A lot of us are taking a long, hard look at our finances at the moment. The COVID pandemic has hit our finances hard, and many of us are beginning to think about how we can get back on track, and how we can reduce our costs. It can be a lot easier said than done, though. Here are a few ways in which you may be able to save a bit of cash if you are overstretched and need to review your finances.
Unfortunately, many of us have a debt of some sort, and since they can get you into serious economic situation and impact your credit rating, they need to be prioritised. It could be that if you are struggling, you need to consider extra sources of income or seek specialist financial or debt advice.
You may also want to think about calling lenders to reduce your repayments or to come up with some kind of payment plan to help get them back under control while leaving you with enough cash to survive on. You could also seek advice on debt forgiveness.
Cut Your Outgoings
Take a look at your utility bills (gas, electricity, and water) first and find out whether you are getting the best deal possible. It could be worth calling your provider and seeing if they can give you a better deal, and if not, switch providers. It is reasonably easy to these days.
Do the same with things like your car, home and health insurance, cell phone provider, internet provider and so on. Even a few dollars saving each month adds up over the course of the year and can make a huge difference.
Look at what you are spending
The odds are you are wasting money. Everyone does it to some degree. It could be the sneaky grande latte on the way to work or that lunchtime burrito. It could be the bottle of water you grab when you are out or that membership to the gym that you never have the time or energy to use. For a week, keep a list of all your expenses and see what you can leave out. Take a flask of coffee with you to work, a packed lunch and a reusable bottle of water, and take up running or home exercises and cancel the expensive subscription to the gym.
Some of these behaviors can be more difficult to stop than others. They are usually well ingrained into your everyday life and it is easy to think that a few dollars here and a few dollars there will not make a difference. However, when you total them up at the end of the week, you will be surprised.
With some discipline, planning and preparation when it comes to your finances, you can save a significant amount of money to put away for the future.
So many of us love to cook but don’t always have the time (or the money) to make elaborate, fancy meals. Luckily, there are easy ways to make truly scrumptious meals that don’t take hours in the kitchen and don’t cost a fortune in random ingredients. With a little creativity and know-how, you can make delicious and fun recipes in a snap that use ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. Here’s a few of our favorite ideas:
Salads are a lot more than just a random handful of romaine, a few slivers of carrots and a tomato or cucumber wedge. Salads can be bright, crunchy, crispy, fruity, spicy, and topped with creamy dressings or a drizzle of oil and vinegar. Spruce them up with your favorite herbs, chunks of cheese, crunchy nuts, or nutritional yeast. Eat them atop brown rice or quinoa for added bulk, or throw them on top of leftover pizza. Salads can be the perfect accompaniment to a grilled meal, or eaten on their own for a quick and healthy lunch.
In summer, a simple cucumber and tomato salad with a wedge of crispy cornbread is the perfect meal. This salad recipe from Budgetbytes.com is a perfect version that you should definitely try. For something a little classy that goes great with chicken dishes, try a strawberry and spinach salad, adorned with crunchy honey-almonds and feta cheese. No need to hit up the fast food joint for that amazing asian salad – you can create your own with fresh steamed edamame, chow mein noodles, crisp spring onions and your favorite store-brand spring rolls.
Stir fries don’t have to be boring. The truth is, stir fry is incredibly versatile and the only thing you need to take them out of a rut is a great sauce. Whether you love veggie stir fry over rice, quinoa, grits or a bed of mashed potatoes, whipping up a delicious stir fry sauce is the key to keeping things fresh and new. Try a spicy orange sauce, a lemon-basil vinaigrette, a savory french onion sauce, or a sweet, spicy sriracha honey sauce to brighten your meats and veggies and turn your stir fry into something the whole family will love.
The One Pot Craze
The instapot and slow cooker are all the rage for a reason – they save you so much time in the kitchen and the results are delicious. Yes, they’re perfect for that traditional pot roast or pot of chili, but your slow poker or instapot can be used for a whole lot of other creative recipes, too. Fun ideas like slow-cooker lasagna, pho with tofu, and even low country boil can all be made in your favorite trusty appliance while you’re at work or out running errands, and you’ll be shocked at how delicious they are.
Breakfast for Dinner
Whether you enjoy your breakfast for dinner or your breakfast for breakfast, it’s easy to make your favorite morning staples in a flash. From three-ingredient pancakes (that happen to be gluten free), to bacon-in-the oven, to a make-overnight strata to wow last-minute guests, there are easy hacks to make breakfast a snap.
With just a few simple, creative tricks, you can have food on the table in no time flat, without spending a fortune.
Are you thinking of getting a dog in the near future? Then there are several things that you’ll need to purchase ahead of bringing them home. Welcoming a dog into the family is one of the most amazing steps that you can take, but there are certain costs associated with the process that you’ll want to budget for – it’s not the cheapest endeavour after all.
To ensure that you’re as organized as possible, here is a list of 8 things you’ll need to purchase. Of course, this isn’t a complete list – so you’ll need to conduct other thorough research before you bring your furry friend home. But to make sure that you start off on the right foot, the following are essential purchases:
1. Pet Insurance
One of the most important purchases that you’ll need to make is pet insurance. Why? Because it will ensure that the majority of costs associated with any treatments are covered. Giving you the peace of mind that not only your dog is in the best hands but that your finances aren’t significantly affected, it’s a must-have from the get-go.
Luckily, there are plenty of providers to choose from – meaning that you can find one that suits your budget. Many also offer finance plans, giving you the chance to either pay monthly in affordable chunks or annually if that better suits your circumstances.
2. Good Quality Dog Food
Ok, so this might sound like a given; but it’s still worth mentioning. Before you bring your dog home, you should purchase high protein dog food for them. Nutrition is key to helping them to thrive, so you want to give them the best possible start – whether they are a puppy or an older dog.
Along with their everyday food, you might also want to purchase delicious treats for them to enjoy. If you really want to get creative, you could also start to make these yourself – just make sure that you’re aware of the types of food they can and can’t eat.
3. A Dog Bed
You want somewhere where your new pooch can sleep. And although over time they will undoubtedly try to sleep on your bed or on the couch, giving them a bed to enjoy from the beginning is a must. Their own personal place to relax, they will love having a comfortable bed.
4. A Lead and Collar
Although these, of course, are two separate things they can be linked together under one point as they are both physically worn by your dog. A lead will ensure that you can take your pup on lovely long walks while the collar and ID tag will guarantee that people will be able to contact you if they ever went missing.
Playing with your dog is essential to bonding and their development. So as part of this, it’s a good idea to invest in some toys for them. There are so many to choose from – from plastic toys to soft ones. Available in most stores and online, you’ll be spoilt for choice for what you can buy for them.
6. Food and Water Bowls
Along with their food, you’ll also want to purchase food and water bowls for them. Something that won’t cost you more than $15 for each of them, they are another must-have that you should purchase as soon as you settle on the dog you’re going to get.
7. A Stairgate
Whether you’re getting a pup or a dog that requires some training you may want to consider investing in a stairgate for your home. This will ensure that they can’t get upstairs and know that the downstairs is where they should sleep/spend their time throughout the day. Although this isn’t an essential, it’s an item that many dog owners will invest in and use from the beginning.
8. House Training Pads
Yet again, this item can be useful whether you’re getting a puppy or are adopting a dog. As you introduce them to your home, chances are that they won’t be toilet trained. You’ll therefore have to take them through the process by investing in house-training pads. To do this effectively there are plenty of online tutorials that you can use.
When talking about the future can be a scary prospect, especially for those of us who never want to grow up. The Peter Pan idea is wonderful, and we can all stay as young as we feel for as long as possible. But there are certain things and we don’t necessarily think about and need to for the future. Not necessarily about our finances, because that is something that is obvious to everybody. We need to be able to pay for our care as we get older but more importantly about our health and our situation. Making sure that we are comfortable, leading happy lives, and have all of the health care that we need is Going to make our old are you is much more enjoyable, and comfortable. So here are some ideas on how you can take care of your future in small steps that you will thank yourself for later.
Your health is your number one priority, if you are eating well, staying hydrated, exercising, and doing everything that you need to prevent any mental health illness, means that you should be able to keep a good handle on your health at all times. We all like to think that we are doing our best to stay healthy, but there are certain things that we can do to improve this. Eventually, we may need to think about tools for our care, such as hearing aids. You can of course get rechargeable hearing aids which help reduce the overall cost of your care, and there are other things you can do to prevent excessive bills and charges when it comes to health tools. Whether it’s Some dentures, a pair of glasses, or a knee strap, there are things you can do to put down on the necessity of them, or at the very least reduce costs. Doing your research is essential, and taking care of yourself should always be your number one thing to do.
Keeping the mind young is as simple as having hobbies that you enjoy, that keep the cogs turning. A lot of people take up puzzles, or even play some online games with friends And quite often you will find that older people tend to use social events to incorporate card games such as poker or backgammon nights. Staying sociable, and keeping a hobby that benefits you in many ways is a brilliant connection that will help you stay young, and enjoy your time.
We are social creatures, and sometimes it can be tough to make social connections and keep them thriving, especially if we don’t see our friends and family on a day-to-day basis. But with modern technology, you can use apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, or even Zoom that will help you to see and hear from your left ones. Keeping these connections driving is something that will certainly improve our mental health and confidence levels. Going out and visiting people occasionally, or meeting up for lunch are wonderful ideas and something that many people look forward to
Are you considering revamping your landscape? Well, investing in your outdoor space makes your life experience delightful and also increases the market value of your home. Everyone likes a beautiful outdoor space where one can have fun times and relax. Are you still on the fence on what landscaping in Tennessee can do for your home? Then read this article to find out.
1) Add Property Value
Investing in a landscape for your home is a good idea since it increases the value of your home. When people are asked about their dream house, the majority of them will mention a well-maintained garden. Therefore, when you have a well-designed and routinely maintained garden, you add the value of your home by 8-15%. A landscape also makes your house more saleable since buyers would rather buy a home where they do not have to construct a garden from scratch.
However, to get value for your landscape investment for your home, ensure that you choose a well-established landscaping company. Companies such as G&G Landscapers can help you design your home landscapes. They have professional tools and skilled experts who can help you create an outdoor space of your dream. They have enough experience in landscape and outdoor services since they have been in operation for over a decade. Contact them today for the best landscape services.
2) Makes Your Home Welcoming
When you include flowers on your landscape, it makes your home feel welcoming. You can beautify your home entrance by planting assorted perennials and annuals flowers. It will keep your garden more attractive because of the different colors throughout the year. Snapdragon, Petunia, Lily-of-the-Nile are great roses that you can add on your entry.
Additionally, if there is a small space between the street and the house, try creating a low fence on the front yard. It will create an illusion that your home is far from the road, and you get space to plant vines and flowers.
3) Protects The Environment
Planting grass and trees in your landscape help keep the air fresh. They play a significant role in capturing smoke and dust particles as well as getting rid of carbon dioxide. A single tree can remove 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air annually. Therefore, planting trees and grass in your outdoor space will help protect the environment.
Furthermore, landscaping helps reduce stormwater runoff hence reducing local flooding. It also controls soil erosion, reduces water evaporation as well as soil degradation.
4) Makes You Feel Better
What do you like most, coming home to an overgrown lawn or a well-maintained one? A well-maintained yard will make you feel better. Furthermore, some studies also show the same. Landscaping your home can enhance the quality of your life, attention span, memory, and lower your stress levels. A landscape also offers you some privacy since it makes it hard for any passerby to see what is happening in your home.
These are some of the ways of what landscaping can do for you. However, for you to get the best out of your landscaping investment, it is essential to work with a professional landscaping company.
Your HVAC system is essential in maintaining your comfort. However, without proper maintenance, it can be a drain to your pocket. Regularly spending money on repairs and replacements is not cheap. That’s why it is important to learn how to maintain these systems. This way, your overall cost of repair and maintenance will be lower, and you will enjoy the comfort that comes with such systems. To help you out, here are the top 4 tips for maintaining your HVAC system.
1. Have an expert regular check it out
The best and easiest way to take care of your HVAC system is to have an expert regularly check it out. Such regular checks are cheap and they can detect issues while they are still easy to repair. The secret to such checks is to use a reputable company for the job. One such company is NexGen HVAC & Plumbing. This company is run by experts in the HVAC industry. They are always a call away and their services are very competitively priced. Give them a call every month or so and have them check out your HVAC system. You will be surprised at how much longer your system will last.
Engaging an HVAC company for maintenance is not just about cutting costs. It is also a matter of health. For instance, if your ventilation system is not working optimally and accumulates dirt, you can end up inhaling dust that can affect your breathing system. It’s worse if you, or some of your family members, have respiratory problems such as asthma. Similarly, if the heating system suddenly stops working in winter, it can pose a problem, especially for elderly people, or those with compromised immunity. That’s why you need to take regular HVAC checks seriously.
2. Have a list of what needs maintenance
HVAC systems are complex and not everything needs maintenance at the same time. As such, you need to come up with a list of when the various components were last serviced, and when they next need it, then adhere to it. Here are some of the things that you can make a checklist for, and ease your maintenance tasks. First, create a list that has the replacement dates for filters. Also, bookmark repair and maintenance dates for airflow components, coils, heat exchangers and burners. These are minor things and you can easily forget them if you are not keen. You also need to include the more serious stuff like inspecting the condensate drains and lubrication motors. These are not done as regularly, and are easier to remember the date off-head. Nonetheless, include, and mark them too because, they can lead to serious issues if repair and maintenance dates are skipped.
Making a checklist also helps you with financial planning. That’s because, you can make a budget on the things that require repair early enough. Some of them are not cheap, and if the repairs catch you off-guard, you might have a hard time raising the money. If this happens and you skip the maintenance, you would be risking even more damage that would cost you lots of money in the long run.
3. Get rid of debris from the system.
One of the biggest causes of problems in HVAC systems is debris. It clogs up the system and leads to issues that may cost you huge amounts of money to reverse. To avoid such issues, take protective measures such as using filters in places that are most likely to lead to dust and other debris entering your HVAC system. This will save you a good amount in maintenance. On top of that, you can try and get rid of some of the debris that you can reach with your hands. Just make sure to have the right attire on. Some of the things you need include gloves, a water pipe, and a coil cleaner.
4. Regularly replace your filters
Replacing filters is one of the most important tasks in maintaining your HVAC system. The EPA advises homeowners to regularly change furnace filters as a way of enhancing the efficiency of heating systems. Besides, the enhanced energy efficiency, several other benefits come with regular replacement of filters. One of them is that you breathe in clean air. Secondly, you increase the lifespan of your systems. Both of these reasons and many others are worthy enough to replace your filters regularly.
If you follow the above steps, you will significantly cut on the cost of maintaining your HVAC system, and enjoy a good quality of life.