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Family Therapist Explains 10 Ways to Win Over Your In-Laws

Family Therapist Explains 10 Ways to Win Over Your In-Laws

Getting married is an exciting adventure filled with love and plenty of planning. One thing that the happy couple doesn’t prepare for is what it’s like to meet the in-laws. There have been movies made about the dreaded encounters when you meet your mother and father-in-law, and they learn that you will take the hand of their son or daughter. The good news is it makes for great movies and videos, but you can have a beautiful relationship with your family, and everyone can live in harmony. Now, it all comes down to the personality of each party and their views on things. Some people are easier to win over than others.

Not only can an awkward relationship with your love’s family cause you anxiety, but it also puts your partner in the middle of any disputes. Over the long-term, your partner will also suffer stress from this predicament.

10 Tips to Build an Excellent Relationship With Your In-Laws

If you want to have a good relationship with your in-laws and win them over from the start, here are some tips that can help you accomplish this task.

1. Respect Their Religious Beliefs

Whenever you join two families together, you are bringing different backgrounds, traditions, and beliefs. You must respect their family and their views, even if they don’t align with yours.
In some faiths, women wear caps over their heads as a covering. Here are some examples. In the Mormon faith, they don’t believe in drinking caffeine of any kind. In the Muslim faith, alcohol is a no-go.

It’s easy to see how just these three examples could bring about major conflict with some people. However, while you don’t have to live by their rules and regulations, you should follow them while you’re in their home. So if the family is against drinking, you shouldn’t bring a flask in for dinner.

These little gestures of kindness can have a significant impact on your relationship with your in-laws. Additionally, you want your husband or wife to feel that you have respect for their family, or it can cause a significant rift. Being positive about religious diversity will go a long way, according to studies.

2. Always Show Kindness

It would help if you treated your partner’s parents how you want your parents to be treated. Even if they step across the line or say inappropriate things, you want to make sure that you treat them with respect. It’s perfectly acceptable to say something like, “I respect and value your opinion, but we will have to agree to disagree.”

There’s no need to argue and fight when you can state your feelings and move on. This world would sure be a boring place if everyone had the same opinions.

3. Include The In-Laws When Appropriate

One of the things that cause rifts with the in-laws is they feel excluded. When a son or daughter starts spending time with a love interest, the family often feels left out. They may not be present at Sunday dinners anymore, or they may not be as readily available to help with household needs.

You will probably encounter a lot of ill feelings because you take him or her away from them. The vital thing to counteract these feelings is including them. If Sunday dinner is a big thing at their house, then make sure that you attend also.

Though it’s difficult, you need to make sure that you don’t cut off people that were so special just because you’re busy being in love. You will need those relatives one day, so it’s best to start on the right foot.

4. Be Up Front and Honest

Honesty will go a long way with your future relatives. It’s easy to want to embellish your accomplishments to put yourself in a brighter light. Frankly, who doesn’t want the family of their future husband or wife to think they are going places?

It would help if you remembered that the things you say could and will impact your relationship at some time. If you exaggerate your salary or social standing, eventually, they will know the truth. Dishonesty can cause you plenty of problems when it comes to your in-laws, so it’s best to stick to the facts and be truthful from the start.

5. Defend Them When They Feel Slighted

One way to get on your mother or father in-law’s right side is to come to their defense. According to research, family members care if others in the unit feel they receive justice. Even if it’s just in family arguments or disagreements with the cell phone company, you need to play their defender.

When you rush to their defense during times of adversity, it shows that you are rooting for them and on the same team. They will appreciate that you stand up for them, especially when it seems like they’re on the losing end.

6. Laugh at Their Jokes

Some new family members may try to win you over with levity. Even if they tell the dumbest jokes you’ve ever heard, and they are not remotely funny, you still need to laugh.

When you give them the pleasure of thinking they’re funny, it’s a form of bonding. They want someone who is not only going to treat their son or daughter properly but will also listen to what they have to say.

7. Keep Conversations Light

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your future relatives is to delve into in-depth topics too soon. Never discuss politics or religion unless you have no choice. These two subjects have caused war and many violent encounters across the country, and the last thing you want to do is talk about such matters with the family.

Try to keep things neutral and positive. Please talk about the weather, sports, and your partner when they were a child. If you want to make a good impression, then don’t get into anything controversial.

8. Offer a Helping Hand to the In-Laws

If you want to butter up the in-laws, then you can offer to lend a helping hand. A mother loves nothing more than their soon to be daughter in law to help peel potatoes or do other mundane tasks.

Perhaps, they need a new light hung in the Livingroom as the old one is on the fritz. If you have electrical skills and can hang that light for them, they will bond instantly with you. Helping them doesn’t mean making them feel like they can’t do something for themselves.

You want to tread lightly because some people may find it offensive if you try to take over their home, and this is especially true about a woman in her kitchen. Make sure it’s known that you want to help and not take charge.

9. Become Interested in Family History

Every family has a story. They may be relatives of a famous person, or they may have some well-to-do millionaires that they are close too. When you are going to marry someone, you must know about their family.

Additionally, family members will like the fact that you seem interested in their clan. Therapists advise that there are always destructive dynamics that you want to steer clear of in every family. So you should learn as much as you can about their history.

10. At Least Consider Taking Their Last Name

The older generation is a bit more old-fashioned. It was always commonplace for the women to take the man’s name in marriage. However, millennials have changed things dramatically. These days, you can hyphenate your name, keep it the same, or the husband can take the wife’s name.

If you want to impress them and let them know that you love their family, you can at least consider changing your name to match theirs. They will respect the fact that you at least considered the possibility.

Final Thoughts: What Not to Say or Do to The In-Laws?

Now that you’ve learned all the things you should do to get in your new family’s good graces, there are a few things that you should avoid. Here are the top things to avoid when dealing with your in-laws.

1. Don’t talk about religion or politics.
2. Avoid Subjects about alcohol or your consumption.
3. Don’t criticize their parenting skills or offer suggestions.
4. Never put down their son/daughter’s ways to them.
5. Don’t call them mom or dad right away without being told it’s okay.
6. Never tell them they have a standing invitation to your home.
7. Avoid making them feel inferior to your family.
8. Don’t talk about your family’s finances or yours either.
9. Avoid discussion holiday schedules in advance.
10. Don’t let the relationship turn into a power struggle.
11. Keep your not-so-nice opinions to yourself.
12. Never discuss the not-so-savory circumstances you’ve faced.

Dealing with in-laws can be a nerve-wracking experience. You want to put your best foot forward and hope they like you. Remember, these are the people that you’re going to see on every holiday, birthday party, or other special occasions. You want to forge a good relationship with them even if you don’t like them.

No one says that you must be good friends with your relatives, but you must find ways to get along even if it’s just for your spouse’s sake. If you want to win these people over, then you must be cautious during your first few encounters.


7 Ways to Beat a Toxic Family Dynamic with Positivity

7 Ways to Beat a Toxic Family Dynamic with Positivity

Do you feel like you have a toxic family? You can pick your friends, but when it comes to your relatives, you have no choice in the matter. There are many family members both near and far that have qualities that you don’t like, and it’s not always easy to deal with them.

However, what about the family that you live and communicate with daily? Every family goes through certain seasons where things are rough, and dealing with these each other at these times can be overwhelming. You will experience bumps in the road, such as financial difficulties, job losses, and medical problems, but outside frustrations don’t equal a toxic dynamic.

How do you know if your family’s relationship is toxic or if the complications you face were brought on by circumstantial problems that will eventually even out? Here are some classic signs that your family puts the fun in dysfunctional.

7 Ways to Identify and Overcome a Toxic Family Dynamic

Here are seven red flags that signal a toxic family relationship that might exist.

1. Punishment and Discipline Are Blurred

Many people confuse discipline and punishment, as they are not the same. When you discipline your children, you are teaching them something or correcting behavior. Punishment is something that is done out of frustration, and the parent teaches the child nothing.

If you are in a toxic family pattern, then punishments can become excessive, and the behavior is never addressed. Many adults that don’t know how to handle a situation effectively may use the silent treatment as a method to manipulate their children. To combat this situation, the parent should sit down with the kids and explain to them what they did wrong, why there is a punishment, and how things could be handled better in the future.

Make sure they understand why they are in trouble and how to correct their actions. This is one of the reasons why spanking and things of that nature don’t work. Adults have temper tantrums and take out their frustrations on their children, but they never address the real issue.

2. You Play the Blame Game

Folks who have a toxic family dynamic often have problems with members not seeing the wrong that they do. Sadly, finding fault with others comes easily to them. When a family is toxic, one person may blame others for their issues as they see themselves as always right.

Additionally, they can’t comprehend taking responsibility for his/her actions because it would mean they must admit they are wrong. This should not be confused with people who don’t truly realize that they have made a mistake. To combat these issues, you need to make sure you address the problem with the person.

While it’s never popular to point out the wrongs of others, an ongoing issue of this nature can certainly make for some uncomfortable living conditions. Sit down and discuss the problems and make sure you don’t point fingers but recognize the question that needs to be addressed. In these instances, you will almost always find poor self-esteem or other issues that drive the person’s need to always be correct.

3. You Threaten Each Other

One way to tell if you have a toxic family dynamic is if there is physical violence in the home. Did you know that anger is one of the easiest emotions to show? However, there doesn’t need to be slapping and hair-pulling to be toxic.

If you have one family member who tends to use threats to punish others, then it’s a toxic family environment. An example would be if the parent were upset because their child was going through a rebellious stage and wanted to control them. The parents could tell the child if they don’t follow the rules or do what they wish, they will make them go live with another relative or parent.

While a child should know that there are rules that they must follow, their home and the security of their “safe zone” should never be compromised. Many split families often must consider where the child should live, but this decision should be based on the kid’s best interest and not as a punishment.

When a child is acting out, it means there is something under the surface that’s bothering them. There could be hormones that are raging out of control, or they could be bullied at school. To send positive vibes to this adverse situation, sit down and talk to the child openly and honestly. If you can’t get through to your child, get a therapist involved to keep the toxic aspects of the situation under control.

4. You Deal with Control Issues

Control issues are not uncommon in families. Children often feel that their parents are controlling because they can’t do what they want. There’s a difference in having control issues and being a concerned parent.

If you want positive vibes and don’t want others to feel like they walk on eggshells, then communication is vital. Never put tracking apps on phones of other adults in the home, and you should never use money as blackmail to get someone to do what you want. Finally, while you may not agree with clothing choices or makeup, you must allow people to be comfortable in their skin.

Many people try to control others when they feel like things are chaotic. The way to combat this is to get to the crux of the issue. A parent may be controlling because they fear the decisions their children make will hurt them. However, parents must give their kids room to make mistakes as it’s how they grow and learn.

Rather than talking about the issues at hand, people often use underhanded methods to control an out of control situation. Sit down and have family meetings often and make sure that you are all on the same page.

Avoid these toxic relationship habits.

5. Critical Towards You

Do you ever feel like you can do nothing, right? If you have a toxic family member in your household, then you may feel like they are never satisfied with anything you do. You could pay off all your debt, get a promotion, and have a credit score of 850, and it still wouldn’t be good enough.

When one party likes to criticize and undermine others in the home, it can be very frustrating. You will generally find a miserable person at the crux who is battling feelings of not accomplishing goals they had for their life. It’s often that they will project their feelings of frustration on you.

Since this is truly not your problem, you need to get to the root of the behavior. It would help if you had a pattern for recovery and goals that this person and the family needs to meet. You can recover from this toxic behavior with help.

6. Sibling Rivalry is Taken to Extremes

If there is more than one child in your home, there will be some rivalry. It should be noted that not all rivalry is terrible as it can drive someone to succeed. Sadly, these behaviors can become toxic or even dangerous.

When one sibling tries to blame the other every time they get into trouble, there is an issue that needs to be handled. A parent should never allow a child to humiliate another sibling even if it’s comical. Lastly, any competition within the family should never be allowed to become personal or vindictive.

Parents must foster a healthy relationship between their children by never playing favorites, ensuring all children receive the same discipline types and giving them each equal attention.

7. They Dismiss Your Feelings

If you have a toxic family situation, you may feel that your thoughts and feelings are easily dismissed. Again, this all comes down to control, and the need to be right. The party displaying these behaviors may feel that your opinions are insignificant to theirs, or they don’t’ t value what you have to say.

You need to tell this person that it hurts you when they dismiss your feelings and work on a sufficient resolution for change. Call them out now as you don’t’ t want to wait and let things fester. When you tell them about your issues in the heat of the situation, it’s easier to address it head-on.

Final Thoughts on Handling a Toxic Family Situation

If you have toxic family dynamics in your home, you must regain control to change your environment to a healthy one. Here are some things you can do to shift your abode into one with positive vibes.

  • Let Everyone Have a Voice
  • Set Firm Boundaries
  • Stop Toxic Behaviors Immediately
  • Never Play Favorites
  • Treat Everyone in the Home as an Equal
  • Sever Ties when Necessary
  • Get Outside Help When Needed

It’s easy to have issues that can change the dynamics of the home. However, it’s crucial as parents that you set firm boundaries and say what you will and won’t allow. Your children will run the show if you enable them to do so. If your home is a war zone, you must take control of the situation and find effective ways to change the toxicity. You will all be much healthier and happier when you get rid of toxic tendencies.


10 Ways to Ensure Work Does Not Eclipse Family Time »

10 Ways to Ensure Work Does Not Eclipse Family Time

We live in a society where our jobs demand a lot from us. As someone who wants to succeed and over-achieve, it can turn you into a workaholic. However, it’s essential to make sure that you don’t put aside family time for work.

It’s essential to have a healthy work-life balance. Many divorces happen because a spouse is never around. In fact, according to a study done by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a marriage with a workaholic spouse is twice as likely to divorce.

You can avoid this statistic by taking steps to keep your work balanced with your life. Here are 15 ways to ensure that your work doesn’t overtake your family time.

1. Have a cutoff time for work.

When you’re really into your work, and you’re making significant progress, it can be tempting to keep working. You may think that if you push, you can get the job done well before the deadline, making you the star employee. Maybe if you just put in some extra hours, you’ll get that promotion, raise, or recognition you’ve been craving.

This desire to continuously work is simply ambition. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. There is also nothing wrong with being a workaholic – when you’re single.

However, when you have a family, you need to spend time with them. You need to have a cutoff time for work so that family time can begin. If possible, set this time in stone so you’ll have an exact transition point.

2. Focus on work during work hours, so you get it done.

If you have a fair bit of freedom with your job, sometimes you may get distracted during the time that you’re supposed to be working. With so much happening around you each day, it’s easy to lose focus. Social media, friends and family, events, news, and more can take up some of your focus.

When this happens, it can distract you from getting your job done promptly. Then, later in the day, you may find yourself rushing to get your work done. You may end up having to work late because you didn’t manage your time efficiently.

Don’t be a victim of time mismanagement. Find a way to focus on work during work hours, so you don’t have to work overtime. This will allow you to prioritize time with your family like you should be doing.

3. Don’t miss important family events.

Work is always going to seem like it’s so vital that you can’t put anything above it. However, you need to remember that it’s not an essential thing in your life. Your family is the most crucial thing in your life, and you don’t want life to pass you by while you’re stuck in the office.

This means you shouldn’t miss out on important family moments. Birthdays and anniversaries should never be put off because of work. Your kid’s recitals or baseball games should never be missed because you must go into the office.

Remember, these are moments that you can’t get back. Work will still be there tomorrow.

4. Don’t bring your work home.

Unless you have a work-at-home job, you should never bring your work home with you. In fact, that goes against the first point – having a cutoff time for work. If you follow the first bit of advice, you won’t have to worry about bringing your work home.

Work is work. Home is home. You should never mix the two. Give your family your full attention at home. Your family understands that your job is essential, but they need to know that they aren’t second-place in your life.

It’s understandable if you need to bring work home once in a blue moon. However, it should never be a regular thing.

5. Set work boundaries.

Your job, boss, and coworkers will take as much from you as you allow them to. This means if you don’t set clear boundaries, they’ll contact you and demand from you around the clock if they need to. Even if you’re not at work, they’ll continuously contact you, which can eat into your family time.

You’ve probably seen people on vacation, but their phones are constantly ringing with work-related issues. Perhaps you’ve seen that person at a family function, but they’re obsessed with a flurry of emails. Don’t be that person.

When it’s family time, work should be put on the back burner. Let your boss and your coworkers know this in advance, and stick to it.

6. Take days off.

If you have days that are scheduled off, take them off. These are days where you can focus on family and other parts of your life. Don’t let your job drag you in on those days.

Your days off are meant for you to recharge, so you don’t burn out. After all, what good is working if you never have time to enjoy the fruits of your labor? These are days where you can put your family first, so don’t boot them to second place if your job calls.

Your job isn’t going anywhere. It will be there on your next scheduled day. Plus, not going in on your days off will help your bosses learn to manage the schedule better. It seems like you’re helping everyone by not going in on your days off.

7. Remember, you have a life outside of work.

Work isn’t everything! Or at least it shouldn’t be everything. If it is everything, you really need to get a life.

There is a whole world outside of your office. If you’re always working, your family is out enjoying that world without you. They probably won’t even get to tell you about it because you’re not even around for a conversation.

Work is important, but you only get one life. Take the time to enjoy all that it has to offer and make lasting memories with your family.

8. Make sure you’re valued at work.

You may not have thought about this, but your happiness at work can have a direct impact on how you interact with your family. If you’re miserable at work, a place that you’re spending a large chunk of your day at, you might bring that feeling home with you. Your family will be able to tell if you’re feeling miserable.

Make sure that you love your job and that you’re valued at work. You’re human – dealing with bad vibes and emotions all day will end up wearing you down. You don’t want those vibes to affect your family life. The best way to keep this from happening is by avoiding them altogether.

9. Make your family feel special.

If you know you’ve been working a lot lately, maybe it’s time to do something special for your family. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive (unless you can afford it). Small surprises go a long way.

Although doing extraordinary things for your family makes them feel good, it can also keep you grounded. It will remind you why you’re doing what you do.

Seeing how much they love your special gesture, and more importantly, how they love sharing that special gesture with you can make family time that much more special. You’ll begin to crave that time and affection, so you’re more likely to make sure that work doesn’t overtake that particular family time.

10. Remember why you’re working in the first place.

Working when you’re single is vastly different from working when you’re married with children. When you’re single, your primary focus is probably something along the lines of promotions, raises, being the MVP at work, and climbing the corporate ladder. However, having a family changes that focus (or at least it should).

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be ambitious if you have a family. It merely means that the most important thing to you has changed. You’re working for your family. You’re working to make sure they’re taken care of.

Your family is not okay if you aren’t around. They need you. Yes, they need a house and a car and other things, but keep in mind that the reason you’re working so hard in the first place is your family. Don’t ever put your job ahead of them.

Final Thoughts on Not Letting Work Overtake Family Time

You love your job. That’s wonderful, primarily since you’ve worked so hard to get where you are. However, you may find that your job isn’t as fulfilling if you don’t have anyone to share the successes with.

You need to remember that your family is just as important as succeeding at work. In fact, they are probably the reason you work so hard. Don’t use that as an excuse to work around the clock.

By utilizing the 15 tips given in this article, you can make sure that you prioritize family time. This way, you’ll have a great work-life balance. Don’t delay in implementing these tips! Your family needs you.


12 Budget Cuts Your Family Will Barely Notice 

12 Budget Cuts Your Family Will Barely Notice 

If the phrase budget cuts, conjure up visions of your family eating beans and rice for the next month, think again. Simple budget cuts can create significant savings. It takes a bit of planning and creativity, but you can make budget cuts without your family even noticing… too much.

12 Budget Cuts That Your Family Will Not Mind

1. Use energy-efficient light bulbs

Who would have thought you could save money by simpling changing your light bulbs? It’s true! Using an incandescent light bulb for five hours a day for one year costs you approximately $16 depending upon where you live in the U.S.  But if you use an LED light bulb for the same length of time, it costs you only $6 a year. Energy-efficient LED bulbs’ initial cost will be more, but your overall savings using them will be significant. It’s a simple way to cut your budget, and your family will be none the wiser for it.

2. Online grocery shopping

Online grocery shopping has become famous for its convenience, but you can also save money using these services. Buying your groceries online helps you to see exactly what you’re paying for each so you can stick within your budget. Grocery stores place items strategically at the end of aisles, so shoppers will pick up things when they walk by. Your impulse buying will go down when you buy your groceries online. Choose online grocery services that off coupons or free delivery, if possible.

Another option is to use your grocery store’s delivery service or pick up service. These services are free. All you do is order the things you want and arrange a delivery time. Or your store will do the shopping for you and all you need to do is pick them up. Most grocery stores have specially marked parking spots where you park, and someone brings your groceries out to your car.

3. Thrift store shopping

Thrift stores are packed with budget-saving items. Buying gently-used clothing is an easy way to save a bundle on clothing for your growing kids.  Choose a store that is clean and well maintained. Charity organizations often run these stores, so you’re helping your community while saving money at the same time.

  • Clothing-Used clothing is excellent for growing kids. You can find slightly worn teeshirts, skirts, dresses, shorts, and jeans at thrift stores. Be picky though, don’t buy your kids used shoes-it’s not good for their feet. Kids grow so quickly. It’s great to find functional used clothing for a fraction of the cost of new.
  • Sporting equipment-Many thrift stores sell gently used sporting equipment. Avoid buying hats or helmets for hygienic reasons.
  • Household items- Dishes, glasses, wine goblets, and serving bowls are sold cheaply at a thrift store. Sometimes you can find a set of brand new dishes that have been donated from a large store.
  • Other things-Gently used toys, pictures, candle holders, jewelry, and books.

4. Limit eating out

Eating out with a family is expensive; it can quickly trash your budget. Try taking your family out to eat once a month instead of once a week. Or you can order a take-out pizza from your favorite pizza place, using coupons if they offer them, instead of taking the whole family to the restaurant where you’re sure to spend more money. Find restaurants that offer kids-eat-free night or two dollar tacos once a week. Be strategic, most restaurants have coupons or exclusive deals, but you will need to shop around for them.

Check out our 30 expert personal finance tips for a new respect for your money.

5. Purchase flawed fruits and vegetables

Several online companies are selling imperfect fruits and vegetables. This produce often comes straight from local groceries but was rejected because it wasn’t perfect looking. You may get some misshapen carrots, but the produce is fresh and tastes great. These companies usually charge you a fee depending upon how much produce you want, so you won waste what you buy. The produce is conveniently delivered to your door, so you’ll save time as well as money.

6. Kids take their lunches

Another simple way to cut your budget is to have your kids take their lunches to school.  Purchase good lunch containers,so the food stays hot or cold. There are many well-made boxes with convenient compartments. If your kids really want to buy lunch at school, arrange for them to buy once or twice a week. The school sends out the monthly menu so you and your kids can plan ahead what meals they want to buy.

7. Shop around for good cell phone prices

Your cell phone company may cut you a deal if they think you’ve decided to go with a switch cell phone carriers. You can also save a lot of money by switching to one of the smaller cell phone companies that use the same towers as the four bigger companies.

8. Keep a well-stocked pantry & create a weekly menu

Meal planning is a great way to save money. When you plan your meals, you won’t impulse buy or waste food. Plan your meals, then make a shopping list. Go to the store with your list in hand and only buy what is on the list.

Another great way to save is to have a stocked pantry at all times. This is helpful for last-minute cooking, baking, or when guests drop in. A stocked pantry should include:

  • Baking goods-flour, sugar, baking flour, baking soda, vanilla, chocolate chips, yeast, and corn starch.
  • Oils and vinegars-Olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil. Balsamic, apple cider, and white vinegar.
  • Spices-Salt, pepper, kosher salt or sea salt, basic spices you typically use.
  • Rice, Beans & Grains-Oatmeal, brown rice, white rice, quinoa, black and pinto beans, chili beans, pasta (assorted types your family likes.)
  • Potatoes and onions
  • Canned goods-Tomato sauce and tomato paste, canned diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, beef or chicken stock, canned chilis, salsa, canned corn or green beans.

Go through your pantry once a month to see what you need so you can keep it stocked up at all times.

Try our personal finance tips and get your money back on track.

9. Use those leftovers

Using leftovers will stretch your food budget. You’ll need to plan ahead so you can make use of your leftovers in the best way possible. See what proteins you plan to use that week,  then think of various ways you could use the leftovers for other meals.

Here are some suggestions if you made

  • Left-over baked chicken turns into chicken tacos
  • Leftover rice turns into stir-fried rice (include scrambled eggs for protein)
  • Spaghetti turns into spaghetti pie (freeze it for next week)
  • Leftover hamburgers can chop up and turn into shepherd’s pie or hamburger mac and cheese

Your family won’t notice that you’ve stretched your food bill, but you will when you see the savings adding up.

10. Shop around for cheaper internet

Another way to save on your family budget is to shop around for cheaper internet service. Call your internet provider telling them you’re thinking of moving to another provider for a such-and-such rate. They’re motivated to keep you as their customer, so they’ll be willing to negotiate with you.

11. Join a warehouse store

Warehouse stores are great places to save money.  Buying in bulk saves money and means you’ll make fewer trips to the grocery store. Many warehouse stores accept coupons, so you get double your savings on food, paper goods, diapers, and household items. Most warehouse stores charge you an annual fee, but you will easily get your money back. It’s a simple, painless way to cut your budget, and your family won’t notice… unless you make your them carry in all the stuff you bought.

12. Batch cooking and menu planning

The National Institute of Health recommends cooking your meals in batches to save money.  Cook extra batches of taco meat or spaghetti sauce and then freeze them so they’ll be ready to pull out when you need them. This not only saves you time but also helps you resist the urge to order out when you’ve had a rough day at work. Create a two-week dinner menu. Then create your grocery list from your menu. Even if you decide to change a meal out from one night to another, you’ll have all the ingredients you need. This way, you have a plan, but you have some flexibility without going over your budget.

healthy budget cutsFinal Thoughts: Budget Cuts Need Not Be Painful

There are so many simple but strategic ways to cut your budget. Your family won’t notice most of the little things you do. Whether it’s switching out your light bulbs to more energy-efficient ones or shopping at large warehouse stores to buy in bulk, small budget cuts can save you big bucks.

Use your creativity with leftovers and give your internet provider a call to see if they’ll offer you a better deal.  Shop around for restaurants that offer special eat free nights for your kids, or use their coupons for discounted buy one, get one free item. There are lots of ways that make small budget cuts, so why not get started today?


Clean Teeth, Happy Family: How to Find the Best Family Dentist

Clean Teeth, Happy Family: How to Find the Best Family

Clean Teeth, Happy Family: How to Find the Best Family Dentist

Your family needs clean, healthy teeth—but no one likes going to the dentist.

Finding the right family dentist can be challenging. You need someone who understands how to treat teeth from the young to the old. 

You might not look forward to taking your kids to the dentist, but it’s critical to take good care of your youngster’s teeth. In kids aged 6–19 years, dental cavities (tooth decay) is the most common chronic disease. This can lead to infection and pain. 

An excellent dentist makes it more enjoyable to schedule visits. How do you find the best family dentist? Here’s your guide. 

Check Your Insurance

Start with dentists in your network. You can ask friends for referrals (and you should!). However, if your insurance doesn’t cover a highly-recommended dentist, you’ll find teeth cleanings, and other dental work gets expensive. 

Most dental insurance plans don’t function in the same way as your health insurance. Many dentists have more flexibility in how they work with dental insurance providers. 

If your current dentist is no longer in your network, or you find a dentist that seems perfect but isn’t in your network, talk with them. They might offer payment plans or comparable rates to being an in-network dentist. 

But, if it’s not an option to stay with your first choice of dentist, as them for recommendations. Dentists understand that treatments are expensive, or that different dentists can help with different needs. They’re often connected enough to know another great dentist that works for your insurance or budget. 

Ask Your Friends

You can do this before you check your insurance (see above). However, it’s often more budget-friendly to find your top choices from within your dental insurance network first.

Once you have a few options, ask your friends if they know those dentists, how they work, and if they’re suitable for the whole family.

Friends and family understand the importance of a dentist who handles both kids and adults well. Your circle of friends will give honest input about a dentist and what they like or don’t like about a dentist on your list. 

Check the Location

A top-rated dentist can be tough to find. An excellent dentist that’s close to your kid’s school, your home, or your work is even more challenging to find. 

With at least two visits to the dentist per year for each member of your family, make sure your dentist is convenient. You’ll take kids out of school and take time away from work to care for your family’s teeth.

Unless you have unique circumstances or truly prefer one specific dentist across town, don’t compile a list of recommended dentists that are too far away. For instance, if you’re in the Toledo area, find a dentist in the area. 

Going to the dentist can feel like an inconvenience. Don’t make it a bigger hassle by choosing a dentist that is outside of your day-to-day area. 

Visit the Office

When you’ve done your research to narrow your dentist search, visit the office. 

  • Is it comfortable? 
  • Is it kid-friendly? 
  • Is it in a reputable location?
  • Is it clean?
  • Is the staff friendly and competent?

Ask about their treatment procedures. How do they treat pain when filling cavities? What products do they use for teeth cleanings? Make sure you’re comfortable with how they handle your mouth and your family’s mouths. 

Talk with the dentists and the staff. Most adults can adapt to a new dental hygienist and procedures easier than children. Make sure the staff and the office environment works well for your children. You don’t want your kids to dread going to the dentist twice a year. 

Verify Credentials

There are good dentists with training and experience. Then there are “budget” dentists who probably cost less but who might not be the best choice to handle your family’s dental needs. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) is one of the most well-known associations to help you find a reputable dentist. But not all excellent dentists register with the ADA. 

It’s not necessary to restrict your dentist search to only ADA-registered dentists. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, and the Academy of General Dentistry are a few other reputable organizations that support quality dentists. 

No matter your potential dentist’s organization affiliation, be sure they are fully qualified Doctors of Dentistry. Without that licensing, a dentist lacks the experience and knowledge to care for your teeth. 

After-Hours Care

Sometimes tooth emergencies happen on the weekend. When that happens, you don’t want to wait until Monday for relief from pain. 

What is your dentist’s after-hours policy? They don’t have to offer after-hours, emergency help in their office. But it’s critical that they can connect you to a local partner dentist who can help your family with an oral issue after office hours. 

Finding the Best Family Dentist Improves Smiles!

Turn your family’s frowns upside down. Finding the best family dentist for your family helps improve their smiles—in more ways than one!

Most dental practices have come a long way from a cold, intimidating environment. Many dentist offices have screens for kids (and adults) to watch movies while the hygienist works on your teeth. 

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be something your family hates to do! Find the right environment for your family and a payment plan or in-network dentist that helps your budget. 

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out some of our other articles to help your family stay healthy!