Planning for the future often includes a career to be excited about. With the day to day grind many people learn to live with, dreams for a more fulfilling job often remain just that – dreams.

Fear, doubt, financial worries, and other commitments make following that dream more of a nightmare. But it's really not that scary. With the right tools to navigate the path to a job that you've only dreamed of, a bright tomorrow awaits just like the one that follows even the worst nightmare.

Three steps to a job that is right up your alley can be yours if you really want it. It's time to wake up and make your dream job a reality.

Start Now

If you have a dream job, it's time to take your life by the reins and make it come true as soon as you can. That means making the move starting now. Yes, now. Not after you've put in another year at your current company. Not after you've landed your Master's. Not next Monday. The longer you prolong the kickoff to the new you, the more reasons you'll come up with that you're not quite ready.

But starting now doesn't mean "poof," you'll have a new job. Starting now means putting forth a genuine effort to make it eventually happen. This can mean updating your resume, giving yourself a timeline, creating a blog or website, or even getting a new wardrobe that better suits (no pun intended) your new endeavor.

Take courses or seminars that will improve your education and offer to intern or be mentored in the field. Learn all you can about this job and create a path to direct you there. Even if you only have an hour a day to put towards this goal, it's better than doing nothing at all. It may take time, but the sooner you get going, the sooner you'll get there.

As per Monster, "Don't be deterred by a lack of experience. Twenty- and thirty-somethings have more flexibility when it comes to test-driving different careers. The process of self-discovery is much easier when you're unencumbered by family responsibilities and substantial financial burdens, and when you haven't yet reached a level in a career where it's tougher to turn back. That said, it's never too late to pursue your passion."

Have a Clear Objective

In order to land your dream job, you need to know what it is. If you aren't able to pinpoint your goal, you may not ever be able to score. For instance, if you're currently working in finance but dream to do something more creative, that's a good start, but there are many jobs that require creative skills – a baker, a jazz musician, a digital artist, even a dog groomer. Where do you fit in?

According to Fortune, "Before you network, and certainly before you step into an interview, know your goals and what you're dreaming to do. That sounds like a no-brainer, but our experts say the No. 1 mistake job seekers make is not being able to articulate what kind of job they want."

Asses your talents and interests carefully and honestly. If your dream job is to become a marriage counselor, are you willing and able to put in the years of work required? Do you have a well-suited personality and proper schooling necessary for this career? As per The Muse, "Once you figure out what you want, it's time to string that together with your skills and past experience in a way that makes sense for your next position. Knowing your story well enough to tell it forward and backward won't just help you in the interview, it'll help you with your application materials and networking efforts."

Monster adds, "Take time to do a self-assessment of your values, how you like to work and what you'd be compelled to do even if you never got paid. Research careers and industries that map to your skills and interests."

Once you've honed in on a career that fits your requirements, you'll be better able to take the appropriate steps to make it there. A clear objective will yield a clear mind - one that will be able to focus on the prize – your dream job.

Network

As per Business News Daily, "Realizing what you want is a major step, but you should keep the momentum going by reaching out to the right people who can help you, said Courtney Kirschbaum, a career and life coach and founder of online training company Original Experience."

People who are excited about their jobs are eager to share their passion and knowledge with like-minded and enthusiastic people. Talk to as many people you can in the field. There is so much to learn and every person has something unique to bring to the table. And get out there and actually meet people – in person – whenever possible. Robert Walters Career Advice advises, "As much as social media and the ease of email make it tempting to network from home in your sweats, nothing replaces the connection of a good old fashioned face-to-face. Find out about industry events, Meetups and social opportunities to mingle with those who already run in the professional crowds you're trying to break into."

While you may not be quite ready to get to work yet, these connections will be of great value once you're prepared to apply for jobs in the field. Always stay in contact with the people who've impressed you the most and be willing to go the extra mile to show them you're a hard and dedicated worker. Stand out and you'll be memorable and taken seriously. Those who've already realized their dream can be your stepping stone to reaching yours.

Work can be purposeful and exhilarating. It's time to make your dreams come true.

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Home garden and porch

As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.

Extensive Plants and Greenery

A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.

Lawn Care

As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.

Paved Pathways

There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.

Usable Outdoor Furniture

Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.

A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.

Unfortunately, giving back can sometimes go haywire. If you're ready to make a donation, first consider common mistakes made when giving back.

Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.

Acting Quickly Out of Emotion

Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.

Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.

Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation

Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.

If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.

Donating Unusable Materials

Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.

Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.

Strictly Giving at Year's End

As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.

With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.

Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.

The Age of Your House

Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.

The One-Percent Rule

An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.

The Square-Foot Rule

Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.

The Mix and Match Method

Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.

Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.