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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Health Insurance: What to look for

When it comes to health insurance, knowing what to questions to ask can make a huge difference to your bill. Like many of us, we are surprised at the charges that occurred during a doctors or hospital visit. To avoid this, make sure you know what exactly your health insurance does and does not cover. Assistant director for business and information systems Marleen Reynolds has a couple of tips to get you started.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Prepare yourself for holiday travels

Distance crossed in 1 second by cars moving in...Image via Wikipedia
Before heading out this holiday season, make sure you prepare yourself and your car.  Emergencies happen all the time.  Being prepared only makes the hassle that much easier.  Here are some things I recommend trying.

 ALWAYS keep an emergency kit in your car.  This should contain things like blankets, flashlights, water, band aids, flares, jumper cables, etc.  If your car should break down in the middle of winter, having these things handy will help ease some of the stress.

Make sure all your fluids are topped off.  This will only take up a small amount of your time and will protect your car from having any of them freezing.  The same things go for your gas tank.  My mom has this rule that keeping your gas tank below 1/4 is a no no.  This can freeze your gas line, which could end up costing you an arm and a leg to fix.

Make sure your tires have the correct amount of air in them.  This will help prevent slipping and sliding on those ice filled roads.  Having the proper amount of pressure will also deter your tires from becoming flat when hitting pot holes.  More importantly, it will save you gas.      

These of course are just a few of the many tips that are out there.  I recommend doing a little research on your car to see what exactly you can do to make your holiday travels safer.  But more importantly, don't forget a snow scrapper and shovel.  Nothings worse than being stuck on the road with no one to help you.  These to items can help in the most stressful situations, so make sure you always have them handy.   

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Friday, December 10, 2010

True Life: I survived Black Friday

     Thanksgiving is over and now the real holiday shopping begins. Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Listen to different experiences for Black Friday including what Black Friday was like for a retailer and for a shopper.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Simple ways to spend less this winter

Windbeeches on the Schauinsland in Germany (Bl...Image via Wikipedia

Well its official winter is upon us. With holidays just around the corner and our heating bills rising it may seem impossible to save even a penny this winter. However, there are a few, quick and easy things to spend less during this winter.

Bundle Up
            It winter, its cold and its going to be like this for the next 3 months. It may seem tempting to crank up the heat in your place but that is going to cost you. So pull out all of your comfy blankets, put on an extra layer of clothes and wear socks or slippers. By doing this you will be able to stay a little warmer in your place without turning up the thermostat.

Go Homemade
            Finding the perfect Christmas gift for everyone on your list cannot only be challenging but it can also be costly. However you will be surprised of how thoughtful homemade gifts can be.
Some ideas that will be budget friendly are making a calendar or personal picture frame. There are many free sites online where you can upload your personal photos and put them into a calendar. This way your friends and family can enjoy their gift the whole year.
Also look around your place for objects to make picture frames. It can be something simple from Popsicle sticks to foil and cardboard. The main thing to keep in mind is just be creative.

Although this time of season and can hectic for many if you try to take a step back and think outside of the box and you will be surprised how much money is left in your wallet. 
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Decorate for the seasons for less

a red blown glass Christmas tree ornament, a t...Image via Wikipedia

            One of my favorite things to do for the holidays is decorate my house. I hit every corner from windows, to ornaments for the tree and little nic-nacks on tables. But here’s the thing Christmas decorations are always cheap. Below I have included a cheap and easy ways to decorate your tree for the holidays without empting your wallet.

Personal Ornaments

            What you will need for this little craft is clear Christmas ornaments (JoAnn Fabrics sells a set of 4 for 4.99) and your favorite pictures cut down to approximately 2 1/4" high x 1 3/4" wide.  Take off the top of the ornament and insert your photo inside the ornament to create your personal photo ornament

            **Tip: Attach a long, skinny piece of paper to the picture to help position your photo in the ornament.

            Another tip is for stocking up on holiday decorations is waiting till after Christmas. Most stores will discount holiday items up to 80% after the holiday has past. Although it may be hard to wait till after the holidays to get your decorations you will find amazing deals, just make sure keep it in a safe place where you will remember it for next year. 
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Push Play For Less

As the months are getting colder, a lot of us like to stay in and wrap ourselves in comfy blankets while watching a good movie. And as you may want to watch a lot of new releases, sometimes when renting from the video store things can get a little costly. If not wanting to take a trip to red box for a movie $1/day, but you love to watch a lot of DVDs then I suggest you get an online DVD store membership. A membership to online movie stores like Netflix or Blockbuster Online can save you a lot of money compared to buying DVDs or renting it from a local store. A video store in IowaImage via Wikipedia
The very minor downfall: Unfortunately there is a little wait once you order the movie, but if you watch a lot of movies at home, then you can easily get into the habit of ordering ahead of time so you always have something at home.

But if not wanting to get a membership, then you can even go to your local library and pick up a movie. Its free.I used to do this a lot, especially when I was in high school and when having to check out books I would just pick up a free movie. You won't really get anything new, but like I said...the movies are FREE. Another thing you can do is find a movie site that allows you to watch movies for free as well…sometimes there are hard to find. And you won’t be able to watch it on T.V. only on your laptop/computer, but once again its another FREE movie option.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Great deals are still out there

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...Image via Wikipedia
Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, great deals are still out there.  Items that didn't sell as well as retailers had hoped will have the same great deals bigger items had.  Whether you're shopping for gifts, groceries or yourself, great deals are all around you.

If you're looking for items that will make your holiday party a hit, make sure you buy at the right time.  Like myself, I assumed that champagne would be more expensive to buy this time of year.  However, that is completely false.  With New Years Eve around the corner, champagne is cheaper to buy in December, when liquor stores are competing against each other for sales.  Not sure what type to buy, check out  store websites, such as Meijer or The Andersons for great tips.

Looking for the perfect meal to serve, you can never go wrong with a Honey Baked Ham.  Coupons and promotions are always offered during the holidays.  Besides, who doesn't love ham?!  I found a coupon for $7 off an 8lb ham or larger.  Check out this link:

I also found a Hallmark coupon for $5 off your total purchase.  Since this coupon doesn't have a spending limit, you can purchase $5 worth of items for FREE!  If you feel guilty for getting free goods (and why would you) just spend a dollar or two more.  This coupon is only valid 12/3-12/5 so use it fast.    
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