September 2015 - History Gal

Thriving on a Teacher's Salary #1

Woman at computer - Thriving on a Teacher Salary by History Gal

Living on a teacher's salary is hard. It became really difficult a few years ago when an unexpected visit to the emergency room resulted in a huge medical bill. All of a sudden, our monthly budget had to cover a monthly hospital payment. Money that was budgeted for things like buying groceries and paying for our daughter's dance class went towards paying down a huge medical bill. I decided there had to be a way for me to save on our monthly budget and I found several things that actually worked! I'm going to be sharing these tips over the next several weeks and I hope you will find them helpful wherever you are in your financial journey.

Tip #1: Stop Going to the Mall
Before kids, I used to go to the mall frequently just to see what was in the stores. I'd always buy something.  
My strategy is simple: If I don't go to the mall, I don't spend money.
The same goes for the outlet center that opened just miles from my house. It's been open 5 years, I've gone once. If I go to the mall or the outlets, I have a specific purpose and, more importantly, a specific budget.

Tip #2: Stick to a List
Have you ever ventured into Target for one item and ended up with a full cart and a $200 receipt? It's easy to do and it's happened to me many times.

So I make a list and do my best to stick to it.

Tip #3: Getting Paid to Shop Online, really!
I do most of my shopping online. It is easier than dragging my kids all around town. A few years ago, I discovered a site called Rakuten (formally Ebates). It actually pays you back for shopping online! Whenever you shop online, first visit Rakuten. Simply click on the store you want to shop and Rakuten redirects you to the store. Viola! You get a percentage back on your purchase. Percentages start at 1% and can go as high as 10%. Yep. You get money back for buying items you were already going to buy. There are no gimmicks or extra things to do (well, you do have to create an account!). Go to Rakuten first, shop, and every quarter they'll mail you a check or send it via PayPal. It's that easy. If you'd like to sign up, you can use my referral link or just go to Rakuten to sign up.

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What is Labor Day, anyway?

Musings of a History GalYesterday, schools were closed and most of us were home from work. But do you know why the first Monday in September is a Federal holiday?

Here are some sites that explain Labor Day:
United States Department of Labor: The History of Labor Day
History Channel articles and Videos: Labor Day
Time Magazine: Why We Celebrate Labor Day

Here are some sites that explain some notable events throughout the history of labor in United States:
Notable Strikes of the Gilded Age
Chicago Workers During the Gilded Age
University of Virginia's Documenting the Other Half
Library of Congress: Homestead Strike
Primary Source: "I Will Kill Frick"
PA Labor History Society video: Homestead Strike of 1892
Primary Source: July 1892 article about Homestead Strike
Labor History of the Pacific Northwest Encyclopedia
PBS: Triangle Factory Fire
Rise of the American Railway Union 1893-1894
Mother Jones Museum
PBS Video: Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?

Here are some events in the news now:
Kentucky Doesn't Have Any More Working Union Coal Mines
NPR: Northwestern Football Players Lose Union Bid
NPR: Washington Berry Pickers Push for Exclusive Union Contract

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The Power of Toons!

Today, I'm joining up with Teaching Trio for Technology Thursday!

I love comics and I especially like to incorporate comics and toons into my lessons.
Musings of a History GalMusings of a History Gal

Musings of a History Gal

3 Reasons You Should Use Cartoon Images in Your Class:
1. Toons make boring lessons, homework, worksheets, and even tests more fun.
2. They make high school students smile (believe me, high school students can be a tough audience!)
3. It shows students you have a sense of humor.
Don't know where to find great cartoon images? One of my favorite illustrators has some awesome resources for teachers! Since 1996, Ron Leishman has been putting up awesome toons daily on his site Toonaday. You'll have to sign up for a free account, but once you do, you can download his daily toon and access the last 30 days of toons. You are free to use these toons in your classroom and for personal use. If you'd like more of his toons and/or would like to use his toons for commercial use, Ron has a Teachers Pay Teachers Store: Ron Leishman Digital Toonage and a subscription site called ToonClipart.

What are you waiting for? Go add some humor to your classes!

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