The work-life balance is notoriously difficult to maintain. Some of us are nine to fivers, some of us freelancers, and some still, workaholics. But how do we know when we spend more time at the office than we do at home? Here are the tell-tale signs that it's probably time to call it a day.
1. You have an extra toothbrush in the office bathroom.
Just like the "toothbrush milestone" signifies a big jump in a romantic relationship, it also signifies a big jump in a professional relationship. In this case, the relationship is between you and work. When you're brushing your teeth in the office bathroom, that means you've spent way too much time in the office. Or you should stop ordering from that chicken wing place.
2. You have a lamp at your desk and you actually use it.
It may seem mundane. Sure. A good old ordinary lamp. But if you actually use it, that means the natural light in your office is not bright enough to supply adequate light. That means one of a few things: it's way too early to be working, it's way too late to be working, or you need to invest in some better wattage overhead. If you're going to use a lamp, you should use this one.
3. You're the office barista.
First one in makes the coffee, right? If you find yourself constantly refilling that thing and restocking the whole office, congratulations: your benevolence may likely never be rewarded. We say, it's okay to give yourself credit by writing a little note by the coffee maker, "Coffee courtesy of [Your Name Here]. You're welcome."
4. You have a full set of cutlery and tableware in the kitchen.
Many employees come equipped with their own mugs and minimal cutlery to take care of their daily lunch situation. But if you find that you also have a pitcher, a lemon zester, measuring cups, a decanter, and a standing mixer in your office kitchen, you may want to consider going home at some point. Unless you're making pancakes for the whole office, we suggest you keep that stuff for Sunday morning in your pajamas.
5. You arrange roses in the waiting room.
Uh oh. Now that your office is becoming so homey and lovely, why would you ever want to leave? And now that the smell of overused servers is masked by garden-fresh roses, there's more reason to stop and give 'em a sniff.
6. You put your feet on your desk and you're not even aware of it.
We want you to be comfortable at your desk. That's why we love ergonomic chairs and little zen gardens. But it's kind of crossing the line when you recline too much. You might just fall asleep!
7. You've slept on your office couch on more than one occasion.
There's nothing wrong with late nights. But fact: someone can mistake you as a scary intruder if they come in in the morning to see you snoozing (and drooling) on the office couch. There's nothing you can do at 4am that you can't do the next day after a full night's sleep. Here are some sleep tips to get you primed for a great day.
8. You have a set of nail clippers and a comb in your file cabinets.
Personal hygiene is important, but please, not at your desk.
9. You watch TV in the office lounge during your lunch break.
Your lunch break is yours to do whatever you want. So take a load off. As long as you're not laughing disruptively like you would at home, we say this one's okay.
10. Your whole day is one continuous lunch break.
Similarly to point 4, if you live at your office, you'll likely have a large array of snacks to keep energized. Despite what dieters will say, snacking is important. But if you're spending an hour deciding what to eat next, you should probably be doing that at home.
11. On dress-down Fridays, you bring your slippers.
We know the term "dress-down" is vague, but it still has to be professional. Jeans are acceptable, but footie pajamas get a bit iffy. It depends on your boss.
12. You are obsessed with your office goldfish, Goldie.
There are so many benefits to having pets in the workplace. First of all, pets can be a great stress-reducer. But spending all of your time watching Goldie eat her fish flakes and bump into the pirate treasure chest is not going to do anything for your productivity.
13. You have off-season coats and accessories in the office closet.
It's great to be prepared when a thunderstorm unexpectedly hits. But chances are, you're not going to need your rain boots, overcoat, duffle bag, extra belts, ties, etc. The closet is community ground, and please, take that stuff home already.
We love that you're spending a lot of time at the office. You're making great connections with your coworkers, showing your boss you're devoted to your work, and really making yourself at home. But remember, it's not the number of hours you put in, but the quality of work you do at the office. And at the end of the day, your own bed is a lot nicer to sleep in than a sleeping bag you've set up in the conference room.
Spending too much time at the office? Maybe it's time to join the family business.
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.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.