Is that Household Budget Getting Tighter? Here Are Tips to Save More Money!

Both consumer debt overall and household debt continue to soar to historic highs as many US citizens are living paycheck to paycheck or are in dire financial straits due to unexpected issues such as a car crash or a motorcycle accident causing loss of employment or hours. While the mortgage typically eats up most of the income for most consumers today, student loans are also making life more difficult for many of the 45 million borrowers up to their ears in almost $1.6 trillion in cumulative debt. It can be hard enough to make ends meet if you live alone, but if you are supporting a family or working with your partner to take care of children (and perhaps ageing parents or other family members too), it could be difficult to rein in your finances or continue saving in the manner you enjoy.

Here are five ways to save more money now:

  1. Hold a family meeting – while no one wants to burden younger children with worries about money, older children will benefit from understanding the truth about how a household budget must be handled, along with learning that everyone, and every family unit, will experience financial ups and downs in life. One of the most important topics at your family meeting may be an announcement that there will be ‘budget cuts’ and there may be restrictions on spending for a while.
  2. Start adding more to your retirement fund if possible – this is especially helpful if your boss is matching your contributions. This is true savings for your future and becomes increasingly more important as you head into your 40s and 50s.
  3. Stop eating out – busy lives, and especially as both spouses/parents work these days, can make it exceedingly difficult to make it to the dinner table for a home-cooked meal. Even though it may take extra effort on those days where you are exhausted, hit the grocery after work—or once a week on the weekends, after which you may want to designate several hours to meal prep to get you through the week. These types of preparations pay off not only financially, but nutritionally as well. Get the family in on cooking too, and delegate duties—especially the dishwashing!
  4. Kick those bad habits – if you are a smoker or like your fine wines and other alcohol, consider how much you are spending monthly on these luxuries. Cutting back is a savings to your wallet, and also your well-being.
  5. Research major purchases, and be disciplined about online spending – is the refrigerator on the fritz? While you may need a new one quickly, take time to comparison shop. Feeling the need for some retail therapy from the desktop? Use this convenience wisely, and sparingly, being disciplined about how often you let that ‘buy now’ button subtract money from your checking account.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

August Means Back to School—Collect and Donate School Supplies for Kids in Need

Summer means so many things in Florida, from getting out and enjoying all the sights and attractions – even if you are a native – to going to the beach, picnicking, taking off in the boat or enjoying riding different types of watercraft, and more. But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and that means back to school in August for most students. This also means back-to-school shopping, a venture that can really add up when you calculate all that is usually purchased, from new clothes to new shoes, P.E. outfits, sports uniforms, and all the normal required items such as pens, pencils, calculators, compasses, and so much more. Some parents must budget all summer – or even all year – just to pay for the back-to-school melee. And for many, the money just is not there for the extensive list of items to be purchased.

No matter what school district you live in, you have probably noticed that school supplies are always in high demand – and sometimes the deficits are so extreme that teachers are even using their own money to purchase essential items and then some so that children do not go without during class. You might be amazed to learn that sometimes children are be forced to go without something as simple as a pencil—or they could be forced to borrow from other classmates who may not have a plentiful supply of the necessary tools either.

In Manatee County, homelessness is a real problem. Data shows that while around 85,000 people are considered homeless in Florida, approximately 3,500 of them are in Manatee County, and far too many of them are children (recent numbers suggest 800 children are without homes). These kids may often just be lucky enough to find temporary housing in motels, tent housing, or they may be found sleeping in cars or on the streets out of desperation. Many of them are in shelters or are hoping to get into foster care. They may have a hard time learning not only because they are lacking basic school supplies that their parents may have been expected to provide, but also because they are very hungry—and it’s hard to do mathematical equations when your stomach is grumbling!

County-wide programs are in place to help feed and assist children who are homeless in Bradenton. Recently, high-school students who realize the magnitude of the problem have also been involved in projects like building tiny homes for the homeless population in Bradenton. If you are interested in offering assistance, contact your local public-school system, or the Manatee County school system at (941) 708-8770, and find out more about programs on going at the beginning of this year to help those in need. You can also find out more about the dates your child is going back to school here.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Get Out and Enjoy Florida: What to See Besides Theme Parks

As the southernmost state, Florida is famed for many exciting elements, from year-round sunshine and good weather (aside from unpleasant hurricanes) to beautiful ocean tides, bays, and more than the occasional alligator. There are also 25 scenic highways to travel, with lots of fun along the way, whether you enjoy road tripping in a car, motorcycle, getting out and bicycling, or walking or hiking. Although the choices are countless, here are some ideas for seeing the sights without breaking the bank at an amusement park:

  • The Everglades – this grassy sanctuary is not just one of the wonders of Florida, but the world. With 60 miles of marsh to enjoy, you can enter the Everglades just above the Florida Keys, or at other points such as Corkscrew Swamp, Big Cypress, or numerous areas offering airboat rides. Wildlife like raccoons, bobcats, fox, and deer populate these areas—including the elusive Florida Panther, a fascinating subspecies of the mountain lion that has had a resurgence in population during an ongoing recovery program for the endangered cats that require a large area to roam.
  • Kennedy Space Center – whether you are traveling with your kids, on a road trip alone, or navigating the Sunshine State with another group of adults, this area (in connection with NASA) offers huge entertainment combined with fascinating educational information, grouped into numerous exhibits and attractions.
  • Museums – while many out-of-state Florida enthusiasts are all about Disney World, they could miss out on numerous wonderful, small museums from the Museum of Discovery and Science or the Florida Maritime Museum to the Salvador Dali Museum—to Ringling or St. Augustine’s famed Potter’s Wax Museum or Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
  • Go to the opera – Sarasota Opera has been offering impressive performances since 1973, housed in a completely restored, historic theater. You can enjoy listening to opera or symphony, popular music, seeing art films, dance and ballet, and even get some laughs in watching stand-up comedy there.
  • See some lighthouses – from Key West Light to Ponce de Leon Light, or further north at Pensacola Light, these structures are all evidence of the rich history of Florida.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Summer Activities with the Kids: Five Fun and Free Ideas

No matter what ages your children are, summer can be the best of times for families. It can also be a hectic time for you as a parent trying to entertain everyone, tiring out the little ones so they will sleep well at night (and allow you to also). While Florida is renowned for Disney World, and the steep price tag that goes with it, the Sunshine State is also chock full of free activities to do all summer, and year-round too, thanks to the ongoing tropical weather. And while you may start to feel a bit overwhelmed at times, especially after the words ‘I’m bored’ are ringing in your ears for a few weeks, keep these simple activities in mind when you begin planning out activities for the day:

  1. Go to the beach! This is one of the most enjoyable activities in Florida, for many; in fact, you could have a mellow day at home with the little ones and then head out in the late afternoon when the weather is cooling down, have a light supper on the beach, and watch a glorious sunset. If you are really feeling ambitious, you could also hit the pool on the way back to cool off further and get in another cool swim. No matter what age children are involved, however, be mindful of swimming capabilities to avoid accidents.
  2. Camp out – while there could be some expenses involved in getting together supplies if you don’t already have them, this is a great way to enjoy family time away from the hustle and bustle of regular life. Another fun idea is to camp right in your backyard—set up the tent, grill dinner, make s’mores for dessert, and practice for the real thing later. No matter the location, you can enjoy stargazing, and maybe even throw in some basic astronomy or information about constellations for the kids to focus on.
  3. Fishing and boating – heading out on to the water for the day allows for an excellent family day, with younger kids learning how to reel in the catch of the day, along with being mindful of boating safety. Make sure flotation devices are available for everyone, and that a comprehensive checklist is followed before you take off—including a float plan given to someone on land so they know where you were planning to go.
  4. Make things – create fun popsicle, smoothie, or milkshake recipes. Draw murals with outside chalk in the driveway. Build a birdhouse.
  5. Set up an outdoor stand – sell lemonade, snacks, or crafts. Have a yard sale so that kids can clear out toys or items they no longer use, along with household items you may need to divest yourself of.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident due to the negligence of another operator, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

Motorists: Understand How Blind Spots Work

With millions of cars registered in the US at any given time, there’s no question that we must all share the road and try to do so as safely as possible. Unfortunately, most of us will be involved in at least one car accident in our lifetimes–but hopefully with defensive driving practices in place, you can lower the odds. Understanding how blind spots work is important, and although you may be aware that sometimes you cannot see another car or motorcycle or truck if it is next to you in the adjacent lane, it is helpful to know more about the technicalities involved—and what you can do to decrease your chance of having an accident due to an incident with a blind spot.

Blind spots are not restricted only to vehicles on the road, but also boats and even planes. If you are riding on a bicycle or a motorcycle or some form of transportation without windows or metal coverings, then you probably do not have to worry about blind spots. Visibility is restricted due to the design of most vehicles, the way mirrors are set up, headrests in the car, and more. The blind spot occurs in the lane next to you at a 45° angle while you are driving and unable to see what is there—which is usually either a car or other vehicle, or if you are hoping to pass, perhaps nothing at all.

There are ways to adjust your mirrors to avoid blind spots altogether, but that does take some technical prowess (and some experts say this is not possible), and in most cases, motorists have their mirrors set so they can see as much traffic as possible. While traveling, if you are about to pass, avoid collisions due to blind spots by looking in your side mirrors, rearview mirrors, and taking the time to turn your head also to look. Taking all these precautions is critical, and especially when on a multi-lane highway.

Trucks present even more issues with blind spots, and they need the help of motorists when passing. If you are traveling behind a truck and decide to pass on the left, make sure you can see the trucker in his mirror (this means he can see you!) as you move out into the next lane, and before you pass over into the next one.

The most important element of driving is simple: focus. This is an important skill to pass on to teen drivers as well, considering distracted driving is the number one threat and killer on highways in the US. With the advent of the smartphone, drivers have so many advantages such as GPS, the ability to make hands-free phone calls, and much more. But there are so many negative aspects of smartphone technology too about distracted driving. Drivers may be unable to resist the temptation to check text messages, and even worse, may feel obligated to respond – and sometimes at length. Beware of other drivers who may also be under the influence, ignoring traffic signals and signs, or driving under the influence.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

CRPS: Many Physicians Are Unfamiliar with the Signs

Complex regional pain syndrome affects around 200,000 people in the US, although those numbers could be under-reported due to misdiagnoses or others who simply have not come forth with symptoms. The condition is remarkable as it usually appears after another trauma has occurred and injuries have healed. If you have CRPS or you know someone who is suffering from this rare disease affecting the nervous system, then you understand what an unpleasant surprise it can be, developing after moderate musculoskeletal injuries, a broken bone, or a sprained ankle that may have healed.

The only good thing that could be said about CRPS is that sometimes the symptoms are moderate and stay that way, sometimes they lessen over time, and it is rare; however there are many downsides to this condition as it can cause serious, chronic pain making life very uncomfortable. Patients suffering from CRPS maybe so traumatized from the pain of trying to walk or move that they just stop doing so altogether, allowing muscles to atrophy.

Amidst all the suffering and frustration, there is an even worse element to CRPS initially, as it can be difficult to diagnose, and there is no specific test for it yet. This means that a medical professional must be experienced with the condition to know what it is right away. The symptoms can be intense and fairly obvious to a doctor who has seen CRPS before, but usually other conditions and diseases must be ruled out first; for instance, Lyme disease may present itself in a similar manner at first and must be ruled out—along with other conditions causing inflammation and affecting the nervous system.

If CRPS is suspected to be the final diagnosis, the patient may be referred to a specialist, who will then be able to start them on a regimen of medications if necessary. In some cases, CRPS is so mild that only over-the-counter remedies are required, but in others, stronger pain relievers may be called for, such as opioids. There are other treatments that work for CRPS patients too, spanning everything from corticosteroids to anticonvulsants and antidepressants.

Were you in an accident due to the negligence of others that triggered CRPS? If so, please call Heintz & Becker today to consult with a skilled CRPS lawyer. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Brain Injuries May Begin with Subtle Symptoms

The fact that car accidents continue to increase—and especially in Florida—is a subject of consternation for infrastructure analysts, government officials, and anyone who has lost someone due to a car crash, as well as concerned citizens who fear for the safety of all motorists. Escalating fatalities and injuries are not just isolated to cars either, but also trucks, motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The roads can be extremely busy in Florida, and even with your best defensive driving practices in place, you could find yourself involved in a serious car accident due to the negligence of other drivers.

Minor injuries such as cuts and contusions, broken bones and ribs, and sprains are common after a car or truck crash. Often though, there are serious and life-threatening injuries like amputations caused during the impact or a result of surgery afterward, neck and back injuries, paralysis, and much more. Injury to the head can be very serious though. While many are lucky to escape with a minor bump on the head, serious concussions are possible, along with traumatic brain injury. A concussion or TBI can sometimes be deceiving too, as you or a loved one could be injured but not even realize it for a while; in fact, they could be walking around as if nothing happened, in a semi-functional state. Usually, if the patient has not realized what is happening, a friend or loved one will point out that something seems off, or that they need medical care.

Traumatic brain injuries could begin with headaches, moodiness, inability to sleep, and more, but they could also present immediately with unconsciousness – even if just at the beginning for 30 minutes or so Difficulty sleeping, problems with coordination, trouble speaking, and more, could become apparent. Traumatic brain injury can in fact be so serious that there could be permanent brain damage. If you suspect you may have sustained a TBI or a serious concussion, you should seek medical attention immediately. These types of injuries can be extremely serious in children and babies too, and difficult to spot at first. Keep an eye out after any type of head trauma for a change in activity levels, lack of appetite or ability to sleep, crankiness, or more serious symptoms like a coma.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

After a Car Accident: Move Your Car Out of the Way if Possible

Unfortunately, driving is somewhat of a dangerous activity—and especially if you live in a city. You probably drive a fairly predictable route each day and week, however, revolving around work, school, and where you do your errands; in fact, you may tend to travel in a five- to ten-mile radius and often go no further, unless there is a long daily drive to the office or a trip planned.

The number of car crashes in Florida continues to escalate, as well as incidents regarding aggressive drivers. While there is continual discussion regarding why there are so many car and motorcycle fatalities and injuries, many theories lead to the growing population on both coasts, the continued numbers of visitors streaming into the popular state, good weather that tends to be plentiful all year, and often, seniors who may be driving more slowly.

If you are in a car accident, it is extremely helpful to know what to do ahead of time. While preparing for what to do in case you have an accident is probably not an activity you want to put at the top of your ‘to do’ list (and is something you don’t want to think about at all really ), preferring to assume such an unfortunate event will never occur is unrealistic. And if you are already well-educated on the topic should something happen, you will be much better equipped to deal with what could be a very frightening situation, accompanied by enormous adrenaline flow.

The first step after an accident should always be to assess the physical status of everyone in the car. Medical help should be called for immediately if there is even the slightest question regarding injuries, along with moving the car out of the way. Many motorists are under the impression that moving the car is a bad thing because it could interfere with evidence for the case, or that it may be illegal to move the car in some states. Florida law requires you to make every effort to move your car and not obstruct the flow of traffic.

Once you have done so, proceed to call the police to file a report, as well as getting contact information from the other driver, and any witnesses. If the accident occurred due to the negligence of another driver, most likely you will have a case against their insurance company if you have sustained injuries, or if passengers have been hurt. Do not try to handle such a situation on your own. It is in your best interest to contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Motorcycles: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Dangers?

As the roads continue to grow more dangerous for motorcycles in Florida, hazards abound from the moment you start the motor. It would be nice to think that this is an understatement, but as distracted drivers just continue to increase, despite stronger laws and texting bans, anyone traveling must practice extreme diligence in driving defensively and taking any extra safety measures available.

While the ability to enjoy the outdoors is one of the greatest advantages of riding a motorcycle, the health benefits are surprisingly expansive too. A motorcycle is much heavier than toting around a regular bicycle—and involves a lot more physical effort in comparison to getting into a car. Every ride is a complete core and body work out. As a motorcyclist, you must use your arm and leg strength constantly, and the center of your body is used as you continually maneuver through starting, stopping, and traveling in traffic. Posture, neck, and back muscles are consistently strengthened also. This is not an exercise for the weak, but it will build them into the strong!

There are dangers in taking any vehicle to the streets, with even walking presenting a dangerous proposition in many cities. It is up to you to decide which form of transportation you prefer. One of the obvious problems with motorcycles is that the operator is more vulnerable without the protection of a 4,000-pound metal car, or a much heavier truck. Other motorists are often not paying as much attention as they should to the road and do not see motorcyclists. While this is their responsibility, they may be so used to looking for other larger vehicles that they do not take time to notice those traveling on two wheels, or foot.

If you choose to ride a motorcycle, it is not an endeavor that should be taken lightly. Be certain that you purchase a motorcycle you can handle, whether you are a novice or not, and that you are equipped with all the necessary gear, from a helmet for your head to boots for your feet, protective clothing, and even eye goggles and gloves when necessary.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.