Daily Journaling for Beginners

Monday, February 26, 2024

I always see people talking about how they have made journaling a part of their morning routine, or any time of day for that matter.  But a lot of people have also said they struggle to do it because they aren't sure what to write. I'm one of those people. Sometimes I think I'd want a prompt but other times I just want to vent.  I have actually embraced writing in a journal every morning for the last year, even if it's just one sentence.  So if you are looking to do the same, here's how you can start.

What to Look For in a Car Dealership

Friday, February 23, 2024

Steering through the exhilarating maze of car shopping can feel like navigating a bustling marketplace. With flashy models winking at you from every direction and persuasive offers dangling like ripe fruit, it's easy to get lost.

Yet, anchoring your search around a reputable, certified dealer acts as your trusty compass, ensuring a ride that's not only thrilling but also secure. Below, we've unveiled a treasure trove of insider tips, helping you unravel the mystery of finding the perfect car dealer.

Dive Into Customer Reviews

In today's digital age, customer reviews are invaluable when evaluating a car dealership. See what customers say about a dealership before checking out that new Kia for sale on a local lot.

Look beyond star ratings, and pay attention to specific experiences customers share. Check multiple platforms and social media channels for a comprehensive understanding. Genuine feedback often reveals a dealer's customer service, after-sales support, and overall credibility.

Examine Certification and Accreditation

Reputable car dealers affiliate themselves with industry-recognized organizations and certifications.

Look for accreditations like the National Automobile Dealers Association or the Better Business Bureau. These certifications validate a dealer's commitment to ethical business practices and customer satisfaction. Additionally, certifications from specific car manufacturers indicate a dealer's reliability and expertise in handling their brand.

Understand Transparent Pricing and Policies

Honest, transparent pricing is a hallmark of a trustworthy dealer.

While attractive offers might lure you, it's vital to ensure there are no hidden costs or misleading terms. Reliable dealers provide a clear breakdown of all purchase expenses, including taxes, fees, and optional add-ons. Understanding their return policy and warranty terms is essential for a worry-free ownership experience.

Explore Longevity and Track Record

A dealer's longevity in the business speaks volumes about their reliability.

Look for dealerships with a solid track record and a history of satisfied customers. Established dealers often prioritize customer satisfaction and strive to maintain a positive community reputation. Consider how long they've operated and their local market standing to gauge their credibility.

Look for a Customer-Centric Approach

A customer-centric approach is the cornerstone of a reputable car dealer. A good car salesperson prioritizes your needs and preferences, providing personalized guidance throughout the purchasing process.

Whether understanding your budget, recommending suitable models, or offering post-sale support, a customer-centric dealer ensures a seamless and pleasant buying journey.

Evaluate the Facility and Staff

The dealer's showroom appearance and staff conduct reveal much about their professionalism.

A well-maintained facility reflects the dealer's commitment to providing customers with an inviting environment. Knowledgeable and courteous staff willing to address your queries and concerns are crucial in building trust and confidence in their services.

The Road to Automotive Bliss Starts With the Right Dealer

When searching for a new set of wheels, investing time in assessing a dealer's reputation and certification is paramount. By considering customer reviews, certifications, pricing transparency, track record, customer-centric approach, and the overall dealership experience, you can ensure a hassle-free and satisfying car buying experience. Remember, a reputable dealer doesn't just sell cars; they build lasting customer relationships. So, choose wisely and drive confidently!

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How I'm Able to Grocery Shop ONLY 2X a Month

Wednesday, February 21, 2024


I'm one of the most introverted people I know and I also don't like leaving the house and wasting my time running errands.  As I've adopted a more minimalistic and simplistic lifestyle, I try to cut my errands down.  One of the ways I do this is by meal planning two weeks at a time and then grocery shopping every 2 weeks. 

Epoxy Floor Installer Secrets: Tips and Tricks for a Flawless Finish

Friday, February 16, 2024


Installing epoxy floors in your garage can be a satisfying DIY project. It's easy to maintain and provides a durable, attractive surface that protects your floor from damage. Sweep away dust regularly and mop up spills as they occur to keep your epoxy floor looking flawless. Regular inspections and handling minor problems before they worsen are also crucial.

Prepare the Surface

Before applying the epoxy, you must ensure your floor is prepared correctly. The epoxy will likely chip or peel away if you skip this step. Moisture-related issues can also cause the epoxy to bubble or delaminate. It is where a moisture meter comes in handy. Before applying any floor coatings, an epoxy installer will use this tool to test for moisture in the concrete. If any moisture is present, a primer will remove it before proceeding. A shot blaster is another way to prepare the surface for the coating. This method uses machinery to pummel metal beads into the floor, removing any scratches or stains on the concrete surface. It allows for a smooth surface that will bond well with the epoxy.

Clean the Surface

Epoxy floors are like the Marilyn Monroe of flooring – they're highly durable and look beautiful. But they're not indestructible; you must ensure you care for them. Moisture-related problems are a big issue for epoxy surfaces and can cause bubbles and discoloration. Moisture levels should be tested using a concrete moisture meter before installation. Once the floor is installed, a regular cleaning schedule should be followed. A weekly sweep and mop is part of it to eliminate dust and debris that can harm the coating. It's a good idea to use walk-off mats at the entrance to your garage or shop and put protective pads under heavy equipment and tools to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.

Mix the Epoxy

Due to its two-part composition of hardener and resin, epoxy reacts chemically when applied to a floor. It is a robust and durable material used in various applications. The epoxy must be adequately mixed before it is applied to the surface. It ensures the epoxy will adhere to the concrete and not peel or blister later. Use the appropriate hardener ratio to resin when mixing the epoxy. Also, mixing the mixture on a flat surface instead of in a small bowl is a good idea, as this will help reduce the heat generated by the reaction. The mixed epoxy can be rolled onto the surface using a roller or squeegee. It is essential to remember that the epoxy must be allowed to cure for some time before it can be walked on or cleaned.

Apply the Epoxy

The first step to a flawless epoxy floor is carefully and skillfully cutting in around the edges using a roller pad designed for epoxies. It's also essential to mask and paint any wall corners with the same mix you used on the floors to create a cohesive look. After completing all the repair work and the optional etching process, it's time to begin applying the epoxy. It's essential to follow the instructions on your product data-sheet. Each epoxy comprises two parts - a resin and an activator - and must be adequately mixed to achieve the desired result. Once the epoxy is applied, it should dry for a few days. During this period, you will want to keep all vehicles, foot traffic, and equipment out of the area.

Let It Dry

Once the first coat can dry, your pros will use a squeegee and roller to banish air bubbles and smooth out any ridges that formed during the pour. This step is essential to avoid later problems, such as peeling and delamination. The floor's temperature is also critical during the epoxy coating process. Epoxies and polyaspartic are designed to withstand certain temperatures, but if the concrete slab is cold or below 55 degrees, this could impact the curing process. Regularly sweep and vacuum your new epoxy flooring to remove any dirt, dust, or debris that might scratch the surface. Never use abrasive cleansers or cleaning pads, as these can scratch the epoxy and make future stains more likely. If you need to move heavy items, lift them instead of sliding them.

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Key Benefits to Include in Your Retirement Plan

Depending on the type of plan, contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, and earnings from investments are tax-deferred. Find out more by reviewing your plan documents or asking your employer or the plan administrator.

Tax-Deferred Savings

One of the most critical aspects of retirement planning is ensuring you save enough money to live comfortably once you stop working. After all, Social Security benefits can only go so far, and most people do not want to work right up until their death.

Tax-deferred savings are a great way to help you build your savings. These types of accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k) plans, allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars that grow tax-free until they are withdrawn, typically after retirement. This reduces your taxable income in the current year and can make retirement savings more attractive to many people.

Many companies, such as Boeing employee benefits, also match a portion of your contributions to these retirement savings accounts, increasing your total savings even further. However, if you cannot access an employer-sponsored plan or maximize contributions to these accounts, consider other tax-incentivized savings opportunities, such as certificates of deposit (CDs) or blue-chip stocks, to bolster your nest egg.

Income in Retirement

For many retirees, the goal is to turn a lifetime of savings into a steady income in retirement. The right balance of savings, other income sources, and investment returns is key.

Generally, Fidelity recommends saving 15% of their pre-tax income each year. However, that rate can vary depending on several factors, such as when you plan to retire, your lifestyle, and when you started saving.

Another important consideration is the income you can expect in retirement, including Social Security benefits (which tend to play a larger role for lower-income workers) and other predictable and permanent income sources like pensions or home equity. For example, you need $50,000 a year to live comfortably in retirement. Fidelity estimates that, on average, Social Security will replace about 74% of your pre-retirement income. 

Long-Term Care Insurance

Many retirees find themselves in need of long-term care services or support. These services may include home healthcare, assisted living, or nursing home care. Unfortunately, many boomers cannot afford these expenses with their savings and may end up draining their retirement assets or becoming dependent on state welfare programs like Medi-Cal.

Investing in a long-term care policy now can help prevent this from occurring. It can also alleviate the burden on family members, who often shoulder the financial and emotional costs of providing care.

There are four main ways to pay for long-term care:

  • Government assistance.
  • Traditional long-term care insurance.
  • "Hybrid" policies offer life or annuity and long-term care benefits.
  • Personal savings.

AARP recommends buying a traditional long-term care policy with a level premium, which protects against increases based on age or health status.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a critical component of retirement planning for anyone who has dependents. It helps ensure that any surviving spouse or children will not have to borrow money from creditors or take on debt in the event of your death. It can also help cover final expenses and funeral costs. For most people, a term life policy will meet these needs at an affordable cost. But permanent life policies, including whole and universal policies, may also offer cash value in addition to death benefits, which can supplement retirement savings.

A special type of permanent life insurance called a Life Insurance Retirement Plan (LIRP) allocates a portion of each premium payment to a savings account that builds over time at a predetermined rate of return. LIRPs cannot be term policies; they can't be 401(k) or IRA plans because they don't have dedicated retirement investment options.

LIRPs are best for those who want to fund their retirement with traditional savings and investing accounts, especially those who expect to have large financial goals that may exceed the maximum limits of their other saving vehicles.

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Things to Do Before You Refinance Your Home

Wednesday, February 14, 2024


Most homeowners think about refinancing their home to cash out on some of the equity they have built up to make a few renovations. Others do so in order to reduce their payments. While these are good reasons, they can have a downside and end up costing you more money in the long run. There are things you can do before you refinance your home to make sure you are on the right track. Go over your reasons and follow these tips to ensure you are making a good decision.

Check Your Credit

Check your credit reports and dispute any inaccuracies. If you have paid off any old accounts, ask to have them removed. Look for any lines of credit or accounts that you didn't open. Call the credit bureaus and ask them about anything you don't understand or recognize. Make sure you understand any unexpected changes in your credit scores. If you notice any small balances, try to get them paid off before you apply for your refi loan. This will improve your debt-to-income ratio and increase your approval odds.

Balance the Pros and Cons

Before you make any major financial decision, go over the pros and cons. Take a look at what your next year will look like financially. Make sure your employment is on solid ground and you don't have any major expenses that may end up surprising you. Look at the interest rates to find out if refinancing will knock them down a little or raise them higher. If your loan is almost paid off, do you really want to add more years back onto it? Will the renovations you plan on making really add substantially to your home's value?

Make a Few Minor Repairs

Making a few minor repairs and upgrades will boost the current value of your home and improve your odds of approval. A coat of paint and a few new light fixtures will go a long way in making your home look fresh and revitalized. Giving your home a good cleaning and eliminating unnecessary clutter will also help. Create more storage space by adding a few shelves and a closet organizer or two. Make sure that everything is put away, so you don't have a lot of dust catchers around your home.

Improve Your Curb Appeal

Improve your home's curb appeal by cleaning your lawn and keeping it neatly trimmed. Make sure all exterior lights are in good working order. Wash your windows and clear out any debris from landscaped areas. Put all the toys and lawn implements away, so your lawn does not look cluttered or messy. Sweep your sidewalks and driveway. It's the little things you do to the exterior of your home that will boost its curb appeal and make it shine. This won't go very far if your home has already been valued

When you finally make the decision to refinance, you will want to visit several lenders, including websites like Rob's Mortgage Loans. You will find many of the answers to your questions, as well as options you may not have considered in the past. Do what you need to do that will allow you to reach your financial goals.

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My Favorite Cleaning Tools

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.

I love me a good cleaning tool.  It can make the chores you do every week much more easier and enjoyable.  So I figured it was time to do a roundup of all of my favorite cleaning tools that I myself use.

Make Your Home A Calmer Place To Be

Wednesday, February 7, 2024


If you are keen to make your home as enjoyable to be in as possible, there are a lot of ways you might achieve that. One thing that many people would want from their home is for it to be calm, and that’s something that you are certainly going to want to consider here too. But how can you ensure that your home is a calm place to be? In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the main ways to achieve this that you might want to be aware of. Let’s see how to make the home calmer.

Image Source - CCO License

Keep On Top Of Maintenance

One of the things that can really help is to make sure that you are keeping on top of your home maintenance. As long as you are doing that, it’s probably going to mean that it’s much easier and more enjoyable to be in the home, because that will make a considerable difference. You won’t be worrying about what needs doing and so on - you will just simply be able to enjoy being in your home. So definitely make sure that you are keeping up with all the relevant maintenance you might need to be doing.

Keep It Clean

Similarly, it’s much easier to enjoy your home if it is clean and tidy. Keeping it such is hugely important. It will mean that you are able to enjoy the space so much more easily for what it is, and that is something that we are probably all keen for in our homes. The simple act of daily cleaning, followed by regular deeper cleaning, should mean that you find it a lot calmer and more enjoyable to be in your home, so this is certainly worth being aware of as well here.

Image Source - CCO License

Tame Your Pets

If you have any pets, it’s good to know how they are affecting the space, as it could be that you need to try and keep them calm in order for you to be calm too. With that in mind, consider whether they need taming in any way. If so, you can then think about how you might achieve that - such as using a cbd spray for dogs or making sure that they are getting the necessary rest. However you do it, taming your pets will certainly make the home a lot calmer to be in on the whole.

Choose Calming Colors

There are of course endless colors you can choose from when you are decorating your home, and it’s up to you which to opt for. But if you want the home to be calm, you’ll find that it is definitely helpful if the colors are calm themselves. Going for pastels and the like is certainly going to mean that your home is much calmer as a space, so that is something you should think about here. It will make a huge difference all in all to how you experience your home.

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Practical Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

Monday, February 5, 2024


I am probably one of the most practical people out there especially when it comes to giving and receiving gifts.  I don't like things that are wasteful.  When it comes to gifts for others I tend to get very useful and practical things.  It's a better use of my money and I think the receiver always appreciates it.  So if you are anything like me and are looking for practical Valentine's Day gift ideas, look no further.

5 Tips to Keep Your Car New

Thursday, February 1, 2024


Want to keep your car looking and running like it's brand new? Many car owners face the challenge of maintaining their vehicle's pristine condition, which is crucial for both its value and performance. In this guide, we'll unveil five essential tips that are key to preserving your car's immaculate state.


By embracing these straightforward yet effective strategies, ranging from regular maintenance to understanding the nuances of car repaint costs, you'll ensure your car not only retains its fantastic appearance but also operates at peak efficiency.

1. Regular Washing and Waxing

To keep your car's appearance dazzling, regular washing and waxing are indispensable. Regular cleansing removes harmful dirt and grime, while a good waxing session provides a protective shield to the paintwork, preserving its luster and preventing it from fading. This ritual is not just about aesthetics; it also plays a crucial role in warding off rust, ensuring your car's outer shell remains as impeccable as the day you got it.

2. Avoiding Hard Acceleration and Braking

The way you drive has a profound impact on your car’s overall health. Steering clear of aggressive acceleration and abrupt braking goes a long way in preserving the mechanical integrity of your vehicle. Such mindful driving habits minimize the wear and tear on crucial components, extending the life of your car’s engine and braking system.

3. Protecting It Against Environmental Factors

Your car's external body is continuously exposed to environmental elements — the blazing sun, relentless rain, and the occasional snowfall. Shielding it from these elements by parking in shaded areas, using protective car covers, and occasionally refreshing its coat with quality paint can significantly reduce the toll these factors take. In addition, understanding your options of various car painting services and costs comes handy. This knowledge helps you make well-informed decisions about regular maintenance, ensuring your car doesn’t just look its best but also maintains its value over the years.

4. Following Your Scheduled Maintenance

Sticking to your car's recommended maintenance schedule is vital for its optimal functioning. Routine check-ups, oil changes, and timely part replacements are the lifeblood of a smooth-running vehicle. This proactive approach to maintenance not only enhances performance but also saves you from expensive repairs in the future.

5. Prompt Repair of Exterior Damage

Keeping the exterior of your car in top shape is crucial. You may be tempted to try repairing rust, dent, and small issues by yourself. Be very careful as some will cause more damage. 

There is a lot of miss-information out there on the internet. I trust only reputable resources about even seemingly simple jobs like DIY methods to remove scratches from cars.  

Promptly and professionally addressing issues like scratches and rust prevents them from worsening and helps preserve the vehicle's aesthetic and resale value.


Preserving your car’s ‘like-new’ condition is a multifaceted endeavor. It involves a blend of responsible driving habits, diligent maintenance, and timely care. A deep understanding of car care, from adhering to maintenance schedules to estimating car repaint costs, is crucial. By adhering to these tips, you not only extend the life of your vehicle but also ensure that it remains a delight to drive for many years.

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