Vacation Rental Budget Strategy

The larger a family gets the more difficult it can be to get away for a vacation, and to stay within the budget. Sometimes a vacation budget can be met if a shorter trip is planned. In my book it's better to at least get away for a short trip then not at all. Here's one of my own budgeting tips for travel that might help you stay within your budget for a short trip.

Vacation rentals are great and one of our favorite ways to get away in addition to bed and breakfast inns. As with everything else these days vacation rentals can be quite expensive and especially if it's in a popular vacation spot, which most of course are! With realestate prices it's always location, location, location that drives the prices up whether you're buying or in this case, renting. So, how can you cut the cost down for a vacation rental? It's actually quite easy, and this trick has worked for my husband and I multiple times. In fact we just applied this trick again this summer!

When you locate the vacation rental of your dreams, take a look at the availability calendar for the specific rental, and consider the rates and how it will fit into your budget. While investigating the rates you will see where it states if the rental has a specific minimum rental period, or minimum number of nights to rent it. Many of them specify at least a two night stay, but what if you can't afford that rental for two nights? The answer to that one is easy! Look closely at their calendar and look for the vacant one-nighters that were not booked up between!

For example, several years ago we rented a luxury condominium on the coast of Oregon at Depoe Bay for one night. Normally they had a two night minimum, but I found one stray night that was available. As it was then, they normally are more than happy to fill one stray night to keep the rental booked each day of the month. It was a win win for them and for us! It worked out great for us because two nights at that place would have been too expensive for our budget, but one night was workable.

Now in that particular case we did have it within our budget to rent a second place, but it would have required that it be less expensive. We lucked out with locating yet another stray one-night for a second vacation rental within half a mile of the first! There again they were more than happy to book up the one stray night.

In July we utilized that same strategy. We were able to book a vacation rental beach cabin within our budget by locating a stray night they had not been filled. Again their requirement was normally for a two night minimum, but in that they had the one stray night it was good for them, and good for us!

One last point in regards to using that technique. If you want to rent a specific place, but are not quite sure if you will like the rental, locating a stray night on their availability calendar gives you an opportunity to test drive the place for just one night without committing to two or more!

The basic rule of thumb here applies if they have a stray night available, so be sure to ask about renting the vacation destination of your dreams for less than their normal minimum. Most likely they'll be more than happy to rent it out to you, but they'll also perhaps want you to keep that strategy a secret!

That my friends is also why I'm not revealing where those vacation rentals are that have made exceptions to the rule - lol. If I did that then those stray nights on their calendars might not be available any longer, if I had to compete with all of the rest of you on the blogosphere to rent it - lol!

The last point to keep in mind is the closer you are to the date you need a rental, the more likely you'll be able to apply that strategy. So, if you are planning your vacation a year ahead you may not find as many possible stray one-nighters to rent. It is of course not as fun to stay anywhere for only one night, but if it's your only opportunity to get away, it's better than not getting a vacation at all!

© August 2007 Author: Tammara Nelson
Copying, Publishing, or Re-Creating Article is Prohibited and a Violation of Copyright Laws

Losing Your Memory and Mind

Everyday, millions are affected by debilitating disease. For some it comes in the form of losing their mobility, but for those burdened with Alzheimer's disease they can also lose their memory and mental capacity.

Slowly the victim of Alzheimer's is gripped with the disease and may not even realize what's occurring until their family or friends notice there is something amiss. Familiar faces, names and places become a thing of the past, and an unreachable memory within the brain. Sadly, the condition deteriorates the well-being of the individual, and some victims of Alzheimer's must be locked up within a facility to protect them from wandering off and being lost.

For several years I worked for a funeral home with families and spouses to help them plan the final arrangements for their loved ones. Some days it was quite difficult to deal with the emotional toll Alzheimer's leaves the victim and their families to deal with. It was a very common illness many of my clients loved ones were faced with.

Emotionally it is very difficult for the family members and friends involved because they begin to grieve the loss of their loved one, sometime many years before they actually pass. This is due to the loss of their mental capacity and freedom. Mentally their gone before their body has given up.

One woman I worked with was the sole care-giver for her husband suffering from Alzheimer's. She was experiencing such guilt due to the fact that she finally had to place her husband in a facility to keep him confined. Otherwise he would get up in the middle of the night and collapse on the floor, or if he made it far enough he would wander outside. She had no other choice but to institutionalize him.

For many years there was not much information or understanding about the disease, but now more programs are available to address the illness and to provide support to the families. Memory Walk is an organization which provides fund raising for Alzheimer's. If you have a loved one affected by Alzheimer's, then this is for you!

The Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research. Memory Walk holds annual walks in communities across the US, and since 1989 they have raised over $225 million. The event needs volunteers of all ages, to help fight against the debilitating disease.

Memory Walk needs team captains immediately! Each Team Captain needs to sign up early to assist in recruiting a team and with raising funds for the national cause. For my area, there's a Memory Walk being held September 9, 2007 at Sand Point Magnuson Park, Seattle. Here's a link to locate the Memory Walk in your area and to sign up as a team Captain.

Fair Tax Reform to Eliminate the IRS

Would you like to be the center of attention in a room full of people? Simple to do really. All you need to do is bring up the topic of taxes, and you will get everyones emotions stirred.

Tax reform has been a topic for sometime, but there really is something we all can do about it. Speak your mind, and sign the petition for fair tax reform! Yes, I'm an optimist, so those of you who are pessimists may be figuring that they will just come up with another type of tax or increase other taxes to make up for it. Perhaps you are correct, but does any of this intrigue you?

Fair tax reform will do the following (but this list is not all inclusive):

Stops the export of American jobs!

Capital Gains Tax - GONE!

Every American can keep their entire paycheck!

All federal income taxes — GONE!

All existing and future savings and investments would be tax free!

Those are not the only reasons, and it's well worth the time to simply sign a petition and let your voice be heard at Fairtax.org.

Monster.com Records Hacked

Like many others, in the past I've searched various job market websites for employment positions. What I've never done though was enter my resume online unless it was directly to a prospective employer, and only after I thoroughly did my homework to determine the safety by doing so and the legitimacy of the prospective employer.

If you're serious about obtaining employment my viewpoint is that most employers are not going to come looking for you, as they anticipate that you will be looking for them. Too many people become a target to illegal activity and bogus opportunities by placing their resumes on job boards such as Monster.com.

Now for the real monster! A trojan horse cracked into their website, and accessed millions of records from individuals who had uploaded their resumes online! I have to also wonder how many of the individuals who had their records stolen also had provided their social security numbers.

Online data is being compromised every day, and I encourage you to supply as few sites as possible with your information, and when you do be sure to provide as little information as possible. Do your homework prior to submitting any data to an entity, and especially if it means providing your social security number and birth date.

Treatment for Your Teen

If a teenager were in the need to heal from drug or substance abuse a teen rehab location near the ocean may be just what the doctor ordered. With a holistic approach, Echo Malibu provides a Teen Rehab service in a beautiful setting.

Echo Malibu also provides services for alcohol addiction, mental health, and behavioral health issues as well. Located between the ocean and the mountains, it may provide a peaceful setting for your teen to rediscover who they really are meant to be; healthy, and without the need of drugs or alcohol. Help them rediscover themselves.

Stupid Dumb Criminal Fooled by the Exit

Human nature teaches us that when we are under stress we often don't make the best decisions. This stupid dumb criminal proved he wasn't able to think very fast on his feet.

With his own stress as his only partner, this bank robber didn't know how to react to what was about to occur, plus he lost his common sense for even knowing how to exit the building. Hmm, dude -- you might want to learn how a door works before you try something so crazy!

Medical ID Bracelets to Protect Your Health

If you were in an accident or a victim of a crime, or seriously ill you may be unable to provide important details about your medical history. You may also not have a loved one arrive at the hospital soon enough to assist the medical team with your medical history, so you would need a way to have that accomplished for you.

Medical Alert ID bracelets and jewelry is a source to provide you with protection if you are faced with the inability to communicate vital medical information to doctors. It's an inexpensive way to possibly save your life!

Debt and Living Within Your Means

As you know, debt just doesn't go away over night. It takes a long time to dramatically reduce debt if there is limited resources to pay it down quickly. We live in a push-button society where we want instant gratification, which easily leads to accumulating too much debt. Limited resources, and living beyond the available resources is the main reason why many end up over their head.

Debt has become a rising concern in our country and I don't believe many people take the potential consequences of debt seriously enough. Many Americans are working additional jobs beyond their full time positions to reduce their debt. Will the vicious cycle of acquiring more debt ever stop?

One way to not acquire too much debt is to never take on more than what one income within your household can handle, that is if you are living on two incomes. That way if things get out of hand the other spouse can take on work to eliminate the debt. That of course is not always possible so be cautious, and if you're single it obviously is not a strategy that you can apply.

The other downside to debt accumulation is that the more we borrow, the less we are able to acquire loans or credit at sensible rates. Many people are also using much of their equity to rid themselves of short-term debt, which destroys the potential nest egg we can accumulate from equity in our homes. Debt consolidation is therefore not always the best solution.

The worst case scenario for using ones home equity is taking on a larger mortgage than one can handle and finding themselves in a position facing foreclosure. The realestate market is now demonstrating the results from that occurring due to people who took on low rate mortgages, which were adjustable rate mortgages. Now that rates are going higher they find themselves with a mortgage too high to handle.

Take charge of your debt by charging less to begin with and set a goal to work your way out of it. By living within your means you may not have the most toys, but you'll sleep better at night then your neighbor who may be financially strapped. If you're serious about reducing your debts, start with some tips for reducing your debts.

Rehabilitation for Teens

There is a great deal of negative influence over our youth today from the media. It's unfortunate that many of the people that our youth look up to are addicted to drugs or alcohol and therefore serve as terrible examples.

All throughout our nation adolescence is lost in a sea of drugs, alcohol and substance abuse. The need for adolescent drug rehab is probably going to be on the increase as teens become deceived by high-profile figures luring them into a lifestyle of drugs.

If you live in or near Southern California, and need to seek a teen drug rehab center, I encourage you to not waste time. Teensavers provides a 12 step inpatient program with proven long-term success. The sooner you get your teen help, the better.

Just this week my husband and I met with a friend who is now in his fifties and he's a recovering heroin addict. Unfortunately for him the addiction began after being on prescription pain killers for a health problem, and as they say, "one thing leads to another". He now suffers from chronic hepatitis C and his future is not too bright.

It seems that when we're teens we of course think we will live forever and we are in denial about the possibility of having our lives destroyed by drug or alcohol abuse. We've seen our friend go from being a productive individual in our society to a homeless person out on the streets after losing his home, marriage, lively-hood and everything he had worked for up to that point.

Drug abuse is an ugly existence and I pray that if your teen is involved in drug or alcohol abuse that you can get them into a program for recovery! If you do not know how to approach them and fear you may scare them away, you may also want to seek professional intervention. Professional intervention counselors may be able to communicate a message to your teenager that you may not be able to. Ignoring their problem won't bring a resolution, but assistance will. Even if they don't want help, with intervention you can get them into a facility and healed.

Identity Theft Thieves Locked Out

It's time once again to lock out the potential identity theft thieves! You may have put many strategies in place to eliminate or reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. Have you locked the thieves out from obtaining your mail?

Mailboxes are no longer considered to be sacred territory, as identity theft thieves have no respect for the law, so it may be time to consider shopping the various styles of locking mailboxes. You may also wish to consider locking inserts for a high quality line of residential mailboxes.

Prior to installing a locking mailbox you will want to check with your local postal office to ensure they will deliver mail to your locking mailbox. If your postal service doesn't provide locked neighborhood boxes, and will not approve of delivering mail to a locked box, then your other option would be to utilize a post office box. Of course, that comes with an annual expense to do so, but if it's the only means to ensuring your mail will be locked up it's worth the added security and peace of mind.

For your business you will also want to consider the locking high quality commercial mailboxes unless your postal service provides you with direct service to your door. If your business deals with securing sensitive customer data, utilizing secure locking mailboxes will also help to reduce your business liability.

Having your mail locked up is a good added security measure against identity theft, and the added cost of keeping the mail locked up is a small price to pay compared to the much higher price you would have to pay to gain your credit back if your identity is stolen. Locking out the identity theft thieves is a good thing!

Eliminate Spam

Just when you thought you've seen it all, think again! Here's a new way you can do away with spam! You won't need any spam blockers, filters or spam destroyers because this technique will destroy all of the spam for you - lol.

Normally, spam is not something to laugh about because it can often mean your computer can get hit with malicious codes. Sometimes though we just need to find some good humor in a bad thing. Be sure to leave it up to the professionals and don't try this one at home! You'll see what I mean! Have fun as you check out this new way to eliminate spam!

Theft Prevention. Shed Some Light on It

If there's one thing a smart thief or burglar doesn't like, it's a well lit area. On the other hand now that I said "smart thief" that's really an oxymoron. Perhaps it would be better to say that most thieves prefer to break into a home or business with a dark or dimly lit entrance or window.

Several years ago my husband installed an outdoor Victorian lamp post next to our driveway on the side of our house. I don't have a photo of it, but the top of it is similar to this Maxim lighting fixture. At first when we installed it we did it with the intention to make it easier for guests to see when they exit or enter their car from our driveway. We really had not thought about the light as an added security measure, but it really added extra peace of mind as it lights up the entire side of our home and cars. The light is also wired to a motion sensor nearby so it really serves as an added theft prevention measure while adding convenience.

Outdoor lighting really is important to help protect your property from vandalism, thieves and burglars and especially if the lights are hooked up to a motion sensor. At night, now if we hear a noise from that side of our home we can easily peek through our window to see if anyone has tripped the motion sensor to the light post.

Outdoor lights are available in a variety of styles including pier mount lanterns, post mount lanterns like the one we installed, flood lights, deck lights, landscape lighting and many other styles. An outdoor flood light like these sea gull lighting flood light styles are available for a very inexpensive price. Although a flood light is not very decorative, it surely will chase a would-be thief away!

Increased lighting just might serve as an added theft prevention measure for your home or business, and if installed with a motion sensor it will even shed some greater light on your theft prevention efforts.

Insurance, the Probability and Need for It

Some people feel that the likely-hood or probability of a potential disaster is good reason to NOT insure their house or car. Of course the probability of a car accident for most is far more likely to occur than submitting a claim for your homeowners insurance. As for me and my house we would much rather be protected against a disaster or a car accident then to be without coverage.

This video commercial has three humorous events demonstrating some reasons for the need of insurance, and the probability to consider. Be sure to watch the entire video to get a good laugh for the day! Have fun!



This post was inspired by a Link & Blog Challenge!

Lost and Found Dancing Shoes Got Away

When does something officially become what is known as "lost and found"? Can one really be sure that what they found was actually something lost? Or, as in this case was the item really lost or did it grow feet on it's own?

I just have to wonder -- Did this pair of dancing shoes suddenly dance off into the sunset and dance from 8th and Lawrence on over to 6th and Union? The dancing shoes must have escaped the drawstring bag and the owner was perhaps unable to chase the dancing shoes down so they got away! Lol!

I've saved the owner potential embarrassment by crossing out their name and phone number.

Incidentally, their phone number did not include the area code so perhaps the owner of the lost dancing shoes is also lost?

Job Hunt

You may have received this in an email. If not, you will find this example of a job hunt worth thinking about:
Job Hunt:

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6am. While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA).

After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA), he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled it with GAS (from SAUDI ARABIA) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN Job.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer (Made In MALAYSIA), Joe decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA.


And his family wonders why he's still unemployed?

Saving Money an Easy Way

Saving money doesn't come easy for most people. I think one problem some are faced with is believing how much a little bit of money saved can add up. This is especially true if you have the time value of money on your side, which simply means you're young enough to have even small amounts of cash add up for you if it's invested wisely.

Every person has to find what works for them when it comes to putting away their hard cold cash. One way to stay focused on putting away even small amounts of money is to focus on a financial goal. Perhaps you want to focus on waterfront property as a long term goal, or maybe it's a vacation for a short term goal. Whatever your focus is, having a specific goal can help you to stay on target with saving for a rainy day.

One way to save money is to identify how much you saved by spending less! Here's one example of what I mean with how you can begin to save a large amount of money by saving just a little money every day.

This post was inspired by a Link & Blog Challenge!

Online Merchants Seller Protection

Several years ago I decided to take on the adventure of selling collectibles online through my first website. I must say it has been a learning experience, and especially for online fraud. I'm a very cautious person and have had my fair share of individuals attempting to make fraudulent purchases through my website.

Realizing I had not shared that information here I thought this may be helpful to someone who may be considering online sales of merchandise. Like most other online entrepreneurs I've also sold merchandise through ebay, but the focus of this article is in regards to online sales outside of an auction site.

Once I established my online store I secured the ability as a merchant to offer Visa and Mastercard to my customers, which I added to the option for them to use PayPal. Unfortunately the very first prospect I had attempting to make a purchase using a Mastercard was attempting to commit fraud! That was discouraging to say the least, and I'm sure the big retailers online are faced with the same challenge all the time.

In this first example, you'll learn some red flags which came up as a result of the person using a stolen credit card:

1. In the online order form the person entered an address, which was a US address, yet they selected a different country for the merchandise to be delivered, and provided a phone number from a foreign country. This red flag therefore indicated the shipping address would be different from their credit card billing address.

2. The person's email address was from Yahoo. This is not to say that every person who uses a free email service is a con artist or attempting to commit fraud, but it is something to watch for.

I then decided to send the person an email. In my email I questioned the individual in regards to where they wanted the merchandise shipped since they selected a foreign country yet entered a US address. I also informed the person that our online store policy only provided the ability to ship to US customers. That's when the additional red flags came up and I knew my suspicions of fraud were accurate. What were the additional red flags?

1. The person refused to accept the fact that we would not ship outside of the US, but instead became very demanding.

2. The individual then stated they wanted me to charge the Mastercard and then wire them the money from the charge. OK, this was an obvious red flag.

3. They went as far as providing a Mastercard number through the email! Not a good sign! Merchants normally do not even view a Visa or Mastercard number through an online purchase since it's encrypted. This individual obviously was not concerned about revealing a credit card number through email!

Those were easy red flags making it obvious the person was attempting fraud and warranted a phone call to the credit card merchant support line. That enabled me to report the persons fraud attempt, which alerted the card holders bank that their customers card had been compromised.

Moving onto this next example, you'll learn some red flags to watch for when a person is attempting to use a PayPal account that is not their own or attempting to use one fraudulently. I've had numerous experiences from individuals attempting to make a fraudulent purchase using PayPal. Here's what to watch for:

1. Only accept purchases through PayPal that offer you the PayPal Sellers Protection program. If the individual is not a verified buyer through PayPal you cannot be offered the protection as a seller, so watch this carefully.

2. Be cautious if they provide a billing or shipping address on their order form, which differs from their PayPal address shown in their PayPal account.

3. The name in the persons email address does not match the name on their PayPal account. Although in one case I had the person had the same last name, the first name was not a match. This could be an indication of someone like a son or daughter attempting to use a parents PayPal account without permission, or possibly a red flag for fraudulent use.

In summary, a merchant simply needs to have all their ducks in a row with what they must watch for. Never be so excited about a potential purchase from a prospect and attempt to process the order too quickly - that's when you'll overlook the red flags!

Take the time you need as the merchant to ensure you will only be shipping your merchandise once you have completely ruled out online fraud. Don't hesitate to contact PayPal or the merchant credit card service you use if you suspect fraud! You may be the first merchant to help save someone from having their credit card or PayPal account compromised further.