Friday, April 6, 2018

Managing Your Income When You're Self Employed

Many people dream of having their own business one day. I think there is something very satisfying about being your own boss and making the decisions yourself. Of course, we all want to be successful and wish for financial freedom but sometimes, being running your own business may not be everything it’s cracked up to be. It takes a lot of discipline when it comes to managing your income.

When you work for someone else you don’t necessarily have to worry about how you will pay for an expensive piece of equipment if it breaks or making sure your quarterly taxes are mailed in by the deadline. There is also something called, a paycheck that employees receive and they only have to worry about depositing or cashing their check in the bank each week and taking care of their personal finances. There isn’t much to fall back on when you are in business for yourself.

One of the most important steps you must take immediately after starting a business is separating personal and business. It helps to start a new bank account for your business rather than keeping everything together. Keeping a notebook of personal bills, basically what your mortgage/rent cost, utilities, car loans, groceries, everything in your personal budget is also beneficial. Making sure you have enough to survive and allowing a little extra for spending is crucial when determining whether or not you are even earning enough when you’re self employed. But, you also need to have enough money in your business account to take care of your taxes and the cost of running your business. If you don’t already have a savings account, now is a good time to start one. You can deposit a percentage of your profit each month (or week, depending on how you are paying yourself.) later, you can make decisions on starting a retirement fund. Keeping accurate records is crucial when you are self employed. Not just for Uncle Sam but for yourself too. You want to be sure you are staying above water and you want to be sure invoices are sent out on time and bills are paid. I like to use various programs on my laptop but I also keep paper records. Stocking up on manila folders, envelopes, legal pads, and pens is important and a tax deduction too!

There will be times when you may find yourself short and it might seem like a quick fix to start using credit cards. However, this could lead to some serious trouble depending on your interest rates and how much you are piling onto them. Sometimes, checking into self employed loans is a much better idea considering your monthly payments may be far lower than credit card payments and the interest rate isn’t typically as high.

When shopping for a hard money loan, you will need to have your records in order so you can show your loan agent that you have money coming in and are capable of handling your personal expenses. They may ask for your last year’s tax return or a profit and loss statement as well. It’s important to keep in mind that it is common for a small business to need help from time to time. Don’t get down on yourself if you feel like everything is falling apart. Chances are, it isn’t and after some brainstorming, seeking help from a professional whether a lawyer or a financial advisor, and taking a minute to relax, you will find that you will bounce back up in no time. Always remember that these small setbacks are some of the best learning experiences.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Do Those Discount Pharmacy Cards Really Work

The last thing anyone wants to worry about when they or a family member become ill is the high cost of prescription medications. Whether they are prescribed temporarily or long term, these medications can put quite the dent in your pocket. Especially if you don’t have health insurance or have a plan that doesn’t cover all of your prescription needs.

I’ve learned to ask how much the cash price is at the pharmacy as compared to co-pays through my health insurance because sometimes, it ends up costing much less if I just use a pharmacy discount card and pay cash. I learned this after searching online for discount cards and checking prices of my husband’s heart medication. After finding that the price was substantially less than what we paid through his health insurance, I called the pharmacies and asked if this was true. Sure enough, it was! (This isn’t something all pharmacies will tell you!)

I make monthly trips to our local pharmacy for everything ranging from vitamins, first aid supplies, over the counter medication, and to pick up our prescriptions. We have 2 long term prescriptions in our family and of course, whenever anyone gets hit with something like the flu. So, rather than paying what could end up being a second mortgage payment, I got my pen and paper and starting searching online for the best discounts I could find.

I have also noticed that our prescriptions have increased several times over the years and I don’t think there are any plans of this stopping anytime soon. Why does it seem we are paying more for our medications than a new car payment each month? Sadly, it is a fact that we pay more per capita in The United States, than any other country. Actually, by more than double.

So just like looking for the best interest rates when it comes to buying a home or starting a savings account, it is just as important to find a discount or some sort of savings on your family’s medications. There are several different websites where you can find and compare the best prices, find nearby pharmacies who will honor the cards, and most of the time you will find that these cards are free! (That’s the best part!) There is no reason to not search for a card that works for you! I’ve found that some of these discount programs also offer savings for dental, vision and even on demand virtual doctor visits too! It’s also important to note that they work for your entire household so you usually only need just one card.

Whether you have a current prescription or you want a backup plan just in case something does happen, these cards can and will come in super handy! I keep mine in my wallet because it is even more important than all of my frequent shopper cards. For instance, we only pay $12 for a month’s supply of my husband’s prescription rather than the $180 cash price our pharmacy charges. I also save about 50% on my medication! You can search for whatever your family needs or compare lo loestrin fe cost or any other common medications or contraceptives directly on their website.

After you find the card that is accepted at your local pharmacy and gets you the best prices, simply take your card and your prescription and save some money! You can use some of the cash you just saved to treat yourself to a latte or stock up on first aid supplies or vitamins while you’re waiting at the pharmacy! When you find a card that works for your needs, don’t forget to spread the word! Your family and friends will be very grateful. (If you’re like me, you’ll end up telling everyone else in the pharmacy too!)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

ERA Organics Giveaway

This giveaway is sponsored by ERA Organics. All opinions are my own.

Taking good care of your hair is essential. Between all the coloring, heat from an hair dryer and flat iron, and other things, your hair can easily get damages. Finding a good shampoo and conditional is essential.


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Giveaway Details:

Friday, March 9, 2018

Standing Out In A Crowd

No matter what your niche is, no matter what you are creating, selling, or writing, you’re going to find that there are others out there who might be doing the same thing. You might start comparing yourself to others in your field which is fine, just don’t get stressed out over it. You might question yourself sometimes and if you lose an account, no matter how small, you might start questioning what you could have done differently.

It always seems easier to find the cons and figure it has to be something you did wrong. Even though you should take each negative as a learning experience and use that experience to get back up, wipe yourself off, and work harder next time. (It is definitely OK to take some time to relax, eat a pint of ice cream or homemade brownies and catch up on your favorite TV show!) Life would be kind of boring if everything always went the way we wished it did. Not only would we never learn from anything new, we wouldn’t be able to grow or improve.

There will be many dark days as an entrepreneur no matter your field. But, there will be many successes too! A lot of your success will depend on how you fail and how you come back up from it. This is one of my most favorite uplifting quotes:

Everyone is an entrepreneur. The only skills you need to be an entrepreneur: an ability to fail, an ability to have ideas, to sell those ideas, to execute on those ideas, and to be persistent so even as you fail you learn and move onto the next adventure. James Altucher

If blogging is your thing, you probably get exhausted from seeing so many similar posts out there by other, more popular, or bigger bloggers. It’s bound to happen. There are over 150 million bloggers out there and we’re going to end up posting a lot of the same posts. So, how do you stand out? Maybe you have a sparkling personality and your readers love to interact with your posts because you always reply and engage. Maybe they look to you as an expert and ask questions. Or maybe you’re a great storyteller. Either way, we’re all different and finding the differences can sometimes help you grow your business. Finding motivational stories from others who have been there, like, Chrissy Weems, is a good way to keep the positivity flowing! This doesn’t just apply to bloggers either.

There are so many meal subscription boxes out there these days. But, you have the best idea ever and you just know that you can become successful because you already studied everything there is to know about meal delivery subscriptions. “What does the customer want?”, “What are the others not doing that I can add to my service?” But, a lot of your friends say, “Oh, there are so many of these businesses out there, how will you ever succeed?” Well, you could pitch your idea on Shark Tank! Or you could devise a plan, stay confident, and just jump right in!

It’s all about doing something you are good at. Doing something you absolutely love doing. You probably noticed a business that really stood out in the front of a crowded market and you probably thought, “WOW! I really love the way this place does this!” It could be something small. Like, maybe they add humor, maybe add a character or a really witty advertisement. Anything that will make people remember you and what you do will help create future success! One of my favorite stories out there is about Chrissy Weems and how she was able to find success. There are many more stories out there that will help boost your attitude and your mindset! You might read about them online, in newspapers, or meet them at conferences. Whichever way you do it, keeping a journal of uplifting quotes and ideas is a great way to help when you’re stuck in a rut.

Don't Ignore Personal Injury

Years ago I started having ankle and foot issues. They started as just basic sprains and breaks but over the years, this led to a whole new list of problems. After a couple more injuries due to my field of work, (bartending) and complete negligence in a couple of cases over the years, I ended up needing reconstructive foot and ankle surgeries. While I’m not sure whether there was much else I could have done that would have stopped everything from progressing or not, it is imperative that you not only seek medical advice, immediately after a personal injury of any kind but also seek help from a professional. Otherwise, you may end up where I am. Which is not necessarily a very fun place to be! 

From red, hot, burning welts to severe swelling to several pain layers to torn tendons, I deal with a great deal of symptoms and only seem to get progressively worse. On top of that, my surgeries were scheduled and only one was ever completed because that first one was a failure.

I was diagnosed with RSD (CRPS) shortly after my surgery. RSD is a progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System and more specifically, the Sympathetic Nervous System. Besides being extremely painful, this also ends up causing things such irreversible tissue, muscle, bone, and joint damage. This is just one of many problems you could end up with and this can stem from a very small injury as well.

Of course, I am more prone to breaks and sprains and they do happen often! Tendonitis is another disorder I struggle with that only started to be a problem after spending years wearing walking casts and working as many shifts as I could. (Even with an injury.)

I was always worried about losing my job if I would have attempted to apply for workers compensation or contact Tampa injury attorneys. I wish I had known then what this could turn into and I wish I would have known what options I had. Especially for my family. It is very hard to try to move each day and depending on the swelling, the weather, and what the activity is. I find myself rescheduling more often than anything and it definitely puts a strain on my husband and children. There are so many things I can’t do anymore and so many that it takes so much longer to do and most of the time, we just have to wait until the day of or at least the day before to even see if whatever it is will be possible or not.

If you are unsure about whether or not your personal injury is going to turn into a settlement of any kind, you could always call someone like personal injury lawyers Tampa. It’s best to check with a professional before ignoring something this important and before you end up hurting yourself even more in the long run.

Be sure to keep a record of any symptoms, injuries, medications, medical records, letters from a doctor, witness information, cause of personal injury, your attorney’s contact information, any friends, relatives or co-workers who can speak on your behalf, and anything else you might think is important to your case. Maintaining proper records and having good communication with everybody involved is an excellent way to make sure you have everything covered.

You can also find some more information about personal injury claims, here. There could be time limits in your state so, it is very important to check on things like this before you end up waiting to long! You don’t want to end up being completely immobile or having more diseases, injuries, or disorders piled on because you didn’t take care of things properly the first time around. If there is a chance for you to get the proper care right away and have these things resolved before ruining your credit, take it! You owe it to yourself and your family. Your health should always be top priority!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Cleft Palate Isn't So Scary

When I was pregnant with my youngest son, we were told he would have a few “issues” when he was born. Clubfoot which was a fairly easy fix and cleft palate which was also supposed to be something common that could be repaired over time. We were referred to a cleft palate clinic nearby and started appointments before he was born. This was a great help considering we didn’t have a baby with cleft palate and we didn’t know anyone who went through the same thing.

Of course, we had a million questions and everyone at the cleft palate clinic was extremely helpful, very friendly and optimistic! We spoke with the different specialists they have available for patients and learned a great deal about cleft and what to expect. From speech therapists to hearing specialists to dentists, we started to understand what we were dealing with. (It certainly isn’t as scary as it may seem!)

Our son was born the day before Mother’s Day in 2010 in an ambulance. I must have waited a little too long to call the hospital because a minute after I hung up, my water broke! It ended up he was born just a few miles away from home, in an ambulance and he was healthy as can be! I couldn’t have asked for an easier birth or nicer “doctors and nurses”. A young EMT said, “Um, he’s very healthy and adorable but, he does seem to have something wrong with his lip!” I explained that I was already aware of the cleft and they seemed relieved. This was their first childbirth so they were just ecstatic he was OK.

When we got to the hospital, our family doctor met with us after Deegan was looked over and said, “You know, he doesn’t even have cleft palate. He has cleft lip.” Shortly after this, a cleft palate specialist came to visit and he was just delighted by Deegan’s big dimples and calm demeanor. He discussed the surgeries he would need and gave me information on his appointment at the cleft palate clinic. Everything went smoothly! It was a little hard to get him to eat at first but we eventually figured this out too. (They do make special bottles for cleft babies so there is no need to be alarmed!)

Deegan after his surgery and stitches.

A few months after his cleft surgery!

Deegan is 7 now and has had his surgeries for his club foot and cleft lip and is just left with a little scar and no cupid’s bow. His speech is fine, he does sometimes ask about why his nose is a little different than his brothers or sisters and he recently noticed that he has a slightly different upper lip than his siblings. This makes me sad and we try to focus on keeping his self esteem and confidence up and often! He seems to understand what happened. He actually seems to be very proud of himself for getting through surgeries and overcoming everything and he should be! Most recently, however, we are seeing the effects that his cleft lip has had on his teeth.

Children and even adults who were born with cleft palate or cleft lip can run into a lot of problems with their teeth. It is very important to find a good dentist who has experience with cleft palate because these children do require special care. Some cleft palate clinics will have a dental team on hand but if you don’t have a clinic nearby, finding a trustworthy dentist with experience could be a chore.

They do suggest to make an appointment with a dentist like Karl Jobst Grove OK before any teeth come in. This way, they can start to evaluate what may be needed in the near future. The amount of dental care depends on the severity of the cleft palate or cleft lip. Some may not be as noticeable until after their first teeth appear. From what we are discovering, some may only start after the baby teeth start to come out and the adult teeth start to come in. Whatever your baby might need, do not be alarmed! With proper dental care and treatment, babies with cleft palate and cleft lip will be just fine and can look perfectly fine too. Just like with everything, you might just need a little extra work to get there.

Deegan’s baby teeth came in OK. There are a few that never came in. However, after transferring to our family dentist and he had X-rays, they noted that all but a couple of his adult teeth would come in just fine. So far they have been with the exception of the exact spot where his cleft lip was. We are in the process of moving back to the clinic to hopefully schedule his treatments and surgeries in the future.

It is very important to take very good care of your children’s teeth at home, whether they were born with cleft or not. Brush 2 times 2 times per day! When they are a little older, mouthwash and floss are also extremely important! Our rule is; brush after breakfast and before bed and use mouthwash and floss! There are so many options and flavors to make brushing your teeth fun! One of our favorites is the mouthwash that shows the little particles in the sink so you can see that it’s working. We also have our favorite brands of toothpaste and each kid has their own favorite flavors. (Deegan loves orange and strawberry flavors the most.) Toothpaste with fluoride is especially helpful for maintaining healthy, strong teeth. Our town does not have fluoride in our water so we also opt for multivitamins with fluoride.

Children who were born with cleft lip or cleft palate will be at greater risk for cavities. You can thank weaker enamel and less effective saliva for this. This is something we struggle with and something I’m hoping will be easier for others after more studies are done. It was recently discovered that children born with cleft lip or cleft palate also have abnormal development in salivary gland ducts and they can not properly pump the buffering liquid and protective immune compounds into their mouths.

Saliva is crucial to a healthy mouth. Saliva contains the essential immune compounds that fight tooth decay. A few years ago when Deegan’s baby teeth started to come in, we noticed that one tiny tooth that was located directly where his lip was affected, wasn’t altogether there. We mentioned this to our dentist but he said that with proper brushing he should be fine. When that baby tooth came out we expected to see another tooth shortly after but, it never showed up. There was also a tooth that seemed to be a cavity as soon as it came in. I was pleased to read about their new findings and that they will be continuing research because this could end up opening new doors for both children and adults who struggle with tooth decay, cavities, or any other dental issues.

If you are looking into a career as a dentist or a dental hygienist, please check into Karl Jobst! Maybe you could end up helping to further research on salivary glands that would benefit children and adults born with cleft palate or cleft lip. Not only would this help ease the financial burden on families of these kids, it will help their smiles become bigger and brighter!