top 5 must-haves for a ‘new year better me’

While some people subscribe to the mantra of “new year, new me!” – I honestly find it to be complete bullshit a little worn out. Instead, I like to focus on “new year, better me” instead. Just a little tweak, but much more realistic and positive-minded. And honestly? I don’t want to be a new person in 2018 – I’m darn happy with who I am, there’s just always room for improvement.

Part of that for me heading into 2018 is working to minimalize. I’ve been following The Minimalists on instagram for some time now (even though they’ve truly minimized their feed recently!) and I love the concept of what they strive for. I grabbed their “elevator pitch” from their website (you can read the whole thing right here) and the gist of it is this:

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”

With that in mind, I’ve rounded up 5 of my very favorite things I’ve been doing and using this January. I could have made a list of a hundred (okay, maybe like 87, but close enough) – but I really wanted to hone in on the best of the best. The things that have added value to life – both monetary and otherwise. I’m doing a “no-spend January,” where I don’t buy things unless they are a necessity, so some of these things have helped with that, while others are just personal favorites I’ve been dying to share.

1. Ebates – the best cashback app I’ve come across

My mama had been hounding me for years (literally, years) to check out Ebates before shopping online… If only I had listened! Granted, I didn’t do nearly as much of my shopping online back then – I loved going to the mall and walking around, now I’m like, “Can I get it on Amazon? No? I don’t want it.” In any case, I ended up signing up for Ebates when we bought our new refrigerator because Lowe’s was offering 10% (!!) cashback. I couldn’t help but feel like …. there has to be a catch. It CAN’T be this easy to get cashback. Can it? But when my first “big fat check” showed up in my mailbox and I realized it was legit? I was hooked.

My favorite thing about Ebates is that they have an extension for Google Chrome, so every time you open a website where cashback is being offered it pops up a notification and option to enable the cashback. It’s as easy as that! You can definitely still shop through the app/website, but I love love love this added feature because I always used to forget to go through the website. If you are an online shopper like me, I’ve linked to my referral code below (and right here!) By using this link, when you make your first purchase of $25 of more we both get $$ in our big fat checks – plus you still get your normal cash back on top of that! This thing is literally a no-brainer, and a SUPER easy way to put a few extra dollars toward your student loans this year.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

2. – clearing out your inbox the easy way

If you’re anything like me, your inbox is FULL of spam emails that you signed up for at the store because you felt bad. (Or at a website for a discount or free shipping.) It’s okay to admit it, we all do it. Well, the best of us anyway. I was recently introduced to the website and immediately knew it had to be worth a shot. And let me tell y’all – it’s a LIFESAVER. I went from having ~35 emails in my inbox when I woke up to 7 this morning. S E V E N!! And most of them were actually important!

So… What is it? Basically, it is a free service that connects to your email account that allows you to manage your email subscriptions. The program scans your email, alphabetizes your subscriptions, and gives you three handy options – Keep in Inbox, Unsubscribe, and Roll-Up. The last one is what hooked me on this. You know all those emails you don’t necessarily want tempting you to spend money, but you still like to look at? Yeah, I have those too. This feature ‘rolls’ them up into one nifty newsletter that you get once per day, and you choose what time of day you’d like it! How cool is that? It’s been a HUGE help for me in paring down both my inbox, and temptation to shop during no-spend January.

The only thing I will say is that, since it is free, after a certain amount of unsubscribes it requires a social media post. It’s super easy to hide from your timeline, or post viewable by “Me Only.” I did it for both of my emails, and my inbox is so clean!


3. Yoga With Adriene – my absolute favorite yoga at home (and for free!)

I can’t give enough incredible praise for Adrienne Mishler, if we’re being honest. Not only does she have a practice for just about everything you could possibly need (even the things you didn’t know you needed) – she has one of the most soothing voices to flow with. That probably sounds a little strange, but once you flow with her, you’ll understand.

Did I mention.. her videos are free?? You can find them at her Youtube channel, or at her website. There are practices of all types and lengths, even a quick morning wake-up session perfect for those of us who enjoy a few extra minutes in bed in the morning. Additionally, she is currently hosting a 30 day program called TRUE. I’m following along, and it’s all about connecting back to yourself and your community in the new year. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or new to the practice, I 100% recommend!


4. The Skimm – news that doesn’t suck (i promise)

No seriously, it doesn’t suck. This is one of the few emails that I kept a daily subscription to, that doesn’t get rolled up for me – so you know it’s the real deal. Long story short, it’s a daily newsletter that breaks down the day’s top headlines into an easily digestible form. I know I know, I said that dreadful four-letter n-word, but stay with me here people.

The Skimm makes news fun again. They start out with a quote of the day – generally a little off the wall and bizarre – then dive right into a concise breakdown of what you need to know to keep up with the water cooler gossip. While the target audience is millennial females (yeah, I definitely fall right smack dab in this column) it’s great for anyone who wants to keep up with current events. Sound like your kind of news? Click this link to get signed up and start getting Skimm’d!


5. The Ordinary – skincare that is anything but ordinary

While I had been hearing great things about The Ordinary for awhile in a few skincare tip facebook groups I’m a member of, it has made tidal waves recently after being stocked on the shelves at Sephora. Shortly before that news broke, I broke down myself and ordered a few products. You know, just to try. After all, you can’t beat a 30 mL bottle of Vitamin C serum for $6.80!

I ended up deciding on the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicon, and AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. Would you believe me if I told you all of that only cost me $25? If not, you’re right – it cost $25.20. (If you spend $25 you get free shipping!) Y’all, this stuff more than lives up to the hype. It was basically overnight that I began seeing a difference in my skin, and that’s not even a slight exaggeration.

Next on my list are Buffet and Hyaluronic Acid 2% +B5, and I’m anxiously awaiting their sun care! If you’re on the fence – run, don’t walk. Your skin (and wallet) can thank me later.

There you have it, y’all! My top 5 ‘must haves’ to help follow through on ‘new year, better me.’

For my readers on the East Coast getting dumped on by the “bomb cyclone,” I hope you’re staying warm! I never thought I’d say it, but I’m a little jealous and I kind of miss the snow. (Just a little.) It’s just no fun to have the cold weather without snow angels.

In any case, did your January “must-have” make the list? I’d love to hear what’s getting you through this cold spell, and what you think of them if you try out any of my top 5!

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