Monday, January 31, 2022

6 Reasons You Should Be Budgeting

Budgeting has changed my life; it has taken me from stressing constantly about whether I have enough money to pay for things to being confident that I can afford something, and also to know when I should wait until next month to buy something. Everyone should be budgeting, everyone from well off people to people struggling to get by each month. Here are some reasons from a reader about why you should be budgeting.

Budgeting is a financial discipline that cannot be emphasized enough. Budgeting is the best way to ensure your family's financial security.

Still undecided? Here are six strong reasons to make and keep a budget.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Marinated Avocado Salad Recipe -- Yummy Avocado with Onions

I had no idea what on earth to name this post because in my family we just call this yummy avocado with onions. Ok, maybe I should have just named it that, but I needed to find something google searchable. Alright, I'll edit this post to have them both in the title.

This is my favorite time of year. Fine, not my absolute favorite (though it sure beats ridiculously hot weather) but it is an exciting time of year because we get avocadoes cheaply, and we all are huge avocado fans around here. (When I was younger I actually didn't like avocado, but I don't know what was wrong with me then.) We are eating avocadoes by the bushel because, when they're they cost that little, there's no reason to hoard them and save them just for special occasions. (All you people in the US and other places where you have to pay $2 or more per avocado, I'm sorry, I feel bad for you.)

When we have a lot of avocados, we make ridiculous amounts of guacamole and use it in sushi and poke bowls and so many other ways, but this way of making avocadoes might top them all.

This is less a recipe and more of an idea, because you can't really go wrong here with it- I just wing amounts always, and even when I measured to be able to write this down, I was telling myself that I could have used more or less of each ingredient and it would have been just as good.

I have no idea what the source of this recipe is, but I discovered it when I went with my friend, Sarah, to an Uzbekistani family for dinner, and I thought it was absolutely delicious. When I asked them how to make it, I was floored at how simple it was. What they told me was this: Slice avocado, slice onions, pour olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper on it, and let it sit.

Yea. That's the entire thing. But since y'all probably want an actual recipe and instructions, I'll write specifics. The only thing I need to tell you about this is that if you don't like the sharpness of raw onions, let this sit for at least 15 minutes (or more) before serving, and the lemon juice and salt will slightly pickle the onions and remove the sharpness. Other than that, it's flexible and just about presentation.

Of course it is easy to make, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegan, allergy friendly, paleo, good for most diets. And frugal too if you live in the land of frugal avocadoes (sorry for those of you that don't).

Marinated Avocado Salad Recipe -- Yummy Avocado with Onions

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

4 Money Challenges to Try Out This Year

We all like saving money. And there are many ways we can do that, but sometimes it is more fun and therefore more sustainable to do it as a challenge. Here are some money challenges you can try out.

Are you the type of person who’s always up for a challenge? If the answer to that is “yes,” why not try a money challenge? Test yourself and see just how much you can save this year.

Why Do a Money Challenge?

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Guide to Getting a Mortgage on a Second Home

I live in the land of ridiculously expensive homes, where many people, even if they have money, can't afford to buy a home because of how expensive things are and how difficult it is to get a mortgage here. But assuming you live in a place where homes aren't exactly a fortune, and you were thinking about, perhaps, buying a second home to rent out for income, there's stuff you need to know about that. Rules are different for second mortgages vs first ones. Here's more.

Are you planning to buy a second home? If yes, it might be that you need to take out a mortgage for it. You have to know that there’s a difference between a primary home mortgage and a second-home mortgage.

While some homebuyers have the cash to pay for their second house, others need financing for this significant purchase. One survey reveals that almost 50% of buyers of second homes pay cash up to 70% of the total price of the property.

For more information about getting a mortgage on a second house, here’s a guide that can help you.

Lots of Fun in the Snow!

Where we live it doesn't usually snow. Therefore, when we traveled to Bulgaria at the end of 2019, one of the highlights of the trip was the snow. Even with just a little bit of snow on the ground in our first day in Sofia the kids took advantage of it and had snowball fights, etc. Then we traveled to Bansko on our third day there and had a lot more fun playing in the snow. The highlight of our trip, though, was the sixth day of our trip, a full day skiing in the mountains in Bansko. My kids and I all really love snow; it is my happy place, and my kids are thrilled with it too.

So imagine our delight when we were told that it would snow locally. And not just a sprinkling that didn't stick, but actual, real snow. (Ok, still very much unlike the snow we had in Cleveland growing up, but still, actual snow.) There were mixed reports about what time the snow would start, but it started already in the evening even though many forecasts said it would only start in the middle of the night. We actually had snow in 2021 but it didn't last through the night, so we knew that when it snows, you take advantage of it immediately and not wait until the morning.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Can I Take My Child On Holiday Without the Fathers Permission?

Divorce definitely makes things complicated, especially when it comes to parenting. And when you just need a break from the stress, want to take a vacation, guess what? Even then it isn't simple. Because if you have children, it's not so simple to just take them on a holiday. When I took my kids on a trip to Bulgaria, fortunately, my ex didn't make trouble and came to the government office in charge of distributing passports to enable my children to get passports and travel with me abroad. But if your ex isn't so cooperative, is there any way to take your kids on vacation? Yes, there is. Here is some more information on the legalities of it in the UK but in most countries there are similar rules.

Nothing is stopping you from taking your child on holiday within England and Wales without first asking the permission of your ex-partner with joint parental responsibility unless there is a court order in place preventing you from doing this.

If there are any Child Arrangement Orders in place, you should be fine as long as these are adhered to. This could mean that your ex-partner comes to visit your child while you are on holiday, or you can agree to an alternative arrangement where they have extra access once you return from holiday to make up for the lost contact time.

  What is Parental Responsibility?

Where to Splurge and How to Save When the New Baby Arrives

When people have a new baby, it can be extremely tempting to go all out and buy all the cutest things for your kids and everything you may think you need, but in fact, babies don't actually need that much at first. There are definitely things you need for your baby and shouldn't skimp there, but there are so many other things marketed to new parents that your baby can do without. Here is a breakdown of those by a reader.

Children are expensive, but you might not be aware of where to splurge and how to save when your new baby arrives. Below, we go beyond the diapers and wet wipes to showcase how you can prioritize what matters most and better prepare for the impending arrival:

Making a DIY Spa Night -- Fun and Frugal

Recently, my daughters asked me if we could do something fun together, and I wanted to think of something that would be nice but not too expensive, and I thought to make a spa night at home. This was very frugal and something my daughters really enjoyed. It actually was not the first time I did a spa night, I did one before with just myself and my oldest daughter, Anneliese, for a mother daughter bonding time when my other kids were away. Once I was already doing a spa night for my daughters, I invited their friend to join us, and surprisingly (to me), even my sons decided to join in.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Moving Soon? Watch for These Surprise Costs

One of the most frustrating things about moving is that there always are some extra expenses that crop up, adding on to the already expensive move. But being prepared for what expenses may come up can allow you to both save up to cover those eventualities as well as know what expenses to try to avoid. Heere are some surprise costs that come up during moves.

Having a plan in place for your move is a good idea. But it’s just plain realistic to expect this plan to go off the rails. This kind of foresight helps you deal with damaged property or unexpected costs with a cooler head. Here are some reminders of where things can go wrong to help you plan properly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

What Are the Causes of Infertility and What Are Your Options?

While I've never had issues with infertility, I have many dear friends who've dealt with this issue that can be so painful. Here is some more information to help you learn more.

Infertility affects anywhere between 48 million to 186 million individuals across the world. It is defined as the failure to conceive naturally and become pregnant after 12 months or more of having regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

Despite affecting millions of people worldwide, infertility is one of the hardest things to come to terms with. If you’ve always wanted to start a family, it can be disheartening to learn that you or your partner are infertile.

The amazing advancements in medicine over the past couple of decades have given rise to a range of effective infertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and egg or sperm donation. There is also the option of using a surrogacy agency in California to find a suitable surrogate.

In this article, we will go through the risk factors for infertility, the potential causes of infertility, and the treatment options that are available to infertile couples who want to start a family.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Korean Swiss Chard or Lettuce Salad, Geun-Dae Geotjeori, and Spicy Korean Sauce

I first discovered this recipe for Korean lettuce salad about half a year ago on one of my favorite recipe sites, Maangchi, but never got around to making it for one reason or another. Then one day I had some swiss chard and decided that it would be perfect to try this recipe with it, since I use swiss chard as a replacement for lettuce nearly all the time, since I have wild swiss chard, also known as sea beet, growing in my yard. This original recipe was called sangchu geotejeori, sangchu meaning lettuce in Korean and geotjeori being a quick kimchi, or a spicy salad. It often is made with napa cabbage, bauchu in Korean. Since I wasn't using lettuce to make mine, but actually swiss chard, I looked up how to say swiss chard and it is Geun-Dae in Korean. So that makes this dish Geun-Dae Geotjeori. 

To say this dish is delicious would be an understatement. It is the perfect amount 

Geotjeori is basically a kimchi that's made to be eaten fresh without fermentation. As such, the vegetables are lightly salted, and this kimchi is quick and easy to make. ... Geotjeori is most commonly made with napa cabbage, but you can make it from a variety of different vegetables. The recipe I based mine on used lettuce, I used swiss chard, but I'm sure you can play around and make this with different vegetables as well.

The onions and garlic in this dish's sauce lose a lot of their sharpness once marinated in the rest of the ingredients, and lend their flavor to the sauce. So I like mixing the sauce together and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and then add it to the greens right before serving, or at most 5 minutes before, so it doesn't become limp and soggy.

Another thing I like doing with the sauce is use it as a spicy sauce to top sticky rice, often along with other toppings, like vegetables and protein, such as in bibimbap or poke bowls. I also like to stick this geun-dae geotjeori on my bowls of rice for bibimbap and then use extra sauce for the rest of the bowl.

While this is generally made with gochugaru, Korean red chili pepper flakes, I just use regular red pepper flakes in mine. Feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes in yours- mine are getting old so aren't so spicy any more so I upped mine, but add a little bit at a time until it is at a spiciness level you like. I also added more sugar to mine and adjusted the ratios from the original recipe to suit my taste.

This lovely salad is naturally gluten free (so long as you use gluten free soy sauce), dairy free, vegan, allergy friendly other than to sesame seeds, and is pretty frugal as well. Extra plus for me, making it with wild edibles.

Definitely recommended.

Korean Swiss Chard or Lettuce Salad, Geun-Dae Geotjeori, and Spicy Korean Sauce

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Achieving Financial Freedom

While there is no one universally accepted definition of financial freedom, I can tell you what it's not. It's not being stressed about money, being short on cash, not knowing how to survive financially. It is financial stability and having enough to be comfortable and hopefully more than comfortable. If you want to get that way, here are some things you'll need to consider.

If you want to be financially free, you may desire the goal of having enough investments, savings, and cash to support yourself, no matter the lifestyle you desire. Financial freedom often means you have enough set aside that you don’t have to worry about exactly how much you earn every year. However, you might not know where to start in your goals. The good news is there are a few places you can start.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Cut Down Your Alcohol Intake With These Alternative Drink Ideas

I'm not opposed to drinking alcohol. I have a few drinks myself on a semi regular basis. However, there are many people who are unable to drink alcohol or want to stop, but finding an alternative to alcohol that feels like more than just drinking water can be difficult. Here are some alternative ideas to drink.

Like many people in January, your resolution for the year is to cut down on alcohol consumption. It’s something you’ve been telling yourself to do for many years, but you’re finally going to do it. As you begin your journey, you notice why you’ve never managed to do this before; it’s harder than it seems.

Now, you don’t have to be addicted to alcohol to struggle to cut it out of your life. Lots of people drink for social reasons, meaning you only have a few beverages a week - but it all adds up. Wanting to reduce your alcohol intake doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start checking into alcohol rehab! Perhaps you have started noticing some negative health effects that you blame on alcohol - such as weight gain - and that’s why you’re keen to cut down. Or, maybe you want to cut down before you start to see any of the consequences of too much alcohol.

Whatever the reason, you’ve made a positive choice to cut down. With that in mind, how can you reduce your alcohol intake and still have a good time? In all honestly, it comes down to finding alternative things to drink. No, this doesn’t mean drinking water (though you should drink as much water as you can every day!) it’s more about finding ways to replicate the feeling of drinking alcohol, minus the alcohol. Here are some ideas:

Monday, January 10, 2022

A Heck Ton of Free Food

My neighborhood has a lot of residents that are not well off financially. For this reason, there often are distributions of free foods for the struggling, with the goods varying each time, and then whatever is left is then available for anyone to come take it. I used to regularly go to these distributions, but now I'm both busier and have less time to go, and am not struggling as much. So I usually only go when there are leftovers afterward that are particularly appealing to me. 

I already wrote about the time that I got a few cases of gluten free tortillas, and a few times wrote what I did when I got a bunch of nearly expiring milk. Those were really exciting, but what was even more exciting was when the available leftovers were something usually quite expensive, that I would never buy on my own, but would gladly take if it were free.

Already twice, they were giving out cases of Beyond Sausages, plant based gluten and soy free sausage links with a meaty texture and taste. I'd eaten a Beyond Burger in the past, which was quite delicious, so I was excited to try these sausages. Not that I am vegan, but I do support making vegan meals from time to time since they are generally more affordable, and while my body needs meat to be healthy, I do support minimizing animal products, because, yes, the meat industry is far from moral.

My first time, before having tasted any, I got 2 and a half cases of beyond sausage. (The last case I shared with a neighbor.) Then I got 2 more yesterday.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Basic Pet Care Tips for New Pet Owners

Getting a dog has been such a wonderful change for our family, but that doesn't mean it is always the easiest. There is a lot of information new pet owners need to know. Here are some things from a reader to help you learn how to take care of your new pet.

Whether you’re thinking about getting a pet or already adopted one, you must prepare well beforehand so you won’t feel too overwhelmed and shocked. Pets are a great responsibility as they require a lot of care whether it’s about vet visits, walks, food, or anything else. If you’ve never owned a pet before know that it’s one of life’s greatest joys but it can also be quite intimidating.

You may find yourself having anxiety attacks thinking whether you can continue taking care of it, or if it will pee all over the house, but remember that those are things that pass quickly once they learn how to behave. Below we’ll break down a few simple tips on how to take care of your new furry friend.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Pros and Cons of MSN Programs

If you're looking for a way to increase earning potential, getting a degree can help with that. If you're considering a nursing degree, here are some things to consider.

At one point in your career as a nurse, you are most likely going to think about advancing your career. In the world of nursing, the advanced positions are reserved for professionals with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Therefore, to bag this degree, you will need to enroll in an MSN program. Taking such a decision to enroll in such a program can be demanding in terms of the money, effort, and time that you will invest. Visit to read about 5 postgraduate money problems and how you can solve them. Hence, it is prudent that you have an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of this program to enable you to decide if this is what you want to and should do.

Therefore, in this article, we have compiled some important pros & cons of the Master of Science in Nursing program to enable you to decide if you want to and can do this now, later, or never.

But before, we look at that; let us examine the different MSN programs that a person can enroll for.

Types of Master of Science in Nursing Programs

Direct Entry

You can take this route if you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. What we are saying in other words is that if you haven’t been trained as a nurse, this is the best path to take. Individuals that follow this route will have to take nursing courses at an entry-level first before moving to advanced courses.


This is the traditional route that entails bagging a Bachelor in Nursing (BSN) degree first before enrolling for the MSN degree. If you want to do a full-time MSN program, it will take you about 2 years to complete. The coursework will train you to either be a general MSN, an advanced practice function, or a specialized nurse practitioner.


You can do this if you have a Diploma in Nursing (RN) or a two-year degree in nursing. Hence, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you can use this path.

The interesting thing about this is that you don’t need to get a bachelor’s degree first before getting your master’s. However, you need to consider the length of time for these programs as they are much longer and intensive since they are designed to cover more curriculums. Nevertheless, irrespective of the path you take, all reputable MSN programs deal with general topics such as pharmacology and anatomy. In addition, other topics that are reserved for various specializations dependent on the one you choose are covered.

In this path, you will need to fulfill stipulated clinical rotation hours. Hence, you need to put all these into consideration as you make your decision.


With similarities like the RN to BSN, this path requires that you must possess a two-year degree in nursing. In some cases, an associate’s nursing degree might be also required by some institutions, and RNs are not allowed.

Bridge RN to MSN

You can opt for this if you have RN with a two-year nursing degree and a four-year non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

Pros of Getting a Master of Science in Nursing Degree

1. Access to New Opportunities

So why should you go to a graduate nursing school in PA and get an MSN? For starters, most healthcare and hospitals offer candidates with MSNs a higher preference than those without. Hence, when looking for a place to practice, with this degree you stand a better chance of getting the job.

If you plan to specialize as a nurse practitioner, nursing informatics, or hospital manager, having a Master of Science in Nursing will help you attain your goals.

Below are some roles that need an MSN:
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthetist etc.
 2. Potential of Earning More

The roles that we mentioned above are advanced practice roles, therefore, along with the responsibilities they come with; they come with a higher salary. For instance, as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, you could earn an average of $180,000 which is twice the salary of an RN nurse. Apart from the advantages discussed, other advantages include:

  • Several program options to choose from.
  • You will acquire more specialized knowledge.

Cons of Getting a Master of Science in Nursing Degree

1. Expensive Programs

As we said earlier, you will have to make huge investments for this program and chief among them is money. Raising $35,000 to $60,000 which is the estimated range for these programs can be challenging for most individuals. Click here to learn how to fund your Master’s program without running into debt.

2. Tough Programs

We know or might have heard how challenging Master’s programs can be right? Well, for nurses who are practicing while taking classes, it is more challenging. When you throw in the responsibilities of managing a family, then the challenge is increased.

Thankfully, it can still be done as many have proven over the years. However, it will require a lot of dedication and commitment on your part if you are going to pull it off.

Apart from the disadvantages discussed, other disadvantages include:
  • Time-consuming coursework as well as clinical hours.
  • Some programs might need prerequisites such as experience, etc.

Getting an MSN program comes with a lot of challenges and responsibilities; at the same time, it has its benefits. Therefore, the article above has revealed the pros and cons of MSN to enable you to decide if you want to go ahead and enroll in the program.

Friday, January 7, 2022

How Can You Save Money by Doing Family Financial Budgeting?

Budgeting is important. Here is how you can save money while budgeting. 

Budgeting for yourself is usually easy. Sometimes you don't even need a budget to be okay until your next payday when you know your exact desires and needs. On the other hand, Family Budget is a completely different game. The main reason is to have others take care of you. If you can't make ends meet, you will not only starve to death.

It can be difficult because it forces you and your entire family to consider your finances. What do I have to do and what do I have to maintain? These tips will help.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

How to Make the Perfect Sticky Rice and Sushi Rice- Without a Hassle

I love rice. So do my kids. Sushi rice, by far, is the absolute favorite here. Even if not made into sushi rice, sticky rice is something everyone asks for. 

The thing is, sushi rice isn't easy. And while I love rice, the food I pretty much hate most in the world is rice done badly. (Chicken breast done badly and soggy cereal are the only other foods I can think of that I really care so much about how they're prepared and their texture.) I've written before about how to make the perfect sushi rice, but it is a lot of work, taking many steps, and I generally don't have the energy or the time it takes for all those steps. I've also written about how to make cheater sushi rice, which is much easier, but while it's ok for sushi, it isn't that perfect sushi rice that I really want, it's slightly pasty.

I was trying to find the balance between imperfect yet easy cheater sushi rice and complicated daunting perfect sushi rice, and I was told by my friends that I should just use the Asian mother's method of cooking rice- fill a pot with well-washed rice and cover with water so the water level is pinky knuckle height above the rice. I tried multiple times and it never was enough water, tried using a different knuckle, and still never enough. The rice was hard and uncooked once all the water was gone- exactly the type of rice that I detest. Finally, a friend of mine from Japan who lives locally told me that fresh rice from Japan or China still has moisture in it and therefore can be done with that method, but the rice we have in the rest of the world is older and dryer and therefore needs more water, which is why I was failing with that "tried and true" method. I tried using the same method and just using between my first two knuckles in height, and finally it worked. Then I figured out how much water that actually is. For a kilogram of rice (5 cups) I use a full electric kettle of boiling water- my kettle holding 1.7 liters or about 7 1/4 cups boiling water. Perfection each time now.

Then I wanted to have a better ratio of vinegar, sugar, and salt in my recipe to make it into sushi rice, and my friend David gave me his recipe, meant for 3 cups of rice, which I then modified to work with my full kilogram.

And now I have it. Perfect sushi rice. Not complicated. Not a headache. Quick to make, start to finish. And not pasty at all. And the sauce makes it even better.

Since I've figured this out I've been making this at least once a week, and sometimes even 2 kilograms at a time (two different pots) since 1 kilogram runs out too quickly for us. I use it for poke bowls, bibimbap, sushi, and sticky rice bowls (something my friend Phoebe taught is made in her hometown of Guiyang, China). 

Now that I've perfected this, I wanted to share it with you.

How to Make the Perfect Sticky Rice and Sushi Rice- Without a Hassle

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Car Accident Injuries Don’t Need to Affect Your Finances

Car accidents suck in so many ways, but one of the biggest ways you generally feel the repercussions of a car accident is in the financial aspect. Here are some things you can do to make sure that your car accident doesn't cause your family a large financial toll.

Getting involved in a car accident can be costly, whether you are at fault or not. All of a sudden, you have to start thinking about car repairs, legal procedures, talking to insurance companies, and defending your claim for compensation. All while you may be unable to work, but the bills never stop coming.

Personal injury lawyers can help you by explaining the options available, as well as guide you through the claims process. They can examine the details of your incident, gather evidence to support your claim, and negotiate your settlement with the liable party. Since such attorneys have helped countless individuals in your same position, they understand your needs and the best way to meet them.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Home Cleaning Services – Are They Worth the Investment?

I used to work doing cleaning for people, but needed to stop because of health issues I was having. After I stopped working for one family they switched to using a cleaning service and overall were happy with it. They had another pro and con that I'd to this list. Con is you don't know who you will be sent before they send you someone. However, since it is through a service if you have a bad experience you have recourse. Here are some other thoughts on whether or not hiring a cleaning service is worthwhile.

We all wish that we had a little more help around the house. Unfortunately, some days that mess seems to get the best of us, and it can seem impossible to keep on top of it all.

Hiring a cleaning service is something that you might have considered. However, it’s normal to have some concerns - Are they really worth the investment?

Below, we will take a look at some different pros and cons of cleaning companies so that you can determine if they are right for you.

Sound interesting? Then keep on reading!