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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Get a good and honest contractor.

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About two weeks ago, we had some minor repairs done in our home. Leaky faucets, broken lights, busted pipes, and some minor fixes that took too long to be taken care of. These days, it is very hard to find an honest and professional custom house contractor. You can find one, yes, but it really is a risk because there are good ones and there are really bad ones.

This reminds me of my friend’s experience when they had their old house taken down to make way for a new condominium-type of house consisting of five floors. My friend, her parents, and her siblings planned the house construction for several months. They made sure to get a good architect (and they did), account every possible cost they would spend (they barely managed), and to get a rental just in front of their house to make sure that they could monitor the construction properly (they were able to). They made a list of contractors and chose the one who was a friend of her sister. They thought that getting someone they know would be an advantage, someone who would not cheat them or do a mediocre work. Well, they thought wrong.

The contractor did build their five-storey house. Each floor looked like a tiny condominium unit. The ground floor included a laundry area and a dirty kitchen. The fifth floor became their roof deck. The fa├žade of the house was really aesthetically pleasing enough to get the attention of their neighbors who asked them about their contractor. A few days after they moved into their new house, the problems started surfacing one after another. Most of those problems were minor fixes. What made their heads ache was the plumbing. The thing that they didn’t think of was the one problem that cost them over their budget.

The pipes used were substandard. There were odd sounds coming from the pipes, the drains were sluggish, and the water pressure was low. They asked the contractor about it and he said that he made do with what was left of the budget. That was his reason. He did not consult with the family to tell them the shortage in budget. The minor problems like paint, alignment of windows, and some other stuff were okay with the family. It was fixed easily by my friend’s husband and brothers-in-law. But the plumbing…

In the end, they got a new professional to re-do their plumbing. They shelled out quite a sum just to ensure that they would not encounter any problem in the future. True to the professional’s word, the plumbing was fixed and there were no issues even years later.

Get a good, honest, professional contractor. Make sure that there is a signed agreement so when there are issues in the future, you have something to show and use to enforce compliance.

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Cleaning Up Your Backyard in Time for Summer

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Over the winter, your backyard can become somewhat neglected. You probably aren’t using it as much, so you don’t pay as much attention. On top of that, the colder weather is likely to leave your landscaping looking a little raggedy and it can take a while to recover. When spring starts to arrive and you begin to think about using your backyard more, it’s a good time to think about getting it ready in time for summer. You won’t necessarily be able to make it look beautiful right away, but you can definitely start to clean up and prepare the space for the summer months.

Do the following things to get your backyard ready in time for summer and you’ll be able to enjoy everything that it has to offer.

Start By Tidying Up

Your backyard might look a bit of a mess after the winter months. It can end up covered in various debris or maybe you even have various furniture, tools, and other things that have been left lying around. If you’ve experienced storms over the winter, it might have caused a mess in your backyard, too. So the first thing that you can do is tidy up and start putting things in their rightful place. There might be some things that you choose to get rid of if you no longer want or need them in your backyard.

Pick Up Old Leaves and Branches

One of the reasons your backyard might look pretty messy is that there could be old leaves, branches, and other vegetation lying around. This might be left over from the fall and winter if you haven’t had time to clean it up. Collecting it all and throwing it out can immediately refresh your yard and make it look a lot better. You can often use this stuff to make compost or mulch, which you can then use to help grow a beautiful new lawn or garden. But if not, you can use a natural refuse service to take it away.

Clean Paving and Decking

If you have any paving or decking, it can get very grubby during the winter. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to start cleaning up and make it look like new again. Take a look at this pavers cleaning guide to help you get started with how to clean your paving. Pressure washing is often the fastest and most effective way of getting everything as clean as you want it to be. You just blast off the dirt, moss, weeds, and other things that might be making your paving or decking look untidy. You can reveal the true color underneath and immediately have a better-looking backyard.

Take Care of Your Lawn

If your backyard has a lawn, you should start to assess its health in spring so you can get it ready for summer. There are lots of things you can do to improve the health of your lawn and help it look good as it starts to get warmer. By the time summer arrives, you can have a beautiful green lawn for your kids to play on, for your dog, or just for you to enjoy looking at.

Some of the things you should be doing include aerating the soil, seeding to fill in any bare patches, and fertilizing to help with growth.

Weed and Prune

When you’re dealing with weeds in your backyard, you need to find ways to remove them without harming other plants. You could choose to pull up some weeds by hand or you might use a weed treatment to kill them off. You can also prevent weeds from occurring in different places by, for example, treating your paving or using mulch around your plants. Pruning is a good task for your backyard spring cleaning too. It will allow you to cut back on anything overgrown and can also encourage growth in the plants you want to flourish in the summer.

Fill Out Your Landscaping

Your backyard can look kind of bare after the winter. Hopefully, it starts to regrow when spring arrives, but you might have to give it a helping hand. Spring is the right time to start thinking about planting new things and adding to your landscaping so your backyard will be in full bloom when summer arrives. You might want to replant any plants that didn’t last the winter or anything new that has caught your eye.

Get started on cleaning your backyard and you can be prepared for summer, with a relaxing space that you can use however you want.

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Next-door renovations.

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It has been more than two months since the noise next-door began. Home renovation. When the clock hits eight in the morning, the noise starts. It will last until around eleven in the morning, and will resume around one in the afternoon. It will all come to a halt at five in the afternoon. Eight to five all week long except on Sundays.

In the beginning, we would get annoyed with the noise. We are all nocturnal in the family so we are still up past midnight, most nights. We would get up a bit after nine-ish in the morning. So, you can just imagine how annoying it gets to be awakened by the noise of hammering and drilling almost every single day since then. But the neighbor’s house contractor was considerate and respectable enough to ask for our understanding in a letter before they began the renovations. And it was a big deal for me that they talked to us in person as well to ask for our patience and understanding because the house next-door is being eaten by termites already so they need to salvage it as best they can.

After about two weeks, we started getting used to the noise. It became tolerable. Also, to better understand what’s happening next-door, my brother and I took interest. We began talking to the contractor and the workers during their break time. We thought it best to see what’s being done and when we saw what they did to the laundry area, it gave us an insight as to what we want done to ours, too. The contractor told us that we need to get the house checked, or the particular part of the house for that matter. Then, a plan will be drawn, with the budget alongside it. It is important to use high quality and affordable building supplies for home renovation projects. The contractor said it is better to always have a contingency fund ready because some issues in the house can come up while renovating it.

They are still going at it. But we talked to the contractor already, my brother and I. We are seriously considering getting the laundry area done once they are done next-door. We will come up with a plan and budget. And then we will set a timeline so it won’t take them too long to do it.

Hopefully, the noise will not be as annoying as when the next-door renovations started. And the neighbors will be as understanding as us.

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Life expectancy of major home appliances

So, we had this discussion at home about the major appliances we have. In particular, we focused on three appliances: refrigerator, microwave oven, and washing machine. The discussion was about the appliances we have at home, how long we have been using each, and whether it be best to buy a replacement or just use it until it gets broken.

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We were actually just talking about a new house. My sisters and I, being unmarried and all, planned to get a big house where we can all grow old together. While talking about a new house, I noticed that the refrigerator door was ajar. I asked who open it last and my youngest nephew said that he took out a cold drink and closed the door. I tried closing the door myself and that’s when I found out that the door magnet is malfunctioning already. One of my sisters suggested right away that we get a new one. I suggested otherwise. Hiring a good local appliance repair company is not as expensive as you think. And that’s the truth! We did it numerous times in the past when an appliance gets broken. We’d pay a small fee and parts replacement, and the appliance was returned to us good as new.

My sister who was suggesting to get a new refrigerator had this argument: there are far more choices in energy-saving appliances out there right now. We can choose an inverter model, according to her. A bit pricey than the one we have now but the future cost savings will far outweigh the immediate spending. And I totally agree on that. The question is do we have enough to spend on a refrigerator right now when we are also planning on buying a new inverter air conditioner?

Anyway, I made my research about the three major home appliances we discussed.

Refrigerator. The average lifespan of a standard fridge is 14 years, 10 years minimum and 18 years maximum useful life. According to my research, in order for the lifespan of the refrigerator to be maximized, you need to adjust the settings in such a way that it will benefit both the appliance and the food inside. Zero degrees Fahrenheit for the freezer and 36 to 37 degrees of the rest of the fridge. Those settings will lighten the load of the compressor.

Microwave oven. This appliance’s lifespan is six years. Just about right as the one we had broke down after close to six years. Quick reheats only, according to my research, and leave the heavy cooking to the big oven.

Well, this one we really need to buy already. It’s far more convenient to use a microwave oven in the middle of the night when food cravings hit anybody at home.

Washing Machine. This one will last five to seven years, according to my research. Currently, we go out to get our laundry done in a service place a few blocks away. They have these heavy duty washer and dryer machines. My sister does the laundry there and it’s very convenient because we don’t have to hang the clothes to dry afterwards. But my sister worries about the rainy season and if it will be a hassle should we still need to get the laundry done elsewhere.

We need to discuss some more on whether we need to buy new appliances or just get it repaired for now, in the case of the refrigerator.

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Color of 2022: Very Peri

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Our house sits on the side of the road. And, I mean, a big road where ten-wheeler trucks would pass by almost daily, especially at night. As a result, dust is always present in our house. We need to clean daily otherwise our house would be full of grime and dirt.

We implemented changes at home so we can minimize the dust that gets in the house. Plants which are best for clean air have been put strategically in our garage, doors, windows and places at home where we often hang out at. We put screens on windows and a filter screen on doors. Every little thing we can think of to ward off the dust emitted by vehicles zooming by.

And another thing we are implementing right now? Repainting our house for a cleaner and livelier look!

Our house is painted white and gray. You can just imagine what state of white it is now. It is now a dirty white shade. My siblings and I talked about it and we decided that a really nice new paint is needed. We waited for the announcement for the Pantone 2022 color of the year. We are so happy when it was announced that the new shade for 2022 is a ‘Happy’ Periwinkle Blue. Very Peri, for short. I read that the shade is the happiest and warmest shade of all the blue hues. I would love that for our home!

No, we will not repaint the whole house with the Very Peri shade. We will just put touches of it around the house. Maybe, pillars outside the house will be painted with that color? One wall in the living room? White will still be the dominant color inside the house, of course. I love a clean look and it really invites light to come in the house especially in the morning. Also, have you noticed just how calming the surroundings become when the place is all white?

We originally planned to help each other out, pitch in, and do the painting ourselves. But I don’t think we can do it. We are all busy with work, my sister-in-law is busy with her small business and with my nephews. Disruption of our work is a big no especially that it’s nearing year-end when reports of every kind become due. So, we agreed that a professional local painting contractor will be retained. I think they will do a better job than us girls who know nothing about painting.

The coming year 2022 is such a big expectation for every person I know. The year will be a year of bouncing back from almost every kind of setback that pandemic has brought each one of us. I am really praying that this year will bring us blessings in abundance, especially in our finances. So, yes, a repaint of the house will be the start. Here’s hoping the new paint will attract positive energy into our home. And will bring luck into our lives.

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A get-together dinner.

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So, my brother is back from his training somewhere outside the city. He was away for quite a bit of time from us. We missed him terribly so a welcome get-together dinner was prepared in honor of his safe return. It was such a fun meal peppered with stories from his training. One thing that stood out was my brother’s discipline. He told us how to buy vape juice online as an alternative to smoking actual cigarettes. It showed us one of the many things that changed in him. He talked about disposable vape and how he’s been using a disposable vape pen for quite some time now. He found West Coast Vape Supply through a co-trainee and he’s never looked back since.

We are all happy to see the good changes in him, and we, his older sisters, are all praying that it will stay that way. The positive changes in him were such a welcome change. He used to be a headache to all of us his siblings. We would worry about him whenever he would go out and would not return on time. Or when we would see him talking to shady characters in our old neighborhood. One worry after another would follow him, and it was such a burden to us especially to me, the oldest sibling.

Maybe, our collective prayer was finally answered. We just want a good life for our brother. We want him to become responsible and disciplined. The positive changes can also be attributed to his own family. Whatever brought on the good changes, we are very grateful for it.

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