#Socialnomics 2014 by Erik Qualman

This video reminds me why I invest so much in social media when promoting a home for sale. Well, both this video and the great response I get from my home owners.


#Realestate #Realtor #Socialmedia

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Summer saving tips


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Summer time is one of the happiest seasons of the year. This is the perfect time to get a week of vacation from work, go to the beach and enjoy time with friends and family. As summer could mean happy times, it could also mean more expenses as you spend for family getaways and as electric bills go up due to more people staying in the house and using electric appliances. To help you save money during summer time, here are some helpful tips:

1. Turn off unnecessary household appliances

Be cautious on what appliances kids use. Turn of unnecessary appliances that might just add up to your bill. Turning off the air conditioning during a cold night is one of the helpful things to practice.

2. Let the kids try a summer business

Instead of allowing your kids to just spend more of their money during summer, you can even teach them how to be thrifty and run a summer business. They can try setting up a Lemonade stand or have a garage sale of their old clothes and toys. This way, the kids learn to value money and spend little or just enough for their needs.

3. Save on groceries

Grocery shopping, combined with the money we spend “eating out,” makes up a huge portion of our monthly expenses. In order to save more money during summer, you must learn how to save money on your groceries. Choosing less expensive drinks, avoiding single-serving snacks and being realistic about the amount of food you need are some helpful ways to save you some bucks on your groceries.

4. Avoid credit cards

Using your credit card means borrowing money from the bank that issued the card. And since credit cards often have high spending limits, it encourages cardholders to spend more and more money based on their credit limit. This therefore leads to uncontrollable spending. It is more helpful then to use a prepaid debit card or a prepaid money card when making purchases as these types of cards have credit limits based on the amount of money that the cardholder has from their own bank account. This helps the cardholder think twice before spending as he knows the money will be deducted from his own savings account.

Saving money during the summer season does not mean though that you have to spoil your happy times with your family. With careful planning, budgeting and following these simple tips from reassessing your groceries to choosing prepaid debit cards over credit cards will surely help you save more money that you can use for your family”™s future needs.

Courtesy of BPT

Stop investment scams in their tracks

Stop investment scams in their tracks

(NC)-We’ve all heard the saying, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is”. But when it comes to investments, how do you know what’s too good to be true?

“Investment fraud can be devastating financially, but research also shows that it can affect your emotional and physical well-being,” says Tom Hamza, president of the Investor Education Fund (IEF). “Knowing how to recognize a scam can help you protect your savings.”

Here are four signs that an investment might be a scam:

• You can make a lot of money with no risk. Investments that are considered low risk typically have returns close to current Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) rates. If your expected return is higher than this, you’re taking more risk with your money.

• It’s a hot tip or insider information. If the hot tip is false, you will lose your money if you act on it. If the inside information about a public company is true, acting on it would be illegal. Ask yourself why someone would share this information with you, and how they might stand to benefit.

• You’re pressured to buy right away. Scammers know that if you take time to check out the details, you probably won’t fall for their scheme.

• The individual or the company are not registered to sell investments. Anyone selling securities or offering investment advice must be registered with their provincial securities regulator, unless they have an exemption. You can check their registration – and whether they’ve been in trouble with a securities regulator – with the Ontario Securities Commission.

“Before you invest, always take the time to do your research and get a second opinion,” says Hamza.

You can test your knowledge of fraud prevention with the Cranial Cash Clash at http://www.GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.

Courtesy of Newscanada

Free up more time by revamping your laundry room routine


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Today, time is an incredible luxury – one that we too rarely have. Between family responsibilities, work commitments and everyday stresses, it can often be hard to accomplish everything on the to-do list, let alone carve out time for oneself.  A mainstay on the to-do list has always been laundry, and with the average  household doing 7.5 loads per week, the time spent washing, drying and folding really adds up.

 
In fact, a significant number of women are making sacrifices to make time for laundry. Many women find themselves neglecting exercise, family time and their social calendars, among other everyday tasks, because of the time they spend on laundry, according to results of a national survey conducted for LG Electronics. And, with the onset of summer, the work only multiplies – from guest bedding and towels to sports uniforms and everyday clothing. 

 
The good news is that there is freedom from the task that more than 77 percent of women describe as tedious and time consuming. With some simple tips from LG Head Home Economist Mike Wisner, you can make your laundry a faster and more efficient process. Pretty soon, all you’ll need to worry about is what to do with all your free time.

 
* Keep your laundry room organized. While it’s easy to let things pile up, keeping the room tidy and organized helps you save time by making sure that you know where all of the tools you need are located. Wisner advises keeping dryer goods separate from the items you need for the washing machine, and store ironing necessities in their own container. Check products periodically and re-stock before you run out – having to run to the store for dryer sheets or even detergent at the last minute is something you want to avoid.

 
* Have the whole family do their part. Collecting clothes is a time-consuming task in itself, especially when unsorted clothes are left on the floor to pile up. Instead, encourage everyone in the family to put dirty clothes into hampers, which makes it easier to gather items that need to be washed. “Another simple step is to provide everyone with two hampers – one for whites and one for colors – a time efficient way to sort,” Wisner suggests.

 

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* Opt for a large-capacity washer. Getting more items into the washer equates to getting more done – and faster. But overloading an outdated, standard model can leave you with clothes that aren’t fully clean. Today’s washers are better equipped for the job, and the new mega-capacity front-loader from LG is great for handling huge laundry tasks. “It can accommodate a king-size bedding set, including a comforter, and its TurboWash technology – which combines the “spin” and “rinse” cycles – saves 20 minutes per load, even on larger loads,” he says. 

 
* Re-examine how you dry. “While a high-capacity dryer will help, there are also other ways to cut back on drying times,” Wisner says. Re-usable dryer balls can cut down on the time you need to keep items in the dryer and help to eliminate static. For items that aren’t dryer safe, keep a collapsible drying rack or retractable laundry line in your laundry room, so that you don’t need to take them outside or to a different part of the house. Turning on a dehumidifier as hanging items dry can speed up the process, too. And don’t forget to clean the lint from your machine following every load.

 
* Look at some of the newest innovations on the market and learn more about the ones you have. There are constant improvements to the stain-fighting and detergent categories: today’s stain sticks help to eliminate messy foods before they set while easy-dose laundry packets, like Tide Pods, make it easy to use the right amount of detergent per load. “Also make sure you study the operating guide for your existing machine. Find out how often you should check hoses and filters and, most importantly, learn more about the benefits of using different cycles, speeds and temperatures,” notes Wisner. Make sure your washer is ENERGY STAR qualified, as this can save tons in energy and electricity bills.

 
“Get back a bit of your life,” says Wisner, “with these simple solutions to reduce time spent in the laundry room.” For more ideas and tips, visit http://www.lg.com/us/washers.

Courtesy of BPT

Light blocking curtains


Light blocking curtains, sometimes known as blackout curtains or lined blackout curtains, can be a very appealing and functional interior design touch. Once you understand the main elements involved in choosing your light blocking curtains, you’ll be able to  successfully install and utilize them to their maximum effectiveness.

Take Measurements

Blackout curtain drapes or blackout window curtains come from the factory in many different sizes, shapes and styles. Since the main purpose of these curtains is to perform the function of blocking out daylight, it’s essential to take accurate measurements around all of the windows and glass doors in which you intend to hang them. You need to always measure a little wider and lower so that the drapes extend past the corners, bottoms, and sides of the glass where all possible outdoor light can come in.

Are they Dark Enough?

Blackout curtains come in several colors. But they’re all usually dark enough to serve the purpose of blocking the light out of your home, apartment or condominium. If you’re buying them because you want to be able to sleep comfortably during the day when the sun’s bright, then you should carefully choose the darkest color you can find, as this will successfully block out more sunlight than lighter versions. But if all you want to do is block out the often blinding glare of the sun that’s coming into your living room, you can go with a lighter color to match your interior decor.

Materials and Textures

Many of these lined blackout curtains are made of heavy-duty thermal material since thermal textures are more efficient at blocking out the strong, harsh rays of the sun. You have to understand that when this type of material gets dirty from dust and other airborne pollutants, you’ll have to eventually clean them. This will often mean removing them and taking them over to the dry cleaner, as household steam cleaners usually aren’t effective enough for a thorough cleaning and a full disinfecting procedure.

But the many benefits of these heavy, rugged textures also include keeping out the intense heat of the sun in summer time, saving on your air conditioning energy consumption costs, and helping prevent the sun from color fading of your carpets and furniture, especially the leather, velour and suede variety.

Price

You can find these blackout curtains selling for a wide variety of prices depending on which brand you buy and from which online or physical retail location you choose to purchase at. Wider, longer and heavier ones will always cost more. So will ones with custom designs and weaved patterns on them. These are the upscale, high end brands. Many homeowners are content to buy the least expensive, simplest designs and just color coordinate the curtains with their carpet, hardwood floors, wall coverings, and sofas. Well priced light blocking curtains are also going to be incredibly durable. They won’t fade due to the strong sun hitting into them all day long, so they make an excellent household investment.

Versatility

Because light blocking curtains can be used in so many home window applications, they have become very popular over the years since they first came out. Blackout window curtains can be used instead of ordinary blinds to block out much more sunlight. They’re certainly ten times better than even the darkest standard curtains. And these light blocking curtains can be installed over either windows that rise vertically or over ones that roll inward towards the room. They can also be used on sliding glass doors that lead to patios, porches and decks.

By: Alfred Oliver

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7244.shtml

The Spring Garden Guide

(NC)-Spring is the season of rebirth and re-growth. Which also means green-thumbs can’t wait to get back in those gardens! To get you started, here are some helpful tips from garden guru Peter Cantley, at Loblaw Companies Limited

Make your garden beds. Rid planting areas of weeds and spread a 4-inch layer of compost or manure over soil. Using a pitchfork, mix soil and compost going about 10 inches deep until you’ve got moist crumbly soil.

Primp and prune. Remove dead or damaged branches from woody shrubs or trees before new leaf growth begins. Prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees only after the first spring bloom.

Take some tests. Different planting areas may have different needs. Check the pH balance of soil in each spot with a home soil test kit. Then as new growth appears you can treat each one with the fertilizer and amendments required.

Peter’s Dos and Don’ts to get you ready for beautiful summer Blooms:

• DO water the garden before 10 a.m. If you leave watering for the hotter hours almost half the amount of water you apply will evaporate in the summer heat.

• DON’T cut back foliage of bulbs until it dries naturally. The bulb needs the green leaves to make food for next season’s growth. Cutting foliage too early results in small, weak bulbs the following year.

• DO fertilize roses every week, all summer long. Most hybrids are very heavy feeders and need a lot of fertilizer for beautiful and healthy blooms. Be sure to plant your bushes in a location with plenty of sunlight and leave at least 3 feet in between plants for good air circulation.

• DON’T forget to experiment with new perennials every year. Each year, we showcase some of the latest introductions and it’s a wonderful treat to find new plants toenjoy in the garden. For instance, try the PC® Campanula – Purple Get Mee, with purple bell-shaped flowers. This perennial acts like an annual with rich blooms that come back summer to fall.

Courtesy of Newscanada

Dining outdoors? Tips for keeping food safe and delicious

(BPT) – Al fresco dining is one of the great pleasures of warm weather. Whether you’re hosting a neighborhood barbecue or an intimate dinner party on your deck, outdoor dining is a great way to savor good food, company and the great outdoors. To ensure your meals are safe and enjoyable, it’s important to know how to prepare, transport and store food for outdoor eating.

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) offers some advice for safely handling food when you’re dining outdoors this summer:

Purchasing

Warm weather brings a bounty of fresh produce, and a trip to the local farmers market can make a nice addition to your outdoor meal. Food safety starts in the field. It’s important to get to know the growers selling produce at your local farm stand, and ask about their farming practices. How do they keep their products free from bacterial pathogens and other contaminants? Farmers may also have great tips for storing produce, testing for ripeness and even ways to prepare the fruits and veggies they sell.

IFT spokesperson and food safety expert, Don Schaffner, PhD, says that when you’re purchasing produce, make sure it’s free of mold, bruises or blemishes where bacterial pathogens can grow. Many grocery stores offer freshly cut, packaged produce for customers seeking nutritious convenience foods. Freshly cut vegetables and fruit need proper temperature control to prevent the growth of bacteria that cause foodborne illness.

Prepping

Before preparing food, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure all prep utensils such as cutting boards, dishes and countertops are clean before preparing each food item.

Dirt, dust and pathogenic microbes can linger on produce. It’s important to wash fresh produce before consuming it. The only exception is are pre-bagged salads and leafy greens, as experts advise that additional washing of ready-to-eat green salads is not likely to enhance safety. Thoroughly washing in cold water will suffice for most fruits and vegetables, but some types of produce require special handling. Wash spinach or salad greens in a bowl of water and rinse them gently to remove dirt and other contaminants. –

Give extra attention to fruits with stems, such as apples, pears and peaches. You may be tempted to forego washing fruit with a rind, since you won’t be eating the rind. But, it’s still important to wash oranges, avocados, melons, cantaloupe, etc. – pathogens can linger in unwashed crevices and transfer to your hands or the knife you use to cut the fruit. In addition, wash items you’ll peel – such as carrots and cucumbers – for the same reason.

Grilling

If you’ll be grilling at home, remember to always marinate meat in the refrigerator, never on the kitchen counter or outdoors. Discard any extra marinade that’s touched raw meat.

Grill food thoroughly, using a thermometer to ensure the proper internal temperature: 145 F for steaks and fish, 160 F for pork, hot dogs and hamburgers, and 165 F for poultry. Keep finished meats hot until you serve by moving them to the side of the grill rack, away from the coals or highest flame on your gas grill. Avoid cross contamination by using separate serving plates and utensils for different meats and vegetables.

If you’ll be grilling away from home – in a park, tailgating at a sporting event or on a camping trip – consider purchasing pre-formed patties for burgers and pre-cut poultry. This minimizes the amount of handling meat requires and can help minimize the risk of bacteria and cross contamination.

Transporting

A picnic in the park can be great fun for everyone, but it’s important to assure your food arrives safely along with your family and guests. Follow smart food packing guidelines. Keep meats, including lunch meats and raw meats, cheeses and condiments cold in insulated, soft-sided bags or coolers with freezer gel packs.

Food needs to be stored at 40 F or colder to reduce the risk of pathogen growth, so limit the number of times you open the cooler. Never allow food to sit for more than two hours at temperatures below 90 F, and no more than an hour when temperatures exceed 90 F. Throw away food that’s been sitting out too long.

Securely package raw meat, seafood and poultry to ensure the juices don’t contaminate other foods. Pack only the amount of perishable food that you think will be eaten. Beverages and perishable foods should travel in separate containers and coolers, especially if you’ll be transporting raw meat.

When it’s time to go home, don’t reuse packaging material that has touched raw meats or meat juices. Make sure perishable leftovers stay cold on the trip home. Avoid taking home uncooked leftovers.

Courtesy of BPT