For today’s guest post on affordable lifestyle changes, please welcome back fellow blogger Anum Yoon.
We all want to change our lives for the better, but it’s hard to know how to do that without spending a bunch of money. Eating organic and having gym memberships is great, but it starts to add up. Consider the following lifestyle changes. They might seem small, but they have major benefits. The best part? They’re affordable.
1. Drink More Water
You probably hear this all the time, but it seriously does make a difference. Drinking it from the tap is insanely cheap. Even if your water isn’t the best, an investment in a Brita filter or pitcher is an infrequent buy that pays for itself in the long run. Bottled water creates too much waste, and they’re way more expensive. Continue reading
There is so much talk these days about medical care, medical insurance, and medication costs, that no matter who you are or what stage of life and health you may be in, you have to think about those things. If you are ill of course it becomes a huge priority in your life. If you are healthy, you want to keep it that way. If you have a family, you think about your spouse and your kids and what kind of care and expense that all means to keep everyone as healthy as possible.
If you are a young person on your own, you may not worry all that much about your medical care. That happens sometimes because with youth often comes a feeling of invincibility. When you have been active and healthy all of your life, you may even take that fact for granted. That’s not really a good idea. Continue reading
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I have needed my eyeglasses replaced for a long time now. I got my first pair way back when I turned age 40 in 1989. It seems a lot of people start having vision problem as they age and 40, despite being “the new 20”, is a time that it seems to hit us in big numbers. Now I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV), but I was having some trouble with distances like watching a movie or seeing the scoreboard clearly at the baseball games. The latter reason being a significant enough crisis for me to go to my optometrist and check it out!
The Old Fashioned Way
I have to admit it was not an easy thing to do. I went through the whole examination and not too surprisingly I was diagnosed with being near-sighted, making glasses a necessity. It wasn’t that much of a surprise but more of an adjustment for me both physically and of course, mentally. I just didn’t think I would look too good in a pair, having all my life been free of dealing with them. And God only knows how many pairs of sunglasses I have lost or broken (can you say “sat on them”?) in my life up until that point. So what was I to do? I did what everyone did before the internet was in widespread use. I went looking for a retailer near my home. Continue reading
This is a great time of the year for most of us: getting together with our family and friends and enjoying the holidays that we have looked forward to all year long. Who doesn’t love the holiday season with the food, parties and spiritual joy we all can share? And look to the beginning of a new year when we can plan for improvements just up ahead! But I say most of us enjoy it because there are some who don’t quite see it that way.
Acute Financial Stress
According to a study done by Payoff, about 23% of all Americans and an even higher percentage of millennials suffer from what is known as AFS, Acute Financial Stress. This “disease” is caused by one’s reaction to financial stress which of course the holidays’ emphasis on spending and shopping can trigger. This and so many other financial issues can turn someone’s life completely upside down and even lead to a physical and/or mental debilitation resulting in things like heart disease and mental health problems. It has been compared with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as to its reach and severity among Americans today. Continue reading
The other day I went to my cardiologist for a routine follow-up visit (if cardio issues can ever be routine that is) after my recent required stress test. As they usually do when I visit, I got weighed and they also measured my height. To my surprise, I discovered I am shrinking! I have always thought and told people that I am 5’10” whenever my height was asked or required to be put down on a form. For Pete’s sake, it says I’m 5’10” on my driver’s license, so it must be true. But last week I discovered that I am actually getting smaller. I measured 5’9½” and I had to face the reality of it. I am the incredible shrinking man! After that surprise, I wondered…is it possible that small is the new big?
It gave me pause to think about the concept of smaller versus bigger. I know I’m a little weird, but I digress. I have to admit, I can’t think of any reason why shrinking at my age is a good thing but it made me wonder exactly why we are seemingly obsessed with the concept of “bigger is always better”. I have been guilty of that thinking on more than a rare occasion for sure, but now that I practice the concept of being “older and wiser” I do see things in a little (pardon my pun) different way. Continue reading
We are closing in on the time of year when Medicare and Social Security will be making changes to the benefit amounts and the costs to the over 50 million recipients of the programs, which include both retirees and the disabled. Right now, there’s potential for a real financial heartache and what will scare you is what is currently being considered for 2017. The official announcements for the Social Security Board of Trustees (SSBOT) and the Medicare Board of Trustees (MBOT) will come in just a few weeks in October 2016. In fact, the MBOT just met this month to gauge the need to increase Medicare costs to its covered users.
Any adjustment in the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) or Medicare premiums will be announced in October by the SSBOT. I’m sure it will be debated and discussed as it has been done over the years, since two of the past three years have seen no increase to benefits as they made the decision that inflation was at zero. These decisions have been highly controversial because many recipients feel that there is significant inflation in many basics like food, healthcare, and prescription medicines while SSBOT uses a “basket of items” to make their decision. The significant fall of the price of gasoline has had a big impact on cost of living, despite the fact that it isn’t the big influence on seniors and disabled people that it is on younger, healthier active ones who work, commute, and even travel more often that SS recipients. Continue reading
Sometimes when I’m just not centered in the right mindset about my personal finance, I start to wander off on tangents about money issues I am facing and how to handle them. I know that I worry about them even though I now have a solid base in my financial plans. I am always completely honest in my approach to what has to be done and when to do it. And then it hits me. I am not alone in my worries about money nor am I alone in the many ways that are out there to deal with the money issues that I, and in fact all of us, face every day of the year. These are common problems we all have and we need the required common sense and money “cents” to solve them.
So let’s break it down. Here’s a few of the issues that I think we all worry about and what we can do to help us get through them. Continue reading
According to CFSI’s Consumer Financial Health Study, 57% of Americans—approximately 138 million adults—are struggling financially. While we can probably picture what strugging looks like, what about being financially healthy? To me, financial health means that I’m prepared to handle what life throws at me. In my case that means that when my wife and I began suffering with chronic illness, we were able to cover our medical bills and avoid bankruptcy.
First my wife, who was already suffering with fibromyalgia, learned she also had rheumatoid arthritis. She worked as long as she could with the pain, but in the end had to file for disability. Then I had a heart attack, learning I had type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure in the process. That required multiple hospital stays and surgery, but thankfully I am stable now. Still, I had to retire a few years earlier than planned. At the same time our income was taking a significant hit, our healthcare expenses were increasing. Continue reading
You’ll have to pardon me here if I sound like I’m complaining (I am), but have you noticed the absurd numbers of annoying complaints that people seem to have about, oh I don’t know, everything! There are just some people who love to complain and it’s getting worse by the minute! The time that is spent on the complaining is not the proverbial “time well spent”, and I seriously think it may lead to the decline and fall of the free world. Or maybe not, but here’s my point.
Today, you have the ability to vent, whine, rant, and get tons of attention every minute of the day through social media. Tweeting, Facebook posting and a slew of other “wonderful” platforms amplify the complaining so that I and people like me are bombarded with it to the point of nausea! Do I have to know who hit on you at work? What you had for lunch? Who got engaged while you are still dating the guy you met at your psych class 7 years ago? I’ve compiled a list of some of the worst offending complaints and if you’re among the “whaaa!!-trepreneurs” who are making a priority out of being heard this way, try some self-restraint and spend some time with a few of my poignant recommendations…please! Continue reading
Are you the kind of person who is smart about your money? Do you think about your spending in advance? Do you have a budget and almost never deviate from it? Do you actually know where you money comes from and goes every week? You’d be very surprised to know that a lot of people haven’t a clue about those things and in fact can’t control their spending. That’s hard to believe I know, especially if you’re a person like me, who makes knowing about my money a real priority. But for a lot of people, spending money, shopping, and going out on the town isn’t something they think about like I do. In fact, for many people, spending money (even when they don’t have any left) is an overwhelming urge or need. It’s a compulsion and is really part of an addiction. It’s called Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD).
CBD spending comes from someplace within the mind and is almost always a desperate attempt to satisfy some negative emotions like anger or sadness. It may be an attempt to block out something like stress or a sense of inferiority that buying something new or spending to an extreme will cure, if only for a moment. Continue reading