The Loomis Team's Blog
Whether you're 25 or 65, one thing's for sure: Home ownership, raising a family, and having enough money to retire comfortably takes a lot of money! Surprisingly, a high percentage of people of all ages have not accumulated a sufficient nest egg for their future needs.
What many homeowners (and aspiring homeowners) don't stop to realize is that there are many opportunities to save money, reduce expenses, and keep more of your hard-earned cash where it belongs: in your pocket, bank account, or retirement plan. While it may seem like your money flies out the window as fast as you can earn it, you may be overlooking some key strategies for holding on to more of it. One of the most powerful tactics for saving and making more money is learning how to negotiate effectively.
Practicing the Art of Negotiation
Virtually "everything is negotiable," especially in real estate transactions. Fortunately, you can rely on a good real estate agent to look out for your interests and get you the best deal. However, it is generally to your advantage to have a basic understanding of negotiating principles and the possibility of winning concessions from the other side.
Perhaps the number one thing to keep in mind when attending an open house or touring a home you're considering buying is to choose your words carefully -- particularly if you're in the presence of the seller's agent or the home seller, themselves (Note: If you're just viewing the house with your buyers' agent, you don't have to worry about weighing your words or being too effusive.) As an example, if you blurt out "This house is absolutely perfect!" or "This is exactly what we're looking for!" then you're putting yourself at a strategic disadvantage when it comes to making an offer on the house. It pays to "play things close to the vest." That expression, of course, originated from the game of poker, in which it's a tactical error to let your opponents see your cards.
There are dozens of situations in life where negotiating skills can help you gain hundreds, if not thousands of additional dollars from a transaction. Examples range from negotiating a raise or a starting salary to buying or selling real estate or automobiles. By developing your negotiating skills and practicing them at every opportunity, you'll find yourself gaining financial and other advantages that wouldn't otherwise be available to you. As the poem "My Wage" by Jessie B. Rittenhouse reminds us, if we bargain with life for pennies, then that's exactly what we'll get in return.
By negotiating the best possible deal in real estate transactions, automobile purchases, home improvement contracts, employment opportunities, credit card interest rates, and dozens of other situations, you can build up a larger retirement nest egg, help your kids pay for college, and achieve a greater measure of financial security.
Many homeowners are unaware that the most common causes of house fires are cooking related. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires cause 46% of house fires and 44% of household injuries.
You aren’t alone if you think those numbers are shockingly high. However, most of us are never taught cooking safety techniques. In this article, we’re going to give you some tips to protect you and your family from the most common and some lesser known causes of kitchen fires.
Cooking fire statistics
Knowing the most common causes of cooking fires is a great way to understand just how dangerous certain types of cooking really are. The NFPA reports that frying is the most dangerous type of cooking. Two-thirds of cooking fires were the result of the ignition of food and cooking materials.
In terms of equipment, the range or cooktop is the most dangerous part of the kitchen, causing over 60% of fires. However, much of the time the cause comes down to leaving your equipment unattended.
One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of house fires is to stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Unattended ranges, stovetops, and ovens can be particularly deadly since they can happen as a result of someone dozing off while watching television, or someone forgetting they left a burner on after they go to sleep.
A good way to monitor your cooking is to always use a timer, even if you don’t necessarily need one for the cooking that you’re doing. Also, be sure that your smoke detectors are working and that you have a functional fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure your family knows what to do if they encounter a fire.
Before you turn on your burners before frying, make sure there is nothing around your oven that can catch fire. A food container, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper towels, or curtains could all potentially catch fire if they come in close contact with a burner.
Clothing is also a leading cause of kitchen fires that turn fatal. Make sure sleeves and other pieces of clothing aren’t near any burners or open flames.
In case of fire
If you encounter a large cooking fire that is spreading throughout, the best thing to do is to immediately gather your family and get out of the house, avoiding the kitchen entirely. Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safely outside and don’t re-enter the house under any circumstances.
For small grease fires, smother the fire with a lid and turn off the burner immediately.
Understanding cooking fires
Most fire requires oxygen to burn and spread. If there is a small fire in your kitchen, using a soaked towel or a pan lid to smother it will suffice.
However, grease fires work differently. Never put water on a grease fire, this can cause the fire to spread very quickly. Rather, use a lid to put out the fire if it is small enough to get near. You can also throw baking soda, or use a fire extinguisher on a small grease fire.