Category Archives: Save

Enjoying a Responsible Gaming Environment

I am not a gambler, nor do I advocate gambling. I am a realist and I understand that so many adults enjoy not just gambling but gaming and other activities.

I watched the movie Runner, Runner (it was a free rental at our resort in Hawaii), that shared a story about a grad student that pays for school with on-line gambling, bottoms out and travels to Costa Rica to confront the on-line mastermind, Ivan, whom he believes has swindled him. I won’t spoil the movie but it showed how easy it was to manipulate the gaming and casino world.

Online casino has really broadened the gambling world and made it a lot more accessible for beginners and novices. Due to all of the many casino games available on all the different devices,
more and more people are enjoying online casino as a hobby.

It’s very easy to access online casinos. As well as all of the software that you can download, you can log onto any website online from PC’s laptops and smart phones and use online casino’s not only for real money, but also demo games for free.

Make sure you are not gambling money that you cannot afford to lose – like any fixed expense like your mortgage or any loans.

Having a set budget is a very important thing to have before you start with online casino. Working out a budget involves figuring out how much you can comfortably spend on gambling without
getting into trouble and then dividing it between all the days of the week that you want to play depending how many times a week you want to play. Once you have that organised, you don’t need
to worry and can continue gambling it and really enjoying, and stopping when you hit your budget limit.

Choosing the best online casino for you from the hundreds on offer can be difficult too. It’s worth spending a little time on research. One of the well- known casinos is Lucky Nugget providing the most popular casino games out there. There will be plenty of reviews online of the best casinos to use and which ones offer the best genuine incentives and bonuses. Once you have chosen it’s a good idea to have a look at the house rules and make sure you are familiar with them.

As well as working out a budget, you should work out how much time you want to spend on your hobby too. All hobbies have their place in your life but in order to keep enjoying it as a game it’s a
good idea to not let it spill into other areas of your life by taking up too much time.

I always want to make sure that you are not gambling away your time with your loved ones as well – it is important to realize that gambling comes with a cost.

Canadians to be affected by government financial changes as of April 2016

Federal payments by direct deposit are coming your way!

When you consider that it costs approximately 83 cents for the federal government to issue payments by cheque and around 11 cents for direct deposit, you can understand the Government’s decision to eliminate cheques (except in exceptional circumstances) as of April 1, 2016. After that date, all payments made by the federal government including Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, GST/HST payments and Tax refunds to name a few will be made by direct deposit.

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The majority of Canadians have already enrolled for direct deposit. If you’re one of a dwindling minority who hasn’t done so yet, here’s some information that may help you get onboard.

How direct deposit works

With direct deposit, you designate a bank account and authorize the deposit of specific payments directly into that account. Your privacy is assured and your funds will be electronically transferred directly into your account – its secure and reliable.

How to enroll for direct deposit

You can get the forms online but you don’t need a computer or access to the Internet. You’ll find the forms at your local Service Canada Centre and at your financial institution. The latter will even help you fill it out. If all of your cheques are to be deposited in one bank account, you only need to fill out one form that takes just minutes to complete. Once you’ve enroled, you can track all deposits made to your account and continue your bill-paying by going to the bank if you like as well as all your other banking routines.

There are lots of reasons to like it – Benefits of direct deposit

Direct deposit is:

Fast. The money is guaranteed to be in your bank account on time. That’s especially important if you have arranged automatic withdrawals to pay rent, property taxes, hydro, etc.

Secure. There’s no risk of your payment being delayed, misplaced, lost, stolen, or damaged.

Convenient. The money is in your account when needed even if you’re away from home on a holiday or unable – for any reason – to get to the bank right away.

A timesaver. There’s no need to adjust your schedule (picking up the kids, attending classes, visiting the doctor, etc.) to accommodate banking hours and there’s no need to wait in line for a teller or ATM either.

Easily Managed. If you receive more than two or more payments, for example the Universal Child Care benefit and EI, they can be deposited in one account or in different ones – even at different banks.

Designed to save taxpayers money. The government estimates that direct deposit will save taxpayers about $17 million each year.

More information is available

Visit your bank or other financial institution or call toll free 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232). You can also find more information, including a short informative video, at Public Works and Government Services Canada’s website: www.directdeposit.gc.ca

Income Protection Insurance: A Smart Move for Everybody

With the recent trends in economic activities, financial uncertainties have become one of the predominant concerns of most people. Whether you are a single, a breadwinner or one who has a family on his own, it is always a smart move to ensure alternative source of income or financial insurance in case of inevitable emergencies that may come across in everyday lives.

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There are bunch of circumstances that may threaten your financial stability, that is why acquiring for your personal income protection would really be a smart and practical decision.
The Deal about Income Protection

Even though financial recession has become a rampant issue to most countries, not all people are aware about the existence and benefits of such insurance. To give a quick glance on what this insurance is for, here’s what you have to know about it.

Also known as Salary Continuance Insurance, Income Protection Insurance specifically holds a policy that ensures policyholders an assured fixed amount of money, which can be either weekly or monthly, if they are unable to work due to uncontrollable situations including illnesses and accidents. This can provide holder up to 75% of gross annual income in the event that the holder is unable to acquire his or her salary from his or her job because of the noted scenarios.

A good and beneficial income protection usually has a policy that allows pay out after 30 days the holder is unable to work and will continue to provide pay out until the insurance holder is able to return to his or her job or until he or she reaches his retirement age, which is commonly at 65 years old.

Noted Advantages of Acquiring Income Protection
Since surely you’d be interested about the perks of having such insurance, here are some of the undeniable benefits you could have just by availing the most quality of it.
The foremost significant edge of this is the financial security. Since you wouldn’t specifically know when a dilemma or trouble would strike, it is a peace of mind knowing that you have something to rely on when it inevitably strikes. In this way, you could still go on with your day-to-day needs, especially if you have a family to support.

Paying bills, education and other necessities wouldn’t be that much of a fuss if you have this insurance as it will support you until you get back to your feet again.

Aside from these basic things, an income protection also offers other add-on such as death benefits, health and even surgery if you wish to include it. The catch here, hence, is the trick of searching for the best one since many offerings can be found online.

You should also know that insurance companies do not have the authority to refuse or cancel out your renewal to such policy provided that you are also guaranteed to pay the insurance premium fees continuously. So if you want to get that worry and anxiety out of your mind when dealing with job and financial issues, better start that smart move of acquiring Income Protection Insurance.

Studiotax 2013 Free Now Available for Download

StudioTax 2013 is the next version to prepare and file the 2013 (due by April 30, 2014) federal and provincial income tax returns including Quebec provincial returns.
StudioTax is FREE regardless of income
The CRA and Revenue Quebec certified 2012 version is available for download
StudioTax 2012 and prior versions are only available for Microsoft Windows operating systems.

As always, StudioTax is made available FREE for personal use and regardless of level of income. NO questions asked, NO registration, NO key, and NO activation.
StudioTax is very secure way to prepare and file your return. StudioTax is a Windows program (not a Web site) that installs on your computer’s local hard drive, saves your returns on your computer’s local hard drive, and absolutely NO information, personal or otherwise, leaves your computer.

I have used this for over 6 years now! Saved a bundle!

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Unlock the cost saving potential of your mobile

There are people who seem to use their mobile devices for everything. However they may be onto something and if you consider the cost saving capabilities of a smart phone or tablet it may suddenly make a lot more sense why these hand held gadgets are being put to such good use.

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Before you go and buy a PC, TV or gaming console consider tapping in to the cost saving features that most mobile devices already offer.

Switch to Mobile Chat apps

Your smart phone has the capability to run a variety of chat programs that are absolutely free, only utilising bandwidth or data. Stop phoning people and switch to free chat programs, it’s guaranteed to save you money and is ideal for international communication. Hang up that phone and switch to free chat apps to save. A very good chat app currently enjoying over 27 billion messages being sent a day is Whatsapp. This app enables users to not only send text messages that are immediately dispersed at the cost of very little bandwidth, but to also exchange various forms of media such as pictures and videos. Added to all this, Whatsapp also has a voice recording feature that allows you to send voice messages while also using very little bandwidth.

Unlock the cost saving potential of your mobile

You may love gaming, but consoles are expensive. Mobile devices have the capability to download thousands of free and paid-for apps and games from Google Play Store or Apple iTunes. There’s also free entertainment on offer from sites that offer games optimised for mobile devices, you will find android casino sites and iOS compatible gaming in abundance. By switching to mobile you will save on gaming equipment and games. Best of all, you don’t have to be confined to any physical setting to play these games as they are mobile.

Do you really need a PC?

These days, high spec smart phones and tablets have the same hardware as a laptop or PC and can perform the same functions. Before you go and buy a computer make sure the device you already have isn’t already able to meet your requirements. In addition to saving on buying new computer equipment you will also get to enjoy the portability and convenience a mobile device offers.

Discover all-in-one multimedia functionality

You might not yet have realized, but your mobile is basically an all-in-one multimedia device. You can watch TV, stream movies or series or browse the net, as well as send and receive emails and use chat programs. There is no need to buy separate devices for each function when you have a mobile that does it all already. Various smartphone’s also have different specs, so should you still be in the market to buy one, choose one that suits your needs.

Hopefully this article will give you some insight into how you can use your mobile to save money. By utilizing your mobile you can also cut back on costs and expenses in the long run, saving you money that can be put to better use elsewhere.

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Ten Tips for Behaving at Office Parties – Avoiding the Monday Morning Walk Of Shame

After-hours workplace functions provide a great opportunity for you to get to know your coworkers on a more personal level, and socialize freely with them without the burden of work or deadlines looming overhead.

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While these types of parties or gatherings can be a lot of fun, it is imperative that you know how to conduct yourself in a way that isn’t going to reflect poorly on you and potentially be detrimental to your career. Here are ten tips for behaving yourself in these types of situations, having a good time without sacrificing professionalism:

Too Much Alcohol…Or Not Nearly Enough – When it comes to mixing business and pleasure, a cocktail is a time tested social lubricant that can help tightly wound coworkers loosen up and have a good time. Not all office parties include access to adult beverages, but when they do it usually makes the party a lot more interesting – for better or for worse. If someone offers you a drink, (unless you are a recovering alcoholic) accept and allow yourself to unwind; but keep your wits about you and keep track of how many drinks you consume. Don’t be the person who ends up passed out in the conference room with a lampshade on their head. Just because Bill from accounting can put down ten shots of Jameson without a problem, doesn’t mean you should try to keep up with him. Avoid the embarrassing walk of shame when you return to work on Monday by knowing your limits.

Over-Sharing – As the night goes on (especially if the drinks are flowing), the overall feeling of being with your coworkers dissipates and you begin to feel more like you are with old friends. This is great for team bonding and getting to know your coworkers on a more personal level, but getting too personal and forgetting who you are talking to can lead to an extremely uncomfortable situation for everyone, especially you. No one wants to hear about your messy divorce or recently deceased cat at the company Christmas party. Save that noise for your therapist, and focus on keeping the conversation light, lively, and tasteful. Remember – nobody likes a buzz kill.

Choose Your Plus One Wisely – While some after-hours gatherings offer an invitation for you to bring a guest to join in on the office festivities, keep past experiences with your potential plus one candidates in mind when deciding who to invite (if anyone at all). If the girl you are dating is known for having one too many cocktails and loudly stumbling out of the club at 2AM with smeared makeup and a broken Jimmy Choo, chances are you are better off flying solo on this mission. Conversely, if you have a friend or significant other in mind who you know isn’t going to embarrass you in front of the people you spend 40+ hours a week with, inviting them to a work function is a great way to introduce them to your coworkers and can provide you with a fail-safe escape plan if you decide you want to make an early exit.

Have a Game Plan for Getting Home Responsibly – If you plan on drinking, plan on having someone drive you home. Even if you are only a short distance from your house and feel sober enough to drive, you don’t want to make yourself look reckless or irresponsible in front of your boss and/or coworkers. Not only will this make you less likely to be invited out for drinks with your coworkers again, it will make your boss question your ability to make responsible choices in other areas, including your professional life. Have a friend on call to pick you up, or cough up the $40 for a taxi. Not only will this make you look like a responsible employee, it will ensure you get home safely and allow you to partake in the festivities without risking a DUI. It will cost you much less in the end to call a friend or taxi than it would to call a DUI lawyer from a jailhouse payphone following a drunk driving arrest.

Know Who is With Who – Office mixers can provide the opportunity to rub elbows with employees in different departments, or depending on the size of your business, different branches or office locations. If you find yourself single at a gathering like this, be sure you know who is with who to avoid flirting with a coworker’s significant other, or worse, one of their family members. A story that starts out with hitting on a coworkers mother, sister, or daughter never ends well. Play it safe and don’t scout for talent at company organized events.

Evaluate your Outfit Choice, then Reevaluate it a Few More Times – You might look fabulous in that little black dress and six inch stilettos, but you are not here to be the entertainment and don’t want to look like you are…or aspire to be. Reserve the club attire for the club and keep it family friendly at your office gala. At the end of the day this is a work related event, not a Las Vegas bachelorette party.

Paper AND Plastic – Many of us almost never carry cash around anymore, and depend on our credit/debit cards for discretionary purchases. If the social function is being hosted at a bar or restaurant, you won’t be able to quickly settle up on your portion of the bill or tip with a card if you want to slip out early. A healthy dependence on your credit cards is nothing to be ashamed of; but stiffing the boss on a bill definitely is. Hit up the ATM on your way to the function and make sure you break down your $20’s into smaller denominations so you can have exact change if you need it.

Good Manners and Dining Etiquette – If it is a dinner party you are going to be attending, you want to display the best version of yourself and not look like a barbarian at the dinner table. I can’t tell you how much it bothers to me when someone exhibits excessively poor table manners, or does/says something tasteless or uncouth in mixed company that makes me shutter in embarrassment (for them). No one wants a fork biter at their table. Thanks to the internet, there is no excuse for poor manners. If you don’t know which fork to use or how to hold it, look it up. Humble beginnings don’t have to equate to poor etiquette unless you are too lazy to learn.

Participation is a Must – There are many different types of workplace celebrations you will be invited to over the course of your career. Sometimes they may include activities to liven up the party, such as party games, karaoke, secret Santa, etc. Don’t be too cool for school. Participate in the activities that your coworkers have organized, and keep in mind no matter how silly you feel, someone put time and effort into organizing the event. While it may not be your cup of tea, act polite and be a team player. The guy who butchered the Billy Idol song in karaoke Friday night is going to face far less scrutiny among his coworkers around the water cooler on Monday than the guy who didn’t participate at all and spent the whole night texting.

Airplane Mode is your Best Friend – When you are at a work function, chances are you are spending time with at least a few people who’s time is more valuable than yours is. If they are able to put their mobile devices away for a couple hours, you can too. You don’t need to ignore legitimately important calls, texts, or emails; but checking your phone every five minutes is going to make you look like you have better things to do (or at least you think you do). This is one of the biggest pet peeves of pretty much everyone, and should be avoided as much as possible when you are out with your coworkers. Keep in mind you wouldn’t have been invited if people didn’t want to talk to you, so put the bat-phone away for a while and have a real conversation!

BIO – Brandon Honeycutt is writes and coordinates community outreach for the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, a San Diego criminal defense law firm. Brandon moonlights as an aspiring novelist and freelance journalist.

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Don’t Pay Over the Odds for Car Insurance

Owning a car can be an expense pursuit. There are many costs involved aside from the initial outlay of the car itself. To be legally allowed on the road, tax has to be paid either annually or bi-annually, you must have valid insurance and you must pass an MOT test once a year.

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There is also the cost of fuel to consider; as the price of petrol and diesel continues to rise, driving is an increasingly expensive luxury.

When in doubt as to whether they should buy a new car, or what kind of car they can afford, many people choose to view their credit scores online (preview). This will give you an idea of the state of your finances and help you to decide whether the extra expense of vehicle ownership is viable. If you have adverse credit then it might be worth putting off buying a car, or maybe choosing a cheaper or more economical vehicle.

Car insurance prices are variable and this is a great way to cut the cost of running a car. Insurance is largely down to two factors, your own driving history and the vehicle you are insuring. Broadly speaking, the larger the engine, the more expensive the insurance will be, and certain makes of car carry higher premiums.

Insurers take into account how long you have held your licence for, your age, and your claims record. Younger drivers are often better off going to specialist insurers that can offer reduced premiums if certain conditions are met including so called “black boxes” that are fitted in your car. Claims records can be protected so even in the event of an accident you can maintain your no claims discount and pass this between insurers at the end of the term. If you have only been driving a short while, are under 25 year old, or have zero no claims, then it is often a good idea to have another driver on your insurance policy to help lower your annual premium.

Other factors considered by insurance companies include where you live and how you store your car. Insurance premium amendments due to area are not changeable as they are done by postcode but regional insurers may break this down further based on local knowledge. Finding somewhere to park your car at night or during the day while you’re at work that is not on the road will reduce your premiums.

When shopping for insurance be sure to go direct to providers as well as using price comparison sites as there are some that are not included and you may get a cheaper quote. Make sure you are honest when gathering quotes as lying will render your policy invalid. Happy (affordable) motoring.

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How Do I Get Out of Debt?

In spite of the fact that debt is problem for a lot of people in Canada today, getting out of debt is a relatively simple process. Simple does not always mean easy, but if you are willing to be responsible and focused it is possible to completely eliminate your debt.

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Photo Credit: G.R.G.

Try out these steps to help you out of debt.

Get Organized

The first step in your journey to become debt free is to become aware of all of your personal finances. This means collecting all of your bills, credit card and bank statements. Make sure you know exactly what money is coming and going in you bank and household. In some cases, an incomplete knowledge of personal finances can be one of the factors that led to debt in the first place. Knowing your finances will take the ambiguity out of spending. You will know whether or not you can afford all potential purchases.

Create a Spending Log

Spending logs can be very useful, especially when overspending is a problem. A spending log is exactly what it sounds like, a complete list of all the places your money goes and how much. This will allow you to see, empirically, exactly how you spend your money. It will also show you the places you can stand to save some money.

Make a Budget

The next step is to make a budget. This is a brilliant little tool that will act as a roadmap in your financial life. To make one, you need all of the information you would have collected in the first step. You want to look at your month to month costs versus your income. Make sure you can pay all of your monthly bills and payments at the end of each month. If you can’t you should make some adjustment so that you can. For instance, shop for better services, like television or web, if the ones you have are too expensive. Budgets are a great help and they are relatively easy to make.

Keep Those Credit Cards in Line

If credit card debt is your problem then you should limit yourself to one. Cut the rest up immediately. As for the remaining one, put it somewhere it can’t tempt you. Leave it at home when you are going out. Some even suggest that you literally freeze your card to stop you from making impulse purchases. Just make sure you can’t still read the numbers.

Outside Help

If you are in some serious debt and you can’t see a way to dig yourself out, getting help from a professional source may be an option. If this is the route you would like to take I suggest finding a credit counseling site like Consolidated Credit. They might be able to help you make your debt more manageable with advice and planning.

Try out some of these steps to see if they help you begin to eliminate your debt. The most important thing to stay informed and don’t allow yourself to be discouraged. You can dig yourself out if you stay vigilant.

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Do Canadians Need Extra Insurance if They Drive in the U.S.?

You’re taking a trip to the U.S., but you’re not sure if you need extra car insurance coverage. U.S. laws are a bit different from Canadian laws. Fortunately, your insurer likely has you covered.

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While insurance laws do differ between Canada and the U.S., your contract likely contains provisions that allow you to travel over the border safely.

Check Your Insurance Policy

Before you cross the 49th parallel, make sure your policy covers you. Most do, but you want to be absolutely certain of it before leaving the country. If you can’t find the information in your policy contract, call your insurer.

Don’t Bother With Rental Insurance

It’s a common myth that you need to get rental coverage when you rent a vehicle. If you’re not driving your own car into the U.S., you may still be covered under your own personal policy in Canada. Know your current coverages. Again, check your policy contract for details. Usually, your insurance company will provide extended coverage for any rental vehicles that you will be driving.

Also, if you’re paying for a rental with a credit card, check with your car company to see what, if any, extended coverages are offered.

Checking Liability

When traveling into the U.S., you may want to increase your liability coverage. While it’s not imperative, it’s generally a good idea. If you’re in an auto accident, and someone is injured, this money will pay for damages.

Why it’s important: if you’re involved in a car accident while you’re visiting, and your liability isn’t sufficient to pay for damages, the other driver might choose to sue you – especially if the damages are significant. Since you don’t live in the U.S., having to return to the country would be both expensive and a burden. Of course, you could just hope that the person doesn’t spend the money on a lawyer specializing in international law, but that’s not a great way to deal with the issue.

Reassessing Collision Needs

If you don’t have collision coverage, consider getting it for your trip. You’re in a new, unfamiliar area. You may not be familiar with some of the driving laws and restrictions in the U.S. If you are involved in an accident, the last thing you want is for you (and your family) to be stranded because you don’t have a way to repair your vehicle.

Add Loss of Use

Loss of use will pay for a rental vehicle if you’re involved in an accident. This is really helpful if you are going to be driving your own car, but it’s not really necessary if you’re driving a rental for the entire trip.

Last, but definitely not least, know your insurance company’s international toll-free number. If you do need them, you probably don’t want to pay international phone charges just to speak to a claims representative or ask about certain provisions in your policy. A lot of Canadians get so focused on the coverages they need when traveling out of the country that they forget to take an international phone number with them. This is your safety net. Don’t leave home without it.

Gillian Kearney is an insurance consultant that has lived in both Canada and the US. Her articles mainly appear on motoring and insurance websites. Visit www.monkey.co.uk to learn more.

 

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Be Conscious of How You Use Energy

Whether you live alone or have a family, high energy costs can have a major impact on your personal finances. The average household spends a minimum of $1,600 a year on utility bills, according to the Department of Energy.

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Photo Credit: Book’em

But unknown to many, there are simple and practical ways to reduce utility and energy costs by as much as 20% a month. That’s an amazing savings. The money saved can be used for a variety of purposes. Maybe you don’t have a strong financial cushion, or perhaps you need to free up cash for other household bills.

Learn way to conserve energy and you will receive lower, more affordable utility bills.

Here are five easy ways to cut your energy consumption and save money:

1. Close doors and windows. Keeping your doors and windows closed tightly during the hot summer months will keep heat out and cool air in. This can be challenging if you have children, as they’re prone to leave doors wide open.

Additionally, regularly check your doors and windows for cracks or spaces. Replacing old or worn doors and windows helps with your home’s insulation. If this isn’t doable at the present time, seal cracks in your windows. Replacing doors and windows is an initial expense, but the purchase can result in a tax credit.

2. Check your HVAC unit. Some people don’t think about their air conditioning and heating unit until it’s not working properly. However, yearly maintenance can have a tremendous impact on your utility costs. A tune-up ensures that your unit is working properly, and with your unit functioning properly, you’ll save on energy.

3. Compare rates. There is probably more than one energy or gas provider in your local area. If you have options, contact different companies and request a rate quote. For example, if you live in an area with deregulated energy markets, such as Ohio (www.ohiogascompanies.com) you can compare rates on both gas and electricity.

4. Put your computer in sleep mode. By habit, you may walk away from the computer and let the screen saver kick on. But if you want to use less energy, put the computer in sleep mode or simply turn off the computer.

5. Use a power strip. If you have multiple electrical devices in one room, use a power strip instead of plugging items directly into the socket. Once you’re finished using these electrical devices, turn off the power strip. This approach saves energy and can significantly reduce your electricity bill.

6. Check for water leaks. Don’t ignore a high water bill. This can indicate a leak somewhere in your home. Examine your water heater, look under cabinets for water and check your toilets for leaks. Finding a water leak early can reduce your utility bill and lower your risk of mold.

Stop paying high utility bills and practice simple ways to conserve energy. Tough economic times call for creative measures, and modifying your energy consumption doesn’t require a major lifestyle change. Be conscious of how you use energy and you will save money.