How to Change Banks in 5 Simple Steps

by Stacy Levin 2. August 2013

Shop for New Bank"I hate my bank!” It seems like you’ve uttered these words a million times, yet you keep going back for more. But why? Changing banks is simpler than you might think. Plus when you take into consideration all of the headache and hassle you’ll free yourself of, these simple steps it takes to change banks will seem even simpler.

1) Figure Out Why You Are Not Satisfied with Your Bank

This might seem like an easy question to answer, as you may have been complaining about the reasons you do not like your bank for a while. But make sure you are certain of specifically what it is that you are not satisfied with so you don’t make the same mistake again. Break down the problem to the source. Are you being charged too many fees? Is that because your bank doesn’t offer an account that meets your needs? Are you getting too many ATM fees because of limited ATM locations? Or, are you unable to get the help you need when you have questions about fees or other issues?

2) Find a Bank That Fits Your Needs and Open Your Account

So you’ve identified the problem, now it’s time to find a solution. Do your research and open an account at a bank that fits your needs. In today’s world, most of your research and even the account opening can be done from the comfort of your own home. Simple, I tell you! As much as it may hurt, you do not want to close your old bank account(s) quite yet…just try to hold on a little longer!

3) Switch Your Direct Deposit

If you do not use direct deposit, you can skip this step. If you do, go ahead and get your paychecks deposited into your exciting new account. You should be able to fill out a simple form at work to do this.

4) Switch Automatic Bill Payments

Once you have your direct deposit set up, it’s time to switch all automatic transfers and payments you have set up. Take a look at your transactions over the last month to make sure you don’t miss any regular monthly payments. Then try to think about any other automatic payments you make either quarterly, annually, or sporadically.

5) It's Time! Close Your Original Account

Make sure all checks and payments from your old account have cleared and you should be good to go. You’ll want to make sure you don’t leave your old account open to avoid any inactivity or low balance fees. Don’t let your old bank collect any more from you. Once you close your old account, you will have successfully completed the simple steps to change banks!

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Refreshingly Easy No-Heat Summer Recipes

by Stacy Levin 25. July 2013

Puppy Cooling Off

Summertime in Baltimore brings us many benefits, such as free outdoor events, longer daylight hours and an easy source of vitamin D. Of course we all know that with the benefits come some drawbacks – perpetual humidity, crazy energy bills, and the aversion to ever turning on your stove or oven to cook because it’s hot enough as it is!

Well, I’m sorry to say I can’t do anything about our lovely Maryland humidity – but I DO have a solution for your energy bill and stove/oven anxiety…no-heat summer recipes!

No heat = No oven.

No oven = No need to crank the AC all the way down.

Okay, enough with the mathematical equations. Here are some great no-heat summer recipes:

1) Drink Up

There's nothing more refreshing than a cold summer smoothie. This Strawberry Lime Smoothie is quick, easy and healthy. You likely have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator or cabinet already, and one of the great things about smoothies is you can enjoy them any time of the day.

Want to kick things up a notch with a refreshing spiked beverage? Stop by your favorite Baltimore bar for an orange crush…or better yet, make your own!

2) Go Green

Grab your favorite leafy veg, your mix-ins of choice, and what do you know – you’ve got yourself a salad. Much like smoothies, salads can be easily modified to meet your taste buds’ desires. This Tri-Berry Spinach Salad caught my attention with such summery ingredients. Add in some cold pre-cooked roasted chicken from the store and you’ve got yourself a substantial meal.

3) Summer Soup

If that sounds to you like some sort of oxymoron, you must be forgetting about chilled soups. The great thing about having chilled soup in the summer is it has that “comfort food” feel, but without the heat. A couple options to choose from: Chilled Cucumber Soup and Cantaloupe Soup.

4) Sammies

Can you ever really go wrong with a sandwich? They are easily customizable (are we seeing a common theme here?) and portable, which makes them an ideal choice when you’re on the go. Of course, they’re great for eating at home as well. You probably already have your favorite go-to sandwich, but if you’re looking to change things up a bit, try this Ham, Brie, and Apple Triple Decker Sandwich.

5) Let's Wrap It Up

Wraps – very similar to sandwiches, but for some reason, a whole lot more fun! Pretty much any combo you use to make a sandwich can easily be turned into a wrap. If you’re looking for something more unique, ditch the tortilla and play around with different types of wrappers. For example, try these Avocado Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps.

6) The Good Stuff

If you’re anything like me, you skipped right on down to this section. When you think of homemade desserts, you may think of warm brownies or the smell that fills your whole house when you are baking cookies, but you can create something just as delicious without the oven. Try these Peach and Raspberry Pavlova Parfaits or this Peanut Butter Pie to get a fresh sweet treat without breaking a sweat or your AC unit.

For even more energy saving summer recipes, follow our No-Bake Summer Recipes board on Pinterest.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

6 Things to Do in Baltimore to Cool Off

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6 Things to Do in Baltimore to Cool Off

by Andrew Schreiber 19. July 2013

With this treacherous heat wave sweeping over Baltimore, everyone is looking for ways to cool off. If you’re tired of sitting in your house in front of the fan, here are some fun things to do in Baltimore to stay cool:

1) Devour a Snowball

One of the best ways to cool off during this current heat wave is to treat yourself to a delicious snowball. I feel sorry for people outside of the Baltimore area who have to live through their hot summers without the option to head down the street to a local snowball stand. Stands have all kinds of flavors, from watermelon to cotton candy, egg custard to root beer – you can even have your snowball topped with marshmallow. There’s bound to be a flavor for everyone! Check out this list of top snowball stands in Baltimore to find one near you.

Fresh Oranges

2) Enjoy an Orange Crush

Those of us who are of age and need a refreshing drink to help us through the heat should consider cooling off with one of Baltimore’s famous orange crushes. Fresh squeezed orange crushes are readily available at bars and restaurant throughout Baltimore. Be careful though – they are so refreshing that after relaxing for an hour or so, you may realize that you’ve already had 3 and might be feeling a little buzzed. If you’re not a fan of orange think about trying another flavor such as grapefruit or watermelon.

3) Wander the Aquarium

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is one of the coolest places (and I’m not just talking temperature) to visit in the summer. Step inside this iconic Baltimore landmark and you’ll find yourself surrounded by huge water tanks and some of the deadliest creatures of the sea. If you’re coming to avoid the summer heat, you might want to skip over the rainforest exhibit.

4) Visit a Museum

The city of Baltimore is filled with history and culture. One of the best and “coolest” ways to surround yourself with history and culture is to visit one of the many Baltimore museums. A museum is a great, air conditioned change of pace on these hot summer days. There are museums in Baltimore for everyone’s interests, not just the history buffs.

Baltimore Museum of Industry

To list a few:

Walters Art Museum
Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore Tattoo Museum
Sports Legends Museum
Baltimore Museum of Industry

5) Go See a Movie

Visiting a movie theater on a hot summer day is a perfect way to cool off. Overall, movie theaters are a dime a dozen, but if you’re looking for a more unique experience, Baltimore won’t let you down. Try Landmark Theatre in Harbor East, equipped with a full bar, for a fun and modern experience. If you’re of the more classical style, I recommend checking out the Charles Theater to catch the latest flick and cool off for a few hours.

6) Challenge Your Friends in Duckpin Bowling

Another great way to cool off is to go bowling. Any type of bowling will do the trick, but if you want to do it in true Baltimore fashion, you’ll go duckpin bowling. It’s a great way for a group to spend an evening out of the heat. There are a variety of duckpin bowling options available around Baltimore, including Patterson Bowling Center and Stoneleigh Lanes.

If all else fails, just wait an hour, because it seems like that's how quickly this Baltimore weather can change dramatically. So when we're NOT in the middle of a heat wave, be sure to check out these fun FREE things to do outdoors in Baltimore.

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