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    • 6 Ways to Save When You Think You Can't Afford To

      17 October 2019

      You may worry about not having much of a nest egg, but if you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck, it’s hard to think about saving. Yet, say consumer finance advisors, getting a handle on where your money is going can help you in your efforts to save.

      From budget living website Wise Bread, here are six ways to start:

      Track your spending. You may think you know where your money is going, but you may be in for a surprise. For one month, keep an accurate account of every expenditure you make, from bills paid to purchases made, right down to your morning coffees. Once you see where your dollars are going, you should be able to make a few adjustments that will help you bank a few bucks out of every paycheck.

      Set up direct deposit savings. Having 10 percent (or more) of every paycheck deposited into savings before you ever see the money is a sneaky but effective strategy. Chances are, you won’t miss it, especially once the tracking you’ve done has helped you pare your spending, and you’ll love watching the savings add up. 

      Take a no-spend challenge. Make the decision to buy nothing but necessities for an entire month. That means ditching the mall, digging deep into your freezer and pantry for meal supplies, and staying away from online shopping sites that tease and tempt you to spend. If you can do that, you should end the month with more dollars you can add to your savings.

      Examine your debt. If you have credit card debt, cutting your monthly spend may leave you with more to help pay down debt. And if you’re paying interest on that debt, shop around to see if you can transfer it to a new account that offers zero interest for at least a year. 

      Save your nickels (and dimes and quarters). Emptying your pocket change into a piggy bank each evening is a habit well worth making. The change grows quickly into dollars you can empty directly into savings.

      Shop for new quotes. Can you save money on your auto insurance or cable bill?  Perhaps, but you’ll never know until you make a few phone calls to find out.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Tips to Improve Wellness and Prevent Stroke

      17 October 2019

      (Family Features)--Stroke is often thought of as something that happens to older people, but more people under 50 are having strokes due to increased risky behaviors, such as smoking and untreated high blood pressure. 

      Strokes don't discriminate, according to the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, the world's leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke. They can happen to anyone, at any age. About one in four people worldwide will have a stroke in their lifetime. However, up to 80 percent of first strokes may be prevented. 

      "Healthy habits can protect and improve brain function and lower your stroke risk," says Dr. Lee Schwamm, MD, American Stroke Association volunteer chairman and executive vice chairman, department of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

      In recognition of World Stroke Day, the American Stroke Association offers these five tips to help reduce your risk of stroke and maintain mental sharpness as you age:

      Keep blood pressure in mind and under control. High blood pressure is the No. 1 controllable risk factor for stroke. Work with your doctor to manage your blood pressure and get it into a healthy range (under 120 over 80).

      Eat colorful fruits and veggies. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure over time, which may help reduce your stroke risk. Some fruits and vegetables, such as mangoes, avocados and blueberries, are especially rich in vitamins and minerals that improve brain function and heart health.

      Rest up. Getting 7 - 9 hours of quality sleep each night can improve brain function both today and long-term. A soothing bedtime routine and avoiding screen time before bed can increase the quality of sleep you're able to get. Sleep-related breathing issues may also increase stroke risk, so seek treatment right away if you suspect sleep apnea or similar problems.

      Meditate. Emerging science shows practicing mindfulness and being aware of your breathing may reduce blood pressure. A quick way to be mindful at any time is to pause, notice your breath and observe details in your surroundings. 

      Take a hike. Getting active activates brain cells, encouraging them to grow and connect more efficiently. Aerobic exercise, like going for a walk, also gives your arteries a workout and makes your brain more resilient to reductions in blood flow that can cause strokes. To maximize health benefits, the American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (or a combination) and two days per week of moderate- to high-intensity muscle strengthening activity.

      "These simple suggestions are great for everyone to follow, even if you don't think you're likely to have a stroke," says Schwamm. "While many adults don't think they are at risk for stroke or reduced brain function, the reality is that nearly half of all adults in America have high blood pressure, and untreated high blood pressure is one of the most common causes of stroke and also causes up to 60 percent of dementia."

      Source: American Heart Association

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Take Advantage of Thanksgiving Travel Specials

      17 October 2019

      Heading out of town this Thanksgiving season? To help navigate busy airports and sky-high price tags, CheapOair® shares the following tips and tricks to ensure that travelers everywhere make it to the dinner table come Turkey Day.

      Book Early. If you're reading this and you haven't booked your Thanksgiving flight yet, there's no time like the present. Prices for most airlines begin to spike in early November and continue to rise through the new year. According to CheapOair's data, the cheapest time to book Thanksgiving travel is in October, with an average U.S domestic cost of $379.05.

      Leave a Little Bit Early or a Little Bit Late. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year and can lead to a tense travel experience. Avoid the rush by leaving on either Black Friday, a day many people choose to relax in a post-meal stupor, or the Tuesday after travelers are already back to their normal work routines.

      "Airline prices can be dramatically cheaper traveling on the 'non-peak' days during Thanksgiving week. Major airports will be less crowded, getting through TSA will be faster, and the demand for overhead bin space to put your carry-on will be much easier," says Tom Spagnola, senior vice president of Supplier Relations at Fareportal.

      Skip the Checked Luggage. If possible, stick to a carry-on. The kiosks for self-luggage check-in will be almost as long as the lines at the actual check-in counter. If a bag needs to be checked, consider consolidating your family's luggage into one suitcase to minimize any potential fees or lost luggage mishaps.

      "There will be a much higher percentage of families traveling over Thanksgiving, which means more people will be checking luggage. Some airlines charge fees to check luggage based on the type of fare that you purchased, so the cost of checking luggage can add up quickly," remarks Spagnola.

      Take Advantage of Early Check-In on Apps. Most airlines now allow you to check-in online 24 hours before your expected departure, and with the CheapOair app, app switching is no longer necessary. The app allows consumers to do this all in one spot so that the entire journey from check-in to return can be managed in one ecosystem.  

      Source: CheapOair

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Getting Your Space Newborn Ready: A New Parent Checklist

      16 October 2019

      Bringing a baby into your home carries with it a whirlwind of emotions: joy and excitement, but also a little fear, and a sharpened sense of responsibility. But just as you’ve learned that preparation makes a difference in other areas of your life, you will find that organization, and a little pre-planning, can ease some of the natural uncertainty as you bring your new baby home. 

      Real Simple, the magazine that prides itself on getting down to the nitty-gritty, suggests three steps new parents can take to get their living space ready for their new bundle of joy:

      Take care of safety issues. While your newborn won’t be crawling right away, you may want to take some safety precautions now, because baby-proofing can never start too early. Be sure all potentially harmful chemicals, detergents and medications are kept out of sight and reach, and invest in cabinet locks to add another layer of security. If you haven’t already, make sure to install smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors throughout your apartment or house, and make sure your water heater temperature is set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bath water burns.

      Invest in baby-friendly technology. A few smart baby products that new parents love are high-resolution baby monitors, self-warming baby bottles, wireless baby soothers and smart bassinets. Do the research now to discover what technology is right for you and your budget—and which companies have approval from third-party consumer protection groups.

      Prep the nursery. This is where you and your baby will spend a lot of time among a seeming avalanche of diapers, toys and paraphernalia, so build in plenty of time to get it ready. If you’re dealing with a smaller space, prep it by: 
      - Buying a combination dresser and changing table and investing in a good changing pad.
      - Using the space underneath the crib to store extra diapers, wipes and seasonal clothes (at least until your baby begins to crawl).
      - Installing drawer and closet organizers to help you easily find clean socks, onesies and other baby gear
      - Using mesh laundry bags to hold worn socks, because those tiniest of baby accessories are so easily misplaced come laundry day.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Keys to Success in Business and Life

      16 October 2019

      (Family Features)--It's not always easy staying organized. Life is busy, chaotic and fast-moving. Although it can be easy to get discouraged at times, there are ways to enhance organization and attitude through the peaks and pits life throws at you. 

      Carol Lavin Bernick, former executive chairman of beauty conglomerate Alberto Culver, published "Gather As You Go: Lessons Learned Along the Way," a book sharing insights she's learned through her many roles as a corporate leader, working mother, philanthropist and founder of the nonprofit organization Enchanted Backpack. Bernick offers these tips to be ready for the good times and difficult situations, highlighting the importance of loving what you’re doing in both business and life. 

      1. Attitude Is Key 
      A person who is passionately committed to the success of his or her business—who has an "I-can-do-it" attitude—is more likely to succeed. One person can make a difference, and it's up to you to demonstrate that you’re one of those people.

      2. If You Never Fail, You Will Never Grow 
      If it's always comfortable and easy, you can't know the big win. When challenged and stretched, you may have a greater chance to learn. Reach out, get involved, and take a risk. Oftentimes, the best talent has multiple experiences to share and on which to reflect. 

      3. Credibility Is Everything 
      Some of the most important career-saving words are "I don't know." Never fake it. If you're wrong, admit it and correct it. If you've made a mistake, fix it and learn from it. If it's going to take some time to find an answer, set a timetable and stick to it. 

      4. Complaining Gets You Nowhere
      People, especially in business, simply do not want to hear complaints. If you’re frustrated, it’s probably best to keep quiet and figure out how you can fix whatever it is, and if you can't change it, try changing how you think about it by altering your mindset.  

      5. Give Back
      Communities aren’t perfect. They’re the responsibility of business, government and citizens. If you don't commit to making a difference, you're instead leaving the burden to others. 

      6. Nice Guys Don't Finish Last...They Win
      Aggressive and passionate shouldn't equate with unpleasant. The higher you rise, the more pleasant and understanding you typically need to be. Never underestimate the importance of being thankful and the value of recognition. Ego has no place in business. If you have one, try to lose it.  

      Source: Gather As You Go

      Published with permission from RISMedia.