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Taking care of an older family member or friend can be stressful. But so is being that person. One wonderful way to ease the stress burden on both of you: Help the person close to you define and preserve his or her legacy.

“Legacy” may not be a word most of us use in everyday conversation, but it’s a concept people tend to give considerable thought to once they head north of their 60s and 70s. Shaping and understanding your legacy refers to sorting out what your life has meant, and what kind of memories of you are apt to live on after you die.

What a person learns and leaves is as individual as his fingerprints. But I found some heartening insights into common themes in this new research from Priceless Legacy, a company that turns interviews with older adults into life stories in print or video format. An analysis of its projects shows that the top five life lessons shared by people ages 65 to 104 are:

  1. The simple things matter most.
  2. Humor and time cure most pains.
  3. There’s more satisfaction in giving than getting. Service to others is the most satisfying activity.
  4. Choose your spouse carefully. It will be your most important decision.
  5. Work hard and in a field or role that you enjoy.

I love this list for several reasons:

  • It shows that you don’t have to be a president or a superstar to leave a legacy of experience and wisdom to impart. All life experience counts…and the “ordinary” experiences seem to count most.
  • It’s a nice playbook on how to live life.
  • It makes a handy template, or at least a starting point, for possible insights to explore with your loved ones about their own life discoveries.
  • I love any reminder in any form that includes the message “humor helps.”
  • Not least, it should make anyone who’s a caregiver feel pretty good. According to these elders, the odds are good that you’ll one day look back on your caregiving as a rewarding part of your life: Simple things (and by extension, simple deeds, simple gifts) matter. Service to others is the most satisfying activity.

How to help someone recognize her legacy is largely a process of investing time. It can be as simple as making time to listen and asking thoughtful questions. One tip: Look over old photos and documents to evoke a story. Learn more simple ways how to help older adults create a lasting legacy—and you won’t regret it. You’ll probably both enjoy it, and you’ll both feel grateful to bring it into the open.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article by: Paula Spencer, Caring.com

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You know what your budget is, and you may even be a champion at getting the best possible deal, so why is it still so easy to go wrong?

 

Today’s shoppers have more choices than ever before, from grocery store coupons they can download directly onto their store savings card accounts to apps that help them find even more bargains. But modern technology also makes it easier to spend — turning us into a nation of rabid consumers, always on the prowl for the next big score.

The cure for our nationwide shopping fever starts with identifying and conquering our personal spending habits. If we’re successful, we end up with more savings and less debt, which is a financial goal that’s short on pain and long on gain.

Here are seven of the most common shopping traps and tips on how to avoid them.

1. Shopping as hobby or sport

There’s nothing to do, or you’re on vacation or planning an afternoon with some good friends. You opt for shopping. Why is spending money such a rush? Financial expert and newsletter editor Galia Gichon says Americans shop for three main reasons: There’s a sale, they’re bored, or it’s a habit.

“Very rarely do they shop because they truly need something,” Gichon says, adding that many times, these same consumers haven’t done the math to determine whether they can even afford their purchases. Gichon recommends combatting the urge to plug shopping into your empty hours by creating a budget that puts aside a weekly amount for such expenses. “You can spend that money on anything you like, but keep to that amount,” she says. Once you’ve spent out your allowance, says Gichon, you’re done for the week.

Another strategy that’s both simple and effective: Remove the source of your guilty pleasure by tossing those sales circulars, staying out of the mall during lunch hours and leaving your credit cards at home. Your bottom line will thank you.

2. Cruising for deals online

True shopaholics don’t quit simply because they can’t get to the store. Instead, the digital age keeps bringing temptation to your doorstep — or desktop. Financial author and speaker Peter Bielagus says the problem with the information superhighway is it keeps finding new inroads to our wallets.

“Websites are getting smarter and smarter. Tracking software is monitoring your purchases, as well as what people like you purchase, and constantly offering suggestions,” Bielagus says. As a result, he says, temptation increases.

“It’s a bit like trying to stick to a diet while keeping a fridge full of sweets,” he says. Bielagus says that in addition to online consumer reward programs, websites now send alerts when they’re running sales, which prompt consumers to buy with a simple click. He suggests taking active steps to shut down alerts and recommends that those looking to make permanent hard-core changes to their habits even close some of their online accounts. “The hassle of reopening an account just to buy something can be enough to deter an impulse purchase,” he says.

3. Having to own the latest technology

If you’re the type of person who thinks nothing of standing in line half the night to be the first to buy a new gadget or software, then you’re stuck in one of the deadliest of spending traps: having to own the latest technology.

While there’s fundamentally nothing wrong with being into gadgets, staying up to date on your purchases can shred your budget and doesn’t really make sense over the long haul. “The longer you wait for new technology, the better,” says Bielagus.

Plus, says Bielagus, waiting before pouncing on the newest thing has advantages: Not only does the cost fall (for example, plasma televisions were pricier when they first came out), but the developers work out the kinks over time, and you get a better product.

4. Mistaking shortcuts for savings

This applies particularly to weekly purchases made at the grocery store. While it’s nice to have that salad already made and ready to drop into bowls, you can stretch your cash by purchasing ingredients that require a little elbow grease. “Food that has been ‘pre’ anything — chopped, cooked or marinated — is one of the most expensive ways to purchase (groceries),” says Ellie Kay, the author of “The 60-Minute Money Workout.”

Kay says a side-by-side comparison with “virgin” (uncut, uncooked) counterparts will show that you’re forking over lots of extra bucks in exchange for a little help in the kitchen. While that’s fine if your budget’s unlimited, most of us don’t have that luxury. Try going the more labor-intensive route for a change, and see how spending that extra 15 minutes in the kitchen can pay off.

As for bulk buying, do so only when the items are ones you know you will use before they expire. Bulk toilet paper for a household with multiple bathrooms and lots of family members might be a good investment, while a purchase of four dozen eggs may result in waste if you end up throwing some away.

5. Buying the brand

Sometimes it pays to buy brand names, and sometimes it doesn’t. The key is to know the difference. Kay says brand buying can torpedo a grocery budget, particularly when prices of staple products, such as milk, are climbing in double-digit increments.

“There are some exceptions, but brand-name buying is not always the best indicator of quality,” Kay says. She recommends buying generic at the grocery store and using common sense when it comes to other purchases, such as children’s clothes, especially when it comes to items you’ll hand down to your younger kids.

“We had four sons, and we could buy two pairs of cheap tennis shoes in six months or one pair of quality shoes for six months (until they outgrew them),” Kay says. She bought name brands when it came to her kids’ shoes because it made sense to buy a more durable product. But she buys generic fabric softener at the grocery store to save cash.

6. Getting clearance-sale fever

Even prudent shoppers seem to react differently to clearances, especially after Christmas. If you’ve ever found yourself the owner of matching 3-foot-tall wooden nutcrackers, you might be a victim of clearance-sale fever. The solution, says frugal shopper Sara Davis of Clayton, N.C., is to shop clearances only when you can match the clearance to your real needs.

Davis says she shops for necessities such as pillows and sheets during January white sales and picks up candles when they’re marked down for clearance, because these are items she would purchase anyway. “I don’t buy holiday decorations after the season because I don’t feel like storing the items,” she says. As for things she really wants, Davis stalks those items before making a purchase.

“I once waited two years to buy a pair of shoes I wanted just to make 100% sure they never went on clearance,” she says.

7. Taking couponing to the extreme

While reality television has turned couponing into a sport worthy of the Olympics, experts say improper coupon use can drain your finances, not help them.

“Good couponing is not buying something simply because you have a coupon; good couponing is buying something because it’s a good value,” says Kay. She says it’s a lure that can hurt your budget if it leads you to buy a brand that costs more or if you have to buy items in larger quantities, as in a coupon that requires the purchase of two items.

Davis avoids compulsive shopping by using coupons only for items she typically purchases — a good policy, according to Kay. To make the most of your coupons, sort and match them to your grocery list, then store sales circulars. Download store-generated coupons from the store’s website to add more coupons to the mix. Trade coupons with friends to maximize your savings — keep only the ones you’ll use, and pass along the coupons your friends will find handy. Finally, never assume anything is a bargain simply because you have a coupon for it.

Compliments of: Martha Small | Austin Portfolio Real Estate | 512.587.0308

Original Article By: Carol Moore, Bankrate.com

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Back to school means early mornings and quick breakfasts. Use some of these tips to boost your kid’s brain power and to make the most of his or her school day!

 

Check out the video here.

http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/kitchen-savings?v=1f5bdd40-b914-49b7-91ce-9d49b722e75f&from=en-us_msnhp

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I am watching the BCS National Championship and am mourning the fact that college football season is coming to an end.  I come from a football family.  My grandfather, Clint Small, played for the University of Texas, as did my father and brother in law; my brother played for Vanderbilt.  There is nothing greater than fall football in Austin, Texas.  I think about the time and physical commitment the young men make to be on a team. Makes me want to do the same for my own business.  Get to the National Championship like LSU and Alabama.

The company I work with has amazing tools- it is all in how you use them.  Consider the “Market Update”- up to date information about every zip code in this country.  I focus on 78703.  It is the neighborhood in which I grew up and currently live.  Click to put your own zip code in and find out (or confirm) why it is so great.  You can also compare zip codes.  Are you thinking of moving? Compare where you live now to your new zip code.

I like to set my business up 90 days out.  I know myself and can work with 4 to 5 buyers and 4 to 5 sellers at a time.  Do you need to be on my radar?

Congrats to Bey and Jay! Blue Ivy Carter!!!

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