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Real Estate Blog Series: The Pros and Cons of Renting in Metropolitan Areas

PennySaverUSA.com strives to bring you the best resources and information about everything we have to offer. This will be the first installment in our Real Estate Blog Series. We’ll bring you the best tips when it comes to anything real estate, and provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to make the best decision.

The Pros and Cons of Renting in Metropolitan Areas

Renting out a property in the city can seem to be a daunting task, and in many ways it is. There are a lot of perks for moving your business to a metropolitan market. In order to make a sound decision if a city rental would be good choice for your property investment and business, Dusty Henry of All Property Management has put together some pros and cons.

The Pros and Cons of Renting in Metropolitan Areas

Pro: Location and Population

While geographically large cities are not always “centrally” located in the state; big cities are usually the central hub for many other large towns surrounding it. These big cities are often the cultural epicenters for communities as well as a high source of employment opportunities. Cities like these typically get to this size because of the big businesses that settle in them. This means there are more people with high profile/paying positions than you might find in a rural area.

Metropolitan areas are also more densely populated. This means you are working with a larger pool of people to draw from in potential renters. Working with more people means better odds of finding the right tenants.

Con: More People, More Problems

More people may mean more potential for finding the right tenant, but it also means that you will definitely find a lot of unqualified people applying for your rental. The time you will put into tenant screening will likely go up exponentially when you rent in a densely populated area. In property management, time is valuable (especially if you are managing multiple properties). You do not want to waste too much time looking for a tenant, but you also do not want to rush the job and end up with someone who will be harmful to your investment.

Pro: Appeal of Convenience

Urban areas typically have a leg up on access to a wider variety of local resources, shops, entertainment, etc compared to someone who lives in an outer rural area may have to travel all the way into the city to pick up something specific they need. With cities providing many jobs to outlying areas, a city apartment or home rental can be very appealing to potential tenants as it would greatly lessen their commute.

From a management standpoint, you also have the convenience of having a wider selection of maintenance companies to work with in the case that something goes wrong with the rental.

Con: City Limitations

Just as if you were to manage a property in a far removed rural area, the city has just as many limitations. There are some safety concerns that come with city dwelling. There are likely going to be city ordinances that you will have to follow as to what you can do to the property. This is likely to happen at any place that has an HOA (Homeowners Association) as well. Depending on where in the city it is located (whether it is literally on the street or in a suburb within the city), there may also be a risk of vandalism to the building, which sometimes cannot be foreseen.

This first guest blog post was written by Dusty Henry of All Property Management. Property owners in San Diego can connect with homeowners easily with All Property Management. They have a wide directory of property managers and free quotes make finding the right person to manage your property painless and simple.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

Save Money Monday: Saving on Your Electricity Bill

It’s Summer, and as the temperature rises so do your electricity bills. It doesn’t have to be that way. In this Save Money Monday blog, we’re going to provide you with household tips to cut down costs on your electricity bills this Summer and through the rest of the year.

Turn off the Lights

Whenever you’re leaving a room, turn off the lights. Even if you may have the intention of returning within a few minutes, you can easily become distracted, and those few minutes can turn into an hour or more–resulting in a waste of electricity and your money.

Replace Light Bulbs

Replace any incandescent light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent bulbs.

Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

If you know you’re the forgetful kind, and probably won’t heed the first tip very diligently, then replace any incandescent light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent bulbs instead. These light bulbs not only use less electricity–saving about 50% when it comes to lighting, but they also emit less heat, reducing your air condition usage. These can be found at many home supplies/hardware stores.

Limit Electricity Usage at Peak Times

For most areas, peak electricity times are during the daytime. Utility companies capitalize on this, and charge you a higher rate during peak hours. If you’re at work during the day, make sure everything is turned off before you leave. If you’re at home during peak hours, open the windows and let the natural sunlight in. Save money and electricity by doing the laundry and washing the dishes late at night or early in the morning.

Turn Off/Unplug Appliances

You can easily save on your monthly electricity bill by turning off or unplugging appliances that are not in use. Some appliances will continue to use a small amount of electricity on a constant basis, even if it’s not in use. Over an extended period of time, the small but consistent usage adds up and leads to more money out of your pocket every month.

Buy Energy Star Appliances

When buying new appliances, look for those that have the Energy Star label. These appliances have been rated by the government and are energy efficient. They are usually slightly more expensive, but save you more during the lifetime usage of the appliance.

Use your Appliances Efficiently

Whether you have or don’t have Energy Star appliances, you can use the appliances that you do have in more energy-efficient ways. For example, when using the dishwasher or doing the laundry, make sure you have full loads and use energy and/or water saving modes.

While most of these tips seem to be just minor adjustments, when combined they can really add up. In today’s economy, every single penny counts, that’s why you’ve got PennySaverUSA to help you out.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

Top 10 Tuesday: Tips for a Healthy Diet

Since Summer time is practically here already, it’s definitely time to get that summer bod in shape. That doesn’t mean that you have to look a certain way or be a certain size–you just need to be healthy, feel confident about your body and be comfortable in your own skin.

Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet and exercise not only help you lose weight and boost your appearance, but they also boost your self-esteem, confidence, mood and energy levels. For the first blog in our Summer-Ready Body Series, we’re going to start with the foundation to a healthier body, which is maintaining a healthy diet.

  1. Drink at least 8 cups (64 oz.) of water a day.

  2. Water helps with metabolism, regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients and oxygen into cells and detoxifying our bodies. If plain water’s not your thing, add a splash of lemon or other citrus flavor.

  3. Don’t skip meals–especially breakfast!

  4. When you start skipping meals, your body goes into survival mode and starts to react by slowing down your metabolism and storing fat cells. Plus, not eating will make you feel lethargic, dizzy, cause headaches, and you’ll be an overall cranky, irritable person. A good breakfast can kick-start your metabolism.

  5. Limit consumption of certain stimulants.

  6. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol and sugar. It may be hard at first to cut them out of your diet completely, so if you can’t do it cold turkey, make it a gradual process. Look into substitutions for each. For example, drink green tea instead of coffee.

    Healthy Diet

    Eat 3 - 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily. Try to eat at least 1 portion from each color group.

  7. Eat 3 – 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily.

  8. Try to eat at least 1 portion from each color group–oranges, reds, greens, yellows (you get the idea). Remember juices, dried fruit and fresh fruit smoothies can also count toward your daily amount.

  9. Keep a supply of healthy snacks at hand.

  10. Snacking is OK, as long as it’s healthy snacking. It’s tempting to head over to the vending machine and get a candy bar, but it won’t do you any good. Instead, have some wholesome cereal bars, low-fat fruit yogurts, dried fut, and unsalted peanuts at the ready to combat those snack cravings.

  11. Think smaller portions.

  12. Divide your daily calories into smaller portions of meals and snacks, so you should be eating eating 4-5 meals a day. This will help you to better control your appetite and weight.

  13. Eat protein at every meal.

  14. Be sure to include healthy protein-rich foods at every meal. The best sources of protein are fish, poultry and vegetables, such as beans, whole grains and nuts. If you can’t live without red meat, keep in mind the portion size and always opt for the leanest cut. If you want to try something new, give soy products a go.

  15. Add healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats.

  16. Healthy fats are needed for your brain, heart and cells, as well as your skin, hair, and nails. Omega-3 fats, found in fish and plant oils, are particularly important and help to improve your mood. You should be getting this daily, but if not, then take a daily Omega-3 supplement. Reduce or eliminate saturated fats and trans fats from your diet. They’re usually found in fast foods, fried goods, baked foods, candies, cookies, and other processed foods.

  17. Keep your bones strong with calcium.

  18. Calcium is an essential nutrient that your body needs for strong bones and teeth. Get your calcium from low-fat sources, such as low-fat yogurt and skim-milk. Recommended calcium levels are 1000 mg/day if you’re under 50, and 1200 mg/day of you’re over 50 years old. If you don’t get the recommended amount from your diet, then take calcium supplements and Vitamin D supplements.

    Last, but certainly not least…

  19. Take time to enjoy your food!

  20. Don’t rush through your meal. Enjoy it. Connect with your food. Chew your food slowly so you can savor the flavors. This will help you to avoid overeating, because your body will feel satisfied and communicate with you efficiently so you know when you’re full.

Rating 4.33 out of 5

Five Easy Steps to Help Your Car Last For 10 Years

Special guest post from Miles Walker, a blogger with carinsurancecomparison.org

Cars take quite a beating over their lifetime, and in the current economic climate, more people than ever are looking for ways to prolong their car’s use rather than trade in or trade up. Many cars can last for decades if they are treated properly and regularly maintained.

Routine Car Maintenance

One of the first steps an owner can do to help their car last 10 years or longer is to bring it in for routine car maintenance. Most car manufacturers specify how and when maintenance must be scheduled, and a good rule of thumb is to have it serviced at least once a year, regardless of how often it is driven. Normally, car maintenance is scheduled after 30,000 and 60,000 miles, but many car manufacturers recommend maintenance at other regular intervals depending on the type of vehicle.

Car care

Click the image to find coupons for car care in your local area.

Frequent Oil Changes

Bringing a car in for oil changes is one of the most inexpensive ways to keep a car in good shape, and it’s also one maintenance task that can be done by the owner, if they are willing to get their hands dirty. Most car manufacturers recommend bringing a car in for an oil change at least every 3,000 miles. Some cars with unusual engines – the Mazda RX8, with a rotary engine – have more demanding oil needs, and the oil needs to be changed more often.

Look for Manufacturers and Makes With a History of Longevity

Prospective car owners should always do some due diligence on what manufacturers and models have a history of reliability and longevity. Asian manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda, for example, are consistently rated as being the most reliable cars on the road, beating out many domestic brands like Chrysler and Ford. Buyers should also look at what models have a strong support structure in place for repairs and servicing, and the availability of replacement parts.

Drive Your Car According to the Manufacturer’s Specifications

It may seem like an obvious point, but a responsible car owner needs to make sure to drive their car according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Many vehicles are simply not designed to take a high level of punishment, and they will not last if they are driven beyond their tolerance. For example, a normal family saloon car is generally not designed for off-road travel or excessive acceleration and speed. Taking it off-road will likely damage the suspension, and treating it like a sports car will cause unnecessary wear and tear on the engine and brakes.

Keep The Mileage Low, But Not at Zero

Driving too much is one sure-fire way to wear out a car, and car owners need to watch their mileage in most cases. But what’s less well known is that cars can also suffer from lack of use, if they are stored and ignored for long periods of time. Gasoline can become ‘gummy’, if it’s not used; batteries can go flat; brake pads can start to stick. Any owner that wants to keep their car running after it’s been left idle for longer than a month should research what steps to take to minimize any damage or problems that result from storage.

When he’s not reading about the latest developments in car tech, Miles Walker writes about where you can buy car insurance online over at CarinsuranceComparison.Org. His latest article looked at the best North Dakota car insurance.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Easter Guide: Free events for families

It’s amazing how time flies. Seems like just yesterday the Christmas tree was going up in the PennySaverUSA offices and we were ready to ring in 2012. Now all of a sudden we are only days away from Easter Sunday!

Not prepared yet? Fear not! The rest of this week PennySaverUSA.com will help you get ready with our Easter Guide. Today, we highlight a variety of Easter events occurring throughout California and Florida. The best part – all of these events are totally free (except one which costs $2).

Know of events in other areas around the country? Please let us know in the comments.

Inland Empire:

Hemet Church of the Nazarene at 42655 E. Florida Ave. in Hemet is having an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 7th at 10:30am. All community children and families are invited to come to this FREE event! Visit PennySaverUSA.com for more details.la-easter

Los Angeles:

EasterFest at the Grand Hope Park in Downtown Los Angeles is all free and open to everyone.  There will be a huge Easter egg hunt with thousands of eggs, multiple bounce houses, pinatas, face-painting, arts and crafts, pie eating contest, games, food, drinks, popcorns, and more on Sunday, April 8 at noon. Visit the New City Church LA web site for more details.

Orange County:

An Easter Egg hunt, face painting, puppet shows and photos with the Easter Bunny are just some of the fun activities offered at the 6th Annual Easter Festival in Costa Mesa, CA. The event takes place at the Orange County Marketplace from 9:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Visit the OC Marketplace web site for more details.

San Diego:

Dos Picos Regional Park in Ramona, CA will be filled with more than 4,000 goodie filled eggs awaiting children in three designated zones for ages 0-2, 3-5, and 6 and up. Hang around after the hunt to visit the Easter Bunny for pictures! A $1 donation is requested to support the event, which takes place Saturday, April 7 at 10 a.m. Visit the SoCal Kids San Diego web site for more details.

Bay Area:

A variety of children’s and family activities are the focus of the San Francisco Easter Parade event and include; large inflatable bounces, kids’ rides and games, a climbing wall, a hands-on children’s activities area, costumed characters, a petting zoo, a pony ride and entertainment from some of the Bay Area’s best musicians. The event starts Sunday, April 8 at 10 a.m. Visit See California’s web site for more details.tampa-easter

Tampa:

It’s the first Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Magic Beans horse stable in safety harbor. $2 per “hunter”, $1 games, $2 feed a horse, $5 horse rides and food items all under $4. Event is from 11-2 and the egg hunt starts at 11:30 sharp on Sunday, April 8. So grab your baskets and hop on over for a time that is sure to be EGGcelent! Visit PennySaverUSA.com for more details.

Miami:

The celebration at the Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center will kick off with a simultaneous egg hunt at 5 of our City Parks where PRIZED EGGS will be evenly distributed over park grounds. Find a GOLDEN EGG and win a fabulous prize! Find a Silver or Bronze Egg and win more prizes! Visit the Coral Gables web site for more details.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

What type of NCAA tournament bracket picker are you?

While we didn’t have a NCAA tournament pool here at the PennySaverUSA offices, we recognize how popular filling out the brackets is across the nation. As a result we’ve decided to have some fun and put everyone who fills out a bracket into a particular category.

ncaa tournament bracket

Don't worry, filling out a bracket doens't require any actual basketball skill.

Which one do you fit in? Let us know in the comments …

The Expert: This is the hardcore college basketball fan. They watch hundreds of games each year and study up on each team as soon as the brackets are revealed on Selection Sunday. They are convinced their in-depth analysis and deep knowledge of basketball will give them some kind of edge. Inevitably, they are almost always proven wrong. All it takes is some 5-foot-7 kid from Northern Iowa who has barely played all season to come off the bench and hit five 3-pointers and knock off a heavy favorite, and all that “expertise” goes to waste.

The Poser: They act like they know so much about college basketball and love to toss around names, but in reality they haven’t even watched more than a handful of games all year. This person tends to come up with all sorts of complicated theories as to why they picked the brackets the way they did. You can always tell this person, because they try to avoid the hardcore basketball fans for fear of being exposed and instead choose to show off their limited knowledge to the much more casual fans.

The Casual Fan: They know the difference between a 16-seed and a 1-seed and are familiar with the very best players and most famous coaches, but they haven’t followed too closely and don’t pretend like they have, either. They might watch a preview show or two and listen to Dick Vitale yell “Awesome Baby” and make his picks, but they just fill out the brackets for fun and make educated guesses.

The Homer: If the hometown team is involved in the tournament, this person is extremely pumped up. They know everything about their favorite school and follow it religiously, but are generally clueless about the rest of the tournament field. They pick their favorite to win it all in the brackets and ride or die with that particular team. If (once) that team gets eliminated, however, they tend to lose interest and start on their spring cleaning.ncaa tournament bracket 2

The Front-Runner: Whoever is picked by the majority of the sports media is this person’s pick to win it all. They generally fill out their brackets by choosing the chalk all the way through and they hate the underdog story. They tend to dismiss any school that doesn’t have brand name recognition and love seeing the favorites roll. This person usually roots for either Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky or Kansas.

The Non-Conformist: This person just LOVES to pick upsets. Not necessarily because they even wants the underdog to win, but just because they love doing the opposite of whatever is the conventional wisdom. When one of their surprise picks pans out, they will likely boast about how they outsmarted the masses. Then you can just point out to them the 20 picks they got wrong and the gloating should end.

The Schemer: This person tries to apply mathematical principles or come up with some formula that they claim is a full-proof way of getting the most picks correct. It might seem to work for a while like the “Moneyball” principles did for the Oakland A’s, but just like that team fell short, this scheme likely will as well. Of course, there is always the chance your story will be made into a movie with Brad Pitt.

The Novice: They have no clue about college basketball, don’t really give a darn about the NCAA tournament and pick teams based off of ridiculous concepts like which mascot is scarier or which uniform is more fashionable. Be very, very afraid of this particular bracket picker. More often than not, they wind up winning the whole thing, and mock everyone else in their pool in the process.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Save Money Monday: Going to garage sales

First of all: Happy New Year to all the PennySaverUSA blog readers!

Since Monday was a holiday, Save Money Monday comes a bit late this week. That’s okay, though, because we’ve got something really special for you today.mogasa_garage_sale_app_300x250

Usually in Save Money Monday, we focus on the most effective couponing methods, but there are many different ways to save money. One of the best is by going to garage sales and buying quality used items at a fantastic price.

Thankfully, the days of having to drive around aimlessly in search of garage sale signs are over. PennySaverUSA has a new mobile garage sale app, called MOGASA, available for download from iPhone or Android that allows you to find and get directions for garage sales anywhere in the United States. You can also advertise your garage sales on the app just by registering.

The best part … the app is completely free!

With thousands of nationwide listings, MOGASA is a must-have mobile resource for garage sale enthusiasts. And if you are interested in saving money, and aren’t one yet, it would behoove you to quickly become a garage sale enthusiast.

Whether you are in need of home decorating items, tools, clothes, toys, collectibles, furniture, or just about anything; a garage sale is an excellent place to search for the items you need without spending much money.

Save Money Monday will return to it’s regularly scheduled time slot next week and resume tips and ideas for couponing, but every Tuesday, PennySaverUSA will dedicate the PennySaverUSA blog to MOGASA with tips and ideas for going garage sale hunting.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Steals of the Week: Kid stuff

The last Steals of the Week installment of 2011 is dedicated to all the parents or soon-to-be parents of young children out there. The focus is on discounted kid stuff.

Traditionally, we highlight five PennySaverUSA online classifieds ads in Steals of the Week, but this time around we are going to blend three amazing offers for kid stuff from our daily deal site SaverTime.com, with two online classified ads.

Leading off Steals of the Week is a truly unique and memorable SaverTime offer from a company in Tustin, CA. Bundle of Joy 3D-4D Ultrasound Services is offering a package deal that includes a 45-minute ultrasound session, 10 black and white 2D photos, 6 3D color pictures, gender determination (if you wish), baby heartbeat listening, a CD with up to 80 pictures in 2D & 3D, and 30-minute DVD set to music for only $100. That’s a 50% off discount from the regular price!

savertime-ultrasound-package

The next Steals of the Week kid stuff entry is also via SaverTime and comes from a company called Rockabye. For only $35, you can get a $100 gift certificate to use towards any of the 15 different adorable children’s rockers they have for sale. Even better: This is an online deal, so it’s available to anyone nationwide.

savertime-rockabye-deal

SaverTime’s third Steals of the Week kid stuff offer is provided by Bungalow Bebe Inc. With this SaverTime deal, you can get $60 worth of organic cotton children’s clothing for only $30. Your baby deserves only the finest materials, after all. This deal is also available nationwide.

savertime-kid-stuff-deal

We now transition back to PennySaverUSA online classifieds for our final two Steals of the Week kid stuff items. The first one is an Eddie Bauer Travel System  stroller and car seat set for sale in Sun City, CA for only $100 (or best offer). The seller claims it is very clean and was barely used.

steals-of-the-week-eddie-bauer-stroller

Steals of the Week concludes with none other than an oversized Elmo doll. It’s soft, plush, authentic and adorable says the seller from Palmdale, CA and it can be had for only $20!

steals-of-the-week-elmo-doll

Have you seen any awesome Steals of the Week recently? Please let us know in the comments.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Pet of the Week: All Rudy needs is the chance Sable was given

What better way to start off the New Year than by rescuing one of the sweetest puppies you’ll ever come across! PennySaverUSA’s final 2011 Pet of the Week up for adoption comes to us from Stockton, CA.

pet-of-the-week-rudy

Call the Stockton Animal Shelter to adopt Rudy today!

Rudy is his name, and he’s a male Schnauzer, who arrived at the shelter with his mother. Both would love nothing more than to celebrate watching the ball drop with you and your family!

While he may not have a red nose like his famous reindeer namesake, Rudy is a magical pet in his own right, with the ability to light up a room with his smile.

He and his mom are available for adoption at the Stockton Animal Shelter, located at 1575 S. Lincoln St. in Stockton, CA.

The shelter is open from 12-5 p.m. Monday-Friday or 12-3 p.m. on Saturday. The number to dial if you are interested in giving Rudy a home is 209-937-8274 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 209-937-8274 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or you can visit their web site at www.stocktongov.com.

Happy Holidays!

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Our last user-submitted Pet of the Week this year is named Sable from the bright lights of Hollywood, CA. The founder of the must-read blog That’s IT Mommy was kind enough to share her story via a tweet to @PennySaverUSA. Here handle is @ThatsITMommy.

Sable came to us with that name and it’s a perfect fit.

Her soft coat has a purpley-brown hue to it in the sun. We adopted her eight years ago when my husband, our Yorkshire Terrier and I moved to Southern California.

The rescue agency didn’t know much about Sable. The former owner kept her confined in their garage and she had a few siblings. Apparently, the owner’s daughter was “allergic” to Sable. We were told that she was about 12 weeks old. Our vet thought she was closer to seven weeks.

pet-of-the-week-sable

Leave her a comment about Sable on That's It Mommy's blog.

Sable suffered with separation anxiety and actually chewed her way through a door when we went out one day! I attribute her anxiety to her being separated from her mom at such a young age and isolated in a garage. She’s part terrier, part Affenpinscher (monkey-dog in German) and part psycho!

Sable is 10 pounds with a big personality. She’s quite the character with a loveable under-bite and Igor-esque eyeballs (think Marty Feldman).

Agility is her middle name. Her jumping and walking on hind legs definitely remind us she is a “monkey-dog”! She’s one of the few dogs who keep up with the mini greyhounds at the dog park. Sable has been a challenge but we love her.

She is definitely an alpha-type and sometimes has problems “meeting” other dogs when walking in our neighborhood. She’s unconditionally loyal, especially to my husband.

She has boundless energy and has no problem going on 5-mile runs with him. We were very lucky to find and adopt such a sweet, loving, yet crazy-cool dog.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

Final chance to enter the Craftmas online contest

Twas the eve before Craftmas eve and Penny the Pig’s face was filled with glee … PennySaverUSA’s online contest had so many incredible entries for him to see!

The quality of the submissions has truly made the PennySaverUSA staff proud and in awe of the amazing talent displayed by our readers.

Craftmas

Visit the PennySaverUSA Facebook page to see all the entries.

So far, over 150 entries have been collected and the task of picking the winner will be extremely difficult. But we only expect the job of the judges to get harder over the next two days. That’s because the Craftmas online contest doesn’t end until Dec. 29!

Yep, you heard right, you have until Dec. 29 to submit a photo of your holiday craft. The prize for the winner is $250 – unless you have downloaded our free mobile garage sale app MOGASA on your iPhone or Android. If you are a MOGASA user, you will receive a $300 cash prize.

With the competition so tough right now, your best bet is to make a very unique holiday craft. Not to say that the multitude of wreaths, snowmen and gingerbread houses we’ve received aren’t awesome, because they are, but the more original the idea, the more it will stand out.

Don’t forget to post your seasonal craft photo on the PennySaverUSA Facebook wall and view all the entries on the PennySaverUSA Facebook page photos tab.

Rating 2.00 out of 5