Budgeting Ideas For The Holidays

It seems like no matter how carefully you budget and plan for the holidays there is always
some additional expenses
involved that you missed.
In some cases, families may not have a holiday budget, or they may simply feel obligated to
keep increasing their spending despite having a plan.

To help to manage holiday budgeting and keep your spending under control, there are some simple yet very effective techniques to use. To help control spending use the following ideas and your Christmas budgeting won't be a problem.

Stop Using Debit and Credit Cards
People shopping with debit and credit cards are more likely to buy on impulse, and much more likely to buy more than they planned regardless of the time of year. Over the holidays use cash only, and use the envelope plan listed below.
If you have bigger ticket purchase, use the store's free layaway plan to pay for the item. This eliminates any interest you may accrue on a credit card purchase and ensures the items are all paid for before the holidays. You can use a debit card to set up automatic payments for the layaway, just be careful not to exceed your limit.

The Envelope Plan
This is a very effective option, and it can be used year round. On a series of envelopes write a category of holiday spending. For most families these will include:
•    Food
•    Decorations
•    Clothing
•    Gifts
•    Travel
•    Entertaining

Then, with your budget in hand, place the amount of cash in the envelope that you have calculated for that category. For all your Christmas shopping, use only the cash from the respective envelope to avoid going over budget.

Talk to the Family
Sometimes the problem is in the number of gifts you may feel obligated to give. While you can choose homemade gifts, which is always a great idea, you may also want to have a discussion with the family. This can be about limiting the value of gifts or perhaps giving only to the immediate family and having a dinner or family gathering for the extended family to celebrate the season.

If you are feeling financial pressure over the holidays, you are not alone. By being proactive and realistically budgeting for the season you can help to prevent the after Christmas budget problems while still enjoying a wonderful holiday.

Tips For Family Fitness

Children need exercise just like adults, and the best way for kids to exercise is to get them out from behind the computer screen and play.

Encouraging active behavior early on in childhood, as well as other healthy habits, is the best way to ensure they will become active, healthy adults.

Teach your children that exercising is fun by having playtime at least three times every week for half an hour at a time.

Play games such as hide and seek, catch, hopscotch, kickball, soccer, etc. Try to schedule these activities in the afternoons or evenings, and always make time to do something on a weekend, even if it is just taking them for a play in the park.

Wherever you are going – to school, the library, or the local supermarket – you should walk or use a bicycle whenever possible.

You might even want to keep track of the number of steps you and your children take with the use of a pedometer.  It is also a good idea to encourage your children to take part in sporting activities.

How To Pack A Better Lunch

Children and adults need to eat lunch when at school, college, or work, and bringing your own lunch rather than eating out has a number of big advantages. You will likely eat food that is of much better quality and in healthier sized portions, with a greater concentration of whole grains and vegetables, if you bring your own food, as well as less of the stuff you would do well to avoid such as sodium, saturated food, and excess calories.

Packing your own lunch also serves to save money, and one of the simplest tips is to make your packed lunch with the same food that you had for dinner the previous evening. It is very simple to cook an extra salmon fillet or chicken breast, add some more vegetables, and boil one more egg when preparing your evening meal, and most are just as tasty and healthy when eaten chilled.  Homemade sandwiches are almost automatically a healthier choice than deli sandwiches, and you can also add more produce such as grilled zucchini, fennel, onions, sliced radish, and green beans to create a tasty and interesting salad.

  • Budgeting Ideas For The Holidays
  • Tips For Family Fitness
  • Surprisingly Easy Health Tips


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Chemistry and
humor: A dangerous mixture?

You don’t have to be a scientific genius to get a laugh from these jokes, but a little knowledge of physics and chemistry will help:
• Never trust atoms—they make up everything.
• Did you hear about the guy who read a whole book about helium in one sitting? He couldn’t put it down.
• What do you do with a bunch of dead chemists? Barium.
• The optimist sees the glass half full. The pessimist sees the glass half empty. The chemist sees the glass completely full, half in the liquid state and half in the vapor state.
• A chemist’s motto: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.

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