How being frugal puts you on your way to financial security


Filed under: Blogroll — Francesca @ 7:01 am

Have trouble getting started on planning your financial future? You may follow the easy steps listed below to get rid of your excess credit debt and start saving money:

Jot down all the sources of income each month. Ensure that you take the figure after taxes.

Make a note of all the monthly static bills. These bills almost always occur on the same day. Static bills include house payments, insurance, phone bills, school and car loan payments, and such. Dining out, grocery bills, apparels shopping, and such are not regarded as static bills.

Now subtract the total of the static bills from the income. This is the real income available for daily expenses.

Take out all your credit cards and list them in the order of cards with the highest rates of interest. Before you begin saving money, the credit card debts need to be paid off. Begin with those having the highest interest rates and then go for the others. Once the debts are fully paid, keep only those with low interest rates. Use them in times of emergencies only. People who do not have credit card debts can directly begin the process of saving as discussed below.
During the time when you are paying off the credit card debts (it may last anywhere between 6 to 8 months), take steps to spend only on those items that are needed to survive. These are the things that are needed to keep you healthy and well-fed. Expenditure such as dining-out, new clothes, toys, games, etc. should be completely avoided.
Begin by paying the minimum amount for the card. If money is left over at the end of the month, then call the card company and ask them to take a payment for the principal. If you make a payment directly, then they may just use it as interest payment.
After all the debt has been paid off, you may begin saving money. Check out all the available options. You may go for a recurrent savings account where you need to deposit a specific amount every month. You may start with a small amount. Later, you may open another account with a bigger amount to be deposited every month.

 
Call your car loan company, mortgage company, and even the credit card company, and request them to lower the rate of interest. They may or may not do it. But it is always a good option to try.
Open up a savings account, if you do not already have one. Start depositing money in that account on a regular basis.

 
You have only begun saving now. Do not start splurging straightaway. It is best to wait for a few years and ensure that you have saved up sufficient money, before indulging yourself. You may however treat yourself and your family to a dinner at a fancy restaurant once or twice a month. Downgrade your cable package and avoid watching all the blockbusters on the big screen. Instead you may rent out the DVD as and when it becomes available and watch the movie in the comforts of your home, at a cheaper price. Also, look for other options where you can cut down or limit the spending.

 

Image credit: Tax Credits on Flickr

3 Tips on How to Save Money on Life Insurance


Filed under: Blogroll — Francesca @ 1:36 pm

A life inusrance policy is a lifetime commitment. Therefore, saving on your policy premium at the beginning of the contract can end up saving you much more by the close of the policy term. It is therefore important that you seek out ways on how to save money on life insurance so as to pay the least possible premiums while not compromising on the coverage. Below are five tips that will assist to get the best value for your money when it comes to a life policy:

1. Have a financial plan

Before you seek ways on how to save money on insurance, it is important that you first come up with a long term, mid term, and immediate financial plan. The plan does not need to be as detailed as the one of a big corporation. However, it is imperative to have a general direction on how you want to handle your finances, investments, and major purchases. Such a plan will help you know what type of insurance to purchase and when to buy one, when to buy a house, where to invest your money, and such like decisions. There are various financial goal planning tools available on the internet and you can search for one that fits your needs. From this financial plan, you can better choose the type of insurance policy to go for and from there, you can seek way on how to save money on a life policy.

2. Permanent life insurance policy

One life insurance policy that you may consider is permanent life. Permanent life insurance consists of policies such as whole life and universal life policies. Permanent life policies give you a lifetime cover and therefore, your beneficiaries are guaranteed of the sum assured irrespective of when you die. Universal life is similar to whole life in that it is permanent but it comes with the advantages of flexible premiums and interest on invested cash value. One of the tips on how to save on insurance with these policies is to take a loan against the cash value as soon as you are eligible. You can then invest the loan in alternative investments. This type of loan does not affect your credit rating in anyway and for universal life, you are not even required to repay the loan.

3. Separate insurance and investment

Another tip for saving on life policies is separating investment with insurance. In this case, you will take a term life insurance policy and then invest your other funds in various investment vehicles. Term life insurance policy is very cheap when compared to the other policy options. You can then choose to invest the funds in various ways such as increasing your mortgage repayments, investing in bonds and stocks or other investment options. This is s preferred way on how to save money on life insurance recommended by most financial planners.

Image: ”life-insurance” by willumjams on Flickr

 

 

Cleaning detergents storage solutions


Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines — Francesca @ 10:16 am

If you need an urgent and suitable decision for the cleaning detergents in your home this article will be more than useful for you. It is good to be supplied with all kinds of detergents in order to provide effective and extensive cleaning. However when you finally finish up with all the household duties, an important thing to do is to figure out what is the best place for the storage of the cleaning products.

 

Even if you find some places really awkward and inappropriate you will be more than surprised to find out, that may be it is the perfect storage solution for your problem. When you have organized household cleaning supplies it is more easy for you to locate them in the right way, whenever you need them for certain tasks. This is really essential, because some hazardous cleaning chemicals must be out of the kids’ reach as they are very curious and usually explore things without realizing that they could be dangerous for them. The following tips will offer you the ideal methods for organizing and storing the household detergents.

 

  • Location

It is important to determine the right location for the cleaning products. The most used cleaning detergents should be positioned in a spot at the front of your storage area. In this way you simplify your daily routine and do not have to search for the frequently used supplies. Store the cleaning products that you use most in a kind of a basket that possesses handles, on the front section of a shelf in a closet. For the less used cleaning products you can use the back of the cleaning storage area.

  • Long-handled cleaning tools should be stored on a broom holders. The broom holders can be easily installed on a wall or door, which will prevent the brooms from cluttering the floor or from falling down constantly. A good and useful idea is to install a screen panel on the lower portion of the door if that is possible to help the brooms and mops to dry with proper ventilation
  • Under the sink

One of the most popular places for storage of the cleaning detergents remains under the sink. Probably because it is the most comfortable place and is situated usually in the kitchen, or may be because of the fact that everyone puts their cleaning products in that place. If you want to do so, first ensure that this space is vast enough and that it is not under the influence of some exterior factors. You could put a kind of a rag before storing the products and make sure that you don’t put cleaning products that are very toxic. After all, you do not want to feel unpleasant smells and odours while you are eating your dinner.

  • Separate the products properly

Take into account that specific cleaning detergents can be dangerous when combined and that is why they must be stored separately in order to prevent the creation of toxic fumes or chemical explosions. The detergents that contain sodium hydroxide or ammonium hydroxide must be stored far away from the acid solutions, like the acetic acid. Place the products on the opposite sides of the cleaning supply storage are.

 

If you have children, but you don’t have enough space to create a place for storing, that is out of reach you can install childproof safety locks on the drawers or cabinets where the household detergents are stored.

These are some of the things that you should consider when creating cleaning products storage in your home. You should be really careful, because most of the cleaning detergents can cause a really bad influence on your health. If you apply these few tips, we guarantee that you won’t experience problems, concerning this issue. Be creative and imaginative and think about the most suitable and safe places for a cleaning detergent storage.

 

 

Author Bio: Paula Sheamus writes articles about home improvement, health and cleaning. She works for Prompt Cleaners W6 as a manager and loves to write for her readers.

 

Image: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2763/4188119553_d04ffb0f2e.jpg

 

Best Ways to Inexpensively Warm Up Your Home with Country Decor


Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines — Francesca @ 9:00 am

If you want to make the interior of your home as warm and inviting as possible, it is definitely a good idea to consider utilizing a country-style decor. After all, this decorating theme stays far away from the stark elements generally associated with a more modern direction. Instead, country embraces warmer colors, cushy furniture, and an overall relaxed environment. In other words, introducing this style into your home will make it instantly feel more comfortable to your family and guests.

Now you may think that decorating in this way would cost a lot of money, but that is not necessarily so. In fact, you can very easily create a country decor for your home without a huge pocketbook. It just takes your creativity, a bit of legwork, and some DIY action.

Tips for Utilizing the Country Style in Your Home

1. Country-Themed Artwork – Every aspect of your interior decorating gives you the opportunity to set a specific mood. Therefore, you should strongly consider adding a few pieces of country-themed artwork, especially in your kitchen and living room.

There are several themes explored by artists who use the country-style including: paintings of barns; fine art photographs of antique farm implements; and sculptures of animals, such as cows and ducks. One can find a lot of this country art for sale at thrift stores, outdoor markets, and other places for very reasonable prices.

2. Use Country Colors – Regardless of whether you are looking for a new sofa or a paint scheme for your dining room, you should definitely pay close attention to your color choices, if you want to create a country theme in your home. Although the modern style latches onto new color schemes on a seasonal basis, there are certain colors that are always in style for people who utilize country decor. For example, it is very common to find various hues of blue and white throughout a country-style home.

Once you decide on the colors you want and would like to take on the painting yourself, an online search may lead you to paint which is currently on sale. As well, your local home improvement store may have a discount rack of specially tinted paint that was not purchased. One customer bought a 5 gallon pail for only $4, whereas the regular price was over $20. Significant savings are available if you are just willing to look.

3. Wooden Furniture – If you are transitioning from modern to country-style, it will be imperative for you to remove all furniture from your home of metal and black wood. Additionally, glass furniture often has too much of a modern appearance to fit properly with this theme. Instead, you should focus on solid wood furniture, especially for your dining table.

Country decorators alternate between preferring lighter or darker wood, and you should make this decision based around the overall look you are going for. However, if you choose dark wood, keep in mind that you will need to introduce bright splashes of accent colors to keep the room from feeling heavy.

To save money, you can always paint your old wooden furniture rather than taking on the extra expense of a new piece. To add those splashes of color, think about country-style throws or old quilts that you already own, can obtain from an antique shop, or even through an online auction site.

4. Country Antiques – The old farmhouse style has become extremely popular, and this gives you the opportunity to decorate your home with a wide variety of interesting objects. For example, it is relatively easy to find antique farm tools by rummaging an attic, browsing through flea markets, and other similar places. These items can provide the interior and exterior of your home with some country charm. You can also utilize older pieces of wooden furniture to help you achieve the farmhouse look. In many cases, these pieces will be painted white, and this can provide a nice contrast to blue walls.

The country-style provides you with a wide variety of options, so it should be easy to make your home feel more inviting while not breaking the budget. As an added bonus, many elements of this style will remain in fashion for much longer than contemporary trends, which would extend your dollar even further.

A relaxed and friendly environment is exactly what writer LaGeris Underwood Bell enjoys in her home surroundings. To attain this type of feeling in the home, anyone can look online to find country art for sale to fit every budget.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brunifia/10634596873/

Shopping for Auto Insurance: What Really Matters?


Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines — Francesca @ 9:54 am

There are so many auto insurance providers and variations on the policies that are available that it can be very difficult for a car owner to determine exactly what they need. Therefore, you should begin by familiarizing yourself with the minimum coverage that is allowable by law in each applicable category. From there, it will be essential to focus on your specific needs based on your driving habits and record. Fortunately, it is much easier to find the necessary information and to sort through your many insurance options by utilizing the Internet. There are also several ways to be financially savvy while shopping for auto insurance.

1. Compare Quotes with Caution

It would be easy to simply choose the least expensive quote, but this is not necessarily the best way to save money in the long run. Instead, you need to compare every aspect of each quote to ensure that you are getting the proper level of protection. After all, some providers do not include glass coverage, but this is definitely something that you should carefully consider adding to your policy. Comparing each line item on all of the quotes that you receive will put you in a better position to make an informed choice that could help you financially in the future.

2. Be Aware of the Impact of Previous Accidents

Unfortunately, having an accident on your driving record can have a negative impact on the amount of money that each provider will require you to pay. With this in mind, some people attempt to reduce their monthly premium by acquiring less coverage. Although this is an option, it actually puts you into a dangerous financial position, and you could be left responsible for the majority of your repair bills if another accident occurs. With this in mind, it is best to be proactive right after an accident by retaining legal representation to help protect you if you were not actually at fault.

An experienced Tampa auto accident attorney firm offers the advice that “Eventually, you may be offered a settlement that is far less than the actual value of your losses and injuries, and urged to sign away your rights to take further action. All of this can be avoided and your best interests served by engaging the services of an auto accident attorney.” They can assist you with the process of obtaining full and fair compensation for all applicable damages even if your insurance provider initially attempts to deny your claim or make you a lowball offer.

3. Base Your Deductible upon Your Ability to Pay

The lower your deductible is, the higher your monthly premium is going to be. Therefore, it makes solid financial sense to determine how much of a deductible you can afford before you obtain a new policy. For some people, getting the lowest possible deductible is more beneficial because it is easier for them to come up with a few extra dollars per month than to face the risk of being unable to pay for their portion of any potential repair bills.

However, if you have enough money put aside that you can easily afford to lose $1,000 out of pocket, it makes sense to choose a higher deductible so that you can save money every month. After all, the odds are high that you will be able to go an extended period of time without needing to make an insurance claim, and this means that you will save money in most cases regardless of whether or not you end up in an accident.

Ultimately, each person should create a checklist to help make sure that they get exactly what they need. It is also vital to consider the age of your vehicle and how often you drive it. After all, if you work from home and your vehicle is old enough that it is almost completely devalued, it probably does not make any sense to invest in a full coverage policy. On the other hand, newer vehicles that are driven regularly need the maximum amount of coverage that you can afford to help you protect your investment. 

With two teen drivers on her auto insurance policy, Lisa Coleman has to practice the above strategies to obtain the right auto insurance for her. She recently learned online from a Tampa auto accident attorney website why accident coverage should be carefully considered.

Image credit:  thedalogs on Flickr

Volunteerism: A Thrifty Activity for the Entire Family


Filed under: Blogroll — Francesca @ 9:00 am

Taking time out of your busy schedule to help someone else is an excellent way to earn your “heart of gold” title. It has become incredibly easy to contribute your time instead of money and is a great way to help others while still being conscious of a tight budget. 

As an added bonus, signing up for a volunteer opportunity will enable you to pass some of your spare time in a manner that will help encourage your children to be charitable in the future.

What are the Perks of Volunteering?

There are a wide variety of organizations that need volunteer assistance across the country so it should be a cinch to find an organization within your own community. For instance, if you reside in a city in Georgia, Macon, Athens, and Atlanta volunteering opportunities are abundant and you can easily find a good fit for your entire family.

For instance, if you want to spend time outside getting exercise, you can look for a group that is working to clear a nature trail, re-mulch a school playground, or clean up a neighborhood park.

Alternatively, if bad weather is expected and you do not have the money to entertain everyone indoors, you could volunteer at a local food bank. This option will make it easier to teach your children about the importance of treating everyone with respect regardless of their financial situation, and it will also enable you to fill some of your spare time in a meaningful manner without having a negative impact on your budget.

The Emotional Benefits of Volunteering

Even if you had unlimited financial resources, research indicates that it would be more beneficial for you to volunteer your time whenever possible instead of always resorting to writing a check. In fact, people who volunteer on a regular basis tend to be more physically and mentally healthy, and they also receive a boost in their self-confidence.

This can be especially critical for children and teenagers, which makes volunteering as a family a good idea. Additionally, you will be able to make new social connections while helping others, and this could help your personal or professional life.

Volunteering During a Staycation

If you do not have enough money to go out-of-town for your family vacation, you could consider volunteering locally as part of a staycation. Ultimately, it is crucial for your entire family to spend quality time together, and this can become hindered by daily routines.

However, if everyone takes a staycation break together, you can alternate between volunteering and doing inexpensive leisure activities so that everyone will receive the benefits associated with making a positive difference in the world and having time to relax.

No matter which volunteering opportunity you are interested in, it is important to take a few minutes to research exactly what will be expected of you so that you do not get in over your head. After all, the point of volunteering as a family to have an enjoyable experience that does not cost any money so that you can fill some time in a manner that helps the community.

Unfortunately, people who sign up for something that they are not qualified to do are much more likely to end up giving up on the idea of volunteering in the future. However, as long as you can avoid this potential issue, volunteering as a family should be beneficial for everyone.

 

Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and Georgia native. Volunteerism has been a huge part of her family time and has been an excellent way to build memories. Atlanta volunteering opportunities are plenteous for Georgia residents. Whether your family enjoys rescuing abandoned pets or painting murals for community improvement, there is something for everyone.

 

Photo credit: http://flic.kr/p/f8rCAh

 

Why Replica Furniture is Okay and Places to Buy Modern Replica Furniture


Filed under: Blogroll — Francesca @ 11:15 am

Over the years, people have come to love furniture that is unique, aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. This is one of the major reasons why antique and designer furniture pieces have become hugely popular. Unfortunately, the rarity, high cost and fragility of this type furniture has prevented many people from acquiring it.

To meet this demand for high quality and unique furniture, the replica furniture industry was created and has been growing rapidly. This industry provides furniture that is equal or almost equal to designer furniture in appearance, quality, aesthetics and comfort but at a much cheaper price. So basically, your home or office gets the look you’ve always been dreaming of but without having to break the bank.

There are arguments that replica furniture is not as high quality as the real one, or that it does not produce the same amazing décor. The truth is, if you chose the right type of replica or reproduction furniture you will discover the quality to be the same and in some cases even higher. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that some replica furniture is replica only because it is made in a different country than the designer one and not because of a difference in quality.

Advantages of replica furniture

The use of reproduction furniture has various advantages over using the real designer furniture.

1. Way cheaper – designer furniture is usually expensive because of the name behind the brand. Replica furniture does not have a specific designer thus the price is much lower. Instead of buying only one piece for thousands of dollars, you can buy a whole outdoor dining set. You get more for less.

2. Customization – as a buyer, you cannot go to a designer and demand that he or she design a certain piece in a specific manner. So you are forced to buy whatever is available even if you do not like some aspects of it. With modern replica furniture, you can find a local seller and ask for a customized piece.

3. Variety – in most cases, antique or modern designer furniture is limited in the number of different designs available. You may find yourself buying the same furniture that dozens of other buyers have purchased. Reproduction furniture on the other hand tends to be produced in a wide variety of designs to fit different customers.

4. Availability – To find a certain designer piece, you need to go further than your local furniture store. Designer pieces are usually found in specific stores. Replica furniture can be found almost anywhere and if you wish, you can even order it on the internet.

5. Quality – As mentioned before, replica furniture is not replica because it is of a lower quality. It is possible to find very high quality and durable replicas that compete with even the best of designer furniture.

Where to buy replica furniture

The increasing popularity of modern replica furniture has made it more available than ever. Buyers have the option of buying it at replica furniture stores or at an online shop. For those in Australia, HomeQ is an excellent online store that sells high quality replica furniture. Simply visit the website, browse available products and choose the one that meets your requirements.

For those in UK, Vertigo Interiors is a good choice when it comes to buying replica furniture online. In the US, some good stores include Elite Modern and Instyle Modern.

Important buying tips

To ensure that you get the full value for your money, here are some tips to help you in purchasing the best modern replica furniture.

• Check the quality of the piece before you buy it. Ensure that it is hardy and durable.

• Go for hardwood furniture to ensure that it lasts long.

• Metal replicas are also good especially for outdoor use.

• Ensure that the design of the furniture you intend to buy will fit in well with the existing décor in your home. If not, you can always look for customized replicas.

• Compare among prices of different sellers of modern replica furniture in order to get the best deal.

You no longer have to go by with low quality and ugly furniture simply because you do not have the money for designer one. Decide what designer furniture pleases you most then go out and look for a cheaper replica.

 

Image:  Wickerfurniture on Flickr

Five Money Saving Tips for the New Arrival


Filed under: Blogroll — Francesca @ 5:13 pm

According to the financial experts at CNN Money, the average cost of raising a child over the course of 18 years is about $241,000. That includes groceries, daycare, clothing, health care, education and all the miscellaneous expenses that kids seem to generate on a daily basis. If you have more than one child, multiply those expenses times the number of kids in your family, and you could be wondering how you’ll ever keep up. Before you contemplate the benefits of getting a part-time job to keep a roof over your head, check out these five money-saving tips that you can implement from birth, to help keep your family’s budget balanced.

1. Buy Pre-Owned Baby Equipment

Babies grow so quickly that they often outgrow their equipment long before it wears out. You may have a number of friends or relatives with kids who no longer need car seats, portable changing tables, toys, games, and even books that they have moved beyond. Ask to borrow these items or purchase them at a deeply discounted rate compared to new items at the local baby megastore. Garage sales and consignment stores are also great places to find quality equipment and baby gear that you can buy at a fraction of the cost, and even resell when you are finished with it to maximize the return on your original investment.

2. Consider Breastfeeding

Did you know that mothers who breastfeed their babies can save between $1,500 and $3,000 on baby formula per year? And that’s just the cost of formula. It doesn’t even include the cost of bottles, nipples, disposable liners, bottle and nipple brushes for cleaning – which all add up to be quite a significant expense from the day you take home your bundle of joy until she celebrates her first birthday (or longer).

Breastfeeding expenses are minimal in comparison. For example, you may require a few nursing bras or tank tops that you can purchase rather inexpensively at your local department store or discount retailer. You may also choose to purchase a nursing pillow for the best positioning of your baby as she nurses every two hours for the first couple months of her life.

The cost of a well-made and supportive nursing pillow such as a Comfort & Harmony nursing pillow Mombo design is usually less than $50 for the pillow and a washable cover. This is a significant savings over the cost of baby formula. You will not have to buy a bunch of pillows over the course of the year either. One pillow with two covers will last at least as long as you nurse.

3. Make of List of Not so Important Items

When you are having a baby, especially if it is your first pregnancy, you are bombarded with ads and advice and books telling you about all the special items you need for your baby and your home. Make a list of the essentials – as in diapers, receiving blankets, clothes for your baby, an approved car safety seat, and a sturdy diaper bag.

Really, when it comes right down to it, you do not need a bunch of expensive convenience items like a baby wipe warmer, or high-end, designer baby furniture. Along with a few essentials, your baby simply needs you, her parents, for the first few months of her life. It’s that simple.

4. Let your Friends Give a Baby Shower

Even if you are not a “traditional” mom-to-be, and you do not love the idea of sitting in a room full of women oohing and ahhing over tiny, pink ruffled things, think of the money you will save when you register for baby items. Your friends and family want to share in your joy and will be delighted to purchase these gifts for you. Refer to your essentials list and you could end up with many of these items even before your baby arrives.

5. Save Money for Maternity Leave

If you are going to taking the standard maternity/paternity leave from your job, or are taking additional time off to be with your newborn, planning ahead financially is a good idea. Try to save a percentage of your salary during the nine months of pregnancy so you’ll have a nest egg to fall back on right after your baby is born.

With a little planning and some creative ideas, you can begin saving money as you raise your child from day one. If you continue these wise financial habits throughout her life, you may just find yourself well under the average cost of raising a child. Along with your new little one, that’s something to celebrate for the next 18 years.

With a family of 6, Lisa Coleman understands the importance of saving when planning for another addition into the family. She was successful at breastfeeding her children with the helpful support of a quality nursing pillow like the Comfort & Harmony nursing pillow Mombo design and the help of her immediate family.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonbarles/9215713810/

 

 

Save money by making your home sustainable


Filed under: Blogroll — Francesca @ 4:22 pm

Many homeowners realize the importance of sustainable living for the environment, but may not realize that adding sustainable features to their homes can also save them money. While not everyone can achieve a fully sustainable home, it is possible to dramatically reduce one’s impact on the environment while simultaneously reducing the amount of money spent each month on utilities.

An extensive remodelling project is often unnecessary if homeowners first look at where they use the most energy in their home. By making changes in these areas, homeowners can achieve the biggest impact with the least amount of spending.

Heating and cooling

Heating and cooling systems traditionally use the most energy in a home. There are several ways that homeowners can reduce the amount of energy they use, and bring down their overall expenses as well. If a home has centralized heating and cooling system, it can be zoned so that only the areas currently in use are being heated or cooled. Likewise, space heaters can be installed in only the rooms requiring heat rather than heating the entire house. Gas heaters produce about one-third fewer emissions than electric, and using fans instead of a cooling system help to reduce electric bills.

Insulation, roofing and windows

Ensuring that a home’s insulation, roofing, and windows are updated will help reduce heating and cooling costs over time. Many homes are under-insulated, meaning that they require more energy to both heat and cool. Similarly, old roofing can allow heat to escape during cold months, and cause cooling systems to be less efficient in warmer months. There are many options available for sustainable roofing materials and systems, and a roofing restoration specialist can be an asset when deciding which best suits your needs. (For help with some of these decisions, click here).

In the same way, replacing windows can help save money on heating and cooling. Newer windows are better insulated and can be installed to maximize sunlight while simultaneously increasing airflow through the house. Property installed and oriented, they can all but eliminate the need for a cooling system.

Well-shaded veranda

A somewhat larger project that can help reduce cooling costs is the addition of a well-shaded veranda. These were very common in earlier construction but have fallen by the wayside with newer model homes. Materials for a veranda can either be reused from another building site/project, or made from recycled materials. This will help reduce the environmental impact of building an addition, and purchasing re-purposed materials can often be less expensive than buying them new. (You can find more information on sustainable building solutions and design here).

Household appliances

White goods (major household appliances such as washers, driers, refrigerators, dishwashers, etc.) are another main source of energy consumption in most homes. As appliances age, they become less energy-efficient. Even at their best, older appliances cost more to run than newer, energy-efficient models. Furthermore, older appliances are likely to cost more to maintain. As they begin to wear out, it can actually be more cost effective to replace old appliances with newer, energy efficient ones.

When looking for new appliance, it is important to refer to the information provided by the Energy Rating Labelling scheme. This system provides specific information on an appliance’s energy usage, as well as a general five star rating scale. In addition to this scheme, appliances that use water, such as dishwashers, are rated by the Water Efficiency Labelling scheme. It uses a similar system to rate the water usage of applicable appliances.

Renewable energy sources

One final way to increase sustainability while reducing cost long term is by switching to renewable energy sources. Both wind and solar power greatly reduce or eliminate emission, and the savings in energy costs will eventually pay off the cost of installation. It is important for homeowners to check with local regulations to see what can and cannot be installed on their homes. This is another area where it is important to check with a professional to see which type of energy system is best for both your home and your local environment.

These money-saving techniques can provide wonderful incentives for homeowners that may have been concerned about the cost of moving toward a more sustainable home, balancing the cost of improvement with long term financial savings.

Image:  krossbow on Flickr

How To Create Recycled Fashions


Filed under: Blogroll,Company Headlines — Francesca @ 9:00 am

Many once out-dated fashion trends have made a comeback and are now modern trends. In the fashion industry, what goes around comes around. Today’s fashion items would probably become out dated soon then become trendy again in the future. However, you can be creative and create your own fashion trends through fashion recycling. Fashion recycling involves many factors including shopping in thrift stores and modifying current fashion items in your wardrobe. Reducing the carbon footprint involves taking personal responsibility and making certain sacrifices. Luckily, you can do fashion recycling without sacrificing your sense of style.

Upcycling

This involves the creation of new fashion items from old or cast off items. Upcycling has many applications. It includes various practices including knitting sandals out of grocery bags and reworking old jewellery to make new pieces altogether.

Shopping Your Closet

No matter how careful you are with your expenditure, you have probably made the mistake of buying an item that you know will not be worn. There are many reasons why people do not wear some of the clothes they purchase. Some clothes may not fit well while others become out dated. It is important to know that you can still give such items a second lease of life by making a few modifications. Here are tips on how you can modify old fashion items

Embellishment

You can add these onto old plain T-shirts and dresses. Sometimes a simple top can be too basic to be interesting. This offers you the chance to show off your style by adding a few statement-making pieces. Common cloth embellishments include old fabric pieces, broken jewellery, beading or charms and laces among others.

Length

Add length to that once-beloved mini skirt by adding ruffles to the bottom. The ruffles can be cut off from other cast off items or new fabrics. Choose fabrics that you love. Make sure the ruffles match with the cloth. You can leave the ruffle hem raw to give the cloth an edgy look.

Be Creative

Turn your once favourite dress into a skirt. Many people have dresses whose fabrics they love but do not like the fit of their bodices. You can easily turn such dresses into skirts. It involves making a new waistband for the skirt out of matching piece of fabric and adding some elastic. Remove the dress’ bodice and reattach the skirt to the new waistband.

You can recycle your old woollen sweater into a nice felted headband. First, wash the sweater in a washing machine on hot then dry it in the dryer. The dry sweater will be a little smaller than its original size. Cut the waistband off the sweater and open it up. Adjust the band so that it fits your head. Resew the side seams. Voila, you have a nice winter accessory.

One of the simplest ways to get recycled fashions is by purchasing used fashion items from thrift stores, consignment shops and garage sales. Many of the items sold through such markets are still fashionable and have little wear. Purchasing items from thrift stores allows you to minimize unnecessary waste and pollution associated with manufacturing and transporting new items from overseas. You can also upcycle items you find in these venues into something you love.

There are many thrift stores throughout the U.K. Consignment shops allows you to sell old fashion items and share the profits with the stores. Head out for a garage sale whenever you have a free weekend to look for used fashion items. To get the best items, shop early on the first day of the sale. Consignment stores and garage sales offer a wide range of items. You have to shop often to find the items you want.

Lauren Mackey is a fashion blogger. When she’s not writing about fashion she works for www.pizazzonline.co.uk.

Image:  epSos.de on Flickr