Archive for Holiday Planning

Cut Road Trip Costs

pexels-photo-1052344 Tips to Help Cut Road Trip Costs
There’s no better way to see the country than a road trip, and it’s also the way to travel if you’re looking to keep costs under control. To that end, here are a few ideas to help ensure you have a frugal good time out there on the road.

1. Cut your gas costs. Planning your route in advance will help you estimate your gas costs for the entire trip. Then, when you’re on the road, use the GasBuddy smartphone app to search for the lowest gas prices near you. Of course, you’ll also want to stick to the speed limit and keep your tires properly inflated to help improve your gas mileage.

2. Cut your food costs. Think about picnicking and cooking in rather than eating out. Packing healthy snacks in advance won’t just save you money, it may help save your waistline from the drive-through line, too. You’ll also get to explore the local grocery stores and see the different foods available in different parts of the country. And, don’t forget your reusable water bottle to fill up at water fountains.

3. Cut your lodging costs. Why not book a “room” outdoors? As long as you have room in the car for your camping gear, that is. Oftentimes you can book campsites in advance online. Look for campgrounds with nice facilities, such as showers and even Wi-Fi, and you won’t even sacrifice much in the way of comfort. But, you will save a considerable amount compared to staying in hotels. If the outdoor life just isn’t for you, look for last-minute hotel deals using apps from Hotels.com, Priceline or Orbitz.

4. Cut your entertainment costs. No matter where you’re headed, you can likely find some enticing entertainment options that are either free or low-cost. Check the official tourism websites of the cities and states on your route. Depending on the season, you might come across free concerts, lectures or plays at local parks and libraries. Or, check with museums about free admission days.

Whether you’re planning a long weekend or a couple of weeks on the road, we here at Duncan Financial Group wish you happy travels! Remember, we’re here to handle all of your car insurance needs to help keep you on the go.

DFG Recipe and Holiday Cooking Safety Tips Just for You!

A Christmas recipe from us to you!  This makes a great gift idea for friends and neighbors. It provides a wonderful Christmas present for all your unsure-what-to-buy friends!  Decorate with a pretty label and a circle of Christmas fabric under the jar ring. Using the same basic recipe you can substitute different fruits and vegetables to make other varieties.

 

Ingredients

2/3 cup shortening                          2 2/3 cups white sugar

4 eggs                                                   2 cups mashed bananas

2/3 cup water                                    3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder      2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt                        1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves            2/3 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease insides of 8 (1 pint) straight sided, wide mouth canning jars

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, bananas, and water. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Add to banana mixture. Stir in nuts.

Pour mixture into greased WIDE MOUTH pint jars, filling 1/2 full of batter. Do NOT put lids on jars for baking. Be careful to keep the rims clean, wiping off any batter that gets on the rims.

Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, sterilize the lids and rings in boiling water.

As soon as cake is done, remove from oven one at a time, wipe rims of jars and put on lid and ring. Jars will seal as cakes cool. Place the jars on the counter and listen for them to “ping” as they seal. If you miss the “ping”, wait until they are completely cool and press on the top of the lid. If it doesn’t move at all, it’s sealed.

Jars should be eaten immediately or kept sealed in refrigerator for up to a week

Holiday Safety tips to make sure your holiday season is, “The Best One Yet!”

  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S.  When cooking for holiday visitors, remember to keep an eye on the range.
  • Provide plenty of large, deep ashtrays, and check them frequently. Cigarette butts can smolder in the trash and cause a fire, so completely douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high, out of sight and reach of children (preferably in a locked cabinet).
  • Test your smoke alarms, and let guests know what your fire escape plan is.

The safest way to keep your family and home protected is by purchasing a homeowner’s insurance policy or checking your current homeowner’s policy to make sure it is still meeting your needs. Duncan Financial Group can help you with all your insurance needs. Stop in or contact us today!

Duncan Financial Group
311 Main Street
Irwin, PA 15642
(724) 863-3420
Toll free (888) 383-3420

Holiday Safety Tips That Will Calm Your Holiday Nerves

This time of year, the buzz around many workplaces is all about holiday spirit, parties, gifts and celebrations. But, as an Insurance company and since we are always assessing risks and trying to protect our customers from unexpected holiday-related disasters, conversations tend to be a bit more doom-and-gloom around our office. The talk around the water cooler here at Duncan Financial Group is more about “turkey fryer fires”, ”snow damage” and ”winter weather disasters”. Below are what we have thought to be the most common 3 concerns for the Holiday Season.

 

#1- Cooking Fires:

The Concern: Did you know that the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. is cooking fires? Around the holiday season many people spend more time in the kitchen cooking up meals for large groups and baking holiday treats. The increased time in the kitchen makes the instance of cooking fires greater than any other time of the year. What exactly is the most dangerous piece of cooking equipment? For the past few years is has been nothing other than… the turkey fryer.

The Knowledge to save you from this hazard: Avoid loose clothing and keep flammable materials away from heat sources. While cooking up that seasonal meal, always keep an eye on the stove. Practicing safe cooking will help ensure a happy, stress free holiday.

#2- Harsh Winter Weather

The Concern:  Did you know that between 1991 and 2010 winter storms resulted in approximately $26 billion in catastrophic losses?! Whether Jack Frost is nipping at your nose or dragging you by your boot straps- snow, ice and cold weather can do quite a lot of damage to your home.

The Knowledge to save you from this hazard: When you’re up on the ladder this year putting up holiday lights, make sure your roof is in good shape and your gutters are cleared out. Also, take a look around for any low lying tree branches that could be brought down by heavy snow and remove or trim them to keep your home safe and warm this season.

#3- Thefts

The Concern: Unfortunately, holiday time burglaries have been on the rise over the past few years. If you think about it, Christmas presents wrapped up and placed under the tree are an easy target for a burglar who wants to get in and out of your home quickly and with some valuable items. Also at risk is your car. Many thieves are finding brand new purchases in the trunk or back seat of a vehicle as shoppers go from one store to the next.

The Knowledge to save you from this hazard: Show those burglars that you won’t become their next victim by protecting your valuables this season. Don’t put presents on display in your home especially in front of a window. Don’t leave gifts in your vehicle unattended. You should do this all year round, in order to prevent burglaries in your home.

Duncan Financial Group is always looking for ways to make their customers feel safe and protected visit our website today to see what else we can do for your well-being!

DFG Tips To Keep You & Your Guests Safe This Holiday Season

You May Be Thinking:

I’m hosting a party and I’m concerned about my guests drinking and driving. What can I do to reduce the risk?

Home hosts have a duty to serve alcohol responsibly and conscientiously. They need to ensure see intoxicated guests do not get behind the wheel of a car, creating a risk of harm to themselves and others on the road. Follow these tips to ensure safety when serving alcohol at your next party:

• Serve alcoholic drinks only upon request, and offer non-alcoholic beverages such as sparkling water, fancy juice drinks and soft drinks.

• Avoid making alcohol the main focus of the social event. Entertain guests with music, games and dancing.

• Always serve food when serving alcohol. High-protein foods such as meat and cheeses take longer to digest, slowing the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol. However, try not to serve salty foods, which make people thirsty and inclined to drink more.

• Be careful not to serve alcohol to minors. Limit access to the bar if minors are on the guest list, and verify the ages of young guests before serving them.

Remember this holiday season the first rule of having a happy holiday, keep your friends and family safe! Duncan Financial Group knows how important protecting the ones you love. Please visit our website, and find out about events we have for you this Holiday season.

 

Winterize Your Water Pipes

Winter brings the threat of freezing temperatures and harsh conditions to much of the U.S. Some places are well beyond the threat; it’s going to freeze — there’s no way around it. Such conditions pose unique hazards to all owners of commercial and residential properties. The following is some information on this common winter threat.

FREEZING/BURSTING PIPES

One of the most common causes of damage to commercial and residential buildings during the colder months is freezing and bursting pipes. As a building owner, there are measures you can take to prevent pipes from freezing; however, sometimes the worst happens anyway. If it does, the result can be thousands of dollars of damage to your building, furniture, electronics, and other business property.

Here are some things To Do to prevent hazards caused by Winter:

-Locate the turn-off valve and drain the lines.
-Protect spigots with Styrofoam attachments. These can be purchased at most home improvements stores and offer much better insulation than wrapping the spigot with a towel.
-Search for pipes that are not insulated. These pipes may pass through unheated areas, such as crawlspaces, basements or garages. Pre-molded foam rubber sleeves can be fitted to the pipe and offer essential insulation to keep them from freezing. Fiberglass insulation is also an option. You may also consider wrapping the pipe with heating tape.

The team at Duncan Financial Group has experienced hard winters and endured the same day to day winter hazards you have. That’s why we are here to help you through the winter!