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Archive for May, 2016

Mini Moment – Memorial Day

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Thank you all for your patience as I stumbled through life the past month. Transitioning to single parent for the summer was a lot harder than anticipated and I dropped several balls, Melissa’s delightful blog as one. I am looking forward to continuing my relationship with Melissa’s community and appreciate the grace as I discover this new season of life.

Memorial Day….I am honored to be here with you today. As a veteran and army wife this day, along with other National Holidays, touch my soul. So, what to write about mini-moments on Memorial Day?!?

Simple. Stop and cherish this very moment. Someone died in the hope and belief that you were worth it. A child is growing up with a father or a mother because the soldier chose our freedoms over their life. A mother and father have buried their marine because the call to be on the front lines was their child’s life calling. A wife, a husband, a fiancé, a girlfriend is living an altered future due to their sailor’s oath to serve and protect. And there is a friend missing their high school pal because joining the Armed Forces was life’s big adventure.memorial day

I don’t share this to guilt you. I hope and pray it encourages you to continue putting one foot in front of the other. Keep loving someone who may not be easy to love in this moment. Make room and space for family and friends to connect with you. Be present and cherish the breathe in your lungs.

Many someone’s believed you were worth defending. Sons and daughters dedicated themselves to a future of freedom. Fathers and mothers gave up creating more memories so you could choose the ones you’ll create.

What will you do with today? I hope and pray it will be a choice you look back on and cherish.

 

 
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Parents of Recent Grads. YOU Don’t Have To Pay For College

Parents don't have to pay for college

If you do nothing else pleases watch the Dave Ramsey Video at the end of this post.

He nails it!!!!!!

It’s graduation time again. It is the time of year to consider your child’s next stage of education. For some they are moving to high school, graduating kindergarten or moving out of elementary. For those graduating from high school, moving into higher education comes with an increasingly high price tag.

Today a collage education has become such an expectation that some people mistakenly believe it to be a right. Sorry.. but no… a collage education is wonderful to have, a great experience but a right? No not exactly. It is a gift, but is not something afforded, needed or right for everyone.

There is a mistake belief circulating in America, that a collage education is expected regardless of the ability to pay for it. This has resulted in enormous college loan debt ballooning out of control and silly statements that collage should be “free” for everyone. (Sorry someone is ultimately paying for this free education.)graduation time

The question become who is too pay for this education?  I want to present a different side of this question. Does a parent have an obligation to pay for their children’s education past high school? Over the past decade this high education obligation has been pushed as yet another responsibility of parents. It has become a obligatory parental guilt that if you don’t pay for collage your setting your kid up for failure.

I’m here to let you guilt riddled parents of new graduates off the hook. If your son or daughter seems directionless entering collage and wants to major in underwater basket weaving with no viable job prospects you are now expected to flit the bill. Matter of fact, paying for higher education is your choice, not your obligation.

A some parents are forgoing their own retirement planning to pay for the enormous cost of collage education with no guaranteed return of this investment. Whatever the parents can’t cover, the student is being asked to pay for in the form of student loans that never go away.

There begs the second question. Is a college education even really necessary? This is something we have told is necessary for success in the workplace but is that really true? I am sure if you took a poll of college grads very few of them actually have had employment in the field they majored in. You can answer both of these to questions with a resounding  No. No, parents are not obligated to pay for collage and no collage is not necessary for success.

I was listening to a periscope from Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine the other day where she freely admitted she did not go to collage. She is wildly successful with a great blog, speaking appearances and popular books. There are several entrepreneurs and business leaders who never when to collage or attended later in life, but have had success.

do you have enough money for college?So you are not handicapping your children if you don’t put yourself into financial ruin putting them thru college.  On the flip side their are several cases of people who were extremely bright, went to collage and have become complete and utter failures by societies standards. So what is the difference a… self knowledge and a plan.

Where collage education seems to work the best is when students have a direction. They are not there to party and spend mom and dads money. they are ther for an education. They understand the gift higher education is and make best use of that gift. This takes maturity that to average high school grad usually doesn’t have. So before you rush to sign the loan paperwork consider a new perspective on funding and experiencing higher education.

  1. Parents are not obligated to pay for college ( According to financial expert, Dave Ramsey you should be funding your own retirement before shelling out for your kids collage education. See the video below.)
  2. Help you offspring formulate a plan to pay for it themselves -Cash flow college. It is not as quick and it is not as easy as signing your life away with an unending loan, but they (and you) will not pay for something with money you don’t have. The students will take their education much more seriously if they are paying for it themselves and you will not be put in the poor house.
  3. Look into trade schools, Learn a skill – I don’t know why trade schools have gotten a bad rap? Most successful entrepreneurs start off learning a trade they love then developing a business based on that skill. Most do not attend business school first.
  4. Let them take a year off – There is the belief that if a high school student takes a year off they will lose the momentum. However if they enter into college without a plan or a want to even be there then you are wasting time and money to have them drop out, change majors or become discussed with the process in general. Give them sometime to figure out who they are and what they want before forcing another year of education on them. (No this doesn’t mean they can spend 5 years living in your basement, but give them a change to figure out what they want to do.)
  5. Do a apprenticeship or internship instead of college – This is real world experience that isn’t taught in business school. Sometime just plain hard work will teach more than a 4-year university ever could.
  6. Go to a Community College for the first 2 years – Not only does this cost much less cost then select a larger program but it also gives the student to have the experience of the college atmosphere, with a more flexible timeline to decide what they want to pursue as a career.

I know this is a big issue many parents are facing right now. Please leave me your comments I would love to know what you think of these ideas and of Dave’s video.


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5 Ways To Recover From Mommy Burn Out

 5 ways to recover from mommy burn outIt occurred to me the other day that I have been away from my family for only one single night in almost 9 years. This week the weight of all of this came crashing down on my and my body felt the effects. For several months I have been pushing away the warning signs figuring I was just tired, sluggish or being lazy. Until my mind went kind of numb and I was just tired of all of the family obligation and constant effort it took to be a mom.

I love being a mom so I knew this was not normal for me.  In an effort to find out why I was feeling this way I consulted Dr. Goggle as I had done in the past, I also cam upon a conversion where a co-worker was discussing burn out and realized that might be what is wrong with my. Here are the symptoms if you would like to make a self diagnosis as I did. This information comes from Reachout.com.

  • Feeling exhausted and feel unable to perform basic tasks
  • Losing motivation in many aspects of your life, including both work and social
  • Feeling unable to focus or concentrate on tasks
  • Feeling empty or lacking emotion
  • Losing your passion and drive
  • Experiencing conflict in your relationships with co-workers, friends and family
  • Withdrawing emotionally from friends and family

Blog Crew.co states, “Burnout occurs when the demands and stress placed on us exceed our physical and mental abilities to deal with them. We cheat ourselves out of the rest we need because we assume we can push past our breaking points.”

Since we can not take a break from “moming” it is important that we recognize when we are reaching this point and schedule in some downtime. I realized I had not done this well…ever. Not since my children where born. For me I would take a periodic hour or 2 here or there and as they have grown, more responsibilities, events and management has been required to handle their schedules and developing personalities. (aka, more sibling fights.)

[ctt title=”The stressors I was putting on myself became more then my body could handle and with no break it raised the white flag of surrender. ” tweet=”The stressors I was putting on myself became more then my body could handle and with no break it raised the white flag of surrender. ” coverup=”1jaa2″]Not so long ago I gave myself a day away. However, the one night off was like an emotional pendulum swinging from mommy guilt to savoring some alone time, back to mommy guilt. Needless to say, I never did it again.

Now I recognize by not giving myself the proper mental and physical break I needed, the result was a 9 year built up eventually leading to burn out. If I had taken a few breaks, a little more self care and given myself a bit of grace, then I could have avoided it all together. Here are some of the thing I am going to do going forward to prevent burnout.

This is all the stuff us moms tell other moms but never really do ourselves. We let things go too far. We overdo it. More importantly, it is imperative that we recover. That we take this time. If we don’t, how are we going to properly care for our family when we lose the will to care for ourselves? Remember you matter to them. There is more to you then just housework, laundry, cooking and cleaning. We are our own person and deserve every allowance we would suggest to our dearest friend. We must model the way in self care in order to properly care for our families. I freely admit I am saying this as much for myself as for all of you. Mom’s we overdo it and here is how to fix it…

  1. Stop. Yes just stop – Take a break from the housework, the chores, the school lunches, the making dinner, even off of your 9-5. Take mental health day to rest, sleep, play a mindless video game, stare off into space, do whatever. Keep no schedule and be totally unproductive for a single day.
  2. Talk to others that have gone thorough it – Sometimes just hearing a kind word or a sympathetic ear helps you know you are not weird or strange for feeling this way. You are just a parent. I have found this support thought social media surprisingly and it has made all the difference.
  3. Let go of the shame, doubt and guilt – A day off does nothing if you feel guilty about taking a day off in the first place. Get in your head and fix it (That’s what my husband tells me) and stop feeling guilty for taking care of yourself. There is no shame in taking a day off and don’t doubt that your feelings of burnout are normal and it is ok for you to take the pressure off.
  4. Unplug – Turn off the news, stop Tweeting and don’t look at Facebook. It will be there tomorrow. Take a day off and go for a walk in nature. Let your mind wonder. Engage in bible study. Meditate. Do something that brings you peace. For at least a day give up your screen time. Don’t worry about your cell phone batteries as you recharge your personal battery.
  5. Focus of the love you feel -(I know if sounds cheesy!)Stop with the love for guilt sake. Your family loves you not just for all you do for them but for who you are. You might not feel like you are perfect but know that you are enough. If you want to love them right you must show love for yourself. If you were so bad would these people love you so much? And they do… even if they act out, fight or whine sometimes. They love you. You are the glue that holds the family unit together and they love you  so you need to love you too.

 
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Organizing Month 4 – Zen and the Art of Sorting Paper.

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Organizing Month 4

This year one of my goals was to get my house in order. To do that I am working my way through the book “One Year to an Organized Life.” So far I have gotten though the kitchen, bedroom, and garage. This month is tackling paper. Ok, I know it doesn’t seem like a lot compared to the mammoth garage clean out, but anyone who just waded through a mountain of paper to file the taxes knows this can be a monstrous task. It was also an emotional clean-up of sorts and really made me think of the reasons why I do things and how to do them better.

This month’s organization started off easy enough. I pulled together all the leftover bills, pay stubs and miscellaneous paper that had been lying around and gathered them up into a pile. A big pile! How long had I been letting this go for? Week one was all about figuring out why we organize or don’t organize our paper, what it says about us and our history. It seems funny that so much can be determined by the way we file our bills. There is always emotion attached to money and this is no exception.

Growing up I remember my dad filing all his expenses and deductions in a black and white composition book. When I first lived on my own I followed his lead and created a ledger where I meticulously recorded money in and money out. That all changed when I became a mom who worked full-time time. I just never seemed to have the time to file and record things properly. This resulted in overdrafts and late payment. I have since found a way to automate most of our bills. Now I record our transaction easily in an online budgeting program. (The modern day version of the composition ledger book my dad had.) What I realized during this time was that I felt overloaded with responsibility after having children and just simply didn’t want to deal with the bills and paperwork. I felt overwhelmed and did not want to know where our money was going.pexels-photo-large

As my children got older and we still were running onto overdrafts and shortages I realize I had to get back to managing the finances but had difficulty being consistent. That was until I discovered the online budget. If you are having difficulty getting control of your paper bills and expenses, maybe remove the “paper” and start doing things online.

Week two the author moved into electronic accumulation, multi-tasking and delegating (outsourcing). This was a big deal for me. A working mom’s most prized resource is time. I know I don’t want to spend it sorting emails, and doing laundry. She makes the suggestion to outsource some tasks. This is starting to come into play in my house as I no longer want to be “house elf,” (yes a Harry Potter reference) to my family.

The author also addresses two big emotional hurdles that I struggle with almost daily, multi-tasking and saying “no.” She goes into detail about what overdoing multitasking really does to you.

[ctt title=”‘When you splinter your focus like this, you fry your nervous system.’ – One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds” tweet=”‘When you splinter your focus like this, you fry your nervous system.’ – One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds” coverup=”a8ra5″]

She recommends keeping a journal to record how you feel after multitasking. I discovered that I feel well…fried. I feel like if I stop being in constant motion then the tiredness will overwhelm me and I will never get up off the couch and never get anything done. When I reviewed my multi-tasking ways, I realized that this is the reason I crash on the couch at 8:00 pm and pretty much can’t get up again. I need the downtime to recover from a day of ridiculous multi-tasking mania.

The chapter also addresses the art of saying “no.” Here we go with the guilt again! Yes, everytime I have to say no I am overcome with guilt. This is due to a codependent upbringing. For more on this check out my “It’s not a problem in you” post. I will not go into to much detail as I am trying to recognize and overcome this way of being. Only to say that I have said “no,” several times this month and have felt a bit less stress in my daily schedule.

The final week of the month we actually get down to sorting out paper and putting in place various systems to deal with paper clutter in the future. I set up hanging folders and sorted all my paper piles into the appropriate folder and discarded various envelopes, expired coupons and flyers that had been lying around.

I now check the mail daily and immediately trash anything that is junk mail. I also have stopped most magazine subscriptions that I never read and gotten rid of old manuals and warranties that were taking up space. I have also set up a system to wade through my emails. I unsubscribe, delete and sort at least 10 emails a day. (I get an average of 25 daily) It’s not perfect but it’s a start.

That’s the thing about paper (and electronic) clutter. If we deal with it from the start then it doesn’t get a change to accumulate. As for the emotions around being less of a  multi-taking and saying “no” more often, it is like a muscle and if we start using it a little everyday, it will get stronger. We just have to start.

 

 

Be A Kid Again. 5 Ways To Have A Child Like Summer

being a kid again this summerAdulting is hard. Paying taxes, earning an income, maintaining a home.  It’s hard to work all day  then June Clever it when we get home. With the end of the school year approaching and the beginning of summer right around the corner, I think back to childhood and summer break that seem to last forever. One of  the cruelest jokes of being an adult is losing our summer break. As an adult we lose this precious play time and are told to work the whole 12 months of the year. Since I am looking forward to a relaxing, fun summer, filled with freedom and frolicking (well, in between work of course,) I have decided to recapture that childlike summer feeling. I invite you to do the same, at least for a weekend. [ctt title=”Reclaim the childlike fun that adulthood stole from us” tweet=”Reclaim the childlike fun that adulthood stole from us” coverup=”Z18GM”] (Ok, I’m getting a bit dramatic now) But seriously, tap into your childlike creativity, find something you want to do just for the pure fun of doing it. For at least a weekend leave your adulting behind and think like a child again. Here are some ways I intend to do this:

  1. Go watch the boys of summer and catch a live baseball game –  Even if you can’t take in a Major League Game, you can always cheer on the local t-ball team that plays down the block. Nothing is funnier and more childlike then seeing a 4 year old throwing their baseball glove carelessly in the air as the ball rolls by them. Priceless!
  2. Go get some ice cream with your kids – No, I don’t mean the low-fat fro-yo, I’m watching my weight version of ice cream. The good stuff! You probably can’t do this all the time but once in a while get a cone full of real ice cream that melts in the summer heat, drips down your arm and tastes divine.
  3. Break out the sidewalk chalk – Channel your inner Burt (from Mary Poppins,) get on the ground and start drawing. Make a hopscotch board, a winding path, or race track. Ok maybe you can’t jump into the picture like Mary and Burt did. But you can totally pretend!
  4. Play Marco/Polo – Remember the summertime pool games you played as a kid. Try them out as adult. You might not look the coolest doing an underwater handstand, but you will defiantly have more fun.
  5.  Enjoy the great outdoors –  Remember all those summer cookouts as a kid where you would just run around and play as the sun sets. Then you made s’mores by the camp fire and looked at the stars. You can still do that if you take the time. Take one evening, make some s’mores on the grill  and sit outside with the kids trying to find the big dipper in the night sky.

I know we can’t act like a kid all the time but sometimes tapping into your inner child is the perfect way to put life into perspective and rediscover what is truly important.


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Stop financing your teens! Money advice for teens and 20 somethings

7 money tips for teens and 20 somethings

7 Tips For Teens and 20’s to find financial freedom

Contributed by: Patricia Sanders, a freelance writer. She is associated with Debt Consolidation Care Community. She loves to write on various topics, especially finance. Her writing gives useful suggestions and financial insight to solve their problems.

How can teenagers stay top of their finances?

It needs no mention that we all love money and love to spend it. What you must think is whether you would love to have a little money now or later? If you’re just in your teen’s or 20’s, knowing and understanding the significance of money is very crucial. Making the transition from a high school student to a college student can often become confusing. Apart from a lot of changes, there comes a huge amount of responsibility. You will start facing financial challenges and tackling them is your responsibility.

Save money successfully in your 20s?

Twenties is the right time to practice good financial habits. Because at this age, everyone should prioritize their money to make a smooth financial life. If you have a habit of spending more than what you earn, it would be really difficult for you to fight debt. The major reason that people incur debt is they don’t know how to live within their means. If you have a couple of credit cards in your hand and indulge in heavy shopping without thinking about future consequences, then you’re in trouble. Once you fall in debt, you’ll realize how difficult it is to get rid of it. It is better that you start building new habits to become a money saver.

Some good financial habits help you to stay financially independent not only in your 20’s, but throughout your life.

  1. Determine your cost of living

Make a clear list of the mandatory monthly expenses so that you get to know where your money is going. Things like transportation, utilities, parking school supplies, debt repayment will fall into this category. Once you get a clear picture of where your pennies are going, you can clearly understand the significance of managing your finances on your own.

  1. Set up a milestone

You should have some reasons to save money. Think of what do you want, your goals, a home, financial independence, or freedom from student loan debt? Take your first step and achieve them, one step at time. Your desire will inspire you to save money and thus you can build good money habits as well.

  1. Give yourself a deadline

Always fix a date by which you can meet your goal. This will give you a push to save money. Think about your goal once a day. This will motivate you can avoid big expenses and stay within your budget.

  1. Create a budget and modify accordingly

Budgeting helps you spend less than what you earn. This helps you to save more as well. As you spend less and save more, you incur less debts and even if you do incur some, you’ll have the money to pay those off. You’ll have to make a list of your income and your expenditures in order to create a budget. A budgeting calculator can help you prepare your budget. If required, you’ll have to analyze and also modify the budget from time to time due to the changes in your income and your spending.

  1. Use your brain

Sometimes, trick can help us to save money even on a tight budget. You just need to use your brain to find out some ways. For instance:

  • Couponing

Coupons are a great way of saving money. You can collect coupons from newspapers, magazines and even some websites, which allow you to download free coupons. You can use these coupons to buy items at a discount. Check out couponing websites, local couponing groups and even Facebook couponing communities for more information.

  • Using cash for shopping as much possible

One of the major reasons why people get into debts is credit cards. When you have a credit card in your hand, you can barely resist the temptation of buying something that catches your fancy. This is easy to do without thinking whether you need it. Instead, if you use cash for purchasing, you would not be able to overspend much, even if you want to. Carrying a limited amount of cash prevents you from overspending.

  • Eating homemade food

Eating out, ordering food or buying lunch can make your wallet considerably lighter. It is better for you to skip eating out, except for those very rare occasions when you want to go out to celebrate a special event. You should also carry a lunch bag to work so that you don’t need to buy food.

  • Setting up an automatic savings account

Set up an automatic savings account to avoid spending money on something else. You can ask your employer to directly deposit a certain amount of money from your salary into the savings account. Pay yourself before paying others. Start small with just 1%-2% of your salary. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll see how fast your money grows.

  1. Fight with debt

You should work on your financial obligations as soon as possible. The sooner you pay off your debts, the quicker you can start saving money. Try to pay the high-interest debts first.  Fix your credit card and student loan debts now.

  1. Give priority to your career

Take your job seriously because your profession will give you a smooth financial life at the age of 30. A good job is a steady source of income. Work hard and acquire advanced skills in order to stay financially secure in the long run.

Bottom lines

Remember, less is more. Become more disciplined and lower your expenditures as much as possible to save money. In addition, lower the usage of credit cards as these incur higher debts. This way you can discover your own path to handling money.

 

 

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