15 February 2018

3 Things That Sound Thrifty (But Aren't)

In the effort to make life as cost-effective as possible, many of us find ourselves turning to a more thrifty lifestyle. As beneficial as this can be, such a lifestyle is undoubtedly complicated by the fact that there’s no clear way of doing it. Every family has to learn to be thrifty in a way that works for them. When a lifestyle is so open to interpretation, it often means that many families make a few mistakes along the way.

If you’re truly committed to changing the way you live and embracing a thrifty life, then you have to be careful to avoid the pitfalls-- the biggest of which can be falling into traps of thinking something is thrifty, when it’s actually the opposite. Here are a few examples…

Paying Insurance Monthly-- 

Paying your insurance premiums on a monthly basis seems to be a surefire way to keep things as structured as possible-- and financial structure is key to achieving a truly thrifty life. When you pay your premiums on a monthly basis, you are constantly able to budget for them, and you don’t pay in advance for a service you might soon find you don’t need.

The downside of this strategy is that paying for insurance on a monthly basis comes at a premium, and sometimes that premium is as high as 25% when compared to paying on an annual basis. Always read the terms and conditions of the price difference between monthly and annual prices before you commit to a payment structure.

Ditching the TV Package-- 

It seems barely a week can pass without another company announcing a TV streaming service. When you can just buy subscription packages for the channels you want to watch, why not go ahead and do that, ditching your TV package as a result?

Well, chances are you’re not saving money-- you’re just splitting the payments. The idea of signing up to a streaming service for $10 per month is tempting; sounds like a great deal, so you go ahead. Then there’s another streaming service; that’s another $10, but that’s still a great deal…

The fact that these payments are compartmentalized means you don’t view them in the same way as you would a package from a TV company. For Optimum customers, they know exactly what they are paying and what they are getting every month-- but you can quickly lose track of $5.99 here or $11.99 there. If you’re signed up to more than three streaming channels, chances are you’d be better off with standard TV service.

Repairing Your Home Yourself-- 

There’s an area of your home that needs fixing. You call a professional and ask for their opinion; their subsequent quote is so high, you know it’ll blow your budget for a month. So, armed with a YouTube video and a derring-do spirit, you decide you’ll do the work yourself.

Not only can this be a dangerous decision in terms of your physical health and the soundness of your house, but it’s also a bad financial decision. If you make a mistake -- which you are likely to, especially with complex tasks -- then it’s likely going to cost more to put right than the initial fix would have cost in the first place.

In Conclusion...

Living a thrifty life is always beneficial, but you have to be careful to avoid errors that will actually cost you money. Beware the expensive choice in thrifty clothing, and you won’t go far wrong.

5 Crafts to Get Your Kids Excited About Dental Health

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to brush their teeth?  You’re not alone! Many parents understand the struggle of getting young children to have a desire to brush and floss their teeth.

That’s why we’ve joined a durango dentistry to bring you this list of crafts to get your children excited about dental health.

#1 - Teeth Brushing Preschool Craft

This fun paper craft teaches your little one to brush over the entire surface of the tooth. All you need is some white paint, yellow and white paper, and an old (or cheap) toothbrush.

Find the full instructions at Paper and Glue.

#2 - Toothy Eggsperiments

Show your child the importance of brushing their teeth with these egg experiments. In this experiment you’ll dye the eggs with soda or another dark drink and let the children brush the discolored egg with toothpaste and a toothbrush.

Find the instruction at Luv Pre-K.

#3 - Egg Carton Teeth

In this crafty activity, you’ll let your child practice brushing and flossing on a styrofoam egg carton.

Find the full instructions at Teach Preschool.

#4 - Teeth Math Games

Get some Play Dough and these fun printables for some teeth math games. Combine dental health and math to help your children with their physical health and school!

Find the instructions at Tot Schooling.

#5 - Lego Teeth

Another fun activity to teach flossing is to use large Legos and Play Dough. Stuff the Play Dough between each of the pegs in the Lego and then give your child a large piece of yard to floss the Play Dough out with.

There are tons of fun activities that you can find to help your children get excited about their dental health. If you want some more ideas, try going to Pinterest and searching “fun teeth activities.”

5 Ways to Relax After Work

Adulting is probably life’s biggest joke. We spend our whole childhood wishing we could grow up and make the rules, and it isn’t until we have grown up that we realize that adulthood has a far more stringent set of rules. A big part of that is going to work every single day and that is exhausting. Commuting to work takes time. Sitting in an office and churning out work to the deadline is exhausting. And while it’s nice to get a salary for doing it, working hard five out of seven days a week leaves very little time for kicking back and relaxing at home or with friends.
Trying to fit in time to just be, to just switch off and take the time out to shrug off the office and relax all the way down to your toes can feel impossible. The key is to create your own opportunities to relax and grab them with both hands when they come around. Deciding what to do is easy, putting it into practice is not. Life is so chock full of things to get done that it’s never-ending. We’ve put together five ways that you can relax after work, so take a load off and pay attention!

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Prioritize. The easiest way to ensure that you get your downtime is to schedule it. Choose a day of the week that you will clock off from work on the minute that the office day ends. Make it an alarmed point in your calendar and get it scheduled in. It can feel a little counterproductive, to schedule in your relaxation time: it doesn’t sound very relaxed, does it? But if you don’t make a point of it, you can bet that you will find it hard to find the time.

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Unplug. Your downtime should not include electronics. You stare at a computer screen day in, day out at work. Order a huge bean bag from Fombags and get a stack of books and a bowl of chips ready. Your downtime should definitely be horizontal, comfortable reading where possible. Unplugging from the screens is a good way to switch off your mind. Facebook will still be there tomorrow.

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Bathe. You may well do this every day, but how long ago was it that you drew yourself a hot – no, really – bath with your favorite bubbles and your best loofah? Yeah, I thought so. A hot bath with a little music on the other side of the room is a good place to just sit and think. Add some essential oils to the bath to relax your mind.

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Exercise. Downtime doesn’t have to be restful, and exercise is a good way to get out all the adrenaline that builds up in your body. Go for a run or join a gym class. Put all your energy and frustration into it and you’ll be surprised how invigorated you feel.
Socialize. Seeing friends for a much needed catch up, a delicious meal and a glass of something strong is such an amazing way to reconnect with the people that you miss.
Relaxing doesn’t come easy; make it happen.

14 February 2018

5 Crockpot Potato Recipes You Have to Try

We still have a little bit until Spring, which means it’s still pretty chilly out most days. And there’s no better way to warm up than with a warm crockpot meal at the end of a long day.

Klondike Brands, producer of healthy potatoes and even healthier potato recipes, has helped us put together this list of awesome crockpot potato recipes for those chilly winter days.

#1 - Crockpot Baked Potatoes

Did you know that you can cook baked potatoes in the crockpot? This is perfect for those days when you don’t want to wait for dinner to cook after work. Just wrap those babies up in foil and toss them into the crockpot that morning. Then top them with your favorite fixins right when you get home. It’s perfect!

For full instructions, visit Well Plated.

#2 - Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
What’s better than cheese on potatoes? Not much. That’s why you have to try this cheesy scalloped potato recipe. It’s so easy to make, and your potatoes come out creamy, tender and full of cheese! It’s every potato lover’s dream.

Find the full recipe at Damn Delicious.

#3 - Easy Crockpot Ranch Potatoes

Here’s another super simple recipe to throw together. All you need is bacon, potatoes, ranch mix, garlic powder, green onions, and oil. Mix it all up in a crockpot and let the meal cook itself! Aren’t crockpot meals the best?

Find the full recipe at Pretty Providence.

#4 - Crockpot Buttery Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes

Yes, you can even make mashed potatoes in a crockpot. And mashed potatoes are the perfect comfort food in the middle of winter, especially this recipe with its buttery garlic flavor. And because this recipe uses red potatoes, you don’t even have to peel them! The less work the better with these meals.

Find the full recipe at Creme De La Crumb.

#5 - Crockpot Potato Soup

And of course, you can’t have a list of winter crockpot recipes without some good hearty soup. This recipe is super easy to make and leaves you wanting more with its thick and creamy flavors. You don’t even have to use heavy cream!

Find the full recipe at Gimme Some Oven.

Crunching the Circumstances: the Perils of Bad, Unmanageable Debt

It is a simple fact of modern life that debt is something we expect to have. Figures show that the total amount owed by American consumers is over $110 billion, which is a number so large that few of us can really conceive of it.

When Debt Is Good-- 

Of course, some of that debt -- in fact, probably a large proportion of it -- could be classified as “good debt”. Good debt is a term used to describe an affordable debt, that is well managed, and has been used for a specific purpose. Examples of “good debt” include:

+ Debt sustained due to home improvement costs, which will ultimately add value to your home

+ Debt sustained due to education costs, which will ultimately allow you to get a better job and earn more money

+ Debt sustained for other productive reasons that will generate revenue or improve your living standards considerably

There is nothing wrong with “good” debt; in fact, it’s something of a necessity if you want to advance your life. There’s a big difference between someone who carefully researches their purchases, always looks for a credit card review before signing up, and never misses a monthly payment, and a person who is spending for the sake of spending. Debt doesn’t have to be a terrifying thing, providing it has a purpose and is affordable.

What Kind of Debt Do You Have?

The statistics indicate that most people reading this will have some level of debt. It’s worth thinking through whether your debt is good debt or bad debt, as this helps to analyze your spending habits, and may help you correct course for the future.

If you have bad debt, then it’s worth sitting down and thinking through how you spend money, and how you’re going to address this in the future. Bad debt in the past is acceptable -- especially if you had no other financial choice when it was sustained -- but it’s important to learn not to repeat the same habits.

If you have good debt, then you can largely trust your instincts when it comes to financial planning and debt management.

However, that’s not the end of the question. The next thing you have to ask yourself is whether your debt is manageable or not-- and this is where many people run into trouble.

What Is Manageable Debt?

Be it good or bad debt, manageable debt is best defined as:

+ Debt that you can comfortably make the repayments to-- your budget is not squeezed to make repayments, and it is an affordable monthly expense.

+ Debt that is no more than three times your annual income.

+ Debt that is consistently paid, so no late payments, ever

If your debt -- be it good or bad -- meets the above criteria, then your financials are fairly typical, and your debt is under control. You should still address it, but your debt situation is manageable.

If Your Debt Isn’t Manageable… 

… as per the above criteria, then you might want to talk to a debt adviser or assess your outgoings for potential savings. This is especially true if you find yourself with bad debt that is unmanageable. If you find yourself in this stormy situation, then taking action and examining methods of getting out of debt is an essential step towards the future you want for your family.