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Teach Your Kid The Value Of Money

January 3rd, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Raising a financially literate child doesn’t have to be difficult.

In a world of credit cards, online banking, tax codes, investments and retirement plans, keeping up with money can be tough for adults, and even more so for kids.

So, for the many parents who want to teach their kid economic ideas and prepare them for their financial futures, where the heck is the starting point?

We asked financial experts to break down the best ways to actually teach kids the value of money. Here’s their advice:

Make sure money isn’t “invisible” to your kids.

Chris Whitlow, CEO of financial wellness benefits provider Edukate, described money as “an emotional issue” and “very much a contact sport.”

“It’s like if you were to read academically about football and then go out and try to play football,” Whitlow told HuffPost. “The act of reading about and playing it are two different things.”

That’s why it’s important for families to speak openly about finances when possible ? like their budget, for example ? to encourage questions from their kids and to set them up to be better prepared in their financial future. This means taking a minute after swiping your debit or credit card to explain that the little thing in your wallet is not the source of limitless money.

Whitlow also noted that money conversations with kids are opportune times to discuss the difference between “what you need to have to function in life and what you want to have in life.”

Consider letting your children have some money to work with.

One way to teach kids about money is to simply let them have it, and cash is a great start.

“Cash is a tangible object,” said Gwen Tulin, founder and artistic director of Brain Arts Productions, a group that runs birthday parties, camps and other events that incorporate financial literacy with the arts. “You see it’s there and then it’s not.”

She suggested that caretakers take a few minutes to grab cash from an ATM and pick one store in which they’ll regularly use that money in front of their kids.

“It helps make the idea crystallize in somebody’s mind,” Tulin said. “Then, you can move on to more abstract concepts, but cash is a foundation.”

If you’re uncomfortable letting your kids have actual money, get creative. Whitlow told HuffPost his family made bills featuring one of his kids’ faces that she was able to earn for various tasks.

“It allowed her to do the things we asked at home ? some of them were emotional, like how she interacted with her siblings,” Whitlow said. “But those bucks had a very tangible utility to them.”

“We’ve made money into a foreign language. 401(k) and 529, those are tax code language, and why would we expect the average person to understand the tax code language?”- TANYA VAN COURT, CEO AND FOUNDER OF GOALSETTER

There are also options for parents who are OK with letting their kid manage finances on a spending card. The app BusyKid allows parents to manage their children’s chores, pay them, and put that money on a reloadable Visa card for the kids to use, so they’re the ones seeing the balance adjust with every purchase and every chore.

“I think of it as a kid’s first job with direct deposit,” said Gregg Murset, CEO and founder of BusyKid and a certified financial planner.

The platform also allows kids to buy fractional shares of stocks, if that’s a skill you’d like them to learn early on.

Don’t get overwhelmed with financial language.

Tanya Van Court started Goalsetter, a saving and giving platform for kids, as a way for families to better celebrate birthdays and holidays with their little ones without racking up a bunch of plastic toys that are hardly used. The founder and CEO gets why many parents are intimidated to even start a conversation about money with their kids.

“We’ve made money into a foreign language,” Van Court said. “401(k) and 529, those are tax code language, and why would we expect the average person to understand the tax code language?”

Van Court wasn’t taught financial basics as a kid, so she made sure to introduce it to her own children. To help other families do the same, Goalsetter offers an Urban Financial Dictionary that explains financial terms and associates them with movies, TV shows, song lyrics and more.

Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, which promotes angel investing for women and non-binary femme entrepreneurs, noted that it’s important to introduce kids to other economic ideas and to associate money with their lives as adults.

“We’re getting better at having kids think about entrepreneurship,” Oberti Noguera said. “We can talk to kids like, ‘Hey, if you’re interested in start-ups, you can get a job and climb the ladder. You’re actually going to be building wealth and you’ll be able to invest.’”

Don’t forget to explain that money can be a powerful tool to help others.

When talking about money with your kids, you don’t want to leave out the fact that some people are more privileged than others. BusyKid incorporates a list of charities to which kids can donate, and Goalsetter breaks down three different ways in which it lets kids categorize their goals: saving for the future, saving for things and experiences, and sharing with others. The last designation encourages kids to pay it forward with money they’ve earned.

“We not only want the lessons about allocating your money toward things that are important to you,” Van Court said, “but also giving back to other people that don’t have much stuff.”

As Whitlow pointed out, there’s no perfect way to teach kids about financial topics. What you’re aiming for is to “create a certain sense of vigilance about money” so kids will be prepared for their future.

Parenting is harder than ever, and there’s no one way to do it right. So on November 2, HuffPost Life will convene a community of people trying to figure it out together at our inaugural HuffPost Parents conference, HOW TO RAISE A KID. In advance of the event, HuffPost Parents will publish stories on topics that matter deeply to parents of children who are starting to navigate the world on their own: bullying; sex, consent and gender; money; their digital lives; and how to raise compassionate, self-sufficient, creative, emotionally intelligent children. In short — kids who aren’t assholes. View the event site here and be sure to follow HuffPost Parents on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter, How Not To Raise A Jerk.

Source: huffpost.com

10 Steps to a Clutter Free Life

January 3rd, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Ours is a culture of abundance. Even in this time of economic recession – most of us have more ‘stuff’ than we really, truly, need. Clutter, whether it be too many tasks on our agenda, too many thoughts pulsing through our minds, or too many belongings in our homes, seems to be a societal epidemic. When we slow down a bit and take notice, however, we find that more stuff actually creates more stress. Additionally, the state of having too much stuff to care for, clean, and manage means less time for connecting with family and friends, taking care of yourself, and nurturing your soul and creative spirit.

Reducing physical clutter in the home creates a sense of calm, and allows energy to flow freely throughout. New possibilities emerge and creative solutions to old problems seem to appear from nowhere. Here are some things you can start doing now to make it happen:

1. Designate one spot for all incoming mail/paperwork and go through it daily.

2. Unsubscribe from email newsletters, blogs, and retail email lists that no longer interest you. Its YOUR inbox, after all.

3. Before purchasing anything, from new socks to a new smartphone, ask yourself: “Do I love it?” and “Will I use it?” Think twice unless the answer to both questions is a resounding “Yes!”

4. Commit to clearing clutter from one area of your home each day for a week and schedule ten minutes daily to do it. Start with something totally feasible, like your coat rack or medicine chest.

5. Meditate for five minutes each day. This will help de-clutter your mind and give you the clarity to keep what’s essential and part with the rest.

6. Eliminate clothing from your closet and dresser that hasn’t been worn in the last calendar year.

7. Find a home for clutter-prone items, you know, the things that wind up on the kitchen table, living room floor, and bedroom dresser. Designate a place for them and make a habit of putting them there, every single day.

8. Create clutter-free zones in your home. The entryway is a great place to start. If there is clutter in the entrance, 98% of the time there is clutter throughout the house. The kitchen table is another good choice. Keep what you love and use, recycle, donate or toss everything else. Be ruthless!

9. Use “maybe” boxes. If, in the course of de-cluttering, you’re not sure what to do with an item, put it in the maybe box. Note the date on the box and store it out of sight. If you don’t go looking for those items within six months to a year, it’s time to get rid of those things.

10. Evaluate your commitments. Most of us are over-scheduled, which is it’s own form of clutter. Make sure your commitments are reflective of your values and your priorities. Say no to new commitments without guilt and drop whatever commitments no longer serve you. Your life needs space for free flowing energy, just like your home.

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Engagement Ring Insurance 101

December 7th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

RingInsurance101Putting an insurance policy on your engagement ring may sound unromantic, but nothing’s sweeter than peace of mind.

What Ring Insurance Is:

There are a few ways to insure your engagement ring. Ring insurance can be purchased as an extension (also called a “rider”) for your renters or homeowners policy. Renters and homeowners policies cover the stuff in your home, but only up to a certain dollar value. Expensive, special items, like engagement rings, art and electronics, are guaranteed through scheduled personal property coverage—an insurance policy extension that covers particular items. Another option is to insure your ring through a company that specializes in jewelry insurance, which might offer more coverage than a standard homeowners policy (replacing a lost or stolen ring rather than paying a set amount of cash, for instance).

Who Needs Ring Insurance Most:

Any couple with jewelry that has pricey material or sentimental value. Whether your wedding and engagement rings cost $500 or $50,000, an insurance policy is a way of honoring not just their financial value but what they represent. The sentiment behind your rings is priceless, but the rings themselves can be replaced—if they’re insured—in the event that something happens to them.

How Ring Insurance Works:

You’ll need to provide your receipts, as well as an appraisal, which costs a small fee. (You can get an appraisal from a certified gemologist.) And remember: If you move after the wedding, make sure your “ring rider” follows you. Some couples have the ring insured at the bride’s house (or her parents’) before the wedding, but forget to add it to the policy for their new home when they move in together.

If you don’t have a renters or homeowners policy, there’s an alternative way to insure your ring: Certain insurance companies offer policies through jewelers on individual pieces—ask your jeweler if they work with an insurance company to offer ring insurance. These kinds of policies can vary widely company by company (usually a jeweler will offer a policy that’s underwritten by smaller company), so ask specific questions about the level of coverage provided.

Questions to Ask Before You Choose a Policy:

  • Is the ring covered if you lose it accidentally, or only if it’s stolen?
  • How will the company replace the ring—with a check? Or will they require you to purchase a replacement through a specified jeweler?
  • What if it’s a vintage ring or other unique piece? How will the quality and size of your diamond—and that of a replacement if needed—be documented?
  • Is the ring insured to full cost or a fraction of it?
  • How will you need to prove the ring vanished if you make a claim?
  • Are there any circumstances that aren’t covered? (What if your ring flies off at the circus and gets trampled by elephants, for example?)

Average Cost:

The yearly cost to insure your ring is $1 to $2 for every $100 that it would cost to replace. In plain English, this means that if your ring would cost $9,000 to replace, you might expect to pay between $90 and $180 per year to insure it—or slightly more in cities where the risk of theft is higher.

How to Get Your Cost Down:

Buy a vault or safe to keep jewelry in when it’s not being worn. You can also keep paperwork like appraisals in the safe, so you’ll always know where it is if needed.

If You Only Remember One Thing:

When you shop for a “ring rider” policy, make sure to read the fine print. A good policy will cover every potential ring-threatening situation, from theft and damage to accidentally dropping it in the garbage disposal.

Source: theknot.com

Fight the Flu!

December 7th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

What is Influenza (also called Flu)?


The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Signs and Symptoms of Flu

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

Period of Contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

Onset of Symptoms

The time from when a person is exposed to flu virus to when symptoms begin is about 1 to 4 days, with an average of about 2 days.

Complications of Flu

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

People at High Risk from Flu

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Preventing Flu

The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.

Diagnosing Flu

It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other viral or bacterial causes of respiratory illnesses on the basis of symptoms alone. There are tests available to diagnose flu. For more information, see Diagnosing Flu.

Treating

There are influenza antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.

For more information, see “Seasonal Influenza, More Information.”

Source: cdc.gov

30 Simple Holiday Décor Ideas

December 7th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Looking to update your holiday decor? Find more easy holiday decorating ideas here.

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Twist on a Traditional Wreath

Instead of the traditional evergreen, try a homemade wreath of citrus fruits. Start with a circular piece of florist’s foam, then use wooden florist’s picks to secure large items, such as oranges, first. Continue with smaller fruit: kumquats, clementines, limes. Tie with a thick velvet ribbon.

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Sparkly Ornament Display

Place vintage ornaments on a cake stand nested with leaves for a stunningly simple centerpiece.

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Personalized Place Settings

Serving holiday dinner buffet style? Wrap each dish in a sheet of parchment paper and tie with a length of ribbon before stacking it. Guests will be rewarded with a pretty presentation (not to mention a little gift-opening practice).

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Invite Greenery Inside

Lush greenery draped around the house, especially doorways, creates an inviting atmosphere and a woodsy aroma.

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Get More Great Ideas

Visit http://www.realsimple.com/ to see the rest of these awesome decorating ideas.

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

December 7th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Dos and Don’ts of Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

shutterstock_521034784If you’ve put off holiday shopping for yet another weekend and still can’t get through your growing holiday to-do list, make sure that you’re not paying a premium for last-minute gifts. Shopping at the last minute may be your only option, but there are still steps you can take to keep costs down and share the holiday spirit under budget.

Here are some dos and don’ts of holiday shopping at the last minute.

Do: Ask about free gift-wrapping services. Many stores will offer free gift-wrapping services on in-store purchases, so you’ll have that gift ready to go the same day you buy it. You’ll save time, or course, but you’ll also save money on gift wrap and assorted supplies. It really does pay to ask if the service is available, especially if you are buying multiple gifts a few days before a holiday event.

Don’t: Go shopping without a list. When you’re on a tight budget and don’t have the option to splurge, make sure that you’re armed with a shopping list and plan to keep your spending on track. It’s easy to get derailed once you’re in the store and on the hunt for gifts. Your list of must-haves will keep you focused on your task (time is running out, after all), and your list will help you stay on budget.

Do: Check the store or shopping center schedule. Many stores will open early and close late to accommodate last-minute shoppers like you. This means that you can avoid the after-work traffic jam by arriving later in the evening or rising early to get your holiday shopping done before work. Check the mall and store hours to confirm opening and closing times and plan accordingly. Consider that many holiday shoppers may not be willing to shop at the crack of dawn, either. If you can make a trip out earlier in the day, you may be able to beat last-minute crowds.

Don’t: Forget about your local grocery or convenience stores. Many grocery stores, drugstores and convenience stores are stocked with holiday items that make for great last-minute holiday gifts. From boxes of chocolate to gift baskets filled with goodies, stocking stuffers and smaller gifts may be available at low prices at your local grocery or hardware store. Keep an eye out for in-store specials and markdowns as Christmas draws near. These stores will need to clear inventory as quickly as possible, so you may be able to get a good deal before the after-Christmas sales.

Do: Make use of smartphone apps for last-minute deals. Whether you’re heading to the electronics store, a gourmet food store or your favorite big-box store, use shopping apps, such as SlickDeals, RetailMeNot and Coupon Sherpa, to get the latest coupon codes, coupons and other discounts on online and offline purchases at the last minute. You’ll rarely have to pay the full retail price on gift items once you’ve checked these apps for deal alerts and the latest coupons.

Don’t: Worry about Christmas Eve crowds. If you’re the ultimate procrastinator who left the holiday shopping until Christmas Eve, there’s still hope. Most people are already home for the holidays – and at home for Christmas Eve – so if you still have a few gifts to round up for Christmas Day celebrations, now’s your time to shine. Just keep in mind that many stores close early on Christmas Eve, so you will need to head out earlier in the day to pick up those gifts.

Do: Consider food gifts. If you’ve been baking away this holiday season, consider wrapping up some of those treats in an attractive gift tin or food gift box as a last-minute holiday gift. Cookies, brownies, cupcakes and other baked treats can make the perfect gift for any foodie on your gift list. Even better? They are an easy gift to put together at the last minute. If you don’t have any time left to be in the kitchen, you could also put together a mini gift basket of holiday candy, boxed cookies and other treats you already received or purchased to give away as a last-minute gift. Regifted holiday treats may not be the most thoughtful gift to give, but this late in the season, there’s not enough time for thoughtful.

Enduring Summer’s Deep Freeze

July 10th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

IT’S summertime. The season when you can write your name in the condensation on the windows at Starbucks, people pull on parkas to go to the movies and judges have been known to pause proceedings so bailiffs can escort jurors outside the courthouse to warm up.

On these, the hottest days of the year, office workers huddle under fleece blankets in their cubicles. Cold complaints trend on Twitter with posts like, “I could preserve dead bodies in the office it’s so cold in here.” And fashion and style bloggers offer advice for layered looks for coming in and out of the cold.

Why is America so over air-conditioned? It seems absurd, if not unconscionable, when you consider the money and energy wasted — not to mention the negative impact on the environment from the associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Architects, engineers, building owners and energy experts sigh with exasperation when asked for an explanation. They tick off a number of reasons — probably the most vexing is cultural.

“Being able to make people feel cold in the summer is a sign of power and prestige,” said Richard de Dear, director of the Indoor Environmental Quality Laboratory at University of Sydney, Australia, where excessive air-conditioning is as prevalent as it is in much of the United States. He said the problem is even worse in parts of the Middle East and Asia.

Commercial real estate brokers and building managers say sophisticated tenants specify so-called chilling capacity in their lease agreements so they are guaranteed cold cachet. In retailing, luxury stores like Bergdorf GoodmanNeiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are kept colder than more down-market TargetWalmart and Old NavyWhole Foods is chillier than Kroger, which is chillier than Piggly Wiggly.

There’s also the widely held misconception that colder temperatures make workers more alert and productive when, in fact, research shows the opposite. Studies have shown people work less and make more mistakeswhen the air temperature is 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit versus 74 to 76 degrees. Moreover, some research indicates feeling cold can take a psychological toll, making people untrustinguncommunicative and unfriendly.

As infants we learn to associate warmth with the safety of our parents’ arms. Our subconscious equates cold with vulnerability, which partly explains why people can be so miserable when they are chilled.

A region of the brain called the hypothalamus is responsible for our body’s thermoregulatory system, constricting blood vessels when we are cold and dilating them when we are hot to maintain a safe core body temperature. Your physical discomfort is essentially the hypothalamus prodding you to say, put on a sweater if it’s chilly or fan yourself when it’s hot.

Extreme temperature changes like entering a freezing lobby on a sweltering summer day may feel good at first, but it makes the hypothalamus go nuts, intensifying physical and psychological discomfort when the initial pleasure wears off — as if to say: “A blizzard is on its way! Do something!”

“It’s left over from a time when it was dangerous to have that kind of change in temperature,” said Nisha Charkoudian, a research physiologist with the United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass.

The problem is compounded by building managers who, surveys indicate, typically don’t adjust the temperature set point higher in summertime when people wear lighter and more revealing clothes than they do in wintertime. Since thermoreceptors (nerve cells that sense temperature changes) are on your skin, the more of it you have exposed, the colder you are going to feel. Sixty-eight degrees feels a lot different if you are wearing a wool turtleneck, slacks and boots versus a poplin sundress and sandals.

However, you can understand managers’ bias toward keeping the lower, wintertime setting when many are men and might wear ties and jackets no matter the season. They may be even less inclined to bump up the thermostat if they are heavyset, as body fat is the ultimate heat insulator.

Air-conditioning systems are also usually designed for worst-case scenarios — full occupancy of a space on the hottest day of the year. As part of that calculation, designers might have assumed heat loads that factor in older-model computers and less energy-efficient lighting that radiate much more warmth than the machines and bulbs used today.

And, engineers say, they might add a 20 percent upward correction, just to be on the safe side. A result is systems with ridiculous overcapacity that don’t run well on low settings.

“It’s analogous to a high-tune car where you have to keep your foot on gas to keep it from stalling out,” said Edward Arens, professor of architecture and director of the Center for the Built Environment at the University of California, Berkeley.

Paradoxically, another reason for aggressive air-conditioning is energy-efficient building construction. Better sealing and insulation keeps air-conditioning from escaping but it also keeps fresh air from entering. So cool air is often kept blasting to meet mandated air quality standards for levels of carbon dioxide that build up in the absence of outside air. The cool air also controls humidity, which can lead to every building manager’s nightmare: mold.

STILL, Mr. Arens and his colleagues found that when they reduced airflow in several office buildings during the summer, including ones on the Yahoocampus in Sunnyvale, Calif., air quality was not diminished and it cut employee cold complaints in half as well as reduced the energy bill by as much as 30 percent.

While architects like Mr. Arens point the finger at engineers for designing air-conditioning systems with too much capacity, engineers can justifiably point the finger back at those architects who often have an aesthetic aversion to thermostats.

“Architects try to convince mechanical engineers to hide sensors so they don’t mess up their beautiful design, so you find them in quite out-of-the-way locations” like within air inlets on the ceiling, where, because heat rises, they provide less than accurate readings, said Jon Seller, general manager of Optegy, an energy management consulting firm based in Hong Kong, which specializes in maximizing the efficiency and automation of air-conditioning systems.

A couple of computer scientists have developed a smartphone app that proposes to solve that problem by making people the thermostats. Users can tell the app, called Comfy, whether they are hot, cold or just right. Over time, it learns trends and preferences and tells the air-conditioning system when and where to throttle up or throttle back the cooling. So far it’s used in a dozen buildings, including some of Google’s offices and some government-owned buildings, for a total of three million square feet. The developers claim Comfy-equipped buildings realize savings of up to 25 percent in cooling costs.

“We have a lot of data that people are most comfortable if they have some measure of control,” said Gwelen Paliaga, a building systems engineer in Arcata, Calif., and chairman of a committee that develops standards for human thermal comfort for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, or Ashrae.

Of course, for fresh air and comfort, engineers and architects tend to agree the most effective control is being able to open and close the windows. No app required.

Source: nytimes.com

Ideas for Your Summer Staycation

July 10th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

As the kids finish school and the weather heats up, many people are getting excited about long-awaited summer vacations. Summer vacations are a time to relax, unwind and spend some quality time with loved ones. Big vacations, however, do require quite a bit of planning and, of course, can end up costing some serious cash, especially with a whole family in tow.

If you haven’t gotten around to making summer vacation plans, or it’s just not in the cards this year, you might be the perfect candidate for a summer staycation. (A staycation can be just as enjoyable as a vacation, and can enrich your life for the whole year. Check out Affordable Staycation Ideas for Families.)

A staycation is like a vacation, only you spend it at home. Instead of spending lots of money on airfare and expensive hotels, you can take advantage of the attractions your area has to offer that you never get a chance to enjoy. This includes your house – when was the last time you relaxed at home? A few ground rules will help ensure you have a successful staycation:

  • Put it on the calendar  with a start date and an end date – so everyone knows when you’re on staycation.
     
  • Get a visitor’s guide. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce’s website or stop by for a visitor’s guide. You might be surprised to find great activities that you didn’t know about. (Keep the kids out of your hair and wallet by saving on summer camps, sports leagues, day trips and more. Learn how in Budget-Friendly Summer Fun.)
     
  • Limit the chores. Plan ahead and try to get as many chores out of the way so that you don’t spend your staycation doing laundry and mopping the floor.
     
  • Write it down. Your staycation doesn’t have to be scripted, but it is helpful to write down the things you want to do, and then have fun crossing the activities off the list.

Whether you live in a bustling city or off the beaten path, you should be able to find plenty of activities to keep you busy. To get you started, here are eight great ideas for your summer staycation.

1. Get Out

Outside, that is. National parks, state parks, county parks, metro parks and nature centers all provide a place to run around and enjoy nature. As an added bonus, many are free. You can easily spend a day hiking, swimming and picnicking in your local park. Visit http://www.nps.gov/ to find a national park or http://www.stateparks.com/ to find a state park.

2. Stay In

A rainy day during your staycation is a terrific opportunity to visit a local museum or two. Art museums, aquariums, planetariums, science museums and natural history museums can be enjoyable and interesting. You can search for museums at the American Association of Museum’s website at http://www.aam-us.org/ (click “Museum Resources” tab”); or search the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ website at http://www.aza.org/.

3. Get Active

Take advantage of the local swimming pool, tennis courts, golf course or skating rink. Go for a bike ride, a walk, or try a new sport. Dust off the old baseball mitts, soccer balls and Frisbees and have fun.

4. Get Festive

Summertime is usually ripe with festivals in one form or another. Your local newspaper or Chamber of Commerce can keep you up to date with goings on. In addition to daytime festivals, many locales host free music nights during the summer months. 

5. Learn Something New

Have you always wanted to learn how to throw pottery or paint with watercolors? How about cooking Cuban food or home-brewing beer? Your local recreation department or community college probably has a great choice of classes to get you started. Many of them will be  one-day introductory classes that won’t require a huge investment.

6. Be Pampered

With all the money you’re saving on your staycation, you just might be entitled to a trip to the local spa for a massage and facial. Most spas do require advance reservations, and many offer specials and packages so be sure to ask. Try http://www.spafinder.com/ to find a spa in your area.

7. Tell Ghost Stories

Pitch the tent and build a small fire – in your back yard. Camping in the backyard is a fun and easy way to camp. You can chase fireflies, sing songs, look at the stars and roast marshmallows (or make s’mores: roast a marshmallow until golden brown, place between two graham crackers with a piece of chocolate and squeeze together).

8. Splurge

Is there a fancy restaurant you’ve wanted to try? Have you wondered what it would be like to hire a personal chef for a delicious meal at home (try http://www.personalchef.com/ and click on “Find a Personal Chef”)? A staycation is a wonderful opportunity to splurge on something you wouldn’t normally spend the money on, without feeling guilty.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Stay Put

A staycation can be just as much fun as a regular vacation. Often it can be more rewarding than a vacation simply because there is no travel stress and it costs less money. Being under less stress, and not spending so much money, can allow for more relaxation while creating quality time for you and your family. A staycation might be just the vacation you need. Don’t forget to send postcards.

Read more: 8 Great Ideas For Your Summer Staycation 
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Low Cost Summer Fun

June 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Bike Parade

Post signs around the neighborhood encouraging kids to decorate their rides with streamers, stickers, flags, and more—then let them cruise while all the parents applaud.

How to Teach Your Kid to Ride a Bike


Thank Local Heroes

Take a tour of your police or fire station. Since most locations don’t have set visiting hours, call ahead to arrange an appointment.

Win Baby Gear!


Start Fishing

Click on Little Lunkers at takemefishing.org, where your young angler can learn the basics of the sport and find places to cast off in your area.