Family Finance – 4 Easy Tips for Managing the Household Expenses

 

Photo by stevepb on Pixabay

 

Running a household can be exhausting. Between events, activities, school and work it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Throughout all of it, you are spending money, often without keeping track of where it is going. Surprisingly, you don’t have to undertake the task of managing your household expenses alone. You can involve your family and teach your children valuable life skills at the same time.

Deal with your Debt

Too many families don’t have an accurate picture of their debt. Even small monthly payments can add up and quickly undermine your best financial efforts. Large, unexpected expenses can bring with them high-interest payments if your habit is to pay with a credit card. Small cash loans generally have much lower interest rates and more flexible payment options.

Another option to get a handle on your debt is to write a list, including everything you can think of and the corresponding payments due. Once you are aware of all your outstanding debt, you can pursue options like debt consolidation or debt overpayment to reduce it quickly. Professional credit counselors can also help you create a plan of attack.

Make Time to Review Your Finances

Set aside one evening a week to balance your accounts. If you are not already, use auto-pay to set up recurring monthly bill payments for everything possible. Then, once a week review your impending payments against your available funds and check your automatic payments against your budget—are they what you anticipated? If not, research why the bill was greater or less than your budget that month and call the company to correct any issues. Companies can make mistakes on their billing. Don’t let those mistakes hurt your household budget unnecessarily.

Cook at Home

After a long day at work, cooking a meal sounds way more challenging than picking something up on the way. The research results are in: eating out can be five times more expensive than cooking meals at home. Restaurants charge very heavily for dishes including proteins and pasta, so if these are some of your favorites, you stand to save a lot by cooking them at home. Home meal kits aren’t much better. They can be three times more expensive than buying the same ingredients. You could be overpaying tremendously for some Macaroni and Cheese! If your children are old enough, use this as an opportunity to teach them a valuable life skill by making them responsible for preparing a meal.

Teach Your Kids to Pay Their Way

If you have older children capable of earning an income from things like babysitting or dog walking, teach them the value of money by encouraging them to pay their way. Make them responsible for purchasing the items they “want.” For example, if your adolescent needs $10 to go to the movie with friends, teach them to pay for that expense themselves. When you make your children responsible for providing for their wants, they learn to be more selective with their money and relate dollars spent to dollars earned much more quickly. It also allows your paycheck to stay firmly rooted in paying for things such as the mortgage and utilities.

Your family may be more capable than you thought of managing the household expenses. Including them whenever possible will not only teach them life lessons like how to cook and pay for their own “wants,” but also help reduce your expenses. To effectively steer the family ship, track your debt carefully and take time to review your finances on a weekly basis.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Australian Ambitions – A Guide to Getting the True Down Under Experience

 

 

It only takes travelling abroad to understand that most non-Australians? Don’t have much of a clue what the deal is Down Under. But it’s not totally uncommon to meet people from another state who have no idea of the wonder and excitement to be found in your state. If you’re weighing up which country to hop to this holidays, pause those plans and look in your backyard for inspiration. Here’s our guide on what the true Down Under experience should be.

Road trips

Australia is a huge country, which means it takes a while to discover it all on the road. This presents a great opportunity to take out a few weeks driving to all destinations and checking out each unique Australian state. There are many roads and recommended paths you can take, but many start in South Australia by visiting the wineries and enjoying the high life in serviced apartments in Adelaide CBD. From there you can take Nullabor Plain and head to Western Australia, and then on to the rest of this Great Southern Land.

Diving

Diving in Australia needs to be seen to be believed, and Finding Nemo was only a hint of what is waiting out there. Cairns (Queensland) is the logical place to dive in Australia, but you may be surprised to learn that other pockets in Australia also have great clarity and unique sea life beneath the water. Byron Bay (New South Wales) is another great place to explore on the diving front. If you wanted to make a trip of it, you can hire a charter boat and visit a few hot spots in a weekend or week. If you are unqualified, you may need to have a dive master on board to make sure the dive is safe and above board.

Beach hopping

So many people think all Australians spend their weekends surfing, like something out of Summer Bay. For many this is true, and it can be for you if you spend a couple of weeks beach hopping along the coastal line. Each state in Australia will claim they have the most pristine beaches, and the truth? They are all unique and perfect in their own way. Perth (Western Australia) is quite renowned for their beaches, and Melbourne and Sydney have beaches that are built into the city hotspots (Bondi and St Kilda).

Landmarks

It wouldn’t be a true Down Under experience without a visit to those quintessential Aussies landmarks. If you think they are too touristy for you, remember that they are famous for a reason, and quite breathtaking when you are standing in front of them. To name just a few, the obvious callouts have to be:

Adelaide: Adelaide Central Market, Glenelg and Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Sydney: Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach

Melbourne: Queen Victoria Markets, the Laneways, Federation Square and the MCG

Brisbane: South Bank and  GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art)

National and animal parks

The wildlife and natural beauty of Australia makes up the full picture of Down Under. Whether you live in Australia or not, chances are you have not visited and seen all the famous Aussie animals. We’re not just talking about koalas and kangaroos either. There is also Quokkas (Western Australia) and Tasmanian Devils (Tasmania) to be seen. If an active holiday sounds right up your alley, you’ll find a stunning collection of National Parks like Kakadu, Uluru and Litchfield (Northern Territory).

There is so much to be discovered in the Great Southern Land, and can be accessed and enjoyed all year around. Adelaide is a great destination to kick off your adventures, before setting off to see it all.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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5 Ideas For Spending More Time With Your Family

 

As a working mom, you know that it can be difficult to spend good, quality time with your family. You may feel guilty about working late or leaving the house early, and if you work from home you might feel bad when you have to tell the kids to quieten down and let you work, especially if they are craving your attention. With everyone so busy and careers so hectic, there will be times that this happens, and feeling guilty will only make you feel worse; it won’t solve anything.

What will help the situation is if you can spend more time with your family throughout the week. Even when you’re working, if you can allocate specific times for work and other times for family, and ensure that the two don’t mix, you can settle back into a good work-life balance, and everyone in the household will be much happier.

Here are some ideas for spending more time with your family so that you won’t be tempted to check your work emails, or sneak in some extra meetings when you’re not supposed to.

Arrange A Family Night

By setting aside one specific night each week as your family night, you will be able to always have at least this time with your family, even if you are super busy for the rest of the week. Which day you choose is down you, and will depend on the different after-school clubs, sports, and other activities that your family takes part in, as well as when they might go out with their friends as they get older.

There are numerous things you can do on family night to make it special, whether you stay in the house or go out somewhere else.

You could:

  • Watch a movie together, complete with snacks and popcorn. Snuggle up on the sofa under blankets and drink hot chocolate in the winter and homemade lemonade (that you made together) in the summer.
  • Go out to dinner somewhere new each week, trying different cuisines and exploring new places.
  • Have a game night – play in teams if the kids are too young to play individually
  • Make crafts. This is the night where you can let your imagination go wild and make a mess as you create some fantastic paintings, models, and other craft ideas.

Book A Family Vacation

Being able to book a family vacation every year is hugely important. This is time you can really, truly spend together without any distractions. An emergency won’t come up at work that you suddenly need to deal with (and if it does, it will be someone else’s problem when you’re not at home), you won’t be distracted by the household chores that still need to be done, and everyone will be a lot more relaxed than usual as the vacation works to de-stress them and make them calmer.

You don’t have to spend a huge amount of money on this vacation, and if you do need to borrow, you can always check Bonsai Finance for the best deals on credit cards and loans. The important thing is spending time together somewhere different than home.

What you want from a family vacation is to take home some wonderful memories for both you and your partner and children. You can go camping, take a cruise, head to a park like Disneyland, or stay on the beach for two weeks. Do what will work for your family, and make sure that everyone will enjoy their time away.

Exercise Together

Exercising regularly is massively important if you want to be as fit and healthy as possible. It’s important for you, but it’s also important for the rest of your family too; everyone should exercise when they can (or, even better, make room for exercise in their schedule).

Since this is something you should be doing anyway, why not make exercising a family thing? You don’t have to join an exercise class to get fit and healthy; just going outside and running around playing games can be perfectly adequate. This way, you (and the rest of your family) are getting the right amount of exercise you need, and you’re also having fun together. It won’t feel like exercise, but it will be doing you a lot of good.

Read Together

Spending quality time as a family doesn’t have to be loud and energetic. Reading is a wonderful pastime that has been shown to increase the reader’s memory and cognitive ability. So it’s great to show your children how important reading is to their lives. If you sit and quietly read a book, they will want to follow suit.

Alternatively, you can read one book together. This is great for bedtime when you can carve out an extra 10 to 15 minutes together, one on one. This is a special time and will help your child fall asleep more easily. Reading a bedtime story can be done both ways; you read to them and they read to you. Take it in turns.

Make Dinner

Dinner is another task that needs to be done each day, unless you are going out to eat. Since this is the case, it makes sense that your children get involved. This is the perfect opportunity for you to talk to them about their day, and to teach them some skills in the kitchen. Plus, even a fussy eater is more inclined to eat something if they’ve helped to create it themselves. Eating all together at the table at least a few times a week is also a great way to spend more time with your family. You will find out a lot more about them this way, and it’s a memorable experience for the whole family.

If you’re not what you might call a confident chef, don’t worry; you and your children can take a class to teach you the basic skills in the kitchen, and as a bonus, you get to spend even more time together.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Affordable and Comfortable Bed Sheets by California Design Den

Soft and comfortable bed sheets are a must in my home. I love a high thread count, but that usually comes with a high price tag. I have found a very soft, silky, comfortable and affordable sheet set for the whole family from Calfornia Design Den.

About these sheets:

  • Pure Natural 100% Cotton
  • Extra Durable Fitted Elastic
  • Anti Pilling Fabric
  • Fade Resistant Dye
  • Individually Tailored
  • Head/Foot Tag on Fitted
  • Quality Tested and Inspected
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certified – Tests for harmful substances

These sheets come with a bottom fitted, flat sheet and 2 pillow cases. They come in a variety of beautiful colors. I ordered the king size set in the MOD SPA color which is like a soft bluish green. When I opened them, they are super soft to the touch. I followed the washing instructions and also put them in the dryer, they came out great and still soft and silky. They have nice deep pockets which fit my deep mattress perfectly. I like how they are silky but I don’t slip all over the mattress when I’m laying on the sheet.

I highly recommend these sheets to anyone who is looking for a high quality sheet that will not break the bank. They are durable, soft, silky and wash well.

To purchase, please click here: Amazon

*I received these sheets in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Marijean

My name is MJ. I have two wonderful children and work part time as well as volunteer at my children's school.

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Looking Forward With Hope and Health

I’m no stranger to addiction. It’s sadly something that all too many people have to experience in their lifetime. Even if you’re not the one struggling with the addiction itself, just knowing someone who is can be a challenging experience. What can you do to help, and is it possible that they’ll ever really change?

The truth is that addiction is one of the hardest things anyone will ever overcome. Most people turn to drugs or alcohol after a traumatic experience to help them numb the pain of the event. When sober, life can become nearly unbearable for them. They may experience anxiety or paranoia just trying to cope with everyday life. Recovery is always possible, but not everyone is able to do it on their own.

My brother found himself at this very point earlier this year. Ex-military, he was finally home but from far from himself. While he used to be a laid-back, chipper guy, he was now much quieter, never laughed, and his drinking was definitely getting out of control. I tried to talk to him about it, but he was always extremely defensive, and I was unable to understand what he was going through at the time. As much as I wanted to help him, I had no idea how.

Seeking Help

Eventually, we were able to have a somewhat coherent conversation about everything he’d been going through. To my surprise, my brother admitted to me that he needed help. I knew that must have been hard, and although I was new to all this, I was determined to help him in any way I could. Together, he and I scoured the net until we came across the Harris House St. Louis Treatment Center. I was happy to learn that, not only did they have a special program for my brother, but also another program to help educate family members on what we can be doing to help.

When you make the decision to seek help, you are ultimately choosing yourself above your addiction. This may seem like an easy decision for those who have never drank or done drugs, but I’ve learned that most addicts struggle with their self-worth. It’s hard to choose yourself over drinking when you don’t care about yourself.

Another hard part about seeking help is giving up all control of the situation. Rehab facilities will help with detoxing, therapy, and learning how to live life sober, but it can still seem extremely scary to make that first step. Fortunately, there are several programs that help to make the transitioning period much easier.

Types Of Programs

Many people forget that addiction is a disease. It’s not something that can be turned off and not every addict is created equal. Because of this, there are several treatment options that patients can choose from depending on their individual needs.

Intensive Inpatient Program

In this program, the patient will live on the facility while they go through the detoxing phase. They will also be provided with group and individual therapy several times a week. The patients are also provided with several fun activities and a strict routine to help them relearn sober living.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Another option is the outpatient program. Here, patients will still be provided with counselors to help them identify the root of their addiction, but they will not be required to stay at the facilities at all times. Most patients who attend this program are able to hold down steady jobs while focusing on their sobriety.

Transitional Housing

Some patients still struggle with addiction even after attending therapy. Relapse is always possible, and some may find it safer to live on the facility until those urges pass. While in housing, patients are able to meet with counselors to better identify their trigger points. They’re then taught healthy ways of dealing with their emotions instead of using their vices. With continued therapy, the odds of relapsing go down dramatically.

Family Education

When my brother first came to me with this problem, I had no idea what to think or expect. I knew nothing about addiction, all I knew was that he was hurting. Thankfully, this program helped open my eyes and gave me a much better understanding of what he was going through. Not only did it help me cope, but it also taught me how to make things easier on my brother.

I’ve learned that while addiction isn’t fun, it can be overcome. It can be hard at times, but as long as you have a great support network and remember to take things one day at a time, you can always succeed.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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