safety http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6787/all en-US Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_beach_credit_card_100441963.jpg" alt="Woman following credit card rules while traveling abroad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling around the world can be an exciting time. However, if you are not careful with your credit card use, your trip can dig you into deep money trouble. Keep your money safe and your budget on track with these five credit card rules.</p> <h2>1. Only Use Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees</h2> <p>Using the wrong credit card for your international shopping could cost you a lot more than you think. Most cards will charge a one to three percent foreign transaction fee for each purchase made overseas. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can add up quickly. If you end up charging your hotel, all of your food, shopping, transportation, and events internationally, that can easily add up to hundreds of dollars in foreign transaction fees alone. Bring a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation">card that has no foreign transaction fees</a>.</p> <h2>2. Avoid ATM Machines</h2> <p>Do not use your credit card for cash withdrawals at ATM machines. It will be processed as a cash advance. Cash advances come with higher APRs, and interest starts accruing immediately. It's not wise to use cash advances at home, and it's definitely not wise to use them abroad.</p> <p>The best way to get cash abroad is to sign up for a bank that provides ATM usage with no or low fees, or has a vast network of ATMs in the country you're traveling to. Keep in mind that while some banks offer zero fees for ATM usage, they may still charge you a foreign transaction fee for getting money in local currency. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360 Checking</a> offers ATM usage with no fees and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <h2>3. Just Say &quot;No&quot; to Debit Cards</h2> <p>A credit card will be safer to use abroad than a debit card. It would be horrible to run your debit card at a small souvenir shop, only to have your bank funds drained from card theft. Even better, use a credit card with the new chip technology that reduces fraud and identity theft.</p> <p>Often a hotel or car rental agency will put a hold on your card, so if you are using a debit card, it may take time for your cash to be available to you again. And if you ever run into problems with the funds release, you'll be stuck without access to your money. With a credit card, however, you can talk with your credit card company about removing the hold or helping you resolve the issue, without having to actually pay for it and wait for the funds to be returned.</p> <h2>4. Bring Multiple Credit Cards</h2> <p>Don't rely on just one card for your trip. Bring two or three cards altogether, allowing yourself a backup. It is a good idea to vary your cards, too. For example, don't make them all Visas. Try to have another card that is a MasterCard or American Express. If you run into an issue using one of them, you'll have another to fall back on.</p> <h2>5. Set Up Spending Alerts</h2> <p>No one wants to think about fraud and identity theft while they are on vacation, but it is a good idea to check over your purchases and make sure you have all of your cards and identification daily. Sign up for spending alerts so you get an email or text for each purchase. It may seem excessive, but you don't want to take any chances while you're traveling. Also, it's better to get these alerts than to log into your credit card account through public Wi-Fi. You can also call your credit card company to review recent charges.</p> <p>Traveling abroad is an adventure, so don't ruin your trip with unwise money moves.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite card to use when traveling abroad? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-your-belongings-get-stolen-abroad">What to Do When Your Belongings Get Stolen Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-avoid-credit-card-fraud-while-traveling">7 Ways to Avoid Credit Card Fraud While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bankamericard-travel-rewards-more-rewards-for-more-travel">BankAmericard Travel Rewards®: More Rewards for More Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel atm machines foreign transaction fees fraud protection identity theft overseas protecting money safety traveling abroad Fri, 19 Aug 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1775194 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_theft_wallet_50012006.jpg" alt="Man learning ways to protect himself from theft abroad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Vacation is a time for rest and relaxation. But your good-time getaway can quickly turn into a living nightmare if you're the victim of theft while you're away from home. Lock down your loot and guard your identity <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling" target="_blank">when you travel abroad</a> with these helpful tips on how to protect yourself.</p> <h2>1. Keep Your Money Hidden</h2> <p>Listen, we all know you're a baller with the big bills on vacay, but let's keep that our little secret. The less money you flash around in public, the fewer chances a would-be thief has to target you.</p> <p>&quot;I always kept my money hidden, and never ever pulled money out,&quot; says frequent traveler and blogger Stephen Roe, who lived in Tijuana, Mexico for five years without becoming a victim of theft. &quot;Other Americans would pull out a wallet to pay. I would always choose to select the money in my pocket and only pull out the amount I needed. That way, potential criminals wouldn't know how much I had.&quot;</p> <p>Roe adds, &quot;In addition, it's best to pay in the local currency whenever possible. Whipping out American dollars, even if it is accepted, can mark you as a potential target.&quot;</p> <p>Travel author <a href="http://amzn.to/29WGmnO">Susan Schenck</a> suggests a similar strategy with your debit card.</p> <p>&quot;When going to an ATM, have the card in a money belt,&quot; she relays. &quot;Make sure there are no loiterers around the area, though often they are even across the street. Go into the bank to count the money. There is a security guard there, often with a gun. Then place it all in your money belt. This is critical. I have so many friends who stuck the money in a pocket only to find it was gone when they got home. Pros can pickpocket you without your feeling anything. Keep the money belt well hidden under your pants.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Use Credit Cards Wisely</h2> <p>First, never use a debit card abroad. If it gets stolen, your funds can get depleted and it will take time for the bank to release the funds, if they decide you weren't responsible. Trying to settle these types of matters while you're on vacation abroad is definitely not ideal.</p> <p>Travel expert Ferdinand Goetzen suggests avoiding using your card in questionable places. &quot;This is especially important when traveling in less developed nations,&quot; he says. &quot;Payment security infrastructure can often be lacking so it's best to avoid using your card unless it is a trusted venue or bank.&quot;</p> <p>But credit cards can be helpful when used in safe environments, and can be a better alternative to carrying cash around. It's better to lose a credit card than cash. Credit card companies typically don't hold you accountable for fraudulent charges, as long as you report it quickly. Keep track of your cards carefully so you know if you've lost one, and set up alerts to notify you of purchases so you can see right away if someone has stolen your card information.</p> <h2>3. Use Caution When Taking Taxis</h2> <p>Taxis and nefarious taxi drivers can cause unnecessary trouble if you don't keep your wits about you. Schenck advises to write down the cab number before you get in for reference if you accidentally leave something behind. When exiting a cab, if you have luggage in the trunk, <em>do not </em>get out of the cab until the driver does; they've been known to high-tail out of there with your valuable belongings in tow. And never ask a taxi to wait while you go to the ATM if you leave stuff in the cab. &quot;One friend lost her laptop that way,&quot; Schenck says.</p> <h2>4. Use a Dummy Wallet for Fake-Outs</h2> <p>Want to trick the trickster? Have a fake wallet with outdated credit cards and maybe $20 in it that you can hand to anyone who holds you up. They want a quick getaway and aren't going to sit there and check the dates on the cards, says Schenck.</p> <h2>5. Keep $20 Where the Sun Don't Shine</h2> <p>Well, maybe not in the sense that you're thinking of, but it's not a bad idea to keep a $20 bill in your socks, bra, or other safe, close-to-your-body area in a hidden garment in the event that you're robbed. Twenty dollars goes a long way in many countries, and you'll at least be able to get home or to the nearest police station.</p> <h2>6. Bring a Separate Small Backpack for Valuable Objects</h2> <p>&quot;One of the most common thefts occurs when people leave valuables in their main luggage and leave it in the hotel lobby or in the baggage compartment on buses or trains,&quot; Goetzen warns. &quot;I always bring a small backpack with all of my most important belongings because I don't like to let them out of my sight.&quot;</p> <p>Also, stop assuming that your belongings will be safe with the friendly, nice-looking people next to you at transportation hubs while you go to the bathroom. Even friendly, nice-looking people steal things, and you'll be quite S.O.L. (and super P.O.ed) if they gang the bag with your tickets, passports, and wallet while you're taking a whiz.</p> <h2>7. Use Common Sense</h2> <p>Don't travel to areas that aren't policed, stay out of dark alleys, and don't go anywhere with anybody you don't know. Don't drink so much when you're in unfamiliar territory either. It makes you do stupid things and make poor decisions, and you become a sitting duck for criminals. Your mom totally would've told you so.</p> <p><em>Do you have tips on how to protect yourself when traveling abroad? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling.jpg&amp;description=7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script><p></p> <script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">Don&#039;t Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vacation-safe-11-tips-for-hotel-safety">Vacation Safe: 11 Tips for Hotel Safety</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel abroad cash caution money pickpocket safety theft thief vacation Tue, 26 Jul 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Mikey Rox 1757847 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Expenses You Should Never Cut http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_heart_000071794005.jpg" alt="Woman learning which expenses she should never cut" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, I've come up with hundreds of ways to trim proverbial fat from nearly every aspect of your budget. And I stand by those tips, tricks, and strategies because most of us have areas where we can pull back on the spending a bit.</p> <p>But some things are nonnegotiable. There are necessities &mdash; sometimes rather costly ones &mdash; that are required for us to live decent, healthy, and satisfying lives. What are they? Take a look at these eight expenses you should never cut, and let me know some of the areas where you just can't or won't shake out savings in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. Health Care</h2> <p>First and foremost, it's critical to have health insurance. It's required in the United States, whether from a private provider or via Obamacare, and without it you run the risk of either being denied care or racking up serious medical bills that could put your finances in dire straits for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>Aside from that, when you're sick or need medical attention, you want the best care you can get. Some prescriptions are expensive, too, and health insurance can greatly reduce those costs. You should never let coverage lapse because you're generally healthy or you don't think you'll fall ill anytime soon. Murphy's Law dictates that it's in that scenario you'll need medical attention, and you'll want to have insurance on your side.</p> <h2>2. Personal Hygiene</h2> <p>Soap, shampoo, and toothpaste are essential &mdash; and readily available, like on nearly every corner of your neighborhood, for not much money. Which is weird, because I know plenty of people, perfectly well-off individuals at that, who don't seem to use any of it on a regular basis.</p> <p>If you're one of those folks who likes to gripe at the cost of personal hygiene products and therefore use that as your excuse to skimp on washing yourself on a regular basis, you'll be happy to know that bargain brands, like Suave for example, do a bang-up job of keeping you clean. Not to mention that there are always coupons available for hygiene products, especially toothpaste, that can help reduce the cost of these items. Find the items on sale plus pair them with coupons and you'll spend oftentimes less than a dollar on what you need per item.</p> <h2>3. Personal Safety</h2> <p>Most of us practice personal safety consistently. We try to avoid automobile accidents, we look both ways when we cross the road, and we never run with scissors. Those are all subconscious decisions that don't cost a dime, which is why you might be asking yourself how personal safety costs you actual dollars and cents.</p> <p>For starters, the car that you drive should be rated for safety. When you're strapped for cash and need an inexpensive vehicle, choosing a cheap car that gets you from A to B may seem like an ideal option. Certainly there are times &mdash; and financial constraints &mdash; that call for this type of decision-making, but you'll almost always regret it in the long run. Instead, I recommend loosening the purse strings just a little more so you can buy a vehicle that will protect you if you're in an accident, opposed to one that's already falling apart.</p> <p>Another example is safety on the water. Life vests are cumbersome, and nobody likes to wear them. But you know what? They save lives, and there are millions of people in this world who will tell you that they regret not buying or renting life preservers during an outing that resulted in someone's harm or death. It could have been prevented if they had just sprung for the darn things. Thus, spring for the darn things.</p> <h2>4. Healthy Food</h2> <p>It's true, food is expensive, especially the healthy stuff &mdash; but you shouldn't be making cuts to your budget that include reducing the amount of healthy food you're eating by replacing it with less expensive, toxic food &mdash; like that microwaveable junk that comes from the freezer section or the stuff you grab at the drive-thru window.</p> <p>It's okay to indulge in it every now and then &mdash; who doesn't like to dive headfirst into a bag of Doritos from time to time? But most of your food should be fresh and nutritious. You owe it to yourself &mdash; and your longevity &mdash; to eat healthy, and there are lots of ways you can cut down on your healthy food bills if you put in the legwork before going grocery shopping. Wise Bread can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">save a substantial amount</a> on your supermarket bills if you do a little digging for advice.</p> <h2>5. Mental Health Care</h2> <p>Mental health is a hot topic of conversation nowadays, though we should have started talking about it seriously a long time ago. Personally I've suffered from depression and anxiety &mdash; and still do from time to time &mdash; and I've known too many people who have committed suicide because they weren't able to figure things out. Which is why it's my duty to tell you that your mental health is worth every extra penny you can afford. If you need medication, get the medication. If you need someone to talk to &mdash; which can help immensely when you're troubled &mdash; go see a therapist. If you have decent health insurance, prescriptions and therapy should be covered so you can afford to help yourself.</p> <p>And it goes without saying that if you feel like there's no hope left, please believe me when I tell you that there is. People care about you, and you can talk anonymously about whatever you're feeling by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255. You matter; whether you believe it right now or not &mdash; <em>you matter</em>.</p> <h2>6. Insurance</h2> <p>By law in most U.S. states you're required to have car insurance. So if you're thinking about cutting it because you don't drive very often or very far, you're in for a rude awakening if you have the unfortunate luck of being in an accident &mdash; and you'll probably go to jail on top of whatever expenses the crash racked up.</p> <p>Homeowners and renters insurance are also areas where it's not wise to be a miser. You don't have to have super-premium, platinum, Superman coverage, but you should have enough coverage to fully cover the things you own &mdash; so they can be replaced quickly and efficiently &mdash; in the event of an accident.</p> <h2>7. Debt Repayment</h2> <p>If you're already pinching pennies because you're in debt, it can be easy to brush it to the side and try to forget about it. You're in so deep that you'll never pay it off, so why worry about it, right? Wrong.</p> <p>In this case, you have few options to stay on track, but you may be able to cut something less important from your budget to continue making payments, or &mdash; and I know this is an offensive idea to some &mdash; pick up an extra job or side gig to start earning more income. The problem with debt is that it will never go away, and it's your responsibility to pay off what you've accumulated. You alone made those purchases, and you alone need to pay them off. There are assistance programs out there that can help, and I recommend researching your options in that regard, but whatever you do, don't act like it doesn't exist. It does, and it will follow you around like a black cloud for the rest of your life until you address it.</p> <h2>8. Things Your Kids Depend On</h2> <p>There's a buzzword that's being tossed around willy-nilly right now with regards to children and teenagers (and even 20-somethings). We hear it a lot: Entitlement.</p> <p>While I contend that American children tend to be somewhat entitled, there are some things to which they're <em>actually</em> entitled &mdash; like a proper education and health services. If your child needs a tutor, hire a tutor. If your child needs a therapist, seek therapy. Hopefully you had children for the right reasons, because you wanted to have a family to love and care for. If you're trying to be over-thrifty in these areas, you may not be doing the best job of holding up your end of the parenting bargain.</p> <p>Find areas in your own grown-up budget to eliminate &mdash; like one of your many memberships perhaps, or that adults-only vacation &mdash; and help your kid stay on the right path, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You owe them that much.</p> <p><em>What costs do you refuse to skimp on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-to-start-taking-better-care-of-yourself-today">9 Easy Ways to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-exercise-tools-for-a-killer-workout">10 Cheap Exercise Tools for a Killer Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses">Are You Spending Too Much on &quot;Normal&quot; Expenses?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budgeting children expenses family Health healthy foods hygiene necessary costs safety Mon, 30 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1717320 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Being a Safe Driver Will Save You Big Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_driving_car_000052861520.jpg" alt="Woman learning how being a safe driver will save her big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That speeding ticket can cost you &mdash; to the tune of an initial fine of $100 or more. That's bad enough, but then comes the hit to your insurance premium. You can expect the cost of your auto insurance to jump by at least 20% if you're caught driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, according to a study by InsuranceQuotes.com.</p> <p>But if you follow the speed limit, you don't have to worry about this financial hit. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-car-costs-the-dealer-is-hiding-from-you">10 New Car Costs the Dealer Is Hiding From You</a>)</p> <p>That's just one of the ways that being a safe driver can save you a load of money. Here's a look at the financial benefits that a safe driving record will bring you.</p> <h2>Lower Insurance Rates and Discounts</h2> <p>A clean driving record &mdash; one free of auto accidents, speeding tickets, or other moving violations &mdash; can dramatically reduce the amount you pay to your auto insurer each month.</p> <p>Insurance Quotes and Quadrant Information Services studied the impact of traffic incidents on insurance rates, and discovered that driving under the influence increased auto insurance premiums by an average of 93%. Reckless driving boosted it upward by an average of 82%. For speeding, the average increase varied, but those drivers going up to 15 miles per hour over the limit generally saw their insurance premiums jump by 21%.</p> <p>Another study by InsuranceQuotes.com, released in early 2015, found that drivers who make one accident claim will see their auto insurance rates jump by an average of 41%. Those who make two claims in a year will see their auto insurance rates increase by 93%.</p> <p>If you're a safe driver, you can actually be rewarded and save money by way of discounts. Allstate offers savings of 22% on policies after three consecutive years without any violations or accidents. After five years without any violations or accidents, drivers can reduce their insurance rates by 35%. Allstate also offers a defensive-driver discount. Under this program, drivers who are 55 or older and who complete six or more hours of defensive-driving courses can save up to 10% on their auto insurance.</p> <p>Don't have Allstate? Geico offers a discount of 26% for drivers who have been accident-free for five years. American Family offers drivers without accidents, violations, or claims a discount of 5% to 10%. Contact your auto insurance provider and see what safe driver discounts are available.</p> <h2>No Speeding Tickets</h2> <p>Getting a speeding ticket isn't much fun. It's costly, too. Last year, NerdWallet took a look at what a speeding ticket can cost drivers in California. According to the site, those drivers who were ticketed for going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit paid an average of $234 when fees and surcharges were taken into account.</p> <p>In 2013, insurer Esurance reported that the average speeding ticket costs drivers throughout the United States $150. That's a lot of money. And it doesn't even take into account how much your insurance rate will jump after a speeding ticket. Speaking of which...</p> <h2>Gas Savings</h2> <p>You might not think that driving the speed limit will save you money at the fuel pump, but it will. According to the Department of Energy's FuelEconomy.gov, aggressive driving &mdash; which includes speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking &mdash; can lower your car's gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% when you're driving in town.</p> <p>By driving the speed limit, and by avoiding rapid acceleration and braking, you can save up to 21 cents per gallon in fuel costs.</p> <h2>Fewer Traffic Accidents</h2> <p>Car accidents are terrifying events. They're also expensive ones.</p> <p>Speeding, not paying attention, or driving under the influence can not only result in terrible injury or death, but tremendous economic impact. According to a 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the overall cost of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. amounted to nearly $1 trillion. By being more aware, you can save yourself and others the costly financial burden of deductibles, auto and property repairs, rate hikes, and bodily injury.</p> <p>Driving safely and at the speed limit won't completely protect you from car accidents and their costs. But it will help.</p> <p><em>Do your driving habits help or hurt your wallet?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident">10 Steps You Must Take If You&#039;ve Been in a Car Accident</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-youre-in-a-car-accident">What to Do (and Not Do) When You&#039;re in a Car Accident</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-what-that-ticket-you-got-will-do-to-your-car-insurance-rate">This Is What That Ticket You Got Will Do to Your Car Insurance Rate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/two-more-crafty-ways-to-steal-from-you-gps-units-and-cell-phones">Two More Crafty Ways to Steal From You - GPS Units and Cell Phones.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-commute-is-killing-you-and-what-to-do-about-it">3 Ways Your Commute Is Killing You — And What to Do About It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation auto insurance discounts driving rates safety tickets Tue, 05 Jan 2016 18:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 1629243 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things You Should Never Buy Used http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-used <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-should-never-buy-used" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby_in_crib_000052779812.jpg" alt="Learning the 10 things you should never buy used" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The trick to getting your money's worth at a garage sale is knowing what to buy &mdash; and what not to buy. The next time you visit a thrift store or garage sale, you really need to skip these 10 things. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-deals-in-every-thrift-store?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Deals in Every Thrift Store</a>)</p> <h2>1. Helmets</h2> <p>By purchasing a bicycle or motorcycle helmet at a thrift store, you could be unintentionally putting your safety at risk. You have no idea who owned it before you, how old it is, or why they got rid of it. According to the Bike Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI), your <a href="http://www.bhsi.org/replace.htm">helmet should be replaced</a> after hitting your head in any crash. They recommend never buying a used helmet because it may have been involved in an accident. Instead, purchase a new helmet and feel confident that your head is protected.</p> <h2>2. Mattresses</h2> <p>In most cases, you should steer clear of old mattresses and box springs at the thrift store. Mattresses naturally gather things like allergens and dust mites from the previous owner, and you'll never know what caused a stain. The bed bug risk is also always a worry. Apart from being gross, mattresses also conform to the first owner's body and sleeping position. This will leave the bed lumpy and uncomfortable for you.</p> <h2>3. Cribs</h2> <p>Cribs and car seats are constantly being updated with new safety features, and recalled when other features fail. If you purchase a used one at a garage sale, you risk purchasing one of the millions of cribs that have been recalled for safety reasons. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) found that a crib <a href="http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/cribs/">more than 10 years old</a> will also have design flaws that put infants in danger. This is also true for many other used baby items, such as...</p> <h2>4. Child Car Seats</h2> <p>Car seats are only expected to last between <a href="http://www.parenting.com/article/car-seat-guidelines">five to nine years</a> (check your expiration date). If you buy one at a garage sale, you won't know if it was involved in a crash. Car seats are only meant to go through one accident, even if the child was <a href="http://thecarseatlady.com/aftercrash/">not in the seat</a> at the time. Go the smarter, safer route, and buy new.</p> <h2>5. Underwear and Bathing Suits</h2> <p>If they've touched someone's nether regions, you should take a pass. Bathing suits also wear out faster than regular clothing, so they may already be near the end. Instead of saving a few dollars on used underwear or bathing suits, just wait to purchase these essentials when they are on sale (such as during the winter, in the clearance bins, or during a semi-annual sale).</p> <h2>6. Cosmetics</h2> <p>If you don't know who's used it, you shouldn't be applying any cosmetic product to your face. In fact, in a study by LA Times, it was discovered that <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/18/image/la-ig-testers-20100418">100% of makeup testers</a> at a popular department store cosmetic counter were contaminated with E. coli, strep, staph, and other bacteria. If these issues run rampant in a department store, they are sure to be found in your local thrift store's makeup selection as well.</p> <h2>7. Bath and Beauty Products</h2> <p>You should stay away from bath and beauty products, including creams, lotions, and perfumes, because there is no guarantee that you will actually get what the bottle states. The seller could have replaced the contents with anything. Cosmetics don't last forever, so you may be buying something that's already expired and risk <a href="http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skin-care-basics/_/When-to-Toss-Out-Beauty-Products">exposure to harmful bacteria</a>.</p> <h2>8. Running Shoes</h2> <p>If you buy used running shoes, the tread and cushioning are probably already worn out and you will end up injuring your feet, knees, legs, and/or back by running in them. Used shoes have already been molded to someone else's feet and it will be difficult to get them to re-mold to yours. As is the case with any used footwear, you are also at risk of <a href="http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/09/how-you-can-stop-foot-and-toe-fungus-in-its-tracks/">catching a foot fungus</a> or other bacterial infection from wearing someone else's shoes.</p> <h2>9. Electronics</h2> <p>You can already find a good deal on old or used items at most electronics stores &mdash; and these generally come with some sort of warranty. See what kind of deals you can get online or at your local electronics or home goods store before considering shopping at a thrift shop. You may also want to consider refurbished electronics, which have been professionally repaired by the manufacturer or an authorized dealer.</p> <h2>10. Puzzles and Games</h2> <p>Certain games (particularly vintage ones) can be a unique thrift store find at an affordable cost. On the other hand, puzzles and games with lots of pieces are never a good idea. If there's even one piece missing, you won't be able to play. Where's the fun in that?</p> <p><em>What are some of your favorite things to buy at a thrift store or garage sale? What </em><em>do you tend to avoid? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-used">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-furnish-your-home-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-moving-truck">How to Furnish Your Home for Less Than the Cost of a Moving Truck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">How to Sell Your Kid&#039;s Stuff at a Consignment Sale</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store">10 Things to Look for Every Time You Visit a Thrift Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-deals-in-every-thrift-store">The 5 Best Deals in Every Thrift Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-buy-used">8 Things You Should Always Buy Used</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping garage sales safety thrift stores used yard sales Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:15:24 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1605800 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/surveillance_video_000015585918.jpg" alt="Learning of cheap ways to deter house intruders" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Burglaries are decreasing in the United States, which is good news for homeowners, though the victims who experienced the <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/november/crime-statistics-for-2013-released/crime-statistics-for-2013-released">1.9 million burglaries</a> in 2013 might not see the glass as half full.</p> <p>The average dollar loss per offense was $2,322 that same year. That number, along with the fact that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">protecting your home</a> with a home security system can <a href="https://usinsuranceagents.com/cheap-home-insurance">lower home insurance premiums</a>, may be enough to convince you to do something to deter intruders.</p> <p>Installing a home security system, however, can cost a few hundred dollars (along with $15 to $100 for monthly monitoring). So here are six cheaper alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Set Up a Home Camera Yourself</h2> <p>For about $150, you can buy a camera that you can set up yourself to record your front porch, for example, and save on your computer. The upfront cost may equal what you'd pay for a security system, but you avoid the monthly monitoring costs.</p> <p>Another option is to set up a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CWRXEVG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CWRXEVG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VMD43IRA6GXM4KF6">fake video camera</a> or webcam as a deterrent to potential criminals. Seeing a few &quot;security cameras&quot; over the garage may be enough to cause them to move on. And if you want the cameras to work, there are all kinds of apps to turn a <a href="http://www.ugolog.com/pages/25-applications-to-turn-your-webcam-into-home-security-system">webcam into a security camera</a>.</p> <h2>2. Put a Home Security Sign Up</h2> <p>Just as with a non-working camera, you can put up a security company's sign in your yard stating that your home is being protected, but don't pay for the service.</p> <p>A generic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DT8JLI2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DT8JLI2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DRPOKSZXCZJHZPPY">alarm system sign</a> sells online for less than $25, although experienced criminals may well recognize the knock-offs. (Less than scrupulous vendors sell signs from well-known security services on eBay and elsewhere, but this trick seems unfair to the security firms who provide actual services.) Again, the point is to make burglars think twice before trying to break into your home.</p> <h2>3. Install Motion Sensors</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=motion%20sensor%20lights&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amotion%20sensor%20lights&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=UIEK2HSFJNXEERC3">Motion sensor outdoor lights</a> are as cheap as $50, turning on whenever someone or something moves in front of them. Lighting the outside of a home is an easy deterrent for nighttime break-ins.</p> <h2>4. Leave the Radio On</h2> <p>If you're gone all day, leave a radio on so that anyone walking up to the house will hear it and think someone is inside. Leaving a small desk radio on for six hours costs an estimated <a href="http://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/appliance_opcost_list_duke_v8.06.pdf">22 cents per month</a>.</p> <h2>5. Run a Fake TV</h2> <p>Burglars are looking for unoccupied homes, and a glowing TV screen is a sign that someone's home.</p> <p>For as little as $25, a small device called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BTKGHDE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BTKGHDE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5O6AEGTHITP6432P">FakeTV</a> simulates the flickering light of real television. Close the curtains and from the outside, it looks like you're home watching TV. The device has a light sensor and timer, and uses the same amount of power as a night light.</p> <h2>6. Lock Your Doors</h2> <p>This is a simple tip, but one that many people may forget about once in awhile. Lock all doors and windows before going to sleep at night, and install deadbolts where you can. A chain lock on a door won't be enough to stop a determined intruder. A security door jam for a door or window can cost only $10 and should also be locked at night.</p> <p>Those are some of the cheapest ways to deter house intruders. If you really want something that makes noise when a burglar or anyone else comes to your house, consider getting a sometimes expensive but trustworthy burglar alarm: a dog. The barking may drive you crazy, but it can protect your home from burglars when you're away. And the mailman may even think twice before leaving you those pesky bills!</p> <p><em>Do you employ any of these or other cheap security tricks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-ruin-an-antique-how-to-tell-if-you-should-refinish-wooden-furniture">Don&#039;t Ruin an Antique! How to Tell If You Should Refinish Wooden Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-great-home-gadgets-that-can-save-you-real-money">3 Great Home Gadgets That Can Save You Real Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home burglary intruders safety security surveillance Thu, 22 Oct 2015 21:16:53 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1593625 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things to Never Do When Traveling Alone http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_outdoor_adventure_000040799706.jpg" alt="Woman learning things to never do when traveling alone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For every parent, coworker, and well-meaning friend who warns you to never travel alone, there are plenty of seasoned travelers who proclaim solo travel to be the only way to truly experience the world.</p> <p>Alone, you get to pick your own itinerary. You get to drink in your surroundings without the distraction of chitchat or trying to get along with someone else. Solo travelers report feeling empowered by the ability to navigate strange places on their own.</p> <p>But the reality is that solo travel has its potential pitfalls, the top one being safety, especially for women. Here are some things to avoid if you want to keep solo <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-super-smart-travel-hacks">travel safer</a> and more satisfying.</p> <h2>1. Never Overlook Fellow Solo-ers</h2> <p>It might be tempting to think that someone traveling alone must be a weirdo to be avoided. But wait! <em>You're</em> traveling alone, and you're not a weirdo. So go ahead and form ad-hoc adventure teams.</p> <p>&quot;Backpackers and hostels are like the meccas of solo travelers, and you're guaranteed to meet a ton of people from all over the world if you just hang out in the lobby or coffee shop of one. You don't even have to stay there; just go hang,&quot; advises travel blogger <a href="http://mylifesamovie.com/5-reasons-why-youre-never-really-alone-when-you-travel-solo/">Alyssa Ramos</a>.</p> <h2>2. Never Be Shy</h2> <p>One of the biggest advantages of traveling solo is that, with no one else to talk to, you're much more likely to engage with locals. Even if this is hard for you (it is for me), push yourself.</p> <p>&quot;Travelling solo definitely enables you to speak directly to some locals and stop being shy with people,&quot; writes Agness Walewinder on <a href="http://etramping.com/10-benefits-of-travelling-solo-at-least-once-a-year/">eTramping.com</a>. &quot;In this way, you can make new friends and gain valuable insider knowledge about wherever you are.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Never Grin at Strangers</h2> <p>I know I just told you to be friendly, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do that.</p> <p>When I was 19, I left Wisconsin for a year abroad in Paris. The August day when I landed was hot, so I put on shorts and a bikini top and took a walk, smiling politely at anyone I passed, male or female.</p> <p>Before I knew it, a young man with black wavy hair was following me. Once I lost him, another man started walking alongside me. I learned that day that in Paris &mdash; as in so many cities worldwide &mdash; a big smile means more than the &quot;Hi there!&quot; it means in Madison, WI.</p> <h2>4. Never Explore Out-of-Sight Places</h2> <p>In the French village of Cordes-sur-Ciel, my travel companions and I stumbled upon a multi-story house with its door wide open. We walked in, and noticed it was full of art pieces but empty of people. As we climbed each flight of steps, we felt more intrigued but also more nervous, wondering what kind of place this was and whether we might meet anyone else there.</p> <p>In the end the curious art house was deserted, and it was a magical experience. But it's one that I would have skipped if I had been alone.</p> <p>&quot;Keep to open and public places, especially at night,&quot; The Independent Traveler firmly warns. If I had run into someone who meant me ill on the third floor of that empty house, I would have had a difficult time escaping.</p> <h2>5. Never Skimp on Research</h2> <p>&quot;Doing your homework about a new destination is especially useful when you're traveling solo,&quot; advises Amanda on <a href="http://www.dangerous-business.com/2015/03/why-im-not-afraid-to-travel-alone/">A Dangerous Business</a>. &quot;Before every trip, I do a little Googling and read up on things like cultural norms, common scams, and how I should dress as a tourist.&quot;</p> <p>Alison Vingiano narrowly escaped rape while hiking alone in Dharamsala, India, an experience that made her realize that despite her refusal to be grounded by fear, she could not ignore local safety issues either.</p> <p>&quot;Women should travel alone. It is not fair for us to live in constant fear, nor should we. However, we must also accept and adapt to the reality of wherever we travel, rather than challenging preexisting and culturally specific gender binaries we cannot control,&quot; Vingiano wrote for <a href="http://hellogiggles.com/women-traveling-alone-the-risks-and-the-danger/2/#read">Hello Giggles</a>.</p> <h2>6. Never Wander the Wilderness Alone</h2> <p>This is a tough one. The solo journeys of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385486804/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0385486804&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=G77TDRBHZTDV52I2">Christopher McCandless</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671695886/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0671695886&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FSTWMS5APWI6EKVC">Edward Abbey</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307476073/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307476073&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6PH7PGVY2XUC7E3K">Cheryl Strayed</a> look mighty appealing, all alone with their packs in the desert or the back country. But remember that McCandless, the subject of the book and movie <em>Into the Wild</em>, died out there. Abbey very nearly died when a stupid climbing mistake stranded him on an isolated ledge (and probably lots of other times too). Strayed was okay &mdash; but after all, she stuck to the Pacific Crest Trail and even then she had some close shaves.</p> <p>Retired search and rescue expert Matt Fields bluntly urges backpackers to buddy up: &quot;A medical emergency could be terminal if you have no one with you to go for help or render aid until help arrives.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Never Lose Contact With Those at Home</h2> <p>Even though you are on the road alone, you should keep someone at home posted about your whereabouts. <a href="http://www.protrav.com/travel-411/solo-travel-safety/">Professional Travel, Inc.</a>, recommends that you leave a copy of your itinerary with contact information for points along the way, and keep your phone activated even if this costs you extra. Not only should people be able to reach you in case of emergency, but someone should notice if you don't show up at your next destination on time.</p> <h2>8. Never Get Wasted</h2> <p>I learned the importance of the buddy system while drinking back in college, and it goes double for tippling while traveling. Don't let yourself be overserved if you don't have someone you trust to make sure you get back to your room okay. Professional Travel goes so far as to advise you to stick to beer or wine instead of cocktails, because it's too easy to tamper with a mixed drink. That may seem paranoid, but travel blogs and the media contain plenty of accounts of travelers <a href="http://www.offbeattravelling.com/roofied-in-southeast-asia-how-a-friend-lost-his-phone-e500-and-his-memory/">drinking spiked drinks</a> and getting <a href="http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1193242-woman-i-was-drugged-raped-in-mexico">robbed or worse</a>.</p> <p>In fact, after reading these accounts, I suggest memorizing some <a href="http://www.travel-insurance.net/blog/2009/05/06/10-ways-to-protect-yourself-against-spiked-drinks/">tips for avoiding spiked drinks</a>, such as taking your drink to the restroom with you instead of leaving it unattended.</p> <p><em>Have you ever traveled solo? What precautions did you take?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%20Things%20to%20Never%20Do%20When%20Traveling%20Alone.jpg&amp;description=8%20Things%20to%20Never%20Do%20When%20Traveling%20Alone" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Things%20to%20Never%20Do%20When%20Traveling%20Alone.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling">7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-traveler-13-tips-to-keep-it-safe-easy-and-cheap">How to Host a Traveler: 13 Tips to Keep it Safe, Easy, and Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel adventure alone safety solo travelers Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:00:56 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1570364 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hiking_000015734781.jpg" alt="Woman taking hiking hacks to the trail this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of people who want to spend more time outdoors are quickly drawn to hiking. After all, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-outdoor-adventures-that-dont-cost-a-dime">hiking can be really accessible</a>. You don't need a lot of technical skills or fancy gear, and it's a lot less intimidating than, say, rock climbing or whitewater rafting.</p> <p>But hiking is not just walking, or at least it isn't like a walk around the neighborhood. In fact, ensuring a safe and enjoyable hike takes a bit of preparation and know-how. Here are 20 handy hacks to take to the trail this summer.</p> <h2>1. Know Where You're Going (and How to Get There)</h2> <p>Randomly selecting an unmarked trail is likely to leave you frustrated when the trail suddenly turns a corner and disappears. Worse still, you could get lost. Choose your hike at home so that you can do some research about it and print off some information and maps. If you're in a park of some sort, you may also be able to access maps and information from local guides before you hit the trail.</p> <h2>2. Pack Ahead</h2> <p>Whether you're backpacking or just taking a day trip, anyone and everyone will recommend that you pack light. The problem is, it's hard to know just how heavy all that stuff will be until you get it all into your pack &mdash; if it'll even fit. Take some time before you set out to lay out what you'd like to bring, pack it, and then attempt to lift it. If the load is back-breaking, you'll have time to make adjustments.</p> <h2>3. Break In Your Boots</h2> <p>If you're serious about hiking, a good pair of boots is a good investment. They're durable, they're comfortable, and they'll protect your ankles from twisting and your toes from being crushed by loose or rolling rocks. But, because these babies tend to be stiff, you <em>must </em>buy them at least two weeks before your first hike, and wear them as much as possible to break them in. Do not try to break in your shoes on a hike of any significant distance; walking miles and miles with sore, blistered feet will not be a fun time.</p> <h2>4. Pack in Layers</h2> <p>Particularly when going out for an overnight hiking trip, it's important to pack in layers, ensuring that the top layers of your pack include the things you will need during your hike. Keep snacks, sunscreen, and extra layers on top. Camping equipment and anything else you won't need until you arrive at camp should go at the bottom.</p> <h2>5. Waterproof Everything</h2> <p>Water is your enemy. Not only are wet clothes cold to wear, they're also much heavier to carry. If you don't have one of those nifty rain covers for you backpack (basically a large shower cap that fits over your pack), line your bag with a garbage bag. If your clothes, matches, tent, sleeping bag, etc. are nice and dry, you'll be a much happier camper. If you're really concerned about keeping something (like your phone or box of matches) dry, place it in its own sealed baggie.</p> <h2>6. Wear Shorts That Can Be Pants and Vice Versa</h2> <p>Yes, they're kinda dorky, but there's a reason why there are rows and rows of these at REI. Not only does carrying both shorts and pants add unnecessary weight, but the weather can change pretty quickly (particularly in the mountains). Being able to make a quick change can make your hike a lot more comfortable.</p> <h2>7. Be Religious About Changing Your Socks</h2> <p>If your socks get wet, friction increases and where there's friction, there are blisters. Bring a few extra pairs of socks to change into, and do so whenever your feet are feeling damp. If the weather's dry, you can also hang the used pair from your backpack to switch into again once they've dried out. Be sure to wear socks designed for hiking or running. Regular cotton sports socks tend to bunch up and hold moisture.</p> <h2>8. Pack Duct Tape</h2> <p>Duct tape can be used to cover a blister, patch a tent, remove ticks, and all manner of other nifty things. Rather than carry a full roll, wrap some around your lighter or water bottle to save space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-ways-to-use-duct-tape?ref=seealso">10 Great Ways to Use Duct Tape</a>)</p> <h2>9. Repackage Your Snacks</h2> <p>Snacks are a great way to keep your energy up while you're hiking, but classic hiking picks like trail mix, pretzels, and candy tend to come packed with a lot of air. Before you leave, remove what you think you'll need from its original package and compress it into sealed baggies.</p> <h2>10. Bring a Map, Compass, and/or GPS</h2> <p>Some trails are wide and exceedingly well-marked (and well traveled). Many are not. Particularly if you are headed out into the backcountry, be sure to bring (and know how to read) a map, and use a compass or GPS device. In some areas, getting lost means getting rescued. Not cool.</p> <h2>11. If You Lose Your Way, Don't Assume Things Will Improve</h2> <p>Below is a recent photo of two people who were recently rescued in Kananaskis Country, an area of the Rocky Mountains near where I live. These two were scrambling, a sport that falls somewhere between rock climbing and hiking. One fell a few feet down a cliff and, as you can see, they ended up on a pretty sheer rock face. This looks insane, I know, but it can happen pretty easily. So, when you find yourself getting into dangerous territory, don't continue on in with hope that things will improve. They may not. Sometimes, it's best to go back the way you came. The pair in this picture was rescued by helicopter and arrived back on the ground safe and sound.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/hiking.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <h2>12. Get to Know the Local Wildlife</h2> <p>Having an understanding of local wildlife &mdash; and how to behave safely around them &mdash; is a key skill when heading into any wilderness area. If you know what you may be dealing with and what to watch out for, you can ensure that your interactions with wildlife are positive, rather than dangerous (or even deadly).</p> <h2>13. Wear Sunscreen &mdash; Always</h2> <p>Sunburn can happen any time you spend extended periods outdoors. Lather up before you leave, regardless of whether it's overcast, or cool. If you're in the mountains, know that you'll burn faster at altitude too.</p> <h2>14. Bring a First Aid Kit</h2> <p>In most cases you won't need it, but you'll be glad to have it if you do. You can get a basic fully-stocked kit at a camping supply store, or<a href="http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit/anatomy"> put together your own.</a></p> <h2>15. Make Sure Your Friends and Family Know Where You're Going</h2> <p>If you're heading out for a hike &mdash; particularly if it's a long one &mdash; make sure that someone knows where you're going. That way if things go wrong and you are unable to make it back, rescue crews will know where to find you.</p> <h2>16. Be Honest About Your Fitness</h2> <p>Beware of hikes that are labeled &quot;hard&quot; or &quot;very hard.&quot; These hikes tend to be not only steep, but also include technical terrain such as loose rock, large boulders, and very uneven ground. They may even include exposed areas, which typically means you'll be walking along a sheer drop of some sort. Even if you're a very fit person, it's best to work your way up to these. Hiking requires some skill, and it's best to build that over time. Be honest about your fitness before you head out. Choosing an easier hike will ensure that you have a good time and keep coming back.</p> <h2>17. Learn How to Use Any and All Equipment Before You Leave</h2> <p>I can't even tell you how many hikers and campers I see with a full stock of brand new gear &mdash; and absolutely no idea how to use any of it. There's nothing wrong with being a newbie. Just don't be a dumb one; try out and practice using all your gear before you leave home. Or at least take it out of the package.</p> <h2>18. Assume That Any Weather Is a Possibility</h2> <p>I recently hiked 10 miles into the backcountry and then back out the next day. On the way in, I was stripped down to a tank top and shorts, and soaked with sweat. On the way out, I was wearing mittens, a hat, and all my layers to protect myself from the flurries I found at the top of the pass. It was July. The moral of this story is that the weather can be unpredictable, especially across different altitudes. Pack layers and rain gear, regardless of the forecast or what it looks like outside when you're leaving. You never know what'll happen out there.</p> <h2>19. Bring a Quality Knife</h2> <p>A good camping knife is handy for all kinds of outdoor tasks. If things get really dramatic, you could also use it to fend off a black bear, or free yourself from a boulder (not really, I hope!). In most cases, you'll find it handy for cooking, setup, and most important, making marshmallow roasting sticks.</p> <h2>20. Stop and Smell the Flowers</h2> <p>For real! Wildflowers are beautiful. What I also mean by this is to give yourself plenty of time to complete a hike so that you can stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. Wild places offer so much to see and learn. I'd hate for you to miss out on any of it!</p> <p><em>What's your top hiking hack, and how has it helped you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone">8 Things to Never Do When Traveling Alone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town">14 Things You Should Do When You Move to a New Town</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks">Camping for a Week Is Only $160 at These National Parks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks adventure exploring hiking outdoors safety trails Tue, 18 Aug 2015 17:00:45 +0000 Tara Struyk 1523122 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_camping_000051647654.jpg" alt="Couple learning what not to do when camping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Camping is fun, right?</p> <p>Well, it's supposed to be. However, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Some of these aren't preventable, but you have quite a bit of control over how comfortable you are, how safe you are, and how much fun you have while you're camping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks?ref=seealso">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</a>)</p> <p>If you're wondering how to have the best experience possible, here are some things you should always avoid when you go camping. For your next trip, don't...</p> <h2>1. Get There in the Dark</h2> <p>Setting up camp in the dark is hard, and it can be dangerous, too. Even in the best-groomed campsites, there are often sticks, rocks, holes, or lumps of dirt, which can become tripping hazards when you run into them full-tilt carrying a tent pole. Sure, you have headlights and flashlights, which can help, but nothing tops arriving early in the day so you can assess your surroundings. In addition, arriving in the light means that you can find things like the all-important toilet.</p> <p>If something happens and you can't avoid a nighttime arrival, do your best to get as much light in the area as possible. Park facing your camping area and turn on your headlights. Tie flashlights to trees. Set a lantern up in the middle of your living area. Then, before you set up your tent, take your time clearing the area of debris and scouting out anything that might hurt you.</p> <h2>2. Wander the Forest Alone</h2> <p>Most camping is done in an area where you're not familiar with the landscape or, at least, less familiar than you are at home. Camping can also involve hazards that you aren't comfortable dealing with on your own and that you may not be able to anticipate. Because of this, it's always a good idea to take someone with you when you camp and not to go on outings alone.</p> <p>If you want to camp alone or you just need a time-out from your camping partners, be sure to tell someone where you're headed and about when you plan to return. If your friend knows you're out on a three-mile hike, they won't panic when you aren't back in an hour, but they will know that they should sound the alarm when three or four have passed.</p> <h2>3. Leave Your Food Out</h2> <p>Critters love human food, and they will get into anything you leave out. Even small animals, like chipmunks and squirrels, can make a huge mess, and the food isn't very good for them, either. In some areas, you risk a run-in with something less desirable, like a bear or a skunk. And don't store food in your tent, either, because you certainly don't want animals in there!</p> <p>Usually, it is fine to put dry food in your car and to close and latch your cooler. In some areas, where bears are known to roam, you will need to make your food even more secure. Find out ahead of time what is required and make sure you have the supplies and know-how to do that.</p> <h2>4. Forget Warm Clothes</h2> <p>When it comes to the weather, something unexpected is almost bound to happen while you're camping, and it's best to be prepared with the right clothing. Since most camping happens during warm months, people tend to forget warm clothes. It's easy to ignore the fact that nights are almost always cooler than days, and that rain storms or cold winds can happen without warning. And, sometimes, you will want long pants and long sleeves for different reasons, like to keep bugs from biting or to keep the sun off you.</p> <p>If you're heading to a mountainous or high desert area, it's even more important that you bring warm clothes. Nighttime temperatures in both of these climates are significantly colder than daytime ones, and you could end up miserable and ill without the right clothing.</p> <h2>5. Annoy Your Neighbors</h2> <p>When you're camping, the people at the site next door can become your helpers, your new best friends... or the people who wouldn't help you for the world because you annoyed them so much. If you don't want to find yourself in deep water with the neighbors, follow your common sense. Don't get drunk, make lots of noise in the middle of the night, play loud music, drive too fast in camp, or leave your fire burning when you aren't there.</p> <p>If you've done something annoying, it pays to apologize. And if you apologize with some freshly-baked camp cookies, it's even better. When you acknowledge that you did something annoying, people are likely to forgive... as long as it doesn't happen again.</p> <h2>6. Bring Equipment You Don't Know How to Use</h2> <p>I don't care how experienced you are. Each tent goes up a little differently, and it pays to know exactly how the one you brought works. The same goes for any other gear: your stove, your hydration pack, your nifty new camp-cooking appliance. Take it out of the box and figure it out before you leave. Otherwise, you waste valuable camping time and try your own patience, not to mention that of the people camping with you.</p> <p>If you don't have a chance to put up your tent at least once before you leave, make sure you have plenty of light and plenty of time once you arrive at your destination. Send the kids to explore and let your spouse do something else while you figure it out. You'll all be happier with each other and better able to enjoy the rest of your stay.</p> <h2>7. Forget the Toilet Paper</h2> <p>I get it. Your campsite has a bathroom &mdash; a real bathroom, with running water and paper towels and maybe even a shower. I don't care. Bring your toilet paper.</p> <p>You never know when a campground bathroom will run out of TP in the middle of the night, or when you'll be out by the lake or on a hike and find yourself in need. In these cases, it's so much less awkward to have the supplies you need. Sure, you have to trek it along in the first place, but it will save you a headache in the end.</p> <p><em>What do you enjoy most about camping? And what would you never, ever do?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%20Things%20You%20Should%20Never%20Do%20When%20Camping.jpg&amp;description=7%20Things%20You%20Should%20Never%20Do%20When%20Camping" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Things%20You%20Should%20Never%20Do%20When%20Camping.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks">Camping for a Week Is Only $160 at These National Parks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-cities-for-frugal-lovers-of-the-outdoors">8 Best Cities for Frugal Lovers of the Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-camping-cooking">10 Tips for Camping Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Travel camping nature outdoors safety Thu, 13 Aug 2015 17:00:14 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1518309 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Things You Should Never Skimp on for Safety Reasons http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_carseat_000041847428.jpg" alt="Man not skimping on car seat for safety reasons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every year, bad financial decisions kill or injure millions of people. While we can all stand back and shake our heads at cheapskate Darwin Award winners, poverty, poor planning, or straight up lack of awareness put many people in harm's way.</p> <p>Are you cutting corners that shouldn't be cut?</p> <h2>1. Cab Fare</h2> <p>It's one thing to risk your life in the line of duty. It's another thing entirely to risk your life commuting. If your commute home is dangerous &mdash; say you have to walk through a sketchy part of town to your stop &mdash; take action to reduce your risk. Look at reducing spending on other budget categories in order to free up money to pay for safe transportation. If you cannot afford to hire a cab or Uber driver, find a commuter buddy who is willing to carpool even part way or escort you on public transportation to safety.</p> <p>Or, ask your employer if you can adjust your hours to avoid walking home while it's dark. Being safe can mean walking to a subway stop that's further away because the route is better lit or more populated or walking around the perimeter of a park rather than through it. A short cut home doesn't save any time or money if you end up getting mugged.</p> <h2>2. Car Maintenance</h2> <p>&quot;You know, you can bring your car for repair while it's still drivable,&quot; was the sage advice from my mechanic. Like many magical thinkers, I fully embraced the idea that, like the human body, my car would just repair itself&hellip; somehow. Then I broke down on the on ramp leading from the 10 freeway to the 405, which may be the busiest freeway interchange in the nation. Really, it shouldn't have taken a near-death experience to turn me into a responsible car owner, but there you have it. I am grateful to this day that no one was hurt.</p> <p>Car maintenance is expensive, but it's generally cheaper than paying for major repairs caused by neglect.</p> <h2>3.&nbsp;Child Safety Seats</h2> <p>Car seats are expensive and annoying to install, so many parents think that it's okay to use an old, hand-me-down seat for their new baby, as long as they've checked that the model hasn't been recalled. However, car seats have expiration dates for a reason &mdash; plastic becomes brittle over time, especially when repeatedly exposed to the extreme heat and cold of a car's interior. The force of even a small fender bender can cause the plastic components of a car seat to shatter, with fatal results.</p> <p>Looks are deceiving. Since damage to car seats is often not visible, it's also important to know a used car seat's history. If a car seat is involved in a collision, that car seat should be replaced.</p> <h2>4. Ear Protection</h2> <p>Hair cells in the inner ear are responsible for hearing and balance. Alas, just like brain cells, hair cells do not regenerate. Once you lose them, they are gone forever. Loud noises, <a href="http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Ototoxic-Medications/">certain drugs</a>, and smoking all damage hair cells. Wearing $3 earplugs to concerts will help ensure that you can enjoy music for your entire life. Also, if you are a music lover, invest in properly fitting headphones or ear buds that will let you listen to music without having to crank up the volume. Or take a cue from airport maintenance workers and wear Noise Reduction Earmuffs over your ear buds so you can listen to your tunes in blessed sonic isolation.</p> <h2>5. First Aid Kit</h2> <p>The mass shooting in Tucson that took the lives of six people and injured seven others, including Representative Gabby Giffords, could have been even more lethal were it not for the prep work of Tucson SWAT team medic David Kleinman. Although it is unusual for police officers to carry first aid equipment used by combat medics in Iraq, Kleinman had designed individual <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/21/AR2011012105860.html">first aid kits</a> that included such low cost items as gauze strips soaked in a coagulant for Tucson police deputies to carry. Since it's possible to bleed to death in mere minutes, these bandages literally kept people alive during the six minutes it took for the paramedics to arrive on the scene.</p> <p>The Tucson shooting is an extreme example, but first aid kits for the home and the workplace <a href="http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit/anatomy">should be assembled</a> with horrible emergencies in mind, and checked regularly for expired contents. Since I live in Los Angeles and have survived my share of evacuations due to earthquakes, fires, and riots, I also like to keep a first aid supplies in my car as part of my emergency kit.</p> <h2>6. Fruits and Vegetables</h2> <p>Even in this rotten economy, every year, more and more people are dying from diseases of affluence, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, due to a sedentary lifestyle and a diet that is high in fat and sugar. Luckily, there is an easy and delicious way to stave off a number of chronic illnesses: <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/">eat more fruits and vegetables</a>. Several long-term health studies have found that people who eat more than five servings of fruit or vegetables per day, lowered their risk of stroke and coronary heart disease by 20%.</p> <p>Unfortunately, access to fresh produce isn't a given for everyone, so it is important to note that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are a nutritious and often cheaper alternative. Another great way to get more fruit and vegetables into your diet is to grow or glean your own. Consider joining forces with a few neighbors to share the work of growing a victory garden. Use Craigslist and Freecycle to find people who have surplus fruit. Fallen fruit causes vermin problems and everyone hates to waste food, so often people will give you free fruit just to keep it from falling on the ground.</p> <h2>7. Gun Safe or Gun Lock</h2> <p>About one-third of American children live in homes with guns, and 1.7 million children in the United States live in homes with guns that are <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446208/pdf/10754974.pdf">loaded and unlocked</a>. Data from the Center for Disease Control shows that, on average, 62 children die from unintentional shootings each year. However, when researchers for Everytown looked at publicly reported gun deaths, they found that from December 2012 to December 2013, at least <a href="http://everytown.org/documents/2014/10/innocents-lost.pdf">100 children were killed</a> in unintentional shootings. And 65% of these deaths took place in a home or car that belonged to the victim's family, most often with guns that were legally owned, but not secured. Most child gun deaths are tragically preventable. As of April 2015 there were at least <a href="http://everytownresearch.org/notanaccident/">110 child shootings</a> in America. That's one accidental shooting every 36 hours.</p> <p>Responsible gun owners keep their guns out of the hands of unsupervised children, and they talk to their kids about gun safety.</p> <h2>8. Immunization</h2> <p>Remember that time you got polio? No, you don't, because your parents got you vaccinated. Ironically, the fact that vaccines have rendered many once common diseases rare has lead to the opinion among some parents &mdash; who are too young to remember the terrible disabilities and death toll associated with preventable illnesses like diphtheria, measles, and mumps &mdash; that immunization is not necessary.</p> <p>Although the last two generations of Americans have largely grown up without experiencing first hand the human cost of preventable illnesses, there are plenty of stories that explain what a miracle vaccines are for people all over the world. For example, the yearly Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race in Alaska commemorates the 20 men and their dog teams who transported diphtheria serum by dog sled 700 miles, in blizzard conditions, to stop an outbreak of the disease in Nome, Alaska. The 20 men who volunteered were postal workers; normal, everyday people. They agreed to a suicide mission because they knew that the vaccine would save the lives of 1400 people. These men were willing to lose their hands and noses to frostbite because they lived in a time when diphtheria killed many, many people.</p> <p>Across the globe, immunization has proven to be one of the most successful and cost-effective medical treatments. According to the CDC, vaccinations will <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0424-immunization-program.html">prevent 21 million hospitalizations</a> and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years. In addition to saving lives, vaccines dramatically reduce the cost of medical treatment. Although anyone who has watched Masterpiece Theater knows that polio can cause paralysis, a lot of Americans don't know that diphtheria can cause permanent heart damage, measles can cause deafness, and tetanus can cause brain damage.</p> <p>Translated into money terms, vaccines will save $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in societal costs!</p> <p>The Affordable Care Act has made <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/factsheets/2010/09/The-Affordable-Care-Act-and-Immunization.html">immunization available</a> to more people. Vaccine coverage is available at no cost for eligible children through the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram/">Vaccines for Children Program</a>.</p> <h2>9. Knife Sharpening</h2> <p>It seems counter-intuitive, but <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/knife-injuries-and-other-kitchen-mishaps-afflict-both-top-chefs-and-everyday-cooks/2013/01/07/92e191f8-4af0-11e2-b709-667035ff9029_story.html">dull kitchen knives</a> are more dangerous than razor sharp ones because you have to push the knife harder to get through the food. Although I bring my knives to a professional knife sharpener for convenience, knife sharpening by hand is not a hard skill to master. Most home cooks only need to sharpen their knives with an electric knife sharpener or a whetstone twice a year.</p> <p>Contrary to popular belief, that honing steel that gets a lot of pro chef action on cooking shows, and might even be part of your knife set at home, is not a sharpening stone. Sharpening stones work by removing a tiny layer of the blade to restore the sharp edge. Honing steels realign the blade by pushing it back to center and straightening it. A properly aligned blade cuts more efficiently. Honing should be done often to keep knives in top condition.</p> <h2>10. Mammograms</h2> <p>For a routine medical treatment that all women over 40 are supposed to get yearly, mammograms are horrifically expensive. But breast cancer is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast">second most common cancer </a>in women, and 75% of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20091006/mammograms-cut-risk-breast-cancer-death">breast cancer deaths</a> occur among women who do not get regular mammograms.</p> <p>Mammogram costs vary widely depending on insurance coverage and technology. To cut costs, it is very important to speak to your insurance about what is actually covered under your policy. For example, under my insurance, the basic breast cancer mammogram screening is 100% covered. Alas, what is not covered are the radiologist charges, other doctor fees, and the diagnostic follow-up sonogram that I also must endure because I have dense breast tissue&hellip;which pretty much renders images from a standard mammogram useless. Mammograms that are coded Diagnostic are typically much more expensive than those coded Preventative or Screening. Some insurance companies will also not cover mammograms that use alternate, but otherwise completely standard, screening technology such as ultrasound, MRIs, or even 3D mammography machines.</p> <h2>11. Rags</h2> <p>Leaving oily rags in a pile can cause them to <a href="http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/chemical-and-gases/spontaneous-combustion-or-chemical-reaction">spontaneously ignite</a>, and even washing them in the laundry can <a href="http://www.cultureofsafety.com/safety-tips/spontaneous-combustion-of-oily-rags/">lead to a fire</a>. While throwing away rags might seem counter-intuitive, certain common chemicals like acetone are highly flammable and pose a risk to your safety if stored improperly. Reusing oily rags isn't environmentally friendly or financially smart if that practice results in a structure fire.</p> <p>Rags that have been used to apply oils such as linseed oil or turpentine should be submerged in water inside a covered metal can (such as a paint can), and taken to your local hazardous waste disposal center as soon as possible.</p> <p>Finally, read the material safety data sheet before using any product marked flammable. It could save your life.</p> <h2>12. Running Shoes</h2> <p>Running can be one of the cheapest forms of exercise, but depending on your feet and your running style, running shoes can feel like a costly investment. Running shoe manufacturers recommend replacing shoes every six months or every 400 to 600 miles. I used to stretch the mileage limit to save money, but then I broke a bone in my foot while training for the Florence marathon &mdash; because I was running in old shoes. Take it from me, very little ruins the romance of Italian cobblestone streets more than having to hop on them with your one good foot.</p> <p>Of course, these time and distance recommendations are easy to follow if you are a regular runner who keeps track of mileage. For everyone else, it's more of a guessing game. And, even if you are in training, how fast your shoes wear out depends a lot on how much you weigh and your running style. For example, because my running style has been described as &quot;Helga, the stomping mare,&quot; my shoes have a lifespan of 300 to 400 miles.</p> <p>Instead of these generic mileage rules, I now pay attention to what my body tells me. For me, sore arches let me know when the midsole of my shoe is no longer protecting my feet and legs from injury. Do not ignore these signs &mdash; they can turn into a permanent injury if you try to run through them.</p> <p>One of the easiest ways to check if you need to replace your shoes is to go to the shoe store and try on the same shoes you've been training in. If you can feel the difference in support between the new shoes and your old shoes, it's time to replace your shoes.</p> <h2>13. Sleep</h2> <p>Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. According to the CDC, over 35% of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, and a terrifying 4.7% of Americans reported nodding off or falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in the preceding month. The National Department of Transportation estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for 40,000 injuries and 1550 deaths each year in the United States. In addition to car crashes, insufficient sleep is also linked to disasters such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and even the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.</p> <p>Sleep deprivation can also <a href="http://www.bcbsnm.com/health/achieving_wellness/sleep">alter the immune system</a>, making you more susceptible to major diseases such as hypertension, depression, and even cancer. Recent medical studies have shown a link between lack of sleep and obesity.</p> <h2>14. Sunglasses</h2> <p>Most people don't think about their eyes when they think about sun damage. Unfortunately, long-term sun damage can result in cataracts or macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in America. In addition to protecting your vision, sunglasses protect the eyes against cancer and corneal sunburn.</p> <p>Just like sunscreen, sunglasses should be worn year around, even on overcast days, as clouds are not an effective barrier against UV light.</p> <p>Not all sunglasses are created equal when it comes to sun protection. Look for sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB light. The best sunglasses also block HEV light. Size matters. The more skin around your eyes that you can cover, the better.</p> <h2>15. Sunscreen</h2> <p>Skin cancer is now the <a href="http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/823419/10-most-common-cancers-in-the-us">most common</a> of all cancers. Medical research shows that most skin cancers can be avoided by protecting your skin against sun damage. If you were only trying to avoid getting a sunburn, then sunscreen wouldn't be vital to your health.</p> <p>However, your skin can be damaged by long-term sun exposure, regardless of whether or not you see a burn. Everyone, including people who tan easily, have dark skin naturally, or already have a &quot;base tan,&quot; should wear an SPF of 15 or higher.</p> <p>Sunscreen is very effective when used properly. Unfortunately, most people do not use sunscreen properly. To be most effective:</p> <ul> <li>Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going outdoors, anytime you will be exposed to the sun for more than 30 minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours while outdoors, even if the product claims to have &quot;all day protection.&quot; If you get wet or sweaty, sunscreen should be applied more often, even if the product claims to be waterproof.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sunscreen should be applied in a thick layer on the surface of the skin. The most effective sunscreens actually act as a physical barrier to the suns rays. This means that you need at least two tablespoons of sunscreen (a shot glass full) for your body and nickel-sized blob for your face alone. To avoid looking undead, you can buy tinted sunscreen to match your skin tone or wear sunscreen under make-up.</li> </ul> <h2>16. Tire Maintenance</h2> <p>Tires are the only contact between your car (or bike) and the road, so tire maintenance is an important safety function. Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, which can result in accidents. Most drivers don't realize that a car tire can lose 50% of its pressure before it looks visibly flat, so it's a good idea to check your tires (including the spare) once a month. Cars driving on tires under inflated by more than 25% are three times more likely to be <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/05/nhtsa-study-finds-underinflated-and-worn-tires-increase-the-likelihood-of-a-crash/index.htm">involved in a crash</a> than tires with proper inflation. Under inflation also negatively impacts tread wear and handling.</p> <h2>17. Windshield Maintenance</h2> <p>Many car manufacturers now count the windshield as not only a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">safety feature</a>, but also part of the structural integrity of their vehicles. Those tiny, star chips from road gravel are more than just an aesthetic nuisance. When deployed, front airbags are designed to bounce off the windshield to better protect the motorist. Chipped windshields are more likely to explode during accidents, making airbags less effective. There are insurance companies that offer free windshield replacement, but most require that you opt-in to that coverage. Even if your insurance does not offer free windshield replacement, if you live in a place like Arizona where chip sealing or gravel damage to cars is prevalent, it is worth it to pay a small annual premium for glass replacement.</p> <p>Also, don't wait to have visibility issues before you change your windshield wipers or clean the inside of your windshield. Sun and console glare are a common cause of car versus pedestrian accidents.</p> <p><em>Have any of you been saved by a small ticket item or service that didn't make this list? Please share your story in the comments section!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-avoid-exercise-injury-and-doctors-bills">5 Easy Ways to Avoid Exercise Injury (and Doctor&#039;s Bills)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day">9 Ways You Put Your Life at Risk Every Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks injury risk safety skimping Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Max Wong 1499530 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_stroller_child_000033375724.jpg" alt="Mother walking child in stroller she didn&#039;t skimp on" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the movie <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Away-We-Go-John-Krasinski/dp/B0021L8UOY">Away We Go</a>, there's a character who refuses to own a stroller, asserting &quot;I love my babies. Why would I want to push them away from me?&quot;</p> <p>When I was pregnant with my first child, I was that mom. Because I planned to practice attachment parenting, I figured I wouldn't need a swing, or a high chair, or any of those devices that would come between my loving arms and my child.</p> <p>Then I gave birth to a real, actual baby, and I realized that sometimes I needed to use the bathroom or take a shower, and that carrying an increasingly heavy kid everywhere in my arms was a recipe for a backache and seething frustration. I began equipment shopping, and although my budget was small, I learned that there are certain baby and child items worth spending more on.</p> <h2>1. Car Seat</h2> <p>You probably will not be able to leave the hospital without this piece of equipment; but don't grab just any car seat to fulfill the requirement.</p> <p>&quot;Every hour, nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/Road_Traffic_Injuries/index.html">motor vehicle crashes</a>,&quot; the Centers for Disease Control and Protection warns. Fortunately, you have some control over whether your child is injured in a car accident: You can research car seat safety on <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car-seats.htm">Consumer Reports</a> (it's worth paying for a month's subscription to the website to access this information) and buy the highest-quality seat that fits well in your vehicle. Never buy a used car seat, because you can't be sure that the seat was never in an accident, which can compromise its safety.</p> <h2>2. Stroller</h2> <p>After logging thousands of miles pushing my three kids through neighborhoods, grocery stores, and airports, I have owned perhaps a dozen strollers. This is the one item that I wish I'd spent more on from the get-go. If you plan to walk a lot, grocery shop with your stroller, or have more than one child, do some research and invest in the best stroller you can afford. If I could do it again, I'd happily pay $500 or more for a stroller that wouldn't fall apart after a couple of years.</p> <p>If you plan on running with your baby &mdash; which can be a great way to fit exercise into your schedule &mdash; consider investing in a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=jogging%20stroller&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=jogging%2Caps%2C154&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Dbaby-products&amp;linkId=QOMFABQZDWLFLAPO">high-quality jogger</a> as well. We had a cheap jogging stroller that listed to the left, which means that after the first few tries, I never jogged with it.</p> <h2>3. Swing</h2> <p>When I finally broke down and bought a swing, I bought a tiny, inexpensive model because that was all that fit in our tiny, expensive San Francisco apartment. That didn't cut it for babies two and three, who had to spend more hours swinging because I didn't have eight arms to change toddler diapers, help preschoolers use scissors, and hold baby at the same time. If you are buying new, Consumer Reports has an extensive <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/baby-swings/buying-guide.htm">baby swing buying guide</a> that lays out the many options available nowadays. Go for powerful motion and long battery life (or a plug-in model) over bells and whistles.</p> <h2>4. Photography</h2> <p>This can feel like a luxury when you have diapers to buy and preschool tuition to pay, but a quality portrait session is really an investment. Your kids will change faster than you realize, and although the snapshots you take are precious, an annual sitting with a really good photographer will result in keepsakes you will treasure forever. I have taken my kids to cheap photo chains, and I have taken them to pros, and believe me: The high-end professional photos are the ones that are now framed on the walls, and that I love looking at day after day. Also, framed portraits make inexpensive holiday gifts for doting grandparents, which helps defray the cost.</p> <h2>5. Childcare</h2> <p>I've tried many methods for saving money on childcare over the years; and to some extent, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">less expensive childcare</a> has worked okay for my family. But I have also visited inexpensive home daycares that I would never leave my kids in, like the place where I rang the bell and a two-year-old walked barefoot across the parking lot to greet me at the gate. Friends have sent their kids to low-end daycares and noticed that hygiene practices were subpar, or even had their children get hurt. You should do your research with any childcare provider, but be especially wary if the price is much lower than other providers. You have to ask yourself: Is the provider able to provide a safe environment and quality staff for the price they're charging?</p> <h2>6. Sunscreen</h2> <p>I'm happy to buy the cheapest brand of toothpaste or deodorant, but the truth is, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sun-screens-can-really-cost-you-by-the-ounce-and-by-the-tumor">safest sunscreen</a> for your kids &mdash; the kind that uses physical blockers instead of chemical ones &mdash; is pricey. Pay up, or cover up.</p> <h2>7. Breast Pump</h2> <p>An inexpensive model may work fine for occasional pumping, but if you plan to pump every day, you're going to need a professional-grade breast pump. The FDA warns against borrowing or purchasing <a href="http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/HomeHealthandConsumer/ConsumerProducts/BreastPumps/ucm061952.htm">used breast pumps</a> (<a href="http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvjunjul04p54.html">La Leche League</a> explains the different kinds), so this is an item that you may have to pony up for. Still, even a high-end pump pays for itself if it saves you from buying formula, and some health insurance plans may <a href="http://www.second9months.com/should-you-buy-a-used-pump-for-breast-pumping/">reimburse the cost</a>.</p> <h2>8. Crib and Mattress</h2> <p>Crib safety standards have changed drastically in recent years, so you really need to do your research if you try <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-and-worst-things-to-buy-used">buying a used crib</a>. As for the mattress, concerns are growing about the toxins released by all kinds of furniture in our homes. Considering the number of hours a baby spends in its crib, I found it worthwhile to spend three or four times as much on a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006G94D3O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006G94D3O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CQX7PAZY3L54PCYO">non-toxic crib mattress</a>. Second-hand mattresses can raise safety concerns and may even be associated with <a href="http://nursery.about.com/od/Safety/f/Faq-Used-Crib-Mattresses.htm">Sudden Infant Death Syndrome</a>.</p> <h2>9. Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups</h2> <p>Bisphenol A (BPA), is now banned from the plastic in baby bottles, but uncertainty still lingers around the safety of many plastics. Pediatrician Juliet Baciocco Spurrier, founder of BabyGearLab, recommends <a href="http://www.babygearlab.com/a/11078/Are-Plastics-Safe-for-Baby-Bottles-and-Sippy-Cups">choosing plastics</a> No. 2, No. 4, or No. 5, or sticking to glass. As your child gets older, exercise the same vigilance over the cups they drink out of, at least at home (where they're less likely to lose their cups).</p> <p><em>What kid care items are you willing to pay more for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">How to Sell Your Kid&#039;s Stuff at a Consignment Sale</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family babies car seats childcare kids safety strollers Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:00:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1392240 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Steps You Must Take If You've Been in a Car Accident http://www.wisebread.com/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_accident_000035665620.jpg" alt="Guy making phone call after car accident" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting in a car accident can be one of the most unnerving moments in a person's life. The unexpected has just happened. If you're lucky, no one has been injured.</p> <p>Then comes all of the hassles that can be part of being in an accident: filing police reports and insurance claims, getting your car fixed or replaced, and many other things. Remembering what steps to take can be difficult. Here are some things drivers should do after a car accident. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-youre-in-a-car-accident?ref=seealso">What to Do (and Not Do) When You're in a Car Accident</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stop</h2> <p>Don't drive or run away from the scene of the accident &mdash; you could be arrested for leaving, even if it's minor.</p> <p>If your car is still operable, drive it off to the side of the road and out of traffic. If you can't safely drive it, leave it to a tow truck. Assuming you can safely get out of your car, put warning flares out and turn your flashers on to warn traffic of your accident.</p> <h2>2. Seek Medical Care</h2> <p>Are you, or is anyone else in your car, injured? How about in the other car? If you think someone needs urgent medical help, call 911. Injuries often aren't immediately apparent in auto accidents, so you may need to see your doctor or go to a hospital emergency room a day or so later.</p> <h2>3. Call the Police</h2> <p>Even if no one is injured, calling the police is a good idea. They can help with traffic control so another accident doesn't occur, and can collect evidence, talk to witnesses, and file a report that will help both drivers with their insurance claims. Unless the vehicles interfere with traffic, they should remain where they are so police can determine what happened.</p> <p>When talking with the police, tell them exactly what happened. If you don't know certain facts, don't fudge them and say that you're unsure. If an officer asks if you're injured and you don't know, say that you're uncertain instead of no. Pain from an accident can come hours later, so saying you're not injured when you don't know could be held against you later in an insurance claim.</p> <h2>4. Take Notes</h2> <p>To help your insurer, draw a map of the accident scene and write down property and vehicle damage. Also take note of the weather conditions, which can negatively affect drivers ability to travel safely. According to the Federal Highway Administration, <a href="http://www.buyautoinsurance.com/ultimate-bad-weather-driving/">weather related factors</a> account for 24% of the 6.3 million car crashes each year. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses, as well as the other driver involved in the accident. Also be sure to get their insurance information, and write down their license plate number.</p> <h2>5. Take Photos</h2> <p>Even if you have a dash camera going at all times, get out your smartphone and take photos of the accident scene. Take videos if possible. Without getting in the way of the police, take pictures of any visible damage to the vehicles. If you can't get photos at the scene, take them as soon as you can afterward.</p> <p>Some smartphone apps have <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/07/smart-phone-apps-that-can-help-after-a-car-crash/index.htm">insurance reporting tools</a> that help collect photos, audio, and provide checklists of what to do after an accident.</p> <h2>6. Exchange Information</h2> <p>If police are on the scene, they'll be gathering contact information from everyone involved in the accident. But if police don't respond, you should still get the name, phone number, and address of everyone involved, including drivers, passengers, and any witnesses. Don't stand between two cars while exchanging information &mdash; your cars could be hit by a rubbernecker.</p> <p>Ask to see the insurance card of the other driver. If police are there, ask for the police report number so you or your insurer can get a copy of the report later.</p> <h2>7. File an Insurance Claim</h2> <p>Once you've received medical attention and are in a safe place, call your insurance company to file a claim. Your insurer should be available 24 hours a day, so contact them as soon as you can. A claims adjustor may need to see your car, either at your home or the repair shop.</p> <p>If your car has a black box in it, your insurer may need access to the data port. These black boxes record vehicle data from the last 20 seconds before the crash and help determine how it happened. This information can include vehicle speed, wheel direction, when airbags were deployed, and if the brakes were applied.</p> <p>Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your auto insurance coverage. If you do, you'll likely have to submit any medical bills related to the accident directly to your insurer.</p> <h2>8. Get Your Car Repaired</h2> <p>Your insurer should help you with a lot of this by recommending repair shops, and help you get a tow truck to the scene if necessary. They should also help you get a damage appraisal, and tell you when, if at all, you'll have to pay a deductible for repairs. If your car is totaled, ask when you can expect to receive a check.</p> <p>If you have rental car coverage, they can also help you arrange for a rental to use while your car is in the shop.</p> <h2>9. Keep a File</h2> <p>To keep track of all of the paperwork, start a file with the insurance claim number on it so you can keep on top of what's happening with your vehicle. It should include the contact information for the claims adjustor who is handling your case, along with contact information for everyone involved in the accident. Also keep receipts for your rental can and other related expenses.</p> <p>Your insurance company should be your first contact to make sure everything is being done to fix your car and your medical needs are being paid for. Your insurance agent or claims adjustor should contact the insurer for the other party in the accident.</p> <h2>10. Alert the DMV</h2> <p>Within a day or so of the accident, contact your local DMV office and tell them your car was in an accident. This is required by most state laws.</p> <p>After doing all of this, you should hopefully be able to relax and get back to driving.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been in an auto accident? What steps did you take?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-youre-in-a-car-accident">What to Do (and Not Do) When You&#039;re in a Car Accident</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disguise-your-stuff-to-prevent-car-break-ins">Disguise Your Stuff to Prevent Car Break-ins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money">4 Ways Being a Safe Driver Will Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keys-locked-in-the-trunk-heres-what-to-do">Keys Locked in the Trunk? Here&#039;s What to Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation General Tips auto insurance car accident insurance claim safety Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:00:04 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1349077 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Dangerous Mistakes Even Safe Drivers Make http://www.wisebread.com/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-driving-talking-phone-Dollarphotoclub_67350021.jpg" alt="man driving phone" title="man driving phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are bad drivers, and there are good drivers. There are reckless drivers, and safe drivers. Most of us, hopefully, fall into the latter category. But how many of us are making dangerous mistakes even though we think we're actually safe drivers?</p> <p>Take a look through some of the findings at the National Safety Council's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving-research-studies.aspx">Distracted Driving Research Studies</a>, and you might be surprised that the answer is: many of us. But are you one of them? As you look through the following list, how many of these eight dangerous mistakes are you making?</p> <h2>1. Hitting the Gas on Green</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PzlEQvRkhHc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Wait a minute; green means go, right? Well of course, but red also means stop, and that doesn't seem to make much of a difference for some very bad drivers out there. Whether they aren't paying attention, drunk, or even evading the police, thousands of drivers run red lights every year. If they happen to be very late, and you hit the gas the second the light turns green, you could&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzlEQvRkhHc">get into a major accident.</a> It's not your fault, but that doesn't make the consequences any less severe. So, when the light turns green, look left and right, and make sure the path is clear before you pull away. Blindly accelerating could be dangerous, or even deadly.</p> <h2>2. Driving Drowsy</h2> <p>I was talking to my father-in-law once about some of the long road trips he used to make, and he said he would often pull his nose or arm hair out when he was getting drowsy, and the sting would wake him up. We all laughed, but drowsy driving is no laughing matter.</p> <p>In a 2005 study, over 103 million U.S. drivers admitted to&nbsp;<a href="http://drowsydriving.org/about/facts-and-stats/">falling asleep at the wheel</a>. Fatigued driving results in around 100,000 police-reported accidents every year, with over 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and over $12.5 billion in losses. This is completely unacceptable. If you feel yourself getting sleepy while driving, you must pull your car over when it is safe to do so, and rest. Take a nap, drink something with caffeine, or even go for a walk. You need to be completely alert before continuing your journey.</p> <h2>3. Poor Mirror Positioning</h2> <p>Look in your side mirrors &mdash; what do you see? Most likely, you'll see some of your car. This is not necessary, and means you are missing some of the road; which can lead to accidents. The idea of side mirrors is obviously not to check to see if your car is still there, but to look behind you without having to take your eyes of the road for longer than necessary. By adjusting your wing mirrors so that your car is no longer visible, you can <a href="http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~gdguo/driving/BlindSpot.htm">eliminate the blind spot</a>. You also want to make sure your rear view mirror is angled correctly for you. If you share a car with someone else, this often goes out of alignment. Check it every time you drive.</p> <h2>4. Driving Too Slow in the Left Lane</h2> <p>There is a speed limit. There is also a minimum speed limit on some roads. You may think that by hitting that limit, say 55, you are being safe and have no reason to worry. But by maintaining the bare minimum speed in the left lane, you are forcing other drivers who want to go the maximum allowed speed to pass you. Any time you force people to change lanes, you are making the roads less safe, and can actually contribute to road rage if you create backed-up traffic. By all means go the safe speed you want to go, but do it in the far right lane. Or, if you see someone coming up fast in your mirror, prepare to move over safely and let them pass.</p> <h2>5. Poor Signaling Habits</h2> <p>Your indicators are there to tell other drivers what your intentions are. When you use them incorrectly, or forgetfully, you are being a poor communicator. This can lead to accidents, especially if you plan to keep going straight at a turn, and the other driver pulls out. You should be using your turn signal at least 100 feet before changing lanes or turning (it can be 200 feet in some states). Once you have completed the turn, you must turn off the signal. Loud music or forgetfulness can be at fault for signals that stay on longer than necessary, and this can lead to accidents when other drivers wrongly assume your intentions.</p> <h2>6. Driving With Loose Objects in the Car</h2> <p>Your car is not a home for books, toys, gadgets, and other devices. Yet if you take a look in your car, how many of these items are just strewn around in there? During the course of everyday driving, it's no big deal. But if you are involved in a crash, even at lower speeds, these items can become projectiles that can cause injury, or even death. You should make sure anything unnecessary for the journey is stored securely in the trunk. Pets need to be harnessed, and cell phones should be in a secured holder.</p> <h2>7. Talking on the Phone</h2> <p>You may think that you are perfectly capable of talking and driving at the same time, but you are being distracted. Some people say it's the same as listening to music, but it's not. Music is a passive experience, but a conversation is active, and the person on the other end of the phone has no idea of your surroundings. Even if you are using a hands-free set, you are not reducing the risks of an accident. Your car is there to get you from A to B. It is not a phone booth. If you must make a call, you should safely pull over and do so. Yes, it adds time to your journey, but if we all did this we'd make the roads much safer. And of course, texting is akin to drunk driving; don't even go there.</p> <h2>8. Speeding up Through Yellow Lights</h2> <p>It seems that drivers have two different interpretations of the yellow light. Some think it means &quot;prepare to stop&quot; and others think it means &quot;floor it, a red light is coming.&quot; If you are close to a traffic signal, and the light changes from green to yellow, then you are fine to keep going. But if you see the light change and have to hit the gas to scrape through it, you are being a dangerous driver. All it takes is for another driver to be a little premature on their green light (see point #1), and you have a major accident. You could also hit a pedestrian.</p> <p><em>Which of these do you do on a regular basis? Do you know any other dangerous moves that even your &quot;safest&quot; friends or relatives make? Let us know.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snow-patrol-winter-driving-safety-kit-must-haves">Snow Patrol: Winter Driving Safety Kit Must-Haves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bicycling-safety-in-the-city">Bicycling Safety in the City</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-how-to-use-a-parking-meter-serious-question">Do you know how to use a parking meter? Serious question.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Cars dangerous driving driving safety transportation Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1284839 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/deadbolt-door-Dollarphotoclub_44563535.jpg" alt="deadbolt door" title="deadbolt door" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Safety may not be the first thing you daydream about when picturing the home of your dreams. But your ability to insure, resell, or even just live comfortably in your home may be dependent on several safety and security factors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/must-do-home-maintenance-that-saves-you-moneyand-might-save-your-family?ref=seealso">Must Do Home Maintenance</a>)</p> <p>Though some major structural flaws may require a larger budget, most home safety hacks can be accomplished with a sensible to-do list and at a modest cost. Here are some of the top tips for making your home more habitable for less money than you think.</p> <h2>Mitigate Mold</h2> <p>Mold, a potentially dangerous uninvited guest, can cause illness and decrease the value of a home quickly. Peter Jacobus, an agent for <a href="http://insurance-agency.amfam.com/NE/peter-d-jacobus/default.aspx">American Family Insurance</a>, tells homeowners to be proactive in their efforts to keep a home safe from this unwanted affliction.</p> <h3>1. Reduce Humidity</h3> <p>By keeping the level of moisture in your home below 40%, you can often outsmart mold. Avoid excessive dampness by using dehumidifiers in rooms that collect steam. An air-conditioner will perform this role in the summer.</p> <h3>2. Ventilate</h3> <p>In addition to reducing moisture, overall good airflow is key. Your home should have exhaust fans in both the kitchen and bathroom, for starters.</p> <h3>3. Paint With Care</h3> <p>By using an inexpensive mold inhibitor mixed into your paint, you can further protect your walls and ceilings against mold growth. (Products cost around $6 per packet and can be found at home home improvement stores.)</p> <h3>4. Skip the Carpet</h3> <p>Per square foot, carpet can be more expensive than other floor coverings and is never appropriate for moisture prone areas &mdash; like bathrooms.</p> <h2>Confuse Criminals</h2> <p>While no home can be 100% robbery-proof, some simple changes to your set-up can keep you clear of break-ins. Sadie Cornelius, Security Expert for <a href="http://www.asecurelife.com/">A Secure Life</a>, recommends some simple precautions and security upgrades.</p> <h3>5. Add Deadbolts</h3> <p>All outside facing windows and doors should have one. They don't have to be fancy &mdash; they just need to work!</p> <h3>6. Stash the Spare Key</h3> <p>Just don't put it outside. Fake planters, rocks, or other &quot;in plain sight&quot; hiding places are well-known by career criminals.</p> <h3>7. Invest in Motion Sensors</h3> <p>Just having some outside lights that flick on when they detect a visitor can spook away a thief. Motion lights start around $10, and can be found at most hardware stores.</p> <h3>8. Get a Peephole</h3> <p>They're not just useful for hotel rooms. Knowing who's outside from behind the safety of your door is a good idea!</p> <p>In addition, you're always wise to keep news of an empty house to yourself.</p> <h3>9. Skip Oversharing on Social</h3> <p>Please, no posts on Facebook about how much you're enjoying your vacation in Hawaii. Wait until you get back to post photos, and turn off location services from any apps that post on your behalf while you're gone.</p> <h3>10. Leave a Light On</h3> <p>Don't keep your home completely dark. Consider investing in a timer for your television to have some activity happening in the home during your prime time viewing hours.</p> <h2>Discourage Slips and Falls</h2> <p>Home safety is important for everyone who lives there, as well as visitors. Keeping injuries to a minimum isn't just important for the health of your family; it can keep insurance premiums low, too. National Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford, host of the nationally-syndicated TV and radio program, <a href="http://www.todayshomeowner.com/">Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford</a>, suggests a couple of fixes.</p> <h3>11. Create No-Slip Surfaces</h3> <p>Stairs, especially concrete entry stairs, can prove dangerous to visitors and family members alike. &quot;It's easy to add a self-adhesive anti-skid strip to the front flat edge of steps to provide traction,&quot; says Danny. Concrete porches and decks can benefit from a good paint or stain with some playground quality sand mixed in prior to applying.</p> <h3>12. Secure Handrails</h3> <p>After years of use, it's not uncommon for them to come loose or fall off completely. Using lag bolts or epoxy adhesive to put them back in place makes good sense and can prevent a serious fall.</p> <h2>Organize Maintenance Tasks</h2> <p>Homeownership can feel like a tremendous burden if you try to do all the necessary cleaning and repair tasks at once. Be proactive and lighten the financial load by scheduling safety-related tasks throughout the year.</p> <h3>13. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors</h3> <p>Do this monthly, and replace batteries at least once a year.</p> <h3>14. Clean Lint From Your Clothes Dryer</h3> <p>This should be done at least once a year for the average user. (Our family of eight needs it done at least every few months, due to the number of loads we do, as well as the fact we own pets that shed.) Family Handyman has a great guide for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/appliance-repair/washer-and-dryer-repair/dryer-lint-cleaning-tips/view-all">cleaning lint from dryers</a>, and you'll want to be sure to never run your dryer when you are not home!</p> <h3>15. Check Your Garage Door Sensor and Closures</h3> <p>With pets and kids in the house, keeping the heavy weight of a garage door in check is essential. Get tips for how to do this at the International Door Association's <a href="http://garagedoorcare.com/garage-door-safety.html">safety page</a>.</p> <p>All of the above tasks, as well as any other household to-dos can be easily planned and tracked with <a href="http://www.homezada.com/homeowners/home-maintenance">HomeZada's online app.</a> You can track your progress, save photos and notes, as well as store all of your maintenance records in case you ever sell your home.</p> <p><em>These are just 15 of many steps you'll likely take in your lifetime to secure your home and practice responsible living. What home safety tip did we forget? Which one is most important to your family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success">Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing home maintenance home safety safety security Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1284262 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways You Put Your Life at Risk Every Day http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-drinking-cola-151810423-small.jpg" alt="woman drinking cola" title="woman drinking cola" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you watch cable news, you'd think that we were all at risk of dying from Ebola, falling airliners, or terrorist attacks. But the reality is that the greatest risks to our health stem from activities we take part in nearly every day.</p> <p>Statistically, we are far more likely to get hurt or die doing relatively mundane activities than jumping from planes or getting eaten by sharks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-dangerous-things-hiding-in-your-home-right-now?ref=seealso">The 5 Most Dangerous Things Hiding in Your Home Right Now</a>)</p> <p>Just in time for Halloween, we give you nine common things we do (or don't do enough of) that are a risk to our health. Just prepared for a little scare&hellip;</p> <h2>1. Getting in a Car</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx">National Highway Traffic Safety Administration</a> reported 30,800 fatal crashes involving motor vehicles in 2012 in the United States. That's nearly 15 fatalities for every 100,000 licensed drivers. (And of course, this rate rises among people who were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.) Despite major advancements in automotive safety, accidents make up about a quarter of all accidental deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These numbers provide ample support for walking and taking public transit if at all possible. Generally speaking, the less you drive, the safer you'll be.</p> <h2>2. Drinking Sugary Beverages</h2> <p>Research from Harvard University <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/">has linked the sugar content in beverages</a> to more than 25,000 obesity-related deaths in the United States and 180,000 worldwide. A can of soda can have more than 30 milligrams of sugar, or 20% more than the World Health Organization's recommended daily intake for an <em>entire day</em>. This much sugar puts you at risk for conditions like diabetes and heart problems. You can avoid sugar in your drinks by grabbing diet versions, or switching to other drinks <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/252999-benefits-of-green-tea-honey/">like green tea sweetened with honey</a>. And what's so bad about plain old water?</p> <h2>3. Eating a Lot of Meat</h2> <p>Meat has its benefits, in the form of proteins and many vitamins. But there is evidence that too much red meat will put you at risk for various health problems, including heart disease. Researchers at <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/13/just-how-unhealthy-is-that-steak-the-deadly-dangers-of-eating-red-meat/">Harvard reported that a single extra serving of meat</a> each day increased mortality by 13%. And that number jumped to 20% among subjects who ate processed meats like hot dogs or bacon.</p> <p>You don't necessarily have to become a vegetarian to reduce your health risk, but it's possible to get protein from other sources, including fish, chicken, nuts, and whole grains.</p> <h2>4. Sitting!!</h2> <p>There's mounting evidence that sitting for long stretches of time is hazardous to your health. It's a major problem for anyone who works in an office setting, in particular. Numerous studies report that prolonged sitting can contribute to a wide range of maladies including heart disease, bad back, muscle degeneration and circulation problems. One report that looked at studies between 1989 and 2013 <a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0080000">concluded that sitting for more than 10 hours a day</a> contributed to a 34% increase in mortality rate compared to people who sat for one hour a day. But there's a lot you can do to counteract this. Cut down on your TV watching, or watch while at the treadmill at the gym. If you work in an office, get a standing desk (or even a treadmill desk.) Bottom line: just get moving! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-standing-desks?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Standing Desks</a>)</p> <h2>5. Not Sleeping Enough</h2> <p>The average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep, but gets barely more than six, according to multiple studies. The <a href="http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/howmuch.html">National Institutes of Health reports </a>that an ongoing sleep deficiency contributes to kidney problems, heart disease and stroke, and increases your risk of obesity and diabetes. Not to mention, a lack of sleep makes you more vulnerable to accidents; driver fatigue contributes to about 100,000 car accidents and 1,500 deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.</p> <p>In short, it's time to catch up on your sleep. Doctors advise going to bed at the same time every night and keeping away from food, television and electronic devices near bedtime. Regular exercise also helps.</p> <h2>6. Not Getting Enough Sex</h2> <p>Simply put, having an orgasm is good for you, especially if you are a man. An article in the former British Medical Journal studied more than 900 men between 45 and 59, and found that those men who had &quot;high orgasmic frequency&quot; had a 50% lower mortality rate than those who had fewer orgasms.</p> <p>There's also some evidence that sex will improve your mood and <a href="http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0815/p757.html">reduce your risk of prostate cancer</a>.</p> <p>So, go and have more sex. (Safe sex, with someone you love, of course.) Your life depends on it.</p> <h2>7. Going Out in the Sun</h2> <p>When you actually take time to read about the impact of ultraviolet rays from the sun, you suddenly feel like it's better to just stay inside forever. UV rays will damage your skin, and too many sunburns will place you at risk for several types of skin cancer, including the deadly melanoma. The American Cancer Society reported that there will be an estimated 76,100 cases of melanoma in 2014, with 9,710 deaths.</p> <p>Of course, there are ways to prevent sun damage. Avoiding tanning beds at all cost is advisable. And when you do go out in the sun, avoid going out in the middle of the day and apply a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of at least 30.</p> <h2>8. Entering Your House</h2> <p>To be clear, it's not so much the entering as what can happen to you once you go inside. Specifically, heavy things have the potential to fall on you and hurt you.</p> <p>The Consumer Product Safety Commission <a href="http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/171154/InstabilityorTipoverReport2014Stamped.pdf">reported that between 2011 and 2013</a>, an annual average of 38,000 people went to emergency rooms after a tipover of a television, furniture, or an appliance. More than half of these incidents involved children, and the vast majority of the 430 deaths were among kids aged 10 and under. But adults still got hurt more than 16,000 times. In 2015, the CPSC will implement a $400,000 campaign to educate people about the potential for television and furniture tip-overs.</p> <h2>9. Accumulating Debt</h2> <p>Debt is not just bad for your financial wellbeing, it may also be bad for your health. A recent study from Northwestern Medicine reported that <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2013/08/high-debt-could-be-hazardous-to-your-health.html">young people with higher loads of debt</a> reported higher blood pressure and poorer mental health. A Gallup Poll in 2014 reported that 34% of young people with <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/174317/student-debt-linked-worse-health-less-wealth.aspx">no debt said they were thriving physically</a>, compared to 24% among those with more than $50,000 in debt.</p> <p>Avoid debt, if you can. If you have debt, pay it off as soon as possible.</p> <p><em>Any risks I've overlooked? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-giving-burglars-the-key-to-your-home">Are you giving burglars the key to your home?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut">8 Expenses You Should Never Cut</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/two-more-crafty-ways-to-steal-from-you-gps-units-and-cell-phones">Two More Crafty Ways to Steal From You - GPS Units and Cell Phones.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Health risk safety Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1240477 at http://www.wisebread.com