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5 Easy Steps to be More Eco-Friendly

by Jennifer Wieland
5 easy steps to be more eco-friendly in your daily life.

Try These Eco-Friendly Tips Today

With all the buzz about the current state of our planet, people often feel helpless and discouraged, thinking there’s nothing they can do to help. However, being eco-friendly is easiest than one may think. There are many small things you can do each day to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the number of greenhouse gases that are released into the environment.

5 easy steps to be more eco-friendly in your daily life.

Rethink Your Commute

Did you know that if you cut back on how often you use your car, even by a small amount, you could reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by thousands of pounds a year? That may not seem like a lot when thinking globally, but if more people were conscious about how often they used their cars, we could cut our emissions back drastically. Instead of taking your car to the store, walk or ride a bike. Not only is it better or the environment, but it’s also better for your health. For those longer commutes, such as your daily commute to work, find a carpool buddy and take turns driving or take advantage of public transportation by using your local bus or metro system. When you do use your car, make sure you keep it in good working condition by keeping the tires properly inflated and balanced, which can increase your fuel economy and reduce the number of trips you make to the gas station for a fuel up.

Be Energy Aware at Home

Consider your energy use around the house. Do you and your family tend to leave lights, computers, or television sets on when you’re not in the room? When you leave town for a trip, do you leave all your appliances plugged in? Doing so not only raises your monthly energy bills, but it also increases your carbon footprint and can hurt the environment. Certain appliances, such as washers and dryers, microwaves, televisions, and toasters are considered vampire appliances because they suck energy from your outlets even when they aren’t on. Take a few minutes to turn off appliances when you’re not using them and unplug them when you’ll be away for an extended period of time. Check your light bulbs to see if they’re energy efficient or if you could make them more eco-friendly by upgrading to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which not only last longer, but also use less energy.

Watch Your Water Usage

It may not seem like a big deal to leave the faucet on while you’re brushing your teeth, washing dishes, or scrubbing your sink, but it can make a huge difference. Letting the water run can waste hundreds of gallons of water a day, so try to remember to turn off your faucet when it’s not needed and take shower showers, which can be huge water wasters. Another thing you can do to be more mindful of your water usage is to drink from a reusable water bottle, which cuts back on the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. You can also opt to wash your clothes in cold water (and skip the dryer), which can drastically reduce the amount of energy output from your household. You may even want to get your community involved by sharing water-saving tips, particularly in the warmer months, which can be dry. Some communities have seen an investment into their water usage on a larger scale, thanks to the Cadiz Water Project, which takes advantage of using our groundwater to help protect the environment.

Shop Local, or Online

Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to make a day out of loading up the family vehicle and taking a day trip to neighboring towns to go shopping. However, with the number of SUVs on the road, those day trips can actually be harmful to the environment. Instead, shop local whenever you can, which reduces the number of emissions you put into the atmosphere, and helps your local economy by supporting small businesses. If you’re looking for something you can’t find in your neighborhood, get what you need online, which almost always takes up less energy than driving from store to store in search of what you need. You may also want to consider buying things used rather than new whenever possible. Doing this cuts back on the number of usable items that end up in our landfills and can save you money over buying brand new.

Recycle

Recycling seems like an obvious tip, but many people only think of recycling as throwing old cans and bottles into green bins or reuse. However, there are a number of things you can do to recycle that can help the environment. Rather than throwing out old totes, use them as grocery bags, which cuts back on the number of plastic that our grocery stores hand out. Recycle old food by making it into compost. Composting produces valuable nutrients our soil needs and can be used as garden fertilizer. We have a responsibility to take care of our planet so it’s a healthy place for our children and grandchildren to grow up. These easy tips are a few ways you can get started in making a difference today for the world tomorrow.

 

 

 


The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips

by Jennifer Wieland
The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips #CarsCom
This is a sponsored post by Cars.com. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips #CarsCom

Car buying can be a scary prospect. I know every time I have to start the hunt I cringe a little. The reason? It’s a big purchase and can greatly affect your life. My oldest son is 24 and just recently bought his first car. I did share with him the 5 best first time car buying tips to make the whole process a lot easier and less overwhelming.

The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips  #CarsCom

Do Your Homework Before You Head Out

My son was just going to head out and just randomly roam around dealerships to look at cars. I told him not to waste his time with all that. Look online at Cars.com and research what’s available at what dealerships. Then you can contact the dealerships online too in order to verify that the car you actually want is in fact still available. Doing his research online really helped. He was so sure he wanted a brand new Honda or Toyota Sedan. In the end, he went a totally different route with what he bought after he did his research.

Know What You Can Afford

My son, like most college graduates has student loan debt. He makes good money and lives at home with us to pay his loans from school down faster. With all that though I still wanted him to know that most experts suggest your total car budget (payment, insurance, gasoline & maintenance) don’t total more than 15-25% of your gross income. You don’t want to end up car poor. My son had to take into account that while he was taking on a payment and picking up paying for his own insurance for the first time. He also needed to realize that a newer car would get him MUCH better gas mileage than his old car did and wouldn’t need the frequent repairs that had been hitting his wallet.

Know What You Have to Spend 

Walking into a dealership with a pre-approval from a bank makes car shopping SO much easier! I told my son to contact his bank and credit card companies to get pre-approved for a car loan. Walking in to a dealership with a number in your head makes the process easier. There’s no guessing at numbers or hoping you can get what you want. My son had no credit cards after graduation and had waited to open some. That meant he didn’t have as much credit history built up as some kids his age might have had. He was pre-approved for a decent amount $15,000 from one of his credit card banks. That’s not a bad amount but that a new car was out of the question and he then had to look at his other options. In the end he was able to find a car he loved and the paperwork took no time at all since he already had a bank approval.

New Isn’t Your Only Option

New cars are great and that new car smell is awesome! Buying a brand new car though is not the only option that’s out there for car shoppers though. You can get a really good, budget friendly, low mileage used car. The advantages of a used car is that the cost is way less. It also means you may be able to get more bells and whistles than you could afford on a new car. You may only be able to afford a base model car if you buy new. If you opt for the same car that’s got low miles and is a year or two older you may be able to get an upgraded model. Think leather seats over cloth. The other options is leasing. With a lease you get the brand new car that your basically renting on average for 24-36 months. The payments are generally lower than if you bought the same car. The other nice thing with a lease is that maintenance is usually included which reduces your out-of-pocket expenses.

Try It Before You Buy It

Once you’ve done all of your homework and think you know what you want it’s time for the real fun to begin. Head out to the dealerships that have the cars you’ve settled on. Take the cars for a test drive. You may find once you test drive a car that it’s not at all what you wanted. You may not find you like the dashboard layout. The ceiling height may not suit you. It can be all sorts of things. My son was so set on a sedan. He found after his initial search and test drives that he didn’t want a sedan at all.  

Buying your first car or any car is a huge step. It effects your budget, your family and can even change your life. Knowing how to make the process go more smoothly can take all the stress sand anxiety out of the car buying process.

So What Did My Son Buy?

My son was able to buy his very first car and he loves it! In the end the idea of new went out the window. Along with that he also bypassed his idea of a Toyota or Honda Sedan. He instead ended up with a 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan. The Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact crossover SUV. The one he purchased only had 21,000 miles on it and came with the remainder of the warranty.

The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips #CarsCom Now that he has this safe and awesome new car, I can have him do all sorts of things like run his younger siblings around for me or my sister can have him come babysit his godson. To make sure his siblings and godson are safe in his car. I’m going to have him learn all about car seat installation since this week is Car Seat Safety Week.

 

 

 


Free Insurance Advice to Help You Save Money on Your Coverage

by Jennifer Wieland
Free Insurance Advice to Help You Save Money on Your Coverage

Yes, it would be super if you could secure insurance coverage for free, or at least a sample of insurance coverage, but you can’t. You might be able to get a month free or another valuable discount, but you will need to pay something for your insurance, because the company may need to pay something should you file a claim. So, let go of the concept of “free” when it comes to insurance, but accept that you can save money, and that’s better than nothing is. Here are some things you can do cut your insurance costs.

Free Insurance Advice to Help You Save Money on Your Coverage

Work With a Professional

The thought that it costs more to secure your policies through a local insurance agent is a misnomer. This rumor has been spread for decades, but the truth be told, these industry experts know how to get you discounts. These people work directly with the insurance companies, and they know every perk each carrier offers. They can get you discounts that you weren’t aware of, and they can also help you cut costs where safe to do so.

For example, you might see that a so-and-so insurance company offers you 10 percent off an online policy, but other insurance companies are offering 15 to 20 percent discount incentives through their agents. In addition, you just paid off your car, and the agent can look at cost-saving measures to reduce your policy coverage and, thereby, its premiums. The agent knows state requirements better than you do, so enlist expert help.

Combine Your Policies

Another benefit of working through an agent is he or she can help you combine all of your insurance coverage into one policy with one company. This actually saves you money. The insurance carrier doesn’t want to insure your vehicle only. It also wants to insure your home, your belongings, your life, and even your health if your company doesn’t offer benefits. When it has all of your business, it has more of your business, and this means it makes more money.

Many companies have enticed new customers by offering significant discounts on combined policies. They will cut your premiums if you secure all of your needed coverage with them. In addition, if you are a safe driver, have a home alarm system, and are healthy, these are just some of the ways you will pose less risk to the company, and they may just award you with additional discounts, as well. An insurance expert can help you find savings where you didn’t know there were ones.

Freebies

As mentioned above, you’ll be hard-pressed to find free insurance, but you might be able to get a free month or two of coverage. Some companies will lure new customers in by offering a month free; others will give you one month free if you pay your annual premium all at once. Even if a company doesn’t offer a free month, check out the discounts for full payment. Oftentimes, the money saved by paying for your policy all at once rather than monthly will equate to one or more free months.

Coverage No Matter What

The most important thing is that you’re covered no matter what. You might be tempted to get free insurance by not having insurance at all, but what happens if something happens. One policy that many people skimp on is life insurance coverage… and then the unthinkable happens. Imagine your family without you or your income; it’s unimaginable. This is why you should speak with an expert about getting all the coverage you need to protect you and your family.

This is what insurance is for: to protect. You won’t get a free policy, but you can realize significant savings on your policies if you work with an expert. Don’t skimp on protecting you and your family.

 

 

 


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