6 Low-Cost Transportation Alternatives You Can Try Out!

Owning a vehicle is expensive. Not only do you need to consider payments, taxes, and insurance; a vehicle requires routine maintenance and fuel. And since, in the last three months alone, gasoline prices have risen 50 cents , fuel is a major consideration. So what’s the traveller to do? 1. Reduce the number of vehicles you own. When we lived in a major metropolitan area, our family of six only owned one car. Since I stayed home with the children, my husband generally drove the car to work. If I had something planned for the day, I would take him to work and keep the car. This required that I plan ahead, keep my pantry stocked, and time my outings around his work schedule; but we saved a great deal of money this way. 2. Choose different modes of transportation. Ride your bicycle wherever you go. Baskets can be purchased to go on the front of the handlebars or over the back tire, saddle-bag fashion. You can even buy pet baskets and insulated bags to hold hot or cold items. If you have a child, attach a baby seat on the back. More than one child? Check out the new pull-behind carts that hold two children. Travelling this way not only saves on vehicle expenses, but keeps you in top physical condition as well. If cycling isn’t your thing, or if you have more children to accompany you, walk . Unless you live in a rural area, you probably have shopping and eating establishments less than a mile or two from your home. Walking not only helps you to keep off those extra pounds, it keeps your heart in shape and sets a great example to your children. Ever wonder how many calories you would burn walking to the grocery store twice a week or the office every day? Try this Calorie Burn Calculator . Many people in urban areas use public transportation . In the city near my now rural home, you can ride the bus for a dollar. A transfer is free. Since the city has two universities and one junior college, students are half fare—as are senior citizens and those with disabilities. Grade school students are free. To check out the availability of public transportation in your area, visit your city’s website or do a web search for “city name, state + public transportation.” Although not a family vehicle, motorcycles average more than 50 mpg.  Where gas prices hover between $5 and $6 per gallon, my son drives a motorcycle in Haiti. The guys at his mission average 90-125 mpg on their bikes. Not up to tooling around on a Harley? Try a slower-paced scooter . These smaller, gasoline-powered, two wheelers will get you there faster than a bicycle, and still brag at getting over 100 mpg. If you want to be a one-car family, perhaps dad could commute on the two-wheels while mom shuffles the kids around in a more economical car. As you can see, there are several low-cost transportation alternatives when you consider different modes of transportation. But there are more ideas as well . . . . 3. Carpool. In rural areas with limited jobs, many professional people commute to the city for work. Currently, the United States highways have about 126 High Occupancy Vehicle lane projects in place that cover more than 1,000 miles. These sections of highway are reserved for those with more than two people in the car. Some of these areas include parking lots near interstate exits for carpoolers to leave their vehicles for the day. The Departments of Transportation have made carpooling more inviting than it used to be in order to encourage people to share the ride. To find someone going your way, check out eRideShare.com . This free service will list you in a database of travellers going in the same direction. 4. Purchase a fuel efficient vehicle. If you are not getting the fuel economy you would like, do some research before purchasing another vehicle—that includes whether or not to purchase a hybrid. A friend sold her hybrid before having to replace the battery because the expense was prohibitive. “If I had to do it over again,” she shared, “I wouldn’t have gotten the hybrid, just a regular Honda Civic.” For up-to-date information on green transportation and electric or hybrid vehicles, see the Mother Earth News website. Whatever you have in mind, the Kelly Blue Book website will give you a miles-per-gallon estimate for any particular vehicle. 5. Reduce your number of trips. Gone are the days when a mom can run out for a carton of milk. Add the price of fuel and the cost of that carton of milk just skyrocketed. Try to limit your shopping to once a month. Call home before returning from town to see if anyone needs anything. If a family member has an appointment, check the pantry before leaving the house and combine that trip with a visit to the library, Walmart, or the grocery. 6. Seek vacation alternatives. Maybe you’re not looking to save on transportation every day; but want to take a trip. Renting a vehicle to drive on vacation saves wear and tear on your own car and possible fuel costs if your vehicle is not fuel efficient. To save on airfare, hotel reservations, car rental, and cruises, use Priceline.com . At this site, you can compare prices in one convenient location, or you can name your own price and Priceline will try their best to match it. According to them, “If you can fly any time of day, agree to fly on any major airline, stay in any name-brand hotel or rent from any of the top 5 U.S. rental car agencies – you can save a lot of money with priceline!” Also, don’t forget about the train or the bus. Do your research and compare. This is one of the best ways to save money . What about you? What have you done to fight the rise in fuel costs? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments. Related Articles: Public Transportation | Saving Money & Other Benefits Should You Sell Your Gas Hog? What is the True Cost of Purchasing a Vehicle? How much does it cost to raise a child & 10 ways to cut the cost!

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6 Careers With the Highest Unemployment Rates

You want what’s best for your children. If they have to spend more than 40 hours every week working they might as well do what they like, right? All of the life coaches of the world say that you have to find your passion and that makes sense. Few would argue that working at a job that you don’t enjoy is good for your health but the world has taken a turn in recent years. The turn is that a college degree far from guarantees you or your child a job. Because a bachelor’s degree has become somewhat of a cultural norm, the degree increases your chances of finding work but doesn’t assure it. If the Occupy Wall Street movement is any indication, there is a generation of college graduates that were rewarded with a degree and college loans and no way to pay them back. Today, taking a career path that you enjoy is important but making sure the path will lead to  high-paying jobs is more important than ever. The drummers of the world are the stereotypical whipping boys for not finding a job but they’re not at the top of the list compiled by the Wall Street Journal as the careers with the highest unemployment. 1. Linguistics and Literature There is certainly a need for those who study language and literature but not right now. With a 10.2% unemployment rate, this liberal arts career path has seen a sharp decline. 2. Architecture 10.6% of architects are currently out of work and with a real estate market that shows little sign of recovery, avoiding this degree program may be the best idea until the market recovers, the unemployed architects with experience go back to work, and demand picks up. That could be a long time. 3. Military Technology With the United States engaged in wars and other police actions all over the world, it may seem like those who design, build, or work with new military equipment would be in demand. The reason that 10.9% of military technologists are out of work is because Washington has drastically cut its defense budget and will continue to slash funding as the country deals with overwhelming debt. 4. Library Science 15% of librarians are out of work. If you no longer see a need to head to the library because of the Internet and your phone–you understand why. Libraries still serve a valuable purpose but as technology improves, this career may transition to a technology job. 5. Drummer The “Fine Arts” doesn’t only include music but if you were wondering where those with fine arts degrees fell on the list, they were #2 with an unemployment rate of 16.2%. 6. Psychology Of the top 10 worst career paths, Psychology careers held 4 of the 10 spots with clinical psychology coming in at #1 with a 19.5% unemployment rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for psychologists will grow at an average pace but the amount of people graduating with psychology degrees has oversaturated the market. Those with doctorate degrees in psychology have the best chance of finding a job. Bottom Line If you want your child to marry somebody with the hottest career of 2011, be on the lookout for a petroleum engineer. These high demand jobs start at $127,000 per year. Related: Check out some high-paying jobs without a college degree to fight off unemployment! What jobs do you know of that are doing well in today’s economic climate? Leave a comment below! Related Articles: 8 great careers for the future Find the highest rates on savings accounts 25 Top paying jobs without a degree Is a college degree still worth it? This article was written by a Guest Author. If you would like to write a guest post for our personal finance blog , you can find out how here .

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Larry Burkett: A Christian Financial Pioneer

To many in America, personal finance from a Christian perspective begins and ends with Dave Ramsey. If you listen to Ramsey long enough, though, you will hear him give a tip of the cap to another man, Larry Burkett. Burkett died in 2003, but his legacy as a leader in the world of Christian personal finance was secure well before his passing. Who Was Larry Burkett? Burkett taught many of the same principles that today are heard over the airwaves from Ramsey such as getting out of debt, having an emergency fund, and giving generously. His message was quite simple, but it resonated with millions who read his books and heard his three different radio programs (“Money Matters,” “How to Manage Your Money,” and “MoneyWatch.”). In addition, many others remember his short radio blasts called “A Money Minute,” which focused on personal finance, but covered many related topics as well. Burkett is probably best remembered for his books, and he was a prolific author. Many do not realize (in fact, I didn’t know this until I researched for this article) that Burkett wrote novels in addition to his financial and leadership writing. All told, Larry Burkett authored or co-authored some 70 volumes, which, according to different sources, have sold around 11-12 million copies worldwide. To house all of this work, Burkett founded a ministry called Christian Financial Concepts (CFC) in 1976. In 2000, that ministry merged with the well-known Crown Minstries, and the joint work became known as Crown Financial Ministries. Burkett was the CEO until his passing, and the work that Crown does continues to this day, following the same basic concepts Burkett used throughout his life. Larry Burkett’s Works While several of Burkett’s works are noteworthy, two books stand out to this author. The first was his 1991 work,  The Coming Economic Earthquake . In that volume, Burkett looked at the national debt problem, and the overall economic picture of America. At its most basic level, he was arguing against a nation piling up debt without any real plan to pay it back. He believed that, if the tide was not turned soon, the “earthquake” would occur very early in the 2000s. Burkett, never one to shy away from questioning the government, asked whether or not those in elected positions of power would do anything to stem the tide, and then gave his opinion that they would not. The other book that stands out to me is one that is along the same line of thinking: Whatever Happened to the American Dream , published in 1993. In this volume, Burkett turned most of the attention away from Washington and toward Main Street. The book was a clear call against laziness and the pursuit of easy money, and a reminder to many Americans that “the good life” does not come without some level of hard work and sacrifice. A firm believer in education (he was a campus minister before founding CFC), Burkett also used this volume to call to Americans to remember the importance of both an education and the ethics that must accompany an honest days’ work. But Burkett did not just write about “macro-problems,” he dealt often in his works with each individual family and what they needed to do to live by God’s principles for handling money. Books such as Debt-Free Living , Your Finances in Changing Times , and the children’s book What if I Owned Everything  continue to be bought and read. They continue to help families gain the proper perspective–the Biblical perspective–for handling money. Larry Burkett’s Legacy Burkett’s legacy is seen in sites like the one you are reading. For many years, Christians only talked about money when it came to the subject of giving . Rarely were topics such as investing , spending, or leaving a financial legacy ever discussed in Christian circles. However, the Bible speaks to each of these issues and many other money-related issues, as well. Leaders like Burkett opened many eyes to see that God cares about how we deal with our money in every way, from earning it honestly, to handling it wisely. His work lives on, both in the foundation that is named for him, and in other writers, speakers, bloggers, and personalities who have taken that same message to a vast audience. If you wish to read more about Larry Burkett, here are some additional resources. Each of these was used in preparation for this short article. Larry Burkett: 1939-2003 (Crown Ministries biography) Larry Burkett (Wikipedia) Amazon.com Larry Burkett home page Meet Larry Burkett (ChristianBooks.com bio page) What do you think about Larry Burkett? Leave a note in the comments section below! Related Articles: Help me find the best Christian Financial websites Christian Finance Blog Carnival 7 Tips To Improve Your Financial Competence The top 20 Christian Financial websites Adam Faughn is a minister in Nashville, Tennessee. He is married to Leah and they have 2 children. You can check out his personal blog or follow him on Twitter .

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