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4 Reasons Why an Eco-Friendly Home is Good for Your Kids

Green living has become very popular in today’s society. Thankfully, people nowadays have become more aware about the importance of going green. Aside from your average American household, even big name celebrities and fashion labels have also jumped in the green living bandwagon. The current fame of eco-friendly living has greatly helped the status of

Train Your Dog Mentally

Dog owners usually focus on training their dogs physically to ensure that they will stay fit and healthy. However, mental training is just as important, because just like humans, dogs tend to get bored of the same routine every single day. You need to keep things interesting and have to challenge your dog’s mind to

Getting Help with the Cost of Raising your Child

As we all know – even those who aren’t parents – raising a child is expensive. In fact, it could already cost more than $240,000 to raise a child today, according to the newly released estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Worse, that doesn’t even include the cost of college. Even though there

Tips on Teaching Kids How to Organize

Teaching your kids organization skills at a young age has a lot of benefits for you and your family. Children, especially toddlers, are natural mess makers but with proper guidance, they can definitely be tamed. This task is very challenging but if you succeed in it, your life will certainly become a lot easier! Empowering

Giving Your Career a Boost with an Online MBA Degree

An MBA is a very useful degree to anyone involved in business management or administration. It is a proven fact that an MBA can boost your employability significantly. This master’s degree in business administration is very essential these days when career advancement is concerned. Getting an MBA degree has traditionally not been a really easy

4 Reasons Why an Eco-Friendly Home is Good for Your Kids

Green living has become very popular in today’s society. Thankfully, people nowadays have become more aware about the importance of going green. Aside from your average American household, even big name celebrities and fashion labels have also jumped in the green living bandwagon. The current fame of eco-friendly living has greatly helped the status of our environment and we should all do our part. Green is finally becoming “in”.

Before anything else, let us better understand what green living actually is because it is more than just a fashion statement or a temporary trend.  Green living is a lifestyle when someone makes sustainable choices about the food they eat, the products they buy, transportation and more. Basically, it is making a commitment or choice to live a kind of life that uses as few resources as possible to not cause further environmental damage.

Aside from lending a helping hand to the planet, green living is also very beneficial for your family. If you are still hesitating, here are some reasons that might just convince you.

eco-friendly

It’s healthier for your kids.

Choosing to buy organic products over traditional ones means you are eliminating chemicals and toxins in your children’s life. Because most food products, clothing and even toys are loaded with unnatural ingredients during production, they can be pretty toxic to your child. However, organic products contain all natural ingredients that will be much safer for your growing kids. These might take some adjusting to but your children will be a lot healthier without junk food.

It can cut down costs.

Cost efficiency is one of the most popular reasons why a lot of households have switched to eco-friendly lifestyles. Creating a sustainable home can significantly cut down your monthly electric consumption. While the initial cost of converting your home into a self-sustainable place can be pretty expensive, you will be reaping the benefits for years to come. A solar-powered home can give your family big savings that you can use for your kids’ future. Consider installing solar panels at home, learn more here.

It teaches responsibility.

As a parent, it is your job to teach the right set of skills and values to your children, that they may be able to survive the real world when they grow up. Adapting a green lifestyle teaches your kids the value of our planet and the responsibility that they have to take care of it. If more families incorporate these teachings in their lives, the world will be a much better place.

It creates a brighter future.

Taking care of the planet that we live in is really more for the next generations than for us. Older people only have a limited time in this Earth but our children and our children’s children will inherit the environment that we create for them. It is just right that we do what we can to clean up and provide them with the best and healthiest possible environment to live in because it is every kid’s right to have a bright future.

 

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Train Your Dog Mentally

Dog owners usually focus on training their dogs physically to ensure that they will stay fit and healthy. However, mental training is just as important, because just like humans, dogs tend to get bored of the same routine every single day. You need to keep things interesting and have to challenge your dog’s mind to ensure that their senses stay as sharp, and to prevent boredom. That is why it is important to train your dog mentally, and the following article will give you some great tips on it.

Train Your Dog Mentally

Challenge your dog

Sounds silly? It really isn’t. One way in which you can challenge your dog is by teaching it new tricks. Yes, that helps to challenge their minds as well. Once you’ve run out of the basic dog tricks, search up a few more on the internet or read a few books, as this will ensure to keep things interesting for both your dog and you. And if you’re worried about trying to teach an old dog new tricks, fear not, and even old dogs are eager to learn, as it keeps things interesting.

Another way is by playing interactive games with your dog. It really helps in sharpening a dog’s mind. Hide some treats for your dog in a memory game and see if the dog can find it.

Make them work

No, we’re not talking about sending your dog to a salt mine, but run errands with them and give them something to do. Even a task as simple as getting the mail with your dog or taking your dog with you to the car wash can expose them to a lot of different stimulants. The dog will get to see a lot of different sights, and it will really put its brain to work.

Play a game of fetch with your dog, for example, or play Frisbee together. When dogs have nothing to do, they can get restless, so give them something.

Introduce them to new things

Taking your dog to a dog park, for instance, will introduce your dog to a variety of new things. New dogs, new people and new butts to sniff, your dog will love it! It really gives them the chance to train their skills and they will never get bored of it.

Rotate their toys. No matter how many toys they have, no matter how frequently you may get a new toy for your dog, your dog will eventually get bored of it. The best solution: rotate out the old toys. Giving them an old toy that they have had for years, but haven’t played with for a while will have the same effect as getting them a new one.

Bottom Line

Just like humans, dogs need some excitement in their lives and need to be mentally challenged whenever possible to keep things interesting and fun. That is why, aside from training your dog physically, you should also train your dog mentally to prevent restlessness and to keep your dog happy.

 

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Getting Help with the Cost of Raising your Child

As we all know – even those who aren’t parents – raising a child is expensive. In fact, it could already cost more than $240,000 to raise a child today, according to the newly released estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Worse, that doesn’t even include the cost of college. Even though there are also funds allocated for children’s basic needs, like education and healthcare, there are still a lot of things that parents must pay in order to bring up their child in a healthy and correct way.

Estimates in the cost of raising a child can, of course, vary widely depending on how much you earn and where you live. For instance, if you are living in a high-cost community, you can spend more than $250,000 to raise your kid to the age 18. But if you live in low-cost community and earn average income, you can spend much less, probably less than $200,000. But while it may cost less for low-to-average-income families to raise a child, this doesn’t still change anything. The cost of raising a child remains to be expensive.

baby

Okay, the number may seem a little scary, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a child. Having children and raising them is a very exciting part of being a parent. Of course, money is important, that’s why we’re here to help you on how to feel secure when raising a family. Here are some steps:

Find support services for families with children

There are so many community and government services offering support – in terms of finances and materials – to help parents raise their babies well. Try looking in your community offices, or even on government websites and parenting blogs, to find child care assistance and help you with the cost of raising your child. Some organizations even provide free baby clothes, and other baby materials, such as strollers, diapers, car seats, and detergent.

Take advantage of tax credits

There are many child-related tax credits and deductions available to help low-to-average income parents pay for their children’s health, education, and other childcare expenses. By taking advantage of these benefits, you will be able to save thousands of dollars. If you aren’t sure how these kinds of things work, talk to your accountant or financial adviser and ask your options.

Save and plan

As you know, saving and planning is very important. This is especially true for expectant parents, like you. Therefore, you should prepare before your baby arrives. First, you have to assess your current expenses. Then determine your future expenses. As much as possible, try to cut cost on things that aren’t that important in order to save budget for your baby. Also consider opening a savings account or applying for insurance for financial security. When you do this, you’ll relieve a lot of financial anxiety that comes with growing a family.

Indeed, raising a child requires a lot of cost and responsibility. But if you know how to save, manage, and control your time and expenses, you’ll be able to feel secure enough to grow your family.

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Tips on Teaching Kids How to Organize

Teaching your kids organization skills at a young age has a lot of benefits for you and your family. Children, especially toddlers, are natural mess makers but with proper guidance, they can definitely be tamed. This task is very challenging but if you succeed in it, your life will certainly become a lot easier!

Empowering your kids with this kind of skill will also help them become more independent which, in turn, can take them far in life. Children who are taught good organizational habits at a fresh age will help them develop better concentration and focus. In the future, these traits will come in handy and can help them in their careers. Whether your child wants to be a lawyer in New York or work for bookkeeper Melbourne, good organizational skills are ultimately instrumental to their development.

teaching kids to organize

Teach your child to become organized with the simple tips below:

Make a checklist.

As the parent, you must be overlooking everything your children do daily. To remind them of their responsibilities, make a checklist of the chores that need to be done on daily or weekly basis. It is better if the list is also scheduled so the kids can learn to follow timetables. If your kid is very young and cannot read yet, a graphic or picture list is a good and fun alternative.

Talk and explain.

Your children might not fully understand what you are doing so it is essential that you talk to them and explain the purpose of the activity. It doesn’t have to be a serious talk, which can be intimidating to kids. Try to make it as fun and light as possible while still conveying the message.

Introduce sorting and categorizing.

Start assigning chores that involve sorting and categorizing. These can be very simple activities like helping you with the grocery, cleaning the closet or arranging photos and books. Whenever you are cleaning out multiple items, encourage sorting or categorizing by color, size, style or use. Organizing in this fashion often makes a closet or shelf look a lot more visually appealing.

Use containers and closet organizers.

Organizing without the proper tools is just impossible, especially if you have little trinkets and toys everywhere. Make sure to arm yourself with the right kind of apparatus including container boxes, closet organizers and extra shelves. If you are organizing your kid’s room or closet, consider using containers that can also double as extra furniture like table or a decorative chest.

Reward good behavior.

Whenever teaching your kid anything, it is important to always reward them if they get it right. This instills that they are doing a good job and also encourages them to do it again. Rewards can be as simple as an ice cream treat or a movie. What’s important is the child enjoys the reward and has fun with the whole experience.

Taking the first step is usually the hardest part. However, once you get through this first hurdle, it gets easier. The key to making this work is consistency. You might need to extend your patience a little bit more but the result is going to be worth it.

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How to Organize an Entertaining Children’s Party

Planning a children’s party can be a pretty daunting task for anyone. Even if you have years of expertise in planning parties, a kid’s party is a completely different thing. Because they require extra care, planning and protection, a children’s event is typically more complicated to accomplish. If you have a child’s party coming up in the next few months, here are some tips to help you make organizing easier:

Children's Party

Where to celebrate?

Like with any other party, the location of the event is one of the most important elements. Keep in mind that the place where the party will be held must be accessible to the guests. As the party planner, you must also take into consideration the floor area and the number of guests who are attending. It is essential that you have enough space for the guests to be able to move around comfortably. Other things to consider include rental fees, weather and parking space.

Making the place look fun.

Because this is a children’s party, decorations will play a major part of the whole affair. Kids will be a lot more appreciative of the place if there are loads of decorations spread over the party area. To make the furnishings more appealing, think of a theme that kids can enjoy. If you are planning a birthday party, let the celebrant pick a theme that you can work into the decors.

What food to serve.

When it comes to food, extra effort is also needed. Because you can’t just serve a typical menu, you must try to make the food as fun and presentable to kids as much as possible while also keeping their health in mind. Junk food maybe a great idea but it is better to serve healthy food as the parents may not agree with too much chips and cookies.

Keeping the guests entertained.

Entertainment is, of course, the most important part of this whole affair. Kids will expect your party to be fun and it is your duty to provide the whole entertainment package. If the party has a theme, it is a wonderful idea to work around the theme. For example – a magician will go well with a fantasy theme and animals on a safari/jungle theme. Bouncy Castles are another surefire way to keep the kids entertained. These are always very popular in children’s parties as they are fun and easy to operate. Educational shows or other forms of entertainment are also perfect for kid’s parties.

Ending with giveaways.

To make sure your guests are entertained from start to finish, end the party with loot bags or giveaways. Apart from the prizes that may be included if you are doing parlor games, prepare several loot bags to give out at the end of the party. These can contain candies, small toys and other novelty items that can also be related to the theme of the party. Kids will not just enjoy your surprise giveaways; they are also a form of courtesy gifts for your guests. To make it more personal, you can add a small thank you card with a simple handwritten note to let them know you appreciate their time.

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The Importance of Payroll Services

If you happen to own a business, you will be well aware of all the effort and work that you will have to put into it. And although you may be proud of all that you have accomplished, even the most experienced business owner dislikes doing all the tedious, “non-money-generating-yet-related-to-the-business” type of work. Payroll services are part of such tedious work, that although important, no one really likes doing. That said, I’m sure you would want to be safe than sorry, and so, you need to understand the importance of payroll services.

profit

What is a payroll service?

It is basically record keeping of every employee’s salary. That is a very tedious job description isn’t it? Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance and has to be done with care and diligence. As business owners, you need to be able to pay off your hardworking employees at the end of the month the right amount of money that they have worked so hard to earn.

And so, it is important that you keep records of what you are paying them, so that you can pay what you owe them on time. Although time-consuming, this is a task of utmost importance. Since it is a time-consuming and tedious task, many businesses use a method called outsourcing, which basically means that they hire an agency that specializes in bookkeeping, and they take care of the payroll services every month so that you or your employees don’t have to worry about it.

Advantages of payroll services

Whether you form a special group within your business to look after the payroll services or hire outsourcing, bookkeeping has several advantages. It will provide security, as you will be sure of exactly how much you have paid each and every employee that you have in your business. With the use of technology these days, you can have accurate results and theft and fund embezzlement can be prevented this way.

Accuracy can also be assured by hiring a bookkeeping firm, as they will be more professional and less likely to make any errors. And also, they will be fully accountable for any mistakes made. Hiring professionals also has another advantage; speed. They will be fast in delivering the final calculations to you, which will enable you to pay off your employees faster.

Even if you don’t outsource a payroll service, keeping records will still benefit you, as at the end of the day, the main aim is to keep your employees happy. The faster you pay off your employees at the end of the month, the happier and more productive they are.

Bottom Line

Bookkeeping helps you achieve your main aim, which is to pay off your employees as quickly and as accurately as possible. It also helps you keep track of the money that is being spent on the employees’ payrolls, as you can now rest assured that no money is being lost due to theft.

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Where To Find The Best Flat Iron Brands?

 

When shopping for the best flat iron brands, it can be a challenge to easily select the ideal one. It is because of the huge competition around the market. With all the different brands, many consumers mistakenly purchase the flat iron for their needs. Hence, it is a smart move to first determine the exact thing you are looking for in a device. In order to help you select the one that you need, a couple of tips can be considered. These are:

  1. Do you like the device that they use on the salon? If that is the case, then you simply have to read the brand. In one way or another, reading the brand name is very easy unless the unit that the salon has been using is very old and the print was already unclear. Because it is the one used in the salon, it is very likely that the brand is well known. That already gives you a hint to only select the one with the same brand as theirs.
  2. Try to borrow the flat iron that your friends use. By borrowing your friend’s flat iron for a while, you can see to it if the one that they have would also work for your needs.
  3. Spend some time in doing research. If you are eyeing for a couple of brands and you are not able to choose quickly, you can first make a research about it. The internet is the best place to find all the things you need about a certain flat iron. The process of research also includes reading some feedbacks from the customers, checking out community boards and forums. Listing the brands that you do not wish to buy can also help.
  4. Know your budget. Of course, above all the brand names, features and other factors, the budget is the deciding factor of which one to buy. When you only want a flat iron for your everyday or on occasion requirement, you may want to invest on buying the moderately priced brands you can find in the market. With the help of the internet, you can even find the best deals in order to save some cash. Other than that, you also need to consider the look and feel of the iron while you are styling your hair.

The most common brands of flat irons are Kenta, Solia and NuMe. Of the three, the most in demand brand these days is the NuMe. The popular flat iron styling brand has four kinds namely, Megastar, In Vogue, Silhouette and Petite. The top of the line kind is the Megastar and the least expensive among the four is the Petite. With NuMe, no matter which type of flat iron you buy, you can guarantee of its durability and great performance.

In today’s fast paced and revolutionary world, hair styling is no longer limited to combing and putting spray net. Now, there has been quite a few other ways to help make our crowning glory even more fabulous.

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Giving Your Career a Boost with an Online MBA Degree

An MBA is a very useful degree to anyone involved in business management or administration. It is a proven fact that an MBA can boost your employability significantly. This master’s degree in business administration is very essential these days when career advancement is concerned. Getting an MBA degree has traditionally not been a really easy thing for working parents. In addition to dealing with the demands of their jobs, parents also need time to take care of their children. It becomes a tough call to talk about taking on-campus classes. This is where an online MBA degree program becomes useful.

online mba

Why Get an MBA Degree?

You probably have a job that pays you well enough to afford things you and your family need. This may make you wonder why you should still consider getting an MBA degree since you are obviously doing well. You need to think about career advancement. Besides, it is not safe sitting idly without enhancing your credentials because many people are going for MBA degrees and not having one may hurt your competitiveness. This qualification makes it possible for you to move on to better-paying jobs or positions. It is a fact that many people are finding it hard getting jobs these days. But in spite of this, MBA graduates are finding it easy to get jobs. For example, a whopping 92 percent of London Business School (LBS) graduates landed jobs within three months after graduation in 2012.

Benefits of an Online MBA Program

Flexibility and convenience – This is one of the main appeals of an online MBA program. This sort of study arrangement makes it possible for you to learn at your own pace. There is no need to quit your well-paying job to get an MBA degree. You can access lectures whenever you have time off doing your job and taking care of your kids. Unlike in the case of an on-campus setting, you do not have to endure professors showing up late for classes. There is also no need for commuting to school and having to deal with hectic traffic daily.

Quality and interactive learning – It is often thought that on-campus MBA programs offers students better quality education than their online counterparts. This used to be true, but not anymore. There are innovative measures in place these days, including electronic mentoring by professors, which help to make online learning more quality. You are able to network and interact with other students and administration staff through a variety of means, which include chat, telephone calls, forums and emails. For instance, 66 percent of academic stakeholders who took part in the 2010 Sloan Survey of Internet Education thought online education equally as good as on-campus education.

Cheaper – The best online MBA program also costs you significantly lesser amount of money than if you settled for traditional campus programs. The fact that there is no need for daily commuting also saves you money. You can also get financial aid, student loans attracting low interest and scholarships to help with your education.

Time management skills – It is worth pointing out that it takes determination and good time management skills to do an online MBA program. Such a program can help improve your time management skills significantly. Your ability to complete your MBA program while also taking care of your children and your job can make employers see you as a highly motivated individual with good time management skills.

Your inability to do a traditional, on-campus MBA program should not be allowed to hinder your career advancement. An online MBA program can help you attain your career goals.

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Should you include your children in your SMSF?

SMSFAccording to the 2014 SMSF statistical report released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the number of SMSF members has now reached the 1 million figure, which is considered an important milestone for the SMSF industry. Andrea Slattery, the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA) CEO, says that this figure clearly demonstrates that there’s a growing number of people wanting to take responsibility of their future. But based on the recent record, about 70 percent of SMSFs have two members, and only 10 percent have more than two members. With this data, it is fair to assume that most parents don’t include their children in their SMFs.

While super funds are specifically designed for the husband-and-wife’s retirement, including children and other family members can be a very effective plan, according to experts. Adding your children or other family members can provide a lot of benefits. It can be a great way to build your family’s wealth and secure your children’s future. But as with any other investment strategy, there can be risks along with benefits to all parties concerned, so a careful thought should be given before planning to include your kids in your self-managed super funds.

Here are the pros and cons of including your children within your SMSF:

Pros

  • You can build a larger and more diversified investment portfolio, allowing you to acquire more expensive assets, such as a residential or business property.
  • You can have the ability to save investment costs for running a single fund.
  • It helps your children to be engaged with superannuation and investments, providing them an opportunity to build wealth for their future.
  • Your kids become trustees, allowing them to control and manage the funds upon your passing.
  • Your kids obtain long-term tax benefits and insurance in the event of disability or death.
  • It provides your children a financial education about the importance of planning for retirement and on how to effectively manage money and assets.

Cons

  • It can result in you losing control of your funds, especially when it comes to decision-making, since most parents and children have different financial objectives.
  • It can cause family pressure and administrative complexity, especially when the other members start to receive pension while some are still in the accumulation phase, or one member is in financial difficulty.
  • Family problems may arise in case of divorce or death (about what should happen to your fund).
  • Family dispute may also arise, especially if you are a family with more than four members since SMSF is only limited up to four members.

The reality is there are always risks and rewards involved in any undertaking. Whether or not you include your children in your self-managed super funds should be something that you and your family should talk about and carefully consider – after all, it’s a family matter. It is also be wise to seek legal advice from anSMSF expert or investment lawyer to help you in the planning and decision-making, and to fully understand the benefits and risks of including your children in your SMSF.

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How can I pay for my child’s education?

If you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree and you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for your child’s education on your salary, then you may want to consider changing to a better paying career. The fact is that there are jobs out there that don’t require a Bachelor’s degree and still pay quite well. Also, in today’s economy there is no guarantee that a Bachelor’s degree will even result in a high-paying job.

 child education

High-paying jobs that don’t require a Bachelor’s degree

 

The medical field has several career opportunities that don’t require a Bachelor’s degree, pay quite well, and are stable careers with demand now and in the future. For most of these careers you’ll only need a certificate or an associate’s degree, as well as being registered with your State.

X-ray technicians earn an average of $52,000 per year according to xraytechtips.com and this field is expected to continue growing in the next decade. You can usually specialize in a certain type of radiography, for example magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and earn even more (they earn an average of $65,000 per year)

Other careers in the medical field that are stable, pay well, and don’t require a Bachelor’s degree include: Registered Nurse, Dental Hygienist, Nuclear medicine technologist, Radiation therapists, among other careers in the medical field.

How to effectively save for your child’s college fund

 

Just changing to a higher paying career isn’t the only thing you have to do to make sure you save money for your child’s education. You will also have to implement some strategies into your lifestyle to start saving now and long-term so that by the time your child is ready for college, you are ready financially.

You will need to make a monthly budget (use an excel spreadsheet) to see how much you spend and on what. Now, make adjustments if you can to cut down on unnecessary expenditures (for example, bring your lunch and coffee with you to work instead of buying them), and then decide how much you’ll be depositing into the college fund. Even a couple hundred dollars a month will go a long way. To know exactly how much you’ll need, look online at the average price of a college education (this will depend on whether the school is private or public) and then divide that amount by the number of years you have to save (meaning, before your child reaches the end of high school). Now that you know how much to put away every month, open a special savings account and set up an automatic transfer of that amount directly from your paycheck.

The cost of a college education isn’t cheap, but it is possible to afford it, even if you don’t have a Bachelor’s degree. By choosing a career in the medical field that only requires a certificate or associate’s degree, and planning ahead to know how much you need to save every month will give you the peace of mind by knowing that you’ll be able to help your child pursue the education and career of their choice.

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