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Happy Friday! This week’s Friday Five touches on technology – both the good and the bad – and how to utilize it in ways that not only improve our lives, but also in ways that keep us safe. Please also feel free to share with Edith and I any tips or ideas your family uses and we will be happy to share them on our Facebook page.

  1. Don’t Text and Drive – Teens AND Adults

Scary Facts:

  1. 26% of all car wrecks involve the use of a cell phone while driving

and

  1. More than nine people die every day due to distracted driving

It’s not always easy to just put the phone away. We tell the teen driver in our family to make sure that she doesn’t text and drive, but it is so easy just pick up the phone – even at a light – and check messages. And our kids are watching us. The best way to avoid the problem is to avoid accepting texts while we drive. Luckily, smart phones make it easy as they know when we are most likely driving, and it is as simple as activating their “Do Not Disturb” settings. For iPhones, use this link to learn not only how to activate, but also how to customize your settings and responses. For Android, check out this link.

  1. Amazon’s Echo Dot

At home, we love our Amazon Echo Dots and each of the kids have one. This allows us to use them all as an intercom system to check on them or hurry them out the door or call them to dinner. It will also serve as an alarm clock and will even list their chores and reminders on a daily basis – so, no excuses! We have the children’s version for our youngest and it has over 300 books (including bed-time stories) as well as parental filters on what music is played. Bethany really enjoys the jokes told by Alexa. At only $49.99 with free two-day shipping for Prime Members, it’s a great deal.  

  1. Credit Karma

Credit Karma is not perfect, but I believe that having a free credit-monitoring can ultimately help raise credit scores. It has a dashboard that will evaluate your credit based upon past payment history, amount of debt used, age of your debt, and it even has a tool that will estimate how your score could improve based upon your payment of a debt. It will also match you up with credit card offers and loans for which you would most likely be approved (of course, that is how they make their money!). Read the reviews and decide for yourself if it would be helpful to you, but we give it two thumbs up!

  1. Traveling for “free” by using points

Speaking of credit cards, have you ever wondered about how people travel just using the rewards from credit cards? If so, there are lots of resources out there, but I suggest starting with The Points Guy or with Nerd Wallet for the basics of where to start. There really is a science behind what cards are used and how to best use the cards, but taking advantage of their recommendations could save you hundreds of dollars when you travel.

  1. After an accident, speak ONLY with your lawyer – never the insurance company

Finally, remember that you should never give a statement to the insurance company for the person who hit you in an accident, no matter how nice and innocent they sound.  

Watch this video where Edith and I give some basic advice about what to do immediately following a wreck (feel free to skip to the 11-minute mark where we address recorded statements)! In sum, don’t give a recorded statement. Their insurance company is NOT your friend and, even though the accident wasn’t your fault, they will find something that will partially blame you for causing the wreck. Talk to a lawyer (hint: me) first.

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