Are you and your partner on the same page about credit?

Divide it up into a budget

I was raised in an house when money was saved. If we wanted something, we had to earn the money for it. We saved up for school clothes, dates, gas in the car, and pretty much anything else we wanted. The expectation was in place that if we went to school after high school we were supposed to pay for that as well. With that motivation, it was easy for me to work hard and save most of what I made. Even though I started with small amounts I was able to save up quite a bit of money and was able to pay my way through college. Often it meant sacrificing something I wanted in the moment, like clothes and shoes, for something I needed later – an education. My parents were very good at teaching us to be savers and financially self-reliant, and my siblings have all started to follow suit. We never got into the habit of spending a lot of money, or buying things we didn’t really need.

During the first part of our marriage, I felt like my husband had no real concept of money. I was pretty sure he had never even heard of the word or the concept of a budget. If we went grocery shopping, he wanted to get all the food he could and he would go straight for the expensive stuff as well. We got quite a few gift cards at our reception, and had completely different points of view on how they should be used. he had a “well, we have them and there’s some stuff we probably need so we should go find it” mentality, while I wanted to wait for an actual need to arise before we threw one of them in our wallets and went out looking for something specific. I actually ended up hiding a couple of the cards so that we wouldn’t use them and had them for when we needed them later.

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Our credit cards

For a few months, I was at a loss. we had completely opposite points of view about our finances, and stunningly different relationships with the money that we earned. I wasn’t really sure what to do, but I knew something had to be done after we ended up purchasing a laptop we didn’t have the money for. We put it on a credit card, but didn’t have enough money in any of our accounts to cover it. It took three months to pay it off, but that was the beginning of the problems. We applied for more credit cards but a free credit report showed that we were pretty much at our borrowing limit. Things got so tight that we advanced ourselves money off of our credit card, which was a whole new position for me. I had always been in control, had my money working for me, instead of the other way around.

I didn’t agree with a lot of the things we were doing with our money, but I didn’t want to bring money up, because I knew we would just disagree about it and the discussion would cause friction in our young marriage. That was the last thing I wanted.

I had a glimmer of hope one evening when I was working on our budget and showed it to my husband. He looked at it and saw that he had taken about $50 out of our checking account and put them on his school card, which he used to lunch at the vending machines on campus. A little light went on when he saw how much his lunch was costing us in $5 increments. I think it was then that he started to realize that the little things can add up in a hurry and do some major damage to our finances if we weren’t paying attention. I began to hope that this would be the beginning of the change…

So if you and your partner arent on the same page financially, sit down and talk about it openly and try to understand where each is coming from. Break it down simply and show benefits from doing it your way and you will both be stronger when it comes to your money.

Designing A Site That Gets Traffic – SEO Basics

HTML Tags Can Be Confusing

Today we will look at some of the meta description tag and meta keywords tags you need to consider to optimize your site well.

Together with the site’s visible content, the optimized meta description tag provides the information needed to match your target audiences search queries.

META Description Tag In HTML

In the HTML code of a web site, a META description tag is written like this:

<meta name=”description” content=”your content” />

As an example, the META tag for this particular post is:

<meta name=”description” content=”META description tag. (SEO Basics) What is a META description tag? What does a META description tag do? How can you optimize it? Examples provided.” />

To view the META description tag of a site, simply go to your browser toolbar or ‘right-click’ anywhere on your page and choose “view source”.  The meta tag should be located near the top. Mine is approximately 14 lines down, including the blank  lines.

Take a minute to check it out.

How Are META Description Tags Viewed in the SERPs?

Some search engines are temperamental, and like to grab snippets from your page to show beneath the title of your post.

Most of the time, your META tag information is viewed by searchers beneath the title of your page in the SERPs. (search engine results pages), especially if you are using a plugin such as All In One SEO Pack which allows you to manually apply META tags in WordPress admin post editing section, beneath the post.

Optimize META description tags for the search engines to ensure that your site has a better opportunity to rank highly for the words that you’d expect your potential target audience to use in their query.

Equally important, is optimizing the tag to appeal to your audience. You want to use it to draw the attention of your potential visitor. This is known as using ‘call to action’. E.g. for a technology blog like Knowledge Revolution you would want a call to action like “read the latest tech news now!”

The purpose of keywords meta is to tell the search engines what your content is about.

(**The lack of support for the META keywords tag may be due to spammers who seem to enjoy using this tag for “stuffing” hundreds of keywords of non-relevant data, in the hope of receiving a higher ranking with the search engines.)

How To Write META Keywords Tag In HTML

If you are unfamiliar with META keywords tag, take a look at this example:

<meta=”keywords” content=”meta keyword tag, meta keyword, meta, keyword, keywords tag”>

Yours would be <meta=”keywords” content=”your, keywords, separated, by, commas, here”>

To view the META keywords tag of any site, simply go to your browser toolbar, choose “view” then “page source” or right-click anywhere on your page and choos

Pregnancy – three trimesters, a simple guide.

The magic of pregnancy is lost on half of the world’s population: the men.  However, I’m not writing this piece today for the men – I’m writing it for the women!  There is no way that men can ever truly understand pregnancy as they will never experience it firsthand.  Even if they study a book and look at pregnancy week by week, it doesn’t compare to actually living the experience.  Not even close.
For example, men will never understand that every single day for the first trimester a woman is likely to be throwing up due to morning sickness.  I’m sure they can’t even remember the last time they threw up, let alone think about doing it every single day for 90 days.  It seems almost like torture – and sometimes it feels like that for us women as well.

 
Fortunately that doesn’t last forever, as the second trimester provides some relief in the pregnancy process.  I like to refer to the second trimester as the “honeymoon period” because a lot of the bad symptoms of pregnancy tend to disappear during this time, and a lot of the good symptoms also peek their head out to say hello.
One of these good features is that the baby begins to move around, or kick.  This is one of the few times that a man can actually participate in the pregnancy by feeling his child kick in the woman’s belly.  I have to say that when my husband first felt his child kick in my belly he told me that he finally understood just a little bit of what I was going through over the last three months.  That meant a lot to me and to him as well.  It brought us closer together as a couple and as a team working through the pregnancy.

Energy levels tend to rise during the second trimester as well, which is great both for you as a mother and for your family.  The truth is, when mom is out of commission the family sometimes loses its way a little bit.  Surprising how often we women are the thread that holds the family together, isn’t it?  I like to think that without us making sure things actually happen then the house would be a mess and the children would be running around willy nilly all over the place with no manners at all.  Feel free to disagree with me on that though!
My husband once said to me that during the second trimester I was the easiest to get along with and also the most positive, though sometimes crazy, person he had ever been around.  You definitely still get the hormonal swings during the 2nd trimester but you’re able to deal with it in a much more responsible way because you simply have a clearer mind.  Something about not throwing up every single day and also seeing signs that your baby is alive and well just puts you in good spirits and gives you encouragement as you enter the final stage of pregnancy.

People still falling for the old Nigerian scam

I’m sure everyone has heard of the famous Nigerian scam by now.  If you haven’t, here’s a brief summary.  You get an email from “royalty” in Nigeria, claiming that you are an heir to a fortune of someone who has just recently passed away.  It’s quite a substantial sum and you’re very lucky to have been named as the recipient of this fortune!  There are only a couple of things that you must do in order to get this money transferred to your accounts in your home country, where you will then be free to spend it lavishly on whatever your heart desires.  You simply have to pay a small fee to get it transferred out of Nigeria and into your accounts. Sounds simple, right?

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Secure your personal details online to avoid being a scam victim.

It is simple – a simple scam.  They promise fortunes of over $100,000 dollars so when you’re asked to pay the “paltry” sum of $2000 to get the money, it seems like a complete bargain and you’re more than happy to pony up the money, because you’re licking your chops thinking about all of the jetskis you’ll be able to ride with your hundred grand in cold hard cash.

Like I said, most of you are probably intimately familiar with this scam as it has been around almost as long as the internet itself.  It was very effective in the past, but now it has been lambasted so heavily even in the mainstream media that even the most simpleminded internet user out there won’t fall for it.  That doesn’t mean that there is nothing to fear on the internet though.  Online scams are the biggest way that consumers are getting defrauded every single day of every year as we more further and further into the information age.  Transactions are happening on the internet more and more these days, and that opens up the door for faceless theft.

I think the reason we see scams online so much more often is because those who are perpetrating these crimes are highly intellectual and a bit sociopathic.  They wouldn’t have the self confidence to pull off a scam in the real world, so they turn to their area of expertise to funnel money into their banks accounts while not having to speak to another human being at all.  It is the worst kind of depravity and governments across the world are all actively involved in fighting it on a daily basis.

Don’t let governments be the only ones fighting against online scams though. You as an internet user need to be acutely aware that these scams are out there, and you need to protect yourself from as many of them as possible just by using smart and sound judgment while you browse the internet.  This means installing pop up blockers and using antivirus and anti spyware programs as much as you can to make sure that you’re not being attacked or scammed in any way.

Fun gift ideas for green-friendly families

Well it’s nearly that time of year again, stores will be putting up decorations, people will be buying trees, carols will be sung. That’s right… Christmas shopping time is upon us! I’ve started looking for gifts early, and given that I blog about environmental issues it is always nice to find related products I can give as gifts. I found these little retro-styled christmas labels at http://www.brightstarkids.com.au/Vintage-Christmas-Labels.aspx?p774 and bought a bunch. What I love about them is they add a nice stylish finish to your gift wrapping (and look awesome on green wrapping paper). You could also put them on home made Christmas cards, on the christmas card envelopes – be creative and think of other ideas for how you could use these on your own gifts and cards. From the same site you could also take a look at their name labels perfect for kids clothes, school bags, shoes – make sure you dont lose any of your kid’s clothing again. You can even get laundry ones so you don’t mix up which clothes belong to who! Your kids will love some of the colorful labels with cartoon animals and other cool pictures on them, and you will probably love the convenience.

A conversation I had about greening up rented houses

The other day over coffee a friend and I were chatting about how she had just moved house into a small townhouse with very little space for a garden. She’s always been an avid gardener and lover of all things green so this is a bit of a disappointment for her so she and I were trying to think of a practical and easy solution to get some more plants around her house. After some brainstorming we thought of a great option which would be to use window boxes and fill them right up with her favorite small plants and flowers. If you shop around carefully enough I think you can probably find a window box to suit almost any style of house, you could attach one under each window easily enough that it would be fine even in a rented property –  a few screws or nails that you can putty over when you move out and take the box back down. What’s nice about them is that while they do look pretty from the outside if you do it right with some big big flower boxes and choose the right flowers to go in them they will bloom up over the bottom edge of the window so when you look out its like you are peering out into a beautiful, lush garden.

Nice example of a green flower box.

Over 1 year later pollution is still ongoing…

Researchers from Auburn University found the environmental impact of the spill is continuing 17 months since oil leaked into the ocean, after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon.

They found that “mats” submerged in the seabed for more than a year had been broken up by tropical storms and gave off the tar balls.

The pollution found on Alabama beaches this month had “essentially identical” chemical composition to those from after the spill.

Researchers now “question the validity of the widely-held belief that submerged oil from the Deepwater Horizon accident is substantially weathered and depleted”.

BP said it would “continue to have crews out collecting tarballs as the reports come in” but the report would not change its immediate plans.

On Wednesday, BP’s share price dropped 1.3pc to 409.1p as it also emerged that the group of obscure Russian investors suing BP and two of its senior staff have almost doubled their claim to £3.1bn.

The lawsuit follows ongoing tensions at TNK-BP between its joint owners, BP and four oligarchs.

Small shareholders in TNK-BP, led by Andrey Prokhorov, claim the British company caused the joint venture to be excluded from a £10bn deal with Russian state oil company Rosneft. They originally filed a claim for £1.75bn, strongly contested by BP, but they now allege that losses are higher as they had not included overseas opportunities.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/8780060/New-tar-balls-on-Gulf-of-Mexico-beaches-come-from-BP-oil-spill.html

This begs the question: for how long will things like this keep happening? If there are “mats” under the sea breaking up 17 months later who knows what other timebombs are lurking ready to explode in 6 years, 10 years, 20 years?