Monday, November 30, 2020

How To Make a Pandemic Party Special, or How to have a Fun and Safe Covid Birthday Celebration

There's so many hard things about today's current situation, and one of the biggest ones is that keeping safe can make it feel like a birthday is really sad and depressing, because you can't have the types of celebrations that you've had in the past. However, that doesn't mean that you can't celebrate! Yes, it takes some creativity, and your birthdays won't look the same as they have in past years, but you can still have a great time!

Here's a few suggestions on how to celebrate birthdays in a special way while keeping Covid safe. 

Building Finances: Things to Consider When Starting a New Business

For many, this period of time is one full of financial hardships. Many have lost jobs, many have lost clients. Some people, because of this, have decided to open a new business that can better serve people during these times, with the hopes that this can be a good source of income for them and their family. If you are starting a new business, here's some things from a reader that you should definitely consider.

There are two distinctly opposite approaches taken when starting something – anything – new. One is that someone will just begin, get straight to it. They will do the new thing and accept the mistakes, fumbling around, until it begins to make sense and a clearer solution and process is discovered or presents itself. The other is to commit to mastering the activity before it’s even begun. It’s achieved via reading books and articles of other people’s experiences and technical knowledge. The middle ground between the two is the ideal. This article cannot start the business for you. What it can do is provide knowledge about the things to consider about the financial-side of starting a new business. So, it’ll meet you halfway.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Don't Make My Mistake

Don't expect this post to be this long and full of deep insights that no one else on the face of this earth has ever shared before. I have some posts that I feel are really ground breaking, with really cool calculations and factoids that I figured out and am super excited to share. And then I have posts with lots of details ideas that most people don't know.

And then there's today's post. Today's post was about a flub up I made. And maybe it's something that most people know. Maybe people don't. But its a flop that I made and while I share my successes, I figure its also worth sharing the mistakes I make so people can be careful not to repeat them.

I take medicine daily. Its very necessary for my psyche, and I am grateful for my meds every day. I am also really grateful that I live in a place where most of my medical costs are covered by my very cheap insurance, something that I know many people around the world do not have. 

All You Need to Know About Forex Indicators

If you have money left over at the end of the month, instead of just letting it sit in your bank account, you might decide to invest it, so you can make money with that money. One way of investing is in Forex, something I am wholy unqualified to talk about. So for that reason, I turn this over to a reader, to explain things about Forex Indicators.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned trader, the challenge of finding the perfect moment to execute your strategy is both an exciting and fascinating process. And, as fascinating as it might be, it is important to know that there is nothing like a one-size-fits-all strategy in forex trading. Simply put, there are numerous strategies or market indicators you’d need to master to be able to determine the perfect moment to execute a trade. The excellent moment to buy or sell can be determined through these indicators. 

Forex trading and trading platforms have a handful of tools that aid you in trading, but this article will focus on 6 of the most effective indicators.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

My Thanksgiving Gratitude Post

I don't always make a Thanksgiving post, even though most of my readership does celebrate Thanksgiving. That's because while I grew up in the US and Thanksgiving was a big part of my life there, I moved abroad, married a non American, and did not have Thanksgiving off, and not really many people to celebrate it with. Occasionally we made Thanksgiving dinners throughout the years, but not always. This year, we're going away for the weekend and having a Thanksgiving style dinner tomorrow night.

However, whether or not I'm having an actual Thanksgiving meal today, Thanksgiving is a time where I get reminded about how many things I have to be grateful for. And this year, more than anything, I am feeling the gratitude, and wanted to share some of what I'm grateful for with you. This isn't going to be in any particular order, its just on what came to mind first.

Top Tips When You Decide to Cook with Kids

Kids love cooking. At least every kid I've met. But the thing is, parents don't always like cooking with them, because it takes more time and makes more mess and sometimes it feels like it isn't worth it. But it is. The skills the kids learn and the fun times they have are worth all the mess. But if you can do it in a way to cause as few issues as possible, that's the best. These tips from a reader might help you out so your cooking time with your kids can be as pleasant as possible for everyone.

Children find kitchens to be fascinating. They regularly notice the grown-ups working there briskly. Many kids have the habit of smelling what is on the menu for lunch, and they find it intriguing to see the steam rising from the pots on your stove. You may see even the older kids get intrigued by the coming together of the baked goods and the meals. Of course, we understand that it may not always be convenient for you to invite your children to the kitchen, but you should do it whenever time allows.   

Younger kids always like to watch what you are doing. They even want to help out with small tasks, such as stirring the lentils or helping you set the table. If you have older kids, you can teach them how to measure the ingredients or crack open the eggs. At times, kids get excited if you tell them to pick their favorite dish that they would want to eat, and then you can make it together with them. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Easy Mulled Wine Recipe- Paleo, Allergy Friendly, Refined Sugar Free

I'm not a hot drinks person. I mean, in the past I loved a good hot cocoa, but with my having dairy issues, that became so much more complicated. Then I started drinking coffee, but my psychiatrist banned that for me. I haven't been able to find a good consistent source of gluten free coffee substitute, other than the ones I make myself, but that is too much much work for me to do that on a regular basis. And I've never been a fan of tea (I only drink it when I'm sick). So if you ask me if I enjoy a good hot drink, my answer pretty much would have been a solid no. 

Until a few days ago.

I don't know why, but a few days ago, I was thinking about sitting in front of a log cabin with a roaring fire, snuggled up in a cozy blanket on the couch with a good book, and sipping mulled wine. I'd never even had mulled wine, but I knew that I had to try to make it.

I looked online for how to make mulled wine, and there are so many different recipes out there, each with their own unique twist. Most of them called for star anise which I didn't have at home, and while I probably could have used some fennel seeds instead (from the wild fennel growing in my backyard), I had a guest over who detests the flavor of fennel, so I wanted to try another variety. I had just finished making a batch of jaggery syrup and though I poured it into the storage container, there was enough syrup in the pot I used that I didn't want to go to waste, and figured that it was the perfect time to make that mulled wine, using whatever was left of the jaggery syrup to sweeten it. 

It was so wonderful, that I decided to make it a few times since.

Its the perfect combination of soothing warmth and comfort for a cold winter night. With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, and Christmas not long after that, many people are looking for the perfect beverage to serve. Why not make it be mulled wine, and give them that homey cozy feeling in a mug?

While I used jaggery syrup for mine, feel free to use whatever sweetener you like, whether honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, white sugar, or whatever floats your boat. You can play around with the spices, adding more or less. Just note that too much cloves will probably be overpowering, so down play it. There's no one right way to make it. Take your pick. My recipe is just a suggestion.

And yes, I can definitely now say I'm a hot drinks person. Make it mulled wine, please.

Easy Mulled Wine Recipe- Allergy Friendly, Refined Sugar Free

7 Life-Saving Tips for Parents in the New Normal

Times are tough. Many of us have no idea what we're doing with our own lives, let alone with our children. Here's some tips from a reader who seems to have some idea what to do in this new normal! Thanks for the tips!

The COVID-19 Pandemic is an unprecedented event in human history. We can no longer afford to be careless in how we carry out our day to day activities. This is especially true for how we raise our children. We live in a new normal, and they will have to adapt fast. Although kids are less vulnerable to the virus compared to adults, they will still need to be just as careful: they could infect the adults. Here are 7 life-saving tips for parents in the new normal to help out their kids:

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Overcoming Homeschool Frustrations

Today I have a special treat for you. My friend, Yehudis Litvak, veteran homeschooler and owner of the Digital Homeschool Convention, is sharing some great tips on how to deal with some common frustrations that come up with homeschooling, but, to be honest, can be applied to most parenting situations if you aren't a homeschooler.

My son hates penmanship. He can build a chair, cook a gourmet meal, or set up a homemade water slide in the backyard, but the idea of putting pen to paper and writing neatly sends him running.

If you’re a homeschool parent like me, you’ve had your own share of frustrations. Sure, you’ve also spent time enjoying your children and building precious memories. But if your children happen to be human, their ideas of how they want to spend their days likely differ from yours. More to the point, it’s likely that there is something you want them to learn that they’d rather avoid at all costs.

Each child is unique, and each has unique strengths and weaknesses. As conscientious parents, while we want to give them plenty of time to develop their strengths, we also want to make sure that they are building up their weak areas. And that’s where the frustrations come in, because our children, just like us, would much rather do just about anything else.

Parenting for a Successful Future

A lot of times with parenting, we get so overwhelmed with it that we get caught up in the now that we forget to parent for the future as well. Here's some tips from a reader about how to encorporate future planning into your parenting style.

Being a parent means being responsible for your family in so many ways. As a parent, you provide a warm and welcoming home where your children feel safe and secure. You are the nurturer who brings nutritious and satisfying food to the table for your loved ones. And you do all you can to make sure their future is bright and full of promise. In a perfect world, bringing love into your home would be all that is needed for happiness and completion. Love would provide the perfect environment for your children to thrive and grow. There are so many other avenues to attend to and tasks to be done. We have to watch over our offspring and at the same time give them the room to learn and experience life.

Monday, November 23, 2020

My Latest Super Frugal Scratch and Dent Grocery Haul

Sometimes I write posts and almost know what reaction I'm going to get. So I'm going to preempt that and say that I don't care what people's opinions are, I'm ok with that, and I am happy with my choices as to how I feed my family.

I will admit that as a blogger, sometimes I do things knowing that they will make a great blog post, and it encourages me to do more of those things. Today was one of those days.

I haven't been to the city recently, so haven't managed to run errands that needed running. Corona and all and being low energy means that I'm very much a homebody. But I had therapy in the city (much better than over Zoom!) and figured that while I was there, I'd take a bus to the pharmacy to pick up my meds (I'm running quite low). While on the bus, I was passing one of my favorite scratch and dent stores, and decided to hop off there one stop early and take a look at what was being offered. I had no backpack, no wagon, nothing, but hey, lets see anyhow what I can get.

4 Ways to Save During the Holidays

So many people are going through tough times financially now. This year the holidays will be looking a bit different. Here's some ways to lower the cost of this time, from a reader.

The holidays can be tough when you’re on a budget. From expensive gifts to pricey dinners, it’s hard to make it to January without burning a hole in your wallet.

Fortunately, there are some ways to cut down on seasonal spending. If you’re looking to do your checking account a festive favor this year, read on for four ways to save during the holidays!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

How I Overcame a Painful Trigger of Mine

I took the bus today and there was this little baby crying. Not one of those little whimpers that a bit of shushing is able to quickly calm down. Nope, it was that incessant high pitched keening that showed a baby was in a lot of distress, but despite the mother's attempts to soothe it, the wailing continued. After a few minutes of this, my friend Babs, on the bus with me, turned to me and softly said probably what everyone  was thinking 'Isn't that annoying?' And I thought about it for a few seconds and said, "Yes, but it's not triggering me."

I mean, that might be an odd response, but that's actually the reason I'm writing this post.

How to Reduce Your Healthcare Costs

I am happy to live in a place with very affordable healthcare, but even so, some things can add up. And unfortunately many people live in a place where healthcare eats such a large portion of their budget if not puts them into debt. Here's some tips from a reader on how to keep down your health care costs.

With the cost of healthcare continuing to increase, it is now high time to limit your out-of-pocket health expenses. The good thing is that a bit of detective work and comparison shopping can go a long way to helping you net a significant saving. Here, we tell you how to save money while still receiving the care you need. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sentimentality When Decluttering After the Death of a Loved One

My friend Rebekah is literally the expert on decluttering and organizing. She made a whole business based on that, BalaganBeGone where she helps clients clear their clutter and clear their mind. 

Decluttering and organizing are very important things for everyone, but especially frugal people, because, as my son pointed out to me yesterday when I was organizing my pantry and cleaning my fridge, if you don't know where things are, you won't know what you have, and you'll end up throwing out things that go off and purchasing things that you already own. In addition to that, if you have a lot of clutter, you end up needing to pay for a larger property to house all your stuff than if you are able to keep down your posessions. 

When Rebekah's mother passed away, she had to live what she preached, and figure out how to balance the sentimentality and importance of her mothers posessions, while still not filling her house with too many posessions. Here's more about that.

How to Really Work at Home (and How Not To)

When I saw the title of this post sent to me by one of my regular contributors, I liked it before I even read it. Oh my gosh, so many ways to work at home, and so many things to avoid. However, while it's a great post, it went a very different direction than I would have, so it just inspires me to write another post with a similar name. In the meantime, enjoy this contribution.

Image from Pixabay - CC0 License

Many of us have been working from home recently when we wouldn't ordinarily. Even teachers are teaching their classes online from their own homes. However, when things are a little more normal, it could be straight back to work for a lot of people. If you've always dreamed of working from home, and now you've got a taste and enjoyed it, you might be wondering if it's possible for you to keep going. But a lot of advice about working from home doesn't seem to set you up for a full-time job or career. What are your legitimate options for working from home, and what should you do or not do? 

Financial Aid Programs for Military Service Members and Their Families

My dad joined the US military when I was 16 and already living out of the house, so I don't really know what it's like to have the experience as living as the child of military members (other than the fact that he phoned in to my sister's wedding from Iraq but fortunately 4 weeks later was able to be at my wedding), but I do know some benefits that I have from that, like when I had free health insurance at over 18. Even now that he left the army, I benefit by being able to bank with USAA, one of the better banks out there that only servicemembers and families can use. Here's a post from a reader about some other benefits you don't want to miss out on if you're a military family.

Service members face a range of threats—from lethal to financial and even emotional threats. And parents, they’re often concerned about ensuring that their family is financially stable while confronting lethal threats on the war front. 

Parenting as a Military service member or the spouse of one exposes you to a lot of special financial challenges that most individuals don’t encounter. However, the federal government and military authorities have an impressive array of special benefits, legal protections, and tax breaks that can help cushion those challenges.

Here are some financial aid programs that are available to military service members and their families.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Cutting Clothing Costs With Picky Teens and Preteens

Clothing shopping with my picky and clothes concious son Lee.

I've written before about cutting the cost in children's clothing, but the thing is, cutting clothing costs for younger kids is so much easier than doing so for older kids, especially when your older children are pickier. And because teens and preteens grow so quickly, even if you manage to buy clothes that they like, they very quickly outgrow them and you're in a bind again then. Often the tips and techniques that worked for younger children quickly proove useless when you have kids that reject most of the finds that you make, even if you think they're super cool and awesome and stylish (because kids know this much better than their parents, amirite?). In some groups where we were discussing this situation with kids and clothing, I heard some parents say that as parents, you can put your foot down and simply not allow it- your child doesn't get to dictate these things, you're the parents, you make the rules. So I spoke to my kids therapist about this, and she strongly disagreed; it is important for a kid to feel comfortable in their clothes, and no, this is not something you should "put your foot down about".

But a budget. How do you actually manage to dress your kids in a way that they find acceptable, but that you can swing financially?

And I'll tell you something- you can't expect your clothes bills for your teens and preteens to be as little as it was when you were frugally shopping for your babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. But with these techniques, hopefully you can make it as least painful financially as possible, while still respecting your kids' wishes and independence.

Cutting Clothing Costs With Picky Teens and Preteens

6 Plus Fun and Affordable Kids' Party Favors to Make Them Smile

In your community, do you give party favors at birthday parties? While I don't typically give them at birthday parties at home, to celebrate birthdays at school we do bring party favors, which I generally just buy at a store that sells everything for a quarter. Here's some other ideas for affordable party favors for kids.

Kids’ parties are special times when both your children and their guests make memories that will last a lifetime. Throwing a kids’ party and giving each child something nice to take home needn’t be a costly exercise - especially if you make kids’ party favors yourself. Plus, giving each of your little guests a little something will make them smile - now that’s something money just can’t buy. Check out these ideas and either use them as is, or as inspiration to kickstart your creativity.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Homemade Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free Eclairs Recipe -- Frugal Fancy Food

I have been having a really hard time lately healthwise, I've written about them before, but I was really hoping today would go better, since I had my long awaited appointment with an endocrinologist, but the endocrinologist is refusing to treat me without furture blood tests and without sky high TSH, because he's insisting that the issues are "resolving on their own" when I can tell by how I feel that they aer not, but he was ignoring that, so in the meantime, I'm still untreated, running on a ridiculously low amount of energy, and feeling terrible. 

But I don't want to let you readers down, so I've arranged some great guest posts from my friends to fill in the gaps when I don't have the energy to write, and today I have an extra special treat- a recipe for DIY homemade gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free eclairs from my friend Juli over at Pandemonium Noshery

I can't wait to feel better so that I can whip up a batch of these myself. I literally have not had a single eclair since going gluten free nearly 10 years ago. These look amazing, as does everything Juli makes. And I had no idea it was so doable at home.

I love an excuse to make a tasty treat. Eclairs are a person favorite because while they are particular about the process of being made they aren't hard and they don't take long. No waiting for cakes to chill or layers to set. Start to finish this took me 30 minutes. So when I was trying to think of something fun and decadent but still gluten free, refined sugar free, and didn't use any weird, hard to find, or expensive ingredients I really wanted to make eclairs work.

I cook gluten free when I have family over, a few of my adorable nieces and nephews are celiacs so I had a basic idea of where to start. After a lot of research, just kidding I messaged my sister, she said all the egg keeps it together you don't really need to do anything but swap out the flour. I was swapping out more than that so with a bit of apprehension I added honey and coconut oil to the recipes and baked. And they turned out wonderfully. So wonderfully in fact that no one could tell the difference.

Homemade Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free Eclairs Recipe -- Frugal Fancy Food

How to Save Money On Kids Clothes

Clothing can be the bane of a parents' budget. You buy the kids clothes and within five seconds they are growing out of them. This happens the most in their first few years of life (kids go through 6 or more sizes in their first 2 years of life!!!) but also again during puberty. If you aren't careful with how you get these clothes, your finances can really take a turn for the worse. 

Here's some great tips from a reader including the last which I suck at- my son Lee is very finicky about his clothes and will generally only wear more expensive styles from more expensive brands and I have ruined too many of his clothes by washing them with the wrong thing and dying them weird colors that make them unusable for him. Follow these tips, you won't regret it!

Kids can grow up really fast, and constantly buying clothes for them as they grow can eat up your household budget. How do you save some money on your kids’ clothes? Here are some tips: 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Versatile Saag Paneer Recipe with Wild Edible Options, Vegan Options

Vegan saag paneer, with tofu and coconut milk,
made with lambsquarters and sea beet (wild swiss chard)

There are some posts that I think about and write about that very same day, and then there's other posts, like this one, that I've wanted to write about for years, but haven't for a lot of reasons. This recipe is one for saag paneer, a curried greens dish from India, and is so incredibly versatile. If you've heard of palak paneer, its when this dish is made with spinach, and it usually is blended up. Traditionally paneer cheese is added and it is absolutely divine.

However, this dish is not exactly like palak paneer, but rather saag paneer, as it is called when made with different greens. The reason I have wanted to share it for so long is because it is what I make with my students nearly every time I teach a foraging and cooking class out in the wild. It is such a hit every time, and it is versatile enough that I make it with nearly any greens we find, and can make it with things growing wild no matter the season, and the spices are versatile enough too- while garam masala is traditional, I just use what I have on hand to make a spice mix to bring along- I try to stick to the garam masala ingredients but if I'm missing one or two it still tastes good. Also, I use either tomatoes or a little package of tomato paste, depending on what I have available. 

And lastly, as part of the process of making our palak paneer, we make homemade paneer cheese out in the wild (which has everyone oohing and ahhing every time). See here for how to make paneer cheese easily. This recipe as written is made with tofu to keep it dairy free, but feel free to use the traditional paneer cheese if you aren't vegan.

Cooking saag paneer on a portable burner in the middle of the forest.
Also shown, cactus paddles for another dish.

How to Add Value to Your Home with Backyard Improvements

When you're a home owner, it is quite different from being a renter. In addition to doing things in your home to make it more comfortable for you, you also have to keep in mind how these changes might affect the resale value. We never had central air conditioning growing up, but my family had a planned move abroad at a certain time, and a few years before that my dad installed central air conditioning because he said the house would sell for more with central air, and we might as well be able to enjoy it. If you are thinking about making a change to your backyard as a home owner, it pays to factor in what will the return be on your investment, beyond your own enjoyment of the yard. Here's some good information on that aspect from a reader.

If there’s one thing we all hate, it’s apologizing for a neglected yard. Your backyard should be an asset, not a liability. If you’re ready to make improvements that offer a good ROI (return on investment), consider these possibilities.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Gifts For Your Tech Loving Kids of All Ages (And Even Adults)

Years ago I never would have written a post like this, because I was all into never spending any money, ever, on anything, unless it was absolutely necessary. Fortunately, I realized how unsustainable that was, and how it can even be damaging to your mental health and your family's mental health as well. I used to only gift homemade or dumster dived or revamped gifts but now nearly never will do that unless I know that the person who is being gifted to will actually enjoy it. And to be able to afford these things, I cut back on other things that I don't care about- that is my current motto on what frugality is.

Therefore, I changed my tactic in gift giving to limit the people to whom I gift, but then I spend money on what they'd actually enjoy, and typically stick to only one gift per person, but one meaningful and well appreciated gift.  And for that, you have to know what the giftee would actually enjoy. There are different types of interests that people have. Some people love photography so anything related to that is enjoyed. Others are very into nature and hiking so things in that category would be appreciated. This post is dedicated to those of you with tech loving kids. Though I work online, I'm pretty much scared of tech, so I asked my tech loving teenaged son for ideas for this post.

Gifts For Your Tech Loving Kids of All Ages (And Even Adults)

5 Ways to Update Your Living Room On a Budget

Is your home starting to feel a little bit dated, or shabby, or otherwise something that you aren't loving? Since we spend so much time at home, we want our home to be a place where we feel good. But changing up our living space can be pricey. Fortunately there are some very low budget suggestions, like from this reader, that you can implement with barely a dent to your pocketbook.

Photo Credit: Jon’Nothan Steebe (Unsplash)

Whether you love entertaining or prefer spending time relaxing with the family in front of the TV, for most of us the living room is the heart of the home. As such, it’s one place that it is worth investing some time and effort when it comes to keeping the space calm, inviting, and open. Spending so much time in a particular area of the house will reveal the room’s flaws and you can quickly start feeling like the space looks outdated and tired. Here are a few simple tips to help you on your way when it comes to giving your living area a new lease on life.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Pocket-Friendly Hacks That Will Make Your Home Elegant

I love a good house makeover. It can turn a place that feels blah and drab into something amazingly beautiful and so you, a place you want to be. Many times makeovers can really, really be pricey, but with the right tips you can do a great job for very little money. Here's some tips from a really reader.

The cost of renovating a home is $46,749 on average, with most homeowners spending between $18,351 and $76,026, according to reports from HomeAdvisor. Transforming your house into an elegant, comfortable, and inviting space can be daunting and expensive. People often start with small remodel projects, but as enthusiasm gets the best of them, they end up with costly bills for unnecessary things.

If you're redesigning spaces on a shoestring budget, sticking within your financial limits requires more than the general concepts of home remodeling. You need to research and implement pocket-friendly hacks that will make your home elegant. This is where your creative skills come into play. Below are easy home renovation tips to help you revamp your interior design on a pocket-friendly budget.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Ode to the Sea Beet (A Delicious Foraged Wild Edible)

Some plants, I write about. But when I'm oh so in love with a certain plant, and for very good reason, I let my dork flag fly and I dedicate a whole long poem to it. I hope you enjoy (and find it educational as well).

Ode to the Sea Beet (A Delicious Foraged Wild Edible)

8 Creative Ways to Ease Transition from Crib to Big-Kid Bed

My kids little cousin Benjamin just switched from a crib to a bed, so this is definitely on my mind, even though my kids are long past that stage (not that we actually used cribs, but co-slept, though transitioning to their own bed was a process). Here's some tips from a reader to make the change easier for your kids.

Making the move from crib to big-kid bed is a massive milestone of parenting (and childhood). We all know how much our little ones like their routines, so it’s tough to imagine the transition going well. But kids are remarkably adaptable, and you may be surprised at how quickly they settle into their new sleep space. In this guide, we’re going over a few brilliant ways to make the shift seamless, and maybe even a little bit fun at the same time!

Friday, November 13, 2020

An Easy Cheap Eye Fix

My new glasses. Last picture was actually my old glasses.

I wrote about my health issues recently, and how the seeming solution to my dizziness and headaches was new glasses, that my prescription changed drastically quickly, that even though I got glasses only 4 months previously (with a new prescription then), my eyes went up an entire number and I needed reading glasses, so that meant that I now needed multifocals (separate reading glasses and glasses for distance were not an option because I needed glasses for sitting at the computer, which is too far for reading and too close for far lenses). 

Now multifocals are complicated glassess with complicated technology, and because of that, they are relatively expensive. In the past, I have purchased glasses from ZenniOptical for much cheaper than I can buy locally, but I needed glasses as soon as possible, because of the health issues my eye problems were causing, and I couldn't wait the potential month or longer it would take for Zenni glasses to arrive. Then there was the fact that because these glasses are complicated, I didn't want to risk Zenni doing it wrong and my not knowing and it not solving the problem and there being no accountability. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Art of The Pivot

As someone who studied dance for many years, when I hear the word pivot, what comes to mind is a dance move, or rather, a combination of dance moves "Step ball change and pivot turn". (Literally, as soon as I hear the word pivot, my mind immediately hears the dance instructors calling that series of steps out in the dance studio!) For other people, the word pivot brings to mind a Friends episode where they are attempting to bring a couch up the stairs and Ross screams out "Pivot" repeatedly. (I personally am not a Friends fan, but I know about this episode via social media.) What these both have in common though is the actual original definition of the word, to move to another direction while standing in the same spot. And this leads to another definition of pivoting, when a company (usually a start up) decides to go in a different direction when their initial plan didn't work out.

As an entrepreneur in entrepreneur circles, there's been a lot of talk about pivoting in your business, especially because of corona. So many businesses that had sound business plans beforehand had everything turned on its head once the world went haywire with this pandemic. Keeping on going as you had until now can work for some people, but for many people, the usual mode of business doesn't work. Yes, some businesses like Zoom or delivery companies have thrived during this situation, but if your business wasn't online beforehand, it means making a huge adjustment. But even I, some of my business is online (this blog) and I still have people asking me for discounts because of the corona situation, because money is tight for many people, so even online businesses can be affected.

How to Keep Your Pets Warm During the Cold Seasons

I live in a place where it doesn't get too cold in the winter. And my dog has a nice layer of thick fur on her. However, some people live in colder places where you definitely need to keep your pets warmer, or if your pet doesn't have the built in ability to keep them warm. Here's some tips from a reader on how to take care of your furry friends during the winter.

Keeping your pets warm during the cold seasons is not an easy task. However, it's a very fun one if you know what to do and you are willing to make some sacrifices for the sake of your furry friends. Most pets cannot control their body temperature and that means that you need to keep them warm in order to prevent them from freezing because that can cause fatal damage.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

When Budgeting Anxiety Causes You to Dissociate

I'm writing this post right now in an altered state of mind. No, I'm not high or drunk, but right now, my head feels like its wrapped in cotton wool, and my vision is blurring and I hear a ringing in my ears, and my body is shaking. And my head feels like a helium balloon that is only slightly tethered to my body, and the slightest movement will send it soaring into the atmosphere.

This is not because I'm ill. (Though I do have to get to the doctor to deal with my sore throat.)

This altered state of mind is called dissociating.

And I'm in this state of mind because I just worked on my budget.

I talk about finances.

And I talk about mental health.

And I talk about how it is worth spending money on your mental health, and about self care, and therapy. But this is something that I haven't written much about.

Budgeting anxiety.

How to Make Your Home Look Beautiful on a Budget

Being short on cash doesn't mean your home can't look beautiful. Here's some tips from a reader on how to beautify your home while sticking to a strict budget.

Making your home beautiful doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It’s just a matter of creativity and a little elbow grease. If you want to transform your space to make it more appealing, here are some simple steps you can take to achieve that. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Spending Money to Save Money

My best friend, Michelle, introduced me to this quote by Terry Pratchet, in the book "Men At Arms", which is probably one of the best explanations on economic unfairness, why the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. 

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money. 
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.  
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.  
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

I could try to explain this to you in depth, but when Terry Pratchet did it so well, why reinvent the wheel.

Budget Shopping During The Holiday Season: 3 Tips To Keep Your Family And Your Wallet Happy

With the holidays approaching and most of the world feeling the financial crunch because of the pandemic, these tips to save money on holiday gifting from a reader probably will be very appreciated. 

With the holidays fast approaching, many families will be preparing to begin their holiday shopping. The holidays are one of the major financial sore points for families, particularly if you are trying to live on a budget. The National Retail Association estimates that the average American family spent $942 on gifts alone in 2019. That is more than they have ever done before. However, with the cost of raising a family rising and many families battling with debt, it is no surprise that families are looking for a wallet-friendly approach to shopping during the holiday season. Before you start online shopping, try these simple tricks to help you satisfy your family’s wishlist without the massive credit card debt or breaking the bank this year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Getting My Son a New (To Him) High End Computer For As Cheap As Possible

One of the requests my son, Lee, has had, for what seems like the longest time, is a computer of his own. I use my computer regularly for work, and spent more than the bare minimum on mine so that I'd have a fast computer, but even my computer isn't good enough for what he wanted to use it. He wanted a gaming computer. And a desktop.

Computers and other electronics are ridiculously expensive where I live. When corona started and we were looking into the possibility of learning at home, I was looking into getting another simple computer, but the cheapest anything, the cheapest chromebook, was $285 on sale, usually more than that. For that reason, when I purchased my computers in the past, I purchased them in the US and had someone traveling here bring it to me, or my last one, I picked it up when I traveled there. 

But with corona, people aren't traveling. And he wanted a desktop anyhow, so that wasn't something I could really ask anyone to bring in their suitcase even if they were traveling.

But my son had very specific plans on what he wanted to use the computer for- specifically the ability to use games that require a good graphics card- he wanted to be able to play Scrap Mechanic, among other games, and desk tops that had the requirements he desired weren't cheap.

My best friend helped me out trying to find a cheaper computer- I didn't need new, just good specs. But even refurbished computers are pricey locally. The cheapest we found was $175 for a refurbished computer. But even that one, we weren't sure if it had good enough specs for what Lee wanted. 

How to Help Your Children Get Scholarships in a University

Just the other day, I was talking to my children about college loans, and how so many people start out their adulthood mired in tremendous debt from their college loans, so that even if they have a decently paying job, they might still be struggling financially. If there's any way to reduce the expenses of college or university for your children, it'll help them in life tremendously. Therefore, here's some tips from a reader on how you can help your children get university scholarships.

Paying for your child’s college education can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are scholarships being offered in universities that students may take advantage of to lessen the financial burden. Because of this, parents must play an active role in helping their kids secure such scholarships as students can be too busy to give time for scholarship hunting.

Whether your child is still contemplating about college vs university options, below are the different ways on how you can help your children secure a scholarship in any institution: