Maximize Your Opportunities for Health and Happiness

18th November 2015

We live by schedules. Lots of your time revolves around transportation: getting to and from work, driving the kids to their extra-curricular activities, going to the gym and more. Between all these scheduled activities, be sure you’re fitting in time to achieve your wellness goals and to do things you enjoy.

Make Your Smartphone Work Harder for You

Build in time for the less stressful and more healthful events like seeing friends and calling your parents. The best tool for this is right next to you: your smartphone.

Smartphones are fantastic scheduling tools. It takes just a moment to tell Cortana, Siri or Google to remind you about details that slip your mind. If you find exercise boring but know it’s necessary, search your smartphone for health apps to make it more interesting. Samsung’s Galaxy series (S5 and later) has a health app that delivers a heart monitor, pedometer, fitness tracker and a fitness and nutrition coach. It even has a peer support community. Your smartphone can also look out for events you enjoy. If you heard there’s another final tour for the Rolling Stones or The Who, tell Cortana or Siri to let you know when tickets come on sale. When the time comes, she’ll send you right to the website to buy your tickets.

Take Time to Read

It doesn’t matter what you read: the act of reading is mentally stimulating. The National Institute of Aging says intellectually stimulating activities, like reading and socializing, lower the chance of Alzheimer’s, too.

But while you’re reading, make sure some of it is hardcopy material, particularly if you read in the evening hours leading up to bed. The blue light from tablets, e-readers and smartphones suppresses melatonin, the chemical that helps you prepare for sleep, Harvard Medical School reported in late 2014. So go ahead and subscribe to one print magazine or borrow a book from the library.

Cook Several Meals and Freeze the Leftovers

Don’t resign yourself to a weekly (or more) fast food run and eat food that isn’t boosting your wellness goals. Instead, tell your smartphone to schedule enough time for you or your assigned shopper to get to a grocery store once a week. Most shopping experts say Wednesday is the best day to shop for food bargains, but some chains have great deals on Sunday nights.

Then, cook up a storm. Turn up the radio or put on the game, and cook all your meals for the week. Just about any cooked food can be frozen, says food blogger and historian Tori Avey, but not all foods have the same frozen shelf life and not all dishes freeze as beautifully as others. Leftover cooked poultry can be safely refrigerated for three to four days and frozen for months. Same with cooked meat dishes. Check out the FDA’s freezing and storage chartfor details.

A few things to remember:

  • Don’t allow cooked foods to cool for more than two hours
  • If you’re freezing a small amount of cooked food, you don’t have to let it cool first
  • The safest way to thaw frozen foods is overnight in the fridge, with covers still on
  • You can thaw food under cold running water and in the microwave

4 Ways To Make Money From Home

17th November 2015

desk-918425_640I love being able to make money from home. While I don’t make enough money from home to fully support myself, I do know that it is possible. I just need to put a little more effort towards it and you never really know what may happen!

That being said, I know others can make money from home as well. There are so many benefits of doing this. My favorite’s benefits/reasons include not having a commute, having a flexible schedule, and being able to make an income, of course!

Here are five ways to make money from home. Enjoy and good luck!

1. Become a freelancer.

Freelancing can allow you to work from home and make a good living. You could write for others online, become a virtual assistant, manage a website, become an editor, and more. 

I recommend checking out the blog Careful Cents if you want to become a freelancer. There’s a lot of great tips on that blog!

2. Start a blog.

Starting a blog may not make you rich or at least not in the very beginning, but I know many people who make a great living through blogging.

Michelle at Making Sense of Cents has a great tutorial on how to start a blog on WordPress. Check it out!

3. Take online surveys.

Online surveys can be a great way to make money online and all from the comfort of your home. There are many survey sites out there for you to make money from and I recommend doing your research. Sadly, there are some not-so-legitimate companies out there. However, there are many legitimate ones.

Again, Michelle at Making Sense of Cents has another great article about the 6 Best Online Survey Sites.

4. Play games online.

If you are interested, you can try your hand at playing games online in order to make money, such as at Mansion Casino. I know a few people who do this who have a ton of fun. Here you can find different games and also play roulette, where you don’t need only luck, you need to understand the strategy.

5. Sell items.

There are many items you may be able to sell online from home. You can sell items that you already have, that you make, or that you find. The ideas are endless!

How to Make the Most of Winter Festivals on a Budget

15th November 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 11.51.53 AMIt’s tempting to stay in and hibernate when the temperature starts to drop and winter gets into full swing, but if you did you’d be missing out on the wide range of social events, parties, and festivities at this time of year.

Going out and about can take a toll on your bank account, so if you want more money left over for Christmas presents, here are a few ways to make the most of the season while still saving.

Plan ahead

To be sure that you don’t miss out on anything, the first order of business is to plan your social calendar in advance.

Scan the listings for public events, music gigs, and food and drink festivals. In many cases, there are discounts for early bird tickets, particularly as you get closer to New Year’s Eve. You can expect to pay a higher price the day of an event! Planning in advance also pays off if you’re going to be throwing your own festival or party, because it lets you buy in bulk and shop around for discounts on party supplies.

Follow a theme

Planning an event of your own? It’s best to pick a theme to help you create a budget and stick to it. You can go beyond the theme of “winter” or “holidays” to focus more on a certain time period, popular film, or region of the world. Look for current sales and plan a theme based around these.

Are you attending a festival that requires costumes? Save by reusing accessories left over from Halloween or looking for seasonal discounts online. Compare prices – that way, you’ll spend less on a Spiderman costume from Funidelia for a comic-themed winter festival.

Go to city festivals

From small towns to major metropolitan areas, many cities throw their own holiday bashes during the winter. This could include turning the public square into an ice skating rink, setting off fireworks, or hosting winter beer festivals.

The best part is that most of these types of public festivals offer free entry, so all you’ll have to shell out for is skate rental and a hot chocolate to enjoy the spirit of the season. It’s worth keeping up to date with the local event calendar to avoid paying stiff entry fees for private parties!

Throw your own holiday party

Of course, many of us enjoy gathering with our family and friends during the winter season. You can also save money by throwing your own holiday party, as decorations can be kept simple during this time. A bit of ribbon and a handful of snowflake confetti can make the room look festive, so you don’t have to splash out on major decorations. As you shop for food and drink for your own party, you should comparison shop and use e-coupons when possible.

Major retailers get very competitive at this time of year so you should be able to snag bargains provided you don’t wait until the last minute! And if you really want to save, consider throwing a potluck. Friends and family are usually more than happy to contribute to a seasonal get-together, and this can save you a bundle.