The Camps are here – Choosing a Summer Camp

The Camps are here – Choosing a Summer Camp

It felt like I attended school all over again this year and so naturally when my daughter school closed I was filled with relief. Summer time is magical. The kids get a break from waking up at the crack of dawn, I get a break from traffic and we all are living our best summer lives.

But after a month or so, boredom sets in, glued to smartphones , Netflix, and Youtube  is just not a productive way to spend three months and since I don’t have an off island Grammy to ship my little ones to here I am once again doing the summer camp dance.

I have to tell you this year I have seen some really interesting and creative camps, there are so many that I definitely can’t list them all but if you have a chance be sure to check all the magic of summer here.

Why summer camp you may ask?  Well, aside from offering a great balance out to the unstructured, school-free months, summer camps are also fun, build character, and provide opportunities  to meet new friends and possibly reconnect with former classmates. Plus, kids can discover new interests and stay intellectually engaged.

There have been a lot of new faces on the camp scene lately and  I have been seeing a lot of videos on social media where children have been mistreated by those that have been entrusted with their care. That being said always do your research and choose wisely.  I live for reviews and rely on my mom circle to get insight on any new venture that myself or my children may embark on.

So how do you choose what camp your child goes to? Well it all depends on what your end goal maybe. Perhaps you want to go the academic route, explore technology or outdoors, have them learn a new skill, explore the performing arts or do something athletic. I personally choose more fun as it is the summer and I want to give my kids a break, however I am not opposed to my daughter learning to bake,or perhaps singing her heart out as she loves to do.

What about your budget? Listen to me as a parent who already pays school fees I do cringe at the cost of summer camps. Most if not all camps are on par with my daughters school fee and aren’t even open all day! That being said, I understand the struggle and sacrifice that comes with the magic of summer. I consider the entire camp experience when weighing my pro’s and cons. I look at the programs offered, if there is lunch or not lunch, field trips,hours, after care the total experience. If I’m gonna be shelling out cash the camp/ summer school experience is going to be lit!

Tell me about your summer camp experience and if your kids will be attending camp this year.

Till next time

xoxo

 

 

Life after VAT….

Life after VAT….

By now you have  heard about it. You know that ole dirty tax has increased, the name that I dare not repeat but no matter how much I try to avoid it come July 1st VAT will be here at an additional 4.5%.

Now this post is not about complaining. We are well passed this stage and while I have to admit my people are super creative because all of the videos (by the way have you seen this one?) and memes were definitely well worth the chuckle reality has set in and well it’s really no laughing matter.

Read the 2018 Budget Communication here.

I recently attended a budgeting seminar this week (perfect timing right), it was hosted by a banker. She was amazing,  been in the game for over 10 years but to be honest her approaches to me were not realistic and practical. I’m not a financial guru but most persons are already living paycheck to paycheck, saving is almost near impossible and well now we have more VAT to worry about.

Naturally as a mother of two I have already had my family on a strict budget. Living in one of the richest countries of the Caribbean isn’t so glamorous when minimum wage is $210.00 per week, the average rent is $700.00 and to get decent education and health care you have to spend exorbitant amounts of money.

Being an adult is hard

Being an adult with kids is hard

Being an adult with kids in The Bahamas is harder

You have to consider so many things like:

Food

Life Insurance

Car Insurance

Car maintenance

House Insurance

Medical Insurance

Pension

School Fees

Mortgage

Utilities

and if you somehow manage to crawl out of your deep hole of debt maybe just maybe a vacation!

(Did I forget anything???)

From the first introduction of Value Added Tax years ago I’ve done some major and minor budgeting that may just be able to help someone out there.

Monitor your Grocery shopping habits. A few simple ways to do this is by creating a meal plan, creating a grocery list and sticking to it when going shopping and don’t shop while hungry.

Meal planning goes hand in hand with the grocery list. Really, if you know what you plan to cook for the entire week then you know what you need to buy. This also eliminates additional stops to the grocery store which can also cause unnecessary expenditures.

The last part seems funny but study shows that when persons shop while hungry they tend to pick up more stuff out side of the grocery list based on hunger. I’ve seen this happen personally with myself so I 100% agree. Also if you can, leave the kids at home. They always want something additional that you more than likely did not budget for but for your sanity just put the coco puffs in the trolley!

You can also look at paying your bills weekly. Now of course this can be tricky for those who get paid bi weekly or even monthly and I would imagine there would be some adjustments to this given that knowledge. However, I found that it is easier for a person to come up with $20 weekly for a $100 bill verse the entire $100 one time. The whole idea is to eliminate large payments.

Now pause, I know what you are thinking, who has time to go in BEC or Cable Bahamas every week with $20. Got it and noted. This can work two ways. If you bank online  you can take advantage of the automated features and schedule your bill payment every week. Almost all of the major banks have this option online however I would encourage you to visit your local branch if you have any further questions about this.

Another option is to simple buy some mason jars (some nice ones can be found in Kelly’s, AID or Xtra Value) label them for each bill and put the money away every week.

Pic courtesy of Readers Digest

This will definitely require some discipline. You don’t want to touch the money until time to actually pay your bill and physically having it in sight can be tempting.

Another trick I’ve also used that comes in handy for my daughters lunch money is saving all of the dollar bills I receive as change and putting it away in the jar. As she needs funds for lunch every day I just go in the jar and I readily have it available and broken down in smaller notes for her convenience.

Of course there are many other tips and tricks. For example I pay my mortgage every 2 weeks verses every month which ties into the point I made above. Not only am I avoiding a bulk payment but I am also paying down on the principle faster.

There is always cutting back on fast food purchases, expensive outings, reducing use of electricity and water use at home etc.

Lastly, keep track of your spending. I’ll be the first to admit I can definitely splurge a bit here and there and before I know if poof my money is gone. For the month of June I plan to keep track of every dime I spend to see if I am spending on more wants than needs and if I need to cut back just a little bit more.

With the upcoming changes in just a few shorts week every little bit helps.

Do you have any saving tips you want to share? Leave a comment below.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

#LunchBagBahamas

#LunchBagBahamas

While many may have had dieting as there 2018 goal, I was determined to add more volunteering to not only my portfolio but to my heart. I especially wanted to have my kids along for the ride to show that there is more to life than a Baby Alive Doll and pepperoni pizza.

This past weekend I had the awesome opportunity to be a part of HashtagLunchbagBahamas, an initiative that originated in Los Angeles in 2012 and made its way to Nassau in 2015. Three years later, Brown paper bags filled with all of our favorites including delicious sandwiches, cookies, popsicles and a hint of love are distributed to the local community to help combat hunger while spreading love and cheer.

Bright and early with the goal of 1000 Lunch Bags, Volunteers and Donations, HashtagLunchBagBahamas was a machine chugging away and I was along for the ride.

Naturally,  I arrived late (cause you know kids) but I was pleased to see that HLBB was a well oiled machine. Tristan had the volunteers hyped, there was music blasting, the energy was amazing and the volunteers were so into it. I was honestly surprised when I entered the room, didn’t expect that much excitement on a Saturday morning.

There were all walks of life already in the mix Dream Nation, Sororities, Fraternities, Individuals like myself. I was happy to see that there were other kids in the room as well. I had already briefed my 7 year old that we were helping to feed the less fortunate so she was already excited!

Every one had a role to play to make the day successful. There were what I like to call graphic designers who decorated the brown paper bags with inspirational images and sayings, and also persons who wrote Love Notes to accompany every bag.

Then there was the sandwich assembly line. Not gonna lie I wanted to eat a sandwich so bad, they looked so good! Wheat, White, cheese, turkey, ham, lettuce, tomatoes. YUMMY!

And then there was my station, making sure the wonderfully designed paper bags were opened and stuffed with all of the juicy bits.

 

 

Eventually Navy took on a role of her own leaving me to man my own station of filling the bags,  she quickly became in charge of the “Love Notes” transporting them back and forth and yes she owned it.

 

 

 

 

Dilly and Becky (her doll) needed little supervision as well surprisingly. All we needed was wifi, YouTube, a cozy corner and eventually she settled right in.

It’s distribution time and first stop was Gambier. Aside from a dog that probably just wanted a bag as well we were well received by the community. It really did my heart well seeing people actually eating the items in the bag.

Of course towards the end Dilly got cranky, battling nasal allergies, her runny nose and nap time had threw in the towel and I was only able to participate in one drop off.

While I may have been able to be more productive I’m glad my kids came along and that I was able to contribute one stuffed bag at a time!

At the end of the day 1100 bags were distributed to the various stops! How amazing was that !!! Hats off to Lincoln, Tristan and Nikki Jae from another amazing experience!

If you are interested in being a part of HLBB be sure to follow on Facebook and Instagram and visit the website to be updated on the next event.

 

 

 

 

Until next time!!

XOXO

 

Insurance Policies Every Family Should Have

Insurance Policies Every Family Should Have

Having experienced first hand the traumas of death and sickness this topic is dear to my heart. I hate to think about things I can’t control but the reality is sickness and death are a part of life and unfortunately we have no control how and when either of them can occur.

Having a growing family of my own I wanted to explore ways in which I can be prepared for when the inevitable happens.

No stranger to the topic, Rashad Moss  goes into great detail highlighting insurance policies that every family should have. With over 5 years  experience and a passion that goes beyond the contracts, Moss dishes out the why’s and when’s.

Life Insurance 

What haunts families the most is Death. The thing with death is you never know when it is going to happen and for families this is usually a sore topic. No one wants to think about their loved one dying and so the topic of Life Insurance is not always welcomed.

Life Insurance is the number one policy that ever family should have. Moss encourages persons, especially young parents to visit your nearest Insurance Agent and get the facts. Almost every family has a cousin that’s an insurance agent so I suggest you call them up.

According to Moss, not every policy is the same because not every family is the same and the purpose, though the end goal is to protect and provide for your family in your absence, is not the same either.

Reasons such as funeral expenses, college tuition or just leaving funds for your loved ones so they can continue to live in comfort are just some of the few reasons Moss listed as  important for having life insurance.

Sadly,Moss confirmed that poverty increases drastically for your loved ones if you don’t leave certain provisions in place.

Moss wants to stress that young men, especially fathers are some of the hardest clients to get.  Men being  breadwinners for most families  do an awesome job when alive but sadly many horror stories tend to surface after death and many families tend to suffer in their absence.  Homes get repossessed ,kids have to come home from college, and the list goes on. Death is already a difficult and sometimes traumatic experience,the financial comfort of your loved ones should be the last thing they have to deal with after such an event.

Pension

You blinked and just like that it’s now time to retire. You get this awesome retirement party, cake, presents and awards! The kids are out the house and it’s now time to travel the world, you live happily ever after!

Moss explains that somewhere between 6 out of 10 families are not prepared for retirement.

This is a startling but a very true reality. So much for happily ever after.

But wait you’re getting contributions from National Insurance (assuming they have funds). Until you quickly realize that your contributions barely cover BPL.

Pension is equally as important to invest in as any other insurance and like most of them the earlier you start the better.

Moss explains that with a pension plan you won’ have to rely on welfare to finance your retirement years or depend on your children for living expenses. He also went onto explain that pension is one of the easiest retirement plans to get into where starting with as little as $10 is encouraged.

Medical Insurance

No one plans to get hurt or sick but medical care is needed at some point in our lives or another and Medical Insurance covers your finances from sickness and illnesses. The financial and emotional well-being of the entire unit is at risk when a loved one is in dire need of medical attention.  Moss explains though this would be an ideal insurance for a family to have the reality is for most families limited income and lack of assets make this sometimes impossible to attain.

Believe it or not according to nap.edu,  children with insurance have better access to and use more health care services than uninsured children. The parents of insured children are also less likely to delay seeking care for their children for conditions that require it, and illnesses or conditions are not as severe when they do seek care. Uninsured children are less likely to receive important preventive services that can have beneficial long-term effects.

 

So there you have it.  Insurance that every family should have. Families come in all shapes and sizes and so not every policy will be the same. Nonetheless I really want to encourage my families out there to explore each of the policies and discuss the potential that it has to help protect and provide for your family. If you want to reach out to Rashad Moss directly click here and he will be more than happy to answer any and all questions.

Until next time…

XOXO