America the Beautiful: Discover It on Spring Break!

The Christmas season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but Spring is undoubtedly the most beautiful.  And what better time than the most beautiful time of year to discover America the Beautiful by planning the perfect family vacation?

I’ve listed some top family destinations below, but really any time you spend with your family is destined to be beautiful…no matter where you spend it.

The Grand Canyon

There’s really no better place to go sight-seeing than the ultimate site to see – The Grand Canyon!  You could spend a couple of days just looking at the scenery from a variety of vantage points.  But there’s lots to do, too! Take the family hiking, kayaking, and rafting, and then take a spin on the Grand Canyon Railway.

Yosemite

Second only to The Grand Canyon in the realm of natural wonders, Yosemite is another outdoorsy paradise for families who want to get back to nature this Spring break. Go hiking, rafting, mountain climbing and then take a break in Yosemite Village.  And don’t forget to schedule a stop at the Ansel Adams Gallery for some of the most beautiful (and revered) photographs of one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see.

Washington D.C.

It’s not just for politicians and may well get your vote for 2012 family vacation destination. Washington D.C. is family-friendly and easy on the budget – with a wide variety of museums on National Mall that are absolutely free!  Other must-sees are the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and The World War II Memorial.  Then take a tour of the Capitol Building and the White House for a fun and educational trip.

For more family vacation ideas, click here, and be sure to let me know where you went and what you discovered!

Katy Ringeman, owner Ringeman Insurance Agency

 
 
 
 
203 N Main Street
Kernersville, NC 27284
336.992.2221
 

PS: As for me and my family? We’ll be camping! Enjoying nature, quiet, and S’mores!

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Getting Your Financial House in Order

Last week, we talked Spring cleaning and I hope you’re well on your way to a clean, clutter-free home! This week, I’m here to tell you that cleaning isn’t just for carpets and closets. Keeping your financial “house” in order is critical too. And, really, it’s not all that hard to do!

Start by reviewing your credit report, which you can do for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com. Fix errors and learn from the errors of your ways by not repeating past mistakes that are revealed by the report.

Take a look at your expenses, especially thing like cable and cell phones. Do you really need all those channels and features? Do you really use that “unlimited” calling or texting plan you’re paying for. Cuts here can save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year and ensure that you’re not over-spending.

Now look at your debt, particularly your credit cards. Plan to pay as many as possible off by the end of 2012, and then set up a more aggressive pay-down-to-pay-off plan for the rest. Try setting up automatic payments for credit cards and other bills so that you stick to the plan – it’ll also save you time and hassle.

If your taxes are already done and filed, shred financial documents, but remember to keep what you need for six years in case of an IRS audit. Consider using a tool like NeatReceipts to scan and store all of your financial and tax documents and shredding the paper versions. The IRS does accept scanned records and they sure take up less space – just remember to back up your data (try an automated “set it and forget it” service like Carbonite).

And then call me and let’s take a look at your insurance coverage. Many times things change over the course of the year that mean your coverage should change too. I’ll help you figure that out and make sure that your coverages, and deductibles, are appropriate!

Katy Ringeman

203 N Main Street
Kernersville, NC 27284
Telephone: 336.992.2221
Facsimile: 336.992.0991

 

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Don’t Just Clean It; Mean It!

Ah, Spring! Well, almost. The official first day of Spring is next Tuesday, March 20. But if you’re like me, you’ve already got spring fever (which is fun!) and a touch of that other not-so-fun spring malady – the need for some spring cleaning.

Popping open the windows and shaking out an area rug or two. Well, that’s no big deal. But what I want to know is how we end up with so much stuff! It’s as if our possessions, bear-like and reclusive, hide away in our homes all winter long and by Spring there’s even more of them – just like that mama bear who emerges from her cave with a couple of cubs in tow.

So this year, I think when we clean it, we also need to mean it. And by that I mean we should focus on the spirit of spring cleaning (a fresh, new start). Sure, we could probably find places for everything that we’ve accumulated. But why bother? Why not approach this year’s clean up with an energy surge that also leads to a purge?

Let’s all be biggest losers…of stuff we just don’t use, need, or even want. Donate it to a Goodwill or church consignment shop, Freecycle it, recycle it, or have a yard sale. Better yet, have a community yard sale. The bigger, the better in the world of yard sales. The more homes involved, the more customers you’ll draw. You can use the opportunity to do two things – clear out your clutter and reach out to your community. And those types of community connections are the kind of roots that take hold and grow…especially in Spring!

Here’s a link to a helpful site with tips on how to get that community garage sale going! Let me know how it goes. And remember the cardinal rule of yard sale-ing – Don’t buy anything!

Katy Ringeman

 

 

Ringeman Insurance Agency
203 N Main Street
Kernersville, NC 27284
Telephone: 336.992.2221
Email: Ringeman@nationwide.com
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Springing Ahead or Falling Behind?

“Spring forward, fall back!” That old saying is the best way to remember which way you should move the hands on the faces of your clocks (or their digital numerals) as part of the annual Daylight Saving Time (DST) process. This year’s rite of Spring, and springing forward, will take place this coming Sunday, March 11, 2012.

Come Sunday morning at 2:00 a.m. (EST) time will indeed fly – whether you are up having fun or fast asleep – as we magically and mysteriously lose one hour of fun, sleep, or both. That’s when time suddenly, and instantly, springs forward and 2:00 a.m. becomes 3:00 a.m.

Time Pieces and Peace of Mind

While most digital equipment will update itself automatically, you’ll still need to manually change any electric or battery operated clocks, watches, and personal devices yourself. Most coffeemakers and microwave ovens will need to be reset as well.

Why is it more important to remember to “spring ahead” than it is to “fall behind?” Because if you forget to “Spring ahead” you may end up falling behind and showing up an hour late for work or school and completely missing other appointments altogether!  Forgetting to fall behind, on the other hand, usually just means you show up really early for church on that first Sunday morning in November.

The Earlier Bird Gets More Worms?

If you feel like springing ahead seems a bit premature lately, you’re right. For almost 20 years (from 1987 through 2005) daylight saving time began on the first Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October in the United States. However, the U.S. Congress (perhaps inspired by single digit approval ratings?) took precious time and money to enact law that would begin DST earlier and extend it beyond Halloween beginning in 2006. Mark your calendars now, DST will end on the Sunday morning of November 4th this year.

A Switch in Time Saves Lives

While you’re changing the times of your clocks on March 11th, also take the time to check the batteries in all of the smoke detectors and alarms in your home and change them, if necessary, as well. Test each alarm to make sure that it is proper working order and replace any that are defective. Failure to do so could result in a tragedy that was easily preventable.

 ~ Katy Ringeman

 
 
 
 
Ringeman Insurance Agency
203 N Main St
Kernersville, NC 27284
336-992-2221
Ringeman@nationwide.com
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A Day to Celebrate!

 Exactly one week from today, (March 8, 2012) is International Women’s Day – and thousands of events will occur not just on this day but throughout the month of March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Wow! What a great idea!

And even more exciting is this year’s theme: “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.” Now, that’s really near and dear to my heart, as its right at the top of my list to connect with my little girl and inspire her (as much as she inspires me!). And it gets me to thinking about my family and how they inspired me to achieve my own successes in school, life, and in my career.

Yes, insurance is my job. But today, I’m going to change just one little letter and encourage you to ensure that the girls and young women in your life are supported and encouraged (just like I was!) to take risks, to try things that may be difficult, to practice and prepare, to have the courage to fail, the will to win, and the grace to do it all with compassion and dignity.

For more information on International Women’s day, visit internationalwomensday.com. There you’ll find our all about the history of the event (it’s been going on for more than 100 years!), stories and art by women, a listing of events worldwide, resources to help you plan your own event, and so much more.  

And while “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” may not be until April, why wait? Take your daughter, niece, family friend to work — or just work with them to help them achieve their dreams. International Women’s Day is certainly a day to celebrate…every day.

Katy Ringeman

Ringeman Insurance Agency

203 N. Main St

Kernersville, NC 27284

336.992.2221

Ringeman@nationwide.com

 

 

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Eeny, meeny, miney, moe!

We believe it’s important to be an informed consumer. As always, we hope to educate and provide valuable insights. Thanks to our featured blogger of the week, Heather Dedona with Allen Tate Realtors, she tell us 5 Ways to Find a Realtor – of course, some ways are better than others!

1. Call a number off a sign in a yard of a house you like
Remember that the agent you are calling represents the seller so don’t tell any private information that might harm your negotiating standpoint.

2. Call a number from an ad in the paper or a magazine
Often you can determine the agents “style” from their ad. Try googling the agent before you call them to get more information.

3. Walk into a real estate office
Most offices will have a licensed realtor waiting at the front desk to answer any questions you may have. If you don’t hit it off with the agent keep looking-but you never know you may get lucky.

4. Search the web
We hear over and over again that over 80% of buyers (I have heard as high as 88%) start their home search on the web. In such a competitive market it is important that an agent be very technologically savvy. A technologically savvy agent has a wider audience to market their listings to, and usually a much easier and fast way to find a home that meets your needs.

5. Ask a friend
I think this is by far the best way to find an agent or ANY service you need. If someone was happy with their agent they will let you know, and if they were not they will tell you that too! I love getting referrals from past clients or from friends: it let’s me know I am doing my job and exceeding people’s expectations. It really is a fantastic compliment, so if you have had great service pass their information along!

Heather DeDona
Realtor/Broker
Allen Tate Oak Ridge
C: 336-451-4498

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2 Naptimes & a Sharpie

This weekend, I armed myself with thirty 18-gallon Rubbermaid containers, labels, a Sharpie, and motivation and headed down to our basement to organize. I’ve always liked the idea of being organized but struggled to find the time to actually do it. I was shocked when in the matter of 2 naptimes (3 hours each!), I got my whole basement organized!

Now that I have started the process, the idea of staying organized doesn’t seem so daunting. I have started a filing cabinet with my important documents – insurance information, taxes, birth certificates, appraisals, etc. – along with asking professionals to keep a copy in their files.

At our insurance agency, we keep copies of jewelry appraisals and photos in clients’ files. We also recommend websites like http://knowyourstuff.org to keep a running list of what you have in case of a major catastrophe.

Do you know your stuff? Need help having your insurance organized? Call us in Kernersville! The bottom line is – being organized can help you not only in case of a claim but also in the day-to-day routine!

Katy Ringeman

Ringeman Insurance Agency
A Nationwide Insurance Agency
203 North Main Street
Kernersville, NC 27284
Tel – 336.992.2221
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The “b” word

I read an article today that it takes as much as 2 months to form a habit. Well, we’re 2 weeks into the New Year – how’s your resolution fairing?

This year, I decided to take on the resolution my husband does each and every January – to be a better person in the upcoming year than the prior year. At first, I thought this was a bit of a cop-out. After 2 weeks of giving it a try, I realize (like anything) it’s what you put into it that you get out of it.

For starters, we’ve been working on the dreaded “b” word – budget. One of our biggest expenses is food, simply because we love to cook and eat. The first 2 weeks of the year, I’ve been making a conscious effort of creating a meal plan prior to the 5 o’clock dinner bell. It decreases food cost, stress and waste while increasing creative yumminess at the dinner table.

Here’s my favorite recipe of the week to share with you:

Clean the Fridge Soup:

Take everything you have in the fridge and put in a pot with chicken stock. Boil for 45 minutes. Enjoy with a grilled cheese for the perfect cold weather meal.

Our soup this week? Glad you asked – Manwich, shredded chicken, 4 vegetable salsa soup. Result? Clean fridge, no waste, & delicious dinner!

If you have any budget ideas, we’d love for you to share! Like always, if you need to examine your insurance budget, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Salud to 2012!

~Katy Ringeman

Ringeman Insurance Agency
203 N. Main Street
Kernersville, NC 27284
336.992.2221
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3 Proven Steps to Keep New Year Resolutions Past January 1

The wave of sentimentality rolls over you December 31st. You reflect upon the passing of another year, the highs and lows, gains and losses. There is a tugging deep within your heart – “I do want this next year to be the year that I _______” and then you fill in the blank with your list. And really, you do want it to be the year that it happens. Then it’s January 1st, then the 2nd, and 3rd – and nothing has changed. Yet we truly wanted it to change!

We live in such a paradox – we long for “things” to be different, yet we find ourselves staying close to our comfort zone and near our safety nets. How do we make the resolutions reality?

Step 1 Dare to Commit

When we make a resolution, we are resolving to do something, with a firm determination. Many times our list is the outcome: lose 10 pounds, balance home and work, conquer procrastination, eliminate debt, become organized, etc. And that’s as far as it goes. What we omit is the commitment to actually do it. We resolve that we want something different in our lives, yet we omit a commitment to actually do it. The saying, “the main thing is to make the main thing the main thing” is true at this point. By daring to commit, you are saying that you will resolve to make this outcome the main thing – and there is determination to make it a reality.

Step 2 Paint The Big Picture

Once we throw the gauntlet in the sand and commit to do something about our resolution, we are gripped with the fear of “how”? This is where the rubber meets the road. The plan needs to be worked out beforehand for the accomplishment of the resolution. This requires work on your part! Beware of anyone offering you the “5 Easy Steps” at this point. Your plan is dependent upon you – where you are in life; what your home, family, and work environments are like; what motivates you; what you can anticipate as obstacles; influence of past accomplishments; how far you are willing to go past your comfort zone; etc. A plan that follows the SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) is invaluable to making the resolution real.

Step 3 Benefit from Accountability

Once you have developed a SMART plan add a healthy dose of accountability. Accountability means to be answerable. In what ways will you be answerable? What benchmarks can you add to the SMART plan that will help you stay the course? Who will truly partner with you, with healthy care and concern, to hold you accountable? Accountability is the ingredient for continued focus when the plan doesn’t work as you thought. And of equal importance, accountability is a catalyst for celebration in reaching the milestones!

Making new year resolutions last past January 1st requires being intentional. By following these three steps you get to design a unique plan and create a deliberate way for it to happen – that best fits you. There is margin and forethought given to potential obstacles that can derail the process and celebration of the accomplishments. By using this process you move past that defeated “why bother, I never keep them” attitude. With this proven process, resolutions can happen all year round – in your life, business, and career – not only December 31st!

Jan Hinton is an expert in goal setting and accomplishments. Discover how to change your wishful thinking into an action by calling her, 336.650.1443

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Life Lessons in Baking Cookies

The halls have been decked with boughs of holly, and the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The only thing we are missing in our household is the smell of Christmas aka cookies!!!!

Growing up, I remember my Granny coming over almost daily in the month of December with a different and delicious cookie for my brothers and me. We would rush home from school, wondering what she would bring – fruitcake, pecan crescents, date-nut, and her infamous (coined lovingly by us) Granny cookies.

As I make the cookies now each Christmas, I smile at the thought of my Granny and realize what a symbol of love the cookies are and the life lessons that can be found in making them.

  • Baking (like life) is messy. Just expect it.  
  • The best cookies are the toughest to make. The best stuff in life isn’t easy.  
  • Practice makes perfect. If it doesn’t turn out, try, try again. 
  • Be fearless. Don’t be afraid to just go for it. 

So, as I start baking, I think about sharing these life lessons with my daughter. Not just today, not just during the Christmas season, but always.

Merry Christmas!

Katy Ringeman
Ringeman Insurance Agency
203 N Main St Kernersville, NC 27284
Tel. 336.992.2221
 
 
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