Tag Archive | Parenting Tips and Advice at Uplifting Families

How to Organize Your Health Insurance if You Are a Freelancer

Are you considering ditching your nine-to-five traditional job and going into business as a freelancer? Perhaps you’re already self-employed and struggling with purchasing health insurance coverage. After all, choosing the right insurance provider and the right policy is tough.

In fact, the stress of purchasing a health insurance cover is enough to make freelancers consider going back to conventional employment where the employer has an insurance plan. Before you let health insurance anxieties alter your freelancing career, here are six critical tips for organizing health insurance as a freelancer.

Health insurance and freelancing is an exciting proposition. The benefits definitely outweigh the stress of the initial purchasing decision.

Consult the Experts

Get in touch with an insurance agent who has had experience providing health plans for freelancers. Note that not every agent out there can deal with intricacies around health insurance plans for on-demand workers, digital nomads, remote workers, and self-employed individuals.

At the same time, take time to educate yourself by reading online resources like the HealthMarkets medicare and insurance articles. This way, you’ll save yourself plenty of headaches.

(source: https://www.healthmarkets.com/resources/medicare/what-is-medicare-part-c/.)

Health Insurance Cost for Freelancers

Unfortunately, there is no single number to the rate health insurance will cost – everyone’s rate will vary. Before you start worrying, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that the average American paid $106 per month after subsidies. Plus, there are also other ways of finding affordable health insurance.

Income is Variable

As a freelancer, paychecks are not the same each month, which makes it difficult for freelancers to budget for health insurance premiums. Your best option is to find a plan with low monthly premiums and low deductibles.

Don’t be afraid of shopping around and asking for advice from fellow freelancers within your network. In fact, you can even combine two insurance products to ensure that you get adequate coverage.

How to Get Health Insurance as a Freelancer

If you were recently employed and enjoyed health insurance coverage, you should speak to your previous insurer without getting grandfathered into your old policy. Fortunately, most health insurance plans on the market have an option to convert your group plan into an individual plan after leaving a job. If you are planning to leave your job, make sure you check whether you qualify for a special enrollment period.

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare), health insurance is available via the healthcare Marketplace for individuals or small businesses. While most freelancers don’t fall into the small business category, it’d help to check out the requirements now in case your business grows.

Another good option to consider is your spouse’s health insurance, and it can save you money. You might not be legally married, but you qualify as a domestic partner sharing the same home. The only thing is that you should not be married to anyone else.

If your freelancing profession has associations, you should be in a position to get group insurance thanks to memberships. Group insurance allows individuals to get together as self-employed worker groups that receive the same kind of group insurance you’d get through an employer.

Check Payout Caps When Shopping for Insurance Coverage

It’s easy to get excited when you find affordable premiums and deductibles in a health insurance cover, only to find out later that payouts are capped at low amounts. You need health insurance that will cover major healthcare expenses and basic doctor visits. Just because you can afford the monthly premiums doesn’t mean your coverage will adequately cover you when diagnosed with serious health conditions.

Are There Short-Term Health Insurance Plans for Freelancers?

Unfortunately, short-term health insurance plans don’t offer you the benefit of options available under ACA plans. However, a short-term plan might be a temporary solution if you missed the open enrollment period and don’t want to pay medical costs until you are ACA covered. Doing this might attract an ACA minimum coverage penalty if you don’t carry coverage for at least 9 months in a year.

Conclusion

Purchasing health insurance is usually a stressful part of being a freelancer. While the freedom of managing your own hours is exhilarating, this freedom does come with its own challenges. Pay attention to the tips above and you’ll feel much more comfortable while purchasing health insurance as a freelancer.

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Guiding Your Teen Through Depression

It is a known fact that depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in our nation. Men and women of all ages experience the pervasive sadness, exhaustion, pain, anxiety, sleeplessness or extreme sleepiness, dragging them down and making it extremely difficult to function in daily life. For those suffering in this way, the main treatment is therapy and anti-depressants. Some people are afraid to take anti-depressants because they think that they are “happy pills”. The reality is that when we are terribly stressed for a long period of time, the neurotransmitters in our brain become unbalanced, making us feel even more depressed. Anti-depressants balance the neurotransmitters in our brain, helping us function and do the hard work needed in therapy. People usually respond to these two forms of treatment.

Many times, depression is overlooked in teenagers. Because teenage depression looks different from adult depression, parents sometimes don’t recognize the symptoms. While adults are in touch with their emotional pain, depressed teenagers usually start out complaining about physical aches and pains. Although stomach problems, headaches and just a general ill feelings may plague them, a doctor will not be able to find a diagnosis. Adults feel pervasive sadness when they are depressed, while teenagers usually become increasingly more irritable. Parents should be aware of their teen’s descent into intense irritability.

Because there is an increased sensitivity to criticism, your teen may start avoiding activities where they fear failure. While your teenager once may have delighted in trying out for sports, the school musical or go on dates, if he is depressed, he will begin to avoid anything resembling taking a risk in order to avoid rejection. Parents who nag their teen to achieve only serve to worsen their teen’s depression.  On the other hand, they might engage in high-risk behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, skipping school and unsafe sex. Teenagers may change their group of friends, associating with the wrong crowd and stop talking to their old friends. They may completely withdraw from real life activities and focus their attention on the online world. This can be dangerous as he may create an online persona, engage in online chats or play role-playing games, all to escape the realities of his life.  Some signs and symptoms of teenage depression are:

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Poor school performance
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation

Because suicide in teenagers is at all an all-time high, it is crucial to keep an eye on your child and do everything possible to help him in his depression. Some suicide warning signs to watch for are:

  • Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury
  • Seeking out weapons, pills or other ways to kill themselves
  • Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying
  • Writing stories or poems about death, dying or suicide
  • Talking or joking about committing suicide
  • Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead”, “there’s no way out”, “I wish I could just disappear forever”
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Saying good-bye to friends and family as if it is the last time

It is extremely important for depressed teenagers receive prompt, professional treatment. If your teenager refuses treatment, it is wise for family members to seek professional advice.

In therapy, teens can understand why they are depressed and how to cope with the stressful situations in their lives. Individual, group, or family counseling may be helpful.

There are many groups for depressed teenagers. Teen Tribe is a mental support group for teenagers. The Teen Depression Toolbox helps educate depressed teenagers about what they are going through. Music For the Soul uses the power of songs and videos to bring emotional healing.

Parents need to know how to communicate with a teenager who is depressed.

Trust Your Gut

If you think that your teenager may be depressed but he claims that there is nothing wrong, you need to trust your instincts. Consider turning to a favorite teacher or school counselor if your teen won’t talk to you. Do not ignore signs of depression, no matter how vague they may seem.

Listen, Do Not Lecture

The best thing is to let your teen know that you are there for them, totally and unconditionally. Once your teenager begins to talk, resist the urge to pass judgement or to criticize. The important thing is for your teenager to feel safe with you.

Acknowledge Their Feelings

Do not make light of your teen’s feelings, even if they make no sense to you. Don’t try to talk them out of their depression. Simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing will go far in making them feel understood and supported.

Gently Persevere

If your teen shuts you out at first, don’t give up. He may have a hard time expressing what he’s feeling. Be respectful of your teen’s comfort level while still letting them know of your concern and willingness to listen.

With the proper understanding, unconditional love and resources available to help depressed teenagers, your teen will come out of the darkness he is in. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Image: Pixabay

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7 Great Theme Ideas for Your Child’s Summer Birthday Party

Birthday parties are extremely exciting for children, and parents can make them even more exciting by having a theme associated with the birthday party. During the summer months, you have a lot of options for theme parties because of the nicer weather and ability to be outside. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do inside parties too. Having a theme for a party not only makes it easier for you to decorate your home for the event, but it also allows you to have a theme for food, treats, games, and giveaways too. If your child is having a birthday this summer, here are seven great theme ideas for their summer birthday party

Carnival

Carnival themes are fun because it allows you to have plenty of games and activities on hand to keep all the kiddos entertained. For instance, you can set up a ring toss, a picture booth, a bean bag game, and more. If you’d like, you can also hire a magician, clown, or petting zoo to come to the party too. You can even look on Amazon for carnival games and be amazed by the possibilities that show up. Plus, there are plenty of carnival party accessories too, so you can have tablecloths, plates, and decorations that all match and set the tone for a fun day at the carnival.

Beach

If you have a pool, having a beach-themed party is a great idea for kids. Most of them love to swim, and you don’t have to pay money for any additional entertainment as the pool will suffice. If you don’t have a pool, you can still do a beach themed party by either having everyone at a local pool or by setting up a bunch of water-related games at your house instead, such as a water slide, water gun fight, sprinkler, and more. This beach themed party is especially important when the weather is hot and kids want to run around yet cool off at the same time.

Movies

A movie-themed party is another great option that allows you to easily keep the kids entertained, and you can take this in two ways. First, you can have a movie award themed party where everyone arrives in nice clothes and your home is adorned with a red carpet and picture backdrops. The other option is to have everyone over and just have a movie marathon with their favorites. Renting a big screen allows you to have this party outside if you’d like, but if the weather isn’t cooperating, you can do this inside too. Just be sure to have plenty of movie snacks on hand, such as candy, pop, and popcorn. You can even make it classier by having a popcorn bar filled with different toppings or different types of popcorn, such as caramel or even white cheddar popcorn for the adults.

Superhero

If your child has a favorite superhero (or ten) then why not have a superhero party? Children can come dressed up as their favorite superhero, and you can have your home or party location decorated with superhero decorations. Find superhero games to play, or even consider putting superhero movies on a loop to provide additional entertainment.

Princess

Most little kids would enjoy a princess themed birthday party. Be sure to ask your guests to dress up as their favorite prince or princess, and then make the party a little more elegant (while still keeping in mind they’re children). For instance, serving finger foods and providing “nice” dinnerware will make the event seem classier and made just for a princess.

Camping

Having a camping party is another great theme, especially for kids who are a bit older. If you want to make it a truly fun experience, you can set up tents in your yard and allow the kids to sleep outside. The night of the party, be sure to fully commit to a bonfire, and serve hot dogs and s’mores as the main two food groups to keep everyone full and happy.

Sports

No matter the sport, you can easily turn it into a themed party, or you can just stick with “sports” in general to give yourself more entertainment options. If you’re picking one sport, such as baseball, you can go about it a few different ways. First, you can have your child’s party at a baseball field and allow the kids to play while you serve hot dogs, pretzels, and ice cream. You can also take your child and a group of friends to a baseball game. If you’re opting for sports in general, then be sure to have plenty of sports-related games on hand to keep everyone entertained.

Summer gives you more flexibility when it comes to planning your child’s party, and these seven themes will give your child a party they’re excited about.

Images: Pixabay

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What to Do When Good Debt Goes Bad

 

As counterintuitive as it might sound, there is such a thing as “good” debt. Sure, taking out a loan to acquire something capable of appreciating in value is a good thing. Yes, one could argue vacations put you in a better mental space and can help you create value, but they fall under the category of “bad” debt nonetheless.

Meanwhile mortgage loans, small business loans and student loans all fall into the good debt category because you are investing in something that may earn more money in time.

But be warned! Good debt can quickly turn into bad debt if it’s not managed carefully. Here’s what to do when good debt goes bad.

First Remember Nothing Is Guaranteed

There was a time, in the not too distant past, when buying a nice home in a nice neighborhood was a quick ticket to profit street. Home prices were appreciating rapidly and there was a lot of cash in the system to help nearly everyone purchase a home. Ultimately, that went bad and a lot of people were left with outturned pockets.

Similarly, student loans can be useful investments if you’re going into a field with high income potential. But you have to be somewhat prescient to anticipate the needs of society when you graduate to make sure your diploma will be valuable. Otherwise, you’ll be out of school with a huge debt burden and no way to service it.

Ditto small business loans. The good news here is lending institutions tend to require extensive documentation and evidence of your expertise before committing. This makes them a better bet, but things can still turn on a dime, leaving you in a lot of trouble.

Smart Debt Solutions

If you find yourself in a situation in which your good debt has gone bad, you do have options. The first thing to do is take stock of your situation to see where your debt to income ratio falls. Add up all of your monthly bills and compare the total to your income. If you make more than you owe, bill consolidation, coupled with renegotiating the terms of your loans to lower your interest rates and payments is a good move.

If you owe more than you make, you can consider one of a couple of debt reduction strategies. Be apprised, many forms of good debt fall into the “non-dischargeable” category, which makes dealing with them a bit tougher. However, if you also have a lot of unsecured debt, getting it managed or settled could free up enough cash to keep the good debt afloat.

Debt Management

Generally conducted alongside credit counseling, this approach involves getting creditors to waive interest payments and fees to help make repayment easier. Lenders tend to accept debt management programs because they’d rather get their principal back than risk losing everything if you’re forced into bankruptcy.

Debt Settlement

Agreements are also reached with creditors in debt settlement. However, in addition to foregoing fees and interest payments, creditors are asked to forgive part of the loan amount in exchange for a lower settlement amount. This at least gets them some of their money back, again, before you declare bankruptcy and the debt is charged off completely.

Primary Consequences

Both debt management and debt relief will have a detrimental effect on your credit score. However, management typically leaves less of a scar than settlement. There might also be tax issues to consider, as the IRS might classify the forgiven portions of a debt as income.

You also need to be careful to find reputable companies with which to work. There are people out there who live to prey upon those in need of this type of assistance. However with careful research, like these Freedom Debt Relief reviews, you can find honest people who are sincere about helping you turn things around.

 

Image: Pixabay

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3 Fun and Creative Ways to Celebrate Your New Arrival

Image: Pixabay

Finding out that you’re expecting is an exciting time for a couple. From the very moment that you hear the news from your doctor, you want to shout it from the rooftops for everyone to hear. As you’re already aware, the first few weeks are critical and spreading the word too soon can be considered taboo. So, by the time you reach your second trimester, you’re ready to let your friends and family in on the secret.

But how should you spread the word? Call everyone? Send an email? Have a dinner? Those methods could work well, but if you really want to celebrate your pregnancy or the arrival of your newborn you might consider these fun, intimate, and creative options below:

Gender Reveal Party

A popular way to share the exciting news with your loved ones is to host a gender reveal party. Such a party is designed to not only help you let others know you have a little one on the way, but it is also a fun way to reveal whether it’s going to be a boy or a girl. All you need to do is send out invitations, plan a menu, pick games, and purchase decor like 20 inch sparklers, streamer, ribbon, balloons, and whatever else you find to fit the occasion.

When your guests arrive, you determine when’s the best time to reveal the sex of your newborn. You can opt for something traditional like a gender reveal cake that is either pink or blue when you cut into it, or you could go for something a bit more festive like gender reveal smoke bombs that send pink or blue smoke into the air once lit. Your family will have a great time not only celebrating the announcement of your pregnancy but the news of whether they’ll be another boy or girl in the family tree.

Baby Shower

Image: Pixabay

A more traditional way of celebrating the birth of a baby is a baby shower. Often planned in the third trimester, the mother to be can make this a very intimate moment. At this point, most of your friends and family are aware that you’re pregnant, but a shower can still be special for everyone. It’s also a great way to stock up on supplies, clothing, and toys you’ll need to raise your newborn over the next few months. If you want, you can tie in elements of the gender reveal party to the baby shower (that is if you can hold the secret of the gender that long).

Sip and See (Arrival Shower)

Some expectant mothers prefer to leave the celebration of their newborn until after the baby has arrived. You’ll want to wait until the baby is at least 1-3 months old to host an event such as this as your baby’s immune system is still very weak and too much interaction with others early on could result in the baby getting sick. Once you’ve got the all clear from your doctor, invite everyone over to your home to see the baby, engage in conversation, indulge in food, and just share each other’s company. Sip and sees are also perfect because you have a better idea of what size clothes and which supplies you need, and you can be 100% sure that your guests purchase things for the right gender.

Having a baby is one of the most exciting journeys in life. Whether it’s your first, second, or third pregnancy, at some point you’re going to want to celebrate the news of this precious new life with others. Gender reveal parties, baby showers, and sip and sees are the perfect way to spread the news and allow others to celebrate the birth of your bundle of joy together.

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6 Baby Care Tricks for Future Mommies

During your first years of life, there was someone who held you and who has been there for you through your worst. She has been there to praise you for your successes and she has always encouraged you.  Moms have the hardest job in the world, a full-time job where love is their only reward.

Since being a mother is not easy, future mommies need to learn more baby care tricks that can help them cope with the upcoming challenges. They should also receive guidance in regards to the best products for their children. In order to do so, new mothers can go to Mom Crib to get updated on the best baby and toddler products. Even if we may think that moms know everything, they might get caught off guard at times. However, if you’re a mom, you do not have to worry. These useful baby care tricks will prepare you for motherhood.

1.   Hold your baby

Sometimes holding a baby too much might get confused with spoiling. Mothers do not have to feel guilty about it since this is not necessarily true. Specialists indicate that holding your baby is natural. Linda C. Donovan, RN, MHA, IBCLC, claims that is mothers are willing to hold their babies and meet their needs immediately, the kids will know that they are worthy and respected.

2.   Forget about the Baby Wipes

Besides the fact that they can be pretty expensive, they also prove to be inefficient. Hence, you can cross it off your shopping list. Wendie A. Howland, RN MN CRRN CCM CNLCP, says that a 100 percent breastfed babies do not need baby wipes. Their urine is noncorrosive and dilute while their faeces are watery and low in bacteria and acid. Therefore, moms can wipe it off with great ease. You will not have to worry about any type of rash if you use a damp cloth diaper to wipe the baby’s butt.

3.   Stimulate Mother’s Heartbeat

Since your newborn baby has been used to hearing your heartbeat while in the womb, you should simulate that after their birth. Therefore, you may use a clock with a very loud ticking sound, placing it close to the baby’s crib. In this way, you will make sure that your baby will feel as if they were close to you.

4.   Frequent Baby Naps

Young mothers may find it difficult to put their babies to sleep especially when to decipher what they are crying about. Most mothers have tried almost every method there is to trick their babies into falling asleep. From driving around the block in the car to swinging them in their arms, these methods seem to fail sometimes. Hence, new parents can now think about finding the appropriate gadget that can do the hard work for them. A baby swing might be the perfect solution for you. There are several types of swings which vary in size and movement settings. You might be surprised, but “car drive” is a popular movement setting in several brands.

5.   Monitor Your Baby

Even if being a mother is a full-time job, a mother is also a housewife. Therefore, when completing chores around the house and you leave your baby alone in their room, you might need a baby monitor. A video and audio baby monitor can help you keep track of their activities, letting you know whether the baby is crying or if they are awake. Music can calm down the angriest person. This also works in case your baby won’t stop crying. Pleasant music can soothe the baby, helping them to calm down. Hence, consider playing a CD while in the car or at home, in your baby’s room. This way, the atmosphere will be more relaxed and your baby might even fall asleep faster.

6.   Sterilizing is Imperative

It may seem complicated, but it is actually very easy to sterilize your baby’s pacifiers, bottles, and toys. You will need an expensive home sterilizer and you should definitely forget about the old-fashion way, in a pot full of water. All you have to do is place everything you want to sterilize in your dishwasher and run it on a hot cycle without soap. This trick works perfectly and it is not time-consuming.

 

Becoming a mother can be challenging and sometimes scary, but there is no greater feeling than holding your baby in your arms. Seeing your baby smile is a sign that indicates you are doing a great job. These baby care tricks can help you become better at parenting, making sure your baby is healthy and thriving.

Searching for advice and willing to learn more can help you practice different simple ideas that make your life easier when it comes to your baby routine. Make sure you implement some of these tricks into your every-day schedule and you will feel more confident as a mother.

Image: Pixabay

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Easy Ways to Teach Your Kids About Giving Back

Of all the life lessons you’ll teach your children, there are none quite as special as the importance of giving back to others. As kind-hearted citizens, you want them to use their gifts and talents not only for their own success but for the aid and support of others who are in need. Giving back helps to boost self-esteem and confidence while also showing your children how to be grateful for what they have. If you’re anxious to teach your children the very valuable lesson of helping others, but aren’t sure where to start, this might give you some ideas.

Donate Unwanted Things

Children outgrow things fairly easily. From clothes to toys, they run through things faster than most parents (or their budgets) care to think about. Instead of tossing everything out for trash, you can teach your children how to give back by donating their things. Once or twice a year, have the kids clean out their closets and toy boxes and gather things they no longer want. If you know children close to their ages who are in need you can personally donate it to them, or you can find a donation bin and dump everything in there.

Donate Money

Do your children complete household chores to receive an allowance? You can use this as an opportunity to teach them to give back. Create a donation jar in your house and request that your kids put a certain portion of their allowance into the jar. Once it’s been filled up, decide as a family where you’d like to donate it to. Perhaps they want to find a charity that helps animals or children in the neighborhood. Check out the charity websites so your children can see where their money is going and how it benefits those they’ve donated to.

Volunteer Time

Time is precious for everyone. That’s probably what makes it so special when it’s given. A few times a year, take your children with you to donate their time helping others. There are so many things you can do right in your own community. Clean up local parks and public areas, help feed the homeless at the soup kitchen, find out if there are opportunities to paint old buildings or fences, and perhaps check with the schools to see if there are philanthropic activities they offer to the students.

Help Others You Know

Sometimes, the people who need the most help are those that are closest to you. You can teach your kids about giving back by looking at your family. Do you know someone who is sick? Let the kids help you prepare a meal and take it to them? Do your parents need some help with housework? Tell the children to roll up their sleeves and pitch in.

Giving is a gift that keeps on giving. It teaches your children to be glad for the blessings they have in their life while sharing those gifts and talents with others. Whether they donate their time, things, or money, the lessons they’ll learn from being kind to others in need will stick with them for a lifetime. As you implement each of these ideas, remember to keep the kids involved in choosing the various programs or people they’d like to give back to. This will peak their interests and keep them encouraged to give long into adulthood.

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