Make Your Home More Energy Efficient!

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Many of us truly love our homes. After all, it’s the space where most of us can feel the safest and get to finally take a break from all the stress of the modern world. However, that stress can come crashing in when we have to deal with just how much of an expense our homes can be. On top of things like mortgage payments, one of the most significant expenses that many of us have to deal with when it comes to our home is our energy bills. However, that’s not something that you simply have to put up with. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do in order to make your home a little more energy efficient and save yourself some money.

Go solar

We may as well start with some of the bigger things that you can do in order to really make the most significant impact on your home’s energy efficiency levels. Installing solar panels on your home’s exterior might seem like a pretty drastic step but solar installation is actually a whole lot easier than you might think. Sure, there’s an initial investment to think about,  but the money it can save you, in the long run, can often make it more than worth it. A lot of people find themselves able to cut down on their energy costs by more than they could possibly have imagined.    

Replace your appliances

A simpler thing that you can do is to replace some of the appliances in your home with more energy efficient ones. The issue might simply be that your appliances are getting old and as they age they become less efficient. Again, this will involve an initial investment but, once again, it’s the kind of thing that will easily pay for itself over time and make that investment entirely worth it. From your boiler to your dishwasher to your washing machine, there are plenty of appliances in your home that you can replace with something more energy efficient.

Change your behavior

Of course, if you want the easiest option, not to mention one that comes with no initial financial investment on your part, the simplest thing that you can do it to change your behavior. Think about the kind of things you do around the house. Are you leaving lights on or electronics running even when you’re not using them? Do you keep your heating on all day long when you probably don’t need to? Changing your behavior in simple ways is often the kind of thing that you might not even notice after a while. It’s just a matter of getting into good habits.

The great thing about making your home more energy efficient is that you’re not only helping to save yourself some money but you’re lessening your environmental impact as well which is something that more and more of us are becoming increasingly concerned about in the modern era. Sure, there are plenty of other things that you can do, but these are just some of the simpler ideas that pretty much anyone can introduce into their homes without too much trouble.

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Failed Your New Year’s Resolutions Already? Here’s Why

Sorry to break it to you if you’ve made some great new year’s resolutions recently, but the majority of resolutions actually fail come February – around 80%, in fact. This shouldn’t put you off making goals that could help you to improve your life. After all, everybody should aim to get better in one way or another, whether that’s managing money better, getting more sleep, reading more books, or doing something else that’s beneficial and meaningful. Making changes like this to your life can mean you enjoy life more and find your life more fulfilling.

However, failing your resolutions can be disheartening, and can send you off on a downward spiral. Some people have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality, and this means that failing a new year’s resolution can put them even further back then when they first began their quest to improve.

Perhaps you have an all or nothing mentality and you really need to cut yourself some slack. You don’t have to be perfect to reach your goals, or have absolutely everything laid out – you just need to keep moving forward, remember your ‘why’, and find other ways to be better than you were yesterday.

Below, we’ll discuss a few more reasons why you may be failing when it comes to improving aspects of your life, and you’ll find some ideas to help you overcome them, too.

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You Haven’t Managed Your Time Properly

Proper time management is absolutely key, whatever it is you want to achieve. You need to make sure that you are prioritizing your most important tasks, and getting them done before anything else so that they aren’t bogging you down all day. For example, if your resolutions are to stay physically and mentally fit, why not meditate and workout before the rest of your day begins? Then you’re already off to a winning start!

You Haven’t Found The Right Help

You won’t always be able to do things alone. In fact, it’s a good idea to get some help from time to time. Perhaps you’d benefit from speaking to a career counselor if you want a new job, or a financial advisor if you want to finally get your finances in order. You might even benefit from an expungement attorney if you want to make sure that your past mistakes aren’t impacting your future opportunities. Do your research – a mentor could even be a great idea for you.

You’re Not Looking At This In The Long Term

Whatever it is you want to achieve, you need to come up with a plan that’s sustainable. Don’t be afraid to take it slow at first.

You’re Overthinking Things

Sometimes you need to stop thinking and just start doing. Just take one baby step in the right direction. All success is, is a series of baby steps!

You Don’t Have A Strong Enough ‘Why’

A strong ‘why’ will keep you going when things get tough. Write yours down and put them somewhere you can see them.

You’re Not Tracking Your Results

Tracking your results can help you to see how far you’ve come and help you to stay motivated. You could keep a journal to monitor your progress, for example.

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Not Always The Rosiest Of Surroundings! Looking After Your Family When Moving To A New Area

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Moving your family to a new area is one of the biggest shake-ups that will ever happen to you all as a unit. Whatever the reason, settling into a new place that you don’t really know is rare, but it does happen. For example, maybe you are moving to a different area because of work or it’s to take advantage of the cheaper properties. But, moving to a new area as a family can result in varying shocks to the system. So how best can you look after your family when you move to a new area, and find ways to ensure that you haven’t moved to this new place with a lot of regret and fear of what lies ahead?

Get To Know The Neighbors

They are your lifeline when it comes to integrating yourself into a new community. It can be difficult when you have no idea about who is trustworthy, especially if you move to an area that is not particularly community oriented. But it doesn’t hurt to knock on the door of the people next door and introduce yourself. The best thing for you to do at this stage is to be as open and friendly as possible, there is no point in being a shrinking violet because you and your family need to find ways to get involved.

Keep Your Guard Up (But Only To Begin With)

When we are finding our feet, we’ve got to do our best to hit the ground running, but there can be a little bit of the unknown. And if you’re not sure about the area you live in, you can easily make some security upgrades to your home just in case it’s a community that had a few break-ins recently. You can find out more information from the neighbors of course, but keeping your guard up at this point can feel a little disheartening. But, this is only while you find your feet. It’s important to get the lay of the land, and this is why you need to speak to people. It can take a few months to feel comfortable somewhere, and finding out from the local community is a simple way to get the relevant information. In the meantime, protecting your home isn’t just necessary, it’s common sense! And if you are doing your best to get out there and head to as many social functions as possible, you need to know that your home is secure, so you may as well take this opportunity to invest in a security system. Numerous providers, like LifeShield supply smart security systems. A lot of the modern devices give you the opportunity to see what your security camera sees through your phone so you can see what’s going on in real time, especially while you’re out pursuing your hobbies.

Being Sociable

Meeting new people is one of the more difficult things for any member of the family when you go to a new place. This is why it’s important to follow your hobbies. Whether it’s you, or the children, taking the opportunity to find out what art classes, gym sessions, or Warhammer games are out there, getting involved in these sociable activities gives everyone in the family the opportunity to extend the olive branch. It’s always very intimidating to make new friends because you’ve got to find out what you have in common with these people. And if you make a lot of effort to find out that you’ve got nothing in common with them, it can feel like a waste. To be sociable, you are far better off pursuing your hobbies. The things that interest you and that you want to keep up will easily lend itself to meeting like-minded people. And the more you go, the more opportunities there will be to be sociable. To begin with, there is no point trying to make a new best friend, even though you might feel on your own. But give it time.

Getting The Entire Family Involved With The New Start

If you have children of varying ages, the excitement might not be palpable with everyone. At this point, where you’re all feeling out on a limb, this is the prime opportunity to work together as a family to find out what everyone wants. Not just in terms of making an impact in the new place, but also what people want out of the home. For example, this can give you all the opportunity to work together and renovate the place. This way, everybody has the chance to put their own stamp on the place. And while it can feel isolating, at this point, it’s essential for every single one of you to work at keeping in contact with friends and family members in your old hometown. The children might gravitate towards this anyway. But what is important of this point is to ensure that you’re all working together so that every person in the family feels that they are finding their feet in the new place, because if one of you is happy and the rest aren’t, this isn’t particularly fair. This can be the perfect chance to solidify your family relationship even more.

A new home in a new location is all about a new start. And this isn’t always what everyone wants. After all, your children might hold it against you, as you’ll be uprooting them from everything they know. And you can do your best to show them why this is the best thing that’s ever happened to them, but you’ve got to give them the time to find out for themselves. In the meantime, it’s about making them feel as comfortable as possible. This isn’t an easy thing but it’s a way for you to make it not seem so much of a shock. And while it might be the best thing that happens to you all, it’s at this point that you have to stick together. Be open to new opportunities, but when you are in a new environment, the family unit can provide ample protection while everyone finds their way.

 

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Things You Must Do To Make Your Home Stand The Test of Time

You don’t want to have to redecorate your home with the changing of every season – so what can you do to make sure your home stands the test of time? Every now and again it’s nice to switch things up with a new accessory or by introducing a new color, but doing this all the time will mean spending an absolute fortune and take a lot of free time. Below, we’ll talk about what you should do to make sure your home stands the test of time. Enjoy:

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Keep Things Simple And High Quality

If you want your home to stand the test of time, you need to have quality over quantity in your head. A timeless design is never cluttered or OTT. Try to keep your own design as straightforward as you can, with just one, a max of two focal points in the room.

Make Sure It’s Functional

A timeless home is one you should be able to live in comfortably, and this means that it absolutely has to be functional. It doesn’t matter if it looks beautiful if your family can’t actually live in it. You need to make sure that the lay out is ideal – you shouldn’t be bumping into things as you make your way around the house. It should also be safe, so look into things like security systems and next-generation metal roofing to ensure it’s safe from intruders and the elements.

Ensure Your Home Is Balanced with The Environment

Everything should be proportion if you want to create a timeless home that you should be happy in for the foreseeable future. For example, if the majority of homes on your street are Victorian in style, you may regret making your ultra-modern in a few years.

Choose A Classic Color Scheme

A classic color scheme means using colors like beige, brown, black, white, and grey – but don’t be afraid to add in a pop of color here and there to make it fun and interesting!

Have A Single Focal Point

Having a single focal point in a room will always make it look more professionally put together. Your focal point could be a piece of furniture, the view outside, or even a piece of art. This can depend entirely on the room and how you live in it, so consider this carefully.

Include Indoor Plants

Indoor plants should be used in abundance. They bring happiness and wellbeing to all who see them, and they can also offer real health benefits, such as clearing the air. You can even use fake plants if you don’t want to have to create a maintenance schedule. Greenery never goes out of style!

Go For The Right Kind Of Lighting

Know when to use certain types of lighting. Bright lighting is great for areas you’ll be cooking and working, but not in places like the bedroom when you want to be sleeping and relaxing. White light and yellow light can both be useful in different rooms and different situations!

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Want To Speed Up Your Savings?

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Saving up for things can take a long time – but what if you don’t have that time? Most people resort to loans in these instance, but this doesn’t always have to be the solution. Here are a few tricks that could help you to save up money faster and meet your savings goals.

Choose the right account

Putting your money in a high interest savings account will allow you to accumulate funds more quickly without contributing more money. There are some savers out there that offer as much as 5% interest. Believe it or not, there are even checking accounts that collect interest and pay rewards allowing you to earn more money in your main account – you can check out this site for the best banks for checking accounts. Online banks tend to be able to offer more interest as they have less overheads than brick and mortar banks.

Make temporary cutbacks

By cutting your expenses, you’ll have more money to throw at your savings. These cutbacks only have to be temporary until you meet your savings goal – the bigger the cutback, the quicker you’ll save money. Some people go to the extreme of downsizing their property or doing without a car for a few months. Other less extreme options could include budgeting your food shop, eating out less often, watching your energy usage and cutting back on unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking.

Sell your clutter

Everyone has unused possessions in their home that could be sold for cash. The money gained from selling these items could go towards your savings. Consider old clothing, old books and reminders of past interests that you’re no longer into. You may be able to find a local second-hand store to sell these items or you could consider selling them online where you may be able to make more money.

Throw surprise earnings at your savings

Occasionally, we all earn money that we weren’t expecting. This could be money in a birthday card, a tax rebate, prize money for a competition or even money you just so happened to find on the floor. Rather than spending this money, invest this money into your savings so that you can reach your savings goal sooner – it’s money that you never planned to have, so you won’t miss it by putting it into your savings.

Collect spare change in a jar

You can also save up money outside of a bank account – you could use a piggy bank or a jar for collecting any spare change in your wallet. Some people manage to save up for vacations and Christmas presents simply by saving up coins and dollar notes. Make sure that the jar is sealed so that it can’t be dipped into unless you physically smash it open.  

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3 Mishaps To Avoid For A Happy Healthy Holiday

As we stifle a turkey and stuffing flavored burp and hit the treadmill to make up for our over-indulgence this Thanksgiving, and nurse the bumps and bruises we’ve picked up in the unfettered and lamentably violent rugby scrum that is the Black Friday sales, it’s only natural for our thoughts to turn to Christmas. While the festive time is the most wonderful time of the year for many, it still has its seasonal woes and a unique set of risks that we must all sidestep in order to be as happy and healthy as possible over the holidays. As any boy scout knows, the trick to a happy and uneventful holiday season is to be prepared. As such, here we’ll look at some commonly encountered seasonal mishaps and the measures you can put in place to avoid them…

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Don’t see in the new year with a DUI

Christmas is a time traditionally associated with festive indulgence. While for many of us this means throwing the diet books out of the window for a few weeks and enjoying the food that they love as often as they like, unfortunately many of us will be drinking too much this season. It goes without saying that a festive attitude to alcohol and driving home do not mix. Although the kind of criminal defense detailed in the Alpert Schreyer website can protect you from harsh sentencing, these experienced attorneys will be the first to agree that prevention is the best cure. Be sure to abstain if you know that you will be driving or participate in a designated driver scheme with your friends and colleagues.  

Over indulgence needn’t be unhealthy at Christmas

We have gotten into the habit of expecting a little weight gain over the holiday season. While we should absolutely enjoy the food we eat over Christmas this is not to say that we must resign ourselves to an unhealthy Christmas dinner. There are many ways in which we can cut the caloric cost of the food we love without compromising on flavor.

The traditional fare of a stuffed turkey and mountains of veggies is pretty healthy, while non-meat eaters can find a plethora of healthy vegan Christmas recipes. When we limit our intake of saturated fats, sugar and other refined carbohydrates as well as moderating our alcohol intake, we needn’t feel the guilt for our festive binge all the way through March!

Unsafe driving

Most of us will likely be spending a great deal of time on the road over the holidays and so we must ensure that both we and our vehicles are fit for purpose on the road. Take your vehicle into your local shop for a winter inspection and possibly some new winter tires. Make sure that you plan rest breaks when travelling; 15 minutes for every 2 hours at the wheel is recommended. Drink plenty of water to ensure that you’re alert and responsive and try to eschew coffee as it can cause your energy levels to spike and dip erratically throughout your journey.

Be smart and stay safe this holiday season, dear reader!

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Keeping Your Basement as Dry as Possible

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Basements can become damp places extremely easily. But in order to protect the structure of your home and to avoid extensive damage that could end up costing you a whole lot of money down the line, you need to make a thorough and consistent effort to keep your basement as dry as possible. This can help you to prevent water damage, as well as the growth of mold, fungus and mildew (which can trigger asthma, allergies and illness). Here are a few simple steps that you can carry out in order to achieve this!

Carry Out Waterproofing

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and there are preventative steps that you can take in order to prevent your basement from becoming damp. An effective basement waterproofing system can remove water seventy percent faster than standard methods of drainage. It will protect the interior of your basement from any incoming moisture and it has the added bonus of ensuring that your basement looks “finished”. You can learn more about this process by visiting HelitechOnline.com.

Use Water Resistant Paint

The houseproud amongst us will generally paint our basement walls to prevent the space from looking like a grey and barren space that could be taken straight from a horror movie. But before your paint your basement walls, make sure to browse the market for some high-quality water-resistant paint. Many homeowners find that moisture and condensation in their basement can cause their walls to “weep”, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Water resistant paint can help to prevent this issue from developing.

Invest in a Dehumidifier

Increasing numbers of us are investing in dehumidifiers to improve the air quality in the main body of our home. So why not purchase one for your basement too? If there’s any area of your property that needs a dehumidifier, it’s safe to say the basement is probably it! A dehumidifier will absorb excess moisture from your basement. If your basement is large, you may need more than one. Consult a sales assistant for advice regarding how many dehumidifiers you will need for the space that you have.

Direct Appliance Vents Outdoors

Many of us will place some of our appliances in our basement space in order to free up room in the main body of our home. If you have a washer, a dryer, a refrigerator, or a freezer in your basement, make sure their vents are directed outdoors. Also check these appliances regularly for leaks and call in a maintenance workers to repair any faults as soon as they are identified.

It may be relatively difficult keeping your basement dry, but your efforts will be worth it in the long run! A dry basement can prevent structural damage and can also ensure that the space is pleasant rather than damp and odorous.

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