Tag Archives: money

A Not-So-Little Happier: Announcing the Launch of “The Onward Project” Podcasts!

Ta-da! In this not-so-Little Happier, I’m announcing the launch of a family of podcasts, headed by me, called The Onward Project.

These podcasts will make your life better — happier, healthier, more productive, more creative.

The shows are very different from each other, but they share a similar vibe. They’re fascinating, with great hosts, and they’re all full of concrete, manageable ideas, research, stories, and tips for how to make your life better.

The idea is that if you like Happier, you’ll like the other Onward Project shows, too.

Radical Candor 

Radical Candor from Kim Scott and Russ Laraway. Kim describes the podcast as “how not to hate the boss you have, and how not to become the boss you hate.” It’s all about how to be constructive, and critical when necessary, and also kind. If you want to look at Kim’s book Radical Candor, it’s here.  New episodes every Tuesday.

Side Hustle School

Side Hustle School from Chris Guillebeau. If you heard our episode 87, our live event in Seattle, you heard us talk to Chris — so you have a sense of what an interesting guy he is. In Side Hustle School, he talks about how to pursue a “side hustle” — a money-making project you pursue apart from your day job. It’s not a part-time job; it’s not a hobby; it’s something you create. Chris is a Rebel, by the way.  New short episodes every day.

I’m so excited about these podcasts — these hosts are so engaging, with such interesting stories and perspectives. And I can’t wait to hear what you think! Let me know.

And to give a teaser, in March, two more podcasts will launch:

Happier in Hollywood

Yes, Elizabeth is doing another podcast! This one is with her longtime writing partner, Sarah Fain. It’s about how to be happier, healthier, saner, more creative, more successful, and more productive in a back-biting, superficial, chaotic, unpredictable, fundamentally world. I can’t wait to listen. Elizabeth and Sarah have the craziest stories.

Whole30

We got a huge response after episode 52, when we interviewed Melissa Hartwig of Whole30. Whole30 is a very structured way of eating for thirty days, to re-set your body clock. As we discussed, it’s not an approach that works for everyone, but for many people, it’s life-changing (and I don’t use that word lightly). Her ideas resonated so much with listeners that I asked her to start her own podcast.

Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

Happier listening!

5 Tips for Not Over-Spending — on Black Friday, or Any Other Time.

In the United States, Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday, and the Friday following the holiday is known as “Black Friday.” It’s such a popular shopping day that one explanation for the name is that it’s the day when retailers go from being “in the red” to “in the black” (i.e., they start to show a profit).

Many people begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday; there are sales and special promotions; it’s a popular day to visit the mall.

Which means that for some people, it’s a challenge not to over-spend. 

In my book Better Than Before, about how to change habits, I identify the 21 strategies we can use to make or break a habit. If you’re worried about spending too much, try these strategies:

1.The Strategy of Monitoring: keep close track of what you’re spending. It’s easy to forget various purchases, or maybe even to forget to check a price tag. Monitoring has a very powerful effect — even if we’re not even trying to change a behavior, we tend to do a better job if we monitor it.

2. The Strategy of Distinctions — cash or credit cards: Some people do a better job controlling spending when they use cash.  For most people, using cash makes it harder to spend, because handing over actual bills feels hard. In fact, that’s one reason that casinos use chips instead of cash; loss seems more imaginary when you’re not handing over actual greenbacks.

On the other hand, some people are more careful when they use credit cards. They know that they’re going to confront a record of every single dollar they spent. So do what works best for you.

3. The Strategy of Clarity: shop from a list, so you know exactly what you’re planning to buy, and you don’t make impulse purchases. If you’re shopping for Christmas presents, say, don’t buy something for yourself.

4. The Strategy of Accountability: have a partner who has to be notified every time you make a purchase. You could go shopping with your sweetheart who holds your wallet, for instance, or — like a friend of mine — you could text your brother every time you pull out your wallet. She found that just knowing that her brother would see what she was buying helped her to make better choices.

Remember, if you’re an Obliger, you need accountability! This is crucial! If you want to form an Accountability Group, to get that crucial accountability, you can join the Better app. If you don’t know if you’re an Obliger–or an Upholder, Questioner, or Rebel–take the quiz here.

5. Strategy of Loophole Spotting. “Boy, we’re good at thinking of loopholes. What are some loopholes you might invoke, as you’re browsing the aisles?”

Moral licensing loophole: “I’ve been so good sticking to my budget, I deserve to splurge a little.”

Tomorrow loophole: “Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be so frugal, it doesn’t matter what I do today.”

Lack of control loophole: “Stores are designed to be so tempting that no one could resist buying.”

Arranging to fail loophole: “I’m not going to buy a single thing today, but I thought I’d just come and look around, for fun.”

Questionable assumption loophole: “If it’s Black Friday, this price must be a good bargain.”

Fake self-actualization loophole: “You only live once, I should treat myself!”

One-coin loophole: “What difference is this one purchase going to make? I’m not going to bust my budget in one store.”

When we recognize that we’re invoking a loophole, we’re able to resist.

How about you? Have you found some good ways to avoid over-spending?

Now, I myself am an under-buyer, so I don’t have trouble with over-spending. I have trouble with under-spending; it’s inconvenient and inefficient to be an under-buyer. So I have to force myself to purchase.

On the subject of money, you may be interested in this question: Which of These Four Stories Do You Tell Yourself about Money?

Podcast 90: Very Special Episode on the “Essential 7” for Happiness and Good Habits.

It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

NOTE: This episode was recorded before Election Day 2016, which is why Elizabeth and I don’t mention it. The election has been unusually emotional and contentious. As with any milestone moment, it provides an opportunity for us to reflect about our own values, and how we can serve the highest ideals of our country and ourselves.

Update: To hear the Happiness 911 songs, the link is here, or you can search for “Happier 911” on Spotify. Currently at 397 songs — that’s almost 25 hours of happy music.

podcastt-shirthappierblackIf you want to buy a Happier t-shirt, email us here, and we’ll get your information.

Every tenth episode is a Very Special Episode. For this VSE, we talk about the “Essential Seven,” the seven areas in which just about every desirable habit falls.

Try This at Home: Figure out what you’d do using the Essential Seven, to make your life happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative:

1. Eat and drink more healthfully (give up sugar, eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol)

2. Exercise regularly

3. Save, spend, and earn wisely (save regularly, pay down debt, donate to worthy causes, make purchases that contribute to happiness or habits, pay taxes, stay current with expense reports, take classes to expand career options)

4. Rest, relax, and enjoy (pursue a hobby instead of cruising the internet, enjoy the moment, stop checking email, get enough sleep, spend less time in the car, take time for myself)

5. Stop procrastinating, make consistent progress (practice an instrument, set aside two hours daily for uninterrupted work, learn a language, maintain a blog, keep a gratitude journal)

6. Simplify, clear, and organize (make the bed every day, file regularly, put keys away in the same place, recycle, give away unused clothing) If you want listen to Episode 10, the clutter-clearing episode, it’s here.

7. Engage more deeply—with other people, with God, with yourself, with the world (call family members, read the Bible every day, volunteer, spend time with friends, observe the Sabbath, spend time alone in nature)

Of course, the same habit might satisfy different needs for different people. For one person, yoga might be a form of exercise (#2), for someone else, a way to find mental rest (#4); for someone else, a spiritual practice (#7). And people value different habits. For one person, organized files might be a crucial tool for creativity; another person finds inspiration in random juxtapositions.

Gretchen’s Demerit: I invoke the False-Choice Loophole to skip the gym.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Adam discussed a renovation decision at length, because he knows that Elizabeth likes to talk things through.

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #90

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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We love hearing from listeners:

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

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Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

How to Subscribe

If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much.

HAPPIER listening!

Have You Ever Been Made Happier by a “Modest Splurge?” Of What? For Me, Magic Markers.

I’m an under-buyer, and for the most part, I dislike shopping, errands, and buying stuff.

In fact, one of my happiness-project resolutions is to “Indulge in a modest splurge.” I remind myself that sometimes, it makes me happy to indulge in a modest splurge — to buy something that I don’t absolutely need, but that makes my day brighter in some way.

I indulged in a modest splurge a few days ago.

I was early for a meeting (I’m always early), so I decided to spend the time wandering around an art store. I love just looking at the things in art stores. This store, sadly, was going out of business, so prices were slashed.

As a result, the shelves were fairly bare, but I happened to notice a giant box of beautiful, high-quality, double-ended magic markers.

These particular markers hold special memories for me, because when I was in college, my roommate had twelve of these markers, and she prized them highly. She never let anyone borrow them, and we could use them only under her supervision. (Very wisely–she knew that we’d lose them, or leave the caps loose.) We had so much fun with those markers.

I looked at the price. For a box of markers, it was still expensive. At the same time, it was an extraordinary bargain. But I didn’t really need the markers–we have lots of good markers already. But this was a really good set of markers. It would make me very happy to use them, and my daughters would also use them. But couldn’t we use the markers we already had? Well-made tools make work a joy; having these terrific markers might boost my creativity. Looking at the markers brought back happy memories. But if we didn’t make good use of the markers, I would feel guilty.  Etc., etc., etc.

I bet the other customers thought I was a very odd person — I stood stock still, gazing at the box, as these questions played out in my head, for several minutes.

At last, I remembered my resolution to “Indulge in a modest splurge.” And I thought, well, I’m going to get them! I love them.

I got them home, my daughters were delighted with the markers, we all tried them out — and my older daughter asked, “Can I take some to school tomorrow?”

First, I said “No way.” I was thinking–I want to keep the set nice, I don’t want to risk losing or spoiling one, I want to “save” them to keep them nice, etc.

Then I remembered #7 of my Twelve Personal Commandments. Spend out. I tend to hold things back, so I have to remind myself to spend out. Use things up! Put them into circulation, put them to work! Better to use the markers all the time, and risk losing them, than to save them on the shelf, and never use them at all. (Plus my daughter is fairly responsible.)

Have you ever made a “modest splurge,” where a purchase made you happier? What did you splurge on?

Podcast 41: Take One Thing with You, the Challenge of Impulse Buying, and I Need to Get Back to the Gym.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Update: Elizabeth’s trip to New York City, sadly, got cancelled.

Try This at Home: Take one thing with you. A clutter-busting strategy. Yes, this is so simple that it sounds dumb, but try it!

Happiness Stumbling Block: Impulse buying. We talk a lot about two strategies from Better than Before: the Strategy of Inconvenience and the Strategy of Monitoring.

We also talk about under-buyers and over-buyers.

Listener Question: “I have a lot to be grateful for, but I still don’t call myself a happy person. Why?”

Elizabeth works in a plug for my Super Soul Sunday appearance with Oprah. What a nice sister.

Gretchen’s Demerit:  Since we got Barnaby, I’ve stopped going to my cardio gym.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth’s sister-in-law Michelle did a great job hosting Thanksgiving.

Call for comments, questions, observations!

In a few weeks, we’re going to do a round-up episode on the Four Tendencies. We’ve had so many great comments from listeners, so we want to highlight some responses — and we want more. In particular, we want to throw out a few questions.

Can you think of some famous examples of the Four Tendencies? For instance, Hermione Granger. Textbook Upholder!

Do you like your Tendency? Why or why not?

Obligers, if you’re experiencing Obliger-rebellion, I’d love to hear your experience. Especially how you got out of Obliger-rebellion.

If you’re paired with a Rebel, at home or at work, how does that work for you?

 

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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Also, visit Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin #41 - Listen at Happiercast.com/41

We love hearing from listeners

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

How to Subscribe

If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HAPPIER listening!