Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Real Estate Tips

We are relocating to a new city, and we will have to sell our house from a distance. What steps should we take so we can sell our home successfully?

A. If you are leaving the area before the sale, you will need to stay in close contact with your realty agent, AND provide for the care and upkeep of your property. Here are some practical tips for managing the property and keeping your home looking good for potential buyers:

1. Have the house, windows, and carpets professionally cleaned after your furniture is out. Arrange for fresh interior paint if the walls show dirt, grime, or smoke build-up.
2. You home may be closed up for long periods. If you need to fumigate because of pet, cooking, or tobacco odors, do it. The initial smell of your house will leave a big impression (conscious or subconscious) on the buyer.
3. Leave the water and power ON. They will be needed to carry out various inspections while the sale is in progress. Ask your utility company if they have reduced rates for vacant properties.
4. Hire a landscaping service to mow the lawn and trim the bushes and trees once a month.
5. Arrange to have your lawn watered and sprinklers checked as needed.
6. Schedule pest control treatment, especially during the spring/summer seasonal transition. An ant, roach, or bee infestation would be an unpleasant surprise for your agent and clients.
7. Have your realty agent or a trusted neighbor open up your house for a complete airing out a couple of times a month. This will eliminate mustiness or radon gas if it is a concern in your area.
Have someone check the house regularly, open the faucets (inside and out) and flush the toilets at least once a month. This will get rid of stagnant water in your plumbing system and check for leaks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How To Save $100’s On Utility Bills

Are you spending too much of your hard earned $$$ on utility bills? If you’re like most Americans, you’re paying almost $1,300 a year. Now, there’s help. A new web site, www.energysavers.gov, set up by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, has hundreds of energy saving tips that you can follow that will save you money.

The “Energysavers” web site covers it all from insulation, weatherization, heating, cooling, water heating, windows, landscaping, lighting, to appliances. Just by following a few of their inexpensive energy saving strategies, you see how easy it is to reduce your home energy use. In some areas, you’ll be able to reduce your energy bills by 10 to 50 percent!

You’ll not only save money and reduce your home energy use, you’ll be helping the environment by reducing pollution and conserving our natural resources future generations!

Monday, April 27, 2009

What You Eat Can Profoundly Affect Your Sleep!

Your daily diet can have a great impact on your night’s sleep. First, be sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium. You can get it by eating milk, yogurt, beans, dark green vegetables, or a taking vitamin supplement (1,000 mg. to 1,300 mg. are recommended as a daily target for calcium consumption). Along with calcium, pay attention to consumption of these foods before bedtime:

 Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Of course caffeine is a stimulant and even though alcohol is a relaxant, it will switch gears in the middle night and wake you up when it wears off.
 Choose a good evening snack. These would be yogurt, bananas, figs, nuts, turkey, tuna, and whole-grain crackers. These foods are rich in trytophan, an amino acid the brain uses to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is critical for a normal night’s sleep.
 Evening snacks you definitely should avoid. Bacon, cheese, chocolate, ham, potatoes, sugar, sausage, tomatoes, and wine are the foods to skip if you want a restful night’s sleep. They all contain high levels of tyramine, which increases release of the stimulant norepinephrine into the brain.

If diet changes don’t work, try an occasional herbal sleep aid like Valerian or the excellent homeopathic sleep remedy Calms Forte – formulated from safe minerals and herbs.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Make Yourself Indispensable at Work

Did you know that how you dress, speak, work, and act might be sending a message to your boss saying, “When it’s time to cut someone, choose me?”
You can make yourself indispensable by avoiding these mistakes, says Ronna Lichtenberg, author of It’s Not Business, It’s Personal: The 9 Relationship Principles That Power Your Career. Here are five tips that can make you indispensable at work:
1. Pitch in when others ask for help. You’ll make friends and allies at work.
2. Strive for excellence not perfection. Be willing to take on a new task. Also, if you make a mistake, admit it and find a solution.
3. Keep an eye on your appearance. Your boss may think your appearance is a reflection of your work.
4. Network with people at your level or people who are in a position to promote you.
5. Take things in stride. Your ideas may be passed over sometimes, but don’t take it personally.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Improve Your Vision With Berries!

The Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has discovered that the humble blueberry and its European cousin, the bilberry are a uniquely rich source of the powerful antioxidant, anthocyanin. Anthocyanin gives grapes, blackberries, and blueberries their deep blue-violet coloring.

Bilberry extract has been used in Europe and Japan as a natural vision-enhancer for years. Beta-carotene combined with 400 mgs. of bilberry have been shown to significantly improve the ability to see in dim light, especially at night. Bilberry extract appears to strengthen the tiny blood vessels behind the eye and prevent macular degeneration.

There is strong research-backed evidence that anthocyanin may protect the brain cells from the wear and tear of extended life. They shield the neurotransmitters from age-related changes in the brain. The antioxidants in blueberries could help preserve our memory, as we get older. The Nutrition Research Center suggests eating fresh blueberries for the maximum benefit, or substitute a good bilberry extract from the health food store.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Walk Your Way To Excellent Health

According the U.S. Centers for Disease Control the most beneficial exercise we can do on a regular basis is…walking! All you need is a good pair of shoes and few hours a week to do a simple aerobic conditioning activity that really works. The benefits are substantial – walking helps your heart, lungs, circulatory system, and controls body weight. The positive impact of walking is similar to that of running or jogging without stressful wear and tear on your joints, knees, and shins. If you don’t follow any other exercise program, just simple outdoor walking could add many healthy years to your life.

 A Brisk Walk Is Best. You should be able to carry on a conversation and have your breathing slightly elevated.

 It’s Easy—Just Walk 20 Minutes A Day. Start slowly, and then build up to longer, faster paced walks. Stretch your muscles (especially the calves and hamstring muscles) before and after you walk. For the best benefit, make a commitment to walk everyday. A recent study in Germany found that walking just two hours a week can cut your risk of heart disease in half!

 Walking Relieves Stress And Invigorates Your Mind And Body. Walking will make your heart stronger, improve your lung capacity, and the efficiency of your breathing. Walking circulates more oxygen through your body and is very effective in lowering your blood pressure. A regular walking routine can be your best preventative medicine – greatly lowering your risk of stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and even depression.

 People Who Walk Live Longer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted an 11-year study of 2,896 adults in their late 50’s who had been diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers found those subjects who walked just two hours a week had a 39 percent lower death rate from all causes! They speculate that if every healthy person in the United States walked briskly just 30 minutes a day, the incidence of many chronic diseases would go down 30 to 40 percent. So grab your shoes and get walking…your body will be glad you did!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Real Estate Corner…

Q. We’re thinking of buying a fixer-upper as an investment. What’s the best way to find a deal without being taken to the cleaners?

A. Many people make good money buying rundown properties, fixing them up, and reselling them for a profit.

The best strategy for finding a profitable fixer-upper is to find the least desirable house in the most desirable neighborhood. Then, examine whether the cost of fixing up the property to its full market value will yield a significant profit.

You can find a fixer-upper in most communities—even in more affluent neighborhoods. One of the best ways to find a fixer-upper is to ask a real estate agent. Most agents have one or two properties they don’t like to show. You also can look for advertisements with phrases like “handyman’s special,” “needs TLC,” “or earn your down payment.”

The most profitable fixer-uppers will only need minor repairs like inside and outside painting, new carpeting and flooring, new light fixtures, new kitchen cabinets, landscaping, or a thorough cleanup. Look at properties that can be bought at 20-30 percent below what the house will be worth after fixing it.

Avoid homes that have serious flaws like a sinking foundation, structural damage, serious termite infestation, or that need a new roof. Also, avoid fixer-uppers that don’t fit in their neighborhoods, such as a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house in a neighborhood of three and four bedroom homes.

To get an idea of the finished market value, look at comparable properties in good condition. To determine the cost of fixing any existing problems, hire a good inspector. A competent inspector can save you from making a bad purchase. Give me a call I would love to help. 206-226-0565

Steer Clear Of This Killer

Do you spend time around gas-burning motors, generators, stoves or heaters? If so, this little article may save your life! CO (or Carbon Monoxide) poisoning is responsible for thousands of deaths per year. And because the gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, many times the inflicted aren’t aware of their exposure. Yet it can kill in seconds. Generally, the initial symptoms of CO poisoning include the feeling of being intoxicated followed by nausea. Here are a few tips for keeping you and your family safe from CO poisoning:
 Buy one or more CO detectors for your home and install them according to product instructions,
 Never spend time around a running gas-burning auto, boat, generator, stove, or heater without adequate ventilation,
 If you feel you’ve been exposed to CO, immediately get into fresh air and seek medical assistance.

“Stuck In Neutral?”

Are you someone who puts things off until the last minute, or misses deadlines? Well, you’re definitely not alone. Everyone does it sometimes. But procrastination can lead to even more stress. Here are a few tips to help you manage your time and reduce your stress:

• Time Management. Use a schedule planner or notebook to plan your day or week. Use a timer or alarm clock to help you keep on track.
• Break Up Large Tasks. If you know you’re unable to concentrate on a project for three hours, divide your work into one hour blocks for three days.
• Plan To Play. Plan your work and plan your play. If you know you are going out for fun later, you will be able to start your work and concentrate on it now.
• Create Short-Term Deadlines. Many people feel they work better under pressure. But if you always work under pressure, you will increase your stress. Decide to reach some short-term goal before stopping your work for the day.
• Avoid Perfectionism. If you accept nothing less than a perfect performance, you may never get to work on a task because you’re worried that it won’t be perfect. Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Is Your Cell Phone Weakening Your Facial Muscles?

There could be more cell phone dangers on the horizon. Researchers in Florida recently studying more than 200 patients with tumors and other related conditions found that while cell phones may not necessary raise the risk of certain tumors, that doesn’t mean they are completely safe.

The intratemporal facial nerve, the one that runs through the middle ear just behind the eardrum, affects facial movement. Researchers noted that when people place cell phones next to their heads, this nerve is exposed to cell phone radiation.

Researchers found that tumors on this nerve can cause facial weakness and disfigurement. While cell phone radiation may not increase the risk of these tumors, cell phones are a relatively new technology.

Most cell phone calls usually only last a short time. But, there’s no way to know what may happen when people talk much longer on cell phones and over a period of many years. Here’s just one more reason to either limit your cell phone use, invest in a headset, or buy a hands-free cell phone for your car!

Energy Bombshell!

Are you ready for the coming energy revolution? We’re headed full-speed into a new age of technology that’s going to revolutionize your everyday life. What is it? It’s gas—hydrogen gas! Very soon, you’ll be able to instantly recharge your cell phone, drive an electric car for hundreds of miles before charging, and keep your laptop running five times longer.

Right now, Toyota, Honda, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai, and Volkswagen are either developing or testing fuel cell powered vehicles. In fact, Toyota and Honda recently delivered fuel cell vehicles to the Japanese government—leased at a rate of 1.2 million yen (about $10,212) per month. While the first fuel cell vehicle is currently commercially unavailable in the U.S., your future car may one day be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

But the revolution goes farther than mere automobiles. Today in Europe and Japan scientists are testing hydrogen fuel cells to heat and power homes. And if that isn’t amazing, the airplane of the future may be powered by fuel cells. Boeing is already testing a fuel cell powered aircraft for future use.

1. What Is A Fuel Cell?
A hydrogen fuel cell is an energy conversion device that converts hydrogen and oxygen into water, producing electricity and heat in the process. A fuel cell provides a direct current (DC) voltage that can be used to power lights, electrical appliances, boats, buses, and motors. There are several different types of fuel cells, which are classified by the type of electrolyte they use.

The fuel cell that will most likely power your car—and maybe even your house is the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). Micro-fuel cells, currently being developed by Hitachi, NEC, and Toshiba, will replace lithium-ion batteries used to power your cell phone and other wireless devices.

2. Why Is It Important?
Hydrogen and fuel cell technology could revolutionize the way we live and use power globally by providing cleaner, more-efficient alternatives to the combustion of gasoline and other fossil fuels. This technology is important because it offers a way to make power more efficiently and with less pollution.
And more importantly, the use of hydrogen as an energy source can address our global energy problems, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

3. What’s Being Done Now?
Scientists are focused on developing low-cost, reliable, and high-performance fuel cell systems for transportation and buildings. Today, there are over 2,500 fuel cell systems that provide power or backup to hospitals, hotels, office buildings, schools, utility power plants, and airports.

4. Where Do We Go From Here?
The biggest roadblock facing fuel cell technology is the big price tag. Fuel cell technology is still in its early stages. Right now, the cheapest way to extract hydrogen is from natural gas; extracting hydrogen from water costs twice as much. Eventually, hydrogen fuel cells will be as cost efficient as today’s gasoline. And as more fuel cells enter the marketplace, mass production of fuel cell powered cars, boats, motorcycles, and computers will bring the price down.

The future is here…the hydrogen fuel cell technology race has begun…and it really is a gas! Want to learn more? Go to www.fuelcells.org.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On-Line Banking Dangers

If you bank online, or are looking for an online bank, don’t get caught up in these sneaky traps…
• Some banks offer no-fee checking to attract customers, then start charging fees within a year…
• Online banking may not be secure. If you don’t have a firewall on your PC, a hacker could obtain your account information…
• When online banks merge, depositors may lose access to funds for a week or more…
• Some online banks charge odd fees. For example, a fee if you sign-up for online bill payment, but never use it.
Scammers also create web sites with web addresses similar to those of legitimate banks, then collect personal data from unassuming clients who access the scammer web site by mistake.

Can Laughter Make You Healthy?

Laughter is strong medicine, so says researchers at Stanford University. The physical action of laughter actually increases blood flow and contracts abdominal muscles. It lowers stress, improves heart health, and can resolve conflict in troubled times.

Here are a few tips to help you add a little more laughter and humor in your life:
• Create a “humor first-aid kit” full of comedy tapes, joke books, funny stories, comics when you feel the need or urge to be silly.
• Take a humor break instead of a coffee break. Read jokes, listen to a funny tape, or create a humor notebook to help during difficult times.
• Remind yourself to have fun. It’s OK to lighten up.
• Go to a funny movie, rent a comedy, or watch an old comedy show.

Information about Generic Drugs

Generic drugs have been making headlines recently, as the cost of brand-name medications skyrockets and family budgets tighten. A generic drug is the chemical equivalent of a brand-name drug. Ibuprofen, for example, is the generic version of Motrin IB.

The FDA requires generics to have the same active ingredients, strength, purity and stability as their brand-name counterparts. It’s called being “bio-equivalent.” Yet they cost considerably less. Generics save consumers an estimated 8 to 10 billion dollars a year at retail pharmacies. The only difference between generics and brand-name drugs may be the inactive ingredients, such as dyes and coatings used.

To find out if a brand-name drug that you take regularly has a generic equivalent, contact the FDA/Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at www.fda.gov/cder/ogd (click on “drug information”), or call toll-free 888-463-6332.

Save A Bundle On Home Owners Insurance

Mounting claims from natural disasters have caused a colossal jump in the cost of homeowners insurance. With wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and mold taking a toll on property, homeowners’ insurance claims skyrocketed resulting in significant price hikes for consumers.

Over 51 million households saw price increases between 2001 and 2003, according to a study by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association of America. Here’s some important advice to help you reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance:

1. Raise Your Deductible. You can significantly reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance by raising your deductible to at least $1,000.
2. Keep Your Home In Good Condition. Make sure that your roof is in good shape. Fix any minor leaks or problems. Make sure the heating, plumbing and electrical systems are in good condition. Also, make sure to repair any drainage problems around your home.
3. Keep Your Credit Score High. Insurance companies use credit insurance scoring to determine who to insure and for how much. Your score depends on your credit report score and your claims history. To improve your credit score pay down your debt, close credit cards, and correct any credit report errors.
4. Avoid Filing Unnecessary Claims. Filing several small claims can result in rate increases and in some cases even being dropped by your insurance carrier.
5. Comparison Shop. Look for an insurer that has a good claims record. Every few years compare your policy with other reputable insurers. You may find a better value. Always buy a policy that pays the true replacement value for any loss.
6. Keep Your Policy Up-To-Date. Review your coverage each year. Make changes to the policy, if, for example, you increased the value of home (remodeling or building an addition). Conversely, reduce coverage for items that may have depreciated.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Public Speaking Tips From The Experts!

You’ve just been asked to lead a meeting, introduce someone at a dinner or church, or give a speech in front of a large group. Are you feeling panicked?
If you’re like thousands of people, you may have a real fear of public speaking.
But there’s really no need to worry, says Janet Esposito, author of “In the Spotlight: Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing.”

“Your audience wants you to succeed!” she says. “The key to success is in the preparation.” You can make your next public speaking experience a success by following these expert tips:

1. Make a list of material you want to cover. Outline your material, and then write down the words you want to use and revise as needed.
2. Check for accuracy, redundancies, and clich├ęs. Use everyday language that both you and your listeners are comfortable with. Avoid using a lot of technical terms and statistics.
3. Use a tape recorder and practice aloud until you are comfortable with your delivery.
4. Print your key points on index cards. You can refer to them while speaking.
5. Consider your audience’s level of knowledge on the subject. Be prepared to answer questions.
6. Picture yourself speaking with confidence in a loud, clear voice.
7. Don’t mention that you are nervous or that you have problems with speaking. That calls attention to something the audience hasn’t even noticed.
8. Focus on your message and the information your audience needs, not on yourself.

The E-Mail That Got Away

Remember that email you sent…and then wished you hadn’t. Maybe you inadvertently passed on some business information that was a secret, or data that wasn’t quite right. Well, you’re not alone. Now there are a few new programs on the market that can delete or recall your email—even after you’ve sent it!
Authentica, Inc. offers encryption technology that lets you look at e-mails but it does not save, copy, print, or forward them. And you can recall or kill off your
e-mails, even after they’ve been opened by another person.
Omniva Policy Systems offers an e-mail “shredder” that lets you specify a “detonation time” of from 30 minutes to years after the e-mail is sent. And even while the e-mail is still live, the receiver must have a special password to read it. Visit www.authentica.com or www.disappearing.com for more information on this revolutionary technology.

The Most Important Purchase Of Your Life?

Ever wake up tired or sore from a night’s sleep? If so, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from sleepless nights and don’t know why. But did you know the likely culprit may “rest” with your mattress?

We all know that a good night’s sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. So, if you’re not getting the best sleep possible, you may want to start shopping for a new mattress. It’s recommended that you replace a mattress every eight to 10 years. Here are a few tips to follow. First and foremost, don’t let anyone, (that includes pushy salespeople) tell you what kind of mattress you need. Your body will help you make that decision.

Before You Buy, Always Test The Mattress. How you sleep may have an impact on the best mattress for you. If you like to sleep on your stomach, you may like a medium firm mattress. If you sleep on your side, you may want a bed that is softer on your hips and shoulders. If you sleep on your back, you may like a firmer bed. Whatever position you prefer, let your body find the mattress that works best for you.

Traditional Coil Mattresses - The S’s Have It!
Coil-spring mattresses are the most popular mattresses on the market. The leading mattress manufacturers all begin with the letter S:
Simmons, Spring Air, Sealy, Serta, and Stearns & Foster. You can expect to pay about $299 for a twin set to $999 for a popular queen-sized model, and much more for the luxury mattresses. There are many less-known brands that offer the same quality, but for about $100 less. If you buy below these prices, you may find your mattress may not last long. The old adage, “you get what you pay for,” especially holds true when buying a mattress.

Latex Mattresses – A Good Idea For Allergy Sufferers
Latex mattresses are antimicrobial and antibacterial, so they don’t harbor dust mites — a leading cause of allergies. Many people like the softness and support found with latex mattresses. They are a bit more expensive than the traditional coil mattresses, from about $899 for a twin set to $1,499 for a queen set. Latex mattresses, however, are not suitable for anyone who is allergic to latex! Nature’s Rest is the leading manufacturer.

Foam Mattresses – A Revolutionary Idea
“Viscoelastic temperature sensing” foam mattress sales have taken-off in the last decade. NASA first developed the body-hugging technology, which uses your body heat and weight, to create “memory cells” within the mattress. The memory cells then adjust to your body’s form, providing comfort and support. Tempur-Pedic, and Strobel Technologies offer a twin bed for $999; a queen set at $1,399. You also will need to purchase a foundation for about $149-$300.

Air Beds – The Latest Craze
According to analysts, air beds are the fastest growing segment in the industry. They are popular because they offer dual controls for couples with different firmness preferences. Each person can adjust the firmness of the mattress, by either increasing or decreasing air pressure. Prices start at about $450 for a twin, and $1,700 for a queen-sized model. Comfortaire and Select Comfort are the leading air bed manufacturers.

Before you buy a mattress, do your homework. Check the retailer’s return policy. Mattress manufacturers generally offer a 10-year warranty, or more. Some retailers offer their own warranty. This is a plus because if you have a problem, you can avoid the hassle of returning the mattress to the manufacturer. Watch out for any extra costs. Some mattress retailers offer free delivery; some do not. Most retailers include the basic metal frame in the price; some do not.

Bottom line? If you not getting the best sleep possible, you may want to start shopping for a new mattress. It just might be the most important purchase in your life!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chocolate—Miracle Health Food

If you love chocolate, you don’t need to feel guilty anymore! Here’s why. Nutritionists at Penn State University have discovered that chocolate has powerful (and very healthy!) antioxidant properties. Chocolate (especially the very dark chocolates) have been found to have high levels of the antioxidant flavonoids called flavanols. Long-term studies have shown that people with high blood levels of flavonoids have a lower risk of heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer, asthma, and type-2 diabetes.

Researchers found that Dove Dark Chocolate packed a walloping amount of the heart-healthy flavanols. It reduced bad LDL cholesterol, boosted antioxidant levels in the blood and raised good HDL cholesterol by 4 percent. In the lab, they discovered chocolate reduces blood clotting, and may stabilize arterial plaque, making it less likely to travel and cause stroke and heart attack. “The chocolate flavanol factor” also triggers production of nitric oxide, which maintains flexible arteries and increases blood flow – great for controlling high blood pressure! So the next time you unwrap a savory piece of dark chocolate and offer some to a friend, you can say, “To your health and long life!”

Friends—The Key To A Longer Life

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, men who have lots of friends, social contacts, and relatives live longer, more satisfying lives. In a study of 28,000 men in their early 40s to late 70s, researchers found that men who were socially isolated loners were 20 percent more likely to die prematurely. The socially isolated group also was 53 percent more likely to die from heart related diseases and stroke. Unmarried men included in the study had markedly higher death rates than married men with a strong family support system did.

It appears that making friends and nurturing social relationships not only will make you healthier, but it could make you a lot happier too!

Save BIG On Prescription Drugs

Anyone who buys medications from their local pharmacy can’t help but wonder about the high cost of prescription drugs. By applying a little knowledge and forethought at the doctor’s office—and at the pharmacy counter, you can save BIG money…and get the medications that you need to stay healthy! Here are a few practical strategies to help you SAVE on your health care needs:

1. This one is simple…don’t take medications you don’t really need. If a change in diet, more exercise, and weight loss will get the job done, then by all means try that approach first.
2. Buy in bulk when possible. The larger the quantity, the greater the savings. Ask your doctor for a 90-day prescription if you are on a daily medication.
3. Routinely ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is generic equivalent for a prescribed medication. Generics can be as effective and cost less.
4. If you are starting a new drug, ask your doctor for free samples. Then if you have a bad reaction and can’t continue, you haven’t wasted money on a full bottle of pills or ointment.
5. Ask your doctor for a higher dose, and then cut the pills in half by scoring them with a kitchen knife or pill-splitter. Not all drugs can be split, so consult with your doctor first.
6. Compare prices at your neighborhood drug stores. Many of the “big box” stores feature pharmacies that have lower prices on prescription drugs.
7. Check out mail order drug companies and the blossoming internet outlets. Medications can be 20 percent cheaper and shipped to you.
8. Use discount cards promoted by pharmacies and consumer groups (like AARP). The savings can be up to 40 percent with these special programs.
9. If you can’t afford medication, at least 30 states now have active prescription drug assistance programs for the low-income and elderly.

7 Secrets by TRUE Millionaires

The tech boom and the stock market “bubble” of the 1990s have come and gone like a bright, shining dream. And visions of “instant millionaires” created by stock options and killer web sites have all but evaporated. So what really defines being “wealthy” in the 21st century and who has it…for real?

Thomas J. Stanley, author of the bestseller “The Millionaire Next Door,” interviewed 1,000 millionaires to find out what traits, attributes, and habits they have in common.

Stanley sorted through the “showboat” wealthy (those living affluent lifestyles but actually burdened with debt) to find the genuine “balance sheet” millionaires—those with solid assets between $2 and $5 million. And what he found is that the basic rules for creating and keeping wealth are still driven by old-fashioned, common sense values. Here are seven key factors that make a “real” millionaire:

1. They started their own business and acquired wealth by finding a profitable niche in the market. They also love what they do for a living, and are motivated by building a business—not by amassing wealth for its own sake.
2. “Real” millionaires live comfortable lifestyles, but they are not extravagant or wasteful. On the average, they live in homes valued at $350,000 and drive mid-priced cars.
3. They stay married to responsible, stable spouses who run tight, efficient households. Their mates clip coupons, buy household items in bulk, and keep track of the household expenses.
4. They spend less than they earn, and follow a savings plan as a life-long habit.
5. TRUE millionaires do not speculate when it comes to investments. Once their businesses have reached maturity, they invest wisely to grow capital. They rarely visit a casino to gamble, and almost never buy lottery tickets.
6. Most of the millionaires were average students who had little encouragement to succeed in life. They developed leadership skills through sports and nurtured determination and a will to succeed—on their own.
7. Two strong characteristics the TRUE millionaires all had in common were an unwavering belief in themselves and their abilities. They dared to think differently from the crowd!