Kick Off A Safe And Healthy Summer

Kick Off A Safe And Healthy Summer

Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer, meaning outdoor time, swimming, picnics and travel. Here are tips to keep your family healthy, happy and far from the ER.

Not Looking Forward To Swimsuit Season?

If you want to lose weight, says Lisa Lillien of the Hungry Girl website, don’t use crash diets, just make healthy choices. Spend weekend time prepping proteins and veggies. Then for a hot dinner, just throw the ingredients together. Have smart snacks around: jerky, protein bars, nuts, fruit. Eating more often seems counter intuitive, but prevents overeating at mealtime.

More about food: At picnics, keep mayonnaise salads cool. Enjoy them straight from the refrigerator; don’t let them sit more than 15 minutes in the sun.

Water Inside

Proper hydration is important, especially in hotter weather. Drinking enough water improves body function and keeps you from feeling unnecessarily hungry. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily will maintain moisture balance, but if you’re a caffeine drinker, triple that. Bonus: Staying hydrated gives skin that healthy glow.

Water Outside

Remember being told, “You’ll drown if you go into the water right after eating”? That’s too strong, but Sue Leahy, president of the American Safety and Health Institute, says during digestion, “There’s less blood flow in your body and this takes away from strength. So if you really had to use your strength for undertow, you might have a problem.” Best to wait half an hour after you eat.

Children pose different problems. The National Safety Council says more than one in five drowning victims are 14 or under. Find age-appropriate swim lessons for your child, and don’t rely on lifeguards; never leave your child unattended.

Be Good to Your Skin

Just one blistering sunburn doubles your risk of melanoma. You have to apply the right kind of sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), frequently (every two hours), and enough: a teaspoon for the face, and about a shot glassful for the body.

If you forgot, apply cooling botanicals generously at the first sight of a pink glow to reduce peeling and inflammation.

Be Good To Your Eyes

To help prevent cataracts, as well as wrinkles, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B.

Watch For Heat Stroke

This is a big problem for outdoor workers and older people in apartments without air conditioning, but can happen to anyone.

“The first sign is cramping in the legs,” says Sue Leahy. “Cool off and drink fluids until it goes away. Cramping – especially in the leg – is a sign the body is losing salt and electrolytes, and you should heed it.”

Get Debugged

Bugs can transmit Lyme disease, West Nile, Zika, and other illnesses. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend insect repellents containing DEET (10% to 30%), except on children under 2 months.

Move It But Don’t Lose It

If your children travel by bicycle, skateboard or scooter, they need helmets that meet CPSC safety standards. Never let children ride near moving traffic.

Don’t allow children too young to have a driver’s license on riding lawnmowers or off-road vehicles. Children are involved in 30% of ATV-related deaths and ER injuries.

Fireworks

The Fourth of July is a big summer event,and emergency rooms brace for the injuries. Fireworks can cause severe burns, blindness, scars or worse – even sparklers can reach over 1000 degrees and can start fires. The National Safety Council says that in 2010, fireworks caused about 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 structure fires. Families should attend professional community fireworks displays rather than using fireworks at home.

SOURCES:

http://people.com/food/hungry-girl-summer-weight-loss-tips/

http://www.dermalogica.com/top-6-summer-skin-tips/ys_skinaging_2,default,pg.html

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips.aspx

http://www.nsc.org/learn/pages/safety-events-summer-safety.aspx

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Staying Healthy During Flu Season

Staying Healthy During Flu Season

his time of year, everyone’s got a sniffle, cough, or worse … the dreaded flu bug! These viruses have evolved to be highly resistant to our efforts to contain them.

While we can’t prevent the disease completely, we can help lower the risk of spreading it around. Here are 5 ways to beat the flu this year!

1) Wash your hands

This is the best way to keep the flu from spreading. Your hands are the most likely vectors for spreading disease. You touch something with the virus on it, then touch your eyes, nose, or food. Soon, you’re coughing too much.

Regular hand-washing is the first line of defense. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before meals, and after contact with someone who might be ill. If your job entails lots of public contact, take regular hand-washing breaks. Scrub for 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

If you can’t get to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Accompany the sanitizer with a moisturizer as too much sanitizer can lead to dry, cracked skin and a greater risk of disease.

2) Practice good self-care

Your immune system needs energy to keep your body free of disease. That means getting adequate sleep and proper nutrition.

A good night’s sleep is especially important for preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Eating a diet rich in vitamin C can also strengthen your immune system. Citrus is a great source, as are leafy greens.

3) DAB- destroy all bacteria

“Dabbing,” involves tucking your nose into your elbow. It’s the most sanitary way to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.

Covering your mouth with your hands doesn’t do much since you’re going to touch other things with your hands. Your elbow, though, doesn’t see nearly as much contact.

4) Practice self-quarantine

If you’re sick, stay home. If your children are sick, keep them home. No one likes missing work or school, but the alternative is even more widespread illness. Staying home will also give you time and rest to recover faster, leading to more productivity when you go back in.

Always wait 24 hours after a fever has broken before returning to work. There’s nothing heroic about “toughing it out” while getting others sick .

If you can’t stay home, at least take steps to prevent disease from spreading. Avoid prolonged contact with anyone. Wash your hands, and avoid touching things other people regularly touch. Warn others that you’re feeling sick so they can keep a safe distance.

5) Avoid crowds

Wherever lots of people gather, disease follows. If possible, avoid crowded public spaces this time of year.

Remember that travelers from far may have different strains of the same bugs. Whenever people from multiple communities gather, the chances of infection increase. If you’re entertaining or traveling, double down on good hygiene habits!

Your Turn: What’s your best health hack? Let us know how you stay safe and healthy!

SOURCES:

http://www.uwhealth.org/flu/10-ways-to-stay-healthy-during-cold-and-flu-season/10371

http://symptoms.webmd.com/cold-flu-map/avoid-cold-flu

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm

It Costs How Much To Get Married!?

It Costs How Much To Get Married!?

The average American wedding cost has eclipsed $35,000. That’s more than half the yearly median income! Most of this growth in cost comes from the guest list. Couples are inviting more people and doing more for them.

If you’re tying the knot this year, read on for five ways to save on the cost of your big day!

1.) Schedule smart

Saturday is the most common date for weddings, since everyone has the day off and most churches aren’t available on Sundays. Consequently, venues are often more expensive on Saturdays.

Instead, pick another date that offers those benefits. Your special day can be the day before a holiday, or on the Sunday of a long weekend, like Labor Day. Your guests will still have time to enjoy themselves, and you’ll save as much as 15% on the cost of your venue.

2.) Untether yourself

When picking a venue, look for a place (or negotiate with your selected venue) that allows outside vendors to handle food, music and photography. Places that host weddings often may have existing relationships with businesses who can charge more because they’re not competing with anyone else.

If you can get this kind of flexibility, shop around for better prices on catering, music and flowers. You’ll also be able to get exactly what you want from these services, such as a signature cocktail instead of a full bar.

3.) Keep the “W” word to yourself

Every vendor has a “special” wedding price. Often, this means they charge more for any wedding-related service. You can save as much as 30% by keeping the occasion to yourself.

For example, when shopping for a dress, buying a formal gown that’s not labeled as a “wedding dress” can translate to savings. Getting a custom-decorated sheet cake can save a few hundred dollars, too.

4.) Put your guests to work

The biggest cost in most wedding-related items is the cost of labor. When you pay for flower arrangements, you’re paying about 10% for the flowers and 90% for the florist’s time. Instead of hiring professionals, consider putting your guests to work.

Many wedding guests would love to contribute to your special day. They’ll be happy to participate in making your wedding beautiful, and you’ll be happy to save a few bucks!

5.) Spread out the cost with a club account

A tremendous challenge for newlyweds is coming up with all that money, because all the wedding bills come due at the same time. For many couples, that means using consumer debt to finance the whole cost of their wedding. The ensuing interest and financing charges can make your wedding even more unaffordable.

Instead, consider opening a club account: Set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account into an interest-bearing savings account. When the wedding bills come in, you’ll have money set aside to defray the costs and you’ll be able to borrow less.

Your Turn: What are your best cost-saving wedding hacks? Share your wisdom in the comments!

SOURCES:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/5-clever-ways-to-save-on-your-wedding-2.aspx

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/top-10-ways-to-save-money-on-your-wedding-3.aspx

http://www.realsimple.com/weddings/budget/save-money-wedding/venue

https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/insanely-smart-ways-to-save-money-on-your-wedding?utm_term=.nh9zY22pG#.ulOdbrrz8

Best Times to Buy 2017

Best Times to Buy 2017

When you’re mulling over a major purchase, the right price can often tip the scales. If you’re patient, willing to research and time your buys just right, you can save quite a bit of green. Here are the best things to buy during each month for the rest of the year!

February: Prepare for winter

Now’s a great time to take stock of your existing cold weather gear. If you’ve got a coat that’s seen its final winter, now’s a great time to replace it. Retailers are looking to clear out the last of the season’s merchandise to make room for spring clothes, so you can snag a deal on thermal clothes. You can also find a bargain on heaters and humidifiers to make your house more comfortable.

March: Get in shape

If you’re looking to reboot your New Year’s weight loss resolution, March is a great time to pick up exercise equipment at a discount. Treadmills and ellipticals are past their peak buying time, so retailers are looking to get rid of them. Sports equipment, like golf clubs and athletic wear, are also facing deep discounts.

April: Tech out!

Japanese manufacturers’ fiscal year ends in March, so they’re typically ready to roll out new product lines. If you’re OK with being a year behind the latest and greatest, you can pick up a fully functional digital camera, laptop computer or big-screen TV in April. Tax refund-themed sales may also make it cheaper to upgrade your technological goods.

May: Around the house

Now that the weather’s getting nicer, many home improvement shops will begin running sales on tools and other supplies. It’s also graduation time, which means dorm-stocking essentials will get some discounts. Check out basic pots, pans and cooking appliances in May.

June: Think thrifty

Everyone’s gotten a chance to get their spring cleaning done. That means thrift stores are stuffed with donated second-hand goods. Be on the lookout for bargains of all sorts, but especially for used furniture and clothes.

July: School supplies

The end of July marks back-to-school time, which means this is the month retailers start to gear up for school shopping. Look for promotions, like tax-free days, if you’re in the market for a computer or peripheral. Otherwise, you can stock up on pens, paper and other standard office essentials.

August: Beat the heat

If you’ve managed through the heat of the summer with a busted AC, August may provide some much-needed relief. Major appliance retailers are looking to shift their inventories from cooling to heating. Look for discounts on window AC units, dehumidifiers and other cool appliances.

September: Big-ticket

The new models of most major appliances start to roll out in October and November, making September an excellent time to grab last year’s model. If you need a new dishwasher or refrigerator, try to hold out until September. Also, new Apple accessories, like iPads and iPhones, typically come out in November or December, so September can be a great chance to upgrade your device, too.

October: Cars and cruises

The new model year begins for cars toward the end of summer, so there are a lot of leftovers from the previous year that need to go. Dealers are desperate to move inventory, so you can get a good price on the current year’s models. October is also a quiet season for cruise lines, so many of them run specials and sales during the month.

November: Game on

Christmas season is in high gear, and major retailers are competing for gamer bucks. Expect to see the best bundles with the hottest games for the lowest prices in November. Whether you’re trying to surprise a gamer in your life or just get the newest games for yourself, November is the time to buy.

December: Cheers!

In a paradox of economics, champagne demand is very high, so the price goes down. Champagne companies are competing for the New Year’s crowd. If you’ve got a major event coming up, like a wedding or anniversary, December can be a great time to stock up on bubbly.

Your Turn: What’s your best deal-nabbing tip? How do you find the lowest prices for the best stuff? Share your bargain hunting wisdom with us in the comments!

SOURCES:

http://lifehacker.com/5973864/the-best-time-to-buy-anything-during-the-year

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/best-time-to-buy-things/index.htm

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-time-to-buy-almost-anything-in-2017-2016-12/#july-7

8 Ways To Save On Valentine’s Day

8 Ways To Save On Valentine’s Day

Having the perfect night out doesn’t mean you need to break the budget. Here are eight ideas for a thrifty Valentine’s Day date:

  1. Cook a romantic dinner at home instead of eating at an overpriced restaurant. Set the ambiance with some scented candles and soft music, and save a bundle!
  2. Make your own gift. Instead of buying a pricey piece of jewelry, frame a nice picture of the two of you or write a meaningful card.
  3. If you are going out to eat, make sure to check Groupon, LivingSocial and RetailMeNot for deals on restaurants near you before making reservations.
  4. Skip the wine bottle at the restaurant and pop the cork at home instead.
  5. Explore the great outdoors! It may be cold out, but you can still have fun just enjoying the fresh air. Bundle up and take a refreshing walk under the stars. Or, if it’s snowy out, build a snowman! Then, go home and warm up in front of the fireplace with steaming mugs of hot chocolate.
  6. Get yourself a great workout and have a fantastically fun date by going ice or roller-skating!
  7. Get cultured on a budget by taking advantage of a local museum’s free or discounted rates at specific times or nights.
  8. Have a rollicking good time at the neighborhood comedy club. Entrance tickets can be as cheap as $5 apiece!

Your Turn: How do you save on a date without compromising on the quality of the evening? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

How Was Your 2016?

How Was Your 2016?
How do I know if I’m on the right path? What can I do to get better? 
  • It’s time to take stock of your year. How much do you have saved today? How much do you have invested? How much debt are you carrying? How much were each of these in January? If you add up your savings, your investments and the value of what you own (stick to the big stuff, like your house, car and jewelry) and subtract your debt, you’ll have a good estimate of your net worth. Is it more than it was in January?
  • What did you buy in 2016? Take a look at your big purchases.  What were your big purchases? Were they worth it? If your net worth is less than it was a year ago, but that’s because you took a big vacation or went back to school, it might be worth it to you to take that financial step back. After all, you make money to pay for things, and a trip with the family or getting the education you always wanted are the kinds of things you remember.
  • If you want to do better, dig deeper. Go through your monthly expenditures and see if you’re happy with your budget. Tighten the belt where you can. Start small and pick a few spots where you can save money every month. Then, take half of the amount you’re planning to not spend and set up an automatic payment into savings every month. Do the same for an automatic payment onto your debt. If you can find $170 to cut out of your budget every month, that’s over $1,000 you can put into a money market or savings certificate that’s earning even more money. It’s also over $1,000 off your debt, plus savings from interest payments.