27 July 2017

5 Reasons You Should Install a Pergola on Your Property

Are you looking for different ways to upgrade your home? If so, you should consider installing a pergola. A pergola is basically an outdoor structure that boasts of columns and erected supports that can be used to provide a roofing grid. They are archways that can help provide cover to the deck, dining area, or patio. The roofing grid of a pergola can be either covered to provide shade from external elements or be left completely open. You can make pergolas from natural woods like redwood, cedar, and teak. If you are looking for a few reasons to install a pergola on your property, you have come to the right place. Here are 5 reasons why you install a pergola on your property!

#1 - Provides Outdoor Protection
As we stated earlier, a pergola can be covered to provide shade from external elements like sunlight, wind, and rain etc. Therefore, it provides increased outdoor protection, allowing you to use it throughout the year, during various different seasons. If you want access to sunlight during the day and want shade at night, you can consider using a canvas canopy to cover the roofing grid.   
#2 - Makes Your Backyard (More) Aesthetically Appealing
Not only is a pergola extremely functional and practical, it is also pleasing to the eyes. Adding a pergola to your backyard makes your home more aesthetically appealing. What looks beautiful to the eyes is heavy on the wallet, isn't it? Instead of covering the roofing grid of the pergola with a canvas canopy, you can consider adding string outdoor lights or lanterns; these accessories will undoubtedly help create a romantic ambiance. Pergolas, which are usually tall architectures, also help provide definition and height to your backyard. They can also be expertly used to create a garden space.
#3 - Increases the Value of Your Home
According to reliable surveys conducted by the landscape architecture industry, over 83 percent of buyers are into pergolas. Real estate reports suggest that an outdoor landscape feature that provides function and adds to the aesthetic value of the home helps increases the home's value by 20%.  Therefore, not only does the installation of a pergola make your property more visually appealing, it also increases the value of your home.
#4 - Helps Increase Living Space
A pergola basically serves as an outdoor living space, room that can be used for various entertainment purposes. Not only does it help create a wonderful, inviting atmosphere, it also serves as the perfect place to relax and enjoy quiet conversations.
#5 - Outdoor Privacy
If you don't have a fence that gives you protection from the neighbors, you should consider installing a pergola in your backyard. You can use the structure to obstruct views and provide privacy. For increased privacy, you can even consider adding outdoor draperies, screens, or latticework.
If you want to know about contractors that boast of great craftsmanship with their pergolas, you should visit the site, aaronsoutdoor.com.

25 July 2017

American Spending on Pet Insurance

The latest statistics released by the ASPCA [American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ASPCA], show that there are an estimated 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats owned in the United States. Cat ownership is more popular than that of dogs, which happens to be the polar opposite compared to countries in Europe, Oceania, and Asia.

As the cost of living increases, it is interesting to note that Americans aren’t holding back spending the big bucks on their pets, where spending has increased substantially since 1994, from $17 billion to a whopping $67 billion in 2016. $28 billion of that was spent on pet food, followed by $14.7 billion in supplies/OTC medicine, $16 billion in vetrinary expenses, and a further $5.8 billion on pet services such as grooming and boarding.
In 2016, a study conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) found the average spending for dogs was $1,549 and cats at $988.
Table: 2016 Average Annual Cost for Dogs and Cats

Dogs
Cats
Surgical Vet Visits
$474
$245
Routine Vet
$257
$182
Food
$235
$235
Food Treats
$72
$56
Kennel Boarding
$322
$164
Vitamins
$58
$46
Groomer/Grooming Aids
$84
$30
Toys
$47
$30
Total
$1,549
$988

The significant difference in ongoing cost for dog versus cat, has not deterred the popular uptake in pet dogs among Americans. Between 2012 and 2016, dog ownership has risen by 21 million (from 69 million to 90 million) whereas cat ownership has risen by 20 million (from 74 million to 94 million).
As Americans continue to pamper their pets, the highest annual cost is veterinary expenses, which accounts for close to 50% of annual expenses for dogs and 45% for cats.  In 2016, Only 1.4 million pets in the U.S. and Canada are covered by pet insurance equating to less than 1% of dog and cat pets in America.  

These figures are incredibly low when compared to Australia, where stats from Pet Insurance Australia reported that 19% of dogs and 9% of cats have pet insurance for their fur baby.
However, the popularity of pet insurance is on the rise, having increased from 680,000 policies in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2016.  A possible contribution to the increase could be a result of pet owners realizing the potential vet cost, or perhaps they are more concerned with their pet’s well-being. Also, pet insurance has quickly become one of the fastest growing perks being offered as an added employee benefit.
Of the 1.4 million pets insured, over 81% of pet dogs have both accident and illness coverage, as compared with only 14.6% of cats.  The average yearly policy price for dogs is about $473, and $285 for cats.  Both of these figures are less than the current annual spending on veterinary expenses which could potentially get reduced if pet owners decide to commit to pet insurance.
Vet costs are likely to become more expensive year by year as the average lifespan of pets increases.  Pet owners need to consider the potential veterinary cost for their pets so they can receive the best possible care.   A recent report by PetPlan, showed the average common claims be vehicular trauma costing $998, prostate conditions at $753, and fight wounds at $645.91.
Considering that 1 in 3 dogs require urgent medical treatment in the U.S., the chances of making a claim is higher than those of home/renter's insurance and car insurance.  Pet insurance should be something all pet owners consider in order to minimize the financial implications for families, and also to provide your pet with the best possible treatment and care when necessary.

21 July 2017

Live a Thrifty Life with Groupon Coupons!

I am sure that many of you heard of, if not use Groupon.  I have mentioned the service numerous times on this blog.  Well, today I wanted to talk about another aspect of Groupon that I haven't really talked about before-- Groupon Coupons.  Groupon partnered with over 9,000 familiar retailers to bridge the gap between Groupon users and exponential savings at the stores that you frequently shop.  


There are many, many stores on the coupon list.  This, in turn, makes it easy for you to locate a quick and effective savings plan for your shopping trip.  Plus, everything is listed clearly in a list-type fashion.  One of my favorite aspects of this is that you can sign up for direct store savings to your email account.  If you like to shop at Walmart, you will get the newest and hottest coupons right to your inbox!

I made the graphic above to incorporate all of the stores that I enjoy shopping at (and where I find frequent need for coupons!).  As I mentioned earlier, there are so many retailers that you will certainly find what you need when you need it!

Here are some the best current coupons from my favorite retailers:
Tractor Supply Company:  Free UPS Ship-to-Store on any order
Walmart:  Online and In-Store grocery coupons
Hello Fresh:  50% off Hello Fresh box
Bass Pro Shops:  35% off fishing gear
The Home Depot:  $5 off your purchase printable in-store coupon
QVC:  50% off everything in store
eBay:  Free shipping from eBay
Birchbox:  Free Smashbox Eyeshadow Palette with code
Lids:  Free shipping, no minimum

Be sure to check out Groupon Coupons for some serious, money-saving deals.  You can find codes for online shopping as well as printable in-store coupons for conventional shopping.  Let me know of any good deals that you find!

Ideas to Save Money on Household Items

The idea of going grocery shopping to buy various household items is really a daunting task. While it may sound fun to your kids, as they get to load up on ice cream and Doritos for snacking, you, on the other hand worry about spending extra on unnecessary items. However, what you may not realize is that you are also spending additional money on detergents, deodorants, toothpaste, and other common household products. This is something that you could totally save on by simply integrating a few smart ideas into your grocery shopping regime.
People are shaped by their habits. Thus, they incline to go the same store weekly or monthly, buying the same items each time without considering much. As a result, consumers spend 15% to 20% more than needed, squandering a huge chunk of their income.

Look at these tips for saving money on household items and minimizing your grocery bill:  
Finish Before You Start--
Finish whatever is left in containers before purchasing new ones. It will surprise you to know how much you can make an item last when you want to. Try adding a little amount of water to a bit of shampoo, laundry detergent, or dish soap and you will have just one more use out of it. In turn, you will save cash by not going immediately to the store to have substitutes for these things.
More is Better--
When you’ve finally managed going out for grocery shopping, why not shop in bulk whenever possible? However, be certain to just buy what you actually require. Customers usually end up buying things in bulk they don’t even frequently use. This habit will only waste your money and occupies more space– as it brings about additional stuff around the house. Plus, a few things are probably going to lapse after some time (or if it’s clothing, it will go out of style). Therefore, just don’t buy something because it appears like a decent deal.
Dollar Store to the Rescue--
The best deal for household items will be offered to you at dollar stores. Many of these stores stock top-quality brands for only a dollar that the other stores might cost you about $4 or $5. You will find a huge range of household items at a dollar store – from shampoo, laundry soap, and conditioner to even food items.
Also, when you’re trying to cut down on grocery spending, go for store brand versions rather than branded household products. You can frequently save a dollar or two by adopting this practice.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention--
When the need knocks at your door, there’s no way out but working with your creativity. Making household products by yourself is an efficient idea to save a few more bucks from your income. You can use vinegar to clean your toilet & polish your faucets, and baking soda to flush out your tub. As a matter of fact, our grandmothers made their very own cleaning products, so there’s definitely no reason we can’t do the same. Not only do these products work as well as the store-bought ones, but they will also save you big money.
There's No Such Thing as Too Many Coupons--
Make use of the 'BOGO - Buy one, get one free' coupons for purchasing household products, whenever possible. You can save money on OxiClean coupons offering great savings on dollars for buying its laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, or a laundry stain remover.
Lastly, I should mention that in particular, you must always use a shopping list and stay true to it. Also, when you’re in the store, make sure to get in and get out as quickly as possible, concentrating exclusively on what you need to purchase, not what the salespersons or attractive signboards are attempting to offer you. 

19 July 2017

..::Product Review::.. Green Tree Jewelry

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THE REVIEW:  I was provided with the opportunity to test out some products from Green Tree Jewelry, and let you guys know how they rate.  I tested three pairs of earrings:  Ocean Pearl Earrings, Pineapple Earrings, and the Profile Sugar Skulls. 


I love jewelry.  Not expensive jewelry, but the affordable kind that lends itself to be a great addition for any outfit.  I've been told many, many times that I am an incredibly unique individual (is that a good thing or a bad thing?), and I can safely say that I have finally found my match for jewelry.

Green Tree Jewelry boasts so many unique aspects that I fell in love as soon as I visited the website.  In fact, I was amazed to find that they make more than just jewelry.  They're quite an incredible company.  They use a "very thin, strong multi-layer wood, that has been put together in a criss-cross fashion giving it an amazing strength."  Each earring is laser-cut and given the best and finest detail of any wooden jewelry I've seen.

From them, I received three pairs of earrings that I can say are unlike anything that I have in my jewelry box.  All three pairs arrived on recycled card backs in their own plastic bag.  All of the earrings are:

+ Made from sustainably sourced wood and 90% recycled display cards.
+ Laser-cut wood
+ Image on Front with Natural wood back
+ Ear wires are silver-finished 304L stainless steel, hypoallergenic

The first pair that I tested was the Profile Sugar Skulls.  Here is a little about these earrings from the website:

+ Style # 1529
+ Size 1.0" x 0.9"
+ Perfect to wear for Dia de los Muertos, and all year long!



The next pair is the Pineapple earrings:

+ Style # 1523
+ Size 1.4" x 0.70"
+ Picture perfect Pineapple earrings will make you want to cut it open and take a bite


Lastly, the Ocean Pearl earrings:

+ Style # 1528
+ Size 1.95 x 0.5"
+ These Ocean Pearl earrings are a treasure in themselves!


I'll be honest here-- the only problem that I have ran into whilst reviewing these is trying to decide which pair to wear first.  Every. Single. Pair of these earrings are amazing. The detail is high-quality, the colors are vibrant, and they are the lightest earrings that I have ever worn.  It seriously feels like I am not wearing jewelry at all.  The 'Profile Sugar Skulls' and the 'Pineapple' earrings were one solid piece, while the 'Ocean Pearl' earrings had two movable parts that worked together.  So cute!

Today I have been wearing the Pineapple earrings as it is a hot and sunny day.  My own little tropical paradise!


Another thing I want to mention is these earrings are made right here in the United States in San Diego, California (one of my favorite places in the world!).
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THE GOOD:
+ SO MANY style options to choose from.
+ Extremely light... will not pull your earlobe.
+ Excellent quality and design.

+ Can be worn for a variety of occasions.
 
+ Created with sustainably-sourced wood and are eco-friendly.
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THE BAD:
- Nothing.  Nothing at all.  I love these earrings!
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HOW ACCURATE IS THE DESCRIPTION?

+ YES, made of wood (birch).
+ YES, very lightweight wear.
+ YES, many style selections.


Please note that these earrings are water-resistant, not water-proof, so be sure to take them out before you go swimming or shower.
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STAR RATING: On a scale of 1 to 5, these get a 5.
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RECOMMENDATION:  YES, I definitely recommend this brand!  Please refer to the pictures to see why.
Order here (dangling earrings = $14.95)

Please visit Green Tree Jewelry: 
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I received this product for free in exchange for inspection and an honest and unbiased review.