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On the BETTER side of life

Get peace of mind knowing your home is safer with these burglary prevention tips. tips_for_home_security

As a homeowner, one of your main priorities is to ensure the safety of your family, and to protect your home and property from theft and vandalism. The key to preventing break ins and vandalism is to make your home a challenging target, meaning the likelihood of being caught is high. Burglars prefer to target homes when the owner is absent, and often at night when it is dark and people are asleep to avoid detection. If a burglar suspects that you are home, or that they will attract attention while breaking and entering, they are more likely to move on to another, easier target where they won’t get caught. If you want to strengthen your home’s security and discourage theft, follow our recommendations listed below.

Adopt a Dog

Not only do dogs make loving pets, ...

Learn the best approach to not paying too much at the car dealership.tips_for_buying_new_car

Buying a new car can be an exciting and stressful experience. On the one hand, you are investing in a new vehicle to better suit your needs, and on the other, you may anxious about paying too much at the car dealership. Like any business, automotive dealers are looking to make the most profit on any deal. However, with a little research and a few ground rules, you can get the car you want for a price that you can afford. Here are our recommendations for getting the best deal on your new car or truck.

Do Your Homework

Knowledge is power when it comes buying a new vehicle. Never go to a dealership without a clear idea of what you want and what you are willing to pay. Car buyers that have vague ideas of what ...

4 Ways to Save on Your Scell phone imagemartphone


Love it or hate it, your smartphone is probably an indispensible part of your life. If the cost of a new phone or your monthly bill has you bugged, you'll appreciate knowing a few ways to save a bundle.

Repair your existing phone and you can save big money compared to buying a new one. If your phone is a little slow, has some hiccups or is only slightly damaged (and having the latest gadget isn't important to you) a local smartphone repair shop might be able to get it running as good as new. Plus, the diagnostic tests to find out if it can be repaired are usually free.

Sell your old phone. Many cell carriers have trade-in and trade-up programs. You can also get cash for old phones from recyclers like ecoATM or Gazelle, through online garage sale sites, ...

Follow these simple steps to assess the pros and cons of different credit card offers.Choosing_Credit_Card

So you are in the market for a new credit card, but with the seemingly endless options available, how do you choose the best one? Use the steps listed below to evaluate what credit card may best support your spending habits and needs.

Review your credit rating.

If you already have a credit card, check to see if they provide your credit score for free. If not, the big three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are federally mandated to provide you with a free credit score once every twelve months. You can access your free score through the federally approved website, AnnualCreditReport.com.

If your score isn’t quite what you hoped, you can either adopt healthier financial practices to boost your credit, or dispute an error if you believe there has been a mistake.

Choose ...

Beat the heat without breaking the bank with these helpful energy saving tips.Fan_Energy_Saving_Tips

Now that the long, hot days of a South Carolina summer are in full swing, homeowners are depending on their air conditioning to keep their homes comfortably cool. With increased energy use comes higher energy bills, so how do you strike the balance between comfort and cost during the summer? Use the ten tips below to help reduce your energy consumption and costs while also keeping your home cool for you and your family.

Keep your shades drawn.

Close your blinds in windows that receive direct sunlight and in rooms you are not using to help keep your house cool.

Raise your thermostat when you aren't home.

Increase the temperature on your thermostat when leaving for work or going out of town so that you don’t continue to cool your home to comfort while you’re away, wasting ...

Learn more about the steps to finding a quality home contractor in this week’s blog.home_renovation

When it comes to finding a competent, reliable, and trustworthy contractor, it is essential that homeowners perform due diligence and search out professionals with a proven record for quality work delivered in a reasonable time. If you just go with the first person you contact, or depend on a friend of a friend, you may find yourself with a poor quality, half completed renovation project, and money lost. To find the best contractor for your renovation project, use these six steps to ensure the greatest likelihood of a project completed to your satisfaction.

Seek out referrals - Talk to friends and family who have done renovations and ask for recommendations, as well as contractors to avoid if they have had a negative experience. Not only can they provide valuable insight into the process and experience ...

Here are the things roofing professionals consider when quoting you a new roof.New_Roof

One of the largest expenses that homeowners encounter through the course of maintaining their home is replacing a roof. Whether from storm damage or age, replacing a roof is no small task. The average homeowner will spend between $4,793 - $9,371 for a new roof. When consulting a roofing professional to provide a quote for replacing your roof, expect the cost to be based on the square footage of your roof. Rather than provide a detailed, itemized invoice, roofers give you an estimate for supplies and labor based on each square foot of your roof.

Roof Cost Considerations

Factors that can affect your quote include:


  • Materials costs (shingle type and quality, flashing, etc.)

  • Protective roof products (weather and temperature protection)

  • Waste transport and disposal

  • Labor.


Should you get a basic quote over the phone, anticipate that amount ...

Refinancing your vehicle for a lower interest rate can save you money in the long run.Refinance_Auto_Loan

If you are looking for ways to reduce expenses each month, consider refinancing your car or truck for a lower monthly payment. While homeowners are likely familiar with refinancing a house for lower mortgage payments, people often overlook that the same can be done with their vehicles for more competitive rates and incentives.

Reasons to Refinance

Reasons why refinancing might be a good option for you include:


  • Reduced Rates: If there have been changes in the market since you first purchased your vehicle, or you have had obtained a higher credit rating, then refinancing can offer you an improved interest rate, resulting in lower payments each month.

  • Convenience: Rather than have your checking account, mortgage payment, and car payment managed by three different financial institutions, refinance with your preferred bank for greater convenience and ...

facebook_marketingWhen it comes to advertising your business on Facebook, it may seem like a piece of cake while walking in the park. Post a few fun photos, share a couple memes for good fun, maybe even advertise your big event this weekend, all without spending a dime. Besides, think of all the people using Facebook compared with costly advertising alternatives like television, newspaper and radio, right?

While there is no disputing the marketing power of Facebook, it will take more than the occasional “share” to build a following and convert leads into customers. To get the most from your social media marketing, use these five simple tips, and watch as your “likes” turn into sales.

Create Engaging Content: First and foremost, you must have quality content that will catch people’s eye in the midst of the always changing social feed. Rather than share other people’s posts that will only drive ...

It’s never too early to educate your kids about the value of a dollar.Child_Money_Lessons

One of the most important life skills you can teach your children is how to responsibly manage money. By beginning their education while they are young, you can instill a healthy understanding of money that will serve them for a lifetime. Sharing the lessons listed below can help your kids avoid mistakes that contributed to major financial challenges in our country, including the mortgage crisis, the $1.1 trillion student loan debt, and $845 billion owed in credit card debt.

1. Sometimes you have wait for something you want.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson you can teach your child early on is that sometimes, you have to wait for things you want. Small children need to learn that you can’t always have everything you want right now. This is especially true when it comes to money. As ...