Monday, September 14, 2009

How to Get Rid of Stress - 6 Tips to Improve Your Life

If we talk about the globalization, there is a significant improvement in global economy, business and other betterment and advancement that help humans to enjoy comfort and luxurious life. The average remuneration of an individual might have gone markedly up but then what about the stress factor!

Any average individual today is not as stressful as the man from ancient times! Why all this has happened is because with progress, the responsibilities have increased and today, working for more than 10 hr has become so common. Due to hectic and busy life, the meal timings are affected and the sleep has become secondary. Likewise, there is no nutritious diet and the lifestyle has ruined up.

Stress comes by any means and is, nowadays, unavoidable. How to get rid of stress without affecting any other body organs is a key to live healthy and happy life. If you are so stressed out and really want to learn how to get rid of stress, let us learn some basic tips:

Tip #1 –in order to learn how to get rid of stress, you must know the factors (called as stressors) that give rise to this condition. Just noting down the activities that you performed just before you started feeling exhausted may help as many feel stressed after arguing with someone and others may feel so because the things that have not gone the way anticipated.

Tip #2 –once you know the stressor, the best thing is to avoid. You can do it by quitting the room where argument has begun! Also, you should take things positively and not indulge yourself in any debate.

Tip #3 –meditation, Pranayama and Yoga are few of the holistic exercises that have great positive effects on the human brain and regular practice of such exercises may help relieving the stress permanently.

Tip #4 –the nature has gifted us with lots of herbs and natural things that help in learning how to get rid of stress. You must learn that herbs such as Ashwagandha, Guduchi, Vasa, and Brahmi etc have been used to treat various mental problems and also stress anxiety and depression. You can go for some herbs as a single herb supplement or can go for some patent formula that contains all these herbs.

Tip #5 –you can also bank upon some alternative therapies such as Ayurveda, massage, Chinese Medicines, Thai Massage etc that help in getting rid of stressful condition. Periodically undergoing such therapies may help restoring the chemicals and soothe the neurotransmitters. Specialized treatment called Ayurvedic Panchakarma is also said to have beneficial effects onto the nervous system and help in get rid of stress.

Tip #6 –if your brain in calmed, you do not have to worry about anything. Even health care providers believe that you must have some session that soothes the brain. Go for outing (weekend) and unwind yourself in some beautiful peaceful places such as hilly areas, sea shores etc. You can plan this with your friends, family or colleagues.

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/how-to-get-rid-of-stress--6-tips-to-improve-your-life.html

10 Top Tips for Fuel Efficient Driving

10 Top Tips for Fuel Efficient Driving
Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/10-top-tips-for-fuel-efficient-driving.html

The way you drive and the condition of your car has an impact on the amount of fuel you use. Here are a few tips to help you save fuel and money.

1. Minimise your vehicle use
Vehicles are least fuel efficient and most polluting at the start of trips and on short trips. One reason for this is that catalytic converters (which reduce air pollution emissions) do not operate properly until they have warmed up. Trips of less than five kilometres generally do not allow the engine to reach its peak operating temperature.

Plan to do a number of errands in one trip rather than several trips and save both time and fuel. Try to avoid short vehicle trips by walking or cycling. This will save over a quarter of a kilogram of greenhouse gas emissions per kilometre of vehicle driving it replaces, as well as give you healthy exercise.

2. Drive in the right gear
Driving in a gear lower than you need wastes fuel, and letting the engine labour in top gear on hills and corners is also wasteful. In a manual vehicle, change up gears as soon as the car is comfortable with the higher gear but without accelerating harder than necessary.

Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum. Avoid the use of power options which drop the car into a lower gear and therefore use more fuel.

3. Drive smoothly
Stop/start driving is much less efficient and more polluting than driving at a constant speed. Avoid travelling during peak-hours and on congested roads whenever possible.

Take it easy on the accelerator - more revs equals more petrol use. Drive at a good distance from the car in front so you can anticipate and travel with the flow of traffic. This avoids unnecessary acceleration and frequent repetitive braking that ends up wasting fuel. It's also far safer. If you see traffic stoppages ahead, first take your foot off the accelerator and let the engine's drop in power slow the vehicle, particularly by also changing to a lower gear. Don't continue to drive at the same speed and applying the brakes at the last minute. Getting back to cruising speed while the car is still moving uses far less petrol than stopping and then starting again.

4. Minimise fuel wasted in idling
Most cars don't need to be "warmed up" by idling before setting off. This simply wastes fuel. Start your car when you are ready to go. Once on the road, minimise fuel wasted in idling by stopping the engine whenever your car is stopped or held up for an extended period of time. By having the engine switched off, even for a short period, you will save more fuel than is lost from the burst of fuel involved in restarting the engine. The net increased wear and tear from this practice is negligible.

5. Don't Speed
Fuel consumption increases significantly over about 90 km/h. At 110 km/h your car uses up to 25 per cent more fuel than it would cruising at 90 km/h. If your car is fitted with cruise control, using it during highway driving will help to maintain a steadier speed, which will save fuel.

6. Minimise aerodynamic drag
Additional parts on the exterior of a vehicle such as roof racks and spoilers, or having the window open, increases air resistance and fuel consumption, in some cases by over 20 per cent at higher speeds. Take off roof and bike racks when not in use. If you have to use roof racks, load them carefully to help minimise wind resistance or use a streamlined roof box.

7. Look after your vehicle's tyres
Inflate your vehicle's tyres to the highest pressure recommended by the manufacture and make sure your wheels are properly aligned. Looking after your tyres will not only reduce your fuel consumption it will also extend tyre life and improve handling.

8. Use airconditioning sparingly
Airconditioners can use about 10 per cent extra fuel when operating. However, at speeds of over 80 km/h, use of airconditioning is better for fuel consumption than an open window as this creates aerodynamic drag. If it is hotter inside your car than outside when you start a trip, drive with the windows down for a few minutes to help cool the car before starting the airconditioning.

9. Travel light
The more weight a vehicle carries, the more fuel it uses..Don't use your car as a mobile store room. Leave heavy items like tools and sports equipment at home when you don't need them on a trip.

10. Keep your vehicle in good condition
Keep your vehicle well tuned and regularly maintained. Get your car serviced at the intervals specified in the manufacturer's handbook.

Use the petrol that is recommended for your vehicle by the manufacturer. If you use regular unleaded in a car designed to run on premium unleaded you can expect slightly less performance and fractionally higher consumption. Using premium unleaded petrol in a car designed for regular unleaded may give better fuel consumption in some newer vehicles but it is unlikely to offset the extra cost of the fuel.

Quick Tips for Saving Hundreds of $ per Month

In these turbulent economic times, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs and save money. We offer 15 tips for cutting back on your monthly expenses right now.

1. Cut out one restaurant meal per week.

Consider cooking one extra meal in per week rather than dining out, and you could save anywhere from $40.00 to $100.00 per month. You could even team up with friends to do a "meal swap." (Estimated monthly savings $40.00-100.00)

2. Make your daily coffee at home.

Specialty coffees can be delicious but pricey, running anywhere around $2-$5 per drink. You can save a bundle by replacing your weekday latte with home-made coffee.
(Estimated monthly savings $20.00-50.00)

3. Use coupons at the grocery store.

Do you wonder if clipping coupons is worth your time? Coupons can save you up to 10-20 percent off your grocery bill, so if you spend $200 - $400 per month, using coupons could save you as much as $20.00 to $40.00. It's best to only use coupons for items you normally use in order to maximize your savings. Consider signing up for a grocery store club card to save even more.
(Estimated monthly savings $20.00-40.00)

4. Consider buying generic drugs.

Did you know that generic drugs are sold at some retailers for as little as $4 per prescription? And the FDA requires generic drugs to have the same quality, strength, purity and stability as brand-name drugs. Generic drugs account for about one-half of all prescription drug purchases in the U.S. If you take two prescriptions per month, you could save anywhere from $20 - $40 per month (or much more) by purchasing the generic form.
(Estimated monthly savings $20.00-40.00)

5. Rent a DVD rather than going out.

Renting DVDs a few times a month can help you save for other monthly expenses, and you have healthy snacks instead of overpriced popcorn.
(Estimated monthly savings $10.00-20.00)

6. Downsize from premium to basic cable.

Premium cable channels that can run over $80 per month. By scaling back to basic cable, you can still receive many channels, while saving $20 to $40 monthly.

7. Switch from premium to lower octane gas.$10.00-40.00

At up to $3 per gallon, gas continues to take a huge bite out of monthly budgets. Use the lowest grade gas required for your car (check your owner’s manual). Premium gas can cost 20-50 cents more per gallon than standard, so filling up with a standard grade can save you $5 (on average) per tankful, or $10 if you fill up twice a month. Visit www.fueleconomy.gov for price comparisons in your area. (Estimated monthly savings $5.00-10.00)

8. Use public transportation or carpool to save on gas.

By relying on public transportation rather than your car or carpooling, you might save a tank of gas per month (approximately $40), and help the environment at the same time!
(Estimated monthly savings $40.00-60.00)

9. Keep your tires inflated and your engine tuned.

Studies show that simply keeping your tires properly inflated and your engine tuned can save you over $100 per year in fuel.
(Estimated monthly savings $5.00-10.00)

10. Use a "basic" cell phone plan with limited minutes.

The average cell phone bill is $63 - $77 per month. Scaling back from a cell phone plan with loads of minutes (and bells and whistles that you don’t find necessary) to a basic plan with limited minutes can save you $20.00 – 30.00 per month. You’ll still have the peace of mind of having your cell phone, especially in case of emergency, but won’t have to pay for what you’re not using.
(Estimated monthly savings $20.00-30.00)

11. Use a cell phone with prepaid minutes.

Why pay for hundreds of dollars for cell phone minutes you're not using? With pre-paid cell phones, you will only pay for the minutes you use, saving you upwards of $30 per month.
(Estimated monthly savings $20.00-30.00)

12. Drop extra line services from your home phone.

Extra services on your home phone, such as call waiting, can each cost around $50 per year. Check which services you’re currently signed up for and drop any that you don’t need on a regular basis. (Estimated monthly savings $5.00-10.00)

13. Save big on your home energy costs.

There are many ways to lower your home energy costs 10% or more, by turning down your thermostat; using appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines during non-peak hours; unplugging appliances when not in use, using ceiling fans instead of A/C; and much more.
(Estimated monthly savings $25.00-100.00)

14. Switch to a free-checking or one w/o a required minimum balance.

Often times we stay with the same bank we used for years, out of convenience or habit. However, with familiarity can come high monthly service charges. Many banks offer checking accounts that are free, or ones that don’t have a minimum balance service charge, which can save you up to $10 per month, so consider shopping around. Visit www.bankrates.com.
(Estimated monthly savings $5.00-10.00)

15. Use only your bank's Automated Teller Machines.

Use only your own bank's network of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and avoid costly fees from other banks, which can run $1.50 - $3.00 each time you withdraw money. If use an ATM once a week, save over $5-$10 per month by eliminating these extra charges.
(Estimated monthly savings $5.00-10.00)

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/quick-tips-for-saving-hundreds-of-per-month.html

10 Free or Cheap Ways to Keep Kids Entertained

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/10-free-or-cheap-ways-to-keep-kids-entertained.html

The economy's in the toilet. The job market's lousy. But you know what can sting even more? The specter of having to say no to many of the requests your child makes because money is so tight.

I'm not talking about excessive requests or spoiled-brat requests. I'm talking about reasonable requests involving stuff or activities that are just plain fun. Having to say no again and again can be downright painful.

Take heart, though: There are plenty of tricks for helping your kids have fun and get at least some of what they want without completely busting your budget. It just requires some forethought and creativity.

What's more, crazy times like these give many parents ample opportunities to pass along valuable money lessons to their kids.

"I think it's really important to teach children how to set priorities and set goals," said Susan Beacham, a former private banker who founded Money Savvy Generation, a company in Lake Bluff, Ill., that teaches personal-finance concepts to children and parents. "It's a precursor to teaching them that there's a lot they can do with money, and spending is not all they have to do with money."

Bearing that in mind, the following tips can help you keep your kids wealthy in the fun department, no matter how the economy is faring.

1. WWMD: What would Mom do? Beacham pointed out that our moms didn't have access to DVDs, Xboxes, Game Boys and iPhones when we were little. Heck, many of our mothers didn't even have access to a second car. So how in the heck did they keep us entertained?

"Your mom probably went to the park with you, went on walks with you, read books with you, told you to go outside and come back later," Beacham said. "I know the world has changed, I know it's a scarier place, but is it so scary that your kid can't ever go out and play with a neighbor kid?"

Beacham said reflecting on the activities our moms did with us can yield all sorts of ideas for stuff we can do with our kids — stuff that costs little or nothing. Can you cook together? Head out to the library together? Play board games or cards together?

2. It's OK to let children entertain themselves. These days many kids grow accustomed to a frantic, highly structured pace at a very young age. But sometimes it really is OK — even beneficial — for them to entertain themselves all on their own in ways that aren't hyper-stimulated and super-regimented.

Again, take a lesson from the "What would Mom do?" school of thought. I remember plenty of times where my mom would encourage me to read, draw or listen to my records. (That's right ... I said records!) A friend of mine who is the mother of four grown children told me that one of her funniest memories as a mom stemmed from a moment when her daughter was bored out of her wits and pestering her for something to do. "I told her to go write an opera — and she did! She made it very dramatic, and she performed it for me when she was done. It was a scream!"

3. Stockpile ammunition for future use. Beacham noted that many parents feel subtle or not-so-subtle pressure to invite lots of kids to their children's birthday parties. This phenomenon can lead to an overwhelming stash of gifts for a little kid. "OK, so here's what you do," Beacham said. "You let him open them, and then you put half of them or two-thirds of them away and re-gift them later. They'll completely forget 10 minutes after the party how much they received. They'll be pleased just with what's in front of them. Keep some in reserve and pull them out later when you really need them."

4. Make the old new again. In a similar-yet-different vein, here's another suggestion from Beacham that I think borders on genius: Take toys that have been all played out by your kids and tape them up in a box (or two or three). Label each box with a date and just a few words that merely hint at the contents without giving them away. Store the boxes in a basement or garage or crawl space — ideally for several months.

Then when your kids start clamoring for something new to play with, coordinate a scavenger hunt. "Take 'em down to the basement and say, ‘OK, pick one.' They'll be thrilled. And this is nice because it teaches them that things have value in the long term, not just the short term. I promise you they'll replay with those toys as much as they did the first time."

5. Have your child compile a wish list. So there you are, in a store with a child who's about to MELT DOWN if he or she doesn't get that certain toy. The situation is tense. You know you shouldn't spend the money on that item right now, but you also want to avoid a tantrum. Beacham offered this trick, which really can work once you get this system up and running: "Tell your child, ‘OK, add this to your list.' "

Your mutual understanding with your child can be that the list will be consulted for any and all special gift-giving opportunities. If he or she really wants something, it just has to go on the list and it will be taken seriously. "If they're too young to write down what they want, they can draw it so they'll remember it. Post the list if you want. Share the list with grandparents. Ask children to keep the list up to date and put a line through things they're no longer interested in. It will help them understand how to prioritize .... And when gift-giving time rolls around, it will be appalling to you to see how many things on that list they no longer care about."

6. Get support from grandparents, aunts and uncles. The more people who adore your children and want to be involved in their lives, the better. If you have close family members who know you're going through a tough time financially, ask them to help you grant wishes that are beyond your budget. "Just ask anyone who's on the bench in your child's life to help in specific ways," Beacham said. "They'll want to do it."

7. Barter, swap, wheel and deal. The amount of barely used toys and kids' clothes and books that can be picked up at garage sales and via a wide variety of Web sites is shocking. You really don't have to pay top dollar for a lot of the stuff your kid might want. Just head out to garage sales in nice suburban neighborhoods on almost any Saturday morning, and your haul can be phenomenal.

8. Become an expert on all the free kids' activities in your area. If you just don't have time to do this kind of legwork, turn to a friend and fellow mom who does. Public libraries always have activities for kids that are completely free, and most museums offer free or greatly reduced admission on one day of the week or month. Some kindergarten teachers also can be fantastic resources in this department, Beacham noted, so be sure to ask them whether they know of any fun free stuff to do. And don't forget the power of the Internet. A quick online search for the name of your city along with the words "free kids' activities" can do wonders. Some Web sites are dedicated to highlighting free or dirt-cheap activities for parents in certain cities; Red Tricycle, for instance, provides lists of such options in the Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego areas.

9. Help your child establish a ‘coupon fund.' Here's a deal you can cut with your kid: If he or she finds coupons for items you buy as a family and clips enough of them that you manage to save $10 on groceries, you can promise to share $5 of that savings with your child. Then your child can save up that coupon money and put it toward something he or she has been wanting. "So they tell you they want a video game. You can say, ‘Use your coupon money. How much do you have saved up now?' " Beacham suggested.

10. Get outside. So long as the weather is tolerable out there, your kids could benefit immensely from getting some fresh air. Maybe you don't have the time, energy or resources to organize a big camping trip right now — but could your kids camp in the backyard on a Saturday night? Could you even help them roast some marshmallows out there without burning the house down? Other ideas: Are there any beaches, beautiful parks or nifty points of interest in your area where you could let your kids run around, burn some energy and get some exercise? If you already have bikes, could you go biking together on a day off for no money at all? (Just carry some snacks or sandwiches with you in a backpack!) By doing something along these lines where you live, your kids will have loads of fun, and you'll feel better too.

By Laura T. Coffey

10 Bad Habits That Lead to Debt Disaster

10 Bad Habits That Lead to Debt DisasterSometimes the only way to stop a snowballing problem is to go back to the top of the hill and find out what started it.

If you're up to your eyeballs in credit card debt, take a step back and recount your money missteps. Knowing your weaknesses could help prevent you from falling back into the bad-credit pit and show you a way out.

According to Gail Cunningham, the vice president of business relations at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, a nonprofit financial-management service, consumers mired in debt make common financial blunders, most of which they can prevent with discipline and behavior changes. Learn from these mistakes and start paying off your debt.

Bad Habit No. 1: Misusing balance transfers
Transferring balances on high-interest cards to lower-rate cards can be an effective technique, but it's easy to make it a good idea gone wrong. Transfer a balance onto a card with a low introductory rate and you can potentially save money on interest if you refrain from charging on it and focus on paying off the balance before that introductory rate expires. But most people continue to charge on the new card and wind up with more debt once the teaser rate expires, says Cunningham. In fact, new purchases may pull an altogether different interest rate. Read the fine print very carefully, and attempt the balance-transfer maneuver only if you can control your spending on the new -- and old -- card.

Try this: If you can't refrain from charging, balance transfers won't get you out of debt. If you're really in the hole, consider getting a part-time job and dedicating your earnings to your debt load. If that's not possible, go back to your budget and cut back on unnecessary expenses such as restaurant outings and cell phone extras. Put the money you save toward paying off your balances. Pay for any new purchases with cash or a debit card.

Bad Habit No. 2: Not checking credit reports because you can't change them anyway
Wrong. If you have credit cards, pull your credit report at least once a year and check it for errors. Purging your record of inaccuracies can be crucial for getting better interest rates, landing the job you desire and stopping an identity thief from ruining your credit rating. The scores on your credit report also determine how high your interest rates will be on future loans. Dispute anything you think should not be there. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows for the correction or deletion of inaccurate, outdated or unverifiable information, provided that a reinvestigation into the disputed data sides in your favor. Unfortunately, negative but truthful data must stay put. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, for instance, will remain on your credit report for 10 years, a Chapter 13 for seven years.

Try this: You can request one free copy from each of the big three credit reporting bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, every year. Why bother? Errors on your report, such as a payment marked late that came in on time, could raise your interest rates, lower your credit score and affect your ability to obtain credit in the future.

If you do find a mistake, send a correction letter to each of the credit bureaus that show the error. All three allow you to dispute errors online.

Don't bother with so-called credit-repair clinics that aim to charge you hundreds or thousands to fix your credit record. "Anything you can legally do to repair it, you can legally do for free," says Cunningham. Of course, if you're not willing or dedicated enough to write those letters and follow up with the credit-reporting agencies, paying someone else to do it for you may not be such a bad idea. Better to have someone dispute the errors rather than no one. But be extremely careful in selecting such an organization -- try to get referrals and seek out others who have been satisfied with the service.

Bad Habit No. 3: Failing to alert creditors about a financial hardship
You heard the rumor: Layoffs are coming to a department near you next week.

Don't wait until it happens to worry about how to pay your bills. Do some damage control right away.

Try this: "The best time to negotiate is before the problem spirals downhill," says Cunningham. Call the credit card company and explain the problem you're about to have. Ask if they could temporarily lower your interest rate or extend your payment deadline. Some issuers have in-house help programs that provide such short-term services to customers.

Bad Habit No. 4: Thinking of 'budget' as a dirty word
The word may call to mind tedium and self-trickery, but everyone can benefit from deciding on certain amounts for spending -- and sticking to the amount. It also makes sense to budget for known future expenses, such as quarterly insurance premiums, college textbooks and rent. Not saving up in advance means you'll have to charge expenses or cut into funds set aside for necessities. Budget these fixed costs while you can handle small financial pinches.

Try this: To find out what's draining your finances, keep track of where your money goes for a month. Use a spreadsheet, financial software or a pen and paper to categorize your expenses. This will reveal whether you're spending too much on expenses you could trim, such as restaurant outings and gas. Then you can consider cooking at home more often or consolidating driving trips. Cut back as necessary without cutting out expenses important to you. Cunningham suggests that if you enjoy watching TV but don't tune in to a majority of the 300-plus channels you have, cut back on your cable package instead of cutting out TV altogether.

Plan for future costs by figuring out the total amount you'll owe and divide by the number of months you have until that day, says Cunningham. If you have money due next month, divide by the number of weeks you have and save that amount every week. For more help, see MSN Money's Learn to Budget Decision Center.

Bad Habit No. 5: Using retail store credit cards to make use of discounts
Chances are, that card carries a high interest rate you'll be forced to deal with if you don't pay off your balance each month.

Try this: If you must charge your purchase, use your general-purpose credit card, says Cunningham. If you can't pay off the balance, at least you'll pay a lower interest rate. Limit the total number of credit cards you have to just two, if you can: one you can pay off each month and one with a low interest rate for those large purchases you'll pay back over time.

Bad Habit No. 6: Procrastinating on creating an emergency fund
Learn to save for financial emergencies. Even if you feel robust and invincible, a single emergency room trip or car accident could force you to put large balances on credit cards, causing interest to accrue and more debt to pile up. "That rainy day will happen," Cunningham says. "It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when." If your tire goes flat and you can't pay upfront for the replacement, for instance, you're stuck with charging it or reducing funds earmarked for necessities. That's where the emergency fund fits in.

Try this: Maintain an emergency fund of at least three to six months' worth of living expenses, and keep your insurance policies up to date. Work toward that goal by socking away 10% of your take-home pay each month in a liquid savings account, says Cunningham. If you receive a raise or bonus, add that money to savings. Since you're not used to the extra cash flow, you won't miss it.

Bad Habit No. 7: Paying bills in no particular order
While the order may not matter if you can pay all of the balances, it will matter if you fall short one month. Say you pay off the balances on your credit cards first, then find you can't make the minimum on your house payment or monthly rent. You've put the roof over your head at risk.

Try this: "Pay for living expenses first," says Cunningham. After the house or rent payment, necessities such as utilities, groceries and medical care should top the priority list. Next comes the car payment -- you want to avoid repossession, obviously. On down the line, secured loans and co-signed debts follow in importance, then unsecured loans and credit cards. "Ideally, everyone can get paid, but if a choice has to be made, paying in this order will do a better job of keeping the home life stable."

Bad Habit No. 8: Charging purchases instead of paying in cash or with a debit card
How many times have you charged services or merchandise when you had the money to pay with cash or debit? Insignificant purchases of $20 and $30 made several times over can quickly add up, particularly if you already carry a balance. Balances you can't pay off each month mean paying interest charges and, subsequently, more money for items you could have bought outright, interest-free.

Try this: Make a habit of paying for purchases under $50 with cash, debit or check. Knowing that the money has to clear the bank sooner could help curb your spending habits. Just be sure to check your balance regularly to ensure that you have enough funds.

Bad Habit No. 9: Making credit payments late
After all, it's only a $39 late fee, right? Besides wasting money you could've put toward the balance, a payment that arrives at least 30 days past due can throw your account into default and triple your interest rate. Plus, other creditors may start charging you a default interest rate as well, thanks to a universal default clause buried in your contract.

"Creditors are constantly reviewing your credit activity, and if they see you falling behind with one creditor, even if you have a perfect payment history with them, they can raise your interest rate," Cunningham says.

Try this: On a calendar, mark upcoming paydays and payments that should come out of that paycheck, she says. If you're mailing payments, send them seven to 10 business days in advance. Better yet, sign up for online bill pay. Just check that the address on file and the address on the statement match, or the payment might not arrive on time. If you're still late, call the creditor, explain the situation and ask them to forgive the late fee. Check your credit report and be sure the information shows up correctly.

Bad Habit No. 10: Making the minimum payment only
Paying the minimum is better than paying nothing, but it doesn't do much to pay off most balances and forces you to keep paying interest. By paying interest on interest, you lose any savings from buying a dress on sale, Cunningham says.

Try this: If you can afford to pay more or in full, go ahead and pay as much of the balance as you can. You never know when you're going to have a tough month. Pay in full every month and you can avoid interest charges altogether.

Or, if paying more than the minimum proves difficult, consider working an extra part-time job or decreasing your expenses -- or both, says Cunningham. Put all of your extra earnings toward the debt.

By Leslie Hunt

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/10-bad-habits-that-lead-to-debt-disaster.html

Top 10 Tips to Success

Top 10 Tips to Success1. Take Risks - Do not be afraid to take risks.. where is the fun in that? If you want something, go for it! Do not try and justify every action you make. Sometimes, all you have to do is to take that big leap! We usually allow ourselves to settle at what is safe and secure and yet we end up wondering at all the "what if's?" and "what could have been's?" in life.

2. Make Opportunities - This is more logical than waiting for opportunity to knock on your door - which may or may never come.

3. Have a Plan - Always have a plan.. this is the best way to stay on track with your goals. Set a milestone which will provide as your visual in what you are working for, what you have successfully achieved, and what you need to do better.

4. Stay Motivated - When you're too busy getting what you want you also exhaust all your energies with it and this becomes critical because this is usually the reason why we lose the battle. Half-way through, we get tired and lose the desire to go on. It is important to stay motivated. Remind yourself with the reasons as to why you are working hard.. read motivational quotes and articles. Assure yourself that every effort exerted will eventually pay-off in the long run.

5. Be Patient - Always remember that attaining goals almost always takes time. Be kind to yourself and the people around you because everything is actually a process in working your way up the ladder each day.

6. Reward yourself - As you surpass every milestone try and treat yourself for a job well done.

7. Do not Stop Learning - You may feel that you have already become an expert in your field when you've been working on it for so long. But this shouldn't be the reason why you should stop learning. Keep innovating! New ideas and new ventures helps keep the fire burning!

8. Learn to Delegate - When you are getting close to your goals you will find out that there are many more things to do than hours in the day. Find someone to help take some of your load so you can focus on things that needs your full attention.

9. Raise your Standards - Always learn to "Step-up!". Increase your standard and strive for more!

10. Be Thankful - Not only with your accomplishments but also with your trials and your failures. It will keep you humble, which in turn, will help you continue striving for success.

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/top-10-tips-to-success.html

How to Stay Relevant On The Job and Reduce Your Layoff Risk

A wonderful article [one must read]:

How to Stay Relevant On The Job and Reduce Your Layoff RiskWith the national unemployment rate over 10% and no sign of slowing down any time soon, it's a good idea to start promotionshowing your employer that you are relevant and indispensable. If layoffs start (or continue!) at your place of employment, you will increase your chances of keeping your job if your employer finds you hard to replace.

Pretend You Just Started Your Job and Want to Make a Good Impression

Remember when you first interviewed for your job? Or when you interviewed for a different job you wish you had gotten? Think about how hard you tried to make a good impression and put your best foot forward. Pretend you just started your job, even if you've had it for 20 years, and do everything you can to show how valuable you are to the company. Be willing to go above and beyond your specific job description.

Keep a Growing List of Your Accomplishments and Improvements

In any economy, it's a good idea to update your resume or CV regularly to show your increasing skills and accomplishments. You can use this to present to your employer during a performance review for a salary increase; or in the event you need to find new employment.

Stop Doing "Other Stuff" While You're At Work

Once people grow comfortable in their jobs, it's been shown that individuals spend an average of 75 minutes a day or more using the work computer for activities that are non-related to work. In fact, a Gallup poll estimates that this hour or so of wasted time is costing your employer $6,000 or more in productivity PER EMPLOYEE. Use your work hours to work, and stop doing any activity that is not directly related to your position. You (and your boss) might be surprised at how much your productivity increases just by making this simple change.

Look Like You Care and Dress For Success

Even if your work has a very casual dress code, or maybe no dress code at all, you should take the time to look like you're ready to take over the boss's job at any moment! Dress to impress. Come to work well-groomed and in professional attire. You might find that as a natural result of looking more professional, you act more professional.

Ask Your Employer How to Advance in the Company

Instead of shying away from meetings and networking events at your company, start attending them. The more visible you are, the more your employer and management staff will take notice of your efforts. In fact, express your ambitions to progress and advance within the company to your employer and ask what you can do to make that move. You may receive additional challenges or responsibilities as a result of asking – and these are the perfect opportunity to show your boss you are committed to the job.

Even if you don't necessarily think you are going to be faced with a lay off at your job, acting like you may be under the gun can help you make yourself more valuable as an employee. The worst it can do for you is get you an advancement or promotion!

By Debbie Dragon

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/how-to-stay-relevant-on-the-job-and-reduce-your-layoff-risk.html

5 Scams Spread Like a Virus in Recession

5 Scams Spread Like a Virus in RecessionScam artists look more legitimate than ever. They follow headlines about financial bailouts, stimulus packages and a popular president into your pocketbook. And they're taking advantage of people's need for cash in a recession as well as the latest social media trends.

However, the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," still applies.

Here are some new scams you might have missed and how they work, as well as suggestions on how to avoid them.

1. Government grants scam.

Pop-ups and ads on the Internet depicting President Barack Obama holding a check appear to lend some credence to the government grant scams. The government's stimulus package and bailouts also fuel the false impression that money's available for the asking.

These Web sites "guarantee" you'll get a grant, says Tom Bartholomy, president of the Better Business Bureau in Charlotte, N.C. In this scam, you must pay an application or processing fee, usually between $500 and $1,000. Once you send the fee, the scammer sends you applications and forms that are printed from government Web sites. In some cases, the scammer keeps your money and doesn't give you anything.

How to avoid this scam: Government grants are available, but you don't have to pay in advance to apply for them.

"Many people don't have a deep awareness of how grants work," says Bartholomy. So they believe they really are guaranteed to receive a certain sum of money.

"We are receiving dozens of calls each day about this scam, and the guarantees appear to be the most effective trigger for the scammers," says Bartholomy. "Once we talk with the consumer and point out the lies behind this ploy, he begins to understand it's not a legitimate opportunity."

Another expert on scams, Christine Durst, CEO of Staffcentrix, a training and development firm for virtual careers in Woodstock, Conn., says you should always read the fine print on a grant opportunity.

"You may be signing up for a subscription service that bills you monthly," says Durst. "Also, run a Google search with the name of the company plus (the word) 'scams' and see what that reveals."

2. Instant credit repair.

It's no secret that credit is tight right now and getting approved for a loan is much more difficult than it was two years ago. So when these perpetrators say they can raise your FICO score, the nation's most widely used credit score, that's tempting.

"This is very appealing to someone who has just been turned down for a car loan," says Bartholomy.

Here's how the scam works. A victim who's looking to fix his or her credit receives an ad in the mail or sees one in the newspaper and calls about the service. The company offers to order the victim's credit report and challenge every negative item, and those items will instantly be removed. The credit repair company charges either a per-item or flat fee but promises satisfaction, or you get your money back.

"A month after the fraudulent company has been paid, the victim will see that these negative items have been challenged and removed from his credit report," says Bartholomy. "But that is only temporarily. As soon as the negative item is verified as authentic, it's put back on the credit report."

Besides paying for nothing, the victim is vulnerable to identity theft from the scammers, Bartholomy says.

How to avoid this scam: Anyone can receive a free credit report once a year from each reporting agency -- Equifax, TransUnion and Experian -- at Annualcreditreport.com. So you can access your report three times a year and challenge inaccurate items yourself for free.

"Instant" credit repair isn't a legitimate option, and nobody can fix your credit but you, Bartholomy says.

3. Cash-for-gold scam.

Offers abound to pay you for your unwantedgold, silveror platinum -- usually jewelry. You're told to place it in an envelope provided by the company and mail it in. In return, the company says it will send you the cash value of the gold within 24 hours.

Durst says these companies use the calendar against you. They claim it takes seven to 10 days to receive your jewelry, when actually it takes only three to four days.

"This gives them time to assess the value of the gold and, in doing so, they date and cut a check immediately, usually for an amount that the customer isn't happy with," says Durst. "Then, the check isn't mailed for several days."

When the check is finally sent, it's too late to return it. By the fraudulent company's rules, it must be sent back within 10 days of the date on the check. Of course, reaching customer service to complain is next to impossible. When customers do finally get through, they have their own meltdown because their gold has already been melted down.

And if you do get a check for your gold, it's only for a fraction of what it's worth.

How to avoid this scam: If you have any one-of-a-kind heirlooms or antique jewelry, you should take them to a reputable jeweler or antique dealer for an appraisal, Durst says.

"Those unique pieces may be worth considerably more than their weight in gold," Durst says.

Any other gold could be taken to your local pawnshop or jeweler. Durst suggests going to several to find the one that will pay you the most.

4. Mystery shopping scam.

The victim answers a newspaper or Internet ad asking for mystery shoppers. He or she is sent a training assignment and a cashier's check for a few thousand dollars. The assignment letter tells the mystery shopper to cash the check at the bank, go to a certain retail store and write a report on the cleanliness and service.

The shopper is told to keep $50 for use on the mystery shopping spree and for the shopper's fee, and to wire the remainder of the funds to an address supplied by the supposed mystery shopping company.

"These are very real-looking checks," says Bartholomy. "Some even have watermarks and holograms."

The shopper is told to complete the assignment within two or three days. This urgency keeps the victim from discovering that the check is counterfeit until it's too late. Once the check is cashed, the victim becomes the responsible party. Unless the victim keeps a hefty checking account balance, personal checks will start bouncing.

How to avoid this scam: If you receive a check to mystery shop, it won't be legitimate, Bartholomy says. Bona fide mystery shopping companies don't send checks before the work is done. You can look up the company name at the Better Business Bureau. Bartholomy warns that these companies change names frequently, so you may find no report. Don't let that give you a false sense of security.

"You should verify that the company is a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, which only represents legitimate mystery shopping companies," says John Swinburn, executive director of the association in Dallas.

Unfortunately, some of the scammers use names of legitimate mystery shopping companies. Make sure the company is on the association's Web site and that the contact information is the same.

5. Social networking scams.

In this, someone builds a friendship with you on a social networking Web site such as Facebook or MySpace, becoming your "online friend."

"Once he has your trust and confidence, he runs into trouble and needs your help or, more specifically, your financial assistance," says Durst.

In another version of this scam, a person may pose as a relative who needs financial help.

The scammer may say he will lose his home or car unless he gets some money quickly. Or he might say he's in jail. Other perpetrators send you a check and ask you to wire the funds to a relative who lives in your country, saying it's too difficult to do it from his own country.

"In both cases, you end up out of luck," says Durst. "With the first scenario, the 'friend' will disappear with your money. And in the second scenario, the check you deposited in your account in order to wire the funds will bounce, leaving you to repay the bank."

How to avoid this scam: Be careful about giving out too much personal information online, says Durst.

If you're contacted to "bail someone out" and aren't sure if that person is who he or she claims to be, ask personal questions that only the actual person could answer. Or contact the person that the scammer is claiming to be. Finally, you could call the authorities that are supposed to be holding him.

"If you call your grandson, and he doesn't know anything about being jailed in Canada, you know you're being bamboozled," Durst says.

By Heather Larson
Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/5-scams-spread-like-a-virus-in-recession.html

What Job Ads Really Mean

What Job Ads Really MeanWith the U.S. unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent, there are a lot of good people out there looking for jobs. In addition, there are always people with jobs who are looking for new jobs. None of your employees I am sure, but they are out there.

Keeping that in mind, I thought I would share an e-mail that made it into my inbox this week. It helps job seekers understand what certain phrases they see in a job ad really mean. Hope this helps.

• Competitive salary: We remain competitive by paying you less than our competition.

• Join our fast-paced company: We have no time to train you.

• Some overtime required: Some every night and some every weekend.

• Duties will vary: Anyone in the office can boss you around.

• Must have an eye for detail: We have no quality assurance.

• Career-minded: Female applicants must be childless (and remain that way).

• Apply in person: If you're old, fat, or ugly, you'll be told that the position has been filled.

• Seeking candidates with a wide variety of experience: You'll need it to replace the three people who just quit.

• Problem-solving skills a must: You're walking into perpetual chaos.

• Requires team leadership skills: You'll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.

• Good communication skills: Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want, and do it.

By Kyle Gargaro

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/what-job-ads-really-mean.html

Tips To Avoid Getting Taken For A Ride When Buying A Used Car

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/tips-to-avoid-getting-taken-for-a-ride-when-buying-a-used-car.html

Tips To Avoid Getting Taken For A Ride When Buying A Used CarOur society has seen a shift in consumer spending with Americans looking for ways to save more of their hard earned cash. Many of those people are prolonging buying a new vehicle in favor of keeping the one they have on the road longer. For those that are in the market to purchase another vehicle, more people are opting for a used car versus shelling out the big bucks for a new vehicle. Buying a used car can be a great way to save money, however consumers are advised to proceed with caution and fully research both the vehicle and seller before finalizing a sale. Here are a few tips to avoid getting taken for a ride when purchasing a used vehicle.

* Verify documentation- If you are searching for a used car and find a deal that appears too good to be true, it probably is. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to potential car buyers about VIN cloning. This occurs when a car is stolen and in an attempt to avoid arrest and make money off of the stolen vehicle, the thief clones the VIN (vehicle identification number) to match that of car that hasn't been stolen. To avoid falling victim to this scam, check the VIN number on the dash as well as inside the door panel and under the hood to ensure it matches the title. Read all documents carefully and be on the lookout for discrepancies or misspelling that may indicate the document is not original. Vehicles that are sold for quick cash at a price that is significantly lower than normal should be considered suspicious.
* Buy a car history report- To save money you sometimes have to spend money. Buying a car history report may cost you a few bucks upfront, however the information contained on the report could very well save you thousands of dollars in the long run. A car history report will clear up any questions you may have about the car you are considering. The report will confirm the VIN number, record accidents the car may have been involved in and provide information regarding possible liens against the vehicle. Having this information before taking ownership of the car will help you avoid buying a used car that is better left on the lot.
* Question the seller- You have the right to ask the seller certain questions about the car's history, maintenance and performance to get a better idea of the value of the vehicle. Pay close attention to the answers and the manner in which the seller interacts with you as a potential buyer. Buying a car from a private sell could very well result in well maintained quality vehicle at a reasonable price. If however you get a feeling that the seller is not simply selling a vehicle he or she used themselves, you may question how they obtained the car and their motive for selling.

Carefully research the history of a used car and avoid rushing into a sale for the sake of getting a good "deal". There are thousands of used cars available and finding the right one will save you time, money and aggravation down the road.

By Trisha Wagner

Your 5-minute Guide to Protecting Your Identity

Your 5-minute Guide to Protecting Your Identity

Your 5-minute Guide to Protecting Your IdentityThieves may sell your information on the black market or use it to obtain money, credit or even expensive medical procedures. Unless you're vigilant in protecting your records, you'll have to work even harder to repair the damage to your credit. The average victim spends 30 to 40 hours rectifying the problem.

Some of the e-threats to your identity are:

* Phishing. You get an e-mail that appears to be from your bank or an online service, most often PayPal or eBay, instructing you to click on a link and provide information to verify your account.
* Pharming or spoofing. Hackers redirect a legitimate Web site's traffic to an impostor site, where you'll be asked to provide confidential information. Scammers have been targeting social networking sites, such as Facebook.
* Smishing. This is phishing done with text messaging on your smart phone. It instructs you to visit a bogus Web site.
* Spyware. You've unknowingly downloaded illicit software when you've opened an attachment, clicked on a pop-up or downloaded a song or a game. Criminals can use spyware to record your keystrokes and obtain credit card numbers, bank-account information and passwords when you make purchases or conduct other business online. They also can access confidential information on your hard drive.

You don't need to have a computer to become a victim.

* Vishing -- voice phishing. You get an automated phone message asking you to call your bank or credit card company. Even your caller ID is fooled. You call the number and are asked to punch in your account number, PIN or other personal information.
* Bank-card "skimming." Crooks use a combination of a fake ATM slot and cameras to record your account information and PIN when you use a cash machine. Your credit or debit card also can be skimmed by a dishonest store or restaurant worker armed with a portable card reader.
* Crooks will steal your wallet or go through your mail or trash.

More than half of identity theft cases involve credit card fraud. Checking accounts are the second most popular target. But some crooks have other plans:

* At least 250,000 people a year have been victims of medical identity theft for the last several years. Crooks use fraudulently obtained personal information to get expensive medical procedures or dupe insurance companies into paying for procedures that were not done.
* The victims of about 5% of reported identity theft cases are children. The fraud often goes undetected for years -- until the young adult applies for credit. Even the dead aren't safe.

22 tips to protect yourself

You can take steps to protect yourself from identity fraud:

* Keep your confidential information private. Your bank or credit card company won't call or e-mail to ask for your account information. They already have it.
* Keep an inventory of everything in your wallet and your PDA, including account numbers. Don't keep your Social Security card or any card with your Social Security number, such as an insurance card, in your wallet.
* Order and review your credit report. You are allowed one free report each year from each of the three major credit agencies. Order reports here; it is the only place to get them for free.
* Stop getting banking and credit card information in the mail.
* Monitor your bank and credit card transactions for unauthorized use. Crooks with your account numbers usually start small to see if you'll notice. The sooner you catch them, the easier the problems are to clear up.
* Keep your vehicle registration and insurance forms in a sealed envelope in your glove box and lock it and your car when at home or away.
* If you conduct business online, use your own computer. A public computer is less secure, as is wireless Internet.
* Look for suspicious devices and don't let anyone stand nearby when you use an ATM. Take your card and receipt with you. Keep your PIN in your head, not in your wallet.
* Don't store credit card numbers and other financial information on your cell phone.
* If you're job hunting using résumé Web sites, don't apply unless the employer has a verifiable address.
* Once you no longer need to store them, shred any bills or statements that have your personal information on them.

Protect your computer from vulnerability:

* Keep system and browser software up to date and set to the highest security level you can tolerate. Install antivirus, antispyware and firewall protection, and keep them up to date as well. When possible, use hardware firewalls, often available through your broadband connection router.
* If you use wireless Internet access, make sure you get help from someone who understands wireless security when you set up your access point or router.
* Back up your data and store it way from your computer.
* Don't open e-mails from strangers. Malware can be hidden in embedded attachments and graphics files.
* Don't open attachments unless you know who sent them and what they contain. Never open executable attachments. Configure Windows so that the file extensions of known file types are not hidden.
* Don't click on pop-ups. Configure Windows or your Web browser to block them.
* Don't provide your credit card number online unless you are making a purchase from a Web site you trust. Reputable sites will always direct you to a secure page with a URL starting with https:// whenever you actually make purchases or are asked to provide confidential information.
* Use strong passwords: at least six characters, including at least one symbol and number, and no reference to your name or other personal information. Use a different password for every site that requires one, and change passwords regularly.
* Never send a user name, password or other confidential information via e-mail.
* Consider turning off your computer when you're not using it or at least putting it in standby mode.
* Don't keep passwords, tax returns or other financial information on your hard drive.

8 steps to clean up the mess

If you suspect your identity may be compromised, place a fraud alert with the three credit bureaus. When you place an alert, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. After that, take advantage of the free annual reports the bureaus are required to give all consumers. Stagger your requests so that you get a report every four months. Beware: A fraud alert applies only when someone tries to open a new line of credit. It won’t keep someone from using existing accounts.

If you've been phished, contact the real bank or other company named in the fraudulent e-mail. You also may want to notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center and forward the e-mail to spam@uce.gov.

If you are the victim of identity theft, take the following steps:

* Make an identity-theft report to the police. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Also, contact the office of your state's attorney general; you may be able to file a report there. Get copies of all this paperwork and keep them in a safe place.
* Close accounts that have been tampered with. Contact each company by phone and again by certified letter. Make sure the company notifies you in writing that the disputed charges have been erased. Document each conversation and keep all records.
* Place a seven-year fraud alert or a "freeze" on your credit reports.
* Begin the process of having the fraudulent information removed from your credit reports.
* Consider purchasing identity theft insurance. It cannot protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft, but it can help you pay the cost of reclaiming your financial identity. Be wary of identity theft protection services; the Consumer Federation of America has found they may not be worth the cost.
* Find victim support at the Identity Theft Resource Center.
* If you are the victim of medical identity theft, avail yourself of the helpful information provided by the World Privacy Forum.

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/your-5-minute-guide-to-protecting-your-identity.html

5 Simple Ways to Speed Up Your PC

There are many ways to improve computer performance, from hardware upgrades to editing the Registry. But upgrading hardware can be quite expensive and editing the Windows Registry can seriously harm your computer if you do something wrong. This article focused on simple and safe tweaks that will not cause any trouble and will make your computer run faster.

1) Speed Up Windows Explorer

Sometimes starting Windows Explorer can take a while. This is because Windows automatically looks for network files, shared network folders, and devices when you start Windows Explorer. It is possible to make it open faster by changing the settings:

Open Windows Explorer
Click on Tools menu
Then click on Folder Options
Click on the View tab
Find Automatically search for network folders and printers check box and uncheck it
Click Apply, then click OK
Reboot your PC

From now on Windows Explorer will start faster, as it will no longer automatically search for network files, shared folders, and devices in the network.

2) Optimize Appearance Settings

We all are used to how Windows XP looks. But actually its visual effects waste system resources. The graphics card is not the only one that has to deal with it - the CPU and the memory are affected as well. Windows Vista graphics are even more advanced and can dramatically slow down your PC, especially if your computer is not one of the latest and the fastest ones.

Luckily there is a way to configure Windows XP for best performance by reducing the effects in the graphical user interface. This will free up RAM and increase computer speed. To configure Windows XP for maximum performance do the following:

Go to Start - Settings and select Control Panel
In the Control Panel, click System and then Advanced tab
In the Performance Options window select Adjust for best performance
Click OK to confirm and close the window

This will turn off all visual effects, which is good for less powerful PCs and laptops. However, if you would like Windows XP to look more like what you’re used to, leave the following boxes ticked:

Show shadows under menus
Show shadows under mouse pointer
Show translucent selection rectangle
Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
Use visual styles on windows and buttons

3) Uninstall Unused Device Drivers

Once you have uninstalled a device, it’s a good idea to remove any device drivers that were left behind. Otherwise those drivers will still be using valuable system resources. Here is why this happens.

When you install a device, you also install its drivers and they get called each time you boot up your PC. And even when the device has been removed, but the drivers are still there, your system continues to load them at boot up. What a waste of resources!

If you have Windows XP, follow these steps to remove any unwanted device drivers:

Press the Windows key + the Break key on your keyboard. System Properties box will appear
Select the Advanced tab

Click Environmental Variables
Under System Variables click New
In the variable box type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices
Type 1 in the Variable value text box
Click OK to return to the System Properties box
Click OK again
Go to the Device Manager tab
Click View - Show hidden devices

Then you will need to expand all the branches and look for washed out icons. Those icons show unused device drivers that you can uninstall.

Once you have found a device driver you wish to uninstall, highlight it, right-click it, and choose Remove. Delete only washed out icons. All the other icons show drivers of connected and used devices. If you delete them, your devices will stop functioning properly.

4) Remove Software You Don’t Need

One more way to speed up your PC is to check what software you have installed and see if you need all the applications or not. To do this click Start - Settings - Control Panel - double-click Add/Remove Programs.

Most likely you will find programs you’ve used only once or twice. Removing them will free up disk space and make your PC run faster.

When Uninstalling Software Fails

Uninstalling software doesn’t always go as smooth as one hopes it would. A very common problem is that some programs don’t remove all their data completely, thus leaving some files behind. These files are called junk files.

Sometimes you have to uninstall the software trial version in order to register the full version. But if the uninstall process is not complete, you might fail to register the program that you have paid for.

If the uninstaller doesn’t work, it may be possible to remove the software manually. This means that you will need to remove all related files and configuration data from your hard disk. Usually software uses the Windows Registry to store configuration information.

Firstly, you will need to find the folder where the program was installed. Most likely it’s the Program Files directory. Locate the software folder and delete it. If it’s impossible to delete some files, try restarting your computer. This will help if the files were used by the system. If you can’t delete the files even after a restart, try booting in Safe Mode (tap F8 during PC boot) and then delete the files.

After that you will need to remove invalid Registry entries. Microsoft offers a free Windows Installer CleanUp Utility to help you do the job. After you’ve installed and opened it, select an application you wish to uninstall from the list. The utility will remove all registry entries related to that software. Double check what applications you select and also backup the Registry in case something goes wrong.

If running Windows Installer CleanUp Utility does not solve the problem, you can use a third party registry cleaner. Be careful and only use well-known software that has received positive reviews and trustworthy awards. There are lots of programs that claim to be great, but in fact they contain malware and spyware, and can damage your computer.

Another way to uninstall software without having to worry about the Registry is to use a software uninstaller. Program uninstallers track down and remove all application-related components from your system, thus ensuring that the software gets completely uninstalled.

Auslogics BoostSpeed contains both an uninstaller and a registry cleaner, plus lots of other useful tools to optimize and protect your system. You can download it from http://www.auslogics.com.

5) Disable Indexing Services

The Indexing Services use large amounts of RAM and can often make a computer pretty slow and loud. This service indexes and updates lists of all the files that are on your computer in order to enable you to search for the files and folders faster. To tell you the truth, this service is not really needed and you can safely disable it.

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/5-simple-ways-to-speed-up-your-pc.html

15 Tips For People Who Think They Want a Website

This article contains only 15 tips but I will add more in it...

So, you want a website, but are you ready for one?

Okay, so you have a business, you're gonna need a website, right? The question is, Do you really want to pay for a website designed by a professional? Professionals aren't cheap. They purchase the latest software for web/graphic design, which costs them THOUSANDS of dollars. They learn to deal with uniformed people on a regular basis that say things like, "How did that take 2 hours, my sister says she could have done that in 2 minutes?"

Tip 1:
Get your sister to do your website if you aren't comfortable paying a graphic/web designer $100+/hour. This is what they charge. Anyone doing it for less hasn't been doing it long enough to deliver everything you want and once they figure out that they are undercharging you (and they will), you will be shocked when you go back for edits.

Tip 2:
Sign a contract, know if your designer gives you rights to the native files, know if your designer gets paid even if you decide not to use their design, protect yourself and your designer.

Tip 3:
Trust the expertise of your designer, some of the ugliest designs out there are because the client got too involved.

Tip 4:
Trust the expertise of your designer, unless you know all about computers, the internet, programming, designing, etc., expect that sometimes unexpected things happen with servers, files, programs, downloads, uploads, glitches, errors, you will be charged for it if it isn't the designers fault. When they spend time fixing something of yours, you pay for it, even if it is not directly related to your project. If they have to drive and talk to your printer, if your file is corrupted and they have to ask your previous designer for a new copy, the clock is ticking.

Tip 5:
Remember, this is your designer's job, this is how they eat, feed their families, put gas in their cars. Don't be cheap or not pay on time, they need a paycheck every two weeks, just like you.

Tip 6:
Know what you want, look around at other websites, send a couple links to your designer, this helps them know what you really want, not what you say you want.

Tip 7:
Yes, you want flash on your website, because it is pretty and moving around, expect to pay for it.

Tip 8:
Designers have families and lives, don't call at 9pm on a Friday evening, unless otherwise stated.

Tip 9:
Be realistic. Think about what you need, first. Do the basics. Content drives a site, not a flashy design. Look at Craigslist. Simple, to the point, and very successful.

Tip 10:
Get your content to your designer ASAP. Don't make a designer wait a month to get going on your site because you can't get your act together. Be ready to launch a website, if you are just thinking "yeah, that would be cool to have a website"...wait...wait...wait...and when you are sure of all the details about your business, then call.

Tip 11:
Don't ask a designer to teach you how to do it, they have classes for that, and they cost THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS and a week out of a designer's life.

Tip 12:
NO, A DESIGNER CAN'T GIVE YOU A 20+ PAGE FLAWLESS WEBSITE IN 2 WEEKS that includes Javascript, PHP and Flash! A front page of it, maybe, depending on the complexity. And NO, THEY WILL NOT DO IT FOR $250.

Tip 13:
If you're on a budget buy a consumer web program and learn it, it would be cheaper for you in the short term until you really need a professionally-designed and coded website.

Tip 14:
If you're a company that can, hire a web developer/graphic designer full time, it's more economical for the amount of work you can get out a someone in 8 hours. A designer will work for $15-25/hour at a job if they are given benefits and regular paycheck. Otherwise, they have to pay our own taxes, health insurance and save money like a 401(k). Also, Graphic/Web developers are handy around a technically-challenged office.

Tip 15:
And finally, if you like your designer, they did a good job, they acted professionally, pass out their card to people who need a website. Referrals are greatly appreciated.

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/15-tips-for-people-who-think-they-want-a-website.html

Mobile Phones and Driving - Safety Tips

When using a mobile phone while driving, safety is the most important call you will make. All drivers can make safety their first priority by following these ten simple steps.

1. Always Use Hands Free
In Australia it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless you use a hands free in-car-kit or portable hands free device. When using a portable hands free device make sure it is set up and working before you start to drive. A hands free device can reduce the physical effort to make and receive calls; however, it alone doesn’t make using a mobile phone while driving safe.

2. Plan Your Trip and Make Calls When Stationary
Whenever possible plan your trip and make calls when stationary or during rest breaks in long trips.

3. Don’t Call in Heavy Traffic or Weather Conditions
Don’t accept or make calls if traffic and weather conditions could make it unsafe to do so. Also, even if the traffic conditions are light, always tell the person you are speaking to that you’re driving and that you may have to end the call if driving conditions change.

4. Don’t Engage in Complex or Emotional Conversations
If a call becomes complex or emotional tell the person you are speaking to, you are driving and suspend the call. Complex and emotive conversations on a mobile phone, or with other passengers, and driving don’t mix – they are distracting and can be dangerous.

5. Use Message Services to Answer Calls
If a call is unnecessary or you consider it unsafe to answer at the time, don’t answer the call. Let it divert to voicemail or an answering service.

6. Pull Over Safely if You Stop to Make a Call
If you choose to stop to answer or make a call or retrieve a message, pull over carefully in a safe area. Don’t stop where you could be a hazard to other vehicles, pedestrians or yourself.

7. Use Your Phone’s Features to Reduce the Effort to Make a Call
Before using our phone while driving, carefully read your phone’s instruction manual and learn to use the speed dial and redial features of your phone. Also, if possible, use a phone with voice activated dialing and automatic answering features to reduce the effort to make and receive a call.

8. Never Take Notes, Look Up Phone Numbers, Read or Send SMS
Always keep both eyes on the road and never take notes during a call. Don’t read or send text messages or SMS (Short Messaging Service) while driving. If required, use a directory assistance service which connects you directly to the number and don’t look up phone numbers from your phone’s memory.

9. Tell callers you’re driving while on the phone
Always let the person you’re speaking to know that you are driving. This lets them know that you may not always respond immediately and reminds you that driving safely is your first priority. “Hello, I’m in the car at the moment…”

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/mobile-phones-and-driving--safety-tips.html

Tips And Tricks To Improve The Performance of Your Lap Top Battery

The working of a laptop mainly depends on a charger. Life of a laptop battery is affected by many factors. Some of them are given below and we are also telling you the tips that will surely help you a lot.

In every laptop there is an energy saving mode, you should have to take full advantage. By this you can increase or decrease the power. Two power schemes are available on your windows.

One is Laptop power scheme that reduces the use of power and increases the life of the battery. The other one is Maximum power battery scheme that also reduces the power use but the disadvantage of this scheme is, as your processing demands changes it does not adjust by itself.

Maximum battery should only be used in the case of reading documents and if you want to take notes to the meeting. Even according to specific needs, we can customize the power scheme. It is up to us that how many custom power schemes we want to create.

Running very heavy program on your laptop would surely be a harmful thing for its battery. Watching movies daily will put heavy weight on your laptops battery and will decrease its life. But if you have a spare battery then it's OKAY.

The monitor of your system is the biggest consumer of the battery. But I have a solution. First of all find the brightness control and turn it down, it will surely add life to the battery.

People used to think that lap top battery only works less than a year. That's not true but it doesn't mean that it has a long life. You will be impressed by its performance in first year but it's a machine, wear and tear is always a matter of thinking.

Now I am going to discuss, types of a battery

Nickel cadmium Lithium-ion Battery:

Now a days you will mostly find laptops with Lithium ion battery. This cycle provides you with 300-500 charge/discharge cycles. This battery is not friendly with overcharging. If we will try to overcharge it, it sucks. Life of this battery is very badly affected by high temperature. This battery works well for a time period of 2-3 years. After that it will not completely fail but will work rather slow. Charging and discharging habits of a user will not cause as much damage to the battery as caused by exposure to elevated temperature.

Nickel-based Battery:

In this type of battery, before fully charging, it's better to completely discharge it. If it is partially discharged before recharging then the resulting capacity of the battery would be decreased.

Lithium battery has more voltage capacity than Nickel based battery. If your laptop has passed a time of 3 years, it is better to use Nickel based battery.

I hope the above information will surely help you in selecting the right kind of battery for your laptop. Enjoy computing, have a nice time.

How to get the price you want!

Knowing how to haggle has become a lost art. To our grandparent's generation, it was a way of life. To us, it has all but disappeared. With prices soaring out of control every year, maybe it's an art form that needs to go mainstream again.

Do your research

You can't bargain for a good deal if you don't know what one is when you see it. Before you ever begin shopping and trying to work out bargains, start at home with the internet and the local newspaper.

Decide on the specifications of the product you want. What's important to you? What must the new product have that you need? Now, start looking for the best price. Search the internet and local sales papers. Once you have your facts, hit the stores and start bargaining.

Timing is everything

The best time to find bargains is at the end of every month. Sales and store managers have quotas that they must meet every month. If they haven't met their quota for the month, they'll be quite happy to bargain with you.

Use discretion

The manager might be willing to make a deal with you, but not necessarily everyone else in the store. Keep your haggling quiet. If the other nearby shoppers hear you getting a deal, they'll bombard the manager with requests for their own discounts and the manager definitely doesn't want that to happen

Know when to be quiet

Silence lets the retailer know that you are undecided and "on the fence". Silence is often the key to getting a better price or another product or service thrown in for free.

Realize that all big ticket items are negotiable

The markup on big ticket items is huge. In other words, there's a lot of room for the retailer to deal and still come away with a profit. How much profit is up to you. Find the right person to ask, usually the manager, and then have to courage to ask for the deal. Most of the time, the manager is willing to bargain.

Don't look at haggling from a negative point. By learning how to haggle and looking at from the point of being a challenge, you can not only save money but have a good time doing it.

Original Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/how-to-haggle-and-get-the-price-you-want.html

Tire Safety - How To Avoid Becoming a Statisic

Not following basic tire safety practices is responsible for 600 deaths and 33,000 injuries every year according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Would you like to know the #1 safety practice that is ignored and responsible for these statistics? Keep reading.

Believe it or not, underinflated tires is the cause of the shocking statistics listed above. Hard to believe, but it's true. By ensuring proper air amounts in your tires you not only stay safe, but you increase the fuel efficiency in your vehicle. Here are 5 tire safety tips to keep you safe.

1. Check your tires on a regular basis

Look for bulges in the sidewall or tread, cracks, and cuts.

2. Pay attention to uneven tread wear

Uneven wear on your tires means your tires are out of alignment or your suspension system may need adjustments.

3. Check the tread depth

For good handling and traction, the tread on your tires cannot be worn too low. To check for the proper depth, use a quarter. When you insert a quarter into the tread of your tires, it should come to Washington's head -- less means your tread is too worn.

4. Check your air pressure monthly

To do this properly, you should check the pressure when your tires are cold (before you drive anywhere). To know how much pressure should be in each tire, check the label on the door jamb, or in your glove compartment. It will tell you the proper level or pressure for the tires for your model of vehicle.

5. Notice vibration

If you feel vibration as you are driving your car, it could mean that you have a wheel out of alignment, or it could be signs of internal tire damage.

Keep a list of these tire safety tips handy so you can remember to follow them. By ensuring your tires are properly inflated and in good condition, you can keep yourself or one of your loved ones from becoming a statistic on America's highways.

Original Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/tire-safety--how-to-avoid-becoming-a-statisic.html

Dont Let money come between friends...

Although borrowing money is usually done with the best intentions, lending money to friends can leave you without your money and possibly without your relationship.

Loaning money is almost always a bad idea, but with so many people losing their jobs, homes, and savings it’s a real possibility that you may find yourself seriously considering helping a friend in financial trouble when they ask that dreaded question: “Can I borrow some money?”

Before agreeing to a loan, try opening the lines of communication to understand their situation. It may be that your friend would be better off working with a reputable budget counseling organization. And sometimes, even though it’s difficult, saying “no” is often the best thing you can do for someone.

If you are considering lending money to a friend, the experts at Consumer Credit Counseling Services, a division of Money Management International, offer the following advice.

• Don’t put yourself in a tight spot. Only loan money you can afford to lend and make sure you’re still allowing extra cash flow for yourself. List all necessary living expenses and make sure those items have been paid prior to agreeing to lend money. Ensuring that your obligations are met before making a loan will guarantee that you don’t end up in a similar situation.

• Put it in writing. If you choose to lend someone money, treat the loan like you would any other business matter. Discuss the terms of the agreement and put the details in writing. Be sure to list both parties involved, the interest rate, due dates, payment amounts, and penalty for late or missed payments. Also, be sure to keep a thorough record of all payments made.

• Know your place. Do not assume a position of power by expecting special treatment from the borrower. Also, once the money has been lent, don’t try to control how it is spent. Being too authoritative could damage your friendship.

• Prepare for the worst. Make sure you are comfortable with collecting the money owed to you. Document the date and time of any letters or phone calls sent to collect on your loan and be sure to make note of all the responses to your attempts. Your records may be necessary if you plan to take the matter to court, or if you plan to write the debt off as non-business bad debt on your next tax return.

If you still aren’t sure whether or not you should extend a loan, remember this famous quote from Shakespeare: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend.” Also, remember that banks charge interest rates for a reason -- lending can be a very risky business.

Source: http://www.complaintsboard.com/articles/dont-let-money-come-between-friends.html

“My Dying Conscience”: Lovely poem by Reshmi Trivedi

Lovely poem by Reshmi Trivedi —————————————— Sometimes in the dark of the night, I visit my conscience   To see if  it is still breathing, F...