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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Most people know and recognise this character from the Warner Brothers cartoons:
However what some people don't realise is that this is also a real creature.  A marsupial, in fact.

A rather grumpy carniverous marsupial with a cute and ferocious nature.

The trouble is, these little devils are in trouble.  A large number of the population have been struck down with disease and they need help to fight the very real possibility of extinction.

I was extremely distressed to find that we, as world citizens, can't seem to get together to find a measly 2 million bucks to fund the breeding program for these little guys at Victoria Zoo.

The breeding programs exist to repopulate the dwindling number of devils in the wild to give the population a fighting chance.

Project Cost: $2 million
Total Raised: $496,732
Remaining: $1,503,268

Donations will go towards breeding pens, surveillance systems, a research hut, specialist staff and devil breeding keepers, nutrition for the devils, cool room storage for meat, a devil cart (transport costs) and veterinary support for quarantine and health checks.

To find out more about these wonderful little animals, please follow the links below:

Zoos Victoria:
Devil's Advocate - Save the Tassie Devil

University of Tasmania - for US donations also:  
Save The Tassie Devil Appeal

Taronga Foundation:
Taronga Foundation Tassie Devil Appeal

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When money is tight, most of us will take some concerted steps to rethink our expenses, our investments, and our overall spending habits. We might look to cut back on entertainment or shopping trips. We may eat out less and shop at Wal-Mart more often. And we may seek to move some of our money around by searching out high interest savings account tips and advice.

But all too rarely do we make an attempt to reduce one of our core expenses: transportation. For most Americans, transportation costs are an inevitable part of living and working in a modern society. We need our cars to get to work, do errands, pick the kids up from school, and essentially do anything that requires leaving the house. And, for most Americans, rising gas rates and insurance fees have made transportation costs increasingly expensive.

Changing up your travel and commute habits can consequently translate into significant savings, especially in the long-run. How can this be done? Here are a few tips:

Cut Back On Car Use

The best way to save on transportation costs is to cut back on our car use. Driving a car, after all, is quite expensive these days when gasoline and maintenance costs are included. So how can we get around without a car? If feasible, the best way to do this is by taking public transit. In most cities, public transit costs for daily use run somewhere in the range of $80 to $100 per month – far less than the cost of owning and running a car. If public transit is not a feasible option, you may want to consider running or biking to work. Doing so can help you save money while also getting fit at the same time.

Plan Your Trips

Many people take shopping trips and run errands as the need arises. They leave their home, go to the grocery store, return to their home, go to the dry cleaner’s, and then return to their house once again. This approach wastes both gas and time. Instead, you can get more value out of each driving trip by planning out your errands more fully beforehand.

Save On Gasoline

High gas costs have made paying high gas costs an unavoidable activity for most drivers. But there are certainly ways to reduce the amount you spend on gas. First, you can use websites such as GasBuddy.com to find the cheapest gas costs in your area. Second, you can sign up for credit card rewards programs that offer discounts on every gas purchase at particular stations.

These are just a few of the ways that we can reduce our transportation costs and therefore realize savings in a significant portion of our budget. While our culture of car dependence is deeply instilled in the American psyche, with a little planning and sacrifice we can reduce this reliance and save some money in the process.

~ Guest Post ~

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

I love Chinese New Year.  Even though I am not Chinese myself, I have an interest in Chinese customs and I like Chinese food.  Especially mushroom fried noodles.  There's something fun about the whole idea of creating a large amount of luck, driving away evil spirits each year and wishing great bagfuls of money on people.

Tips to make your year lucky:

1.  Say Kung Hao Fat Choy ("gong hey fat choy") to your Chinese friends who speak Cantonese.  Or Gong Xi Fa Cai ("gong shi fa chai") for those who speak Mandarin.  This means something along the lines of "I hope this year you get lots of money/have a prosperous year".    I think that's a nice thing to wish people.  I haven't done this yet but I fear my pronunciation would be rather suspect (I only learned French, Italian and German at school!)

2.  Clean everything!! Clean out the old luck and bring in the new.  But be careful not to sweep or clean during New Years or you might clean some luck away.

3.  Give out red envelopes with money in them to your family.  The amount must be an even number (preferably having an eight in there somewhere!)  When receiving an envelope, don't open your envelopes in the presence of the giver.  This is said to be bad manners.

4.  Wear/buy red clothes.  My contribution to this is my incredibly awesome Redheads top.  It's very red and therefore very lucky (see below).

5.   Light firecrackers to scare away evil spirits.  Firecrackers are illegal in most cases, so watching some fireworks might be the next best thing.  I may have to settle for party poppers and some sparklers.

6.  Display citrus fruits around the house.  These are especially lucky and are thought to bring good health for the coming year.

7.  Open all your doors and windows and keep the lights on.  This is said to bring in the new luck of the new year and let go of last year's luck.

8.  Eat long noodles for a long life!!

This year is the year of the Water Dragon.  The Water Dragon is said to be ambitious, but the water element tempers the arrogance and pushiness usually associated with the year of the Dragon.

I hope this year is joyful and prosperous for all of you!!