Month: June 2018

As a Mompreneur, you get used to “making” things happen. Orders need to get filled, diapers changed, calls made, teens to understand, and the list goes on. Letting things slide seems unheard of however we know deep down often we have to let some things slide to enjoy a little peace.

But have you ever considered it’s not letting things slide when you give people space and things the time to work themselves out? Actually at times being still and not responding is the very thing that you are supposed to do. It allows you the time to process and make sure your course of action is what’s really needed or not.

To get to the point of not always responding it takes a total change of mindset. For example, I’ve had a very successful career. Partly because I used to jump through hoops to attend to everyone’s needs. Now I work at my own pace and allow others the space and time they need to work things out for themselves all while still getting my work done and being of service to my clients.

Everyone close to me has noticed this change. At first, I thought everyone would reject the new, more laid back, let it go Quiana. But I see that because I am more relaxed (not to mention happy) those around me are benefiting too.

Everyone’s life I touch benefits from a more attentive, relaxed, and focused person. This is truly enjoyable for others because they have the space and room to talk, learn, and grow. Could your family, friends, and clients benefit from this too?

Think about it; people like to be heard and truly understood. Slowing down allows you to truly hear people because you’re not always moving, reacting, solving. Believe it or not, it’ll feel like you’re a new person and it’ll be fun to reconnect with others (even those you’ve known for years) on a whole new level!

Here are 6 surefire ways to help you change your mindset, so you don’t feel the urge to save the world:

  • Don’t take life so seriously. Things (good and bad) are going to happen no matter what you do.
  • Take a step back and avoid reacting to anything that is not an emergency.
  • Don’t take on anything new for a few weeks and avoid over-doing anything you have to do right now.
  • Focus on getting things done not perfect.
  • Give those around you space to solve their problems their way.
  • Allow others to make mistakes and learn from them like you did. You are who you are because of what you learned along the way.

Everyone around you will benefit from a more relaxed you. You’ll definitely be happier and be able to enjoy life more!

Try this assignment, write down every time someone comes to you to help solve their problem. Then write down all the times you want to solve someone’s problem without them asking for your input. Compare the lists after a week. Write down what you learned from this assignment.

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New parenthood means new responsibilities and new expenses. Keep it simple and less expensive by introducing some of these money-saving tips into your growing family’s life.

1. Breastfeed your baby.

Not only is this natural practice advised by experts and mothers alike for overall newborn health and growth benefits, nursing is absolutely free. An exclusive breast milk diet is recommended until the six-month mark, and a mixed diet of breast milk and soft, natural foods is encouraged throughout baby’s first year or longer. Nursing provides optimal nutrient benefits and special bonding time for mommy and child, all while saving money on formula costs.

2. Consider cloth diapers.

While disposable diapers are convenient, they’re expensive costing anywhere from $80-$150 per month during the first year. Cloth diapers are a viable alternative. Not only will you save over 60 percent on annual costs, you’ll save over a half ton of diaper garbage from going into landfills every year.

3. Make your own baby food.

Once your baby is ready for solid food, save money by making your own baby food. Puree your own with a blender or food processor to cut costs. There are also many health benefits of making your own baby food including cutting down on the amount of preservatives. Visit sites such as Wholesomebabyfood.com and Parents.com for plenty of cheap and nutritious baby food recipes.

4. Become coupon and sales-savvy.

Be sure to find ways to save on baby supplies such as diapers, clothes and baby food by looking for coupons on websites geared towards new parents, such as Diapers.com. Use these coupons on diapers or baby food during store sales to save even more.

5. Buy used or resale.

Keeping up with baby costs is almost as difficult as keeping up with baby clothes. Buying a new wardrobe for the baby every few months isn’t practical for growing families on a budget. Instead of investing in brand new clothing, try to buy the bulk of baby’s clothes pre-worn. Garage sales, craiglist.com and consignment shops are great resources for baby clothes and toys on a budget.

6. Shop in advance.

Before you know it, your baby will grow out of those tiny onesies and booties. Look forward to these transitions by purchasing clothes in advance and saving bundles in the long run. Watch for storewide and end-of-season sales at your favorite department stores.

7. Utilize free programs.

There are many free community events activities available for you and your baby. Take advantage of the programs in your area, such as story time at the library or bookshops, playtime at toy stores and baby yoga at wellness centers.

8. Become a member.

Many museums, science centers, aquariums and zoos offer free or discounted rates for infants and children under age two. Become a member of your family’s favorite institution to save on regular outings and city-wide events. These facilities often host family-friendly activities and classes for affordable entertainment and bonding experiences as well.

9. Stay at home.

New parents will soon find that extra-curricular time is reduced drastically once your baby is born. Consider spending your weekends entertaining at home rather than spending money to go out. Invite your friends over for game night, movie night, or cook-offs to keep your social life full and frugal.

10. Apply for assistance.

Government and privately funded programs are excellent resources for qualified families in financial need. WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program and Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) are just a few examples of many helpful programs for new parents and their newborns.

Don’t let unnecessary expenses add to your list of concerns as a new parent. Try some of these frugal, family-friendly tips today to keep your budget on track.

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Most people would say that they have money “habits” and not necessarily money “traditions.” Money is often looked at as a necessary evil instead of a tool that can help you focus on your priorities in life. Take the changing of the seasons as an opportune time to change your attitude towards money. Instead of your adversary, make it your friend and form new positive traditions that align with how you would like to feel about money.

Create Financial Traditions

Tradition #1 – Maximize Retirement Savings. For most companies, the fall is “open enrollment” season for benefits. While you should be able to change your 401(k) elections at any time throughout the year, most people don’t bother to look at their retirement until it is time to confirm your elections. If you turned down or off your retirement savings when you bought your house or had a child, now is the time to commit to this new tradition and maximize your contribution. For 2010, you can put away $16,500 pre-tax, which will not only make sure you are staying on track for this important goal but also ensure you pay less in taxes. Don’t forget a SAHP either! As long as the working spouse earned at least $5,000 during the year, a SAHP can put away $5,000 in a traditional IRA, or in a Roth IRA (if your Adjusted Gross Income is less than $166,000). Think of the great example you are setting for your children and how happy they will be when they don’t have to support you in your retirement!

Tradition #2 – Find Real Holiday Spirit and Set a Holiday Spending Plan. This lackluster economy has made many families cut back their spending and re-evaluate on what they spend their money. I have seen families do very well at living within their means and then completely blow it when it comes to the holidays. Do yourself a favor this holiday season and decide in advance how much you would like to spend on gifts for your immediate family and other relatives. Set a target amount, and try your hardest to stick to it. Impulse purchases can ruin the best-laid plans, so if something catches your eye in a store… wait 24 hours and go back if you really think it is the perfect gift. Also, take time to critically evaluate whether you need to get everyone in your family a gift. Most people give relatives gifts because it is a “tradition,” but if you do not want to carry that tradition onto the next generation now is the time to make the change.

Also, have you gotten in the habit of giving new friends or their children gifts at the holidays? Instead of giving more “stuff” to each other, consider having a potluck holiday party and creating a new memory.

Tradition #3 – Keep What You Value and Get Rid of The Rest. Do you have closets in your house filled with things you do not use, a garage full of who-knows-what, or even a storage space? Start an annual tradition or semi-annual tradition of going through your possessions and deciding what you really value and want to keep. You may want to enlist a good friend to help you go through your closets and be a reality check. Also, it seems that kids are never too young to start accumulating stuff they never use. Try to make it fun by making piles to keep, donate or recycle. If the donate or recycle piles are bigger than the keep pile, reward yourself, or your kids with a fun treat like an afternoon out picking pumpkins.

While the urge to purge is deep in my bones, my daughter is getting the hang of it as well. Every few months she decides that she has outgrown something (a book, jacket, toy) and specified to whom it should go, be it a friend’s younger sibling, her school or someone who might like it more than she does.

You can always turn this tradition into a money maker by having a yard sale or selling goods through Craigslist or eBay. Also, remember that donations are tax-deductible, so you will be saving some money by paying less in taxes.

These are just a few examples of traditions we have implemented in our family. There is something comforting about having a tradition and calling it your own. Ideally, I would love my children to look back on their childhood fondly and to have developed a very positive relationship with money from an early age. As my grandmother always said, “good habits start young, but you’re never too old to learn.”

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Summer does not really feel like summer without vacation. Childhood memories of playing all day at the beach, swimming and collapsing in exhaustion at the end of the day always make me smile. However, creating a stress-free, relaxing vacation these days seems difficult. Even with the economy “feeling” a little bit better this summer, most families hesitate to make big summer plans that will require a lot of cash.

How to Make Your Dream Vacation a Reality

Northern California provides endless “staycation” or mini-vacation possibilities that can keep your spending in check and provide a well-deserved getaway from everyday life. However, it is the bigger plans that most families dream of but feel like they are out of reach. Whether you fantasize about starting a family tradition of a couple of weeks each year on a white sand beach, taking an extended vacation to see family, or renting a house in Italy for the summer, mindful planning can make fantasy a reality.

Bigger trips typically require more money, so planning is the key. Below are ten simple steps to follow to ensure that you can achieve your dream vacation goal and enjoy it without guilt.

CREATE your own picture of the ideal vacation. I recommend that you and your partner sit down separately. Write it down, cut out articles, or clip pictures out of magazines. Then, come together and see what the other person has in mind. It is important that there is a shared vision for this goal since you will be using family resources to make it a priority and reality. Include everything from location to how you want to spend your days.

DECIDE on your family’s big vacation goal. If your separate visions of your big vacation are worlds apart, compromise will be in order. You might decide to postpone the trip to Peru until your kids are older and opt for Disney World now.

DETERMINE how much money you feel comfortable spending on this trip. It is VERY important for you to decide on the amount you want to spend before you let others tell you how much it would cost. This amount will serve as an anchor for you when you start researching costs of the vacation. If $5,000 is the total budget, you will need to allocate this to travel (airfare, car, or train), lodging, food, and activities.

CALCULATE how long it will take you to save enough money to pay for your vacation. This is where having a comprehensive understanding of your family’s finances is critical. How are you savings towards retirement? Do you have a sufficient Emergency Fund? Are you living within your means? If you can save ~$275 per month over the next 18 months, the trip is paid for. This may mean temporarily cutting back on eating out or shopping, or potentially refinancing your mortgage to generate this savings. If you already have a sufficient Emergency Fund, you could tap into it (within reason) and take the vacation sooner, with an agreement to pay the money back over time.

MARK your calendar for the big trip. This will help make the vacation a reality and eliminate any scheduling excuses.

SET UP a high yield savings or money market account solely for this trip and give it an inspiring name, like “Summer in Provence.” Check out Bankrate for best rates so that you are at least keeping pace with inflation. Open an account and put in any amount you can afford. It might be $50 to start. By having the account open, it is ready to receive future money.

FUND your new Vacation Account. If you can put aside a specific amount each month before paying your other expenses, set up an automatic transfer. If money is tight, see what you can spare and get creative. You may have a mountain bike that you have not ridden in five years that you could sell.

SET a date to start planning your trip. If the vacation is 18 months away, you most likely do not need to start booking your plane tickets or making reservations yet. To make sure this dream vacation does not consume your every thought, determine when you will start the actual planning process.

ENJOY the planning process. Building up to a big trip can create a lot of stress for a couple because it requires decision making without instant gratification. As soon as the planning stops being fun, take a step back and revisit your vision for this trip and how you want to feel when you are on vacation.

MONITOR your progress and acknowledge your accomplishment. While it may take time to save enough money for this goal, give yourself credit for having a vision and taking steps to make it a reality. For example, once you have saved ¼ of your goal, buy a travel magazine or book for your destination.

Of course, life can throw you curve balls, such as unplanned expenses, unforeseen job loss, the arrival of another child. These things might cause your “vision” of the dream vacation to change and for you to postpone the trip for a while.

Deciding on your dreams is completely within your control, and by creating measurable goals to get you to those dreams, you are one step closer to making it a reality.

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