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How to Void a Check

void a check

Checks are very useful, but did you know you can also use voided checks for a specific purpose?

Sometimes you will need to void a check to keep it from being used or to use it to set up direct deposit. But in order to avoid problems, you’ll need to know exactly how to void a check. So if you need to void a check don’t panic! It’s really easy to do.

Explore this How-To Guide:

What is a Void Check?

A void check is simply a check with the word “VOID” written across the front. Writing “VOID” on a check means that the check can’t be deposited or cashed. When you void something it means you’ve made it empty, of no effect, or null. So if a written check is full of the monetary amount you write on it, voiding the check makes that check financially empty.

When you void a check it can’t be used as a check, meaning it can’t be deposited. Usually, a check is a document you sign to allow the recipient to withdraw the amount you specified from your bank’s checking account. Voiding the check makes the recipient unable to do this anymore.

Why You Might Need to Make a Void Check

You might need to use a voided check to set up an electronic link to your checking account. Most likely you’ll need to set up this link to get your paychecks through direct deposit, or to set up a recurring payment like your monthly bills.

Direct Deposit. Your paper checks all have your bank information on them—the name of your bank or credit union and your account and routing number. By giving a voided check, you give the person establishing the link the bank account information they need to set up your direct deposit. But because the check is void, they won’t be able to use the check to take money from your account.

Automatic Payment. You can also use a voided check to set up automatic payments. Autopay can be very useful to stay on top of recurring bills like utilities, rent, or credit card payments. By using autopay you won’t have to worry about forgetting any bill payment and accruing late fees and hits to your credit score.

Stop a Check Payment. Sometimes you’ll need to cancel a check payment after you’ve already sent or given the check.

Mess Up. If you mess up writing a check, then you’ll want to void the check you already wrote on and start over again. This can happen if you accidentally write the wrong amount on the check, or if you write the wrong name down for the recipient.

How to Write a Void Check for Direct Deposit

  1. If you don’t already have a checkbook from your bank or credit union, then contact your bank to receive one.
  2. Use a blank check from the checkbook that is linked to your checking account or the account where you want to make deposits.
  3. Write the word “VOID” across the front of the check in large letters. You can also write “VOID” in smaller letters over key parts of the check. You would need to write “VOID” in the payment amount box, across the payee line, and on the signature line. Either method should work just fine.
  4. *Cover most of the check with the word “VOID” but do not write over the check numbers at the bottom of the check. These numbers link the check to your bank account and are necessary for establishing the electronic link.

    *Use a writing utensil that cannot be erased, like a marker or an ink pen. Do not use a pencil as someone could erase the word “VOID” and try and use the check to withdraw from your account.

  5. Keep a record of the voided check in your check register in the back of your checkbook. This way you can remember why you voided a check later on when you go to balance your checkbook.

 
direct deposit
 

How to Void a Check You Already Wrote

So you wrote a check and something goes wrong. Maybe you don’t need the check anymore, or you messed up writing it out and need to change something on it. If any of these things occur you can simply void the check to ensure it doesn’t accidentally get used later. Voiding a check you already wrote is a safe method of destroying the check.

Follow the same procedure outlined above and then store the voided check away in your banking files, or keep it in your checkbook.

How to Void a Check You Already Sent

So you wrote a check and gave it or sent it, but now you need to cancel it. Maybe you realized you messed up on the check, or the check got lost in the mail. Or maybe you realized too late that you won’t have enough money in your account when the recipient of the check goes to deposit it.

If either of these things occurs what you are going to want to do is get a Stop Payment Order. A Stop Payment Order from your bank or credit union is how you void a check you already sent.

Basically, voiding a check you already sent is like bouncing your check preemptively. If you know the check you wrote is going to bounce then canceling it before the recipient tries to make the deposit can leave you with fewer consequences and fees than if you let it bounce. However, fees for canceling a check payment are still going to apply.

If you need a Stop Payment Order for a check, your bank will probably need the information on the check you want to cancel. This is why it is always a good idea to document your check transactions in your check registry so that you will always have information like, the check ID number, the amount, and who you paid.

You can also try to just get the check back if it was given to someone you know. Handling these kinds of financial issues amongst yourselves is usually the least complicated option, and then no one will receive any fees from their bank. In the very least, you should let the check recipient know that you canceled the payment.

How to Get a Voided Check

To get a voided check you’ll need to talk to your bank and get them to send you a checkbook. Some banks and credit unions will automatically send you a book of checks when you first open an account with them. Others will require you to purchase your checkbooks from them.

How to Send a Voided Check

To send a voided check to your employer just ask them for the mailing address you should use. Then send the void check in the mail to them. Sometimes you can also bring them the void check directly into the office.
 
send a void check
 

No matter what financial service you use, be it a bank or a credit union, the process to void a check from any financial organization is going to be the same as the process outlined above. You simply write the word “VOID” in big letters on the front of the check. If you need to cancel a check, no matter the financial system you’re using, you can always contact them and they will run you through the procedure to stop a check payment.

How to void a check in QuickBooks

If you use QuickBooks, then follow this link to learn more about how to void a check in QuickBooks.

How to get a voided check from Bank of America

Take a look at the FAQs page for Bank of America to read all about voiding checks with their bank. If Bank of America is your bank, and you want to set up direct deposit, then you actually don’t need to void a check with them to do so. Instead, you can just use their online banking to download a direct deposit form and use that document the same way you would use a void check.

How to get a voided check from Chase

If you have a Chase account, then you can also fill out a form instead of using a void check to set up direct deposit. All you’ll need to fill out the direct deposit form is your routing number, account number, and check ID number.

How to void a check from Wells Fargo

You can void a check from Wells Fargo online, by phone, or in the store. This link will have the phone number you need to contact them and the step-by-step process of how to void a check online.

Keep a Record

Always keep a record of all your check transactions, and of all voided checks. You can easily keep this information in the check register of your checkbook. You should also always keep the check stub—the thin paper copy behind each check you write—because this acts as a detailed receipt of all your check transactions.

When you record void checks, make sure to include the reason you voided the check as well.

If you need any other Check Cashing Services you can visit any Check City store.


READ MORE
Learn more about checks and how to fill them out properly, “How to Write a Check.”

Knowing how to use money orders can be another safe way to pay your bills, “Filling Out A Money Order Properly.”

Take full advantage of your checkbook, “6 Advantages of Using Checks.”

How to Write a Check

write checks

Not everyone uses checks on a frequent basis, so sometimes it helps to have a refresher on how to fill them out, just to make sure you get it right.

What is a Check?

Checks are a form of paper payment. They are a document that allows a bank to take money from the account of whoever wrote the check, to pay whoever is depositing the check.

Checks are a very useful financial resource. They come with their own unique properties and safety measures that make them a useful money tool to use more often.

How to Write a Check Out

check example

Listed below are all the different fields found on a check. You need to understand the purpose of each section in order to know how to fill each field out properly.

Field #1: Date

In the upper right hand corner you’ll find the date line. Usually you’ll just write the current date, but one of the great things about checks is that you can post-date it. This means you write a future date on the check to ensure it can only be deposited after the date you mark down.

So if you need to pay someone, but need them to wait until payday to deposit the check, you can still hand them the check now and just write a date after payday.

Field #2: Pay to the Order of

This line is where you write the name of who will be receiving the check. This might be the name of a person, or the name of a company or organization. For example, if you’re using a check to pay for groceries, then the name you’ll put here is the name of the grocery store.

Field #3: Dollar Box

In this box, you write the monetary amount of the check in numerals. So instead of writing “one hundred dollars” you write “100.00.”

Field #4: Dollars Line

Then there’s a line with the word “Dollars” at the end of it. Here is where you write the monetary amount of the check in words. So instead of writing “100.00” you write “one hundred and 0/100.”

Field #5: Memo Line

The memo is where you write a note about the check’s purpose. You can fill out this section for your own files, so that the check stub has what the check was used for written down. The memo section can also let the person receiving the check know what the check is meant to be used for.

You don’t have to fill out this section but it can be helpful to not forget why you wrote out the check in the first place.

Field #6: Signature Line

Here is where you sign the check.

Field #7: Numbers

The numbers at the bottom of the check are divided into 3 sections and show 3 different numbers. The first set of numbers is the routing number, the second set of numbers is the account number, and the final, shorter section of numbers is the check ID number for that individual check.

*Keep the check stub and use it for your files. The check stub is the thinner paper copy behind the check that gets written on as you write out the check. This gives you a hard copy of the check you wrote for your own checkbook.

How to Write a Check Amount

So how do you write numbers in words on a check? If you have any questions about how to write your specific amount you can take a look at the chart below. A printable number chart is also available by clicking here.

number to words conversion chart

Let’s quickly go over some frequently asked numbers to words questions:

How to spell 90: ninety

How to write a check for 1,000 dollars: In the Dollar box write, “1,000.00” and in the Dollars line write, “one thousand and 0/100.”

How to write a check for 1,500 dollars: In the Dollar box write, “1,500.00” and in the Dollars line write, “one thousand, five hundred and 0/100.”

How to write a check for 100 dollars: In the Dollar box write, “100.00” and in the Dollars line write, “one hundred and 0/100.”

How to write a check with cents

A lot of people have questions about how to write out cents for a check, but have no worries! This is the easiest part of the check because you can still write the cent amount out in numerals on the Dollars line:

After you write out the dollar amount in words, write “and” and then write the number of cents in numerals over 100. For example, if you want to write a check out for $100.50, you would write on the Dollar line, “one hundred and 50/100.”

How to Balance a Checkbook

checkbook example

In the back of your checkbook there is a check registry—extra pages with a chart to record key information from each transaction. Whenever you write a check, keep the check stub. This will make it easier to fill out the check registry later.

Field #1: Write the date on the check in this column.

Field #2: In the description column write the same thing you would write on the “Pay to the Order of” and the memo line. This column helps you know who you paid and why.

Field #3: In the “Payment/Debit” column write down the amount you paid.

In the Deposit/Credit column record deposits to your own bank account. Keeping track of both payments from your account, and deposits made to your account, will help you keep track of how much is in your bank account at all times.

In the Balance column keep track of your total account balance, adding deposits to your account, and subtracting transactions you’ve paid.

Field #7: Write out the check ID number. It’s the last couple of numbers at the bottom of the check.

Common Questions About Checks

If you don’t use checks very often you probably have more than a few questions about checks and how they work.

What are the fees for cashing checks?

If you cash your check at Check City, then our fees are based on the type of check that is cashed. Our rates start as low as 1.99% for in-state payroll and government checks. That means for payroll and government checks it only cost about $2 per $100.

What information do you need to cash a check?

We have you fill out a quick application and you need a photo ID.

Do I have to wait for the check to clear to get all my cash?

No, once we have verified the check we give you all your money right then.

Is there a limit to the check amount?

No, as long as we can verify it, we can cash it.

When do you use a check?

You can use a check anytime check payments are permitted. If it is a personal transaction, you can always ask the recipient if they are ok with receiving their payment in the form of a check.

Where can I get checks?

You can get checks from almost any bank or credit union where you have an account.

How to write a check to yourself

Sometimes when you need to transfer your own money, you’ll need to write yourself a check to yourself. Writing a check to yourself is super simple. You just write your own name on the “Pay to the Order of” line.

Hopefully checks don’t feel as unfamiliar to you now as they did before reading this article. As you can see, checks are very simple to use, and easy to fill out correctly. You just have to know the purpose of each section on a check and you’re good to go!

READ MORE
Learn more about the benefits of checks, “6 Advantages of Using Checks.”

See how cashed checks can actually help your finances, “Cashed Checks Improve Your Financial Situation.”


Money Smart Traveling Tips for the Holidays

Airports are never busier than around Christmas time. Both students and workers finally get a significant break and family members fly in from around the world to be together. Some families pack up the kids and head off on foreign adventures while others head off to the tropics to enjoy a nice sunny Christmas. In order to ensure a safe, happy, and carefree holiday season, follow these simple tips and enjoy your holiday travels!

Budget

No matter what season of the year it is, remember that it is important to use your money wisely. As great as it would be to fly away on a spontaneous Christmas vacation, remember to stop and consider your financial situation. Just because the world seems a bit jollier during the holiday season, it doesn’t mean that all consequences will melt away with the snow. Make sure you have sufficient funds to support your vacation and never put yourself in debt unnecessarily.

Book in Advance

Do your best to plan your vacation in advance. Booking flights early will save you hundreds of dollars. The same goes for many hotels, tours, and travel packages. Thinking ahead will usually give you a better quality vacation than a last minute one. You’ll have more choices when it comes to seats, prices, accommodations, etc.

Notify Your Bank

If you are traveling abroad for the holidays, make sure you inform your bank of your plans. If you leave the country without warning, you run the risk of your credit card being locked or cancelled by fraud protection practices. If you let your bank know of your plans in advance, they will track your card usage and ensure a safer, more secure vacation for you.

Protect Your Wallet

Foreign vacationers are prime targets for pick pockets and petty thieves. It is best to keep your money, cards, ID, passport, and other important documents in a money belt/purse. You can buy special belts and purses that you can wear under your shirt or pants. These are small zippered pouches that protect against wandering hands. Be especially careful around crowds and on public transport. Never leave bags unattended and always wear them where you can see and touch them (not behind your back).

Split up Your Money

It’s good to have cash on hand, but split up where you keep it. Avoid using your pant pockets – prime pick pocket targets. Instead use your money belt or put some cash in your shoe. Split up the cash between family members for added protection. It is ok to use your credit card, but limit its usage to large expenses (hotels, family dinners, car rentals, etc.). If you are about to head out of town and dont have any spare cash, remember that Check City is open later and more holidays than your bank or credit union, so if you need to cash a check, or get a cash advance for your vacation find a Check City location near you.

Copy Important Information

In the event that you do lose something or are robbed, make sure you have copies of important information in multiple locations. Photocopy your passport, your booking conformations, and keep the contact info of your bank handy. Call your bank immediately if your cards go missing.
There is no reason you shouldn’t enjoy a happy, secure holiday season. Follow these simple tips and have a very happy holiday!

6 Advantages of Using Checks

checks are better

Lots of people are still using checks and for good reasons.

Checks actually have their own unique advantages and features that you may be missing out on if you only use cash or cards. Here are the 6 main advantages of using checks:

  1. Checks are safer to mail
  2. Checks can’t be used by thieves
  3. Checks are traceable
  4. Checks aren’t deposited immediately
  5. You don’t need a bank account to cash checks
  6. Checks make budgeting easier

Lots of people are still writing checks. Writing checks may seem old-fashioned, but there are many advantages to writing checks instead of using cash or credit cards. Using cards and cash might be quicker and easier, but checks have features and security that cash and cards just don’t have. Below are some of the main reasons you want to start making good use of checks.

#1: Checks are safer to mail

Sending a check in the mail keeps your money a lot safer than sending cash through the mail. When you have a check inside an envelope it can be very difficult for others to tell there is even a check inside. But if you put cash in an envelope it can be much easier for others to tell there is money inside since bills have their own distinct shape, material, and color.

#2: Checks can’t be used by thieves

Checks are also less attractive to thieves than cash. Checks cannot be cashed by just anyone, and that is too much of a hassle for a thief. Thieves want quick cash and forms of money that are untraceable, and checks are neither of those things. Also, when you carry checks you don’t have to carry cash or cards on you, making you less of a target while you are out.

#3: Checks are traceable

This is another reason why checks are safer than other forms of payment—they’re traceable. When you use a check the bank makes a copy so you can easily prove the payments you’ve made. All the information you would ever need about a payment is also written on your check and the underlying copy. With each check you can know how much you spent, who you paid, when you paid, and even what you were paying for.

#4: Checks aren’t deposited immediately

Another attractive thing about checks is the timing. It usually takes businesses a day or two to actually cash the check that you’ve written for them. This means that you have a day or two to make sure you have the money in your account to cover the check. This can be risky to do, but as long as you handle your checks wisely, then you should be able to use this feature to your advantage.

checks are better

#5: You don’t need a bank account to cash checks

When you get paid through direct deposit you need to have a bank account set up. But if you get paid with checks then you don’t need to use direct deposit or a bank account. If you get paid with checks then you can just cash them, you don’t have to deposit them into a bank account or deal with electronic funds.

Check City offers convenient check cashing services for all of your check cashing needs. If you’ve been paid with a check you can come to any convenient Check City location and get that check cashed immediately. Check City will cash payroll checks, cashier checks, counter checks, government checks, insurance checks, money orders, tax refunds, personal checks, and even out-of-state checks. If you have a check, it is likely that Check City will be able to cash it for you.

#6: Checks make budgeting easier

Every time you write a check you are simultaneously writing your own personal receipt to go along with that purchase. These slips of paper can make budgeting super easy as you can keep those in your checkbook, and at the end of each week or month you can see an overview of all your spending in one convenient place.

Check Cashing with Check City

You may be wondering why you should come cash your check with Check City instead of going to your bank. Well, there are several reasons.

#1: Open Late

One reason is that our locations are open later than almost every bank or credit union. We have extended hours so you can come cash your check after work, or almost whenever you’d like. This makes it so you can get your cash sooner rather than later.

#2: Fast and Easy

Check City also understands how important your money is to you so we want to make sure the process of cashing your check is fast and easy. Our personable staff will make sure your transaction goes through as quickly as possible. As soon as you come in, we’ll be ready to help you and get you on your way.

#3: Low Rates

Check City also offers extremely low rates when it comes to cashing checks. We will not charge you much to cash your check with us, and the convenience of coming to one of our locations greatly outweighs the amount we’ll charge you to cash your check.

You Need:

All you’ll need to come cash your check at one of our locations is your check and your photo ID.

You Do:

All you’ll do is walk into one of our many locations, fill out a quick customer information form, and walk out with your cash in hand. Check City has locations in Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, and Maryland. At Check City, we want to make sure you get your money when you want it and how you want it. That’s why we offer convenient check cashing services that you are welcome to use anytime.

Cash Business Checks with Check City Too!

Check City also cashes business checks. This means that if people have paid your business in checks you can cash them easily here. In today’s credit driven economy, cash flow management is a challenging task for many small to medium-sized businesses. Check City has provided financial services to the public and its businesses since 1986 and we value the trusting relationship we’ve fostered with our communities ever since. Check City’s Business Check Cashing provides business owners immediate access to working capital by fast tracking the processing of checks to make your business funds available instantly. Cashing business checks at Check City is a great idea because there are 1) NO enrollment fees, 2) NO 3 to 10 day check processing holds, 3) the funds are available instantly, 4) gives your business the freedom to accept checks from your customers, and 5) we have convenient and professional locations.
 
Don’t waste your time thinking checks are a useless tool of the past. Checks are a useful financial product for personal and business use with their own unique features. Checks also provide a level of security in your transactions that cash does not. So don’t forget about this important tool in your financial arsenal and learn to use checks to their full advantage.

Cashed Checks Improve Your Financial Situation

Direct deposits have taken over as “the” form of payment for employees. It’s expected when starting a job. People think you are nuts if you start asking around for a paper check. There used to be a certain satisfaction that came with walking into a bank after a tough two weeks of work and cashing a paper check. The money felt real, substantial and made you walk with a spring in your step as you walked away.

It’s true that direct deposited checks are convenient, easy to use, and helpful in ensuring your money goes to the right places. But you may be surprised to find that there are actually great benefits in cashing paper checks.

Your Money Becomes Real Again

When you cash a new check, you can see and feel the fruit of your labors. You can count the bills and truly appreciate what you have earned. Appreciation will lead to a sense of responsibility.

When money is deposited directly into your account, it’s easy to swipe your debit card anywhere without worrying much about your final balance at the end of the day. Getting cash helps you manage your money better.

You Save Money With Cheaper Purchases

Many places charge you an extra service fee for the convenience of using a plastic card. They’ll often add a percentage or set dollar amount to your total bill. Gas stations especially enact this policy and you will pay about ten cents more per gallon every time you swipe your card. Paying with cash proves to be a cheaper option in most cases and can greatly decrease your total spending by the end of the year.

You Secure Your Future with an Emergency Fund

No matter how much money you save in the bank, you never know when you will need an emergency fund of cash. Natural disasters, power outages, and other emergencies can leave your bank out of commission at a time that you need it most. Building up an emergency fund of cash can help you get through those troubled times, until you can once again access your bank account.

Cashing checks still offer a tremendous benefit to you as a financial provider. It can help you manage your money more responsibly, save money when making purchases, and help you prepare for any emergency that may come your way. Talk to your employer today about your options and see if you can start receiving paper checks.

Great Tips for Your Beach Trip Packing List

A Day at the Beach

As summer rolls around, there is nothing more appealing than a great day on a nice beach. But with this summer dream, takes a good beach trip packing checklist.

Keeping your beach trip fun, especially when you are bringing your children along will make your beach days some of the fondest memories you have. We are here to help you start building those memories this summer.

You and your kids both deserve to have fun on the beach without the stress of beachside fighting, crying, or discomfort. With the right tools on hand, you can make sure your next day at the beach is fun for you and your children.

Here are a few great tips to help you have a successful beach trip packing list and a great time.

Prepare for the Weather

One of the most important things you need to remember about the beach is that it will likely be hot. If the sun is shining, you have the potential for a perfect beach day, but it can also be a huge problem if you aren’t prepared. You will want to check the conditions at the beach. Make sure that you are setting yourself up for success. If you see that the forecast shows rain, you will probably want to move your beach day.

The most important thing you can do for sun care is to stay hydrated. Hydration can help you avoid sunstroke, fatigue, and general unpleasantness on the beach. It will also ensure that you have the energy you need to accomplish everything you want to do while you are on the seaside.

You also need to bring your sunscreen so you and your kids can be protected from the sun’s rays. You should invest in some good sunscreen, and remember to reapply regularly so your protection doesn’t get washed off in the water.

Finally, an umbrella, or something to help create shade can be an excellent tool to make your trip worthwhile. It can protect you and your kids from the heat and give you both a break from the scorching sun.

Packing a Delicious Feast

If you really want to make the most of your day at the beach, you have to come prepared with great food. Though beach shops can have excellent eats, they can be expensive.

If you are going all out on your beach day, you can certainly hit up the beach shops, but if you want to enjoy your day on a budget, a packed lunch is the best way to go for delicious foods at a great price. Having good food on the beach is great to add on your beach trip packing list.

Remember that the heat of the sun will affect your food as well, so pack accordingly. If you are bringing food that needs to stay at a cool temperature, a cooler is probably your best bet to keep your food fresh.

Beach Activities

Although lounging on the beach can be fun for adults, kids often want a bit more to do. So, while you are planning your next beach outing, don’t forget to give your kids many things to do.

The beach is always a great place to have a sand sculpture contest. Gather your kids and have them each create a beautiful piece of art in the sand. Then give them awards for their work, and have fun looking at each beautiful sand sculpture.

If you are already digging around in the sand, you may as well expand your expedition, and start looking for interesting shells and animals in the sand and water. This can be an exciting venture for you and your kids!

The beach is also a great place to play Frisbee or volleyball. Bring some fun equipment so you and your kids can work in some fitness while you are hanging out on the sand. Beach activities are awesome for a good beach trip packing list.

Once you get to the beach, do not be afraid to play with your kids. Head into the water with them, build a sand castle with them or you can even play games on the dry sand. No matter what you do, make sure you keep an eye on your children and know where they are at all times so you can be sure that they are safe.

Know When to Stop

The best day trips to the beach are those that end on a high note. So when you head out to the seaside with your kids, make sure you know your limits.

Your trip will turn out for the best if you leave before everyone is too tired. This will ensure that everyone is able to have the best time possible, and leave on a great note.

Now you have the tools you need to start planning your next beach trip with your kids today! Keep following the Check City blog for more great ideas.

Awesome Staycation Ideas

Planning a Successful Staycation

As summer rolls around, you may find the urge to head out on vacation. Vacations are good for the mind and spirit, but they aren’t always good for your wallet. With rising costs of travel, regular vacations just aren’t in the cards for many people. Add up the price of airplane tickets (or gas), hotels and meals, and pretty soon you’re looking at a huge investment just for some quality rest and relaxation.

For a vacation to be most effective, you need it to be as stress-free as possible. Taking a vacation that you can’t really afford (or going into debt just to get out of town for a while) can not only disrupt your financial stability, it can also leave you feeling more stressed than usual.

To reap the many benefits of taking a vacation, without a huge price tag, consider taking a staycation. Here are some awesome staycation ideas.

What’s a Staycation?

Does the city you live in have a tourism industry? Do you live near any big tourist attractions or world-famous destinations?

When it comes down to it, your backyard is someone else’s dream vacation. Who says you have to travel thousands of miles just to have some “downtime?”

Hence, the staycation was invented. It’s a vacation, but without the travel. You stay in town, but instead of going on with your normal routine, you act as if you are on vacation. Planning a staycation can ensure that you are able to take a break from your daily routine and feel refreshed.

A staycation requires looking at your local community with a new set of eyes. This is great when looking for staycation ideas. What are the activities and events that you’ve never really considered trying out? When people visit from out of town, where do they go?

How to Plan a Staycation the Right Way

The perfect vacation typically consists of a good portion of planning mixed in with some spontaneity. The same goes for staycations. Spontaneity is a great staycation idea.

To do your staycation right, you have to plan way ahead of time. Research local attractions that you’ve never considered visiting. Ask friends and colleagues about any hidden gems close by that you can check out. While the whole point of a staycation is to “stay put,” you should feel free to expand your horizons to include neighboring towns and counties—anywhere that you can drive in just a few short hours.

When you’re planning your staycation itinerary, don’t forget to leave plenty of room for spontaneous activities. These are the moments that you’ll cherish the most, so don’t pack so much into your day that you don’t have time to enjoy the unexpected.

A great way to enjoy this time is to pretend that you are a tourist. Visit the sights of your city and enjoy the activities that those from out of town would enjoy.

Where to Stay

Sometimes it’s really important for people to just get out of the house for a while. It might be worth it to book a few nights at a local hotel just so you can have the complete vacation experience. Booking a hotel can be a great staycation idea.

Of course, one of the perks of having a staycation is that you aren’t required to stay at a hotel. You can simply stay at your house, and save even more money.

Staycation Ideas

Many of us live in a paradise without realizing it. For example, if you live near the Rocky Mountains, then you’re just a few miles away from a breathtaking wilderness unlike any other in the world.

You don’t have to live in the most picturesque town to have a good staycation. Here are some ideas to consider, no matter where you live:

  • Visit local museums
  • Call your town’s visitors center and ask for ideas
  • Eat at a restaurant you’ve never been to before
  • Go see a play—traveling Broadway productions grace many towns across America
  • Visit the downtown area of the next town over, and spend the day shopping and exploring
  • Visit the campus of the local university or college. See if there are any events, lectures, concerts, etc. that you can take advantage of

Protecting Your Skin in the Sun

The weather is getting warmer, and people are starting to spend more time outside. This is overall a good thing—staying active and soaking in the sun has many health benefits. However, since the sun can be so damaging to the skin, contributing to things like skin cancer, you need to protect your skin if you plan on being outside for an extended period of time.
Ever since you were little you (or your parents) probably lathered sunscreen on. After years of well-published research into the dangers of sunburns, most people are aware of the risks and take steps to prevent burning. But of course, it’s easy to let things slip, and sunburns are all too common.
Learning to care for your skin before you spend time in the sun will ensure that your skin is safe while you are enjoying warm weather. So to help you brush up on your skin protection basics, here are the best ways to save your skin from sunburns this summer.

Avoid being outside when sunlight is the most intense

During the hot summer months the sun can get pretty intense. In fact, if you live at a higher elevation your skin can start to burn in as few as 20 minutes during mid-day.
The peak hours during which you are at highest risk for sun damage is from 10 am to 4 pm. It is important during these hours to either stay out of the sun or protect yourself with sunscreen. Even with adequate protection, seek out shade and drink plenty of water.

Shade is your friend

It’s actually still possible to get a sunburn while in the shade (because of reflecting sunlight), but it definitely slows down the process. Shade not only helps protect you from the harmful rays of the sun, it helps you cool down when you might be at risk of heat exhaustion.
On especially hot days, it can be helpful to take frequent breaks from being in the sun. Have your kids come in for snacks, plan inside activities, or if you are out and about in the city, step in an air-conditioned store every 20 minutes or so. This will help keep you cool and protect your skin at the same time. Shade will ensure that your skin is safe while you are enjoying warm weather.

Cover up

Certain parts of the body get sunburnt more often than others. This includes the face (particularly upper cheeks, nose, and forehead), ears, shoulders, and arms. By wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirt, you can reduce eliminate the risk of sunburn on much of your body. If you’re going to be out in the sun a long time, you may still need sunscreen on your face, since reflected sunlight can still burn your skin.
On hot days it may not be practical to wear a long-sleeved shirt. Just remember to use sunscreen responsibly, and practice cooling techniques so your body doesn’t overheat (such as dabbing your forehead with a wet cloth, drinking plenty of water, and seeking out shade).

Lather sunscreen on you and your children

Sunscreen of at least 15 SPF is a great tool to use for preventing sunburns. You’re never too old to use sunscreen, but babies and young children may require special sunscreen that is hypoallergenic. For infants under 6 months old, the Mayo Clinic recommends keeping them out of direct sunlight and covering them up with protective clothing, rather than using sunscreen.
For best protection, apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before going out into the sun. Re-apply sunscreen regularly throughout the day (at least every 2 hours that you remain in the sun), and be diligent when it comes to hydrating yourself and your children.
If you are going to be getting wet or swimming, then a good water-proof sunscreen will do the trick. Just remember to apply it 15 minutes before getting in the water. If you are wearing a swimsuit, then don’t forget to cover all your skin that is exposed to the sun (which could take a lot of sunscreen).
All it takes is a few sunburns to increase the chances of getting skin cancer. Protect yourself and your children by using sunscreen and protective clothing, and by avoiding being out in the sun during peak sunlight hours.

5 Tips to Finding the Perfect Summer Job

How to Find The Perfect Summer Job

The perfect summer job can provide you with valuable experience, new friendships, and yes, a paycheck. Looking for seasonal work is different than trying to land a full-time and long-term job. For one, the type of company who hires summer workers are different than those looking for more permanent employees. But there are summer jobs out there if you are willing to put in the work necessary to land them.

Follow these tips to raise your chances of finding the perfect summer job—the kind of job that pays well enough but, more importantly, one that you’ll look back on for the rest of your life as a positive experience.

Learn How to Market Yourself to Potential Employers

The most important question that you’ll have to answer for a potential employers is “why should I hire you over everyone else?” What it comes down to is personal branding; marketing yourself as a hard-working, skilled, trustworthy employee who will bring success to the company.

Part of marketing yourself is dressing the part. Don’t show up to an interview in jeans and a t-shirt, even if the job itself is more casual. Dressing well shows that you’re serious about the opportunity. It’s about “putting your best foot forward,” and looking sharp is definitely going to look better than looking shabby to any potential employer.

Think of Your Unique Skillset that Sets You Apart from Others

Another way you market yourself is by framing your experience and skills in a way that shows how you could benefit the company. Don’t just talk about what you studied in school—talk about how that knowledge could help you fulfill your job’s expectations. If you had a paper route, talk about how it taught you the importance of consistency and getting to work on time. If you took a challenging biology course, talk about how it taught you how to pay close attention to details.

Even if you don’t possess the most stellar credentials, as long as you know how to frame your accomplishments (without lying or exaggerating) in a way that shows how you can add value to the open position, then you’ll be ahead of the curve.

“Network” with Friends and Acquaintances

You’ve probably heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This rings true in many ways—your “in” for that dream summer job could be through a friend or an acquaintance. There are many summer jobs that aren’t posted online; they are filled because someone in the company knows someone (who knows someone) who could possibly be a good fit.

While professional networking will continue to be more and more important further on in your career, the best way to start out is by asking your close friends, family members, teachers, etc., if they know of any job openings locally. Follow through on any leads they give you, and you may be surprised by the results!

Look for Jobs Specifically Designed for Students

Depending on where you live, there may be plenty of seasonal jobs available that are perfect for students. These are often in the tourism industry (think restaurants, tour guide companies, hotels, etc.) and they are looking for people just like you who are willing to work hard for a few months during the busy season.

One of the best things about these seasonal jobs is that you’ll often be working along with your peers. Even if the work is mundane, you could still benefit from forming friendships that last a lifetime!

While you are applying for a job, you want to make sure that you explain how flexible you are going to be. A summer job can be a great opportunity for this.

Look for a Job That Interests You

It’s never too early to begin looking for work in your preferred field. Obviously, you’re not going to start at the top (nobody does), but you can hopefully get the kind of on-the-job training (the kind that isn’t taught in school) that is vital to so many industries.

Hoping for a career in the medical field? Look for a job as a medical assistant, or even a hospital janitor. Interested in engineering? Work as an assistant at an electronics repair shop. These kinds of jobs can teach you important skills and they can also give insight into the industry (helping you decide whether or not you want to proceed with that kind of career).

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