Archive for March 2017

6 Savvy Ways to Save This Spring

6 Savvy Ways to Save This Spring

6 Savvy Ways to Save This SpringFor many people, it is relatively easy to stay on budget during the winter months. You might not be particularly active during the winter ? depending on where you live ? meaning you probably won?t be spending as much money.

However, the story changes during the spring, as the weather starts to improve and you begin to think about doing things outdoors once again. So how do you save money while enjoying everything that spring has to offer? Check out the following six savvy ways to save this spring.

Spend Money for Next Winter

Okay ? so this isn?t a tip that will technically save you money in the short term, but it can pay off nicely in the long run. When spring arrives, many brands and retailers will discount their winter gear in order to move it out. If you are willing to buy things you need, like winter coats and other garments, for instance, you could get great deals on your purchases. When next winter comes around, you will already be prepared and you won?t have to pay full price.

Make Money on Spring Cleaning

Many people like to go through a spring cleaning process, which is a great idea for clearing out your house after a long winter. Fortunately, this is a process that can make you some money, as you may want to sell some of your old things online. Using sites like eBay is an easy way to sell your unwanted items without much trouble.

Use Natural Heating

If the weather in your area is warm during the day in the spring, consider opening up your windows during the daylight hours to warm the inside of your house. This technique may help you avoid running the furnace at night, which will save you on heating costs. As spring turns into summer, you can alter this plan to having some windows open at night for natural air conditioning.

Take an Affordable Trip

Spring break is a great time to go on vacation ? but such a vacation can be a big drain on your budget. So, instead of breaking the bank by taking a long trip to a tropical destination, stay closer to home and save this spring?in the process. With a bit of creativity and flexibility, it is a good bet that you can have fun without flying thousands of miles away.

Free Entertainment

The improving weather that you find in the spring means you can head outdoors for free entertainment instead of having to stay inside while doing something like going to a movie theater. Local parks are great options for this kind of free activity time, as are hiking trails, bike paths, and more.

Stay Focused on Your Budget

Sometimes, all it takes to save money is simply remaining focused on your budget goals. It is easy to be distracted by the optimism and excitement of spring, but remember how important it is to remain committed to your budget over the long run.


Do you have trouble with overspending during spring? How do you plan to save this spring?


Photo courtesy of: andibreit

How to Dispute a Bill and Win

How to Dispute a Bill and Win

How to Dispute a Bill and WinThe mail has arrived. When I was a child, getting mail was usually a joyous occasion. But now that I’m an adult getting the mail usually means bills or ads.

While bills are just a part of life, they can cause headaches when they are wrong. So, what do you do when you’ve been over-charge, or mis-charged on a bill? How you find out what is wrong and get it fixed? Below are some steps you need to take to dispute a bill and get a favorable outcome.

Ask for a Detailed Bill

If you think your bill is too much or you were charged wrongly, call and ask for a detailed bill. This can show you what you are billed for and how much each service costs. From here you can see more clearly if there was an error or if services were simply more expensive than you thought. Doing your research before blowing it out of proportion makes it an easier process for everyone.

Have Your Facts and Information Ready

It does no good to dispute a bill if you don’t ?have all your facts straight. For example, you may need to get previous bills out?to prove that you?ve paid on time and have a good history with a company. Or have an estimate handy before disputing a charge that was higher than what you were quoted.

Be Polite and Logical

The better behaved you are, the better your chances of making it through the correct channels to get your bill fixed. Being mean and callous gets you nowhere, especially when you aren?t talking to the person who can make it happen. Try to be logical and don?t let too much emotion get in the way. Something said in anger can easily make it hard to go back and get your bill fixed.

Ask to Speak to a Manager

The customer service reps usually can?t make decisions when you dispute a bill. So, it may be necessary to ask to speak to a manager to get some actions completed.

Be sure to write down the time, date and the name of the person who you speak with. This is especially important if you are trying to dispute a medical bill or credit card bill. With these large companies, you may not get the same person twice on the phone.

If you notice you aren?t getting anywhere with current representative, ask to speak to someone else or if there is someone else you should call. Remember they are human too. Shouting at the low man on the totem pole will get you nowhere.

Be Persistent

Call, call and then call some more. Send a request in writing, email or fax it in. The more persistent you are in calling, the more they will pay attention if you aren?t getting the attention you need. In your persistence, be sure to see the above for being polite, logical, etc.

Having to dispute a bill?can be frustrating. Be sure that you keep detailed notes of everything that you talked about and were told from the customer service representatives. If you have been told everything about your bill and the company wasn?t in the wrong, pay them their dues. Getting hot-headed and saying ?I?m not giving you another dime? will get you nowhere and will make it difficult in case you ever need to dispute a?bill again in the future. If you aren?t happy with your service, haggle, shop around, or look at going elsewhere for your services.


Have you ever had to dispute a bill? How have you handled billing disputes? What have you found that works?


Photo courtesy of: Alexas_Fotos

5 Ways to Improve Work-Life Balance

5 Ways to Improve Work-Life Balance

5 Ways to Improve Work-Life BalanceOne of the downsides to living in today?s high-tech world is the nonstop access that you have to work-related information. If you want to check your work email, for instance, you can probably just pull out your smartphone and have those messages at your fingertips.

While that is nice for convenience, it does make it difficult to break away from the office to focus on other parts of your life.

To make sure that you are providing yourself with the best work-life balance possible, consider using some (or all) of the following tips.

Set Time Limits

One of the easiest things you can do to balance out your work and personal lives is to set time limits for yourself with regard to work-related activities. For instance, you could choose to set 6 p.m. as the limit for checking your work messages. Once six o?clock has come and gone, you will set your phone to the side (or, at least, mute your work messages) and do other things. It may take a bit of practice to get into this habit, but it will benefit you greatly in the long run.

Give Yourself Days Off

This can be a tricky point in the modern world, especially if you do any kind of freelance work. It is tempting to work seven days a week in order to maximize your earnings, but that is an unhealthy way to go about your career. Commit yourself to taking at least one full day off per week, if not two. You will likely find that your productivity is actually improved thanks to these days off, as you will get more done during your work hours because you have given yourself a break.

Delegate Tasks

Trying to do everything by yourself is a sure way to run yourself into the ground. Don?t fall into that trap. Instead, trust others to help you with your work from time to time, as teamwork is one of the fastest ways to find success. You can still do the important jobs yourself, of course, but delegating out smaller tasks saves both time and money in the end.

Stick to Your Budget

The way you manage your budget actually has a lot to do with how well you are going to be able to strike a healthy work-life balance. When you don?t stick to your budget, you wind up needing to work more in order to pay off your bills ? and that cycle is one that will just continue into the future. To break out of that pattern, reduce your monthly expenditures so you can cut back slightly on working hours.

Learn to Say No

Sometimes in life, you just need to say ?no?. As a freelance worker, that means turning down a project from time to time. Or, as an hourly or salaried worker, that may mean occasionally standing up to your boss and saying that you don?t have time for a given project. Obviously, you can?t tell your boss no all the time, but you should be able to one in a while if you are valued and trusted employee.


Do you struggle with work-life balance? What are some of your best tips for finding a good work-life balance?


Photo courtesy of: danilocarta

What are US Families Giving Up to Pay for Healthcare?

What are US Families Giving Up to Pay for Healthcare?

What are US Families Giving Up to Pay for Healthcare?There is much concern among all US citizens over the rising costs of healthcare. You hear about it from many sources including other people, your medical?facilities, and the media just to name a few.

But while we are all facing this healthcare crisis together, how are we coping? What are US families giving up to pay for their health?

Here are a few sacrifices people are making to pay for healthcare.

Going Out for Meals

With the rising costs of healthcare families are facing, many people are forced to cut back in other areas. The facts are that a budget can only stretch so far. The money needed to pay for increasingly more expensive medications, doctor visits, and hospital stays must be found. According to research by Coupon Dash, the way American?s are cutting back the most is by reducing the number of meals they eat out.

Career Opportunities

Some American workers have had to change careers in order to provide medical care?for their families. As healthcare costs have risen, more employers are cutting back on the healthcare benefits they offer their employees. Additionally, many employers have eliminated offering healthcare coverage as a benefit altogether.

These changes have increased the already heavy burden of healthcare costs for the average American. Some people have had to change jobs in order to get healthcare coverage. Even then, coverage is usually costly. Others have decided against self-employment in order to take up a position with a company that provides a healthcare benefit.


Unfortunately, money is not infinite. As healthcare costs have risen, wages for most people have not kept up. As a result, another area taking a hit from the rising costs of medical care is education.

Many of our states budgets have slashed their education funding to the bone. College tuition costs have increased, possibly to make up for the budget shortfalls. Plus, public schools are cutting beneficial programs they can no longer afford to offer. At the same time, costs for state funded Medicaid programs have risen substantially as more Americans can no longer afford medical care?on their own.

New Technology

Some of the luxuries people have been able to afford in the past are begin eliminated or purchased less frequently as a result of rising medical?costs. New computers, expensive smart phones, tablets, and other technological items are being given up as budgets tighten.

For some, cutting back on newer technology affects their jobs. For example if you use your home computer for work, not being able to upgrade it could cost you money in lost wages.

Time with Family

As medical care?costs increase, more Americans take on side hustles or second jobs to increase their income. This means another area of sacrifice is loss of time spent with family.

It appears that people are sacrificing in a variety of areas in order to pay for the increasing costs of healthcare. Plus, it doesn’t seem that medical costs will be decreasing anytime soon.



What are you willing to sacrifice to pay for healthcare for your family?


Photo courtesy of: DarkoStojanovic

5 Ways to Avoid Side Hustle Burn Out

5 Ways to Avoid Side Hustle Burn Out

5 Ways to Avoid Side Hustle Burn OutIn today?s society more people are picking up a side hustle to earn extra money and make ends meet.

Side hustles of choice can range from freelance work to producing hand made goods and selling them, or even getting a part-time job on the weekends. For some a side hustle is a creative outlet. For others it?s a pathway to starting their own business or an extra source of income when needed.

While the rewards of a side hustle can be many, the actual work put in to the side hustle can be taxing. What once was a way to relax has now become a source of stress. When you fear side hustle?burn out, keep these five things in mind.

Pace Yourself

Remember, a side hustle is something you are doing on top of your main employment. You don?t necessarily have to do this, you chose to do this to earn extra money. When you start feeling burn out approaching,?space out your work and pace yourself. The extra money you are earning is not worth feeling burn out.

Take a Mini-Vacay from Hustling

Whether it?s a personal day or an actual vacation, make sure you give yourself time to be you. All work and no play makes for a lousy day. Take a break from your side hustle if needed. Give yourself time to recharge and reenergize. Put time back into your family or a hobby that’s not part of your side hustle.

Balance Your Work and Your Side Hustle

If you work 40 hours or more at your job and several more hours on your hustle, that leaves you with barely any time for other things in life. If your side hustle is taking over your life, it might be time to consider where your true passion lies. This may mean scaling back on your side hustle, or taking it full-time and quitting your day job if your finances can handle it.


If you have a large amount of work for your side hustle that you never seem to keep up with, outsource some of it if you can. Paying someone for a few hours to help lighten your load to get you refocused and reorganized will provide you with more time. You might even find that you can earn more with a side business when you start outsourcing work to other people.

Learn to Say No

If you don?t want to pursue your side hustle full-time but work keeps flowing in, limit the amount of side hustling you are going to do by learning to say no. Finish the work you already committed to and then only take a certain number of projects on at one time. Another way to limit your work is to set an income minimum. Any projects that won’t pay enough to meet your minimum are the ones you’ll say no to.

Side hustles can be a great way to provide additional income. But, if you aren’t careful, they can also turn into projects of loathing. By setting yourself some guidelines and knowing your limitations, you can?avoid burn out. Take care of yourself first, because without you, you can?t hustle.


What do you do to keep from burning out on your side hustle? Have you ever experience side hustle burn out?


Photo courtesy of: Wokandapix