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Tips for Crafting With Children PART ONE

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Tips for Crafting With Children

Prior Preparation and Planning

Just like cooking with children, preparation is key to enjoyable craft sessions with children. Make sure that you have thought about it in advance and have an activity ready to go, otherwise the child will lose interest while you get things ready.

Think like a pre-school provider: everything needs to be out and ready when the children arrive to play.

One Thing at a Time

Don’t be tempted to offer several options and expect your child to make up their mind. Get one activity organized, whether that is play-dough, painting, or making something, and then help your child to complete it.

If you are offering your attention, and something fun to do, you are unlikely to get complaints that an alternative activity is not available.

Age-Appropriateness

A bit of thought about what you can expect your child to do will pay off, especially if you have more than one.

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COOKING WITH CHILDREN - PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . .

Remember, be tolerant, especially of mess.

There will be mess, and plenty of it, when cooking with children but you can clear it up later and they might even help you with the washing-up, water play being many children’s favourite activity.

Also remember that you will need at least twice as long to make anything with children involved.

The idea is not to create a masterpiece, but to get your children involved in food preparation, and to have some fun together.

You can also use the experience to teach children the basics of food hygiene, safety and nutrition and diet.

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COOKING WITH CHILDREN - PART Three

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continued. . . 

How Many Children?

 

The easiest number of children to manage is, of course, one, especially when they are very small.

If you have two under the age of about five, cooking with each separately is probably recommended as you may otherwise end up being quite stressed.

A four-year old can do significantly more than a two-year old, but that won’t stop the two-year old trying to get fully involved, or mean that you don’t need to help the four-year old at all. The need to watch both, and do several things at once, may reduce your enjoyment of the session significantly!

Interestingly, it is entirely possible to cook with a group of four children of the same age, especially once they reach the age of four or five. This is because they are more capable of doing things for themselves and also understand about taking turns. Four competitive small boys taking turns can cream butter and sugar together at amazing speeds and with huge efficiency.

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CHILDREN AND COOKING

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What to Cook

Baking is usually the first choice activity when cooking with children.

This is because you mix everything together cold and then cook it, which means that only the adult has to touch anything hot.

Baking also results in things that children want to eat, like cakes and biscuits (cookies). There are plenty of simple and easy cake and biscuit recipes in books and on the internet so even a novice baker can feel reasonably confident.

Top Tip!


Biscuits are probably the easiest thing to make. Some require small balls of mixture squashed gently, and others need rolling and cutting. Children tend to love this part of the activity so it may be worth investing in some fun-shaped cookie cutters, such as butterflies or dinosaurs.

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Entertaining Children Read more at: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/parenting-skills.html

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Entertaining Children

Keeping children busy is half the battle in keeping them quiet and happy, and there is a huge amount of advice available on ways to manage this, including our page - Top Tips for the School Holidays.

For more inspiration try our pages on Cooking with ChildrenGardening with Children, and Craft Activities with Children for some ideas for things to do at home.

If you’re thinking of going out and about, check out our pages on Outings with Children.

Of course, there is the issue of the ‘electronic babysitter’, and whether it is good for children to spend time watching television or using computers. This is a perennial issue for all parents, whether your child is barely 18 months or approaching 18 years old. Read more in our page on Screen Time for Children.

Children’s parties are an ongoing challenge for parents. Learn more about how to cope in our pages on Planning Children’s Parties and Managing Children’s Parties.

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SO YOU ARE PREGNANT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Orm24xknIc

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No Budget, No Problem PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . .

I Can Just Spend 5 Minutes Tracking My Accounts

Even if you will never use a spreadsheet or a formal budgeting system, you can still commit to checking in on your accounts. Think of it as feeding your fish. You don’t need an elaborate fish food dispenser with bells and whistles, you just need to lift the lid,  peek in and make sure all is well.

I check our bank transactions for 5 minutes on Mondays and Fridays. And our investments on the last day of the month. This simple habit revealed three significant errors in the past few years:

  • Our bank withdrew double mortgage payments one month
  • Our car dealership set up automatic monthly car payments out of our account for someone else’s vehicle (we’re nice, but not that nice!)
  • A major investment firm gave $9,000 of our life savings to someone else because of a clerical error (read the ridiculous story here)

It is easy to assume that banks, car dealerships and investment firms won’t make mistakes, but that is not the case. Simple, regular habits will help you be more aware of your financial picture, and catch any double charges or errors. Well worth the 5-minute investment.

I Can Just Automate a Few Things

Setting up a few automations will simplify your finances and help you achieve goals faster than you think. Call your bank to get advice on which systems will serve you well.

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No Budget, No Problem: How to Get a Grip on Your Finances When Spreadsheets Aren’t Your Thing PART THREE

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CONTINUED. . . 

I Can Do a Spending Freeze for A Day or a Week

Try this once and watch what happens. Limit your spending to only food and transportation for a set amount of time. Notice how many times you go to mindlessly spend money before remembering it’s a Spending Freeze. Your bank balance will reward your self-control, and you will become more aware of how much shopping can be done out of habit. 

I Can Have a Low-Budget Weekend

Since entertainment spending often skyrockets on the weekend, challenge yourself to plan a fun activity using very little money. Encourage the whole family to join in on the challenge. Better yet, invite another family to work with you. What kind of adventures could both families have together while only spending $10? $20? Our library has free passes to conservation parks that can be signed out for a week. Be creative and meet up for a free afternoon with each family contributing to a picnic. A little planning goes a long way in saving.

I Can Just Make a Bit More

This tip can revolutionize your financial management. If you have a large purchase to make, find creative ways to earn extra income so your regular account won’t take a hit. The more urgent the goal, the more creative you will become.

When we bought our first home, we desperately needed air conditioning. The thought of Little Squishy waking up from naps with soggy hair made this a priority. But we didn’t have $2,000 on hand. I brainstormed a list of things I could do as a SAHM to quickly save up. I started in-home tutoring around my sleeping boy’s schedule. After a few months of stuffing all earnings into a sock drawer, we were able to pay for the A/C in full.

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No Budget, No Problem: How to Get a Grip on Your Finances When Spreadsheets Aren’t Your Thing PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . .

No Budget, No Problem: How to Get a Grip on Your Finances When Spreadsheets Aren’t Your Thing

I Can Just Spend a Bit Less

Do you wander around the mall on your lunch break or mindlessly scroll online stores? Searching out the next great buy can be addictive because our brains receive a shot of endorphins when we see something exciting. The problem is, this easily leads to overspending. 

And we might be inadvertently modeling this pattern for our children. Our 7-year-old and I recently had this conversation:

Him: Mom, I found something I really want to buy on Amazon.

Me: Did you know you wanted to buy it before you went on Amazon?

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No Budget, No Problem: How to Get a Grip on Your Finances When Spreadsheets Aren’t Your Thing PART ONE

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Do your finances feel out of control? These practical tips will help you implement strategies to get you closer to saving money without a spreadsheet.

My friend Sara struggles with managing her money.

She’s a busy working mom of 3 littles and at the end of a busy day, the last thing she wants to do is enter numbers into a complicated budget. At the same time, she dreads opening her credit card statements and often feels guilty about overspending. She earns a decent income but has no idea how the money disappears so quickly. After hitting a low point, Sara asked me to help her make some changes. Her only request was that my ideas be simple and attainable. 

This is for all the Saras.

If you are struggling with your finances like Sara, I promise it’s possible to manage your money better. So before you throw in the towel (that you bought on impulse), try the “I Can Just” technique. Instead of focusing on making huge financial changes, just do one thing differently every day. Small steps. Big results.

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FAST & EASY RECIPES - PART ONE

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FAST & EASY RECIPES

More concerned with getting good food on the table fast than with serving a gourmet 4-course meal? We’ve got you covered, with simple, easy-to-follow, family WHC---16CA-approved recipes that use everyday staples and come together quickly with minimum steps.

Looking for a hearty, creamy soup recipe? This loaded cream of potato soup is the perfect comfort food recipe for any week night. Cozy up & enjoy!

When the weather is cold nothing quite hits the spot like a hearty bowl of hot soup!

Loaded Cream of Potato Soup

This creamy potato version comes together surprisingly fast, but the yummy toppings make it feel extra special. It is also a great dish to serve to a crowd!

Loaded Cream Of Potato Soup

 The best Creamy Potato Soup recipe with all your favorite toppings. Perfect for any week night meal!

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How to Remove Almost Any Stain (Yes, Really!) PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . 

Mustard

Place stain face down on a clean paper towel. Pre-treat underside of stain with liquid laundry detergent or stain remover, rubbing stain gently. Rinse. Soak for 30 minutes in a solution of lukewarm water mixed with all-fabric bleach. Rinse. If an item is white or colorfast, soak in bleach solution for 15 minutes. Rinse and launder normally.

Nail Polish

Place stain face-down on a clean paper towel. Gently rub from the underside with cloth or sponge soaked in nail polish remover. Repeat with clean paper towels until the stain is gone. Launder normally.

Oil or Grease

Place stain face-down on a clean paper towel. Pre-treat underside of stain with a generous amount of liquid laundry detergent or stain remover, rubbing stain gently. Rinse with hot water. Launder normally in the hottest water possible.

Permanent Marker

Place stain face down on a clean paper towel. Pre-treat underside of the stain with liquid laundry detergent or stain remover, rubbing stain gently. Rinse. Soak for 30 minutes in a solution of lukewarm water mixed with all-fabric powdered bleach. Rinse. If the item is white or colorfast, soak in bleach solution for 15 minutes. Rinse and launder normally.

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How to Remove Almost Any Stain (Yes, Really!) PART THREE

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continued. . .

Candle Wax

Scrape off any excess wax with a table knife. Place the stain face down on a clean paper towel. Press an iron over the backside of the stain to release the wax onto a paper towel. Repeat with clean paper towels until no more wax transfers to the paper towel. Treat the remaining color stain with stain remover. Soak in Oxy-Clean solution for 30 minutes. Launder normally, using bleach for whites.

Dinginess

For whites or colorfast fabrics, fill sink or bucket with lukewarm water and 1-2 cups bleach. Soak items for 30 minutes; launder normally with bleach. For non-colorfast fabrics, fill sink or bucket with warm water, 2 squirts dish soap, and 2 tablespoons of ammonia. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain water & rinse items. Refill sink and add ¼ cup vinegar. Soak items for 30 minutes. Rinse and launder normally with the hottest water possible and add Oxy-Clean to detergent.

Coffee

Place the item face down on a clean towel. Gently rub from the back with a sponge soaked in rubbing alcohol. Soak item for 15 minutes in a mixture of 1-quart lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and a squirt of liquid dish soap. Rinse the item. Soak in Oxy-Clean solution for 30 minutes. Launder normally, using bleach for whites.

Grass Stains

Soak the item in cool water & Oxy-Clean solution for several hours or overnight. Launder normally, using bleach for whites. If stain remains, soak in Oxy-Clean solution again, then re-wash.

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How to Remove Almost Any Stain (Yes, Really!) PART TWO

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CONTINUED. . . 

Stain fighters to keep on hand:

  • Ammonia
  • Aqua Net Hair Spray
  • All Fabric Bleach (such as Clorox 2)
  • Bleach
  • Dish Soap
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Oxy-Clean Powder (or similar alternative)
  • Paper Towels
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Stain Remover
  • Table Knife
  • Vinegar

Specific stain removal:

Baby Food

Scrape off any dried food with a kitchen knife. Soak item for 15 minutes in a mixture of 1-quart lukewarm water, 1 tablespoon ammonia, and a squirt of liquid dish soap. Gently rub stain from the back, then soak for an additional 15 minutes. Rinse the item, then soak in Oxy-Clean solution for at least 30 minutes, or until the stain is gone. Launder normally.

Blood

Soak the item in ice-cold water for 15 minutes. Rub stain from behind. Soak an additional 15 minutes in cold water. Check stain. If still visible, soak the item in Oxy-clean solution for 30 minutes. Launder normally, using bleach for whites.

Berries

Place stain face down on a clean paper towel. Pre-treat underside of stain with liquid laundry detergent or stain remover, rubbing the stain gently. Rinse. Soak for 30 minutes in a solution of lukewarm water mixed with all-fabric bleach. Rinse. If an item is white or colorfast, soak in the bleach solution for 15 minutes. Rinse and launder normally.

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How to Remove Almost Any Stain (Yes, Really!) PART ONE

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No one wants to toss a perfectly good shirt because of a stain that won’t come out! Next time, try these tried & true techniques to remove almost any stain. From blueberries to wine, these simple steps will keep your laundry looking good as new. There’s even a cute printable cheat sheet to hang in your laundry room!

Ugh, STAINS. They’re the worst, right?

And it’s happened to all of us at one point or another. You dribble coffee on your favorite shirt. Your 2-year-old decides to color herself—and her Sunday dress—with a rainbow assortment of felt-tip markers. Your husband gets a little overly enthusiastic with his barbecue sauce. Your romantic candlelit dinner leaves you with candle wax all over the tablecloth. Your little aspiring soccer player ends up with grass stains all over his brand new jeans.

In any of these cases, and certainly a whole lot more, it is easy to just want to throw up your hands and declare a total loss. Yes, it’s unfortunate, you think, but what can you do? After all, these things happen.

But while stains may just be an inevitable part of life, giving up on them doesn’t have to be. With a few simple tricks and some good-old-fashioned elbow grease, you may just be able to salvage that favorite item and save yourself both money and heartache along the way.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART SIX

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CONTINUED. . . .

Wellness & Mental Health Skills

45. Critical Thinking + Problem Solving

If you took a logic class in college or you’ve experienced an “If this, then that” question on a test, then you’re familiar with logic. Unfortunately, it’s not a skill everyone has. Yes, this life skill is about your ability to prioritize, but it’s also about your ability to break a situation down and make choices. It’s about measuring possible outcomes and building your thinking skills to tackle life’s little bumps. To improve your problem-solving skills, try brain-training programs like Lumosity or Fit Brains. When it comes to problem-solving skills, if you don’t use ‘em, ya lose ‘em. That’s why it’s important that we’re constantly learning.

46. Synthesizing

A critical thinking skill, synthesizing is the ability to combine parts of a whole in a new and unique way. This learned skill boosts your adaptability and the way you “roll with the punches.” It’s part of the analysis and evaluation of any given situation. Think of it like a chef—you can take different components of a meal, break them down, and then put them together in a new and delicious way. In life, it’s a critical thinking skill that’s considered “higher-level thinking” … something we often slack on after high-school or college.

47. Self-Discipline: Exercise & Nutrition

The ability to discipline yourself enough to make healthy choices about your food and exercise is a learned skill.  It’s part of “bigger picture” thinking: achieving the understanding that if you eat something now, you might pay for it later. It’s about making a healthy meal for your family or taking a walk rather than hauling the kids through the McDonald’s drive-thru. No one can be perfect all the time, but when you view exercise and nutrition as self-care, rather than punishment, it helps to reframe. Start with small steps, like taking a walk or adding a vegetable to every meal, and build on the positive.

48. Self Care: Sleep & Hygiene

We get so wrapped up in caring for others we forget about the importance of taking care of ourselves. This means yes, sleep and rest, which is simply critical to our health. It also means taking time for yourself—showering, dressing in clean clothing, putting on makeup, styling your hair, or doing what you need to do to feel clean, confident and at your best. It’s funny because, as moms, even though we get after our kids to wash their hands, take a bath and brush their teeth, we sometimes get so busy we forget to care for ourselves. (Well, hopefully, we at least brush our teeth.) Give yourself a spa day or treat yourself to a luxury day at home. Learn to pamper yourself a little. Catch up on all those things that can fall by the wayside when we’re busy, like dying our hair, tweezing our eyebrows, whipping up a facial mask, or getting a pedicure. You deserve to feel good. Learn about proper sleep patterns and ways to streamline your beauty routine so you can get the most out of your “me time.”

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART FIVE

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continued. . . . 

Relationship Skills

39. Listening & Communication in a Partnership

Communication in a marriage or relationship (and even with your children) is very different than general communication skills. It’s about listening, being unselfish and empathetic and tackling difficult conversations without prejudice. Words matter, as they can be hurtful or beautiful. They can bring us closer to each other and closer to God, or they can rip us apart. Learning to think before you speak and listen more than you talk are communication tools that will serve you throughout your life and in all your close relationships.

40. Valuing & Expressing Respect

At the heart of every successful marriage, there’s mutual respect. I don’t believe any of us have the perfect marriage (I know I don’t!) but respecting our spouse and our differences can help your marriage become stronger and happier. Learn to view your spouse through the lens of another human being with feelings, desires and wants that yes, may not always match your own. Understanding the underlying motivations and emotions underneath it all and respecting them as valid will strengthen your marriage.

41. Valuing & Expressing Love

Love is about buying gifts and spoiling your children and spouse, right? WRONG. Love is about quality time, affection, expression, and understanding. We all know what Hollywood and Hallmark say love is, but we also know love is about so much more. To love and to be loved is truly a life skill and something that takes work. After all: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

42. How to Accept Compliments & Criticism

Accepting both compliments and constructive criticism isn’t easy! Oftentimes we fail to accept compliments with grace or downplay them and get embarrassed, and yet, we’re sometimes crushed by criticisms (even if they’re valid) and we take them personally and to heart. Learning to simply say, “thank you” when you get a compliment and learning to view criticism as feedback (assess it, then apply it or throw it away) can serve you well.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART FIVE

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CONTINUED. . . 

Relationship Skills

39. Listening & Communication in a Partnership

Communication in a marriage or relationship (and even with your children) is very different than general communication skills. It’s about listening, being unselfish and empathetic and tackling difficult conversations without prejudice. Words matter, as they can be hurtful or beautiful. They can bring us closer to each other and closer to God, or they can rip us apart. Learning to think before you speak and listen more than you talk are communication tools that will serve you throughout your life and in all your close relationships.

40. Valuing & Expressing Respect

At the heart of every successful marriage, there’s mutual respect. I don’t believe any of us have the perfect marriage (I know I don’t!) but respecting our spouse and our differences can help your marriage become stronger and happier. Learn to view your spouse through the lens of another human being with feelings, desires and wants that yes, may not always match your own. Understanding the underlying motivations and emotions underneath it all and respecting them as valid will strengthen your marriage.

41. Valuing & Expressing Love

Love is about buying gifts and spoiling your children and spouse, right? WRONG. Love is about quality time, affection, expression, and understanding. We all know what Hollywood and Hallmark say love is, but we also know love is about so much more. To love and to be loved is truly a life skill and something that takes work. After all: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

42. How to Accept Compliments & Criticism

Accepting both compliments and constructive criticism isn’t easy! Oftentimes we fail to accept compliments with grace or downplay them and get embarrassed, and yet, we’re sometimes crushed by criticisms (even if they’re valid) and we take them personally and to heart. Learning to simply say, “thank you” when you get a compliment and learning to view criticism as feedback (assess it, then apply it or throw it away) can serve you well.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART FOUR

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continued. . . .

Self-Awareness Skills

32. Understanding Your Calling, Purpose & Mission

Understanding your higher purpose, your “calling” and what drives you helps set a foundation for everything you do. Crafting not only a family mission statement but a personal mission statement can help you keep your focus on your most important life goals.

33. How to Prioritize and What Your Priorities Are

We all have to learn how to prioritize the most important things each day, so we can take care of the most necessary (and often the toughest) tasks first. In the ER, doctors and nurses call it triage. It’s being able to assess a situation, size it up and figure out what needs to be tackled first. We’ve talked about it as “Eating the Frog.” Do the big, bad, tough things first and get them under control so you can move forward.

34. Understanding Your Values

Similar to understanding your mission, understanding your values (and refusing to compromise on them) will give you guidance through any decision. If honesty is one of your values, then next time you’re put in a compromising position you’ll never be tempted to lie—because you know honesty is so important to you. If family communication and connectedness is a top value, then you’ll use that to guide your decisions that affect your kids. Write out your values and refer to them whenever you’re facing a tough choice.

35. How to Focus

This is twofold: first, how to focus on a task when you’re facing a deadline or when you need to get something done; and second, how to focus your direction, your actions and your goals so you’re always in line with your values and holding true to your personal mission.

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48 Life Skills Everyone Should Learn PART FOUR

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CONTINUED. . . 

Money Management Skills

22. How to Budget

The ability to budget and be financially responsible is absolutely vital to your life skillset. Whether you’re just starting out on getting a handle on your finances or you’re an experienced, coupon-clipping, money-saving guru, understanding your budget is the first step to achieving financial peace and security. It’s a skill we can learn from a very young age and one we should build on throughout our lives. Get started with a spending freeze or go through our Budget 101 resources.

23. How to Avoid/Get Out of Debt

Oh, debt … we talk a lot about financial peace and getting yourself out of debt. Being debt-free is a freedom like none other—but it takes a lot of work to get there. Learning to live within your means is definitely a learned skill. Learning to slay your debt is about keeping your spending in check and managing a plan to pay off your debt quickly and efficiently. We refer to it as a war, slaying, tackling and fighting because it’s truly challenging! But the amazing thing is, with a little practice, avoiding debt is a war you can win.

24. How to Make a Major Purchase

Maybe you’re about to buy a home or a car—or maybe just your first washing machine. Whatever it is, you should understand how to compare prices, how to do research via Consumer Reports, and how to make a smart purchase.

25. Balancing your bank account

This one seems so silly I almost didn’t put it in here, but then I thought about it. How many of us just use our debit card without writing things down? How many of us pay bills online or have them set up to automatically be debited from our accounts and then sort of forget until they show up on bank statements? Being able to record your expenses is a skill that will keep you in touch with your finances. It keeps you immediately accountable for what you’re spending. If you need to get a jumpstart on balancing your finances, try committing to writing things down for a month and see if you notice a difference in your spending patterns.

26. How to Use Coupons

Coupons will save you so much money! Yes, it’s a skill and it can seem a little daunting, but it’s really easy to get started. Most stores now offer e-coupons that you can clip right on your phone and then just have them scanned once you are at the register. Check with each store for their policies. With a little organization and some practice, you’ll become a couponing queen (and you’ll rarely catch yourself paying full price for ANYTHING).

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