10 Tips for Packing and Moving Glassware

It’s time to move and you are not looking forward to the movers breaking any of your glassware.  Instead, you decide to pack it and move it with you and let the movers take the less breakable stuff.  Sounds like a good plan, but do you know how to make sure that you don’t break any of your glassware either?  Check out 10 tips for packing and moving glassware.

  1. Use a honeycomb box: So you are wondering, what is a honeycomb box?  It’s one of those boxes with the cardboard dividers that slide together giving you a grid.  You can safely pack your glasses in a box like this.
  2. Use plain paper to wrap glasses: It seems like everyone’s first inclination is to reach for a newspaper to wrap glasses.  I guess using newspaper isn’t a bad idea since it reuses something that would normally go into the recycling bin.  The problem with newspaper is that it’s often dirty and inky.  You will get ink all over your hands and then probably on whatever you are wearing.  Not to mention that newspaper isn’t as thick as the plain paper is and will tear instead of conforming to the shape of the glass.
  3. Bubble wrap: If you are wrapping a big platter your best bet is to use bubble wrap.  Wrap the bubble wrap around the item in both directions and tape the ends securely with packing tape so it doesn’t pop loose in transit.  If you have several platters or plates you might want to separate them with cardboard to keep them from breaking during the move.  If it’s one larger item pack the bubble wrapped item in with Styrofoam peanuts or shredded newspaper.  The only problem with shredded newspaper is that it will turn into a soggy mess if it gets wet whereas the Styrofoam will keep its shape.  Pack platters on edge and not flat in the box.
  4. Use original boxes when able: I know not everyone keeps the original boxes that they got their chip and dip set in or their martini glasses, but if you do have them it’s a good idea to utilize them during the move.  They are usually sized to fit that item exactly so no moving and crashing around during the move.  Remember that you still need to wrap each item in paper and then pack it in it’s own box.
  5. Buy special dish pack boxes: These boxes are especially sturdy boxes that have a double thickness of cardboard on the walls of the box helping to prevent crushing.  If you want to add extra cushion you can use two extra sheets of newspaper to wrap around dishes after they’ve been wrapped in the clean paper.  The more protection the better.
  6. Label, label, label: Not only will labeling help the movers put the boxes in the right room, but it will help you find your coffee cups once you make it to your new place and need a cup of coffee.  Also, label all glassware as “Fragile, This Side Up!”  This will give the movers a heads up if they are moving the box or your friends if they are unloading your car when you get to your new home.
  7. Fill in the gaps: If you are using a dish pack make sure that you put the bigger, heavier items in the bottom of the box and the smaller, lighter items toward the top.  Make sure that you use crumpled up paper (either clean or newspaper) in between each wrapped item.  You don’t want items to shift around inside the box.  Also, put a thick layer of crumpled paper at the top of a box before taping it closed so that boxes can be stacked on top of each other.
  8. Tissue paper: When wrapping small glass and ceramic figurines it’s always a good idea to wrap them individually in tissue paper or paper towel first and then in newspaper.  To make the newspaper roll up better for the small items you might try crumpling it up first and then smoothing it back out before wrapping items corner to corner.
  9. Nest mixing bowls: It’s always a good idea to wrap each bowl by itself with clean paper and then nest them inside each other like they would sit in the cupboard.  Then when placing in the box turn the bowls upside down so they are more stable and don’t roll around.  Make sure there is enough paper between the bowls so they don’t clank against each other.
  10. Plates on edge: When wrapping breakable plates the same method as before with clean paper wrapping corner to corner.  Then take 2 sheets of newspaper and wrap it again.  Then place the plates on their edge and put a piece of cardboard between each plate or use a box that is already divided for plates.  The edge is stronger than if the plate was laying flat.

10 Reasons to Get Renter’s Insurance

Many renter’s live in apartments, townhomes and condominiums and don’t carry renter’s insurance. For some, they feel the risk is small enough that they are willing to take it rather than to pay the premium for renter’s insurance. Others are under the mistaken belief that the building insurance will cover their losses in the event of a fire or theft. This is never true.

But how small is the risk? If you had to replace all the contents of your apartment, how much would it cost you; your entire wardrobe, all your furniture, your music collection, everything in your kitchen, your computer, camera and other electronic items? $7,000.00? $15,000.00? Probably much more than you think.

What could a renter’s insurance policy provide for you?

  1. Content Replacement. If every single item in your apartment was destroyed by fire, it is unlikely that you would have enough money in your savings to replace it all. With renter’s insurance you have both of the same options that homeowner’s do. You can insure for current value or replacement value. The first one will pay you the current value of your 5 year old television, in other words, what you could sell it for. The replacement value policy would pay for a brand new television of similar quality. Make sure you know which type of renter’s policy you have.
  1. If one of your visitors slips and gets hurt in the lobby of your apartment building, they can sue the owner for damages, but you have no liability for their damages. If they slip and get hurt in the bathroom of your apartment, then, you are the person liable, and you are the one they could sue for damages. If you have renter’s insurance, you’ll have protection against these types of suits.
  1. Living expenses. If your apartment is damaged by water, smoke or fire, you will likely need to find another place to live, at least temporarily. Do you have money to setup house in another location, or to stay in a motel? This is another instance where you would be very thankful to have an insurance policy in place that would cover these expenses for you.
  1. Medical expenses. This item fits in with the liability section. If a person does get injured in your rental space, even in a small way, you may be liable for their medical bills. Rental insurance would pay for the stitches in his head when he tripped and cut in open on your coffee table.
  1. Fire and smoke. If there is a fire in the building, the damage to your personal property can be immense, even if it is quickly extinguished. Smoke and water damage can expand far beyond the area of the fire itself. The building insurance will replace or clean your ruined carpet but everything else will be your responsibility.
  1. Rental units are becoming targets for theft, much more often than they used to be. Even in a ‘secure’ building, this type of loss remains a possibility.
  1. Water damage. If there is a water issue in the apartment above you and it comes through your ceiling and ruins your computer, the landlord has to pay for it right? Wrong! Even it was due to his negligence, the only way you might get him to pay for it would be to take him to court. Court takes time and has no guarantees of a decision in your favor.
  1. Renter’s insurance won’t alleviate your anger at having your possessions destroyed for no good reason, but at least it would help you with replacement costs and cleanup of the mess.
  1. If you live in an area where flood water damage is a possibility, you’ll want to have renter’s insurance that specifically covers that type of damage. Water can destroy just as totally as fire.
  1. Joint tenants. If you’re sharing your apartment with another tenant, you might want to get joint tenant coverage with your rental insurance. You may be buddies to start with, but sharing close quarters for a length of time, sometimes turns friends into enemies. A little preventative protection, can’t hurt.

To live without renter’s insurance is a big gamble. If you lose the gamble, the costs could put you in the poor house; either that or your mother’s house. Avoid both by contacting your insurance agent and getting the coverage you need.


10 Reasons Senior Citizens Change Addresses

As our society has become more mobile, we are witnessing our senior citizens become more mobile as well. More and more seniors are uprooting out of their long-time homes and moving around the country, something that is vastly different than the norm where senior citizens would stay in one place for long periods of time, settling into the community and establishing roots. Here are ten reasons that have contributed to this phenomenon:

  1. They have chosen to downsize – Larger houses become too much to take care of as they get older, making it hard to keep up with all of the tedious house-keeping tasks. Plus, seniors generally don’t need as much space as they once did, making smaller spaces infinitely more attractive. And because some have lost spouses and are now alone, they may choose to eliminate a lot of their furniture and other possessions by giving them to their children, selling them, or giving them away. By downsizing their possessions they also end up needing to downsize their living space.
  2. They want convenience – Some seniors are moving into apartments or townhouses so they don’t have to do yard work or keep up their yard as they go through the various seasons, depending on the type of climate they live in. Moving to an apartment or townhome gives them the added benefit of having an association or grounds manager that will maintain their yards so they can still enjoy them without all the work.
  3. Moving into town becomes a great option – If they have lived in the country, they may want to move into town to be closer to shopping centers and medical facilities. There is also security in being closer to doctors and hospitals as they age and more medical issues arise. Plus, being in a town means they’ll have to do a lot less driving when they need to run their errands, and provides the additional option of public transportation.
  4. Retirement communities attract many seniors – 55+ communities offer more affordable housing options and social interaction with others their age. Many also have a lot of amenities which are right there in their neighborhood such as pools, exercise rooms, planned activities, and maybe even golf courses.
  5. Retirement gives them time to travel – Now that they are no longer employed, they have time to travel. Some seniors have chosen to sell almost everything and live in a RV and travel around the country. Other seniors choose to live in a RV to have the flexibility to volunteer for different organizations in different locations. Many of these organizations give them a place to stay while they do volunteer work for them, and then the seniors move on to another location. There are also opportunities for retirees who live in campers to work as hosts at campgrounds which give them a place to stay plus a little extra income.
  6. Snowbirds chose to move to warmer climates – As seniors start going south for the winter on a regular basis, they make connections in those areas and decide to move there to be closer to friends. They like the warm weather and get tired of living in two locations and having to maintain both
  7. Some choose to live near their children – There are a couple reasons why seniors choose to live near their children, such as they may need the help of their children, so they can stay home if they begin to fail physically or mentally. Or for others, they just may be tired of traveling to see their children and grandchildren and want to become part of their lives on a more regular basis, and so they choose to live near them.
  8. It’s a good time to experience new places – Now that they are free from working and are still healthy, it is a good time for senior citizens to take the plunge and live in that location they have always thought would they’d enjoy. With nothing holding them back, they may decide to take advantage of it while they can and make the move.
  9. Some actually take on a new vocation – Retirement income may not be sufficient to support some seniors in the lifestyle they desire. In this situation, they may relocate for employment opportunities.
  10. Assisted living or nursing homes become a necessity – This is probably the main reason seniors change addresses. They can no longer take care of themselves at home, so they make the hard decision, or it is made for them, to move into an environment where care is readily available.

It is a big decision for senior citizens to make the move to a new home or location, whether the decision is made from choice or out of necessity, despite how common it’s becoming.

10 Reasons the Post Office is Important to the U.S

Though many people argue that snail mail is going the way of the dinosaurs, there are actually several reasons why this isn’t—and shouldn’t—be the case. The impact of the U.S. Postal service is a bit more far-reaching than many people may realize; here are ten of the reasons why this service isn’t quite the relic you may think.

  1. Supplying Medication to Housebound Patients – For Americans with illnesses that leave them housebound but aren’t serious enough to justify the expense of full-time home healthcare, the Postal Service’s next-day mailing service and six day schedule help to prevent complications that can arise due to missed medication. In addition to this, the six day work week also helps mail order medical supply companies keep their costs down, as expensive overnight charges can be avoided with proper timing.
  2. Plays a Major Role in the National Economic Structure – More than 8.5 million people are employed within the mailing and shipping industry, which supports almost $1 trillion dollars in annual economic activity.
  3. There’s Still a Need For Postal Services – Almost every business, from the largest corporation to the smallest Mom and Pop operation, relies on the Postal Service for the delivery of advertising, billing, and goods. Though it may not seem like it as more companies take steps to go paperless, there are still a vast number of services that are only offered via mail.
  4. Even Private Shipping Companies Use The Postal Service – One of the arguments that many people make against the U.S. Postal Service is that there are other companies offering the same services, such as UPS or FedEx. What most people don’t know is that deliveries on the local level are regularly handed off by these businesses to the Postal Service, who actually completes the delivery.
  5. Physical Goods Can’t Be Emailed – Technology hasn’t quite reached the point of sending a tangible item digitally, and until that day comes all of those orders we place to online retailers still have to be processed by brick-and-mortar facilities and delivered by people.
  6. Potential Damage to Publishers – While you can certainly read the latest issue of your favorite magazine on a tablet, the vast majority of Americans prefer to receive their magazines and newspapers in print. Additionally, greeting card companies, who still rely greatly on the Postal Service, could take a substantial hit if postal reform includes a major hike in postage prices or the closing of more offices.
  7. Rural Americans Have No Other Choice – It may be difficult for city dwellers to imagine, but there are still a large number of Americans in rural areas that simply do not have the option of high-speed internet service. For these families, the Postal Service is still a very important part of the way they communicate and receive periodicals.
  8. The Universal Service Obligation – Private carriers can exclude certain areas in their delivery realm, leaving residents without access to their services altogether. The U.S. Postal Service, however, has the “universal service obligation” to deliver everywhere.
  9. A Sense of Community – For smaller towns especially, post offices still serve as a hub of the community in many ways. It’s not unusual to find bulletin boards advertising services inside the post office, along with a feeling of local pride. On a larger scale, even seasoned urbanites tend to view the post office as a link to both community and government.
  10. The Safety of Mail and Mailboxes – Because the Postal Service holds the monopoly on mailbox deliveries, the safety of citizens’ private information and correspondence is protected to a large extent. Having a single, dedicated mail carrier in a given neighborhood means that there are only two groups with access to that mailbox: designated postal workers and the family who lives at the address. In the event of postal privatization, that monopoly would be lost, giving any courier access to information that could potentially be used to nefarious ends.

The congressional solution to the Postal Service problem is to simply slash jobs, close rural post offices and put an end to the six-day delivery schedule. While this will certainly save money in the short term, the damage to the long-term economic fabric could be substantial. The ripple-effect of these cuts will be felt by both private and business mail customers.

10 Indications Your New Neighbors are Nosey

In today’s suburbs the houses seem to be getting closer and closer together.  Soon I feel like you’ll be able to pass a cup of sugar between your windows.  With this close proximity of our neighbors it’s kind of hard to not be aware of things that are going on next door.  The key to good neighbor relations is to mind your own business and if you do hear something pretend you didn’t.  Now, some people didn’t get that memo and are kind of nosey.  Check out 10 indications your new neighbors are nosey.

  1. Peaking through the blinds: Do you notice your neighbor looking out their window every time you are outside with your family? The curtains are moving as you pull into your driveway.  One slat in the blind is open while the rest of the blind is closed.  Maybe you are all the entertainment they get in a day.
  2. Taking the trash out at the same time: Do your neighbors seem to take their trash out at the exact same time you do every week? That seems rather suspicious doesn’t it?  It seems like they are in hopes that you will strike up a conversation with them.  When you do say hello to them do they stand and talk your leg off?  Maybe they are just lonely you think so you chat with them, week after week it keeps happening so that taking out the trash is an hour long event.  After weeks of this you decide to sneak your trash out at midnight to avoid the neighbor.
  3. Asking you personal questions: While you and your family are out in the yard the neighbor appears and strikes up a conversation. No problem at this point because you want to be good neighbors, but then you think it’s odd that the neighbor asks about where your wife was last night until 1 in the morning and other specific questions.
  4. Neighbor gets your mail: Once or twice a month the neighbor comes bringing over your mail because they received it by “accident”. You know they are nosey when the envelopes seem a little damp like they’ve been steamed open and then resealed.
  5. Borrows sugar, but doesn’t bake: You know your neighbor is nosey when she comes over to borrow a cup of sugar, but you’ve never seen her bake. While in the house waiting for you to get the sugar she wanders around looking at everything.
  6. Takes too long in your bathroom: You’ve invited several neighbors over for a barbeque and the nosey neighbor uses your bathroom and takes forever in there. Next time you go in there everything is a little out of place like every drawer and cupboard had been gone through.
  7. You find them looking over the fence into your yard: While taking out the dog you look up and see your neighbor looking into your yard. When you look right at them they just walk away without explanation as to what they were doing or looking for.
  8. Other neighbors tell you things: Then other neighbors start knowing things about you and your family that there is no way they should know. Or they tell you that the nosey neighbor asks specific questions about you or has told them stories about what goes on at your house.  They heard an argument the other night; they sure hope you don’t get a divorce.  Nosey remarks that are cloaked as concern.
  9. Items you’ve left out for trash appear at your neighbor’s house: The baby pool that had a crack in it or the old broom that you put in your trash can appears at the neighbor’s house. You may see them using the broom to sweep the walk or using the baby pool as a planter.  You are all for recycling, but it seems weird that they dug around in your trash can.
  10. Voices and opinion about your argument last night: You really know your neighbor is nosey when the lady of the house tells you that your husband was completely in the wrong and that you should stick to your guns.  When you ask what she’s talking about she refers to the argument that she overheard last night.  If this happens, I think it’s time to move.

10 Fun Things You Can Do with Junk Mail

The annual cost for disposing of junk mail in America runs well into the hundreds of millions of dollars, and for anyone with a mailbox this figure shouldn’t be all that surprising. The staggering amount of throwaway marketing mailings that we collect everyday may provide job security for postal workers, but it clogs the nation’s landfills and clutters our homes. The next time you check your mail, instead of chucking those papers sight-unseen into the garbage, why not give one of these fun ideas a try?

  1. Paper Mâché – While it’s certainly a surefire hit with the smaller set, adults can get in on the artsy fun with craft projects made from advertising circulars too, making it a fun project for the whole family. In addition to providing the paper necessary for your masterpiece, those sales papers can be spread across your work surface to protect it from drops of paste, making clean-up afterward quick and easy!
  2. Play Store With Sample Credit Cards – A cursory examination of sample credit cards sent out as a marketing tactic will almost always determine that the name is generic and the number invalid. After making sure that none of your personal information is imprinted on a plastic card, have a heyday playing “Store” with the smaller members of the family.
  3. Make Origami – The Japanese art of creating graceful objects from folding paper, known commonly as origami, can be a fun and relaxing way to spend idle time. A quick visit to your favorite search engine will turn up dozens of tutorials for creating everything from cranes to elaborate flowers.
  4. Teach Kids to Play Paper Football – One of the most beloved time-wasting institutions of childhood is Paper Football. Get yourself reacquainted with the proper folding techniques, and then teach youngsters to do the same. A brief run-down of the rules will have everyone giggling in no time.
  5. Customize Magnet Ads – Stripping the magnetic backing off of larger cardstock ads is the work of a moment; smaller printed magnets can be glued or painted over. Letting your imagination run wild will leave you with a diminished junk pile and a stylish refrigerator.
  6. Make Paper Pulp Beads – A quick tutorial for creating fashionable, customized beads for jewelry-making from paper pulp is easy to find online; a quick web search will no doubt turn up a full page of results. The next time inspiration strikes, hit that pile of junk mail for your paper supply!
  7. Start a Garden – Relatively inexpensive, paper pot makers are easy to find from online retailers and in gardening stores. Starting your plants from seed in recycled paper is a great way to boost your eco-friendly impact while reducing clutter.
  8. Make Your Own Recycled Paper – For advanced artists, the supplies and methods used to make recycled paper can get quite intricate. More casual crafters, however, may prefer to use an inexpensive paper recycling kit, which yields beautiful results for scrapbooking or card-making.
  9. Play a Prank – Perhaps not suitable for the younger members of the family, getting a laugh at the wasteful mailers’ expense can be a great way to blow off steam. Simply stuff the pre-paid envelopes with all of the rest of your junk mail after being sure that there’s no personal information enclosed. Though this paper is likely to end up in a landfill, the occasional envelope will get your point across while keeping a mail carrier employed.
  10. Create a Mosaic – While traditionally made of colored glass or tile, there’s no rule saying that mosaics can’t be made of brightly-colored bits of paper as well. Simply cut out your desired shape, and paste it to a heavier piece of cardstock. The results are sure to be stunning!

These are merely a small sampling of the things that you can do with your unwanted mail. Once you start, you’re sure to find dozen of your own clever uses!

Dealing with a Daytime Empty Nest

As a parent, you know that there will come a day when your children leave home to strike out on their own and to make their mark on the world. When your youngest child moves away and starts her own life, the bittersweet situation brings with it more than a bit of sadness and can be difficult for some parents to manage. While every parent understands that an empty nest is part of caring for kids, most tend to believe that it’s an affliction striking only parents of older children who have gone away to college or moved into their own apartment. The truth of the matter, though, is that those same “empty nest” emotions can be felt on a smaller scale when the youngest child in a household starts school and a stay-at-home parent is faced with an empty house during the day for the first time in years.

Rediscovering Your Identity

When you became a parent and made the choice to stay home with your children as a primary caregiver, you made a decision that changed your life dramatically. In the years between having your first child and sending your youngest off to school, it’s common to lose sight of who you are as an individual and a separate entity from your children. It’s easy to lose sight of who you are as a person when the most important people in your life don’t even call you by your first name, after all. That being said, one of the most effective ways of dealing with the pangs of sadness stemming from having an empty nest during the day is to seize the opportunity to rekindle your old interests. Join a morning book club if you’re an avid reader. Take an art class in the early afternoon if you have a creative side. Look for ways to nurture yourself as a person, not just a parent.

Take Up a Hobby

Whether it’s something you’ve been dying to try or an old hobby you allowed to fall to the wayside when parenting became your full-time focus, it’s a safe bet that you have interests you’d like to pursue that, in the past, you simply haven’t had time to address. With your kids out of the house for the majority of the day and more time on your hands than you’ve had in years, now is the time to pursue those goals. Find something that sparks your interest and go for it, because time constraints won’t be quite as big an issue.

Research Volunteer Opportunities in Your Area

Sometimes, even if you once had hobbies you were passionate about, working as a stay-at-home parent can change the way you look at the world. If all you’re really interested in doing while your kids are away at school is expressing a nurturing side, then it may be a good idea to start looking into the opportunities available to volunteers in your neighborhood. From daycare centers and nurseries at your place of worship to a food pantry, there are a surfeit of programs that could always use more help. By volunteering, you could help to fill that need while simultaneously filling up a bit of the void left by your first empty nest.

Inquire About Becoming a Classroom Parent

While not all schools maintain classroom parent programs or encourage parents to volunteer, there are many who are in need of additional pairs of hands when students are very young. These spots do tend to fill up quickly, but snagging one allows you to still spend time with your little one while helping the teacher to provide the best possible environment for each and every one of her little pupils.

Get Out There!

If being a parent has taken so much of your time that you no longer have much of a social circle, this is the perfect time to revisit old friendships or to strike out in search of new ones. Join local mom meet-up groups, look for ways to meet new people with whom you share an interest and take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a bit of grown-up conversation while your kids are away at school.

Change Your Outlook

As with so many other things in life, much of how you’re affected by a daytime empty nest will be determined by your outlook on the situation. If you’re grieving and miserable, the period of adjustment will be long and difficult. With a bit of optimism, it can actually be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Instead of mourning, try to look at your days as a chance to recharge, and to spend some time alone after all the hard work you do in order to provide your family with everything they need to be happy, healthy and successful.

10 Ways to Test Drive Moving in Together

Making the leap from dating to cohabitation can be daunting; on top of trying to combine two lives worth of belongings into one space, there’s the added tension of wondering if you’ll even be able to get along. Before you sign that lease, here are ten ways you can test your compatibility.

  1. Go On Vacation – Take a trip together, preferably a road trip. Being in such close quarters while you travel and sharing a small hotel room will give you a decent idea of each others’ habits, and an opportunity to have a long discussion.
  2. Visit the Family – It’s almost impossible to be anything but yourself when visiting the parents. Take turns spending holidays or special occasions with your separate families; in addition to seeing each others’ true colors, you can also get a feel for future gatherings as a couple.
  3. Extended Sleep Overs – Spending one or two nights a week together won’t provide a clear picture; before moving in to a shared space, it’s a good idea to spend at least two weeks in the same house. Because you’re both likely to still be on your best behavior, if you’re ready to tear your hair out within a few days, you might want to rethink moving in.
  4. Talk About Where You Want to Live – One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a couple starting a life together is where to live. Will one of you move into the home the other already has? If so, will that person be able to shelve possessive tendencies of the space? Many couples opt to find a new place together to avoid this, but if it isn’t feasible for your relationship, you’ll need to be aware of how much adding a new person to a home will change it.
  5. Have a Long Discussion About Finances – Though wanting to avoid discussions about a possible breakup is natural, it’s important to talk about how it would affect you financially if you’re living together. If you’re planning to get a new home together, it’s a good idea to be sure that one person can afford to keep it should you break up. Also, you’ll need to be aware of each other’s spending habits to avoid future fights over money.
  6. Get a Joint Checking Account – Opening a joint checking account can be a great way to learn each other’s financial habits. It might be best to keep a relatively small balance at first, since it’s a financial experiment of sorts.
  7. Wait a While – Even if you think you’re ready, wait a bit longer to move in. The longer that you’re together but living separately, the more time you’ll have to get accustomed to one another. Habits and pet peeves that would rear their heads early in a cohabiting relationship might take much longer to discover otherwise.
  8. Know Where You Both Stand on Marriage – Some couples view cohabitation as test-driving marriage, while others see it as the end of the commitment line. Often, people hesitate to bring up the subject for fear of scaring the other person away, but if you’re committed enough to consider living together, this shouldn’t be an issue. If one of you would like to one day get married, while the other has no desire to formalize a relationship, it will only lead to trouble down the line. You should both know exactly what your plans are before you pack the first box.
  9. Make Some Rules – No matter how much you love one another, living together is still an arrangement. Deal-breakers should be discussed openly to avoid unpleasant surprises down the line. Remember, getting out of an unsuitable relationship is exponentially more difficult after you’ve moved in together.
  10. Talk About What You Can Part With – Unless you both have an unlimited income, you’re probably not going to be able to afford a space large enough for both of you to keep everything you own. He might have to part with the futon he’s had since college, she might need to sell her extensive porcelain doll collection. One of the conversations you should definitely have is what you can stand to part with and what is absolutely part of the package.

While these tips will help you go into cohabitation with a bit more information, it’s important to realize that there really are no sure-fire methods for learning each others’ quirks before moving in. Some things won’t come to light until the honeymoon period ends, which can take months. Be prepared to learn new and sometimes surprising things about your mate each and every day after you start sharing living quarters.

10 Ways to Save on Postage Stamps

Every little bit helps in tough economic times. When money’s tight, it pays to be creative in finding means to save even a little extra cash. It’s easy to overlook some of the smaller ways to save, but when you add them all up, you can start to save some real dollars. Let’s take a look at one of those penny savers, shall we? It’ ll be good for you to take a nice long gander at some of the ways you’ve been letting money sift through your fingers, and into Uncle Sam’s pocket.

Here are 10 ways you can save on postage stamps:

  1. E-Billing – Most utility companies and service providers offer some form of online payment method. As more and more businesses are going green, paperless billing and online payments have become the norm. Some companies even offer a discount on their services when you sign up for paperless billing. More savings for you.
  1. E-mail – wherever possible and practical, correspond via email rather than snail mail. It’s fast, it’s free and takes up a lot less space for record-keeping. Specify e-mail as your preferred contact method whenever you’re given the option to choose.
  1. Third Class Mail – When it absolutely, positively doesn’t have to get there by morning, why pay the difference? Mail it early and save the extra dough.
  1. Pack Light – When shipping parcels, use lightweight packing material such as Styrofoam popcorn. And don’t over-pack, especially if it means using a larger container. The added weight, and sometimes the larger size, will increase the cost of postage.
  1. Not-so-Special Delivery – Avoid sending anything Special Delivery during the week. It won’t get there any faster. Special Delivery only expedites night and weekend mailings, so the difference in cost is a wasted expense.
  1. Don’t Air Mail – Mail sent over distance within North America will be sent by air anyway, even for the less expensive First Class postage.
  1. Buy a Postage Meter – You can save significantly over time by avoiding over-stamping your mail. The money you’ll save by paying exact postage will pay for the purchase in no time.
  1. Use Certified Mail – instead of the more expensive Registered Mail when your outgoing needs signatures. It will satisfy your requirement of confirming receipt just as well, and for less.
  1. Scroooged! – Are you absolutely sure you want to send season’s greetings to everyone on your Christmas card list? Maybe it’s time to re-consider that couple you met 12 years ago at the time-share resort. You know the ones. They bored you with family updates every year for a decade and, if you recall, stuck you with the tab at the tiki bar that last night in Cabo.
  1. Shop Around – USPS isn’t always the cheapest alternative for shipping. Check the rates with other carriers before sending off that last fruitcake to your old time-share buddies.

See? Those pennies did add up, didn’t they? Now go ahead and roll them all up, buy yourself a nice little Thank You card, and send it UPS.

10 Tips for Choosing a Home Alarm System

When you are planning to purchase a home alarm system, there are many different things to consider as you compare your options. Below are listed ten tips that can help you through that decision process.

  1. Hardwired or wireless. If you are living in an existing home, a hardwired system would be expensive and difficult to install. However, if you are constructing a new home, a hardwired system can easily be installed as part of the construction process. Because of the wiring involved, the materials and labor to install a hardwired security system will often times be more than a wireless system.
  1. Integration with your home smart system. If you are planning a ‘smart’ home, one with integrated intercom, temperature controls and lighting controls, you may want to investigate including your security system as part of this smart system as well.
  1. Sensor types. Ask about the types of sensors used in the security systems you are considering. Are their sensors for the windows as well as the doors? Will the sensor monitor whether doors or windows are left unlocked or open?
  1. Audio alarm. What type of audio alarm goes off in the home if the alarm is triggered? Do you have options to choose from?
  1. Video surveillance. Are there video cameras included as part of the security system? If so, how are they monitored and how obtrusive looking are they? Can you purchase cameras for outside the home as well as inside?
  1. Ease of install. How simple is the system to install? Can you do it yourself or must it be installed by a professional? This can make a big difference on your overall costs.
  1. Remote monitoring and control. What options do you have for controlling the system? Some systems can only be set and turned off manually. Other systems will allow you to set them, turn them off and monitor their statistics from remote locations.
  1. Monthly monitoring costs. There are security systems that simply make noise to scare intruders, but most systems include a monthly monitoring package provided by the security company. Not all monitoring packages are the same. Check to see what is included with the package, such as who will be contacted in the event of an alarm, will it just be the security company or will it also include contact to the local law enforcement agency?
  1. Alarm response. What is the anticipated response time to an alarm? This is another important question to ask. A reliable security company should be able to give you a reasonable answer to this question.
  1. Overall price. Make sure you have all the costs involved when receiving a quote from a supplier, installation, the system itself and the monthly monitoring fees. Compare system carefully. Are they all providing the same amount security coverage, or does one system have many more sensors than another? Do lower monitoring fees make a higher priced system a better deal than another?

There are lots of different types of systems available. In addition, many of those systems can be customized to provide as much or as little coverage as you would like. Take your time to compare all your options.