Creating a Holiday Savings Fund

Do you find that every January, you stare at your credit card bill and your bank balance in horror, shocked at how much money you spent in credit card billsDecember on presents, holiday treats, decorations, special outings and more?

The holidays can be a very expensive time of year, and many people tend to get carried away and sentence themselves to a January of barely scraping by.

However, if you plan ahead for next Christmas, you will be able to buy all of the presents you need without even batting an eye or seeing your bank balance dip even once.

How can you do this?

Create a Holiday Savings Fund

It’s quite simple. All you need to do is to open a new bank account the week after Christmas and set up an automatic transfer to pay a small amount from your paycheck into the account every week. The amount can be as small as $10 per week.

Now, $10 per week will seem like nothing to you and you won’t even miss it. After all, it’s less than $1.50 per day. It’s the equivalent of two cups of coffee and a muffin at Starbucks every week.

If you can buy things on sale when you go grocery shopping, you can easily shave $10 per week off your shopping budget without even noticing the difference. You will get so used to having $10 less to spend each week that you will forget it was even there in the first place.

It All Adds Up

However, if you stick to the plan and save $10 per week by next December you will have a fantastic surprise. You will look into your bank account and find $520 that you have saved up effortlessly over the last 52 weeks.

$520 is a big chunk of cash, and it will probably be enough to cover all of the Christmas presents for your family! The best thing is that you can splurge on your holiday treats without having to go into debt.

A Holiday Savings Fund is an easy strategy to save up for the holidays, and you will always have enough to make the season special!

How to Stay Sane During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a stressful time! With so many presents to buy, meals to prepare, and guests to host, it’s easy to get burnt out holiday stressduring this time of year.

All of the pressure from all sides to create the perfect day can leave you feel like you are rushing around like a crazy elf trying to run Santa’s entire workshop by yourself. 

However, the holiday season doesn’t have to leave you exhausted and stressed out. Here are some tips for staying sane and relaxed during the holidays:

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

The trick to taking the pressure off yourself is to stop expecting every little detail of the season to be perfect. The important thing about Christmas Day is that your family is together and having a great time, and not how many different festive salads that you have prepared or how beautiful your tree looks.

Don’t worry about making your Christmas celebration look like a photograph in a Home Design and Cuisine magazine, and focus more on enjoying the moment instead.

Take Time for Yourself

Sometimes during the holiday season we are so busy running around shopping for others that we forget to care for ourselves. Make sure that you take a moment out of your schedule to take a walk, read a good book, or do an activity that you enjoy.

Ask For Help

Don’t overwhelm yourself by assuming that you can do everything! There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little bit of help!

If you are hanging the Christmas lights outside the house, why risk pulling a muscle when you could ask your teenage kids to give you a hand? If you are baking cookies, invite your young children, nieces or nephews to help you stir the dough.

If you just can’t figure out how you will cook the entire festive meal, your guests won’t mind if you ask them to bring a few dishes to the table, potluck style.

Remember, the holidays are a time for special moments spent together with the people that you love. Take the pressure off and don’t stress yourself out too much!

 

Where to Hide Presents From Your Sneaky Kids

When your children know that there are Christmas presents in the house, they turn into little detectives leaving no stone unturned in their kid shaking presentsquest to figure out what they are getting this year.

However, you don’t want their curious prying eyes to ruin the surprise that you have planned for that special morning, so how can you hide the presents from your kids so that they will never find them?

Go High

If your kids are still quite little, you can use your height advantage to hide the gifts in a place that they will never look, such as the highest shelf in the closet. Push the gifts to the back and cover them with blankets or clothes.

Mobile Hiding Space

Why not try hiding the gifts in a duffel bag in the trunk of your car? If you don’t have teenage kids and you are the only one who drives the car, this is a great hiding place because you will always have the keys. When you are gone you won’t have to worry about sneaky kids because you will have the gifts with you!

Working Overtime

If you have an office with a locked door or a storage locker in your workplace, you can stash your secret treasures there. Your kids will likely never come into your workplace, so this is a perfect place! Just remember to take the gifts home on your last day before Christmas vacation!

Hide Them in Plain Sight

To really confuse your kids, you can hide their presents by wrapping them and putting them under the tree. However, so that they can’t determine what the gifts are by shaking them and weighing them, you will need to be clever and disguise them.

Wrap small gifts in larger boxes, and put heavy objects in to disguise the weight. Use oddly shaped boxes, and include things like jingle bells or rice that will make a sound when shaken. Your kids won’t be able to guess what the strange object is!

You can also leave off the names so that your kids don’t know which present is for whom, and simply write a secret code for yourself so that only you know.

Outsmart your kids this holiday season so that their burning curiosity won’t ruin the magical surprise!

How Not to Gain Weight Over the Holidays

Peppermint candy canes, slices of home-baked apple pie, cookies shaped like Santa Claus, rich cups of hot chocolate topped with whipped christmas chocolate cakecream, and boxes of chocolates and candies stacked under the tree… it’s hard not to be tempted to indulge at Christmas!

However, if you are dedicated to staying healthy over the holidays and not greeting the New Year having packed on a few extra pounds, here are some tips to avoid gaining weight during the festive season:

Stay Active

One way to counteract the calories of all of those holiday treats is to burn them off through exercise! Head to the gym for a workout, or simply go play outside in the snow with the family. Cross country skiing is a great workout, and trudging up a snowy hill to slide down on a toboggan will get your heart pumping!

Fill Up on Healthy Food

Before you go to the Christmas party where you know there will be a buffet of fatty finger food, eat a healthy meal with lots of vegetables, protein and fiber. When you are feeling full those greasy treats will be a lot less tempting and you will eat less of them.

Cook Leaner

Why not see if there is a low-fat version of your traditional holiday recipes? Search for “healthy Christmas recipes” online and you will find several websites with great ideas for trimming the fat content out of your festive meal while still making it taste great!

Watch Your Liquid Calories

Holiday drinks such as Rum and Eggnog, Hot Chocolate, and Beer have a surprising amount of calories! When you are at a party, try alternating by having a drink and then a glass of water so that you only drink half as much.

Indulge Selectively

There are some special nostalgic treats that you should not deny yourself during the holidays, but remember to indulge selectively. This means that if you know that you want to have a slice of Auntie Susan’s famous Christmas Pie at the end of the meal, avoid also filling up on miniature sandwiches or potato chips beforehand.

If you allow yourself one or two very special indulgent foods, you will still enjoy your favorites and yet avoid gaining unnecessary weight from eating those shortbread cookies that you don’t even like.

Remember these tips and you will be able to stay lean and healthy throughout the holiday season, while still enjoying yourself!

Got More Month Than Money? A Few Clever Ways to Save Money This Christmas

If you are short on funds this holiday season, there is no reason why your festivities have to be any less merry!

You can still have a great Baby With Presenttime enjoying the season without having to spend a fortune.

Here are some tips that will help you save money this holiday season:

  • Instead of having to buy a gift for everyone in your office, group of friends, or social circle, why not organize a Secret Santa system instead. Put everyone’s name in a hat and then each draw out a name. You will only have to buy one gift instead of many, and everyone will get a gift in exchange!
  • Why spend money on expensive rolls of wrapping paper, when you can make your own? Presents look cute and colorful when they are wrapped in the Sunday Morning cartoons from your local newspaper. You could also get a cheap roll of brown craft paper and decorate it with stamps, markers, glitter and paint to make your own one-of-a-kind wrapping paper.
  • If you have more time than you have money, instead of buying presents for your friends you can give coupons for your services instead. For example, you could give them a voucher promising that you will clean their car, babysit their children, or help them shovel snow. If you have a special skill, such as playing the guitar or speaking Spanish, you could give out free lessons to friends you know who would like to learn. It won’t cost you anything but your time.
  • When buying gifts for your family, make sure that you comparison shop for the best price. For items such as books, if you can find them in a second hand bookstore or used online, you can sometimes get them for less than half price!
  • Instead of spending a fortune on movie tickets and overpriced popcorn to see the new holiday blockbuster in the cinema, set up your own home movie theatre with enough comfy chairs and pillows for the entire family. Put on a classic holiday favorite, make your own snacks, and enjoy a great evening for only the cost of a DVD rental and some popcorn kernels.

These are just a few ways that you can save money on your holiday celebrations and still enjoy this wonderful, festive time of year.

You’re Killing Yourself! Avoid These Common Unhealthy Eating Habits

Are you guilty of any of these common unhealthy eating habits? Read on to find out more information and tips on how to avoid them.cooking with daughter

Starving Yourself

You might think that a strict diet of nothing but carrot sticks and lettuce leaves is just what you need to lose those last few pounds before the holiday party, but starving yourself will actually have the opposite event on your weight loss.

When you don’t eat enough calories for a long period of time, your body will start to panic because it will think you are stranded on a deserted island with no food. Your body’s first reaction to this scenario is to store fat like crazy in order to survive.

When you do cave in and finally eat something, your body will store that meal directly in your fat reserves because it doesn’t know when you will have the chance to eat again, and so the fat will remain with you longer.

A healthier way to lose weight is to eat several small and nutritionally balanced meals per day, so that you don’t deprive yourself of the nutrients that you need to function and your body never has to go into “starvation mode” and start hording calories.

Eating Too Fast

We are often squeezing our meals into short time spans, such as gulping down our breakfast before heading to work or shoveling in our lunch during a short break. Eating your food too fast can cause a lot of problems, and it will also increase your chances of weight gain. I

t takes your body approximately 20 minutes from the time that you start eating for your stomach to tell you that you are full. If you eat within five minutes, you will still feel hungry and will be tempted to eat more than you need to.

You will also gulp down extra air and perhaps fail to chew your food properly. Instead, slow down and chew each bite.

Forgetting to Drink Water

Did you know that not drinking enough water throughout the day will actually slow down your metabolism and make you more likely to gain weight?

This is because water helps with metabolic functions, including burning calories. Bring a bottle of water with you everywhere you go, and sip from it frequently throughout the day.

Leaving Meal Prep to the Last Minute

If you only start to think about what to have for dinner when it’s late in the evening and you are very hungry, you will be tempted to prepare something that is quick and easy so that you can eat right away.

This often results in microwave meals, prepared food high in sodium, or pizza delivery. If you can start thinking about your evening meal a little bit earlier, you will have the chance to cook something yourself before your stomach starts grumbling.

These are just a few of the bad eating habits that you might be guilty of, and how you can break them to make yourself healthier.

Can Mini-SkirtsTeach You About Writing A Resume?

Did you know that you can learn a lot about writing a resume from that sexy, saucy little fashion item, the mini-skirt? miniskirt

Whether you have worn one of these short skirts before, or have simply been an admirer, here are the tips that mini-skirts can give you about writing the most effective resume possible:

Just the Right Length

Your resume should always be the same length as a mini-skirt, long enough to cover the important parts but short enough to still be interesting.

It is crucial to include the most important details in your resume when applying for a job, such as relevant experience, education, and training. You will also want to include some descriptions of your previous roles and goals that you have achieved.

However, if your resume carries on for too long you will lose the interest of your reader. Your amazing accomplishments will not be as impressive if they are drowned within a sea of other bullet points and information.

The trick is to cut down your resume until you fit your top most impressive achievements and crucial information all on one page. Just like a mini-skirt, this will highlight your best “assets” and really get you noticed.

Careful How You Present Yourself

If you have worn a mini-skirt before, you know that you will need to be careful about how you walk, bend over, and sit down. You must keep your legs cross and your skirt pulled down, in order to avoid accidently exposing yourself to everyone else.

Being conscious about how you are displaying yourself to others can also be a good point to keep in mind when writing your resume.

If you don’t consider how your resume is being perceived, you might be unknowingly creating a bad first impression to your employer. Always double check your resume before sending it for spelling errors, typos, tone , and jargon, just like you would look down to check that your miniskirt is covering everything. You can even get a friend to read it over to catch the errors that you do not see.

When writing your resume, remember these tips that you can learn from this tiny but powerful piece of clothing!

Want a Great Holiday Survival Strategy? How to Take Criticism like a Champion

One of the hardest things in the world can be to receive negative criticism on something we have done. No one wants to feel like they havecritic quote done something wrong and hearing someone talk about our faults and mistakes can make us very frustrated and discouraged.

However, criticism doesn’t have to be so bad when you approach it with the right attitude. In fact, when you think of it in the following way, it can actually benefit you positively and help you improve.

Here is how:

Separate yourself from what is being criticized

Whenever we put our time and effort into doing something or creating something, we inevitably invest a little part of ourselves in it. Therefore, whenever anyone tells us that it is not good, whether it is a dance performance, a chili con carne, or a business report, it is easy to feel hurt.

When someone criticizes your work, you might feel like they are criticizing you as well and their comments can make you feel discouraged and defensive.

The first step to taking criticism like a champion is to completely take yourself and your fragile ego out of the equation. When you do something, make sure that you are able to separate yourself from it and view it objectively.

For example, if someone is critiquing a painting that you have done, remember that they are not insulting you as an artist they are simply pointing out the flaws of the painting itself.

Understand the Criticism

The next step after you have overcome the urge to take the criticism personally is to understand what the person is trying to say. Perhaps they have a valuable point that you can take into consideration, which will help you do better next time.

If you don’t understand why they are making the criticism, ask them for clarification. Ask them why they think the way they do, how they came up with that opinion, and if they have any suggests of what you could do differently. Whether you disagree with them or not, it’s important to understand first where the criticism is coming from.

Use it To Improve

The final step once you have understood what the other person is trying to say is to try to use the feedback you have received to improve. Keep it in mind next time that you do something and if you can change your behavior to get a better result, do so!

Now you are succeeding even more than before and you have discovered that criticism doesn’t have to hurt, and it can even help you do better at whatever goal you are trying to achieve.

Make Your House Look like a Million Bucks on a Miniscule Budget

What can you do if your home is looking tired and drab, but you can’t afford to give it a full makeover?

Sprucing up your home can be expensive, especially if you are buying all new furniture and décor. However, it doesn’t have to be.

When you can get beautiful items for cheap, and use your own creativity and hard work, it is possible to create a beautiful home that looks like a million dollars but doesn’t cost it!

Video Decorating Tips from Thom Filicia, host of Style Network’s “Dress My Nest”:

 

Always Buy Used

Have you ever walked around a new furniture show room and fallen in love with the beautiful couches, tables, chairs and décor but let out an unhappy sigh when you saw the price tag?

When you start to look anywhere other than the brand new furniture stores for your home furnishings and décor, you will be amazed at how much cheaper buying used items can be.

  • Auctions: If your city has an auction house, head down and see what you can find. Sometimes auction houses will have estate sales or foreclosure sales, and there will be many good quality items on the chopping block. It comes down to luck and timing, but if there is an item that you want that no one else is interested in, you can snag it for an absolute steal!
  • Ebay, Craigslist, and other Websites: Why go buy a brand new chest of drawers, when someone in your city is trying to get rid of theirs because they don’t have room? The items you find on these websites can be of good quality, and are certainly cheaper than buying new.
  • Used Furniture Stores: Every now and then, spend an afternoon hunting through thrift shops and seeing what you find. It’s never a guarantee, but you will usually discover a great little item that is good as new and suits your décor perfectly, and it will only cost a few dollars!

Get Creative

You can save a lot of money on home décor if you take the time to put in a little creative effort yourself.

For example, you can spend a lot of money on expensive patterned wall paper, or you can take an afternoon and a couple of different colors of paint and sponge your own unique pattern on the walls.

Rather than buying expensive art or photos for the walls, print out your own photography and use a simply but cheap frame. Doing the hard work of decorating by yourself will also save money on labor costs.

Making your home more beautiful doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, as there are many ways to cut down the costs of decorating.

 

Need to Exercise? Use These Quick Tips to Fit Exercise into Your Busy Workday

Do you get frustrated because you want to live a healthier lifestyle but your job keeps you sitting at a desk all day? quick exercise tips

Sedentary work can cause us to gain weight and suffer from eye strain, back pain, and lack of energy. However, it is a lot easier than you think to add physical activity to your workday, even if you are chained to a desk.

Adding in small bursts of exercise to your daily routine will not only help you keep fit, slim and healthy, it will also give you more energy to take on the day and boost your mood.

Here are a few ideas to get a little exercise even if you’re super busy:

  • Wake up 10 or 15 minutes earlier than you normally would and try going for a jog around the block or doing some yoga stretches. It will be difficult at first, but once you get into this habit you will feel strange without it.
  • If it is possible, ride your bike or walk to work rather than driving. This is a super easy way to fit exercise into your routine, and you will save money on gas!
  • If you work on a high floor of an office building, take the stars instead of the elevator. It makes a little bit of difference, and it is one of the easiest ways to grab 5 minutes of exercise in your busy day.
  • Replace your chair with an exercise ball. By sitting on this large ball, you will be forced to keep your abdominal muscles and back muscles flexed, which will strengthen your inner core. You will burn more calories just sitting there, and it will also help to avoid back strain.
  • Instead of eating at your desk, use your lunch break to get some fresh air and walk to a nearby park to enjoy a picnic instead.
  • Throughout your day, whenever you finish a project or a report reward yourself with a short break and do some stretches, pushups, or calisthenics in your office. This will invigorate you and clear your mind for the next project.

These are just a few ways that you can fit exercise into your busy workday. Have fun keeping fit!

If you have good ideas of your own, please share them! I’d be interested in hearing how you fit fitness into your daily routine.