Road Trip 101

Road Trip 101

Summer is for lazy pool days, family vacations, and road trips! If you’re like the 80% of Americans who ventured out on a road trip in 2017 then you know that road trips can be a lot of fun. However, they can also be a little nerve-wracking if you’ve never taken one before. That’s why we’re here to give you a few “rules of the road” for your summer trips. Read below for a list of our top 5 tips for road trips.

Have a “check-up” completed – It sounds unnecessary but we can’t express how important it is to take your car to a trusted mechanic and have them complete a total body inspection of your car. They will inspect all the hoses, tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and top off your fluids. The initial price of the inspection is only about $50 but can fluctuate depending on if the shop finds any problems. It’s a hassle and just adds to the never-ending list of things you need to do before you embark on your journey, but the peace of mind as you drive is well worth it.

Submit travel plans to your bank – Can you imagine stopping to grab a bite to eat after a long day of driving and having your debit or credit card declined? Before you leave your home state, be sure to log onto your mobile banking app and submit your travel plans. This alerts your bank that any abnormal purchases in strange states are actually you and not a random credit card thief taking a joyride.

Keep snacks at a minimum – If you’re like the rest of us then you get excited at the thought of all the snacks you can consume on your trip. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the $50 you just spent on snacks at Walmart wasn’t really worth it. Now, it is a good idea to get a few healthy options, maybe some pretzels or peanuts to munch on when you get tired, but don’t go crazy – it might just leave you feeling bloated and sluggish from the lack of activity and influx of snacks.

Pack a case of water – We suggest taking the extra money you allotted for snacks and putting it toward a case of water. We know that some people prefer a reusable water bottle, but you never know if the truck stop is going to have a water fountain to fill up your reusable water bottle. So rather than spending $4 for 2 bottles of water at each pit stop, pack a case of water from the start and you don’t have to worry about it.

Create a music playlist on your phone – In the age of Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora do people really create playlists anymore? Maybe not, but when you are in the middle of the desert, no matter what carrier your phone has, you’re going to lose reception and there aren’t going to be any radio stations. You’re going to be thankful you were prepared and have something to listen to.

Road trips are a great way to see the country, and they are a great bonding activity for your family. We are by no means experts in the field, but based on our experience we think these five tips and tricks will help make your trips much more enjoyable!

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Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

If you’ve been living in California for any amount of time then it should come as no surprise that it was ranked as the third most expensive place to live in the United States, this according to a 2017 article published by CNBC. While California may be known as the Golden State, that doesn’t mean you have to strike it rich to live here.

With your paycheck being split between housing, food, and gas, we want to help stretch your family’s budget for the things you want to do – things that don’t include sending money to the government. In an effort to help you cut costs and make room in your summer budget, we bring you the top five ways to cut your summer utility bills.

We’ve taken tips from all over the web, including Forbes and US News to bring you top tips. Read below to save some serious summer cash.

Place heavy or thick drapes over the windows – By hanging heavy drapery over windows and doors you will help keep your home or apartment cool by not letting the sun’s rays through the glass. We know that blackout curtains aren’t cheap. Click here to shop Amazon’s selection of blackout curtains. If there still isn’t room in your budget to cover every window with curtains, buy coverings for only the large windows or doors that face direct sunlight.
Don’t turn off your A.C. – This might sound strange, however, when you turn off your A.C. completely the temperature in your home rises. In turn, when you return home and turn the unit back on the system will have to work twice as hard to cool down your home. Ultimately, using more electricity and causing your energy bill to rise.
Utilize ceiling fans – The great thing about ceiling fans is that they do not use as much electricity as your air conditioning unit, but they help circulate air throughout your home to help keep it cool.
Turn your lights off – This simple and effective step can save big on your electric bill by cutting energy usage during the day and keeping your home cool.
Limit appliance usage – This suggestion is multi-faceted, meaning that it’s not specific to a particular room in your household. By limiting the use of your dryer, dishwasher, and oven you will see your electric bill take a nosedive. Utilize the summer warmth to dry laundry outside, have your kids help wash dirty dishes, and make simple dishes that don’t require the use of your oven or stove.

These are just a few tips and tricks to help you beat the heat and save some cash this summer, but we know that there are thousands of other ideas out there. Drop us a comment below and tell us some of your own tips and tricks to help lower your family’s utility consumption during the summer months.

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The New California Law No One Saw Coming

The New California Law No One Saw Coming

Perhaps one of the more disheartening aspects of law-making is how some laws come into effect. With very little recognition, a new law was recently signed into effect that can, and likely will, change the effectiveness of law enforcement. Assembly Bill 1810 was recently signed into law as a part of California’s new budget. However, this law has very little to do with budgeting.

AB 1810 is supposed to be a health bill, but has more prominence in the law enforcement sector. Under this new law, just about anyone accused a crime, regardless of how serious, could claim a mental health issue and ask to be placed on a two year diversion plan. In other words, a person could say they only committed a crime because they have a problem and then the judge would put him or her into a two year course to correct whatever problem the person claims to have. Upon completion of the course, the person’s record would be sealed, making it as if the crime never happened.

The wording of the bill is very vague, and allows for just about anyone to claim some mental health issue. It is easy to see how this can very easily be used and manipulated to get people out of being punished for a crime. What’s worse, is how little attention this big change in law got. It spent less a week going through Sacramento before being approved by both houses and sent to the Governor for final signature. That is not a lot of time to truly evaluate something this substantial.

Of course, there are some people out there who need a program like this. Something like this can get them the help that they desperately need. Unfortunately, the way the bill is worded, it is very easy for someone to take advantage of this change in procedures, and use it to avoid any real punishment altogether.

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Could Prop 9 Be Stopped Before Anyone Gets to Vote?

Could Prop 9 Be Stopped Before Anyone Gets to Vote?

If you have been paying attention to politics this year in the state of California, you know that we voters have some pretty big decisions to make come November. One of the biggest measures on the ballot this year is whether we want to begin looking at dividing California into three separate states.

This is a very big deal for every Californian, and as such, it is receiving a lot of attention. In fact, a group of people is now trying to block the measure from being added to the November ballot. An environmentalist group, The Planning and Conservation League, sponsored the filing at the California Supreme Court.

The argument against Prop 9 is that it is too big of a decision to give to the people of California. Prop 9 claims that it will only amend the state Constitution, however its critics say that the measure will completely revise the state Constitution. This is something that the California Supreme Court has regularly sided against.

Splitting up the state of California is a very big deal, and this isn’t the first time someone has tried to do this. In fact, this isn’t even the first time that Prop 9’s sponsor tried to split up the state. Tim Draper tried to split California into 6 states back in 2014, but the measure ultimately failed.

California is a pretty big state, and the thought of splitting it up is terrifying for many people. However, splitting up the state is not as simple as voting to do so. Even if Californians approve the measure, it would still need to be approved by the state senate and House of Representatives. From there, it would then go to Congress in Washington DC for final approval, which would be unlikely. A state hasn’t been split since West Virginia separated from Virginia in 1863.

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