technology

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Can Your Smart Home Save You Money?

There’s a definite “cool factor” to the idea of a smart home. The ability to turn lights on and off with your voice, get notified if there’s someone on your porch, or have your smoke detector alert the fire department if it detects a problem seems futuristic. It’s reminiscent of the Jetsons and Iron Man. Smart home devices definitely are cool – but they’re also practical. Many of the devices aren’t just about convenience, they’re also about safety. Lights that turn on and off automatically when you’re on vacation can deter burglars, smoke detectors that call the fire department can…

12 Apps to Help Elevate Your Finances

There’s an app for almost everything these days. So, it comes as no surprise you have a wealth of choices to help you budget, save and earn money. With so many options, it can prove difficult to find the best fit for your needs. Here are several of the leading apps in the finance category. Each of these apps has an Apple App Store rating of 4.5 stars or higher. As with any app, the key to success is consistent use. With the help of technology, you’ll have one more tool in your financial toolbelt. Five Awesome Apps That Help…

Tips on Saving for a First-Time Home Down Payment

Whenever the subject of buying a first home comes up, the conversation often turns to current interest rates. To hear some people talk, all it takes is the right interest rate to make home buying happen. While that can be, and often is, true, there are plenty of people for whom interest rates aren’t the primary concern. In fact, many would love to get to the point of worrying about interest rates. It’s that pesky down payment that concerns them. It’s recommended that homebuyers put down 20 percent or more in order to secure good financing. With the median home…

Banks Versus Credit Unions?

Banks vs credit unions? You probably put more thought into choosing where to have dinner than deciding which financial institution to use. If you’re like most people, you made the choice a long time ago, and it’s working out for you. You may use the big bank near your home with ATMs across the country. Or maybe it’s the friendly community bank with a few convenient branches. Or, if you have access, possibly through where you work, perhaps it’s a credit union.   Well, there may be greener pastures for your greenbacks, or greater conveniences and better offerings someplace else.…

5 Practical Ways to Unplug From Technology

The internet is littered with articles about how to unplug from technology, but the recommendations are often fairly extreme. Suggestions like only checking your email inbox at lunch, leaving your phone at home when you go on vacation, deactivating your Facebook account or ditching the smartphone altogether ring hollow for most of us. When you’re working in a different time zone from your boss, you’re likely expected to stay on top of your email. When you’re away from home, your smartphone is the best way for the dog boarding facility or your mother to get in touch with you. Plus,…

3 Online Tools to Automatically Track Finances

Most of us recognize the importance of financial planning, but we also understand that tracking money can take commitment and a lot of time and work. Good budgeting and investment software and online financial planning apps can help you significantly take charge of your finances. There are a number of new online tools that completely automate your budgeting, investment tracking, and much more! Each tool works a little differently and has its own unique focus – picking the right one for your needs can save you a ton of time when it comes to managing your money. Bonus: each one…

Children With Smartphones? 5 Smart Reasons Not to Give Your Child a Smartphone

Walk down any city street, and chances are the majority of the people you see will be looking down – focused more on the smartphone in their hands than on the world around them. While the majority of these smartphone addicts are adults, it’s becoming increasingly common to see children with smartphones doing the same. As a growing number of parents are beginning to introduce their children to tablets and smartphones during infancy, the ease with which even toddlers are mastering them can be startling. Last summer, researchers at the University of Iowa reported that by the age of two,…

Creatively Pushing Buttons

09-11-14 SQ BlogYou’ve seen it play out at least a dozen times – you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or in the checkout line with a parent who’s battling a bored child. The child starts whining, asking for candy or pop, making annoying noises, or getting into areas that are off-limits. Suddenly, the parent hands over a cell phone or tablet, and the previously energetic child because a zombie tapping the screen. There’s no denying that electronic devices can give parents a much-needed break, but that break comes at a cost. Our culture’s reliance on technology has negatively affected both children and adults alike – reducing our creativity and making us more susceptible to disease.

Developing Brains

Although you probably felt like you had all the answers when you were a teenager, you brain wasn’t done developing. In fact, it didn’t stop until you were well into your 20s. The same is true of your children. Their brains grow throughout childhood and adolescence, learning to think, reason, and create. For this reason, technology can do more than just

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