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August 28, 2014

Severe Weather Preparation Tips

Severe weather

Are you prepared for severe weather?  When we move to a new home, severe weather or other disasters are not usually top of mind. But it’s also important to have a plan to ensure your family stays safe.

Be sure you to add severe weather preparation to your to-do list while you are getting settled into your new home. Here are a few tips on how to be prepared when severe weather comes your way:

1. Build a kit: Flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, first-aid supplies, water and non-perishable food are just a few of the important items you should have ready to go. Be sure to put the kit somewhere easily accessible and everyone knows where it is.

2. Have a family plan: Your family may not be together when severe weather strikes. Have a plan in place so everyone knows where to meet or how to communicate in advance.

3. Designate a shelter: Sometimes severe weather escalates into something more dangerous like tornadoes or flash flooding. Identify the safest spot in your house during these types of weather events – usually a first-floor interior closet or bathroom away from windows.  

Do you have any severe weather tips? We want to hear from you! Stop by our Facebook page and share with us and our online community.


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August 18, 2014

How to Estimate Utility Costs for a New Home

Utility meter and calculator

If you are like most, you probably keep your finances in order by staying on a budget. But if you are moving to a new home, it can be hard to set up your budget if you don't know how much the utilities will cost each month. So how do you estimate utility costs for your new home?  Here are a few ways you can get estimated utility costs to work with before you move.

  1. Look at your current bills: Take note of your current usages. If you can see how much energy, gas or water you are using now, this can be a good indicator of how much you will use in your new home if it is similar in size or as a baseline if you are moving into a larger or smaller home.
  2. Ask about previous bills: Call your new power, gas and water providers to find out what the previous owner’s average and low/high bills looked like. At the very least, you should be able to get average utility costs for the neighborhood.
  3. Use online estimators: Getting an online estimate will not be exact, but it can give you a good idea of how much you may end up paying for your utilities. Home Energy Saver offers a free online tool to help you do just that.
  4. Get a home audit: If you are really concerned about the utilities in your new home, consider having someone come out and do a home audit. This will not only help you determine what your energy costs will look like, but you will also learn new tips for decreasing your usage and how to improve your home's energy efficiency.

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August 14, 2014

Five Tips for Moving to a New School

Kids in a moving box 

Moving to a new home can be especially challenging for a child transitioning into a new school district. When your child starts at a new school it is important to tackle problems early. Here are some tips to best prepare your student for starting at a new school.   

 

  1. Create a schedule: Get your child into a set schedule early. During the end of the summer, promote a regular sleep schedule and start turning off the TV. Encourage reading, puzzles and looking at flash cards to get your child into the routine of learning.
  2. Include your child in the process: Make your child feel included throughout the entire process. Visit their new school before the first day and bring them along to orientation. Allowing them to see and tour classrooms in advance can put some of their fears to ease.
  3. Look for opportunities to get involved: Network with other parents in the area and volunteer in the classroom or at the school during the first year. Knowing that you're close can help your child to relax and get more out of learning. 
  4. Encourage after-school activities: Encourage your child to participate in at least one or two extracurricular activities. This will help them meet new friends and stay busy. Research possible opportunities and discuss with your child what best fits his or her interests before the school year begins. 
  5. Prepare for emergencies: Make sure to have an emergency contact in your new location, and make sure the school has copies of all important documents such as health and allergy information.

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