3 Money Drains on Your Utilities Bill

Money Drains on Your Utilities Bill
Money Drains on Your Utilities Bill
There are a surprising number of ways that inefficient appliances can make your utility bill rise through the roof. You get used to paying a certain amount per month, but you should always question what you could be doing to save money. The fact is that most electronics are inefficient when it comes to energy, and by doing a few simple things you can cut back dramatically on how much electricity you’re using. Electricity tends to be one of the more expensive utilities, and that’s the one that you can save the most with. Here are three tips on how your appliances are money drains.

Phantom Energy Drains

You may think that when you turn off appliances, such as lamps or the toaster, that you’re saving energy. This actually isn’t true. Although you’re not using the same amount of power when an appliance is turned off, the fact that it’s plugged in is actually still using power. If you unplug all of your electronics when they’re not in use, you’ll save a substantial amount on your electricity bill. A few appliances here and there won’t make a difference. If you want to leave your TV plugged into a power strip, for example, that’s not going to add a whopping amount onto your bill. However, when all the lights and appliances remain plugged in, they add up to substantial amount. Unplug as many appliances as you can when they’re not in use to save a bundle on your next utility bill.

The Type of Light Bulb Matters

Change To More Efficient Light Bulbs And Pay Less
Change To More Efficient Light Bulbs And Pay Less
Another energy drain is not using energy efficient light bulbs, which are now required by law for landlords to use in certain cities. Although energy efficient light bulbs might be a little more expensive, they’ll actually last longer and cut back on how much electricity is used. Don’t forget to also examine how many light bulbs your lamps are using in the first place. This is especially true for overhead lights. If your overhead light is using more than two light bulbs, you might consider switching it out for a lamp that will use less electricity. If you require a very bright room, then you’ll want to keep the extra bulbs. Other than that scenario, though, limiting the use of light bulbs as much as possible will cut down on how much you’re paying on your utility bill.

Understanding Charges and Market Rates

Start Saving Money
Start Saving Money
Not all market rates are the same when it comes to utilities. Some utility companies, depending on where you live, will offer different options to have your energy delivered to you. You can examine the different rates available by calling your main utility company and asking for the price per kilowatt for electricity and therm for gas. While this might seem like a negligible rate to keep track of, it adds up very quickly. Find out what the most competitive rate is in your area and try to get your energy delivered via that carrier. You can also call your utility company and have them explain the bill to you, so that you fully understand and can review it in the future for accuracy. Don’t forget that utility companies make mistakes, too, and if you take the time to call them on it and question it, they’ll probably adjust the bill for you. The key is information and remaining informed.

Taking Care of Your Vintage Game Systems

Atari Is a Must If You Love Vintage Game Systems
Atari Is a Must If You Love Vintage Game Systems
Whether you go for vintage Nintendo, Sega, or Sony, every gamer wants to keep his game system safe and sound. For a lot of people, those systems were their first introductions into the gaming world, and have a lot of nostalgia attached to them. With these systems getting more and more dated, though, it’s hard to keep them in good condition. We said it was hard, not impossible. There are plenty of ways to make sure that your game system stands the test of time, you just have to take care of them in the right ways.

Careful Storage

Whenever you aren’t using your system, make sure you put it in a safe location. Put it above the floor, preferably in something that closes. If you have a cabinet, that would be a perfect location for it. Unplug the cords from the system and fold them up neatly, and make sure the controller is wound up nicely as well. Not only does this make it look pretty on the shelf, but it also keeps the cords from getting bent up in storage. Keeping it above ground and off the floor also ensures that no flooding can reach it, and nothing can get spilled on it. Putting it in a cabinet means that it’s off-limits to any bugs or crawlies that might like to make a home in there. Keep all your games stored in their original cases or in containers as well so that dust and dirt don’t end up damaging them. Be sure to never keep them out, either, or else pets or kids might end up getting to them and then you’ll be really upset. It might take a lot of effort to do this every time you’re done playing with it, but you’ll be happy when your game system lasts for ages and you get to keep enjoying those good memories.

Frequent Cleaning

Sega Will Bring Back Some Memories
Sega Will Bring Back Some Memories
Even if you are keeping it in a cabinet, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to get dusty. Obviously you’ll save yourself a lot of cleanup by putting it away, but dust still gets into cabinets and closed spaces. Just make sure to give it a nice, thorough cleaning whenever you’re dusting around the house. Get a new cloth, spray the cloth, and then wipe down the system. A can of compressed air will blow out the dust way better than your lips ever could, and won’t get any saliva in there, either. If for some reason something does get spilled on the system, clean it up as quickly as possible. If it’s something sticky, be sure to make absolutely certain that no sticky residue remains. That can get into game slots and under buttons, making the system and controllers fail on you. It’s okay if you seem a little anal about it. Your friends might think you’re crazy, but you’re the one who gets to enjoy Super Mario Bros. on the original system whenever you feel like it, so who’s the real winner here?

Adult Use Only

Your Kids Will Not Appreciate It The way You Do
Your Kids Will Not Appreciate It The way You Do
Unless you have a death wish for your system, your platform should be for adult use only. Sure, kids do love those old games, but the thing is those same old games are widely available on game networks now. Just do yourself a favor and download it for them on the Wii or Playstation networks. That way they can play all their favorites without ever touching your precious vintage system. Everyone wins. If for any reason you ever absolutely have to let kids use your system, just watch them very closely. Make sure their hands are clean and free of any stickiness, and keep an eye on them the whole time. Kids have a way of making horrible messes out of things if you turn your back for an instant, and an instant alone with a kid can cost your system its life. Just make sure to be as cautious as possible, and your system is guaranteed to have a long life ahead of it.

Mistakes to Avoid When Opening Your First Office

No One Has Real Experience Before Starting A Business
No One Has Real Experience Before Starting A Business
Getting ready to open your first office can be an exciting and challenging experience. You’ve found a great location and signed the papers to make it your own, and now it’s time to start moving in and getting people to work. Before you get started on that, though, you should make yourself aware of what to avoid when undertaking this new business experience. You don’t want to get your office up and running only to discover that you made a critical error in its layout, or that you underestimated the amount of work it would be. Avoid the following common pitfalls that new office managers encounter. Through your awareness of what not to do, you can be certain that your outlook for success in your new office is good.

Don’t Build a Cubicle Farm

This Works Against Your Interests
This Works Against Your Interests
Cubicles, once the staple of many an office around the world, are fading in popularity, and for good reason. While their original intent of reducing lost productivity due to employee distractions sounds good on paper, in practice it creates a work environment that isolates your personnel from one another in a detrimental way. Cubicles prevent employees from actively engaging one another throughout the workday to discuss their ideas and the projects you’ve assigned them to, which can stifle creativity and the generation of ideas that could be making your business more money. Instead of putting in that work order to get cubes installed in your new office, consider a desk layout that both emphasizes individual workstations while still facilitating an open flow of ideas. As an added benefit, if you have a lot windows in your office, not having cubicles means that natural light can reach all the way from one end of your office to the other. This creates a more inviting work setting, and will improve employee morale.

Don’t Think You Can Handle Administration All by Yourself

You’re motivated when it comes to doing what’s best for your business and seeking growth, and that can mean saving money wherever possible. However, don’t kid yourself when you’re opening your first office by thinking that you’ll save cash by assuming any number of clerical and administrative duties on your own. It can not only make you look like a micromanager to your staff, but it can also end up overwhelming you to the point where important paperwork gets lost or left unfinished. This could mean the difference between closing a deal and losing it, or missing an important invoice payment that undermines a project you’ve been working on for months. Under-staffing your new office is a fast track to having the stability of your business collapse when crunch time approaches. Instead, consider adding a position to your office such an administrative assistant, or even simply hire a secretary to help keep track of your own agenda.

Don’t Compromise on Equipment Quality

Don't Compromise In Equipment´s Quality To Save Money
Don’t Compromise In Equipment´s Quality To Save Money
There’s an old adage that goes, "a craftsman is only as good as his tools." The same is going to be true for the employees of your new office, especially if your business is technology-based. While it can be especially tempting to cut corners when it comes to the cost of computer equipment and networking hardware such as servers, ask yourself if you will really be saving any money when those discounted computers inevitably fail and require replacements. Every business eventually encounters hardware failures, but don’t let it leave you in a position that financially jeopardizes your company. The higher initial cost of purchasing quality hardware will pay for itself in the long run. Buying cutting-edge technology isn’t necessary, but neither should you go straight to the computer store’s bargain bin. When you’re opening your new office, search around and see if there are companies that will give you a bulk discount on good-quality hardware to outfit your building with. Chances are you’ll be able to find an option that will strike a good balance between affordability and quality.

Using Bento Boxes to Lose Weight

Healthy Meals To Take Out Anywhere
Healthy Meals To Take Out Anywhere
Originally just a convenient way for the Japanese to use leftovers to pack a lunch, bento boxes are becoming all the rage across the globe. These little lunch boxes make it easy to transport a well-balanced, healthy meal, no matter who it’s for or where you’re going. Children love them, but they can be just as great for adults as well. On top of the convenience aspect, bento boxes are perfect for anyone on a diet, provided you fill them with the right ingredients.

What Ingredients?

Obviously, all natural ingredients are going to get you better results than anything else. Avoid processed foods at all costs, and keep things simple. If you can do a whole meal with entirely raw ingredients, then go for it. Almonds, raw fruits and vegetables, and rice are always great additions. The rice makes the meal much more filling, as do the almonds. For a lunch bento or a hearty breakfast bento, include a hard boiled egg or some slices of ham. You can also make small grilled bean burgers to include, cutting down on fat and upping the protein. Include some sauce if you want, or save yourself the calories and keep it out. Good toppings for ingredients like rice are sesame seeds, low sodium soy sauce, and even fish flakes that you can get at any Oriental market. Make sure to always cook steamed rice, either brown or white, because fried rice is obviously out of the question. Finish the meal off with a few small cookies or a sweet dip for your fruit made out of yogurt, and you’ve got a great and well-balanced meal in front of you.

Proportioning

Safe Food Container
Safe Food Container
Bento boxes are small, so it’s easy to lay out proportions in a healthy way. They come with little compartments inside each box, or you can get dividers to help separate the box into chunks. Put a serving of each thing you want into the dividers, and you’re ready to go. Two-tiered bento boxes are usually best for adult-sized meals, and one-tiered bento boxes are for children. This allows you to get enough food that you feel full, but not so much that it’s unhealthy. Provided that you use the above ingredients and create your own unique meal every day, you’re sure to lose weight in no time. Besides, you’ll be the most popular person in your workplace for how awesome your lunch always looks.

Cut Costs

Bento boxes themselves are incredibly cheap, because they’re simply elaborate Tupperware. After that, if you take care of them properly, they’ll last forever. If yours isn’t divided already, you can buy dividers. Silicone cupcake wrappers work perfectly, and hardly cost a thing. Once you have all the parts you need, you don’t have to pour any more money into the packaging. All you have to worry about are the ingredients that, if you’re using the ingredients we listed, won’t run you dry either. Another option to cut costs is to pack your leftovers in creative ways into the bento box. This way your leftovers get eaten before they go bad, and you get to have a great and unique meal. This is what the Japanese do, and it works out very well, especially for those who are busy with work as it is. All in all, using bento boxes for your meals will save you hundreds per month, which you would have spent on gross frozen meals.

Why Bento?

Safe, Clean And Fashionable Way To Take Your Food With You
Safe, Clean And Fashionable Way To Take Your Food With You
Bento is an easy and fashionable way to lose weight, and to never feel hungry. Why would you eat a depressing frozen lean meal when you could have a vibrant, beautifully arranged bento box instead? It also really lets you explore your own creativity. When you take a while crafting an attractive bento, it honestly helps you not feel as hungry. Eating a bento, it also seems like you have so much food that you can barely finish it all. It’ll easily take you your entire lunch hour to eat it, and you won’t feel like snacking all day either. When you’re on a diet, it can be easy to lose all enjoyment in eating, because it’s boring. With a bento box, you can design it however you want, and make it as interesting as you’d like. It’s a great opportunity to play with your food, which makes it fun again. Even if it’s not the same fatty food you’re used to eating, bento meals are just as enjoyable to eat, and don’t ruin your diet, either. At least give it a try. We promise you won’t regret it.

Why You Shouldn’t Bug Her about Trying Anal

Talk About What You Both Want
Talk About What You Both Want

It’s not always easy to convince your woman to do what you want in bed, especially if she isn’t particularly experimental or open to try new things. It can be difficult enough with something you feel sure that she’ll enjoy, but if she’s not into the idea it becomes almost possible. Most women aren’t that sold on the idea of trying anal, which makes it that much more difficult to convince them to try it out, even once. If you’re trying to get your woman to try anal, you might be bugging her as often as possible to try and wear her down and get her to try it out. However, this is pretty counterintuitive to what you want and it can actually backfire on you in a major way. If you’re trying to convince your woman to try anal at least once, then you shouldn’t bug her about it regularly. If you’ve been getting on her case about it a few times already, then here’s what you need to know about why bugging her about it is a bad idea.

It’ll Make Her Not Want to Do It

Respect Her Choices And Do Not Push Her
Respect Her Choices And Do Not Push Her

The more you bring up the idea, the more she’s going to resent the idea. If you’re bringing it up constantly, then you’re basically going to convince her NOT to try it. Being pestered about something that makes her uncomfortable is going to do the opposite of what you want, and she may turn you down outright and refuse to budge on the matter. If she’s already refused to try, then you bugging her about it is just going to reaffirm her decision on the matter. It’s best to ask her to consider it and then give her a little time to think about it, because the more you pester her, the less she’s going to want to do it on basic principle. Treat her like you would treat a particularly finicky cat. Don’t try to get her to come to you, because she’ll just turn tail. Give her time to come to you and don’t make it seem like it was your idea.

She Needs Time to Come Around

Trying Anal Sex With Your Partner
Trying Anal Sex With Your Partner

Again, most women need time to think about this sort of thing. If you’re bugging her, you don’t give her time to think about it and do her own research. And yes, anal requires research, which may be another reason why she’s hesitant. If you don’t do any reading on how to do anal, you’re not going to make it a pleasant experience for EITHER party, and that might be why she hasn’t given you an answer just yet. Anal just isn’t the way things were meant to be, from a biological standpoint, so it requires extra work to make it happen. That’s not to say it can’t be great – it can be amazing for both parties, obviously – but it does take work. Give her time to do her own thinking about it, and take that time to read up on how to make it as amazing as possible for both of you.

She Might Have Her Reasons

If she Says NO!.. Respect That
If she Says NO!.. Respect That

There are some women who are just not going to come around to the idea of doing anal, and that’s something you will need to accept. We know it sucks, but the truth is that some women have huge hang-ups about this sort of thing. If you push too hard to try and get her to go along with it, you could wind up pushing her away from you entirely. She may have personal reasons to not want to try anal – maybe she’s had a bad experience in the past, or maybe she finds it disgusting. Either way, respect her personal choices and try not to push too hard lest you wind up pushing her away from you entirely. It can happen, and it’s not a nice way to end a relationship at all.

Advice & Reviews From Amy Nolan