Gunning Daily News

5 Things to Consider before Transferring a Credit Card Balance

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

If you have good credit but carry a credit card balance, you may receive offers to transfer your balance to a different card. If the APR you are paying is 15 percent or more, this may a good time to save a lot of money by transferring your balance to a card with an introductory 0 percent interest rate for a year or more.

If you currently have a balance of $5,000 and an APR of 15 percent, switching to a 0 percent rate for a year will save you $750 in interest payments, say the frugal folks at stretcher.com, a website devoted to the pursuit of saving money.

But there are several things consumer should consider before making the balance transfer:

  1. Is the balance transfer free? – Many cards come with a balance transfer fee, usually 3 or 4 percent of the total amount you transfer. Before applying for a balance transfer card, do the math to see if the amount of interest payments you save with the introductory offer is more than the balance transfer fee that has to be paid.
  2. What’s the long-term rate? – If you think you will be unable to pay off the entire balance during the introductory period, pay attention to the interest rate that kicks in when the introductory rate expires. A low APR for the long-term could be more important than what you save during the introductory period.
  3. Can you commit to paying on time? - If you transfer your balance, you must pay your bill on time every month. If you have one late payment, your introductory rate will likely end and you will pay the ongoing APR on the entire balance.
  4. Does the offer include new purchases? – The introductory rate may only apply to the balance amount you transferred. If you expect to use the new card for new purchases, check to see whether the same 0 percent rate applies to new purchases.
  5. When can I close the old account? - It takes about four weeks for the balance to be transferred. Make all required payments until you confirm that the balance transfers were made – and transferring a balance does not automatically close your old account. If you want to close that old account, contact the issuer directly.

Winter Workout Tips

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

(Family Features)—Just because the season has changed, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your workout routine. Here are a few winter workout tips from Aaron Ruth, strength and conditioning coach at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance in Indianapolis, which works with more than 300 professional and amateur athletes. You can stay fit no matter what the temperature is outside.

Don’t Skip the Warm Up – In colder weather, your muscles are tighter, making them more prone to muscle pulls and strains. Spend a little more time warming up your body to help you avoid injury.
Stay Hydrated – When it’s cooler outside, you generally drink less water – but when you exercise, you still sweat and lose fluids and electrolytes. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and during your workout to avoid dehydration.

Dress in Layers – Exercising generates body heat and sweat, and when sweat starts to dry in cold weather you can get chilled. Dress in layers that can be removed when you start to sweat. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material which will draw sweat away from your body. Then add a layer of fleece or wool, and top it all off with a waterproof and breathable outer layer.

Protect Your Extremities – When it’s cold outside, the body tends to concentrate blood flow to the core, which can leave your hands, feet and ears susceptible to frostbite. Wear gloves, warm socks and a hat or headband.

Have a Post-Workout Refueling Plan – What you put in your body after you work out is just as important, if not more, than what you put in it before. After exercising, refuel and rebuild your muscles with essential carbs and protein.

Wear Sunscreen – It might be cooler outside, but you can still get sunburned. Choose sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and has an SPF of at least 30. Don’t forget to protect your lips with a lip balm that has sunscreen.

Vary Your Routine – Beat the winter workout blues by changing up your routine – and by having fun. Get the whole family moving by doing things together such as building a snowman, going ice skating or sledding, making snow angels, and having a snowball fight.

Source: www.rockinrefuel.com.

Seven Ways to a Healthy Home: Make Wellness a Priority this Winter

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

(BPT) - During the winter months, it's important to take extra care of your home, your family and especially yourself. In addition to taking steps to prevent cold and flu viruses that are common at this time of year, you should also pause to relax and recharge, if only for a few minutes each day. -
Luckily, there are a number of simple, yet impactful ways to keep the entire household in good health. Here are seven examples to get you and your family on the right track toward winter wellness.

Pencil in cleaning

Routine household cleaning keeps clutter - and germs - at bay. Corral loose items into decorative bins and baskets, then use disinfecting wipes on common high-touch areas such as faucets, door knobs and light switches to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria. Be sure to dust regularly, as dust particles often contain pet dander, chemicals or other irritants that have the potential to aggravate allergies. If you have any sensitivity to cleaning products, try a natural solution of equal parts water and distilled white vinegar to clean everything from windows to appliances.

The power of a shower
Installing a new showerhead can go a long way in improving your frame-of-mind, whether you use your shower to awaken your senses on a cold winter morning or relax at the end of a long day.

For the dogs
Pets are extensions of our families and should be treated as such - even when it comes to bathing. These four-legged friends have the tendency to bring many allergens into the home. To minimize this problem, dogs should be bathed regularly and wiped down with a damp cloth when they come in from outside. A handheld shower is perfect for bathing kids and pets alike.

Sweeping surprise
For years, we have counted on vacuums to get rid of dust and allergens in our homes. But, it turns out that the machines we rely on to clean our floors and furniture may actually be making them dirtier. A recent study by researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia found that many vacuums - especially older models - actually suspend harmful allergen particles in the air, increasing our exposure to them. If you have an older vacuum, consider upgrading to a new one with a HEPA (High-Efficiency-Particulate-Air) filter, which releases less dirt and bacteria into the air than a standard model. Regardless of the age or features of your vacuum, clean it regularly to ensure a healthier sweep.

Door etiquette

Dirt and pollen are often brought into a house on the shoes of guests and family members. Adding a door mat on both sides of a door and having everyone promptly remove their shoes upon entering can significantly cut back on what is being tracked inside. The Carpet and Rug Institute estimates that up to 80 percent of dirt and allergens can be caught with a washable door mat - keeping your family healthy and your floors clean.

Air it out
One area many homeowners might not consider when it comes to a healthier home is the mattress. Although changing your sheets weekly is an important ritual, delay putting on clean linens to allow time for mite-friendly moisture to evaporate. Now you'll have a clean mattress to go along with your clean sheets.

Winter workouts

The perfect prevention for winter illness - from cold and flu viruses to a case of the winter blues - is exercise. According to Neil Schachter, a professor of pulmonary and critical care at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, any kind of moderate daily exercise can improve lung and immune function by enhancing the ability of virus-attacking white blood cells to ramp up the immune response. If you can't get outdoors for a daily walk during the colder months, consider purchasing a treadmill or stationary bike, beef up your workout video library or pick up an active game, like Just Dance -or Dance Central, for your motion-activated gaming system to kick germs to the curb.

By following these helpful hints, you and your family will be better prepared during the long winter months - preventing the spread of germs and making wellness a top priority.

Source: Moen

Word of the Day

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

Caveat emptor. Latin for “Let the buyer beware.” Under this legal phrase, the buyer is expected to judge and evaluate property carefully before buying, or purchase at their own risk.

Q: What Are the Disadvantages of Buying Foreclosures?

November 29, 2012 5:22 pm

A: Buying directly at a legal foreclosure sale is risky. Among the disadvantages:

There is no financing. You need cash and lots of it.

The title needs to be checked before the purchase. If not, you risk assuming a seriously deficient title.
It may not be possible to inspect the property’s interior before the sale. So you have no idea of the property’s condition.

Foreclosures are routinely purchased “as is,” which means you cannot go back to the seller for repairs.
Also, estate and foreclosure sales are the only property sales that are exempt from some state disclosure laws. In both instances, the law protects the seller – usually the heir or financial institution – who has recently acquired the property through adverse circumstances and may have little or no direct information about it.

Holiday Home Fire Safety Tips

November 28, 2012 3:40 pm

Decorate and entertain during the holiday season with caution and keep safety in mind. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, during Thanksgiving approximately 2,000 house fires happen with 69 percent of the fires caused by cooking. During the holidays, an estimated 128,700 fires and 1,650 injuries, along with 415 deaths occur with close to $25.5 million in property damage.

Review the following tips to make the holidays safe for you and your family.

Holiday Decorations: Be aware of toxic decorations which may be poisonous. Use non-combustible, flame-resistant materials. Never use lighted candles on a tree, evergreens or other flammable materials.

Lights:
Check for loose connections, broken or cracked sockets or frayed wires. Use UL approved lighting. Fasten lights to the tree and prevent bulbs from coming in contact with the needles or branches. Turn off all holiday lights when leaving home or retiring for the evening.

Trees
: Be sure a natural tree is fresh and less likely to become a fire hazard. Cut two inches off the trunk and place in a sturdy water stand, water daily. Keep the tree away from fireplaces, wall furnaces and other heat sources. Use 'fire resistant' artificial trees.

Portable space heaters: Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible and operate only when you are in the room. Never leave a space heater on overnight or near children and pets.

Cooking: Avoid wearing loose clothing which can be ignited by hot burners. Turn pot handles in. Don't store items on top of the stove, they can catch on fire. Turn off kitchen appliances after use. Turkey fryers should be used outdoors and away from buildings and flammable materials.

Fire Escape Plan: Know your escape routes. Have a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen, laundry room, and garage. Never burn greens, papers, or other decorations in the fireplace. Working smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, test them monthly, replace batteries every six months.

Know who to call in case of an emergency: Keep contact numbers handy for the police and fire departments, doctors and the national poison help line. In case of emergency property damage, contact a licensed, professional fire damage clean up and restoration company.

Source: www.pdrfortworth.com.

Taking a Look at Nooks: Part 2

November 28, 2012 3:40 pm

In part two of our look at nooks, I will focus on putting your nook and other kitchen space to work -- exploring the functionality of a kitchen office. So we tapped designer Geno Benvenuti at curbly.com.

Benvenuti suggests creating a visual boundary such as half walls or columns between the kitchen office and the kitchen itself to promote productivity. He also offers these tips to create a successful workspace:

Add enough power for all the tech stuff.

  • Use adequate task lighting.
  • Keep in mind your particular storage needs when choosing cabinetry.
  • Consider using built-ins for added storage needs.
  • Use pullout shelves versus doors, which take up more space.
  • Hide all equipment possible in closets.
  • Choose a durable flooring as traffic flow will increase due to the added functionality of the space.
Harmony Interiors (harmonyinteriorsllc.com) of Frisco, CO says put that nook to work by inserting a compact desk with shelving above to create a small yet useful office area. Or how about these ideas:

Use the island - Many kitchens have islands, and this can be a great place to add a workstation. An extension at a lower height on the back of the island will keep your computer and papers safe from kitchen messes and provide the appropriate height for ergonomic seating.

Connect - In many homes, the transition from kitchen to great room can leave some dead space that may go unused. Make the most of this area by creating a mini-office area conveniently close to the kitchen, yet out of the way.

Standing room - Even if you don’t have enough room for a real desk, you can create a standing “command center” for taking messages and sorting bills.

Keep it under wraps - Like the idea of a kitchen office but don’t want to look at the clutter that often accumulates in such a spot? A hutch offers many options to suit any decor style, and it has the added bonus of portability.

Hopefully these ideas will help consumers make the best of the unused nooks in their homes and apartments.

Don’t Let Holiday Overspending Be Detrimental to Financial Health

November 28, 2012 3:40 pm

Millions of consumers have begun their holiday shopping, snagging sale items either in-person or online, and therefore considering themselves savvy shoppers. At the same time, many lost sight of the fact that regardless of the price, a bargain isn’t a smart purchase if it compromises a person’s overall financial health.

“If there’s one time of the year when people shop with their heart, not their head, it’s the holiday season,” says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). “Emotional spending during the holidays is often the tipping point that pushes people over the edge financially, as common sense can take a backseat during this time of the year.”

To help consumers remain financially responsible during the holidays, the NFCC offers the following five reminders of the long-term consequences of over-spending, some of which can last far after the lights are taken down and the tinsel is packed away.

Paying additional interest - Adding new debt to an existing debt
load, one which cannot be paid in full when the bill arrives, equals
paying a larger dollar amount of interest due to the higher outstanding
balance. Even worse, when a balance is carried over from month-to-month
on an account, interest is paid on the previous months’ interest. People
often boast of buying an item on sale, then pay for it over time, thus
wiping out any savings.

Diminished future borrowing power – An increased level of debt
could cause lenders to decline applications for new lines of credit or
loans. Since no one knows what the future holds, not being in a position
to tap into new credit is something to guard against.

Diminished future buying power – Buying on credit is a contractual
agreement to pay the debt later, often with money that has yet to be
earned. Using tomorrow’s money for today’s expenses compromises future
spending.

Lower credit score – Excessive debt often leads to paying late,
skipping payments, and utilizing too high a percentage of open credit, all
of which could lower the all-important credit score. Further, applying
for new lines of credit simply to save money on today’s purchase will not
only increase the temptation to spend, but will show as an inquiry on the
credit report, potentially lowering the score.

Debt interferes with life - Debt is a 24/7 problem, distracts
people from their job and home-life, interrupts sleep and potentially
causes marital strife.

“With the economy still on shaky ground and job security not something to be counted on, it makes no sense to self-inflict financial damage this holiday season,” continues Cunningham.

Source: www.DebtAdvice.org.

Word of the Day

November 28, 2012 3:40 pm

Capital gain. Profit earned from the sale of an asset.

Q: What Happens at a Trustee Sale?

November 28, 2012 3:40 pm

A: When a homeowner falls behind on three payments, the bank will record a notice of default against the property. When the owner fails to pay up, a trustee sale is held, and the property is sold to the highest bidder. The lender that initiated the foreclosure proceedings will usually set the bid price at the loan amount. Successful bidders receive a trustee's deed as proof of ownership.

Trustee sales are advertised in advance and require all-cash bids, which can include cashiers’ checks. Normally, a sheriff, constable, or lawyer conducts the sale and acts as the trustee. Because these sales typically attract savvy investors, inexperienced buyers should come extremely prepared.