Cell Phone Plans – Things To Know Before Signing

Cell phones can be very convenient, but before you sign a contract for wireless phone service, be sure to ask a number of questions:

Where can you make and receive calls? Most providers now promote their plans as local, regional or national. A local plan offers a low-cost option if most of your calls are near home. Regional plans generally offer a much larger geographic area, sometimes several states. If you call outside the area covered by these plans, you will pay long distance and roaming charges in addition to the airtime used. National plans are the most expensive, but they let you use your phone anywhere in the country for a single per-minute price. Roaming and long distance charges are replaced by a single, predictable flat rate.

How frequently will you use the phone? If you just want a phone for emergencies, an economy plan with a few minutes a month might be all that you need. On the other hand, if you are going to be a heavy user, a plan with several free hours and the lowest airtime charge is a wiser choice.

Is a family plan option available? Instead of individual cell phone plans for each member of the family, you can share one cellular service plan among several phones. Everyone shares the same pool of monthly minutes, and the monthly cost of additional minutes is usually less than if you purchased individual accounts.

Is the technology digital or analog? Digital service is clearer and more secure than analog, but coverage can be spotty. Analog networks have greater coverage, especially in rural areas. If you want digital service, make sure your cellular company has a “roaming” agreement that lets your phone work on an analog system when you are outside digital range. But beware: roaming can be expensive, and it requires a “dual mode” phone.

Is there a trial period during which you can test the service? Everyone has experienced dead spots where their cell phone doesn’t work. A trial period lets you test your service in places where you will be using it–the office, your house, your car, and the roads you travel-so you don’t get surprised by these dead spots.

Are there any fees or limits on changing your plan? Some providers charge a fee if you want to downsize or upgrade your plan. Others limit how often you can make changes. Moreover, what happens if you want to cancel your service? Most providers have a penalty, which can be a concern if you have to move out of the area covered by your plan.

Finally, there are ‘Pay-As-You-Go Plans.’ If you want cell phone service only for emergencies or aren’t sure how much you will actually use a cell phone once you get it, you may want to consider a prepaid cell phone before you commit to a long-term wireless contract. With a prepaid cell phone, there is no contract to sign and no monthly bill to worry about. You will know exactly how much you spend. The down side of prepaid plans is that you pay more per minute, and if you don’t use the phone for an extended period of time, you could lose the money in your account.

How to Make Hardcover Photo Books From Snapfish

Snapfish.com is a well known online retailer of photo based gifts and other products and services. Despite offering a plethora of photo printed products, like calendars, traditional prints, and even drink coasters, Snapfish seems to be best well known for their exquisite photo books. Photo books are created by the user, who uploads a set of their own digital photographs from their hard drive to the Snapfish website, and uses their robust editing software to assemble them into a bound hardcover book with text, backgrounds, borders, and other fun and appealing features. Photo book prices start at a low $19.99 for an 8×11 hardcover photo book with a linen cover, and 20 full color pages.

Before you can start designing a photo book with Snapfish you must first register on the website. To create a photobook, navigate to that section of the website and select the size you want to go with. For hardcover options they offer 8×8, 8×11, and 12×12. There are two different options for the 8×11 available – Leather or Linen covers with a “window” (showing a portion of the image on your first page), or a printed cover or jacket. You make these selections before entering the designing software, but you can change it later if you desire.

Before you start designing your photobook, you should first select and upload all of the images you want to use in that photo book. Once all of your images are uploaded, Snapfish offers to automatically design and fill in the photobook for you. While this makes your job super simple, it may not do things exactly as you would. Images are filled in in the order they’re uploaded, and page layouts are somewhat random. The design system will lay out your images in plenty of different ways. Sometimes it will put two images on a page with a text area, or one full page image with no text, or sometimes three images on one page and a page of text on the next. This is a great option for people who don’t want to spend a ton of time working on the book, but takes some of the personal touch out.

If you really want to dive in and make the best photo book you can, then you’re in luck – Snapfish’s design system is extremely robust. If you try to insert an image that is low resolution and won’t print well, you will be warned. You can also do photo adjustments from the design area, like resizing and cropping, flipping, rotating, red eye removal, color enhancement, brightness and contrast, and even color conversion (black and white, sepia, colorize).

You can also select page backgrounds and designs. You choose a “theme” before entering the designing area, but you can change every page individually if you prefer it that way. Just select the “Backgrounds” tab and drag and drop what you want onto the page. The “Layouts” tab is where you can choose how many images you want per page, if (and where) you want to place text, and the size and placement of images. There are a total of 78 different layouts to choose from, as well as “magic” layouts that allow you a much more customized layout experience. You can even add borders to your images here, but that option isn’t necessarily compatible with all layouts.

The hardest part of designing photo books is keeping track of which images you have and haven’t used, so that you don’t end up with duplicates, or leave some out. Snapfish makes your image management easy, however, by placing green checks next to images you’ve used. The full list of your images (and these checks) is found on the right hand side of the design area. If you decide you want to remove an image from use, or from your list, you can do that in this area as well.

Once you’ve completed your photobook, you can view a 3D rendering of what it should look like by clicking “Preview” at the bottom of the design area page. This is a navigable preview that lets you view pages in order, like you would if you were looking at the real book.

Snapfish.com makes some of the best photo books on the web, and hopefully with this article you are now better prepared to navigate their website, and design the best photobook possible.

Why Does My Cat Pee Everywhere?

Whether your cat is old or young, male or female, anxious or mellow, he or she can get the idea that peeing anywhere but the litterbox is a good thing. Many frustrated humans in the past and present have tried nearly everything to figure out why the cat does this – and, of course, to solve the problem.

Here are the first things that you should do when your cat insists on stinking up your house. You’ll have to be patient while you work your way through this list, but soon your kitty will be back to doing his or her business in an appropriate place.

  • Your cat needs a full health checkup. In many cases, cats pee right in front of you when they’re sick. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common health problems, which your vet can treat. Even if that’s not what’s wrong with your kitty, your vet can track down, and solve, the problem.
  • Cats who are older or who have health problems (joint pains, for example), can’t get in and out of the litterbox like they could when they were younger. Make the litterbox more accessible so that your kitty can get in and out.
  • The litterbox itself might be a problem. If you have more than one cat, you might need to put out additional litterboxes. The type of litter and how much of it you use can be problems. You should also change the cat litter and thoroughly scrub the litterbox. The plastic tends to absorb urine smells, which can turn off housecats.
  • Sometimes cats will act out by peeing all over your favorite things. This can be a sign that they’re unhappy about something. Try giving your cat more (positive) attention. Extra playtime with his favorite toy can cure the behavioral issue. You can also ask your vet about a product that will help soothe your kitty: Feliway is one example.
  • Tomcats often spray anything that they wish to mark as their own territory. Sterilization can improve this problem.
  • Elderly kitties can suffer from feline dementia. They honestly don’t realize that they’re doing something wrong when they pee all over your clean laundry. Buy housebreaking pads – the disposable kind that people use with puppies – and put them down where your kitty pees the most often. This won’t convince her to use the litterbox, but cleanup will be much easier compared to what you’re doing now.

You should do a few things when your kitty decides to mark something in your house.

  • Never hit the cat or rub her nose in the mess. Cats aren’t like human children: they don’t understand that what they do is wrong. You can deter behavior as the cat is doing it, but trying to teach the cat after the fact doesn’t work very well. Instead of scolding kitty afterward, catch her in the act and spritz her with tap water from a spray bottle.
  • Completely clean the marked territory. Even if you can’t smell the cat pee, the cat will. That’s her sign to continue peeing there. Visit the pet store for a product that removes all of the pet odors.
  • Give your cat plenty of positive attention. Despite the stereotypes that surround felines, cats do bond with their humans. They want our attention and will go to great lengths to get it from us.

Don’t worry: you’ll track down and solve the problem soon enough. In the meantime, be as patient as possible. Your solution will come and you can resume the carefree relationship

Copyright © 2008, Ian White housesitting.com

6 Simple, But Valuable Tips About How To Lose Body Fat – Dieting That Works Fast!

You’ve probably heard hundreds of diet tips about how to lose body fat. If you’re planning to lose fat from your body and lose weight, you should start planning for your fat loss program. Make the first steps by planning for your fat loss diet. Here are some valuable diet tips about how to lose body fat.

  1. Stick to a diet that contains a healthy balance of fat and protein. What foods promote fat loss? It’s those foods that are rich in lean protein such as lean beef, chicken and beans as well as foods containing sufficient amounts of healthy fat such as avocadoes, nuts and seeds and fish. Lose your body fat in a healthier way by consuming fat and protein foods that are unprocessed and hormone-free. As much as possible, don’t obtain your fat and protein intake from dairy products. Dairy products actually add to the accumulation of fat in your body. When you cook, use grapeseed or olive oil instead of canola oil.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Drinking more water revs up your metabolism and as a result, you lose body fat. Your goal is to drink about 2 liters of water daily. If you’re active, increase your water intake. If you’re in the habit of drinking soda, alcohol or coffee, you should take water as a substitute for those. After waking up in the morning and before eating breakfast, drink water.
  3. Don’t skip breakfast. Start your day by eating a healthy breakfast. Your first meal of the day will set the foundation for eating healthily throughout the day. Skipping breakfast is apt to have you losing your motivation to eat nutritious foods later in the day. Prepare an ample amount of foods rich in protein and fiber for your breakfast. It’ll keep you feeling full in the next several hours. Healthy food choices are veggie smoothies, fruits and eggs. Use this foods as substitute for baked goods and pancakes that are rich in sugar and would tend to make you feel hungry. A sugar-rich breakfast is inclined to place your day at a dietary disadvantage.
  4. Consume fiber-rich foods. Particularly foods rich in soluble fiber such as fresh veggies and fruits such as oranges, cherries, apples, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach and broccoli. You’ll feel more satiated eating these foods, while curbing your appetite to munch calorie-rich foods. When eating oatmeal, choose steel-cut over instant, and make it wheat instead of white. Another whole grain that’s ideal for your fat loss diet is quinoa. Skip drinking fruit juices, too. It’s okay to drink fruit juice if your do so with its fiber, but steer clear of drinking juiced fruits that had their sugars and fibers extracted.
  5. Stop consuming foods that contain empty calories. Avoid eating foods that are easily converted as fat in your body. Although these foods contain much calories, they are not healthy foods because they are not loaded with fiber and nutrients. Lose your body fat by cutting back on eating candies, baked goods and sugar-rich sodas. This diet really works that you can actually see results during the first week. Stop eating white flour-containing foods, too. White flour is an ingredient found in pastas, pastries, bread, cakes and other wheat products.
  6. Avoid eating processed meats and snacks. These foods are bad for your health because they have been processed with preservatives and chemicals. Although they are packed with calories, they do not nourish your body with healthy nutrients. Use a small plate when eating.

These diet tips about how to lose body fat are basic, but stick to it, and you’re sure to lose weight and fat at an immediate time.

Federal Trade Commission Will Not Monitor MLM Companies

Having been to every city in the country over the population of 10,000 in the last four years I have been noticing a trend. I have seen Multi-Level Marketing folks hard selling their business opportunities in public presentations. Listening to these sales pitches in nearly every coffee shop I have step foot and stayed for more than one hour; it is now obvious to me that these MLM people are making at least 25,000 to 40,000 of these presentations per day in public places. This estimate includes presentations being made at college campus dorms and at dinner tables at private homes and residences. During these meetings these MLM sales people say things like they are doing ‘Private Franchising’, never mentioning the words; Multi-Level Marketing, which many consumers are onto now. Instead they use the more well respected name of “Franchising” but franchising is a legal definition and is nothing close to what they are peddling.

The Federal Trade Commission is not planning on doing anything about this abuse of their definitions or unfair business practices. Are these MLM Business Opportunity people too small to go after to raise fees for the agency and therefore not worthy of ROI for the Federal Trade Commission? It appears this is the case and the Multi-level marketers are free to commit borderline fraud. Which begs the question if a business is too large with big gun Washington based attorneys then it is not going to be a target, because the Federal Trade Commission most likely cannot win and if the business is too small then the Federal Trade Commission will not go after them since there is nothing in it for them?

So it is safe to say that if you are below the radar screen, the Federal Trade Commission does not care and if you are fortune 500 you are okay with the Federal Trade Commission because you have political clout? So even though fraud real fraud occurs 25,000 to 40,000 times a day, it is all right because the individuals perpetuating the fraud are too small, because they have no money to pay fines and because they probably do not understand the laws?

Nothing is being done on this issue so for now the MLM sales people are free to use this tactic to mislead their potential down line and ride high on the reputation of the large franchising corporations of our Nation. Think about it.

How to Choose a Wedding Venue

If you have always wanted a big church wedding in your home church, choosing a venue for your wedding ceremony is not difficult. For the rest of us, picking the place to exchange our vows is more difficult.

Brides and Grooms who are not members of a particular church but who want a church wedding need to start early to find an available sanctuary that meets their needs. There are many things to consider when selecting a church.

The first thing to do is get started right away. Churches give priority to their members, so if you want to secure a spot, reserve early.

Next, you will want to find a church that has a sanctuary or chapel that will comfortably host your prospective number of guests without leaving a lot of pews empty.

When you have found one or more churches that meet your space requirements, find out what their policy on decoration is. Believe it or not, there are churches that will not let you decorate at all while others allow only limited enhancement to the church. Also check out what the general church décor is to make sure that the forest green pews won’t clash with your turquoise and purple color scheme.

Next, you’ll want to discover who officiates at the weddings. You may want a pastor at the church to officiate or you may want to bring in someone you know to do the honors. Central Christian Church in San Antonio, TX is happy to rent their facilities to area couples needing a venue for their wedding, but they require that a pastor on their church staff officiate.

Which brings up another prerequisite some church venues have – premarital counseling. The aforementioned Central Christian Church requires that all couples who get married in their facility go through premarital classes at the church. They see offering their location as a venue for non members as an outreach ministry.

Those who want a venue other than a church have many options.

You may be considering an outdoor wedding such as one held at a park or on the beach. If it is a public space, you’ll want to contact the city, county, or state commission that oversees the space for reservation options. If it’s private land, you’ll have to contact the owner. Keep in mind that you should have a back up option in case of inclimate weather.

If you have friends or relatives with a big home or garden, a private wedding for a small number of guests can be quite nice. You won’t have to worry about finishing before the next bridal party comes in. Keep in mind though, that someone is residing there before the wedding and they’ll have to live with any mess your guests make afterwards. Don’t let your wedding be the basis of any hard feelings.

Private wedding chapels are also an alternative. Often these chapels look like churches, but they’re owned by individuals not religious organizations.

Beautiful hotels can also be a great choice for people planning to get married. One of the benefits is that the ceremony and the reception can be held at the same place which eliminates travel for the guests. Out of town guests can even be put up at the same hotel, sometimes at a discount package price.

Where ever you hold your wedding, you want it to be a beautiful event. You’ll be happy you gave careful consideration to your decision when choosing a venue.

Neighborhood Watch Mission Statement

A mobile neighborhood watch patrol can be a positive contribution to the community. They are easy to start and we have a free E-Book to assist you. The most important first step in setting up the mobile neighborhood watch program is to design a proper mission statement that all volunteer members can live with. Here is a sample of a good mission statement to help launch the Neighborhood Mobile Watch Program that you will soon be setting up in your community.

Mission Statement:

To help our local police department by becoming the eyes and ears of the community. To establish a power of presence and thus increasing the visibility of our enforcement services. To establish a zone for criminals where the risk of being caught is too high for them to practice their profession. To unite the business community and Chamber of Commerce with the citizens and the local government. To be proactive in law enforcement. To empower people to remain in control of their communities. To lower crime rates and to keep property value high.

People who have jobs which require extensive travel through local communities (like delivery services, real estate agents, and utility companies) are often in positions which they may see crimes in action or suspicious behavior. Sometimes, just by being in a particular area at just the right time, they may even unknowingly act as a deterrent for criminal activity. The Neighborhood Mobile Watch program seeks to enhance a community’s crime prevention strategy by providing concerned citizens, whose professions require extensive driving, with proper training and signage materials to even further deter criminal activity.

Learning how to recognize suspicious behavior and knowing which local authorities to contact is one of the key components of the training. Just knowing the correct phone number, rather than dialing 911, can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes for the proper authorities to respond, and keeps 911 lines open for other emergencies. Another key component of the program is providing magnetic signs on business and service vehicles, and using static cling stickers on other vehicles which read: “We report suspicious behavior to our local police department.” This lets potential criminals know right away that they should not risk any illegal activity; a trained and aware crime watcher is in the area.

Each participant in the program attends a 30-minute seminar at the local Chamber of Commerce with a Community Relations Officer from the Police Department. They will receive a certificate and then be issued two magnetic signs or a set of static cling stickers for their car(s). We will ask participation from Chamber Members to start and as things prove to be effective we will increase participation and education of the process. We will alert the media to this program and give credit to the participants for helping our city or town. The participants will need some sort of two-way communication, such as a cellular phone, two-way radio with a dispatcher or wireless Internet access.

To download or view online our Free E-Book “How to Set Up a Successful Neighborhood Mobile Watch Program go to this web address below:

http://www.lancewinslow.org/nmwp.shtml

Home Loans

Buying a home remains the great American dream.

Buying a home is a great investment as long as you plan to live there for more than 5 years. For people new to the mortgage market, buying their first home starts with finding the best home loans.

All potential homeowners should take some time to research home loans before calling their local realtor. There are a dazzling array of choices available when it comes to home loans, and finding the right mortgage for your needs can be difficult. Approach your upcoming home purchase with the same seriousness you apply to other major purchases. Your home will most likely be the biggest single investment you ever make. Take the time at the beginning to educate yourself about home loans. It will be time well spent.

Home loans are available from a wide variety of sources. These sources include banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions and mortgage brokers. Shop around at all of these sources to find the home loans with the lowest interest rate and lowest costs.

You will also have to decide between fixed rate home loans and variable rate home loans. Variable rate home loans are often advertised with extremely low “teaser rates”. These rates are used by lenders to get your attention and lure you in.

Before signing up for a variable rate mortgage, make sure you find out what the interest rate cap is. Variable rate home loans are usually based on an underlying interest rate, like the prime rate. The interest rate you pay will typically be the prime rate plus or minus a certain percentage. The variable rate mortgage will have a cap above which the interest rate cannot rise. Find out what that cap is, then use a mortgage payment calculator to see what your monthly mortgage payment will be at that rate. If you cannot afford the monthly payments at the maximum interest rate, you may not want to take the mortgage loan. While it is unlikely that interest rates will rise sufficiently to make the maximum interest rate kick in, it is always a possibility.

Variable rate home loans can be a good choice if you believe interest rates are likely to fall. In an environment where interest rates are steady or rising, they may not be so good a choice. You may also want to consider a variable rate mortgage if you do not plan to stay in your home more than five years. For instance, if your job transfers you every couple of years, you could probably get away with a variable rate mortgage and take advantage of the lower interest rate. When you move and sell your home, you will probably realize a gain due to rising home prices.

On the other hand, fixed rate home loans have a set interest rate for a set period of time, generally either 15 or 30 years. The interest rate does not change, therefore you will always know what your monthly mortgage payment will be. You are protected from rising interest rates with a fixed rate mortgage. If rates fall significantly, you can always refinance your mortgage loan to take advantage of the lower rates.

If you can afford the payments, 15-year home loans can substantially lower the amount of money you will ultimately pay for your home. When you run the numbers on a 15-year versus a 30-year home mortgage loan, you may be surprised at how affordable the 15-year home loan can be. Your mortgage payment will not double if you go with a 15-year mortgage versus a 30-year. This has to do with the affect of compound interest. You are paying far less interest in the long run on a 15-year mortgage.

Whatever type of home loan you decide on, the most important thing is to take that step which transforms you from a mere renter to a home owner and builder of equity. There are a great many home loans out there, but once you find the right one, you will find the rewards of home ownership well worth the time and effort put forth.

How to Save Money – The 60-40 Rule

I have been living on the 60/40 budgeting rule for more than three years now. I had read on this subject in a magazine article and in a conversation with a colleague, I found out a simple system in which my colleague has been using for years.

The Rule (60%)

The 60/40 rule simply says that 60% of your gross income should go to Committed or Fixed expenses. These expenses are your Overhead expenses, meaning the basic things you need to pay to survive. They include:

• Basic food and clothing needs.

• Rent or Mortgage

• Utilities (electricity, water, internet, cable subscription etc.)

• Insurance premiums.

• Charitable contributions.

• Taxes.

It looks simple enough but in my experience putting all committed expenses into 60% of my income was a tough thing to do. But don’t give up as it is very possible to achieve this.

The Rule (40%)

The other half of the equation is the 40% which is divided into four 10% categories.

• Retirement: Money set aside into your IRA or 401(k) plans.

• Long-term savings: Money set aside for car purchases, major home repairs, or to pay down debts such as credit cards, mortgages, etc.

• Irregular expenses: Vacations, car repairs, new appliances, etc.

• Fun money: The great part! Do anything you want with this money! Just be sure that this category applies to your whole family such as dining out, a day in the mall shopping, your hobbies etc. But also remember that having fun with your friends, children and family does not have to be costly!

What to Ask Yourself

• Are you renting a place or have a mortgage that you cannot afford? Is it worth it move to a smaller place or farther place to save up? How much money will you save if you do so?

• Are your car payments too high? How is the fuel consumption of your car?

• Do you have too many paid subscriptions that you don’t really use? (Satellite TV, club memberships etc.)

• What is your lifestyle like? How much do you spend in a week, eating out, going on trips etc?

• Do you wear designer clothes? Where do you shop?

• Can you afford to get your coffee or lunch at a cheaper place?

Garage Lighting Ideas

It is probably not something most people think about, but garage lighting is important. Most garages do not have windows, so it is the lights that are installed that provide the ability to see. Here are some great garage lighting ideas for assuring that your area is well equipped for both function and safety.

A garage is a very functional part of the home. It is the place for parking our cars and performing car maintenance, and many people use it as a workshop area as well. These various tasks have different lighting requirements.

For working on a car, garage lighting needs to be bright for safety and convenience. Overhead fluorescent lights are among the best option for the main light fixtures in a garage. Very bright and illuminating by nature, large overhead fluorescent fixtures by far are capable of providing the most light to a garage area to fill even the darkest corners with bright light.

For the workshop area, garage lighting may need to be more focused. Moveable task lights such as drop down and clip on styles are a great idea because they are versatile. Drop lights come in a variety of styles and sizes to match not only the homeowners and shop owners needs but also their budgets.

Another more expensive option for daytime light is to install skylights. This will provide your garage with an atmosphere that has plenty of natural light during the day.

Hopefully this will give you some garage lighting ideas for your home. The choice of fixtures is important even though most of us do not put much consideration into it.