It’s getting closer to turkey-leftover time! And our favorite registered dietician, Brenda Ponichtera, R.D., has a delicious and creative main dish that is refreshingly different and healthy for this time of year.
My biggest budget busters are enrichment activities for my four children. I want to spark their joy for living and have them sample different sports and hobbies.
Currently they attend a private school that is academically aggressive, and each takes piano lessons. The boys take karate and the girls, ballet. They are also involved in sports, as well as theatre productions at school―none of which is free. We are a one-income family and I stay home with our four children. Our finances are very tight and we end up using credit to make it through the month. It sounds simple enough to just put my children in public school and drop all the extras, but my mommy-guilt says NO. I want the best for my kids. Any advice? Tricia, email
The definition of “guilt” is “remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense.” You have not committed any offense so I don’t think this is about guilt. You are experiencing fear of failing as a parent. The best way to get rid of fear is to replace it with power. And power comes through knowledge. Continue reading
In my area of the country, plastic shopping bags have become scarce. Cities and stores are either banning them altogether or opting for paper instead. For the past 30 years I have dutifully recycled my bags, but now I’m hanging on to my dwindling stash. It may not sound politically or environmentally correct, but those suckers come in handy—especially when traveling. That’s why I was excited to read Gail’s tip. I’ve popped one in my purse, but I barely notice since it’s practically weightless!
POP-UP PLASTIC BAGS. When I travel, I stuff a few plastic grocery bags inside a prescription medication bottle, and keep it in my carry-on suitcase or purse. Whenever I need a bag, I have one handy! Gail, email Continue reading
Recently we refinanced our mortgage. The transaction closed in August with the first payment due in October. Rather than take a month off from making a mortgage payment we made an unscheduled payment in September to reduce the principal right off the bat. We sent a letter with the payment and wrote “Principal Prepayment” on the check.
A few weeks later we got a statement showing that the payment had been credited to the October payment, not to pay down the principal as instructed. The woman in Customer Service said someone must have assumed that we really wanted to “pay ahead” rather than “pay down.” It took a little persistence to convince her to the contrary.
Applying that payment to the principal was good for us, but not profitable for the lender. By reducing the principal at the beginning of the loan, we will save more than $4,000 in interest and cut three months off the term. On the other hand, applying it to the October payment would have put almost the entire amount into the lender’s pocket in the form of interest. Continue reading
If you’re looking for a unique gift—one that will have a great deal of meaning for both you and your recipient—I have an idea. It’s called “Journal in a Jar.”
The idea is to assemble in a glass canning jar (or a box or other creative container) everything your recipient needs to write the story of his or her life: journal and pens, or fancy computer paper and a notebook. Possibly the most fun element of this gift is the year’s worth of specific questions that will act as daily idea starters for your recipient’s journal writing.
Questions like: Why was your name chosen for you? What was happening in the world when you were born? What is your personal secret to happiness? You can include as many questions or prompts as you like, however 365 insures a very complete journal that touches on all areas of a person’s life. Continue reading