How To Use A Soma Free Shipping Code

When you are shopping for Soma products, you may be able to take advantage of a Soma free shipping code. This can help you save money on your purchase, and it is easy to do. Here are some tips on how to use a Soma free shipping code.

First, you will need to find a Soma free shipping code. You can do this by searching online or by asking customer service at the store. Once you have a code, you will need to enter it at checkout. Make sure that you enter the code in the correct box so that you do not accidentally void the code.

Next, you will need to make sure that you meet the minimum purchase requirement for the code. Most codes have a minimum purchase requirement, so be sure to check before you enter the code.

Finally, you will need to make sure that you enter the code before the expiration date. Most codes are only valid for a certain period of time, so be sure to enter the code before it expires.

following these simple tips, you can easily use a Soma free shipping code to save money on your purchase. Be sure to check the requirements for the code before you enter it, and be sure to enter it before it expires. With a little bit of effort, you can save yourself a lot of money.

When shopping at Soma, you can use a free shipping code to get your purchases sent to you for free. To use a code, simply add your items to your shopping cart and then enter the code during checkout. You’ll know that the code has been applied to your order when you see the free shipping message in your shopping cart.

If you’re having trouble using a Soma free shipping code, make sure that you’re entering the code correctly. Sometimes, codes can be case sensitive or have expiration dates. If the code you’re trying to use isn’t working, try contacting Soma customer service for help.

With a Soma free shipping code, you can enjoy the convenience of having your new lingerie, sleepwear, or activewear delivered right to your door. So take advantage of a code the next time you shop at Soma and save yourself the hassle of dealing with traffic and crowds at the mall.

How to Stay Financially Responsible While Renting With a Roommate

Getting a roommate isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. While it may seem like the best decision for your wallet, you could actually be harmed financially in the process if your roommates are terrible. You’ll want to avoid some notorious pitfalls along the way if you want to save money and your sanity. Most importantly, you always want to make sure you choose your roommates wisely by doing a roommate background check, and by working together with your housemates to figure out the finances up front to avoid conflict.

How to choose a roommate

In addition to running a background check, getting a credit report is also a good idea. Also, do they have a job and a good temperament? You want to be sure they are someone you can imagine yourself living with. Are they tidy and can you trust them? These are just a few things to ask to make your decision easier. Below are some pieces of advice on financial matters.

How to split rent

The simplest way would be to divide the rent based on square footage, amenities, and the number of people in each bedroom. There are actual rent calculators out there that help you determine who pays what.

According to Forbes, to get an accurate breakdown, you take the square footage of each bedroom, including the closet or en suite bathroom, and divide by the total square footage of the apartment. This gives you the percentage of space each room occupies. Then take each person’s percentage and apply it to the total cost.

However, there’s an even easier method that just takes into consideration the square footage of the bedrooms. You don’t need to consider the total space that includes the common areas of the house because each roommate has equal access to those areas.

Example from My First Apartment:

Total bedroom area = 500 sq.ft.

Monthly rent = $1,000

Room 1: 250 sq. ft. (includes closet and private bath) = 50%  of area, rent $500

Room 2: 150 sq. ft. (includes closet)= 30% of the area, rent $300

Room 3: 100 sq. ft. (includes closet)= 20% 0f the area, rent $200

There are a number of ways to divide up rent, just make sure every roommate agrees upon the method of splitting, and make sure all renters are on the lease.

How to split utilities

Try to get all renters’ names on each account, if possible. If that’s not an option, collect all of the money up front before paying the actual bill. I once had a roommate who promised to pay me the $300 she owed. The outcome is predictable: She kept saying she’d pay, but never did. I didn’t have the money to cover the entire bill, it went to collections, and I was stuck with the whole thing. Come to find out, she had quite the history of delinquent accounts. Had I dug further into her past (and ran a background check), I’d have known this.

Basic utilities like water and electricity should be split equally. Is it really worth nickle and diming who uses the most? However, if a roommate is being frivolous with utility usage, such as leaving lights on or running the air conditioner all day and night, that warrants a conversation.

Other types of services or utilities could be negotiable, such as cable. Everyone should pay cash to the person whose name is on the bill and that person makes one payment on behalf of the group.

“When I lived with five other roommates under one roof, the best way of keeping track of who owed what was to create a chart each month and keep it on the fridge,” according to an article in Money Crashers. “It listed everyone’s name along with columns for rent and utility costs. As people paid, their names were crossed off. Everyone knew who had paid and who still owed – a great way of keeping everyone motivated to pay on time.”

Everyone needs to be on the same page before slapping up a chart on the fridge, though; no one wants to be caught off guard.

How to buy groceries

It’s probably easiest to each buy your own groceries and keep the food separately. If you all go to the store together, buy your own food and then split the other costs. You could split costs on staples such as milk, toilet paper, bread, butter, cleaning supplies, etc. and design a budget on how much you will each spend a month on these items. The key will be to communicate up front so there are no misunderstandings.

Just don’t eat your roommate’s food without asking. A lot of arguments can be prevented if you just show respect to your roommates and talk about groceries up front.

Use Rent Calculating Tools

Math isn’t everyone’s forte, so try using an online calculator. Some to try include,,, and Even if the space isn’t divided equally, tools can help manage everyone’s finances.

Living with a roommate (or multiple roommates) can be enjoyable, and a good way to save money, especially if you’re not financially in a position to invest in buying your own home. Just be prepared to resolve inevitable conflicts and divvy up necessary expenses, and your living arrangements will be that that much better.

Smiling Your Way to Financial Success?

What’s the deal with smiling? That might seem like a joke of a question. You probably didn’t laugh. But shouldn’t you have at least smiled? Will you be more successful if you smile more often? Now we’re getting deep. You might be surprised to find out there’s conflicting information on this subject.

On one hand, science says smiling is healthy for you, even when you’re faking it. Researchers separated people into three groups and had them work on stressful tasks. The first group put chopsticks in their mouths to simulate a smile. The second group forced a smile, while the third group kept a straight face. Turns out the two groups with fake smiles experienced less stress. Their heart rates were lower, which aligns with research that shows smiling—particularly the genuine kind—is good for heart health.

So, you’re young, and you’re looking for that great job that can become an incredible career, but the interviewing process is stressful. With the above evidence in hand, it’s easy to assume you should smile more during your interviews. Doing so will help alleviate stress, which in turn will help you perform better. Further, since your life on the job can be stressful, you should smile more often while you’re at work.

“People who smile appear to be more likeable, courteous, and even competent. This is reason enough to smile at every person you potentially want to do business with,” says Vivian Giang, citing research from Penn State. She goes on to discuss how smiling can train your brain to be happy: “The more we train, the easier it becomes to think positively, shut out negativity, and, in turn, boost your productivity and creativity, which allows you to perform better at work and life.”

If smiling more helps you deal with stress, and helps you become happier and more productive, maybe a good grin is just the thing you need to land that great job. But this isn’t an open-and-shut mouth—I mean, case. Assuming you should smile more during interviews is like assuming it takes a gimmick to get a job, when what it really takes is professionalism.

Several studies found that less can be more when it comes to smiling during interviews. In other words, be natural. If you’re applying for a position where the work is serious, such as reporter, police officer, or social worker, treat the interview with the type of seriousness it deserves. Prepare yourself with important questions to ask at a job interview. For example, find out about company culture and ask what the interviewer really likes about working for the company. Naturally, you’re going to smile if the interviewer says something humorous. But wouldn’t it be awkward if you forced yourself to smile although the person across the desk isn’t saying anything worth smiling about? If you’re going to force a smile, it’s best to do so at the beginning and end of an interview, meaning you’re happy to meet the person and you’re happy the interview went well.

How much you smile also makes a difference once you’re on the job. People who smile too much and are too cheerful in the workplace are at a disadvantage. Researchers found that, “People who appear really happy also appear to be more naïve than people who seem just a little bit happy.” Co-workers are more likely to try and manipulate you and take advantage of you if you seem happy all the time. The European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology even found that agreeable and nice people have lower salaries than those who are assertive. No one says that’s fair, but it seems to be the way the world of work is.

Ironically, smiling more may be better for your heart and your health, but it’s not necessarily better for your career. This definitely says something about the hazards of our career-oriented society.

When it comes down to it, be natural when you’re interviewing and when you’re working. When you’re on your own time, remember that it helps your health to smile. If you’re just naturally more cheerful than most, so be it—in the long run, it won’t hurt.

Pay Off Student Loans or Save for Retirement?

Today it’s not uncommon for college graduates to owe $50,000, $100,000 or even $150,000 in student loans upon graduating.  Unfortunately, it’s commonplace given the escalating costs of tuition and students taking more than four years to complete their education.

Students loans are the necessary price to pay for opportunities and the possibility of career advancement.  But be warned, once you assume these loans it becomes your responsibility to manage them effectively and “do your homework.”

If you’re like most of us, you didn’t hesitate to take out loans your first year of college because you were filled with the optimism that a college degree would provide you with more than enough income to meet your living expenses, save for retirement, and quickly pay off your loans.  But reality isn’t always so kind.  Now you realize that between taxes and inflating living expenses there’s not as much money to spread between paying bills and saving for retirement as you had thought.  You’re faced with a decision.  With your limited income, should you pay off your students loans or save for retirement?

If this isn’t a question you’re asking yourself, it should be.  You know that your loans won’t repay themselves, but at the same time you need to maintain a lifestyle and try to put some money away for retirement.   There’s just not enough money to go around and the question becomes one of balance, and finding out where every dollar of your income will be put to its best use.

You have three options:
Option 1: Pay off your student loans now and save for retirement later.
Option 2: Save for retirement now and make only the minimum student loan payment required.
Option 3: A combination of paying off your student loans and saving for retirement at the same time.

Though always painful to watch your money go, the decision between the three options is easy and comes down to pure math.

Review each option to decide what’s right.

Let’s review each option so you can decide which is right for you.

Option 1: Pay off student loans now and save for retirement later.

Paying off students loans before starting to save for retirement is a common mistake a lot of college grads make. The reason is simple. When they took out their large student loans a few years ago they convinced themselves the debt would only be temporary and would be paid off within the first few years after college. In other words, their goal was to erase the loans and forget they ever happened ASAP. I know this mindset because it was mine not too long ago. Another popular reason college grads decide to pay off student loans first and save for retirement later is because they want to get out of debt before saving for retirement. This is very idealistic and not very practical. If Americans waited until they had no more debt to begin saving for retirement no one would be able to retire!

But, there is a time when it makes sense to pay off student loans immediately and save for retirement later.  This is a smart decision when your student loans are charging interest greater than 8%.  The long-term investment return on the stock market is roughly 8%, so if you’re paying more in interest than you’re earning on your investments, your money is best used paying off your high interest loans first and investing in retirement later (but not too much later).  If you have multiple student loans with multiple interest rates, only pay off your over-8% loans first and put any excess money towards retirement.

Option 2: Save for retirement now and make only the minimum student loan payment required.

You should consider this strategy if the interest rate on your student loans is less than 8%. If the stock market returns 8% over the long run, and the interest rate you’re paying on your student loans is less than 8%, then your money is best used being invested for retirement rather than paying off your student loans. And when you factor in the benefits of tax deferred growth provided by retirement plans, it makes an even stronger case that you should invest your money for retirement and make only the minimum student loan payment.

Option 3: The compromise: A combination of paying off your student loans and saving for retirement at the same time.

Remember, all things in moderation.  If your student loans have an interest rate that is between 6% and 8%, you may want to consider a compromise between paying off your student loans and saving for retirement.

Example: Your $30,000 student loan (at 6.5% interest) requires you to make a minimum monthly payment of $200.  You find that after you make the minimum monthly payment and pay your other bills, you still have $100 left over from your paycheck at the end of each month.  You should consider putting an additional $50 towards paying off your student loan (because the interest rate is between 6% – 8%), and put the other $50 into your retirement account.

You’re also allowed a small tax deduction for interest accrued on your student loans if your income is under $55,000 (single) or $110,000 (married), which provides an additional benefit.

Final words of caution…

For your student loans (unlike other debt), if you can prove you don’t have the wherewithal to make your monthly payment, many lenders will let you temporarily put your student loan payments on hold – known as deferment or forbearance. This usually occurs if you’re facing unemployment or have high medical bills. But be careful, many times your interest will continue to accumulate during this time. You should check with your student loan provider and make sure you understand the fine print in your loans.

Save money on your first small business brick and mortar location

Starting a small business? Real estate will be one of your biggest expenses. Unless you’re committed to doing nothing but ecommerce, there’s no escaping the difficulty of finding just the right location at a price you can afford. Particularly if you’re planning on starting something like a coffee shop, a type of business highly dependent on accessibility, your location is the difference between success and failure.

Getting started

First, you’ve got to determine where the money for your new location is going to come from. Just like The Lenders Network connects homebuyers to lenders, the SBA page on loans and grants is a tool for connecting entrepreneurs to a lender. But loans come at a price. You’ll have to pay the mortgage on your loan, so when all is said and done, you’ll pay more than the actual value of the real estate.

To avoid costly mortgage rates, start with crowdfunding. Indiegogo only charges 4% if you meet your goal, a much smaller amount than you’ll end up paying with a mortgage. Kickstarter allows you to crowdfund the creation of a product–if it takes a brick and mortar location to create that product, acquiring one is part of your campaign. Rockethub bills itself as “The leading global community for entrepreneurs”, with the “Elequity” funding hub as a starting point to guide you through the funding process. Peerbackers also specializes in entrepreneurial and small business funding, with its Crowdfunding Academy there to help educate you on how best to go about crowdfunding your business.

Maximizing your space for sustainability

Once you’ve procured funding to get going, choosing the right location is your next step. In terms of saving money, it pays to think about sustainability.

Have you looked into sustainable commercial real estate? Green buildings can save you up to 20% on utilities alone. If the building isn’t up to sustainability standards, according to Marylhurst University there are income tax credits, rebates, grants, and property tax abatements  “for everything from solar installation projects to interior energy retrofits of commercial buildings”.

If property values on sustainable buildings in your area are too high, the smart route is to identify a building in a good location that hasn’t been updated. Then, determine the price of green renovations and add it to the cost of the building. Next, research the federal, state, and local incentives for installing things like solar panels, double-pane windows, and high quality insulation. Subtract the estimated dollar amount of incentive kickbacks from your first figure, which was the cost of the lease combined with the cost of green renovations. Finally, compare that number with the price of buildings that are already updated for sustainability.

In the long run, you’ll only save money from updated, eco-friendly real estate, because you’ll save on utilities and repairs. You can also use your investment in sustainability as part of your branding, with environmental stewardship as a cornerstone of your business.

Incentives and practical considerations

Incentives don’t just come from modernizing a space for sustainability. Have you ever considered relocating to a different city? In terms of finding the absolute best location for your small business, there are cities such as Chicago that offer grants, loans, fee waivers, tax reductions and land-write downs in exchange for job creation. Do your research on areas where your product is needed, look into state and city incentives, and then consult with the local Small Business Development Center. If you’re willing to relocate beyond the US, consider global hotspots for entrepreneurship, such as Berlin, Tel-Aviv, and London.

Quickbooks points out, “The cheapest choice isn’t always the right choice.” Look for an area with plenty of traffic from your target customers. Be aware of how much competition there is in the area, too. The more competition, the less visibility you’ll have. However, if you find a key price point on which you can undercut competitors, and you have a unique brand, take the risky location with a reasonable price.

When it comes to relocating, some states have lower minimum wage than others. Research minimum wage along with the economic environment of prospective states, and plan accordingly.

In some states, you’ll have multiple power companies to choose from. Find the one with the best rates and be aware of whether they have additional charges during peak hours of use. Large spaces cost more to heat and cool. Don’t get a bigger space than you need. Reserve about 80% of the space for retail, and use low cost rental space for any additional storage, distribution, and offices.

As far as janitorial and maintenance costs, DIY is the cheapest. Another option is to use an app such as TaskRabbit, which connects you to inexpensive and reliable freelance janitors and maintenance personnel.

You’ll need liability insurance in case anyone gets hurt in your store, so use a broker to look hard for the insurance provider with the best rates.

Ultimately, the smart decision on your first location is finding the balance between price and location. A great location with lots of traffic will pay for itself. But if you don’t have a ton of funds at the outset, and don’t want to rack up lots of debt, look for the space with a decent price in a decent area, and work hard at marketing and branding to make customers come to you.

How to Get the Most Out of Buying Your First House

When you’re young, buying a house seems either daunting because of the sheer amount of money you need or like a hassle that will tie you down for the future. No more freedom to go anywhere you want, and hello responsibility. But here’s the thing about buying a home: it’s better than investing in gold. In fact it’s one of the best investments you can make.

You have a couple of options: buy a house, make some improvements, and flip it, or buy a house and settle in for the long term until property values really appreciate. In the future you could decide to stay there because you like it, or sell it and find a better place. Flipping the house right away is more of a gamble, but it can definitely pay off.

Flipping a House

Typically, when people want to flip a house they buy a “fixer-upper.” The house in need of repairs can only rise in value—unless the neighborhood is extremely crime-ridden and the other houses are low quality. Even then, improving the fixer-upper from the ground up can make a positive impact on the neighborhood, and value will go up because you’re investing money into it.

Here are some things to consider when you’re flipping a house for a profit:

  • To actually make good money, you’ll want to buy low in a market where values are rising
  • You need good credit to make this happen—pay off all debts and find out what it takes to raise your score if it’s low
  • You need cash for a down payment
  • If you qualify, you could take take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
  • The better the location, the better off you are when it comes to making a profit
  • As an investor, you’ll pay a higher interest rate on a loan
  • You’ll need to be educated on the real estate market, financing, negotiating with the seller, doing repairs and working with contractors, and which repairs really increase a home’s value

There’s a lot to flipping a house, but if it’s a game you want to play, there’s a ton of cash in the right market.

Once you’ve made your renovations, one big part of selling a house fast is staging. When you’re staging the home, you’re getting rid of all clutter. Locate furniture in such a way as to make it aesthetically pleasing—balance the amount of furniture in each room, float it out away from walls, and make sure each room only has one purpose. Optimize lighting by making sure no furniture is in front of windows. You can place mirrors in rooms strategically to increase natural lighting. When you’re arranging everything in rooms, find the most attractive focal point and arrange around it. Use art, rugs, pillows, and decor to make colors pop. Read some books on feng shui and see what you can do.

Flipping houses isn’t for everyone—in fact very few people can really do it successfully. Another option for making money from your first house is to rent it out.

Renting Out Your House

Being a landlord comes with its fair share of headaches, but it can become a way of generating passive income. Just like it sounds, this is income you earn without doing anything. Once you’ve paid off the mortgage and can afford to pay other people to do repairs, every cent you earn from rent is completely gratis.

Millennials make up a huge chunk of the rental demographic. There are definitely some things you should consider when renting to millennials:

  • Don’t discriminate based on age: If a millennial doesn’t make enough to afford the cost of living in your house, that’s good reason not to rent to them; but if you don’t rent to them because you’re young too, and you know how unreliable people your age are, that’s illegal
  • Make your subletting terms clear: Millennials may want to make some side cash through AirBnB or another vacation rental, make sure they clear it with you beforehand
  • Consider pets: You’ll be more competitive at attracting millennial tenants if you allow pets
  • Make sure everyone’s on the lease: They may want to move in roommates without you knowing
  • Prioritize green housing: Millennials prefer environmentally-friendly housing with things like solar power, ENERGY STAR appliances, and electric car charging stations
  • Prioritize safety: Up-to-date maintenance and renovations will ensure safety and attract good tenants

These considerations apply to all tenants, regardless of age. That said, if you make the place attractive to millennials, you’ll have a huge pool of tenants to choose from. You know from your own experience this is a generation of renters.

Like being a house-flipper, being a landlord isn’t for everyone. In the long term, you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of turning your first house into your first home.

Living in Your First Home

Once again, this is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you take it one step at a time. Here are the big financial considerations for first-time homeowners:

  • Keep an eye on your budget: You’ve got mortgage payments to make, so don’t blow too much money right away on renovations, furniture and decor.
  • Make sure insurance is covered: You need more than homeowner’s insurance; maintain life insurance, disability insurance, and car insurance payments.
  • Make sure to get tax deductions and credits: There are tax breaks for first-timers; if you have to pay an accountant because of all the paperwork and limited time, do so—it’s worth it.
  • Maintain savings: You never know when an emergency will hit, so keep a savings pillow of at least a couple grand beneath you.
  • Keep records: Keep receipts of all purchases for your home, so you can maximize tax write-offs.

This last one is more important than it seems at first. If you have precise records on renovations and remodeling expenses, you’ll know exactly how much more the place is worth when it comes time to sell. With this baseline number and current property values, you’ll be able to determine a good asking price for the property.

As you continue on in your first home, make renovations you can afford and maintain the place to the utmost. There will come a time when property values are higher than they were when you made your purchase. That’s when you want to put your house on the market. There are absolutely no regrets if you put a positive effort into this. In the end, you’ll be ready to retire in a better place than you started.

Stupid Stimulus Spending

Last week there was some uproar surrounding the use of stimulus money to create jobs in other countries, including in China. A handful of Senators are protesting the fact that many of the renewable energy jobs that the recovery money is creating are, in fact, overseas. Their argument is that stimulus money should only be used to create jobs here, in America.

That argument is nothing new. For months the White House has been claiming that we’d be way worse off without the stimulus and the Republicans are accusing that it hasn’t helped. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Recipients of stimulus money say they are currently funding the jobs of about 595,000 people. But the White House has also said that as many as two million jobs have been supported directly or indirectly by stimulus money.

“Republicans have questioned those numbers and pointed to the rise in the unemployment rate since Mr. Obama took office to bolster their case that the stimulus has failed to deliver on the administration’s promises.”

In a December LA Times articles it was pointed out that thanks to the $157.8 billion that had been awarded (up to that point) 640,320 jobs had been created. That means each job cost us $246,436. They also point out that, “Total compensation earned by the average payroll employee during October, on an annualized basis, was $59,867. If the government had simply used the funds awarded so far to pay for a year’s worth of labor, that would have paid for 2.6mn jobs!”

Of course, giving people jobs allows them to keep earning. Or does it? Around a third of the $787 billion stimulus budget has already been spent. Most of that money was spent maintaining social services (unemployment benefits, Medicaid, food stamps), government jobs, and providing tax cuts for workers. About 325,000 teachers and school staff got to keep their jobs—without having to raise state taxes—because of the stimulus. However, once the stimulus money runs out, jobs could be cut.  And what’s the point of that?

Even though good things have come from stimulus spending, there is still plenty of stupid crap the money has been wasted on—money that we are going to have to pay back. This week we’ve decided to put together a list of stupid things the stimulus money has been spent on. And, for the record, both Democrats and Republicans are at fault here. Wasting money on stupid projects is something both parties seem to excel at doing. Remember, all of this money will have to be paid back… with interest.

If no one’s in a mall, do they notice the geothermal energy?

  • $5 million to create a geothermal energy system for the Oak Ridge City Center shopping mall in Oak Ridge, Tenn. From, “The main problem, says Republicans, is the fact the mall has been losing tenants for years and is mostly empty.”
  • $9.38 million to renovate a century-old train depot in Lancaster County, Pa., that has not been used for three decades

Puppet terror!

  • $100,000 for socially conscious puppet shows in Minnesota
  • $2 million to build a replica railroad tourist attraction in Carson City, Nevada
  • $462,000 to purchase 22 concrete toilets for use in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri
  • $3.1 million to transform a canal barge into a floating museum that will travel the Erie Canal in New York

Why did the turtle cross the road?

  • $3.4 million to create an underground turtle tunnel, or eco-passage, in Lake Jackson, Florida. We love turtles and don’t want them to get smashed by traffic. However, when your government spending plan involves jokes like, “Why did the turtle cross the road? To get more stimulus money,” you can pretty much guess there’s a problem.
  • $1 million to study the health effects of environmentally friendly public housing on 300 people in Chicago. I bet those 300 people would rather split the million and get out of public housing all together.
  • $983,952 for street beautification in Ann Arbor, Mich., including decorative lighting, trees, benches and bike paths
  • $1 million for Portland, Ore., to replace 100 aging bike lockers and build a garage that would house 250 bicycles. I think Portland’s bike programs are fantastic. I also think that it is possible to find cheaper ways to store bicycles.
  • $700,000 to Oregon crab fishermen to help recover lost crab post. You would think for that much money they could just go buy new ones.
  • $1.5 billion for a Carbon Capturing Contest
  • $300,000 for a GPS-equipped helicopter to hunt for radioactive rabbit droppings at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state

Reefer madness

  • SUNY Buffalo received $390,000 to study young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke marijuana. Of course if they had used that money to pay for more kids to go to school they would have less people to study.
  • Washington State University got $148,438 to analyze the use of marijuana in conjunction with medications like morphine. Both of these studies will probably one day be used in the fight for marijuana decriminalization.

This article paid for by stimulus money.

  • In rural Wisconsin, 37 little-used bridges are receiving $15.8 million in stimulus funds. According to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, “The 37 bridges average 568 vehicles a day.”  Some of these bridges see less than ten cars a day.
  • Montana received $2.2 million to install skylights in their state-run liquor warehouse.
  • The $800,000 given to John Murtha Airport to repave a back runway has pissed off many, many people—myself included. This airport services a whopping 20 passengers a day and has, over the past decade, already received millions in federal funds. Representative John Murtha treats this as his private airport and has spared no expense, too bad the money isn’t his but ours.
  • $1 million was given to a Chicago dinner cruise company to “combat terrorism”
  • The Coast Guard gets $572 million to create 1,235 new jobs. This comes to $460,000 per job. 
  • Here are two things that should have been paid for privately: $30 million for a spring training baseball complex for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies and $11 million for Microsoft to build a bridge connecting its two headquarter campuses in Redmond, Wash., which are separated by a highway. Instead of taking our money, why isn’t Bill Gates helping with a solution?
  • $1.15 million to install a guardrail for a persistently dry lake bed in Guymon, Okla.
  • $2.5 million in stimulus checks sent to the deceased
  • $6 million for a snow-making facility in Duluth, Minn.
  • And, of course, every project gets its own $300 road sign claiming: “This project was paid for by stimulus money.”

8 Financial Tips for Newly Married Women

There are good reasons why young married women should aim for financial independence. Not only are women expected to live an average of seven to 10 years longer than men, their retirement income is less than half that of the opposite sex. Not to be too much of a downer, the reality is that 45-50 percent of marriages end in divorce and women comprise 84 percent of single parents.  Combine these factors with historically lower salaries for women, establishing financial security early in life is an absolute necessity. 

Financial independence, however, isn’t just about money. Statistics show that independent young women also become stronger individuals and are better able to take care of themselves. On the other hand, women dependent upon men are more likely to fall prey to “predators” or fall into abusive relationships. As the bumper sticker says, “A man is not a financial plan.”

Rather than reiterate the standard tips like “create a budget” and “pay off your credit cards monthly,” Coupon Sherpa offers 10 tips specific to women’s financial security.

1. Know Your Finances

Until women’s liberation came along, men usually handled family finances and wives knew next to nothing about their financial status. Divorce or the husband’s death could leave women with a mountain of paper and not a clue as to where they should start. Modern women tend to be more involved, often maintaining responsibility for paying monthly bills. But it’s also vital to understand all other aspects of your monetary health. Schedule a financial date with your husband at least once a month to review bills, investments, retirement accounts and your budget. The highly respected is an easy way to manage your money with a constantly updated record of your family finances. isn’t as easy to use but it provides both private and business online money-management systems.

2. Educate Yourself

The more you know about finances and the investment process, the more confidant you’ll feel dealing with personal finance issues. You can learn more via online research, the multitude of books on the topic or community courses. Cooperative Extension offers an excellent program in many counties specific to women. The Women’s Institute for Financial Education ( also is an excellent resource with easy to understand information. You also might consider joining a women’s investment group. The more you know, the better decisions you can make.

3. Be Selfish

It may sound like an oxymoron, but being selfish about your personal finances can actually help you enhance the lives of others. Financial security reduces your stress and allows you to be more patient with your family, more financially charitable and more productive at work.

4. Establish a Personal Cash Cushion

Bank three-months worth of expenses as a cushion should your family face an emergency such as a health emergency, unemployment or other unexpected expense.

5. Pad Retirement Accounts

Financial advisers always recommend beginning a retirement account the day you begin working. In reality, it’s often not possible or feasible to think that far ahead. Still, it’s vitally important women begin retirement accounts as early as possible because they’re more likely than men to enter and leave the workforce while raising children. Women also live longer than men, so will have to draw on these accounts longer. After you hit 50, remember to take advantage of the increased amount of money you’re permitted to contribute to your 401k. Contributing the maximum amount allowable ensures you have a comfortable nest egg.

6. Don’t Over-Spend On Others

Too often, women get into trouble not when they spend on themselves, but when they over-indulge their children. The proliferation of electronic gadgets and increased cost in trendy clothes can set you back financially. Learn to say no and stick to it. If children absolutely must have the latest phone, use this as a carrot to teach them to become financially intelligent, rather than leading them to think money grows on trees.

7. Build an Independent Credit Rating

Your credit rating begins the first time you establish a credit account, be it a student loan, credit card, utility payments or what have you. Follow standard guidelines to maintain a high credit rating before and after marriage. It’s not enough to just have joint credit accounts with a spouse. Make sure you annually ask for and examine a free copy of your credit report from (This is the ONLY website authorized by the U.S. government to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law.)

8. Establish Your Own Accounts

Many couples share joint accounts to pay household bills – and that’s fine if your spouse is financially responsible. Having a separate savings or checking account gives you a heightened degree of financial autonomy and helps you become better at saving and budgeting. If your hubby has poor credit, however, experts suggest you maintain a financial wall to avoid his lousy habits from impacting your credit rating. CNN.Money offers excellent advice on how to “keep your credit pristine and your partner’s past from undermining you both.”

The 3 Things I Learned About Credit Unions as the Spokester

My two years as the Young & Free Maine Spokester have been unforgettable! I’ve met many wonderful people in the credit union world, and have learned countless valuable lessons about credit unions. But three things stick out to me the most: 

1. Credit unions exist to serve their members.

I’ve seen over and over again how much credit unions do for their communities and for their members. From fundraisers to help end Maine hunger, financial fitness fairs to give Maine students a head start, to raising money for local causes, credit unions are truly making a difference where they live. I must say, I’m excited to continue my journey working in the credit union movement!

2. Being financial cooperatives translates to tremendous benefits for members and communities.

You’ve probably heard the term “Co-Op.” Credit unions are the “Co-Op” of the financial world. And if you’re not familiar with the term, it means they operate on the principle of sharing, collaboration, and working together to benefit their members. Credit unions and other cooperatives work together through local, state, regional, national, and international structures to strengthen the cooperative movement.

The collaborative nature of credit unions means that members reap the benefits:  less fees, higher interest on savings accounts, lower rates on loans, and of course, the opportunity to have your voice be heard!

3. Credit unions are everywhere!

We have a big state, but there is no shortage of credit unions anywhere that you go! I’ve spent the last two years traveling up, down, and around our state, and I can’t remember an area that isn’t conveniently equipped with a credit union. The best part is…if it’s not your home credit union, it’s okay! You can have access to credit unions when you’re out of town, or even out of state, by using shared branching (yet another great feature of credit unions’ cooperative character).

My last few weeks in this position have been action-packed, and filled with events and getting to know Jake, your new Spokester! As a final video, I’ll share my last adventures as the Young & Free Maine Spokester, but not before taking this opportunity to say thank you to the wonderful team at the Maine Credit Union League, Currency Marketing, and of course, a big thank you to all of Maine’s Credit Unions for all that you do for your members.

Now, it’s my time to move on, and Jake’s turn to take over. Make sure you follow his awesome video and photography skills, and see all of the great things he will do as your Young & Free Maine Spokester!

Take care!

Saying No to College Kids

I need to make a financial resolution not to give my kids money every time they ask for it. My husband and I are trying to help pay their college expenses as much as possible, but we spend a ton of money on our kids. Whenever they ask, I feel guilty if I don’t give them money. It has put a huge gap in our budget. If anyone has any advice as to how I can deal with these guilt feelings, I would really appreciate some advice.

Check Into Work-Study
Your children should check out the work-study program at their college(s). Every U.S. college receiving federal funding has a work-study program. Students work at various jobs on campus, from library assistants to tutoring and then some. They are paid minimum wage for their state, cannot work more than a set number of hours each week so their studies don’t suffer, and acquire a sense of pride from earning their own money while helping their school. It also takes some of the burden off of mom and dad as they will not be asking for money as often! I participated in work-study programs as an undergraduate and as a graduate student and found myself with more money and a greater sense of accomplishment.
The Baroness In Oregon
Learn to Set Boundaries
I would guess these guilt feelings are coming from the idea that you should be giving this money, but you really don’t want to or can’t afford to. If you want to resolve these feelings, then you’ve got to get everything into perspective one way or the other. So here are my suggestions:
1. Sit down with your budget and figure out exactly how much you can afford to give.
2. Compare this amount to what you’re actually giving. You may find out that you’re killing yourself financially because of a feeling of obligation or you may find out that it’s not as bad as you thought.
3. If you find you’re spending more than you can afford, make a list of the expenses and prioritize. Help with tuition or books is far more important than concert tickets or pizza money.
4. Understand that you’re not an ATM! Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries between your children and your checkbook. It will benefit them and you in the short term and the long run.
5. Parents paying for college isn’t a “given.” It’s great when you can, but if you can’t, there are other options to explore.
To be honest, this isn’t a money issue. This is a boundary issue. Feelings of guilt or resentment coming from giving is a signal that either we shouldn’t be doing the giving or don’t want to be. Once you dig around and find the root of those feelings and work all that out, you’re either going to find the strength to say no or be able to give without the negative feelings.
Sometimes Difficult Lessons Must Be Taught
Just like little kids, college kids will try to get what they think they can! We love our kids and want to see them happy, but money doesn’t bring happiness and just handing it out is a long-term disservice to them. Our “bad parent” guilt feelings have to be balanced by the fact that some difficult lessons must be taught. We’d not make our kids learn how to live on constant cookies and sweets, so let’s apply the balanced diet approach to finances, too.
First step: Make it clear to them that any money given to them is generosity, not a guarantee. There is no entitlement here.
Second step: Clearly define what amount, if any, they can expect from you and stick to it!
Third step: Help them look at their budget and figure out how they can make ends meet on their own. If you’re willing, show them your budget and explain how you handle life’s unexpected bumps.
Fourth step: If they ask for more, empathize with them and work on solutions, but don’t surrender. Explain that your advice is always free, but the financial solutions are their own.
Fifth step: Step back and know you’re a good parent for passing on some life-long skills!
Set the Budget
These parents should first open prepaid Visa or MasterCard accounts for each child. Then they need to sit down and figure how much they can give their kids each month to help them out. Each month on a set date, they should deposit whatever that figure is. Since they have two kids, they might choose something like the 1st for the son and the 15th for the daughter, or the day that corresponds with their birthdays. This teaches the kids to budget their money, and when it’s gone, they have to be creative instead of calling on the parents. There is no need for the parents to feel guilty or be pressured into debt because their kids are always needing money at the drop of a hat. As a footnote, I would discourage them from opening bank accounts. These kids seem fairly irresponsible to me, and I wouldn’t risk bank overdraft fees.
Teresa, mom of 2 in Missouri
College Expenses vs. Retirement Savings
The best advice I’ve ever heard about college expenses is that there are loans, grants, scholarships and future earnings to pay for college expenses. No such thing exists for retirement. When making the decision about whether to give to your kids for something they can pay themselves or do without, or paying yourself to prepare for retirement, pick yourself. Explain to your kids that you don’t want to be a burden on them, and as such, you’re setting aside for retirement now so you don’t have to rely on them in the future. Work with them on how they can meet their own needs; they’re grown-ups after all.
The Guilt Is Misplaced
You should really be feeling guilty that you do give them money! What are you trying to accomplish in raising children? Are you raising them to be dependent on handouts or to be independent self-starters? Are you raising them to be spendthrifts or to be thrifty? It is no favor to give spending money to college kids. It’s crippling their ability to learn good money habits. You are doing them a huge favor by financing their college tuition. That is a huge boost in life that many of us cannot afford. You might point out to them the huge debt loads that many students have to assume to go to college. Debt loads that they will spend decades repaying. Paying for their tuition is a noble thing to do for your children, but giving them spending money just perpetuates their adolescence. You want your kids to grow up! If you make it too easy and fun to be a college student, who would want to ever graduate?
College students can and should learn to function within their own means. If they can take on a part-time job or start a web business while being in school, that’s a great thing for their future. They are learning to provide for themselves and starting on a resume! And that’s where their spending money should come from. If they are in college programs that truly do take their every moment, and they therefore cannot work at a job, then they should be grateful you’re supporting their basic needs and put off the “wants” until they are earning their own money.
A Solution All Can Live With
As the parents of six children, my husband and I know the difficulty of balancing the desire to help your children financially with the ability to afford it. Instead of “giving” them money when they ask, we have established a “loan” fund for each of our children. We set a dollar amount that we could afford and told the children how much was there. The rules are simple. They can borrow up to the limit and pay it back interest free at their convenience. If they never pay it back, that is okay. However, they cannot ask to borrow more money if they have reached their limit. This method gives us a way to help them when they get in a jam, but also defines a limit for our budget. Some of our children have been very good about repaying the debt to us right away. Others have not been as good, but they also don’t call and ask us for more. Instead, they find a way to make it work and we don’t feel guilty because we have to say “no.”
A Lesson Learned Now Saves Financial Problems Later
College kids who don’t have a job or aren’t on a sports team have a lot of extra time on their hands. Talk to them about getting a job. A summer job is a must. If they absolutely have no time for a job, give them an allowance and tell them it must last. Do not give in. Kids can be very frugal and creative when they want to be. Help them itemize what their extra needs are and give accordingly. It is also important for them to understand the dangers of credit cards. This is necessary for your budget as well, and you want to set an example.
My two children are twenty something college graduates. They, like many graduates, didn’t understand that they were going to have a tough time after college getting a decent paying job that would pay rent, education loans and other bills. If you don’t become a bit tough now, they will have a harder time when they graduate, unless, of course, you want to be the “parent” bank for the rest of their lives. All people have a hard time, financially, sometime in their life. That is where the “budget” especially comes in. Once they learn to handle money, they will manage their lives on their own. Without financial boundaries, no job will satisfy bottomless greed.
Please understand that even the strictest of parents want to save their children from sure disaster. A couple of weeks ago, my son put a $100 in a pocket with a hole in it. He got to the grocery store with no money. He had no money coming until payday. I gave him a few food items from our cupboard, and he was happy. He is doing better with his money than in the past, but he has had to sell a few items to keep his bank account on the plus side. My daughter? She is a banker and keeps a strict budget. Don’t wait until after graduation to decide you can’t live with needy adult children. Start cutting some of the purse strings now. They will have struggles to be sure, but it could save them from huge financial problems later on.
Mary in WA
Parenting Is Not a Popularity Contest
I believe that one of the most important things we can offer our children is the opportunity to work for things themselves. If we give them everything they desire, they will have less to work for. Plus, you should look at the real value of what you are already giving them. You are offering your children a college education. What a wonderful gift! What could you possibly feel guilty about? I also frequently remind myself and my son that parenting is not a popularity contest. My job is to teach and guide, not satisfy every whim. When I am tempted to shower gifts on my child, I pause and ask myself what I will be teaching him with the gift. If I find an item I just can’t pass up (like a two dollar shirt at a thrift store by a favorite designer), I will hold onto it for the next holiday or to commemorate a personal success (like a great report card).

10 Events Make College Kids Grow up Financially

Coming out of high school there isn’t much to worry about. Most students have been gracefully given a free public education with opportunities to earn dual credit through a nearby community college, opportunities to earn AP credit, and probably making some degree of a salary be it an allowance or part-time job. The majority of students coming out of high school have a clear plate, before entering into college.
Unless students have been taught fiscal responsibility and money management, they won’t know what hit them when they realize what they are paying for and how much it is costing them and not their parents. College education is primarily a solo gig for students, which means loans, jobs and knowing how to manage personal finances. So what exactly is it that forces students to grow up financially? It’s those times when they realize they’re on their own. And it’s just the beginning. And this process of growing up is crucial for one’s personal and financial well being.

1. Usually the first step to opening one’s eyes to the high costs of a college education is seeing an unrealistic and high EFC which creates an all too low estimate of financial aid. Seeing these numbers alongside the cost of tuition for a prospective university is stifling. And it’s frightening, too.

2. Getting a work-study or part time job while going to school. The pressure to succeed in academics while having a job can be stressful, but once students learn to manage time effectively, having a job during college is a great idea.

3. Seeing the money come out of their bank account. This is one of the first reality checks for students who are paying for their own education. And it makes students not only work harder for that money, but work harder in their classes because money can’t be blown for a mediocre class performance. Not only does seeing this money disappear force students to value education more, but it teaches students to value the money they earn along with the hard work behind it.

4. Second semester comes around and students have to take out more money than was anticipated. Another loan means more money to pay off once graduation rolls around.

5. Next is when students start seeking advice from online forums and blogs as to what they can do to prevent going into more debt. Students at this point realize that they need to become more aware of their personal financial situation, so they seek out wisdom from the great world known as The Web. And it delivers through many avenues.

6. Fiscally buying groceries is another eye opener for college students. And another great way that college students learn how to save money! Coupons, cheaper grocers and generic brands are all red flags that students look for when buying groceries once they realize they are tight for finances.

7. Setting a budget with fixed expenses (i.e. tuition & fees, monthly housing, monthly insurance payments, books) and setting a budget with flexible payments (i.e. food and home supplies, clothing, transportation, entertainment).

8. Being constrained to do something because of finances. This could be any activity from going out on a Friday night to studying abroad in Paris for the summer. When a budget is in place there isn’t much leeway for even the smallest activities. And when studying abroad seems hopeful, students visit student financial services and realize more loans would have to be taken out. And who wants more of those?

9. Realizing that winning scholarships isn’t as easy as the winners make it seem.

10. Doing the math to figure out how much each class costs on a daily basis, and being motivated by that large number to never miss a class again.

Occasionally Check In With Vendors

This isn’t so much a frugal tip as it is a smart tip for any couple getting married, you will often reserve a reception area or order flowers or set up any of the various wedding services months (if not more than a whole year) in advance and it’s not uncommon for a vendor to go out of business before your big day. So, it’s wise to contact the vendor every few months to check their temperature and make sure they’re still in business and still have you on their books (mistakes happen all the time, even big ones). You don’t want to find out the night before that the reception hall burned down or the videographer went bankrupt, you’d much rather find out as soon as possible so you can resolve the situation.

My perfect summer BBQ corn!

After trying countless different preparations, our favorite summer BBQ corn is the easiest!

But first… I am very passionate about good fresh corn! My boys used to call it “corn on the bone”!

Important rules for choosing the best corn:

  • Start with fresh in season corn – Can’t do this just any time of year. Starting as early as April and through August is the time to make our move. And if you haven’t been in on the corn party this summer… The time is now! Get with it!!!
  • Where to get the best corn – If you planted corn in your backyard… Bravo! I can brag about my broccoli, tomatoes and a few others, but I’m not a good corn grower. ??? Or if you’re lucky enough to live near corn fields, eat corn every day! The next best thing may be a farmers market or produce stand if you have one nearby. But don’t poo-poo your supermarket just yet… I’ve been thrilled with my Vons corn (Safeway store) ever since it came in season. Plus, and I’ve heard great reviews on Kroger corn nationwide, as well as other supermarket chains having tender juicy sweet corn. Most supermarkets are securing deals from growers and distributors and moving very good fresh corn in their stores at great prices too. So if you don’t have a corn field next door, don’t despair.
  • Choose tamper free ears! – You know that trash can they have in the produce section next to the fresh beautiful ears of corn? Where there’s usually several people gathered around murdering their own corn? I usually grab that trash can, and start having a party throwing husks all over and laughing like a hyena! (Sigh) Ok, I haven’t done that. But you will see me plowing through trying to find some ears that have not been adulterated! Make sure your ears have not been tampered with! The ears must be just as God intended… CLOSED tight in their husks, until you eat them! I hear you, “How do know I’m not getting bad corn?” If you open them now to check, it will guarantee that even good ears WILL be “bad”, as you are opening them up to die, and the little kernels will not be as succulent as they were in their little husky blankets. So… I play with my odds this way… If I have eight people for a BBQ, I buy and cook at least ten ears (Ok, yeah, I would really do 12 for 8 people). Besides, our corn turns out so good, some people eat two! Cook them all. And any that are not pretty in all places for your family or guests, set aside and wrap tightly for the fridge. For leftovers tomorrow, cut off the small marred areas (usually only a few kernels), and use all those good kernels for salads, creamed corn, or just a side dish of corn, or bake in cornbread… You will not waste all the corn on those extra ears.
  • Choose ears that are moist and green, not drying husks.
  • Don’t get greedy on the size! – Bigger isn’t better! A medium to small slender ear will be the best. I know that’s decadent, because you are paying “per ear”.  And I know it’s out of character to hear me tell you to get less for your money, but it’s worth it for tender sweet kernels. Let me help you rationalize, because admittedly I struggled with this for years… If you’re playing, you’re saving tons on everything else. Plus the corn is is at a good price this time of year. And…  This is your splurge!

Now that you have the best fresh, tender, sweet, perfect, un-marred ears of corn all safe in their little husky blankets, here’s what you do:

1. At least one hour before, soak the corn in water, leaving them safe and secure in their husks!

2. Grill on low on the BBQ. Think of the corn as having four sides, and turn on all four sides, a total of 10-12 minutes (about 2-3 minutes each turn). Close the lid the whole time, only opening to turn the ears.

3. Remove the corn (still in husks) and place in a plastic or paper grocery bag, and wrap the bag of corn in one or two big towels. If you’re at a pool party, a big beach towel is perfect, and fine if it’s damp! I’ll tell you I have just wrapped them in a towel and skipped the bag many times. And it’s fine. But I prefer the plastic bag, as it seems to keep the moisture in, and the towel allows it to steam more. So that’s what I think is best.

4. Let it steam in the towel for about 10 more minutes.

5. Melt butter in a mug in the microwave, and serve with a butter brush. My favorite for butter or BBQ sauce are these $1 paint brushes from Home Depot

When you remove the husks, the silk will almost fall off! It’s much easier to shuck when cooked this way, than when the corn is raw… and better!

I stand at the end of the BBQ buffet with a trash can, and shuck each ear as my guests come through. I hand them an ear, and steer them past me to the butter brush!

Make sure you have plenty of sea salt within reach of everyone at the table.

And for those who like it (me and my son Christian), mayonnaise and parmesan cheese! (Mexican style!) Not that it needs anything at all, but… Yum!

Corn handles??? Pshaw! Put out lots of those napkins you’re getting on sale with coupons all summer.

Get messy, dig in, and enjoy!

Apply to Be the Young & Free Spokester!

I admit, I didn’t come up with the idea that Young & Free is a movement – it was Young & Free Michigan’s Spokester, Ebeth, who coined it, and it has stuck with me. 

I truly do believe that Young & Free is a movement toward financial freedom for young adults. Being Young & Free is spreading financial education, and empowering ourselves to make smart financial choices. 

Being rich isn’t the key to happiness or success. I know that my mom stressed over and over to me that “money isn’t everything.” And while she was right, money is still important, and having a healthy relationship with it is empowering. 

Money is a tool to help you achieve happiness and success. It may or may not be the ultimate goal, but if you can manage your finances, you can make decisions that will enable you get where you want to go. Living paycheck to paycheck may work for a while, but it doesn’t last forever. Especially when major expenses come up – like buying or home or vehicle – where you need a downpayment. 

I care about the Young & Free Program with Maine’s credit unions because I care about empowering young adults to make smart financial choices. Maine’s credit unions are allowing that to happen. Join your local credit union, and be empowered to make the best financial decision, for you. 

My term with Young & Free is ending, and we’re looking for the next voice of our generation to carry on with the movement toward financial freedom. Are you ready to apply? 

Take care, 

Fresh & Fit Friday: Free 5-Minute Fat Burning Exercises

We are all busy, and I’m sure everyone has a life beyond getting fit. 

But did you know that even 5-minute bursts of exercise have long-term health benefits? 5 minutes is not a lot of time to squeeze in a quick workout. It’s very doable. Think of going for a quick walk, think of getting up from your desk and walking around the office, using the stairs, taking a 5-minute break and walking outside to get some fresh air. Think of taking a walk instead of watching TV, or going for a bike ride. Simple things add up and make a big difference. 

Free 5-Minute Fat-Burning Exercises! 

  • Dance – Put on some good tunes and release some stress while you cook, clean, or do laundry! 
  • Clean – Speed cleaning your kitchen can burn lots of calories.
  • Lunges – Lunge down the hallway to burn 45 calories in 5 minutes! 
  • Shopping – Pick up the pace! 
  • Bounce – Bouncing on a stability ball for 5 minutes can burn 58 calories! 
  • Jump Rope! 
  • Walk or jog around the block! 
  • Jog in place – Yes! You can burn calories even if you’re not actually going anywhere! 
  • Vacuum 
  • Play – You can burn calories while playing fun games, like Ping-Pong! 

For me, working out isn’t a daily goal. It isn’t on my to-do list. It isn’t a chore that I need to get done. I make it a fun part of my daily routine, so it doesn’t feel so daunting, and so that I feel better throughout the day. If you switch things up, and do things that you love, it’s much easier to stick to! Or, if you work quick routines into your day, you’ll feel much more energized! 

Getting healthy is a conscious effort. Think about how you’re going to make the small changes…and that doesn’t have to include expensive gym memberships or gym equipment! 

Happy Friday! 

Tipping On The Wedding Day

In this article, there are some general calculations for tips that you can give to people who work with you on your wedding day. This can be a standard measure for giving your tip to them.

Even though everyone working with you on your wedding day will have been paid before they showed up, you’ll still have to tip them. So, how do you know how much to tip the photographer? Or the officiant? How about the parking attendants and the bartender (if you have a bar)? The rule of thumb of 20% just won’t cut it so here’s how you should approach it.

Wedding Coordinator

Courtesy :

No tip is expected, but you can send them a thank you card or some other small gift.


Courtesy :

It is about $100 – $200, given by the best man.

Transportation (Bus, Limo)

Courtesy :

The range is 15-20%. Check that a gratuity isn’t already included.

Parking Attendants, Valets

About $1 per vehicle, given to the supervisor beforehand. Be sure to inform your guests that gratuities were already provided.

Coatroom & Restroom Attendants


Approximately $0.50 – $1.00 per guest. Check that a gratuity isn’t already included.


$20.00-25.00, but no tip is expected.

Photographer & Videographer

$20.00-25.00, but no tip is expected.

Banquet Manager or Maitre D’

$200-$300, but check that a service charge or gratuity is not already included.

Caterer & Waitstaff

Courtesy :

This only applies if the catering isn’t offered by the reception hall you’re in. Consider how many waitstaff you have and calculate a tip that way, then throw a little extra to the catering manager.


10% of the final bill, be sure to check that a gratuity is not already included.

You Won’t Need To Tip… the business owners of the services you provide, the florist, the baker, the bridal shop, invitation or party rental companies.