Save on utility bills.

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Here are two major suggestions on how to save on utility bills at home.

Get your major appliances checked by a professional.
The idea is to make sure that each energy-consuming appliance you have at home is not sucking money out from you. If the appliances you have at home are inverter and energy-efficient, you just need to have it checked if still in good working condition. Also, keep in mind that each appliance has a lifespan. Have the professional expert check it as well to make sure there is no chance of the appliance getting burned, causing fire, or anything like that.

A neighbor came to mind right now. They had this top-of-the-line gas range oven and it gave them years of great service. But one day, while the woman of the house was roasting a chicken, the gas oven suddenly blew up. It was such a huge blast that a part of their house had a big hole where the oven was. It was a good thing that nobody got hurt when it happened. The woman of the house was checking her laundry when it happened. Do you what caused the blast? Short circuit. The electrical outlet where the oven was plugged got wet and it caused the short circuit, in turn causing the oven to blow up. Had an expert was able to check it, nothing like that would happen.

So, get an expert on appliances and electrical outlets to your home as soon as possible. Get everything checked. It will not only save you on utility bills but also prevent accidents from happening.

You need to install energy-efficient windows for your home.
The idea is not to let the HVAC use too much power in order to make the house cool/warm. If the windows can ward off the heat of the sun or the cold of the winter, then you will no longer consume too much energy, thus, saving you on utility bill. There is also no need to turn on the light when you have good windows installed, even when inside the house it is a bit dark.

Generally speaking, there are many ways on how we can all save on our household bills. We just need to research and get a professional’s advice on how to. We also need to act on it and be consistent especially on the frequency of check and maintenance of our homes. For our home, we make sure we get the electrical wirings and outlets, including the breakers, checked once a year. Pest control is once a year for the major one, every quarter thereafter for check-ups. Check of major appliances once a year, too. And the water supply connection once every two to three years, unless there’s a leak then a major check-up will be done right away.

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Dreaming of moving day.

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Have you ever felt this uneasiness that you cannot explain and figure out? I have been experiencing it for the past several months now. At first, I couldn’t explain it, couldn’t pinpoint what was causing it. But after a couple of talks with my siblings, I realized that I wanted a change. And by change I mean a new house.

From that day on, I have been dreaming of moving day!

I now have a reliable and affordable long-distance mover on standby. I have a checklist of what to organize and pack first, move and unpack later. And who to assign for each room and storage at home. I have been planning it in my mind it feels real.

If you are moving from one place to another, here are some tips you need to keep in mind:

1. Make sure to pack plates, glasses, and anything that can be broken easily in padded wraps. You can also use face towels, kitchen towels, or anything padded like bubble wraps as protection. And then pack in a box with a “Fragile” label on all sides.

2. Seal all bottles to avoid spillage. Kitchen bottles especially containing condiments and cooking oil, as well as toiletries bottles should be sealed. I watched a life hack where you open a bottle, put plastic on top of the opening, before putting the lid back on to seal it. No spillage! Better than when you seal the bottle cap with a scotch tape or something similar.

3. Seal all drawers. I watched another life hack where a student is about to move to another state for college. She will bring with her two small drawers containing most of her stuff. Instead of emptying her drawers, she packed her stuff there, filled it, then sealed the drawers with plastic wrap before securing it with packing tape. Easier and more convenient. No need to unpack too much on your destination because it’s all there in the drawers.

There are some more tips but these are the top three that I can think of. A checklist of all important things to remember is needed, of course. And pack meals for everyone so no one gets cranky while on the road.

A big task to do before anything else… make sure that you know the mover you are hiring is reliable and trustworthy. You don’t want your stuff missing while on the move. You also don’t want any breakages and spillages which will ruin your things. Know your mover. Read reviews. Talk to them ahead of time to plan every action and move. Nothing is easy when moving houses. But it can be done when you have a mover-partner who is reliable and trustworthy, and family members who will totally pitch in.

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DIY Kitchen Renovation

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The kitchen in my sister’s house is tiny. Only two to three people can fit in it and navigate it at the same time. It is a small condominium unit, anyway, so it can’t be expected to house a big kitchen. My sister and I were talking a few weeks back about how to do-it-yourself (DIY) renovate your old kitchen and we came up with some ideas to get it started.

1. Demolition. We will do the demolition of the old kitchen ourselves. My sister’s boyfriend will help, here and there, as he’s busy with work but there’s another set of hands we can use. We already checked what can be saved. The kitchen cabinets will need fresh paint and some sprucing up but it can still be used. Also, the appliances. Just some cleaning and strategic placements in the new kitchen will do.

2. Kitchen tiles. We browsed great kitchen ideas online and we found some very useful ideas on how to make her kitchen look big. We will utilize the area designated for washer and dryer. My sister goes to a self-serve laundry establishment. Easier and more convenient for her.

So, we agreed that we can do the kitchen tiles, backsplash, ourselves. Anyway, it is just a small area on the wall and we can easily DIY it.

A side note. Another sister and I are obsessed with home renovations on TV. We just love how each room in the house gets transformed from drab to fabulous right before our eyes. We religiously watch a couple of shows so you can say we’re “experts” on reno.

3. Over-all design and layout. We plan on getting an expert to draw it for us but the over-all design and layout of the new kitchen will come from us. No more washer and dryer area and instead, it will house the oven and the new refrigerator.

All the other aspects of the kitchen renovation will be left to experts. Electricity for the lighting and appliances is best left to a professional. We don’t want to cause a fire. Also, the kitchen counters. It would be easy to just get it cemented and we can tile it. My sister wants a butcher block, though. That is something beyond us so we will leave it to a professional, too. My sister’s boyfriend knows someone who can customize a butcher block regardless of the size and shape you want.

The kitchen floor will stay as is. It is hardwood kitchen flooring and it is still as good as new.

My sister actually knows how to take care of her unit really well. She gets it cleaned from front to back every six months. She got it repainted in white after three and a half years of living it. I just know this DIY kitchen renovation we talked about will get her place more organized and looking like brand new after.

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Your refrigerator’s lifespan.

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I am saving up to buy a new refrigerator. A bigger one, two-door, and with an efficient, energy-saving motor running it. We have a regular-sized one right now and it’s been with us for roughly seven years already. It is still in good working condition but the storage capacity is not enough for the family anymore.

Again, the pandemic has made us realize and discover so many things at home. The fridge is one of my discoveries. There is not enough room for everyone’s stuff. We went grocery-shopping and stashed consumables good for two to three weeks at a time. The fridge was always packed to capacity! Cash flow was unpredictable that time so I told myself that I would buy a bigger fridge when the economy is more stable than it was back then.

I started searching for the best refrigerator for a big family like us. I found a 29.5 cubic feet two-door refrigerator with the freezer at the bottom. Yes, it is energy-efficient, an inverter. Our current refrigerator will still be used so I am also making sure that there is an efficient appliance repair services nearby. Just in case it breaks down unexpectedly.

But let us talk about a refrigerator’s lifespan. Majority says that it lasts for ten years, while some say that it lasts up to twenty five years depending on the usage and maintenance. I believe the latter. Growing up, we had a heavy-duty fridge that lasted for years and years. I was not able to count it but, if I am not mistaken, it was replaced when I graduated from college. I think I was the one who replaced it. My parents wanted to keep it but we were advised by an appliance expert to replace it since it is consuming so much energy, the fridge being an old one without an energy-saving motor running it. Most likely, it served us for a minimum of fifteen years.

According to the US Department of Energy, refrigerators can last approximately up to twelve years. If your refrigerator has been running for more than that, have an expert check it because it might be time to replace it with a brand new one. It might cost you a lot now but it will actually save you some money in the long run. It was the same advice given to us by the appliance expert who checked our old fridge.

My suggestion to large families like us who live in a single house unit, get professional experts to check on your appliances. Make sure it is not taking too much from you but instead serving you while at the same time saving money for being efficient.

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Hobbies and a passion for cooking.

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I think it is safe to say that one of the good things that came out of this global pandemic is that a lot of individuals have discovered their passion for cooking. It can be baking breads and pastries, and to pasta making. I am sure one of your family members, friends, relatives have suddenly developed a passion for anything kitchen-related. Am I right? My sister discovered that she is actually into baking. She began just last year. She started baking loaves. Her banana loaf bread is to-die-for! She is now selling her baked goodies online which includes customized cakes.

I remember when I was asked to clean and repair your stove by my other sister. I thought she was just being nit-picky about stuff around the house but it turned out that my sisters had been talking about putting up an online bakery for the goods baker-sister was slowly trying out and producing. We prepared the kitchen, bought an oven, gathered baking tools, utensils and bowls, as well as baking ingredients. We made sure there is enough storage for my baker-sister to use. And, then, it all began.

I once read that a person should have at least three kinds of hobbies: an investment/money-making hobby, a physical hobby, and, a creative hobby.

Investment/Money-making Hobby
As the name suggests, this type of hobby should be a source of a passive income for you. A potential to become a big business in the long run would be best. I love writing. I once dreamed of becoming a journalist but, well, life interfered and I became an accountant. But nothing can stop me from doing what I love the most. I began writing articles several years ago. Writing became a side hustle for me.

Physical Hobby
It could be any sport you feel like participating in. Or a exercise. Maybe, hiking or walking. It can be any kind of hobby that will enhance your physical well-being. Dancing can be one, too! This kind of hobby is obviously for your health.

My physical hobby is walking. I just love it! But I have another in mind that I would want to try… yoga. I feel like I am too overweight for it. Well, there’s no harm in trying. I believe I will learn to love it because it will make my aching joints loosen. It might be a way for me to reach my weight goal this year.

Creative Hobby
This kind of hobby is for the mind and soul. Reading for me has become a source of peace and quiet. It became a haven when my mind, body and soul is exhausted from life. It became an escape for when I couldn’t deal with life yet. Find one creative hobby which will make you feel like your happy place.

I know you have your own hobbies but make sure you have at least three as I mentioned. Lucky you if all three is in just one hobby of yours. I think cooking can be fall under those categories. Right?

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A wall pleasing to the eyes

Home Wall Mural – Tulum, Mexico

Home is where I find solace and peace. For me, it is a haven where I can seek comfort and feel safe all the time. It is a place where my family and I can spend time together to create memories that will last a lifetime.

That is why whenever there is a chance to further beautify it, I grab the chance to do so. Deep cleaning, new curtains, fresh paint. Astek Home’s Home Wall Murals. Anything to make it more homey and inviting. To bring in positive energy.

Lately, I’ve been interested in custom wall murals. I just love those scenic murals for the home that I see online. You know how majority of individuals nowadays work from home. I do, too, three days a week and on weekends. So a home mural wall covering of a beach will be very pleasing to the eyes, a respite when already tired and overworked. I can already imagine myself staring at the home mural of Tulum, Mexico and slowly calming my tired body and soul… Or maybe that of Big Sur, California

I work hard not only for myself but also for my family. I must admit that there are days when the work gets to be too much for me. During those days, I find solace in a dimly-lit room with a mug of hot coffee, and some relaxing music in the background. I can’t wait to include a lovely wall mural for the home in the days to come.

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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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