Hope for your financial life and beyond

This Alternative to Christmas Gifts Was Our Best Decision Ever

Are you looking for an alternative to Christmas gift giving? I get it. Christmas is one of the highlights of our family’s year. In my mind nothing beats it for family togetherness and sharing expressions of love through giving gifts. Even with that though, there have been times where my wife and I were frustrated with the presents we put under the tree.

alternative to christmasWhy was that? Because we found ourselves hit with a January hangover effect. We watched as the majority of the presents our kids received lie dormant in the corner of the room, not being touched.  I would say that over 80% of the toys my wife and I purchased for our kids each Christmas were played with a couple of times and then left to collect dust. That was frustrating considering the money we shelled out for them.

So one year, we were simply tired of the whole thing. We didn’t want to waste money on things we thought were great but that they weren’t going to use. So we decided to do something different. I’d even call it radical.

We decided not to buy any Christmas presents! Sorry Santa. 

To our surprise, when we told the kids what we were doing, they were 100% enthusiastically behind it. How could that be? Because we had an alternative to Christmas gifts that, as it turns out, they would never forget.

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Advantages of Using Custom Packaging Pouches

Are you looking to start a new business soon? Going into business for yourself can be profitable and rewarding if you are successful. Becoming your own boss or making a little extra money with a side hustle can bring the financial freedom you’ve always dreamed of.

There are many things that you need to consider when starting a business. Obviously what that business is going to be is the most important issue. Will you sell a product? Will you provide a service? What is the thing that you can excel at that will provide value to someone who is willing to pay for it?

Selling a high-quality and in-demand product can be a great way to build a business and earn a living. If you are able to create a quality product, there are many steps and factors to take into consideration before it is able to get into your customer’s hands. One often overlooked but important factor to consider is the packaging that your product will be transported and presented in.

Why is packaging so important? Well, clearly there is the safety issue. You want your product to arrive in tact, ready for use. But visual branding and customer experience is also key.

Think Apple. There is something about opening an Apple product that creates an emotional experience in the customer. It’s not just the product inside that creates that feeling. It’s seeing the care, neatness and preciseness with which the product is packaged. And when customers get excited about a product, for whatever reason, they will be loyal and keep coming back to that company for other purchases.

So, when you are looking for a new packaging solution for your business, custom packaging pouches are a great option. There are several advantages that come when you do use these custom packages.

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15 Bible Verses to Remind Us to Be Thankful

thankful bible versesI’m am thankful Bible verses exist to keep me thinking the right way. I often forget how many things I have to be thankful for. It’s much easier for me to let the worries and frustrations of life overshadow all the blessings I enjoy. Doing that only produces a spirit of ingratitude and bitterness.

So how do I fight against my tendencies?

First off, I have to remind myself routinely to let go of the negative. Nothing good comes when I daily choose to focus on all that is wrong with my life or the world. That is no way to live life. You wake up each morning already in a bad mood.

But an even more powerful strategy is to meditate on the concept of thankfulness. And the source that I constantly turn to for that is the Bible.

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Home Insurance vs. Mortgage Insurance: Which Is The Better Option?  

Being a homeowner comes with many costs. Some you know are coming like repairs and maintenance. Others are less obvious. One of those is insurance.

If you are going to own a home, you need to have insurance. Most people have simple homeowner’s insurance that covers their dwelling and belongings if something happens. You may never have heard of another kind of insurance called mortgage insurance. This article will discuss the difference between the two.

In the case of financed homes, you would be required to have homeowner’s insurance. Also, you may have to shell out extra money for mortgage insurance, depending on the down payment size.

Often, property owners get confused between private mortgage insurance, homeowners’ insurance, and mortgage protection insurance. At the outset, you need to understand the provisions of each of these types. This will help you save money in the long run in that you won’t be spending money on something you don’t need.

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When It’s a Challenge to Say I Am Thankful for You

Have you ever reflected on people who meant a great deal to you a long time ago? Sometimes these people fade from our memories as time passes. We may have lost track of them and forgot how much they impacted our lives. It would be great to reconnect with them and say I am thankful for you once again.

One such person in my life was a youth pastor. Not only did he become a mentor through my middle and high school years, but became someone I considered a friend (as much as a teen can have an adult i am thankful for youfriend). I don’t know where I would have ended if not for his guidance and counsel.

I did move away and distance kept us from interacting much into my adult life. But we did reconnect a few years ago and had a wonderful conversation about our past and current lives. So before I left our time together, I said to him how I am thankful for you being in my life.

That reconnection reminded me that I don’t say I am thankful for you often enough to those I see everyday. There are so many people who support me, encourage me and flat out love me no matter what. Life would be a challenge and quite frankly no fun without them. Family, friends, work associates – they lift my spirit on a daily basis. I am thankful for them being in my life.

But there is more to this thankfulness business than we think. Are we only to be thankful for those people who are close to us or that we would consider good?

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Why I’m Thankful for First and Second Chances

We’ve all had moments in life when we were granted first and second chances even though we probably didn’t deserve it. Remember that first big break? Can you relive the feeling? You were emotionally on cloud nine after being given your first chance to show the world what you were made of.

More than likely, it took a long time and a lot of effort for you to break through and secure your first opportunity. But still, that first chance to prove yourself happened fairly early in life, sometime in your 20s.

second chancesThere is no logical reason why anyone would give a person in their 20s a chance. Generally speaking, 20-somethings have no money, no experience, and no patience. They are idealistic to a fault, thinking they alone hold the key to changing the world. They disdain older generation, thinking they are pessimistic, set in their ways and out of touch with contemporary culture.

Of course I’m exaggerating with this characterization. Many 20-somethings are not like this. I was though, even though it may not have appeared so to those around me.

Yet someone still gave me a first chance.

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Why Parents Should Never Give Kids Money for Good Grades at School

Parents (and some schools) have often given money for good grades as a tool to motivate their kids to do well in school. During my years as teacher and principal at several private schools, I’ve known about it happening at all levels, from kindergarten through high school. I heard rates that varied from $5 – $100 being offered by parents for kids earning A’s in a class.

money for good gradesYes, you read that right. $100 per A, per semester!

Start calculating that out over 6 or 7 classes and it makes me want to go back to school. Seeing that I was a straight A student I would have made a killing.

Some parents I’ve heard have a higher standard that requires their child to get A’s in all classes in order to receive any money. The theory behind that approach is to develop a well-rounded child who excels in everything.

Neither of these options ever felt right to me. So early on my wife and I decided we would never give our kids money for good grades. Here’s our reasoning and what we chose to do instead.

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5 Ways To Build Wealth While You’re Still Young 

These days, a lot of young people don’t plan for their retirement as well as they should. There are many reasons for this. Some simply don’t know where to start. Others face challenges such as wealthunemployment, student loan repayments, or low salaries. And to many, the thought of planning for retirement seems so overwhelming, they just lock up and don’t move forward with any kind of plan.

Whatever the case may be, everyone needs to prepare for their future while they still have the ability to work, save and invest. It may sound a bit daunting, but building wealth is something anyone can do once they’re provided with the right information about it.

So if you want to ensure a good future for yourself, keep reading. Below you’ll find some simple yet effective strategies for creating wealth.

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6 Fun Low-Budget Weekend Activities for Families 

Weekends are important for family time. This is especially true when the kids are at school. And, if you have a job, that means you might not get too much time together during the week.

Weekends are a time to relax and have fun together as a family. Fun-filled weekends are a great way to bond and talk about our week. And the time together can help relieve us of our worries and to let go of the stress at work and school.

Additionally, weekend activities can help us get more exercise and fresh air. But ultimately, spending time together is about building shared interests. This will keep your family bonds strong, no matter what else might happen.

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The Benefits of Getting a Construction Management Degree

construction managerFor those that love to work with their hands, construction may be the career for you. As someone who worked construction for three years through college, I found it extremely rewarding. The people I worked with were great. And the skills I learned translated into adulthood, even though I didn’t pursue it as a career. I’ve been able to save thousands of dollars just doing my own handyman repairs around the house.

This industry has many exciting benefits to offer, even though it goes through some ups and downs at times depending on the economy. Within the industry, there are many jobs that are well-paid, reputable and highly convenient. One such career, construction manager, is highly sought after. For that career, you would likely need to have a construction management degree.

Construction managers are responsible for leading an entire construction team from the start of a project to the completion phase. So these individuals are highly skilled and experienced. Project managers are responsible for looking into each task precisely and ensuring that all jobs are being carried out correctly. That is why construction managers are so critical in the success of a construction project. 

So, what are the benefits of getting a construction management degree? We’ll explore that in this article. 

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Some Considerations When Re-Roofing a House

The most overlooked part of a home is the roof. We know it is up there and we see it every time we turn into our driveway. But we never actually get up on the roof to inspect it. And with the length of warranties that roofing materials usually come with, we pretty much put its maintenance out of our mind. 

Unless it breaks. The only way we pay attention to it is when it starts leaking. Then we obviously pay attention to what is going up there. To not inspect it at that point would be negligence and lead to thousands upon thousands of dollars of additional damage to your home.

You might be surprised to know that the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends you inspect your roof twice per year for any problems.  I certainly didn’t know that before preparing for this article. And honestly, I’ve never done that with any of the six homes I have owned. 

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