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Friday, June 10 2011
If you are willing to give them a try, these thrifty habits will reduce day-to-day water and energy consumption and lower your utility bills:
 
  • Turn off the water in the sink or shower while you brush your teeth, scrub or shave, then turn it on again to rinse.
  • Lower the temperature setting on your water heater to 120 degrees and wash only full loads of dishes or clothes.
  • Make a sweep through each room before bed and turn off all electrical devices including computers and printers.  Unplugging appliances or using power strips will avoid "phantom" energy drain, as most electronics draw a small amount of power even when they are turned off.
  • Set your thermostat at 70 degrees or below in the winter months; your heating costs could rise 4 to 6% for every degree above 70.
  • Forego the fresh towel--a family that hangs up and reuses their own bath towels several times will save 3,400 gallons of water, 50 therms of natural gas, 410 kilowatt-hours of electricity and $105 each year. 
Posted by: Chris H. AT 01:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 10 2011
There are ways to save on the cost of prescription drugs for long-term use.
 
Ordering a 90-day supply of a medication through the mail can save up to 33% on your co-pay.  While you'll pay one co-pay to get a 30-day supply from your local pharmacy, a 90-day supply through mail order usually costs between two and 2-1/2 times your co-pay.
 
For instance, a 90-day supply of a generic drug with a $10 co-pay would typically cost you $30 in-store (that's for three 30-day supplies).  But you could get one 90-day supply through the mail for $20 to $25.  For a brand-name drug with a $35 co-pay, you'd pay $105 for a 90-day supply in-store, compared with $70 to $87.50 via mail.
 
Only drugs for long-term use --birth control and those to treat chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol--qualify for mail-order service through providers such as CVS/Caremark, Medco, and Express Scripts.
 
For people without prescription-drug coverage, some pharmacies offer discounts.  You can get a 90-day supply of hundreds of generic drugs for $10 at Wal-Mart, $11.99 at CVS (plus a $15 annual fee) and $12 at Walgreens (plus a $20 annual fee for an individual or $35 for a family).  Walgreens also has discounts on brand-name drugs. 
Posted by: Chris H. AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, June 02 2011
It may be faster to rent a car at the airport, but you'll likely pay for the convenience.
 
Instead, consider taking a taxi to a rental location outside an airport.  Renting offsite typically will save you about 25%, says Jill Rosenberg, travel spokeswoman for AAA New York.
 
That's because you'll pay a lower rental base fee offsite and skirt airport taxes.  Darren Koch, general manager of CarRentals.com, says most airports also have a facilities fee.
 
When Sunday Journal reader Leah Pearson booked a midsize car for seven days for Labor Day week, the lowest price she could find at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was $630 -- $435 base price plus $195 in taxes and fees.  But a Budget Rent A Car less than five miles away in Kent, Washington, had the same car for a $147 base rate and $36 in taxes and fees, for a total of $183.
 
Similarly, a compact-size car rented for four days during the July 4th weekend through Hertz at Orlando International Airport costs $352, with $298 for the rental and $54 in taxes and fees.  Just 13 miles away, an Enterprise Rent-A-Car shop has the same size car for $123 -- $105 base price and $18 in taxes and fees.
 
In addition to free-standing locations for various rental companies, you can find Avis Rent A Car facilities inside some Sears auto centers.
 
"Leave the Airport to Rent a Car." Wall Street Journal. 14 May 2011. Web. 26 May 2011. 
Posted by: Chris H. AT 02:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, June 02 2011
Annually more than 450,000 injuries are caused by crashes in adverse weather conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).  With spring rain in the forecast, now is a good time for drivers to review the following wet weather driving tips from loss control experts.
 
Be Wiper Ready -- If you wipers are dry and brittle, they can't do their job.  Be sure your wipers are ready for action at all times.  And don't forget to fill up on washer fluid, too!
 
Slow Down -- Drive at least five to 10 miles per hour slower on wet pavement and allow at least twice the normal following distance between cars to provide ample room for stopping.
 
Don't Be Fooled By Standing Water -- It doesn't take much water to carry away vehicles, including SUV's and pickups.  So stay clear of flooded areas, even if it's just a foot deep!
 
Focus -- Even in good weather, accidents are tired or distracted.  So be alert at all times when driving in wet weather.
 
Skid Recovery -- Keep calm.  Don't slam on the brakes and do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS).  To get out of a skid, apply pressure to the brakes in a firm manner and steer the car in the direction of the skid.
 
In Case of Hydroplaning -- Don't panic.  Take your foot off the gas, hold the steering wheel in place and lightly apply the brakes.  If you have a manual transmission, push in the clutch and let the car slow down on its own. 
Posted by: Chris H. AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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