Category Archives: Finances

Embracing the Budget Lifestyle: Living Big through Little Actions

Embracing the budget lifestyle

More than ever, people need to create and stick to a budget.

You’ve likely caught one or two articles talking how the average American has less than $400 in savings. Or, how most people are one accident or financial mishap away from ruin. This is all very scary stuff when you’re aimless with your financial security and well-being. 

It’s certainly hard to live by a budget when you’re having trouble saving… but it’s not impossible.

 

Here are some of the best ways to find extra finances in your day-to-day and what to do with it:

 

  1. Simplifying and Planning Your Groceries

A Gallup poll found most people’s grocery budget is about $151 a week… a week! 

This can’t be, right? Can it? Apparently so.

Here are a few tips to cut that in half:

  1. Shop at the “cheap” grocery stores like Aldi, Trader Joe’s, or a local ethnic market
  2. Ditch name brands (usually in the middle of the shelf and endcaps) for generic brands (down low)
  3. Keep an eye out for coupons
  4. Keep a well-stocked pantry giving you plenty of options to mix and match — build this during sales
  5. Cut out meats and try one or two “meatless” days — even shop ‘clearance’ meats and cook that day
  6. Cook for yourself, more, and reinforce it remembering money and time saved

 

  1. Do Preventative Maintenance and Fix Things

What is it about something not working 100% and going straight to the trash? Or, having to have the latest and greatest because that’s what everyone else has? Consumerism will quickly drain your budget and a lot of this comes from buying low-quality goods, to begin with — and not trying to fix things when they start breaking.

When shopping:

  • Look for quality brands offering lifetime guarantees (and make sure to use those guarantees!)
  • Do your research and consider older items with better builds vs newer, cheaper productions
  • Try buying items through swaps, thrift stores, or directly from others at a discount

There are many ways to save around the home, too, by keeping up with it and fixing things especially if you’re in a dynamic environment like Utah. This could include fixing cracks in the foundation before it goes bad, or inquiring about pest control Salt Lake City services that can prevent pests like termites from ruining the foundation or woodwork in your home. Replacing wood framing eaten by termites could cost a lot of money so pest control is well worth the investment. 

 

  1. Set and Manage Expectations

Sure, it would be nice to go catch the latest flicks or grab up some nice, new piece of fashion. There’s always something new and flashy catching our attention — so much so that we’ll disregard our budget to have it. This goes the same with what we expect from others and how they influence our decisions.

Did you know your friends can influence you to spend more

That’s not telling you to ditch people close to you… just set and manage expectations and emotions. You’ve got to adult your money management. This includes tracking what’s coming in and what’s going out. It also includes letting a desirable purchase “dwell” for a few days often resulting in you no longer wanting it.

A lot of people are in financial trouble because they live beyond their means. They have trouble seeing the reality of their situation and how deep they’re digging.

You Can Live Big on a Small Budget!

A few extra bucks here and there does add up — and a lot of this funding happens when you apply value to your time and energy. A budget will help you understand whether it’s worthwhile. So, find cheap or free alternatives, aim for quality, maintain what you own, and get real with what you’ve got.

These are the things that’ll help you live big on a small (real) budget hopefully leading you out of this dangerous edge of savings and ruin.

The Snowball Effect of a Personal Injury

Personal Injury Stress

 

Being involved in an accident is already scary enough. These fears and stresses can be exacerbated when you suffered injuries. In an instant, any and everything about your life can be changed forever. From your finances to your personal relationships, the aftermath of an accident is often riddled with stress-inducing obstacles to overcome. If you are a parent, you need to be even more prepared.  Fortunately, there are a lot of resources and strategies that can help you get through it all.

 

Lost Wages/Employment Issues

One of the biggest things to happen to someone who has been injured is lost wages or employment issues. Whether your injuries are short or long-term, if you’ve been hurt to the point that you’re incapable of doing your job, it can impact your finances. Some individuals end up losing time, money, and even their jobs altogether (if their injuries are long-term and they won’t ever be able to perform their duties).

Solutions: Though you may not be able to do much about your diagnosis or recovery time, you can help your finances in a number of ways.

Hire an attorney – when you’re missing time off from work and your budget is starting to hurt because of it, secure an attorney. You’ll need to hire someone who practices in the region the accident took place. For example, if you were injured on a ride at Playland,  you would want to consult a personal injury attorney in White Plains NY or another city in Westchester County. They know the local court system and can help you file a suit to seek compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and other damages resulting from the injury. 

File disability – the moment you’re injured and not able to return to work you need to file a temporary disability claim. Your employer and/or your state has disability insurance which can be used to provide you with financial assistance while you recover.

Government programs – if your income has decreased substantially since the accident you may need further assistance from the government. There are programs that provide free or affordable healthcare, housing assistance, utility assistance, food stamps, and more you can take advantage of.  These programs can help you get back on your feet!

Tap into your savings – hopefully, you’ve been putting away for a rainy day. If so, now would be the time to use your emergency funds to tide you over until you receive other financial help. 

 

Hospital Stays/Long-Term Issues

Serious injuries can significantly alter the course of your life. Some people have to be hospitalized for days, weeks, or months at a time until they recover (which also increases medical expenses). Others end up having long-term issues that require long-term care or permanent lifestyle changes.

Solutions: Being seriously injured is stressful, but there are ways you can speed up your recovery. For those who have permanent issues, making lifestyle adjustments are necessary.

Work with your doctor – Keeping all your doctor’s appointments, following their advice, and following-up with specialists is the most effective way to recover.

Ask your family for help – If you’re going to be immobile for awhile you’ll need to call in the reinforcements. Your family can be very useful in helping you recover. They can pitch in with household chores, run errands, prepare meals, and even watch your children.  Recently my husband suffered a malpractice injury and we discovered how lucky we were to have family nearby. 

Make changes around the house – If your injuries are permanent you may need to make changes around the house to support yourself. This may include installing a ramp or widening doors for a wheelchair, adding grab bars for extra support, purchasing a lift chair, and whatever else you can think of.

 

Emotional Distress

Accidents don’t just cause physical pain, they cause emotional pain as well. Dealing with your finances, filing a personal injury suit, seeking medical treatment, and adapting to your new normal can be a lot to take on at once.

Solutions: The most effective solution for dealing with emotional distress is to speak with someone about it. Talking to a therapist or spiritual adviser can help you to gain perspective on things and learn new ways to enjoy life despite your injuries and troubles.

 

When you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t even your fault, it can turn your world upside down. It’s important that you don’t allow your circumstances or condition to get the best of you. In order to recover and get past the stress of an accident, it is important to make a plan. A personal injury attorney, your doctors, a therapist, and your family are the most effective people to turn to to help you resolve your problems. It may take some time, but eventually, you’ll learn how to appreciate life, and things will go on.

Tips for shopping thrift & consignment stores

Tips for shopping thrift & consignment stores

 

I discovered consignment and thrift shops in college when my husband and I were newlyweds.  Now that we have two little boys, saving money has been equally as important as it was then.  It took me a little while to get the most out of my shopping trips, but I finally have it down!  Here are a few tips and tricks I follow as I shop:

 

Make a list.  When trying to save money, there’s nothing worse than spending extra money on things you don’t need.  Make a list of the items you are in need of and colors to keep an eye out for (especially for home decor).  You will often find deals you have a hard time passing up, so remember your initial goal – to save money!  

 

Visit often.  The selection changes on a daily basis at most secondhand stores.  And if you plan to go back for an item, don’t hold your breath because someone else may have picked it up already.

 

Keep an eye out for sales. Some of my local thrift stores have “color of the week” sales where the tags that match the color advertised are 50% off.  Another has a $0.69 sale on Saturdays, along with other unadvertised sales.  You can look up your stores’ phone numbers online or in a phone book and call ahead of time to find out what the sale is today.  Many stores often have a Facebook page or other social media they post their deals to…and even some of their favorite new items! 

 

Price check.  I have occasionally found items priced at or higher than new retail price.  If you have a smart phone, you can Google the item to determine whether that seems to be a reasonable price or not.  Consignment stores also run higher prices than thrift stores so make sure you only pay the amount you are comfortable with.

 

Check the items!  Always check for stains, holes, missing pieces or other damage.  Sometimes employees miss something that could be detrimental to the product.

 

Stay open minded. If you can make simple changes to an item of clothing that doesn’t fit absolutely perfect, don’t toss it aside.  There are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest for upcycling, mending, or modifying clothing, furniture, or other odds and ins.  There are some amazing ideas out there!

 

Have patience!  The selection depends on the donations or consignors.  Maybe you didn’t find what you wanted today, but keep trying!  The organization of many secondhand stores is also difficult to get used to as a new shopper, as each item is different and you will have to thumb through clothing and take some time to look through.

 

See more ideas on how to budget at Military Travel Mom.  Thrifting is just the beginning!

Teaching Music from Home: A Challenging Yet Rewarding Path

Teaching Music from Home: A Challenging but Rewarding Path

 

As a stay at home mom, I’m always looking for sources of supplementary income.  For some it is a necessity, for others it is simply to afford the “extras” in life.  But what are the best ways to work from home?  It really depends on your skills.  Today, we’re talking about musicians!

It’s no secret: Earning an income as a professional musician is no easy task. Your dream of filling concert halls or stadiums may keep your passion alive, but it is still important to keep the lights on and food in the fridge.

Many talented musicians – even well-established ones – turn to teaching as a means of paying the bills, or just to acquire supplemental income. In addition to the financial benefits, teaching music is a rewarding opportunity to help students improve their skills. Watching your pupils progress and make breakthroughs in their studies is a real joy, but this requires a great deal of patience and hard work on the part of both the student and teacher.

Are you a musician who needs extra income? Teaching may be a smart option, but before you start handing out flyers and posting ads on Craigslist, you should investigate the options for teaching online classes. This way, you can reach a broad audience of music enthusiasts from the convenience of your own home.

 

Where Do I Find Students Online?
There are a number of referral services on the Internet that match students and teachers. Many are based in a specific location or region, and you will want to search for such services in your area. Those associated with colleges generally only list alumni of that school, and if you attended college, you should check to see if your institution has an alumni listing.

There are also several nationwide listing services. One of the better-known and recognized music teaching platforms is LessonRating.com.

LessonRating has been praised in a number of blog reviews, including this editorial entitled “Learning an Instrument: Yes You Can” at WeAllWantSomeone.org. With LessonRating, you can get your name out there and set the foundation for long-term success as a music teacher.

 

How Do Online Music Teaching Platforms Work?
This varies from site to site. For example, in the case of LessonRating, you simply go to the website at LessonRating.com.

There are varying tiers that you may sign up for, and some of them have a fee attached. Fees range from free to about $100.

You can conduct lessons in your home, the student’s home or via Skype. Be aware, though, that there is an art to working from home successfully. Here is a great resource on this topic: How to Find Your Work at Home Groove.

Once you’ve been listed and have managed to attract some students, they have the opportunity to rate your abilities as a teacher. Building a good reputation on these sites can help you attract more business and may allow you to charge extra for your services.


How Much Will I Make?

This varies from service to service, and it largely depends on your abilities and qualifications. But you should be able to bring in a minimum of $20 per hour – sometimes significantly more.

If you feel that teaching music is a good way to earn a living, get your name out there and give yourself a little time to build a clientele. This can be an immensely rewarding opportunity both for yourself and for those whom you will teach.

 

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