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6 Free or Cheap Summer Fun Ideas

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Today’s post is from writer and commenter here on BFS, Kate (Mrs. COD).  She is passionate about helping people make smarter decisions with money in order to be able to spend money on what really matters to them. Thanks to slaying her debt demons, she’s now able to stay at home raising her two rambunctious little boys. Kate blogs about lifelong habit changes and “finangelism” at Changing Our Default, which she started early in 2016. As soon as the weather starts to turn warmer and the allergies start acting up, we know summer is just around the corner! Whether you work full-time in summer or have some time off, as I always have as a teacher, summer promises oodles of extra fun. Making memories with family and friends doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Summer is ripe with opportunities for free and cheap entertainment. Let’s dive into a few of them! Picnics and Barbecues What summer is complete without a few cookouts with friends? You have to eat anyway, so invite a few pals over and fire up the grill. Set this up however you prefer–either you can provide everything, or you can take care of the food while everyone BYOBs, or … Read more

GoChange – Keep You On Track or Creep You Out?

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Have you heard about GoChange?  It’s an app that acts like a virtual financial assistant that texts you financial updates that will hopefully keep you on track with your personal finances. I’ve been using it for several weeks now and I have good, bad and ugly to report.  The good is that some of us need to be forced to save and the Go Change app can do that.  Fortunately I am not currently that person, but I think this app could be very helpful. The Good It works by finding it here and then it evaluates your banking information for habits and using an algorithm to figure out when $5 here or there extra has been untapped and sticks that extra money into a savings hold (like Digit, if you’ve heard of that one already).  They hold those funds until you claim them.  Think of it as a way to sneekily trick yourself in not noticing when your saving money.  Kinda sweet. I didn’t go for the savings feature, however there is still value to be had.  The notifications I got a lot out of were in the spending habits comparisons and when my banking balances were getting low. I asked myself, “How … Read more

The Uber Car Lease Program Sucks – How to Escape

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Did you see the article about the pregnant lady who was driven into further debt by leasing a car from Uber?  One of my friends actually just lived through an Uber lease experience, and it is truly crappy.  $180 a week for leasing a car. THAT’S $720 A MONTH FOR A CAR LEASE! WHY??? Why did my friend or the pregnant lady in the article take on a super expensive lease like this to start with?  Because my friend’s credit is bad, she only had stressful experiences with car buying, and Uber made it easy. But buying a car, hell, even leasing a car regularly, would have been so much cheaper even with bad credit! How to Escape an Uber Lease If you ever thought about leasing a car through Uber, DON’T. If you already have, here are a few steps I’d suggest taking right now: Get it through your head that you are getting screwed in a very not-fun way. A cheap Uber lease is $180 a week…that’s $720 a month.  $720 a month for a regular car!!! Let’s say you don’t have the cash to buy a used car cheap off of someone.  Even with not stellar credit and no down payment, … Read more

Don’t Forget Your Finances When You Spring Clean

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Don’t Forget Your Finances When You Spring Clean In the South West, you didn’t need that extra hour thanks to daylight saving time to tell you winter was on its way out, nor did you have to wait until March 20th to know spring had arrived. The vernal season blossoms early in states like Texas compared to the rest of the country. If you took advantage of your head start, you’re probably through most of your annual spring cleaning chores already, but don’t throw in the yellow gloves just yet. We’re willing to bet there’s one part of your home you haven’t dusted off in a while and that is your finances. Don’t worry. Adding this item to your list won’t be as hard as you think, nor will it add a lot of time to your housework. It’s actually quite simple when you use the following tips to guide your tidying. Keep reading to learn the fastest and most effective way to enforce organization onto your finances. Step One: Evaluate Your Budget Your budget is the foundation of your finances. Without it, you can’t effectively run your household or take advantage of investments and other financial tools. If you … Read more

How to Be Content with Your Life

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How to Be Content | Tips for Practicing Self-Care | Goals in Life | Achieving Peace | Enjoying Life | Living in the Moment

I’m 34 years old.  My life has been great, yet I still wake up some days and feel completely unsatisfied.  I felt like a raging success when I leapt into self-employment in 2011, about 16 months after starting this blog.  My husband joined me in 2012, I started a second successful business in 2014 (Crystal’s Cozy Care Pet Sitting), and we are still doing well with our businesses, yet I’ve lost that soul singing feeling of triumph.  Why Do I Feel Like a Failure?  Because I suck at being content.  My online business peaked 3-4 years ago but is still chugging along.  I’m making efforts to grow it again.  My pet sitting business is blossoming more every season, and we just hired our first official pet sitter team member.  Yet, I keep comparing myself to others and feel like all my efforts are “meh”.  Since I started researching contentment and making a list of steps for myself, I figured I should share it with anyone else out there kicking their own butts for no good reason. How to be Content Weirdly, being content is harder for me than making money.  Yet contentment comes in handy no matter where you are in life.  It is a priceless … Read more

8 Reasons Your Online Meetings Fail

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Regular meetings aren’t a guarantee that you’re doing it right. You know something’s missing but you just can’t seem to put a finger on it. Here are a few reasons why your online talks and meetings seem to fail all the time: You’re Boring These days, video calling solutions might have given companies a fresh new way to get those meetings done. But if you still aren’t delivering the kind of content your audience needs—in this case, everyone in the meeting—and delivering them in a way that’s engaging, that could be why your meetings are dry and dead, with little to zero engagement from everyone on the team, the PGI says. That’s because engagement matters. One way you could do to resolve poor engagement is to increase audience participation. If all your meetings start and end with you talking throughout, you might want to take a step back and allow key members of your audience to do a presentation or take over a portion of the discussion. It can be boring if your audience has to listen to you all throughout the meeting. By changing that and calling on employees to participate, you can draw them into the meeting with … Read more

21st Century Technology: Digital Wallets

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There is almost nothing cooler than being able to leave your home without your wallet. Today, cell phones let commuters get on the subway with a tap, buy coffee with a tap, and attend shows and movies by displaying a screen. All of this is due to digital wallets, an innovative way for customers to hold their financial and important documents on their cell phones for access at any time. Near Field Communication Thanks to near field communication (NFC), customers are able to store their credit card, banking information, gift cards, etc. on their phone’s digital wallet. Merchants with “tap and pay” payment processing machines simply ask customers to tap their phone on the terminal to complete the transaction. Digital wallets are usually strongly encrypted, meaning that the data from customers’ credit cards is scrambled before it’s transmitted and then unscrambled by the payment machine. Encryption makes it nearly impossible for someone to steal your financial information. Because of this, digital wallets are more secure than credit cards themselves, since credit cards can be easily cloned. Practicality For customers, having a digital wallet means no longer having to carry around a bulky physical wallet filled with gift cards from your … Read more