Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Check Scams

Tips on protecting yourself from check scams

(NAPSA) No one can ever really afford to lose money. But that's exactly what will happen if you fall for a fake check scam. Here's how it works. Someone sends you a genuine-looking check and asks you to wire a portion of the money somewhere. For instance, it may be to pay taxes on a sweepstakes you supposedly won.

You deposit the check, withdraw the money and wire it as instructed. Then you learn that the check is counterfeit. Now the crook has the money and you owe it back to your bank or credit union. The average loss is $3,000 to $4,000.

If you think you can't be fooled, think again. Fake check scams take many forms. Sometimes people are told that they have been selected for a "grant" from the government or a foundation. Another popular variation of the scam involves
earning money as a "mystery shopper" or an "account manager" for a company.

People selling items online are also targeted. Susan Grant, director of Consumer Protection at the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), cautioned that people who are experiencing financial problems are especially vulnerable to
promises of "sudden riches" or easy ways to make money.

According to a survey conducted for CFA, a majority of adults in the U.S. incorrectly believe that when they deposit a check, their bank or credit union confirms that it's good before allowing them to withdraw the money. "They can't tell
that these checks are phony," said Ms. Grant. "They trust their customers to know the sources of the checks they deposit. If the checks bounce, the customers will be held responsible." Consumers are also liable if they cash fake checks at check cashing services or stores.

You can learn more at www.fakechecks.org . There, you can take a quiz, get answers to frequently asked questions, watch videos and send an e-card to warn others about these scams.

Remember, there is no legitimate reason why anyone who wants to give you money would ever ask you to send money anywhere in return.

Note from Lucy:
There are a lot of people out of work right now and things like this scam look good to them... Please take heed and don't fall for it... About nine years ago, my sister fell for something close to this. She got a letter in the mail that said that she won some money and she needed to send them a certain amount of money to cover taxes on the win...She showed me the letter, I said "Don't Do It"... Her husband had died the year before and she needed some money, without my knowledge, she did it anyway.....She sent her last $ 1,500.00 and it was gone in a flash... It took her three months before she could tell me what she had done.... I think she learned her lesson, or at least, I hope she did.....

Have a safe and happy fourth of July, everyone! Pray for our country.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Notes from the Dollar Stretcher

Need Moving Boxes?

When you are planning a move, check with the local moving company for boxes. Often, they will give previously used boxes to you free of charge. They have to dispose of them somehow and often will give them to you. LaVonne

Handy, Neat Ice Tricks

Rather than filling up an ice chest or cooler with ice and either emptying my freezer's ice tray, or having to buy bags of ice, I have some various sized plastic drink bottles that I fill with water (about 75-90% full) and freeze the night
before. I use those to pack the cooler. Once I pack the remaining items, I sometimes use ice cubes just to fill in some holes. These larger ice "cubes" in the frozen bottles stay frozen longer than the little ones, and when they do thaw, you've got ice cold water to drink and no mess to worry about.

This trick is handy for amusement parks or other outings as well; when traipsing around an amusement park or going on a boat ride, we bring some ice bottles, either in a small cooler or loose. It doesn't take long for the ice to thaw a little bit, and once you drink what's melted, you can refill it with water from a fountain and keep using that same large "ice cube" all day for refreshing ice water. Odds are that the bottle will have condensation on it as it thaws, so be aware of that. If we're carrying the bottle in a pack, we rubber-band a washcloth around it to absorb the condensation. Tony C. in NC

Protect Your Package

I discovered the use of egg cartons for cushioning breakables when mailing. SLC

Super Fabric Softener Stretcher

I have come up with a formula for making my fabric softener last three times as long, and my clothes are softer than with the fabric softener alone. I buy a large bottle of softener. Then I pour two cups of softener, two cups of white vinegar,
and two cups of water into a smaller container. I shake this mixture well and then use it just as I would the full strength softener.

My clothes are soft, and the towels are fluffier than with full strength softener. My daughter is now using this formula for her clothes too, and loves it for her kids' clothes. Donna R. in Nokomis, FL

Note from Lucy:
This has been an unusual Spring and Summer here in Texas... We had a nice cool spring, so cool that we couldn't get our garden in the ground till May 1st.... Then we had about a week of warmer weather and them bam.... Hot and no rain for over a month....When I say no rain, I mean NO rain, not a drop... I notice on the radar that most of the rain in up in the rockies and out in the northeast...This is weird! We are already starting to get tropical activity down in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, I noticed that the water temps are already around 84 degrees.... The word is HOT! I hope you are doing well where ever you live.. Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You could have heard a pin drop!

Thanks Richard Sutton for these interesting stories...

When in England, at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the
Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.

He answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.'

You could have heard a pin drop.


There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?'

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can20treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several
thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight
deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'

You could have heard a pin drop.


A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception,
he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries.

Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied 'Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'

You could have heard a pin drop.



Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

'Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.'

The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.'

'Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!'

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, 'Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchman to show a passport to.'

You could have heard a pin drop.

Note From Lucy: Well, today is Father's Day and I want to wish all the Fathers out there a Happy Fathers Day.... My dad died 9 years ago and I miss him still so much... He was a good dad, a good provider and he loved his kids... He could be stern in his ways but he was gentle in how he scolded us when we needed it... He loved us unconditionally... I miss you, Dad...

Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More tips from the Dollar Stretcher

Those "Free" Vacations

A huge way people get taken advantage of in travel scams is to get a free vacation to visit a potential vacation investment. People are wary of the hard sell tactics used by these hucksters.

What they frequently don't realize is that the "free" air travel and three-night stay will result in a Form MISC-1099 to the IRS for the full value of the air fare (not discounted)and hotel stay that will create a large federal and possible state income tax liability. I have had clients owe taxes in excess of what they would have paid out-of-pocket for a nice vacation if they had shopped for bargain fares themselves and not had to waste a vacation day listening to the hard sell of condo investors and time-share sellers. Arlene C., CPA

We Don't Need Gas This Summer

To save a little money when every dollar counts, I called my gas company and asked if they charged for turning off the gas and turning it on again. They said that there was not a charge. We only use gas for the furnace and the pilot light is electric. They were charging me every month for not using any gas but for the line, taxes and such to the amount of over $20 per month. I now have them shut off the gas on the first of May and turn on when needed in the fall. Be sure to check with your gas company about the charges. Jean H.

Reviving Veggies

I have always cut my celery stocks into chunks and plunged those into cold water in the fridge to get the celery to stiffen back to its original state after becoming limp. I wondered if I could do something similar to revive some lettuce that I had. My romaine lettuce had become terribly wilted, but not brown on the edge of the leaves. I tore the wilted leaves from the rest of the "stalk" and stood them with the torn/cut ends in a glass of water in the door of the fridge for a day. The water was about two to three inches deep in the glass. I was shocked and pleased to see that the wilted leaves came back to their original crispy fresh state. I have even resurrected the same lettuce leaves more than once with this method. I hate to waste food and I'm not fond of wilted lettuce leaves in salad so this was a delight to discover. Not only did I not waste the food (and money I spent on it), but I also could enjoy it more in its revived state. Dawn F. in Spokane, Washington

Doggie Digging Up Flowers

My dog kept digging in my flowerbed next to my house. A friend of mine told me to put chicken wire over weed prevention covering and secure it with stakes or rocks. My dog could not dig in my flowerbed anymore. This also works on stray dogs or cats that get into your flowerbeds. Velma

Little Luxuries: My Front Porch

Here's one of my little luxuries. With the warm weather here in Kentucky, I make a pitcher of lemonade from scratch, use a crystal pitcher from a yard sale, and kick back on my front porch.

1 cup sugar
5 cups cold water
1 cup lemon juice

Dissolve sugar in lemon juice and half of the water. When fully dissolved, add rest of water. For extra flare, serve over crushed ice with a slice of lemon. Makes 6 1/2 cups

As a kid, I remember visiting the elderly ladies in my neighborhood and sitting on their front porches with them as they enjoyed fresh lemonade. It was always a special thing to savor the sweet and sour in the heat of summer.

A friend balked at the price of my little treat as the cost of lemons is roughly $10 for three gallons of lemonade. It's true that it may be high but an easy cheat is using bottled lemon juice from the store, which is about $3 a bottle. Either way, sometimes when life is tough, lemonade is the answer. Sarah in KY

Note from Lucy: Making homemade lemonade is probably the way to go.... I noticed that the lemonade from the grocery store has High Fructose Corn syrup in it.... Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Red Cross Water Safety........

Summer Water Safety Guide
A recent Red Cross survey shows that almost half the adults surveyed on water safety say they've had an experience where they nearly drowned. It is important to follow the basics of water safety, maintain constant supervision of children and to get trained. This safety guide also contains a discount coupon for the Red Cross store.
Download the PDF...

Would You Know What to Do?

Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime. In an aquatic emergency, every second counts. Survival depends on quick rescue and immediate care.
Download the PDF...

It Only Takes a Moment

Anyone watching children who are in, on or around water must understand that drowning happens quickly and suddenly. Any source of water is a potential drowning hazard, especially for young children and weak swimmers.
Download the PDF...

Is Your Pool Safe?
Home swimming pools offer years of fun and activity for families. They also can be a significant threat to young children—those living in the home or in the surrounding neighborhood.
Download the PDF...

Where Is It Safe to Swim?

Swimming in lakes, rivers and oceans can be safe and fun at a designated swimming area that is protected by lifeguards. However, if these elements are not in place, always assume that any natural body of water is too dangerous for swimming.
Download the PFF...

Your Home Doesn’t Come with a Lifeguard

Staying safe around water is more than staying near the lifeguard at the pool. Every year many children drown in residential swimming pools, bath tubs, buckets of water and other containers of water. Anywhere there is water there is risk for drowning. Do not leave a young child unattended near any source of water, not even for a moment.
Download the PDF...

Life Jackets Aren’t Just for Boats

But, they only work when they are worn. Young children and weak swimmers should wear life jackets whenever they are in, on or around the water, even at a pool or a waterpark. Put it on at the dock, deck or shore and don’t take it off until you are on dry land.
Download the PDF...

Note from Lucy: I would suggest that you print out all of the downloads and put them in a binder and use these materials to educate your family on water safety...I have grandkids and I constantly worry about them swimming in their pool..... Have a safe summer everyone!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Meridian Magazine :: Gardening: SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

Meridian Magazine :: Gardening: SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

Shared via AddThis

I hope you all enjoy this article...In the last years of my dads life, he did square foot gardening and he loved it. Our tomato garden is basically above the ground and it is doing great.

Have a great weekend everyone.