4 Benefits of Utilizing a Pre-Paid Cell Phone

Often overlooked, pre-paid cellphones have proven a mainstay in the cellular market. The reasons are clear: they offer relatively cheap and easy entrée to voice and data networks for savvy consumers who know their traffic and who desire a phone plan priced accordingly.

One of the biggest selling points of these phones remains the lack of a contract. These users know that paying more for a phone upfront means the happy trade-off of avoiding contracts altogether. Pre-paid phone consumers also avoid expensive activation fees and other charges while enjoying greater flexibility when it comes to using their monthly minutes. Unlike years past, minutes have grown cheaper and more available for purchase online and in stores.

Pre-paid phones are easy to acquire. One further advantage lies in that one can acquire a new phone with no credit check needed. Often blurred in the public imagination with “burner” phones used for a single time period and for illicit purposes, most pre-paid phone devotees are not would-be Walter Whites. Some may have poor credit, while others may simply prefer not going through the rigmarole of a credit check and its possible effects on a credit score. Moreover, these phones are found easily in grocery and convenience stores, high-end technology emporiums, and niche websites alike.

Phone numbers are increasingly portable as well. Ten years ago, it was more difficult to keep one’s phone number when changing carriers. Today, they have made it easier, particularly if one remains in the same area. Some numbers are not portable, but for many looking to slash their monthly bills, the ability to keep their present phone number makes pre-paid phones all the more attractive.

Finally, in addition to those wishing to save money on ever-higher phone bills, pre-paid phones still enjoy a natural constituency with the young and the elderly. For young users, these phone offers a useful way for parents to lock down their children’s time spent talking with their friends or how much internet they consume. The danger of a child unwittingly creating a large phone bill is all but eliminated. Meanwhile, while there are doubtless seniors who prefer advanced smartphones with the latest apps, many others simply want to be in contact with their loved ones via voice and text. These phones meet the needs of each.

Flexibility and accessibility make the pre-paid phone a worthy choice for those who do not require bleeding-edge smartphones but rather a good, reliable phone that gets the job done on a budget.

6 Activities for Incorporating Christian Faith in Classroom Activities

If you teach in a faith-based school, you might be looking for ways to incorporate Christianity into your classes. There are a lot of different ways of doing this; these are a few tips that you can try.

1. Have Classroom Prayers Regularly

First of all, you can have classroom prayers regularly. You might choose to pray with the students first thing in the morning, for example, before the day begins. You might also choose to pray before snack time or lunch and at other times throughout the day.

2. Incorporate Scripture

Incorporating scripture into your lessons can be helpful in providing an education on the Christian faith. Consider sharing your favorite verses at appropriate times, when they are related to what you are teaching or what your students are talking about. Also, give your students a chance to share their own favorite scriptures at certain times throughout the school day.

3. Use Religious Teaching Materials

There are a lot of instructional materials out there that are designed to teach your students the curriculum in a faith-based way. You can choose to use these types of materials for some or all of your lessons. Along with buying these types of materials, you can also find worksheets and other materials for free online.

4. Tell Biblical Stories

During story time, there is nothing wrong with mixing things up and telling different types of stories. However, it can be a good thing to focus on biblical stories during story time, at least sometimes. Consider telling stories such as the story about Noah and the Ark. There are a lot of faith-based children’s books that you can use during story time as well.

5. Give Faith-Based Rewards

When handing out rewards to students, instead of giving out candy, you can give out individual bible verses, small bibles, biblical bookmarks, trinkets with bible verses printed on them and more. You can find many of these items for reasonable prices online, especially if you buy them in bulk, or you can check out your local bible store to see what type of selection is available.

6. Schedule Bible Reading Time

During the day, it can be a good idea to schedule a quiet time for the classroom so that students can read their bibles. You might choose to assign verses for students to read, or you can allow them a bit of free reading time so that they can read the verses that they choose.

As you can see, there are a few different ways that you can incorporate the Christian faith into your classroom. If you try one or all of these tips, you can help educate your students about the Christian faith.

4 Simple Ways a Card Reader Will Enhance Your Business

If you are like a lot of small business owners, you might not have yet invested in a card reader so that you can accept credit or debit cards. It might not seem like a big deal not to have one, but the truth is that investing in a card reader can be a wonderful business move. These are a few reasons why.

1. Provide Convenience for Your Customers

First and foremost, one of the top benefits of accepting credit and debit cards at your place of business is the fact that it can be much more convenient for your customers. More and more people are choosing to use credit and debit cards nowadays for cash for all sorts of reasons; some feel safer and more secure when using a card rather than carrying all of their money in cash, some find that it’s easier for them to track their spending when they use a card and some have other reasons. Regardless, you probably want to make things as convenient as possible for your customers, and accepting credit and debit cards is a good way to do so.

2. Avoid a Loss of Business

Not only do some customers prefer to pay with a card, but some do not carry cash at all. If you only accept cash, it’s true that some customers will simply find an ATM to take out the money to use at your place of business. However, others might simply patronize another business that does accept cash. You don’t want to lose business just because you won’t accept customer credit and debit cards.

3. Enjoy a Reduced Risk of Theft

Another great thing about accepting cards is the fact that it can help reduce the risk of theft. Basically, businesses that accept cash only can be a target for thieves who are looking for a quick hit. Plus, if your business does happen to get robbed, you won’t have to worry about losing everything if you accept credit and debit cards. It can be a tough thing to think about, but robberies do happen, and it’s important to do what you can to protect your business.

4. Make Bookkeeping Easy

Lastly, one really great thing about accepting credit and debit cards is the fact that it can make bookkeeping a whole lot easier. You don’t have to worry about counting down as much cash at the end of the day, and you can quickly pull your credit card machine records if you need information about profits.

As you can probably see, if you have not yet invested in a card reader for your place of business, now is the time to do so. Then, you and your business can enjoy these four benefits and more.

5 Signs its Time to Switch to LED Lights

LED light bulbs have been available to consumers for several years as an efficient way to light up interior spaces and decorate the outdoors. LED bulbs are known for their high level of energy efficiency and for their bright light and wide range of colors. If you have not yet made the switch to LED lights, consider these five signs that now is the time to make your move.

Your Bulbs Frequently Burn Out
Incandescent bulbs may only last for a few months in some types of fixtures. If you have a fixture that is located up high or otherwise difficult to put in a new bulb, LED bulbs are a great choice. They last for a long time, meaning that you will not have to be climbing up a ladder every couple of months to put in a replacement light bulb.

The Electricity Bill Keeps Going Up
If you have noticed an increase in your electricity bill, it could be from your old, inefficient light bulbs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, making the switch to LED light bulbs could lower the cost of lighting your home by 75 percent. This could result in a significant savings over the lifetime of a single light bulb.

Fixtures Are Overheating
When your lamp shade, chandelier and other fixtures are overheating from using incandescent light bulbs, it is time to switch to LED bulbs. LED light bulbs do not emit any heat. This allows them to be used in enclosed fixtures such as a glass globe or in a ceiling fan. Since they do not emit heat, they will not cause your home to get too hot in the summertime.

You Need Better Task Lighting
LED light bulbs emit light in one direction. This makes them ideal for use in task lighting. They are also great in recessed lighting fixtures. The light can be aimed at your work so that you can see better while reading, chopping onions or working on your beading project. All of the light emitted by the LED bulb will be directed where you want it to be.

You Need More Design Options
According to the Energy Star website, there are many more design and color options with LED light bulbs compared to other types of light bulbs. With an LED, you can install a small wall light or a night light that glows blue at night so that it does not jar you awake. You can also select LED bulbs that fit into specialty lamps, chandeliers and other household items. Colored LEDs offer spectacular decorative options for the inside and outside of your home, and they are often used as holiday decorations because of their brightness.

4 Financial Benefits of Buying a Used Forklift

If you are thinking about buying a brand new forklift for your place of business, you might want to take some time to consider your decision. Instead, you might find that buying a used forklift is a much better business decision for your company. These are a few reasons why.

1. Enjoy a Lower Purchase Price

Buying a forklift is not cheap. However, if you buy used, you might find that it’s a whole lot more affordable. If you’re looking for ways to cut costs within your business, going with a used forklift is a great way to do it.

2. Worry Less About Depreciation

Just like cars, forklifts depreciate in value after you buy them. A lot of this depreciation happens in the first couple of years that you own the forklift, so even if you pay a brand new price for a brand new forklift, you can expect for your forklift to be worth a whole lot less if you try to sell it. By buying used, you can buy something that has already depreciated in value. Even though it will continue to depreciate over time, you won’t have to worry about the huge percentage of depreciation that can happen in the first couple of years of ownership.

3. Make Financing Easier

Unless you have the capital to spend, you might have to finance your piece of equipment when you buy it. Newer forklifts can be trickier to finance, since you might have to go through a bank, and you might have to get approved for a larger amount. When you buy used, you can make financing easier because you typically won’t have to take out as large of a loan. Additionally, some companies that sell used forklifts actually offer payment plans, which can make buying a whole lot easier if you don’t actually have the cash to pay for the forklift upfront.

4. Choose a Forklift That’s Cheaper to Maintain

Many of the newest models of forklifts have a lot of bells and whistles. Even though these can seem nice, they can actually drive up the cost of maintenance for your forklift, since you have to worry about keeping all of these components in good shape. By buying an older and simpler forklift, you can help avoid having to worry about these things.

As you can see, there are actually a lot of financial benefits to buying a used forklift. If you are in the market for a forklift for your place of business, consider these benefits of buying used before you go out and buy a new piece of equipment. If you do, you might just find that buying used truly is the best choice.

8 Innovative Ways to Keep Your Finances in Check for 2017

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to save money or get your finances under control, it’s likely that you’re still floundering with how to get started. These 8 tips will help you get your finances under control, and you can start with the easiest first.

Start Small
Your finances can be daunting to consider especially if you have no money saved and are racking up huge credit card bills. It can be tough pick one part to tackle. This week, pick one part of your finances to focus on, and next week pick another. Take it month by month, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Track Spending
The first thing you should do is track your spending for a week or two. This will give you an average of where you spend the bulk of your money. It’s the best way to deal with the next step. If you don’t understand where you’re spending your money, it’ll be hard to get a rein on overspending or spending frivolously.

Create a Budget
Once you have your spending tracked for a few weeks, you can see where you’ll need to work at creating better financial decisions. Instead of that cup of expensive coffee every morning, you could invest in a coffee maker. It’s a bigger up-front purchase that will pay for itself within a few weeks.

Method to Work for You
Part of figuring out your budget is finding a tracking method that works for you. When your money is deposited directly into your bank account, and you use a debit or credit card for purchases, you’re not really accounting for your spending correctly. You can use an envelope approach or a spreadsheet to allocate your money. Have an entry for rent, utilities and vital expenses and the rest should go into the bank.

Two Bank Accounts
You should have a separate bank account for savings. It gets the money out of the way immediately, and you can be firm with what you’ll spend your money on each week. After paying rent and other expenses, you can leave $50 in your account while the rest goes into a savings account. You’ll know exactly what you have to spend without going over the limit.

Savings Challenge
Challenge yourself to save money, or have your friends join you in a challenge to save a certain amount by summer. It’s easier when you’re doing it with someone else.

Check Your Credit
Each year, you’re entitled to a free credit report from all three credit agencies. Always check your report for inconsistencies and errors to keep yourself safe from identity theft.

Tracking Tools
There’s an app for every task you might want to complete and that includes saving money or just getting a handle on your spending. Software like Mint.com can help you really dig deep and understand exactly where you’re spending.

9 Ideas for Decorating a Winter Wonderland Wedding

Winter is not your typical season for a wedding, but that is sometimes precisely the reason why couples may choose it. Winter weddings can be whimsical and are often cozy, providing warmth, friendship, and family during a time when it can be cold and bleak outside. A wedding during the winter calls for a new approach to decorating. Here are 9 fresh ideas for decorating a winter wedding wonderland.

1. Wedding Invitations
The first impression that guest will get of the wedding is the official invitation, which they might get months before winter actually sets in. Use thick snow-white paper with accents of eggplant, forest green, and berry red, which are very trendy for winter, tucked into gentle chocolate envelopes.

2. Choose a suitable color palette.
Entirely up to the couple, who might choose something unconventional to go against the norm, most couples choose color themes that go along with winter feelings. These might be neutral, cool, and soft color themes with lots of white, blue, metallic silver and gold, and gentle earth tones. Your guests will be dying to attend!

3. Choose accessories that will keep you warm.
It is winter after all, and unless you are in the south of the country (or somewhere tropical) it will be chilly outside. Be sure to have cute warming accessories like finger-less gloves, hats, and scarves. Opt for a longer wedding dress, maybe with long sleeves as well. If it is especially cold then be sure and wear thick leggings under the dress to keep your body temperature up so you’re not cold and uncomfortable. For the men, consider velvet blazers which look chic and will keep them warm as well.

4. Centerpieces.
With a centerpiece, you want to bring in a little bit of the outdoors. This style tends to go with any wedding theme. Winter white boughs (either aspen or painted white) sitting up in a broad vase, with crystals hanging from the boughs is a good starting point. Decorate the bottom with votive candles for warmth and energy. Frosted glass china would make a great compliment for guests to eat from. Winter flower bouquets should be big, fluffy blooms like white hydrangeas and ranunculus.

5. Glitter.
Winter can mean snow, pure and white and glinting in the light. Glittering, sparkling decorations mimic this most beautiful part of winter weather. If you want to echo the season (of course you do!) then pick decoration that glitters and sparkles in the light just like snowflakes. This can mean glitter makeup, too. Don’t be shy with the glitter!

6. Wedding Cake
The centerpiece of the wedding festivities, your wedding cake could be the most beautiful winter decoration! Big layers of snow-white cake covered with glittering snowflakes, birds, and holly berries. Wintry wedding topper could be the happy couple kissing
under a bough of mistletoe.

7. Winter Weather Nature
Winter doesn’t mean that all the plants wither, turn brown, and drop their leaves. In fact, there are many tree species that are adapted to be hardy in the cold. Evergreen and coniferous species are green year-round, and are a great natural accent to incorporate into your winter wedding theme. Think boughs of fir, pine, and holly.

8. Wintry Wedding Favors
No wedding is complete without favors for the guests to take home with them when they leave. Ideally, this is something that reminds them of the wedding itself. Perfect wintry favors would be warm plush blankets to cuddle up under, packets of premium mulled wine spices, or baked goods made with love. Artisanal candles and lotions in winter scents are a great option – think the smell of a winter forest, the comfort of a glass of wine by a fire, perfectly roasted apple pie…

9. Don’t Forget the Mistletoe!
Another natural element not to be forgotten is mistletoe. An interesting little plant that grows on trees, spread around by birds, and that has a perfect spot at a wedding as it symbolizes love and wintry romance. Have a big mistletoe cluster at the entrance, or have several small misteloes hanging around in mischievous places so your guests can kiss their partners when they least expect it! A fun thing to do is plan where to hang the mistletoe…

Best Types of Wood for Laser Engraving

There are many different types of wood that you can use for projects. However, some types of wood are a lot better than others when it comes to laser engraving or cutting. Wood can be one of the most challenging materials to work with for laser engraving and cutting due to the various inconsistencies in the wood material. The ideal wood that you can find will be light in color, not be coarse or heavy in grain and also will come with a higher resin content.

 

There are different ways you can tell the amount of resin a piece of wood has. One method you can use is to compare pieces of the same species – the lighter the piece, is an indicator of a lower resin count. Another method is to do a burn test on the opposite side that you intend to engrave.

 

Engraving on a darker wood will cause you not to see the details as clearly. You may not be able to even tell what the picture is at all depending on the type of wood and the darkness, which is why the ideal wood for you to use for your engraving project would be light in color. With a lighter wood you are able to get the best possible contrast.

Depending on what you are engraving the type of wood may cause a distraction with the grain pattern/streaking that runs through it. If you are engraving a picture if there is a heavy pattern of streaking it can be distracting to have a bunch of lines running through faces. With laser photo engraving, you want to choose a wood type that has a smooth and consistent gran with very minimal streaking like an Alder wood.

 

Types of wood that are good for engraving/cutting include:

 

  • Cherry- Cherry has a high resin content and is a lighter wood. It may have higher levels of streaking which may not be great for all projects.
  • Hard Maple – Light in color, light streaking, and can burn dark most of the time. The down side is that there is some inconsistency with the resin.
  • Alder – High resin content, light in color, with very light streaking Alder is a good choice for most laser engraving projects.

 

It is important when taking on a wood engraving or cutting project whether for work or pleasure that you plan everything carefully. You want to ensure that you take into account the type of project that you are working on so that you can pick out the appropriate piece of wood so that your work is displayed in the best way.

Top Bridal Trends for the Fall

If you’re planning a fall 2017 wedding, you might have visions of a rustic, autumn-tinged celebration. But beyond the decor, the bride has important decisions to make about hair, makeup, and accessories. Here are some of the top fall bridal trends you can expect to see when shopping for your gown and planning your wedding day look.

1. Spanish Influence
According to Brides magazine, gowns that feature Spanish-inspired details are hot for fall. Think romantic ruffles, off-the-shoulder or tiered necklines, and even capelets to cover bared shoulders. This fits right in with the ruffled trends seen on recent runways.

2. Integrated Sparkle
As reported in Vogue’s look at the bridal runway for this season, trendy fall brides are eschewing the jewelry box in favor of gowns that have the bling you’ve dreamed of built right in, with bejeweled necklines spotted on the runway from designers including Carolina Herrara, Marchesa, and Badgley Mischka. In addition to jewels, gowns brought the sparkle with silver beading, sequins, gold brocade, and other metallic embellishments.

3. Minimalism
Brides who want to go sweet and simple will be excited by the options they have this fall, with clean lines and silhouettes offered by a range of designers. Anything but boring, the new minimal gowns are enhanced with subtle, sweet details like delicate ruching and tiny sleeve ruffles.

4. Capes
Brides who crave drama are casting aside the traditional veil and train for a different kind of flow–a cape that cascades to the floor for an unforgettable entrance when you walk down the aisle. This look can also go romantic with a body veil, a wispier, delicate cape made of lace or another light, transparent material.

5. Higher Necklines
You might have your heart set on the ubiquitous strapless sweetheart neckline, but the trendiest gowns this season are sexy without showing skin. Designers are showing higher than ever necklines on this year’s runway, as well as long sleeves. Far from Victorian, though, these dresses provide coverage in the front along with flirty details like peekaboo lace, illusion paneling, and even cut-out patterns.

6. Midi-Length Gowns
While shorter wedding dresses have been showing for awhile, the latest hemline is a romantic tea length. These dresses are perfect for the dance floor and impart a fun, youthful vibe. In addition, many brides are opting to go for the princess gown for the ceremony and swap it out for a shorter dress when the cocktail hour rolls around.

How to Avoid Getting Denied for a Personal Loan

A personal loan can be used for a variety of purposes including consolidating debt, taking a vacation or paying taxes. They are designed for those with poor credit as well as for those who have good credit. What are some steps that you can take to ensure that you aren’t denied for the personal loan that you have applied for?

Make Sure You Apply for a Loan That Fits Your Credit Profile

If you have a credit score of 500 or have several missed payments in the recent past, you shouldn’t expect to get a loan from your bank or credit union. Instead, you should apply for a loan from a bad credit lender. You may also have to be flexible regarding your loan terms if you have a low income, are self-employed or don’t have an extensive credit history even if it is a positive one.

Can You Secure the Loan?

As a general rule, a secured loan is easier to get than an unsecured loan. This is because the lender has better odds of seeing his or her money back compared to a loan that is secured only by the promise of the borrower to pay it back. You can use your home, a car or any other valuable asset to secure a loan. In some cases, a borrower may secure the loan with a cosigner who pledges to pay the money back if the original borrower is unable to do so.

How Much Are You Asking For?

A borrower who asks for $50,000 despite having no assets, little income and a lot of debt is unlikely to get his or her request approved. However, it may be possible to get a loan for $5,000 with the understanding that future loans could be worth more if this one is repaid on time. Typically, a lender will tell the borrower ahead of time how much he or she is approved for prior to deciding whether to accept the loan.

Don’t Make Too Many Loan Requests at Once

Each time that you fill out a loan application, you have an inquiry placed on your credit report. If a lender sees that you have too many inquiries, it may raise some questions about your ability to obtain or manage credit wisely. Ideally, you will limit loan requests to no more than one every six to 12 months.

Getting denied for a personal loan be a blow to your ego or put you in financial dire straights if you needed the money to pay a bill today. However, even if you are denied, it doesn’t mean that you can’t ask another lender for a loan or apply again in the near future if you overcome the issue that led to the denial.