Babysitter Checklist


Babysitter Information Sheet

Parent’s Names :
Full Address :

Nearby Landmarks when giving directions:

Home Phone Number:
Dad’s Cell Phone:
Mom’s Cell Phone:

Children (names and ages):


Important Medical Info:

Child Allergies / Medical Conditions to be aware of


Emergency Contacts (name, relationship, and phone number):

Our nearest neighbors if you need help are (name, number, location)

Local Police Phone Number:
Poison Control:
Emergency – 911



Today we are going to:


We will return by:


Special notes:




***Reminder for PARENTS: before you go, get the full name, cell phone number, home phone number, make of car and license plate number of your sitter, and take them with you, for safety’s sake.


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Baby Safety Checklist


____ Get down on your hands and knees to help detect hazards which children can get to
____ Place gates at top and bottom of all stairs
____ Install childproof latches on appropriate cabinets, drawers, etc.
____ Put following out of reach of children:
- Hazardous materials, breakable objects, rope, string, etc.
____ Place night lights where necessary to prevent falls
____ Place outlet covers on all empty electrical outlets which children can reach (ensure the covers do not pose a choking hazard)
____ Tuck electrical cords out of the way
____ Unplug appliances and cords when not in use
____ Shorten drape and blind cords and/or cut off the knot at the end
____ Install window guards and/or locks
____ Install gates at top and bottom of stairs
____ Lower hot water heater temperature to less than 130°F
____ Store medicines in childproof containers
____ Lock appropriate cabinets and drawers
____ Place rubber mats in bathtub and shower
____ Turn pot handles on stove away from front
If your residence was built in 1978 or earlier:
____ Determine if there is a hazard to children from lead paint (use of lead paint was restricted in 1978)

____ Put following out of reach of children:
- Plastic bags
- Dishwashing liquid
- Cleaning fluids
- Hot liquids
- Knives


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New Baby Checklist Adoption



Before adopting:

Consider using one or more of the following to find a child to adopt:
- Private agencies - the wait may be up to 10 years, usually because prospective parents are looking for a newborn and/or Caucasian infant

- Public agencies - usually cheapest

- Independent - prospective adoptive parents deal directly with the birth mother

- Networking - Ensure your friends and associates know that you'd like to adopt and ask them to mention it to their friends and associates

- Advertising, e.g., newspapers

Get help with the process, e.g.:
- Lawyer (make sure you hire one that specializes in Adoptions, it makes it a lot easier and they will know the laws inregards to adoptions)

- Social worker (If you are using an agency, they will provide one for you)

- Adoption agency

Be aware that many children available for adoption from many foreign countries may have problems adapting to adoptive parents and may have various health problems, learning difficulties, etc.
- Do your research on the country that you are looking into


After finding a prospective child to adopt:

Get as much information as you can about the child's background - to help determine if the child might be violent towards you, have learning difficulties, have health problems, etc.
Determine how long the birth parents have to back out of the adoption - Research your state laws and the laws form the country that you are adopting from.

After adopting:

Be aware that adoptive parents can suffer from some depression similar to post-partum depression, due to the letdown from the anticipation and from being overwhelmed by the major changes in your daily routine. Introduce the concept of adoption to the adopted child in a warm and supportive manner
Keep assuring your adopted child that:
- He/she is not different from other kids

- He/she is secure and loved

If your adopted child asks questions relating to his/her birth parents and adoption and is younger than approx. age 4:
Listen to his/her question(s) carefully so you don't answer a question he/she didn't ask
Take the time to answer his/her question(s) carefully but honestly, although not in too much detail.

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Travel Checklist


1. Before you leave for the airport:
- Decide if you are checking luggage, or only taking a small carry on bag. Organize your packing; be sure that you carry on the plane with you medicines, money, etc – anything that would be a true problem if your luggage didn’t show up at the same as you (doesn’t happen often, but can). Make sure you have your driver’s license, ticket and car reservation paperwork, sufficient cash with you. Don’t put locks on suitcases; they’ll cut them off and check the contents. Not every checked suitcase is physically searched, but many people have had it happen several times. Pack clothes in large clear zip lock baggies (to put in your suitcase, of course!)to eliminate the ick factor if this bugs you.

2. Get to the airport 1 to 2 hours before your flight leaves for U.S destinations. One hour is usually enough, 2 gives you plenty of time to orient yourself to everything. If you don’t have seat assignments getting there earlier gives you a better chance at getting an aisle or window seat instead of a middle seat.

3. Go to the ticket counter for your airline. You usually have the option of using an e-ticket machine to get boarding passes or talking to a real person at a counter. I would go to the counter. Tell them it’s your first time flying. You’ll show your driver’s license, give them luggage that can’t be carried on the plane. They’ll give you boarding passes, usually with a seat assignment, put stickers on that paperwork that are receipts for your luggage and tell you what gate your plane is leaving from.

4. Usually you will then head for a main security check area. Everybody gets in line to go thru metal detectors. Watch what everyone in front of you does, it may vary from airport to airport. Typically you’ll put carryon luggage, purses, coats, jackets, thru an x-ray screening machine. The contents of your pockets as well, in small bins provided for that. Be prepared to show your boarding pass and your id again. You might have to take your shoes off and them thru the machine too. Don’t freak if you set the metal detector off; it’s probably your belt buckle or something. Don’t freak if they ask you to step aside for an extra frisking. Its random only means them waving a metal detector wand close to your body (no actual touching).

5. Now all you have to do is find your departure gate. There are signs everywhere; you got there early, so you have plenty of time. Find your gate, then go explore. You want to be in the general area 20-30 minutes before you leave. In the meantime, you can spend more money than you imagined for a soft drink or use restrooms way more spacious then those on the plane.

6. They’ll call you to board the plane; usually VIP’s and those who need help first, then in seating assignment rows from the back to the front. Wait until your group is called. Stuff you don’t need to get to should be stowed in the compartments above the seat.

7. When you get there, follow the signs to the baggage claim area. Follow the herd to the right pickup area. The car rental desks will be somewhere nearby. If in doubt there is almost always an information desk in the baggage claim area.

If it is not a direct flight, you will not have to go thru the check in and security process at the middle airport. Just find the right gate to go to; you should already have your boarding pass for that next flight.

Don’t be surprised if planes run late, they often do.

If you made reservations well in advance --- call or use the internet to confirm that the flight info is still correct. More often lately we’ve found that the airline has rearranged flight schedules and we were flying a different flight and time than we originally booked. They always get us there, just not how we thought we were going.

A couple of other tips:

Do not take anything in your carry on luggage, purse, bag, or person that is sharp. It will be confiscated at the screening. This includes scissors, metal nail files, nail clippers with that nail-cleaning piece on the end, metal tooth pick/cleaners, pocket knife, etc. Anything sharp and pointy.

Most airports require adults to remove shoes and place on the screening conveyor belt now. Wear shoes that slip on and slip off for ease of removal.

Sometimes unexpected events require the plane to sit for awhile after you board to double check that everything is in order. Do not worry. If something unusual happens, there are usually people standing by to help -- just tell them you are new to flying and feeling a little confused. Airline people are usually helpful and friendly.

If you are making a connection, ask for assistance as soon as you get off the first plane. There is sometimes a narrow window of time to get to the next gate, and someone's guidance will help you a lot.

If you get your boarding passes before you arrive at the airport, you can go straight to baggage check-in and skip a step at the airport.

While you cannot lock your suitcases, you can slip a twist-tie through the locking device to secure the zipper from coming open. They will not take it off unless they feel the need to inspect it, and if they don't, it will give some extra security to the suitcase not coming open in transit.

Put one of those paper luggage tags (available at the airport baggage check-in) on everything you carry on to the plane. That way if you accidentally leave something on the plane, it will get back to you.

If the pressure builds up in your ears during take-off and decent, pinch your nose tight, close your mouth tight, and blow out. It often works to release the pressure behind your ear drums. Sometimes chewing gum will help, and so will yawning, if you can get one going.


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Checklists Camping Checklist


Camping Check List

Shelter and Bedding
__ tent
__ tarp
__ sleeping bag
__ sleeping pad
__ headrest


Cooking / Eating
__ water
__ food
__ cooler
__ camp stove
__ mess kit
__ can opener
__ charcoal
__ butane lighter
__ salt and pepper
__ herbs and spices
__ cooking oil
__ pot holders
__ paper towels
__ napkins
__ plastic trash bags
__ tongs and spatula
__ aluminum foil
__ measuring cups
__ plastic silverware
__ paper plates/bowls
__ plastic cups
__ zip lock bags
__ knives


__ binoculars
__ bug spray
__ camera
__ candles
__ cards, games
__ cell phone
__ clothes pins
__ compass
__ duct tape
__ fishing gear
__ flashlight
__ knife
__ lantern
__ matches
__ pen and paper
__ rope
__ sun block
__ tools
__ whistle



__ t-shirts
__ shorts
__ jeans/pants
__ socks
__ shoes/boots
__ camp shoes
__ hat/cap
__ sweater
__ rain poncho
__ underwear
__ swim suit
__ laundry bag

Personal Hygiene
__ tooth brush
__ tooth paste
__ wash rag(s)
__ towel(s)
__ soap
__ comb/brush
__ nail clippers
__ razor
__ toilet paper

Cleaning Items
__ broom
__ dust pan
__ dish pan
__ detergent
__ dish rags
__ pot scrubber

First Aid Kit
__ personal medication
__ bandages
__ aspirin, Tylenol
__ medical tape
__ sterile gauze
__ elastic wrap
__ antiseptic wipes
__ antibiotic cream
__ burn ointment
__ sunburn lotion
__ hydrogen peroxide
__ scissors
__ tweezers
__ eye wash
__ sanitary napkins
__ snake bite kit


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Yard Sale Checklist


2-3 Weeks prior to the sale

* Collect items to be sold
* Check your area's rules
* Choose a date to have your sale
* Compose your newspaper ad
* Call the newspaper and place the ad


1 Week prior to the sale

* Make sure items for sale are clean and in good repair
* Go to the bank to get change for the sale
* Price the items and organize them into groups of like items
* Make the signs to be posted for the sale


The day prior to the sale

* Place tables in your sales area
* Put the items to be sold on the tables in an organized fashion
* Organize the change in a change box
* Gather a calculator, pen, paper, bags, and newspaper for wrapping fragile items
* Plug in an extension cord to test electrical items



The day of the sale

* Post the signs in high traffic, visible areas
* Set out small snacks and soft drinks for your workers
* Open the sale for business



After the sale is over

* Deliver items to charity or arrange for their pick-up
* Remove your sale signs


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Tax Checklist


Tax Preparation Checklist


Personal Data

* Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)
* Child care provider : Name, address and tax I.D. or Social Security Number
* Alimony paid: Social Security Number

Employment & Income Data

* W-2 forms for this year
* Unemployment compensation: Forms 1099-G
* Miscellaneous income including rent: Forms 1099-MISC
* Partnership, S Corporation, & trust income: Schedules K-1
* Pensions and annuities: Forms 1099-R
* Social Security/RR1 benefits: Forms RRB-1099
* Alimony received
* Jury duty pay
* Gambling and lottery winning
* Prizes and awards
* Scholarships and fellowships
* State and local income tax refunds: Form 1099-G

Homeowner/Renter Data

* Residential address(es) for this year
* Mortgage interest: Form 1098
* Sale of your home or other real estate: Form 1099-S
* Second mortgage interest paid
* Real estate taxes paid
* Rent paid during tax year
* Moving expenses

Financial Assets

* Interest income statements: Form 1099-INT & 1099-OID
* Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DIV
* Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B
* Retirement plan distribution: Form 1099-R

Financial Liabilities

* Auto loans and leases (account numbers and car value) if vehicle used for business
* Student loan interest paid
* Early withdrawal penalties on CDs and other time deposits


* Personal property tax information


* Gifts to charity (qualified written statement from charity for any single donations of $250 or more)
* Unreimbursed expenses related to volunteer work
* Unreimbursed expenses related to your job (travel expenses, uniforms, union dues, subscriptions)
* Investment expenses
* Job-hunting expenses
* Job-related education expenses
* Child care expenses
* Medical Savings Accounts
* Adoption expenses
* Alimony paid
* Tax return preparation expenses and fees

Self-employment Data

* Business income: Forms 1099-MISC and/or own records
* Partnership SE income: Schedules K-1
* Business-related expenses: Receipts, other documents & own records
* Farm-related expenses: Receipts, other documents & own records
* Employment taxes & other business taxes paid for current year: Payment records

Miscellaneous Tax Documents

* Federal, state & local estimated income tax paid for current year: Estimated tax vouchers, cancelled checks & other payment records
* IRA, Keogh and other retirement plan contributions: If self-employed, identify as for self or employees
* Records to document medical expenses
* Records to document casualty or theft losses
* Records for any other expenditures that may be deductible
* Records for any other revenue or sales of property that may be taxable or reportable


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All Areas of the Home



1. Are lamp, extension, and telephone cords placed out of the flow of traffic? YES___ *NO___

2. Are cords out from beneath furniture and rugs or carpeting? YES___ *NO___

3. Are cords attached to the walls, baseboards, etc., with nails or staples? *YES___ NO___

4. Are electrical cords in good condition, not frayed or cracked? YES___ *NO___
Do extension cords carry more than their proper load, as indicated by the ratings labeled on the cord and the appliance? *YES___ NO___



1. Are all small rugs and runners slip-resistant? YES___ *NO___
2. Are emergency numbers posted on or near the telephone? YES___ *NO___
3. Do you have access to a telephone if you fall (or experience some other emergency which prevents you from 4. standing and reaching a wall phone)? YES___ *NO___


1. Are smoke detectors properly located? YES___ *NO___
2. Do you have properly working smoke detectors? YES___ *NO___


1. Are any outlets and switches unusually warm or hot to the touch? *YES___ NO___
2, Do all outlets and switches have cover plates, so that no wiring is exposed? YES___ *NO___
3. Are light bulbs the appropriate size and type for the lamp or fixture? YES___ *NO___


1. Are heaters which come with a 3-prong plug being used in a 3-hole outlet or with a properly attached adapter? YES___ *NO___
2. Are small stoves and heaters placed where they can not be knocked over, and away from furnishings and flammable materials, such as curtains or rugs? YES___ *NO___
3. If your home has space heating equipment, such as a kerosene heater, a gas heater or an LP gas heater, do you understand the installation and operating instructions thoroughly? YES___ *NO___
Review the installation and operating instructions. Call your local fire department if you have additional questions.


1. Is woodburning equipment installed properly? YES___ *NO___
NOTE: Some insurance companies will not cover fire losses if wood stoves are not installed according to local codes.


1. Do you have an emergency exit plan and an alternate emergency exit plan in case of a fire? YES___ *NO___
Develop an emergency exit plan. Choose a meeting place outside your home so you can be sure that everyone is capable of escape quickly and safely. Practice the plan from time to time to make sure everyone is capable of escape quickly and safely.


In the Kitchen


1. Are towels, curtains, and other things that might catch fire located away from the range? YES___ *NO___
2. Do you wear clothing with short or close-fitting sleeves while you are cooking? YES___ *NO___
3. Are kitchen ventilation systems or range exhausts functioning properly and are they in use while you are cooking? YES___ *NO___
4. Are all extension cords and appliance cords located away from the sink or range areas? YES___ *NO___
5. Does good, even lighting exist over the stove, sink, and countertop work areas, especially where food is sliced or cut? YES___ *NO___
6. Do you have a step stool which is stable and in good repair? YES___ *NO___


In the Living Room/Family Room


1. Are chimneys clear from accumulations of leaves, and other debris that can clog them? YES___ *NO___
2. Has the chimney been cleaned within the past year? YES___ *NO___


See "All Areas of the Home" above and be sure to check for cords and other telephone items.


1. Are hallways, passageways between rooms, and other heavy traffic areas well lit? YES___ *NO___
2. Install night lights. Reduce glare by using frosted bulbs, indirect lighting, shades or globes on light fixtures, or partially closing blinds or curtains. Consider using additional lamps or light fixtures. Make sure that the bulbs you use are the right type and wattage for the light fixture.
3. Are exits and passageways kept clear? YES___ *NO___

Remember: Check the Living Room/Family Room and passageways for
all items under "All Areas of the Home" above.


In the Bathroom


1. Are bathtubs and showers equipped with non-skid mats, abrasive strips, or surfaces that are not slippery? YES___ *NO___
2. Do bathtubs and showers have at least one (preferably two) grab bars? YES___ *NO___
3. Is the temperature 120 degrees or lower? YES___ *NO___


1. Is a light switch located near the entrance to the bathroom? YES___ *NO___


1. Are small electrical appliances such as hair dryers, shavers, curling irons, etc., unplugged when not in use? YES___ *NO___


1. Are all medicines stored in the containers that they came in and are they clearly marked? YES___ *NO___
NOTE: Many poisonings occur when children visiting grandparents go through the medicine cabinet or grandmother's purse. In homes where grandchildren or other youngsters are frequent visitors, medicines should be purchased in containers with child-resistant caps, and the caps properly closed after each use. Store medicines beyond the reach of children.

Remember: Check the Bathroom and neighboring areas for
all items under "All Areas of the Home" above.

In the Bedrooms


1. Are lamps or light switches within reach of each bed? YES___ *NO___
2. Are ash trays, smoking materials, or other fire sources (heaters, hot plates, teapots, etc.) located away from beds or bedding? YES___ *NO___
3. Is anything covering your electric blanket when in use? *YES___ NO___
* "Tucking in" electric blankets, or placing additional coverings on top of them can cause excessive heat buildup which can start a fire.
4. Do you avoid "tucking in" the sides or ends of your electric blanket? YES___ *NO___
5. Do you ever go to sleep with a heating pad which is turned on? *YES___ NO___
6. Is there a telephone close to your bed? YES___ *NO___

Remember: Check the Bedrooms and neighboring areas for
all items under "All Areas of the Home" above.

In Basement/Garage/Workshop/Storage Areas


1. Are work areas, especially areas where power tools are used, well lit? YES___ *NO___
2. Can you turn on the lights without first having to walk through a dark area? YES___ *NO___



1. If fuses are used, are they the correct size for the circuit? YES___ *NO___


1. Are power tools equipped with a 3-prong plug or marked to show that they are double insulated? YES___ *NO___
2. Are power tools guards in place? YES___ *NO___
3. Has the grounding feature on any 3-prong plug been defeated by removal of the grounding pin or by improperly using an adapter? *YES___ NO___


1. Are containers of volatile liquids tightly capped? YES___ *NO___
* If not tightly closed, vapors may escape that may be toxic when inhaled. Check containers periodically to make sure they are tightly closed.
NOTE: CPSC has reports of several cases in which gasoline, stored as much as 10 feet from a gas water heater, exploded. Many people are unaware that gas fumes can travel that far.
2. Are gasoline, paints, solvents, or other products that give off vapors or fumes stored away from ignition sources? YES___ *NO___

Remember: Check the Basement/Garage/Workshop/Storage areas for
all items under "All Areas of the Home" above.


In Stairways


1. Are stairs well lighted? YES___ *NO___
2. Are light switches located at both the top and bottom of the stairs? YES___ *NO___




1. Do the steps allow secure footing? YES___ *NO___
2. Are steps even and of the same size and height? YES___ *NO___
3. Are the coverings on the steps in good condition? YES___ *NO___
4. Can you clearly see the edges of the steps? YES___ *NO___
5. Is anything stored on the stairway, even temporarily? *YES___ NO___

Remember: Check Stairways and neighboring areas for
all items under "All Areas of the Home" above.


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Child Care Checklist


Checklist to Find a Child Care Provider

1. Ask neighbors and friends for recommended providers.

2. Call the State Department of Human Services in your state. They can provide you a list of licensed and approved providers.

3. Visit the daycare. Look for cleanliness, structure, organization and how the children seem to respond to their caregivers.

4. Ask for references (at least 5). Contact the references to find out what their experience has been with the day care.


After finding a potential child care provider:

1. Ask other parents at the center how they like the provider.

2. Observe the behavior of other children the provider cares for during various times of the day (take a day and visit with your child to see how your child reacts to the environment).


Once you hire a provider:

1. Arrange for your child to have as much interaction as possible with other children and providers (to help ensure proper care is being provided)

2. Leave phone number(s) at which you can be reached and the address(es) you'll be located at (make sure to included an emergency contact in case you can not be reached)


When you pick up your child from the day care:

1. Ask lots of questions to help determine if proper care has been provided and spot potential problems.

2. Ask for daily reports from your child (or the provider if your child is too young) to let you know how much your child ate, if they had a bowel movement, if they napped etc.



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____ Decide where to get married:
- City (consider getting married at your honeymoon location - although it might be hard for many guests to attend)
- Specific location
____ Ask people to perform functions for wedding, e.g.,
- Maid of Honor:
- Bridesmaids:
- Best Man:
- Groomsmen/ushers:
- Guest book:
- Cut cake (after bride and groom cut first piece(s):
- Clean up:
- Take gifts:

____ Determine which family members should be included - to help determine how long it will take and so you can notify family members when you'd like for them to be in place for pictures

____ Decide on a schedule of events including:
- Pictures of family members
- Who will do what

____ Type up schedule of events including events which are intended to be at specific times and events which will be done in a specific order :
- Earliest to drop off kids with babysitter
- Earliest to drop off items for wedding and/or reception
- Attendees seated for ceremony
- Pictures, including who should be in pictures
- Food served (will bride and groom be served first?)
- Champagne provided
- Toast by best man
- Cake cut
- Bride and groom's first dance
- Bride and groom dance with parents
- Money dance
- Groom removes garter from bride
- Groom throws garter to bachelors
- Bride throws flower bouquet to bachelorettes
- Bride and groom depart

____ Provide copies of schedule of events to appropriate people, including:
____ Wedding coordinator
____ Photographer
____ Videographer
____ Those you would like included in family pictures
____ Buy gifts for each other

____ Collect items to take to wedding:
____ Safety pins (to fix clothing problems)
____ Tissue for bride to put in cuff
____ Ring

____ Don't tie rings on ring pillow too tight

After reception:
____ Bride and groom exchange gifts


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Winter Checklist


Outside Items To Have On Hand :

Snow shovel
De-icing compound
Waterproof floor mats

Inside Items To Have On Hand :

Household emergency supplies should include enough food, water and supplies to last four days without power or help.


Basic checklist:

Canned meats, soups and stews, cereal, and energy bars
Manual can opener
Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils
1 gallon of water per person per day (allow enough for four days)
Flashlights and batteries
Battery-powered radio
Battery-powered clock
Cellular phone
First-aid kit
Four-day supply of prescription medicines
Blanket and cold-weather clothing for each family member
Pet food and additional water for household pets


For Traveling :

Check antifreeze
Check and replace older batteries
Keep the gas tank near full to avoid freezing water in the fuel line
Check tires and spare tire for proper inflation


Automobile emergency supplies:

Bag of sand, road salt or non-clumping cat litter.
Ice scraper
Jumper cables
Small shovel (to dig snow away from wheels, or scatter sand on roadway)
Tire chains (every driver should practice putting them on)
Flares or reflective triangle to warn other motorists if you break down
Flashlight and batteries
Gallon jug of drinking water
First aid kit
Jacket, hat, gloves and sturdy, snow-proof boots for each traveler
Nonperishable food
Cell phone
Money (cash)

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Vacation Checklist



____ Ask:
- Do doors open to an interior hallway vice to an outdoor balcony - criminals would probably be less likely to try to enter your room from an interior hallway
- Type of locks for the room doors:
- Self-locking?
- Dead bolt?
- Security bar and/or chain?
- Type of keys they use (stay away from metal keys with room #'s on them) - card keys are best e.g., with magnetic strip - they change the code after each guest
- Phone in room - which you could use if someone was trying to enter your room
- 24-hour front desk staffing
____ Ask for a room which is not on the first floor, especially if there's a sliding glass door to the outside, especially if you're a woman by yourself

____ Have dollar bills available for tipping door person, bell hop, etc.

____ Tip the door person and/or bell hop approx. $1 to $1.50 per bag, more if they provide extra services
____ Ask for a room which is not on the first floor, especially if there's a sliding glass door to the outside, especially if you're a woman by yourself
____ Ask for a room which is not above the reach of local fire department ladders, e.g., ladder trucks
____ Ask what kind of identification the staff carries
____ Determine fire excape routes/procedures

If someone comes to room saying they're hotel staff:
Before you let them in:
____ Call front desk to confirm that they're supposed to be there

If you expect to make more than a few phone calls:
____ Keep a log(list) of calls you make including day, time, number called, whether call was answered, lenght of call


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Before looking:

* Get a copy of your credit report and correct any errors.
* Reduce your consumer debt - pay down credit card balances.
* Assemble a cash down payment.
* Determine how much you can afford to pay for a home.
* Decide how much you are willing to spend for a home (different from how much you can afford).
* Get familiar with basic mortgage terms.
* Shop for a mortgage loan on the Internet.
* Get pre-approved or at least pre-qualified for a mortgage loan.
* Investigate neighborhoods where you want to look for a house.
* Consider neighborhood school quality and crime rates.
* Select two or three neighborhoods that meet your requirements.

When ready to shop:

* Find a real estate agent who specializes in the neighborhoods where you want to live.
* Work with your agent but also shop for a home at Internet sites such as HomeAdvisor and
* Visit homes for sale and make notes.
* Get your agent's help in evaluating the asking price of homes you like.
* With the help of your real estate agent, write an Offer to Purchase.
* Complete all mortgage loan application requirements

Once you find a home:

* Hire an inspector to examine your prospective home.
* Accompany your inspector during the inspection.
* Get agreement on repairs to be made by the Seller
* Inspect repairs and handle other details prior to closing day.
* Hand over a certified check for the down payment and pick up the deed for your home.


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To Do Today

1. Is your water heater turned down? A warm setting of 120°F will save energy and you won’t scald your hands.
2. Does your water heater have an insulating blanket? This will pay for itself in one year or less!
3. Do you have a waterbed? If you do, make your bed. The covers will act as an insulator and save up to one-third of the energy it uses.
4. Are you using the energy saving settings on your refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers? Start using these settings to save energy.
5. Have you replaced your light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs)? If you haven’t replaced your incandescent lights yet, do this. CFLs can save three-quarters the electricity used by incandescent light bulbs. If you use lights that are 60-100W for several hours a day these are the best to replace.
6. Do you have newer appliances? The age and condition of appliances will affect their energy efficiency. Replacing them will save energy.
7. Have you replaced filters lately? By cleaning or replacing furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters you can save energy.

This Week

1. Rope caulk very leaky windows.
2. Have you assessed your heating and cooling systems? Determine if replacements are justified, or whether you should retrofit them to make them work more efficiently to provide the same comfort (or better) for less energy.

This Month

1. Gather your utility bills. Which bill is larger? Target the larger bill for energy conservation remedies.
2. Have you inspected your insulation? Crawl into your attic or crawlspace and inspect for insulation. Is there any? How much?
3. Insulate hot water pipes and ducts wherever they run through unheated areas.
4. Where are the leaks? Seal up the largest air leaks in your house—the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually utility cut-through for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
5. Do you have a clock thermostat? Install one to automatically set it back at night.

This Year

1. Insulate. If your walls aren't insulated have an insulation contractor blow cellulose into the walls. Also make sure your attic insulation is sufficient.
2. Replace older inefficient appliances. An appliance may have a few useful years left but a new one will be more efficient.
3. Replace windows or boost current window efficiency. Replace with energy efficient models or add weather-stripping and storm windows to current windows.
4. Do a tune up on your heating and cooling systems in the fall and spring. Duct sealing can also boost the overall performance of your systems.


Courtesy of Moms Who Think -


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Any "bad" records in a VIN history report?
Any maintenance records, mileage proof?
How many previous owners?
Why do they sell a car - tired of fixing it?
Any accidents, engine, transmission repair?
Has the car passed last Emission Test?

Start with exterior.

Indications of possible problem:
Are the exterior lines not straight? Ripples? Misaligned panels?
Driver's door has free play in the hinges? Troubles to close?
Are the gaps between panels too narrow (too wide) on one side of the car?
Lots of rusty spots?
Mismatched colors? Painting over spray?
Any panel of the car seems to be repainted?
Why? Accident? Corrosion?
Trailer hinge? The car was using for towing?

Indications of possible engine problem:

Any oil or coolant leaks from the engine?
Is the engine dirty or oily?
Is the oil level low? Is the oil on the dipstick too dark?
Any indication of poor quality repair work / lack of maintenance? (e.g. badly corroded battery terminals, very low oil level, etc.)
Start the engine:
Does it work unevenly?
Any knocking, pinging, whistling?
Any smoke? (slight water steam is OK)
Any warning lights come on while the engine is running?
"Check engine" light?
Is the engine oil pressure too low at idle?
Any hesitation on acceleration?
Is the engine enough powerful?
Does it look very dirty under the oil cap?
Smell of the burnt oil under the hood?

Possible automatic transmission problems:

Any previous transmission repair? Was it rebuilt?
Does the transmission fluid smell burnt?
Is the tranny fluid on the dipstick too dark/dirty?
Start the engine and try to switch from P to D and from P to R holding the brakes -
Is the time between shifting and the moment the transmission kicks in too long?
Any strong noises or jerks?
During a test drive:
Any delays or troubles shifting?
Any shudder? Does the transmission slip or jerk harshly?
The shifting seems to be delayed?
Does the kick-down function work?

The manual transmission:

Any leaks?
Any noises while driving?
Any troubles changing gears?
Is the clutch slipping?
Any trouble to shift into reverse?

The suspension problems:

Is any of shock absorbers leaking?
Is any of the shock absorber boots broken?
The steering has notable free play?
Does the car bounces too much when you push one of the corners down?
Tires have irregular wear? (alignment problem)
Does the car sit level?

During a driving test:

Any knocking or creaking noises when driving over bumps?
Does the car pull aside? Is the steering wheel out of center?
Does the vehicle feel unstable on a freeway?
Any humming or growling noise?

The brakes. Possible problem:

Is the brake fluid container leaky?
Is the brake fluid level too low?
Brake pedal goes down to the floor? Break pedal is too soft (spongy)? Too hard? Any brake fluid leaks under the car?
Badly corroded brake lines? Brake rotors appear corroded? During the test drive.
Any brake pedal or steering pulsation while braking?
Does the vehicle pull aside while braking?
Any grinding noise?
Does the brake warning light or ABS light come on while driving?


Any cracks, bruises?
Tread appears low?
Mismatched tires?
Damaged rims?
Vibration at high speed?
Humming noise? (uneven tire wear?)

The interior:

Is the driver seat / steering wheel worn excessively?
Dampness under the carpet or in the trunk?
Does the Radio / CD / Tape work?
Has the odometer any evidences of being tampered?
Does the air conditioner provide really cold air?
Are the power locks, windows, mirrors, sunroof, etc. working?
Are the heater, rear window defogger working?
Wind noise while driving?
Any of warning lights come on while driving?
Do you feel comfortable in driver's place?
Seats, seat belts, mirrors, controls, steering, visibility?
Spare tire, jack, wheel wrench?


Courtesy of Moms Who Think -


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