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Blog and Life Updates, Budget, Family Finances

When to start Investing

September 13, 2020

A huge number of individuals go to Google each month to check whether right now is an ideal opportunity to invest. It’s a stacked inquiry, particularly this year: In late February 2020, the S&P 500 started a month long decay, finding what speculators trust was the pandemic floor on March 23.

Generally, it has taken a normal of around two years for the market to recuperate from an accident; this time, it bobbed back in only 149 days. Before the finish of August, the file was by and by hitting record highs.

More odd still, this remarkable recuperation came in the midst of dismal features, with U.S. joblessness hitting an unsurpassed high in April and staying above 10% through July.

Plus, from Robert Powell’s Retirement Daily on TheStreet: What’s the Value of a Risk-Tolerance Questionnaire?

Between the securities exchange’s unpredictable conduct and financial vulnerability over the globe, speculators are justifiably vigilant. However, that shouldn’t mean sitting out of the market.

Understanding the Main Street-Wall Street Disparity

The market’s recuperation is obviously at chances with the U.S. economy. Be that as it may, a more critical look shows this unevenness may not be as baffling as it appears.

The financial exchange reflects speculator slant about the future, not what’s going on the present moment. While retail financial specialists might be more disposed to purchase and sell dependent on every day features, institutional speculators are looking a long ways ahead. Also, given the fast market recuperation (and the desire for proceeded with assistance from the Federal Reserve), it shows up Wall Street isn’t scared.

The S&P 500 is likewise market top weighted, which means bigger organizations will biggerly affect its exhibition (perceive how the S&P 500 attempts to get familiar with this). The five biggest organizations in the list (Apple , Microsoft , Amazon , Facebook and Google’s parent organization Alphabet ) are in tech, an industry that hasn’t been hit as hard by COVID-19. The tech-driven recuperation helped push the S&P 500 to its record high, regardless of the continuous monetary issues brought about by the pandemic.

And afterward there are the high trusts in an inevitable immunization. As indicated by Robert M. Wyrick Jr., overseeing part and boss venture official of Post Oak Private Wealth Advisors in Houston, speculators might be wagering on the conviction that a Covid antibody will be delivered in the near future. In the event that and when a practical antibody is comprehensively accessible, it’s probably going to be a major driver of proceeded with development in the business sectors.

“While this is likely previously valued into the market somewhat, I would lean toward not to be uninvolved when this at last occurs,” says Wyrick, whose firm spends significant time in cutting edge hazard oversaw contributing.

Timing the Market versus Time In the Market

As per Marguerita Cheng, an affirmed monetary organizer and CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland, when you begin contributing isn’t as significant as how long you stay contributed. Furthermore, that is a memorable proverb in a pandemic, as well.

“The most ideal approach to manufacture riches is to remain contributed, however I realize that can be testing,” Cheng says in an email meet.

It’s simpler in the event that you contribute just for long haul objectives. Try not to put cash you may require in the following five years, as it’s exceptionally conceivable the stock or shared reserve you buy will drop in an incentive for the time being. On the off chance that you need those assets for an enormous buy or crisis, you may need to sell your venture before it gets an opportunity to ricochet back, bringing about a misfortune.

Be that as it may, in case you’re contributing as long as possible, those momentary drops aren’t of much worry to you. It’s the intensifying additions after some time that will assist you with hitting your retirement or long haul monetary objectives. (Perceive how exacerbating increases work with this venture adding machine.)

The Water’s Fine, yet Wade in Slowly

Perhaps the best procedure to keep quiet and stay contributed during times of instability is a method known as dollar-cost averaging.

Through this methodology, you contribute a particular dollar sum at standard spans, state a few times per month, instead of attempting to time the market. In doing as such, you’re purchasing in at different costs that, in principle, normal out after some time.

Wyrick noticed this is additionally a phenomenal technique for first-time speculators hoping to enter the market during seasons of vulnerability.

“It’s extremely hard to time when to get into the market, as there’s no time like the present,” Wyrick says. “I wouldn’t bet everything simultaneously, except I think sticking around to perceive what befalls the economy or what befalls the market in the following three, six or nine months much of the time winds up being a waste of time.”

So how, precisely, do you start dollar-cost averaging into the market? A typical methodology is to combine this with stock assets, for example, trade exchanged assets. ETFs pack a wide range of stocks together, letting you get presentation to every one of them through a solitary venture. For instance, if you somehow happened to put resources into a S&P 500 ETF, you would have a stake in each organization recorded in the file. Instead of putting all your cash in a couple of individual stocks, ETFs help you rapidly manufacture an all around differentiated portfolio.

To dollar-cost normal you could set up programmed month to month (or week by week, or fortnightly) ventures into an ETF through your online money market fund or retirement account. Through this methodology, you would accomplish the advantages of dollar-cost averaging and expansion, all through a hands-off technique intended for building long haul riches.

Budget, Family Finances, Frugal Living

Budget Friendly Birthday Party for Our Frugal Family

October 19, 2015

When I found out that I was expecting for the first time, I knew that I would be cutting it pretty close to my own birthday with the due date. Little did I know, instead of going to my birthday dinner reservation, I would be spending the evening in the military hospital, meeting our daughter for the first time.

It’s pretty cool that my daughter and I have the same birthday. It’s an extra special day in our family not only because we share the birthday, but also because I shared the birthday with my great-grandmother. I always felt like I was in a special club, sharing my birthday on October 9. My great grandmother has since passed on, but now the club continues with me and my daughter.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but two people in the same family having the same birthday is a really great way to cut down on the costs of birthday celebrations. You don’t buy two cakes or have two parties, so the costs are essentially slashed in half. My family is pretty frugal, so this has worked out pretty well so far. I don’t mind eating whatever kind of cake my daughter chooses. Also, for the moment, her friends are the children of my friends, so parties aren’t an issue either. 

This year for my daughter’s birthday, she wanted to invite her friends to the park to eat cupcakes and hit a piñata. So, that’s what we did, and it cost next to nothing. It was a very budget friendly birthday party. My husband did go a bit overboard at the store, but try telling him that his 5 year old doesn’t need helium balloons at her birthday party…wasn’t going to happen. So I just let it go, because it made him happy to do that for her and it made her happy too.

The only thing she specifically asked for was a unicorn piñata. Our local Walmart doesn’t carry unicorn pinatas though, which really left me in a bind. The one she really wanted in particular is sold on Amazon for $30. I didn’t want to spend that kind of money on something that would only last ten minutes. So, what’s a frugal mama to do?

To remedy the unicorn pinata situation, I bought the My Little Pony piñata from Walmart for $10 and decided to make a unicorn horn myself. With just 15 minutes of extra effort, I saved $20.

Turning the pony piñata into a unicorn, instead of buying one, basically covered the cost of the impromptu purchase of a helium tank, so we’ll call it even. Making 24 cupcakes for the party only cost me $5 for cake and frosting supplies, and we had fruit, veggies, pretzels, tea, and water for the party guests to snack on. All in all, it was a really affordable, fun, and budget-friendly birthday party for our frugal family. There was gorgeous weather at the park the day of the party too, which made the day even nicer.

Even though our daughter is only 5 years old, we’re already finding our groove with how to celebrate two birthdays on the same day. We also have a few family traditions now because of our unique birthday situation. For example, we go to the pumpkin patch every year on the weekend nearest to our actual birthday. I love all things fall and all things pumpkin, so going to the pumpkin patch is how I get to celebrate my birthday in my own way while also doing something the kids will enjoy.

This year, my parents, sister, and soon to be brother in law were able to join us, which made our pumpkin patch weekend even more special. As an added bonus, the pumpkin patch we went to this year was really affordable. It was also only $8 per child with accompanying adults getting in for free for all of the activities (maze, fun house, and petting zoo). They had free hay rides out to the pumpkin field to pick your own pumpkins as well. They also had a fun deal where you could get as many pumpkins as you can carry in three steps for only $20. My husband decided to do it, and he ended up carrying 6 or 7 full size pumpkins and a whole bunch of smaller ones.

My big strong husband carrying all of the family pumpkins so that we could get them for only $20.

My favorite part of the weekend was getting our family picture taken. We look forward to it every year. Taking a family picture in the hay has kind of become an annual thing for our family. We have never had professional family pictures done, so these pictures are precious to me. Our pumpkin patch picture from our birthday weekend has become one of my most cherished memories. I love that my husband and I get to make such sweet memories with our beautiful kids.

Do you have any family traditions on your birthday? What are your cost-saving measures to have a budget friendly birthday party?

Blog and Life Updates

HOW FINCON CHANGED MY LIFE

October 2, 2015

As many of you other wonderful bloggers already know, the financial media conference, FinCon15, took place in Charlotte, VA from September 17-21. I was blessed enough to be able to attend. The conference was incredible, I met incredible people, and I left with a huge fire lit underneath me to get cracking on my freelance writing, as well as my own blog.

My mentor at the conference, Ryan Rhoten, gave me some unbelievable tips and advice for how to create a better brand for myself, take myself seriously, and help others to take me seriously as well.

I know what you’re thinking! That was two weeks ago! Where on earth have you been for the better part of month?

Working my tail off

The (awesome) problem is that I came back with several new clients, and my work load has essentially tripled. I have not had adequate sleep since I got back from the conference, let alone time to do any sort of writing for my own blog (I know, Ryan, I know! I’m working on it, I promise!)

I had mentioned to a new friend from the conference that most of my content creation goes towards onto other websites, and I never seem to have enough time or creative juices left over for my own writing. He summed it up perfectly, “The Cobbler’s children have no shoes.”

It’s a problem that a lot of freelance writers struggle with. I know that I need to find time to write for my own blog, and eventually I will. First I need to find my new groove with all of my new clients though. I know that I will probably not become a three post a week blogger until at least the beginning of next year, but I am completely alright with that.

Bypassing goals and Changing my life

Because of meeting other bloggers and new clients at FinCon, I have surpassed my original goal of earning a steady $500 in freelance writing income. By the end of October, I will come close to double that goal.

This change is absolutely monumental for my family. Not only will I be able to pay off my debt that I incurred to go to FinCon, within the next three months, but I will be able to start the New Year by increasing my family’s income by 25%. Every single penny I earn, as a work at home mom freelance writer, will be going towards paying off our chains of debt. I truly believe that I will be able to reach our main financial goal of becoming completely debt free by the end of 2016.

It’s an amazing feeling to be finally be able to contribute to the family income, pay off debt, and work towards goals in a productive way.

Learning how to get paid to write for blogs, and taking myself seriously enough to go to FinCon to find clients, have monumentally changed my life and the quality of life for my family.

I am so excited to see where I’ll be, both personally and professionally, this time next year.

Have you recently met any personal goals? What are you most excited for as the year draws to a close?

Blog and Life Updates, Family Finances, Police Wife Life

FINANCIAL LEAP OF FAITH AND FINCON15

September 14, 2015

14 months ago, to say that my husband and I were “struggling to make ends meet” would have been a gross understatement.

My husband was working 40 hours a week at his full time job as well as working the reserves one weekend a month. I was providing childcare during the week to try to help pay the bills. I even started a small craft business. It wasn’t enough. Working more wasn’t an option. I had newborn, and we were already working as hard as we could.

My husband was already working as a police officer, but he was being paid the same rate as he was making as a security guard before he finished the police academy, which was pennies. He wasn’t earning what he was worth, and his superiors kept coming up with a lot of empty promises for his actual police rate pay (which never came).

Facing foreclosure

We were facing foreclosure. The food that we put on our table came from the garden and government assistance food checks from WIC. Too many dinners were rice with vegetables that I grew. We were one or two weeks shy of my husband re-enlisting as an active duty member of the military and having myself and our two kids move in with my parents for a while. It was a dark place, emotionally and financially, that we never thought we would have to come to.

My husband took a financial leap of faith and started looking anywhere and everywhere for a new job. He had just achieved his goal of finishing the police academy, and he was done with his term of field training, but he was willing to go back to selling motorcycles or joining the military again, just to make ends meet. We both hoped that he could find a job for a different city working as a police officer.

One town with an open position seemed like our only hope. As my husband got further along in the hiring process, first passing the physical and written tests, the back ground check, and then the home check, we had more and more hope that this position was the answer to our prayers. He wasn’t even guaranteed the job yet, but we started packing boxes.

Our financial leap of faith 

I don’t like to talk too much about my faith online, but I wouldn’t be able to explain this story without it. I had a quiet peace in my heart about this potential position. After a lot of prayer, we both felt the need to pursue this job with alacrity and ready our home for sale or new renters.  We took another financial leap of faith, and we moved to the new town before he was even offered the job. There weren’t many homes for rent, and we found the perfect house for our needs which was within our budget. We had to pounce, or we would have lost it.

Anyone looking in from the outside would have seen our decision as brash, financially irresponsible, and foolish. Our extended family thought we were insane. But I knew in my heart that it was the right decision. This was a high risk, high reward situation, and we were willing to take the gamble. Since we were already facing the loss of everything, we literally had nothing to lose. We even had a renter lined up. Our good friend wanted to rent our house for herself and her three kids. I couldn’t have imagined anyone better as a renter.

Our financial leap of faith paid off. Two weeks after we moved into the new rental house, he was offered the job.

Since that financial gamble, we have had 13 months of financial security, money for rent, and food for the table. We have met new friends that are more like family, and we are happier than we have ever been. We still have a lot of debt, but we are working hard to pay it off and be free once and for all from that awful time of our lives. Our financial leap of faith paid back in dividends. We couldn’t have imagined a better outcome.

A new financial leap of faith

I took my own financial leap of faith in March of this year, when I took a course to learn how to get paid to write for blogs. That course was worth the investment. Cat, the instructor of the course, is both my friend and mentor. She helped me to reach the level of success with writing that I now have. I even paid taxes on my earnings for the first time yesterday. Nobody likes paying taxes, but that was a great feeling.  

I love writing from home, and I love working as a contract writer and freelance blogger. I am ready to take my business to the next level though, so with Cat’s experience and advice, I am taking another gigantic, financial leap of faith. I took on $1500 dollars of debt so that I can attend FinCon15.

FinCon15

This Wednesday, I will be driving to Charlotte, North Carolina for the four day conference. My dear friend designed and ordered 500 business cards for me to distribute, and I already have a few potential client meetings lined up. I am ready to work harder than I ever have before to meet new clients, make connections, and get my name known in the financial writing world.

I have never been more nervous for anything in my life, but I have the same kind of peace in my heart about this conference as I did when we moved without a guarantee of a job for my husband. The experience we had by flinging ourselves into the financial unknown, and surviving to tell the tale has made me more willing to take risks for the reward. I have faith in myself that I will be able to pay back my debt quickly. I made $450 dollars last month writing from home. Even if I don’t win a single new client at this conference, I will be able to pay the debt off relatively quickly. I see FinCon15 as a good debt, not unlike taking out a loan for school. 

I am ready to hustle hard, work harder, and make my own career dreams come true. I’m ready to take the financial writing world by storm.

What is the biggest leap of faith that you have ever taken? Was it in pursuit of your personal goals or your financial goals?

Blog and Life Updates, Family Finances, Motherhood

EMPLOYMENT BOUNDARIES AND KNOWING YOUR VALUE

September 4, 2015

Do you believe that money can buy you happiness? To a certain extent I believe that it does. Money certainly makes things easier. I would be more than willing to endure some unpleasant positions to make more money for my family. If someone told me that I could make 3 million dollars by shoveling out manure pits for the next three years, I would definitely do it. Most people probably would.

What if the same person offered you only $30,000 to shovel manure for the next three years? Unless you were homeless, unemployed, and starving the answer would most likely be a resounding NO. That level of physical discomfort just isn’t worth the meager paycheck. Everyone has their employment boundaries. They know when a project is worth the value or not for their time and effort involved.

This past week I learned what limits are and employment boundaries are as a writer. I did something that, three months ago, seemed inconceivable. I turned down a writing client for the first time.

After learning how to get paid to write for blogs, I have been hustling to find new clients, start new projects, and bring in more income for my family so that we can pay off debt. I’m willing to put in the time and the hours writing for free, doing guest posts, or getting paid low compensation to build up my name, my business, and my writing portfolio. Like Mark Twain is remembered for saying, “Write without pay until somebody offers pay.”

Until this week, my motto has been “any money for writing is good money for writing.” After contacting a potential client and writing a sample article, I was seriously low-balled in return for a writing project. I don’t want to get into the details, but let me just say that the time was not going to be worth the effort or the money. Compensation was going to be less than minimum wage. Significantly less. I turned down the client, letting them know that my time is worth more than they were offering, but thanks for the opportunity.

A project like the one in question would have made me crazy, the quality of my work would have been terrible, and my family would have suffered with me working so much…all for pennies. Although I am still a new writer, I know what my value is, and I know what my employment boundaries are.

I am so glad that I was able to say no. I love working from home as a contract writer, because I get to choose which projects I take on, meaning I enjoy my work and I get to be home with my kids.

I enjoy my work as a writer, and I enjoy my work as a mom. Any job that would make me unhappy with both of those positions is a job I have no desire or willingness to take. I know what my goals are as a writer, I know what my employment boundaries are, and I will only take on projects that will help me reach those goals.

What are your employment boundaries? Do you know what your bottom line amount is for the value of your work?

Before you go, here’s a roundup of some of my recent posts around the web:

Careers that Offer Student Loan Forgiveness

3 Fool-Proof Ways to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse While Shopping Online

10 Great Alternative Christmas Gift Ideas

3 Reasons Millennials Should Invest in Dividend Stocks

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Put Off Your Bucket List until Retirement

Also check out these great posts by other bloggers

Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Spouse’s Career Hold You Back

10 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Funky Mood

How to Check the Real Savings on Amazon Gold Box Deals

Life After Debt…Remembering Your “Why”

5 Simple Ways to Get Your Productivity Back

Family Finances, Uncategorized

DON’T ALLOW $1.25 TO RUIN YOUR DAY

August 31, 2015

Yesterday started out great. My 18 month old woke me up at around 6:10, and even though I had only gotten about 4.5 hours of sleep, I actually wasn’t at all tired. I got little-man situated, made myself some coffee, and decided to bake banana muffins for breakfast. While he was playing and the muffins were baking, I worked on invoice sheets for a bit. 

My husband and daughter both got up right around the time the muffins were done baking, and we all ate breakfast together as a family. Shortly thereafter we went for a 2 mile family run, came back, and then quickly got ready and left for church. 

Fresh muffins. The promise of future payment. Great Workout. Inspiring Mass. I felt fantastic yesterday, like my body, mind, and soul were being taken care of, and I was in a great mood. 

Then I made the decision to stop at Food Lion on our way home from church. 

Before walking into the store, I knew my budget would be about $25 and I had a list of the basic items I needed: bananas, eggs, milk, etc. On the way into the store, I noticed that cereal was on sale for $1.74. That’s a great deal, especially when it’s one of the few items your 18 month old will actually eat for breakfast.

Anyway, I walked down the cereal aisle, found the shelf with the advertised cereal with big red arrows exclaiming “GREAT VALUE” “ON SALE” etc. and picked up a box off of the clearly marked shelf. I grab my other few items, wait in line, pay, and head out to the car, at which point I noticed that the cashier hadn’t rung up the cereal box as on sale.

My receipt listed it for $2.99 instead of $1.74. So I went back in the store and asked the same cashier why it hadn’t rung up as on sale. Her reply was that only the 12 oz boxes were on sale. I had bought the 9 oz box. I said, “Well, the store clearly has this box labeled as on sale.” To which her response was, “Someone must have just stuck that box there.” To which I replied again, “No, really. It is very clearly marked on that shelf that all of this size box is on sale.”

Long story short, I left the store very angry, with absolutely no help from the cashier who very clearly didn’t care at all that I had just paid $1.25 more, for 3 fewer ounces of cereal than the on sale box. 

I was fuming, steaming mad when I got home. I was putting groceries away with much more force than necessary, all while snapping at my family. I realized how crazy I was being and wondered how I let myself get so angry over a box of cereal. 

Instead of punishing my family for something that was clearly not their fault, I tried to use that negative energy for something productive. I finished my invoices, and then we went for a walk down to the park for some fresh air and to let the kiddos play for a bit before dinner and bedtime. 

As much as I really want to blame the store, because someone clearly didn’t properly label the sale items,  I should have double-checked the bar-code before putting the item in my cart. I really shouldn’t have gotten so upset over $1.25. I was about to let a fantastic day get ruined over something as trivial as 5 quarters.

So today, with just an ounce of bitterness,  I will sit and enjoy a box of my not on sale cereal at the crack of dawn, with my sweet 18 month who I love to pieces. I will be grateful that I have the money to put food on our table and in our children’s bellies, and I will never let $1.25 almost ruin my day again. 

I learned a valuable life lesson yesterday: don’t let savings, or a lack there of, decidedly ruin an otherwise great day. It’s just not worth it. I choose to be grateful and learn from my mistakes instead. 

Have you ever let something as trivial as $1.25 ruin your day? 

Uncategorized

5 LIFE SKILLS I WANT MY KIDS TO KNOW

August 26, 2015

Preparing for the day that our kids head off on their own is a process that starts from the moment they’re in our arms for the first time. We all want our kids to be happy, healthy, well-rounded, and capable when they step out into the world, knowledgeable about basic life skills. 

My husband and I want to be good stewards of the time we have with our children. We won’t always be here to help them, so we want to use every moment possible now to teach them necessary life skills to help them in the future. This is a list of the 5 basic life skills I want my kids to know before leaving home.

1. Baking

Baking may not seem like an essential life skill to some, but it’s one that is invaluable to me. Most of my childhood memories revolve around the kitchen in some form or another, as I was usually baking something with my mom or Grammy.

Baking is about more than creating memories and having something delicious to eat. Baking also teaches patience, precision, units of measurement, and chemistry. 

2. Home Cooking

Cooking is a life skill that everyone should know. My children will not leave home without knowing how to cook. I want them to be able to transform a pile of random ingredients into a meal. I want them to be so comfortable in the kitchen that they know how to cook without a recipe. Cooking at home saves money, and it nourishes your family, since you aren’t constantly eating foods heavy with preservatives. 

3. Sewing

When I was 5 years old, my mom taught me how to hand stitch. When I turned 8, my sister and I went to sewing classes and learned to read patterns for making clothes. Twenty years later, my clothes making skills are pretty rusty, but I still know my way around a sewing machine, and I still know how to hand stitch. My mother in law wants to teach me how to quilt, and I would love to learn that skill as well. 

Knowing how to sew has allowed me to save money by mending clothes that are torn, so that I can keep using them. In college I was able to help friends when they needed to mend a garment. Now, I don’t have to hire out to a seamstress when my husband’s uniforms need new patches etc.

Sewing may seem like an archaic skill, but I want my kids to be able to create new things and fix their existing clothes. Knowing basic sewing skills can save you time, money, and frustration.

4. Gardening/preserving

Teach your children to garden, and they will never know hunger. Gardening is a life skill that I wish I had learned earlier in life. I started my first garden in 2011, and I will never go back to not having a place to grow my own food.

At our financial worst as a family, we would have gone hungry if it weren’t for the produce from our garden. Starting plants from seeds costs next to nothing, and the produce from our current three planting beds provide a great deal of food for both the summer and the winter (when I have enough to preserve).

I want my kids to always have the joy of knowing how and when to plant different varieties of food. I want them to have the skill of self-sufficiency. Teaching my children how to grow and preserve their own food is my way insurance policy against the hunger of my grandchildren.

5. Home maintenance

I grew up in a home where we never called a “professional” for any of our home repair needs. During the day my dad works as a computer software manager for a government contractor, but he knows carpentry, auto mechanic skills, masonry, electric, and plumbing. My dad was raised in a Mennonite community, and he learned enough skills as a child, in all sectors of home repair, that he never had to call out for service as an adult.

My dad taught me the basics of home repair and maintenance, and I am lucky to have married a man with similar skill sets. Between the two of us, we very rarely call out for professional help. Knowing how to DIY has saved us thousands of dollars.

Raising Capable Kids 

Basic home repair and home building skills, auto-mechanics, and home economics will help our kids know how to handle any situation that life presents to them. We want both our son and daughter to learn from their grandparents and parents the life skills they need to be able to take on any project. I don’t want them beholden to anyone else. Teaching our kids basic life skills will help them transform into capable, independent adults who can take the world by storm. 

What life skills are you teaching your children as they grow into adulthood? What knowledge would you wish for your children to take with them as they step out on their own?

Blog and Life Updates, Motherhood

REASONS I LOVE RAISING A TYPE A KID

August 21, 2015

Our daughter will be 5 years old soon, and she already has the stubbornness of myself and the single-mindedness of her dad. When she gets it in her head that she wants something or wants to do something, good luck trying to dissuade her otherwise. She can be competitive, ambitious, impatient, aggressive, and fast talking. In short, she has all of the attributes of a type A personality.

My husband is also Type A, and our daughter is basically his mini-me. She not only looks like him, but she acts like him too. So between the two of them, there are quite a few power struggles in our house. I have to laugh, because many of the things that frustrate my husband when dealing with our 4 year old are really just miniature versions of himself.

Sometimes I would love to have her be less competitive, less ambitious, more patient, less-aggressive, and a little bit quieter. I honestly wouldn’t change her for the world, though. As much as it can be a pain to have a strong-willed child, there are several reasons why I love raising a type A kid.

I love that she knows her own mind

As frustrating as it can be at times, my daughter knows her own mind and won’t easily back down from an idea. She embraces those type A qualities for creative projects, play, and learning. When she comes up with an idea for a project, she is impatient to get started and she won’t stop until she’s finished. She is ambitious with her goals, and she thrives off of learning to do new things.

I have learned to just embrace her miniature type A tendencies and try to go with the flow when she comes up with an idea. Raising a type A kid means you have to pick your battles.

I love that she is hard-wired for success

Research from Truity Psychometrics shows, “that people with high scores on the personality dimension of Conscientiousness tend to earn more and be more successful in their careers. Conscientiousness is defined as a person’s tendency to persist towards a goal; Conscientious people tend to be organized, structured, and responsible.” Of course not all successful people are type A, and not all type A people are successful, but the character traits typical to type A personalities do tend to lend a hand in success.

Those attributes typical of a type A individual will help her to grow into the most successful adult she can be. I want my daughter to hold tight to her conscientiousness; it’s every bit as natural to her as her beautiful brown eyes.

She has made me a better parent

We are trying our hardest to raise our children to be gracious members of society, and we don’t tolerate it when our children are ill-mannered, rude, or disrespectful. Trying to find that perfect balance between encouraging her natural drive and ambition, and not letting her become a little tyrant, can be a struggle.

As much as I want my daughter to know her own mind, my husband and I are struggling to set boundaries on the behavior she exhibits towards others. She can be ambitious, but she can’t trample others to get what she wants. She can be a fast-talker, but she needs to learn to listen. She can be competitive, but she needs to be a good sport if she loses.

She has made me a better person

I am not a type A individual, but being married to one and raising another has really helped me become more flexible. Raising our daughter to be a kind, patient, and considerate type A person takes a lot of kindness, patience, and consideration. I have to emulate what I want our daughter to be in this world. If I want her to listen to others and their ideas, I need to listen to her and show respect for her ideas. If I want her to be a good sport when losing, I need to be gracious when she wins. In short, to raise a good person, you have to be a good person.

I love how raising her has changed me as an individual, and I feel so blessed to have my smart, witty, stubborn, creative, and independent daughter.

Are you a type A individual? How has raising your kids changed you as an individual?

Blog and Life Updates, Family Finances

FRUGAL FLORIDA VACATION

August 19, 2015

Last week my family and I were able to spend the week vacationing in Florida to visit my husband’s parents. We don’t have a lot of excess cash flow, so our vacation needed to be pretty well planned out to include mostly free or cheap activities.

By going to historic sites, national parks, and doing free outdoor activities, we were able to have an amazing vacation without having to shell out a ton of money. We had a fantastic time, but the best part of our vacation was that we didn’t go over budget. It really helped that we were staying with family, and we were able to eat at home for about half of our meals.

North Florida tends to be overlooked by vacationers because of the big ticket attractions like Disney World, Universal Studios, and Downtown Disney etc. If you are willing to look beyond Orlando though, you can have an amazing, frugal Florida vacation.

Monday: Amelia Island, Fernandina, FL

Fort Clinch
View from the top of Fort Clinch

We started our vacation with a trip to see Fort Clinch which is just a few miles down the road from where my husband’s family lives. It was $6.00 for our vehicle to enter the park and $2.00 per person to see the inside of the actual fort. After exploring the endless tunnels of the fort and walking along the top of the walls, we went wading in the water along the beach to look for shark teeth.

Fort Clinch State Park was a lot of fun. The tunnels and walls of the fort were really cool to explore, and the view was amazing. I would definitely recommend a trip to see it if you ever visit North Florida. If you add in the cost of 4 popsicles to cool down and a post card to send to friends, we spent a grand total of $22.00 for the day.

Tuesday: St. Augustine, Florida

Castillo de San Marcos

I have been wanting to visit St. Augustine for years, and I am so excited that I was finally able to make the trip. We started out at the Castillo de San Marcos. Since my husband is in the military, we had free admission for our family to go into the monument. The history was haunting, the architecture was amazing, and the view from the top wall was breathtaking.

From there we went for a walk down St. George Street, adjacent to the Colonial Quarter, which is across the street a ways from the Castillo de San Marcos. We stopped inside of the Spanish Bakery for an empanada for lunch. We also stopped in Whetstone Chocolates for gelato and smoothies.

On our walk back to the car, we found a great playground called Park Project Swing for the kids to get out some energy before traveling again. This park was hands down one of the most fantastic parks I have ever taken my kids to.

From there we headed over to the Alligator Farm Zoological Park to get up close and personal with the alligators. The Alligator Farm was expensive, but my father in law treated us to the experience. The kids had a great time seeing all of the animals and feeding the alligators.

Although the Alligator Farm cost about $75 for the five of us, we personally only spent about $30 for the entire day in St. Augustine.

Wednesday: Fernandina Beach day and picnic lunch

We parked at Peter’s Point Park to have a day at the beach. Parking is free there, and you have access to bathrooms, showers, and picnic tables. You can even drive your vehicle down onto the beach if you want to. We brought a packed lunch and enjoyed a day playing in the sand and swimming in the ocean.

Total amount spent for the whole day was $8, because we stopped at a drive through to get drinks on the way home.

Thursday: Jacksonville, FL

Hands On Children’s Museum: Our kids seemed to have fun, but this was a waste of money. I wish we had read more reviews before going. It was in a not so nice part of town. We actually killed a cockroach while the kids were playing there, and the equipment felt run down and dirty. Some of the play equipment was actually falling apart. I would steer anyone away from visiting here.

Museum of Science and History (M.O.S.H.): This museum was fantastic. It had dinosaurs, science, natural history, the history of Florida, a native plants garden, and an indoor play area. Our kids loved it, and so did we.

Between the Hands on Children’s Museum which was $20 wasted, the M.O.S.H which was $24, and lunch while out, we spent about $60 for the whole day.

Friday: DeLeon Springs, Florida

Make your own pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant

Friday was one of my favorite days of our trip. We spent about half of the day at De Leon Springs State Park where we first ate breakfast at the converted Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant on site at the park. Each table has its own built-in griddle to cook your own pancakes made from stone-ground flours. After breakfast we went swimming in the natural spring on site. It was freezing but so much fun.

Our grand total for the outing was $6 for parking, and $5 per person for pancakes.

Saturday: St. Mary’s, GA and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

We started out our Saturday by going to the local farmer’s market in St. Mary’s, where we spent about $20 on local honey, fresh peaches, and a hand-made ninja turtle hat for our daughter.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

From there we went to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge to go on a boat tour of the swamp. It was terrifying to be literally feet away from alligators in the wild. You don’t typically imagine swamps as being a beautiful place, but It was surprisingly breathtaking. There were endless “water prairies” covered in lily-pads and water lilies. The Spanish moss draped down over all of the trees, and big graceful water birds took flight over the water. It was quiet, serene, and beautiful. If you ever get a chance to visit, ask for Steve as your tour guide. He did a fantastic job of giving us an entertaining and informative tour.

The boat tour costs $19.95 per adult, but children 5 and under are free. This was another excursion that my in-laws wanted to foot the bill for. I am so grateful that they took us out to see the park, because we all had a lot of fun.

Our frugal Florida vacation grand total: $450

Our frugal Florida vacation grand total includes the cost of driving and all activities. $450 isn’t too bad for a week long vacation for a family of four. We had such a great time visiting all of the parks and seeing the sites. It goes to show that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a great time on vacation. The less hectic and more scenic options can be just as much fun as the big tourist sites.

Have you ever been to North Florida? What are your favorite inexpensive things to do while on vacation?

Blog and Life Updates

TWO WEEKS OF ROUNDUP AND THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARd

August 7, 2015

Sorry for the crickets around here lately! The past few weeks have been rough, in good and bad ways.

The bad of the past few weeks is that my husband is on night shift for work right now, and I have been struggling with some pretty intense insomnia. I have a hard time going to sleep when my mind is racing about his being on the streets at night. It’s my worst nightmare that I will wake up to find out that something terrible has happened to him. It’s also rough to finally fall asleep at 3 AM when your almost 18 month old wakes up at 5 AM every day. I’m definitely looking forward to his teen years when I have to convince him to get out of bed by noon!

The good is that two new clients hired me as a freelance blogger for their websites! New clients are fantastic, but I have definitely been feeling the growing pains of a time management reshuffle.

I am now just one client short of my first financial goal I set for my writing. It is so exciting to see my hard work paying off and my freelance business starting to take off! If you want to learn how to get paid to write for blogs, take a look at my friend Cat’s newest course. I would now be able to pay off the cost of her program in one month with my income from writing online.

Even though I haven’t been the best about posting on my own blog for the past few weeks, I promise I haven’t been a complete slacker!  Here are a few of my posts from around the web and posts from others that I think you should read too.

My posts around the web:

15 Ways to Improve Your Finances by the end of 2015 on The Financial Gym

5 Budget Friendly Ways to Embrace Your Inner Bookworm on Shoeaholic No More

Are You Financially Prepared for a Natural Disaster on Retire by 40

Budget Friendly Ways to Get Ready for Back to School on Shoeaholic No More

Time is Money: Do You Budget Your Time Effectively? On Young Adult Money  

Protect Your Finances in Your First Year of Homeownership on Young Adult Money

My favorite posts by others:

Investing in Your 20s and How to Avoid the Ramen Noodle Dilemma on Good Financial Cents  

6 Crucial Money Lessons I learned from My Father in Law on Budget Blonde

Amazon Completely Changed How You Can Share Your Prime Benefits on Debt Roundup

What to Do if You Lose Your Job on Frugal Rules

How to Get to Inbox Zero in Less Than an Hour on Embracing Simple

No Comment? On The Barefoot Minimalist

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you to Kayla at Shoeaholic No More for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I love these pay it forward blogger awards. They are a fun way to show your appreciation for other writers in the blogging community while learning something new about them. Here’s how it works:

The Rules:

1. Thank the person that nominated you

2. Answer the questions from the person that nominated you

3. Nominate some other bloggers for this award

4. Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated

5. Notify the bloggers you have nominated.

Here are the questions that Kayla selected and my answers:

1. What is your dream job? Pretend that money isn’t a factor.

My dream job would be to make a living as an organic farmer. I want to live on a completely self-sustaining property, and I want to raise livestock. I would run my own Community Supported Agriculture program as well as having seasonal “you-pick” produce on my property.

2. What would you do if you won $1million?

This will be a boring answer, but I would pay off my debts and the debts of my parents and in-laws. Anything left would be set aside for my kids’ college funds and lastly to buy property to build a berm home. 

3. If you could be any animal, what would you be?

I would be a falcon. They are fierce and powerful birds who get to see the world from a unique perspective.

4. If you could have any superpower, what power would you have?

My superpower of choice would probably be telekinesis. I like the idea of being able to move things with just my mind. Doing the dishes without lifting a finger? Perfection.

5. What is your favorite food?

My favorite foods are holubsti (Ukranian stuffed cabbage rolls) and lakvar pierogi (a sweet prune dumpling).

Here are my nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award:

I would like to nominate these four lovely ladies whose blogs are fun to read, informative, and entertaining. Thanks for the great content!

Kay @ The Barefoot Minimalist

Christina @ Embracing Simple Sorry to add another one, Christina!  

Kirsten @ Indebted and in Debt

Mrs. Crackin’ the Whip @ Crackin the Whip on Wasteful Spending   

Here are my questions for you:

1. Where in the world would you love to move to, if money wasn’t a factor?

2. What made you decide to start blogging?

3. What do you see yourself doing in ten years?

4. What is your favorite comfort food?

5. What is your greatest fear?

I’m looking forward to reading your answers!

Hopefully I will get back on track next week with writing for my own blog. I have to remember to write for fun sometimes too! Have a great weekend, everyone!