How to Save Money and Avoid These Four Budget Busters

Strong piggy bank and broken hammer isolated on white background


According to research from Gallup, only 1 in 3 Americans actually prepare a detailed household budget. Meanwhile, only 30 percent of Americans prepare a long-term financial plan outlining their savings and investment goals in detail.

Preparing and planning a budget is the first step toward financial health and stability. But, a budget is only worth its value on paper if you commit to it. Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons — or excuses — that keeps people from committing to their financial goals. Here are five of the leading budget breakers and how to avoid them.

Spending Money Irrationally

Rethink your spending by committing to actually tracking every penny you spend. Packs of gum, your morning coffee run and grabbing a magazine at the subway station all start to add up. Soon, those unconscious — and unintentional — spends will begin to cut into your carefully crafted budget. Keep tabs on everything you spend with a spreadsheet or app like Evernote to jot down all your purchases. Train yourself to pause and think about if that splurge is really worth it or if it’s an indulgence you can do without.

Forgoing Routine Car Maintenance

Everyone knows an emergency fund is key to maintaining a healthy budget. But ongoing maintenance and repairs are often an afterthought that can break your budget. According to, 1 percent of the purchase price of your home should be set aside for routine maintenance costs.

But that doesn’t account for car repairs. Auto Traders suggests saving around $500 for a $10,000 car, or $1,500 for a $30,000 car. These costs could come out of your budgeted emergency fund. Remember to always invest in quality car tires with a reputation for long-lasting durability, which will offset the costs of ongoing repairs and replacements.

Overspending on Conveniences

Overspending on food is a common problem for budget watchers. It’s all too easy to zip through the drive-thru or throw random groceries into the cart instead of carefully thinking through the purchase and using coupons. Plan ahead to curb your convenience addiction and cut your food budget. An app like Food on the Table can create meal plans based on your family’s food preferences and then match items that are on sale at your local grocery store.

Choosing Expensive Entertainment

The cost of movie tickets, snacks and evenings out are budget killers. But it doesn’t mean you have to sit around at home and read a book. Get rid of cable and stream movies and shows from a service like Netflix or Amazon Prime. You could also check out your local library’s supply of rentable DVDs and CDs to sponsor your next movie night. And for local events, scour local websites to bookmark free days at the museum, movie nights in the park, or downtown wine tastings and festivals.

Spending Money Recklessly

Believe it or not, people often bust their budget because of emotional spending. A bad day at work, fight with a loved one or productivity slump can result in heading to the mall or favorite online shopping outlet. Stop the cycle by focusing instead on self-care. Take a walk, call a friend or surround yourself with favorite books and movies to better soothe yourself. The sooner you put your wallet aside when you’re next upset ane emotional, the sooner you’ll stay on track and stabilize your budget.


How to Help Your Adopted Dog Adjust to Your Home

Adopting a dog is a fantastic choice. Not only do you get a wonderful companion, but you also rescue a dog from an uncertain fate and provide a loving home instead. However, adopting a dog is not without its challenges. You don’t know what the dog may have experienced, and you may have to help the dog overcome a lot of fears and anxiety.

Even if your dog had a great life before being adopted, just being in a new home is stressful enough. You need to take extra care in welcoming your dog to make the transition a smooth one and let your dog know that you are providing a safe and loving environment. Here are a few things you can do to help your adopted dog adjust to your home:

Have Treats and Toys Ready

Your adopted dog is going to have a lot of anxiety about the big changes taking place. You can immediately ease some of this anxiety by having things ready for your dog, such as a bed, a harness, a food station, treats, and some toys.

Treats and toys are especially important because they are like rewards and they make your dog feel good. Treats that contain cannabidiol (CBD), like Canna-Pet doggy biscuits, also have a medicinal effect on your dog’s anxiety. These treats not only make your dog feel warm toward you for giving them, but they also create physiological responses in your dog that reduce stress. Toys help further reduce your dog’s stress by providing opportunities to expend nervous energy through chewing, wrestling, chasing, and more. Have a variety of toys to ensure that you have something that will suit your dog’s tastes.

Spend a Few Days at Home

If you can, take a few days off work to be with your dog when you first bring him home. This will allow you to spend a lot of quality time with your dog while also helping him adjust to the new schedule and the new surroundings.

While you are home, spend a lot of time talking with your dog, playing together, petting your dog, and just being together. You can just watch TV while your dog sits next to you. The key is to get your dog used to you and feel safe around you.

It is also important that you work on house training while you are home together. Make sure you leave the house briefly during this time to give your dog a chance to practice these skills.

Provide a Crate

Putting your dog in a crate might sound like putting him in doggy jail to you. But to your dog, a crate is a safe space. Dogs are den animals, and the crate is like his own private den. Whenever your dog feels scared, stressed, or overwhelmed, he can go to the crate and feel more secure.

Leave the door to the crate open unless you are leaving the house or working on house training. Keep food and water right outside the door, as well as several toys. Your dog may also like a soft cushion or blanket inside the crate. The key is to make the crate as comfortable and inviting as possible for your dog.

Replicate Diet and Schedule

Even if you adopt your dog from a shelter, you should have some information about what kind of schedule your dog has followed and what kind of diet he has had. You may only get a few weeks’ worth of information, but that is still valuable. You want to replicate whatever your dog has been used to in the most recent past.

Feed your dog the same kind of food to start, even if you plan to change it. Do what you can to feed and walk your dog on the same schedule, as well. You can make slow changes to diet and schedule over time, but keeping them the same at first will help your dog feel more secure.

Limit Contact

Everything is going to be new to your adopted dog. Try to limit new people, as well, so as not to overwhelm your dog any more than is necessary. Now is not the time to take your dog to the park or to show him off to all the neighbors. Now is not the time to schedule a big party or to plan a lot of play dates for your kids.

Keep things to you or your immediate family members until your dog feels more comfortable. If you have children living in the home, monitor the interactions between the children and the dog to ensure that the kids don’t poke or prod the dog and stress him out.

Adopting a dog can be wonderful for you and the dog, especially if you adopt an older dog looking for a last chance at a family. Use these tips to help your dog transition a little easier and make sure that you have a long and wonderful relationship together.


Living a Cancer-Free and Well Informed 2017…


Every February, throughout National Cancer Prevention month, patients, advocates, specialists, clinics, friends and family members around the country and world raise awareness and educate others of the various treatments, diagnosis, research, care and preventative health measures related to cancer. The Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center recommends a few wellness tips of their own to remember this National Cancer Prevention Month.


Although a harsh reality, one in three women and one in two men are diagnosed with cancer each year and plenty of such cancers are even preventable including lung cancer, skin cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer and mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma, is an aggressive cancer which affects the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen of which approximately 3,000 new diagnoses are confirmed each year. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma which forms in the lining of the lungs, peritoneal mesothelioma being the next most common type of mesothelioma which forms in the abdominal lining, followed by the rarest form, pericardial mesothelioma which develops in the lining of the heart. Mesothelioma is entirely preventable as exposure to asbestos is the only scientifically proven cause of mesothelioma. Only when ingested or when asbestos fibers become airborne and inhaled, can the fibers attach to the lining of the lungs, to develop mesothelioma between 10-15 years later.


Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and throat. They can be life threatening if not diagnosed or treated early and can be definition and prevention methods. The American cancer society recommends avoiding risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, HPV infection and more.


Cervical Cancer Begins when cells in lining the cervix in the lower part of the uterus or womb, often referred to as the uterine cervix, grow out of control. Most cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) which can be transmitted by having sexual contact with someone who has it. Cervical cancer is the “easiest” female cancer to prevent with the HPV vaccine and regular medical screening tests and follow-up appointments as it is highly curable if detected and treated early-on.

Skin cancer is known as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. When unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (often by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds) is triggers mutations or genetic defects which lead to rapid skin cell multiplication and malignant tumors. The three main types of skin cancer include squamous skin cancers, basal cell skin cancer and melanomas although there are other types of skin cancer such as merkel cell carcinoma, kaposi sarcoma, cutaneous lymphoma, skin adnexal tumors and various types of sarcomas. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid and protect yourself from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays as well as the use of indoor tanning beds and sun lamps.


Lung cancer: Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in either one or both of the lungs. Such cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue, rather tumors interfering with the functioning of the lung in providing oxygen to the body via the blood. Although there is no way to prevent lung cancer, there are significant ways to reduce the risk of lung cancer. With 4% of all lung cancer diagnoses, due to asbestos exposure, preventative measures include avoiding exposure to asbestos, avoiding secondhand smoke and smoking overall, test your home for radon, avoid carcinogens in the workplace, eat a rich diet of fruits and vegetables and exercise to keep lungs strong and healthy.


Conclusion: Although these are just a few cancers, there are underlying health benefits of being informed and aware of them and how to prevent and limit the risks of each. For additional information, visit a health professional and continue to inform yourself of the many ways to prevent the risks of cancer. Most importantly, connect closely with your friends, family members and caregivers who have been touched in some way. We can all learn a little something from them, whether it’s health, wellness or inspiration related.



Free Screening at Sam’s Club – February 11

Recognizing how challenging it can be for some people – including busy parents! – to take the time to get a check-up, Sam’s Club just announced that it has teamed up with health technology company higi to make free, self-service health screening stations available at most Sam’s Club locations with a pharmacy (622 locations), as part of the company’s overarching commitment to making healthy living more accessible.


These screening stations are able to assess each user’s blood pressure, pulse, weight, and body mass index (BMI). Users can also track their health information over time and share it with others through higi’s online platform, which can aggregate data from over 80 health devices, activity trackers and apps.


The higi self-service stations complement the existing free health screening program that Sam’s Club offers every month from January through October to both members and the public. In fact, the higi rollout at Sam’s Club aligns with the timing of the company’s ‘Healthy at Heart’ screening, which will take place this Saturday, February 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at all locations with a pharmacy, while supplies last. This screening is valued at up to $150 and will include the following tests:


  • Total cholesterol
  • HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Blood pressure
  • Body Fat Percentage
  • Glucose
  • Vision (not available at all locations)
  • Hearing (not available at all locations)



3 Ways to Help Elderly Loves Ones Overcome Loneliness

                                                 Senior woman with her home caregiver

Loneliness and isolation are two significant issues that today’s elderly face. A healthy mind and body are not only important to us, but crucial for healthy aging, too. Here are a few things that can help ward off loneliness and isolation for your loved ones.

Ensure Transportation is Available

Many seniors aren’t able to drive, which is a major cause of social isolation. As a caregiver or family member, you can help prevent social isolation by making sure that transportation is readily available, or by giving your family member a ride when they need it.

According to data reported by A Place for Mom, an assisted living facility, people over the age of 60 who had access to a bus pass were more likely than their peers to take part in active travel, which includes walking, biking or using public transportation. This helps to increase social and physical activity. As a caregiver you can check to see what local public transportation options are offered in your area., for example, provides a list of transportation resources in Arizona, which includes cab programs and dial-a-ride services. Search for your city and see what is available. Depending on level of mobility, setting them up with the Uber or Lyft app might be a good option for a social senior.

Suggest Senior-Friendly Activity Trackers

Fitness wearables are great for keeping track of steps and activity levels, both of which are important for seniors. Not only are these devices great for inspiring activity, these devices provide a social element, too. The Lively Wearable senior fitness tracker by GreatCall does both. It promotes a healthy and active lifestyle with its daily step count feature, and offers challenges that help to keep the mind sharp, plus it provides health tips to keep seniors engaged. In addition to its features that help users stay active, the device also has potentially life-saving features like its urgent response, non-emergency and emergency call options, each of which can alert family members. The wearable has a sleek design, is waterproof and, when worn properly around the neck in a specially-designed lanyard, can call for help when it detects that a user has fallen.

Encourage Dining with Peers

Caretakers and loved ones can fight loneliness and isolation by encouraging seniors to dine with friends, family and peers whenever possible. Eating with others is one of the most common shared social acts, whether it’s for a special occasion or just a weeknight dinner, food simply brings people together. Not only does dining with others promote social activity, it can also benefit senior health by promoting better nutrition. Opportunities for shared meals can be found at churches and senior centers, for example. Additionally, family members and caregivers can also consider hosting a family meal once a week that brings everyone together in a shared social setting, at home or at a restaurant.

There are several ways to prevent social isolation for your elderly loved ones. Whether it’s wearable tech made just for seniors or a simple, shared meal, caregivers and loved ones can help do their part to prevent loneliness.


How to Feel Your Best on Your Wedding Day



Brides, there’s a lot of advice out there about planning your wedding. But none of it is as important as the tips that can keep you looking and feeling your best on the big day. When you’re putting together the day-of timeline and to-do list for your wedding, make sure you factor in the bride-approved tips below.


Exercise is a huge stress reliever. When your big day arrives it’s likely you’ll be stressing out about dozens of details. Give yourself a breather and let your mind go somewhere else before it all goes down at the altar. Plan to dedicate a small amount of time that works for your wedding day schedule to get a workout in. Whether you’re having a destination wedding or getting married in your hometown, there’s ample opportunity to workout. Go for a quick run on the beach or head to your health club to spend an hour on the elliptical. Your body and mind will thank you.

Eat Up

There is so much going on the day of the wedding that many brides forget to eat before the ceremony starts, so be sure to eat when you can. Start your day with a light breakfast like toast with a light spread and a cup of fresh fruit. For lunch try your best to eat a bit of protein and veggies. Have ample snacks around like almonds, apples slices or string cheese. When it comes to cocktails, limit yourself to one for every two hours. And to avoid bloat, skip the pre-wedding champagne. Whatever you do, do not avoid eating on your wedding day.

Stay Hydrated

In the days leading up to your nuptials and on the day of you should be drinking plenty of water. Water helps the skin look its best — and not drinking enough can lead to dehydration, which can cause skin to look dull. To stay glowing, aim for at least eight glasses of water per day, this includes your wedding day and the two days leading up to it. You can also add water-rich foods to your diet like watermelon and cucumber to help you reach your hydration goal.

Catch Your ZZZs

Despite having pre-wedding jitters that may keep you up, your sleep is essential. It might be hard to turn off your phone or put away your checklists, but you’ve got to get some shut-eye. Try to avoid pulling an all-nighter or going to bed late. Ample sleep can boost your mood and give you energy, plus experts say that sleep has a direct effect on skin and its anti-aging process; while we sleep, our skin regenerates and repairs itself. This simple tip can ensure you look great in your wedding photos.

Be Prepared

Blisters, headaches and that one pesky pimple are just some of the little hiccups that can put a damper on your big day. To feel your best, be sure to put together an emergency kit full of all of the “just in case” items you might need. Some items to consider packing include ibuprofen, Band-Aids, tampons and baby wipes. Having these items on hand will ensure that you’re feeling fresh and at your best before you take the walk down the aisle.


Ways to Stay Fit and Still Have Fun


Middle age (and beyond) is more of a mind concept than anything else. Still, you can’t deny that physical activity gets harder to keep up with as you age. Women start to lose about five percent of their muscle mass in their 30s, and this percentage rises again in their 60s, according to Prevention. This makes exercise and physical activity even more important. Read on for ways to keep fit and have fun at the same time.


Swimming is perfect for over-50 bodies because it is low-impact, which limits the stress put on joints and bones, and it’s aerobic, which works out the heart muscle. If you find you get bored with swimming laps, do some of the same exercises you would do on land. Try knee-high jogging in place, squat jumps, jumping jacks and flutter kicks. Water exercise burns as many calories as land-based exercise, claims Fitness. For example, treading water for one minute burns 11 calories, which is more than running 6 mph for a minute. If you’re still getting bored, join a water exercise class for some fun and socialization.

Another benefit of swimming is that it requires pretty minimal gear. All you need is a pool large enough to swim around in and a swimsuit. A good pair of goggles, nose clips, ear plugs and flippers also can help you get back into your groove. The best thing about exercising in water, though, is that you won’t sweat.

Strength Training on Dry Land

If you prefer dry land, look for targeted strength exercises to increase or preserve your muscle mass. Some good exercises include:

  • Chair squats: These work the major lower body muscles, including the glutes. The lower you squat, the more resistance your body provides.
  • Lateral/Front raises: Use weights or small dumbbells to build up your shoulders and major deltoid muscles.
  • Push-ups: These tone the chest and the back of the arms. Use dumbbells if pushing up from the floor strains your wrists.
  • Rowing: This can correct or prevent a hunched-over posture by strengthening your back. Rowing can be done from a seated position on the floor or standing.

Round Out Exercises with Yoga

Finally, there’s yoga. Since you have an AARP card, check out the website ( to find yoga classes in your area for people over 50. You may already be doing yoga and not even know it. Whether it’s stretches or balancing exercises, it’s all yoga and it’s helping you stretch your muscles and improve your balance.

AARP gives three reasons for practicing yoga in your 50s: lessening hypertension, strengthening bones and focusing on wellness. The article cites a study from the Journal of Clinical Hypertension that states that yoga reduces systolic blood pressure by 33 points for participants that did yoga for six hours a week. It also explains that because yoga is a weight-bearing activity, it slows bone thinning, which helps prevent osteoporosis.

Best of all, yoga helps your muscles be prepared for your other workouts.


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