A home away from home.

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One of my immediate plans before I turn fifty is to have a home away from home for the whole family. A lake house. Wouldn’t that be great?! Just imagining it brings an extraordinary calm in my being. I know that one way or another I will bring this plan to fruition as a way to commemorate my parents’ memories. They would have been so happy to have a lake house to call their own.

Fiberglass boat parts manufactured by BLG reminded me of our family’s life-long dream of having a home away from home, one that we can actually call our own and not one that we’re only renting out for a period of time. A very good friend of mine and her husband were lucky enough to secure ownership of a retiring couple’s lake house. It was a matter of being at the right place at the right time for my friend and her husband. They were not looking for a lake house but a rental. When the couple offered them their lake house, they immediately took the offer. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, they also have a boat, a good lot surrounding their house, and an all-year-round rotating list of visitors, family and friends alike.

In the past, all I wanted was a small hut surrounded by lush greenery. Off the grid. Not necessarily near a body of water but that would be good, too. Just a place to go to on weekends to slow down the pace of life for all of us city people. When my friend told me the story of their vacation house, my old dream disappeared and was replaced by the lake house. Now, being outside the house, sipping wine or drinking coffee with my sisters, and just looking out towards the lake… I can almost feel it. I can almost hear the nonstop chatter, the late-night giggling, the noise coming from my nephews playing, horsing around…

I was working almost daily when my mom was sick. I would go home late at night, would leave the house very early in the morning. I remember my mom would fight to stay awake to be able to see me come home most days. But when my mom passed away, I promised the family that I would spend more time with them, at home. I would cut down my working hours, even if it meant piling up on tasks even more. I am happy that I got to spend more time with my love ones, especially my dad before he passed away. My parents died young. It made me realize how true that life is really short. It also made me appreciate all the time I can spend with the people I love.

A home away from home is another way to spend time with my family. Soon.

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Getting the car of your choice.

My siblings and I grew up in a middle income family. My dad was an insurance company employee with a small-scale car accessories shop business on the side. Being a large family, my parents made do with what they had. We used to own a sedan where we would squeeze ourselves in to be able to move from one place to another, mostly on weekends. Those were fun times even if riding in the family car was uncomfortable for us kids.

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I remember my sisters and I discussing what vehicle we wanted to get for our family. Different car brands and models, car make and color, etc. What we agreed on was it had to be a large vehicle, big enough for all of us siblings and our parents. An SUV, automatic, diesel-powered.

When we could afford it, we exchanged the sedan for an SUV. Yes, the same one that we were dreaming of when we were kids. It took years before we finally decided that we can afford one. Two younger sisters and I are all employed, we have more than enough to pay for the down payment of an SUV, and we know for a fact that we can afford the monthly amortization of it. The confidence came largely through an easily accessible free car payment calculator online that we used to compute possible monthly amortization. I personally checked that our salaries were more than enough to pay for the vehicle of our choice. We gave the SUV to our Dad. Sadly, our Dad passed away before the pandemic. The SUV is now being used only when we have the nephews over and we would all go some place together.

My sisters and I are considering exchanging the SUV this time to an AUV. My suggestion is a Mitsubishi Xpander or a Toyota Avanza. The rising cost of fuel, difficulty in finding a parking space, and the cost of maintaining a five-year-old vehicle are all taken into consideration. We are also considering trading in our old SUV to lower the cost of getting a new car. Cost of fuel is a big consideration, the primary one actually, as it has risen to astronomical proportions. We calculated our fuel budget thru CarPaymentCalculator.net and it is a good indicator that we can still afford it. A final decision will be made this week as we are anxious to go on the road again but this time using a smaller car consuming lesser fuel.

There was a time when getting a car would require you to have three to four times the amount of salary of a minimum wage worker. It reminded me of how hard it was for my parents to get a bigger car for our family. Nowadays, with so many promotional schemes from almost all car dealers, it got easier for anyone to buy a car. My advice for first time car buyers or those getting a new or second cars, make sure you can afford it. Check the amortization and fuel budget as these are crucial financial considerations. You can easily use an online car payment calculator as I have mentioned above. If you find out you can afford, go ahead and get the car of your choice!

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4 Reasons To Ask For More Help Around The House

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In the quest to become the perfect parent, many moms take on huge amounts of responsibility. But, eventually, it catches up with you. All that work around the house can often become too much, particularly if you have more than one child.

In this post, we take a look at some of the reasons why it makes sense to ask for more help around the house. Nobody is saying that you have to delegate entirely, but just getting a little help here and there can go a long way.

You’re At Risk Of Burnout

If the household chores are solely your responsibility, you’re putting yourself at dire risk of burnout. Constantly working during the day, and then at evenings and weekends, doesn’t give you any space to just relax, unwind, and forget about life’s troubles. You’re always on the go, moving from one room to the next, fighting a never-ending battle.

Getting some help, though, can provide you with the equivalent of one evening off per week, if not more. Having other people shoulder the burden gives you time to recharge.

You Feel Frustrated

Managing a household isn’t just physically demanding, it’s also emotionally burdening as well, particularly if other family members aren’t pulling their weight. It only seems fair that each person should share the work equally, but that rarely happens. Instead, you seem to be the one who is always cleaning and tidying up, which inevitably leads to frustration.

Again, asking for help can prevent this. Once your spouse and children are doing their bit, you have less reason to feel angry with them.

You Can’t Solve Some Problems

No matter how much cleaning and tidying you do around the house, there are sometimes problems that you just can’t solve. Take storage, for instance. If you have too much clutter in your home, no amount of “putting away time” is going to fix it.

Similarly, if you have mold in your bathroom, scrubbing won’t usually solve the problem. Without using mold mitigation services to investigate the root cause of the issue, you’re battling away in vain.

Asking for help isn’t capitulation. Instead, it’s an admission that some problems are just intractable and that you need help. Once you get the assistance you need, you often find that many household tasks get easier, or simply disappear altogether.

You Want More “Me” Time

A scarcity of “me” time can really hurt your happiness. If you’re constantly serving others and never taking time for yourself, you can feel trapped in your own home. You’re not living the life you want at all.

The good news is that asking for help is a way of grabbing more time for yourself. If somebody else is cleaning the bathroom because you’ve been doing it all month, you can finally put your feet up, do some exercise, or indulge in a hobby.

Just remember, it’s okay to ask for help around the house. The job of a mom is to raise healthy children, not operate a hotel service. Getting other family members to contribute helps you, and also helps them as well.

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How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

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As the cost of living continues to rise, so does the energy price. For most homeowners, energy costs are now a constant overhead. It’s easy to forget that the small things we do in our daily lives can make a big difference. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to make your home more energy-efficient. It won’t cost you a fortune, and you’ll immediately see results. A few changes can make a lot of difference.

Turn your thermostat down
If you turn your thermostat down, you’ll help conserve energy without sacrificing comfort. Lowering the temperature by even five degrees can save you over $100 a year. You’ll also see other benefits, like fewer allergies and a healthier home. The recommended temperature for your thermostat to keep your home heated and save you money is 68 degrees, as suggested by Energy.gov.

Install a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats are a great way to make sure your home is comfortable, whether you’re away or not. You can set them for specific temperatures for your home. This will ensure no room is left cooling or heating unnecessarily. They’re also easy to program. After a few easy steps, you can control your system from your smartphone.

Install LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs have no filament and last up to 10 years. This makes them more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They’re also more affordable and cheaper than many CFLs. The key with LED light bulbs is to use them correctly. If you leave them on 24/7, they’ll use a lot of energy. When you’re away, they should be off.

Invest in energy-efficient windows and doors
A lot of energy is lost through the glass in your windows and doors. If they are damaged, you will be losing a lot of heat through your windows. Typically a house can lose up to 10% of its heat via the windows; this is more if your windows are damaged.

It can be worth fixing any damage to your windows to see if this improves their energy efficiency or have them replaced altogether. Newer windows are more energy-efficient, including hurricane protection windows which provide you with an extra layer of security if you live in an area that experiences frequent extreme weather conditions.

Seal any drafts
Having a drafty home can be disheartening, but it also consumes a lot of energy. If your house is drafty, it could be because the roof lets the warm air escape. One easy way to solve this problem is to seal any holes in your roof. And don’t just use roof membranes; you’ll need to get the holes in the roof sealed.

You should also seal any drafty spaces with caulk or weather stripping so that air doesn’t flow into your walls. This will help make your home more energy-efficient by reducing wasted heat. Another option is to install siding to your home and insulation for added support to help you improve your home’s energy efficiency.

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4 Projects that will Drive Your Home’s Curb Appeal Through the Roof

When it comes to your home, you want it to look its best. The exterior is just as important as the interior, and it’s the first thing that people see when they visit. If you’re looking to improve your home’s curb appeal, then read on! This blog post will discuss four projects that will drive your home’s curb appeal through the roof!

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1) Pressure wash your home’s exterior

This will remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that has built up over time. Pressure washing your home’s exterior is a great way to improve its curb appeal instantly. Not only will it remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that has built up over time, but it will also make your home look brighter and more inviting. Plus, it’s a relatively inexpensive project that you can do yourself in just a few hours.

If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one from most hardware stores. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid damaging your home’s siding or trim. Or, you could also consider utilising a pressure washing service to help you out. Once you’ve pressure washed your home’s exterior, it’s time to move on to the next project.

2) Paint your front door

Your front door is one of the first things that people see when they visit your home, so make sure it’s looking its best. A fresh coat of paint is a great way to improve your front door’s curb appeal. When choosing a colour, go for something that will complement your home’s siding and trim. If you’re not sure what colour to choose, ask for help at your local hardware store.

Once you’ve chosen a colour, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the paint. This project should only take a few hours and will make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal. Then, once you’ve chosen and applied the paint, stand back and admire your handiwork!

3) Plant some flowers

Flowers are a great way to add colour and life to your home’s exterior. When choosing plants, be sure to pick ones that will thrive in your area. Once you’ve chosen the perfect plants, simply follow the instructions on the back of the packaging to plant them. This project will take a few hours, but it’s well worth it! With a little time and effort, you can easily transform your home’s curb appeal with this simple project.

4) Clean your gutters and downspouts

Your gutters and downspouts play an important role in protecting your home from water damage. However, they can also be a major eyesore if they’re not cleaned on a regular basis. Luckily, cleaning your gutters and downspouts is a relatively easy project that you can do yourself. Simply remove any debris from your gutters and downspouts, and then rinse them with a hose to remove any remaining dirt or grime.

In conclusion, these four projects are a great way to improve your home’s curb appeal. Pressure washing your home’s exterior, painting your front door, planting some flowers, and cleaning your gutters and downspouts are all relatively easy projects that you can do yourself. Plus, they’ll make a big difference in the way your home looks.

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Completing a Long-Distance Move: How to Get Organized

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A long-distance move is typically more stressful to handle compared to any other time you need to move home. Not only do you have to pack and move all your stuff, but you’re also going hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles away. Trying to get everything organized when your final destination is so far away is often extremely difficult. It’s harder to get everything sorted out on the other end because you can’t just make a quick trip there. But you can start to organize yourself so that your move goes more smoothly. Here’s what you need to do to get yourself in order.

Put a Binder Together

A binder of all of the information that you need for your move can be really helpful if you’re trying to get organized. You can have various papers, contracts, and receipts to keep track of, and sometimes you need to find them quickly. And if your long-distance move is an international one, you’ll need to make sure you have any visa or customs paperwork available too. Put everything you need in one place, including things like moving checklists, important phone numbers, and things you might need after your move, such as medical records.

Plan Your Trip

You will need to plan your journey to get to your new home, including how you’ll be getting there and whether you will be traveling with your possessions. You might decide to hire a moving truck and drive all of your things to your new home. Perhaps you’ll hire movers to move your stuff while you drive or fly to your destination. Choosing a date and organizing exactly how your move is going to take place will ensure you’ve created a solid plan. Don’t leave it too late to start making concrete plans for your move.

Arrange Your Movers

Booking your movers is definitely something that you don’t want to leave too late. You need to make sure you can find the right company at the right price, and that they’re available for your desired date. You will probably want to look for movers that specialize in cross country moving so that they will offer the services and experience that you require. When you’re looking for the right company, check that they are fully insured and will protect your possessions. Some companies might also offer useful storage options, which can be helpful when you need to go ahead of or behind your things.

Separate Your Stuff

Moving long-distance can give you a good chance to clean out your home. Rather than move everything you have, including all the junk you should have got rid of a long time ago, you can be more selective about what comes to your new home. Decide what you want to throw out, what to recycle, what to donate, and what to sell. You might also want to put some things in storage if you don’t need them right away or don’t know what to do with them yet.

Moving long-distance might be stressful but if you start to get organized early, you can make it easier.

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Are Your Family’s Finances Safe for the Long-Run?

While catch phrases like “YOLO” and “seize the day” may be appropriate in certain situations, it’s always better to evoke a sense of caution when it comes to your money. Making preparations in advance may be really advantageous, particularly if you have a spouse or children. Here are some methods you may use to ensure your financial security in the future.

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Take charge of your finances now.
You may not find budgeting exciting, yet it can have a huge impact on your financial circumstances. In the event that you’ve found yourself counting down the days till your next paycheck, now is the time to take charge of your finances. Many of us overspend because we don’t regularly review our bank accounts or look at our spending patterns. Making and adhering to a budget might help you avoid unpleasant shocks and start saving for the future. As soon as you’ve jotted down the amount of money that comes into your account, make a list of every regular outbound payment, such as your rent or mortgage payment, home expenses, and groceries. Then add one-time expenses for the month ahead, like a weekend away. You can figure out how much money you have to spend by comparing your expenses to your income. If you have any extra money, you may put it in a savings account and use it as a rainy day fund, an investment, or a special treat like a vacation. Sometimes spending means taking out loans to help with larger expenditures. Take the time to compare credit before committing to something because you could end up in serious debt.

Invest in insurance to safeguard your valuables.
The protection of your family and your possessions is essential for anybody who has a family, owns a company, or is a homeowner. Having a will and purchasing insurance are two ways to do this. With no will in place, you should seek the guidance of an expert attorney in wills, trusts, and probate. The beneficiaries of your estate will be protected if you die. A death benefit from life insurance might be reassuring if you have a property or dependent children to consider. Making these types of arrangements is never pleasant, but it is useful to be prepared for any eventuality. You can save both time & expense by using online insurance comparison services when you’re looking for a policy.

Invest in yourself
If you’re wanting to increase your savings balances or build a retirement fund, it’s a good idea to look into prospective options to grow your money. Investing in real estate or stocks and shares, for example, is an option. Be sure to obtain advice from experts and assess the dangers before making a big investment. If you’re considering purchasing a rental property, do your homework on the area, select your ideal buyer or renter, and establish a budget that won’t put you in a tight spot financially.

There’s no way to predict what the future may bring, which is why it’s beneficial to plan ahead and handle your money properly.

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