5 Vehicles With Excellent Fuel Economy

If you’re looking to spend less on fuel, these vehicles should be at the top of your list
Even with the averageFuelEconomy_Featured gas price below $3 per gallon, everyone is always looking for ways to slash their fuel bills. You could drive less, or, better yet, you could carpool whenever necessary, but for those who don’t have that option, there are plenty of fuel-efficient vehicles to alleviate some of the wallet strain your vehicle may be causing.

When many people think about fuel economy, the first vehicle that comes to mind is the Toyota Prius. It’s no wonder the Prius, with four models and over 200,000 units sold in 2014, is a top choice. The standard Prius starts at an MSRP of $24,200, and fuel estimates check in at 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway. There’s also the Prius v wagon and the Prius c compact, as well as a plug-in hybrid model that gets 95 MPGe.

For those who want affordable transportation, the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage is the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered car in America, and its asking price is a downright affordable $12,995. Thanks in part to its light curb weight and 1.2-liter, three-cylinder engine, the Mirage can achieve up to 37 mpg city and 44 mpg highway.

For those who prefer diesel models, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI recently traveled the 48 U.S. contiguous states on less than $300 in fuel, setting a Guinness World Record in the process. The most awarded car of the year, the Golf TDI starts at an MSRP of $22,345 and can achieve up to 30 mpg city and 45 mpg highway.

If you don’t want to compromise on luxury, there’s arguably no better vehicle on the road today than the 2015 Tesla Model S, ranked No. 1 by US News in both the “Luxury Large Cars” and “Hybrid Luxury” categories.

“It’s attractive, comfortable, fast, practical, technically fascinating, and not overpriced. Most important, it’s not just a good electric vehicle, it’s a good car,” according to Car and Driver Magazine. And with a zero-to-60 mph time in the low threes, and up to 265 miles on a single battery charge, fuel efficiency and luxury live harmoniously.

Arguably the best blend of affordability, reliability, amenities and value is the 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid, starting at an MSRP of $29,305. With comfortable seating for up to five and a 50 mpg city/45 mpg highway rating, it’s little wonder the Accord Hybrid was named No. 1 by US News in the “Affordable Midsize Cars” and “Hybrid Cars” categories.

“With the 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid, you give up virtually nothing in return for its outstanding fuel economy rating of 47 mpg. The Accord Hybrid doesn’t even cost that much more than the gasoline-only model,” according to Edmunds.

There are plenty of fuel-efficient models, so just do your research and be sure to contact us to get an auto loan when it’s time to get the vehicle of your dreams.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.


How to Get on Your Favorite TV Game Shows

Go from simply watching to competing on television’s most famous game shows
For most people, TV GameShow_Featuredgame shows are nothing more than a spectator sport. But if you have ever wanted to make the transition from your living room to the television studio for a shot at fortune and (temporary) fame, all it takes is a little perseverance. Here is how to land yourself on three of America’s favorite TV game shows.

The Price Is Right
The longest-running game show on television, “The Price Is Right,” has now been entertaining retirees and children staying home sick from school for decades. For a shot at winning a brand new car, you will need to first be a part of the studio audience. You can obtain tickets to future tapings online at http://on-camera-audiences.com/show/The_Price_is_Right. Episodes are taped at the Bob Barker Studio in Los Angeles at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m., but you will have to arrive hours earlier so that the producers can pick contestants before the show starts.

To be selected for the show, you will want to be overly enthusiastic. If you are a fan, you might have noticed that many of the audience members who are chosen are often young, in college, in the military and/or wearing specially made t-shirts that make reference to “The Price Is Right” or host Drew Carey. But the best thing you can do is answer all of the producers’ questions with tons of excitement, then take your seat and hope to hear announcer George Gray ask you to “come on down!”

Known for its often difficult and obscure trivia questions, “Jeopardy!” belongs to the Ivy League of game shows. Getting accepted, as you might expect, can prove to be rather challenging. Aside from the special celebrity episodes, there are four types of “Jeopardy!” tournaments: kids (children between the ages of 10 and 12 years old), teens (13 to 17 years old), college (full-time students with no four-year degrees), and the standard version, for adults over 18 years of age.

The first step is taking the online test, which consists of 50 questions (30 for kids) that must be answered in 15 seconds each. The tests are offered at different times, so you’ll want to sign up for the newsletter at http://www.jeopardy.com/registration/ to be notified the next time one is available. You are only allowed to take the test once a year, so watch and study each episode and remember to take the practice test at http://www.jeopardy.com/beacontestant/contestantsearches/practicetest/. If you pass, you will be invited to an audition. If you pass that, you will be put into their files for 18 months, but you still have no guarantee of being chosen during that 18-month period.

Wheel of Fortune
Getting on “Wheel of Fortune” is similar to getting on to “The Price Is Right,” in that it’s all about personality. The difference is, for “Wheel,” you don’t have to turn on the charm “live and in person.” Instead, contestants are asked to record a brief video (under a minute in length) in which they explain who they are, why they’d like to be the show and something interesting about themselves.

Although you don’t need to appear over the top like a “The Price Is Right” contestant, try to smile and be enthusiastic in your video, and record it somewhere you can speak loudly and clearly (not your cubicle). Upload your video to https://www.wheeloffortune.com/be-a-contestant and fill out a brief form and questionnaire, then cross your fingers and hope to meet Pat and Vanna.

Getting on a game show is only half the battle, however. Remember, once you make it onto the show, the pressure is on: you still have to beat out your opponents in front of a live studio audience to take home the grand prize. Good luck!

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Practice Safe Online Banking

And be aware of online banking scams
Online banking, alsoSafetyOnline_Featured called Internet banking or e-banking, is defined as using a computer or other type of technology (mobile phone, tablet, etc.) for banking services, such as conducting financial transactions. This type of banking is convenient and efficient, and it simplifies your finance management immensely. Long gone are the days of lingering statements and papers. Now, everything is on your computer or mobile device, right at your fingertips, at any time of the day or night.

While this type of banking is evidently the most convenient way to manage your finances, it can also pose some risks. In fact, according to US News, hackers have cost companies and consumers somewhere between a staggering $375 billion and $575 billion. And that just continues to increase.

“[Financial institutions] have become very proactive in protecting accounts from hackers, but it’s still quite a large problem,” says Sean Sullivan, a security adviser at F-Secure, an Internet security firm. “We see all types of new attempts every day.”

The good news: You can protect yourself and your assets. To reduce your odds of being hacked, follow these steps.

Avoid clicking on fishy links – Especially ones related to bank account updates. Phishing is a popular hacker move in which hackers send out what appears to be a legitimate email from your bank asking you to update your account information. There’s usually a link that follows, stating it’s the bank’s website. It’ll take you to what looks exactly like the bank’s website, but it will be a fake one, and thieves are able to record any data you enter. If you really do need to update your account, always type the financial institution website manually into the search bar. And if you receive any of these suspicious links or emails, be sure to call your financial institution to confirm whether they really sent it.

Create complex passwords – There’s a reason most websites call for case-sensitive passwords or ones with numbers or symbols. A typical method scammers use to hack into bank accounts is simply guessing a user’s password. Using a strong password decreases the chance that a hacker can easily figure it out and log in to your account.

In an analysis done of 32 million passwords by Imperva, an Internet and data security company, it was found that the top 10 passwords are as follows: 123456, 12345, 123456789, Password, iloveyou, princess, rockyou, 1234567, 12345678 and abc123. These make it easy for hackers to get into your account, so it’s important to avoid using these or any similar variations. If you’re using one of these or something similar, consider changing it. Keep in mind that the best passwords are ones that use both letters and numerals and both lowercase and uppercase characters. Also, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.

Utilize anti-virus protection – “The most important thing consumers can do to protect themselves is to practice safe computing at home,” says Greg Hernandez, a spokesman for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in Washington, D.C. “They should use a firewall and anti-virus/anti-malware software and keep it updated.”

Not only will this help you protect against common viruses like trojans and worms that can use keystrokes and other strategies to access your bank information, but it will also discourage hackers from attempting to violate your credentials.

One tip: Set up your protection software so that it automatically updates daily. That way you won’t forget to do it when needed. Also, sometimes your credit union may provide free software, so be sure to ask about it if you’re unsure.

Avoid oversharing on social media – Be wary about what you post to the world on your social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others.

“The way social media accounts are accessed leaves users vulnerable,” explains Larry Bridwell, global security strategist at Sticky Password. “When updating your status or posting a picture to Instagram, users may have to access an open Wi-Fi network. However, they may find themselves falling prey to hackers who utilize open Wi-Fi networks to gain access and information into accounts.”

Of course, you should never post personal information such as your Social Security number, bank account numbers, usernames or passwords, but even small things, like your pet’s name, your mother’s maiden name or the high school you attended, can backfire, as these are common answers to security questions to access accounts.

Don’t use public computers or Wi-Fi – If a scammer got hold of a public computer and installed software that can record your keystrokes, he or she can likely hack into your account if you use the computer for banking. Hotels, airports, cafes, you name it—hackers are likely preying there, waiting to grab your banking information.

“Public Wi-Fi is inherently unsecure. Anyone using it ought to do so with the premise that everything you do is visible to a third-party stranger with access to that hot spot,” says Kevin Clark, former first assistant prosecutor and expert in cybercrime. “The chances of you being hacked far exceeds the chances of your home being burglarized. This is a big business.”

For more tips on safe and secure online banking, contact us or stop by today.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

How to Make Your Own Natural Cleaning Products

Natural cleaning products that get the job done at a reduced price
Whether you’re on GreenCleaners_Featureda tight budget or just trying to help the environment, natural cleaning solutions made from regular household items such as vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can make your house cleaner and keep your bank account considerably fuller. Best of all, creating your own natural cleaning products allows you to control the ingredients of your cleansers, so you can avoid the toxins found in some name brand cleaning products.

White vinegar mixed with water
Combine one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water in a spray bottle for a diluted vinegar solution that is great for cleaning kitchen counters, backsplash areas, bathroom floors and toilet exteriors. The gentle acidity of this mixture is able to dissolve hard water deposits, dirt and soap scum from smooth surfaces like bath tubs and restroom counters. According to HGTV.com, another great feature of this diluted vinegar solution is that it’s a natural deodorizer, absorbing odors rather than just covering them up. This product would be ideal for cleaning a mattress used by a bedwetting toddler. No need to worry—the vinegar smell disappears after it dries.

Lemon infused vinegar
Soak six or seven lemons in a jar of white distilled vinegar for two weeks, and then strain the lemon infused vinegar and mix it with an equal amount of water. This lemon-infused vinegar is exceptional at cleaning sinks because of its germ-killing abilities. It is also harsh on grease due to its acidity. According to myhealthygreenfamily.com., this citrus vinegar can also be used in conjunction with baking soda to give a thorough cleaning to stove tops. Apply the citrus vinegar first to remove grease, and then apply baking soda paste—made by mixing baking soda with water—to treat burn marks. The stove top cleaning is completed by wiping away the baking soda after it has settled.

Hydrogen peroxide
There is no mixing involved here. Hydrogen peroxide straight out of the bottle can be a great natural cleaner. Some people already use it to remove ear wax and highlight hair, but few know that it can also be used to clean cutting boards and refrigerators. Simply add a spray nozzle to a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and it becomes a non-toxic and cheap cleaning tool, according to houselogic.com. Spray the inside of a refrigerator, let it sit a couple of minutes, and then wipe away all the dissolved mess. Hydrogen peroxide can also be sprayed on a cutting board to make the leftover food particles bubble up; then they can easily be wiped away.

Making and using your own natural cleaning products is a great way to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle without breaking the bank—a win-win situation for everyone.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.