Whether your family tree is a small sapling or a mighty oak, it can get spendy to buy an individual Christmas gift for every person on the tree. One way cut costs and at the same time bump up the quality of your gift is to start thinking “whole family gifts”—a single gift that every member of a family will enjoy.
Here are six whole family gift ideas to help you get started early—all the way from high-tech gadgets to low tech tickets: Continue reading
A friend—let’s call her Sally—who in her early thirties, moved from Arizona to Florida in search of a better job and a fresh start. Not that many months later she decided a change of scenery wasn’t the solution she thought it would be and moved back.
She decided that what she really wanted was to settle down and buy a house.
She’d had surgery the year before and thanks to some poor choices during employee benefits enrollment, she’d had to pay a big share of the bill. The recovery was easy; the doctor and hospital bills were far more difficult to deal with. Back in Arizona she was working two jobs just to make a dent in the medical bills, not to mention her rent, credit-card debt and car loan. Naturally, it was time to take on a mortgage.
To jumpstart her dream, Sally packed up her belongings and moved again, but this time into the basement of some friends for a hundred bucks a month. It wasn’t the ideal housing arrangement for a thirty-something professional, but it helped her overcome the obstacles blocking her way to her dream of home ownership. Continue reading
It’s been about six months since my husband decided to go gluten-free—to give up wheat, which means just about anything that tastes good. My reaction? Oh, please. Do you really have to follow every food fad and trend that comes down the pike?
I’ve changed my tune.
It seems that many people are sensitive—even allergic to wheat. It gives them some level of discomfort even to the point of being sick depending on that person’s inability to digest the gluten found in wheat.
At first, Harold and I agreed that he would cut back on gluten. The more I’ve learned the harder I’ve worked at finding recipes that will help him to do that. The results have been quite amazing, actually.
Finding recipes that meet (or beat) my old standbys for his favorites things (Lasagna and Apple Pie), has not been that hard. I’m happy to say I’ve achieved it in these two versions for Slow-Cooker Lasagna and this wonderful Apple Pie with a crumbly topping.
If anyone that you love and cook for is on a gluten-free regimen, show them a little Lasagna and Apple Pie love. Here’s the best part: Everyone will love these dishes whether they know they’re gluten-free or not. Continue reading
Sometimes, just a simple change in the way we do things can result in significant savings over time. Take the way you wash your clothes. I have to admit to using lots of cycles on my washer just because they’re there. And every cycle adds more time and uses more resources. Today’s first reader suggests a simple way to reduce the resources without sacrificing good results. Great idea, Natalie!
Pre-soak. Instead of using the pre-soak and pre-wash cycle on your washing machine use the regular cycle but turn it off after the clothes agitate after a few minutes. Let them soak an hour or overnight then resume the cycle. This way you save water and electricity but achieve the same result. Natalie H. Continue reading
Dear Mary: Soon I will receive an inheritance that is almost equal to the amount remaining on my mortgage. I am a widow, age 55 with no dependents. I have 25 years with the same employer and have been participating in the company’s 401k plan for the past 15 years. I plan to work until I am 65. Should I use the inheritance to pay off the mortgage or, as friends suggest, invest it in a variety of stocks and bonds and keep my mortgage because the interest is tax-deductible? Eleanor D., Iowa
Dear Eleanor: You need to check with your tax professional because, as you know, I am not one. However, If I were you I’d pay off that mortgage so fast the lender would get dizzy. Investing in your debt is always a wise decision because you cannot lose and your mortgage should be the last debt you pay off—after you have a healthy emergency fund and you have paid off all of your unsecured debts. Continue reading