Sunday, May 8, 2011

Moving On and Over...

The Moving On part:
This is the last (anticipated) post for this blog. Lots of recent changes to my job/career/freelance endeavors will prevent me from having the time to keep it updated. Additionally, one of the sites I published MANY of my how-to articles on has now ceased (at least in that capacity) so links to those articles in previous posts have also been removed. << Which means you may be seeing a lot of this: [ADDITIONAL CONTENT / ARTICLE LINKS REMOVED]  *sigh*

What better time than Spring for a little "housecleaning" right? "The only constant is change..."
The Moving Over part:
I do have two other blogs that I will maintain:

Free And Green Stuff (an eco-friendly/frugalista blog)

and my newest, more "personal/random" blog

Five Items or Less.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Before You Leave: Last Minute Travel Checklist

Getting ready to take a vacation or travel away from home for more than a week? Invariably, we all tend to forget to do one or two things before we leave home, that we can never seem to relax about until we return. To make your travel plans stress free, here's a few things you might want to consider adding to your checklist of things to do before you go:
  • Notify a trusted neighbor, relative or friend of your travel plans, including your route to travel, destination and scheduled day to return.
  • Secure your home. Make sure all doors and windows are locked, including your garage, shed and any other outbuildings.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • Remove any food from the fridge that will go bad before you return.
  • Remove any vegetables or fruit in a fruit bowl, on the counter, or window sill. Overripe or rotting fruits and vegetables will not only begin to smell, but attract insects as well.
  • Water your houseplants, garden and lawn. If you've arranged for someone to water for you while you're gone, be sure to leave a note telling them the last time you watered.
  • Adjust the thermostat or turn off completely.
  • Take out the trash.
  • Turn off the lights or set them on timers to only come on for a brief period at night.
Taking a few moments to go through your last minute travel checklist will not only keep your home safer while you're away, it'll give you the peace of mind you need to truly enjoy your trip.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Exploring New Ways to Earn a Living

I keep running into people that seem to be at a crossroads, trying to figure out which path should they choose when it comes to earning a living. Like myself, many are diversifying into areas that they might not have considered a few years ago, when the economy (at least on the employment side) felt a bit less fragile. But now, with so many unemployed, the focus is on finding ways to earn a living that provides NOW... not 8-10 years down the road. For some, that may be opening a franchise, or going back to school to gain a certificate or degree in a new field. For others, it may be turning a part-time hobby or business like selling handmade items on or selling collectibles on eBay into a full-time venture.

Here's a few resources for those that may be at the crossroads:

The Top 5 Fastest Growing Job Markets Without a Four-Year Degree

The Top 5 Franchises to Own

The Restaurant Manager's Handbook: How to Set Up, Operate, and Manage a Financially Successful Food Service Operation 4th Edition - With Companion CD-ROM

Seven Ways to Make Extra Money in 2011 -U.S. News/Yahoo! Finance

Dream Jobs: Six-Figure Salaries and a Bright Future - MoneyWatch

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chores, Allowance and the 21st Century

When I was a kid, chores and allowance were "the norm" for pretty much every family in our neighborhood. In our family, chores were assigned and posted on the fridge. Over the years there may have been a switch here and there in the compensation system (flat rate weekly allowance vs. per chore) but the values and requirements remained the same: Money = Responsibility. I can still remember the craft projects we did in Brownies or Vacation Bible School that consisted of decorating baby food jars to hold one's allowance. Ours was a three-jar system: one for savings, one for church, and one to spend. I still think allowances and chore lists are a good idea and was pleased to find that so many others feel the same way. In fact, there's so many families using a chore/allowance system that website and mobile app designers are finding innovative ways for parents and kids to manage their own systems in the 21st century. Here are just a few of the sites or apps available:

Based on my post above, I gotta say, Three Jars is my favorite.
ThreeJars makes allowance fun and easy for 5 to 13 year old kids and their parents. Kids learn to manage their "money"through saving, spending, and charitable giving jars- with guidance from Mom and Dad. 

NOTE: has a 15-day free trial and an annual family membership of $30.
______________________________________________________ is a virtual bank that always knows your child's current balance and what chores they've completed.Make deposits & withdraws and track chore progress from your computer or mobile phone.Your child develops the financial smarts that come from managing their own money -- without the problems of cash. When your child’s ready, add:
  • savings accounts with interest
  • charity accounts
  • borrowing and finance charges
_______________________________________________________ offers free allowance and money management for teens and families. Web or mobile app. Keep track of cash, credit, gift cards and checks.

4Chores focuses on the tasks, not the money management. However, there are added features:
4Chores does much more than track chores. It teaches kids about accountability, responsibility, and encourages them to donate time and money to their community. Kids can even use 4Chores to run their own neighborhood business where they can do chores for neighbors, and even donate their time to those neighbors in need.

Have another website or mobile app to share? Feel free to leave a link with your comment!

Monday, January 3, 2011

TO DO Lists - Positive Goal Reinforcements

I recently read a tweet that said If you're not finishing your "To Do" list, you're basically doing something wrong. I wholeheartedly...disagree. A few years ago I sat down and created a To Do list for everything I thought I wanted to accomplish in the next 18 mos. It was a substantial list I must say, with more than 50 items. I pinned it to my bulletin board and at least glanced at it a few times a week. A few weeks into it I noticed I had crossed off a few items. Yay me! What I saw was what I had accomplished, not what I hadn't. Two years later, after I had long put the list away and gone on with something else in my life, I found it again. No, I hadn't lost 45 lbs (#5 on the list) and I hadn't climbed Mt. Whitney (#22), but I had paid off my car, put $2500 in my savings account, gotten my passport and spent 10 days in Scotland and Ireland without charging anything to a credit card. Finally tally: I had put a line through 65% of my list. I couldn't help but smile...and wonder, how much would I have accomplished if I had never made a list at all?

Maybe now is a good time to start a new list...