Wednesday, January 19, 2022

How to Stick to a Budget…But, Also Enjoy Life

Happy new year!  How are your new year’s resolutions going so far?  Many people go into a new year with so many hopes for a better year…and, after the past two we have had, a year with less drama and more happiness would be great. Don’t you think?  😊  Thinking about resolutions, many people set goals in the new year to lose weight, try new things, make more time for family and friends, save and go on a vacation, pay down debt, etc.  Many of these resolutions, though, come with a cost.  To lose weight you need to sign up for gym membership or pay for an app.  A family tip costs $$$, as does trying new things.  But, if you find yourself struggling to set and stick with a budget, you may find that you can’t keep the resolutions that you made for 2022.  Before you give up on them, as they seem unattainable, why not consider first looking at putting together a budget that will work for you and not against you.  Once you see where all your money is going and make adjustments, you can see that many of your resolutions can be achieved, and 2022 can be a great year.

When you think about a budget, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed.  First, breath, and then sit down and start listing out how much money you bring in each month.  Then, list out expenses including rent/mortgage, car loans, insurance for car and home, utilities, food, leisure activities, etc.  

Seeing where your money goes to each month will give you a better idea of money you have to put towards your new year’s resolutions, as well as maybe areas you can cut down. 

Say you find yourself going out to eat 3-4 days a week for lunch or dinner.  Maybe you can scale it back to 1-2 days, by utilizing an air fryer or crock pot for convenient cooking.  Or, double a meal so you have leftovers.  I have found that using online meal subscription programs like Everyplate and Dinnerly, I can save on my week food expenses, as well as cut down on trips to the market where I find myself buying more than what was on my list, taking time away from other things  I could be doing, and also the gas back and forth.  I can get a week’s worth of meals for my family using these online meal subscription sites for under $80.  I usually spend close to this on take out for a family of 4. And, if we dine in someplace, I have to add on a tip.

With mortgage rates still low, may now is the time to refinance your home loan.  We did this last year and went from 5% all the way down to 3% and have been saving around $110 a month. Also, we shopped around for better car and home insurance rates and found a new lender who was able to bundle both, and that saved us close to $100 a month.  Like many people, we finally gave in and got rid of cable last year, which was costing us over $250 for cable boxes in 4 rooms along with the service and add on channels.  We put Roku devices in each room and now use a few streaming services, which in total cost around $40 a month, and offer live TV channels and lots of movies and old TV series to enjoy.  Thanks to Covid, we have not been going to the movies, which used to run over $80 for tickets and snacks. Now, we have family movie night every Friday night, making homemade pizza and enjoying fresh popped popcorn with our movie.  No need to try and sneak in candy or snacks. And, we can pause the movie if someone needs to run to the bathroom.  Little things like enjoying a movie at home instead of going to a movie theater will save you money, and will add up to savings over time, if you are a frequent in-person movie goer.

If you have a new year’s resolution to get into shape, why not consider one of the many online exercise streaming platforms available? Many offer a trial period to see if you like it, and most are under $15 a month.  You can even find some great exercise videos on YouTube.  My husband uses a few different yoga apps that offer free yoga videos and pays $12 a month for live and recorded fitness instruction.  This is cheaper than paying and locking yourself into a gym membership…and, you are saving $$ on gas and time driving back and forth.

If you find you have a lot of credit card debt, why not try and combine some of your debt with those 0% APR offers you get each month in the mail  By consolidating your debt and having 12+ months to pay off without incurring interest during that time, you will finally be able to pay down those credit card debts, and actually see them going down. Many people have high APR rates, so if they send it $150 a month for a bill, they could easily see $80-90 going towards interest, and only $70-80 going to pay down the debt.  You could also try contacting your credit card companies to see if they have any offers available to help pay down your debt.  Or, better yet, click here for ways to consolidate your debt, and pay it off once and for all.  Just imagine how much money you will save and keep in your pocket each month, once you finally pay off all your credit card debt.

Once you have all your expenses listed out, you can have a clearer picture of things, and then start looking for ways you can save, like some of the suggestions above.  Slowly you will find yourself saving a few dollars here and there, and it will add up to a greater savings each month and in the long run.  And, that savings, could go towards bigger goals or resolutions you may have.  Also, once you create a budget and stick with it, you will find yourself stressing less each month wondering if you will have to live paycheck to paycheck, or thinking you just work and can’t have any fun.  You can have fun…but, first you need to put together a realistic budget that will work for you and that is manageable.  Make sure you leave room for unexpected expenses like a car repair or medical bill, as it is always good to have a rainy-day fund on hand if you ever find yourself needing money to pay for these bills.

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Friday, January 14, 2022

Easy Ways To Improve Your Health

With busy careers, family responsibilities and a social life to uphold, it can seem impossible to find the time to take care of yourself. However, your health is sure to start showing the side effects of such a lack of self care, so it's vital that you can change your ways before your well-being starts to suffer. Thankfully, this guide contains a range of easy steps that you can follow to start improving your health in no time at all, and it couldn't be simple to get started today. So, if you're interested in finding out more, then read on. 

Image Source - Pexels 

Change Your Diet 

The food and drink that you consume will contribute massively towards your overall health and well-being as it directly converts into the energy that your body and mind use for all of their daily tasks, hence the phrase 'you are what you eat'! Constantly chowing down on unhealthy junk foods like french fries, ice cream and chocolate while drinking damaging liquids like alcohol and fizzy bright colored soda will no doubt have a disastrous effect on the way that you feel both physically and emotionally, as the harmful ingredients can affect everything. Changing your diet to focus more on healthy, natural wholefoods is one of the most effective ways to improve your well-being, as you'll feel almost immediate results after consuming a more balanced meal. Some food and drink can be addictive, like cow's milk, sugar, and alcohol, but with the right support and an ounce of determination you can beat your dependencies. Rehab centers are ideal for those struggling with alcohol reliance, so don't be afraid to take this step if you are serious about improving your health. As soon as you can establish a more nutritious diet plan that focuses on fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein and lots of complex carbohydrates, you'll start to reap the rewards both physically and mentally. 

Put Your Smartphone Down 

The next most effective step that you can follow to start improving your health is to put your smartphone down. In modern times many smartphone users will browse mindlessly on their device for as many as 8-10 hours every single day, and this is providing no benefits whatsoever. In fact, smartphone use can be extremely detrimental in a number of ways. Physically speaking, you can expect to experience symptoms such as eye strain, migraines, trouble sleeping and a lack of appetite after using your phone for a long period of time. Mentally, you will feel drained, have very low self esteem and likely lose a lot of confidence, while also potentially being upset or angry if you stumble across hateful content which is becoming more and more apparent online. Making the decision to put your smartphone down so that you can spend a little more time in the real world will benefit your mind and body to no end. 

Improving your health has never been so simple when you can take the time to follow the two brilliant steps that have been carefully described above. 

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022



will premiere exclusively on Prime Video 

globally January 14, 2022




In celebration of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, Amazon Studios & Sony Pictures Animation is embarking on an unforgettable cross-country bus tour to bring fans the ultimate Hotel Transylvania experience! The Johnny Monster Bus and Character Tour will be making its way to the cites below, with giveaways, character meet and greets, and more!  Additionally oversized inflatable characters to take over for photo-ops perfect for social media sharing.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is the latest and final chapter of the Hotel Transylvania film series, which will be available to stream exclusively on Prime Video globally beginning January 14, 2022. 

Please share with your audience so they can find the Character Tour in their area!

Check out the upcoming stops here:

8 January 2022 - California - Woodland Hills - Amazon Fresh
8 January 2022 - California - Marina Del Rey - Amazon Books
8 January 2022 - Minnesota - Minneapolis - Mall of America 
8 - 9 January 2022 - New York - Manhattan/SoHo - Amazon 4-Star 
9 January 2022 - California - Long Beach - Amazon Fresh
11 - 16 January 2022 - Pennsylvania - Philadelphia - Philadelphia Art Museum “Rocky Steps”
13 January 2022 - Texas - Austin - The Hive 
12 - 16 January 2022 - Illinois - Chicago - Millennium Park Promenade 
13 - 16 January 2022 - California - Los Angeles - The Original Farmers Market
14 - 15 January 2022 - Texas - Austin - The Domain
14 - 16 January 2022 - Arizona - Phoenix - Arizona Coyotes Game/Zoolights 
14 - 18 January 2022 - Texas - Houston - Discover Green
15 - 16 January 2022 - Florida - Miami - Brickell City Centre
15 - 16 January 2022 - Massachusetts - Lynnfield - Amazon Books
17 January 2022 - Florida - Miami - MLK Day Parade
17 January 2022 - Massachusetts - Boston - Boston Common Frog Pond 
17 - 18 January 2022 Texas - Houston - Discovery Green
21 January 2022 - Georgia - Atlanta - Atlanta Hawkes Game 
22 January 2022 - Ohio - Cleveland - Cleveland Monsters Family Day          


Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska
Written by Amos Vernon & Nunzio Randazzo and Genndy Tartakovsky
Starring Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Brian Hull, Fran Drescher, Brad Abrell, Asher Blinkoff

About the movie:

"Drac and the Pack are back, like you’ve never seen them before in Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. Reunite with your favorite monsters for an all-new adventure that presents Drac (Brian Hull) with his most terrifying task yet. When Van Helsing’s (Jim Gaffigan) mysterious invention, the 'Monsterification Ray,’ goes haywire, Drac and his monster pals are all transformed into humans, and Johnny (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster! In their new mismatched bodies, Drac, stripped of his powers, and an exuberant Johnny, loving life as a monster, must team up and race across the globe to find a cure before it’s too late, and before they drive each other crazy. With help from Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the hilariously human Drac Pack, the heat is on to find a way to switch themselves back before their transformations become permanent. The film also features the voices of Kathryn Hahn (Ericka), Steve Buscemi (Wayne), Molly Shannon (Wanda), David Spade (Griffin the Invisible Man), Keegan-Michael Key (Murray), Fran Drescher (Eunice), Brad Abrell (Frank), and Asher Blinkoff (Dennis). 

For the final chapter of the Hotel Transylvania film series, franchise creator Genndy Tartakovsky returns as one of the screenwriters and executive producers. Selena Gomez will also serve as an executive producer, while reprising her role as Drac's daughter, Mavis, alongside Andy Samberg, returning as Johnny. Directed by Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska, the film is produced by Alice Dewey Goldstone and executive produced by Tartakovsky, Michelle Murdocca, and Gomez. The story is by Genndy Tartakovsky with a screenplay by Amos Vernon & Nunzio Randazzo and Genndy Tartakovsky."

87 Minutes | Rated PG
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