How to Make New Friends

Do you have enough friends – most likely, you spend more time worrying about whether your kids are making friends than whether you have enough friends.  A woman’s friends can change her life. They support you when you’re down and they help lift you up. Studies have shown that women with strong friendships live longer. They certainly laugh more. Yet making friends when you’re a mom can be extremely challenging.  So how do you do it?  Read here for some more tips.

#1 The Challenges of Making New Friends

Many moms live a giving existence. They give 100% of their life to their children and family. This of course leaves very little time, or energy, to take care of themselves. If you’re working full time, or even part time, then not only is there no time to make friends, there’s just no energy left. Your family and career take priority. Finally, it can be difficult to find women who share the same interests and outlook. It’s often difficult to meet people.

So how do you do it? How do you meet people and make friends?

#2 Do What You Love

The best place to meet like-minded people is to follow your heart. Do what you love and you’ll meet others along the way. For example, if you enjoy knitting then take knitting classes, teach them, or join a knitting group. You’ll meet other women who share the same passion.

#3 Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the best ways to meet truly wonderful people. And you don’t have to make it a huge commitment. Volunteer once a month at your church, child’s school, or even at the local hospital or animal shelter. You’ll meet people and maybe make a few good friends.

#4 Join, Get Out, and Get Active

What are you interested in? What do you want to learn, do, or experience? Make a list and start ticking items off of that list. For example, maybe you want to learn to rock climb or you want to start running. Get out and start doing those things. You’ll meet people along the way who share the same interests and experiences. Connect with them. Reach out and start conversations.

#5 Be Neighborly

Your next best friend may live down the street. They may be a neighbor. Start connecting with people in your community. Attend neighborhood events. Join neighborhood groups and connect with the people around you.

#6 Reaching Out

Putting yourself out there is the first step. Once you’ve put yourself in a position to meet people, the next step is to actually reach out to them. That means introducing yourself. It also means being someone who shows genuine interest. Ask questions when you’re meeting people. Listen to their answers. And finally, invite people to do things. For example, if you’re at the rock climbing gym taking a group lesson, suggest that a few of you go out for coffee, happy hour or set up an outside rock climbing adventure. Take initiative.

Making friends can take a bit of time and courage. It also takes persistence to maintain the friendships. However, it’s well worth the effort. There’s nothing better than being able to turn to your friends in times of need. Sharing joy, tears, and laughter with friends really is the best medicine.

 

How Parents Can Help with the Emotional Challenges of Transitioning

School transitions can be pretty tough for kids – and as a mom you want to help ease them through it – but how?

Parents can help with the emotional challenges of transitioning, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to help. Here are some tips on how you can help your kids make those important transitions.

Preschool to Kindergarten

Here may be one of the first big transitions in your child’s life. The emotional challenges of this age involve separation anxiety and social readiness (or unreadiness). Here are some tips.

* Tour the school with your child over the summer before he or she begins kindergarten. Familiarizing her with the teacher, classrooms, playground, and overall layout of the school will help a lot.

* Understand her feelings, say experts. Parents may get impatient with separation anxiety and tears, but if you’re going to support your child, it’s a good idea to understand where she’s coming from. Talk about how she feels, and help her put words to the feelings (that can be hard at this age). This helps her identify the feelings which may make them less scary.

Grade School to Middle School

This can be a big one. It’s an emotional age at this point, so parents would do well to prepare themselves. Some of these tips may help.

* Understanding feelings is important at this age, too, but it’s not the same as going from preschool to grade school. Obviously, your child doesn’t need words to identify what he’s feeling. As a parent, you can help by recognizing the priority shift your child will have. His emotions are more focused on peers and the opposite sex than they were in grade school.

* Asking questions without judgment can help parents connect emotionally with their kids during transitional challenges. Try to find out what your child’s concerns, fears, and apprehensions are, as well as the things he is looking forward to and is excited about.

Middle School to High School

Kids start feeling independent and “grown up” about this time. Here are some tips on dealing with this transition.

* Help them solve their own problems. At this point, calling the school for every complaint may not help your child. The transition may be smoother if you can offer some problem solving skills and strategies to help your child help herself. This is an opportunity to help your child come up with a plan to help solve the issues at hand.

* Go to orientation if it’s offered. If it’s not, tour the school. Find teachers and advisors who can talk to your student about her fears and concerns, which will help alleviate some of those concerns. Many times, kids fear high school for reasons that really aren’t realistic.

High School to College

Sending your child off to college is a big step! How can parents help their increasingly-independent child with this transition? Here are some tips.

* Validate your child’s feelings about this big change. It may be tempting to blow off their problems – they don’t have “real problems” grown-ups may think – but remember your college-aged kids don’t have the life experience and frame of reference that you do. Being patient with their concerns can help make their transition smoother. Let them vent!

* Keep in touch with care packages and special gifts at key times (like final exams or his birthday). This helps support them more than you may know!

 

Your Questions About How To Pay Off Debt Fast

Betty asks…

Pay off high interest or lowest balance first?

I’ve heard a lot of conflicting information regarding paying off credit card debt. Is is easiest to get credit card debt paid off faster by paying off your highest interest credit cards first, or your lowest balances first?

Curious to know if anyone has tried either of these methods and how it worked for you?

richmama answers:

I would agree with the first answerer when he says that mathematically, it makes sense to pay of the highest interest first. However, math doesn’t always work. Getting out of debt is more about psychology and behavior rather than math. Paying off smaller accounts first creates mental momentum. Getting a quick success makes you hungry for more. Plus it frees up monthly money which you can roll over onto bigger accounts.

Mark asks…

What is the best way to pay off our debt?

My husband and I just filed our taxes. We are going use part of the refund to pay for car repairs and catch up on rent.

We haven’t decided how to spend the rest. We don’t know if we should…
a) catch up on all of our monthly bills
b) pay off all three high interest credit cards
or c) pay off half of our medical bills that are in collection agencies (We will only get enough to cover half)

Which option is the best? We want to pay off our debt in the fastest, most efficient way.

richmama answers:

Catch up on your rent first. It wouldn’t matter much about the other debts if you are homeless.If there is a chance your car will be undriveable pay to have it repaired or buy a used car. If you mean utilities etc. By catching up on monthly bills that should be your second priority. Again you need lights and water right now. If you still have the money pay off all your credit cards or at least down to 35% of the credit limit..that looks best on your credit card. Do not to continue to use them or you’ll be right back where you started. Having credit cards maxed out, the bill is up to the credit limit, will go against your credit.

Mandy asks…

How do you pay off an old debt once they have done bankrupt?

I am needing to pay off an old ambulance bill for like a 100 dollars, but they went bankrupt two years ago and no longer exists. I can not find any information about their debt collecting agency from the hospital I was brought to or anything. How can I get this off my credit fast?

I am trying to get into the airforce, thats why I need it off fast, by the way.
I ment to type gone bankrupt, not done.

richmama answers:

You need to dispute the debt with all 3 credit bureaus. You can go online to equifax, transunion & experian to do this. It does take awhile though 30-45 days. The credit bureau will try to contact the creditor to verify debt owed. If they can’t they are required by law to delete the account from your credit. Good luck!

Chris asks…

How to pay off credit cards enrolled in a debt management program?

I have been in a debt management program with a local credit counseling service for about 8 months. My parents have offered to co-sign a loan so I can pay off the cards. The loan with the bank is a lower interest rate than the cards and will pay them off faster with a lower payment each month. Should I pay the cards directly or go through the credit counseling service? Which is better for my credit score?

richmama answers:

The Credit Counseling company will probably get you a better price in the long run because they will negotiate a lower rate than you can. But, you are being charged a very large amount of compounded interest on every dollar that you owe them for every Month that the amount is owed. Let Mom and Dad help IF the interest rate and terms are better than you are currently paying the credit card companies. And, if you can afford to pay all of your bills iccluding that payment. Remember that the credit counselor is making money on you, they will not always counsel you to your advantage.

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Your Questions About Family Budget

Mary asks…

what is a good way to start a family budget?

I am looking for a easy budget plan to set up for my family. I don’t want anything confusing or time consuming.

richmama answers:

I agree with Mary… I set up my family budget with a clear list of all our expenses: Mortgage, Car payments, Daycare, Etc. With the days they are due. For the variable expenses, I looked back several months to see what we spent on average on Food, Gas, Cash Withdrawals and Miscellanious. If you see an area that you are overspending, it’s easy to see where you need to trim back. Then list your income to see what you have left. I recommend putting Savings under the expense catagory, otherwise people don’t do it.

Most people have some debt, but may not truely know how much. Along with the budget, to the side of the item like “Credit cards”, put the overall balance. The only way to pay off debt and manage a budget is to have a very clear plan.

List all the debt in another area in order of priority. For example, my husband and I owed a decent amount on credit cards, then a small loan for our wedding rings, one for our golf cart, and student loans. The credit card was the highest interest rate, so we paid the minimum on everything else and paid as much as possible to the credit card. Once that was paid, we compounded what we paid for the credit card along with the next item (student loan) and paid that off like crazy. By the time we got to the last item, we were paying $800 a month off our last debt because we compounded it.

I know you said you didn’t want anything time consuming, but if there is anything to spend a few more minutes on a month, it would be your family finances.

Lisa asks…

Where can I find some family budget spreadsheets?

I want to make a budget for me and my family. I been trying to make one for the last couple years. We have some debts we wanna pay off and a financial goal. thanks for your time.

richmama answers:

Right on your computer. Microsoft spreadsheet. Use some accounting tools, like assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity. Then break it down from there.

Nancy asks…

How do I create a family budget?

How do I create a family budget that’s easy to implement and follow for years to come?

richmama answers:

I would recommend spending $19.95 on a book Called “Financial Peace” Written by Dave Ramsey. “More than Enough” is also a good second book if you like the first written by the same author. The book is written on an easy to read (6th grade level) It covers budgeting and gives sample budget’s it also encourages you to sit down with your spouse to establish and keep a budget. I do not use all Dave Ramsey’s suggestions but anyone that does will not go wrong. The base of his teachings is very valid and useful. I firmly believe anyone starting out with these tools will not go wrong. Remember in life though a little common sense goes along way Good luck to you

Donald asks…

Best websites for establishing a Family Budget?

I need to get my family on a budget. I’m Bad with money and am willing to learn how to get better- but I need a starting point.
Any suggestions?

richmama answers:

I suggest you go to Dave Ramsey’s website. He has a lot of financial forms or you can do the budget on line. He also has an easy to understand book The Total Money Makeover to help navigate a budget, get out of debt, save for emergencies, save for big purchases, save for collage, retirement, etc.

We have used his plan for about 3 years, we love his advice.

If you end up thinking he is too intense then try Crown Financial (link below).

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How to Budget – Single Moms Can Make it Work

How to Budget-Budget tips for Single Moms

Single Mom BudgetOne of the most important concerns for a lot of single moms out there is how to budget. Numerous single moms go through a situation of trying to manage a tight budget just to provide continuously for their kids. This can be extremely hard for them, especially when they are facing and doing this on their own, with no partner to help and support them. Learning how to budget can make financial struggles feel like less of a burden.

However, having a good budget is crucial especially when you can almost guarantee some emergencies to happen to you and your family. Learning how to budget can help a single mom learn how they can manage their money better without all the stress and pressure. These tips will help all single moms to establish a household budget:

Learn How to Budget for Your Family

•    Firstly, determine how much money you are getting every month. This is critical when learning how to budget.  Make sure that you include all sources of income that are promptly available to you like pay checks, social security, child support and even dividends on bonds and stocks. Anything that you are sure of coming to you should be part of the budget.

•    Next tip is to list all the expenses by starting with the most vital ones such as rent, car payment, insurance, as well as utilities. You may also include in the top list the groceries and then that is the time you begin with the other expenses like credit cards, incidentals and medical expenses.

•    Carefully look at how much money are coming in versus the money that is going out. Your priority should be the bills because these are the ones that keep you sheltered and keeps food always present on the table. Pay all of those bills out of what you have kept in your budget and take a look of what’s left. This is a key strategy of learning how to budget.

•    Determine the number of non-important bills that you can pay, and pay as many as you can. However, you must rank them in order of priority first, and after that, you can start paying them. If it is hard for you to pay the full amount, or if you need to make some payment arrangements, you can always try to negotiate with the person or office you owe and explain everything.

•    Lastly, take a look at the money that was left. Always keep in mind that unexpected emergencies will always happen, so you do not have to wait for the next pay day because you have extra money for any emergency situation that might occur.

Learn How to Budget – Spend Smart

When learning how to budget make an effort to squeeze in your budget every month until you know it by heart. Maintain trimming off costs here and there, and the money that you will be saving should be directly into your savings fund. Having a budget can help you keep track of where all your money is going, as well as get hold of steps to ensure that all of the money is going to the right places for your kids. How to budget for single moms is extremely important, so it is crucial that you pay attention with your budget. Learning how to budget will help you feel in control of your finances.