5 Signs Your Current Lifestyle Will Lead to Your Financial Demise

Your lifestyle is very closely tied to your finances, as it often indicates how much you spend. Living frugally or spending with abandon are two very different lifestyle experiences, and the results of each will clearly show in your bank balance.

Here are five signs that mean you are heading for a cliff edge in terms of your financial situation.

1. You’re not saving 5%

Advice from experts suggests that you should be putting aside at least 10% of your income each month, if not 15%. But if you aren’t even managing to put 5% in your savings, then you are definitely living beyond your means. It’s even worse if you haven’t been able to put any savings aside at all.

If you feel like you can’t save that much each month, then you may need to cut back on your spending. Maybe that means not going out to dinner, limiting yourself to non-luxury items when shopping for groceries, or cutting back on some of your subscriptions. If you’re already living as frugally as possible and still not making savings, then the truth of the matter is that you’re simply not earning enough. Downsizing your home and looking for another source of income could be the solution in this case.

2. You don’t have an emergency fund

Everyone should have an emergency fund – again, experts recommend that you have around nine months’ worth of living expenses set aside, the minimum amount of money you would need to live during that time if you didn’t have any income at all. Why? Because life happens. You might find yourself unable to work, or suddenly lose your job – even if you have been an exemplary employee so far. You could crash your car and have your insurance fail to pay out, or lose your home in an accident which is not covered by your policy.

Vet bills, medical bills, legal fees, a broken-down car or boiler – these are all expenses which can come up from time to time and really knock you for six. You need to be prepared for these situations. If you aren’t, then you could have a nasty surprise waiting around the corner which could leave you bankrupt or in heavy debt.

3. You’re paying overdraft fees (or credit card fees)

It came to the end of the month, and you didn’t have quite enough to get you through to the next payday. Now you’ve got overdraft charges on your account – or you might even have credit card fees to pay until you pay them off. This is a bad situation, as it is the beginning of a spiral into debt. In both situations, you are being charged extra money because of the fact that you didn’t have enough to begin with.

When this happens, you should see it as a huge red flag and stop spending right away. Don’t be tempted to put more things on a credit card.

An interesting technique you can use is to stop paying with your card at all, and instead use a cash envelope system. Withdraw your money for the week or the month, and divide it into envelopes for specific purposes: groceries, shopping, going out, and so on. When the envelope is empty, you just have to stop spending in that category – simple as that.

4. You don’t have a budget

Not having a budget in place might seem fine when you have enough money to make ends meet easily. However, it’s a problematic situation to be in when one of those emergency situations strikes. Suddenly, you are spending far more than you can afford, and you have to suddenly put on the brakes to try and learn how to budget for the first time.

Set a budget now, and learn how to stick to it, as well as what constitutes a realistic budget based on your spending habits. This will help you a lot when changes in your situation occur.

5. You spend out of fear

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is something that can drive us to spend money on crazy things. Do you really need that new piece of Victorian furniture, or are you just scared that you’ll never get another chance like that again? Don’t let fear dictate your spending. Don’t overspend on going out just to keep up with your friends, or buy a house you can’t afford the payments on because you want people to be impressed. It’s a road to nowhere.

By recognizing these signs and making changes now, you might be able to turn things around. Don’t let the worst happen – get in control of your lifestyle now, and stop your finances from suffering.

About Alana: Alana Downer is a personal finance expert and an avid blogger, who often shares her money tips and tricks online. Alana is also a part of the team behind Learn to Trade – a useful resource for all those who wish to start trading and investing. Should you have comments or questions, feel free to contact Alana on her Twitter.

50 Photos To Take With Your Children

9370_627723203924438_135862117_nI have actually used this list to take a few of these photos. Some can be very dramatic. My wife and I took a photo of our hands and rings in front of her wedding dress and we took pictures of our children with our hands with theirs and also our hands together over time. It shows our age as wrinkles and rough skin show over time but it still shows the love we had is still there just like it was over a decade ago.

Some of these are a bit special and you may not even think about taking pictures of these special moments – but why not? So many people focus on taking pictures of just the special events like birthdays, Christmas, sporting event, choir, etc. But why not take pictures of your kids sleeping and of you both eating ice cream, or of them eating something messy and allowing kids to be kids.

I recently purchased a cell phone that can take really good photographs so when i am out and about (especially with the kids) I can take photos of them doing what kids do. Photos even in a store capturing a special moment can be a great picture.

…. and one of the best reasons to have a digital camera is that you can take several photos – come on – you are not wasting anything. We always take about five of each posed photo and I am known to take photos in succession. Then when you upload them on the computer you can delete ones that are not just right. Also keep your photos that arnt just right in a yearly ‘bloopers’ file. These can be really entertaining made into a ‘bloopers’ slideshow for everyone to watch.

Love this picture of a newborn with the Dad's and Mom's hands to either side and their rings placed on the toes of the wee one. A true symbol of their love.

Love this picture of a newborn with the Dad’s and Mom’s hands to either side and their rings placed on the toes of the wee one. A true symbol of their love.

Candy Cane Candle Holder / Placecard Holder SIMPLE

47310_301268786658094_1510707828_nWhat a wonderful creation that would make great candle holders. Even making enough for a little take home keepsake for each of your guests would not be costly and be very unique. You will need eight wrapped candy canes. Start with two and continue hot gluing each as you go along. You will not need a lot of glue and low setting is just fine. When you get about half way through you will need to keep the candle in place as well so it will all look just right when you finish off with the eighth candy cane. Finish with a ribbon and bow. You could also make smaller versions of these with just four candy canes and use them as name tag holders. Make sure the ‘hook’ of the candy canes stay on a flat surface to make sure your end product can stand on its own. This will be such a great addition to your Christmas party and everyone will really enjoy them.

 

Creating Memories During The Holiday Season

295757_366398673449765_1321707704_nFor as long as I can remember my home as always been decorated from top to bottom with every nook and corner having just the right decoration from when I was young to now. I remember my Mom always making our Christmas special in every way that she could from baked goods to a tree that often had more than one ornament per branch. Garlands and lights were strung inside and out and walls and doors were always marked with something festive to help celebrate. Yes, my family has been told more than once that it looks like Christmas threw up in our home but we don’t care.

Special times and celebrations have always been important during this time of year and making keepsakes is always important. The picture above shows the cut off end of a Christmas tree made into an ornament which makes for a cherished keepsake. Just use a cut disk from the bottom trunk and write a message with a sharpie. Drill a hole and use wire or ribbon to make a loop and bow to hang.

I often will keep little pieces of wrapping papers and tags from presents. I trim them nicely into squares and bundle them together often with just a staple. I have had meaning to place them in scrapbooks but our family has kept photos more digitally then printing them out these past few years. I have also thought about Modge-Podging them to pre-cut forms that would make nice keepsake ornaments. They go into our memory boxes that each person in the family has and I hope the kids enjoy these memory reminders when they are older..

Ornaments seem to always be in abundance in my home as each year each family member gets one that represents something significant that occurred that year. I am always finding ornaments in repair and take the time to do just that even though we can never use them all. I have marked years and names on them and I suppose in the years after I am no longer here that they will find their way to who they belong. Until then these will remain with me as special little memory reminders.

Special dinners and present giving is always important to me as well. I find finding that special present and even the perfect wrapping paper for my loved ones fun to do. I know I hear a lot that many consider it a chore – and I always reply if it is such a burden don’t do it. I do not personally care if I receive anything or not in return but always find special and thoughtful gifts mean more than expensive costly presents.

I am also one of those obnoxious people who send out a family newsletter – and some may think it is obnoxious but others start asking when they will get it if it is taking a little longer than usual to get it. I do try to keep it short and concise but always bear in mind that some of the information may be of no interest to you but someone else may want o hear about it. I also send several pictures out so people can see some of our years events. I have cut my list of those who I send to down as the years go on – those who send nothing or barely take the time to even sign a card I feel would prefer to cease communication and I have started to oblige.

The packing up of all of the decorations and keepsakes always takes a few days in my home but I enjoy taking the time to put them all away because the more time that is devoted to putting them away the easier it is to unpack – and enjoy reliving the memories the following year.

What special things do you do for the holidays to help create memories? How to you create little keepsakes other than pictures? What special events does your family partake in this time of year?

Review: MicroTouch One

I have used various shaving products over the past few years in the search for the one product that suits me just fine. I came across the nothing of single and double edged safety razors and was hooked. No more disposable razors that never work just right and no more expensive razor head replacements – do they think we are made of money?

It is funny I never tried this type of razor before since I saw my Dad use it every morning before he went to work. People would buy him razors from electric to expensive and he never used anything but the standby of a double edge safety razor.

So now I am hooked – but little did I know that my journey was not over yet. I had no idea the variations and expense I was getting myself into while I found just the right one. Yes, there are a multitude of different styles, looks, and feel – not to mention the costs. The blades can be found at a dollar store for ten for a dollar but the razors are like a good pair of shoes that you never want to give up on.

I came upon a little beauty called MicroTouch One. It is sleek and the size is perfect. It has a very impressive design and is so easy to use you will be thinking where the heck have I been.IMG_20131018_082447_0

After receiving my MicroTouch One razor in the mail I could not wait to try it. It comes in this really cool black hard case which snaps open to reveal the razor in a red velvet lining and a mirror on the inside lid. The razor itself is perfect size for my hand (and I have average sized hands). I lifted it up and felt that it was the perfect weight. For those of you who never never used a double edged safety razor before know that weight has a lot to do with it – shaving with a double edged safety razor requires balance and weight must be perfect to allow the razor to glide down your skin without having to put pressure with your hand against the razor (which will result in razor burns).

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IMG_20131018_082518_0For my use I used a gel based shave cream that you can get at any store. I find the gel based is better then the foam base but it does not matter when using this type of razor – it is personal preference. I slid out a razor blade from the cartridge and unwrapped it. I unscrewed the butterfly head using the twisting portion of the handle and slid the blade down and tightened it up and was ready to go.

I put the shave cream on my face and placed the razor below my sideburns and let the razor glide down my face which felt like butter. A beautiful glide with no pressure needed and no nicks to my face. I continued on my face and my neck problem free.

UntitledbI opened the butterfly compartment up and rinsed the blade under the tap water for one additional use. I was impressed with the mechanics of the butterfly compartment – nice and tight and easy to twist. I have used ones that are flimsy and feel like they need to be tightened.IMG_20131018_082546_0

I have now recommended the brand to many family members and friends and thought I would share it with all of my readers as well. Since Christmas is coming up I know a few people that will be getting these as a gift with some special shave creams and shaving accessories.

One of the impressive features i still have not told you about is the cost. These razors are just $19.99 – a great deal if you do some comparison shopping on the internet.

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Manufacturers Website: https://www.onerazor.com/