Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to Downsize Your Home

Many people are looking to downsize these days, either because they're getting older or they need to reduce the financial burdens of a big house and mortgage. But editing a lifetime's worth of possessions can be difficult.

I spoke recently with Jim Henderson, president of William C. Huff Companies, a moving and storage firm with offices in Naples, Fla., and Barrington, N.H., to find out how to handle what is often a time-consuming and emotional process. Mr. Henderson specializes in affluent homeowners, whose homes average 6,000 square feet, and who may pay up to $100,000 to move a household full of antiques, artwork and other fine furnishings.

Here are his tips:
Start early: Too often, families don't start going through their things until they've signed a contract on their new home. Then as they become overwhelmed with other details of moving, they quickly abandon ... Read the entire article.

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5 Things Your Doctor Doesn't Like About You

Or, how to keep you off the "difficult patient" list.

Ask anyone what's wrong with the medical profession and you'll hear a long list of complaints: Too many pricey medications. Forever behind schedule. Always talks, never listens. Rushes me in and out of the examining room.

But people rarely hear what bugs doctors about patients. Their gripes are generally aired as doctors walk the hallways at medical meetings or chat behind closed doors at conferences. Here's your chance to find out what annoys your doctor.

1. You don't arrive on time
"It drives [some] doctors crazy when patients turn up late for an appointment," says Mary Catherine Beach, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "You can see the irony in that because patients almost always have to wait to see their doctor." But quite often the reason you're left twiddling your thumbs is that someone. Read the entire article.

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Prepaid Funerals - You Be the Judge!

 Paying for the funeral ahead of time, sounds like the thing to do.  However, there are complications that can arise that even the most ardent planner may have missed.

For instance;

1.  The funeral home you have been paying changes hands - many times the new owner will not honor the prepaid funerals from the previous owner(s).

2.  Federal law doesn't regulate the funeral industry, so investigate the state you're in to find out what protection you can expect.

3.  The costs aren't necessarily locked in at the time of your death so make sure you read the fine print.


What are the Alternatives

1.  prearrange your funeral without paying for it in advance

2.  set up a "payable upon death" bank account. It will earn interest, be available for an emergency, and still provide financial support to your family when you pass away.


Since their is no federal oversight, it is imperative you contact your state agency that regulates the funeral industry and talk with them about your prepaid funeral concerns.  Find out more specifics.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Designer Jewelry at Low Prices

by Donna

Do you know some creative people who seem to be able to do almost anything artistic? I have a friend in Oklahoma, Christina, that is amazing with various forms of dance, she's given me a painting that is so beautiful and creative, she does wall murals and created an amazing room for her recent first child's nursery, and I have a beaded angel in my car that looks like it has a thousands beads in it. That means one bead at a time required a lot of patience and love besides being able to follow a pattern to get all those beads in the right place to look like an angel.

Well, Christina began making jewelry a few years ago and has sold a lot of it because her creations are truly unique and I believe inspired by God. I am always astounded at what she comes up with, each one being totally unique in its own way. And the prices for a uniquely designed piece of jewelry are incredible! She mainly sells her jewelry locally, but you can purchase through a site that is online (link below).

So if you enjoy beautiful jewelry and have a bit of Christmas gift money in your pocket, I wanted to promote her website. Even if you're not looking for any jewelry right now, take a look at the beauty of what she does. Visit Artistically Yours now.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

GPS in a Shoe!

For those suffering with a loved one that has Dementia and/or Alzheimers this is a great asset.  So many times we have to watch like a hawk someone suffering from either disease.  Now with these shoes you can set up an acceptable perimeter your loved one can move about freely in.

However, when the person decides to go outside of the perimeter then a message pops up on a computer or phone to tell you where they are.  This gives a caregiver the peace of mind of where they are at all times.

Visit the site that can tell you all about them!

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Eye-Glasses Online? What Will They Think of Next?

Yes, you can save a great deal of money buying glasses online.  Doing a quick look in the search listings I saw various savings all the way up to 70% off ads.  Glasses have gotten expensive over the years and some locations have discount optical centers nearby.  Others aren't so lucky, now you can do even better by uploading your picture and trying on the frames virtually.

Looking for a review of what people think I found this link for the company WarbyParker.  A quick glance revealed most everyone loved the experience.

Other fine companies include FramesDirect and JustEyewear and many more you can search for via your favorite search engine.

To start the process you will need

1.  your latest prescription

2.  pupilary distance from your latest exam

3.  your frame size they are usually in the inside of an old pair

4.  a picture to upload to the website to try on your glasses virtually

If anyone has done this within our readership, please comment about your experience and what companies are good to use.  I just may try this next time I need new glasses.


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Gift Card Balance Theft

Gift cards have a unique number in a magnetic strip that is used to track usage and outstanding balances. This usually works well, and has the benefit that you often won't lose your remaining balance if you lose the gift card, since you can simply call to report the card as stolen or lost.

Now imagine that a scammer comes into a store that displays gift cards on public racks (such as Wal-Mart) with a small and inexpensive mag-strip scanner in his pocket. This scanner can easily read and store the unique gift card serial numbers.

So, the scammer simply grabs some of these gift cards from the rack, finds a quiet place and quickly scans each card to get its unique serial number. They then put the cards back (or leave them somewhere in the store) since they are done with them.

(Incidentally, this high tech approach isn't even needed. The crook can simply copy ... Find out more.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spammers Get Up Close and Personal

Spearphishers' address you by name. Here's how to protect yourself

You may have noticed that your email inbox has less spam — you're getting fewer offers to sell cheap pharmaceuticals or help a deposed Nigerian prince.

Yes, the volume of junk email is down — dramatically. Symantec, which makes Norton antivirus software, estimates that spam peaked in July 2010 with an average 225 billion messages sent each day, compared with less than 50 billion a year later.

In spearfishing, scammers try to hook you with a personal touch; using your name, for instance.

Some of the credit goes to law enforcement and corporate cyber-cops for busting major criminal networks that were sending the stuff out through botnets, home or business computers that have been stealthily linked to forward spam.

In April, the FBI helped seize control of one botnet, called Coreflood, and scrubbed 19,000 computers infected with its spam-sending software. And in the same month, Microsoft managed to dismantle the infamous botnet, which once distributed nearly half of all spam.

But there's another reason for the drop: The crooks are narrowing their ..  Read the entire article.

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Charities Get Choosy - About What They Will Take

Planning to turn your clutter into end-of-year donations? Not so fast. Many human-service charities won't take certain items — or will require you to transport them yourself.

Patricia Donovan, of Buffalo, New York, tried to donate furniture sets and 500 near-new books. "The charities I called either didn't have a truck or wouldn't come into my second-floor apartment," says the 64-year-old editor, whose home goods also were turned down on-site. "There's a gap between what charities say they need and what they will ... Read the entire article.

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Free Activites for Couples

Recently, I read an article in a  publication we get about a husband that had trouble reading.  So, the wife offered to read the book to him.  Together, they enjoyed the book and developed new common interests.

This reminded me that this is something Donna and I have done too.  Although, it isn't because we have trouble reading we just take turns reading the mutually agreed to book outloud.  This helps us have new common discussions that we can enjoy and also helps each of us to have a deeper look inside of our mate.  Many times as we read things that we didn't know about each other,  some new reaction or meaning will pop out based on how we are reacting to the material being read aloud.  Try this some time together and see if this doesn't help you to know one another better, become more informed and deepen your commitment to one another.

Now regarding this activity, we have started a page on our site thefrugallife.com that will permit you to add more activities that you have enjoyed over the years.  Just post your comment, remember they are moderated so you only need to submit each comment once.

So many times couples think they have to spend money to be entertained so our hope is this will be a helpful list for those days when the pocketbook simply won't permit those activities that cost money.

Let us know your couple activities.

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Miscellaneous Frugal TIps

May I pass on a few frugal tips I have learned?

• Finely ground black pepper, when sprinkled on ant trails, discourages the little festers from using the trails. Great if you don't want them to continue coming indoors. Sprinkle generally to give good coverage.

• I don't know if you have the yellow insect repellant energy efficient globes over there. I buy them for indoor use, usually in my bedside light. When I put them in, I use a clean handkerchief or face washer to do so, as I have found that if I handle the globe, its life is decreased.

• I use methylated spirits in a spray bottle to clean a whole lot of surfaces, but most especially my toilet and my kitchen sink and cupboards (in particular the handles on the cupboards and the refrigerator handles). The toilet spraying starts with the bowl and I work up to the buttons.

I then use toilet paper to clean from the buttons down to the bowl. If there is any dried urine, it shows up beautifully with the methylated spirits! The toilet paper is flushed down and I know it's a clean toilet!

• My local library does not keep the newspapers it displays through the week, probably due to storage problems. If I get there during the early part of the week, I can collect the newspapers from them and I have all the puzzles I love doing during the week ahead. Of course, I also look through the papers and see articles for which I might have a use.

And if I need to look at the newpapers during the week, the Library is the cheapest place (free!) to peruse. As my Grandfather used to say, "What costs you nothing cannot be dear."

Dominus tecum
Leonie

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Australia Bans Flu Vaccines

Although it's still summer in North America, it is of course winter in Australia, and the flu season is well under way there. As usual, Australian health authorities have been urging parents there to vaccinate their children against the flu, propagating the mythology that flu vaccines are both safe and effective. But this time around, many Australian parents found out the hard way that they were being lied to.

It didn't take long to realize the truth after their children start going into convulsions following the flu vaccine injections. Other children began vomiting or exhibiting dangerously high levels of fever. One child has gone into a coma and may never recover. Read the entire article.

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Don't Quit Giving - Just Be Choosy

A charity may be more excited to add your name to its donor list than to actually receive a small donation. That's because that small gift will pale in comparison to the money it raises from the sale and rental of that donor list.

Unless you want to be contacted by an endless stream of charities, be a selective donor. Make an annual charitable giving budget. Select the specific charities you want to support. Give to those charities generously, but resist the impulse to give to any others.

You'll become a more valuable donor to the charities that matter most to you and simultaneously reduce unwanted mail from other groups.

Unless you specifically request otherwise, the charity is likely to share your name. So when you submit your donation, include a note explaining that you do not want your name to be sold, rented or exchanged. You may even want to add that you will not donate in the future unless the organization respects your privacy.

"If you can," the Wise Giving Alliance suggests, "use a unique middle ... Read more suggestions.

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Daily Deals May Just Help The Budget

There have always been deals but the internet has provided us with 24 hour deals and now they have become daily deals that change. You may ask how can they cut the prices so much on all these products? It's really quite simple, they expect if you visit there site every time a new deal is coming up then you will have that company name in mind and when you get ready to purchase again who will you think of first? More than likely, the sites and companies you have been searching the daily deals for.

The best-known is groupon.com but did you know Target and Wal-mart are also offering daily bargains. Amazon has a gold box deal of the day sometimes as much as 66% off of the items. LL Bean has joined the fray with a daily markdown of two items. Women's jeans have been known to be $9.99 instead of the regular price that is 3-4 times higher.

Sometimes making a decision every day can get frustrating and overwhelming so if you need more time REI has a deal of the week in addition to their deal of the day.

So hopefully, these deals can make it easier for you to shop this holiday season and save some money too.

Source AARP - November 2011

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Water Flying May Not Be Pure

With the new regulations that you can't take water through security it's easy to think I'll just get some on the plane. However, many airlines don't stock enough bottled water. When they run out (and they often do), flight attendants will resort to using the plane's own water supply.

This presents a problem for the unwary traveler.

In 2004 the EPA found that 15% of the U.S. planes tested positive for coliform bacteria. In fairness, new regulations have been enacted since then, but unless you hear the twisting sound of a new bottle you might want to stick with the canned beverages instead.

Source: AARP Magazine - November 2011

For the latest specifics ... Read the entire article.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

God's Perspective on the Recession


This is an email from Andrew Wommack Ministries about a live stream of a financial discussion which we are going to be attending.

To help you gain God's perspective on the current "recession" and how you can overcome it, I'm hosting a live-streaming internet broadcast Thursday, December 8 with Paul Milligan, the new head of our CBC third-year Business School. He has been a good friend and board member for many years. Paul owns several companies, with over 1,200 employees, and just like our ministry, he has experienced unprecedented growth during this "recession."

Recently, I sat down with Paul and got an education on monetary matters, and I thought of how much this would benefit you. So, we will sit down again and just discuss what's happening in our nation economically and what we can do about it. I think this could make a big difference in your attitude, faith, and prosperity. So, please make plans to join us on the internet that evening.

Watch the live stream of the discussion. It will be broadcast live via the internet on Thursday, December 8th, at 9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Mountain, and 6 p.m. Pacific Time. You won't want to miss this.

God bless you,
Andrew Wommack

Save Money on Auto Related Expenses

From Not Made of Money

If a car owner wants to come out ahead when owning a car then they need to adopt a smart strategy to cut down auto expenses. Listed below [in the article] are a few ways that car owners can save money on automobile related expenses. Additionally, don’t forget about using the internet to compare car insurance quotes online. Read the entire article.

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Make Your School An Eco-School

Join over 50 other countries in this international initiative designed to encourage whole-school action for the environment.

Eco-Schools USA strives to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and culture of a school, including students, teachers, administrative staff, non-teaching staff and parents, as well as the local community.

Eco-Schools USA works to extend learning beyond the classroom and develop responsible environmental attitudes and commitments, both at home and in the wider community.

Whether you are a teacher, student, administrator or facilities manager, the Eco-Schools USA program can benefit your school and local communities. How Do You Become An Eco-School?

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shopping Overseas - Hidden Fees

by Randal J. Watkins

Once you arrive in a country you are met with all kinds of opportunities to exchange your money. In fact, this can happen on the United States side at the international airport if you are taking off from a large enough airport.

One thing is for certain, you will need money but in what form is best? Should it be credit card, travelers checks or ATM/Debit card? Whatever you decide, make sure that you consult the banking or financial institution of any hidden fees or charges that will be added to your bill.

Travelers Checks - represent one of the safest forms of currency you can select. Although, they do have some drawbacks:

• Many companies, small shops, rural areas or third world countries won't take Travelers Checks. If they do take them they are exchanged at the current rate often with other fees attached.

• Using Travelers Checks for purchases you can be charged a handling fee. Not to mention when you turn them back in their could be additional charges with your bank.

• Be wary of "commission free" offers ... Find out more.

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How Debt Put My Dreams on Hold

From Get Rich Slowly

When we’re young and stupid, we don’t think about how decisions will affect us ten years down the road. Many of us have often said something like, “If I had known then what I know now.” The thing about cliches is that they’re usually founded in truth.

When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be as far away from my family in Virginia as possible ... I wanted to live in New York again, so instead of working my way through and paying in-state tuition, I decided to go to the Rochester Institute of Technology.

To “save” money, I lived with my grandparents in Syracuse and attended a community college whose credits would automatically transfer to RIT after two years. By my second year at community college, I was already taking out loans. Read the entire article.

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Should You Borrow From Your 401k?

From Not Made of Money

Many 401k plans will allow you to take out a loan while you are still working for the company. Not only do most plan administrators make the process of borrowing from your 401k easy, but many people have even been convinced that borrowing from their 401k was a smart move because they would just be “borrowing from themselves”.

I know people who have taken out tens of thousands of dollars out of their 401k’s, and have justified it by applying the “I’m just borrowing from myself” logic. Whether they took out the money in order to pay off debt, or simply buy some expensive new toy (or house), it seemed like a harmless thing to do. If they are just paying themselves back with interest, then it’s a “win-win” situation!

This may seem like a good idea at first, but there are a couple of things to consider before making this move ... Read the entire article.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Deals

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Black Friday!

These are national deals, but when you choose a deal below,
be sure to choose your city before shopping.

Verizon Wireless ($25 for $50)

SKECHERS ($20 for $40)

Office Max ($10 for $20)

Hearst Magazines ($5 for $12)

NYTimes ($78 for $130)

FTD ($15 for $35)

Danskin ($20 for $40)

Shoprunner ($30 for $79)

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Think Twice on Penny Auction Sites

From PT Money

I have been keeping my eyes peeled for a way to get my Apple fix on the cheap. And that’s how I first heard of penny auctions.

You may have seen commercials for these websites—where you can pick up high priced and in-demand items for pennies on the dollar. Anytime something seems too good to be true, I generally head in the other direction, but I figured an iPad was worth looking further into these auction sites. Read the entire article.

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Make A Budget Work For Your Situation

From Not Made of Money

The best budgets are the ones that are specifically crafted to your personal situation. They address the ever changing needs of your life and map out a clear financial picture that shows you exactly where your money is going.

A budget needs to properly address your spending and purchasing habits. Our budget has changed quite a bit over the years to accommodate the changing needs of our growing family. Here’s how to make a budget that works for your situation. Be flexible .... .

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Credit Score Matters If You Don't Borrow

From Money Smart Life

Why does a good credit score matter if you’re not planning to borrow any money? Many of us think that, as long as we already have a house, and we pay for our cars in cash, a good credit score doesn’t matter that much.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the way the system works anymore. Your credit report is a convenient compilation of your financial habits and history, and it is easy to use the information in your credit report — or even to use your credit score — as an indication of what sort of risk you might pose in a number of financial situations.

Judging You Based On Credit History

Anymore, an increasing number of people are making judgments about you based on the information found in your credit report. You may rankle at the injustice, but it’s still there. Here are some of the ways that having a bad credit score can hurt you — even if you don’t want to borrow anything:

Opening a bank account: Believe it or not, there are actually some financial institutions that will run a credit check on you before allowing you to open a deposit account. Before you can open a savings account or a checking account, you might have to submit to a credit check. Read the entire article.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

3 Online Deals For Today

Here's some National Deals from Living Socially, a website we've been getting great local deals at. No spam, no gimmicks; just great savings.

If you missed these sales, click here to find sales in your local area .

1) Purity Cosmetics:
Pay $25 for $50 to spend on cosmetics at this online natural makeup merchant.

2) Gobble Green:
Seven days of vegan or gluten-free vegan meals for $129 (regularly $265).

3) National Hotel Bed Supply:
Pay $49 for a six-piece 100% organic bamboo towel set, including shipping (a $140 value).

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Protecting Yourself & Family From Flu & Colds

The Boomerang is ON SALE This Week.  
Sale Ends on Monday, November 21, 2011.
Great Health Gift For An Entire Family!

Start Controlling What You Breathe
by Darlyn Britt

The Boomerang utilizes new-generation technology to sanitize the air and surfaces, killing or neutralizing harmful particles, microbes and gases.

Indoor air pollutants are plentiful, and many can be harmful to health. From hair spray to cleaning chemicals, from cigarette smoke to dander, these odors and particles present health challenges to many people—even those without an unusual respiratory intolerance.

Researchers at West Texas A and M University found that Silver+ PCO technology purifies the air and sanitizes surfaces. They measured tremendous reductions in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on surfaces after using Boomerang technology.

The study also measured a 75% reduction in fungus/mold, bacteria, viruses and aeroallergens (pollen) after just eight hours of use!

Additional studies showed that microbes exposed to Silver+ PCO technology over longer periods of time were almost completely eradicated. The Boomerang unit sanitizes 2,000 square feet of open living space. 

The Boomerang Air Sanitizer helps neutralize indoor air pollutants, sanitizing and freshening the air you breathe.

This amazing unit:
• Kills airborne microbes and neutralizes pollen and particulates, making the air you breathe cleaner and less harmful.
• Helps neutralize indoor odors of all types—pets, smoke, chemicals, ammonia, etc.
• Costs very little to operate (draws 14 watts of electricity).
• Meets new California guidelines for ozone emission (less than .05 ppm).
• Only available from Nature’s Sunshine.

The Boomerang’s effectiveness comes from a patent-pending Silver+ Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) cell. The cell contains nano-sized metals—silver, nickel and rhodium, and added copper and titanium—that react with photons from a high-grade ultraviolet (UV) light to create millions of redundant oxidizers or negative ions.

Positively charged particles in the air (dust, bacteria, viruses, pollen, etc.) are attracted to negatively charged ions from the Boomerang. They collide and fall to the floor, ready for vacuuming. Negative ions actually neutralize airborne organisms on a cellular level so they can no longer replicate.

Place your Boomerang on a flat surface (counter, shelf ), or mount it on the wall. Then plug it in and forget about it!

The Boomerang:
• Requires no maintenance for up to three years!
• Is safe for pets, even exotic birds.
• Is lightweight and energy efficient; it draws only 15 watts of electricity.
• Features quiet operation—similar to a home computer in noise output.
• Is made in the U.S., using only the highest quality parts.

Start controlling what you breathe with Nature’s Sunshine’s Boomerang Air Sanitizer!

Where Can I Purchase The Boomerang?
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Four Reasons to Switch to a Credit Union

From Frugal Dad

Obviously, recent legislation (Dodd-Frank) played its part in motivating banks to add new fees, but since we can vote with our feet (and our dollars), I think it is time to look at alternatives to large banks.

For some reason, and who knows why, there is a sector of banking institutions that just can’t get the love and respect they deserve – credit unions. In the past, you used to have to meet a specific criteria in order to be a member, but now the membership requirements are about as strict as, “you have to drive by our branch at least once a year.” Read the entire article.

Editor's Note:
We transferred our savings accounts over to a local credit union over a year ago. The big banks that used to have good bank ratings no longer are considered that great. You can check out your bank's rating at BankRate.com or a credit unions ratings at BauerFinancial.com.

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Checklist for Quitting Your Job

One of the most pervasive dreams in our culture is that of quitting your job. Whether you plan to quit and retire to some beach somewhere, or quit and start your own business so you can be your own boss, leaving a mind-numbing job might be at the top of your bucket list.

It’s important to realize, though, that quitting your job isn’t something that you can just do on a whim. You need to be ready to take that step.

Here is a checklist that can help you as you get ready to move on to a new stage of your career:

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Exemptions for Vaccines for Adults & Children

There's news of a lot of vaccines coming up for adults, not only children. We opted early to refuse vaccines for our child after he received the first one. There was just a knowing within this mother's heart that it was not what I wanted for my child. It didn't make sense to me on an instinctive level.

There are exemptions to avoid vaccines. Some who have never thought about it would wonder why you'd want to avoid vaccines. That's not something I will write about, but you can get a lot of information online if you just search for "dangers of vaccines" or a similar term. Much of the autism is being linked to this and that's been in the news for years, but there's a lot more than that.

You do not need to belong to a church or particular denomination to be able to use a religious exemption available in 48 states. There are 30 states where the conscientious objection is an option.

Dr. Mercola interviews Barbara Loe Fisher, a Co-founder and President of the National Vaccine Information Center. Watch the video here or visit You Tube to view.



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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kids Need Dirt and Grime

It's the basic nature of young children to touch the very things in their environment that their parents find most disgusting. Just try to keep your 1-year old from sticking the dog's bone in her mouth!

After a year of swine flu scares, health authorities imploring regular hand washing, and talk of sanitizer gel like it was liquid gold, it's tough not to worry about what your children are getting into and the ultimate impact it will have on their health.

Infectious diseases are a legitimate cause for concern, but some would argue that our society has gone overboard when it comes to protecting our kids from germs.

How clean an environment do our kids really need for good health? Here's what experts told WebMD.

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Smartphones and Identity Theft

Ever thought of how much your phone knows about you?

The increasing use of Smartphones for daily activities, such as emailing, banking, web browsing, shopping, bill tracking, social networking, file storage, and entertainment gives your mobile device the ability to know everything about you.

Your Smartphone’s knowledge, if not protected, is a potential risk to your security and privacy. The ultimate question to ask: Is my privacy and security at risk? Get the Fact Sheet About Securing Your Smartphone.

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5 Great Uses for Fallen Leaves

November’s entrance indicates many events: Thanksgiving, the official start of winter and, as a result, a lawn covered with colorful, fallen leaves left behind by autumn.

The fate of foliage was once left to nothing more than a rake or a leaf-blower. For those with children, a pile of fallen leaves can provide hours of active entertainment. But once the raking and jumping has concluded, banish loose leaves to the curbside no more.

Instead, put them to use with these five creative uses for fallen foliage. Read the entire article.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Raising a Baby on a Budget

Your beautiful, little newborn might cost you a pretty penny. You spend almost 10 months preparing for the arrival of your newborn. You buy toys, bassinets, clothes, and books -- not to mention diapers, formula, and countless onesies. But before you spend another dime on baby expenses, maybe you should think about saving a penny -- or two.

"Bringing up a child from birth to 18 years old now costs around $200,000," says Michael Farr, author of A Million Is Not Enough. "And that doesn't include school or college. For new parents, the trick is to buy smart and save wisely."

Here’s a financial and practical guide to bringing up baby on a budget. Read the entire article.

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5 Frugal Tips for a Christmas to Remember

From Frugal Dad

Before I was a frugal Dad, I was a Dad who absolutely dreaded getting the credit card bill in early January.

I would consistently overspend in December on gifts and eating out. Then I would try to figure out how to pay the bills. I knew there had to be a better way and it wasn’t until my first child came along 10 years ago that I took action and developed frugal Christmas spending habits.

As we get close to the craziness of the holiday season, here are my five best tips for keeping this Christmas frugal yet memorable.

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Text Message Scams Lead to Identity Theft

An offshoot of "phishing" — emails that try to trick you into disclosing personal or financial information — smishing is named for the SMS (short message service) technology used to send text messages.

As more people have gotten wise to computer-based scams, scammers are increasingly targeting cellphones. Their users are three times more likely to fall for fake messages than computer users, according to online security firm Trusteer; iPhone users are the most vulnerable. Read the entire article.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Convection Ovens - Frugal Investment?

 Rather than let hot air circulate randomly, a convection oven carefully creates a uniform temperature with internal fans that evenly circulate hot air. Convection ovens are often more expensive than standard, or radiant, ovens, but they cook food faster, at a lower temperature, and often with better results. Fans ensure that the same temperature reaches the top and bottom of foods, as well as foods at all rack levels. They are also called European, true, turbo or fan ovens.

First, a few basic mechanics: A conventional oven uses radiant heat that emanates from the top and/or bottom surfaces. The result is usually an oven with hot and cold spots. What makes a convection oven stand apart is the internal fan that circulates hot air, creating an evenly heated environment for the food. The most obvious advantage to having a steady supply of heat surrounding and penetrating the food is that all your meat, produce, and baked goods will cook faster and brown more evenly.

Benefits of Cooking with a Convection Oven

• Saves time and energy ... Read all of the benefits.

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Affordable Legal Help Via The Internet

A growing legal movement is spreading across the globe. Consumers want to be empowered either by having the option to do it themselves or to get affordable help for legal problems online.

Many skeptics are critical of people helping themselves, yet they are not providing alternate solutions as to how consumers can counter the incredibly high legal costs for quality representation in a depressed economy. Shpoonkle is the safety net between clients’ totally doing it themselves legal services, and paying exorbitant legal fees.

Clients on Shpoonkle are not acting as their own attorneys. They are actively looking for lawyers to help them at a price they can afford.

Shpoonkle promotes more interaction and communication between lawyer and client. Consumers don’t want to face a blank check outcome for resolving their legal issues, especially simpler and basic ones. Clients want a fixed fee structure and/or the lawyer to set the expectation very clearly as to what the legal resolution will cost them. Most lawyers and law firms are fiscally capable of offering affordable services to clients if presented with a medium and the technology to deliver it.

Shpoonkle provides a process so that clients can engage in a competitive market scenario with their legal provider. Many attorneys are trying to find clients and work. "The equation is simple – there is a need and Shpoonkle has a solution," states Shpoonkle CEO Robert Niznik.

Why are so many legal “experts” scoffing at Shpoonkle or the concept of online legal services? Reason number one, the people shouting the most are the people who have the most to lose. They are the folks making in excess of $500 an hour for legal services. Reason number two, critics include many of the “old guard” of the legal profession who are resistant to ANY change. Just a few years ago, many professionals didn’t even know or use social media. Now almost every major company and professional has a LinkedIn account or a Facebook page.

Read More About Shpoonkle.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Stop Water Gushing

Too many times when we turn the water on we turn it on full throttle or close to it. We seem to do this brushing our teeth, washing our hands and even rinsing dishes.

We need to consider all the water that is going down the drain and not being used.

Instead we need to consider turning the valves that are under the bathroom and kitchen sink halfway off. That way when we turn on the faucets full force, like we always seem to do, it will only be 1/2 the normal force. Translating to savings for you and savings for the environment too.

Reference: 99 Great Ways to Save

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Check Out Seminars/Presentations First

This is borne out of our real life experience at a few seminars we have attended lately.  Most seminars only tell you or promise that you will benefit from the experience if you attend.  However, you have no idea what it is about or how you will use what they sell you.  Or, if you even want what they have to offer.

Preparation

So what can you do to prepare?  You can use the internet because you aren't the first person that has attended one of these presentations.  For years now, I have used Google Groups.  I have found there is a group for just about anything and someone is either praising or grimacing over their purchase at the latest seminar.

Google Groups

To use Google Groups, just go to http://groups.google.com/?hl=en and put in the search box the name of the seminar in quotes if it is more than one word.  Then put in the word hate.  This will show you if anyone is speaking of the seminar and using the word hate on the same page.  If you don't get any hits then you have to regroup.  This is where you have to think like... Find out More

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Grandparent Scam Gets a 2011 Update

Concerned relatives beware. The Better Business Bureau issued a red alert late last week warning consumers that scammers have updated one of their old favorites: the grandparent scam.

As previously reported, scammers have been known to target seniors by calling and posing as a grandchild in distress. They'll typically bait the intended victim by saying "this is your favorite grandchild" or asking "do you know who this is?" Unwitting seniors fill in the blanks by providing the name of a relative who sounds most like the person on the other end of the line.

But the scam's subsequent publicity has led fraudsters to make a few minor adjustments to their pitch. Most notably, they are now providing their intended victims with detailed information regarding family members.

"They lace their conversation with correct references by name to other family members, increasing their credibility," the BBB said in a press release. "One caller even knew that the real person being impersonated had a twin who was born two minutes later."

According to the BBB, fraudsters are also targeting ... Read the entire article.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beware of Fake ATM's

Beware the stand-alone ATM, which criminals can purchase online and set up in a public spot for stealing people's account information. Even bank ATMs can be made unsafe.

The more I talk to data-security experts, the less technology I want to use. The latest convenience I've given up? Stand-alone ATMs.

If you want to know why, just hop on over to eBay and Craigslist and type in "ATM." Availability varies, but often you can find machines for sale that cost just a few hundred bucks.

Bad guys can buy these, get a computer programmer to rewrite the code and set them up just about anywhere to collect people's card information and PINs. Sometimes the machines actually dispense some cash, but often they're set up just to display an error message -- after stealing your data.
 
This has been going on for a while now, but a bad economy seems to mean more ATMs are available as more businesses that own them go belly-up. Hence, more opportunities for crooks.
"It's easier to get the ATMs . . . and it doesn't require tremendous programming skills" to set them up, said Avivah Litan, a security expert at consulting firm Gartner Research. "The hardest part is finding the right location."

They might just park it on a ... Read the entire article.

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List of Fat Burning Foods

What will you give me if I tell you that burning fat is the easiest thing in the world? And I am not kidding. By eating the right food items you can easily burn fat and reduce weight in a matter of a few months. How you ask? You will just need to change what you eat. Replace unhealthy toxic food items with healthy natural ones. In this article we are going to look at a free list of fat burning foods and how to intake them in the right manner.

Can Food Really Burn Fat?

The answer to this question is a disappointing ‘NO’. No food item can actually help you burn fat contrary to popular claims. Then why call them fat burning foods? This is because eating these food products will help your body get rid of fat deposits even if not so directly. Let us look at how this works.

How Do Natural Fat Burning Foods Work?


Before we proceed any further, let us find out how exactly fat burning foods work? To understand this, you need to understand why the body stores excess fat instead of flushing it out in the first place? The answer is that you never gave the body enough ... Read the entire article.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Job Ideas Can Come From Life Experiences

Now is the time for seniors to put skills & lifetime experiences to work. Combine traditional employment with innovative strategies to create your own job.

What could be better than working at a job(s) that you really want to do? What if you could set the limits on how hard you work and decide how much you get paid? It is possible for an older person to find work, but it takes discipline, drive and an innovative mindset to succeed.

Older People Can Find Employment by Filling Part-Time and/or Temporary Positions

Two years have elapsed since the recession began in 2009, and workers are still being laid off. With all the company layoffs and downsizing, what kinds of jobs are available to workers age 50 and older? You might be surprised.
Do you:
  • Know how to play piano or other instrument? Teach lessons. Check with churches to see if they're hiring for holiday work – extra services, children's plays and choir accompanist. Don't forget weddings and funerals, too.
  • Know how to install ... Read the entire article.

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What To Do With Airline Miles That Are Expiring

Q. I just noticed my airlines miles are set to expire this fall. What can I do if I don’t plan to travel before the expiration date but don’t want to lose the miles? —Airline Al

Dear Al: It’s true that no activity equals expiration. However, you don’t have to use your mileage for travel and still derive some enjoyment before they run out, plus any activity at all automatically resets the expiration date to give you more time to come up with some (hopeful) vacation travel. According to www.frequentflyer.com, the following suggestions are mile savers:

• Charities: Donate miles to a charitable organization, such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The minimum typically is a thousand miles a pop. Not only do donations benefit the charity, but also they make you feel good.

• Marketing companies: Some of these companies will hand over frequent-flyer miles if you ... Read the entire article.

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Wi-Fi Hot Spots Can Be Dangerous

Tens of thousands of airports, hotels, coffee shops and other places now provide computer access to high-frequency wireless networks so you can check your e-mail or do online banking or shopping while you’re on the road.

But officials warn that many of the nation’s 68,000 Wi-Fi “hot spots” are a hotbed for computer hackers, who sit nearby and use their own laptops to eavesdrop on yours.

Wi-Fi, which stands for “wireless fidelity,” is the technology used in computer networks, mobile phones and video games that doesn’t require plugs, cables or other “hard” connections. Because these hot spots sometimes use unsecured networks, a hacker can place himself where the signal is strongest and using off-the-shelf equipment, or even a metal kitchen ... Read the entire article.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Perennial Party for Gardeners

Here's a cool suggestion from a Birds and Blooms subscriber. It was in their email you can subscribe to.

For a few years now, gardeners in my area have been holding perennial parties. Each spring and fall, different gardeners take turns hosting the gathering in their backyards.

It’s a great time to exchange tips, advice and plants. Roughly 150 gardeners are involved. We organize the plants by light needs and by type, such as herbs, daylilies and hostas. We have thousands of plants!

A few of the ladies involved are master gardeners. They answer questions before the trading begins. Then we take turns picking plants until they’re all gone.

I’ve filled entire flower beds with these free plants. I look forward to the event every autumn. –Connie Baumann, Lino Lakes, Minnesota

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Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Save Money On a Cruise

Saving money for a cruise might be easier than you think. Nothing sounds so good as a warm-weather cruise in the middle of winter. What a great time to slip away and get a tan or just escape the winter blues.

Cruises come with everything included, so you don't have to wonder how much to have for meals, or rental cars, or hotels. You have the total package deal before you make the decision.

Here's an article that will let you find the best cruise deals for your money.

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Avoid False Thrift - Know When to Spend More

By Jill Florio

Buying things cheaply is only half of the thrifty living equation. There comes a time when too many cheap goods simply equals clutter, and often, those cheaply made products fall apart too quickly, limiting their useful lifespan.

With many products, the most frugal perspective is to take a look at the quality of the item, and to think about how often you will be using it.

False Thrift is when you buy something that is available at the cheapest price, without looking at the quality of the thing in question. How long do you want something to last? How many uses do you plan to get out of it? Would you like to make this your last purchase of this type - and maybe even pass it down to your heirs? For example ....

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60 Frugal Skills Everyone Should Know

You're never too old to learn. Good thought, especially when it comes to being frugal. There's a lot we can learn to save dollars and here's a great article telling you about some of them. Read on ....

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Faucet Cuts Water 90% in Bathrooms

Every Little Dripp Counts
Mark van Baal

These days, instead of gushing jets of water, what comes out of the bathroom faucets at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Hellendoorn, a small town in the eastern part of the Netherlands, are showers of tiny drops.

That’s because the firm has installed 26 Dripps. Invented by three students from Maastricht, Dripps cut water flow by more than 90 percent.

A mechanism inside the faucet attachment converts a stream of water into a spray. When Ode tested a Dripp, hand-washing took a mere fraction longer than with a conventional faucet. (The device isn’t suitable for use in showers.)

So far, just a few hundred standard faucets in businesses and schools have been replaced by Dripps, which cost about $40 each. Still, sometimes the biggest floods start with just a few drops.

Source: Ode Magazine.

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Things You Shouldn't Buy Used

Shopping second-hand is a great way to save money, but there are some things that you just shouldn't buy used (no matter how good the deal is). Here are some of those items:

Bicycle Helmets
A helmet that has been dropped or involved in an accident won't protect you the way it should – even if it looks fine.

Get professionally fitted for a new helmet (free at most bike shops), and you'll have a helmet that is both safe and comfortable to wear.

Most car seats expire six years from the date of manufacture, and while the expiration date is easy enough to check (it'll usually printed on one of seat's labels), it's still a good idea to steer clear of used car seats. They may have been dropped, involved in a wreck or otherwise damaged– there's just no way to tell.

Still pained by the thought of springing for a new car seat? Just remember that a new seat will include all of the latest safety features, so this is one time when buying new means getting more. Read the entire article.

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"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