Why You Need To Keep A Household Budget

We work hard to earn a living. We should make sure we spend the money we bring home wisely. That’s where a household budget comes in. It’s a good tool to see at a glance what we have coming in, what’s going out (and what that money is paying for) and if there’s anything left at the end of the month to put into savings. 


Before we dive into exactly what a budget can do for us, let’s consider for a minute what will happen if we’re not tracking income and expenses. We may end up spending more than we’re making in a given month (or two, or three). Over time that can put us into some pretty hot water financially. We may also spend a lot more than we’d like to believe on things like eating out, going to the movies or new clothes. 


Having a budget gives us more control over where we want to really spend our hard earned cash. Maybe that’s dinner and a movie, but maybe it isn’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an actual choice? 


It Tracks Where Your Money Is Going 


A budget simply tracks your money. You record where the money comes from each month (your income) and then write out everything you spend it on, starting with your regular monthly bills like mortgage or rent, car payments, utility bills etc. What’s left after all the bills are paid is your discretional income. 


Helps You Identify Things You Waste Money On 


Having it all in front of you in black and white helps you identify things you’re wasting your money on. 


It makes you reconsider if you really want to spend well over $200 a month on Cable TV or $150 on your large cell phone plan. Or how about that yearly magazine subscription to something you no longer read? Go through your expenses and reevaluate if this is REALLY how you want to spend your pay check. 


Allows You To Be Proactive About Savings 


Saving money without a budget is hard. We go in with the best of intentions at the beginning of the month, but somehow there isn’t anything left at the end of the month. 


A budget gives you a chance to be a bit more proactive. Set aside some money for savings at the beginning of the month, even if it’s just $20. Put it in the budget as a regular expense, just like you do with your other urgent bills. If you need to, open a separate savings account so you’re not tempted to spend it. 


Ensures You’re Not Spending More Than You’re Making 


Most importantly, your budget will keep you on track and help you make sure you’re not spending more than you’re making. And I don’t have to tell you that that’s pretty important for your financial wellbeing. 

Top 10 Weight Loss Tips

When it comes to losing weight why is it that we always want to look for that magic pill or wand that will help us melt away those unwanted pounds? 

There really is no special trick that is going to work for you. Instead you need to approach weight loss sensibly. Use these 10 weight loss tips that work to help you lose weight and learn how to eat correctly. 

1) Eat Less Processed Food:

Processed food contains a lot of hidden fats, sugars and salt – which are all diet disasters. You want to aim to eat as many natural foods as possible. These would include fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses. Avoid refined carbohydrates and throw out any white foods such as bread, pasta or rice. If you do want to include these in your diet choose brown rice and pasta and whole wheat breads. By eating more freshly prepared food you will eliminate these hidden calories and thus begin to easily lose weight.  

2) Target the Five a day rule:

Studies have shown that you can reduce your risk of a stroke by over 10% if you reach the five a day mark when it comes to eating fruit and vegetables. If you could actually eat more, your risk of a stroke decreases further. Fruit and vegetables are dream foods as they contain very little calories so can be used to fill you up if you are hungry. Aim for a minimum of at least 5 servings a day, limit 2 servings to fruit and the rest for vegetables. 

3) Keep on Snacking:

As with anything, the minute you go on a diet, your snack cravings will probably kick in. The worst thing you can do is to ignore them as they will only become stronger.  Instead indulge them. Set yourself up with a stock of some healthy snacks such as carrot sticks, cucumber strips, nuts etc. and when the urge to snack happens you have a supply ready.

4) Don’t put any food on the banned list:

This only makes it more attractive and you will end up with cravings. Instead allow yourself a small treat every day. This means a square of good quality chocolate or a spoon of cake. But be careful. Don’t be tempted to eat the whole cake or candy bar in one sitting.

5) Get active:

We often snack on food when we have nothing better to do. One excellent weight loss tip is to get active. If you are out playing tennis, it is rather difficult to be eating a packet of chips while hitting the ball. Not sure what activity to choose? Do something simple such as taking your dog for a walk, or go biking with your kids. Try to get your friends and family involved and go have some fun. Don’t think of it as exercising, instead enjoy some quality time together!

6) Set small goals and reward yourself for meeting them:

We often set ourselves up for failure by setting impossible weight loss goals. Instead set small goals and give yourself a non-food related reward when you hit these targets.  A series of small successes will spur you on to greater achievements. Small goals could be things like not drinking a soda for 5 days straight, or cutting out one teaspoon of sugar from your morning coffee. Then reward yourself with something such as getting your nails done, buying a new book or enjoying a long soak in a bubble bath. 

7) Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall off the diet wagon:

It is a setback not a disaster. Start back onto that diet as soon as you can. Just don’t get into the habit of falling off the wagon too often. If you do, you will need to re-evaluate why it is you want to lose weight and what is setting you up for trouble.

8) Drink Water:

You know you need to drink 8 glasses a day so make sure you start today. Don’t use fizzy or flavoured waters as they contain hidden calories and can cause bloating. If you don’t enjoy water try drinking herbal teas instead, just make sure they are caffeine free. 

9) Keep a food diary:

It is impossible to lie about how much food you have consumed if everything you have eaten is written down. This will help keep you on track and you can see where you go wrong. You may find that a certain day of the week or month becomes stressful for you. This will help you plan for these days and figure out ways to manage.

  1. Keep things in perspective:

We know you want to lose weight and these weight loss tips will help. But do keep things in perspective. Don’t make yourself miserable in your quest to become slim. Remember it took time for you to put all that weight on, so it won’t come off that quickly. 

The New Face of the Atkins Diet

For many years the Atkins diet has been touted as dangerous for your health. People who followed this diet were encouraged to eat lots of protein and fat. Recently this diet has undergone some changes and is now being promoted as a healthy way to eat. It is an extremely popular diet for anyone who wants to go on a low carb diet. Let’s take a look at the new face of this diet in a little more detail. 

As with any new diet that attracts attention, people start disbelieving or putting it down without even trying the diet. This was a problem with the Atkins diet for many years. Critics would just read things like ‘increase your protein intake,’ or ‘eat more foods high in fat’, and then start criticizing the diet. Those that took the time to read the diet would learn that you did not have to eat crazy amounts of protein or add bacon to every meal. 

The Atkins Diet has been acclaimed in more than 110 journals as a sensible, low carb diet that focuses on eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Numerous people have had success simply by eliminating pre-packaged fast foods and processed foods such as white flour, sugar, cookies, chips and more. 

Here’s a simple outline of the type of foods you will be eating on the Atkins Diet. 

  • Protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, pork, lamb and beef. 
  • Vegetables – all those leafy green kinds such as lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumber, green beans and more. 
  • Good Fats such as olive oil, butter, coconut oil and avocadoes. These fats do not contain the harmful Trans fats and they help to add lots of flavour to your foods. 
  • Fruits – these tend to have more carbs so for the first two weeks it is suggested that you do not add fruit. Fruits will be slowly introduced on week three
  • High Carb Foods – these are the ones that you will eliminate from your diet. This includes sugary foods, breakfast cereals, bagels, breads and any food that has a high starch content. 

What these changes do is to force your body to start burning its own fat, instead of burning the fat from the foods that you would normally eat. Such as when eating refined and processed foods. 

There are three phases of the Atkins Diet, and you can start with Phase One or Phase Three if you wish. The concept of this diet is that it is very easy to customize to you. If you want to jump start your weight loss efforts then start with Phase One. This is where you would not include any fruit in your diet for the first two weeks. If you only have a few pounds to lose then you may prefer to start with Phase Two. 

One of the benefits of this diet is that it is very affordable. You will be eating more fresh vegetables and protein. The protein will help fill you up so you won’t have those urges to snack as often. 

You can easily eat foods that are in season in your local area. These are normally cheaper than having to buy fancy ingredients to follow some other ‘diet’ program. 

Eating the Atkins Diet will help improve your cholesterol levels and your blood sugar. You will notice that you sleep more soundly and for longer. Most people notice a huge spike in their energy levels within the first couple of days as well. 

Another side effect is helping to reduce inflammation and that puffy look around your eyes and cheeks. So if you have arthritis you may notice that your symptoms, including joint pain, become significantly reduced. 

If you are looking for a healthy way to eat then don’t overlook the Atkins Diet, they have just released an updated version of their book as well. ‘The New Atkins Made Easy’. It outlines what this diet is about, provides you with meal plans and even a grocery list. Take a look today, it’s available on Kindle so you could be reading it within minutes. It could just be your ticket to finally get your body to start losing those unwanted pounds. 

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