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Tech Deals from Amazon Daily Deals

amazon daily deals shopping

There are lots of great deals you can take advantage of every single day, with Amazon’s Daily Deals! You won’t believe some of the great things you can find. Every Tuesday we highlight some of our favorite Amazon Daily Deal buys. Here are some of our top picks from today:

*The prices shown below are the sale prices listed at the time of posting.

Running Pouch

 
running belt shopping
 

Current Sale Price: $9.97
Originally: $24.99
You Save: $15.02! (60% off)

With fall underway, it’s a good time to take advantage of the cool weather and get running outdoors again. Bundle up and use this running belt to hold your keys, phone, and whatever else you may need on your run. It comes in black, has two pockets, and a sleek, thin design that makes it easy to forget about while you can focus on the run.

Telescope

 
telescope amazon deals
 

Current Sale Price: $59.49
Originally: $72.99
You Save: $13.50! (18% off)

The cool autumn sky is also a great time to do some star gazing. Make your star gazing even more amazing with a powerful telescope. The TELMU telescope is adjustable, portable, and even has a phone adaptor that you can use with any phone. It also comes with its own basket so you can easily take it anywhere to best see the stars.

AbergBest Digital Camera

 
digital camera sale
 

Current Sale Price: $40.99
Originally: $26.12
You Save: $14.87! (36% off)

Phones are taking better and better photos with each new model that comes out, but having a digital camera just for all your snapshots can still be useful. You can take more photos without having to worry about taking up space on your phone, so if you like to take a lot of photos, this is a good buy. It’s an HD digital camera, does video and comes in black, blue, red, and pink. It’s a sleek small design too, so it’s easy to take and use anywhere.

Rove Dashboard Camera

 
dash cam sale
 

Current Sale Price: $74.97
Originally: $299.99
You Save: $225.02! (75% off)

Another camera deal today! This might be the best Amazon deal today, saving you the most money in this one purchase. This dashboard camera comes with a wide angle, and night vision. It also has useful built in WiFi and GPS technology. It can also start recording video if it detects any kind of impact.
Use this dashboard camera to help keep you and your loved ones safe while on the road.

Eyelash and Brow Growth Serum

 
eyelash serum sale
 

Current Sale Price: $26.99
Originally: $44.99
You Save: $18.00! (40% off)

This serum is by ESSY Naturals and is irritation free. It’ll give you longer, thicker, and stronger lashes in just 3 to 4 weeks. The serum is made of ginseng root and Egyptian blue water lily. It comes in a mascara-like container and has a little brush on the end of the wand for easy application. Remember that this beauty product is normally $45, so now is the best time to buy up on your eyelash serum, and try out this beauty care fad for yourself.

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 
fish oil deal
 

Current Sale Price: $13.49
Originally: $24.99
You Save: $11.50! (46% off)

Omega 3 fish oil has a lot of health benefits. It helps you have a healthier heart, brain, joints, skin, hair, and can even boost your mood. These vitamins from MAV Nutrition are soft gel, lemon flavored pills for easy swallowing. It comes with 120 pills with a total of 3,600 milligrams of fish oil. Take advantage of this sale on some essential vitamins and see what healthy changes it can make for you!



Sometimes deals and sales are the way that we get things we really need. You may especially depend on sales when you’re in college, or just starting out on your own, or in a new place. So when you find something you really need on sale, and payday is just a couple days too late, that can be really frustrating. Luckily Check City can help you out with a quick and easy Payday Loan so that you can take advantage of important deals regardless of when your payday comes.
 
Share with us what deals you snagged today by using the hashtags #amazondailydeals #checkcity

6 Basic Instant Pot Recipes

instant pot recipes

Having a yummy, wholesome, home cooked meal for dinner each night is a part of the typical dream lifestyle. But who has the time?

By using an instant pot to make your meals you won’t need time to have home cooked meals every day! These aren’t the only basic recipes you can do with a pressure cooker though. Take a look at the READ MORE section at the bottom of this article for more essential instant pot recipes. Below are some the most basic instant pot recipes to help get you started:

  1. Potatoes
  2. Rice
  3. Beans
  4. Chicken
  5. Vegetables
  6. Pasta

More Recipes

Unlike a slow cooker, an instant pot lets you make healthy, budget friendly meals in a matter of minutes instead of hours. It can bring you back to cooking basics and save you on the kinds of groceries that add up quickly the way things like frozen pizzas do.

If you need any help with the food bill this week while you wait for an inconveniently placed payday, you can always get a Check City Personal Loan to tide you over.

With an instant pot cooker you can plan your weeknight dinners for the week much more easily. Instant Pot is one of the main instant pot brands, but there are many brands of pressure cookers you can choose from for your instant cooking needs.

Instant Pot’s website also has their own list of recipes for you to choose from. The recipes below come from a couple different sources, and are some of the most basic recipes you’ll want to to start saving on your grocery bill and getting back to the basics of homemade meals.

1. Potatoes

potatoes

You can do so many things with potatoes, mashed potatoes being one of the most popular American dishes. With the quick and easy instant pot you can make comfort foods like potato soup as well.

Ingredients
  • 3 lbs russet potatoes (cut into cubes)
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or water
  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • 3 tbsp butter
Directions
  1. put potatoes, broth or water in the pot
  2. seal the lid
  3. select pressure cook and adjust to high
  4. set timer for 8 minutes
  5. After 8 minutes turn the valve to venting to manually quick release the pressure
  6. drain potatoes and set the liquid aside
  7. add milk (or half and half) and butter
  8. mash
  9. add back the liquid you set aside as needed

2. Rice

rice

Rice is a side dish that can go with almost any meal. For instance, you can serve chicken and rice along with some steamed vegetables for a rounded dinner.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • a pinch of salt
Directions
  1. rinse rice
  2. add rice, water, oil, and salt to instant pot
  3. lock lid and set steam valve to seal
  4. cook 4-8 minutes
  5. let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release manually

3. Beans

beans

Beans are a healthy source of protein and can also go well with a lot of other dishes. You can use beans in different soups and salads as well as a side dish to your main meal.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb black beans
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable/chicken broth or water (Use 4 cups liquid for every 1 cup beans. Make sure the pot is not filled more than halfway so your beans have room to expand)
Directions
  1. put everything into the pot
  2. turn valve to sealing
  3. press beans and chili
  4. release pressure naturally for 20 minutes before opening

4. Chicken

chicken

Instant pot chicken may be one of the most popular dishes to make. Chicken is cheap and with some seasonings and sauces it can make a truly delicious meal. You can even use chicken thighs for some extra tender flavor.

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Directions
  1. set to saute and add oil
  2. sear chicken on both sides until golden
  3. transfer to a plate and add spices to the chicken
  4. add broth to pot
  5. put trivet in pot and put chicken on the trivet
  6. Lock lid and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes

5. Vegetables

vegetables

Vegetables are an important part of our diet, but we often forget about them. With a pressure cooker you can easily whip up any assortment of your favorite veggies to go along with almost any supper. Buying fresh vegetables is often cheaper than buying them frozen too.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lb carrots
  • 1 lb fresh, trimmed green beans
  • 1 1/2 lbs chopped red potatoes
Directions
  1. pour water into the pot
  2. put steamer basket into the pot
  3. place vegetables into the steamer basket
  4. secure the lid
  5. steam for 5 minutes and let sit for 5 more minutes
  6. season the vegetables to taste

6. Pasta

pasta

Next to bread, pasta may be one of the world’s favorite carbs. Healthy pastas can be a great source of grain in your diet when eaten in moderation. Pasta can also be a great base for a lot of creative dishes.

Ingredients
  • 4 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (16 ounces) package penne pasta
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil OR 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Freshly grated parmesan, romano, or mozzarella cheese for garnishing
Directions
  1. put the water, vegetable oil, salt, and pasta into the instant pot
  2. place rack in the instant pot
  3. put the tomatoes, garlic powder, basil, red pepper flakes, and salt into a pot on top of the rack
  4. lock the lid
  5. select high pressure and set to 3 minutes
  6. quick release the lid
  7. strain water out of the noodles and combine the pasta and sauce

These are just a few examples of some super basic instant pot recipes that you can use to make an unending array of meals throughout the week. Make your meals quickly each night or cook in bulk and have awesome leftovers for the rest of the week.

READ MORE

Learn all about taking care of your instant pot, “How to Use an Instant Pot to Save You Money.”

For a collection of beef recipes, including beef stew, “Most Popular Instant Pot Beef Recipes.”

For instant pot pulled pork, “Instant Pot Pulled Pork.”

For roasting pork in the instant pot, “How to Roast Pork in the Instant Pot.”

Instant pot boiled eggs recipe, “Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs.”

For some other ways to save money on your grocery bill read, “How to Save Money on Food Costs.”

How to Use an Instant Pot to Save You Money

use an instant pot

We’re always looking for ways to save on meals and groceries, but have you ever thought about how the way you cook food could also save you money?

How Does an Instant Pot Work?

An instant pot is basically the modernized version of a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker uses high pressure to cook the food inside. A pressure cooker is a pot that you use on the stove top, but the instant pot is an electric pressure cooker, so it doesn’t go on the stove top, it plugs into an outlet. It uses a strong clamp-down lid to seal in the contents of the pot and the heat, for some fast, efficient cooking. Now your water can boil at even higher temperatures because less heat is escaping into the air. The steam and building pressure inside the instant pot can also help your food get more moist, tender, and full of infused flavors.

In a really simple form, you can think of it as a crock pot, or a slow cooker. You put the ingredients inside, close the lid, and punch in your settings. But instead of letting your food stew in the crock pot for 4 to 8 hours, you can put ingredients inside the instant pot, close the lid, set the settings, and have your food ready in just 15 to 30 minutes.

When your food is done cooking there are two ways to release the steam inside. You can use a quick release by turning the valve at the top manually and letting all the steam out right away or you can let it go, and the steam will naturally release over time. You’ll want to use the quick release when your food is done cooking, and the natural release when you want your food to keep cooking a little longer while it cools down.

How to Use an Instant Pot
  1. heat up the pressure cooker
  2. place the food inside
  3. seal the lid
  4. set your pressure level and your cooking time
  5. release the pressure when the time goes off
  6. wait however long the recipe says for the pressure to release
  7. thoroughly clean the pressure cooker after your meal and put it away for next time

 
instant pot cooking
 

Hot Water Test

Understanding how an instant pot works is important if you’re going to start cooking with one. It is a different type of cooking since you aren’t just using heat from the stovetop or oven, you’re using pressurized heat and steam. Because of this instant pots come with their own science of cooking that you’ll want to become acquainted with before you begin using your new instant pot.

To help you understand what happens inside your instant pot while it’s cooking you can do the hot water test. The hot water test will show you how the pressure cooker works, and how much water evaporates as it cooks. Depending on what you’re cooking inside the pot, you will probably need less water than you’re used to.

  1. pour 3 cups of water into the instant pot
  2. close the lid
  3. in your settings select simply steam or pressure cook
  4. set the timer to 5 minutes
  5. when the timer goes off, turn the valve to release the pressure

Now you can see what happened to the water. Measure it and see for yourself how much water evaporates in a pressure cooker as opposed to a pot on the stovetop.

How an Instant Pot Saves You Money

save money
 

Have you ever felt the struggle of wanting to eat well, but not having the amount of time necessary or the energy to spend cooking healthy, real meals every day? We know that eating healthy has so many obvious, long-term benefits, but in our busy day-to-day lives, it can be a real struggle to eat right. Money and time constraints get in the way and we end up buying another frozen pizza or eating out again. Thankfully, with the instant pot, eating right doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes of your time.

By eating healthier every day you’ll have better health. Staying in good health can really save your wallet. Being healthier means you’ll feel more energized, get sick less often, avoid missing work, keep your medical bills low, and keep the doctor away, as the saying goes.

An instant pot can help you save while stocking your pantry as well. Cooking with the instant pot can bring you back to cooking basics, helping you eat simpler, more satisfying meals. You can easily and quickly cook rice and even dry beans! Eating this way is also ultimately cheaper. It’s cheaper to keep your pantry stocked with the basics (like rice, beans, potatoes, seasonings, and sauces etc.) that you can use to make many different kinds of meals throughout the week, rather than pay for a full meal at a fast food place.

If you need any help with the food bill this week while you wait for an inconveniently placed payday, you can always get a Check City Personal Loan to tide you over.

  • Miss work less often
  • Spend less on medical bills and doctor visits
  • Spend less time cooking meals and more time on other pursuits
  • Spend less on groceries

How to Clean Your Instant Pot

After eating your yummy, healthy, homemade meal, it can be tempting to leave the dishes undone and move on to other things. But try and not wait too long after using the instant pot to clean it out, because letting thing crust over will only make it harder to clean later.

  1. Take it apart
  2. Hand wash the outer lid and instant pot with warm soapy water. The inner pot and accessories can go in the dishwasher
  3. let white vinegar sit in the instant pot for 5 minutes to remove stains
  4. Use a small brush to get in between spaces
  5. Steam clean it, 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, lemon slices, on the steam mode to get rid of smells
  6. Dry and put back together

Tips and Tricks You’ll Want to Know

  • Replace sealing rings
  • You can get accessories like a glass lid so you can see inside
  • Bring your instant pot camping or on vacation, all it needs is a power source to cook
  • You can cook freezer meals
  • You can make popcorn
  • Get meal Tupperware and prep your meals for the week ahead of time
  • Reheat in the instant pot instead of the microwave using the warm setting
  • Use the rack to cook 2 things at the same time, like meat and veggies, or do pot-in-pot cooking
  • Use the curved end of the ladle to safely turn the release valve without getting your hands too close to the steam.
  • You can rest your lid upright by putting the handle of the lid into the rectangle opening of the handle of the pot.
  • To cook even faster, use already hot water in your instant pot so it comes to pressure even faster
  • Make a tin foil sling to put under the pot your putting in the pot so that you can easily lift your pot out
  • Get more than one stainless steel insert
  • Use some handy time-table charts to know how long things should cook
  • You can turn the instant pot onto saute mode before you put your ingredients inside in order to get it heated up and cook faster

Warnings

There are some warnings to be careful of when working with an instant pot. There are also some things you just can’t do with a pressure cooker, but don’t worry. What you can do with a pressure cooker still far outweighs what you can’t.

  • Be careful you don’t overheat it
  • Be careful of the steam
  • Keep it off of hot surfaces
  • Don’t put the appliance in the dishwasher
  • Don’t fill it more than 2/3
  • Don’t open the lid until it’s completely depressurized
  • Don’t make fried foods in a pressure cooker
  • Milk will curdle in the pressure cooker



READ MORE
Read more about how to save money on groceries, “How to Save Money on Food Costs.”

Find some great basic instant pot recipes, “6 Basic Instant Pot Recipes.”

Read more about Instant Pot hacks by reading the following articles:

11 Clever Hacks That Will Make You Love Your Instant Pot Even More

20 Instant Pot Hacks Every Cook Should Know

16 Genius Instant Pot Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind

How Much Do Nurses Make?

nurses pay

The nursing profession has been around for a very long time. Today there are over 100 different nursing specialties.

So the field not only offers a lucrative salary but a chance to specialize in what you are most passionate about as well. This article will take a closer look at the salary aspect of the Nursing profession.

Explore this Article

Everyone at some point has to figure out what to do with their life and what job to take. We all want a job that will make us happy, foster our passions, and provide for ourselves. If your passion includes helping people then the nursing profession may be the perfect career for you.

There are many reasons for becoming a registered nurse (RN) is a great career choice. For one thing, the registered nurse profession currently has an expected growth rate of 15%, which is much faster than the average job’s growth rate. So if you’re wondering if your job outlook as a future nurse is good or not, have no fear, the demand for nurses is only going to get higher.

A career as a registered nurse is a great option not only because of the future outlook, job security, and demand look good. It also only requires a bachelor’s degree, and the average salary for registered nurses is $71,730 a year! Not only that but the nursing profession has a vast array of subfields and specialties you can go into as well. No matter your temperament or passion you can bet that the nursing profession has a niche for you.

What Determines Pay?

nurses salary

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics RNs tend to make an average of $34.48 an hour. When calculating for annual salary, the lowest 10% was around $50,800 a year, the median annual salary was $71,730 a year, and the highest 10% was up to $106,530 a year.

Like all jobs, how much an RN makes is also going to depend on certain factors unique to that field. The variables that affect the salary of a registered nurse are:

What state you work in

Different states all have different average RN salaries. For example, RNs in Alabama have an average annual salary of $57,890, but RNs in California have an average annual salary of $102,700. Just keep in mind that these numbers often vary due to things like cost of living. Nurses may make more in California each year than nurses in Alabama, but the cost of living between these two states may differ greatly as well.

Level of education

There are 4 different levels of education that you can seek in the nursing field. All of which will require studies in nursing, physiology, anatomy, and nutrition. The higher your education level, the higher your starting salary at a job is going to be.

  1. Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) takes 2-3 years.
  2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) takes 4 years.
  3. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) takes 2 years.
  4. Doctorate in Nursing (DNP) takes 4 to 6 years.
Experience or how long you’ve been working as a nurse

The more experience you have working as a nurse the more your salary is likely to increase compared to nurses who are newer or haven’t worked as RNs for as long. The fact that experience and time spent in the job factors into salary is helpful because it means employers will recognize you for your experience and compensate you more for your time spent in the field.

But if you are new to the field and still only making that starting salary, you may need some help here and there to stay on track financially. If you find yourself needing some help during the month, you can use the Check City Payday Loan.

What Do Nurses Do?

What everyday tasks a nurse does will potentially depend on whether they are specializing in a specific field or not. But below are a couple of common RN duties to give you a feel for the kind of work that would be required of you on a daily basis:

  • Administer medications and treatments
  • Assist in examinations
  • Instruct patients on how to care for themselves after leaving a medical facility
  • Observe patients
  • Operate medical equipment
  • Perform tests
  • Record patient medical histories
  • Record symptoms
  • Supervise the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
RN Hours:

Some patients are going to need around-the-clock care, so there will always need to be some RNs on duty. RNs usually take the 24 hours in shifts so that there are always nurses available in the day and night. This means that as an RN you may end up working nights, weekends, holidays, or be on call.

If you are interested in the work that RNs do but want to work more regular business hours, then there are some options available. There are places of work where RNs are needed but they only operate during normal business hours. Places like offices and schools will only require a regular work shift.

Nurse Related Jobs and Specialties

There are many nurse related jobs that are also worth considering if you are interested in this type of vocation. This is one of the perks of the nursing career. It has the potential to lead to other jobs, and it connects you to the medical career world in general.

There are also many different specialties within the nursing field. As you become a registered nurse you may find that a specific area of work interests you above the others, and if you want you can pursue that specific area of practice.

The following charts are just a few examples showing the range of salaries for some common nursing specialties. But there are over 100 different nursing specialties available in the medical field right now. Below we will continue to go over some of these other kinds of nurse specialties. For more information about different nursing specialties and what they do you can visit RegisteredNursing.org.

nursing specialties

Nurses hold some of the most important jobs in order to make a hospital function properly. They literally fill hundreds of rolls and perform a countless array of duties. If you are looking for a job that will allow you to live comfortably while letting you pursue your individual passions in the medical arena, then becoming a registered nurse is the ideal path for you.


Sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Registered Nurses.”

Nurse Salary Guide. “Nurse Salary by State 2020.”

Registered Nursing. “Nursing Careers & Specialties for RNs.”

Check City Blog. “What Do Nurses Do?”

Nurse.org Career Guide Series. “Registered Nurse.”

Nursing Community. “The 20 Best Nursing Career Specialties.”

4 SMART Goal Examples

SMART-goal-examples

We learn best by example, and that goes for understanding SMART goals and how to use them.

By giving plenty of examples, you can use this goal making tool to your advantage and achieve all your personal and professional goals. You may have heard the acronym SMART goals by now, and you may be wondering what it means and how to use this tool to up your goal setting game.

Explore this Article

  1. Professional Goals
  2. Fun Personal Goals
  3. Serious Personal Goals
  4. Financial Goals

What are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. SMART is a mnemonic device that is meant to help you create “smarter” goals. The 5 elements of a SMART goal are the 5 key characteristics of an effective goal that you can actually achieve. So you want the goals you make to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Specific

To make your goals specific enough, you want to answer the key “W” questions, who, what, when, where, why? You want to decide your goal and describe it in as much detail as possible. The key is to have a clearly defined picture of your goal in your mind, leaving no room for ambiguity.

Ask who, what, where, and any other details?

Measurable

Making your goal measurable is mainly making it so you have a measurable outcome to work toward, so you’ll know for certain when you are successful or not. So instead of just wanting to lose weight, figure out how many pounds you want to lose. If you want more Instagram followers, think about how many more followers you want. What you can measure is going to be different for each goal, but there is always something you can measure. Maybe you want to be happier, what are some measurable things you can keep track of that will show whether your plans are working? Maybe you can measure how many hours of sleep you get each night to see if you’re getting your full 8 hours each night, or record in a mood journal how you feel at certain times of the day for a couple weeks to try and find patterns.

Ask how?

Attainable

Just like when dealing with your finances you’ll want to determine whether the ROI is worth it. Each goal is going to take time and resources. Are they going to yield worth while results? Is the effort your goal would require doable? Maybe you want to run a marathon but you’ve never run before, so perhaps a better goal to start with would be to run 20 minutes every day. Sometimes you need to take your vision down a bit for a goal that you are actually able to do right now in your life.

What’s the level of attainability?

Relevant

Sometimes we feel pressured by our surroundings to make certain goals. Maybe your parents want you to be a doctor, but you want to be an English teacher. Maybe the people around you make you feel like you need to make intense dieting and weight goals to buff up or slim down, but you’re actually at a healthy bmi(link to how to gain weight on a budget post). Goals take time and effort, they come with their own costs, so above all your goals have to be made for you, by you. So when making a goal ask yourself what your motives are and make sure they’re good, worth it, will actually yield the results you desire.

Ask why?

Time-Bound

Time needs to be a major element in any goal you make. You need to create a plan that aligns with calendar dates and deadlines. Having a due date helps us stay focused, motivated, and kick us into action. Remember that it is here where you can bog yourself down if you’re not careful, so be flexible and plan smartly so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t be afraid to adjust when you need to, sometimes learning your limits and what works best for you takes some trial and error.

Ask when?

SMART Goal Examples

There are different elements that make up our lives and thus there are different kinds of goals we can make for each aspect of our lives. There are the more formal, professional, and serious goals we need to make, and then there are personal and fun goals we want to make. Make goals for your more professional and serious successes, but set goals for yourself as well. Below are some key goal categories to remember:

1. Professional Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to wake up earlier for work each morning.

Measurable: (ask how) You record on a chart beside your bed every night you manage to go to bed at 10:30 pm. On a similar chart beside the door you mark each morning you are able to leave your house for work at 7:30 am.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) Instead of making a goal to get to work by 7 each morning, you’ve started with a goal to get to work by 8 each morning, because you know working toward this goal is more feasible for you right now.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant for you because going to work earlier will allow you to leave earlier in the day, giving you more time for other goals and endeavors outside of work.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You’ve set alarms on your phone to remind you when to get ready for bed, and when to wake up and get ready for the day. You’ve decided to give yourself a month to get into this routine, and if you are successful, you’ll reward yourself to a Friday movie night with friends.
 
professional-goals
 

2. Fun Personal Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to make more friends in college.

Measurable: (ask how) You plan social events to go to every weekend this month and decide you have to stay at each for at least a full hour, and must talk to at least 3 people you don’t know. You record the events, how long you stayed, and who you befriended in your journal after each weekend.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) You know you can attain this goal because there are social events you know you’ll be able to go to, and you have a roommate who is very social land willing to go with you to each event.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant to you because you’re a freshman in college and want to make friends in this new phase of your life. You know your overall wellbeing and happiness will increase by reaching this goal.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You have this month to enact your plan before reevaluating all the new people you met, and continuing with your goal by inviting some of those people to a social event at your own apartment at the beginning of the following month.
 
fun personal goals
 

3. Serious Personal Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to lose 10 pounds.

Measurable: (ask how) You’ll weigh yourself on a scale and record your weight progress on a chart.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) This goal is attainable because you’ve spoken with your doctor and it is ok for you to lose 10 pounds. You also have a dietary and exercise plan that should yield results over time.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant to you because losing 10 pounds will put you at a healthier weight, give you more energy, and build your confidence.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You schedule regular weigh-in dates for the following weeks to come, and estimate that you should reach your weight loss goal in time for the beginning of summer.
 
serious personal goals
 

4. Financial Goals

Specific: (ask who, what, where, and any other details) You want to decrease your debts.

Measurable: (ask how) You know how much overall debt you have, and after sitting down with your budget you can reorganize your spending so you know exactly how much you can spend on debts and other spending each month. This will also tell you exactly how long it will take for you to pay it all off. You can keep a record of when you successfully make each payment, and visually see yourself getting closer to paying all of it.

Attainable: (what’s the level of attainability) You can know the attainability of this goal by how well you budget for spending more on debts and less on other varied expenses. If you ever need help reaching your financial goals and getting back on track you can take out a personal loan at Check City.

Relevant: (ask why) This goal is relevant because you have debt to get rid of, and getting rid of debt will free you to spend more on other things and save for the future.

Time-Bound: (ask when) You have a due date for your bills each month and by keeping on track with these monthly dates, you stay on track to finish paying off your debt in the months you’ve given yourself.
 
financial goals
 

Document Your Goals

In order to make sure your goals follow the SMART goal rules, it may help to record them on a chart or utilize a goal setting app. There are countless goal setting apps out there to help you track your habits and reach your aspirations. Here are some of the best goal setting apps for making SMART goals:

smart-goal-chart-printable
 
In some ways, goals are how we live our lives. It’s how we make decisions and enact change. Understanding the 5 key characteristics of SMART goal-making can help you level up in your personal and professional life, and more effectively plan for success. As a great artist once said:
 
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

—Pablo Picasso



READ MORE
Read the section on SMART goals from YourCoach.
 
Read another Check City article about goal making by reading, “How to Set Goals.”

How to Set Goals

setting-goals

We all make goals and we make them for many reasons. They can help us be productive in both our personal and professional lives.

But if you don’t know the key aspects of goal making than your efforts can seem pointless. By taking into mind the following key components of goal setting, you can successfully accomplish all your goals.

Explore this Guide:

  1. Make the Main Goal
  2. Find the Goal’s Purpose
  3. Make a Detailed Plan
  4. Measure the Results
  5. Reward Yourself

Why Make Goals?

Goals are how you decide to do something and the plan you take to achieve it. Goals consist of long term and short term goals. Sometimes your goal is a big picture, far in the future kind of goal, and other times your goal is closer to the present. Sometimes long term and short term goals can be seen as main goals and sub goals that lead you to your ultimate goal.
For instance, maybe you want to start a successful business, having a successful business would be your long term or ultimate goal. All of the tasks and accomplishments that are necessary for you to get to your ultimate goal are the short term goals or subtasks or steps necessary to achieve the main objective. One of those short term goals might be getting the papers for your business in order.

inspirational-quote-goals

Different Kinds of Goals

Goals don’t just have to be professional. You can make fun goals too! There are lots of formal, professional, and serious goals we need to make throughout our lives, but there are personal and fun goals we can be making along the way as well. Make goals for your more professional and serious successes, but set goals for yourself as well, like to get out every Friday, or to save up for a vacation this summer. You’ll also want to be making financial goals, like to save up for a new car, or spend less on entertainment this month. If you ever need help reaching your financial goals and getting back on track you can take out a personal loan at Check City.

  • Professional Goals (goals about work, or your own professional endeavors, hobbies, or talents)
  • Fun Personal Goals (goal to save up for vacation this summer)
  • Serious Personal Goals (goals to better your physical or mental health)
  • Financial Goals

What are SMART Goals?

SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. It is an acronym that describes the kind of goals you want to make. You want the goals you make to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
 
Don’t just make a blanket goal to lose weight, make a specific goal to lose 10 pounds.
Utilize a scale to measure your progress.
Plan to achieve your goal by formulating a new plan for your meals and exercise.
Make a plan to lose weight because this goal is relevant to your life, and will give you tangible health benefits.
Give yourself a timeline by planning dates for weigh-ins, with specific weight goals for each weigh-in date.

1. Make the Main Goal

Don’t have too many goals at one time. This may be difficult if you are creating a business, but that is why hiring dependable employees and delegating effectively and communicating well with each other is so important, especially in the beginning. If any one person in your project has too many goals they need to achieve they can have trouble focusing and end up not accomplishing anything very well. So delegate goals so that each person can have the most focus possible for their manageable set of goals. That way, each goal gets accomplished on time, and in the best way, done all the way and not incomplete or done poorly.

2. Find the Goal’s Purpose

Every goal needs a clear sense of purpose. You need to have a specific objective in order to effectively motivate yourself to achieve this goal. Yes you may want to have a successful business but why? Think about your reasons and write these down. Many successful businesses today made it big because they had a clear motivation behind all they do, and a lot of them end up sharing this in their company’s origination stories or in their company motto.

3. Make a Detailed Plan

When planning your goals you’ll want to list out a series of steps or subtasks, or sub-goals that are going to get you to your main goal. You want these steps to be very specific things you can really do. Be detailed so nothing important falls by the wayside. For instance, only saying “make print ads” may not be helpful. You also need to plan out how you’re going to make them, when they are due, and where they’re going to get posted, and who is in charge of getting the permissions to post them at each location. Right all these things out, plan out the times, the places, and the people involved.

4. Measure the Results

Keep track of how you’re doing. If the steps you have in your plan aren’t giving measurable results than you can change your plan.

5. Reward Yourself

Sometimes an extra motivator or benefit is helpful when reaching your goals. In life we always like to have good things to look forward to, so feel free to reward yourself when you reach your goals. There are many healthy ways you can reward yourself. You can reward yourself with food, like a celebratory dinner, or a favorite dessert. You can also reward yourself by going shopping and buying yourself a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Activities like fun outings, a movie or spa night, can also be great ways to reward yourself for achieving something.

 

goal-chart-printable

Create a Goal Workspace

It can also help to have a place where you write all these things down. Some even find it helpful to hang up your planned goals where you can see them every day. It can also help to place your plans in the most relevant place. For example, if your goal is about losing weight it would make sense to keep your goal chart in the kitchen, or near your treadmill. If your goal is about work then you’ll want to keep your goal chart in your workspace.

  • Put your goals on a calendar. With a calendar you can easily outline the dates of your plan.
  • Put your goals on a template, or chart. With a chart you can keep track of your progress levels and check off items once you’ve finished sub-goals.
  • Use an app. There are countless apps out there to help you track your habits and reach your aspirations. Here are some of the best goal setting apps:

Daylio is a great app for journaling and tracking your moods. It is also one of the most customizable apps, and allows you to track anything you want. It has a pleasing design, icons, and color palettes.

Loop is another great app for tracking. With Loop you can easily see all your goals and their progress in one place.

ATracker has some nice calendar and task features.

TickTick is a great goal app for groups or partners. You can sync and share tasks and goals with other people. There’s also a function to help you focus on certain tasks.

In some ways, goals are how we live our lives. It’s how we make decisions and enact change. Knowing how to properly set goals can help you level up in your personal and professional life. As Les Brown once said, “Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.”

READ MORE

Learn more about setting goals by reading, “How to Set Goals the Easy Way.”

Read more about SMART goals and how this acronym applies to your personal life by reading, “Personal Goal Setting: Planning to Live Your Life Your Way.”

Make Your Own Adventure Club and Get Outside!

outdoor-club-adventure

As a kid you were probably forced outdoors at some point during the day to play outside and get your energy out. You probably noticed as you got older that now, if you want to get outside time you have to provide it for yourself. And if you live in an apartment or the city you may not be able to get quality outdoors time just by going into your backyard. If you live in the city you might have to plan your outdoor time even more as you coordinate trips to local outdoor hot spots. Getting yourself out in nature might be easier if you form a like-minded group to get you going. With the steps and tips below you can make your own Adventure Club and explore nature with your friends!

Why Going Outside is Good for You

Get vitamin D. You can actually get vitamin D from sun exposure. Vitamin D is very important to our health and it doesn’t always come in abundance in the foods we eat. One of the best ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin D is through being outside in the sunshine. It can help you have strong bones and protect you from certain diseases and ailments. Improves your immune system.
Opportunity to exercise. Unless you’re sitting in a chair it’s hard not to exercise at least a little whenever you go outside. And every ounce of exercise contributes to your overall health! Even a short stroll outside can do wonders for your physical health.
Elevate your mood. A lot of things about being outside can give your mood a healthy boost. The light, the sun, the fresh air, or the flowers and trees can help you feel a little better about the world if you give them the chance. But there are also studies to support this idea. The National Institute of Health (NIH) found in a study of theirs that just walking outside for a bit each day boosts creativity by 81%. Who knows what creative potential you might unleash just by getting yourself outside a little each day!
Good for children. Studies show that being outdoors helps kids focus better. Spending at least an hour outside every day can increase their focus, overall wellbeing, and help them get better grades.
It can be easy to let kids go run around outside and get all the exercise and vitamin D they need, but as we get older it can become harder to find time to get outside. One way to make getting outside easier is to give your outdoor time some kind of purpose.

  • Exercise outside.
  • Go for a daily stroll at the same time.
  • Get outdoor furniture. Once you have some place to set up camp outside, it can be easier to take things you normally do indoors, outdoors while you soak up some sunshine.
  • Make your outside time a group activity by creating your own outdoors club!

outside-nature

What Kind of Outdoor Club Do You Want to Do?

There are many things to do outside and everyone has different interests. Some people really like swimming, or hiking, or kayaking. What outdoor activities most interest you? These are the things you’ll want to incorporate in the purpose of your outdoors club. Having a clear purpose for your club will help a lot once you start bringing other people into the group and involving them in planning.
You can focus on one thing. You can make it a club all about just one thing you know you like to do:

  • Skiing
  • Hiking
  • A sport
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Backpacking
  • Running
  • Kayaking
  • Biking

Or you can involve many outdoor activities. Instead of making a hiking group, you can decide to make an adventure club! That way you can plan activities around all things adventuresome.

Whatever the purpose of your outdoor club, you’ll also want to keep in mind who you want to invite to the group and the level of difficulty everyone will be ok with. For instance, hikes and trails are often ranked by difficulty. They can be considered easy, moderate, or hard. So while you are deciding your club’s purpose remember to also consider the level of experience and difficulty you want to involve, and remember to disclose these things to those you invite to the group.

Who Do You Want in the Group?

Outdoor groups can be for all groups of people! You can make no restrictions about who can join the club, or you can decide to make your group exclusive in some way. For example, if you’re a dad looking to bond with your kids through fishing, you might make a fishing club specifically for dads and their kids. You can also restrict the group to certain age groups, like if you’re interested in getting to know more people your age.

Logistics

The last thing you’ll want to figure out before publishing your new group is all the logistics. Below are a couple questions to consider and make decisions about before going live with your new club idea.

  • How are people going to get places?
  • How are you going to get equipment?
  • How will your group stay in contact?

Maybe you’ll expect everyone to use their own cars and equipment to get places, or maybe you’ll want to talk to local rental places for any equipment your group might need. You can also keep in contact with your group in many ways. If you all know each other you can simply create a group text message. Or you can make a Facebook group, or use other messaging apps like Slack, or GroupMe. There are almost infinite options nowadays for where to keep your group’s base of operations.
flyer-outdoors-club

Now that you have your group all set up you can start reaching out for people to start joining. One great way to get members is to create a public Facebook group online. You can also try inviting some people you know and ask them to bring a member or two of their own.

You can also make flyers to hang up around town to meet new people! A flyer doesn’t have to be complicated, just make sure it has all the information they’ll need.

Fun Ideas

There are endless ways you can really have fun with getting more involved in your community and getting to know new people through starting a club like this.

  • Bring snacks.
  • Have a group potluck event.
  • Be educational. You can make a presentation about outdoor etiquette, safety, or hire a trial guide to teach your group about different plants you come across during your hike.
  • Do volunteer work every other month. You can volunteer to clean up a place you visit.
  • Make a website, a blog, or social media accounts for your group and post about the trips and activities you do!

Other Good Ideas

  • Have regular meetings.
  • Assign responsibilities to different people. You can nominate different group members to be the President, Vice President, Trip Coordinator, Treasurer, or Social Media Manager.
  • Fundraise for your trips. You can have a group yard sale or bake off to save up money for your bigger trips or activities. Sometimes your outdoor adventures are going to require fast funds while you’re in between paychecks. If your Adventure group finds itself short on cash, you can always get a payday loan or a personal loan from Check City and pay it back when you return from your trip.

Getting yourself outside is important. The great outdoors are meant to be appreciated and can shower you with mental and physical benefits. You don’t have to go through the trouble of making an outdoor club to get outside, but it can help motivate you to make going outside more of a habit, and who knows! You might just make some great new friends along the way.


READ MORE
Read all about vitamin D and it’s health benefits.
 
Check out another Check City Blog article, “Getting Outside This Spring” to learn some other great ways to get outdoors more often!
 
FEATURE IMAGE BY PETER CONLAN
OTHER IMAGES BY BLAKE LISK

How Much Do Braces Cost?

braces

Generally people need braces because there is something wrong with their teeth alignment. But there are many reasons that problems with teeth alignment can occur.

Some people just have genetics that influences their teeth, making them more prone to certain oral problems. Other problems arise from external factors that we allow to negatively affect our teeth.

Whatever your circumstances, whether you’re younger or older, it is never too late to seek the orthodontic care you need to be more comfortable and confident. Many people worry about paying for braces though, keeping themselves from getting the care they need. But with some research on your part and understanding your insurance plan, you can have a pretty good idea of how much braces will cost you.

Explore this Article

Why a Kid Might Need Braces:

But before we go figuring out how much braces cost, let’s take a look at how to know when you or your child needs a checkup with your orthodontics . . .

Losing Teeth Early

Generally, the age range that kids lose their baby teeth is from 6 to 12 years old. But if they start losing their baby teeth sooner than 6 years old then you might want to take them to get checked out by your orthodontics. Losing baby teeth too early can be a sign of a bigger underlying issue and can affect their jaw and their permanent teeth as they grow older.

Crowded Teeth

When a child has crowded teeth, it means that their mouth doesn’t have enough space for their future adult teeth to come in. Leaving crowded teeth untreated leads to impacted teeth, which is an even bigger problem and involves much more invasive treatment to correct. If you are worried your child’s mouth isn’t going to be big enough for their adult teeth then consult your orthodontist.

Jaw Issues

Another major variable in teeth alignment and overall mouth health is your jaw structure. Orthodontists don’t just work on teeth, they also work on certain jaw issues. Signs that your child has a jaw-related issue is if they have trouble biting, chewing, and breathing properly.

Thumb Sucking

Sucking on a thumb or pacifier is a common habit for young children. Usually, as a child gets older they grow out of these habits, but some children have a more difficult time with this than others. It is advised that children who suck on thumbs and pacifiers should stop around 6 or 7 years old, if not sooner. If the habit continues past this point there is a chance that their teeth will protrude, creating a misaligned bite.

Why an Adult Might Need Braces:

Children and teenagers aren’t the only ones who need braces and dental care. Adults sometimes need braces as well.

Jaw pain, face pain, headaches, and earaches

Oftentimes a headache is just a headache, but sometimes this can be a sign that an issue with your jaw structure is causing your head pain.

Issues with chewing, speaking, or biting

Similar to children, these kinds of problems can be linked to jaw and teeth issues.

Jaw popping

If you find your jaw excessively popping you may want to mention it to your orthodontist.

Different Types of Braces:

If you need treatment at some point you are going to have to choose which kind of braces to get. When people think of braces they usually picture the metal kind, but now there are several other options to choose from.

Which kind of braces you get will affect how long you will have braces and what you will pay for them. Orthodontic treatments have come a long way over the years, and now there are a variety of treatment options, all of which vary in cost, effectiveness, treatment period lengths, and noticeability. Now, Invisalign isn’t the only type of invisible braces.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are the traditional kind of braces with metal brackets. They are usually the cheapest option and are the most visible.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are just like traditional metal braces, except they go on the back of your teeth instead of the front. This makes them less visible than traditional braces, but not all dentists will do lingual braces.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are like traditional metal braces except they are made of ceramic instead of metal. They still go on the front of your teeth but because their color is closer to the color of teeth they are less noticeable.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are the least noticeable form of braces. They are clear plastic trays that fit over your teeth and get changed out for a new tray every so often. Clear aligners usually cost the most.

different-kinds-braces

Other Orthodontic Services and Treatments:

Though braces are very common, there are a lot of other dental treatments out there. Some of them also relate closely to braces or are treatments that you’ll do after your braces come off.

Retainers

Retainers are generally used after you have finished your treatment period with braces. Retainers are used to make sure your teeth stay the way your braces have worked to align them as you transition into not wearing braces anymore. Retainers usually have a metal band that hugs your teeth and a plastic mold that is custom-fitted to the roof of your mouth.

Space Maintainers

If a child loses their baby teeth earlier than normal they might need to use space maintainers. This will keep the spaces between their teeth open so that there is room for the adult teeth to come in later and ensure that their adult teeth grow into the correct spots.

Mouthguards

Mouthguards are often worn by athletes while they are playing a sport. An orthodontist can custom fit the mouth guard for maximum protection during games and competitions. You can also buy mouth guards over-the-counter, but they are not as comfortable as a custom-fitted guard and are less effective at protecting an individual’s teeth.

Mouthguards can also be called night guards and can be used by people who grind or clench their teeth in their sleep. Nightguards protect your teeth from damage and pain due to teeth grinding.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

Now that we have determined whether you need braces and talked about the different kinds of braces you can get, it’s time to figure out the cost. The cost of braces and treatment is going to depend on several different variables:

  1. The type of braces you get
  2. Whether you’re an adult or a child
  3. How long you’re going to need them
  4. What kind of dental issue needs correcting
  5. Your dental insurance
  6. Your orthodontist
  7. Your region

These types of factors will all weigh in on how much you end up spending on braces. Metal braces are usually the least expensive option while clear aligners, like Invisalign, are going to be the most expensive option. Orthodontic treatment for children generally costs a little less than it does for adults, but this will also depend on your orthodontist. The longer you need to have braces and the more severe the problem is the more expensive the overall treatment is going to be as well because these will require more work from the orthodontist and more appointments.

Lastly, factors like your insurance company, the orthodontist you use, and where you live can also factor into how much you spend on braces. Different insurance policies will provide different coverage for braces, different orthodontist offices will have their own prices in place, and sometimes more rural areas end up being cheaper than busier ones.

How much do braces cost for adults?

Regular metal braces for an adult can cost anywhere between $4,000 and $5,000.

How much do braces cost for kids?

Regular metal braces for kids can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, depending on how much treatment their teeth need.

How much do braces cost with or without insurance?

It is always going to be helpful to have insurance to cover the cost of braces. So make sure you contact your insurance and understand what they will and won’t cover so you can get your maximum benefits. With insurance, your braces can cost closer to $3,407, while the average cost of braces without insurance is $4,937.

How much do braces cost a month?

The cost of your monthly payments will depend on whatever plan you have with your orthodontist, your insurance, and what the overall cost of your braces end up being.

How to Figure Out the Cost For YOU

Whatever braces you choose will depend on what needs to be fixed, your pocket, and your preference. After figuring out what needs to be fixed and what your preferences are you can easily figure out the possible demand on your pocket by following two simple steps.

But before you go calling your orthodontist office and your insurance makes sure you know ahead of time whether you need braces, how severe your case is or how long you will probably need them for, and which kind of braces you would like to use. Then you will simply:

  1. Check with your insurance to see what they will and won’t cover.
  2. Contact your orthodontist (or various ones if you’re searching) to see what all their options, payment plans, and costs are. Some orthodontists will have a monthly payment plan you can take advantage of.

Taking care of all aspects of our health, including our teeth, is an important part of being a healthy human being. Orthodontic treatment can be expensive, but by knowing your options and asking the right questions you can be on top of your orthodontic plans.

 

READ MORE

Check out Angie’s List to see more about different treatment types and their costs.

Read more about the pros and cons of different braces types.

Read here the signs of needing braces for adults and children.

Visit the American Association of Orthodontics to see answers to frequently asked orthodontic questions.

Read the Check City article, “Tip of The Week: When You Get a Raise, Save More, Don’t Spend More” to learn about how raises can help you save for braces.

Check out our Personal Loans Page to see how Check City can help you with unexpected bills such as medical and dental bills.

How to Make Chores Fun for Kids!

kids chore chart

Too often chores for kids turn into a power struggle between parent and child. The parent has to constantly nag about chores while the child rebels against doing them, creating tension in the home.

Explore this Article

This cycle of nagging and frustration surrounding chores isn’t healthy for anyone—parent or child. If everyone is left with a bad attitude, what have you really accomplished, even if the chore is done? But not having your kids do chores isn’t a good option either.

Chores help kids learn basic life skills and work ethic necessary to be functioning adults. Succeeding and failing at household chores is one of the first ways kids can grow their skills and confidence in their own abilities. So figuring out the key to making chores effective is actually bigger than simply keeping your house clean.

Chores Benefit Kids

For some parents having your kids do chores seems like a no brainer. But other parents may need some convincing. Kids can sometimes give such a hard time doing chores that it might not seem worth arguing. Kids also might not do the job very well and this can also lead parents to just want to do things themselves.

Parents aren’t just better at daily cleaning they’re usually faster and more efficient too. Other parents might not want to demand too much of their child and want their kid to just have fun and be a kid rather than having the responsibility of chores.

But for all these reasons there is a counter reason for why having your kids do chores is not only beneficial to you, but to your child as well. If you don’t have the patience or you don’t allow them to do chores than you are letting your kids miss out on a lot of benefits for themselves and their futures.

For children, everything is a learning experience and that includes chores. There are many things parents do to aid in the development of their children, like talking to them even when they can’t talk back, let alone understand you. Parent’s hold their child’s hands to help them walk even though the parent is really doing all the work. Parents must remember that doing chores is also teaching your children to do regular human tasks, just like you need to teach them to walk and to talk.

Chores are all about helping children eventually become self-sufficient. They need to walk on their own someday so we help them walk while they’re young and unable to do it well. They need to communicate by themselves someday so we talk to them and teach them words even when they still can’t understand us.

They also need to know how to take care of themselves and their living space otherwise this will be an area of struggle in their independent lives as adults. In fact, Professor Marty Rossmann, from the University of Minnesota, did a study where she found that if kids started doing household chores at around 3 to 4 years old, they were more likely to be successful adults when they reached their mid-20s.
Exterior Benefits
Exterior benefits are going to be the most obvious ones. The house will be cleaner which will be more enjoyable for everyone, and the workload won’t be all on the parents. By having your kids help out in any way, you reduce your own workload and your house will be cleaner with less effort on your part!
Interior Benefits
Having your kids do chores actually benefits them more than it benefits you. Below is a list of the many reasons why household chores are beneficial for the inner growth and development of your child.

Builds Life Skills

Doing chores and the family perspective behind doing them have a greater impact on a child’s success in life than parenting style, IQ, gender, or the type of task. The skills they gain from chores go far beyond the household, or their time living at home. These skills transfer to many more aspects of their life and will be the skills they use to have success in all aspect of adulthood.

Builds Confidence

A child begins to create their own mental image of themselves at home. Chores build a child’s confidence and positive self-image in many ways: By doing chores they learn they can be productive, successful, and accomplish tasks set before them. They learn that they can become competent at the things they work on and that they can contribute in meaningful ways as a valued member of a team (their family).

It also teaches them that they can have a level of control over maintaining their own environment. All of these things boost a growing person’s confidence, leading them to lead more confident and successful lives in the future.

Another way that chores build confidence in kids is through their failures. When kids are first learning to do chores they often fail. The first time a kid sweeps the floor they may miss a lot, or the way they fold clothes might not be as tidy if you just did it.

But if you see their failure and just do it for them, then you’ll teach them that they are failures who are so far from succeeding that they shouldn’t even try and someone more competent, like yourself, should just do it for them.

This is key for parents to remember because chores are not just so kids can help out around the house and alleviate the parent’s workload. Chores are also an integral part in a young person’s development and therefore has a learning curve.

Helps Them Practice Self-Care

kids-self-care
Caring for the space you live in is a big part of caring for yourself. Chores provide some key habits that help people maintain their mental and emotional health as well as outward hygiene. Living in a clean and organized environment is an important element in a person’s mental well-being, and by having your kids do chores you give them the power and know-how to create that healthy space for themselves.
Cleaning Their Own Room
Many children and teenagers struggle with keeping their own room clean. Since it’s their own space you may think it’s not a battle worth waging, but many times in life we end up sharing our personal space with others, like roommates, friends that come over, or a future partner.

Maintaining your own room is also part of personal grooming and hygiene. If you teach your kids now to keep their stuff together then other aspects of their life will be more put together as well.

A messy room also creates a stifling atmosphere. A lot of the angst you may be dealing with from your child may partly be because their personal space is messy. Cleaning their own room helps kids learn how to better take care of themselves.

Teaches Self-Motivation and Responsibility

If you persist, and start at a young age, you can teach your kids to eventually be self-motivated about getting their own chores done. You can also teach kids responsibility, a quality that will serve them well in all other parts of their lives. Giving them the chores also helps them practice being responsible for something. Being responsible and self-motivated are necessary traits for success later in life in their education and their jobs.

Social skills

Chores teach the value of working and cooperating with others. Not only do you learn to work well with others while doing chores, but you learn how to better communicate with others as well. They have to communicate when they need help or when they don’t know what to do next. You can also take the opportunity while cleaning together to just chat and enjoy some one-on-one time together.
fail-family-endure

It’s Ok to Fail

Chores offer a unique opportunity for kids to safely fail and try again at something. Much of life consists of trying, failing, and trying again, and chores are a great way to give kids this practice in a safe environment. With chores they can learn what it means to try again and again at something until they finally succeed.

Setting Up Your Family’s Chore System

There are many ways to set up a chore system. There are also thousands of chore chart templates and ideas online that you can work from. You can find all kinds of free chore charts online, and even free printable chore charts. Having special chore charts for kids can also make doing chores seem more like a fun game than a responsibility. There are point systems, reward systems, and chore assignments that rotate every week or every month.

Figuring out what works best with your family is probably going to include plenty of trial and error. Here are some suggestions that could help turn chores for kids into a bonding experience for you and your children and make managing chore assignments easier.

Cultivate the Right Perspective

Part of cultivating the right perspective around chores is not overwhelming them, letting them make choices, and not using chores as a form of punishment. Household tasks are a necessary part of everyday life, like eating and sleeping. They should be treated as a routine part of life for everyone and not as an extra burden being forced upon them.

Don’t Overwhelm Them

No one likes doing things they don’t feel capable of doing. As an adult it may be hard to understand, but for children something like cleaning their entire bedroom by themselves can seem like an impossibly giant task. A common problem between kids and their chores is getting them to do their chores in the first place. Getting overwhelmed and burnt out by the task is the primary thing keeping them from taking initiative with their chores.

A child’s workload is going to look different than an adult’s workload. Likewise, their workload is going to look different depending on their age. You might be able to easily spend an hour or two cleaning and organizing, but for a child that feels like a whole day and they become burnt out in the same way adults working overtime might feel burnt out. They have smaller bodies and their brains are still developing to withstand the mental fortitude needed to work and focus for that amount of time.

Try dividing the job up into smaller, defined tasks

chore chart template

If you just tell your child to clean their room they might more easily become overwhelmed and lose focus, leaving the job uncompleted. But if you divide the task of cleaning their room into smaller chunks they can more easily know how to tackle that job on their own. So instead of asking them to clean their room, have them go through a checklist of smaller tasks like,

  1. fold and put clothes away
  2. put toys in the toy bin
  3. make the bed

This may seem tedious to some adults but you have to remember the level of development you are working with. Children aren’t adults in smaller form, they are still growing in mental maturity and capacity and this fact carries over into their ability to do chores.

Think of it this way: in school you weren’t just told to write a 20 page paper. First you learned the alphabet, then you learned words, then sentences, then paragraphs, then you wrote a page, and from there you kept working up to writing larger and larger page assignments. Kids need this same principle of education in learning how to clean as well.

Let Them Make Choices

Involve your kids in deciding what chores they do. Another thing that makes it difficult for kids to get their chores done is feeling like they have no choice in the matter. No one likes being forced to work. As an adult you probably do chores because, at some level, you want to—whether you’ve grown to enjoy the work or because you want the results of the work.

Giving kids a sense of choice in their chores helps them feel more motivated to do them. Involving them in choosing their chores also helps them practice making decisions and coordinating workloads with others.

Don’t Use Chores as a Punishment

One way to make your kids hate chores is to use them as a punishment for bad behaviors. If they associate helping out around the house with punishment, then you’re quite possibly setting them up to be a slob for life.

Start Younger Than You Think

When kids are as young as 18 months they often naturally start wanting to help out around the house. This may seem very young but you should let them.

You might be tempted to scoot them away when they express interest in helping with something, because obviously they aren’t going to be very good at it. But if you take the time to include your kids in chores at a very young age, then they’ll be much more likely to have a good attitude about helping around the house as they get older.

Age Appropriate Chore Lists

Along with starting younger than you think with chores, make sure you are giving your kids age appropriate chores. It can help to have a chore list that you can work from to let you know what chores are accessible to which age groups. Below is a list of age appropriate chores that become doable for each age group:

age specific stores

Toddlers

  • Put their toys and books away
  • Help wipe up spills
  • Let them “play clean” beside you as you clean

Young Children

  • Make bed
  • Clean room
  • Put their things away
  • Fold laundry
  • Set the table
  • Help cook simple things
  • Feed pets

Older children

  • Clean room
  • Do laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Sweep
  • Mop
  • Dust
  • Empty trash
  • Wash dishes
  • Clean the bathroom

Teenagers

  • Babysit
  • Yard work
  • Do laundry
Schedule Chore Time

Designate a specific block of time when everyone in the house pitches in. If chores are part of a routine, and siblings and parents are all involved, then your children will need less reminders and less nagging. They’ll also feel more like a contributing member of the family, which can develop into a good motivating factor.

One fun way of doing this is to make a music playlist for chore time. You can pick a time each day where you do chores, like after dinner, then turn on your playlist and everyone works until the playlist is done.

“Gamify” Chores

The term “gamification” refers to turning a mundane task into a game. Household chores offer an incredible opportunity for gamification, and you and your children’s creativity is the only limiting factor.

You could turn cleaning time into a dance party, or have a race to see who gets done first. Another classic gamification technique is to create a “sticker chart,” but instead of a regular calendar sticker chart, turn it into a board game where their stickers lead to a winning destination.

Rewards for Chores?

The purpose of rewards for doing chores should be to teach them that cleaning has natural benefits, not necessarily that doing regular housework will earn them money. For example, once the kitchen is clean they can have dessert or watch their favorite show, or maybe once their room is clean they can have friends over.

Another reason to reward your kids for doing chores is to acknowledge the work they’ve done. Children want approval and appreciation and after chores is as good a time as any to give it. Just like with criticism, you don’t only want to hear from your boss about what you did poorly, you also want to know what you are doing right. Your kids need to hear that too, after all, rewarding success is more effective than only disciplining failures.

For younger kids you can teach them stuff while they clean, like count the toys as you put them away, or say the color of the book and put it on the shelf with similar colors.

The Parenting Press advises parents to not give allowance for chores because in real life you don’t get paid in money to do regular household work. Children need to learn to maintain their living space for that sake alone.

Conclusion

Parents want chores to be a positive part of their child’s life. You want to instill the right perception, facilitate their development and growth, and make chores a bonding experience. Keeping a tidy home should be something that everyone participates in and everyone enjoys doing. So stop nagging, and use chores to help bring your family closer together.


READ MORE
Check out Jessica Lahey’s book, the Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So their Children Can Succeed, to read more about how chores and failure can help your child grow.

7 Tips for Workplace Wellness

tips for workplace wellness

In order to take good care of your work you first have to take good care of yourself. Taking care of your well-being will not only help you in life, but it will help you in the office as well.

Explore this Article

  1. Get Quality Sleep
  2. Fuel Your Body Effectively
  3. Exercise
  4. Prevent Eye Strain
  5. Decorate Your Desk
  6. Learn to Unwind
  7. Have Pursuits Outside of Work

Believe it or not, but even an office job can have its own hazards. You may not think about it but everything from vending machine food and sitting all day can cause serious health problems. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to combat these workplace hazards and increase office wellness. This can mainly be done by having a work-life balance. Everyone always seems to be talking about having a good work-life balance, but what does this balance really mean? Ultimately your wellness at work is about taking care of your physical and mental health.

Take Care of Your Body

physical well-being

Get QUALITY Sleep

Sleep is a factor that greatly affects your performance throughout the day as well as your physical and mental well-being. But it isn’t enough to just go to bed and hope for the best. You don’t just want enough sleep you want quality sleep. There are ways you can optimize your sleep so that you are getting the most out of your nights.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time

This will help your body to adjust to a regular schedule. Once your body is used to this schedule falling asleep each night and waking up each morning will become much easier. Set an alarm or reminder for when you need to start getting ready for bed to help you learn to wind down at the same time each night.

Stay hydrated

You actually get dehydrated as you sleep which can cause a dry and hoarse throat in the morning, leg cramps during the night, and an overall lack of quality sleep. You lose hydration in the night through breathing or a dry or warm environment in your bedroom. Another thing that can cause night dehydration is exercising late in the evening. To combat this issue, hydrate yourself well throughout the day, keep a water bottle on your nightstand, and keep your room temperature on the colder side with a humidifier turned on while you sleep.

Fuel Your Body EFFECTIVELY

Your body is like a complicated machine and in order to work at top performance levels and feel its very best your body needs fuel that it can work with. There are a lot of foods out there today that might be quick, easy, and immediately filling, but they won’t provide your insides with the proper nutrients to function at full capacity and eventually you’ll feel this as you feel more and more lethargic throughout the workday. You can fuel your body with a lot of things, but only certain nutrients will give you effective nourishment to give you optimal health and energy.

Eat wholesome meals

Make healthy meals at home and take healthy meals with you to work. Many of your coworkers might be going out to eat every day and though this might be fun in the short term it probably isn’t beneficial in the long term. Healthy homemade lunches will improve your physical wellness and improve your spending! You can also start bringing in healthier treats for your coworkers to help improve workplace wellness as a whole.

Eat wholesome snacks

If your stomach is growling for the majority of the day, you will likely crash before the end. Make sure you have the right nourishment going into your body and it will pay off. Even simple snacks can help keep you going between meals. Nuts, fruits, and cut up vegetables can really give you the energy you need to make it through the day.

Cut down on sugars

One of the biggest issues office workers fight on a typical workday is lethargy. Sugar intake can be one of the major contributing factors to your lethargy. Take note of the sugar content of what you are consuming in a regular day and you’ll see how prevalent this ingredient has become in a lot of our foods.

Then remember, while you pick your foods each day, that each gram of sugar adds to unpleasant feelings like bloating and tiredness. Make sure you take these tips to heart in order to keep your body happy and healthy throughout the workday and throughout your life. You will be grateful when you still have energy after retirement!

Stay hydrated

You would be shocked to know how much staying hydrated can improve your workplace wellness. There is nothing more important than drinking enough water throughout the day. It doesn’t matter whether it is summer or winter, your body is made up mostly of water and you need to continually replenish it. Don’t wait till you are thirsty to start drinking. It is much better to have a set amount that you plan on drinking throughout the day.

In general it is advised that you drink 8 glasses of water a day. It can help to have a designated water bottle that you keep with you throughout the day to drink from. If you have trouble getting yourself to drink enough water each day try drinking with a reusable straw. This can make drinking enough liquids faster and easier. Another thing you can do is put things in your water to make drinking water more fun! You can add cut up fruits and vegetables, mint leaves, and many other things to your water to make staying hydrated healthy, tasty, and fun.

Exercise

Exercise may seem like a dauntingly intense habit to get into, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to boost your well-being because any amount of it will help. Even if you only go out of your way to exercise 20 minutes on weekdays, that’s still better than no exercise at all.

The average person is advised to get 75 to 150 minutes of physical activity into each week. This averages out to be around 30 minutes a day. Thirty minutes really isn’t asking too much of your time and there are a million ways you can get this 30 minutes of physical activity into your day without having to do crazy intense workout sessions at the gym. You can simply go on a walk, plan a hike for the weekend, go swimming, biking, or take a physical class like dancing or yoga.

Put Exercise on the Agenda

You can implement a routine of exercise into your day before or after work. Getting yourself to exercise will be easier if you schedule it into a specific time of day. In fact, a study found that working out at the same time each day made exercise more effective.

Work Out at Work!

You can also find ways to grab some exercise while you’re at work! There are hundreds of exercises you can do at your desk. Everything from simple stretches to replacing your chair with a stability ball can greatly improve your health.

Whatever you choose to do, change things up and get your body moving as much as possible. By the end of the day when most of your coworkers are crying about sore backs and tired limbs, you will be ready to keep going with your day.

Office Friendly Exercises

  • Practice good posture
  • Leg raises
  • Chair dips
  • Use weights at your desk
  • Ab workouts with your swivel chair, or stability ball
  • Lean on your desk to do planks or pushups
  • Use a standing desk
  • Go for a walk around the building
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator

Prevent Eye Strain

If you work in an office chances are you also get a lot of screen time at work. Staring at screens all day can put a strain on your eyes and even cause headaches and nausea after a while. But you can help prevent eye strain by getting a blue light filter on your screen, or blue light filter glasses to wear at work. It is also a good idea to take a break or two from your screen while at work to give your eyes a rest.

Take Care of Your Mind

mental well-being

Decorate Your Desk

Decorating your desk will make you happier, and liven up your workspace. You can get plants, you can set up some photos, you can decorate with cool looking bulletins and white boards, or splurge on a special mug or thermos just for your desk.

Learn to Unwind

You don’t have to pay for an expensive spa to still have your own personal spa day. There are endless things you can do to unwind and everyone relaxes in different ways. For some people relaxing may include hanging out with friends and going out. For others, relaxing may mean staying home, taking a warm bath, watching TV, or reading a good book. In order to learn how to unwind you need to learn more about yourself and what relaxation techniques work best for you.

  • Learn about mediation
  • Keep a journal
  • go outdoors
  • listen to music
  • have a spa night
  • read a book

Have Pursuits Outside of Work

It will give you a special sense of accomplishment to have your own personal pursuits outside of your job. And if you need help with funds to make your club or go on a weekend getaway you can use a Check City Personal Loan!

  • Volunteer
  • Join a book club
  • Start your own group or club
  • Join a recreational or intermediate sports team
  • Make personal goals
  • Plan vacations and getaways
  • Take a class

Having workplace wellness is all about having a work-life balance. Having a work-life balance is all about taking care of both your body and mind. If you remember these key principles of taking good care of yourself than not only will your life and health improve, but you will actually become more successful and productive at work as well!

READ MORE

Read “Workplace Wellness” from Mental Health America (MHA) to learn more ways you can improve the overall well-being of your employees.

Read an NPR report about how effective wellness programs are in the article, “How Well Do Workplace Wellness Programs Work?

Read an article from Corporate Wellness Magazine called, “What is Workplace Wellness Really? “ to learn more about what workplace wellness means.

For more tips about workplace wellness, see our article, “How to Stay Healthy at Work.”


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