Spruce Up Your House by Gardening!

It’s a good time to start thinking and planning ahead for your garden. A neat and tidy front yard can enhance a property, but a beautifully planned one can really make an ordinary house look special.

Some accessories that will make your yard look really good can be very inexpensive. Most of us are on a budget, especially these days when we never know how much it will cost to fill up our gas tank. Sometimes at this time of the year, you can find last year’s garden accessories discounted. Benches or garden lights may be listed for sale before the new stock comes in.

There are some basic rules which apply to every garden. Before you start you should try and afford a soil test. This is quite inexpensive and either your local nursery or the Internet will tell you how to go about it. You can also buy do-it-yourself kits. The second thing is to dig compost into your garden, and now (winter) is a good time.

If you are having a soil test carried out, you will know from the results if you should add any other nutrition to your soil. A soil test will mean you will not be buying the ‘wrong’ shrubs, plants etc for your soil type.

There is one last thing that you should monitor: how long and where the sun shines on different parts of your garden. Plants can thrive without direct sunlight, but only if you plant a type that likes the shade. This can still include many bright, colorful plants (i.e. impatiens), so you can still brighten up dull areas.

Once you decide to buy, you do not want to waste your money by having the plants or shrubs die on you. The soil test will curb some of these mistakes. The other thing to do is to look up, on the Internet or from a book, your particular growing zone. If you live in an area where, for instance, you come into the ‘Hardiness Zone’, it will enable you to pick the type of plant that has the best chance of surviving in your type of climate.

Always put short and stocky plants in front of taller ones. Remember to check the expected height to know this information – do not decide by the height at purchase time. Remember that short and stocky plants are generally tougher and more resilient, so choose more of these.

Try to resist buying plants in bloom at the time of purchase. The ones that still have to bloom will probably be stronger for the transplant process. If you have more shady areas than you wish, think about drastically trimming a tree to get more sunlight onto certain patches. Remember that some plants like a lot of water, so group these together to make the watering less laborious for you.

There are many small accessories that will really make your yard stand out. Obviously a strategically placed bench -or chairs and small table- under a tree will look welcoming and relaxing. A small bridge can really enhance a yard, and you can use it as a focal point for a few reeds or grasses to give the impression of water. Or if you feel daring you can try digging your own long shaped pond. Instructions on this are easy to find in books or on the ‘net.

For cheap plants (in fact free ones!) buy a can of ‘rooting powder’ and offer to swap cuttings with your neighbors. It is not recommended to sneak out at midnight with your scissors in hand!!

Tips When Seeking Your Automobile Extended Warranty

You may have heard that "research is critical" when it comes to purchasing an extended warranty for your automobile. Sometimes auto extended warranties are depicted in a negative light because of a few scam artists looking to capitalize off peoples' concern for their investments.

A recent Consumer Reports study recommended that people buy highly rated models only and that they invest in Money Market accounts to save for repairs, rather than invest in a warranty. However, if you tend to incur a good number of auto repair bills, if you plan on keeping your car more than three years and if you drive your car over the recommended 12,000 miles annually, then you are a good candidate for the extended warranty program .

Dealerships know that consumers trust them, by nature. An establishment that deals with billions of dollars in sales each year could not possibly rip you off over a technicality like the extended warranty, could they? Well, maybe they do not mean to rob you blind, but think of the dealership as a retail operation.

If you've ever worked in retail, whether it's clothing, furniture, consumer gadgets or automobiles, then you know that retailers mark up the cost of their items anywhere from 100% to 1,000% of the cost value! Now imagine how much extra you could be paying for your extended vehicle warranty. Do not be afraid to go directly to the source and purchase your warranty online from a trusted company like Warranty Direct.

Another factor to consider is auto warranty for "wear and tear." This type of warranty can be hard to find, since many only cover mechanical failure. However, you can definitely find extended warranty coverage that includes "wear and tear," thereby covering parts like the idler arm, piston rings, U joints, CV joints, wheel bearings, motor mounts, suspension bushings, tie rod ends, seals, gaskets and other engine parts that typically wear down and may or may not cause a mechanical breakdown.

If you have an anti-lock braking system, then you'll want to make sure your coverage extends to ABS and instances of overheating. The comprehensive website, carbuyingtips.com recommends Warranty Direct and Nation Warranty Corporation, which both include "wear and tear" in their plans.

The most important thing is that you do not feel rushed or hassled into securing the extended warranty for your car immediately. Most auto warranties allow you the option of buying later; yet of course, you should only delay as you research, rather than allowing enough time to elapse so your car is a liability. Like with health insurance, it's much harder to get coverage once problems arise.

As with anything, the extended auto warranty is a "buyer beware" scenario, but if you do some homework and understand your auto habits, then the couple of thousand you pay today can save you a small fortune tomorrow.

You Must Listen Closely to Be a Better Car Salesman

When we talk about selling cars for a living we are talking about a competitive field where not all of the participants survive. It's a bit of a dog eat dog environment. The turnover at some car dealerships can be brisk and a couple very common questions among any sales staff is how can I be a better car salesman or how can I sell more cars.

The job of the automobile sales person is a multi-faceted job and in trying to answer the question of how to be a better car salesman there is not a single, all inclusive answer. Like most jobs there are a series of different tasks performed and in order to be successful one must work at and improve all of the different aspects of the job.

Listen to Be a Better Car Salesman

When it comes to being a car salesman one of the most important aspects of the job is being able to effectively communicate with people. There are not any tricks when it comes to dealing with people, but a critical part of dealing with a potential car buyer is to listen closely. Most people believe that in order to be a better car salesman that you need to be a good talker when in fact the truth is that you need to be a good listener.

I am not simply talking about the words that come out of their mouths. You see car buyers do not always tell every detail so to be a better car salesman you need to ask questions and listen closely. It has been said by many successful sales people that if you listen close enough the customer will tell you how to sell them a car.

If you want to be a better car salesman you need to listen to every word that comes from their mouth, but you also need to listen by watching their body language. The car buyer's body language consistors of facial expressions, body movements, attention span and attentiveness. When you present a vehicle to your customer and demonstrate some of the features and the customer is looking at the next feature while you are showing them the current feature the customer is telling you that you are moving too slow or that they are not very interested.

If you were listening closely by watching them and noting that they are not interested in that feature you would move on to something that interests them. However the sales person that was not paying very close attention would drone on about the feature and before too long their customer would become bored. This is a not an example of how to be a better car salesman, but how car buyers get turned off by sales people. That customer is very likely to get bored with the entire process and before long they would ask for the salesman's business card and tell them that they will be back when they have more time.

Then that customer would kindly visit another car dealer and if they are taken care of by a salesman that is listening closely and pays attention to their words and body language they will more than likely buy a car. This is a very common scenario when it comes to the business of selling cars and if you are determined to be a better car salesman you will start to pay attention to everything that your customer says and does and tailor your presentation accordingly.

Money Mastery – Three Easy Steps to Mastering Your Financial Destiny

When I was a kid I was constantly told, “We can’t afford that; we can ONLY get this; ask your dad if you can have that; you must save your money for a rainy day; start saving now for retirement.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand the intention of some of these messages and that they may even hold value for some folks but I also have learned that these statements can lead to potential financial paralysis.

By hearing those statements over and over again, I developed what could have been my Money Destiny. That Money Destiny led me to believe I would never have enough money, that I must always save and never spend, and that I was not financially safe. These messages repeated themselves in my mind every time I needed to make a money decision or anytime I thought about money. Soon thereafter I found myself resenting the “mean green” and at times wanting to rebel against it. Thank goodness I realized one day that should I continue down this same Money Destiny road, I was destined to have just enough (not plenty) or none at all for that matter or worry about money constantly, and stay in the middleclass.

When I noticed how I was making decisions that would keep me in the same place and never propel me forward financially, I knew it was time to bust my old patterns, break debilitating money-habits, and create a new money system, a new Money Destiny. Doing this was going to take some mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical work, oh yeah, and financial work as well! It meant I was going to have to stop listening to what I had been told all my years growing up as a child as well as stop playing the “tape recording” of these messages over in my mind. It also meant I was going to have to buck this old system every time it flashed before my eyes! My intention in sharing this article with you is to help you break down your conditioned mindset and build it up with a new one that actually works with you and not against you. This is a mindset that YOU are going to create, nobody else will be creating it for you. Isn’t that exciting?

So what does mastering money look like? Mastering your money literally boils down to one thing: your mindset. Have you ever noticed that when your bills are paid off for the month and you have some extra “bread” in savings, you are just bouncing around the planet like you are rich (even if you aren’t)? However, on the contrary, have you noticed that when you don’t have enough to make ends meet and you’re struggling to figure out where the next dollar will come from to pay your rent or mortgage, you never seem to see the light? And, have you ever noticed that you actually decided, either consciously or subconsciously, which of those scenarios would play out in your life?

What I would like for you to do is sit for a moment and put yourself into both situations. First, visualize yourself in the moment when you have no money, nothing in the bank, in fact you may be in the negative. You’re not going to be paid for another week and all of your bills are due yesterday. What is the first feeling that you notice? Desperation, anger, frustration, helplessness? Take a quick note of that. Now, go to the visual of having money in the bank, all bills paid off and in essence you feel free. You have extra money to do what you would like and everything seems to be going right in the world. Again, take note of the first feeling that pops up for you when sitting in this visualization.

Let’s take an even further step. Picture that you are in control of both scenarios. You actually designate or choose which will happen in your life. And, you actually choose the same scene over and over again. Which do you choose? Do you choose the visualization with lots of money and financial freedom or do you choose the daunting visual? I venture to guess you wish to choose the one of Money Mastery.

The concept of Money Mastery has to do with having a destiny when it comes to money. Some folks actually are destined to be rich, middle class or poor. For most of us, we witnessed how our parents behaved with money, listened to things they said and then modeled after them. If our parents were rich, we figured as adults that we, too, had the right to be rich. If our parents were poor, we grew up thinking we did not deserve to have more money so we followed in the footsteps of our poor parents.

I am here to tell you that you don’t have to follow in anybody’s footsteps when it comes to mastering money except your own. Today, you get to decide your new Money Destiny in just three steps.

Step One: Change Your Money Talk-

As I stated earlier, mastering money has to do with your mindset so if you have been saying repeatedly, “I don’t have enough money” or “I need more money” then I venture to guess you haven’t had enough money for quite some time. So, I challenge you to begin saying(even if you don’t believe it in the moment, trust me, you will learn to believe the following statements wholeheartedly), “I have plenty of money,” or “I am grateful for the money I have,” or “Money is a precious gift.” These are simple statements yet extremely meaningful. These affirmations are packed with power! And here’s why: when we hear ourselves say something, we generally believe what we say-whether it is good or bad-we believe it! Thus, if you are constantly saying, “Money is a precious gift and I am grateful for it,” somehow your mind hears that statements and translates it into action. Before you know it you are taking action to have more money in your life or better yet, money is finding its way to you and you did not even lift a finger!

Do you see where I am going with this new verbiage? Positive thoughts become positive feelings which lead to positive actions that grant you positive results.

Step Two: Change Your Money Feelings-

If you feel badly about money all the time you will not get money in return or worse yet, you will spend it like water because you want to get rid of the bad feeling. Makes sense, right? Therefore, it is imperative to change your Money Feelings.

Here’s an exercise: Take out a one-dollar bill. Look at it, in fact, examine it. Notice what you like about the one-dollar bill. Is it the color, the images printed on the bill or perhaps it is what is stated on the bill. I want you to find at least two things you like about the dollar. Now, sit there for a moment and FEEL what you like about it. It may help you to close your eyes and just be in the feeling, be in the moment. Now, think about what you can get for just one dollar. Maybe an apple, a banana, an orange. Maybe a pack of gum or two packs of gum even? You can give a tip to somebody after buying a coffee or you can get change for your one-dollar bill and put money in the meter to prevent getting an expensive ticket. Do you see how far that one dollar went? Did this give you a new feeling and new perspective about that bill? For what appeared to be a small bill it certainly turned into big things, didn’t it?

The idea here is to constantly associate positive feelings with money in order to get more of it. Let me give you another example. I used to get angry every month when I had to pay the bills. I would say to myself, “I get so angry working so hard for my money only to turn around and give it over to somebody else.” Then one day it dawned on me that I should be grateful that I have the money to pay the bills in the first place! Suddenly I reframed my thinking to state,”I make plenty of money to pay my bills every month.” And believe-it-or-not, I no longer resent that time of the month when I have to pay bills and more money has been coming my way.

Step Three: Change your Money Behavior-

If when you get your paycheck and you turn right around and spend it then I am going to challenge you to pause for a moment and not take the same action. In fact, I am going to ask you to replace that action with a new action: Paying yourself first. What I suggest to my clients is that they take at minimum 10% of their paycheck and pay themselves first by putting it in a savings account, retirement account or money market account. What is better is if you can automate this so you never even see that 10%. These days, most banks or employers offer an automated savings plan whereby they take whichever percentage you desire and they put it into whichever account you want. This is a great way to begin paying yourself.

Now if you are the type who never spends a dime, I ask you the question, “What exactly are you saving for?” Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging you to not save your money, but I am encouraging you get really connected to what exactly you are saving for. If you are saving in case of an emergency rather than for freedom, excitement, purpose, joy, or love, realize what will manifest is an emergency. My challenge to you then is to change the reason for your saving.

When we stop and really think about the phrase, “Money Talks” we realize just how truthful that is. What’s important to note is that we have the power to dictate the conversation with and about money so that it is either a rich conversation full of financial freedom and joy or it is a poor conversation wrought with desperation, frustration and debt. Here, you have been given three powerful steps to Money Mastery. My question to you: Which conversation will you now be having?