23 September 2016

The Best Kept Secrets to Keeping Your Household Costs Low

Running a household is costly. With those immediate bills that need paying each month lie rent or mortgage payments. Down to the energy bills that land on your doorstep every quarter (or even monthly!), and let’s not go there when it comes to food-shopping! These costs can mount up and sometimes you may find it hard to save anything, or even have any disposable income to treat yourself. However, this is where you need to make your money work harder for you, and one way you can do that is by reducing those household costs. It is possible, and I’m here to share with you exactly how you can do it.

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Make your home more energy efficient--

We've heard a lot about going green, but there is some sense to it. Having a home that is more energy efficient can offer you an instant reduction on those bills. You don’t have to do everything all at once, just make simple changes and build up from here. One way you can start to save energy is by changing your light bulbs to more energy efficient ones. There is also an element of common sense that could be applied to switching on the heating system and leaving lights on. Keeping lights off and your heating temperature low can offer you great savings in the long term. The steps you can aim for is having solar panels fitted to your roof, which will help light and heat your home. Also, changes like saving rainwater can help for watering gardens and plants. There’s plenty of information online that will help you go a little greener in your home.

Protect your appliances from hard water--

Some people will live in areas that are prone to hard water. If you are unsure what this is, then let me explain. Water is filtered to get rid of any bacteria that has developed. But sometimes going through this filter system can mean that some deposits can be left in your water. While it’s fine to drink, it can cause problems to appliances in the home. The reason why you should be aware of this is that it's best to get a water softener system in place. It reduces any costs you could incur for damaged or broken appliances in the future. Heading online to check out Water Softener Reviews is a good place to start. Let this be a rule in general, take care of your appliances and systems in your home. Regular servicing and check are far cheaper than replacement and big repair bills.

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Regularly give your finances a health check--

We can all become a little complacent with our monthly bills. Allowing them to leave our account each month with little or no thought. However, this is where you can be missing a trick. Comparing your costs against other companies could provide you huge savings. Most companies offer new customers the best deals and savings. So ensure you get a piece of the action and switch providers regularly to keep your costs low. Saving money on energy is one of the sure fire ways you can do it. It’s a great way to boost your disposable income.

Finally, ensure you save as much as you can on the bills you have control over. Food shopping is a huge expense but often meal planning and changing your store can offer big savings. Also, TV packages and broadband reductions can all provide you savings on your bills. Just think outside of the box when it comes to your finances.

I hope this helps you reduce your monthly bills.

21 September 2016

Choosing Flooring for Your Family Home: Everything You Need to Know

When it’s time to choose new flooring for a room in your family home, it can often leave people confused. There is so much to choose from including tiles, wood, and carpet. Therefore, you need to think about it carefully when selecting the right one for your family. Here is everything you need to know when choosing flooring for your family home so that you make the right decision.

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Measure the room properly before looking for flooring--

The first thing you need to do when it’s time for new flooring in your home is get the measuring tape out. You need to know exactly how big the room is before you head to the stores. It’s so important that you get the right lengths so that you can pick up the right amount of carpet, or the specific number of tiles, for your home. Therefore, make sure you measure any corners of the room and then double check the number you have written down. Otherwise, you might end up having to buy new stock if you run out during the fitting process. If you don’t trust yourself to measure it correctly, you might prefer to get a fitter out who will do it all for you.

Choose something which is easy to clean--

Cleaning the floor is one of those jobs we hate doing, but it’s a must to ensure it stays clean and free from pests and mold. Therefore, it’s so important to choose new flooring which is going to be easy to maintain on a daily basis. You don’t want to pick something which is going to get marked easily. Therefore, consider how easy it will be to clean when you are choosing new flooring. For example, if it’s going to be a room where kids and pets are going to be in a lot, you might prefer to go for something easier to clean such as wood flooring. After all, you don’t want to spend hours trying to get a mark out of your carpet. You can always find a professional who do tile cleaning to ensure that it stays looking great!

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Think about the use of the flooring--
When choosing new flooring, you need to think about the primary use is of the room. It will help you to make the right decision. For example, if you need something for the bathroom, you need to pick something which won’t get damaged by water from the shower and the sink. Or if it’s flooring for the spare room, you might not use it much so carpet would be a good choice. Therefore, think about the use before making a decision.

Remember that color is important--

It’s so important to think about the current decor in the room when choosing flooring. After all, you don’t want to choose a bright colored carpet if the room is currently painted in neutral colors. Therefore, pick a color which will look great with your current furniture and fittings. A lot of people tend to go for a cream or black to ensure it will stay relevant even when you update the room over the years.

Remember that to get some samples for your floor before making a decision. You don’t want to choose something that you will regret for years to come!

20 September 2016

How to Make Life Easier in Extreme Winter Weather

Winter time can be difficult for the best of us. Heavy snowfall, ice, wind, and rain can make just leaving the house a challenge. Add plunging temperatures on top of that, both in and out of the home, and winter doesn't seem so fun after all. But, there are still ways you can enjoy the festive season in relative comfort.

Prep Your Car--

Get your car's heating system checked before the cold sets in. There's nothing worse than sitting in a freezing cold car, especially if you face a long commute to work every day. Auto repair services are likely to be extremely busy during the winter months, so try and get your car serviced before the cold sets in to avoid a long wait. Getting your car ready to action in a morning after a frosty night can also be an everyday challenge in winter. Driving crouched over just so you can see through the clear section of the windscreen is less than ideal - although we've all done it. Thankfully there are many ways you can de-ice your car quickly and effectively. Don't pour boiling water on your windshield - you run the risk of cracking the glass doing this. Instead, use warm or lukewarm water to clear off any excess. Put your engine on and leave the de-fogger running while you pack your bag for work or put your shoes on. Or, use a professional ice scraper and brush. Don't try using your wipers until large blocks of ice have come off, or you risk damaging your wipers.


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Clear Your Driveway--

Falling over before you've even got to work doesn't put you in good mood for the rest of the day. Plus [and more importantly], falling over on ice can be very dangerous. Unlike other types of terrain, ice does not give way at all when pressure is put on it. If you fall over on ice or snow, the ground can be extremely hard. You could easily break a bone, or create a fracture which you may not learn about until a later date. Clearing your driveway daily can mean you greatly lessen the risk of you or your family injuring themselves when they leave the house. Shovelling is the obvious option but it can be exhausting work, and not ideal if you're on a strict schedule. If you want to learn more, consider getting a snow plough or snow thrower.


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Don't Waste Energy, Save It--

You might be tempted to simply leave your heat on all day once the calendar hits November. No one likes coming in from the cold to an equally cold home. However, you could find that your energy bills are extortionate after the winter. Investing in a programmable thermostat is the best way to save money and heat your home all at once. If you know when you and your family are going to be in from work or school, set the thermostat to around half an hour before that time. You house will have heated up nicely by the time you are all in, so you can enjoy a cozy evening together.

Kitchen Gadgets for a Healthier Lifestyle

If you're anything like the rest of the world, chances are you spend a larger portion of your time in the kitchen. In fact, it may actually be much more time than you think. A 2014 study showed that the average American spent nearly 6 hours cooking every week. Of the 22 countries surveyed, India took the top spot - with locals cooking an average of 13.2 hours of every week. If you're feeling as though you need to spend less time in the kitchen and more with your family, you're not alone. Thankfully, there are plenty of innovative gadgets on the market that are designed to make cooking both cheaper and quicker.

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The Slow Cooker--


Slow cookers have been around for years but have only really come into their own recently. The increase of research into convenience foods has meant we now want to avoid microwave meals and cook from scratch. After all, most ready meals contain abnormal amounts of salt, fat, and sugar which the health conscious public are keen to avoid. Cooking from scratch means you know exactly what is going into your meals and you can relax knowing it's tasty AND healthy. However, most of us don't have time to be slaving away over a stove all day. Slow cookers eradicate this problem entirely as you as simply chuck in your ingredients and let it do its work. Either cook your meals on a low setting for up to eight hours, or on low for up to four.


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The Juicer--


If you're struggling to get enough fruit and vegetables into your diet, why not try using a juicer? We are encouraged to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, if not more. However, many of us find it difficult to even get five in. This can be for many reasons - such as a childhood fear of fruit, to the fruits you like being difficult to take on the go. If this sounds like you, then a juicer could be the perfect addition to your kitchen. Blitz your favorite fruits in your juicer in the morning for a healthy way to start the day. You can even add frozen fruit to some juicers if you are looking to cut the cost of buying fresh fruit and vegetables. If you’re having a party, juicers can also be great for making a fruit punch with. There are many different types, so do your research and look out for more helpful hints.


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Hand Blender/Electric Whisk-- 


Fancy yourself as a bit of a pro-baker? Using an electric whisk or handle blender can make your life much easier. Many bakers don’t like using regular food processors to mix their dough with as the technique is not too specific. Hand-held blenders, however, have many added benefits. Many come with different settings so they can adapt to what you are cooking and they also stop your arm getting tired! If you’re not much of a baker, it may still be worth investing in a hand held blender – they are great for making soups and sauces.

17 September 2016

Is Your Home Ready for the Incoming Cold Weather?

The winter may not be here yet, but soon enough the temperature will drop, and the sun will be replaced by wind, snow, and rain. As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your home is prepared for winter. It might take some time and effort to get your home winter ready, and may even cost a small amount, but it’s more than worth it.

If that’s the case, then why do so many of us fail to get our homes winter ready? Believe it or not, the number one reason many homeowners don’t take the time to prepare their homes for winter is because they don't know how to do it. The good news is that once you know the best steps to take, it’s not too hard to get prepared.

Double check your home insurance policy--

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The winter months is the time that you are most likely to need to use your home insurance to make a claim. So it makes sense to contact your insurance provider now, to ensure that everything is up to date on your policy. The last thing that you want after your home has been flooded is to be told that your policy is no longer valid. That’s why it’s so important to double check your policy and what it covers. As well as the basics like fires, break-ins, and natural disasters, ask about burst water pipes and storm damaged roofing. After all, the more you’re covered for, the better.

Have you heating system and boiler checked over--

Not only should you get your heaters checked over to ensure that they’re working properly, but also, to see if you could cut your energy costs. You see, boilers that aren’t properly maintained have a tendency to waste energy. Meaning that your energy bill could be higher than it should be. So it’s worth contacting a specialist from a company like KMA Heating & Cooling or another local expert, to come and check them over. By doing so, any issues should be found and fixed, so that your heating doesn't break down in the midst of the cold weather.

Clear out the guttering and trim trees and bushes--

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As the leaves start falling off the trees, they’ll land in your home’s guttering, causing it to become clogged. During the winter, if your gutters are clogged, water won’t be able to pass down them. This will mean that it will run down your home and may cause small cracks to form in the exterior walls and foundations. This can lead to all sorts of issues, including damp. So it’s worth clearing your gutters out before winter sets in. It could also be worth trimming any trees or bushes that are close to your home. This is because these can drip water onto your walls or property’s foundations, causing problems.

If you want to ensure that your home is winter ready, you need to take the time to make a few checks to it. This will help to ensure that when the colder weather sets in, your home is as prepared for it as possible.