Ask Away...: June 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

4 Straightforward Money Saving Tips For Car Owners

Driving is a wonderful, liberating thing, but it’s also undeniably expensive - especially if you fall into bad habits. If you’re fed up of money vanishing out of your purse with no exact idea of where it’s going, then let’s get down to examining the cost-cutting methods that all drivers can benefit from. So without further ado, as the title says, here are a few solutions to cut the cost of car ownership right down.

1) Don’t accept your insurance renewal quote.

It feels like this is the kind of thing that you shouldn’t need to say but… it still happens. Mostly for the sake of ease; people get the renewal and think they’ll just let it go. It’s so easy to compare for different quotes and ensure you’re being offered a fair price, so give it 10 minutes online and cut the cost - potentially substantially - with just a few clicks.

2) Wash The Car Yourself

Sure, good car detailing and the occasional wash is nice - but it’s an extra expense that you don’t need to sustain. It’s far more affordable to invest in your own equipment that allows you to do a professional-quality job for yourself. You could put aside the money you would have spent paying others to wash your car, read an electric pressure washer review to ensure you know what you’re getting, and then go and use that saved cash to buy the equipment you need. It’ll save you a fortune in the long run, plus an electric pressure washer will be far friendlier to your car’s paint job than the mechanical brushes of most carwashes.

3) Drive Economically

Basically, start to see the brake as a lever that shoots money from it every time you depress it. When you press the brake, you kill the kinetic energy in your car, meaning that you have to spend more using the gas to get it going again. Wherever possible, don’t brake; instead, take your foot off the gas and use kinetic energy to gradual drift to a stop. This is best used as you approach signals and queues, as these give you plenty of warning so you can slow gradually.

4) Go Gentle

If you’re in the habit of hammering either pedal, you can quickly suffer problems when it comes to getting the best cost per gallon from your car. Be as gentle as possible with the gas, taking advantage of any slopes in the road to help you along if possible. It’s also a good idea to avoid using cruise control unless you can avoid it, as this means you lose control of how much gas is being used. Stick to it for long drives only, when you need it to help avoid an aching foot.

So while car ownership can be expensive, a quick trim and a few changes and you could literally save hundreds of dollars per year. Why not use that saving on gas money and go on the road trip of a lifetime? You and your car have earned it!

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Fuel Economy Saves Gas Money

The price of gas continues to climb while your income and dependency on your car stays the same. While finding ways to boost your income is never a bad idea, there are also ways you save money on your car and gas expenses, none of which involves carpooling or cycling to work.
Figure out your fuel economy
To work out how much you could improve your fuel economy, you need to know where it currently stands. This first step might be expensive, but you need to fill up the tank to the point where the pump cuts off. Make a note of the number of litres or gallons you put in, and the trip counter reading. Divide one by the other and you get either miles per gallon (mpg) or km per litre. Zero the trip counter again and keep a note of the mpg calculation. Once you’ve done this about five times, you can start to figure out your running average using an online mileage tracker. From this point, you can see how your mileage improves once you implement these gas-saving measures.
Lose some weight
A car with excessive luggage will add aerodynamic drag to your car. More drag means more power to overcome it, which means worse mpg. Unless you’re taking the whole family on a road trip, travel light whenever you can. Losing just 100 pounds of dead weight in the car can improve fuel economy by up to two percent.
Change your oil
You might be very good about changing your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but are you using the best oil for you car. Switching to synthetic oil will help you achieve greater gas mileage because 5w-20 oil is slicker than conventional oil, and therefore allow for smoother, cooler engine operation.Because of the better lubrication, there tends to be less friction within the engine, which causes the engine to run more efficiently. You’ll also get more miles with synthetic oil, because manufacturers only recommend changing it every 5,000 to 6,000 miles.
Under-inflated tires can reduce the tire life by 15 percent and will slightly decrease your gas mileage, perhaps by 10 percent. Checking your tire pressure every other time you get fuel will reduce tire wear and keep your car going for longer. Goodyear recommends changing tires every 3,000 to 6,000 miles, but you should check your owner’s manual to see if it suggests a different number. If you’re not sure how far 3,000 to 6,000 miles is, just change them every six months to be on the safe side. Some tire companies offer free rotations every 6,000 miles for the life of the tires when you buy their products.
Tune your engine
Those regular visits to the mechanic aren’t because you like throwing money at them; it’s because they know more about the engine than you do. A properly tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency.

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10 Ways to Avoid Junk Food

The older you get, the more of an enemy junk food becomes.  And the more of an enemy it becomes, the more you crave it.  I know there's probably some scientific explanation for why that is but for now, I don't want to focus on that.  Instead, I want to share some tips to help you stop eating junk food and to learn to avoid it. 

Junk food isn't just candy and cookies.  It can be whatever you need to avoid.  For me, it's stuff with added sugars, lots of carbs, and pretty much anything processed.   

I know I know, it's easier said than done.  But think about it, junk food gets in your house BECAUSE you let it.  So the first place to start is at the grocery store.  Stick to a list and DON'T add junk food to the list.  Resist the temptation in the aisles.  Don't even put your hand on anything because once you touch that box of cookies, it's going to be much harder to put it back on the shelf.  Resist Resist Resist.    

This is actually kind of liberating.   Sure the common sense part of my brain tries to say "Don't throw that away because you spent money on it!" but in order to start fresh, you need to not have any junk food in your home.  It actually does feel good to slam dunk those packaged snacks into the can.

Start thinking of heathy alternatives to junk food and make it a part of your routine.  Instead of a sugary ice cream cone for dessert, choose some fruit.  Instead of regular potato chips, opt for sweet potato chips.  You have to replace your bad choices with good ones.

When those cravings hit you, get up.   Go dust a bedroom, clean the kitchen counters, or tidy your vanity.  If you don't take action, the cravings will start to consume your brain.  Whenever I sit in front of the TV I automatically think "Hm, what should I eat?" so I began to pick up my ipad and play a game on it.  The cravings have passed and now I can beat them simply by not even allowing them into my brain.

This is a very helpful tip because once I started doing it, I actually wanted to avoid junk food.   I paid attention to what it did to me.  Carbs made me get sleepy and added sugars made me feel all wound up and then crash shortly after.  So now when a coworker brings in a box of donuts, all I see is "I'll be tired the rest of the day" and it makes me WANT to say no.  If you end up on the toilet right after you eat greasy pizza, remember that next time you go to reach for the phone to order.

Let your friends, family, spouse, and coworkers know that you are trying your best to avoid junk food.   This helps hold you accountable.  People may stop telling you when there's junk food in the break room.  Your spouse can call you out when you try to eat junk food.  You'll think twice about eating a bag of chips at your desk because you know others can see and scold you.

Avoid junk food at all costs.  Skip those aisles in the grocery store, don't look at what's in the vending machines, and turn right past magazine advertisements for snacks. 

If you work outside of your home, come prepared.  Pack a healthy lunch and include some snacks for the morning and afternoon.  If you are already prepared, you won't need to sneak off to the vending machine when you need some fuel after lunch. 

I don't just mean meal planning.  I mean make sure that food is always a priority.  If you have errands to run on a Saturday, before you get in your car ask yourself if you might still be running around at lunch time.  If so, either adjust your timing so you can be home to make healthy choices for lunch, or bring along a (healthy) granola bar to hold you over.  Impulses get the best of you when you're not in control.  

So you totally cheated and ate a bag of potato chips.  It's okay.  Just learn from it.   Pay attention to how crappy you feel and how frustrated you are with yourself.  You won't want to feel that way again so make sure you acknowledge that you screwed up and vow to not do it again.

What tips do you have for avoiding junk food?  

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Top 5 Reasons All Homeowners Should Have Home Liability Cover

Whilst nobody expects to be held responsible for any accidents that may happen in their home, accidents do happen and liability cover is an important insurance policy to have in order to help prevent you from paying out should any unexpected accidents occur. Here are our top five reasons why personal liability insurance may help protect you from any unforeseen situations and the areas that it can cover you in the worst case scenarios.


Medical Bills

Firstly liability coverage may be able to provide financial assistance for any medical bills that come up from an injury sustained by any visitors to your home. Without this insurance, should anyone suffer an injury in your home, you could be liable to have to pocket out for the medical bills should they make an injury claim against you. A person that has an accident on your property, may very well have their own health insurance, however you may still be held accountable for any expenses if the accident is found to be caused by negligence on your part. So this is definitely a top reason to cover yourself in case anything unexpected happens on your home turf.

Recovery & Loss of Wages

Even if all the medical bills have been settled and you have paid out for all the necessary medical expenses, the costs may not end there. If that person continues to suffer any kind of pain after the accident, that prevents them from going back to work, you could again be liable to cover their loss of income costs. Liability cover will protect you from this and cover potential additional charges, such as this.

Death Coverage

It is a terrible thought that anyone may die as a result of an accident on your property, however it is something that does happen. Death benefits are not always a standard clause on all home liability insurance policies, so you will want to make sure that this is added into any liability coverage you take out and that you are not trying to save money on leaving out certain clauses.

Legal Expenses

If the person decides that they want to go down the legal route, if they felt that the accident was a result of your negligence and therefore could have been avoided, you will need to hire the help of a good, local attorney. Being sued by someone can be a terribly long, drawn-out and complicated process so having a trusted and reputable attorney by your side will give you peace of mind that your case is in the best hands. This of course doesn’t come cheap however, so a home liability insurance policy may help you cover your legal expenses, whether you are found to be responsible or not.

Coverage Outside of the Home

Personal liability coverage may also cover you for any damages that occur from accidents that happen outside your home. For example, if you are on holiday and cause damage to a hire car or a hotel room, your personal liability coverage may well protect you from any expenses that the company asks you to reimburse.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Preparing Your Pet for an RV Trip

Family vacations are not just for people. Pets love to be on the road and, if you do it right, traveling in an RV with your pooch can be fun.

First, consider going to the vet. A check-up will not only make sure your pet has no health problems but that their vaccinations are up to date. You can also talk about issues such as canine car sickness and the risks of fleas or ticks while on the road. A veterinarian can provide helpful advice, but then it is time to pack all the items that will be needed.

Packing the RV

An RV rented from Outdoorsy has plenty of room. Accommodating all the things your pet will need during a vacation is therefore not a problem. Make sure you are fully stocked on food, treats, and water. Portable bowls for food and water are a must; for a vehicle, anti-spill bowls are ideal because they won’t make a mess.

Also, be sure to take along the pet’s bed, so they have something familiar around them, and not to mention toys. An old towel will come in handy when they come in after the rain or a swim. Paper towels and carpet cleaner are items you never know when will come in handy. These can help you clean up dirt tracked in or any mess a nervous or excited pet may leave behind.

A leash is required in many places. Local restrictions can vary, but leashes should usually be a maximum of six feet. Longer ones are good for hikes or open areas. Other items to take along include plastic bags for picking up after your pets, medications, supplements, insect repellent, and a first aid kit.


If traveling with your pet, you’ll need the most up-to-date identification tags with your cell phone number. Campgrounds, dog parks, and kennels often require proof of vaccinations, in addition to pet health records. Take along a photo of the pet as well. It is easy for one to wander off on a campground; a picture will enable you to help others find them or to create posters to pass around.

Safety and Security

Keeping a dog or cat on your lap, or letting a pet roam freely in a vehicle is a bad idea. They should be in a seat belt harness or carrier designed for pets. Never leave pets alone in a separate camper pulled by the RV. Strapping them in will protect pets from being a distraction, potentially leading to an accident, or from being hurt if there is a collision.

This is also a good way to prevent a pet from getting lost. A dog or cat can jump out of an open door very quickly. It’s much harder for them to do so if they are in a harness or carrier. By staying vigilant at all times, there is the reality of an enjoyable trip and that you and your pets will make it home together. Pack right, bring all identification documents along and stay safe and an RV trip is an adventure of a lifetime for people and pets.


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Feel Like Evenings Are Being Wasted? Make Them More Productive With These Simple Activities
After working so hard during the daytime, it’s not uncommon for evenings to become a little wasted. By the time you’ve cooked dinner and prepared for the next day of work, it can be very tempting to sit on Facebook or binge on Netflix until you fall asleep. Unfortunately, those habits are doing you no favors in life. Now is the time to break the cycle.
Here are four far more effective uses of your midweek evenings. Incorporate them into your life, and you’ll feel like a brand new person in no time. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started.
Get Fit
Let’s face it; we all want to look good and feel good. Getting fit is a crucial aspect of that. Sadly, if you’ve become a weekend enthusiast, the results gained from your physical exercises will remain very limited to say the least.
Taking those first steps into a new fitness routine is always the hardest challenge. However, using a FitBit can give you the additional boosted needed to kickstart the health kick en route to reaching those goals. Within a matter of weeks, you’ll wonder why you wasted so much time on your smartphone in the first place.
You’ll look better, feel better, and have more energy to achieve greatness during the days. What more could you ever ask for?
Learn A New Skill
Even when you’re relaxing, there’s nothing wrong with becoming a better human being. If you’re going to sit on the sofa with your laptop, why not trade gaming for learning a new language? Firstly, it will give you a huge sense of achievement. Moreover, it could genuinely benefit your career.
Languages aren’t the only new skills that could be developed. In truth, you could even sign up for a home-based degree or educational course with this website. It’s certainly better than being bored on Twitter or Instagram, and it sets a great example for those around you too.
Earn Money
Even if you don’t want to play the long game by boosting your career prospects, the evenings can be used for financial gains. Modern technology enables us to increase earnings via many different methods. Find one that works for you, and those wasted evenings will be a thing of the past.
You could try trading stocks. Or for a risk-free option, this page will open your eyes to the opportunities posed through online surveys. Alternatively, you could try remote-based freelance work. Either way, the fact you can set schedules to suit your needs means that those endeavors won’t stop you from having fun when you want to.
Improve The Home
Diy, Do-It-Yourself, Electrical Repairs, Do It Yourself
Creating the happiest possible home environment is a goal shared by all. While many jobs are best left to the experts, others can be completed by any DIY enthusiast. With so many tutorials available on the internet, you have nothing to stop you making your home a better place.
Firstly, you should ensure that you have the right tools for the job. Once you’ve done that, there’s nothing to stop you painting walls or fixing various odd jobs during the evenings. By completing the work in the week, you’ll have the weekends for socializing. Suddenly, breaking the cycle of living to work is more possible.
Whether you’re looking to stay in the home for years or sell the property once the work is done, those upgrade tasks are well worthwhile. Just remember that time is limited as you don’t want to be up until the early hours before heading to work for 9 AM. An improved home and lifestyle awaits.

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Books I Recommend You Read [June]

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The Strays by Emily Bitto
This book takes place in the 30's and is a very interesting fictional read about a family with a VERY unique dynamic and the tragedy that takes place within.   I really liked this because I always find the dynamic between human beings fascinating.

The Foundling by Paul Fronczak

It's been a while since I read a non-fiction book, and this one was worth it.  It's about a guy who was believed to be a stolen baby and returned to his family.  Only he's not that same kid. But he goes on a mission to find out who he is.   It's fascinating how genealogy can help someone do that.   And at the same time he is trying to find the REAL baby that was stolen from his adoptive parents.

The Violated by Bill Pronzini
I'm not usually a fan of mystery books anymore but this one was pretty good.  There was a serial rapist on the loose, until they found him.  But now he's dead.  And then another rape happens. So now a whole town is searching for who killed the rapist, and who committed the most recent rape.  Told from everyone's point of view, this is a great read!

All the Time in the World by Caroline Angell
This is an amazing book about a family and a girl who is their nanny.  She is extremely close to the family but when tragedy hits things get very difficult and consume her.   For her first book, the author did an amazing job. Despite the sad events, there is still happiness throughout the story.

Before This Is Over By Amanda Hickie

This was a really cool book.  It's basically about a family that is contained to their house and street while there's an epidemic going around where people are getting sick from a virus and dying.  It's very interesting to read how each person is dealing with the situation and it really kept my attention until the end.

Rabbitcake by Annie Hartnett
 This book was so amazing.   It's about a girl coming of age who experiences the death of her mom and how she copes with the way her family changes because of it. Filled with some humor, some sadness, and something that everoyne can relate to, it was hard to put down.

The Assistants by Camille Perri

This is a story we can all relate to.  A girl is working as an assistant to a RICH Business man.    she stumbles upon an accidental error that pays off her student loan debt (OOPS!).  Then it escalates quite quickly when others become involved and she has no choice but to help them become debt free as well. But of course it can't go on forever without being noticed or can it?

Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

This was a very interesting novel.  A family with a troubled child decides to go away to a "camp" that will help them all.  But things aren't what they seem and there is some disturbing stuff going on.  Wait till you get towards the end... just trust me.

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

If you loved the book ROOM you will love Ginny Moon.  It's told through Ginny's point of view. Ginny is a fourteen year old autistic girl and it's an amazing view of her world and how she sees thing and how "normal" she truly is!

What have you been reading lately?

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Outfit of the Day: Pretty Paisley

I used to never be a fan of paisley.  In fact, I thought it looked "old".   But that is SO not true and I LOVE IT! This is a LuLaRoe Lucy Skirt. I love the Lucy because it's flowy and so comfortable and has an elastic band at the waist to hold it in place.   

The print on this skirt was awesome because it has SO many different colors and shades in it that I can wear it with virtually any color top.  I wore a LuLaRoe Classic T here and tied it in a knot at the side.  It's a larger size so it's too flowy to wear with a skirt like this without tying it up.

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