Tip of the Day


This page was updated on October 8, 2018.

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HOW TO GET YOUR CONSUMER PROBLEM/ISSUE RESOLVED QUICKLY


We've all had these - bad experiences with service providers, whether it be a bank, cellular phone service provider, cable company, contractor, etc. - problems with your bill, product, service, etc., etc.  Sadly, trying to get these problems resolved with the other party can sometimes be very difficult - they don't call back, say they will rectify the situation but do not, etc.  You send letters, make calls and on and on, for months or even years, but to no resolve.  The best way to deal with these idiots is through your state attorney general's office.  Most AG's offices have a "department of consumer affairs" or something similar that deals with just this sort of thing and you can usually file the complaint online quickly and easily.  Suffice to say, I've seen several cases with friends who got their problems resolved very quickly and accurately shortly after the offending provider received a nice little letter on your behalf from the AG's office.  Don't suffer fools needlessly; contact your AG's office and put them on the case - they do a great job!!


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BUYER BEWARE:  BIG BOX DIY STORE CONTRACTORS


Recently a friend needed a new toilet for his condo, so, he went to one of the local, big-name, DIY stores and purchased a toilet and paid for the DIY store's contractor to install it.  Naturally when filling out the form, my friend put the address on the form which included the word "Condominiums" and the fact that it was an upstairs unit.  When the contractor arrived 3 days later to install the toilet, he informed my friend that he could not install a toilet in a condominium due to insurance liability issues and further, he did not install toilets that weren't on the ground floor nor in bathrooms that had carpeting  (mind you all this was disclosed on the purchase form which he had).  My friend had him leave the toilet and called his regular plumbing contractor to install the toilet and they did so without any problems and laughed about the liability issue excuse.  My friend went back to the DIY store to get his installation fee refunded, which they did, but he also discovered that the store had no knowledge that their contractor wouldn't install toilets in condominiums, nor in upstairs units, nor in bathrooms with carpet.  What my friend did find out was that even if these contractors get to a job and decline to do the work for any reason, they still get a partial fee for showing up and that's apparently what happened in this case - it appears the contractor was just too lazy to do the job, but knew he would get a partial fee nevertheless.  So, word to the wise, if you buy something from one of these stores and use one of their in-house contractors, call that contractor before you leave the store and get a very good understanding of all the specifics before you complete the sale and leave the store - will save you a lot of time and headaches.


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HIRING MOVERS


Recently some friends have had some bad experiences in this area.  Movers, (real, professional movers) are very busy people these days and as such, they are usually not available on short notice and especially at the end of the month or weekends (when most people move).   Inasmuch, you have to plan and schedule well in advance and confirm your appointment a couple of days prior to your move day.  The moving company should be a state-licensed and insured company and they should be more than willing to provide you with information to verify this.  They should also bring all the necessary special equipment (dollies, pads, bands, speed-packs, manpower, etc.) to perform the move, assuming you have accurately described what you need moved and or they have done a site survey prior to the move.


Be wary of people or companies advertising as "movers" on the Internet.  In a couple of cases I've been involved with, the people who showed up were nothing more than general laborers masquerading as "movers."  They had no truck and no moving equipment of any kind, just warm bodies.  All this despite promising to bring a U-Haul-type truck and were specifically told what they would be moving - several large, heavy items.  Another risk here: Blind hiring off the Internet opens you up to risk if one of the movers are injured and are not insured or covered by worker's comp.  Be sure you have adequate medical insurance coverage on your homeowner's or renter's policy and have a liability umbrella policy in force in the event you are sued.


Also, if you have movers in your home, someone should supervise them at ALL TIMES!!  Remove/lock-up any valuables, guns, money, etc., before they arrive.  If you store your prescription medications in your bathroom (which you shouldn't do because heat and humidity affects their efficacy), remove them to a secure location.  I'm sure you get the picture here.


For more info, see my Identity Theft Report and my Estate Sales Survival Guide on the Publications page of this website.


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FILE CONVERTER


This handy website will help you convert just about any file format you want to something else - quick, easy, free and no downloading software!


Online-Convert.com


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HOW TO SPEED UP A SLOW iPHONE 


How to speed up a slow iPhone - MacWorld, 01-18-2018

​Will a new iPhone battery really speed up your device? There's an app for that - ZDNet, 01-08-2018

8 ways to speed up your old, tired iPhone - CNET, 12-21-2017



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BE PREPARED FOR SICKNESS


Right now (Winter 2017-2018) most parts of the U.S. are experiencing a flu epidemic.  I have had to care for 3 people who have contracted it and the one common, disturbing thing that I observed was that no one had as much as one day's worth of items we generally associate with convalescing from sickness such as colds, flu, etc.  Basically I'm talking about keeping on hand a few days' supply of soup, crackers, oatmeal, bread, Gatorade, tea, toilet paper, Kleenex, some OTC cold medicine pills, throat lozenges, etc.  Also, you should have a good thermometer - you can get one of those new, temporal-touch thermometers at Walmart for about $10 and they're easy to operate and read!!  For the cold medicine, I've found that the dollar stores carry generic OTC cold medicine preparations that contain the same ingredients as the name brands, but for significantly less cost and they have extended shelf lives.


For more information on preparedness, see my B.O.B. Guide special report (free download) on the Publications page.


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HOW TO CUT THE (CABLE TV) CORD AND SAVE BIG MONEY!!


Are you sick and tired of paying those ridiculously exorbitant cable bills (that keep going up and up with no value added) for channels you never watch and expensive, old, on-demand movie selections??  Well, so are a lot of other people and they're "cutting the cord" in record numbers (see articles below).  Here's what you do:  If you have Internet and Wi-Fi in your house, you can get a simple, inexpensive, small device called a Roku box which will allow you to get over 5,000 (free or minimal cost) streaming TV, movie and music channels including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Vudu, Fandango,  Google Play, etc. (Extra fees for those, but much less than cable and significantly better selections and other benefits).  You can also get streaming services such as Philo (best deal right now), Sling TVPlaystation Vue (Playstation not required) or DIRECTV NOW (no satellite dish required and if your cell phone carrier is AT&T, they are offering some sweet deals) and YouTube TV through Roku and those will allow you to get most of the popular cable TV channels through their very reasonably-priced a la carte packages and NO contracts with any of these!! There are similar products out there to the Roku box, such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, etc., but I think Roku is the best deal going right now, but Apple TV is pretty sweet, too, especially if you are an iPhone and or Mac computer user  However, I do NOT like their remote control or menu system at all.  And in most large metropolitan areas, you can get approximately 25-40 local channels over the air with a $15 antenna, just like we did in the "old days."  Speaking of those antennas, when you go to buy one, you'll see them range in price from $15 to over $100.  If you live in a large metro area without many hills, the cheapest one should work fine.  If you are in a rural area or a place with a lot of hills/mountains, asks someone in the store for recommendations.


Cord-Cutting Keeps Churning: U.S. Pay-TV Cancelers to Hit 33 Million in 2018 (Study) 07-24-2018

Cord Cutting Explodes: 33% of U.S. Adults Do Not Have Cable TV - 07-24-2018

10 Best Streaming Apps to Cut the Cord - Kim Komando - 04-12-2018

Cable TV vs. Streaming TV:  Are YouTube TV, DirectTV Now, & Sling TV Really a Better Deal?  - Clark Howard - 05-05-2018

Cutting the Cable:  Streaming Services Comparison Chart - Kim Komando - 02-04-2018

Cable TV prices keep going up as more people cut the cord - 01-05-2018

​Streaming becomes mainstream as cord-cutting accelerates - 12-26-2017

A million people cut the cord in the last 3 months, and cable companies are worried - 10/31/2017

Variety:  Cord-Cutting Explodes: 22 Million U.S. Adults Will Have Cancelled Cable, Satellite TV by End of 2017 - 09/13/2017

Cutting the cord? How to pick your streaming services - Kim Komando 09-09-2017

Cord-Cutting Spikes Fivefold in Cable TV's Worst Quarter Ever - 05/03/2017

The Evolution of Cord-Cutting Reaches New Levels in 2017 - Mashable 02/03/2017

How to Cut the Cable Cord and Save Money in 2017 - CordCuttingReport.com 02/05/2017


Resource Guides:

The Streaming Observer

Cord Cutting Report

Channel Master's Cord Cutting Guide

Cord Cutters News

Kim Komando's Guide to Video Streaming Services - 01-03-2018

Tom's Guide to Cable TV Cord Cutting

AntennaWeb Cord Cutting Guide


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TOOTHPASTE:  GET ONE MORE WEEK (OR MORE) OUT OF THAT TUBE!


Once you've squeezed every last bit out of the end, close the cap and cut the opposite (crimped) end off with a pair of scissors.  Open it and insert your brush to get the remaining paste all the way down to the standard opening - you should be about to get at least 14 more brushings out of the tube.


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HOW TO SAVE BIG MONEY ON CAR TIRES  


We all know how expensive they can be, even at those big-box stores.  Recently, I had to replace all 4 of mine and my car has those low-profile, 18" wheels.  The last two sets I bought were around $700 each an only lasted about 25,000 miles!!  Ugh!!!  Recently a friend of mine, who is a rep for aftermarket performance auto parts told me to look in to Primewell brand tires.  He had had 2 sets on 2 different SUV's and had been very happy with them and they were half the cost of any other name brand.  I was skeptical, but checked them out anyway and when I went to the tire store, the salesman told me that he would happily sell me any brand tire I wanted, but because of the configuration of the tires on my car (low profile), the tires run hotter and therefore I shouldn't expect to get more than 30-35,000 miles from any set of tires I bought, so why not save 50% and go with the Primewells.  I took his advice and so far have been very happy with the Primewells' performance.  Total cost for 4 installed P225/45R18 tires:  $370.38 (includes mounting, balancing, road hazard warranty, lifetime free rotation and free puncture repair).


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HOW TO EASILY AVERT A HOME FLOODING DISASTER  


Check the water supply hoses to your clothes washer - you should pull the machine out so you can inspect the entire length of the hoses.  How long have they been installed?  Do you even know?  If they are of the rubber type, check to see if they are brittle, mushy or have any bulges.  If they do, you should turn off the water supply and replace them immediately!!!  Spend the extra money (about $25 at most hardware stores) to get the flexible stainless steel braided hoses as they last much longer.  Even if you live in an apartment, if your landlord won't replace them with the stainless type, do it yourself, but keep the old hoses for when you move out and take your stainless ones with you.  And if you live in an apartment, it is especially important to inspect the hoses regularly and or replace them because if one breaks and floods apartments below yours, you may be liable for damages to the building and the other residents' personal effects, so you'd better have plenty of insurance!!


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An old family friend passed along this pearl of wisdom to me when I was very young, he said, "All things you do, do with all your might; things done by halves are never done right."  (Ed Shoemaker, Carpenter, Evangelist, Ray County, MO)


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We've all heard the adage, "Time is money," but that is not correct.  The correct phrase is, "Time well-spent is money."  (Joyce Painter, Real Estate Educator extraordinaire, Oklahoma City, OK)


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"You are the real first responder."   (Conceal & Carry, Inc., Kansas City's premier conceal carry training school.)  

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"A bad attitude is like a flat tire - it won't get you anywhere until you change it."  (Joycelyn T., Oklahoma City, OK)


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SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE CHARITY WHEN YOU SHOP AT AMAZON


Do you shop at Amazon.com?  Do you have a favorite charity?  Now with AmazonSmile, a portion of your purchase will be donated to your favorite organization.  Even if  your organization isn't listed, you can usually get it added.  Get more information about AmazonSmile here.

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DIY CHEAP FOAMING HAND SOAP


Do you like that foaming hand soap?  Me, too, but it's EXPENSIVE!!!  Here's a way to get it for pennies on the dollar:  After you've used up the expensive stuff, save the bottle and pump top.  Purchase a large bottle of some of the generic-brand hand soap from one of the big-box stores.  Fill the original hand soap bottle about 1/4 to 1/3 full with the generic soap and then tilt the bottle about 70 degrees from vertical and slowly add water until about full, being careful not to let it foam up.  Replace the pump top and while holding the bottle in your hand, slowly rotate the bottle from side-to-side until the soap mixes with the water.   One of those large bottles of generic-brand hand soap will last you a very, very long time and save you a lot of money!


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GREAT TIP WEBSITES
20 Best Websites to Get Free E-Books

Bright Side

Do It Yourself

Helpful Info & Links

Hometalk 

How Stuff Works

Knowledge Weighs Nothing

Lifed

​Life Buzz

Life Hacker

Little Things - Pets, Food, Parenting, Lifestyle, DIY

Nerd Wallet (Everything about money)

Penny Hoarder

Spend with Pennies
Tip Hero (great kitchen & recipe tips!!)
Tom's Guide

Wallet Hub (Everything about money)


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