Greg was a single father trying his best to provide a great life for his two kids. After separating from his wife, he had a bit of difficulty adjusting to a one-income household. Greg’s financial situation became even more difficult when his ex-wife lost her job and he had to pick up all the children’s expenses. He found himself being weighed down with thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

Greg was shocked at how a change in circumstances could result in debt becoming quickly out of control. The pressure started to become too much to bear, and Greg soon feared he may not be able to make the minimum payments and could eventually lose his home. He knew it was time to look for help.

A friend who had recently completed their debt relief program recommended Century. Greg had no idea what debt settlement was and having entered so many uncharted territories with his finances, he was apprehensive about entering into a program he did not fully understand. 

The Century rep he spoke to was able to put his mind at ease by letting him know exactly how Century could help regain his financial health. “She (the Century rep) was amazing and took the time to explain everything to me and then called me back when I had other questions,” said Greg “I am beyond thrilled with Century.”

Century not only created a strategy that easily fit into Greg’s single income but one where he paid a fraction of his owed balances. Greg was elated to stop focusing on his debt and spend more time with his kids. “I have finally found someone who is upfront and personal with every step and conversation in this new journey. I will be able to put my life back together and move forward with confidence,” said Greg.

Just 22 Months later, Greg is living completely debt free and is looking to buy a house for himself and his kids.

 

Congratulations on your program success, Greg!

We thank you for trusting us to be a part of your journey toward better financial health and celebrate your diligence in staying with the program to make such great progress!

*We protect the privacy of our clients by changing their names and omitting any identifying details.

 


Contact Century to Learn About Debt Settlement

If debt settlement sounds like it might be the right debt reduction strategy for you, contact Century Support Services. Century has helped hundreds of thousands of people settle debts that they otherwise couldn’t pay, and has saved clients a lot of time, aggravation and money in the process. To date, Century has settled more than $1.3 billion in debt and maintains a 94% satisfaction rating.

To get started, you’ll receive our free assessment and our Certified Debt Specialists will create a personalized program plan for you.

To learn more about the debt settlement process or if you have any general questions relating to how long does debt settlement take or how long will it take to recover from debt settlement, we’re happy to answer any questions.
Contact us today!

 

According to a recently released National Energy Assistance Directors Association (NEADA) report, home heating costs (across all fuel types) are projected to increase by more than 17%+ this year.

About 90% of the costs to heat (and cool) a home are economically tied to natural gas – either directly or indirectly, as natural gas is used to generate electricity. Natural gas prices have spiked to a fourteen-year high –

cost of heating home on the rise
Source

The increase has to do with complex economic metrics, like production slowdowns due to the pandemic, supply chain issues, etc. 2022’s overwhelmingly warm summer didn’t help when Americans cranked the A/C to beat the heat, driving prices higher even before winter arrived.

Tips to Help Reduce Heating and Utility Bills this Winter

With prices rising, it pays more than ever to proactively find ways to reduce utility and heating bills as the temperature drops.

1. Maximize Insulation

One of the most effective techniques to save money on heating costs is to avoid paying for heat that escapes needlessly. The attic is often the place where warm air escapes. Because insulation has the potential to dramatically lower energy bills, it eventually pays for itself. For tips, check out the Department of Energy’s step-by-step insulation tips and instructions.

2. Adjust Thermostat to Meet Daily Needs

Many families have busy lives, with children at school and parents working or attending to family needs. You can, however, lower your heating and utility bills by adjusting the thermostat down a few when no one is home- but remember to keep the home warm enough for family pets. You can put your heating objectives on autopilot with a programmable thermostat for a relatively small investment.

3. Adjust Water Heater Temperature

Lowering the maximum temperature of the home’s water heater can help to reduce utility bills because hot water is used for showering, washing clothes, and washing dishes. The default temperature for a water heater is 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which may waste more than $50/year. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lowering the water heater temp to 120 degrees works for most and saves money.

4. Block Drafts From Doors

Exterior doors are often another culprit for heat loss during the cold winter, which unnecessarily drives heating bills higher. Even the slightest crack between the door and frame can let hot air out or push cold, frigid air inside the home. A rolled-up towel by the door works, but there are many creative and effective draft blockers for doors of all sizes.

5. Clean/Check Air Filters & Air Ducts

Dirty or worn-out air filters make your heating system work harder – adding to energy costs and maybe reducing the life of your HVAC system. Air filters are constructed from different materials, so determine which is best for your situation. Have the heating ducts and vents cleaned/serviced yearly because, over time, the airflow can be blocked by a buildup of dust and dirt.

 

6. Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

According to Energy.gov, about 10% of a home’s electric bill can be sourced to powering lights. As you need to replace light bulbs, it is prudent to replace them with LEDs (ENERGY STAR Light Emitting Diodes), some of which last a decade.

 

7. Reduce the Times You Dine Out

Pro-Tip – Double Savings Alert – It is well-known that one saves on food bills by eating at home rather than dining out. However, in the winter, in addition to creating a warm, inviting aroma in your home, and saving on food costs, the heat emanating from your kitchen will help warm the surrounding areas in your home.

 

The holidays are fast approaching, and for most who are glad to see the pandemic in the rearview mirror – the holiday season is quite a welcome sight.

But with inflation, the holiday season has become an expensive end-of-the-year celebration. According to the NRF (the National Retail Federation), in 2021, the average consumer was planning to spend $998 on holiday-related food, gifts, and decorations. The following graph offers a historical look at holiday spending from 2004 to 2021–

holiday decorations costs
Source

And the above-noted dollar amounts do not include the costs required for holiday travel and other festivities of the holiday season. Add some very real global inflation (resulting in the shrinking purchasing power of the dollar), and it is not uncommon for holiday cheer to turn to holiday stress.

The good news is there are simple and effective ways to save during what should be a celebratory season filled with friends and family. Consider these clever techniques –

1. Shop Early or During the Offseason.

NRF’s report notes that, increasingly, consumers begin shopping for the holiday season earlier and earlier. In 2021, 61% of consumers started shopping by early November. This is an increase from 51% of early shoppers ten years earlier. The reasons for consumers to start shopping early include the following –

  • Retailers have begun offering sales earlier and earlier in the season and even offering bargains for unsold items at a newly-defined sales event – Christmas in July.
  • Starting early gives you more time to pay for the season’s expenses, among others.

2. Take Advantage of Black Friday & Cyber Monday

These two giant shopping holiday events offer deep discounts on large-ticket items but also provide savings on holiday decor, crafting supplies, and the always-needed batteries.

3. Check Out What Thrift Stores Have to Offer.

Thrift stores have always had a strong following; however, their popularity has increased as they offer such fabulous and unusual finds for shoppers who love to just hunt down interesting items to be reused. The best time to find holiday items at thrift stores is usually after the holidays when individuals donate unwanted items rather than pack them away until next year.

4. Forage in Nature.

Holiday decorating can include elements of nature that can be found by walking in or around wooded areas. Most suburban yards offer acorns, pinecones, and evergreen shrubs that can brighten up any holiday décor in an eco-friendly way.

5. Do-It-Yourself Projects Can Involve the Whole Family.

Grabbing some craft materials at the local dollar store is a great way to decorate for the holidays and include everyone in the decorating process. From painted pumpkins to Christmas ball vases to stringing popcorn/cranberries or evergreen garlands, your imagination is the only limiting factor. Check out Martha Stewart’s simple step-by-step instructions for making paper snowflakes.

 

6. Re-purpose Old Objects

There are many ways to use existing items in new creative ways. For example, craft an unusual lighting effect by taking a string of lights and tucking them into a see-through vase. Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but there is also no cost to reuse something you already own.

 

7. Use Non-Traditional Decor

Not every decoration has to fall within a traditional holiday theme of red ribbons and light strings. Be creative and display some of your favorite things in a vignette or a dedicated mantelpiece.

 

8. Buy Used Online

The digital marketplace now offers many websites dedicated to selling previously owned goods. From Etsy to eBay and Craigslist, there are limitless ways to purchase preowned holiday (and non-holiday) merchandise that can help you save money decorating.

 

When you’re working hard to pay off your debts, stress can weigh on you. The day-to-day stress of managing your finances and other responsibilities can have serious health consequences.

Financial uncertainty can impact your health in several ways, including:

  • Heart Disease. Stress can increase your blood pressure, your heart rate and the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream
  • Sleep Disorders. Insomnia, nightmares and fitful sleep can prevent you from getting the restorative REM sleep we all need to function well
  • Diabetes. Stress can affect your likelihood of developing diabetes. Stress can have an impact on your blood sugar, which can affect you in different ways
  • Emotional Health. Financial stress can lead to depression and anxiety, which can make it difficult to concentrate, focus or be productive

Here are some helpful tips for reducing your financial stress.

Tip #1: Make a Budget and Stick to It

Living within your means is an important strategy when paying off your debts. A weekly and monthly budget helps you plan and organize your spending, including your bills, debt repayment obligations, groceries and discretionary spending. Once you make a budget, it’s important to track your spending and adjust accordingly.

Tip #2: Forgive Yourself

Everyone makes financial mistakes in their life. Dwelling on those mistakes can have a real negative impact on your health. Forgive yourself for the mistakes that are in the past and give yourself credit for the work you’re doing now to get out from under your debt burden. Mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing, can help greatly in keeping your mind at ease.

Tip #3: Use Available Free Resources

There are many free resources that can help with your financial well-being and alleviate your stress. For example, your employee may offer an employee assistance program. Online guides can provide free downloads and tools to help you build, track and adapt your budget. Your local library will have books available on smart financial management. All of these free resources can help you feel in control of your financial and emotional health.

Tip #4: Take Advantage of Free Activities

Having fun does not need to be expensive. There are plenty of low- and no-cost activities for individuals and families that can help you relax and recharge without breaking the bank. Parks, hikes, bike rides, board games, binge-worthy television shows and hobbies are great ways to relieve stress and save on your spending.

Tip #5: Get Sleep and Exercise

Stress can make you feel worn down and unable or unwilling to do the things you enjoy. Sleep and physical exercise are important ways to combat the stressors in your life. Even a brisk walk daily can help you clear your head and give you some energy. And sleep is important, too. Make sure you turn off smartphones and other devices before you get in bed, avoid caffeine before bedtime and schedule regular times to sleep each evening.

 

Tip #6: Get Support from Friends, Families and Professionals

When you’re experiencing financial stress, you can be embarrassed and feel shameful. It can be difficult to reach out to family members and friends to share what you’re going through. However, you can trust that the people who truly care for you will be supportive, understanding and compassionate. Shame is a very negative emotion that can contribute to your stress load.

 

Seeking help from a professional with the experience, knowledge and solutions for your financial situation is an important step. During Stress Awareness Day on Nov. 2, 2022, take steps to be kind to yourself and manage your stress effectively.

 

A few years ago, Jeffrey went through a divorce and started applying for apartments. He discovered that his credit score had plummeted due to old utility debts that had resurfaced, and landlords were refusing to rent to him. Jeffrey was unaware that his ex had opened utility accounts in his name and failed to pay them.

After a long battle trying to resolve the debt, it was found to be valid, and he owed tens of thousands. “Shortly after the breakup, I received a call about one of the bills and paid it over the phone without realizing that I was bringing this old debt back to life” Jeffrey stated. “That mistake cost me thousands”.

This term is called Zombie debt and most people don’t realize that it can “rise from the dead” even after it has been removed from your credit report. Fortunately, Jeffrey was able to find Century Support Services to help him with his debt relief. “When I thought I had exhausted all of my options, I found Century” Jeffrey exclaimed “They were able to personalize a debt settlement program that I could afford. I found a roommate to help offset the landlord issues and am working on repairing my credit.” 

You should be wary of debt collectors who call you about a very old debt. Collectors who buy up old debt sometimes try to trick consumers into making payments they no longer have a legal obligation to pay. When you make a payment on a very old debt, you accept liability for it, and the debt clock starts over! 

Although Jeffrey is just in the first couple months of his estimated 42-month program, he is happy with his success so far. Jeffrey has had his first settlement and Century is working hard to get the rest of his debts resolved as well. “I feel like I can breathe again. And although my situation could have been much worse, I greatly appreciate Century for being there for me and helping me out of a rocky situation,” said Jeffrey. 

 

Congratulations on your program success, Jeffrey!

We thank you for trusting us to be a part of your journey toward better financial health and celebrate your diligence in staying with the program to make such great progress!

*We protect the privacy of our clients by changing their names and omitting any identifying details.

 


Contact Century to Learn About Debt Settlement

If debt settlement sounds like it might be the right debt reduction strategy for you, contact Century Support Services. Century has helped hundreds of thousands of people settle debts that they otherwise couldn’t pay, and has saved clients a lot of time, aggravation and money in the process. To date, Century has settled more than $1.3 billion in debt and maintains a 94% satisfaction rating.

To get started, you’ll receive our free assessment and our Certified Debt Specialists will create a personalized program plan for you.

To learn more about the debt settlement process or if you have any general questions relating to how long does debt settlement take or how long will it take to recover from debt settlement, we’re happy to answer any questions.
Contact us today!

 

When you are in a debt-relief program or are considering a debt-relief program, it is important to create a budget. Don’t forget to include holidays and birthdays in the budget. With the holiday season fast approaching, many will find it difficult to have the holiday they want – not only because of trying to repair their credit or get rid of debt but because of the overall condition of the economy. You can still have a wonderful holiday season and not go into debt again.

Create a Budget

If you didn’t account for the holiday season when you created your budget, create a holiday budget now. Look through your expenditures for the past six months and determine what you could cut – at least temporarily. Or, if you did account for holiday spending in your budget but would like a little more, you can temporarily cut other spending.

Pick Up a Side Gig

Many places are starting to hire for the holiday season. You can earn some extra money for the holidays by working an extra part-time job for a couple of months. If you can find a work-from-home gig, that’s even better. Many companies still allow employees from home, though you may have to go to the office for training.

Keep Kids’ Expectations Low

Manage your kids’ expectations for a huge haul by focusing on meaningful gifts. If they are smaller but mean more, the kids won’t notice that the gifts are smaller. Depending on the number of kids you have, you might set a limit on the number of gifts. If you can manage four, choose a gift your child really needs, a gift he or she really wants, something special to wear and something special – a hobby, reading, toy the child wants.

Look for Free or Low-Cost Activities

Instead of heading to an expensive play, look for free or low-cost activities that could be even more fun. Sometimes, cities have holiday concerts that are free. Look for tree-lighting events, or even take a drive around the neighborhood at night to look at everyone’s decorations. Many cities hold holiday parades. If your town and a nearby town have parades on different days – these are usually prior to the actual holiday – attend the parades for a fun day.

Avoid In-Store Credit Card Offers

While it might be tempting to get an in-store credit card just for the discount, having that card encourages you to spend outside of your budget. These cards usually have high-interest rates on top of the hassle of paying another monthly payment. They also “encourage” you to spend outside your budget.

Look for Sales

If you already know what you want to buy for your spouse, kids or a special friend, keep an eye out for sales. You can often save 10 percent or more if you wait for sales. Knowing what you are getting, instead of wandering around the store trying to figure out what to get, also allows you to look for the best deal if the item does not go on sale.

Shop Online

You can often find better deals online since you can compare several sites at once. And many online stores offer coupon codes that you can’t use if you go to the store in person. Finally, you don’t have to limit yourself to a store you can drive to. Another state might have the item you are looking for at a much lower price.

When shopping online, always be sure the store is legitimate if you are using a smaller store. Look for a return policy, phone number and physical address. Sites that do not post contact information or return policies are “fishy.”

Additionally, shop for holiday dinners now. You can pick up items that can be frozen, such as ham and turkey, when they do on sale. If you use canned vegetables, grab a few cans when they go on sale. You won’t be stuck without a big dinner if you plan for the holiday meals ahead of time.

When you apply these tips, you are sure to have a great holiday season.

 


Contact Century to Learn About Debt Settlement

If debt settlement sounds like it might be the right debt reduction strategy for you, contact Century Support Services. Century has helped hundreds of thousands of people settle debts that they otherwise couldn’t pay, and has saved clients a lot of time, aggravation and money in the process. To date, Century has settled more than $1.3 billion in debt and maintains a 94% satisfaction rating.

To get started, you’ll receive our free assessment and our Certified Debt Specialists will create a personalized program plan for you.

To learn more about the debt settlement process or if you have any general questions relating to how long does debt settlement take or how long will it take to recover from debt settlement, we’re happy to answer any questions.
Contact us today!

 

BENEFITS OF DEBT SETTLEMENT: PROTECTING CONSUMERS, CREATING JOBS AND STIMULATING THE ECONOMY

Despite significant economic improvement in 2021, consumer debt in the U.S. has once again hit an all-time high. By the first quarter of 2022 it climbed to $15.83 trillion – more than double what it was in 2003 and 20.9% higher than the total pre-pandemic.

In these uncertain times, relief through debt settlement is an essential service. Below are a few things you should know about the debt settlement industry and how it can positively affect the consumer as well as the economy.

Watchdogs of the Debt Settlement Industry

The industry is federally regulated under the watchful eye of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Likewise, the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) is an alliance that creates standards and guidelines to improve compliance, transparency and consumer advocacy within the industry.

Together, these organizations help prevent disreputable companies from manipulating consumers and provide accredited members with important updates and information. Only reputable companies can be accredited by the AFCC. The FTC takes complaints against deb settlement companies seriously.

AFCC Code of Conduct Highlights

  • No Upfront fees
  • Fee Transparency
  • Fair and Reasonable Fees
  • Good Faith Communication
  • Upfront Disclosure of Program Risks and Benefits
  • Zero Compensation from Creditors
  • No Exaggerated Claims
  • Program Cost and Duration Estimates Based on Real Data

The Debt Settlement Industry Offers Significant Contributions to the Economy

n addition to being one of the most consumer-focused financial services available, the benefits of debt settlement positively impact the economy.

When people move beyond crippling debt, they can spend more of their hard-earned money in the local economy, supporting small businesses and investing in their communities.

Debt Settlement Helps People Who Are Struggling With Debt Avoid Bankruptcy

Debt Settlement is one of the few reliable alternatives to bankruptcy. Many who qualify for settlement programs are ineligible for other forms of debt relief like debt consolidation loans. Keeping the option legal and accessible helps consumers who feel they have nowhere else to turn and puts them on a path to recovery.

Creditors Who Work With Debt Settlement Companies Benefit From the Program Too

Creditors participating in settlement programs in 2019 received more than $658 million in revenue that might otherwise have been delayed or not received at all. Although debt settlement companies and creditors are not necessarily allies, they are not adversaries.

Debt settlement companies have strong, good-faith relationships with creditors that allow them to negotiate fair settlements that are a win for both the consumer and the creditor.

 


Contact Century to Learn About Debt Settlement

If debt settlement sounds like it might be the right debt reduction strategy for you, contact Century Support Services. Century has helped hundreds of thousands of people settle debts that they otherwise couldn’t pay, and has saved clients a lot of time, aggravation and money in the process. To date, Century has settled more than $1.3 billion in debt and maintains a 94% satisfaction rating.

To get started, you’ll receive our free assessment and our Certified Debt Specialists will create a personalized program plan for you.

To learn more about the debt settlement process or if you have any general questions relating to how long does debt settlement take or how long will it take to recover from debt settlement, we’re happy to answer any questions.
Contact us today!

 

Children are notoriously curious. And as most parents find out at inopportune times, giving age-appropriate, honest answers to a question about an adult issue can be tricky. This is especially difficult if the child’s question exhibits a healthy inquisitiveness – something to be encouraged, not repressed. You want to avoid shutting down a child’s healthy curiosity because you are either ill-prepared or uncomfortable talking about it yourself.

So, when the questions about money and finances pop up and, rest assured, they will, it is best to be prepared. Seize the moment as teachable, one you can use to help prepare your kids to be self-sufficient, successful adults.

Why is it Important to Talk to Kids About Finances?

Having ongoing, honest conversations about finances with curious children will help them approach adult financial issues with openness, knowledge, and a willingness to ask for help when needed. Parents should recognize that children may not be old enough (or have the necessary life experience) to understand certain financial concepts.

Children learn best from a positive experience with a trusted adult rather than an ad hyped on TV.

A recent OnePoll survey of parents with kids aged eight to fourteen revealed that more than eight out of 10 would have preferred if their parents helped them learn about finances while growing up. About 13% of the respondents noted they had no financial education as kids.

Consider these suggestions when deciding how to talk finances with your children. But don’t be surprised when they know more than you think.

Answer the Question at an Age-Appropriate Level

A confusing answer has no educational value. And a response that causes discomfort may cause unnecessary distress, which is counterproductive to the original goal of teaching the child about finances.

Be Honest

Share age-appropriate past decisions that resulted in an unfavorable outcome. Explain to them how you wish, in hindsight, that you had considered a more well-thought-out choice. In addition to teaching children how to avoid rookie financial mistakes, your honesty (and willingness to be open) will help build a stronger relationship that can last a lifetime.

Talk Financial Concepts, Not Exact Figures

Teaching children about money and finances is not about disclosing personal financial details. Talking to kids about money and finances is a way to introduce important concepts (i.e., budgeting savings, paying down outstanding debt, and charitable giving). These concepts provide the essential life skills children need to navigate the world towards their personal and career goals.

There are various apps (some offered at no cost) to introduce a real-world budget while teaching them to use it if they are old enough to understand. As they become adults, this simple gesture provides a financial jump-start to keep them ahead of the curve as they enter college.

A Solid Financial Foundation is Among the Best Gifts You Can Give a Child

Perhaps the best lesson that can be imparted to a young mind is that the difference between a goal and a dream is that a plan defines a goal, and a dream exists without an actionable plan.

And to reach financial goals, one must have a plan, which typically requires short-term sacrifices to meet long-term goals.

So, if you are ready, start a conversation about finances with a young, impressionable mind who has yet to develop bad habits. But keep it simple, generic, and age-appropriate. In time, they will trust that they can come to you with money and other important questions. And, if you can be honest and lead by example, your kids will smile in appreciation, at a future date, for your wise parenting decisions.

 


Contact Century to Learn About Debt Settlement

If debt settlement sounds like it might be the right debt reduction strategy for you, contact Century Support Services. Century has helped hundreds of thousands of people settle debts that they otherwise couldn’t pay, and has saved clients a lot of time, aggravation and money in the process. To date, Century has settled more than $1.3 billion in debt and maintains a 94% satisfaction rating.

To get started, you’ll receive our free assessment and our Certified Debt Specialists will create a personalized program plan for you.

To learn more about the debt settlement process or if you have any general questions relating to how long does debt settlement take or how long will it take to recover from debt settlement, we’re happy to answer any questions.
Contact us today!

 

Amber lived paycheck to paycheck. After she paid all of her bills for the month, she had nothing left for added expenses, so she used credit cards to supplement.

Soon her credit card debt was so out of control that the minimum payments were well over what she could afford.

At one point Amber withdrew money from her retirement fund to try to payoff some of her debt. This didn’t solve the problem and the debt only rose again, higher. “I felt like I was drowning in debt and would never get my head above water.” Amber states.

When Amber felt like she exhausted all her options, she came across an ad from Century Support Services. “They put me at ease and were so informative and kind. They walked me through step by step of the entire process and came up with a solution that is custom for me,” Amber said “I am so appreciative knowing Century has my back and I can breath again for the first time in a while!”

Amber has been dedicated to her program’s success and after just 6 short months on Century’s debt settlement program, her largest debt has already been settled. This moves her closer toward enjoying her well-deserved better financial health.

 

Congratulations on your program success, Amber!

We thank you for trusting us to be a part of your journey toward better financial health and celebrate your diligence in staying with the program to make such great progress!

*We protect the privacy of our clients by changing their names and omitting any identifying details.

As parents, we all want what is best for our children. We work hard to educate them about the many risks they’ll face in life. We warn them about potential pitfalls and try to lead by example where we can.

If you’ve had financial struggles, your first instinct may be to shield your children from the realities of budgeting, rebuilding, and picking up and starting over. However, starting your efforts early, to educate your children about the realities of managing money can be one of the best gifts you give your children. One that will start them on a path to responsible spending and saving that will serve them well throughout their lives. Here’s how to begin.

The Three Pillars of Money

Famed money man, Dave Ramsey, believes that it is important to begin financial lessons early. He recommends that parents teach their children to approach money in three ways.

  • Spend
  • Save
  • Give

He even has several age-appropriate books that help parents work with their children to drive these lessons home. Rather than buying the books, though, consider seeing if your local library has them on hand to check out. If not, these are books that might be worth requesting at your library as they can help you and other parents share these important money lessons with their children.

Let Your Kids Put these Lessons into Practice

One of the best ways is to give them an allowance. This is no-strings-attached money that allows them to begin making financial choices for their lives. Your children can decide to spend their money, save up for bigger purchases, or even give their money to good causes. In a best-case scenario, your children may choose to do a little of all three with each monthly (or weekly) allotment.

Additionally, consider allowing your child to do chores around the house for extra money – and for family and friends if the opportunity presents itself, so they can put these lessons into practice further.

Set an Example for them to Follow

Living within your means isn’t always the easy choice. It is a choice though. Explain that to your children. Teach them about credit cards, interest rates, and why it is better to avoid unnecessary debt. Teach them about good debt (homes, education, investments) and bad debt (credit cards, high interest rate car notes, personal loans, etc.), and the value of saving for rainy days. Most importantly, explain to them that waiting until you can afford the things you want often makes obtaining those things that much more meaningful.

Finally, while you certainly want to be open and honest when discussing money with your children, you also want to keep these conversations age appropriate. Toddlers aren’t going to understand weighty discussions about compound interest. They may, however, understand the value of buying a single piece of candy today versus purchasing an entire bag of candy if they wait a couple of days. Older children have even more opportunities to compare the differences a few days, weeks, or even months can mean for their spending power. The earlier you begin having these conversations, though, the sooner your child can begin enjoying the benefits of exceptional financial discipline.

Our goal is to help you keep your money progress on the right track and provide you with the tools you need to help you and your children avoid unnecessary financial missteps in the future. These tips can help you stay committed to your financial goals while setting a solid example for your children to follow when managing money.

As you work hard to get your budget back in order, inflation is certainly doing you no favors. Therefore, now more than ever, it’s important to learn some ways to make some extra money while you are working on a fixed budget. Consider the following side hustles to learn just a bit extra and help offset inflation’s negative impact on your finances:

Deliver With Uber Eats

If you have the means to deliver food, such as having a reliable car or a bike or scooter, you can make some fast extra cash with Uber Eats or other meal delivery services, like Doordash. You are your own boss and can work at your own pace or as often as you prefer. There is no minimum amount you have to deliver to stay current. Simply download the app and enter your information to become an active driver. How much you can make doing this obviously depends on how often you can work, your area, and how well you are tipped, but many find it a good side hustle. 

Check Prices, Use Coupons

The adage, “a penny saved is a penny earned” very well exemplifies this tip. While not a side hustle in and of itself, you can save money by using this free service from Capital One when online shopping, ensuring you aren’t overpaying. This automatically applies coupon codes for free and helps you save on purchases you were going to make anyway, therefore, earning you money through your savings. 

Take Surveys

If you enjoy the act of taking surveys, Survey Junkie could be the perfect side hustle for you to try. You won’t get rich from doing surveys, but according to BBB ratings, this is a legitimate way to make some extra money, from the comfort of home or wherever you are. You can earn up to $45 per survey and are paid through Paypal. Of course, most surveys won’t bring in that much, but you get a general idea.

Watch Viral Videos

If you don’t mind mindlessly watching videos, check out this gig from Inbox Dollars. While you won’t make a killing, this is probably the easiest to accomplish side hustle on the list. As you spend time watching YouTube videos, this company will pay you to watch them and then take surveys. As you watch videos and take surveys, you earn actual money, up to $225 monthly. 

Downsize/Sell

Another way to make some extra money is to create a side hustle out of getting rid of excess belongings or furnishings. For example, vintage Christmas decor, kitchenware, and clothing are all currently bringing a pretty penny online at Mercari and through other similar sites. In addition, you can put virtually any item on eBay as well to get rid of stuff. If you feel comfortable, you can host a garage or yard sale. Of course, once these items are sold, there is no more merchandise to sell, so it’s a temporary side hustle. However, it will help you earn a bit of money and declutter your home, so it’s a win, win! 

Rent Out Your Space

If you own your home or have an asset like a pool or beautiful backyard, you can rent out your space for a great side hustle. Rent your living space through Airbnb and your beautiful pool space with Swimply. Of course, with this side hustle, you would have to be prepared to stay away— or out of certain areas of your home at least— in order to rent it out. However, you can really earn a pretty decent bonus income this way, especially if you live in a high-demand area.

 

Keep all the side hustles listed above in mind as you seek to find ways to stretch your budget even more. Unfortunately, thanks to record inflation, your budget is likely to get tighter and tighter no matter how hard you try to reduce spending. Thankfully, a side hustle is a great way to increase what you have coming in without requiring too much of your time. 

September is Self-Improvement Awareness Month, a perfect time to remind students (and everyone else) that the responsibility for personal growth requires ongoing focus and commitment.

September is also Eye Safety Month, an early fall reminder about the importance of taking care of and protecting one’s eyes and vision. Eye Safety Month is important because the modern landscape now delivers an increasingly digitized life.

Few could argue that most of life’s enjoyments and tasks can now be accomplished online – working, socializing, shopping, schoolwork, or simply learning about new things. Most people – young and old – admit to spending too many hours in front of a digital screen.

The result – is a common but preventable condition known as Eye Strain. Eye strain, which essentially describes eye fatigue, is uncomfortable but, fortunately, not serious.

Eye Strain Symptoms

The most common symptoms of eye strain may include any of the following – alone or in combination with one another –

  • Light sensitivity.
  • Dry, burning, or itching eyes.
  • Headaches or neck/shoulder pain.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Concentration difficulties, among others.

Eye Strain Causes

Eye strain is usually the result of intense, long hours during which your eyes must focus for extended periods. Eye strain has several primary causes –

  • Working with digital devices – is known as digital eye strain. Digital screens contribute to eye strain because Digital Devices –
    • Cause people to blink less, creating dry eyes, an underlying contributing condition of eye strain.
    • May have poor contrast and screen glare, which contribute to eye strain.
    • May be placed at an improper distance, potentially leading to eye strain.
  • Long-distance driving.
  • Reading.
  • Detail work like sewing, crafting, or writing, among others.

Dim lights, stress, uncorrected vision, prior eye conditions, and overall tiredness can further aggravate and contribute to an eye strain condition.

Diagnosing Eye Strain

Eye strain is diagnosed by an eye care provider. Eye strain symptoms can be reduced typically by implementing several lifestyle changes to those behaviors and actions contributing to eye strain.

However, most eye strain symptoms will disappear with simple adjustments to one’s lifestyle choices. If the condition becomes severe or does not disappear, seek further medical care to rule out other less apparent and potentially serious conditions.




Combating Eye Strain

As noted above, most eye strain symptoms are managed effectively with simple, proactive lifestyle changes.

The following offers several effective ways to treat or combat eye strain –

  • Employ the 20-20-20 Rule – digital strain can be reduced by taking a 20-second break, – every 20 minutes, to shift your gaze to an object 20 feet away.
  • Use lubricating drops, especially when your eyes begin to feel dry.
  • Lighting should be appropriate.
  • Use a tilting/swiveling screen that also filters glare.
  • Clean the screen to increase contrast impacted by smudge prints on the screen.
  • Use an adjustable chair to ensure your eyesight and distance is appropriate.

Some people find that humidifying the room or applying a warm wet cloth to tired eyes is helpful. Wearing blue light-filtering glasses – even without vision correction-may reduce digital screens’ impact on sleep/circadian rhythms.

Quitting smoking offers a host of benefits – including a big financial advantage.

The Take-Away

Fortunately, eye strain is usually a condition that is more of a nuisance than anything else. However, there are situations where it may develop into something more serious. This is when waiting for your annual eye doctor exam is not advised, as an immediate diagnosis may be necessary to help you feel better.