarbons can persist in coastal sediments for months or even years. The New York Times notes that Louisiana oyster farmers, many of whom barely scrape by with high fuel costs and global competition, could have trouble weathering the oil spill if their harvests are affected.

11. Gulf Sturgeon
Gulf sturgeon are gathering in coastal areas preparing to migrate upstream to spawn–oil reaching their congregation areas could be disastrous for the fish. At the turn of the 1900s, sturgeons in North American waters were heavily fished for their flesh and caviar. The gulf sturgeon was fished off Florida from 1887-1985 with a peak harvest at the turn of the 20th century

The gulf sturgeon was listed as a threatened species in 1991 under the protection of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, making it illegal to catch or kill this species. It is also covered under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1998. Species included under Appendix II are those that may become threatened with extinction if their trade is unregulated.

In addition to commercial and recreational fishing, habitat destruction has also been responsible for the decline of the gulf sturgeon. Dams have prevented access to sturgeon migration routes into the headwaters of rivers where they spawn. Dredging and decrease of groundwater flows as well as recent droughts may have also contributed to the decline of suitable gulf sturgeon habitat; and agricultural and industrial contaminants cause reproductive failure, reduced survival of the young, and/or physiological alterations in the species.”

May 7th, 2010

Saving $5000 in One Year

Saving money is one of the hardest things I find to do. Mostly because I make so little it takes everything I have to make it through each month. If you are not like me and do make a good income, here is a hint on how to save $5000 in one year. I can do it on a much smaller scale.

“Has this ever happened to you? A bill goes unpaid. An important appointment is missed. You meant to do your taxes or go to the bank or make an IRA deposit or…whatever. It was on your list. You planned to do it, but life got in the way.

There are a million or more reasons you can give yourself for not doing something—indeed for not doing anything—to make certain you’ll really save some money this time around. You can tell yourself that you’ll be just fine without savings, that someone will come along and take care of you. You can tell yourself that there are more important things you need to be doing now. You can push it off until next month or next year. Or you can simply own up to the fact that you need savings and resources to back you up. (And that once you have them, you’ll feel a lot safer going to sleep each night and a lot more comfortable waking up each morning.)

The truth is: Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult. It only takes $100 a week or $400 to $500 a month to reach your goal of saving $5,000 in a year.

Yes, it’s that simple. And yes, you can do it—no matter how strapped you feel trying to make ends meet each month. I know, I know. You’re reading this thinking that you can barely get the mortgage paid, sneakers bought, dance lessons signed up for, and (heaven forbid) a manicure or something fun to wear for yourself. I’m convinced, however, that anyone who wants to save more will save more with only a little extra effort. And I don’t care if you start with $5, $50 or $100 a week. Whatever the amount, you’ve got to put your hard-earned cash to work for you in more ways than paying the bills.

Discussion Questions for Your Money Group

If you’ve ever been part of a book group, you know that many of the best book-group books come with study guides in the back. These usually consist of suggested questions to get people talking. (Sometimes they consist of answers from the author as well.) Well, Money Groups work the same way. Saving money doesn’t have to be a hard thing to talk about. Here are some conversation starters to get you going! (I’ve thrown in a few of my own answers just for fun!)
How do you feel about how you’re managing your savings today?
What are some strategies that have helped keep you on track financially? (Jean’s take: Personally, I’ve been a receipt keeper for years. Anyone who’s ever caught a glimpse of my wallet will attest to it. I shove every little slip of paper in my wallet until it’s ready to explode, then I take a few minutes to type the information into the computer. I use a personal finance software program called Quicken that categorizes all my expenses, so it’s easy to see when I’m busting the budget on birthday gifts, eating out or—I admit guiltily—shoes!)
Do you feel secure in your current financial situation?
Do you handle your own savings? If not, why?
Do you want to be richer? (Jean’s take: It’s okay to admit that you want this. Really! I know that it may feel crass, overly commercial, even unfeminine to acknowledge that money ranks high on your list. But I believe Beyoncé has it right. Having financial security means being able to make the choices you want to make in your life, whether you’re choosing schools for your kids, medical care for your parents or freedom from an uncomfortable situation for yourself.)
What would you do with an extra $5,000 a year?
What holds you back from saving?
What about saving money intimidates you?
What are your long-term money goals?
When you envision your retirement, what do you dream of doing with your time?
What are the things that you buy now that you feel are a waste of money?
What do you pay for that you really don’t need or can share the cost with others?
What’s one thing you’d love to save up to buy? (Jean’s take: I advocate spending your money on experiences. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that things—most of them anyway—tend to tarnish over time. But experiences get better with age, especially if you’re one of those people who tend to embellish every time you tell the story. As you’re saving up for that experience, enjoy the planning, savor the anticipation. Remember, the only thing better than a first kiss are the butterflies in your stomach when you know that first kiss is coming!)
How much of your money do you find yourself spending on others?
Were you raised with a spending mentality or a saving mentality? Has that changed as an adult?
When you spend a large amount of money, how do you feel afterwards?
What’s the most challenging thing about living on a budget?
If you’ve failed on a budget, why do you think you weren’t successful?
Where do you think you’ll have trouble sticking to a savings plan?
Who do you think might be able to help you rally through the rough spots?
Sometimes in your financial life you can (and should) take advantage of financial systems, products and technologies that allow you (in the immortal words of infomercial king Ron Popeil) to “Set it and forget it.” Find out how to bank those bucks without even thinking about it!

Five Tasks to Complete This Month

The savings rate of Americans has fallen to an all-time low, economists say, but you can avoid becoming a statistic. The key to better managing your money and possibly saving $5,000 in a year is to make it automatic! Here are 5 tasks you can do this month to put you on track to meeting your goals.

Task 1: Determine how much you can save each month.
Savers are, in general, happier people. They feel more secure because they not only have enough money to bail themselves out of a jam, but they are also doing something positive for their future. Financial advisers, unfortunately, often draw a random line in the sand and advocate saving 10 percent of whatever it is you make. Problem is, it’s much too difficult for most people to start there, particularly if they’re saving for the very first time. If the bar is set too high, set it lower. Try 3 percent. If that’s easy enough, try 5 percent.

If you haven’t already, track your spending and saving. Write down everything you spend money on for a solid month, using this spending tracker. 

Task 2: Set up an automatic savings account.
What if, as you find all this money, you suddenly feel flush, and instead of saving, you find yourself spending? The key to conquering the urge to splurge is to keep your money out of your hot little hands. Give your bank the power and permission to move some money every month or every payday out of your checking account, where you’re likely to spend it, and into savings, where—from now on—you’re going to tell yourself it’s hands off.

Task 3: Establish direct deposit.
Most employers will automatically deposit your paycheck into the bank account of your choosing. You can even split it between checking and savings! All you need to do is fill out a simple form and you’ll avoid long bank lines and paperwork. The bonus: Your money will show up in your account faster than if you had waited for the check to clear.

Task 4: Automate your bill payment.
Just as you can elect to have money funneled into your savings automatically, you can elect to have bills paid automatically by your bank. This system means less check writing, less stamp buying, spending less time schlepping to the bank and—most importantly—fewer late payments that can sabotage your credit score. It makes the most sense to automate the bills that will be for the same amount every month so that you don’t come up short: mortgage or rent, student loans (you’ll get a deduction on the interest rates by electing auto bill pay), health club, insurance and so forth.

Task 5: Give your savings a bonus.
Every time a little extra money comes your way, earmark all or at least part of it for savings. This is one of the best ways you can give yourself a financial boost.

Where is this extra money going to come from? Here are a few ideas:

Tax refunds: Deposit refund checks straight into savings. It’s found money. Or, better yet, check with your payroll department to see if those refunds are coming because you’re withholding more than you need to. If you are, withhold less and put the extra cash from each paycheck into savings so some of that money is earning interest all year.
Your bonus: You may have been counting on some of your bonus to cover expenses, but be sure to sock a generous percentage of it away into your savings.
Paid-off credit cards or other loans: Your car is paid off? Fantastic. The $359 (or whatever) you were paying to the car lender should go straight into your savings. A few transactions like this and your savings balance will soar!
Your next raise: You’ve already been living on the money you’re making now. Pretend you didn’t even get a raise, and automatically bank the difference in your savings account.”