If you are hiring out to have your home alarm installed, always use a licensed vendor to install, repair, or service an alarm system. While licenses do not guarantee honesty, it does indicate that the vendor has registered with the state, and has met the specified minimum criteria for your locale. In most cases, a license is predicated upon proof of adequate insurance and/or bonding, so you have that protection as well. Local alarm systems (those which sound only on the protected premises) are much less effective, especially when local ordinances limit the time for which the signal can sound to avoid nuisance disturbance of neighbors. If you invest in such an alarm, you are counting on conscientious neighbors to call the police to respond. Having the signals from your alarm system monitored by a licensed vendor better assures that you get the protection you pay for when you install an alarm system.


Saying Your Final Goodbye Without Going deep into Debt

Sometimes, it is a loved one who just isn't supposed to die yet, such as a child. Whatever the reason, many of us are left to try to make funeral arrangements while dealing with the initial shock and grief of the passing of a loved one. There are some funeral home personnel that will take advantage of this cloudy judgment and we end up making unsound decisions because we were easy to convince by a stranger that our loved one would have wanted the extravagant casket, the convoy of limos and the huge wreath of roses. In our shock at this time, it is easy for us to agree.

Then, later, when the bills start to come in, we have to deal with trying to find money to pay them while still dealing with our loss. This whole scenario does not have to happen. These days, funerals are expensive enough without adding to it by agreeing to the most expensive options. There are ways to cut expenses, even in the midst of the emotional turmoil. The first thing we can do is to have a trusted friend or relative help us with decisions, maybe even handle most of it. We need to become a little familiar with the Federal Trade Commission's regulations governing the funeral industry.

This helps to know what is and isn't required. Learning what our state does and doesn't require is a good idea, too. A friend or relative can be a great help here as well as accompanying us to the funeral home to arrange the funeral. Some states require a burial vault but some states don't. If one is required, the most expensive isn't really necessary. A lesser expensive one will work just as well.

If one isn't required, don't buy one. It will be one less expense you just don't need. In choosing a casket, the less expensive ones really do look just as nice as the more elaborate ones. A simple wood casket looks just as good as a fancy brass casket and is a lot less expensive. Having a big wreath might seem impressive, but consider that a nice arrangement of the deceased's favorite flowers will be more meaningful, as well as reduce expenses.

That convoy of limos is entirely unnecessary, too. One limo for immediate family is enough and even that can be dispensed with if a friend or relative has a nice car that is large enough. It could actually be more comforting to have someone we know and trust to do the driving. Without the unneeded expenses to haunt us later, we can breathe a little easier and only have the grief and adjustments of living without our loved one to deal with.

Patricia Bennett publishes a wealth of information on this subject. See

Home Security

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