Simple Ways to Save Money at Home

With the effect of pandemic, money is still on many of our minds. It can be difficult to balance our budgets during times of economic difficulty, so here are a few tips which could help you look after your money in 2023.

Keep a spending diary

Many of us are guilty of frittering our money away on takeaway coffees and sandwiches on our lunch break, but you would be amazed how much the dollar add up over the month. Before you can make a budget for 2023, it is important that you work out how much you are spending on a daily basis. To do this, buy yourself a little notebook and set aside ten minutes in the evening to tot up what you spent that day and where. This exercise won’t take up much of your time, and if you keep up the habit it will soon become second nature.

Make a budget

Once you know what you are spending in an average month, it is time to analyze your outgoings for areas you can cut back. Whether you are paying your cash advances or  it’s a weekly takeaway or an expensive phone bill, we all have parts of our life where money can be saved. Consider what you need to meet the cost of your essential monthly outgoings like your rent, mortgage payments, food, and bills, and set this amount aside for the month (don’t forget to add a little extra for unforeseen events like appliances breaking and birthday presents!) Then you can organize to transfer the money that you will save into an online savings account, whether it is a dollar or a $100.

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Check your home

Are you guilty of leaving the lights on when you leave a room, or keeping the television on standby? It is surprising how much little things like this can add to your electricity bill. Energy saving tips can be crucial for people looking to save some money, as well as helping the planet out. For example, save up your laundry to make sure you only wash full loads- a full load will use less energy than two half loads- and switch the dial down to cold. And whilst you are in the kitchen, don’t fill your kettle up each time- only heat what you need.

Ditch the ready meals

Not only are ready meals expensive but they are also incredibly bad for your health and your waistline. Home cooked food may sound like a chore, but you don’t have to turn into Jamie Oliver in order to make simple, tasty meals at home. Buy yourself a basic cookbook and start planning your weekly meals in advance. That way, when you go food shopping you will know exactly what you need. Buy plenty of onions, carrots, potatoes and broccoli, along with other things like pasta and cheap cuts of meat, and you will be able to cook up something frugal and delicious. Always try and make an extra portion to, so you can have it for lunch the next day.

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10 Steps to Successful DIY Kitchen Fitting

The kitchen is the soul of a house, so it makes sense to start in that room when renovating a home. Many kitchen manufacturers offer prefabricated kitchen designs that are flat-packed and easy to install with some basic preparation and the right tools.

Thanks to our years of experience, we have put together this list of 10 tips that you may not have considered when fitting your first DIY kitchen.

Keep it Simple
At the very least, try to keep the basic layout the same for your new kitchen. This will save a lot of money because you won’t need to hire a plumber or electrician to re-route pipes or electricity to new points in the room.

If you are stuck for ideas, there are many websites that feature kitchen remodeling ideas.

Be Prepared
At the bare minimum, you will need the following tools on hand: Drill with drill bits, Hammer, Carpenter’s level, Tape measure, Step ladder, Screw driver set, Allen key set.

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Set Up a Mini Kitchen
Choose another room of the house to set up the bare necessities in a mini kitchen. A hot water jug, microwave and fridge will be enough to get you through until the new kitchen is ready.

Drop Cloths
If you don’t have any dedicated drop cloths in your DIY supplies, consider using shower curtains or bedding that may be a little old and need replacing.

Removing the Old Cabinets
Take care when removing the old kitchen fittings. If you damage the walls or floor when tearing out old cabinets, this will add extra work to the project when you need to repair any holes or scrapes.

If it’s a larger kitchen and you have flooring to remove as well, consider hiring a man and van to help with the removals. There are many dedicated businesses that specialise in this service.

Choosing Paint
There’s nothing better to finish off a new room than a new coat of paint. For kitchens, pick a latex semigloss paint. This is perfect for the kitchen because you will be able to wipe off splashes and food easily.

Prepping the Room
You may be surprised how much grime has built up on the kitchen walls, so make sure to wash the walls and ceiling with a trisodium phosphate based washing solution.

Another tip is to lay down your base coat before fitting any new cabinets, and then painting the top coat carefully after everything is installed.

Locate Wall Studs
Use a wall stud locator to mark out any studs before you start installing the cabinets. Don’t rely on the previous layout when hanging cabinets, because the previous installer may have placed them without stud support.

Assembling the Cabinets
Leave any doors or other extra components out of the cabinets until after they have been hung on the wall. This will greatly reduce the weight of the unit and make the fitting much easier.

Many DIY supply stores have online guides with advice and tips for cabinet installation.

Recycle the Old Cabinets
Don’t throw out the old cabinets because they can be used in other areas of your home. They make a great storage solution for the garage or tool shed, or you could repaint them and create a play kitchen for a children’s cubby house.

If the cabinets are beyond repair, use a man and van rubbish clearance service to take away the mess.

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How to Turn Your Home Into an Eco-Friendly Haven

The home you live in should be safe for both you and the environment. Unfortunately, a lot of the homes built today are the exact opposite. They emit harmful toxins into the air that damage the ozone and the health of its occupants. Over time, it can lead to all sorts of health problems, including infertility and respiratory problems. If you’re on the market for a house or want to make improvements to your home, then you should have eco-friendliness in mind. The following are some of the different ways you can enhance your home into a green one.

Build with Natural Materials

The materials your home is built with can be made with impure materials that are filled with contaminants like formaldehyde and lead. You need to make conscious buying decisions when renovating the walls and floors in your home. Everything from the plywood to the paint should be eco-friendly and safe for humans and pets. There are a variety of companies that have products that are designed for this very purpose.

Choose Hardwood Over Carpet

Many of the carpets used in homes today are contaminated with chemicals like formaldehyde and artificial dyes. These toxins are released into the air of your home, making it toxic to breathe. Natural hardwood floors like oak, bamboo and cedar can be used for the floors instead. These should be finished with natural products, otherwise your efforts are pointless. Wooden floors can be placed throughout the home, including the living areas, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms.

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Have Plants Throughout the Home

Air purifiers are great, but there’s nothing like having natural air purifiers in your home. Plants act as filters for airborne particles and toxins in the air. Unlike with mechanical air purifiers, also improve the air, providing more oxygen and other benefits. Certain plants can help keep bugs away, improve sleep and help with asthma. Some of the plants you want to consider include parlor palm, spider plant, snake plant and peace lily, to name a few. Place your plants throughout your home, in the bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas. Make sure they get plenty of light and water.

Choose Non-Lead Paint

If you’re going to redo the paint inside and outside of your home, then make sure it doesn’t contain lead. This is especially important if you have young children. Chipped paint can be consumed by little crawlers, which puts them at risk of poisoning. Lead is known to cause all sorts of adverse affects, so it should be avoided at all costs. You can opt for green paints made by eco-friendly companies. There are more and more color varieties becoming available, so your options aren’t limited.

Add More Windows to Your Home

The winter months can get very cold, depending on where you live in the nation. You can offset your power bill in the cooler months by installing more windows, so that more sunlight can get in and warm up your home. This also adds plenty of natural lighting, which means less lights that need to be operated during the daytime. If you have a smart thermostat, you can use your Microsoft computer or smartphone to create settings so that it doesn’t turn on until right before you come home.

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4 Tips to Help You Create an Atmosphere to Relax in and Enjoy

You do not realize the effect that the atmosphere can have on a room until you enter one that is completely devoid of one, or has a really bad one. Different atmospheres create different moods and, if like me, you like to be relaxed and chill out in your living room, creating the right atmosphere is essential. Here, I have outlined a few ideas that you too can use to create the best atmosphere for you to relax in and let the stresses of your day simply float away.


The obvious place to start is with the color of your room, and there are many colors you could choose from. If you need some information on the best colors for the atmosphere you desire, you could visit a website. However, for a relaxing atmosphere, you can always rely on old favorite’s like pastel blues, violets and greens. Any of these colors should create a calming atmosphere that will have you relaxed in no time.

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Being able to cuddle up on your sofa with a cup of hot chocolate is a tried and trusted way to relax, though if you are cold at the time relaxing becomes a lot more difficult. Providing a nice ambient temperature will make a lighter atmosphere and help you relax. A great way to improve the atmosphere of a room while also controlling the temperature is with a living flame fire, and if you are lacking a chimney or a gas supply for the fire, you needn’t worry anymore. You will find a selection of bio-ethanol fires that are both stylish and functional, and that will certainly help give you atmosphere with an added warmth.


They say that the best way to sell a home is by baking bread, and this is because it creates such a homely atmosphere; and you can utilize smell in a similar way to improve the relaxing atmosphere in your home. There are many aroma diffusers available to buy, and many of them can be adjusted to periodically infuse your lounge with the aroma of your choice; meaning that your lounge will always smell the way you want. The choice of aromas is now huge, as more and more are discovered that either smell beautiful, or help medically. No longer do you need a can of spray from the supermarket, now you can bring aromatherapy into your living room.


With the right choice of music, it is possible to forget everything else, and become lost as note after note flows through your consciousness. Whether it is your lounge, bathroom, or a home salon, music is the perfect way to change an atmosphere to one where you can feel at peace with the world. Obviously, music can be changed very easily, and is the most adaptable way to create the atmosphere you want at the time. No home should be without music, and a varied music selection will enable varied atmospheres; be it a relaxing one or not.

Living in a grey home, with a grey atmosphere, leads to grey people. Living in a relaxing home with a relaxing atmosphere leads to relaxed people. Personally, I like to be relaxed, not grey; and if you do too, I hope these ideas will help you.

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Five Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

The indoor air quality in your home isn’t typically something that most people give a lot of thought to. It doesn’t really keep you up at night, nor does it have you stressing out. But here’s the thing, maybe it deserves more attention than you’ve given it in the past? Did you know that poor indoor air quality can lead to a number of unpleasant sympAtoms? You may suffer from sinus congestion, dryness of the eyes/nose/throat, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, sneezing, coughing, nausea, and heightened allergic reactions.

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to poor indoor air quality such as indoor air contaminants, not enough outdoor air intake, the wrong humidity level, and more. If you are concerned that the indoor air quality in your home is less than ideal, then these five tips can make a substantial difference.

Change the Filter in Your Furnace Regularly

This may sound like a really simple tip, but it has a massive effect on the indoor air quality in your entire home. The filter in your furnace is meant to filter out pollens, impurities, dust, and so forth. If it is so packed full of dirt and grime, it is no longer able to perform the job of filtration. That means all those pollutants and contaminants are just circulating through your home.

Experts suggest that you check your furnace filter every 30 days, and then replace it every three months. As soon as it turns gray, it’s time to swap it out. You can easily purchase a replacement filter online through the Discount Filter Store and have it delivered right to your house.

Switch to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

The cleaning products you use in your home can also have a negative effect on the indoor air quality. Making the switch to eco-friendly products that don’t contain harmful chemicals will be much better for the air. You can even use all-natural cleaners that are homemade with ingredients such as vinegar and lemon.

Open Up the Doors and Windows

While this may not be practical all year round, another great way to improve the air quality is to ventilate your home and let the air in/out. Opening up doors and windows at least once a week can really refresh the entire home. Even if it is winter, opening up a few windows for a short time won’t be enough to cool down the entire house, but it will help to let that fresh air in.

Indulge in Your Green Thumb

Having greenery in your home is not only beautiful and gives a sense of nature and the outdoors, but plants are heralded for being excellent air purifiers. They are constantly removing toxins from the air and then creating more oxygen. While any plant will be great for the indoor air quality, some are better than others. Ideally you want to look for ivy, bamboo, and various Dracaena plants.

Make Your Home Smoke-Free

Finally, you can make your home a smoke-free environment, as this is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to poor indoor air quality.

All of these tips will help to improve the overall indoor air quality in your home.

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How to Plan a Home Renovation

From regular do-it-yourself enthusiasts to brand new homeowners, renovating properties is an activity that everyone can undertake for themselves. But that doesn’t mean it will be a breeze. The key to planning a home renovation successfully is knowing what your timeline should look like and which challenges you are most likely to face. To find out what you should consider when planning your own home makeover, keep reading.

Get to know the lay of the land

Before you can begin to build or add on to the property that you have, it’s important to know what you’ll be working with. Do a survey of your property — or at least the area to be renovated — to find foundation problems that could have you retracing your footsteps if left for later. A building report or a measured survey carried out by a professional can give you clues as to what issues (if any) that the building has, such as dry rot, pests or leaky roofs.

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[Photo courtesy of Rene Asmussen/]

Find out which consents you need for construction

You may need permits to carry out your work, depending on the nature and the size of your renovation project. It is important to do research with your local authority to find out if you need consents and which ones because they can take from several weeks to several months to secure. And if you are caught renovating without the proper consents, you could be forced to undo all of your hard work.

Take preventative measures

Make sure you have all the essential needs met for your renovation — such as a working water line and electricity–before you start. You’ll also need to make sure the entire framework of the house or building that you’re working in is sound; it could require scaffolding or structural reinforcements before you begin your renovation. Skipping this step could lead to serious injury, not to mention a major setback of your renovation. Make sure to reinforce your structure to avoid the need to seek medical attention or medical advice.

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Start demo work

Once you have all of these tasks checked off, you can begin demolition on your building. Try to save building elements that are in good condition or that give the building its character — mainly, items like cabinets, doors, old but sturdy light fixtures or decorative hardware. You may be able to use these later, but everything else should be stripped and disposed of properly.


It may seem odd that renovation is the last thing on your to-do list, but this is just a testament to how important it is to plan and properly prepare. But in the spirit of being a fore thinker, you’ll also need to make sure to put structures in place to prevent some of the most common home problems that can happen when a house begins to age, namely damp. This kind of thinking ahead will make sure that you not only have a successful renovation but that the results will last for years to come.

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Making Your Wardrobe Doors Functional and Strong

Wardrobe doors can be one of the most frustrating parts of home décor. In most cases if the doors are not installed correctly they stop working, or worse still fall off. The secret to having functioning and good looking wardrobe doors is in the hardware used to set them up. Many DIY enthusiasts and carpenters make the mistake of cutting corners by using low quality wardrobe hardware.

There are a number of different types of door that are commonly used, and all come in high and low quality varieties. Depending on the type of door different hardware needs to be used to make them function properly. If the unit is a stand alone wardrobe it will need to use cabinet hinges instead of traditional door or wardrobe door hinges for folding or sliding doors.

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[Photo courtesy of Max Vakhtbovych/]

Folding Wardrobe Doors

One of the most popular and cost effective types of doors installed in houses these days is folding wardrobe doors. When high quality versions of these doors are closed they not only cover up the clothes and anything else in the wardrobe they look like real doors consistent with those found in the rest of the house. It is important to choose a heavy bi fold door and use high quality Stanley hinges on both the folding portion of the door, and to link the doors into the track. These doors will take an afternoon and a few hundred dollars for a do it yourself carpenter to install.

 Standard Doors for a Wardrobe

Putting standard hinged doors on a wardrobe is one of the best ways to make that wardrobe look great. The doors look like the doors to the various rooms in the house; you can match up perfectly. Since they are hung with high quality hinges these doors open and close like a regular door as well. The only draw back to hanging a regular door in your wardrobe is the amount of space they take up when they are opened, so the rooms must be larger in order to allow the doors to swing.

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[Photo courtesy of Max Vakhtbovych/]

 Sliding Doors

A popular modern alternative is to install sliding doors. These sliding doors use track hardware to open and close. They have the disadvantage of being more difficult to install than a conventional door and the advantage of being much better looking than folding closet doors. Though they look good it is important to caution that if they fall off the track they can be quite dangerous, so it may be best to leave their installation to a professional.  

 The door style you choose and the hinges you use are important decisions. Don’t settle for a look that doesn’t fit your room, or poor quality fittings that are going to be falling off within a couple of years of use. Fit for the future by investing a bit more and getting high quality products; products into which you have put a little thought.

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How to Stay Cool When Your AC Breaks

It is pretty stressful having a hard day at work and the air conditioning unit broke up in your home and when you live in a large city, it can be difficult to get some fresh air. Especially if you live in the inner city, it might seem impossible because of the tall buildings and lack of trees. However, there are plenty of ways to increase the circulation within your home no matter where you live.

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The simplest thing to do is to open your doors and windows. Again, however, you may find this to be difficult if you live in a heavily polluted area with a lot of outside traffic, etc. Even so, try opening your windows at night when it is cooler out and there is less traffic for some fresh air. A window fan can be placed on the ledge for better air circulation and if not that, consider installing mesh covers to let in the air and keeping the excess debris out. Other than a traditional fan, consider installing exhaust fans in humid areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. By drawing the excess water in, you will be able to breathe better with less humidity and contaminants in the air.

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When such situation happened that the temperature inside your home is uncontrollable, all you need is to find a cool place to unwind. Stepping out of your house to get yourself a cup of an iced coffee may help you relax and feel better,  but stepping up into the home entertainment section would be best to reduce the exhaustion you are feeling, as you have to let your mind focus into something different.

There are many options, from exploring the web and playing interactive online games , such as card games, word games, logic games and many more without downloading any app.  It is proven that playing video games can reduce stress and place you in a good mood by increasing pleasure. Pleasurable activities increase dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. These positive feelings are a great tool to combat daily stress and create a flow state, similar to meditation.

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Activities that provide instant gratification totally transform those feelings of stress. Playing and winning can cause instant gratification, receiving a reward can make your feeling positive right away and can make you more engaging and productive at home.

Here are top picks of games you can play when you are stressed out and feeling tired from exhaustion, of having no fresh air at home.

Candy Fiesta Game

If you are candy crush fanatic, you will enjoy this games where you have to match 3 candies game and try to score as many points as you can in 65 moves. Valid moves require you to swap piece positions so that you create 3 or more in a row vertically or horizontally.

Garden Secrets

If you are not a keen observer, this is a bit challenging game where you have to find all the hidden objects in the garden, morphed into their location.  This game has 10 levels which are timed where you can score up to 3 stars on each level based on how quickly you find the missing items or complete the puzzle.  If you are stuck on an item you can click use a clue by  clicking [?] at the bottom, then click on the item to reveal where it is located, this will cost you one hundred (100) points.

Candy House

To win this game, you have to match 3 or more same tiles or candy in a vertical or horizontal row for these to vanish. Matching more tiles will give you power-ups that you can use to destroy other tiles. It has a timer so make sure you complete the task given on time.

On the other level, some tiles are locked and can’t be moved. You can only break these by matching 3 or more tiles adjacent to it. My favorite power-up is the rainbow which can be earned when you make 5 in a row. This will remove all pieces of your chosen color from the board.

Letter Scramble

The classic letter scramble is easy to play by typing the available letters and making words. There are three levels where you should spell more words from 20 until 40. You can also repeat the words but the gist of this game is for you to type out the longest word that you can.

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How To Make Your First House a Home

So you have just bought your first house and you’re excited about giving it that personal touch and imposing your own personality on the property. However, the chances are having paid out on expenses such as mortgage broker fees and legal costs, as well as the deposit and removal fees, you probably won’t have a huge amount left to play with.

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Oh well, all is not lost. There’s no rush and while you save up to get everything just right, there are plenty of steps you can take to make the house your home.

  • Take things that are special with you: It doesn’t matter if it’s old but loved cushions, or a mirror your granddad left you that doesn’t match anything. These personal items will play a huge part in making the place yours.
  • Smells: Whether you have moved into a 3rd floor studio apartment or a semi-detached, the smell can make a big difference. Maybe you miss the smell of the flowers at your previous home, or you just want each room to smell distinctive. From air fresheners to incense the smell can play a big part in making your home feel more personal.

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  • Flower power: buy some fresh flowers or even a few pot plants. Either way, some fresh additions can really help with the ambience if your property is new and perhaps lacks some character.
  • Party time: You can never have too many parties and a house warming is a perfect opportunity to make the place feel like home. Just don’t go too wild, as you don’t want to spend the first weeks at your new home cleaning and repairing the aftermath.
  • Put your ornaments out: Whilst you may be tempted to leave certain things in boxes because maybe they don’t go so well in your new home, it may be a good idea to get them out. Whether they match or not, they were at some point special to you and they will help make you feel comfortable. Over time you can redesign every room and slowly replace them all.

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[Photo courtesy of Mark McCammon/]

  • Try a lick of paint: If the walls are good then consider giving the house a cheap makeover in your favourite colour schemes. If you’re determined to decorate, then you can pick up throws and cushion covers, duvet covers, bathroom accessories and suchlike to brighten things up whilst putting your own personal stamp on the place.

One of the great things about making your house a home is that there is no rush. For most of us, a new house is something we will own for many years and as such you will have all the time in the world to get everything right. So once you have initially got it comfortable, why not take your time over getting each room the way you always dreamed.

All that remains now is finding the house of your dreams so why not check out Marylebone Estate Agents where the friendly and knowledgeable staff will happily help you on the right road.

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The Benefits of Gardening During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic forced many of us to be confined into our homes for extended periods of time, but the popular trend of gardening help us greatly to avoid boredom and have positivity at all times.

My father has started planting veggies in our backyard since the start of lockdowns which is summer time in the Philippines, water supply is scarce during this season and watering his plants twice a day became a tedious thing to do, so he asked us to buy a garden water hose to make the watering job easier, my mother obliged to do so because she also needs a reliable water hose in her flower garden.

My father’s vegetable garden became a big help for us. It didn’t only save us from buying veggies in the market, but it also provides fresh vegetables in our table, and when supply is more than enough to eat, we are able to sell some fresh string beans, okra and eggplants to our neighbors, basically gardening became also a source of income of our family this pandemic.

Well, if you didn’t yet have a garden at home, you should start planting now because according to experts, gardening reduces depression, anxiety, obesity and heart disease as well as increasing life satisfaction, quality of life and sense of community and if you are looking for the best garden hose for your gardening project, buying Eley Hose and the Eley Hose Reels is more than worth it, it has the ability to resist kinking due to its strong inner core and polyurethane material. Polyurethane is one of the strongest and most durable materials for a garden hose, visit for more details and information.

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