How to achieve your goals

Which goals do you wish to accomplish? What are the dreams you have? Take some time, and think about what dreams you have. Dreams for today, dreams for tomorrow, and dreams for the long term…

Well, you need to know that a lot of goals and dreams do not require having a lot of money at all. To give you an example, you may want to pay a visit to one of your friends who is living a couple of miles away. Well, just take a day off and go… Or maybe you’re dreaming about spending some extra time with your relatives or family.

Perhaps you could take them out for a great picnic in the forest instead of having dinner at home. This kind of goals and dreams won’t cost you a fortune, but they actually are really worthwhile.

Fulfilling some other dreams or accomplishing some other goals do require some money though. Maybe you’re dreaming about things like:

  • Buying or renting a house in a safer neighborhood that has some good schools
  • Having a reliable car
  • Setting up your own small business
  • Dealing with your debt: pay it off!
  • Getting a better education. Improve your skills, earn a GED, or go to college

Education is among the best ways to bridge poverty gaps. One of my favorite websites is www.BestGEDClasses.com, they help people to improve their life by providing free GED lessons, so people can get their High School diploma.

Now how will you succeed in making your dreams and goals come true? Well, a determination is key, but so is self-respect and self-belief and understanding that you are deserving the life that you’ve always dreamed about. (more…)

The Power of Smelly Memories

I’m not a perfume kind of gal, but if it came in Eau du Gingerbread, I might be tempted to spray a fine spray over me as I head out each day.

I had the next best thing this past week courtesy of my friend, Heather Grills, who had just returned home from Williamsburg, Va. Thanks to Heather’s Facebook posts, I got to re-live my own visits to a beloved place, a town rich in history that reminded me of my own: days spent growing up in Norfolk, summers at Virginia Beach and regular school field trips to Williamsburg and Yorktown and Monticello and other historic destinations easily within a day’s drive.

All of those experiences and the memories of my father, his parents and siblings who’s roots were Southern through and through can be summed up in one sensory experience for me: the gingerbread cookies from the Williamsburg bakery. I immediately requested a cookie souvenir from Heather’s trip and she came through. Thanks, Heather!

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Tips for Lowering your Monthly Bills

Living frugally was not an easy thing for me to do at first, but now I think it is the best decision that I have ever made. I am always trying to think of new ways to save money. So this time I decided to see if I could get my monthly bills lowered such as cable, cell phone, alarm system, and energy bill.

Cell Phone

So, I started with my cell phone company to see if there was any way that I could get my rate lowered or get some extra bonus minutes. This took several hours and repeat phone calls, but in the end, it worked out very well in my favor.

I told the customer service representative that I could no longer afford to pay over $65.00 a month for my service (mind you that my contract is set to expire next month) and in order to continue with the service, I needed a discount because the prepaid plans are so much cheaper with the same features. After haggling back and forth and threatening to cancel my service she finally gave me a 20% discount with extra minutes.

Total savings per year $156

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Tips For A More Frugal Lifestyle

To make sense of all the financial turmoil swirling around us today would take way more than the average citizen can comprehend.  Regardless, one thing that everyone can think through today is under the title “Frugal Living”.

As we hear some say that, in order to get out of debt we must first go further in debt, common sense would say just the opposite. That is the purpose of this article; to get us to think frugally.

To the common, everyday man or woman on the street, it appears that many corporations and banks are deemed “too big to fail” and thereby get a “helping hand” from good old Uncle Sam. But what about you and me? I think most would agree that, in the big picture, we are pretty much on our own. So, let’s take a look at what we can do to stave off the pending “adjustments” that are sure to come.  Consider carefully part one of 8 tips for a more frugal lifestyle:

1- Stop spending!

The best thing to do is: stop going any further into debt! No matter what some in “leadership” have to say to the contrary, we do not “spend our way out of debt”. That is only for the big boys and time will tell if that will work. Meanwhile, you and I need to be “getting our ducks in a row” and stop the spending NOW! Maybe you know someone that has either had their hours cut back at work, wages reduced and overtime gone away or, worse than that, lost their job.  It would do you well to begin trimming back before that should come knocking at your door.

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Job Benefits: Education and Retirement

Just imagine that all your training or college expenses are paid for… Well, this may happen when your company offers education benefits.

If you want to break away from the ongoing cycle of badly-paying jobs, in-demand skills are what you should focus on, and the only way to get there is through continuing education. So if you have an employer that is helping to pay for your education, head back to school and start learning for the ACT or SAT exam, or if you had a long break from education, take the GED test.

Your employer’s education benefits may vary from paying for certain costs to a maximum per year to picking up the full tuition tab for training related to your position. Employers may also opt to furnish a percentage of your education costs or subsidize a set amount of money. Regardless of what benefits your employer offers, you should really take advantage of these options.

I’m sure it will pay off in the future, and in many ways. What’s important is that it allows you to grow continually, and it will provide you with the tools to turn your dreams into reality. (more…)

Celebrating Father’s Day

What a Weekend!

Yard sale – June is unofficially moving month in the military, at least for the USMC. One good thing about moving often is the opportunity to purge your clutter. I’m not moving, but many people in my neighborhood are, so it happened that about 20 houses our housing area held yard sales today, so I joined in for the chance get rid of some stuff and make cash so I could buy bargains on new-to-me stuff at the other sales.

If you’ve ever held a yard sale you know it’s a lot of work, sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes it’s not. Today’s definitely was but I was tired. Then I had committed to play in the Kick for a Cure Charity Soccer Tournament.

Kick for a Cure Charity Soccer Tournament – Last weekend a good friend said someone I was acquainted with and that she knows well was looking for players for this tournament and asked ME of all people if I’d do it. She said if I did it, she would too. May I say, we are both in our mid-thirties and neither of us has ever played soccer in our lives. The only time I set foot on a pitch is to walk to the other side and set up my chairs, popup tent and cooler to spectate my kids’ games.

But, it was for a good cause and an opportunity to go do something I’ve never done before. Sadly, because I was planning on doing the yard sale, I wasn’t able to make it to the first game for Team Micah.  But after I wrapped up the yard sale I was able to head out for the second game. It was lots of fun and I’m so glad I have this experience. My horizons are expanding as I type.

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IDA accounts part 2

In general, IDA’s are managed by local community organizations, and IDA accounts are usually held at local financial institutions, for example, a bank or a credit union. Every participant will receive education on budgeting and saving, but also topics like how to clean up credit. The programs’ length or the sort of training that participants receive may vary.

When the time has come to use the IDA fund, the IDA administrator will write a check to the recipient, such as a college, a title company, or a business equipment vendor, and you’re all good to go. It’s not only that your IDA deposits will be matched so your account will grow rapidly, you will also get financially experienced in the process.

While you build up your IDA savings account to reach your goals, you will also be learning how to deal with money, how to set up a financial plan, and how to develop your finance skills. (more…)

What is an IDA Account and How to Use It?

Just imagine you have a savings account in which for every dollar you put in, you will be matched with one more dollar. You would actually receive totally free money, and who wouldn’t jump at such an opportunity.

Well, you could get into such a position via a so-called ‘Individual Development Account’, or IDA, program. Generally, money contributed to an IDA can be used to purchase a house, pay for education cost, or for starting up a new business.

Most IDA programs are sponsored by various nonprofit organizations and a number of companies, though some of them are also sponsored through government contributions. For each dollar you put in, usually, the sponsor will be adding $1 or maybe more to your IDA account.

Because various groups are supporting various IDA programs, the match level, as well as the requirements, may vary, but still, you will be able to see that, because of regular matches, your IDA savings account will grow quickly. If you want to see if you qualify for an IDA, contact your bank, credit union, your local Housing Authority, or a Community Action Agency staff member.   (more…)

Five Cheap Ways To Celebrate Spring

I’m excited for spring this year, it has been a very long, very cold, very dreary winter! I’m always eager to see those first few flowers poke their heads up out of the ground, and this year that seems even more true than normal. So, when I received this guest post submission I knew that it was perfect for my website. Enjoy!

I doubt I’m the only one who is over this dreary, cold weather. I’ve been stuck indoors, sickness has made its way through our house–multiple times at that, and I’m running seriously low on Vitamin D.

But don’t leave me now. I promise you won’t feel down in the dumps by the end of this post. Stick with me.

Let’s fantasize together. Plan, if you will. For how we’ll spend the warmer days that are ahead.

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Using Coupon Programs and Meal Planning To Your Advantage

For a busy working mom, one of the most challenging aspects of her day can be meal planning and preparation. With no one to help relieve you of this burden, it can become drudgery in no time at all. The meal planning, the shopping the preparation are all time to consume. If you are watching pennies, then you probably clip coupons and scour the sales circulars so you can find the best deals too. This can take up an awful lot of your time.

There are websites that will help you reduce the time you spend doing many of these tasks. If you are lucky, some of the sites will even help you do more than one of these tasks.

Coupon Savings

Do a web search on coupons and you will find hundreds of sites where you can find and print coupons on all sorts of items you use and a few you’ve never heard of. Some can come straight from the product’s manufacturer. Other are sites who use programming to search the web and compile the coupons in one easy-to-find place. I highly recommend finding one of these.

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