Reduce Stress with LifeLock Ultimate Plus

Currently our family is going through a lot of changes. We are in the middle of a move, my husband is retiring from twenty-seven years in the military, our daughter got married this summer, and we are in the middle of buying and selling houses.

moving

These can all be stressful situations, but we experienced the added stress of applying for a mortgage and finding out I had a tax lien on my credit report!

That’s exactly what happened to me last month when our bank pulled my credit report for the mortgage application. The worst part was that I never owned property or worked in that state so the lien was not mine!

If you know anything about tax liens, having them on your credit report is a pretty bad thing when you want to get a mortgage. It is even worse when you are trying to meet closing deadlines. I was able to get the lien removed from my report, but not without a lot of phone calls, letter writing, and stress.

It was very frustrating to me that a state could file a lien against me without letting me know, and damage my credit in the process.

My life has enough little stress moments without dealing with mistaken tax liens and state governments!

These days it seems like almost everyone knows someone or has personally been affected by identity theft. My husband experienced it a few years ago and just recently it happened to a good friend of mine.

Here are some simple ways to keep identity theft from happening to you.

  • Use a secure connection when going online. Protect your home internet network with a password so only authorized users can get online using your connection.
  • Choose good passwords and pin numbers (do not use your phone number or birthday for passwords or pins!)
  • Buy from reputable sites online. Always look for trusted security symbols on a website and never store your information.
  • Shred any papers or mail with your personal information on it. 
  • Monitor your bank accounts/ credit cards for suspicious charges. 
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. (Had I done this I would have known about this lien and contested it sooner)

For additional peace of mind LifeLock offers identity theft protection that takes the stress out of monitoring your accounts and activity because they do it for you.

lifelock

Lifelock helps protect you against identity theft with three different plans. You can choose the one that fits best with your needs and budget.

Lifelock Standard

LifeLock Standard identity theft protection helps proactively safeguard your credit, your finances and your good name with vigilant services that alert you of potential threats before the damage is done. 

LifeLock Advantage

LifeLock Advantage provides all the benefits of the standard plan plus account alerts, data breach notification, online annual credit report, fictitious identity monitoring and more.

LifeLock Ultimate Plus

The LifeLock Ultimate Plus program offers several new activity alerts that give you peace of mind and can help protect you against identify theft. Some of the alerts included in this plan are:

  • Notification of data breaches. (Think Target and Home Depot)
  • Monitors bank and credit card statements for unauthorized purchases.
  • Notifies and protects against file sharing network searches.
  • Monthly credit score tracking
  • Reduces the number of unwanted credit card offers you receive in the mail. (YAY!)

Currently LifeLock is offering a 10% discount when you use the code LifeLockSafety. Visit the LifeLock site to learn more and start protecting yourself against identity theft today.

I’m a LifeLock brand ambassador. All opinions are my own. 

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Fall Home Fire Safety

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

The fall can be a dangerous time. Since plant life is beginning to go into its dormant stage, there is plenty of dry organic material lying about. This creates natural potential fire hazards. People are still grilling and enjoying outdoor activities, but they are also starting to use their furnaces.

All of these things combine to create the perfect setting for a potential fire. Here are three important fall home fire safety tips.

Fall Home Fire Safety at The Happy Housewife

Make sure your smoke detectors are properly installed.

The increased chances of a potential fire are a great reminder to inspect your smoke detectors. Test them, replace batteries, and make sure they are properly installed.

You may even want to upgrade your smoke detectors to modern versions that are more sensitive to heat than smoke. These work best because man-made materials have replaced the organic materials that smoke detectors were originally created for. Man-made materials burn hotter and faster, requiring a different style of smoke detector.

Be sure to place your smoke detectors no closer than 4 inches to any adjacent wall since a pocket exists there that may prevent your smoke detector from sensing a fire.

Wet down the perimeter of any fire.

Many people like to burn leaves in the fall or have bonfires at night. However, the dried grass around the fire can ignite from just one spark. Treat your grass as the fire hazard it is. Wet down a perimeter around the fire so it can’t spread as easily. You still need to monitor the fire, but you can significantly reduce your risk by using this method.

You might also only burn in a dug out pit or fire ring. Always keep a working water hose close by and be sure to smother the fire before leaving it unattended for the evening.

Complete annual furnace inspections and maintenance.

This is best done by a professional, but you can also have a professional show you how to inspect and maintain your furnace. At the very least you should:

  1. Vacuum out all areas of the furnace and change your filters.
  2. Clean out chimneys and stove pipes as well to remove buildup and any nests that might have been put there in the off season.
  3. Inspect the inside of the furnace to be sure it has not burnt through in any areas. This can happen without your knowledge and result in a house fire that you didn’t even know you had the potential to have. Bare spots in the furnace or black marks on the walls are a clear indication that there is a problem with the furnace.

When in doubt, contact your local fire marshal for advice. It’s also a good idea to call local authorities to learn about any outdoor fire restrictions due to wind or drought hazard.

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Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Care for Your Lawn in the Heat

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Knowing how to care for your lawn in the heat of August can go a long way toward saving you money in lawn repair costs. With some regular maintenance scheduled at just the right time, your lawn can look amazing right up until it is covered in snow. Here are some tips.

How to Care for Your Lawn in the Heat at The Happy Housewife

Maintain Your Lawn

If your lawn is in good shape by the time August rolls around, it’s a lot easier to maintain. If your lawn is already in bad shape, it probably won’t be able to recover in August. Instead, fertilize it and prepare it to get through the winter. Focus on salvaging the healthy parts through August.

Aerate Your Lawn

It’s best to aerate before August because if August is a dry month, your lawn will have a hard time retaining moisture. By aerating your lawn, you help dew and your watering efforts drain into the ground. If August is a wet month, your lawn may become waterlogged. By aerating it you create a simple draining system to get the water off the top of your lawn and into the roots of your grass and shrubs.

Time Your Watering

There is some truth to the idea that you can burn your grass by watering it at the wrong time. The perfect time to water your grass is near sundown. Water magnifies the sun in a swimming pool, making you burn easier.

The same concept applies to your lawn, unless you are using a system that places the water directly into the dirt. The systems that water the dirt itself rather than the top of the grass work well any time. By keeping them at a slow drizzle you can offer plenty of water to your lawn without the worry of burning your grass.

Cut Grass to Match the Weather

If it is a dry season, let your grass grow a little longer than usual. Longer blades of grass can hold more dew to give your lawn a natural morning mist. Your grass does get nutrients through its roots, but it also goes through photosynthesis using the rays of the sun absorbed through the blades. Longer blades allow for more absorption.

During seasons when there is more rain than usual, keep your grass trimmed a bit shorter. You don’t need the extra dew in the mornings because the grass is getting plenty of moisture as it is. As an added benefit, shorter grass can help you significantly cut down on the insects that will disturb you as well as your lawn.

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Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Prune or Remove Problem Trees

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Knowing how to prune or remove problem trees is a vital part of being a homeowner. Trees are a wonderful part of having a lawn. Your children may enjoy a tire swing while you take advantage of a nice shade tree to create a reading nook. But trees are constantly changing and growing, which means you have to take care of them, if you want a healthy yard. Trees can also create problems in certain situations. What do you do then?

How to Prune or Remove Problem Trees at The Happy Housewife

What constitutes a problem?

Tree branches that extend over your roof will drop leaves that can clog your gutters or break and damage your roof. Trees with dead branches could be dangerous if they break and fall on children or pets. Overgrown trees take up too much space and create too much shade. There are many reasons why you may decide it is time to either prune those trees or have them removed completely.

The first step is knowing what kind of trees you have on your property and what is causing the problem. Some trees are subject to a variety of diseases and molds, which make it nearly impossible to prune and save the tree. Insects may have destroyed the structure of the tree, leaving it to die from the inside out. Other trees, like the Lombardy Poplar actually send off what are known as suckers which create a poplar-like small shrub several feet away from the actual tree. Other trees may just be overgrown and unruly. Once you know what you have, you can begin to research the best way to handle your issue, whether you need to learn how to prune or remove problem trees.

When should you prune?

If your trees simply need pruning in order to grow better and fit better within the space you have for them, you can either tackle the job yourself or hire a professional. Pruning should be done very carefully and with the proper tools to prevent injury to yourself or the tree. Typically pruning is done at the end or beginning of the growing season. This is the opportune time to trim back growth, cut away dead areas, and treat for diseases and insects. During the growing season, any pruning performed should involve nothing more than trimming back fast growing branches to keep new growth contained.

Can you remove a tree?

In the process of researching how to prune or remove problem trees, you may find yourself wondering whether you are really qualified to remove that 100 year old oak tree that sits at the corner of your yard near your house. Unless you are an experienced tree worker, the answer is probably no. Amateurs should only remove trees that are located far from buildings and electrical wires to avoid damage, injury, and even death. Safety is a major concern when removing trees as well as getting rid of the unsightly stump. Most of the time it is best to hire a professional for tree removal.

Once you have figured out what the problem is and decided on a solution, deciding how to prune or remove problem trees is the easy part of your conundrum.


Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.