Do you know how much income you earn both before and after taxes? Do you know what your recurring expenses are and how much you spend on discretionary items each month? If you don’t know these numbers there is no time like the present to begin tracking them. The best way to gain control of your finances is by keeping a watchful eye on the funds that move in and out of your bank accounts.
Many people don’t want to take the time and energy to account for every nickel and dime, but if you don’t track your money you won’t notice when it leaks out of your pockets. Maybe you aren’t worried about losing a few cents here and there, but the truth is sometimes large chunks of cash may be disappearing without you ever realizing it. We all know that it takes a lot of effort to earn money, so don’t let yours slip away too easily.
Does it seem unlikely that money could be draining from your wallet without you realizing it? Believe it or not this does happen. A perfect example of this is the recent Payment Protection Insurance scandal in the UK. Are you familiar with this story? It’s a story of shady banks illegally attaining money from unwitting consumers. These UK banks were charging consumers high PPI premiums without them even knowing it. So, how did that happen and how do you know if you are losing money to an unwanted PPI policy?
If you’ve ever applied for a mortgage you know that the bank will ask you to sign what feels like a hundred sheets of paper all printed with very tiny font. There is so much paperwork to sign that after the first few pages many consumers simply sign and initial wherever they are told without reading over all of the paperwork. Now imagine that the bank tucked details about a PPI policy into that paperwork or worse yet signed you up for PPI without even including the details in the papers at all. Can you imagine someone forging your signature on documents you never read? In some cases bankers did exactly that! After the paperwork is signed you start making payments without realizing you are unnecessarily paying for a PPI policy that you don’t need or want.
No one wants to spend his or her hard earned money unnecessarily so what can you do if you have unknowingly signed up for this insurance? How do you know if you are unnecessarily paying for payment protection insurance and if you do have an unwanted policy how can you reclaim the money you paid out?
First search carefully through your loan statements. If it still isn’t clear when looking at the documentation then give your provider a call and ask them directly. If you are still uncertain contact a PPI check company that can step you through the claims filing process and find out if you have the right to file. You’ll want to search for a friendly, well-trained advisor who can walk you through the complicated process to ensure you receive the largest refund possible.
If you think you might be involved in this PPI scandal do not delay in searching through your documentation and reaching out to a company that can help. You don’t want to miss the expected PPI deadline. You don’t want to leave your hard earned money in the hands of those scandalous banks.
As winter starts to draw to a close, it’s only natural that we all start to think about summer sun. However, thanks to major 2016 political events such as Trump’s ascension to the presidency and the UK’s decision to leave the EU, we’re seeing quite a large amount of fluctuation in the foreign exchange markets. In this post, we’ll discuss why it’s happening, what it means for you and how it could impact your holiday.
Why Are Prices Moving?
Foreign exchange rates fluctuate depending on a number of world events, such as elections, economic news announcements and wars, to name but a few examples.
Because 2016 was such a big year politically, foreign exchange rates are currently in flux. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union caused the value of the pound to nosedive, and in some places it was only worth the same amount as the euro shortly after the vote.
Likewise, over in America, the election of Donald Trump caused the value of the dollar to skyrocket, as well as the value of many of the stocks on Wall Street.
However, the value of a currency will always rise or fall against the value of another currency. This is why sometimes it costs you more to buy dollars or euros than it does at other times.
Thanks to the falling value of the pound against both the dollar and the euro, your holiday abroad this year could cost more than ever before.
How Does It Impact My Holiday?
If you’re heading on holiday to Spain and the value of the pound falls against the euro, then you’ll need to spend extra pounds to get the euros you need for your holiday food and cocktails.
As such, even though the value of the pound may seem unrelated to what we all do day to day, it can actually have a big impact, making your holiday more expensive than it would otherwise be.
However, it’s important to remember that the flipside can be true, too. If the value of the pound rises against the euro, then you’ll have to spend less to get the euros you need.
As a result, it’s wise to track the currency exchange rates closely. If you get good rates, you could potentially save tens, if not hundreds of pounds on your holiday.
How Can I Track Them?
Exchange rates are easy to track. You can always take a look in at your nearest bureau de change, your local travel agent or even your bank. They usually have boards that you can see easily to compare prices and see how they fluctuate.
However, if you see a rate that you like, these are often not the best ways to purchase your currency, as the fees can be extortionate. Thankfully, help is at hand. If you go online, you’ll find dedicated currency exchange websites; here you can transfer money for up to 80% cheaper, than if you made the same transfer with a bank. This way, you can maximise the foreign exchange rate, so you get more money for less.
Changing foreign exchange prices could mean that you need to spend more on your holiday than you otherwise would; especially if you’re going to Europe or America. However, if you’re not going until the summer, then there’s no real need to worry yet. The value of the pound can go both up and down, so track rates carefully and get a good deal for you. This could mean buying your spending money earlier than you otherwise would.
My grandmother passed away this weekend. She was in her early 90s and up until a few weeks ago she lived alone in her house relatively unassisted. She was able to walk and talk and though her brain had slowed over the years she was still quick to fight with me about politics and to argue her position when she thought I was wrong.
My grandmother never thought I would have children. I’m not sure if it was my age or my previous health issues, but when I told her the big news over five years ago she was in a complete state of shock. She told me in no uncertain terms that she was happy for me, but also that only a “god-damn fool” would ask a woman if she intended to have children and that it was quite simply no one’s business. She was open in her views and her beliefs. She never shied away from the topic of abortion or women’s rights. She maintained her beliefs throughout her lifetime and to my knowledge she never altered them.
My grandmother was as honest as they come. If she didn’t like the way you looked, the dress you wore or the way you styled your hair that day she would be sure to tell you about it. She always told me to wear lipstick and rouge and at times she would dab some of hers on my lips and then ask me to look in the mirror saying “now see how pretty you look when you wear makeup?” On this my grandmother and I never agreed. I never saw the need to doll myself up and she could never understand why I wanted to look so drab.
When she bought makeup from department stores she always passed down the ‘free’ gifts to me. She didn’t wear any eye makeup because of an eye disorder so she’d give me a little makeup bag filled with mascara and eye shadow. Those little bags remind me of her more than just about anything else in my house. She’d hand it over to me and then say “let’s see what’s inside” and we would spend the next few minutes digging through that little bag.
Her honesty wasn’t always easy to hear, but looking back I’m glad that she told it like it was or at least the way she thought it was. You can say a lot of things about her direct approach to life, but the truth is you always knew where you stood. If she liked your behavior she let you know it and if she didn’t like something you did well she’d give you an earful about it. This may sound pretty harsh, but I’ve dealt with a lot of fake and artificial people in my life and I must say I’ll take the one that’s ‘too’ honest any day.
More than anything my grandmother was proud of my family and I. In college I attained a highly coveted internship. She was so proud of me that she bought me a brand new wardrobe of skirts, ‘slacks’ and tall boots. She had the pants tailored to fit my long legs and she was over the moon excited when she found a pair that fit me. My grandmother always wanted to be a buyer or a professional shopper. She had an eye for fashion and she loved being able to dress my mom and I. My grandmother didn’t like to spend money on much, but she loved buying us clothes she found on the sale racks and clearance sections of department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s. She was incredibly proud of me, my family and our achievements. She always took time out to praise us and to tell me how proud she was of the rest of the family.
My relationship with my grandmother was rocky at times, but through the birth of my son we bonded more than ever. She was eighty-eight when I became pregnant and she promised me she wouldn’t die before my first child was born. She told me that God couldn’t take her until she met my baby. We didn’t find out the gender before delivery, but my grandmother was convinced that I would have a little redheaded baby boy. She was right. He popped out just the way she said he would.
My oldest is quite smart and she began telling me he was a genius before he could even walk and talk. She would play on the couch with him and say “I really think that’s quite advanced for a child his age”, “Don’t you think that’s unusual for a baby this old to do?” Over the last five years my son gave my grandmother the light she needed. Whenever she saw him her spirits lifted. No matter how sick she had been, she always seemed to get better after she saw him.
My grandmother was very close to my oldest son. She said she wanted to live to be 120 so she could see what would become of him. She wanted to see what he would do and who he would become and her love extended with the birth of each grandchild.
Over the past five years she said she didn’t want to die because she wanted to see him graduate from college. She wanted to see what he would do with his life and who he would become. She told everyone she met about him and when we went to the nursing home she had even told all of the nurses and physical therapists about him. They said “is this your brilliant great grandson?”
When I was young and my mom got mad at me she’d say “you’re just like your grandmother.” She meant this as an insult, but looking back on my grandmother’s life and my relationship with her I can say that ‘being like’ my grandmother is not all bad. My grandmother was an extremely intelligent woman. Even in her final days the doctors were amazed by her math skills.
My grandmother tended to favor those who were intelligent. She respected those with functional gray matter and she was extremely happy with my choice of a husband. She told me he was one of the smartest men she’d ever met, but she always finished that sentence saying “well he picked my granddaughter so of course he’s smart.”
My grandmother was an amazing conversationalist. Quite frankly she could focus on a conversation better than anyone else in my family. She had vivid memories of her youth and she would tell us incredibly in-depth stories about where she lived and what she did throughout her lifetime. No matter how tired she was she always asked me about my husband, my husband’s work, my relationship with my in-laws (which is ridiculously rocky), and my children. She always made time to listen to my concerns and problems and she tried to provide guidance along the way.
I feel incredibly blessed that my grandmother lived so long. She outlived my grandfather by 20 years and I wish I could have spent more time with him and the grandparents on my father’s side who died earlier as well. I have changed so much in my 39 years on this earth and my relationship with my grandmother blossomed so much through these last five to ten years. I am grateful that I gave my grandmother the gift of two great grandchildren as well as a grandson-in-law who met her for lunch and chatted with her about her past while I wrangled my children into their highchairs.
My grandmother will be greatly missed. I miss her already.
Let‘s Hug: 15 Hugs for Beginners
There must be over a millions ways to say “I love you” or “I care about you”, but with a single hug, even without words, you can simply feel it. This book is for toddlers, and encourages children and adults alike to try out all possible types of hugs. It’s everyone’s gain.
It took seconds for the sweet testers who accompanied the writing of this book to adopt these 15 ways of showing love, to give and receive it. And our testers are not alone. Recent studies reveal that Oxitocin, the most fun hormone available, also known as the Love Hormone, is released into our bodies when we hug.
Hugs are proven to have a generally positive healing and relaxing effect, since they increase calm and happiness, reinforce our self esteem, and support our sense of connection to those who are close to us. If you’d like to validate these studies, go ahead and hug.
This book was beautifully illustrated by Yuval Israeli, and it’s the second creative collaboration between Yuval Israeli and Efrat Shoham.
Ages and ages ago, many different kinds of dinosaurs roamed our planet. Some were as large as whales, while others were the size of small dogs. Some were plant-eaters, while some ate other animals. Some had very long necks and tails, while others were tiny. Some had horns. Some had wings and could fly.Despite all of these many variations, they were all part of the dinosaur family. And, as is often the case with family, they shared many common features.
No one has ever never whatsoever seen a live dinosaur or spoken to one of them. So, what if dinosaurs could really talk, or smile, cry, dream, dance, play and joke?
To answer all of these questions, all you have to do is become an Imaginesaurus, and meet the Unusualasauruses.
This book is aimed at children aged 4 to 120. It introduces the readers to different types of personalities, characters, and skills and thus helps us to spot them at a glance.
This book was beautifully illustrated by Lilach Ramati.
About the Author:
Efrat Shoham is an Israeli writer and independent publisher (The Pink Camel).
Shoham grew up in a small agricultural village in Israel. Her father was a farmer and her mother – a teacher and librarian. She lives with her family in Tel Aviv, on a small street lined with eucalyptus, mulberry and loquat trees, where 3 rabbits from the nearby kindergarten run wild.
She thinks and believes that curiosity, imagination, humor, green fields, fresh mango or avocado and pink camels are some of the keys to a good and happy life.
For most women having a child is a joyous occasion. One does not typically think about injury during such a happy and momentous event so when the unexpected occurs it can be difficult to deal with the facts and emotions of what just happened. If you think a doctor or nurse injured your child during birth then you will most likely want to consider legal action. Medical negligence is something that will complicate the lives of everyone involved particularly the mother and child.
The good news is there are many different ways in which medical negligence can be fought. If negligence is suspected it is a good idea to consult with a birth injury attorney. Hiring birth injury attorneys is vital to discussing the situation and deciding what action can be taken against those who hurt your child. The attorney can listen to the details, fact check and determine if your suspicions are true.
Attorneys that handle birth injury cases are well versed in medical situations that can arise during birth. Some of them are going to specialize in specific cases like cerebral palsy. This is the most common impairment in the US. Other possible cases include spinal cord injuries, bone fractures and brain damage, among others that are rarer like death, perinatal asphyxia and lacerations.
Finding The Experienced Attorney
If medical suspicions exist it is a wise idea to hire a good medical malpractice attorney. However, finding an experienced professional can be difficult. How can you ensure you are making the best choice? Be wary of those who offer to help. There are many shady and dishonest people in the world and after dealing with the pain of an injury you want to make sure you find the best attorney for the job.
You may start with a simple Google search. You will most likely find many experienced personal injury attorneys and medical malpractice attorneys in your area. You want to focus on those that have a lot of experience with birth injuries. Just check past cases and be sure that you talk with someone that has enough knowledge about the subject. Not all personal injury attorneys are well versed on these particular issues.
If you believe medical errors have resulted in a birthing injury then consider consulting a birth injury attorney. Many will offer free initial consultations to hear the facts of your particular case. Remember that you will need to prove an error caused the injury. The attorneys will guide you and help with everything associated with the process. They will gather the facts and evidence to the best of their abilities. Your most important job is to hire the right professional in the first place.
For most couples a divorce will go smoothly. Negotiations will not be a problem but for some couples everything is highly complicated. It is so easy to end up in a difficult situation. The way in which you conduct yourself at the negotiation table is going to have a huge impact on practically everything. It is very important that you constantly talk with your divorce attorney and that you always do what is necessary to get a better deal. Believe it or not, this is not going to be easy, from the moment you decide to divorce. In fact, in most cases the situation is complicated because your emotions get in the way. If you want to negotiate a good deal, here is what you have to remember.
There are so many different things that you have to remember about your divorce negotiations. However, the following facts will help you so much more than what you think right now:
- Always resist aggressive behavior or tone. That will not reflect well on you. Bias can be provided in the mind of other parties and service providers will definitely not appreciate that.
- Always resist the urge to blame but do be sure you explain what those things that require explanation. Always try to discuss from your point of view, in a narrative way. You should never call the other people names. Never provide assessments on a personal level. What you have to do is just mention what you want and negotiate in a truly calm way.
- Try to do all that you can to maintain your composure. It is so easy to cry when you are upset or simply become really angry. Being hurt and showing it through anger or tears will only make the negotiation more difficult. It will also lead to a lengthy negotiation that will be a lot lengthier than it should be.
- If the situation is really distressing, the best thing you can do is talk with the attorneys when you have something to say. Also, try to let your divorce attorney discuss instead of you, as much as this is possible. Always be sure you will ask for breaks if the conversations are too loud or disruptive.
- Make sure you practice breathing during and before negotiations. It is so easy to feel distressed so breathing can end up being way too shallow. When you breathe deep and you are relaxed, your demeanor will be a lot better.
On the whole, it is really important that you are patient and that you try to discuss items in a really civilized manner. Divorce proceedings and negotiations are never going to go the way you want them to when you focus on what you feel in the heat of the moment. The negotiation can be really tough but the tips above will help you when confronted with this situation. Make sure you are on the same page with your divorce attorney. Be particularly clear in your objectives. This may be the most valuable piece of advice. The specialist will help you throughout the proceedings and will help keep you calm and in control so you can meet those objectives.
Do you consistently maintain a budget? Do you know how much money comes in each month and how much goes out? It’s very easy to lose track of your finances. Here are a few tips to help you keep tabs on all those hard-earned Benjamins.
Track Your Spending
You probably have some idea where you spend your money each month, but without accounting for each and every dollar you might find money leaking out of your wallet. Use software tracking tools or an old-fashioned pen and paper to log your expenses. Write down every transaction no matter how big or small it may seem. This is the best way to come up with a full proof budget and the easiest way to see if you are frivolously wasting money each month. You never know what you might discover. Many British consumers are unnecessarily paying for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI). Big banks snuck the details of this insurance into loan and credit card applications and many individuals are currently required to hand over their hard earned money for insurance from which they will never benefit. If you think you might be the victim of this practice you’ll need to file paperwork to reclaim your money and canary claims can help.
After tracking your money you might decide to cook more meals at home and avoid the shopping mall. Some expenses are easier to cut then others. Believe it or not utilities like phone bills, electricity and natural gas should be first on your list to review. Use your loyalty with a cell phone provider to ask for a discount and call your utility providers and ask if there is a cheaper rate for gas or electricity if you lock in for a specified amount of time.
Adjust Your Spending
Most of us have some type of shopping vice. Do you crave designer shoes, love expensive cappuccinos or spend an inordinate amount of time eating out with friends every week? Without properly tracking your expenses you are probably underestimating just how much you spend. Setting a budget doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of all fun. It just means you need to dial back a bit. Cut back your fine dining expenses slowly at first. Eat at home one extra day per week, order one last glass of wine or search for the cheapest entree on the menu. You are more likely to stick with your budget if you don’t take drastic measures.
Ask Your Friends To Keep You Accountable
Some friendships are costly than others. If your friends spend a lot of money every time you are together then you might need to look for more budget conscious individuals to pal around with throughout the week. True friends will understand that you need to stop spending money unnecessarily. Tell them you have a goal to save money and ask them to keep you accountable when you are out shopping or dining. Tell them to stop you if you start spending too much.
Track Unexpected Expenses
Keep an eye on irregular expenses like gifts and repairs. You may think your car doesn’t cost that much money to maintain, but after watching your expenses over a six month period you may realize it’s often in the shop or in need of repairs. Do you tend to overspend on birthday and Christmas gifts? I bet it doesn’t seem like you spend a lot of money in this category, but make certain to track gifts for all of your friends and family members. You may be surprised by how much money is spent.
If you want to solidify your finances, start by tracking your outgoing expenses. You work hard for your money so don’t let it slip away unknowingly. Keep a watchful eye on it and find easy ways to save more each month.
I’m hosting a contest! Hooray! The fine folks at Novica provided me with a gift for one lucky reader of One Frugal Girl.
I’ve worked with Novica a number of times in the past and I am unbelievably excited to host another giveaway for them. Novica’s products are created by talented artisans from around the world. They sell a HUGE range of unique, hand crafted items that you won’t find anywhere else.
Another absolute favorite: fingerless gloves! With two young children in our house I find them warm and practical. It’s a great way to keep my hands cozy while still having access to my fingers for buttoning, zipping, digging fallen snacks out of corners of the car and feeling around for sippy cups lost behind the passenger seat. Seriously, why did I just learn about these?
Of course their selection of women’s gifts are quite extensive. Are you looking for something special for your mom, sister or sister-in-law. I bet you can find a unique gift on Novica.
Now for the fun part. To enter the contest simply use the widget below.
Are you looking for a new academic, research or scholarly position? Have you been asked to present a Curriculum Vitae as a means for your potential employer to learn more about you? Curriculum Vitae’s or CVs as they are known contain all of the information included in a resume and so much more.
A CV provides an individual with the opportunity to showcase their education and areas of expertise. While a resume is typically just one page in length a CV can range from two to ten pages. The longer you work the longer your CV will become. Every time you publish a paper, contribute to a scientific journal or receive an award you should add it to your CV.
While no two CVs are exactly alike, (there is not one standard format for them), they all need to provide an accurate history of your work experience. Here are the key elements that should be included.
Who Are You
This includes the basics. name, address, phone number and email. A CV may also contain a photo and a brief bio aimed at capturing your future employer’s attention.
History and Accomplishments
Make certain to include your training, degrees and all relevant work experience. Include items such as field experience, leadership experience and even volunteer work that is applicable to your job.
This includes the activities you participate in when you aren’t at work. What do you like to do in your free time? Ask yourself that question before filling out this section of the CV and make certain to add why you like to do it. Also include how these activities might relate to your job. If you have any leadership responsibilities add those here too.
Skills & Tools
If you have specialized skills such as fluency in another language or experience in computer programming make certain to include those on your CV. List any specific software packages that use on a day-to-day basis. Particularly those that are relevant to the position you hold.
Honors & Awards
In this section you want to list any awards you’ve won. If you have been recognized in a special way for your hard work make certain to make note of it here. You can include fellowships, patents, grants and scholarships in this section too.
If you’ve written any papers, articles or books then pat yourself on the back and highlight your accomplishments. Provide a description of your completed work as well as any time you’ve spoken at conferences, panels or symposiums.
Once you gather all of this relevant information you’ll need to format it in a way that is easy to read and understand. Remember that there is a lot of information in a CV. You’ll want to grab your employer’s attention quickly. They won’t read to page ten of your document if they aren’t wowed on the first page.
Since there isn’t a standard CV template it can feel quite confusing and difficult to decide where things should be placed and how the information should be separated out. You can write the CV yourself or use professional cv services.
If this is the first time you’ve ever created a CV you might want to let a professional create one for you. Remember this is your employer’s first glance at your skills and abilities. You don’t want years of hard work to be ignored due to a poorly written CV.
If you want to land that dream job consider a professionally written CV. It will help get you noticed and hopefully help your career progress in the right direction.
In many aspects of business, you automatically recognize the importance of speed. It often translates into greater productivity and happier customers. Despite this concentration on speed in many areas, how often have you considered the impact faster payments would have on your business, especially in the area of relationships with others?
Although we have made many advances in business, many people still rely on the old method of sending checks through the postal service. Even those businesses that have moved into electronic payments utilize well-known systems that may require several days for payments to reach their destination. This can be a source of frustration for a world that has learned to expect things almost immediately. It is definitely time to consider how your business relations might be enhanced by utilizing software that makes payments faster.
Impact on Business to Business Relationships
Take a minute to consider what happens when another business takes a long time to pay you. Maybe you provided them with merchandise. That merchandise required you to purchase materials for its construction, pay employees to make the product, and pay shippers to transport the product to the buyer. You also need to pay someone to create an invoice, record the transaction and eventually process the payment. As you wait for the payment, you have to start all over again with other customers.
Seeing that few businesses are able to keep spending without receiving money, you rely on that payment to help meet expenses. If the payment is delayed, it can cause hardship. If more than one customer delays, that hardship grows. You also become angry, frustrated and eventually distrustful of the client.
Other businesses you deal with have that same need. The time it takes for your payment to reach them is a time spent working with less money than they are relying upon. If your payment takes too long, the same feelings of anger and distrust start to rise in the ones who run that business. Consider, however, if they could count on your payment almost immediately. You are someone they want to work with regularly. You become a preferred business to them. This good feeling grows to the point where you can count on your creditors to be there for you should a time come when things do happen to go wrong.
Your employees work hard to help keep your business running smoothly. It is safe to say that if they are working, the money they earn is needed to pay bills and feed their families. When they reach payday, they don’t want to have to wait to get their money. If this happens too often, they may feel it necessary to seek work elsewhere so they can depend upon a certain amount of cash coming in on a particular day. Not only this, but you’re going to be creating numerous legal issues.
With specialized faster payments software, you can take care of your payments within hours. There is no longer the need to try and calm irritated payees as they can have their money the same day. This builds trust and confidence in you and your business. Utilizing software will also help you to avoid late fees, irritated employees and unhappy business associates.
Faster payment software often works so well with your current computer system that you will feel like it has always been part of your business. The learning curve is minimal and the cost low. You have the ability to make payments around the clock and no longer have to wait for a bank or other financial institution to open. You can even make payments while you are on vacation, should the need arise.
Consider the trust and goodwill this will initiate. Not only will your reputation as an honest and dependable business person become known, the goodwill that is a side-effect will last a lifetime.