How to live your life debt free

Do you spend a large amount of your time worrying about money? Are you overwhelmed by the stresses and strains of daily life? Would you do anything to enjoy a more relaxing and straightforward existence? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you should set yourself the challenge of becoming debt free. Don’t worry; achieving this goal is much easier than you would first think! If you are wondering how to make the first move, you should simply work your way through the following four steps. They will help you to turn your life around and to take complete control of your personal finances.

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Hold yourself accountable

Firstly, you will need to get a lot better at holding yourself accountable. Whenever you are wasting money, dodging bills, or stacking up debt, there needs to be a voice in your head that speaks up. You could even place your trust in a loved one and ask them to keep you on track. Perhaps you could send them your monthly bills, or maybe they could assist you with the completion of your taxes. Whatever you decide, the most important thing is that you are unable to run away from your responsibilities. If you are going to live your life debt free, it is vital that you take a stand.

Organize your finances

The next step is organizing your finances thoroughly. Instead of wasting your time rifling through a pile of receipts or a mess of bank statements, you will need to create a system for storing your financial information. You should also get to work establishing budgets for your monthly expenses, along with your annual outgoing costs. Depending on the current state of your personal finances, this could take you quite a while. However, once you have pushed through the initial stages of managing your money, you will be well on your way to a life of order and control.

Find helpful resources

Although it is essential that you take responsibility for your finances, you need to recognize the fact that you are not alone. There are so many helpful resources for you to rely on if you are struggling to wrap your head around your money problems. For instance, if you are trying to decide between personal capital or mint, you can find out everything you need to know online.

Surround yourself with positive influences

Last but not least, you should be surrounding yourself with positive influences. If you are determined to reach your goal of a debt free life, it is a good idea to spend your time in the company of people who share your outlook. It is also a good idea to keep your distance from reckless individuals who encourage you to take chances and forget about your future goals. Choosing the right friends and family members to connect with will help you to remain focused, motivated, and enthusiastic at all times. You never know, you might even inspire those around you to follow in your footsteps.

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4 Christmas Expenses That You’ve Probably Forgotten

Christmas is a time for making great memories with your friends and family but, unfortunately, it’s also a time for spending a lot of money. There are so many things you need to buy like presents and food and if you aren’t careful, you could end up landing yourself in a sticky financial situation if you overspend. The key to keeping the Christmas budget down is preparation. If you start early and make sure that you plan ahead for those expenses, you can pay for them without too much trouble. But there are so many things to buy that you’ll inevitably forget some. These are the Christmas expenses that you probably didn’t plan for.

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Hosting Guests

Hopefully, your guests have given you some notice and they’re not going to just turn up on your doorstep unannounced. But that doesn’t mean you’ve considered the financial implications of having guests over for Christmas. There are all sorts of things you need to do to prepare your home. If the spare room is a bit of state then you might need to decorate it which is going to cost you. Even if the spare room doesn’t need decorating, you still need to provide extra food for them and your utility bills will be higher if you’ve got extra people in the house. It’s important to start setting the house up for guests ahead of time so you don’t end up spending loads of money last minute.

Christmas Lights

Most people that put Christmas lights up massively underestimate the cost of it. It’s a great way to bring some Christmas cheer to your neighbors but you’re going to have to spend a lot of money on it. There’s the cost of the lights themselves and if you’re putting them all over the outside of the house, you might have to pay for Christmas light installation. It’s dangerous to get up there on a ladder on your own and start messing around with the electrics so it’s best left to the experts. Once the lights are up, you’ve also got to consider the cost of the electricity bill which is probably going to be pretty substantial if you’ve got a lot of lights up.

Batteries

Batteries are probably the most forgotten Christmas item in the entire world. Toys never come with batteries and the kids are going to be disappointed if they can’t play with their new toys. That means you’re going to need to stock up on a load of batteries and that’ll cost you more than you think.

Extra Food

For some reason, everybody seems to have an endless appetite on Christmas day. No doubt you’ve planned out what you’re going to make for the Christmas dinner but that’s only the start. People are going to want cheese and biscuits and chocolates to snack on for the rest of the night. If you get all of those little extras last minute, the cost will really add up.

Make sure that you plan ahead for these Christmas expenses so you can afford everything easily.

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Emergency Recovery For Personal Finances

Sometimes, it seems like both budgeting and making money is a breeze – while, other times, it is anything but simple. The problem with planning out your personal finances and budgeting for the future is that we simply don’t know what the future holds.

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That’s why you need to have an emergency plan ready for when it’s not going the way you anticipated so that you’re able to safeguard yourself a bit better.

Start by having a look at the simple steps below; it won’t necessarily save you from bankruptcy, but at least it will keep you from having to approach your family members for a short-term loan. It’s the kind of stuff that builds confidence and makes it easier to stay afloat, in general.

Here is a quick guide to recovering your personal finances when times are tough.

#1 Cut down on all costs

When you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of not nearly having as much money as you used to have, it’s necessary to have a look at your budget again. Try to cut down on everything that’s not vital.

Your electricity bill can certainly be lower, you might want to find a cheaper mode of transportation, and you should definitely have a look at this article to cook up some affordable and delicious meals at home.

You might want to consider selling some of your unused stuff, by the way, as it will free up a few extra assets for you. Plus, it’s going to make your home way neater which is a great benefit on its own.

#2 Could you get compensation?

If you are in this situation because of some unexpected medical expenses, you should have a chat with a lawyer about compensation. While your medical insurance may have covered most of it, you still won’t be able to work as much as you used to – and the impact an accident or an injury has on your personal finances is simply not fair.

Consider the reason for your medical bills and have a look here for attorneys experienced at handling truck accident claims. Keep in mind that you will be able to get compensation for most accidents, though, as long as you’ve done your homework and gathered as many details as possible of the accident.

#3 Continue to save

Sure, it’s going to be hard to find money to set aside for an emergency fund when you’re currently selling your stuff in order to stay afloat – but, as soon as you’re able to, it’s important that you continue to save.

In case you should find yourself in difficulties in the future, you will have this emergency fund to fall back on and it will help a lot in terms of the emotional stress we suffer when money is tight.

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8 Ways To Make More Money Without Working More Hours

Whether you’re trying to save for something special or dealing with a difficult financial situation, there is always a good reason to make more money and boost your income. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the time, energy, or motivation to work any more hours than you already do. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can make some extra cash without the extra effort. Here are eight popular methods to flip your work to earnings ratio on its head and make some more money.

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1. Open A Better Bank Account
One of the easiest ways to boost your income is switching bank accounts. If you’re anything like most people, then your current savings account interest rate is far from the best, but that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for it. By taking ten minutes out of your day and moving to a bank account with a decent interest rate, you can easily earn several hundred dollars more each year. Of course, this won’t appear overnight, but it will make things a little easier in the long run.

2. Opt For Less Desirable Shifts
You may not want to work any more hours than you already do, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stick with the shifts you’ve got. Most companies offer financial incentives and rewards to employees working shifts they deem undesirable. These include overnights, weekends, and public holidays. If you were to switch over to one of these less desirable work patterns, you could earn significantly more than you already do, even though you still have the exact same job.

3. Drive Around In A Billboard
The long commutes to work each morning may seem like a huge waste of time, but there is a way you can make these tiresome journeys completely worth it. Depending on your car and how long you drive for each day, you could use your vehicle as advertising space for companies and businesses. This can seem a little tacky, and sometimes even embarrassing, but considering just how much you can earn, without any effort whatsoever, it’s worth thinking about.

4. Sell Your Body To Science
When most people imagine selling their bodies to science, they think about the various organs you can buy on the black market. Thankfully, the reality is a whole lot different. While some procedures, like sperm and feces donation, can earn you some pocket money, egg donors and those partaking in sleep studies can easily make thousands. Of course, there are requirements and restrictions, but, if you were to be accepted, the rewards are much greater than the work.

5. Set Up An Online Store
Crafty hobbies, like painting and knitting, offer plenty of fun and stress relief, but what most people don’t realize is how easy it is to make money from them too. There are plenty of places that you could sell your creations, from online stores, like Etsy, to local craft fairs and car boot sales. Selling your products online is probably the easiest way to go, as you’d only need to post them to your customers, rather than manning a stall every weekend.

6. Rent Out Your Spare Space
When you have a spare room in your house, it can be tempting to turn it into a games room, guest bedroom, or even just storage. Unfortunately, none of these ideas are going to make you any money. Instead, you should consider renting out your space on a short-term rental platform, like Airbnb. The room will need to be cleaned and kept in good condition, but, other than this, there’s no real work you need to do.

7. Invest In Local Real Estate
Of course, you might not like the idea of having strangers staying in your home, in which case, you could invest in real estate and have them sleep in another one. Unfortunately, this investment opportunity is far from cheap, but, if you have the money spare, you could gain a steady income with very little effort whatsoever. All you’d need to do is hire a property management company to do all the work.

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8. Use Cashback And Reward Cards
Every time you visit a store or restaurant, make sure that you check to see whether or not they offer some sort of reward card or loyalty programme. These days, most of them do. All you’d need to do is present your card every time you shop, and you’ll receive points, which you should be able to exchange for a discount, freebie, or another reward. You may even get the odd surprise throughout the year. This will save you some cash and inevitably boost your income.

If you want to make more money without working any more hours, then consider the methods listed above.

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Financial Management Advice for Home-Based Business Owners

Running a business from the comfort of your own home is convenient, but it isn’t without its struggles. As many can attest, it can be difficult sometimes to keep the lines of home and business from blurring. This isn’t just true when it comes to the management of time and responsibilities, it is also true when it comes to your finances. Keeping the finances together as you work on turning profits is a must, and it’s also challenging in the beginning. To help keep your money in order at home and in the business, here are a few financial management tips to remember.

Establish Separate Financial Accounts

The very moment you start your business you need to separate your personal finances from your business affairs. Therefore, you should create different banking accounts to keep things in order. Any and all expenses related to the business should be withdrawn from your company account while all household expenses should be maintained on the personal account. This makes things easier to track and helps a ton during tax filing season.

Pay Yourself

When the money starts coming in from the business it can be tempting to use every cent of it for your personal affairs. If you do this, however, where does that leave your business? To maintain your finances appropriately, it is better to pay yourself and then deposit the rest of your earnings into your business account. Whether you are going to charge a flat rate, hourly fee, or take a percentage of the profits each month, this money should be considered your personal income and used for that purpose.

Make Separate Budgets

Again, it is important to keep the lines between personal and professional finances separate, so your budget should be separate as well. Your household budget should consist of all expenses related to your personal finances and covered by the income you pay yourself with (along with any other income from others in your home). Your business budget should be a list of all company expenses and covered by the remaining profits you have left in your business account.

Have a Backup Plan

Things go wrong in business and at home that will inevitably need to be handled right away. There are plenty of avenues you could explore as you try to secure cash when you don’t have it on hand. For example, you could apply for a loan advance online and get a few hundred bucks overnight. You can also tighten your budget to stretch your income or profits. Lastly, you should create separate savings accounts for emergencies. You should have at least 3-6 months worth of expenses (for business and personal needs) in an account so you can access it if you need to.

Keep Debt to a Minimum

It’s almost a given that you will accumulate debt at home and in business. The trick, however, is to remain debt free or at least keep this debt low. Falling behind on bills in both areas would mean a serious financial hardship for you. If you have outstanding debt, start paying those bills down. You can also keep debt down by watching your spending habits. For the business, you might buy used instead of new when you are in need of furniture or electronic devices. Hire interns or outsource instead of hiring a team. Use free software and applications, go paperless, and plan virtual meetings to cut back on travel. At home, you can reduce your energy and water consumption, bundle your cable, phone, and internet services, make meals at home instead of eating out, and cancel unnecessary subscriptions.

Always Look for Opportunities to Earn More

You can never have enough cash, so you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to earn more. This can help to balance the books at home and in the office. Fortunately, there are several ways you can do this without sacrificing too much time or money. Answer surveys in your spare time, become a personal shopper, start a blog, babysit in the evenings, and whatever else you can think of to accumulate more cash.

It’s easy to blur the lines of business and home – especially when it comes to finances. However, if you don’t want to end up in a world of financial trouble, it is important to learn how to properly manage both. Start by separating the two, then create a budget and backup plan for emergencies. Lastly, make sure that you’re always looking for ways to earn more. It won’t be perfect, but if you keep these tips in mind, managing finances both for your home based business and for your household won’t be so bad.

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Stuck In A Financial Rut?

If you feel as though you’re a bit boxed in with money at the minute, we’re not surprised, and you’re not alone. It’s so easy to get yourself into a pickle with money that you might not feel as though you can get out of. There’s so many twists and turns that your life is going to make financially, and sometimes it can lead you to the rut that you feel like you’re in at the minute. To make sure your financial future is bright and clear, we want to try and make things easier for you. We think that we’ve come up with some great ways that you can get yourself back to a good financial position, and onto bigger things. So, have a read on to see if we can help you through this dark time.

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Serious Setbacks

There are some serious setbacks that you’re going to have faced in your life, all of which will have ultimately lead you to reading this article. One of the worst that can happen is getting yourself into a pile of debt that you can’t pay off, with the consequence being bankruptcy in some cases. Now, whilst this might not apply to you all, you shouldn’t think that your debts are going to stay your debts for the rest of your life. If you miss minimum payments, or don’t pay them all together because you simply can’t then bankruptcy is the only option. Now, it’s not the be all and end all, and you can get remove bankruptcy from credit reports if you know how to. Having it on your credit report can mean big trouble for you in the future, so make sure that you follow that link and see if you can find any useful information. If you haven’t gone as far as to file for bankruptcy, but you know you’re running out of time to pay your debts, you need to get in touch with a financial advisor to put you on the right path before things get out of control.

Minor Setbacks

Minor setbacks can so easily lead to big problems, so we want to help you avoid them as much as possible. The first minor setback that you can have is something like losing your job. We’re living in such an unstable economic climate, that it’s no wonder so many people are being put in a rut with money. If you are ever to lose your job, have recently lost it, or are having your hours reduced, then you need to think logically of a way forward. Even if it’s just getting a small part time job to increase your income, it’s so important that you do!

Learning From Mistakes

The main mistake that you need to learn from is debt. We’ve spoke about how easy it is to get yourself into debt, but it’s not so easy to learn from it, especially when you have relied on borrowing money for so long. So, cancel all credit cards, close down store cards, cancel any memberships you don’t need, and focus on your own money. The less chances you have to borrow, the less likely you are to be tempted to do so.

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7 Tips on Dealing with a Difficult Financial Situation

When you find yourself steadily declining into a difficult financial situation, it can be incredibly stressful and hard to handle. Many people find that they don’t even know how they found themselves faced with monetary worries, as often the issue comes from lots of minor expenses piling up on top of one another, rather than an obvious expense causing the root of the problem. While, when you are in this situation, it may feel isolating, the truth is that many people face financial worries at one point or another. If you are struggling with your incomings and outgoings at the moment, then here are seven tips to get you started on the road back to financial security.

Be open with your family

Financial problems can take a toll on your family, due to stress and anxiety regarding an uncertain future. However, one of the most damaging ways that money troubles can affect a family is through secrecy. When you are hiding the extent of your financial deficit from your family, not only will it cause you untold stress, but it will also create a rift between you and the people you are hiding from. The one person you certainly shouldn’t hold any information from is your partner, as they are your equal and have a right to know, as well as the responsibility to help you figure things out.

Depending on your children’s ages, it may also be worthwhile trying to explain that you are having to make cutbacks and that money is tight, so that they can be understanding of the situation. The more members of the family that you tell about your financial situation, the more support you can receive, and it may also reduce some of the burden you are feeling on your own shoulders.

Seek financial support

If you feel that you will struggle to get out of your financial situation by yourself, or even with the support from loved ones, then it is important to seek financial support elsewhere. For example, you could seek the help of an accountant or financial advisor who can help you create a plan of action, or evaluate your finances for you, in case there is anything you have missed yourself. Also, you may want to get advice on installment loans, in order to pay off any outstanding debts or bills which cannot be delayed (visit this page for more information).

Evaluate your spending habits

In order to get a grasp of how big your financial problem is, it is important to just get everything down on paper. If you know how, you might find it useful to create a spreadsheet of your ingoing’s and outgoings which automatically updates when you add new information to it. Alternatively, you can write down all of the information regarding your spending and earnings, and calculate your monthly profits/deficit yourself.

This is the best way to pinpoint obvious issues in your spending, and allow you to come up with a plan to address the biggest spending anomalies straight away. The quicker that you can start making changes, the quicker you will start to improve your finances.

Come up with a plan of action

Once you’ve addressed any obvious issues, such as monthly subscriptions which were unnecessarily spending money, it is time to come up with a plan of action to address the rest of your finances. There may be no quick fix to get all of the money that you need, but there are things you can do to improve your situation over time. For example, it is incredibly important that you devise a budget based on your financial evaluations. Look at how much you are currently spending, and work out a percentage of that which will help you to save some money and not spend outside of your financial lane.

For example, if you are currently in deficit of two hundred dollars a month, then you know the maximum you can spend a month is two hundred dollars less than you are spending now. Plus, you should also try to save money, so that you can pay off debts, and save to avoid further issues in the future. Also, with a strict budget in place, you know that if you overspend in one area, you will have to cut back in another.

Find ways to boost your cash flow

If you are not already working too many hours, or if the only member of your household is currently working, then you might want to consider finding ways to boost your cash flow. For example, you could find part-time work which fits into your current schedule, such as moonlighting on the side or working from home as a freelancer. This will help you to make up for any losses financially, plus if you make any spare cash which doesn’t need to be used immediately, you can save it to help your future financial situation, as well as improving your current one.

Shop smart and spend less on groceries

Groceries are one of the biggest expenditures per household, especially in family homes. Therefore, this is one key way you can cut back on your spending habits, and save money. Try doing a price comparison, and going to multiple shops for different items, rather than just shelling out extra for items which you could save on elsewhere. Where you can, use food which is in the freezer, and do your best to make meals from leftovers, as wasted food is wasted money. Most importantly, it is vital that you don’t spend more than the budgeted amount you set for food each week.

Find time to de-stress and have fun

During stressful situations, it can be easy to spend less time taking care of yourself and reconnecting with your family, so it is important to make time for what really matters when you get the chance. In order to keep yourself in the best health possible, it is important to make sure you get enough sleep every night, especially if you are having to work more to get by. Eat healthily, stay hydrated, and exercise where you can to help fight against the development of stress-related illnesses. Try and find time to have fun with your family, even if that just means relaxing together in front of the TV for half an hour, as this will help you to release tension and keep your family bond strong.

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15 Ways To Start Getting Smarter With Your Money

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If you’ve recently found yourself in a less than perfect financial situation, you may be looking to really turn things around for yourself. But sometimes, you can’t always find the motivation to do that. There’s something about being in a less than ideal financial place that just makes it so much harder for you to turn things around. The motivation isn’t always there. But, if you know that you want to be in a good place with your finances, then you should find that actually, being able to get there should be motivation enough. Even if you are really motivated to turn things around, a lot of the problems for you could be that you just don’t know what you need to do. But when it comes down to it, you just need to get smart.

So, what does being smart with your money look like? In short, you really need to ensure that you’re stepping back, assessing your situation, and making a commitment to chaining things around. Once you know your habits and the patterns that you find yourself doing over and over again, then you need to work on changing them. Maybe you don’t even realize what you’re doing is causing the issues. Whether you’re overspending, not making the most of your money, or you’re struggling to earn more, you’ll want to get smart about your financial future from now on. And here’s exactly how you can do it.

1. Track Your Spending

The very first thing you need to do is absolutely non-negotiable. If you want to be smarter with your cash, then you absolutely have to ensure that you’re tracking what you spend. If you just buy what you want and purchase as you feel like it, you’ll never know where your money goes. Instead, you have to know exactly what you’re spending. So track it. There are apps that help you to track your spending, you could also look to do it manually by keeping your receipts. Either way, you’ll want to start tracking right away.

2. Set Up A Budget

Alongside tracking your spending, you really have to have a budget in place. This isn’t about limiting what you spend, but more about controlling it. By creating a budget, you have more of a say over where your money goes. You can allocate money to whatever you want, but it has to be accounted for. This is the only way to ensure that you’re being smart with your money.

3. Think Before You Swipe

A big step for you here will be to think before you swipe your card. Whenever you are purchasing anything, make sure that you have thought it out, that it’s something you need or that you really want. Try to do as many planning purchases as possible and avoid anything impromptu.

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4. Cut Those Small Expenses

From here, one of the best ways to get smart is to watch the small amounts that you’re spending. Any little expense that you have, that you don’t really need, will be good to remove from your expenditure list. Think coffees on the way to work or small subscriptions that don’t add value to your life. Buy cutting out things that don’t matter, you could save a significant amount of money overall.

5. Cut Expenses You No Longer Need

Then, you can do the same with the larger ones too. Make sure that you have a huge list of everything that you pay out. Then you can start to trim it down. There are lots of ways that you can save on your monthly expenses, but removing those that are unnecessary is one of them. That way, you allocate more funds to the things that you do want to be spending on.

6. Make A Switch

For things that you can’t cut out, you should look to switch them. You will find that this is a big way you can cut down the cost of your expenses, but it’s also a smart move to make with your utilities especially. Each year, look to get a better rate on your bills, and do the same whenever things like your calling plans or insurance are due for renewal.

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7. Downgrade What You Don’t Need

But there are going to be some payments that you think are fixed and that you can’t change. But that’s never the case. If you know that you’re paying a crazy amount for your car lease, then switch that too. Get a car that costs half the monthly price. It may not look as snazzy, but do other people’s perceptions matter more to you than your financial security? It’s the same with your mortgage. If your payments are incredibly high, then you should think about selling your property and getting somewhere cheaper than you can afford.

8. Get Smarter Cards

When it comes to your financial products, you need to get smart here too. Think about the credit cards that offer rewards or that add value. If you’re spending a lot on them, make sure you have a better rate or at least benefits that you can get a lot back from.

9. Switch Balances

When it comes to any debts that you have, if they’re large amounts, you’re going to want to ensure that you focus on paying them off in the smartest way possible. Sometimes, it’s best to consolidate them all into one loan so that you know you have one rate and one payment. But again, you need to work out if this is cheaper.

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10. Get A Consolidation Loan

When it comes to any debts that you have, if they’re large amounts, you’re going to want to ensure that you focus on paying them off in the smartest way possible. Sometimes, it’s best to consolidate them all into one loan so that you know you have one rate and one payment. But again, you need to work out if this is cheaper.

11. Pay More Towards Your Debts

But even if you do that, you have to be able to pay as much as you can towards any debts that you have. If you want them gone, you need to throw money at them. So think about how you can pay off your debts quicker. If you’ve freed up money from your expenses, this is how you can do it.

12. Set Up An Automatic Savings Payment

Now, we need to talk savings. If you want to make sure that you’re getting some money behind you each month, set up a payment to your savings account that you won’t notice going.

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13. Make Some Long-Term Investments

Then you’ll want to think about the long-term investment strategies that could work for you. If this means that you need to go slow to find your feet, so be it. Just make sure that you’re doing something for the long-term. You may not see a return here for ten or more years, but that’s the point. Because you will earn more the longer you have everything in savings.

14. Think About Your Retirement

From here, you’ll then want to make sure that you’re covering off your retirement planning too. Even if you have a 401k in place, there are other retirement ideas that you might like to go with, so ensure you give them some serious thought. If you know that you want to live out your retirement comfortably, then you have to have a plan in place. No buts!

15. Focus On Your Financial Goals

Finally, above all else, you have to ensure that you’re really thinking about your financial goals and where you want to go with your life. It’s important that you’re thinking about your lifestyle and the future, and not just today or the amount of money you want. Then, you’ll want to work on ways that you can prioritize your financial goals to make this happen. Then keep them in mind and you’ll easily be able to meet them.

Now that you’ve seen the list, you should find that you’re able to really change up the way that you approach your finances. Becoming smart with your money doesn’t have to be hard. But you do have to work at it. Each of the fifteen points above should help you to do that. Yet, you may find that not all of them work for you. And that’s okay. They’re not really supposed to. As long as you can find that some of them do, then you’re off to a great start.

Go slow and see what works for you. First aim to keep your spending on track, then see what you can do to start saving more money, and freeing up more cash for the things that you want to do with your life. It takes time, and it can be tough to commit to, but if you really want to make this happen, you will.

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