It can be a real struggle to stay healthy at the office. It's tempting to eat out every day for lunch, or to grab something quickly which isn't always the best option. Processed snacks fill up vending machines and seem like they're taking away your choice to eat something fresh. It's hard to consistently eat well, but here are some great tips for clean eating and saving money by bringing your own food to work.
Make It Convenient
Keep healthy foods at the front of your fridge and junk foods at the back.Getty Images
Eating healthy can be a huge pain, but if you lay the groundwork it can be a lot easier. People eat what's convenient because that's the way our brains are wired. If the easiest thing to eat were also the healthiest, you'd see a big difference in your habits. Cut up big bowls of fruit salad and take some to work to snack on, bring healthy alternatives to chips like carrots and hummus, and always check your processed food labels to make sure your 'healthy' granola bar doesn't have twice the sugar of a can of Coke. A big help with convenience is meal prepping so you can just grab your lunch on your way out.
Prepping Is Key
Prep in stages or all at once. It's on your schedule. Getty Images
Prep can be the worst part of making every meal. It takes up the bulk of the time. Still, it's crucial to make healthy meals in advance and luckily, there are different ways to do it. You could break it up so that you don't have to do it all at once, or you could make a big day of it. I find it easier to clean and cut up a whole container of strawberries and leave them ready in the fridge rather than clean a handful of strawberries each time I want a snack. It takes more time in the moment, but the rewards are substantial throughout the week. Yes, prepping also includes making a shopping list and planning the type of meals you want and what you need to buy. It's a process, but it's something you get better at with practice.
Give Your Meal a Home
Use Tupperware containers to prepare several meals for the week. Getty Images
Invest in your Tupperware if you want to bring your own lunch to work. If you have a nice set of containers, you can meal prep multiple meals for the week, and you don't have to worry about needing to wash the one you used the day before just so you can repack your meal for the next day.
Mix and Match
Roast veggies and meats together to save time and make multiple meals. Getty Images
If you get easily bored eating the same meal for lunch every day, learn how to prepare foods you can mix and match. Make more than one type of meat, grain, and vegetable, and rotate the combinations. This variety will make it easier to get excited about your lunch and cut down on the craving to eat out. You don't have to prepare a lot of each item, but be mindful of things that will taste good with a different range of sides.
Bring Your Own Snacks
Nuts and fruit provide a healthy energy boost that won't make you crash.Getty Images
If you suddenly can't make it to lunch and you're too hungry to go on, then you're going to rush to grab whatever snack you can find. If you pack your own snacks and have them on hand, then you don't have to worry about being forced to make unhealthy choices. A bag of nuts kept in your desk drawer won't go bad quickly, and bringing fresh fruit and veggies each day will be a nice reprieve from salty processed snacks.
Making healthy choices is difficult in our modern culture, and especially in our modern workplaces. If making better selections is important to you, then learn to love the groundwork and all of the benefits it brings.
Good luck and happy prepping!
Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.
Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.
But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.
Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.
Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.
More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.
Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.
Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.
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When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.