Saturday, January 30, 2010

Estimate Cost of Gas For Trips

Source: AARP Bulletin

Log on to www.CostToDrive.com and get a free estimate of how much you'll likely spend on gasoline - plus pointers to the cheapest stations along the way. You can also see a map and learn your estimated travel time and for trips over 200 miles, the cost of a round-trip ticket between the closest airports so you can compare.

AAA offers a similar service at www.fuelcostcalculator.com

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Scammers Disguise Opt-Out Info as Junk Mail

When Roger Holen was cold-called by a telemarketer selling Internet services, he politely responded the way many people do when they’re eager to get off the phone and resume their dinner: “I said, ‘Mail me information and I’ll look at it.’ ”

The following month, Holen’s wife, Janet, noticed a $29.95 charge on their telephone bill for the GoInternet services he never ordered.

The Holens, of White Salmon, Wash., are among some 400,000 people who were bilked out of nearly $75 million by the now-defunct Philadelphia-based company. Until busted by federal authorities, the company’s real mission, say prosecutors, was to trick “customers” into paying monthly fees without their knowledge. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Bidding for Medical Services

They say you can't put a price on good health. But at PriceDoc.com , you can bid on the cost of hundreds of procedures, inoculations and tests, including many not covered by health insurance.The free online service has expanded to cash- and credit card-paying patients in 30 major cities and will include some 3,000 medical, dental, vision and other practitioners.How it works: Select your procedure from any of seven tabs, enter your ZIP code or city, and choose from local providers, clinics and practices. You can "reserve" a price from published fees, make a lower offer or "name your price." Then, print your voucher and call the "winner" for an appointment. Providers decide whether they will accept insurance for procedures.

Source: AARP Bulletin - December 2009

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Get Paid to Lose Weight and Be Healthy!

HealthyWage uses incentives, social support, goal-setting, technology and your own personal health and wellness record to empower you to live a better life. HealthyWage helps you live the HealthyLife by keeping track of your health in three categories: HealthyBody, HealthyMind and HealthyCare.

We pay you to make healthy choices, starting with the BMI Challenge, which pays up to $1000 to users who move from an obese BMI (greater than 30) to a normal BMI (less than 25) over a year’s time, while following a few rules and checking in on a weekly basis. We’ll help you build a personalized health program with goals and strategies that take into account your personal profile, health history, personal goals and preferences. Your program is updated constantly, as you enter information on a regular basis. Get all the details.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

DIY Snowplow

Have fun shoveling snow! Sound unimaginable? It’s not, if you build a pedal-powered snow plow. With this fun little machine, you can clear a driveway or sidewalk of snow in about the same amount of time it would take if you used a snow blower. And you’ll have more fun in the process. Soon, you’ll wish for a few inches of snow just so you can use the pedal power plow. Build Your Own.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Bite Into Dental Bills

Some news to make you smile: Whether you have dental insurance or are among the 100 million Americans without it, you may be eligible for free or low-cost dental exams and treatment.Nearly all dental schools provide services by dentist-supervised students for a fraction of typical costs. Find one at www.ada.org by clicking on "Dental Schools." For federally funded programs, visit www.nidcr.nih.gov and click "Finding Dental Care."

Source: AARP Bulletin - December 2009

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Frugal Funerals

Your otherwise excellent article about controlling funeral costs [“The High Cost of Dying,” October] didn’t mention the least expensive option. My mother was both an avid environmentalist and a lifelong teacher, so when she was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, she decided to donate her body to science as a final gift to education.While some medical schools have small charges (such as paying transportation) for their Willed Body Programs, the one closest to us did not, and returned her ashes to me about a year later. I have signed up as well, so someday my husband will have funeral costs for me of $0.00. — Helen Hicks Baker, Lewisburg, W.Va.

Source: AARP Bulletin - November 2009

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Don't Forget Old Savings Bonds

The U.S. Treasury has $16 billion in unredeemed savings bonds. Is some of it yours?

You wouldn't stash a pile of cash under your mattress, right? But many people are essentially doing just that by not cashing in matured U.S. savings bonds.According to the Bureau of Public Debt, there are $16 billion worth of savings bonds that have fully matured (meaning they're no longer earning interest) but have not been cashed in.Some bondholders don't cash in because they don't realize their bonds have matured and assume the bonds are still increasing in value. Others may have forgotten they even own a savings bond—40 million bonds purchased between 1941 and 1978 have never been redeemed. The Treasury does not send out notices to bondholders when their bonds have matured.

How can you find out if you have unclaimed savings bond money waiting for you? ... Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Share a Chair

Have furniture you don't need? Trade the clutter for a tax deduction and a warm feeling in your heart.More than 60 nonprofit Furniture Banks nationwide will pick up your furniture donation for free and pass it along to families who desperately need it, including mothers and children escaping domestic violence and working families living below the poverty line. The items accepted vary, although they must be in decent condition.To find a bank near you, go to www.nationalfurniturebank.org

Source: AARP Bulletin - December 2009

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Neighborhood Sharing is Frugal

Did you know that just by having neighbors you can save money? That is because when neighbors band together they can support each other in many endeavors, including saving money.

Sharing your goods and services with your neighbors is a great way to build community, too. There are many ways to share resources. For example, you may want to join a bulk food store or a food co-op as a group. This will save you on the membership fees and allow you to get the savings from bulk purchases without anything going to waste. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Searching Gives to Charity

GoodSearch.com makes a web search a charitable act. The site donates about a penny per search to any one of 83,000 non profits you name.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Keep Your Beauty Expenses Under Control

Every gal likes to look good, right? I find myself skimping more when it comes to my personal expenses, though, than any other budget category. I tell myself that I don’t really need that face cream. And I can do without that conditioner, right?

The truth is, however, that I don’t have to sacrifice all of my little luxuries if I learn to shop for them smartly. I’ve learned over the years a few frugal secrets to keeping my favorite cosmetics and beauty supplies while still keeping the budget in check. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do You Dare Tap Your Home Equity?

You've heard by now that one-quarter of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage are 'underwater' on their loans, owing more than their houses are worth.

That percentage is likely to grow. Deutsche Bank predicts nearly half of mortgaged homeowners, or 25 million households, will be underwater by the time the housing recession ends. That's grim, but the flip side is that most U.S. homeowners still have equity in their homes -- sometimes a lot of equity.

Twenty-three million households have 25% or more equity in their homes, according to First American CoreLogic; 24 million households own their houses free and clear.

The question now is what, if anything, they should do with that wealth. Here's the central problem.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Affordable Home Security

One of the things that turns many frugal homeowners off from signing up with a security company are home security prices. Plans range from those with cheap, self-installed components to high-end plans with 24/7 monitoring.

Home security plans can certainly be a big deterrent to would-be burglars, but there are several affordable home security measures you can implement to your home safe.

1. Get a dog. Not only do they make a great companion, but dogs also make a great deterrent. As for the type of guard dog, the noisier the better! While a great big attack dog might scare away a prowler, most guys would be just afraid of a loud chiahuaha. In this case it really is the bark, not the bite, that is most important.

2. Avoid putting large boxes by the street around the holidays. This really applies any time of the year, but it is something I see most often around Christmas. People place two or three large boxes from a new plasma screen, a computer, and a stereo system down by the street. Looks pretty inviting to someone driving through the neighborhood looking for a target. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Mistakes Made in Opening Own Business

You may have heard that 95% of small business fail within 5 years. This is not true. According to the latest statistics from the Small Business Administration (SBA) “two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at lease two years, and 44 percent survive at least four years.” So opening a business isn’t the death trap we all thought it was.

Bottom line, new businesses have a 50/50 chance of surviving for five years or more. I think you can do better than 50/50. You can start improving your odds by avoiding the mistakes that I made 15 years ago when I opened my business.

1. Start the business for the right reason.

I opened my own shop because I didn’t want to sell the junk the bank wanted me to sell & I wanted more control. Those were good reasons. I also figured I’d make at least as much money and work fewer hours as I did at the bank. Mistake!
I made less money and worked longer hours for several years and I didn’t bargain for that. Most business owners report the same thing so be ready.

Here are a few more good reasons to open your business: Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to Keep New Year Resolutions

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. We know that people keep less than 5% of New Year's resolutions, and I think a big reason for this is that anything we are trying to change in our lives is really about self-discipline.

I realized this after spending two years reading what positive psychologists have discovered makes people happy. And, it turns out, that everything we know about what makes us happy comes down to having self-discipline to do what we know we want to be doing.

So of course making a New Year’s resolution doesn’t work, because it’s the act of saying, “I want to make a change, but I’m not going to do it now. I’m going to do it in January.” That’s not self-discipline, that’s procrastination, right?

If you want to make a change in your life, you can start right now, with something that is not that hard to change. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Tips to Save on Filing Your Taxes

It is very common for taxpayers to end up paying more in fees and penalties on their annual taxes than they should. Below are 6 tips that can help you avoid unnecessary expenses and penalties that many taxpayers incur each year.

File Your Own Taxes:

If you do not have a complex tax return you can save quite a bit of money by filing your tax return on your own. There are many computer programs and online solutions that can make filing taxes extremely easy, even if you know very little about taxes. If you made less than $56,000 (amount could change slightly, updated on IRS site January 15th) in 2009 then you can file for free using the IRS’s FreeFile. The Free File program allows free federal income tax preparation and electronic filings through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance LLC. If you made over $56,000 you can use various other programs that are similar to FreeFile but will charge a fee (which is typically much less than if you went to a tax professional). Some of the most common programs are TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxACT.

Find a Good Tax Professional:

If you do have a complex return (you own stocks, bonds, mutual funds, rental properties, a home) then it is a good idea to hire a good tax professional to help you prepare your return. Even though these tax professionals can sometimes be a bit pricey, you will likely save money overall because of the additional deductions they will likely find that you may not have thought of. When finding a tax professional it is a good idea to be weary of the storefront tax professionals. Sometimes the storefront tax professionals are just seasonal tax preparers and they are doing tax returns for extra money (sometimes they can be good, just generally not as good as year round tax professionals).

Do Not Efile Unless It Is Free:

Many programs like FreeFile from the IRS as well as others will allow you to efile your taxes for free. However, where many software programs like TurboTax and others make additional revenue by efiling your state tax filing. Unless you need your refund ASAP, you can save $35 to $50 dollars easily by just printing out your state tax return and mailing it in instead of efiling it. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Financial Crisis Helps

Common Security Clubs
by Andrée Zaleska

Is it possible to reinvigorate our communities in the midst of a global financial crisis?

Of course.

Fear and isolation often prevent us from seeing ways to make our economy work for everyone. But there are alternatives. People are creating communities of support and mutual aid around the pain and fear of this moment, and in doing so they are quietly building a new economy.

One example of this sort of community organizing is the Common Security Club, a simple model which combines mutual aid, a support group, and a venue for social action. Common Security Clubs are springing up around the country. In churches, unions and workplaces, unassuming groups of 20-25 people meet to share their troubles, try to make sense of this moment in our economic history, and plan action together.

A network of religious and community organizers has developed a number of free tools to help start-up clubs, including a five-session curriculum. The program covers the origins of the economic crisis and how to take social action towards a more just economy. It also encourages mutual aid among members, such as skill-swaps, potlucks and cooperative child-care, in many cases the norm for our grandparents' generation.

The strength of the approach seems to lie largely in simply facing common problems together, listening to one another, and the relief of breaking down barriers through open discussion about finances.

One group in suburban Washington describes themselves as a "Reality Club," determined to keep reminding each other that there's no going back to the old self-protective economy based on phantom wealth. In one Boston club, members are taking turns bringing in their household budgets for "makeovers": sharing their financial quandaries to the group and receiving its collective wisdom on ways to either cut costs or enhance income. Other groups have formed "Get Out of Debt Club," to reduce expenses, and have created bartering networks and skill banks -exchanges of work and skills without money changing hands.

Common Security Clubs are also a place for people to get organized to assert people power over the economy. Groups organize meetings with their congressional representatives, fight cuts in local services, and agree to keep their spending dollars local. Many group members find themselves inspired to engage politically again, after years of discouragement.

While the pundits rant, the politicians flounder and the CEOs make out like bandits, life in the real economy goes on with a reassuring tenacity. We can remember what the good life was, in simpler times, and we can recreate it from the bottom up.

Andrée Zaleska helps coordinate common security clubs in the Northeast. For more information, visit www.commonsecurityclub.org.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Got Old Calendars?

If so, you may not need to buy a new calendar for the coming year. After reading a post on Wisebread last January, I was excited to discover that old calendars can be saved and used again in the coming years (turns out you only need 14 calendars to cover every possible combination).

Better still, timeanddate.com has a tool that let's you enter a year, and then provides a ...

Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Thirteen Minutes to a Lower Cable Bill

Geico has become famous for their expression: 'Save 15% in 15 minutes.' Turns out that expression applies to more than just car insurance. Because you can easily save 15% in 15 minutes on something even more expensive: your pay-TV bill.

The average cable bill is now close to $100 bucks a month..an increase of nearly 80% in the last 10 years. But you may have more control over this bill than you think.

If you want to pay less for cable, it may be as simple as asking for a lower bill. Here's exactly what you do.

Step one: Decide what you really want. If you’re not watching those expensive movie channels, dump em. If you’re a movie buff, a service like Netflix may offer more recent movies at a lower price anyway.

Step two: Do the research. Surf the web and see what ... Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Earning Extra Money by Tutoring

These days, it seems like everyone is looking for a way to supplement their primary income. In college and continuing on into the so-called 'real world', myself and a number of my friends have earned extra money by working as a tutor.

I first started tutoring in college simply because I needed the money. One of my majors was journalism, and I've always enjoyed reading and writing, so my career center was able to put me in touch with a local junior high school that was looking for English tutoring help. I ended up working with a 7th-grader who needed a lot of help in reading and writing. The extra income was great, but there was much more I got out of tutoring than just a check.

Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Host a Junk Food Free Party for Kids

Many party hosts feel they are giving kids the ultimate treat by spreading a table laden with every imaginable kind of junk food. A typical party table is graced with a white flour, frosted cake in the center decorated with a sugary, colorant laden picture of Superman or Barbie. There is likely to be an array of cupcakes made with the same awful ingredients, bowls of various types of colored candies, potato crisps, lollipops, ice cream and so on.

Surprised parents and friends then wonder why, after gorging on this rubbish for a couple of hours, the party disintegrates into a frightening display of kids who are fighting, screaming and hyperactive. To avoid this scenario, try healthy snacks next time around.

Any parent who has hosted a party for kids knows that food actually plays a small role in the success of the event. Kids are far more interested in swimming or playing games. Having a theme and organizing a few games with prizes will make kids even happier.

Drinks and snacks are something the kids will come past for every now and then, so keep their blood sugar levels stable and introduce foods that are colorful but healthy. If they are amazed or disgusted at a display of healthy food, don't be discouraged. If they are hungry, they will eat. Get the how-to.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

What is your Favorite DIY Tool?

I needed to hang a picture last weekend and went to the kitchen junk drawer to get my most favorite hammer – an upholstery hammer. Thirty five years ago I took a reupholstering class and this hammer was a required tool.

I use this hammer on simple household repair projects – it’s lightweight and has a magnet on one of the hammer ends – making it convenient for delicate household projects. I would be lost without it in my fix-it tool kit.

What is your all-time favorite fix-it tool? Read about others' favorites and add your own.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Toxic Drywall from China - 60,000 Homes Affected

A growing number of Americans are wondering why their new homes, built within the last five years, are rotting from the inside out. The problem: defective wallboard, commonly known as drywall.

An estimated 60,000 homes nationwide - primarily in southern states and California - could be affected. "We're taking this very seriously and our mission is to identify what are the facts and what are the risks," said Joe Martyak of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

As early as 2004 a housing boom led to a dramatic shortage of U.S. manufactured drywall. To keep up with demand, builders turned to manufacturers in China. A document obtained by CBS News shows that by 2006, 228 million kilograms - about 500 million pounds - was imported into the U.S. from 20 companies in China. Read entire article.

Related article: Toxic Drywall From China Poisoning American Homes and Their Owners

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Take The Clutter Challenge

Each week for eight (8) weeks, AARP will address specific clutter problems - paper overload, dead electronics, outdated pharmaceuticals, cranky spouses - whatever makes it hard for you to get rid of the stuff you don't need and organize the stuff you do.

Join the Clutter Challenge community for this short period of time. There's a forum for questions, sharing strategies, and you can upload before and after photos. You can even be eligible to win some terrific prizes. The Grand Prize is a one-hour consultation with Ciji Ware and a $1,000 gift certificate to spend on storage solutions and equipment. Find out more and join in!

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices.

Declutter Your Life

Tossing things we don't need can free up more than closet space. A hallowed New Year's tradition occurs each January, when millions of us start kidding ourselves. We vow that this will be the year we keep the one resolution that invariably appears on our personal to-do list:

Clean out the clutter in our basements, attics, closets, and home offices. We can't even bear to think of what's stashed under beds or in the borrowed storage space in a relative's garage.

We all have cherished possessions that are freighted with meaning, and until we understand what that meaning is, we resist dealing with the messes that surround us. Remembrance of things past can be a real deterrent to moving forward.

So can what I call future syndrome: "I might need this again sometime." But once we find a way to clear out what is no longer relevant to our lives—whether that be objects, activities, or even people—we open a path to look at all the parts of our lives and determine what matters to us now, not in the past or in the future.

The process of purging and paring was one of my family's most liberating experiences.—Ciji Ware

So how do we let go of all that irrelevant stuff? The most effective way in my experience is to face the practical and emotional aspects of the problem at the same time. Read the entire article.

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.

Free Dog and Cat Kibble

FreeKibble.com - gives food to dog in shelters when you correctly answer a daily trivia question.  To help a cat, in the same way, visit FreeKibbleKat.com

This website is sponsored by The Herbs Place, distributor of Nature's Sunshine herbs, supplements, essential oils and more at wholesale prices everyday.
"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28