Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Would You Travel The World If It Cost Less - A Lot Less?


There are a handful of questions we all ask ourselves on a bi-weekly basis. What is the meaning of life? Where do I want to be in five years time? Should I do more volunteering? How do I ask my boss for a raise without it backfiring? And, at the top of the pile, how can I save money on travel?

Now, we’re not going to pretend we’re some wise old woman from the Himalayas that has all the answers to all these things. Not a chance. We don’t. But when it comes to heading overseas and staying on budget without sacrificing any of the fun, well, we’re the voice of reason. Searching for money-saving tricks has almost become an unhealthy obsession of ours, which is partly because travel has shot up on our priority list over the past few years (much like it has for every other human on planet earth).

It’s that feeling of escaping the humdrum of everyday life and the stress of the wake, work, sleep, repeat routine, and switching it out for moments of exploration, joy, happiness and the chance to create super-precious memories. The problem has always been the lack of money trees growing in our backyard.

It’s not so bad if you're going away in a group of people where you can all chip in to cover the cover the cost of this and that. But if you’re going for a solo adventure, there’s unwritten need to swallow the uneconomical pressures of car rental, accommodation costs, getting about in cabs and all that sort of stuff. That’s why we’ve come up with this extensive list.

So, without further ado, here are our top tips, tricks and bits of advice to help you turn your trip for one into an incredible money-saving journey.

1. Sign-Up To Sweet Email Alerts
The one we’re a member of is Jack’s Flight Club, but there are so many to pick from - Opodo, Airfarewatchdog and Liligo to name but a few. And the way they work is so, so simple. Every week, you get numerous emails straight to your inbox with a list of cheap as chips flights to some far-flung destinations. Yup. these companies trawl the internet to find seriously cheap offers that are utterly perfect for those with a) a love for spontaneous trips and b) a bucket list that they are desperately trying to work their way through. Oh, and we’re not just talking about a saving a few bucks here and there. No way. We’re talking about saving hundreds and hundreds of bucks - at least - without having to do anything but check your inbox every so often.

2. Flexibility Is Your Best Friend
There are two ways flexibility can save you big bucks and the first is all to do with your destination. If you’re up for being flexible on your destination then the world really does become your oyster. You’re travelling alone and that means you can go wherever you want without consulting anyone, so Use search tools like Kayak, Skyscanner, or Adioso, or an app like GTFO, all of which allow you to search flights to “anywhere.” Then set yourself a flight budget and see what you can snag within that figure. Trust us: you’ll be shocked at how far you go. The other thing you should be flexible on is your dates. Even swapping an afternoon flight for an early morning one can save you a large chunk of change, so just imagine what you could keep in your pocket if you flew on a Wednesday morning instead of Friday evening. Flexibility is your bestie.

3. Pinch A Penny With Points
With the rise of Airbnb and all the choice that comes with it, the most costly part of going on a vacation is the flights. Hands down. That’s why we’ve focused on it in the first two points. But there’s another way you can reduce the cost of flying from here to there and it’s called points. Yup. Good old points, especially if you have something that’s geared towards this sort of saving, such as Chase credit cards for travelers. It’s arguably the best transferable points program on the market. It’s a rewards program that comes with a sign-up bonus (meaning a quick points boost) and it earns double points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases. But it’s not just airline purchases you get rewarded for. It’s hotels, Airbnb, taxis, Uber, and a whole lot more. Yummy.

4. From Rome 2 Rio
We know this may sound like a pretty niche travel route, and you’d be right, but it’s not actually a travel route at all. It’s a search engine and probably the best transport search engine in the world, in our opinion. The way it works is super-simple: you put in your departure spot and it will tell you how to get to your destination by all different transport methods, telling you straight up which option is the cheapest. It’s incredible. It’s nothing shy of incredible. It doesn’t matter where you’re going from or how far you are travelling, you get some idea of the best options out there.

5. Look Out For Freebies
Every city in the world is a hub or culture in some way or another, boasting a plethora of museums that could blow your mind in ways you never knew possible. The problem is, most museumgoers have to stump up a sometimes-not-so-reasonable fee. For example, the Louvre costs over $21 and the Museum of Chicago costs $36 for the do-everything pass. But not all museums are so steep. In fact, many of them are free. It’s just about knowing where to look and where to head in order to breeze in and out of an incredible museum without shelling out anything. Head to Washington D.C and there are 19 free museums and the National Zoo to visit for nothing, head to London and you can see everything from the National History Museum to the Tate Modern for zero expense. If you know, you know.

6. No How To Be Accommodated For Less
Backpacking in some hostel that rivals the one from The Beach in terms of uncleanliness is no longer the done thing, even for those travellers on a stricter than strict budget. Instead, there is a new trend of upmarket hostels that have all the comforts and chic touches of a boutique hotel for a fraction of the price. These are places that buzz with a community vibe as well as dance with some serious luxuries. Take the Tattva Design Hostel in Porto. It has a rooftop terrace complete with BBQ grills, and a DIY crepe station at the breakfast buffet and the cost for a bed is as little as $14.20. Of course, if sharing a space isn’t your cup of English tea, then there is the king of disruptive brands, Airbnb, which allows you to book a room in someone’s home or an entire place, giving you the chance to explore somewhere from a truly local base for a slice of what it would cost in a hotel.

7. Hand-Luggage Only
One of the best ways to save yourself a sack of cents and pennies is to pack light. No unnecessary pairs of extra shoes, no jumpers and no more than one pair of jeans. Why? Because you want to avoid those horrid baggage fees by travelling with a carry-on bag and nothing more. Seriously. The fewer bags you have, the less money you will have to fork out on airline fares and the easier you will be able to hop on and off public transportation when you arrive at your destination, with walking about made a million times easier too. Flip the coin over and you’ll find your cheap $47.60 flight to Rio becomes $110 and it’s all because of your big suitcase full of clothes you won’t wear.

8. Look For Enjoyable Exchange Rates
One of the secrets to having an amazing vacation for a fraction of the price is looking for currency exchange rates that will see your dollar stretch as far as it possibly can. In fact, we can’t stress this enough. Finding locations with the best exchange rate to cost-of-living ratio can add up to huge savings. It’s about taking your pretty decent US dollars and taking them to some favourable destination, whether that be travelling around the UK, Europe, Mexico, South America, South East Asia or wherever. Having a good exchange rate fall in your favour will see somewhere as beautiful as Portugal become impossibly cheap - food, lodging, travel, taxis, drinks, everything. Coming from the US, your mind will be blown, we promise.

Travel is that dream we all have. We all want to be more worldly and hold a host of amazing experiences in our storybook. The problem has always been the cost attached to it. But that belief is quickly fading and a new era of cheap adventures is sprouting up. It’s just a matter of knowing how to pinch pennies in everything you plan.

Make The Most Of Summer: ATVs vs Motorcycles



Looking to get out and enjoy the sun while it's shining at full force? The summer season is a time to explore and bring out your adventurous side. Whether you want to hit the road on your own motorcycle or climb the trials with an ATV, both options offer you the potential to go out and about and see new places.

If you're torn between an ATV and a motorcycle, take the time to compare them side-by-side and determine what's the best choice for you.

Motorcycles


Whether you choose a street cruiser, a dual purpose, or a trail bike, motorcycles are able to offer you added agility and versatility that simply can't compare to a car or other ride. Not only will a street legal motorcycle add extra fun to your daily commute, it also opens up the doors to day trips, weekend getaways, and even a long-haul summer road trip so you can explore all the sights and attractions around you.

Plus, with a larger cruiser, you can even bring a friend along for the ride! Some high-end cruisers feature radios, air conditioners, windshields, and yes: even self-balancing and reverse add-ons, making your ride a true luxury one. Motorcycle jackets for women and men are an absolute must if you'll be riding on the road! Not only do they look great, they also add an extra layer of rash protection in case of a fall.

If you would rather get off the road, though, you might be looking more along the lines of a trail bike, which will give you the freedom to explore all the trails in your area like never before. When considering a trail bike, keep in mind that you'll need a way to get it to and from the trails. There are some integrated transport systems that can mount in a truck bed, in your hitch, or even pull behind your vehicle for easy towing.

But, what if you want the best of both worlds? A dual purpose bike might be the way to go. Allowing you the power to go on the trails with the potential to ride on the road, a dual purpose bike literally allows for a seamless transition from your local highway onto your favorite off-road trail! Take on dirt, pavement, or anything in between without missing a beat.

When it comes to looking at a motorcycle from an investment standpoint, the exact make and model of your bike is going to determine its resell value. Determining which type of bike is the best investment for you will depend on your own personal preference and what sort of adventure you're after.

ATVs


Dirt bikes and dual purpose bikes have their place in the world of off-roading, but if you're serious about getting out there and exploring, an  ATV might be the best option.

Although not quite as slim or agile as a motorcycle, an ATV does allow you more stability and it can power through terrain that a bike simply couldn't. An ATV is also going to give you room enough to bring along 1 or even 2 passengers on your next trail, and you can usually find under-the-seat storage options so you can take along the essentials.

As if that wasn't enough, a brief look at discount ATV parts will reveal that you can make all sorts of upgrades and add-ons for your ATV, from adding saddle bags for more storage to upgrading the stock lights or even putting on new safety features.

Now, with any off-road recreational vehicle, you are probably going to end up taking a tumble or scraping something up at some point or another. Luckily, OEM ATV parts are easy to come by, which means that you can get everything replaced and get yourself back on the road with minimal fuss or downtime.

Making Your Decision

Like a motorcycle, the amount of value an ATV holds is going to depend on the make and model you choose. The cost of an ATV can range anywhere from $4k to $10k. How much you pay for a motorcycle will depend on you if you choose street, trail, dual purpose, or a racing/dirt bike. Generally, a street cruiser begins at around $5k. Smaller trail bikes come in at around $3k. A dual purpose will generally cost you $5k to $10k or more, depending on what sort of features you're looking for.

When making up your mind, it might be best to just get out there and take one for a test ride so you can see for yourself just how much fun it can be.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Recycled! Dump Find!

Recycled tin from dump to add a protective covering over the unprotected wood on the shed!




Dos and Don’ts for New Homeowners

Congratulations— after a long search, negotiations with the owners, and finance process with a bank, you’ve received the keys to your home and are ready to move in. Before you unpack those moving boxes, however, there are some tips that you may find helpful as you venture into your journey as a new homeowner.



Don’t Overspend

Sure, settling into your new home is an exciting time and you probably want to decorate so you can show your beautiful new place off to friends and family. However, before you run up your credit card with trips to the home decor and furniture stores, think twice. You’ve likely just spent a significant amount of your savings on the down payment and closing costs for your new home, so it may not be wise to get in the red to furnish your new place. Instead of decking it out right away, take advantage of cheaper alternatives such as used items from second-hand shops or even yard sales. You may find items with personality that you wouldn’t find at your local big box store that fit in great in your new home.

Do Get Insurance

In your rush to close your new home, you may not have had the time to spend to really dig in into the different types of homeowners insurance available. Now that you’re getting settled in, shop around to see what different companies can offer your home. It is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, after all, so it only makes sense that you’d want to protect it with quality insurance that will cover you in the event of an emergency.

Don’t Ignore Maintenance

If you’re used to renting, then you may not know what goes into owning a home. As a homeowner, you should take time to make routine maintenance and repairs around your home to keep it in good shape. The first thing you should do is make a home maintenance checklist so you know exactly what you’re doing and you don’t overlook anything. Taking time once or twice a year to inspect your home for any issues can help prevent costly maintenance down the road.

Do Look for Incentives

Often, the federal government and other businesses such as your energy provider will offer tax incentives for homeowners who complete certain improvements that offer energy savings. Check with your government representatives and energy bill provider to see if there are any incentives you can take advantage of. Completing projects such as upgrading your HVAC system or installing energy-efficient windows can get you a rebate and added tax savings— just be sure to keep all your receipts so you have proof of your project.

Don’t Jump into Remodeling

You’ve just spent a significant amount of money on your home, so unless you’re planning on fixing up and flipping the house for a profit, it may not be wise to jump into home improvement projects right away. Instead, spend some time living in and getting used to your home. Once you have a good feel for what types of projects may need to be completed, you can prioritize them in order of importance and tackle them one at a time or as money allows.

Do Hire Professionals

If you do decide that you need to make a major home repair or renovation, leave the hard work up to the pros. Unless you’re a licensed contractor, you could end up doing damage to your home or harming yourself by taking on a large-scale project on your own. It’s beneficial to hire professionals because they come with experience and a licensure to handle the project. Chances are they’ll also have extra help with the job, so they can complete it faster than if you tried it on your own.

If you have a little help and some guidance, being a homeowner can be a rewarding experience. Using these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of being a new homeowner without the added headache.

How to Get a Bachelor’s #Degree without Breaking the Bank

One of the best ways to boost your career and increase your income is by getting a higher degree. For those working as a registered nurse, for example, this means studying for a family nurse practitioner degree from a reputable university. The same can be said for other professionals who want to push their career forward.

One of the main issues about pursuing a degree is the fact that it can be quite costly. That is why in this article we are going to review some of the best ways to save on your bachelor’s degree and how to get one without breaking your bank. Let’s get started, shall we?



Find Scholarships

The best way to enroll in one of the best online FNP programs – or other undergraduate program that suits you best – affordably is by applying for a scholarship. There are a lot of scholarship programs to apply for. On top of that, you don’t have to have high academic achievements to qualify for a scholarship.
Some programs are designed for those with special skills, such as art scholarships and similar programs. There are also scholarship programs that can help you get into top names such as Bradley University using sports or other talents as a way in.

These scholarship programs also cover different portions of your course. Some will only pay for tuition while others offer aids with other expenses associated with becoming a full-time student, too. Be sure to learn more about different scholarship programs before deciding to apply for one that matches your needs and personal preferences best.




Get a Degree Online

It is not a secret that online degrees are a lot more affordable than offline degrees. You can get the same degree – accredited and run by the same university – for as little as 50% of the cost when you choose to enroll in an online program. To make it even better, most – if not all – programs you can find offline are also available as online courses.

Distance learning programs are becoming more popular because these courses are designed to be very flexible. You can complete the course at your own pace, allocate the amount of time you can afford to set aside for studying, and still get a valuable degree from a reputable university. You can also complete the course while working a full-time job, and without having to relocate closer to the university.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

One last tip to keep in mind if you want to save on your next degree is to utilize student discounts and other special offers. As soon as the first semester starts, you are eligible for somegreat offers from retailers and top brands. As well you can learn more here on tuition assignments.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Pitmaster Big Moe Cason’s Tips to Host an Ultimate Summer Smoking’ BBQ



1.       Make It Simple
  Don’t over complicate it.  Barbecuing doesn’t need to be  intimidating.  

2.       Use Your Weber Grill As A Smoker 
  Create a “Dual Zone” by placing the charcoal to one side of the grill and the meat to the opposite side so there are no flare ups.

   Smoke Pork For Maximum FlavorTry Pork Belly!  “Bacon demands tend to peak during the summer” which is why pork bellies are now available in superstores such as Sam’s Club and Costco not only butcher shops.
   Pork Ribs cook for about 3 ½ - 4 hours at 250 degrees. Once they are done, use a probe from WalmartTarget, etc. to see when the ribs raise up to ½- ¾ of an inch. Another way to tell when they are done is to pick up the ribs with tongs and if they feel like they are about to crack or break in half, they’re ready.  Be sure to remove the membrane on the back of the rib before cooking so the back can absorb the flavors of the rub

  Pork Loins cook for about 1- 1 ½ hours at 250 degrees. Once the meat reaches 143 degrees take the meat out and let it rest so it does not overcook and dry out.

              Pork Steaks cook for about 2 hours at 250 degrees to cook and should be flipped over when there are 30 minutes left.

3.       Pair BBQ With A Big Red Soda
  Big Red is the nation’s most popular red soda and has always been a favorite pairing with the bold flavor of BBQ.

4.       Make Big Moe’s Simple Rub
  Making your own rub is easy with Moe’s simple rub of salt, sugar, garlic powder, and black pepper. 
   Moe also suggests the “8:5:2” ratio for a basic Texas rub. Eight parts of coarse ground black pepper, five parts of sea salt and seasoned salt and two parts of garlic salt.
   Put the rub on approximately 1 hour before smoking or grilling. 






ABOUT BIG MOE CASON
Big Moe Cason is a self-taught BBQ pit master. The Iowa native has participated in 260+ BBQ contests and was a season two finalist on TLC’s “Barbeque Pitmasters.” He was also a judge for Destination America’s “BBQ Pitmasters” in 2014 and “SMOKED” in 2013. For more information visit his Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

ABOUT BIG RED

Big Red Inc. is one of the top 10 beverage companies in North America with a history dating back to 1937. Along with Big Red®, recognized as the number-one selling red soda, Big Red Inc. also markets beverage brands Big Red Zero®, Big Blue®, Big Peach®, Big Pineapple®, NuGrape®, and Nesbitt’s® products. Distributed widely throughout the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Independent Bottlers and Pepsi Beverages Company, consumers across the country enjoy Big Red Inc.’s beverages.  For more information, please visitwww.bigred.com.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How the Internet Can Help You Manage Your Money

The internet can be really useful if you're trying to manage your money well. On top of helping you to be more organized with your money, it can save you time and make everything more convenient. There are several great ways you can use the internet to make managing your money easier. You might already be using some of them, but you can always learn more about how to manage your money. Take a look at the following advice for how to use the internet for money management and you could have much better control over your finances.


Use Online Banking

Not everyone uses online banking, but there are some really great benefits to using it. Getting set up with your bank's online system doesn't take long, and many banks now do it automatically when you open an account. Online banking allows you to do anything you would do using phone banking or even when visiting a branch. You can check your balance, transfer money, pay bills, examine your incomings and outgoings, order foreign currencies, and lots more. It's all secure and so much quicker than calling someone on the phone or visiting a branch to get your banking done.

Make Applications for Financial Products

Another great thing you can do online is apply for various financial products. You can often start opening a bank account online, although you might have to go into a branch to complete the application. There are online cash loans that you can secure without having to talk to anyone in person or speak on the phone. You can also make applications for credit cards and loans from your bank or other lenders. Some applications can be completed entirely online, while others might require some other checks.

Use Online Budgeting Tools

There are some great online tools that you can use to manage your budget. You can use applications on your browser or install budgeting tools on your mobile devices. Some of the budgeting tools you might like to use include BudgetPulse, Mint or CalendarBudget. There are lots of different tools that perform similar functions, but some are free and some you have to pay for. You might also prefer the look and feel of one of them compared to others. Functionality can vary too, and you can even connect some to your bank account. Try some out and see what you like.

Shop Online for Better Deals

Most people know by now that shopping online can save them a lot of money. However, you might not be doing it in the right way or you could be missing out on some great deals. Firstly, make sure you're being a savvy shopper. Don't buy things you weren't already intending on buying because you spot what looks like a good deal. Ask yourself whether something looks too good to be true before buying, and always use secure sites. Secondly, don't just use online stores - find great deals for everything from insurance to energy suppliers.

The internet can help you save a lot of money. Make sure you get a good deal on your internet connection too.

Could Your Career Be The Answer To Boosting Your Finances?

Do you feel trapped by your current income? You won’t be alone. More than 50% of families wish they had more spare income to pay towards things like holidays or extra luxuries in life. But with a fixed income, is there really anything else you can do? The truth is, your career or choice of job could be the answer all along, it would certainly help you to consider all of the options you have in front of you. I thought I would share with you some of the things you could consider to help boost your income and hopefully give you that extra disposable change you desire.


Ask for a pay rise

Say you are happy with your job. Perhaps you have been doing it for some time, and never had any issues, then maybe one of the first things you could consider doing would be to ask for a pay rise. Of course, you may need to consider your case when it comes to asking for a pay rise. Perhaps expressing how much work you have been doing, and how well you are doing in your current role. You can only ask.

Look for a promotion

Maybe you want to move on further up the career ladder, and so perhaps it could be that you want to look at promotion opportunities. You could take some time to sit with your manager and ask about your future with the business and what career path or journey you could be taking. Actively looking for a promotion and seeing what is available could provide you with some excellent opportunities to increase your earnings.

Change your career

Maybe you don’t enjoy your current career anymore, but perhaps feel trapped. You could consider changing your career at anytime, and often training in your spare time and gaining qualifications means that you don’t need to lose out. Whether it is something like a doctor of nursing degree, a career change focusing on something you are interested in or passionate about, or maybe just something different. The choice is yours to make.

Work freelance or for yourself

Maybe your option could be working for yourself, and this could be a great way to move into something different. Perhaps you could use the skills you already have, maybe from your current job but perhaps working for yourself could drastically improve the amount you earn and your lifestyle.

Take that plunge and start a business

Finally, maybe the option you have would be to take that plunge and start your own business. It might be something you have been working on for some time, or it could be that you have an idea that you just can’t get out of your head. Whatever it is, pursuing it might feel scary, but it could be the best decision you make.

I hope that this has given you something to think about when it comes to using your career and job as a way of boosting your finances.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What's New With Us For July 8, 2018

How is your summer going? 

I got some rhubarb from a neighbour yesterday- she doesnt use it, and got Gerry to dig some roots up to plant some of my own , and as well some stalks to make him some rhubarb crisp.



Gerry had to cut out a big mass of our trees yesterday after I noticed some black knots on them and a had a few readers point out to me what it was. Leaves an empty spot now where he had to cut that all out but, at least now we hope they will come back healthy.








Ordered my iron dextrin ( $330 and had to pre-pay! ) , from pharmacy, and will have to go for another infusion once that comes in. It's been almost a full 2 years Gerry said since my last one, and the one before that was a yearly, so I did not too bad I guess being able to go nearly 2 years this time. I can't absorb iron and am at the point again where it has dropped quite alot and I am feeling quite lethargic again.

Gerry put up my backsplash today in the RV. The mirror was starting to show its age along the bottom, but as well, everytime we were washing our hands there was overspray on the mirror, so hopefully now with the backsplash I got at Walmart, this will solve both of those issues.



We have a few things that need looking after in the RV- also waiting on the new windows that have to be replaced in it, do some more painting, fixing the back up camera, etc.

Gerry has starting re-building our side fence, and the neighbour who shares the fence with us has also chipped in for half of it. This 15 foot section was $180. 







We had a big storm here the other night that started about 3 am. Trees down all over, power out. We did okay though. We had a few of the neighbor's tree branches in our front yard, and lost power for about 5 hours through the night. Most people that lived out at the lake had more of the same issues but on a bigger scale.



We have a daughter coming to stay with us soon for a few weeks and another, later in August. Since the two of them are planning a trip to see their dad in August, Gerry and I may just get away ourselves. A Summer getaway would be nice.

Hoping your all having a good one- 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day To Our USA Neighbours!

Despite what has been happening between the USA and Canada with the US president and the Prime Minister, we still would like to wish our neighbours a Happy 4th of July.


We ourselves work with companies in the USA and we live there for half the year, every year, despite the lower dollar for us. We love the USA- the people, the sights and the sun we travel to every winter.

From our home to yours- Happy 4th of July- Independence Day!