Tips for First Time Loan Borrower

Thinking of availing a home loan or mortgage for the very first time?

First time home loan shoppers are highly likely to fall for the sugar words and marketing tactics of banks or home loan providers. The following tips may help you strike the best deal without having to sulk over potential mistakes usually committed by inexperienced borrowers.

For your First Time Home Loan…

(Please note that these are just a few guidelines and there may be a lot more that you might want to check out with respect your specific scenario in your country or state)

1. Shop around for the best deal

You may want to compare the loan offers – in terms of rates, monthly installment as well as overall mortgage package – from at least four to five different financial institutions before arriving at a final decision. In addition, you may want to discuss with your friends or relatives who might have had experience with each of these banks. Please note that the lowest interest rates do not mean the best deal. You have to know exactly how they calculate the interest (daily reducing balance, monthly reducing, quarterly reducing etc) and if there are additional charges. In addition, understand if there are any processing fee or lawyer fees along with the rules for prepayment or foreclosure.

Click here for some loan ideas!

2. Negotiate for a discount rate

It might sound odd but most of the banks have the flexibility of offering 0.5% or 0.75% (might vary in certain countries) less interest than the standard advertised rate. This is particularly true if you are having a stable and high earning profession (e.g. doctors, lawyers,…). In addition to these so-called ‘professional packages’ there are also corporate discounts available from some banks targeting specifically people from certain high profile corporates. Hence don’t be ashamed to negotiate.

3. Plan the rest of your life ahead

Never take a home mortgage assuming certain raise in salary or additional income that ‘might’ come in the future. Instead, plan from the point of view of additional financial burdens that you might encounter in the coming years (or the tenure of the loan). This may include wedding expenses, child education, purchase of vehicles or even expensive vacations.

4. Insurance, riders and deposits

It is highly advisable that you take home mortgage insurance for 25% to 30% of your home loan value to avert any risk of non-payment due to critical illness, accidents, job loss due to the above or even death. Mortgage insurance is mandatory (from the lender’s point of view) in most countries if the home purchase contribution from your side is less than 20% or so. If you do not wish to take mortgage insurance, set aside 10% to 15% (or even 20%) of your loan amount towards a term deposit or low risk bank investment. This will indeed help to repay your loan in the case of temporary no-income situations. This will also help in reducing your monthly outflow towards loan.

(You can have both the deposit as well as mortgage insurance which can help you with a little bit of tax planning as well)

5. Go for it ONLY when you are ready!

A home loan is a lifelong burden for most people. Hence before taking a loan, do a readiness and feasibility check from your end to see if it’s the right time to go for such a financial commitment. Also chew only as much as you can swallow – a huge home may be your dream but you have to really think whether you can afford it.

The other aspect of readiness check is to have a good credit history and stable background. Building your credit history by paying back your credit card bills on time, not withholding tax dues, not having several loans etc will boost your credit record. In addition, you may jump jobs and rented homes as little as possible to establish a good history. Frequent address changes are not considered good by financial institution in certain countries.

I hope these tips for first time home buyers were interesting to you. You may want to share this page with your friend who is in the lookout of a home loan.

A Handy Guide to Decorating For Less

Your home is your castle, so it only makes sense that you would want it to be beautiful, practical and perfect for your unique personality and lifestyle. It is easy to find a wide variety of great ideas online, but all too often they cost more money than the average person can afford. Decorating a home shouldn’t break the bank. If you need to decorate for less, get off the expensive websites and try these five great suggestions instead.

1. Paint

It is amazing how something as simple as a coat of paint can completely transform the look of a room. If your home is in serious need of an update, try painting the walls a new color. Sky blue is perfect for creating a relaxing sanctuary, yellow is perfect for creating an upbeat and cheerful space and gray is perfect for a sophisticated, elegant gathering place. Be sure to try a few paint samples on the wall to test how the colors will look at various times of day, but do not be afraid to put color on the wall. Your room’s paint color is easy to change when you decide you want something new.

2. Repurpose

Once you have the perfect color on the walls, you are ready to add in the little decorative elements that make your home truly your own. Do not rush right out to the store, however; shop your home first. You may be surprised at what you find. Use an empty wine bottle as a unique vase for fresh flowers. Frame your children’s drawings on the wall for fun and colorful artwork. Use old sheets to make new curtains or old clothing to make new throw pillows. Stack old hardcover books next to an armchair to make a unique side table. The possibilities are endless.

3. Visit the Right Stores

If you decide you still need to buy a few more interesting pieces after you have finished raiding your own home, be sure to choose the right stores. Start by visiting pound shops and thrift stores. Keep an open mind and you will be amazed at the unique and interesting things you can find. Many items that look worn and dingy on the shelves would make perfect accent pieces with just a good cleaning and a coat of paint. Clearance sections, auctions and antique shops are a great place to find interesting and unique finds for less as well.

4. Have Something Custom Made

One of the best ways to create a beautiful and unique space for less is to have a key piece or two custom made. Hire a quality handyman in London to build a custom fireplace mantle, custom bookshelves or a custom coffee table for you. Your entire room does not have to be custom made or expensive. If you have one key piece that truly pops, it will make your entire room look amazing.

5. Less is More

As you start decorating and finding great deals and must-have pieces, keep in mind that “less is more” when it comes to home decorating. A room that is full of knick knacks is sure to look crowded, cluttered and messy. Instead of buying and using every interesting thing you find, choose a couple eye-catching pieces and spread them throughout the space, leaving plenty of white space for the eyes to rest. This will make sure people’s eyes are drawn to your best pieces, not left to roam around the room without a focal point.

Creating a beautiful and unique space does not have to be expensive. Try these five tips and achieve a look you love today!

Been Hacked? Changing Your Password Might Not Be Enough

Almost everyone has received a message from a website or retailer with a notification of a security breach. Most include a recommendation to change your password, and in some cases, carefully monitor your financial accounts for signs of fraud.

In the wake of such high-profile data breaches as the recent one involving Target, or last year’s attack on LinkedIn that exposed millions of users’ passwords to criminals, Internet users are more concerned than ever before about the security of their personal information. We put thought into developing complex passwords that are difficult to hack, but if the database is going to be breached anyway, does it really matter if your password is the perfect combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols?

Some security experts argue it does not really matter and note if your account has been hacked, you probably need to do more to protect your data.

A Difficult Password Isn’t Necessarily a Secure Password

By now, most people realize a password like “password” or abc123” isn’t very hard to crack. What few people realize is sophisticated cybercriminals are not sitting in front of their computers running endless combinations of user names and “easy” passwords, one at a time.

Password ProtectionToday’s criminals are more focused on creating data breaches, in which they can steal millions of username and password combinations at once. Depending on where the data comes from, there is big money in stolen passwords. A password for a LinkedIn account, for example, might sell for $1 on the black market, while a bank password can sell for upwards of $850 or more. Even if you came up with what should be an uncrackable code, if it’s part of a large-scale data breach, you’re in trouble.

Some companies have tried to protect user passwords via encryption and a technique known as “salting.” Many databases do not store your actual password, but instead turn your password into a string of numbers or letters unique to your account. For added security, they “salt” the password with extra characters, rendering it unusable to someone who does not hold the encryption key. However, not all companies do this, meaning it’s up to you to protect yourself.

Enter Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is the latest advancement in security, and it’s being implemented in everything from bank accounts to mobile phones. Essentially, this type of security requires you to provide two or three ways of identifying yourself in order to gain access: something you know, something you have or something you are. A two-factor authentication token solution, for example, requires you to insert a token in addition to providing a password.

Two-factor authentication is effective because it creates an extra layer of security. Even if a criminal acquires your password, without the other factor, he or she won’t gain access to your information. You can protect your physical devices like your laptop with a physical token, while many major websites, such as Facebook and PayPal, offer a form of two-factor authentication as an optional security feature. You can adjust your account settings so you need to provide additional information, such as a code sent via text message to your phone, in order to log in.

Additional Protection Tips

To help prevent your password from being hacked, security experts recommend adjusting your method for devising your codes. For starters, 12-character passwords are more difficult to crack than 8-character passwords; the addition of four characters increases the number of potential combinations to an unmanageable number for even the most advanced hacking programs.

Rather than using a random string of characters, your password should be four unrelated words or a complete sentence. It’s unlikely a computer program will be able to guess four complete words.

Beyond using two-factor authentication and creating strong passwords, follow these best practices for using and storing passwords. Avoid using the same password more than once if you use it for a bank or credit account, and change your passwords regularly to thwart anyone who may have gained access to your credentials. Consider using a password manager to create and store your passwords securely as well.

Receiving word that your account has been exposed in a major data breach is enough to make anyone panic. However, if you’ve taken the steps to keep your password secure and added extra layers of security, a major breach should not affect your finances or your identity.

Domestic Violence and Bullying: What’s the Connection?

Bullying is a problem across all segments of society. People of all ages, sexes and socioeconomic groups have been victimized by bullies — or become bullies themselves. According to a survey by the iSafe Foundation, more than half of all teens have been bullied at some point in their lives, and a CareerBuilder survey revealed almost 40 percent of adults have been the target of a bully in the workplace. Because bullying has been proven to contribute to poor performance at school or work, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and even suicide, it’s vital we understand the causes of bullying behavior so we can take steps to prevent it.

Very few bullies engage in their abusive behaviors simply because they can or because they are not nice people. Bullying is officially defined as the repeated, aggressive use of power — whether physical, social, or intellectual — to harm or control another person. Bullies seek to create this imbalance of power, often to feel more in control of their own lives and circumstances. According to several recent studies, this need for power and control is often related to problems at home, most commonly domestic violence.

Violence at Home, Violence at School?

Any parent understands the basic concept of how kids gain information: children learn what they see. Children look for cues from their parents as to how they should behave or react in every situation.

Bullied KidTherefore, it only makes sense when parents engage in abusive, violent and bullying behaviors, their children learn to cope with the world using those same behaviors. This was the conclusion reached by a CDC study, which found the vast majority of bullies report witnessing or experiencing violent or abusive behaviors at home.

According to another study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the cycle of abuse often continues into adulthood. Researchers discovered both bullies and their victims have a much greater likelihood of becoming abusers in adulthood than those children who do not experience bullying. Another study, from Journal of Adolescent Health, discovered a correlation between bullying and sexual abuse and violence. According to the research conducted by the CDC and the University of Illinois, those children who engage in bullying behavior, particularly focused on sexual harassment or homophobic slurs, are considerably more likely to perpetrate sexual violence in the future.

Working Together to End Bullying

While there are clear connections between bullying behaviors and domestic violence, there are some differences in the perceptions of the victims of the crimes. Victims of bullies, particularly children, are often viewed as innocent victims of unwarranted attacks, while domestic violence victims are viewed by some as “deserving” their abuse because of their actions or behavior.  However, as the parallels between bullying and domestic violence become clearer, law enforcement personnel, MSCRIM students and victims’ advocates learn more about how these crimes impact individuals and society, the perceptions are shifting. Advocacy organizations are working to build awareness of the similarities between bullying and domestic violence and the connections between victims of abuse and bullying behaviors in hopes a better understanding will change popular perception of domestic violence victims.

Schools, local law enforcement, domestic violence organizations and health care providers are working together to identify and prevent violence sooner, and developing education and awareness programs to help stop the cycle of violence early on. Most schools have developed zero-tolerance policies for bullying, and professionals are being more effectively trained to identify the signs of domestic violence and engage in early intervention. Experts note children from abusive homes who receive effective treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy, can break the cycle of violence and develop healthy, equal relationships.

The issue of workplace bullying is also receiving greater attention, especially since it is often connected to domestic violence at home. Experts at the Workplace Bullying Institute note someone who is bullied at work is more likely to be abusive or bullying at home because they want to regain the power they have lost at the office. Being abused at worked can trigger negative behaviors at home when a victim releases pent up anger and frustration on family members. Workplace bullying leads to lost productivity, high turnover and other issues, many workplaces are taking cues from schools and developing zero-tolerance policies as well as reporting procedures and stiff consequences for offenders.

Some bullies are cruel to others because they can be or because they think it is funny. However, more often than not, bullying is a learned behavior or the result of a need to regain control over at least one aspect of life when domestic abuse is a daily reality. Understanding the correlations between domestic violence and bullying brings us one step closer to solving the problem and helping people of all ages develop healthy, safe relationships.

Choosing the Right Walk in Shower For You

While most homes still contain at least one traditional bathtub, more and more families are opting to replace their tub with a walk in shower for the home. People love how walk in showers take up less space, how they look and how accessible they are. However, not every walk in shower is right for everyone. Here are a few ways to determine which walk in shower is right for you.

Assess Your Needs

The reason you want or need a walk in shower will have a large effect on the type of shower you choose. You might want to save space in a small bathroom. You may have trouble stepping in and out of the tub. You may have trouble lowering and raising yourself in and out of the bath. You may want a walk in shower purely for aesthetic reasons. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of great walk in shower options for you to choose from.

Review Your Options

There are three primary types of walk in showers: stand-alone showers, shower bathtub combinations and handicapped accessible showers. Shower bathtub combinations are the most popular, though stand-alone showers are quickly growing in popularity. Handicapped accessible showers generally have features such as grab bars, low thresholds or seats that make showering easier and safer. Showers can be enclosed with a door, privacy wall, curtain or nothing at all, and they come in all sorts of sizes and shapes.

You also have many bathtub options as well, if you choose to include one. You may want a traditional tub, or a large and contoured tub that will be more spacious and comfortable. You may even choose to put in a Jacuzzi or whirlpool. Alternately, you may skip the bathtub altogether.

Choose a Design Style

These days, showers are as highly customizable as the bathrooms that contain them. You can choose a particular theme or feel such as “spa” or “Zen.” You can choose between a variety of different shower materials such as metal, glass, tile and even wood. You can also choose the colors and finishes that you prefer.

Consider Adding Extra Features

Once you have decided on the basic layout and design of your shower, consider which extra features may be important to you. You may choose to have a removable showerhead for easier cleaning, or you may choose to have multiple showerheads. You may want to install grab bars and handrails to help you safely navigate in and out of the shower or a bench that will allow you to rest while showering. Non slip tiles or pads are another important feature to keep you safe in the shower.

Whether you want a stand-alone shower, a shower bathtub combination or a handicapped accessible shower, you have several options available to you. Take your time and choose just the right layout, design and features for you, and you are sure to have a bathtub that you can safely use and love for years to come.

Sources:

http://info.neals.com/bid/331911/4-Design-Options-for-Walk-in-Showers

Walk In Shower Designs


http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-walk-in-showers.htm

The Best DIY Projects to Save Money and Sell Your Home

The winter months are generally accompanied by a lull in the real estate market.  There are fewer buyers looking for homes and fewer sellers ready to list theirs.  Now that the New Year has begun, buyers are starting to browse the market again.  The rejuvenating, renewing feeling that spring exudes, creates a surge in home buying.  This is a great time to list your home if you are considering selling in the near future.  However, coming off of the holidays, you may not be able (or willing) to allot large amounts of your savings to home improvement.  The following are do-it-yourself projects aimed at freshening up your home, without spending a lot of money. 

Spruce Up Your Paint Job

A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in appearance and appeal of your home; both inside and out.  Add a fresh coat of paint to your walls, moldings and cabinets, and completely revamp your interior space.  This project is one that can be done yourself, without having to spend large amounts of money. Spending a little extra on proper tools will make your life much easier when it comes to painting (think edging tools, roller extensions and paint tape).  If your budget allows room to spend a little bit more, a new coat of exterior paint can have a drastic impact on your curb appeal as well.

Restore your Hardwoods

Years of wear and tear can damage hardwood floors, making them appear drab and worn.  With a little bit of money and some patience, you can completely restore and refurbish the hardwood floors in your home.  This do-it-yourself project won’t cut into your finances and can greatly increase the value of your property, making your floors look brand new.  This three-step process simply requires that you thoroughly clean the surface, sand down the top layer of wood and what remains of the seal, and apply a new layer of polyurethane.  While it takes some time and you will have to rent an automatic sander made for floors, this project offers the chance for a huge return on investment.  Floors are often the first thing people see when they enter a home. For more detailed information about renovating hardwoods yourself by visiting Comfree’s post about it here.

Organize and Get Rid of Clutter

When prospective buyers come to view your home, they want to be able to envision it as their own.  That can be hard to do if it is cluttered and organized with your belongings.  It can be difficult to see past the objects, and glimpse the real potential of the house.  Invest in some great storage options and use them to neatly organize your things.  This home staging trick can actually be applied to both indoors and outdoors, says this post by Canadian Living. The de-cluttering trick will let potential buyers see themselves in your space.  It also exemplifies the functional storage and organization options that your home offers, thus increasing its value.

Enhance your Outdoor Space

During the spring, buyers are more apt to pay attention to the outdoor spaces of your home.  These months are often enjoyed with cookouts and time spent outdoors.  You can spend a small amount of money and still greatly add to the appeal of your yard.  Consider building a stone patio, ramping up your landscaping, or adding a water feature.  All of these additions can be done yourself, won’t drain your funds, and will help your home sell.  The biggest investment of these options is likely the stone patio.

Increasing the appeal and quality of your home, doesn’t have to mean draining your savings.  These affordable, do-it-yourself projects will increase return on investment come spring-sell time.  The result will be a home that looks completely renovated and restored, but you won’t be paying for it.  If you are considering putting your home on the market, use these tips to get the most out of the sale and good luck!

Essential Home Owner Tips: Know Your Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are literally a worst nightmare—they are tiny creatures that feed on peoples’ blood in the middle of the night. A single bed bug can quickly escalate into a huge infestation. Worst of all, people normally have a very hard time actually seeing bed bugs. They are very tiny and their measurements depend on their age.

Experts usually compare the size of baby bed bugs to a speck of dirt and adult bed bugs to an apple-seed. Baby bed bugs who have not fed on blood tend to be light in color while adults who have recently sucked blood appear brown or rusty. They also love to hide, making it even harder to see them. They are paper-thin and enjoy to hide in cracks, box springs, and the insides of the edges on your mattress. Finally, bed bugs like to feed at night or during the early dawn, when most people are asleep.

By the time their victims wake up, the bed bugs have gone back into hiding. Most of the time, people need a professional bed bug exterminator to kill off their infestation. However, before they call an exterminator, many people like to confirm that bed bugs are infesting their home.

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Although bed bugs are experts at hiding and going unnoticed, there are still ways for people to determine if bed bugs are infesting their personal space. Anyone can conduct their own bed bug investigation but a professional bed bug exterminator will know exactly what to look for and where to look for it. They might even use the aid of a bed bug-sniffing dog.

One of the easiest ways for anyone to look for bed bugs is to conduct a visual inspection of mattresses and other sleeping areas. The most common area to find bed bugs is to look along the edges of mattresses. Those areas make great hiding places for bed bugs. They also tend to hide in baseboards, around door and window casings, in electrical outlets, behind lose wallpaper, under carpets, or anywhere that is dark.

If a room shows no physical evidence of bed bugs, there are several other ways to look for signs of them. While inspecting all mattresses, look for dark spots that closely resemble ink stains. These stains are usually the bugs’ dried fecal matter. Fecal stains are also commonly found on mattress tags, on the frame of box springs, and near electrical outlets. Baby bed bugs that are growing will also shed their skin after a blood meal.

Every bed bug goes through five shedding processes before it becomes an adult. The shed skin looks almost identical to the actual bug except that it’s immobile. Bed bugs commonly leave shed skin along mattress seams and around head boards. Large infestations will leave behind more shed skins than smaller infestations, making them easier to spot. Finally, sometimes a bed bug infestation can give off a musty, sweet odor.

If a house has an official bed bug infestation, there are some steps that people can take to get rid of them. If only a mattress or sleeping area has a bed bug infestation, people can buy mattress covers to put over their beds. These mattress covers will trap the bed bugs and will kill them after a year, provided that they have no access to blood. Exposure to heat will kill bed bugs on sheets, blankets, and clothing. Exposing bed bugs to a high temperature (between 104 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes will get the job done. Freezing bed bugs for two hours or more will also kill them. Do-it-yourself methods generally just provide a temporary solution and is not guaranteed to get rid of the entire infestation. A professional bed bug exterminator, Heat n Go Pest Control.com, can properly get rid of the infestation by performing a special treatment method.

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.

5 Outrageously Simple Steps To Make A Beard Grow Thicker and Faster

Each Fall men around the world observe “Movember“, which is a fun wake-up call for men’s health awareness. During the month of November observers raise money for health awareness and cancer research by shaving on November 1 and growing out their mustaches for the entire month.

Many men have taken up Movember, or “No Shave” November as a great month to grow out all types of facial hair.

Often, growing a full beard at a fast rate alludes men. Many are frustrated that their beards grow inconsistently. Although these tips can’t change a man’s genetics, they are 3 outrageously simple ways a man can learn to grow his beard thicker and faster.

How to Make Your Beard Grow Thicker and Faster

First: Sleep

That’s right. It’s as simple as that. No need to stress over which Rogain product you should use. In fact, stress will subdue your ability to grow full, healthy hair.

If you want your facial hair to grow thicker and faster, sleep. Getting into a adequate sleep pattern is essential to all of life’s processes. Include bodily processes. Getting a full nights sleep on a consistent basis provides your cells to reproduce fuller, healthier hair.

Second: Eat

A nourished man is a nourished beard. Men must feed their muscles. And their beards.

If a man desires to make their beard grow thicker and faster, they’ve got to feed that thing.

It sounds like common sense, but feeding a beard with nourishing protein-rich foods is vital to increasing its thickness. Without the right nourishment, a man will have to stay complacent with a scraggly, wiry face.

Eat eggs, fish, and beans. And while you’re at it, reduce stress in your life.

Third: Stress Less

From an expert:

“Stress can indeed cause hair loss, particularly diffuse hair loss and telogen effluvium.”

Leonara Doclis, Senior Trichologist, Belgravia Centre

Fourth: Down Your Vitamins

Apparently the verdict is still out if ingesting vitamins in pill form really does as much help as vitamin manufacturers claim.

Regardless, dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Benabio recommends taking 2.5 mg of biotin a day. Other vitamins and minerals that may help you grow your beard faster and thicker are vitamins B6, C and E as well as beta-carotene, nettle and flax seed oil.*

*I’m no specialist, so you should talk to your doctor before changing any supplement or diet routine.

Fifth: Work With What You’ve Got

A man can’t expect to become The Wolverine or Ron Swanson overnight. They’ve got to “Work with what you’ve got.” Not every square millimeter of my beard grows thick and fast. If a beard has some patches, let it be. If the beard has been given a month to grow in, go ahead and do a mild trim to even things out.

Want a free monthly, mailed-to-your-home razor subscription?

Then enter to win a $50 Dollar Shave Club gift card below!

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[Featured image courtesty of Loren Kerns]

Home Remedies to Soothe Your Sore Throat

You’re probably one of those people who run to your doctor or the nearest pharmacy to get some relief for your sore throat. Well, here’s a tip for you: there’s no need to rush anywhere, except in your own home. Here are some home remedies for sore throat that will provide you immediate relief for your problematic throat.

Sore Throat Remedies

  1. Saltwater Gargle: Add ½ teaspoon salt to a cup of warm water and use it as a gargle three to four times a day, or as needed, depending on severity of sore throat. This will easily reduce inflammation and clears phlegm. You can also use baking soda instead of salt. Please note that salt water gargling technique doesn’t work when you have a strep throat
  2. Honey: Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which provides immediate relief to soreness or swelling of the throat. Take 1 teaspoon of honey, as you would regular cough syrups. If that’s too much for you, you can mix it with hot water, hot herbal tea or lemonade.
  3. Warm to hot Soup or Tea: Keep your throat hydrated by drinking hot fluids such as chicken soup or tea. There are many teas you can prepare using various herbs and ingredients, such as raspberry tea or ginger tea. Lemon or lime juice also works wonders. To make it more potent, use a teaspoon of honey instead of regular sugar or sweetener.
  4. Garlic: Suck on a fresh garlic clove as if it were candy. Garlic contains the chemical known as allicin, which is effective in fighting strep-causing bacteria. You can also use dried garlic cloves if you find fresh garlic a bit overpowering.
  5. Use a humidifier: The throat tends to dry out at night when you’re asleep, thereby aggravating sore throat. Use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in your room, especially at night. This will keep the air moist and won’t cause your throat to dry out.
  6. Hot Steam: Get a bowl of steaming hot water, put your face over the steam and cover your head with a towel, keeping the steam in. The steam can work wonders in providing relief for your throat, clear your nasal passages, and hasten the healing of your throat infection. Add eucalyptus oil or peppermint oil to the water for better results.

At the end of the day, the best tip to get rid of sore throat is to rest and take things easy for a while, and this involves your whole body, not just your throat. Get enough sleep and let your body’s natural processes fight the infection that’s causing sore throat.

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