Thursday, March 26, 2009
Hate searching for their jackets or shoes when it is time to leave? Do they have a ton of toys and books in your car? You can get them organized, kids like routine, they like pleasing you, they just need to know what to do.
DESIGNATE A SPOT FOR SHOES/JACKETS - A place for everything and everything in its place. I have my kids take their shoes of right at the front door. We have a cabinet with big drawers at the bottom to keep their shoes in. They are allowed to have only one pair out of the drawer. They will quickly start a routine if you tell them the rules and remind them when needed. Jackets and sweaters go on a set of hooks. They are allowed to have only one jacket and one sweater on the hooks. All others must be kept in their rooms.
PATROL TERRITORIES - Each of my kids is assigned an area of the house that is their area to patrol. It is usually their bedroom plus one other room in the house. They are given the authority to remind anyone in their territory to pick up after themselves and clean up messes. They are responsible for keeping the area tidy.
CAR ORGANIZATION - Each of my kids has a bin with a clip on lid in the car. They keep their books, pencils, paper and toys in the bin. If they want to bring something in the car, it must be put in the bin. I don't even need to remind them anymore, they go and get the bin and refill it with whatever they want to play with on long car rides.
EASY ROUTINES - Just like brushing their teeth in the morning and night, you can add additional steps to their routines. It is easy to add straighten your comforter and take dirty clothes to the laundry after they get dressed in the morning. The routines should be quick and simple. Making the bed sounds to complicated, but they can straighten the comforter and not leave anything on the floor.
Keep your kids organized and you will have less stress.
Throughout the history of the United States of American, our economy has had many ups and downs. There are three things that Americans do not want to do without through good times and bad.
COSMETICS - Americans can't live without their lipstick. May be to keep up appearances or hide their despair. Possibly Americans just do not want to give up everything they hold dear. Cosmetics are always in the top three even when times are tough.
ALCOHOL - Whether it is for partying or for escaping, alcohol sales are in the top three even in the depression.
TOBACCO - Unfortunately, stress induces the need for more cigarettes in some people. Apparently enough people that Tobacco always makes it into the top three sellers for the depression and bad economic times.
This list shows that Americans are unwilling to completely change the lifestyle that we have worked so hard to develop.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The future is uncertain and the end is always near. May be Jim Morrison knew more than we realized. With the economy faltering, we all need to tighten our belts. Here are some tips to help you to do so.
CABLE TELEVISION - This is an area where most of us can cut down. Luckily the cable companies have many different plans and it is possible to get your bill down to $15 a month if you want local channels only or $24 a month if you want local plus a few good channels. This is definitely the time to cut out all of the premium channels. The Sopranos are over anyway so it is not like your losing anything. If you need to supplement with a cheap subscription to Netflix.
CELL PHONES - These have proven that everyone has an addictive personality. To cut down on your cell phone bill, get a pay as you go phone. You can put $10 on it and then only use it in case of an emergency. Life is some much more peaceful without one.
PANTRY - If you are anything like me, your pantry is stocked. Try to start using the things that are in there. Challenge yourself to use it all up. It really cuts down on the grocery bill.
HEATING - Please don't tell me that you still have your thermostat set to 72 degrees. You are just throwing your money away. Buy a new pair of slippers and a sweater and turn the thermostat to 68 degrees, or 69 degrees if you need to. Your pocketbook will notice the difference.
COAST - Have you ever noticed your foot on the accelerator when you are going down hill. Remove foot. You will notice a nice amount of savings at the pump. I know gas prices have gone down, but don't let them fool you. They will sneak back up again if we let them. The US needs to keep their oil consumption low.
UNNECESSARY ITEMS - When you have your check book out and you are writing out your bill payments, look closely. Is there anything that you can cut out, may be magazine subscriptions, gym membership you don't use, etc?
Feng Shui is very detailed and complicated so I will attempt to break it down in small steps, look for future articles on more advanced steps. Feng Shui is not a religion it is common sense.
REMOVE CLUTTER - The first thing that you will learn about Feng Shui is that neatness counts. It is very difficult to remove clutter, see an article on getting organized listed below under resources if you need help. A simple step is to just move everything to your garage until you have a place for it. A place for everything and everything in its place. I know this is a tall order and you may be working on it for a while. Over crowding is considered clutter as well, so if you have rooms that are too full, clean them out.
BROKEN ITEMS - If you have things that are damaged or not working they must be repaired or you must get rid of them. It does no one any good to have items that don't work.
CLEANING - Start your spring cleaning now. Clean your house from top to bottom and don't forget to open up some of your windows to let in some fresh air.
Once you have your home organized, uncluttered and clean you are well on your way to Feng Shui, this is definitely the tough part for most people. You cannot go on to other steps of rearranging and decorating without first taking the time to clean your house. Good luck!
Monday, March 23, 2009
If you own property and rent it out, you know how important it is to have all of your ducks in a row.
KNOW THE LAW - It is essential that you keep up with the laws in your area. They usually rule how much you can charge for a deposit, how much time until you return the deposit and other important issues that are vital.
HAVE AN IRONCLAD CONTRACT - Make sure your rental agreement is clear and to the point. Everything should be included in the agreement, including who takes are of the landscaping, and whether or not they can wash their car in the driveway. Don't forget to include pets and the number of people living in the home. Let the tenants know that guests cannot stay for longer than 2 weeks.
TAKE A VIDEO of the interior of your home before you rent it. Years later when the renters move out, you will need it to prove what good shape your home was in.
ALWAYS REQUIRE A PROFESSIONAL CARPET CLEANER - Tenant self cleaning is not acceptable. If you suspect that they cleaned the carpets themselves, ask to see the receipt. If a tenant insists that they can do a good job, let them know that it was professionally done before they moved in and the next tenant needs the same quality.
TAKE AN EXTRA DEPOSIT - If you allow pets in your home, take an extra amount in the deposit, if it is allowed in your state.
Being a good landlord means taking care of business and providing your tenant with the things you have promised.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
How to Get Yourself Organized
Organize your mind and your life! You will feel better and be more productive.
MENTAL CONTROL - 50% of organization is in your head. If you feel well organized you will be. Staying on top of things means doing things when they need to be done. Johnny on the spot. Gain a "do it now" attitude and it will really change your life.
GET A GOOD CALENDAR and use it! I keep all information on my calendar. When I write down an appointment, I write the phone number and address (and directions if needed). Remember the faintest ink is better than the best memory.
CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER - Have a garage sale, donate to charity, whatever helps you to clear the clutter. Try to have a friend help you, you will keep less silly stuff with a friend to monitor you.
USE YOUR GARAGE - Keep only what you use everyday in your home. Other things should be put away. Buy organizing boxes, fill them, label them and store them in the garage, closets, etc.
DO NOT RENT A STORAGE UNIT! It is a waste of money for you to pay for junk you don't really need. A place for everything and everything in its place.
DON'T BUY MORE - Before you go to the checkout stand, stop and review your basket. Take out anything that you do not absolutely need.Being organized will help with everything that you do. Set your priorities and keep yourself motivated until you get yourself organized.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
LIST - Make a list of every category you spend money on each month. A sample list of categories: Rent or Mortgage, Food, Clothing-Shoes-Accessories, Utilities, Magazine Subscriptions, Entertainment, Car, Car Maintenance-Parking, Gas, Taxes and Insurance. You may want to add in a spending cash category if your budget allows it.
ESTIMATE - There are three different methods for estimating. 1. You may be able to guestimate how much you spend in each category per month. 2. Use your last months check register to calculate how much you spent in each category. 3. Start tracking this month and keep track of everything you spend in each category. Don't forget to add a monthly amount for items you may pay yearly such as insurance and taxes.
BUDGET - This budget is based on receiving two paychecks per month. If your paid at a different interval, you will need to adjust for the amount you received. Total all categories above. Take the total and divide it by 2. This is the amount that you will hold out of each paycheck to pay your bills. Subtract the amount out of a normal paycheck amount.
OVERBUDGET - If the balance is a negative number, you will need to redo your budget. Go back to your original categories and see where you can cut down. Some areas that can be trimmed are Spending Money, Clothing, Gas, Entertainment, Magazine Subscriptions and possibly some utilities if you have cable television or extra cell phones.
UNDER BUDGET - If the balance from step three is a positive number, you are doing good. This is the amount that you can transfer into savings out of each paycheck. Your checking account should always have enough for your regular bills, plus it will grow for your yearly or semi annual payments. Your savings will also grow.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Decide whether or not you would like some assistance. There are many companies that will help you sell your home yourself such as help u sell or for sale by owner. If you use some assistance, you will pay for it, however it will cost much less than using a real estate agent. For example, you may pay 1-2% commission instead of 3% commission. Either way, you will still have to pay the commission of the buyers agent.
Detail your home. Clean and organize your home inside and out. Once you have finished, photograph the highlights of your home including the front, yards and views. The more photos the better.
Decide on a listing price. Research recent sales in your area. You may want to actually visit other homes for sale so that you can see your competition. Comparables will have same or similar square footage, number of bedrooms and baths and be in similar condition. Price your home slightly lower. For example if your competition is priced at $300,000, price your home at $295,000.
Advertise your home in local papers. Include price, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths and a contact phone number. If you get an offer, you can always have an attorney review it before accepting it. You can also make a counter offer if you do not like all of the terms. Many standard forms can be found online. The buyer's agent commission is negotiable.
PREPARE YOURSELF - Personal hygiene and clothing are imperative. You must look the part to get the part. Your hair, makeup and nails must be perfect as well as your clothing. Even if you cannot afford professionals you can still learn to do your own hair and nails. You can get at least one nice outfit, shoes, watch, etc.
GO IT ALONE - Unless you have the perfect friend to go out with you, it is recommended that you go out alone. Most likely your friend may ruin any friendships you may start, or even worse, she may steal your guy. If you are uncomfortable being alone, pretend that you are meeting a friend.
RESEARCH LOCATIONS - You will need to find out where the wealthy congregate in your area or you may need to travel. Tennis clubs, golf clubs, high end restaurants or bars. High end jewelry stores, car dealerships or boat marinas are also good.
BE YOURSELF - Men love to take care of women, so don't be a show off.
The first thing you need to do is place an ad in the news paper for the date, time and location of your garage
Secondly you will need to make large signs to direct traffic to your location. The signs should be on large, brightly colored cardboard or thick paperboard. Use a thick black marker to make large letters and make sure it is easily readible by passerbys. Information on the sign should include an arrow pointing in the direction of your garage sale. Your date, time and street address. Place the signs on all major intersections with your street and keep them going all the way to your home.
You will need at least $250.00 to invest in currencies and at least $500.00 to invest in the stock market. I have written articles about both, so look them up after you have the money available. My first suggestion for pulling together seed money is a garage sale. Clean out your garage and sell everything that you can. Put up signs that are large and clear directing your buyers to your location. Put an ad in the newspaper for maximum results. Remember you are trying to sell not keep, so put the prices low and be willing to negotiate. As soon as you get some money in your hands, you can turn it into more money. It is also very Feng Shui to clean out your stuff. Get rid of everything you can. You can also prepare ahead of time by going to friends and neighbors and asking if they have anything they want to get rid of (that they were intending to donate, etc.), tell them that you are trying to raise money to better yourself.