Want to Compare the Cost and Time of Driving Versus Flying for Your Next Trip?

With both gas and airline ticket prices skyrocketing, it may be hard to tell whether driving or flying is the better value (in terms of both money and time). This “Fly or Drive Calculator” can help you wisely plan your next trip.

BeFrugal.com’s Fly or Drive Calculator uses cost data from AAA and things like necessary overnight stops for the driving time and cost estimate. The flying estimate takes into account travel time to the airport and other associated times and costs. You can fine-tune the details for both modes of travel in the calculator to get more precise results.

There are intangible costs and other factors to consider when deciding how to travel, of course, such as how well your children behave in the car and the professional value of each vacation hour to you. As a general rule of thumb, car drives that are four hours or under in length are usually more cost-effective than flying.

Find out whether you should drive or fly for your next vacation (in the continental US) with the calculator linked below.


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This gallery contains 18 photos.

Thought I would share, pretty funny…enjoy!

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Drawbacks of Condemning Others

When somebody harps on you, judges you, condemns you, disapproves of you, rejects you, withdrawals their confidence from you, it can be extremely painful. Not only can criticism eat away at your self-confidence, it can cause you to be offended by the criticizer, and put you on the defensive to justify your behavior. Here are just a couple of main disadvantages of mindlessly condemning others:

1. Causes resentment

When we feel that someone else is trying to put us down, it causes us to resent that person. And generally many of the recipients of personal criticism are too scared to say anything to these tormentors. But rest assured behind his or her back everyone usually talks about what a jerk they are, and how much they can’t stand being around them.

The fact is, when other people criticize us, it’s easy to resent them and not have consideration for them. Anyone that attempts to devalue us, deflate us, depress us is going to take us away from what we really want: significance and approval.

2. Puts other on defensive

If we are criticized, and have the will to stand up to the other person, it puts us on the defensive and causes us to justify why we act the way we do. Essentially, when defending ourselves what we are doing is to stop being devalued anymore.

Criticism that is so generously dished out on a daily basis serves nothing other than to spin into a negative and unrewarding work environment. People generally stop caring, and usually start complaining and criticizing back.

If we’re not careful, other people’s harsh criticisms can cause us to abandon our values and fight back with harsh criticisms of our own. We have to be careful to guard ourselves against becoming just like the unnecessarily critical people.

Your Turn: Have you ever been criticized to the point where you let the other person get under your skin? How did it feel? Are you proud of your reaction? What do you think is the best way to deal with people who are overly critical, and downright hurtful?

I have been criticized often, and though its hard to swallow, I know from firsthand experience that having a good support system, and someone who believes in who you are and your value in this world will beat any criticizer hands down.  Think about your words and actions – it can make all the difference in someone’s life.

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Saving Money With Google While Shopping Online

Paying full price for something is ludicrous these days. There are so many different ways to ensure you’re getting a deal — all you have to do is a tiny bit of work.

The first thing you ought to do is comparison shop. If it’s something you can get at a bunch of different places (say a book or a DVD), then make sure you check out a bunch of different sites. I’d start with Amazon.com and maybe Overstock.com. They usually battle each other pretty good when it comes to prices.

And depending on the item, Wal-Mart.com is worth a peek too. Also under “depending on the item,” you may want to try EBay or Craigslist. Buying used can save you a bunch of money. Or if you have read an earlier post you may want to check out what is on sale this week in your area – quick what was that link I reminded you about?  Ok, I will remind you again… salescircular.com.

But if you really want to “go deep” you should entrust the services of the masters of search. Run a Google search and then look for the Shopping tab at the top of the screen. Google will look for prices across the whole web and find the cheapest price. Sometimes that will mean visiting “CrazyCheapElectronics.com.” That might make you a little uncomfortable, especially when it comes time to type in your credit card number. But that’s an individual comfort level thing.

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Strange (But Useful) Human Tricks

You’ve heard the children’s song about how the hip bone is connected to the leg bone, which is connected to the foot bone, right? Turns out there are a lot of odd, secret connections and tricks inside your body that can relieve pain and help in stressful situations. Here are 14 of these little-known fixes that you already have onboard.

Painless Shots
Put pressure near the spot that’s about to get the needle and you’ll feel it less. Just make a circle with your thumb and forefinger and push down a few seconds before the shot. This technique overrides nearby nerves, making the shot feel more like a gentle poke.

Hiccup Relief
Nothing can be more aggravating than nonstop hiccups. Fortunately, your body has a built-in remedy: Take your deepest breath and hold for 10 seconds. And then, without exhaling, breathe in more air and hold for another 5 seconds. Then, one more time, breathe in as much air as you can, hold for 5 seconds, and breath out—hopefully without any more hiccups.

Faint Away
Feeling a little light-headed and afraid you might faint? Just cross your legs, squeeze your thighs, and contract your abdominal muscles. Tensing your muscles bumps up your blood pressure and helps divert blood to your heart and brain.

Heartburn Buster
To avoid heartburn at night, roll over to your left side. Sleeping on your right side or back straightens the curve of your esophagus, allowing stomach acid to more easily move up.

Cry Control
Tearing up when you don’t want to can be soooooo embarrassing. Your body’s remedy: Clear your throat. Your little “ahem” interrupts the body’s urge to cry and gives you a chance to compose yourself.

Closed Spaces Open
Whenever you’re afraid of tight spaces (like elevators), take a sniff of a green apple. You’ll feel less closed in. Real estate agents also use the scent of green apples to make houses feel bigger.

Fever Broken
High fevers—over 102 degrees—need to be controlled. To quickly bring down a temp, put an ice pack under your arm or near your groin. This’ll quickly cool your core, so you can get to the doctor.

Throat Tickle Cure
To relieve that constant feeling in the back of your throat, tickle something else…your ear. Touching the area around your ear creates a reflex in the throat that eases the annoyance.

Stuffed Nose Cleared
Your body has a natural mechanism to unclog your nose. Just push your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then press between your eyebrows with a finger. Keep it up for about 20 seconds and your sinuses will start to drain.

Toothache Eased
Turns out because of some odd nerve connections, you can reduce the pain of a toothache by rubbing ice on the back of the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger.

Burn Unnoticed
Instead of reaching for an ice cube after a minor burn, clean your skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your unhurt hand. By returning the skin to a normal temperature (as opposed to the cold), your skin will be less likely to blister.

Heart-Calming Breeze
If you’re feeling anxious and can feel your heart racing, call your thumb into action. By blowing on your thumb, you can get your heart rate back to normal.

Hand Full, Again
When your hand falls asleep, no need to jiggle it back to life. Instead, rock your head from side to side. Those pins and needles will be gone in less than a minute.

Brain Thaw
We’ve all dug into ice cream a little too quickly and felt that chilly sensation known as brain freeze. To prevent an ice-cream headache, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, applying as much pressure as you can.

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Five tips for using Ccleaner to degunk your system

There are a lot of tools out there that handle a lot of tasks, from antivirus tools that also clean your drive of  temporary files and make you coffee to tools that promise to “make your computer faster.” But few tools can make as much of a difference as Ccleaner, at least on a machine that’s not infected by a virus or malware.

Ccleaner is easy to use and will keep your computer cleaner, more secure, and running faster. It achieves this by safely removing temporary Internet files (and other means of tracing Internet activity), cleaning up the Windows registry, and removing temporary files and recent file lists from various applications.

But even though Ccleaner is a simple tool to use, that doesn’t mean you should just jump in and start cleaning everything without a bit of thought. Here are some things all users should consider before and during the use of this powerful tool.

1: Analyze before running the Cleaner

I know a lot of admins who just fire up Ccleaner and hit the Run Cleaner button without doing an analysis first.  Yes, this is a fast method of getting rid of temporary Internet files. But there’s no way of knowing what’s going to be deleted (until it’s deleted) and there’s no way of knowing how much free space the deletion is going to create. Make sure you hit the Analyze button first. Then, after you read the report, hit the Run Cleaner button.

Using Ccleaner this way ensures that nothing is deleted that shouldn’t be deleted. Also, after you run the analyzer, you can look at detailed information (by application) and then add exceptions directly from the list.

2: Set up cookies you want to keep

When you run the Cleaner, cookies are deleted. By default, cookies are retained from Google and Yahoo, but other cookies might need to be retained. To manage this, click on the Options tab and then on the Cookies button. From that window, any cookie currently on the system can be selectively added to the exclusion list. By adding these exclusions, you don’t have to worry about important cookies disappearing after each run of Ccleaner.

3: Always back up the registry

No matter how reliable Ccleaner is and no matter how many successful registry cleanups it does, never do a cleanup without first backing up the registry. Ccleaner will go so far as to remind you to back up the registry every time you run a registry cleanup. If the registry is not backed up, one of those corrupt or missing registry keys that Ccleaner fixes might not really have needed fixing. If that key is then broken and was not backed up, the issue caused by Ccleaner could become catastrophic. Fortunately, Ccleaner makes backing up the registry as simple as a couple of clicks.

4: Use the tools to manage startup applications

Ccleaner comes with a bonus: It lets you enable, disable, or remove programs from startup. I have always found this method of managing startup applications far easier than using the standard Windows method. What I like most about this feature is that startup applications can be enabled and disabled without removing them completely. This means if you need to temporarily prevent an application from starting up, it’s easy to do by going into the Tools tab, clicking the Startup button, selecting the application to be enabled/disabled, and clicking the appropriate button. When the application needs to be re-enabled/disabled, reverse the process.

5: Use the uninstaller

One of the best aspects of Ccleaner is the ability to remove applications from within it. It typically just starts the uninstaller, but I have found that running the application uninstaller this way ends with fewer registry issues than when I uninstall from the Windows Add/Remove Programs tool. And if there are registry issues after the uninstall, registry cleanup is only a couple of clicks away.

Great tool, used wisely Ccleaner is more than just a tool to clean the registry or empty a computer of temporary Internet files. It also makes it easy to remove applications from startup and remove applications from the machine. Just make sure you use this powerful tool intelligently to avoid rendering your machine unusable.

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50 Things Everyone Should Know How To Do

Knowledge is a vital key to living a healthy, productive life.  To be self-reliant one must master a basic set of skills, more or less making them a jack-of-all-trades.  Contrary to what you may have learned in school, a jack-of-all-trades is far more equipped to deal with life than a specialized master of only one.

While not totally comprehensive, here is a list of 50 things everyone should know how to do.

1.  Build a Fire – Fire produces heat and light, two basic necessities for living.  At some point in your life this knowledge may be vital.

2.  Operate a Computer – Fundamental computer knowledge is essential these days.  Please, help those in need.

3.  Use Google Effectively – Google knows everything.  If you’re having trouble finding something with Google, it’s you that needs help.

4.  Perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver – Someday it may be your wife, husband, son or daughter that needs help.

5.  Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle – There will come a time when you’ll be stuck without this knowledge.

6.  Do Basic Cooking – If you can’t cook your own steak and eggs, you probably aren’t going to make it.

7.  Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention – If you can’t captivate their attention, you should probably just save your breath.

8.  Win or Avoid a Fistfight – Either way, you win.

9.  Deliver Bad News – Somebody has got to do it.  Unfortunately, someday that person will be you.

10.  Change a Tire – Because tires have air in them, and things with air in them eventually pop.

11.  Handle a Job Interview – I promise, sweating yourself into a nervous panic won’t land you the job.

12.  Manage Time – Not doing so is called wasting time, which is okay sometimes, but not all the time.

13.  Speed Read – Sometimes you just need the basic gist, and you needed it 5 minutes ago.

14.  Remember Names – Do you like when someone tries to get your attention by screaming “hey you”?

15.  Relocate Living Spaces – Relocating is always a little tougher than you originally imagined.

16.  Travel Light – Bring only the necessities.  It’s the cheaper, easier, smarter thing to do.

17.  Handle the Police – Because jail isn’t fun… and neither is Bubba.

18.  Give Driving Directions – Nobody likes driving around in circles.  Get this one right the first time.

19.  Perform Basic First Aid – You don’t have to be a doctor, or genius, to properly dress a wound.

20.  Swim – 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water.  Learning to swim might be a good idea.

21.  Parallel Park – Parallel parking is a requirement on most standard driver’s license driving tests, yet so many people have no clue how to do it.  How could this be?

22.  Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits – Otherwise you may wind up like this charming fellow.

23.  Select Good Produce – Rotten fruits and vegetables can be an evil tease and an awful surprise.

24.  Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw – Carpenters are not the only ones who need tools.  Everyone should have a basic understanding of basic hand tools.

25.  Make a Simple Budget – Being in debt is not fun.  A simple budget is the key.

26.  Speak at Least Two Common Languages – Only about 25% of the world’s population speaks English.  It would be nice if you could communicate with at least some of the remaining 75%.

27.  Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly – Improper push-ups and sit-ups do nothing but hurt your body and waste your time.

28.  Give a Compliment – It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, and it’s free.

29.  Negotiate – The better deal is only a question or two away.

30.  Listen Carefully to Others – The more you listen and the less you talk, the more you will learn and the less you will miss.

31.  Recite Basic Geography – If you don’t know where anything is outside of your own little bubble, most people will assume (and they are probably correct) that you don’t know too much at all.

32.  Paint a Room – The true cost of painting is 90% labor.  For simple painting jobs it makes no sense to pay someone 9 times what it would cost you to do it yourself.

33.  Make a Short, Informative Public Speech – At the next company meeting if your boss asks you to explain what you’ve been working on over the last month, a short, clear, informative response is surely your best bet.  “Duhhh…” will not cut it.

34.  Smile for the Camera – People that absolutely refuse to smile for the camera suck!

35.  Flirt Without Looking Ridiculous – There is a fine line between successful flirting and utter disaster.  If you try too hard, you lose.  If you don’t try hard enough, you lose.

36. Take Useful Notes – Because useless notes are useless, and not taking notes is a recipe for failure.

37.  Be a Respectful House Guest – Otherwise you will be staying in a lot of hotels over the years.

38.  Make a Good First Impression – Aristotle once said, “well begun is half done.”

39.  Navigate with a Map and Compass – What happens when the GPS craps out and you’re in the middle of nowhere?

40.  Sew a Button onto Clothing – It sure is cheaper than buying a new shirt.

41.  Hook Up a Basic Home Theater System – This isn’t rocket science.  Paying someone to do this shows sheer laziness.

42.  Type – Learning to type could save you days worth of time over the course of your lifetime.

43.  Protect Personal Identity Information – Personal identity theft is not fun unless you are the thief.  Don’t be careless.

44.  Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices – You don’t have to be a computer science major to understand the fundamentals of creating complex passwords and using firewalls.  Doing so will surely save you a lot of grief someday.

45.  Detect a Lie – People will lie to you.  It’s a sad fact of life.

46.  End a Date Politely Without Making Promises – There is no excuse for making promises you do not intend to keep.  There is also no reason why you should have to make a decision on the spot about someone you hardly know.
47.  Remove a Stain – Once again, it’s far cheaper than buying a new one.

48.  Keep a Clean House – A clean house is the foundation for a clean, organized lifestyle.

49.  Hold a Baby – Trust me, injuring a baby is not what you want to do.

50.  Jump Start a Car – It sure beats walking or paying for a tow truck.

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