Monday, September 16, 2019

Take The Stress Out Of Buying Your First Home

The stress of buying a home is up there with getting a divorce or starting a family. Although these situations are entirely different, home buying does take endurance, big decisions, lots of thinking, planning, and saving to get right. I mean the last thing you want to do is misread an essential term in a contract, miss the damp that's in the basement, or underestimate how much moving home actually costs. Although initially buying a house might seem like a minefield waiting to explode, it doesnt have to be this way. You can take the stress out of buying your first home, and here's how.

Think About What You Need 

This part is about being logical, initially at least, to assess what you actually need against what you dream of having, to see if you can find a happy compromise. You might dream of a 2-bed apartment in NYC with views of Central Park. But, if you have 3 kids to bring up, you may be lacking in space and practicality for family life. For another example, it may seem ideal to buy a large old house that you can renovate. But if it's just you living there for the foreseeable future,  and you have no idea how to install new wires or upgrade the plumbing, you're in for an expensive surprise. Suss out what you need, and then see if there is room for any wants following that. This will simplify buying a home that's right for you.

Extensive Research

Committing to extensive research before choosing a home is essential. Everything from the lenders you are thinking of selecting, to the current interest rates, to the value of the homes you are interested in on the market. Look at neighborhoods, future plans for the local area, local schools, and so forth. Researching everything about buying a home will make you feel more confident and secure when you do eventually say 'I want to buy this one!' Because you will have already worked out important things like; the best lender for you, how to get an itin mortgage if you don't have a social security number. And you will have assessed the value of other homes in the area to make sure you are offering a fair price.

Sort Out Your Money

You're going nowhere fast trying to mortgage a home if you haven't got some savings to show for it. Most of the time, this can mean rallying up a percentage of the properties value as a downpayment. But don't forget other expected costs too, like legal fees, property tax, and moving costs. Make sure you have enough to secure a home and pay for everything else before you commit. This will prevent a lot of stress from occurring when you attempt to choose and secure a home to buy.

Take Care Of You

Amongst the compulsive need to look at new houses that have been listed in the last 24 hours online, you also need to take a break now and then to go to the gym or to meet your friend for a coffee. Home buying can become like a full-time job, or take over your life if you let it, that is. So now and then, just switch off. Turn off the laptop, wind down, and do something else that's fun and good for you. It will help you overcome any upcoming home-buying obstacles with ease and also help to prevent you from becoming ill from excessive stress.

How to Get the Most From Your Household Budget

Image credit Pixabay CC0 License

Taking care of a family and running a household is an expensive task. Trying to keep everyone clean, fed, clothed and warm is a costly process, and that's without even adding on any costs of running a vehicle, vacations, etc. 

While it may be expensive to keep your home running and take care of your family, there are loads of ways that it can be made both easier, and a lot cheaper too. Once you start looking for ways to save money, you may be surprised by just how addictive it is! Becoming a bargain hunter and picking up the best deals can be a lot of fun - once you get started, there will be no stopping you!

Finding ways to save yourself some money, and taking a proactive approach, is a great way to beat the stress of trying to balance your finances. Once you start being proactive about it, you're sure to feel a whole lot better. Here are some ideas you may want to try to get you started:

Reassess Your Budget

Do you stick to a weekly, or monthly budget for your household? If not, now is the time to get started on creating a budget that you can stick to. It can be helpful to write down all of your earnings, and to then work out how much you typically spend on things such as gas, household bills, groceries, etc. Next, examine this spending and see where savings can be made. Doing this can sometimes flag up money that's leaving your account for no reason at all, such as a long-forgotten subscription, for example.

Make Your Money Work Harder

While you may not be able to squeeze yourself a bigger budget to cover your outgoings, you can make the money that you currently earn work harder for you.

If you have credit cards, do some research and read reviews to find the best ones for you, such as's review of Chase Visa cards as being well-informed about your finances is essential.

If you currently have savings, then check that you are getting the best return on them, and weigh up the positives and negatives of the other savings accounts available.

Shop Around

Do you visit the same grocery store each week without fail? If you do, you could be missing out on a great money-saving opportunity. 

Shopping around to pick up the best deals from different stores, may be a little more time-consuming, but it will save you money.

Boost Your Paycheck

Does your employer often have extra hours available to work? Why not take them up on their offer and earn yourself some extra cash? Of course, no one wants to spend every waking hour at work, but you may be surprised by how much of a difference, simply doing an extra couple of hours each week can make to your paycheck. 

Working just a small amount of extra hours, shouldn't cut into your free time too much, but can make a big difference. Make sure that you set aside the extra money that you earn from working overtime. Otherwise, it will be absorbed into the rest of your money in your bank account. Try to use this cash to make a difference to your finances, whether it's making some extra payments to get a debt paid off faster, or put it into savings for something that you need for your home.

Think Before You Buy

Most people at some time have gotten themselves carried away on a shopping trip and given into temptation. The result of this usually is overspending and then feeling guilty about it afterwards. 

A straightforward fix to beat unnecessary spending is to ask yourself, do I need this? Will I use it? Unless you can answer yes to both of these questions, put the item back on the shelf and congratulate yourself on not giving in to temptation!

Start Your Seasonal Shopping Early

Buying items out of season is a great way to pick up fantastic bargains. Don't forget to apply the above 'think before you buy' rule to your purchases!

If you have space to store items such as Holiday gift wrap and gifts, then you could make life much easier, as well as less expensive for yourself in the long run. Make sure that you know where you are storing everything, as there's nothing worse than trying to be organized and then forgetting what you bought and where you put it when you need it.

Friday, September 13, 2019

These Family Travel Tips will Make your Next Vacation the Best One Yet

Family holidays are either brilliant or completely disastrous. After all, it can be hard for you to balance the demands of energetic children, or even temperamental teenagers for that matter. If you want some help planning the best vacation ever then these tips will certainly help you to have the best time without compromise.
Choose your Destination Wisely
If you want to maximise your chance of having a fantastic holiday, then you need to think about the needs that everyone has. Blazing sunshine might seem like a good idea for adults, but if you have very young children then they may struggle to stay cool in the heat. At the same time, a waterpark may sound like a brilliant idea for the kids, but adults may grow tired of all the fun. If you want to help yourself here, it helps to find a location that works for everyone.
Ask the Kids to Help Out
Don’t be afraid to ask the kids to help you with your planning. Consider getting an atlas or even a globe out and explore the world as a family. You can also talk about the different regions that could be an option too, as this will get everyone excited about the upcoming adventure. It’s also great for instilling a lifelong passion for travelling in your kids too, so make sure that you keep that in mind.
Get your Vaccinations
Making sure that every single person in the family has the right vaccinations is crucial. If you don’t take the time to do your research, then you may end up putting yourself at risk and this is the last thing that you need. If you are going somewhere that has malaria, then make sure that you pack some repellent and also cover up your skin as much as possible. This will help you to avoid any nasty bites and it will also protect your skin from being exposed to the sun too much. Of course, travelling to climates like this may not be a good idea if you have younger children, but if you have teenagers then it can be an enriching experience.
Medical Kit
Something as simple as a bee sting can easily induce hysteria when you have kids. For this reason, you need to make sure that you are equipped with a medical kit that comes complete with antihistamines, pain killers, wipes and even plasters too. You never know where the nearest pharmacy is going to be, and this can cause problems if you find yourself in a sticky situation. It’s more than possible for you to buy medical kits online if you aren’t quite sure what you’re looking for.
Packing for a trip can be a daunting process to say the least, but you do need to try and resist involving everyone here. After all, your child may think that the most important thing is packing toys and if you don’t have the space or baggage allowance for this then you might end up with tears and tantrums., One way for you to get around this would be for you to make a list of absolutely everything you need, well in advance. That way, you can see what space you have left, and let your child fill it with what they want to take.
Organising and Booking Seats
Getting a passport photo of your child can be stressful.The last thing that you need is to have tons of added pressure on top of this, so make sure that you have plenty of time to take care of everything. If you are flying then there are plenty of benefits to booking your seats in advance, including a lower price and even being able to sit together. If you are driving, then you need to make sure that your car is up to the job. If you are concerned that your old family car just isn’t road-trip material, then it may be time for an upgrade. Check out this ultimate guide to buying a car to find out more.
Take Photos
You might have triple-checked your passports and they may be valid and packed, but it’s always a good idea for you to take a copy where possible. If you end up losing your passport, it’s much better to have a copy when compared to not having a passport at all, so make sure that you take this into account. If you have a different surname to your child, or if you have an adopted child then it’s a good idea for you to take their birth certificate or even the adoption papers with you as this will speed things up when you get to border control. Sometimes, if you are taking someone else’s child with you and the parents are not present, you might need to have written consent as well. This isn’t always required but if you want your trip to go as smoothly as possible then it helps to have it with you.
It can be super difficult to get a good flight, at a good time. This is especially the case if you are travelling during the school holidays. If you want to make the most out of your flight, you need to do your research. Sometimes it’s worth paying a bit extra to get a flight so that you can fly at a child-friendly time, or even so you can have a higher level of comfort during the journey.
Travel Entertainment
If you want your trip to go smoothly then try and keep the kids entertained as much as possible. There are plenty of ways for you to do this, for example, by taking an audiobook for older kids or even by packing a portable DVD player. If you are not able to pack anything like this then think of some good games that you can play while on the go. “I Spy” is always a winner, and it can help you to keep your kids occupied for long periods of time with ease.

Flying long-haul will require a great strategy. Kids hate being stuck in one place for too long, and they may even grow weary of travelling too. If you want to alleviate any signs of cabin fever, then you need to plan a stop-over. This could include changing flights instead of flying direct, or it could even involve stopping off at a hotel to get some rest. This will break up the journey and it will also make it easier for you to unwind a little too. Stopping off somewhere can easily help with your jet-lag too, so it’s always worth looking into this.
Be the First Off
Labelling your cases is crucial, as it’s the only way for you to make sure that they don’t get lost. It also helps to make sure that you are the first off where possible, as this will help you to avoid the crowds and you may even be more relaxed too.
When you arrive at your destination, you might have another hurdle to deal with. Jet-lag. This is something that everyone dreads, but if you have a child then the whole thing can be even more problematic. You may find that your child is up in the early hours of the morning and that they are grumpy and ready for a nap not long after. For this reason, you need to plan your activities carefully. If you know that you are going to a waterpark at some point during your vacation, make sure that you do it on the second day rather than the first. This will give you more time to adjust and it will also work wonders for your kids too. If you are concerned about them being too energetic on the first day then try and book a hotel with a pool, or entertainment. This way you can keep them entertained without having to worry about venturing too far from your accommodation.
A lot of families believe that self-catering is the best way to go as it gives you space, and you can also use the cooking facilities there too. You do however need to be practical when you are thinking about choosing this type of accommodation because you need to make sure that it suits your family’s needs. Think about it, do you want to be close to restaurants? Do you want to be near to the pool? What about the beach? By taking things like this into consideration, you can be sure to make the most out of your trip while also having the freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want.
Check your Hotel Amenities
Hotels are really exciting places for children, but you need to take note that not every one is suitable for kids. Find out whether your hotel has an adjoining room, and whether or not there is a bath. Having a fridge can also be useful if you have a young baby, so it helps to look into this before you make the trip.

Thoughtful Anniversary Gift Ideas For Married Couples

When you have been married for a long while, it’s important that you remind one another of your love. If you don’t make the effort, it’s easy to fall into a bit of a rut. Your wedding anniversary is the perfect opportunity to do that, and that’s why it’s important that you find a meaningful gift that shows your love for them. But after all of those years, you probably find that you’re running out of ideas. If you have an anniversary coming up and you’re struggling to find a meaningful gift, here are a few great ideas. 

A Photo Album 

Remembering your time together and looking back on all of the amazing times that you have had is a great way to celebrate your anniversary, so why not put together a photo album? You can get some great photos of you when you first met, some of your favorites from the wedding, and pictures of family days out with the kids. Looking through it together is a great way to celebrate your anniversary and you can leave some blank pages at the end for you to fill in the future. Each year on your anniversary, you can get it out and add some of your favorite pictures from the last year. 

Love Charms 

A symbol of your love that you can both wear is another great way to remind you of one another on a daily basis. For example, Calastrology's celtic love knot is a charm that is designed to improve your chances of finding love if you are not in a relationship or enhance your love if you have found the person that you want to be with. It’s a great way to carry a piece of one another round with you every day and remind yourselves of the love that you share. 

Customized Illustrations 

Photos are a great memento but what about an illustration of the two of you? There are plenty of great artists out there that you can commission to do a custom drawing or painting of you as a couple. Think of a great memory that you have together and maybe find an old photo that you like, and then have somebody recreate it on canvas. 

Date Night Idea Cards 

In a marriage, it’s important that you set aside quality time for you and your partner. Just because you become parents, that doesn’t mean that you should stop being a couple. If you allow that to happen, that’s when the marriage will run into problems. That’s why you should schedule regular date nights and try to experience new things together as much as you can. But when you have been with somebody for a long time, it can be hard to think of things to do together. If your date nights end up being the same every time, they become another part of the routine and you don’t see the benefits. But you can get some great sets of date night idea cards as an anniversary gift. Every time you have an evening alone, you can pull one out and do whatever it says. It’s a great way to make sure that your date nights are new and exciting every time. 

Picking an anniversary gift is always tough, but hopefully, you should be able to find the perfect gift on this list. 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

What You Should Know About Racial Health Disparities Now

                    Despite efforts to provide universal healthcare for all Americans, racial health disparities unfortunately still persist. Many studies have tried to bring the causes into focus but little has been done to close the gap significantly. The high cost of insurance, the higher cost of healthcare and the lack of resources to the poor or uninsured are all contributors to the widening health gap between Caucasians and Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians.

Access to Healthcare

Over half of all uninsured Americans, excluding the elderly, are people of color. Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives have a harder time getting health care as compared to Whites. Ethnic minorities also tend not to seek preventive care, leading to higher mortality rates among races who are more prone to high blood pressure and diabetes. Between 1990 and 2005, mortality rates between black and white increased even though overall mortality rates decreased for heart disease, breast cancer and stroke. The difference is thought to be a combination of factors that are endemic to policies that fail to focus on race and inequality.

Systemic Racism

In the late 1990s, David R. Williams, Ph.D., MPH was asked to serve on a committee of The Institute of Medicine. Conclusions from their studies, scientifically proved the existence of implicit bias, meaning that unconscious discrimination affects how people are treated. This can happen with the best of intentions as it is so ingrained as to be subconscious. When all people are not treated equally it can prevent whole groups of the most at risk from having opportunities that put them in a position of greater income, better benefits and cleaner, safer living conditions.


The racial breakdown of families, as indicated by the 2016 census, shows that Native Americans, Blacks, and Hispanics each double the percentage of Caucasians living below the poverty line. People living in poverty don't have the resources to get healthcare, preventing them from basic care and treatment afforded to those of more substantial means and covered by health insurance policies.

Much is left to do to try to eradicate the additional health risks and reduced opportunities for healthcare to people of color. Whether it is placing more quality healthcare in areas that are underserved, increasing education, providing low-cost healthcare insurance coverage options or a combination of all, there has to be a solution. Failing to focus on the disparity seemingly only leads to a perpetuation of it.



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