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Dirks, Van Essen & Murray
HOUSTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS
1013 STAR COMMUNICATIONS
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LOCAL MEDIA ASSOCIATION CONTESTS
At one time or another most young children
will ask their parents if they can have a pet.
This request should be given serious con-
sideration, as it can bring real pleasure to
the entire family, as well as many other
advantages. Parents will know that they
have made the right decision when they see
that loving and caring for this new compan-
ion will enrich their child’s development
and build self-confidence.
Even though a pet can contribute a great
deal to family life, you should always ask
yourself what type of relationship you’d
like to have with the animal before making
a final decision. Having a pet is a long term
responsibility, so the animal must be able to
fit in with your lifestyle. A dog is an ideal
companion for a retiree who feels lonely
and wishes to remain active. The pet will be
a loyal friend with unquestioning love for
its master, and it will also be able to guard
Solitary animals such as cats are a good
choice for those who have active lives and
who don’t spend much time at home. The
fact that a cat combines independence with
affection is what makes this animal so
appreciated. If you love the playful, teasing
character of a kitten, you might give some
thought to adopting a ferret, a very active
animal that loves exploring. Keep in mind
that a ferret requires a great deal more atten-
cage on a regular basis.
Many other different types of pets are
becoming more popular in homes, including
rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
Even if many of these pets are relatively
easy to care for, you should always consult
municipal regulations before buying one.
A new friend for all the family
Choosing to have a pet means taking
on new responsibilities.
PET SUPPLY STORE
BIG BOX STORE
PET SUPPLY STORE
Fuel-saving tips to live by
BRAKE THE RIGHT WAY
A car consumes more gas as it accelerates.
Don’t gun the engine at a green light, only
to end up braking a few minutes later at
the next light.
DOWNSIZE OR HYBRIDIZE
This is a perfect choice to make if you
want to save on fuel.
TURN OFF YOUR AIR
CONDITIONER WHEN POSSIBLE
It may be a tad warmer, but at lower
speeds you’ll save fuel.
CHOOSE GAS STATIONS
IN CITY CENTERS
Location and competition will often deter-
mine local price fluctuation. The bigger
the need for gas, the higher the price.
CLEAN OUT YOUR CAR
Reduce the mass of your car by emptying
out the trunk and removing heavy items.
Share the ride and sha re the gas bill
TURN YOUR CAR OFF
Any time you foresee that you will be
stationary for more than one minute, turn
off the engine.
PICK A BETTER ROUTE
Avoid heavy traffic and routes with lots
of traffic lights and stops.
CHECK YOUR TIRE PRESSURE
Under-inflated tires are one of the most
commonly ignored causes of crummy
USE THE CORRECT GRADE
OF MOTOR OIL
If you use the wrong grade, you may
increase friction in your engine. It will
get hotter and use more gas.
Are you financially literate? No? Well,
don’t worry because you’re not the only
one. Financial literacy is something you can
learn. It refers to the knowledge, ability, and
self-confidence necessary to make responsi-
ble financial decisions, such as buying a
home, which is often the most important
financial transaction a person will ever
make. Here are a few tips for future home
owners wanting to make a wise and enlight-
ened choice of mortgage.
The first step in this process is to obtain a
preauthorized loan from your financial
institution, which will give you a good idea
of your borrowing capacity. The advice of a
mortgage broker can also be very helpful at
this point in time.
Before doing anything else it is advisable
to find out how much of a down payment
is required in your area, i.e. the actual dol-
lar amount or the percentage of the total
value of the home that you will have to
provide in order to purchase the property.
Apart from your monthly mortgage pay-
ments, don’t forget to take into account
other expenses you will need to cover
monthly or annually, including municipal
taxes and home insurance.
The next question to ask yourself is what
type of mortgage would suit you best: fixed
rate or variable? Even though a variable rate
may often be lower than a fixed rate, you
have to be sure that you can cope with mar-
ket fluctuations. You’re probably better off
choosing a fixed rate mortgage if you don’t
want this additional stress. There are mort-
gage loans available that combine these two
different types of rates.
You also have the option of choosing an
open or closed mortgage. The first option
allows you to reimburse your loan at any
time without penalties. Weekly or twice-
monthly mortgage payments make it possi-
ble for you to pay back your mortgage much
more quickly while helping you save on
What you really need
to know about mortgages
Would you be able to keep up
with your mortgage payments if you
or your partner lost your job?
REAL ESTATE BROKER
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SMBs Spend 2.5x More
on Digital ‘Services’
Borrell Associates released research last month
that shows SMBs spend an average of $17,000 on
online marketing services – two and half times
what they spend on digital advertising. CEO
Gordon Borrell says: “ This certainly explains the
rush to create digital agencies.”
The Borrell report includes 14 charts and tables
that examine the various expenditures on digital marketing. It separates
these online services into five key categories: web presence (web
design, hosting and social media management), public relations (email
management, press release management, reputation management and
opt-in list management), marketing support (SEO, blog development, site
visitor analysis, email list purchase and listings claiming), ad production
(online agency/exchange fees, display ad design, video production, app
design, and contest/game development), and consulting and research.
Because not all SMBs are the same, the report offers a glimpse at how
they’re spending their money by business size cohorts – the smallest
of the SMBs, the medium size, and the largest. Three market examples
are also examined to illustrate differences between local markets. In the
end, the report finds that SMBs spend an average of $17,000 on online
marketing services, which is two and a half times more than what they
spend on traditional online advertising.
For more on the report, www.borrellassociates.com
For more on creating a digital agency, see page 6 about the Local
Media Innovation Alliance report on this topic.
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