Archive for May, 2015

California Drought

California DroughtThe picture on the left is typical of what is going on in California during the four year long California drought. It will last at least another year since the snow pack in the mountains is way down again this winter. No one knows how much longer the drought will last beyond next year. The drought is very serious since most reservoirs are down significantly. They have less than a years worth of water left in them to provide water to cities, farms and home owners across the state. If they do not get water soon, serious water restrictions will be put in place to conserve even this limited amount of water that is left.

California Drought – Steps to Take

Many people in California appear to not be taking the threat seriously. They continue to water lawns, wash cars and waste water as if there is not problem. It is time to wake up since California is considering reducing lawn watering to twice a week along with many other restrictions.

In desert communities, twice a week watering will cause many lawns to die off and most tress that have been planted to also wither and die. All those beautiful palm trees will also die since they take copious amounts of water. Many residents and visitors just do not realize that each palm tree must be watered unless it is watered by an underground spring of which there are few.

Here are some of the things you can do to reduce water usage.

  • Use water efficient taps and shower heads
  • Convert old toilets to water efficient toilets
  • Wash cars one a week and use a pail rather than a hose
  • Repair all sprinkler systems especially those that spray water on roads and sidewalks
  • Convert to a desert landscape

There are likely many more things that can be done to conserve water. Look at your own situation and apply water reduction techniques. It will help your wallet as well.


Money Saving: Opening a store credit card to get a discount

Opening a store credit card to get a discountOpening a store credit card to get a discount can definitely save you money immediately. After all the store is offering a ten or 20% discount to you. They do this simply for opening a new credit card account.  There is nothing wrong with this in terms of saving money. Provided that you can always repay the balance of the card when you receive your statement.

The store is hoping you will not be able to and will begin charging interest on the overdue balance often at a rate that is around 30% which is higher than most credit cards from banks. This is really how the store makes a profit and a rather large profit at that. Any time you can charge 30% on a balance means high profits. So pay off your credit card as soon as the monthly statement arrives!

Opening a store credit card to get a discount – Will You Use It

One of the issues with these incentives is that many people will buy something that is on sale because it is on sale. They actually do not need the item and would not have purchased it if they had not seen it on sale. You are not saving any money at all if you incur interest charges and you do not actually use the item once you get it home!

Another factor to consider is your credit rating. Adding multiple credit cards to you credit rating will over time decrease your credit rating. When this occurs and you need to borrow money for a loan for a car or perhaps your mortgage, it could mean that you will be unable to secure a loan or mortgage and / or pay higher interest rates which ends up costing your money than you should be paying. Any money you saved with the initial purchase will be long gone with high interest rates, paying interest or not being able to borrow money at low interest rates.

Opening a store credit card to get a discount can be a good thing, but like everything else in life needs to be managed to ensure that it does not cost you money in the long run.

 

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Drought in California

Drought in CaliforniaWe are snow birds who have been visiting California for the past several years usually in the Jan to April time period. There is much to learn about the drought in California. We have also learned the steps that California is taking to curtail water use to ensure that there will be enough water to last through this drought. It is in its fourth year with no end in site at the present time. One measure is the depth of the snow pack in the mountains, which once again is lacking and will not provide enough water for the coming year. California already knows that the drought will go on for at least another year.

Drought in California – Desert

We are in southern California in a beautiful spot in the desert. We are continually amazed at how much water is used here for irrigation, fountains. Also all of the regular daily uses of water that seem to be in conflict with the drought and water restrictions. Even the condo property we are staying at is having lot’s of debate with regard to what they should do  with regards to their water use. There are over 100 golf courses in the valley and all are watered daily, many several times a day. There are many gated communities with lots of lawns and gardens, water falls at the entrances and so on. We do not perceive a  reduction in water usage as far as we can observe.

Some locations are gradually converting to a desert landscape which will use much less water. However this is a very small percentage of the overall total. We find it troubling that many communities and individuals do not appear to be doing much about curtailing water usage. In fact in the condo we are staying at the water usage has gone up by 22% over the previous year.

Drought in California – Steps to Reduce Water Usage

The following list has been suggested by California to reduce water usage. It is not complete since this list is being adjusted and added to as the drought continues to get worse.

  • Water lawns only at night to reduce evaporation
  • Wash cars with hoses that can be turned off
  • Convert to desert landscape
  • Convert all water devices to efficient water use devices – toilets, showers etc
  • Report any running water to authorities
  • Repair any sprinklers that are not working properly
  • Correct sprinklers that spray water on sidewalks and roads
  • Reduce water use where ever and whenever possible.

Money Saving Ideas

Money Saving IdeasSome times the usual money saving ideas are really not the best way to save money. As with most things the details of how you save money, will determine if you actually save money or not. The following list of the typical ways of saving money actually do work as long as you make sure that you are really getting a deal. For example buying something because it is on sale, can save you money, provided that you are going to use it and that you actually need the item you are purchasing.

If you buy something that is on sale and do not need it or worse never use it, then you really have not really saved any money. Over the next few weeks we will expanding on the list below, providing examples and explaining why this typical list of ways to save money can actually cost you a lot more than perhaps what you planned. Stay tuned for more posts, but in the mean time review the list following and assess if any of these apply to you!

Money Saving Ideas – List

  • Buying Something because it is on sale
  • Opening a store credit card to get a discount
  • Buying an extended warranty
  • Driving out of the way to use a coupon
  • Buying in bulk
  • Putting your savings into a savings account
  • Buying more online to qualify for free shipping
  • Buying the cheapest of everything
  • Spending more to obtain credit card rewards
  • Buying everything on Black Friday
  • Taking advantage of loyalty programs

If you know of other ideas or perhaps have a different take on our list, please let us know, we will be glad to include your ideas in a post or as a comment on one of the posts. We all want to have enough money to do all of the things we want to do in life and making it last as long as possible is one way to do that. Also buying the items you actually will use is another way of maximizing your savings.


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