Dining Out and Saving Money

Nothing feels more like a punch to the gut than realizing your restaurant tab chewed quite an unexpected hole through your budget. When it comes to dining out, there are countless money traps disguised as harmless additions, and being a cheapskate can help you keep within budget. To name a few, this post contains the top 3 to-don’ts that will help save you money when dining out on a budget.


Ordering More Than You Can Eat.

Most every restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes with tantalizing menu descriptions that are more than twice the size of a regulated portion. This results in a lot of food – and money – wasted.

To avoid spending money on food that will inevitably end up in the trash, don’t order more than you can eat. Instead of ordering an array of appetizers, entrees, and sides, order one dish at a time. You can also order meals to share with someone at your table; not only will this guarantee an empty plate, but it will also cut your total in half if you’re sharing the price as well!


Chugging Your Money.

The amount restaurants charge for drinks can add a heavy weight to our already heavy total. Instead of drinking your money, request a glass of water instead of a soft drink, which costs an average of $3.00, or an alcoholic beverage that can easily tack on another $7.00. Whatever you do, beware of the super duper, frozen, fruity, iced tea/slushy/smoothie/milkshake specials loaded with additional charges and tossed into a blender to justify charging another extra dollar or two.


Paying Full Price.

If you could save a little extra money on anything, why wouldn’t you? As far as dining is concerned, there are countless possibilities to save money with discounted gift cards and coupons. You just have to know where to look!

Groupon – the leading company in supplying outstanding coupon codes – has recently developed a very useful restaurant directory called, Groupon Pages. This is a compilation of restaurant listings in your area that includes great deals, informative details, and reviews! Take a peek at this Groupon Page for The Emerald Restaurant in Austin, TX.

Don’t throw your money away with wasted food, don’t chug your money in alcohol or restaurant specials, and hunt for deals and discounts before you step out to dinner. As long as you abide by these three guidelines, you’re sure to save a considerable amount on your next meal!

3 Tips for a Great Home Entertainment System on a Budget

Who doesn’t want a great home entertainment system? Technology has improved significantly in the last few years, making it possible to get that movie theater experience in the comfort of your own home. It feels great to skip the crowds and overpriced popcorn and enjoy an evening with the family while the car stays parked in the driveway.

The biggest hurdle to this experience, though, is getting the right setup without getting a second mortgage. With a little due diligence, it’s definitely possible to build a great home theater without breaking the budget. Here are 3 tips to getting the most bang for your buck on a home entertainment system.

1) Skip the Smart TV

Smart TVs are all the rage today. Practically every major brand is pushing the ability to stream online content directly to your TV without the need for external devices. It is a great feature, but it increases the cost of the television significantly. The cost of smart TVs are typically 25% – 30% higher than their “dumb” counterparts. That means you are paying hundreds of dollars in order to watch Netflix and YouTube on your TV.

A better option is to buy the cheaper set and then purchase a streaming device separately. Companies like Amazon, Google and Roku have various options that cost $35 – $100 to add most if not all of the options you’ll find on a smart TV.

2) Over-the-top Sound Systems are Over-Rated

Next to the TV itself, the sound system will be the largest expense for a home theater. It’s easy to spend thousands of dollars if you’re not careful. Don’t get caught up in the marketing hype. Unless you’re trying to fill a very large room, a low to moderate-range sound system is more than adequate. In fact, once you move past the $1,000 price-point, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to distinguish the difference in sound quality.

3) Don’t Neglect the Content

So many people get caught up in the perfect equipment, but don’t give much consideration to how the content will be delivered to their home theater. If you don’t have high-quality content, it’s not going to look good no matter how much you spent on the equipment.

Consider the following:

  • If you have a 4k TV, you will need to see if you cable or satellite provider offers Ultra HD content.
  • Physical media, specifically Blu-ray Discs, will typically provide the most consistent quality.
  • If you are using internet based content, make sure that your internet connection is at least 25 Mbps.

With regards to cable and satellite providers, DirectTV is doing a great job making the switch to Ultra HD. Unless you have a fantastic internet connection, satellite is your best option for the highest quality content. Packages vary by region, so find DirectTV in your area and see what is available to you. It will likely be the best option for content.

Don’t feel like a great home entertainment experience is only available to those with thousands to spend. You can easily get a great experience on a budget.

Online Shopping Resource – One Central Location To Save You Money

Shopping is a necessary aspect of life, but it can be bothersome when product costs add up quickly. Shopping online becomes more costly when shipping and handling costs are calculated. Luckily, shopping online can be beneficial in that product costs can be easily compared against competitors this way. Following a number of money-saving tips can make the overall shopping experience much less expensive.

Use Online Coupons
Using coupons helps shoppers keep track of the latest deals in their favorite stores. Some stores even feature multiple retailers from which customers may use coupon codes or take advantage of sales. These coupons offer significant savings that other shoppers may overlook. If similar stores feature deals on the same item, compare the prices with a coupon provider that lists multiple stores at once, such as Chippmunk. Coupons can also be used in-store. Some online coupons can be printed and used just as those found in flyers and shoppers’ guides.
Make a List
Write down every type of item to be bought, and categorize them for easy searching. Next write a maximum price to spend on each item. From these plans, create a total that is within budget and only shop for items that fall within their individual budgets.When deciding on the target price always round up in order to avoid going over the allotted budget and to leave extra money after everything has been purchased. Keeping track of each expenditure helps guarantee that no purchases are forgotten or that impulse buying does not occur. Any money left over can be saved for emergency purchases.

Shop in One Place
One-stop shopping is a great way to save in comparison to buying multiple items from various specialty stores. Shopping at one store is easier and less time-consuming and may result in reduced shipping cost and sales tax. Some sellers will combine shipping costs into one shipment.There is an added advantage in accumulated purchase costs as well. Many online retailers offer free shipping once a certain amount has been spent. Buying all necessary items at one store helps the total increase to meet the spending requirement. Along with free shipping, some retailers will even throw in a free gift.

Take Advantage of Holiday Sales
Retailers offer largely publicized sales at multiple points during the year. Some of the most common include Labor Day, President’s Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, among others. These holiday sales present the chance to find coveted items at drastically reduced prices.

Stay on the lookout for these bargains and take full advantage. Buy items that are most important, and avoid buying anything just because of its low price. Online stores often honor these same sales and will feature special discounts in addition to those available with coupon codes.

Buy in Bulk 
Items such as toiletries, diapers and cleaners cost more when purchased individually. When bought in cases, the costs of each unit are much less. For items such as toilet paper or dish detergent, this technique is a necessity. These items are used constantly and frequently need to be replaced. Buying many units at once saves the time and frustration of running to the store each week. In addition to the reduced unit price, some stores offer further discounts for items that are purchased by the case.

Finding products at lower prices is not always a difficult task. Many stores will advertise when they feature sales on certain items. For those that have no sales, there is often a code or coupon that will save money regardless.

A Beginner’s Guide To Online Poker Mastery

Many people new to the realm of online poker often make the mistake of considering themselves poker experts simply because they have studied the pros on TV or are able to beat their friends every now and then on “Poker Night.” Unfortunately, this usually leads to an immediate loss of money when they confidently sit down with seasoned sharks at a high-stakes online table. In order to avoid this situation and begin mastering the profitable world of online poker, players must first learn the rules of the game and become comfortable playing online against invisible players from around the world.

Practice for Free

After choosing a top online poker site and downloading the necessary software, online poker beginners should avoid the money tables and go straight to the free-play tables. Depending on the site, these tables may be called by a different name, but every leading poker site, for example bwin poker, provides players with the ability to play for free while they become comfortable with the site and hone their skills.

Free-play tables are tremendously beneficial, because they allow players to learn the ropes without risking any of their own money. The poker site that hosts the software platform should provide players with daily chips or virtual money for novices who are not quite ready to risk their own money. However, free-play poker is not an accurate representation of real poker, because when real money is involved, players tend to play a much different game.

After gaining some playing experience on free-play tables, it is time to deposit funds into the playing account and experience some real poker action. Before playing, however, a budget should be set determining how much money a player is willing to gamble with. It is rather easy to get wrapped up in emotion and excitement when playing online poker, so players need to keep their excitement levels in check and stick to their set budget. In poker, discipline is everything.

Learn Strategy

Starting off on low $0.01/$0.02 blind tables, online poker beginners should practice developing a tight, strong game right from the outset. In need of excitement, many players find themselves tempted to bet on every hand, but successful poker players take a methodical, disciplined, and reasonable approach to the game, only betting on strong hands and timing their bluffs perfectly. In fact, most poker pros only recommend betting on approximately 10 percent of all hands. The best poker players know how to pick the perfect spots to make their moves.

In order to play a tight game, beginners need to learn how to avoid making any rash moves whatsoever. Novice poker players often find themselves tilting, which is poker lingo for making irrational bets based off of emotion, so it’s important to remain calm and even-keeled at all times, especially after falling victim to a bad beat. The first time a player loses to trip threes with pocket aces, it is only natural to feel enraged and want to trash talk opponents through the keyboard, but losing composure can be far more detrimental than losing to a bad call that is saved on the river.

At first, novices should fold every bad hand. Players should only slightly loosen up their game to steal a blind every now and again after carefully observing their opponents playing style for a period of time. However, to do this, players must first be able to discern the bad hands from the good.

Understand the Hands

No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em is by far the most popular online poker game, and the game’s rules are relatively simple and can be easily learned through practice. However, learning the game starts with knowing the hands. From best to worst, the most valuable hands in poker are the royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two pair, pair, and high card. Knowing the hand and when to fold or raise is what separates the sharks from the fish.

Benefits of Music

Music has no age, language and limits and it is probably as old as the mankind itself. Listening to music has to be the favorite pastime of most people, regardless of the genre and type of music.

It is widely believed (and some proven by research) that music provides a lot of health benefits. Music therapy has been the buzzword of this century where the fast paced and economy driven life started putting people into stress and thereby caused health issues. In this context, let us examine some of the advantages of music.

Benefits of listening to music

Music reduces stress and stress is one of the reasons behind aging faster, various mental illnesses, heart related issues such as high blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels. A few minutes of relaxing music every day can do wonders to your mental and physical health. Bringing down the heart rate and blood pressure to normalcy is probably the first step towards getting fitter and hence music’s cardiovascular advantage is what we can tap into.

Music stimulates your brain cells. Just like it works well with the heart, it can offer benefits to your brain cells as well. Listening to soothing type of music improves your ability to focus and thinking capability whereas heavy beat music makes your brain work more energetically and hence your throughput increases. No wonder why some people can work only when they have their headphones on.

Music is an amazing pain killer. Studies have shown that listening to music can reduce chronic pain and people with handicaps often feel more able and encouraged. Listening to music can help your pituitary glands to release endorphins that reduce body pains.

If you’ve got extra CD’s or video games sitting around, you may also consider selling them online at Music Mag Pie.

Music listeners usually get good sleep. No wonder why there’s a category of music called lullabies that put babies to sleep. Well, even grownups can take benefit from the same. Sound sleep results in improved health again.

Music has been a social and lifestyle binder for years now. Music parties has been a socializing mechanism for ages now. When people network over music and food, they tend to be more open-minded and get closer. As for the lifestyle benefits, those who exercise with music on tend to do more work out and hence benefit from the improved health.

A word of caution: Music have numerous benefits but overdose of anything can be harmful. Continuous high decibel music can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss and increased activity levels for longer durations. Also, one needs to be very careful on the context. It may not be a good idea to listen to loud music while driving or crossing the road.

Best Hobbies for Couples

All work and no play make anyone dull. That’s why we always turn to our hobbies when work becomes too demanding, stressful or, well, boring. For many people, hobbies are a form of sanity check, something to shake up the monotony of their daily grind. But you know what would make your hobby more enjoyable? It’s nothing but sharing your passion with someone special.

Here are some hobbies that you and your partner or significant other can enjoy together.

  1. Running/Walking: Whether it’s a regular early morning jog, a stroll around the park, or joining fun runs and marathons, walking, running or jogging together is a good way to improve on how you sync. Plus, it’s also a wonderful form of exercise, so you’d both be hitting two birds with one stone! Others prefer to spend time together in the gym, but nothing beats sharing each other’s company outdoors
  2. Going to the movies: Curling up at home watching DVDs is a good way to be closer, but remember when you were still in the early stages of dating and you’d catch a movie at the cinema, complete with popcorn and soda? This is one way to recapture those moments by still going to the movies at least once a month
  3. Go dancing: Taking up dancing as a hobby with your special someone has a lot of merits. It will definitely bring you much closer together and also heat things up a bit. How you move on the dance floor together, whether in a stirring tango, passionate salsa, or wild-abandon hip-swinging at a pub, will say a lot about your relationship
  4. Traveling: Gaining new experiences, meeting new people, and exploring new places together, is one sure way to bring couples together. Perhaps it’s the thrill of the unknown, or simply the knowledge that they are experiencing everything for the first time in the company of someone they care about. Whatever it is, traveling together – whether locally or outside the country – is an adventure worth taking
  5. Board/Card Games: Let’s face it: some couples simply want to stay indoors instead of being with a crowd of people. Bring out that chessboard or your favorite deck of cards, or maybe even start a game of Scrabble, and challenge each other. Or you could go old-school and solve the daily crossword puzzle together. Who said being competitive isn’t good for a healthy relationship?

There’s no denying that relationships become much stronger when compatibility is factored in. Having similar interests and shared passions, and doing them together, is a sure-fire way to make sure the flames are kept alive.

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Health Issues caused by 3D Movies

The number of 3D movies released every year has been on the rise for the past few years mainly due to the increased interest in animation and Scifi movies. While these 3D movies offer more realistic viewing experience, they aren’t all that good for your health. And to make things worse, even your living room might have a 3D TV.

In this short article, let us understand some of the health issues caused by watching 3D movies. Please note that the topic under discussion here is still a major research topic and evolving.

3D movies and your Health

Although the 3D movie watching technology has vastly improved (with good quality polarizing filter spectacles etc), there are still related health risks. The technology used to create the illusion of 3D can cause more extreme physical reactions such as nausea, seizures, dizziness and severe head ache. These side-effects are caused because 3D is creating an illusion that’s neither naturally interpreted nor taken well by the human brain and eyes.

Focus and convergence issue is the other issue that can really cause eye strain. And if you go for a 3D movie without knowing about an Astigmatism or lazy eye condition, things may end up even worse after experiencing the movie.

The case is pretty much the same with 3D TVs. Most of the 3D TV manufacturers have already taken the disclaimer that people with conditions such as epilepsy, heart diseases or high blood pressure etc are at higher risk while watching 3D TV. At times these warnings and disclaimers are released with the intent of protecting them from any legal claims. However, it’s proven that anything unnatural can cause significant damage to your eyes and mind.

So next time, before you watch your favorite 3D movies, think twice.

Hall of fame: Best Female Singers of all Time

The music industry may be dominated by the male voices, but there have been exceptional female singers who have made their presence felt with pure tone, voice clarity and persona.

The world of music has witnessed many great and all time favorite female artists and singers who have successfully rose to the level of prominence in the music and entertainment industry. Here are 10 of the best women singers who have not only blown us away with their voices for several decades but also written some of the most memorable songs ever. The best singers listed in this article have been chosen based upon their range, vocal power as well as individuality (The list is not in any particular order)

1. Whitney Houston

Whitney deserves to be in this all time best singers list despite having received some negative publicity until her tragic death. She had given some of the most incredible vocals in the world of music over the past three decades. All of her beautiful emotional tunes make her one of the best singers of all time. Music critic believes that the kind of vocal ability and depth that she possessed is rare in born talent that delivered immaculate hits like ‘I will always love you’ and ‘How will I know?

2. Celine Dion

She is undoubtedly one of the best singers of all time. With an incredible voice and power chords, this Canadian mesmerized music lovers across the globe with super hits like ‘Immortality’ and ‘My heart will go on’. Such is the power behind her songs and vocals that she hits notes that are challenging for most singers. When she performs in a concert, she exudes great confidence and it’s just amazing to watch her perform live and hit her notes high.

3. Billie Holiday

Billy has got an impeccable voice and there is no question about it. There’s clarity in her tone that no other singer has been ever able to replicate. No doubt she is one of the best female Jazz singers with a gifted voice that delivered impeccable records like ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘God bless the child’. Billie died a tragic death when she was still young and a lot more to offer to the music world but not before leaving behind the memories of several dozens of great jazz hits.

4. Tina Turner

Tina Turner has created a great impression all around the world with her spunkiness and high spirit. It won’t be wrong to call her powerhouse in singing. She has inspired a lot of people with her songs. She is without a doubt the best singer with a vision of hope which is reflected in her own style of singing. She has the ability to make thousands of people groove to her tunes and her vocal ability and dance moves can make anyone bop. My personal favorites of Tina Turner include ‘What’s love got to do with it’, ‘We don’t need another hero’ and ‘Typical male

Best Female Comic Book Characters and Super Women

Most people have grown up with comic books and have fond memories of flipping through those colorful pages and reading the word balloons. Comic characters have entertained millions if not billions of kids worldwide. Comic books usually center on a superhero and the superhero is the main character. The comic book character of a superhero always fires up the imagination of young as well as those young at heart. The popularity of comic book characters can be testified by the fact that many of these comic book characters have raked in billions of dollars for the movie business. Besides comic books with a superhero protagonist and an evil genius, comic characters have also been based on ordinary people as in the eternal Archie’s series which is extremely popular among tweens as well as teenagers.

Female Comic Book Characters

Comic have usually been the domain of male superheroes with few main female characters. Though, few some female characters have left their mark in the comic world. Top female characters include female characters cast in villainous as well as heroic roles. The most popular female cartoon character is probably Catwoman of the Batman series. Catwoman had made her first appearance in 1940 and has undergone many changes since then but she still continues to attract many fans. Mary Jane Watson of the Spiderman series on the other hand is one of the few women cast in a positive role in comic Dom.

The comic character of Mary Jane had one of the most remarkable opening lines in comic book history. Mary Jane was the love interest of Peter Parker the Spiderman to begin with but with time she emerged as a very strong character herself, Mary Jane proves her strength in the controversial 2007 version of The Amazing Spiderman. Mary Jane evolved from the role of damsel in distress to become a hero of her own kind in her own right.

Female characters presence in popular mainstream comic books is breaking a boundary in itself but the character of Storm from the X-Men breaks more than just that one boundary. Storm is one of the first female characters to be given African-American origin with the power to control the elements of weather. Perhaps the most well rounded female characters of all times, Storm also lead the X-Men. Other popular female characters include Barbara Gordon as Batgirl of the Batman Series, Wonder woman, Sue Storm of the Marvel Universe and more.

So, who’s your favorite female comic book character?

Soap Opera Recaps

So what would you do if you happen to miss an episode or two of your favorite ‘The Young and the Restless’ or ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’? Well, there are Soap Opera Recaps in the form of scripts, daily summaries and excerpts available online to help with your situation.

Soap opera daily recaps of currently hot television serials and soap recaps of serials from the past are archived on the following soap opera sites.

Top Soap Opera Recaps Sites

Here’s our pick of the soap recap sites.

  1. Soap Central Recaps
  2. SheKnows Soaps.com
  3. Soap Opera Network
  4. SoapZone.com
  5. SoapDom.com
  6. SoapOperaFan.com
  7. SoapOperaDigest.com
  8. Soaps Net
  9. TV Guide
  10. TV Fanatic

Some of them actually offer daily soap summaries and write-ups where as others offer clips and video summary.

So next time you miss an episode of ‘Days of Our Lives’, you know where to get the recaps online right?

By the way, most of the soap opera related information, cast, season plans, news from lead actors etc will be usually available on the respective television company sites. However, dedicated soap opera sites will feature gossips, spoilers, scoop etc in addition to the news, summaries and recaps. Moreover, they will have multiple channels’ soaps and serials in them. Additional features might include the possibility of discussion forums and social interactions on each episode where you can read and talk about soaps with like-minded people. After all, what generates more discussions than soap operas and television serials?.

If you are a soap fan and have a some more links to share where soap opera recaps and re-run episodes are present, please feel free to share them as social comments. Also, feel free to comment and discuss about your favorite soap show on TV these days!