Four Easy Ways to Freshen Your Home’s Look: A Simple Guide to Creating Curb Appeal

Whether the home is new to you or you have been there for some time, it is always fun to get your hands dirty and spruce up the outside of your home to give it a fresh look.

Power washing your home rids your siding of all the yucky crud that has found itself attached to your home over the years. It is good to try to do this once a year, if you can, so it doesn’t build up and become a time-consuming chore. Remember, when using a power washer, or any tool, become familiar with the user manual and make sure you follow all safety procedures.

Tip: Don’t have a power washer? Try to borrow one from someone you know or see if you can rent one from a local establishment.

Once your home is sparkly clean, if you don’t have much life in your front yard, consider a flower bed! If you choose perennial flowers to plant, they will come back every year – minimum effort there! Annual flowers are great too though! (My favorite ones are Snap Dragons). They will sometimes reseed and come back for you. This helps so you don’t have to worry about replanting every year.

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Make your home inviting with some curb appeal!

Tip: Don’t know what to plants work in your area? Check out your zone and see what plants thrive in your area!

Consider using mulch or stone to help keep the weeds down. This will make your job weeding through out the summer time easy and quick. Since the weeds won’t be well rooted, it’ll be an easy pluck for the unwanted plants.

Tip: If you decide to mulch, remember to mulch yearly. It will help to keep your flower beds looking fresh and keep any weeds that try to find their new home there away.

Maybe weeding isn’t your thing and you know you won’t have the time or energy to maintain a flower bed. You can always have potted plants. You won’t have to worry about a larger surface area to weed or worry about buying mulch or stone for it!

Tip: You can bring these plants inside to help save them from the cold or frost which will give your plants (annual or perennial) longer lives!

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Sweeten up the view with some plant life!

A little bit of effort to the exterior of your home can make a big difference and brighten up the outside of your home all season long!

Work on the Interior of Your Home!

 

How to Have a Low-Stress, Organized Yard Sale

Whether you’re moving, trying to downsize, or just want less stuff – a yard sale is a great way to get rid of items without so much hassle. Yard sales are a perfect solution if you need some cash in a pinch or can only make so many donations. It’s important though to be organized, throwing together a yard sale can create a lot of stress and keep you from selling what you need to.

Let’s look at some strategies and ideas that will help your yard sale be both organized and efficient.

Before you start gathering items, set a date and time. Be sure to see if you need a permit to have a sale and take care of that if needed. That way you know what you’re shooting for and you can begin advertising.

Secondly, start advertising. Use social media, local papers, fliers in your neighborhood/church/work, and use word of mouth by telling all your friends. A lot of these items are quite cheap or free. Don’t spend too much money on advertising, just use smart outlets. Unless you live in a perfect, busy spot – advertising is the most important thing to helping you to achieve a great sale.

Next, filter through your items and organize by category if you haven’t already. You decide the category: room of the house, cost, use, whatever works best for your mind. Think about how you will display these categories and what tables and other items you’ll need to set up.

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Going through closets is a good way to find the perfect items for your yard sale!

Then you can price items. Pricing to sell is your best bet, but don’t feel like you must give things away per say. Especially, on items you spent a lot on and that are in pristine condition. Usually, buyers will pay more for furniture, but everything else you should expect buyers to haggle with quite a bit. Label things well! Color coding pricing is super-efficient, and you don’t have to write prices a million times. Think all $5-dollar items have pink tags, etc.

Lastly, prepare the area. Placement and organization of your items allows shoppers to see them and imagine using them. Tables, bookshelves, and ladders are great ways to display your items. If you can hang clothes up somehow that also is a lot better than a pile that everyone will undo by looking through.

Another nice touch is to have water or cookies/snacks for shoppers. Especially if it’s a hot day! A comfortable shopper lingers, and lingering shoppers buy more! You could sell can sodas for 50 cents and make a little more, too! Just make sure you have water or something for free.

We hope these items help you have a great sale!

More In-depth Tips Here!

5 Quick Tips to Transform Your Outlook on Spending Money

If your anything like me, it can feel like your life revolves around spending and saving money. From hundreds of quick saving hacks, to do this not that, and so many other tips that seem to overwhelm me more than help me. In the past year, I have learned to cut back spending on one of the things society idolizes the most – food.

I have found that by cutting back my spending on food and other habits, I am able to enjoy life and live more. Below are five tips that have changed my mind set.

1. Stop Eating Out

I have realized the amount of money I spend on food for personal and social reasons is absurd. Eating at a restaurant should be saved for special occasions to enjoy, not for you to spend $12 on a salad after work with friends. Even picking up your daily coffee before work will put a bigger dent in your wallet than you think. If you change your mentality about restaurants, your mindset will shift, and your wallet will be fuller!

2. Meal Preparation

Have you been gearing about “Meal Prep”? If not, read up! Meal prepping is going to be a big trend in 2019. It has more advantages than disadvantages over all. Not only does it help your wallet, it also can be an easy, affordable way to keep you and your family healthy! For recipes check out Pinterest!

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Cooking saves money and is an easy way to add health and color to your diet.

3. Purchase Your Gasoline Where You Grocery Shop 

Staying loyal to a grocery store has its perks. Check to see if stores in your area loyalty discounts. By saying true, you are able to receive major discounts on gas and your groceries. Who doesn’t love a win- win situation?

4. Stick to your list

Making a grocery list is only useful if you stick to it! When you purchase items not on the list, you are spending more than allotted. Additionally, when you follow step 2, grocery shopping is made easy with simple, affordable meals. Don’t buy it if it’s not on the list!

5. Shop Alone

I have found shopping alone helps me stick to my list. When you invite others to join your trip, they can encourage you or convince you to buy something you didn’t intend to.

Hopefully, you find these five tips easy to follow and applicable to your lifestyle. By saving money on simple things like food, you are able to save up and splurge on something special.

Try Cultivating These Good Spending Habits!

Beat the Winter Blues and Get Ahead with These 5 Ideas

Winter is hard for a lot of people. While I personally love it, I know myself to be in the minority. Winter is a time of sickness, being stuck in the house, and early nights for many people. Many experience seasonal depression, weight gain, or overall feelings of boredom and sadness. To remedy this, or perhaps in spite of this – let’s focus our efforts on warmer days, literally and metaphorically.

While you’re getting snowed in and relaxing, start doing these things and see how much easier the rest of your year runs.

  1. Plan and decide what you’re doing with your potential tax return. If you’ve got debt, say a medical bill, loans, etc. Why not put it towards those, or paying off one with the most interest? Sounds like getting ahead to me! At a different place financially? What about splitting it up between your kids for future education expenses? You get the idea.
  2. Donate and organize. It’s too cold outside to do much so work up a sweat inside! After Christmas it’s good to replace old with new and also get rid of things you don’t use or you’re not going to use. Organizing is a great way to take inventory of what you have. You might realize you can donate half your clutter and have more space and better efficiency.
  3. Try a new hobby. Hobbies can be hard to start because we’re always looking for the time to learn about them initially. Now is the perfect time to research, go to workshops, and get comfortable with a new hobby before the business starts back up.
  4. Plan a summer vacation that will cost way less. If you book things far in advance they are usually cheaper. Plus, if you plan what you’re doing, rental cars, and the like early you can look around for deals and do the best research for the cheapest rate. All of this will also help you get excited for sunshine! P. S. if you love winter you could also plan a vacation now and save because it’s off season!
  5. Start a fitness plan from home! There are so many video tutorials online you hardly have to go to a gym or have equipment anymore. As long as you have a little space that’s all you need. Burn some calories, get fit, and enjoy the extra energy. Then you can enter the warmer days already fired up!

We hope these ideas help you bust the blues and give you less to do during the busy times! Remember, down time is the best time to get ahead. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed each summer, try these things today. That way you’ll be ready, and you won’t be bored in the winter!

Get Ahead With Your Finances!

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Some of the most sentimental and meaningful items I have are gifts that friends have made for me over the years. Sure, fancy gifts are fun sometimes, but homemade gifts endure through time. It’s also nice to be able to pick one idea and make it in bulk for a lot of people. It also is a good way for you to stay in budget! Make something your family can join in on and enjoy less stress, and less useless spending this holiday. Below are ideas you’ll be sure to enjoy giving!

Make a holiday blend! Place a small blend of each of the below in small glass jars, baggies, or decorative wrap. Then you can boil it with some water on your stove top for a great smell all day! Water will evaporate so keep adding water. There are also other options, such as wax warmers, that can fill your house with holiday smells too!

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  • orange slice
  • cinnamon sticks
  • cloves
  • bay leaves
  • cranberries
  • lemon slice

Make a round of candles! Who doesn’t love getting a candle? Especially, one you make. We recommend using soy wax that can be melted down. Soy takes the longest to burn of most common candle ingredients. All you need are few ingredients!

  • soy wax
  • container for candle
  • wicks
  • something to melt the wax in (microwave)
  • candle scent/natural oil

Make a keychain! Everyone needs their keys, why not add some personality to them! You know your friends. Make a keychain in the theme they’d like. Getting creative is easy! Choose your style are get started with these great ideas!

Make magnets! All you need is some magnet tape or rounds, your favorite cut out items, and clear overlay stickers. You can also use bottle lids, stickers, or anything you think of really!

Make a set of coasters. Grab some thick cork and cut into whatever shape you want and seal it with mod podge for an easy seal. If your good at sewing you can make your own pattern, or you might even use felt and cut out fun patterns and layer it to reinforce it.

Wrap That Gift in Style!

10 Spend Free Fall Weekend Ideas

It’s my opinion, but I wear it proudly – Autumn is worth the whole year. In other words, I seriously love fall and wait for it each year with expectation. I enjoy the other seasons as they come, but there’s nothing like the season of fall to me. If I had to peg the one underlying reason I love this time of year it’d have to be that the outdoors turn into the perfect playground, from gorgeous colors, to perfect temperatures, football games, etc. it’s all so inviting!

So since the outdoors are gearing up to create the ideal backdrop for all your family fun, why not enjoy it all without the cost? That’s right, here’s how to have the best fall weekend without breaking the bank!

  • Go hiking: If you need an all-day event, or your looking to spend some energy with your older kids or your pets this option is made for you! You can stay active and enjoy the scenery – talk about the best of both worlds!
  • Host a scary viewing party! Get your favorite spooky show or movie and invite your friends over! Borrow a projector and take it outside or watch on your deck or screened in porch.
  • Use fall foliage for décor: Acorns, pinecones, and leaves make for beautiful décor pieces! No need to go out and buy what you can find in your backyard. If you are nervous they are filled with bugs, dry them out or try one of the many cleaning options on Pinterest!
  • Take lunch to the park: Instead of staying inside, take lunch outside! Heck, it can be your own backyard!
  • Have a candlelit story time: Put the phones and electronics away. Light some candles and turn the lights off. Read the kids a book by candle light. You’ll feel like your back in the day and get to focus on one thing at a time for change!
  • Make tea or coffee and invite a friend over: Enjoy a low-key chat without having to go out and spend money. A warm cup of hospitality is just as sweet as friendship.
  • Volunteer: Easy, free, and it helps someone else! This is the best one on the list. It’s never too early to teach your kids to put others’ and their needs first. It is the season of gratefulness after all!
  • Clean/Organize: Open the windows and freshen up the house for the season! Organize the kids’ toys, the kitchen, or make a box to donate. Does a room in your home need a good scrub, too? Get some kitchen cleaning inspiration!
  • Break out the board games: Work together or enjoy a little friendly competition playing some games. This is great for those kiddos that need a little break from technology.
  • Go outside and draw what you see: Take another look at your backyard or your front yard. Draw your best rendition! Be sure to include all the color you see!

Get More Frugal Ideas!

Enjoy the best season of all! Remember, fun can be free!

Oakbur Quill Co.

9 Spending Habits that Will Change the Way You Shop

We’ve all had a long day where retail therapy has felt like the solution to our blues. While it may be instantly gratifying, we usually end up with something we don’t need and a case of buyer remorse. So instead of repeating these habits, let’s look at some easy ways to reduce our spending and buy smart when we do go to make a purchase.

1. Plan. Ask yourself, “Is this a planned purchase?” Now this isn’t to say you can’t grab lunch when that meeting runs late, or that you can’t get something on a whim. This is to say you should limit those times. Working off a budget demands discipline and spontaneous spending throws a wrench in that.
2. Imagine it in a month. Obviously, food and other items are exempt here. Think to yourself, “Will I wear this in a month?” Are you going to be bored with the item, buy something new to replace it, forget about it? If so, chances are it’s not a good investment.
3. Improvement test. Test your purchase. What will it add to your life: clutter, an avenue to buy more things to support it, nothing, or make you happy for a bit? Again, these are not valid improvements. Yes, this encourages you to buy based on practicality instead of desire. It’s not a ton of fun now, but when your savings allows you to buy that new car for your growing family it’s totally worth it.
4. Check your emotions. Buying on emotion can be a bad way to gage necessity.
5. Keep your receipts from the days purchases. Write down how much you spent after adding up all your receipts. This will help you realize how things add up.
6. Actually balance your checkbook. It’s not a lost art.
7. Learn to change your mind. When you check out and things are more expensive than you thought, put stuff back or ask for things to be taken off. It’s okay to even walk away. You are not obligated, unless it’s a service that’s already been performed.
8. Research. Having an idea of prices before you buy something is so helpful and keeps you realistic. It also can keep you from wanting something you don’t need or can’t afford at the time.
9. Put the credit card away. Emergencies, planned purchases, or gas to keep your credit going these are the only things you should routinely put on your credit card.

Keep Saving!

Reward yourself along the way as you learn to do more and more of these! See how much you save as you implement practices to shop smarter. Have a friend do it with you so you stay accountable. Set your intention before you begin. Are you wanting to change spending to take care of debt, save up for something specific, for a new family member, or are you just wanting to lead a less emotionally spending life? Find your motivation.

How to Make Your Kitchen More Eco-friendly and Affordable

Maintaining a kitchen can get pricey. Especially with a big family or if you cook and pack lunches frequently. We also can build up a lot of waste. Luckily for us, there are plenty of items we can replace with reusable options. While some of them can be purchased, most items can be made too!

Let’s explore some of the options! Here’s to less waste and less money in the long run!

  1. Napkins: Ditch paper napkins and get some reusable cloth napkins. Thrift stores are crawling with them!
  2. Paper towels: There are tons of how to’s on making reusable rolls out of towels and fabric.
  3. Baggies: Ditch them! Put your lunch items in glass containers, invest in some reusable wax wraps or reusable silicon wraps!
  4. Try your hand at compost: It’s pretty easy! Keep your scraps from veggies, egg shells, potato peelings, etc., (no meat), and add them to a small pile of soil outside near your garden. Mix it up every now and then and let it break down – then you can mix it in to your garden! There are many methods – try whatever fits your needs!
  5. Replace foil/ plastic wrap: Try making your own bowl covers with a stretchy band and fabric, or you can buy silicon lids!
  6. Mop pads: Make your own with a towel and some sewing to save on waste.
  7. Shopping: Purchase reusable bags or make your own. You also can use cardboard boxes or clean bins if you prefer!
     
  8. Give Your Kitchen A Facelift!

There are tons of other options, too! If you don’t do any environment friendly things in your kitchen, start slow. Try incorporating one at a time and mastering it before moving on to another one. These ideas will cut back on trash, and after the first initial investment of purchasing or making your own items, you’ll save money with not having to buy disposable items often. That means less shopping, too!

Remember, you don’t have to conquer the world. Just one of these ways is helpful! Try one today and see the change!

Mobile Home Skirting Options and Maintenance

Skirting may be the last item on your mind when thinking about your mobile home. However, it protects many important aspects of your home by wrapping around the bottom of the home. It keeps animals out from under the home, protects the piping and plumbing that runs underneath your home, and it keeps the cold out. It’s not just a style choice.

Whether you are considering the cost, durability, or appearance of skirting, there are tons of options for mobile home skirting.

Options

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Vinyl

 

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Concrete

 

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Brick/ Imitation Brick
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Lattice

If the skirting on your home becomes damaged, you should repair it or have it repaired by a contractor. It can be pretty easy to fix holes in skirting or to take preventative measures to avoid damage to it altogether.

Vinyl Skirting Repair

Vinyl skirting usually gets roughed up by weed eater lines. To avoid this try a skirt guard. This clips into the bottom of the skirting and protects the bottom edge from being torn or damaged by yard tools. There are different types with varying lengths – choose what fits your needs.

If your skirting is damaged you may try repairing small damaged areas yourself pretty easily by using either weather resistant tape or tape made for outdoor use.

You can also purchase skirting panels to replace a damaged section instead of having to replace the whole.

For brick, concrete, or lattice skirting, you’ll probably want to consult a professional as these may involve a little more effort. Vinyl skirting is traditional and can be easier to repair.

We hope this helps you decide on a change for your siding or picking a certain kind!

More Repair Tips!

Oakbur Quill Co.