Saturday, November 26, 2011

10 Ways to Live Below Your Means

This is a guest post from my other Blog, "Learning Money".

1. Identify and cut those expenses that are “leaky holes”, things like magazine or movie subscriptions or even the health club if you don’t use it. 

2. Don’t dine or snack out. Bag your lunch and if you must snack, pack drinks and munchies in your bag or car.

3. Avoid impulse purchases. Anything that costs over $100 should be put off for 1-2 weeks to determine if you REALLY need it. 

4. Don’t upgrade anything electronic to the latest and greatest unless it’s necessary.

5. Spend less on gifts at the stores and more time making cards, writing poems or songs and expressing your feelings without spending money on your loved ones.

6. When you go to the grocery store or any store for that matter, buy what’s on your list and then LEAVE.

7. Use the library instead of buying books online or for your e-reader. Trade books with friends and family, too!

8. Buy used stuff, especially cars.

9. Drive less. Consolidate your trips. Drive slower to save gas. Better yet, take a bike, a walk or just stay put.

10. Get re-interested in learning, in enjoying what you already have and hanging out with your family. Play games, be creative, keep up with friends or write in a journal. The more time we spend not spending is money saved and a life well-lived.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Am Thankful

Here's a song we recorded today to express our gratitude and love for one another, our family, friends and the values we share.

May your holiday be full of great conversations, laughter, tasty food and lots of hugs!

Beth and Scott
"I Am Thankful"
Words and Music by Scott Bierko
©2011 Bierko Productions

What We’re Most Grateful for in 2011

Our Good Health. Despite the onset of middle-aged aches and pains, we still remain capable of getting up every day, shopping for food, cleaning, making meals, doing our job, chopping the firewood and playing with the dog. Thank God for our Kripalu yoga practice and the teachers who blessed us with their knowledge. We also thank the many wonderful healers, doctors and others who tend to our mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

Our Family. It’s not easy being a great mom and dad to two teenage girls. In fact, we make lots of mistakes and kick ourselves almost daily for not being perfect parents. That said, we are thankful because we have great kids who are compassionate, funny and beautiful. What a blessing to witness their transformation from helpless little babies into responsible adolescents and young adults ready to take their turn getting things “right”.

Our Business. Like most Americans (many others around the world), we are struggling harder and making less. Instead of the incremental progress and accumulation of assets our parent’s generation enjoyed during their 40’s and 50’s, we are finding it a struggle just to survive in this economy. Despite this downturn, we feel lucky to have many, many loyal and wonderful clients who share our love of music and children. We are so fortunate to have a job, especially one that allows us to work together, have fun and make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.

Our Country. The U.S.A. is going through a crisis brought on by years of unsustainable growth, a certain measure of greed and a lack of compassion for each other and our environment. Our hope is that our leaders and our fellow citizens will make the smart, difficult choices necessary to promote long term prosperity for our children’s generation.

Nature. As we look around, there is so much wonder and beauty in our natural world. We are lucky to make our home in the woods where wild turkeys and deer parade past our window and squirrels, chipmunks, woodpeckers, spiders, skunks and swans share the trees, the reservoirs and the clean air with us two-legged folks.

Needs and Wants. A comfortable couch, a warm furnace, a roof that doesn’t leak and two old cars that still run are all blessings that come to us courtesy of the people who made and sold them. As musicians, we’re fortunate to have drums to bang, guitars and ukes to strum and microphones so that audiences can hear us. How lucky we are to have shoes, socks, pants, shirts, sweaters and coats.

You. Maybe we’ve met, maybe you’ve heard our songs or maybe you’re being introduced to us for the first time. We’re glad you’re here, a fellow traveler in this wacky, wonderful world. May you be blessed with abundance, love and gratitude.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Holidays Around the World

Does your community celebrate the holidays with any annual traditions? We're not referring to big sales on toys or clothes, but to those old-timey opportunities for folks to gather, to laugh and to sing the songs of the season. Beth & Scott's program, Happy Holidays Around the World, now in its fifteenth year, once again brings the perfect mixture of ingredients to please everyone at your school.

"First, we gather together," says Scott Bierko. "children, parents and teachers, creating a real sense of community. Second, we provide the audience with a super-fun show with important educational content, multiple styles of music, a brightly colored set and lots of on-stage participation by the kids and the adults. Lastly, we mix in a sense of warmth and just enough love to leave the audience smiling."

Beth & Scott and Friends teach kids that we may be different on the outside, but inside we're all very much the same.

"Like Scott says in the show," remarks Beth Bierko, "We gather to give light to the darkest time of the year, by sharing food, exchanging presents and giving thanks for all that we have. Mostly, we travel great distances to be with the people we love - family and old friends. I think of that word, "community" and see it's about how we come together throughout the world to create a oneness that's at the heart of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas".

Happy Holidays Around the World brings together songs that everyone can dance and sing to, humor that tickles even the most serious of teachers and a sense of connection that makes for lifelong memories. As one principal recently said, "You are a tradition at our school. If I ever thought of not booking you - the teachers would get rid of me!"

Find out why so many schools ring in the holidays with Beth & Scott and Friends' show, Happy Holidays Around the World. It might be the best present you can give your kids this year.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Can't Find My Gloves

Can’t Find My Gloves
(to the tune of “Can’t Buy Me Love” by Lennon & McCartney)
New Lyrics By Scott Bierko Copyright 2011 Bierko Productions

Can’t find my gloves
Can’t find my gloves
Can’t find my gloves

I want to go outside and make snow angels in the snow
I want to take a ride on my new sleigh but I can’t go
No I can’t go so says my mommy
‘Cause I can’t find my gloves

I want to build a snowman but my hands will get too cold
I want to have a snowball fight but I can’t so I’ve been told
No I can’t go so says my mommy
‘Cause I can’t find my gloves

Can’t find my gloves
Until I find ‘em I can’t go
Can’t find my gloves
No, no, no, no

I’ve looked around and up and down everywhere that I could think
I’m not gonna wear my sister’s gloves they’re  little and they’re pink
Then I can’t go so says my mommy
‘Cause I can’t find my gloves