In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘spending’

Help Wanted: Apply with Dad

Help wantedI have to hand it to my husband. When I am all out of creative ideas to motivate our children he pulls one out of no where. Over the past few months I have found it increasingly difficult to get my children to help out and do chores. We have used a chore chart and have had a monetary incentive to help out around the house. It has been working well for quite sometime, several years in fact.

Each week we have given them the option to do up to 5 tasks at $1 per chore. They can do them all, only a few or none. Also there are bonus chores they could do for extra money. This will vary from week to week based on what I have to get done around the house. In the past this has included painting, to gardening, to cleaning to bath tub.

However, recently, my kids seem to lack the motivation to get any chores done with out constant reminders (almost to the level of harassment.) Weeks will go by where they have opted do no chores and earn nothing. I thought maybe is was because they had gotten many of the items they wanted at Christmas but their lack of participation continued through most of January.

Dad’s creative idea

I was out of ideas on how to motivate them and was quote frankly to tired and overwhelmed after Christmas to bagger them onto helping out. Then one morning me and the kids woke up to find “Want Ad’s” for two positions posted on our refrigerator. One was for a “Recycling Manager,” and the second for “Household Security Officer,” The posting listed the duties preformed in the positions and the qualifications necessary to apply. To apply the posting requested applicants submit a resume. It also stated that the weekly pay for the position would be $2 per week.

Image from quotegram.com

I was floored at how creative and detailed the job posting was. My husband really got into it. It certainly got my kids attention because the two of them discussed at length, which job they should apply for. Soon after reading the postings they asked my what a resume was. I showed them typical resumes found online and advised them to the type of information they normally contained.

My daughter decided to apply for the” Household Security Officer.” This position required her to turn the porch and front door light on each night and off each morning. It also required her to check the front and back doors each night before bed to make sure they were locked.

My son opted for the “Recycling Manager” position. This entailed taking the plastic bottles and cardboard recycling to the appropriate bin near our garbage and making sure it was put out for collection each week.

Apply within

The two of them took the applications very seriously and worked together for hours (in almost silence) crafting their resumes. The enthusiasm and eagerness this creative approach brought forth was amazing. Once my husband “reviewed” the applications and choose the best person for the position, they we’re so excited.

Surprisingly, they have been preforming their job duties fairly consistently each week. My daughter has forgotten a few times. However, she got her act together when she was told she may be fired for not fulfilling the job requirements and her little brother could then apply for her position.

I don’t know if it is the sense of ownership, the title or the acting like a grown-up but my husband certainly tapped into something with this idea. It has been a great life lesson for my kids about what is required to get and hold on to a job. Mainly it is about trying your hardest, showing up consistently, and doing what you where I hired to do. Now if only some adults can learn this.

Here are 5 reasons our goals will fail

goals will failLast year I wrote out goals in the four areas of focus discussed on this blog. It was a great exhaustive, multi-post list. How many did I actually accomplish. Ehh….maybe 1. Each year we start fresh. Each year we start new and set our sights on accomplishing new goals and resolutions. It is a great idea but often it is a failed effort. Why? Here are five reasons this happens.

We pick large goals with no path to get there

One of the reasons we often fail to stick with our goals and resolutions is we select a goal that seems almost unachievably grand, like losing 50 lbs or saving $100,000. Then we fail to map out the steps involved in achieving these big goals. It is great to aim high, but if we ever hope to achieve them we must attack it in parts. By breaking this goal down into small, achievable parts we visualize how to get there.

We choose too many goals/resolutions

My goals failed last year because I gave myself so many points I wanted to achieve that my focus was scattered. My goals were all across the board on so many topics. It was impossible to keep track of progress let alone remember what goals I set come mid year. It was way to ambitious and unachievable. In goal setting as in most areas of life simple is better.

We didn’t select goals/resolutions we really care about achieving

No, I am not going to give you the “anything is possible” line or “If you can dream it you can do it.” Yes, you can if you actually put the effort in. Dreaming alone will not get you there. It would be nice to lose the extra baby weight but if we really don’t want to change our habits then it is not going to magically happen. I would love to eat healthier and exercise more, but if I have no intention of getting off my lazy butt and changing my behavior I am going to fail.  Just stating you want to do it is not enough. You actually have to care about getting it done. If you really don’t care enough to put in the effort and change the behavior then your resolution will go nowhere.

We picked the wrong goals for us

Everyone makes the resolution to lose weight but maybe that should not be the primary focus. Maybe joining a support group or getting the help of a nutritionist might be a better goal for you. Paying off debt might be a great goal but if you are in the a habit of whipping out your credit card maybe you should focus on using cash only instead. Picking the goal that doesn’t address your current bad habit will only set you up for failure.

Not putting a number to you goal.

One of the primary items discussed in successful goal setting is quantifying you goal. Don’t talk in lofty terms of someday.  Give it a number. For example, I will eat five vegetables daily or I will save $1000 by February 1. Assign a date, amount or number to you goal. If you can not insert a number then your goal is to vague and probably needs to be narrowed down.

 

 

 

Are you Black Friday is broke?

Black FridayDid you get bitten by the Black Friday bug last weekend? These advertisers know what they are doing, making you feel that you will totally miss out on the best deals ever by not being first on line in front of their big box store at 5:30 in the morning.

So how many of us take the day off work. We crawl out of bed, leave behind a sink full of Thanksgiving dishes to drive over the nearest superstore. Only to fight out way to what we are told is a great deal. If you don’t go then someone else will get all those sweet deals. Right?

Well, maybe not.

Remember it was only a few years ago that Black Friday sales actually started to creep into Thursday evening. It began as a midnight madness type of sale but then inched closer and closer to 4:00 pm. The Black Friday frenzy was overtaking Thanksgiving dinner. Retail employees we’re wolfing down their turkey and stuffing because they had to head out to work on a day that was designated specifically for home and family.

Luckily, after a few years of consumer pushback many stores dropped the early Thursday sales and moved it back to Friday where it belonged. However, that didn’t necessarily stop shopping. They just moved it to cyber space.

According to NBSNews Black Friday Online sales it a new high this year. These followed quickly by Cyber Monday show that more people are buying online for the holiday’s. And why not it’s easy, convenient and might be less expensive. Or is it?

The online ease of time sensitive flash sales are still tapping into a buyers urgency to not miss out on the savings. I know from my own experience that I have said to myself, “I better buy this (insert useless item I don’t really need) because I won’t ever see it for this price again.”

I don’t care what it is at that price I need it!!

The issue then isn’t the price of the item it becomes the fear that you will miss out on these insanely low prices. (which are usually not insanely low at all by comparison.) Advertisers have become so adept at creating a feeling of scarcity we don’t think twice about parting ways with our money for the Memory Form cat bed, (although cats can find comfort on a car tire.) We really need that water resistant shower speaker (can’t sing in the shower without one…oh wait you can.) Can’t forget about the Ukulele Starter Pack (because one day you will sing tiny bubbles in the shower to your cat on their form bed.)

Cyber Monday

Black Friday and its online twin Cyber Monday help you fulfill that Christmas anxiety with the words BUY NOW. But when you look at the credit card bill sticker shock is an understatement. I remember thinking “What did I buy?”

There is something to be said for the physical presence of counting out bills that makes you more aware of what you are spending. Couple a click of a mouse with the new internet urgency and you have the makings for an overspending disaster. That is no way to have a happy holiday.

Black Friday sales can be a force of good if you give yourself limits. Here are 5 ways to use the Black Friday frenzy to your advantage.

  1. Know what you intend to purchase before the sales come out.
  2. Remember most sales are cyclical and these prices will come and go.
  3. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer a single day event but have been extended to weeklong sales with most merchants so do not rush into anything. Take time to consider your purchases.
  4. Just like Santa says make a list of what you intend to buy for whom. More importantly make a budget plan and stick to it.
  5. If you missed Black Friday don’t forget you can still compare prices between stores and prices match at some retailers to pay the least for an item.
  • Most importantly…remember the holiday season is not about your Black Friday 50 inch TV or other electronic item. Matter of fact it is not about things at all. It is about  people. You are giving gifts from the heart to show people you love them. Despite what advertisers tell you it is not about putting yourself into debt impulsively buying to combat the feeling of FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out.)

Five Reasons to Shop Small

Small Buisness SaturdayHometown businesses, local artisens, and handmade gifts when you purchase from these types of vendors your money is not going to a big corporation that has an army of faceless nameless employees or an home office states away. It goes into the pockets of neighbors, communities and friends.

This year I have pledged to by as many Holiday gifts from small business owners, handmade crafters and locally known shops. Small business Saturday is November 26 by why wait until then to start your shopping.  Here are 5 reasons to shop local and small.

Your money is fund a dream

When you buy from small business you directly support the business owners and their family. Maybe for the owner this shop was always a dream for them. By using their business you are helping fund that dream.

Your money goes to people and families you know

By purchasing from a local business, direct seller or small business owner you are helping people that you know. Does your neighbor sell at a craft fair? Does that mom at the PTA sell Avon? Look around at the people you know you will be surprised to find how many people have a business on the side that you could contribute to.

You money helps your local economy

When you buy from local business, that business owner will most likely spend that money locally, it might be dance lessons for their daughter or supplies from a local manufacturer or a dinner out at a local restaurant.

You can find something unique

If you have not perused handmade online marketplaces like Etsy you are missing out. Handmade crafts are unique, and one of a kind. They are crafted with skill and caring not found in mass produced items. When you order handmade you don’t just get a gift you get an experience from the packaging to the hand-written notes it goes far beyond a Target bag.

If you can’t find a local business that fits your needs, check out direct sales

I am a big supporter of direct sales businesses. There is a pride in knowing when I purchase from direct sellers I am helping a friend. I’m supporting the future of a stay at home mother, and a newly made entrepreneur to grown in their business.

If you are a handmade business owner, direct seller or you want to give a local shop a shout out please leave a link in the comment below. Let’s share the love this holiday season and shop local, handmade and small business.

For People about to Blow Their Wad: 5 Ways Not to Spend Money

5 ways not to spend moneyI know what you are thinking. Is this girl nuts? We need food. We need clothing. How do you not spend money? I know that sounds weird. Eventually, we all need to buy stuff. There comes a time when we have to spend some money right?

But what if you didn’t have to always spend money. What if we worked to make spending less of a habit? What if you could change your mindset so that buying was not the first impulse. If you are trying to save for a large purchase, pay off debt or recover from some other large outlay of money this might be your a pretty good option.

I get it. It is so easy to need that instant gratification and want to loosen the purse strings. Society in general reinforces spending instead of saving. It becomes harder ad harder to watch new things advertised and talked about and not feel like you need them. See that’s the key…do you really need them? It is almost as if we can no longer tell ourselves “NO”. That not buying lunch out or not purchasing new is no longer socially acceptable behavior. Buying and spending has become so commonplace it has become the norm. But if we can shift our perspective the financial benefits could be great.

So how do we get into a saving mindset and not spend money? Here are 5 ways to shift your thinking and get away from a free spending attitude.

  1. Use what you have – In past generations this was the norm. They would never have gone out and purchased a new car for example, unless the old one just stopped working. Past generations didn’t feel the need to fall pray to the newest shiniest new toy on the block. Surprisingly, to us they lived perfectly happy lives without things we feel are necessities like TV, cell phones and programmable coffee pots.  If we really examine our possessions, most of the time we have more than enough items just lying around unused or even forgotten that we had even purchased. That shirt we bought months ago on sale, that electronic gadget we had to have, you get the idea. Look through what you already have and well…use it.
  2. Create something new out of something old – There has been a resurgence in creating new home furnishings out of driveway discards. There is good reason for this since most of what we throw away is still in good condition, we just want it to be new. Most of what we throw away can be transformed or reused into another purpose. This might take some imagination and creativity. Many people have found it fairly easy to refinish a piece of furniture and create a like-new functional item for their home. All you need to do is look at things from a different perspective and see if you can find a new use for something you already have instead of discarding it and buying it new.
  3. Clean stuff up – Often a bit of elbow grease will do the trick in. Instead of purchasing new, search Pinterest for a way to clean something old and bring it back to life. I tried this with my car headlights instead of having them replaced. You will be amazed at the results.
  4. Stay in – Sometimes we lose track of how much we spend when we go out to dinner, a concert or movie. There is more than just tickets and entrance fees, there is additional food and beverages, t-shirts and souvenirs. More often than not it is healthier, easier and cheaper to cook it at home or watch it on video. Plus you will get the best seat in the house.
  5. Remember people mean more than things – In our over-consumptive society, we feel an intense need to buy, shop and consume in order to feel connected to the latest trends, hottest events and newest things. What really matters is the people that we share our time with. Spending time with a friend over coffee means more than all the overpriced lattes consumed on our own. Sharing a walk with your family means more then the next complicated computer game. Making time to spend with the important people in your life has more value then working overtime to pay off purchases you never really needed in the first place.

You spent how much on school supplies?????

school suppliesRemember when back to school meant getting some new clothes, maybe a new pair of sneakers, and socks. Remember when the only school supplies asked for were a few pencils and pens, notebooks and a compass (what did we even use that for except to stab our seat neighbor with the pointy end.) My kids attend public school and this year I was floored by the laundry list of school supplies needed for my daughter entering 4th grade. There are personal items, classroom items and community items. These together stretched down the page.

My sons list was not as long being that he is only going into first grade, but still it is a lot of supplies. Let me preface this all by adding that on the list it is stated that these are voluntary donation. However, if parents don’t bring these supplies who is paying for them? Apparently not the school board any longer.

Don’t get me wrong I am not blaming teachers in any way. I know that if parents don’t provide these supplies most good hearted teachers will dip into there personal paycheck to get needed items for the classroom. Which I also don’t feel is right thing either. After tallying up the cost of school supplies for each kids my total came to over…$150. and I used BOGO’s people!!!

I am sorry, I just don’t get it what has changed so dramatically in the 20 or so years since I have been out of school? Why can the school system, funded by the lottery, taxes and government programs, no longer provide pens, and paper? I mean that is kind of a schools life blood. Reading, writing and arithmetic. For the writing you can’t really go without pens and paper. And I only have 2 kids. I can’t imagine the cost for supplies in larger families. It must be like a mortgage payment for school supplies.

It’s not like clothes, you can’t hand me down supplies. Plus after asking for an absurd amount of supplies (like 144 pencils for 1 student) they have the nerve to be brand specific! You need to get the premium crayons. Only Crayola will do, as specified in bold on the school supplied sheet. No low class Rose Art or sub-par Target brand, no cutting corners here.

There are many school districts that are hurting and need the additional parental support and this is not about them. This is about the schools who clearly can cover the cost of copy paper and are being excessive in the (donation??) request of supplies. These schools now have to use what was school supply funds to pay for something dumb, unnecessary or redundant.

In my high school there was an entire wing of the school that no student ever went to because it was for administrators only. What? If you are not interacting with the students what exactly are you administrating over? Look, I really don’t know what goes on in the hallow halls of the administration wing but clearly it is not as much a benefit to students or teachers if they are sequestered away, given tenure and no parent has a clue what they do. I sure don’t.

What I do know is I am not only paying for them to “administer,” I am also paying for the paper they do it on. If my rant is ill placed and I am totally off base with this feel free to educate me. I have never been a teacher,  or in the education field so I welcome anyone in the field to explain to me how things have gotten this way. Thank you all for listening to my rant. Now to load the massive amount of crayons, pencils and notebooks (and my paycheck) in a suitcase (Yes a suitcase!) and hand them over to the people in charge of educating my children.

7 Ways to Save While Planning Your Vacation

7 ways to save on your next vacationSo you went on summer vacation.

Had a fantastic time and made a ton of wonderful memories. You arrive home unpack your suitcase and there it is. Staring at you like a dog waiting for dinner( Which mine are doing as I write this)…The credit card bill. You know you need to open it but really don’t want to face the damage you have done.

In your head you run a quick tally of what you think you might have spent on vacation. That souvenir T-shirt, drinks at dinner, the novelty tote bag…did I really spend that much? It is all adding up in your brain and it comes to more then you expected. While we are away it is so easy to lose track of spending. We tell ourselves “I’m on vacation I can spend fast and free.” We live it up and pretend that there is no bill to come home to. It’s fun and freeing for the moment. Then the moment ends and the bill comes.

I’m not saying this to be Debbie Downer, only that I have done this myself. Have spent more on vacation then I should have and had to dig myself out of debt upon returning home. It puts a damper on your happy memories and makes you wary of relaxing the purse strings on your next trip away.

But life shouldn’t be that way. We should be able to enjoy out vacation without the fear of getting in debt hanging over our head. With a little planning this could be the case and believe me you will enjoy your vacation a whole lot more knowing there is no ballooning credit card bill waiting in your mailbox.

Here are 7 ways to plan out your vacation and save a little money in the process.

  1. Book your vacation as far in advance as possible – This give you ample time to save for the trip. You will be completely aware of the true cost of your vacation and can make adjustments in your household spending to put aside for the cost of your travels.
  2. Be as flexible as possible with your travel dates – This will save you money in airfare, car rental and hotel bookings. You can shop around for the lowest prices based on the date.
  3. Monitor your travel bookings to see if the fare goes down in price -With many travel sites and companies if you see that the price is cheaper, they will allow you to rebook the fare at the lower price. If the price drops in the first 24 hours many airlines will allow you to rebook at a lower price and refund the difference without change fees.
  4. Prepay your vacation – This may seem obvious but it is often overlooked. Even if you pay a small amount per month towards your vacation, that small amount overtime adds up! It can take the sting out of the full vacation bill.
  5. Investigate before buying dining, photo, or beverage packages – For some families this may be a savings. However, in most cases there are many stipulations to these programs that prevent them from really saving you anything. Find out before you go and don’t sign up for these programs on a whim or under pressure.
  6. Look for no/low cost souvenirs – Do you really need another fridge magnet or coffee mug? Look for souvenirs that cost little or no money but will hold all the memory of your vacation, like a coaster from your favorite restaurant or postcard of your most beloved attraction.
  7. Have a Staycation – During 2008 when there was massive job loss, and financial uncertainty, the Staycation became the new vacation. Look around your town, your city or your state even. Are there local spots that want to see but never got a chance? Is there a great attraction within a days drive from your home? Explore the world right outside your front yard. Forgo the hotel stay and save yourself a bundle.
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