Wednesday, November 30, 2016

10 Ways to Improve Your Resume

A resume is more than just a list of past jobs. It’s your personal marketing tool, and usually the only way to secure an interview. Because so much rests on the effectiveness of a resume, it’s critical that you send a resume that works hard for you. The following tips will help you create a more powerful resume.

1. Pull them in.
Use keywords that stand out and bring attention to your abilities and accomplishments.


2. Prove it.
Don’t list responsibilities. List results. Show how you benefited your previous employers in concrete terms all companies understand: increased revenue, better productivity, lower expenses, faster production.


3. Simplify – but don’t omit.
Keep your resume simple and to the point, but don’t sacrifice content for length. The traditional
wisdom is that a resume should only be one page long, but this is increasingly antiquated advice.
While your resume may fit on one page, don’t be worried if you have to continue on a second page.


4. Submit the right resume.
If you are applying to five different positions, you should have five different versions of your résumé. Each one should be tailored to show why you are the best candidate for that particular job.


5. Use appropriate language.
Never speak of yourself in the first person (i.e. “I closed 20 sales daily”). Instead use sentences like
“Managed 20 direct mail campaigns.” And try to begin with an action verb such as Managed, Organized, Oversaw, Coordinated, etc.


6. Doubel check your sspelling.
If your resume contains misspelled words, you are almost guaranteed to not get an interview. Don’t
rely on spell check, either. Print your resume and read it out loud. If something doesn’t sound right
to you, it won’t sound right to an HR manager, either.


7. Keep it current.
Update your resume at least once every six months. That way, when you really need a current resume it will be there.


8. Don’t waste space.
Telling the reader that “References Are Available Upon Request” is a waste of space. This is a common practice, so potential employers know you’ll provide references if they ask for them.


9. Don’t get too personal.
Leave out personal information such as your age, sex, height, and hobbies. And don’t include a picture of yourself. The content should pertain to your experience and qualifications. Period.


10. Monitor your results.
Is your resume working? Is it producing interviews? If not, you may want to consider seeking professional assistance.


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10 Ways to Improve Your Resume

A resume is more than just a list of past jobs. It’s your personal marketing tool, and usually the only way to secure an interview. Because so much rests on the effectiveness of a resume, it’s critical that you send a resume that works hard for you. The following tips will help you create a more powerful resume.

1. Pull them in.
Use keywords that stand out and bring attention to your abilities and accomplishments.


2. Prove it.
Don’t list responsibilities. List results. Show how you benefited your previous employers in concrete terms all companies understand: increased revenue, better productivity, lower expenses, faster production.


3. Simplify – but don’t omit.
Keep your resume simple and to the point, but don’t sacrifice content for length. The traditional
wisdom is that a resume should only be one page long, but this is increasingly antiquated advice.
While your resume may fit on one page, don’t be worried if you have to continue on a second page.


4. Submit the right resume.
If you are applying to five different positions, you should have five different versions of your résumé. Each one should be tailored to show why you are the best candidate for that particular job.


5. Use appropriate language.
Never speak of yourself in the first person (i.e. “I closed 20 sales daily”). Instead use sentences like
“Managed 20 direct mail campaigns.” And try to begin with an action verb such as Managed, Organized, Oversaw, Coordinated, etc.


6. Doubel check your sspelling.
If your resume contains misspelled words, you are almost guaranteed to not get an interview. Don’t
rely on spell check, either. Print your resume and read it out loud. If something doesn’t sound right
to you, it won’t sound right to an HR manager, either.


7. Keep it current.
Update your resume at least once every six months. That way, when you really need a current resume it will be there.


8. Don’t waste space.
Telling the reader that “References Are Available Upon Request” is a waste of space. This is a common practice, so potential employers know you’ll provide references if they ask for them.


9. Don’t get too personal.
Leave out personal information such as your age, sex, height, and hobbies. And don’t include a picture of yourself. The content should pertain to your experience and qualifications. Period.


10. Monitor your results.
Is your resume working? Is it producing interviews? If not, you may want to consider seeking professional assistance.


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10 Ways to Go Green

1. Plant a garden. Plants are so beneficial. They purify the air and produce oxygen biznillah. They are good, healthy eats. They also have a calming effect on people. So use your yard to plant an organic garden. If you don’t have a yard, then plant a small garden on the roof of your apartment building (ask your landlord first though), or in a window planter or in a planter pot.

2. Collect rain water for your garden. Rainwater is so much better for plants. Tap water contains chlorine and also is not the right pH for plants. For optimum plant growth, use rain water. This will also save you on your water bill.


3. Reduce the amount of garbage that you produce. Buy products which contain less packaging, such as You also pay more for packaging, and it is just going in the garbage. So make a conscious effort to buy groceries and products with less packaging. Also patronize companies when they come out with a greener product. For instance, recently Sunchips came out with the first compostable plant based plastic chip bag. Companies need to be financially rewarded when they do something that is good for the planet, so that other companies will follow suit. Think about the big picture when you shop. Also, try using those cloth shopping bags when you shop.


4. Reuse as much stuff as possible. Re-use your water bottles again by refilling them. You will reduce the amount of garbage and also save money. Also, if you can’t use something, like your old baby stuff, try selling it cheap so someone else can use it or try giving it to someone for free instead of tossing it. Two websites, http://Freecycle.com and http://Craigslist.com are a great way to get rid of bigger items.


5. Recycle paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and yard waste instead of throwing it in the garbage can. When you buy groceries, use paper bags as paper is much easier and kinder to the planet to recycle than plastic.


6. Use non-toxic and natural cleaners as much as possible. For example, greenworks cleaning products are a really great price and they contain 95% natural plant and mineral based biodegradeable ingredients. Greenworks products work very well at cleaning, and they are so light on your hands, you don’t even have to wear gloves while doing the dishes. Here is a website that offers tips on how to clean green:
http://greenliving.about.com/od/greenathome/tp/natural_cleaning_products_kit.htm


7. Buy high efficiency major appliances. They may have a higher purchase price, but they will save you money in the long run by reducing your energy and water bills. Compare the energy guide labels when purchasing appliances.


8. Choose a new toilet that saves water. Consider buying a dual flush toilet which has two flush settings, so you can use less water for #1. If you really, really want to go green, then consider buying a composting toilet!


9. Try carpooling. If you are going to the same place as your neighbor, then coordinate times and take turns driving. You will find your errands to be more pleasant as you get to know and spend time with your neighbors. Or even if you just want to buy a few quick items from the grocery store, and your neighbor is going anyway, ask her to pick them up while she is at the store anyways and you can do the same for her some time. Do the same for small errands like going to the post office. Taking turns helping each other out will save you time and energy and will be great for the planet and your social life too.


10. Teach your kids to go green too. Ask your kids to help you in your efforts to save the planet. You will be surprised how much they can do. This is a great opportunity to spend time with your kids and influence the next generation. Remember, the Earth is going to be in their hands in the future if God wills, so train them well.


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10 Ways to Be Irresistibly Employable

Despite major changes in unemployment rates over the last five years, potential employees have more prospects than ever thanks to the Internet and technology. With a few minor tweaks, one can get out of the unemployment line and become employable for life. Here are 10 ways to make oneself irresistibly employable to make anyone’s glass overflow with options.

1) Polish Your Language Skills.


The Internet, cellular telephones, and cable television has made the world accessible to everyone. Most people studied at least one other language besides their own in grade school. Your second language may be a little dusty but taking the time to polish it will increase your marketability. This may mean taking an immersion course through your local college continuing education program or community college classes. Language CDs such as Rosetta Stone have proven to be quite helpful as well. CDs are also available free through your local library.


Being able to communicate with other cultures can greatly increase your job prospects. Even if you can only read and comprehend another language, add that to your curriculum vitae. Just be honest and say if you speak some of that language or if you are fluent. If you spent anytime in another country, you may be fluent in the language as well as understanding the culture.


Don’t overlook summer camp or a summer school program you did 20 years prior. It helps.


2) Improve Your Communication Skills.


Many positions today involve presentations. If that is the case for you, consider polishing your public speaking skills by taking a Dale Carnegie course or Toastmasters. Being able to speak in front of a group comfortably and concisely can greatly differentiate you from the pack. Everyone in marketing and sales should consider this option and find a way to practice their speaking skills.


Get a copy of your speaking engagement on DVD whenever possible. Upload a portion of an impressive presentation on YouTube or Vimeo and include it in your profile page.


3) Improve your Computer Skills.


Almost everything is handled electronically these days. If you are not computer efficient, take a class at your local library to get better acquainted with the technology that will never go away. It’s now a way of life. Most local libraries offer free classes for PowerPoint, Excel, and MS Word. Call and schedule an appointment for a class. Most presentations are done in PowerPoint today. If you are in sales, marketing, advertising, or engineering, you will likely need to present in PowerPoint some day. Learn it.


4) Consider freelance assignments.


Most people prefer stability and are seeking long-term employment. Many employers don’t want to commit to people in the second or third chapter of their career. However, sometimes your experience is worth getting their attention. But if you’ve only worked for one or two companies that perhaps no longer exist, you may need more referrals and current experience. Companies worldwide are searching for you. Connect with them on credible sites as freelancer.com, elance.com, and 99designs.com. Select job assignments that compliment your skills. Tell them how much you will charge to complete the assignment. Wait to see which ones select you. It’s a great way to stay active, get paid, network, and meet potential long-term employers and start-ups. Many people have worked with start-ups and received a better title and greater long-term prospects. See what works best for you.


5) Purchase Your Own Website Domain.


Having your own website domain and setting up a website to compile your profile (YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, articles, press releases) makes it easier for prospects to get to know you and review your qualifications.


6) Update Your Social Media Profile.


Keep your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook pages current. Even if it’s only once a week or monthly, be sure you include something that shows you’re still in the game. It shows that you are connected and relevant.


7) Volunteer.


Volunteering at events in your industry or a charity event that is close to your heart is a great way to meet prospects. Be efficient and courteous.


Get the speakers to their seats or podium on time. Make them feel at ease. When you are there for them in the middle of what can be a chaotic event, you have their attention. Briefly introduce yourself. Give them your business card or ask for theirs. Let them know you are familiar with their work and respect what they do. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you. Follow up within a week of the event. Keep it brief, concise, and cordial.


8) Update our Business Card.


Don’t send out business cards with crossed out numbers and handwriting. If your phone number or email has changed, get new cards. Places as Vistaprint.com offer affordable business cards with prompt delivery. If you have more time and a bigger budget, visit your local printer. Include your website if you have one, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook page. You don’t have to include all social media sites. Just include the ones that best reflect who you are and where you wish to be.


Do not include the site you use to show silly pictures and jokes with close friends and family. Don’t use any silly childish names or descriptions like BigDaddy or MsThang for your email. Be sure your email address is either your name or describes what you do.


9) Take a Continuing Education Course.


Take a class that balances you and adds value to your brand. Regardless of your trade skills, take a business and/or accounting class. It will greatly enhance your creative approach to presenting your personal brand. If you design software or hardware, learn the latest programs.


10) Get spiritual reinforcement.


Being unemployed can be a scary time. Many people second guess their skill set. Often times, it’s just temporary. Use the time for reflection and polishing your skills. However, if you go around sounding defeated, thinking your time has past, you may only be deflecting prospects.


Visit your local church. Speak to your pastor. Listen to spiritual CDs and watch a good service online as a daily part of your personal development program.


When you attend your church in person, you will often find someone willing to pray with you and for you. This will feed you in ways you never knew you previously needed yet everyone does. With renewed confidence and perspective, you will present your personal brand in a positive way that will greatly benefit all with whom you com in contact.


Your new profile is an inside-out job. Your polished skills will be current and attractive to prospects. Now let them know who you are and where to find you. The fish always bite good bait. Just be patient, confident, and persistent. Your next job is on its way to you. Be ready and grab it when it comes.


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10 Ways to Help Stop Global Warming

Global warming is an issue, for many of us, as seeming to be to big of a problem for any single person to handle. Its that response that makes it such a difficult problem to solve. As individuals, only then can we truly make a difference in our current crisis. By educating ourselves, our children and others, we take on the challenges needed to change our lifestyles to better suit our needs and our planets needs. By leading the way ourselves and taking the first steps, either politically or socially, each of us can make a difference that counts not only for our planet, but also our wallets.

Below you will find practical steps that reduce the impact we have on our natural world around us. As we use these ideas in our lives, we not only attribute to the health of mother nature, but we are also making our lives better in the process. Using less fuel and energy saves us money. Driving less by biking and walking improves our health. Eating organic and locally grown food reduces pesticides and fertilizers, and the fuel used to harvest and transport mass produced goods are reduced. All the aspects of these steps saves and heals all of us as well as leaving a sustainable planet for our grandchildren to come.


Energy efficient lighting


One of the simplest ways to reduce your energy needs is to replace all your regular incandescent light bulbs with super efficient compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL’s). Of course, incandescents are much cheaper than fluorescents, but the cost upfront will pay for itself over time, due to the fact that CFL’s last 10 times longer than incandescents and use 66% less energy. You can buy CFL’s at most hardware stores, and due to their increasing popularity, have begun to decrease in price.


Energy efficient appliances


Lets face it, unless your rich, your just not going to buy new appliances. But keep in mind, that old refrigerator in the garage thats just cooling a 6 pack of beer, could be turned off and save yourself a few $100 a year. Use your microwave more often if you only need to heat small items. Turning on the stove to heat up water can be easier and cheaper in the microwave. Use large appliances such as the dishwasher or dryer at night during off peak hours to save money and more energy. Phantom loads drain power during non use. The VCR clock is a phantom load. Even though the VCR is off, the power is still being drawn for the display. Hook up phantom load appliances to a timer or power bar, and turn them off at night.
If in fact you are looking to buy new appliances, energy star appliances have the best energy ratings. For information on the newest energy saving appliances, visit www.energystar.gov


Heat and cool more efficiently

Heating and cooling your home accounts for 45% of your total energy usage. Thats almost half of your energy consumption. By simply turning down your thermostat 2 degrees in winter and 2 degrees up in the summer, can add up to real energy savings over time. By upgrading to a digital programmable thermostat, your can program the thermostat to go off during hours when its not needed, such as when you’re at work or school, or as you sleep at night. By adding insulation to your walls, attic spaces, and crawl space, your energy efficiency goes up and less power is used.


Conserve hot water


Your energy usage can be reduced further, by limiting your hot water usage. Check your hot water heaters temperature, and set it below 120 degrees or at a lower temperature. Insulated the area your water heater is in also. You can use low flow restrictive shower heads to save on hot water usage. Wash clothes in warm or cold water, rather than hot lowers your bills and energy consumption as well. Remember when buying those appliances, front loading dishwashers are much more efficient than top loading machines for conserving hot water.


Energy efficient computers


Turning your computers to a more efficient mode, helps to conserve power. Whether at home or work, turning your computer to hibernate mode or low power mode conserves a considerable amount of money and energy. Up to 70% of the power a computer uses is wasted by idling. Upgrading to a laptop from a desktop can change your efficiency by 90%. Also switching to an ink jet printer from a laser printer can save you another 90%


Performing an energy audit


The average home in America uses around $1500 per year on energy, and with a few well thought out ideas and upgrades, can save around $450 or more. Doing an energy audit can show you the areas of your home that are consuming the most power. It also shows you where in your home the most energy is wasted. You can do your own energy audit by getting information and tools on-line at : www.energyguide.com


Switch to green power


Renewable power has long been known as the key to reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. As more and more people use the sun and wind for energy, the cost in buying solar equipment and the like will decrease. Although the price is still high, their are large tax breaks and grants for funding that are available from the government. If your not able to afford a solar upgrade like most of us, there is an alternative. In many regions, the local power utility can contract to receive energy from more Eco- friendly sources. The cost may be higher, but as more and more people elect to use these ways, the prices will go down. For more information on the subject go on-line to: www.epa.gov/greenpower. If green power is not available in your area you can also buy tradeable renewable energy certificates (TRC’s) For more information visit www.green-e.org.


Drive less


Around 30% of all carbon dioxide emissions come from vehicles that transport us, and transport our goods and services. More than 90% of this travel is by car. While fuel efficiency has declined in the past 10 years, gas prices have risen and created a new market for more efficient cars. As the government sets tighter restrictions on fuel economy, and the demand for fuel efficiency grows, the scenario sets it self for us to buy and create hybrid vehicles and electric cars. Reduce the numbers of hours in the car by biking and walking more. Consolidating all of your trips into one trip throughout the week, or use mass transit. If you can save 20 miles a week, then you just saved the earth about 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.


Drive smarter

By changing some driving habits, you can save on fuel economy. Avoid driving during rush hour if possible. By wasting less time sitting in traffic you save on all that gas spent idling. Drive the speed limit. A cars fuel efficiency drops sharply over 55 mph. Keep your car in top order. A clean air filter and properly inflated tires on a well serviced car will save big at the pump. Drive with the windows up at high speeds can save more over time to.


Reduce air travel

Not everyone flies, but if your a frequent flyer then taking two or more flights less a year can seriously reduce emissions. If you don’t fly, but drive for vacations, try taking them closer to home. By driving less, and using mass transit such as a train or bus, can save greatly on traveling expenses as well as the environment. If you must fly, then your alternative is buying carbon offsets in exchange for the emissions spent. For information on carbon offsets contact: www.betterworldclub.com


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10 Ways to Enjoy Animals Without Actually Owning a Pet

Animals can be adorable and amusing. Pets may be precious, but owning a domesticated animal is usually a lifetime commitment – at least for the life of the animal. What if you’re not in a position to take that step?


Pet care is expensive and may be cost-prohibitive at this point. A family member may be allergic to most animals. Maybe your schedule will not allow you to set aside the time you would need to care for a pet in your own home.


If you love creatures, but are not ready to take on the long-term responsibility of adding a pet to your family, what can you do?


Here are 10 ways to spend time with creatures without signing up for a permanent pet relationship.


1. Visit the zoo.


Does your city have a public zoo? How about an aquarium or wildlife preserve? Many such facilities offer opportunities for firsthand animal interactions.


2. Go to a petting farm.


Take a drive into the country, and find a farm that invites visitors. Pat a bunny, feed a goat, and stroke a pony’s mane. Who knows? You might even find a mother cat with baby kittens to nuzzle.


3. Stop in at a dog park.


Local dog exercise areas are great spots for enjoying sunny hours, particularly if you like watching pets frolic outdoors. Just watch your step, and ask owners before reaching out to pat their dogs.


Parks can also be ideal locations for bird-watching. Grab your binoculars before you head outdoors.


4. Play virtual pet games online.


Internet gaming sites abound. Those little computerized cyber animals may have seemed like kooky gadgets in their time. Now, even Facebook boasts pet play for humans. FarmVille, Happy Pets, Pet Society, Safari Kingdom, and ZooTopia are prime examples of applications that encourage users to practice caring for animals. Even the most pet-allergic individuals can role-play pet ownership by playing along.


5. Rent a pet.


Yes, it really is possible in some cities of the world to rent domesticated animals. This may sound like a crazy concept, but folks do test the proverbial waters of pet ownership by participating in this practice. Pet rentals have lost popularity in recent years, although this option may be available in certain locations.


6. Be a pet sitter.


Like valued babysitters, caring pet sitters can be of considerable value in many neighborhoods. If you have the time and inclination to care for others’ creatures, visiting pet care can offer a great way to satisfy your own hankering for animal interactions.


Feeding, watering and exercising pets for friends, family members, or even a growing number of animal-friendly clients can also be a super means of generating extra income.


7. Volunteer in an animal shelter.


Pet rescue, animal adoption and shelter facilities frequently call for extra assistance. Non-profit animal welfare organizations almost always welcome enthusiastic volunteers to help with administrative and pet care tasks.


8. Work as a dog walker.


Daily dog walking is an increasingly popular form of freelancing for fitness-minded animal lovers. Are you a power walker? Why not stroll with a leashed dog or two? You might even make a few bucks while exercising the hounds.


9. Apply for a job at a veterinary clinic or pet practice.


If you really love animals, perhaps a career in pet care is for you. Veterinary medical practices are staffed with licensed animal doctors, but they also hire veterinary technicians, cleaning crews, office help, and more.


Additional pet-related careers include jobs in pet grooming, pet supply centers, and pet stores.


10. Sign up to be a pet foster home.


Here’s the acid test for those who may be considering acquiring pets. Pet rescue and adoption organizations perennially seek individuals and families who are willing to offer foster homes to animals awaiting permanent placements.


With a little creature-aimed creativity, animal lovers can find ways to connect with cats, dogs, birds, and other pets without committing to actual ownership.


More from this contributor:


Rent a Pet … Or Not


Seven Key Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Veterinarian for Your Pets


Pet Owners: Six Essentials to Leave with Dog Sitters


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10 Ways to Help Homeless Dogs

We would take in all the stray homeless dogs we find if we could. We can’t, but we can help the animal shelters and dog rescue groups that do by doing some or all of these ten things that will help homeless dogs.


Buy a Bed


Most animal shelters prefer to use a specific bed type for their homeless dogs and can always use new beds. Visit your local shelter to discover what type of bed is needed and buy a homeless dog a bed.


Collect Linens


With a full house and a steady stream of homeless visitors, there is always a need for gently used towels, blankets and sheets at shelters and rescue facilities. Networks with family and friends and gather up old linens from your closest and theirs to donate. Scour thrift shops and flea markets to find bargain linens to donate to homeless dogs too.


Recycle Old Toys


Even homeless dogs get bored with the same old toys, so recycle unused toys from your dog’s box or kids toy box (Frisbees, balls, etc.) to an animal shelter. Wash cloth toys in the washer and plastic toys in the dishwasher before donating.


Clip Food Coupons


The Sunday paper usually contains cents off coupons for dog food and treats. Clip them and donate to a local shelter or better yet, wait until the items go on sale and purchase them with the cents-off coupons and donate the dog food to the animal shelter.


Walk the Dog


Homeless dogs that are confined to animal shelters awaiting adoption rarely get enough exercise. This causes them to be overly excited when a potential adoptive parent comes for a visit and the needed connection between human and dog is not made and the dog remains homeless. Volunteer to walk a few homeless dogs in your spare time each week.


Improve Dog Manners


A well-behaved, command obedient dog will usually be adopted before an unruly dog. Spend a little time teaching an old dog a few new tricks in the manners department so he or she will have a greater chance of being adopted.


Foster a Homeless Dog


If you don’t have time to go to the dog, bring the dog to you. Consider sharing your home space and fostering a dog until a permanent home can be found.


Raise Money


If you don’t have time or money to help out with a homeless dog, can you do something to raise money for an animal shelter? A neighborhood dog wash, dog walk or doggie talent show can raise much needed money to help a local animal shelter.


Kids and Dogs


Kids and dogs go together, so enlist the aid of your kids to raise money to help a homeless dog. A kid’s penny drive done through their school class, ball team or Sunday School class can raise enough money to purchase a week’s supply of dog food at an animal shelter or rescue facility.


Blog About It


Harness the power of the internet blog and shine a spotlight on a different homeless dog each week in your blog. Include information about the animal shelter facility, their immediate needs and any upcoming fund raising events.


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10 Ways to Kill Boredom

Lying motionless on your couch? Counting the cracks in the ceiling? Here are ten things you can do when staring boredom in the face, and none of them involve checking your e-mail, your MySpace, your FaceBook, those gossip Web sites, or that dating site you belong to.

In no particular order:


1. Perform an act of community service.


If you have time on your hands and don’t know what to do with it, why not donate it to someone in need? Your local senior center, homeless shelter, food pantry, or animal rescue might be a good place to start. Maybe there is a community cleanup you can get involved in. Like the one you start when you go out and decide to clean up your immediate community.


2. Cook a nice meal.


I should really take my own advice on this one. Sandwiches, anyone?


3. Watch your favorite movie.


Nothing breaks the monotony for me better than kicking back and popping in “The Karate Kid,” despite the fact that I know pretty much every line. It’s like slipping on a favorite sweater.


4. Read a book.


There’s probably one you’ve been meaning to pick up for the last few months. Or one you’d like to read again. So rather than click “Get Mail” 17 times in 20 minutes and hope for something new, open up a good book and get lost in another world.


5. Make a to-do list of short-term goals.


It often feels like there’s not enough time to look past right now, or later today. But if you’re bored, you clearly have time, so why not make a list of things you’d like to accomplish in the near future?


6. Clean out your closet and drawers.


This may not sound like fun, but it actually is kind of refreshing once you get into it, and the feeling you have at the end is worth it. Throw away all your clutter, get organized, and donate those pants you haven’t worn in six years to Good Will.


7. Load music onto your i-Pod or MP3 player.


Pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a good way to spend your time that doesn’t involve reading up on Britney Spears’ latest mishap.


8. Call or write that person you’ve been meaning to call or write.


There’s always that one person you know you need to get in touch with but never seem to get around to contacting. “I’m so busy,” you say. “I don’t have time.” Well now that you have time, get in touch. They’ll be glad you did, and you’ll thank yourself afterwards.


9. Work Out


Always a good choice when you’re feeling a little sluggish. Pass the time and perfect your physique in one swift motion.


10. Take a Walk


Sometimes it’s just nice to get out and take a look at what’s around you. Exercise and nature are cool.


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10 Ways to Improve Your Sales Percentage

Have you ever wondered if you are sales are converting at their maximum? Maybe you could be doing better, but what can improve your sales percentage. These 10 reasons could be costing you sales.

1. You don’t make people feel safe when they order. Remind people that they are ordering through a secure server. Tell them you won’t sell their e-mail address and all their information will be kept confidential.


2. You don’t make your ad copy attractive. Your ad lists features instead of benefits. The headline does not attract your target audience. You don’t list any testimonials or guarantees included in your ad copy.


3. You don’t remind people to come back and visit. People usually don’t purchase the first time they visit. The more times they visit your site, the greater the chance they will buy. The most effective way is to give them a free subscription to your e-zine.


4. You don’t let people know anything about your business. They will feel more comfortable if they know who they are buying from. Publish a section called “About Us” on your web site. Include your business history, profile of employees, contact information etc.


5. You don’t give people as many ordering options as possible. Accept credit cards, checks, money orders, and other forms of electronic payments. Take orders by phone, e-mail, web site, fax, mail, etc.


6. You don’t make your web site look professional. You want to have your own domain name. Your web site should be easy to navigate through. The graphics should be related to the theme of your web site.


7. You don’t let people read your ad before they get your freebie. When you use free stuff to lure people to your web site include it below your ad copy or on another web page. If you list the freebie above your ad they may never look to see what you’re selling.


8. You don’t attract the target audience that would buy your product or service. A simple way to do this is to survey your existing customers to see what attracted them to buy. This information will help you improve your target marketing and advertising.


9. You don’t test and improve your ad copy. There are many people who write an ad copy and never change it. You have to continually test and improve your ad copy to get the highest possible response rate.


10. You don’t give people any urgency to buy now. Many people are interested in your product but they put off buying it till later and eventually forget about it. Entice them to buy now with a freebie or discount and include a deadline date when the offer ends.


Maximizing your sales is essential to your business. There are many way you can increase your sales, but there are also things that will hurt your sales. Follow these 10 tips to help you avoid losing sales.


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10 Ways to Hear What God is Saying to You

Have you ever wondered what God is saying to you? Many people feel as if they can’t hear God and as a result they walk around aimless, clueless, and lost. You can tell people that know they’ve heard God because they’re doing what He said to do. Some hear and are in denial of what He said, so they act as if they’re deaf and need clarity. There are those people that are new to hearing the voice of God and actually want to know how you do it. Let me help you with these few steps:

1. Learn to listen to God through instinct


Sometimes instinct is God’s way of telling you something. If you sense you should do a thing, then you should probably do that thing, as long as that thing lines up with Scripture. You may be out running errands and you believe you should take a different route home… that can be God telling you to take another route home instead of the normal way. Even if you don’t see any tangible construction or danger ahead, sometimes it’s good to follow your instinct.


2. Learn to listen to God through the Scripture


The Scripture is what God has already said. He’s not going to say anything that’s contrary to what He has said previously. God is not schizophrenic, hypocritical or confused. He is true to the things He’s said before, and will say them again if need be.


3. Learn to listen to God through prayer


Prayer is communication with God. You talk to God, and God talking to you. You have to make time for Him to talk to you. Often times we talk to God and dump our requests on Him and then go about our business and God is ready to say something back to us. You don’t talk to anyone else like that, so give Him the courtesy of speaking as well.


4. Learn to listen to God through nature


God made the earth and everything in it. It has the ability to speak to us in a way that people cannot. God’s creation speaks of power and might and stability and many other attributes. Sometimes it’s great to just take a trip to a place where you know you’ll get peace and quiet and reflect and enjoy nature. You can look out into the ocean and get answers to some of life’s hardest questions without asking a thing.


5. Learn to listen to God through observation


Watch the world around you and you will see what God is saying. As you’re watching, follow tip #3 and pray about what you see. It’s not always about what’s on the surface but there’s usually an underlying thing God wants you to notice, especially if you see a trend happening. God operates in patterns, so be aware of patterns going on around you, whether it’s good or bad… God may be trying to tell you something.


6. Learn to listen to God through other people


Sometimes God uses other people to talk to you. It may not be deep or revelatory or even profound, but something you hear may trigger a chain of thoughts that helps you in some profound way. This is another reason why you shouldn’t tune people out when they’re talking to you. Learn to pay attention even to the most annoying or obnoxious of people, they may be the person God is talking to you through.


7. Learn to listen to God through your thoughts


Sometimes your thoughts are God talking to you. If your thoughts do not line up with what God has said in Scripture then this is not the case. That’s why it’s important to be knowledgeable of Scripture, to be able to tell what’s Him and what’s not. So much gets placed in your mind on a daily basis that it takes someone well-able to sort out the other voices to tell which one is His. People are often confused about their thoughts – if it’s them, the devil, or God. What God would say would not go against anything He has already said, remember that. Learn how to sort through the inner voices; it will make it much easier to recognize His voice.


8. Learn to listen to God through your dreams


Sometimes your dreams are where God talks to you through. It’s good to have pen and paper in case this is the avenue God chooses to talk to you through. There are times when you’re so groggy the next morning that you may not even remember the dream. When possible if you believe you’ve heard God speak to you through the night, the first thing you do is to write it down when you get up. Not all dreams are from God, but some might be. Trust your instinct with this (tip #1).


9. Learn to listen to God through children


Children have the purest form of expression and are usually the most honest people you’ll ever meet. I’ve had children say things that blew my mind and really made me think about things. Sometimes I even hear God in my child and he’s not even two years old yet. It may just be as simple as, “lighten up and have some fun man! You are too stressed out and you’re missing out on life.”


10. Learn to listen to God through what you’re saying


This one has happened to me many times. Sometimes you’re talking to someone else, and then you say something that catches you off guard. Has that ever happened to you? Where you said something so profound it amazed even you? You and the person you’re talking to are just sitting there like, “whoa, say that again!” And you wish you had it on tape somewhere so you could replay it exactly. Learn to listen to your own words, because at times what God is trying to say to you… the thing you’ve been praying about and wanting answers for… that still small voice that you need to hear… is coming out of your own mouth when you least expect it.


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10 Ways to Keep Your Cats Healthy and Cool in the Heat

I have two cats and always worry about them in the summer. I never know if they are cool enough. I can’t take them for a dip in the pool and they are stuck with one furry outfit. Here are 10 things I found to make them as comfortable as possible.

1. Fill their bowls


Make sure that your cat has plenty of water. Just like humans, pets need an increase in fluids when the temperature rises.


2. Water cooler


Make sure that the water you supply your kitty is cool all day long. Some ways do this include putting ice cubes in their water bowls or using an electronic water fountain that provides cool filtered water.


3. Shady living


Outdoor cats are usually good about finding cool, shady spots to lie in. You can try to provide some of those spots close to home with large, shady plants or tree.


4. Cool it down


Purina says indoor cats do their best to find cooler spots, like on tile floors or near drafty windows. Try to use an air conditioner, fans or open the windows while you’re home. When you’re not home, leave fans on if possible.


5. Batten down the hatches


If you live in a home or building that has more than one story, make sure that all your windows are secure. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that many cats get injured from falling out of upper-story windows, which is also called “high-rise syndrome.”


6. Sunblock??


If you have a white cat, you may need to apply sunblock to their ears and nose. According to Kassidy Emmerson, white cats sunburn very easily. You can prevent this by restricting their sunbathing or applying sunscreen.


7. Too hot to handle


I know from personal experience that barbeques can be all too tempting for a feline. One cat I had growing up burned his paw pads jumping on a grill to get that yummy chicken. If you have an outdoor cat or a sneaky indoor one, make sure to keep a lid on your BBQ pit.


8. This little kitty stayed home


Traveling with a cat is usually a difficult task. Keep your cat at home unless absolutely necessary. All About Dogs and Cats cautions you not to leave your cat in the car. Within minutes, a car can reach temperatures dangerous for Mr. Whiskers.


9. Flee flea


It’s hard enough staying cool on a hot day. Having fleas, tick or mites biting you must make it impossible. Keep your cat pest free so they don’t have to make themselves hot scratching all day.


10. Know the signs


Read up on the signs for heatstroke and what you should do to help your cat.


References:


“ASPCA Offers Summer Safety Tips to Help Pets Beat the Heat,” ASPCA


Franny Syufy, “Help Your Cat Beat the Heat,” About.com


“Hot Weather Tips,” All About Dogs and Cats


“How Do I Keep My Cats Cool in Hot Weather?” Purina Cat Chow


Kassidy Emmerson, “Prevent Sunburn on Your White Cats,” Associated Content


“Petmate Deluxe Fresh Flow Purifying Fountain,” Petco


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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

10 Ways to Spot a Loser

These handy tips will help you effectively spot a loser and save yourself tons of time:

10. They don’t work, but they need to for their family or themselves, and are completely ABLE to (you know, voluntary welfare peeps)… Or worse, they show up and do absolutely nothing. Nothing at all…


9. They are always bumming: “Oh, MY GAWD! Do you have any gum? Do you have a quarter? Do you have any lotion?” These people are among my least favorite! I will have a purseful and say no. If I don’t offer it to you, go with “No.” :-)


8. They have not seen a shower in a while and have the means. I may forget what people look like or even their name, but if they stink, it is forever seared into my memory as they breeze by me.


7. They will pay nearly full retail price for a knockoff handbag. I’ve seen this. They will save $20.00 to look like they have something they never had to begin with- including common sense. Just say no!


6. Teenagers with jeans signed by their friends. Trust me, no one knows and no one cares. You look silly! Stop!


5. People who rush out to buy every American Idol-branded CD/iTunes/whatever. Equally annoying are those that jump on the bandwagon of every new trend in the mass market. Twilight, Taylor Swift, etc. I didn’t like her music before Kanye’s scene, and I still don’t. He changed nothing about that for me! She has a nice voice; it’s just not something I like. There’s a reason they are marketing it toward emotional teens. They are volatile creatures. Are you? Tip: If Ryan Seacrest loves it, well, that’s reason enough for me to stop in my tracks. “Seacrest-out!” Indeed.


4. People who are still illegally downloading music. Seriously. The quality difference should be enough of a deterrent to persuade you to let go of that 99 cents. There used to be almost no songs available for legal download. There is no excuse now! You do not want scared record companies sending the popo to your house, do you? lolz.


3. If they collect friends for things they need, without compensating them at all. I know people who use others for rides to work, for money, for their phone. It’s amazing. When you find these, or hear of them, RUN!


2. If they cattily make fun of you thinking it’s okay. I hate people like this. Just don’t talk to me! Is your life really that sad that you have to even bother making the effort? Go away.


1. If they are on People of Wal-Mart. That’s a definite… And please feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment below. Suggestions are always welcome!


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10 Ways to Be More Productive at Your Home Office

Many people are discovering that having a home office-and by a “home office” I do not refer to just a desk with a computer on it, but, rather, an office similar to the one found in most business environments, one properly equipped and functional–can be a great idea for a number of reasons. For one thing, it is much cheaper than renting office space and it can increase one’s productivity, among other ways, by reducing travel time between “work” and home. Although some people may not be interested in bringing work to their house, for some of us, especially those of us who freelance, or who work both at a regular company and at home, having a home office is a necessity. Make no mistake, though, a home office has to be managed differently than the office one may report to on a daily basis, usually following a schedule set up by employers. As a matter of fact, a home office is a good idea only if certain steps are followed and, more importantly, if certain things are prevented. In order to maximize your home-office productivity, consider the following suggestions:

1. Purchase and use good lighting. Studies have shown that the brighter the lighting in work environments, the more productive people can be, probably because we naturally associate good lighting with daylight, and daylight with earning a living. Good lighting is also better on the eyes, as opposed to using dim lights. I make a point to use 75 watts or higher light bulbs, although 100 watts is best, in my opinion. Some halogen and fluorescent lights may be more energy efficient, but they are often not bright enough, especially if you are going to be reading a lot. Bad lighting can be bad for the eyes.


2. Remove or get rid of potential distractions, when possible. This means that you should not have any regular-line home phones (assuming that you have a separate line or a cell phone for clients) in your office; as a general rule, I let my answering machine deal with phone calls when I am in my home office. Also, under no circumstances should you have a television in your office, or be able to catch the glimpse of one from where you sit. Just being able to hear one nearby is, in my opinion, distracting, which is why the best location for an office is in an attic, a basement, or a room altogether separate from the rest of the house, and not next to the living room or where the children play and rumble. Finally, inform all family members that you are not to be disturbed while at “work,” unless it is a legitimate emergency.


3. Sign up with a good, dependable, high-speed Internet service. Slower service plans are usually available at cheaper rates, but I think that paying a higher price in order to get (or send) information much faster can be a great time saver. Good Internet service, as a matter of fact, is probably one of the best investments we can make, if interested in maximizing our productivity.


4. Invest in a good document holder, especially if you type a lot. Some people just prop documents up using make-shift document holders, or they buy rinky-dink devices that fall apart or do not hold things very well. For my money, a good, well-made document holder is another, essential investment. Some people may be squeamish about spending $50 or more for a sturdy device, but it can really make things much easier, in the long run. Speaking of “easier,” you should also consider getting an ergonomic, wrist-friendly mouse pad; they appear to help out in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.


5. Get an anti-glare filter or a good LCD monitor. One can tone down the brightness of a monitor, but that may only strain the eyes and will not completely get rid of glare. A good filter, however, can cut down on some of the strain produced by the constant use of monitors, especially if using a CRT monitor-and, if this is the case, consider getting a filter that also provides anti-radiation. Some filters, which some people do not like because they claim it can make the monitor too dark (why you need to comparison shop before buying one, since not all anti-glare filters are the same), also come with anti-snooping coating (making text blurry to anyone looking from the side of the screen), some come with magnification capacity (increasing the size of things on the screen without disturbing the quality of the picture), and some with anti-static qualities. As a side note, make sure that your monitor is properly positioned, preferably in front of you, in line with your eyes; it may also help (with glare) if the monitor is not facing any bright things, like a strong light or the outdoors on a sunny day.


6. Develop and stick to a schedule each day. Such a schedule should list specific tasks to be completed on that day, being careful to prioritize important things. Also, remember to keep a log book of what you do each day, making sure to include meticulous details that may be useful later on. In my log book, for example, I keep track of what articles and queries I wrote or worked on each day; this comes in handy later on when I am trying to determine whether I already worked on a specific topic, where I have submitted manuscripts, and what was accepted for publication or rejected.


7. Allocate segments of time each day to specific task categories. In other words, set aside a certain amount of time for opening and responding to correspondence, conducting research, writing (or whatever it is that you do), dealing with financial issues, etc. By limiting how much time you devote to these things, you can train yourself to become more efficient. If you are not used to doing this, it may take some time for you to determine realistic expectations for each category, but it does work. If you do not do this, you will spend too much time on some tasks and end up not completing assignments on a regular basis.


8. Keep your area clear of clutter. This may sound like a “goes without saying” admonition, but all of us have walked into offices with desks brimming with all kinds of paperwork. The person sitting behind the desk probably assumes that people will just think that they are very busy (if they care at all), but this says two main things about people like that: a). they are not very efficient and b). they are not very well organized (and, if so, will people feel comfortable doing business with them?). While a home office (unless you see clients at home) may not be the same, having clutter is still a no-no. If this applies to you, get rid of any excessive clutter on the desk or work table; only then should you begin your work day.


9. Develop and use a good filing system. As it turns out, this is the best solution for the preceding problem. Though this may sound like another obvious suggestion, many people come up with all kinds of excuses for not following through on this piece of advice. They either think it is a waste of time, or they dread the idea of spending a week or more (for setting up a good filing system can take up a good deal of time) working on such a boring enterprise-and this sentiment is especially prevalent among creative people, like writers. A good filing system, though, in the long run saves huge chunks of time; it allows one to find things when one needs it and it gives a pretty good excuse for not letting clutter build up on one’s desk.


10. Use your work area for work only. This is one of the reasons why I am not a big believer in putting a desk in a bedroom or a kitchen or any other place where you do something other than work, unless the desk you put in those rooms is used for personal tasks, like paying bills, playing online video games, and using chat rooms. Beyond this, make sure that your home office is kept clean, that it is comfortable to be in (not too cold or too hot or too damp or smoke-filled, etc.), and that it is set up safely and efficiently (i.e., it is not full of unnecessary clutter, bookcases that you cannot safely get to, and things balancing overhead where they could fall on someone).


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10 Ways to Love Yourself on Valentines Day

While Valentines Day may seem more like singles’ awareness day to those flying solo, it is actually the perfect day to treat yourself to a little bit of self love. While couples are out enjoying cheesy dinners and romantic comedies, why not take some time out to relax and pamper yourself? Here are 10 ways to love and treat yourself this Valentines Day.

1. Sensual Massage
Have someone help you ease away the stress of being alone on Valentines Day. Book yourself a one hour deep tissue or full body massage and simply relax and indulge.


2. Dinner and a Movie
Instead of going out for a casual dinner and a movie by yourself, order takeout from a restaurant you have been dying to try. Break out your fine china and relax in front of your TV as you watch the latest DVD release.


3. Spa Night
Turn your bathroom into a full service spa and pamper yourself from head to toe. Treat yourself to a facial, a manicure and a pedicure. Finish the night off with a glass of wine and a soothing bath alongside scented candles and bath soak.


4. Sex Toys
Browse the aisles at your local adult store and splurge on one or two toys you have always wanted. Set the mood at home with an adult video, relaxing music, or scented candles.


5. Retail Therapy
Who doesn’t love treating themselves to a brand new purse or a pair of shoes? Take the afternoon off to visit the mall and indulge in some retail therapy. Buy yourself something you wouldn’t purchase any other day, such as a diamond necklace, an expensive bra or a designer cologne.


6. Singles Party
Get all of your other single friends together to celebrate the liberation of being, well, single! Invite everyone over for dinner, dancing, cocktails and games.


7. Day Trip
Treat yourself to a mini getaway by taking a day trip to a vacation spot within your state, such as the mountains, the hot springs or the beach. Book a one night stay at a chic hotel or bed and breakfast and let the hotel staff take care of you.


8. Take a Class
Have you always wanted to learn the art of bhangra dancing or how to make French cuisine? Take a class on something you have always wanted to know how to do, whether it be pole dancing, candle making or conversational Italian and spend the evening practicing your new skills.


9. Relax and Read
Purchase a hot new read by a best-selling romance author and hit the sheets solo. Settle down in your favorite lingerie and pour yourself a glass of fine wine as you read.


10. Let Loose
Get dressed up in your sexiest outfit, get your hair and nails done and head out to the hottest night club in town. Not only will you feel confident, sexy and great about yourself, you will get to spend the evening dancing and having fun with other singles.


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10 Ways to Overcome Frustration Caused by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Most of us wouldn’t associate Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with positive thinking. Or with negative thinking, for that matter. But there are definite connections between the disorder and thinking patterns. Many sufferers of ADD develop negative thinking habits because they get frustrated with their inability to pay attention to one thing for a long time. This can mean that victims of ADD make progress at a slower rate than their unaffected counterparts. Sometimes, this causes people with ADD to feel bad about themselves.

Positive thinking practices allow people with ADD to overcome these negative emotions. Thinking positively leads to overall happiness, which can actually improve progress in activities. When distracting negative thoughts are banished, people with ADD can spend more time trying to focus on projects. Positive thinking is not only a way to feel better, it’s also an effective method to overcome ADD.


Follow these 10 tips to begin thinking positively, and start down the road to a more focused life.


1. Be thankful.


Think about everything that makes you happy. All the good things in your life. Even though it can be frustrating to have ADD, don’t focus on the challenges; think about all that you’re grateful for.


2. Never say never. Or always.


It’s easy to be disappointed when you set unbendable standards. Instead of thinking about life in absolutes, make statements based on progress. For example, don’t say, ‘I never finish anything I start.’ Instead, think, ‘I have done more than I expected, and tomorrow I continue to do this.’


3. Realize your own value.


You are worth a lot to a lot of people. Treat yourself like the valuable being you are. Don’t put yourself in unnecessary danger.


4. Forget about assumptions.


Assuming things only leads to disappointment. Look for facts instead. For example, instead of thinking you’ve offended someone because you assume your words were taken the wrong way, ask someone. This cuts out much unnecessary worrying, and lets you get closer to your goals.


5. Get touchy feely.


Hug someone. Hold someone’s hand. Pet a cat or a dog. Trust me, it will make you feel better. Just be sure to keep your contact appropriate.


6. Get out of negative cycles.


There are times when we over-analyze a small thing until we convince ourselves that the world is ending, everyone hates us, etc. Try to avoid this. It’s easy to dwell on the negative, but try to break the habit. If you find yourself spiraling out of control over a bit of bad luck, try to distract yourself. Get up, go outside, talk to a friend-do anything to keep yourself from dwelling on it.


7. Get connected.


Go out there and meet people. We’re more likely to have negative thoughts when we’re alone. An easy way to increase positive thoughts is to surround yourself with friends, preferably happy ones.


8. Offer a helping hand.


Feel good about yourself by helping someone in need. Not only will you feel productive, but you’ll also make someone else’s day. And happiness wears off.


9. Say goodbye to anxiety.


We all feel anxious sometimes. But if you always feel like someone’s after you, you may suffer from anxiety, a definite inducer of negative thoughts. When you feel anxiety coming on, think about the situation rationally, then tell yourself you’re overreacting.


10. Embrace the positive.


Look for the positive things in life. Make a resolution to leave negativity behind and move on with your life. If you make it a priority to be happy, positive thoughts will come naturally. And obstacles caused by ADD will be easier to overcome.


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10 Ways to Make More Money Selling Your Textbooks

1. Get your textbooks cheap in the first place!

Check out my article “10 Ways to Save Money on Your Textbooks” so that you can start fresh by getting the best deals you can on your textbooks to begin with. Using the strategies in these two articles together, I have actually made a profit on some of my textbooks!


2. Take care of your books.


Would you want to buy a used book that’s full of highlighting and notes? How about a hardcover book with a broken spine? Whatever condition your book is in when you receive it, keep it that way! Whether you are reselling online or in store, you are bound to make more money on a book in good condition. This is especially important for new books. Keep workbooks, guides, and CDs in a safe place – some stores will not buy back used books if they are missing these extras.


3. Wait to unwrap.


Don’t unwrap new books until a reading or activity has been assigned. As a student, I have had a few courses where brand new editions of textbooks were put on the list, but were never used in class. This may be for several reasons – an honest mistake, not enough time to cover the material, or even for more selfish motives. Whatever the reason, a book is worth less once it has been unwrapped, so don’t unwrap it until you need to!


4. Make a chart.


Make a chart to keep yourself organized and keep track of what you are selling. Just make a table on a word program with the information you need to sell the book: Title, Author, ISBN, Edition Number, and Publication Date will be useful, as well as some notes about the condition of the book. Make a column to keep track of what you originally paid for each book. If you’re not sure, check for stickers on the back of the book, check your online purchase records, check receipts, and check your bank statements. Leave a blank column if you are selling your books online, leave some blank columns to factor in how much is offered at different websites or how much you are attempting to sell the books for.


5. Find the best deal.


Services like BigWords.com can help you find out which websites will pay top dollar for your books, as well as show you which websites will cover shipping costs for you. If you are unhappy with the offers made by these websites, consider selling your textbooks yourself on websites like Amazon.com, Half.com, or other used book websites. (Personally, I do not recommend selling textbooks on eBay, as setup is much more time-consuming and fees are higher.)


6. Try selling locally instead of online.


If you do not want to sell online and are unhappy with the buyback price that the college bookstore is offering, try selling your books locally. Advertise your books for sale on campus, in the local or college paper, on Facebook, or on Craigslist. Try selling novels, plays, and short story collections to a local bookstore or thrift store. You can even try selling your books at a yard sale.


7. If possible, wait to avoid the rush.


It is tempting to sell your books online the moment you no longer need them. However, the end of semester rush is the worst time to sell books, because everyone is selling and no one is buying. During the fall semester, the rush is not as pronounced, but you should at least wait until after Christmas to sell your books (think of all the students selling their books for Christmas spending money!). In the spring semester, you should wait until at least July to sell your books.


The only time you are better off not waiting is when a new edition of your book is set to come out soon. (In science and medical disciplines, new editions can come out as often as annually. Other subjects, like literature, language, and philosophy, usually produce new editions less often, about once every three years.) Search the title on Amazon to find out if a new edition is in the works, In this case, get the book off your hands as soon as possible!


8. Don’t sell yourself short.


A tempting tactic that many booksellers use on Amazon.com and similar online bookstores is to simply charge less for your books than anyone else. While this may be a good way to get fast cash, you won’t be getting the best deal.


When setting up your book, look at other sales for the same book in similar condition. How much are other people selling the book for? How many other people are selling the same book? If there are few copies, set your price a little higher. If there are many, set a little lower. Use your best judgment to set the price – as long as the price is cheaper than brand new and you are patient, it will sell.


Another good strategy is to compare selling prices across websites. If a book is selling at Amazon.com for an average of $20 and at Half.com for an average of $25, you are more likely to fetch a higher price selling at Half.com.


When setting your price, keep in mind that you will not usually be reimbursed for shipping costs, and that selling fees are usually deducted.


9. Try, try again.


When selling on used book websites, don’t be discouraged if your book doesn’t sell right away. Keep an eye on other sellers’ prices. If your book still hasn’t sold after a week or two, adjust the price or make your description more appealing.


10. Establish a reputation.


An important part of selling books on used book websites is establishing a reputation. In your profile, mention that you are in college – students (as well as their parents) will be more willing to help out a fellow student than purchase from an unknown seller.


Be honest about the condition your book is in. Selling a book that is falling apart as “like new” will hurt your reputation. No one wants to buy from people that they can’t trust, especially online.


Be friendly, thoughtful and courteous with people who buy from you. Go out of your way to thank them for their purchase. Ship the book securely and quickly. Respond to feedback in a timely manner. If you have a good reputation, people will be more likely to buy from you in the future, and will be willing to pay more for guaranteed good service.


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10 Ways to Know If You Are Eco-Friendly

Being eco-friendly is averse to many of us and the lifestyles we have developed over time. The wasteful habits we have formed are a result of the consumerism that has evolved with little regard for the end cycle of our consumptive habits. Habits are not always bad things though. Steven Covey points out in his best seller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that “life doesn’t just ‘happen’. Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours.” So it’s about choices and consistently applying those choices in our daily lives that determine outcomes. What habits do we have concerning the 10 resources below that determine our eco-friendly status?

1. Electricity – Turning things off when they’re not in use. Pretty straightforward. Is your life so fast-paced that you can’t take a second or two to flip a switch or push a button to turn off power that runs all things electric? If so, make a choice to change it. Motivation: SAVE MONEY, SAVE THE PLANET. On average a 52″ ceiling fan running 24/7 uses about 68 kilowatt hours a month(kWh/mo.) at a cost of about $8.16. Cut that back to 8 hours a day and you’re using about 24 kWh/mo. and saving about $5.50. Multiply that times 12 and you’ve saved about $65 a year for that room alone. Factor in other rooms, other electrical gizmos and less hours and the amount becomes staggering. For those people who think their utility bills are heavily affected by their HVAC systems you might be surprised to learn that nearly 60 percent of all energy use in an all electric home is attributed to things other than the HVAC.


2. HVAC – Speaking of your heat and air-conditioning system, when’s the last time you monitored the settings on your thermostat. As indicated above a whopping 43% of your utility bill will be attributed to heating and cooling your home. Smaller homes have only one thermostat that control the entire air flow that the system puts in each room while zoned systems usually only allow you to control temperature in 2 separate parts of the home.


The problem with finding a balanced use of room temperatures consist of several variables. Some people are more sensitive to hot and cold than others; some rooms have less air flow than others; windows and heat generating devices impact room temperatures; north and west facing rooms feel the brunt of colder weather and shade trees benefit some areas of the home more than others. All of these considerations have to be assessed to establish a reasonable temperature that will serve everyone’s interest and prevent wasteful energy lost.


On average, most families can accommodate winter settings of 68-70 degrees during the day and then lower the setting to 63-65 degrees at night when everyone is snuggled in bed under 2-3 layers of blankets. Utilize energy efficient space heaters in elderly peoples rooms who tend to get colder. Wear sweaters or sweat shirts if you need a bit more warmth,. Summer thermostat settings, especially in southern regions of the country, shouldn’t be set below 78-80 degrees during the day and will keep you comfortable at night with settings of 72-74 degrees. If needed, use of ceiling fans will will help conditions feel 2-3 degrees cooler.


3. Water usage. Showers use much more water than it takes to bathe. If you must shower. keep it under 10 minutes. Sweep your driveway clean, don’t wash it down. Men don’t need to allow water to run when shaving with a straight razor and ladies need to shave their legs outside the shower. Neither should let the water run while brushing teeth. Wash dishes and clothes with full loads. This will save thousands of gallons each year and on average you can save $150-200 dollars a year by washing your clothes in cold water as opposed to warm or hot. Up to 75 or 80 percent of our clothing’s lifecycle impact comes from washing and drying. Don’t fall for the detergent TV ads that imply greater social acceptance because your “whites are whiter”. People who are obsessed with appearance over cleanliness need to get a life. There are many more ways that you can reduce your water use habits. Here’s a list of 100that you can start on if you’re not already.


4. Burning gasoline. How many short trips do you take in your gas guzzling SUV when it’s nice enough to walk or ride a bicycle? Get rid of the gas guzzlers folks. The reprieve we’ve experienced from the $4-5 dollar a gallon gas in 2008 is fixing to be over. And this time it’ll be with us for good. Get smaller more fuel efficient cars like hybrids and where electric cars are available and practical, make that investment. There are tax incentives for purchasing these alternate fuel source vehilcles.


When you do have to travel long distance keep the lead foot off of the accelerator. Observe speed limits. For every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph you wound up paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. Do you really feel compelled to help Exxon/Mobil break their record breaking profits from a year ago? Use cruise control to maintain even, fuel efficient speeds, keep tire pressure at factory levels and remove what cargo you don’t need. Planning is cost effective. AAA has aFuel Gage Report that will not only help you locate the cheapest gas in your community but assist you with traveling tips to take the shortest and scenic routes. Each gallon of gasoline you burn creates pounds of CO2; about 6 to 9 tons of CO2 each year for a typical vehicle. Throw in the fact that we now purchase most of our petroleum from foreign sources, like the Saudis, and you can see how Americans suffer economically and as it relates to our national security. 51% of CO2 emissions from a typical household come from our vehicles.


5. Food. It’s not only how you get your food but the types of food you eat that determine the carbon footprint you leave behind. Buying local produce and meats lessens fuel consumption needed to transport these products. Organic foods are more eco-friendly because they require no fertilizers to contaminate air and water and restrict the use of growth hormones and antibiotics that get passed on in consumption. Free-range and open-grazing of chicken, pigs and cattle means that these animals are not packed tightly where their manure build-up creates pollution problems and diseases. Food processed from fewer chemicals and less stressful conditions may cost a bit more and be more difficult to find at markets but are becoming more available as demand increases. Eat less beef. Processing red meat takes more feed grain which requires the use of fossil fuels to grow, harvest and transport. Eighty percent of the corn grown and 95% of the oats are fed to livestock. Fifty-six percent of available farmland is used for beef production. All this before the cow is butchered for consumption.


6. Clothes. Since we are on the topic of organic, did you know that a conventional producer of cotton requires 3000 cubic meters of water per acre more than the organic farmer. Buying from China and other cheaper labor markets may keep your clothing bill low but your carbon footprint can be out of this world. A pair of Wavefarer Board Shorts travels 10,785miles, from fabric sourcing in Japan, manufacturing in Thailand, to their distribution center in Reno, Nevada. That same pair of shorts racks up a carbon footprint of about 18 pounds, and uses almost 20 kilowatt hours of electricity. Read labels and buy as local as possible. Keep this in mind when you think you have to have the latest designer whats-it overnight: Air freight emits about five times as much carbon dioxide, per pound of material shipped, compared to over ground truck freight. And when you get tired of them next week for something newer, don’t toss them. 85% of all textile products wound up in the waste stream. Even synthetics like Nylon can be re-cycled.


7. Paper and plastic. If you’re going to make purchases contained in paper or plastic try to find those products that have the re-cycle icon on them. You do have re-cycle bins at home, right? Buy only from those fast food retailers that provide their products in recyclable, disposable containers like Starbucks and McDonald’s. The third largest industrial emitter of global warming pollution is the pulp and paper industry. Does something really have to be wrapped twice? Re-use your plastic and paper grocery bags when you shop or better yet buy the cheap clothe (hemp?) bags most stores provide and tote home the food in fewer containers. Check out this eco-friendly entrepreneur and her use of plastic bags. Recycle old letters and junk mail along with fax copies. Don’t buy every book you’re interested in. That’s what libraries are for.


8. Appliances. You’ve been meaning to upgrade that dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, etc. for sometime now. Do so with Energy Star rated products. They may cost more to purchase than standard models, but you gain it back in lower energy bills within a relatively short period of time. And your carbon foot print gets smaller and smaller from using such products after it’s paid for itself. There are even tax incentives attached to a few products. Newer water heaters now have electrical ignition that ignites the burner rather than the old-fashion style with an ever burning gas pilot light. Clothes dryer do not come with an energy star rating but it is cheaper to operate a gas dryer over an electric one, though the gas unit is a bit more expensive. A dryer is typically the second-biggest electricity-using appliance after the refrigerator, costing about $85 to operate annually. Over its expected lifetime of 18 years, the average clothes dryer will cost you approximately $1,530 to operate.


9. Plants, gardens and trees – It’s been a while since you had this biology lesson (or not) but through a natural process called photosynthesis, CO2 in our eco-system is converted to life sustaining oxygen (O2). With increased CO2 emissions resulting from fossil fuels, outside the natural parameters, it becomes vital that we need to insure that plant life increases – not decrease. Deforestation occurring around the globe removes the components of this life cycle when developers come in to clear areas for new industries or housing. This is not an issue you can individually address but as an active member of concerned environmentalist you can gain a voice that carries equal weight with larger corporate interests. On a smaller scale you can enhance the exchange of CO2 to O2 by planting trees and bushes around your home. This will not only embellish the beauty of your home but will provide a habitat for birds and other creatures that are a part of the life cycle. Growing fruits and vegetables as part of this effort will also reduce your dependence on store-bought produce lowering your carbon footprint and perhaps even the neighbor you share them with.


10. Purchasing Habits – To wrap it up here, it should be obvious by now that what burns fossil fuels that emit the hazardous CO2 additions into the atmosphere has much to do with our consumptive behavior. We are a product of the new consumerism that tends to insist that our lives will be better if only we had one of these and one of those. Not only do we need to have what we’re used to but we have to buy them more often and in bigger sizes. The U.S. alone constitutes 5% of the world’s population but consumes 24% of the world’s energy and throws out 200,000 tons of edible food daily. The average American generates 52 tons of garbage by age 75. This lifestyle has destroyed fifty percent of the wetlands, 90% of the northwestern old-growth forests, and 99% of the tall-grass prairie in the last 200 years. My educated guess of the product life of any consumer good in most homes is roughly 7-10 years.


There is a point where money and the things we buy with it no longer makes us happy. For people with little in their life, new objects, especially essentials like food, housing and clothing, bring a degree of happiness to their lives. But eventually there reaches a point where consumption is nothing more than trying to achieve that initial high we first experienced when we had nothing. In the process we expend the resources of this planet to a stretching point that ultimately wounds up threatening our very existence. There is nothing of inherent value in having the most, the fastest and the biggest. The instant gratification one experiences is soon lost in the quest for the next wasteful endeavor of “stuff”.


Further along in that biology lesson we all had in high school is the fact that our world is a closed eco-system. What we consume and dispose of doesn’t disappear forever, it merely is relocated or takes on another form. When we generate more of what is here in a form that wasn’t part of its natural state, there are bound to be consequences for exceeding these limits. Life has a lot to offer without mass producing gross quantities of stuff. There’s more enrichment in our own creativity with basic resources found in our own back yards. There’s more enduring pleasure with conversations and activities with friends, relatives and neighbors than there is in all the combined accumulation of inorganic waste matter we have come to artificially value.


“STUFF” with George Carlin


SOURCES:


Saving Electricity


100 Ways To Conserve Water


Fueleconomy.gov


Alternate fuel source vehilcles


Energy Star


Consumer Energy Center/Clothes Dryers


Consumption by the United States


Why Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness


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10 Ways Mother Nature Can Heal Sunburns

After what appeared to be an endless month of cold weather and barely enough warmth, we can hardly wait to get our bodies back out into the warming rays of sun. Almost all of us will find our bodies sunburned at one point or the other, and most of us suffer from mild to heavy sunburn at least once in the beginning of the sunning seasons. If you are tired of using chemical products to aid your body in return to its “painless” state or are just a natural-remedies lover all the way, I hope you will enjoy the following 10 natural remedies for sunburns.

Got Milk?
Our first remedy is not only delicious and refreshing to drink, but is a great soothing aid for sunburn. The vitamins and minerals in milk help your skin regain some of the elasticity you loose (the tight feeling in your skin). For you to make use of this wonderful remedy make sure the milk is cool to room temperature and soak a piece of gauze in the milk. Apply the milk soaked gauze to the sunburned area and leave it on for about 20 min. Milk will give your skin”sour milk” smell afterwards, so please be certain to rinse your skin carefully with water. Use this remedy about every 2 hours until the worth is over.


Eat extra Vitamin E foods to help speed healing.


Vitamin E is a wonderful aid in helping your body fight inflammation and when you are dealing with sun burn your body is sure to enjoy any help it can get. This is an internal remedy to help against the pain associated with the burn. Reaching for Vitamin E supplements may seem like a lot easier course to take, but I suggest you stick with healthy Vitamin E rich foods instead. If you are opting for the Supplements, make certain that they are all natural. For Vitamin E rich foods take a look at: wheat germs, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, peanut butter …
(Further interesting Source information on Vitamin E: http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/nutrition/factsheets/vitamin-e.html)


Be diluted by Vinegar!
A Kitchen Cabinet Stable to the rescue in your fight against Sunburn. Soak your sunburned body in a diluted mixture of 1 cup of white cider vinegar and a tub full of tepid water to feel relieve from the burning. Enjoy a nice leisurely soak in this very soothing mixture. (Cheap too!)


Not just a baking and breakfast item!
Grandma always told you about oatmeal against poison ivy, but did she mention that oatmeal can also help you with a sunburn? Just generously sprinkle oatmeal into a piece of gauze and let water run through it. Put the mixture with the gauze on the infected area and let sit for about 20min. Rinse and redo every 2 to 4 hours. (No baking required)


Water the essence of life!
I know you knew that one was coming and if you are like many people all over the world you would rather wash with it then drink it, but when you have suffered sunburn you need to make certain to stay hydrated. Remember that many of our nicer tasting drinks like iced tea, soda, coffee etc are diuretics as well, so please decrease them and drink extra water instead. Give your body a helping dose of water!


You are so tasty baby!
This almost sounds like a recipe to an afternoon snack, but this little tasty mixture will help you sooth your sunburn. Mix yogurt, turmeric and barley and barely together and spread carefully and evenly over the sunburned Area. Leave it on for about 20min and then rinse it off with cool water. Apply repeatedly every 2 to 4 hours as needed.


Tomato Juice and Buttermilk skin smoothie
The soothing properties of Buttermilk and the slightly healing renewing ones of Tomato juice make this a good mixture to use. Mix it 1 part Tomato Juice to 6 parts buttermilk and apply to the afflicted Area. Rub it on carefully and let it sit for about 20min before rinsing it carefully.


Lettuce Water anyone?
No longer just for eating. Did you know that if you boil Lettuce for and strain the water it makes a wonderful soothing tonic for your sunburned skin? Give it a try. Let the Lettuce Water cool down to room temperature and then apply with a cotton ball.


The Essential Oil that leaves you smelling pretty and less pained!


Not only does it work wonders for your spirits, calming you and making your smell wonderfully, but it will also help you reduce the sting and pain on the sunburn affected area. I am talking about Lavender essential Oil. You can purchase this wonderful essential oil in any health food store or at any alternative medicine supplier.


A facial specific combination
This combination is perfect not only for your sensitive facial areas during those bad sunburn days, but also for those days when you need extra moisture!
A mixture of wheat flour, honey, olive oil and milk well blended and applied like a facial mask over your face. Let is sit for a while and then remove gently with water and soft cloth. Very lovely and will help you remove the sting of the burn.


Each of these natural remedies has been around for many years and is well documented in various alternative medicine books and online libraries. If you would like to find further information you may wish to take a look at my references for this Article.


Medicinal applications may need to be used in case of extreme sunburns or sun poisoning, but in most cases time and some of these remedies will do the trick. Returning back to nature is wonderful path to take for those of you who love saving money, keeping it simple and enjoy nature for all its good offerings.


SOURCES:


http://www.mothernature.com/Library/bookshelf/Books/48/199.cfm
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aznaturalremedyindex/a/sunburn.htm
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/26881


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10 Ways to Make Money Off of the Internet

The Internet is a great place to make money. Everything you put on the Internet is accessible globally. There are many sites geared to making money on the Internet and many ways to go about doing it. Some of these ways to make money are free, others charge a small fee. Here is a list of ways that I have made money off of the Internet.

Sell on auction sites. Sites like Ebay and Yahoo auctions are great places to sell things you don’t need or that you bought to sell. Nothing is guaranteed, and if you do sell something, it may wind up selling for less than you want the item to sell for. There is no guarantee that your item will sell, but you can guarantee that if it sells, you will get what you want. The only ways to guarantee this is to put the item up for buy it now, start the bidding at what you want for the item, or set a reserve for the item. Ebay has fees and Yahoo is free.


Sell on “consignment” sites like Half.com and Amazon. These sites will allow you to put up an item and keep it up indefinitely until it is sold. When the item sells, you have to pay the site a percentage of what you receive


Get your own website to sell things on. Yahoo and free-webs both have sites that you can get for free to start up until you fell that your site is good enough for a domain name of it’s own. The site won’t generate much traffic by itself, so you will have to do some promotion.


Make up an interesting website with nothing to sell. Put things like forums and blogs on it and have fun info on your site. The way to make money off of something like this is to get advertisers. The advertising pays for the site and you get to keep the rest!


Survey and paid email sites are good for making money. These are free, but it takes along time to earn anything. Be careful about these sites, many of them put viruses and spyware on your computer.


Paid games are a great way to make money on-line. The most common site is skill jam. on this site, you pay 50 cents to play a game where you have a 50% chance of wining 75 cents, and $1 to $3 to play in tournaments where you can make as much as $40 or more.


There are sites like Break.com where you can get money for putting up videos of yourself ad your friends. There are some good videos on break, but most are stupid gag videos.


There are many contests that you can enter-usually for free. There is everything from poetry contests to contests where the prize is a college scholarship.


There are some sites where you can design things like t-shirts and hats. If your design is liked by enough people,you can receive a lot of money. There is a lot of competition in this field. I’ve submitted over 100 designs and still haven’t had one picked.


And last, but definitely not least by far, freelance writing sites like Associated Content, Helium, Constant-Content, etc. If you play your cards right, you can actually earn enough to make a living off of freelance writing alone. Just remember not to give anyone exclusive unless you can make a lot off of the article or you have to because you can usually make a lot more off of the article by selling it to many different places.


There are all sorts of ways to make money off of the Internet with little or no startup cost- some people even do it with little or no brains!


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10 Ways to Pass Time at Work

We’ve all had those jobs that just drag…and drag. I’ve had many of these myself and asked around to come up with some different ways to keep yourself occupied at work and make the day pass a little faster.


  1. Listen to Music If you’re allowed, listening to music can be a great way to escape. Pop your headphones in, turn on your favorite tunes (maybe even bust a few moves) and you’ll be surprised how quickly time passes.

  2. Take a Walk The hardest part about a desk job, especially for me, is sitting all day long. When that middle of the day drag hits you, take a minute and go for a walk. Go to a different floor, just the change of scenery can switch up your mood and get you ready to finish out your day with better drive.

  3. Exercise Another thing I dislike about office jobs is the sitting still part. There ares some great tips online to get you moving while at work and you don’t even have to leave your seat. Like I said before, go for a walk on your break, take the stairs or even do some ab exercises at your desk. Check out Healthy Living on Yahoo! for some more ideas.

  4. Write If you have a lot of down time at work you can write. Anything you’d like, journal, make lists of things you want to do or even write short stories. By focusing on yourself and seperating yourself from the envirment you’ll be surprised how caught up you can get when not staring at the clock. Which brings me to my next item…

  5. Don’t Watch the Clock! We’re all guilty of it, staring at the clock willing it to jump ten minutes ahead, but you’re just making it worse for yourself. The more you watch the clock or think about it the slower time will pass for you.

  6. Read Articles If you have internet access, go online check out some articles that interest you. Catch up on today’s news, this will not only pass the time, but will also make you more more knowledgeable next time someone whats to have an indepth conversation about the current tax situation in the US.

  7. Make Friends Making friends in the office place is a great way to not only pass the time, but enjoy your work a little bit more. Send emails, go on breaks together or gossip between cubicles.

  8. Make Plans Having things to look forward to after work will keep your mood elevated helping to move the day along. Plan to go out for drinks with co-workers, have dinner with a loved one or have a skype sesh with mom. Even little plans will keep you moving forward.

  9. Get Into Your Work Well since you are at work, what if you actually got into it. Crazy idea, huh? Think of all the rewards you are getting out of your job; if it’s service, helping people, if it’s construction, getting to see a finished product. Look for the benefits of your job and look at it as something that is necessary and important, this will keep you moving instead of at a stand still.

  10. Quit? If you’ve gone through this list and you’re still very unhappy (we all have those days) and it’s a constant thing, maybe it’s time to reconsider your position. What does make you happy? If the answer is, not this job, then maybe it’s time to move on.

Hope this gives you some ideas for your 8 to 5 work day! Even if it did nothing more than give you something to read to kill work time for ten minutes. Happy browsing!



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10 Ways to Lower the Rising Costs of a Disney Vacation

This article is a response to Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation, published on October 24, 2006.

The cost of a Disney vacation is on the rise. Ticket prices have increased and coupled with the price of gas these days, saving money by piling into the car for a family road trip no longer makes sense. As a habitual Disney vacationer, however, I have found many ways to combat the rising costs at Disney World. In fact, last year I visited Disney World no less than three times! This article will attempt to share my inside tips on how to stretch your dollars to meet the rising costs without pitching a tent.


Tip #1: Be Your Own Travel Agent


The internet has revolutionized the travel industry. From the comforts of your own home, you can surf the web for the latest travel deals, compare prices, and plan your own itinerary. Disney travel is a specialty that many Disney fans keep a 24-hour watch on for the latest specials. There are entire message boards and groups that focus solely on Disney World travel (www.wdwinfo.com). Bookmark a few Disney travel sites and visit regularly to see what the latest Disney rumor is. Many times, these websites will know about the next big special before many travel agents. You can call Disney direct to make reservations or use the convenient online reservation system. (www.Disney.com)


Tip #2: Go During Off Season


The off seasons at Disney World are the best value for your money. The Disney system has four seasons for travel that vary based on the time of year. Late August begins a low season that extends through the month of September, offering low rates, low crowds, and extra specials. The period of time between Thanksgiving and just before Christmas is also one of the best times to go for the lower rates, holiday decorations, and low crowds. January through President’s Day week is another time of year when special rates seem to appear.


Tip #3: Take Advantage of the Perks


When Disney costs are broken down, there are many hidden perks that often go unnoticed or underutilized. The newest FREE perk that comes with a stay at any Disney resort is the Magical Express service. Disney’s Magical Express will pick you up at the airport, gather your luggage right from the baggage claim, and transport you on a Disney bus to your resort. A few hours later, Bell Services will be at your hotel room door with your luggage. Before this service debuted, visitors had few options other than a rental car or expensive limousine or cab services. Mears offered a per person rate that would have cost my family over $100 for the round trip service.


The Disney busses are another way to avoid renting a car. The busses will transport you all over Disney World for free. If you’d like to take a boat ride, free cruises are available at some of the resorts. The “cruises” will transport you to Downtown Disney or MGM Studios, depending on which resort you board at. The Boardwalk area has a dock for MGM Studios and all the Downtown Disney Resorts (Old Key West, Port Orleans, and Saratoga Springs) have boat service to Downtown Disney.


Other perks are extended magic hours at the Disney parks for resort guests on certain mornings and evenings. The refillable mugs at each resort are another type of perk. At only $11.99 each, a refillable mug can hydrate a person for their length of stay. This can eliminate purchasing multiple drinks every day for thirsty kids.


Tip #4: Bring Your Own Staples


Instead of relying on Disney for every snack and meal, many people have cases of water shipped from www.Staples.com to their resort for around $7, by signing up for the free Staples membership. Garden Grocer is a grocery delivery service in Orlando that will bring your pre-ordered groceries right to your resort for a price comparable to shopping at the local market. You can order your groceries online before you leave at www.gardengrocer.com. Another strategy that some families use is to pack an extra suitcase with light food items. The suitcase can then be used to transport souveniers back home when you leave.


Tip #5: Turn Lunch into Dinner


Dinner is almost always the most expensive meal of the day. Why not eat a late lunch instead of dinner? Many restaurants will have seating until around three o’clock and that can easily mean that you’re eating your meal near the time when some people are ready for an early dinner. Lunch prices are lower and many of the same menu items are offered at lunch as at dinner. An added perk is that you will miss the dinner hour crowds by eating earilier.


Tip #6: Give Kids Their Own Spending Money


Save yourself the added costs of impulse buying by giving kids their own spending money to shop with for the trip. Instead of pulling our a few twenties at the store, vacation money can be doled out before you go for souvenier purchases. Disney Gift Cards are available at Disney Stores and online, to make this even easier. Kids with a limit on their spending will cost much less on your vacation. Gift cards might be helpful for adults too, allotting a certain amount of money ahead of time to shop with. Have the kids let friends and relatives know before holidays and birthdays that they are going to Disney.


Tip #7: Buy Mickey Must-Haves Ahead of Time


Online shopping at www.disneystore.com can help to get the Mouse gear ahead of time and eliminate the need to buy a retail priced Mickey Mouse shirt at Disney World for $35. Disney themed clothing and items can be purchased online with one of the frequent coupon codes or online specials, or at a local store. I have seen Disney themed items at the Dollar Store before that would cost about $8 at Disney World. The entire family will look sharp in matching Mickey shirts on the first day at the parks, without having a huge credit card bill for t-shirts with a mouse on them. A fun idea for gifting kids at Disney is to bring some small Disney items in your suitcase to leave as daily surprises. Small notebooks, pens, stickers, and other tokens are easy to pack. Very few people can escape walking around Disney World for a week without something Disney themed, so I suggest a pre-trip shopping day to eliminate the urge to shop at the first Disney store you see when you arrive.


Tip #8: Set Up an Automatic Savings Account


Interest rates for www.ingdirect.com have allowed me to earn between 4-5% interest on my money while I wait for my next trip to Disney. The online account keeps me from dipping into the money set aside for vacation and the automatic savings plan quickly builds up my savings over the course of time, without the need to worry last minute about where I can come up with the cost of a vacation this year. The interest can help to offset some of the rising Disney costs. If internet banking is not your choice, set up a savings plan with your local bank to build up vacation dollars or invest in a Certificate of Deposit to earn some interest.


Tip #9: Stay and Play Longer


The new Magic Your way Disney park tickets are the most expensive for short stays. The new system is designed to charge approximately 80% of the ticket cost in the first 4 days of park visits. The difference between a 7-day and and 8-day Magic Your Way Disney ticket, is about $4 with tax. The 10-day pass is the most bang for your buck if you plan to stay awhile.


The Magic Your Way Passes have options for upgrades such as a Park Hopper, which lets you visit more than one Disney park in a day, and the Hopper Plus, which adds a set number of visits to the Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, or Disney Quest based on length of the MYW Ticket. The extra costs of these add-ons might not be worth it for your family unless you are positive that visiting more than one Disney park in a day is something that you must do.


Some families might opt to take a longer vacation every other year to stretch their dollars. Another option is to purchase an Annual Disney Pass and plan next year’s vacation a week or two earlier to re-use the pass.


Tip #10: Skip the Character Meals


I know that parents reading this may be throwing stuffed Mickeys at me right about now, but I must add this tip as an optional way to save some money at Disney World. The character meals are a marketing dream and every parent falls for the bait at one time or another. I did. I finally broke down after successfully raising my oldest through the preschool years and into early adolescence without attending one single character meal during our many travels to Disney.


I took my youngest Mickey fans to a character breakfast and learned that $75 is too much to pay for a few bites of scrambled eggs and a short table visit with Pluto and Minnie Mouse. There are many other places to meet the Disney characters at the Disney parks for free. The average cost of a meal at one of the several character meals at Disney World will be between $80-140 for a family of four. Children over nine years-old are considered adults and will be charged about $27 for their Mickey Dinner. Think about making the character meal sacrifice as the biggest way to beat the rising costs of a Disney vacation. Skipping just one character meal will shift your budget back to Disney vacation costs in 1999. Think about it.


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