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Why Won’t They Call Me Back?

Posted on April 19, 2017 by Chris Bjorklund

I’m frustrated right now because I’ve been calling several local companies for service and haven’t heard back from any of them. I’m trying to get on a schedule for tree pruning, and I’m also attempting to schedule a furnace cleaning and fireplace inspection. I’ve left four voicemail messages for one of these companies over a two-week period. I’ve persisted because I’m a repeat customer and was satisfied with their services in the past.

I understand that small businesses can get overwhelmed with consumer demand. Severe storms like we had this winter mean tree service companies, plumbers, and roofers are working overtime and can’t keep up with all the requests. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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The Baby Bomb: Bracing for the Impact of First-Time Parenthood

Posted on April 06, 2017 by James Florence

Three months ago, my wife and I welcomed the newest addition to our family: a baby boy, our third child. Four years after our last visit to the delivery room, the event reawakened the sense of joy and wonderment we experienced when our first two children entered the world. Likewise, the first few days of bonding with our son brought back memories of our early days as parents. By our third time around, we’ve become fairly seasoned—the interrupted sleep and constant diaper changing are practically second nature. But that first time…not exactly a walk in the park. As you’ve no doubt heard, nothing can prepare you for your initial foray into parenthood. Read more

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Missing Money: How to Find and Claim It

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Chris Bjorklund

Did you know the State of California is currently holding $8 billion in unclaimed funds in the names of more than 30 million individuals and organizations? I was one of them until a few weeks ago, when I went searching for missing money. The law requires companies to turn over funds after three years or more if there hasn’t been any activity or contact with the rightful owner.

What motivated me was my sister-in-law posting on Facebook about her successes tracking down unclaimed funds in a variety of states where she and her husband have lived over the past 30 years. Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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The Sump Pump Solution: How I Dealt With Water Damage in My House

Posted on March 07, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll

My family and I moved into our home at the height of the California drought, and before this winter, we’d never experienced any significant rainfall while living there. After a major storm system passed through in February, we checked the crawlspace and, to our dismay, found several inches of stagnant water beneath the house. The forecast called for more rain. As the water in the crawlspace continued to rise and fall with ongoing storms, we knew we had to do something. But what would be the best solution?

There are several options for preventing water saturation in your home. In this article, I’ll review some of them and share how we came to the decision to install a sump pump. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Personal Stories
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Point of Entry: Getting Rid of an Uninvited Rodent

Posted on February 02, 2017 by Jennifer Chan

I named it Lucifer because it couldn’t help being evil. I’m talking about the rat I could hear scrabbling around beneath the heater vent in my kitchen every morning. It didn’t mean any harm, but the rustles and occasional squeaks were too much for me—it had to go.

As it turned out, my first move didn’t involve a pest control company. Before I could set traps, I had to deal with the brand-new front door dug directly beneath my front door.

Before the rains came, these holes were caked with tufts of fur, eliminating any doubt that they were at least one major point of entry. Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Home Tips, Home Improvement, Personal Stories
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(Un)Paving Paradise with Small Business Saturday

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Jennifer Chan

by Jennifer Chan

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” -Joni Mitchell

Welcome to November: the start of shopping season. Whether your holidays include hot cider, tamale-making or Chinese food on Christmas, they probably also include spending. In 2015, the United States spent more than $630 billion on holiday shopping (about 20 percent of the retail industry’s total sales for the year). American shoppers spend around $900 on gifts alone every holiday season, plus more on food, entertainment and travel. Read more

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Posted in: Consumer News, Consumer Events, Consumers, Diamond Certified Extras, Personal Stories
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Money Matters: Managing a Loved One’s Financial Affairs

Posted on July 21, 2016 by Chris Bjorklund

My brothers and I are fortunate to still have our 95-year-old mother in our lives, but we do have a lot of responsibility for her physical and financial well-being. We’ve helped her with estate planning, medical directives and investments, and we manage her bills, doctors’ appointments, medications, and caregivers. My older brother, a certified public accountant, has power of attorney. Like most families, we have a lot going on and it can be overwhelming at times.

Despite our collective efforts to keep things organized and do advance planning, we’ve had some glitches. Read more

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