Family Budgets Made Simple

Many households wonder how to make a family budget and stick to it. They may have the best of intentions when starting out, but after tracking their spending, planning out their regular expenses, and anticipating any unforeseen contingencies, they struggle with seeing their financial goals to the end. Luckily, there are several ways to use Family Budgetcommon software programs to ease the process and make your family’s economic dream a reality.

Track Spending Using Microsoft Excel and Google Docs

Any family budget requires a firm and grounded understanding of current spending habits. Unfortunately, many people cannot identify where their money is going. Every time you spend money, save the receipt. Do this no matter how small the expense may seem. At the end of the day, log the amount you spent for each transaction in an Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet. Be sure to set up your spreadsheet with a column for date, amount of purchase, and what the money was spent on. Also, don’t forget to track bills and other monthly expenses. If using Google Docs, you can access your spreadsheet from any computer and share it with your family members.

Budget for Income

While you are tracking your expenses, create a separate workbook in the spreadsheet to list your income. What is your take-home pay? Do you have any other sources of income from investments or rental properties? Continue reading

Kitchen Makeover on a Shoestring Budget

Home Decor  BudgetYour kitchen is in desperate need of a makeover. The floor is old and everything is covered with a fine layer of grease. The cabinets are dark and outdated. You’d love to give it a new look, but can’t afford a major remodeling job. If you think updating your kitchen is out of reach, think again. You can breathe new life into an old kitchen without spending a fortune.

You can learn to do most remodeling jobs yourself. With a little elbow grease and some inspiration, you can change the entire feel of your kitchen for a lot less than you think. If you do just one project at a time, you’ll be done before you know it. Here is how to redo your kitchen on a tight budget.

Cabinets: The first thing most people notice in a kitchen is the cabinets. They are probably dirty and covered with grease. Maybe they’re too dark and you want something brighter. Instead of paying to replace them with new ones, why not give them a fresh coat of paint? You can find good quality paints in an array of colors at your local home improvement store. Wash the cabinets first, then buff them off with sandpaper. Continue reading

Quick, Easy Dinners for Working Moms

Easy Dinners for Working MomsAs a working mom, chances are your time is limited when it comes to preparing meals for your family. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a tasty and delicious dinner every night of the week. Here are a few ideas for dinners that you can get to the table quickly and easily. You can even have your kids help you with these recipes to make meal preparation even faster and get the whole family involved in making dinners especially nutritious.

Foil Packet Chicken or Fish

This protein-packed meal can easily be customized to feature your favorite vegetables and seasonings. Defrost chicken breasts or fish filets and place each piece in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil. Fold the sides of the foil toward the food to form an open packet. Fill up the packet with a little olive oil or butter, along with fresh herbs like thyme or basil. You can also add sea salt, black pepper, or any other seasonings you choose. Chopped vegetables like peppers or onions help to make the meal complete and add components like vitamin C and magnesium to your meal.

Close the packets up at the top to seal them and keep the moisture in while your entrees are cooking. Preheat the oven to about 375 degrees and place the packets inside for 15-20 minutes. While your fish or chicken is cooking, prepare a side dish like brown rice or mashed potatoes to make the meal complete.

Spicy Tacos

Few dinners are easier to prepare on a weeknight than tacos. The longest part of the meal is probably preparing the meat that goes in the tacos. Keep in mind that whole or refried beans, as well as chopped seasoned tofu can also serve as the “meat” for this meal if your family is vegetarian.

In a large saucepan, add olive oil and chopped onions, along with the ground meat or beans of your choice. Allow these items to cook together for about 3 minutes, then add seasonings like salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and chopped vegetables like tomatoes or garlic.

While the filling for the tacos is cooking, have your children help you get all the toppings together. For instance, have one child shred a variety of cheeses to chop the tacos with, while another family member chops lettuce or black olives. Place the bowls of taco fixings in a line on the table or kitchen bar in the style of a buffet. Warm up taco shells or tortillas and you’ve got a meal that is filled with protein, fiber and a number of fresh vegetables.

Mini Pizzas

Pizza is a family dinner favorite, and small versions of this popular meal are both tasty and nutritious. Use mini pizza crusts, biscuits or English muffins as the base of this meal, and add tomato sauce and the cheeses of your choice. Chop up some veggies for your kids to add to their pizzas to give the meal more vitamins and minerals. Choices like bell peppers, spinach and mushrooms are ideal, as they provide iron, vitamin C and zinc to the meal. Protein choices like ground veggie sausage or all-natural turkey pepperoni make the pizzas more filling. Bake the pizzas You can complete this pizza dinner with a fresh side salad. Enjoy!

iPhone apps that save you time as a busy mother

Busy Mom Need Apps Being a mom automatically means that every hour of your day has a purpose. Not only do you have to take care of your child or children but you also have to keep your life and finances in order. With so many responsibilities it can be difficult to keep track of it all. Between taking care of the kids, work, and/or running the household, chaos is likely to occur without organization and planning. Luckily, technology plays a huge role in our lives and can really help in keeping our lives organized. Here are three free iPhone apps that save you time as a busy mom.


Bloom is an amazing app for any busy mom. The main purpose of this app is to keep you productive throughout the day. Bloom allows users to set notifications, referred to as “blooms” for everything that has to get done during the day whether it be depositing money in the bank, going grocery shopping, or picking the kids up from school. What sets this app apart from the others is that the notifications are motivational slideshows. Users have the option of creating their own slideshow or use one that has been pre assembled. The best part is both pictures and music can be inputted in the slideshow. You can plan your entire day, week or month with this app and keep all your tasks organized. You can be motivated from the time you wake up in the morning to time you go to sleep with Bloom.


Mint is not only an effective way to keep track of money and expenses, but it is a huge time saver. So much time can be wasted checking the balances of accounts and credit cards but with Mint it is all in one place. Users can input budgets, link financial accounts and track spending. All that is required is a Mint account that can be set up on their website. Now you have access to everything you need to know concerning your finances in the palm of your hand and have record of any changes wherever you are.


ScatterBrain, another great app that helps save you time as a busy mom, allows you to capture ideas and thoughts quickly. User can create to do lists, grocery lists, or simply take note of any ideas that need to be remembered. ScatterBrain combines a user friendly interface, sleek design and ability to color code your notes to provide a wonderful app for moms on the go. In order to create a note simply press the + on your home screen and begin. This app is simple, has great features and is free!

Overall, every busy mom needs the apps just discussed. They are super easy to use and can positively impact your daily life by helping you save time and stay organized. Bloom will motivate and remind you of upcoming events, while Mint gives you quick access to your finances and ScatterBrain helps to organize your thoughts. With the help of these iPhone apps your day will go off without a hitch.

Saving for the Future as a Single Mother

Child's Education If you’re a single mother or a newly divorced mom, one of your main concerns will likely be how you can create a budget for your family. Meeting your children’s basic needs while saving for the years to come can contribute to your peace of mind while ensuring that your family has the necessary resources for the future. Here are a few ideas for how to save for the future as a single mother that you can start using today.

Batch Cooking

Buying your food in bulk and cooking meals in batches can help you save a considerable amount of money on your grocery bill. It may be best to choose one day out of the week for cooking so you can freeze your meals and simply defrost them after work. Of course, buying your groceries with coupons and shopping at superstores that sell bulk items will save even more money.

Foods that can be used for a number of different purposes are best when you’re batch cooking. For instance, frozen chicken breasts can be seasoned in a number of different ways, so you can make meals like chicken tacos, chicken Alfredo, and chicken soup for the week. It’s also a good idea to season veggies and freeze them to use as a side dish for your meals.

Keep Credit Cards to a Minimum

It’s important to keep your credit in good shape so you won’t have to spend large amounts of money repairing it in the future. Be careful when it comes to credit card offers that may be too good to be true, as you could end up paying high interest rates, even if you pay your bill a few hours late. If you already have a credit card, it may be best to reserve it for emergencies only, or to use it for one specific purpose, such as health care, groceries or putting gas in the car. If you decide that you no longer want to use your existing credit cards, talk with someone from the credit card company to get information on ways to pay the card off and improve your credit score as quickly as possible.

Teach Your Children the Value of Money

There’s no denying that raising children can be expensive. However, you can successfully save for your child’s future by teaching him/her the value of money. Explaining the difference between wants and needs at an early age can keep your children from continually asking for toys, clothing and other unnecessary items when you’re shopping.

Of course, as your children age, you’ll have to teach this principle by example. While your budget may allow for you to splurge every once in a while, it’s essential that you live within your means and contribute to your savings account regularly. This can not only prepare you for minor financial emergencies that may occur in the near future, but can help you reserve enough money to finance your child’s education or other major expenses like a car or room and board when your son or daughter begins living away from home.


Skin Care Tips for Traveling

Skin Care Tips for TravelingIf your work requires you to travel, you may need a few pointers when it comes to ensuring that your skin looks its best in a variety of weather conditions. Fortunately, there are some practical and cost-effective things you can do to keep your complexion looking healthy and blemish-free as you conduct business in various parts of the world. Here are just a few suggestions you’ll want to keep in mind.

Drink Plenty of Water

Whether you’re traveling to a place that gets lots of sun or will be conducting business in a colder climate, drinking water is important. Water helps to balance the moisture content and oil production of your skin and gives your complexion a healthy glow. Drinking lots of water also flushes toxins out of your system, which clears up existing blemishes and breakouts and keeps new ones from forming. It may be best to carry a bottle of water with you to business meetings and networking events to help you stay hydrated throughout the day and keep your energy levels up.

Choose the Right Moisturizer

Even if you have oily skin, you’ll need a good moisturizer. Choose a product that contains antioxidants to shield your skin from free radicals. You’ll also need a moisturizer that won’t clog your pores and helps your makeup to go on smoothly. Cream-based moisturizers are best if you’ll be in cold climates, while lightweight moisturizers with a gel-like consistency are ideal for warmer weather.

Fight Blemishes

Do all you can to fight blemishes and prevent new ones from appearing on your face. A cleanser that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide will help with this. These ingredients effectively remove bacteria from the face and clean the pores to remove blackheads and whiteheads. If you’re thinking of trying a new facial cleanser, do so a few weeks before your work trip so you’ll know whether the product works well on your skin and you won’t have any unpleasant surprises while traveling.

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen should be a part of your skin care regimen whether you’re traveling to a warm or cool climate, since the UV rays from the sun can affect your skin even in the winter. Shielding your skin from the sun can also prevent skin moles from forming and protect you from developing skin cancer. Sunscreen is also essential for keeping your skin tone even so you’ll be able to attend your meetings and work-related events with confidence.

Eat Well

Make sure you’re eating balanced meals during your business trip to keep your skin in the best condition. While people usually indulge a little when they’re away from home, keep in mind that you’ll likely be meeting with several people during your trip and need to put your best face forward.

Fill your diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and carry these foods with you throughout the day as snacks to stave hunger while feeding your skin essential nutrients. Whole grains and lean protein are also essential for providing your body with fiber to flush out impurities and making your skin soft and supple.

The Best Watch for New Moms

The Best Watch for New MomsThe best watch for new moms must have several features that typical watches simply do not have. It is necessary in order for these watches to be geared toward helping new moms who are busy taking care of their child. There are many things that go into creating a watch for new moms that is superior to the competition. For example, it must be specially designed from an ergonomic perspective in order to ensure that it is comfortable for both the mother and child. In addition, having a watch that can help new moms keep track of their baby’s schedule is something that provides an untold number of benefits, especially for first time moms that may initially find it to be somewhat overwhelming to try to remember everything and keep everything on a schedule while still keeping up with other obligations.

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The first thing that constitutes a great watch for new mothers is the way it is designed. It has to be made of a material that is soft enough that the mother can wear it while handling the baby without scratching the baby or irritating its skin. A baby’s skin is very tender and as a result it does not take much to cause a great deal of irritation. Therefore, a watch that is not made of a special material which will not cause any irritation whatsoever, even for the most sensitive child, does not constitute a product that new moms want to utilize because it could cause harm or discomfort to the child. Typically, the best products are made of a silicone material or something similar that is so soft that it does not cause any problems.

Another thing that is a big consideration for new moms is something that can be adjusted completely in order to allow the mother to use it throughout the duration of the pregnancy and well after the pregnancy. The mother’s weight typically fluctuates a great deal during pregnancy and for several months thereafter. Having a watch that can be adjusted to fit a large range of different sizes is imperative in order to keep the mother from having to purchase a new product every few months.

Perhaps the most important thing about this type of technology for new mothers is that it does much more than merely tell time. The best watches allow new mothers to keep track of everything from feeding schedules to doses of medicine and even doctor’s appointments for the new baby. This is vitally important because it is often difficult to keep up with all of these new things while trying to keep up with other schedules at the same time. The best watch for new moms will essentially be able to function like two completely separate products, a regular watch and a schedule that keeps up with everything the baby needs.

Finally, any watch should be water resistant. This is especially true for a watch of this type because a new mother never knows when the baby might spit up. If the baby happens to spit up on the watch it is comforting to know that it can be wiped off with a damp rag without any problems. In short, the top wrist watch for moms will combine all of these features at a reasonable price and it will employ superior quality so that it can be used for an extended period of time.