Tips to Spring Clean Your Budget

Now that spring is here, it’s time to take a look at your budget and see some ways that you can cut down on how much you are spending, on a month by month basis. If you don’t already have a budget, then make one! If you do, then pull it out and take a look at some simple ways you can cut down on the money you routinely spend…

Tips to Spring Clean Your Budget #spring #budget #money #lifestyle #savings

Use Public Transit (or Other Methods to Drive Less)

Cutting down transportation costs is one of the best and quickest ways to lower your monthly expenses significantly. If your area has sufficient public transportation to get you where you need to go, don’t hesitate to use it. You’ll be surprised at the fortune you save on gas.

Again, anything you can do to cut down on transportation costs will make a huge difference. Another option you have is to ride a bike. Making a bike your primary mode of transportation will also be good for the environment and improve your health. If you’re looking to cycle to work, but don’t have the budget for a brand new bike, check the inventory at secondhand stores and check yard sales too.

Get Rid of Unused Gym Memberships

Cancel your gym membership and head to your local park to get the same workout for free. Use the natural layout of the park, trails, playground equipment, and benches to create a comprehensive workout routine. Not only will you save on gym membership fees, but you will also enjoy some time in the sun.

Tips to Spring Clean Your Budget #spring #budget #money #lifestyle #savings

Cut Back on Subscriptions

Whether it’s the newspaper, magazines, or even an internet streaming service like Netflix, subscriptions are usually things you can easily live without. If you’re really looking to cut monthly expenses this summer, cut all subscriptions and spend more time outdoors.

Be a Smart Driver

You’d be surprised at how much money you can save merely by changing some simple driving habits. Let up on the gas pedal just a little when accelerating, cut down on speeding, and try walking to destinations that are reasonably close. Even if you can’t completely live without a car, chances are you can whittle down your gas expenses significantly.

Eat Less Meat

It may be difficult to BBQ less and cut down on the number of steaks you grill this summer, but the fact is meat is expensive. Take the opportunity to learn some new recipes and cook some refreshing vegetarian dishes. If you grow a garden, you can use your own vegetables and save even more on meals than you ever thought possible.

Partake in Free Events

Summer is a great time to get out into the action of your hometown. If you’re looking for some budget-friendly excitement to mix up your summer, go to a free concert or local outdoor event. Taking advantage of these seasonal events may provide your family with a free or inexpensive experience that would normally cost a lot more to enjoy.

Tips to Spring Clean Your Budget #spring #budget #money #lifestyle #savings

Update to LED Lightbulbs

LED lightbulbs are becoming a popular alternative light source in contemporary homes. Not only do they last longer than traditional light bulbs, they are also more energy efficient, more versatile, and completely silent. Switching over to LED lightbulbs will cost some money upfront, but will prove to be a saving investment in the long run.

Unplug Unused Electronics

It may be a task so simple that it never crossed your mind. Or, it may seem so menial that you haven’t actually gone through with it. Either way, now is the time to try it out. Unplugging all electrical devices you aren’t currently using them can save significantly on monthly electric expenses.

Ask About Loan Modifications

If loan payments are becoming more than you can handle from month to month, you might want to look into getting a loan modification. Making a permanent change in one or more items on your loan can be a huge help in giving you some leeway on your monthly budget. Not to mention your loan payments will feel less daunting.

Do Specific Chores Yourself

For some chores, you may be tempted to use a professional service, but you can save hundreds of dollars just by doing it yourself. For example: lawn mowing! Use a non-electric push mower and turn a boring activity into a time of connection with the outdoors. Mowing with a push mower will save you the money you would have otherwise spent on gas for an electric one.

Another example is car washes. Now that the weather is warming up, it is the perfect time to wash the car in your own driveway and complete a chore while having some family fun too. Grab some cleaning supplies and head to the driveway when the heat of the summer strikes.

The Life-Changing Effects of Nature Therapy

We have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. What I mean by that is that it wasn’t very long ago that humans were spending the majority of their time outside farming, hunting, gathering, and traveling. Of course, we have come a long way since then, and now studies have shown that the average American spends around 96% of their life indoors. Between houses, buildings, and automobiles, people usually spend as little time outdoors as they can, only using their outdoor time to move between buildings and automobiles.

Most people would agree that this change has been for the better—we no longer need to worry very much about severe weather, such as snow or wind, and we are able to regulate the temperatures of our surroundings to make us more comfortable. While there are a lot of benefits that come with living indoors, humans are naturally outdoor creatures. There is a part of us that longs to be outdoors, and spending more time outside can be very beneficial.
The Life-Changing Effects of Nature Therapy

The benefits that come from spending time outdoors are significant and beneficial enough that some forms of therapy incorporate spending time in nature into their treatment programs. Nature therapy offers some incredible benefits that are not found elsewhere. There is something about spending time outdoors that is therapeutic. Here are some of the life-changing effects of nature therapy.

The Life-Changing Effects of Nature Therapy #therapy #nature #selfcare #lifestyle

Lowers Levels of Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

Spending time in nature can have significant impacts on mental health. Nature therapy has been shown to decrease levels of stress, depression, and anxiety by lowering levels of cortisol, a chemical that has been linked to stress. Additionally, there are essential oils and certain scents that are found in nature that have a calming and uplifting effect on the body as well. Lavender is one of these. Lavender is often used in aromatherapy to relax the body and induce sleep.The Life-Changing Effects of Nature Therapy

Teaches New Skills

Nature therapy does not consist solely of standing outside doing nothing. Often, nature therapy programs consist of outdoor activities and adventures that teach the participants new skills. Some of these skills include skiing, horseback riding, archery, mountaineering, and more. Learning new skills has been shown to increase happiness and confidence, as well as strengthening a person’s determination.
The Life-Changing Effects of Nature Therapy

Replaces Bad Habits

It is well-known that the best way to rid oneself of a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. Because of this, substance abuse rehabilitation programs often use adventure therapy as part of their treatment modalities. Not only does spending time outdoors prevent the recovering addicts from abusing substances, but it also acts as a replacement habit that they can use to cope with their emotions without needing to depend on drugs or alcohol.

Fosters Good Qualities

People who engage in nature therapy and the outdoor activities that are a part of nature therapy naturally develop good qualities. Integrity, dependability, and maturity are some of these. The challenges they face during their adventures are real and demanding, and they often require teamwork, thoughtfulness, creativity, and determination to solve. Because the participants are engaging in real-world activities that test their grit, they naturally develop or strengthen many other good qualities that will benefit other aspects of their lives as well.

Teaches Responsibility

Nature therapy is often used for behavioral reformation programs that work with teenagers and young adults. Part of the reason is that it teaches responsibility. Many teenagers and young adults do not understand responsibility or refuse to take responsibility for their actions. Nature therapy is a way for them to learn the importance of responsibility in a fun and non-threatening way.

Strengthens Interpersonal Skills

Many people have problems with developing and/or maintaining interpersonal relationships. People with mental health problems or substance abuse addictions are especially impaired in this department. Because the activities that nature therapies organize involve so much teamwork and communication, participating in nature therapy strengthens interpersonal skills. This is an incredible benefit because interpersonal skills are important to have for every aspect of a person’s life.

Gluten Free Banana Nut Bread

**This post contains affiliate links, you may read the full disclosure**

Over the weekend i was feeling so crappy, Mother Nature came with my monthly subscription and sucker punched me. It was worse this month than the last couple months and I was nauseous, not hungry, moody, tired, just the works. Bleh.

I had a serious craving for something sweet and crunchy when I noticed the bananas that were overly ripe. My very first thought was “BANANA BREAD!”. I ran the idea by Christopher and he agreed we needed walnut banana bread in our life. I have been eating gluten free for a few months now and I feel so much better. I’m not toppled over in pain, not bloated from inflammation, and lesser migraines. 

Despite the pain and anxiety I was experiencing I decided to tackle the grocery store by myself (HUGE deal) because it was 9:43am, how crowded could Lowe’s Foods be? I picked up the ingredients needed and a few extras like the Starburst jelly beans then made my way back to Christopher’s. Ya know, I’ve never been a jelly bean kinda girl, but the Starburst jelly beans satisfy my soul. 

The Best Gluten Free Banana Bread Recipe #glutenfree #dessert #breakfast #recipe #foodie #food #banana

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas (3 bananas yield ~1 1/2 cups or 337 g)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed organic brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (depending on ripeness of bananas // or sub honey)
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond or dairy-free milk
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free oats 

Make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mash banana in a large bowl. Add all ingredients through almond milk and whisk vigorously to combine. Last add almond meal, gluten free flour blend, walnuts, and oats then stir.
  3. Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes. When ready, it should feel firm and be crackly and golden brown on top.
  4. Let cool completely before cutting or it will be fall apart from being too tender.

The Best Gluten Free Banana Bread Recipe #glutenfree #dessert #breakfast #recipe #foodie #food #banana

The loaf can be put in the freezer for up to a month but trust me, it will definitely get eaten before then. You can eat the slices of banana nut bread with honey too, which is equally delicious.

I’m still new to the gluten free lifestyle so if you have any recipes I’d love for you to share them! It can be a little overwhelming with all of the labels and hidden words, so know what I can have is half the battle. 

Minimizing the risks of fire in your home

Every home should be a safe place for families to grow and thrive together. In addition to taking steps to ensure that our homes are free of judgment and frequent arguments, it is also important that we do all we can to eliminate the threat of physical danger as well. Every home has a number of safety hazards that could potentially cause some serious damage if steps are not taken to prevent them. When we are at home enjoying time with our family, somebody accidentally getting hurt is usually the last thing on our minds. But statistics have shown that accidents do happen—usually when we least expect them.

Unfortunately, accidents in the home are responsible for causing more than 18,000 lives each year in the United States alone. They also account for more than 21 million medical visits each year, which amounts to around $200 billion dollars annually. Perhaps the worst thing about all of these accidents is that they are preventable with some planning and preparation. Here is a guide to make you aware of common home safety hazards and what you can do to prevent them.

Fires

Just over 3,000 Americans are killed each year due to house fires, making it the third most dangerous safety threat as far as home accidents are concerned. In addition to being physically dangerous, they also do a lot of damage to the home and valuable possessions within it. Here’s how you can avoid fires in your home.

Minimizing the risks of fire in your home #safe #family #home

  • Install smoke detectors in each bedroom, the kitchen, living room, and any other large room.
  • Test your smoke detectors each month and replace their batteries every six months.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your home and make sure it is easily accessible.
  • Have a fire safety plan that everybody in your home knows and understands.

Falls

Falling is the most dangerous household accident, claiming over one-third of all home fatalities. Elderly people are most likely to fall and be seriously injured afterward. However, falls can happen to anybody, so it will be well worth it to take some simple steps to reduce the risk.

Minimizing the risks of fire in your home #safe #family #home

    • Install safety gates at the bottom and top of staircases to prevent anybody (especially small children) from accidentally falling down them.
    • Place rubber mats in all showers and bathrooms.
    • Wipe up any spills or wet floors immediately.
    • Make sure all stairs both inside and outside the house are stable and in good condition.

Poisoning

Consuming poisonous materials claims the lives of over 5,000 Americans annually. Young children are most likely to succumb to this kind of accident. Here’s what you can do to lower the chances of your children being poisoned.

      • Keep all cleaning products that contain dangerous chemicals in high places, out of children’s reach.
      • Store paints, pesticides, and other dangerous chemicals behind locked doors or cabinets.
      • Never leave your children unattended in the kitchen, garage, or anywhere else where they might be exposed to dangerous chemicals.
      • Keep the number for poison control readily available in your phone or posted somewhere in your house.

Carbon Monoxide

Perhaps one of the scariest household threats is carbon monoxide. It is impossible to rely on our senses to detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which is part of the reason why it takes so many lives every year. The most important step you can take to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and test them regularly.

Drowning

Around 800 Americans die from drowning in their homes each year—most of them are children ages one to four. It does not take much water to drown a small child (two inches is plenty), so it is essential that you take steps to minimize the risk. Here’s how.

Minimizing the risks of fire in your home #safe #family #home

      • Never leave children unattended in a bath tub, no matter how much water is inside of it.
      • Keep all toilet lids and bathroom doors closed when they are not in use.
      • All swimming pools, ponds, and other outdoor bodies of water should be protected by a gate that is only accessible intentionally.

Following these simple steps will help you greatly reduce the risk of accidents happening in your home. All of these things can be done in one week and will help to keep your home a safe place for you and your loved ones for years to come.

It’s Time To Chime

It’s been about 3 weeks since I left my full time job to become a full time freelance writer, between thoughts of losing everyday and days where I bust out 6-7 articles I’m still trying to keep money in mind. I still have a lot of bills that need paying on a weekly basis, so there shouldn’t be any downtime for me; for a while anyway.

It’s Time To Chime #banking #freelancer #business #smallbusiness

I’m trying to figure it all out, still working out the kinks but I know this is a learning curve as I’ve never worked for myself before. I knew I needed to have a separate account for my freelance writing business so I started to look around, I found Chime which is a mobile banking app. Everything i was reading was exactly what i needed, with Chime there is no monthly fees, no overdraft fees, no minimum balance requirements, and no transfer fees. Chime also helps me save with the round up transfers when I shop or get paid, which will come in handy for a new laptop! They recently created a graphic with some tips on how to save money this year. Check it out it below.

It’s Time To Chime #banking #freelancer #business #smallbusiness

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited and scared simultaneously in my life, it’s truly exhilarating. My anxiety rings in from time to time to make sure I know it’s still around but I try and brush it off. If I get too overwhelmed with my tasks I will take a break, go for a walk, or scroll through Twitter. I always set an alarm though, which has pretty much become my life. I set alarms for all kinds of things now like to wake me up in the morning, to keep up with the articles I write so I can stay on schedule, while I’m taking a walk, and even one to let me know it’s bedtime. Each sounds different so I don’t drive myself crazy but they’re there like little ticking time bombs.

If you work for yourself how do you keep track of your spending/expenses? What do you do during your workday do you don’t get burnt out? (so you don’t get burnt out)

 

4 Causes of Sudden Breakouts

Having adult acne in your 20’s and 30’s is actually more common than you may think. We all assume that pesky breakouts only exist in our teenage years, but they can actually begin when we’re adults. There are a few reasons that you might be experiencing sudden breakouts later in life, but don’t worry, you’ve got options to treat it!

4 Causes of Sudden Breakouts #stress #hormones #lifestyle #life #beauty

1. Hormones
Fluctuating hormones can wreak havoc on our complexion. As women, our hormones can seesaw well into our adulthood due to our periods, pregnancy, menopause, and so on. An excess production of the hormone, androgen, can be the culprit of this. It increases our sebum production, which can clog our pores and cause breakouts. For some, this may be a side effect of their birth control, and for others, birth control can be the solution for breakouts. It’s important to consult a doctor to find the right birth control for you if you’re considering it as a treatment option. If not, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to your skin. Consider incorporating products that contain salicylic acid into your beauty routine to prevent or limit the breakout in the days leading up to the start of your menstrual cycle.

2. Stress
It’s no surprise that stress can take a toll on our overwell physical and mental wellbeing. When we feel stressed or overwhelmed, our bodies produce another hormone called cortisol. This can lead to increased sebum production, which in turn causes breakouts. Obviously, if we were able to eliminate the stress in our lives, we would. But since we can’t possibly eliminate all stressors life throws our way, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope when we find ourselves feeling this way.

4 Causes of Sudden Breakouts #stress #hormones #lifestyle #life #beauty

3. Lifestyle Factors
This can be anything from not washing your pillow cases often enough to touching your face too much. It can even be due to the weather and changes in climate. It’s important to address any variances in your skincare routine or your lifestyle since these could be the underlying culprits. Once you can pinpoint what it is about your lifestyle that could be causing your breakouts, be proactive and change those habits. Clean your cell phone, stop touching your face, wash your sheets and towels more often, and find skincare products that work best for your skin. This area may be a little harder to pinpoint, but it is essential in clearing up your skin!

4. You Love the Sun
Now we all love the sunshine and beautiful weather, but the myth that sunlight is good for acne breakouts is just that, a myth. If you use tanning beds or spend time outside without sunscreen, the UV radiation is damaging your skin, which can actually lead to your skin shedding water and oil. This will leave you with dry skin, and can even temporarily make the appearance of your skin look nicer, but it’s actually worsening it in the long run. Your bodies way of compensating for dry skin is producingmore oil, which can lead to future breakouts. Although you may feel you look your best after a day in the sun, you’re actually setting yourself up for those sudden breakouts you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

4 Causes of Sudden Breakouts #stress #hormones #lifestyle #life #beauty

Hygge Your Home Life: 3 Tips to Stay Cozy All Winter Long

Coziness can be hard to come by during the winter months. That’s why it’s so important to stay up to date on all the different techniques in home life.

Having a unique home life not only allows you to show off your own individual style to guests and family alike, but it can also better equip you to beat the freeze so you can chill in peace. Hygge is one trend in particular that emphasizes comfort and relaxation as principles to reach modern luxury.

Hygge Your Home Life: 3 Tips to Stay Cozy All Winter Long #hygge #family #living #home #cozy #winter

So, what is hygge? Hygge is a long withstanding tradition that many Scandinavian countries participate in. This lifestyle trend is often related to home life through cozy textures, simplistic  settings, comfortable furnishings and activities.

#1: Keep Comfort In
It’s easy to forget all the ways winter can invade your space. Winterizing your home is a helpful way to manage unwanted leaks of cold air and chill.

There are plenty of ways to ensure that your home is functioning at its best ability during winter months. Some easy things to consider are blocking drafts from entering at the bottom of doors and windows, adding plush rugs throughout your space or lowering the thermostat.

Hygge Your Home Life: 3 Tips to Stay Cozy All Winter Long #hygge #family #living #home #cozy #winter

Why not save a little money while you’re at it? Financial peace of mind is just an added bonus to enhancing your home’s ability to keep the cold out. Here’s a painless DIY project for creating draft stoppers to save money on your monthly energy bill.

#2: Invest in Coziness
Comfortable living is care-free living. If you’ve been waiting to devote some time and money to your interiors, now is the perfect time.

Have enough plush pillows and throw blankets to fill each of your living spaces. Get that new coffee maker that you’ve been waiting to buy for months to truly enjoy the effects of a delicious cup of joe.

Don’t forget to dedicate yourself to one of the most important aspects of your life. Sleep is often overlooked and while it’s fine to indulge in some catnaps on the sofa, upgrade your bedroom mattress to catch some natural zzz’s. Keep costs reasonable without giving up quality by finding some cost-effective memory foam options online.

#3: Take Care Of Yourself
Don’t let winter freeze your heart. Give into the mantra of sound body, sound mind. It’s easy to find ourselves in a rut during winter.

Hygge Your Home Life: 3 Tips to Stay Cozy All Winter Long #hygge #family #living #home #cozy #winter

Combat adverse effects by getting yourself out of a slump. Self-care can take shape in many forms. Keep things interesting by incorporating new activities that promote your life and overall health. With all of our free time inside, it may be the perfect time to pick up a new hobby or skill.

5 Self Love Tips For Beginners

**This post contains affiliate links, you may read the full disclosure**

Are you having a hard time loving yourself? If you’ve thought about it and your answer is yes, you’re not alone. Self love can easily be lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Self love is very important as it helps in decision making, how you cope with things going on in life, and the friends you choose.

5 Self Love Tips For Beginners #selflove #selfcare #Confidence

Forgive yourself // this is a big one for me; we are all human and we all make mistakes. No one can change the past so instead of carrying it around acknowledge that “thing” then forgive yourself and let it go. No one is perfect, be less hard on yourself instead of nitpicking. 

Practice self care // self care can be minutes, hours, or days the choice is up to you. Your self care can be a routine you do weekly, on the weekend, or nightly. I love turning off my lights and turning on my himalayan salt lamp, the glow, it’s so relaxing. I add a few drops of lavender oil to my diffuser to help relax my mind. Something as small as taking a walk for fresh air can improve the mood you’re in or it can be larger like purchasing a new bra that helps to make you feel confident.

Learn to live intentionally // when you do things with intention you get the best results, right? Why not live your life the same way. If your intention is to have a healthy life, you’ll choose supporting decisions that are healthier like taking the stairs or eating fruits over sweets. If you see yourself accomplishing the decisions you’ve made then you’ll feel better about yourself. The intention doesn’t have to be crystal clear, it all starts with a pebble sized thought that can turn into a snowball.

Practice mindfulness // when you’re mindful you know what you want and how you feel. Be mindful about who you are rather than who you think people want you to be. 

Take the compliment // instead of rejecting the compliment or saying something negative instead say “thank you”. I struggled with this for so long, i had no idea that it was off putting when i replied with what i thought was wrong about myself or situation. I understand how uncomfortable it can be. I love giving compliments! I think there is so much hate in the world that a compliment can turn someone’s day around and make them smile. Think about it, you wouldn’t hand out a compliment if you didn’t mean it, right? If you’re uncomfortable or don’t know what to say then just say “thank you” and smile.

If you practice these self love tips you’ll be on your way to being your true self, you can find more self care tips and learn to enjoy the free time you have made for yourself. You only get one life to be you, so why not be the you – you were meant to be. Everyone is unique and beautiful, the sooner you realize this the sooner you’ll be your best self.