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30 Days of Intentional Kindness

#30daysofintentionalkindness

Now that the craziness of the holidays has come and gone, most of us are beginning our journeys toward making this year our best year. What better way to begin the year than committing to filling the next 30 days with intentional acts of kindness.

There are over 2.5 billion active social media users. In true idealist fashion, I can’t help but think what if even just .1% of those users (that’s a tenth of a percentage, not even a whole percentage) committed to doing 1 act of kindness a day? That would be about 2.5 million acts of love each day that our world so desperately needs. 

I have listed 30 simple acts of kindness that I will be committing to doing during the month of January. I will be using my Instagram story to keep me accountable and hopefully inspire others to also participate in 30 Days of Intentional Kindness. Some acts will be done out of order, as I know that the act of the day may not necessarily fit with my agenda of that day ( for example, what if I don’t go out to get coffee on the 3rd day?). The point is to spread as much kindness as you can, not just to cross things off of a list. If you can do multiple acts on a single day, more power to you! Kindness is contagious – let’s get to it.

Here’s the list: 

Day 1 – Share a piece of wisdom – pass along something valuable to someone else in hopes of making their moment, day, or life a little better. *I have done this via my previous post from today which can be found here.

Day 2 – Donate old clothes/ household items – The beginning of the year (or month, or week, or day) is the perfect time to go through your things and declutter. Get rid of things you don’t need and even better yet, donate them and pass them along to someone who can use them. Look up shelters, churches, or donation centers like Goodwill or the Salvation Army in your area and detach from the unnecessary.

Day 3 – Buy a stranger’s cup of coffee – When buying yourself a cup of coffee (or tea, or a smoothie, or whatever else you drink), pay for the person behind you as well. You never know, you could create a chain reaction and inspire them to buy a coffee for the person behind them.

Day 4 – Leave an instant inspo – #instantinspo is something my sister and I began doing back in September when Target put all of their spiral notebooks on clearance for two cents (thanks Back to School). I have a serious obsession with notebooks and needed a reason to buy them all. We bought 500 notebooks and have been leaving notebooks paired with handwritten notes everywhere we go. The notes encourage whoever finds the book to write down their goals, dreams, prayers, and aspirations and to remember how powerful they are. You might have to wait until September to get the 2 cent deal on notebooks, but they regularly cost about $1. Today, grab a notebook, write a note of encouragement, and leave it somewhere for a stranger to find.

Day 5 – Buy a song on iTunes from a local artist – Most people don’t realize how expensive it is to make music for the aspiring artist. It costs thousands and thousands of dollars of an artists own money to get in the studio, pay sound engineers, create merchandise, travel to venues to perform, and so many other expenses you would never know about if you don’t either create music yourself or know someone who does. In the age of social media, more often than not, we have the privilege of listening for free. Today, spend the $1.29 to buy a song from an artist off of iTunes. It’s not about the money, it’s about showing that you recognize the sacrifice and dedication they put into their work. Such a simple act can be a push for your favorite artist to continue creating the music you love.

Day 6 – Ask to speak to a manager to report something good – Too often, customers only ask to speak to a manager if something is wrong, leaving those who are going above and beyond to never be recognized for their positive efforts. Today, when you have a positive interaction with an employee, ask to speak to the manager to tell them what a good job that person is doing.

Day 7 – Bake something for someone – Who doesn’t love fresh baked goodies? Today, bake something to give away where you see fit. If you can’t bake, gift something store-bought. It’s the act that counts.

Day 8 – Comment something positive on a stranger’s social media post – This takes two seconds to do. Leave a positive comment on the post of a person whom you don’t know and don’t follow.

Day 9 – Send a “Thank You” card – Think of something good that has happened to you recently and mail a card to simply say thank you. Most of us only get bills in the mail, so imagine the surprise when receiving a ray of sunshine via snail mail. The card can be for anyone – a friend, a family member, a colleague, an employee at a store you visited. Pass along kindness by way of saying thank you.

Day 10 – Donate money to the homeless – Who does a couple of dollars make more of a difference to, you or a homeless person? Give with a generous heart, knowing that God stores up treasures for you in Heaven according to the treasures you share with others on this earth.

Day 11 – Pay a compliment – Tell a random person you like their outfit, remind a friend how contagious their laugh is, or tell your boss how their leadership skills have positively impacted you. Whoever you choose, give them something positive to reflect on…you never know how that may affect their day.

Day 12-  Tape coupons to appropriate items at the store – A good amount of us (at least here in California) get tons of coupons in the mail, mainly for things we don’t actually buy. Today, when you’re headed to the store, grab one of those mailers out of your mailbox and leave a coupon for a stranger to find. I mean, I sure would like to find a coupon for money off of an item already taped to that item.

Day 13 – Text someone first thing in the morning to say how important they are – Start someones day off with a quick message to say how much you appreciate them…it can set the mood for their entire day.

Day 14 – Donate old books to the library – I love the library. I truly believe it is such a privilege to have access to so many books for free. Today, support your local library by donating those books you never read anymore.

Day 15 – Call a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while – Take an extra few minutes to call to say hello to one of your family members that you haven’t talked to recently. We are all so busy and often forget how much of a blessing it is just to be able to call our relatives at all.

Day 16 – Tape a dollar to an ATM– Happy depositing!

Day 17 – Tip extra- When you’re dining out, leave a few extra dollars on top of what you were already planning to tip.

Day 18 – Leave something for the mail person– Our mail carriers are so often forgotten because we rarely (if ever) see them. Leave a note, a gift card, or a small present in or near your mailbox (with a tag that says it’s for them) to say thank you for an often thankless job.

Day 19 – Leave a positive review – Similar to day 6, so often reviews aren’t posted unless it’s for a negative reason. Take a few minutes of your time to post/write/call in about a positive experience you had at a store or with a product.

Day 20 – Send an “I’m thinking of you” card or letter – Grab a card or a piece of paper and remind someone you care about that they are on your mind.

Day 21 – Donate money to a GoFundMe account– Social media has provided us so many ways to help each other. Pick a GoFundMe account that you trust and support, and donate a few dollars to the cause.

Day 22 – Tape an inspirational note in a book – Leave an encouraging note in a book at a store or a library for the reader to find when they get to a specific page.

Day 23 – Go over and beyond for someone you live with ( or for a neighbor or a friend if you live alone) – It is so easy to get in a routine with the people we live with (or around) that we forget to show them how important they truly are to us. Today, do something for someone in your household (or neighborhood or whatever) that requires a little extra effort on your part. Perform a household chore for them, bring them lunch, wash their car, the ideas are endless.

Day 24 – Leave a lotto scratcher for a stranger to find – Imagine how fun it would be to find an unscratched lottery scratcher, just waiting for you to see if it’s a winner or not. Tape a scratcher to a gas pump, give one to a store clerk, or just hand one to a stranger. It’s a fun gift of chance.

Day 25 – Spend time in prayer for 10 people– Make a list of 10 people who could use some prayer today. Spend 1- 2 minutes praying for each person on your list.

Day 26 – Instagram shoutout someone who inspires you – We are all inspired by someone. Take two minutes to give a shoutout to someone who positively impacts you via social media.

Day 27 – Surprise someone you love – Take a moment to do something for someone you love. Send flowers, stop by to say hello, provide an act of service they weren’t expecting – whatever it is, offer a pleasant surprise to someone close to your heart.

Day 28 – Share your gratitude – Incorporate gratitude into a conversation you’re having, tell someone that you appreciate them, or just put good vibes into the air. Either way, spread thankfulness for what you have and encourage others to do the same.

Day 29 – Leave a “you’re beautiful” note on a bathroom mirror– Why do we look at ourselves in the mirror? To make sure we look good! Tape a note to a bathroom mirror (or any public mirror) to remind the person looking at themselves that they are beautiful.

Day 30 – Do an Instagram giveaway! – Who doesn’t love to win free stuff via Instagram? Today, give away something to one of your followers. It doesn’t have to be something crazy or big, just something to say that you appreciate the connection you have with other individuals via social media.

 

 

This list can be incorporated into your daily life or used specifically when you start to feel out of touch with humanity. Let’s start a kindness movement, one day at a time.

 

Share your experiences with me and hashtag #30daysofintentionalkindness on any of your social media posts pertaining to this post!

 

How to Have an Extra $365 at the End of the Year

How would you like a check at the end of the year for $365? What about a check for $500? $1000? The amount is up to you.

The post after this one will give the breakdown for a project I’m working on during the month of January called 30 Days of Intentional Kindness. The first day’s call to action is to share a piece of wisdom that can positively impact someone else.

The piece of wisdom I would like to pass on today is the importance of saving money and creating margin in your life. If you were to save $1 a day, at the end of the year you would have an extra $365. $10 a week gives you over $500 at the end of the year, and $80 a month gives you over $1000.

There is an app called Qapital that has totally changed the way I save money over the course of the past few months. I have previously written about it, so bare with me as this post will be very similar to one from October. This year I want to cultivate better saving habits and Qapital is helping me do it. This app is super easy to use and makes saving money a no brainer.

Here’s what you need to know about this method of saving money:

1. Install the app. It is currently only available to users in the United States, but it looks like they are working to expand in the near future.
2. Link the app to your bank account (it’s secured).
3. Set a goal, and decide which rule you would like to apply to your savings plan. This part is my favorite. There are so many rules you can choose from; pick one that best suits your goals and current financial status. For example, you can select a rule that makes it so every time you use your debit card, Qapital automatically rounds up to the nearest dollar and saves that amount for you. So, if you spend $8.25 at the store, Qapital will round your purchase up to $9.00 and put the 75 cents into a secured savings for you. There are other rules that you can chose from such as automatically save a dollar (or more) a week, automatically set aside 30% of your earnings for taxes in the event that you are a freelancer, or even set up a reward system for when you hit your fitness goals.
4. You can withdraw your money at any time, even if you have not hit your goal amount yet. It does take up to 3 business days to see the money in your bank account.
5. It is free. There are no hidden costs. The company makes its money through a visa card they offer as an additional service. Qapital also has a version of overdraft protection, meaning that if there is less than $100 in your account, they will put a hold on any pending deposits until you have more than the minimum required amount of $100 in your bank account.

It’s that easy.
Realistically, what are the chances that you will miss an extra few cents when you’re already making a purchase? On the other side of it, those few cents can really add up when you save them. Imagine if you saved $3 a week using the round up rule. $3 a week x 52 weeks in a year is still an extra $156 in a year…$156 that you would have spent without even realizing it. The best part is, you are in control of how much you save. If you can afford to round up to $2 for every time you use your debit card, do that. If you can afford to put away $10 a week, do that. Even if you saved $1 a week for a year, you would still be saving money AND cultivating a habit that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
As I mentioned in my previous post about Qapital, this is not an ad. I would never endorse something I don’t actually use. As an added bonus, Qapital gives all of their users access to an invite code. This code will give you $5 to get you started toward your savings goals.
I hope this piece of information will be as beneficial to you as it was to me when I received it, and will kick off your 2018 savings in the most positive way.

SisterShares – A Fun and Easy Way to Give

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With the holiday season in full effect, I wanted to take a minute to SisterShare one of my family’s favorite traditions.

Every year, we come along side Samaritan’s Purse to participate in their Operation Christmas Child. Unfortunately, with the rise of so many dishonest organizations, it can be really difficult to know to which places are safe to give. Samaritan’s Purse is an organization that delivers spiritual and physical aid to those who need it most around the world. They provide necessary resources along with the love and hope of Jesus; their mission is to simply, serve as He did.

Operation Christmas Child is Samaritan’s Purse’s way of delivering tangible goods to children during the holiday season as a representation of God’s love. Shoeboxes are filled with a variety of items and delivered to children in more than 100 countries.

I love this cause. It honestly makes giving so convenient, and it allows me to get my son involved. You can either fill a physical shoebox yourself and drop it off at one of their 5,000 drop off locations across the US, or you can build your shoebox online and they will package it for you. Their website has information on how to do both.

Here is the breakdown of how easy it is to construct your shoebox via their website:

  1. Go to the Samaritan’s Purse website and click Operation Christmas Child.
  2. Select “Build a Shoebox Online,” and then ” Start Building.”
  3. From there, the website will walk you through the steps to completing your box. You will get to choose a gender, age group, and items you would like to include in your box. This is a great way to involve your younger kids/siblings/etc in the giving process, as you can sit down together and allow them to make these choices.
  4. Choose essentials, a wow item, toys, and accessories to include in the box. You also have the option of including a personalized message and a picture.
  5. Each box costs $25.00 with an additional suggested donation of $9 to help with processing, shipping, and additional materials. The $9 is only suggested, not required. However, it does allow you to follow your box and find out which country it went to.

 

If you prefer to fill a box on your own and drop it off, here is a helpful list of suggested items to include. Filling a box yourself allows you to contribute according to your own personal budget and can serve as an encouraging factor towards doing a little sorting through things you may already have at home. I know in the past my son has had several toys that were never even taken out of the package and clothes that he outgrew before he managed to wear them. You would be surprised with how much you can give just solely considering the things already in your possession.

While Samaritan’s Purse does collect shoeboxes year round, National Collection Week begins tomorrow, November 13th, and lasts until November 20th. 

Head over to their website or grab a shoe box out of your closet and fill a child’s heart!

God bless.

SisterShares – A Super Easy Way to Save Money

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Okay so first things first, ” Sister Shares,” is a term my sister and I use when we either (1) say the same thing at the same time or (2) when we share something with each other that is valuable (it’s usually clothes or food but you see where I’m going with this). The term actually came about when we were out to lunch one day and there was one “good fry” left (because everyone has their favorite kind of fry, right?) and we literally ripped it in half and shared it. Wow.

Anyway, now Sister Shares has also become something we say when either receiving or passing along knowledge. So, today, I want to Sister Share some information on an app that is golden to me. A friend put me on to this app, and I feel it’s only right to pass it along in case anyone else hasn’t heard about it yet.

My dad is the king of saving money. I’ve tried for years to take on his strategies, but he just has an insane level of discipline that I haven’t fully come in to yet. I also hate traditional savings accounts, because I’m super weird about a corporation telling me when and how I can withdraw my own money and then charging me fees when I want to do it the way I want to do it.

So, there is an app called Qapital that has totally changed the way I save money. This app is incredibly user friendly (I’m like 10 years behind the times technologically, so I need all the help I can get), and it makes saving so easy.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Install the app. It is currently only available to users in the United States, but it looks like they are working to expand in the near future.
  2. Link the app to your bank account (it’s secured).
  3. Set a goal, and decide which rule you would like to apply to your savings plan. This part is my favorite. There are so many rules you can choose from; pick one that best suits your goals and current financial status. For example, you can select a rule that makes it so every time you use your debit card, Qapital automatically rounds up to the nearest dollar and saves that amount for you. So, if you spend $8.25 at the store, Qapital will round your purchase up to $9.00 and put the 75 cents into a secured savings for you. There are other rules that you can chose from such as automatically save a dollar (or more) a week, automatically set aside 30% of your earnings for taxes in the event that you are a freelancer, or even set up a reward system for when you hit your fitness goals.
  4. You can withdraw your money at any time, even if you have not hit your goal amount yet. It does take up to 3 business days to see the money in your bank account.
  5. It is free. There are no hidden costs. The company makes its money through a visa card they offer as an additional service.
  6. Qapital also has a version of overdraft protection, meaning that if there is less than $100 in your account, they will put a hold on any pending deposits until you have more than the minimum required amount of $100 in your bank account.

 

It’s that easy.

Realistically, what are the chances that you will miss an extra few cents when you’re already making a purchase? On the other side of it, those few cents can really add up when you save them. Imagine if you saved $3 a week using the round up rule. $3 a week x 52 weeks in a year is still an extra $156 in a year…$156 that you would have spent without even realizing it. The best part is, you are in control of how much you save. If you can afford to round up to $2 for every time you use your debit card, do that. If you can afford to round up $5, do that. Even if you saved $1 a week for a year, you would still be saving money AND cultivating a habit that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

I know it might sound to the contrary, but I promise this is not an ad. I would never endorse something I don’t actually use. Coincidently, Qapital emailed me (and I’m sure everyone else who uses the app) an invite code this morning. This code will give you $5 to get you started toward your savings goals.

I hope Sister Sharing this information will be as beneficial to you as it was to me when I received it!