Thursday, 30 November 2017

Get $5 when you sign up for Swagbucks during December

All throughout the month of December you can earn big bonuses at Swagbucks, the rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here's how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 1/1/18. You'll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you'll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you'll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but you'll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned hundreds in Amazon gift cards to help me save on Christmas presents! And with Amazon prime memberships you can guarantee the gifts will be delivered in two days or less!

*You must receive your shopping SB before February 1st

5 Kinds of People Most Likely to Get the Holiday Blues

With the holidays upon us it’s easy for us to get caught up in the rush of it all. While we may be cooking, shopping, enjoying holiday events there are others, many of whom are in our very own circles, having a tougher time. Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, reveals who are most likely to have the holiday blues and how we can help them make it through.

1. The newly divorced or widowed.
Loss is a sad, life-changing event at any time of the year.  However, it tends to be harder when everyone around you is joyful celebrating the holiday’s and you feel it’s an effort to get out of bed.  If someone in your circles is going through a major loss and life transition be supportive and understanding. “They are grieving and mourning and are especially sensitive around the holidays. It’s important that they feel included but don’t be offended if they choose to opt out of certain events,” advises Dr. Hafeez. She suggests checking in and offering them the option to participate in whatever they want, when they want. Love them through it.

2. The busy entrepreneur.
The holidays could be stressful for small business owners because so much rides on the end of year. They may be fretting over their profits (or lack thereof), the goals they didn’t reach, and the many things still to do. They feel overwhelmed and when they are expected to shop, entertain and be present for their families, they may be short tempered and anxious. “The best way to help the busy entrepreneur is to make their life easier in any way possible. If they can’t make it to a family dinner, tell them your door is open for dessert. Oftentimes they feel guilty and obligated which only adds to their frustration,” explains Dr. Hafeez. Also consider that these worker-bees are conflicted. When they are working they miss their families and when they are with family they are thinking of work.

3. The caretaker of an elder parent or relative.
Adults who are now caretakers to their elderly parents are incredibly overwhelmed and often overlooked. As a caretaker, they always have to consider the well-being of their parent. They can’t just get up and go,” explains Dr. Hafeez.  Caretakers may feel resentful, isolated and stuck during the holidays which leads to conflicted feelings of resentment and guilt. They also believe they have to be hands on managing everything. It’s important to lighten the caretakers load by offering support even if it means asking them how they are doing. Be patient and ask the caretaker what they need. It could be something as simple as having food delivered to their home to free up time for other tasks, Dr. Hafeez recommends.

4. The recovering substance abuser.
Recovering from addiction is hard.  Period.  But it’s harder when holiday festivities are filled with friends and family drinking everything from eggnog to champagne.  “Understand that those in recovery from substance abuse are hyper-sensitive about being judged. They feel as if all eyes are on them and that pressure may trigger the desire to use drugs or alcohol to soothe their anxiety. When they aren’t fully recovered, they may anticipate possible “landmines” and avoid them. They may choose to stay to themselves and observe more and participate less. They might opt out of larger family gatherings that are too overwhelming,” cautions Dr. Hafeez. Offer an open invitation and remind them they are welcomed when they are ready. A balance of love, support and acceptance is what they are in most need of, suggests Dr. Hafeez.

5. The children of divorce.
Divorce means two separate holidays at two different places and kids feel overwhelmed having to double up. It’s incredibly important for parents to agree on where the kids are going during the holidays and all logistical details. “Kids want to feel safe and secure. They don’t want to feel as if they are the expected to be rushed here and there because their parents chose to divorce,” says Dr. Hafeez. It could be unsettling to younger kids and teens may isolate and rebel against any family events as they are sorting out their own emotions as they get used to a new normal. You really want to establish a game plan for the holidays and if possible, stick to it every year, consulting with an online psychiatrist may be the answer.

About the Doctor:
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

She can certainly provide answers to specific questions regarding the connection between grief and anxiety. Feel free to send them to me. 
Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.
Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or


What can be worse than the onset of an unsightly skincare emergency the day of a big event such as a wedding, reunion, business interview, or first date? Have you ever cancelled a first date because a cold sore erupted? How about an acne breakout the morning of your sister’s wedding or worse… your own? With tips and insights is board certified dermatologist, Dr. Margarita Lolis to help us handle these common emergencies within 24 hours.

Problem: Hives, Redness and Allergies
Solution: When you realize a certain food, beverage, cream or cosmetic triggered an allergic reaction discontinue use or consumption. As for treatment Dr. Lolis suggests using hydrocortisone cream which can be purchased at the drug store and should always be on hand. Also take an allergy medication such as Claritin or Zyrtec. Try a cotton compress of apple cider vinegar which is an anti-septic and anti-fungal that pulls any toxins out of the skin. A compress with whole milk is also very soothing.

Problem: Puffy Eyes
Solution: Cool tea bags, cold cucumber slices work wonders to constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling when applied for 10 minutes. You don’t need to see a dermatologist for any kind of treatment for this beauty issue however be sure to invest in a good eye cream and keep it in the fridge. Applying eye cream morning and at bedtime will help.

Problem: Cold Sore
Solution: “Most dermatologists will offer cortisone injections to tame a cold sore given its ability to rapidly address inflammation. This doesn’t take very long to do so many dermatologists will tell you to come in the same day. If you can’t get an appointment get your doctor to issue you a prescription for Famvir, Acylovir or Valtrex,” Dr. Lolis suggests. “Applying a lemon tea compress, applying witch hazel oil or peppermint are some natural ways to treat a cold sore,” she adds.

Problem: Cystic Acne Breakout
Solution: Resist the urge to squeeze and soak in rubbing alcohol. “This is such a common response and people end up making the pimple worse not to mention scarring their skin. Cystic acne is deep and if treated correctly beneath the surface it could remain a bump and not a red, scabbing mess,” warns Dr. Lolis. The secret to destroying a deep cystic pimple is to get a steroid or cortisone shot. “What the dermatologist will do is inject a diluted glucocorticoid right into the pimple. You’re basically getting a concentrated dose of steroid molecules that are naturally produced by our bodies responsible for regulating metabolism, inflammation and immunity. Within one or two days of injection into a cyst, the steroid will shrink the inflammation producing relief of pain and almost immediate cosmetic improvement,” explains Dr. Lolis. If you cannot get to the dermatologist apply a paste of baking soda with water then remove it within 20 minutes. Natural clay can also work very well as could a sea salt compress. Sea salt, especially directly for the ocean only takes 20 minutes to dry up skin.

Problem: Chapped Lips
Solution: “Use lip balms not waxes and go natural with ingredients such as almond oil, vitamin E or A and make and at home paste of sugar and honey to use as an exfoliator. You want to exfoliate lips in the shower when temperature is warmer,” Dr. Lolis advises. Dry lips are always a beauty bummer especially when they crack and bleed. If chronic chapped lips are an issue, you may experience flare ups when lips are especially sensitive. “Your lips lack a tough outer skin layer which is why they are a darker color from the rest of your skin. Plus, there are enzymes in our saliva made to break down fats and proteins which is why when we lick our lips it makes matters worse.

About Dr. Lolis:
Dr. Margarita Lolis, M.D. is a board-certified cosmetic, medical dermatologist and a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon with over 20 years of experience. In her practice, she addresses common skin concerns such as acne prevention and treatment in both teens and adults, sun-damage, skin discoloration, wrinkles, changes to skin texture and loss of volume. On the medical side, she is a trusted expert in melanoma and over-all skin health. Dr. Lolis prides herself in honoring facial symmetry to deliver a natural look to her clients. She always recommends a healthy skin care regimen plus lifestyle habits that are aligned with her holistic approach to beauty. Dr. Lolis is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Mohs Surgery, and the American Society of Anti-aging. Her practice, Skin, Laser, and Surgery Specialists is in New York City and Bergen Country, New Jersey.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Cheap and Easy Ways to Stay Fit This Holiday Season

Joy. Cheer. Cookies. The holiday season is famous for many things. But it’s also notorious in many ways — some of which have to do with those cookies we mentioned.

From work parties to family gatherings to gift exchanges with friends, it’s hard to stay healthy when you see indulgent foods and cocktails at every turn. On top of that, all of those events have your schedule packed — you barely have time to brush your hair, let alone exercise and get ahead of that cookie-heavy menu that awaits you for the next few weeks.

If you can believe it, there’s yet another problem: the holidays are expensive as you-know-what. So, on top of the unhealthy meals and the busy schedule, you also have to figure in your budget and the fact that you might not be able to afford expensive exercise classes along with all of the above. Woof.

Fortunately, there is some good news in all of this. You can hack your way to a healthy holiday 
season — and do it on the cheap. We’ve come up with the following XX ways to stay fit without sacrificing one bit of your festiveness.

Slip Into Your Skates

You’ll be making plans with just about everyone you love this holiday season, which is great. But you can make your plans strategic ones, in that they let you reunite with friends and family and get a bit of a workout in.

The obvious choice for a Christmas-y activity that also makes you sweat? Ice skating. Chances are, your hometown has a festive rink set up somewhere with a Christmas tree in the middle, music playing, the whole nine. You can get some cardio, improve your balance and sneak in a memorable reunion at the same time. Voila. 

Work Out in the Wings

Okay, so you’re not a theater actor, but you can slip easy workouts into your off time — the time when you’re in the wings if you will. That’s because there are so many body-weight moves that challenge you without any equipment necessary.

Before you head out for a festive brunch, shopping trip or happy hour, squeeze in a workout that suits the amount of time you have between activities. It costs nothing, works with your schedule and makes you feel good, which sounds like a win-win-win to us.

Use What You Have

We’ve already touched on body-weight workouts, and those quite literally use what you have to help you get fit. But for this segment, we want you to think about the fitness resources and memberships you already hold. Then, use those to your advantage.

For one thing, you might have some fitness DVDs and equipment laying around that you’ve ditched in favor of out-of-home workouts. Even though they’re not your ideal form of fitness, they’re something you have on-hand if you want to squeeze in a quick sweat sesh.

And, if you have a membership to a local sports club or fitness studio, use it when you can. A lunch date near to your favorite yoga spot, for example, can give you the opportunity to dine and de-stress. Or, you can stop by your local indoor pool after shopping and boost your strength and circulation with an underwater cardio workout.

Make Caroling a Tradition

Walking from door to door is, of course, a nice way to get a bit of exercise while partaking in one of the season’s oldest and sweetest traditions. But singing itself is a great exercise, too. Not only does it strengthen your lungs, but it also sends your mood skyrocketing and fizzles stress. So, strap on your bonnet and grab your songbook — singing door-to-door can help you stay fit as well as spread some holiday cheer.

Frolic in the Snow

Walking down the street is easy. Walking through the snow? That’s a different story. The icy precipitation and the heavy boots, snowsuit and jacket you’re wearing add resistance to make the activity that much more difficult.

You can make it even more of a workout by speeding up to a faster-paced stride, walking up hills to sled or hitting the ground and making a whole choir of snow angels. The latter works your arms and legs, making it a full-body workout that’s disguised as winter fun — there’s not much better than that.

Check out some of these great sleds and tubes at Amazon to help you make the most of winter! Going up and down the hill is amazing cardio and your legs and buns will thank you. 

Put Fitness on Your Wish List

If you have yet to write to Santa, make sure you do so with the following tip in mind: request fitness-centric gifts to fuel your wintertime workouts. A new pair of shoes, workout leggings or an armband for your phone will help you power through exercise this holiday season and beyond. Plus, you kind of have to go and try your new gear once you’ve been gifted it, so no one would bat an eyelash if you took your new sneakers to the gym a few times.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is not necessarily a workout idea, but it’s a fit-minded tip. Often, your body will confuse dehydration for hunger pangs, which makes you susceptible to over-eating at a time when everything around you is sweet and indulgent. Be sure to sip water all day to stave off these cravings and benefit from all of the other good things a glass of H2O can bring. 

This informative piece identifies the benefits of drinking water on an empty stomach. Check it out here!

Make the Plans

Finally — and it may seem overwhelming to think about in the midst of wintertime chaos — you can try and become the one who plans the seasonal activities in which you’ll partake. That way, you can ensure you’re doing active things, going to restaurants where you’ll have healthy menu options and, of course, giving yourself enough time between to-dos to squeeze in the workouts you crave.

With more decisions in your hands, you’ll be able to do what you want to do — which, we gather, is maintain your fitness throughout the most wonderful time of the year. So, get to planning and take advantage of every opportunity for you time. In the end, you’ll feel better, happier and more fit for it — and that’s the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season.

4 Things You Should Know Before Deciding On Long-Term Care

Today is a good time for those who haven’t yet reached retirement age to begin considering some key factors related to health scenarios they might face later in life. 

“The bottom line is none of us knows ahead of time what our health will be in our 60s and beyond,” says Chris Orestis, Executive Vice President of GWG Life ( and author of the books Help on the Way and A Survival Guide to Aging. “Will you need long-term care? If so, to what degree, and how will you pay?”

Statistics suggest that long-term care could very well be in your future. Seventy percent of people over age 65 will require some type of LTC services during their lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Costs can be exceedingly high. The annual-median cost of a private room in a nursing home, for example, is more than $80,000 a year. 

On the flip side is the toll taken on family members when they provide personal home care. The National Family Caregivers Association reports that more than 75 percent of adults receiving home LTC are being cared for by family and friends. And 37 percent of those informal caregivers had to switch from full-time to part-time employment due to the LTC demands.

Orestis lists four questions people should ask when weighing LTC options:
  • Does Medicare or Medicaid pay for it? Medicare will not cover LTC for most seniors. It covers LTC only for rehabilitation requiring extended stays in a nursing home for about three months, or LTC for skilled in-home services for a limited period. Medicaid will pay for LTC, but the user’s income must fall below a certain level. “Long-term care service providers prefer private pay, such as savings, long-term care insurance or other income,” Orestis says. 
  • What does LTC include? Much of it is assistance with personal tasks, not medical care. Among those tasks are eating, dressing and using the toilet. Additional tasks LTC assists with are meal preparation, grocery shopping, money management and pet care.
  • When is the time to buy LTC insurance? Most advisors suggest the best time to buy LTC insurance is when you’re in your early- to mid-50s and in good health. About 25 percent of people in their 60s are turned down for LTC insurance. “There’s a significant risk in waiting too long, when your health status may disqualify you for coverage,” Orestis says.
  • How else can people pay for LTC? People who have failed to plan still have private pay options available. Orestis says veterans can access the VA Aide & Attendance Benefit, reverse mortgages for home owners can generate cash for home care, and the owner of a life insurance policy could exchange their death benefit for living benefits such as a tax-free LTC Benefit account, a lifetime income annuity or even take a lump sum of cash.

“For some, government assistance may be appropriate but limits your options,” Orestis says. “For others, their nest egg or private pay options may help take care of them. But first it’s important to understand what forms of long-term care are available and how you will pay for it.”

About Chris Orestis
Chris Orestis, Executive Vice President of GWG Life (, is an over 20-year veteran of the insurance and long-term care industries and is nationally recognized as a healthcare expert and senior care advocate. He is a former Washington, D.C. lobbyist who has provided legislative testimony; the author of two books: “Help on the Way” and “A Survival Guide to Aging”; a frequent columnist with a currently popular series entitled "The Healthcare Hunger Games"; and has been a featured guest on over 50 radio programs and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Kiplinger’s, Investor’s Business Daily, PBS, and numerous other media outlets.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

West Kelowna Holiday Events

The City of West Kelowna is turning 10 years old on December 7, 2017. We’re combining our Anniversary Celebration with our annual Light Up event for double the fun!

Join Mayor Doug Findlater and West Kelowna Councillors as they celebrate this important milestone and also light up the city for the 2017 holiday season!

10th Anniversary & Town Centre Light Up
Friday, December 1
5 to 8 p.m.
Brown Road (Main Street to Gossett Road)

There will be free food, including birthday cupcakes, prizes, music, giveaways, crafts and entertainment. Don’t miss the fun!

The city is also hosting its annual Winterfest - Skate With Santa celebration this weekend. Fun for the whole family, Winterfest features skating, crafts, cookie decorating and hot dogs and hot chocolate. Admission and activities are free, but a donation to the food bank will be gratefully accepted.

Winterfest - Skate With Santa
Sunday, December 3
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Mt. Boucherie Recreation Complex, 2760 Cameron Road

Don't forget about other great opportunities to keep the family busy. Classes and memberships make great Holiday gifts!

Beat the effects of colder weather, shorter days and the comfort foods and beverages of Christmas by enrolling in one, two, or even a few of the hundreds of programs being offered through West Kelowna’s Winter 2018 Rec Guide.

The guide offers something for people of all ages and abilities. And, it’s easy to find a program close to home with so many offered at school gyms and multipurpose rooms, community centres, and our aquatic centre and arenas.

The guide also includes arena and pool schedules over the two week Christmas Break.

Guides can be found at:
  • Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre, 3737 Old Okanagan Highway
  • Webber Road Community Centre, 2829 Inverness Road
  • Westbank Library, Westridge Shopping Centre, #31 - 2484 Main Street
  • Westbank Lions Community Centre, 2466 Main Street
  • West Kelowna Municipal Hall or Recreation Portable, 2760 Cameron Road
  • The Westside Weekly Friday, November 24 edition

Register online at or in person at the Recreation and Culture Portable Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Offices will be closed for Christmas from 4:30 p.m. December 22 through 8:30 a.m. January 2.

Clever Ways To Save On Your Next Family Camping Trip

If you're looking to get a reprieve from your daily responsibilities and bond with your loved ones, a family vacation can be just what the doctor ordered. But if you're on a tight budget, you might be under the impression that you simply can't afford to get away. After all, the average price of a vacation timeshare is $20,040, which is a financial burden most families can't bear. The good news is that you don't need tens of thousands of dollars to have a great time with those you care about most. Camping trips are generally considered to be fairly affordable as it is, which makes them a great option for frugal families. However, there are ways to save even more on your next camping adventure. Here are just a few tips to follow.

Consider Your Destination

Before you can prepare and pack for your trip, you'll need to decide where you're going -- and your destination may actually matter a lot. According to a survey conducted by The Outdoor Foundation, 67% of participants stated that they camp in public campgrounds most often. Choosing a public camping location that's relatively close to home can save you money on gas. Family campgrounds often come with extra amenities that can be great for entertaining young kids, but rates may vary, so it's best to shop around a bit before deciding. In addition, keep in mind that National Parks, while popular for camping, tend to be a bit pricier than National Forests are. Don't be afraid to compare your options!

Buy Used Or Borrow

It's very easy to overspend on camping gear. If you aren't careful, you may end up blowing your entire budget before you even leave for your trip. To avoid this, borrow as much as you can from friends and family. For those who don't go camping on a regular basis, this is a sound financial strategy and will allow you to get some tips from those you trust, too. There may be things you aren't able to borrow, in which case you should try to buy used. Many thrift stores or online resources will have inexpensive camping gear for sale. You may not be able to find every single necessity, but as long as you give yourself enough time, you should be able to get most things on your list.

Bring Food With You

Bringing food with you, rather than buying it once you arrive, can save you quite a bit -- particularly if you're camping in an area frequented by out-of-towners. Multi-purpose food items are a good bet since you'll get more out of them. In fact, you should plan out your menu well in advance to make sure you don't overspend but will still have great food to enjoy during your trip. You may want to cook on a smaller propane burner at least some of the time since the wood for campfires can be expensive.

Go Solar Or Rechargeable

Traditional batteries can be pricey, particularly if you need a lot of them, and campsites that have electricity will be most costly. Rechargeable batteries can power up the necessities but won't give you the opportunity to spend the whole trip on your devices (which is a good thing!). Solar lanterns can be a good investment too since they just require light to charge. While solar-powered products may cost a bit more upfront, they'll last longer and won't require constant battery changes.

Avoid Tourist Traps

When you head out on your camping trip, don't fall victim to tourist traps. Whether it's a restaurant you find on the way or a town center right outside of your campgrounds, remember to keep costs in mind. If you do decide to go into town, feel free to look around but don't buy. Instead, try to find free activities your family can enjoy together, like hiking trails, group games, or a nearby festival that doesn't charge an admission fee.

Camping is already pretty financially feasible, but costs can add up quickly if you don't keep track. By following these tips, your family will be able to enjoy your next camping trip without breaking the bank.

Monday, 27 November 2017

6 Ways Mums Can Make Extra Money at Home

Being at home should be no excuse when it comes to making money! So much has changed in recent years and that includes how we make money.  With the internet and the sharing economy, we can now make extra money from anywhere, at any time.  Making money from home is similar to any other job, you learn new skills and devote time and effort and see rewards.  The only difference between a typical job and making money from home is your location.  So, let’s see look at 6 ways mums can make extra money at home.

Start a blog

Starting a blog requires a lot of hard work and effort, but it’s first on this list because it’s the most rewarding. Starting a blog will require you to spend a bit of money on a domain name and hosting, after that, you don’t pay much. You are free to put whatever you want on your blog. If it starts building authority and a community of readers, it can be financially rewarding as well. Starting a blog is not as difficult as it seems, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Who knows, you could be living off your blog one day. Remember, persistence, and hard work pays off, blogs are no different.

Clothes equal cash

For all those women that have purchased a beautiful dress and only worn it once, you are in luck! With The Volte, you can borrow and lend designer fashion. Make use of the dress that’s been hanging in your closet for months! Simply take some pictures, list it for free on The Volte site and wait for a request. There is even door to door couriers, so everything is simple and straightforward.

Freelance work

For those of you who don’t want to commit to a blog but still like to express an opinion or help others learn, try freelance writing. You will be surprised how many sites are willing to take on content. Don’t expect to get paid lots of money straight away. Work up a portfolio of work by offering free content first. When you have a following or decent experience, you can start charging people. Some will pay by the word, by the hour or by the project.

Alternatively, you can start looking at sites like Freelancer and Upwork. They offer platforms that connect people needing a job done with individuals looking for work. Put yourself out there; you could become a content writer, developer or even virtual assistant from the comfort of your home.

Rent out your free space

Yes, you can rent out free space in your home. Do you have an empty garage, shed, basement or any other space? You can list it (for free) on sites like Spacer. People will search listings and request to store thier items in your space, easy! You have the final say about what is stored in your space. You can list multiple areas and store as much as you want, just take some photos, set the price and make the listing.

Alternatively, if you have a spare bedroom, you can rent that out to people. Airbnb is a great way to make extra money, and it can be very lucrative. However, if you want something more local and permanent, list your spare room through Gumtree.  

Review your financial situation

One way of making money is saving more of it. Your mortgage, car loan, personal loans or credit cards and the repayments associated with them can often be minimised. What is your repayment schedule like? How much interest are you paying over the life of the loan? How can that be lowered? Can you be saving yourself money? The answer is typically yes. The only issue is, you are not doing the research needed to save. For example, if you’re looking for a new personal loan, look at all lenders and see how each one can help you. Sometimes it can be as simple as using a comparison site like RateCity.  


If photography is one of your hobbies or skills, turn those photos into money. Stock image sites, such as will pay you for great images. You simply submit your pictures and hope they get accepted. If they’re excepted, you can get anywhere between 25 cents to $120 per image! If you have been a photographer for a while, chances are you have plenty of snaps you can submit right now.

Remember, making money from home is like a job, if you don’t put in any effort, you won’t see any reward. Good luck!

Why Switching to Natural Gas Is a Wise Investment

Winter is around the corner. The beautiful fall days can turn into some dreadfully cold nights. You probably already have had to turn on your furnace a few times. You get a small break in the bills when you don’t need air conditioning or heat, but soon, the furnace will be running all day. You get to keep warm, but you also get to spend more money.

If you heat your home with oil or electricity, you are already aware that you spend more money than people who heat with natural gas. You don’t want to incur an unnecessary expense, but switching to natural gas can be a wise investment in the long run. Many homes, businesses and industries have made the switch — and are thankful they did.

Natural Gas Is Abundant

Natural gas has surpassed coal as the leading generator of electricity in the United States. Natural gas is responsible for 34 percent of the nation’s electrical output, versus 30 percent for coal. This abundance has caused a greater increase in demand for natural gas and more production of it.

 U.S. companies are even exporting natural gas to meet the demands of other countries. Natural gas isn’t a fuel you will have to wait for to be delivered or have to worry about running out of.

Natural Gas Is Cheaper

Oil, electricity and even propane are much more expensive than natural gas. Heating a house with oil during the winter costs an average of $1,700, while using gas would cost around $900. Gas furnaces are less expensive than oil-burning furnaces, too.

To make the conversion, you will have to invest a few thousand dollars, depending on factors such as the age of your home. Homes built before gas lines were added will require an additional expense to install one. But if you do the math, you can see how you will recoup your investment over a short period.

Natural Gas Is Better for the Environment

Natural gas is among the cleanest fuels you can use. You will never miss the smell of fuel oil or the smoke it produces. Burning natural gas doesn’t emit sulfur dioxide into the air we breathe. It does produce carbon emissions, but by less than 60 percent if you were burning oil. Oil is so bad for the environment that there is legislation to try to phase out fuel oil over time.

Natural Gas Is Efficient

Oil-burning furnaces achieve efficiency ratings somewhere in the 70 percent range. Natural gas furnaces can reach up to 98 percent efficiency. You’re spending less money in the first place, and the fuel you are paying for is getting more heat for the dollar.

Natural Gas Is Versatile

You can’t run your dryer on heating oil, but you can operate it using natural gas. Once you have a gas line coming into your house, you can use natural gas to heat your stove, water tank, fireplace — even your outdoor barbecue grill.

 Natural Gas Adds Value

Once you make the investment to convert from oil or some other source to natural gas, you will add value to your home. If you decide to sell your home in the future, you will be better off than your neighbors who didn’t.

Like being in an unfavorable school district, a home that uses heating oil or relies on electricity for heat will be less desirable for buyers. Most people just don’t want to have to deal with it, and there are many other homes that have more modern appliances.

Conversely, if you have an updated heating system and multiple gas appliances, you will have more positive selling points. People who enjoy cooking know gas stoves offer even heat and much more control over the cooking process. Gas stoves also use about half as much energy as their electric counterparts, in addition to being more efficient and easier to clean.

Disadvantages of Natural Gas

There are multiple benefits of using natural gas, but there’s always a downside to everything. Here are some of the disadvantages of natural gas.

·         It’s Highly Combustible

Light so much as a spark in a room filled with gas, and your house will explode. Natural gas is odorless and colorless, so you won’t be aware of a leak in your house unless your provider adds an odorant to it — which they usually do. Pipes can leak, and it’s easy to accidentally leave an unlit stove on. Some people just aren’t comfortable with the idea of gas being hooked up to their houses.

·         It’s Still Fossil Fuel

Yes, natural gas is better for the environment, but it is still a non-renewable fossil fuel. Though it’s plentiful and easily available, there is a finite amount of it, just like other fossil fuels. It would be better for our environment to pursue renewable energy sources, like methane or solar and wind power. But these sources aren’t in common use to heat our homes, and the costs are still much higher.

·         Natural Gas Is Linked to Terrorism

Many of the countries with large supplies of gas and oil are run by dictatorships with horrible human rights records, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. The revenue earned from natural gas may end up funding these governments and the terror organizations they are associated with. Again, renewable energy not linked to hostile governments would be a better solution.

Natural gas causes greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change and global warming, but not nearly as much as oil. While solar and wind energy may be cleaner and renewable, natural gas is more practical for mass consumption.

Unfortunately, the technology to switch our homes over to renewable energy on a large scale isn’t currently available, so natural gas is still your most environmentally friendly option. Your biggest hurdle to switching to natural gas will be the initial investment. But your bills will be lower, and you will slowly recoup your money while enjoying all the other benefits of using natural gas.