Tag Archive: Family

What To Do This Weekend

activities-to-try-this-weekend

What to Do This Weekend

Weekend plans look a lot different nowadays, eh?  I’m sure you are as sick of reading stories that begin with,  “In these unprecedented times” or “Our new reality.”  So I’m going to skip the intro and the explanation …You are being a hero by staying home and protecting the health of your family and that of your neighbors.  Thank you!  Let me reward that good behavior with a list of a few things to keep you entertained this weekend.

Absurd Planet

It’s a ridiculous tongue in cheek nature show on Netflix.  There are plenty of adult jokes disguised as nature facts.  It’s child safe and adult approved.  The whole family enjoyed it!  If you are looking for a program the whole family can enjoy, add Absurd Planet to your watch list.

Watch Party

Speaking of Netflix, did you know you can watch a movie with friends long distance?  Check out  Netflix Party. It synchronizes everyone’s video playback and adds a chat feature.  If you and your significant other aren’t quarantining together, this is certainly a fun date night option, too!

Date Night Dinner & Dessert

If you are homebound with your significant other, you’re probably ready to spice things up.   Tasty did a great feature of creating a three-course meal from the pantry.  I was impressed….especially when one of the courses was peanut butter cookies!  Follow along and cook a great meal or just get inspired to create your own pantry date night!

Stretch

We are sitting still so much more than usual.  You need to give your joints and bones and muscles some love! Stretch them out!  There are plenty of free stretching videos on YouTube and the like, but my number one recommendation is the Peloton App.  They are offering a 90-day free trial right now, after that it’s $13/month.  The full body stretches are 5-15 minutes long giving you plenty of options.  Additionally, they have meditation, boot camp, running, and walking programs.  (and no, I’m not an affiliate…I just think it’s a great app)

Try A New Summer Recipe

Yeah, cooking isn’t a groundbreaking suggestion.  Approach it a little differently today.  Think of it as a meditation.  Take your time cleaning and cutting the fresh veggies or fruit.  Maybe watch a Youtube video first and learn a new technique.  Then when you are ready, take on one of these yummy summer recipes.

Dance 

Last week I took a dance lesson to learn the moves to the Tik Tok ‘Savage’ dance. The instructor was amazing…I was a *mess*!  But I haven’t laughed that hard in a while…and it used up a lot of energy!  You can find plenty of lessons on YouTube or you can try a virtual class with Diva Dance DC.  You can literally dance like nobody is watching! And who knows…maybe you will find some hidden talent!

Phone a Friend

….not for your sake, but for theirs.  People are getting cabin fever.  They need each other.  Scroll through your phone and find the friend that you know lives alone or the friend you know wishes they were living alone, and give them shout.  It doesn’t have to be a Zoom happy hour and it doesn’t have to be an hour long.  You can simply share a happy memory you have with them.  Small interactions and gestures go a long way right now.  

That’s it for this week.  As I find specific events or awesomeness, I will share a new post weekly!  If you have ideas or events to include next week feel free to send them my hollib@apartminty.com or @Apartmentalist on Instagram.

Be Well!

Read What To Do This Weekend on Apartminty.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

Home Burglary Statistics: How Safe Are You?

Do you feel safe in your home? What about when you’re not there? Home security is an everyday concern for many, so it’s important that you are taking the proper precautions to protect your valuables and loved ones. To help you understand the patterns and behavior of burglars, we have a guide on burglary statistics and how to safeguard your home.

Are people securing their homes?

We surveyed 1,000 Americans about their home security and found that:

  • 70 percent of people have security measures in place to keep their home from being burglarized
  • Almost as many people lock their doors and windows when they are home (40 percent) compared to when they aren’t (46 percent) home
  • Only 22 percent of respondents indicated that they use an alarm system and 22 percent said they use video cameras
  • 24 percent of respondents said they owned self-defense equipment

graphic that shows what americans do to protect their home from a burglary

When it comes to securing their homes, respondents indicated that they are more likely to use old-fashioned techniques such as deadlocks (40 percent) on their doors rather than relying on technology such as alarm systems (22 percent) or video cameras (22 percent).

Seasonal break-in concerns

The majority of respondents (56 percent) were most worried about a home burglary in the summer. Half as many (26 percent) were concerned about winter and only 9 percent were worried about spring and 9 percent in the fall. These concerns align with seasonal burglary statistics. According to the FBI, burglaries are most likely to occur during the summer months, between noon and 4 p.m.

graphic that shows seasonal break-in concerns

Despite the tendency for people to take precautions by having self-defense equipment and locking doors when they’re inside, a majority of break-ins happen when people are not there to protect the home.

Preventing a seasonal break-ins

The most break-ins occur in the summer months. This is when Americans are most likely to be on vacation or outside enjoying a sunny day. The second most popular season for break-ins is winter. During the holidays, people take trips to visit family and are away from their homes. This is also the time of year when they have valuable presents in their homes.

To prevent holiday break-ins this season:

  • Leave lights on a timer so it looks like you are home throughout the day. Break-ins are most likely to occur between noon and 4 p.m. If you aren’t home during those hours, leave lights or music on a timer so it seems like you are.
  • Don’t leave signs that you are gone such as mail piled up in the mailbox or garbage cans out in the street for too long. The average break-in lasts between eight to 10 minutes. Leaving signs you are gone lets a burglar know they have plenty of time to steal your belongings.
  • Don’t leave boxes from your holiday gifts on the curb. Forty-seven percent of burglaries aren’t planned. Someone might be passing by and see your new TV or PlayStation box on the curb which triggers them to try to break in.
  • Avoid posting that you are out of town on social media. Eighty-five percent of burglars know their victims so they could be following your public social media account.

Burglaries statistics by state

Wondering how your state compares? The FBI has a granular look at crime rates in your state. Below are the top 10 states with the most and least burglaries per hundred thousand residents in 2018.

states with the most and least break-ins per capita

Burglary vs. robbery

It is easy to misconstrue a burglary from a robbery. While they may seem similar, they are two very distinct crimes that have different implications and investigative processes.

Burglary is classified as a property crime, whereas a robbery is classified as a violent crime.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, a burglary is an “unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry of a structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft.” The specifics of a burglary is relative based on your state laws.

On the other hand, a robbery is classified as “taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

Since robberies are classified as violent crimes, if someone is convicted of a robbery they will find that it carries a more severe sentence than a burglary.

Additional burglary statistics

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that there were 1.3 million household burglaries, which was a 4.72 percent increase from the previous year. It’s important to be aware of when they happen so you can reduce your risk.

1. Burglaries are most likely to occur during the middle of the day

According to the FBI, in 2018 there were 346,312 daytime burglaries compared to 218,028 burglaries that occurred at night.

This is most likely because the daytime is when your home is left unoccupied. People have daily routines. Criminals are able to track this and take advantage of the times you aren’t home.

2. Burglaries are most likely to happen in the summer months

Seasonality can impact the number of burglaries that occur. These crimes are most likely to occur during the summer months. This is most likely due to a combination of good weather, longer days and an increase in vacations. With more daylight, there is a larger window of opportunity for burglars to break into homes.

We found that the majority of survey respondents (54 percent) indicated that they are most concerned about home burglaries during the summer months.

burglar climbing fence

3 Burglaries are more likely to occur in rural states

According to the FBI, New Mexico, Mississippi and Oklahoma have the highest burglary rate per 100,000 residents. In contrast, Virginia, New York and New Hampshire have the lowest.

4. A burglary occurs every 23 seconds

According to burglary statistics from the FBI, burglaries happen every 23 seconds. This means, there are nearly three homes burglarized every minute and 3,757 burglaries each day.

burglar stealing jewelry

5. Your bedroom is most likely to be the target of a burglary

Burglars have to be strategic with their time, and this includes targeting the rooms that are most valuable. According to the American Society of Criminology, in two-story homes, burglars will bypass the living areas and head straight for the upstairs bedrooms where they will find the most coveted items.

When scouring the bedroom for your belongings, burglars gravitate toward small, valuable items. Rather than big bulky items like TVs that are difficult to carry, they steal small items that can fit into their pockets in order to avoid unwanted attention as they exit the home.

6. The average cost of a burglary is $2,799

The cost of a burglary is steep. At $2,799 this could set apartment renters back a couple months’ rent. Many renters get renters insurance so they can recoup these losses if burglary were to happen. While it is possible to get back your monetary loss, the feeling of security in your house is harder to recover.

breaking in

7. White men are most likely to break into your home

According to the FBI, 80.4 percent of men are found to be the ones breaking in compared to only 19.6 percent of women.

When looking at race or ethnicity in 2018, the FBI found that 68.1 percent of all offenders were Caucasian, 29.4 percent were African American,1.2 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.1 percent were Asian and 0.2 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

8. Only 23 percent of U.S. households are professionally monitored

According to senior analyst Dina Abdelrazik at Parks Associates, only 23 percent of all U.S. households with broadband internet have a professionally monitored security system and 2.5 percent have a self-monitored system.

person looking at home security system

How to prevent a break-in

While thieves can be tricky, there are precautions you can take to prevent a break-in in your home. Here are some ways to prevent a break-in.

Install a home security system

The installation of a home security system not only will help secure your home, but it will also give you more peace of mind when you are away. Many systems include video cameras that allow you to see who is on your property at all times of the day.

Park your car in the driveway

This can be an indicator that you are home and burglars will be hesitant to break in fear that they will encounter someone. If you are on vacation, have your neighbor use your driveway as a parking spot to deter any possible burglars.

Lock doors and windows

Locking all points of entry will provide an additional layer of protection when you are away from your home. If you leave a door unlocked or window cracked it will be an invitation for any intruder looking for an easy target.

Install timers for your lights

Even if you are away from your home, putting your lights on timers can give the illusion that someone is home, which can deter an intruder from breaking in.

Be careful on social media

Social media can be a way that burglars track you. Posting that you are at a coffee shop or on vacation will let them know when your home is free to attack. Be cognizant of your social media use, especially when you are not home.

Advertise your dog

Your dog can deter a burglar even if it’s harmless. A simple “beware of dog” sign can make a burglar second guess if they should break-in.

Don’t let the mail build-up

Allowing your mail to pile up is a clear indicator that you have not been home for quite some time. This will make your home an easy target.

Hide ladders and tools

Don’t give burglars any accessories to break into your home. Hide or keep your tools in a safe place where no one can access them but you.

Now that you are more aware of the upward trend in home burglaries in the past years. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to better secure your home or apartment. It is always better to be prepared than to realize you have been the victim of a burglary.

infographic

Methodology

This study was conducted for Apartment Guide using Google Consumer Surveys. The sample consists of 1,000 respondents in the United States. The survey was conducted in November 2019.

References:

  • Safewise
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • State Laws
  • FBI 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Wiley
  • Safe At Last

The post Home Burglary Statistics: How Safe Are You? appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Holiday Dinner

The year has flown by, and somehow we’ve already stored our skeletons and pumpkins, and we’re ready for Thanksgiving. Time to order those stretchy pants as you bring together family and friends over one table.

But with every large event, there are safety issues that occur as you cook a big feast in your kitchen.

Did you know Thanksgiving is the No. 1 day for home cooking fires in the country, followed by Christmas? Yes, that’s more than three times as many as a regular day. Unattended cooking is the culprit for the rise in kitchen fires.

Sure, smart stove apps can help keep an eye on things and alert you, but not everyone has those on hand.

If you’re thinking of hosting this year, read on for Thanksgiving safety tips for this holiday season.

Before dinner

turkey in the oven

Preparing a large feast for your family and friends isn’t an easy feat, but it can be enjoyed with some pre-planning to save money and time. Check your smoke detectors, switch out the batteries if needed and make your grocery list.

1. Turkey safety

Timing is everything when purchasing the best turkey and the ingredients for all of your sides. If you’re buying a fresh turkey, wait until two days before Thanksgiving. We know it’s not ideal for your busy schedule, but this helps keep it fresh for your meal.

Move your frozen turkey to the refrigerator prior to the big day. The general rule of thumb is to give it about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw it completely. Place a tray under it to catch any juices and never let the turkey thaw out on the kitchen counter — frozen meat can start to grow bacteria after only two hours outside.

2. At the grocery

Start filling your shopping cart with grocery shelf items before reaching for the refrigerated perishables and frozen foods. After you’ve picked out your groceries, make sure to come straight home to make sure nothing thaws out.

As you go down your grocery list, keep all of your guests’ dietary restrictions in mind. For example, pre-basted or self-basting turkeys often contain soy, wheat or dairy, so be sure to read the labels.

3. Keep an eye for cross-contamination

Use different utensils and cutting boards when preparing meat and produce and thoroughly wash them between each use. We know it’s an extra step, but it keeps all bacteria off your prep area. Skip rinsing the turkey — it’s not necessary.

Be sure to keep the meat thermometer out to check that the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 164 degrees Fahrenheit. With a different thermometer, check that all hot side items reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

4. Don’t forget about the stove

With everyone catching up about this year’s work and life milestones, you can quickly get distracted and walk away from the kitchen. A fire can start in the blink of an eye.

Set a timer on your home assistant like the Amazon Echo, your smartphone or walk away with a potholder. Any of these will jolt you right out of conversation and back to the kitchen.

5. Set the table

So, it’s time to dig in — do you set up the table with name tags and formal place settings or a casual buffet? We think both a formal table and buffet are good options.

If you have room for a buffet, make sure that you set out the cold food first, so it’s the right temperature when the guests grab it. Also, set up sauces and gravy near their corresponding dishes for easy access.

If you have a formal setup, designate your turkey carver and set all sides on easy to grab platters with serving spoons.

While you eat

turkey being served on thanksgiving

First things first — as you start plating sides for the table and putting the turkey on a platter, make sure that you check every stove burner and the oven. Turn everything off.

Move all things away from the burners to make sure nothing catches on fire, and check that the oven is empty. Don’t leave anything still cooking, simmering or boiling.

After the feast

Leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving. But every year, one in six people get sick from contaminated food. Bacteria grow fast. But if you don’t want your Thanksgiving feast to become the infamous story told again and again at parties, make sure to keep an eye on your food preparation and storage.

As people start to slow down over their meals, start wrapping all leftovers, taking them to the kitchen and placing them in the refrigerator. While a few of you clean, have someone in your family be in charge of entertaining the kids so everything will go faster.

Avoid storing the stuffing inside the turkey. They should remain separate. No food should stay out for more than two hours. Skip any leftovers on plates touched by your guests.

Once everyone is headed home, pack up the leftovers in small, shallow containers. Let them know to refrigerate them as soon as they get back. Store the turkey in the freezer.

You have up to four days to make all the turkey sandwiches and fried mashed potatoes you want, then you have to toss them.

turkey safety infographic

Source: Fightbac.org

Enjoy your Thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving kicks off the ever-tiring holiday season, but with good food and people to surround you, you’ll have a good time. Cook everything at the right temperature, keep your kitchen clean, be careful when handling produce and store leftovers within two hours.

Don’t miss a good meal due to a dangerous kitchen fire. Stay safe in the kitchen this coming season.

The post Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Holiday Dinner appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

9 Ways to Survive With No Dishwasher in Your Apartment

Even if your new rental unit ticked off most of your must-have boxes — great location, lots of light, budget-friendly — you might be disappointed about one thing: There’s no dishwasher in the apartment.

Not to worry! Here are some tips, tricks and shortcuts that take the drudgery out of washing dishes — and you may even end up enjoying the task.

1. Plan meals that use fewer dishes

Instant pot filled with food.

Instead of dirtying piles of cooking utensils, try incorporating some one-pot meals into the rotation. Slow cookers, instant-pots, woks and sheet pans will all minimize the amount of mess.

When baking, measure your dry ingredients first and then reuse the same measuring cups and spoons for wet ingredients.

You can also line your pans with aluminum foil before roasting vegetables or baking lasagna to cut down on washing time afterward.

Also, read a recipe through before you start cooking to see how many dishes you will need. By thinking ahead, you’ll have less to wash when you’re done eating.

2. Clean up as you cook

Washing a dirty pan with soap and water because there's no dishwasher in apartment

As you prepare your meal, get in the habit of tossing food scraps into the compost bin or garbage can. Plan to wash what you use as you’re cooking or place dirty dishes into the sink as you go.

Before you start chopping any ingredients, fill the sink with warm soapy water and soak your dirty dishes so food doesn’t become dry and caked on. Wash your prep tools as your food cooks.

3. Get the right tools for the job

Cleaning tools for dishwashing.

Toss that stinky kitchen dishcloth and pick up a few smart gadgets that will almost make you forget you don’t have a dishwasher in your apartment.

  • A dishwashing brush can handle even the crustiest food remnants, plus it dries completely — no more damp, germ-infested sponges lying around.
  • If you prefer a sponge, get a washable microfiber one that you can toss into the washing machine.
  • Silicone scrubbing gloves protect your hands, plus they provide some scrubbing power.
  • Using a blade brush is a safer way to clean sharp knives.
  • A food scraper or dish squeegee makes dishwashing easier and keeps your sudsy water cleaner.

4. Protect your drain

Sink clogged with water.

The last thing you need when you have no dishwasher in your apartment is a clogged kitchen sink.

Never pour oil or grease down the drain because they can coat the pipes and cause a blockage. Use a sink strainer to catch food particles and empty it regularly while you’re cleaning up.

5. Be efficient by learning how to clean stubborn dishes

Handwashing dishes.

For about $10, you can upgrade your kitchen faucet with a swivel tap aerator, which helps get into the nooks and crannies for more effective dishwashing.

Wash items from least to most dirty: Glasses and silverware first, then plates and bowls. Save the largest, dirtiest things for last. Some dishes, like glassware or anything oily need extra-hot water to get clean, while others do better with cold.

For example, dairy and starch rinse off easily under cold water, which prevents the residue from getting sticky. For scorched pots and pans, head to your laundry room to grab a dryer sheet: Soaking it with the pan in warm soapy water for an hour will remove caked-on grime.

6. Use the right kind and amount of dish soap

Soapy sponge because no dishwasher in apartment

If you don’t like wearing latex gloves to protect your hands, use a natural dish soap that will be gentler on your skin. For very greasy dishes, you might need a more advanced dish cleaner.

Don’t use too much soap, because it can leave a sticky residue on your dishes — one or two tablespoons per load is all you need.

Pouring your soap into a touchless foaming soap dispenser controls how much you use, saving you money.

7. Purchase space-saving drying racks

Dishes drying on a cleaning rack.

Why double the amount of work to hand-dry all your dishes when you can let them air-dry instead?

Since small apartment kitchens usually lack counter space, ditch the bulky dish-drying rack in favor of a more streamlined solution, such as hanging a wire shelf over the sink, or using a roll-up drying rack that stores away when not in use. Or, use a silicone dish-drying mat — it’s better than a fabric one because it prevents mold growth.

8. Treat yourself to a few luxuries

Man listening to music while doing dirty dishes in the kitchen with no dishwasher in apartment

Just because there’s no dishwasher in your apartment doesn’t mean you should dread cooking great meals for yourself or your loved ones. One thing that makes the task easier is creating the right mood for the job.

Pick up some great-smelling dish soap and soft linen kitchen towels, which dry faster than cotton and are naturally anti-microbial. Set up a waterproof Bluetooth speaker or wear wireless headphones so you can listen to your favorite tunes or podcast or light a few aromatherapy candles to make washing dishes more enjoyable.

9. Invest in a countertop dishwasher

Speaking of treating yourself: Sometimes, especially if you have a family to feed three times a day, hand-washing everything is just not realistic. Apartment dwellers have another option: A countertop dishwasher.

These appliances — ranging in size from 16 to 22 inches wide — sit on your counter, hook up to the faucet and wash up to six place settings at once. These dishwashers cost about $400.

Adapt to having no dishwasher in your apartment

While living in an apartment with no dishwasher can seem challenging at first, the transition to a wash-as-you-go lifestyle is easier when you plan ahead, use the right tools and shift your mindset.

The post 9 Ways to Survive With No Dishwasher in Your Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

22 Emergency Phone Numbers You Should Know (Printable)

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to the security of yourself and the ones you love. A quick call to animal poison control can save your pet. Having a plumber’s number nearby can help prevent any flooding if you have a pipe leak. Being prepared with emergency phone numbers on hand in an urgent situation can make all the difference.

How to set up emergency phone numbers on your cell

While it’s important to have these numbers next to your home phone, these days many people use their cell phone as the main phone line. Luckily, smartphones allow you to create a medical ID or In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact with your health information and emergency contact of choice.

Set up emergency contact on an iPhone

The iPhone has a Medical ID option that will inform others of your medical history and emergency contact information.

  1. Go to the health app on your phone
  2. Select Medical ID
  3. Edit so that it provides any medical and emergency contact information
  4. Select the option to show when your screen is locked

person adding emergency contact to phone

Set up emergency contact on an Android

Androids also have a built-in emergency contact information option.

  1. Go to your settings and search “Emergency information”
  2. Select the option to edit and enter your emergency contact information

Set up ICE info on any smartphone

Another way to make your In Case of Emergency number accessible is by making it your lock screen background.

  1. Go to the notes section of your phone
  2. Write down your emergency numbers
  3. Screenshot the note and save it as your screensaver

Label contacts

Lastly, if you don’t have a smartphone that has these capabilities, be sure you are labeling contacts correctly. Create a contact named “ICE” and put in your emergency contact’s info. It’s also helpful to label your contacts with their relation to your. For example, use the contact name, “my husband” or “my wife.” This way, if you are in an emergency situation and someone finds your phone, they will know who they are calling.

22 emergency phone numbers to have handy

The following are 22 emergency phone numbers you should know. Read through and then print out our list to fill with your local numbers and keep next to your home phone.

911 symbol

1. 911

This is a number that most people should know by heart. Dial 911 if you or someone near you is having a life-threatening emergency. If you are using a North American phone, this number will connect you with help. Dialing 911 in a non-emergency situation is illegal.

Some situations when you’d want to call 911 include:

  • Crimes in progress
  • Life-threatening situations
  • Fires (boat, canyon, rubbish, structures)
  • Traffic accidents
  • Hazardous chemical spills
  • Fire/smoke detector or carbon monoxide alarms that are sounding
  • Explosive devices
  • Elevator rescues
  • Fuel spills
  • Smoke in the building
  • Aircraft emergencies
  • Cliff rescues
  • Beach or water-related emergency

112 phone symbol

2. 112

An alternative to 911, 112 is also an emergency telephone number, but it’s primarily used in Europe. If used in the United States, most phone providers will forward you to 911.

symbol that shows police department

3. Local police department

Are you having a non-emergency situation that still requires police intervention? In this case, you’ll want to have your local police department number available. This number will get you in contact with officers that are on duty in your area.

symbol that shows hospital

4. Hospital

In addition to listing the number and address of your primary hospital, you’ll want to take note of a few others in the area. It may be helpful to note their distance from your home. Knowing this information can save time in the event that you need to take a trip to the hospital.

graphic for a doctor

5. Family doctor

Not all medical issues require calling 911 or visiting the hospital. In the event that you need a personal consultation, it will be helpful to have your primary care doctor’s contact information available.

symbol of poison control

6. Poison control

There are different poison control numbers based on your region. Be sure to have your local poison control number available in the case of an emergency. To reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, call their helpline at 1-800-222-1222. To add poison control as a contact in your phone, text POISON to 7979797.

symbol of animal poison control

7. Animal poison control

Pets are prone to getting into food and objects that are not meant for them to consume. If you think your furry family member may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, you can contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

symbol for veterinarian

8. Veterinarian

Add your regular vet to your list of emergency phone numbers to keep close by. Your veterinarian office will typically provide you with an emergency number if your pet is in trouble after its regular office hours.

symbol for local fire department

9. Local fire department

If you are having a fire, you should call 911 and they will inform the local fire station. For more general fire safety information such as involvement in your local CERT program or burn day schedules, it can be helpful to have your local fire department’s number.

symbol for water

10. Water company

When a water line has malfunctioned or a natural disaster has compromised the cleanliness of your water, the local water company can help.

symbol for electricity

11. Power company

If you are left in the dark, you’ll want to be able to contact the power company. In addition, it’s important to have this number available to report any downed power lines you come across.

symbol for animal control

12. Animal control

For any animal-related emergencies, you’ll want to have the local animal control number. Situations may include an injured or sick animal, animal cruelty or aggressive animal.

symbol for next-door neighbors

13. Next-door neighbors

Knowing your neighbors can be helpful in times of emergency. Meet your neighbors and exchange numbers so that you can contact them if needed. Add the numbers to your phone as well as writing them down near your landline.

symbol for tow truck

14. Tow truck

Being prepared for anything includes having a tow truck or your local body shop’s number accessible. If you have roadside assistance such as AAA, this number would be worth writing down as well. Whether your car won’t start in the morning or you get in an accident, these numbers will be of help.

symbol for insurance

15. Insurance agent

An insurance agent refers to any person you may need to get in contact with to file a claim in the event of an accident. This could include agents for home insurance, renters insurance or car insurance.

symbol for boss

16. Boss

In the event of an emergency, you may not make it into work. If this is the case, you’ll want your boss to know the circumstances so that your job isn’t in jeopardy.

symbol for coworkers

17. Co-workers

Similar to your boss, it could be helpful to have the numbers of co-workers. If you do have an emergency or need to take a sick day, you can let them know about any outstanding work that needs to be completed.

grpahic of a grad cap

18. School or daycare

Another important contact number to have available is your children’s school or daycare. In an emergency situation, something may prevent you from picking them up on time. In this case, you’ll want to call and tell them you’ll be late or someone else will be coming to pick them up.

symbol for locksmith

19. Locksmith

Whether you’ve been locked out of the house or need to switch out the locks after a burglary, this time-sensitive issue will usually require a locksmith. Find a reliable locksmith in your area and write down their number so you don’t need to do the research in a rush later on.

symbol for coast guard

20. Coast Guard

If you are on the shoreline of a major lake or river it can be helpful to have the Coast Guard phone number available.

symbol for local EMS

21. Local EMS

In some areas, the local emergency medical services (EMS) or ambulance are separate from the fire department and police department. Find out if this is the case in your town and if so, take note of a number where you can reach them.

symbol for wildlife

22. State Division of Wildlife

If you live in a rural location, your State Division of Wildlife number could be helpful to know. This department can help you report any predators on your property such as bears or coyotes.

Emergency contact number printable

Print this list out and keep it visible by your home phone in case of an emergency. Having an extra in your car can also be useful. If you’re visiting somewhere new on vacation, looking up these numbers may be important.

photo of an emergency contact list

button to download emergency number contact list

Keep yourself and your home safe by having these emergency phone numbers easily accessible. No matter the situation, you’ll be prepared to call for help.

Sources:

WUSA9 | HuffPost

The post 22 Emergency Phone Numbers You Should Know (Printable) appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

Emergency Preparedness Guide and Checklist [Download]

Emergency preparedness can mean the difference between weathering a disaster and finding yourself vulnerable in a long-term crisis. From power failures to hurricanes, emergencies strike every day, often without warning. By the time they do, it’s too late to start planning.

Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do now to prepare yourself and your family for a future emergency. But it can be an involved process, and it’s easy to forget something. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with an emergency preparedness checklist.

These recommendations will help you create your own family emergency plan, including a checklist of steps to take and supplies to pack in a disaster supplies kit in the event of an emergency.

Download our printable emergency preparedness checklist

This printable emergency preparedness checklist can help you take the steps needed for creating an emergency plan to keep yourself and your family safe and secure.

emergency preparedness checklist download button

1. Understand the risks for your area

Start getting prepared for emergencies specific to your location by assessing the risks of your particular location. Though there are basic requirements for preparedness, each type of natural disaster also requires its own specialized preparations.

For example, an ice storm might cause an extended power outage, so you may want to install a portable generator. In an earthquake or tornado, you’ll need to know how to find the safest place to shelter. (In both cases, stay away from windows, near the center of an inside room.)

And different regions are prone to different disasters: Texas has been hit by freezing weather, hurricanes, floods, hail and fires. In California, earthquakes and fires are common threats. Oklahoma is in “tornado alley,” and is often hit by ice storms.

Consult relief agencies in your area to get information about emergency alerts for the community, evacuation routes from the area and special assistance options for elderly people and those with disabilities. Ask at your workplace and your children’s schools or daycare to learn about each facility’s emergency plan.

Monitor weather and fire reports via NOAA weather radio. Download a reliable weather app, and sign up for emergency alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts sent to your smartphone will signal you with a unique tone and vibration, then brief text messages explaining the type of alert and recommended action.

2. Write down emergency contact numbers

Important phone numbers should be available in multiple locations and formats. It’s a good idea to post them on the fridge — along with your home number and address for reference — as well as near any landline telephones. Also, program these numbers into the cellphones of every household member.

Choose a primary emergency contact and at least one secondary contact to call if your family gets separated. One should live out of state, and one should live locally. Tell your family members and loved ones which to call during each possible type of emergency. Remember that sometimes during a crisis, it’s easier to get through to out-of-state numbers than local ones.

It’s also a good idea to know which emergency management and response organizations you may be dealing with following a disaster, such as FEMA or the American Red Cross. Post these numbers, as well, and store them in your contacts.

Program emergency services numbers into your phone and put them near the top of your list, so you can find them right away. Hint: Most phones list contacts alphabetically, so you might want to list emergency contacts with “AA” or the number 1. Then write them on a small card to place in your wallet, in case you’re away from the list you’ve posted, your phone isn’t charged or your WiFi is down.

Here are some numbers you should include:

  • Fire / paramedics
  • Police
  • Local relief agencies
  • Area utilities
  • Work
  • School
  • Child care
  • Relatives
  • Poison control

3. Identify escape routes

Draw out the floor plan of your house and determine which escape routes would be safest for a quick getaway in each type of emergency. Escape routes also should be practical for pets, if you have any.

Post escape route plans in a central location in your house, preferably alongside the important contact numbers, and in each bedroom. Consider loading these directions into your smartphone, too.

It’s important to know when to get out and when to take cover where you are. Fires can occur in any climate and are the most common type of emergency that require escape or evacuation routes; if you’re indoors during a tornado or earthquake, you’re better off staying put.

Strategically store any equipment that could help you escape more quickly, such as collapsible ladders in upstairs rooms or window breakers for shatterproof glass. If your windows or doors have security bars, be sure they’re equipped with emergency releases so you can get out quickly if you need to.

And if you have pets, make pet carriers easily accessible so you can load them up quickly. (Herding cats is even more difficult in a crisis.)

emergency

4. Locate emergency meeting places

Designate two different locations where family members can gather to find each other after leaving your home. One should be directly outside the home in the event of a fire. Identify a location that’s a safe distance from the house, such as a neighbor’s home, mailbox or nearby stop sign.

The other designated meeting place should be outside the neighborhood in case of an evacuation. In the event of a major disaster that requires an evacuation, tune in to local media and be on the lookout for alerts about where to find help at emergency shelters.

You might also designate an out-of-state meeting spot if it’s common for your whole area to be evacuated, as in hurricane season. Make sure your family members have these addresses and phone numbers among their emergency contacts.

Include all locations in your escape route plan, clearly marked on a map. Post the meeting plan alongside the important contact numbers and escape routes.

5. Practice escaping, responding and meeting with family

Discuss with household members what to do during a fire, storm, earthquake, etc. At least two people in your home should know how to shut off utilities and respond to power outages. At least two should be familiar with first aid procedures to address personal injuries.

Make sure your household takes time to review the escape routes and practice using them so your whole family will be ready in the event of an emergency. Hold periodic drills the way schools, businesses and other public facilities do, to be sure everyone can get out of the building. If you can, have your family meet up at the designated local emergency meeting spots.

6. Pack an emergency supplies kit

Have a go-bag or preparedness kit ready that includes family records and other important documents (stored in a safe portable container), along with survival essentials that you may need during an emergency. Refer to the emergency preparedness checklist below for supplies to include in your emergency kit.

“Go bag” supplies

“Go bags” are emergency kits that contain the essentials for people to stay safe and secure in a crisis. Most items listed will apply across the board. However, you can decide whether you need to pack other essentials that address special needs — for instance, specialized medical supplies, prescription medications, spare eyeglasses, personal hygiene items or pet food.

For more information, check with the U.S. government’s official emergency preparedness website, ready.gov.

Essential survival supplies

  • First aid kit
  • Emergency blanket
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Pocket knife
  • Sleeping bag/tent
  • Drinking water
  • Protein bars
  • Canned food
  • Manual can opener

Additional supplies

  • Cellphone
  • Cellphone charger
  • Credit cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Garbage bags
  • Insurance policies
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Contact information
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Sleeping bags
  • Face mask
  • Rain gear, if applicable

Tool kit supplies

  • Pliers
  • Pocket knife
  • First aid kit
  • Duct tape
  • Can opener
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries]

Personal hygiene and health supplies

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Prescription medications
  • Feminine supplies
  • Extra change of clothing
  • Washcloths
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Clean wipes or towelettes

Food and drink supplies

Plan on having a 3-day supply of non-perishable food in a waterproof container, plus a supply of water. Keep a gallon of water per day for each person for several days, to be used for drinking and sanitation. Pack as lightly as possible without leaving out essentials. Foods like protein bars are great space- and weight-savers.

  • Drinking water
  • Peanut butter
  • Granola bars
  • Vacuum-packed meats
  • Canned foods
  • Crackers
  • Protein bars

Stay safe with our emergency preparedness checklist

It can be a complicated process to create an emergency plan and assemble a kit of supplies for your family. But it’s an endeavor that’s worth every moment of effort when your preparations keep your family safe and secure during a disaster.

The post Emergency Preparedness Guide and Checklist [Download] appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

What to Expect in Apartment Living in 2020

As the Bob Dylan song goes, the times, they are a-changin’, and that couldn’t be truer than for apartment living.

Renting used to be a lower rung on the ladder as you climb toward the American dream — owning a single-family home in the suburbs. But as homes increase in cost and competition, renting is on the rise.

According to Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies 2017 rental-market report, the number of high-income households (earning at least $100,000) renting their homes rose by 6 percent from 2005 to 2016. As a result of this increase, apartment complexes have added more amenities to appeal to the influx of renters. The same study found that in 2016, 89 percent of new apartments offered in-unit laundry and 86 percent provided swimming pool access.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Today’s apartment complexes are not what they used to be, and apartment living is significantly nicer and more desirable than it was just 10 years ago. Here’s what you can expect for modern apartment living in 2020.

1. High-end amenities

indoor pool

Forget the bare-bones coin-operated laundry room and trash dumpster in the back parking lot or basement. According to NMCH’s 2018 Consumer Housing Insights Survey, 83 percent of adult and millennial renters said it was important to have an apartment that offered convenience and flexibility. Additionally, fast internet access, technology, and green initiatives are now considered must-haves for modern apartments.

To keep up with the competitive rental market, apartment complexes are upping the ante when it comes to amenities. In-unit laundry and pool access are quickly becoming par for the course, while many luxury complexes offer trash collection and recycling programs, high-speed internet, fitness centers, eco-friendly rooftop gardens and communal spaces, such as BBQs and theater rooms. These amenities make it easier to enjoy life at home and to entertain friends and family, just as one would if they owned a single-family home.

2. Online communication with apartment management

Speaking of convenience, flexibility and technology, many modern apartment complexes simplify the tasks that were previously pain points of renting — namely, rent payments, maintenance requests and apartment management communication. A number of complexes are capitalizing on technology to streamline these tasks.

For example, rather than having to mail a check each month, platforms like RentPay allow renters to automate their rent payments and pay via credit card or electronic check. Even if a landlord doesn’t accept electronic payments, RentPay prints a physical check and mails it directly to the landlord each month.

Additionally, it’s becoming more common for larger apartment complexes to offer an online portal or website for easier communication with apartment management, from submitting maintenance requests and asking questions to renew leases and sign contracts. This saves renters significant time and money.

3. More emphasis on safety and security

keypad

In the past, one of the downsides of renting was security. With people constantly going in and out of the building or complex, it seemed as if anyone could walk in. With so many technology advances this past decade, in terms of access and price, it’s easier for complexes and renters to invest in security.

Many of today’s complexes offer gated access to the parking lot, codes for elevator access and security key fobs to all points of entrance. Some even offer enhanced security within the individual units, like video doorbells and camera security systems.

If your building doesn’t offer in-unit security features, there are multiple home security options available that are non-intrusive, as far as security deposits and installation are concerned. Simply plug in the device and monitor your apartment from your smartphone. Many systems are easy to pair with indoor security cameras and other alarms for additional safety.

4. Smaller space

While apartments are getting smaller in square footage due to space constraints and population growth, architects are getting smarter with layout designs to maximize every inch of a room. For instance, micro homes, the tiny house equivalent in apartment form, are as small as 350 square feet but make use of movable and folding furniture so it can serve as an entertaining space by day and bedroom by night.

Open floor plans are still popular and, while they can at first seem daunting to decorate, they offer the most options for room layouts. And thanks to more furniture companies starting to specialize in small home living, it’s much easier to find compact couches and dual-purpose furnishings that go beyond the futon.

Popular home stores like Pottery Barn, CB2 and IKEA offer couches, tables and other items designed specifically for small spaces. While it’s becoming harder to find spacious apartments, complexes are making up for it with communal spaces for entertaining.

Apartment living has changed for the better

If you’re looking for a place to call home, apartment living may be the perfect solution. The evolution of apartments in the past decade means they’re a favorable housing option for a variety of lifestyles — in both urban and suburban settings.

Lush amenities, online communication, security measures and optimized floorplans have helped renting become a more comparable alternative to buying. You can enjoy the in-unit laundry, entertainment amenities and peace of mind without worrying about the costs or inconvenience of maintenance tasks.

The post What to Expect in Apartment Living in 2020 appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

How to get preapproved for an American Express card

American Express offers a wide variety of credit and charge cards – meaning it might not be as exclusive as it once was considered. Nevertheless, scoring one of these top cards usually requires a good to excellent credit score (above 670).

For those worried about meeting these requirements, it can seem too risky to apply for a card and risk rejection alongside a hard pull to your credit.

Luckily, there is a great way to find out which Amex cards you may qualify for. With prequalified offers, you can see which American Express cards you are likely to be approved for – taking some of the stress out of your application process. Read on to learn more about where to score these offers.

Top Amex cards for prequalified offers

Everyday spending

Blue Cash Preferred

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Rewards

Amex Gold

American Express® Gold Card

Luxury perks

Amex Platinum

The Platinum Card® from American Express

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)

6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions

3% cash back at U.S. gas stations

3% cash back on transit, including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more

1% cash back on other purchases

$250 statement credit after spending $1,00 in the first 3 months

4 points per dollar on restaurant purchases worldwide

4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1 point per dollar)

3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com

60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months

10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during first 6 months of card membership

5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel

5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com

75,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first 6 months

Check for offers on CardMatch

One place to check for American Express prequalified offers is on CardMatch™, a tool offered here on CreditCards.com. You just need to enter basic personal information such as your name and address, as well as the last four digits of your social security number to check your offers.

When you check for prequalified card offers on CardMatch, it does not trigger a hard pull to your credit. Instead, offers are extended based on a soft pull – meaning you don’t have to worry about hurting your score.

Once you enter the requested information, you’ll be able to view a full list of prequalified card offers and other suggestions for you from American Express, as well as many other card issuers.

targeted offer for a higher introductory bonus when you apply for an American Express card through CardMatch.

Prequalify on the Amex website

Additionally, American Express allows applicants to check for prequalified offers directly on the American Express website. Just like with CardMatch, you’ll input personal info and the last four digits of your social security number.

American Express prequalified offers don’t trigger a hard pull to your credit until you apply.

Other ways to prequalify for Amex cards

Though the easiest way to get a prequalified offer from American Express is online, you might be able to score a targeted offer by mail. If you have any accounts with American Express, be sure to keep your contact information up to date to boost your chances of getting one of these offers.

Boost your chances

As mentioned, most American Express cards are designed for users with good to excellent credit (above 670). If you are hovering on the edge of this threshold – or hoping to qualify for one of the issuer’s more exclusive cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express – you might want to take steps to improve your credit score before you apply.

You can do this by always paying your bills on time and keeping your overall credit utilization ratio low. If you need to bulk up your credit history, you can also consider asking a family member to add you as an authorized user to one of their accounts. This strategy has its pros and cons, but it can boost your score and add to your credit file as long as the primary cardholder is responsible.

Prequalifying does not guarantee approval

Prequalifying for a credit card offer is a great way to know whether or not you will be approved, but remember – it’s not a guarantee. You may receive a prequalified card offer only to be denied for the card. Nevertheless, your chances are significantly improved by prequalifying first.

One more important thing to note here: American Express is notorious for offering different introductory bonuses through different avenues. That means the offer you get on CardMatch or in the mail might not be the same as what you see on the website. In many cases, you can score a larger bonus by applying through a prequalified offer – but you should always compare to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Final thoughts

For those worried about your credit card approval odds, prequalified offers are a great way to know ahead of time which cards are in your reach. With several different methods to score these offers, American Express makes it easy to maximize your chances of scoring the card you want.

Source: creditcards.com

Spouse Has Bad Credit? How It Affects You.

Spouse Has Bad Credit? How It Affects You

It wasn’t until a few months after my husband and I got married that I decided to check both our credit scores. While my husband’s credit score wasn’t horrible, it certainly didn’t qualify as “excellent.” This got me thinking about how newlyweds’ financial histories can affect both spouses’ finances moving forward, and how critical it is to acknowledge this reality—ideally before getting hitched.

Why It’s Important to Have a Good Credit Score

Manisha Thakor cuts right to the chase in her book On My Own Two Feet: “Your credit score is essentially your financial reputation in numeric form.”

Aiming for an excellent credit score—generally defined as 750 or more—is a worthy goal, owing to the range of ways in which it can save you money. Credit scores are critical when applying for loans—for instance, car loans and mortgages. In addition, many employers consider prospective employees’ credit scores during the hiring process.

A high credit score means you can access lower interest rates when borrowing, because creditors will view you as reliable. The perceived risk that you’ll default on your loan is lower compared to those with poor credit scores. Lower interest rates, especially on large amounts borrowed over significant timeframes, can save you thousands and thousands of dollars!

A poor credit score can indirectly hurt your financial efforts as well; consider the fact that when you’re paying over the odds in debt repayments, you’re committing fewer dollars to saving and retirement planning.

photo credit: LendingMemo via photopin cc

Till Debt Do Us Part

Marriage makes you one combined financial unit.

However, that doesn’t mean your credit scores are merged; your credit history continues to be maintained on an individual basis. One spouse’s poor credit cannot directly damage the individual score of the other spouse.

That being said, if you apply for a loan as a married couple, creditors look at both your credit scores to determine your eligibility and terms. So, if one of you has the credit of an angel whereas the other’s credit history is limited or even littered with missed payments and liens, you may find your application is denied.

But, this is not just about loan applications—poor credit can belie more than just a few bad credit card habits. Other financial follies, like paying taxes late, not focusing on saving, and day-to-day overspending, could be lurking in the closet.

What Do You Do After You’ve Said I Do?

While bad credit isn’t good news, it’s not necessarily a reason not to get married. And, it’s not necessarily the precursor to divorce! It is, however, an alarm signaling that it is time to get clear on your joint financial situation and start communicating. Make sure you do this respectfully and compassionately to minimize blame and financial stress. (If you’re the type of person who’d like to know this information from prospective partners before things get serious, there are now dating sites catering just to you.)

Once you’ve identified that one of you has less-than-optimal credit, it’s time to take action. Here are four top tips for taking immediate action:

1. Check your credit report for mistakes: Errors are, unfortunately, pretty common and can be really detrimental. Check your report at least once per year.

2. Make payments on time: Yes, this is stating the obvious, but it needs to be said! Mary Beth Storjohann of Workable Wealth says, “35% of your credit score is based on how you pay your bills (making this the biggest determining factor for your score)! Are you often late of missing payments? The impact of just one 90-day late payment goes way beyond the three months you took to pay, so set up automatic bill payments.”

3. Lower your debt-to-credit ratio: This is how much debt you have as a proportion of your overall credit limits. 30% of your credit score is based on the amount of money you owe versus the amount of credit available to you. The higher the amount of credit you’re utilizing, the more negative the impact on your score. Keep the debt level as low as possible (30% of your limits, or less).

4. Pay down your debt faster: Make more than the minimum payments wherever possible by utilizing the snowball method or targeting the balance with the highest interest rate to pay down first.

photo credit: natloans via photopin cc

Alongside these tips, it’s super important to remember that improving your credit score won’t happen overnight. The length of time it takes for your score to improve is directly related to reasons for the drop. It can take anywhere from a few months to several years for your credit report to reflect the positive changes you’re making. As Mary Beth notes, “The most important thing is to be proactive in clearing up any issues.” In addition, two of the criteria factored into your score are the length of your overall credit history and the average age of your accounts.

So, don’t be discouraged—be patient and give it time.

And, Finally, Some Tips on What Not to Do!

There are always two sides to every coin so, while you’re following the tips above, make sure that you’re not unwittingly hurting your score and negating your good work.

Be mindful of the following ways that you could be hurting your credit score:

1. Opening too many new accounts: This comes back to the point that the average age of your accounts is a key factor. Opening lots of new accounts reduces that average.

2. Closing too many old accounts: Older accounts indicate that you have managed payments for a long time and increase the average age of your accounts. When you close credit card accounts, this also decreases the amount of credit available to you, which can reflect negatively if you have other accounts that are still carrying high balances (it essentially increases your debt to credit ratio).

3. Signing up for lots of retail incentive programs: Every time you apply for credit, the company issuing the credit will request information about you from the credit bureaus. Too many of these requests can reduce your score.

4. Over-utilizing your credit. Mary Beth advises, “If you’re depending on your credit cards to fund your daily expenses and lifestyle needs, but aren’t able to pay them off in full at the end of each month, something needs to change. Start tracking your spending and get a handle on your expenses.”

In summary, start taking positive steps, be aware of actions that can hurt your credit, and focus on building solid financial foundations for the future.

This post was written by Erika Torres of GoGirl Finance. GoGirl Finance is a fast-growing community of women seeking and providing financial wisdom across money management, lifestyle, family and career. For more finance tips, follow GoGirl Finance on Twitter @GoGirlFinance

The post Spouse Has Bad Credit? How It Affects You. appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com