Mar 182015

This is a guest post from our friends Mark and Amy:

How is it that there are some people who can survive and actually build their savings on a barely there amount of money and yet there are others earning twice, if not three times as much who never manage to pay all their bills and think that saving is something that only happens in soccer?

My brother is one of the most intelligent people I know, if he decided he wanted to be a rocket scientist he could easily invent the spaceship that would make it possible for average tourists to visit Mars. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my brother. He showed signs of genious when he was 12!

But when it comes to money – my brother is as dumb as dirt. He earns more than double my salary and yet somehow he never seems to have any money. After a recent discussion about the state of our finances I realized that there is one very big difference between us. I believe I am budget savvy, and he wouldn’t know a budget from his elbow!

The following are a few of the habits that I have developed over the years, some of them unconsciously and some of them because I had no choice and it is these habits which make me financially superior to my genius brother.

Firstly I’m a wise shopper who controls my spending

Before I leave the house I search for deals both online and in local adverts. I clip coupons, mail in any rebates I can and I buy in bulk if it means I’m going to save any money at all. I have an email JUST for signing up to any shopping and buying clubs and am currently a member of no less than 12! A couple of them, like my favorite promo codes service Discountrue, are deals sites that are responsible for half the savings I make online. I always eat before I do my shopping. Whenever I have to make a big purchase I make sure that I have done my research and I am getting the very best deal possible. I am not afraid to negotiate a better price if I think there is any chance of getting it.

My budget is simple and flexible

I have established a ‘guideline’ budget for my monthly expenses and savings and I have made sure that I always stick to it. My budget covers my everyday expenses such as food, transport and housing costs as well as monthly miscellaneous expenses such chronic medication and pet care. I have an amount set aside each month for ‘unexpected’ fluctuations in any of my usual bills and I have a portion that is untouchable unless it is a dire emergency.

I am financially techno savvy

I use technology to manage my money. My brother subscribes to blogs on the latest technology and scientific breakthroughs, I subscribe to blogs about living frugally and saving money like Discountrue I mentioned before. I use apps to track and control spending and daily living expenses. I have a smart phone, which I saved 6 months for, and I install apps and use the internet to compare prices, track spending and save money. Oh and I have become the queen of tracking down free wifi spots!

I am a habitual saver with a greater purpose

I have set a number of long term savings goals for myself. Some of them are very long term – such as buying my dream home and some of them are a little more immediate such as saving for my annual vacation. Before I buy anything I ask myself – if I buy this am I going to have to sacrifice my Christmas by the ocean? You’d be amazed how often that question makes me put something back on the shelf or close my internet browser!!! I invest as much as I can in interest bearing accounts and I have an emergency fund that I contribute to EVERY month! And unlike my brother, I avoid credit like the plague – if I can’t buy it cash or pay it off within a year – I don’t buy it!!

I truly believe that if my brother adopted just one of these habits of mine then he would find that the majority of his financial troubles would disappear. And the really nice thing about all of them? Anybody can do them and they are the type of thing that it wouldn’t really take any effort to turn into a habit!


Jan 262015

Many people have gotten tattoos in the last few decade. Even though we know that tattoos are permanent, many folk think that a little ink is a small price to pay for love. However, we know that love can be a temporary affliction for some and yet the ink is a constant reminder of lover or period of your life that is best forgotten. This is why laser tattoo removal is becoming such an important and necessary service. Like tattoo artists, not all tattoo removal is as professional as Clarkston Dermatology.

laser tattoo removal 300x145 When To Remove A Tattoo

Going to a professional dermatologist for laser hair removal or tattoo removal in Michigan is simple. There are many that offer these services like hair salons and even some tattoo shops. However, letting someone use an industrial laser on you is tricky and requires a trained and skilled professional. Having a dermatologist perform these tasks is recommended since they understand skin and how the laser will affect it. Yes, you may end up removing hair or tattoo but you can also end up with scarring that just makes it all look worse. Everyone is trying to save a buck but in cases of skin-care or even cool sculpting, the non-surgical fat reduction technique that uses cold to freeze the fat, going to a professional physician is advised.

I remember getting my first tattoo and seeing my cousin a couple of months afterwards. My Mother had to tell him that I had a tattoo. My cousin, a dermatologist, informed me that when I was ready, he would gladly remove it for me. I never took him up on that but this opened up the conversation to other services that dermatologists do go beyond what we know as lay folk. It behooves us to investigate this especially if we are considering tattoo removal, laser hair removal or coolsculpting.

Today, we have so many options out there to express ourselves. A tattoo is something very personal and should be something we are happy to wear for the rest of our lives. In the off-chance that you get a tattoo that loses its meaning or becomes a subject of shame, then please, go see your dermatologist to clean the slate.

This is a paid post but all opinions are ours.

Jan 132015

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I couldn’t swim and my physical prowess was limited to long distance running so surfing and sports were not really options. My allegiance to the Dodgers started with a trip to Dodger’s Stadium, a Dodger Dog and “hat day”. I married a lady who loved them as much as I do and have worked hard to indoctrinate my kids with the love of Dodger Blue! When we moved to Miami, this became more difficult and finding sports apparel for my kids became imperative.

dodgers 300x300 The Majestic Athlete

Thankfully, Majestic Athletics made it possible to get our kids personalized baseball jerseys in Dodger Blue and we can deck them out with custom baseball jerseys of their favorite players. Whether it’s the Road Jersey for away games when the Dodgers play the Marlins, or performance apparel for my workout routines, Majestic Athletic makes the men’s athletic wear I need.

For the record, it wasn’t easy living 3000 miles from your favorite team. When the kids were younger, we only would get to see them a few times a year when they played the Marlins. When we showed up at the games wearing our Dodger crew neck tees, there was no mistaking who we are there to see. My boys liked wearing their sports apparel to school and representing.

Living back in Southern California, we have been able to get to several games and the boys can experience Dodger Stadium in all its glory. They have enjoyed the perfection of a Dodger Dog and enjoyed a wonderful Los Angeles evening. We have created our own memories and the love of Dodger Blue is engrained in them.

We will be moving away later this year and one of the activities we are committed to is watching a few games before we leave. We are getting a few Dodger hoodies and heading out to watch a game at the beginning of the season in the cool evening air. Wherever we go, the Dodgers will always be with us. We will watch them on TV and represent with our cool baseball jerseys.

Jan 122015

We have dreams. We want to travel and explore this world. We refuse to get comfortable. A few years ago, we experienced a physical set back when Paul was unable to walk for several months due to his back. He had hurt it to the point where his legs would give out and even simple mobility was compromised. We needed to install a portable wheelchair ramp and considered getting an electric motor scooter. Luckily, he was able to regain motion in both his legs and is better health than ever. However, this experience taught us how quickly things can change.

Being prepared for all eventualities means we need to be aware that anything can happen. One of things we have learned by watching our parents age is that mobility can change from one day to the next. A fall can result in a broken bone or hurt back. Yes, medical science can fix us up but that loss of independence can hurt our self-esteem. We plan to keep our independence with Pride Mobility. Whether we purchase one of the scooters from the wide array of Pride models while working hard to regain mobility, we are aware that our independence is crucial for our mental well-being.

Over the years we have seen our family members lose their spark after a fall. They have done what they could with physical therapy, used walkers and canes, but even those means of getting around limit their ability to be with the family if they go out. A travel scooter would have easily fit on the back of the car and given them the freedom of being with us when we went shopping. An adult electric scooter would have made a big difference in their lives and subsequent depression from loss of independence.

All of these experiences serve to prepare us for the future. It prepares us on how to deal with our parent’s or other family member loss of independence. It prepares us to deal with this loss by addressing it quickly. We know we can help them with power lift chairs and scooters. We can openly discuss how they feel about the loss of independence and how we all can help them with it.

Dec 292014

I began smoking at a young age. The habit began as a secret and then evolved into a behavior that was entangled with daily activity. Drink a cup of coffee? Have a cigarette. Have a drink? Have a cigarette. Socialize with friends? Have a cigarette. I tried to limit my smoking to the evenings unless I was on vacation and then it was a free-for-all. Luckily, I quit 2 years ago and have not gone back once. However, that habit is still there and there are some days when the cravings are tough. Electronic Cigarettes lets me still enjoy the feel of smoking without having to leave the fun or smell like an ashtray.

Smoking a vaporizer pen, like the one from Vapin Plus, provides me with a similar smoking experience without the stigma of smoking and without the nasty smell of a cigarette. The draw on a vaporizer pen is a good facsimile of the smoking sensation and, because you can choose the e-liquid flavor and level of nicotine, you can moderate exactly what you are inhaling which was never the case with the cigarettes. Also, in my experience, the savings are tremendous! One tip can last me as much as a week when I use it a couple of times day or even longer if I use it sparingly.

I have changed many of my behaviors in the last few years. Part of the change is that I don’t have to leave the house or room to go have a cigarette. People are more accepting of smoking vaporizer pens and will even be willing to try it. Not having to leave the party to go outside really forces you to stay engaged and be present. For some, this is actually part of the appeal of smoking because it is an excuse for leaving the room! Vaping is an activity that I can enjoy, pretty much anywhere, and I don’t have to leave my friends to enjoy it.

Technology is changing everything and vaporizer pens are part of this tech revolution. It actually is quite surprising that people still smoke cigarettes when such a cleaner and cheaper alternative is widely available to them. I don’t have to use my vaporizer pen all of the time but it is there and charged when I want it and I love having the choice.