Archive for June, 2013

Tesla Model S Recall

Tesla Model S RecallWe recently wrote about seeing the Tesla Roadster in Palm Springs. Just now we saw an announcement about the same car being recalled for a non safety issue. This recall was associated with the rear seats. We have included a picture from the original post.

The manufacturer discovered that a weld could come loose in the case of an accident. It was not considered a safety issue. The company is voluntarily recalling the car to have the weld holding the rear seat in place repaired. This is really a minor issue however at the same time no one wants to have a seat come flying at them during an accident. There are enough things that can endanger your life during an accident without a rear seat coming your way.

Owners would only lose access to their cars for a couple of hours while the repair is made. The dealers were making arrangements with owners for the cars to be picked up. They will also provide a loaner car if desired while the company fixed the weld. The dealers were doing everything they can to make sure that the owners were inconvenienced as little as possible. After all they paid a lot for this car. They should not have to deal with too much in the way of poor service or lack of service from their dealer or from the manufacturer. This is a luxury car and customers have come to expect a great deal from companies that provide luxury products.

This is a new car and a high priced car. The dealer and the manufacturer are going out of their way to make sure that the owners are looked after. They are making sure that the car is properly fixed so that there are no concerns. There have been no customer complaints to date either about the seat repair that is needed. The service that the customer is receiving during this recall has been exemplary. Although at the time of writing this post the recall had just begun. We are confident that the customers will be satisfied with how this issue is being handled. However we would appreciate any comments you have about the car and how the recall is being handled.

Tesla Model S Recall – Repair

This repair applies to 1,300 cars that were manufactured in May and early June of 2013. Since the manufacture date is so recent many of these cars may still be in dealer show rooms. In fact speculation had it that only 10% of the Model S cars that have been made during that time frame were actually on the road in customers hands. So the conclusion is that most customers will have their new cars already repaired prior to picking them up before driving them off the dealers lot.

This is the second recall for Tesla, which had to recall 429 cars in 2010 to replace a power cable. This is a brand new model and Tesla is an industry leader. Tesla is going out of it’s way to make sure that their customers are looked after and that any negative press is kept to a minimum. A new model car, especially one so expensive and an industry leader in the all electric field cannot not afford to have nay negative publicity.

If you happened to be an owner of the Tesla all electric car, we would really appreciate first hand comments about your car. How does it handle? How is the acceleration? How long do the batteries last and have you ever had to have an emergency charge when your batteries ran out of a charge. Finding a place to recharge the batteries is probably the single largest issue for most owners. We are wondering how they are handling this particular issue. These are all questions that potential purchasers are interested in. Of course those of us who wish we could afford to purchase one of these beauties want to know about these issues.

Tesla Model S Recall – Guest Post

We would also appreciate a guest post about your experience with your Tesla Model S. We would give full attribution rights and a link back to your own web site if you are interested in making a guest post. Just include at least a 400 word comment with your link. We will be glad to post it on our site. We only will take legitimate comments and posts about the Tesla Model S sport car.


Building Management Services

Vacant Home Property ManagementWhy do owners of registered condo buildings need to have building management services? For both the condo building and building management services for the rental operation of the same building? This is a situation that is actually quite common. Anyone who is either an investor or someone who plans to live in the building that is a registered condo should know the difference. We will try to explain the difference between the two and why you need separate building management service for each one.

Basically there is a business entity that is responsible for all of the common elements of the building. This is the condo or the strata as it is referred to in some locations. All owners participate and can vote on various issues that the board of directors will bring to them at a general meeting. In addition all owners are eligible to be on the board of directors as well.

They are responsible for setting a budget, establishing and maintaining an adequate reserve fund and providing the owners with at minimum an annual report of all financial and operational status. The board will usually hire a building management service or property manager to look after all of these things on their behalf.

Building Management Services and the Board

It is up to the representatives of the building management service to fulfill and carry though all of the boards requirements provided that they are legal of course and comply with the bylaws of the property or condominium. This is a pretty standard example of building management service.

Some Units will be Rented

At some buildings a large number of units may be rented out to tenants. If one owner happens to own these rental units, they may hire a building management service to manage the rental of their units, collect the rent and provide upkeep to the interior of the units. They have no responsibility of looking after the exterior of the building.

They work for each individual owner and are responsible for managing the tenant or tenants that rent units in the building they are in. If there are multiple owners who own rental units in the building along with people who own and live in the building, the rental unit owners sometimes will band together to hire one management company to manage all of the rental units in an attempt to reduce their costs overall.

These can be two separate building management services or sometimes they can be the same company, with different people within the building management company responsible for the condo side and the rental side of the business. There is no business or legal relationship between the condo and any tenants that are renting or between the various rental building management services. They are separate entities and all must abide by the condo bylaws etc. Separate financial reports are needed for both entities to ensure that there is no mixing of accounts and payments.

Tenant vs. Owner Issues

Many people find this confusing especially at meetings of the unit owners, however it is important to keep these things separate and distinct. For example if a tenant is causing problems in the building and other owners are complaining, the complaints must be given to the condo building management who in turn will contact the owner of that unit. It is up to the owner of that unit to deal with his or her tenant or the building management company that is managing his or her rental units. The rental building management service will need to then follow up with the tenant to ensure that no more complaints are received.

Hope this helps to explain one aspect of building management service. For more information about building management and property management services, click here.

Tire Price

tire priceTire prices vary a great deal from one vender to another and the services that come with the price that is quoted can also vary a great deal. Consumers can sometimes save themselves a lot of money on just the tire price alone when they make their purchase. But getting a low tire price initially is not always the best deal over the long term or the life of the tire. Other costs can sometimes creep in which makes that cheap tire price look very expensive over the long term.  These costs will generally even out the overall cost of the tire with that of other tires that are pricier but include various services. This is how many dealers really make their money, sell tires as a loss leader and then recoup the profits on services later. Read on to see why we believe that you should always include services such as balancing and tire rotation.

Tire Price –  Rotation

All manufacturers of tires as well as car manufacturers will tell you that you can maximize the life of your tires as well as maximize your car’s gas mileage if your tires are rotated every so many miles and that your tires are always in balance. Tire rotation can be included in the tire price for the length of time you own your car or you can choose to exclude this feature and do your own tire rotation. Although it is a bit of work doing your own tire rotation is no problem provided that you follow the necessary safety requirements and the lugs are placed on tight enough when you replace the tire.

But tires also must be balanced and they are usually are balanced when you purchase the tires and have them installed. However you can lose the weights on your car’s tires and your tires will suddenly be out of balance causing unnatural wear and tear on the tires. Your car’s tires will wear out much more quickly, there may be vibration in the front end which can also wear out your shocks much more quickly. You cannot balance tires yourself. An expensive machine is required.

When tire rotation and balancing is included in the tire price, take advantage of it. Each rotation and balancing can cost as much as $20 per tire or more in some cases. After several of these episodes your cheap tire price without these services might end up costing you much more than what you originally thought. This is the crux of the question. Will your tire price and money you save by not taking the services offered save you money over the long term? Or will you spend more on tire re-balancing, tire rotation, premature tire replacement, premature shock replacement and possibly even ball joint replacement.

Tire Price – Conclusion

For my money I would always take a tire price that includes all of these services and then I would make sure to keep my tires at an optimum level of service. This approach will keep my car safe, it will stop premature wear and tear and I will get better gas mileage as well. Always compare like for like services when you are shopping around to make sure that you get the best deal.

For more about tires and tire sales, click here.

Things Your Neighbors Won’t Tell You

Things Your Neighbors Won’t Tell YouThis post is about Things Your Neighbors Won’t Tell You because they are jealous or are mad at you for some other reason. “Complaining about your neighbors or complaining to your neighbors will cost you”. You will just be never sure when it will happen. How they will do it or how much it will cost you. If you have a neighbor that is difficult to deal with they will sabotage you at some point. It may cost you a great deal of money.  Always try to get along with your neighbors! Things Your Neighbors Won’t Tell You can cost you a great deal. You may not even know it. The following are several areas to watch out for.

Things Your Neighbors Won’t Tell You – A List

“I will use your Wi-Fi — and might get you arrested”. Leaving your WiFi unprotected with no password is a sure way to exceed your data limits. It could even attract the wrong attention from the police. Your neighbors will not tell you that they are using your WiFi for free! Or what kind of content that they might be downloading on your system. The police will eventually figure it out if there is really something sinister going on. But in the mean time you must deal with all of the suspicion etc.

“Good luck blocking out our din”. Noisy neighbors can be irritating. If you complain, you can almost be sure that they will take extra pains to be noisy. It could be always arranging to cut the lawn just when you are having an outdoor dinner party. Or perhaps having large noisy parties on a work night.

“I’m a registered sex offender”

No one is going to tell you this information ever unless they are forced to. Be alert and if you are concerned check with web sites that track this sort of thing.

“We’re ripping up the flower beds and planting corn.” You move into a beautiful neighborhood and expect all the neighbors to keep up their end of the bargain. But then there is the guy who does not cut the lawn, lets the flowers die and the weeds grow! Your home is next door and losing value every time a new weed pops up. You may even have to call the city to get him to cut his weeds down and now you have a neighbor who only wants to see revenge.

“My bed bugs need neighbors too.” The garbage is not thrown out properly, your kids sleep over, rodents visit and it is downhill from there. But will they tell you about these issues or let you find out yourself? Their mangy dog is always in your yard and doing his business wherever he likes.

“I’m secretly stealing your land.”

Neighbors can encroach on your lot by extending flower beds, moving sidewalks or fences. Unless you pay attention you will never know until you have your lot lines surveyed.

“Our bad behavior will give the whole block a bad name.” One neighbor can ruin a neighbor hood and drop home values over night. Imagine holding an open house to sell your place and they hold a huge party. It is always the guy on the corner lot that does not keep his property up and brings the value of all of the neighbor properties down.

“We’re not paying our mortgage.” They will not tell you that is for sure, but you will figure it out soon enough. No maintenance is done on the home and collection agents are coming around. As there home is sold for collection the value of yours is also going down!

“You’re moving? I’ll cut $20,000 off your sale price.” Casual chats with prospective buyers could cost you a great deal if they say the wrong thing.  A chat with a neighbor could cost you the deal or cause the buyer to offer a really low price for the home and make it difficult to sell your home. Remind them that lower prices affect their homes value too and someday they will be selling their home. Real estate agents always look for comparable when they price a home and you do not want several homes selling for a low price due to someone sabotaging your home.

That’s it when it comes to Things Your Neighbors Won’t Tell You


Text Marketing

Teenagers and Smart PhonesHave you noticed recently that many people of all ages are constantly on their phones, reading email, browsing Facebook or responding to text messages and possibly one of a hundred other things that they are doing on their smart phones! We are so engrossed in what is going on in our phones that people are actually talking less to each other face to face. While you may agree or disagree with this fact and whether it is a good thing or not the reality for many businesses is that they need to find a way to penetrate into a person’s short attention span and get their attention.

Text Marketing

Text messaging seems to be the one communications medium that is still getting through to people amongst all of the other communications media. Phones buzz, ring or vibrate every time a text message arrives and users cannot help but respond. This is what text marketing has known for a while and many companies are trying to take advantage of as they try to reach the consumer and gain their attention.

Judicious use of text messages as a text marketing tool can really make a difference if you are trying to alert customers of sales activity, make them aware that their order has just shipped etc. Sending too many text messages and consumers will just become irritated with them and ignore the text message which makes your advertising next to useless and may even trigger exactly the wrong response.

The last thing you want to is make your customer mad at you for sending too many text messages. Text marketing can be used to communicate with many people on a push basis to advertise, to communicate sales events and to communicate with a select group who have given you their cell phone number because they want to hear from you.

Text marketing is a unique method of communications that still has punch and able to get through to customers to grab their attention for several seconds. That is all that is needed to alert a customer to something that may interest them. If they are not interested, you have only taken a second or two of their time and for most people there is no harm done. When there are deals to be had, text marketing is a powerful way to get the message out to your customers.

We also talk about text messaging systems that send out weather alerts as well to consumers living in a specific area. Another use is to send text messages to all of your students on campus or all of your employees in a building for example about a warning, an evacuation drill and other items that you want all of your students and employees to know about. this use of text messaging can be an effective emergency notification system as well as a marketing tool for the university or company.

For more text messaging posts and topics, click here.

Solar Panel Efficiency for Your Home

Embarking on a solar panel installation is a complex business with a lot of variables that are taken into account by the installation company. We happen to believe that consumers should be aware of these issues as well and should really look into them before they make the decision to select a particular vender to complete the installation. One of the variables is solar panel efficiency and we will spend some time on this post discussing this particular variable and how it relates to your business case for your new solar panel installation.

When you are considering a solar panel installation, you can impact your financial cash flow and business case in several ways. You can either control your costs and get them as low as possible and / or you can also increase your generation of electricity as much as possible by making sure that the efficiency is as high as possible. Obviously you want to make sure that both of these areas are dealt with in the best manner possible. We believe you actually should model this on a spread sheet and review how long it will take to repay the installation cost of the solar generation system based on the cost and the electrical generation. But that is the subject of other posts so we will move on to the main subject.

Solar Panel Efficiency – Specifications

Solar panels are manufactured with various specifications. Some are more efficient at generating electricity than others and of course the cost also varies as well. So the most efficient solar panels under laboratory conditions may not be the most efficient when you factor in the cost of these panels. Less efficient, lower cost panels may be actually better from a cost perspective per kilowatt generated. There are other factors to take into account as well when selecting solar panels and a solar installation firm. Here are five questions that we feel are important to take into account:

1. “How many solar panel systems has the company installed?”

Consider installers who have more than 50 installations under their belt. Consider installers who really understand the technology and can explain it to you. If they generalize too much, this should lead you to ask more questions. Take the time to educate yourself as well and know as much as the installers should know. You do not want to find out that the fence installer is now installing solar panels because there is not sufficient fence installation work.

2. “How long is the warranty on my solar panels – 25 years?”

Most solar panels on the market are high-quality and should have a guaranteed output of not less than 90% after 10 years and no less than 80% after 25 years. Look for this level of output from all brands. Also ask the installer how he will demonstrate this level of efficiency when the units are initially installed and how it can be measured in 10 years time.

3. “How long is the warranty on your labor – it should be 10 years or longer?”

Some installers will warranty their labor for 10 years in order for the system to be eligible for state rebates. They should also cover any potential damage to your roof as well. Any installer in the business for the long term should have no problem including this.

4. “How many kilowatt-hours will your system produce the first year?”

Assuming you have the warranty on labor and the efficiency on the panels, the next most important measure is how many kilowatts will the system produce every year. This is where the system will pay for itself. Sometimes less efficient systems that cost less, but meet the warranty measures will produce as much if not more kilowatts and significantly improve the business case for your solar installation.

5. “What will the total cost be for the system including components, installation, warranty and maintenance”?

The final cost or profit is going to be the income or energy saved in terms of dollars vs. the cost of the system, the labor to install and the annual maintenance plan. Don’t forget to include the cost of the loan if you have one or the cost of money that it takes to pay for this system. The money you spend could be used for other investments and gain a return so you have to take this into account if you are going to do a true business case.

For more information about solar panels, costs, installation and more, click here.

Hardwood Flooring Contractors

Consumers who have decided to install hardwood floors in their homes must also decide what hardwood flooring contractors they will hire. In most cases the store they purchase the hardwood from can also provide installation services for them. They are providing a list of subcontractors that have been vetted by the store. Most hardwood stores will only recommend hardwood flooring contractors that they have experience with and who they can count on to do a good quality job and who also stand behind their work. After all their reputation is on the line as well, since if they have a dissatisfied customer, it will not matter whether it is with the material or the subcontractor, the store is still going to get a bad reputation.

However everyone has to begin somewhere and this is also true of hardwood flooring contractors. They need to gain experience and sometimes will work under another professional hardwood flooring installer to learn the trade. They may work together until the contractor has sufficient experience that they feel they can go out on their own and take on their own contracts. The questions for consumers is whether you want to be part of the training period when you are probably spending thousands of dollars on a new hardwood floor.

Questions for Hardwood Flooring Contractors

We put together several questions that will hopefully help consumers when they are hiring hardwood flooring contractors or even just going with the contractor that the store recommends.

  • How Long have you been laying hardwood floors?
  • How many installations have you completed on your own?
  • Can you provide references that are willing to speak with us?
  • Do you warranty your work?
  • When will the work begin?
  • When will you finish?
  • Will you stay on our contract until it is finished?
  • What precautions do you take to avoid dust in our home
  • What precautions do you take to avoid damage to other parts of our home
  • Do you clean up all sawdust and board ends that may be left over

Squeaky Floors and Hardwood Flooring Contractors

You may have other concerns or questions that you also want to ask the contractor that we have not listed. let us know what they are and we will add them to the list for other readers. Some home owners will request the contractor to explain how they will go about the installation, which way will the grain of the floor flow, how does the grain flow relative to the joists underneath and so  on. For example, your floor will gain maximum strength of the hardwood strips flow across the joists underneath the floor. this can be very important if you want to minimize squeaks in your floor. Most floors will squeak at some point and in one or two locations. In fact our floor squeaks in the winter time when the humidity in the house is the driest and the wood shrinks a bit because it is so dry.

It also squeaks in the hallway and nowhere else for some reason that we have not been able to figure out and only in the winter time as we explained. This is one of the weird things about our home and it will be a different location and even a different time of the year for your home. Having the contractor explain how he will install your floor will tell you a lot. If he does not mention installing across the joists, then you may want to add some probing questions of your own to see if he really knows what he is doing. Another point is that I like the contractor to set up his saw outside to minimize the dust in the house.

Leave Comments

Feel free to leave comments for our readers about your own experiences and any suggestions that you may want to leave for our readers. We can all assist each other to avoid situations that are less than what many people would like to experience with hardwood flooring contractors.

Tesla 2013 Roadster

Tesla 2013 roadsterThe Tesla roadster is a sleek electric vehicle running 245 miles on a single charge. It runs 0 to 60 in 2.7 seconds. This particular car is a 2013 model and was seen in Palm Springs. It takes 45 minutes to charge on a 240 volt connection. The trunk is small and this is a really sleek car! This is a superb looking car and it is a very modern vehicle that heralds the future of electric cars. Although it is very expensive at this stage, it is really a test case for the manufacturers to see what works and what does not from everything to how the car performs to the power distribution stations where you can recharge the batteries.

Tesla 2013 Roadster – Owner Comments

At the time of writing this post and information I learned from the owner, the biggest issue is planning your trip to make sure there was a location where he could recharge the batteries. He had to plan his trip around this in much the same way it was 100 years ago when cars were first beginning to appear on the roads. They needed to make sure they knew were the next gas station was going to be or where they could purchase a couple of gallons of gasoline to keep them going.

These electric vehicles are much the same regardless of how much you pay for them. You have to plan were you can recharge the batteries and who you can pay to plug your car into recharge. It will be another decade before we see distribution systems offering power to recharge batteries. This is why in the writer’s opinion, the hybrid is the way to go to make sure you can always take advantage of the gasoline engine to power your car when batteries are running low.

Tesla 2013 Roadster – Planning Your Trip

I cannot imagine driving a car that I paid so much money for and just driving it around the city. I would want to take it out onto the main highways and really test it out in terms of performance. I would want to take it on longer trips and maybe even on a long vacation. Unfortunately at this stage in the evolution of 100% electric vehicles, recharging those batteries is a big issue.

Most if not all of them including the Tesla roadster can be plugged into a regular 100 volt socket that delivers a maximum of 15 amps. The problem with this is that it will take many hours to recharge the batteries. Who wants to wait around for even half an hour for the batteries to recharge let alone for many hours.

Visiting Friends

If you are visiting someone and you recharge the car overnight, this would be no problem. You might even pay your host for the electricity that you are using in much the same way you would pay the local gas station for gas. In the morning your batteries are recharged and you are ready to go. But what if you are on a long trip and cannot stop at a friend’s place. Where do you recharge your cars batteries? California is one of the few states that is setting up recharging stations along the interstate which will charge an electric cars batteries in less than an hour. Again you must know where they are and plan your trip around them.

The gentleman in Palm Springs that I met who owns the Tesla roadster was taking his car from Palm Springs to Vancouver where he lives. He was in the process of planning his trip. He had a couple of friends that he was going to visit along the way to recharge his car’s batteries. It will be interesting to see how he makes out and whether he got stranded somewhere with no battery power. I guess CAA or AAA will still tow your car to a recharging station. Who wants to have this happen especially when you are driving an expensive care like the Tesla Roadster.

Still Early Stage for Electric Cars

We have taken a different slant on this post about electric cars. The government and the manufacturers are really experimenting at this stage. They know that the electric infrastructure needs to be built up to facilitate more people purchasing these cars. They know it will take time. This is really the beginning of that infrastructure build up with California taking the lead. Let’s see how many states follow in the next 10 years.

For more Tesla Topics and posts, click here.

Building Management Service

Vacant Home Property ManagementBuilding management service provided by property management companies can vary a great deal. If you are an owner looking to hire a company to provide you with this type of service, there are many issues to consider. We will cover a few of the building management service items that owners of single family buildings all the way up to multiple unit buildings should consider. You may want to prepare a complete list of services that you require. Then request quotes for these services before hiring a building management service company.

Property Management Service List

The list of possible service items that you may want to consider are as follows:

  • Rental of all units
  • Tenant selection
  • Place advertising to fill rental units
  • Collection of rents and collection of overdue rents including small claims courts
  • Review and check of all units pre-occupancy and post occupancy
  • Administration of damage deposits and last month rents
  • Repair and maintenance of all interior items to the unit
  • Repair and maintenance of all exterior items of the building
  • Preparation of an annual budget
  • Report on monthly revenue and expenses
  • Emergency response to maintenance items
  • Hiring of on site managers if needed
  • Management of on site managers if needed
  • Other specific services to the building that you may require

We suggest that owners who are planning to hire a Building Management Service company to provide these services receive very explicit contract guidelines. They can review and understand them, prior to hiring a company of this type.  The contract should state the specifics of what will  be done in as many specific situations as possible. You may require the company to contact you prior to spending any money over $50 for example in an effort to control the costs. You might provide them with specific guidelines for the kind of tenants you want to have in your building. They will attempt to carry out your instructions provided that they meet local and state laws. Specifics such as time frames, cost and actions to be completed by  a specific date should be included as much as possible.

Property Management Reports

Building manage service and contracts covering these services can be very general. It is always a good idea to check with the company providing building management service to you on a regular basis. Request status reports and monitor financial reports on a monthly basis at a minimum. Once you gain confidence with the company you have hired, you may consider relaxing this level of vigilance. In our experience it is a good habit to get into where you monitor the expenses and status reports once a month. Letting the building management service know that you review the reports etc will also help to keep them vigilant as well.

Less specific items should also include your rental strategy. For example what is your rent level going to be, how much will you increase rent each month? Will you rent to only seniors or people with kids or people with pets. There are all kinds of rental strategies to consider. You may decide to leave a unit vacant while you hold out for a tenant willing to pay a higher rent and take care of the place. This can mean less damages and lower cost to you the owner and to the property manager as well. Discuss all of these sorts of items with your manager and write them down so that everyone is clear on your strategy.

Building management service can be provided for individual homes, for apartment buildings that are condos. Also for rental units that make up the total building or part of a building. There are lots of combinations and we will discuss one example in our next post about the services that property managers can provide.

For more property management posts, click here.

Text Messaging Companies

Text Message CampaignText messaging companies are offering more and more services these days that are aimed at loyalty programs with consumers. We have seen companies such as Izod advertise in their stores for customers to become a text messaging loyalty member by sending a text message to their sign up number. In return they are offering a $5 text message credit back that consumers can use in the store towards any purchase they are making that day. Once you sign up, apparently you will receive text messages once and awhile that will advertise some special that they feel you may be interested in. If you then send a message to stop these future text messages, and wait a reasonable amount of time, you can then rejoin and receive another $5 credit for another purchase the same day you are in the store. What a great deal!

Text Message Alerts

We have seen a number of companies offer variations of the same thing as well as alerts that can be sent as text messages to your cell phone. These alerts can be for stocks that you are following to let you know that your favorite stock as reach a price point that you are watching for and want to make a decision to sell or purchase. Others may include  weather alerts or emergency alerts advising that a tornado is approaching. There are a variety of situations that text messaging is uniquely designed to provide the best solution.

Text messaging companies are prepared to work with potential customers to design a competitive offering or service that makes sense for the user as well as the customer. Start with an idea and utilize their experience to see what solution they may come up with which will meet your basic requirement and provide an economic solution as well. There are many ideas out there just waiting for someone to put them together into a service oriented solution.

Text Message Platforms and Software

Text messaging companies today can provide the platform and the software to get you going in hours with a basic package. Services can be aimed at mobile users in various segments and test runs can be made as well to fine tune the service package to ensure that you are reaching your target market. Give text messaging a try today and add it to your overall marketing strategy.

University campuses have embraced text messaging as a means of alerting students to announcements and emergency broadcasts that they need their students and staff to be aware of. This is a very efficient method to get a message in the hands of everyone that owns a mobile phone. Not everyone is checking their email all of the time, where as a text message is usually looked at immediately.

For more text messaging posts and topics, click here.

Top 10 Ways You Can Save Money Easily

Top 10 Ways You Can Save MoneyThese are the top 10 ways you can save money at home without even realizing it and it is pretty easy too.  They are not in any particular order. Some families will receive larger payoffs from one area than others and that is ok. Even if one of these areas helps you save some money which can be used for other things you are ahead of the game. Take a look at the list and determine if there any that you or your family can use.

Top 10 Ways You Can Save Money

  • Repair and Maintain Wear and Tear on Your Home
  • Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards
  • Claim Money In Your Name
  • Avoid Food In Your Kitchen Going Bad
  •  Pay Less for Smartphone Data
  •  Use Coupons That Are Right In Front of You
  • Always Negotiate
  • Don’t Fall For Tech Myths
  • Do not Overpay Your Monthly Bills
  • Trying Too Hard to Save Money
  • Share your home with family

We will expand on each of these to give you a little more information on just how you can save money on all of these areas.

Repair and Maintain Wear and Tear on Your Home – delaying repairs will only allow them to get worse and usually increases the repair costs substantially. As soon as you see something that needs to be fixed and repaired, do it right away. Water leaks are among the worst, the water spreads and damages a lot of things inside your home, creates mold and can even make you sick. This is just one example of fixing things as soon as you notice something amiss. Don’t wait or it will cost you more money!

Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards – take advantage of these rewards, they can save you hundreds of dollars. Health insurance, rental car insurance, travel insurance are just a couple of examples not forgetting using your points to pay for things like travel

Claim Money In Your Name – don’t forget money in unused bank accounts and other places were you may leave money from time to time

Avoid Food In Your Kitchen Going Bad – leftovers can be great and making sure that you use food before it expires can save you hundreds of dollars in extra food bills each month

Pay Less for Smartphone Data – use WiFi whenever you can to control or decrease the amount of data you need to pay for.

Use Coupons That Are Right In Front of You – it does not take much work to snip the coupons from the paper or even from some of the packaging your food comes in

Always Negotiate – the worst that can happen is that they say no or they will not negotiate. You would be surprised how even just asking can knock 10% off the price.

Don’t Fall For Tech Myths – go for the real thing. Check out all technologies online first and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is

Do not Overpay Your Monthly Bills – why would you give extra money to the big conglomerates. Pay your bills on time and only what you owe. Practice conservation and save thousands every year.

Trying Too Hard to Save Money – driving 10 miles to save $5 is going to cost more than that in gas. Always ask yourself if the net savings is going to be positive after you consider your expenses.

Share Your Home With Family

This is an interesting way to share the costs of running a home. If a family member moves back in with you, a child perhaps or an older parent, sharing the costs of maintaining the home can be very helpful. You need to discuss the arrangement up front before they move in and come to some sort of agreement. If you do this afterwords, there can be a lot of misunderstandings and it might even ruin your family arrangement. Sharing the cost of food, the cost of utilities and even the mortgage or taxes can make a huge difference for everyone concerned and save a great deal for both parties.


Cost of Refinishing Hardwood Floors

The cost of refinishing hardwood floors that are many years old with scuff marks, gauges. perhaps even cracked boards vs. installing a new floor is still way in favor of refinishing the older hardwood floor. In addition, many people really like the character of a home with older hardwood floors that have aged and have an older style look and feel to them. For them the decision to refinish a floor is not difficult, since they love this character and the atmosphere that an older floor creates.

Hardwood floors will fade over time and each time you move furniture you will notice that the floor area under the furniture will be a different shade compared to floor area that was exposed to the sunlight. As long as you do not move your furniture, everything is fine, however if you move furniture around you will be faced with a decision regarding  sanding and refinishing your floor or perhaps purchasing some area rugs to cover the newly exposed floor areas and blend the different shades.

It does not take long for the shading of hardwood floors to change and the sun can really make a huge difference on how fast it will change. If you can protect your floors from exposure to the sun there will not be as much change as quickly.

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Refinishing the older floors may involve quite a bit of manual sanding since the floor may be uneven and may also have gauges that will need to be repaired separately. Always sand the floor in the direction of the grain and never across the grain. Hand sanding will ensure that you have a nice even look to the floor, although it takes a great deal more work. In addition, you will remove far less of the wood from the floor, whereas mechanical sanders may take as much as an eighth of an inch of wood from the boards.

While it does not seem like much, if an older floor has been sanded many times, there may not be much wood left to sand. A mechanical sander could expose nails and even sand right through the hardwood to the under floor below. Sanding by hand is far safer and delivers a nicer job on older floors, although this type of sanding tales more time and effort.

Replacing a Hardwood Floor

If you decide to replace the floor, the existing hardwood must be removed and all nails and any other debris removed. Make any repairs to the supporting floor underneath that may be required. Most experts will suggest that there should be at least five eighths plywood to support a new hardwood floor. This will help to ensure that there are no squeaks in the floor when you walk across it. The cost of removal of the old floor, clean up and preparation of the base floor, placement of the sub floor for support and then installation of the new hardwood floor is usually much more expensive than sanding an older floor.

Evaluate both alternatives and request estimates for both solutions before making a decision. You can them make an informed decision about which direction is best to take with respect to your new floor. In addition, if you can do some or all of the work yourself, the cost of refinishing a hardwood floor will be much different as well. Consumers can save a great deal of money by refinishing the hardwood floor themselves.

Many people enjoy the ambiance and the character of an old floor that still retains its color and texture from years ago. In addition while you still want to be careful on the floor with furniture etc to not scratch it, there is less concern about the floor since it already has marks on the floor from years of use. Many consumers prefer this decor vs. having one that is perfect and must be treated carefully every time you walk on it.


Tires Wear Faster in Hot Weather

ATV Tires and AccessoriesDo tires wear faster in hot weather? Sergio, who works at Sergio’s Automotive in Thousand Palms, explains. “Because tires are made of rubber and what people don’t normally see is the air in the tire actually expands more when the temperature rises. And on the asphalt on the freeway it’s a little hotter than normal because you’re getting all those cars going by all the time. Friction from contact with a hot road surface and friction within the tire produces even more heat.” The air inside the tire will rise and this increases the tire pressure inside the tire.

Tires Wear Faster in Hot Weather

In addition rubber becomes more soft and pliable as temperatures rise and friction increases the temperature of the rubber even more. Soft rubber on hot asphalt is a perfect place for tires to wear fast! Winter tires are made of softer rubber than summer tires so if you have winter tires on your car in the summer tire they will wear even faster than the normal summer tire. Once the snow is gone, if you live in areas where you get a lot of snow, it is time to install summer time tires. Low tire pressure will also increase the friction and help a rubber tire wear even faster.

So how do you check your tread to see if it’s too low?

Tires Wear Faster in Hot Weather – If you feel that your tires have worn down too much due to use and summer time friction, check your tires before they get too bald. “The best idea if you don’t have any kind of tool is to always put an Abe Lincoln, a penny. And if it’s above the Abe Lincoln head you’re alright. Once it’s below usually that’s where it is when you need to change your tires. Sometimes there’s indicator wear marks on the tire themselves. This is a warning that your tires tread is getting thin and it is time to change your tires.”

Always purchase tires that are the right size for your car. Most people will just check the side wall of their existing tires and replace them with the same tire. However your tire dealer can look up your car, make and model to see what range of tires are suitable for your vehicle. It is important to install the right kind of tires with the proper speed and load rating. They help your vehicle to maintain stability at low and high speeds.

Improper tire size can cause accidents due to instability when turning corners or curves at high speed or even changing lanes on the highway. Improper tire size can also contribute to your tires wearing faster than normal. You really are not getting your mileage out of the tire that you are supposed to.

Vehicle Inspection at Maintenance Time

Tires Wear Faster in Hot Weather.  One of the best times to check your tires is when you have the oil changed. If your tires are worn down due to mileage or high temperatures, your oil change technician will usually point this out. Many oil change shops now will do an inspection of all fluids, check the tire pressure and note if your tire tread is getting thin. They will let you know if your tires should be changed. If they fail to point this out, ask them to check for you specifically. Ask for advice regarding your tires.

Make sure that your tires are at the proper tire pressure and have the correct amount of tread. This will ensure that your tires are safe to drive on at all normal speeds. They will also ensure that you get the best possible gas mileage as well. With the cost of gas these days it is important to make sure that everything is working properly on your car. So that you get the best possible gas mileage. This includes your tires.

For more information about tire safety and tire performance, click here.


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