30 September 2016

Paws for Thought - How Getting a Pet Can Affect Your Finances

There comes a time in every parent's life when they hear the dreaded words. "Mom, can we get a dog/cat/*insert animal name here*. I promise I’ll look after it!" While we want to give our kids all the positive experiences we can, it is necessary to consider the financial implications before getting a pet.

Initial Cost--

The first thing you need to examine if the initial cost of the pet that you will be getting. If it is a smaller animal like a hamster or a gerbil, then it might not be too much. However, at the other end of the scale, pedigree cats and dogs can be hugely expensive.


In addition, you need to be aware that some folks viewing buying a cat or dog from a breeder as a bad idea. Especially when there are so many unwanted ones available to rehome from shelters. In fact getting your pet from a shelter is a double win, as it will cost less and you will be providing a home for a previously unwanted animal.


Of course, it's also important to remember that it's not just the cost of the pet that you will need to provide for up front. But also the accessories that it will need. Apart from toys, treats, and food bowls (which all pets enjoy), some pets will need specific items. Cats will need litter trays; dogs will need a bed and collar/leash, and rodents will need a cage or stacking system to live in.



Even if they do have the money to get a pet, you need to consider whether the money costs for food will also be something that you can always meet. Depending on the type of food that your pet eats, it can cost quite a lot to feed them over a month. Just don't make a rod for your own back and start feeding them luxury food, as they will get a taste for it and expect it from then on out!


For some pets, you also need to consider the cost of dealing with their waste products. For cats, it will be the cost of litter. For dogs, it will be the cost of poop bags. Usually, these things aren't too expensive but if you are working on a very tight budget already, it is something you need to be aware of.

Veterinarian Bills--


Caring for your pet’s health is also another major cost that you have to think about before you bring them into your home. Can you afford regular check ups at the vet? What if they get seriously sick, will you be able to provide them with the best treatment? If this is a concern for you, it will pay to look at discount pet insurance offers. This means that your beloved pet will be covered, and you won't have to incur the cost if anything happens.

Home Costs--

It's also worth bearing in mind, whether your home might include extra cleaning costs, because of your pet. If it's rented, it is likely that the landlord will want the carpets professionally cleaned if you have a dog or a cat. Also, it won't hurt to keep a stock of a specialized pet odor remover products in the house for any little ‘accidents’.

Does Counting the Calories Mean Counting the Cost?

When you see celebrities on TV, proudly showing off their figures in expensive clothing, what is your immediate emotion? If it's positive, congratulations, you're a saint. Most of the rest of us have one of a few reactions. Envy - that they're looking so good and seem so happy. Scorn - that we could all look that good if we had a team of stylists working with us. Pity - that we're wearing a stained T-shirt and just ate three cookies.

Maybe that last one's not all of us, but it is a few of us.

For the most part, though, it is an unpleasant journey to take. Yes, those celebrities are looking beautiful. Yes, they have the good fortune to have all the help they need. We ask ourselves "Ah, but are they happy?" and usually yes-- yes they are. They have a lot of money and few responsibilities. Who wouldn't be happy?

But what about the other point? Can we all look like they do? Well, it's not a no, but it is complicated. It is easier for celebrities to stay skinny, because they have better access to the right things. It’s not cheap to buy the healthiest foods!

If You Want to Lose Weight, You Have to Eat Right--

Many celebrities have what is referred to as "yo-yo" weight. They move between skinny and chunky, and in so doing they stay right in the public eye. While there, they tell us how they lost that weight. It may be a diet, it may be surgery. It may be any of a few other reasons too, some of which are very inadvisable. But if their weight then balloons again, it suggests they aren't doing it right. It’s not sustainable - and on a budget, things like surgery aren’t an option for most of us.

The bottom line is, you need to have a balanced, healthy diet to stay slim. It isn't always as easy as that sounds.

"I've Found the Miracle Food That Unlocks Weight Loss!"--

Hi-- over here!
No. No, you haven't.

There is no such thing as a miracle food that unlocks weight loss. Healthy eating is holistic - you need to get nutrients, or you will become ill. No one food gives you what you need. All those celebrity diet secrets fail to mention that raw food and whole foods with high nutrient profiles are expensive. Trying to live affordably and healthily is hard.

So It's Pointless Looking for Genuine Help?--

No, not pointless at all. Indeed, there are plenty of useful supplements which will benefit your weight loss goals. They are worth taking, but they will only help you if you follow a proper diet. You will need to eat vegetables with every meal, drink plenty of water, and get a healthy exercise regime in place. It is that simple. It's not always going to be fun, but the benefits are clear. You can also do it on a budget.

If the above sounds quite low on the scale of fun, don't worry. The more you look into healthier eating, the more enjoyable foods you will find that fit into it. Also, every once in a while you should treat yourself. Foods that don't usually fit into a healthy eating regime can still be eaten. Not every day - but they're not banned completely if you eat well most of the time. Find healthy alternatives which cost a reasonable amount. They are out there.

Summer Projects Your Property Is Crying out For

Make the most of the great weather this summer and get to work on some projects. There are bound to be things your property will need to have done. So, it’s important that you focus on the following ideas.
A Patio--
No backyard is going to be complete without a patio. This is the ideal project for you this summer, and will really improve your home. It’s important to make sure you have the space for a patio before attempting to make one. You’re going to need to find out the process for making your own patio. It's generally going to involve preparing a bed of the shape and size you need. Then filling it in with gravel and paving slabs. Try to make sure you add in sand to stabilize as well if necessary. You might want to think about different colored slabs to get the effect you want.
Get Rid of That Tree in the Yard--
We all have that tree in the backyard that causes a nuisance. It might be sucking the foundations from the home. It could be taking up space in the garden. Or, it might be encroaching on your neighbor’s yard. Whatever it’s doing, it’s time to get rid of the tree. Now, you could always phone some tree felling experts, but that's going to be time, effort, and money. The best thing to do would be to try to tackle it yourself (that's if you can do it safely of course). You need to get yourself a chainsaw to bring that bad boy down. Have a look at the Husqvarna 455 and see how effective you think that will be. You also need to get protective gear to make the talks safe as well.
Build a New Shed--
When we talk about important additions to the garden, it’s important to consider the shed. If you don't have a backyard shed, you might think about building one. Or you may wish to replace the one you already have. First up you’re going to need a shed foundation like concrete blocks or lumber skids. These will make the structure sturdy, and keep it from blowing over in a gust of wind. Once you have set the foundations, you need to build the flooring using timber frames. Head to your local hardware store or timber merchant, and pick up as much timber as you require. Then it's time to put in the plywood flooring, the walls and the roof. You need a sizeable shed that's going to be useable for storage as well as functionality.
Make the Lawn Neat and Attractive--
It’s important to get the yard looking as presentable and attractive as possible. And one of the best ways of achieving that is to make sure you keep it tidy. A healthy lawn needs regular care and attention. Visit Home Depot and have a look at the selection of lawn fertilizers they supply. It’s important to adjust the pH of your soil, and deal with the issue of compaction. The way you achieve that is by ensuring that you feed your lawn around three times over the course of the year. It’s also a good idea to get a sprinkler system put in place. That makes it easier for you to keep the grass watered and nourished.
The good weather provides opportunities to get out there and have a go at some summer projects. It’s important to take the chance to improve your home and yard wherever you can. This gives you the perfect situation in which to achieve that as much as possible.

Motivational Ideas to Complete Those Household Chores in Record Time

Let’s be honest here. Cleaning is nobody's idea of fun. That is unless you are Monica from the hit TV show Friends. Running a household is tough. So how do people get their homes so clean? What can you do to motivate yourself? I thought I would share with you some motivational ideas that are bound to help you get those household chores done in record time. I hope they inspire you.


Switch the music on loud--

One of the first sure fire ways of feeling pumped to tackle those chores is to put on some music. The louder, the better in my opinion. It could be anything as long as it has a decent beat to it. Even better, make it something you can sing along to. There is something about the music that just makes you want to move, so use this new found energy and clean or tackle a chore. You may want to clean down the surfaces or combat the bathroom. Whatever the job may be, I guarantee music will help you do it faster.

Invest in some new appliances--

There is nothing quite like getting new appliances for your chores. It can be the motivation itself just to try them out and see how they work. These days you can even get vacuums that do the job for you. If that isn’t motivation for you, then I don’t know what is. Why not look here for some more information. Sometimes having the right tools for the job makes those chores lighter and more bearable. So don’t be afraid to invest in some of them to help you get those jobs done quicker.

Don’t tackle them on the same day--

One of the biggest problems with household chores is how many we need to do. There seems to be a never-ending list of jobs that just need finishing or cleaning. So the best piece of advice is not to tackle them all in one day. This is when you feel overwhelmed and instead of doing a good job you tackle those chores half-heartedly. A cleaning schedule is a great way to spread the household chores out across your week. This way everything gets done and maintained regularly, thus keeping you motivated to stay on track.


Set a timer--

Sometimes it is the length of time some of the chores can take that can be quite off putting. So why not set yourself a timer? Allow yourself five minutes of clean up time, or 30 minutes to a particular job. When it's over, have a cup of coffee or start something else. You are more likely to keep your focus than feeling bored.

The promise of a reward--

Finally, one of the best ways to stay motivated is to provide yourself with a reward at the end. This could be another from a five minute sit down with a warm drink, to a hot relaxing bath at the end of the day. The reward is guaranteed to keep you on track to get everything done that is needed.

I hope these ideas help you complete those household chores in record time.

27 September 2016

Don't Panic: Dealing with Small Emergencies at Home

There are many things that can go wrong around the house, but some small emergencies always seem much worse than all the rest. But most of the time, these incidents aren’t actually anything to worry about. If you deal with them quickly and efficiently, they will soon disappear. So there is actually no need to panic about these mini emergencies! To make sure you don’t stress yourself out too much, here are some handy ways you can deal with household problems.


Your home is always at risk of an infestation of pests. In the summer, there will be loads of pests everywhere looking for somewhere to live. The ones that survive in winter will try and get into your home, so they have somewhere warm to hibernate! What exactly do you do when you notice bugs in your home? First things first; don’t panic! You can run to your local garden center and grab some bug repellent. There are also a number of homemade traps that you could consider making. But the easiest way to deal with this problem is to simply call some pest control contractors to do all the hard work for you!

Locked Out--

When you are trying to get the kids ready for school and get yourself ready for work, you might leave the house without picking up your keys. There are some easy hacks that can help you get in the house even if you lose or forget your keys. One of the best things to do is to hide a spare key somewhere in your front yard. Don’t leave it in obvious places like under the doormat or a flower pot, though. Burglars will be able to easily find it in these obvious spots. Alternatively, give your spare key to a neighbor. One brilliant idea is to swap your traditional lock for a key-code lock. That way, you don’t need any keys; just commit the code to memory!

Bad Paint Jobs--

We’ve all been there – thinking you can paint and decorate a whole room all by yourself only to find that it doesn’t look quite as good as you imagined it would. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to remedy a not-quite-professional paintwork. You can get rid of drips on the wall by scraping them back with a scraper. It is also possible to sand them away using a sander. You might have to go over the area you sanded with a quick lick of paint. Another common problem is visible brush strokes. Unfortunately, these need completely repainting. Why not save the hassle by hiring a professional decorator to do it for you?

Blocked Drains--

Blocked drains are a lot easier to fix yourself than you may think. First of all, pour down a lot of bleach followed by a whole kettle full of boiling water. Leave it for a few minutes. Once you come back to it, the water should flow through again. If not, try plunging it with a plunger. This should, hopefully, remove the debris that was blocking the pipe and drain.