Home Update Series: Bathroom

Bathrooms can be a tricky area to update, especially since they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. For example, if you have a small bathroom, you’ll want to choose the appropriate size vanity that won’t make it too crowded.

Let’s start simple by talking about updating your vanity. Much like the kitchen, you can change out the hardware and paint the cabinets. You can also paint your sink. Check out this article that takes you step by step on how to refinish your sink.

Depending on the condition and age of your bathtub, you have several options. If the tub looks aged or is an old color straight out of the 60s and 70s, you can always paint your bathtub. Another option is also repairing chips in the finish if you have them. This would be for minor repairs and will help prevent further chipping. Replacing the tub altogether can be expensive depending on what you are looking for, but it has the potential to be a do it yourself job. Make sure to educate yourself on any plumbing questions so you don’t end up without a usable bathroom.

On the simpler side, adding a frame around your mirror is a quick fix that can provide a more finished and updated look.

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Finally, another quick update to your bathroom is frosting any windows. If your bathroom window isn’t already, you can add a vinyl frost sticker to the window. This will allow your bathroom to have more light, and you could hang sheer curtains to finish the look.

Updating your bathroom can be as simple or as complicated as you would like. The best thing to do is to assess what is a functionality update and what is a cosmetic update, then choosing what will work best with your space. Research, budgeting, and a little elbow grease can make your do it yourself dreams come true!

Add a Few Final Touches to Your Bathroom!

Home Update Series: Kitchen

Having an updated kitchen can make your space feel better, and if you ever decide to sell it can add to your investment. So what can you do without having to hire a handyman? It turns out, quite a bit!

The components of a kitchen are simple: sink, counters, cabinets, appliances. Each one of these elements can have your space feeling like it is straight out of a different decade, and not necessarily in a retro way. Here are some do it yourself ideas for updating your kitchen!

Sinks:

Updating your sink can be as simple as a trip to the hardware store. Try to find one that will fit your means and is within your budget. You can have a double bucket sink or a farmhouse style. Sinks can be expensive, as are faucets, so if you can find a combo, typically those are the same price if not a little bit more expensive than just the sink or the faucet. Check out this video to see how to install the sink yourself!

Cabinets:

Updating your cabinets doesn’t have to take a long time. You can update your hardware such as the handles and the hinges. This alone will give new life to old cabinets. You can also update your cabinets by painting or staining them a different color. If your cabinets still have good bones, there is no need to go out and replace all your cabinets just to give your kitchen a new look!

Counters:

Counter tops can be tricky, but you can buy ready-made counters that you can install yourself. You can change the whole feel of your kitchen by changing the color of your counters. You can have dark counters to give a warmer feel, or light to keep it bright and open. Another option is to make your own counters out of concrete.

Back splash:

Adding a back splash to your kitchen walls can upgrade your look. If you aren’t sure about tiling yourself, you can take a class to learn. You can also buy tiles that you can stick directly on the wall. This will give the space a finished look.

Lighting:

Updating your lighting to your kitchen can modernize your look. Plus, having a better lit space will literally brighten the room.

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Paint:

Never underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It may seem simple, but it will freshen up your space. If you have a small, dark area, using bright colors helps to open the room. Adding a dark accent color is a great way to include a little drama in a well-lit kitchen.

Doing one, or a combination of these suggestions, will make a difference in your space to bring it up to date. If there is a project that you want to tackle, but aren’t quite sure how, you can always reach out to employees of local hardware stores when you buy or supplies or take to the internet to learn more about the specifics on upgrading. Remember to create a plan for how to tackle the area so you don’t feel overwhelmed!

More Kitchen Inspiration!

Home Updates Series: Preparation

Updating your home can be expensive. The worst part is that if you don’t, your home can look  outdated. The trends for rooms like the kitchen or bathroom are always changing and while they may still be functional, sometimes as an owner, you’ll want to freshen the  look of your home and bring the space up to date. So what can you do to stay inside your budget and get a great space?

The good news is you can do more repairs yourself than you think. With a little do it yourself education and some elbow grease, you can bring any room up to date.

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Simple and efficient spaces are in!

Before starting any project, it’s a good idea to plan out what it is you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish it. Create a budget! Have a number in mind for what you would be willing to spend on updates and then stick to it. Keep in mind, you can run into surprises along the way, so it’s a good idea to have a cushion.

Deciding what to spend can be arbitrary unless you know what the realistic price points are for the updates. Go window shopping to see what the reasonable prices would be. This remodeling calculator is also a useful tool! It gives you an estimate of major projects that you can quite possibly do yourself. It is good to factor in the type of style you like, but don’t limit yourself! Sinks, faucets, hardware, etc. can get pretty pricey if you aren’t careful.

Once you’ve decided what your budget is, make a realistic plan to save for it to make your goal. Maybe you’ll use your tax return or maybe you’ll put away an extra $50 a paycheck. Whatever the case is, it’s good to have a plan. It is exciting to update your home, but no one wants to go into debt over what should be a fun endeavor.

Another good tip is don’t tackle every room at once. Do it room by room. That way, instead of the whole house being a construction zone, it’s just one area at a time, which becomes more manageable. Remember, making updates, major or minor, can take more time than anticipated. It’s good to split the updates up over a few weekend projects depending on what you want to accomplish.

Remember, whatever room you decide to update next, have fun and make it your own!

Start Budgeting For Those Updates!

 

5 Actions That Will Help You Start Tackling Your Debt

Don’t wait for a resolution, a life-change, or more money – create the discipline of paying on your debt now. Even if you can’t pay as much as you’d like, doing the smallest amount and setting yourself up in other areas will make an impact.

So, we are looking at five practical actions you can start that will put you on the track to staying on top of your debt and ultimately, paying it off. If you’ve been waiting for a sign to start your game plan – this is your flashing neon light.

Start a passive line of small savings. Whether you’ve been saving or not, always start your seasons of paying with saving. If it’s $5 dollars you save, and $5 dollars you pay – so be it – that’s something, and we aren’t shrugging our shoulders at progress. I favor automation as a way of saving because you can be lazy and benefit from it. Here are some ideas about how to save. You should always be saving. Especially, if you’re spending money. The amount isn’t as important as the discipline.

Pick a piece of debt that you can whittle down. Now that you’ve created a stream of savings that you can pull from, you can decide what debt you’ll diminish. There are tons of strategies, here are a few to get you thinking. Pick what fits you. I personally like hitting the highest interest debt first. That’s what works for me.

Outline how much you want to pay off and how much you’ll pay towards each item. Being specific and honest is the best way to confront your debt. Set a goal or goals for items that you want to pay off/ towards. Then decide how much you’ll allocate to smaller pieces of debt – this will differ based on your strategy. It’s important here to consider your season of life. If it’s in your best interest to make big payments towards something – do it. However, if slow and steady is better for you do it. Movement is movement.

Keep focus. It’s not fun or a good time paying off debt. It can feel easy to cut corners, or stop and wait until another time. However, keep focus and stay consistent. That’s the best thing you can do. It won’t get easy, but you’ll get closer.  You’ll get to a space where you can re-evaluate and focus your goals in more and see what other options you have. That’s one of the best strategies, pay some, zoom in more, and keep repeating until you’re there.

Follow your budget and make long-term decisions. A budget will help you stay on track. Budgeting your debt and how to pay it is vital. Following a plan will help you eliminate being surprised by numbers. When paying off debt you need to think about the future. Obviously, we can only plan with so much understanding of what will happen. Yet, we can we can do the best we can with what we have. Is your budget non-existent or less than stellar? Read up here on how to start budgeting well.

These actions are easy ways to being to chip away at debt and make it approachable. If it seems intimidating break it down and keep doing that until it’s in pieces small enough to assess. You’ve got this.

Set Goals Today!

6 Super Simple Ways to Save for the Holidays

The holidays are a beautiful time. Yet, sometimes they can be strenuous financially. You shouldn’t have to miss celebrating, giving gifts, or enjoying this special time because of money. We’ll help you think of your budgeting and saving a little bit, so you can enjoy the festivities the way you should. Start now with intention, and you’ll reap the benefits later.

Save $5 dollars a day. If you do this, by Thanksgiving you’ll have $300. Have more wiggle room? Try $10 a day and you’ll have $600. Now you can buy those bigger items, or contribute to the meal, or whatever your budget allows.

Use your skills. Are you an artist? Can you make/ create something well? Skilled at some service/process? If so, consider selling some for some extra cash for the holidays. Also, you could make specific, heartfelt gifts for people. The feeling of being gifted something that took time instead of money is never lost. Make someone feel seen and cared for in the personal gift you give.

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Bring everyone together around your table.

Eat out less. This is a simple one that makes a big impact. Help yourself at the grocery store by buying meat or products you use often in bulk. While you’re at it – invite some friends over and share the warmth of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or whatever you celebrate. Ask them to bring a side, bread, or dessert.

Request or create a new tradition. Sometimes family and friends mean well, but they may have a pricey tradition. If you want to be part of their plans – try thinking of something more financially accessible. By speaking up, you may be helping out your other friends or family who would benefit from this change as well.

Say no to some things. We all know what we do out of obligation. Try to skip those things, along with activities that are expensive. This will also be a nice break and allow you some breathing room during a busy time. Take some time to relax and just be with your family.

Cancel the subscription for a bit. Whether it’s a box service that comes to your house, manicures, whatever luxury that isn’t needed – trim it for now and use the extra cash. You can always restart it later, but for now – enjoy the extra.

We hope these feel like practical ways to save well for the holidays. We want you to enjoy what matters – the memories! May these items give you some motivation to celebrate and have less financial stress!

Tips for Saving While You Shop!

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!