Thursday, June 25, 2009

Money Matters-Feed The Pig!

So you can’t save money? It’s easy as pie! Brown bag your lunch instead of going out. 6 dollars saved times five days a week times ten years is 21,000 bucks!

I just found a really neat website, Feed The Pig that I want to share with you. The site helps people like you and me feed our piggy banks and save money, by understanding where and why we spend it.

Over the past several decades, Americans 25–34 years old experienced significant declines in net worth while increasing their debt. For every dollar worth of assets owned, this group carries 70 cents worth of debt.

The Feed The Pig campaign aims to reverse this trend by empowering younger Americans to take charge of their personal finances by living within their means and saving for long-term financial security.

Statistics demonstrate that this group’s financial behaviors, while less established, tend toward debt accumulation, and this is happening during a period of milestone events such as getting married, having children and caring for aging parents. But there is hope: more working time before retirement means that their current financial decisions have a greater impact (positive or negative) on their long-term financial security. With this campaign, AICPA and Ad Council hope to get younger Americans to establish better spending and saving habits.
The campaign draws upon a traditional savings symbol, the piggy bank, to encourage 25-34 year olds to find the benefits of saving for every stage of life.

Feed The Pig has lots of cool features—you can set up your own personality profile and make a savings plan customized to your day-to-day reality. You can project what you will save over time if you sock away up to 5% of your salary. You can get tons of tips, reminders, or even swap ideas with other savers to make Feeding the Pig easier.

Check it out!

Source: &

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Professional and Personal Etiquette Tips

A first impression is essential for professional and personal success. Its often the only opportunity you have to sell yourself to a potential employer or business partner. Here are a few tips to ensure that your first impression is your best impressions:

Appearance- No chewing gum in formal settings, good posture, and positive body language. Always be prepared to look and sound your best.

Business introduction- is based on rank not gender. Person with “higher” position is introduced to person in subordinate position. Only use first name when given permission.

Handshakes- Always give a firm handshake and make eye contact. When meeting a person of celebrity status (politicians, entertainers) you should never offer your hand first.

Attending meetings- Be punctual, well briefed on subject matter. You may not leave until senior executive has left a meeting or event. When traveling with other professionals always remember the LIFO (last-in, first-out) rule. The senior person enters the car last so they will be the first to exit.

Interviews- Dress to impress, smile, make eye contact, be on time, and do research on would-be employer.

Invited to an event- Respond. RSVP is a French term which means, please reply.

Business cards- When exchanging cards, its polite to look at the receiving business card and make comment to show acknowledgement.

Professional Etiquette when Dining

Knowing proper table manners is extremely important for job interviews and social occasions that you attend with a supervisor, client, or business associate. Knowledge of proper dining etiquette will help you avoid embarrassment and the possibility of offending someone. Here are some general tips for professional manners when dining:

Being Seated
Men precede women to the table.
Remain standing until the host or hostess has been seated.
When being seated, enter your chair from the left and rise from the right.

Napkins are place in your lap when seated; large napkins are folded in half with crease toward you and small napkin is completely unfolded.
If you leave the table, place napkin in chair
At the end of meal, place napkin to the left of your place setting, NEVER on your plate.

Table Setting
At fancy restaurants you may be presented with an array of silverware. As a rule-of- thumb, always use your utensils outside-in.

Wine Ritual & Beverages
Traditionally speaking, red wine is served with red meat and white wine with white meats.
If you are with a host/hostess who orders wine, it is proper for him/her to sample a small amount of wine, and either approve or disapprove of the wine. If approved, the waiter/waitress will then pour wine for the remainder of guest at the table.

Initial presentation- Take a quick glance to ensure it’s the wine that you ordered, simply look at name and vintage and nod.

Cork presentation- Waiter will hand you the cork to examine (improperly stored wines will allow the cork to dry out, resulting in an air-breach will cause the wine to turn to vinegar). Do a quick sniff and hand it back.

The sip test- At this point the waiter will place a small tasting amount o wine in wine glass and step back. Simply swirl the wine in your mouth to release its natural aroma and stick your nose into glass while inhaling deeply. Next, take a small sip, swishing wine evenly across your tongue. Then turn to waiter and nod for approval.

Grasp glasses by the stem, using thumb and first two fingers.
Coffee is consider an after dinner drink

Sit up straight
Don’t talk with food in your mouth
Don’t place elbows on table
Pass to the right.
Don’t automatically salt and pepper food. Take a small taste and then season.
Wait until all are served before eating
Eat in small bites slowly
When finish place utensils across the plate

Tips on Tipping!
Maitre d’- $5 for seating two (doubles for 5-star restaurants)
Waiter/waitress-15-20% of bill
Wine Steward-10% of wine bill
Bartender-15% of bill
Hat/Coat Check- $1 per coat
Door attendant-$1-2 for cabs
Parking Valet-$1-2 per use.

Source: University of Wisconsin-River Falls Career Services

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lemon-pepper nonsense

One day, I was watching “Divorce Court” and a lady was complaining about her husband because she felt they were too different. One complaint that stood out in my mind was the way he cooked his eggs. She was upset because he liked to season his scrambled eggs with lemon-pepper. Anyone with sense knows that divorcing someone because of the way they cook makes no sense at all. Yet, so many people divorce because of irreconcilable differences.

A lot of us go into relationships with unrealistic expectations. This happens in friendships as well as marriages. People fail to realize that if you want someone to change it begins with you. Have you ever heard of leading by example? If you want to see improvements in your relationships try looking in the mirror first. You might be the main one who needs to change. You know who I’m talking about-the loud talking woman; the man who has to be in control of everything. Now, I’m not ignorant to the fact that there are special cases where the other person really does need to change. In many cases, these tend to be abusive relationships. That’s another blog for another day.

None of us are perfect, but what makes relationships last is when we try to be better people and are willing to accept that we are different. Here’s something to think about: Who are you trying to change? What could you change about yourself? If you are willing to take an honest, unadulterated look at yourself, you may be surprised at what you find.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's Hurricane Season; Be Prepared!

June 1st marks the first day of hurricane season. Officials from the National Hurricane Center urges you to take action and start getting prepared.

Below is a list of ways for you to be ready for this hurricane season:

Have a family disaster plan:

- Locate the safest areas in your house or community for each hurricane hazard
- Draw out an evacuation route
- Have an out-of-state Friend as a family contact so your family members have a single point of contact
- Have a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate
- Post emergency numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911
- Check your homeowners insurance to see what damages are covered
- Stock up on non-perishable emergency supplies and disaster supply kit-
Use a NOAA weather radio for weather updates (remember to replace the batteries every 6 months so it will work during an emergency)

Create a disaster supply kit:

- Water- at least one gallon daily per person for three to seven days
- Food

- at least enough for three to seven days
o Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juice or Food for infants or the elderly
o Non-electric can opener
o Fuel
- Blankets and pillows
- Clothing- Seasonal, rain gear, and sturdy shoes
- First aid kit, medicines, and prescription drugs
- Flashlight and batteries
- Radio
- Cash and credit cards- Banks and ATM’s may not be available
- Toys, books, games
- Important documents in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag (Insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, social security card, etc)
- Pet care items- proper identification, immunization records, medications, food and water, carrier, muzzle and leash

Secure your home:

- Secure gabled roofs- if you have a gabled roof, fasten eight-foot long braces to the bottom chord of the gable truss and the adjacent trusses with 16-penny nails. The braces should be perpendicular to the truss, spaced at a maximum of four feet on center. In addition, be sure to tie back the gable truss with at least one eight-foot long brace, along the ridge of the roof, to several of the interior trusses.
- To increase the wind resistance of your shingles, have a qualified person inspect several shingle tabs to see if the adhesive has engaged. If not, use a quick-setting asphalt cement to bond them together. To cement the shingle tabs to the underlying shingles, place two spots of quick-setting asphalt cement about the size of a quarter under each tab with a putty knife or caulking gun. Press the tab into the adhesive. Be sure to cement all the tabs throughout the roof, being careful not to bend them farther than necessary when applying the adhesive. Replace any damaged shingles immediately.
- Install impact resistance shutters over all large windows and glass doors

Info provided by NOAA
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