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Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Cell Phone Insurance: Hero or Villian?

In budget, Our Guest Appearances, Your World on October 28, 2010 at 2:19 PM

 

Image Credit Richard Lai

 

 

Picture this…

You just purchased the latest android powered 4G cell phone and you’re thinking, “Life is good!” Just as your sale rep finishes activating your phone she mentions that smart shoppers protect their investments by adding insurance to their plans.  A moment of indecision sweeps over you. You know the replacement cost for your new toy is just over $500 bucks.

What would you do?

Read the rest of our post, and get  the inside scope (and money saving tips) about cell phone insurance at Inexpensively.com

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Some People Are Offended By Anything

In Your World on October 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM

With mid-terms elections a mere 10 days away, today’s post is political … and controversial.  I hope you’ll  weigh-in, whether you agree or not.  And come November 2, you’ll vote.  The election outcomes will decide if you Live Well For Less … or not.

Political correctness is stifling America. 

Case in point … the Juan Williams’ controversy. He was fired by NPR for making the following statement, I’m not a bigot… But when I get on a plane, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Vivian Schiller, President and CEO of NPR fired Williams saying his statement violated journalistic standards.   NPR should be ashamed. Juan didn’t break journalistic standards.  Right or wrong, he expressed his feelings.

In response to Juan’s firing, Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, chastised those who wear the cloak of “feel-good sensitivity”. “This is the truth, we should be speaking the truth rather than what people expect us to say.”

Another recent example of social tyranny is the collective temper tantrum thrown by hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar on The View.   

Guest, Bill O’Reilly got into a shouting match with Goldberg and Behar over opposing views on the merits of a Mosque being built near the World Trade Center. O’Reilly argued that it was “inappropriate” to build a Mosque there because “… Muslims killed us on 9/11.”

Are O’Reilly’s remarks offensive to you? Should he have qualified them by tacking on the word “extremist”?   I don’t think so.  To most folks, that point is understood. Common sense tells us that the vast majority of  Muslims are not extremist.

Where do you stand on the issue of political correctness? Are you on board?  Or fed up?

“It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought … should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.” – George Orwell, 1984.

Halloween Still Rocks!

In budget, Your Food, Your Home on October 14, 2010 at 7:18 AM

Next to Christmas, Halloween was my favorite holiday when I was a kid. Though my days of dressing up as Piglet and Minnie Mouse are long gone, Halloween is still celebrated in my home.   

Here are a few EASY treats and tricks to help you have fun this Halloween season. Click the title links for instructions.

Cagey Ghost

Turn unused tomato cages into friendly or spooky ghosts. I made this project last night.  It’s super easy and a lot of fun to make.

Note:  If you intend to place your ghosts outside, consider using a plastic shower curtain ($2 at Walmart)   instead of a white bed sheet.  The plastic cover will protect your little friends if it rains.

Pumpkin Fashions

17 spooktacularly sensational ideas for turning your so-so pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern with pizzazz!

Last Minute Budget Friendly Costumes

It’s not too late to deck out your little (and not so little) ones with creative and easy-to-make  customs.

Healthy Halloween Snacks

Halloween isn’t just about the candy.  Here are 15 fun, hearty and healthy snacks.

Pumpkin Hair Bows

These adorable pumpkin clips are perfect Halloween accessories for your little one’s hair.  This trio was handcrafted by Paige’s Pretty Bowtique.

Free Screen “Scream” Saver

Enter this spooky 3D graveyard if you dare.  Brave the stormy night as the living dead, bats, assorted  ghouls and howling sounds materialize.

Happy Halloween! 

*Sources: Family Fun, Screen Saver and Etsy

Family Friendly Travel Destinations

In Your Guest Writers, Your World on October 6, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Image Credit Chrissi Nerantzi

 

With a bit of creativity you can likely make any travel destination into a fun and safe trip for your children. Finding a place to go on vacation that will offer benefits to kids without a lot of effort or stress for you is slightly harder.  

Your entire family should have an enjoyable vacation, no matter what age they are, so we’ve compiled a list of family friendly travel destinations. If you have any additions please feel free to let us know in the comments section.  

Jellystone Park Campgrounds  

This might seem like one for the kids but Jellystone Park Campgrounds are fun for the entire family. These parks are located all across the US in places like Cooperstown, New York and Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. There are also 5 locations in Canada if you’re in need of northern road trip. Each of the Jellystone locations include all kinds of fun activities for kids, including water slides, swimming, playgrounds, and mini golf. There are also activities for adults like fishing, dances with manned DJs, hiking, camping, games rooms, and arts & crafts. The best part if that most of these activities can be enjoyed by both adults and kids.  

Williamsburg  

Williamsburg, Virginia combines the educational fun of Colonial Williamsburg with the just-plain-fun of the nearby Busch Gardens theme park. In the summer there is also the massive Water Country USA water park if you’re in need of a cool down.  

American history comes to life in Colonial Williamsburg. Volunteers and actors portray people from over 200 years ago; bringing to life pre-American Revolution life in the United States. There are other nearby historical areas that can be visited such as Yorktown – all within a short drive of Williamsburg.  

Mardi Gras in New Orleans  

This is one that you might think would only be for the adults (or maybe even just for college students). Mardi Gras may be infamous for its party culture but it’s actually quite family friendly if you get past those initial thoughts about the festival.  

Most of the hard partying during Mardi Gras takes place on Burbon Street, which means most of the rest of the festivities are focused on families. The festival is an amazing spectacle with it’s parade, music, and culture. It’s important to educate your children on how to travel safely before and even during your trip. This is important whether you’re visiting Mardi Gras, Disneyland, or even the in-law’s house one state over.  

San Diego 

This Californian city has everything you’re looking for – whether you’re a kid or an adult. Children can enjoy building sandcastles on the beach while their parents relax. 

The San Diego Zoo is one of the largest and most progressive zoos in the world and a must-visit if you’re visiting the city. The zoo, which is owned by the City of San Diego, has an impressive 4,000+ animals of more than 800 species including many endangered species. It is also one of the only zoos in the world to house a giant panda. 

Another great spot for kids in San Diego is Legoland. I’m sure a few parents have grown up enjoying Lego too! 

This was post was contributed by Ryan Embly from the rental car comparison website CRX. If you’re seeking car rentals in New York or any other city in the US visit their website today.

The Benefits of Cooking Groups

In Your Food, Your Guest Writers on October 4, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Image Credit Michaela Kobyakov

 

There’s almost nothing bad that one can really say about cooking groups. Defined for the sake of this article as groups in which likeminded people gather in a single place, cook large quantities of food, and reconvene to do the same thing weekly or monthly, a cooking group provides a number of opportunities: it gives one a chance to meet new people, discover foods and ingredients that one otherwise might not have come across, and come away with leftovers for less than it would cost to eat out or cook for one.  

Cooking clubs may specify a type of food or impose a dietary restriction to attract a specific crowd; for example, a number of cooking clubs exist to produce vegan or vegetarian meals. In doing so, they help people meet others in their community who may have similar social or political interests and bring together a group that may, depending on the surrounding area, be otherwise unserved by the restaurants around them. Others may focus on a style, or each week suggest a guideline to produce variety; one, for example, may emphasize Italian cooking one week, then produce Korean or Indian food the next. In doing so, attendants are forced both to expand their repertoire and get to learn new things to make when cooking outside of the cooking club. 

Some members may have connections of some kind, which can then translate into better deals and better meals for everyone. If a club has an attendant who, for example, butchers meat, that person may be able to provide cuts at a discount as well as in bulk, then share their expertise when that meat is prepared, served, and enjoyed. If a particularly experienced baker participates in one, they can show off the ways in which they prepare certain goods in order to teach other aspiring bakers. Amateur (or professional) beer brewers, winemakers, and distillers can supply their wares as well, adding another element to a cooking club. 

Cooking clubs often also cook enough to leave everyone with leftovers. This is an obvious convenience, as one’s labors are rewarded not just once, but several times throughout the week. Better yet, some produce difficult to make condiments, sauces, reductions, and garnishes, many of which either require costly ingredients or are, for various reasons, prohibitive to make at home in small quantities. By making them for a cooking club, you can get the experience without having a mountain of something that can only last a few days, ensuring that all of it will be used before it turns, expires, or otherwise becomes inedible. 

Organizing and finding a cooking club can be easy. Groups often promote them on social networking sites, friends (and friends of friends) likely know someone involved with one, and co-ops, local grocery stores, and area coffee shops may all help locate cooking clubs. If there are none, start one: by merely talking to your friends, gauging interest, finding a big enough kitchen, and hitting up farmers’ markets and bulk foods aisles, you’ll be well on your way. 

Andrew Hall is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online schools for Guide to Online Schools.

We’ve Been Featured!!!

In Our Guest Appearances on October 4, 2010 at 8:04 AM

At Pen and Prosper!

Noted author and editor, Jennifer Brown Banks, listed Live Well For Less as one of 10 blogs that  make her happy! 

Click here to read her article  and to get the latest scoop at Pen and Prosper.

The Science of Savvy Shopping!

In budget, Your Fashion, Your Guest Writers, Your Home on October 1, 2010 at 7:37 AM

(5 tips to a better quality of life)

By: Jennifer Brown Banks

In today’s tough times, there’s a special joy when we get a good deal for our hard earned buck. True? 

It almost feels as if we’ve cashed in at the lottery.

And with the housing crisis, double digit unemployment, and soaring consumer prices, we all need to save where we can.

But what few “divas” recognize is that being an “educated consumer” goes far beyond knowing the best stores to buy treasured items, or the debt cutting value of coupons. It’s much more.

This epiphany came to me recently when a friend of mine, while visiting my home, complimented my setting, (and the stuff I had acquired) while comparing it to hers.  Ironically, she makes more money than I do, and has similar circumstances.

For me my place is embraced as a “blessing”, while she views hers as a burdenShe often complains that her home is a money pit that she constantly puts cash into, but can’t get any real joy out of.

Because of this experience, I felt compelled to share my shopping secrets to enhance not just your ”surroundings”, but also your quality of life.

Here are a few cardinal rules.

  1. Know that it’s not “where” you shop, but “how” you shop that matters. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof. I’ve watched shows like Oprah and the Antique Road Show, (and no doubt you have too), where folks have scored items at garage sales, thrift stores, and specialty shops, for a couple of bucks, that were later appraised for thousands of dollars. Hello! Learn to spot quality.
  2. Recognize that there’s no value or validation in trying to keep up with the Joneses. One of the reasons that my friend “Wanda” is busted and disgusted, is that she’s constantly trying to establish her worth by buying what she feels will qualify her as being one of the “in”crowd. Big mistake. Instead, do you! As a point of reference, I don’t have cable. Never have. Though I enjoy T.V., so far it hasn’t impressed me enough to shell out extra money monthly for the idea of a few extra channels, (no matter how many million folks have it). Stop “perpetrating.”
  3. Consider that too much “impulse shopping” can lead to too little peace and buyer’s remorse. Evaluate. After you’ve taken a trip to your local mall and made purchases, how do you feel? Will your credit card payments last much longer than the life-cycle of the item (s) you’ve bought? Are you sacrificing paying an important bill to catch a deal? Your answers will determine your course of action.
  4. Keep in mind that your purchases should do more than just add to your “inventory”, they should add to your quality of life. For example, I love to buy house plants, beautiful baskets, books, fragrant candles, and unusual frames, because not only do they add to my décor, but they are reflective of my values and personal hobbies. Surround your surroundings with things that make you smile, that call to   mind special times, and are aesthetically pleasing. Make your place your personal sanctuary. 
  5. Accept that inner emptiness and low-self esteem can NOT be made better by “things.” It’s sad to say, but it’s true. Some folks shop to fill an emptiness. Whether it’s a bad marriage, a dysfunctional childhood, or feelings of inadequacy. Once they come down from their “shopper’s high” they’re in more debt and have even less that they feel good about. Don’t let this be you. There’s great truth to the adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.”

 With an uncertain economy, you can be certain that shopping habits from days of old can be detrimental to your finances and your family’s well being.  There’s no reason you can’t still be cute; just be smart as well!

And keep in mind that ain’t nothing cute about being “busted” and disgusted. 🙂

 

Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, columnist, professional blogger and managing editor at Coffeehouse for Writers.