If you think online dating is reserved for young people seeking casual encounters, then think again. The internet is a great resource for people of all ages to find love. In fact, more seniors than ever are successfully finding companionship online.
If you’d like to give online dating a try, here are some tips to get you started.
• Use the right site. Sign up for one of the big sites with lots of regular users to increase your chances of meeting someone. Alternatively, use a specialized site to find a person who shares your interests or beliefs.
• Be honest. It can be tempting to fib about your age, body type or education to attract other people. Don’t do it. You’re looking for someone who likes you, not a made up version of you.
• Stay safe. Most people you’ll meet online are normal individuals looking for love. However, there are a few bad eggs. Protect yourself online by creating a separate email address that doesn’t use your full name. If you decide to meet someone in person, make sure your first encounter’s somewhere public, that you tell a friend where you’ll be and that you stay sober.
Online dating requires patience. Your perfect match is bound to be out there looking for you too; it just may take some time to find him or her.
Men’s holiday fashions
Are you hoping to turn heads at your next work party or family event? Here are the top fashion trends for men this winter.
Monochromatic looks. Get the look of the season by wearing a single neutral tone in varying shades and textures. If the esthetic is too simple for you, jazz it up with colorful or metallic accessories.
Sheepskin. Leave last year’s puffer jacket in the closet and instead reach for a timelessly cool sheepskin jacket or coat. Cognac and cream is the classic color combo for them but monochrome versions (try black on black) are also stylish and provide a more modern take on the look.
The black suit. Do you have a formal holiday party to attend this year? If so, you can’t go wrong wearing a classic black tuxedo, white shirt and bow tie. Make sure it fits you perfectly by taking it to a tailor for a professional fitting.
Earth tones. Brown and other autumnal colors are in vogue this season. Pair a light brown blazer with espresso-colored pants or a sandy suit with a darker shirt.
Whether your style is edgy and contemporary or timelessly sophisticated, there’s a holiday look that’s right for you.
How to choose a host or hostess gift
If you get invited to someone’s home over the holidays, it’s best not to arrive empty handed. However, it can be hard to know what to bring, especially if the host or hostess is a relatively new friend or acquaintance.
Fortunately, there are number of things — wine, chocolate, coffee, tea, fancy hand soap and unscented candles, for example — that make great gifts when you don’t know the recipient very well.
However, if you do know them, you could offer your host or hostess something that you think they’ll appreciate. If they love to cook, for instance, a cookbook or an inexpensive kitchen gadget would be ideal.
Whatever you bring, make sure it’s not something that makes your host or hostess work. For example, if you choose to bring a bouquet of flowers, arrange them in a vase before arriving so they don’t have to.
Remember, this gift is meant for the hosts to enjoy after the guests have gone home. They’re not obliged to share it with you or anyone else, so don’t expect them to.
3 bad habits that will amp up your energy bills
Many homeowners are surprised to learn how much energy their electronic devices use. If you’re looking for ways to conserve energy and spend less on your utility bills, here are three habits that you should break immediately.
1. Watching television and movies on gaming consoles. Video game consoles use 30 to 45 percent more power than televisions. In addition, running one high-definition gaming console requires the equivalent amount of energy as running 10 Blu-Ray devices. You’re better off using your console for nothing but gaming.
2. Leaving your electronics plugged in all the time. This is a common habit, but did you know that many electronic devices use up to 40 percent of the energy required for their functioning, even when they’re turned off?
Unplugging your toaster and coffee maker after breakfast and removing chargers from outlets once devices are charged will help you conserve energy.
3. Not thinking through purchases. Laser printers use nearly twice as much power as inkjet versions. Before buying one, ask yourself if the increase in energy consumption over traditional models is worth it.
Similarly, a 55-inch flat-screen TV uses twice as much energy as a 32-inch model. Consider whether the upgrade in size is worth it.
The bottom line is that you should evaluate your needs and make purchasing decisions accordingly.
In sum, to save energy at home you should evaluate what electronics you use and how you use them. Doing so will allow you to save on your utility bills and may even extend the lifespan of your devices.
Televisions, computers, printers and various other devices may sometimes come equipped with a “sleep,” “power saving” or “standby” feature. You can reduce power usage in your home by engaging this function when the item isn’t in use. In addition, you can change some settings, such as screen brightness, to improve energy efficiency of the device.
Debt management: the pros and cons of 3 debt repayment strategies
Here’s an evaluation of three basic debt management strategies.
Make the minimum payments on all accounts
The minimum payment is the amount that the borrower is required to pay back to the lender by a certain date. Keep in mind that missed payments will tank your credit score, so it’s important that you cover at least this amount each month.
• Pros. The minimum payment usually amounts to only two to five per cent of the balance owed.
• Cons. If you only make the minimum monthly payment, you could end up spending more than twice the original amount. This is because interest will keep accumulating on your debt.
Prioritize low-balance debts (the snowball method)
This approach to debt reduction involves the borrower strategically paying off multiple loans by prioritizing the account with the lowest balance first. This is done by consistently repaying more than the minimum amount owed on the account.
• Pros. Focusing on the smallest balance and quickly clearing it provides a strong psychological incentive to maintain good financial habits.
• Cons. Not prioritizing loans with a higher interest rate may not make financial sense in the long term.
Prioritize high-interest debts (the avalanche method)
Another, faster way of clearing multiple debts is to prioritize paying off the high-interest loans first. Once again, you’ll need to consistently pay more than the minimum amount on the associated account. However, this method reduces the overall interest you’ll pay.
• Pros. This method will ensure you pay the least amount of interest possible.
• Cons. Reducing debt this way requires a lot of discipline. In addition, it doesn’t provide the same quickly-gained sense of accomplishment as the snowball method.
Overall, it’s a good idea to make more than the minimum payments on your accounts. In addition, while prioritizing high-interest-rate loans is ideal, dealing with smaller balances may work better for you.
12 great reasons to buy local
1. Help create jobs
If you buy your holiday goods from local shops, you’ll help generate a need to hire more employees. Retail jobs are relatively easy to qualify for, meaning that people who otherwise struggle to find work have a better chance of being hired. This allows them to secure income during the holidays and hopefully year-round.
2. Enjoy local traditions
3. Support non-profits
Small businesses tend to give more money to non-profit organizations, especially local ones. By completing your holiday shopping in the area, you’re ensuring they can give generously to organizations that help the less fortunate and other people in your region.
4. Get better customer service
Local business owners are passionate about their products. By buying local, you ensure that you’ll get the very best recommendations possible when making purchases. In fact, personalized customer service is a sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll get the perfect presents for your loved ones. And, even if you don’t, returning items will be a cinch.
5. Reduce your carbon footprint
Shopping locally is the eco-friendly thing to do, especially if you skip the car and do it on foot. Less driving translates to a decrease in fuel consumption and a smaller carbon footprint overall. In addition, local products haven’t traveled long distances to get to you. This holiday season, shop local to help protect the planet.
6. Stay informed
Visiting local shops during the holiday season is a great way to stay informed about what’s going on in your community. You’ll find out what holiday events are taking place, get insider tips about the best products around and reinforce your sense of belonging.
7. Meet Santa
Bring the kids along with you and turn your holiday shopping excursion into an outing for the family. The little ones can meet Santa, you can do a bit of browsing and everyone will enjoy indulging in a cup of hot cocoa afterwards.
8. Find unique presents
It’s easier to find something truly unique when shopping locally. While you could purchase artisanal creations off the internet, buying something from a local artist ensures it’ll be as special as the person you’re getting it for. Some items can even be personalized.
9. Get fresh food
Visit butchers, breweries, bakeries and gourmet grocers in your area to enjoy an outstanding holiday feast. In fact, buying local is the best way to find exceptionally fresh produce, pastries, meats and dairy products. In some cases, you may even be able to sample them beforehand. Plus, your local retailers can give you advice on how to prepare their products.
10. Eliminate stress
Shopping locally is a great way to eliminate stress. This is because you don’t need to worry about when packages will arrive or the possibility that they might get stolen. Plus, you don’t have to be concerned about returns or exchanges, as these things are super easy to do when you buy your items from the retailers in town.
11. Support your local economy
Did you know that many small businesses make between 20 and 40 percent of their annual income during the last two months of the year? November and December are crucial months and many stores rely on holiday sales to stay afloat. This holiday season, make sure to buy local so you can directly support the area’s economy.
12. Help build your community
Cafes, craft stores and bookshops are prime venues for events that can enrich your community. Supporting these places allows them to host classes, music shows and more, which helps to both enliven the holiday season and to invigorate the local economy.
3 games to play at the office holiday party
Are you looking for a way energize your holiday office party? If so, here are three fun games that virtually anyone can enjoy.
1. Office trivia. Before the day of the event, send a questionnaire to all employees asking them about their interests, pet peeves and preferred foods, books, movies and travel destinations. Collect the answers and use them to create an office trivia game.
2. Guess the word. Write words on individual strips of paper and then fold and place them in bowls. Each team chooses a player who will have to guess the word based on clues from their teammates.
3. Gift wrap challenge. Put players in teams of two. Tie one person’s right hand to the other’s left and have them attempt to wrap a gift with their free hands. The pair that does the nicest job wins.
If you play your office games in teams, assemble the groups randomly. A fun way to do this is to cut up old Christmas cards and hand out the pieces. Teams can then be formed by those who have pieces from the same card.