Saturday, April 28, 2012

How To Find A Green Job

How much time do you spend every day at your job? How much of that time do you spend frustrated that your green personal life doesn't translate in the workplace, wanting to do more with your professional life? If you daydream about aligning your personal convictions with a fulfilling and inspiring professional position, then maybe it's time to think about a green job search.

With the stock market scuffling and the economy having a tough time, the conventional job market isn't what it once was. How can you ensure that your job isn't going to go the way of your portfolio? Heed the words of Van Jones, whose new book, The Green Collar Economy, lays out a path to a greener future that starts today. Jones says, "The time has come for the nation to give greater support to the problem solvers -- the clean-energy producers, green builders, eco-entrepreneurs, community educators, green-collar workers, and green consumers. We have the chance now to create new markets, new technology, new industries, and a new workforce. Let's do it right -- with good wages, equal opportunity, and pathways to success for those whom the pollution-based economy left behind."

If you're ready to claim your piece of the pie in the booming green job market, be heartened that hundreds of thousands of jobs are springing up, thanks to green trends or laws and funding related to peak oil or climate change. The wages for many specialties in environmental or green fields are higher than average. But how do you know which one of the new or existing green-collar jobs fits ... Read the entire article.

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Free Movie Screenings - Get Invited!

Movie screenings provide theater experience, minus the price

Although movie tickets typically cost $12 or more, you may be able to view the latest Hollywood films in a local theater, before they're released to the public — and for free.
 
How? By getting yourself invited to free screenings that studios hold to create buzz about upcoming releases. These events tend to be held in cities, and local TV stations, retailers and websites often work with studios to distribute the tickets.

The most comprehensive collections of screening opportunities are available at ... Read the entire article.


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Veterans Asked to Enlist Once Again!

Veterans are being recruited to serve again - but this isn't for fighting.  Instead it is for better health care. 

There is a program called "The Million Veteran Program", sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development.  They want to research how genes affect the health and illnesses of those who have served in the Armed Forces.

They have a very comprehensive website here.


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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Give Your College Graduate a Free Ride

If you help, insist on rules and discipline ...

When my daughter graduated from college, I had more than one reason to celebrate. Sure, I was proud of her academic accomplishment. But I was equally elated at finally being done paying for tuition, room, board and other expenses. When the calendar turned to May, I welcomed the end of monthly $500 payments for her college apartment.

My celebration was short-lived. In July, I will again be writing rent checks on her behalf. Her entry-level job with a major hotel chain located 2,000 miles from home comes with a fancy title and a modest paycheck.

Her expenses remain ... Read the entire article.

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Beware of Area Code Scams

The fraudsters say you've won a lottery or a free vacation. Or there's a package for you awaiting delivery. They give you a phone number and tell you to call for details.

The come-ons to call may arrive by letter, email or voice mail. If you dial, expect to be hit with a pitch to wire an upfront fee or disclose personal information.

But even if you laugh off that request — you're wise enough to know it's a scam — you may discover you've still been duped, simply because of the area code you used.
Man phoning long distance area codes - cons often focus on running up your phone bill, rather than getting you to buy something or give up personal information

Cons often focus on running up your phone bill not a purchase. — Illustration by James O'Brien

On the surface, the code may seem all-American. It has three digits, and there's no 011 international dialing code in front of it. You think you'll be paying just a few cents a minute for a U.S. call. But, surprise ... Read the entire article.

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Tips to Avoid Home Repair Rip Offs

Keep the following items in mind when contemplating hiring a contractor for home repair or remodeling work:

Get more than one estimate and get them in writing.

Don't fall for high pressure sales tactics and prices that seem "too good to be true."

Get the name and address of the business and check old phone books to see how long they have been in business.

Inspect the contract carefully. Check to see that it includes:

the contractor's full name, address, and telephone number

a description of the work to be performed

starting and estimated completion dates

total cost for work performed including charges for estimates

schedule and method of payment including down payment, subsequent payments, and final payment

Do not sign a contract that has blank spaces or that you do not understand.

Find out whether the contractor guarantees his or her work and products.

Get lien waivers. This protects you from claims against you or your property in the event a general contractor fails to pay subcontractors or material suppliers.

Don't make final payment until you are satisfied and all subcontractors have been paid.

Remember, you have three business days to cancel any contract if the sale is made and signed at your home. The contractor CANNOT take this right away from you by initiating work, selling your contract to a lender, or any other tactic.

The following are typical examples of home repair rip-off schemes:

Unsolicited door-to-door salespeople with no local connections offer to do home repair work for substantially less than market price.

A company which lists only a telephone or post-office box number solicits for repair work.

A contractor refuses to provide proof of insurance and references when requested.

Someone offers to inspect your home for free without authentic identification establishing their business status.

A contractor demands cash payment and/or full payment before they complete a job.

A contractor asks for a check payable to a third party.

A contractor offers to drive the homeowner to his/her bank to withdraw funds to pay for their work.

Source: Illinois Attorney General

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Free Admission to National Parks

In honor of National Park Week, more than 100 of the country's national parks will offer free admission Saturday-Sunday, April 21-29
The free admission covers entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees. Some parks will also offer discounts on lodging, food and souvenirs.
Participating parks include:
  • Grand Canyon National ParkArizona (reg. $12-$25)
  • Yellowstone National ParkIdaho, Montana, Wyoming (reg. $12-$25)
  • Yosemite National ParkCalifornia (reg. $10-$20)
  • Rocky Mountain National ParkColorado (reg. $10-$20)
  • Shenandoah National ParkVirginia (reg. $8-$15)
  • Everglades National ParkFlorida (reg. $5-$10)
Click here to find parks nationwide.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Should You Practice Your Retirement?

A downbeat drumbeat these days is that many will no longer be able to retire when and how they planned.

Because of rising costs and a longer lifespan, making money last means staying on the job longer for many who might otherwise have retired well before 70.

Here's an unconventional pitch: Stop saving and try a "practice retirement" while you're still working.

T. Rowe Price(TROW_) is advising a unique -- and fairly counterintuitive -- strategy for plotting when to stop working. Keep working, they tell some clients, but parlay those paychecks immediately into the big plans and simple pleasures you always wanted for your later years.

Vacations? Golf? Sailing? Enjoy it all now, rather than postponing your dreams for years to come.

Christine Fahlund, a T. Rowe Price senior financial planner, describes it as a "practice retirement." She goes so far as to suggest one can even stop contributing ... Read the entire article.

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Reusable Shopping Bags and Bacteria

If you’ve made the switch to reusable shopping bags to make your lifestyle more environmentally responsible, how often do you toss them in the washing machine? Chances are, not regularly.

A study from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California found that most people who bring their own bags to the grocery store don’t wash or clean them regularly – and the researchers also discovered a large number of bacteria present in the reusable bags. So should you be concerned about microorganisms breeding in your reusable bags?

Of the 84 reusable shopping bags collected from cities in California and Arizona, slightly more than half of the bags contained coliform bacteria, which indicates contamination by raw meats or other uncooked food products, the report states. The researchers detected E. coli bacteria in 12 percent of the bags.

Only 3 percent of the shoppers surveyed reported ever ... Read the entire article.

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Create Your Will For Free

Nonprofit organizations can help you draft this crucial document for little or no cost

Numerous free resources can help you draw up a new will or update an old one. —
Do you have a will? If you’re like nearly two-thirds of Americans, you don’t.

With the downturn in the economy, many older people may think that getting or updating a will is hardly a priority, especially if they don’t have a big estate.

But you do need one. Even if your assets are small, a will can help loved ones avoid squabbling over what little there is and carry out other important decisions you’ve made. For instance, in a will you can declare whom you want to be the guardian for minor children or dependents.

If you die without a valid will, you risk having very personal questions settled by a third party administrator, usually appointed by a probate court.

Is getting a will expensive? It can be, but there are also ... Read the entire article.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tips for Keeping Your Home Feeling Serene & Organized

by Gretchen Rubin

Because of the subject of my next book, Happier at Home, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about—you guessed it!—how to be happier at home.

Here are a few very simple suggestions. These aren’t the most profound things you can do to make your home feel more serene and organized, but they’re steps you can take fairly quickly. View the tips.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Best Time to Shop at Stores

It's a simple fact that clothes wear out and styles change. This means that it's inevitable that everyone needs to repair or replace clothing once in a while - even those that absolutely despise shopping for new clothes.

For frugal shoppers, this means buying clothes when you can get the very best prices, which can often take a bit of pre-planning. Luckily, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow when trying to get the best deals on new clothing.

Thursday Evenings

Stores typically reorganize their racks on Thursdays in order to replenish stocks for the weekend rush. Stores also generally mark down items that will be on sale over the weekend on Thursday evenings.

If you want to beat the rush and get to those sales items first, Thursday night's a great time for bargain shoppers to hit the malls. You won't have to compete for the bargains like you would during the busy weekend either.

Six Weeks into the Season

If you're in need of clothes for this season, try to avoid giving in to the urge to buy all the exciting new arrivals when they're first in the store.

About six or eight weeks after an item arrives, the price is marked down. If you can wait a measly six weeks, you're likely to get a better a price than if you buy immediately. One of the downsides is that some very popular items might sell out over the six-week period. Although, if you're purchasing from a chain store, you can always ask a sales associate to phone other locations to see if your item might be in stock elsewhere.

Another great perk of waiting to buy is that it helps to curtail any impulse spending. If you've completely forgotten about that item before the time is up, chances are you didn't really need it anyway. Get more tips with this article: 7 Shopping Secrets Retailers Won't Tell You.

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Financial Aid for Pets

For the last 14 years, a small group of dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to achieve seemingly impossible goals for pets needing medical care. Here's an organization that prevents many pets from being put to sleep. Read about In Memory of Magicwith this clip from their website:

At the time of IMOM’s inception, IMOM had no mentors -- no other organizations to pattern ourselves after. No one was doing what IMOM wanted to do for sick, injured, and abused companion animals. We had to turn our focus to the one tool we all possessed. That tool was a strong desire and determination to help people help pets.

Since 1998, IMOM has funded non-routine veterinary care for more than 1800 companion animals. Funds paid out to veterinarians and pharmacies have surpassed our wildest dreams.

For our accomplishments we thank our team of volunteers, our community of supporters and the more than 1000 veterinarians nationwide who have worked with us. We could not have done it without all of you. We are eternally grateful to you for confidence and trust in our organization. Get more info or give to this worthy cause.

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The $25 Computer

How would you like to buy a brand new computer for the cost of a DVD? Thanks to British game developer David Braben, that could be a reality before you know it: He’s created a working prototype of a tiny computer the size of your thumb that will retail for $25.

The computer will plug into a TV monitor or work with a touch screen, and would need a keyboard for typing. The computers will be sold by a nonprofit group called Raspberry Pi, and may be commercially available as early as next year. 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