Monday, July 9, 2018

How To Help Kids Save Money

All adults know that money doesn’t grow on trees, but that’s not necessarily true for kids. Help your kids, grandkids, or other children in your life tuck away their extra nickels and dimes for a rainy day. 1. Bank it. Encourage kids to decorate four separate piggy banks – one each for Saving, Spending, Investing, and Giving – to help teach about setting money-related goals. Investing money will be used for future investments and Giving money can be donated to a charity of the kids’ choice. 2. Offer an allowance. Assuming you are helping your own children save money, provide a small allowance so there is something to put into the piggy banks. Give the allowance in small bills or coins so kids can physically hold and drop equal amounts of cash into each piggy bank. 3. Make goals. If there are certain things kids want to buy, or if they are expected to save a certain amount of money toward larger items such as bikes, explain that they’ll need to use the Saving piggy bank to collect the needed money. And, if they choose not to spend money out of the Spending piggy bank right away, they’ll be able to buy the items they’re saving for faster. 4. Go shopping. When you go to the store, let the kids take their Spending money with them. If they want to buy something, count out change in the store. Feel free to remind them that, if there is something more expensive they’d like to buy, they’ll have to continue to save for it – and they’ll reach their goals faster by moving Spending money into the Saving piggy bank. However, if they want to buy something, that is their choice as this is their money.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Road Safety: Defensive Driving For Summer Road Trip

Being a safe driver is about more than just obeying the speed limit. There are skills known as “defensive driving tactics” that can help keep you out of trouble on the road. Here are a few defensive driving techniques anyone can do:  Pay Attention to Your Surroundings – You might think you already do this, but driving is something most of us do by motor memory (especially on a boring commute). It’s easy to get distracted by a song on the radio or a bird flying by. Stay alert and you’ll be more prepared if something appears in front of you on the road. This also means putting down the phone. If you need to take a call or send a text, pull over (please!).  The 2-Second Rule – In order to maintain a safe following distance behind the car in front of you, choose a roadside landmark (like a tree or a road sign). When the car in front of you passes it, start counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi.” It should take you two seconds or more to reach the same landmark. If you get there sooner, you’re following too closely.  Avoid Blind Spots – You probably know where the blind spots are in your own car, and you’re accustomed to compensating when you need to back up or change lanes. You can’t count on everyone else to do the same in their own cars, however, so to be on the safe side you should avoid driving in another car’s blind spots. If you can’t see the other car’s side mirrors, assume that they can’t see you.  Expect the Unexpected – Even when you have a green light, make sure there isn’t someone running a red coming the other way. Even if the car in front of you doesn’t have a blinker on, be prepared in case they make a sudden lane change. Even if you assume the car behind you will slow down as traffic is building, keep an eye on your rearview mirror just in case.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

When To Quit Your Job

Even if you’re gainfully employed, sometimes it is in your best interest to move on. If you’re exhibiting any of these four characteristics, it may be quitting time. 1. You aren’t happy. If going to work fills you with dread, it’s time to jump ship. Things will only continue down the same path of drudgery if nothing changes. 2. You clash with the company culture. Over time you may find that you no longer align with the company’s mission. Likewise, if you don’t get along with your boss or co-workers, then it’s time to find a place that is a better fit. 3. You don’t feel challenged. A good job should allow you to learn and refine skills over time, but if you’ve hit the wall when it comes to creativity and educational opportunities, see if there are other places that allow and encourage you to continue developing your skillset. 4. Your company is failing. If all signs point to your employer’s demise, don’t stick around. Start looking for a new job today; indeed.com and monster.com are two popular job search databases.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

7 Ways To Get Your Child Excited About Reading

Does your child spend too much time watching TV or playing video games and not enough time reading? Here are 7 quick tips to make reading fun and exciting: 1. Let your child choose books they’re personally interested in. This way they won’t get bored right away. If they can’t decide, help them by matching a book topic with one of their interests. 2. Encourage them to act out the book as a play. Kids love to perform for others, and this will help them remember more. 3. Ask your child to draw pictures of the characters. This gets them to really think about the details, plus it’s fun! 4. Read chapter books. These have more surprises and character development, which will help your child visualize the words more. 5. Take turns reading and let them ask questions. Also, have them read aloud to their siblings or friends. 6. Work with other parents to start a book club for kids. Here’s a video: www.howdini.com/howdini-video-14452277.html 7. Get your child an eReader. If you can’t get them away from video games, at least make their time in front of a screen more productive. If you have an iPAD, go to www.progressbythepage.com to find a reading app. It comes with a list of free eBooks, and ways to monitor their time spent reading.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Credit Card Rewards

These days most credit cards offer some kind of rewards to entice you to use them. Here’s how to use them to your best advantage:  Get the right card for you, and use it for most of your purchases. Do you want airline or hotel points, merchandise points, or cash back? Do your research and choose what meets your needs. Be sure to compare potential annual fees, interest rates, limited time offers, etc.  Keep track if and when your points expire. Redeem the points as soon as you can, or you may forget you even have them.  Check out the card’s other perks. You may be focused on earning points, but the card may offer other things like purchase protection.  Read the terms and conditions. Credit card companies may change their terms and notify you by a letter you might not pay attention to. Read it, and if you don’t like the changes, get a different card.  Pay off your balance on time every month. The rewards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees on your purchases.  Make sure you understand the rewards program. If you get confused (you aren’t alone!), call the company’s Customer Service Department for clarification. Ask for help to make sure you are getting the benefits you are entitled to.  Go to the card company’s web site and follow them on social media. You may get tips on special promotions or points for participating in surveys.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Learn How To Organize And Get Things Done

Do you feel like you’re always working to keep up, but don’t really get anything done, especially around holidays? In his best-selling book Getting Things Done, David Allen gives you an effective time management system to help you organize your stuff, your work activities and your personal life. Allen’s key idea is to start with a “mind sweep” ─ get everything out of your head and down on paper (or other written form). Once your mind is cleared, your productivity goes up and you can focus on creative action. His five basic stages of mastering your personal or professional “workflow” are: 1) Collect. Capture anything and everything that is on your mind. 2) Process. Decide what each thing means. Is it something you should do? Do it now or later? Can you delegate it (and track on a “Waiting For” list)? 3) Organize. Place the items in categories, such as Projects, Calendar, Next Actions and Waiting For, and sub-categories of your choice. (To help you visualize this, he includes a diagram for navigating through the processing and organizing phases of your workflow.) 4) Review. Go over Calendar and Action lists daily and do a weekly customized review to get clean and current. 5) Do. Make choices about your actions based on what you can do, how much time and energy you have and your priorities. Another one of his most popular methods is the “two minute rule.” If any task can be completed in less than two minutes (for example, a quick email response), do it immediately. Stop putting those little things off. Allen says Getting Things Done is “just advanced common sense.” But once you learn how to get everything under control, real change begins. Millions of people around the world have found that his methods work. To order the book, search for “Getting Things Done” at www.amazon.com.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How to Be More Grateful

We would all rather be happy if given the choice. In some cases, our state of happiness can be a conscious choice we make to focus on the positive things in our lives. Learning to be grateful in your daily life is a surprisingly effective way to improve your health and overall happiness. The benefits of being grateful can be huge. Studies show that people who are more grateful sleep better, feel healthier, have higher self-esteem, have more energy, and experience less stress. Staying grateful isn’t always easy, but with all these physical and mental benefits it’s absolutely worth the investment of your time. Here are some easy ways to practice gratitude on a regular basis. Try out a few of them to see which suits you best. • Keep a “gratitude journal” to jot down 1-2 things you’re grateful for daily. • Actively work on cultivating positivity by looking for a bright side to negative situations. • Pay someone an unexpected compliment each day. • Talk about 2-3 positive moments from the day during nightly dinner conversation. • Offer a heartfelt – not routine – “thank you” for a mundane task, such as someone holding a door open for you at the store. • Say out loud what you’re grateful for, even if you’re talking to yourself. • Put a picture of your family, or whatever you’re most thankful for, somewhere you’ll see it multiple times a day. • Donate your time to a favorite cause. Monetary donations are great, but donating your time is even more effective at making you feel grateful.