It is a 3 paycheck month for a lot of people, did you notice?

•March 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It is that time of the year again, did you notice over the last few pay checks that your cushion is growing in your checking account? That there is a little more time to hold onto your money before the bills are due? It is the extra pay cycle catching up with the calendar. Take advantage of it, grab that extra cushion before it gets sucked up by this or that and pay your highest interest debt down with it. Because you know if it sits in that checking account it inevitably will be chewed up and you will have nothing to account for the “bonus” you got. You may be asking yourself, well how can I do that? I don’t have it. Interesting, when you have payroll deductions taken out, that same amount is taken out each check, whether you have 2 or 3 paychecks in a month. You won’t even notice because you are in a system, but that extra payment you will notice in the savings, or if you sign-up for bi-weekly mortgage payments. It happens twice per year which gives you an extra payment on your mortgage every year, which I believe knocks off something like 12 years off a 30 year mortgage.

If you find yourself coming up for air twice per year because the extra paycheck helps you get current on your bills, it may be time to reassess where you are financially. Do you always hear the terms, living below your means, or above your means and never really knew what exactly that was? If you are living paycheck to paycheck and the extra check helps keep you afloat you are living above your means. If you can in fact can feel and use that extra money to pay down debt out right you are living within your means because you still have money to pay your monthly bills. Being a Financial Organizer, I use this example to help people see where they are relatively quickly. If you would like help getting your financial house in order and getting to the point where you can put that “bonus” to your highest interest rate debt, please contact me. As always unless I can save you 3 times my fee in one session, you don’t pay anything.

 

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Ways to Fight Fatigue

•March 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I am all about keeping the energy level up and these articles are always friendly reminders to help me stay on track. Here is a cheat sheet to the article I found, the full article can be found at the below link but here are the highlights that we can all make some quick adjustments and gain some of that energy back, especially with the recent time change.

1. Don’t load up on simple carbs before Noon. The article said it will give quick highs but the lows will get you. Stick with high protein for breakfast. I believe I will try this and go with a Protein shake in the AM, or maybe add protein powder to the oatmeal.

2. High protein-High Fiber snacks. Eat when you get hungry or your body will go into starvation mode. I do this, which is crazy for our meal schedule but keeps everyone from gorging when it comes to meal times.

3. Take multi-vitamen for energy, makes sense. It said to keep your immune system strong so you don’t get sick as much.

4. Get your rest. It says to get 8 hours, but sometimes you may not need it. My personal philosophy is if the alarm isn’t waking me up that means I am getting enough sleep. But we are early to bed, early to rise people, my natural wake time is usually around 5am, very seldom do I hear a 5:15am alarm my husband sets. If I do, I know I need to get to bed early the next night to make sure I am getting my sleep.

5. Hydration is key. I am a firm believer in this. Get those 8 glasses in. When I am feeling sleepy or none motivated, I slug water, low and behold, my energy level rises 4 out of 5 times when I do this.

6. Walk at least 10 minutes a day. I agree, I hate to plan for a walk/exercise but I never regret it once I start moving, and 10 minutes won’t kill anyone’s schedule.

7. Breathe deep to relieve stress: a direct quote:

  • Deep breathing exercise: Put your right hand over your stomach. Start by taking in a deep breath for 2 seconds. Then slowly breathe out for 4 seconds. Repeat for at least one minute until you feel rested.

I hope this helps you to tackle things better to get through the rest of the week, I know it has helped me to remember the basics.

 

http://www.oprah.com/health/Dr-Ozs-7-Day-Plan-to-Fight-Fatigue/1

A Twist on Italian Night for Dinner–Something Fun

•March 14, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I am always trying to think of ways to do the same old things in a different way to keep it fun. Spaghetti night can get old, so we have come up with something different. We do the pasta sample dinner. With Publix offering BOGO all the time on Spaghetti Sauce this makes it easy. When/If you have the kids with you at the Grocery store, everyone gets to pick a pasta sauce they think they would like best. White sauce, red sauce, chunky, traditional, whatever. All our different likes brings surprises to our picks, and it is interesting trying new sauces. What we do is cook up a pot of whatever pasta the kids picked at the store as well, yes I like to delegate shopping decisions, makes meal prep easier because they picked it so I know they will like it. Then we all sample the different sauces to see if our favorite is still the best or perhaps another gets our fancy. And since the pasta is hot, we just pour the sauce from the jar(gasp), stir and add parm cheese. That way the pasta cools to the right temp for the kids when mixed with the sauce, and makes for quick prep.

Don’t know….Google it, crazy how much info is out there

•March 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I have had some foot problems, didn’t know what to do. My foot hurt if I put any pressure on it, but didn’t hurt at all if I was sitting. No swelling, no bruising, no injury, no dis-coloration. No clue!! I googled it, low and behold, others had experienced the same thing. My husband took me to urgent care this weekend but the x-ray machine was down so we left and I continued to ice and elevate and started searching. Now I am learning that many others are going to urgent cares/ERs/GPs and being told ice and elevate but that doesn’t seem to be the issue with these people as with me as well. Right now I have a tennis shoe on, no pain, but no weight on it either. The advice people on Google said, save your time, co-pays and frustration and go straight to a foot specialist, since we have Aetna Open Access I called Aetna and they said yes the clinic I was looking at was in-network and I didn’t need a referral. I then went to the clinic website and it had an “ask a nurse” button, of course I am going to use it. I wrote in my issue, got a call back within about 6 hours. Talked it over with her, depending on symptoms I will be heading into the Dr., I feel so much more confident that I am doing the right thing and not second guessing going in or not. Either way, I will skip a few needless frustrating steps along the way.   Thanks to Google, I know I am not the only one who has experienced this and I am not going Looney.

What to do with a cake that is raw in the middle? Disaster to Delicious

•March 12, 2012 • 1 Comment

We were having a sleepover party for our little girl Friday night, our plan was to have the girls help make the cake. As soon as they were in the pool, there was no getting the girls out, our daughter says, “Mom you can just make it”. Okay, but with everything going on and more girls arriving it got crazy, the timer went off on the oven, and I had my husband check if it was done and take it out. 15 minutes goes by and I go into the kitchen, the whole center of the cake is sunk. Ugg, now what to do, I would have to wait to throttle hubby until later now was time to divert disaster. First thing, flip it it onto a round pizza pan that I was going to use to serve it on, release the spring form pan, I then dig out the center that is raw. At this point I have a good 4-5 inch diameter hole down to the pizza pan, it looked like a donut. I get it all carved out, then throw it in the freezer to get it nice and cold and get out the Neapolitan ice cream I was going to serve with the cake and let it get a bit soft, not too soft just enough to get it to form. I then take the ice cold cake out, fill it with the ice cream, frost it, put the sprinkles on it, and throw it back in the freezer. It was time for the cake to be served. It turned out perfect!! The girls thought it was sooooo cool that I made an ice cream cake and every last piece was eaten.

Cheaper Birthday Celebration Alternative….

•March 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

In these economic times we are all looking for ways to cut down on expenses. Birthday Parties can get pricey. An alternative, cheaper on the wallet but could be hard on the nerves. Drum roll please…….a sleepover. Being that it is my daughter’s birthday coming up we have been talking about her birthday for months, or at least she has, ever since my son had his birthday sleepover. If you can handle the kids, this is definitely the way to go. A couple pizzas($5 pizza deal), for our daughter we are doing sloppy joe’s because a little friend who stayed over before is raving to all the little girls that sloppy joe’s are really good, so I will throw some whale crackers in along with carrots and applesauce, dinner is done. Then running around, we have the pool, definite filler.  Girls, you can paint nails, we also have some bead craft kits from Christmas that we can do . The next exciting thing that can save you some bucks, have them make the birthday cake, they mix, throw it in, then decorate, something they can say they did and a ton of great memories for them. Throw in a movie, couple bags of popcorn, couple of 2 liters of soda(I prefer the no caffeine and no sugar variety, if they don’t like that kind they can drink water, but I haven’t found any child that turns down diet lemon-lime soda–it’s the bubbles). Everyone goes to sleep on the floor. Next morning, pancakes for everyone. Hubby is going to go one step further with this one, he cleared it with Lowe’s he is taking all the girls to Build-and-grow on Saturday morning, so they all get aprons, a project, a badge and certificate, all free. The sleepover total will probably cost less than $20, the out of pocket less since we will be using everything that we already have in the house.

Expired Local Coupons? Ask if they will still accept them….

•March 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

We went out the other night not realizing that the coupons were expired until we were in the parking lot of a local chain restaurant.  It wasn’t worth the money without the coupon, so I figured what the heck, I’ll ask.   I didn’t think they would accept them, we went in, asked and they said sure we’ll take them.  So don’t assume an expiration date is set in stone, call ahead or ask when you are there, all they can do is say no, right?