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The Giving Calendar

The Giving Calendar
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Looking for a unique and personalized gift every Mother on the planet would appreciate? Give her the gift of time. Sound cheesy? Well, with this personalized approach it is easy for you to get it just right for the special Mom’s in your life. Whether your Mom is sappy & sentimental, humorous & witty, or all of that plus everything in between, The Giving Calendar will definitely be her favorite gift of all time. And the best part, it fits into every budget!

Warning, this may become so popular that people request traditions or ask you to teach them more often!  In my family we call it THE calendar and it started one year when I was finishing my Masters Degree and had an extremely tight budget.  I knew in about 6 months that should change, as I’d already landed a better paying job and would be able to dedicate the hours I put into school back in to work.  Being from a family full of crafty women, I am all for homemade gifts.  However, my time was tight and I have a whole folder of Pinterest fails so I didn’t want to end up rushing out for a last minute gift, on top of the cost of the glue and glitter used to create homemade.  So, THE calendar was born.

It is simply a promise, written on paper, for spending time together.  It takes the guess work out of what to do and creates excitement to last all year!

So, go buy, or make, a calendar and keep reading to spark ideas about what unique twist your schedule will take!

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Spa Day

If your budget is larger, go ahead and schedule a day.  Most spas have group packages.  From scalp massage and facials to manicures and pedicures, everyone loves to be pampered.  For a smaller budget, if you don’t have product around  your home to use, there are a multitude or do-it-yourself sugar scrubs, coconut oils skin masks, avacoda hair treatments and you name it available with a quick google search.  Many fruits, veggies and oils are multi-purpose and can be transformed into spa worthy potions.  You can ask people to bring their own favorite supplies or provide a special pair of slippers for each guest.  Diffuse some soothing oils, provide mimosas or fruit infused water, some healthy snacks and you have yourself a spa.

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    TV Series Night

    Plan to rent or DVR a favorite series and watch it as a group.  Sometimes gift giving can feel high pressure, but instead of the theme being stress let it be something simple that everyone wants to do anyway, then plan to do it together!

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      Baking Event

      Many culinary classes are offered at colleges, wineries or local restaurants.  Check out living social or group on for deals near you or if baking is something you like, share your talent and recipes with others.  If you have a larger group you could set up a bake-off.  Kids love the chance to judge the adults in their life, so if you have kids, get them involved by letting them judge the dishes on taste and presentation.  Make score cards and tally the results to award the best baker (or team).  This could be the theme of the whole calendar, giving people a fun motivation, as they research new ideas prior to the scheduled rematch!  Award a ‘golden’ spatula to the winning team, to be passed around as the winner changes hands.  If this is a popular pick for your family, you could mix it up by letting opposing teams pick the ingredients the other teams have to work with.  Every dish may not come out perfect, but the time spent together will be priceless

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        Stokpic Ed Gregory

        Pallet Project

        Pallets are free, or close to, from many businesses.  There are thousands of ideas out there on-line about how to re-purpose your pallets into everything from wall art to bed frames to outdoor pathways.  There are chic to rustic ways to express your personality with pallets!  Grab the person with the most power tools and reuse old paint laying around, or buy sample can for $2.50 from Home Depot, and you are set to have a creative day together

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          Local Event

          You can find tons of local events your friends/family may not have heard or thought of.  Sometimes it seems as if everyone knows what’s going on, or that you have no new and unique ideas, but remember we all can’t be everywhere.  And having the idea is way different than actually taking the time to plan it out.  Whatever comes up in your day-to-day travels that draws your eye and provokes your interest is a good bet for sharing with those close to you.  Local home and garden tours, plant exchanges, open mic nights at local coffee houses, apple picking, community concerts, local author book readings, are typically low and no costs options offered by many communities.  If you have a friend or family who would want to participate, sign up your group and try a new way to put yourself out there!

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            Not So Local Event

            Painting parties, glass blowing classes, wine tastings and mystery dinners are just a few of the events that are typically offered near you and you can locate by checking out sites such as group on or living social.  You can also do knock-offs of such things at home with smaller investments.  If you have any talent you have spent your time developing, those close to you will be interested to have you share it.

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              Gardening Day

              Schedule to have your group learn about your interest as an amateur farmer.  You could purchase or use recycled glass bottles to force tulip bulbs but adding bulbs (rocks if desired) and water.  Or if it is the right time of year to start some container gardens, how fun would that be to do with friends.  Use recycled items, such as popsicle sticks for marking seeds, old plastic jugs or egg cartons to start seedling and create a greenhouse effect.

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                Book Club

                You could give a book with your calendar, and plot a day when it will be completed and discussed.  Your group can come in costume of their favorite character or just come in something comfortable.  Themes always help your event feel special and unique and give guests something to plan for and show their personalities off.

                kaboompics.com_Grey Felt Journal TO DO LIST on a white desk-2

                  Whatever you choose to include in your calendar, or however many times a year you plan to meet, getting it on paper and giving the gift of time will be remembered long after the perfect gift is forgotten.  There is an event for everything and everyone, and with a little thought you will find great ways to spend time with those close to you!

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                  Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                  Financial Freedom is Not a Fantasy: 9 Secrets to Get You There

                  Financial Freedom is Not a Fantasy: 9 Secrets to Get You There
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                  Have you ever considered your life now, and how it would be if you had more time to spend with your family and less worries about money?

                  Nowadays, financial stress is one of the most troublesome weights in life. If you’ve ever encountered financial stress, you know the difficulty of not having enough income to pay your obligations or bills.

                  Many people say that money is not the ultimate goal of life. While that’s true, money certainly plays a very significant role. The meaning of financial freedom changes with the different phases of our life, but ultimately, it is something that many people strive for.

                  In this article, we’ll explain how to capture that financial freedom you’ve been looking for. Read on to learn the secrets to financial freedom.

                  Break Free of Your Finances

                  Financial freedom is about having a constant flow of cash from your assets to cover all your regular needs.

                  When you are not worried about your income, or living paycheck to paycheck, you gain a great sense of freedom. It’s the freedom to be obtain and do what you truly need to make your way through everyday life.

                  Gaining financial freedom, though, is a process of growth, making small improvements and gaining emotional strength.

                  Though it seems hard to believe, it is really very simple to get financial freedom.

                  To do so, you simply need to make sure that your assets exceed your liabilities. In other words, you’ll need to find the sweet-spot where your residuals meet or surpass your expenses. This is something that you can achieve with the proper plan.

                  While not every person will accomplish financial freedom, the potential for anyone to do so is certainly there. Anyone can achieve this success, regardless of their income level.

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                  Outlined below are 9 secrets that will help you in your goals of achieving financial freedom.

                  1. Stop Unnecessary Spending

                  We often spend money inwardly, instead of objectively.

                  For example, you may spend when you’re anxious, depressed, restless, exhausted, from fear of missing out, or to please others. This is a very unhealthy way to handle your finances.

                  To stop this habitual spending, log down all your spending over the course of a month.

                  Just as some people keep a food diary, keep an expense diary. Remember not to just write down how much and what you spent the money on, also include the circumstances of why you spent the money. Was it an impulse buy at the checkout line or was it something you planned to purchase?

                  This increased self-awareness could enable you to avoid triggering situations in the future when you are considering an impulse buy.

                  2. Plan a Monthly Budget

                  This is a great opportunity to get serious.

                  Take a seat with your spouse or partner and make a monthly budget based on your income, not your expenses. You are never again going to spend more cash then you have on hand.

                  Overspending is the thing that led you to more financial obligations. Make sure you decide every month what is coming in and what will be going out and stick to that budget… no matter what.

                  3. Cut-up Credit Cards

                  Perhaps you are the type of person who always pays your credit card balance in full before the end of your billing cycle, and enjoys the reward points you gain. If this is the case, then you’re already way ahead of the game.

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                  If not, you may want to consider ridding your life of the burden that credit cards bring.

                  Many cards have strategies set up so that if you make a certain number of late payments, they will raise your interest rate much higher. This can really add up in the long run and you won’t be doing your financial situation any favors. If you’re prone to late payments or have a large balance due on your cards, cut them up!

                  Without proper self control on credit card spending and payments, you are basically throwing your money away. To ensure that you have better control over your spending, use only cash or debit for all future purchases (and don’t forget to pay at least your minimum payment on your cut-up cards each month!).

                  4. Increase Savings

                  There is no doubt that for a comfortable retirement you must accumulate satisfactory savings throughout your working life.

                  It’s good practice to save up to 15% of your income.

                  Start with your workplace 401(k), if you have one. If not, a Roth IRA (if you are eligible) or a traditional IRA (if you are not eligible for the Roth) are the next logical steps.

                  Increase in longevity means you might be able to look forward to 25 to 30 years in retirement, or possibly even significantly more. Investing now in good retirement plans will ensure that you have a guaranteed a stable monthly income when the time comes to stop working. [1]

                  5. Invest Wisely

                  Consider investing in funds.

                  Specifically, you will gain higher returns if you invest in different types of mutual funds such as Debt funds, Equity funds and Hybrid funds with a proper balance, although it absolutely relies on your personal preferences and sense of risk taking.

                  To get the most of these benefits, make sure you are investing in a variety of assets. Another resource of investing in mutual funds is SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) where you invest some money every month in funds. SIP works by averaging the per unit price of the stock.

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                  Mutual fund investors are aware of the benefits of an SIP (Systematic Investment Plan). For one, it is the most secure way to invest in equity mutual plans so that wealth is created over a long period of time. This plan also helps you to gain a better sense of financial discipline, which will come in handy in all your financial endeavors.

                  6. Invest in Gold

                  There isn’t really a better way to invest in gold than to have the physical gold itself in your possession.

                  You can purchase gold coins and bars from mints as well as from coin dealers and other private sellers.

                  Another way to invest in gold is through ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).

                  These are is similar to mutual funds but they are exclusively investments of gold. ETFs are great because they offer more liquidity; the ETF owns the actual physical gold, stores it, and retains the value of the shares. These shares can then be bought and sold in the stock market, and one big benefit is that the transaction costs of gold ETFs are much lower than the that of physical gold.

                  With its consistently-increasing demand, investment in gold can be very wise long-term investment to make.

                  7. Stash Emergency Funds

                  Whether it’s a cash gift or a work bonus, always try to save any extra money that comes your way rather than making unneeded purchases.

                  If you get paid every other week, you’ll get an “extra” paycheck (three rather than the usual two) twice a year. Either save those paychecks towards your emergency funds or utilize the money to pay down other obligations, such as loans, credit cards or other debts.

                  Make it hard to get your cash.

                  Put your savings in an alternate bank, maybe an online bank that forces you to delay for several business days before transferred money hits your regular bank account.

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                  8. Find Fabulous Mentors

                  Find a mentor, such as a friend or family member, who has exceptional control over their finances and pay attention to everything they do.

                  If you do not have any friends or family that are enjoying financial freedom, then find a mentor online! There are numerous blogs and guru websites featuring the advice of many people who have reached financial freedom, and they exist primarily to let you in on how to achieve it for yourself.

                  There are also plentiful forums available that share tips and tricks on how to best achieve financial freedom. Read as much as you can and start changing your habits for the better.

                  9. Be Extra Patient

                  Patience is the key of financial success.

                  Being patient can be quite tough, especially when you’re struggling with your finances, but having faith is worth it. You’ll continuously be on the right track if you are taking the proper steps above.

                  So don’t be discouraged, even if you are only saving a few dollars a month; it all adds up. Within just a few years you’ll look back proudly at your accomplishments and be glad that you had the patience to get there.

                  Financial Freedom for All

                  Anyone can achieve financial freedom, regardless of their financial circumstance.

                  Use the tips provided above to get yourself on the track to financial freedom and toss your monetary concerns out the window. If you wish to achieve a life with financial freedom for yourself and your family then you must adopt a disciplined approach towards your finances.

                  Following the simple secrets above is a great start to making your money work for you, so you can work less and live more!

                  Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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                  Reference

                  [1] Hartford Gold Group: IRA Retirement Accounts

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