ADVICE FOR YOUR BUCKET LIST

Do you know what a bucket list is? Most people think it is a list of things you want to do before you die. A typical guess is people want to visit a particular place before dying. Based on an unscientific poll about bucket lists, that is not a bad guess. Travel appears to be a frequent bucket list ambition.  Anne is an American who is proud her ancestors lived for centuries on the group of small islands in the English Channel between the southern coast of England and mainland Europe.

REDUCE STRESS, INCREASE ENJOYMENT FOR A HAPPY 2018

Family caregivers provide practical assistance and enhance the quality of life for frail seniors who might otherwise require placement in a long-term-care facility. Typically, caregivers are spouses or adult children, many of whom are seniors themselves. Their role involves physical, psychological, emotional and financial demands. It can be a heavy load.  If you are a caregiver, consider the following strategies for not only surviving but thriving in the year ahead.

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DISCOVER A LOVE OF LIFELONG LEARNING

Curiosity, exploring interests and engagement are a few crucial ingredients to healthy and happy longevity. Enrolling in a class just for the love of learning is a great way to do this. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Kentucky offers educational and enrichment courses, forums, shared interest groups, trips and more for adults age 50 years and older. Membership for the full year is $25; summer programs are at a prorated fee.

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When you have an estimate of the total cost of the holidays, be honest with yourself. Can you responsibly spend that amount this year? Would it be possible to defray costs this year by reallocating some monthly funds toward paying down Christmas?


Now that you have a plan for this year’s budget, plan ahead for next year by opening a new Christmas savings account, using automatic deductions for deposits.


No matter what you spend, find ways to make Christmas meaningful. Think of the real reason for the season. That will help you take some of the stress out of the holidays.

The holidays are here. What would they be like without those special meals with family and friends? This also means gift giving, parties to attend or host — and stretching your budget. Consider the following tips to help you stay merry and bright this season:


Decide on a Budget.  Estimate what you are able to reasonably spend. One golden rule: No going into debt for the holidays. Decide now to pay in cash or with a check or a debit card. The average holiday bill is $980 and more. Try to pare down your estimate to a manageable level. Set a limit and stand by it. See if your family can have a more meaningful kind of holiday season with a sensible plan for spending.


Count the Costs.  Not only is there the cost of the gift-giving ritual to consider, but you also need to think about the dollar amounts for meals that must be purchased and prepared, including food items you take to others’ get-togethers. And don’t forget the clothes you’ll probably buy to wear to those parties. What about deco-rations and a tree? Add those to your calculations as well and see where you can economize.


Start Planning Early.  Make a list of all those for whom you need to buy gifts. These might include teachers, service workers and your minister as well as family and friends.

BUDGETING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Look for Bargains.  Use apps that point you to the best buys, especially on big-ticket items. You can also use apps to compare cost or help you as you’re looking for sales. Look at group buying sites such as Groupon and check out Amazon Local to get discounts on services and products. Shop through cash-back reward sites to earn back a percentage of your purchases.


Be Creative.  Search for ways to supply gifts at a low cost. Perhaps making some of them would work for some family members. Coupons offering to clean house, wash the car or bake a pie may be especially appreciated by aunts and uncles and busy moms and students. When in doubt about what to purchase, a gift card may be in order.


Travel Smart.  Book reservations ahead of time. Use your airline miles. Remember, you must count not only transportation, but lodging and meals.


Be Sensible. Ask guests to bring a dish to festivities. Know a store’s refund policy. Save all your receipts. Avoid impulse spending.

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN and a freelance writer. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines. Her Web site is at

www.normajean.naiwe.com

more articles by jean jeffers