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November 26, 2011

5 Gift Cards People Want

It is that time of year again to start thinking about ideas of what to give your loved one for Christmas. But, what if your loved one is picky? Or, what if he or she seems to have everything? In this case, you could give him or her a gift card from their favorite store. Gift cards are handy because they save you and your loved one’s money. Not every item, though can be purchased with a gift card and some gift cards are unpopular.

Here is a list of the five gift cards that people want.

1. Clothes. Everyone needs new clothes, but everyone loves to wear clothes that make them look good. All clothing stores sell gift cards, so if your loved one’s taste in fashion is different from yours, you can purchase her a gift card from her favorite clothing store.

2. Books. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, most people enjoy reading. Books are an ideal gift because of their importance to peoples’ literary development and to their need for information. Every bookstore sells gift cards, so if your loved one is an avid reader, you can purchase him a gift card from his favorite bookstore.

3. Electronics. Electronic devices, such as iPads, iPhones, iPods, e-readers, laptops and desktop computers are high in demand. Every person is in need of an electronic device for work and for pleasure. These items, though, are pricy. If you do not have the funds to purchase one as a gift for your loved one, you can purchase a gift card with a certain amount of money charged on it. That will cover part of the cost of the electronic device.

4. Cosmetics. Every woman likes to look beautiful and cosmetics make that possible. Certain cosmetics, such as hand cream and body lotion, help improve the texture of skin. Cosmetics are sold at salons, department stores and most drug stores. If your significant other loves to wear makeup and body lotion, you can purchase her a gift card from any store that sells these products.

5. Office supplies. These items will always be in high demand. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford them. If your loved one needs office supplies, you can purchase him or her a gift card from Staples, London Drugs or any other store where office supplies are sold.

With gift cards, you can spend as low as ten dollars and as high as a thousand dollars or more. It all depends on how much money you are able to spend. So, if you are stuck for gift ideas, give your loved on a gift card for Christmas.

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November 23, 2011

How to Save Money on Electricity Now

The electric bill is the highest bill homeowners and renters have to pay. It is the next highest bill to the rent, which is not a variable bill. The best way to save money all around is to find ways to manipulate the variable bills. Variable bills include electric, cable, food, cell phone, and fuel costs. You can change these expenses by making minor adjustments. The following are smart tips that focus on cutting your electric expense. These tips will aid in knocking your electric bill down so you can use the extra funds for something else:

1. Take Time to Compare

When you first move to a new home, you should conduct a search for all utility companies in the area. Then, compare the costs. Each company may charge a different amount of cents per kWh. The charges may vary, but the cents can add up very quickly. Even if you are already receiving service from one company, it will benefit you to check out other utility companies. You can calculate the average amount of energy you are using each month by reviewing your electric bills. Next, plug that number in to figure how much money you would save if you moved to a different provider. If the savings are large enough, say goodbye to your current provider.

2. Insulate

Whether it is wintertime or summer time, proper insulation plays a huge part in your monthly bill. If your windows and doors are poorly insulated, your heat and coolant can escape. This causes the equipment to use more electricity to keep your home at a certain temperature. Have a technician come out and investigate your insulation. Caulk the cracks and repair broken windows. Make the necessary adjustments and you will save money.

3. Use Fans Instead of Air Conditioners

Fans use far less energy than air conditioners. They are quite effective in the summer time. One of the best tricks to getting most out of a fan is sticking it in the window and facing it toward you. That way when the wind blows, the fan will suck in the cool air and blow it your way.

4. Single Room Heaters

Using small single room heaters is another excellent way to save on electricity. They are very inexpensive and can make a room quite toasty within minutes. Once the room heats up, close the door and keep it that way. Single room heaters often have settings to turn off once the room reaches a certain temperature. That is a great money-saving feature.

5. Turn off Sleeping Appliances

When you are not watching television or using the computer, turn these items off. You may only be saving a small amount of money but remember, change adds up.

6. Maintain Your Equipment

Make sure to perform proper maintenance on things like air conditioners and heating systems. Change the filters frequently and clean the units on a regular basis. Anything that causes a device to clog will force it to work harder and use more electricity.

7. Energy Saving Light Bulbs

If you are attempting to conserve energy, you should use energy saving light bulbs. Fluorescent light bulbs and lower wattage bulbs will help to conserve the amount of energy being used.

Remember, every move you make will save you more cents for electricity. Start with these tips and think of additional creative ways to cut electricity costs. You can monitor your progress by checking your electricity bill for the next two to three months. If the new strategy appears to be working for you, continue with it.

Kelsie Larson likes to write about saving money, personal finance & credit score ratings.

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