How to Lower Teen Cell Phone Costs

130912155427-wallace-cell-phones-be-present-box-1-story-top

The average monthly cost of a cell phone bill is approximately $80 in the United States. That price is just for one person. If you add people to your plan, your monthly cell phone expenditure can easily exceed $200 per month.

If you have teen cell phone users on your plan, you may be looking for ways to lower the costs of their cell phone plans. After all, there are better ways to spend your money than on a cell phone bill. Here are 5 ways you can easily lower the costs of the cell phone bill for your teens.

Prepaid Cell Phones
Prepaid cell phones may not be a popular choices for teen users. However, they are the best choices if you want to save money on your bill each month.

These plans begin at $10 per month and can increase up to $50 per month for unlimited data, texting and phone features. A prepaid cell phone will help you eliminate the stress associated with unexpected costs.

Eliminate Cell Phone Insurance
Cell phone insurance can easily add $10 per month to your monthly cell phone bill. By eliminating this one feature, you can save up to $120 per year.

Another benefit of eliminating this insurance is it will teach your teens to respect their phones. If they know they will have to pay full price to replace the phone, they will be less likely to haphazardly leave the phone in places where it can get damaged.

Buy a Cheaper Cell Phone
There are many plans available in which you can buy a cell phone and pay for it monthly. If you enroll in this program, you can easily pay an additional $30 per month on your cell phone bill.

A good way to eliminate this additional expense is to purchase a phone for your teen in cash. This might mean your teen will not have the most advanced smart phone. However, the cell phone will not be a monthly burden on your cell phone bill.

Negotiate Your Monthly Rate
If you have a good history with your cell phone carrier, you might be able to negotiate a lower rate. The only way to find out if lower rates are available is to ask.

Instead of going directly to the store, call your carrier’s customer service center. They will have more leverage to lower your bill than representatives in the store.

Assess Your Phone Bill
If your teen’s phone bill has gotten out of hand, it is important to take a hard look at the items that are on the bill. Eliminate every feature that you do not use or need.
You might be pleasantly surprised to discover you can save $30 per month by eliminating useless features.

A cell phone with all of the bells and whistles is a luxury. It is not a necessity. If you find that your teen’s bill is too high, make appropriate changes today.

How to Cater the Perfect Birthday Party On A Budget

photo-catering

When you’re planning a birthday party for a child, one of the things that you want to keep in mind is the food. You likely want to have a cake, which is sometimes where you will spend the most money. The food could get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be outrageous as you can cater a perfect party and still stick with a budget.

Plan Ahead
If you know of an approximate number of guests who will be at the party, then it can make it easier to purchase food. When you don’t know how many people you will have to serve, then it can be easy to spend more money on items that aren’t needed. Make a list¬†of all the people who you want to invite. Set a limit as to the number of people. Once you have an idea as to the number who tell you that they will be there, then you can begin shopping for the essential items that are needed.

Snacks
Instead of serving a meal, consider serving snack foods. You don’t even have to cook anything in order to have a fun party. Set up the cake in the center of the table, and add bowls of chips, nuts and ice cream so that guests have something to enjoy. These are items that are easy to open and pour on a plate or into a bowl, and you can often get them on sale without paying a lot of money.

Simple Steps
If you do want to serve a meal to guests, consider something that’s easy to do and doesn’t involve a lot of money. Hot dogs are ideal for children. The toppings are rather inexpensive as well. You can use slaw, chili, ketchup and mustard as side items so that guests can choose what they want on their hot dog. If you have a little more flexibility in the budget, consider hamburgers for the adults. Another option for something simple and inexpensive is pizza. Grab a few frozen pizzas, and serve them on a fun platter that matches the theme of the party.

Dollar Stores And Bulk
You don’t need to get everything at a high-priced supermarket. There are quite a few items that you can find at a general dollar store, such as chips and the accessories that you need to serve the food. When you buy in bulk, you can often save money as you can get larger amounts of the items that you need that have been priced at a lower cost per unit.

Friends And Family
Talk to friends and family who are coming to the party to see if they can help with the food. You could do a pot luck dinner with each person bringing a dish. Another option is for everyone to bring a favorite candy or ice cream. Once you have all of the items that guests bring, you can set up a table for everyone to get what they want.

8 Surprising Wedding Dress Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Screen shot 2014-04-19 at 7.34.05 PM

Weddings are magical. Every bride wants to be a princess walking down the aisle to meet their prince charming. There are key elements that make this day possible, one of which is the bridal gown. Sure the cake, venue and flowers are important too; but everyone is going to be looking at that dress. Wedding dresses have evolved over time and today’s description of this famous gown isn’t what it was 100 years ago. Here are some fun facts that might surprise you about the wedding dress.

1. Brides Buy Their Gowns At Least 11 Months Before The Wedding:

It’s a proven fact that when a girl gets a ring, the next thing she is looking for is the gown for her big day.

2. Brides Spend More Money on Their Dress than on Their Hair and Makeup:

The bride cares so much about the dress; she will often max out the wedding budget to get the one she wants. That means if she must cut costs on hair and makeup, so be it.

3. The Longest Train on a Wedding Dress is 1.85 miles Long

This record was set in Romania and made it into the Guinness World Book of Records. It was made by Andree Salon for a Romanian Bride.

4. The Wedding Dress was Patterned After Queen Victoria

When Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert back in 1840, she insisted on wearing a sparkling white gown. It wasn’t meant to represent purity; rather she liked the color white.

5. Pinterest is Considered The Place To Go For Wedding Dress Tips

Pinterest has become so popular that more than 50 percent of women in the UK are using their tips and tricks to find and design the perfect wedding gown.

6. Blue Was The Standard Color For A Wedding Dress

We’ve already discussed that the wedding gown changed colors when Queen Victoria wore white in 1840. Before this time period, women wore blue dresses because it was a sign of purity in the middle ages. The old saying “something borrowed something blue,” came from this time.

7. The Average Cost of a Wedding Dress is Near $1,400

Though some may spend way more on their wedding gown that the average price of $1,355 the typical bride in the US doesn’t spend as much as one would think.

8. 46 Percent of Brides Pass Their Dress Down To Their Children

Though we often see tons of dresses online that are being auctioned off daily, almost half the population still believes in the old tradition of saving the dress for their children and grandchildren. It’s a sweet gesture, but usually, the dresses don’t get worn.

There are so many things about the wedding dress that people don’t know. About 32 percent buy their dress from a retail store while 18 percent will order their online. However, a bride chooses to find her dress is up to her. There is no right or wrong way to have a spectacular dress on a memorable day.

6 Creative Ways to Add Flair to Your Wedding Day Look

images (48)

You are unique, and you want your wedding to showcase your personalities. While many couples have some traditional expectations for their big day, many more are looking for ways to add a memorable flair to their wedding day look. Below are some fantastic, creative ideas to get you started.

Carry out a theme

If you have a family heritage, hobby or memories you want to include, make it a part of your look. For example, if you’re Irish and planning an Irish-themed wedding, give each other claddagh rings symbolizing love, friendship and loyalty. Try “hand-fasting,” literally tying the knot during the ceremony, carrying a horseshoe or incorporating green into your look.

Creative floral design

Go with unconventional pops of color and interesting combinations when choosing your flowers. Berries, buds, small branches, greenery, rhinestones, copper wire and more can add charm and vivaciousness to your bouquet. Also, wrapping the stems with a handkerchief, raffia, or strips of silk, burlap or lace can be a creative way to incorporate your overall wedding day theme into your floral design.

Change up the white dress and tuxedo

Your wedding dress is a huge part of your big day look. Once you find the perfect dress, personalize it with a shawl, colorful sash or pin. Maybe you want to invest in a“transformer” dress, one that shortens to be perfect for dancing at your reception or utilize pieces of a vintage family gown in your dress. Options are almost limitless! If the traditional tuxedo is too much for the groom, consider the type of wedding you’re having. A church wedding may still necessitate a suit, but an outdoor wedding can include anything from khakis, suspenders and bowties to jeans and cowboy boots.

Experiment with headpieces

A traditional veil is beautiful, but get creative with using your mom’s or grandmother’s veil in addition to incorporating your “something old.” Also, short headpieces featuring feathers and lace, exotic hairbands and beautiful tiaras abound. If you have an artistic flair, you may even want to create your own headpiece! For the groom, a cowboy hat or fedora can add some fun to the wedding day look.

Add some fun shoes

Nothing is more fun at a wedding than seeing a great, happy pair of shoes peeking out from under a wedding gown. Whether you choose rhinestone boots, “glass” slippers, colorful heels or comfortable Chuck Taylors, your feet can have a personality all their own. The same goes for the groom with Van’s, Sperry’s or flip-flops. One-of-a-kind shoes also add lots of pizzazz to pictures!

Find some out of the ordinary accessories

A statement necklace is sure to garner ooh’s and ahh’s from everyone, but artistic bangles, earrings, rings and anklets can add a pop of style as well. Don’t forget about carrying something that reflects your personality, like a monogrammed handkerchief or parasol.

Ultimately, your wedding day is about you as a couple and your love for each other, so work together to choose looks that will feature the best of who you are.

4 Benefits of Proper Humidor Care

9493a-img_0360

So you have taken up smoking as a hobby? Choosing and maintaining a Humidor to house your tobacco products is extremely important. Taking the time to properly set them up, maintain their humidity, and keep them in a safe place will yield many benefits. Here are a few of the major benefits you can expect to see with proper care.

First off, if you take care of the Humidor, you are saving yourself quite a bit of trouble with your cigars or pipe tobacco in the long run because they will stay fresh longer. When the humidity is right, the tobacco stays fresh and crisp. If you do not make sure the humidity is ideal, you are asking for your products to dry out. Checking the humidity regularly can save you loads of money just by keeping your tobacco products ready for you when you want them. Wikipedia has a great section that deals with how important the proper humidity and temperature are for your Humidor. It also has some interesting facts about typical construction and types of Humidors that you may find interesting.

Secondly, you will be preventing devastating mold. If the humidity is too high, mold may grow, and we all know that once something is exposed to mold spores it has to be replaced. Mold will always grow back and at an excellerated rate. This is especially important if you have invested in a high-quality Humidor because there is no coming back from a mold infestation.

Thirdly, you are preventing the possibility of tobacco beetles. These little beasts are tiny, but like mold, they can mean a death sentence for your beautiful new Humidor. They eat anything they can get their little feelers on and they are about the size of a pinhead. If given the chance, they will devour all of your tobacco products as well as the Humidor itself. If you catch the infestation quick enough, you can get rid of them by freezing everything in Ziplock bags, but that alone is causing you a great hassle. By keeping the humidity below 74%, you can prevent them from hatching and if you are truly passionate about your hobby, you will want to save yourself that headace.

Lastly, caring for your Humidor properly is important because it will do it’s job longer for you. Many are beautifully carved works of art and can last for many, many years if the proper steps are taken to ensure it. Thompson & Co. Cigars stresses taking steps toward “Long Term Maintenance” such as keeping your Humidor away from direct sunlight, dust, and direct interior lighting. They also suggest opening the lid as little as possible to keep the humidity even and rotating your cigars monthly.

Overall, if you have purchased a nice Humidor to keep your tobacco in, you will want to make maintenance a priority. Proper maintenance will not only save you time and money, but will also yeild these important benefits for your products.

4 Exercise Moves that Relieve Stress

KBX2

Exercising isn’t just for staying in shape. It actually has many other benefits besides that. Exercising is a way to release stress and positive endorphins. Not only does exercise make a person feel better physically, it makes them feel better mentally as well. There are certain exercises in particular that are known for people to relieve stress.

Running has long been considered one of the top exercises in relieving stress. Running is therapeutic in a way because a person just focuses on themselves, maybe a little bit of music, and their feet pounding the pavement. The sights and sounds of nature help to calm a person’s nerves. The running motion is fairly simple and basic. Anyone can grasp it and choose a pace that’s right for them. Therefore, there’s no stress in having to nail down a new exercise routine. CNN says that running is good for any age and any skill level as long as proper precautions are taken.

Secondly, yoga has many mental health benefits. Yoga has been known to relieve stress. That’s because the body isn’t just stretching and moving into new positions. The mind is also relaxing and becoming one with the surrounding. Yoga takes a person away from all the stresses of life and gives them time to focus on relaxation and rejuvenation. There is a large selection of yoga poses. Some find that child’s pose really helps them to relieve stress and get back in touch with their inner feelings. It all depends on a person and what feels right for their body. There are yoga positions for beginners, intermediate, and advanced users. That way, a person doesn’t have to struggle and stress their body out to make a position work. They can simply do what feels right. The Huffington Post even says that yoga can be done on the go. Whenever a person is stressed they can break out the yoga moves.

Doing laps in a pool is another form of stress relief while offering a full body workout. The water surrounding a person helps them to feel at ease and peace. It relaxes their mind and takes away all the stresses. When a person does laps in the pool, they are just focusing on keeping their body moving to make it through the water. They aren’t thinking of any of the days irritants.

Finally, kickboxing is an exercise move that alleviates stress. It’s the perfect exercise for anyone who has built up tension and is just looking for a way to release all of that. Kickboxing allows someone to punch and kick out all of their frustrations in a safe manner. They are left feeling less stressed after they unwind with a kickboxing class. Kickboxing is one of those exercises that a person can embark on alone or with a friend. They can do the activity within a class setting or at their local gym on their own. There is always options when it comes to kickboxing.

Overall, exercise has long been linked with stress relief. There are a variety of different options and poses. A person just has to find the right fit for them.

5 Benefits of Buying a New Home at the End of the Year

images (22)

The American dream is to buy a home. Whether it’s a big two-story tutor in the city or a ranch in the country makes no difference, owning a home is a blessing. That place to call home can bring in some great benefits, more so around tax season. Summer is known as the best time to move, but when it comes to perks; the end of the year is the time to buy. Here are some reasons why you should make that purchase happen before the New Year begins.

1. Uncle Sam Gives Back

The tax breaks that a person gets are reason enough to sign on the dotted line. While you cannot claim everything you spend on your taxes, you can write off any mortgage interest that you pay. Don’t forget the deductions for property taxes and points on your loan. If you add all these deductions up, it’s a significant amount to write off.

2. Sellers Are Motivated

Sellers change in the fall and winter months. While they may have held out for top dollar in the spring, their attitude might change in the winter. There usually aren’t as many buyers combing the ads looking for a home in the off season. People get desperate when they don’t have any interest in their home; they may be willing to cut their price considerably. Buyers find that sellers accept offers they would have otherwise rejected in the earlier parts of the year.

3. Builder Incentives

If you are going the route of a new home, you will find many builders offer extra perks to get the deal closed by the end of the calendar year. You may find that you get a carpet upgrade or a few features that weren’t necessarily on the plan before. Also, be sure to ask for more because they are willing to give. Being able to close the year with as many sales as possible is advantageous to their bottom line.

4. Having Something of Your Own For The Holidays

Around the holidays, people become emotional about family and togetherness. Perhaps that new home has a large living or dining space that will accommodate your brood easily, or maybe you just want the liberty to have as many people over without interrupting other neighbors like you would in a rental.

5. An Easier Time To Move

You will find that it is easier to reserve a rental truck this time of year, and there won’t be a rush on moving boxes either. Yes, the fall and winter seasons are the perfect times to move. With a little luck and some hard work, you will find the home of your dreams at the price you want. You may even get those little extra perks like built-ins or an upgraded siding if you buy new.

How to Measure and Choose Window Treatments for Your Home

medium.8085866d-11bf-4dcb-ac80-b9deaec4bba3

There are a lot of different treatments to choose from when you are looking into window treatments, and that can make it kind of difficult to make a decision, here is a list of just some of the options you have to choose from in terms of window treatments:

1. The laid-back Roman Shade Style- The Roman shades are actually known for being a great alternative to drapes or blinds in a home or office. These shades will be able to help put a soft touch to a window’s weird-looking lines and at the same time, they will be able to control the amount of light and heat a room receives. These types of shades are actually very recognizable by their bottom which curves. They will make the perfect shades for rooms that are on the traditional side of style or rooms that have a feminine touch.

2. The Flat Roman Style Shades- These types of shades are also known for being the most used Roman style of shades, thanks to their being able to look good in settings that are feminine or masculine and also are good in various design aesthetics. They are basically able to be spotted by their straight edge that runs on the fabric’s bottom half.

3. The Functional Panels- The most important decision to make in terms of window treatments is whether or not to get stationary or functional panels. The functional panels have the ability to be used for the control of the amount of light that comes into a room and the amount of privacy allowed in a room. These panels usually cost more than the stationary panels and are made with the right amount of fabric so that you are able to draw them open and also closed.

4. The Stationary Panels- These panels are made for decoration, not function. They can be used to add a soft touch to a window’s edges. These panels are relatively cheap and need lass fabric than that of the functional panels, making them a good buy on a budget.

5. The Drapery Lengths- When someone refers to the term break, they are referring to the drapery panel bottom touching the floor. If you are a person that has kids and pets, it is probably a good ideal to make a break of at least 1/4 inch off the floor. This break is great for cleaning, since the hem is off the floor, making it easy to clean under.
Tips for Measuring Window Treatments for Your Home

1. Make sure to use a tape measuring tool that is made with metal. This is way easier and more efficient.

2. Make sure that you measure all of the windows in the house, even if you believe that they are all of the same size.

3. When it comes to decorative traverse rods and cafe style curtains that are able to be hung using rings, make sure that you start all of the measurements at the ring’s bottom for accurate measurements.

How to Shade the Inside of Your Home and Keep it Cool

cost-effective-ways-to-keep-your-home-cool

When it comes to summertime, keeping your house cool does not have to be a problem for anyone. During the summer, the sun starts to beat down on houses and it can cause the overall temperature of the house to go skyrocketing, making being inside feel very uncomfortable. Having an air-conditioner can prevent the unpleasant feelings during the summer, but that can take a toll on your electric bill, and the cost of the air conditioner, having it installed, renting one or just buying one outright can cause your money to disappear in a heartbeat. Not only is the cost of air-conditioning really expensive, but the effect that the air conditioning units can have on the ozone layer can be very harmful.

There are however, alternatives that everyone can use to replace air conditioning in their home, here are some of those alternatives:

1. Shading- You can shade your home using trees, bushes and shades. This is able to cause the temperature of the atmosphere in the home to drop by as much as 20 degrees, making shading a great alternative to air conditioning.

2. Walls- When it comes to the color of your walls, the color does not just have to be for decorative purposes, it can also be the difference between a hot summer and a cool summer. Darker shades of color on walls have been proven effective in the lowering of temperatures in houses and the lighter shades can actually attract the heat to the house causing the temperature to rise in the house.

3. Windows- Around the amount of 40% of the heat that is not wanted in a home can actually be traced back to coming from the windows. One of the ways to fix this problem is to use reflective window coatings when it comes to your windows. These will help in reflecting the heat and making it leave the home and are plastic sheets. The reflective window coatings are not just good for making a house become cool, they are also great for stopping glare from the light outside and can lessen the fading of draperies, carpeting and furniture. Sun control films is one of the plastic sheet coatings that are very popular. Reflecting around 80% of the sunlight that is coming indoors, sun control films are very popular in the areas of the world where there are higher temperatures. However, a lot of the sun control films are known for lessening the amount of heat that is inside as well as they reduce the amount of light, meaning that they can cause you to become a little too cold during the summer if the weather outside is not too hot.

 

Exterior Home Painting Tips for Newbies

exterior1before

It may seem like a daunting task, but with the right equipment, the right paint and some patience, it can be done.It may well take more than one day, so that should be one thing you prepare for. Choose your colors and trim, and then get your equipment together and get ready to paint. Here are some tips for people who may not have painted many houses.

There is no escaping the reality of having to prepare your house to be painted. The preparation takes longer, and is harder, than painting. Avoid the temptation to scrimp here. Scraping off old paint down to the wood is the best thing you can do, and it will require sanding as well. Some spackling may also be needed.

Be careful when choosing your paint. Professional painters say you should use the best possible paint. You can tell the grade by the label or by the price. A more expensive higher grade paint will last longer, look better longer, and wash easier. A very high grade of paint could last 20 years while a low grade will last only a few.

Likewise, put some thought into your equipment, such as brushes and rollers. These paint applicators also come in different grades and prices, but you don’t really save money in the long run with the cheaper ones. A higher quality roller, for instance, will apply the paint more evenly and actually spread the paint out more.

Start painting on the shady side of the house. Paint in the shade, or keep wet paint in the shade, as much as possible. You can start on the shady side, and in the evening the other side will be in shade. In bright sunlight pain dries too fast and that can lead to early blistering. You should also avoid extreme temperatures, especially cold. Most paints should not be applied at below 50 degrees.

You will likely need a 24-foot extension ladder, and maybe scaffolding. You can usually rent these at hardware stores or rental stores. While working high up, practice safety. When reaching to the right or left, keep your body inside the ladder area to avoid tipping over. It is better, and safer, to climb down and move the ladder and climb back up, even if it is just a few inches.

Often groups will paint, with everyone painting a section. For best results however, professionals recommend painting one section at a time and then moving to the next section. This allows the paint to dry more evenly and will give it an overall smooth appearance.

Avoid working alone if you are on a ladder. This is just a safety measure in case you were to fall. A partner can also keep a ladder steady on uneven ground.