Thursday, February 20, 2014

How Old Is Your Smoke Detector?

Three people recently died and another was injured in Plaistow, NH from carbon monoxide poisoning. They had a carbon monoxide detector in the house. Sadly, the unit did not have functioning batteries in it.

Do you have a smoke detector where you are living? A carbon monoxide detector?  Here in Massachusetts you are required by law to have both. Other states have their own rules but this is something small that you can do to help keep you and your family safe.

Have smoke detectors on every floor. Have carbon monoxide detectors.  You can even get one combined unit that does both. Change the batteries twice a year even if you don't think it is necessary. Yes the units beep when the battery starts to fail but what if you were away for a couple of days and never heard it?

We have combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in our house. There is one on every floor and extras upstairs in the bedrooms. In the hallway outside our bedroom, we just installed a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector that has a built in battery designed to last for ten years. This way if I happen to miss the regular changing of the batteries, I still have the one outside of our room that I do not have to worry about. It was more expensive than the battery operated units but it brings literally years of peace of mind.

I make the changing of the batteries correspond with a holiday weekend so I will remember to do it twice a year. Our batteries get changed Memorial Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend. It is not exactly six months but it is a lot easier for me to remember than some random days of the year.

If you do not have detectors, get them now. If you can not remember the last time you changed those batteries, go ahead and change them now. Then pick out a couple of holidays and start making a point to change them. You could also schedule it on your smartphone or email to remind you. You can also press the test button to tell if they are still functioning. Always press the test button after installing new batteries to make sure the unit is functioning properly. (You may want to cover your ears as it can be loud.)

The units start out pretty cheap and it is a simple step to keep your family safe. Do it now so that if your furnace starts spitting out carbon monoxide fumes, you will be ready and safe.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don't Point Out Your Flaws

Have you ever noticed something suddenly after not noticing it for ages?  It could have been weeks or months or years. Suddenly someone points it out and you can't imagine how you missed it?  Maybe you can not stop noticing it now.

Or maybe you have a significant other that just does not seem to notice those dirty dishes or socks until you point them out?   The human brain is inundated with a lot of information every second and is constantly picking and choosing what to acknowledge.  Calling attention to the item makes the brain stop and pay attention to that item.  So why call attention to your flaws?

Maybe you think your belly is too fat or your legs too short. Maybe you have a crooked tooth or an odd laugh. It may bother you terribly.  Does that mean it bothers others or that they have even noticed it?  No it does not.

Do not tell your significant other that an outfit makes you look fat. To them, you probably look adorable. After all they are with you aren't they?    So stop trying to reinforce the idea that you are fat or your tooth is crooked.  If they have noticed, they either do not care or find it cute.  Why go to so much trouble to convince them otherwise?  If you succeed, you will just make everyone unhappy.  

I'm not saying you can never talk about your flaws. Acknowledging them to your self is a good way to work on fixing them. But endlessly talking about them to your significant other is just trying to convince them to agree with you and why would you want that? Or maybe you just want them to keep saying no, its not true. That just sounds tiring for everyone. Plus at some point they do not disagree fast enough and now your feelings are needlessly hurt and the two of you are fighting.

Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Do not go pointing out your flaws to your lover. There is nothing sexy about talking about being too fat or funny looking. Insecurity is the enemy of confidence and confidence is always sexier. Besides, once you point it out, they may not be able to stop noticing it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shopping Online? Do You Have A Discount Code?

If you are shopping online, take a few minutes and search for a discount code. Just go to your favorite search engine such as and type in the name of the website you are using and a phrase such as "discount code" or "promo code" or "coupon".  Spend 5 to 10 minutes and you can often find some great deals.

My car just hit 60,000 miles, taking with it my warranty and my free roadside service. Since I no longer have roadside service but I do have an aging vehicle, I decided to join AAA.   A visit to for my area, said the cost to join for me and my husband would be $100.   (Enrollment fee of $15 for me plus $52 for the membership for the year. Another $5 enrollment fee for my husband and $28 for the year for him.) 

I could have stopped at the $100; just paid it and been done.

Instead I tried requesting information from AAA. They mailed me an enrollment form with a code to waive the enrollment fees. Suddenly my $100 membership is down to $80.  That still sounded like too much to me. I was sure I could get it at least under $75.  Well it was my lucky day. 

I went to and searched "aaa new england discount code".  The second link listed was to save "$33 off" with code 4950.   I went back to AAA's website and punched in the code and it knocked the price down to $66 for both of us.

By spending 5 minutes searching, I saved $34 off what I would have spent if I just went to AAA and joined online.  I saved $14 off the offer from AAA themselves.  Not too shabby for a few minutes work. 

Most discounts won't be that dramatic but it is worth spending  a few minutes of your time to get the best deal you can get. You may want to change the search terms to limit search results to ones from the last month or so in order to reduce the instances of outdated promo codes.  On, you enter your search and once the search results come up, over on the right you will see "search tools". Click on that and then click on "any time" and take your pick of week, month, year, etc.

You can also search for coupons to print out and take to stores with you. I searched "jif coupon" today and found a contest being run by Jif peanut butter to win free jars of peanut butter. A search for "barilla pasta coupons" found me four different coupon choices I could print and take to the grocery store.

I don't have the time or patience to run coupon searches for everything I buy so I am less apt to do it for small items. However, anytime I am spending a significant amount of money online, I always search for a promo code. Try it. It won't hurt and it just might help!