Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Find Public Records Online and at the Courthouse

 Grow your Knowledge as a Consumer

Public records are available to you as an American consumer if you know where to look for them. Many records are online now, including property records and assessment values for most counties and most states. Many legal opinions are also available for reading online once the case is completed.

If you read something in the local newspaper and want to check it out, you have the same records available to you as the reporter who wrote the original story. Just read carefully and figure out where the information is located. County records are held in the County Clerk's office. District Court records are at the District Clerk's office. Federal court records are at the Federal District Clerk's office. It's that easy. We have written an article with more detailed information about finding public records online and at the courthouse. Learn where to find public records to compare your property assessment with others in your area. These are likely available online, and you can read property value assessments from years past.

Read court cases in your area at the courthouse. Find criminal cases there, too. Stay informed and know how to check public records--a handy tool in your consumer toolbox.

See you soon!


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Buy a House with Knowledge -- Be a Smart Consumer

This is a good year to make a home purchase. With many homes on the market and many more in foreclosure, you can likely make a good deal on a new home, or a home new to you. A little work and thought on the front end will save lots of hassle as the years of the mortgage roll by.

Consider the Mortgage

The mortgage on your home is a major expense every month and every year, and thirty years is the majority of your working life. Be sure to check the interest rate and the monthly cost of a fifteen-year mortgage. A fifteen-year mortgage will save thousands of dollars and the house will be paid much faster.

Look at the Insurance Costs

If you can pay 20 percent down on a house, you can avoid PMI insurance that has no benefit to you. You may also be able to handle your own taxes and insurance payments so these are not paid monthly to the mortgage company. Why let the mortgage company get the interest? You can set up a personal savings account and earn the interest on the taxes and insurance money until it is due.

Do not accept the insurer the mortgage company uses. There is better coverage for less, if you shop around. Understand homeowner's insurance and ask for an explanation for any charges you do not understand.

Read all the Paperwork in Advance

You are entitled to a copy of the paperwork before the closing. Make sure you get a copy and review it carefully in advance. Ask about closing costs, and why you, the buyer, are paying certain items.

We have written an article about the pitfalls of buying a home that may help you be a smart consumer.

May all your purchases be good ones!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Social Security Disability Payments Can Work for You

If you are disabled and receive Social Security disability, the month is usually longer than the money. It is easy to let the finances and the disability combination get you down, but this is just the time you need to think for yourself. You have probably been thinking for an employer for years, so now is the time to think for yourself.

Consider what you can do besides sitting there all day. You have the computer, the internet, crafts, woodworking, and other projects, but these will not make enough money to make a difference.

Think outside the box. Don't be chicken. Use Social Security rules to your advantage. Look for other benefits. Medicare is available after two years of disability, and your spouse is entitled to benefits if she is 62. Minor children may be entitled to Social Security because you are disabled, too. We have written an article about Social Security disability that may give you just the ideas you need.

We are consumer advocates, and like to help. We hope this helps you.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Landscape and Design Flower Beds DIY Tips


Landscape your own yard and get it right the first time. Landscaping is a task we as consumers often leave to the experts, but the best landscaper for your yard is YOU. You can do it yourself on freezer paper first.

Make a Landscaping Plan

Use a piece of freezer paper that approximates the shape of the yard, and mark on the dull side with a pencil or pen. Start with the permanent fixtures like the house and trees, outbuildings and fences. Draw those in the approximate locations. Mark proposed paths and walkways. Think through a traffic flow pattern for the front yard, then the backyard, and mark on the plan how to get from front to back, preferably on each side of the house. Once you have the basics on paper, you can see where the flower beds and shrubs can be placed.

Design the Flower Beds

Create flower beds with larger plants to the back and sides and smaller plants in the front. Check your neighbors for ideas for plants and for size approximation. Some plants grow larger in one area than another, and checking out the neighbors flowers can help with what grows well and how large it gets. Find other tips and information on how to make this work for you in this article on Do-it-Yourself landscaping.

Do the Labor for a Beautiful Yard

Once you have a landscaping plan, design the shape of a flower bed on the ground with flour or spray paint, or a garden hose. Spade around the entire area and separate it from the lawn with something permanent, like the heavy black plastic edging that comes in a roll at the home improvement store. It works, and seems to last forever, since we have some that has been in the ground for 14 years. Remove all traces of grass and weeds from the flower bed area, as these will only annoy for years to come. Amend the soil with good products like flower planting mix before you start to plant. Plant bulbs first, and in one area of the bed so you don't have to watch for bulbs every time you dig. Plant sparsely, as these flowers and plants will grow to be bigger than you expect. When one flower bed is done, take a break. Then, start another one. You will soon have a beautiful yard with lots of compliments.

See you soon with more consumer fun!


PS: We also have used gardening and landscaping books for sale here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Prepare for Retirement Early -- Be Prepared

Look to the Future and Plan for Retirement.

Be prepared for retirement before it happens, since it may not occur on your schedule. There are laws in place to prevent age discrimination but employers find ways to eliminate jobs of high earners who have been with the company for a long time, and they often offer early retirement carrots to encourage older folks to step aside. Don't get caught having to find another job at 60 -- it may be more difficult than you think.

Start early and make plans for the possibility of retirement by paying down debts and paying off the house. Be sure you own a good car since it may be more difficult to get a new one once you have no income. Think of something you like to do that will make some income each month and get started doing it to establish a business on your own. Develop new skills. Sell off items that cost money to maintain and save the money for retirement. Extra cars, boats, campers, equipment not being used and real estate that is not the homestead are some possibilities. Read more about preparing for retirement ten years early here.

Get your finances ready for retirement, and if the unexpected happens, you will be ready to enjoy your senior years without having to scrape and scramble.

See you soon!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Tanning Beds are in the News Again. Melanoma Connection!

Tanning beds have been previously linked to skin cancer potential, but the new findings link tanning beds to melanoma, the most deadly of skin cancers. If you like to get a tan or have teens who insist on the tanning bed, give them the warnings!  The new figures show three times the risk of melanoma with the use of tanning beds, and the regular use increases the risk.

Teens are dying to be beautiful--literally.  It isn't worth it. We have an article about safer use of tanning beds, and although there is no really safe way to use them, there are some precautions that may save a life. The FDA is considering the new report, according to a Reuters review.  Hopefully, the FDA will soon have more warnings and precautions in place for those who insist that lying on a tanning bed isn't the same as rolling over and playing dead.

I think I'll try to live for another day, white skin and out of style. Wish we could get the teenagers to see the advantage.


The mimosa tree is in bloom, signaling summer and hot sun in Texas.  Wear sunscreen if you are outside, and heed the tanning bed warnings!

See you soon with more consumer news.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Looking for a Job? Write a Cover Letter with a Resume

The perfect resume is often posted online, but serious job hunters still have to network, make contacts, and send resumes through the mail or deliver them. With the mail or delivery, a cover letter is expected, and the rules have changed in recent years. It is no longer correct to send a letter of two lines announcing the resume is attached.  More is expected, and a good cover letter may get an interview, and hopefully, a job.

The cover letter of today is tailored to the company and the position, so the letter cannot be the same for every application.We have an article about writing a quality cover letter so you can soar with eagles or work with turkeys.  It's all about options, and a job offer is an option--a fork in the road--a chance to do better for yourself. Success may not be learned, but being successful is based on learning.

Keep up with the new trends and prepare a cover letter for your resume that is modern and thoughtful, combining qualifications with the position available. You will be a step closer to getting the job!

See you soon!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Are you Concerned about Privacy Online?

 You Can't Hide from the Internet

Most of us have a few concerns about privacy, but those of us who spend hours online and belong to many sites can expect to find information about ourselves in all kinds of places.

If you have not checked, make it a point to put your name in quotes and search a couple of the major search engines to see how much information you find about yourself.  Some of it will not likely be correct, and that is probably good.  The correct information should be of more concern to you.

If you feel that your privacy is being invaded by some websites, copy the URL for the page that has your personal information, and go to the PRIVACY link on the site.  Request that they remove your private information, and they probably will do so if you provide the URL and give them an email address to confirm that you want the information removed.  Sites like spokeo.com are used to removing the information, and have it set up as automated.

We are always concerned for others about identity theft issues and family safety on the internet. We have written these articles to share tips for consumers to prevent an invasion of privacy, and encourage you to always be alert and aware of the pitfalls of an online presence.

See you again soon with more consumer rights to share.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Find Activities for Senior Citizens

Consumers are families, not just individuals, and most families have senior citizens.  Seniors need stimulation and activities to keep their minds sharp and productive, and many families search for activities that Grammy or Papa will like.

Activities are available for senior citizens, but sometimes they have to be sought.  They are not openly visible without some searching, since these activities are local of necessity.  Here are some ideas for locating activities for seniors:

Consider the personality of the senior, and whether they prefer loner activities or group activities.  Attempt to match the senior activity with your senior citizen's personality. If the senior citizen is a loner, there may be activities online that are of interest.

Look online.  Do a local search for activities in the area that are specifically for seniors.

Check the Council for Aging or similar group in the area to see what activities they know about. Get recommendations to be sure the activities are SAFE.

Watch the local newspaper for activities for seniors that sound like something of interest to your senior citizen.

We have written an article about finding activities for senior citizens that may give you some more ideas.

Make sure senior citizens in your family find activities to keep their minds sharp, whether they be puzzles and word games, card games, or group activities with other seniors. They may also be physically active, and there are activities for seniors that provide exercise, dance, or charity walks.  Keep alert to keep your seniors alert.

See you again soon with more consumer issues and tips.


Puzzle books designed for senior citizens help slow down symptoms of dementia.(Oregon Life): An article from: The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Buy Online But Be Careful as a Smart Consumer

                                              Be watchful like a cat.

Buying online is easier than going to the local store, and the items can be delivered to your door within a few days, so why not buy online? I am a great advocate of buying online--actually I am an online seller, too--so I encourage everyone to buy online if they can buy SMART.

Online scams abound, and there are all kinds of potential problems, from identity theft to credit card abuse. If you are not very familiar with buying online, heed some warnings.

Do not buy from individual websites that are not established. New websites go up every day, and they are anxious to sell. If they want you to sign up with name, address, and credit card information, and they are a small or newer site, back out. Good sites that are new know that you should not give your credit card information to them, so they take PayPal or Google Checkout, and let THEM get your credit information. Another reason not to buy from new individual sites is that you may not get the merchandise.

Do not buy from international sites. USA shoppers should buy from the USA. This is not just for the benefit of the economy, but also because of the customs laws. Many foreign sellers do not realize that U.S. customs may seize the items or fees may be assessed. They also may not send the goods.

Buy from large, well-established sites that have some control over the merchants.
I sell on a website called iOffer, and they remove sellers who do not deliver the merchandise. eBay, Amazon, and other conglomerate seller sites are usually safe, too. When you make purchases from these sites, be sure to buy from sellers who have been there for some time. Do not make purchases from new sellers, as this is high risk.

We have an article about practicing internet safety for your family that you may find helpful. Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to scams, and we have written an article about scams against seniors, too.

Be ever watchful and be a smart consumer.

See you soon!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Be a Smart Consumer: Landscape and Plant Flowers and Shrubs for Frugal Living

Planting flowers and shrubs give pleasure and admiration for years to come if the landscaping is attractive and the flowers and shrubs thrive, but it is discouraging to plant and watch the flowers die. There are techniques to gardening and planting flowers and shrubs that require very little knowledge and not even much work, and you will be on the way to a beautiful yard.

The best landscaper for your yard is YOU, since you know the way your yard is used better than a professional landscaper. We have written a detailed article about landscaping for best use and DIY
so you can get some ideas for creating a useful landscaping plan that works best for you.

Spring is here, and there is no better time for planting flowers and shrubs on a budget, and improving your landscaping plan.  Think first, plan next, then put your thoughts and plan into action.  You will have a beautiful yard in no time, and it will grow year after year with little effort from you.  Be a smart consumer by reading online before beginning a project.

See you again soon with more consumer tips. Joy to spring!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

File Income Taxes Timely or Get an Extension with Form 4868

Federal income taxes are due on April 15, and if you find you do not have all the information to file your tax return, you can still be within the law and not file your income tax return--but you must file for an extension and pay any taxes you estimate are owed.

You can read more about how to file for a Federal income tax extension with Form 4868 on our Today blog. The important part is to be sure you file something before midnight on April 15.

Start now to assemble the information needed for next year's Federal income tax return by setting up files to drop the receipts into.  We give consumer tips on what files you will need--just click on the blog link above.  You can make this work for you, and develop an efficient method that does not take much time. 

Hop to it and get this done today.

See you soon!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Savvy Consumers are Interested in Frugal Living and Saving Money

Saving money or money-saving is a concept for this economy, and most of us are either saving money because we have to or because we want to. If you are into frugal living by choice, that is the most fun; but saving money by necessity keeps you on your toes looking for new ways to save money in daily life. Don't get snowed by bills and money issues. 

We write a blog on money-saving tips for frugal living fun that you may find helpful for saving money. We often discuss how we save money at the grocery store (shopping once a month) and share recipes. We also blog about utilities, weather, and practical ways to save money.

You can follow our blog called Money-Saving-Tips at blogdog.com where we share ideas and pictures for the consumer who has an interest in frugal living and saving money. Leave comments, share your thoughts and experiences. We are always looking for friends who like to save money.

See you again soon!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Senior Citizens Can Get Free Education

Senior citizens are often interested in learning, either to keep their minds sharp or for additional income. It is often not advertised, but many colleges and universities offer free education for senior citizens.  If you have a college or university in your area, contact the Registrar's Office and ask if there is a senior learning center, or if seniors may attend classes tuition-free. You can check on the internet, too, since several university websites show offers for free tuition for seniors.

Even if you do not qualify for tuition-free education, you may be able to stimulate your brain and learn through adult education courses.  These classes offer fun learning in subjects that are computer-related or even exercise.  Some adult education programs offer dance courses or even antiques and collectibles courses.  Some of these courses are very inexpensive, and are available through your community services.

We have an article about getting free education as a senior citizen that has other information for finding frugal or free avenues for learning.

There is more free learning available than the senior citizen has time.  Use it and keep your mind sharp.  Brain stimulation seems to prevent Alzheimer's, too. Stay healthy and happy with learning something new.

See you soon with more consumer fun.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Buying Used Furniture for an Apartment or Office

If you are in the market for used furniture, or even if you think you are in the market for new furniture, you may want to look at used furniture as a suitable option.  Sometimes used furniture is better, and it will likely be less expensive.

Good older furniture is usually well-made, and has held up for years, so it should hold up well for your use, too.  Used furniture works great for an apartment or office, especially, because these uses are sometimes more temporary than home furniture, and the appearance can still be appealing.  Purchasing new furniture for an office is an expensive proposition, and we have never recommended it.  Office furniture gets abused, and new furniture will soon look like old furniture anyway.  The same is true for an apartment.

Used furniture for an apartment or office is a good buy, because much of the furniture available today is not wood.  You can probably find solid wood furniture at a thrift store or used furniture store, and it will last for years.  Here are some tips for buying used furniture for an apartment or office that may help.  As a savvy consumer, you want to make wise decisions in using your money. Read the article and shop for used furniture instead of new. You might even find some collectible furniture that will increase in value. The picture shows a Danish Modern table we purchased, used, and sold at a profit.

See you soon with more consumer fun.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

File Income Taxes for Free, and Set Up Files for Next Year

We've been neglecting you, my friends.  We completed our Federal income taxes and got them filed electronically.  This year it is cheaper and easier than ever to file income taxes online.  Actually, it is FREE if you want it to be. The Federal Government has free filing for income less than $56,000.  Even Tax Act and Turbo Tax are getting into the game, and under a certain income can use their software and file for free.

We have written an article on filing Federal income taxes for free that you may find helpful.  We also have an article on setting up files for income taxes the quick and easy way.

All our articles and consumer help is free learning fun.  We hope you make income tax filing easy and save money by filing taxes yourself, and by filing online if possible.  If you provide all the figures, why let someone else put them in the blanks and charge you money?  You can do this.

We have a money-saving tips blog that you might like to follow, too.   It has lots of free information for frugal living fun.

See you again soon!


Fighting abuse in debt collection.(Consumer Rights): An article from: Trial

Friday, March 5, 2010

Get an Appliance Rebate with Stimulus Bill Energy Funds

Stimulus Bill Energy Funds are available for an Appliance Rebate

Appliance rebates from the Stimulus Bill Energy Funds are available in some States already, and some are going to start next month--depending on the state you live in. We have been getting information on the Texas appliances rebate recently, and it will start in April.

They have a period of time when they will accept reservations, and other States may be doing the same. We have written an article on getting an appliance rebate.

This appliance rebate is available for ENERGY STAR appliances only, and is available for specific appliances according to the State rules.  Most states are providing rebates for refrigerators, water heaters, washers, freezers, central air conditioners, and sometimes window units. Air source heat pumps are included in some states.

If you need an appliance this spring, now is the time to check your State for an appliance rebate and save yourself some money!

See you soon with more consumer issues!

State proposes $1.2m appliance rebate program: the plan will offer rebates for the purchase and installation of solar-thermal hot water systems and for ... article from: New Hampshire Business Review


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Watch for Gold Coin Investment Scams. Be Careful buying "Gold"

We are seeing many gold coin investment scams in the newspaper and television, and even in some magazines.  You may think these are great buys, but most of them are scams, and you will have nothing of value for your hard-earned money.

Watch the language.  It is clever, but tricky.  I like the one that says, "Purest gold coin ever struck by the U. S. Government."  They are talking about the coin on which this coin is based, not the coin they are selling.

Non-currency and non-monetary minting are not U. S. Government coins.

If you want to buy gold coins, be sure you are buying GOLD.  Many of these coins are gold CLAD, and the gold is less than found on a piece of older jewelry. 

We have written an article to help the consumer review offers for gold coins.  Be sure to review information available before spending your money.  Most of the scams really encourage the buyer to act fast.  They want you to buy without reading or thinking it through. Don't do it.

See you soon with more consumer issues to help protect your money.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Save Money in a Savings Account? Maybe Not.


Saving Money Just Got More Difficult

We all have less money to save than ever, and making any money off a savings account seems more like Sisyphus of Greek mythology, destined forever to roll the rock uphill. When I checked the rates for Certificates of Deposit last week, our local bank was offering .9 percent interest for a one-year CD.  Maybe this is not the best use for my money, or yours.

This little enlightenment got me to thinking about what we should be doing with our money right now, until the interest rate improves. Here are some considerations.

If you have a mortgage on your home and the interest rate is 4, 5 or 6 percent, it would be better use of your money to pay on the principal.  You can do this by making your regular payment and sending a separate payment marked as "principal only."

This is probably the best use of your money unless you have outstanding credit card debt.  If you have credit card debt, consider paying that indebtedness, since the interest rate on credit cards seems to be at an all-time high.

We have written an article about saving money the smart way to share.   We hope you find it useful in considering smart moves for making your money work for you.

See you soon, with more consumer information and tips for frugal living.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Stop Unwanted Telephone Calls for FREE

Have Freedom to PLAY.  Stop the Unwanted Telephone Calls.

Telephone calls are interruptions in the activities and thoughts of the day, and some of us even like to take a nap occasionally.  With telemarketers trying to make every dime, the telephone has become their second way to get you to listen--the first probably being email.

We are on the Do Not Call lists for the Federal Government as well as the Texas Do Not Call list, but even those did not stop the constant interruptions of telemarketer telephone calls.  We finally found a way to get some peace and quiet, and still keep a telephone available for emergencies and for our kids and relatives to call us.  We have written an article about how to stop the unwanted telephone calls for free, and you can try it to see if it works for you. 

We hope you have as much success as we have had--we probably do not get three telemarketer calls a week now, and we just let them hang up.  They don't seem to like the answering machine.

See you soon with more consumer issues and help.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Find Free Health Information Online

Free Health Information for Senior Citizens and Younger

Got a bug?

The Federal government provides several health information sites on the internet for free, but many people do not know about these informative sites that are easy to use, and are in layman's terms.  They have several that are directed at senior citizens and aging, including one for Alzheimer's Disease, but Medline is one of the ones that has lots of great medical and drug information for any age.

We have written an article about free medical and health information online with links to some of theses free sites in the Resources.  Take just a minute to review what these websites have to offer so that the next time you need medical information, you will know where to look for free.

See you soon, and stay well!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Get a Tan and Use Tanning Beds Safely


If you or your children like to get a tan as soon as the first sun appears in the spring, it is time for a talk.  The FDA and World Health Organization are both warning of the dangers of tanning beds, and those under sixteen are restricted as to use.

One of the issues with tanning beds is that the warnings are not easily found.  This may change and there may be new guidelines placed on the warnings, but for the present time, it is difficult to find a warning on a tanning bed.

Know the risks for yourself or your children.  Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are skin cancers that are related to tanning beds and to too much exposure to the sun.  
Do not substitute the sunshine for tanning in a tanning bed, and do not let your children do this.  There is a reason they are restricted from use of a tanning bed--it is not good for them.  Tanning can be accomplished in early morning or late evening sun, but one serious sunburn can do two things:

--create wrinkling of the skin that is not attractive
--develop skin cancer later in life

We have written an article about safety in the use of tanning beds for you as a consumer.

When we were young, there were no restrictions on tanning beds and no warnings about getting sunburned.  The warnings are there now, and the studies have been completed that indicate that there is a risk.  Be a smart consumer and follow the guidelines of using the tanning bed no more than once a week.  Don't let your kids under sixteen spend time in the sun without sunscreen, and encourage your older kids to skip the tan.  Remember, Snow White was beautiful. 

See you soon!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Avoid DIY or Do it Yourself Dangers


Other projects get dangerous after time.  But even others are dangerous without any warning, and even with reading how to do it.  Just recently the CPSC  recalled some of the Oxmoor House books that had information for the do-it-yourselfer about electrical wiring.  These include Sunset and Lowe's, so be aware that even if you read it in a book, it can still be dangerous.  Many of the book writers are writers, and they write on any subject, not necessarily one they are really knowledgeable about, so when reading books about how to do something, use your own good judgment, and always keep your mind on the job.

We have written an article for the consumer about how to avoid DIY Do it Yourself Dangers that we hope you will read.  It may save you a lot of work.  It could even save your life.

We like to share consumer safety information, and try to stay informed so we can help others as well as ourselves.

We hope your new year is in full swing, and that you are getting ready for a great spring season.  We will see you again soon, maybe with some income tax information, since tax season is just on the horizon.  Here is the URL for the article above in case the link does not work in your browser.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Do Bookkeeping for a Work at Home Business

work at home business bookkeeping income taxes

Work at home businesses are more common now than ever, with many people needing extra income. With filing income taxes just ahead, many with a work-at-home business are finding that they have not kept records for their tax returns.

Bookkeeping for a work at home business is not difficult, and does not even take much organization, but being able to find the necessary information at tax time can save many hours of frustration.

Keeping records is not only required by the IRS, but it is profitable for YOU since it provides the information for deductions on a tax return. Those who are sole proprietors file a Schedule C with the 1040, and you are entitled to deduct expenses from profits. Save the receipts and deduct the expense to pay less income taxes.

We have information on how to do bookkeeping for a work at home business to help get started with record keeping. A related topic is about setting up files for income taxes.

These simple procedures can save hours of time, and maybe significant money if you have a work at home business. This will place all the deductions in a file, and help determine figures for income taxes and maybe state sales taxes, if you sell items.

Do the basic bookkeeping for a work at home business and set up files for income taxes and save yourself hours of searching for receipts and information. Save money on income taxes, too.

Here are the URL titles in case the links do not work for you.



See you soon!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Prepare for an Electricity Outage

electrical outage prepare for disaster smart consumer safety
Spring storms and sometimes winter ones bring electrical outages to Texas, and surely to other parts of the country, too. We never feel quite prepared even though we have discussed the best and safest approach to this inevitable issue of loss of electricity. Recently we decided to write out some help for others and get some of our thoughts on paper.

We live in an all-electric neighborhood like many of the Seventies homes, and when we moved here, we had some difficulty locating a gas line or other sources of energy. With the help of the city and a plumber, we found where the existing gas main was, and had gas run to the house. Every time we have an electricity outage, our neighbors have no heat or hot water, but thanks to natural gas and gas logs in the fireplace, we are reasonably comfortable. It was expensive initially, but thinking ahead has given us some comfort and peace of mind, and it is very economical to have gas for hot water and for an alternative for heating the house.

We have written an article on how to prepare for an electricity outage that may give you some ideas for your area of the country. With the recent earthquakes, it makes sense to prepare for all kinds of natural disasters that create a breakdown of the infrastructure. With a little thought and action, you may not have to leave home if there is an electricity outage in your neighborhood. Be a smart consumer, and think ahead and prepare for the possibility.

Here is the URL for the article in case the link does not work in your browser. Just copy and paste this:


See you soon!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Avoid Cadmium Poisoning and Lead Poisoning

cadmium poisoning lead poisoning children safety Cadmium poisoning creates a greater danger and more serious result to children than lead poisoning, and items with a quantity of lead have been restricted for import to the USA. Cadmium is an element that has not often been tested in imports, but recent testing has shown high concentration of cadmium in girls costume jewelry.

Some stores have pulled items that were tested and shown to have high levels of cadmium, but of course many items were already purchased and are in jewelry boxes, flea markets and other secondary market sources. There may also be items on the store shelves, since there has not been a mandatory recall. Be aware of the dangers and make an attempt to keep this cadmium jewelry away from small children--especially those who might put items in their mouth. Child safety is the concern here. We have written an article on how to avoid cadmium poisoning that explains the risk and effects of cadmium poisoning. This is a heavy element that builds in the human body over a lifetime.

Lead poisoning is much more prevalent in the United States, and lead-based paint has been one of the major sources of lead poisoning in children. This article on lead poisoning details some of the danger you may not have realized, since these products get into the soil, too.

Here are the URLs in case the links do not work in your browser.



Help keep kids safe with consumer knowledge, and be careful of buying imports.

See you next time!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Alzheimers Patients Need a Safe Environment

Alzheimers patient safety caregiver tips Safety for an Alzheimer's patient becomes more important as the disease progresses, and if you are a caregiver, patient protection is most important to you and your loved one.

Make home safe for a dementia patient by providing familiar surroundings and protection from harm. Harm to an Alzheimer's patient may be created by themselves or the environment, so careful attention to surroundings and safety are key elements.

We have written an article on specific actions the caregiver can take to help keep the Alzheimer's patient safe, most of which are life-style revisions at home. Awareness of a potential problem and the increasing need for safety for the Alzheimer's patient makes this article important for caregivers. We hope there is something to be learned that will help keep your loved one safer and make your life simpler as you help the Alzheimer's patient be comfortable with his surroundings.

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See you soon with more consumer articles.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Buy Healthy Food on a Budget: Grocery Shop on the Cheap

The new year is an opportunity for us all to do better with eating, dieting, and budgeting. healthy food budget grocery shop cheapWe can even combine those efforts by buying healthy foods and grocery shopping on the cheap. Save money, eat better, and lose weight.

If you are interested in feeding your family well at less expense, now is a good time to read some ideas and make some changes in how you buy food or grocery shop. You may not be getting the most for your money or the best nutrition for your family. You can buy healthy food on a budget and grocery shop on the cheap. Make a difference in your intake and your outgo--that is food in and money out.

Do not use all your income to fill your alimentary canal. Learn how to buy healthy food on a budget in an article we have available here. We have another article about how to grocery shop on the cheap that may be of interest, too. Combine these techniques and save money and lose weight for the new year.

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Here's to a great new year for 2010.

See you soon.