College Life

How to Write an Undergraduate Essay Like a Master’s Student: Part 2

Do Your Research:

Before you can write the paper you must first do the research. In some cases you may also want to have an idea of/for the thesis. For more information on how to write a thesis please see part four (coming soon). Every teacher and professor will likely have their own requirements for the types of articles or literature you can use. There are three main resource types primary, secondary, and tertiary. Many professors will require that you utilize journal articles, which are considered primary resources. However some will require the use of books, which are for the most part considered a secondary resource.

What falls under the criteria of a primary resource?

> original written works i.e poems, diaries, court records, interviews, surveys, and scholastic journals/articles.

What falls under the criteria of a secondary resource?

> reference materials including dictionaries, encyclopedias and textbooks.

> Newspapers and magazines are often considered secondary resources, but in some case may be considered a primary resource.

What is a tertiary resource?

A tertiary resource is a resource with the primary usage of  organizing and locating primary and secondary resources. One way you may use a tertiary resource is if you are analyzing the google results or database search results of a particular topic. For instance you might note in a research paper that there are 81 million results for Justin Bieber.

With the understanding of the different types of resources it is now important to know how to go about finding the right resources for your paper. Key words are an important part of locating articles or literature. Before beginning your research it is important to have at least 3 different keywords or phrases. It’s also important to write down every key phrase or word you use when completing your cursory research as you will want to note it in your essay as you describe the research you have done. This is especially important when completing a qualitative research study.

Example:

You are writing an essay on “How Dog Ownership Leads to Better Health.”

You go over to your database and type in that long phrase and you are likely going to receive errors for too many words or articles whose only relevance to your statement is they use the words How to in the title or article. A good first search would instead be dog ownership health.

Now when I typed this search into Google Scholar I received 127,000 results that is a lot, but few enough that you could probably go through them and find some relevant articles. However, it may be that you receive a result number that is on the large side. It is important to keep all research as relevant to today as possible especially if you are completing research that relates to today. If you are doing a historical analysis then the time at which the article was published likely doesn’t matter. However, to make sure the science and statistics are relevant to today especially with a topic such as health it might be wise to provide parameters for the publication date.

For this topic try and make sure articles are no more than 5 years old. If research is too thin with that number then as long as you don’t extend it past ten years you should be fine. When I apply the yearly range for my key phrase dog ownership health it lowered the number of results from 127,000 to a smaller 19,800 results. Google scholar also includes citations and patents in its results, but for the case of this research I just want journal articles so I remove those options and lower the result number to 18,400. Google scholar has a means of doing a more detailed search where you can look for your keywords in the title only or within the article. You can also do a search for articles that do not include a certain phrase or that include exact phrasing. You can also search a specific journal by typing in the journal name. When I searched titles only with my key phrase I received a mere 9 results.

Other key phrases for this topic might be:

Healthy dog owners

Dog owners improved health

After you pull up a result page with different articles it is important to read through the results. Do not read each article in full instead read the abstract if available. If there is no abstract available read the introduction, both will let you know if it is a good article for your project. In addition, many teachers will recommend you have a certain number of articles that you use in your research always pull 2-4 extra articles just in case one or more of them do not have anything to do with your article. You will come to find that some articles are more useful than others. Make sure you are choosing articles that will aid your research, but that will also not provide the same information. You want to be able to utilize all of your articles within your paper and if you pull five articles and only one actually pertains to what your research topic is about or three of the topics pertain, but all essentially say the same thing you may want to diversify the information. You want a group of articles that will take the subject from the different main points. Now you won’t know if you need more articles till you read the initial ones you have. If your professor states you need 8 articles for your paper print off 5 you feel really comfortable with. Make sure you record the citation information as you do. This will save you a step when creating your work cited page and when you are having to cite the articles within your paper.

If the paper is due within a week or even a month you will not have time to read each article the recommended three times. Here is the rule of reading and taking notes from journal articles.

Super Speed:

As you read the article highlight the main ideas and pieces of information that you may want to quote in your paper later. Use 3 different highlighters to represent the different points. Statistics are best marked with green, yellow is best for good ideas, and a third color orange is preferable works well with the passages you may want to quote. Do not read an entire article if you get through the first 3-5 pages and absolutely know it will be of no use to you. If it turns out to be a dud put it away. Read longer articles first. Also if a section is droning on with statistics and you are not needing statistics for your position within your research feel free to skip over it and move onto the parts that actually pertain to what you are writing your article on. Once you’ve read the five articles you picked out then continue your search of the online database and find the remaining articles you need. Be sure to focus your search on any areas of the research where you are missing information or have questions.

I can afford to take some time:

So you have some time before your paper is due and can afford to spend a little extra time researching. Aim for two read throughs. The first read through do not use any highlighters take notes on any questions you have after reading the article or while reading the article and let that be it. Later after you have found all of the articles you need go back through and complete the highlighting read through.

I have a lifetime to write this research paper:

If you have the whole semester before the paper is due and your the early bird who likes to get a head start then aim to read your articles three times. First without highlighting and just writing down your questions and thoughts. The second time go through it with the highlighters. Finally, as you make your third read through notate how the article actually helps your essay/research. What questions have been answered or ideas have been created within your head.

You may have noticed that the previous information focused on journal articles and may be wondering okay, but my teacher said I need at least one secondary resource. I need a book for my research. Your library is your friend. The library database works similar to a scholarly database. Use the same keywords. Once you have found a few possible titles go check out those sections of the library to know whether a book is a good fit for your research check the following locations.

Read the back/inside cover, this will give you a synopsis of the book.

Then read the table of contents. The table of contents will aid you in knowing which chapters will be most useful.

If the whole book appears useful read the introduction or the first page of chapter one.

Now no one wants to read an entire book for a research paper especially if they only have a short period of time in which to write it. Don’t think you have to read the whole book in order to use it within your essay. Pick one-three chapters that will be useful to your research and focus your attention there. Use sticky notes to keep track of different sections you may want to quote or that inspire ideas and questions. Make copies of the pages you will be reading for your article so that you don’t have to carry around an extra book. When making copies be sure to make a copy of the copyright page as you will need it for citation purposes.

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Employment

Starting an At Home Business

So you want to start a business from home, well I will be the first person to tell you it isn’t easy. I’ve been bumbling along with this blog for two full years now (just started year three) and my first piece of advice to anyone is do not quit your day job right away. I quit my job for what I thought were medical reasons before starting this blog, of course I found out 1 week too late that nothing was medically wrong with me I was just pregnant. Opps!

I ended up blogging because I was too big for anyone to want to hire me, after all I had very few qualifications being fresh out of college and I was pregnant. Who wants to hire on that sort of a train wreck. Anyway, I started freelance writing and running this blog. I averaged about $300 per month making $700 during the month I was due and then even though by that point I had it all figured out. I knew exactly what was needed to really get my stuff up and running I was too overwhelmed with caring for a new infant. I just couldn’t quite put in the effort necessary to do it.

I went and got a real job eventually, but still maintained my side thing. The job just didn’t feel right for me, plus my husband got a promotion so I returned home. I started slowly playing more and more with my blog again. (Not that I had really given it up, I had continued to post updates, but it wasn’t quite the same as when I first started out.) However, it is a new year and I am ready to rock it. If you really want to start a business from home I recommend you keep your day job and research every aspect of the at home business you are wanting to start first. Give yourself about 6 months to fine-tune all the information and figure out what is going to be best for you. If you are thinking about doing something like freelance writing find yourself a few clients.

Get everything set up and ready including your website and social media accounts. Build your product line if you are considering doing something like selling on Amazon or Etsy. Also have at least three to six months worth of money to pay bills lined up. Once you have done these things you will be ready to quit your job and really give your at home business a good hard try. If you find yourself in a position like I was in, don’t be afraid to invest a hundred or so dollars to get yourself started. I wish I had done this, because if I had I could easily have brought in a few extra hundred dollars or even thousands of dollars extra every month just with affiliate marketing and ad revenue. As such I haven’t been able to bring in anywhere close to this kind of cash, because I don’t/didn’t own my domain. That all changes this year. This year my domain will be mine.

*This post was sponsored by Kinnectpay.com for more info please read my post Kinnectpay.com: What’s New in the New Year

College Life

How to Write an Undergraduate Essay Like a Master’s Student: Part 1

I was originally going to write an e-book on how to write an awesome undergrad essay, after all I spent four years writing some amazing essay’s and I even completed a 200 plus page honors thesis my junior year. To say I have experience in essay writing is an understatement. As it turns out the market is flooded with all kinds of essay writing how to books. So instead I’ve decided to turn each section into its own blog article. I hope you find this series useful. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments in the box at the bottom of the page.

Picking The Right Topic

As an undergrad you will not always or even often be given the option of choosing your research topic however on occasion you may be given the option of choosing the angle or side of a topic you are being asked to write. It is important to consider the following  questions as you choose your research topic.

Does it interest you?

Any project you will be spending more than a week on should be able to keep and maintain your interest. Even when you do not get to pick your topic finding a way to enjoy the research you are doing is essential when working on a long term project. When you are uninterested it can cause you to procrastinate or not do as in-depth  research as you could if you were interested.

What do you already know?

It is important to consider topics with which you already have some basic knowledge of. By choosing a topic you have some familiarity with you are giving yourself a leg up in the research portion. By having some first hand or previous knowledge you are able to choose keywords and phrases that will best assist you in locating literary research supporting or negating your thesis.

Do you have any preconceived opinions or assumptions that might bias your opinion?

It is important to consider your misconceptions or assumptions as you embark on your research exposition. You do not want your bias to bias the paper or the research.

How much research is out there on the  subject? Is it well explored or is the research thin/scarce?

Before choosing a topic it is important to visit Google Scholars or a reputable Scholarly database to do some cursory research for example say you wanted to write a report about Teenage mothers who graduated from a  four year College. You might find that there is a large amount of research on the subject. Whereas simultaneously if you choose a topic like Vitamin C’s effect on Cancer you will likely find little to none. The amount of research that is already out there on the subject could be helpful or detrimental depending on the type of research project you are doing. If you are doing a research project that requires an experiment it would be nice to have other research out there that completed the same or similar experiment having other research could be supportive or it could also hinder your experiment as others might compare your research and claim that because of the different aspects within the experiment your results are flawed. Now if you are simple wanting to complete a qualitative study dependent more upon historical documentation and the social implications of a subject then having more research already out on the web is better.

How well does the topic fit within the assignment?

After a short 30 minute cursory research session you should be able to determine whether the topic you are considering  is the right fit for your research project. Should you determine that your original research idea is not the right fit for the project then reconsider the direction.

For example if you were originally considering researching early childhood obesity and how it may positively affect individuals as adults, change your  angle to how childhood obesity may affect the child’s future academically. I. E how likely is it for a child who struggled with childhood obesity to go to college and complete a four year degree. All in all reconsider how you define the meaning of positively.

There are many questions science has not yet been able to answer either through social or scientific theory. Consider your audience, consider the available research, and most importantly consider your interest.

Employment

Leadership and Accountability

What does it mean to be accountable when in a leadership position? As a leader you are responsible for what your team does, if those below you on the work line are messing up it is your mess up. It is important to know as a leader when to be patient, when to coach, when to delegate, and when to put your foot down.

Patience as a Leader:

Many times when you are working especially when you are working in a leadership role, you will have to deal with “green hornes” or people who have never done this type of job or work before. When dealing with people like this it is important to maintain patience as they may have many questions. In addition, people who come into a new job with little to no experience may also be slow, or afraid to ask questions. It is important to know when it is okay to allow the person to make mistakes and when to step in and explain the procedure. As a leader you are accountable for the new persons progress. It is important to give them the proper training, but depending on the job, there may not be a lot of time for one on one treatment. In these situations be sure to give clear verbal instruction and perhaps even show them once or twice so they can get a visual.

Coaching as a Leader:

As a leader it is important to know how to give a good pep talk as well as a good tongue lashing. People are going to mess up, they are going to test boundaries. It is the way we learn. Be sure to encourage your fellow teammates when they have been especially successful at completing a task. Sometimes you will have one bad apple or perhaps on rare occasion an entire team of people who don’t seem to be there for the job, but rather just want a paycheck. In these situations it is important you have conversations about how when the company does well they get paid more either via tips or raises down the line. Communication is key when working in any type of team environment. When you have someone pushing the boundaries by coming in late, or slacking off and attempting to push their work onto others it is important to pull them to the side and explain why this is hurtful not only to the company, but themselves. When you have a team every link in the chain has to work at its full potential otherwise tensions rise and people are hurt.

Delegating as a Leader:

There is always work to be done. You as the leader can not handle everything on your own. Just as you can’t do everything yourself you should not expect your team to do there jobs and your job. When in a leadership role and feeling overwhelmed consider the work load of your fellow team mates what can be rearranged. Maybe you need to give someone else one of your larger tasks and take over one or two of their smaller tasks so you have the time to do the rest of what you need to do. Perhaps someone isn’t quite capable of doing one of the tasks you had previously provided them. Do not be afraid to move tasks around between teammates and yourself as long as the job gets done and is done right it doesn’t matter who does it. Also respect your team understand that they are not under you to do all of your work, they are their to support you and the work that you do. Leaders are paid more because they have the hard job of making sure that the job gets done either by themselves or someone else. If you do not have some one who is available to do the job and it needs to be done now, you better get to stepping and do that job.

Putting your foot down as  a Leader:

Your teammates do not need to be abused, over worked, or harassed by their fellow workers. If you have a teammate who is consistently causing problems by either showing up late, pawning work onto someone else, or simply poking and poking at someone until they loose it. It is your responsibility to talk to and assess the problem with this individual. If talking, warnings, and changing of the situation does not result in a change you must then consider if this is a person worth keeping. If you don’t have control of getting rid of someone who is beneath you, and you have used all your options of resolving the issue on your own it may be time to go up the chain of command. It is important to do your business of communicating and attempting to resolve all issues on your own before going up the chain.

Do you work in a leadership role? Are you responsible for the mistakes that your team makes? How do you handle it when your team fails?  Share in the comments below.

Hobbies

Hobbies: Creative Writing

Well, I told you this new section of my blog might be coming this year. Indeed, I have chosen to go through with it. I am a person who has many interests. Deep down I am an intellectual, creative, and spiritual minded person. I believe in finding balance in the chaos of life. I attempt to achieve balance in everything I do. It is important to have hobbies. We all need something that takes us away from the here and now of today. Reading and writing are long time hobbies of mine, which is why I felt it fitting for my first hobbies post to be centered upon writing.

Breastfeeding really got me into a bad habit of binge watching netflix shows. So much so that I’ve continued this habit despite having stopped breastfeeding five months ago. Recently I watched the entire 8 part series of the OA. It was fascinating. I loved the way you were unable to tell what was truth and what was fiction. (Of course the whole thing is fiction.) I loved that you couldn’t tell if she was making up the story of what happened to her and what she experienced.

The whole show got me thinking about how I can utilize my hobbies within my writing. The OA, held questions about psychology, spirituality, and it included dance as well as the already spoken of question is this fact or fiction. I wrote a short story for my creative writing class once, a story that I based off my own real life experiences. One of the criticisms I received was that it did not seem realistic. When I told the class it had really happened they then gave critique on the perspective. Suggesting I change it. When I did the story was accepted and perceived much better.

I have started writing creative fiction again, I’m trying to incorporate my interests beyond reading and writing into it. I have taken on many hobbies in the past, but non have withstood time as much or as well as writing. When I consider this and wonder about why that is, I only have one real response. Writing allows me to express myself with expression, because I can publish it or not publish it. If I do publish it they will click a button or not click a button. Who am I to care about whether someone choose to click a like button or not?

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to my hobbies section. Stay tuned for next weeks hobbies post where I reveal my reading list for the New Year.

News

Ditch New Years Resolutions

The average person will likely give up on their New Years Resolutions by the 17th of January. I have a theory about this. Many of us develop New Years Resolutions about loosing weight, quitting smoking, or getting out of debt. However, come mid month the shame of the holidays sinks in as the credit card , and utility bills arrive. We realize we over spent  and now we have no idea how we are ever going to pay for it. That or we stress because it means extra hours at the office or giving up that morning Starbucks or date night, because we can’t afford a sitter for at least two months until this bill is paid off.

As I pondered my theory I realized that stress causes many of us to go to our comfort zones. We return to smoking  even though we can’t afford it. We skip the gym, and nurse our wounds while eating Ben & Jerry’s  as we binge watch Netflix anything to keep us from thinking about that horrible piece of bad news in our mailbox or inbox. We gave up on getting out of debt because its just too hard.

I’ve definitely been sitting pretty in the its too hard category for a lot longer than I should have been. As a result of developing this theory, I spent some time traversing the maze of Pinterest looking for the 5 easiest ways to get started on fixing your little piece of bad news and saving money to help get you out of debt. Bonus for those of you who can’t afford that gym membership you were so looking forward to. To loose weight or just to get fit I also have 3 tips to getting healthy without spending a dime.

5 Ways to start Saving Money and Start Getting Yourself Out of Debt

Trick #1: 365 Day Penny Challenge

You can start this challenge today with just $1.53, tomorrow add 18 more cents, the next day 19 cents. Every day this year add the amount of pennies for the day of the year. On December 31st you will add $3.64 (unless its a leap year, which 2017 is not then it would be $3.65).

Trick #2: 2 Liter Dime Challenge

A 2 liter bottle holds about $700 worth of dimes. Anytime you get a dime, or find a dime place it in a 2 liter bottle. By the time it is full you will have saved around $700.

Trick #3: $30 for 36 weeks

Save $30 every week for 36 weeks and you will end up with $1,080. Think about this $30 a week that’s 3 fast food meals, 4 trips to Starbucks, or 4 packs of cigarettes. If you have any of those naughty habits then it will be easy to find $30 every week. If not, consider this that’s $120 a month you are wanting to save. Can you cut your budget anywhere, maybe your grocery bill? Get rid of cable? Do this and you will have enough money to cover all those Christmas presents you just bought, or at the very least you will have enough money to buy this years Christmas presents.

Trick #4: 3 different ways to save $1,000

$1,000 by Christmas

30 days to $1,115

$1,000 in 52 weeks

Trick #5: 52 weeks to $2,756

Save the 2 time the week of the year. So week one save $2, week 52 save $104. Don’t worry about doing the weeks in order either. If you have a really good month and happen to be able to cross of weeks 52, 51, 50, and 49 go for it. Just make sure each week is marked off before the end of the year.

My 5 Get Healthy Tips

#1 YouTube is your friend

There are so many free youtube work outs to choose from. If you are a big fan of yoga you can easily find any type of yoga session for free via youtube. I personally enjoy doing a ten minute morning wake up session and a ten minute evening warm down session. Just type in ten minute yoga morning, or ten minute yoga evening.

#2 Drink more water

Drinking water is an easy get healthy goal. Simply bring a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. Frequently fill it up using a water pitcher or straight from the tap. There is no easier way to loose weight and get fit than by drinking more water.

#3 Meal Plan

Use this site to help you put together a shopping list, find easy recipes, and even see what is on sale at your local shopping market. I even wrote a blog article way back in 2015 on four sites to inspire you while deciding what’s for dinner. Check  out that article by clicking here.

If these awesome 8 tips don’t re-inspire you to start working hard towards your New Years Resolutions, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate your New Years Resolutions. Break them down into more manageable bite size pieces or come up with new goals ones that are more realistic for your drive. Did you perhaps make too many goals, maybe just pick one to focus on this year.

Tell me did any of these tips re-inspire you towards giving your resolutions another shot?

Social

Kinnectpay: Income Mixer

Kinnectpay will be hosting a series of events this year.Every month you can check out one of their income mixers. Learn more about Kinnectpay and how it works. Taking place January 20th at the Nesbitt Memorial Library, in Columbus, TX. Start off the 2017 New Year learning how you can increase your revenue for your household, business, or Non-Profit by “Kinnecting” through social networking.

Learn how to #MakeMoney #SaveTime #SaveMoney by utilizing Kinnectpay.com Social Networking, Digital Marketing, and Creative Event Services!

Refreshments and drinks will be available! Jan. 20th Nesbitt Memorial Library Columbus TX. 78934

This two hour event is the perfect opportunity for small business owners, or individuals looking to start a new business. 7:30pm – 9:30 pm

The Events will be taking place twice a month.

 

This blog post was sponsored by Kinnectpay.com please check out their website for more information or check out my blog post here to consider joining.

News

Open Call for Artists:”Another Side of Color.”

Kinnectpay is hosting the first Annual Columbus, TX African American Heritage Art Exhibit. The event opens on February 4, 2017 from 6-8pm.

OPEN CALL FOR ARTISTS!!

This call is for all African American Artists and Artisans to exhibit their works and collectibles in Columbus First Annual African American Heritage Month. The “Another Side of Color” Art Exhibit will be presented by Kpay Creative Events.
The Artists/Artisans chosen to be exhibitors for this years Art Exhibit will be exhibiting at the prestigious Live Oaks Art Gallery in Columbus, Texas and will have their works on display for viewing and sale during the month of February in honor of African American Heritage Month.
This is one event you don’t want to miss.
Selection of artists to exhibit.

Deadline is January 15th, 2017

*This post sponsored by Kinnectpay.com

College Life

Is College Right for You?

Is college right for you? I don’t know, and no one does accept for you. So stop looking for someone to give you the answer you want to hear, and act upon the answer that is within your heart. There is no right or wrong way in life. I come from a long line of very strong women, women who had to work really hard to get to where they are today. They each took there own strange path, however, they all successfully raised their kids.

My sisters and I (there are three of us total including me) we have each taken a different path. I’m the eldest, I did everything the “right” way. I ended up exactly where I wanted to be all along, but it wasn’t anything I ever envisioned or imagined, because I am a stay at home mom. I am also a writer who gets paid to write what she loves, you can’t beat that.

My youngest sister just spent half a year traveling the world, while getting college credit for it. She is studying to be an artist. I have full faith she will accomplish it too. Like me she did things the “right” way, only she didn’t just go to college, she went somewhere new, she took the risk and made it happen.

My middle sister, she went to a community college. She got her associates degree. She tried and tried to get a job in her field, but couldn’t. She decided she wanted to have a baby. So she did, and she went back to school. She got a second associates degree and was recently offered a job in her field. She is my super hero, because she took a risk. She not only had a baby when she could not realistically be expected to afford one, but she also went back to school, while simultaneously working and taking care of a new born. She is my super hero. Both of my sisters are my super hero. I’m hoping that one day I will be just like them.

I went to college, and I will admit I learned a lot. I even plan on going back to college one day. However, I have a lot of friends who didn’t go to college. Some who started then quit and decided the career life was better. I have some who started, quit, and went back again a little later. I have some who did not go straight away, but went once they knew what they wanted to do. There are so many paths to life. It is hard to choose and decide which is the right fit for you.

The truth about life is that you never know what it is going to bring you. Maybe you really want to go to college, but you are not 100% sure what you want to do in terms of a career or a major. If this is you, then I highly recommend attending community college. It provides a great and easy opportunity to take a few classes and explore your options. In the mean-time you can also get all of those pesky basics courses out of the way.

Are you completely unsure whether college is right for you, and are planning to attend simply because that is what everyone expects from you? Do you secretly have your eyes set on a mission trip or traveling the world? Do not allow others to guide your life choices. You are an adult now, about to take life by the horns. No one else is responsible for your life choices accept for you. So if you want to travel the world, I suggest you do it. Something I wish I had when I was younger was the drive to do the crazy thing. I almost always did the smart thing.

Since graduating college I wish I had worked more in the real world. I didn’t because I thought I was going to become a professor. Whether you are thinking about just going straight to the working world, or are considering taking some time off from school to work full time I think this is just as smart as going straight to college and completing all four years in one sitting. After all when you do go get that degree (if that is what you choose to do) you will graduate not only with a certification that can get you a great high paying job, but work experience on your resume that many employers require on top of a diploma in today’s work force.

News

Cut Your Energy Costs Day

It is January 10th and as apart of my new years resolutions goal to bring you 5 posts a week, I’m sharing with you one of the ambiguous holidays that take place during the course of the Year. Today as you might have guessed from the title is Cut Your Energy Costs Day. So in honor of this great day I am going to be giving you some unique tips for cutting your utility bills this year.

Tip #1:

If you don’t use it everyday, don’t leave it plugged in. (This one is pretty obvious unplug items that don’t need to be plugged in to run.) For example cell phone chargers, laptops, coffee maker, and can opener. There is no reason you should leave these items plugged in all day when they are not in use. My husband and I have our cellphones connected to an extension cord, so we can plug both into the same outlet. We just unplug the one thing in the morning and plug it back in at night before bed. Easy and simple.

Tip #2:

Walk when you can, this will not only save you gas money, but it will also help keep you healthy as you get a little extra work out in. For example, when I need a couple of items from the grocery store instead of driving their. I walk to the little Mexican market that is right near my house they have all the basic staples, plus some unique other items as well. If I need an item they don’t supply I either don’t get it, or I car pool with my neighbor. I’ve also walked to the Taco Cabana and CVS that are near my home.

Tip #3:

Put a brick in the back part of your toilet to help reduce your water usage. At my current apartment the water bill is broken up evenly between all the residents so it really doesn’t matter how much or how little we use in water. However, for those who live in houses or pay their water bill individually I have heard this can really help to reduce your water consumption.

Tip #4:

Once a week aim to have a no-energy day. Don’t turn on any lights in the house, don’t use any electronics, and walk or ride a bike everywhere. But Leeann what am I supposed to do without electricity? I’m not telling you to turn off the electricity. Obviously. You need to eat so eat some cold meals or no cook meals. Get outside and have fun away from the house for a change, perhaps do something outdoors. Don’t touch your cell phones, don’t do laundry, or run the dish washer. Just allow all of it to just sit. I bet you find yourself enjoying many of the activities you always claim you have no time for. The average person watches 35 hours of television a week, time that can be spent doing more productive activities. In addition, we spend an unprecedented amount of time on social media. Turn it all off for one day every week, and I bet you find yourself feeling a lot better by the end of the month. Do this for four weeks and let me know how you feel at the end of it. Plus with it currently being winter the days are shorter, so with less day light and the inability to turn the lights on you may just find you get to bed earlier or even on time.

Tip #5:

Get yourself some black out curtains, or solar screens or both. Ever since my apartment complex put these solar screens up on the windows our electricity bill has dropped significantly. When we first moved in we had a regular electric bill that range between 90 and a hundred dollars. There were a few months where we even paid 120. This is for a 2 bedroom apartment about 960 square feet. We turned lights off, we unplugged things, we didn’t really use the a/c. However, our bill was somehow three times what it had been when we were living in a 1 bedroom apartment that was about 800 square feet. We figured it had to be the area, after all we were located in a different city. However, since the solar screens went up on all the windows our electric bill is down to where it was when we had the 1 bedroom. It is amazing. Black out curtains will essentially do the same thing as a solar screen.

What are your favorite energy saving tips? Share in the comments below.