A New Baby Brings A New Financial Reality

It’s wrong to think of a new child regarding their financial circumstances, and of course, you won’t. You’ll just be excited by the little bundle of joy that’s on its way into the life of you and your partner. But the fact of the matter is, a new baby will have a significant impact on your finances, and as such it’s important that you sit down to see how you’ll adjust your finances once your new child is with you. Below, we take a look at four actions you should take when you learn you’re expected another child.

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Reevaluate the Goals

If you’ve been taking care of your finances, then you’ll already have a financial plan and goals. That’ll need to be rewritten now, as you have a new person who will be relying on your financial support and stability. Once you’ve factored in the cost of raising a child, reevaluate your goals. You might want to put more money away for your child’s tuition, or savings, and this will have to be brought in line with your existing financial goals.

Practical Concerns

Aside from your savings and financial hopes, you’ll need to think about any practical concerns you’ll need to account for. For example, it might be that you have to view homes for sale if your current abode will no longer be big enough for your growing family. You’ll need to weigh up the needs of you and your family, and then find a place to live that meets these requirements. You may also need to buy a more family-friendly car, especially if this is your first child. Finally, don’t forget the cost of babyproofing your home.

No Nasty Surprises

Parents can sometimes underestimate just how costly a baby can be. As such, it’s important that you’re the victim of a nasty surprise once your child arrives. To avoid this from happening, make a budget for everything you might need for a new child; and then multiply it by another quarter. There’ll be no way you’re able to budget for every eventuality, especially as there are many hidden costs of a new child, so you’ll want to give yourself some wiggle room when it comes to your budget.

Automate Your Savings and Investments

Some parents can get some preoccupied with their new child that they forget to keep an eye on their other financial goals. You’ll be too busy with sleepless nights and the like to stay on top of your finances. Therefore, it’s a good idea to automate your savings and investments so that they keep ticking over even when you don’t have the time to take care of them manually.

Final Thoughts

There’s no getting around the fact that a new child will cost you a lot of money. However, with a little bit of sensible preparation, you can make sure that you’re able to take the new financial reality in your stride. With that taken care of, you’ll be able just to enjoy all the joys of having a new baby in your life!

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5 New Tech Gadgets For A Better Night’s Sleep

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Getting enough sleep is known to be one of the foundations of good health. Mentally and physically, if you aren’t getting enough rest, then you’re susceptible to a host of conditions which can threaten your wellbeing. However, it’s also well known that the modern Western world is messing up the sleep patterns humans naturally have, and our 24/7, always-on culture shows no signs of slowing down. Fortunately, though technology is contributing to the problem, it’s also coming up with new ways to help aid our rest and help us get that vital shut-eye. Here are five of the best new technologies to improve your sleep:

Gradual Alarm Clocks

Mainly during the winter months, our routines and wake up times can be far from the natural, seasonal rhythms of sunrise and sunset that would naturally govern our sleep patterns. So if you find yourself having to wake up in the dark, a gradual light alarm clock like the Lumie Bodyclock can help. Set a preferred wake-up time, and the light will gradually come on, helping you to wake up naturally and feel more alert during the day. The light produced triggers your body’s production of cortisol, which supports a healthier sleep/wake cycle and makes beating the winter blues far easier.

Cpap machines

Sleep apnea is a growing issue preventing many people from having a restorative night time. The condition causes interruptions to the breathing pattern at night, affecting oxygen reaching the vital organs of the body and causing hundreds of ‘micro wake-ups’ during the night that can leave sufferers waking up feeling tired and unrefreshed. The key to easing the problem lies in buying the best cpap machine – a machine that supplies a steady air pressure through a mask or a nasal piece to remedy breathing difficulties. There are lots of different models, some with add-ons such as humidifiers, so thorough research is key to finding the right individual fit. Some machines can be expensive, but can you put a price on health?

Meditation apps

If you’re one of the thousands who report trouble drifting off to sleep at night, meditation apps can be a lot of help. Smartphone apps such as Calm and Headspace take the user through guided relaxation techniques designed to help you unwind and drift off to sleep naturally. If you sometimes feel like you can’t switch off the noise in your head, they can be an especially useful tool for teaching how to switch off. Specially designed headphones embedded in a soft headband or even pillows with embedded speakers can help you to make the most of this technology.

Aromatherapy diffusers

The benefits of aromatherapy in aiding sleep are well documented, and even though it’s an ancient remedy, new tech brings it into the twenty-first century. New model ultrasonic aromatherapy diffusers dispense scent through the room for a therapeutic effect, and a lot of them also feature soothing light displays featuring color-change LEDs. Designs range for ultra-modern to more traditional diffusers in natural textures like wood and stone, so whatever your home décor, you can match the style of the diffuser to that.

Sleep tracking tech

There’s been a massive expansion in mapping personal sleep patterns using sleep tracking tech, and the number of devices on the market is ever-expanding. From smart mattresses that monitor the amount and quality of your sleep to wearable tracking devices like the Fitbit and even wireless bedside monitors if you don’t fancy something physically being in your bed, you can now get a massive amount of data that will help to identify periods of disruption to your sleep.Working out how to eliminate them is the bit that comes after! There are lots of options out there to suit every budget, including a nightshirt loaded with sensors that will monitor you through the night.

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Stress: The Work From Home Downfall No One Tells You About

There are countless articles online which sing the praises of working from home. And, it seems they’re onto something, with one in five Americans now doing just that. The benefits of a lifestyle choice like this speak for themselves.

But, it would be naive to assume this career choice is all plain sailing. It’s not. Working from home has pitfalls, just like any other career. And, while some of us can overcome them, others may be unable. Major downsides include loneliness and, what we’re going to talk about here, stress.

You may be wondering how working from home can be stressful. Don’t most people opt for this career choice to get away from stress? Yes, they do, but it doesn’t always work. While you do eliminate the stress of a workplace, freelancing like this has a whole new set of stressors to cope with. These include increased work pressures (it’s only you now), and the inability to switch off. After all, escaping from the workplace also means kissing goodbye to 9-5. Instead, you may find that you never entirely switch off.

The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to keep the stress at bay. And, we’re going to look at a few of your options here.

Take care of admin in the morning

Admin can be a considerable source of stress. When you work in an office, the HR department take care of all that. But, when you’re going it alone, it falls to you. Worse, you don’t make any money from that part of the job. Answering emails and filing invoices is time you’d rather spend actually working. Hence, it can be difficult to fit in when you’re experiencing a busy period.

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To remove the pressure, it’s worth doing admin before you get started each day. That way, you can work without interruption the rest of the time. You could look through emails and such while you’re eating breakfast. Or, you might want to dedicate your first hour to the job. Whatever you choose, getting it out of the way is your best bet.

A plan to avoid the last minute rush of deadlines

Planning is essential in every aspect of working from home. But, never does it help you more than when you’re working to a deadline. You’ll find that your stress levels soon rocket if you leave everything until the last minute each time. Then, you’ll be facing sleepless nights, and rushed work.

To avoid that happening, it’s important to have a decent plan in place for each piece of work you accept. As a rule, attempt to have everything finished a week before it’s due. That way, you have plenty of time to tweak things if you need to. To ensure this is doable, plan first how long you think a job will take you. Then, separate the task into hour-long chunks over a set period. Just like that, you’ll have things done in no time at all.

Get out of the house

Another cause of stress is the feeling of going stir crazy. If you haven’t left the house in a few days, your stress levels are sure to skyrocket. Worse, you may fail to recognize the cause. To stop this happening, make sure to get out of the house at least once a day. Even if you just walk round the block, the fresh air and new perspective will work wonders.

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Create spaces in which to unwind

Many of those who work from home experience stress because they fail to switch off. And, it’s easy to see why. When you’re staying in the same place, you may as well carry on, right? Wrong. In fact, if you work without unwinding, you’ll soon experience severe stress. Everyone needs to kick back for at least a few hours of an evening. To ensure you get into the habit, set aside spaces which are work-free zones. Your bathroom is an obvious one, so take advantage of that. You won’t need to put the effort in to make it work free. It already will be. And, if you take time to shop for a new bathtub online, and invest in some pamper products, it can become the ideal place to unwind.

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The living room can become another work-free zone if you go about things the right way. Nothing beats watching television with the rest of your family. Just make sure you never fall into the mistake of bringing your laptop down while you do so!

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The Long Wait: These Are The Best Fertility Boosting Foods

When you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, it’s only natural to have a look at your diet. There could, in all honesty, by many reasons to why conception takes a bit longer than you originally had in mind – but keeping a healthy and active life will certainly not harm anyone.

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There are a lot of different foods pregnant women try to steer clear off or fill their plates with, so it makes sense to treat your body to some preparation before the pregnancy. Here is a handy list of the best foods to snack on while you’re trying to conceive, making the meantime a bit more enjoyable.

Go for protein from beans

A study performed by Harvard School of Public Health shows that infertility in women who were actively trying to get pregnant were 39 % higher if they consumed mostly animal proteins. It doesn’t mean that you should abandon all proteins right away, though, as the same study found that those who had a high intake of plant proteins were substantially less likely to experience infertility.

Meatless Mondays are here to stay, in other words, and you can safely dish up casseroles of chili and other bean-based meals to boost your fertility.

Whole milk instead of skim milk

Milk is great news for your body when you’re trying to start a family. The Nurses’ Health Study found that one or two daily servings of whole milk products, such as full cream yogurt or even ice cream, is able to protect you against infertility.

Following in the footsteps of plant protein above, the study also found that women who enjoyed a lot of skim and low-fat milk experienced the opposite effect. We want protein and dairy, in other words, we just want them to be from plants and full-fat.

Fill up on folate

Luckily, it’s not just us women who should try to stay as healthy as possible when trying to conceive. Folate, for example, is proven to improve the quality of your man’s sperm, making a potential miscarriage a lot less likely. You’ll find folate in spinach, other dark leafy greens in general, as well as asparagus and avocado, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get the right amount.

Save a few handfuls of spinach for yourself as well, by the way, as the Vitamin B dense food may be able to boost ovulation. It’s the kind of food that gets you started a bit faster, but if you have been trying to get pregnant for a while now, it’s always a good idea to have a word with your doctor. He or she can help you manage your IVF costs and figure out the best IVF plan for your needs so that you don’t have to waste precious time.

Whole wheat bread to stabilize blood sugar

Forget about the pregnancy diet, says Harvard School of Public Health; it’s not really as much about snacking on oysters the whole day, as a proper pregnancy diet should be rich in wholesome foods such as grains and full-fat dairy. The kind of food your grandmother would serve you, in other words.

The reasons are as crystal clear as for anyone else trying to stay healthy, with complex carbs taking longer to digest than refined ones, giving you that stable and healthy blood sugar we’re always talking about.

Increased insulin levels in the body have a tendency to disrupt reproductive hormones and, according to a Dutch study, women with high blood sugar levels were only half as likely to conceive as those who prefer brown bread and rice to the white versions.

Anti-inflammatory foods

Foods that are high in monounsaturated fats, such as fatty fish and olive oil, has been hailed for their ability to decrease inflammation in the body. Although we can discuss the effects of the anti-inflammatory diet all we like, it’s quite evident that the foods it includes are healthy and perfectly good for your body when you’re trying to start a family.

Salmon is lower in mercury than other types of fish, by the way, so if you’re worried about the few downsides to eating fish, go for salmon. It’s delicious in any way.

Olive oil is a safe bet when you like to increase the amount of fat you’re consuming, so replace it with butter when cooking, sprinkle it over your salads and have a handful of olives too once in a while.

A balanced and varied diet, an active lifestyle, and getting the right amount of sleep is really all you can do to prepare your body. Anything else is out of your control, so have a word with your doctor to find the best solution if you’re worried about your health or other problems.

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Sleeping Positions: Is There A Right Answer?

There is a question as old as time that has split the opinions of people the world over. Which is the best sleeping position? Everybody has their own answer and they’ll argue that the way that they sleep is the best for comfort as well as health. But are there any solid answers that can finally put that argument to bed for good? Fortunately, there is information about the pros and cons of sleeping positions, but if you’re looking for a definitive answer, you’re out of luck. The truth is there are different benefits to each sleeping position so it really depends on your priorities. To help you decide on the best way to sleep, here are the pros and cons of each position.

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On Your Back

This is the position that people often say is the best way to get a good night’s sleep. If you struggle with a bad back then this is probably the way to go. By sleeping flat on your back, you avoid any twists or contortions in the spine so it’s the best way to maintain good back health. It helps you to get the most out of your mattress because you get the most support when you’re sleeping in this position. The ideal way to sleep on your back is without any pillows at all, but most people won’t do that. Having one pillow isn’t too much of an issue but if you’ve got loads, your neck will be at a strange angle and it can affect your breathing.

If you’re worried about wrinkles, sleeping on your back is the way to go. Having your face buried in a pillow all night massively increases the chance of getting wrinkles but sleeping on your back keeps you looking younger for longer.

However, sleeping on your back isn’t always the best option. Sleeping on your back is intrinsically linked to sleep apnea and if you suffer from the condition, doctors will always recommend that you sleep in a different position. It also makes you more likely to snore so if you’re a loud sleep, you might want to think about changing position, if only for the benefit of everybody else in the house.

On Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is often considered to be one of the worst ways to sleep but that’s not strictly true. We’ve already established that sleeping on your back is bad for sleep apnea and snoring. Sleeping on your front is the best way to combat both of those problems. However, it’s not great for anything else so, unless you suffer from either of those issues, you should probably avoid it.

The problem with sleeping on your front is that it doesn’t keep your spine straight. If you’re lying on your front all night, with a crooked spine, you can cause yourself serious problems. You’re likely to wake up with a stiff back and pain in your lower back. The position of your head is another big problem but it can be easily solved. According to Sleep Ridiculously Well, there are special pillows designed specifically for people that sleep on their front. A thinner pillow will make the bend in your neck and spine smaller and reduce the amount of damage that you’re doing to yourself. If you don’t use one of these pillows, you’ll damage your neck severely.

You can sleep on your front safely if that’s your preferred position, you’ll just need a few well placed pillows. Putting an extra pillow under your hips and your stomach, you’ll straighten your spine out and avoid getting back pain.

On Your Side

Studies show that the most popular sleeping position is on your side. The majority of people claim to sleep this way, although we can’t know whether they move during the night so this information should be taken with a pinch of salt. So, most of us sleep this way but is it a good idea. If you’re pregnant, side sleeping is always recommended by the doctor, particularly on the left side. If you’re not pregnant, side sleeping could still be good for you. It’s been proven to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux problems so if that’s something that’s a big problem for you, consider changing position.

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However, it’s not all good news for side sleepers. It can cause you problems with circulation if you’re constantly sleeping on your arm. It also puts unnecessary pressure on your stomach and lungs which can lead to more health problems. The shoulder takes the brunt of the weight so it can be damaged as well. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sleep on your side at all, but it’s a good idea to switch sides each night to reduce the strain on your body.

Sorry if you were hoping for a solid answer about which is the best position to sleep in. The truth is, they all have their merits and it depends on what health problems you’ve got.

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