Improving Your Financial Health

MomsGetReal is focusing on helping people improve their lives mind, body, and soul – but we would not want to leave out a most important area of improvement – personal finance.

Guest Author Kristin Mullen

You may have made the New Year’s resolution to get healthy or be more active, but have you ever considered the status of your financial health? Now is a great time for you to focus on your personal finances and make sure this next year is much better than the last.

Start a Budget

The first thing you need to do when you are trying to improve your finances is to set a strict budget. The more money you are able to save, the better your financial future will be, so make sure you create a budget that will save you the most money but is still reasonable enough for you to follow.

When creating this budget, the first step is for you to track all of your spending for at least one month. Write down every penny you spend and what you spend it on. Gather all of your financial statements for the month and add those to your list as well. Add up all of your expenses at the end of the month and look to see where you might be able to save some money. Obviously, you aren’t going to be able to save with some of your fixed expenses like your rent or mortgage payments, but you might be able to save some money on groceries, cut out unnecessary spending at the department store, or cut your cable bill for a short time if necessary.

Once your budget is set, make sure you are committed to stick to your plan. Continue to journal all of your expenses so you know exactly where your money is going. Also, reevaluate your budget at the end of each month. If something isn’t working, change your plan until it works for you.

Save Before You Spend

Far too many people spend their paycheck and then try to save what they have left at the end of the month. With this strategy, you will end up saving very little or maybe nothing at all. The best strategy when it comes to saving is to save first and spend later. Add a savings “expense” to your monthly budget and treat it as if it were any other expense. Put that money away as soon as you get your paycheck and budget the money you have left. With this savings account, the possibilities are endless. You could save for a romantic vacation, have some money set aside for emergencies, and everything in between.

Get Rid of Your Debt

Another important factor to making sure your finances are stable and healthy is to be debt free. This may not be as easy as it sounds, but it is very important for your financial future to get rid of as much of your debt as quickly as possible. However, if you are having trouble making your payments on time, you may need to consider negotiating a new payment plan with your creditor.

Do as much as you can as quickly as you can, and take the proper steps necessary to pay off your debt before you make any more large purchases. Pay off your credit cards completely before you make any more purchases with them. Once they are paid off, you still shouldn’t use them unless you are prepared to pay off the balance immediately. Don’t buy a car on payments when you are still making payments on another car. Try to get buy and put the amount you would normally pay each month for the new car into a separate savings account. If you are able to save long enough, you will be able to pay for a new car in full when you need to.

Finally, make sure you are teaching your children these new financial habits. Let them learn from your mistakes, and give them the advice they will need to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes you did. With your help, you can prevent them from making poor financial choices and help them be financially successful in the future.

MomsGetReal is grateful to have Kristin Mullen lend her expertise in business, marketing, credit cards, and personal finance as a guest contributor. Mullen works for a website that focuses on educating readers about debt consolidation.

Find Inner Peace With Meditation Moods with Dean & Dudley Evenson

MomsGetReal is declaring this year to be the year every mom takes a few more minutes each day for herself. As moms, we all tend to get caught up in the roles we play – nurturers, chauffeurs, CFOs, caretakers (to more than just our kids!). We sometimes forget to be individuals.

So this year, we think every mom should carve ten minutes out of the day for mind clearing. Meditation. Me-time. Whatever you want to call it, carve out for yourself a 10-minute escape from everything (including the Internet, cell phone, tablet, and other digital devices that keep you bogged down).

There are proven benefits from taking even ten minutes a day for quiet meditation, including the physically measurable result of lower blood pressure, as well as providing your body with a better mechanism for handling and reducing stress, improving your overall sense of well-being, and even improving your ability to sleep at night. All those benefits in 10 little minutes.

You are worth it.

And when you take that ten minutes and it starts turning into ten minutes of thinking about what you should be doing, making grocery lists in your head, or otherwise not being able to shut out the noise of the day, you’re going to do one more thing: push play.

When you need a little help toning down the busy-ness in your mind, Dean and Dudley Evenson are creating peace inducing, beautiful music that can help you escape.

Meditation Moods is one of many beautiful collections of music available from Soundings of the Planet. Incorporating sounds of nature with peaceful music created with flutes, harps, keyboards, and singing bowls.

The music the couple creates provides an escape from the pressures of life that works better than a massage (although they have had their music recommended by massage.com) and allows you to literally float off into a relaxing space and discover the magic of utter escape.

I was provided a copy of the CD  in order to offer my honest review. 

You can enter to win a Soundings of the Planet CD from MomsGetReal!

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A Healthier You Through the Magnesium Miracle?

All through the month, we’ve been exploring ways you can be healthier by making better choices in what you eat, how you move, what you spend, and how you think. But Dr. Carolyn Dean believes there’s one thing we all need to be thinking about a little more often: magnesium.

According to Dr. Dean – Carolyn – a medical doctor, naturopath, acupuncturist, homeopath, herbalist, and certified clinical nutritionist – demonstrates in her book, The Magnesium Miracle, how critical the mineral is to humans, guarding against and protecting you from a variety of diseases including heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and diabetes as well as mental illnesses like depression.

The book explains how 21st Century diets make it more likely that magnesium is missing, how it can affect the body, and what conditions magnesium can help to improve. The book is documented with evidence-based research from some of the leading medical minds in the world.

Dr. Dean outlines some of the symptoms that can occur with magnesium deficiency, such as aheart palpitation & high blood pressure, constipation and difficulty swallowing, PMS and menstrual cramps, diabetes, migraine headaches, numbness & tingling, anxiety, irritability, chronic fatigue, and even asthma.

An often overlooked mineral, Dr. Dean believes magnesium holds the key to unlocking better health, and her book is an enormous resource addressing some of the most common health struggles being faced by our generation.

Can magnesium make a difference in your life?

I was provided a copy of the book in order to offer my honest review. 

You can enter to win a copy of The Magnesium Miracle from MomsGetReal!

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Daily Inspiration for Happiness from Diana Fletcher

Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that make a difference in our lives. A friend reaches out to us and reminds us that we mean something to them. A child freely gives hugs. A boss expresses gratitude for the efforts you make.

So often, we get caught up in the mundane minutiae of our daily lives that we forget to remember how important the little things really are. It’s at those moments that happiness seems like a distant goal we will work toward when we have time.

If you don’t want to wait for happiness – I know I don’t – then you have to be willing to change your life. You have to decide, consciously, to make room each day for appreciation. You need to spend a moment each day paying it forward. You need to stop worrying about what you don’t have and what you haven’t achieved and just enjoy the moment and the people in it who make you smile and fill your heart with joy.

But to really understand the path to happiness, you might want to read Happy on Purpose by Diana Fletcher. The book asks a minute or two of each day to be spent on reflection, on learning to listen to yourself, sharing daily inspirational quotes and “Happy Actions” that help you take an active role in claiming your own happiness every day.

Laid out in chronological form, the book is designed to start anywhere, using the daily prompts to refocus your mind on experiencing happiness now.

My favorite, as it speaks so directly to me and many of the women I know, appears on June 16:

You may be a business owner and/or a mother. You are a daughter and that may involve a new role of caregiver. You may be a wife, a board member, a homeroom mom, an active grandmother, a volunteer…the list goes on and on.

But in the midst of all this, there is something very important to recognize.

Although you have gotten used to the craziness of multitasking and of being incredibly busy, you are still only one person. You can only do so much.

Happy Action:

Take a moment today to celebrate all you accomplish. If you truly would like to slow down a little, make a list of everything you do for a week.

Look at the list with an eye toward what you can let go. Start small if you need to, but get started.

That is great advice!

I was provided a copy of the book in order to offer my honest review. 

You can enter to win a Happy on Purpose from MomsGetReal!

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Deal Your Way To Better Health with FitDeck

FitDeck is a unique exercise tool that requires no equipment besides your body. Easy to slip in a suitcase or keep handy at your desk, FitDeck allows you to work out anywhere. You can use an individual FitDeck, or you can use multiple decks shuffled together to get a cross-training effect.

The greatest thing about FitDeck is that the randomness of which card you choose keeps your exercise from becoming boring or routine. Each deck has 56 cards, 50 of which are exercise cards while the other 6 are informational. The cards have images and instructions for the exercises, stretches, and movements you can do to improve your health and fitness.

FitDeck features these series –

  • FitDeck Bodyweight
  • FitDeck Senior
  • FitDeck Junior
  • FitDeck Yoga
  • FitDeck Pilates
  • FitDeck Stretch
  • FitDeck Prenatal
  • FitDeck Postnatal
  • FitDeck Basketball
  • FitDeck Soccer
  • FitDeck Swimming

The decks come in a handy hard case, making them easy to stow in your purse, briefcase, or suitcase for exercising anywhere you happen to be.

While you should always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise routine, FitDeck is a great solution for those who need inspiration, guidance, and motivation that is easy to carry anywhere and inexpensive.

I was provided with sample FitDecks  in order to offer my honest review. 

You can enter to win a FitDeck from MomsGetReal!

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Tackling Life’s Stresses Naturally with Mae’s Healing Guidance

Are you ignoring your body talk?

 The body, according to Marjorie Mae, is trying to tell us something. It’s determining what that something is that helps us make better choices in living healthy.

“Our job is to listen and recognize what is being communicated,” says Mae.

  • I need water
  • I need nutrition
  • I need rest
  • I need exercise
  • My back & knees hurt – I need to lose weight
  • I am hurting emotionally – my heart is broken
  • My liver is a toxic waste dump

How do we become overloaded in our bodies? That’s one of the first questions Marjorie Mae asks in her book, Consider Your Ways. Dedicated to helping people – especially moms – improve their health naturally, Marjorie Mae takes you through 22 “Healing Rooms” tackling everything from detoxification to ridding our households of the toxins that are killing us, Mae presents an astounding resource for living a healthier, happier life.

Each healing room offers up well-researched and documented information about the physical, chemical, and mental harms that “debit” our bodies’ health accounts. But Mae does not just lament the problems we face; she provides real solutions, including an entire section dedicated to suggested alternatives for the everyday household products we use that introduce toxins into our lives and the lives of our children.

A companion to the book is Mae’s Healing Recipes, a cookbook full of delicious meal and dessert ideas that don’t require you to eat cardboard flavored rice cakes to make healthy choices. My favorite so far is the Turkey and Mango burgers – I love being able to eat healthy foods that taste good!

Marjorie Mae doesn’t just write about it, though. She has also developed four loose leaf teas designed to address specific health issues: Red Raspberry and Lemon Balm for a natural sleep remedy; Hawthorn & Passion Flower Tea for circulation and heart health; Oregon Grape Root & Periwinkle  as a digestive aid; and Sassafras Root Bark Tea for skin conditions and for those trying to quit smoking.

Marjorie Mae is an expert in heath coaching, speaking and teaching natural remedies and foods that heal and promote health. Mae is passionate about enlightening, encouraging, energizing, and empowering all of us to take the journey to better health. Visit Mae’s Healing Rooms for more information.

I was provided a copy of the book, recipe book, and teas in order to offer my honest review. 

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No Excuses – With Care4Hire, You Have Time for You

Finding a sitter can be tough, but without someone you can trust to leave your kids with now and then, you lose a little piece of your soul. I know – I live in a rural area where there is not a lot of choices for sitters and have a unique situation with a special needs child and two younger children that make it impossible to hire just any teen from the local high school to provide occasional respite. We have traditionally – unfairly or not – relied mostly on our daughter. Now that she is away at college, we’re forced to consider the possibility of someone new. It’s not easy.

Care4Hire.com makes it easier, though. Care4Hire.com offers a variety of services to help moms – from finding a trustworthy babysitter to finding someone to come help clean the house on a regular basis. Care4hire.com is an online family and caregiver database providing babysitters, housekeepers, tutors, pet sitters, elder/companion care and other services for people in the United States and Canada.

The service is easy to use; you simply register and create a profile. You can then search through the listings for your area for the services you need. While there are not a lot of service providers in my small town (Bath, population 5,000) I was pleasantly surprised at the number of sitters, housekeepers, and tutors registered within a reasonable distance. In larger towns and cities, the service works even better. Care4Hire.com companies are used regularly by Dr. Phil for his guests!

Care4Hire.com is a matchmaking service, but they do not provide the screening. It is up to you to vet the potential service providers to ensure that they will meet your needs. While the service has a monthly fee (with discounts for an annual membership), they do offer a free 7-day trial to make sure the service is right for you.

In addition to daycare and housekeeping, Care4Hire.com also offers you the ability to find tutors, pet care, house sitters, and miscellaneous services.

Cares4Hire.com provided me with access to their membership site to allow me the ability to conduct an adequate review of their services.

Enter to win a free month of service at Care4Hire from MomsGetReal!

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No Excuse, Sit Stretch Smile Makes Yoga Accessible

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Yoga intimidates me. Snug, revealing clothing. On the floor in positions that I haven’t been able to do since I was 20. Ridiculous need for flexibility.

Yet Yoga draws me, too. The peace and tranquility that are associated with the practice. The increased flexibility and mental clarity that come from it.

But you won’t find me heading to a studio anytime soon to humiliate myself in front of the “skinny” girls. No way.

Thankfully, Dr. Howie Shareff came along and created Sit Stretch Smile.

Not only is it Yoga for true beginner, but it is Yoga that can be done from a chair – a much less intimidating prospect than the floor pretzel.

Sit Stretch Smile by Dr. Howie Shareff is a clearly written, easy to understand and follow book about learning Yoga exercises that improve your health and flexibility, help you manage pain, and achieve a less-stressed state – from a chair. All of the exercises are designed to be done from a chair, with a serious focus on breathing and slow, conscious movements.

The book is accompanied by a DVD in which many exercises are clearly demonstrated from a variety of views, making it easy to ensure that you’re maintaining the right posture and performing the exercises adequately.

No one disputes the value of Yoga as a form of meditative exercise that improves the mind, the body, and the spirit. Dr. Shareff simply makes Yoga accessible to those of us who, for whatever reason, have been less than willing to embrace the benefits Yoga offers. From the privacy of your own home, with the only prop being a chair that lets you put your feet flat on the ground, you can now experience the fabulous benefits of Yoga yourself.

Dr. Shareff achieved certification as a Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga Teacher in 2008. He’s advancing his studies under the mentorship of Cindy Bulka at Moving Mantra Yoga Studio in Raleigh, N.C. In 2010, Dr. Shareff re-established his business as the non-profit organization, You Call This Yoga, to facilitate public education of the benefits and practice of gentle Adaptive Yoga programs. In 2011, Howie received Level 1 certification as a Restorative Yoga Teacher from Judith Lasater RYT, PT. For more information about Dr. Shareff and to purchase his books and materials, please visit his website.

I was provided a copy of this book in order to offer my honest review. 

Dr. Shareff has generously offered to give a copy of his book and DVD to one of our lucky MomsGetReal fans as part of our New Year, New You Event.

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The Nature of Women – Inspired Understanding

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

I’ve been gearing up for what I planned to be THE BIGGEST EVENT OF THE YEAR on MomsGetReal. And then my daughter came home from college for Christmas break. And then my son, who has not been home for three years, came home from the Army for a couple of weeks. And then the younger kids went on break from school. And then, I got sick. I’m still trying to decide if the antibiotics are slow-moving or if the lung is just determined to cough its way out of my body.

So my big plans to have a NEW YEAR, NEW ME have gone all awry. Instead of losing more weight, I gained some back. Instead of spending extra time with the kids, I learned that adult children don’t mind coming home to eat your food and mooch for a while but really don’t care to spend time with parents. And, thanks to a long lasting cold-turned-bronchitis, I have been less than my usual productive self, with a list of to-dos that keeps piling up.

I could quite easily become depressed, stressed, and uber pressured. I was going to start skipping my carefully carved out exercise time that I’ve just recently reclaimed to make up for my slow start. I was feeling like I was drowning, or failing, or both.

But right now, I’m feeling ok. A good reason for why I’m feeling ok is that I am reading a book that has managed to penetrate my often too-stubborn to hear what’s good for me skull and have an impact. 

And, I think that EVERY WOMAN SHOULD READ the book too. This year – no – this MONTH.

BURDENS DO A BODY GOOD: Meeting Life’s Challenges with Strength (and Soul) by Michele Howe and Dr. Christopher A. Foetisch.

Michele Howe writes with compassion and understanding. She doesn’t preach or set unrealistic high expectations. She simply recognizes the many challenges women face in the way they move through life and the world, internalizing problems, sacrificing their well-being for the good of others, and sometimes falling into depression, hopelessness, or resentment because of it.

Reading her book has lifted my spirits, helped me let go of my stress, and allowed me to forgive my own imperfections, of which there are many.

Each chapter of the book covers a different “burden,” from the everyday small things like having to wait longer than expected for an appointment to the bigger-than-life things like losing a loved one. Each burden is acknowledged and embraced, and then Howe provides solid takeaways and positive ideas women can use to survive and thrive. In addition, Howe’s co-author, Dr. Foetisch provides medical perspective, advice, and reasoning for the burdens women experience and work through.

I am personally grateful that Michele Howe asked me to include her book in our New Year, New You event. Not only has reading it been a comfort to me but I am confident that women of all ages and faiths will find inspiration within its pages.

The book is available on Amazon as well as Kindle.

Thanks to Michele Howe’s generosity, MomsGetReal will also be giving away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

I was provided a copy of this book in order to offer my honest review. 

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New Year, New You Contest Rules

RULES:

*You MUST “Like” MomsGetReal on Facebook.

*You MUST fill out the entry form.

*Sponsors are able to enter/win OTHER sponsors giveaways.

*The giveaway will be open until Friday, February 10, 2012 at 12pm EST

*Contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. No P.O. Boxes.

*If you win, you have 24hrs after we post the winners on MomsGetReal to CLAIM your prize. If you FAIL to do so, another winner will be drawn!!

*Only ONE person may enter per household. If you try to use multiple accounts/names to win you will be banned from future giveaways!

*You can get an extra entry to each giveaway you enter if you tweet about the contest on Twitter with the #NewYearNewYear hashtag & mention @MomsGetReal.

— This isn’t a “rule” but please, thank the sponsors for these giveaway items! They have been very generous!! ♥

If you do not agree to the rules, your entry cannot be validated.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You must be 18 to participate. You must reside in the U.S. or Canada to be eligible.