Monday, February 24, 2014

Some Battery Basics…

Many (if not most!) of the things in our lives run on batteries. You’ll get a charge out of these battery basics. Cheapest won’t save you money. The old zinc-carbon batteries run out of juice and may leak acid into whatever device you buy them for. Chances are these came with that toy you bought so replace them with brand-name alkaline batteries. They have a shelf-life. Don’t buy huge quantities at a time and don’t pick out the package with all the dust on it! You can prolong their life by keeping them cool (in the refrigerator is not necessary), not mixing old and new batteries, removing them when you don’t expect to use the device for several months, and buying a battery tester. Rechargeables last longer but you should charge them every 6-9 months. Recycling is critical. Duracell says alkaline batteries can safely go in the trash (secure the ends with masking tape), but you’re better off recycling all your batteries (in California it’s mandatory). Stores like Best Buy and Office Max will take them or use a mail-in recycling program.

Friday, February 21, 2014

3 Top Negotiating Tips…

The next time you’re negotiating to buy almost anything, remember these top negotiating tips:  Empower yourself. You have the right to negotiate. Most sellers are open to giving you a discount if it means keeping you as a customer.  Do your homework. Ten percent is a good discount (20 is great) for manufactured goods (electronics). With household goods (furniture, appliances) try for another 10 percent. The deepest discounts come on services (hotels, lawn care), where you may get up to 40 percent if you pay cash, bundle services, and/or commit long term.  Ask for something you don’t necessarily want along with the things you do want. If you’re buying a dishwasher, car or TV, ask for an extended warranty, preferred financing or free delivery. When the seller counters, you have something to “give on” to make the seller feel like you’re meeting him/her part way in getting to an agreed upon price.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Five Auto Maintenance Myths

Hit the brakes! You may be spending unnecessarily on car maintenance. Here’s how you can save money: For starters...make sure you read your owner’s manual! Most newer cars require a lot less maintenance than your family’s first car. Here are 6 more tips… 1. Oil Change. Some newer cars call for oil changes every 10,000 miles; the industry recommends every 7,500 miles. If you follow the factory schedule, your car will be in good shape well past the warranty period. 2. Lubricating The Chassis. Cars built in the past 10 years don’t require lubrication. Adding grease may end up costing you $$$. 3. Standard Tune-up. New cars have computer-controlled engines making the standard tune-up unnecessary. (No points and rotors...and some don’t have the standard distributor caps). 4. Flushing The Automatic Transmission System. Check your owner’s manual, but most manufacturers say it’s not needed until 60,000 miles. 5. Draining The Radiator. Most cars have closed systems and no longer need the radiator flushed twice a year. A new car’s coolant can last up to two years before it needs changing. 6. Changing Filters. Filters need replacing, but not at every oil change. Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals

Monday, February 10, 2014

Secrets To Feel Young

The process of getting older is unavoidable, but feeling old is optional. Here’s what you can do to feel young and alive. Appreciate your age: Whatever you regret from the past is over. Let it go. Literally re-program the way you think about the past and the concept of growing older. Setting new goals can give you more life now and help you live longer. According to a Yale study, people who had a positive mindset about growing older lived about seven years longer than those who grumbled about their age. Don’t retire from being useful: Sure, you may have earned the right to slow down and work less, but feeling that you still make a difference is invigorating. Keep both the mind and body moving by getting involved in volunteer activities and exercise clubs.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Can Optimism Make You Healthy?

In a study of first year law students at the University of California at Los Angeles, psychologists discovered students with positive attitudes and expectations had stronger immune systems and overall good health. Researchers drew blood from “declared optimists” and a control group. They then measured levels of key immune cells at the beginning of the semester. At that time there was no difference, but well into the stress-filled semester the optimists showed significantly higher levels of key immune cell activity than their less-than-positive counterparts. Keep smiling—you’ll live longer!