More from the Stretcher
Black Ant Invasion
The best solution for ants is to sprinkle cinnamon where the ants have their run. Ants hate cinnamon and will avoid it at all cost. Annemarie
editor's note: more suggestions on how to stop an invasion of the black ants
I have noticed that a great deal of furniture designed for the outdoors would work nicely inside, too. Outdoor furniture is often cheaper. Of course, some outdoor furniture is flimsy plastic that is meant to last one season, but some of it is very sturdy metal. I have had a nice wicker chair in my living room for years and it cost much less than an indoor chair would have cost me. Emilie J.
Stop the Money Arguments
We have managed the past two years with three accounts: Ours, His, and Hers. Equal dollar amounts are routinely transferred from "Ours" to "His" and "Hers" for discretionary spending, which includes dining out costs.
Since we made the change, our bank account has savings in it for the first time in a decade, and we still generally get what we want, but certainly there are times when we weigh the choices out more than we would have before. It took me a while to convince my spouse that this was a good idea. We have more control over our habits and spending, and we only consult with each other on "big ticket" items.
You can avoid confrontation and feelings of frustration over money already spent and focus your energies on future decisions instead. KJD
Note from Lucy: There is not one set way to "pay the bills".... Each family has to devise a system that works for them.... When TF and I were first married, we used his paycheck to pay the bills and we divided my paycheck up for grocery money, gasoline and spending money... It worked great for six years until I quit work to become a stay at home mom.... At that time we had to come up with a new plan and as the years have gone by we have fine tuned the plan as we have needed to....
Off to College
When sending kids off to college, don't spend a fortune on all brand new stuff! Do you currently have a spare set of sheets that are the same size as the dorm bed? Send those along instead of buying new ones. Are there mismatched towels that still have lots of life in them? Off to college they go. Odd man out drinking glasses, silverware, etc. make great college equipment.
Much of the gear at college lives a hard life so there's no point in making a large investment in it. Send along hand-me-downs and save the money to spend on things that are more important like textbooks or a laptop.
Plus, my mom joked that after raising a kid to the age that they were off to college, she deserved to have the new towels. Michele
Selecting an Auto Repair Shop How to select one you can trust
(NAPSA) Having a relationship with a reliable repair shop is critical for most car owners. That's why news that a shop is closing, whether due to the owner's retirement or the economy, can be traumatic. If you are trying to find a new shop, here are some tips on how to select one that you can trust, courtesy of the experts at the Car Care Council:
- Does the business provide a written estimate? The business should complete a written estimate and request your signature prior to starting any repairs on your car.
- Does the business offer a warranty? Most auto repair businesses offer a warranty on parts and labor and the warranty is usually in writing or posted in the waiting area.
- Is the shop and customer waiting area clean and organized? Cleanliness and organization are signs of a well-run business.
- Are customers greeted and treated in a friendly and respectful manner? Many auto repair businesses excel in the area of customer service and satisfaction. A simple phone call to the shop to inquire about their services can give you a glimpse of how they treat customers.
- Does the business have its credentials on display, such as membership in the Better Business Bureau (BBB), certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and membership in various trade associations? Credentials and affiliations are indicators of professionalism and the management's commitment to training and education.
- Does the business have a list of satisfied customers or references that it is willing to give you? Satisfied customers and recommendations from family, friends and neighbors are helpful in finding a good shop. Many auto repair facilities also have company Web sites that are worth checking out, as they often include testimonials and additional information about the business.
According to Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council, "Because a vehicle is the second-biggest investment for most car owners, they want it serviced by someone they trust. It makes sense to take the time to select a new auto repair facility that will take the best care of their investment."
The Car Care Council's Web site features a "Find a Shop" locator to help motorists find a repair shop. To learn more or to find a shop using the locator, visit the Web site
Have a great week everyone!