5 things you can do to catch up if you overspent on the holidays.

It's easy to overspend. Here's how to reel things back in.

Oh, January. How we love you and also hate you.

It's so good to have the hubbub from the holidays fading out and a slower pace setting in, but then the bills come. Whether you put holiday spending on credit or are just short on cash from the constant outpour that seems to happen, some strategies for pulling ahead financially could come in handy.

Here are five relatively easy things you could do to generate some cash and dig out faster.


1. Play with some dogs.

If you love dogs and you can have them at your place, why not take in some darling pooches on the weekends or other times when you'll be home? It's work, but it's not work-work (because snuggles!).

Two sites where you can plug and play to get connected to customers looking for dogsitters are Rover.com and Dogvacay.com (some sites include other pets as well!). You can set your own rate based on the market around you (for instance, $40 per night, if that's the going rate) and the companies take a small percentage in return for insuring you and the dog.

Why is the Netflix all upside down? Image by Carlos Pacheco/Flickr.

2. Consider letting people pay to stay at your place for short stints.

If you're going to be gone for a trip yourself you can spiff the place up and Airbnb it. Or if you have a guest room and can handle being a thoughtful host, you can rent it out while you're home.

Airbnb is a site that lets residents and travelers connect to arrange temporary stays (as an alternative to a pricier hotel, usually). It's not without its risks, but you can screen potential guests by checking reviews from previous hosts they've stayed with. Another site that can connect you with temporary renters is Vacation Rental By Owner, but that's usually for solo access to your pad while you vacate the premises.

You don't have to have a swanky pad to host guests. Just a clean, comfy, fairly-priced space. Image via Lochoaymca/Wikimedia Commons.

3. Have that rummage sale now instead of waiting for the summer.

If you have an accumulation of items you're storing away with the intention of having one big weekend sale, try something different. Facebook features local rummage sale groups in nearly every city, and often the members sell items one at a time. So take a picture, post it, and see if anyone's interested. You could wind up with a cleaner home and extra cash for paying off your cards.

Screenshot from Facebook.

4. Teach a course online if you have a special set of skills to share.

Through Udemy or Skillshare, you can create a course based on skills you are proficient in and enroll online students. Are you able to teach coding, YouTube optimization, marketing basics, or social media strategy? You could be sitting on extra cash you can use to pay off debt!

Screenshot from Udemy.

5. Re-evaluate the level and scope of gifting you do annually.

Giving is so fun! It feels so good to have a little something for people you appreciate in your life. But the truth is, for a lot of us, it's become an unsustainable strain in this economy.

It's not worth it to push ourselves into debt to fulfill what we think we have to do to keep up with expectations.

Does your extended family give every adult family member gifts? Talk with them and let them know you'd rather do a gift exchange.

Consider handmade gifts. It sounds hokey but believe it or not, people often really love getting something so personal — it feels like being part of your real inner circle to get something someone made themselves.

I made jars of preserved lemons last year, and including all supplies, ingredients, and decorative ribbon, it cost me about $30 to have a little gourmet-something to give to about 15 people I wanted to have a gift for.

What tastes better than not being in debt? Image by Jules/Flickr.

With a little forethought and planning, you can set yourself up to spend much less next year and stop the cycle of debt.

Go forth, you generous gifter, you. May the winds of financial resourcefulness propel you forward.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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