Four Quick and Simple Tips for Large Families on a Budget

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to completely overhaul your family’s lifestyle in order to budget and find areas to save some extra money.

There are many simple steps that can get you on your way to a financially balanced household. Even the smallest changes in your family’s spending habits can make a big difference in saving money and staying on budget, especially when you have a large family.

And best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice meaningful family time or become an extreme coupon clipper in order to do so. Saving money can even be a family activity or teaching opportunity for your children. Involving them in the process can help teach them important financial lessons about saving money and doing things over having things.

Here are four quick, simple tips for large families on a budget.

Live Within Your Means and Create a Budget

Living within your means is all about knowing how much your household makes and spending less than you bring in. It is important to take inventory or make a list of your income and prioritize expenses. This will help you get started with a monthly budget and enable you to create a spending plan for your money. Whether you use traditional pen and paper, or a mobile budget app, simply starting a budget will get you on your way to getting ahead and getting organized. Creating a household budget and adopting the live within your means philosophy can help you reach your family’s financial goals.

Save Wherever Possible

After you create a budget, the next step is finding out where you can drawback your spending. Reducing the number of trips you take to your local coffee shop is just one small way to save extra cash. Ultimately, those trips can add up and it might be the one thing that puts more money than you think back into your pocket. Another area you can save big in: grocery shopping. And you don’t have to become an ultimate coupon clipper to do so. Reducing your grocery trips to once or twice a month and always going in prepared with a list are simple ways to reduce overspending on your trips. Retail shopping can also work the same way, and with the internet at your fingertips, you can quickly and easily save by comparing prices online, signing up for newsletters for deals/discounts and finding promo codes.

Family Time at Home

Taking the family out to dinner or the movies isn’t the only way to spend quality time together as a family. While it might be tempting to get out of the house with the kids, there’s plenty of family fun to be had right in your own home. A home movie or board game night with delicious snacks are just two examples of fun, simple, at-home activities for the entire family. Or, take home-movie night a step further and create your very own movie. Grab a smartphone and help your kids record their very own film. Whipping up a home-cooked meal is another option that can incorporate the entire family and be special bonding time, especially when you have a large family to feed. Involve your kids in the planning and shopping process makes it a family affair. Activities don’t have to be restricted to just inside your house. For families who are really itching for outdoor fun, pitch a tent in the backyard complete with sleeping bags and items to make s’mores.

With a large family, it can be tough to find time to do anything extra outside of your daily routine. Work, school drop off and pick up, lessons, recitals and making dinner can all add up for an exhausting day. It’s easy to let things like finding time to manage a budget or cost-efficient ways to save money fall at the wayside. But if you can follow these three tips, you’ll find that managing your savings can be quick and simple.

Ryder and Nicole EricksonFour Quick and Simple Tips for Large Families on a Budget
Read More

3 Outdoor Adventures to Kick off the New Year

Forget your same old same old resolutions and make 2018 your year of adventure. Adopt an adventurous mindset this year because the possibilities for finding new adventures and making new memories really are endless. However, the colder weather around this time of the new year can make it hard to find activities to do with the whole family that gets everyone out of the house and moving around. But if your family is anything like ours, staying active is a necessity no matter what the weather is doing outside. And a little cold weather never hurt anyone anyways. Plus, there’s nothing like starting a brand new year with some family-oriented adventures. Here are 3 ideas for outdoor adventures for your family this new year.

Take the family snow skiing

Let’s start with one of our family’s favorite pastimes. Skiing is at the top of the list when it comes to activities that come to mind when thinking of wintertime adventures. And for good reason. Skiing is the perfect family bonding activity because it’s suitable for any age and provides a constant challenge. Not to mention, skiing is one of the best and most fun workouts out there. Trust us on this one––if you can take your family skiing this year, it will be an adventure you’ll never forget.

Play a game of flag football

Sure it may be a little chilly outside, but that shouldn’t stop a good old-fashioned game of flag football. Instead of staying inside 24/7 and catching cabin fever, throw on a coat and pick your teams. Before you know it, you’ll forget how cold it is outside anyways.  Plus, a little healthy competition may be exactly what your family needs after all.

Find a nice wintertime hike

Hitting the trails during the winter may not be the first thing you think of when brainstorming some family-centered wintertime activities. However, if you’re prepared, a wintertime hike make for some of the most beautiful sights. There are few views more magical than a forest frosted in snow. So bundle up and head out into the great outdoors for a beautiful, snowy view and a wintertime adventure that’s hard to beat.

The weather may be a bit nippy this time of year, but that doesn’t mean it should stop your family from staying active and making memories the best way you know how. Try these 3 outdoor adventures to kick off the new year.

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Outdoor Adventures to Kick off the New Year
Read More

3 Reasons You Should Take Your Family Snow Skiing

With the winter months quickly approaching, back porch family cookouts and summertime days in the sun are coming to an end. But that doesn’t mean the family fun should too. The winter months bring just as many opportunities for quality, family time as the summertime does despite the drop in temperatures. In fact, some of the most adventurous and memorable moments can be had skiing down a mountain with your entire family in tow. Here are 3 reasons you should go snow skiing this winter.

Active hobbies keep you young

Activities that get your family into the great outdoors for a bit of fresh air and some exercise are perfect for the whole gang because these activities can be enjoyed at any age. Snow skiing, in particular, serves as an effective, but most importantly fun family workout. Trust us, you’ll be feeling the aftermath of an afternoon out on the slopes for days to come. Family activities that double as a workout keep everyone young no matter what age you are!

Snow skiing is the perfect opportunity for family bonding

Finding family bonding activities that don’t feel like forced family bonding activities can be super difficult especially when you have kids of all different ages. But snow skiing is one of the only family activities that truly has it all. Not only does it get the adrenaline pumping and adds a little adventure and excitement to life, but snow skiing also provides the perfect opportunity to make memories and establish traditions that can last your family a lifetime.

Snow skiing builds character and confidence

Snow skiing is one of the best activities to get your children involved in at an early age because every day out on the slopes has its own challenges and own adventures. Snow skiing is definitely one of the more challenging sports out there, but it can also be one of the best ways to learn how to set reasonable goals and track progress in reaching them. Different level slopes have their own set of adversities, but overcoming each one adds character and confidence.

It may be hard for the entire family to find an activity everyone enjoys, especially when the weather starts getting a little colder, but snow skiing is the perfect hobby to cure everyone’s cabin fever, build character, and make memories all at the same time.   

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Reasons You Should Take Your Family Snow Skiing
Read More

3 Tips For Traveling With Your Spouse

There are few things more romantic than traveling to a faraway destination, running away from reality, and exploring a new part of the world with your spouse. Travel compatibility is a must for any travel partner, which makes your spouse the perfect travel companion given that your spouse is likely the person you are most compatible with in the whole world. Not to mention, a different level of growth, development, and bonding is possible when traveling, so traveling with your spouse is one of the best things you can do for your relationship.  Read on to find out some tips to make your next trip with your spouse the best it can be!

Be prepared to compromise

This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the very essence of marriage is built on love and sacrifice. When it comes to travel, make sure the two of you are open to each other’s ideas and take turns when deciding where to eat, what to do, and where to stay. Before you leave for your trip, make sure you are both on the same page as to how decisions will be made when you’re on your trip. Staying open and remaining flexible is the recipe for a successful trip no matter where you go.

Get creative with your activities

Look for activities you wouldn’t be able to do at home and are always more fun with a partner to do them with. Maybe it’s learning to cook pasta from scratch in a small town in Italy or riding in a hot air balloon above Napa Valley’s beautiful landscape. Whatever you choose, be sure you both agree you wouldn’t be able to have the same experience if you were back at home.

Plan enough time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate

While it’s always a good idea to take advantage of whatever your location offers, make sure you schedule in some downtime in between activities. A nap on the beach or a spa day at the resort are perfect options, but if your hotel bed is calling your name, that’s just as acceptable. Your bodies and your moods will thank you later! Sometimes there truly isn’t anything more comforting than just relaxing with the one you love most anyways.

Traveling with your spouse is one of the best ways to grow your relationship and your love for each other. Follow these tips for the best trip yet!

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Tips For Traveling With Your Spouse
Read More

3 Tips for the Best School Year Yet

With summer rapidly coming to a close and the school year starting back in full swing, the excitement, and perhaps anxiety levels, are peaked at this time of the year. Early mornings, new classes, full days, and more structure all mean one thing––a new school year. Whether you homeschool your kids or they are about to head into another year of traditional schooling, there are certain things to remember to help prepare your family for a successful and worthwhile school year ahead. Keep these tips in mind as school starts and use them throughout the year for the best school year yet.

Use a family calendar

We cannot stress this one enough. With kids running in ten million different directions, it can be hard to keep meetings, practices, games, and events straight. Hang a big calendar in the kitchen that everyone has access to so anyone can jot down appointments or important dates to remember quickly. That way everyone will always have an idea of what’s going on, and nothing will come as a surprise. Trust us, it will save time and stress for the whole family. And everyone could use a bit more of that during the school year.   

Make family time a part of your routine

We all know how busy weeks get once school starts because that means all the activities, sports, and clubs start too. So make an honest effort to set aside some time once a week, or even once a month, to slow down and get together as a family. Whether everyone sits down at the dinner table or you plan a family game night, make sure everyone is there and has an opportunity to talk and communicate with each other. Life only gets busier and busier, and communication is key when it comes to raising a family. So be sure you keep communication as a number one priority, especially throughout the school year, because that’s what establishes a foundation for a healthy and supportive family dynamic.

Identify goals

If you want to raise a successful family, you have to raise goal-driven children. Make sure your kids grow into the go-getter, dream-chasing people you want them to be by making goal-setting a habit at an early age. Although they can be, these goals don’t have to all be academically related. They can be anything from reading one book every month to making a new friend. Setting small, yet realistic goals each year is one of the most effective ways to set your children up for success. It will get them used to the idea of setting attainable goals that they will reference in the future.

Kick off back to school by implementing these 3 tips to make sure this is the best school year yet! 

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Tips for the Best School Year Yet
Read More

Debunking the Rumors on Mentoring

Mentoring is one of the most proactive ways to make successful strides in both your career and your life because it provides professionals with the chance to ask questions that would perhaps otherwise remain unasked and learn from one another in a supportive and respectful environment. But there are some common misunderstandings when it comes to the decision to get involved in mentorship programs. One of the common rumors on mentoring that seeking help or asking for advice is often confused as a sign of weakness, deters many from pursuing such a relationship. It may even feel like by participating in certain mentorship programs you are admitting to a feeling of confusion or the loss of vision pertaining to certain goals and dreams you have previously established for yourself.

But it’s time to debunk these rumors on mentoring because the most successful people are the ones who are never afraid to ask for help or seek advice. In fact, the most successful people are the ones who take the opportunity to learn from others whenever possible.

Read on to debunk the common misunderstandings and discover the truths associated with the power of mentorship programs.

Mentorship is a sign of weakness

First and foremost, participating in a mentorship program is actually quite the contrary. More than anything else, mentoring exemplifies an unparalleled level of ambition and dedication to career goals and aspirations. At its very heart, mentoring is an opportunity to improve all aspects of your career, and should be acknowledged as a sign of responsibility, professionalism, and strength.

Mentorship is a formal relationship

While a mentoring relationship may be a formal one, it can truly be whatever kind of relationship you want it to be. And look for these relationships everywhere. Someone doesn’t have to carry the formal title as your mentor in order for you to learn from them. In fact, try looking for mentoring moments in the most informal of situations. You’ll be surprised what you can learn even when you least expect it. And then the next time you find yourself in a formal mentorship setting, you’ll have new insights to bring to the table. To find out more about what makes for an optimal mentoring relationship, read these 3 Ways to Improve Your Mentoring Relationship.

Mentorship is for young professionals only

Mentorship is perfectly suited for professionals of all ages and at every career stage. And despite popular belief, older professionals can and should take every opportunity to learn from younger professionals as well. Every career-minded person, should learn from whoever and whenever they have the chance because new perspectives and fresh ideas can lead to career-changing breakthroughs. Most importantly, mentorship is a career-long journey because true learning is a lifelong process.   

Ryder and Nicole EricksonDebunking the Rumors on Mentoring
Read More

4 Ways to Enjoy The Outdoors on The Fourth

The 4th of July is a great way to celebrate all that our amazing country has to offer, and to appreciate the freedom and opportunity we are given each and every day. There’s no better way to be festive and American on this American holiday than to get outside and take in the beautiful scenery and fresh air.

If you want to celebrate our great land the right way, but are at a loss as to how to plan your Fourth of July adventure, check out these 4 ways to enjoy the outdoors on the Fourth.

Take a trip to the beach

July is the perfect month to enjoy a relaxing trip to the beach to begin with; the weather is sunny and warm, the ocean water begins to heat up, and people are on island time enjoying the summer. Since this American holiday attracts flocks of beach-goers, you’re sure to be presented with endless festivities and even make some new friends. During the Fourth, beach towns are usually buzzing with festivals, live music, and decorations to get people in patriotic spirits, so you won’t have to worry about planning a full schedule. At the end of your day of sunbathing and making sandcastles, gather your friends or family on the beach to watch fireworks, likely set off from a barge off the shore. Afterall, isn’t the Fourth about coming together and celebrating and appreciating our beautiful nation?

Go to the lake

If you can’t manage to plan a beach trip for the Fourth of July, why not plan a fun day or weekend trip to the lake? Gather some friends to take a boat out, or bring some lawn chairs and a picnic to the shore to enjoy relaxing summer vibes. Either way, being on the water keeps you in perspective of everything to be grateful for, and reminds you that life is good. Going to the lake on the Fourth is sure to be a festive outing with fireworks at dusk and people coming together to celebrate.

Hike a mountain trail

Breathing in the fresh outdoors while fitting in good physical exercise is a great way to celebrate your Fourth of July. Even if you’re staying in town around the holiday, hiking outdoors is something you can do most anywhere to enjoy the natural flora and fauna of America. Gather up a big group of friends or even just a few family members to plan a hiking trip and really appreciate the landscape and view. Whether you’re in the mood for walking a short woodsy trail or tackling an all-day mountain hike, you’ll be sure to have time at the end to relax and enjoy an evening fireworks show.

Camp in the outdoors

You can even take your hiking trip to the next level by spending the night in a tent or RV. Camping is a great way to immerse yourself in the outdoors while celebrating this great American holiday. It forces you to go off the grid with minimal technology so that you can really spend quality time with your friends and family to appreciate what’s truly important in life. At the

Ryder and Nicole Erickson4 Ways to Enjoy The Outdoors on The Fourth
Read More

3 Things You Didn’t Know the Outdoors Could Teach You About Yourself

Jaw-dropping landscapes aren’t just for desktop backgrounds. That’s why the most adventurous among us experience such a rush when we lace up our hiking boots and head outdoors. One of the many thrills of setting out on a new adventure is learning about the world and embracing the beauty of the unknown, whether it’s a mountain trail all the way across the country or a riverbank in your very own background. But we often don’t think about how the world can teach us about ourselves. Read on to find out three of the most astonishing things you can learn about yourself on your next adventure outdoors.

3 Things You Didn’t Know the Outdoors Could Teach You About Yourself

Nature can teach about the things you don’t even know about yourself.

First off, when you set out on an unfamiliar trail, you continuously explore new sights, learn new paths, and have new experiences. Embarking on a new adventure, in fact, may be better defined as braving the unknown. Likewise, the unknown of nature can remind us about what we have failed to unearth about ourselves. Just as there is an endless amount of world to explore, you can learn something new about yourself every day.

Nature can teach you about your strength.

When you are faced with a challenge, whether it’s an unexpected river to cross or an intimidating mountain you’ve never skied before, you tend to recognize the powerful force of nature. It’s easy to focus your attention on the difficulties that lie ahead and quickly become obsessed with strategizing a way to overcome them. We often fail to take this time to notice the strength that lies within us and the absolute resilience we already have that will push us through any obstacle – whether on our adventure or in everyday life.

Nature can teach us to notice the beauty in all parts of our lives.

When we set out to discover a new place, hike a new mountain, or follow a new trail, we often set out in search of the world’s beauty. We may find ourselves shocked or taken aback at the views before us. However, just as nature’s beauty can take our breath away, we fail to recognize the beauty that colors our lives, the beauty of the energy of those who fill it, and the beauty that radiates through us.

Remember these things the next time you find yourself lost on an adventure somewhere, and make an honest attempt to pay attention to what nature might be telling you. Whatever you discover just might take the breath right out of your lungs.

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Things You Didn’t Know the Outdoors Could Teach You About Yourself
Read More

How Travel Makes You a Better Person

When you stay in one spot, you get comfortable. You learn the ins and outs of your home, and you never want to leave. You feel safe. But, just like a plant relegated to an adequate pot, you never get to grow beyond your allotted space. When you travel beyond the confines of your comfort zone, you inevitably become a better person. You see the world from new perspectives; you learn things about yourself you wouldn’t have otherwise, and most of all, you grow in ways you could never have anticipated.

It’s undeniable: travel just makes you a better person.

Travel Forces You to Adopt New Perspectives

Traveling to a country you’ve never been to before forces you to adopt new perspectives you might never have considered before. The people you’ll meet will, no doubt, have a different way of looking at the world than you do.

The beauty of intercultural exchanges is that everyone involved leaves with a broader sense of the universe.

Travel Helps You Learn About Yourself

Even if you learn nothing about the way other cultures operate—which would be a real shame—travel helps you to learn about the one person you’ll definitely spend the rest of your life with: yourself.

When you’re without your metaphorical safety net, you get the chance to explore who really you are. Traveling to a place where no one knows you allows you to be a more authentic version of yourself—a version that doesn’t care what other people think.

Travel Lets You Grow in Amazing Ways

Let’s say you’re dropped in the middle of Sri Lanka. You know nothing about their culture. You have a vague conception of their history, and you know maybe one word in their native tongue—and it’s probably, “Hello.”

In order to get around, you have to be able to communicate in other ways. You have to have the fortitude to stretch outside of your comfort zone. If you’re an introvert, you’ll have to break out of that shell of yours. And, if you’re an extrovert, you may have to temper your outgoing tendencies to go with the flow. Either way, you’ll be growing in amazing ways. You’ll leave having learned so much about yourself, your surroundings, and the people whose lives you’ve touched.

Travel doesn’t force you to grow or change; really, it just allows you to expand your personal horizons.

Ryder and Nicole EricksonHow Travel Makes You a Better Person
Read More

3 Ways to Improve Your Mentoring Relationship

A mentoring relationship is a two-way street. It can’t be driven solely by the mentor, nor can it be totally steered by the mentee. The two must work in tandem to reach their mutual destination of personal success. If you’re looking to be a mentor, or if you’re already currently mentoring someone, you should consistently be looking for ways to improve your mentoring relationship.

Here, we have three incredible ways to improve your mentorship relationship, no matter where you are in your journey.

Eliminate “Always” and “Never” From Your Vocabulary

In any relationship, the words “always” and “never” are pretty powerful. They can be whipped around to sting and burn, or they can be used to uplift and celebrate. That dual-edged nature of the words is what makes them so dangerous, so volatile, and so limiting.

If you tell your mentor that they “always” behave in a certain way, you’ll guarantee that they’ll not only continue in that fashion, but they may also resent you for that implication. Even if you meant it positively, you may engender a resting-on-their-laurels mentality. They may think that they don’t have to try as hard because you’ll just assume that they always perform at a certain caliber; there’s no reason for them to strive for more. The same logic applies to “never.” Never limits a mentee’s ability to overcome adversity.

Help your mentees to triumph over challenges and learn more about themselves always by never constricting them to “never” or “always.”

Build Trust with Your Mentee One Day at a Time

Trust is not implicit. It’s not a given: it’s something that has to be built and earned one day at a time. In a mentorship situation, it’s especially important to develop that trust over a longer period. You can’t rush out of the gate, assuming that your mentee trusts that you have their best interests at heart.

The best way to build that trust? It may seem way too commonsensical, but the truth is: the best way to build trust is to be trustworthy. Say what you mean and mean what you say. When you follow through on your promises, one after the other, you naturally build a positive rapport. You don’t have to make big promises, but you do have to prove yourself in some way. Start small, and work your way up, and before you know it, you’ll have an amazing mentoring relationship with someone you consider to be a close confidante as well.

Cultivate a Positive Attitude as a Mentor

Though mentoring is a two-way street, the mentor definitely takes the wheel for the first part of the journey. It’s up to the mentor to establish the atmosphere and initial direction of the mentoring relationship.

The best mentoring relationships are the ones whose foundations are positive. Thus, it’s vitally important to cultivate a positive attitude as a mentor. You’ll find that adopting a sunny disposition when dealing with a mentee will have a domino effect. Your positive attitude will catch on with your mentee, who will in turn pay that positivity forward, and that initial spark will light a fire that will spread the whole world around.

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Ways to Improve Your Mentoring Relationship
Read More