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I miss my childhood when…

…I smell crayons.  The waxy aroma sends me straight back to elementary school.  The back to school shopping for new clothes, shoes, and school supplies.  The excitement of putting notebooks, pencils, glue sticks, and pretty folders into my brand new backpack.  Knowing I’d see all my friends again.  Not knowing it wouldn’t last–that school could be a harsh and unfair place.

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…I see snow. Remembering the joy of snow days and having the biggest sledding hill in the neighborhood–until my mom leveled it off during a remodel.  Devastation.  My Aunt Gwen smearing chapstick all over my face to ward off windburn.  Avoiding her house at all costs whenever it snowed, I hated it so bad.  An act of love, misunderstood.

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I want to tell you a funny story. There is a gas station/mini-mart about a half mile up the highway from my house. I frequent it every week or two, but not to buy anything. Are you kidding me? Do you know how much they want for a box of frosted flakes?

And the gas— give-me-a break! You won’t find higher prices anywhere in town. Nevertheless, it is one of the few convenience stores that I have to say I am honestly grateful for, even if the owners cannot say the same for me.

I do feel guilty though. Oh, it’s not what you think— I’m not a thief, at least not in the standard sense of the word. I simply take full-advantage of the restroom facilities that are offered to paying-patrons, even though I’ve already established the fact that I am not one of those.

I’m not a bum, either, just a long-distance runner, who knows the whereabouts of every Sani-Hut, park lavatory, and high-priced gas station/mini mart along my route. The first two-mentioned places, I can go into without question, whereas with the latter, I tend to feel a little conspicuous. I always have a disclaimer.

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My dad didn’t have an amazing childhood, but he never speaks bad about it. His parents struggled through each month just managing to pay for necessities and rarely buying luxuries. His father had been in the war and, from what I remember of him, he wasn’t a happy guy – but he totally adored my nan. My dad had two sisters who we only see at Christmas these days, and spent most of his childhood playing in the street and supporting Manchester United.

My nan died of breast cancer before I could ever meet her but the only stories I hear of the “good old days” usually come hand in hand with laughter, and huge smiles. My dad loved his mum more than anything in the world and we rarely speak of her now because he still hasn’t really accepted her death, even though she passed in the early 80s.More Link

As a person who controls future events you know that if you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to get what you already have!

When I heard this phrase, 1 year ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I realized that if I want anything to change in my life I have to make changes to my life. Those changes had everything to do with my thinking. The way I perceived just about everything in life and especially my attitude.

This concept was reinforced again to me at Jonathan Budd’s Unstoppable Entrepreneur event, which was full of powerful messages.

Never Settles For A Default Future!
The result is that I no longer feel like I have to accept a “default future” and that I am creating a future of my choice.

unfinished_business

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There is an old saying in marketing that “half of my marketing budget works; I just don’t know which half!” This saying has its origins in the difficulties that marketers everywhere have in knowing what parts of their budget work (generate positive ROI) and what parts don’t! Marketers will often run multi-channel campaigns on radio, TV, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

Leads and sales are generated but knowing which medium generated which sale has always been a challenge. Things are further complicated by the wide-scale proliferation of media and that many new customers will have been impacted by several touch points before actually deciding to become a customer.More Link

Passive income is such a misinterpreted phrase that it’s losing it’s meaning. Not for everyone, mind you, but for people who think they know what it means, but they really don’t. Some people think passive income is money that just sits there and continues to grow as you look at it in the bank.

Kinda, but no.

Still others think passive income is a “genie in a bottle”. You shine it up real nice, put it down and a genie will pop out and grant all your wildest dreams, from cars to mansions.

Read my lips, “THERE ARE NO EASY WAYS TO MAKE PASSIVE INCOME ONLINE! THERE IS NO MAGIC PASSIVE INCOME GENIE!”

.passive-income-is-a-lie

In my opinion, passive income means neither of these things. I believe passive income is indeed smart income. By smart, I mean, yes, it will work for you.

But, it’s not gonna work for you on its own. There is a lot of work that has to go on behind the scenes in order for the income to be passive. For instance, many of us want our blogs to be the vehicle to passive income.

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Today I want to share with you how to buy a car and save money. When shopping for a new vehicle, dealers will not give you a consumer’s new car buying guide. Buying the latest model car can be an emotional experience, and it is easy to get carried away in the moment.

Here are a few new car buying tips that can help you stay focused and get a good deal on your vehicle. It is important to spend as much time as you can when researching the vehicle that you plan to buy.

Thanks to the Internet, there are numerous reputable car buying guide websites. The more you study these sites, the more car buying tips you may encounter. For example, the model that you are interested in may have a lot of problems and you may wish to re-evaluate your options.

Before you go shopping for new cars, take the time to check out financing. You may be able to find better terms than the dealer is offering. If you do business with a local credit union or bank, check with them first. Make sure to have an idea of what make and model you are interested in, to simplify the process.

Taking care of the financing before new car shopping provides a lot of benefits. You will know how much you can afford, and which models to concentrate on. You also can plan your monthly budget ahead of time.

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How to Keep your Party Dress Clean

Keeping prom or short dresses clean seems like a fairly easy thing to do—right? You simply don’t spill anything on it and…just pretty much leave it where it is. However, once you have the dress on…things get a bit more complicated. Keep in mind that you don’t have to live in a bubble until you get to prom—but you should take a few special precautions. First of all, make a little emergency bag. It should include a cloth, club soda, and an apron.

The apron doesn’t have to be large, but as long as it is big enough that you are completely covered, you should be good. If you go out to eat before making it to prom, you should wear this apron to make sure that you don’t end up ruining short the gowns .

You also need to make sure that you have enough time to make sure that you tuck in any parts where food might escape to. Next, if you can help it (especially if you are clumsy), try and avoid staining liquids and foods. Anything with red or blue food coloring is likely to stain badly—or things with a lot of fruit juice. You also need to make sure that if you do spill anything on your dress, you need to have your bag on you for any quick formal dresses fixes.

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Emergency Fund Savings
I get a big fat juicy F for this. The simple fact is the Emergency Fund account should have had a balance of $877.26. As it stands there is a balance of $1.00. This is not only hugely disappointing, it is in fact very worrying. If we do not find a way of making up $877.00 then we will not make our goal of saving $10,000 by the end of the year.

Retirement Fund Savings

A+ As of  today I have $1,098  in my employer matched Simple IRA. This puts me on track of saving $13,000 by the end of the year.

Spending

C- Despite the challenges of the month we went over budget by only $182.00. Our worst offenders were 1) Food ($72 over) , 2) Fast Food ($53 over) , and 3) Gas ($26 over). We are worried more about February, because we are expecting house guests. But for now we are moderately happy with our budget results.

Last week, we ran into one small problem (as you always do). During the last hurricane we had a bad leak from our window, as a result a whole portion of the sub floor is rotted out.

We needed to run to Home Depot and buy a new sheet of subfloor to patch this job up. Luckily it wasn’t an expensive surprise. Materials cost me $30 and labor cost me $30.

On Monday our new floor starts to go in. And by Friday the entire room should be finished. Then he can start on the living room, which the landlord has agreed to pay for.

Goals

Pay off Car Debt

Big fat F.  I know I should be able to get over this loan but you know….We only managed to make minimum payments on the car debt. That means we have a balance of $14,691 remaining.

Pay off Credit Card Debt

Big fat F-. If I could give myself a worse grade, I would. Instead of paying off more debt, we added more debt. Once again this is the result of Unintended Expenses. We currently have a balance of $3,409.

So it was a pretty dismal month. Lets hope next month is better. I would love to know how you guys did for the month of January. Let me know in the comments.
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Family dinners are staple in my household.  Naturally, these dinners happened on a regular basis after I left for college and until recently I never thought of how the dynamics would change minus me, the older sister, at the table.

I sometimes wonder if my parents do family dinner when it’s just the two of them. I find that thought both funny and comforting at the same time.  I like knowing that my family with all their traditions and routines can continue without me just in case something ever happens to me and I’m not longer able to join them.  And I mean this in every possible sense.  Like if I ever move to the other side of the world for some really cool job and can’t come home. Or I get hit by a bus while I’m walking downtown and die. I know that sounds morbid but these are the thoughts I have sometimes to keep all of my bases covered. More Link