Category Archives: Family

The Root of Our Money Problems

We finally found the root of our money problems. Want to know what it is? According to my wife, it’s me.

When she said that in the car to me the other night, I laughed it off. But as I sat there and thought about it, she was absolutely right. I brought the most debt into the marriage and I probably would still be racking it up if I wasn’t with my wife. I was the most reckless with money before we got married.

But there are still things I do today that damage our finances. For one, I always seem to suggest eating out. Actually, my wife said “I was the problem” after I suggested grabbing something quick to eat. We have a ton of food at home and yet I always seem to want to eat out no matter where we are. What the heck is wrong with me? I really want to be debt free and yet I always want to spend.

I mentioned before that we want to still enjoy some “finer things” while getting out of debt. We would like to eat out once or twice a month and go to the movies occasionally. It just helps us from going insane.¬† However, I have taken the eating out to an extreme. If I had to guess, I would say we ate out about a dozen times in May. Most were the fast food variety but still expensive none the least. About 90% of those occurrences were my idea.

I guess you could say that I have been a big consumer for most of my life. I grew up on a family farm and started earning fairly good money (for a kid) by the age of 10. I did what most kids would do at that age with money. I spent it and I spent it ALL. However, I earned way more than most kids my age and I got to buy the more expensive items that many other kids only dreamed about or begged their parents for. Life was good.

What I guess I am trying to say is that old habits die hard. I would imagine that many of you are having this same problem. It’s hard to go from one extreme to the next and I’m finding that out that hard way. I once spent with wreckless abandon and now I am trying to pinch every penny. Life is hard.

* * *

What would you say has been the toughest for you? Cutting spending? Setting up a budget? Opening up the lines of communication between you and your spouse?

31 Medical Home Remedies You Should Know

Everyone gets hurt or sick sometime in their life. Some people rush straight to the doctor while some people find clever home remedies to cure their ailments and save a few bucks. Medical home remedies have been around for centuries and provide decent results compared to more conventional pharmaceuticals. However, these are not for everyone. If you have more serious problems, it’s definitely time to head to your local friendly doctor.

Burns

Surely, we have all be burned sometime in our life. Whether you grabbed a hot pan or decided to put out that candle with your fingertips, it happens. Here are some tips to handle minor burns:

  1. Place the burn under cold water and keep it there for a good 15 to 20 minutes. This will help “draw the burn” out of the skin. However, do not use ice or ice water. Ice will prohibit blood flow to the area and slow the healing process.
  2. Things such as honey, vinegar and aloe vera have been recommended to relieve the pain and promote healing. Also, an oatmeal bath (or paste) can help if the burn area starts to itch.

Colds

Cold and flu season is well underway. Obviously, to avoid getting a cold, it’s good practice to wash your hands frequently. If you already feel under the weather, here are some tips to combat the common cold:

  1. Your mom was right, chicken soup is good for you when you have a cold. It is said that it helps reduce mucus. It also is warm and tasty which is something we all need when we are sick.
  2. Make your own cough syrup by mixing together 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.
  3. A nice cup of tea with honey can help heal a sore throat and clear blocked nasal passages.
  4. Get some vitamin C in your system. I recommend orange juice. Yum!

Diaper Rash

We don’t have any children yet, but I bet you parents that do know about this problem. Diaper rash can be a big pain for you and your child. Screaming babies is not a sound that I want to hear day in and day out! Try this solutions to get that baby back to normal:

  1. Add a tablespoon of dried oatmeal to your baby’s bath. It will help soothe the itch and promote healing.
  2. If you use reusable diapers, try adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse. It will help balance out the alkaline in urine.
  3. Use cornstarch just as you would baby powder. It helps dry the area and relieve friction from the elastic. Make sure you shake it into your hand away from the baby!

Fever

Fevers are a big part of the flu and can be one of the worst parts. They just make you feel down and out. Here are some home remedies to kick that high temperature:

  1. Don’t try and “sweat it out”. If you feel hot, don’t cover up. If you feel cold, cover up. Use that simple logic when you have a cold.
  2. Take your clothes off. ūüėČ This will allow the sweat glands to really work their magic.
  3. Drink, drink, drink (not alcohol @BudgetsAreSexy). Fevers, especially if they are accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration. Water, Popsicles, fruit juice and Gatorade all work great.

Hangovers

Admit it, most of us have had a nasty hangover sometime in our lives. It may even cause you to stop drinking like me! Here are some remedies to cure that hangover. Ironically, most of them have you drinking something else!

  1. Drink lots of water. When you drink alcohol, it it causes dehydration in your bodies cells.
  2. Drink bouillon or soup broth as it will help replenish salts and potassium that your body loses when you drink alcohol.
  3. Drink two cups of coffee as this is said to relieve the pain of a headache.
  4. Time, time, time. What more can I say about that?

Heartburn

Personally, I don’t suffer from heartburn (yet). However, I do know people who do and it just doesn’t look like fun. Try these home remedies in lieu of over-the-counter varieties:

  1. Chew up 6 or 8 blanched almonds as they are said to relieve the symptoms.
  2. Drink water in between meals. If you drink water with a meal, it increases your stomach contents and ups your chances of heartburn.
  3. Cinnamon has been used to relieve heartburn for years. Brew yourself a cup of cinnamon tea by boiling some water with a cinnamon stick in it.

Nausea

Sometimes, you stomach just hurts. Here are some tips to help ease the pain:

  1. I find that peppermint really helps with an upset stomach. Earlier in the year, I kept having upset stomachs. When I felt bad, I popped a peppermint in my mouth and it always seemed to help.
  2. Ginger helps an upset stomach fairly well. Try ginger tea, gingerbread, or gingersnaps. Be aware that most ginger ale soft drinks are missing the main ingredient these days!
  3. For an immediate nausea/vomiting cure, mix together 1 cup water, 10 drops lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Then add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and drink. Yummy!

Poison Ivy

I used to get poison ivy very frequently as a child. Luckily, it’s been awhile and I sure am glad. It’s some of the worst stuff to deal with! Here are some home cures for that crazy, itchy stuff:

  1. Make a paste of water and baking soda and place it over the affected area every two hours no more than 3 times a day. At the end of the night, take a nice baking soda bath and light some candles.
  2. Lightly rinse the area with vinegar as this will help relieve some of the itch.
  3. Take a nice oatmeal bath as this will help soothe some of the open wounds and control itching.

Snoring

I know PLENTY of people who snore. Hopefully they read these:

  1. Avoid alcohol before bed as this increases snoring.
  2. Sleep on your side. I found a cool tip that tells you to sew a tennis ball in the back of your pajamas. When you try and roll onto your back, you unconsciously roll back on your side.
  3. For the other party involved, buy them a nice par of earplugs!

Stings and Bug Bites

Summer is over in most areas of the country, but there is still the chance of getting bit by some type of bug. Here are some home remedies to ease your pain:

  1. If you are getting bit, try to flick the bug and not swat at it. Swatting the bug makes it more likely that the stinger will get lodged farther in your skin. After being bitten, take some tweezers and gently remove the stinger by scrapping it out.
  2. Place some ice on the affected area to help ease the pain.
  3. Place a paste of vinegar and baking soda on the bite to reduce pain.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should seek the advice of a trained medical professional.

Create a Financial Mission Statement to Stay Focused

Lately, I have been thinking about ways to help my fiancee and I focus on our financial future. We are still young (in our mid 20’s) and have plenty of time on our side, but we seem to be lacking that urge to focus intensely on the task. ¬†The other week, I thought it would be beneficial if we created a financial mission statement. Every organization has a mission statement so why can’t a household have a financial mission statement?

What Is a Financial Mission Statement?

A financial mission statement outlines your households mission, purpose and reason for being financially secure. A good financial mission statement will accurately explain what your household wants to achieve financially in the future and how you are going to get there. It will also incorporate your values. In other words, if you want to thrive financially without sacrificing your charity donations, you should include that in your mission statement.

What Should Be Included In a Financial Mission Statement?

1. What problems or opportunities  need to be addressed?

In this section, you should include the problem areas of your families finances and how you are looking to correct them. This is probably going to be the most important part of your statement. If your main problem is paying off debt, you want to include some motivational keywords to make you want to complete this task fast. Here is an example:

The financial mission on the Smith household is to remove the vicious hold that debt has on us. We will strive to not increase our debt and aggressively pay down our existing debt.

Have no debt? Good for you! You should also use this area to focus on financial opportunities that may be coming up in the future. Looking to fully fund your Roth IRA each year? Put that in this section! Here is an example:

The financial mission of the Jones household is to fully fund both of our Roth IRAs each year. We will also strive to place an additional $3000 into our 401(k)s after these are funded.

That statement got to the point quickly and stressed the areas that the household would like to focus on. You may even want to put additional motivational words in the statement to get you pumped up to save.

2. What are you going to do to address the needs of your finances?

Here, you will state the path you are going to take to meet the goals that you addressed in the previous section. If you said that you wanted to pay off your debt, explain how you plan on doing it. Here is an example:

We want to aggressively pay down our debt by taking on additional part-time work and put into place several frugal habits. We realize that many of our previous spending habits were hurting us and it is time to change those habits.

That statement focused on how you are planning on paying down the debt. It gives you things to focus on to ensure that you complete them.

3. What are the values of your household and how will they help you achieve your goals?

In this section, you should interject your values into your financial mission statement. Do you hate debt? Do you want to give 10% of your income to charities? Do you feel that all parents should pay for their kids college education? This is the section to include those things in. Here is an example:

While completing our drastic debt reduction, we will continue to support our local charities. Also, in our quest to retire at age 55, we still want to enjoy certain things in life such as traveling.

Combine to Get the Finished Product

Now that you have finished each section, you should combine your thoughts and goals into a complete financial missions statement. Keep in mind that the statement should be motivational. You want everyone who reads it in your household to want to remain focused on the financial tasks at hand. Here is an example of a finished financial mission statement:

The financial mission of the Jones family is to remove the vicious hold that debt has on us. We will strive to not increase our debt and aggressively pay down our existing debt without sacrificing our gifts to local charities. After we erase this debt, we will focus intensely on increasing our savings so that we may retire at age 55. We want to do this without becoming cheapskates. We also want to teach our children the ins and outs of money at an early age as we do not want them to have the same financial problems as us.

That mission statement gets to the point and conveys what the Jones household wants to achieve. It may not include all of the small things that will most certainly come around but it at least keeps them focused on the financial task at hand. This statement should then be placed in a prominent location in the house. I recommend placing it on the refrigerator in a bright color for all to see.

It’s time to get working on yours. Sit down with your family and discuss finances. There is no better time than today to get aggressive with your finances!

Should You Manage Your Kids Money?

Walter Updegrave, senior editor of Money Magazine, answered a readers question recently. Here is the question:

My 20-year-old daughter works two jobs and is going back to school part-time. Her father takes her paychecks and doles out money to her as needed. He thinks he’s helping her by doing this, but I think he’s hurting her. I worry that if she doesn’t start to manage her own money, she will have trouble in the future knowing how to pay bills, etc. What is your opinion?

Walter tells the reader to give her husband some credit for having an interest in their daughter’s finances. However, he also tells her that it will end up hurting their daughter in the long run when she is out on her own. I whole-heartedly agree with him on that one! When this girl gets a full-time job and it is living on her own, will her dad keep on paying her bills and taking her paychecks? I certainly hope not. If he does, she will have a hard time adjusting to life¬†financially¬†and personally. They need to begin to incorporate their daughter into her finances and teach her the proper way to manage her money. This is almost the same thing as one partner in a marriage managing all of the money and the other partner couldn’t tell you where their checking account is held.¬†

I personally know someone who’s father is like this. Every since she has had a full-time job he has taken her paycheck and paid all of her bills for her. No matter what they were. I think this seriously hurts her because one day, he is no longer going to be around. What is she going to do then? She is even married and this still goes on!¬†

Do you know anyone who’s parents take care of ALL of their finances? Do you know a married couple where one person knows NOTHING about their financial situation? Please share your comments.