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.

Cave Hiking – What It Is And What Equipment To Use

Cave hiking is considered to be an extreme sport in some circles. However, extreme sport tends to mean that the people who participate have little regard for safety and that is not true with this sport. Cave hiking is a recreational activity that is quite challenging and requires skills of varying levels depending on the type of cave you’re exploring.

When you go cave hiking, you need equipment to help you navigate. The sport is physically demanding but fun and rewarding. It is similar to mountain climbing and diving in terms of the physical demand required and the rush you get from accomplishing it. Throughout the world there are many caves that you can explore, especially in the larger countries like the United States.

While cave hiking is not extremely popular, the athletes that do participate in the sport find it quite exciting and different from other sports. There are thousands of caves that can be explored and there are still many that have not yet been explored. If you are new to the activity, you should hire a guide to go with you to make sure that you have a safe trip that is enjoyable – the trip stops being fun when you are trapped in a cave and you don’t have the right equipment.

Safety is paramount in cave hiking and there is equipment you need:

LED lights: When you are cave hiking, you should have a few different light sources to help you see in the dark caves. Ideally, you will have a LED headlamp, which is a popular choice of equipment with cave hikers. Headlamps offer you a light source without needing to use your hands. It points in the direction your head is pointed, which is usually where you are headed and need light the most. You will also want to have a LED flashlight with you to shine into other spaces, tight spaces or into a different direction. Lanterns offer a lot of light and are great for lighting up an entire cave. You will want to use LED lights because they offer you a longer battery life and longer bulb life. Always have two light sources with you when cave hiking for extra safety.

Knife: You will need to carry some type of survival knife with you as well while you are cave hiking, such as a Swiss Army knife or hunting knife. A knife is paramount in case you need to cut ropes or vines, etc. while in the cave. It also may be needed if you have to mark your direction in the ground or rock.

Other equipment: Items like ropes, helmets, carabineers, hiking boots, water and food are additional items you will want to carry with you when cave hiking. It is best to check with a guide or take a course with a guide on what is the appropriate equipment and attire for the particular area you will be hiking. Don’t cave hike on your own until you have done so with a proper guide.

Always remember – safety first. Tell someone that you are going hiking, when you are entering the cave, where it is located and when you expect to return. This is to ensure that if something goes wrong and you don’t return on time, someone knows where to begin the search. Always ensure that if you are new to the area or new to the cave that you take a guide with you who is experienced in that area and cave. This will ensure that you are safe throughout the hike and that you have fun.

~Ben Anton, 2007

Safe Alternative To Vaniqa For Facial Hair Removal

Is there a safe alternative to Vaniqa cream for women wanting to do something about unwanted facial hair?

Yes there is! In fact, this alternative to Vaniqa was on the market some years before Vaniqa was finally approved by the FDA (Food And Drug Administration) for public distribution on prescription in the year 2000.

In the early 1990’s a lesser known company operating near Toronto in Canada by the name of Nisim International was carrying out extensive research in its laboratories for a natural herbal solution to hair loss.

In 1993 they released the NewHair Biofactors range which consisted of deep cleansing shampoos and a hair growth stimulator made from natural herbs. It received a positive write up in the Medical Post of 1993 and the article listed some impressive success results from the clinical trials. (See http://www.4-hair-loss-solutions.com/baldness-medical-post.html for the full text of the article)

In the course of this research the folks at Nisim stumbled on a way to not only stop hair loss and get hair to regrow, they also found a way to stop unwanted hair from growing by interrupting the mechanism for hair growth in the hair follicle.

This led to the release of Kalo Hair Growth Inhibitor in 1997, some years before Vaniqa arrived on the scene.

Vaniqa And Kalo Compared

There are some main differences between this alternative to Vaniqa and Vaniqa cream. For one thing, Kalo can be used by men, women and children whereas Vaniqa is only for women and girls under the age of 12 are recommended not to use it.

Vaniqa is available on prescription only, Kalo is a non-prescription hair growth inhibitor.

Some may raise a question over Kalo being a viable alternative to Vaniqa because it is not FDA approved. While that is true it is important to understand the process of FDA approval.

Vaniqa was brought to the market by two powerful giants in the personal care industry, Bristol-Myer Squibb and The Gillette Company. Will millions of dollars available they put up the necessary funding to get Vaniqa through the many years of tests and trials necessary before the FDA gives approval.

The final clinical trial results showed that 58% of women who used Vaniqa found a reduction in hair growth. That means a fairly large percentage did not see any difference.

The alternative to Vaniqa, Kalo, is produced by a small company without the massive resources available to the major pharmaceuticals. They also rely on word of mouth instead of pouring large sums into advertising. As a result, Kalo has grown in popularity and since the appearance of Vaniqa on the personal care scene, it has proven to be a viable non-prescription alternative to Vaniqa cream.

Reasonable Expectations

As with Vaniqa, Kalo doesn’t work for everyone. That’s why the company offers a money back guarantee. Given the rate of returns and refunds however, no more than about 1%, it is evident the majority of users are satisfied to a degree.

Finding an ideal method of facial hair removal is a matter of experimentation for many women before settling on the method that suits their pocket, skin sensitivity and lifestyle.

Combining the use of Vaniqa cream, or an alternative to Vaniqa such as Kalo, has helped thousands of women make facial hair removal sessions much easier and more convenient!

Importance of Family in Our Life

Family is very important part of our everyday life. It helps us in improving our personality. It also helps us in shaping our life. It teaches us the value of love, affection, care, truthfulness and self-confidence and provides us tools and suggestions which are necessary to get success in life.

Family is a place where you can be yourself. It is a place where you are accepted for what you are. This is where you are completely tension free and everyone is there to help you. Family encourages you when you are surrounded by problems. It helps you survive through tough times and bring joy and happiness into life.

Decency is very important in the communication of daily life. It helps us make strong relationship with others and make us come across as a very gentle, intelligent and likable person. Everyone loves to be in a company of such person. Family helps bring decency into our life which is necessary to lead a happy life.

One of the most important aims of our life is to build a successful and highly rewarding career. Our families help us in creating a strong future. It gives us valuable suggestion about different career prospective. It not only guides us in choosing the best but also financially helps us to cover the expenses of education. Thus it helps us in making a good future.

The importance of family is probably realized when one went to holiday or celebrate an occasion without family members. It was very hard to celebrate an occasion or went to holiday without being surrounded by family members. At that time probably we realize that how important they are to us. At that time, we came to know about the importance of our families.

Today, most people don’t realize the importance of family. They prefer to spend most of their time with their friends. But when they are surrounded by problems, it was their family that helped them get rid of problems. At the time, when even our best friends refuse to help us, it was our family that came to help us. So it is very important for each and every individual to give importance to their families above anything else and enjoy spending time with family members.

Should You Buy A High Flow Catalytic Converter?

If you are in the market for a new catalytic converter, and are a performance enthusiast, chances are that you will be considering buying a high flow catalytic converter. If you aren’t, then you should read this article, and consider the benefits.

Let me tell you what this article is not about. I’m not going to talk about boring OEM universal catalytic converters that you put on your moms minivan. I’m going to be talking about high performance parts whose sole purpose is to increase the horsepower and torque of your vehicle. If you are just searching for a replacement cat for your 92 Chevy Cavalier, then reading this article is not worth your time. So let’s get into it, shall we?

I’m going to assume that you have a high performance vehicle, or at the very least, a stock vehicle that you plan on modifying. If you aren’t familiar with high flow catalytic converters, let me explain what they are and how they help your car gain horsepower.

First, the point of the catalytic converter is to convert toxic engine exhaust gases into cleaner more environmentally friendly substances. This is done using a catalyst inside of the device, hence the name “Catalytic” converter. Anyway, the problem with OEM or aftermarket OEM cats is that they restrict airflow. This is mainly because they are built to work as effectively as possible, and have little focus on increasing the power of your vehicle. Your 95 Honda Civic wasn’t built to be a high performance machine from the factory, but that’s not going to stop you from changing that! The High Flow Catalytic Converter was created with performance in mind and ultimately it lets more air flow unrestricted through your entire exhaust system. The best scenario would be to have no cat at all, and many people who race their cars do not have a catalytic converter, but if you are looking to have your car be street legal, then your car must have a cat in order to pass emissions tests during inspection.

So how does a high flow catalytic converter help your cars performance and should you buy one? Well first, let me ask you, do you have aftermarket headers or exhausts on your vehicle? If not, then a high flow cat is not the thing to be buying just yet. I think of a high performance cat as the third part to your aftermarket exhaust system. The most important piece of your exhaust system is the Cat-Back. This is all of the piping that comes after your catalytic converter. The second most important piece is a high flow exhaust manifold, or headers. These come before the cat. Without one or two of those pieces installed on your car, I would not purchase a high performance cat as it is the least important and will not be as effective if not combined with a high flow exhaust system.

If you do have an aftermarket exhaust system, then a high flow catalytic converter might be the logical next piece to purchase. The more freely your exhaust gases flow from your engine, the more power your car will make. If you have a high performance cat-back, and headers, then a regular cat will cause a bottleneck in the airflow, and that is something we don’t want. By installing a high performance cat, you will increase the air flow, and gain more power. How much power will you gain? Well that depends on your engine size. Larger V6 and V8 engines will see a higher increase in power than i4s. This is because they produce much more exhaust gases. But for simplicity, we’ll say adding a high flow cat can increase your horsepower by 4hp to 10hp. If that sounds like a gain you would like to benefit from, then buying a high flow cat might be the right choice for you.

How to Use Duplicolor Paint on Your Car

Duplicolor paint is best defined as touch up paint. It can be used for the purpose of fixing chips and scratches on your car. In addition to this, it can also be used as wheel paint. It comes in different types of colors and this makes it easy for you to make a choice based on your cars color. When the need to paint your car arises, you can take it to the car paint shops and have this done by a professional or choose to do it yourself. The cost to paint a car is normally high and the duplicolor paint gives you the opportunity to lower this cost considerably. For you to do this however, you need to get the appropriate tools and have an idea of how to go about the process. In this case, the following are some of the things you need to take into consideration.

– The area of the car that needs to be painted should be cleaned using a solution of warm water and dish soap. Afterwards, the car should be wiped using a clean and dry cloth.

– Paint sheeting should be used to mask off the area you want to paint and secured using painters tape.

– The duplicolor paint should then be opened and the paint mixed using a paint stirrer. When this is done, it should be poured into the spray gun reservoir and connected to an air hose.

– Put on your goggles and respirator and place the paint sprayer at least six to eight inches from the metal and press the trigger in order to release the duplicolor paint.

– The gun should be moved from one side to another in order to overlap the duplicolor paint. This is important because it ensures that the paint is applied evenly on the metal and the passes should be made continuously until the surface is covered sufficiently with paint.

As mentioned earlier, duplicolor paint can also be used for your wheels and especially, if the hub caps are rusty, scratched or old. Because this automotive spray paint has being manufactured with standards that match up to OEM spectrum, it delivers great results when used on your cars wheels. Also, thanks to its many colors for you to choose from, it is easy to find one that perfectly matches up to your car. Duplicolor also offers a variety of primers that make it possible for you to accomplish this end.

For instance, there is the duplicolor promoter which is used as a bond coat to ensure that coatings of the paint do not come off easily. There is also the primer sealer which is used for the purpose of promoting adhesion, filling in hairline cracks as well as creating a surface that is consistent for application of the duplicolor paint. There are other primers such as rust fix which also come in handy. The primer is used to serve the purpose of enhancing performance of the car paint. When duplicolor paint is used in the appropriate manner, it can deliver numerous benefits and the first step towards enjoying this is learning more about duplicolor paint.

Top 7 Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Guitar Tunings

There are many different guitar tunings that are used in Rock and Metal music besides standard tuning. Guitar players in these genres like to use these tunings because they give a heavier and darker sound to their music.

Some of the more popular tunings used are Dropped D, Dropped C, Dropped B, E Flat, D, C and open G. Here are the descriptions of how the strings should be tuned and some of the bands that use them.

Dropped D tuning:

E ———-1st string

B ———-2nd string

G ———-3rd string

D ———-4th string

A ———-5th string

D ———-6th string (thickest)

This tuning enables power chords to be played with a single finger on the lowest three strings and produces a dark sound with it. If you’re music doesn’t fit together with this dark sound, you can place a capo on the 2nd fret and can still easily play power chords.

Some bands that use Dropped D tuning are:

Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, Godsmack, Led Zepplin, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Silverchair, Soundgarden and Velvet Revolver.

Dropped C tuning:

D ———-1st string

A ———-2nd string

F ———-3rd string

C ———-4th string

G ———-5th string

C ———-6th string (thickest)

Dropped C tuning is the Dropped D with each string lowered one whole step. Dropped C tuning produces a very low and heavy sound and is used by many of the new Heavy Metal bands.

Some bands that use Dropped C tuning are:

30 Seconds to Mars, Atreyu, Buckethead, Bullet for My Valentine, Children of Bodom, Godsmack, Bad Religion, Metallica, Mudvayne, P.O.D., Papa Roach, Rammstein, Shadows Fall, System of a Down, Three Days Grace and Ozzy Osbourne.

Dropped B tuning:

C# ———-1st string

G# ———-2nd string

E ———-3rd string

B ———-4th string

F# ———5th string

B ———-6th string (thickest)

This tuning will need heavier gauge strings to be effective. Also you might have to widen the string grooves as well as adjust the tension in the neck of your guitar.

Some bands that use Dropped B tuning are:

Audioslave, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Mudvayne, Slipknot and Stone Sour.

Eb tuning:

Eb ———1st string

Bb ———2nd string

Gb ———3rd string

Db ———4th string

Ab ———5th string

Eb ———6th string (thickest)

This tuning is Standard tuning turned down a half step. There are a few reasons that bands use this tuning instead of Standard tuning. One reason is to sound heavier by using heavy gauge strings. By tuning down a half step it is easier to bend these heavy gauged strings. Another reason why some bands use this tuning is to compliment the lead singers voice.

Bands that use Eb tuning are:

Alice in Chains, Anthrax, Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss, Megadeth, Metallica, Motorhead, Nirvana, Poison, Slayer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stone Sour, Van Halen, Weezer and Yngwie Malmsteen.

D tuning:

D ———-1st string

A ———-2nd string

F ———-3rd string

C ———-4th string

G ———-5th string

D ———-6th string (thickest)

D tuning is also known as whole step down tuning and as you have probably already guessed, it’s Standard tuning tuned down a whole step. D tuning has been used mainly in Heavy Metal music.

Bands that have used D tuning are:

Alice in Chains, The Beatles, Bullet For My Valentine, Bob Dylan, Children of Bodom, Dream Theater, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Racer X and Soundgarden.

C tuning:

C ———-1st string

G ———-2nd string

Eb ———3rd string

Bb ———4th string

F ———-5th string

C ———-6th string (thickest)

C tuning also produces a low sound that is mostly used by Hard Rock and Metal bands. The tuning is 2 whole steps below Standard tuning, which gives it a heavy sound but still maintains the same intervals as Standard tuning.

Bands that have used C tuning are:

Atreyu, Black Sabbath, Bullet For My Valentine, Deftones, Dream Theater, Jimi Hendrix, P.O.D., Queens of the Stone Age, Slipknot, Steve Vai and The Who.

G tuning:

D ———-1st string

B ———-2nd string

G ———-3rd string

D ———-4th string

G ———-5th string

D ———-6th string (thickest)

Other than the Drop D tuning, G Tuning is one of the most popular alternate guitar tunings.

Some bands that have used G tuning are:

The Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam.

These are just some of the alternate guitar tunings that are available to you to experiment with. Play around with them and see which tunings fit your style of music.

Birth Control Pills, Pregnancy and Acne – A Complete How-To Guide

Acne first comes about during adolescence, when hormone levels begin to increase.This sudden flucturation of hormones causes the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive. They start generating increased levels of such oils that end up becoming clogged inside the glands. When the oils can’t escape, acne results!

So it goes without saying that when there is a fluctuation in the hormone levels within the body, it can trigger an increase in sebaceous oil production, and therefore increases the chance that an outbreak of acne will likely occur. With women, acne breakouts are common while they are taking birth control pills and also when they become pregnant.

Using Birth Control Pills to Control Acne

Women who do take the birth control pill and who notice that their acne is getting worse should discuss the situation with their doctor. Different types of oral contraception have differing levels of hormones and one side effect of some contraception is an increase in acne. Switching to another brand may bring acne back under control.

Any woman who is healthy, and is at least age 15, who has begun menstruating and who has decided to start using oral contraception can discuss getting a prescription for a birth control pill with their doctor. There are several brands that help clear up acne but only one so far has been approved by the FDA for treatment of acne and that is Ortho Tri-cyclen.

It is important to note that taking the birth control pill as a way to treat acne should be the last alternative, after all other acne treatment options have been attempted without success. The birth control pill does have side effects and it must be taken exactly as prescribed to be effective.

Acne During Pregnancy

Women who have become pregnant often report an increase in acne, too. Many changes occur within a woman’s body in an effort to properly prepare the body for the growing fetus. The two primary female hormones at work in every woman’s body are progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone is more androgenic than estrogen, which basically means it is more like the hormones found in men. Increased progesterone during pregnancy can cause the sebaceous glands to produce more sebaceous oils than normal and that is what can cause outbreaks of acne.

If possible, the best way to handle acne during pregnancy is to realize that it is a short-term problem that will usually go away once the baby is born. If this isn’t possible, discuss your options over with a dermatologist who has experience working with patients during their pregnancy. After going through your situation, the dermatologist will be able to suggest treatment options that’ll make you happier with your appearance and that won’t harm your baby.