Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Extension Cord Safety

Extension Cord Safety Tips
Source: www.cableorganizer.com (March/April, 2012, Home Magazine)

  1. Extension cords are classified for either indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor-rated cords are stronger for temperature changes, moisture, UV rays, and (sometimes) chemicals. Never use an indoor-rated cord outside.
  2. Always check to see that your device doesn't exceed the cord's wattage rating, including multiple devices. Overheating and fire may occur. If you don't know the device's rating contact the product's manufacturer.
  3. AMPS/Volts vs. Watts: Multiply the number of amps by the number of volts.
  4. Always purchase cords that have the UL symbol.
  5. Don't use cords with cut or damaged insulation. Exposed wires can put you at risk for fire, burns and electrical shock. 
  6. Never cut, file, etc., a cord or plug blades to make it fit into an outlet. You may need to simply replace the receptacle (box).
  7. As long as a cord is plugged into an outlet (whether on or off), it's using "electric." Budgeting households, electric bill, don't waste.
  8. Block unused opening with outlet covers for kids and pets.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blog Repost: 15 Things Never Say To Parents of Biracial Kids

It's my hosted event theme of U.S. Mixed Race Identity Month and Online Quotes Month (April, yearly). It is Spring Cleaning Month, too.

I read an interesting article, from another blogger, of what not to say to parents of biracial kids, accessed April 8, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-stir/15-things-never-to-say-to-parents-of-biracial-kids_b_3109408.html

Can you imagine someone commenting "Aww, look at the cute zebra baby" as implied by the blogger. By definition, mixed race individuals include people of two or more racial identities.  Most U.S. minorities could be considered a part of this definition. Is race still a factor in America? In my opinion, it is never possible for a mixed-race individual to fully avoid their racial identities. I believe that there is more cultural awareness that takes place by mixed individuals --attempts to fully understand American racial identity and personal behaviors. Some individuals may consider too much attention to racial groupings. Others, feel not enough. The reality is that it takes a well-balanced person to be able to grasp their unique identities while also appreciating the challenges of mixed-racial heritage in our society (e.g., school, socially, beauty supplies shopper). Biracial parents must acknowledge this fact. Otherwise, they're setting their child up for years of dysfunctional life experiences by instilling false cultural realities.

Lastly, white citizens are decreasing and not reproducing at a steady rate. U.S. minorities are no longer just of the African race. Latinos are returning to their home country of Mexico due to our economy.  What racial group is actually the new minorities in America?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Ten Best Tax Filing Tips

Article by USA Weekend (March 21-31, 2014, J. Waggoner of USA Today)

Time To Organize Your Household's Financial Contributions and Deductions

  1. Get credit for the EITC. (Earned Income Tax Contribution, only if you made less than $51,567)
  2. No pension, Do you have a traditional IRA? 
  3. Have you reached the higher income tax bracket which is 39.6% for earned income over $400,000 (single person) or $450,001 (married couple)?
  4. Did you search for a job in 2013? You may be able to deduct your job-hunting expenses (e.g., mileage is 56.5 cents a mile).
  5. Have children, Did you have any child care expenses? You may be able to receive a tax credit.
  6. Did you remodel your home in 2013? New windows? Furnace? Energy-saving home improvements? You may be able to receive a tax credit up to $500.
  7. Are you a teacher? You may be able to receive a tax credit up to $250 for educational materials.
  8. Did you include deductions of state sale taxes?
  9. Do you own an electric vehicle? You may be able to receive a tax credit up to $7,500. 
  10. Tax Day is April 15. Do you need an extension if so, contact the Internal Revenue Service, today.