Archives for May 2013

Tips for gambling responsibly

The huge increase in popularity that gambling has enjoyed during the internet era is largely down to the quality and convenience that online casino and sports betting sites have offered. Casino sites in particular are now providing top quality games and graphics to match any land-based establishments, but this also makes it vital that people know how to gamble responsibly.


The biggest single factor in this is knowing how much you can afford to spend gambling – as this is what can stop you falling into debt. Your gambling budget should depend on your income, and you should always think in terms of what you can afford to lose by gambling, as that way anything you win will be a happy bonus. Once you know what you can afford to spend each month it can be a smart idea to have a separate account for this, as this reduces the chances of your being tempted to go beyond your budget, into the money you need for paying your bills and buying essentials.


It is also important to restrict the amount of time you spend online slots, or gambling on sports each week, because this will ensure that gambling remains a fun pastime – rather than an irresponsible obsession. It is easy to be drawn into the thrill of the game and find yourself unable to stop; either because you are winning and want to make as much money as you can, or because you are losing and think you can win back your money by going on. Neither of these strategies is sensible, and a smart, responsible gambler always knows when to stop. For this reason it is never a good idea to mix gambling with excessive alcohol consumption, as this is liable to lower your inhibitions and make you reckless. You want to keep a clear head at all times when you are gaming, which means staying sober.

Keep More Money in Your Pocket

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ViralGains for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Where do you bank?  What kind of fees and rates do you pay?  Have you ever checked around for lower rates and fees?  Now is the time to check out a credit union.  You have nothing to lose, but a lot to keep.


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Easy Energy Savers for Your Home

Completely You: Home

Easy Energy Savers for Your Home

By Lauren Mang for Completely You

Out-of-control energy bills are all too common for most homeowners. And it’s not hard to see why: Constant computer use, washing dishes, doing laundry, heating and cooling your home, cooking dinner, and even taking showers all contribute to that shockingly high monthly number. The good news, however, is that here are more than a few simple (and insanely cheap) ways to transform your home from an energy-eating money pit to a more efficient, money-saving powerhouse.

Here, several green-living experts take on different rooms in the average home and offer their best ideas for quick, no-cost or low-cost fixes, plus larger energy-saving investments that pay off big in the long run.

The Attic

When it comes to your attic, there are two keywords to remember: air seal. “Particularly in a home that’s more than 10 years old, [look to see if] you have any settlement gaps or other openings that have happened over time,” says Jeff Bartos, president and CEO of the Philadelphia-based home energy assessment company Mark Group Inc. Bartos suggests using caulking or weather stripping to seal any gaps or cracks in the attic that are bringing in cold or warm air. How to spot those leaky gaps? recommends looking for areas where the insulation is darkened due to filtering dusty air in from the house.


In high-use areas such as bedrooms, Bartos says consider swapping outdated incandescent lightbulbs for either compact fluorescents (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). While slightly more expensive than standard incandescent bulbs, CFLs and LEDs have longer life expectancies (upwards of 50,000 hours), use about 85 percent less energy and emit less heat, which will help protect your bottom line.


“If the hot water in your shower can scald you,” says Dan Ruben, executive director for Boston Green Tourism, “you’re throwing money away.” Ruben suggests turning the hot-water heater down to 120 F or lower for maximum money-saving effects. Other inexpensive energy savers to implement in the bathroom? Switch out existing showerheads for low-flow versions (prices start at around $5, depending on the brand) and add an aerator (about $3) to all of your faucets — both products mix air into the water, so you don’t even notice a change in water flow.

Home Office

Sure, the photo montage of your kids that pops up on your computer when you’re not using it is adorable, but Bartos suggests you skip the screensaver. And never leave your computer running while you’re away. “If homeowners are putting [their computers] into sleep mode instead of shutting them down, they’re using more energy than they think.”


Are your kitchen appliances Energy Star-certified? If not, it may be time to replace them. According to, an Energy Star-certified refrigerator is required to use 15 percent less energy than a non-certified model, which can cut your energy bill by more than $80 over the appliance’s lifetime.

But if replacing a pricey appliance isn’t in your current budget, Shel Horowitz, author of Painless Green: 111 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life — With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle, recommends either unplugging your kitchen appliances or hooking them into a standard power strip that allows you to turn off all your appliances with one flip of the switch. Even if a plugged-in appliance is turned off, he notes, it’s still using power and costing you money.

Living Room

To reduce energy loss via
windows in a living space, Ruben says window coverings are an energy-efficient must.
In the summer, keeping your windows shaded both inside and out can keep your home
cooler by more than 70 percent. Keep your blinds or curtains closed from
sunrise to sunset. Also, consider your landscaping. Planting shade trees on the
south and west sides of your home could lower summer electric bills by $25.

is a freelance writer who has written for Seattle Metropolitan, PaperCity, VMSD, Retail
Environments and Cincy magazines. She is a frequent contributor to Completely You.

9 Best Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

Beauty & Confidence: Beauty & Makeup Tips

9 Best Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms

By The editors of Beauty & Confidence for Beauty & Confidence

Ask any busy mom what’s on her wish list, and “more time” inevitably comes up. Turns out those extra hours may be right under our noses: Too many of us waste our precious minutes rounding up the kids, scrambling to pull together dinner and sorting through our email inboxes.

We asked the experts to give us their tips for streamlining daily routines. Try incorporating a few of these suggestions and you may actually find yourself with a little “me” time at the end of the day!

1. Start your day with mommy-and-me time.
Have a designated day of the week for each of your kids and wake him or her up 15 minutes early, says Tonia Tomlin, a professional organizer and the author of Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiples’ Guide to an Organized Family. That way, you both know you’ll have some special bonding time, no matter how hectic things get.

2. Take stock of your kitchen.
Each month, take a quick inventory of your pantry and do one big grocery shop to stock up on essentials. Even if you can’t get to the market one week, at least you’ll have the basics to whip together a few quick meals. (Consider using an app like Grocery iQ, which keeps your list online.)

3. Invest in a slow cooker.
It’s a mom’s secret weapon: Toss a few ingredients into the pot in the morning, and your family can sit down to a home-cooked dinner with minimal prep in the evening.

4. Divide and conquer.
Delegating chores to every member of the family will save you time and stress. To keep everyone accountable, create a chore chart that everyone can check off, and put it up on the fridge, says Tomlin. Kids can tackle age-appropriate tasks, like helping to put away the dishes, feeding the dog, picking up toys and hanging up coats. “I also like to give incentives,” says Tomlin. “I schedule a special date with my daughters if the chore chart is completed at the end of the month.”

5. Take control of the calendar.
Keep a reusable wipe-off monthly calendar in a central place so everyone knows exactly what’s going on and there won’t be any miscommunications.

6. Have laundry day.
Designate a specific day of the week to do laundry so the load won’t sit in the dryer and get wrinkled, suggests Tomlin. When you get it all done in one day, you won’t have to dread coming home to a huge pile of clothes. Make the chore more fun by scheduling phone dates with family and friends.

7. Place trash cans strategically.
Children are notorious for leaving trash in the car (snack wrappers, water bottles), so keeping a trash can by the driver’s side door can save you from having to clean out the car every week, says Tomlin.

8. Have a place for everything.
Getting out the door in the morning is no easy feat when your kids are hunting for schoolbooks and you’re rushing to get your makeup done. Designate an exact place by the door for your kids’ school supplies, jackets and lunch bags so they won’t go missing when you’re leaving for school. Also set up a mommy beauty station at the same place: Simply hang a mirror and fill a basket (ideally out of reach to your kids) with beauty essentials, including a hairbrush, dry shampoo, concealer, blush, lipstick, mascara and a box of facial tissues for quick touchups.

9. Prioritize your inbox.
We all get way too much email, says Tomlin. Consider sorting your messages into simple categories like “To do today,” “Follow up by week two,” and “Unsubscribe from this email chain.” Send email replies to only those who need them, and avoid hitting “Reply all” — unless it’s necessary.

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The editors of Beauty & Confidence

Four Ways to Freshen Up Your Home

Extravagant Vacations Made Affordable

Extravagant Vacations Made Affordable

 Have you been saving for a Holiday, Vacation, Second Honeymoon but keep postponing the trip because you are unsure if you can afford it? Funds maybe tight but don’t let that stop you from an extravagant trip.  Imagine yourself in Paris.  Let your eyes rise far upward to gaze upon the Eiffel Tower positioned over much of the city.  Now imagine yourself in London.  A Double-Decker bus passes you as you take in the site of the Tower Bridge straddling the River Thames. Now realize that these sites and many more are obtainable.  By seizing the right deal you can make or break your trip.  Look for summer deals online at Eurotunnel.  Be thrifty and take control of your vacation.  There is no reason to put off the trip of your dreams.

 Afraid of lost income while on your trip or just in need of some extra spending cash?  You can list your home for free online at Housetrip. Enjoy a steady flow of income while you’re away by renting your house or apartment to someone who is looking for that home away from home experience.  These types of rental opportunities have become more and more common.  You are in control of the price and may reject or accept who can rent your property.  In turn try the authentic experience and look to stay in an apartment opposed to a hotel on your trip and take advantage of the savings.

 Plan your extravagant vacation, show your thrift, and take lots of photos.