Save on electricity costs

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I have been researching on how to lower our electricity costs. I realized that we are paying too much when our house is not even that big and only a few of us stays at home for more than eight hours a day on weekdays. I figured it has something to do with the time of use of major electrical appliances.

I did my research and here’s what I came up with. Here are three major electrical appliances often used by most households and the best way to use them to save on electricity.

Air Conditioning and Heating. Set your thermostat in such a way that the AC/heater can cool/heat the room faster and then set it on low just to maintain the cold/warm temperature while using the room. Learn to utilize blinds and curtains to throw off the heat during warm days. Use jackets, blankets, and any type of clothing to keep you warm during the winter days and nights. Check for leaks and issues with insulation. Have someone check the HVAC regularly in order to keep it at its best working condition.

Basically, learn to fully utilize the HVAC depending on the season. Regular checks and maintenance are keys to its best use.

Washer and Dryer. According to my research, it is best to run the washer and dryer very early in the morning or at night, possibly when everyone is asleep and nobody’s using any other major appliance at home. The hours between seven and nine in the morning are the highest in terms of electricity consumption so it is best to avoid using the washer and drying during those hours.

If it still uses a lot of electricity, better hire a local pro to check your dryer and washer, too.

Water Heating. I think it’s safe to say that 80% of families use water heating especially during the cold months. I mean, even at home, we use hot showers at least twice a day. I know that it consumes a lot of electricity but when it’s cold or after work when you feel like de-stressing in the shower, the water heater comes in great use.

So, my research says that when not in use, it is best to turn off the water heater completely as it still consumes electricity even when it isn’t being used. Turning down the thermostat and making sure you are using the right size of water heater help in lowering your electricity costs. And the best advice in lowering the electricity usage of your water heater is to use less of it! I think it is best to use it only when it is really cold.

I have already started implementing these at home. I want to cut down on our electric consumption. It will not only save me some cash but also help the environment in the long run.

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Side hustle idea: Bake by batches

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One of the things that came out of this pandemic that hit the world was the ability of majority of individuals to come up with additional sources of income. I personally experienced this. Back in 2020, the company I am employed at cut our basic salaries into a very minimal amount. There was no cash flowing in and fixed expenses still needed to be paid, I was truly grateful I still got paid even with no work to be done. So, to augment the loss of income, my sister and I came up with the idea of selling food. We started with packed lunch and dinner. When that didn’t really panned out and we figured it was more work and little profit, we brainstormed on another business idea. Baking came to mind.

So, we went to fix the oven issues quickly. Our oven was an old electrical one. We got it fixed right away but we also bought a new gas oven just to be sure we wouldn’t incur too much on electricity.

Omo! cakes and pastries was born.

My sister is the baker and I am the one-woman support. We used to focus on it full-time but when businesses opened again and my sister and I had to go back to the office, we made it a side hustle. My sister would bake by batches. We stocked on baking supplies, made sure we have enough of it because we don’t have time to go back and forth to the stores, and my sister would bake on weekends. She baked cookies and pastries that’s why she can bake by batches. On weekdays, we would sell it through our social media accounts.

The idea of selling food came from a family friend who told us that everyone gets hungry and craves for different kinds of food. There will always be someone willing to taste what you have to offer.

The profit is not that high but nothing beats steady cash flow. You can bake by batches just like what my sister does. For cookies like what we offer, as long as you have a good storage space, it won’t spoil. It cake stay fresh even a few days after. If no one buys, then my nephews have cookies for snacks.

If you can find something you love to do, something that makes you happy, turn it into something you can earn even a little from. It could be baking or painting, or writing. It could be anything! These days, with the power of social media, you can promote anything you want to earn from through it. And, believe you me, you can really earn from it. Think of all those vloggers who had nothing to offer but their voices and their idea of what’s interesting for them. Think of the bloggers who earns from their platforms. There are so many ideas you can come up with. All you have to do is push through with it and follow through like what my sister and I did.

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Safety in commuting.

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My sister’s boyfriend commutes to work from Mondays to Fridays, early evening. He is on a perpetual night shift working as an auditor at a well-known 5-star hotel. He has a sedan sitting at home but he figured it would be quicker to go to work riding the bus or the train. He almost always chose the bus because it’s more convenient he could take a nap while on the road. But commuting to work has its disadvantages and one of those things is riding the public transportation with pickpockets. His mobile phone was taken from him. Twice! Even when he thought that his belongings were safe.

After the second time that his mobile phone was taken, a brand new one at that, he resolved to drive to work. Good thing that traffic is light at night. He just had to check car detailing services prices and avail of one because his car had been sitting in his garage for some time and had been used sporadically before his decision to drive to work daily.

But with the high prices of gasoline and diesel products, his transportation budget is getting a killing. He is thinking of going back to commuting and, maybe, driving to work twice a week instead. I commute to work daily so he asked me how I stay safe while inside the bus or the train.

Here are two things that must be done while commuting to stay safe.

Be aware of your surroundings. There are days when a ride is truly safe. You can feel it in your gut and I do trust my instinct. I don’t sleep. I used to but it has become a no-no especially when the pandemic hit and a lot of people lost their jobs. Many have become desperate and you can’t truly fault them because hungry people will do everything in order to eat. I also make sure to tuck my bag at my side where I feel it is safe. These are not fool-proof ways to stay safe but being aware of your surroundings, getting a feel of the people around you, are just steps to secure yourself while inside a public vehicle.

Wear your mask and know your stop. Safety in terms of health is also a must when commuting through a public transportation. So, wear your masks. There are sick people who don’t show outward symptoms. Always keep that in mind. You should also know your stop so that you know when to get up from your seat and wait for the bus to stop. A lot of people are getting robbed while getting off the bus or the train, when they are rushing off because they miscalculated their stop. Again, keep that in mind.

And say a little prayer whenever you go out of the house. I come a prayerful family so that is one thing that I always do as well.

Again, not fool-proof ways to stay safe but, based on my experience, effective ways to adopt to avoid pickpockets and the like.

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Android versus Smart TV: Pick one!

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There is an on-going battle amongst fans of android and smart TV on which one is the best. I am also wondering which one is the best for our family. Our current TV, an old traditional one, has retired so a new one is about to come join our family very soon. It is imperative that I find out which one is better to make an informed decision before I go buy one.

Smart TV

A Smart TV is any television that can connect to the internet. It is very user-friendly as it comes with pre-installed apps like Netflix, Youtube, and even Facebook so there are no more complicated set-up needed. It is basically plug and play when you buy it.

The thing with Smart TV is that when you want to connect to other apps, you might not be able to. This television is not upgradable so new apps coming out won’t play in it. If you truly want to access new apps, a new Smart TV might be needed. Will you buy a new one just because you can’t access one app or two?

Android TV

The Android TV is basically a smart TV, one that can also connect to the internet and comes with pre-installed apps when you purchase one. But with an Android TV, Google Play Store gives this television a big edge compared to the Smart TV. Just like with Android smart phones, additional apps can easily be downloaded and upgraded. A vast array of apps from the play store can be installed and easily accessed on the TV remote control. It is just like a smart phone actually. And there’s the Google Assistant, too, and the Android box.

The only disadvantage of this type of television is that if the buyer is not tech-savvy and not too familiar with Android, installation and set-up might appear complicated and confusing.

Well, there you go. Basically, if you know Android, then the latter one is for you. If you want something very simple and with no complicated upgrading or installation, the former one is best.

As for me and my family, our pick is the Android TV. Adults in the family are familiar with Android as we all have that type of smart phones. And good thing we have a go-to repair man. The benefits of hiring a same-day appliance repair expert is something that all of us need to know. It comes handy especially if you have people relying on specific appliances at home. In our family, aside from TV, two of my sisters rely on the oven for their side hustle.

So, what’s your pick?

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Income from creating content.

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Content creator. Have you heard of it? These are individuals who think and formulate ways to come up with something they can share online. They help spread awareness of causes. They also make sure brands become household names and go-to choices of everyone in their target market. Creating content has become a career nowadays. A lot of the popular ones even resigned from their nine to fives just so they can concentrate on creating content for their videos and podcasts. Nothing wrong with being a vlogger or podcaster, or whatever else you call those other content creators out there. If being one can create a positive impact on society especially on the youth, then go ahead and create more of whatever content you have!

A former sous chef in a five-star hotel lost his job when the pandemic hit the world. With no job and no clear prospects at the moment, he decided to just chill at home, repair and maintain the house, here and there. He was researching about ceiling smoothing one day when he chanced upon a cooking video. The guy on the video was boring, according to him. While watching the video, his mom called him and since he didn’t want to be disturbed, a funny argument ensued. That was the time the idea of creating content came to him.

I’ve been following the ex-sous chef’s Youtube cooking videos for some time now. It is funny and informational and the dishes are simple and easy to follow. The last time I checked, he now has hundred thousands of followers and has been getting endorsement offers from different brands. What used to be just a way to pass time has now become his bread and butter. His mom is even in most of his videos, providing comic relief to his cooking.

There is income in creating vlogs. I’ve been reading and hearing how big one can get from it especially with thousands and millions of subscribers in streaming platforms online. My sister told me last night that a girl who has been in the news lately for being cheated on by her partner is earning close to a hundred grand in US dollars every month. Yes, every month! My friends and I have been joking that we should start creating content as well if it will bring us that much money. But we don’t really have a knack for being in front of the camera so we’ll see.

What do you think of content creators and influencers? Would you like to be one, too?

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Learn a new skill.

This person is neck-deep in debt. He accumulated debts from school, house, car, and a number of purchases for personal use and consumption. He forgot to budget his salary. Most of the time, he spends more than what he earns. Most of the time, he spends money that isn’t even there yet, he hasn’t earned yet. Now, he is neck-deep in debts and he knows that it is a very long journey before he can pay off all of it.

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For those in a similar predicament as that person, I have two suggestions to get out of debt.

Budget your money. I was neck-deep in debt, too. I know how it feels to be scared of every call you get because you know it is from a collection agency. I also know the feeling of getting demand letters, left and right. Good thing I was able to get out of the well of debts I was drowning in. I learned to budget my money. It was not an easy process. I read, asked around, watched lessons. Then, I applied what I know of budgeting and spreadsheets.

It was a slow process, that much I can truthfully say. Most especially if the debt we’re talking about is high up there. There is a way out, though. Patience, self-discipline, strong will. You can’t budget your money and not follow what you set out to save or spend. You can’t keep using your credit card if you know your bills will pile up and you will be even deeper in debt by the end of the month. As I said, it is not easy. There are so many considerations and sacrifices you need to make.

I’ve been there and I don’t want to go back to that situation ever again.

Budget, budget, budget.

Learn a new skill. There are so many skills that you can learn easily. You don’t need to go to school or any learning center for it. You can search online, watch tutorials, read about the skill. When you think you know enough, apply somewhere you can apply it and where you can learn more about it. Max Appliance Repair trained experienced technicians started as amateurs. Right? Technicians learn their craft and work so they can become experts at their job.

Learn a skill, work to earn from it. That’s my suggestion. And whatever you earn from your side hustle, use it to pay off your debts faster.

I self-studied website development. I asked help from IT guys at work. They were gracious enough to teach me the basics and, later on, correct me when I was already practicing what I learned.

You can find so many new skills online. Make sure you really want to learn that skill so you can enjoy in the process.

There are so many ways to get out of debt. Again, it is not an easy process but it is doable.

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Slowing the aging process.

I am turning 44 in a few weeks. Nothing to be sad about. In fact, I am grateful for every year of my life. Growing old is a blessing, not everyone experiences being old. Most people die young. My parents did. My younger brother died when he was 15. So, you can only imagine how happy I am that I get to spend more time with the people I love. My daily prayer is that I get to see my grandchildren with my two nephews.

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I think I know what you are thinking next. If I want to live longer, I should start taking care of myself more than what I am doing now. I actually am. Right now, I am trying my best to slow my aging especially on my skin. Well, I have three ways on how to slow the aging process the natural way.

1. Stop smoking, drink less alcohol.

I think we all know the side effects of smoking and drinking alcohol. Damage to the lungs and liver, not to mention how it wreaks havoc to the whole body over the years of continued consumption and use. I know most of you would react to this number one way of slowing the aging process because a number of you are smokers and drinkers. But let me say something as a reminder: do it in moderation. Smoking, if it can be totally eliminated from your system, the better. Drinking, well, a glass a day won’t do anyone harm. We have an old lady neighbor who swore to my dad that the secret to her long life was drinking one bottle of beer a day. She told my dad that she would drink one cold bottle of beer every night before going to bed. It might be true because she lived to almost a hundred years.

2. Take extra care of your skin.

Avoid direct sunlight. Don’t over-tan your skin. Make sure to remove your make-up before going to bed. And clean your face with soap and water only as much as possible. Go to the dermatologist if you have a skin blemish, pimple or skin tag. Get a facial regularly. It also doesn’t hurt to try a new skin treatment from time to time, like microneedling. Everything you need to know about microneedling can be researched online, of course. Procedures that can help your skin look better are totally okay to try. Again, everything in moderation.

3. Eat a healthy and balanced diet.

One of the things that I tell those close to me when it comes to eating healthy is to not be swayed by the current diet fad. Not every diet that worked on others will work for you. It is still better to consult a doctor before going on a diet to make sure that you are not harming yourself more than getting healthy in the process. If you don’t want to consult a doctor, you know the best advice there is: eat in moderation.

Let’s make sure to beat the mortality rate and grow older than our elders.

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